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Silmarillion Chapter 13: Of the Return of the Noldor
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Maciliel
Valinor


May 13 2013, 7:03pm

Post #51 of 133 (1804 views)
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i think because [In reply to] Can't Post

 
i think fingon calls upon manwe to aid his arrow for a few reasons...

1. manwe is sulimo, lord of air and wind (an off-gust could mar the arrow's path)

2. arrows of that time period would have feathered shafts, which come from birds -- birds are creatures of the air, and air is manwe's domain

3. manwe is king, and the noldor just had a dust-up with him... best to ask him, in case a valar of lesser authority would hesitate to act, thinking manwe would not like it


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 telpemairo

(This post was edited by Maciliel on May 13 2013, 7:05pm)


Maciliel
Valinor


May 13 2013, 7:25pm

Post #52 of 133 (1807 views)
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maedhros [In reply to] Can't Post


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[maciliel] maedhros, manwe, and the eagle

this part is extremely interesting. it's not just that manwe takes pity on the exiles, it's that he takes pity on this +particular+ exile. maedhros had sworn the oath, just like all the feanorians, and is fresh from participating in grievous sin (kinslaying) and a refusal to come before the valar to answer for it. they had, through the doom, predicted all sorts of unhappiness and ruin for the noldor, and told them that aman would be shut to them, and the valar wouldn't help them.

but here, manwe does intercede. 'tho i would love it to have been for the sake of pity alone, i'm not sure manwe would have actioned in this way if that was the only thing at stake. i think manwe took action because maedhros has an important part to play. maedhros' story is as equally interesting as any of the other glamorous roles (feanor, galadriel, luthien, thingol, earendil).

this suffering, and the permanent maiming, do work a healing on maedhros, as much as could be gained, when the poison of the oath still flowed through his spiritual veins (and there was no cure for that). i find maedhros one of the most enlightened and most conflicted and most tortured (spiritually -- it's obvious he was tortured physically) of the elves. his fea has been enriched and enwisened, but he is still shackled by the oath. [/maciliel]



[curiousg] Thank you for thinking through all of this and making sense of it. My thoughts stop at the improbability of Manwe helping any Son of F. after what they've done, and Maedhros expressing a little remorse about burning the ships at Losgar does not redeem him in my eyes. (Though it hints at how conflicted he is, as you detail.) But it makes sense that Manwe, maybe with some prodding from Mandos (the M club) about Fate, decided that Maedhros had a part to play, all the way up to stealing a Silmaril after the war's over (oops! spoiler!) and throwing himself into the earth so that his Silmaril will be joined to its element.

Maedhros is such a mixed bag, isn't he? As Brethil points out, he's the more mature of the brothers and doesn't lose his temper like Caranthir when they hear Thingol's aloof message, and he nobly wants to keep the peace in Beleriand by isolating his clan, and even more nobly is willing to take the brunt of Morgoth's assault. He shows great leadership in the Nirnaeth (it's not his fault it fails), but there are a couple more Kinslayings to lay at his feet. Along with Maglor, he is a tortured SOF (good thing his dad wasn't Beanor), unlike the dark C-brothers, who are remorseless, as you observed. And I agree we'd need Peter Jackson to keep them all straight and give some personality to the A-twins.

We're on the footstep of the next great tragedy in the book: the long defeat of the Noldor, and Maedhros' inner conflict is a mini-tragedy in the larger one. Does Tolkien need conflicted mini-tragedies in his stories? Frodo is one, Gollum is another. Frodo didn't take an outright oath, but he effectively did so when he promised to take the Ring to Mount Doom, and his was not a happily-ever-after victory. Gollum took an oath to be good, but it didn't mean as much as his evil self that the Ring corrupted, and it's a minor tragedy that he 1) lost his meager opportunity at redemption, and 2) died as soon as he got his Precious back. Maedhros struggles with his Precious-obsession but repeatedly gives into it. Where is free will in all this? Why couldn't he just accept the Everlasting Dark and quit doing evil deeds? I'm not sure that's ever answered, but we've just gotten started on him. [/curiousg]



.... wanting to clarify my thought on why i think manwe intervened, in such a dramatic and powerful way (and why +tolkien+ chose to -- remember, tolkien is quite aware that the eagles are deus ex machina, as by his pen and by manwe's command, who is god-like).....

i do +not+ think that the only reason manwe has maedhros rescued so that he can play his part in tossing a silmaril into a chasm in a few hundred years, and after many tears. i don't know that manwe can even see that.

i think he sees/feels a strong current of good in maedhros, and is trying to let that good in that particular fea have a fighting chance in this tough terrain of middle-earth. i think manwe recognizes that maedhros can be a force for good for not only himself, but for others, his kin, his people.

at this stage, the valar seem to be choosing less and less to directly intervene, and seem to be trying to get the children of iluvatar to help themselves. this is the part that i think manwe saw that maedhros had a chance to play. and it is another reason why i think that the oath was void from the outset (with its power to compel eru or any of the valar to act), though the blasphemy was real. the oathtakers were sort of excommunicating themselves with that oath.

why would manwe choose to save maedhros so he could scamper about middle-earth causing all sorts of future pain because of the silmarils and the oath? it would have been so much easier to let the arrow take its natural course, or guide it to its target.

i think manwe sees the possibility of personal +choices+ for maedhros, and gives him a chance to make those choices, for the betterment of himself and others.


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 telpemairo

(This post was edited by Maciliel on May 13 2013, 7:26pm)


CuriousG
Half-elven


May 13 2013, 7:40pm

Post #53 of 133 (1755 views)
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Those are all excellent reasons. Thank you. // [In reply to] Can't Post

 


CuriousG
Half-elven


May 13 2013, 7:50pm

Post #54 of 133 (1838 views)
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Oaths and Fingon [In reply to] Can't Post


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and it is another reason why i think that the oath was void from the outset (with its power to compel eru or any of the valar to act), though the blasphemy was real. the oathtakers were sort of excommunicating themselves with that oath.

I agree with you on this. I don't see how an Elf can compel the Ainur or Eru to do anything. Though maybe in real-life traditions, calling up an oath in the name of Zeus meant Zeus had to do punish you, or punish the oathbreaker, according to the oath. I can see that happening. It seems that at various times Greek gods were compelled to do things they didn't want to because of these religious rules forced on them. Yet it seems misplaced in Tolkien's world. I think the Oath mostly existed in the minds of Feanor & Sons, compelling them to do things, not compelling the higher powers. Or maybe there is some middle supernatural world that "oath power" acts on, and that held the Feanorians in thrall. I can't think that Eru or the Valar ever felt it was valid and that once spoken, the Feanorians were bound by it.

Another thought that pops up is maybe Manwe wasn't centered on Maedhros at all. Maybe he was rewarding Fingon's selfless act of courage and devotion to ending the dynastic conflicts.


Brethil
Half-elven


May 13 2013, 10:20pm

Post #55 of 133 (1795 views)
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Feanor and Nerdanel as rulers [In reply to] Can't Post


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i'm remembering now that great quote you pulled from letters (which, iirc, was a rare, non- #131 citation : ) ), Very funny there Telpemairo! Tongue Of course when I get that big #131 tattooed will send you a pic...maybe make it my new avatar... regarding what tolkien had to say about politics and those who are in rulership positions. as i'm remembering that, i think, most definitely --tolkien was very consciously demonstrating something about maedhros' character, beyond the surface. Agreed completely. It mirrors so closely his real-world thoughts.

btw, even if the kinslaying and the oath hadn't occurred, and even if morgoth had never stolen the silmarils (but in some way finwe was out of the picture), i think feanor would have made a dreadful king. too besotted by things, little awareness of the feelings of others, and even less respect for them. Also agreed, his talents were never in the consideration of others or for any type of stewardship - just ownership I think. That 'political' sort of thinking we see with Denethor (Gondor) many years later, where everyone and everything is reduced to a token and a playing piece, calculated in what their worth is at that moment.

...just occurred to me.... for about, say, a month, nerdanel was high-queen of the noldor. she might have been a wise ruler. She may have been - she was not one to seek mastery of the actions of others but was strong willed and probably a realistic sort of female; no text proof necessarily but as Mahtan's daughter I think she was grounded. And she had he wisdom to withdraw from Feanor as things got uglier.


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


Maciliel
Valinor


May 13 2013, 11:59pm

Post #56 of 133 (1792 views)
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she's a smart one, that nerdanel [In reply to] Can't Post

 

Quote
[maciliel] ...just occurred to me.... for about, say, a month, nerdanel was high-queen of the noldor. she might have been a wise ruler. [/maciliel]

[brethil] She may have been - she was not one to seek mastery of the actions of others but was strong willed and probably a realistic sort of female; no text proof necessarily but as Mahtan's daughter I think she was grounded. And she had he wisdom to withdraw from Feanor as things got uglier. [/brethil]



that nerdanel, she's a smart one.

picture these scenes....

a young maedhros, welcomed into the lights of the trees of valinor by a smiling feanor and nerdanel. as he grows, he bonds with his mother, with whom he has much in common: patience, reflection, self-awareness, perceptiveness.

over time, nerdanel's and feanor's brood grows and matures, but, over time, feanor begins to view his sons as apprentices, rather than individuals in their own right. he is also increasingly distant with his wife, and is annoyed by the bond she shares with maedhros, his eldest son. he sees it as disloyalty.

things percolate along slowly, but definitively, towards estrangement between feanor and nerdanel. at the point at which feanor removes to formenos, maedhros must make an awful decision. he must choose to either remain with his mother, with whom he most often sympathizes and quietly and secretly sides with, or go with his remote and brilliant father, whom he idolizes and from whom he desires validation and acceptance. the pull is stronger towards formenos, in part, because maedhros can see his father is stumbling down a darkening path, and wishes to keep an eye on him.

maedhros (and nerdanel) were correct, feanor's path leads to darkness. the climax unfolds as the denizens of valinor gather --confused, terrified -- in the oppressive remains of the unlight of ungoliant, who has slain the trees. the fractured, flickering light of isolated torches looks so small and fragile.

feanor waxes eloquent and ruinous. he calls for the noldor to follow him to the mainland. across the square, maedhros and nerdanel espy each other, their red hair glinting in the torchlight. nerdanel's heart stutters... she can see maedhros is on the precipice... he's about to make or unmake his doom. maedhros, again, must choose whether to cleave to his wise mother, whom in his heart he knows is right, or follow his father. nerdanel is watching it all happen again.

...forward to the cliffs of thangorodrim... maedhros is hanging by his wrist, up high, alone, the winds whipping about him. he has all the time under the new sun to think about his chioces. and then he hears the faint thrumming of a harp, and fingon's voice....

.... manwe hears fingon's prayer.... and he hears the prayer of maedhros as well...



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 telpemairo


telain
Rohan

May 14 2013, 2:17am

Post #57 of 133 (1763 views)
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I agree with the agreement of Telain [In reply to] Can't Post

I have always thought (like Brethil) that Thingol's arrogance is born from his relationship with a Maia. He trusts the Girdle will hold!

He also distrusts -- Morgoth of course -- but I think he deeply distrusts these "Elves" from "Valinor" showing up unannounced and unlooked for, with their shiny shields and armour and things. (I can just see him stewing in Menegroth: "Who invited you lot?")

I think he is troubled that they will soon take over his position as "Awesomest Elf in Middle-earth" and "Greatest King (in Middle-earth)" And, well, in a way he is right. They do sort of storm in and take over and maybe if he wasn't busy isolating himself and his people, some things may have worked out differently.


telain
Rohan

May 14 2013, 2:29am

Post #58 of 133 (1749 views)
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they are called "Eagles ex machina" in our household... [In reply to] Can't Post

And I really like your analysis of Maedhros and why Manwe interferes. I do think that (apart from the Oath) that the Silmarils attract goodness, much like the One RIng attracts evil, but the fate of being so close to such power/purity/whatever the Silmarils should be described as always ends tragically.

I do think that Maedhros has goodness in him and that is why Manwe sends the Eagles, but I also think that power of choice is always going to be difficult to overcome -- of course by the Oath, but also by the lure of the Silmarils themselves.


telain
Rohan

May 14 2013, 2:41am

Post #59 of 133 (1740 views)
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Fire and the Sun [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
From what we know of him, he would have probably snorted something like: "See, the Valar can solve the problem when they bother to, and even do incidental good to the rest of the world


I quite like that quote, sador -- brilliant! Very in keeping with his character.

I wonder if Feanor -- always described by Tolkien in the hyperbolic -- and the fiery -- simply could not be in Middle-earth at the same time as the Sun? Is there any evidence to suggest that two such fiery creations could (or should) not coexist?


Quote
Or, as FarFromHome would probably phrase it, the Silmarillion legends have passed to us through mortal scribes, which did ascribe responsibility for their actions to Elves as well.


This is also a good point, and one which I often forget. Sometimes we argue points as though Tolkien is writing a "regular" narrative, but I often forget that he is writing as though the Elves have written a series of historical accounts. Would the hyperbole of Feanor be strange in that context? Perhaps not. Would the portrayal of Noldor (despite severe failings) in often positive lights seem odd? Not really, and neither would the portrayal of Thingol as arrogant and distrustful.



Brethil
Half-elven


May 14 2013, 3:16am

Post #60 of 133 (1764 views)
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Great phrase there BTW! [In reply to] Can't Post

"I agree with the agreement of Telain.." Sounds like a magnificent Louis XIV sort of phrase! ("Monsieur Vauban suggested to me what I though best...") Smile

Indeed if the Girdle was not so reinforced by Thingol - although I digress ahead a bit - Maeglin may not have schemed in Gondolin...

Another excellent point upthread that you bring up (as always Telain!) is that the lure of the Silmarils seems to invite the largest characters in ME of the time, both deeply evil and deeply good. A universal sort of attraction. However, like you in Maciliel Telpemairo's Biosphere of Arda thread, like you I cannot entirely consider them Holy in the accepted and nurturing use of the term. They have no sentience - unlike the Ring - so I don't assign blame to them, but they are a bit of a...clarion? a beacon? for potential disaster. I think much of the holiness appellation comes from our perception that they are BEAUTIFUL and therefore syllogistically must be GOOD. I have always questioned this assumption - yes they are created from the Light of the Two Trees: which were both beautiful and good. But the transference of something so ethereal into a singly owned piece...beautiful but not so good.

It reminds me of the Biblical phrase: "Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies." I feel like they are lovely, sure: but you can't eat them, create life with them, even cuddle with them. Its like Thorin and Co. stuck in the Mountain with all those jewels; unless they can learn to live on Diamond Soup and Ruby Crème Brulee its starvation and death. So I guess my point is that we must look past fair appearances here. Again, they aren't evil: far from it. But - aside from lighting Vingilot - they don't bring all that much good in the long run. In any case, and maybe my point: for anyone but the Ainur they pose a real danger, albeit a gorgeous and hypnotic one.

(See that? I mentioned Thorin and still stayed focused!) Wink (**heehee*)



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


Maciliel
Valinor


May 14 2013, 3:50am

Post #61 of 133 (1733 views)
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thinking about the silmarils this evening [In reply to] Can't Post

 
funny all this silmaril-speak from brethil tengwadil and telain... i, too, have been mulling the nature of the silmarils this evening (really, i do that sort of thing).

it's not that the silmarils are jewels... and it's not even that their light is beautiful. rewind to what is the nature of that light? that it was emitted from fantastical trees? not quite.

the light of the silmarils is the closest that one gets to seeing the imperishable flame. the light of the trees is the pulse of life itself. captured in the crystalline cases of the multi-fracted silmarils, that living light was amplified.

all are drawn to it because it is life, in light form. perhaps they can be described as the purest reflection of the light imperishable. they are not quite life itself, they do not have fear (which is the light imperishable), but they are its closest, purest reflection. which is why all (especially morgoth) are drawn to them.


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 telpemairo


telain
Rohan

May 14 2013, 1:06pm

Post #62 of 133 (1717 views)
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you are not alone [In reply to] Can't Post

I often ponder Tolkien-ish things -- sometimes I even engage my ever-patient husband in the discussions...

As I was reading Brethil's post above, I was coming to a very similar conclusion that you have here:

Quote
all are drawn to it because it is life, in light form. perhaps they can be described as the purest reflection of the light imperishable. they are not quite life itself, they do not have fear (which is the light imperishable), but they are its closest, purest reflection. which is why all (especially morgoth) are drawn to them.


I also wonder that because the Silmarils were created not by an Ainur, but by one of the Children of Eru -- even if he was the greatest Elf ever -- has something to do with the tragedy that seems to befall the good people who are drawn to them. Is it the "touch" of a being that was not designed (by Eru) to create such things?

Is this another facet to (my seemingly unending fascination with) the Hallowing? I.e., does Varda understand that the Silmarils's version of "the light imperishable" has been altered by Feanor's craft, therefore what on Arda would happen if Edain started messing around with said Light?

A far more serious question: am I somehow cursed with Feanor's ridiculous Oath, which is why I keep coming back to this topic!?


CuriousG
Half-elven


May 14 2013, 1:14pm

Post #63 of 133 (1725 views)
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I like the Imperishable Flame as Silmaril-origin, but [In reply to] Can't Post

why do they cause so much trouble? Not only for the SOF, but they hasten Luthien's death, and arouse excess possessiveness (Ring-like). If Thingol and later Dior had given up their Silmaril to the SOF (and after all, their father had made it), Doriath wouldn't have been destroyed. Thingol's Silmaril did draw him to it, which fits with your idea of primal life energy doing so, but he became obsessive about it, and it's my impression that anyone would, so it's not his fault. Or maybe even if it was his fault, it seems a holy jewel should bring out the best in you, not the worst.

What I'm wondering is if the Silmarils were tainted light because Feanor made them out of pride. Later, when he became secretive and possessive about them, they seemed to absorb those traits from him. Which would make sense since as their creator, they would follow his lead. (I know they're not sentient; maybe as his sponges, they absorb his overly-proud blood.) Even if I discount the pride part--maybe Feanor originally made them for the sake of art--I think his darker feelings that came later about them darkened not their light, but their effect on people, like an unseen shroud. I wouldn't say that the origin of Feanor's dark feelings came from the jewels (though that's possible), but that Feanor was the origin.

In summary, the Silmarils started out beautiful, and maybe they did contain the Imperishable Flame (or were linked to it), and were hallowed by Varda, but following the fate of Arda Marred, they became Marred. As a parallel, I'm thinking of Ivrin, which Ulmo made holy, but that didn't stop it from being defiled by Glaurung.


telain
Rohan

May 14 2013, 1:18pm

Post #64 of 133 (1734 views)
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I am very impressed! [In reply to] Can't Post

Not only that you mentioned Thorin, but that it was preceded by the word "cuddle" and yet you still stayed on topic! That is a willpower few have, Brethil.

The Beauty = Good / Good = Beauty is a tough one... I still think beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and that just because something is good, does not mean it is not powerful, or cannot hurt you. As for the Silmarils, I think they have been marred -- maybe by Feanor's fract, maybe by their association with Melkor/Morgoth. Did his mere desire for them alter their beauty/goodness/purity?

What I really like is your idea of the clarion/beacon for the Silmarils -- I think that is a perfect analogy. And if they did have a conscience, I imagine it would be... rather ... fraught.

I also like this comment:

Quote
they are created from the Light of the Two Trees: which were both beautiful and good. But the transference of something so ethereal into a singly owned piece...beautiful but not so good.


I add to that a comment I make below (above?) and in response to Maciliel -- perhaps Feanor's craft has altered them in some way, which makes them all the more tragic. It is my understanding that Elves who saw the Light of the Trees were not so tragically (fate-ally/fatally?) altered.


CuriousG
Half-elven


May 14 2013, 1:41pm

Post #65 of 133 (1712 views)
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Yes, Telain, we are all caught up in The Oath [In reply to] Can't Post

And while the rest of the world frolics and makes merry, we are doomed to the dark recesses of the Reading Room beneath Angband, where even Balrogs dare not tread, for our musings upon musings stir the pots of...oh, never mind.

But after all, the book is named after those baubles, and they play a great role in foreground and background, so deciphering them is worth our time. And fascinating!

I think we're in accord, or our the ships of our thought are on parallel paths, about the Silmarils maybe shouldn't have been created by non-Ainur, or if they were, they were caught up in the Fate of Arda (trouble!) from the Great Music which the Ainur were more observers of.

Quote

I also wonder that because the Silmarils were created not by an Ainur, but by one of the Children of Eru -- even if he was the greatest Elf ever -- has something to do with the tragedy that seems to befall the good people who are drawn to them. Is it the "touch" of a being that was not designed (by Eru) to create such things?

Which means I'm in agreement with Telain, which seems a running theme.


Brethil
Half-elven


May 14 2013, 1:55pm

Post #66 of 133 (1704 views)
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Ha, bound we are...those troublesome oaths.. [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Not only that you mentioned Thorin, but that it was preceded by the word "cuddle" and yet you still stayed on topic! That is a willpower few have, Brethil. Thank you Telain, it wasn't easy...Wink

I add to that a comment I make below (above?) and in response to Maciliel -- perhaps Feanor's craft has altered them in some way, which makes them all the more tragic. It is my understanding that Elves who saw the Light of the Trees were not so tragically (fate-ally/fatally?) altered.




Did some reading in one of my favorite Letters (Yes, its #131, grumble....) where JRRT discusses Light: "There was the Light of Valinor made visible in the Two Trees of Silver and Gold." * note: As far as all this has symbolical or allegorical significance, Light is such a primeval symbol in the nature of the Universe, that it can hardly be analysed. The Light of Valinor (derived from light before any fall) is the light of art undivorced from reason, that sees things both scientifically (or philosophically) and imaginatively (or subcreatively) and says that they are good - as beautiful."

"But the Silmariili were more than just beautiful things as such. There was Light."

So, the "Light of Valinor" is something made 'visible' in the two trees, and it represents art, science, philosophy and imagination (the song of Yavanna, maker of life, and the tears of Nienna, the healer). Thus Light here in this context must be the visible, perceivable form that these primeval (in JRRT's cosmos) ideals take. I think his point is that they have a purity as a 'hologram' (albeit a sterile one) of the power of Creation.

What's interesting is how he describes the making of the Silmarils: "But the chief artificer of the Elves (Feanor) had imprisoned the Light of Valinor in the three supreme jewels, the Silmarilli...." (bold by me) Interesting word, 'imprisoned". I think it implies what a lot of us are feeling - that the Light is pure and good, unreservedly so, and I *think* it is incorruptible. But the placing of, capturing of, imprisoning of that elemental force is what is the "sullying". I think the Light in the Jewels themselves cannot be sullied - it is in the hands of the living in desiring their possession that the negativity begins to swirl. Imprisoned implies its doesn't perhaps really belong bound....

So as you say Telain, its in the eye of the beholder - in this case the need to possess. And also Maciliel, it draws Morgoth probably beyond a way that he can understand, because it is so elemental (being close to him as Ainur, spawned in those same ideals as the Light represents.) So I think overall the making by an Elf doesn't mar the Light (I don't think it can be marred) but brings it into the world in a way the world at large simply cannot cope with; so CG I would say that the Light in the Jewels stays distant, unreachable, untouchable, but that doesn't stop everyone (and anyone?) from trying.

This is fascinating stuff. And indeed I too begin to see a consensus CG! Angelic

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

(This post was edited by Brethil on May 14 2013, 2:00pm)


elaen32
Gondor

May 14 2013, 2:15pm

Post #67 of 133 (1692 views)
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I love these thoughts... [In reply to] Can't Post


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the light of the silmarils is the closest that one gets to seeing the imperishable flame. the light of the trees is the pulse of life itself. captured in the crystalline cases of the multi-fracted silmarils, that living light was amplified.

all are drawn to it because it is life, in light form. perhaps they can be described as the purest reflection of the light imperishable. they are not quite life itself, they do not have fear (which is the light imperishable), but they are its closest, purest reflection. which is why all (especially morgoth) are drawn to them.


I think it would explain a lot about the reactions to the Silmarils of those who encounter them, oath or not. Maybe that, as a non Ainur, Feanor ultimately could not cope with what he had created. Even though he was the "greatest Elf" etc, his spirit was incapable of comprehending the light imperishable etc, due not knowing the Music. Melkor had once had this understanding, but in his fall, he is diminshed in his understanding also. In terms of Varda hallowing the Silmarils, as one of the greatest of the Ainur, she was able to"deal with" the properties of the light, but, as with many Valaran actions, she was not able to see that lesser beings would not. Sorry, I don't have evidence for any of this, because I just have not read enough Tolkien background,, but hopefully makes some sense

"Beneath the roof of sleeping leaves the dreams of trees unfold"


PhantomS
Rohan


May 14 2013, 3:17pm

Post #68 of 133 (1694 views)
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Show me your Elvish papers, comrade [In reply to] Can't Post


**For a race that has lived in the peace of Valinor, these Elves seem to know how to wage war! Should we be surprised by this? (The same people that will call the Dwarves warlike.)

Even though they lived in peace, the Elves are not necessarily unable to use weapons. At least two of the Valar are warriors (Orome and Tulkas) and the place where Ungoliant lived must have had something to fight. In a land where healing is quick at hand I can imagine several duels and tests of strength that may bruise or even sever but never kill. The Sindar themselves were self-taught in combat even before meeting the Dwarves who merely improved their weaponry. The Noldor were also powerful people in terms of physical strength, much like the Numenoreans after them.


**Knowing the bitter truth, how can Feanor still exhort his sons to fulfill the Oath? And what does it say about him that, seeing Death near at hand, he still tells his sons to avenge him?

Like all good warlords and self-appointed supreme leaders he is keen to keep his progeny on his own path. He had no regrets whatsoever, unlike his kids....

**"Yet cause he had for great joy, though it was hidden from him for a while." Is victory and joy close at hand...what if Feanor had lived to see the Sun rise?

Knowing Feanor he would call the Sun and Moon an insult to his own work....

**Are the making of the Silmarils his greatest renown - and the woe the Kinslaying, two seperate things? Or can you see the making of the Silmarils as both things at once?

Separate things, although the Silmarils filled him with too much pride.


** Does the lure of the Silmaril draw Maehdros in, or is it the idea of vengeance - coming within an hour of his father's death? An amazing parallel in negotiations - these High Elves and the Dark Lord all come to this party with the same idea, don't they! (And don't bring an Elf to a Balrog fight, BTW...)

They tried to counter-screw Morgoth but he called their plan and upped his ante. Maedhros wanted to get all three even if he had to duel Morgoth himself, but got horribly outmatched before he could even sneeze 'cheater'!

It sounds Promethean , although Maedhros didn't have a bird eating his abdomen every day, and he was saved by a genuine hero who wasn't even there specifically to save him.


**The oliphaunt in the room - one thing no one seems to be speaking of is the Rebellion, the Ban of the Valar, and the Kinslaying. Do we have a conspiracy of silence here? If they feel they were right - then why the secrecy?

They know about Thingol and hoped the other Noldor would turn around and not tell anyone. Telling the other king of the Teleri you burned his ships and killed his people will not go well at all. It was likely only the leaders of the Feanorian faction (the brothers) who spoke of this so Thingol only heard their version of events. He would be wondering there are no Teleri with them, though.

**A powerful image, Fingolfin arriving with his blue banners flowing in the fiery first sunrise, ending the age of stars and beginning the age of fallen light, the Sun...What might the other Firstborn think of this light - both Exiles and Lesser Elves?

A new dawn, as it were. No one had seen the sun or moon before over Middle Earth, so it was a new thing to all. The Grey Elves had never seen the Trees, so this is what they get as second best.

**The first chronological appearance of a deus-ex-machina Eagle, courtesy of Manwe. We read that Manwe still has pity for the Exiles - does this seem odd, or is it believable?

Manwe sends the top Eagle, no less. It might be Manwe's boss that has pity for the Exiles, since their oath was in His name.

**This passage has such a Greek tragedy feel to it; and the loss of the Right Hand has an almost Bibilical feel (If thy right hand offendeth, then cut and cast it away...) Intentional? Symbolic? Does it change Maehdros?

He became much more heroic after this ('many deeds of valor') and more humble, at least until Beren rescued the lone Silmaril and he went nuts again.


**The brothers have very different reactions to Angrod's report, which will have consequences later on - what does this litmus test say about each of them?

Even though the Oath was taken together, it's clear Maedhros is the leader of the seven while the middle children are all acting out in some way. Caranthir was clearly like Galadriel in that he wanted something out of Middle Earth, while Maedhros thinks he is some kind of super prestigious Elf on par with Elu Thingol.

**Does this make you wish someone else had decided to take this patch of real estate?

Caranthir must be of the Noldor that liked gold and jewlery rather than iron and steel; perfect neighbors for the Dwarves. Maedhros the hero needs a mountain fortress while their twin siblings preferred a plain, Maglor got a strange gap in the mountains.


**After all the grief and pain, it appears a few short years of peace is enough to sanctify Feanor. Thoughts?

No one in Middle Earth really knew him, plus the Elves still respect him for his creations and his legacy of seven sons. It's easy to make a hero out of someone most people barely knew. Most of Feanor's ill intent was done away from the ears of his followers (such as pointing fingers at the Valar) and they felt justified in killing the Teleri although they would really repent of that later.

**Ulmo gets involved here. We read earlier about Manwe's aid; are the Valar just repeating old patterns or is this a new age?

Ulmo is the only Valar whose element is still connected to the Elves and the only one who wants to speak for the Free Peoples. That might be the reason Turgon's first city is by the water.

**"but Finrod Felagund was not the first to dwell in the caves beside the River Narog." History? Foreshadowing? Irony?

Foreshadowing the Petty Dwarves of course.

**This fight will be called the he Dagor-Argaleb, the Glorious Battle - the most weighty name so far of the Battles of Beleriand. Does it deserve such a noble appellation?

It was a win for the Elves in that they got Morgoth to do what they wanted. Other battles usually end up with them dying a lot and relying on a heroic deed or two to save the day.


**Morgoth has tested the fences, taken full measure of his enemies, both their strengths and weaknessess...can we say the same of the Noldor? How well does each side use their respective 'time-outs'?

Morgoth doesn't have to do anything, he still has the bigger army and is already messing with Men in the East. He can breed his dragons in peace and get Sauron to sweep the floor of Angband now and again but he's the one in charge for sure.

The Noldor can't do much other than maintain their Siege as they can't get into Angband and they can't call the Valar for help. They are beginning to miss Valinor and are making replicas of things back home, while others like Galadriel are getting a bit restless and aiming to travel further afield. As Thingol has locked the Noldor out of Doriath and Cirdan hanging out at Sirion, no one can actually do anything concrete against Morgoth. They probably spent 400 years thinking of what to do.



Brethil
Half-elven


May 14 2013, 4:05pm

Post #69 of 133 (1712 views)
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Some thoughts on your thoughts Phantom... [In reply to] Can't Post


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**"Yet cause he had for great joy, though it was hidden from him for a while." Is victory and joy close at hand...what if Feanor had lived to see the Sun rise?
Knowing Feanor he would call the Sun and Moon an insult to his own work....


This is very interesting, Phantom...I sort of had the idea that seeing the new Light might somehow devalue the Silmarils a bit in his mind, or give him a sense of peace...but not sure if my speculation is out in left field and I am giving Feanor waaaaay too much credit!
*The oliphaunt in the room - one thing no one seems to be speaking of is the Rebellion, the Ban of the Valar, and the Kinslaying. Do we have a conspiracy of silence here? If they feel they were right - then why the secrecy?
They know about Thingol and hoped the other Noldor would turn around and not tell anyone. Telling the other king of the Teleri you burned his ships and killed his people will not go well at all. It was likely only the leaders of the Feanorian faction (the brothers) who spoke of this so Thingol only heard their version of events. He would be wondering there are no Teleri with them, though.
*THAT* is a very excellent point Phantom - yet Thingol never really seems to wonder why no Teleri are in the mix. He only gets angered upon hearing the truth later - maybe because he felt foolish as well? Its not like he's looking to find any absent relatives here. "He canbreed his dragons in peace and get Sauron to sweep the floor of Angband now and again but he's the one in charge for sure." (Haha, in his overalls... *yes Boss...*) That's great....!
The Noldor can't do much other than maintain their Siege as they can't get into Angband and they can't call the Valar for help. They are beginning to miss Valinor and are making replicas of things back home, while others like Galadriel are getting a bit restless and aiming to travel further afield. As Thingol has locked the Noldor out of Doriath and Cirdan hanging out at Sirion, no one can actually do anything concrete against Morgoth. They probably spent 400 years thinking of what to do. The perks of Immortality: Structured Indecision Wink


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


Maciliel
Valinor


May 14 2013, 4:40pm

Post #70 of 133 (1721 views)
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+love+ "eagles ex machina" : ) [In reply to] Can't Post


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And I really like your analysis of Maedhros and why Manwe interferes. I do think that (apart from the Oath) that the Silmarils attract goodness, much like the One RIng attracts evil, but the fate of being so close to such power/purity/whatever the Silmarils should be described as always ends tragically.

I do think that Maedhros has goodness in him and that is why Manwe sends the Eagles, but I also think that power of choice is always going to be difficult to overcome -- of course by the Oath, but also by the lure of the Silmarils themselves.



i absolutely love your household phrase, telain, "eagles ex machina." perfect!

i agree, the power of choice for maedhros will always be an uphill battle, since he swore the oath and his feelings about the oath bind him to it.

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 telpemairo


Maciliel
Valinor


May 14 2013, 4:53pm

Post #71 of 133 (1712 views)
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silmarils -- reflected light of the fire imperishable [In reply to] Can't Post


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[maciliel]
all are drawn to it because it is life, in light form. perhaps they can be described as the purest reflection of the light imperishable. they are not quite life itself, they do not have fear (which is the light imperishable), but they are its closest, purest reflection. which is why all (especially morgoth) are drawn to them.
[/maciliel]

[elaen32]
I also wonder that because the Silmarils were created not by an Ainur, but by one of the Children of Eru -- even if he was the greatest Elf ever -- has something to do with the tragedy that seems to befall the good people who are drawn to them. Is it the "touch" of a being that was not designed (by Eru) to create such things?

Is this another facet to (my seemingly unending fascination with) the Hallowing? I.e., does Varda understand that the Silmarils's version of "the light imperishable" has been altered by Feanor's craft, therefore what on Arda would happen if Edain started messing around with said Light?

A far more serious question: am I somehow cursed with Feanor's ridiculous Oath, which is why I keep coming back to this topic!?
[/elaen32]




you raise some really interesting points, elaen.

re your thought on feanor altering the light imperishable....

my view, from all that i've read in tolkien's works, is that no one (perhaps not even eru) has the ability to alter the light imperishable (and only eru can create it). that is, it +is+, and eru can send it forth into arda, where it inhabits a fea... but once it is a fea, it cannot be altered. it is its own being.

also, clarifying/restating my view... the silmarils do +not+ hold the light imperishable (if they did, they'd have fear, and be sentient). they are not sentient, but they were described as seeming to have life. that's why my current thinking is that the light from the trees (which +were+ alive, but had no fear) was captured in the silmarils, and the light that was captured was a reflection of the life in the trees (not the actual life), and the faceted, jewel-like nature of the silmarils amplifies and multiplies that light.

i think this helps to explain how that light could have revived the trees, as they lay dying. it doesn't explain how (supposedly, according to some myths) the light from the silmarils will be released at some future time and revive the trees (which are dead).

i think, +if+ we are thinking that the silmarils are the reflected flame imperishable, that you have an extremely interesting thought -- that no one, not vala, not edain, not elda, should be messing around with it. but that would make what varda did (taking the drews from laurelin and telperion and brightening the stars) wrong or risky. i don't get the sense that varda's actions should be labelled like that (and neither did you). you did state that you thought that varda could handle the "handling," but that she might not have been able to conceive of how a non-valar would be impacted (this sounds plausible to me).

(side question -- if varda hallowed them.... how could she really be hallowing the reflected light? what purpose could that have? how would that even work? meaning, if it's reflected light of the fire imperishable, isn't it already holy, or somewhat holy? just what did this blessing confer? --- other than making silmarils unfit to be handled by us edain?)

perhaps it's wisest to leave the handling of this +reflected+ light of the flame imperishable to the care and tending of the valar. with which no member of the edain, no elda, and even no vanya, should tinker.


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 telpemairo

(This post was edited by Maciliel on May 14 2013, 4:58pm)


CuriousG
Half-elven


May 14 2013, 5:17pm

Post #72 of 133 (1693 views)
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What's natural and not [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks for bringing up that point, Brethil. #131 is a treasure trove of information that sheds Light upon our proceedings.

Do you suppose there's a double entendre in his use of "imprisoned"? It sounds unnatural, and Tolkien was all about how things should be natural in the world or they lead to problems. But why would the Valar approve and hallow these unnatural things?

There's the literal meaning of "imprisoned," but it seems a second meaning is "captured" as in "the artist captured the essence of the landscape in his painting," and there's no negative connotation there. But then again, I can't think of a context where imprisoned ever has a positive connotation, other than "the Valar imprisoned Melkor." Tongue So Feanor didn't "capture" the essence of the Trees, which would be appropriate, but imprisoned them. Hmm. Just odd that no one objected, but if they were all smitten by their beauty, and those gems were seductively beautiful, no one would think to.

That the light was unnaturally imprisoned would explain why the Silmarils were not evil like the Ring but still caused harm. Another possibility is that perhaps in the Scheme of Things, they were meant to be temporary vessels of the Trees' light as an insurance policy against destruction. Feanor should have surrendered them to revive the Trees no matter how much it pained him (if he'd still had possession), so those things weren't meant to last forever, warranty or no.

Then follow history for a few ages, and the light of Earendil's Silmaril is "imprisoned" (my word) by Galadriel in her Phial for Frodo. The Phial never does anything wrong nor impel anyone to do so. I can't prove it, but my gut says that Galadriel + Nenya + her Mirror (I think she said the starlight was taken from the Mirror's water) somehow purified the light. Or maybe it was so diluted in reaching the Phial that it didn't matter either way; certainly no one was enraptured by the beauty of the Phial's light like they were with Silmarils.


Maciliel
Valinor


May 14 2013, 5:22pm

Post #73 of 133 (1682 views)
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creative thought [In reply to] Can't Post

 
instead of putting melkor in the halls of mandos (that ulmo actually advised against), they should have had feanor put him in an usilmaril.


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 telpemairo


Maciliel
Valinor


May 14 2013, 5:26pm

Post #74 of 133 (1677 views)
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a reflection of a reflection [In reply to] Can't Post

 


Quote
[curiousg]
Galadriel + Nenya + her Mirror (I think she said the starlight was taken from the Mirror's water) somehow purified the light. Or maybe it was so diluted in reaching the Phial that it didn't matter either way; certainly no one was enraptured by the beauty of the Phial's light like they were with Silmarils.
[/curiousg]



a reflection (the phial) of a reflection (the silmarils/light of the trees) of the flame imperishable.

beautiful, but diluted?


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 telpemairo

(This post was edited by Maciliel on May 14 2013, 5:26pm)


Maciliel
Valinor


May 14 2013, 6:19pm

Post #75 of 133 (1688 views)
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light, incorruptible [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To

Quote
[brethil]
Did some reading in one of my favorite Letters (Yes, its #131, grumble.... where JRRT discusses Light:

"There was the Light of Valinor made visible in the Two Trees of Silver and Gold."

"* note: As far as all this has symbolical or allegorical significance, Light is such a primeval symbol in the nature of the Universe, that it can hardly be analysed. The Light of Valinor (derived from light before any fall) is the light of art undivorced from reason, that sees things both scientifically (or philosophically) and imaginatively (or subcreatively) and says that they are good - as beautiful."


"But the Silmariili were more than just beautiful things as such. There was Light."


So, the "Light of Valinor" is something made 'visible' in the two trees, and it represents art, science, philosophy and imagination (the song of Yavanna, maker of life, and the tears of Nienna, the healer). Thus Light here in this context must be the visible, perceivable form that these primeval (in JRRT's cosmos) ideals take. I think his point is that they have a purity as a 'hologram' (albeit a sterile one) of the power of Creation.

What's interesting is how he describes the making of the Silmarils:

"But the chief artificer of the Elves (Feanor) had imprisoned the Light of Valinor in the three supreme jewels, the Silmarilli...."

(bold by me) Interesting word, 'imprisoned". I think it implies what a lot of us are feeling - that the Light is pure and good, unreservedly so, and I *think* it is incorruptible. But the placing of, capturing of, imprisoning of that elemental force is what is the "sullying". I think the Light in the Jewels themselves cannot be sullied - it is in the hands of the living in desiring their possession that the negativity begins to swirl. Imprisoned implies its doesn't perhaps really belong bound....

So as you say Telain, its in the eye of the beholder - in this case the need to possess. And also Maciliel, it draws Morgoth probably beyond a way that he can understand, because it is so elemental (being close to him as Ainur, spawned in those same ideals as the Light represents.) So I think overall the making by an Elf doesn't mar the Light (I don't think it can be marred) but brings it into the world in a way the world at large simply cannot cope with; so CG I would say that the Light in the Jewels stays distant, unreachable, untouchable, but that doesn't stop everyone (and anyone?) from trying.

This is fascinating stuff. And indeed I too begin to see a consensus CG! Angelic[
[/brethil]




truly wonderful post, brethil, and many interesting thoughts. thanks for illustrating to us again the value of #131 (by which point now, you must know by heart).

aplogies, i actually had missed this post of yours until just now... i see a lot of synergy between what you wrote and my current train of though re the silmarils... that the light within them is a reflection of the light imperishable.

so, now having a better understanding of what tolkien himself thought of the light within the silmarils -- art undivorced from reason, science, philosophy, imagination, subcreation --- i think all that tolkien lists as what the light is, is consistent with that being a reflection of the flame imperishable. the flame imperishable is life, and the nature of this holy light (as described by tolkien) would not exist in any way without life.... without someone to create, to philosophize, to inquire empirically, to write, to paint, etc.

i can also see how (again, i think this is consistent with them being a reflection of the flame imperishable) they would draw fear (spirits) to them. but in that pure form, earthly spirits, spirits of a lower order, have no real chance of handling it well, or even living with it peacefully. it has to be diluted (like in galadriel's phial). very simply, the light within the silmarils is a subcreative light, a light that is the reflection of the ultimate creator/creation, the imperishable fire.

so... does eru create the imperishable fire, or does he only tend it?

again, thank you for a superb post, brethil tengwadil. : )


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 telpemairo

(This post was edited by Maciliel on May 14 2013, 6:20pm)

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