Tolkien's Most Beautiful Relationships
Okay, I’ve limited this post to the First Age, because I really felt like digging in to that period’s particular brand of angst tonight. And I only managed to narrow it down to the five most beautiful relationships, so here they are (in no particular order.)
FEANOR AND FINGOLFIN
- Why: This one’s probably going to surprise some of you, since (a) I don’t often have nice things to say about Feanor, and (b) these two have a pretty well-established animosity. But, though the “warring political brothers” trope is a very common one in fantasy, I think Tolkien gives us one of the most noble examples I’ve ever seen. Feanor and Fingolfin are on the opposite sides of family and political drama, and had we managed to get in the same room together one more time they probably would have killed each other, but they never once don’t seem like family, you know?
- The Quote That Gets Me Every Time: “For Fingolfin held forth his hand, saying: ‘As I promised, I do now. I release thee, and remember no grievance.’ Then Feanor took his hand in silence; but Fingolfin said: 'Half- brother in blood, full brother in heart will I be. Thou shalt lead and I will follow. May no new grief divide as.’ 'I hear thee,’ said Feanor. 'So be it.’ But they did not know the meaning that their words would bear.” - The Silmarillion
- If You Like Them, Check Out: Aldarion and Erendis (found in The Unfinished Tales)
FINGON AND MAEDHROS
- Why: There’s a reason this is one of the most popular ships (whether platonic or romantic) in the Silmarillion fandom. The sons of the above entry, they find themselves on opposite sides of the Noldorin feud, and yet time and again put their friendship first (whether it’s sending gifts back and forth across Beleriand, or planning battles together.)
- The Quote That Gets Me Every Time: “But Fingon climbed to the foot of the precipice where his kinsman hung, and then could go no further; and he wept when he saw the cruel device of Morgoth. Maedhros therefore, being in anguish without hope, begged Fingon to shoot him with his bow; and Fingon strung an arrow, and bent his bow. And seeing no better hope he cried to Manwe, saying: 'O King to whom all birds are dear, speed now this feathered shaft, and recall some pity for the Noldor in their need!’” - The Silmarillion
- If You Like Them, Check Out: Cirion and Eorl (found in The Unfinished Tales)
TURIN AND BELEG
- Why: Ugh, even thinking about these two makes me sad. Turin was just a child when he met Beleg, but the two became friends, and Beleg helped Turin grow into the great warrior he became. And then Beleg (a hero of his people) basically abandons everything to keep Turin company on his little walkabout, with miserably tragic results (I don’t know what it is with Tolkien, but he seems to really enjoy punishing his characters’ friends.)
- The Quote That Gets Me Every Time: “'Give me leave, lord,’ said Beleg, 'and I will guard him and guide him as I may; then no man shall say that elven-words are lightly spoken. Nor would I wish to see so great a good run to nothing in the wild.’” - The Silmarillion
- If You Like Them, Check Out: Legolas and Gimli
BEREN AND LUTHIEN
- Why: Do we even need to talk about this one? No, I didn’t think so.
- The Quote That Gets Me Every Time: “You must choose, Beren, between these two: to relinquish the quest and your oath and seek a life of wandering upon the face of the earth; or to hold to your word and challenge the power of darkness upon its throne. But on either road I shall go with you, and our doom shall be alike.“ - The Silmarillion
- If You Like Them, Check Out: Frodo and Sam
AEGNOR, ANDRETH, AND FINROD
- Why: Aegnor and Andreth are one of my favorite (and most tragic) Middle Earth romances. But toss in Aegnor’s brother Finrod and you get a really beautiful friendship. After Aegnor leaves Andreth (trying to spare them the pain that their separate destinies would cause them), Finrod takes to visiting Andreth and having long discussions about history and philosophy, trying to cheer her up a bit.
- The Quote That Gets Me Every Time: ”Darkness fell in the room. He took her hand in the light of the fire. 'Whither go you?’ she said. 'North away,’ he said: 'to the swords, and the siege, and the walls of defence…’ 'Will he be there, bright and tall, and the wind in his hair? Tell him. Tell him not to be reckless. Not to seek danger beyond need!’ 'I will tell him,’ said Finrod. 'But I might as well tell thee not to weep. He is a warrior, Andreth, and a spirit of wrath. In every stroke that he deals he sees the Enemy who long ago did thee this hurt. But you are not for Arda. Whither you go may you find light. Await us there, my brother - and me.’“ - The Histories of Middle Earth vol. 10 ("Athrabeth Finrod ah Andreth”)
- If You Like Them, Check Out: Elrond and the never-ending procession of his brother’s descendants (especially Aragorn)