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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
Exil Noldor-to Aman or to Tol Eressea?
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Elthir
Gondor

Dec 20 2012, 11:04pm

Post #26 of 55 (419 views)
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This statement... [In reply to] Can't Post

... isn't necessarily at odds with the Waldman letter though, in my opinion anyway, as Tolkien wrote that the Noldor were not to dwell 'permanently' in Valinor...

... although as I said before, it seems a bit odd to me if the Exiles can visit Eldamar or further West in Aman, but not dwell permanently there.


CuriousG
Valinor


Dec 21 2012, 1:06am

Post #27 of 55 (418 views)
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Beautiful, but sad [In reply to] Can't Post

Which is a Tolkien trademark. Thanks for all the information! I guess it was my impression that she'd been burned out giving birth to Feanor and would someday recover and come back. I didn't realize she'd refused to.

But wouldn't divorce have simplified these people's lives and after lives!


Ardamírë
Valinor


Dec 21 2012, 1:19am

Post #28 of 55 (443 views)
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Sad but beautiful [In reply to] Can't Post

I think this is why I love Tolkien's work so much. It's full of similar stories. Aldarion and Erendis is a similarly poignant one. Probably going to make a point of read that over Christmas break.

You mention divorce, but I don't think that a realistic option. These people live for the entire duration of the world. Can you imagine how many hundreds of husbands or wives they could have had? I think that kind of defeats the purpose of marriage, no?

Aiya Eärendil Elenion Ancalima! Hail Eärendil, brightest of stars!


Elthir
Gondor

Dec 21 2012, 7:02pm

Post #29 of 55 (470 views)
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I would date this revision... [In reply to] Can't Post

... more vaguely to not before 1955 (rather than 1965), which is quite vague, but I'm pretty sure even Christopher Tolkien only goes that far. The reasoning is that the revised section has Finrod son of Finarfin instead of [Inglor] Felagund son of Finrod, as first published in 1955.

In any case, much later than the Waldman letter is the case of Glorfindel, but Tolkien specifically points out the problem he is faced with there: the ban on the Noldor:


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'Now Glorfindel of Gondolin was one of the exiled Noldor, rebels against the authority of Manwe, and they were all under a ban imposed by him: they could not return in bodily form to the Blessed Realm.'

JRRT, Glorfindel II




This is the ban before the end of the First Age not the later restriction from the Waldman letter. But...



Quote

Manwe, however, was not bound by his own ordinances, and being still the supreme ruler of the Kingdom of Arda could set them aside, when he saw fit.

JRRT, Glorfindel II




So exceptions were possible even at this time, and I think Glorfindel is clearly explained as one, in the fuller essay. One would think Finrod fell under this ban as well, and I'll note here -- considering the special ban on Galadriel at the end of the First Age -- that in the Silmarillion of the early 1950s, Finrod and Galadriel both lead the Exiles over the Grinding Ice. Yet still, in this same general phase, with Finrod's passing Tolkien will describe:


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'But it is said that released soon from Mandos, he went to Valinor and there dwells with Amarie.'

JRRT, Grey Annals c. 1951




I find 'soon' interesting here, as it seems to imply a quick forgiveness and bodily restoration -- another thing too, at this point [external perspective] Elven reincarnation was imagined as accomplished through rebirth as a child.

And since the Waldman letter is 'probably late 1951' there is no way (I'm guessing) to tell if this statement from The Grey Annals is necessarily later than the statement in the Waldman letter.

What we do know however, is that the conception of Felagund being seemingly reincarnated within the Blessed Realm exists within a phase when the Noldor are not later restricted to Tol Eressea -- as Felagund is said to walk there after his death in the same phase as the Gnomes are later allowed in Valinor after the defeat of Morgoth -- that is, in the same phase as the mid to later 1930s ending of Quenta Silmarillion, already posted in this thread.

Beyond late 1951 -- or text written after the infamous letter



So this section of the Lay 'recommenced' must be later than the Waldman letter. Two revisions of note: first Finrod's dying words to Beren, and then the Eldamar reference:

I now must go to my long rest
in Aman, there beyond the shore
of Eldamar for ever more
in memory to dwell' Thus died the king,
as still the elven harpers sing.

Canto IX

From Sirion's Isle they passed away,
but on the hill alone there lay,
a green grave, and a stone was set,
and there there lie the white bones yet
of Finrod fair, Finarfin's son,
unless that land be changed and gone,
or foundered in unfathomed seas,
while Finrod walks beneath the trees
in Eldamar and comes no more
to the grey world of tears and war.

from Canto X


In what period is Finrod imagined to return here? I guess it doesn't matter too much if he is allowed beyond Tol Eressea before or after the end of the First Age. Whether Tolkien was considering his 'new' statement from the letter or not [when he revised this section of the poem], might be raised, although that is only so compelling I guess -- but accepting this reference as certainly post-dating the letter, in my opinion we still have the notion that the Noldor appear to be able to 'dwell' in lands beyond Eressea, just not permanently -- if we imagine the restriction of the letter is still in play, so to speak...

... or with Finrod, we might possibly have another exception like Glorfindel and even the earlier ban. In any case, in the late text Glorfindel did not have to be born again as an Elf child, as by this late date Tolkien had rejected the earlier idea of how Elves were reincarnated.


Ardamírë
Valinor


Dec 22 2012, 12:24am

Post #30 of 55 (441 views)
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The ban of the Noldor [In reply to] Can't Post


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they could not return in bodily form to the Blessed Realm


Now this quote is interesting. I personally take it to mean that the Noldor could not return to Aman either by sailing across the sea or by daring the Helcaraxë. That, to me, would indicate that said elf was returning in the body. But upon death, the spirit returned to Mandos when sundered from the body. So the spirit returns to Mandos, awaits judgment, and is eventually "rehoused" in a like body and resumes interaction with the living.

Ok, so that takes care of the Noldor who return during the First Age, but after that, I don't have a clue. Is the ban lifted at the end of the War of Wrath? I can't remember. I know Galadriel seems to have her own private ban, but surely not all of the Noldor returned or died. In fact, Idril set sail into the west with Tuor, though I can't remember if they went beyond Tol Eressëa even during the First Age, so I'm all confused now.

But really, I just don't think this idea of the Noldor doomed to dwell forever upon Tol Eressëa makes any sense. Why would they be forever doomed to a sort of purgatory? I don't think it fits with Tolkien's catholic beliefs (though, admittedly, I don't know much about Catholicism). I don't know, I think I'll have to stick to the Silmarillion as it stood, and as you quoted above:


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And when they came into the West the Gnomes for the most part rehabited the Lonely Isle, that looks both West and East; and that land became very fair, and so remains. But some returned even to Valinor, as all were free to do who willed; and there the Gnomes were admitted again to the love of Manwe and the pardon of the Valar; and the Teleri forgave their ancient grief, and the curse was laid to rest.


If Tolkien pictured the rebellion of the Noldor as a sort of Biblical fall, then the return of the Noldor acts as a sort of redemption. To leave them on Tol Eressëa does not leave us the option of a full redemption.

Aiya Eärendil Elenion Ancalima! Hail Eärendil, brightest of stars!


Nerven
Rivendell

Dec 22 2012, 7:15am

Post #31 of 55 (391 views)
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I [In reply to] Can't Post

too think that is makes no sense to restric them to Eressea.After all Manwe forgave them and the curse was laid to rest, it is said. To make them stay on Eressea sounds not very forgiving to me. Sure, many Noldor wanted to stay either way on the isle and if they could visit, why not make them stay permanently if they want? I have no idea why Tolkien wrote that in the Waldmen letter, maybe at this point he thought that that would be the best solution, but that doesn´t mean that this was his last idea on the matter.


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The immortals who were permitted to leave ME and seek Aman - the undying lands of Valinor and Eressea, an Island assigned to the eldar - set sail in ships

That he wrote 1971, after the Waldmen letter and it says that the elves could decide where they would life, doesn´t it?


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In the event it proved that it was Galadriel's abnegation of pride and trust in her own powers, and her absolute refusal of any unlawful enhancement of them, that provided the ship to bear her back to her home. (HME 12:320-21, n.15 to p.299)

of Dwarves and Men, 1969

That quote only concerns Galadriel and not all the Noldor, but if a double banned and leader of the rebellion could return to Valinor then the other Noldor could probably also. I think it indicates Valinor as destinatin, cause her home, like it is said there, was never Eressea, but Tirion.


Elthir
Gondor

Dec 22 2012, 2:58pm

Post #32 of 55 (374 views)
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Bodily return [In reply to] Can't Post


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Now this quote is interesting. I personally take it to mean that the Noldor could not return to Aman either by sailing across the sea or by daring the Helcaraxë. That, to me, would indicate that said elf was returning in the body. But upon death, the spirit returned to Mandos when sundered from the body. So the spirit returns to Mandos, awaits judgment, and is eventually "rehoused" in a like body and resumes interaction with the living.




Right, but in this essay I think it also refers to the decision to rehouse Glorfindel and allow him 'back' in bodily form in Aman during the ban, as that is what Manwe will be doing by not minding his own ordinance.

And I don't think the Waldman letter is necessarily dooming the Noldor to dwell forever on Tol Eressea, as in 'never' leave it. Why add the word permanently? But as others have pointed out, allowing one to visit but not dwell permanently has its own affect too -- or might have at least, on a given elf if not all of the Exiles.

And although we are in a very different context here, the Waldman comment arguably echoes a very early scenario found in notes to The Book of Lost Tales:




Quote

Defeat of Melko.
(...)
Elwing and most of the Elves go back to dwell in Tol Eressea. The Gods will not let them dwell in Valinor.




But even here, Christopher Tolkien notes: 'That some did return in the end to Valinor may be concluded from the words of Meril-i-Turinqi (I. 129) that Ingil, who built Kortirion, 'went long ago back to Valinor and is with Manwe.'

Smile



Ardamírë
Valinor


Dec 22 2012, 3:29pm

Post #33 of 55 (353 views)
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Galadriel's home [In reply to] Can't Post

I agree that if Galadriel were to return home, it would be to Valinor not Tol Eressea. I just don't think there is enough evidence outside of the Waldman letter to suggest they can't dwell permanently in Valinor. And as I've said, it's just not satisfactory, IMO.

Aiya Eärendil Elenion Ancalima! Hail Eärendil, brightest of stars!


Ardamírë
Valinor


Dec 22 2012, 3:35pm

Post #34 of 55 (357 views)
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Glorfindel [In reply to] Can't Post


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Right, but in this essay I think it also refers to the decision to rehouse Glorfindel and allow him 'back' in bodily form in Aman during the ban, as that is what Manwe will be doing by not minding his own ordinance.


I might be just making things up here Angelic but since Mandos is a form of purgatory, rehousing Glorfindel after his stay there wouldn't be against the ban would it? He's done his time and apparently repented of any evil deeds, else he wouldn't have been released.

Aiya Eärendil Elenion Ancalima! Hail Eärendil, brightest of stars!


Elthir
Gondor

Dec 22 2012, 3:53pm

Post #35 of 55 (361 views)
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Late quotes [In reply to] Can't Post

 

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That he wrote 1971, after the Waldmen letter and it says that the elves could decide where they would life, doesn´t it?




If it does I think it's a very general statement nonetheless, and to be honest I'm not sure what Tolkien means by an Island assigned to the Eldar, despite that I think I know what the word assign means: 'to set apart for a particular purpose'. And perhaps that's all it means -- it's an Isle designated for Elves not Men.

But it doesn't really tell us about the Exiles in particular. Is it meant to include them? Possibly, and one could maybe press the point and say by its general nature it includes the Exiles. Or maybe it can include them because the Exiles were permitted to leave Middle-earth and seek Aman -- because here it sounds like Tol Eressea is part of Aman in any case, and the Noldor were permitted to seek Eressea.

Granted, Tolkien doesn't seem to make that distinction here. Does he need to? Or desire to? Considering the larger context of this section of the letter, what would a digression about possible restrictions for a certan group of 'immortals' add?



Quote
That quote only concerns Galadriel and not all the Noldor, but if a double banned and leader of the rebellion could return to Valinor then the other Noldor could probably also. I think it indicates Valinor as destinatin, cause her home, like it is said there, was never Eressea, but Tirion.




Again you could press the very argument you are making, that her 'home' wasn't Eressea. Or again, I see nothing in the Waldman letter barring Galadriel from returning home -- that is, if she was not an exception, she would only be kept from living permanently in Tirion.


And if anyone was an exception, and to be honored with a return West without restriction, why not Galadriel after her rejection of the One and struggles against Sauron? Makes sense to me. And I agree that there are later quotes which seem to imply that the statement in the Waldman letter was abandoned or forgotten...

... but nothing (so far that I recall) later where Tolkien again appears to consider the particular question of the Exiles -- as he had in the Waldman letter or in Quenta Silmarillion I mean -- compared to comments concerning the general circumstances of Elves passing Over Sea.


Elthir
Gondor

Dec 22 2012, 4:09pm

Post #36 of 55 (350 views)
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Goldilocks [In reply to] Can't Post


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I might be just making things up here (snip of emoticon) but since Mandos is a form of purgatory, rehousing Glorfindel after his stay there wouldn't be against the ban would it? He's done his time and apparently repented of any evil deeds, else he wouldn't have been released.




I think we have two things going on here: if an Elf is judged ready for reincarnation then so be it... but hold on, the Noldor were still under the ban at this point too, so now Tolkien has to explain that Manwe will put aside his own ordinance. Otherwise Glorfindel will have to await reincarnation once the ban is lifted for the Exiles in general, which Tolkien does not appear to consider here.

In other words, why does Manwe have to disregard his own ordinance here if the reincarnation of Glorfindel -- at this point -- does not go against it?


Ardamírë
Valinor


Dec 22 2012, 4:17pm

Post #37 of 55 (359 views)
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Manwe's ordinances [In reply to] Can't Post

I have to say, I don't have a clue what he'd be putting aside. Because who's to say when Glorfindel (or any others of the Noldor from the first age) were rehoused. I'm not sure.

Aiya Eärendil Elenion Ancalima! Hail Eärendil, brightest of stars!


Elthir
Gondor

Dec 22 2012, 4:22pm

Post #38 of 55 (363 views)
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Glorfindel II [In reply to] Can't Post

The Glorfindel II essay has Glorfindel reincarnated before the end of the First Age.

Thus we have Manwe putting aside the 'ban' in the sense that Glorfindel has essentially returned in bodily form [or to physical life] in Aman.


Nerven
Rivendell

Dec 22 2012, 5:13pm

Post #39 of 55 (358 views)
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My [In reply to] Can't Post


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and to be honest I'm not sure what Tolkien means by an Island assigned to the Eldar,

my first thought was that he is referring to the isle which the Eldar used to come to Aman the first time. First it was part of ME, then Osse I believe used it as sort of a ferry boat for the elves, and therefore assigned to the Eldar.




Quote
Elwing and most of the Elves go back to dwell in Tol Eressea. The Gods will not let them dwell in Valinor.



But even here, Christopher Tolkien notes: 'That some did return in the end to Valinor may be concluded from the words of Meril-i-Turinqi (I. 129) that Ingil, who built Kortirion, 'went long ago back to Valinor and is with Manwe.'

I never read it before, but even in this early concept they were allowed to return. I don´t understand why Elwing was treated so bad, she really has done nothing wrong and is grand child of Melian who surely lives in Valinor.

Regarding Galadriel, if someone of the Noldor has earned her ticket to Valinor, then it would be poor old Galadriel IMHO. But I anyway think she could return, she was said to be mighty among the Eldar of Aman and obtained for Gimli the right to go to Aman (I can´t imagine her doing that from Tol Eressea) as well and it is said that she recieved the pardon and indeed honour from the Valar. Galadriel surley would not feel very honoured if she would be forced to dwell on Tol Eressea.


(This post was edited by Nerven on Dec 22 2012, 5:21pm)


Elthir
Gondor

Dec 22 2012, 5:45pm

Post #40 of 55 (367 views)
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Ingil's return [In reply to] Can't Post


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I never read it before, but even in this early concept they were allowed to return.




Well, I think that's a bit of a simplification regarding this old note. The note reveals that in the main these Elves were not allowed to return, with the attending detail that 'some' -- or at least Ingil according to what I posted -- returned.

In any case my only point in raising that was that the Waldman idea, very generally speaking as a restriction on certain Elves returning West, arguably had an earlier incarnation in the period of The Book of Lost Tales.


Ardamírë
Valinor


Dec 22 2012, 7:15pm

Post #41 of 55 (326 views)
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But he's gone through purgatory [In reply to] Can't Post

in the Halls of Mandos. Perhaps I'm reading too much into it, but I think the idea is that they're only released from Mandos once they have repented of their deeds. Could not the Noldor repent of their rebellion and be pardoned? I guess in that sense it is the ban that is being put aside. I think we're on the same page, right?

Aiya Eärendil Elenion Ancalima! Hail Eärendil, brightest of stars!


Ardamírë
Valinor


Dec 22 2012, 7:18pm

Post #42 of 55 (336 views)
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I don't remember if anyone has brought this up [In reply to] Can't Post

but this passage is from Unfinished Tales. It's a quotation from Galadriel.


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What wrong did the golden house of Finarfin do that I should ask the pardon of the Valar, or be content with an isle in the sea whose native land was Aman the Blessed?


Seems to support the Waldman letter, though I'm not sure when this was written. Crazy

Aiya Eärendil Elenion Ancalima! Hail Eärendil, brightest of stars!

(This post was edited by Ardamírë on Dec 22 2012, 7:18pm)


Nerven
Rivendell

Dec 22 2012, 7:26pm

Post #43 of 55 (321 views)
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I [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
but this passage is from Unfinished Tales. It's a quotation from Galadriel.


Quote
What wrong did the golden house of Finarfin do that I should ask the pardon of the Valar, or be content with an isle in the sea whose native land was Aman the Blessed?


Seems to support the Waldman letter, though I'm not sure when this was written. Crazy

I read it as if she has to ask for pardon to live in Valinor, if she asks not for pardon, she can only go as far as Eressea. So the way to Eressea is always open to her. But it´s true, you can interpret it differnetly.

What about that:


Quote
From the Grey Havens the Eldar ever an anon set sail (...) '... for by the mercy of the Valar the Firstborn could still follow the Straight Road and return, if they would, to their kindred in Eressea and Valinor beyond the encircling seas.'


The last quote indicates that they could go to Eressea or Valinor. But I have no idea when he wrote that, but it´s from teh Sil.


Ardamírë
Valinor


Dec 22 2012, 7:31pm

Post #44 of 55 (316 views)
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It's says the Eldar [In reply to] Can't Post

So that's anyone who wants to go. It could be interpreted as the Noldor can only go as far as Tol Eressea, but any others can go on to Valinor.

Not how I personally like to take it, but it's definitely a valid argument.

Aiya Eärendil Elenion Ancalima! Hail Eärendil, brightest of stars!


Nerven
Rivendell

Dec 22 2012, 7:40pm

Post #45 of 55 (330 views)
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Yes, [In reply to] Can't Post

your right. That would be so mean. The other are able to go further, the Noldor have to stop, as if they are second class elves.Unimpressed I really can´t accept it and I´m on Galadriels side here, what wrong has the golden house of Finarfin done.

But then, aren´t the Eldar not only those who have seen the trees? That would apply only to the Exils.

The term is "return" the other elves wouldn´t return, case they never were there at all.


Quote
From the Grey Havens the Eldar ever an anon set sail (...) '... for by the mercy of the Valar the Firstborn could still follow the Straight Road and return, if they would, to their kindred in Eressea and Valinor beyond the encircling seas.'


So I come to the conclusion that it only refers to the Exils.


(This post was edited by Nerven on Dec 22 2012, 7:47pm)


Ardamírë
Valinor


Dec 22 2012, 7:45pm

Post #46 of 55 (305 views)
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The Noldor [In reply to] Can't Post

are under a ban for their rebellion against the Valar and the kin-slaying at Alqualonde. They're not second class, but they definitely fell - hard. The Valar don't have to let them back, but I like to think of them extending grace and pardon to the Noldor.

Aiya Eärendil Elenion Ancalima! Hail Eärendil, brightest of stars!


Nerven
Rivendell

Dec 22 2012, 7:48pm

Post #47 of 55 (306 views)
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You [In reply to] Can't Post

are right, sometimes I forget that there were really really bad Noldor, I tend to overlook that and see only the innocent ones of the house of Finarfin or the other Noldor who didn´t slay anyone and took no oath.


Ardamírë
Valinor


Dec 22 2012, 7:55pm

Post #48 of 55 (306 views)
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In some versions [In reply to] Can't Post

Galadriel took an active part in the rebellion, so even mighty Galadriel is tainted.

Aiya Eärendil Elenion Ancalima! Hail Eärendil, brightest of stars!


Elthir
Gondor

Dec 22 2012, 8:02pm

Post #49 of 55 (300 views)
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external chronology [In reply to] Can't Post

Is that quote from Of The Rings Of Power And The Third Age?

If so it could date to before the Waldman letter in any case, generally worded or not.


Elthir
Gondor

Dec 22 2012, 8:22pm

Post #50 of 55 (306 views)
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How many Sun Years [In reply to] Can't Post


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(...) Could not the Noldor repent of their rebellion and be pardoned? I guess in that sense it is the ban that is being put aside. I think we're on the same page, right?



I'm not sure. I think so Smile

It seems to me that Tolkien is noting Manwe neglecting the rules of the ban to allow Glorfindel's physical return in Aman -- before the Noldor in general are pardoned after the War of Wrath (except for Galadriel, for example, who remained banned at this point).

So the ban is seemingly still in play even if a given Noldo has repented before its lifting. Or why would Manwe need to neglect his ordinance if the ban was already lifted? Which made me think (unless there is something else that I'm forgetting here) that Tolkien could have run around this by waiting something like around 80 Sun Years for the rehousing of Glorfindel.

I'm referring to the years between the Fall of Gondolin (death of Glorfindel) and the end of the First Age (SY 590 if I remember all the dates correctly), if the ban was lifted around the end of this Age.

Or something!

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