Of the Coming of Men into the West

Finrod Felagund was the first of the Elves to discover Men, in the forests of Ossiriand. Drawn by the light of their fires and then their singing, he watched them long—the people of Bëor—and felt affection for them. When they were asleep, he walked among them and took up Bëor’s harp, playing music upon it like none they’d ever heard. The Men awoke and listened to the song, and it spoke to each individually of the making of the world and the Valar beyond the sea, and the followers of Bëor grew wiser in hearing it and took Felagund as their lord, ever after loyal to the House of Finarfin.

Felagund could perceive the meaning of the Men’s strange language in their thoughts, and soon, he could hold converse with Bëor. But Bëor knew little of his people’s origins and did not wish to return, even in thought, to the dark past they’d left on the other side of the Blue Mountains. Morgoth, ever desiring to ruin that which was new, had come among the first Men and sought to turn them against the Eldar, but fearing the strength of the Elves in the north, he'd left before his errand was wholly complete. The Eldar perceived the shadow of this past even among those Men that they counted as friends, much as the Kinslaying and Doom of Mandos had cast a shadow upon the Noldor.

Felagund learned from Bëor that the Men were many in numbers and that others were crossing or waiting to cross the mountains. Perturbed by the presence of the Men in their lands and dismayed by the trees they cut and beasts that they killed, the Green Elves asked Felagund to encourage them to move on, so they traveled to the lands of Amrod and Amras, in a realm afterward known as Estolad. Bëor, though, asked leave to accompany Felagund to Nargothrond and lived the rest of his days as Felagund’s vassal, never returning to Estolad.

The other Men crossed the Blue Mountains shortly thereafter: The Haladin dwelt in Thargelion and the people of Marach lived close to Bëor’s people, and they became close in friendship. The Elves—curious about the Second People, came often to see them and named them “Edain,” and they were welcomed by High King Fingolfin and given leave to dwell in the realms of the Noldor. Many Men served the Elves or migrated into their realms.

King Thingol of Doriath, though, had dreamt of the coming of Men and believed that it portended trouble. He ordered that none should come to Doriath—even of Bëor’s house—and decreed that the Noldorin princes whom they served would be responsible for their actions. But Melian foretold to Galadriel that one of Bëor’s house would indeed come to Doriath, and the songs that sprang from that event would outlast the changing of the world.

Some Men, though, doubted the wisdom of uniting with the Eldar in the war against Morgoth, namely Bereg of the house of Bëor and Amlach of the house of Marach. Many were dismayed that the light of the gods that they’d desired was beyond their reach, on the other side of the sea, and Bereg argued that the war should be left to the deathless Elves. Another spoke then who was believed to be Amlach, saying that the Elves had beguiled the Men with tales of light and gods and a dark lord in the north, desiring to hold the Men in thrall. There were no gods, no Valinor, and the war in the north was fabricated by the Elves. Those who listened fell into fear and vowed to depart far from the Eldar.

But Amlach later claimed to have made no such speech, and the proof of a dark lord was then his, and he had reason for quarrel with Morgoth, who he called “Master of Lies,” and he journey north and entered the service of Maedhros. Bereg’s people and those of Amlach’s people who did not wish to stay journeyed back over the Blue Mountains into Eriador and were forgotten.

During this time, the Haladin remained content in Thargelion. Morgoth, seeing that he could not sunder the Elves and Men, sent an Orc-raid to the Haladin, and the strongest and most courageous among them, Haldad, built a stockade at the river to save as many of the women and children as he could. Haldad was killed as the battle lost hope with his son beside him, and his daughter Haleth held the people together. As the Orcs broke through the barricade, the people of Caranthir arrived and saved the Haladin from destruction. Caranthir, seeing the courage of Men, offered Haleth and her people free lands in his realm and their protection, but she and her people were proud and sought independence, leaving then for Estolad and finally crossing in great peril and with significant loss the treacherous road north of Doriath, into the Forest of Brethil.

The Forest of Brethil belonged to King Thingol, but Felagund persuaded him—knowing the hardship the people of Haleth had faced—to allow them to remain and guard the Crossings of Teiglin. Other groups of Men dwelt with the Elves and learned much of them, but the lords of the Eldar felt that the Men were best ruled by their own leaders and gave them realms to be self-governed, though some remained in service of the Elves. Most notable of these Men were Hador, who was given by Fingolfin rule over Dor-lómin, and Boromir of the house of Bëor, who ruled Dorthonion.

During the height of friendship between Elves and Men, Morgoth was strongly restrained, for the Men did not fear going into the cold north and keeping watch of his activities. Men did great deeds in the battles against Morgoth, and lived longer and grew wiser upon arrival in Beleriand. The Elves, though, were puzzled and dismayed when they learned of death, for their lore said nothing of it and what lay beyond life for Men was not theirs to see.

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