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Sil discussion of Turin Turambar: Dwarves, Doriath and Doomed Women
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Brethil
Half-elven


Jul 19 2013, 3:56am

Post #1 of 75 (586 views)
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Sil discussion of Turin Turambar: Dwarves, Doriath and Doomed Women Can't Post

  


To unearth some more details, let's examine some other characters that surround Turin: the Petty-dwarf Mim, the folks in Doriath, and, last but not least, the women in Turin's life. Each will have its own post below.


DWARVES: Mim and Dwarf portrayals

Mim speaks of Dwarf-Lords of Old: who does he mean? Does a 'Dwarf-lord of Old' refer as far back to the Seven Fathers, where the houses were common, or do we think it is a later reference to elders of the Petty Dwarves? (The span of the First Age in years is a *widely* varied estimate, so it is difficult to say exactly how much time was intended from the Dwarf awakening to Mim's day). And does he give us here a hint into the origins of the Dwarves, as Dwarves who might bargain gold for a life taken, and 'ransom' as a common transaction - as statement of early Dwarven ethics of all the first Houses or a later Petty valuation? It apears the Petty dwarves become less in stature, are less skilled in smithcraft, and less guarded of their names - potentially the last two points may be reasons for their banishment. Thoughts?

** How does Mim hold up as a father figure? We have two fathers in the tale here: Hurin and Mim. Both are proud, but behave very differently. Are the comparisons personal variations, or is there an Elf-centric viewpoint, reversed in later tales, present here which shows Mim in a dim light?

** How do you feel about the Firstborn persecution of the Petty-dwarves? Do we feel JRRT left it in the tale because of his perceptions of the Dwarves at the time, and how they would appear in the legendarium? Or is it more of the above Elf-centricity?

**The hate of Mim for Beleg. Yet Mim tries to save Turin by negotiating with the Orcs. So is this hatred for the Elf based on jealousy alone, a personal motive, based on Mim's regard for Turin? Or is this racial hatred, spawned by the years of the Elves hunting the Petty Dwarves 'like animals'? Is racial hatred supported by the idea that Mim does not seem to hate a Man as much as an Elf? Interesting that it is Mim's hatred for Beleg that puts Anglachel, buried beneath a body, back into Beleg's hand, and brings death to Beleg and agony to Turin.






Coming soon!- The first TORn Amateur Symposium, starts Sunday 21st July in the Reading Room. Closing date for essay submission Sunday 14th July, but even if you don't submit, join us for some interesting discussion on some different and personal ways of looking at Tolkien's work.







Brethil
Half-elven


Jul 19 2013, 3:58am

Post #2 of 75 (327 views)
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Doriath - of Thingol and Melian in the tale of Turin [In reply to] Can't Post

DORIATH

**We read here that Thingol had real affection for Turin. He even asks of Beleg, "What else would Turin have me do?" Is this a general softening of feeling on Thingol's part towards Men, or do we think that his thoughts of Men had changed a lot since Beren came into his life?

**The gift of Melian: the first use of Lembas, the exclusive gift of the Queen, given to Beleg for the aid of Turin; interesting that Galadriel, friend and pupil of Melian, will later do the same in time of need. We also read of Melain that Morgoth was "perceiving more of the deeds and purposes of his enemies then even the wisest of them feared, save only Melian the Queen? To her often the thought of Morgoth reached out, and there was foiled." So it seems that one of the things we have often discussed about Melian - the Girdle, and her passive resistance - at this stage are actually quite effective in their own way, incarnate Maiar against fallen Vala: Melian as a last bastion of psychic will against the force of evil (as Galadriel will also later be, also creating her own contained kingdom). Can we see a gender function here, in Melian's quiet strength versus Morgoth's probing and active malice, or is it more of a literary function of character?


Coming soon!- The first TORn Amateur Symposium, starts Sunday 21st July in the Reading Room. Closing date for essay submission Sunday 14th July, but even if you don't submit, join us for some interesting discussion on some different and personal ways of looking at Tolkien's work.







Brethil
Half-elven


Jul 19 2013, 4:06am

Post #3 of 75 (328 views)
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Doomed women and Turin [In reply to] Can't Post

   
Turin and Women: The most Mixed of Blessings. There are many sad female stories in this tale particularly. Turin goes through life somehow cut off from feeling it seems, or being able to regard the feelings of those around him. Is it perhaps an inward sense, a lack of self-worth or awareness, or is he simply looking for something he cannot find?

** Turin and Women in the tale: a convoluted mix of chivalry and unintended pain. Turin spends time defending, or trying to defend, women in general, yet unintentionally hurting them - Morwen dies grieving, Aerin dies in the fire after Turin's killing of the Easterlings, Finduilas who loves him ends up bladed to a tree, Nienor/Niniel's ghastly fate. Additionally two females described in CoH do not appear - Turin saves a woman from assault by his thieves; and he is adored by the Elfmaiden Nellas, for whom he feels nothing, yet whom speaks out for him before Thingol. Editorially there are two choices made in regards to women: Nellas does not appear at all in the published Sil, and also to have Turin not know of Finduilas' love, and not to return it. This impacts I think the decision that Turin makes and which leads to his doom: not loving Finduilas and not being aware of her feeling for him seems to take away the emotional force of the decision he has to make, and seems to make his doom an unavoidable one, and not one by the power of a painfully difficult, yet potentially morally sterner (and therefore ironic) choice of choosing family. Thoughts?

**The only 'natural' and 'normal' feeling Turin has for an woman other than Morwen is the relationship he has with his sister-wife. I think it can be seen as a very interesting parallel to the Garden of Eden: unknowing Man, unknowing Woman, and *oh dear* here comes that dratted Serpent...yet in a literary bas-relief of the classic tale, the Serpent is not involved in the giving knowledge but instead in taking it away. How does this inversion impact the perceived morality of the characters?

** Nienor is unknown to Turin - he knows her only by name. Yet of all the women that Turin interacts with - and as he is described as the most beautiful of men, so he did not lack female attentions - she is the only one that catches his eye and his heart (in the edited version where he does not love Finduilas). Turin did see Lalaith, and adored her. Is there some link here, maybe that resemblance to a lost love (though a sister, and a small, helpless sister at the time, whom he could not save) or perhaps an unconscious recognition of 'belonging' which makes Turin feel what he feels for this shivering, anonymous, naked girl whom he finds and can save?


Coming soon!- The first TORn Amateur Symposium, starts Sunday 21st July in the Reading Room. Closing date for essay submission Sunday 14th July, but even if you don't submit, join us for some interesting discussion on some different and personal ways of looking at Tolkien's work.







Elthir
Gondor

Jul 19 2013, 11:07am

Post #4 of 75 (321 views)
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Elves and the Petty-dwarves [In reply to] Can't Post

I think the Quenta Silmarillion gives a too abbreviated version of what happened between the Elves and the Petty-dwarves, and that the account from The War of the Jewels [Quendi And Eldar] throws better light on the matter...



Quote

'The Eldar did not at first recognize these as Incarnates, for they seldom caught sight of them in clear light. They only became aware of their existence indeed when they attacked the Eldar by stealth at night, or if they caught them alone in wild places.

The Eldar therefore thought that they were a kind of cunning two-legged animals living in caves, and they called them Levain tad-dail, or simply Tad-dail, and they hunted them. But after the Eldar had made the acquaintance of the Naugrim, the Tad-dail were recognized as a variety of Dwarves and were left alone.

There were then few of them surviving, and they were very wary, and too fearful to attack any Elf, unless their hiding-places were approached too nearly. The Sindar gave them the names Nogotheg 'Dwarflet', or Nogoth niben 'Petty Dwarf'.

The great Dwarves despised the Petty-dwarves, who were (it is said) the descendants of Dwarves who had left or been driven our from the Communities, being deformed or undersized, or slothful and rebellious. But they still acknowledged their kinship and resented any injuries done to them.

Indeed it was one of their grievances against the Eldar that they had hunted and slain their lesser kin, who had settled in Beleriand before the Elves came there. This grievance was set aside, when treaties were made between the Dwarves and the Sindar, in consideration of the plea that the Petty-dwarves had never declared themselves to the Eldar, nor presented any claims to land or habitations, but had at once attacked the newcomers in darkness and ambush. But the grievance still smouldered, as was later seen in the case of Mim, the only Petty-dwarf who played a memorable part in the Annals of Beleriand.'

JRRT, War of the Jools




So it was the Petty-dwarves who attacked the Elves in darkness and ambush, and once the Elves became aware that these beings were Dwarves, they were left alone.


Brethil
Half-elven


Jul 19 2013, 1:35pm

Post #5 of 75 (319 views)
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Thanks for putting that up Elthir! [In reply to] Can't Post

Great bit of text. Smile

So even in the WoTJ tale, we can see mitigation and errors made on both sides, as it were. So the Petty-dwarf behavior seems to cut the Elves some slack for their initial actions.

So we have two lines of racial tension; the issues of the Petty-dwarves, which as you point out added to the Greater Dwarf resentment (the old you-can't-beat-up-my-little-brother-only-I-can) coupled with the later issues about the Nauglamir, etc. between Elves, Men the other Dwarf houses. (and Ents it would seem - in Letter #247 JRRT discusses how he mentally retrofit Ents into the tale as helping Beren reclaim the Nauglamir as the Dwarves fled. Explains Gimil's later dislike of Fangorn.)

Coming soon!- The first TORn Amateur Symposium, starts Sunday 21st July in the Reading Room. Closing date for essay submission Sunday 14th July, but even if you don't submit, join us for some interesting discussion on some different and personal ways of looking at Tolkien's work.







noWizardme
Tol Eressea


Jul 20 2013, 7:37am

Post #6 of 75 (283 views)
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I think Turin sees women in the abstract… [In reply to] Can't Post

…a chivalrous obligation to defend them; the pull of family ties; opportunities for Turin to prove his great worth. He's not very interested in them as people. or anyone else; male, female, elf, "Man", dwarf.

That very indifference is a turn-on for some people. Turin would also be a magnet to rescue fantasists. Then he's also handsome, we learn, and a prince.

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

"nowimë 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


Jul 20 2013, 1:33pm

Post #7 of 75 (276 views)
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Excellent observations, Wiz [In reply to] Can't Post

Both the abstract part and the indifference/rescue fantasists part. I have to admit, I couldn't understand Finduilas' attraction to him. Not that she's a rescuer, but it seems his outer apathy draws her in. She was a princess and presumably had a pack of eager suitors, yet he was the one man who wasn't chasing her. (And we narrowly missed a fourth romantic union of Elves and Men. Whew!)


elaen32
Gondor


Jul 20 2013, 1:52pm

Post #8 of 75 (269 views)
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Doriath matters! [In reply to] Can't Post

I feel that Thingol has improved his attitude towards Men and maybe some grudging admiration for Beren. He now has some investment in the future of the race of Men- his daughter is married to one and his grandchild will be half Man and half Elf/Maia. At this stage, it may not be clear whether Dior will be more Man or Immortal. By this time, Thingol has seen and heard of Men doing more heroic things than in the past. He took Turin in out of respect for his father and comes to love him as a surrogate son. It probably helps that Turin looks more like an elf from the descriptions from him.

Regarding Melian and Galadriel, there are a lot of parallels, except for the fact the Galadriel's husband is more willing to listen to his wife's advice than Melian's! It is interesting that in many ways, Melian seems to have more the powers of a Vala rather than a Maia. Certainly she seems more effective against Morgoth than certain of the Valar in Aman, even if it is in only a passive manner. I'm not so sure that there are implicit gender roles between Melian and Morgoth, more a good/evil divide IMO, although I see what you're saying Brethil and certainly one could argue for the feminine peaceful resistance role versus the aggressive male role.


Coming soon!- The first TORn Amateur Symposium, starts Sunday 21st July in the Reading Room. Closing date for essay submission Sunday 14th July, but even if you don't submit, join us for some interesting discussion on some different and personal ways of looking at Tolkien's work



elaen32
Gondor


Jul 20 2013, 2:09pm

Post #9 of 75 (273 views)
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Turin and his fangirls.... [In reply to] Can't Post

It sounds a fairly typical archetype of good looking male, being followed by many adoring females but being either unaware or dismissive of their regard (Note I am not being sexist here- the archetype is the same with the genders reversed with good looking narcissistic female stringing adoring men along!). Compare him with Aragorn- another leader of Men who is, seemingly, adored by women. He is aware of Eowyn's love for him and whilst he does not return her love, he grieves that he must cause her emotional pain in rejecting her. Quite different reaction to Turin, although one could argue that their starts in life were not that dissimilar- Both effectively lose their fathers to the forces of evil at en early age, both are then fostered by Elf-lords in Elven kingdoms- albeit that Aragorn has his mother with him, unlike Turin (maybe that is what made all the difference). Both are unaware of their true identities early on.
With regards to Turin and Nienor- I think that you could be right Brethil, in that there may have been an echo of Lalaith in Nienor that Turin sensed. With regards to their incest- their morality is not in doubt here- neither of them has the faintest idea that they are brother and sister. I find this an interesting comparison to Siegmund and Sieglinde in Wagner's Ring Cycle- whereby the Siegmund is held prisoner by Sieglinde's husband and the couple meet for the first time since early childhood. Initially they are not aware of their relationship, but they are attracted to each other. Through talking, they then realise that they are brother and sister, but decide to overlook that small detail and escape together, becoming lovers!


Coming soon!- The first TORn Amateur Symposium, starts Sunday 21st July in the Reading Room. Closing date for essay submission Sunday 14th July, but even if you don't submit, join us for some interesting discussion on some different and personal ways of looking at Tolkien's work



Brethil
Half-elven


Jul 20 2013, 3:49pm

Post #10 of 75 (264 views)
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That's possible [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
…a chivalrous obligation to defend them; the pull of family ties; opportunities for Turin to prove his great worth. He's not very interested in them as people. or anyone else; male, female, elf, "Man", dwarf.

That very indifference is a turn-on for some people. Turin would also be a magnet to rescue fantasists. Then he's also handsome, we learn, and a prince.




The Sil is so brief on dialogue - in CoH we see more interaction between Finduilas and Turin. He is a sweet and caring 'friend' who asks her advice and clearly likes her - but does not seem to have a clue as to her feelings for him.

It doesn't seem like he is open or receptive to any female attention until he meets Niniel - utterly abandoned, silent...he names her, rescues her. Does that finally give him the sense of utter unity and heroism that he seeks?

Coming soon!- The first TORn Amateur Symposium, starts Sunday 21st July in the Reading Room. Closing date for essay submission Sunday 14th July, but even if you don't submit, join us for some interesting discussion on some different and personal ways of looking at Tolkien's work.







Brethil
Half-elven


Jul 20 2013, 3:52pm

Post #11 of 75 (267 views)
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That in itself is often appealing [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
She was a princess and presumably had a pack of eager suitors, yet he was the one man who wasn't chasing her.




And in CoH they have a much more in-depth relationship; wish we had more of the dialogue, but I suppose it would imbalance the rest of the texts, and as Turin is the longest tale I think that's why their relationship is so bare-bones.

Coming soon!- The first TORn Amateur Symposium, starts Sunday 21st July in the Reading Room. Closing date for essay submission Sunday 14th July, but even if you don't submit, join us for some interesting discussion on some different and personal ways of looking at Tolkien's work.







Brethil
Half-elven


Jul 20 2013, 3:58pm

Post #12 of 75 (254 views)
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Very good points here [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
It sounds a fairly typical archetype of good looking male, being followed by many adoring females but being either unaware or dismissive of their regard (Note I am not being sexist here- the archetype is the same with the genders reversed with good looking narcissistic female stringing adoring men along!). Compare him with Aragorn- another leader of Men who is, seemingly, adored by women. He is aware of Eowyn's love for him and whilst he does not return her love, he grieves that he must cause her emotional pain in rejecting her. Quite different reaction to Turin, although one could argue that their starts in life were not that dissimilar- Both effectively lose their fathers to the forces of evil at en early age, both are then fostered by Elf-lords in Elven kingdoms- albeit that Aragorn has his mother with him, unlike Turin (maybe that is what made all the difference). Both are unaware of their true identities early on.
With regards to Turin and Nienor- I think that you could be right Brethil, in that there may have been an echo of Lalaith in Nienor that Turin sensed. With regards to their incest- their morality is not in doubt here- neither of them has the faintest idea that they are brother and sister. I find this an interesting comparison to Siegmund and Sieglinde in Wagner's Ring Cycle- whereby the Siegmund is held prisoner by Sieglinde's husband and the couple meet for the first time since early childhood. Initially they are not aware of their relationship, but they are attracted to each other. Through talking, they then realise that they are brother and sister, but decide to overlook that small detail and escape together, becoming lovers!




I like the parallel to Aragorn; he is Hope, whereas I think in the language of symbols Turin is Vengeance.

I agree, their morality (thanks to Glaurung) is really removed from them as a guilt issue. Great point about the Wagner saga - they are almost a complete inversion of Turin and Niniel, as they obtain the knowledge and proceed with full intention. Turin and Niniel have no intention, and their lives end once the truth is revealed.

I thought too it was an inversion of Original sin - in terms of knowledge - but I never considered that swap in terms of choice made afterwards. Very nice comparison!

Coming soon!- The first TORn Amateur Symposium, starts Sunday 21st July in the Reading Room. Closing date for essay submission Sunday 14th July, but even if you don't submit, join us for some interesting discussion on some different and personal ways of looking at Tolkien's work.







Rembrethil
Tol Eressea

Jul 20 2013, 4:00pm

Post #13 of 75 (256 views)
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Some thoughts [In reply to] Can't Post

Mim, it is stated was old, however due to the ambiguous amount of time between the Dwarves' awakening and the CoH, it is impossible to REALLY know if he referred to the Fathers or not. My personal opinion though would be not.

Dwarves live about 250+yrs. right? Too short a time span for the dwindling of an entire race. IMHO, of course.

It would also seem that the Petty-Dwarves, Mim here, evince less stubborn pride. I cannot imagine Gimli begging for his life.

Mim's home also, would seem to be an ancient communal dwelling, a common trait of Dwarves it would seem. They would from antiquity live in secret place under the earth. I wonder how they got that idea? Instinct perhaps? Reaction to the roving evils?

Mim also likes Turin, though he thought him an Elf. What about him gives Mim this liking?

Men also, as stated by Androg, seem to have had conflict in the East with the Dwarves. I wonder what came of this?

Mim's roots also pose a question. Why was he so attached? I know there was a draft that explained that they were a hidden gold store, but do you think this was the final idea?

Mim as a father? He was the last, and probably knew it, of his race. His sons had no future concievably, or did they? He was deeply grieved at Ibun's death, the grief of a natural parent could explain this, but I ask this:

What if he had a plan, possibly to reconcile with his greater kin, and marry his sons into their houses?

The circumstances here would definitely influence his parenting, and would seem to me that he had some hope for them.

More later...my battery is dying.


Brethil
Half-elven


Jul 20 2013, 4:06pm

Post #14 of 75 (268 views)
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Galadriel wearing the pants - sort of [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
I feel that Thingol has improved his attitude towards Men and maybe some grudging admiration for Beren. He now has some investment in the future of the race of Men- his daughter is married to one and his grandchild will be half Man and half Elf/Maia. At this stage, it may not be clear whether Dior will be more Man or Immortal. By this time, Thingol has seen and heard of Men doing more heroic things than in the past. He took Turin in out of respect for his father and comes to love him as a surrogate son. It probably helps that Turin looks more like an elf from the descriptions from him.

Regarding Melian and Galadriel, there are a lot of parallels, except for the fact the Galadriel's husband is more willing to listen to his wife's advice than Melian's! It is interesting that in many ways, Melian seems to have more the powers of a Vala rather than a Maia. Certainly she seems more effective against Morgoth than certain of the Valar in Aman, even if it is in only a passive manner. I'm not so sure that there are implicit gender roles between Melian and Morgoth, more a good/evil divide IMO, although I see what you're saying Brethil and certainly one could argue for the feminine peaceful resistance role versus the aggressive male role.




When JRRT describes the will of Morgoth failing when it comes to Melian, I picture her like Galadriel later on - arms extended, blocking his thoughts out of Doriath.

Galadriel does seem to wear the (symbolic) pants here in regards to Celeborn...JRRT writes of her in Letters as sometimes putting her hair up like an Amazon. With all her loveliness she is a force to be reckoned with, and I think a LOT of that is learned from Melian. So although she is so passive, her influence extends well into the Third Age through Galadriel.

I like the glimpses of Thingol that we get here. Feels right that he honors Beren in his way - and I agree I think it does help that Turin is tall and beautiful and grey-eyed, with that Elven look...

Coming soon!- The first TORn Amateur Symposium, starts Sunday 21st July in the Reading Room. Closing date for essay submission Sunday 14th July, but even if you don't submit, join us for some interesting discussion on some different and personal ways of looking at Tolkien's work.







CuriousG
Valinor


Jul 20 2013, 4:42pm

Post #15 of 75 (262 views)
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Petty behavior [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks for another great analysis, Brethil! I should start by saying that I've always been deeply disturbed by Elves hunting Dwarves and also by Mim's treacherous behavior.

Hunting: This seems like an early idea from JRR that I think should have been edited out by Chris and that JRR likely would have himself. I could be wrong, but I'd like to think not. It seems barbaric for Elves to hunt thinking creatures--didn't the Dwarves beg for mercy before the killing blow? Even if the Elves didn't understand their language, they should get the gist of it. And obviously, the Dwarves are humanoid and didn't exactly look like deer or moose. The hunting could be excused if the Elves had begun as savage cavemen themselves, but they didn't. Oh, I'm on a rant, but it disgusts me so much, even if it's just a brief mention. Similarly, it bothers me a lot that the Rohirrim hunted the Woses like animals. I don't think Ghan-buri-Ghan would make that up; the Woses would know who was hunting them and would know the difference between wolf attacks and human hunting. Yet somehow that bothers me less, because I think the Rohirrim aren't too civilized and I don't expect too much from them. Still unacceptable, but not as repulsive as the Elf hunts. The Elf hunts would have been conducted only by the Sindar, which may give me another reason to dislike Thingol (just joking about that).

Mim: Feeling sorry the Petty Dwarves as a race is one thing, but I don't extend it to Mim, even when he grieves for his son. He's treacherous, and yes, petty. Trying to spare Turin doesn't redeem him in my eyes, since he had to know by the general betrayal that Turin could have been easily killed in the melee, and that captivity by Morgoth didn't mean humane treatment and three meals a day. Can you imagine Gimli or any of Thorin & Co selling out someone to save their lives?

I'm not sure what to make of Mim's reference to Dwarf-Lords of Old. It seems that as lower-class Dwarves, and being a resentful person, he wouldn't think highly of and praise non-Petty Dwarves, so I'd guess he meant the Lords of Petty Dwarves. But the Petty D's origins are obscure. Aule seemed to have created 7 "normal" Dwarves. Were the Petty ones offshoots of those, or a separate creation? Or were one or more of the 7 Dwarf Fathers Petty Dwarves themselves? Another mystery is why did the Petty Dwarves abandon the caves where Nargothrond was built? It seemed a secure enough area since it was so hard to find, so how could they have been driven out?

Mim as father: what happened to his last son? He disappears from the story. Was he killed when Mim was captured by Orcs? Anyway, I'll give Mim credit for genuinely grieving his son, though no more or less than any other Tolkien character does, including Hurin.

Mim vs. Beleg: racial hatred is often so profound and unalterable in Tolkien's world, I'd attribute Mim's hostility chiefly to that factor, but there seems a jealousy of Beleg as Turin's friend mixed in.


CuriousG
Valinor


Jul 20 2013, 5:04pm

Post #16 of 75 (246 views)
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Pride and Prejudice [In reply to] Can't Post

Thingol: It's remarkable to me that Thingol has such a drastic revision of his attitude toward Men. I attribute it to Beren, who went to hell and back for the sake of Luthien (even if she did most of the work; she probably didn't tell Daddy that), plus Beren saved his life from Carcharoth. He had to realize that with Luthien as his only child, all of his descendants would have man-blood in them. That Thingol, so proud and prejudiced, could pivot on his racial attitude from the actions of one Man makes me like him for the first time in the book.

Melian: I like your comparison to Galadriel. They're both smarter and more magical than their husbands and defy the Shadow from their secluded, protected kingdoms (or queendoms). Galadriel proves herself more aggressive. She summons the White Council to oppose Sauron, helps hide Eorl in his ride to rescue Cirion, and herself destroys Dol Guldur. What's left unanswered is how Melian would have acted if Doriath were the last kingdom standing and was attacked from all sides by Morgoth. Does the Girdle keep out overwhelming armies? What if Sauron or Morgoth himself showed up to challenge her power? My gut tells me she'd lose a magical duel against Morgoth. Would she strike out at him, or counsel Thingol to flee with their people to the Sirion havens? But Morgoth has a fear of powerful women like Varda. Would he fear Melian too and not want to challenge her in person for fear of losing? He was afraid of Fingolfin. He also hated the Noldor more than the Sindar, so maybe he didn't think going to great expense to break through the Girdle was worth it?

Gender roles: so many of Tolkien's women are "man-hearted" that Melian stands out as one of the more passive ones. I suppose Rian is too; she just plain gave up when widowed. But the majority are proud and willful. I'm not sure Melian is necessarily being more "woman-hearted" by playing a passive role. I think it's that the Ainur are inexplicably passive in general.


CuriousG
Valinor


Jul 20 2013, 5:24pm

Post #17 of 75 (237 views)
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Doom is not a pretty thing [In reply to] Can't Post

Turin is so mixed as a person, being blessed with courage, leadership, charisma, exceptional prowess in battle, and exceptional beauty. Does that make him narcissistic, so he's mostly aware only of himself? Or was he imbalanced, where all those gifts came at the expense of his emotional development and maturity? Hard to say. I suppose if he scored 10 out of 10 in all categories, he'd be more divine than human, and we couldn't relate to him very well, but I think Tolkien greatly desired that readers identify with Turin. (I personally don't; way too proud, cold, and irrational.) I like your comment about mixed chivalry and unintended pain. I might add chivalry + indifference, or indifference when it matters most. Certainly he never warmed up to Nellas and caused her pain; he didn't even sense her feelings toward him. He seemed to love Finduilas only after losing her.

Turin and Nienor's love for each other seems to have multiple origins. It could be Morgoth's curse at work, bringing them together in the wrong way. Or Glaurung's curse; he wields an incredibly malicious power of enchantment. Or is it some buried half-recognition of each other than goes awry out of ignorance? I find the last one the most likely.

Doesn't the doom fall more heavily on Nienor than Turin? She's the one who gets pregnant with the child created out of incest. Not that throwing yourself in a chasm is the only way to get rid of a baby you feel is awfully twisted, but she had to deal with it somehow by giving birth to it, or not. I don't think it was a demon-child that had to be killed, but would Turin and Nienor have been able to act as father and mother to it once they knew they were brother and sister? Would they awkwardly try to raise it as Mom and Uncle Turin, or would Nienor have taken it and run off into the woods? Every option seems fraught with pain. It's the most uncomfortable part of the story, and there's plenty of discomfort at other points.


Rembrethil
Tol Eressea

Jul 20 2013, 5:41pm

Post #18 of 75 (231 views)
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Thoughts continued.... [In reply to] Can't Post

The hunting of the P-D by the Elves(Like the character of Saeros) has always struck a discordant note within me. Perhaps though it was meant to be part of a cumulative reason for the hatred between the Elves and Dwarves?

Mim seemed to be employing himself and his sons in some endeavor, hence the sacks. What really was it? Did he have hope for the continuance of his house, or was it a sort of death-ritual? He did not seem depressed or resigned to fate, and was rather keen on life. He must have had some hope or purpose. What was it?

Mim, though grieved by his son's death, is calmed by Turin's words, or is he? He soon after airs a curse on Androg. Is this the beginning of a plot?

The sure intentions of Mim are not known as well. There are two drafts, one in which he knowingly betrays the secret of his home, and another in which he is captured, yet still betrays Turin and his men.

His son would probably have been killed by the orcs, not exactly the best diplomats, and he escapes in the end to an unknown fate.

This character would seem to be one who is morally plaible, acting solely in his own interest. He befriends Turin, admitting him to his secret haunts, yet when supplanted, as he thought, by Beleg, he turns to his own plotting. Perhaps he only wanted Beleg gone, or the hosts of Men who had flocked to Turin, draining his supplies.

In either case it is clear that he must go on as he has lived, seeking his own interest in what little he has left.


Rembrethil
Tol Eressea

Jul 20 2013, 5:57pm

Post #19 of 75 (237 views)
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Thoughts on Doriath [In reply to] Can't Post

I really do think that Thingol had real affection for Turin. For his father's sake in accepting him, and later for Turin himself. He could have realized what he had lost, a surrogate son, in Turin.

Melian and others of the Elven race seem to possess a foresight into the future, and carry on a psychical war. Morgoth's thoughts were bent on Turin's destruction, and as I said elsewhere,'willing' him to be harmed. If this is a true psychical battle, pehaps it contribute to cloud Turin's mind? He seems to have his moments of clarity when others come near to counsel him. Perhaps this implies a countering of Morgoth's will?

Since Morgoth's will and fate in this story also, align, could be that the psychic battle going on had direct connection to what happens to Turin?

In Doriath, Morgoth fears that Turin will pass beyond him. Maybe this pocket of land, under Melian's protection, is 'free', if you will, of 'fate/will'. Here Turin would not be tormented by any clouding influence on his mind.

It is also said that Morgoth was glad to know where Turin was. Does this imply that his willed malice had greater effect when directed to one area? A lot of bad things seem to happen when Morgoth knows where Turin is.

Morgoth also fears that Turin may become so great, that he would escape his malice/curse. Could the moral/spiritual power, in Tolkien, that characters can gain, feed in to a strength that allows one to contest the psychical powers in the unseen realm? I think of Glorifindel at the Ford of Brunien, and that it was said that he alone could have withstood the nine riders. Was a glimpse of this realm caught by Frodo as he lost consciousness?


squire
Valinor


Jul 20 2013, 9:01pm

Post #20 of 75 (238 views)
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On the hunt [In reply to] Can't Post

You make a strong case for an inconsistency in Tolkien's concept of the Elves. Would the far-seeing, gifted, and ultra-humane Elves hunt the Petty-dwarves, creatures who, it would seem, are clearly anthropoid?

The first excuse, that it is an early idea of Tolkien's that failed to get edited out, seems inadequate. The entire concept of petty-dwarves seems to be a late invention, post-LotR, devised to explain how an early dwarf-concept, the crabbed and greedy Mim from the 'Lost Tales' version of the Nauglamir, should turn out to be so different in character from the later dwarves of Tolkien's imagination, the Naugrim of noble races such as Durin's. It seems like a fairly unhappy invention in a lot of ways, but by the time The Lord of the Rings had been written, Middle-earth was "after all full of strange creatures beyond count" -- far more so than in the good old days of the 'Lost Tales' when Elves were Elves, Dwarves were Dwarves, and Men were Men, full stop, period. Similar folk that don't really fit well into the Silmarillion as we've received it are the Druedain, the Ents, Hobbits (of course), and even those chatty Orcs with their ugly hopes and dreams.

Some critics around here have complained before this about the idea that the Elves hunt at all. From the evidence of the Hobbit they clearly do, but every other indication of their life-style in LotR and the post-LotR Sil suggests that they are vegetarian. But whether they hunt for food or not, it seems clear that they hunt orcs in the sense of waging war on them whenever possible. I read the pursuit of the Petty-dwarves (at night, and in revenge for vicious attacks on the Elves) as similar to other instances of the Elves' quite natural willingness to kill rather than be killed. Not nice, but then Tolkien works hard not to always be nice.

By the way, I've argued before that the Woses weren't hunted by the Rohirrim, but by the Gondorians of Anorien. So why complain about it to Theoden, who was just passing through? As you say, Ghan buri-Ghan can tell a wolf from a human, but can he tell a man of Rohan from a man of Gondor? I think Tolkien was evoking the old "all white men look alike" attitude of his day.

One of Tolkien's strongest themes in issues like this one is the futility of saying "the other side started it." We see this in the Scouring of the Shire, when Merry leaps at the news that the Ruffians have been hunting the Tooks, only to learn that the Tooks started hunting the Ruffians first. In the case of the Petty Dwarves, Tolkien builds the case that they aggressively attacked the Elves first, without question or negotiation, and that the Elves took them for a small but aggressive species of ape. In the case of the Woses, we learn that the Wild Men give as good as they get, using poisoned arrows against intruders. Only with the orcs, those eternally-damned demons of the sentient races, is there no suggestion of a point of view against their attackers ("damned rebels"?) that the author felt was worth defending.



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Elthir
Gondor

Jul 20 2013, 11:49pm

Post #21 of 75 (212 views)
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Hunting trees and hewing beasts [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
Some critics around here have complained before this about the idea that the Elves hunt at all. From the evidence of the Hobbit they clearly do, but every other indication of their life-style in LotR and the post-LotR Sil suggests that they are vegetarian.




Hmm, for myself I think it is at least implied that Legolas ate the salted pork in Flotsam And Jetsam. And we still have Elves 'hunting' in the Silmarillion of the early 1950s.

From this same phase [early 1950s] we do have the Green Elves of Ossiriand stating that Men are their unfriends because they are 'hewers of trees and hunters of beasts' ... but what was Finrod hunting in any case, for example, right before he encountered Men? The context, if I recall correctly that is [I read this section of the Grey Annals fairly recently], doesn't seem to suggest orcs.

Perhaps, if these Green Elves did not eat meat, it was their custom specifically?


Terazed
Bree

Jul 21 2013, 1:02am

Post #22 of 75 (213 views)
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Turin and Nienor [In reply to] Can't Post

Turin and Nienor strike me as a cross between Sigmund and Signy in the Norse sources and Siegmund and Sieglinde that Wagner created from those sources. I have read a bunch of the original Norse stories that were the common source material for both. I have found that those stories are very cold and dark. They are full of vengeance and mass murder of innocents for trivial insults in addition to their more noble qualities. When Wagner used the stories he basically recreated them from scratch to give them the modern power vs love theme he was looking for. If I am understanding correctly Tolkien took up the stories that would become Children of Hurin very early (Mim and 1914 seem to stick in my head.) We know Tolkien thought Wagner got things wrong and set out to do things properly. He wanted to capture the spirit of the old mythology in his new mythology while adding in newer concepts such at pity. The Children of Hurin stories and characters may seem cold but they are much closer to the darkness of the original sources then say the Hobbit or LoTR. At the same time the pity and friendship of his later characters are there too. Turin and Nienor seem to be somewhere between the dark and vengeful Sigmund and Signy and the lovers Siegmund and Sieglinde.

Since I doubt that Wagner's Siegmund is well known in these parts I will give a quick and very incomplete sketch. Wotan (Odin) had raised Siegmund personally in the disguise of Walse (the Wolf) to defy both him and the other gods and all of their laws. Wotan wanted him to become the free man who can alone slay the dragon Fafnir and destroy the ring with out it falling back into the hands of Albrich (the original evil lord of the ring). Wotan sees to it that Siegmund will be an outlaw when he has the Neidings destroy his village, murder his mother, and carry off his sister when he is a boy. Wotan disappears a few years later and leaves the boy to fend for himself. Even though Siegmund tries to be a hero, Wotan has raised him outside of the social norms so that he can not fit in, and he is always hunted as an outlaw. When he is a teenager Wotan sees to it that Siegmund is defeated in battle and must flee wounded and weaponless only to collapse unconscious in the home of Hunding (the Hound) the Nieding who had kidnapped and later married Siegmund's sister Sieglinde against her will. Wotan intends for him to free his sister who will show him the sword Notung (Need) with which he will kill Fafner. He did not intend that the two, not knowing each other, would fall in love and would have an incestuous relationship. Here things go wrong because Wotan realizes that by guiding Siegmund's fate he had in fact made Siegmund his thrall. Worse he is forced as the god of laws and contracts to order the death of his son for incest and the breaking of Sieglinde's marriage to Hunding. Wotan is brokenhearted for he loves his son but he orders his teenage daughter Brunhilde (about 13 y/o) to arrange for Siegmund to loose to Hunding in an upcoming battle. Brunhilde tries to console Siegmund with an offer to become an immortal hero in Valhalla but Siegmund states he would rather go to hel with Sieglinde then be an immortal and separated from her for eternity. Brunhilde is moved for the first time in her life by pity both for Siegmund's plight and for her father who is in despair over having to kill his son. She defies Wotan and tries unsuccessfully to save Siegmund (Siegmund is killed and Sieglinde dies giving birth to Siegfried and accidentally turns the newborn over to Mime (Mim) to be raised) In defying him Brunhilde both destroys and in the end saves Wotan. The only person Wotan loves more then his son is his daughter. When he makes her mortal and puts her to sleep on the rock he resolves to renounce his power and accept his own inevitable death. Brunhilde will eventually become the free person that Wotan had needed and could not find. Although her love for Siegfried brings her great grief her growing compassion eventually allows her to sacrifice herself to cleanse and destroy the ring. In the end although Siegmund is a tragically flawed person and not the free man needed to destroy then ring his love inspires the woman who will become that free person and will save the world.


Brethil
Half-elven


Jul 21 2013, 1:23am

Post #23 of 75 (206 views)
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Thoughts on Dwarves back Rembrethil [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Mim, it is stated was old, however due to the ambiguous amount of time between the Dwarves' awakening and the CoH, it is impossible to REALLY know if he referred to the Fathers or not. My personal opinion though would be not. Dwarves live about 250+yrs. right? Too short a time span for the dwindling of an entire race. IMHO, of course. I agree, that's why I was trying to do a calculation of how many generations of Dwarves we were potentially estimating; but with such a huge gap from the shortest to the widest estimate in time of the First Age (especially the Starlight Years) I am left unable to really come up with a decent number. Estimating a potential median age of reproduction (with maybe a two-year gestation) at 80-100 years, the math is easy enough but the time period is the kicker. It would also seem that the Petty-Dwarves, Mim here, evince less stubborn pride. I cannot imagine Gimli begging for his life. Very much agreed!

Mim's home also, would seem to be an ancient communal dwelling, a common trait of Dwarves it would seem. They would from antiquity live in secret place under the earth. I wonder how they got that idea? Instinct perhaps? Reaction to the roving evils? I tend to feel that because the Seven Father's were placed in stone, were kept safe there are awakened to life there (six of them with wives at their sides), that such places would always have special meaning to them. I think that they might live on other situations but never feel quite right about it - excepting Gimli, who has a touch of the Elvish due to his friendship with Legolas. I think it also underlines a sense of the spirit connection of the Dwarves with Arda, and perhaps also their distance from the realm of Spirit; due to their origins as Eru's 'adopted' Children.

Mim also likes Turin, though he thought him an Elf. What about him gives Mim this liking? We don't get *much* info in the published Sil. I think there are 2 comments: one is when Turin first meets Mim (in CoH) and promises him that he may die, but will not be bound again. I think its an iconic line for both of them - Turin speaking from his souls and reached Mim within as well. Also when Turin offers the 'ransom' it seems to touch Min's sensibilities and pride - that's why I wondered if it was a Petty-dwarf custom or a Great Dwarf custom, as he refers back to fathers of Old. (Hence my attempt at calculation!)

Men also, as stated by Androg, seem to have had conflict in the East with the Dwarves. I wonder what came of this? Good question Rembrethil - Men and Dwarves don't seem to hold grudges about whatever it is.

Mim's roots also pose a question. Why was he so attached? I know there was a draft that explained that they were a hidden gold store, but do you think this was the final idea?

Mim as a father? He was the last, and probably knew it, of his race. His sons had no future concievably, or did they? He was deeply grieved at Ibun's death, the grief of a natural parent could explain this, but I ask this: What if he had a plan, possibly to reconcile with his greater kin, and marry his sons into their houses? True, without that they were doomed. If there WAS a hidden gold store - as you said above - is that what he hoped to use to buy his way back into a Great Dwarf family, for one of his sons? To kidnap a Dwarf maid (granted they stay hidden...hmmm, might be a good reason for that there!) Unlike Men and Elves, Dwarves are not the same species and I do not think (in JRRT's world) any hybridization was possible.

More later...my battery is dying. (So annoying! See you later!) Wink


Coming soon!- The first TORn Amateur Symposium, starts Sunday 21st July in the Reading Room. Closing date for essay submission Sunday 14th July, but even if you don't submit, join us for some interesting discussion on some different and personal ways of looking at Tolkien's work.







Brethil
Half-elven


Jul 21 2013, 1:38am

Post #24 of 75 (208 views)
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Petty Dwarves [In reply to] Can't Post

I get your gist of the distaste one gets for the Elves to hunt sentient creatures. I do think that this was all an older concept, which changed markedly once LOTR was started and the Dwarves (particularly Gimli) presented themselves; even in TH we have the grudging description of the Dwarves as not a bad lot, if you don't expect too much. It does nicely explain the racial issues, with greater import than arguments over cash and jewels.

Can we say that *perhaps* the Sindar (having been stalked by the likes of Ungoliant and nabbed by Morgoth's other minions) may be alibied to some small extent by thinking that the Petty-dwarves may have been agents of Morgoth?

I agree with you as to the actions of Mim (very much as Rembrethil stated too) that certainly Gimli or any of the Company would behave very differently.

As for origins, I do feel they are the stock of the Great Dwarves, and thus trace back to one of the Seven Fathers (certainly NOT to Durin though). [As a side note, I rather presume that brideless Durin selected a wife - choosing a mate, not being 'made' one - from the first generation of girls born to the other six Dwarf foundering families.] Sil mentions that the P-D had degraded in size and craftsmanship...so they represent some sort of degeneration. I addition the name sharing I guess breaks Dwarven taboo in ways not made explicitly important, but always implied.

I'm not quite sure either, what happens to his other son...does he disappear with Mim? (In my heart I wish they disappeared with the Dragon helm...)

Were they driven from Nargothrond by the Sindar? or was it just too big for a dwindling population?

Coming soon!- The first TORn Amateur Symposium, starts Sunday 21st July in the Reading Room. Closing date for essay submission Sunday 14th July, but even if you don't submit, join us for some interesting discussion on some different and personal ways of looking at Tolkien's work.







Brethil
Half-elven


Jul 21 2013, 1:45am

Post #25 of 75 (203 views)
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Those Doriath folks... [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Thingol: It's remarkable to me that Thingol has such a drastic revision of his attitude toward Men. I attribute it to Beren, who went to hell and back for the sake of Luthien (even if she did most of the work; she probably didn't tell Daddy that), plus Beren saved his life from Carcharoth. He had to realize that with Luthien as his only child, all of his descendants would have man-blood in them. That Thingol, so proud and prejudiced, could pivot on his racial attitude from the actions of one Man makes me like him for the first time in the book. It IS remarkable! I myself have a first bit of fondness for Thingol in your B and L chapter, when he sticks by wounded Beren. So its a personal investment now (with Dior), in these Men, but also maybe some regard for what they are capable of at their best. Do we think that perhaps some of Melian's talk has touched him, that he is seeing Men as the future...or is it merely the personal aspect....

Melian: I like your comparison to Galadriel. They're both smarter and more magical than their husbands and defy the Shadow from their secluded, protected kingdoms (or queendoms). Galadriel proves herself more aggressive. She summons the White Council to oppose Sauron, helps hide Eorl in his ride to rescue Cirion, and herself destroys Dol Guldur. What's left unanswered is how Melian would have acted if Doriath were the last kingdom standing and was attacked from all sides by Morgoth. Does the Girdle keep out overwhelming armies? What if Sauron or Morgoth himself showed up to challenge her power? My gut tells me she'd lose a magical duel against Morgoth. Would she strike out at him, or counsel Thingol to flee with their people to the Sirion havens? But Morgoth has a fear of powerful women like Varda. Would he fear Melian too and not want to challenge her in person for fear of losing? He was afraid of Fingolfin. He also hated the Noldor more than the Sindar, so maybe he didn't think going to great expense to break through the Girdle was worth it?
I think if it were the last stand, Doriath would fall. With nothing else to occupy Morgoth's focus, and if he was able to truly surround it, I think it would have been over, and the Girdle would not stand. Hmmm - I may agree with you, and she may have had them flee; with the Blessed Realm now cut off...I wonder what might have happened. Would she have left Thingol? Or beseeched the Valar for passage for the both of them, leaving the rest behind?

Gender roles: so many of Tolkien's women are "man-hearted" that Melian stands out as one of the more passive ones. I suppose Rian is too; she just plain gave up when widowed. But the majority are proud and willful. I'm not sure Melian is necessarily being more "woman-hearted" by playing a passive role. I think it's that the Ainur are inexplicably passive in general. So a vote for status versus gender! Noted!


Coming soon!- The first TORn Amateur Symposium, starts Sunday 21st July in the Reading Room. Closing date for essay submission Sunday 14th July, but even if you don't submit, join us for some interesting discussion on some different and personal ways of looking at Tolkien's work.






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