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Minas Tirith Forums » History of Middle-earth » Felagund: Faithful or Selfish?
Author Topic: Felagund: Faithful or Selfish?
Roll of Honor Adulithien
Guard of the Citadel
Citizen # 2193

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Everything I've gathered about Felagund makes him out to be a very faithful and selfless character. I tend to agree, and admire his character quite a bit. But I also wonder why he was painted this way even in situations where his behavior seems very selfish to me.

I mainly have in mind his death.

From The Lays of Beleriand, p. 306, Synopsis II (emphasis mine):
quote:
It is Beren's turn to be devoured. But Felagund bursts his bonds and wrestles with the werewolf and slays him, but is killed. Beren is reserved for death.
Lines 2587- 91, The Lay of Leithan, spoken by Felagund:
quote:

Yet deeper of torment we should drink
knew he that son of Barahir
and Felagund were captive here,
and even worse if he should know
the dreadful errand we did go.

This passage doesn't establish anything directly about Felagund's selfishness, but it certainly indicates to me that he was afraid, and thinking about what he had to lose.

Lines 2595- 2609, Thû reminds him of this:

quote:
Twere little loss if he were dead,
the outlaw mortal. But the king,
the Elf undying many a thing
no man could suffer may endure
. ...
The wolf is hungry, the hour is nigh;
no more need Beren wait to die.

I know I'd be worried if I were Felagund. But I think my mind could rest easy knowing that I get to go on to an afterlife, which Felagund mentions fondly as he dies in lines 2633-7. It seems that he understood he had a way out of all the real torment that Thû threatened, and that is why he chose to die in Beren's place.

I see no evidence to oppose this thought, really. Yet he is called faithful for being "careless of fang or venomed wound." Seems pretty convenient to me.

And when you compare this to Beren's reaction after Felagund is dead (line 2639):

quote:
... His despair no horror has, nor fear.
... it certainly does make Felagund look selfish, and even a little cowardly, in a sense. Anyone see any opposing evidence? Thoughts?

[ 08-08-2002, 01:49 AM: Message edited by: Adulithien ]

From: Austin | Registered: May 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Hidalgo
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Dying is never easy, even if you know you are going to reincarnate. First of all, it is a test of your faith. Secondly, it was probably quite painful, like a torture. Knowing you will survive the torture doesn't make it nicer.
Finrod Felagund was a hero, not a coward.

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I am unworthy to remain a citizen of MT, so pay no heed to my words.

In Deo Spes Mea.

From: Madrid - Spain | Registered: Nov 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Roll of Honor Adulithien
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Now, I didn't say that he was an outright coward. And postulate with me for just a second-- forget that this was all a necessary plot device to carry Beren on to glory.

This aside, I think the true heroism might have been to reserve death for yourself. That's what I was getting at.

quote:
Knowing you will survive the torture doesn't make it nicer.
Precisely. Felagund was, essentially taking the easy way out. My point was not that he'd survive the torture (it's possible that he wouldn't), it was that the torture would be greater for him than it would be for Beren. Therefore, he took the fatal hit and reserved Beren for death. Death is the easy way out in this situation.

Where's the true heroism?

From: Austin | Registered: May 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Eluchil
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Well, this is a big bump but, hey ! don't dare saying naughty things about Finrod Esteldil ! [] []

I really have a problem to understand why Finrod's behaviour would be selfish ... By his oath to Barahir, he commited himself to Barahir and his kin, thus to Beren. What was his choice ? either to die first or to let Beren being killed first. Therefore, by his choice, he didn't try to escape to his oath, as it obliged him to opt for the first solution.

quote:
'I also have sworn an oath,' said Felagund, 'and I seek no release from it.'

The Grey Annals (HoMe XI).

Moreover, we know, through the Athrabeth Finrod ah Andreth, the importance of Estel, "Hope beyond hope", for Finrod, and I'm quite sure that he still had some hope that Beren could perhaps escape death (this is for me the meaning of "Beren is reserved for death", and note that it's quite not the same as "Finrod reserved him for death"). And he was right []

[ 05-02-2007, 12:42 PM: Message edited by: Eluchil ]

From: Menegroth, deep under the sea | Registered: May 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Prince Imrahil
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Rebump.

Considering that Finrod "gave up" his kingship of Nargothrond (staying would have been easier),Took a long and dangerous path, and took death upon himself (which I don't see as being the easy way out), I don't see how he could be seen as selfish. I've always seen him as one of the wiser, truer leaders of the Eldalië of those days.

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And last and proudest, Imrahil, Prince of Dol Amroth, kinsman of the lord, with gilded banners bearing his token of the Ship and the Silver Swan, and a company of knights in full harness riding grey horses...tall as lords, grey-eyed, dark-haired, singing as they came.

-Minas Tirith

From: Dor-En-Ernil, Belfalas (by way of VA) | Registered: May 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Snöwdog
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(7-year bump)

quote:
Considering that Finrod "gave up" his kingship of Nargothrond (staying would have been easier),Took a long and dangerous path, and took death upon himself (which I don't see as being the easy way out), I don't see how he could be seen as selfish. I've always seen him as one of the wiser, truer leaders of the Eldalië of those days.
I really can't see how Finrod was "selfish" but exactly the opposite. As master Prince Inrahil said, he was a wise and true leader of the Noldor, as was Galadriel his sister.
From: In the Shadows of Annuminas | Registered: Aug 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
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