Tolkien Gateway

Statute of Finwë and Míriel

"...there is much else that may be told." — Glóin
This article or section is a stub. Please help Tolkien Gateway by expanding it.

The Statute of Finwë and Míriel was a judgment made by the Valar concerning Elvish marriage. This ruling would ultimately have a major effect upon the history of the Noldor and the Children of Ilúvatar in general.

[edit] History

Finwë, the first High King of the Noldor, and his wife Míriel Serindë had a child named Fëanor. Unfortunately, the strain of bearing Fëanor caused Míriel to become weary and die. She left her body and went to the Halls of Mandos. For a while Finwë was patient with her, but eventually he became deeply saddened by her absence. He also wished to have more children. Míriel continually refused to return to life, however, so Finwë went to the Valar for help.

[edit] The Statute

Unfortunately, Finwë's petition proved very difficult to aid, because the Valar knew that it was against the design of Eru for the Elves to marry more than once. Míriel's death itself, moreover, was a quite abnormal event in a blessed land like Aman, and the Valar were perturbed both by it and her refusal to return.

Manwë, after hearing Finwë's request, thus asked Mandos to make an official ruling on what should happen to Elvish marriages marred by death. Mandos answered that if the dead spouse declared his or her intention never to return to life as long as the world lasted, then the living spouse could remarry. However, a waiting period of no fewer than ten Valian years would have to occur between the dead spouse's declaration and the official severance of the marriage, in order to allow the dead individual a chance to change his or her mind.

Remarriage could only occur in this manner because, if the dead spouse returned to life and found his or her partner remarried, strife would result. Furthermore, because Elvish males and females were equal, the simultaneous union of one to more than one of the opposite sex was seen as unnatural. Because marriage was chiefly a union of the body, remarriage could occur only if one of the spouses was unbodied, and intended to remain so until the end of time (since marriage was supposed to be a life-long union). Since it was deemed wrong for the living spouse to constrain the dead one to remain unbodied, the living could not remarry unless the dead permitted them to.

As the story goes Finwë remarries to Indis, so it is assumed that Míriel consented to his remarriage.