Finrod Felagund is one of the characters in Tolkien’s epic book of mythology, The Silmarillion. Son of Finarfin, grandson of Finwë, he was King of Nargothrond while his uncle Fingolfin and then his cousin Fingon reigned over all the Noldor. He was a wise leader, and a friend to elves, men, and dwarves alike. It was the dwarves who gave him the surname of Felegund, the builder of caves. As a token of their respect, they gave him the necklace Nauglamir, which held one of the silmarils after Finrod’s death.
During the Dagor Bragollach, or battle of sudden flame, he was separated from his army with a small group and surrounded by the host of Angband. The house of Beor, the people of Dorthonion, came to his rescue, fighting valiantly against the orcs and coming out only at great loss.
As a token of his appreciation (and he probably felt bad about leaving them alone to defend their homes against the enemy that seemed to grow stronger by the day), Finrod left his ring and his oath with Barahir, father of Beren, that he would always come to the aide of the house of Beor when they required it.
Years later, when Beren fell in love with Lúthien Tinúviel, he was made to live up to his oath. Thingol, Lúthien’s father, sent Beren on a quest to get a Silmaril in exchange for Lúthien’s hand in marriage. Beren went to Finrod for help, but his people were swayed by the words of his cousins, who did not want to go, and would not support him in this quest. So he took the only ten remaining loyal men and went off to challenge Morgoth.
The party was met at the gates of Angband by Sauron, and though Finrod and his company were all disguised, Sauron could tell that Finrod was a formidable opponent. They engaged in a duel of sorts, singing songs of power. Sauron was nearly defeated, but was fighting on the home turf, so to speak, so got some of his cronies to capture Finrod & Co and throw them in a dungeon.
A gaur came into the dungeon and picked off the members of the group, one by one, and had them for dinner. Sauron was planning on saving Finrod for last, but when the Gaur came for Beren he became so enraged that he broke free from his bonds and battled the creature, bare-handed. And thus he died, in the fulfillment of his oath. And at that part of the book, I cried. (Yes, I cry at books).
Beren, of course, went on to do lots of noble stuff now that Finrod saved his rear end, and you hear about that in the song of Beren and Lúthien in The Lord of The Rings, but I’m still bitter.
The great thing about Tolkien’s mythology is that it hits the nail right on the head, and creates a lot of empathy with the reader. The bad guys are badder, and the good guys are brighter, nobler, tall and proud. I’m so in love with Finrod, as a character. Wish we had more of these types of guys around today!