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CoH: Turin in Nargothrond - What a difference an Age makes (or two, or three)

Altaira
Superuser / Moderator


Aug 9 2007, 4:34am

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CoH: Turin in Nargothrond - What a difference an Age makes (or two, or three) Can't Post

Turin was a man of action and was not happy with the stealthy, ‘guerilla warfare’ strategy of the Elves of Nargothrond. No sooner did he gain the ear of Orodreth did he start lobbying for marching out in force against Morgoth.

Turin:

“There is but one Vala with whom we have to do, and that is Morgoth; and if in the end we cannot overcome him, at least we can hurt him and hinder him. For victory is victory, however small, nor is its worth only from what follows from it.”

“…Valiant defense of the borders and hard blows ere the enemy gathers; in that course lies the best hope of your long abiding together.”


Contrast this with the words of Boromir, several ages later:

Boromir:

“If you wish only to destroy the Ring then there is little use in war and weapons; and the Men of Minas Tirith cannot help. But if you wish to destroy the armed might of the Dark Lord, then it is folly to go without force into his domain…” – LOTR; The Council of Elrond

“...The fearless, the ruthless, these alone will achieve victory. What could not a warrior do in this hour, a great leader?” – LOTR; The Breaking of the Fellowship


1) What similarities are there between Turin and Boromir? What differences?

But wait, there’s more!

Contrast Turin’s words to Gwindor with these from Gandalf and Aragorn:

Gandalf:

“We must push Sauron to his last throw…We must march out to meet him at once...better so to perish nonetheless – as we surely shall, if we sit here – and know as we die that no new age shall be.” – The Last Debate


Aragorn:

“We come now to the very brink, where hope and despair are kin. To waiver is to fall.” – The Last Debate


The words of Turin, Boromir, Gandalf and Aragorn are similar, yet we’ve grown to consider those of Turin and Boromir as haughty and harbingers of doom, and those of Gandalf and Aragorn as wise and ultimately the right course to take.

2) How is our perception of these similar comments influenced by the fact that someone good and wise is speaking some of them vs. someone egotistical and driven by selfish motives? How does an author, such as Tolkien, manage (or manipulate) our expectations? Is timing and circumstance everything (e.g., First Age woes vs. Third Age). How much does a character's "character" come into play?

3) Was marching out with might vs. Morgoth in the 1st Age any more or less hopeless than marching out against Sauron in the 3rd?

4) Was Turin right? *Is* victory, through action, a victory, however small? Or, as Gwindor implied, is there greater victory in “in-action?”


Koru: Maori symbol representing a fern frond as it opens. The koru reaches towards the light, striving for perfection, encouraging new, positive beginnings.



"All we have to decide is what to do with the boards that are given to us"



"I take a moment to fervently hope that the camaradarie and just plain old fun I found at TORn will never end" -- LOTR_nutcase

TORn Calendar

(This post was edited by Altaira on Aug 9 2007, 4:36am)


Galadriel1a
The Shire

Aug 9 2007, 3:45pm

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YAY finally logged on ![:)] [In reply to] Can't Post

 I´ll start with the similarities between Gwindor and Aragorn /Gandalf.
In their case they know that their plan is has a chance of working out its not a recipe for victorys in general or a course that they advice all to take without
reason.
Gandalf and Aragorn suggests they should march out and challenge Mordor because it will draw the eye of Sauron away from Mordor and onto them, thus giving Frodo a chance to complete his mission.
They also know that by destroying the Ring the power of Sauron will lessened to an extent where he becomes beatable.
Gwindor also knows about the prophesy among the Noldor that someone eventually will be able to sail to the west and gain mercy for the Noldor and help to conquer Morgoth.
Neither Boromir nor Turin sees the possibility of "divine intervention"
or at least they have a problem in seeing beyond the physical world.
Boromir doesn´t grasp how lessened Sauron will be by destroying the Ring and Turin, well erhm he is cursed..... also he argues the tactic of NIrnaeth and i would guess things his mother told him about men and valour and his father´s sacrifice.
Hurin i guess would have seen reason if told about the prophesy.
About how alike Turin and Boromir would be ... dark haired,very good looking ,warriors , emotionally distant parents maybe but apart from that.....
I think i will write something on it when i get back from dinner, i had a discussion about them with a friend some time ago.


a.s.
Valinor


Aug 13 2007, 9:28pm

Post #3 of 8 (250 views)
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what does Turin mean when he says [In reply to] Can't Post

"And this also I say: though mortal Men have little life beside the span of the Elves, they would rather spend it in battle than fly or submit. The defiance of Hurin Thalion is a great deed; and though Morgoth slay the doer he cannot make the deed not to have been. Even the Lords of the West will honour it; and is it not written into the history of Arda, which neither Morgoth nor Manwe can unwrite?" [[my emphasis]]

Turin seems to be speaking of the worth of fighting to the fighter, and not as strategy (or, not solely as strategy) in a battle. "For victory is victory, however small, nor is its worth only from what follows from it. But it is expedient also." The fight is the thing; it is expedient, yes; but the main point is that the fight is important whether or not it effects a good outcome.

Is Turin arguing that men (or "Men") are right to fight because it is their fate to do so ("written into the history of Arda")?

a.s.

"an seileachan"

"The success of love is in the loving - it is not in the result of loving. Of course it is natural in love to want the best for the other person, but whether it turns out that way or not does not determine the value of what we have done."

~~Mother Theresa


squire
Half-elven


Aug 14 2007, 4:42pm

Post #4 of 8 (246 views)
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"is it not written into the history of Arda?" [In reply to] Can't Post

I think in this specific case Turin is arguing that the past (e.g., Hurin's "defiance" of Morgoth, a "great deed"), cannot be erased or changed: history is immutable.

This to him is a secondary argument for "doing the right thing" and fighting evil instead of fleeing it to preserve a short, mortal, life:
  1. is that "victory's worth [is not] only from what follows from it", a traditional appeal to honor and heroism for their own sakes, and then he adds
  2. that because the past is a permanent thing, the honor of a right deed cannot be denied or destroyed.

I don't think he is saying, as you suggest, that Men are compelled to fight by fate or nature. He is saying it is the only right thing to do by choice for both intrinsic and extrinsic reasons of morality and honor.

The importance of the "history of Arda" concept here is that history is recorded by Vairë the Weaver, the spouse of Mandos, who sits in judgement of all the Children of Iluvatar. Rather than refer to the fates of Men as pre-determined by the Music of the Ainur, Turin is (rather optimistically) referring to his and his father's individual fates as they will be judged according to their deeds.



squire online:
RR Discussions: The Valaquenta, A Shortcut to Mushrooms, and Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit
Footeramas: The 3rd TORn Reading Room LotR Discussion; and "Tolkien would have LOVED it!"
squiretalk introduces the J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia: A Reader's Diary


Saelind
Lorien


Aug 15 2007, 3:55am

Post #5 of 8 (234 views)
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Fighting [In reply to] Can't Post

1) What similarities are there between Turin and Boromir? What differences?
*I like Galadriel1a’s point about Turin and Boromir not trusting in divine intervention. They see fighting as the only way to defeat their enemies. I think Turin was probably more learned in lore than Boromir was. Boromir also resented that his father was a steward and not the king. Turin wants to be a lord of men like his father but not over all men.
The words of Turin, Boromir, Gandalf and Aragorn are similar, yet we’ve grown to consider those of Turin and Boromir as haughty and harbingers of doom, and those of Gandalf and Aragorn as wise and ultimately the right course to take.

2) How is our perception of these similar comments influenced by the fact that someone good and wise is speaking some of them vs. someone egotistical and driven by selfish motives? How does an author, such as Tolkien, manage (or manipulate) our expectations? Is timing and circumstance everything (e.g., First Age woes vs. Third Age). How much does a character's "character" come into play?
*I think our perception of the characters’ motivations influences how we see these characters a great deal. Aragorn and Gandalf talk in terms of “we” and “us”; Turin and Boromir use “I”, “my” and “mine”. One example is when Boromir is talking to Frodo about using the Ring, he says, “How men would flock to my banner.” Timing and circumstance play a role but they are not everything. Desperation, pride and plain ole folly have their parts in these tales as well.

3) Was marching out with might vs. Morgoth in the 1st Age any more or less hopeless than marching out against Sauron in the 3rd?
*There was no possible way for the Elves and Men to defeat Morgoth. Sauron had an Achilles heel in the Ring that could be used against him or destroyed entirely weakening him to a mere shadow of evil incapable of doing much of anything.

Kinda like the exhaust port on the first Death Star. Not much hope in hitting that thing but it did offer the Rebels a chance.

4) Was Turin right? *Is* victory, through action, a victory, however small? Or, as Gwindor implied, is there greater victory in “in-action?”
*Both are victories depending on the situation. In some ways, Men and Elves were cannon fodder. They wore Morgoth down by making him expend his power and resources in battling them. By the time Morgoth’s forces are defeated in the Battle of Wrath, he is a shell of his former self. But by not facing Morgoth openly, the Elves could not be defeated by sheer numbers alone.

*Turin craves glory, honor and wishes to strike a blow against the Enemy. Gwindor wishes to preserve what is left and knows that only by inaction/stealth will the kingdom remain hidden.


a.s.
Valinor


Aug 17 2007, 2:18am

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The Weaver [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
The importance of the "history of Arda" concept here is that history is recorded by Vairë the Weaver, the spouse of Mandos, who sits in judgement of all the Children of Iluvatar.



Well, yes, squire, I knew that. Wink

I take that quote from Turin to mean that the deeds done were honorable and are already part of the history of Arda and thus of the unfolding of the Music and immutable for either good or bad (by Manwe or Morgoth). Morgoth can't dishonor the past deeds by making them unreal or "not-happened".

And yet, taken together with the statement that "though mortal Men have little life beside the span of the Elves, they would rather spend it in battle than fly or submit" it seemed Turin was talking about future acts of his Men (including his own) and saying something about the fate of mortal men to fight just fights whether they can win them or not.

But on second reading, I think I may have misinterpreted it.

a.s.

"an seileachan"

"The success of love is in the loving - it is not in the result of loving. Of course it is natural in love to want the best for the other person, but whether it turns out that way or not does not determine the value of what we have done."

~~Mother Theresa


Saelind
Lorien


Aug 19 2007, 9:17pm

Post #7 of 8 (222 views)
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Addendum [In reply to] Can't Post

I think this statement by Gwindor sums up the difference between Turin's counsel and Gwindor's.

"You think only of yourself and of your own glory, and bid us each do likewise; but we must think of others besides ourselves, for not all can fight and fall, and those we must keep from war and ruin, while we can."


Wynnie
Rohan


Aug 27 2007, 12:21am

Post #8 of 8 (224 views)
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no obvious winner in the debate [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
1) What similarities are there between Turin and Boromir? What differences?

One big difference in their situations is that Minas Tirith is not a hidden stronghold, and Sauron has already attacked Osgiliath; the Gondorians have no option of avoiding or postponing full-scale war.


In Reply To
2) How is our perception of these similar comments influenced by the fact that someone good and wise is speaking some of them vs. someone egotistical and driven by selfish motives? How does an author, such as Tolkien, manage (or manipulate) our expectations? Is timing and circumstance everything (e.g., First Age woes vs. Third Age)? How much does a character's "character" come into play?

I don't read it quite this way (i.e., Turin as obviously wrong). In the debate between Gwindor and Turin, both make reasonably good arguments. If you set aside what you already know about how the story will end, and set aside the author's hints and foreshadowings, I think it's tough to say who's right. It reminds me of the debate between Hurin and Morwen, whose problem likewise had no single correct solution. Morgoth holds so many of the cards in this game that all strategies against him are flawed.

Funny that Gwindor is preaching restraint, given that he was the one who, in wrath at the slaying of his brother, prematurely began the Battle of Unnumbered Tears (p. 55). I wonder if Turin knows that part of his history.

Turin is back to the idea he once pitched in Doriath:
"Beyond the marches of Doriath my heart urges me," said Túrin. "For onset against our foe I long, rather than defence." (p.84)
but Orodreth is more receptive than Thingol was.



In Reply To
3) Was marching out with might vs. Morgoth in the 1st Age any more or less hopeless than marching out against Sauron in the 3rd?

As Galadriel1a said, the point of marching out against Sauron was to trick him; there was no hope of military victory in either case.


In Reply To
4) Was Turin right? *Is* victory, through action, a victory, however small? Or, as Gwindor implied, is there greater victory in "in-action?"

Turin reminds me a little of Eowyn:
"Lord," she said, "if you must go, then let me ride in your following. For I am weary of skulking in the hills, and wish to face peril and battle."

Eowyn and Turin are both of the school that if things are hopeless anyway, best to go out in a blaze of glory. I'm somewhat tempted to side with them.




I sit beside the fire and think
of all that I have seen,
of meadow-flowers and butterflies
in summers that have been



 
 

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