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Timeline Event

Kinslaying at Alqualondë

Event Type: Military/Strategic

Age: Time of the Trees

Year: 1495


An event during the Flight of the Noldor wherein the Noldorin hosts led by Fëanor seize the ships of the Teleri of Alqualondë by force, resulting in the first Kinslaying of Elf by Elf:

Table of Contents:
The Combatants
— Attacking Forces
— Defensive Forces
The Timeline
The Prelude
The Battle
The Aftermath
— Short Term
— Long Term

The Combatants

The Combatants: Attacking Forces
Now Fëanor led the Noldor northward....

The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Ch 9, Of the Flight of the Noldor

And of all the Noldor in Valinor, who were grown now to a great people, but one tithe1 refused to take the road....


[The] Noldor were become fierce and desperate....


[As] two divided hosts the Noldor set forth.... Fëanor and his following were in the van, but the greater host came behind under Fingolfin; and he marched against his wisdom... because he would not... leave [his people] to the rash counsels of Fëanor.


[Fëanor:] 'Journey light: but bring with you your swords!'


The Combatants: Defensive Forces
[The] Teleri had less strength, and were armed for the most part but with slender bows.

The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Ch 9, Of the Flight of the Noldor

The Timeline
These events occur in the last Years of the Trees, after the destruction of the Two Trees of Valinor, but before the first rising of the Moon and the Sun:

Melkor and Ungoliant sack Formenos, murder Finwë and steal the Silmarils.
Fëanor incites the Noldor in Tirion to return to Middle-earth.
Fëanor and his sons swear an oath to recover the Silmarils.
The Noldor prepare to depart but divide into two hosts.
Manwë's messenger tries unsuccessfully to dissuade the Noldor from departing.
The Noldor continue their march North.
First Kin-slaying at Alqualondë. The Noldor seize the Telerin ships by force.

The Noldor take the ships north towards Araman.
Manwë's herald delivers the Prophecy of the North and the Doom of the Noldor.
Finarfin turns back to Valinor with some of the Noldor.

The Noldor reach the Helcaraxë.
Fëanor seizes the ships by stealth and sails to Middle-earth, leaving Fingolfin in Araman.
Fëanor lands on the Firth of Drengist and burns the ships at Losgar.

Summaries adapted from work by Tanaqui, dates derived from:
Morgoth's Ring, HoME Vol 10, Part 2, The Annals of Aman

The Prelude
Long [Fëanor] spoke, and ever he urged the Noldor to follow him.... 'After Morgoth to the ends of the Earth!'

Then Fëanor swore a terrible oath... vowing to pursue with vengeance and hatred to the ends of the World... any creature..., whoso should hold or take or keep a Silmaril from their possession....

At length after long debate Fëanor prevailed, and the greater part of the Noldor there assembled he set aflame with the desire of new things and strange countries....

... Fëanor drove them on, fearing lest in the cooling of their hearts his words should wane and other counsels yet prevail....

And indeed when Fëanor began the marshalling of the Noldor for their setting-out, then at once dissension arose. For though he had brought the assembly in a mind to depart, by no means all were of a mind to take Fëanor as King.

... [Thus] at the last as two divided hosts the Noldor set forth upon their bitter road.

The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Ch 9, Of the Flight of the Noldor

But the hosts had not gone far, ere it came to the mind of Fëanor, over late, that all these great companies, both of the full-grown and war-high and many others, and great store of goods withal, would never overcome the long leagues to the North, nor cross the seas at the last, save with the aid of ships.

Therefore Fëanor now resolved to persuade the Teleri, ever friends of the Noldor, to join with them....

Morgoth's Ring, HoME Vol 10, Part 2, The Annals of Aman

[Fëanor]... hastened then to Alqualondë, and spoke to the Teleri as he had spoken before in Tirion.

But the Teleri were unmoved by aught that he could say. They were grieved indeed at the going of their kinsfolk and long friends, but would rather dissuade them than aid them; and no ship would they lend, nor help in the building, against the will of the Valar. As for themselves, they desired now no other home but the strands of Eldamar, and no other lord than Olwë, prince of Alqualondë.... Then Fëanor grew wrathful, for he still feared delay; and hotly he spoke to Olwë. 'You renounce your friendship, even in the hour of our need,' he said. 'Yet you were glad indeed to receive our aid when you came at last to these shores, fainthearted loiterers, and wellnigh emptyhanded. In huts on the beaches would you be dwelling still, had not the Noldor carved out your haven and toiled upon your walls.'

But Olwë answered: 'We renounce no friendship. But it may be the part of a friend to rebuke a friend's folly. And when the Noldor welcomed us and gave us aid, otherwise then you spoke: in the land of Aman we were to dwell for ever, as brothers whose houses stand side by side. But as for our white ships: those you gave us not. We learned not that craft from the Noldor, but from the Lords of the Sea; and the white timbers we wrought with our own hands, and the white sails were woven by our wives and our daughters. Therefore we will neither give them nor sell them for any league or friendship. For I say to you, Fëanor son of Finwë, these are to us as are the gems of the Noldor: the work of our hearts, whose like we shall not make again.'

Thereupon Fëanor left him....

The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Ch 9, Of the Flight of the Noldor

The Battle
... Fëanor... sat in dark thought beyond the walls of Alqualondë, until his host was assembled. When he judged that his strength was enough, he went to the Haven of the Swans and began to man the ships that were anchored there and to take them away by force. But the Teleri withstood him, and cast many of the Noldor into the sea. Then swords were drawn, and a bitter fight was fought upon the ships, and about the lamplit quays and piers of the Haven, and even upon the great arch of its gate. Thrice the people of Fëanor were driven back, and many were slain upon either side; but the vanguard of the Noldor were succoured by Fingon with the foremost of the host of Fingolfin, who coming up found a battle joined and their own kin falling, and rushed in before they knew rightly the cause of the quarrel; some thought indeed that the Teleri had sought to waylay the march of the Noldor at the bidding of the Valar.

Thus at last the Teleri were overcome, and a great part of their mariners that dwelt in Alqualondë were wickedly slain. For the Noldor were become fierce and desperate, and the Teleri had less strength, and were armed for the most part but with slender bows. Then the Noldor drew away their white ships and manned their oars as best they might, and rowed them north along the coast.

The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Ch 9, Of the Flight of the Noldor

The Aftermath

The Aftermath: Short Term
... Olwë called upon Ossë, but he came not, for it was not permitted by the Valar that the fight of the Noldor should be hindered by force. But
Uinen wept for the mariners of the Teleri; and the sea rose in wrath against the slayers, so that many of the ships were wrecked and those in them drowned.

Nonetheless the greater part of the Noldor escaped, and when the storm was past they held on their course, some by ship and some by land; but the way was long and ever more evil as they went forward.... [They] came at length to the northern confines of the Guarded Realm, upon the borders of the empty waste of Araman which were mountainous and cold. There they beheld suddenly a dark figure standing high upon a rock.... Some say that it was Mandos himself, and no lesser herald of Manwë. And they heard a loud voice, solemn and terrible, that bade them stand and give ear. Then all halted..., and from end to end of the hosts of the Noldor the voice was heard speaking the curse and prophecy which is called the Prophecy of the North, and the Doom of the Noldor. Much it foretold in dark words...; but all heard the curse that was uttered upon those that would not stay nor seek the doom and pardon of the Valar....

Then many quailed; but Fëanor hardened his heart and said: 'We have sworn, and not lightly. This oath we will keep. We are threatened with many evils, and treason not least; but one thing is not said: that we shall suffer from cowardice, from cravens or the fear of cravens. Therefore I say that we will go on, and this doom I add: the deeds that we shall do shall be the matter of song2 until the last days of Arda.'

But in that hour Finarfin... turned back, being filled with grief, and with bitterness against the House of Fëanor, because of his kinship with Olwë of Alqualondë; and many of his people went with him, retracing their steps in sorrow..., and so came at last to Valinor. There they received the pardon of the Valar, and Finarfin was set to rule the remnant of the Noldor.... But his sons were not with him...; and all Fingolfin's folk went forward still, feeling the constraint of their kinship and the will of Fëanor, and fearing to face the doom of the Valar, since not all of them had been guiltless of the Kinslaying at Alqualondë.... So the main host held on, and swiftly the evil that was foretold began its work.

The Noldor came at last far into the north of Arda..., and knew that they were drawing nigh to the Helcaraxë...a narrow strait... filled with clashing hills of ice and the grinding of ice deep-sunken.... [There] none yet had dared to tread save the Valar only and Ungoliant.

Therefore Fëanor halted and the Noldor debated what course they should now take. But they began to suffer anguish from the cold...; and many repented of the road and began... cursing Fëanor.... But Fëanor... took counsel with his sons; and two courses only they saw to escape from Araman and come into Endor: by the straits or by ship. But the Helcaraxë they deemed impassable, whereas the ships were too few. Many had been lost upon their long journey, and there remained now not enough to bear across all the great host together; yet none were willing to abide upon the western coast while others were ferried first: already the fear of treachery was awake among the Noldor. Therefore it came into the hearts of Fëanor and his sons to seize all the ships and depart suddenly.... And..., there sprang up a wind from the north-west, and Fëanor slipped away secretly with all whom he deemed true to him, and went aboard, and put out to sea, and left Fingolfin in Araman. And... he passed over without loss, and first of all the Noldor set foot once more upon the shores of Middle-earth....

Then... Fëanor caused fire to be set to the white ships of the Teleri. So in that place which was called Losgar at the outlet of the Firth of Drengist ended the fairest vessels that ever sailed the sea, in a great burning.... And Fingolfin and his people saw the light afar off...; and they knew that they were betrayed. This was the first fruits of the Kinslaying and the Doom of the Noldor.

Then Fingolfin seeing that Fëanor had left him to perish in Araman or return in shame to Valinor was filled with bitterness; but he desired now as never before to come... to Middle-earth and meet Fëanor again.... [They] endured at last the terror of the Helcaraxë and the cruel hills of ice.... [Many]... perished...; and it was with a lessened host that Fingolfin set foot at last upon the Outer Lands. Small love for Fëanor or his sons had those that marched at last behind him....

The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Ch 9, Of the Flight of the Noldor

The Aftermath: Long Term
First Age 545-587, the War of Wrath:

[The] host of the Valar prepared for battle; and beneath their white banners marched the Vanyar..., and... the Noldor who never departed from Valinor.... Few of the Teleri were willing to go forth to war, for they remembered the slaying at the Swan-haven, and the rape of their ships; but... they sent mariners enough to sail the ships that bore the host of Valinor east over the sea. Yet they stayed aboard their vessels, and none of them set foot upon the Hither Lands.

The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Ch 24, Of the Voyage of Eärendil and the War of Wrath

1tithe... a tenth part or any indefinitely small part of anything.

"tithe." Dictionary.com Unabridged. Random House, Inc. 07 Nov. 2009.
<Dictionary.com http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/tithe>.

2Of the enslaving at Alqualondë more is told in that lament which is named Noldolantë, the Fall of the Noldor, that Maglor made ere he was lost.

The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Ch 9, Of the Flight of the Noldor

Elena Tiriel 5Nov09

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