When Feanor’s half-brothers were born, he said that he loathed them. He professed intense dislike for them and their mother, yet they tried to love him, but he could not reciprocate. His brothers always found it difficult to get along with Feanor. When his half-brothers had children of their own, Feanor openly stated that he disliked their offspring too, yet when he had dealings with his nieces and nephews personally, he always spoke kindly to them and treated them well. His father Finwe knew that while Feanor insisted that he did not care for his half-brothers’ children, that meant that he did not like the idea of them since he was still very sensitive about his mother’s death, an occurrence that no other Elf had ever experienced, and his father’s remarriage. His pain was too raw. He would rather have remained an only child and his father to remain true to his mother’s memory.
When Galadriel was just a little girl she would often enter Feanor’s forge, bringing him her dolls and toys that were broken and he would fix them for her. “Uncle Feanor”, she would say in her tiny voice, “Maressa is broken. Can you fix her?” And Feanor would stop his work, wipe his hands, bend down solicitously and look at her doll. Then he would take it tenderly from her, examine it carefully with his sensitive hands, and then put it back together again so that it was once more perfect. Galadriel always relied on his skill when she needed it, but she never grew interested in learning his craft, preferring her books and her quiet ways of learning lore and magic. She was always aloof and did not speak much to Feanor when she grew older, but he liked her regardless, and of all his brothers’ many children, he was most fond of Galadriel.
As she grew older; however, Galadriel developed a dislike of Feanor and stopped coming to the forge to ask for his help in fixing her things. He presumed that she had grown too old for toys then, but he retained a fondness for her and as the years drew closer to the year of her majority he admired her for her grace and beauty as well as her intelligence and air of mystery. He was disappointed, though, that she had not developed an interest in craft and metalwork. This disappointment had occurred many times before for Feanor, as none of his sons save for Curufin had been interested in following Feanor’s line of work.
Feanor’s brow glistened in the light of the fire as he bent over his handiwork. His dark, slender eyebrows knit themselves together in a frown as he was casually concentrating on the narrow silver letters that he was fashioning as an elaborate present for his father. His mind wandered as he worked, and his thoughts fell upon Nerdanel, the wife with whom he had shared such a passionate life, but who had left him.
Nerdanel had borne him seven sons and then could not bear to be with him any longer. His father had remarried, and Feanor cared not much for his father’s new wife and her two sons. He preferred his own company, and worked tirelessly at his forge, day and night, day after day, and the years wore away. The second most important woman in his life had left him now, and he threw himself into his art with all his passion.
When he had been young he devised a new alphabet, the letters of which were exquisitely formed, and he now wished to give Finwe a gift of each letter fashioned out of silver, studded with jewels and crystals, laid inside a gold casket that he had also made. He wished to present this alphabet to Finwe for his begetting day.
He was, at the same time, working on a method of melting crystals of various gems to mix together and possibly create a new type of jewel. The fire of the forge was growing extremely hot as he wished to get the temperature as high as possible. Feanor shrugged out of his heavy shirt as the heat was becoming far too uncomfortable for him to keep it on.
The musculature of his lean physique stood out as if etched in marble. Although he was slender, as the Elves were, Feanor also possessed great strength from his work in the smithy, which had given him strong arm and shoulder muscles. One could sense the physical power in him, the muscles in his smooth, sculpted chest tensing and relaxing alternately as he worked. Despite the ferocity of the heat, he did not sweat profusely, but rather his skin gleamed in the firelight as if spread with fine oil. He looked up for a moment as someone entered the forge, and his dark eyes glinted intensely as he regarded the newcomer. He put up an arm to release his black hair from the band holding it tied behind his head, and shook out the long, raven-black strands, which fell about his glistening shoulders and stuck there, as silk to the corn.
“Good day to you, Feanor”, Galadriel greeted him.
Feanor regarded her carefully. He was somewhat surprised to see her in his forge, as she always seemed to have a measure of disdain for him and his work. He wiped his hands on a cloth that he had tucked into the waistband of his breeches.
“Welcome to my place of work, Niece”, he replied. He always encouraged Galadriel’s company, and treated her as an equal to himself. No one knew why he did this, but many thought, and spoke openly, of his wife's departure many years before, and not one of the people who knew Feanor was unaware of the depth of his hurt over her abandonment of him. People became curious when they saw Feanor seeking out Galadriel's companionship on a frequent basis. When Galadriel grew to her full majority and stature she was an imposing figure, possessed of wisdom and insight beyond even that of Feanor. She was taller than most other Elves, either male or female, and she was more beautiful than many. Her hair was of a previously unseen shade of gold mingled with silver as if she had captured the light of the two trees and had set it within the strands of her tresses. Perhaps Feanor felt a stronger kinship with her than with other members of his family because of her wisdom, her strength and her beauty, that his own all but matched. Many, including Galadriel's own immediate family thought that Feanor's interest was kindled because he felt himself to be in competition with her for people's admiration. For he had always been the best, the brightest and the most beautiful, but once Galadriel had reached her majority it was obvious that she was on her way to possibly overtaking Feanor’s position as the greatest of the Noldor.
If anyone had asked Feanor why he was obsessed with her; however, and if he had replied truthfully, seeking the true reason from within his soul, he would probably have replied that it was not that he was jealous of Galadriel for being the greatest, but it was that he wished to possess the best. Although no one else’s creative skills were comparable to his, Galadriel’s skills lay in certain aspects of magic and sorcery, two subjects that intensely interested her, and she possessed keen insight. But it was perhaps to put him on a more even footing with her. Although he was older than she, in the Elvish scheme of things, the age difference mattered little. “I shall not trouble you by staying long”, Galadriel said. She spoke in an aloof tone to Feanor as always, and if one did not know them, it would have been assumed that Galadriel was the elder of the two.
Feanor laughed, as her tone was of such haughty disdain that he wondered why she had come at all.
“Why do you laugh at me?” she asked. “I have not said anything to cause amusement”.
“And I suspect that you never will”, he replied.
She tossed her head haughtily then, her gaze traveling upward to the ceiling beams as if she wished to look at anything except Feanor, and then she looked back down to pierce Feanor with her cold blue gaze. Her silvery-golden hair fell down her back, cascading in curls, which glinted coldly against the blue of her raiment.
Feanor saw her hair and his eyes gleamed. He crossed to the doorway where she stood in three rapid strides of his long, powerful legs, and grasped her by both wrists. He drew her hands up toward his face, and looked deeply into her eyes.
“What have you come to tell me, Galadriel?” he asked her. “Do not tease me. Tell me simply what it is and then be gone with you, for I am busy”.
She met his arrogant gaze. Her blue eyes shone like the coldest depths of the sea, and the light from his dark ones burned into hers like the coals of his furnace. The two Elves were of almost the same height. She refused to flinch or to drop her gaze.
“I have come to ask something of you, Feanor”, she replied evenly, “not to tell, but to ask”.
He released her hands, and in so doing, one of his strong ones crept around her waist, and held her pressed against his side. She could feel the heat of his skin, and the ripple of the muscles in his thigh, next to her own. He could not force a smile from her, though he tried with his bold behaviour. Presently he released her altogether, and she gave no sign that he had in any way disturbed her composure.
“Father has sent me to ask if you would join us tonight for the evening meal”. She stepped back from him, feigning interest in a small silver bracelet with an intricate design. She would not give him the satisfaction of knowing that he had disturbed her in any way.
Feanor sighed. He did not much care for his relatives' long dinners and what he deemed to be inane, incessant and useless conversation. “Will my father be there?”
“Then, yes, I shall come, if I have finished this task I have set for myself to complete today. Come and look. It is a gift for father”.
Galadriel came again closer to the forge, and followed Feanor to where the silver letters lay. He stopped abruptly, stared toward the fire, and let out a sharp gasp.
“Feanor, what is it?” asked Galadriel, her composure shaken slightly by his sudden reaction. She looked to where he stared.
There, in the fire, glowing in a metal tray which lay on top of the flames was a molten mass of light. It burst into a sudden flame-like brilliance, never before seen in the confines of the world.
“What is that?” Galadriel gasped.
“I know not. Wait here”, said Feanor, and carefully lifted out the tray with a pair of tongs. “Galadriel, would you please hand me that mould and funnel?” he asked, and she did so. He carefully poured the brilliant contents of the tray into the mould. It was difficult for the two of them to look at the shimmering liquid directly.
“Let us go outside for awhile”, Feanor suggested. “When this cools, we can go back in and see what it might be that I have wrought”.
“Is that the gift for your father that you spoke of?” Galadriel asked.
“No, no”, he replied. “For him I have made some silver letters and a golden casket. This is something new that I have been experimenting with – a new type of jewel that I was trying to develop. I knew not if my labours would come to aught. I desired to make a jewel more brilliant than adamant, and thus I tried by mixing other jewels together with adamant, and in a fit of wild abandon and lack of reason, I added a drop of nectar from the Trees of Light to the mixture”.
Galadriel dropped her cloak of composure and gasped. “Did the Valar give you approval to do so?” she questioned him with her slender fingers covering her mouth, surprised by his effrontery.
He looked at her and laughed. “Would you tell them I went against their will if I did not have this approval?” he asked.
She could only stare back at him wordlessly. Gifted with foresight, she could see, although at this time, not clearly, that by this deed, Feanor had set in motion a series of events that would end by changing the world. She was shaken by what she saw, although it was but a brief glimpse. Her feelings for Feanor changed in that moment. Rather than the repulsion she had earlier felt, she now had a measure of sympathy for him.
Throughout Finarfin’s dinner, Feanor made polite talk with the others present, and did not in any way behave in an unusual manner, but his mind wandered back to his forge, and he could barely wait to go back there in order to see what his new jewel would be like in form and brightness. His eyes gleamed with pleasure as he reflected upon the beauty and uniqueness that he had glimpsed.
Galadriel sought his gaze and when his eyes met hers, he could see an expression that had not been there for him in the past. This was the one and only time that she showed any hint of friendship toward him, cloaked, as it were, in sympathy. However, her stubbornness combined with her prescience would not let her like her uncle, this powerful man whom she found to be strangely compelling, yet one of whom to be wary at the same time.