The First Conflict of the Battles of Beleriand
Articles > Elves > Events > The Battles of Beleriand > First Battle
First Battle: The Kinslaying at Alqualondë or the battle of the Sindar and the Orcs.
The Silmarillion index points to the kinslaying at Alqualondë
as the First Battle of Beleriand, although the location was not in
Beleriand or even in Middle-earth but in Aman. It is called The Battle
of the Haven and The Kinslaying at Alqualondë. Inside the text of the Silmarillion,
however, this is not said of the Kinslaying, but is said in "Of the Sindar" referring to the battle of the Sindar
and the Orcs. Both are recounted here, as the history of the Kinslaying deeply
affected the relationships of the elves during these battles.
Beleriand was in Middle-earth west of the Ered Luin (the Blue
Mountains), yet was not the name of all the land on that side, although
it was the largest part. The wars, however, affected the entire area
west of the Ered Luin.
The Kinslaying at Alqualondë:
Seeking to regain the Silmaril gems that he had made and Morgoth had stolen, Fëanor
persuaded many of the Noldor to come with him. He hated Morgoth yet
much of what he said came from the lies of Morgoth, delivered with
charisma and without allowing time for the people to consider what was
truly being said before leaving. Fëanor led the Noldor in Valinor
towards Beleriand to follow Morgoth, but had no way to cross the water
between. He approached the Teleri of Alqualondë
for their ships, but they were unmoved by his words and sought by words
to dissuade him and the rest of the Noldor from leaving Aman against
the will of the Valar, trusting the Valar to set things right again.
The Teleri would not lend their unique ships nor build any for such
Fëanor collected his strength from the vanguard of his army and
tried to man the ships, but the Teleri withstood and threw many into
the water. Then did swords first come into play in war of elf against
elf on the ships, the quays, and the gate, and the vanguard was thrown
back three times.
Then came Fingon with the forward part of the host of Fingolfin.
Seeing their own kin falling in battle, they rushed in to aid. Some
believed that the Teleri must have waylaid Fëanor's people at the
bidding of the Valar. The greater part of the mariners of Alqualondë died, for they were less strong and armed only with slender bows against the fierce and desperate Noldor.
As the Noldor rowed the ships inexpertly along the coast, Olwë,
King of the Teleri, called on the Maia Ossë, but he did not come for
the Valar had said to let the Noldor leave unhindered by force. But
Ossë's wife, Uinen wept for the loss of the mariners of the Teleri, and
the sea rose up against their slayers and wrecked many ships, drowning
most that had been aboard.
Yet the greater part of the Noldor escaped and retained a few of
the white ships. Eonwe told them the Prophecy of the North. At this
point Finarfin, kin of Olwë,
turned back followed by many of his people and returned to Valinor
where they were pardoned and Finarfin became ruler of his people there.
But Fëanor hardened his own heart and continued with the main host to
the Helcaraxe. The strait of grinding ice was deemed impassable and the
ships the only way, but The House of Fëanor and the House of Fingolfin
would not trust each other enough to want the other group to be ferried
across without them. Instead of taking parts of each group together as
they might have, Fëanor slipped away secretly on the boats with those
he deemed loyal, then burned them. The House of Fingolfin saw what had
happened and knew themselves betrayed, and after a time came across the
strait of grinding ice with much loss of life, blowing their trumpets
in Middle-earth as the Moon arose for the first time.
Reference: "Of the Flight of the Noldor", Silmarillion.]
The First Battle of the Wars of Beleriand:
Inside the Silmarillion, in "Of the Sindar", this is called "the first battle of the Wars of Beleriand".
The first battle actually in Beleriand did not include the Noldor.
Morgoth sent his Orcs against the Sindar of Beleriand, in the time
before the Noldor came. King Thingol, ruler of Beleriand, forewarned by
the dwarves (friends at that time) and
joined by many of Denethor's Green-elves, routed them, although at
great cost to the lightly armored Green-elves. The dwarves of Ered Luin
killed the orcs who tried to flee back north. Cirdan's forces, however,
were driven back next to the sea. The Girdle of Melian then went up
around Thingol's realm so that none could pass without his leave, and
the realm was renamed Doriath.
Reference: "Of the Sindar", Silmarillion.