Second Kinslaying

From Tolkien Gateway
This article is about the assault of the Sons of Fëanor against Dior. For the earlier battle between Dwarves and Elves, see Battle of the Thousand Caves.
The name Kinslaying refers to more than one character, item or concept. For a list of other meanings, see Kinslaying (disambiguation).
Second Kinslaying
Conflict: Pre-War of Wrath; result of the Oath of Fëanor
Date: F.A. 506 - 507
Place: Menegroth
Outcome: Military only victory for the Sons of Fëanor
  • Final destruction of the Kingdom of Doriath


The Sons of Fëanor and their followers


Dior Eluchíl






Heavy, includes Nimloth and her sons Eluréd and Elurín, few survivors

Unknown, but it includes Celegorm, Caranthir and Curufin

The Ruin of Doriath, also the Second Kinslaying occurred when the Sons of Fëanor attacked Doriath, seeking the Silmaril taken there after the death of Beren and Lúthien. King Dior of Doriath was slain there, as well as Celegorm, Curufin, and Caranthir. But Dior's daughter Elwing managed to escape down to the Mouths of Sirion along with the survivors of Doriath.


See also: Battle of the Thousand Caves
See also: Battle of Sarn Athrad

When news of the attack on Doriath by the Dwarves of Nogrod reached Beren in Tol Galen, he, along with his son, Dior, and the Green-elves of Ossiriand, waylaid the Dwarves near Sarn Athrad. The Dwarves who escaped the first onslaught and fled to the slopes beneath Mount Dolmed were driven "into the shadowy woods of the Trees" by the Shepherds of the Trees and none escaped.

In that battle, Beren himself slew their king and recovered the Nauglamír which they had stolen. However, as he died, the Lord of Nogrod "laid his curse upon all the treasure." Beren was amazed when he saw the necklace for in it was set with the Silmaril which he himself had cut from Morgoth's crown. He washed it clean in the River Ascar, and that same river was renamed Rathlóriel, the Goldenbed, for, after the battle, all the treasures of Doriath had been lost to it. The Nauglamír was taken back to Tol Galen and then worn by Lúthien. And when she wore the Silmaril, "for a little while the Land of the Dead that Live became like a vision of the land of the Valar, and no place has been since so fair, so fruitful, or so filled with light."

When Dior bade farewell to his parents, he journeyed to Menegroth along with his wife Nimloth and his children Eluréd, Elurín and Elwing. The Elves of Doriath received them with joy. Under the rule of Dior, the glory of the realm recovered for a while.

In autumn, an elf came to Menegroth. He was the lord of the Green-elves of Ossiriand. He gave to Dior a coffer, and in it was the Nauglamír wherein was set the Silmaril. Dior, looking upon it, knew it for a sign that Beren and Lúthien had died. Then Dior arose and clasped the Nauglamír about his neck, and "appeared as the fairest of all the children of the world, of threefold race: of the Edain, and of the Eldar, and of the Maiar of the Blessed Realm.[1]



The rumour travelled among the scattered Elves of Beleriand, and they said: "'a Silmaril of Fëanor burns again in the woods of Doriath.'" When news about these events reached the Sons of Fëanor, their oath was awakened from its slumber, for while Lúthien had worn the Necklace of the Dwarves, no Elf would dare to assail her. But now it seemed to the Sons of Fëanor, as they heard of the renewal of Doriath and of the pride of Dior, that they could recover the Silmaril. The seven sons gathered again from their wandering and sent messages to Dior stating their claim on the Silmaril. But Dior returned no answer, and Celegorm "stirred up his brothers to prepare an assault on Doriath."[1]


Maedhros searching for the sons of Dior by Jenny Dolfen

The Sons of Fëanor, along with their followers, assaulted Doriath with a surprise attack, in the middle of winter, and fought with Dior in the Thousand Caves. This was the second slaying of Elf by Elf. In that battle, Dior slew Celegorm. Curufin and Caranthir also fell. Dior was also slain along with his wife Nimloth. Eluréd and Elurín were seized, taken into the forest, and left to starve by the cruel servants of Celegorm. Maedhros repented of this act of vengeance and cruelty against the children, and he long sought for them in the woods, but "his search was unavailing," and the fate of Dior's sons is not known.[1]


Doriath was destroyed and the kingdom never rose again. But the Sons of Feanor did not achieve their goal in the bloody battle as the Silmaril escaped their grasp, Elwing along with a remnant of Elves fled south to the Mouths of Sirion and joined with the other refugees of war.[1]

Other versions of the legendarium

The Book of Lost Tales

An earliest version of the battle was written in The Nauglafring. In this early concept Dior rules 'the southern vales'[2] with his two children Auredhir and Elwing, the former having disappeared entirely during the development of the story.[3] There is no mention of Dior returning to his grandfather's kingdom, Artanor (an earlier name for Doriath) and rebuilding it.

As in The Silmarillion the sons of Fëanor hear the rumour of 'a Silmaril of Fëanor burns again in the woods of Hísilómë'. Maidros driven by the oath stirs his brothers and Curufin travels to meet with Dior demanding the jewel return to those whose right it was. Dior rejects their demand and Curufin returns to his brothers to prepare for an assault.

Similarly to later writings the Sons of Fëanor fall upon Dior unawares, however since the battle does not take place in Menegroth there is no second battle in the Thousand Caves. Dior and Auredhir are slain from this assault and Dior does not kill any of the brothers in this attack. Later 'a host of Dior's folk' arrive and attacked the Fëanorian's rear. In this battle Maglor is slain by swords, Celegrom is pierced with a hundred arrows, alongside him Cranthor falls and Dinithel (Amras) dies of wounds in the wild[2]

Elwing flees to Sirion bearing the Nauglafring with the help of a Gnome Gereth and Evranin, the nurse of Elwing.[2] Gereth and Evranin do not appear in later writings.

The Earliest Silmarillion

A brief outline of the battle is mentioned in the Sketch of the Mythology when it was first written, in this version the Sons of Fëanor actually claim the Nauglafring but later they quarrel over it until only Maglor was left.[4]

Later versions

In an earlier draft, Dior returns to Doriath after its ruin and is welcomed by Melian.[5]:353 In the Tale of Years for F.A. 503, it was written that "the Dwarves of Belegost and Nogrod invade Doriath."[5]:350 However, Tolkien noted, if that was the case, Thingol must have been led out of Doriath in order to be slain because "Doriath cannot be entered by a hostile army!"[5]:352 In The Silmarillion, the Dwarves did not invade. They were already in Menegroth doing other work there, and Melian left Middle-earth after Thingol was slain, which left the realm unprotected.[1]

In this older version of the Tale of Years, Melian had taken the Nauglamír to Beren and Lúthien, and Lúthien wore it. This was unknown to others at the time. And it was Curufin and Celegorm, not Beren with the Green-elves and the Ents, who ambushed the Dwarves at the Fords of Ascar. When they attacked the Dwarves, the treasure they had looted from Doriath was cast into the river, which was then named Rathlóriel. And, "great was the anger of the sons of Fëanor to discover that the Silmaril was not with the Dwarves."[5]:351

In F.A. 504, Dior returns to Doriath. He had already been there in F.A. 503, but then he had his daughter Elwing in Ossiriand, not Doriath. With the power of the Silmaril, he restores the realm. In F.A. 505, Fëanor's sons hear of the Silmaril in Doriath and hold council, and "Maidros restrains his brethren, but a message is sent to Dior demanding the Jewel. Dior returns no answer."[5]:351

Instead of a single season, another year passes and in F.A. 506, "Celegorm inflames the brethren, and they prepare an assault on Doriath. They come up at unawares in winter."[5]:351 Finally, in F.A. 506-507:

"At Yule Dior fought the sons of Fëanor on the east marches of Doriath, and was slain. There fell also Celegorn (by Dior's hand) and Curufin and Cranthir. The cruel servants of Celegorm seize Dior's sons (Elrún and Eldún) and leave them to starve in the forest. (Nothing certain is known of their fate, but some say that the birds succoured them, and led them to Ossir.) [ In margin: Maidros repenting seeks unavailingly for the children of Dior.] The Lady Lindis escaped with Elwing, and came hardly to Ossir, with the Necklace and the Jewel. Thence hearing the rumour she fled to the Havens of Sirion."

Lady Lindis, later replaced by Nimloth, was the wife of Dior. In this version F.A. 497, "Dior Halfelven weds Lindis of Ossiriand," and in F.A. 500, "Elrún and Eldún twin sons of Dior are born."[5]:257


The Kinslayings
First Kinslaying (Alqualondë) · Second Kinslaying (Doriath) · Third Kinslaying (Havens of Sirion)