The Downfall of the Sindar
Not that it was always going well for the good guys but, ever since the disaster of the Nirnaeth Arnoediad, the narrative has taken a turn for the worse; evil is allowed to reign supreme.
In addition, with Tolkien seemingly bent on revealing the progress of the story via the chapter titles, this next chapter promises another victory point for Morgoth and his minions.
Chapter 21 – Of the Ruin of Doriath
Bereft of any strong alliances and fencing himself into isolation, King Thingol – now in possession of a Silmaril – obsesses over the Jewel and its lustful beauty.
His major contact with the outside world are his dealings with the Dwarves. Trading flows abundantly between the kingdom of Doriath and the strongholds of Belegost and Nogrod.
Thingol conjures up a really bad idea of asking the Dwarves to craft the Silmaril within a necklace of surpassing beauty: the Nauglamír (the Necklace of the Dwarves).
The Dwarves accept the task and, after much labour, fashion this necklace of dazzling radiance containing the Silmaril. Thingol eyes the craft with ever more lustfulness and the Dwarves, having also become possessive of their own work, claim it for their own.
A conflict ensues which sees the Dwarves slaying Thingol and leaving Doriath with the Nauglamír and other plunder; but they are soon intercepted by pursuing Elves. A war ensues between the Elves of Doriath and the Dwarves of Nogrod (those from Belegost were not involved, and attempted to dissuade the others from fighting).
Thingol claims the Silmaril from the Dwarves
The resulting conflict brings with it the total destruction of the kingdom of Doriath. Melian, filled with grief, departs Middle-earth. The Dwarves never reach Belegost as Beren, leading a host of Green-elves from Ossiriand, attacks them and reclaims the Silmaril which he gives to his son Dior.
Dior is partly successful in rebuilding the kingdom of Doriath; after the sons of Fëanor realise he is wearing one of the Silmarils, they attack in force and destroy that realm. This is the second slaying of Elf by Elf. Whilst Dior is slain, Elwing his daughter escapes with a remnant of their people towards the mouths of the River Sirion bearing with them the Silmaril.
In the end, a large part of the Sindar are destroyed and scattered, the Dwarves are reeling from their staggering loss, and the only one who has gained any advantage is Morgoth – who in the meantime has tightened his noose on the whereabouts of Gondolin.
In time his desire was achieved, and the greatest of the works of Elves and Dwarves were brought together and made one; and its beauty was very great, for now the countless jewels of the Nauglamír did reflect and cast abroad in marvellous hues the light of the Silmaril amidmost.
Next week it’s the penultimate chapter from the ‘Quenta Silmarillion’. Until next time!