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Silmarilion Discussion: Chapter 12 -- "Of Men," Part 2: The Biosphere of Arda
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Maciliel
Valinor


May 12 2013, 10:23pm

Post #101 of 110 (301 views)
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that [In reply to] Can't Post

 
is an incredibly interesting thought, telain.

my guess is that the valar weren't even thinking of us edain, but you never know.

re frodo, bilbo, and to a lesser extend, sam... per my post upthread.... they sail to valinor for healing... but what of the holy nature of the valar and their creations (which exists also in the silmarils)? would that not hasten the ending of their lives, even as the ministrations of este and nienna would help heal them? as the silmaril hastened luthien's end?


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 telpemairo


Maciliel
Valinor


May 12 2013, 10:26pm

Post #102 of 110 (308 views)
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what would have happened [In reply to] Can't Post

 
... without the oath?

kind of going with your thought, telain... what if there was no oath, the feanorians were just trying to get them back for the usual reasons (again, without the oath).

the silmarils cross paths with the edain.... enlightening experience? ennobling? healing? trouble-making? end-hastening?


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 telpemairo


CuriousG
Half-elven


May 13 2013, 1:42am

Post #103 of 110 (298 views)
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There is something mortal-perilous about the Silmarils' light [In reply to] Can't Post

After Luthien dies:

Quote

the wise have said that the Silmaril hastened their end; for the flame of the beauty of Luthien as she wore it was too bright for mortal lands.

If any mortal had a right to possess the Silmaril after all they'd gone through, it was Beren and Luthien, but it seems to kill them off. As you say, it would be dangerous for any mortal to possess, and it would be a good thing if it repulsed them. However, it didn't seem to burn Beren's hand when he picked it up, and it certainly didn't burn Luthien when she wore it in the Nauglamir necklace, so there didn't seem to be any warning to them. Like radioactive substances, it killed with invisible effect. (I personally never quite view these troublesome jewels as "holy.")


telain
Rohan

May 14 2013, 1:42am

Post #104 of 110 (279 views)
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to quote a line from Bladerunner... [In reply to] Can't Post

I wonder if it is a case of the "light that shines twice as brightly burns half as long." probably a quote from several sources, actually...

Perhaps the Edain would gain insight, knowledge, power, grace, etc., from contact with the Silmarils, but the experience would burn them out more quickly because of it. I am thinking of the light that the Eldar gain from their time in Valinor... Perhaps the more fragile nature of the Edain could not handle it? Both healing and end-hastening?


Brethil
Half-elven


May 14 2013, 1:53am

Post #105 of 110 (280 views)
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Is that the End? Excellent idea Telain. [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
I wonder if it is a case of the "light that shines twice as brightly burns half as long." probably a quote from several sources, actually...

Perhaps the Edain would gain insight, knowledge, power, grace, etc., from contact with the Silmarils, but the experience would burn them out more quickly because of it. I am thinking of the light that the Eldar gain from their time in Valinor... Perhaps the more fragile nature of the Edain could not handle it? Both healing and end-hastening?




Is complete healing what Men have at their unknown end? Thus as you say, it could be both.

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


telain
Rohan

May 14 2013, 1:57am

Post #106 of 110 (291 views)
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I agree, "holy" isn't the right word [In reply to] Can't Post

Maybe it is because Feanor created them that "holy" just does not sit right with me. Troublesome? Yes. Pure? In a way, since they are the light of the Trees. Too hot to handle? Most definitely! But you are right about Beren and Luthien -- thought the necklace does have...interesting properties that seem to protect the wearer even from its own weight.

Are we sure Beren wasn't wearing asbestos gloves?

I still think that there is something about them that hastens death -- either directly, or fate-ally (fatally and fate-ally?) It seems they attract all those tragic characters to them in some way. Characters who have something good about them -- in Feanor's case, it is his all-out awesomeness in absolutely everything (except good judgement and hasty oath-making) -- my impression is that other characters that interact with them (apart from Morgoth et al) there is some other inherent goodness (both Beren and Luthien come to mind).

So, as the One Ring attracts evil to it (and twists even the best of intentions to destruction) it seems perhaps the Silmarils attract good to them, but then something strange happens and those attracted to the Silmarils all end up being terribly tragic figures. Is this a way (perhaps in Eru's Song?) of keeping the Children of Eru from not "becoming" Ainu, or Ainu-adjacent? Perhaps there is some purpose to the hierarchy; Eldar and Edain are meant to learn, but not meant to have such immense degree of power over themselves or their surroundings.

Or, perhaps it is late, and my powers of hypothesizing are waning...


noWizardme
Half-elven


May 18 2013, 8:28am

Post #107 of 110 (268 views)
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Maybe the elves must suffer their immortality? [In reply to] Can't Post

Have been reading Paul Kocher's "Master of Middle Earth" (Ballantine, 1972). In Ch4, he has the idea that the elves must endure their immortality: they don't seem to fit into a world which is otherwise nearly entirely mortal (not sure about the Ents; but take them as outliers if necessary). Kocher's idea is that the Valar might have taken the elves to Valinor as an act of kindness: to make for them a place where immortals could be happy:away from the melencholy repetition of mortal lives and seasons, safe from the temptation to dominate shorter-lived creatures.

Writing in 1972, I presume Kocher did not have access to the Silmarillion (published 1977, I believe). I don't recall this motivation of the Valar coming up in our reading of the text, but it feels plausible to me.

But, running on with this idea, the elves who stay in Middle-earth or return there achieve some delights while they are enduring. And also, while they make mistakes and do wrong, their presence in Middle-earth does a lot if good. For example, they wake the Ents, civilise some of the Edain, and down to the Third Age some of them oppose the Enemy rather than simply fleeing from him, even though there is a sense (in the Third Age at least) that their victory will be largely a selfless one.

So maybe the elves are meant to have that sweet and sour existance, in part be because of the service it does the rest of the world. Which would be an idea close to, or consistent with, your Biosphere of Arda one.

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, Furincurunir to the Dwarves (or at least, to their best friend) and by other names in other lands. Mostly they just say 'Oh no it's him - look busy!' "


noWizardme
Half-elven


May 18 2013, 9:59am

Post #108 of 110 (283 views)
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Wilfred Thesiger, elf [In reply to] Can't Post

Thinking about that idea of the elves' longing for both Valinor and Middle-earth reminded me if this powerful quote from adventurer Wilfred Thesiger (from his book Arabian Sands:


Quote
A cloud gathers, the rain falls, men live; the cloud disperses without rain, and men and animals die. In the deserts of southern Arabia there is no rhythm of the seasons, no rise and fall of sap, but empty wastes where only the changing temperature marks the passage of the year. It is a bitter, desiccated land which knows nothing of gentleness or ease. Yet men have lived there since earliest times. Passing generations have left fire-blackened stones at camping sites, a few faint tracks polished on the gravel plains. Elsewhere the winds wipe out their footprints. Men live there because it is the world into which they were born; the life they lead is the life their forefathers led before them; they accept hardships and privations; they know no other way. Lawrence wrote in Seven Pillars of Wisdom "Bedouin ways were hard, even for those brought up in them and for strangers terrible: a death in life." No man can live this life and emerge unchanged. He will carry, however faint, the imprint of the desert, the brand which marks the nomad; and he will have within him the yearning to return, weak or insistent according to his nature. For this cruel land can cast a spell which no temperate clime can match."

Wilfred Thesiger, Arabian Sands


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, Furincurunir to the Dwarves (or at least, to their best friend) and by other names in other lands. Mostly they just say 'Oh no it's him - look busy!' "


Brethil
Half-elven


May 18 2013, 1:59pm

Post #109 of 110 (256 views)
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I agree with all this NoWiz [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Have been reading Paul Kocher's "Master of Middle Earth" (Ballantine, 1972). In Ch4, he has the idea that the elves must endure their immortality: they don't seem to fit into a world which is otherwise nearly entirely mortal (not sure about the Ents; but take them as outliers if necessary). Kocher's idea is that the Valar might have taken the elves to Valinor as an act of kindness: to make for them a place where immortals could be happy:away from the melencholy repetition of mortal lives and seasons, safe from the temptation to dominate shorter-lived creatures.
Writing in 1972, I presume Kocher did not have access to the Silmarillion (published 1977, I believe). I don't recall this motivation of the Valar coming up in our reading of the text, but it feels plausible to me.
But, running on with this idea, the elves who stay in Middle-earth or return there achieve some delights while they are enduring. And also, while they make mistakes and do wrong, their presence in Middle-earth does a lot if good. For example, they wake the Ents, civilise some of the Edain, and down to the Third Age some of them oppose the Enemy rather than simply fleeing from him, even though there is a sense (in the Third Age at least) that their victory will be largely a selfless one.
So maybe the elves are meant to have that sweet and sour existance, in part be because of the service it does the rest of the world. Which would be an idea close to, or consistent with, your Biosphere of Arda one.




And I think by showing us the weariness and suffering (eloquently described in your quote above) of Immortals we can feel thankful for our fate. And I think the real role of the Eldar was to prepare the world for Men - although as you say its a bit of a sweet and sour experience; but I think it would have been sweeter for them if not for the regrets of the post-Summoning days. If they had simply awakened in Arda, done great creative deeds, taught and helped the Edain, and then were able to seek the Blessed Realm when they were weary (after a long days work, per se) I think they would have had a lot less conflict. You are right, very much a biosphere sort of partnership between the Eldar, the Edain and Arda.

All true, I think that definitely could have motivated the Valar - who as many of us have said have a sort of parental outlook on the Eldar. JRRT says that several times in Letters, describing their 'fascination' with the Firstborn. But by giving in to this fascination, plus also giving in to the fear of Melkor (and not having faith in Eru's design, and helping the Eldar in Arda) the Valar took them into a 'happy' place, but not a place where they belonged.

Nice summing of the biosphere idea Furuncurunir!

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


Annael
Immortal


May 18 2013, 5:47pm

Post #110 of 110 (258 views)
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hmmm [In reply to] Can't Post

If existence was purely blissful with no problems, there would be nothing to throw that bliss into relief, to make one aware of it. (An unchanging immortality holds no appeal for me.) Perhaps the Elves 'fell' in the first place because they needed to do something, to make a change in that existence. So they woke up trees and taught speech to animals and just generally meddled in things to see what would happen - not as Men would do, more intrusively and aggressively, because there was all the time in the world to observe the outcome. But at least it made for something to do. Otherwise, immortality would be something to "endure" indeed.

The way we imagine our lives is the way we are going to go on living our lives.

- James Hillman, Healing Fiction

* * * * * * * * * *

NARF and member of Deplorable Cultus since 1967

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