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Biggest mystery in all of Middle Earth/ Arda?
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Matthias132
The Shire

Apr 3 2014, 3:22am

Post #1 of 38 (1420 views)
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Biggest mystery in all of Middle Earth/ Arda? Can't Post

I'm sure this has come up before, but what do you think is the most vague, or confounding thing, situation, etc., in Arda? Do you think it is Tom Bombadil, Ungoliant, what the heck all the other Elves that stayed behind were doing, what are the Valar doing, or something else?

I am interested to see facts, references, or anything to help bring up your point.

I know there are way too many mysteries for comfort, but what is the most killer to you?

Do not meddle in the affairs of Wizards, for they are subtle and quick to anger.Courage is found in unlikely places - J.R.R. Tolkien (Gildor)


DanielLB
Immortal


Apr 3 2014, 6:59am

Post #2 of 38 (1135 views)
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"Do Balrgos have wings?" [In reply to] Can't Post

Must surely be the biggest mystery.

Other contenders:

- What happened to the Blue Wizards?
- Who were Bombadil and Goldberry (and what happened to them)?
- Who was Ungoliant (and how did Shelob get to Cirith Ungol)?
- What happened to the Entwives? (And why did all the Ents end up in Fangorn?)
- Why was the Enchanted River enchanted?
- What is the origin of Orcs?
- Did Legolas have blonde hair?
- Who was King Bladorthin?


Elizabeth
Half-elven


Apr 3 2014, 7:18am

Post #3 of 38 (1129 views)
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Excellent summary. [In reply to] Can't Post

Although you could ask, "What's a Balrgos, Preciousss?"








Silverlode
Forum Admin / Moderator


Apr 3 2014, 7:53am

Post #4 of 38 (1122 views)
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It's.... [In reply to] Can't Post

a servant of Morgtoh, obviously.

Evil


Quote

Although you could ask, "What's a Balrgos, Preciousss?"


Silverlode

"Dark is the water of Kheled-zâram, and cold are the springs of Kibil-nâla, and fair were the many-pillared halls of Khazad-dűm in Elder Days before the fall of mighty kings beneath the stone."



(This post was edited by Silverlode on Apr 3 2014, 7:55am)


demnation
Rohan

Apr 3 2014, 8:33am

Post #5 of 38 (1104 views)
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Great question! [In reply to] Can't Post

Daniel gives a pretty good summary, with Bombadil and the entwives being the most interesting to me. I honestly like that Tolkien leaves us with so many unanswered questions, since it gives us more to talk about!

"It is not our part to master all the tides of the world, but to do what is in us for the succour of those years wherein we are set, uprooting the evil in the fields that we know, so that those who live after may have clean earth to till. What weather they shall have is not ours to rule." Gandalf, "The Last Debate."


Riven Delve
Tol Eressea


Apr 3 2014, 11:17am

Post #6 of 38 (1105 views)
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And I would add [In reply to] Can't Post

to Daniel's excellent list:

Did Queen Berúthiel really need ten cats as familiars, or was there secretly a huge rat problem in Gondor? Were the cats sentient (see fox, the)? Is there special significance to their colors or numbers (one white, nine black)? Did King Falastur have a dog that didn't like the cats, and that's the real reason she was sent away? Wink


Seriously, though, I don't think "there are too many mysteries for comfort" in Tolkien. I like mysteries and enjoy not knowing the whole story! It leaves room for speculation and imagination. And I think such mysteries add to the sense of "history": the full story is unknown, but echoes of the true events have passed down through the years in legend. Smile


“Tollers,” Lewis said to Tolkien, “there is too little of what we really like in stories. I am afraid we shall have to try and write some ourselves.”



grammaboodawg
Immortal


Apr 3 2014, 11:36am

Post #7 of 38 (1108 views)
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More to add to DanielLB's great collection! [In reply to] Can't Post

Are Sam, Frodo, Bilbo and Gandalf still alive and well in Valinor?
Did Legolas and Gimli make it to Valinor?
Was the Ent Sam's cousin Hal saw in the Shire an Ent or an Entwife?
Where was that Shire-spotted Ent/Entwife coming from or going to?
Were there ever any Orcs/Uruks that repented?
Were Farmer Maggot and Tom Bombadil friends?
Was Old Man Willow a dark-hearted Ent?
How did Frodo know to meet Gandalf, Elrond, Galadriel and the others as they travelled to the Grey Havens? Could he speak to them with thought like they could between themselves?
How did Gandalf know where the White Tree sapling was?


DanielLB's contenders:

- What happened to the Blue Wizards?
- Who were Bombadil and Goldberry (and what happened to them)?
- Who was Ungoliant (and how did Shelob get to Cirith Ungol)?
- What happened to the Entwives? (And why did all the Ents end up in Fangorn?)
- Why was the Enchanted River enchanted?
- What is the origin of Orcs?
- Did Legolas have blonde hair?
- Who was King Bladorthin?



6th draft of TH:AUJ Geeky Observation List - November 28, 2013
3rd draft of TH:DOS Geeky Observation List - January 2, 2014



sample

"There is more in you of good than you know, child of the kindly West."

I'm SO HAPPY these new films take me back to that magical world!!



TIME Google Calendar
TORn's Geeky Observations Lists (updated soon)


grammaboodawg
Immortal


Apr 3 2014, 11:40am

Post #8 of 38 (1096 views)
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Agreed on mysteries :) [In reply to] Can't Post

They're wonderful... and they allow us to use our imagination about what they're all about, making the stories more personal :)



6th draft of TH:AUJ Geeky Observation List - November 28, 2013
3rd draft of TH:DOS Geeky Observation List - January 2, 2014



sample

"There is more in you of good than you know, child of the kindly West."

I'm SO HAPPY these new films take me back to that magical world!!



TIME Google Calendar
TORn's Geeky Observations Lists (updated soon)


DaughterofLaketown
Gondor


Apr 3 2014, 12:24pm

Post #9 of 38 (1095 views)
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The fate of men. [In reply to] Can't Post

Or why Eru allowed Turin to be cursed.
Or where Beren and Luthien went.


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Apr 3 2014, 1:34pm

Post #10 of 38 (1087 views)
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Was it an Ent? [In reply to] Can't Post

Was the Giant spotted by Sam's cousin an Ent at all? Or was it something else? My impression was that it was only compared to a tree because of its height. Perhaps it was an ogre or an unusually large troll.

Old Man Willow seems to have been either an Huorn or a very treeish, wayward Ent.

'There are older and fouler things than Orcs in the deep places of the world.' - Gandalf the Grey, The Fellowship of the Ring


noWizardme
Half-elven


Apr 3 2014, 2:09pm

Post #11 of 38 (1088 views)
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a nice list... [In reply to] Can't Post

A nice list of the popular controversies!

I'm finding it interesting to think that knowing the answers to these (or the 'why don't the Eagles fly the Ring to Mordor?' one) wouldn't affect the stories very much. So at one level, the answers don't matter (though of course they can be fun to try & figure out!). Are these mysteries something like this effect, played for irony in the Hitchikers' Guide to the Galaxy:


Quote
The deadly nuclear missile attack shortly to be launched by an ancient automatic defence system will merely result in the bruising of somebody's upper arm, and the untimely creation and sudden demise of a bowl of petunias and an innocent sperm whale. In order that some sense of mystery should still be preserved no revelation will yet be made concerning whose upper arm has been bruised.


Are there candidates for mysteries whose non-resolution is a significant plot hole?

~~~~~~

"… ever let your aim be to come at truth, not to conquer your opponent. So you never shall be at a loss in losing the argument, and gaining a new discovery.”
Arthur Martine

"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!"


DanielLB
Immortal


Apr 3 2014, 3:19pm

Post #12 of 38 (1078 views)
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Great suggestions, and some more? [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
Are Sam, Frodo, Bilbo and Gandalf still alive and well in Valinor?
Did Legolas and Gimli make it to Valinor?
Was the Ent Sam's cousin Hal saw in the Shire an Ent or an Entwife?
Where was that Shire-spotted Ent/Entwife coming from or going to?
Were there ever any Orcs/Uruks that repented?
Were Farmer Maggot and Tom Bombadil friends?
Was Old Man Willow a dark-hearted Ent?
How did Frodo know to meet Gandalf, Elrond, Galadriel and the others as they travelled to the Grey Havens? Could he speak to them with thought like they could between themselves?
How did Gandalf know where the White Tree sapling was?


DanielLB's contenders:

- What happened to the Blue Wizards?
- Who were Bombadil and Goldberry (and what happened to them)?
- Who was Ungoliant (and how did Shelob get to Cirith Ungol)?
- What happened to the Entwives? (And why did all the Ents end up in Fangorn?)
- Why was the Enchanted River enchanted?
- What is the origin of Orcs?
- Did Legolas have blonde hair?
- Who was King Bladorthin?


'Why don't the Eagles fly the Ring to Mordor?' seems like a good addition noWizme.

- Who was Eldest, Treebeard or Bomadil?
- How did Glamdring, Sting and Orcrist end up in the Troll hoard?
- What happened to Radagast?
- The Stone Giants - were they physical or metaphorical?
- Who was responsible for the Witch-kings death - Merry or Eowyn?


dernwyn
Forum Admin / Moderator


Apr 3 2014, 3:21pm

Post #13 of 38 (1077 views)
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What was it, that Frodo felt, flying high above them? [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
It was the cold chill hour before the first stir of dawn and the moon was low. Frodo looked up at the sky. Suddenly he saw or felt a shadow pass over the high stars, as if for a moment they faded and then flashed out again. He shivered.

'Did you see anything pass over?' he whispered to Gandalf, who was just ahead.

'No, but I felt it, whatever it was,' he answered. 'It may be nothing, only a wisp of thin clouds.'

'It was moving fast then,' muttered Aragorn, 'and not with the wind.'"


What did Frodo sense? A Nazgul? But according to Gandalf they would not have crossed Anduin at this point in the story. What else could it have been?

Don't you just love Tolkien's enigmas!


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"I desired dragons with a profound desire"






Inferno
Superuser / Moderator


Apr 3 2014, 4:50pm

Post #14 of 38 (1065 views)
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I hear a lot of authors [In reply to] Can't Post

make comments similar to the following when talking about creating fantasy worlds: You need to create a world that's consistent and follows its own laws. But don't put all the answers in the book, as it will get wordy, boring, and unreadable. As long as the reader feels that things are internally consistent and that you, the author, know the answers to all those little questions, the story will work.

That's one thing I like about Tolkien. We have all these mysteries, and we can speculate, but generally, I get the impression that, were the good Professor around to ask, he'd have the answers to the questions. The fact that he isn't around just gives us something to talk about. =)

Inferno.

======================
Good night, tOR.Nados. Good work. Sleep well. I'll most likely delete you in the morning.
======================


Elarie
Grey Havens

Apr 3 2014, 5:23pm

Post #15 of 38 (1063 views)
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How were the orcs really created? [In reply to] Can't Post

Were they really created from captured elves who were tortured and mutilated by the Dark Lord? And if so, are they immortal like elves? And if they have elf DNA, why aren't their children born as elves? Dark magic? And if some of the original captured elves were still alive, could they take the ship to Valinor and be healed? Has any elf lore been passed down through their generations and been turned into Orc lore? Is the bitter hatred between the elves and the orcs the result of this twisted, mirror image that they see in one another?

Actually, the whole elf-orc connection has always raised more questions for me than it answers. I think orcs would be easier to explain if Morgoth had just created them himself, the way Aule created the dwarves.

And I would love to know what happened to the entwives. I hope they didn't end up as ent firewood someplace.

Hop to it, Radagast, we've got dark powers to sleigh.

(This post was edited by Elarie on Apr 3 2014, 5:25pm)


FrogmortonJustice65
Lorien


Apr 3 2014, 6:36pm

Post #16 of 38 (1050 views)
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For me, the entwives. [In reply to] Can't Post

I've always wondered what happened to the entwives. I suppose its one of those things Tolkien left unexplained, like Tom Bombadil.

 photo cbccab4e-f61e-4be5-aaa1-20e302430c7c.jpg


grammaboodawg
Immortal


Apr 3 2014, 7:21pm

Post #17 of 38 (1039 views)
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Not being able to ask [In reply to] Can't Post

seals the mystery. I agree... I don't think he left anything undone or unknown. I wonder if, at times, he had trouble biting his tongue OR shaking his head as we dashed of in the wrong direction with our assumptions ;)

Oh to be a fly on the wall...



6th draft of TH:AUJ Geeky Observation List - November 28, 2013
3rd draft of TH:DOS Geeky Observation List - January 2, 2014



sample

"There is more in you of good than you know, child of the kindly West."

I'm SO HAPPY these new films take me back to that magical world!!



TIME Google Calendar
TORn's Geeky Observations Lists (updated soon)


grammaboodawg
Immortal


Apr 3 2014, 7:23pm

Post #18 of 38 (1037 views)
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Or a wingless Balrgos!!! *shudder* ;) // [In reply to] Can't Post

 



6th draft of TH:AUJ Geeky Observation List - November 28, 2013
3rd draft of TH:DOS Geeky Observation List - January 2, 2014



sample

"There is more in you of good than you know, child of the kindly West."

I'm SO HAPPY these new films take me back to that magical world!!



TIME Google Calendar
TORn's Geeky Observations Lists (updated soon)


Bracegirdle
Valinor


Apr 3 2014, 9:10pm

Post #19 of 38 (1033 views)
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Ah! Sweet mysteries of life (add music) [In reply to] Can't Post

Many of these questions must remain mysteries. But I do have “inside information” that I can reveal on only few!

Did Legolas and Gimli make it to Valinor?
Almost! They accidentally ran into Earendil while taking the Straight Road and their ship crashed.

Was the Ent Sam's cousin Hal saw in the Shire an Ent or an Entwife?
Neither! Will Whitfoot convened a committee of 6 ‘expert’ psychiatrists and psychologists and it was deemed that cousin Hal was hallucinating. He was recently released after spending several years in the mental ward of the Lockholes in Michel Delving.

Where was that Shire-spotted Ent/Entwife coming from or going to?
See above

Were there ever any Orcs/Uruks that repented?
I’m sorry, what was the question?

Were Farmer Maggot and Tom Bombadil friends?
Certainly! They would get together on Tuesdays at Bombadil’s and Sundays at Maggot’s for rousing games of “Mother May I?” Mrs. Maggot served mushrooms but became quite agitated at the “Ring-a-Dong-Dillos!” whenever Tom won.

Was Old Man Willow a dark-hearted Ent?
No! He was the River Woman’s son.

How did Frodo know to meet Gandalf, Elrond, Galadriel and the others as they travelled to the Grey Havens? Could he speak to them with thought like they could between themselves?
No. No! NO! He wasn’t out to “meet them”. Frodo was taking Sam to Buckland to meet some of his 3rd cousins twice removed. That’s why they were going SOUTHEAST not west, fer crying out loud!

How did Gandalf know where the White Tree sapling was?
”I am the Great and Powerful…. Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain…” Ooops. . .wrong story.
Ans. = He loved to walk, and tripped over it.


DanielLB's contenders:

- What happened to the Blue Wizards?
As already stated they went into The Last Desert, started a rock band as ‘The Two Boys Blue’.
I thought everybody knew this!?


- What happened to the Entwives? (And why did all the Ents end up in Fangorn?)
The Entwives became “Groupees” of ‘The Two Boys Blue’ and can be found in The Last Desert. (Don’t tell Treebeard!)
The Ents liked Fangorn because Mirkwood was full of spiders, Elves, and other icky nosey things.


- Why was the Enchanted River enchanted?
Because if it wasn’t Enchanted then Bombur wouldn’t have fallen asleep, and his buddies wouldn’t have had to carry him for days, and we might have lost a whole chapter.
BTW As the Enchanted River flowed into the Forest River why wasn’t the Forest River enchanted too? Huh?


- Did Legolas have blonde hair?
Depends on where you look. (Sorry!)

No! I cannot reveal my impeccable sources under penalty of being turned into a toad.

>>>>THIS SPACE FOR HIRE<<<<

Contact Messrs. Grubb, Grubb, and Burrowes.
Hole #14, Bywater Pool Road


(This post was edited by Bracegirdle on Apr 3 2014, 9:11pm)


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Apr 3 2014, 9:27pm

Post #20 of 38 (1031 views)
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Eru was needed to give life to the Dwarves [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Actually, the whole elf-orc connection has always raised more questions for me than it answers. I think orcs would be easier to explain if Morgoth had just created them himself, the way Aule created the dwarves.

And I would love to know what happened to the entwives. I hope they didn't end up as ent firewood someplace.



Morgoth had no more ability to grant life than did Aule. The Orcs are most likely made from corrupted and magically warped Men and/or Elves. Elves were prbabably the first Orcs since Tolkien never officially revised the Quenta Silmarillion to say that Orcs did not first appear before the awakening of the Children of the Sun. If Orcs were originally Elves then any strain that has remained 'pure' in regards to that may have also inherited Elven immortality--although Orcs would still have a short life-expectancy due to the brutal nature of their culture.

'There are older and fouler things than Orcs in the deep places of the world.' - Gandalf the Grey, The Fellowship of the Ring


Elarie
Grey Havens

Apr 3 2014, 9:41pm

Post #21 of 38 (1025 views)
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Hmmm, I read that passage a little differently [In reply to] Can't Post

I always took it to mean that Eru gave the Dwarves free will, or maybe "consciousness" is a better word, rather than have them remain as a sort living puppet.

Hop to it, Radagast, we've got dark powers to sleigh.


Na Vedui
Rohan


Apr 3 2014, 11:14pm

Post #22 of 38 (1020 views)
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and how did Shelob get to Cirith Ungol [In reply to] Can't Post

That one's easy; when she was young and adventurous (and a good deal smaller), she stowed away in a crate of stolen Beleriand plums that was headed for Mordor. When Mograt the orc lady opened the bag of fruit she had bought, she dropped it and screamed the place down. Shelob scuttled away into a hole, settled in, and decided to stay.


Rembrethil
Tol Eressea


Apr 4 2014, 2:31am

Post #23 of 38 (1006 views)
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More Questions [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To

Quote
Are Sam, Frodo, Bilbo and Gandalf still alive and well in Valinor?
Did Legolas and Gimli make it to Valinor?
Was the Ent Sam's cousin Hal saw in the Shire an Ent or an Entwife?
Where was that Shire-spotted Ent/Entwife coming from or going to?
Were there ever any Orcs/Uruks that repented?
Were Farmer Maggot and Tom Bombadil friends?
Was Old Man Willow a dark-hearted Ent?
How did Frodo know to meet Gandalf, Elrond, Galadriel and the others as they travelled to the Grey Havens? Could he speak to them with thought like they could between themselves?
How did Gandalf know where the White Tree sapling was?


DanielLB's contenders:

- What happened to the Blue Wizards?
- Who were Bombadil and Goldberry (and what happened to them)?
- Who was Ungoliant (and how did Shelob get to Cirith Ungol)?
- What happened to the Entwives? (And why did all the Ents end up in Fangorn?)
- Why was the Enchanted River enchanted?
- What is the origin of Orcs?
- Did Legolas have blonde hair?
- Who was King Bladorthin?


'Why don't the Eagles fly the Ring to Mordor?' seems like a good addition noWizme.

- Who was Eldest, Treebeard or Bomadil?
- How did Glamdring, Sting and Orcrist end up in the Troll hoard?
- What happened to Radagast?
- The Stone Giants - were they physical or metaphorical?
- Who was responsible for the Witch-kings death - Merry or Eowyn?




My (somewhat serious) additions

What are the origins of the talking purse, and were there other articulating accessories in Middle-Earth?
Who is Celeborn and just how did he manage to marry Galadriel?
Why did Sauron choose a ring to imbue with power? Why not something more protected, like a gold tooth?
What happened to the other dragons? Freak meteor strike?
Why didn't Sauron just sic his invisible, (mostly) invincible Nazgul to haunt the few leader of the resistance, forcing them to live in constant paranoia, unable to form any coherent plans?

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


Matthias132
The Shire

Apr 4 2014, 2:37am

Post #24 of 38 (1000 views)
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I love the mysteries just as much... [In reply to] Can't Post

Yeah, the mysteries are always fun to speculate over. I have seen on other forums people claiming that the entwives was a pun/joke/riddle or something like that, but no one ever revealed what it was because they wanted other people to "find it for themselves." The Balrog-wings thing is easy in my opinion. Morgoth created dragons, but they were originally wingless, then they became winged, and balrog-mounted. Why would a balrog mount a dragon if it had wings? Also, Glorfindel would probably have easily lost to the balrog on the cliffs. Honestly, the biggest mystery to me is where the hell do men go? The fate of men is left alone, and no one knows where they go. Its amazing.

Oh and shelob should be easy, too. Ungoliant dwelled in the south so her spawn were most likely very capable of moving into a cave around Mordor. Now that I think about it, who the hell mated with ungoliant? Also, if Shelob is the last of the ungoliant, where did all of the others go? Spiders reproduce in massive numbers...

Do not meddle in the affairs of Wizards, for they are subtle and quick to anger.Courage is found in unlikely places - J.R.R. Tolkien (Gildor)


Plurmo
Rohan

Apr 4 2014, 5:09am

Post #25 of 38 (1009 views)
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The Wraith World in all it's hidden glory. [In reply to] Can't Post

Incidentally this is the place I think an answer can be found regarding the death of the Witch King. Why didn't Eowin need a barrow blade to cut the Witch-king's head off? I think it was because besides being a woman, Eowin was half-wraith in a spiritual sense. In opposition to Frodo's resilience against entering the Wraith World by the hand of the Witch King, Eowin was already lying under Simbelmynë.

Cold be heart and hand and bone. So cold, so fair.

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