Book Review

All the (Silmarillion) Feels | Chapter 8: Of the Darkening of Valinor

All the (Silmarillion) Feels is an emotion- and story-focused summary of The Silmarillion. You’ll get facts, but that’s not the point here. Let’s talk themes, meaningful quotes, and moments that made us go “WHOA.” I started this project after falling in love with The Rings of Power television show, so expect me to focus on things to do with Galadriel and Sauron.

Chapter 8: Of the Darkening of Valinor

Have you been thinking that what The Silmarillion needs is a little dose of horror? Then this is the chapter for you!

Introducing Ungoliant, Shelob’s Spider Mommy!

Melkor/Morgoth fled Valinor after his manipulations were made known, but he evaded pursuit and made his way south to find an ally in Ungoliant, an evil spirit who seems to have chosen to exist in monstrous spider form. Intriguingly, no one knows where she came from or how she was created, which gives me some really great Eldritch horror, from-beyond-the-stars vibes. Her evil is presented in classic Tolkien language, as she is “taking all things to herself to feed her emptiness” for she “hungered for light and hated it.” Like calls to like, and Melkor sees someone who can do him a solid.

There is a lot of foreshadowing in this chapter, and it’s pretty much all negative, so let’s track it this way:

DOOM #1:

In exchange for her help, Melkor promises Ungoliant: “Do as I bid; and if thou hunger still when all is done, then I will give thee whatsoever thy lust may demand. Yea, with both hands.”

Not a great vow to make with an eternally hungry creature, I’d say.

Parties, Reconciliation, and More Promises

Meanwhile, the Valar and Elves are partying. There are no natural seasons in Valinor, but Yavanna creates blooming and harvesting experiences because why not? Everyone likes a festival.

The Valar invite everyone to join the party, but Fëanor is exiled. They command him to come anyway, hoping to create some good feelings between the estranged half-brothers, but their father King Finwë declines to attend the party to show where his loyalties lie (with Fëanor).

Fëanor is a drama queen about it all, refusing to wear fancy clothes to the fancy festival, and remaining silent when he meets with Fingolfin. But the younger Elf tries to restore their family bond with a promise that is, you guessed, it:

Doom #2

Before the Valar, the two Elves clasp hands, and Fingolfin says, “Half-brother in blood, full brother in heart will I be. Thou shalt lead and I will follow. May no new grief divide us.”

Sounds really nice! I sure hope Fëanor isn’t the sort of Elf who will take advantage of such a vow.

The Great Unlight

While everyone is distracted by family drama, Morgoth and Ungoliant are booking it to the Two Trees which light all of Valinor. Morgoth stabs the trees, and Ungoliant slurps up their light. In a very nice touch, not only does this plunge the land into darkness, it creates an Unlight.

The Light failed; but the Darkness that followed was more than loss of light. In that hour was made a Darkness what seemed not lack but a thing with being of its own; for it was indeed made by malice out of Light, and it had power to pierce the eye, and to enter heart and mind, and strangle the very will.”

The Silmarillion, page 81

Sounds like a Doctor Who monster!

With the death of the Trees, the festival and Valinor itself falls into chaos so great that Morgoth and Ungoliant easily escape.

Tune in next time to see if Ungoliant is still hungry…

1 comment on “All the (Silmarillion) Feels | Chapter 8: Of the Darkening of Valinor

  1. Pingback: All the (Silmarillion) Feels | Chapter 9: Of the Flight of the Noldor – Roar Cat Reads

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