In the Silmarillion as a Maia
In the earlier drafts as a Vala
Names of Eonwe
In the Silmarillion Eonwë is the herald and banner bearer of Manwë and one of the mightiest of the Maiar. He surpasses all in Arda in might of arms (weaponry such as swords). When Earendil came to Aman, it was Eonwë who greeted him and summoned him to Valimar. After Earendil had spoken to the Valar, Eonwë set the three companions of Earendil in a small boat and the Valar drove it eastward with a great wind.
Eonwë led the host of the Valar to war against Morgoth in the War of Wrath. After they had defeated Morgoth’s forces, the Silmarilli were taken from Morgoth’s crown and placed in Eonwë’s protection. Eonwë then summoned the Elves of Beleriand to return to Valinor. Maglor and Maedhros came to claim them, but Eonwë told them their claim was made void by their wrongdoings. The two brothers then stole the Silmarilli, and though they were spotted, Eonwë would not permit their being slain.
When Morgoth was overthrown, Sauron came as well. He "put on his fair hue again and did obeisance to Eonwë." (Of the Rings of Power) Eonwë said it was not within his power to pardon those of his own order, and commanded Sauron to return to Aman and seek Manwë’s judgment. However, when Eonwë departed Beleriand Sauron fled and returned to evil.
The Edain had fought alongside the host of the Valar, and so they were rewarded. Eonwë came among them and taught them many things. The Edain were given great wisdom, power, and knowledge. They were also given a land apart from Middle Earth, though not part of Aman. It was in between, though closer to Aman. The land was called Numenor, and so the Edain who moved there became known as Numenoreans.
Background beyond the Silmarillion
In the early tales, Eonwë is named Fionwë. He is a Vala, the eldest of the children of the Valar and the son of Manwë and Varda. He is first mentioned in "The Music of the Ainur," with his sister Erinti, who later became Ilmarë, the handmaid of Varda. He is with Manwë and the other gods (Valar) when they go to capture Melko (Melkor). Fionwë is the "swiftest of all who move about the airs."
Fionwë loved Urwendi, the maiden of the sun (later named Arien) and in one tale (The Tale of Qorinomi. It is mentioned but not given.) goes to find and bring Urwendi back to Valinor after she gets lost in the endless passages of Ulmo’s realm. Fionwë’s love for Urwendi plays a part in the end of Arda as well. This is said at the end of The Hiding of Valinor (BoLT 1) :
"For ‘tis said that ere the Great End come Melko shall in some wise contrive a quarrel between Moon and Sun, and Ilinsor shall seek to follow Urwendi through the Gates, and when they are gone the Gates of both East and West will be destroyed, and Urwendi and Ilinsor shall be lost. So shall it be that Fionwë Urion, son of Manwë, of love for Urwendi shall in the end be Melko’s bane, and shall destroy the world to destroy his foe, and so shall all things then be rolled away."In another place it says also that Turambar will be there with him, and that Turambar instead will be Melko’s bane.
In The Shaping of Middle Earth Fionwë is called the son of Tulcas (Tulkas). Christopher Tolkien suggests this may be a slip by his father, since in later texts he once again becomes Manwë’s son. In these tales, Fionwë leads a host of Qendi and some Teleri, as well as the other sons of the Valar, to battle with Morgoth. Cor (Tirion) is empty, and so when Earendil comes no one is there. (In the Sil, Earendil comes at a time of Festival.) The sons of the Valar, led by Fionwë, march to the north and The Last Battle (War of Wrath) begins. All the Balrogs are destroyed, the surviving orcs scattered. Morgoth sends forth his dragons, which are also destroyed (except for two). Morgoth is then overthrown and his crown beat around his neck into a collar. The Silmarilli are taken by Fionwë, and the North and Western parts of the world are rent in the battle (all much like the telling in the Sil). They release the men from Hithlum, and summon the Gnomes (Noldor) and Ilkorins to join them. All except Maidros (Maedhros) and his people do. Maidros prepares to fulfill his oath, and sends to Fionwë for the Silmaril. Fionwë tells them their claim is made void, and that they must come back to Valinor. Both Maidros and Maglor submit, and the Elves set sail for Valinor. However, on the last march Maglor decides to steal a Silmaril. He takes one and runs, but it burns his hand and he knows he has no right to it. He wanders in pain for a while, then casts both the Silmaril and himself into a pit in the earth. When the Elves return to Valinor, the judgment of the Gods takes place
Fionwë son of Manwë remains as such even as late as the early drafts of LotR. Gandalf says to the Balrog of Moria: "Go back into the fiery depths. It is forbidden for any Balrog to come beneath the sky since Fionwë son of Manwë overthrew Thangorodrim." Though everything after "Go back" was struck out (and as Christopher Tolkien thinks, as soon as it was written) this reveals how long the concept of the Children of the Valar remained part of Tolkien’s mythology.
Notes on names.Fionwë: Fion-“son, haste, or perhaps hawk” weg- “man, manhood, vigour, adult”
Book of Lost Tales volumes 1 and 2
The Shaping of Middle Earth
The Treason of Isengard
page maintained by Varda