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**Silmarillion discusion, Chapter 8: Of the Darkening of Valinor**



Ardamírë
Valinor


Apr 8 2013, 10:48pm


Views: 1756
**Silmarillion discusion, Chapter 8: Of the Darkening of Valinor**

So sorry for the very long delay. Real life has gotten pretty hectic, but thankfully the Reading Room has been plenty busy of late. It's actually been a nice change to see it so active Smile

Well, now onto the chapter - one of my favorite, if more for it's textual history rather than the finished text itself. I'll speak to that a bit, but I'll try to mostly stick to the published text.

The chapter begins with Melkor running off and the Valar in pursuit of him. It's mentioned that Melkor is still able to change his form "or walk unclad." Was there ever really any chance then of catching him?

He comes to forgotten regions in the south where Ungoliant dwells. It is said that she was once in the service of Melkor before disowning him to become her own master. It is then said that she took the shape of a monstrous spider. So what is Ungoliant? She's obviously not just a spider. Some sort of Maia would be my guess. I don't think that seems very inspired, though. Any other ideas?

Melkor visits her and here the published text differs wildly from Tolkien's manuscript. He has an entire conversation between the two of them. Ungoliant is told to be ravenously hungry, so Melkor feeds her gems to strengthen her so that she's strong enough to do his bidding. Then notice this little twist in Melkor's words: "...and if thou art still hungry when we meet again" (italics mine). He means for them to part ways, not go to the Two Trees together. That will come into play later.

It's said that in Valinor there was no winter, but that the seasons are at the bidding of the Valar. Yavanna especially is described as in charge of the "times for the flowering and the ripening of all things that grew." What do you think of this cycle? I do like the more fantastical nature of, well, nature in the early years. Even with the advents of the Sun and Moon later the world is changing more and more to be like the world we know today. I like that the change is subtle and begins so early in history.

Finwe doesn't attend the feast, and Feanor decides to withhold the Silmarils from the eyes of the Elves and Valar. What do you think of these decisions? Obviously, they're bad in hindsight, but without that knowledge, do you think they were wrong choices? I think they're both wrong due to pride in both Finwe and Feanor. Many tragic circumstances could have been averted if pride were not such a vice to our characters.

Melkor then travels with Ungoliant to the Two Trees, destroys them, and then scurries away in her Unlight to Formenos and the Silmarils. Tolkien's version, though, has Ungoliant destroying the Trees as a cover for Melkor. He didn't enter into Valinor until after she destroyed them. He goes to the Ring of Doom and defiles it before heading off to Formenos: a location that he hadn't told Ungoliant about. He didn't want her with him while getting the Silmarils, and didn't actually intend to meet up with her again at all. But she overtakes him on the way so that they end up there together anyway. Which version do you prefer? Which do you think is stronger? I prefer the "separated" version, because it demonstrates more clearly Melkor's and Ungoliant's selfishness. I also like that they're more antagonistic towards each other, rather than the tag-team they're portrayed as in the published version.

Well, that's all for this chapter. Thanks for reading, commenting, or lurking. Feel free to mention anything I skimmed over. Smile

"...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


Hamfast Gamgee
Grey Havens

Apr 8 2013, 11:14pm


Views: 1282
I'm not convinced

That Ungoliant would have made it all the way to the tree circle by herself. Plus in the published version we do have Melkor's cry as the trees are chopped which I quite like. It was scary to hear as Finarfin mentions later. On the other hand, what were the various guards or Valar up to? Seeing Melkor with a rather scary spidery creature might have aroused ones suspicions I would have thought!


Ardamírë
Valinor


Apr 8 2013, 11:27pm


Views: 1271
Guards

The streets of Valmar are described as silent. Apparently everyone was at the feast.

I don't think it would be any harder for Ungoliant to get to the Trees than it would be for the two of them. She did, after all, clothe herself (or both of them) in the Unlight.

"...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


Brethil
Half-elven


Apr 9 2013, 2:46am


Views: 1329
The Darkening of Valinor - thoughts on the chapter


In Reply To
So sorry for the very long delay. Real life has gotten pretty hectic, but thankfully the Reading Room has been plenty busy of late. It's actually been a nice change to see it so active Smile Thanks for posting the discussion Ardamire! Hope life has been good as well as hectic for you! It has been brisk about the RR lately which is wonderful.

Well, now onto the chapter - one of my favorite, if more for it's textual history rather than the finished text itself. I'll speak to that a bit, but I'll try to mostly stick to the published text. The chapter begins with Melkor running off and the Valar in pursuit of him. It's mentioned that Melkor is still able to change his form "or walk unclad." Was there ever really any chance then of catching him? I don't think so, between still possessing the same abilities as the Valar (travelling unseen) coupled with a well planned strategy of misdirection, heading south instead of north. Plus he has the advantage of the (naive?) Valar simply not comprehending what his cardinal intentions were.

He comes to forgotten regions in the south where Ungoliant dwells. It is said that she was once in the service of Melkor before disowning him to become her own master. It is then said that she took the shape of a monstrous spider. So what is Ungoliant? She's obviously not just a spider. Some sort of Maia would be my guess. I don't think that seems very inspired, though. Any other ideas?
Tolkien himself calls her "Ungoliante the primeval devourer of light, that in spider-form assisted the Dark Power" (Letter #144). In the published Sil he says she "took shape" as a spider of monstrous form. So clearly as you say Ardamire she is not simply a natural or giant arachnid, but something that simply chose to take that form. What is she? In Ainulindale we read that the Valar first entered a dark and undeveloped Ea and Melkor coveted it, after setting great fires; "He (Manwe) called unto himself many spirits both greater and less, and they came down into the fields of Arda and aided Manwe..." About her in Chapter 8 we read "The Eldar knew not whence she came; but some have said that in ages long before she descended from the darkness that lies about Arda, when Melkor first looked down in envy upon the Kingdom of Manwe, and that in the beginning she was one of those he corrupted to his service." So her existence dates back to the time when the Valar first came into Ea, surrounded by darkness. Tolkien writes in Letter #200 that the sprits such as the Maia "were self-incarnated, if they wished; but their incarnate forms were more analogous to our clothes than to our bodies, except that they were more than are clothes the expressions of their desires, moods, wills and functions." She can choose her shape according to her mood and intent, and came out of the darkness surrounding the Creation, a time when greater and lesser spirits were called forth; so I do believe she is one of these first Maia who chose to enter Arda and assist in the work of Manwe before becoming corrupted by Melkor. Her initial form was undoubtedly different than the shape she became known for, and 'fixed' into - considering that her natural offspring retained that arachnid body through the ages.

Melkor visits her and here the published text differs wildly from Tolkien's manuscript. He has an entire conversation between the two of them. Ungoliant is told to be ravenously hungry, so Melkor feeds her gems to strengthen her so that she's strong enough to do his bidding. Then notice this little twist in Melkor's words: "...and if thou art still hungry when we meet again" (italics mine). He means for them to part ways, not go to the Two Trees together. That will come into play later.
It's said that in Valinor there was no winter, but that the seasons are at the bidding of the Valar. Yavanna especially is described as in charge of the "times for the flowering and the ripening of all things that grew." What do you think of this cycle? I do like the more fantastical nature of, well, nature in the early years. Even with the advents of the Sun and Moon later the world is changing more and more to be like the world we know today. I like that the change is subtle and begins so early in history.
For the fulfillment and continuation of life there MUST be a cycle of flowering and fruiting; but it means more than that. When I read this part of how the Valar clothed themselves in the vestment of the Children, and ate and drank and feasted - I see the almost innocent and child-like nature of the Valar, in imitating the beloved Firstborn by harvesting, eating and acting as they do. And as Tolkien points out all the different levels of Creation appeared to envy each other somewhat - its a bit touching to see the almighty Valar wanting to be like the Children and be able to fully enjoy the everyday pleasures of life. This particular feast is almost 'fey', in the sense that the Manwe was trying to heal all the ill-will and sundered relationships among the Noldor, and everyone is present and involved, without a thought to what things might be happening just outside their happy celebration. In their innocence they are so vulnerable.
Finwe doesn't attend the feast, and Feanor decides to withhold the Silmarils from the eyes of the Elves and Valar. What do you think of these decisions? Obviously, they're bad in hindsight, but without that knowledge, do you think they were wrong choices? I think they're both wrong due to pride in both Finwe and Feanor. Many tragic circumstances could have been averted if pride were not such a vice to our characters. Tolkien says that 'the fall of the Elves comes about through the possessive attitude of Feanor and his seven sons to these gems." So true, that the pride of Feanor, his emotional distance from the rest of the Elves (even his own family) and his need to possess the Silmarils are the heart of so much suffering. The fact that he locks them up in an iron box is like a metaphor for the immovable nature of his heart at that point in his life, and also his fear of losing what he values so highly and is so precious (preciousssss) to him. I also note he does not dress like everyone else, for the feast, but more like for a funeral. And the funeral isn't far away, as Finwe's own pride in refusing to come ultimately costs him his life.
Melkor then travels with Ungoliant to the Two Trees, destroys them, and then scurries away in her Unlight to Formenos and the Silmarils. Tolkien's version, though, has Ungoliant destroying the Trees as a cover for Melkor. He didn't enter into Valinor until after she destroyed them. He goes to the Ring of Doom and defiles it before heading off to Formenos: a location that he hadn't told Ungoliant about. He didn't want her with him while getting the Silmarils, and didn't actually intend to meet up with her again at all. But she overtakes him on the way so that they end up there together anyway. Which version do you prefer? Which do you think is stronger? I prefer the "separated" version, because it demonstrates more clearly Melkor's and Ungoliant's selfishness. I also like that they're more antagonistic towards each other, rather than the tag-team they're portrayed as in the published version
.
I have to say I rather like the published version of them 'in tandem" (with Melkor thinking he is in total control) because of how scared even Melkor is when Ungoliant swells to enormous size after draining the Two Trees - sort of like he has a tiger by the tail. I like the fact that even the most evil of beings can be frightened by something; it makes Melkor a more complete and real character for me. I like the way they work together with each having their own separate agenda, and that even though Melkor has an intellectual 'plan' about revenge, the more base power of raw hunger is scarier than he is and produces a monster even he could not foresee.
Well, that's all for this chapter. Thanks for reading, commenting, or lurking. Feel free to mention anything I skimmed over. Smile I love the evocative picture of Tulkas beating the air in the darkness, all alone...such a picture of helpless grief.Thanks Ardamire! Looking very forward to everyone's thoughts on the chapter!


Hell hath no fury like a Dragon who is missing a cup.


noWizardme
Half-elven


Apr 9 2013, 10:46am


Views: 1249
Even the sentries on holiday AGAIN?

It's a bit odd - Last time they were all on holiday, it was celebrating the Raising of the Lamps. Melkor chose that opportunity to crash the party with an attack by his Legions of Terror, and smash the lamps. Obvioulsy, given that Melkor has just escaped, no need to take any precautions about something like that happening again? ...Crazy

I like Brethil's explanation for it

Quote
This particular feast is almost 'fey', in the sense that the Manwe was trying to heal all the ill-will and sundered relationships among the Noldor, and everyone is present and involved, without a thought to what things might be happening just outside their happy celebration. In their innocence they are so vulnerable.

..but forgetful as well as vulnerable, it seems

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


(This post was edited by noWizardme on Apr 9 2013, 10:56am)


noWizardme
Half-elven


Apr 9 2013, 11:17am


Views: 1302
"the primeval devourer of light"

Magnificently creepy, Ungoliant:

Quote
In a ravine she lived, and took shape as a spider of monstrous form, weaving her black webs in a cleft of the mountains. There she sucked up all the light that she could find and spun it forth again in dark nets of strangling gloom, until no light more could come to her abode; and she was famished.


My "literary head" is going "oooh" in admiration of the language and the metaphor, and telling my "science head" to shut up pointing out that any old garden plant sucks up all the light it can and makes stuff from it. The point, I think, is that she's the great devourer and unquenchable spirit of obliteration, not some solar-powered spider.

...........I'll go bang my heads together.............

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


Brethil
Half-elven


Apr 9 2013, 4:49pm


Views: 1223
True N-W-M, and in addition...


In Reply To
Magnificently creepy, Ungoliant:

Quote
In a ravine she lived, and took shape as a spider of monstrous form, weaving her black webs in a cleft of the mountains. There she sucked up all the light that she could find and spun it forth again in dark nets of strangling gloom, until no light more could come to her abode; and she was famished.


My "literary head" is going "oooh" in admiration of the language and the metaphor, and telling my "science head" to shut up pointing out that any old garden plant sucks up all the light it can and makes stuff from it. The point, I think, is that she's the great devourer and unquenchable spirit of obliteration, not some solar-powered spider.

...........I'll go bang my heads together.............(Haha, Okay Zaphod!)




...unlike a plant she is magnificently and evilly sentient and MOVES (shiver). Just picture one of those little jumping wolf spiders and how primevally creepy they are, and magnify it by about 100k (x). JRRT really taps into a real-world but very inhuman well of fear by selecting the spider form for his devourer- as you say quite beautifully, the spirit of hunger and obliteration, who devours and gives back nothing to the world except darkness.

How do you see her origins, N-W-M? Curious on your thoughts.

Hell hath no fury like a Dragon who is missing a cup.


Ardamírë
Valinor


Apr 9 2013, 5:33pm


Views: 1195
I hadn't even thought of that!

I totally didn't even think about the similarity to Melkor's assault on the Lamps. These Valar really don't have any idea how to learn from past mistakes, do they?

Brethil's remarks are good, and probably the closest to accurate, but it still certainly seems to be a fault in the Valar.

"...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


Brethil
Half-elven


Apr 9 2013, 6:27pm


Views: 1198
That's why I thought the feast feels "fey"


In Reply To
I totally didn't even think about the similarity to Melkor's assault on the Lamps. These Valar really don't have any idea how to learn from past mistakes, do they?

Brethil's remarks are good, and probably the closest to accurate, but it still certainly seems to be a fault in the Valar.




because they seem to be in a denial of what could happen - as N-W-M perfectly elucidates, they have already seen the destruction by Melkor of items of Light made by the Valar...and as you point out, one should be able to learn from the past....so the question here is:

Are they that naïve and simply not experienced enough yet with the repetitive and increasing power of evil?
OR
are they so distracted in that hour by the division of the Noldor and the controversy over the Silmarils that they lose sight of the larger evil?

If the second option is right, it implicates Feanor much more in the destruction of the Trees, because it is due to his breaking of the peace that Manwe seeks to have the feast, leaving the Trees unguarded, and concentrates all of his energy into reconciling the Noldor. (And if we implicate Feanor, then Miriel's choice might be seen at the heart of the matter, IMHO.)

If it is the first option - naivete - it seems that Manwe, possessing the greatest sight of all the Valar, perhaps had the greatest chance to know that danger loomed. We don't read of the most suspicious of the Valar, Ulmo, being at the feast, only Tulkas (also not trusting of Melkor)...I wonder if Ulmo was keeping watch far away, still seeking Melkor or word of his doings. (I can't find any details on this, don't know if anyone else had read anything.)

Hell hath no fury like a Dragon who is missing a cup.


Finwe
Lorien


Apr 9 2013, 7:31pm


Views: 1187
My thoughts

The chapter begins with Melkor running off and the Valar in pursuit of him. It's mentioned that Melkor is still able to change his form "or walk unclad." Was there ever really any chance then of catching him? I don't think so. One would think that they should be able to "feel" his evil presence, but even that wouldn't avail them to physically capture and imprison him again.


So what is Ungoliant? I've always believed her to be a Maia. Obviously a very powerful one to take on such a monstrous form and put a scare into the heart of Melkor.


Finwe doesn't attend the feast, and Feanor decides to withhold the Silmarils from the eyes of the Elves and Valar. What do you think of these decisions? 'Love not to greatly the work of thine own hands' is a central theme to the Silmarillon. Feanor's denial of the silmarils leads to the loss of his father and treasure. Finwe, in his blind devotion to his eldest child, misses his final opportunity to once again unite the Noldor. Pride and vanity win out, to disastrous consequences.


Which version do you prefer? Which do you think is stronger? I prefer the united Melkor and Ungoliant, as it allows the reader to truly understand just how powerful Ungoliant truly is. The narrator can repeatedly state this fact, but it doesn't have the same effect as the vision of Melkor, the mightiest being in Arda, quailing in fear at the sight of Ungoliant destroying the Trees.


As three great Jewels they were in form. But not until the End, when Fëanor shall return who perished ere the Sun was made, and sits now in the Halls of Awaiting and comes no more among his kin; not until the Sun passes and the Moon falls, shall it be known of what substance they were made. Like the crystal of diamonds it appeared, and yet was more strong than adamant, so that no violence could mar it or break it within the Kingdom of Arda.


Finwe
Lorien


Apr 9 2013, 7:53pm


Views: 1176
I think it's a combination

I'm sure the Valar's thoughts were concerned with the division of the Noldor, yet I think they miscalculated Melkor's intentions upon his escape. He has a whole realm to return to in Middle Earth, so it's possible Manwe believed that Melkor had fled back to Middle Earth to continue his reign of terror.

Also, I think one has to look at the earlier writings of this chapter to get a larger picture. In Morgoth's Ring, Melkor did not destroy the Lamps during the Feast, he simply used this time to sneak through the Walls of Night and back into Arda. It wasn't until later that he assaulted the Lamps. In one version, he doesn't even assault the Lamps at all. He helps Aule construct them, using ice as supports. He simply kicks up his feet and waits for the heat of the Lamps to melt the ice and cause their destruction. The Valar don't appear as naive in earlier versions as they do in the published Silmarillion.

As three great Jewels they were in form. But not until the End, when Fëanor shall return who perished ere the Sun was made, and sits now in the Halls of Awaiting and comes no more among his kin; not until the Sun passes and the Moon falls, shall it be known of what substance they were made. Like the crystal of diamonds it appeared, and yet was more strong than adamant, so that no violence could mar it or break it within the Kingdom of Arda.


CuriousG
Half-elven


Apr 9 2013, 7:56pm


Views: 1179
Possibly overconfidence?

I don't have time yet for a full reply, just wanted to pop in and add the option of the Valar being overconfident at this point. They had defeated Melkor and kept him in jail for ages, then had him on parole. They might think he's sufficiently defeated that he's more like a mean gossip than a true foe.

Just an option. They are probably being naive. They still don't get it. Yet I too wonder why the more vigilant and suspicious among them aren't keeping some lookout when they know Melkor is unseen and on the loose, because the story seems to affirm the rightness of Feanor and Finwe in being distrustful. Who wants Feanor to be proven right?


Finwe
Lorien


Apr 9 2013, 8:10pm


Views: 1179
One more thing

Has anyone else ever wondered how in the world Ungoliant was hanging out in Aman without the knowledge of the Valar? We've been justifiably ripping on Feanor for his actions thus far, but isn't he spot on in his assessment of the Valar's security measures? Not only was Melkor able to assault the land of the Valar, he did it with the help of the next door neighbor. Were the Valar expecting any nearby enemies to register with Elven Protective Services and go door to door notifying everyone of their residence?

As three great Jewels they were in form. But not until the End, when Fëanor shall return who perished ere the Sun was made, and sits now in the Halls of Awaiting and comes no more among his kin; not until the Sun passes and the Moon falls, shall it be known of what substance they were made. Like the crystal of diamonds it appeared, and yet was more strong than adamant, so that no violence could mar it or break it within the Kingdom of Arda.


CuriousG
Half-elven


Apr 9 2013, 8:51pm


Views: 1170
I often think that too.

The whole point of Aman was that it was a sanctuary unspoiled by the evil found in the rest of the world. Didn't they call in an exterminator first to get rid of all the bugs before they set up their paradise? So we can come back to the idea of them being childishly naive or overconfident in thinking there's no bogeyman over the hill. Or incompetent. Shouldn't Orome have hunted around Aman once in awhile to make sure it was all clear? Isn't Manwe supposed to see around the world--and Aman at least--from his mountaintop?

The argument I could make in their defense is that fairy tales usually assume that most of any world is unknown, so the Valar wouldn't have had cartographers and satellite photos even of their own backyard. Fairy tales can have children wander just a few feet "into the woods" and disappear/get eaten by a witch/be kidnapped by fairies/etc. So maybe the idea is that they couldn't know every square inch of even Aman. But to a general reader, it sure seems they should have.


noWizardme
Half-elven


Apr 9 2013, 9:57pm


Views: 1187
What we know, and don't know, about Ungoliant

Asked where Ungoliant fits in, say on the org chat of the Valar I made for Ch 2 ( see http://newboards.theonering.net/forum/gforum/perl/gforum.cgi?post=557744#557744 ), I just don't know.

A Maia seems a perfectly plausible hypothesis, but I think that someone with a business card saying "Primeval Devourer of Light" sounds pretty senior in the organisation. She also scares even Melkor, and he needs rescuing from her when they double-cross one another in the next chapter.

Something I notice however is that JRRT goes out of his way several times to tell us that there's stuff he **doesn't ** know about her. For example "The Eldar knew not whence she came"; and when she leaves the story in the next chapter we get "of the fate of Ungoliant no tale tells." He does something similar with Shelob, telling us that he doesn't know how she got to Cirith Ungol, and that he doesn't know what becomes of her after her fight with Sam.

Which seems rather odd behaviour for a fantasy writer, especially one so willing to fill in the details usually. What do you think is going on here?

I speculate that his spider villains are **meant** to be beyond knowing or understanding. They are evil in a different way to Melkor and Sauron. M&S would happily have you slaving in their mines to further their latest Evil Scheme ("Melkor and Sauron", that is, not the supermarket chain) Hobbits as miserable slaves" would please either of them because it demonstrates they have the power to make slaves, and to make them miserable. Why is Melkor attacking the trees? Revenge, spite, and a tactical distraction. Why is Ungoliant there? Simply To feed, to feed but never to be satisfied. Bestial Evil rather than Intelligent Evil, perhaps. She's the shadow, the watcher in the darkness that we all instinctively know lies out there, waiting to get us. The chaos and destruction at the end of the world. The something nasty which really is in the woodshed.

So we can't know her, that's the point. Maybe Eru's music had the odd Screechy bit to call her forth. Maybe the Valar don't know about her much either. Or maybe they just don't tell the Eldar ("discretion is the better part of Valar" after all). If they are protecting the Eldar, though, it's all going wrong now...

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


Brethil
Half-elven


Apr 9 2013, 10:48pm


Views: 1180
Ungoliant and the sometimes puzzling Valar behavior


In Reply To
The whole point of Aman was that it was a sanctuary unspoiled by the evil found in the rest of the world. Didn't they call in an exterminator first to get rid of all the bugs before they set up their paradise? So we can come back to the idea of them being childishly naive or overconfident in thinking there's no bogeyman over the hill. Or incompetent. Shouldn't Orome have hunted around Aman once in awhile to make sure it was all clear? Isn't Manwe supposed to see around the world--and Aman at least--from his mountaintop?

The argument I could make in their defense is that fairy tales usually assume that most of any world is unknown, so the Valar wouldn't have had cartographers and satellite photos even of their own backyard. Fairy tales can have children wander just a few feet "into the woods" and disappear/get eaten by a witch/be kidnapped by fairies/etc. So maybe the idea is that they couldn't know every square inch of even Aman. But to a general reader, it sure seems they should have.




From the fairy tale/device perspective, absolutely - but that's the basis of so many human fears isn't it, so it's an effective device!

From the standpoint of ME, (and your cartography standpoint CG) it seems JRRT went out of his way to describe this narrow, dark area of Avathar as mournful, shadowed and unexplored, bordered by the deep and cold dark sea. And he tells of Orome patrolling to the North and ignoring the South - based on Melkor's previous behaviors and the location of Utumno. So I guess the Valar learned something - but the learning is limited by their experiences. Indeed as I said earlier I know Ulmo had the most distrust of Melkor, but he came only to the Blessed Realm infrequently, and maybe also did not go the sort of 'dead zone' where no Firstborn lived. Tulkas was there more and Manwe had the vision from the high seat (and with him Varda had the hearing.) so, could it be the simple (almost mortal) failing of not wanting to closely explore places distasteful to them? Of course they are the most likely places for evil to take root...but again I keep coming back to that naïve judgment that most of the Valar show. Just based on the idea that though the Valar 'mature' they remain the first generation of children of Eru forever...

(From a fiction perspective it would be fascinating (!!!) to know how JRRT might portray the individual Valar in our time, having seen many more thousands of years of life.)

And I wonder exactly WHEN, if Ungoliant can choose her shape, when she morphed into the spider-form. Maybe in earlier days her shape was different and no so easy to spot as a dark power. It reads "In a ravine she lived, and took shape as a spider of monstrous form..." So maybe this implies that she picked the place before she picked the shape, and thus came unnoticed to Avathar.

Hell hath no fury like a Dragon who is missing a cup.


Brethil
Half-elven


Apr 10 2013, 12:02am


Views: 1158
Mulling on Ungoliant


In Reply To
Asked where Ungoliant fits in, say on the org chat of the Valar I made for Ch 2 ( see http://newboards.theonering.net/forum/gforum/perl/gforum.cgi?post=557744#557744 ), I just don't know. I love your chart N-W-M! I would say originate a box under the Maiar section and draw a line over to the left under Enemies and pop her in there.

A Maia seems a perfectly plausible hypothesis, but I think that someone with a business card saying "Primeval Devourer of Light" sounds pretty senior in the organisation. She also scares even Melkor, and he needs rescuing from her when they double-cross one another in the next chapter.
I think any of the Maiar who chose to be driven by Unending Hunger could potentially be as a scary as her.

Something I notice however is that JRRT goes out of his way several times to tell us that there's stuff he **doesn't ** know about her. For example "The Eldar knew not whence she came"; and when she leaves the story in the next chapter we get "of the fate of Ungoliant no tale tells." He does something similar with Shelob, telling us that he doesn't know how she got to Cirith Ungol, and that he doesn't know what becomes of her after her fight with Sam. Which seems rather odd behaviour for a fantasy writer, especially one so willing to fill in the details usually. What do you think is going on here?
I think with Shelob it is a narrative choice. I have always read that part as an actual description of what really happens to Shelob, just told in a different way. So I think that is a writing choice. As for Ungoliant we know she survives, and has biological offspring (sired by ... ugh...what? Giant natural spiders? Yikes.) that survive and proliferate up to and past Frodo's time.

I speculate that his spider villains are **meant** to be beyond knowing or understanding. They are evil in a different way to Melkor and Sauron. M&S would happily have you slaving in their mines to further their latest Evil Scheme ("Melkor and Sauron", that is, not the supermarket chain) Hobbits as miserable slaves" would please either of them because it demonstrates they have the power to make slaves, and to make them miserable. Why is Melkor attacking the trees? Revenge, spite, and a tactical distraction. Why is Ungoliant there? Simply To feed, to feed but never to be satisfied. Bestial Evil rather than Intelligent Evil, perhaps. She's the shadow, the watcher in the darkness that we all instinctively know lies out there, waiting to get us. The chaos and destruction at the end of the world. The something nasty which really is in the woodshed.
You put this all so well!!!! I read in Letters that as late as 1955 JRRT says he "still" hasn't found out any more about the cats of Queen Beruthiel....some things he simply left 'undiscovered'. As you say its perhaps an instinctive choice of expressing fear by leaving some mystery...but knowing its out there somewhere, lurking.

So we can't know her, that's the point. Maybe Eru's music had the odd Screechy bit to call her forth. Maybe the Valar don't know about her much either. Or maybe they just don't tell the Eldar ("discretion is the better part of Valar" after all). If they are protecting the Eldar, though, it's all going wrong now...
True, but only Eru could tell them all the possible outcomes - the Valar don't have the whole picture. And yes wow it would be a screechy, nasty bit - but probably the same sort of ickiness that allows for Melkor to misbehave.


Hell hath no fury like a Dragon who is missing a cup.


Brethil
Half-elven


Apr 10 2013, 12:45am


Views: 1147
Ultimately I think its a combination as well Finwe

Another almost mortal failing - wishful thinking on the part of the Valar? Certainly they misjudged Melkor, maybe hoping that what had happened to date was the worst he could do or planned on doing (to the Blessed Realm anyway...) And could the fact that Manwe thought he fled to ME to misbehave there allow them a certain safety net?

I like the Morgoth's Ring details - thanks - (just reordered the first five HoME volumes, mine were ruined) it lends a slightly different picture; but I will have to re-read it - want to see what it implies about Aule and the ice (because that seems a bit naïve as well).

Hell hath no fury like a Dragon who is missing a cup.


Finwe
Lorien


Apr 10 2013, 2:01am


Views: 1162
Morgoth's Ring

I can't find my copy and don't remember any specific quotes, but the general synopsis of the Aule/Morgoth ice pillars is similar to the section in the Silmarillion we just discussed last chapter. The Valar capture Melkor and fall for his rehabilitation ruse. The setting is simply moved from Valinor to Almaren. While feigning to aid the Valar, he creates giant pillars of ice to support the Lamps. The Valar, unfamiliar with ice, are awed. Melkor is awed by their gullibility. Ice melts, lights go out, and chaos ensues.

As three great Jewels they were in form. But not until the End, when Fëanor shall return who perished ere the Sun was made, and sits now in the Halls of Awaiting and comes no more among his kin; not until the Sun passes and the Moon falls, shall it be known of what substance they were made. Like the crystal of diamonds it appeared, and yet was more strong than adamant, so that no violence could mar it or break it within the Kingdom of Arda.


Ardamírë
Valinor


Apr 10 2013, 2:09am


Views: 1135
Ice Pillars

Isn't this version in the Lost Tales? I seem to remember it being one of the very earliest versions, though I could well be wrong. Just a thought.

"...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


Finwe
Lorien


Apr 10 2013, 2:14am


Views: 1134
Ungoliant

Although I believe Ungoliant is most likely a maiar, I seem to recall reading that one suggestion Tolkien had for the origin of Ungoliant is that she was spawned from the darkness of the Void. I don't remember where I read this or how early in his life he wrote this, but it seems to fit with her whole "unlight".

As three great Jewels they were in form. But not until the End, when Fëanor shall return who perished ere the Sun was made, and sits now in the Halls of Awaiting and comes no more among his kin; not until the Sun passes and the Moon falls, shall it be known of what substance they were made. Like the crystal of diamonds it appeared, and yet was more strong than adamant, so that no violence could mar it or break it within the Kingdom of Arda.


Finwe
Lorien


Apr 10 2013, 2:20am


Views: 1119
You could be correct

It's hard to keep them all straight. Tongue. Definitely somewhere in HoME.

As three great Jewels they were in form. But not until the End, when Fëanor shall return who perished ere the Sun was made, and sits now in the Halls of Awaiting and comes no more among his kin; not until the Sun passes and the Moon falls, shall it be known of what substance they were made. Like the crystal of diamonds it appeared, and yet was more strong than adamant, so that no violence could mar it or break it within the Kingdom of Arda.


Brethil
Half-elven


Apr 10 2013, 2:25am


Views: 1128
True - she comes from darkness it seems, in either version


In Reply To
Although I believe Ungoliant is most likely a maiar, I seem to recall reading that one suggestion Tolkien had for the origin of Ungoliant is that she was spawned from the darkness of the Void. I don't remember where I read this or how early in his life he wrote this, but it seems to fit with her whole "unlight".




It would fit nicely - even as a spirit he seems to describe them as being called out from the darkness around Ea. The philosophical difference here might be that the original darkness around Creation was simply empty, whereas the darkness Ungoliant created herself was the 'unlight' and had a sort-of life force of its own, like when it rolls (eerily) toward Taniquetil.

Hell hath no fury like a Dragon who is missing a cup.


Ardamírë
Valinor


Apr 10 2013, 2:54am


Views: 1127
Yes, definitely somewhere!

Tongue

I don't remember my initial reaction to that idea, but I definitely find it unsatisfactory now. I'm glad Tolkien changed his mind about that. It just seems too simple and stupid of the Valar not to know what ice is.

"...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


noWizardme
Half-elven


Apr 10 2013, 6:32am


Views: 1116
Philosophical and in-world-theological problems?

If Ungoliant can spontaneously appear out of darkness, isn't that a bit of a problem for the model of Eru as the exclusive creator of life in the Tolkien Universe? (And would it matter if that were true?) if we imagine a Christian model lurking in the background of Tolkien's ideas, this would seem to be a departure.

I'm a bit reminded of the character of Death in Sir Terry Pratchett's Discworld. In one book (Reaper Man I think) it's explained that Death (the character) is **necessary** to the universe. When our usual likeable skeleton character is in effect laid off, other "Deaths" begin to appear - the Death of Rats becoming an amusing sidekick once the situation is otherwise resolved. Similarly, is something like Ungoliant implied by the existence of something like Eru?

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


elostirion74
Rohan

Apr 10 2013, 12:39pm


Views: 686
a few answers

Personally I find the finished text very interesting in itself, both because of the ideas that are put forth in the chapter, such as Ungoliant´s unlight and her insatiable hunger, the darkness following the death of the Trees, described as more than a loss of light. The various images conjured, such as Melkor looking out over the Blessed realm and "the tall wheat of the Gods", or Taniquetil being the only thing not to founder in a sea of darkness, also appeal to me.

It´s an interesting question what Ungoliant is or originally was; probably one of the Maiar, but I´m ok with not knowing exactly what she is. The fact that Tolkien doesn´t try to explain everything, but leaves much to the imagination of the reader is a strength of his writing and the conception of his imagined world.

When I read this chapter and about Ungoliant´s unlight I immediately think of the darkness in Shelob´s lair, a darkness which has the power to enter the will and the mind, a sort of primordial darkness which is something else and far more powerful than darkness as it´s ordinarily understood.

I prefer the version where Ungoliant and Melkor travel together, especially because of it showing how Melkor becomes afraid when Ungoliant grows. The idea of him allying himself with a power which grows beyond his control is very fascinating, since he otherwise seems so clever at plotting and scheming.

As for Finwë not coming, I think this was a wilful choice and a wrong one, as I think he has a responsibility to contribute to reconciliation among the Noldor.


elostirion74
Rohan

Apr 10 2013, 12:58pm


Views: 689
well

Hmm, I guess I see this quite differently. The Valar have fortified their country, raising the Pelori, and they probably base their "security measures" on their previous experience with Melkor, who had his first stronghold in the north of Middle Earth. Consequently their vigilance and their defences are primarilyi directed towards the north. And from previous experience, when Melkor eluded them, they might have expected that he had returned to Middle Earth.

Also I have the impression that the Valar focus mostly on preservering and furthering their work, their contact with the Elves and the more immediately habitable lands. Avathar seems like a really sad and dreary place, not a region The Valar would have been prone to approach often.They make some security measures, but that does not mean they are infallible or that focusing on security becomes their sole concern overriding everything else. And it is so improbable that their attention now is primarily focused towards healing the feud among the Noldor, which could threaten the peace of Aman severely?


Brethil
Half-elven


Apr 10 2013, 2:06pm


Views: 748
The sprits called forth, such as Ungoliant


In Reply To
If Ungoliant can spontaneously appear out of darkness, isn't that a bit of a problem for the model of Eru as the exclusive creator of life in the Tolkien Universe? (And would it matter if that were true?) if we imagine a Christian model lurking in the background of Tolkien's ideas, this would seem to be a departure.

I'm a bit reminded of the character of Death in Sir Terry Pratchett's Discworld. In one book (Reaper Man I think) it's explained that Death (the character) is **necessary** to the universe. When our usual likeable skeleton character is in effect laid off, other "Deaths" begin to appear - the Death of Rats becoming an amusing sidekick once the situation is otherwise resolved. Similarly, is something like Ungoliant implied by the existence of something like Eru?




I get the feeling that the Maiar and lesser sprits called forth to help Manwe in building Arda exist as undedicated beings in the negative space around Creation, and 'come down' to Arda (Ainulindale) In Letter #200 JRRT details ideas about different spirits, and talks about 'some' spirits choosing to become engrossed in the creation of the world and becoming self-incarnate (ie like Ungoliant choosing her spider form) so logically there would appear to be an array of spirits/potential beings who DON'T choose to be part of Arda. So I think they are all created by Eru, and come forth when called upon because they choose to come forth. And by being self-incarnate they can embody themselves of their choice one 'realized'.

I remember reading about Death (enjoyed those books!) - I think this is philosophically different than a spontaneous balancing of Creation with destruction. I think instead everything in the Song is possible and known by Eru, and she is a spririt created by him but who makes her own choices once within the physical world - none of which can surprise Eru but they CAN surprise the Valar as they lack the complete picture or knowledge of all possibilities.

Hell hath no fury like a Dragon who is missing a cup.


Finwe
Lorien


Apr 10 2013, 3:59pm


Views: 670
You and I agree

See my post farther up in the thread, assuming your viewing in threaded mode, and you'll see I pretty much share your viewpoints. As far as Ungoliant is concerned, I'm not surprised the Valar were focused on the unrest of the Noldor during the events of these last two chapters. They should have dealt with Ungoliant before even bringing the Eldar to Valinor. It seems unlikely that Ungoliant wasn't dwelling in Aman before the arrival of the Eldar. If Manwe was able to detect her presence, or at least the presence of something unusual, in Avathar, it seems irresponsible to ignore it. If Manwe was completely unaware of her, it lends credence to Feanor's assertion the Valar are incapable of protecting the Noldor in Valinor.

As three great Jewels they were in form. But not until the End, when Fëanor shall return who perished ere the Sun was made, and sits now in the Halls of Awaiting and comes no more among his kin; not until the Sun passes and the Moon falls, shall it be known of what substance they were made. Like the crystal of diamonds it appeared, and yet was more strong than adamant, so that no violence could mar it or break it within the Kingdom of Arda.


elostirion74
Rohan

Apr 10 2013, 9:42pm


Views: 683
The Valar and Ungoliant

Thanks for replying. I´ve read the post you´re referring to, so you´re right that we agree on several things. And of course there are several other posters who bring up varieties of the same issues.

As far as Ungoliant is concerned: Is there anything that indicates that Manwë or the other Valar are aware of Ungoliant´s presence in Avathar? Even if the Valar haven´t searched or kept a watch on the remote region of Avathar, that is not something I would equate with being irresponsible or naïve. It just shows that despite being very powerful, they are not almighty and there are limits even to their perspective and knowledge.


Brethil
Half-elven


Apr 11 2013, 5:47pm


Views: 683
The timing of Ungoliant settling in Avathar


In Reply To
As far as Ungoliant is concerned: Is there anything that indicates that Manwë or the other Valar are aware of Ungoliant´s presence in Avathar? Even if the Valar haven´t searched or kept a watch on the remote region of Avathar, that is not something I would equate with being irresponsible or naïve. It just shows that despite being very powerful, they are not almighty and there are limits even to their perspective and knowledge.




I was doing some research on the 'when' of Ungoliant setting in Avathar. In Ch 8 it says that she fled south after disowning Melkor "escaping the assaults of the Valar and the hunters of Orome". So I think this must refer to the period of the Battle of the Powers (Ch 3) which began the siege of Utumno. So if that is the time frame it means she headed south and found Avathar AFTER the Children were awakened. In the early days of their awakening it mentions them telling tales of frightening shadow-shapes who spied upon the Firstborn, and some who then never returned (presumably taken to Utumno and tortured into Orc form.) This sort of shadowing and abducting sounds like a potential job for a dark Maiar (until perhaps she was not allowed to feed to her liking and broke with Melkor to find food on her own?) and maybe explains what she was doing in the North before she fled South.

And after that the focus of the Valar and Orome was on the region of Utumno, and perhaps thinking their enemy was completely centralized there (which for the most part he was) and that Avathar to the South simply remained cold and empty. And who knows if she chose a different shape to head South (or shadow the Elves, if she did). There is a slight indication she might have found the place before picking the shape ("In a ravine she lived, and took the shape of a spider of monstrous form...) [ital. by me] So maybe not spotting her was due to a number of circumstances other than poor judgment alone (which we see other examples of.)

Hell hath no fury like a Dragon who is missing a cup.


noWizardme
Half-elven


Apr 11 2013, 9:02pm


Views: 626
Sounds plausible! I like the idea of Ungoliant the elf-stalker //

 

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


CuriousG
Half-elven


Apr 11 2013, 9:06pm


Views: 640
*applause and guffaws*

You've reached a new height with this one, noWiz:

' "discretion is the better part of Valar" after all '


CuriousG
Half-elven


Apr 11 2013, 9:29pm


Views: 622
Some answers

I'm late to the party, but will toss out a few answers even though other people had far more articulate ones.

1. Catching unseen Melkor: it seems to me that since all the Ainur can walk unseen, can't they see each other in the Unseen World? Obviously not, but seems they should.

2. I have no way to substantiate this, but part of me thinks that Ungoliant is on the Ainu-level. I know that she served Melkor at one point, and grows more powerful as part of their exploits than when he found her, but still, my gut makes me think she's more than a Sauron or Balrog. I do like how he's afraid of her and has to be rescued by his Balrogs. Big sissy. He even screamed like one too.

3. There's just nothing likable about Feanor and how his personality works, is there? Though his grief for Finwe over all other things (Silmarils implied) redeems him for about 2 minutes in my mind.

4. I like the evil duo of Melkor + Spiderwoman, though I would have been happy if the other version were the published one.

Thanks for doing such a great job with this chapter, Ardamire!


CuriousG
Half-elven


Apr 11 2013, 9:31pm


Views: 664
Melkor & Ungoliant are like Frodo & Sam

Does anyone else see the parallel? Both pairs venture into the very heart of the enemy realm, disguised and unseen, and destroy the heart of that realm. And get away! Plenty of differences, of course, but I wonder how intentional this was on Tolkien's part?


Brethil
Half-elven


Apr 11 2013, 10:01pm


Views: 612
Yes she might have quite a resume...! (And discretion and Valar...hahahah!)

And I must second that **applause** by CG. I was so embroiled in my grown-up answer I never gave you a tip of that hat for that piece of clever phrase.....!Cool

I like the idea of Ungoliant 'evolving' from being a helpful spirit, to a Melkor lackey (maybe some elf-nabbing, letter her appetite build) to becoming a monster in her own right, the Devourer... and I like the style in which JRRT tells her story in bits and pieces - like you posted earlier the scary part is in the mystery of what's lurking just beyond our sight.

Hell hath no fury like a Dragon who is missing a cup.


Ardamírë
Valinor


Apr 12 2013, 2:39am


Views: 607
Good points

I hadn't thought at all about the Unseen World. I'm not sure exactly how that comes into play, but it's certainly a possibility.

Ungoliant is such an enigma to me. I'd like to think that she's an Ainu on some level, but it's hard to make that fit with her death. In earlier versions, Earendil kills her. In the published version, she ends up devouring herself. Now, are these just talking about her physical bodily death? So she could still be Ainu, but I think her physicality is something very innate in her (though that seems to contradict her "taking" the shape of a spider). It's all very confusing, but I kind of like it that way. I do love how she swells to so great a size that the biggest baddie of Middle-earth is terrified of her (which, for everyone reading this thread, is also in the "separated" version). She must have been a sight to behold!

Yeah, Feanor's a jerk. 'Nuff said.

Don't get me wrong, I do like this version. It's just that I think the other one is that much more excellent.

"...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


Brethil
Half-elven


Apr 12 2013, 2:43am


Views: 602
Wow interesting dark parallel


In Reply To
Does anyone else see the parallel? Both pairs venture into the very heart of the enemy realm, disguised and unseen, and destroy the heart of that realm. And get away! Plenty of differences, of course, but I wonder how intentional this was on Tolkien's part?




It's like the idea of anti-heroes needing a complement as well as heroes. I would guess it was subconscious; I don't know if I have ever read anything in Letters about an intent by pairing them. Power in companionship, on either side of the aisle?

Hell hath no fury like a Dragon who is missing a cup.


noWizardme
Half-elven


Apr 12 2013, 7:56am


Views: 599
I have a (partial) defence of Feanor - which I'm preparing as part of discussion of next chapter... //

 

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


Maciliel
Valinor


Apr 12 2013, 10:18am


Views: 594
just was reading the chapter last night

 
more later, but for now...

there was a snippet in the chapter that said something along the lines that ungoliant first appeared when melkor was having his envious, dark thoughts.

a poetic interpretation of this would be that she is the physical manifestation of envy, born of melkor's own envy, an envy so deep and formed from the basest and most ill-willed aspect that she has no other ambitions than to devour all that she can. she cannot stop, and she cannot be sated.

since only eru can create independent life, then perhaps she is a splinter of melkor's fea, that can grow and has powers akin to some of his own.

i think this is a very poetic view, and i enjoy it on that level.


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


noWizardme
Half-elven


Apr 12 2013, 11:21am


Views: 583
What an interesting idea! //

 

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


Brethil
Half-elven


Apr 12 2013, 11:43am


Views: 597
Your ideas on Feanor

I look forward to reading them N-W-M, as I have a certain compassion for Feanor.

Hell hath no fury like a Dragon who is missing a cup.


CuriousG
Half-elven


Apr 12 2013, 1:05pm


Views: 610
Ungoliant is almost a bad Bombadil

They both have enigmatic origins and seem to represent qualities more than just being individuals.

I think Ungoliant is fascinating in a weird way because her hunger is never satisfied, and it almost seems logical that she dies by eating herself, which probably didn't satisfy her either. It appears to say a lot of what Tolkien thought about extreme evil and envy. Even Melkor had his limits: after killing the Trees and stealing the Silmarils, he was content to go back to rule his old kingdom in Middle-earth. He didn't say, "And now I must destroy every building in Valmar, and every home in Tirion, and sink every ship at Alqualonde, and kill every Elf in the world, ..."


Brethil
Half-elven


Apr 12 2013, 1:10pm


Views: 590
Her unending hunger

Its odd too that she hungers for what she HATES - Light...usually one hungers for what one wants, or loves. So her hunger is a form of destruction, versus satisfaction...is that why it never ends?

Hell hath no fury like a Dragon who is missing a cup.


CuriousG
Half-elven


Apr 12 2013, 1:20pm


Views: 581
Yes, her hatred is fascinating too

Melkor hates and destroys the Trees, but doesn't hunger for more. He loves/lusts for the Silmarils, and steals them and doesn't seek to destroy them. But Ungoliant hates what she is not (light, since she seems wholly dark), and the only thing she can do is turn that light into more darkness, leaving her hungrier and more hateful than ever.

Gandalf said that Gollum both loved and hated the Ring, but it was evil. And Ungoliant doesn't seem to love light, she just wants to consume it and hates it. I'm not sure if she's like a modern-day addict, who hates their drug but can never have enough of it, or if there is some original 1% good in her that reaches out for something good (light), but the 99% evil destroys it.


Brethil
Half-elven


Apr 12 2013, 1:35pm


Views: 578
I really like this - she consumes the reaminder of her goodness


In Reply To
Melkor hates and destroys the Trees, but doesn't hunger for more. He loves/lusts for the Silmarils, and steals them and doesn't seek to destroy them. But Ungoliant hates what she is not (light, since she seems wholly dark), and the only thing she can do is turn that light into more darkness, leaving her hungrier and more hateful than ever.

Gandalf said that Gollum both loved and hated the Ring, but it was evil. And Ungoliant doesn't seem to love light, she just wants to consume it and hates it. I'm not sure if she's like a modern-day addict, who hates their drug but can never have enough of it, or if there is some original 1% good in her that reaches out for something good (light), but the 99% evil destroys it.







Wow CG I like your 1% analogy...and maybe that's why she consumes herself, to devour whatever remainder of light in the form of the Flame Imperishable (which Melkor seeks out in the early days of creation in order to 'make' his own things, but never finds) is within her.

And as you posted about comparing them - Melkor indeed seems to have 'limits' to what he desires, because to rule and dominate one must have things in existence, even if they are dark and ugly. Wheras in Ungoliant's case the overruling hunger and hate of Light just leads to endless consumption and the exact OPPPOSITE of what Eru Illuvatar did.....

So even though Melkor helped create her - which one is JRRT saying is the most dark expression of evil? I am thinking Ungoliant...because she undoes the work of Eru, she doesn't just pervert it.

AND: also must add that your comparison of Bombadil (who might be ultimate good) might well be Ungoliant's opposite!

Hell hath no fury like a Dragon who is missing a cup.

(This post was edited by Brethil on Apr 12 2013, 1:39pm)


telain
Rohan

Apr 13 2013, 12:17am


Views: 562
overconfidence and naivete?

My take on "What were the Valar thinking?" is a combination of overconfidence and naivete -- almost like they (especially Manwe) thought "We want to have a festival, AND we want to cure all the ills the Noldor have recently wrought, AND since we have decreed it then what could possibly go wrong?"

silly, silly Valar!


telain
Rohan

Apr 13 2013, 12:46am


Views: 567
don't read this post after dark...

Could it be that the less we know about Ungoliant, the scarier she is? I repeat the mantra of every critic of every horror movie that tries to show you the "big bad". As soon as it appears on screen, it is no longer that scary.

Not knowing exactly what she is (I could go with either the Maia or the Ainu theories) or where she comes from is really quite terrifying. She could appear practically anywhere, at any time (given the imagination) -- especially if it were very, very dark...

On the other hand, I might put her closer to the Balrog (perhaps a wingless Balrog?!). She doesn't seem to have much initiative; she just sort of follows Melkor's lead. Her moving into the south seems to be more of a response to Orome and "the assaults of the Valar," rather than a more active, planned approach. I suppose her lack of initiative is a blessing; if she was clever, and motivated, and huge and immensely dangerous, then what hope would anyone (even our hapless Valar) have?

Another thing that strikes me about Ungoliant was the line: "...for she hungered for the Light and hated it." It reminded me of Gollum, for some reason. But the mere thought of ingesting that which you despise -- that must be a particularly wretched sort of hell. It was certainly mentioned earlier, but Tolkien did have a way of describing the truly awful...


telain
Rohan

Apr 13 2013, 12:56am


Views: 554
agreed! things are "taking shape"

I like this theory quite a bit; the shapeless forms (then she decides on spider form) and it also links her (albeit tenuously) earlier with Melkor, which would give some, er, shape to the following: "...that in the beginning she was one of those corrupted to his (i.e., Melkor's) service."

I also really liked your theory (reminder?) that not all the Maiar came into the world at once and took shape. It leaves some metaphysically imaginative room for some of the "supernatural" or "magical" things that take place in Arda from time to time.


Brethil
Half-elven


Apr 13 2013, 2:08am


Views: 556
Very good point Telain about other spirits "out there"


In Reply To
I like this theory quite a bit; the shapeless forms (then she decides on spider form) and it also links her (albeit tenuously) earlier with Melkor, which would give some, er, shape to the following: "...that in the beginning she was one of those corrupted to his (i.e., Melkor's) service."

I also really liked your theory (reminder?) that not all the Maiar came into the world at once and took shape. It leaves some metaphysically imaginative room for some of the "supernatural" or "magical" things that take place in Arda from time to time.




That there are potential spirits out there to make more things happen in Arda....actually I always laugh about Tolkien's spiders because my husband HATES spiders...and in ROTK when Shelob appears he did a scrunch into the theater seat and muttered (Indiana Jones fashion) "hadda be a giant spider...." then she was gone, and he sat back up, breathed a sigh of relief...just to have her reappear again! He was very unhappy with me not warning him too...!

I like how Tolkien describes the forms that the Sprits take not as 'bodies' but as 'clothes'...

Hell hath no fury like a Dragon who is missing a cup.


noWizardme
Half-elven


Apr 13 2013, 4:43pm


Views: 736
Could this be chapter 1?

Recently helping my daughter with homeeork involved discussing rules of thumb for fiction writing. we discussed that its usual to have some characters that the audience can respond to, to put them in a situation. Then something happens which means things cant go on as before, and resolving that is your plot (or one of them). The "something happens" event is a usual enough starting point- the characters and situation can be filled out from there either as the plot unfolds, or with different backstory devices.

So I was thinking this chapter would have been a feasible starting point for the book (of for a movie : I guess box office considerations would make it a trilogy...). Not saying it would have been **better** to start with the attack on the Trees, just that I had some fun thinking about whether that would work, and how it changes the feel of the story

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


Brethil
Half-elven


Apr 13 2013, 7:20pm


Views: 744
True, it could be a starting point, but the feel would definitely change

(BTW - That HW sounds awfully familiar - I think my son did a project like that last year or the year before for his English Writing class!)

I think if we began with the Trees, and then had the Creation filled in, it could completely work as a fiction device, but it would probably feel a lot more 'modern' than Sil feels today. I think the myth told in chronological order gives it an old feel, like JRT always said he wasn't 'inventing' but retelling. So as a writer, you are right, he had the choice of style, and I presume he liked the almost Bibilical feel of the order of things, from Eru on to Arda....
This is interesting - I found in letter #174 that JRRT would have preferred the Sil was published before LOTR but was not accepted, because the 'hobbitry' in LOTR made it more appealing as the first larger offering of ME, versus the 'high - mythical' Elvenness of Sil. (I wish they HAD accepted it, and that JRRT could have published it completely as he wanted it to be instead of having it published with all the later editing.) And he adds that if Sil were in existence his approach to the Third Age history in LOTR would have been lighter and quicker because of the existing telling in Sil. A fascinating insight into his process I think, and the choices he made.

Hell hath no fury like a Dragon who is missing a cup.


noWizardme
Half-elven


Apr 13 2013, 8:04pm


Views: 720
I agree, it wouldn't fee do mythical. Also, Eru would be much more distant. //

 

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


Brethil
Half-elven


Apr 13 2013, 9:47pm


Views: 712
It links up with you great thread about his writing process...

which is almost more of a dissertation topic, there is simply so much to discuss! I could almost see that topic as a feature through the various books and stages of plot development.

(??????) If you ever start posting it, I would follow it eagerly.Smile

Hell hath no fury like a Dragon who is missing a cup.


squire
Half-elven


Apr 14 2013, 12:19am


Views: 739
The Sil was not really ready for prime time in the late 1940s

As you say, Tolkien realized when he finished LotR that he had composed a vast mythic cycle. To his mind then, its readers should start with the extensive texts he had already written about what he had come to call the First Age. So he tortured two publishing companies in the next few years while he struggled to pull the entire set of texts together. But it was futile. It's true that the Sil was mostly written out by 1937, but it was neither complete nor consistent in style, plot, and sequence. It was, frankly, a mess.

When we read today about Christopher Tolkien's struggles to make a readable and enjoyable book out of what his father (after thirty more years of revision and composition) left him in the 1970s, including CT's numerous controversial emendations and at points some straight-out invention to fill 'unlovely' gaps in the narrative, it is hard to argue that the fault in the late 1940s was the publishers'.

It's true that we can imagine LotR being briefer and more assured in its references to the mythic origins of Middle-earth, had the writer been able to assume that readers were familiar with the Sil. But I'm not sure "lighter and quicker" is really what I want when I read LotR, I have to admit. And Tolkien is also on record as saying that he thought LotR benefited from the vagueness of the references to the Sil:
I am doubtful myself about the undertaking [to write The Silmarillion]. Part of the attraction of The L. R. is, I think, due to the glimpses of a large history in the background: an attraction like that of viewing far off an unvisited island, or seeing the towers of a distant city gleaming in a sunlit mist. To go there is to destroy the magic, unless new unattainable vistas are again revealed. (Letters, p. 333, as quoted by C.T. in his Foreword to History of Middle-earth, vol. 1)
Was he being sincere here, or simply acquiescing to the inevitable - looking for a bright side to not having completed the Sil in time to publish it simultaneously with LotR?



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noWizardme
Half-elven


Apr 14 2013, 10:39am


Views: 702
To do with how Tolkien imagined the Sil, I think

Perhaps Tolkin was determined to start with the creation, because that is where mythic cycles ought to start. Whereas you might start at the attack on the Trees if you wanted an exciting and more accessible story. What we'd now call a "Prequel" to the Hobbit, as opposed to the sequel that his publishers kept badgering him about. Maybe Tolkien just didn't want to do that? Maybe because, initially at least, he was trying to write another book for children, or for other reasons.

But if he had gone that way, I wonder whether we'd have ever had the LOTR !Shocked

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


squire
Half-elven


Apr 14 2013, 3:16pm


Views: 707
It's a complex proposition, following Tolkien's process here

I'm not sure you've got the sequence of writing quite right; Tolkien had already substantially written the Sil before he started on The Hobbit, much less LotR. His audience for the Sil in the 1920s and 1930s was certainly not children but rather was largely, almost exclusively, himself -- with occasional reveals to close friends from his academic work (C. S. Lewis wrote a clever commentary on the 'Lay of Luthien' in response to such a glimpse). When he was first asked if there was anything else to be published after the success of The Hobbit, he submitted his most recent manuscript for the Sil. It began with a version of the 'Valaquenta' (introducing the Valar as characters), with no trace of the 'Ainulindale' (describing the Creation); it then dived right into the making of the Two Trees and the Awakening of the Elves. I'm not sure how much he ever believed in starting with an "exciting and accessible story", given how all his books begin slow and then speed up, but he certainly was not locked in to the idea that mythic cycles must start with their creation myth; at the time, the Sil was really about the Elves, not Middle-earth as a concept.

By the time he revisited his writing of the Sil, in the late 1940s, there was no question of writing anything for children, since LotR had long since broken out of that market; but the idea of restructuring the Sil to give its readers a more engaging opening became (if indeed he gave such an idea any thought) even more remote, not less remote, for just that reason. Adults, in Tolkien's mind, should be able to appreciate complex stories on their own merits as tales well told. Whether he was right as far as the Sil is concerned, we'll actually never know because we'll never read the book the way he might have completed it for publication.

Once I waded into The History of Middle-earth books, I discovered just how complicated the composition of what we now call The Silmarillion was. Its sections, and tales, are now arranged in a "chronological" order. That does reflect the order that Tolkien wanted them read in, but not the order in which he wrote them (or their predecessors). And Christopher Tolkien, for the understandable reason that there was no one satisfactory tradition to refer to, abandoned his father's determination from the beginning to present the Sil within a 'frame narrative', that is, as a set of tales and myths that are retold to, or by, a later traveler to the Elvish Faerie. That was how he had hoped to make the stories more 'accessible', as you put it, to a modern reader. (The same authorial/mock-editorial instinct can be found in JRRT's somewhat hesitant devices of "Bilbo's memoirs" and "The Red Book" in The Hobbit and LotR.)

So although it would probably be wrong to say that Tolkien would approve of a restructuring of the Sil to start with the attack on the Two Trees simply for the sake of a dramatic opening, it is equally unhelpful to say that he expected his readers to slog through the Music of the Ainur when they first cracked open the Sil - except maybe when he began to grandly reconceive it as a full mythic cycle after finishing LotR. But at that time he also began to write many of the Sil's tales in the more fleshed-out and colloquial (relatively speaking) style that he had mastered from his years with The Hobbit and LotR. The result is best seen in The Children of Hurin, but he never came close to rewriting the entire Sil that way, unfortunately; nor would he necessarily have applied that style to the more remote and cosmological episodes like the Attack on the Trees in any case, since he himself increasingly saw the Sil as a collection of various tales told in various styles.

Certainly if anyone were to undertake a filmic version of the work, the last thing I should think the writers would feel constrained to follow is the apparent structure of the 1977 published text. Although I am not sure just how much I want to see any of it translated into a film, given the commercial and cultural constraints such a project would have to labor under - which would be far worse than the minor and major surgeries that the writers of the current New Line films of Tolkien's books evidently have felt compelled to perform.



squire online:
RR Discussions: The Valaquenta, A Shortcut to Mushrooms, and Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit
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telain
Rohan

Apr 14 2013, 11:07pm


Views: 690
clothes really do make the Maiar

I like that concept, too (about how Tolkien describes the Maiar/Valar taking form as being "clothed".) It makes the whole thing seem almost arbitrary -- like the Ainur are "playing" at being mortals -- but with a significant nod to the power these beings possess. Appearing in various forms is as simple as changing clothes to mere mortals.

And spiders... Apparently in some mythologies they are gateways to others realms/planes/worlds, and some social scientists have hypothesized that this rather common fear about them is rooted in some primeval past (much like the discussion earlier about snakes). Actually a friend of mine who studies the inter-relationship of geography and emotional psychology has talked about how fear of spiders is often, but not always, related to where the spiders are. So, spiders are not quite as scary outside (where they are supposed to be), but they are viscerally terrifying inside one's house (where the spider has transgressed an important boundary; it is then "out of place".) So really, Ungoliant is only terrifying because she doesn't belong in Valinor! Problem solved.

Actually, I think it is just good sense to be afraid of something as huge and obvious dangerous as Shelob and Ungoliant -- primeval fear or no!


CuriousG
Half-elven


Apr 15 2013, 1:35am


Views: 673
Well, if The Hobbit is any indication

I suspect the Elves would be chased all the way from Cuivienen to Valinor and then chased back to Beleriand, and Beren would single-handedly slay hundreds of orcs (well, he was known as One-hand).

I enjoyed the LOTR and Hobbit movies, but I don't see how The Silmarillion could be made into a movie or series of movies. Or which version would be followed, as you say. I think there's much more left to the imagination in this book, and I suspect readers have vastly different ideas of how characters look and act and what the main events are like than with the other books. We can't even seem to agree if the Valar were present at the breaking of Angband. (not complaining, just observing)

But given the staying power of the movies and the way Tolkien has become a larger part of popular culture, I'll continue to hope that someone will see a market for a revised Silmarillion---much more sales potential now than in 1977.


Maciliel
Valinor


Apr 15 2013, 1:47am


Views: 672
who looks likely to be

 
who looks likely to be the next in line for the literary executorship?


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


Apr 15 2013, 3:56am


Views: 689
maciliel-thoughts

 
apologies for the late reply. i had wanted to reread the whole of the silmarilion up to the point of our current discussion.

The chapter begins with Melkor running off and the Valar in pursuit of him. It's mentioned that Melkor is still able to change his form "or walk unclad." Was there ever really any chance then of catching him?

no.

He comes to forgotten regions in the south where Ungoliant dwells. It is said that she was once in the service of Melkor before disowning him to become her own master. It is then said that she took the shape of a monstrous spider. So what is Ungoliant? She's obviously not just a spider. Some sort of Maia would be my guess. I don't think that seems very inspired, though. Any other ideas?

upon rereading, i was struck with a portion of the text that stated that ungoliant came into being as melkor's envy errupted within his heart:

"The Eldar knew not whence she came; but some have said that in ages long before she descended from the darkness that lies about Arda, when Melkor first looked down in envy upon the Kingdom of Manwë"

previously i had thought her a maia that chose to slip into the world when she would (many maiar live outside of arda). i still think this is a possibility, but i really like the poetic thought that ungoliant is the manifestation of melkor's envy. that is all she is. it explains her insatiable hunger.

Melkor visits her and here the published text differs wildly from Tolkien's manuscript. He has an entire conversation between the two of them. Ungoliant is told to be ravenously hungry, so Melkor feeds her gems to strengthen her so that she's strong enough to do his bidding. Then notice this little twist in Melkor's words: "...and if thou art still hungry when we meet again" (italics mine). He means for them to part ways, not go to the Two Trees together. That will come into play later.
It's said that in Valinor there was no winter, but that the seasons are at the bidding of the Valar. Yavanna especially is described as in charge of the "times for the flowering and the ripening of all things that grew." What do you think of this cycle? I do like the more fantastical nature of, well, nature in the early years. Even with the advents of the Sun and Moon later the world is changing more and more to be like the world we know today. I like that the change is subtle and begins so early in history.


interesting, but a little at odds with some other things in the text, like aman holds all the kelvar and olvar that ever were or will be... well, some of those species need cold/colder weather to survive, so how can this be if there was no fall or winter in aman? perhaps yavanna set those particular species aside in an enchanted sleep.

Finwe doesn't attend the feast, and Feanor decides to withhold the Silmarils from the eyes of the Elves and Valar. What do you think of these decisions? Obviously, they're bad in hindsight, but without that knowledge, do you think they were wrong choices? I think they're both wrong due to pride in both Finwe and Feanor. Many tragic circumstances could have been averted if pride were not such a vice to our characters.

i've been thinking a lot lately about miriel and finwe. finwe was said not to have patience, and this helped shut miriel's heart against the idea of ever coming back. his reasoning was that he wanted to bring many children into the world. so, many things are discussed and decided, and finwe gets a new wife, and fathers four more children. this second marriage and these children are still relatively young when finwe decides to abandon them, and go live in exile with feanor at formenos. the same feanor that put a sharp blade up against one of his other children. finwe's focus seems rather narrow.

Melkor then travels with Ungoliant to the Two Trees, destroys them, and then scurries away in her Unlight to Formenos and the Silmarils. Tolkien's version, though, has Ungoliant destroying the Trees as a cover for Melkor. He didn't enter into Valinor until after she destroyed them. He goes to the Ring of Doom and defiles it before heading off to Formenos: a location that he hadn't told Ungoliant about. He didn't want her with him while getting the Silmarils, and didn't actually intend to meet up with her again at all. But she overtakes him on the way so that they end up there together anyway. Which version do you prefer? Which do you think is stronger? I prefer the "separated" version, because it demonstrates more clearly Melkor's and Ungoliant's selfishness. I also like that they're more antagonistic towards each other, rather than the tag-team they're portrayed as in the published version.

it's rather believable that melkor would be seeking to double-cross an ally, even as he was making overtures to that ally. i like that rendition.

i was also struck by the visuals of the text. this is a world that has only starlight, except for the light of the two trees in aman. the elves who live there have never known aman without that light. melkor and ungoliant not only kill the light of the trees, but they choke off the light of the stars. the text speaks of the bewildered and scared cries of the teleri on tol erresea, alone in the dark. that entire land was choked in ungoliant's poisonous, unholy darkness, and only manwe's hill stood still in light (forgive me, i'm drawing upon memory, as my book is upstairs). definitely a lonely, scary picture.

i also wonder at ungoliant's hunger. yes, she cannot be sated. but i wonder if by trying to eat what cannot satisfy her, her hunger just increases.

i find ungoliant scarier than melkor. i also wonder at melkor, and sauron, and saruman and all like them who once conversed and walked with beauty... and who now spend their time with orcs, giant spiders, and other hideous things, and i want to ask them... really? you prefer the company of these hideous creatures to elves men, maiar... or any of the beauty that was created by yavanna or varda? really?

it's one thing to envy, it's one thing to want to dominate... but to want to wallow in filth? is it self-hatred? i'm not sure it's that, but it's a long journey from where they were.


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 dernwyn on Apr 15 2013, 3:53pm)


boldog
Rohan


Apr 15 2013, 9:54am


Views: 693
ungoliant

ungoliant is a real mind twist.
I have always struggled to come to terms with the meaning and the origins of her exsistence in arda.
tolkien emphasised that she was made of darkness and that is where she came from. but how could she come from nothing? and how could she have been corrupted by melkor if it is never mentioned. it is like she is an alien of some sort in the creation of illuvatar and may even be something different altogether.
why she is made as she is, is also confusing to me. tolkien put emphasise that melkor was the "satan" of middle earth and the purest of evil. but when we are introduced to ungoliant, its like she is another evil altogether. while melkor wants power and dominance, ungoliant has lust and greed as her evil. It has even occured to me that when melokor refused to give her the silmarils, and she bound him, and took dominance over him, that she was in fact the evil, and melkor i actually felt sorry for. it was like he was the victim and she was the villain. either way it is just confusing to me as to why Tolkien invented a "second" evil, who really doesnt even play much a part in later events of the world, unlike melkors evil.

"fingolfin looked up in grief to see what evil morgoth had done to maedhros"


noWizardme
Half-elven


Apr 15 2013, 1:53pm


Views: 643
A brief appearance in each book

The spiders of Mirkwood in the Hobbit
Shelob in LOTR
Ungoliant in Silmarillion

...there seems to be a short walk-on part for this kind of character in each of the books.

And, welcome Boldog! glad you can join us.

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


sador
Half-elven


Apr 15 2013, 2:35pm


Views: 646
Late for the party

 



In Reply To



So sorry for the very long delay. Real life has
gotten pretty hectic...





You speak? What about mine? Smile
Oh well, just in case someone might read my late responses...


Was there ever really any chance then of catching him?

As others have mentioned before, the concept of "walking unclad" to avoid the Valar is altogether wierd. Maybe the intention is that he passed unseen through the vicinity of Eldamar, and the Elves did not see him - but that makes the Valar look even sillier, doesn't it? I'm not quite sure about this part (as with many other parts of this chapter).

So what is Ungoliant?
Well, she might have just been one of the primoridal monsters from the time of the first War of the Powers, but this chapter indicates she was one of the Ainur who served Melkor.
Of course, she existed in Tolkien's imagination from the period in which many classes of spirits were said to have inhabited the world, and was never properly integrated to it. Possibly a good thing - like Tom Bombadil (another anomaly, which by default is most likely to be one of the Maiar, acting as an independant agent), she is enhanced by the mystery surrounding her.

What do you think of this cycle?

It sounds odd. Have the Valar weakened so much since, or could they still control the seasons if they only bothered? I'm not sure what to make of this - and IIRC, this wasn't Tolkien's last thought on the subject.

What do you think of these decisions?
In the discussion of the previous chapter, I suggested that Finwe took the blame on himself, and therefore resolved to see his own punishment through.
However, I can't help wondering how come he didn't miss Indis. Did she accompany him into exile, leaving her sons? Or have they become estranged? What do you think?

Feanor seems to preceive the Silmarils as a part of him, and as such as still under ban. I don't think he would have refused an express command of Manwe's to bring them - not yet. But of course, it is also a way of showing the Valar he loves and trusts his father more than them.

Many tragic circumstances could have been averted if pride were not such a vice to our characters.
For sure; but chalking it all to pride is too easy. Pride manifests itself in many ways.

Tolkien's version, though...

It's not as if the other one wasn't "Tolkien's version". It was the version of JRRT himself, until he started rewriting what Christopher called "the late Quenta"; and I don't recall any indication in later works to the second version. It might have been preceived by Christopher and Guy Kay at the time as a false thread JRRT began and discarded.

Which version do you prefer? Which do you think is stronger?
Personally, having Melkor curse the Sea and throw down Manwe's throne seems as too childish. And I don't think Ungoliant would have ever dared to attack the Trees by herself - also Melkor's revenge is robbed.
No, I personally prefer the existing version. But it's a matter of taste; Voronwe (who knows much more than I'm likely to) shares your view.




sador
Half-elven


Apr 15 2013, 2:37pm


Views: 640
And the mosters Beren fought with on his way to Doriath. //

 


sador
Half-elven


Apr 15 2013, 2:45pm


Views: 641
Wonderful - thank you!

Especially for those:




In Reply To

i was also struck by the visuals of the text.
this is a world that has only starlight, except for the light of the two trees
in aman. the elves who live there have never known aman without that light.
melkor and ungoliant not only kill the light of the trees, but they choke off
the light of the stars. the text speaks of the bewildered and scared cries of
the teleri on tol erresea, alone in the dark. that entire land was choked in
ungoliant's poisonous, unholy darkness, and only manwe's hill stood still in
light (forgive me, i'm drawing upon memory, as my book is upstairs). definitely
a lonely, scary picture.




Yes... I wonder whether any fan artist ever tried to paint this?





In Reply To

really? you prefer the company of these hideous creatures to elves men,
maiar... or any of the beauty that was created by yavanna or varda? really?


it's one thing to envy, it's one thing to want to dominate... but to
want to wallow in filth? is it self-hatred? i'm not sure it's that, but it's a
long journey from where they were.



It's probably that after a time, their sense of beauty has diminished. Sad.


Just one request, please, if I may be so bold - could you please distinguish your own thoughts from the quote you are replying to more clearly? It would make them far easier to follow.



Maciliel
Valinor


Apr 15 2013, 2:51pm


Views: 648
thanks, sador

 
thanks, sador -- for having the stamina and patience to read my post. too late did i look at it, post-posting, to see that it was rather hard to read. perhaps i can make an impassioned plea to one of the modar (mods) who will make some presentation tweaks.

and -- funny you should mention finwe -- i have so much wonderment at finwe's actions, especially at this time.

late-breaking thought as to why he didn't go to the festival, where two of his sons were to be reconciled... perhaps feanor/finwe thought someone should stay and guard the silmarils.

again, thank you for your patience in reading my post. i usually do better with the presentation.


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


noWizardme
Half-elven


Apr 15 2013, 8:37pm


Views: 621
Imagine leaving Ungoliant out of the Chapter!

Imagine leaving Ungoliant out of the Chapter. Quite easy to repair the plot. Melkor kills the Trees himself; either as a distraction for the Silmaril heist, to get Tree-light for some evil scheme, or out of sheer spite.

But it's nowhere near as good without Ungoliant. I'll let you know if I figure out why (or, ill read others' ideas with interest).

Do we know- was Ungoliant in all known versions of this chapter, or added after initial drafts?

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


Finwe
Lorien


Apr 15 2013, 9:29pm


Views: 632
Gollum/Ungoliant

One thing I noticed in my re-reading of the chapter is the similarity between Gollum's hatred and desire for The Ring and Ungoliant's hatred and desire for the light of the Trees. Also, you have both characters lurking in the shadows for hundreds of years before emerging to play their part in Arda's history. No real commentary to add, just thought I'd point out the comparison.

As three great Jewels they were in form. But not until the End, when Fëanor shall return who perished ere the Sun was made, and sits now in the Halls of Awaiting and comes no more among his kin; not until the Sun passes and the Moon falls, shall it be known of what substance they were made. Like the crystal of diamonds it appeared, and yet was more strong than adamant, so that no violence could mar it or break it within the Kingdom of Arda.


CuriousG
Half-elven


Apr 16 2013, 12:13am


Views: 603
Good points

And they're both starving all the time. Gollum seems as capable of the insane act of eating himself as Ungoliant is. Both characters give me the creeps, and I find Ungoliant scarier than Melkor. He could be rational about things. Even though she's much more than a giant spider, she nevertheless seems to act like a primitive, ever-hungry predator that you can't reason with, it only wants to eat you.

And now I'll blame Telain for keeping me up at night with her scary spider stories. Shocked


CuriousG
Half-elven


Apr 16 2013, 12:25am


Views: 602
Me too


In Reply To
It has even occured to me that when melokor refused to give her the silmarils, and she bound him, and took dominance over him, that she was in fact the evil, and melkor i actually felt sorry for. it was like he was the victim and she was the villain.

I read this part feeling a little guilty that I somehow feel sorry for Melkor as the weak victim, and the less bestial one. I wonder if Tolkien intended that effect, or if he was just dwelling on the depths of Ungoliant's evil, and Melkor was more of a victim by comparison with her. At this point he seems like a sort of cool-minded thief who has just robbed a bank and is headed home to count his loot, and though he's a murderer, he's not as sinister or dangerous as she is. He wants treasures, but she just wants to eat anything nearby, even gems, which aren't normally food for anyone, even a dwarf.

But as for types of evil, it seems that Melkor is the "ultimate" evil, but lesser evils abound. Bill Ferny is his own evil person in his petty way, Caradhras seems to be acting alone in its malice toward the Fellowship (though that's not certain), and the Old Forest and Old Man Willow have a malice toward two-legged creatures that I don't think can be traced back to Melkor or Sauron. (Treebeard blames the dark parts of Fangorn Forest on Sauron's shadow, but Sauron's influence in the north was too brief to blame.)

And a belated welcome to the Reading Room, boldog! Thanks for joining in.


Brethil
Half-elven


Apr 16 2013, 12:29am


Views: 642
Very true on Primordial Fear Telain

I believe the spiders and snakes thing are shared universally among primates, old sympathetic responses to potentially deadly threats especially to smaller primates in both arboreal and ground situations! And yes as far as **those** bugs go common sense suggesting running and screaming makes very good sense.

Yes I like JRRT's idea about the Ainur and Maiar being able to externally reflect their inner selves. And I find it telling that in so many instances the Valar choose to clothe themselves like the Firstborn.

Hell hath no fury like a Dragon who is missing a cup.


CuriousG
Half-elven


Apr 16 2013, 12:35am


Views: 607
The forgotten wife


Quote
However, I can't help wondering how come he didn't miss Indis. Did she accompany him into exile, leaving her sons? Or have they become estranged? What do you think?

There's a lot about Finwe I don't understand; add his husbandly behavior to the list. My guess is that she didn't go with him, since he was with Feanor, who hated her sons. Maybe Feanor didn't even allow her to come to Formenos.

Then she'd have to choose to follow Fingolfin to Beleriand or stay behind with Finarfin. That couldn't be easy. My guess is she stayed behind to be with her own people and because she didn't like what the Noldor had turned into anyway, especially after the Kinslaying.

An overlooked question is why doesn't Indis become Queen of the Noldor in Valinor? The arguments made later among the Dunedain kingdoms is that warfare is too constant to trust a woman to be in charge (I guess they didn't know about feisty old Haleth). If that argument is made by Elves also, it still wouldn't apply to Valinor, so why not let a woman rule instead of having her son take over?


And Sador, you're not late, you're *fashionably* late.Smile


CuriousG
Half-elven


Apr 16 2013, 12:43am


Views: 609
Intentional descent, or accidental?


Quote
i find ungoliant scarier than melkor. i also wonder at melkor, and sauron, and saruman and all like them who once conversed and walked with beauty... and who now spend their time with orcs, giant spiders, and other hideous things, and i want to ask them... really? you prefer the company of these hideous creatures to elves men, maiar... or any of the beauty that was created by yavanna or varda? really?

it's one thing to envy, it's one thing to want to dominate... but to want to wallow in filth? is it self-hatred? i'm not sure it's that, but it's a long journey from where they were.

Great question, Mac (I have to call you that if I can only get away with it once). There's something about the evil people in Tolkien's books that they both hate and desire beauty, such as Ungoliant's troubled relationship with Light, and Melkor's lust and envy for everything beautiful that the Valar (and Feanor) make. So it seems like they do want those beautiful things, and are angry they have them no longer, yet of course like any jerk, they don't take responsibility for becoming what they are. Which leads to my question: do you think they are aware of the direction they went, or stumbled into it blindly from poor decisions and no foresight? Or put another way, did they choose to wallow in filth, or did they think their choices were leading them to some glorious result, and they wound up among hideous creatures as accidental consequences of their actions?


Maciliel
Valinor


Apr 16 2013, 1:10am


Views: 626
the sad fate of indis, and the rulership of the noldor

 
poor indis... really, let us consider her state. she was in love with finwe, enough for ulmo to have stated that had she not been united with him, she would have remained solitary... she finally gets bliss with the soul she loves, but it is so brief. they are parted far sooner than his death. he exiles himself to formenos. even if they sometimes saw each other during a visit, that could not have negated the pain she must have felt because of the separation, and his choosing of feanor over their own children (but perhaps he went with feanor with her reluctant blessing? that seems possible, but i am doubtful).

then that troubled, self-destructive son (who also threatened the life of one of her children) incites her children to leave aman. she watches two of her sons go, along with her grandchildren. one son returns. but that is all.

and with finwe dead and his fea in mandos for the duration of arda, she is deprived of her mate, however flawed he may be.

poor indis.

regarding rulership... yes, why shouldn't indis rule? at this point, do any of the elves have great experience in battle? that would be a definitive no. they might have engaged in skirmishes with orcs and such on their way to aman across middle earth, but as yet there have been no battles, armies, and presumably no war colleges to teach strategy and tactics.

perhaps the nolor would have faired better with a more temperate ruler. but, she was vanyar, not noldor. i can see why, on that basis, it might not have been the best fit.

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


squire
Half-elven


Apr 16 2013, 1:12am


Views: 763
"Y' get accustomed to th' smell."

"Y' get accustomed to th' smell." - Thenardier, while robbing corpses of jewelry in the Paris sewer, Les Miserables.

"A scientist was researching a hideous disfiguring disease. Unfortunately, he contracted it himself, long before he had any chance of discovering the cure. Happily, as he observed his transformed appearance in the mirror, he was able to reflect, 'But on me, it looks good.'" - A fable told by Sam to Yama, regarding the latter's falling in love with an cruel and selfish woman, in Zelazny's Lord of Light (paraphrased from memory).

“The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven..” - Satan, reflecting on his and his minions' future after his Fall, in Milton's Paradise Lost.
These quotes all came to my mind as I read your post. To me, the question leads us to one of Tolkien's largest themes: the moral imperative of achieving or recovering empathy for other minds and souls; of refusing to impose ones will on any others', leaving them free, at whatever immediate cost to oneself or to the world.

Evil, as he describes it, is the triumph of the ego over all desire to interact with the world on a give and take basis. We see this in Sauron's Ring of Power in LotR, of course; in Melkor's case, his fall stems from his inability to subordinate his own gifts to a larger plan (originally, a chorus) not of his own making. The result of the downward moral spiral of cruelty, guilt, and repression that follows is that such a character doesn't see himself as degraded when he is "wallowing in filth", as you put it. Rather, the filth is redefined in his intensely solipsistic world view as a desirable state, even the most desirable state possible by the definition that it must be so if he is the one wallowing in it!



squire online:
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Maciliel
Valinor


Apr 16 2013, 1:12am


Views: 769
the ruler of the noldor -- high queen galadriel

 
i've always wondered why the rulership of the noldor did not pass to galadriel.

clearly a far-sighted person, a strong person, gifted, a natural leader with many skills -- and -- a desire to rule.

in my mind, she is the high queen, and takes precedence over gil-galad.


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


Ardamírë
Valinor


Apr 16 2013, 1:48am


Views: 757
Indis & Finwe

According to Finwe in Laws and Customs, he and Indis were separated. This is what he says regarding her while he's in the Halls of Mandos: "Indis parted from me without death. I had not seen her for many years, and when the Marrer smote me I was alone."

So, yes, they were separated, and I'm sure the relationship between their children was a great part of the reason.

About the different versions - you're right that the other is written by Tolkien, too. Since this text forms part of the "later Quenta", though, I'm surprised it wasn't used.

"...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

(This post was edited by Ardamírë on Apr 16 2013, 1:48am)


CuriousG
Half-elven


Apr 16 2013, 2:07am


Views: 754
Ungoliant from Arda Reconstructed

It appears that Ungoliant was always intended to be part of the story. There's no explanation (here, anyway) of where she came from. The significant differences from the published work are:

1. When Melkor first found her, she was weak and afraid of him. He fed her gems to make her stronger. She was a tortured creature who needed to feed on light, but her webs blocked it all out, so she created her own starvation. (Not the smartest spider on the island.)

2. Melkor subdues her back into his service with threats and bribes, and Evil Spider-Food of stolen Valinor gems.

***And to directly address Boldog's comments, Voronwe/Doug Kane wrote: "she provides a strong counterpoint to Melkor in Tolkien's depiction of evil, and losing these details is definitely a shame."

3. Melkor has an illuminating cursing of Ulmo and the Sea, which helps support later comments about his hatred of the Sea and hatred of the Noldor for having the friendship of Ulmo.

4. Ungoliant kills the trees on her own. Melkor lets her do the dirty work, and afterwards defiled and "threw down the thrones of the Valar." He's pretty tough when there's no one to fight back.

5. He's become afraid of her now that she's fed on the Trees and Varda's vats, and he takes her unwillingly with him to Formenos after he fails to elude her.

6. There's a better depiction of Manwe left out. Manwe told Feanor to come to the feast, saying he loved him and Feanor would be honored there. But it was Feanor who interpreted this as a "command," which shows how poisoned his mind has become. The published version has Manwe seeming stern, and makes it easier to see why Finwe stayed behind.

Kane goes on to say that Christopher once again weakened and abbreviated a strong female character and departed from his father's latest writings on the subject. But I'll side with Chris on this one, because to me it's important in the big picture of the book for Melkor to be directly responsible for killing the Trees and not just stealing the Silmarils and killing Finwe. And besides that, Ungoliant disappears soon afterwards in all versions, making it disappointing to have the Tree-killer written off so quickly. Another Tree-killer needs to stick around as The Villain.


Brethil
Half-elven


Apr 16 2013, 2:43am


Views: 735
Melkor killing the Trees extends the tale


In Reply To

Kane goes on to say that Christopher once again weakened and abbreviated a strong female character and departed from his father's latest writings on the subject. But I'll side with Chris on this one, because to me it's important in the big picture of the book for Melkor to be directly responsible for killing the Trees and not just stealing the Silmarils and killing Finwe. And besides that, Ungoliant disappears soon afterwards in all versions, making it disappointing to have the Tree-killer written off so quickly. Another Tree-killer needs to stick around as The Villain.




In addition having Melkor be an active participant in the destruction of the Trees brings the shadow of the act into the Third Age in a direct albeit secondary fashion as Sauron (tutored by Melkor) takes his place as the primary Dark Lord. He's not just a random bit of evil to surface and craft a random Ring, and I feel like it links the Ages together, and unites the time flow through the stories, from the creation of the Jewels and the Oath through how that whole situation set in motion the ability of Sauron to learn from Melkor and rise (and fall...and rise again...well you all know the rest.) As Sam says, don't the great tales ever end? So in the end I agree and do like him 'on the spot'.

Hell hath no fury like a Dragon who is missing a cup.


Maciliel
Valinor


Apr 16 2013, 3:06am


Views: 754
so why is everyone so nuts over feanor?


In Reply To
3. There's just nothing likable about Feanor and how his personality works, is there? Though his grief for Finwe over all other things (Silmarils implied) redeems him for about 2 minutes in my mind.


so many people find him so fascinating, and state that he is their favorite character.

but we see he is incredibly selfish, haughty, and even cruel. even as he is dying and has the revelation that the noldor cannot win against morgoth, he +still+ exhorts his sons to pursue something that will end only in ruin and loss on a massive scale, for them, and all those who follow them, and all those who are under their protection.

tv tropes might call him "draco in leather pants"...

http://tvtropes.org/.../DracoInLeatherPants

and we might be victim to what tv tropes calls "jerkass dissonance"...

http://tvtropes.org/...in/JerkassDissonance

the only people that we've seen feanor treat lovingly (for however long) are his father and wife. he treats his sons like instruments, rather than self-determining individuals (imagine what he would have said if any of them had gainsaid him on any topic dear to his heart). in that, he is rather like melkor, although certainly not to the same degree. feanor is not evil, but does evil.

which leads into... at what point is some bad thing that someone does an aberration? one can say that this bad thing that is done is out of character... but if it is done repeatedly, at what point does it +become+ one's character?

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


Apr 16 2013, 3:59am


Views: 729
Feanor had a good image consultant in his author

I started with LOTR, and there are a few mentions of him there, primarily when Gandalf says he might have been the one to create the palantiri, which I thought were pretty cool. Then there's the quick synopsis in an appendix that mentions his actions, which seem proud but heroic and not bad.

Then in The Silmarillion
1. His mom dies, making him pitiable.
2. He gets nice introductions, such as (Chapter 5) "Feanor was the mightiest in skill of word and of hand, more learned than his brothers; his spirit burned as a flame."
3. Chapter 6 (back tracking): "In that time was born in Eldamar...the eldest of the sons of Finwe, and the most beloved."

Then early in his career he's confident but not overbearing, and magnificently talented, a great prodigy. So on my first read, I felt obligated to like him. It was only on further reads that I grew to detest him and stopped overlooking his faults. But I feel like Tolkien sets him up as a likable character, and maybe saw him as just flawed. I seem him as not evil, but a doer of evil, as you put it.


Quote
which leads into... at what point is some bad thing that someone does an aberration? one can say that this bad thing that is done is out of character... but if it is done repeatedly, at what point does it +become+ one's character?

I wish I had a good answer to a good question, but not really. There are all those shades of gray that people have (not the book of that name). It's easier with horrific things. If a person kills and mutilates just one person, you conclude they are bad, and you don't need a long list of identical crimes to form that opinion. But everyday people doing little, everyday, hurtful things to other people--it's hard to say. You can see people who are great to their families who are gleefully treacherous to their coworkers, or wonderfully supportive of their coworkers and immorally indifferent to families and friends. So when you try to figure out when do the bad actions become that person's character, it seems all about which context you're talking about, and we all live in multiple contexts. So I gave a long explanation that would be better served with a more concise "I don't know."

But I will acknowledge that Feanor didn't start out as a bad person, but he became one, and it can't all be blamed on Melkor. Or maybe it can be and I can't see that. He started out as a creator of beauty but lost the beauty of his own personality that he was born with. I don't think he put his inner good into the Silmarils the way Sauron put his power into his Ring (though it would explain a lot). I think he made something greater than himself, and somehow that warped him into a destroyer instead of a creator, maybe because he knew he could never make anything as great as the Silmarils again, couldn't even make them again, and people hate to reach the end of their creative powers--he could have wound up a self-destructive, alcoholic has-been author in modern times.

Otherwise, in his Draconess, maybe people like the bad boy anti-hero who's cocky. That's Feanor.


squire
Half-elven


Apr 16 2013, 4:09am


Views: 736
He's an unlikeable artist

The problem with Feanor is that we can't see his work. According to Tolkien, if we could do so, we'd understand his appeal to his associates and compatriots. They find him difficult but forgive him everything when they see yet another product of his studio or workshop that transcends in aesthetics and craftsmanship what they had thought the Elvish spirit could physically realize.

His character is a fairly common type in life - perhaps you've met him, God knows I have, having spent a few decades in the theater arts industry. Think of a gifted individual who creates works of incredible beauty and spiritual insight, but who in person is at best a jerk, at worst a manipulative tyrant. It's not necessarily just in the field of Art, as much as it is in any field in which high competence resembles an artistic gift: politics, business entrepreneurship, religious leadership, and scientific inquiry or invention are all fields where this type seems to pop up regularly. How many times have we heard of a statesman or philosopher or artist or musician who loves the human race, but despises individual humans? It's weird, it seems contradictory, but I think it's undeniable that such a combination is common enough in human history to have become almost a stereotype.

Oh dear. Did I just accuse Tolkien of creating a stereotypical character?



squire online:
RR Discussions: The Valaquenta, A Shortcut to Mushrooms, and Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit
Lights! Action! Discuss on the Movie board!: 'A Journey in the Dark'. and 'Designing The Two Towers'.
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squiretalk introduces the J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia: A Reader's Diary


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CuriousG
Half-elven


Apr 16 2013, 4:45am


Views: 730
Artists and stereotypes

I don't think Feanor is a stereotype, but he's similar to the people you describe. I just don't think it's stereotypical for an artist to become a general and lead a crusade against Satan after rebelling against the gods. That's getting way outside the theater and portrait studio. But you make an excellent point that we can only imagine the Silmarils, whereas the Elves and Valar could see and experience them, so we couldn't appreciate him as they do.

If you want an example of a stereotype, I'd suggest Ioreth, the silly, gossipy woman in Gondor. She stands out most in my mind. Will Whitfoot is another: the mostly useless but amiable small-time politician who exists just for show.


noWizardme
Half-elven


Apr 16 2013, 11:17am


Views: 713
"King of Planet Unreasonable"

In a documentary, I heard an account of the descent of Jim Morrison (singer songwriter of the band The Doors) into increasingly erratic behaviour. There was a comment that, urged on by huge Jim's charm and talents, people encouraged him to see himself as "King and Sole Inhabitant of Planet Unreasonable" (wonderful phrase). That is, he'd been conditioned, or had come to believe that he was entitled to anything he wanted, and the effect on anyone else was unimportant. T

Maybe Feanor is pretty much there too. A small shove will tip him over the edge, and boy is he gonna get one in the next Chapter.

I agree with CuriousG (as usual) though - the usual path for someone like Feanor would be to either keep on creating, perhaps turning out to have peaked at the Silmarils. Or to implode and end up in the Elvish version of Hello! Magazine (er that would be- "Mae g'ovannen! Magazine" ?), pictured off his head on miruovoir, and surrounded by giggling young elf maidens. A move into politics (and more) in the next chapter is a bit unexpected.

BTW I'm all ready to post on "The Flight of the Noldor", but don't want prematurely to shut down the fun we're having here. Rush up to me and say "It!" when you're ready.

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


noWizardme
Half-elven


Apr 16 2013, 11:22am


Views: 683
...and if it smells troubling today

...and if it smells troubling today, you either tell yourself it is a necessary means to an end (Saruman) or it is all someone else's fault (Gollum).

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


Maciliel
Valinor


Apr 16 2013, 11:23am


Views: 687
question about form...

 
is it acceptable form to have multiple chapter discussions active? i'm hoping so, because good conversation seems to breed good conversation.

"mae govannen!" --- pfffft!!!!. : )

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


noWizardme
Half-elven


Apr 16 2013, 12:08pm


Views: 689
I started the next chapter...

Given the slightest encouragement.... Let the debate on Chapter 9 rage on over here

Starting another thread doesn't automatically shut down this one - you can add further comments to any thread I believe (I've found and commented upon some from previous years).

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


Maciliel
Valinor


Apr 16 2013, 12:15pm


Views: 680
hurrah!

 
let multiple threads flower with abandon.

many 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


noWizardme
Half-elven


Apr 16 2013, 1:51pm


Views: 687
Tolkien's villians - can we deduce any general points?

Based on this excellent discussion of Ungoliant c.f. Melkor I tried to make a theory about villains in Tolkien, but it collapsed while under construction, having got too bing & general to post either here or in the next chapter. So I've posted the wreckage over here, and would be interested in everyone's thoughts!

Its all your fault (that I'm having such a good time!) :) Laugh

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