‘The Silmarillion’ is a high fantasy fiction novel rich in characters whose different temperaments, ideals, and personalities lend color to J.R R. Tolkien’s epic saga and helps elevate the story to larger-than-life proportions.
These characters represent the very worst and the very best in people. In the case of Noldorin elves, it shows that even the most elevated and cultured people can fall from grace and debase themselves when they are misguided.
Eru Iluvatar is the supreme being and wielder of the Flame Imperishable that animates everything that is made. After he creates the Ainur, who are manifestations of his mind, he teaches them his divine music. They learn to harmonize with their brothers and sisters within the themes Eru introduced, each according to their abilities. After ending the music, he creates Ea, the universe, from it and sends the Ainur into it to shape Arda according to the parts they sang in the music. Eru Iluvatar rarely interferes in the living world in the story except at pivotal moments when fates are on the brink.
Melkor is the first Ainur made by Eru and the greatest among them. As the first and the greatest, he has a share of his brothers’ and sisters’ gifts. For this reason, he can subvert their creations to his will. His arrogance and pride during the Music are due to his immense gifts, and he feels he should rule all the other Ainur. He introduces strife, violence, and evil into the perfect world envisioned by the other Ainur and destroys every fair thing they made because he is jealous of their creations. Because of his evil deeds, he is renamed Morgoth by Feanor, which means ‘Dark Enemy.’
Sauron is Morgoth’s chief lieutenant and a powerful sorcerer. He is a member of the race of Maia and was originally a servant and student of the smith Vala, Aule. While he was a servant, he craved the power to create things that would answer to him and bend to his will. His desire is the reason Morgoth entices him into his service. A powerful shapeshifter, he is involved in many pivotal events of Middle Earth. He captures Beren and the Noldorin King Finrod, causing the latter’s death. He is s also the cause of the Fall of Numenor after he corrupts the Numenorean king Ar-Pharazon and turns him against the Valar. After his return to Middle Earth, he makes the One Ring and triggers the War of the Rings. His final defeat and the destruction of the One Ring cause the end of elven and Valar presence in Middle Earth and the beginning of the Age of Men.
Feanor is the mightiest, fairest, and most skilled of all the Children of Iluvatar. He possesses unmatched skills in craftsmanship, oratory, and warcraft. He is the son of Finwe, king of the Noldor, and the creator of the Silmarils, jewels of unsurpassed beauty and brilliance. Perhaps, because of his unmatched skills and beauty, he possesses pride and arrogance and would hardly take advice from anyone asides from himself.
When Morgoth destroys the Two Trees with the help of Ungoliant, the Valar pleads with him to give them the Silmarils so they can revive the Trees, but pride comes upon him, and he refuses. After he learns that Morgoth killed his father and stole the Silmarils, he leads the Noldor in pursuit against the commands of the Valar. After leading his host to kill their relatives, the Teleri, for their ships, the Vala Mandos proclaims a curse on him and all those who would follow him. Feanor is one of the first casualties of this curse.
Beren is perhaps the single most important human character in ‘The Silmarillion.’ He is the son of Barahir, lord of Dorthonion. He is a great warrior and lives as an outlaw, ambushing Morgoth’s agents with his men. When Morgoth sends a large force against him, he flees to Doriath, where he meets the elf princess Luthien dancing in the woods and falls in love with her, and she with him. When they approach her father, King Thingol, for his permission for her hand, he asks for a Silmaril from Morgoth’s crown. With help from Luthien and the elven king Finrod Felagund, Beren prevails over many perils in the quest to retrieve the Silmaril. He eventually succeeds but dies in the end. The Valar allows him and Luthien to return to Middle Earth as humans and live out their lives. The Silmaril they recovered is inherited by their descendant Earendil and made into a star by the Valar.
Luthien, also called Tinuviel, is the daughter of the elven king Thingol and Melian the Maia. She inherits much of her mother’s sorcery and is called the most beautiful maiden. While wandering through the forests of Doriath, Beren meets her and falls in love, and she grows to love him too. After she discovers from Melian that Beren was captured, she sets out to rescue him.
With the help of the hound, Huor, she defeats Sauron in a sorcerous battle and rescues Beren, and they both head to Morgoth’s stronghold in Angband disguised as a vampire and a werewolf. She dances and put Morgoth and his entire stronghold to sleep. She and Beren cut a Silmaril from his crown, but as they escape, wolf Cacharoth attacks them and bites off Beren’s hand holding the Silmaril. He tries to kill the wolf and retrieve the jewel but gets killed in the process. Luthien lays on him and gives up her spirit. Her spirit goes to the Halls of Mandos and sings a song so sad and moving that Mandos decides to let them return to Middle Earth to live as mortals.
Turin Turambar is one of the great heroes in ‘The Silmarillion,’ even though his story is the saddest and the most tragic. As the son of Hurin, he has a share of the curse laid on Hurin by Morgoth after he is captured during the Nirnaeth Arnoediad. Turin is fostered by King Thingol in Doriath. Doriath is where he meets his friend, Beleg.
After he kills a royal elf taunting him, he assumes he will not be judged fairly by the king and flees the court. He becomes an outlaw hunting Morgoth’s forces, and his friend Beleg later joins him. More tragedy strikes after he gets betrayed by a dwarf whose son got killed by one of Turin’s men. Beleg comes to his rescue, but as he unties the sleeping Turin, Turin snatches his sword and kills him, thinking he is one of the orcs that tormented him.
He is led to Nargothrond by Gwindor, where he soon becomes one of the king’s advisors. He advises King Orodreth to abandon his practice of secrecy and build a bridge over the Narog, but it turns out to be ill-advised when the forces of Morgoth, led by the dragon Glaurung, use it to gain access to the city and destroy it. Trapped by the dragon’s gaze, Turin cannot help defend the city. Other tragedies befall Turin, son of Hurin, and in the end, unable to bear the sorrow of all he has done and lost, he kills himself by falling on Beleg’s sword.
Who is the protagonist of ‘The Silmarillion?’
The protagonist of ‘The Silmarillion’ is Eru Iluvatar. He willed the living world into being, and everything that happens in it happens according to his wishes and adds to the beauty of his creation. This is the lesson he teaches not just the errant Vala Morgoth, but the rest of the Valar and Ainur, too.
Why does Turin advise Orodreth to abandon secrecy?
Turin is a veteran of many battles and skirmishes against the forces of Morgoth. Perhaps, this makes him overconfident in his abilities as a warrior. So when the forces of Morgoth gather at Ered Wetrin, he feels Orodreth must send his army to wipe them out. Alas, it is a mistake that causes the fall of Nargothrond. He also loses Finduilas, whom he loves.
Why does Morgoth curse Hurin?
When he gets captured in the aftermath of the Nirnaeth Arnoediad, Morgoth, knowing that he has been to Gondolin, tortures Hurin in a bid to learn the city’s location, but Hurin keeps to his vow to never reveal it. Angry and frustrated with Hurin’s silence, he curses Hurin and his children. He then gives Hurin the gift of supernatural sight and binds him on the slopes of Thangorodrim, where he will watch his children suffer.
Why does Turin go on exile?
When Turin is in Doriath, an elf named Saeros dislikes him and is jealous of his closeness to King Thingol. After an earlier argument that leaves Saeros injured, he waylays Turin, but Turin overpowers him, strips him naked, and sends him off, mad with fear. As Saeros tries jumping over a small fjord, he loses his footing, hits his head on a rock, and dies. Fearing that he would not be judged fairly by the king, Turin flees the kingdom.