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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
'The Athrabeth': continuation of July 2009 thread

mae govannen
Tol Eressea


Nov 13 2010, 8:49am

Post #1 of 13 (477 views)
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'The Athrabeth': continuation of July 2009 thread Can't Post

During the last few days, on the 'Hobbit' film Board, two threads have been going on about this mysterious elvish maid, Itaril, who is going to play some role in the upcoming two films. One of the ideas being entertained is that she may fall in love with Bard of Dale. This (assuming it would be reciprocal) brought up the question of whether Elvish-Human unions could at all work; lists were then produced by various TORnsibs of the few well-known and less known such unions in Tolkien's legendarium.
The 'Athrabeth Finrod Ah Andreth' was of course mentioned in those lists, this topic of Human-Elvish unions being quite central to what the Dialogue is about. Voronwë the Faithful gave the link to a great thread of July 2009 about precisely the 'Athrabeth'.
As the spontaneous new discussion about the 'Athrabeth' was becoming too long, and threatened to take over the thread on Itaril and derail it from its original topic, but Voronwë as well as Elizabeth still were interested in what I would have to say on the 'Athrabeth' (sadly, I have missed the first thread), Elizabeth suggested to continue that 2009 thread on the Reading Room Board, but as a new thread so that it would be visible to all and easy to join in if anyone else is interested.
So here we are!
As a starting-point we will need the link to the previous discussion - I'll try to copy it from Voronwë's post, separately.

'Is everything sad going to come untrue?'
(Sam, 'The Field of Cormallen', in 'The Return of the King'.)

(This post was edited by mae govannen on Nov 13 2010, 8:51am)


mae govannen
Tol Eressea


Nov 13 2010, 8:58am

Post #2 of 13 (325 views)
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Link (by Voronwë) to old thread [In reply to] Can't Post

link

'But very bright were the stars upon the margin of the world, when at times the clouds about the West were drawn aside.'


'Is everything sad going to come untrue?'
(Sam, 'The Field of Cormallen', in 'The Return of the King'.)


FarFromHome
Valinor


Nov 13 2010, 10:34am

Post #3 of 13 (294 views)
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Try this link [In reply to] Can't Post

Your link isn't working for me. This one may work better.

They went in, and Sam shut the door.
But even as he did so, he heard suddenly,
deep and unstilled,
the sigh and murmur of the Sea upon the shores of Middle-earth.
From the unpublished Epilogue to the Lord of the Rings



mae govannen
Tol Eressea


Nov 13 2010, 10:39am

Post #4 of 13 (276 views)
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Let's wait for Voronwë and his own link, [In reply to] Can't Post

copying it from his post like I did doesn't seem to work - at least for me!... Blush
While waiting for that link to what other TORnsibs said of the 'Athrabeth' at the time, perhaps it might be useful for me to say generally what I find particularly important in it myself; I'm copying down below a post I wrote in another recent thread, about what Tolkien film we would like to see after 'The Hobbit':

After shouting 'Yummy!!!', I would order [In reply to] Quote | Reply To This Post
what would be my Dream-Film:
'Athrabeth Finrod Ah Andreth' (probably best with the translated title, The Debate/Converse of Finrod and Andreth', for the general audience...!).
It is an extraordinarily beautiful dialogue, on the deepest possible question concerning Arda and the two main species Eru has chosen to people it with, Immortal Elves and Mortal Men: what might be the ultimate fate of Arda itself in Eru's vision, and what respective role may each of those two greatest species be meant to play in the accomplishment of that ultimate destiny, and at the same time of their own destiny?...
And why these relationships between the two species, those deep love-stories that apparently are absurdly tragic for they can lead to nothing but the pain of eternal separation?
What starts as just a friendly conversation between the High-Elf and the Wise Woman bearing those names soon becomes a debate, and then turns even into much more than that, a very moving revelation of the deep emotions at first hidden, that give to that apparently dry and theoritical question all the intensity of an intimately lived, very real and painful situation.
What I particularly love in that remarkable text by our dear JRRT is that instead of just being one of those terribly sad, ill-fated stories that are plenty at the time of the 'Silmarillion', that story of the same period (but written much later) gives us a hint of the wonderful long-term ending that Eru is actually preparing patiently for it all, a glimpse of the total Eucatastrophe that awaits all, and Arda itself, after this long and so often painful Story we took part in... Heart
That gem of the later years of JRRT shows to which incredible extent he himself, until his very last day, was trying to guess the long-term purpose of 'Eru' for his creation, 'Arda', and for all of us in that enigmatic existence... It will be a Happy Ending, of course!... Thank you so much for this marvelous vision of yours, dear Professor with a beautiful soul...


'Is everything sad going to come untrue?'
(Sam, 'The Field of Cormallen', in 'The Return of the King'.)


mae govannen
Tol Eressea


Nov 13 2010, 10:50am

Post #5 of 13 (314 views)
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Yes, this one works, thanks a lot, FFH! :-) [In reply to] Can't Post

The one I copied above didn't work for me either, so I was quite disappointed... and a bit discouraged, I must say, by these technical difficulties!!! I didn't know any more what to do, except waiting for Voronvë to show up with his real link... Good that you passed by and stopped to help! Smile

'Is everything sad going to come untrue?'
(Sam, 'The Field of Cormallen', in 'The Return of the King'.)


mae govannen
Tol Eressea


Nov 14 2010, 10:22am

Post #6 of 13 (321 views)
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My answers to Voronwë's questions [In reply to] Can't Post

As this lilltle new thread was essentially to enable me to express my views on this topic, which some kind Tornsibs were interested to read, I might as well do that right now, by giving my answers to the questions Voronwë put at the time of the previous discussion:

1. What affect would it have had on The Silmarillion if the Athrabeth had in fact been included as an Appendix. Would that have been a good thing, or a bad?

What is striking to me after having read all the posts on the old thread, is how much the thoughts of most of the TORn members seem to be influenced by the fact that they are themselves part of the Western culture and of the Christian religion. So when they read certain general statements by JRRT that for them immediately evoke something that they know is a Christian tenet, they feel that JRRT's statement evokes too clearly Christianity, and shouldn't have been included. But they should realize that for other readers from another religion and culture that very same general statement stands just for what it is, a general statement, not one that smacks especially of Christianism. For those other people it may on the contrary evoke another important tenet from their own faith!...
Many people read Tolkien, who are not Catholics or Christians, or from any religion whatsoever, and yet they too might be touched precisely by what stirs the spirit within them, because it is expressed in general enough terms to describe genuine spiritual experience in its wonderful universality. Deliberately or unwittingly, Tolkien has achieved the nearly impossible: to express the very essence of a being's longing for closeness with the Divine, and the very essence of a being's choice, constantly to be renewed, to follow the inner guidance received at every step from the illimited, all-wise and all loving Consciousness they perceive as their own Divine Origin as well as that of the world.
Among those TORNsibs who answered Voronwë's questions, one person perticularly said something like that in some of her answers, which I was very glad to read; but it would seem that no one else noticed the deep importance of what she was saying there, although it was relativising in a very healthy way the 'Christianism' too easily seen and denounced by others in Tolkien's statements:
'Christianity is not the only religion in which a deity has allegedly incarnated, not is the Jewish/Islamic/Christian God the only singular deity in history. So no, I don't think it is too specifically Christian, although the knowledge that the author is Christian does incline one to think of it in those terms. (...)
Zoroastrianism believed in a single supreme deity long before the writing of the Pentateuch, opposed by a single supreme evil. And let's not forget Egypt's brief experiment with monotheism, equally ancient. And contrary to the misinterpretation of amateur anthropologists who went out looking for Pagans, many American Indian tribes believe and have always in one supreme deity, and all the rest, however powerful, are "all my relatiions"--fellow creatures, not in the same category. My own tribe has clear recollections of having only one supreme deity, and making an easy transition into Christianity. Again, I know that other examples exist, that I can't bring to mind right this minute.'
So, my answer to that question of Voronwë would be that Christopher Tolkien should have obeyed the wish of his father, and added the 'Athrabeth' as an Appendix at the end of the 'Silmarillion'. That he didn't only shows, it seems to me, that he too was biased as a Catholic, and wrongly imagined it would be for all readers too clear an allusion to Catholic beliefs.
I myself love the beginning of the 'Silmarillion', but then it all becomes really too sad and hopeless, tragic and crushing like the ancient Greek tragedies that even as a child I hated and knew were false because Fate and the gods there lacked all the true love I knew the real God has for all his/her children. When I read Tolkien, the Mythology he presented was much more correct and satisfactory, I felt! So if only the 'Athrabeth' would have been there as an Appendix at the end of the 'Silmarillion', the massive Eucatastrophe it contemplates in the end for the Eruhini as well as for Arda would have reconciled me with the whole thing, while without it I find it really too tragic and prefer not to read it again!...

2. Whose arguments about the fate of Mankind do you find more compelling, Finrod's or Andreth's? Why?
Finrod's, obviously, if you hadn't already guessed!!!

3. Anyone want to comment on my observation that Aragorn's death seems to illustrate what Tolkien calls the "natural end of each human life" and which he states has only been achieved by the Virgin Mary?
Here again, I'd like to quote from Dreamdeer's answer which is simple and genuine, not dictated by any specific reference coming automatically to mind:
'I see it as close, but not on the money. Nobody assumes Aragorn's body into Heaven. It just has the grace of looking like it someday could. A closer parallel would be that of various saints whose death miraculously removed their disfigurations, such as Blessed Kateri Tekawitha's smallpox scars disappearing, or Father Damien the Leper, scheduled to be canonized this October, whose leprosy-marred body became whole and clean in appearance upon his death.'
The examples of saints she mentions didn't need to be all from Christianity: everywhere on earth similar cases are known, it is not something specific to the Christian faith as most Christians seem to believe. She continued:
'Regarding the reunion of body and soul: what, really, is a body? We think of it as a specific, tangible mass, like a rock, yet our cells constantly die and become replace. We aren't made up of the same atoms that we were seven years ago, let alone the ones we were born with. Isn't it more like an energy field that defines the forms that chemicals will take as they pass in and out of it? And doesn't it seem very much like a monkey-wrench in some plan that over time the form reproduces itself less and less correctly?'

4. What is the significance of the two different kinds of Hope? Of the two different kinds of Pity?
In both cases, one is the ordinary one, more superficial and still tainted by the ego, while the other one is fully the real thing, born straight from the soul and kept in its divine purity.

5. What do you think about the prophecy of those of the Old Hope, that Eru will enter into Arda, to heal Men and the Marring. Is this too specifically Christian? Or does Tolkien succeed in keeping it sufficiently at arm's length?
See my first answer above, please.

6. Were you surprised to learn of Andreth's love for Aegnor, as the source of her bitterness? Did this affect your response to her, and to the story itself. Did you find Finrod's explanation for why his brother turned away from her satisfying, or condescending?
It took me totally by surprise, and made the whole thing all the more real and poignant for me; Finrod's explanation seems to me perfectly in line with the Elvish sense of responsibility and refinement of feelings.
7. Do Finrod's final words, "Await us there, my brother -- and me" provide a satisfying conclusion to the tale?
Beautiful, and again, so moving!!!

8. Do you find this a moving story, or a dry philospohical dissertation. Is the dialogue compelling and/or believable. Are the characters sympathetic?
All my answers above say it clearly enough, don't they?...!

9. What other thoughts do you have about the tale?
For me, it is one of the most beautiful things ever written by Tolkien, and it is the key to all, that justifies and explains all the rest. It was hinted at (as someone said in his/her answers) in the beautiful parting words of Galadriel to Treebeard, which otherwise simply do not make any sense - but long before I discovered the 'Athrabeth', I noticed those words, and they made my heart beat faster with the joy of the Promise they contained... which Galadriel then must have known about all along!!! The secret beautiful and happy future of the world... Heart

'Is everything sad going to come untrue?'
(Sam, 'The Field of Cormallen', in 'The Return of the King'.)


squire
Half-elven


Nov 14 2010, 2:59pm

Post #7 of 13 (279 views)
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How to reconcile a very deep contradiction? [In reply to] Can't Post

You've expressed some beautiful responses to this powerful text.

Do you think the world of The Silmarillion is essentially monotheistic or polytheistic? Does Eru or do the Valar rule the fates of the Elves and Men who "fight the long defeat" against evil, against Morgoth? If we stick with the Valar, then indeed the story is "too sad and hopeless" - just as the polytheistic tales of the Greeks and Norse are. If we cling to the idea of Eru looking out for all in the longest of runs, only then we are allowed to imagine a countervailing future Arda of "joy and hope". The obvious answer seems to be "both", but isn't there a fundamental contradiction between the two? Either Eru is cruel to let the Valar screw things up as long as they do, or the Valar are useless impediments to Eru's loving plan.

Without getting lost in the sidetrack of other world religions besides Christianity that feature monotheism and a redemptive divine intervention, I think Tolkien's unshakable Christian faith ultimately defeated him in his efforts to write a deeply meaningful polytheistic mythology for a secondary world that differed in any fundamental way from his own primary world. The "Athrabeth", written at the end of his creative life, is evidence of this. To have included it in The Silmarillion would have sabotaged the published book's power as the most consistent and coherent expression of his original intentions, supported by the vast majority of the written material. Nor (as with all JRRT's unpublished manuscripts) do we really know what the author would or would not have included in his own published version of The Silmarillion.

Many critics have concluded that Tolkien recognized that he had trapped himself in the above contradiction, and died still unable after twenty years to reconcile it. I think Christopher Tolkien made the sacrifice his father could not, and edited and published a Sil that landed solidly on the side of the original "sad and hopeless" concept, for better or worse.



squire online:
RR Discussions: The Valaquenta, A Shortcut to Mushrooms, and Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit
Lights! Action! Discuss on the Movie board!: 'A Journey in the Dark'. and 'Designing The Two Towers'.
Footeramas: The 3rd (and NOW the 4th too!) TORn Reading Room LotR Discussion; and "Tolkien would have LOVED it!"
squiretalk introduces the J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia: A Reader's Diary


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Voronwë_the_Faithful
Valinor

Nov 14 2010, 3:03pm

Post #8 of 13 (265 views)
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Thanks for sharing your thoughts [In reply to] Can't Post

Very interesting, indeed. I appreciate it very much. A couple of brief thoughts.

Your comments about Native American beliefs remind me that much the same can be said about Africa. For instance, in the Yoruba religion (one of the largest ethnic groups in all of Africa and the diaspara) we have the well known Orisha, who are the spirits that deal directly with mankind, but "at the top of the pyramind" there is Oludamari, the One. It is a strikingly similar belief system to the one that Tolkien himself invented, down to a creation myth involving music.

However, your comments about Christopher being too biased as a Catholic are somewhat misplaced. In fact, Tolkien was terribly disappointed that Christopher had left the Catholic church. I would say, actually, that it is more likely that Christopher left the Athrabeth out of the published Silmarillion because he was biased against Catholocism (and perhaps Christianity in general), not because he was biased in its favor. And I think it is important to keep in mind that while it is true that Tolkien's work is definitely applicable to non-Christians like you and I, the fact is that he was writing explicitly as a Christian (and specifically as a Catholic). I don't think there is any question at all that his intention in describing a prophecy about Eru entering into the world was to presage the Christian myth, not that of other religion.

The other thing I wanted to say is that you may be interested in the other thread that I started at roughly the same time, as part of the discussion about the Athrabeth, specifically to discuss the Tale of Adanel: The Athrabeth Discussion - The Tale of Adanel

'But very bright were the stars upon the margin of the world, when at times the clouds about the West were drawn aside.'

www.arda-reconstructed.com


FarFromHome
Valinor


Nov 14 2010, 10:30pm

Post #9 of 13 (264 views)
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But what if it's not [In reply to] Can't Post

an attempt at reconciliaton, but a deliberate attempt to examine the contradiction? The contradiction at the heart of the worldviews of Elves and Men?

If you accept that Tolkien isn't trying to provide a single answer to everything, but is writing the "myths" of different people, then this conversation could be an attempt to compare how things would look to immortal beings, compared to how they look to us mortals.

Mortals need to seize the day:
"'For one year, one, of the flame I would have given all: kin, youth, and hope itself: adaneth I am,' said Andreth"
while Elves can live with memory alone:
"the life and love of the Eldar dwells much in memory; and we (if not ye) would rather have a memory that is fair but unfinished than one that goes on to a grievous end. Now he will ever remember thee in the sun of morning..."
There's an echo of this in LotR, when Legolas tells Gimli:
"the least reward that you shall have is that the memory of Lothlórien shall remain ever clear and unstained in your heart, and shall neither fade nor grow stale."
to which Gimli replies,
"Memory is not what the heart desires. ... Or so says the heart of Gimli the Dwarf. Elves may see things otherwise. Indeed I have heard that for them memory is more like to the waking world than to a dream. Not so for Dwarves."
Nor for Men, as we know.

I think perhaps Tolkien is working out how different the worldview of an immortal would be compared to that of mortals. Elves and Men have different views of their end, and this colours how they judge what's important in the world. There's no need to "reconcile" the two views, in fact the existence of the two views is what makes the conversation so meaningful. As is made clear in Voronwe's previous post, Andreth's words are (fictionally, of course) part of a traditional text that existed in other versions. They are not meant to be an "authorial" statement of "fact". Neither, I would argue, are Finrod's. They are the attempts of two very wise and well-meaning people to grasp at a truth that they could not, by definition, completely understand - since (in Tolkien's own worldview) this understanding could not be achieved before the Redemption of Men took place.

And I'd add that I agree with mae govannen, that despite coming very close to spelling out the Christian worldview, Tolkien still treats his subject at a deep enough level that it retains its "applicability" to all human philosophies. I think there's a lot being said here about what death is, and how it would become a "gift" if only we could accept it willingly - as Aragorn does, and as we assume Frodo eventually does. That, it's implied, is better than immortality. If only we had the wisdom to see it.


They went in, and Sam shut the door.
But even as he did so, he heard suddenly,
deep and unstilled,
the sigh and murmur of the Sea upon the shores of Middle-earth.
From the unpublished Epilogue to the Lord of the Rings



Auraran
Lorien

Nov 15 2010, 12:54am

Post #10 of 13 (254 views)
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His angels he charged with folly [In reply to] Can't Post

Squire, you asked, "Do you think the world of The Silmarillion is essentially monotheistic or polytheistic? Does Eru or do the Valar rule the fates of the Elves and Men who "fight the long defeat" against evil, against Morgoth? If we stick with the Valar, then indeed the story is "too sad and hopeless" - just as the polytheistic tales of the Greeks and Norse are. If we cling to the idea of Eru looking out for all in the longest of runs, only then we are allowed to imagine a countervailing future Arda of "joy and hope". The obvious answer seems to be "both", but isn't there a fundamental contradiction between the two? Either Eru is cruel to let the Valar screw things up as long as they do, or the Valar are useless impediments to Eru's loving plan."

If you view the Valar as equivalent to high-ranking angels, as many do, then all Tolkien would have needed to do was expand on this line of thought: "Behold, he put no trust in his servants; and his angels he charged with folly: How much less in them that dwell in houses of clay, whose foundation is in the dust, which are crushed before the moth?" (Job 4:18-19 KJV) To "charge his angels with folly" would leave plenty room for the Valar to make serious mistakes. But many would argue that would be a distortion of the Judeo-Christian message where the unfallen angels are always obedient to God and are intimately concerned with man. Perhaps Tolkien just didn’t want to go there?

You say, "Either Eru is cruel to let the Valar screw things up as long as they do, or the Valar are useless impediments to Eru's loving plan." Yet according to the New Testament, God entrusts the church, an assembly of weak men who "dwell in houses of clay, whose foundation is in the dust, which are crushed before the moth" with the important task of representing Christ to the world – and God expressly says that he trusts man "much less" than the angels. Many would contend that the church has failed miserably in its mission – yet Romans 8:28 (NIV) says, "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him." Or as Elrond argues, "Men are weak," but Gandalf replies, "Yet it is to Men that we must look," So Tolkien could have reconciled the Angels/Valar issue as well – with a stretch.

Tolkien could have also expanded upon this verse to create a harmonized Mono/polytheistic cosmology: "God standeth in the congregation of the mighty; he judgeth among the gods" (Psalm 82:1 KJV). However, to do so would have moved his cosmology to a distinctly Canaanite theology, where El (the High God of the Hebrews) is equated with El of the Canaanites, the High God ruling over a lesser pantheon of 70 gods and goddesses on Mount Zaphon in Syria. I don’t know if Tolkien was familiar with the research that has come out of Ugarit though.

He could even have paralleled the rebellion of Morgoth to what many Christians see as the rebellion of Lucifer against El/God in Isaiah 14. "You said in your heart, "I will ascend to the heavens; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of Mount Zaphon." (Isaiah 14:13 NIV).

But again, doing so would tend to base his cosmology in Canaanite not Hebrew theology. What do you think? Sorry I don’t have the time to expand on it here.


mae govannen
Tol Eressea


Nov 15 2010, 1:50am

Post #11 of 13 (263 views)
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Let's see if it is really so impossible... [In reply to] Can't Post

I am answering you without looking first at the two other answers to you already posted during (what is for me) the night!... My own thoughts will be in italics in your own post copied doxn below:
------------------
- You've expressed some beautiful responses to this powerful text.
- Thank you for your kind appreciation! Smile
- Do you think the world of The Silmarillion is essentially monotheistic or polytheistic?
- Definitely monotheistic: all the other beings, starting with the Ainur (and including of course the Valar/Maiar) are but various expressions of Eru, born of his Being and endowed each with some of his powers. So in this case it is not an ultimate polytheism, and there is no contradiction but complementarity between the two.
- Does Eru or do the Valar rule the fates of the Elves and Men who "fight the long defeat" against evil, against Morgoth? If we stick with the Valar, then indeed the story is "too sad and hopeless" - just as the polytheistic tales of the Greeks and Norse are.
- Still, the Valar are generally better than those 'gods', as most of them are really at the service of Eru, try their best to do the right thing, and do it in a much less egoistic manner, as they truly care for Arda and for the Eruhini who are to some extent their charges.
- If we cling to the idea of Eru looking out for all in the longest of runs, only then we are allowed to imagine a countervailing future Arda of "joy and hope".
- Yes indeed!...
- The obvious answer seems to be "both", but isn't there a fundamental contradiction between the two? Either Eru is cruel to let the Valar screw things up as long as they do, or the Valar are useless impediments to Eru's loving plan.
- Why make it so extreme, 'either', 'or'?... Eru's creation isn't something static, but a vast processus of development for all the beings that are part of it; not just the Men and the Elves and the Dwarves etc are learning and growing, but also the Valar and Maiar; all may fall to arrogance and pride, or learn to participate in the unfolding of Eru's Plan to the best of their individual abilities, but also in harmonious collaboration and complementarity with the other Valar/Maiar. Aulë, for example, made the mistake of creating the Dwarves on his own, without Eru's permission; but he understood his error and mended his ways, that is, he learned from his mistake, so Eru not only forgave him but gave life to his Dwarves and added them to his Plan. Manwë constantly tries to be more receptive to Eru's Vision, that's his way of growing. Of course they will sometimes make mistakes, but from all those mistakes - even the outright rebellion of Melkor - a richer outcome will be the final result. As for the difficulties and pains on the way, they only fortify the beings who are faced with those challenges. They are not really left alone either: as soon as their response to the challenge is the right one for their own individual growth, they receive the needed help from Eru, just like at Helm's Deep for example.
- Without getting lost in the sidetrack of other world religions besides Christianity that feature monotheism and a redemptive divine intervention, I think Tolkien's unshakable Christian faith ultimately defeated him in his efforts to write a deeply meaningful polytheistic mythology ...
- I don't think he ever made any efforts to write a polytheistic mythology, for in my view he never intended to do so at all, his secondary world was from the start and for ever a monotheistic one - but which included all kinds of sub-deities, so to say, participating in their own right in the creation and development of the whole, everything and everybody inextricably linked in that immense collective Adventure!...
- ... for a secondary world that differed in any fundamental way from his own primary world. The "Athrabeth", written at the end of his creative life, is evidence of this.
- ??? In which way is it at all a failure?... For me, 'The Athrabeth' is the culmination of his creative life !... It is not one of those many vague, unfinished and abandoned drafts. Even Chistopher himself presents it with great respect and admiration.
- To have included it in The Silmarillion would have sabotaged the published book's power as the most consistent and coherent expression of his original intentions,
- I doubt that rigid consistency and total coherence do justice to the vastness of Tolkien's consciousness, precisely capable of holding - and presenting - all the apparent contradictions of life, in an overall vision that reconciled them. His original intentions started with Eru already, didn't they?
- ... supported by the vast majority of the written material.
- But certainly not by the Music of the AinurLet's see if it is really so impossible...!, the Valaquenta and whatever speaks of the far future, which remains always unknown and open: Eru himself says that whatever opposition and complications, the final result will be anyway for the best, because his Will and overall Intention will prevail, making use of every obstacle on the way to make that final result richer and more perfect.
- Nor (as with all JRRT's unpublished manuscripts) do we really know what the author would or would not have included in his own published version of The Silmarillion.
- That's for sure. But the very fact that he wanted the 'Athrabeth' in at the end, shows that the views expressed there were the ones he was sure to want included, precisely because they gave the key to the apparent contradiction present in the rest of his writings for the Sil.
- Many critics have concluded that Tolkien recognized that he had trapped himself in the above contradiction, and died still unable after twenty years to reconcile it.
- Is it forbidden to conclude that the critics in question may simply have been wrong in their assertion, because precisely of their own blindness to the very reconciling factor that was definitely there for all to see?...
- I think Christopher Tolkien made the sacrifice his father could not, and edited and published a Sil that landed solidly on the side of the original "sad and hopeless" concept, for better or worse.
- Well, perhaps he rather unwittingly betrayed him, having himself lost his faith in his father's beliefs, and being by personal temperament very much on the side of the 'sad and hopeless' concept, not tempered in him as it was so powerfully in JRRT by the direct soul-perception of God's infinite Love for his Children, and by the soul-certitude of the eucatastrophic ultimate fate of everything. Heart

'Is everything sad going to come untrue?'
(Sam, 'The Field of Cormallen', in 'The Return of the King'.)

(This post was edited by mae govannen on Nov 15 2010, 1:59am)


mae govannen
Tol Eressea


Nov 15 2010, 2:23am

Post #12 of 13 (267 views)
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My pleasure!!! :-) . I never said the bias [In reply to] Can't Post

in Christopher Tolkien was *for* Christianism; even though he turned against it, it still was to him the engrained, automatic reference-point that I spoke more generally of in my answers to your original questions.
I am glad you are aware that the overall pattern described by Tolkien (= a supreme Deity, + a number of "sub-deities') can be found also in various ancient cultures. It is mostly the Western mind that sets apart as irreconcilable monotheism on the one side and an apparent polytheism on the other side. Even what the West calls 'Animism' and sees disdainfully as 'Pagan' often hides a deeply-seated acknowledgement of a supreme Being encompassing all and giving to everything in Itself the life and spirit it manifests to the inner eye still open in people of the less mentalized cultures.

'Is everything sad going to come untrue?'
(Sam, 'The Field of Cormallen', in 'The Return of the King'.)


mae govannen
Tol Eressea


Nov 15 2010, 2:29am

Post #13 of 13 (349 views)
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It is Dreamdeer who, about the Native-Americans, [In reply to] Can't Post

wrote the comments you attributed to me, as I didn't put her name immediately, but only later on when quoting her again. Sorry for that confusing omission! Blush

'Is everything sad going to come untrue?'
(Sam, 'The Field of Cormallen', in 'The Return of the King'.)

 
 

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