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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
Silmarillion Discussion, Chapter 19: Of Beren and Luthien: Love, etc.
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Brethil
Half-elven


Jun 24 2013, 1:08pm

Post #26 of 344 (483 views)
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Stopping in quickly... [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
I agree with you. While the magic in this chapter is great fun and satisfying, having it to the same degree in every chapter dilutes the historical feel. I also think the songs of power came from the same groups you list. Somehow, I don't see Cirdan dueling in a song of power. Daeron is a possibility, since he was the best singer ever, but that's still very uncertain.




Have a commitment for this morning but will dive into this *fantastic* discussion fully later today!

On this point, I just wonder if we can speculate the Elf-centric nature of the work (as JRRT fully intended it to be) is some explanation for the 'magical' nature of what some of the things (particularly) that Luthien does. As revered among the Firstborn, is it a literary construct in the Elven voice to include so many events as 'magical' ie: like the many instances of sleep-singing. A talent, tinged with inherent spiritual strength, transformed into a higher elevation in the tale because of the singularity of Luthien herself in the Elf culture?

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


noWizardme
Tol Eressea


Jun 24 2013, 1:30pm

Post #27 of 344 (498 views)
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(More random questions) - why recover only one silmaril? [In reply to] Can't Post

Something is bothering me about this scene - Morgoth's throne room. Morgoth has suffered a TKO, and Beren is using his dagger to remove a silmaril from the crown

Why not take the entire crown?

Beren pries one gem lose and goes for another, but his dagger snaps -

Is the snapping dagger happenstance, or DOOM and FATE at work (some power wants them only to get one gem?)

I did, however, imagine a bit of the Beren/Luthien dialogue that you found missing, CG:

Luthien: Er, Beren, how's it coming up there?
Beren: Almost... there...[a snapping sound]...ah, blast! Lu, can you hand me up my spare dagger?
Luthien: Spare dagger?
Beren: The one I put out on the table for you to pack....
Luthien: Wait - I was supposed to pack your stuff?? What am I supposed to be, a mind-reader?
Beren: Well actually....oh, never mind, I think he's waking up.....

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!"


CuriousG
Valinor


Jun 24 2013, 1:48pm

Post #28 of 344 (487 views)
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That would account for their missing husband/wife banter. [In reply to] Can't Post

I think the snapping knife is fate (well, the text says so). Thingol only wanted one (the modest guy), and that was all that was needed for the Quest. The fates of the other two meant they had different plans that wouldn't be disrupted by this bickering married couple invading someone's home and burglarizing the family jewels. Really, it's troublesome that a clear case of theft is elevated to an epic romance; they stole Telchar also. They kill a wolf, and wolves are endangered species. They topple Minas Tirith, which was on a list of historically protected architectural sites. They impersonate a bat and a wolf, which is identity theft. Truants and hooligans, they are!

Excellent point about the Iron Crown. Maybe it was just too big to carry out? Or maybe it was cursed/poisoned with Morgoth's spells and influence, so that keeping it with you would radiate you with evil. Or both. But I tend to think it was just too big to carry.


noWizardme
Tol Eressea


Jun 24 2013, 2:07pm

Post #29 of 344 (503 views)
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The "Celtic" chapter??? [In reply to] Can't Post

Thinking about Lothwen's comment that this is "the fairy tale chapter". It does seem different in style, almost if from another work altogether. It reminded me of this:

Quote
Since The Hobbit was a success, as sequel was called for; and the remote Elvish legends were turned down. A publisher's reader said they were too full of the kind of Celtic beauty that maddened Anglo-Saxons in large dose. Very likely quite right

Letters #163 to W H Auden (my bold italics)

In fact, my e-reader counts 20 appearances of the word "celtic" in Letters, often about this "Celtic beauty" comment (I think it either really annoyed Tolkien and he smarted about it for years, or it seemed a good way of putting things).

My limited knowledge is that celtic myths often contain lots of fantastic and romantic stuff of the kind exhibited in B&L - magic, talking animals, songs etc. (But I could be utterly wrong).

So, I wonder, is this Tolkien's "Celtic chapter" par excellence? Did he really let rip here before coming all over English again??

Help me Obi wan Celtic Folklore Knowledge Person*, you're my only hope....

*If we don't have several of those in the Reading Room, then I'm a dragon.

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!"


noWizardme
Tol Eressea


Jun 24 2013, 2:08pm

Post #30 of 344 (464 views)
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Aw, now I'm beginning to see them as Beren and Clyde :) // [In reply to] Can't Post

 

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!"

(This post was edited by noWizardme on Jun 24 2013, 2:11pm)


noWizardme
Tol Eressea


Jun 24 2013, 2:33pm

Post #31 of 344 (497 views)
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The personal connection & That tombstone [In reply to] Can't Post

More sentimental even than having 2 tombstones marked Luthien and Beren, respectively, Prof & Mrs Tolkien share just the one tombstone (in Wolvercote Cemetery, North Oxford) - Here's a photo .

I think its sweet.

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!"


CuriousG
Valinor


Jun 24 2013, 3:30pm

Post #32 of 344 (487 views)
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Oh, my mind and details--what's the use [In reply to] Can't Post

I thought I'd seen a photo of their stones side by side. I also thought I'd seen the Titanic triumphantly sail into New York harbor and Hitler spontaneously surrender in 1939 and apologize for starting the war. Then again, I just analyzed a chapter with a talking dog and a flying elven princess, so I'm not sure of anything real anymore.

Thanks for the correction.


elaen32
Gondor


Jun 24 2013, 3:59pm

Post #33 of 344 (485 views)
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There are parallels with the Tale of Culhwch and Olwen [In reply to] Can't Post

from the Arthurian legends. I thought that I remembered a link- the hero being given a seemingly impossible task before he can claim his bride. So I did a quick search and came up with this http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Culhwch_and_Olwen It seems that Tom Shippey made the same comparison so I'm in very good company!Wink So, definitely some Celtic influence here I would say. I think there are other parallels with some tales from the Mabinogi, but I cannot remember them off hand and my copy is in storage at present (still waiting for my study to be finished)

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


elaen32
Gondor


Jun 24 2013, 4:03pm

Post #34 of 344 (482 views)
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Another interesting parallel [In reply to] Can't Post

between Olwen/Olwyn and Luthien-


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David Day in Tolkien's Ring, page 82: "In the Celtic tradition, when these radiant beings—these 'ladies in white'—take on mortal heroes as lovers, there are always obstacles to overcome. These obstacles usually take the form of an almost impossible quest. This is most clearly comparable to Tolkien in the Welsh legend of the wooing of Olwyn. Olwyn was the most beautiful woman of her age; her eyes shone with light, and her skin was white as snow. Olwyn's name means 'she of the white track', so bestowed because four white trefoils sprang up with her every step on the forest floor, and the winning of her hand required the near-impossible gathering of the 'Treasures of Britain'"; "In Tolkien, we have two almost identical 'ladies in white': Lśthien in The Silmarillion, and Arwen in The Lord of The Rings

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


elaen32
Gondor


Jun 24 2013, 4:27pm

Post #35 of 344 (480 views)
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And another.... [In reply to] Can't Post

found at the bottom of the Wikipedia article I linked to


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Tom Shippey, The Road to Middle Earth, pp. 193–194: "The hunting of the great wolf recalls the chase of the boar Twrch Trwyth in the Welsh Mabinogion, while the motif of 'the hand in the wolf's mouth' is one of the most famous parts of the Prose Edda, told of Fenris Wolf and the god Tyr; Huan recalls several faithful hounds of legend, Garm, Gelert, Cafall."

Huan has always reminded me of the legend of Gelert, even though the stories are quite different. There is a small town in North Wales called Beddgelert, where this is supposed to have taken place. I remember going there as a child and getting quite upset about Gelert's fate and now, as an adult, I feel kinda the same about Huan!

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


CuriousG
Valinor


Jun 24 2013, 4:33pm

Post #36 of 344 (478 views)
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Excellent find [In reply to] Can't Post

Especially the comparison of flowers springing up at her footsteps.

I think of Greek myths also, where the hero is given extreme challenges to marry the bride, and sometimes gets her help (Ariadne's thread in the labyrinth to help Theseus). Plus various European fairy tales where the aspiring groom has to fight evil monsters to get the hand of the princess. Or even biblically, though without the monsters. I forget the names, but there was a Hebrew man who had to labor for 7 years to get the daughter of a man reluctant to give her away. Then he was given the wrong daughter and had to labor another 7 years to get the bride he wanted. The father and the obstacles is as old as time in real life too. Tolkien was prohibited by his guarding (a Catholic priest) from marrying Anglican Edith until he reached the right age and had proven himself; like Beren & Luthien coming from different races, though in this case the groom's "father" was the obstructionist.

This is a sad line from Tolkien after Edith's death, comparing their story to B&L's: "But the story has gone crooked, & I am left, and I cannot plead before the inexorable Mandos."


CuriousG
Valinor


Jun 24 2013, 4:38pm

Post #37 of 344 (474 views)
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Reading all these influences [In reply to] Can't Post

makes one tempted to say Tolkien invented very little but instead synthesized (Shakespeare-like) his story from many different sources. Though I think he still invented plenty.

I share your view about Huan. He is dog-like in his loyalty, even remaining to Celegorm after the latter proved he was faithless. Then he stood by B&L until the bitter end and sacrificed his life to kill Carcharoth. He doesn't get much for his loyalty, unless it's that warm, fuzzy feeling you get in your stomach that you've done the right thing. Though he also seems to like challenges, and I get the sense that he liked combat and would have fought Carcharoth anyway. He's an interesting dog.


noWizardme
Tol Eressea


Jun 24 2013, 4:40pm

Post #38 of 344 (474 views)
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Thanks... And [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks for the comparisons.

And
does that mean that Arwen/Aragorn is the unlikely union of Celtic and Rangers? Smile

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!"


elaen32
Gondor


Jun 24 2013, 5:48pm

Post #39 of 344 (460 views)
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You mean with one having been relegated to the lowest division? [In reply to] Can't Post

But which is which??WinkCrazy

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


Brethil
Half-elven


Jun 24 2013, 7:28pm

Post #40 of 344 (473 views)
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About Love [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
This is a perfect love story, and literally, a fairy tale romance. Or so it seems to me. Do you see anything imperfect in it, or is it love the way you wished it would be? Well I think for JRRT's own life experiences, we know of his 'battle' to win Edith. He had wartime experience and came to age and saw war culture as an adult. So I think the setting is key here; the whirlwind and essential connection made between two beings with the world spinning out of control around them. So in that sense the relationship has a romantic perfection that real, everyday life (as you say about the 'mundane') isn't their setting: the backdrop of turmoil and deadly peril is not only part of the tale, I think its critical to its significance. A modern day allegory of the countless war brides, swept into love and marriage by the impending conflict and deployment of the nation's young men - how many afterwards lost that partner, to always have the whirl of emotion to remember that initial level of intensity - WITHOUT any of the grinding, day to day issues like taking out garbage or paying bills - in a sort of glass case of treasured memory? So I don't want to impugn the fairy tale aspect of the love story; but maybe part of its 'unrealness' is in the need to understand that type of world in which he saw this happening: love defeating all odds, and overcoming almost insurmountable odds. So whereas where one sometimes may have to suspend disbelief, in this tale its more of accepting the stakes and the state of their world.

We see them disagreeing about how to get a Silmaril, but can you imagine them having a marital spat about who has to clean the kitchen? Doesn't it seem alien to the story to try to conjure up mundane images of how they live their daily lives? The mundane simply does not play into this tale. I think that was on purpose though, due both to the personal meaning for JRRT of the story and for the deep significance their story has for Men.

There's surprisingly little dialogue between Beren and Luthien. When they speak, it's usually to someone else. Does that leave you wondering if these two spend their private time staring rapturously and wordlessly into each other's eyes, or does it seem that their dialogue is very intimate, something that the rest of the world isn't privy to or wouldn't understand? I feel like the deep intimacy is implied by that.

There seems almost no motivation for their love. They just look at each other and it happens. There's not even a first date where they try to get to know each other. But I'm still going to ask the "why" question. Does Beren love Luthien mainly because of her celestial beauty? Why does she love him? There is a letter where JRRT talks about love (granted its Faramir and Eowyn) and about how some had criticized the rapidness of his portrayal of their falling into true love. His feeling was that "This tale does not deal with a period of 'Courtly Love' and its pretences; but with a culture more primitive (sc. less corrupt) and nobler." (#244) I think this speaks of how he saw the elemental aspects of love, far greater in importance than the weight of social convention or the routines of social interaction. Courtly love, and all its trappings, is the 'corruption' where the natural connection of two is the primitive and the purer.

Love and trauma: Luthien has led a sheltered, innocent life. Beren is a guerrilla warrior, a loner, an orphan, and has recently been betrayed by a fellow soldier and driven from his homeland, forced to travel through a nightmarish land. He sees Luthien, and he falls in love. Is it her innocence in solitude that appeals to his wounded soul, or would he fall in love with her if he were a rich and peaceful King of Dorthonion and they met at a large banquet? I think the way they meet is essential to who they are, and thus defines why they love.

The meeting of Beren & Luthien seemed a common fairy tale and mythic motif to me: the prince espies the magic princess/goddess in a forest glade and is awestruck. On first read, I didn't know that Tolkien based their meeting on a personal moment where his wife played the part of Luthien. JRR and Edith's tombstones say "Beren" and "Luthien" on them. How does knowing his personal background for the story affect your perception of it? "Sentimental" has acquired a pejorative connotation in modern criticism. Is this story too sentimental for you? No I really don't find it that sentimental. I think it has so many things going for it: a strong pairing, a partnership, deep devotion. It may lack the more garden-variety descriptions of heaving bosoms and chests, and minute verbal sparring (as we so often read) but that lends a dignity and mythical nature to it. So to combine answers, I think as a love story written by a man it has a very large, sweeping scope; it doesn't worry about details, or undermine itself by questioning its own validity. Which I feel is an appealing maleness to the romantic literature.


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

(This post was edited by Brethil on Jun 24 2013, 7:29pm)


Brethil
Half-elven


Jun 24 2013, 7:50pm

Post #41 of 344 (454 views)
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In order of ungraciousness... [In reply to] Can't Post


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A clear distinction exists in this chapter between love and lust. Beren and Luthien start out with a spiritual connection that we'd call love. At no point are we told that Beren was physically aroused by her, though since they later have a son, we can trust that happens. Very much in character, as JRRT had great respect for the physical aspects of love. I get the feeling he was not a prude by any means, but has a reticence both of his natural feeling and somewhat of his time.

Compare the staggering accomplishments resulting from Beren & Luthien's love vs. how things backfire for the lusters. Are the lusters even capable of love, or does being so selfish and unethical mean you just don't get it? I ranked them as I see the descending order of nastiness:

Well particularly with Morgoth, it isn't only lust - I think when JRRT writes about 'a design more dark than any other that had yet come into his heart since he fled from Valinor' I think it's more of a larger scale plan - where certainly lust would play a role - in causing pain to the Valar by injuring Melian, having claimed her daughter for his own and having her on his arm, and having Melian's grandchildren be HIS!. That strikes me as a very self-serving way to cause intense grief, rather a Morgoth special! And although he might not know it, had he somehow claimed Luthien the fate of Arda would be at risk: very much in a way he would prefer it to be, with no Earandil, no sailing to Valinor, no divine intervention for Middle Earth.

Celgorm seems very self-serving as well...both as indulgence and in calculating Luthien's market value. Cynical and cold.

Daeron I think definitely has a lust issue, yet maybe with a bit more purity that the other two....in the sense of not being able to have what he wants in Luthien has twisted the potentially real love felt by him into possessiveness and fear of losing her/letting her go (not that she was his to decide such things.)



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


elaen32
Gondor


Jun 24 2013, 7:52pm

Post #42 of 344 (441 views)
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Falling in love, the Beleriand way... [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To

In Reply To
There seems almost no motivation for their love. They just look at each other and it happens. There's not even a first date where they try to get to know each other. But I'm still going to ask the "why" question. Does Beren love Luthien mainly because of her celestial beauty? Why does she love him? There is a letter where JRRT talks about love (granted its Faramir and Eowyn) and about how some had criticized the rapidness of his portrayal of their falling into true love. His feeling was that "This tale does not deal with a period of 'Courtly Love' and its pretences; but with a culture more primitive (sc. less corrupt) and nobler." (#244) I think this speaks of how he saw the elemental aspects of love, far greater in importance than the weight of social convention or the routines of social interaction. Courtly love, and all its trappings, is the 'corruption' where the natural connection of two is the primitive and the purer.



I agree here Brethil- or rather I agree with Tolkien- the love between Beren & Luthien is the purer because it is more elemental, a force of nature. Already at that time, social convention in Arda threatens the lovers- for example the fact that they are of different races and Daddy disapproves, as do some of her other male kin. She has also chosen her life partner without the consent of her parents- I may be wrong, but there seems to be an expectation that Thingol will determine when and who Luthien should marry. This seems at odds with Tolkien's descriptions elsewhere of love and marriage among the Eldar, whereby they choose a partner for themselves from mutual love. I don't think that there always has to be a motivation for love, although in most cases there is. Lust at first sight is common, love at first sight is not, but I do believe that there is the odd rare case of it!!Smile

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


Brethil
Half-elven


Jun 24 2013, 8:01pm

Post #43 of 344 (414 views)
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Nice use of that Letter ! [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To

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I suppose that, for the purposes of the tale, some would say that there is a latent distinction such as once was called the distinction between +magia+ and +goeteia+. …The Enemy's operations are by no means all goetic deceits, but 'magic'that produces real effects in the physical world. Pbut his magia he uses to bulldoze both people and things, and his goeteia to terrify and subjugate. Their magia the Elves and Gandalf use (sparingly): a magia producing real results (like fire in a wet faggot) for specific beneficent purposes. Their goetic effects are entirely +artistic+ and not intended to deceive: they never deceive Elves (but may deceive or bewilder Men) since the difference is to them as clear as the difference to us between fiction, painting, and sculpture, and 'life'

Quote


Yes I think with JRRT it is all about intent. Plus there simply is a reserve of power within the Firstborn and other older residents of Middle Earth (later in #155) "Anyway, a difference in the use of 'magic' in this story is that it is not to be come by by 'lore' or spells; but is an inherent power not possessed or attainable by Men and such....(and discussing Aragorn)...while A. is not a pure 'Man', but at long remove one of the 'children of Luthien.' " So not only is intent a large part of how the term magic is applied and defined, I think this passage points out that Luthien possessed abilities special even in the context of the young Arda, filled with Firstborn and Maiar.

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


Brethil
Half-elven


Jun 24 2013, 8:41pm

Post #44 of 344 (440 views)
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A nice thought! [In reply to] Can't Post

Lust at first sight is common, love at first sight is not, but I do believe that there is the odd rare case of it!!Smile (Elaen)

Lucky for the rare oddballs!! Angelic

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


elaen32
Gondor


Jun 24 2013, 8:58pm

Post #45 of 344 (416 views)
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Yes, viva the rare oddballs!! [In reply to] Can't Post

Who wants to be normal anyway??Wink

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


noWizardme
Tol Eressea


Jun 24 2013, 9:05pm

Post #46 of 344 (425 views)
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Great post [In reply to] Can't Post

I was thinking that lust is about doing something to someone, or using them for something, as opposed to doing something with someone, with their leave.
One implies a power relationship: always a dodgy thing in Tolkien's world, whether your "conquest" is a single soul, or all the lands of Middle-earth.

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!"


Brethil
Half-elven


Jun 24 2013, 9:12pm

Post #47 of 344 (436 views)
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Very true Furincurunir! [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
I was thinking that lust is about doing something to someone, or using them for something, as opposed to doing something with someone, with their leave.
One implies a power relationship: always a dodgy thing in Tolkien's world, whether your "conquest" is a single soul, or all the lands of Middle-earth.




Objectifying - you are absolutely rigth!!! Excellent point here, and something that the three on the Lust bench we named above all do to different extents.

Indeed in the context of relationships JRRT really disliked the idea of 'conquests' (lots of sexual and relationship mores in Letter #43).

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


CuriousG
Valinor


Jun 24 2013, 11:16pm

Post #48 of 344 (419 views)
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More lust: Sauron and Carcharoth [In reply to] Can't Post

Great observations as customary, Brethil!

I wanted to add in the semi-lust category the villains Sauron and Carcharoth.

Sauron wants to keep Finrod alive as the last prisoner because "he perceived that he was a Noldo of great might and wisdom." When Luthien showed up at Tol Sirion and revealed herself in song, Sauron smiles. "The fame of the beauty of Luthien and the wonder of her song had logn gone forth from Doriath; and he thought to make her captive and hand her over to the power of Morgoth, for his reward would be great." I don't want to know what evil thing counts as a great reward to Sauron, but I contrast what makes each person a prize. Finrod is powerful and smart, Luthien is pretty, a good singer, and the daughter of Melian, Morgoth's enemy. I get a creepy feeling of semi-lust here, either on Sauron's mind or knowing what's on his master's mind.

With Carcharoth it's not about sex, but Silmaril-lust. (It's nice that those jewels harm the bad guys for a change.) He "looked up that holy jewel and was not daunted, and the devouring spirit within him awoke to sudden fire." It's really greed, which the Silmarils never fail to elicit from people, even wolves, and it leads the wolf to no good end.


CuriousG
Valinor


Jun 25 2013, 12:00am

Post #49 of 344 (426 views)
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Love and war [In reply to] Can't Post


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the whirlwind and essential connection made between two beings with the world spinning out of control around them.

Wonderfully stated!

Some of the best movies about love stories (to me) are the ones with wars in the backdrop: Casablanca and Gone with the Wind. I think it's the contradiction that heightens the emotion. By contrast, I almost never like romantic comedies. As you say, Beleriand is spinning out of control around these two. The Allies (as Wiz calls them) haven't just lost a major battle, they've gone from the offense to the defense, and the happy peace of Beleriand is gone forever. It's hard to know how much Luthien keeps up on politics, or if living in a sheltered realm even knowing what happens outside just doesn't affect you too much, like watching TV about disasters that happen on the other side of the world where people look, talk, and dress differently, and you don't feel the same impact that you would if it happened next door. At any rate, she sings and dances around Doriath as if there are no dark things on her mind, whereas that's all that Beren has.

Luthien proves her mettle soon enough by heading out into the dangers of the world, and except for a magic dog and Eagles, she finds the world is arrayed against her, even other Elves. Out of control indeed!

It often seems sad to me that "Of Beren & Luthien" didn't happen sooner, during the Siege of Angband, so they could have less tragedy and more living happily ever after. But remarkably, once they find each other, they're never unhappy again, so it all works out for them. And putting this chapter where it lies was a great tactical move by Tolkien. On first read, I thought there were prospects of beating Morgoth again, and in the next chapter, I was ready to march along with the Allies with high hopes.

Another great quote from you. Bravo!

Quote
I think the way they meet is essential to who they are, and thus defines why they love.




CuriousG
Valinor


Jun 25 2013, 12:55am

Post #50 of 344 (416 views)
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Elves and their partners [In reply to] Can't Post



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She has also chosen her life partner without the consent of her parents- I may be wrong, but there seems to be an expectation that Thingol will determine when and who Luthien should marry. This seems at odds with Tolkien's descriptions elsewhere of love and marriage among the Eldar, whereby they choose a partner for themselves from mutual love.


I'm equally confused by that contradiction. Maybe the rules were different for royals? Otherwise, here's a quote from the customs of the Eldar in Morgoth's Ring:

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...ceremonies were not rites necessary to marriage...It was the act of bodily union that achieved the marriage, and after which the indissoluble bond was complete. ...it was at all times lawful for any of the Eldar, both being unwed, to marry thus of free consent one to another without ceremony or witness.

He also mentions that parents could play a nice role in a ceremony, and that ceremonies were preferable, but not necessary. I half-think this is Tolkien getting revenge on Edith's and his own guardians who opposed their marriage. "Ha ha! We love each other, and I'm going to write a book that says you don't have power to stop us."

Which once again makes this author seem like a precursor to the free love movement of the hippie era, when formal marriage was dismally bourgeois and unnecessary. I think we can blame everything in the 1960s on this hippie author pretending to be an Oxford don. Wink

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