Of the Flight of the Noldor
The Valar sat in council around Ezellohar, and it was revealed that the Trees had died and were beyond the healing of Yavanna. However, with the light of the Silmarils, the Trees could be healed and restored, and so the Valar asked Fëanor for the Silmarils.
Fëanor—who had not yet heard of his father’s murder—believed that he should be slain if he relinquished the light of his stones, and he refused. At that time also, news came from Formenos that Finwë had been killed and the Silmarils stolen. Fëanor was anguished over the loss of his father, and he cursed Melkor and gave him the name “Morgoth” and fled from the council of the Valar.
Meanwhile, Melkor and Ungoliant crossed the north of Aman, across the Helcaraxë, and into the north of Middle-earth. Melkor sought to escape Ungoliant, and she perceived this and stayed him, and he fed her one by one all of the treasures of Formenos—except for the Silmarils. The Silmarils had begun to burn him, but he held them away from her, until she rose against him and tried to strangle him with webs of darkness. He let forth a terrible cry then that echoed ever after in that land—called Lammoth—and it summoned from the depths of Angband the Balrogs that the Valar had failed to discover. With their whips, they broke her webs and she fled, frightened and under a cover of darkness, to Nan Dungortheb, the Valley of Dreadful Death.
Melkor made for himself an iron crown and—although they burned his hands with a pain that would never diminish—he set the Silmarils in it and ruled his armies from his throne. He raised the triple peaks of Thangorodrim and bred the evil creatures that served him.
Meanwhile, in Valinor, the Noldor returned to Tirion, and Fëanor summoned them to hear him speak, claiming the kingship of the Noldor and encouraging the Noldor to seek the lands and freedom of Middle-earth. He swore a terrible oath then, and his sons also, to pursue unrelenting anyone who kept a Silmaril from them, calling the Everlasting Darkness upon themselves if they failed to keep their oath. The House of Finwë was then divided in their allegiance, with some speaking against Fëanor and others eager to be gone.
Most of the Noldorin people also wanted to be gone and would not be persuaded by Finarfin to think more on their decision. Fëanor hastened them, fearing that time would cool the angry flames that drove them—fearing also the intervention of the Valar—but the Valar, aggrieved, were silent.
The majority of the Noldorin people refused to renounce Fingolfin as king, though, and so they went forth divided into two hosts with Fingolfin’s the larger. Fingolfin did not wish to go, but he was urged by his son Fingon and would not desert his people nor leave them to Fëanor, and before the throne of Manwë, he had made the promise to follow Fëanor’s lead and was now bound to it. Finarfin followed for the same reasons as Fingolfin, but he was most loathing to depart. Roughly ten percent of the Noldor remained in Tirion for various reason, none of them cowardice.
As the Noldor prepared to depart, Manwë at last sent a herald who cautioned the Noldor to stay behind—portending only tragedy on their road—and exiling Fëanor (again). Fëanor spoke again to the Noldor, asking them to find joy and freedom since Valinor had proven such a disappointment in both regards. To the herald, he said that—even if he could not destroy Melkor—he would not sit idle in his grief. So potent were the words of Fëanor that the herald bowed before him and the Noldor left Tirion.
Fëanor knew that he needed ships to follow Melkor to Middle-earth, and he tried to persuade the Teleri to join the Noldor in rebellion. But Olwë refused the use of the Telerin ships, and when the Noldor tried to take them by force, the first kinslaying resulted, and many Telerin mariners were slain. As the Noldor sailed northward, the seas rose against them and some were lost, but most made it to the wastes of Araman in the far north of Aman.
There, the Doom of the Noldor was spoken by Mandos, but Fëanor persisted in his quest for Middle-earth, although his half-brother Finarfin turned back and received the pardon of the Valar and became the High King of the Noldor in Tirion.
Those Noldor who kept their road arrived then at the Helcaraxë—the grinding ice—and had the choice of two roads: by ship or across the ice. There were not enough ships for all of the Noldor, but none wanted to be left behind while others went first, and the first fear of treachery awakened. Fëanor and his sons then took all who were loyal to them and stole the ships in the night, leaving Fingolfin and his people behind, arriving in Middle-earth at the firth of Drengist.
Fëanor then gave order to burn the ships, and only his eldest son Maedhros stood aside in loyalty to his great friendship with Fingon. Across the sea, Fingolfin’s people could see the red light on the clouds and knew they’d been betrayed. Not wishing to return to Tirion, they decided to brave the Helcaraxë. Many were lost on this journey, but the people of Fingolfin greatly wished to again meet the people of Fëanor.