Fëanor: hero who freed the Noldor or cruel kinslaying monster?
Y’all do know that this question is a major reason why I joined the Silmarillion fandom TEN freaking years ago??!! Ten years that I’ve spent doing various things surrounding my answer to this question???
(Okay, I was actually thrilled to see this question here and have been looking forward to it since I decided to do this challenge. I’ll try not to write a book in answering it, and if I do, I promise to use a Read More to spare those of you who have heard it all before.)
The first. I most certainly do NOT think that he was a “cruel kinslaying monster.” I think that’s an oversimplification that seems to largely miss the point of his story.
First of all, let’s look at the context of Fëanor’s actions. His situation was pretty sucky in a lot of ways. There is the huge fact that he lost his mom, but even more importantly than that, he lost his mom IN AMAN. It is bad enough to lose a parent; it is extra-sucky to lose a parent in a place that also answers to the name “Deathless Realm” where everyone is frolicking around all the time telling you that you should be happy to live there where no one dies and seems oblivious to the fact that your effing mother has just died there. In Aman. Oh, and it’s not a well-kept secret that you were partly to fault for her death.
Finwë and the Valar, in my opinion, dropped the ball early in the game with Fëanor. Finwë remarrying so quickly (fifteen years, according to the Annals of Aman, which must have seemed like a blink to Fëanor) with the express wish of wanting more children and the Valar bending the rules to let it happen could not have helped Fëanor’s situation. One can perhaps excuse the Valar for their lack of experience with grief among the Children of Ilúvatar, but Finwë—coming from Cuiviénen where both death and grief were certainly realities—really should have known better.
(Using a Read More here because I did go on quite a bit and on topics, like kinslaying, that some people would rather avoid … :^/)