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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
Mandos and his secrets

CuriousG
Valinor


Feb 3 2013, 9:12pm


Views: 304
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Mandos and his secrets [In reply to] Can't Post

Prophecy comes up a lot in Tolkien's world, and you raise a good point about how predictable things are, in general or in detail, and if people are left with free will. Mandos can be specific when he wants to be. In Of the Sun and Moon, he says "To me shall Feanor come soon." He says that with certainty, and doesn't appear to be conjecturing that Feanor's personality is ultimately self-destructive, so he'll probably die soon somehow. Hence Feanor has no free will in the matter and is doomed to do what he does. Or I suppose he had an alternative possibility of falling off a cliff by accident, but I don't think the text implies that.

Huor's prophecy to Turgon is reasonably definitive and specific: "from you and from me a new star shall arise." That seems to mean that Earendil taking the Silmaril into the sky was 100% certain. Well, in retrospect it's clear. I had no clue on first read and had trouble keeping Huor and Huan separate.

A less high and mighty oracle was Malbeth the Seer. One of his prophecies had the sort of unhelpful ambiguity that delphic types are known for. When naming Arvedui as as last king of Arnor, Malbeth says "a choice will come to the Dunedain" determining Arvedui's fate, but of course he gives no indication what that choice will be. But when Aragorn quotes Arvedui about the Paths of the Dead, Malbeth is much more definitive that an heir of Isildur will return to successfully summon the Dead. Making sense only half the time is better than being Cassandra and having no one believe any of your forecasts, I guess.

Other predictions I perused are usually more helpful than "So it is doomed," and they often leave open an alternative. In the Tale of Aragorn part of Appdx A, there's even a marital spat between two soothsayers over who's right about the future. Dirhael doesn't want his daughter to marry a man he forebodes will die soon, while his wife, Ivorwen, foresees that if they are wed, "hope may be born for our people" [i.e., Estel/Aragorn]. Gandalf foresees that Frodo "may become like a glass filled with light" [italics mine both times], so Frodo's fate isn't sealed.

But asking Mandos to spill the beans at this point is like saying the Eagles should fly the Ring into Mordor--it ruins the story. I still want to shake it out of him, or tell him to keep quiet if he doesn't have anything noncryptic to say. On the other hand, everything seems so happy-ever-after with Melkor in jail and the Elves coming to the Blessed Realm, the pot needs stirring up.

As for deciding whether to fight evil yourself or let fate take care of it, isn't the latter what a lot of people do? "Don't bother yourself; it will work itself out."

Concerning "Orc love," I can't get past the "eww!" factor myself.

Thanks for the reply!

Subject User Time
The Silmarillion discussion: Of the Coming of the Elves CuriousG Send a private message to CuriousG Feb 1 2013, 5:34am
    Brief comment from "Arda Reconstructed" CuriousG Send a private message to CuriousG Feb 1 2013, 5:55am
        I'm enjoying seeing these brief comments from AR Voronwë_the_Faithful Send a private message to Voronwë_the_Faithful Feb 1 2013, 7:34pm
        As far as I remember, not exactly. sador Send a private message to sador Feb 12 2013, 9:33pm
            Some corrections Voronwë_the_Faithful Send a private message to Voronwë_the_Faithful Feb 13 2013, 2:41am
                Thank you! sador Send a private message to sador Feb 13 2013, 5:12pm
                    Food for thought is good! Voronwë_the_Faithful Send a private message to Voronwë_the_Faithful Feb 13 2013, 7:00pm
                        "It needed a week's answer, or none." sador Send a private message to sador Feb 15 2013, 2:04pm
                            I'm always interested in what you have to say! // Voronwë_the_Faithful Send a private message to Voronwë_the_Faithful Feb 15 2013, 3:51pm
    birth and other questions fo Elves elevorn Send a private message to elevorn Feb 1 2013, 4:15pm
        >>Why do you think Melkor was nibbling around the edges of the Elves and kidnapping them a few at a time? Why not enslave them all at once? They weren't exactly a fighting force. Asger Send a private message to Asger Feb 1 2013, 6:57pm
        Elves and the bad guy CuriousG Send a private message to CuriousG Feb 3 2013, 6:31pm
    great post! I hope my answers measure up... telain Send a private message to telain Feb 2 2013, 8:34pm
        Doom and Deepness and Damned, sexy orcs noWizardme Send a private message to noWizardme Feb 3 2013, 6:06pm
            Mandos and his secrets CuriousG Send a private message to CuriousG Feb 3 2013, 9:12pm
                doomed by doom? telain Send a private message to telain Feb 5 2013, 4:32pm
        Valar and Elves CuriousG Send a private message to CuriousG Feb 3 2013, 7:02pm
    Of Elves and Orcs--more info CuriousG Send a private message to CuriousG Feb 3 2013, 7:56pm
    Answers at last sador Send a private message to sador Feb 11 2013, 12:16pm
        late thought about stars, and links to real Earth noWizardme Send a private message to noWizardme Feb 11 2013, 2:35pm
            Oh, the next chapter disscussion HAS started... noWizardme Send a private message to noWizardme Feb 11 2013, 2:38pm
            Middle-earth and Real-earth telain Send a private message to telain Feb 12 2013, 4:25pm
        Answers to answers CuriousG Send a private message to CuriousG Feb 15 2013, 1:51am

 
 
 

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