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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
Is it just a "stock theme" though?

FarFromHome
Valinor


Feb 13 2013, 4:31pm


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Is it just a "stock theme" though? [In reply to] Can't Post


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What do people make of Tolkienís use of this stock theme?

What I get from it is that there's more going on here than in a straightforward "enchanted king" theme. This isn't just about a king being diverted from his duty by a dalliance - in many ways it reminds me more of the many myths of a human whose relationship with a higher being leads to the birth of a hero (or in this case, heroine).

The Celtic story of Cuchulainn is very similar, if you reverse all the genders - a human princess disappears only to be found a year later living in his hidden palace with the god Lugh, whose child she is carrying. The child, of course, will grow up to be the great hero Cuchullain. Or there's the story of Achilles, the son of a nymph and a human king. Indeed, the story of the conception and birth of Jesus follows a very similar pattern. The thought that the essence of a higher being can enter the human bloodline seems to be deep in the mythic imagination of many people.

I think maybe Tolkien is more interested in this mythic theme than the "enchanted king" theme, although he's blended the two ideas quite cleverly, you might say. From the point of view of the Elves who went to Valinor with his brother, he must have seemed like just an "enchanted king" who fails in his duty. But from the point of view of his descendants who remain in Middle-earth, his fate, perhaps even his higher duty, was to allow the "divine" essence to enter the bloodline of the Elves, and through his daughter, that of Men.


They went in, and Sam shut the door.
But even as he did so, he heard suddenly,
deep and unstilled,
the sigh and murmur of the Sea upon the shores of Middle-earth.
From the unpublished Epilogue to the Lord of the Rings


Subject User Time
Silmarillion Discussion: Of Thingol and Melian, #2 NZ Strider Send a private message to NZ Strider Feb 12 2013, 1:22am
    La Belle Dame Sans Chimichurri squire Send a private message to squire Feb 12 2013, 2:35am
        Perhaps Gov. Sanford demonstrated NZ Strider Send a private message to NZ Strider Feb 12 2013, 7:48am
            Whose enchantment is it anyway? noWizardme Send a private message to noWizardme Feb 12 2013, 6:00pm
    Is it just a "stock theme" though? FarFromHome Send a private message to FarFromHome Feb 13 2013, 4:31pm
    Love and enchantment elevorn Send a private message to elevorn Feb 13 2013, 8:13pm
    Feminine wiles CuriousG Send a private message to CuriousG Feb 14 2013, 1:52am
    posting previous questions here now elevorn Send a private message to elevorn Feb 14 2013, 5:37pm
        Thingol's resume CuriousG Send a private message to CuriousG Feb 15 2013, 1:29am
    Late answers sador Send a private message to sador Feb 17 2013, 3:25pm
    a few thoughts on several great comments telain Send a private message to telain Feb 20 2013, 11:51pm
        Hyperlink to next chapter noWizardme Send a private message to noWizardme Feb 21 2013, 10:21pm

 
 
 

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