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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
About Maeglin


Mar 24 2014, 3:15am

Post #1 of 12 (459 views)
About Maeglin Can't Post

I always found him a fascinating character. Was it wrong of Maeglin to desire Idril? If he had been allowed to marry her would he have turned evil? Thoughts welcome.


Mar 24 2014, 1:41pm

Post #2 of 12 (296 views)
Anyone? [In reply to] Can't Post


(This post was edited by DaughterofLaketown on Mar 24 2014, 1:41pm)


Mar 24 2014, 7:55pm

Post #3 of 12 (301 views)
Maeglin [In reply to] Can't Post

Some cultures accept marriage by first cousins as legitimate, but the Elves/Tolkien do not, and whether it's considered incest or not, it leads to inbreeding and genetic diseases, so it's a bad idea all around.

It's also wrong because in the Elven world, love is a mutual thing, and Idril clearly did not love Maeglin. Unlike his mother, she was wholly unwilling for matrimony with him, so a marriage could only have happened against her and her father's will.

I think he was a bad guy no matter what, not turned evil because he couldn't marry the girl he wanted. He rose to prominence as basically Turgon's #2, a position I'm sure many others in Gondor desired and envied, and that wasn't enough to make him happy. He was too much like his father in "desiring to possess" instead of actually loving his intended bride.

Of course the poor guy had a twisted upbringing with a captive mother and a crazy father who tried to kill his wife and son rather than allow them to choose their fates via free will. It's too bad his time in Gondolin didn't improve Maeglin's psyche, but it didn't, and he seemed to be a festering sore that would never heal.


Mar 25 2014, 4:22am

Post #4 of 12 (259 views)
Perception of Maeglin [In reply to] Can't Post

One thing that I think is interesting how the "narrator" of the Silm treats Maeglin vs. other characters. For example, Gorlim betrayed Barahir and his companions because he thought he could save his wife. Gorlim is treated with pity but Maeglin gets no pity from the narrator.

I guess because Maeglin's love was illegitimate to begin with, he doesn't get a lot of sympathy for his actions that were driven by his love/desire.


Mar 25 2014, 6:03am

Post #5 of 12 (285 views)
Bad genes and dysfunctional upbringing. [In reply to] Can't Post

Eol was a pretty dysfunctional husband and father. He was technically gifted, but controlling and unsympathetic in the extreme. Aredhel may have tried to bring up her son with love, but the modeling wasn't there. So, Maeglin was a son of parents who didn't model any kind of love that we would recognize, and saw only desire in a possessive sense. He, too, had gifts, but the ability to enter into a loving relationship doesn't appear to have been one of them. Instead, he was inclined toward manipulation, control, and possessiveness.

As others have noted, first cousins were not permitted to marry in Elven culture, and she most emphatically didn't want him. So, there are many reasons this marriage could never have worked.

(This post was edited by Elizabeth on Mar 25 2014, 6:04am)


Mar 25 2014, 1:31pm

Post #6 of 12 (232 views)
True [In reply to] Can't Post

In Reply To
One thing that I think is interesting how the "narrator" of the Silm treats Maeglin vs. other characters. For example, Gorlim betrayed Barahir and his companions because he thought he could save his wife. Gorlim is treated with pity but Maeglin gets no pity from the narrator.


Obviously the narrator is biased towards Maeglin.

Tol Eressea

Mar 25 2014, 3:09pm

Post #7 of 12 (235 views)
Maeglin; A very interesting character [In reply to] Can't Post

We did discuss him in our lst read-through of the Sil. Here is a link if you care to look.

He seems to occupy a situation similar to Turin: Hard upbringing, mom and dad issues, raised to eminence but confronted by rivals, lives in an elite secluded realm, and possibly the plaything of fate. Regardless of the nurture vs nature aspects of his life, he did make some pretty major mistakes and messed up big time. He might have been more liable to failure, but the final choice was his. Great men must make great choices, and he chose incorrectly.

I think the important thing to remember in the case with Idril is that she didn't want him. He may have been following Eol's example, even unintentionally as he professed only loathing for him, but I'm sure he could have sought sum healthy advice in the noblest city of the Eldar at the time. Hey, he was beloved by Turgon, why didn't he tell him of his feelings and ask for Idril? It seemed like it was very secretive and Idril said nothing because she knew how much Turgon relied on Maeglin. It could have been a sort of 'forbidden love' and that might have been what Maeglin intended. but Idril had no reciprical feelings and yet he persisted. To me, that confirms he only wanted Idril to possess, not to love.

Call me Rem, and remember, not all who ramble are lost...Uh...where was I?


Mar 25 2014, 3:32pm

Post #8 of 12 (251 views)
On a side note [In reply to] Can't Post

writing PMs when you disenable answers makes it kind of though to get anwersWink

Which is to say: I've recognized the thread, but a profound answer takes more than 5 minutes and thus will have to wait until the weekend.


Mar 25 2014, 5:08pm

Post #9 of 12 (247 views)
Sorry about that. [In reply to] Can't Post

I just wanted to let you know but I decided to keep my privacy settings for personal reasons. Smile


Apr 3 2014, 11:02pm

Post #10 of 12 (195 views)
Maeglin as Eöl's creation [In reply to] Can't Post

I find it interesting that it's Maeglin that Eöl is obsessed with destroying, not Aredhel - even though it was the latter who masterminded (from Eöl's point of view) the betrayal. It's like you say, Eöl is technically gifted, perhaps so much so that he sees Maeglin as more of product of his craft than as a living being. When he is betrayed, he wants to destroy his creation / property, so that no one else can profit from it. Not a million miles away from Fëanor, who's so obsessive about the Silmarils that he'd rather Valinor linger in darkness than give them up.

Welcome to the Mordorfone network, where we put the 'hai' back into Uruk

The Shire

May 23 2014, 1:57pm

Post #11 of 12 (141 views)
Maeglin [In reply to] Can't Post

I always found Maeglin's silence at some points quite interesting, I think that some Elves with keen foresight may have deemed it unwise to reveal too many of their thoughts, for they understood their direct influence on events around them, and from Maeglin's lust a shadow grew over his heart, thus his will became the Fall of Gondolin.

The Shire

May 23 2014, 3:40pm

Post #12 of 12 (146 views)
Idril [In reply to] Can't Post

If Maeglin had loved Idril, events would have taken a different course, for when love turns to desire out of malice, an illusion of love is created, and it can be quite deceiving, for its only strengths are drawn from the source of dark thought.


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