An encyclopedia of Middle-earth and Numenor
Emblem of Finrod Felagund
Finrod was the founder of the Realm of Nargothrond in the First Age. He was among the Noldor who returned to Middle-earth from the Undying Lands after Morgoth stole the Silmarils. Finrod was the first of the Noldor to encounter the race of Men, and he formed a friendship with the House of Beor that ultimately resulted in his death in the dungeons of Sauron.
Finrod was born in the Undying Lands in 1300 of the Years of the Trees. He was the eldest son of Finarfin and Earwen. He had four younger siblings: Orodreth, Angrod, Aegnor, and Galadriel. His grandfather was Finwe and his uncles were Feanor and Fingolfin. He was good friends with Fingolfin's son Turgon. Finrod was in love with Amarie who was an Elf of the Vanyar.
Finrod was said to be the fairest Elf of the House of Finwe, and even of all the Elven princes. He had golden hair like his father. Finrod was loved and admired by many, and he had a warm heart and a desire to understand others. He preferred gaining knowledge to making things, and he was the wisest of the Noldor who went to Middle-earth.
In 1495, Morgoth killed Finwe and stole the Silmarils that had been made by Feanor. Feanor urged the Noldor to pursue Morgoth to Middle-earth to reclaim the Silmarils. Fingolfin and Turgon spoke against Feanor, and Finrod sided with his friend. But in the end, they followed Feanor along with most of the rest of the Noldor. They were divided into two hosts, the first led by Feanor and the second led by Fingolfin.
Finrod was at the rear of Fingolfin's host. As the hosts marched from Tirion, Finrod looked back and the memory of what he left behind stayed with him. He carried away many treasures, but his beloved Amarie was not permitted to accompany him. Despite his regret, Finrod was restless and had a desire to see far-off lands.
The Teleri refused to give the Noldor ships to take them to Middle-earth. Feanor and the First Host attacked the Teleri and stole their ships. Some members of the second host unwittingly became involved in the Kinslaying, but Finrod and his father and siblings did not take part.
Mandos appeared to the Noldor in 1496 and warned them that they would face exile and suffering if they did not repent. Finarfin decided to turn back, but Finrod and his siblings continued on the journey largely because of their friendship with Fingolfin's sons. Finrod became the leader of those of his father's people who accompanied them.
There were not enough ships to carry all the Noldor to Middle-earth, so in 1497 Feanor abandoned Fingolfin's host. Those left behind traveled northward on foot and in 1500 they reached the Grinding Ice that filled a narrow strait between the Undying Lands and Middle-earth. Finrod helped Fingolfin and his sons lead the others across, and they came to Hithlum in Middle-earth as the First Age began.
Finrod and his followers settled with Fingolfin's people on the northern shore of Lake Mithrim. Feanor had been killed, but his sons and followers also lived on Lake Mithrim. Feanor's people relocated to the southern shore in part to avoid conflict with the kinsmen they had abandoned.
In the year 6 of the First Age, Finrod sent his brother Angrod to visit King Thingol of Doriath who was their mother's uncle. Thingol sent Angrod back the next year with a message warning the Noldor not to encroach on the lands inhabited by his people, the Sindar. Feanor's son Caranthir became angry and accused the sons of Finarfin of disloyalty to the Noldor. Afterwards the sons of Feanor relocated to East Beleriand.
Finrod and his siblings also left Hithlum. Finrod first settled on Tol Sirion, an island in the River Sirion. He built the watchtower of Minas Tirith and he was responsible for guarding the Pass of Sirion which was the main point of entry into West Beleriand from the north.
In the year 50, Turgon visited Finrod on Tol Sirion and together they journeyed south down the Sirion. They stopped to sleep near the Meres of Twilight and Ulmo, Lord of Waters, sent them dreams encouraging them to find hidden strongholds that could be defended against Morgoth.
In 52, Finrod and Galadriel were guests of Thingol in Doriath. Finrod admired the underground halls of Menegroth, and he decided that he wanted to build a similar stronghold. Thingol told him about the Caverns of Narog overlooking a gorge on the River Narog in West Beleriand.
Finrod began to expand the caverns into a great underground city. Much of the work was done by Dwarves from Belegost and Nogrod, although Finrod did some of the fine carving. The Dwarves gave Finrod the name Felagund meaning "cave-hewer." Finrod paid the Dwarves with treasures he had brought from Tirion. Finrod also commissioned the Dwarves to make a necklace called the Nauglamir set with jewels from the Undying Lands.
Many of Finrod's people relocated to Nargothrond. The Realm of Nargothrond extended east to the Teiglin and Sirion, west to the Nenning, south to the Mouths of Sirion, and north to the Ered Wethrin where the Narog rose from the Pools of Ivrin. Finrod became the leader of all the Elves of West Beleriand except for the Elves of the Falas on the coast of the Sea. His realm was the largest of all the Noldor.
Finrod's influence extended beyond his own realm. He still controlled Pass of Sirion, and his brother Orodreth remained on Tol Sirion as the warden of Minas Tirith. His other brothers Angrod and Aegnor lived in Dorthonion as his vassals.
Finrod became a friend and ally of Cirdan, who was the Lord of the Falas west of the Realm of Nargothrond. In 65, the Elves of Nargothrond helped the Elves of the Falas rebuild and expand the Havens of Brithombar and Eglarest. Finrod also built the tower of Barad Nimras on the coast to watch for enemy ships, but Morgoth never waged war from the Sea.
In 67, Finrod and his brothers visited Doriath where Galadriel lived. Thingol learned of the Kinslaying, and he accused them of killing their mother's kindred, the Teleri. Finrod was reluctant to tell Thingol the truth because he did not want to accuse the other Noldor who had taken part in the Kinslaying, but Angrod proclaimed that they were innocent. Thingol believed them, but he asked them to leave for the time being.
Nargothrond was completed in 102, and Finrod's siblings came there to attend a feast. Galadriel asked Finrod why he had no wife. Finrod had left Amarie, the woman he loved, behind in the Undying Lands, but now he foresaw that he was fated to remain unwed: "An oath I too shall swear, and must be free to fulfil it, and go into darkness. Nor shall anything of my realm endure that a son should inherit." (Sil., p. 130)
Finrod enjoyed travelling throughout Beleriand. He often went to East Beleriand, and he also crossed the Gelion into Ossiriand and befriended the Green-elves.
On one such journey in 310, Finrod became the first of the Noldor to encounter the race of Men. He had been hunting with Feanor's sons Maedhros and Maglor and then continued on his own to Ossiriand. There he discovered the Men of the House of Beor who had just crossed the Blue Mountains into Beleriand. He entered their camp while they slept and played the harp and sang songs that gave the Men visions of the beauty of the Undying Lands and the creation of the world.
The Men's language was similar to Elvish because they had encountered Dark Elves east of the Blue Mountains in the past. Finrod was able to interpret the meaning of the Men's thoughts and words and they were able to communicate. The Men learned much from Finrod and they called him Nóm meaning "Wisdom" in their language.
The Green-elves of Ossiriand sent messengers to Finrod requesting that he ask the Men to relocate from their land. Finrod led the Men across the Gelion to Estolad and he dwelled with them there for about a year.
Beor, the leader of the Men, formed a special bond with Finrod and he went with Finrod when he returned to Nargothrond in 311. Beor served Finrod for 44 years until he died in 355 at the age of 93. It was the first time that the Elves had witnessed a death of old age.
In 390, a group of Men led by Haleth settled in the Forest of Brethil near Doriath. Thingol considered Brethil to be part of his realm and he wanted them to leave, but Finrod convinced Thingol to allow them to stay.
Finrod was intrigued by the nature of Men and their mortality, and he wanted to learn more about them. He continued to visit the settlements of Men, particularly those of the House of Beor, many of whom had settled in Dorthonion.
Finrod especially enjoyed debating with a Wise-woman of the House of Beor named Andreth. In her youth, Andreth had fallen in love with Finrod's brother Aegnor, but they had parted because of the difficulties of a relationship bewteen a mortal woman and an immortal Elf. For this reason, Finrod had a special affection and sympathy for Andreth.
In 409, Finrod visited Andreth at the home of her kinsman Belemir. They talked about the mortality of Men and the relationship between the hroa and fea, or body and soul. Their discussion became known as Athrabeth Finrod ah Andreth - the Debate of Finrod and Andreth.
Finrod was surprised to learn from Andreth of the belief that Men had originally been immortal, but that they had been made mortal by the malice of the Lord of Darkness. Finrod observed that only Eru - not Morgoth - had the power to change Men's fate. He asked what Men might have done to incur Eru's wrath, and Andreth reluctantly told him of a time when Men had been enticed to worship Morgoth.
They also discussed the Elves' perception that Men's souls did not belong in the world and that Elves viewed Men as "guests" in Arda. Finrod suggested that Men's bodies were temporary houses for their souls and that after death their souls went to their true home. Andreth disagreed because this would mean that there was disharmony between the two parts.
Finrod speculated that perhaps Men's bodies and souls were originally intended to transcend together. He wondered if this power signified a special role for Men in the healing of Arda. Andreth told Finrod that some Men thought that Eru would one day enter into the world in order to heal the evil wrought by Morgoth. Finrod felt that Eru would not allow his children to be utterly destroyed by Morgoth, and his heart was lifted by this message of hope that supported this belief.
But despite this hope for the future, the conflict with Morgoth continued. In 455, Morgoth launched an attack that began with rivers of fire from Angband. Finrod's brothers Angrod and Aegnor died defending Dorthonion in the Battle of Sudden Flame along with Bregolas, the Lord of the House of Beor.
Finrod brought an army from Nargothrond north to the Pass of Sirion, but he was cut off from his people in the Fen of Serech. Barahir of the House of Beor and a company of Men rescued Finrod at great cost to themselves. Finrod gave Barahir his ring and promised friendship and aid to him and his people. Finrod then returned to Nargothrond, which Morgoth had not yet found.
In 457, Sauron captured Tol Sirion and Orodreth fled to Nargothrond. Celegorm and Curufin - two of the sons of Feanor - also came to Nargothrond around this time, possibly after helping Orodreth escape from Sauron. Celegorm and Curufin brought many of their people with them and they gained power and influence in Nargothrond.
In 465, Beren came to Nargothrond bearing the Ring of Barahir which Finrod had given to his father. He sought Finrod's help in his quest to steal a Silmaril from Morgoth in order to win the hand of Thingol's daughter Luthien. Finrod realized that the time had come to fulfill his oath, and that it would lead to his death as he had foretold to Galadriel long ago.
Celegorm and Curufin objected because they felt that only they and their brothers had a right to claim the Silmarils made by their father. They also saw an opportunity to seize power in Nargothrond and they dissuaded Finrod's chieftains from accompanying their lord on the quest. Only Edrahil and nine others went with Finrod.
Finrod left Orodreth in charge of Nargothrond and set out with Beren. Near the Pools of Ivrin, they surprised a company of Orcs and killed them and took their gear. Finrod used his arts to disguise himself and his companions as Orcs and they continued to the Pass of Sirion where Sauron held Tol Sirion.
But Sauron became aware of them and had them brought before him. Sauron and Finrod fought a duel using songs of power. After a long struggle, Finrod collapsed and Sauron stripped away their disguises, but he still could not discern their identities. Sauron threw Finrod and his companions into the dungeons of Minas Tirith. Werewolves killed Edrahil and the other Elves but none of them betrayed Finrod.
Sauron perceived that Finrod was a powerful Elf and he wanted to keep him alive to discover his identity and the purpose of the quest. Sauron sent a wolf to kill Beren, but Finrod broke free from his bonds and wrestled with the wolf and slew it with his hands and teeth. Finrod was mortally wounded, and before he died he said:
"I go now to my long rest in the timeless halls beyond the seas and the Mountains of Aman. It will be long ere I am seen among the Noldor again; and it may be that we shall not meet a second time in death or life, for the fates of our kindreds are apart. Farewell!"Beren escaped with the help of Luthien and they buried Finrod's body on a hill on Tol Sirion. His grave remained green until Beleriand was destroyed at the end of the First Age. Finrod's fea, or soul, went to the Halls of Mandos for a time, and then he was returned to life in the Undying Lands where his father Finarfin and his beloved Amarie still dwelled.
The Silmarillion: "Of Beren and Luthien," p. 174
There is no definitive chronology of the Years of the Trees or the First
Age. These dates are based on "The Annals of Aman"
in The History of Middle-earth, vol. X, Morgoth's
Ring and "The Grey Annals" in
History of Middle-earth, vol. XI, The War of the Jewels. Other
chronologies differ. One year during the Years of the Trees is equivalent
to 9.582 solar years.
The Years of the Trees:
Marriage of Finarfin and Earwen.
Birth of Finrod.
Birth of Galadriel.
Feanor makes the Silmarils.
Morgoth kills Finwe and steals the Silmarils and flees to Middle-earth. Feanor convinces many of the Noldor to pursue him including Finrod and his father and siblings. Feanor and some of his followers attack the Teleri and steal their ships. Finrod and his family do not take part in the Kinslaying.
Mandos appears before the Noldor and warns them to turn back. Finarfin does so, but Finrod and his siblings continue onward.
Feanor abandons Fingolfin and many others including Finrod and sails to Middle-earth in the stolen ships.
Finrod and the other Noldor who were left behind cross the Grinding Ice to Middle-earth.
Finrod and the second host of the Noldor arrive in Middle-earth.
Finrod and his kin settle on the northern shore of Lake Mithrim.
Finrod sends his brother Angrod to visit their kinsman, King Thingol of Doriath.
The Noldor hold a council in Mithrim. Sometime afterwards, Finrod relocates to Tol Sirion and builds the watchtower Minas Tirith there.
Ulmo sends dreams to Finrod and Turgon urging them to find places to establish realms hidden from Morgoth.
Finrod visits Doriath and admires the underground halls of Menegroth. Thingol tells him of the Caverns of Narog and Finrod begins the construction of Nargothrond there with the help of the Dwarves of Belegost and Nogrod. The Dwarves also make the Nauglamir for Finrod.
Elves of Nargothrond help the Elves of the Falas rebuild Brithombar and Eglarest.
Finrod and his siblings visit Doriath. Thingol learns of the Kinslaying and asks them to leave despite their innocence.
Nargothrond is completed. Finrod invites his siblings to a feast to celebrate.
The Men of the House of Beor first come over the Blue Mountains into Beleriand and are discovered by Finrod.
Beor accompanies Finrod to Nargothrond.
Death of Beor.
Finrod persuades Thingol to allow the People of Haleth to live in the Forest of Brethil.
The Debate of Finrod and Andreth.
The Battle of Sudden Flame. Deaths of Finrod's brothers Angrod and Aegnor. Finrod is rescued by Barahir. He gives Barahir his ring and a promise of friendship and aid.
Sauron captures Tol Sirion and Orodreth flees to Nargothrond. Celegorm and Curufin also come to Nargothrond around this time.
Finrod agrees to accompany Barahir's son Beren on a quest to steal a Silmaril from Morgoth. They are captured by Sauron and Finrod and the ten Elves of his company die in his dungeons. Beren is rescued by Luthien. Celegorm and Curufin plot to take over Nargothrond but Orodreth expels them when it is learned that they knew about Finrod's captivity and did nothing.
Findaráto Ingoldo / Artafindë:
The name Finrod is composed of fin meaning "hair" and arod meaning noble. It was the Sindarin form of his original name Findaráto, which was in the Telerin language of his mother's people. The Quenya form of this name was Artafindë.
Finrod's mother also gave him the
name Ingoldo meaning "the Noldo" or "one eminent in the kindred
of the Noldor." This name had also been given to Finrod's father Finarfin
by his own mother. Finrod's siblings usually called him Ingoldo.
The History of Middle-earth, vol. XII, The Peoples of Middle-earth: "The Shibboleth of Feanor," p. 346, 360
Finrod was called Felagund by the Dwarves meaning "cave-hewer" from the Dwarvish words felek meaning "hew rock" and gundu meaning "underground hall." Also translated as "Lord of Caves."
The History of Middle-earth, vol. XII, The Peoples of Middle-earth: "The Shibboleth of Feanor," p. 352
The Men of the House of Beor called him Nóm meaning "Wisdom" in their language.
The Silmarillion: "Of the Coming of Men into the West," p. 141
The Elves called him Edennil meaning "Friend of Men" in Sindarin from Edain meaning "Men" and the ending -ndil denoting "friend." The Quenya form was Atandil.
The History of Middle-earth, vol. X, Morgoth's Ring: "Athrabeth Finrod Ah Andreth," p. 349
Finrod was the first King of Nargothrond. He was succeeded by his brother Orodreth.
Family tree of Finrod Felagund:
The Silmarillion: "Of Eldamar," p. 61; "Of the Flight of the Noldor," p. 83, 85, 88, 90; "Of the Return of the Noldor," p. 109, 111-14; "Of Beleriand and Its Realms," p. 120-22, 124; "Of the Noldor in Beleriand," p. 126, 128-30; "Of the Coming of Men into the West," p. 140-44, 147-49; "Of the Ruin of Beleriand," p. 152, 160; "Of Beren and Luthien," p. 164, 167-76, 184; "Of Turin Turambar," p. 204, 215, 217; "Of the Ruin of Doriath," p. 230-31, 233
The History of Middle-earth, vol. X, Morgoth's Ring: "The Annals of Aman," p. 93, 106, 112-20; "Athrabeth Finrod ah Andreth," passim
The History of Middle-earth, vol. XI, The War of the Jewels: "The Grey Annals," p. 31-35, 38-40, 42-44, 48-50, 52, 54, 62, 65-67, 130; "Quendi and Eldar," p. 383, 406
The History of Middle-earth, vol. XII, The Peoples of Middle-earth: "The Shibboleth of Feanor," p. 336-37, 344, 346-47 ... 362 note 37, 349-52, 360 note 30, 363 note 43
Unfinished Tales: "The History of Galadriel and Celeborn," p. 229-30, 234
Appendix B of The Lord of the Rings: "The Tale of Years," p. 363
Appendix F of The Lord of the Rings: "The Languages and Peoples of the Third Age," p. 406
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