Of the Coming of Men into the West

From Tolkien Gateway
The Silmarillion chapters
  1. Ainulindalë
  2. Valaquenta
  3. Quenta Silmarillion
    1. Of the Beginning of Days
    2. Of Aulë and Yavanna
    3. Of the Coming of the Elves
    4. Of Thingol and Melian
    5. Of Eldamar
    6. Of Fëanor
    7. Of the Silmarils
    8. Of the Darkening of Valinor
    9. Of the Flight of the Noldor
    10. Of the Sindar
    11. Of the Sun and Moon
    12. Of Men
    13. Of the Return of the Noldor
    14. Of Beleriand and its Realms
    15. Of the Noldor in Beleriand
    16. Of Maeglin
    17. Of the Coming of Men
    18. Of the Ruin of Beleriand
    19. Of Beren and Lúthien
    20. Of the Fifth Battle
    21. Of Túrin Turambar
    22. Of the Ruin of Doriath
    23. Of the Fall of Gondolin
    24. Of the Voyage of Eärendil
  4. Akallabêth
  5. Of the Rings of Power

Of the Coming of Men into the West is the seventeenth chapter of the Quenta Silmarillion section within The Silmarillion.


Felagund among Bëor's men by Ted Nasmith

After three hundred years had passed since the arrival of the Noldor, Finrod went hunting with Maedhros and Maglor. Yet he soon grew tired of hunting, and he continued eastward to Ossiriand, where he spotted a strange light and heard unfamiliar songs.

Finrod hid himself, for he feared that Orcs had come from Angband. Yet the strange beings were not Orcs, or Dwarves, or even other Elves. They were Men who had come out of the east from Hildorien and were following a light to the west.

Waiting until they had fallen asleep, Finrod went among them, took up a harp, and began to sing. The newcomers awoke, but they did not speak, opting to listen to Finrod's songs of Aman and the Valar instead.

Finrod would remain with the Men and taught them much of what the Noldor knew. Finrod could understand their tongue, for it was descended from the same language that all Elves had once known. Men had learned it from the Avari who remained east and did not go to Valinor, as they had also learned basic crafting skills and tools.

Among them, Finrod befriended Bëor, but when Finrod asked of the origins of Men, Bëor would only say that they came west fleeing a darkness and following the light. The Eldar afterwards would say that Morgoth himself went eastwards to corrupt Men and turn them against the Eldar. They perceived a darkness in Men similar to their own. Yet Morgoth's plan was not fully successful, both due to the low numbers of Men and the threat of the Elves on Morgoth's border.

Bëor told Finrod that other groups of men would follow: Men who were called the Haladin as well as those who followed a chief named Marach. These Men spoke a different language than that of Bëor.

When the Green-elves learned of Men, they asked Finrod to tell them to either move westward or return east. This compelled Finrod to have Bëor move his people west to Estolad, an encampment on the borders of Doriath. When at last Finrod left to return to his own realm, Bëor followed him as a vassal.

The groups that Bëor spoke of would soon enter into Beleriand: the Haladin who would be known as the House of Haleth, and the house of Marach that would be later known as the House of Hador. These two houses, as well as the House of Bëor, would form the basis of the Edain, or the Elf-friends.

Many Elves such as Fingolfin gladly received Men, taking them into their lands as allies. Thus Men continued to spread across Beleriand. They would enter in via Estolad, but spread out across the realms of the Eldar. Thingol forbade Men to enter Doriath, mistrusting them. Unfortunately, it was at this time that the first division in the houses of Men began to appear, for while Morgoth was besieged, he was not idle.

Whispers would enter into the councils of Men, and in one meeting in particular, Bereg of the House of Bëor rose up and spoke against the Elves, saying that Men could go elsewhere and leave Beleriand. Another one, appearing to be a man named Amlach, stood up and even suggested the possibility that the Valar did not exist and that Morgoth was the only such being. Though Amlach himself entered in a short time later and denied saying this, it created enough of a disturbance to cause many to flee with Bereg. Though Amlach himself would go and join the fight against Morgoth. Morgoth's evil whispers thus caused some Men to flee, but many remained and joined the Elves.

His subtle designs failing to cause all men to flee, Morgoth assailed Men with force. His orcs attacked the Haladin in the lands of Caranthir. Led by Haleth, daughter of the chieften Halad who was killed by the orcs, they survived a bitter siege until Caranthir himself came forth and destroyed the Orcs. He was moved by the valour of Men and offered Haleth an alliance. She rejected him, however, and compelled her people to move westward to Estolad. She would remain chieftain of her people, and soon they would even be known to others as the People of Haleth. Eventually, she compelled many of her people to move westward again, settling in the forest of Brethil, where they eked out a hard living. Thingol grudgingly permitted this as long as they would defend the Crossings of Teiglin.

Thus it was that Men would live in Beleriand beside the Elves. Men would learn much from the Elves, and many would even learn Sindarin. In their turn, many Men would also become servants in the household of elven kings, such as Hador, who served Fingolfin and was given the lordship of Dor-lómin. Many great heroes would come from the Elf-friends, such as Beren and Túrin.

Yet, in the end, Elves were immortal, and Men were not. Though Beleriand seemed to lengthen their lives, the first generation of Men would pass away. Bëor the Old died at ninety three years of age. This was a grievous blow to the Eldar, who did not understand the Gift of Men, or their final destination after death.

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