A Genius Among Gods
There is a time and place for everything, no
matter who you are. Though sometimes it was suspected to be otherwise,
that included Fëanor as well: there was a time when even he wished to
see the Valar.
“Atto, are we going to see the Valar today?” asked Fëanor, and
though it sounded as if he was saying “thee”, no one corrected the
greatest linguistic master of Valinor (though, of course, he was not
that quite yet, being still young).
Finwë blinked, but nodded. “Why yes, Fëanáro, we are. I did not know you cared so much.”
Fëanor’s eyes were alight, however, though with something other
than mere excitement. “Oh yes, Atto, for I will show them what I have
accomplished since our last meeting.”
“I did not know that you accomplished anything,” said Finwë, but immediately regretted it.
Fëanor looked a little hurt, but responded quickly: “Of course I
have! Look, Atto!” And he showed Finwë a parchment covered in many
figures. “I have discovered one of the secrets to the universe, and
have invented formulas to measure it, and have even created a name for
it. I call it ‘quantum mechanics’. Does it not have a perfect sound?”
Finwë blinked again, a particularly bad habit with him, as he
looked at the unintelligible parchment. It was not that Fëanor had bad
handwriting, for indeed it was perfect as usual, but what was this that
he had written? But whatever it was, Finwë could see that it was indeed
something new and marvelous. “Very good, my son. This looks brilliant!”
Fëanor nodded, the words ‘of course’ hanging unsaid in the air
about him. “And that is not all. I have learned that plants breed, as
the Quendi do, and I have bred them to create wonderful new varieties.”
This time he held up a small basket of fruit.
Finwë dutifully tasted one, and one eyebrow rose as he blinked. “Is it a tomato?”
“Yes,” said Fëanor proudly. “And it produces one large crop of
uniform fruit that are entirely disease resistant. Think how useful
that will be!”
“But Fëanáro,” said Finwë with a frown, “there are no diseases in Aman.”
Fëanor brushed this off. “If there ever are, it will be resistant to them.”
Finwë nodded, and smiled at his young son. “Such excellent work, Fëanáro! The Valar will be pleased.”
Fëanáro grinned, and then gathered up the parchment and basket and followed his father to the carriage.
“Why Finwë, Fëanáro, so wonderful to see you!” cried Varda as the
door opened to let Finwë and his son in, and the stars did little happy
dances around her head as if to show her sincerity.
Finwë bowed and smiled. “Lady Varda.”
“We love it so when the Quendi visit us,” said Yavanna from across the room, where she was training bonsai on Varda’s table.
“Well, this was intended to be merely a friendly visit,” said
Finwë, “but my son came on a different purpose. He has invented
“Ooh, how lovely,” said Yavanna with a wide smile.
Fëanor stepped forward with the basket. “Look, Lady Yavanna! I
have learned to breed plants to find new and better varieties!”
Yavanna smiled on the young elf as she tasted a tomato. “Why yes,
Fëanáro, this is very good. But we do not need to breed fruit; we can
just create a new variety.”
Fëanor’s face fell, and his brow came together as he remembered the
great powers of the Valar. Yavanna looked rather apologetically at him,
quite sorry for having crushed his ideas, but he did not see it. But
someday the Valar will not be there to create things, he thought, and
that made him feel much better.
“What else did you discover, Fëanáro?” asked Varda from the other couch.
“Quantum mechanics!” said Fëanor, suddenly proud again, showing her his parchment.
“What does that mean?” asked Varda as she looked at it.
“It is a word I invented, but you shall see what it means,” said Fëanor, his inner fire making his eyes warm and bright.
Varda looked from the parchment to Fëanor, and she smiled kindly.
“I am surprised that you found this, Fëanáro. How long did it take
“Months,” said Fëanor. “But I never gave up.”
Varda smiled again. “Ah, my little one, if you had but told us what
you were looking for, we could have spared you the time. Illuvatar
himself explained this to us in the beginning, but we did not share it
with the Quendi because we did not think they needed it.”
Fëanor’s eyes darkened so that they seemed clouds of grey smoke, and he took back his parchment with almost a jerk.
“You have done marvelously well, Fëanáro,” said Varda, sensing the young one’s disappointment.
“Yes, you are a credit to your father,” said Yavanna.
But Fëanor was already leaving the room, clutching his inventions
close to his chest. Finwë, slightly embarrassed, bowed and hastened to
join his son in the carriage.
“They despise us,” said Fëanor darkly, as soon as the house was far behind them.
“No, they do not,” said Finwë with a sigh. “But they are the Valar,
Fëanáro, and you should not have thought to know more than they.”
“That is just it!” said Fëanor intensely. “They think that they
know everything, when only Illuvatar does! I will show them so,
someday. I will find something that I can do that even they cannot do
“Of course you will,” said Finwë smoothly, but his mind was elsewhere, and he did not catch the meaning of his son’s words.
But Fëanor was no young one who made rash promises. No, he would keep his word, even if it got him killed.
Ah, but it was hard to be a genius among the gods!