Finrod Felagund

By Irmo-(Valar) fka Felagund-(V)
March 28, 2000
Back to Finrod

Finrod's names
The creation of the story line 
First meeting of Elves and Men

"Felagund among Beor's Men" by Ted Nasmith
Rolozo Tolkien

Now men awoke and listened to Felagund as he harped and sang,
and each thought that he was in some fair dream,
until he saw that his fellows were awake also beside him;
but they did not speak or stir while Felagund still played,
because of the beauty of the music and the wonder of the song.

"Of the Coming of Men into the West", Silmarillion


Names: Finrod (Quen. Findàrato), Felagund, Artafindë, Ingoldo, Nóm, Felak-gundu,
Titles: The Faithful, Friend of Men, Lord and King of Nargothrond
    Though of the royal line of the Noldor, Finrod is akin both to the Vanyar and to the Sindar:
        Father: Finarfin, third son of Finwë, high-king of the Noldor, in his marriage to Indis of the Vanyar,
        Mother: Eärwen, daughter of Olwë, king of Aqualondë,
        Brothers: Orodreth, Angrod, Aegnor
        Sister: Galadriel

    Finrod joined his friend Turgon in opposing Feänor and the oath. But once the armies of the Noldor were set to depart from Aman, they did not abandon their responsibilities. So it came that Finrod and his father Finarfin led the rear of the army that went in pursuit of Morgoth to Beleriand, seeking retribution for the murder of Finwë and for the theft of the Silmarillii. Yet always they looked back to the blessed realm they had forsaken. And sore was the heart of Finrod: for he had to leave behind his beloved, Amarië of the Vanyar. For none of the Vanyar would leave Valinor.
    After the kinslaying of Aqualondë and the prophecy of Mandos, Finarfin decided to go back to Aman with many of his people. And in the blessed realm Finarfin became head of the Noldor that remained there. But his sons and Galadriel did not go back with him, mainly for the sake of their close friendship to the sons of Fingolfin. Thus Finrod became king of the third house of the Noldor.  Together with Fingolfin and his sons, Finrod and valiant Galadriel led the host of the Noldor through the terror of Helcaraxë after the betrayal of Feänor.

    Once in Beleriand, the high-kingship of the Noldor passed from the house of Feänor to the house of  Fingolfin. But it was the destiny of the friends, Finrod and Turgon, to establish the great realms of the Noldor in exile: Nargothrond and Gondolin. In this they were led by Ulmo himself, who had laid a dream on them in which they were called to "prepare for a day of evil, and to establish a retreat".

    When Finrod told Elwë Singollo of his admiration for the halls of Menegroth in Doriath, Elwë told him about the gorge of the river Narog. And it was there that Finrod delved the stronghold of Nargothrond. In this he was aided by the dwarves of the Blue Mountains, who were given many jewels of Valinor for their efforts. But the dwarves made for Finrod the necklace called Nauglamir, most renowned of all the dwarven-works of old. The dwarves called Finrod “felak-gundu”, hewer of caves, and by the name of Felagund he was called since then.
    The realm of Nargothrond stretched from Doriath and the river Sirion in the east to the havens of Cirdan in the west. In the north, Nargothrond even touched upon the very plains of Ard-Galen. There, in the narrow valley between Dorthonion and the Shadowy Mountains, upon the isle of Tol Sirion, Felagund built the mighty watchtower of Minas Tirith. Thus it came that the realm of Finrod was the greatest by far in Beleriand, though he was the youngest of the Noldor Kings.

    Wandering through the wild beauty of Ossiriand, Felagund encoutered the first of the Edain to cross the Blue Mountains, the kindred of Beör the Old. Then for them he played harp-music and sang songs of learning and wisdom.  Thus to the first Men that entered Beleriand came visions of Valinor. And Felagund they called “Nóm”, which means Wisdom in the language of these Edain. And Felagund became a teacher to the Edain, and gave them lands to live in, pleading on their behalf before King Thingol. But Beorn and his family stayed with Felagund in Nargothrond.
    In the horrible Dagor Bragollach, the armies of Morgoth led by Glaurung and many Balrogs broke the Siege of Angband. The sons of Finarfin bore the brunt of the assault, and Angrod and Aegnor were slain. But Felagund was then saved from peril by Barahir and his men. For this Felagund swore an oath of abiding friendship to Barahir and his kin, and gave to Barahir his ring as a token.
    Thus it was that many years later Beren, son of Barahir, came to Felagund with the burden laid upon him by Thingol: to go and take a Silmarillion from the crown of Morgoth himself. And in this he sought the aid of King Felagund. Then Felagund knew himself to be ensnared in the Oath of Feänor after all. For in fulfilling his own oath to Barahir he would find the sons of Feänor on his path.  And it came to be that many of his people were won over by Celegorm and Curufin, disclaiming an oath to a mere Man, claiming their first right of Oath and Silmarillii. Then Felagund and Beren journeyed into the valley between the Ered Withrin and Dorthonion with only ten companions. But the watchtower of Tol Sirion was now taken by Sauron, and it was renamed Tol-in-Gauroth. And Sauron was ware of everything that would pass. Thus befell the contest of Sauron and Felagund which is renowned.
    In the "Lay of Leithian", most beautiful of the epic poems of Middle Earth, it is told how the Elvenking fought the evil Maia:

”The chanting swelled, Felagund fought,
And all the magic and might he brought,
Of Elvenesse into his words.
Softly in the gloom they heard the birds
Singing afar in Nargothond,
The sighing of the sea beyond”
    But the song of Sauron then turns to the doom of the Noldor, to the kinslaying of Aqualondë and the doom of Mandos, and Felagund is stripped of his power:
“The captives sad in Angband mourn,
Thunder rumbles, the fires burn-
And Finrod fell before the throne”
    Sauron locked the twelve into a pit, and threatened to slay each cruelly, if they would not tell him the true identity of Felagund. But none would betray the elvenlord, though each night a werewolf came to devour one of them. And when only Beren and Felagund were left, the werewolf came for Beren. Then Felagund in a last and desperate effort burst his chains and slew the wolf with his bare hands and teeth. But he himself was mortally wounded.
“He died then in the dark, in Tol-in-Gauroth, whose great tower he himself had built. Thus King Finrod Felagund, fairest and most beloved of the house of Finwë, redeemed his oath.”

On the  names:

Finrod: Sindarin adaptation of Findárato: find – ((golden-)hair) aráto (noble champion); incidentally turned to Artafindë
    (which might be the Quenya original)
Felagund: Though actually a Sindarin adaptation of dwarvish Felak-gundu (“cave-hewer”), the word happens to have an
    appropriate Eldarin connotation: fael  (“fair-minded, just, generous”) and kano (“command”, Sind. gon as in
    Turgon/Fingon). In the earlier writings the Eldar sometimes use Felagon.
Nóm: Meaning “Wisdom” in the language of the first house of the Edain. Note that the house of Beor were taught their
    speech by Nandor. The word has probably the same origin as Quenyan Nolmë and the many other derivitions of Nol-
    (wise-). Therefore when the Edain called the kindred of Felagund Nómin, they actually properly called them Noldor.
    (comp. Tolkiens initial usage of the word Gnomin).
Ingoldo: HME XII, under “The Shibboleth of Feänor”, has a “note on mother’s names”. It appears the Eldar in Valinor were
    given both a father-name and a mother-name.  Eärwen gave her eldest son the name Ingoldo (meaning The Noldo, eminent
    in the kindred), and by that name he was usually called by his brothers and by his sister Galadriel (she, by the way, had
    the mother’s name of Nerwendë). This name then spread to many of his kin and also to Men, “of whom he was the
    greatest friend among the Eldar.” One such “Ingold” we meet in LOTR as commander of the guard at the North Gate of
    Gondor. (HME XII, 360).

On the  story line:

    Initally Finrod was to be the father of both Galadriel and Gil-galad (who would then be brother and sister, see HME XI, 242, HME XII, 349). Tolkien only changed this initial story line after the completion of the first versions of LOTR. Also there are earlier story lines, where Finarfin and Finrod are one and the same (the same happened, by the way, in the relation Fingolfin/Turgon).  From this initial “mingling” might be explained the fact that Felagund and Turgon came to be the Kings of the two great Noldor realms in Beleriand.
    Throughout the writings of Tolkien it was clear that there were to be three royal houses of the Noldor, clearly distinguished by their primary character traits: the house of Feänor, the creators, too proud of their unique genius; the house of Fingolfin, brave and valiant leaders; the house of Finarfin, wise and kind moderators.
    Finrod Felagund stands out throughout the history of Beleriand for his trying to keep and establish peace: first between the Noldor, then between the Noldor and the Sindar (and especially King Thingol) and eventually between Elves and Men.
    In many respects the counterpart of Feänor, it is the tragedy of Felagund that in the end he also is entangled in the Oath and its Doom. But such are the works of Morgoth.

Silmarillion, The History of Middle Earth, volumes III, XI, XII