‘Hail Eärendil, of mariners most renowned, the looked for that cometh at unawares, the longed for that cometh beyond hope! Hail Eärendil, bearer of light before the Sun and Moon! Splendour of the Children of Earth, star in the darkness, jewel in the sunset, radiant in the morning!’(The Silmarillion, 248-249)
This post continues my chapter-by-chapter walkthrough of The Silmarillion. This time, I will examine the 24th and final chapter of The Silmarillion proper, “Of the Voyage of Eärendil and the War of Wrath.”
So here we are. Morgoth has effectively crushed the great kingdoms of Beleriand, and those of the Eldar that remain have been pushed to furthest edges of the sea. If you think things were epic before this, you ain’t seen nothing yet.
Eärendil & Elwing: The inheritors of Thingol’s Silmaril, they are also the parents of Elrond Halfelven.
Maedhros & Maglor: The last surviving sons of Fëanor, they hold an important debate concerning the Oath they took with their father.
Eönwë: The herald of Manwë, he leads the forces of Valinor into Beleriand.
The Remnant Assaulted: Adding injury to injury, the remaining sons of Fëanor attempt to seize the Silmaril of Thingol’s people by attacking and slaughtering most of the remnant of Sirion.
Back to Valinor: Eärendil and Elwing undertake a desperate mission to seek the aid of the Valar. Thankfully, they have a Silmaril in hand.
The War of Wrath: The Valar send a massive force to attempt to bring Morgoth and the forces of Angband to their knees.
The Power of the Oath: The remaining Sons of Fëanor must decide if they will continue to carry out the Oath that they swore.
The Fate of the Silmarils: We learn the fate of each of the Silmarils in this chapter, including the continuing significance of the one captured by Beren and Lúthien.
The End of the First Age: Lands fall beneath the seas and great powers are thrown down as the First Age comes to a spectacular end. We shall see what remains of Middle-earth in “Akallabêth”.
Ulmo the Savior: For Ulmo bore up Elwing out of the waves, and he gave her the likeness of a great white bird, and upon her breast there shone as a star the Silmaril, as she flew over the water to seek Eärendil her beloved.247
Maglor the Torn: Great was the sorrow of Eärendil and Elwing for the ruin of the havens of Sirion, and the captivity of their sons, and they feared that they would be slain; but it was not so. For Maglor took pity upon Elros and Elrond, and he cherished them, and love grew after between them, as little might be thought; but Maglor’s heart was sick and weary with the burden of the dreadful oath.247
Eärendil the Dragon-Slayer: But Eärendil came, shining with white flame, and about Vingilot were gathered all the great birds of heaven and Thorondor was their captain, and there was battle in the air all the day and through a dark night of doubt. Before the rising of the sun Eärendil slew Ancalagon the Black, the mightiest of the dragon-host, and cast him from the sky; and he fell upon the towers of Thangorodrim, and they were broken in his ruin.252