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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
The Silmarillion discussion: Valaquenta
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Gwenhwyfar
The Shire

Jan 9 2013, 6:33am

Post #26 of 92 (482 views)
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Hello! I'm new here and am quite happy to find that I managed to arrive when an electronic Silmarillion-reading party is getting started! [In reply to] Can't Post

How did you feel the first time you ever arrived at this chapter and discovered it was a long list?

I actually didn't define the Valaquenta as a "list" the first time I read it (when I was 14 or 15), and I was grateful for the concise presentation of information to which I could return when I needed to look somebody up. Perhaps this was because my best friend (the person who started me on The Hobbit & LOTR) gave me advance warning not to expect The Silmarillion to be the same novel-like kind of book. In fact, she described it as "a history book for elf children to study." While that definition might be debatable, it made the book comprehensible to me.



I note that (at least in my edition) we get the lists as “flat” prose This also makes sense if one looks at the Valaquenta as a reference book for little beginner-level elf students. I always imagined it as a sort of summary document that was derived/adapted from more complicated songs and legends that the the grown-ups would know. (This textbook approach comes with an added bonus: an excuse to imagine all the strategies adorable elf kids could employ when trying to get out of doing their homework!)


How do you react to authors deploying so much invented terminology (Tolkien specifically, other authors for comparison)? Tolkien was the first author who did this that I read. I loved the intricacy of his world and languages, but I've been disappointed with most other authors who attempt such things. Primarily, when I'm displeased with an author's invented vocabulary, it has been because I felt that they were unoriginal and simply emulating Tolkien (whether consciously or not). I was particularly irked by Christopher Paolini's YA Eragon series. For example, his map contained places called "Melian" and "Beirland" and he had a character named "Arya" (she was an elf princess/love interest, of course). He also used real Old English to provide vocabulary for his "ancient language" which held magical properties. Now, why is it ok with me for Tolkien to apply Old English to the language of the Rohirrim but not for anybody else to make similar use of it? Tolkien didn't invent Old English, yet I still decided that Mr. Paolini was "trying too hard to be Tolkien." Is it simply that Paolini isn't a very good writer (which is probably true regardless of his language usage)? Your question made me realize that I haven't encountered any invented-language-intensive books written before Tolkien's writings were published and therefore I can't help comparing any such book to his. This may or may not be fair, so I'd love to hear about earlier language-makers if anyone has suggestions. It could be (probably is) that Tolkien is better at inventing languages than any other author, but I've read and enjoyed lots of medium-quality yet original fantasy but this is seldom the case when word-invention takes the forefront. I now wonder whether I'm excessively picky (or have had bad luck finding the right books) or if all the middle-quality language inventors are overwhelmed by the magnitude of Tolkien's lingusitic imagination?


The Valar have gender, but we’re told in Ainulindale that they can alter their appearance like clothes and similar comments are made in Valaquenta. Do you reckon they are stuck being male/female, as humans are? I agree with squire. Tolkien seems to have regarded gender as an essential part of a person's personality, so it's unlikely that the Valar he imagined would ever feel "stuck" in their gender or wish to change it even if they could.


The Valar come in pairs and are mostly married (a male Valar and a female Valier). Is that significant?
Melkor is not married, and is without female equivalent. Is this significant? I like what Eldineth said about Melkor being a non-sharing person. While this goes a good way toward explaining his evilness, he isn't the only unmarried Vala mentioned. Nienna, who "dwells alone" is my favorite character in the Valaquenta (anybody Gandalf wants to hang out with must be pretty coolCool). The difference is that she cares deeply about others and shares their griefs. Melkor in his self-isolation is willing to impose his will on others but not to receive any advice, friendship, etc. Nienna seems like his opposite. She shares in a primarily receptive way; since she "does not weep for herself," she needs to hear, absorb, and learn from the sorrows of others if she is to have any power at all. Her job is to comfort and strengthen people who are hurting, so she would be useless if she couldn't take in other people's pain. I wonder if -- in the plan where Melkor never turned evil -- he and Nienna were meant to be paired?


beren_boy
Registered User

Jan 9 2013, 10:01am

Post #27 of 92 (419 views)
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On Lists... [In reply to] Can't Post

The first time I read the Sil as a 14 year old I pretty much skimmed over this part once I realized it was basically just a list of characters.
Later as I develop a (not unrelated to Tolkien) interest in archaeology and ancient history I started to really appreciate what Tolkien was doing.
The Valaquenta is in many ways really reminiscent of the ancient King Lists of civilizations such as the Egyptians, Babylonians and Hittites. The prose style is also strikingly similar to that of early civilizations.
It would be interesting to go back and have a look at the dates that those ancient texts were being translated, and to compare them to when Tolkien was writing the Valaqunta. As a philologist he would undoubtedly have been aware of these ancient texts and it strikes me that his employment of this style could be an attempt to root his mythic prehistory into an authentically ancient 'real world' style.


squire
Valinor


Jan 9 2013, 11:23am

Post #28 of 92 (422 views)
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Neat idea about Nienna and Melkor [In reply to] Can't Post

It's as if you've identified those two as being too female and too male to be able to benefit from a conjugal relationship. The bachelor and spinster Valar? "I've just never met anyone who... you know..."

But surely it's the other non-married Vala that Nienna should have hooked up with: Ulmo. He too has an immense capacity for sympathy, and in fact that becomes his defining characteristic in the Quenta Silmarillion, in which he takes a more forward role in helping the Elves and Men than almost any other of the Valar. In fact after the story developed, Tolkien had to rewrite the original description of Ulmo to detach his more destructive nature as the elemental god of the oceans and transfer that role to Osse.

Nienna and Ulmo could never get past the potato/potahto, garden/underwater but-where-would-we-live thing. I think Melkor was always meant to be alone because of his fated role as the Rebel. And I think when he wrote the Silmarillion and the Valaquenta Tolkien deeply believed that only a male personality could fulfill such a dynamic and original role. It wasn't until his later middle age that he began to conceive of women as independent and self-generating actors, leading to such brilliant female creations as Galadriel, Eowyn, and Erendis.



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


= Forum has no new posts. Forum needs no new posts.


acheron
Gondor


Jan 9 2013, 1:30pm

Post #29 of 92 (405 views)
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List of kings [In reply to] Can't Post

Interesting note comparing it to ancient lists of kings. Tolkien also did something similar again with a list of the rulers of Numenor. (Published in Unfinished Tales.) It's more in list form than the straight prose of the Valaquenta (at least as published), though each ruler gets at least a sentence if I remember right.

For instance, on the planet Earth, man had always assumed that he was more intelligent than dolphins because he had achieved so much -- the wheel, New York, wars, and so on -- while all the dolphins had ever done was muck about in the water having a good time. But conversely, the dolphins had always believed that they were far more intelligent than man, for precisely the same reasons. -- Douglas Adams


CuriousG
Valinor


Jan 9 2013, 1:50pm

Post #30 of 92 (434 views)
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Evil bachelors [In reply to] Can't Post

Another consideration is that Sauron and Morgoth were both extremely self-centered. Any marriage to a female would at best be an alliance where they shared a mutual desire to enslave the world. Even then, as Gandalf told Saruman about the Ring, only one could wield that power. If your goal is total domination, you wouldn't brook any rivals, including a woman sitting next to you on a throne. Probably the Melkor/Ungoliant story is illustrative of how doomed those relationships would be.


The Gardener
Registered User

Jan 9 2013, 4:46pm

Post #31 of 92 (413 views)
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Male - Female - and Melkor [In reply to] Can't Post

I first read the Silmarillion in the early 1980’s and wasn’t disappointed because I always saw it as a way of getting more background to LOTR rather than as a new story. I read LOTR in the early 1960’s probably before some of you were born!!
I was interested in your comment about the “gods” being in male/female pairs No Wizard. This is surely a reflection of Tolkien’s own strong belief in the importance of such partnerships. The way he waited until he was old enough to approach his Edith and then married her. Visit their grave at Wolvercote here in Oxford to see the way he linked his marriage with the Lay of Beren and Luthien. I would also say that once again you can see his strong Catholic faith emerging.
Re- reading it I was fascinated by the way he used the description of their various responsibilities to glory in the beauty of the world almost as if he wanted to personalise all these things so that their glory is even more fully expressed.
I know Tolkien did not like anyone trying to make direct links between his stories and his faith but I cannot fail to point out that his Lady of the Stars is clearly a hint at the way Catholics (and I am one by the way) think of Mary.


noWizardme
Tol Eressea


Jan 9 2013, 5:43pm

Post #32 of 92 (376 views)
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"obsidian bunker" and other matters... [In reply to] Can't Post

Welcome Gwenhwyfar and Beren_boy! Nice to have you along.

I notice I'm getting a lot of answers to the questions I posed in my starter. Which is great - but I hope everyone realizes that there is no set agenda: please do raise any discussion topic relevant to this chapter; don't restrict yourself to answering the initial questions !

I think CuriousG has nailed why Melkor ends up single! Quite agree, he's not about to share his obsidian bunker with any equal.(Don't know whether he really has an obsidian bunker, but it's so nice to say "obsidian bunker", especially out loud, that I'm going to imagine one until proved otherwise).

I thought it was interesting that Gwenhwyfar was speculating on what fate was lined up for Melkor if he had not turned evil.: Did Eru have a plan for Melkor (and the others)? Did he plan all along that Melkor would turn out evil because a bit of evil is cosmically necessary in some way? Or did he not have any particular plan, and the Valar end up as gods of this or that according to their own talents an inclinations? I guess that brings up the very big issue of fate/divine plan versus free will in the Tolkien Universe. Perhaps someone would like to start a separate thread tackling the subject more generally ("Bilbo was meant to find the Ring" etc.) It probably can't be settled, but that doesn't mean it wouldn't be fun to discuss.

Made up Language: Gwenhwyfar says "I was particularly irked by Christopher Paolini's YA Eragon series." Me too - not only the fantasy-by-numbers map and place names, but also because it seemed like too obvious a Tolkien/Star Wars mash-up to me (Princess carrying valuable item is perused by evil forces. Princess is captured but spirits item away. Item found by farm boy with dreams. Farm boy finds someone who can explain just enough about the item, and proposes quest. Meanwhile evil forces looking for item trash Farm Boy's house and kill his Uncle, thereby removing any remaining motivation to stay home rather than set out on quest... Remind you of anything?) Nothing wrong with making your own flavour of fantasy soup (to borrow an analogy of Tolkien's) but, personally speaking, it doesn't end well for me if my first reading of a book is overshadowed by thinking "Author, I see what you are doing there!" I tend quickly to conclude "these are not the stories you're looking for."

Gwenhwyfar, your idea of "the Valaquenta as a reference book for little beginner-level elf students" caused me to realise there is a difference between the Sil and some other works.I was thinking that in other works Tolkien has the conceit that there is a real Middle-earth book on which he's based his story. If I recall, the Hobbit is supposed to be based on Bilbo's writings, whereas the Lord of the Rings is taken from further accounts written by Hobbits. Similarly, Tale of Aragorn and Arwen is supposed to have been written by Faramir's grandson Barahir. We don't get any similar in-world view for the Sil, so are left to imagine who the Middle-earth Mallory (or Christopher Tolkien) might be, collecting these old tales up, trying to decide what is canonical, and putting it all in order. . Had the book been published in JRRT's lifetime, I wonder whether he would have added a bit of meta-story like this? As an alternative to putting the Sil in Elrond's library, as an elf manual, it could also be part of a fourth-age literary flowering in Gondor: having an elvish Queen and a King descended from Isuldur might create a lot of interest in the old tales... It's probably what is known on this forum as an Utterly Untestable Theory (or UUT).

I like Beren-boy's List of Kings idea. Yes, that is very much what this is.

Lastly, I just saw The Gardener's point about Varda/Elbereth perhaps being inspired by some elements of the Catholic view of Virgin Mary - it would be interesting if you would elaborate!


Mim
The Shire

Jan 9 2013, 5:49pm

Post #33 of 92 (379 views)
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No evil women [In reply to] Can't Post

Or perhaps Tolkien struggled to envisage a female character being evil enough to match them. Ungoliant is something of an anomaly but I think we generally speaking see that the more evil a race the less women it has. We see, comparatively, quite a few female elves and quite a few female Hobbits. On the other hand I don't think its ever even suggested that there are any female Orcs or any females of any of the evil classes.


DanielLB
Immortal


Jan 9 2013, 6:04pm

Post #34 of 92 (382 views)
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There was also Thuringwethil [In reply to] Can't Post

But again, she cannot be compared to other dominant "evil" male characters.

Other notable mentions to more stubborn/angry/bitter/cunning/devious female characters include Lobelia, Erendis and Queen Beruthiel. That's all I can think of. And they don't come anywhere near the evil of Morgoth.


Rostron2
Gondor


Jan 9 2013, 6:19pm

Post #35 of 92 (352 views)
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How did you feel the first time you ever arrived at this chapter and discovered it was a long list? [In reply to] Can't Post

I recall my first encounter with this chapter, and found myself already taking notes! I've always looked at this chapter and some others as a reference book, like a Dictionary to pull down off the shelf when I find something elsewhere in the more complete story narratives that needs explaining. In a lot of ways, I think it really was Tolkien's style and intent to have such a reference volume, but like some authors, he had his own way of 'filing' things, and each of us has our own system. In my won writing, I often have a separate reference writing that I go back to when my gray matter gets tired.

I like your analogy to introducing the players in a game.

So, long story short, I read it to absorb the basics, and then bookmark it. I still need to go to that set of bookmarks. When I someday get it on my electric wonder device, that will be even easier. Who knows, my daughter may someday be able to touch the electronic page and little reference bubbles will appear in the way Shakespeare has annotated editions like the Riverside, to guide people through the arcana.

You're right, Tolkien was being a bit antique in his approach to things. Even his sentence structure doesn't scan under modern spellcheckers! Books are just a lot more streamlined in their structure today.


noWizardme
Tol Eressea


Jan 9 2013, 6:22pm

Post #36 of 92 (365 views)
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Females at large [In reply to] Can't Post

Presumably there must be SOME female orcs, biologically speaking, I mean? :)

I was thinking that we tend to meet female characters when the action goes to habitations. So we don't meet any dwarven ladies, either.


Plurmo
Rohan

Jan 9 2013, 6:31pm

Post #37 of 92 (362 views)
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Arien and Galadriel [In reply to] Can't Post

Were the best candidates for the evil female. Arien rejected Melkor and Galadriel rejected the Ring. Even then I think Tolkien used almost every component there is to female evil in his stories without ever having to reference to it as such, sparing himself and his works of much ill-informed, destructive and irrelevant criticism.


Mim
The Shire

Jan 9 2013, 7:10pm

Post #38 of 92 (356 views)
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Sure... [In reply to] Can't Post

But even when Frodo and Sam are in Mordor, there aren't any female orcs hanging out at the campfires. So where ever they are, they are very much outside the narrative


Mim
The Shire

Jan 9 2013, 7:18pm

Post #39 of 92 (371 views)
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Female evil... [In reply to] Can't Post

I find wording it like that interesting. Perhaps you didn't mean it that way, but perhaps there is something to the idea that male and female evil are coded differently. If it's said that male and female evil are different then its more possible to consider Tolkien's female characters as evil. However, I think that opens the door to just the kind of criticism you're talking about. I just found your use of that specific wording interesting.


noWizardme
Tol Eressea


Jan 9 2013, 8:13pm

Post #40 of 92 (368 views)
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Sorry, I'm probably dragging you off subject... [In reply to] Can't Post

Lack of lady-orcs in Mordor might seem odd - will happily speculate why if that would entertain, but I think that might detract from your point (and would aldo drag us off the subject of this thread). Sorry- before i muddled things, I think you were remarking on the comparative lack of evil female characters, in the Tolkein universe and wondering whether it was significant?


telain
Rohan

Jan 10 2013, 12:53am

Post #41 of 92 (354 views)
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Amazorcs? [In reply to] Can't Post

we really don't get a complete description of ALL the orcs in Mordor, do we? Perhaps Sam and Frodo simply didn't walk past the Amazon-orc regiments... ;)


telain
Rohan

Jan 10 2013, 1:26am

Post #42 of 92 (375 views)
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Varda, not starry-eyed for Melkor; on being a single Vala/ier [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
With Manwë dwells Varda, ... she came to the aid of Manwë; for Melkor she knew from before the making of the Music and rejected him, and he hated her, and feared her more than all others Eru made.


Ah, unrequited love...

So Varda's rejection instigates Melkor's revenge on the rest of creation? That old chestnut...

There may be dozens of reasons why Tolkien has few acknowledged evil female characters but some things that a few different posters have said so far makes me think:

- no obviously evil race has acknowledged female characters except for Ungoliant/Shelob. This suggests that all or at least many spiders are female in Tolkien's world/mind. Ever-so-slightly disturbing.

- the female characters that are good are quite powerful (Galadriel, Varda, Eowyn), while those that are nasty/cunning seem far more petty (LobeliaS-B, for one.)

On being a single Vala/ier

- there is certainly a rather "interesting" undercurrent to many of the relationships Tolkien sets up. Many people who remain single until later in life are either rather disturbed (Eol comes to mind) or have quite a "difficult" time finding an appropriate mate (Turin? among others). This undercurrent seems retroactively applied to the Valar; all the married ones are more or less "normal(?)" while Melkor goes off the deep end, Ulmo lives in the deep end:

Quote
Ulmo's voice is as deep as the deeps of the ocean which he only has seen.

and admittedly doesn't like to "clothe himself in a body in the manner of his peers." Nienna is quintessential sadness.

Something tells me Tolkien didn't like being alone.


telain
Rohan

Jan 10 2013, 1:38am

Post #43 of 92 (329 views)
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Mandos: Hand of Fate [In reply to] Can't Post

Makes me think of an old B (C?) movie amusingly reprised by Mystery Science Theater: 3000 called "Manos: Hands of Fate"

and great job on the mnemonics! I am still trying to think of one for Manwë, but he is a bit stubborn isn't he?

on the filler-wives: Oromë's horse (Nahar) and horn (Valaróma) were described before Vána -- and neither Vána nor Nessa really do anything but run around and make flowers bloom (which is no bad thing, but really, Tolkien, you couldn't come up with anything else?)


Gwenhwyfar
The Shire

Jan 10 2013, 2:48am

Post #44 of 92 (368 views)
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No beards, but . . . . [In reply to] Can't Post

Perhaps Frodo and Sam did see lady orcs, but they're all just really ugly so no one appreciated their girlish charms? Crazy

Regarding The Valaquenta: Shipping Edition, I guess another way to think about it would be to ask what motives guide Tolkien's single people. squire, I thought about Nienna/Ulmo, but (largely for reasons you mentioned) decided it wouldn't work. Since there are nine Valar, it seems that Eru's Plan A would have to have at least one single person. There could be a Nienna/Ulmo pairing, a Nienna/GoodMelkor pairing, or all three could be single (as they were in Plan B). There was an impediment to stop the Nienna/Melkor ship from sailing (one of the parties turned evil), but none to prevent Nienna and Ulmo from marrying if they wanted to.

I think Ulmo is most suited to be the "odd man out" as it were. If Plan A was for GoodMelkor to be in charge, it makes sense that maybe he was meant to have a wife. After all, Manwe (who got Melkor's originally-intended job) and Varda seem to need each other in order to do their best job ruling.

Ulmo reminds me of another bachelor whose personality inclined him to a solitary life of wandering around and listening to people: Gandalf. It's quite hard to imagine a Mrs. Mithrandir, even if she were awesome, also a Maia, tough, shared his compassion, liked long walks in the wilderness, etc. Gandalf liked people and was willing to spend time with others (particularly hobbits), no matter how grumpy he may have seemed. It's just that to do his job properly, he had to go poking around secret corners of the world where there wouldn't always be room for two. He was "wisest of the Maiar," but Saruman was given a position that outranked him, possibly because Gandalf wouldn't have been suited to staying in one place and being findable like leaders generally ought to be. Saruman's reasons for staying alone seem more Melkor-like, since somebody could have lived in his tower with him quite comfortably, if he had wanted a companion. (As long as it isn't Wormtongue.)

Returning to Ulmo, could it be that he just wasn't suited to the top leadership position, even though his sympathy and knowledge would have made him good (maybe even best) at it? I saw some discussion of why Ulmo wasn't given the top job, in spite of the high regard Tolkien affords water in his works, by CuriousG and others in the Ainulindale thread. I wonder if the answer lies somewhere amidst Tolkien's philosophy of leadership. His good leaders tend to reluctant and/or active; to be otherwise is often a flaw. For instance, Theoden was not doing his job properly when he stayed in his hall, but he was a good king when he got up and rode around looking after his people's well-being. Contrast him with Denethor, who was way too comfortable in his position and tended to send other people out to do things instead of riding out himself. Aragorn's personality seems suited to wandering around as a Ranger, but he wanted to get married. He never seemed very interested in being king for the sake of pomp and being in charge (which did hold appeal for Denethor and Saruman), but he was willing to do it because he realized he had to for the good of Middle-Earth. Likewise, Gandalf took on the job of being the White Wizard only when it became clear that nobody else was capable of doing it and it needed to be done.

Notable leaders who go against this pattern include Galadriel and Elrond, who are good and have fixed dwelling places. Both traveled a lot at earlier points in their lives, but eventually settled down to look after Lothlorien and Rivendell. Galadriel is and Elrond was married, so maybe that's why they can be more stationary than other "good" leaders?

So, here's a question: What is Tolkien saying about leadership, wisdom-from-solitude, and marital status? It seems to me that, in Tolkien's world, the wisest people (i.e. those who would make the best leaders) are disqualified from taking official power because of their peripatetic ways and are also not eligible to marry BUT that people who do occupy such positions should marry someone who complements them (e.g. Manwe couldn't see as far without Varda).


CuriousG
Valinor


Jan 10 2013, 4:36am

Post #45 of 92 (322 views)
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Beware the lonely [In reply to] Can't Post

Good point; I think Tolkien repeats that elsewhere, such as with Melkor in the Ainulindale:


Quote
He had gone often alone in the the void places seeking the Imperishable Flame... But being alone he had begun to conceive thoughts of his own unlike those of his brethren.

We learn this just before he creates discord in the Great Music.

On the other hand, Bilbo and Frodo were loners and heroes of the book. Gandalf was a loner too. But I still think you're right that Tolkien didn't see solitude as good for mortals; Ulmo and Nienna are a different breed.

It gets a little more complex because Eol had servants, "silent and secret as their master," so he wasn't technically alone before Aredhel, but alone at his social level, I suppose. And Bilbo and Frodo had friends among their younger relatives, but significantly, no friends their own age that we know of, so they were alone in their generation group.

Gollum, of course, won the grand prize for being a loner, and look how he turned out.

(PS to noWiz: thanks for leading this chapter, and sorry I haven't given a proper response to your OP, but just too busy from work to do more than pop in here and there.)


CuriousG
Valinor


Jan 10 2013, 4:38am

Post #46 of 92 (311 views)
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Yes, I always think Elves call out to Varda the way Catholics do to Mary.// [In reply to] Can't Post

 


CuriousG
Valinor


Jan 10 2013, 4:38am

Post #47 of 92 (324 views)
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Your English is terrific! // [In reply to] Can't Post

 


CuriousG
Valinor


Jan 10 2013, 4:53am

Post #48 of 92 (321 views)
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The "V" Chapter--get ready for "F"s; and, more on Olorin [In reply to] Can't Post

When we get to the Noldor family tree, get ready for all the names that begin with "F." In this chapter, we have a biblical deluge of "V's:

Valar
Valier
Varda
Vana
Vaire
Valaquenta
Valaroma (which makes me think "Perfume of the Valar")
Valinor
Valimar
Valaraukar
And the chapter ends with the Void. (Don't forget the "v"'s in Iluvatar and Yavanna.)

*******

Douglas Kane notes in Arda Reconstructed that Chris Tolkien mistakenly omitted a little more about Olorin that was originally meant to be in this chapter, for us Gandalf-lovers who never get enough: "He was humble in the Land of the Blessed; and in Middle-earth he sought no renown. His triumph was in the uprising of the fallen, and his joy was in the renewal of hope."


Gwenhwyfar
The Shire

Jan 10 2013, 5:30am

Post #49 of 92 (359 views)
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Hmmm [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
On the other hand, Bilbo and Frodo were loners and heroes of the book. Gandalf was a loner too. But I still think you're right that Tolkien didn't see solitude as good for mortals; Ulmo and Nienna are a different breed.

It gets a little more complex because Eol had servants, "silent and secret as their master," so he wasn't technically alone before Aredhel, but alone at his social level, I suppose. And Bilbo and Frodo had friends among their younger relatives, but significantly, no friends their own age that we know of, so they were alone in their generation group.



That's a good point. Maybe I was wrong to focus on marital relationships. Perhaps the better way to describe it would be "voluntary family relationships." While Bilbo and Frodo didn't marry, both invited others to live in their hole, so I don't think I would call them "loners" -- at least not in the sense that we've been discussing. Bilbo chose to take Frodo into his home as Frodo would later choose to invite Sam and Rosie to live with him. It might be significant that we do get personal relationships among the Valar communicated in terms of who chooses to live with whom. ("With Manwe dwells Varda.") We don't really know whether or not the Valar are sexual beings, so maybe "marriage" was just the closest term Tolkien could think of to communicate "relationship between people who choose to share their lives with each other."



The Gardener
Registered User

Jan 10 2013, 10:40am

Post #50 of 92 (326 views)
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Surely Orcs are a construction of Sauron? [In reply to] Can't Post

Since Orcs are a construction of Sauron, or a perversion, I assume that they are not capable of reproduction and so could possible be thought of as neither male nor female, simply orcs

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