|Titles||High King of the Noldor|
|Birth||Early Y.T., Cuiviénen |
|Death||c. Y.T. 1492, Formenos |
|Spouse||Míriel Serindë, Indis|
|Children||Fëanor, Irimë, Fingolfin, Finarfin, Findis|
|Gallery||Images of Finwë|
Finwë (Q, pron. N [ˈfinwe], V [ˈɸinwe]) was the first High King of the Noldor (as such he is sometimes surnamed Noldóran) who led his Elven people on the journey from Middle-earth to Valinor in the blessed realm of Aman. He was a great friend of Elu Thingol, the King of Doriath.
Life in Middle-earth
The first Elves awoke in Middle-earth, near the Lake Cuiviénen, sometime during the early Years of the Trees. Though it is not clearly stated in the Silmarillion, Finwë was probably among the first Children of Ilúvatar. Oromë, The Huntsman of the Valar, while traveling in the Orocarni mountains, discovered the Elves and bonded friendship with their kin.
Later, as the Valar decided to call the first Children of Ilúvatar in Valinor, because they regarded this call with suspicion, he selected three elves to follow him into Aman and report back what they have seen, in the hopes that they could decimate the fears which were seeded into the hearts of the elves by Melkor's own doing. The three elves were Finwë, Ingwë and Elwë, who would later become kings of the three fractions into which the elven race was split.
Enamoured by the wonders of Valinor, Finwë and his other two companions returned towards the Middle-earth and attempted to convince their race to follow them back into Aman. Those who agreed to follow Oromë received the name of Eldar. Among them were Finwë's people, the Noldor. They later became students of Aulë the Smith. Finwë's eldest son, Fëanor, would become the greatest craftsman among the Elves of Valinor.
Life in Valinor
Upon arriving in the blessed realm of Aman, Finwë was troubled only by the separation from his friend Elwë who chose to remain in Beleriand. The Noldor settled on the Túna hill, raised for them by the Valar and, led by Finwë, they lived in the city of Tirion, whom they shared with the Vanyar. It was during the building of Finwë's house that the masons found the earth-gems from which they crafted countless jewels to be given freely for the enrichment of Valinor. Later, Ingwë and his people left the city of Tirion and Finwë remained the only king to rule upon the Tuna hill.
Finwë's first wife was Míriel Serindë, skilled in all things that required fineness. From their love a son was born, Curufinwë, whom would later be known as Fëanor. As he was brought into the world, he depleted Míriel's strength and zest for life and she requested to be allowed to rest in the gardens of Lórien. Finwë was deeply saddened by this event. He did not wish to leave the young child without a mother, nor did he want him to be their last. But as his wife explained that what would have nourished many children, was all invested in Fëanor, he had no other choice but to accept her request. And thus Míriel, with Manwë's counsel, was placed asleep in Irmo's gardens. Her fëa eventually departed from her body and she never returned to life.
This was a shocking event for all those present in Valinor, as never one of their own had died of free will. For some time, Finwë lived in sorrow and he often visited Míriel's body, but as his loneliness and lack of joy increased, he stopped seeing her altogether. His entire love now rested with his son, Fëanor, who grew up to be mighty and skilled in all things of hands and mind. He married Nerdanel and gave Finwë seven grandchildren.
But Finwë was not content in living alone and he sought to marry for the second time. His wife was Indis the Fair, a golden haired Vanya, which he loved and whom brought him joy again. She gave him two sons, Fingolfin and Finarfin, and two daughters, Findis and Irimë. And though he was now blissful again, the shadow of Míriel never left the House, especially since Fëanor opposed his father's second marriage. The sons of Finwë never lived together and never shared close bounds. And after the later events surrounding the Silmarils many blamed Finwë and his desire to have a second wife for the dreadful courses of all those in the House. Most of these accusation had no ground, as Finwë had always loved his eldest son above all others, and the events surrounding his death would prove it.
After three ages of imprisonment, Melkor was released from the duress of Mandos and, as he gained the trust of the Valar again, he was allowed to roam freely in Valinor. The treacherous Melkor lusted for the Silmarils, those three great jewels made by the hands of Fëanor, at the might of his skill, and ever he sought a way to steal them. He launched such lies that all the Noldor began to strife, against themselves, against the other races and even against the Valar.
The House of Finwë was no exception. There was already grounds of argument between his sons, and these events only served to deepen them. Finwë called a council and tried to moderate them. For the moment, his action seemed to be crowned with success, as Fingolfin bowed before Finwë and silenced the thoughts and arguments he had in regards to his eldest brother. Soon after that the Valar called Fëanor to answer for his words against them. The stem of the evil was exposed and Melkor's actions revealed. However, Fëanor too was sentenced to twelve years outside Tirion, in the fortress of Formenos. Due to the great love he had for his eldest son, Finwë renounced his throne as the King of the Noldor and followed Fëanor at Formenos.
In his fixation to have the Silmarils for himself, Melkor went as far as to claim them at the gates of Formenos. He was fiercely rejected by Fëanor, while Finwë sent messengers to Manwë. It was during a time of festival, that Melkor returned. All the people of Valinor were engaged in the festivities, all except Finwë, who, out of devotion for Fëanor and bitterness for his sons' exile, chose to remain in Formenos, thus refused to obey Manwë's calling. After Melkor and Ungoliant stole the light of the Two Trees of Valinor, they headed towards Formenos. Alone Finwë had the courage to stand before the horror of the Darkness. There, before the doors of Formenos, the former King of the Noldor had been killed and the first blood was spilled in the realm of Aman. Melkor forcefully entered the fortress and stole the Silmarils, sending the blessed realm into darkness and motioning the Noldor to depart from Valinor.
Finwë's name is not clearly translated. The Appendix in The Silmarillion, part called "Elements in Quenya and Sindarin Names", translates fin as "hair". In the The Lost Road and Other Writings, chapter The Etymologies, phin it is translated as "nimbleness" or "skill". To either of these two, the suffix -wë is added. Used generally for male names it is derived from the stem weg, meaning "manly vigor".
Other Versions of the Legendarium
In a later version Finwë had three daughters added by Indis, Findis (as their first child) Faniel (as their third), and Finvain (as their youngest). In yet later versions, Faniel was apparently dropped, while Findis and Finvain were kept. Finvain (renamed Irimë) was moved to after Fingolfin, thus Finarfin was once again the youngest child of Finwë.
Finwë had two wives. His first was Míriel, who passed away soon after bearing their only child, Fëanor. His second wife was Indis, of the Vanyar, who bore him two sons: Fingolfin and Finarfin, and two daughters: Findis and Irimë.
- ↑ This name is shown inflected in the various numbers for a reason. Because Finwë named all his sons after himself (Curufinwë, Ñolofinwë and Arafinwë), and some of his sons did the same for their sons (Fëanor also named his sons in this pattern), there came to be quite literally more than one Finwë, as the name became not just one person, but Finwë's male descendants. It is not that farfetched to refer to them as a family of Finwi—"Finwës". In addition, both Ñolofinwë and Arafinwë became each known as Finwë-Ñolofinwë and Finwë-Arafinwë when they became kings, turning the name into a king-like title; this is also why their Sindarized names became Fingolfin and Finarfin.
- The Silmarillion, Of the Coming of the Elves and the Captivity of Melkor
- The Silmarillion, Of Eldamar and the Princes of the Eldalië
- The Silmarillion, Of Fëanor and the Unchaining of Melkor
- The Silmarillion, Of the Silmarils and the Unrest of the Noldor
- The Silmarillion, Of the Darkening of Valinor
- The Silmarillion, Of the Flight of the Noldor
- The Silmarillion, Index of Names
- The Silmarillion, Elements in Quenya and Sindarin Names
- The Lost Road and Other Writings, The Etymologies
- The Peoples of Middle-earth, The Shibboleth of Feanor
|1st High King of the Noldor
c. YT 1102 – 1495
Fëanor (in Middle-earth)
Finarfin (in Valinor)