Reader: The Silmarillion. Quenta Silmarillion, Chapter 4 “Of Thingol And Melian”

Reader deep thought: Was it really chance that Thingol encountered Melian? Or was magic wrought by her, or on her behalf, to enrapture him and capture his heart? (And shortest.chapter!)

“… it chanced on a time… he came alone to the starlit wood of Nan Elmoth, and there suddenly he heard the song of nightingales…. an enchantment fell on him… he heard the voice of Melian, and it filled all his heart with wonder and desire. He forgot then utterly… following the birds… he passed deep into Nan Elmoth and was lost… he came at last to a glade open to the stars, and there Melian stood; and out of the darkness he looked at her, and the light of Aman was in her face.

She spoke no word; but being filled with love Elwë came to her and took her hand, and straightway a spell was laid on him, so that they stood thus while long years were measured by the wheeling stars above them; and the trees of Nan Elmoth grew tall and dark before they spoke any word.”

 

SUMMARY NOTES

Melian, most beauteous of the Maiar who dwelt in the gardens of Lórien, was so wise, so skilled in song and enchantment “the Valar would leave their works, and the birds of Valinor their mirth, that the bells of Valmar were silent and the fountains ceased to flow, when at the mingling of the lights Melian sang…”

An equal of Yavanna before Arda, “nightingales went always with her, and she taught them their song; and she loved the deep shadows of the great trees.”

No wonder then that when she went to Middle-earth when the Quendi awoke to fill the silence with her song, she dwelt in the starlit wood of Nan Elmoth, which was filled with nightingale song.

Thanks to the enchanting birdsong of nightingales which drew him deep into the wood, Elwë chanced upon her during one of his many journeys across the great woods of Neldoreth from where his people set up camp on East Beleriand, beyond the River Gelion to visit with Finwë, whose people were camped in the west.

Taking her hand, Elwë stood still with her for YEARS, wordless. The world literally fell away.

Yet without the wood and the enchanted couple, time moved on. Failing to find Elwë, his brother Olwë took over as the Teleri’s king.

Elwë would never set foot alive upon Aman again, but lived out his life in Middle-earth with Melian, through whom “there came among both Elves and Men a strain of the Ainur who were with Ilúvatar before Eä”.

A renowned king ruling over all the Eldar of Beleriand,the Sindar aka the Grey-elves aka the Elves of the Twilight, Elwë was known as Elu Thingol, the Sindarin rendition of his name. His land was Doriath, and his hidden halls: Menegroth.

Great power Melian lent to Thingol, who was himself great among the Eldar; for he alone of all the Sindar had seen with his own eyes the Trees in the day of their flowering, and king though he was of Úmanyar, he was not accounted among the Moriquendi, but with the Elves of the Light, mighty upon Middle-earth. And of the love of Thingol and Melian there came into the world the fairest of all the Children of Ilúvatar that was or shall ever be.

What a match made in Valinor, this power couple!

(Relevance: read-along schedule)

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