Sunday, November 22, 2015

Tales from Valinor: Maedhros the Tall

One of Frodo’s great joys in Valinor was walking about and appreciating the gardens and visiting his elven friends.

One morning he was out walking with Elladan. As they strode down the streets of Tirion, something bright caught Frodo’s eye. It was a fiery red mane streaming from the door to Finwë’s chambers. Frodo stopped suddenly to watch. The bright hair belonged to a tall elf wearing mail and a tunic.
Frodo watched until he had disappeared around the corner. He dared to speak to Elladan. “Who was that?”
“That was Maedhros the Tall--the eldest son of Fëanor,” he replied in a hushed tone. Frodo’s eyes grew wide.
“Fëanor? The Fëanor?”

“The one and only,” Elladan confirmed as they continued walking. Throughout the rest of their venture, Frodo could not help but wonder at the proud, tall, fiery red haired elf he had seen.

Later that day, Frodo was in Elrond’s library looking for some parchments to read, perhaps one of Bilbo’s tales, when he stumbled upon something with a strange symbol on it.
He opened the letter and was surprised to see that it was written by none other than the elf he had seen earlier that day! Entranced, Frodo sat down on a plush armchair and began to read.


Ada* was in a good mood today. It was his and Naneth’s^ anniversary and I was worried that he would ignore her like usual. Naneth is strong, but sometimes I hate my father for the way he treats her. But Ada didn't go to the forge at all today, and I could tell Naneth's was pleased. I kept all of my brothers outside because I know they can be a bother sometimes; always running and fighting. I thought Naneth and Ada would appreciate the quiet.

But Ada’s mood did not last long. Towards the beginning of the day, he was pleasant enough--if you can even describe Ada that way--and he was very kind to Naneth: he gave her a rose and even a kiss. I was very happy to see him being considerate. But as dusk fell and my brothers finally neared the limits of their activity, I heard yells.

Naneth and Ada are usually either yelling or ignoring each other, the latter I find the hardest to suffer. I don’t think I shall ever marry because it would grieve me too much if I turned into my father and treated my wife like Ada treats Naneth. At least today they cared enough to actually yell.
I remember when they were very complimentary. Ada of course has always had a temper, or at least ever since I was born, but he would always melt whenever Naneth would speak. She used to be able to keep his anger under control, but in these dark days…

Anyway, the yelling lasted only a few minutes. I could tell all of my brothers were listening. I wanted them to forget about it; to yell, make a ruckus, anything but listen to their parents argue. I spend so much time trying to keep them under control, but then I wished that they had been making noise so that they wouldn't have heard it.

So that they wouldn't have heard Naneth sob.

Naneth is the strongest elf I can think of. She has to be: to bear Ada and to have seven children, an exceptional number for the Eldar. I have never seen her cry or break down, and it had never occurred to me that she ever would. But that day, from the yard, all of my brothers and I heard a distinct cry from her strong voice ring out. I did not hear from or see Ada for the rest of that day.
Only when the sun set did my brothers and I somberly enter the house. Naneth was her usual self: noble faced and proud, doing usual things: sweeping, mending torn tunics, washing. There was no display of emotion across her face, and no one brought up what we had heard.

We didn't want her to know that we had heard her cry, but we wanted to cheer her up discreetly. Maglor harped in the main room so that she could undoubtedly hear. She always smiled when Maglor played. But today as she rubbed her hands on her skirt, she asked him to stop without emotion and went outside to garden.

I made my brothers go to bed early, convinced that Naneth needed time to herself. They are quite a crew to try and subdue, but tonight everyone was in a lethargic mood.
“Sleep well,” I said when I blew the lantern out. “Sleep well,” muffled voices responded from under their covers.

Oh my brothers. How trying they can be, and yet how steadfast. Maglor and I spend the most time together, being the two oldest. Our interests are different, but we have the same goals. Maglor gets all the maidens. Often as I lay awake inside at night I can hear him harping below in the garden. After awhile I will hear the sweet voice of a maiden join him in song and I will fall asleep to their music. In the town, elves will always beg him to play and sometimes he will consent and within moments of beginning he will be surrounded by elves of all ages, aching to hear his strains. His voice is soft and sensitive, and I think he is the favorite among all of us brothers.

Caranthir and Curufin are much different. They have no sensitivity about them, and are more focused on strength and cunning. When they were elflings they would often have races to climb the tall tree which stands in our garden. More than once I have carried the body of a crying elf boy inside who has been bumped and bruised from a fall from the tree. Celegorm often joins them, though he prefers to make up the rules to the contests and to observe his brothers desperately try to beat the other. I trust Celegorm to watch over them in my absence.

Amrod and Amras are at long whiles in the country, romping about with their elven friends. They associate much with the sons and daughters of Finarfin, much to Ada’s displeasure. But who is he to say they cannot be with their cousins?

I have heard Fingolfin say on many occasions to me that brotherhood is one of the most profound gifts and that it should never be taken for granted. I know that he has experienced the pain of a broken family, and it grieves him to see my father so angry with him. I try to appreciate my brothers, and I am truly grateful for them.

*English translation: Dad
^English translation: Mother

~ I spent a lot of time this week writing a really long story all about Maedhros and his experience moving from Valinor to Middle-earth and then the reclamation of the Silmaril.  But I ran into a few problems.  First of all, if I wanted to write all about Maedhros' life (which lasted thousands of years) it would be at least as long as The Silmarillion which was really not an option.  Second of all, I like to try to write fanfiction in the tone and style of the original canon, but this proved practically impossible for me.  I don't have the way with words that Professor Tolkien had, obviously!  I wanted to be able to have Maedhros explain his thoughts and the only way I could do that was by writing in the first person (I could have done third person omniscient, but I am terrible at writing in that style, and it just didn't sound right.)  I was having struggles with character development and motivation.  In The Silmarillion Maedhros follows the terrible example of his father, but I didn't necessarily want him to seem like a bad guy.  This is going to be a multiple parter, so in future "episodes" we will have more action, and more of a chance to flesh out characters. 

Suggestions always welcome!

1 comment:

  1. This was SO good! I sadly do not have any suggestions although I know I will :D