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Silmarilion Discussion: Chapter 16 -- "Of Maeglin"
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Na Vedui

Jun 15 2013, 11:20pm

Post #376 of 381 (4329 views)
Good thread [In reply to] Can't Post

Just (belatedly) found and read through this thread. Great stuff, everyone. I'm replying to Maciliel who started it, as a representative of all the good posts - there were so many excellent contributions altogether!


Jun 15 2013, 11:35pm

Post #377 of 381 (4323 views)
thanks for reading, na vedui : ) [In reply to] Can't Post

and, just to say, although we're on to the next chapter (broken out into separate threads, lead by sador), all silmarillion threads are still open for business, so to speak. : )

people will get notifications if you respond to a particular post, and others will get notifications if they have selected "watch thread" (in the upper right-hand corner).

so.... : )

i have to ask, since you had the mammoth stamina to read this mumakil thread (little pun there : ) ), what are your thoughts on the chapter? did you have a different take on maeglin, aredhel, eol or the brothers feanor?

the characters opened up for me much more than on any prior readings, thanks to everyone's fine contributions to this thread.

the chapter is entitled "of maeglin," but is it about him, really? is tolkien trying to get us to understand why he does what he does later? or is it about the shadow of morgoth, falling on eol, and thus on maeglin? or is it about the curse of feanor, somehow working on aredhel (in wanting to visit her feanorian cousins)?

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

Na Vedui

Jun 16 2013, 12:39am

Post #378 of 381 (4329 views)
Characters [In reply to] Can't Post

Aredhel - she's so set on her own desires that she doesn't think of the bigger picture (i.e. the implications for other people if she does as she wants to do), nor does she listen to anyone who tries to enlighten her. I think she may be one of those people who sees the world the way they want to - if Turgon said "But people could follow you back here", she'd just say "Oh, but there won't BE any people" and totally believe it. I guess she sees Eol the way she wants to, too, until the reality of his behaviour gets too oppressive to ignore.
I have some sympathy with her, as she seems to be a girl for the wide open spaces (likes to ride out with her Feanor cousins) so she must have really pined to get out of the city, however elvishly beautiful it was. Physically strong, probably physically courageous, even reckless, but not very mature. All the caution and prohibitions around life in Gondolin would seem very fuddy-duddy to her, and the Feanor boys and Eol were exciting because they were outside the city, and had an edge of danger to them, in different ways, and because Turgon wouldn't approve. (I could see a modern Aredhel hanging out with bikers, and then going Goth with a new boyfriend, only to find that he was into some rather nasty stuff.) Of course, by the end of her story, reality has kicked in and she dies saving another person, so she has grown and learned.

Maeglin - I would guess his upbringing, and then his ambiguous status amongst his Noldor kin, brought out the worst in a naturally rather deep and calculating character. He's like Curufin, one of the devious Noldor, with an added layer of darkness from growing up with Eol. And has two parents who both *must* have what they want, regardless - not a good example.

Eol sounds like a real case of a psychological vicious circle; the lifestyle he adopts accentuates all his difficult traits, which makes him more likely to carry on living as he does. He's not straightforward; he may have loved Aredhel, in his way, but love in his case would be all mixed up with other things - possessiveness, desire to control, hatred of the Noldor. I bet when they were having rows, he always threw it in Aredhel's face that she was one of "that lot". And by heck, I bet he could sulk for Beleriand! I'm sure Maeglin could too, but he'd only show it if he thought it would further his aims.

I like your discussions of Idril - she obviously has a great deal of sense and is a worthy ancestor of Elrond, Arwen and Aragorn. (BTW, wasn't the sword that Arwen carried in FOTR (film) supposed to have belonged to Idril? Nice touch, if so.) Idril's device, a circular pattern based on cornflowers, is my favourite of the Elvish heraldic devices Tolkien drew; quite beautiful.

Na Vedui

Jun 16 2013, 1:06am

Post #379 of 381 (4314 views)
Reasons why [In reply to] Can't Post

The interesting thing about this set-up is that the material for what happens is all there in the characters as described, plus a degree of chance - one doesn't have to invoke any specific influences from "behind the scenes" such as Morgoth or the Feanorian curse, to explain how things pan out. But the potential for seeing it the other way is there - one can say, but why do the chance things occur, and not something different?
I suspect that is why LOTR (which works similarly) resonates with such a wide range of people, both religious and not. One can see the events as purely character-driven (eg Bilbo, then Frodo, spares Gollum, which means he is there to pursue them to the bitter end and bring about what Frodo can no longer do of his own volition); or one can see a providence at work, guiding the "chances" at critical moments.


Jun 16 2013, 10:22am

Post #380 of 381 (4306 views)
Interesting point [In reply to] Can't Post

Tolkien uses elements of fate and doom (and prophecies so that the audience is clued up about this).

He's also really keen on free will and the responsibility to make correct moral choices.

This puts things on an interesting knife-edge, because a lot about those two themes ought to be mutually exclusive.

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

"nowimė I am in the West, Furincurunir to the Dwarves (or at least, to their best friend) and by other names in other lands. Mostly they just say 'Oh no it's him - look busy!' "
Or "Hold off! unhand me, grey-beard loon!"


Jun 16 2013, 10:27am

Post #381 of 381 (4363 views)
Of the naming of the Chapter "Of Maeglin" [In reply to] Can't Post

It's an interesting choice of title, when a lot of the chapter is about other characters. The chapter title cues us to see this as Maeglin's backstory, which is not how we might see it otherwise, I think.

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

"nowimė I am in the West, Furincurunir to the Dwarves (or at least, to their best friend) and by other names in other lands. Mostly they just say 'Oh no it's him - look busy!' "
Or "Hold off! unhand me, grey-beard loon!"

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