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silmarillion chapter discussion -- "of tuor and the fall of gondolin"

Maciliel
Tol Eressea


Aug 4 2013, 10:27pm


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Are We Ruled by Fate, or Do We Forge Our Own?

Gondolin is the last great elven kingdom to fall. In the preceding chapters, Doriath, Nargothrond have been devoured, and the sons of Feanor are disposessed of their realms and wander with woodland kin. Gondolin has been untouched up to this point, and had even been given a direct warning by Ulmo himself, hundreds of years before, as well as now, when its doom was nigh.

Fate comes to its climax with Gondolin's fall. It was decreed that none of the elven kingdoms would survive. So, was Ulmo's effort doomed from the start? If the city itself could not have been saved, could its people have been, if they had followed Ulmo's counsel, as brought to them by Tuor? Was Turgon's heart hardened against Ulmo's urgings because he had grown proud, or because fate turned his heart against all sage words?

While you're pondering that, take this short test....

Which Character in the Silmarillion Are You?

Then come back.


You back? Good.



What Does this Quiz Have to do with this Chapter (Besides the Obvious)?

This isn't just any old quiz that I cobbled together. The questions and the personality profiles come from a genuine psychology test (enneagram). You can ruminate over whether an enneagram or a Meyers-Briggs test truly shines a light on personality and motivation, but take it at face value that this is a "real" test. So, I read each personality profile, and tried to think of what Silmarillion character I thought was its match (you may not agree).

So, you've taken the test. Did you feel the personality profile matched you? Were you more inclined to lend it credence if you discovered you were a Luthien or a Beleg (probably more universally admired characters)? Or were you less inclined to consider the results if you discovered you were a less-admired character, like a Maeglin or a Miriel? If your profile was flattering, did it have a positive effect on you? Did you, upon seeing "your" good qualities in print, feel a flush of pride or satisfaction? If that is so, were you then more likely to give a fair hearing to any negative qualities your profile gave you?



No, Really, What Does this Quiz Have to Do with the Silmarillion, and the Chapter?

Here you are. You are "cogito ergo sum." You are a rational creature, who can make decisions, based on any number of factors. How much freedom do you have, truly? And, whatever freedom you have, how much do you willingly abdicate, because someone tells a grand, flattering tale of your character, and implies that you can gain wisdom or good fortune from it?

Does a personality test have any validity, by itself? Or does it gain power when we cede it power? Perhaps the test said that you were someone who enjoyed helping others. Did seeing it in black-and-white make you want to behave like what the tea leaves told you about yourself? Or are you rebelling against the whole thing, because no silly test can rule you?

We humans are funny creatures. There is scientific evidence that we are inflenced by names -- by our own and by others'. All things being equal, we'd probably prefer our comley, intelligent, funny, kind partner to be named something other than "Dumbo." We could call our sons and daughters "One," "Two," "Three," but we generally call them by names that have meaning in some way. Sometimes parents name their children for etymological meanings behind a name, sometimes they just like the sound of the name. But, even if it's just for the "sound," that's +still+ an assessment of how neutral phonemes are assessed in social, aesthetic, etc. ways. We have expectations of those phonemes, and we know others have expectations (though, sometimes they may differ -- someone might love the name "Emma" but someone else might think it old-fashioned).

So why are we reacting to perceptions (and +perceived+ perceptions)? We are ceding some of our freedom to these perceptions. They would not have power over us, if we did not grant it.



Fate in the Silmarillion

In the Silmarillion, we have to accept that fate is real, because Tolkien, as the author-god, has said it is so. It operates in all of Arda, and Elves and Maiar and Valar are subject to it. But not, all the time, the Edain.

Tuor, as a mortal, is supposedly not bound by fate. His race (our race) can bend or break fate. So did he have a chance of pursuading Turgon to abandon Gondolin? Did he have a chance because Ulmo's message, given to a human, made him believe he could have a hand in Gondolin's future? If Ulmo had given the same message to an elf, would it have stood no chance, because elves are not makers of fate?

How much freedom do the Silmarillion characters have? How much do they percieve they have? Does that perception influence reality?

Are they (we?) just puppets in a vast play of Eru's? If so, what's the point of making choices? Can't Maeglin just say, "I'm not really to blame -- I was fated to do it" when he meets up with Namo in the Halls of Mandos?




More thoughts later.


I look forward to reading your perceptions of this post, which I was in no way fated (or wholly unwilling) to write.



cheers --

.


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

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

(This post was edited by Maciliel on Aug 4 2013, 10:31pm)

Subject User Time
silmarillion chapter discussion -- "of tuor and the fall of gondolin" Maciliel Send a private message to Maciliel Aug 4 2013, 10:27pm
    Predictions and prophecies noWizardme Send a private message to noWizardme Aug 5 2013, 9:39am
        predictions, blessings, prophecies and self-fulfilling prophecies Maciliel Send a private message to Maciliel Aug 5 2013, 1:15pm
            There's also an author in the mix... noWizardme Send a private message to noWizardme Aug 5 2013, 3:22pm
            Ulmo's powers, intentions and limits noWizardme Send a private message to noWizardme Aug 6 2013, 11:49am
                Knowledge and manipulation CuriousG Send a private message to CuriousG Aug 11 2013, 7:13pm
                    great post, curiousg Maciliel Send a private message to Maciliel Aug 11 2013, 11:31pm
                        Nevrast's value Brethil Send a private message to Brethil Aug 12 2013, 12:01am
                            interesting thought Maciliel Send a private message to Maciliel Aug 12 2013, 1:15am
                                Higher-ups helping out... Brethil Send a private message to Brethil Aug 13 2013, 8:54pm
                                    i think Maciliel Send a private message to Maciliel Aug 13 2013, 9:09pm
            A thought about DOOM noWizardme Send a private message to noWizardme Aug 6 2013, 11:55am
                i think this fits the words of namo better Maciliel Send a private message to Maciliel Aug 6 2013, 12:04pm
                    Certainly at least part-punishment noWizardme Send a private message to noWizardme Aug 6 2013, 12:21pm
                        i think it's more than part-punishment... Maciliel Send a private message to Maciliel Aug 6 2013, 12:33pm
                            it sure sounds very much like a sentence/punishment, but I think it could be seen just as much as a prophecy elostirion74 Send a private message to elostirion74 Aug 6 2013, 6:13pm
                    Crimes and punishments CuriousG Send a private message to CuriousG Aug 8 2013, 8:55pm
    Quick 1st answer CuriousG Send a private message to CuriousG Aug 5 2013, 6:42pm
        delightful first answer : ) Maciliel Send a private message to Maciliel Aug 5 2013, 7:15pm
            PS. Why are you STILL in the Grey Havens? CuriousG Send a private message to CuriousG Aug 5 2013, 7:48pm
                i rather Maciliel Send a private message to Maciliel Aug 5 2013, 8:10pm
        so now Maciliel Send a private message to Maciliel Aug 12 2013, 4:00am
            Hmmm CuriousG Send a private message to CuriousG Aug 13 2013, 5:00am
    Hmmmm.......... Rembrethil Send a private message to Rembrethil Aug 5 2013, 8:00pm
        hmmmmm.... : ) Maciliel Send a private message to Maciliel Aug 9 2013, 9:35pm
            Just in general Rembrethil Send a private message to Rembrethil Aug 10 2013, 3:30am
                That was my reaction too Rembrethil! // Brethil Send a private message to Brethil Aug 10 2013, 3:53am
        now that Maciliel Send a private message to Maciliel Aug 12 2013, 3:56am
            I would think that it is still pretty accurate Rembrethil Send a private message to Rembrethil Aug 12 2013, 4:10am
    some answers elostirion74 Send a private message to elostirion74 Aug 5 2013, 9:02pm
        hallo : ) Maciliel Send a private message to Maciliel Aug 9 2013, 9:46pm
            hmm elostirion74 Send a private message to elostirion74 Aug 11 2013, 1:05am
    Some general thought on the chapter. Rembrethil Send a private message to Rembrethil Aug 6 2013, 5:06pm
    Tardy to the party... Brethil Send a private message to Brethil Aug 7 2013, 2:22am
        a question elostirion74 Send a private message to elostirion74 Aug 7 2013, 2:12pm
            Thanks Elostirion! And I think you are spot on here Brethil Send a private message to Brethil Aug 7 2013, 4:51pm
                Doom and pragmatism CuriousG Send a private message to CuriousG Aug 8 2013, 8:36pm
                    Pride and choice ... Brethil Send a private message to Brethil Aug 8 2013, 9:30pm
                    "Leave Gondolin and go +where?+" noWizardme Send a private message to noWizardme Aug 9 2013, 12:09pm
                        if glaurung is dead... Maciliel Send a private message to Maciliel Aug 12 2013, 8:29pm
                    more great thoughts, cg Maciliel Send a private message to Maciliel Aug 12 2013, 4:36am
            interesting ... Maciliel Send a private message to Maciliel Aug 12 2013, 4:48am
        loved all your thoughts Maciliel Send a private message to Maciliel Aug 12 2013, 4:20am
            More fate vs choice Brethil Send a private message to Brethil Aug 13 2013, 8:35pm
                great responses! Maciliel Send a private message to Maciliel Aug 13 2013, 9:00pm
                    Really late to the feast but.... elaen32 Send a private message to elaen32 Aug 15 2013, 10:12pm
                        heya : ) Maciliel Send a private message to Maciliel Aug 15 2013, 10:31pm
                            Re: Sil characters... elaen32 Send a private message to elaen32 Aug 15 2013, 11:26pm
                                dang : ) Maciliel Send a private message to Maciliel Aug 15 2013, 11:43pm
                Great insight into Maeglin CuriousG Send a private message to CuriousG Aug 14 2013, 2:53am
    A chapter fought over by two prophecies noWizardme Send a private message to noWizardme Aug 9 2013, 12:16pm
    A pithy quote Rembrethil Send a private message to Rembrethil Aug 9 2013, 5:37pm
    Sil and the Enneagram telain Send a private message to telain Aug 9 2013, 10:24pm
        hey, telain : ) Maciliel Send a private message to Maciliel Aug 9 2013, 10:51pm
    So, I'm either Trin or Mriel Faenoriel Send a private message to Faenoriel Aug 10 2013, 11:02am
        Memo to self: call someone (who deserves it) an "aJSDufSJHKDJAjasfhalhfg idiot "! But how do you pronounce it? // noWizardme Send a private message to noWizardme Aug 10 2013, 8:04pm
            [ay-sdu-fsyh-kdya-yas-fhalh-fg] would be the correct IPA pronunciation.// Faenoriel Send a private message to Faenoriel Aug 11 2013, 2:05pm
                What? Rembrethil Send a private message to Rembrethil Aug 11 2013, 5:00pm
                    Maybe it all makes more sense after a few pints of IPA // noWizardme Send a private message to noWizardme Aug 11 2013, 8:23pm
                        I can read IPA Rembrethil Send a private message to Rembrethil Aug 12 2013, 3:16am
                            Maybe I regret staring this IPA query... noWizardme Send a private message to noWizardme Aug 12 2013, 8:58am
        re the personality profiles and the characters Maciliel Send a private message to Maciliel Aug 11 2013, 11:42pm
            I like that last thought Rembrethil Send a private message to Rembrethil Aug 12 2013, 2:54am
                exactly! Maciliel Send a private message to Maciliel Aug 12 2013, 2:58am
    fwiw, i found Maciliel Send a private message to Maciliel Aug 12 2013, 12:42am
        Cool quiz! arithmancer Send a private message to arithmancer Aug 13 2013, 6:41pm
            so glad you liked it!!! : ) Maciliel Send a private message to Maciliel Aug 13 2013, 9:48pm
                I don't like the test CuriousG Send a private message to CuriousG Aug 14 2013, 2:33am
            how one views oneself vs. how the world views you Maciliel Send a private message to Maciliel Aug 13 2013, 10:11pm
            ok -- found it -- Maciliel Send a private message to Maciliel Aug 13 2013, 10:21pm
                Maeglin arithmancer Send a private message to arithmancer Aug 14 2013, 12:46am
                    great insights! Maciliel Send a private message to Maciliel Aug 14 2013, 1:03am
                    what if Maciliel Send a private message to Maciliel Aug 14 2013, 1:04am
                        Ha ha! arithmancer Send a private message to arithmancer Aug 14 2013, 1:55am
                        I think Morgoth would have to be a #3. CuriousG Send a private message to CuriousG Aug 14 2013, 2:24am
                            Tolkien's Evil Rembrethil Send a private message to Rembrethil Aug 14 2013, 3:04am
                                largely in agreement... Maciliel Send a private message to Maciliel Aug 15 2013, 10:39pm
                                    Without getting TOO philosophical Rembrethil Send a private message to Rembrethil Aug 16 2013, 12:57pm
                    This is a great observation CuriousG Send a private message to CuriousG Aug 14 2013, 2:20am
    Ulmo Hamfast Gamgee Send a private message to Hamfast Gamgee Aug 12 2013, 9:10am
        ulmo Maciliel Send a private message to Maciliel Aug 12 2013, 8:36pm
            Ulmo Hamfast Gamgee Send a private message to Hamfast Gamgee Aug 13 2013, 9:31am

 
 
 

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