In this new biweekly series, we’ll be exploring the evolution of both major and minor figures in Tolkien’s legendarium, tracing the transformations of these characters through drafts and early manuscripts through to the finished work. This installment is the first of a two-part look at the Noldorin weaver and historian, Míriel.
Míriel is probably best known as the mother of that most infamous of the Noldor—Fëanor, whose rash mistakes pretty much ruined Middle-earth for… well, everyone. But who was she? What role did she play in the fashioning of Arda and the troubled history of the First Age?
The Silmarillion records only the barest details about Míriel. One early mention casts her as simply “the mother of Fëanor” (60). A few pages later, the narrator points out in passing that “Fëanor” was the mother-name (63), the name Míriel gave him, before we even get a proper introduction.