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When were the captive sons released? - Mordomin - October 16th, 2019

Young Elrond and Elros were captured by the remaining sons of Feanor at the Third Kinslaying at the Mouths of Sirion toward the end of the First Age.  They were treated well, and an unlikely love grew between them and Maedhros (early Stockholm syndrome, I suspect...).

Then I know nothing of them until, after the War of Wrath, they choose which of the Kindreds to belong to, and Elros becomes the first King of Numenor, while Elrond winds up with Gil-galad in Lindon.

When did Maedhros release them, and why?  It has been said on another thread that Maedhros, not knowing the fate of Elwing or the Silmaril, may have kept her sons as hostages to trade in exchange for the Jewel.  If that was his intent, at what point did he realize that they no longer served this purpose?

How did they get from western Beleriand to Lindon and Numenor (yes, by ship.  but how, whose, and when?)?


RE: When were the captive sons released? - Mordomin - October 17th, 2019

Or...maybe Maedhros didn't release them.  Maybe they stayed with him through the time that he and Maglor stole the Silmarils from the camp of the Host of the West and fled (taking no part in the fighting).  What if they were there with him until his final despair?  What if his final despair was caused by handing the Silmaril to Elrond and seeing that it did him no hurt?  Could that have been what pushed Maedhros over the edge (literally and figuratively)?  And Elrond, in his wisdom, tossed the Jewel into the fissure after him?

After all, we KNOW what happened to Maedhros and the Simaril.  Unless he left a note, there must have been a witness (or two).


RE: When were the captive sons released? - Bacchus - October 19th, 2019

(October 17th, 2019, 11:20 AM)Mordomin Wrote: Or...maybe Maedhros didn't release them.  Maybe they stayed with him through the time that he and Maglor stole the Silmarils from the camp of the Host of the West and fled (taking no part in the fighting).  What if they were there with him until his final despair?  What if his final despair was caused by handing the Silmaril to Elrond and seeing that it did him no hurt?  Could that have been what pushed Maedhros over the edge (literally and figuratively)?  And Elrond, in his wisdom, tossed the Jewel into the fissure after him?

After all, we KNOW what happened to Maedhros and the Simaril.  Unless he left a note, there must have been a witness (or two).

Interesting speculation. It seems highly unlikely that Maedhros would have dragged Elrond and Elros along for the theft and the subsequent flight, though. 

I see what you’re trying to do in constructing a parallel with the Isildur Ring scene, (no doubt with the omnipresent Mordomin watching nearby) but I don’t think it works. Unlike the Ring, the Silmarils were not inherently evil (though much evil was done in their name). Why would Elrond (or Elros for that matter) conclude that it must be thrown into the fire?


RE: When were the captive sons released? - Michael - October 19th, 2019

Elrond implies he was at the final battle for Angband, from which I inferred he had joined the Host of Valinor at some point prior. I have always believed that once he and Elros reached an age where they could live on their own they went looking for their people. But there could have been other ways Tolkien imagined their parting from the Noldor.


RE: When were the captive sons released? - Elenmir - October 20th, 2019

(October 19th, 2019, 10:45 PM)Michael Wrote: Elrond implies he was at the final battle for Angband, from which I inferred he had joined the Host of Valinor at some point prior...[snip]
Elrond does imply this, in "The Council of Elrond", when he's speaking of the Host of the Last Alliance, and comparing it to the Host of Valinor at the breaking of Thangorodrim.  But Frodo, whose question he is addressing at the time, takes it differently; that Elrond was with the Host of Gil-galad (as indeed Elrond later says explicitly), but not the Host of the West in the Elder Days (that he knows of it only from tales, presumably).

Furthermore, in "Of the Voyage of Earendil and the War of Wrath" in the Silmarillion, it says "Of the march of the host of the Valar to the north of Middle-earth little is said in any tale; for among them went none of those Elves who had dwelt and suffered in the Hither Lands, and who made the histories of those days that still are known; and tidings of these things they only learned long afterwards from their kinsfolk in Aman."  Tolkien, J.R.R.. The Silmarillion (p. 301). HMH Books. Kindle Edition.  [italics added for emphasis]


RE: When were the captive sons released? - Bacchus - October 20th, 2019

That’s an accurate quote, although it shortly thereafter says that the surviving Edain did participate in the War of Wrath, which seems odd given that the exiled Noldor evidently did not.

However, following the victory, Eonwe summoned the Exiles to return to Valinor, and this presented Maedhros and Maglor their opportunity to steal the Silmarils. It seems reasonable to assume that Elrond and Elros were at this gathering and that this was where they were given their famous choice. So Elrond presumably saw the great host post victory.


RE: When were the captive sons released? - Michael - October 21st, 2019

We don't know precisely when Elrond and Elros were given the choice of kindreds. It's possible Tolkien was excluding them from the Exiles. Elros, of course, chose to be of Men and he must have had a reason for making that choice. I don't see how Tolkien would have a character choose blindly without having some experience among the people who would become his own.

They were born mortal, a fact perhaps not known to or understood by the Elves at the time. But they were aware of their mortal ancestry and must have been curious. Also, there were Men in Arvernien - not just Elves. Tolkien might have envisioned the twins being reunited with some of those Edain when they grew up.

All we can do is speculate but I believe there is enough support for the view that Elrond was probably at the Breaking of Thangorodrim.


RE: When were the captive sons released? - Alvin Eriol - October 21st, 2019

JRRT seems to have let out 2 partially contradictory hints as to when and how they released Elrond and Elros, which I admittedly long misunderstood.

In Letter # 211, written in 1958 to Rona Beare in response to a question concerning the "El" element in Elvish names, he said Elrond was derived from a word for a cave, or more precisely a dome or vault, while Elros' name signified a fountain. He added a little vignette to the effect the Sons of Feanor shortly after capturing them left "the infants" in a cave with a waterfall over the entrance where they were soon found, presumably by folk of Arvenien and Balar. Elrond supposedly was within the grotto, while Elros was playing in the waterfall.

Semi-contradicting this is the statement in the Sil77 in "Of the Voyage of Earendil and the War of Wrath" that Maglor "cherished" them and "love grew after between them" which IMO strongly suggests they were together for some time, possibly until the host of the Valar approached, which would mean they were taken wherever the SoF dwelt, presumably Amon Ereb.

You also must take into account the timelines, which weren't stated in detail in Sil77 but had been drafted in several versions by JRRT and were published in The War of the Jewels, HoME vol. 11.

Here is a summary of salient events:

(First Age Year of the Sun 1: Fingolfin's host enters the vicinity of Angband and passes down to Mithrim)

FAYS 503: Earendil born in Gondolin, Elwing born in Doriath
FAYS 507: The Second Kinslaying at Doriath, Elwing etc flee
FAYS 510: The defeat of Gondolin, Earendil and his parents escape
FAYS 532: Elros and Elrond born.
c. FAYS 534: Earendil departs on his great futile voyage (E & E age ~2)
FAYS 538: Earendil returns from his great voyage, sets out again. The Third Kinslaying, Elwing escapes, the boys (age 6) captured, Earendil steers to Valinor and delivers his plea at last.
FAYS 545: The host of Valinor arrives in Middle-Earth. Boys are age 13, presumably have gone from SoF custody to Balar by now. The War of Wrath begins.
FAYS 587: War of Wrath ends with capture of Morgoth. Elrond and Elros would be age 55
FAYS 590: Morgoth executed and ejected from Arda, Second Age begins, E & E age 58 (agrees with statements in "The Line of Elros; Kings of Numenor" and elsewhere), Maedhros and Maglor steal the Silmarils, presumably the various dooms are declared to the survivors including the renewed invitation of Elves to Aman, the pardon for most of the rebels in exile, E & E's Choice of race to join, and the gift of Numenor to Men.

Therefore, one slight problem with Member Mordomin's intriguing scenario of Elrond's involvement in the taking of the Silmarils, is that Elrond would be a grown adult, and presumably had already been free and among his people by that time.
The War of Wrath lasted some 42 years according to the timelines.

I had long thought that "fostering" of the twins by the Sons of Feanor meant they were taken back to the lair for the next six-seven years until the Host of Valinor approached, at which point the 13-yr-olds were left in the path of the host in a grotto by Maglor. That could have been when Elrond saw how great and fair the host was before it actually went to Angband and engaged Morgoth.


RE: When were the captive sons released? - Mordomin - October 21st, 2019

(October 20th, 2019, 10:53 PM)Bacchus Wrote: That’s an accurate quote, although it shortly thereafter says that the surviving Edain did participate in the War of Wrath, which seems odd given that the exiled Noldor evidently did not.
I think it's pretty clear that the Vanyar wanted nothing to do with the Noldor, who at the time of the War were still under the Ban; the Teleri stayed away almost entirely, consenting only to lend ships and sail them, but not setting foot in the Hither Lands.
(October 20th, 2019, 10:53 PM)Bacchus Wrote: However, following the victory, Eonwe summoned the Exiles to return to Valinor, and this presented Maedhros and Maglor their opportunity to steal the Silmarils. It seems reasonable to assume that Elrond and Elros were at this gathering and that this was where they were given their famous choice. So Elrond presumably saw the great host post victory.
That does seem likely.


RE: When were the captive sons released? - Michael - October 29th, 2019

It was the Teleri who didn't want to participate in the War of Wrath. They transported the army and stayed on their ships during the entire war (although I suppose they could have returned to Aman).

The Vanyar were eager to help the Noldor. And some of the Noldor DID march with the Host of Valinor - they were led by Finarfin and were not Exiles.

I think the real reason why the Exiles weren't included in the host is they no longer had the numbers to matter. They had been reduced to wanderers and small bands of outlaws. The great Elvish civilizations of Beleriand had all been destroyed and the only significant settlements remained on Balar, far removed from the conflicts.

I'm convinced that Tolkien meant - when he first published The Lord of the Rings - that Elrond and Elros were at the Breaking of Thangorodrim. Elrond seems to be very certain about the size of the Host of Valinor, compared to Gil-galad and Elendil's armies.

Any other texts published posthumously must be considered of secondary priority because they were not put into a "finished" state by the author (even though he revised both The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings after initial publication).


RE: When were the captive sons released? - Bacchus - October 29th, 2019

Your point is well taken regarding the reliability of Sil77. We are all aware of numerous items that CRRT included therein and later repudiated.

By the “internal” logic of the story, Sil77 almost certainly derives from Bilbo’s “Translations From the Elvish” via the Red Book. The assertion that the Exiles did not participate in the March north could therefore have been a garbled translation or otherwise in error introduced in the original, in Bilbo’s translation, or even in transcription to the Red Book.

I am in agreement that Elrond’s “I remember” statement is strong evidence that he personally witnessed the Host of Valinor. Here is the full exchange.
Quote:’I remember well the splendor of their banners.... It recalled to me the glory of the Elder Days and the hosts of Beleriand, so many great princes and captains were assembled. And yet not so many, nor so fair, as when Thangorodrim was broken, and the Elves deemed that evil was ended forever, and it was not so.’
‘You remember?’ said Frodo, speaking his thought aloud in his astonishment. ‘But I thought .... that the fall of Gil-Galad was a long age ago.’
‘So it was indeed .... but my memory reaches back even to the Elder Days....I have seen three ages in the West of the world, and many defeats, and many fruitless victories.’
He then proceeds to give an explicit account of his actions in the Last Alliance.

While he doesn’t come right out and explicitly say that he was in the presence of the hosts of Beleriand, how could the sight of the Last Alliance call forth a memory of the glory of the hosts of Beleriand if not? And what hosts of Beleriand could he have seen? Only the Host of Valinor. He was born post Nirnaeth, and post Gondolin, so there were no more great hosts of the Noldor in Exile left.

I still think that my theory that he saw the hosts post battle squares all the circles, though. It’s even suggested by the Elves deeming that evil had been ended forever...which obviously could not have occurred until after the battle.


RE: When were the captive sons released? - Alvin Eriol - November 1st, 2019

I think it is semantically quite possible to reconcile the statements that Elrond observed the host of Valinor and could compare it to others he'd witnessed, but that the Elves who'd already dwelt in Beleriand, Exiles and Dark-Elves both, did not participate in the War of Wrath. The latter were by then few and demoralized. Elrond and presumably other observers probably saw the host before and after the battle was joined at Thangorodrim. It's even conceivable Elrond and other noncombatant observers might have been at Angband as well. I can't see there is really a contradiction there.

In fact, I have much more problem with the apparent statement that Elrond witnessed the great hosts of the kingdoms of Beleriand previously, because he & Elros weren't born until FAYS 532 by which time (according to the tales of years in HoME and other evidence) they were all gone. The Bragollach happened in FAYS 455, the event date perhaps best attested in Sil77. The Nirnaeth happened 17 yrs later in 472. Nargothrond fell in FAYS 494, Doriath was sacked and fell in the second Kinslaying in FAYS 507, and Gondolin fell in FAYS 510. He would never have seen their hosts himself, at best they would have been described to him and his brother by their parents (who were young children at the time their own homes were attacked and fell) and others who actually saw them and lived to tell of it.

Added: Of course, as Michael's previous post indicates, a lot of information apparently hadn't been finalized and the timeline wasn't necessarily set. It would seem at the time JRRT wrote that chapter of LotR he probably thought Elrond actually witnessed the battles and final climax at Angband, and he possibly didn't work out the First Age timelines to the degree those appearing in HoME eventually reached, and therefore didn't rule out the possibility Elrond ever saw the hosts of say Fingon or Gondolin.


RE: When were the captive sons released? - Bacchus - November 2nd, 2019

One needn’t even go to the Tale of Years in HOME to surmise that Elrond could not have seen any of the great Noldorin hosts in exile. Earendil and Elwing did not meet until after the fall of Gondolin. Q.E.D.


RE: When were the captive sons released? - Alvin Eriol - November 2nd, 2019

(November 2nd, 2019, 10:16 AM)Bacchus Wrote: One needn’t even go to the Tale of Years in HOME to surmise that Elrond could not have seen any of the great Noldorin hosts in exile. Earendil and Elwing did not meet until after the fall of Gondolin. Q.E.D.

True. I think the idea that Gondolin was the last to fall of all the kingdoms, was baked into the mythos from at least the BoLT stage if not for as long as Gondolin existed in JRRT's mind. Yet in LotR he had Elrond imply pretty plainly he'd seen at least one arrayed to march to battle.


RE: When were the captive sons released? - Bacchus - November 2nd, 2019

(November 2nd, 2019, 02:24 PM)Alvin Eriol Wrote:
(November 2nd, 2019, 10:16 AM)Bacchus Wrote: One needn’t even go to the Tale of Years in HOME to surmise that Elrond could not have seen any of the great Noldorin hosts in exile. Earendil and Elwing did not meet until after the fall of Gondolin. Q.E.D.

True. I think the idea that Gondolin was the last to fall of all the kingdoms, was baked into the mythos from at least the BoLT stage if not for as long as Gondolin existed in JRRT's mind. Yet in LotR he had Elrond imply pretty plainly he'd seen at least one arrayed to march to battle.

The language is a little imprecise, but he could have been only referring to Eonwe’s host in the CoE statement. It was a host, and it was in Beleriand. It was also the only host that produced anything approaching glory unless you go all the way back to the Dagor Aglareb.