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"Grey" Elves, vs Moriquendi
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Mar 10 2011, 7:03pm

Post #26 of 44 (432 views)
Agree to disagree? [In reply to] Can't Post

'Impossible" is just such an absolute that I cannot accept it at face value. I doubt that we can come to a consensus on this topic. It might just be better (at least from my point-of-view) to just let it go.


Mar 10 2011, 8:16pm

Post #27 of 44 (471 views)
My conclusion is hardly absolute. [In reply to] Can't Post

It's a hypothesis, created to fit the facts. I admit that there's ambiguity in the evidence, but my explanation seems to me the simplest that fits all the facts. I should also mention that it is analogous to the power of oaths in Tolkien's world.

I use the word "impossible" not to suggest that my theory is correct, but to explain the theory itself -- that in Middle-earth, marital fidelity is a natural law, much like gravity in the Primary World.

I would be interested in your alternative explanation for the evidence I described. One that I have heard is that the historians of Middle-earth -- or the fictional translator of the histories -- simply chooses to overlook or gloss over any evidence of rape or infidelity, referring to it so obliquely that it is unclear whether it exists. That's possible, but in a fictional world it amounts to the same thing -- as far as we can tell from what we read, rape and infidelity does not exist. We can "fill in the blanks" if we choose, but in doing so we are altering the story to fit our own preconceived notions of what is realistic.

At any rate, I don't mean to belabor the point. As with many hypotheses about Tolkien's fictional world, there is no way to conclusively prove this hypothesis is right. But neither is it possible, I judge, to prove that this hypothesis is wrong.


Mar 10 2011, 8:49pm

Post #28 of 44 (430 views)
Impossible [In reply to] Can't Post

By absolute, I mean that you leave no room within your hypothesis for any doubt or variance. "Impossible" is an absolute by definition. Either something is possible or it is impossible.


Mar 10 2011, 10:33pm

Post #29 of 44 (414 views)
Feel free to doubt the hypothesis, though.// [In reply to] Can't Post


(This post was edited by Curious on Mar 10 2011, 10:33pm)

Arwen Skywalker

Mar 11 2011, 4:34am

Post #30 of 44 (429 views)
This might be splitting hairs a little but the text says.... [In reply to] Can't Post

It is not said that Aredhel was wholly unwilling, nor that her life in Nan Elmoth was hateful to her for many years.

So Eol didn't exactly marry Aredhel against her will. That said, it was creepy of him to to set a trapping spell for her. Even though the Sil doesn't mention it, it seems to me like Eol is also capable of a seduction spell.

I'm not sure how Ar-Pharazon would have forced marriage on Miriel but from what's implied in Children of Hurin, I'm 100% certain that Brodda kidnapped Aerin, and that other Easterling men did the same to the women of Hithlum. It's extremely common in the real world for kidnapped brides to get raped but since Brodda and Aerin had no children, it's also possible that they never consummated the marriage. Still, for reasons I don't entirely understand, I think it's more likely for Aerin to be raped than Miriel.


Mar 11 2011, 10:47am

Post #31 of 44 (434 views)
Myth vs History (Rape in Middle Earth) [In reply to] Can't Post

I keep harping upon the difference between a Mythic Cosmology and a Historical Cosmology because there is a HUGE difference between the two.

In the Myths that Tolkien constructed, he made it appear as if certain romantic notions were true: Namely, that Elves died if they were raped, and that otherwise it was something that only Orcs would attempt to do.

In the Historic version, it is likely that Elves may still die if one attempts to rape them (MAYBE!), but one must remember that if Middle Earth were to be a real place, that one would have to admit to the existence of all manner of unpleasant things (even, and especially, if the Catholic conception of the world were adhered to: Christian Philosophy rests upon Sin being possible, and to exclude it as being impossible would remove free-will - something that is absolutely vital to Catholic Philosophy and Theology - from the realm of the possible).

This is why Tolkien began something later in his life that he considered to be such an unpleasant task: Writing a Historical cosmology for Middle Earth, and a Historical Record that was free of the Romantic Notions. In it, Melkor does commit a rape, and I am certain that even worse things would have been revealed had JRRT lived to continue writing it.

Tolkien had a great reluctance to stain the romantic notions of his creation, but he clearly expressed, in the Athrabeth and the Myths Transformed that a clear historical record was needed that did not have the rose-colored view of Middle Earth. Mythic narratives only arise from History, which further influences the creation of new mythic narratives. Tolkien was slowly realizing this (if he had been quicker to understand Jung and Campbell, he might have arrived at this realization sooner).

You have to understand, all of the stories told in the Silmarillion, The Lord of the Rings, or The Hobbit are Romantic Myth (I capitalized that to draw attention to it. "Romantic Myth" happens to be a type of myth that arose in the Middle Ages. Think of the Chivalric Romances. Think of the Root of Romance... They all call attention to "better times" when people were better, when good and evil were instantly recognizable and some people were chosen by fate/providence/god/etc. to do things that made them better than all others (even their supposed peers). When critically reading Tolkien, one needs to understand what a Romantic Myth is, and how characters in that genre act). This means that despite the "reality" (Myth is not reality. It is a distortion of reality. Especially Romantic Myth) of what happened, the best possible face will be put on it to tell the myth so that even evil characters do not violate certain assumptions about the world.

In reality, it is likely that Eöl raped Aredhel. It is likely that Ar-Pharazon raped Miriel. It is likely that Elrond's Wife, Celebrían, was raped by Orcs. It is likely that the first Orcs were created by an act of rape, by forcing elves to rape each other.

But, in a Romantic Myth, one does not talk about such things. One uses metaphor or circumlocution to avoid saying the thing directly.

It is like Cancer prior to the 1970s. Before that date, Cancer was seen as a deeply shameful thing to have, and one wouldn't admit to having it, even if admitting it could save your life (that is a bit of an exaggeration, but it is to make the point about A "Romantic Tale").

Thus, Tolkien wrote in this style, and some things, in that style, just don't happen - within the story - within the myth.

However, that doesn't mean that they didn't really happen (if we are talking historic events, rather than the events of a myth).

It is important to make this distinction.

Tolkien created a world. He may have wanted an idealized world, but if this world were to be realized (look at the root of "realized" - it happens to be "real") that means that the world would fall under the same rules that govern life. Otherwise, the minds possessed by the beings in that world would not be recognizable to us at all. They would be aliens.

Thus.. Tolkien began what was eventually published by his son, in The History of Middle-Earth, vol X: Morgoth's Ring as Myths Transformed because he recognized that he needed to know the Truth behind the myths in order to make a cogent history of events out of which the myths arose to drive the stories.


Mar 11 2011, 1:30pm

Post #32 of 44 (442 views)
Can you give me a cite for this? [In reply to] Can't Post

This is why Tolkien began something later in his life that he considered to be such an unpleasant task: Writing a Historical cosmology for Middle Earth, and a Historical Record that was free of the Romantic Notions. In it, Melkor does commit a rape, and I am certain that even worse things would have been revealed had JRRT lived to continue writing it.

I'm aware of Tolkien contemplating a historical cosmology, but I'm not aware of him contemplating a historical account in which Melkor commits rape. I'm assuming it would appear in Myths Transformed. Do you have a more specific cite? I'm eager to find it because it would support my hypothesis that in the unchanged version of Tolkien's legendarium, rape and infidelity simply do not happen, just as in the unchanged version the Sun and Moon are fruits of the Two Trees.

As far as the chroniclers delicately avoiding the issue of rape, yes, that has been proposed. There are two problems with that. First, it still doesn't answer the question of what became of all the illegitimate children in the family trees. It's not easy to cover up all illegitimate children, especially in royal families. But I suppose it is possible to imagine such a massive cover up, especially when only one account of the history of Middle-earth has "survived."

Second, in a work of fiction about a secondary fantasy world such self-censorship effectively changes the rules of that world. It doesn't really matter whether you want to imagine a different, more realistic set of stories; in the set of stories Tolkien left us, rape and infidelity just doesn't happen. Whether it is because it is impossible or because Tolkien just didn't want to talk about such matters in the end doesn't really matter. It is a characteristic of Tolkien's fantasy that is hard to ignore.


Mar 11 2011, 7:03pm

Post #33 of 44 (421 views)
Yep: Melkor rapes [In reply to] Can't Post

...But the Sun is feminine; and it is better that the Vala should be Áren, a maiden whom Melkor endeavoured to make his spouse (or ravished); she went up in a flame of wrath and anguish and her spirit was released from Ëa, but Melkor was blackened and burned, and his form was thereafter dark, and he took to darkness. (HoME p.376)

In a Romantic Tale, especially to a Victorian sensibility, the word "ravish" is synonymous with "rape"

And, then again in the tale proper as written by JRRT:


But Melkor, as hath been told, lusted after all light, desiring it jealously for his own. Moreover he soon perceived that in Âs there was a light that had been concealed from him, and which had a power of which he had not thought. Therefore, afire at once with desire and anger, he went to Âs [written above Asa], and he spoke to Árië, saying: 'I have chosen thee, and thou shalt be my spouse, even as Varda is to Manwë, and together we shall wield all splendor and mastery. Then the kingship of Arda shall be mine in deed as in right, and thou shalt be a partner of my glory.'

But Árië rejected Melkor and rebuked him, saying 'Speak not of right, which thou hast long forgotten. Neither for thee nor by thee alone was Ëa made, and thou shalt not be a King of Arda. Beware therefore, for there is in the heart of Âs a light in which thou has no part, and a fire which will not serve theee. Put not out thy hand to it. For though thy potency may destroy it, it will burn thee and thy brightness will be made dark.'

Melkor did not heed her warning, but cried in his wrath: 'The gift which is withheld I take!' and he ravished Árië, desiring both to abase her and to take into himself her powers. (HoME pp.380-381)

So, here again we see "ravish", accompanied by "abase" - yet another word synonymous with rape.

It is from the beginning of Myths Transformed that many things I have mentioned in other posts are taken. Tolkien clearly understood the need for an ordered history that did not have a 1:1 correspondence with the "Myths and Cosmic Ideas" he set forth in the Silmarillion, which he notes:


What we have in the Silmarillion etc. are traditions ... handed on by Men in Númenor and later in Middle-Earth (Arnor and Gondor); but already far back - from the first association of the Dúnedain and the Elf-friends with the Eldar in Beleriand - blended and confused with their own Mannish myths and cosmic ideas.

So, as I have been saying. JRRT understood that what he was putting down did not correspond to a reality any more than the Myths of our own Earth correspond to actual history (although Christian Mythology certainly demands that it is also historical, much to its dismay).

Arwen Skywalker

Mar 11 2011, 9:14pm

Post #34 of 44 (408 views)
Just to make something clear [In reply to] Can't Post

I was not suggesting in any way that Aredhel was raped. As I already said, Eol may be a creepy, possessive jerk but the text makes it pretty clear to me that he didn't force marriage on her.

Personally, I have a similar opinion to Otaku's: there's to much ambiguity to say that Miriel and (particularly) Aerin weren't raped. That said, I agree with Curious that the laws of Middle Earth don't allow for infidelity. People often cite the way things went down with Feanor when Finwe remarried but there's further evidence in Unfinished Tales. Unhappy couples like Erendis and Aldarion lived apart once the relationship went under (I'm not sure if they divorced or just separated) but they didn't remarry. I think I remember an essay from one of squire's links talking about how Tolkien's conservative Catholic beliefs (where divorce is a no-no) played a role in that story. While I'm sure everyone would say that some rules from the real world don't apply to a mythological universe, we just don't agree on where that line is drawn.

Speaking of rape, I started to notice that it isn't always so clear-cut in fiction. I know I'm getting off topic here but one grey area that comes to mind is Merope Gaunt in Harry Potter feeding a love potion to Tom Riddle in order to marry him. What do you guys think?


Mar 11 2011, 9:52pm

Post #35 of 44 (421 views)
In case you missed this before [In reply to] Can't Post

What we have in the Silmarillion etc. are traditions ... handed on by Men in Númenor and later in Middle-Earth (Arnor and Gondor); but already far back - from the first association of the Dúnedain and the Elf-friends with the Eldar in Beleriand - blended and confused with their own Mannish myths and cosmic ideas.(HoME p.373)

This is Tolkien writing a note to himself, letting himself know that the stories as he has related them to date do not represent the reality of the situation.

People got raped in Middle-Earth, because that is one of the things that people do.

People were unfaithful, because that is one of the things that people do.

If people are capable of killing each other, then they are capable of raping or being unfaithful.

The stories are exactly that, if we are to conceive of Middle-Earth as having been an actual place (As JRRT indicates above). The whole point of "Myths Transformed" is that Tolkien wanted to construct an actual historical account of Middle-Earth. That would include all of the things that don't happen in a Romantic Tale (Please keep in mind. "Romantic" in this sense, as I keep freaking saying, doesn't have to do with people falling in love. It has to do with a philosophy about the world).


Mar 11 2011, 11:36pm

Post #36 of 44 (412 views)
When you cite HoME pp. 373, 376, and 380-81, [In reply to] Can't Post

are you citing Volume X of HoME, Morgoth's Ring, "Myths Transformed"? Without the volume number it's not entirely clear, and I would like to read the cites in context. I'm assuming from context that you are citing to "Myths Transformed."

Thanks for looking it up, by the way.

This appears to be a part of Tolkien's radical re-imagining of the entirety of The Silmarillion, a re-imagining in which there are innumerable stars and worlds in the universe, with innumerable Ainur associated with those other worlds; and in which the Sun and Moon were not created from the fruit of the Two Trees, but rather were around as long as the earth, which by the way was never flat, but always a globe. In short, everything we read in The Silmarillion is wrong, apparently "blended and confused with ... Mannish myths and cosmic ideas."

And yes, in this version it does appear that Melkor sexually assaults Árië, although it is very unclear what sex between such beings looks like, and whether it could be called rape. But that is a technicality; I'll agree that this is the behavior we have been looking for. The question is, how significant is it, considering we find it in this radical reimagining of the entire mythos? In the stories Tolkien completed, there are still no rapes, just as in the stories Tolkien completed, the Sun and Moon were the fruit of the Two Trees, and the earth was flat until the creation of Numenor, and there is only one Arda, and one set of Ainur.

I find it fascinating that even in this more realistic, uncensored version Melkor speaks of making Árië his spouse, as if successful mating will bind Árië to him whether she wants it or not, suggesting that sex = monogamous marriage, and again that infidelity is impossible. If Árië had not essentially died, would she have been bound to Melkor? Maybe rape is possible. Maybe those forced marriages we read about were really rapes. But if so, they had a consequence we never see in the Primary World.

(This post was edited by Curious on Mar 11 2011, 11:39pm)


Mar 12 2011, 5:27am

Post #37 of 44 (399 views)
It is not a "Re-imaging" or "Re-imagining" [In reply to] Can't Post

What is there to not understand about "myth is not history"?

Tolkien began this, not to replace the stories in the Silmarillion, but to provide a historical account of what happened during the early ages of Ëa that was later recounted to the Dúnedain in Beleriand or the Men of Westernesse, who then set down the tales as myths that became mixed with their own history and traditions.

A good example:

1) Christian Mythology holds that the world in 6,000 years old, and that all life was created in the Garden of Eden, and that all of humanity came from two original humans that were created by a being called "The Lord God."

2) Actual historical fact says that the Earth is over 3 billion years old (closer to 7 if you count primordial accretion), and that all life evolved from a set of common ancestors, one of which became primitive mammals roughly 300 million years ago, and that roughly 250,000 years ago, what was to become modern humanity began to migrate out of Africa.

The fact that in the world that Tolkien was envisioning BOTH of these accounts would have been fictitious is not important. What is important was the distinction he drew between the accounts.

The Silmarillion corresponds to the first account above. The account in Myths Transformed corresponds to the second account above.

I will admit, without a deep background in the work of Campbell, these concepts are often difficult to get across, especially when referring to something that has no physical correlate (i.e. You cannot book a trip to "Middle-Earth" and go mountain climbing in the Hithaeglir).

And, even Tolkien was not very concrete in his descriptions, but he clearly understood that the telling of all of the stories were, at best, second hand accounts (with the exception of the primary events in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings). The stories were events as related through a specific lens on the world, and thus could not have been a historical account of what happened. And, in the case of the older stories, not only had they been altered through the lens of a specific peoples (the Dúnedain), but great stretches of time had acted upon them as well to set them apart from the history to which they were supposed to correspond.

The stories in Myths Transformed do not replace the stories of the Silmarillion, they provide the actual version of events that eventually morphed into the stories in the Silmarillion.


Mar 12 2011, 12:01pm

Post #38 of 44 (386 views)
Are you forgetting [In reply to] Can't Post

that Tolkien made it all up? He imagined it, and then he re-imagined it. It is neither myth, nor history -- it is fiction, a product of Tolkien's imagination.


Mar 12 2011, 12:22pm

Post #39 of 44 (400 views)
No, I am not forgetting [In reply to] Can't Post

And, it IS a myth.

The Silmarillion reflects the mythology of a fictional world. That means that the fictional world also has a fictional history that is distinct and separate from the fictional mythology, which is what JRRT was pointing out in the quote to that effect.

Just because something is made up, that doesn't mean that it still doesn't have the structure of a myth or of history apply to it.

This was what Joseph Campbell's last Volume of The Masks of God was all about (The Masks of God, vol 4: Creative Mythology). This work was about constructed mythologies (i.e. myths), and how they manifest themselves in our world.

By the very definition, all myths are fictions. Take the Romantic Myths/Chivalric Romances of the Middle Ages. They were reflected in historic accounts of various peoples in history: Tristan and Isolt was just as much a fiction as were the stories of Abelard and Eloise... But, one had a very real historical counterpart. The other took part in a fictional version of Earth that could have had its own history constructed to go with the myth.

You seem to be having a hard time understanding that there is a difference between outright fiction (a lie), mythic history and historical fiction.

That is why I use terms like Mythic Cosmology¹ and Historical Cosmology² to describe the two different accounts by JRR Tolkien of how Ëa came to be (of course he died before he could finish the second cosmology).

It doesn't matter that the world is made up. In fact, the fact that it is made up means that if we are to respect that act of sub-creation, we should probably work to maintain its integrity and not make up things that would not fit with the philosophies involved in its creation.

That is what critical analysis is about. It isn't just waving your hands and proclaiming "He made it all up, so anything at all could be said to happen."

¹ A Mythic Cosmology is an account, or narrative (a story) of how the world and the things in it came to be, but it has little factual correlation to the actual events that took place in a history (whether fictional or not). The Biblical Account of Genesis is a Mythic Cosmology. The Story of Noah is a part of that Mythic Cosmology.

² A Historical Cosmology is an account (but usually not a story) of how the world and the things in it actually came to be, and has a real correlation to actual events. The Big Bang Theory of how the universe came to be in its present state and the Theory of Evolution by Natural Selection accounts for the things that exist on our world. It may turn out that there is an actual intelligence behind these two theories, in which case, at some point, we may be able to learn from that intelligence a story about how he/she/it/they created our universe and for what purpose. JRRT makes the assumption that this is indeed the case for Middle-Earth and recounts this story in Myths Transformed. That is why he is using the two words "Myths" and "Transformed". As he recounted in the passage from p.373, he has set out to transform the myths into an actual history that isn't a distortion of the events based upon the misunderstanding of these events by primitive man, or the intentional simplification of them by the Eldar to the Dúnedain, but is rather the events as discovered by the Eldar as related to them by the Ainur in Aman.


Mar 12 2011, 3:16pm

Post #40 of 44 (391 views)
It is a pretend myth, and a pretend history. [In reply to] Can't Post

A real myth is a traditional story accepted as history which serves to explain the world view of a people. A real history is a record or narrative description of past events. Tolkien imagined a pretend myth. Then he reimagined it, extremely briefly, as a pretend history. Although I must say that the story of Melkor's rape still sounds to me very much like a pretend myth. But apparently it is supposed to be a true myth of the Eldar, uncorrupted by the false myths of Men.

There's a difference between historical fiction and fictional history. Tolkien wrote fictional history, not historical fiction. And he wrote a fictional myth, not mythic history.

I seriously question whether Tolkien's notes in "Myths Transformed" should have any influence on how we read his prior works. Tolkien once started to rewrite The Hobbit in the style of Lord of the Rings, but was quickly convinced to abandon the project because it fundamentally changed the nature of The Hobbit. Similarly, I cannot imagine reading The Silmarillion and constantly trying to figure out what is "historical," what is "true myth," and what is tainted by the "false myths" of Men. If you want to do so, feel free.


Mar 13 2011, 1:07am

Post #41 of 44 (380 views)
It doesn't matter whether it is "pretend" or not [In reply to] Can't Post

And that is about all there is to it.

One examines myth through the same lens whether it is real or not.

And, I picked the Biblical Account of Genesis because it is just as fictional as JRRT's Lord of the Rings. There is absolutely NO historical correlate to the Garden of Eden or to Noah's Flood. They are stories, made to explain something that people are ignorant of.

Tolkien wasn't trying to explain something that people were ignorant of, but he was still trying to create a story that filled the exact same role.

Myths Transformed is not about interpreting the prior Mythology. It is about creating what would have been (in Middle-Earth) a factual account of what happened rather than a collection of stories to satisfy the ignorant members of that world.


Mar 13 2011, 4:28am

Post #42 of 44 (380 views)
But when we read the Book of Genesis [In reply to] Can't Post

we cannot, for example, take God out of the story if we don't believe that God is factual. God is an essential part of the story, whether we believe in him or not. So are Adam and Eve, even though many people who believe in God consider Adam and Eve nonfactual.

Therefore, to bring this back to my original point, if there is no rape or infidelity in The Sil or LotR or The Hobbit, then that becomes one of the rules of those Secondary Worlds, even if it isn't "realistic" according to the standards of the Primary World, and even if Tolkien intended to invent a myth, not a history.


Mar 14 2011, 9:24am

Post #43 of 44 (356 views)
Interesting [In reply to] Can't Post

MatthewB, I really enjoy reading your posts, they are enlightening! I don't really want to get embroiled in this current debate, suffice to say more generally that I think you are correct when you say that Tolkien was aware of the kinds of holes he was digging himself into when he postulated a "mythic" cycle of creation but went on to claim that stories like LoTR were actual history. I'm increasingly coming to the opinion that LoTR is flawed in some key ways (that's not to say I can no longer enjoy it) that ultimately stem from the unresolved tension between a mythical vs. novelistic (i.e.) historical impulse. This makes LoTR interesting, but also inconsistent in some ways.


Mar 14 2011, 10:01am

Post #44 of 44 (440 views)
Mind you [In reply to] Can't Post

I am not making the claim that the stories that Tolkien wrote were actual history is the sense that they occurred in our world.

What Tolkien was trying to do with Myths Transformed was to create a Historic Framework around the mythic framework he had already constructed.

At the beginning of the History of Middle Earth series Christopher Tolkien made the remark that he had erred in presenting the Silmarillion as a historic work, rather than as a related myth ("related myth" means "A myth that was told (or related) to another by a specific character." in the same way that the Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings were both related to us by the fictional characters Bilbo and Frodo Baggins - with addendum by the Gamgee Family, as the Heirs to Frodo Baggins).

So, even though Middle-Earth is a fictional construct, there can still be events, as explained/related by the characters or occupants of Middle-Earth, that are either Mythic or Historic.

As an example:

In Myths Transformed, it is related that Elves did not wake in Cuiviénen in a world that had no sun. They only thought this to be the case due to the machinations of Melkor to keep the sky blackened in a sort of Nuclear or Volcanic Winter (even though JRRT would have been ignorant of that specific term - the result is the same - ash or dust clouds would have obscured the sky/sun, resulting in nearly absolute darkness at night and only a dim haze during the daytime). The Elves, before they were aware of what was happening, would have thought that there was no sun, and their stories would have reflected this.

Likewise, in the same section, it is related that Men did not wake by Hildorién 300 years prior to their appearance in Beleriand, but that they awoke roughly 3,000 - 30,000 years prior to coming to Beleriand. The Historic account also includes their subjugation by Melkor and the eventual rebellion by (at least) the Three Houses of the Edain, who then fled west pursued by the Easterlings still under Morgoth's sway (some of whom managed to throw off his influence along the way).

Those would be the "historic" accounts.

The "Mythic" accounts would have been what is related in the Silmarillion. The fact that men had no written language of their own prior to meeting the Elves would have made it easy to conflate/confuse various stories told to them by the Elves with events in their own history, and to cause a "Telescoping" of their history down to a 300 year period (due to lack of better knowledge). Odds are likely that many of these myths were corrected by "The Wise" among men, but just like in our real world, myths can be hard to cast off. An example are Evangelical Christians who insist (despite our knowledge to the contrary) that their "Mythic" tradition of a creation by God, 6,000 years ago is a fact (this exists in spite of the fact that we have written histories that pre-date the date of their "origin myths" from cultures that already had established agriculture and fairly advanced sciences. Islamic and Jewish traditions also abound with "Myths" that are taken to be "history" by their associated cultures... Yet, those myths tend to all have their roots in some tradition or story from antiquity.

So, it doesn't matter that Tolkien's world is fictitious. That he was trying to write about it as if it were a real place means that it is going to have a set of rules that govern it, and that those rules will have consequences.

This is also why it is just stupid to think that rape would be impossible in that world. To say that Rape would be impossible in that world contradicts one of the most absolute premises of Roman Catholicism (which Tolkien would NOT have done), namely: That man has free will. Rape was already an established practice of the Orcs, and Tolkien made it clear that men could easily be lured into thinking and acting like an Orc. We also have evidence that even Elves could sink to these sorts of depravity.

The "Romantic" device of elves dying if raped is probably just a literary device. Otherwise, the conception of the original Orcs by Morgoth would have been impossible (not to mention that there are several instances where Tolkien uses other Literary devices that were used by Medieval Authors as synonyms for rape occur throughout his writings).

As I keep saying: There is a difference between the fictional reality of Middle-Earth and the Fictional Myths of Middle-Earth. The former represents the actual history, within Middle-Earth, and the latter represents the stories people told each other about the various legends of Middle-Earth.

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