Finwë was one of the three Elves who first looked on the light of the Two Trees of Valinor. He was the King of the Noldor, and was one of the very few Elves who married more than once. His first wife was Miriel Serindë, mother of Fëanor, who died soon after her son's birth and chose not to be reborn. Finwë eventually married Indis of the Vanyar, and by her had two sons, Fingolfin and Finarfin. This caused a lot of tragedy, due to Fëanor's jealousy of his stepmother and half-brothers.
After Fëanor was exiled from Tirion, the city of the Noldor in Valinor, for threatening Fingolfin's life, Finwë went with him and refused to rule as long as his son was exiled. This ultimately caused his death.
When Fëanor went to be reconciled with Fingolfin some time later, Morgoth attacked Fëanor's home. Finwë was the only one there who dared to stand up to Morgoth, and was killed in his efforts to protect his son's home. He was the first Elf ever to be slain in Aman.