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When the Elves were born they didn't know what they were. They looked up at the stars and listened to the water. After a long time, they learned to speak and gave themselves a name. One of them met a Maia, Melian, who probably didn't mean to put a spell on him that caused thousands of years to pass in an exchange of glances. It wasn't anyone's fault; it's just something that happens. It'll probably happen again. Meanwhile, everyone back at camp is wondering where he went, and after hours or days searching the woods or waiting they finally have to decide whether to move on or stay. Some of them move on and some of them stay. Decades later, maybe centuries, he shows up changed, with an enchantress for a wife and the light of Aman in his face. So it goes.

We're down to non-elemental characters now, and the pace is picking up accordingly. Feanor has been born and grown up and made the Silmarils, apparently the best jewels of all time. How did he make them? Were they actually in the ground at some point, or was there some kind of alchemy involved? No one knows. No one's even totally sure what they are, and now no one will know. But they're great and everyone is fascinated by them because even in a world where the art of character description is seriously hindered by how ridiculously beautiful everyone and everything is all the time, the Silmarils have a hypnotic, soul-drenching beauty like nothing else on Earth. Melkor lusts after and hates them, just like he lusts after and hates every damn thing, only more so, and now that he's wrangled himself a release from God Prison on good behavior, he's channeling all his efforts into getting at them and making trouble for Feanor and co.. Will this end well? Probably not.

I got a little misty-eyed when Galadriel turned up in the genealogical lists (her father is one of the half-brothers of Feanor, which will probably be relevant soon). Not for anything particular about the passage where she's named; it's just that I like Galadriel and she has a hell of a long life ahead of her. How many times is the world going to end on her watch? How many people is she going to outlive? Mortality is a gift mortals can't hope to appreciate. There are mortals now, by the way -- or at least there are going to be, pretty soon. Melkor is trying to make the Elves resent them before they even show up. Melkor, I've said it before and I'll say it again: you really need to relax.

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