Nerdanel's Sons: Prologue.
(Disclaimer: All of the characters, the main scenarios and the timelines are, of course, the wonderful creations of JRR Tolkien. Only this interpretation of the story and the mistakes are mine. All references are from The Silmarillion and HoME 1, 10 and 12.)
A/N I have taken the idea that Nolofinwë thought Fëanáro's seeming inability to father a daughter was a slur on his masculinity from the story 'Raven Hair and Silver Eyes' by Elfine, and it is used with her permission.
With thanks to Bellemaine
"Seven sons she (Nerdanel) bore to Fëanor; her mood she bequeathed in part to some of them, but not to all."
(Of Fëanor and the Unchaining of Melkor. The Silmarillion. JRR Tolkien. HarperCollins ed.p65)
Neldormindo. The first house of Curufinwë Fëanáro. Seventh Age.
I had wanted a daughter.
Ai - not to start with! I had been overcome with joy that our firstborn had been a son – and our secondborn - how else should it have been for Fëanáro and I? He wanted strong sons; I wanted not to disappoint him in any manner. But as our family grew in number I began to long for a daughter with whom I could share those aspects of my nature less easily conveyed to neri. It is true that Makalaurë was ever close to me, as was Ambarussa. Even Carnistir was more his mother's son that has oft been told. As for Maitimo – was I not in love with our firstborn from the moment I set eyes upon him? But for me there was something missing in my life that I desired. So I spoke with my husband on the matter, he being not adverse to the idea of a daughter after the birth of Tyelkormo. I believe there was a time when Fëanáro was eager at the prospect of a 'Jewel' being added to his house who might remind him of his mother. But such a matter is in the will of Ilúvatar, not the will of Fëanáro! Although we could conceive our children at times of our choosing, we could not choose their gender. So it was that, despite my hopes, each of our subsequent four children was a son.
Though I admit to most transitory feelings of disappointment, I was delighted with each child I bore. I would not have exchanged any one of them for the daughter I dreamt of. Each one was I proud of, and loved with a fierceness far beyond my usual nature.
"As a lioness are you with your young, Nerdanel," Serewen once said to me.
She was right – my sons were most precious to me. I would have fought to the end of my endurance to protect them; though I knew not then the greatest danger they would face would be from the indomitable will of their sire.
It is well known that, in due course, all of my sons were led forth by their father to carry war and vengeance against Moringotho. They were to turn their backs upon Aman and set as naught the love and care of the Valar. What is less well known is that I fought like a lioness for them - for the youngest two at the least to remain with me. But my opponent was too strong by far. What to say when it is the lion himself that the lioness must face in contest; and he wounded, wrathful, and deceived beyond reasoning with?
Now in the year 1362 Anairë and Eärwen each bore a daughter to their respective lords, while Indis had long since borne two daughters to Finwë. It was not unreasonable of me to feel again a sharp longing that Fëanáro and I should have a daughter of our own. But he was much occupied – and I was caught up in my desire to learn more of the beginning of days from the Valar, to which end I had been studying with the Maia, Elemáinë. So further years passed. I thought to put aside my wish. We were beyond the years of the children, I told myself. We each had each moved on to express our powers of body and mind in ways other than generation.
"Are not the seven sons he has given me enough?" I had pondered. "And who is to say that an eighth child would not be yet another son?"
But I felt incomplete as a mother. I could not overcome the thought that – should Fëanáro and I so will it, so focus our minds and hearts and spirits – we could yet get a daughter between us.
There came a time when I could be silent no longer. At the Great Festival of 1432, upon holy Taniquetil, I asked of my lord and husband that we again create life. Three times did I ask of him for that which I longed. At length he said: "Art thou not renowned as mother to seven sons? Let them be enough for thee! It was not without reason I named our youngest Telufinwë – for the last Finwë, the last of our children is he. I will not risk losing thee as I lost my mother. And did it not come nigh thy desire to depart of life after the birth of Curufinwë? Nay, beloved – our sons are enough."
Enough for him, mayhap – but the seven were not enough for me. When we retired to our pavilion upon the sward, that he took me in his arms, I found I could not give myself fully to the union of love.
So I spoke to him of that which I had heard whisper amongst that gathered company. To my shame I kept not the words to myself, as had been my initial intent. A last attempt thought I, and that I knew, from an unguarded moment at a gathering of the ladies of the court, that Nolofinwë had made shadowed question of Fëanáro's masculinity. Would that knowledge not aggrieve my husband that he might wish to prove his half-brother wrong, I rashly considered?
'Unlike his brothers, the eldest son of Finwë seems incapable of siring a daughter – so does it seem that his seed has failed.' Those words, though of certainty not intended for my hearing, had been repeated by one of Anairë's attendants.
Fëanáro was ominously silent upon hearing the accusation. I had never said aught that would add to his contempt of any, that he was momentarily taken aback - then he scorned the suggestion. Though in that moment's silence the familiar look of annoyance at the mention of Nolofinwë crossed his features, he sharply ridiculed the idea that he was in any way a failure.
"What said thou to those who would slur me, lady wife?" he questioned me archly.
What could I have said? I – of all folk - knew the insinuation for an utter nonsense. Fëanáro was powerful – the mightiest of the Eldar in all parts of body and mind.
"I made it known that they knew not of what they spoke, Finwion. But I would not indulge their game any further. 'Tis but a rumour put about through jealousy."
"Then treat such words with the contempt they warrant," he had stated, as if that was an end to the matter. (Though I knew it would not be. I had seen the spark of flame in his eyes.) If siring a daughter is the only matter in which my half-brothers think themselves my betters, it but demonstrates the multitude of their inadequacies. But shall I not create something of beauty and wonder that will show them all the extent of my abilities."
'A daughter', I had vainly hoped. So when he took my hand in his and again drew me close, I went to him readily - but I knew he meant something else.
Swiftly and in secret he soon worked upon that most renowned of his endeavours. He asked of me alone for aid and council in the early days of the undertaking, so that many knew him to be fully occupied on a creation of great import for most of the year of 1449 – but I was the only one who knew what it was he studied and crafted with such passion in his heart.
My lord wanted to create Jewels in which he could combine the light of Telperion and of Laurelin. I wanted us to create a daughter, in whom we could combine our love and skills.
But alas, it was never to be.
Seven sons I bore him. All seven did he eventually take from me into exile - six did his rebellion lead unto their deaths! Now, as I sit before my sculpting of their likenesses in the house of Neldormindo, that place where Fëanáro and I dwelt when first we wed, it is in my mind to record but a few brief memories of each of them, and the manner of their final parting from me.
Ai! Would that Fëanáro had given me a daughter. Sometimes do I even wish we had had seven daughters! Now would that not have taxed my husband that mayhap matters would have developed very differently. But all such speculation on my part is but pointless folly.
- - - - -
The dates of 1362 for the birth of Aredhel and Galadriel, and 1449 for Fëanor working on the Silmarils are taken from The Annuls of Aman. Morgoth's Ring J. R. R. Tolkien. Edited C. Tolkien.
Neri - Adult males Elves
Makalaurë – Maglor
Ambarussa - The twins. In this case, Amras.
Carnistir – Caranthir
Maitimo – Maedhros
Telufinwë – Father name of Amras
Curufinwë – In this case, Curufin.
Nolofinwë - Fingolfin
Finwion – Son of Finwë. Childhood name of Fëanor.
Anairë – Wife of Fingolfin.