Bird Families

About the withering elves

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Corrected the inaccuracy and added a piece about Dagor Dagorat :)

The image of Aeolus was introduced by Tolkien into his legendarium quite early (it appears in The Lost Tales), it was subjected to multiple revisions and was never completely finished. The last texts relating to Aeolus date from Christopher 1971.

"The name Aeolus never meant anything," it's "just a name," like the exclamation "ele!"

In Lost Tales, a character named Arval (later replaced by Aeolus) from the House of the Mole appears for the first time. This dwarf loved Isfin, the daughter of Fingolma. He is strong and respected by Fingolma (Finwe Nolame) and the sons of Feanor (who is not Finwe's son yet). He is related to the sons of Feanor, the leader of the Miners. However, he is not very fond of (apparently those who care little about stones) and Isfin rejects him (“abhorrent”). However, somehow miraculously, they have a son, Maglin, who is described in The Fall of Gondolin. How he appeared, what happened to his parents is unknown.
It is also unclear where Arval-Aeol lived - it is not at all obvious from the text.
So, here we have the motive of a miner, a leader, a strong personality, which, however, we do not like. What, by the way, is the reason for this dislike is, again, unclear. Christopher writes that this passage was apparently written before the creation of the story of Maglin and the fall of Gondolin. In the future, the whole motive goes to Maglin - it is he who becomes the leader of the miners, hopelessly in love with the royal daughter.
Then Aeolus appears in a new guise - as a Dark Elf from the "dark forest". He becomes such in volumes three and four of the History of Middle-earth (Tolkien had this version in mind in the fifth volume as well). Aeolus is a Dark Elf, a "homeless" living in some dark forest because the light of the stars was dearer to him than the sun and moon. This forest was called differently - now Doriath, now Taur-nu-Fuin. Aeolus was "of a very somber disposition and left the Eldar army on the eve of the Battle of Untold Tears." Fingolfin's wife and his daughter Isfin got lost in this forest. When this happened, it's hard to say, Tolkien was inclined to think that it was immediately after the Battle of Untold Tears (it was there that Fingolfin died, "his blood was drunk by the glamhoth blades"). Although it is possible that Isfin got lost there on her own, leaving Gondolin, by then founded. In the future, nothing is said about Isfin's mother. Eol saw Isfin herself, and, attracted by her white radiance (clothes?), Enchanted her, left her in his gloomy forest. It is said about some kind of "magic trap" in which Aeolus caught Isfin.
There Isfin gave birth to a son, Eol Maglin. In the original texts for this version, Isfin sends his son to Gondolin Gondobar, while she herself remains with Eol (I wonder how she managed to send her son to the Noldor?). In the future, the version becomes somewhat more logical - Eol got lost in the forest where they lived (Taur-nu-Fuin), taking advantage of his absence, Isfin and Maglin fled to Gondolin.
As you can see, Aeolus lost his abilities as a miner, moved to another people of elves - from the Noldor dwarves to the Dark Elves, acquired an exclusive desire for darkness, became a loner from the "leader". Love for Isfin still does not find an answer - apparently, he kept her there by force.
Later texts, from volume 11, "Maeglin" and "Quendi and Eldar" again paint us a radically changed picture.
At first, the fate of Aeolus repeats itself - in the rejected piece of "Annals of Balariand" about Aeolus it is said that he lived in the dark forest of Brethil, yearned for the times when there was neither the Sun nor the Moon, and “did not participate in the affairs of his people”. That is, we see the same Dark Elf hermit as before. But then everything changes.
There is no complete clarity about the origin of Aeolus. He is either an Avar from the "second people", from which the Noldor are descended, or a Teler (a relative of Thingol? - Tolkien's note to the text "Maeglin"), and always an ardent hater of the Noldor.His hatred is explained not by personal motives, but by the psychology of all the accidents - they did not like the "departed" and considered them traitors. He still loves the stars and darkness more than the light of the luminaries. Aeolus departs from Doriath, from the Forest of the Region, where he lived, when he is covered by the Veil of Melian. But now he is a skilled blacksmith. It is even said that Aeolus was superior to the elves of Aman in skill, especially in the forging of swords.
Here a version appears that Aeolus was captured by the orcs and taken to Angband when he wandered outside Doriath. According to this version, it was there that Eol's "talents" were turned to the benefit of blacksmithing. There is a version that his swords were so good because when making Aeolus he used morgul, the enchantment of the Enemy. True, the stated version is immediately rejected and it is said that Aeolus learned blacksmithing skills from the dwarves. About the captivity in Angband it is also said that Aeolus was a skilled craftsman and was in Angband "in honor", therefore he walked there more freely than the rest of the captives. He eventually escaped and settled in the forest of Nan Elmot. Morgoth knew all this, he used such "fugitives" for his own purposes. Apparently, Eola too. Later, Tolkien rejected the version of the capture of Aeolus.
In Nan Elmoth (the meeting place of Melian and Thingol, where the tallest and thickest forests of Balariand grew) Aeolus settled with the consent of Thingol, giving the sword Anglahel for the right of ownership of the forest (after all, the king of Sindar loved tzatski! Either he was an artifact sword, then a Stone ...) , gave it "with great reluctance." Here the motive of the "magic sword" appears, in "The Silmarillion" Melian says that "the evil soul of its creator" lives in this sword. That is, this is another (and if we take into account that there were two twin swords, then two) objects, the magical properties of which are strongly determined by the soul of the creator. The level of the Silmarilles and the Ring of Power turns out ...
Aeolus makes friends with the dwarves - they reveal to him the secrets of the blacksmith's craft. Aeolus is on holidays in the gnomish cities - Nogrod and Balagost. Moreover, it is indicated that after the dwarves of Balagost began to make friends with Caranthir, the son of Feanor, Aeolus stopped going to them (you cannot be friends with the Noldor and Aeol at the same time!). The motive of friendship with the gnomes also has a "generic" rationale - the Avari often converged with the Naugrim people.
A certain "people" also appears. One version says that Aeolus was one of the Avars, who rejected the call of the Valar, but later came to Balariand, at the insistence of "many of their people." Aeolus acquires "servants" who live in his house, own a blacksmith business, and keep an eye on Isfin (who takes the name Aredel) and Maeglin. This is somewhat reminiscent of the first version with the "leader of the miners" ...
Aeolus, as a blacksmith, is also famous for the invention of a special metal - strong, but flexible, from which it is good to make armor. True, except on Aeolus, armor made of glyndur is not marked anywhere. The name of the metal changes several times, the version holds for quite a long time that the son of Eol was named after this metal, because he looked like him, in the future Tolkien leaves this version (which is a pity, the blacksmith who calls his son the name of the metal he invented is a wonderful motive, IMHO. ).
In Quendi and Eldar, it is said that Aeolus took Aredhel to his wife by force, which is "an extremely bad act in the eyes of the Eldar." But the later "Maeglin" says that although Aeolus "lured" Aredel, however, there is a motive for the voluntariness of this alliance - "nowhere is it said that Aredhel remained in Nan Elmoth against her will." However, tired of the dark forests, Aredhel and Maeglin flee to Gondolin. And first they go to Kelegorm and Kurufin, take especially fast horses from them and ask them to detain Eol. This is what Kurufin is doing (and the text says about it with positive intonations). But Aeolus, escaping under the cover of night, continues to chase ...
In Maeglin it is said that the elves did not even use the poisoned weapon to hunt the creatures of the Enemy and were greatly ashamed of what Aeolus did (however, later the elves of Nargothrond did the same).Although in the same place (and in "Quendi and Eldar") it is said that the Dark Elves were generally not very kind, and Aeolus does not really stand out among them. Tolkien commemorates Saeros, one of the Doriatic Nandor, killed by Turin ...
Thus, the latest versions make Aeol a magic blacksmith (a motif repeatedly used by Tolkien - Feanor, Calabrimbor, Sauron ...), a gloomy inhabitant of the darkest forests of Balariand, capable of various "meanness" towards the Noldor, but by no means a hermit.

In The Silmarillion, Aeolus becomes a sindar, a relative of Ella Thingol, and the characteristic “Dark Elf” becomes not a generic name, but a personal nickname - Aeol was so nicknamed for his dislike of the luminaries. The hatred of the Noldor also receives a different justification: Aeolus, like many Sindar, blamed them for disturbing the peace of Balariand, for bringing war to peaceful lands, for the return of Morgoth. He lived in Nan Elmoth, in the darkness and twilight of this forest (for the right of ownership which he gave Anglahel, a sword made of "heavenly iron" that cuts through any iron forged on the earth. Later Maya Melian warns Beleg Kutalion that this black sword lives "evil the soul of its creator "). Aeolus "loved the dwarfs more than all the elves of antiquity." Thus, here, too, the generic characteristic becomes personal.
A curious detail, from Aeolus "the dwarves learned about many things that happened in the lands of the Eldar", which suggests that Aeolus was not such a hermit. Mentioned and his "servants, secretive and silent, like their master." Aeolus also sought to make the dwarves and the Noldor quarrel, which he "partially succeeded" (an echo of the difference between Nogrod and Belegost?).
Aeolus is described as being "bent" from constant blacksmithing, but a stately and handsome, albeit gloomy elf of a noble family.
Seeing Aredhel Ar-Fainiel, the White Maiden of the Noldor, Aeolus "desired" her and, entangling her with enchantments, led her to his dwelling in the depths of Nan Elmoth. Moreover, Aredhel remained in Nan Elmot voluntarily, and "nowhere is it said that life there was hateful to her."
And only when the son of Aredel and Eol, the sharp-eyed Maeglin, grew up, the princess of the Noldor fled to Gondolin, to her brother Turgon, along with her son. It is also said that Maeglin at the same time "stole" another father's treasure - the sword of Anguriel, the twin brother of Anglahel. Aeolus follows them and enters the hidden Gondolin.
There, Eol refuses to recognize the laws of the Noldor hated by him, kills Aredhel with a poisoned dagger (early version - a dart) and curses his son.
So, we see that the history of Aeolus in The Silmarillion has undergone changes in the direction of greater individualization, the gloomy "magic blacksmith" now does not like the Noldor, but loves the gnomes for personal, not ancestral reasons. Eol from the Dark Elf finally turns into Sindar, Thingol's kinsman, and the motive of violence leaves his marriage with Aredal. All this together undoubtedly makes the image of Aeolus more noble. Although the murder of Aredel and the curse of his son are, of course, the deeds of a "dark elf".

By the way, in a number of prophecies about the Last Battle, Dagor Dagorat, it is said that Turin will come out to it with his black sword and "will avenge all the sufferings of the children of Hurin on Morgoth." It is not entirely clear whether he will kill Morgoth or take part in the killing together with Eonwe, but he will do this with the Black Sword - Anglahel, made by Aeolus the Dark Elf.

Sources:

The Silmarillion. Ainulindale. Chapter 1. About the beginning of days. Chapter 11. About the sun, the moon and the concealment of Valinor. Chapter 12. About people. About the Rings of Power and the Third Age.
Tolkien's letters # 131, 186, 212.
History of Middle-earth. Volume 10. Annals of Haman. The story of Finwe and Míriel. The laws and customs of the Eldar. Late history of Finwe and Míriel. Speeches by Finrod and Andret. Myths transformed.

The author of the article is Elvenstar.

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