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Silmarillion Chapter Discussion: Akallabeth (Downfall of Numenor) Part II



Rembrethil
Tol Eressea


Aug 25 2013, 4:18am


Views: 1658
Silmarillion Chapter Discussion: Akallabeth (Downfall of Numenor) Part II

Hey, Welcome back to the Chapter Discussion of the Akkalabeth! We are now on part II of the discussion of the chapter, and if you are joining us late, we have part I posted earlier in the Reading Room. So you can catch up, or just jump right in!


What has happened so far:


Earendil has crossed the Sundering Sea, and has gotten the Valar involved in Beleriand. The Host of the Valar and their allies, have marched to confront the hordes of Morgoth. Morgoth is defeated, and he is put out of Arda. Beleriand, in this encounter, is destroyed. Most of the Elves leave to Tol Eressea, and the Men who were loyal, the Edain, are given a new, island home, Numenor. They are the main focus of this chapter. They have been given an extended lifespan, and are taught many things by the Elves and Valar. They developed into a technically skilled society, gifted shipbuilders and craftsmen. They explored much of the world, but were warned, never to try to sail to Aman. They began to visit Middle-Earth and to teach the remaining men how to best live, and bringing them partly out of the shadow of Evil. All was well, until they began to wish for immortality. They began to murmur, and were unable to be convinced by the Valar, that the Gift of Men was a good thing. The climax of this came, when the King, Ar-Gimilzor, began to persecute those who still were loyal to the Valar and consorted with Elves. The Valar and Elves, now, never more came to Numenor. The Numenorians who wished to take counsel with the Elves, went to ME, and Gil-galad's realms.




Part II: The Fall of Numenor


Well, before the Fall, we have a bit of a revival. The Lords of Andunie, second highest office in Numenor, has remained faithful to the Valar and in friendship of the Eldar. They have been clandestinely aiding the Elendili, the Faithful. They did not choose to openly challenge the King and his policies, but aimed for a political solution. The King, it would seem, was unaware of their affiliation, and married one of their house, presumably for her beauty. This resulted in a loveless marriage, but gave a little respite for the Faithful. Inziladun, their eldest son, took after his mother in beliefs, while the youngest, Gimilkhad, followed Gimilzor. Rising to power, in the midst of objections by his father, Inziladun took his kingly name in the Elvish tongue, Tar-Palantir.


Now, rather than have a straight decline into evil, we have a 'good' king interspersed here. Why do you think so? Was it an opportunity for the people of Numenor to come back to the trust of the Valar? Does the relapse into evil, after Tar-Palantir, indicate that most of the Numenorians agreed with Ar-Gimilzor? What about this marriage here. Was it all Ar-Gimilzor's idea? Was it a surreptitious plan on the part of the Lords of Adunie? It is said that Inziladun 'acceeded' to the scepter, and that Gimilzor 'yeilded' it. Does this mean that Gimilzor still followed the custom of old, that the king would give up his rule before his death, and did not cling to life into madness, as some others did?


Tar-Palantir set some reform in motion, he reinstated the worship of Eru at his hallow. He also tended the White Tree, that Gimilzor had forsaken, making the prophesy that with the end of the Tree's line, would come the end of the Kings. All this was good, but came too late to mend the ties between themselves and the Valar, and even then most of the Numenorians sympathized with Gimilzor.


This 'good' king, after a string of 'bad' kings, reminds me of the strings of rulers in the Biblical books, titled appropriately, 1 and 2 Kings. There were kings that 'did evil' and other that 'did right'. Could Tolkien be attempting to mirror this complex political state? Then Tar-Palantir's prophecy, what was its source? Was it a truer blood strain of the Firstborn who had a measure of foresight? Or did it come from somewhere else? Why choose the White Tree as the symbolic life of the line of Kings, because it came out of Valinor? Why not pick something stronger, with a bit more longevity, like a mountain? Why a relatively weak tree? Was the parallel for growth intended? It is also said that it was too late to appease the Valar. Was it because the majority of Numenorians agreed with Gimilzor and Gimilkhad?


Meanwhile, Gimilkhad, led the opposition to his brother. They were open. Somewhat about it, but more in secret. He died early, in the measure of the Dunuedain, but it did not end the strife.


What was the dynamic here, politically? Did Palantir not want to put down the rebellious, because he remembered the repressions of his father? Did he fear becoming the same, and err on the side of pity? This early death is interesting, did the degree of rebellion against the Valar, determine the length, or shortening, of lifespan? Could the Valar rescind their gift of lifespan?


Now this death did not put an end to the strife. Gimilkhad had a son, Pharazon, who was even more outspoken. He was at first, separate from the political scene, leading armies and men in ME, gaining fame, renown, and a following. Coming back to Numenor, he took his father's place as leader of the resistance to Palantir. The king who had tried to do so much, then died. Worried by grief into an earlier grave.


Palantir had tried to reform the country, but had not the support of the people. He may have commanded their loyalty, but not their love. Evil would always seem to be alluring, al a the Ring, and to have the most charming characteristics? Is this a staple of Tolkien?


Palantir had no son, only a daughter, by the laws of the land, she would have become the Ruling Queen. Pharazon, in a grasp for power, forcibly married her, though against he customs of the Numenorians for cousins to marry. He thus took power as king, sealing the fate of Numenor.


Palantir's daughter would seem to have been his hope. Surely such a careful and foresighted man would not just give up. He must have envisioned her to take his place, continuing the reform he had begun. In a bloodless coup, Pharazon undid any planning that Palantir had in place, seizing power for himself. His acts must have been supported by the general populace, to get away with such acts. He must have suppressed Miriel, the rightful ruler, being less strong than her father, a double infamy.


His interests did not turn to evil at first, but rather to good. He had connection to the wars in ME, and hearing of the need for support, turned all his strength to fighting Sauron. Though he was impelled perhaps, by selfish motives, he rose to combat the greater evil.


Evil does not always express itself as we might think. Pharazon did not focus on the persecution of the Elendili, but instead on the grave threat to his imperial holdings in the coasts of ME. It might be selfish, as he wanted to conquer Sauron, and become his rival more than his conquerer, but this would be a case of evil serving Eru's plan to oppose Sauron.


Sauron, in the face of this great armament, decides that discretion is the better part to take, capitulating to Pharazon, flattering his enormous ego more. He took fair shape, and deceived many, who perhaps looked for a dark, obvious sort of evil, but it does not always appear so. Pharazon was not so easily deceived, and took Sauron hostage back to Numenor.


Sauron, powerful as he was, was still able to be daunted by the host of Pharazon. How great a host they mush have been to cast fear into his heart!! Though he was doubtless proud, wisdom was not yet forsaken, and Pharazon preserved a healthy distrust of his Enemy. Not for long!


Sauron was amazed, finally to see Numenor, and the city of Armenelos, but with a jealous and envious hate, similar to Melkor's. He could never build something like this, and that was part of his hatred. He used his crafty lies and deceits, finally becoming a close counselor, from a prisoner in a mere three years. The other councilors, in a politically advancing manner, followed suit in hearkening to him. The few Faithful left, were now eviscerated by Melkor. He began to oppose everything that the Eldar and Valar had ever taught, likely with the King's approval.


Sauron worked his way into the Kings coucil in a short time. How? Did it have anything to do with his hatred of the Elves and Valar? Did an axiomatic principle factor here, 'the enemy of my enemy is my friend'? Did he gain support, acting as the propaganda minister for Pharazon? He also began to disparage the Valar in the eyes of Men. Very similar is this case to the rebellion of Feanor. Did Melkor teach his craft of subversion and disinformation to his lieutenant?


Sauron then began to attack Eru's authority, having destroyed confidence in his representatives. He held up a false religion to the people. Eventually he caught the King's ear.


His plans seemed well calculated to take advantage of the weaknesses already present in the society of Numenor. Exploiting their hatred and prejudices, he alienated them from any source of good information or support. Now he had their full attention, without opposition. Was this perhaps his plan all along, to support an effortless revolution of ideals, and at he same time remove his chief foes from his path? Did he wish to bring them around to his own twisted philosophy? Did the king's ready ear imply an inner desire to distance himself from the Valar, and everything related? Was he searching for a substitute religion, one that Sauron so easily provided?


The King secretly served the Dark, and Melkor now, but soon moved into open worship. The majority of his people followed him. The Faithful now looked to the Lords of Adunie, Amandil chief, to guide them. He was a childhood friend of the King, and opposed all Sauron had done, but for the sake of their friendship, the king nor Sauron, had the heart or power to punish him yet. Perhaps sensing the failure of his cause, Amandil removed himself from the court, and gathered his adherents around him, to weather this storm.


The Lords of Adunie have been the voices of reason all throughout the last few Kings' madness in defying the Valar. Does his retreat now, show an element of utter despair? Was he the last chance that Pharazon had to turn back? Now it was gone. His inability to harm his friend would seem to suggest that he was not evil at heart, but that he was looking for something to replace that which he hated. Does this suggest that he did not TRULY believe in the Lord of Darkness, but wanted to get rid of the Valar and Eru, only?


Sauron then seeing his chance, urged a great sacrilege upon the King, to cut down the White Tree. Now hesitant, he still feared the prophecy of Palantir, perhaps recognizing the power and wisdom he had. He blockaded the hallow of Illuvatar, but superstitious fear held both him and Sauron in check from defiling it. The rumor of Sauron's proposal went out, and must have created quite the sensation. Amandil heard of it, and feared that it might yet come, as Sauron had main sway with the King. At this point Isildur, son of Elendil, son of Amandil, Lord of Adunie, preformed his most noble act. He stole into the garden, where the Tree was kept, and took a fruit and fought his way back to Romenna. Greivously wounded, he still preserved his incognito, and delivered the seed to his grandfather. They planted it and in half a year it sprouted, and at its sprouting, came the turning point in Isildur's recovery.


Now Sauron had much more freedom. His opposition removed, he began to push the King into a committal to evil. Up to this point he has not directly defied the Valar or Eru, and has only forsaken them. Sauron is pushing him to some overt act to seal his fate with his own, open opposition to the good. Then we have news of Isildur's brave act. He usually gets a bad rap among those who only know him as “the man who would not destroy the Ring”, but it is shown here that he is a fair and noble lord. He risked his life to preserve the Tree, and I wonder how many of us would do the same? I think that we can back off of some Isildur bashing, if only to honor this great deed. It is interesting to note that his complete recovery comes with the sprouting of the sapling. While we are on the topic, what 'fruit' do you think it was, actually edible, or more like an acorn nut? The length of time passed over also interests me. The guards of the Tree would have known that they had wounded the infiltrator of the garden, so why was no inquiry made? Were there that many people? Surely Isildur was almost prostrated by his wounds, or so it would seem. How many in Numenor would have these wounds, considering tht the war with Sauron was at a halt? Who else would be hurt by blades? How did his family hide such a prominent lord from the public eye? It must have been a nerve wracking winter!! On the topic of his healing, what was its source, Eru, the Valar, or did it coincide with the sprouting accidentally? Does this instance serve to reinforce the Prophecy of Palantir, that the life of the King is the life of the Tree?


Sauron, no doubt, capitalized on the acts of the 'fanatics' and pushed for the destruction of the Tree, possibly to prevent any similar occurrences. Then he caused a massive temple to be built. In form and color it was bright, and belied its dark purpose. It was physically darkened later, by the wood of the Tree, Nimloth the Fair, and its destruction sent up a reek and smoke that was a signal to both heaven and earth, of their rebellion. It was added to by more smoke, sent up from the heinous murders, called sacrifice, to Melkor of those who did not support the King, mainly of the Faithful. They did this to pray Melkor to release them from death, only succeeding in bringing more dissatisfaction and death to themselves.


This would seem to be the point of no return, reached now by the King and his followers. They fully turned from the right, to the evils of human sacrifices. The smoke of the Temple carried into the West, yet they did nothing. Why? Perhaps they were too astounded to act?


Civil wars and discontent broke out, men desperate to accumulate things, during their brief lives. Sauron still played his part as friend. Giving them knowledge and power to accomplish their selfish goals. They began to spread their evils to ME, alienating the goodwill of the men there, and darkening their memories of the benevolent Sea Kings. Pharazon became a tyrant, and ruled by fear now. He became more ready to accept the words of Sauron, and followed his schemes. It was Sauron who truly ruled Numenor. Now the King waxed old, even in his diminished span of years, he outlasted many, but now he came to his final days. It was then that Sauron counseled him to prepare an armament to take Aman by force. He began to plan it, and noise of this rumor came to Amandil.


Totally weakening any internal strength, Sauron rid himself of anything that was capable of defeating him. Keeping men distracted by material goods, he was free to pursue his own course. He now came to the climax of his plan, to have the King take, or at least to try, to oppose the Valar. Do you think that he expected them to get somewhere? Or did he just want to remove them from his way, letting the vast part of Numenorians die, allowing him to claim lordship? What was his angle here?


Amandil then resolved to sail into the west, as Earendil had, and to try to ask the aid of Manwe in their plight. He had ships made ready, and also counseled his sons to do the same, that they might be ready to leave at a moment's notice. Amandil took ship, and it is nowhere told where he ended his days, but it is remarked that the evil and treason in Numenor, was too deep to be so easily dealt with by the Valar. The weather itself began to turn against them. Where it had been fair and pleasant, there were now storm clouds and hail, and ships were lost, as never had happened before. Interpreting this as agression by the Valar, some few repented, but the majority began to be angry at the Valar, and pushed on their preparations for the Invasion of Aman. Lightning fell from the sky, and killed men in various places. It smote the Temple of the Dark, ad destroyed the dome, as the earth shook. Sauron defied the weather, and the people now looked to him as a deity, following his orders, now given directly and not through the puppet King.


It would seem that the accusations of interference and aggression of the Valar could be justified, but let us consider another view. The Valar did NOT attack the Numenorians, but had restrained the forces of the Sea and Airs to benefit them. This was an instance of their favor being withdrawn, and the spoiled 'little sailors', who had thought themselves to be good mariners, found out what the Sea was REALLY like. Or perhaps it was a deterrent? What do you think?


The next few scenes create a powerful picture. The Eagles of Manwe advance on Numenor, the sky turns red and paint the color of anger on everything. The King goes down to his ships, in the midst of a terrific gale, sits on his throne, and gives the order for the Armada to advance. Trumpets blow, thunder crashes, a terrific storm of light, rain, hail, darkness, clouds, noise, and wind occurs. They sail through this Malestrom, passing Tol Eressea, and finally coming to Aman. I can imagine the sea, raging about them. A few ships are sunk, but pushed on by pride the persevere, finally come to the Undying Lands. The King hesitates, but his pride does not let him do so for long, and the army marches to camp near Tuna, the hill on which Tirion is built.


Words alone cannot describe how I envision this scene. The pride, the arrogance are unmatched. Mortals defying the Valar's commands. I am struck by the epic scale of the confrontation. This IS one of Tolkien's final moments, and I cannot even begin to try to encapsulate the moment, better that he does in this instance. I could lose myself in this short passage, one of THE best in his works. I will leave this portion open to you, to raise what topics you wish, and to share your feelings on this. It is too much for me to attempt to reduce to a few questions.


It is at this point, that Eru is invoked by the Valar. They have failed to keep the peace and order in Arda, and he must interfere and set thing right. A chasm opened between Numenor and Aman. The sea flowed into the rift, drowning the ships of Pharazon, and the Men in Aman were covered by falling rocks and earth. The entire realm of Valinor and Eressea was taken from the world, and Numenor was destroyed. Fire burst from the summit of Eru's hallow and the Queen, still faithful to the Valar, was killed in an tempt to reach the Hallow. Elendil and his house, stand off from the shore in their ships, protected by the land, from the storm's blast, he is caught in the swell drawing the land of Numenor down. A mighty wind from the west, pushes him and his house, away from danger. The land near the coasts of ME are changed and the nine ships of Elendil come to land.


There is one of the few involvements of Eru in the fate of Arda. Why does he seem so removed? Did this interference need to occur, so that it the will of Eru is followed? Why are the Men of Numenor allowed to get so far? Why were they imprisoned rather than killed? What is their part in the Last Battle? What has the Queen been doing? Has she been entirely repressed, or did she secretly aid the Faithful? Why was she not spared as Elendil was? What about the others who repented? What does this divine judgment mean to you, and how do you feel about it? Was the salvation of Elendil the result of Amandil's intervention? What was his fate? Any guesses? He is not mentioned among the men who were counted to the Elder race. I am not into numerology, but 9, seems to have a connotation of a fellowship. Nine Ulari, Nine ships, and the Nine in the Fellowship of the Ring. Thoughts?


Now back to Sauron. He seems to have overdone himself. He has provoked a greater response than he had hoped for. He had wanted only, as I had before theorized, to cripple the Edain by robing them of most of their force and leadership. He never expected such a strong response. He went down with the island, but being a Maiar, he was still bound to Arda, and his spirit made its way back to Mordor. There he took up to ring again and fashioned a new physical form, having lost the fair form in the destruction of Numenor.


Evil seeems always to underestimate the good. Morgoth never saw the Valar coming to Beleriand, and Sauron never imagined that the whole land of Numenor would be destroyed. A pattern? Here we learn of Sauron's true plan, to destroy the Edain, or at least cripple them. We learn that he has left his ring in Mordor, and I assume that the Elves or his soldiers might have warned the King. What may have happened if the king got it? Might it have had a similar result as the scheme he did put in place? Did Sauron fear losing it, too much to try? He cannot die in the destruction, as such, but he loses his fair shape. Did he, in taking a shape and losing it, lose that power that went into the shape? Was a physical form, an externalization of power? Did he lose power that was used in making the shape? Why would it prevent him from taking fair form again?


Now we have a final section of tradition, these facts cannot be corroborated, but we will take them as true, and an author's artistic flavoring of the story. The summit of Eru's hallow is said to have risen above the waves once more. It is also said that if found, you could catch a glimpse of Aman, though it was removed from the world, being, in spirit, unchanged. The Elves, later were allowed to come to Aman, even if Men could not find it. There was a way, but it was no way for mortals to come, unaided, so there was no chance for the Edain to find it. It is said that though removed, the Valar still watch the unfolding of the world's history. It is also said that some came upon the Straight way, and glimpsing Aman, died, accomplishing the Journey.


The rising of Meneltarma, would seem to be a metaphorical representation of Eru's ultimate victory. Agree? The leaving of a place in the world, where Men could glimpse Aman, Was it a gift or cruel torture? Why leave it if they never found it? A false hope, or something else? This Straight road, what do you make of it? Does it wind through outer space? Or is it something else? It is said that some men came upon the path, and glimpsed Aman. Who? Is this vain legend or unrecorded history? Why did they die? Was this part of the shortening of mortal life in immortal lands? If so, why did Pharazon and his army survive long enough to get to Tuna and Tirion? Is there a multiplication of the power of Aman, now that it is separate from Arda?




Now some overall thoughts, Sauron would seem to have had a plan, even before he came to Numenor. A deep strategy indeed! What advantages might he have in his favor, that the Elves lack? They had just as much time to scheme against him, as he did against them. Immortality aside, there must have been another factor that gave him an advantage over the numbers of the Elves? Was it a chess strategy, taking advantage of position? He seemed to exploit the strife of the Edain and Elves to shield himself in Numenor from the Elves. Did their numbers hinder their effectiveness? Sauron was a one man show, he had all the power. Now the allies, were not so, did the disunity give Sauron his advantages? What pushed his plan too far? What got the Valar's/Eru's attention? Why did they interfere so drastically? The people of Numenor interest me. They seem to be easily influenced by the 'bad' kings, and seem unsympathetic to Palantir. Why do they follow evil so easily, but reject Palantir's reforms? They seem to allow the Unlawful actions of Pharazon- his forced marriage, his usurpation of power, and his defiance of Eru. He couldn't do all of this without their support. What happened that changed these noble people into selfish people, following a king into evil? They all were descended from the great houses of Men, why do the Lords and nobles. Seem to have the main share of honor?




Any other thoughts?


We could discuss this chapter for a long time, and I have missed something for sure. Bring it up!
I have really enjoyed these discussions, and I would like to thank all of you for taking part. I mean, this gives me a great excuse to read more TolkienWink!! Joking aside, I really appreciate the opportunity to share my thoughts and opinions, and to hear yours as well.

I look forward to reading your ideas and comments.



Yours Sincerely,
Rembrethil


Rembrethil
Tol Eressea


Aug 25 2013, 4:20am


Views: 1087
Sauron: the Evil Mastermind--Topic Sub-thread

Here's a handy little sub-thread to share your thought on the plots, and plotting of Sauron

. What did he intend? How did he garner such success, so quickly? What did he miss, that led to his destruction?


Rembrethil
Tol Eressea


Aug 25 2013, 4:23am


Views: 1077
The New Geography of Arda--Topic Sub-thread

A place to share your thoughts on the drastic transformation of Arda's landmass.

What exactly happened to Aman and Eressea? Do the Teleri have oceans still? How does the Straight Path work? What about the Gravational influence of Aman, if it is still close to Arda, how would it affect the tides?


Rembrethil
Tol Eressea


Aug 25 2013, 4:28am


Views: 1071
Blind Men--Topic Sub-thread

A place to share your thoughts on the stupid actions of Men, that occur in this chapter.

How can the King REALLY think to challenge Manwe? WHY do the people even follow. There MUST be stories of their power, why are they led so easily into folly? If they are just gullible, why don't they follow Tar-Palantir just as readily as Ar-Gimilzor? What about that mother of all storms that occurred on the setting out of the Great Armament, no one says"Hmm.. not a good day to sail?". I'd be in my house and under my bed in such a gale.


CuriousG
Half-elven


Aug 26 2013, 12:00am


Views: 1076
To tell you the truth

I often feel like Sauron succeeded in corrupting the Numenoreans too easily and too quickly. It's especially strange that Ar-Pharazon turns so quickly from being his enemy to being a follower, regardless of his lust for power and fear of death. But maybe his voice was as bewitching and mind-numbing as Saruman's, hard to say.

What did Sauron want? Power for himself, destruction for Numenor. I think he wanted their destruction a little more than he craved power, the sort of sadism reminiscent of Morgoth. He horribly miscalculated the consequences of the invasion of Valinor. To be fair, he'd watched for centuries while they did nothing, so he could be permitted to think they'd be too passive to do anything. And they were. But he didn't seem to guess at all that they'd turn to Big Daddy Eru.


CuriousG
Half-elven


Aug 26 2013, 12:04am


Views: 1068
What I want to know is

if the lower world is made round, what happens to Aman? Is it flat with a rocky underside? Does it become a small globe? Yet I get the feeling that it's not dangling overhead and is far away, having no gravitational influence. If it's another type of dimension, it wouldn't influence Arda at all.

Otherwise, I think everything remains the same: they have oceans, and the Straight Path is either a line into the sky similar to a plane taking off, or more probably a mystic portal you pass through.


CuriousG
Half-elven


Aug 26 2013, 12:09am


Views: 1056
Yes, they are like comic book villains, aren't they?

"No one can defeat my evil genius plan, no one!" [evil cackle] "Wait, it's the caped hero, and he's ruined everything! How could it be?"

Maybe what could explain their madness is that they defeated Sauron without a battle. They may have counted on the Valar to submit just as easily. They were pretty drunk with power, and intoxication doesn't lead to the best decisions. Though overall, I think the Numenor tale is heavy-handed as a morality tale. Extreme things happen a little too easily. Though if you'd asked me in 1920 if a German leader would come along and exterminate millions of his own people in the 1940s, I would say that is too extreme to happen, so I'm not a good judge of how supposedly rational humans do extreme things.


CuriousG
Half-elven


Aug 26 2013, 1:22am


Views: 1053
Great questions and commentary! Answers Part 1

Thanks for the excellent write up, Rem, and sorry I missed your 1st post--just too crazy busy to put any coherent thoughts down on. I'll try to catch up. Anyway:

Tar-Palantir: I think Tolkien may have thought, as I do, that this downward spiral of Numenor was a little bit contrived, like a linear Biblical tale of a people becoming more wicked with each generation, and of course you know there will be Divine Destruction at the end of tales like that. So Tar-Palantir (love that name!) reverses the tide a bit, making the story less about inevitable historic forces and more about people and the choices they make. He's also a doomed, tragic figure, and his reversal of the evil trends makes the Fall seem that much greater.

I don't think you need to have Elvish DNA to have foresight. Huor had his prophecy for Turgon about a new star arising from their houses; that was right on target. What I notice in Tolkien's characters is that you have to be pure of heart to have foresight, plus intelligent, but mostly pure of heart. Palantir covered that base.

The White Tree as symbol of the kings: Tolkien adores trees, for one thing, and the whole history of Middle-earth would probably be about Trees of Light, Ents, and Huorns if he thought he could get away with. The White Tree outlived many kings, so it was an enduring, and a gift of the Eldar with a remote connection to the Valar. Plus it was ultimately mortal, as men are. I think it was a good choice for a token.

Gimilkhad: my take on him is that indeed, the Valar diminished his lifespan as a warning (all warnings are ignored, alas) of things to come if the Dunedain didn't shape up. What puzzles me is how open the rebellion was. How does that translate in non-epic terms? Were there different provinces in Numenor that followed one faction or the other, or different cities claiming allegiance, or was it not territorial, but a division within society in every zone? Does open rebellion mean people were shooting arrows at Palantir? He doesn't sound like a prisoner in his keep, but what were the rebels doing so openly that he couldn't/wouldn't stop? Overall, he seems to me like a gentle man from the past born into the wrong era.

Substitute religions: it seems to me that when humans don't get what they want in the real world from their religion, they find another or become more fundamentalist. The Akallabeth is the most religious of Tolkien's writings, isn't it? Even the earlier parts about the Valar (= gods) aren't as religious as the Numenor tale is, and they certainly don't feel as Biblical. Did Tolkien feel that Elves were exempt from a Christian perspective, whereas Men, being human, just had to be more caught up in it? But then why isn't LOTR more religious? Why aren't the histories of Arnor and Gondor more Biblical? Instead they play out like secular histories. Hard to say. Maybe he liked the variety in his approaches?


CuriousG
Half-elven


Aug 26 2013, 1:23am


Views: 1057
Answers Part 2

Isildur and fruit: great point! I usually forget his rescue of the seedling myself and yes, think of him as that Big Idiot who should have destroyed the Ring but didn't. Given time, Tolkien usually makes his characters well-rounded, and learning this exploit of Isildur is welcome. As for the type of fruit, I personally picture something a little mushy, like a peach, but I have no idea why. My brain had to come up with something. It will be interesting to hear what others say.

Amandil: I get the feeling that unlike Tuor, he came to a bad end in his search for reconciliation with the Valar. He gets an A for effort, at least.

The Armada: I agree, this is a powerful and moving part of the tale. Tolkien glosses over divine battles earlier in the Sil, but here I feel like he's a war reporter traveling with the troops, feeling impressed, disgusted, and scared. It's a vivid picture that would be cool to see in a movie because it certainly plays out like one.

Miriel: she's a fascinating character that I wish we had much, much more detail on. Was she meek and mild, saying, "Whatever you think is best, Pharazon"? Did they fight and argue a lot? Was she bitter about their forced marriage and reclusive as a result, or did she secretly aid the Faithful? Or did she live as a prisoner queen, kept locked in a royal suite? Was striving to reach Meneltarma only possible when her jailor-husband was out of the country with his goons? And speaking of vivid images, that one glows hot for me. There's something very desperate about this unknown but presumably decent-hearted queen struggling all on her own to reach a divine sanctuary. And it seems a bit cruel of Eru to not have spared her. Which makes me wonder if she wasn't that decent and only repented at the last minute? One of myriad characters I'd like to interview in M-earth!

Eru: my views are complicated here. It speaks well of the Valar that they didn't kill the men themselves. Mandos was ready to kill Earendil for visiting Valinor on his own and without an army. He must have been overruled again. It speaks well of Eru that he didn't kill the army but trapped it forever. But, it doesn't speak well for him that he wiped out Numenor--there had to be MANY innocent lives lost. Were 4-year-old children of the King's Men to blame for their father's deeds? I have a problem with this aspect of him.

Sauron and his body: his diminished form here seems to reveal that Luthien and Huan could have done him serious harm at Minas Tirith in destroying his body, though I'm afraid I don't have any answers to your questions because I find this hard to work out. How many times can an Ainu lose their body? Do they become weaker each time? When Sauron was hiding out in Dol Guldur and the East taking shape again, why did it take so long, and what exactly happened: did he need to start with growing a hand, then a forearm, then upper arm, etc, or was he 99% transparent and resolidified 1% at a time? Hard to picture.

Despicable as he is, Sauron's a great chess master. Speaking of chess, I find the people of Numenor to be mindless pawns in this chapter. The majority of them seem to only do or think what their king does. Doesn't anyone on that island do any critical thinking? With the story revolving around royalty, it's a bit hard to feel much for the masses at any point, even when the island is destroyed, since they appear to be wind-up robots.

Well, it's a bummer that I've reached the end of your commentary, which I really enjoyed! I'll pipe up again when I see what others have to contribute. Thanks again, Rem!


squire
Half-elven


Aug 26 2013, 2:11am


Views: 1058
The greatest race of Men who ever lived, "mindless pawns"?

Good point about the people of Numenor having no apparent political identity, or being as you put it, "mindless pawns." I think this is the result of Tolkien trying to write in Mythical Mode, in which single decisions by kings or leaders utterly seal the doom of a nation of followers. The Akallabeth even more than the Elvish tales in The Silmarillion wears this style like a heavy fur coat.

By way of counterargument, note how Tolkien tended to leaven his mythic tales with novelistic touches of conflicted characters, realistic politics, and factions and debate, whenever he tried to write the stories in more detail. This is especially true about his work after he had completed The Lord of the Rings: The later Hurin adventures are a good example, as is his only real Numenor "story", the Mariner's Wife.

I'm not sure he was ever in the least inclined to expand the Akallabeth in this fashion, but if he had I bet there would have appeared a lot more characters and a lot more realistic action and motivation by the court and nobility of Numenor. But not the common people; they're kind of mindless pawns and wind-up robots even in LotR, after all.



squire online:
RR Discussions: The Valaquenta, A Shortcut to Mushrooms, and Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit
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= Forum has no new posts. Forum needs no new posts.


Rembrethil
Tol Eressea


Aug 26 2013, 4:36am


Views: 1039
Tar-Palantir

I agree with all you said about him. We had a discussion about good and evil, and in that discussion, it was posited, that good cannot understand evil. Perhaps Palantir could not fathom the depths to which the common Numenorians could sink? He would be the man that was born too late.


Rembrethil
Tol Eressea


Aug 26 2013, 4:42am


Views: 1049
Divine prerogative

Well, if there is a divine being working in a universe, they can do pretty much whatever! Now this is an incredibly cynical view, but is coldly true. The only limits put upon them, is themself.

Now, I think that Tolkien saw Eru as good, kind, and benevolent. Here are a few ideas.

Perhaps he allowed the ones too young and innocent, to be reincarnated?

Maybe he gave them a special reward? We don't know what is the fate of men, perhaps it is BETTER than Arda can offer? It is said that Morgoth twisted the Gift of Men into a curse.

Maybe they had stopped having children? The numbers were low to start, and in the chaos of greed, faction disputes, war preparations, and shortening life, they stopped bearing children? There could have been very few!! Ripe for a special dispensation as I have said previously.


sador
Half-elven


Aug 26 2013, 2:02pm


Views: 1043
The abandoned "The Lost Road"

does show a considerable potential, with Herendil's scoolmates and Elendil's adopted daughter of a colleague (was she adopted? I do not remember, nor do I have the book near me).
Two other unfinished tales which might have developed in this direction are The New Shadow and Tal-Elmar (personally, I like the latter more). And I'm not sure the common Gondorians are mindless pawns in LotR - I won't consider Mablung, Damrod, Bergond or Ioreth as such (although you could say that Anborn amd the Warden of the Houses of Healing are just functional, and the herb-master might be seen as merely comic).


In Reply To


I'm not sure he was ever in the least inclined to expand the Akallabeth in this fashion, but if he had I bet there would have appeared a lot more characters and a lot more realistic action and motivation by the court and nobility of Numenor. But not the common people; they're kind of mindless pawns and wind-up robots even in LotR, after all.





Brethil
Half-elven


Aug 27 2013, 3:00am


Views: 1032
Curiousity killed the .... Numenorean?


In Reply To
I often feel like Sauron succeeded in corrupting the Numenoreans too easily and too quickly. It's especially strange that Ar-Pharazon turns so quickly from being his enemy to being a follower, regardless of his lust for power and fear of death. But maybe his voice was as bewitching and mind-numbing as Saruman's, hard to say.

What did Sauron want? Power for himself, destruction for Numenor. I think he wanted their destruction a little more than he craved power, the sort of sadism reminiscent of Morgoth. He horribly miscalculated the consequences of the invasion of Valinor. To be fair, he'd watched for centuries while they did nothing, so he could be permitted to think they'd be too passive to do anything. And they were. But he didn't seem to guess at all that they'd turn to Big Daddy Eru.




I wonder if one of the tools Sauron had in his handy box of Things to Wreck Stuff With was knowledge - especially when paired with the curiosity of mortals and their need for solving the mysteries of life (when their own fate represents an unknown). This part - "for flattery sweet as honey was ever on his tongue, and knowledge he had of many things unrevealed to Men." makes me think that maybe this divulging of information, with the tease perhaps of explaining fate, might have led even Ar-Pharazon down the path.

An unexpected assault? And maybe one they simply could not resist (as the saying goes, it being human nature)?

Is there a Tolkien topic that you have wanted to look into more deeply, and write about your thoughts on it? If so, we'd like to hear from you for the next TORn Amateur Symposium- coming in November. Happy writing!








Brethil
Half-elven


Aug 27 2013, 3:15am


Views: 1021
Kindness of Eru


In Reply To

Now, I think that Tolkien saw Eru as good, kind, and benevolent. Here are a few ideas. Perhaps he allowed the ones too young and innocent, to be reincarnated? I agree on the beneficence of Eru in JRRT's view. And although he does address the idea of reincarnation in Letters as not being fundamentally dismissible, I think the idea of rebodying was reserved for Elves a s part of the symbolism of their 'tie' and their 'bond' to Arda and .. as a second part of the answer, yes, I agree and think that:

We don't know what is the fate of men, perhaps it is BETTER than Arda can offer? It is said that Morgoth twisted the Gift of Men into a curse. (Rembrethil)

The idea that the Gift is better than what Men have in Arda is a lynchpin I think in his whole philosophical construct. Also that the way Morgoth twisted it in Men's mind is the curse, perhaps not the Gift itself being a curse in any sense?

I had theorized in the previous thread about the low childbirth rate - that the Fool's Paradise and sense of longevity gave the Numenorean's less sense of their need to replace life lost with new life, and to plan for the future. Again perhaps guarded by the parental arms of the Valar (like the Summoning and the Noldor) don't encourage long term planning or full maturity



Is there a Tolkien topic that you have wanted to look into more deeply, and write about your thoughts on it? If so, we'd like to hear from you for the next TORn Amateur Symposium- coming in November. Happy writing!








Darkstone
Immortal


Aug 27 2013, 7:19pm


Views: 1020
Bans will do that

The ban of the tree of forbidden fruit and the ban of the Valar only encouraged people. One suspects that King Elessar's ban of the Shire will similarly fail to turn out well.

******************************************
Once Gandalf dreamt he was a moth, a moth flitting and fluttering around, happy with himself and doing as he pleased. He didn't know he was Gandalf. Suddenly he woke up and there he was, solid and unmistakably Gandalf. But he didn't know if he was Gandalf who had dreamt he was a moth, or a moth dreaming he was Gandalf. Between Gandalf and a moth there must be some distinction! But really, there isn't, because he's actually Olórin dreaming he's both Gandalf *and* a moth!
-From Gandalfi: The Moth Dream


CuriousG
Half-elven


Aug 27 2013, 7:37pm


Views: 1012
Curiosity seemed to kill the Elven Ring-makers too.

People who want too much knowledge seem to fair badly in Middle-earth. I suspect Tolkien's real allegory is a diatribe against university education, and from an Oxford don, no less.Evil


Meneldor
Valinor


Aug 27 2013, 10:13pm


Views: 1007
IMO,


In Reply To
People who want too much knowledge seem to fair badly in Middle-earth. I suspect Tolkien's real allegory is a diatribe against university education, and from an Oxford don, no less.Evil





Knowledge, like fire, power, and money, is a wonderful servant, but a tyrannical master. It must be kept in its proper place and used as it ought to be. All things in moderation. A place for everything, and everything in its place.

Wisdom, on the other hand, is priceless.

It seems to me that all of the seductions through knowledge that JRRT wrote about would have been utterly foiled by a little bit of wisdom.


They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters; These see the works of the Lord, and his wonders in the deep.


Brethil
Half-elven


Aug 27 2013, 10:59pm


Views: 980
(**hahaha!**) //


In Reply To
People who want too much knowledge seem to fair badly in Middle-earth. I suspect Tolkien's real allegory is a diatribe against university education, and from an Oxford don, no less.Evil


Is there a Tolkien topic that you have wanted to look into more deeply, and write about your thoughts on it? If so, we'd like to hear from you for the next TORn Amateur Symposium- coming in November. Happy writing!








Brethil
Half-elven


Aug 27 2013, 11:07pm


Views: 990
Very true Darkstone


In Reply To
The ban of the tree of forbidden fruit and the ban of the Valar only encouraged people. One suspects that King Elessar's ban of the Shire will similarly fail to turn out well.




And it was clever of Sauron to use on this to his advantage. Really he was capitalizing on Morgoth's earlier work, both in devaluing the Gift and making it seem that Men had the option to change it, if they only banged down the right doors and pitched enough of a fit.

Interesting point on Elessar's ban - perhaps the first generations of Men, while memory was alive, would respect it - but after that you are probably right.

Is there a Tolkien topic that you have wanted to look into more deeply, and write about your thoughts on it? If so, we'd like to hear from you for the next TORn Amateur Symposium- coming in November. Happy writing!








Brethil
Half-elven


Aug 27 2013, 11:11pm


Views: 997
All excellent points Meneldor


In Reply To

In Reply To
People who want too much knowledge seem to fair badly in Middle-earth. I suspect Tolkien's real allegory is a diatribe against university education, and from an Oxford don, no less.Evil





Knowledge, like fire, power, and money, is a wonderful servant, but a tyrannical master. It must be kept in its proper place and used as it ought to be. All things in moderation. A place for everything, and everything in its place.

Wisdom, on the other hand, is priceless.

It seems to me that all of the seductions through knowledge that JRRT wrote about would have been utterly foiled by a little bit of wisdom.




Of course just arriving at that excellent conclusion requires wisdom in itself ... Wink As JRRT writes his world, even the immortal Elves who had more time than Men to learn and develop wisdom, still had a learning curve.

Is there a Tolkien topic that you have wanted to look into more deeply, and write about your thoughts on it? If so, we'd like to hear from you for the next TORn Amateur Symposium- coming in November. Happy writing!








Brethil
Half-elven


Aug 27 2013, 11:53pm


Views: 996
Concerning trees...


In Reply To

Why choose the White Tree as the symbolic life of the line of Kings, because it came out of Valinor? Why not pick something stronger, with a bit more longevity, like a mountain? Why a relatively weak tree? Was the parallel for growth intended? I think trees themselves were such an integral part of JRRT's world view (he writes that he was quite in love with them, and resented pain done to them) that it would be the first thing that came into his mind when choosing a symbol for the line of Kings, which would culminate in Aragorn (and carry the bloodline of Luthien and Beren into the future.) He described in Letters how many versions of a 'tree' design are scattered among his papers, and that the leaves branches and flowers symbolize tales and poems. So the 'tree' as a symbol I think might be a storyline, the larger tales and the shorter songs and stories all coming together and being connected at the base. And I think your description of the symbol being relatively weak (yet long lived) can certainly symbolize the fragility of Men and their hopes. Great thought!

Is there a Tolkien topic that you have wanted to look into more deeply, and write about your thoughts on it? If so, we'd like to hear from you for the next TORn Amateur Symposium- coming in November. Happy writing!








Brethil
Half-elven


Aug 28 2013, 12:02am


Views: 995
Now a more serious reply...


In Reply To
People who want too much knowledge seem to fair badly in Middle-earth. I suspect Tolkien's real allegory is a diatribe against university education, and from an Oxford don, no less.Evil





Considering my first one was simply snicker of appreciation. Wink

It was curiosity for knowledge but also I think fear that drove Ringmaking: as JRRT writes, that desire to have things not change was I think a reflection of the fear of change; and he uses the term having one's cake and eating it too. Something else Sauron recognized and used to further his ends.

I think that is why I see the Rings as a culmination of the failure of faith among the Firstborn. That desire to arrest and alter Eru's plan for Arda is what ultimately spawns the One.

Is there a Tolkien topic that you have wanted to look into more deeply, and write about your thoughts on it? If so, we'd like to hear from you for the next TORn Amateur Symposium- coming in November. Happy writing!








CuriousG
Half-elven


Aug 28 2013, 2:47am


Views: 992
Great distinction

The ones who are insatiable about knowledge wind up in trouble. People like Gandalf who seek wisdom instead make out okay (alright, forget that Moria bridge thing). As a contrast, Saruman seemed to forever thirst after wisdom, such as asking Treebeard all he knew, using the Palantir to find information, and studying the archives in Minas Tirith, but Gandalf sought wisdom and understanding. I would say they're equally intelligent, but had profoundly different intellectual leanings.


(This post was edited by CuriousG on Aug 28 2013, 2:49am)


CuriousG
Half-elven


Aug 28 2013, 2:17pm


Views: 985
Another great distinction

On the surface, the Elven Ring-makers just want to learn more and more, but you're right, the rings they made for themselves were made to arrest change, not create anything new. I think of creativity as not driven by fear, but by having some love of something outside of you that you want to enhance, or something inside of you that you want to express.

Though it's possible that their love of the past was from sentimentality. Not sure. It probably does come back to fear of the present/future. You can be sentimental about the past while appreciating the present/future, but if you only want what's past, then you're not happy with the present and don't trust the future to be any better.


Rembrethil
Tol Eressea


Aug 28 2013, 6:06pm


Views: 358
Wisdom and Understanding.

Even with wisdom, it doesn't make you a saint. You still have to make a moral choice with that deeper understanding that you have. You could do great good, or great evil. I think that the power and wisdom simply amplify what we are, what truly are, in our heart of hearts, letting everyone know who WE are. Saruman was fine, running the council and opposing Sauron in other ways. It was only when he gained power, that his megalomania and selfish self was revealed.

We all have selfish desires in us, and if we get the power and means to fulfill them, we are put in a dangerous spot. No matter how petty our desire might be,(I think Saruman was only slightly jealous of Gandalf) it can become inflated into a dominant motivation. Think Maeglin, Grima, and Turin.


Rembrethil
Tol Eressea


Aug 28 2013, 6:16pm


Views: 365
The problem of the Elves.

Perhaps your post encapsulates the heartache of the Elves.

They are immoral, so they tend to outlast everything. I can only imagine that, like us, they want done stability and security. Well they want something stable, and unchanging in their life, and are deeply grieved by their losses, because they only add up. How many of us have go e to a childhood place of memory, and it is gone, or at least altered? What do you feel? Loss. Not merely of the place or time, but of the essence of that memory. You thought that you could go back, but know now that you never will. You lose friends and family and ask, 'What am I holding on to?'.

I can see the reason that the Elven rings were preserving in nature. But when you try to regain, or worse, hold on to the past, you lose the future that you never knew. You limit your life to the joys of the past, and doom yourself to tire out these good memories, until they become bitter. By that time you would be lost in the past, no future left. Joy and creativity is gone, you have them in exchange for a shadow. Life passes you by, and you are unaware, you live in a dream, and can't wake up.


CuriousG
Half-elven


Aug 28 2013, 7:21pm


Views: 360
Loss of childhood

Veering slightly off-topic, but in relation to your comments about preserving things from childhood. I had the odd experience years ago when my parents told me that a neighbor of ours from my childhood neighborhood had died. I had never known her well and never saw her that often, but she was a fixture in the locale. I never saw her after we moved or heard news about her. But when I heard that she was gone, it was surprising that I felt like I had lost *something* from the past. Of course losing someone you know well and care about is much harder. So if you multiply those losses over thousands of years, the Elves' yearning for preserving the past is understandable. I think the only way it becomes a problem is when that's all you want and you cut off any hope of gratification in the present and future, or that seems like a problem to me; others see it differently, I'm sure.

One of the lingering disappointments I have in Tolkien's world is the unchallenged melancholy and fatalism of the Elves. They're fading, it's the Age of Men coming, they're doomed to go to Valinor or become a "rustic folk of hill and dell, slowly to forget and be forgotten." I'm not criticizing them, but I would like to shake them by the collar and say, "Don't give up! You can do more great things. Build a new Tirion, build even better boats at Alqualonde, make things better than Rings of Power." It's frustrating to see any person or any civilization in decline and go with the flow rather than try to change it.


Ethel Duath
Half-elven


Aug 29 2013, 2:15am


Views: 343
I always had exactly the same reaction

and would even hold conversations with them in my head to that effect!

I'm wondering what Tolkien has to say about the elves' approach to life and that sort of fatalistic detachment? I have the feeling it's been discussed before here somewhere.


Brethil
Half-elven


Aug 29 2013, 2:53am


Views: 396
Indeed Ethel, JRRT discusses it in Letter #131

Which as we all know I do enjoy.

He says there: "In the first we see a sort of second fall or at least 'error' of the Elves. There was nothing wrong essentially in their lingering against counsel, still sadly with the mortal lands of their old heroic deeds. But they wanted to have their cake without eating it. They wanted the peace and bliss and the perfect memory of 'The West', and yet to remain on the ordinary earth where their prestige as the highest people, above wild Elves, dwarves and Men, was greater than at the bottom of the hierarchy of Valinor. They thus became obsessed with 'fading', the mode in which the changes of time (the laws of the world under the sun) was perceived by them. They became sad, and their art (shall we say) antiquarian, and their efforts all really a kind of embalming..."

So that's how the One really, ultimately came about: the Elvish desire to hold onto the past, and never let go of the glory and joy that they took in Arda as it was in THAT moment, and using what he calls 'the closest to magic and the machine' to keep things as they are. A completely understandable failing but a failing nonetheless.

Is there a Tolkien topic that you have wanted to look into more deeply, and write about your thoughts on it? If so, we'd like to hear from you for the next TORn Amateur Symposium- coming in November. Happy writing!








CuriousG
Half-elven


Aug 29 2013, 12:07pm


Views: 355
Alert to Reading Room!

Please stay tuned for Brethil's multi-week discussion of Letter #131 when we finish the Silmarillion. It's not a regular letter and is more of a guided tour through the sprawling maze of Tolkien's thinking. Who better than Brethil than to lead the tour?


Riven Delve
Tol Eressea


Aug 29 2013, 4:08pm


Views: 330
question about substitute religions



In Reply To


it seems to me that when humans don't get what
they want in the real world from their religion, they find another or become
more fundamentalist.





CuriousG, I'm not sure what you mean by this. Were you thinking that when the Numenorians (being human) didn't get what they wanted in the "real world" (which was immortality?) from their religion (which was following the Valar/Eru), they found another (worship of Melkor/human sacrifice) or became more fundamentalist (this is where I'm confused--do you mean the Faithful, represented by Elendil & Co., who eventually become "separatists")? Just trying to unpack your thoughts here. Thanks. Smile


"It was just a sword, beautiful in the way of a weapon, with the jewels in the hilt set in gold scrollwork, and the blade glimmering and eager, as if it would fight of itself. Weapons are named for this; some are eager fighters, some dogged, some unwilling; but all are alive."--The Hollow Hills



Brethil
Half-elven


Aug 29 2013, 5:09pm


Views: 322
Thanks for the shout-out CG!


In Reply To
Please stay tuned for Brethil's multi-week discussion of Letter #131 when we finish the Silmarillion. It's not a regular letter and is more of a guided tour through the sprawling maze of Tolkien's thinking. Who better than Brethil than to lead the tour?




And for the (hopefully justified) vote of confidence! AngelicWink

Should be fun - a wealth of thoughts and philosophy in there.

Is there a Tolkien topic that you have wanted to look into more deeply, and write about your thoughts on it? If so, we'd like to hear from you for the next TORn Amateur Symposium- coming in November. Happy writing!








CuriousG
Half-elven


Aug 29 2013, 5:14pm


Views: 328
Part of that, yes

I think the Faithful remained faithful because they did get what they wanted (they didn't expect immortality), so they weren't more fundamentalist. But the unfaithfuls who wanted long life/immortality turned to Dark Worship as their substitute religion to answer their prayers.

In real world history, it seems common in nearly every culture and religion that when something goes wrong, some people blame their deity(s) or say the deity is irrelevant and leave their religion (King's Men). Others say they weren't observant enough and need to try harder/be more fundamentalist about it. And of course there's a third group that carries on as before (Faithful). I don't think there were any fundamentalists of Eru who said they needed to try harder so that they'd become immortal, so that was one group of the three that was missing. Though one wonders what people said after Numenor was destroyed: was it because we rebelled? Was being Faithful not enough; should we have tried harder to obey Eru? The way the later history is written, however, it seems that the Faithful decided the status quo was just fine.

It's not all stimulus/response, of course. There are people who aren't religious and people who are fundamentalist regardless of their environment. But given the upheaval in Numenor, I think they were cracking along those fault lines.


CuriousG
Half-elven


Aug 29 2013, 5:24pm


Views: 320
Updated avatar

I found a new image for you for the occasion, if you'd like. Angelic (*runs away from thrown stones and possible shotgun*)




Riven Delve
Tol Eressea


Aug 29 2013, 6:02pm


Views: 321
OK, I think I got it

I was also wondering what you meant by "in the real world"...but it seems you are thinking of our real world history.

Did the Faithful remain faithful because they got what they wanted, as in they did not expect immortality? Hmm. Was that only what they wanted? I'm wondering if they remained faithful because they were hoping to get what they wanted, because they were expecting, in faith (as it were) that the Gift of Men would be so much better for the Faithful than anything they could get in Numenor, or in worshiping anyone/anything else. In other words, that the Gift of Men would not be about "the real world," or Numenor. It would actually be better than the real world.

If that is the case (and again, I'm merely musing Angelic), I wonder how much the Faithful knew about this gift, which was supposed to be so much better than immortality. It never seems quite clear what they understood, except that obviously most of the Numenorians were not buying the concept! Tongue

So the Faithful remain so regardless of circumstances, regardless of what goes wrong, not worrying that the deity is at fault or irrelevant, but because circumstances are irrelevant to their faithfulness, which is aiming for a "hereafter."

"It was just a sword, beautiful in the way of a weapon, with the jewels in the hilt set in gold scrollwork, and the blade glimmering and eager, as if it would fight of itself. Weapons are named for this; some are eager fighters, some dogged, some unwilling; but all are alive."--The Hollow Hills



Darkstone
Immortal


Aug 29 2013, 6:08pm


Views: 310
Yup

"But let us not be overthrown at the final test, who of old renounced the Shadow and the Ring. In sorrow we must go, but not in despair. Behold! we are not bound forever in the circles of the world, and beyond them is more than memory, Farewell."
-Appendix A

******************************************
Once Gandalf dreamt he was a moth, a moth flitting and fluttering around, happy with himself and doing as he pleased. He didn't know he was Gandalf. Suddenly he woke up and there he was, solid and unmistakably Gandalf. But he didn't know if he was Gandalf who had dreamt he was a moth, or a moth dreaming he was Gandalf. Between Gandalf and a moth there must be some distinction! But really, there isn't, because he's actually Olórin dreaming he's both Gandalf *and* a moth!
-From Gandalfi: The Moth Dream


CuriousG
Half-elven


Aug 29 2013, 6:48pm


Views: 316
The mysterious Faithful

Great observations all around, Riven. It's a little hard to discern from the story exactly what the Faithful did believe.*** They seem predisposed to accept that "death" was the Gift of Iluvatar to Men to leave the world for an undefined better place. There doesn't seem to be a hint anywhere that they expected a detailed paradise/heaven/Valhalla, but they seemed to accept it on faith that Eru was taking them somewhere good because he was good and they wouldn't be dumped in a desert full of scorpions. What else did they want? So hard to say. Maybe that was enough? Or did they also expect Eru to bless their crop harvests, or maybe not him but Yavanna, or expect/pray to Ulmo to keep their ships safe? Or maybe they didn't expect divine intervention in all walks of life, and sort of saved their expectations only for the afterlife. Many unanswered questions.

***[I should note that by "real world," I mean the non-Tolkien Earth we're in, not anything in Tolkien's cosmos, so I wasn't talking about the Faithful in our real world, unless I was just totally confusing my terms.]


Brethil
Half-elven


Aug 29 2013, 7:19pm


Views: 306
Hmm. I'll save the shotgun for later. But no peanuts for you. //

 

Is there a Tolkien topic that you have wanted to look into more deeply, and write about your thoughts on it? If so, we'd like to hear from you for the next TORn Amateur Symposium- coming in November. Happy writing!








Rembrethil
Tol Eressea


Aug 29 2013, 8:47pm


Views: 304
Personal conflicts in faith

I do tend to agree.

When people are upset and their faith/religion doesn't give them the answers they want, a lot of people become disillusioned. These are the people who "lose" their faith.

Then you have those who build up deeper rules or regulations, trying to do "better". They might try to 'earn' the favor they want. It could be a result of 'I must not be doing it right. There must be a purer path. I must follow a stricter code.' or 'I didn't try hard enough'. Now, whether they are feeling guilty or set the bar for the fulfillment if their desire, higher, it is actuated by the same principle. They think that they are not good enough. These are the people who become hard-core, radically different from their peers and noted for their self sacrifice and extreme zeal in service to the faith.

Then you have those who don't make a huge change. They continue much the same, trusting that there is a reason/higher power/plan that is better. These are those who continue much the same, just trusting that there is a better thing on its way.

I've seen them all, and tend to think that the third is best.

We can always find a disappointment. So the first is out for me.

The second would force us to be more strict, each time that we desire something. Eventually our desires would become so large, that in order to 'be worthy' we would have to sacrifice so greatly to obtain a proportional blessing. It would be detrimental to us, as we would push ourselves to a breaking point.

Now the third, to me, dies not mean a fatalist attitude, "what will be, will be', but rather, that we hold onto our faith more tightly, trusting in a benevolent higher power/ Deity/ what have you. They may deepen their faith, but do not do it to be 'rewarded' with their desire, but instead to do what us right.

Just IMHO, and what my small mind has concluded from my experiences. I know I don't have all of the answers, but this is good enough for me.


CuriousG
Half-elven


Aug 29 2013, 9:05pm


Views: 324
Personal choices and doubt

Excellent plunge into and description of all the subtypes, Rem. What struck me in reading your musings is that the status quo group must have a great deal of confidence that changing nothing is the right course when everything else around them is changing. When you're surrounded with a flurry of activity, you do wonder if you're missing out on something important. On the one hand are people storming out of the temple saying "phooey" on that religion, on the other hand is the group exhorting everyone to try harder, be more pure, and be less complacent.

A person would feel ridiculed by both camps if they stayed in the middle since the 1st group would think you're dumb to believe in a deity who's been proven a disappointment, and the "try-harder" group would view you as lazy and part of the problem of not being pure enough. The other camps are urging action in one direction or the other, and your group is counseling inaction? Tough spot to be in.

In Numenor's case, the Faithful had done nothing "wrong." They were continuing to do what had always been done, but they got cast in the bad guy role. It seems any group can wind up the bad guys if they're in the minority. The Faithful got the last laugh, escaped the Atlantean calamity, and wrote the history books, so they no doubt felt vindicated as winners always do.


Rembrethil
Tol Eressea


Aug 29 2013, 9:42pm


Views: 317
Oh yes, totally!!!

They'd have to have some pretty strong conviction that they were 'doing it right'.

Motivation of the sub-types:

The first two of my sub-types, seem to have a selfish view as their aim.

The first ( Possibly exemplified by the King's Men?) were unsatisfied with the religion when hardships came, or they did not get what they wanted. "They" weren't satisfied, but is religion really ALL about them?

The second group, only wanted something out of the deal. Oh, there were willing to suffer for it, but they WANTED it. A magical lamp and Genii might have been a better choice for them.

The third (The Elendili?) seemed to have another aim, to follow Eru and his path.

What other motivations might be there?

Pure abstraction from my limited examples. Please, let's keep illustrations and examples in the theoretical realm.



Riven Delve
Tol Eressea


Aug 29 2013, 11:08pm


Views: 328
Probably JRRT intended the mystery about the beliefs of the Faithful

lest anything allegorical slip in...Angelic

"It was just a sword, beautiful in the way of a weapon, with the jewels in the hilt set in gold scrollwork, and the blade glimmering and eager, as if it would fight of itself. Weapons are named for this; some are eager fighters, some dogged, some unwilling; but all are alive."--The Hollow Hills



CuriousG
Half-elven


Aug 30 2013, 12:09am


Views: 321
I could see the status quo group

as being not necessarily motivated by the philosophy they have and being resistant to change in general. "Why should we change our ways? We don't want to change?" The purists and rebels are disruptors rattling the cages. While I think Tolkien depicted his Faithful as faithful, by human nature there would be people in that group who just didn't want to change and were suspicious of "new ways" such as making human sacrifices. If there had been hard-core Eru purists who said salvation only came from praying 100 times a day, the status quo group would say, "We don't want to pray that much." So there would be some who remain in the Faithful middle by default, not by choosing it as their heartfelt direction.

Very interesting commonality you find between the purists and the rebels. They both want something for themselves!


Bombadil21
Bree


Aug 30 2013, 10:27am


Views: 321
A troubling story...

The 'fall of Numenor' material has always been my least favorite of Tolkien's narratives, due, I think, to its problematic and unsympathetic portrayal of the Men who reject Eru and their 'gift', and the troubling portrayal of Eru himself.

To be sure, the story has many fun and engaging elements: the crazed Ar-Pharazon, the hubristic Numenorean empire in Middle-earth, the machinations of Sauron, and the fascinating story of the Numenorean's slide away from trust in the Eldar.

Nevertheless, I find the tale problematic for a couple of reasons. To begin with, I find the rigid demarcation of the Numenoreans into "faithful" and Morgoth-worshippers unsettling. It seems to me that the Numenoreans weren't necessarily wrong to lust after immortality - after all, it is a natural wish in humans to live beyond the mortal span of only 70-80 years, or several hundred, in the case of the Numenoreans. Furthermore, extolling them to have 'faith' in the 'gift' of death would, I think, do very little to assuage the natural human inclination toward desiring greater lifespans.

This brings up another issue: how is it that the Valar (and/or Eru), could think that granting the Numenoreans an earthly paradise was a good idea, , knowing that human psychology will very rarely be completely satisfied by the demand to simply have faith in the face of death, especially given that the Elves do indeed possess immortality. If Eru has some wonderful divine plan that must necessarily involve the mortality of Men, why not just tell the Numenoreans what that is, instead of expecting them to acquiesce to the lore of Eldar and the Valar?

Taken together, these elements produce a far less humane story than either the Lord of the Rings or the Quenta Silmarillion material. There, humans are allowed to luxuriate in their imperfection to a degree, and are not expected, on pain of divine punishment to behave according to any rigid code. They may wonder why the Eldar possess immortal life, but within the pages of the Lord of the Rings and Quenta Silmarillion at least, there is no definitive answer.

These works also display less of the blatant moralism of the "Akkalabeth", and instead there is a sense of narrative leeway granted to characters we might otherwise condemn (think Boromir, Feanor, Galadriel, Gollum and especially Turin, all of whom mess up in some very fundamental ways, and yet none of whom are smited by Eru or otherwise judged to be completely beyond the pale by the text).

But in the "Akkalabeth", the innocent women and children of Numenor are killed in an unforgivable act of divine genocide. There is simply no moral justification for such an act, and it displays a rare lapse in narrative judgement on Tolkien's part. I understand that he was probably trying to invoke something of the grandeur of Biblical events, but for me Eru's "intervention" serves only to make me far more sympathetic toward Sauron, regardless of that character's malicious intent. Genocide is simply more evil than invading Valinor - Eru could simply have 'buried' Pharazon's army and left it at that.


CuriousG
Half-elven


Aug 30 2013, 12:23pm


Views: 312
By a thumb test

This chapter is only okay to me. It's not one I ever come back to to browse or peruse for enjoyment and to reread favorite lines, which I do everywhere else. Something that enriches the rest of Tolkien's writings seems absent here. The redeeming part is that it gives all the background on Numenor, that mythical land in LOTR that we only get hints at.

I agree, Eru is very troubling here, there's no way around that. Especially to think that he wiped out Numenor but never personally stepped in to rid the world of the greatest evil, Melkor.


Rembrethil
Tol Eressea


Aug 30 2013, 3:12pm


Views: 299
Everybody's favorite Devil's Advocate

Hey, I love that you shared your opinion, and I do respect it, but I do have a few conterpoints of my own. I'm just playing DA, so please, don't take any of my statements as harsh or browbeating.

This is your least favorite? Hey, that's cool, and I respect that.

You say that It is because the"...problematic and unsympathetic portrayal of men...". Why do you think it is problematic? Problematic for whom? You?

The unsympathetic part I can see, starting with Adunakhor(sp?) And going through Gimilzor, Gimilkhad, and Pharazon, but what about the Elendili and lords of Adunie? There isn't a blanket of antipathy present, for Men in general, just the rebellious ones.

Then you bring up the "troubling portrayal of Eru". What troubles you?

You share your favorite parts, which DO make it fun, and I agree, very epic.

Now we get into the "problematic" portions:

The clear divisions of "faithful" and "Morgoth worshippers". Now we have to keep in mind that it was not always so; they did not have to choose between Morgoth and Eru right away. It began as the Elendili and the King's Men. These were the original groups, political and not religious in nature, and though a seemingly clear divide exists, I do believe that it was a measure of the inner inclination that each Numenorian had. All of them were not in the Capitol, some were farmers on the far eastern shore, they were not all active politically. Instead, I find this statement to encompass their inner sympathies, which side they would have aided in a time of trouble. I mean, you have the King controlling everything, it would be helpful to be of the same mind to get in in the kingdom. Just IMHO, and speculation.

The "Morgth worshipp(ing)" did not come till later. Neither do I think that all participated in it. It happened in the Capitol and all of the King's men, open and merely inclined, could not have paraded through it. Some might have secretly been made such by it, but held in for the king. The actual worshipping was quite small, and could have been a nice way to assassinate your political/ business/ family rival.

I don't think it wrong to want something, but what we do to get it, is very telling... Wanting immortality was not WRONG per se.

Urging to "have faith", can have different effects on different people.

If that person has the faith and trust, it can help them strengthen that faith, al a the Elendili

But if they never had true faith,and just went along with it, they'd be in a "believe because I say so" situation. Not comforting nor enviable. Perhaps the King's Men fit here?

You mention that it is "human" to want longer life. True, but the placement if your words in the same sentence as faith being urged, seems to imply that there is a clash between humanity/ human nature and faith. Is there? Don't many faiths exist, that aim to grow you BEYOND humanity, into something better? No clash here IMHO.

Then you say"... how is it that the Valar (and/or Eru), could think that granting the Numenoreans an earthly paradise was a good ideaThis brings up another issue: how is it that the Valar (and/or Eru), could think that granting the Numenoreans an earthly paradise was a good idea, , knowing that human psychology will very rarely be completely satisfied by the demand to simply have faith in the face of death..."

This seems to be the Valar's call here, and they don't seem to be of one mind, al a Ulmo's absence. They are not all knowing or all powerful( they have messed up by now for us to know), and cannot have taken Psych 101 classes, as you seem to have done. I don't think the they KNEW it would happen, that would be cruel, but that they hoped that Men would be like he Elves, and repent of their deeds in time. I think it unfair to say that they knew what would happen.


Then we have your next point"...especially given that the Elves do indeed possess immortality. If Eru has some wonderful divine plan that must necessarily involve the mortality of Men, why not just tell the Numenoreans what that is, instead of expecting them to acquiesce to the lore of Eldar and the Valar?"

I get that the idea of immortality is attractive, and ACHIEVED immortality, almost irresistibly potent, but the Numenorians seemed to think that it was able to be just that, ACHIEVED. It was not. The Valar and Elves were immortal because they were Ainu and Firstborn, not because they were immortal. The Numenorians thought that they could become immortal, and tried to experiment to find the Secret. They made an error, much like Morgoth's, they wanted the the thing that only Eru had to give.

Your next point is a bit tricky but we can get over that. You ask why, if there was a greater plan( do you doubt this?), why not just tell them? Well who is doing the telling Eru or the Valar?

If Eru, he did tell of its existence, but why should he explain everything and ruin the good surprise? Why tell a kid what you are going to get him for his birthday and ruin the joy of opening the present?

If the Valar, well quite simply, they said that they didn't know!! They couldn't tell. In the Real world, people with faith DO "acquiesce" to the "lore" of others, whether it be Moses, Joseph Smith, Jesus Christ, Muhammed, Bhudda, or Anyone else. It's not too unreasonable, that's why it is called faith.

Your next section runs like this"Taken together, these elements produce a far less humane story than either the Lord of the Rings or the Quenta Silmarillion material. There, humans are allowed to luxuriate in their imperfection to a degree, and are not expected, on pain of divine punishment to behave according to any rigid code. They may wonder why the Eldar possess immortal life, but within the pages of the Lord of the Rings and Quenta Silmarillion at least, there is no definitive answer."

A LESS humane story? Do you mean Humane; as in kind and benevolent or Human: as in representative of human nature?

The answer to both is this: this story is unlike any others in Tolkien, for the scale of judgement and impact upon only one people group. Now judgement came, does that make it inhumane or inhuman? No. Judgement is expected, and needed, done will suffer, but that is the nature of judgement, to punish. Tolkien here was painting a picture of the darker side if man. It reads much like the CoH, but we don't see all of the judged's actions. In CoH we can make our own judgement of Turin, he is one man and we see his every action, and in detail. We are able to form our own opinions for judgement. In the case if the Numenorians, we don't see the day to day activities. We don't see all of the good, bad, and the ugly. We see highlights, and the summary of the case, with the final verdict given by the judge, Eru. It is up to us then to accept, or reject, this judgement, and it all depends on our own faith in the judge.
Personally, I think if Eru as a kind, benevolent deity. He had his reasons, and if you look up thread, you will see done of mine for trusting this decision. A take of judgement doesn't necessarily make a story inhuman or inhumane, of anything, it makes it MORE so.

We move on. You pint out that they are given much leeway. True, but do you believe that they should have had more? They mounted an invasion of Aman, something not to be done by few, or those who did not sympathize. There were no slaves, and they could have escaped. They must have made a choose to support it.

You say there is no answer in the Quenta, but it was explained to them by the Valar, which is better? Firsthand account or written tradition?

The next area a of thought" These works(Quenta and LotR) also display less of the blatant moralism of the "Akkalabeth", and instead there is a sense of narrative leeway granted to characters we might otherwise condemn (think Boromir, Feanor, Galadriel, Gollum and especially Turin, all of whom mess up in some very fundamental ways, and yet none of whom are smited by Eru or otherwise judged to be completely beyond the pale by the text).

But what about Morgoth, the Balrogs, orcs, Saruman, Sauron, the Evil men, and the countless others? Moralism depends on your morals. We make prejudgements on these, almost without question. Don't get me wrong, we are supposed to hate them, they are the antagonists, but in LotR alone we have the Hobbits and co., against the Dark Lord. How much more simplistic moralism do you want? Like I said, moralism is a matter of perspective.

You wrap up" But in the "Akkalabeth", the innocent women and children of Numenor are killed in an unforgivable act of divine genocide. There is simply no moral justification for such an act, and it displays a rare lapse in narrative judgement on Tolkien's part. I understand that he was probably trying to invoke something of the grandeur of Biblical events, but for me Eru's "intervention" serves only to make me far more sympathetic toward Sauron, regardless of that character's malicious intent. Genocide is simply more evil than invading Valinor - Eru could simply have 'buried' Pharazon's army and left it at that.

You state that, "innocent(s)" die, true. There must have been some, but perhaps not as many as we may think. The Numenorians had stopped having many children, there may have been very few. Now moving on to women. They must have at least, tacitly supported the actions of the men. Tolkien was not into weak women, but in ancient society that he was trying to mimic, men took the lead. Women ruled the house though, if they wanted to, they could make life stink for the men, or at least very difficult.

Combining these factors, and possible theories of second chances for the innocent, it could be seen as just punishment, not fair perhaps, but just according to a strict law.

Genocide you say. Now this IS the trickiest portion to tackle. If you mean that the wholesale slaughter of one group is wrong, yes I agree, but there is another factor in this case, Sauron. He did not want Numenor destroyed, why would he wish to be caught in the destruction himself? He wanted to use Numenor as a power base for his evil machinations. He would have become supreme in the land, after Pharazon had been defeated. Sauron needed to be dealt with. Also, the majority if those left were King's men, they now followed Sauron in trying to arrest the Elendili. They must be judged as guilty.

Now the judgement was harsh, innocent people did get hurt, but was that Eru's fault? If he didn't interfere in Numenor, it would have been better, right? I think not. Here we must make a judgment, what caused the pain, suffering, and death of innocents? Eru? No. Evil. Evil hurts people, all people, good people, innocent people. Should it? No!! Does it? Yes, sadly. You earlier stated that there was an oppressive moralism to this tale, but now it seems that you wish to impress a moralism of your own. The bad guys get punished and the innocent go free. This would be an even greater moral simplification. How would we react if the text read:" and as that wave crashed, all if the innocent children, men, and women, were borne out of harm by Ulmo and to the shores of Middle-Earth". We'd cry ex deus machina!!! In the real world innocents are hurt, why should it be different in ME?

Now I'm not trying to change anybody's opinion. When was the lat time that an Internet post did THAT!!?? Probably..,.never! Just me playing DA. I look forward to the ensuing discussion.


noWizardme
Half-elven


Aug 30 2013, 5:22pm


Views: 289
The Valar don't know the answer, and do not have the power


In Reply To
...

This brings up another issue: how is it that the Valar (and/or Eru), could think that granting the Numenoreans an earthly paradise was a good idea, , knowing that human psychology will very rarely be completely satisfied by the demand to simply have faith in the face of death, especially given that the Elves do indeed possess immortality. If Eru has some wonderful divine plan that must necessarily involve the mortality of Men, why not just tell the Numenoreans what that is, instead of expecting them to acquiesce to the lore of Eldar and the Valar?

...
(my italics)
I think the Valar don't know why it's important that "Men" (and women too, presumably Wink )remain mortal - the Valar have both been told that this is so, and also have no ability to grant immortality, whatever the Numenoreans do. So everyone has to be content, or not, with faith.


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

"nowimë I am in the West, Furincurunir to the Dwarves (or at least, to their best friend) and by other names in other lands. Mostly they just say 'Oh no it's him - look busy!' "
Or "Hold off! unhand me, grey-beard loon!"


Bombadil21
Bree


Aug 31 2013, 12:34am


Views: 294
A reply


In Reply To
You say that It is because the"...problematic and unsympathetic portrayal of men...". Why do you think it is problematic? Problematic for whom? You?


Problematic because the 'rebellion' of the 'bad' Numenoreans does not arise so much out of their empire building (although this isn't portrayed in a positive light, to be sure) but out of their 'disobedience' to the 'will' of god that they should accept their mortality on faith.

It is problematic to me personally yes, but I also think in a less subjective sense. For people who share particular values (i.e. the values of humanism) condemning whole nations of people on the basis of their beliefs feels...unwarranted.


In Reply To
Then you bring up the "troubling portrayal of Eru". What troubles you?


that he is a mass-murdering and genocidal warlord far worse than Morgoth ever was.


In Reply To
You share your favorite parts, which DO make it fun, and I agree, very epic.


awesome :-)


In Reply To
I don't think it wrong to want something, but what we do to get it, is very telling... Wanting immortality was not WRONG per se.

Urging to "have faith", can have different effects on different people.

If that person has the faith and trust, it can help them strengthen that faith, al a the Elendili

But if they never had true faith,and just went along with it, they'd be in a "believe because I say so" situation. Not comforting nor enviable. Perhaps the King's Men fit here?

You mention that it is "human" to want longer life. True, but the placement if your words in the same sentence as faith being urged, seems to imply that there is a clash between humanity/ human nature and faith. Is there? Don't many faiths exist, that aim to grow you BEYOND humanity, into something better? No clash here IMHO.


Human inclinations toward belief in agencies other than other human beings is certainly a part of the human cognitive and psychological makeup. In philosophical circles this is called the 'intentional stance'. Faith in unseen entities is certainly one manifestation of this tendency.

I think what I meant was that many humans are not ultimately satisfied by 'faith' in an afterlife, and given the choice would chose to extend their lives here on earth. In terms of the Numenoreans, I meant that having seen immortality in the Eldar they would know it were physiologically possible to attain. The injunction to have 'faith' would then seem even more absurd.


In Reply To
Then you say"... how is it that the Valar (and/or Eru), could think that granting the Numenoreans an earthly paradise was a good ideaThis brings up another issue: how is it that the Valar (and/or Eru), could think that granting the Numenoreans an earthly paradise was a good idea, , knowing that human psychology will very rarely be completely satisfied by the demand to simply have faith in the face of death..."

This seems to be the Valar's call here, and they don't seem to be of one mind, al a Ulmo's absence. They are not all knowing or all powerful( they have messed up by now for us to know), and cannot have taken Psych 101 classes, as you seem to have done.


I know a little of human cognition and psychology, but I'm no expert. :)

Then we have your next point"...especially given that the Elves do indeed possess immortality. If Eru has some wonderful divine plan that must necessarily involve the mortality of Men, why not just tell the Numenoreans what that is, instead of expecting them to acquiesce to the lore of Eldar and the Valar?"


In Reply To
I get that the idea of immortality is attractive, and ACHIEVED immortality, almost irresistibly potent, but the Numenorians seemed to think that it was able to be just that, ACHIEVED. It was not. The Valar and Elves were immortal because they were Ainu and Firstborn, not because they were immortal. The Numenorians thought that they could become immortal, and tried to experiment to find the Secret. They made an error, much like Morgoth's, they wanted the the thing that only Eru had to give.


Hmmm, interesting. They way you word it makes me like this story even less. Why is it in the nature of Men to remain mortal, yet in the nature of the Eldar to remain immortal, more or less? This is the ultimate question the Numenoreans want an answer to but never receive. I don't see why such a question shouldn't be answered by Eru though. What's his plan? And why is it so important that it be hidden from the Numenoreans (and the Elves)?


In Reply To
If Eru, he did tell of its existence, but why should he explain everything and ruin the good surprise? Why tell a kid what you are going to get him for his birthday and ruin the joy of opening the present?


this is different. We're dealing with people's lives. It would be far more moral for such a god to reveal its purposes, given that it claims to have made the world and to therefore have power over it. Leaving people in ignorance, only to arbitrarily destroy them when they fail to live up to your expectations, is kinda harsh.


In Reply To
If the Valar, well quite simply, they said that they didn't know!! They couldn't tell. In the Real world, people with faith DO "acquiesce" to the "lore" of others, whether it be Moses, Joseph Smith, Jesus Christ, Muhammed, Bhudda, or Anyone else. It's not too unreasonable, that's why it is called faith.


Perhaps. Since you brought the Real world up, I'll just say that I'd have the same criticisms of all gods in this world. They can't expect me to believe in them unless they actually have some effect on the world. Knowing what their divine plans are would be a good start.


In Reply To
A LESS humane story? Do you mean Humane; as in kind and benevolent or Human: as in representative of human nature?


Humane as in allowing for the reality of human foibles without insisting on a dogmatic "party line". The Numenoreans are not 'allowed' to rebel against Eru and the Valar - their whole civilization is wiped out because of it! Their natural human tendencies toward 'sin' are punished ruthlessly. Eru never attempts to negotiate with the Numenoreans, for example. His only response is extreme and disproportionate violence. We don't see this kind of 'intervention' in tLoTR or The Silmarillion proper - narratives are allowed to play out more or less as they would in the 'real' world - through the interactions of imperfect human (or human-like) characters.

In Reply To
Personally, I think if Eru as a kind, benevolent deity. He had his reasons, and if you look up thread, you will see done of mine for trusting this decision. A take of judgement doesn't necessarily make a story inhuman or inhumane, of anything, it makes it MORE so.


I'm sorry. The story unambiguously depicts Eru murdering innocents. There is NOTHING benevolent about this at all. As I say, I think it was a lapse of judgement on Tolkien's part to include such divine wrath as a crucial element of his story.


In Reply To
We move on. You pint out that they are given much leeway. True, but do you believe that they should have had more?


Yes. What right does Eru have to smite?


In Reply To
But what about Morgoth, the Balrogs, orcs, Saruman, Sauron, the Evil men, and the countless others? Moralism depends on your morals. We make prejudgements on these, almost without question. Don't get me wrong, we are supposed to hate them, they are the antagonists, but in LotR alone we have the Hobbits and co., against the Dark Lord. How much more simplistic moralism do you want? Like I said, moralism is a matter of perspective.


There are problems with Tolkien's treatment of orcs and other 'minions' - these have been pointed out by critics many times. So I'm not being hypocritical - I think Tolkien it as his worst when he falls into a kind of unthinking judgementalism, most obvious here, but also present with regard to the treatment of orcs, etc.


In Reply To
You state that, "innocent(s)" die, true. There must have been some, but perhaps not as many as we may think. The Numenorians had stopped having many children, there may have been very few.



That doesnt excuse anything.


In Reply To
Now moving on to women. They must have at least, tacitly supported the actions of the men.


Not an excuse for genocide.


In Reply To
Combining these factors, and possible theories of second chances for the innocent, it could be seen as just punishment, not fair perhaps, but just according to a strict law.


Then the law is deeply flawed.



In Reply To
Now the judgement was harsh, innocent people did get hurt, but was that Eru's fault? If he didn't interfere in Numenor, it would have been better, right? I think not. Here we must make a judgment, what caused the pain, suffering, and death of innocents? Eru? No. Evil. Evil hurts people, all people, good people, innocent people. Should it? No!! Does it? Yes, sadly. You earlier stated that there was an oppressive moralism to this tale, but now it seems that you wish to impress a moralism of your own. The bad guys get punished and the innocent go free. This would be an even greater moral simplification. How would we react if the text read:" and as that wave crashed, all if the innocent children, men, and women, were borne out of harm by Ulmo and to the shores of Middle-Earth". We'd cry ex deus machina!!! In the real world innocents are hurt, why should it be different in ME?


I don't know of any instances where a god has deliberately killed innocents in this world. The natural world cannot be held morally accountable as it has no feelings, soul, being, personality, etc. Gods, however, do, and so Eru is morally culpable.


Bombadil21
Bree


Aug 31 2013, 12:46am


Views: 284
Eru and punishment


In Reply To
I agree, Eru is very troubling here, there's no way around that. Especially to think that he wiped out Numenor but never personally stepped in to rid the world of the greatest evil, Melkor.


Yes, good point. If you think about it Eru's actions are apparently predicated not so much on the Numenoreans imperialism (otherwise why not already destroy Morgoth), but on their "sin" - that is, their disobedience and affrontary at invading Valinor.

Apparently it doesn't really matter to Eru if Men die by the sword, what matters is that they don't disobey him or the Valar. A very moral position. Unimpressed


Rembrethil
Tol Eressea


Aug 31 2013, 4:00am


Views: 393
Devil's Advocate 2: The Revenge

 
Now I don't want to seem argumentative or confrontational here. My only aim is stimulating discussion, and I find you to bear an interesting take on this chapter, and seem rather well informed in your opinions. SmileSo please do not take anything as I say as anything more than DA doing their part. Ok Smile

First, thanks for clarifying your position to me, you do raise interesting points, but let us flip the coin. Eh?

You seem to say that the whole passage is "problematic" because the Numenorians were punished for going against Eru's will in accepting their mortality, for holding beliefs that ran counter to His. Now I would say that they were not punished for this, (holding the beliefs). In later years no one seems to pray to or acknowledge Eru, Gandalf doesn't do around preaching and calling to service and prayer, so Eru would seem to tolerate whatever belief system they chose. If Rohan had a horse-god and served it, I don't see Eru calling down cataclysm on them. The fate of men seems to be inescapable, there isn't a final judgement spoken of, so Eru is pretty laid back, as far as gods go, requiring almost nothing to go to the ultimate fate if men.

So I wouldn't say that they were judged/punished for their beliefs.


For your second conclusion, I'd need a bit more info on how you came to it. There isn't anything for me to reply to.

The third, we both agree is awesome Wink

The next point. I concede that not everybody would be comforted by the urging to "have faith", but like I said, it depends on the person. Some people would, some people wouldn't. My only point is that it is possible, but dirsnt occur in every case.

Moving down....Then next point that you made, about Eru/the Valar knowing the psychology, in that giving them a paradise would be detrimental, I only sought to point out that it was the choice of imperfect beings, resulting in imperfect results. They did not KNOW what would happen.

The next point of discussion brings up the topic of the Cosmic Plan of Arda, I like to call it The Fate of the World. You ask why Eru doesn't explain the whole thing to them, right?

Now from a purely cynical view we could say," He is the Supreme Being, he doesn't report to anyone, and he can do as he likes! If he wanted to turn all the trees pink, he could, just because he WANTS to! "

I don't believe that this is the correct view to take, but hopefully you understand my point--Eru owes no one an explanation.

Personally, now, I think that Eru is very hands-off. I hate to invoke RL examples, as it can easily run away into a touchy subject, but I will break that rule here. There is a theological term that escapes me, but it perfectly encapsulates the situation of Arda. It is a belief that the creator of the universe, after finishing his creative acts, left the world to run on its own power. That seems to be the main case with Eru. He set things in motion and stepped back.

He did have a plan though, and the Great Music was the outline of history. There are things that MUST happen to serve Eru's Great Music, and instances where anything is allowed to happen. If anybody is a Dr. Who fan, I think of David Tennant's Doctor's explanation of time. There are "fixed" points in history where one thing MUST happen, or history will be changed. Then there are "flux" periods when anything can happen, and in these cases, the Doctor can change the outcome and interfere, without altering history.

Now that we are back from that tangent, I'll continue. There are certain prophecies and predicted/forseen events that are present in ME. These must cone true to follow the Great Music, limiting the actions of those involved. Mandos limits the Valar when they want to act against Morgoth, by saying that the Elves NEED to awaken under the stars--a fixed point.

Now backthose prophecies and predictions. The actors in the prophecy/Fate/fixed points, are never told EXACTLY what to expect. They are part of the Great Music, and inherently bound to follow it, but then we run into free-will. They all posess it, Vala, Elf, Man, Dwarf, and Halflings. They CAN and DO make their own decisions, so if they knew the future, they could alter it. By this time we get into time travel and paradoxes, so lets leave it there that it could be world ending, if they knew the future. Mandos does, and he keeps his mouth mostly shut!! (Is that because he is afraid that he might let one slip? LOL, I gues that with great knowledge, comes great responsibility...and a vow of silence!)

This whole topic reminds me of the end of TH, where Bilbo exclaims that the kefends of the rivers running with gold have come true. Gandalf remarks that surely Bilbo did not disbelieve them because he was a part of them? He was a part of the fulfillment of the Fate of the World. They shape that Fate and are shaped by it. Pretty complicated, (Wibbly-wobbly Timey-wimey, you might say) but what I believe us going on here.

Your next question would probably be the deepest philosophical question that could be asked in ME, but I believe that my previous ramble satisfies this question. Simply, Eru owes no one anything, and that he could be altering the plan by telling it.

Addressing the next point. I must say that you are putting your morality on Eru, so we are going by your standards here. It is wrong to you but perhaps not to him. It would be so much easier if we had Eru's Ten Comnandments, as it were.

That said, another pint can be raised. If Eru is the setter of moral law, then he would be the standard for ME. Most courts do not take into consideration how foreign courts run, and don't pick and choose laws, in order to make it easier for the people operating in them. They use their own rule book. So Eru, if we see him as judge, is acting in accordance with his own rules, snd unles we can prove that he violated them, we cannot impeach him. We can disagree, and by all means do if you want, but I think that the only 'conviction' that we can get in ME court would be in the case that he transgressed his own law. Which we cannot do.

So it is up in the air,( Unless someone finds Eru's rule book.)

Your next statement had me peg you as a Questioner. Not wrong, just your part of your AWESOME personality. You need evidence, and tend to be skeptic of anything that you need to take someone's "word for it".

Am I far wrong?

Next point. Humane? Do you perhaps mean tolerant?

I would see this judgement coming as a result of actions taken by the Numenorians. They were punished for bringing, or trying to( does attempted murder weigh less than actual murder? Should we let it happen before we judge?) bring force against the Valar. In a court setting, lets imagine this.

Case: Numenorians vs. Valar

Judge Eru presiding

Charges: Attempted assault with deadly weapons, Trespassing, Libel , Intent to commit burglary and theft.

Summary: Now it fell out thus. While said party of Numenorians were trespassing, they sought to, by force and coercion, to harm and otherwise, to despoil the Said Valar of home, property, and possibly of life, and in the defense of their property, it happened that said Numenorians were killed, dead, on the premises of said Valar. It also fell out that the accomplices of said Trespassers, were harmed, injured, and othrwise killed in the defence of the Valar. It also happens that such Numenorians as were not made part, in deed or conspiracy, before or after the fact, were, regrettably killed in the defence if Said property of the aforementioned Valar.

Now after some cosmic dispute, this ruling is reached. The Numenorians who took part in the acts afore stated, and their co-conspirators, whether vofore or after the fact, are adjudged guilty of All charges afore stated. Their deaths will be ruled justifiable homicide, and the acts of the Valar, self defence.

It is, however, also noted, that in the furtherance of their schemes to protect both life, limb, and property, that the Valar, in question, did cause to occur the wrongful deaths of Numenorians, afore said, that had no part in the conspiracy against said Valar, and were totally innocent of all crimes. It is this courts decision, that a restauning order be issued, against such Valar, so that a minimum distance of 20.000.00 miles be placed between these, the survivors, and the Valar aforementioned. I do this in consideration that no malicious intent was observed in said Valar's actions, and that such survivors of this unfortunate instance may be dissuaded from retaliatory action.

A jokes aside, I think that the Valar have a good case, and Eru judged the Numenorians on their actions.

Now, you might say that Eru was the aggressor, OK. Lets look at that.

He stopped the Numenorians from conquering Aman, and caused the Island if Numenor to sink, killing innocents. Ignoring the criminally complicit, we will focus on innocents. You say, if Eru had not sunk Numenor they eoukd have lived. Right? True, perhaps, but in the long run would it have helped? You leave Sauron in charge if a bunch of people mad at Eru and the Valar(maybe rightly so!) So he works on their hatred and converts the majority to Morgoth worship, or some other end he has in mind. (Keep in mind his status here, most powerful person in ME, he could have had his own will). So they follow him, doing nasty things and tens of thousands suffer and die, as they come under his control.

I think this this a possible scenario. Do you Agree?

Perhaps Eru took the 'best route. He killed hundreds, to save tens if thousands. Not GOOD, they are still dead and innocent, but the BEST choice in this case. We don't always have 'everybody wins' scenarios, anymore then we have criminals punished and innocents waking away every day. It just doesn't happen. He made a call here, that was better than the alternatives.

Now you might say that Eru made this happen, but did he? No. Going back to the legal analogy, there is proximate cause and ultimate cause.

Example:

I fall down a man hole

Proximate cause: because the hole was uncovered.

Ultamite cause: because Joe the utility worker left it open!

I can't take legal action on the proximate cause, in this case(who do I sue, the man hole cover?), but I can IF I can prove ultimate cause--that if joe hasn't left the hole open, then I wouldn't have fallen.

Got it?

Eru might be proximate cause, but what is ultimate cause here? Evil. If Sauron had never urged the Numenorians to invade, it would my have happened.

Now Ultimate cause is VERY hard to prove, as there can be many layers. If the Numenorians hadn't sailed, if they hadn't listens to Sauron, if Sauron had never suggested it, if Pharazon had never brought him to Numenor, If the Valar had never given them Numenor, if Aule made more time for Sauron and taught him good better, if Manwe hadn't been so mean to Melkor when he wanted to order the others, and all the way back to If Eru never made Arda!!!

I hope you see how tricky and downright RIDICULOUS it can get, there has to be a point where ultimate cause fails, or it goes back ALL the way to the creative forces behind the world.(Blame God/Evolution/Physics for your actions in court, yeah.... See how far you get!!)

If we stop with Sauron as ultimate, we have another candidate to take Eru's blame.

Moving on....

In the first part of your next statement, you could find the answer above, in my cynical" he can do what he wants" or "his morality would be supreme in Arda".

Any disagreement would be fine, but we need to realize that our opinions are just that, opinions. We can't prove Eru a hypocrite, or condemn a fictionsl character by RL morals. It is all speculation.

But speculation makes things FUN!!!

In the second part, you disagree on writing style. Totally up to you, we can't fault your specific taste in literature( hey you like Tolkien! You're cool in my book!)


The next two points are comments on the conclusion so I will skip down three points to your comment on a "flawed law".

It is flawed in your opinion, which is fine, but I've rambled on this topic too much. So carry on...

On the final point you make.

You bring RL into it, or at least what some believe to be real life. Now these accounts of gods doing no wrong, would be such, as the people wouldn't believe in flawed gods. They would reflect rge morality of that people. So, knowing that, and that we are applying RL standard to a fake world's deity, I can inlt repeat my legal case, Eru made the BEST decision and as denizens of ME, they could trust him or not.

We as outside observers, not subject to Eru's power, have an imaginary position. We are trying to judge Eru from both an objective(what is right ultamitely) and subjective view(what is right in context of Arda and its morality). We must realize this, our false position, and account for it in our jugement. We must judge Eru subjectively, without any of our objective knowledge, or objectively, by his own laws as if we were subject to them. We cannot do both, and the fact it is a fictional work, just complicates the matter.

In closing I'd like to say again. THIS IS AN OPINION. Feel free to disagree. I just wanted to bring the other side if the coin into view.

Oh.... And us there an award for the longest post?

I think I just won it!!! LOL

Happy discussion everybody!!


noWizardme
Half-elven


Aug 31 2013, 4:24pm


Views: 375
Eru the war criminal?

Eru is held to be omnipotent, and so has limitless options in dealing with the Numenoreans. So it's fair enough to wonder why his response seems so harsh.

To prevent the episode completely he could have:
Created the Edain so they were incapable of wishing for immortality
Created the Edain so that they could not disobey a direct order from the Valar.

…but perhaps this would constrain the power of free will which we observe characters in Arda have. Perhaps free will is essential in Erus schemes, even though it brings with it the possibility that people act against Erus wishes.

If Eru chooses not to prevent any rebellion, he has the option of acting only against Sauron, or only against Sauron and the Numenorean leadership (or against any other appropriate subset, rather than punishing Numenor so comprehensively. Destroying all but a few boatloads does seem disproportionate: as if the World War 2 allies had launched a genocide against all subjects of the formerly nazi states, save a few individuals who could prove they had always opposed nazi-ism.

I think we're led to believe that Eru is a moral being (?). If so we'd expect his decisions to be guided by doing no unnecessary harm. Either that or he has a disturbingly nasty temper for an ultimate being! Laugh

At this point it becomes a matter of faith, I suppose: one either trusts That Eru behaves morally (and so all other reactions would have been morally worse in some way which might only be comprehensible to Eru).
Or one doesn't …

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

"nowimë I am in the West, Furincurunir to the Dwarves (or at least, to their best friend) and by other names in other lands. Mostly they just say 'Oh no it's him - look busy!' "
Or "Hold off! unhand me, grey-beard loon!"


CuriousG
Half-elven


Sep 2 2013, 8:55pm


Views: 360
"Eru is merciful"

Isn't that what Yavanna said to Aule about the creation of Dwarves? He certainly was merciful to both the Dwarves and Aule.

In the Great Music, he was initially tolerant, then sternly disapproving of Melkor's dissent, but he didn't wipe out Melkor or his followers or even punish them with anything beyond verbal criticism.

I think that's why Eru feels out place in this chapter ("the war criminal"), like he's a different person altogether when wiping out Numenor. One could say he has different rules for Valar and Edain, but that's a flaw in itself, isn't it? Melkor did far more evil than the Edain did.

I suppose we're all focusing on the end of the Akallabeth. The parts I DO enjoy are the early ones, where Numenor is fresh and there's the thrill of building something new and rediscovering the world. It's significant that Numenor is happiest in this era and helps other men instead of dominating them. It becomes richer and more powerful later, but much less happy. That's a recurring Tolkien theme about finding balance and avoiding extremes. When Numenor was more like the Shire, i.e., accepting boundaries on the Edain, including their mortality, Numenoreans lived a naturally harmonic life.


CuriousG
Half-elven


Sep 2 2013, 9:25pm


Views: 355
Judging Eru

First, an enormous Thank You! (I'm passing them out today) to Bombadil and you, Rembrethil, for agreeing to disagree so politely. You're demonstrating that the Internet doesn't have to be about crushing the opposition with venom and ad hominem attacks; if only more people thought the same.

Second, good point about judging Eru, and yes, I'm imposing my morality on him over Numenor's destruction, which is the equivalent of him imposing his morality on them for attacking Valinor, so it's good to keep that in perspective.

One thing I'll note is that he didn't destroy Numenor for its people's beliefs (worshipping the Dark Side) but for its military invasion of Valinor, so it was about actions, not beliefs. But do you suppose the invasion only precipitated Numenor's destruction? They were practicing human sacrifice, and even Melkor didn't do that. I wonder if that would have caught up with them in a Big Tsunami sooner or later. There were plenty of warning signs of Valar/Eru disapproval long before the invasion took place.

It is just a story, after all, and a story needs a climax. It would have made more sense if Eonwe showed up in Numenor and told people what would happen if they didn't get their heads on straight. Sauron was beguiling, but he didn't hypnotize them all. For that matter, even Sauron didn't see the island's destruction coming, so how could the Edain? And if some divine power didn't want Pharazon to invade Aman, then Osse could have destroyed their fleet before it left the harbor. Those outcomes would be more rationally and emotionally satisfying to me, but none of them would make a satisfying climax to the story. Bad and terrible things need to happen. Otherwise, Eagles would take the Ring to Mordor and drop it in Mt Doom. Happily ever after.


Brethil
Half-elven


Sep 2 2013, 9:33pm


Views: 352
Clashing free wills?


In Reply To
Second, good point about judging Eru, and yes, I'm imposing my morality on him over Numenor's destruction, which is the equivalent of him imposing his morality on them for attacking Valinor, so it's good to keep that in perspective.
One thing I'll note is that he didn't destroy Numenor for its people's beliefs (worshipping the Dark Side) but for its military invasion of Valinor, so it was about actions, not beliefs. But do you suppose the invasion only precipitated Numenor's destruction? They were practicing human sacrifice, and even Melkor didn't do that. I wonder if that would have caught up with them in a Big Tsunami sooner or later. There were plenty of warning signs of Valar/Eru disapproval long before the invasion took place.
True CG - there were signs but I think the line crossed may have been involving free will and I wonder if we can delineate the entire moral of the Numenor story in the context of free will - after all, it was the free will of the Valar to create Numenor (not Eru's). And Eru allowed this land to take what course it would, based on the choices and free will of the Numenorean's. He interferes where the choices of the Numenoreans impacted the Valar directly, and was forcing them to choose to destroy the Men themselves or to ask for aid and counsel from Eru (which they did) before taking action against his Children.


Is there a Tolkien topic that you have wanted to look into more deeply, and write about your thoughts on it? If so, we'd like to hear from you for the next TORn Amateur Symposium- coming in November. Happy writing!








CuriousG
Half-elven


Sep 2 2013, 9:48pm


Views: 348
Capital punishment

You bring up a good point about Eru's intervention, Breth. It seems implied that he's saving the Valar in one of two ways, and maybe saving them was *more important* than punishing Numenor. Either the invading army is too great for them to defeat (which I doubt), or they don't want to kill the Numenoreans themselves, which is why they lay down their guardianship, and they get him to do the deed. I'm not sure if that's because they think killing the Edain is outside of their legal jurisdiction, or if they are morally repelled by the idea, or if intellectually they just don't have the slightest idea what they should do. Hence they throw the problem in his lap.

I'll admit it mirrors my own feelings about capital punishment in the RL, which I don't want to spark a debate about, just acknowledge my own ambivalence about it: someone commits a heinous crime, but I don't think killing them will solve anything, but if they wind up dead, I'm glad in a guilty kind of way. Similarly, the Valar didn't seem to want to pull the trigger on Numenor, but I doubt they grieved its fall in anything more than an abstract "all life is worthy; too bad this happened" way.


CuriousG
Half-elven


Sep 2 2013, 10:08pm


Views: 366
Aldarion and Erendis

As a side note to the Akallabeth, have many people read "Aldarion and Erendis" in Unfinished Tales? That story sheds light on Numenor in its more innocent era, but in a rather unsettling way. They're two strong-willed people who fall out of love after their royal marriage, and their bad relationship leads to a disagreeable daughter, Ancalime. Aldarion's relationship with his father is also strained.

Why is it that Tolkien showcases more realistic but negative behavior in Numenor than anywhere else? Arnor, Gondor, and Rohan have their problems, and so did Turin, but most of the time, Men act heroically, or better than they did in Numenor, which was supposed to be when they were at their best.


Brethil
Half-elven


Sep 3 2013, 2:12am


Views: 337
Paternal intervention and the theology of the death of Numenor


In Reply To
You bring up a good point about Eru's intervention, Breth. It seems implied that he's saving the Valar in one of two ways, and maybe saving them was *more important* than punishing Numenor. Either the invading army is too great for them to defeat (which I doubt), or they don't want to kill the Numenoreans themselves, which is why they lay down their guardianship, and they get him to do the deed. I'm not sure if that's because they think killing the Edain is outside of their legal jurisdiction, or if they are morally repelled by the idea, or if intellectually they just don't have the slightest idea what they should do. Hence they throw the problem in his lap.

I'll admit it mirrors my own feelings about capital punishment in the RL, which I don't want to spark a debate about, just acknowledge my own ambivalence about it: someone commits a heinous crime, but I don't think killing them will solve anything, but if they wind up dead, I'm glad in a guilty kind of way. Similarly, the Valar didn't seem to want to pull the trigger on Numenor, but I doubt they grieved its fall in anything more than an abstract "all life is worthy; too bad this happened" way.




I think that the Valar both perhaps did not know what to do (other than capitulate - not a great plan) because they have gone and donked things up with their choice, yet again, of being rather angelically paternal themselves towards another race - but one created not by them by but by Eru: so a paternalism that they could never fully experience or act upon. Thus their position is not one of being the ultimate parent, and they cannot take the steps that Eru can (and is rather forced to take at this stage of the game, due to the choices made.) I always like to note here that Ulmo seems to have stayed right out of the whole situation.
In a theological sense, I think what he is getting at here is that (although as he says in Letters, ME is not a Christian world, unlike Narnia) the ultimate power of the Universe, and of the judgment of the fate of Men is not the Valar but the One: Eru. So ultimately a monotheistic universe, though we are given a living pantheon of divinities...I think it is a fascinating literary exercise in contrast. For the Men of Arda, the One would assume more and more importance, especially as the Valar retreat and their memory fades from the minds of men (bringing us to present day in JRRT's world and theological view I think).
I do think the Valar grieved less for Numenor than for Feanor - but they had to feel some sense of loss and responsibility.

Is there a Tolkien topic that you have wanted to look into more deeply, and write about your thoughts on it? If so, we'd like to hear from you for the next TORn Amateur Symposium- coming in November. Happy writing!








Brethil
Half-elven


Sep 3 2013, 2:16am


Views: 336
Pure humor and speculation here...


In Reply To
As a side note to the Akallabeth, have many people read "Aldarion and Erendis" in Unfinished Tales? That story sheds light on Numenor in its more innocent era, but in a rather unsettling way. They're two strong-willed people who fall out of love after their royal marriage, and their bad relationship leads to a disagreeable daughter, Ancalime. Aldarion's relationship with his father is also strained.

Why is it that Tolkien showcases more realistic but negative behavior in Numenor than anywhere else? Arnor, Gondor, and Rohan have their problems, and so did Turin, but most of the time, Men act heroically, or better than they did in Numenor, which was supposed to be when they were at their best.




But I wonder, just as a fun musing, (since I think the concept of royalty in the real world would have derived from the Numenoreans) if the captivating antics of Royals in general as part of the English culture was an influence for the more pronounced Numenorean misbehaviors?

Is there a Tolkien topic that you have wanted to look into more deeply, and write about your thoughts on it? If so, we'd like to hear from you for the next TORn Amateur Symposium- coming in November. Happy writing!








Rembrethil
Tol Eressea


Sep 3 2013, 2:50am


Views: 345
Didn't Tolkien say....

That the it was strange, but that the gruesome, scary, sad, bad things in life make the best stories. He went on to say that children like the scary stories, and should know them, so that they fear the right types of things, and not bugbears.

It could have been someone else, but is true. The happy stories of peace and prosperity don't make as good stories as upset and trouble.