oath of friendship

so I’m really far from being a member of Beren’s fan club (pointlessly. escalating. the. Dwarf-Sindar war. by ambushing and slaughtering fleeing people.) but I really disagree with the character interpretation that it was abusive or manipulative of him to recruit Finrod for the Silmaril quest.

Like, yes, if someone has taken an oath that forces them to do whatever you ask of them, asking them to betray their other obligations and walk to certain death is a deeply wrong thing to do. The fact you’re also planning to walk to certain death doesn’t make it okay. But that’s not at all what’s going on here.

Finrod’s oath to Barahir was an oath of “abiding friendship and aid in every need to Barahir and all his kin”. It did not obligate him to do whatever Beren asked. He could have chosen to, say, convince Thingol to let the marriage happen, or give the newlyweds land in Nargothrond, or talk Beren out of the quest, or aid and supply Beren on the quest while advising against it. Finrod chose to accept the quest and go with Beren, but the oath definitely didn’t oblige him to do that and so Beren can’t be said to have coerced him into it. Even if we go with an interpretation of Tolkien’s world where oaths are impossible to break, the idea that Beren has the balance of power in this relationship is wrong. 

But once Beren realized the magnitude of what Finrod was sacrificing to help him, shouldn’t he have reconsidered and come up with a plan that didn’t throw Finrod and Finrod’s loyalists’ lives away? No! Because he had absolutely no way of knowing that was what they were doing! He knows the enemy is scary, but he’s gone toe-to-toe with it a thousand times and is still alive. I don’t think he realizes that they’re walking into their graves for him. I actually expect Finrod would have tried to keep that from him. And Finrod has a plan that sounds plausible (what does Beren know about the capabilities of Elves?) 

Beren is new to having other people around, to having obligations, to the ways people interact with each other. He’s been through hell a dozen times over. It’s simply not plausible that he understood the dynamics of what happened in Nargothrond well enough for it to make any sense to blame him for worsening it, or for sticking with his plan once people told him what it would cost them. Does he have a bad understanding of the world? Yes. Is his continued adherence to the quest (especially later, when he runs away from Lúthien to finish it), at enormous risk to the lives of the people who keep trying to protect him, a major character flaw? Yes!

But he didn’t manipulate the people who died for him. They made their own terrible life choices all by themselves.

Neo-Assyrian Cuneiform Tablet Telling the Legend of King Etana, 7th Century BC

Part of the library of King Ashurbanipal (r. 669-631 BC) at Nineveh, Iraq.

The story told on this tablet centers on Etana, a legendary king of the southern Mesopotamian city of Kish. The story goes like this:

An eagle has its nest in the branches of a tree while a snake nests at its base. The two animals swear an oath of friendship by Shamash, god of the sun and justice. They both raise their young, but the eagle eats the young snakes. The snake cries to Shamash who tells it to hide in the carcass of a dead wild bull. The eagle flies down to eat from the bull, but is seized by the snake, who ties its wings and throws it into a pit.

Meanwhile, Etana, a pious man, prays to Shamash for a son and the plant of life. Shamash tells Etana where to find the eagle, so that it can help him to find the plant. For seven months Etana teaches the eagle how to fly again. But the eagle is unable to find the plant, and suggests that they fly up to heaven to speak with the goddess Ishtar. Etana is frightened by the height they fly and they have to make several attempts at the journey.

We do not know whether they were successful, as unfortunately the rest of the text is missing and the end of the story is unclear. Versions of the legend are known from as early as the seventeenth century BC, but the story is certainly much older.


i loved the ot7 scenes in the I Need U MVs and the idea of surrounding yourself with people that make you happy so i made a BTS mock MV to cher lloyd’s Oath a song all about friendship and it made me have lots of ot7 feels it’s a happier version of the mv ig lol

((i also used windows movie maker so it’s choppy sorry lol i’m not a professional okAY i also reused a few scenes cause i was running out oops ignore that too lol))