4. THE POWER AND THE PITY
On his way out of his father's house in Tirion, Feanor espied Galadriel walking alone, and he caught up with her.
"Niece, I would have a word with you", he said, reaching for her arm.
She withdrew from him and turned to look into his face.
"Do not touch me in that manner again", she spoke coldly. "What is it that you want of me?"
"Why, Galadriel", he cajoled her, "you seem particularly brittle this day. Would you not give your uncle some of your time?" he asked. He was somewhat surprised by her words. "Touch her in that manner?" he ruminated in his mind. "Have I made an overt, inappropriate gesture toward her? I do not think that my feelings for her are of that sort, but what is it that makes me so passionate when I am dealing this infuriating woman? Has she seen something within me that I have not seen in myself?" Inwardly shaken, he looked deeply into her eyes as if trying to read her mind.
She did not reply, but stared into his eyes deeply, trying to understand his motive in seeking her out.
He sighed. "I would ask nothing of you save that lock of your hair, as I have asked before", he said finally.
"You have asked for this twice before now. Why do you ask it of me again when you have been twice refused?" she enquired.
"I need something of coldness", he said with sarcasm, "to quench a fire. If the fire continues to burn unchecked, fell events may occur that I will not be able to stop if they are permitted to burn for too long. A bit of your iciness to balance my fire – that is all I ask of you". He bowed, with a sweeping gesture of his hand toward her.
Galadriel was not amused by his perceived mockery of her.
"No, Sir", she replied, twisting her hair into a thick braid and tucking it out of sight beneath her cloak.
"No? It is but hair!" he exclaimed in surprise.
"You shall have nothing of mine", she replied, and turned to leave. "Let the fire burn, and what is to come shall come forth of its own accord. I care not". Then she walked away.
Feanor followed her with his gaze, the fire in his eyes smouldering ever hotter. "So it shall be", he murmured, "It is the third and last time I shall ask it of thee".
From there, Feanor departed to his secret forge and made terrible new swords and armour. Red was the colour of his fire, and red was the colour of the armour he used to signify the House of Feanor.
Burning with hatred now for all except his father and his own sons, and possessed by the desire to leave Valinor for good, he burst into Manwe's halls a short time later, interrupting his half-brother Fingolfin's meeting with the King of the Valar, and threatened his brother with his new sword. He had told Fingolfin, "Try but once more to usurp my place and the love of my father and maybe it will rid the Noldor of one who seeks to be the master of thralls".
For this act, and for what the Valar deemed "breaking the peace of Valinor", Feanor was sentenced to twelve years in exile from Tirion.
Accompanied by his sons, he left willingly, and made a fortress in the Northern lands which he called Formenos. He placed the Silmarils there in an iron chamber. Finwe, who had been the King of the Noldor in Tirion, came to Formenos as well, to be in support of Feanor, whom he still loved the most of his sons, leaving Fingolfin now as King in Tirion.
Then Melkor came to Formenos and sought Feanor's friendship, only to have the door shut in his face, for Feanor wanted nothing to do with him. He was able to see Melkor's true motives where others before him could not.
Relations between Feanor and the Valar grew worse, when finally, Melkor, with the help of the great spider Ungoliant, came down from the mountains, killed Feanor's beloved father, Finwe, stole the Silmarils and some of Feanor's other jewels, and destroyed the Trees of Light.
Could that have been the final straw that broke Feanor's grip upon reason and drove him to commit the rash acts that ever after defined him?
After that, Feanor convinced the Noldor to follow him to Middle-earth. They formed two separate groups, one consisting of Feanor and his sons, and the other of those who despised Feanor and did not join him, yet they chose to follow him. Fingon, Finrod, Turgon, Galadriel et al, came behind Feanor, and Fingolfin who followed more slowly than the others, made his way with Finarfin and their party of Elves into the North.
As the two parties stood on the edge of the Helcar Sea, staring out over the frigid, impassable-looking ice and water with not a little trepidation, Galadriel broke away from the others of her group and approached Feanor.
"Uncle", she spoke to him gravely, putting her hand on his arm. He turned around to face her. His appearance was grim, his mind in great turmoil. His penetrating eyes searched her face.
She looked within him as much as it was possible, but she could not fathom any clear thought from the swirling maelstrom that surrounded him. The future, through his soul, appeared as turbid as the sky over the icy waters, and was blocked to her vision.
"Uncle", she said again, shouting over the clamour of the sea. "It is not too late to turn back".
"What is your meaning, Galadriel?" he asked her. "Turn back to what? A life in thraldom to the Valar, whom I despise? A life without my father, or my Silmarils? Are you offering me something now that I may look forward to that was refused three times in the past? Do you think that your hair and the light that it holds are of any use to me now?" He turned away, only to feel her hand on his arm once more.
"I will follow you, Feanor", she said quietly. "You were the mightiest of the Noldor. You devised letters, and jewels of great beauty. Let not your talents die with you".
"Follow me? Follow me how? There is nowhere in Valinor that I may now go. Will you follow me to the New World and we shall set up a great kingdom together?" he asked, hope alive in his voice, "where I can resume making great works with you by my side?"
"Perhaps", she replied, "but it all depends on what transpires next".
"You have given me new hope", said Feanor. "I go now to Alqualonde to speak with Olwe of the Teleri, to ask his loan of some ships". He turned to her and smiled radiantly. "A new world lies before us, my Galadriel. Come and let us conquer it together".
Galadriel would become the third, and last, of the women in Feanor's life, to abandon him.
After the kinslaying, of which much is remembered in songs of lament, Galadriel became sickened by Feanor's acts of murder and mayhem. She saw his anger grow to its full extent, and thus she finally turned away from him.
In his rage, and not only because of her final rejection, he burned the ships of the Teleri, and stranded her and the rest of Fingolfin's party on the west side of the Helcar.
The rest is part of lore. It tells of Feanor's arrival at the Firth of Drengist with his seven sons, and his subsequent slaying by a Balrog before he had seen much of anything of Middle-earth.
But Galadriel, who had fought a battle within herself, which was won by the power-seeking side of her personality, who had overcome the difficulty of the crossing of the Helcaraxe, surviving where many Elven warriors had succumbed, came to Middle-earth, and there founded and governed her own realm of Lothlorien.
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