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**Silmarillion Discussion 2013, Part 2 of Chapter 9: Of The Flight of the Noldor
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noWizardme
Tol Eressea


Apr 19 2013, 9:51am

Post #1 of 40 (316 views)
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**Silmarillion Discussion 2013, Part 2 of Chapter 9: Of The Flight of the Noldor Can't Post

In an earlier thread we discussed the first part of the Chapter. The Valar and Elves gather on the curiously named "Ring of Doom" to discuss their next steps after the attack on their Trees. Feanor is asked to give up the Silmarils for an attempt to heal the Trees, but will not. Manwe is curiously passive when one might expect him and the other Valar to see that the attack on the Trees may have gravely undermined their authority with the elves. Then news arrives that the Silmarils have been stolen by Melkor (now also named Morgoth), who has also murdered Feanor's father Finwe. That scene ends with Feanor running off wildly. What happens next in Valinor is for discussion in a parallel thread. But in the chapter, the action cuts from the Ring of Doom to the escaping raiders, Melkor and Ungoliant.


Melkorís escape - he flees towards his old haunts accompanied by, or pursued by, Ungoliant. An unreliable ally (predictably enough) she wants the jewels Melkor has robbed, and wants to eat the Silmarils. When Melkor declines to give her the Silmarils, they fight, and Melkor is getting the worst of it until his screams bring Melkorís minions, and Ungoliant is driven off.

The Silmarils have burned Melkorís hand, leaving him in lasting pain. Is there some similarity with Isildur (burned hand after picking up the Ring) or only by co-incidence?. Is it odd that the Silmarils burn Melkor, but that FŽanor could wear them on his brow without injury? Perhaps best to think about this in terms of themes and symbolism, as well as in terms of practical mechanisms ("FŽanor always wore an asbestos hat" would probably be an over-literal solution Smile)
Melkor uses the Silmarils to decorate his crown, but it is uncomfortable. Thereafter, he does not leave his fortress much, instead driving on his evil legions from his throne. What is that about? It does not seem to be much fun for him to have ownership of the Silmarils. They seem to only have brought him pain. Is there a point here about the hollowness of possessiveness? Might FŽanor have gone this way had he kept the Silmarils- does Melkorís character (selfish, competitive, egotistical) have a worrying lot in common with FŽanorís?

Fixed forms - Melkor/Morgoth loses the ability to change shape and form. Maybe that happens to Ungoliant too (she produces spider-shaped descendants, such as Shelob). What causes that loss of power? Should we be looking for a "mechanistic " explanation ("if a character does **this** then the results are **this**"), or a more "poetic" one? as sn example of a poetic explanation- Melkors character seems to have become pretty fixed by this point: is it therefore appropriate that his form has become fixed?
Not sure whether "mechanistic" vs "poetic" are the right terms - please say if you know or can coin better ones!

Come to think of it, does Melkor sound a bit depressed to you? Is he stuck in the same old rut of physical form, evil crown, evil minions, stay on evil throne and direct evil deeds etc. ? Maybe he could change form, but it all seems so stale? Or is a SWAT team from Valinor combing Middle-earth for any appearance he might make and he'd best lie low & direct the troops?


Disclaimers: The words of noWizardme may stand on their heads! I'm often wrong about things, and its fun to be taught more....


(This post was edited by noWizardme on Apr 19 2013, 9:53am)


Finwe
Lorien


Apr 19 2013, 2:16pm

Post #2 of 40 (224 views)
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My thoughts [In reply to] Can't Post

The Silmarils have burned Melkorís hand, leaving him in lasting pain. Is there some similarity with Isildur (burned hand after picking up the Ring) or only by co-incidence? There is some similarites, but also some differences. The Silmarils were an almost holy creation, filled with the light of the Gods, that burned the hand of any unpure flesh that touched it, hence the burning of Melkor. The One Ring is imbued with pure evil, burning hot with Sauron's evil will, which is what causes it to burn Isildur.

Is it odd that the Silmarils burn Melkor, but that FŽanor could wear them on his brow without injury? Feanor is there creator, and while he hasn't exactly been a saint thus far, he's also not evil on the Dark Lord level. After the Kinslaying, Feanor would have no longer been able to possess the Silmarils, as Maedhros and Maglor find out the hard way. Also, at this point in the story, Feanor is the creator of the Silmarils, hence their rightful owner. Even if the theft of the Silmarils had been Melkor's first act of evil, he would still have been burned, as he only possesses them through theft.

Melkor uses the Silmarils to decorate his crown, but it is uncomfortable. Thereafter, he does not leave his fortress much, instead driving on his evil legions from his throne. What is that about? Melkor hiding away in the deepest dungeon of Angband falls in line with how evil lords typically operate. Send out the underlings to do the dirty work. This is in contrast to your typical hero, out front leading the charge. Villians often represent cowardice, willing to sacrifice others for their own self-preservation, while heroes represent selflessness, willing to sacrifice themselves for the sake of others.

It does not seem to be much fun for him to have ownership of the Silmarils. They seem to only have brought him pain. Is there a point here about the hollowness of possessiveness? Might FŽanor have gone this way had he kept the Silmarils- does Melkorís character (selfish, competitive, egotistical) have a worrying lot in common with FŽanorís? It goes to show how material possessions are in the end meaningless, no matter how great they may be. Feanor does have a lot in common with Melkor, but unlike Melkor, he is not wholly evil. Melkor represents evil in Arda, evil which all its inhabitants can display from time to time.

Come to think of it, does Melkor sound a bit depressed to you? Is he stuck in the same old rut of physical form, evil crown, evil minions, stay on evil throne and direct evil deeds etc. ? Maybe he could change form, but it all seems so stale? Or is a SWAT team from Valinor combing Middle-earth for any appearance he might make and he'd best lie low & direct the troops? To a degree probably, but I've always looked at it a different way. We're told Melkor's chief desire is to rule Arda and subject other's wills to his own. Sitting on his evil throne, he has achieved that goal. He has legions of orcs, balrogs, and other evil creatures to do his bidding. He has despoiled his enemy's dwelling place at least twice. He has turned the Noldor against the Valar. He's ready to retire to Arizona....er, I mean Angband and play golf and bingo while all his subjects do his work for him.


As three great Jewels they were in form. But not until the End, when FŽanor shall return who perished ere the Sun was made, and sits now in the Halls of Awaiting and comes no more among his kin; not until the Sun passes and the Moon falls, shall it be known of what substance they were made. Like the crystal of diamonds it appeared, and yet was more strong than adamant, so that no violence could mar it or break it within the Kingdom of Arda.


Brethil
Half-elven


Apr 19 2013, 2:23pm

Post #3 of 40 (214 views)
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Another awesome discussion post NoWiz! [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To

Melkorís escape - he flees towards his old haunts accompanied by, or pursued by, Ungoliant. An unreliable ally (predictably enough) she wants the jewels Melkor has robbed, and wants to eat the Silmarils. When Melkor declines to give her the Silmarils, they fight, and Melkor is getting the worst of it until his screams bring Melkorís minions, and Ungoliant is driven off.
And what a scene that must have been - Balrogs with flaming whips, slicing through her webs and her Unlight rolling like a storm front...this drives her to her ultimate fate, and to the dark places where she meets other 'things' she can mate with - more fallen spirits, maybe nature spirits less in stature? As we discuss below her form is fixed and her offspring ever after are spiders (yuk). They must have stood little chance of survival with Mom wanting to eat them all - I suppose whatever her last brood was the one that survived, if they hid well enough until she could eat herself.

The Silmarils have burned Melkorís hand, leaving him in lasting pain. Is there some similarity with Isildur (burned hand after picking up the Ring) or only by co-incidence?. Is it odd that the Silmarils burn Melkor, but that FŽanor could wear them on his brow without injury? Perhaps best to think about this in terms of themes and symbolism, as well as in terms of practical mechanisms ("FŽanor always wore an asbestos hat" would probably be an over-literal solution Smile)
Melkor uses the Silmarils to decorate his crown, but it is uncomfortable.
No foil or asbestos hats needed!...I think it is because the hallowing of the Silmarils is the operative force as well as the symbolic statement here in understanding why they burn. Up to this point while Feanor is being possessive over the gems, and has withdrawn from the Valar and his kin, I think JRRT judgment (seen via the effects of the Silmarils) is that he has not fallen far enough to be rejected by the sacredness imbued by Varda. Poetically there is still time to turn back. They burn Melkor's hands through, even through the silver cask, immediately; indicating that Melkor has already committed enough deeds to repel the sacred jewels. After the Kinslaying, I am guessing that had he handles them again Feanor might not have been able to hold them - which would have destroyed him I think. Thereafter, he does not leave his fortress much, instead driving on his evil legions from his throne. What is that about? It does not seem to be much fun for him to have ownership of the Silmarils. They seem to only have brought him pain. Is there a point here about the hollowness of possessiveness? Might FŽanor have gone this way had he kept the Silmarils- does Melkorís character (selfish, competitive, egotistical) have a worrying lot in common with FŽanorís? Feanor's and later, Gollum's. When a Thing dominates one's thinking, and thus becomes hollow as life becomes emptier for the possessor. It's turning away from the goodness of creation on a large, life-altering and literal scale, to focus on one's obsession. Denying the world so that YOUR obsession can be fulfilled.

Fixed forms - Melkor/Morgoth loses the ability to change shape and form. Maybe that happens to Ungoliant too (she produces spider-shaped descendants, such as Shelob). What causes that loss of power? Should we be looking for a "mechanistic " explanation ("if a character does **this** then the results are **this**"), or a more "poetic" one? as sn example of a poetic explanation- Melkors character seems to have become pretty fixed by this point: is it therefore appropriate that his form has become fixed? Not sure whether "mechanistic" vs "poetic" are the right terms - please say if you know or can coin better ones!
No, I like your terms here! I think the form-changing as their 'clothing' is a function of their divinity; and as they have fallen so far from the spiritual height of their origins that power disappears. Perhaps the changing of appearance is a joyful thing, part of celebrating the light of all possibility in the mind of Eru. In which case symbolically and mechanically they have become so self-centered that they can no longer share in this celebration, and their forms 'stick'.

Come to think of it, does Melkor sound a bit depressed to you? Is he stuck in the same old rut of physical form, evil crown, evil minions, stay on evil throne and direct evil deeds etc. ? Maybe he could change form, but it all seems so stale? Or is a SWAT team from Valinor combing Middle-earth for any appearance he might make and he'd best lie low & direct the troops?
It's not a happy life; I know in Letters JRRT says that victors who strive for an individual victory only can never enjoy the fruits of the success (paraphrasing here). As above, I think his form is fixed, and he might not change it anyway, because he wants to keep wearing the Crown. Its so odd to picture his crown too - the beautiful, sacred glowing Silmarils trapped inside dark iron. A symbol of what Melkor pictures for the whole world if he gets the chance?


Hell hath no fury like a Dragon who is missing a cup.


Brethil
Half-elven


Apr 19 2013, 2:39pm

Post #4 of 40 (219 views)
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I agree about the Ring Finwe [In reply to] Can't Post

And good point. I forgot to address that, and left that comparison out. But I think you are right, that as representing ultimately different spiritual poles the Ring burned Isildur for two reasons: One the initial heat remaining from Sauron's hand, and two because like the Silmarils there is an element of repulsion going on.

Hell hath no fury like a Dragon who is missing a cup.


noWizardme
Tol Eressea


Apr 19 2013, 3:43pm

Post #5 of 40 (206 views)
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Unstoppable eater versus impossible meal! [In reply to] Can't Post

What do you think would have happened if Ungoliant had tried to eat the Silmarils?

In the blue corner, The unknown stuff from which the Silmarilli were made was

Quote
more strong than adamant, so that no violence could mar it or break it within the Kingdom of Arda.

They would have been tough nuts to crack! But, when Ungoliant is driven off, Tolkien comments, (in the red corner)


Quote
And thus the fear of Yavanna that the Silmarils would be swallowed up and fall into nothingness did not come to pass

Suggesting that she could have eaten them given a chance.

Unstoppable eater versus impossible meal!

I know what I'd prefer to imagine: Silmarils 1: Ungoliant 0
My guess is agonizing pain for her (consistent with them burning our other unholy experimental subject, Melkor when he touches them)
Swallow them down & you're probably a candidate for Intensive Care (or "Exit shrieking, pursued by Balrogs"). It would be like having swallowed red hot ball bearings. So maybe she runs off in agony and madness, falls down a handy ravine or volcano or drowns herself in the sea, and - oh we've just edited out some of the best chapters. Let's not do that then.
Alternatively, modern spiders eat by external digestion, injecting enzymes to turn food into drink (my Science-head insisted I research this, you know). So if she eats like that she probably gets away with burned mouthparts. But she wouldn't be able to stop trying to consume them, would she, even if it was impossible. What a fate.

Maybe Melkor should have let her have them, enjoyed the shrieking and then retrieved them - except that he can't possibly part with them, can he.

I loved (in a gloomy way) Brethil's idea that, if Feanor did somehow managed to recapture the Silmarils, he would no longer be able to touch them, because of the means he'd used to reach that end. Wonderfully tragic.

Disclaimers: The words of noWizardme may stand on their heads! I'm often wrong about things, and its fun to be taught more....

"nowimŽ I am in the West, and by other names in other lands. Mostly they just say 'Oh no it's him - look busy!' "


Brethil
Half-elven


Apr 19 2013, 5:41pm

Post #6 of 40 (194 views)
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Ungoliant vs a VERY hot Sacred pepper [In reply to] Can't Post

I think she would have just swallowed them whole - like she did the other jewels - I think the real-world external digestion would have happened in later generations more fixed in the biological spider form (like Shelob, who will be "throwing away the bones and the empty garments" which seems to be external digestion).

So once they were in the void of her belly, indestructible and burning, perhaps she would have tried to vomit them up, like her Unlight? Or would she have stubbornly held onto them until they burned through her and fell out? I almost think the second option...so Melkor could have grabbed them then - unless she could not help herself but to eat them again!

Hell hath no fury like a Dragon who is missing a cup.


ArdamŪrŽ
Valinor


Apr 19 2013, 7:24pm

Post #7 of 40 (193 views)
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They'd have consumed her [In reply to] Can't Post

Doesn't that basically happen with Carcharoth? It begins to burn him from the inside out, and he goes stark-raving mad. I assume something worse would have happened with Ungoliant, especially if she'd have eaten all three. Interesting idea about external digestion, though Smile

Wow, I hadn't seen Brethil's comment about Feanor. I think that's incredibly likely and shows how very lost he becomes.

"...not till now have I understood the tale of your people and their fall. As wicked fools I scorned them, but I pity them at last. For if this is indeed, as the Eldar say, the gift of the One to Men, it is bitter to receive." -Arwen


CuriousG
Valinor


Apr 19 2013, 10:49pm

Post #8 of 40 (179 views)
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I can only echo Finwe's thoughts [In reply to] Can't Post

I would say that I don't think Morgoth is at all depressed when he gets back to Angband, for all the reasons that Finwe lists. Maybe he "should" be, but he isn't--I think he's gloating. What do you see as his signs of depression?

As for the joys (or not) of possessing the Silmarils, my longish post to the last thread probably should have waited for this one http://newboards.theonering.net/forum/gforum/perl/gforum.cgi?post=596164#596164

Thanks for another great discussion, noWiz. I just don't repeat all that Finwe said.


telain
Rohan

Apr 19 2013, 11:10pm

Post #9 of 40 (166 views)
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but something does happen to the One Ring... [In reply to] Can't Post

so that Isildur, Smeagol, Bilbo, Frodo and Sam all wear it without being burned by it. Was Isildur's first experience basically the Ring lashing out at being cut off from its Master? Did it eventually "allow" others to wear it, so that it could return to its Master?

It is interesting to me that in comparing the two -- the Silmarils and the One Ring -- that the Silmarils seem to have no agency, while the Ring clearly does. Is this really the case, though? Do the Silmarils "act" or are they merely a passive force that people react to?


Brethil
Half-elven


Apr 19 2013, 11:11pm

Post #10 of 40 (173 views)
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If everyone had a Silmaril [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To

As for the joys (or not) of possessing the Silmarils, my longish post to the last thread probably should have waited for this one




What if Aule manufactured a thousand Silmarils after they were stolen? That would make Morgoth's useless. Would he have still wanted them for their own beauty, or thrown them away in disgust? He could no longer hurt others by possessing them, so what would be the point in keeping them? - CuriousG

I think you have something important here, CG. I think if they weren't 'singular' and thus so coveted by those that he wished to impact, he wouldn't want them, and would seek another way. So yes, the Jewels, for what they are, remain attractive - but that's a great yardstick for assessing what his motive is, because without that uniqueness and the amount of pain their withholding causes I think the appeal would diminish.

Per Morgoth feeling depressed and unhappy: I am sure there is some gloating, but when you read the description of Morgoth's constant burning pain, his anger and his weariness about it all - it does sound pretty grim and unhappy. Even naming himself King of the World is so empty, as he isn't, and knows it.

Hell hath no fury like a Dragon who is missing a cup.


Brethil
Half-elven


Apr 20 2013, 3:22am

Post #11 of 40 (158 views)
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That's a good point Telain; I do have an idea... [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
so that Isildur, Smeagol, Bilbo, Frodo and Sam all wear it without being burned by it. Was Isildur's first experience basically the Ring lashing out at being cut off from its Master? Did it eventually "allow" others to wear it, so that it could return to its Master?

It is interesting to me that in comparing the two -- the Silmarils and the One Ring -- that the Silmarils seem to have no agency, while the Ring clearly does. Is this really the case, though? Do the Silmarils "act" or are they merely a passive force that people react to?




Because when Gandalf reads Isildur's account it says he first could not handle it, it was hot as a glede and missed the heat of its masters hand (para. from memory) but that after a while it cooled and shrank, though it still caused Isildur great pain So I think there is a "physiological" cooling that happens to it, as it is away from Sauron longer; Isildur wears it for the last time at the Gladden Fields a little over a year later, and it still burns him then, enough to cause pain, but not so much as the day he cut it free. Then it has 3000 years or so to chill out (literally and figuratively!) - so that Deagol and Smťagol can handle it. That's why in my initial answer I sort of felt like both things - repulsion and absorbed heat - were going on in Isildur's time. And yes, not only did it cool but maybe it did make itself more "wearable" with time. The burning that Gollum and Frodo seem to experience I believe seems to be more psychic than physical.

Does this make sense (?)

Hell hath no fury like a Dragon who is missing a cup.


telain
Rohan

Apr 20 2013, 5:19pm

Post #12 of 40 (144 views)
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sense has been made! [In reply to] Can't Post

As per usual, you come up with a reasonable and eloquent theory! I particularly like the idea of the Ring having to "chill out" ...

Now I think that while the Silmarils and One Ring are good comparisons, I don't think they are complete opposites, either. For one, I don't think that the Silmarils will "cool off" for Melkor/Morgoth. I think he would always have to wear the asbestos, .. er... iron "hat".

As for whether FŽanor would be able to touch the Silmarils after the Great Unpleasantness -- another great Brethil idea I meant to comment on earlier -- I am of two minds. Mind #1: I don't see FŽanor as on the same plane as Melkor, so I am unsure whether he is capable of the quality or quantity of evil needed to burn him in the same way/for the same reason. Someone (Finwe?) mentioned as well that because FŽanor created the Silmarils, he might be immune to that effect, even if he did "go Darkside." Mind #2: I love the poetic nature of your idea and it would have answered many questions (and doubtless inspired many more questions on the RR! message boards) if that scene/situation had come to pass. The absolute tragedy of FŽanor would really have been complete. Mother, Father, Finest Creation -- all gone and mostly due to his hasty and self-centred decisions (not Miriel, obviously, but the familial unpleasantness afterward surely did not help FŽanor's character.)

So, back to the Silmarils/OneRing comparison. The Silmarils do not seem to have agency -- they are not trying to get back to their Master. Does this point have anything to say about a passive "let Nature take its course" stand versus a more active "if you try to get things to go your way, you will ultimately fail and doom everyone else with you?" (Admittedly, the second of the two needs some pithy-ness added...) Does Tolkien have a bit of Eastern philosophy attached to Good and Evil, or is merely a philosophy of Eru-knows-best?

Or am I making Caradhras out of a Hobbit-hole?


CuriousG
Valinor


Apr 20 2013, 5:41pm

Post #13 of 40 (147 views)
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Stones vs Rings [In reply to] Can't Post

I've been trying to make sense of this myself re: your point about the Silmarils having agency.

We know what the Rings does: it actively corrupts its bearer even when it's not worn, and betrays its wearer to Sauron. It also transports its wearer into the Unseen world. And a whole lot more.

What do the Sils do? They look really, really pretty. They've been hallowed by Varda, so they have a side effect of burning evil things that touch them, but that's like a rose protected by thorns. It's not the same as having the Ring's malicious intent and influence. And as you allude, the Sils don't try to get back to anyone, either Feanor or the Valar. They just burn evil when they come in contact with it and look very, very pretty.

If the Sils were counterparts to the Ring, wouldn't they exert a positive influence? Shouldn't they have made Morgoth a nicer person by sitting on his head for centuries, turning Gollum into Smeagol?

They don't help Elwing when she casts herself into the sea; Ulmo has to help with that. They both enhance Luthien's beauty and hasten her death by being worn by a mortal in mortal lands (I'm back to thinking if they ever did ANYTHING good in their "lives.") I don't think I see any sentience or purpose motivating them beyond being pretty. The Ring is the activist witch causing trouble when it can; the Silmarils are pretty damsels, always waiting to be rescued, but not doing anything of their own.

While I question if they ever should have been made, I'd answer by going back to their original purpose. The Trees were arguably the best things the Valar had created, and the Silmarils were made in tribute to that great work, while being the best that the Noldor ever created. So their potential needed no agency. They were meant to embody all that was right with Valinor, a celebration of it. If they didn't know what to do later in captivity, and had no influence on anyone except to drive them crazy with desire (as noWiz said), and really had no mind or life and were just pretty baubles, I would say they should still have been created. We've mentioned free will and fate: Melkor might have remained in jail and/or repented, and Feanor might not have chose the paths he did. It all could have led to happily ever after, with some pretty, pretty things to look at.


Brethil
Half-elven


Apr 20 2013, 7:21pm

Post #14 of 40 (139 views)
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Rings of gold vs Rings of light... [In reply to] Can't Post

( And thank you Telain, but you flatter me too much...... I only STRIVE to be reasonable at best! Crazy)

I definitely have to agree that I do not see the Ring and the Jewels as polar opposites in a practical sense. Actually, if we define the jewels by JRRT's words: " "By the making of gems the sub-creative functions of the Elves is chiefly symbolized." then they have a bit in common with the Ring, as sub-creations. Of course one maker is Elven and one maker is fallen Maiar... (those Handy-Men tearing up the place again, CG!)

Chiefly NOT in common I think is the imbuement of life-force into the works. The Trees had their own life - Feanor merely captured it. In no way did he subvert a life-force to his will in their creation, or try to usurp Eru by creating a 'life' that did not already exist - he merely harnessed what already did. Sauron did, I think, cross that line because he placed his blood and spirit in to the Ring which gives it a will of its own. So as CG says above as well, the Silmarils didn't really 'do' anything, except act as a pretty (and wildly distracting) symbol; while the Ring has a will and (even if passively, acting on the bearer) takes action. So in one the burning is strictly based on the state of Grace you are in (or not in); whereas with the Ring as I said above I think two factors are at work, because unlike the Jewels it has a *strategy*.

As far as Feanor encountering the Silmarils after the Kinslaying and the blasphemous Oath - I feel that due to his spiritual fall (and sad state of Grace), regardless of his creation of the Jewels, they would have burned him. We don't see that scene - but it is a powerful and tragic image. I agree and really think it would have completely destroyed him, as you say Telain.

And No, I see a good-sized mountain there! The question of passivity versus usurping divine will is such a huge theme for JRRT, I think you have made a great connection. Like that great quote from Ainulindale: "For he that attempteth this (usurpment) shall prove but mine instrument in the devising of things more wonderful, which he himself hath not imagined." (I LOVE that line...!) I don't know if its Eastern as much as his humility before God, of the real-world faith translated into his mythos. So the Silmarils just - do what they do...the Ring is a schemer. So its actions will indeed fall back upon itself in ways its maker could not foresee (by creating the finest Third Age King of Men, and uniting all the Free Peoples of ME?)


sador
Half-elven


Apr 21 2013, 10:42am

Post #15 of 40 (133 views)
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The Quarrel of the Theives! [In reply to] Can't Post

This is how Tolkien called this section. In a way, this might indicate that he after all did prefer the version according to which the two acted together (see Ardamire's discussion of the previous chapter)?
Anyway, you seem not to focus on this part - perhaps you think we've covered bits in the balrog discussion? But what about the name "Blackheart", Melkor reneging on his promise, the cry at Lammoth, whether there is a rape theme here, and Ungoliant's supposed end?
Ah well, one can't cover all; and as people have mentioned before, you have received already more answers to each thread than dormouse did last time.


Is there some similarity with Isildur (burned hand after picking up the Ring) or only by co-incidence?
I see this has been discussed a lot. But Isildur's scroll indicates the source of heat of the Ring was external - Sauron's hand; never again would it scorch anybody.
The heat of the Silmarils was an internal fire, presumably Varda's.
A more accurate parallel would be the elvish rope which burns Gollum on the Emyn Muil. See Laerasea's excellent post (in fact, I highly recommend the whole series of her posts of Main).

Is it odd that the Silmarils burn Melkor, but that FŽanor could wear them on his brow without injury?
Oh - I've mentioned this before as a proof that Feanor was (at least originally) considered a positive fellow!

"FŽanor always wore an asbestos hat" would probably be an over-literal solution Smile
Over-the-top, I would say.

Melkor uses the Silmarils to decorate his crown, but it is uncomfortable. Thereafter, he does not leave his fortress much, instead driving on his evil legions from his throne. What is that about?

Is this the pain? I always put it down to his terror of Ungoliant.

Is there a point here about the hollowness of possessiveness?
Yes - especially after the Valar made the Sun, and his victory over them became the vector for more light rather than less.

Might FŽanor have gone this way had he kept the Silmarils- does Melkorís character (selfish, competitive, egotistical) have a worrying lot in common with FŽanorís?
Highly unlikely. Feanor might have ended up rebelling and leaving Valinor, but if not for the burning desire for revenge and recovery of the Silmarils, he was unlikely to commit such crimes.

What causes that loss of power? Should we be looking for a "mechanistic " explanation ("if a character does **this** then the results are **this**"), or a more "poetic" one? as sn example of a poetic explanation- Melkors character seems to have become pretty fixed by this point: is it therefore appropriate that his form has become fixed?
Well, according to the Akallabeth, it seems Sauron's form was fixed rather late in the day; and as squire mentioned recently, Durin's Bane hasn't lost it yet. Perhaps it was a mechanistic result of setting yourself up as a direct alternative to the Valar.

Come to think of it, does Melkor sound a bit depressed to you?

In a way. Nobody to enliven the place, and brighten up his day.
He waited four and a half centuries until that elf-maiden came to dance for him - and then she cast a spell on him and robbed him!

Small wonder he took to alchemistry and real chemistry, eventually coming up with a method of turning coca-leaves to gold...

Is he stuck in the same old rut of physical form, evil crown, evil minions, stay on evil throne and direct evil deeds etc. ?
Yep.
It all begins with musical innovation - and see where it ends!



Quote

You go down, you go down, you go down...




Maybe he could change form, but it all seems so stale?
That's a different substance altogether.
But according to most accounts (I apologise for writing speculatively), they all feel stale after the fall.

Or is a SWAT team from Valinor combing Middle-earth for any appearance he might make and he'd best lie low & direct the troops?
No, it's nothing of the Valar. It's that accursed Sun.


(This post was edited by sador on Apr 21 2013, 10:43am)


Maciliel
Tol Eressea


Apr 21 2013, 1:42pm

Post #16 of 40 (128 views)
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maciliel-thoughts [In reply to] Can't Post

 

In Reply To
Is it odd that the Silmarils burn Melkor, but that FŽanor could wear them on his brow without injury?



no, not odd... 'tho by the time feanor landed in middle earth, if he had retrieved them and tried to wear or hold them, he certainly would have had the same experience melkor did.





In Reply To
Melkor uses the Silmarils to decorate his crown, but it is uncomfortable. Thereafter, he does not leave his fortress much, instead driving on his evil legions from his throne. What is that about? It does not seem to be much fun for him to have ownership of the Silmarils. They seem to only have brought him pain. Is there a point here about the hollowness of possessiveness? Might FŽanor have gone this way had he kept the Silmarils- does Melkorís character (selfish, competitive, egotistical) have a worrying lot in common with FŽanorís?



at this point, feanor and melkor exhibit a lot of the same patterns. feanor frequently had an increasing predilection to view people less as individuals and more as tools. his final actions illustrate the blossoming of this dark flower.

as to why melkor stays in his fortress... perhaps to have a more isolated, intimate experience with the silmarils... perhaps it is a catch-22... he would deny their light to others, yet he would not take off his crown.

re envy and covetousness... he lusts after them not because they are beautiful objects, but because they contain varda's light, translated through the trees.

i think --

... it's the sort of scenario in which someone is both moved, enlightened (a silmaril pun) by something.... it pleases so much, and brings some sort of pleasure, it inspires, one is attracted to it.... yet by experiencing its beauty, its light, his/her own self is illuminated to be lacking, and perhaps never to be able to achieve a similar state.

let me try with a more concrete example.... mori has a friend, cali. cali is goodness and light, and all love cali. mori experiences all the gifts that cali has to offer. mori can see how beautiful they are, and perhaps sees the world differently through cali's eyes, through their conversations, perhaps even aspiring to emulate cali, be a better person. those are, i think, good or neutral things.

but mori feels the light of cali; it falls upon mori's soul and body, and mori sees truly -- or is deceived through misperception -- that mori can never be as light-giving, as good as cali. through that light, all of mori's faults and second-bests are illuminated.

one step further... perhaps mori begins to not desire to be like cali in order to bring joy and spread goodness as cali does, but in order that mori may be as loved and admired by others as cali is.

this turns to soul-scarring envy, and this is where desire and hatred can comingle.

this is how i'm increasingly seeing melkor's lust for the light, set against his desire (and actions) to obliterate all that the light stands for... which leads me back to melkor's doom... if eru knew all that would unfold in the music, than was melkor always doomed to err? was the shadow of his dark future partly what drew him to the light of varda before the valar even entered the world?





In Reply To
Fixed forms - Melkor/Morgoth loses the ability to change shape and form. Maybe that happens to Ungoliant too (she produces spider-shaped descendants, such as Shelob). What causes that loss of power? Should we be looking for a "mechanistic " explanation ("if a character does **this** then the results are **this**"), or a more "poetic" one? as sn example of a poetic explanation- Melkors character seems to have become pretty fixed by this point: is it therefore appropriate that his form has become fixed?
Not sure whether "mechanistic" vs "poetic" are the right terms - please say if you know or can coin better ones!

Come to think of it, does Melkor sound a bit depressed to you? Is he stuck in the same old rut of physical form, evil crown, evil minions, stay on evil throne and direct evil deeds etc. ? Maybe he could change form, but it all seems so stale? Or is a SWAT team from Valinor combing Middle-earth for any appearance he might make and he'd best lie low & direct the troops?



mechanically, melkor dispersed a lot of his power, so i think that might have affected his ability to change form after a time.

poetically, melkor is reveling in metaphysical filth. perhaps after a time he thought his form was the most beautiful, and saw no need to change. perhaps being so internally ugly, he lost his ability to appear in a fair form.

good time to think of sauron, who also lost his ability to don a fair appearance. does it mean that when sauron was appearing as annatar, he was still redeemable?


cheers --

.


aka. fili orc-enshield
+++++++++++++++++++
the scene, as i understand it, is exceptionally well-written. fili (in sort of a callback to the scene with the eagles), calls out "thorRIIIIIIN!!!" just as he sees the pale orc veer in for the kill. he picks up the severed arm of an orc which is lying on the ground, swings it up in desperation, effectively blocking the pale orc's blow. and thus, forever after, fili is known as "fili orc-enshield."

this earns him deep respect from his hard-to-please uncle. as well as a hug. kili wipes his boots on the pale orc's glory box. -- maciliel

(This post was edited by Maciliel on Apr 21 2013, 1:44pm)


CuriousG
Valinor


Apr 21 2013, 2:04pm

Post #17 of 40 (116 views)
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This is great [In reply to] Can't Post

 

In Reply To
let me try with a more concrete example.... mori has a friend, cali. cali is goodness and light, and all love cali. mori experiences all the gifts that cali has to offer. mori can see how beautiful they are, and perhaps sees the world differently through cali's eyes, through their conversations, perhaps even aspiring to emulate cali, be a better person. those are, i think, good or neutral things.

but mori feels the light of cali; it falls upon mori's soul and body, and mori sees truly -- or is deceived through misperception -- that mori can never be as light-giving, as good as cali. through that light, all of mori's faults and second-bests are illuminated.

one step further... perhaps mori begins to not desire to be like cali in order to bring joy and spread goodness as cali does, but in order that mori may be as loved and admired by others as cali is.

this turns to soul-scarring envy, and this is where desire and hatred can comingle.

The progression from healthy to unhealthy reactions is convincing and eerie.

As for Sauron and Annatar, I personally don't think there was anything good left in him. I think he was pure wolf-in-sheep's-clothing. Baah!


Maciliel
Tol Eressea


Apr 21 2013, 2:17pm

Post #18 of 40 (119 views)
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ah, thanks so much, curiousg [In reply to] Can't Post

 
the love/hate thing has been harder for me to really understand in my heart.... but with this analogy, i think i'm getting it more. it works for me, and perhaps it will be helpful to others.

(also, noted your use of "modar" on the sticky thread -- awesome!!! : ) )

cheers --

.


aka. fili orc-enshield
+++++++++++++++++++
the scene, as i understand it, is exceptionally well-written. fili (in sort of a callback to the scene with the eagles), calls out "thorRIIIIIIN!!!" just as he sees the pale orc veer in for the kill. he picks up the severed arm of an orc which is lying on the ground, swings it up in desperation, effectively blocking the pale orc's blow. and thus, forever after, fili is known as "fili orc-enshield."

this earns him deep respect from his hard-to-please uncle. as well as a hug. kili wipes his boots on the pale orc's glory box. -- maciliel


Maciliel
Tol Eressea


Apr 21 2013, 3:58pm

Post #19 of 40 (110 views)
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nice descriptions, brethil.... [In reply to] Can't Post

 

In Reply To
(brethil 1): Balrogs with flaming whips, slicing through her webs and her Unlight rolling like a storm front...

(brethil 2): No, I like your terms here! I think the form-changing as their 'clothing' is a function of their divinity; and as they have fallen so far from the spiritual height of their origins that power disappears. Perhaps the changing of appearance is a joyful thing, part of celebrating the light of all possibility in the mind of Eru. In which case symbolically and mechanically they have become so self-centered that they can no longer share in this celebration, and their forms 'stick'.



#2... similar thinking to my own, but you have expressed it more eloquently..... many thanks....


pcheers --

.


aka. fili orc-enshield
+++++++++++++++++++
the scene, as i understand it, is exceptionally well-written. fili (in sort of a callback to the scene with the eagles), calls out "thorRIIIIIIN!!!" just as he sees the pale orc veer in for the kill. he picks up the severed arm of an orc which is lying on the ground, swings it up in desperation, effectively blocking the pale orc's blow. and thus, forever after, fili is known as "fili orc-enshield."

this earns him deep respect from his hard-to-please uncle. as well as a hug. kili wipes his boots on the pale orc's glory box. -- maciliel


Maciliel
Tol Eressea


Apr 21 2013, 4:06pm

Post #20 of 40 (105 views)
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how to eat holy light [In reply to] Can't Post

 
so (just exploring)... how come ungoliant is able to consume the light of the trees (and the pools of light in which their excess is stored), but she would have been burned by the silmarils?

yes, the silmarils were blessed (a special hallowing), but that would be the blessing of the non-varda element... feanor's settings. or, if you will, the union of the feanorian and vardian elements are blessed/hallowed. however, the varda-element, the light, is already blessed, already holy, no? yet that same light which existed in the trees ungoliant was able to consume.

feanor's casings were said to be indestructible, and only he knew how to unlock them. that leads to a theory that ungoliant's maw could not have broken them down, and the holy light within them would have burned ungoliant. however --- if that holy light doth burn her... how was it that she was able to consume the trees in the first place? because she (as nowimŽ was supposing) secreted digestive juices and poisons on them (the trees) first, thus enabling her to sink her fangs in suck them dry?

cheers ---

.


aka. fili orc-enshield
+++++++++++++++++++
the scene, as i understand it, is exceptionally well-written. fili (in sort of a callback to the scene with the eagles), calls out "thorRIIIIIIN!!!" just as he sees the pale orc veer in for the kill. he picks up the severed arm of an orc which is lying on the ground, swings it up in desperation, effectively blocking the pale orc's blow. and thus, forever after, fili is known as "fili orc-enshield."

this earns him deep respect from his hard-to-please uncle. as well as a hug. kili wipes his boots on the pale orc's glory box. -- maciliel


Brethil
Half-elven


Apr 21 2013, 4:20pm

Post #21 of 40 (104 views)
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Logically the hallowing by Varda is the difference...is that enough? [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
so (just exploring)... how come ungoliant is able to consume the light of the trees (and the pools of light in which their excess is stored), but she would have been burned by the silmarils?

yes, the silmarils were blessed (a special hallowing), but that would be the blessing of the non-varda element... feanor's settings. or, if you will, the union of the feanorian and vardian elements are blessed/hallowed. however, the varda-element, the light, is already blessed, already holy, no? yet that same light which existed in the trees ungoliant was able to consume.

feanor's casings were said to be indestructible, and only he knew how to unlock them. that leads to a theory that ungoliant's maw could not have broken them down, and the holy light within them would have burned ungoliant. however --- if that holy light doth burn her... how was it that she was able to consume the trees in the first place? because she (as nowimŽ was supposing) secreted digestive juices and poisons on them (the trees) first, thus enabling her to sink her fangs in suck them dry?

cheers ---

.






....maybe in their tree state the Light was more of a biological phenomenon - whereas once hallowed by Varda the Jewels become more of a Spirit item (?????) Because that seems to be the variant; so the Light itself not burning as it is a result of the Trees radiating - but the adamant that the Jewels were made of once blessed - conferring the ability to reject evil?

Really good question. Ultimately I say (??????????????????) not sure.

(Glad you enjoyed the above descriptions - Angelic thanks!)

Manwe, when asked a simple "Yes" or "No" question, contemplated, and responded "the middle one."

(This post was edited by Brethil on Apr 21 2013, 4:22pm)


Maciliel
Tol Eressea


Apr 21 2013, 4:20pm

Post #22 of 40 (108 views)
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if the silmarils did have agency... [In reply to] Can't Post

 

In Reply To
(in reply to telain): So, back to the Silmarils/OneRing comparison. The Silmarils do not seem to have agency -- they are not trying to get back to their Master. Does this point have anything to say about a passive "let Nature take its course" stand versus a more active "if you try to get things to go your way, you will ultimately fail and doom everyone else with you?"



if the silmarils did have agency (like the ring), i rather think they'd be trying to get +away+ from feanor and his kin.

which is an interesting thought, as i'm imagining the events now through this bemusing lens...

cheers --

.


aka. fili orc-enshield
+++++++++++++++++++
the scene, as i understand it, is exceptionally well-written. fili (in sort of a callback to the scene with the eagles), calls out "thorRIIIIIIN!!!" just as he sees the pale orc veer in for the kill. he picks up the severed arm of an orc which is lying on the ground, swings it up in desperation, effectively blocking the pale orc's blow. and thus, forever after, fili is known as "fili orc-enshield."

this earns him deep respect from his hard-to-please uncle. as well as a hug. kili wipes his boots on the pale orc's glory box. -- maciliel

(This post was edited by Maciliel on Apr 21 2013, 4:20pm)


noWizardme
Tol Eressea


Apr 21 2013, 4:21pm

Post #23 of 40 (105 views)
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Festering competitiveness too [In reply to] Can't Post

I think that's a great analysis Maciliel. Competitiveness is an important part of this pathology of the soul - being unable to bear not being #1, and so becoming #1 at pulling others down.

And that in turn requires a sort of self-deception: not to perceive and build upon your honest self.

Disclaimers: The words of noWizardme may stand on their heads! I'm often wrong about things, and its fun to be taught more....

"nowimŽ I am in the West, and by other names in other lands. Mostly they just say 'Oh no it's him - look busy!' "


Maciliel
Tol Eressea


Apr 21 2013, 4:34pm

Post #24 of 40 (101 views)
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i like the casting of your words [In reply to] Can't Post

 

In Reply To
(in reply to curiousg): If the Sils were counterparts to the Ring, wouldn't they exert a positive influence? Shouldn't they have made Morgoth a nicer person by sitting on his head for centuries, turning Gollum into Smeagol?

They don't help Elwing when she casts herself into the sea; Ulmo has to help with that. They both enhance Luthien's beauty and hasten her death by being worn by a mortal in mortal lands (I'm back to thinking if they ever did ANYTHING good in their "lives.") I don't think I see any sentience or purpose motivating them beyond being pretty. The Ring is the activist witch causing trouble when it can; the Silmarils are pretty damsels, always waiting to be rescued, but not doing anything of their own.



i think they are more than pretty things. i do not think they have advocacy, but neither do i think they just drive individuals mad with desire. many had no problem with being in their presence and enjoying what they had to offer.

so... what did they have to offer:

i think, as the physical manifestation of light, goodness, hope, life... they had the power to inspire, and to remind all of the wonder and beauty of +all+ creation, and the marvellousness of the music. they are eru's blessings centrifuged, distilled into this special form. perhaps looking at them, meditating on them, could bring one englightenment (this comes with a poetic pun), and the ability to see things more deeply, see down the road a little farther.

when considering profound beauty coupled with profound meaning, i suspect many of us have had transcendent moments in our lives. these experiences can open doors, and show us the path where we may walk, if we choose.

but seeing profound beauty is often limited by our scope. think of someone who has an untended soul, who sees a woman of great intelligence, great kindness, wonderful creativity, and can only respond with, "yeah, she has a great ***).

the deeper gifts of profound beauty may be missed on such persons, but they still might greatly desire it.

i think the silmarils were more than pretty things. yes, i know, we don't have excerpts in the texts that describe, say, maedhros thinking about the silmarils' light and going on to found an elven hospital, or maglor an elven symphony.... but i do think profound beauty (and in this case, holy beauty) does have the inherent capacity to propel us upwards in this way.

it's not an escalator, however. you can be shackled by the baseness of your own nature, and then the relationship becomes that of tantalus and the fruit tree.


cheers --

.


aka. fili orc-enshield
+++++++++++++++++++
the scene, as i understand it, is exceptionally well-written. fili (in sort of a callback to the scene with the eagles), calls out "thorRIIIIIIN!!!" just as he sees the pale orc veer in for the kill. he picks up the severed arm of an orc which is lying on the ground, swings it up in desperation, effectively blocking the pale orc's blow. and thus, forever after, fili is known as "fili orc-enshield."

this earns him deep respect from his hard-to-please uncle. as well as a hug. kili wipes his boots on the pale orc's glory box. -- maciliel

(This post was edited by Maciliel on Apr 21 2013, 4:42pm)


sador
Half-elven


Apr 21 2013, 4:52pm

Post #25 of 40 (89 views)
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ďThe awful thing... [In reply to] Can't Post

 



Quote


...is that beauty is mysterious as well as terrible. God and the devil are battling there and the prize is the soul of man.



- Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov






In Reply To


the deeper gifts of profound beauty may be missed on such persons, but they still might greatly desire it.
i think the silmarils were more than pretty things. yes, i know, we don't have excerpts in the texts that describe, say, maedhros thinking about the silmarils' light and going on to found an elven hospital, or maglor an elven symphony.... but i do think profound beauty (and in this case, holy beauty) does have the inherent capacity to propel us upwards in this way.





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