The First Conflict of the Battles of Beleriand

by Varda-(Valar)
November 27, 2009

Articles > Elves > Events > The Battles of Beleriand > First Battle

First Battle: Was the first battle of Beleriand The Kinslaying at Alqualondë in Aman or the battle in Beleriand against the Orcs by the Sindar, Green-elves and Dwarves?

       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 / The Battle of the Haven:
    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 fell purpose.
    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.