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Old 05-08-2007, 01:55 PM   #1
Celebdil
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Oath of Feanor

I'm curious how people here picture the scene in Valinor when Feanor and his sons swear the oath. Now I've only read the Sil so maybe Tolkien gives more description of this in other works.

#1 - The way I sort of picture it is basically Feanor is giving his epic speech and then starts swearing the oath. My best guess for what happens next is his sons wait for him to finish and then they leap to his side and swear the same oath. The reason is that he probably didn't announce "Ok I'm going to start swearing an oath" to let his sons know they should do it with him.

#2 - The alternative is that his sons would realize he's swearing an oath and then jump to his side right away and swear it at the same time. But of course they wouldn't know what words he'd use so if this happened they'd have to stagger it - like let Feanor say a sentence, then repeat it etc - but it seems to me this is the more unlikely scenario. It'd probably be easiest to let him finish then have all the sons repeat it at once. Plus if his sons were swearing it at the same time, they wouldn't even know what they were swearing to until they did it - it would be more logical for them to wait so that they knew exactly what they were swearing to.

For a second question, if a movie is ever made of the Sil how would you all like this scene to be handled? Scenario #1, while imo the most likely to have happend, would be bad for a movie because the audience wouldn't want to sit through the same oath twice. But I'm not sure scenario #2 would flow very well on film either....so what do you all think?

Here's a copy of the oath that I found online

Quote:
"Be he foe or friend, be he foul or clean,
brood of Morgoth or bright Vala.
Elda or Maia or Aftercomer,
Man yet unborn upon Middle-earth,
neither law, nor love, nor league of swords,
dread nor danger, not Doom itself,
shall defend him from Fëanor, and Fëanor's kin,
whoso hideth or hoardeth, or in hand taketh,
finding keepeth or afar casteth,
a Silmaril. This swear we all:
death we will deal him ere Day's ending,
woe unto world's end! Our word hear thou,
Eru Allfather! To the everlasting
Darkness doom us if our deed faileth.
On the holy mountain hear in witness
And our vow remember, Manwë and Varda!"
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Old 05-08-2007, 02:42 PM   #2
Anguirel
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Here's the version the Silmarillion film project I used to work with came up with. Not written by me, I just did minor editing...it's a bit uncanonical, but interesting for comparison, I hope...

[Deafening cry from the crowd. Many of them draw their own swords]
Fëanor: War he shall have, and hatred undying! And we will defeat him! We will conquer! We will regain the Silmarils, and then we and we alone shall be lords of the unsullied Light, and masters of the bliss and beauty of Arda. No other race shall oust us!
[Caranthir leaps up onto the steps beside his father, sword flickering red]
Caranthir: Be he elf, or orc, or demon foul of Morgoth Bauglir…
[Celegorm and Curufin leap up to join him]
Caranthir, Celegorm, Curufin: Be he Mortal dark that in after days on Earth shall dwell…
[Amrod and Amras step up to join them]
Caranthir, Celegorm, Curufin, Amrod, Amras: Shall no law, nor love, nor league of swords…
[Maedhros steps up to join them]
Sons of Fëanor except Maglor: No might, nor mercy…
[Maglor joins in from the crowd]
Sons of Fëanor: Not moveless fate, defend him forever from the fierce vengeance of the Sons of Fëanor, whoso seize, or steal, or finding keep the fair enchanted globes of crystal whose glory dies not, the Silmarils. We have sworn forever!
Amrod: In Eru's name we swear!
Amras: The Everlasting Dark be upon us if we keep not our oath!
Caranthir: Manwë and Varda we name in witness, on their hallowed mountain of Taniquetil!
Sons of Fëanor: The Silmarils are ours until the end of Time!
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Old 05-08-2007, 04:05 PM   #3
Celebdil
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In that version, Feanor himself doesn't swear the oath!
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Old 05-09-2007, 03:08 AM   #4
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I think it's logical, as you said, that they'd swear only after they heard it. If I were making a film, I'd probably use the oath you posted here (or similar) and then the Sons will just step in and in a soldier-like way say: "This we swear!" Or something like that (in which way, Fëanor would probably first end his speech in words: "So I swear" and they'd echo it)
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Old 05-09-2007, 05:41 AM   #5
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Ah! One of my favourite scenes of the Silmarillion.

I read it the same way Legate does. Feanor swears his oath, and then his sons leap to his side and repeat it.

However, this is a pivotal scene of the whole Silmarillion, and in a movie, it would need to be treated with great care, to make the audience aware of its significance. Ideally, it would be one of the most tense scene of the whole film, even though, in the end, it's just spoken words.

The repetition of the oath of course strongly works against the tension, I would say. I think I would use an option similar to what Celebdil suggest in 2). After finishing his speech, Feanor draws his sword and his sons leap to his side and do so as well. The red light of the torches is shown to be reflected in the blades and makes them look altogether red. Then Feanor starts speaking the oath, but without the interruptions needed so that his sons can repeat it one by one. I would use voiceover to "merge" the oath and its repetition, so that after Feanor says a line, his sons seem to quietly "echo" it (I would use a shortened version of the one you propose, Celebdil, I think it's a little too long to be effective on screen). It won't be an easy task for the director to capture the feelings of the seven while they say the words, which are very important. The last shot would be of Fingolfin grinding his teeth and being ready to speak against his half-brother in front of the crowd.

The unfortunate thing about the SFP's version is that, as Celebdil has pointed out already, it's not Feanor who speaks the oath. This takes away the initiative from Feanor, which I think is not a good thing to do.
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Old 05-09-2007, 07:03 AM   #6
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Well, I think in the film, it would be nice to have, inspired by Mac, the Sons repeating the Oath and it echoing through, it would be that slow camera-rotation scene over the faces of all the Sons with each his own specific facial expression - this would be possibly the best scene for the audience to find each Son's personality in the vast flow of names they are otherwise - and all this merging of scenes, fading in of faces slowly repeating the oath at the same time, you know what I mean? We could now see the reluctance of Maedhros, a little pale face of Maglor, eagerness of Celegorm, passion of Curufin, dark, impenetrable look of Caranthir, the faces of the twins, reflecting the flame...
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Old 06-02-2007, 04:26 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Celebdil
But of course they wouldn't know what words he'd use so if this happened they'd have to stagger it - like let Feanor say a sentence, then repeat it etc
I believe there is a solution to this; in the Osanwe-kenta essay, Pengolodh talks about three causes that may strengthen the power of thought-transmission:
Quote:
Affinity may be due to kinship; for this may increase the likeness of hroa to hroa, and so of the concerns and modes of thought of the indwelling fear, kinship is also normally accompanied by love and sympathy. Affinity may come simply from love and friendship, which is likeness or affinity of fea to fea.

Urgency is imparted by great need of the "sender" (as in joy, grief or fear); and if these things are in any degree shared by the "receiver" the thought is the clearer received.

Authority
may also lend force to the thought of one who has a duty towards another, or of any ruler who has a right to issue commands or to seek the truth for the good of others.
I believe that it is possible for Feanor to impart the oath to his sons through "sanwe-latya", since he seems to have all the 'good' circumstances working for him (he is their father, ruler of the house, and the 'need' factor is also there). Thus, they may have spoken it in unison, although my personal reading of this passage from "Of the flight of the Noldor" doesn't lead me to this conclusion.
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