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Silmarilion Discussion: Chapter 16 -- "Of Maeglin"
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Brethil
Half-elven


Jun 4 2013, 7:09pm

Post #26 of 381 (4193 views)
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Feanor and Maeglin [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Just Who is the Greatest Elf Again?

1. Is Maeglin a stand-in for Feanor? He seems almost a reincarnation. Feanor's eyes were said to be blue, I believe, and Maeglin's were said to be dark -- but dark could be their value (think light blue/dark blue), or they could be green. Tolkien speaks of Elves and Edain having blue or grey eyes, but it should be noted that Germanic populations (which partly inspired his world) have one of the highest concentrations of green eyes in the world). But I digress with the eye color. Maeglin shares so much with Feanor -- appearance, love of the activities associated with Aule, thirst for knowledge, great orator, keen observor, lust for greatness and achievement, fiercely fell in battle.
2. Is this repetition of Feanorian qualities in one character a boring redux? Or is Maeglin different enough to make it interesting?
Things in common yes - but I see them as very different: a positive and negative relief of each other. Feanor's passion were at least honest, open and worn upon his sleeve: rare is the thing Feanor would dissemble about, even to his own disadvantage. Maeglin is a very deeper, controlled and calculating soul. Maeglin, having the Silmarils, might have bargained harshly with the Valar - and might not necessarily have delivered. All in all I prefer the honest if misguided miscalculations of Feanor to the cool dis-passion of Maeglin.

3. +So+ interesting that Tolkien writes that Maeglin was the "last hope of the Noldor." Is this classic Tolkien hyperbole? Or was this very conciously done, considering the strong parallels between Maeglin and Feanor? And what could have become of that hope anyway? There was still an un-overthrowable Vala to the north. Or did Tolkien mean something different? Was there potential in Maeglin (with so many Feanorian qualities) to bring healing and renewal as the Oath of Feanor brought destruction? Maeglin also forged (pun!) alliances with Dwarves. They would have been more powerful allies, had their purposes and those of the Eldar been more closely aligned. Could that also been part of the hope that was symbolized by Maeglin? The last hope of the Noldor to maintain a Kingdom perhaps, had he somehow become Turgon's heir?


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


Brethil
Half-elven


Jun 4 2013, 7:15pm

Post #27 of 381 (4182 views)
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Aredhel [In reply to] Can't Post


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"My heart desires rather to find the sons of Feanor, my friends of old."
Aredhel spent a lot of time in Valinor with the Sons of Feanor. She counts enough of them as friends to lump them in a group, rather than just "I want to see my friend, Celegorm." She doesn't seem phased by the Oath or by the Kinslaying (perhaps because her brother, Fingon, and her father, Fingolfin, were among the slayers of kin).
1. Does this mean there's more that is worthy and good among the sons of Feanor? Or does it imply that Aredhel may be noble, but not so good, discerning, or empathetic?
Maybe just that desire to be the Belle of the Ball, as perhaps she was when in the company of all the F-troop? I think her restlessness (and fickleness?) is more at play that the desire to see any of them specifically - thus no naming of anyone in particular.

2. It's really striking how the Kinslaying doesn't seem to come into play for her. Is she insensitive? She certainly does seem haughty, even to her own brother, Turgon. Is she more vulnerable to the effects of the Oath because of her previous bonds with the sons of Feanor? Why does the Kinslaying and the Oath (which has the whole Doom of Mandos attached to it) not bother her enough so that she keeps her distance from the sons of Feanor? I think its her nature to think about what she wants - and if she wants freedom to explore, to seek out whom she will, than worrying too much about the Kinslaying will get in the way of that. I would say your choice of word -discernment - is perfect M-T, and I think that is what may be lacking here, along with a very strong ego. Her desire to her is more important than preserving the safety of their whole Kingdom.


.


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


Brethil
Half-elven


Jun 4 2013, 7:20pm

Post #28 of 381 (4187 views)
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Elf coloring [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Eol -- A Dark, Blond Elf?
1. Eol is constantly referred to as the "Dark Elf," but is that more a reflection of his moriquendi status and his shunning of the sun (which he may associate with the trouble-making, trouble-bringing Noldor), than of his physical appearance?
2. Eol is referred to as "high kin" of the Teleri and kin of Thingol. I'm thinking that he may indeed have been of lighter coloring, rather than raven-haired (which I associate with Aredhel). Thoughts?
Hmm, from a genetic standpoint, I would guess he was dark - as Maeglin needs to get that black hair from somewhere. Don't know why but I have always pictured Aredhel as blonde - but I may be wrong there. In any case, they certainly could both be dark-haired...when Eol comes to Gondolin the guards call him a dark and grim...not sure if that's long enough time to know his nature well enough to call him 'Dark' or if its an actual description. I feel like its a description...
.


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


Brethil
Half-elven


Jun 4 2013, 7:28pm

Post #29 of 381 (4188 views)
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1001 Elf Ways to Die [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Killer Elves or the Curse at Work?
1. For enightened beings, there sure is a lot of killing and threat of killing going on -- often for little reason (see Curufin's thwarted threat to kill Eol, for no reason than Eol just knocked on his door; but perhaps we judge Curufin too harshly -- perhaps Eol was always showing up in the middle of the night with pamphlets about some cause or another, or was trying to sell cookware made from galvorn). Is this murderous and near murderous pattern an abberation? Do you find this shocking, coming from Elves? When Morgoth was killing and disturbing things in Arda, the Valar at first locked him up. Is it ill-advised to do what the Valar would not? Take a life (which is what brought the Doom of Mandos upon them in the first place)? It was those pamphlets about "The Sun causes Cancer..." and the other Elves had just had enough of it. Of course ironically Eol would be vindicated thousands of years later...in any case indeed, these is lots of passion about, which I think is easy to forget about. I don't know how enlightened everyone is yet, not that far from the Summoning, the sundering of the Elf- kins, the Kinslaying...etc. etc. Think their wisdom is still a work in progress.

2. Eol is killed after Aredhel dies from her poisoned wound. Was Turgon justified in killing Eol, knowing that Aredhel was immortal, and would likely be released from the Halls of Mandos? 3. Is the killing of Eol a slightly more than meaningless sentance, considering that he, too, is immortal? It's anger, pure and simple; without a deeper concern for the consequences. It would rid Turgon of this Elf for the recent future - which in his emotional state might be the only thing he is thinking about. I think what tilts the scales is not just the dart, but that it was poisoned. There is a big ol' hint of premeditation here, because of that; perhaps as a straight crime of passion Eol would have fared better. And of course if Eol was set free, it would have been the doom of Gondolin from Turgon's point of view. So perhaps anger plus a sense of saving the rest of his people?




.


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


Brethil
Half-elven


Jun 4 2013, 7:33pm

Post #30 of 381 (4176 views)
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A Tale of Two Women [In reply to] Can't Post


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Parallels --Aredhel and Galadriel

1. Is Aredhel a pale imitation of Galadriel? Or does she have her own, distinct personality? Do you think they were close, having such similar personalities? Interesting... when Aredhel finally gets out of Gondolin, and even arrives at the borders of Doriath, she doesn't inquire whether her cousin Galadriel might be staying there. We know Galadriel was hanging out for a long while in Doriath.... was she there at the time of Aredhel's arrival?
2. A friendship would seemed most natural between Aredhel and Galadriel. Why isn't this described? Is it because Tolkien had some weaknesses with writing female characters? To describe two of them as having a strong bond of friendship and conversations seems natural in reality but is absent in his writings (the closest we get are some lines between Melian and Galadriel). Or do you think they would not have gotten on? Both too proud, too similar? I had never considered this before - but my instinct tells me they would have been to similar: both too fond of being the center of things, wanting control and to do what one wills. So maybe that's why she doesn't ask about Galadriel...I do see a lack of female interactions in general, but this one might have been a bit chilly!


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


Elizabeth
Half-elven


Jun 4 2013, 7:37pm

Post #31 of 381 (4216 views)
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"not wholly unwilling" [In reply to] Can't Post

I remain deeply disturbed by Eol's seduction of Aredhel. Indeed, I regard it as equivalent to "date rape," wherein A gets B drunk or high until B becomes "not wholly unwilling." The entire scenario is highly repellant.

Moreover, Eol increasingly takes on the behavioral characteristics of an abusive husband, preventing Aredhel from leaving or communicating with her family until she has to engineer an escape many years later.

The "rebellious girl likes the bad boy" image would be more persuasive if it weren't for all the enchantments he used to entrap her.








CuriousG
Half-elven


Jun 4 2013, 7:39pm

Post #32 of 381 (4159 views)
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It's the poison [In reply to] Can't Post

What disturbs me about Eol is he tries to kill his own son, and fails by spearing his wife by accident. But he doesn't tell anyone that he poisoned the blade, which is completely unconscionable, since the story implies that by revealing that, he could have spared her life if someone knew the antidote. (And of course ironically, she virtuously pleads for his life before the poison overwhelms her.) I feel Turgon is wrong in having him thrown off a cliff, but I don't feel pity for Eol at all. He's as bad as Feanor needlessly causing death and destruction. Good riddance!


Ardamírë
Valinor


Jun 4 2013, 7:44pm

Post #33 of 381 (4162 views)
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Cliff death [In reply to] Can't Post

Ok, so I finally finished skimming through the chapter, and I've come to the conclusion that Eol's death is solely for foreshadowing and Eol's prophetic words to Maeglin. And I think that Tolkien was simply going for that. Extreme, maybe. But a beautiful piece of imagery for a story if you ask me.

"...not till now have I understood the tale of your people and their fall.
As wicked fools I scorned them, but I pity them at last.
For if this is indeed, as the Eldar say, the gift of the One to Men,
it is bitter to receive." -Arwen Undómiel




Brethil
Half-elven


Jun 4 2013, 7:44pm

Post #34 of 381 (4186 views)
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I like all the points you make here [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
I remain deeply disturbed by Eol's seduction of Aredhel. Indeed, I regard it as equivalent to "date rape," wherein A gets B drunk or high until B becomes "not wholly unwilling." The entire scenario is highly repellant.

Moreover, Eol increasingly takes on the behavioral characteristics of an abusive husband, preventing Aredhel from leaving or communicating with her family until she has to engineer an escape many years later.

The "rebellious girl likes the bad boy" image would be more persuasive if it weren't for all the enchantments he used to entrap her.




As Maciliel pointed out in one of the OP's, the use of enchantments to keep things 'in' and to carry the alone, frightened Elf girl to his doorstep, where charm is purposefully exerted...not particularly palatable. And like other things in the JRRT universe, such imposition of will upon another won't end well.

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


Brethil
Half-elven


Jun 4 2013, 7:50pm

Post #35 of 381 (4164 views)
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I agree on the poison CG [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
What disturbs me about Eol is he tries to kill his own son, and fails by spearing his wife by accident. But he doesn't tell anyone that he poisoned the blade, which is completely unconscionable, since the story implies that by revealing that, he could have spared her life if someone knew the antidote. (And of course ironically, she virtuously pleads for his life before the poison overwhelms her.) I feel Turgon is wrong in having him thrown off a cliff, but I don't feel pity for Eol at all. He's as bad as Feanor needlessly causing death and destruction. Good riddance!




Premeditation there. Doubly disturbing that it was meant for his child. I like Ardamire's idea too, about the foreshadowing; from a story perspective, PLUS in the way it shoes the chill calculation of Maeglin (that ominous silence of his) it works very well.

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


Ardamírë
Valinor


Jun 4 2013, 7:51pm

Post #36 of 381 (4153 views)
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Aredhel's hair [In reply to] Can't Post

Hmm, funny, I've always imagined her with black hair. Perhaps this is the key to her differentiation from Galadriel! Tongue

"...not till now have I understood the tale of your people and their fall.
As wicked fools I scorned them, but I pity them at last.
For if this is indeed, as the Eldar say, the gift of the One to Men,
it is bitter to receive." -Arwen Undómiel




CuriousG
Half-elven


Jun 4 2013, 7:52pm

Post #37 of 381 (4154 views)
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Eol and Maeglin [In reply to] Can't Post

Story, you say? Oh, no, Ardamire, this is reality to us fans! Wink

The funny thing is that I don't see anything wrong with Tuor throwing Maeglin over the same cliff that Eol was thrown over, because in that case Tuor was fighting for his own life along with his wife's and son's. It wasn't a cold-blooded execution but part of the violence and confusion in the sack of the city.

I know it's just a story, but Turgon's action feels morally wrong, especially for him, because he's the one who's more sober and thoughtful among the Noldor, and in this case he's hot-headed. He has reason to be, but still...


CuriousG
Half-elven


Jun 4 2013, 7:55pm

Post #38 of 381 (4178 views)
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Good comparison [In reply to] Can't Post

It does seem like date rape, doesn't it? Only after the drug wears off, Aredhel is partly willing to be with Eol while also being his captive. That's disturbing too. Or it's Stockholm Syndrome, hard to say.


CuriousG
Half-elven


Jun 4 2013, 8:04pm

Post #39 of 381 (4143 views)
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I think there are a bah-zillion facets to this chapter [In reply to] Can't Post

And Maeglin's creepy silent observation, as you point out, over his father trying to kill him but killing his mother instead, and then having both parents die, is chilling, as is his soulless scheming in rising in power and prestige. He's not a child, and I think he's too old to blame his warped feelings on this trauma. Not to be heartless to him either, but it seems that without the parental massacre, he'd still bet twisted, and having his dad kill his mom and then his uncle kill his dad (did we just run into a Hamlet adaptation? Though that sounds like something noWizardme would say, so I stole his line.)

Anyway, all that happens, and Maeglin is left in a strange country that's completely isolated, and he's lost not only his parents, but the only people he's known except for creepy servants and Dwarves (okay, the Dwarves were alright). So it's fair to call this trauma and say it takes a toll on him. But I still hold him responsible for his later actions in betraying the city, trauma or not.


Ardamírë
Valinor


Jun 4 2013, 8:05pm

Post #40 of 381 (4144 views)
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Prophesy [In reply to] Can't Post

Oh, I agree. Tuor throwing Maeglin off the cliff is totally fine. He was, after all, threatening to kill both Idril and Earendil, and they just so happened to be on top of a cliff during a battle.

What I meant was that because of that story, and Tolkien's desire to have Eol's prophesy, Eol had to be thrown off of a cliff, too, and have prior knowledge of it. So the only plausible solution is for Eol to be facing the death penalty by cliff-dive. The result is that Turgon is the judge, and that leaves some people uneasy. For me, I'm not bothered at all. Eol did, after all, premeditate murder with a poisoned weapon, and everyone saw him actually throw it. It's a clear-cut case, IMO. (The only problem being he hit the wrong person.)

Speaking of Tuor for a second, of all the stories in The Silmarillion as published, his is the must truncated and underwhelming, especially after going through HoME and seeing just how beautiful and detailed the original story is. I think that even with Christopher editing out bits that Tolkien later abandoned we could have had a chapter at least as long as Beren and Luthien or Turin.

"...not till now have I understood the tale of your people and their fall.
As wicked fools I scorned them, but I pity them at last.
For if this is indeed, as the Eldar say, the gift of the One to Men,
it is bitter to receive." -Arwen Undómiel




Brethil
Half-elven


Jun 4 2013, 8:11pm

Post #41 of 381 (4143 views)
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I think he's just 'wrong' [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
And Maeglin's creepy silent observation, as you point out, over his father trying to kill him but killing his mother instead, and then having both parents die, is chilling, as is his soulless scheming in rising in power and prestige. He's not a child, and I think he's too old to blame his warped feelings on this trauma. Not to be heartless to him either, but it seems that without the parental massacre, he'd still bet twisted, and having his dad kill his mom and then his uncle kill his dad (did we just run into a Hamlet adaptation? Though that sounds like something noWizardme would say, so I stole his line.)

Anyway, all that happens, and Maeglin is left in a strange country that's completely isolated, and he's lost not only his parents, but the only people he's known except for creepy servants and Dwarves (okay, the Dwarves were alright). So it's fair to call this trauma and say it takes a toll on him. But I still hold him responsible for his later actions in betraying the city, trauma or not.




especially due to his circumstances of birth - with the way that Eol deviously used Aredhel's vulnerability (though it was through her own choice to end up in such a bad place, rrgh) in such an iffy way that seems to doom their child a bit.

Does it bug anyone else that Eol doesn't name his son until he's TWELVE? What did he call him as a baby? 'You there'...'rugrat'...? It seems to show a real lack of connection there - kind of a non-parent.

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


CuriousG
Half-elven


Jun 4 2013, 8:15pm

Post #42 of 381 (4132 views)
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Everything about Eol bugs me, lol. And that non-naming does too. // [In reply to] Can't Post

 


Faenoriel
Tol Eressea


Jun 4 2013, 8:20pm

Post #43 of 381 (4158 views)
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it's especially sad that she gets trapped by Eöl after dreaming of freedom [In reply to] Can't Post

It's almost as if she was punished... for what? Does Tolkien consider her a faulted person? I don't, but women rarely meet endings this bad unless it's for tragic love.

But every word you say today
Gets twisted 'round some other way
And they'll hurt you if they think you've lied


Faenoriel
Tol Eressea


Jun 4 2013, 8:23pm

Post #44 of 381 (4153 views)
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Maeglin resembles Curufin in many aspects [In reply to] Can't Post

To the point where I have amused myself on very AU fanfiction ideas of Maeglin being Curufin's son, born out of wedlock.

But every word you say today
Gets twisted 'round some other way
And they'll hurt you if they think you've lied


hanne
Lorien

Jun 4 2013, 8:25pm

Post #45 of 381 (4163 views)
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last hope [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
3. +So+ interesting that Tolkien writes that Maeglin was the "last hope of the Noldor." Is this classic Tolkien hyperbole? Or was this very conciously done, considering the strong parallels between Maeglin and Feanor? And what could have become of that hope anyway? There was still an un-overthrowable Vala to the north. Or did Tolkien mean something different? Was there potential in Maeglin (with so many Feanorian qualities) to bring healing and renewal as the Oath of Feanor brought destruction? Maeglin also forged (pun!) alliances with Dwarves. They would have been more powerful allies, had their purposes and those of the Eldar been more closely aligned. Could that also been part of the hope that was symbolized by Maeglin?


I always read it as the shadow fell on Idril, who was the last hope of the Noldor because she was the mother of Earendil, who was the actual last hope. So it's interesting, your thought it could have been Maeglin. He was also a child of two disparate groups, and could have pleaded for both calaquendi and moriquendi.



Faenoriel
Tol Eressea


Jun 4 2013, 8:27pm

Post #46 of 381 (4161 views)
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PS: Tolkien's girls always want the good boy. [In reply to] Can't Post

Can you name one single Tolkien female which would have been sexually/romantically drawn to a man of clearly ambiguous morality? They fall for the good, kind, noble man without hesitation.

But every word you say today
Gets twisted 'round some other way
And they'll hurt you if they think you've lied


imin
Valinor


Jun 4 2013, 8:35pm

Post #47 of 381 (4139 views)
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If you were Turgon [In reply to] Can't Post

What would you have done with Eol?

Temporary imprisonment? Eternal imprisonment? Send him to Valinor for judgement? Death but in a different manner? Rehabilitation?

Also was Turgon's execution cold blooded? As in i doubt he would have been impartial or even coming to terms with what happened so i don't think it can be considered a cold blooded fully calculated, more of a reaction, but i see what you mean at same time :)

And Iluvatar spoke to Ulmo, and said: 'Seest thou not how here in this little realm in the Deeps of Time Melkor hath made war upon thy province? He hath bethought him of bitter cold immoderate, and yet hath not destroyed the beauty of thy fountains, nor of my clear pools. Behold the snow, and the cunning work of frost! Melkor hath devised heats and fire without restraint, and hath not dried up thy desire nor utterly quelled the music of the sea. Behold rather the height and glory of the clouds, and the everchanging mists; and listen to the fall of rain upon the Earth! And in these clouds thou art drawn nearer to Manwe, thy friend, whom thou lovest.


imin
Valinor


Jun 4 2013, 8:35pm

Post #48 of 381 (4136 views)
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hmm [In reply to] Can't Post

Nerdanel?

And Iluvatar spoke to Ulmo, and said: 'Seest thou not how here in this little realm in the Deeps of Time Melkor hath made war upon thy province? He hath bethought him of bitter cold immoderate, and yet hath not destroyed the beauty of thy fountains, nor of my clear pools. Behold the snow, and the cunning work of frost! Melkor hath devised heats and fire without restraint, and hath not dried up thy desire nor utterly quelled the music of the sea. Behold rather the height and glory of the clouds, and the everchanging mists; and listen to the fall of rain upon the Earth! And in these clouds thou art drawn nearer to Manwe, thy friend, whom thou lovest.


Brethil
Half-elven


Jun 4 2013, 8:39pm

Post #49 of 381 (4127 views)
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That would explain a lot Faenoriel... [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
To the point where I have amused myself on very AU fanfiction ideas of Maeglin being Curufin's son, born out of wedlock.




The similarities PLUS the distance Eol apparently had towards the child...very good link there.

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


Faenoriel
Tol Eressea


Jun 4 2013, 8:40pm

Post #50 of 381 (4153 views)
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Fëanor wasn't bad to begin with. When he started to show corruption [In reply to] Can't Post

Nerdanel dumped him.

And while we're at it, let's celebrate what a kick-ass femme she was. The only person from whom Fëanor sought advice and who could influence him. Had the personality to make her the spouse of the crown prince even despite apparently not being the pretties lady around. Had the spine to leave him when he went too far. Had the figurative balls to stand up to him and demand the twins even at the hour of Fëanor's madness.

But every word you say today
Gets twisted 'round some other way
And they'll hurt you if they think you've lied

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