Reader deep thought: From the aftermath of the War of Wrath emerged a new landscape in Middle-earth, both literally and socio-geo-politically. The Second Age, the Age of Men had begun. Morgoth may be gone, but this was not a happily ever after tale about the Edain, the three Houses of Elf-friends who fought on the side of the Eldar and the Valar: this was about Men behaving badly, aka the Downfall of Númenor, which began when the Valar took it into mind to “put things in place”, featuring a brand new pad for the scions of the Edain, or as they called themselves after the fancy new pad: Númenoreans, aka Dúnedain.
Reader deep thought: Of all the construction the Noldor had going on in Beleriand after they got back to stomping around Middle-earth, nothing trumped the deconstruction of perception Galadriel was forced to engage with Melian. The bigger question: were half-truths better than outright lies? Or avoidance for that matter? Surely Galadriel, with her lifetime of experience in Valinor, knew what Melian was and the futility of being less than truthful. And yet, she was selectively sharing information, affecting an almost nose-thumb. Was it because Melian was cut-off from Valinor and therefore not as omnipotent as the run-of-mill Maiar? Or was Galadriel just experienced with managing the Powers?
Reader deep thought: What an eventful time! The Noldor sure started their careers as Exiles with a bang, or three. And the Sun and the Moon sprung up in time to bear witness to the stuff of legends. Gothmog debuted, Fëanor passed, the Noldor-lords reunited willy-nilly, Noldor meets Sindar, and Thingol unhappy. But still, the Noldor prospered and there was diaspora, much thanks in part to Maedhros’ mellowing out, Finrod’s loyalty to their friendship, and the even-tempered EQ of Fingolfin. Everything happened. Even LOVE, blooming in Galadriel and Celeborn’s companionship in Menegroth (interestingly, both were Thingol’s kin). And yet, already two Wars of Beleriand before the end of the chapter, in the brief span of time right before the Sun first rose to her 60th anniversary, and the Silmarils were still in Morgoth’s ever scheming hands. Bummer. And what did the Noldor do? Siege Angband of course! Four hundred fifty years. Longevity hath its privileges.
Reader deep thought: So of the three ambassadors to Valinor, their fates went different ways, as did the fates of their peoples. Insular Ingwë, secular Finwë, and sundered Elwë. Through this chapter, the Elves and Eldar were sundered repeatedly. With all the trials and tribulations to get the Eldar settled in Valinor, it’s clear Ulmo remained the only clear-headed one of all involved.