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Silmarilion Discussion: Chapter 12 -- "Of Men," Part 2: The Biosphere of Arda
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CuriousG
Half-elven


May 9 2013, 12:20pm

Post #26 of 110 (318 views)
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It gets worse [In reply to] Can't Post

If you think of Sam as "the everyman," he gets all excited when he sees Elves, and Elves do frequently cross the Shire, so they're not unknowns like Oliphaunts. Does he ever say, "Oh, look, Mr Frodo, Men! I should dearly love to see what Men are like." But Men are as rare in the Shire as Elves are, so why wouldn't he be just as thrilled by them? Men are normal, dull, and not capable of enchantment. Men with Rings of Power don't create Loriens and Rivendells. Gondor at its pinnacle was a wondrous place, as was Numenor, but they didn't have the sense of wonderful enchantment and beauty that Nargothrond, Tirion, and Lorien did, they were just splendid, powerful, and culturally advanced.

I don't think we're meant to believe that the Sun heralds a better phase for the world. In real-world terms, it should, since we associate the sun with everything good except droughts and sunburn. But in Arda it's that second-best light from Valinor and means the decline of the superior civilization of the Elves who made Middle-earth a better place. The advent of the Sun means the best times are behind us. It's always very sad to think of it that way.

And how's that for another reversal by Tolkien of real-world connotations? Death isn't bad, it's the Gift of Iluvatar. The Sun doesn't herald new hope, it heralds the end of enchantment.


noWizardme
Half-elven


May 9 2013, 12:20pm

Post #27 of 110 (313 views)
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Time in elfland [In reply to] Can't Post

This quesiton does remind me that Tolkien keeps up an existing tradition whereby time is different in elfland: our hero might return to find that ages had passed in his or her normal world.

In keeping with this, the Fellowship find it hard to keep track of time in Rivendell or in Lorien (and stay there for surprisingly long periods given that they are on an urgent mission).

I'm not sure whether the converse is happening to Legolas - does traveling around with a bunch of mortals make him age?

Disclaimers: The words of noWizardme may stand on their heads! I'm often wrong about things, and its fun to be taught more....

"nowimė I am in the West, and by other names in other lands. Mostly they just say 'Oh no it's him - look busy!' "


CuriousG
Half-elven


May 9 2013, 12:29pm

Post #28 of 110 (307 views)
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Look out for the unclean new neighbors [In reply to] Can't Post

Great questions, as always, Mac. You've transformed a short chapter into a feast of philosophy.

Would Men dilute/disrupt the immortality of Valinor? It seems they would. Why else would the Valar be so determined not to let them in? Maybe Men (and Women) wouldn't cause the Elves and Valar to lose their immortality, but it seems the mortals would dilute the blessedness of the place by being so tacky that they die in it. And really, would you want your neighbors dying in your living room? Best to keep them at a distance and over the fence.

But it's also possible that the spiritual energy of Valinor would make Men die sooner, as the Silmaril from Valinor hastened the death of Luthien while enhancing her beauty. So maybe the paternalistic (and maternalistic) Valar were doing what was right for Men (and Women).

Many thanks for leading this chapter discussion!


noWizardme
Half-elven


May 9 2013, 12:39pm

Post #29 of 110 (314 views)
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Two Tolkien ideas collide? [In reply to] Can't Post

I've been wondering whether there are 2 ideas which collide here.
In Tolkien, as in older fantasy traditions (I think), the elves often read like idealized humans - wiser, more beautiful, better at creating things, more in tune with nature. And immortal (perhaps "of course" since death isn't a popular feature of life). Maybe at best we see it as a least-worst option: the vet with the humane killer is an mercy option if your horse has just been in a horrible road traffic accident, but not a nice thing you'd do for your favourtie horse (or favourite human) under normal circumstances.

Then we have the Edain and their deliberately mysterious "gift". Death as not only natural but wonderful and positive (in a mysterious way). I wonder whether this idea didn't completely and consistently replace the "immortality = better" influences (if Tolkien would have seen an inconsistency at all).

I'm also thinking of Aragorn's death scene - he decided to self-destruct at "the right time" after a long and useful life. Maybe this is the ideal, in Tolkien's mind. But I dislike the scene - he seems uncharacteristically callous to Arwen, who doesn't want their time together to end quite yet (and perhaps never will). It seems relevant to me somehow, but I've not been able to thing k exactly how (so thought I'd put it up, in case someone else has an idea)

Disclaimers: The words of noWizardme may stand on their heads! I'm often wrong about things, and its fun to be taught more....

"nowimė I am in the West, and by other names in other lands. Mostly they just say 'Oh no it's him - look busy!' "


Brethil
Half-elven


May 9 2013, 12:45pm

Post #30 of 110 (300 views)
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Differentiating mortal and unclean (and evil)? [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
"mortal flesh" is one thing, and "hands unclean" another (and "anything of evil" is a third). I think so too Sador.

It is worth pointing out, though, that the only mortal flesh around at the time was that of the kelvar, as Men weren't around yet. It is possible that it is an omission of Varda (not realising that Men would be included), or yet still of the author's - after all, the only Man to ever touch a Silmaril did so with impunity, and so did the three half-Elven which did so (Dior, Elwing, Earendil)!
Which of course makes the case of Mandos demanding that Earendil will die once he arrives in Valinor (which he does in a way - the "undying doom" laid upon him, as he never returns to the lands of the living or is ever seen by any of them; the Valar are merely witholding the gift of death from him) particularly interesting - did Varda specifically allow him an immortal-like status, which Mandos wanted to deny? In Letter #153 (was reading it for another point but saw this) JRRT talks about the Choice of the Half-kindred but in it says that the Valar do not have the power to change anyone's status or make those decisions themselves - so I think it might apply to Earandil, in that Manwe reads the answer but the ruling comes from Eru. In #297 he says that Earandil's voyage breaks two rules - Mortals in Aman and the Ban. But the reason he cannot set foot back in ME is stated to be because of being part descended from Men (but his courage is rewarded, not punished) so is it, as I thought upthread, more of the evolution of faith in the new generation? That no Man walk with in Arda having seen the Divine and therefore have proof of it?


As a side point: I'm not quite sure regarding Dwarves - neither whether they would be considered mortal for the purposes of the hallowing, nor if the Valar (except for Aule and Yavanna) were at all aware of their existence! It appears from The Ruin of Doriath that the dwarves did touch the Silmaril while setting it within the Nauglamir. However, this bit was written by Christopher Tolkien and Guy Kay (the ideas in JRRT's last writing of this part were clearly irreconcilable with his later ideas regarding the Dwarves), and while the image of the Dwarves working with the Silmaril went back to the Book of Lost Tales - I do not remember when was the idea of Varda hallowing the Silmarils introduced. Probably far later. That's true because of course the Dwarves certainly work it into the Nauglamir. Would tools be contacting it more than hands? (Not a good enough explanation to me.) I consulted Arda Reconstructed on Chapter 7 and Varda's hallowing and don't see any major edits to this section... in BoLT II the theme of the Dwarves and the necklace is so prevalent and repeated its hard not to say that was indeed his picture of the story. And Earandil easily wears the Silamaril on his brow, which gave Morgoth a hellish headache...can we say that maybe despite Varda wanting to hallow them from Mortal hands, Eru didn't see it that way, and that the Unclean and Evil are barred but mortals are not? In which that would mean definitely that the definitions of unclean, evil and mortal are separate.


Manwe, when asked a simple "Yes" or "No" question, contemplated, and responded "the middle one."


noWizardme
Half-elven


May 9 2013, 12:45pm

Post #31 of 110 (335 views)
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I'm not sure I'm going to come to an agree/disagree view about the Biosphere theory [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm not sure I'm going to come to an agree/disagree view about the Biosphere theory. But I'll keep it in mind as an interesting idea as we move forward with the read-through. Some thoughts, however:

1) It sounds a bit like the Gaia Hypothesis

Quote
The Gaia hypothesis, also known as Gaia theory or Gaia principle, proposes that organisms interact with their inorganic surroundings on Earth to form a self-regulating, complex system that contributes to maintaining the conditions for life on the planet.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaia_hypothesis

2) If the Elves and the Edain represent forces of preservation and forces of change, its interesting that they are complementary, rather than in opposition. The elves aren't always building things which the Men are smashing , for example.

3) Also that some elves are changers (e.g. Feanor) and some Men are preservers (Denethor, regretting that things aren't as good as the old days)

Disclaimers: The words of noWizardme may stand on their heads! I'm often wrong about things, and its fun to be taught more....

"nowimė I am in the West, and by other names in other lands. Mostly they just say 'Oh no it's him - look busy!' "


sador
Half-elven


May 9 2013, 12:50pm

Post #32 of 110 (301 views)
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Answers [In reply to] Can't Post

2. Do you buy into this concept of the biosphere of arda, that the Elves and the Edain are not just inhabitants, but forces for health within it, like the rain and the wind?
It is surely interesting. But what of the Moriquendi?

Does this make you feel differently about what is healthy for this world?

Considering the fact that on the one hand it was the coming of Men and the Sun which made all of Yavanna's plants grow, but on the other hand there is that excerpt about Hollin you've cited somewhere in this thread - I tend to think Tolkien wasn't quite consistent about this.

Does it make you reconsider any of your previous assessments of the Valar, Elves, or Edain?
It appears the Moriquendi are really insignificant.

Does it make anything that happens more meaningful, or less meaningful?

I don't see it as changing much either way.

Does this biosphere concept impact any thinking you've had in the previous segment regarding suffering?
How? Because Morgoth's realm was in the human part of the biosphere?







Brethil
Half-elven


May 9 2013, 12:53pm

Post #33 of 110 (298 views)
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Men's promise past Arda [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To

I think the promise of Men lies outside Arda, wherever they go when dead. They don't make it any better just as Dwarves don't, not as a whole.




I agree CG. I feel like their glory days are somewhere else in the mythos, either in their afterlife or in the second creation. Kind of gives distant hope while retaining the mystery. We know the Dwarves too will have a role in the second world - bit of a gift to Aule?

Manwe, when asked a simple "Yes" or "No" question, contemplated, and responded "the middle one."


Brethil
Half-elven


May 9 2013, 1:03pm

Post #34 of 110 (307 views)
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Men need distance from the Divine? [In reply to] Can't Post


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Great questions, as always, Mac. You've transformed a short chapter into a feast of philosophy. I second that thought!

But it's also possible that the spiritual energy of Valinor would make Men die sooner, as the Silmaril from Valinor hastened the death of Luthien while enhancing her beauty. So maybe the paternalistic (and maternalistic) Valar were doing what was right for Men (and Women). Good point here CG. Can we extrapolate here too then - that the retreat of Arda from Valinor (physically and spiritually) is needed for the safety of Men? Is that why the divine must remain distant, and Men must have faith instead of contact? Maybe since their spirits aren't tethered to Arda they are more fragile (and thus their hroa also more fragile.)

Many thanks for leading this chapter discussion! Seconded again Mac!


Manwe, when asked a simple "Yes" or "No" question, contemplated, and responded "the middle one."


Maciliel
Valinor


May 9 2013, 1:30pm

Post #35 of 110 (308 views)
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thanks : ) [In reply to] Can't Post

 
thanks, otaku : )

when i was googling for maps i came across many fantastic ones... i know the map isn't the most accurate in some ways (the changes to the lands over time); i was just looking for something mappish that would generally convey the general regions of activity for the two peoples, and that would look like a reference one would find in an article.

i love maps! so thankful that tolkien loved them, too. : )

cheers --

.


aka. fili orc-enshield
+++++++++++++++++++
the scene, as i understand it, is exceptionally well-written. fili (in sort of a callback to the scene with the eagles), calls out "thorRIIIIIIN!!!" just as he sees the pale orc veer in for the kill. he picks up the severed arm of an orc which is lying on the ground, swings it up in desperation, effectively blocking the pale orc's blow. and thus, forever after, fili is known as "fili orc-enshield."

this earns him deep respect from his hard-to-please uncle. as well as a hug. kili wipes his boots on the pale orc's glory box. -- maciliel


Maciliel
Valinor


May 9 2013, 1:43pm

Post #36 of 110 (373 views)
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morgoth and mortality, entropy [In reply to] Can't Post

 
i think morgoth creates disease... but death? does he truly introduce that? i got the impression that there was death in middle-earth, but perhaps the olvar and the kelvar had longer lifespans at that time (the sun / the edain quicken everything)... but also... setting aside the possibility of longer lifespans in the early days for the kelvar and olvar.... they'd be killing (and eating) each other... so there +had+ to be some death, that had nothing to do with melkor.

not sure how they handled the kelvar and the olvar in aman.... supposedly everything that had ever lived or that would lived inhabited it (except for the edain, presumably), but how did that work? did the deer not eat the grass? did the wolves not eat the deer? did the birds not eat the worms? did the elves not eat the deer, or the plants?

i think you make a great point that the valar and the eldar, even if they know +about+ the "gift," could probably not comprehend it, and it may have unsettled them mightily (especially the eldar), as it would seem inherently unnatural for them.

if the "gift" is a test of faith for the edain, in a way it is also a test for the valar and the eldar... to accept that the edain are +not+ unnatural, and to welcome and work with this race, one of the beloved children of iluvatar ('tho i kind of get more of the "beloved" feeling around the eldar; i don't generally get the feeling that tolkien holds the edain as "beloved").

yes, i can see how the thought of mortality around the light of the two trees, in the silmarils, would be unsettling for them. but, honestly, how could the mortality of the edain have affected them?

(an aside: thanks, telain : ) i thought it might make the flow of conversations move more easily if i broke out the questions separately.)


cheers --

.


aka. fili orc-enshield
+++++++++++++++++++
the scene, as i understand it, is exceptionally well-written. fili (in sort of a callback to the scene with the eagles), calls out "thorRIIIIIIN!!!" just as he sees the pale orc veer in for the kill. he picks up the severed arm of an orc which is lying on the ground, swings it up in desperation, effectively blocking the pale orc's blow. and thus, forever after, fili is known as "fili orc-enshield."

this earns him deep respect from his hard-to-please uncle. as well as a hug. kili wipes his boots on the pale orc's glory box. -- maciliel

(This post was edited by Maciliel on May 9 2013, 1:45pm)


Maciliel
Valinor


May 9 2013, 2:36pm

Post #37 of 110 (302 views)
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perhaps.... [In reply to] Can't Post

 
..but wouldn't this envy come about later, rather than at the dawn of the edain? yes, much time has passed for the valar and the eldar, but they are both in their youth, so to speak. they haven't yet spent enough time in the world to get weary of it yet. it seems premature for envy.


cheers --

.


aka. fili orc-enshield
+++++++++++++++++++
the scene, as i understand it, is exceptionally well-written. fili (in sort of a callback to the scene with the eagles), calls out "thorRIIIIIIN!!!" just as he sees the pale orc veer in for the kill. he picks up the severed arm of an orc which is lying on the ground, swings it up in desperation, effectively blocking the pale orc's blow. and thus, forever after, fili is known as "fili orc-enshield."

this earns him deep respect from his hard-to-please uncle. as well as a hug. kili wipes his boots on the pale orc's glory box. -- maciliel


sador
Half-elven


May 9 2013, 2:42pm

Post #38 of 110 (287 views)
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Why do you equate suffering with loss? [In reply to] Can't Post

As several thinikers (both westren and oriental) put it, true suffering is of the mind.

Is suffering equivalent to mortality?
No; an eternal life of regret is also a great suffering - and the reason so many of the Eldar end up feeling weary of the world.
Our imagination might not easily encompass this type of eternal loss - but as a deeply religious man, Tolkien thought he could.

If so, because the Edain are mortal, is it their lot to suffer?
According to your definition, of course!

If so, because the Eldar are immortal, is it unnatural that they suffer?

No. As Legolas says in The Great River, all things under the sun wear down in the end.
However, in Farewell to Lorien, Gimli states that in the Elves's eyes, memory is akin to the living world, rather than just a mirror; in that case, perhaps they should not grieve so?


As a side point - Gimli's words firmly establish Dwarves as mortals, which we've dibated earlier this week.






cheers --



Maciliel
Valinor


May 9 2013, 2:47pm

Post #39 of 110 (285 views)
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"fall" is a strong word [In reply to] Can't Post

 
i think "fall" is a strong word, in regards to the eldar. i don't see how they fell. did you truly mean the word "fall" and all it's connotations (in a state of sin, outside of grace, incredible, spiritual transgression), or were you being poetic?

i see it more like your second phrasing ("failing of faith")... but my position with the eldar is that the valar should never have brought them to aman, so the desire of the noldor to go there was entirely natural, and right, even if it was clouded by feanor's motivation.

another thing that i find interesting, since we're talking about faith: both the valar and the eldar get to see a manifestation of eru's plan. the valar see it in the vision of the music, and the eldar see it in the beauty of aman, which is as close as one is going to get to undimmed and untainted before melkor spoils it.

the edain never get to see the vision or the manifestation. earendil is half-elven, so he's not quite wholly edain. same with elwing. beren is swept straight to mandos, to which all edain go. perhaps the only edain that see the unclouded, physical manifestation are ar-pharazon and his crew? i think some of them actually stepped foot on the main island.

re varda's words... she may not mean the things as interchangeable, but she does group them together, which indicate a commonality, which i find troubling. hey! one of those is a gift from eru!


cheers --

.


aka. fili orc-enshield
+++++++++++++++++++
the scene, as i understand it, is exceptionally well-written. fili (in sort of a callback to the scene with the eagles), calls out "thorRIIIIIIN!!!" just as he sees the pale orc veer in for the kill. he picks up the severed arm of an orc which is lying on the ground, swings it up in desperation, effectively blocking the pale orc's blow. and thus, forever after, fili is known as "fili orc-enshield."

this earns him deep respect from his hard-to-please uncle. as well as a hug. kili wipes his boots on the pale orc's glory box. -- maciliel


sador
Half-elven


May 9 2013, 3:02pm

Post #40 of 110 (283 views)
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I'm not sure about this comparison. [In reply to] Can't Post

Could you please elucidate it further?

but do you actually buy this argument? That Middle-Earth got a lot better when the Edain appeared, and got a lot worse as the Elves left en masse for Aman?
Well yes, in a way - it appears that the world is better with the Children on it. Although seeing that the Children belong to the Third Theme, there seems to be no good reason for it.
Perhaps it is just coincidental - the world works better with light.

Again, if you buy this argument, and the biosphere approach, has Middle-Earth sickened with the departure of the Elves?

You mean at the end of the Third Age?
Well, it changed. It became "disenchanted". Is that good or bad? Would you rather live in the Middle-ages?

Are the Edain like vigorous white cells, scrubbing away old tissue so new tissue can grow?

That's a nice take on Man's interference with the eco-system!
I mostly hear and read people complaining about it.

Are the Eldar like anti-oxidant features of the body?
Hmm... I always imagined the last fruit of Laurelin to be something like a citrus; but it is Men who are associated with the Sun...



sador
Half-elven


May 9 2013, 3:30pm

Post #41 of 110 (292 views)
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Do you want some of my miruvor? [In reply to] Can't Post

You see, I've remembered. Smile
Have some - it's good! It's July 2008 vintage, by the way - just the right thing for finishing one's first_chapter_discussion!

To your questions:

If the Eldar and the Edain are operating, natural forces within Arda, and part of its balance, so must too be the Ainur.
I actually challange this premise. The Ainur were before Arda, and will always be in a way external to it. Elves and Men are being Iluvatar created especially for Arda, and are different.

Would a member of the Edain achieve immortality by living there? Bilbo, Frodo (and presumably Sam and Gimli) travel there to live for an extended period of time. But they are not of immortal race, but mortal.

In the Akallabeth, the messengers of Manwe tell Tar-Atanamir they would not; Sauron, however, tells Ar-Pharazon he would.
It's your choice who to believe - but Manwe has at least one advantage - he actually lives in Aman. Sauron doesn't.

Is Aman preserved through the high concentration of Valar and Eldar?

In the Ambarkanta (which squire will discuss next year), it was stated that the atmosphere in Valinor is physically different. So as far as that concept was preserved - no.

Is this why Aman can extend the life of mortals?
I don't think it really can.

Would the preserved status of Aman be in danger if a high enough concentration of the Edain settled there? Middle-Earth responded to their awakening with rapid change and aging. Aman is part of Arda, and we know the land itself does not impart mortality. Could the Edain physically disrupt the eternity of Aman, just by their presence?

Well, the Great Fleet aparantly did disrupt Aman. It is not quite clear why the Valar took such a radical action against it - or actually, why they were frightened enough to lay down their mandate and call upon the One.

Is the mortality of the Edain powerful enough to disrupt the immortality of the Ainu, even though the Ainu themselves are the most powerful beings in Arda?

No. But the Gift of Iluvatar is - as they have the power to change the fate as expressed in the Music.

Thank you Maciliel!


Darkstone
Immortal


May 9 2013, 5:11pm

Post #42 of 110 (293 views)
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"Aside the Devil turned, For envy..." [In reply to] Can't Post

"Rab Judah said in Rab's name: When the Holy One, blessed be He, wished to create man, He [first] created a company of ministering angels and said to them: Is it your desire that we make a man in our image? They answered: Sovereign of the Universe, what will be his deeds? Such and such will be his deeds, He replied. Thereupon they exclaimed: Sovereign of the Universe, What is man that thou art mindful of him, and the son of man that thou thinkest of him?"
- Sanhedrin 38b

There are tales in other religious writings of Angels being envious of Man.

Of course the most famous instance is that of Satan, who envied Adam and Eve and so caused all sorts of trouble.

******************************************
The audacious proposal stirred his heart. And the stirring became a song, and it mingled with the songs of Gil-galad and Celebrian, and with those of Feanor and Fingon. The song-weaving created a larger song, and then another, until suddenly it was as if a long forgotten memory woke and for one breathtaking moment the Music of the Ainur revealed itself in all glory. He opened his lips to sing and share this song. Then he realized that the others would not understand. Not even Mithrandir given his current state of mind. So he smiled and simply said "A diversion.”



(This post was edited by Darkstone on May 9 2013, 5:19pm)


CuriousG
Half-elven


May 9 2013, 5:17pm

Post #43 of 110 (277 views)
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Yes, it's been "glorious," as promised, Mac [In reply to] Can't Post

We shall remember what Sador promised at the same time: "I'll have no choice but to take Of the Coming of Men Into the West, and show people how it's really done."

Which we know was a joke, of course, but are looking forward to it all the same.



Brethil
Half-elven


May 9 2013, 5:55pm

Post #44 of 110 (265 views)
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Fall - It is a strong word! [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
i think "fall" is a strong word, in regards to the eldar. i don't see how they fell. did you truly mean the word "fall" and all it's connotations (in a state of sin, outside of grace, incredible, spiritual transgression), or were you being poetic? ...And although I have always taken the revolt of the Noldor and the Kinslaying as a terrible set of acts, I would not have used such a strong word - if JRRT didn't use it himself. In Letter #212 "In Elvish legends there is a record of a strange case of an Elf (Miriel) who wanted to die, which had disastrous results, leading to the Fall of the High Elves." He makes quite a few references to the idea of a Fall with a capital F and a fall with a lower case f... (quite a long discussion of it in Letter #131) and I think mostly it refers to their turning away from divinity and the resultant slaying of Elf by Elf. (The second fall is the Elvish desire to preserve things unchanged.)

i see it more like your second phrasing ("failing of faith")... but my position with the eldar is that the valar should never have brought them to aman, so the desire of the noldor to go there was entirely natural, and right, even if it was clouded by feanor's motivation. I agree Mac...the Summoning is a failure of faith of the Valar, not of the Noldor. In that way they are the children in the equation who are misguided - with great love, but still misguided.

another thing that i find interesting, since we're talking about faith: both the valar and the eldar get to see a manifestation of eru's plan. the valar see it in the vision of the music, and the eldar see it in the beauty of aman, which is as close as one is going to get to undimmed and untainted before melkor spoils it. Yes, though Men seem to have a harder time deciphering the messages. I love your idea of the Song coursing endlessly through the waters and how that made Ulmo so wise...and it a poetic way explains our instinctive love of trickling water and crashing waves.

the edain never get to see the vision or the manifestation. earendil is half-elven, so he's not quite wholly edain. same with elwing. beren is swept straight to mandos, to which all edain go. perhaps the only edain that see the unclouded, physical manifestation are ar-pharazon and his crew? i think some of them actually stepped foot on the main island. Yes they do, and camp there - before they are buried alive (yikes, not my kind of camping trip!) That is indeed the veritable straw that breaks the back of Numenor. re varda's words... she may not mean the things as interchangeable, but she does group them together, which indicate a commonality, which i find troubling. hey! one of those is a gift from eru! True! I know! That's why I see it as a bit...(I said neener-neener earlier) patrician (being polite). Does it underline the huge gap of comprehension about the Gift and the fate of Men that the Valar have?


Manwe, when asked a simple "Yes" or "No" question, contemplated, and responded "the middle one."


Brethil
Half-elven


May 9 2013, 6:19pm

Post #45 of 110 (278 views)
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I *think* they are complimentary ideas NoWiz [In reply to] Can't Post

I feel like they go hand in hand because one is used to shine light upon the other; a frightening part of life to us - death - is removed from the Elven equation: they aren't ecstatically happy, they suffer too, but for longer spans until life itself is a weariness. Our reality - death - he tries to showcase as 'gift' option that ends that type of long fade and implies *some* (?) sort of afterlife reward. So I think he is consistent in his ideals - because he does say that his concern with death relate to Men's spiritual journey, not Immortals (summing up here).

Is what he is trying to get at with Aragorn's choice of death, and maybe Arwen's difficulties with it are more of the same, in showing how it would have been easier for her to accept if she had been born mortal, but as Elf-kind it is still a mystery? And that the key to joy at the end is acceptance of fate? Its a rough road for Arwen - Ardamire has that great line about it as his footer. And their time together must have gone by so fast for her.

Manwe, when asked a simple "Yes" or "No" question, contemplated, and responded "the middle one."


CuriousG
Half-elven


May 9 2013, 9:33pm

Post #46 of 110 (258 views)
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Though it's never stated outright [In reply to] Can't Post

I always get the feeling you are correct about Men being too fragile and needing insulation from the divine.

"Can we extrapolate here too then - that the retreat of Arda from Valinor (physically and spiritually) is needed for the safety of Men? Is that why the divine must remain distant, and Men must have faith instead of contact? Maybe since their spirits aren't tethered to Arda they are more fragile (and thus their hroa also more fragile.)"


Maciliel
Valinor


May 9 2013, 9:56pm

Post #47 of 110 (245 views)
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mortality and decay [In reply to] Can't Post

[elaen32]

In Reply To
Maybe it's the concept of "mortal flesh" rather than mortality which the Valar see as being akin to being "unclean" here. The Valar and the Elves knew little about death and, what they had seen at the point that Varda hallowed the Silmarils was brought about by Morgoth. Their concept may have been more that death= the corruption and decay of the hroa rather than the release of the fea from the circles of the world, of which they had little understanding or knowledge.
Like you, I do not agree with the concept of original sin at all, but it is a strong tenet of catholicism. Since Tolkien was devout, it may well have been a concept that he believed in and translated into his writing, so this may be an issue here also

[/elaen32]

yes, the further we discuss these things, and the more folks (like brethil) unearth what tolkien explicitly says, via letters, the more i get the feeling that the concept of original sin, eden, all of it are inextricably part of tolkien, and it would have been difficult for him to construct a world without these themes, because they permeate his subconscious.

i think you make an excellent point regarding what exactly do the valar and eldar fear.... morality must be accompanied by decay (unless we're talking miriel's body being guarded by este's maidens). that was probably quite disturbing to them, and threatening. i don't think that contact with the flesh of the edain would have sullied the silmarils in any way, but i guess they were being overprotective.


cheers --

.


aka. fili orc-enshield
+++++++++++++++++++
the scene, as i understand it, is exceptionally well-written. fili (in sort of a callback to the scene with the eagles), calls out "thorRIIIIIIN!!!" just as he sees the pale orc veer in for the kill. he picks up the severed arm of an orc which is lying on the ground, swings it up in desperation, effectively blocking the pale orc's blow. and thus, forever after, fili is known as "fili orc-enshield."

this earns him deep respect from his hard-to-please uncle. as well as a hug. kili wipes his boots on the pale orc's glory box. -- maciliel


Brethil
Half-elven


May 9 2013, 10:04pm

Post #48 of 110 (246 views)
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Elves and the disturbing sight of Death [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
[elaen32]

In Reply To
Maybe it's the concept of "mortal flesh" rather than mortality which the Valar see as being akin to being "unclean" here. The Valar and the Elves knew little about death and, what they had seen at the point that Varda hallowed the Silmarils was brought about by Morgoth. Their concept may have been more that death= the corruption and decay of the hroa rather than the release of the fea from the circles of the world, of which they had little understanding or knowledge.
Like you, I do not agree with the concept of original sin at all, but it is a strong tenet of catholicism. Since Tolkien was devout, it may well have been a concept that he believed in and translated into his writing, so this may be an issue here also

yes, the further we discuss these things, and the more folks (like brethil) unearth what tolkien explicitly says, via letters, the more i get the feeling that the concept of original sin, eden, all of it are inextricably part of tolkien, and it would have been difficult for him to construct a world without these themes, because they permeate his subconscious.

i think you make an excellent point regarding what exactly do the valar and eldar fear.... morality must be accompanied by decay (unless we're talking miriel's body being guarded by este's maidens). that was probably quite disturbing to them, and threatening. i don't think that contact with the flesh of the edain would have sullied the silmarils in any way, but i guess they were being overprotective.




That's a great point about the decay of the hroa. I know its jumping to Film (but its a great example) a bit but I love that puzzled, head-tilting look Legolas has as Boromir lies dying. So innately alien to them, and of course Men are so obviously affected by it...must be very disturbing.

I do think that tenets of JRRT's belief are in the mythos, very subtle, and not a direct parallel to his RL beliefs, but very close in spirit I think.

Manwe, when asked a simple "Yes" or "No" question, contemplated, and responded "the middle one."


Maciliel
Valinor


May 9 2013, 10:05pm

Post #49 of 110 (245 views)
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the meaning of murder when you can rebody [In reply to] Can't Post

 
so, we're pretty much all agreed (except for maybe feanor and co and melkor) that the elf kinslaying is bad.

but, all those elves that "died," well.... they didn't +really+ die, did they? their hroar were destroyed, but all have the possibility to come back, and the vast majority probably will.

so, it's an awful act, but it's not quite like murder that we know, when the entire existence of someone is irrevocably changed within arda.

thingol talking about killing beren because he had the "temerity" to ask for luthien's hand, and propelling him on a quest designed to kill him.... that seems a greater crime than kinslaying -- because elves get a do-over.



cheers --

.


aka. fili orc-enshield
+++++++++++++++++++
the scene, as i understand it, is exceptionally well-written. fili (in sort of a callback to the scene with the eagles), calls out "thorRIIIIIIN!!!" just as he sees the pale orc veer in for the kill. he picks up the severed arm of an orc which is lying on the ground, swings it up in desperation, effectively blocking the pale orc's blow. and thus, forever after, fili is known as "fili orc-enshield."

this earns him deep respect from his hard-to-please uncle. as well as a hug. kili wipes his boots on the pale orc's glory box. -- maciliel


CuriousG
Half-elven


May 9 2013, 10:14pm

Post #50 of 110 (250 views)
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Yes and no [In reply to] Can't Post

Oh, dang, Darkstone already said that.

Anyway, I have a similar sense about Aragorn's death, noWiz, that he's rather dismissive of Arwen's distraught state a la Aule and Yavanna. I'm never sure if I should attribute that to him being old and dying and not at his best, or if he doesn't understand her in a husband/wife way, or if it's something else. Sometimes I wonder if he's a True Believer in the Gift of Iluvatar, and when you're a True Believer in anything, you genuinely can't understand why other people don't get it too.

But Brethil nails another possibility, that after a long happy life together, Aragorn just assumes Arwen gets it, when fundamentally as an immortal, she doesn't and maybe can't. (And Ardamire's footer is one of my all-time favorite quotes.) Luthien doesn't seem as puzzled and upset as Arwen, but she's been to Mandos and back and can truly say, "Been there, done that."

As for the two ideas of Elves/immortality = better, and Gift of Illuvatar = better, I'd agree with Brethil that they're supposed to collide in a way to shed light on each other. Whichever of these gifts you have, you want the other, and each has its blessings and drawbacks, and you see the blessings of the one you don't have. Arwen would feel the rewards after death, but leading up to her lonely death in Lorien, she seems beset only by the bitter aspects of mortality.

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