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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
Letter #131 Discussion: Heaven or Hell?; And the Golden Pavement on the Road 'South'

Brethil
Half-elven


Oct 8 2013, 2:08pm


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Letter #131 Discussion: Heaven or Hell?; And the Golden Pavement on the Road 'South' Can't Post

Greetings Fellowship of the Room!

In this week, the fourth selection of discussion points on JRRT's Letter #131, I would like to touch on a very prevalent theme in the writings of Tolkien: how evil rises.

I hope you enjoy these points; as always, I look forward to the discussion on these central concepts.



**I would like to discuss the evolution of evil as seen by JRRT, specifically in a comparison between Sauron and Numenor. He says about evil: "...but the problem: that this frightful evil can and does arise from an apparently good root, the desire to benefit the world and others - speedily and according to the benefactor's own plans - is a recurrent motive." Particularly about Sauron, and his actions after the War of Wrath: "He lingers in Middle-earth. Very slowly, beginning with fair motives: the reorganizing and rehabilitation of the ruin of Middle-earth, 'negected by the gods', he becomes a reincarnation of Evil, and a thing lusting for Complete Power - and so consumed ever more fiercely with hate (especially of gods and Elves)." In these two instances, Numenor and the rise of Sauron - great ill and destruction rise from the simple desire for more: more control, more shaping of the world to their will - in short (as JRRT defines it) more Power.

I find it interesting that the gods (but not Eru) were involved in both of these circumstances - in the gift of Numenor to Men, and in the 'neglecting' Middle-earth after the War of Wrath. Do you see this as the literary 'Fall' mechanism; or, continuing the previous discussions, more of a theological defense of monotheism in light of free will, by keeping Eru Illuvatar distant from the events?

And this bit: "... frightful evil can and does arise from an apparently good root, the desire to benefit the world and others - speedily and according to the benefactor's own plans - is a recurrent motive." We know it relates to Sauron; does this relate at all to the actions of the Valar and the Numenorians as well?

Is this all 'legendary mode' of talking on part of the author? Or is there a real world message here that he felt was important? With what we know about JRRT's published works and his Letters, and knowing his feelings on the continuum of good and evil, where do you think the line between 'good intentions' and 'evil' lies in his world view?

If you sense a message, do you feel it is a dated morality, or one that applies to times other than its own?

Is there a Tolkien topic that you have wanted to look into more deeply, and write about your thoughts on it? If so, we'd like to hear from you for the next TORn Amateur Symposium- coming in November. Happy writing!

















(This post was edited by Brethil on Oct 8 2013, 2:09pm)

Subject User Time
Letter #131 Discussion: Heaven or Hell?; And the Golden Pavement on the Road 'South' Brethil Send a private message to Brethil Oct 8 2013, 2:08pm
    The Morality of The Ring Brethil Send a private message to Brethil Oct 8 2013, 2:13pm
        Well, now that you've brought up Rings... Rembrethil Send a private message to Rembrethil Oct 8 2013, 2:46pm
            Interesting idea Rem! Brethil Send a private message to Brethil Oct 8 2013, 11:20pm
            Conjecture CuriousG Send a private message to CuriousG Oct 11 2013, 9:09pm
                As were mine Rembrethil Send a private message to Rembrethil Oct 11 2013, 9:36pm
                    Rings as conduits CuriousG Send a private message to CuriousG Oct 11 2013, 9:41pm
                        the ring(s) and fading Maciliel Send a private message to Maciliel Oct 11 2013, 11:04pm
                            Hobbity sense Brethil Send a private message to Brethil Oct 12 2013, 1:17am
                                i meant also Maciliel Send a private message to Maciliel Oct 12 2013, 1:21am
                                    Agree on this point Telpemairo Brethil Send a private message to Brethil Oct 12 2013, 2:53am
                Why didn't the Ring get outta Dodge? Brethil Send a private message to Brethil Oct 12 2013, 1:10am
        Some stolen thoughts... Dame Ioreth Send a private message to Dame Ioreth Oct 8 2013, 4:15pm
            Thank you very much sador Send a private message to sador Oct 8 2013, 5:50pm
            Wonderful bit from the Reverend. Thank you! Brethil Send a private message to Brethil Oct 8 2013, 11:32pm
                Pervasive evil and holding back The Song Dame Ioreth Send a private message to Dame Ioreth Oct 9 2013, 4:01pm
                    Quiet evil versus Clear Evil Brethil Send a private message to Brethil Oct 9 2013, 4:59pm
            What about illusion? Terazed Send a private message to Terazed Oct 11 2013, 7:15pm
                Beautiful thoughts, Terazed CuriousG Send a private message to CuriousG Oct 11 2013, 9:37pm
                Art versus power Brethil Send a private message to Brethil Oct 12 2013, 1:02am
    Apologies for my going MIA. A few general remarks: sador Send a private message to sador Oct 8 2013, 5:22pm
        Hullo Sador! Brethil Send a private message to Brethil Oct 8 2013, 11:48pm
            A 'companion' read to LOTR indeed Findegil Send a private message to Findegil Oct 9 2013, 1:11am
                Thank you so much for posting this information Brethil Send a private message to Brethil Oct 9 2013, 4:01am
                Splendid! sador Send a private message to sador Oct 9 2013, 4:58am
                    You're welcome, Sador Findegil Send a private message to Findegil Oct 9 2013, 11:45am
    Frightful evil can and does arise ... noWizardme Send a private message to noWizardme Oct 8 2013, 9:03pm
        Great set of quotes Furincurunir Brethil Send a private message to Brethil Oct 8 2013, 11:53pm
        *Calls forth Boromir as witness* CuriousG Send a private message to CuriousG Oct 11 2013, 9:12pm
    Dated morality CuriousG Send a private message to CuriousG Oct 11 2013, 9:49pm
        Thoughts Rembrethil Send a private message to Rembrethil Oct 11 2013, 10:22pm
            Morality - flexible or not? Brethil Send a private message to Brethil Oct 12 2013, 1:15am
                Relevant truth(pun intended) Rembrethil Send a private message to Rembrethil Oct 12 2013, 2:18am
                    I Kant believe you would make a pholisophical pun Rem... Brethil Send a private message to Brethil Oct 12 2013, 2:30am
        Anarchistic monkey! Brethil Send a private message to Brethil Oct 12 2013, 2:47am
    Hmmm Escapist Send a private message to Escapist Oct 11 2013, 10:15pm
        You say some of what I feebly attempted Rembrethil Send a private message to Rembrethil Oct 11 2013, 10:25pm
        Roots of evil Brethil Send a private message to Brethil Oct 12 2013, 2:42am
            re: roots Escapist Send a private message to Escapist Oct 13 2013, 6:31am
                When helping becomes dominating Brethil Send a private message to Brethil Oct 15 2013, 12:37am
            Imposition of will... elaen32 Send a private message to elaen32 Oct 13 2013, 11:56am
                Perfectly understandable!! Rembrethil Send a private message to Rembrethil Oct 13 2013, 12:23pm
                    Yes... elaen32 Send a private message to elaen32 Oct 13 2013, 12:38pm

 
 
 

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