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The Children of Hurin Read-Through: The Words of Hurin and Morgoth and The Departure of Turin
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Rembrethil
Tol Eressea


May 6 2014, 11:37pm

Post #1 of 71 (1261 views)
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The Children of Hurin Read-Through: The Words of Hurin and Morgoth and The Departure of Turin Can't Post

Welcome one and all to the next portion of the CoH read-through! Long-time Lurker or Reading Room vagrant, (Yes, we've seen you sleeping between the stacks!!) all are welcome to comment or share freely, with one exception:

If you, or someone you know, has been cursed recently, we would ask that you would please seek appropriate care and attention from your local witch-doctor before engaging in
spirited discussion. Out of courtesy for your fellow readers, we ask that any member under suspicion of a 'cursing' would take proper precautions to ensure a pleasant experience for everyone.

This discussion follows a roughly chronological track, so all you scholars in threaded-view might want to keep that in mind.

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


Rembrethil
Tol Eressea


May 6 2014, 11:39pm

Post #2 of 71 (1009 views)
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The Evil Eye [In reply to] Can't Post

Captured alive by Gothmog, Hurin is taken before Morgoth for interrogation. His usual tactics seem to be 'daunting with his eyes', but Hurin defies his efforts.

This MO seems to be like to Sauron's in the confrontation with Finrod on the Isle of Cats:

'...Then his flaming eyes he on them bent
and darkness black fell round them all
Only they saw, as through a pall
of eddying smoke those eyes profound
in which their senses choked and drowned...'

Then the Third Age:

'He (The W-K) will bear thee away to the houses of lamentation, beyond all darkness, where thy flesh shall be devoured, and thy shrivelled mind be left naked to the Lidless Eye.'

So was it a learned ability, or an innate power of intimidation or discernment that all Ainur had? How can Hurin defy him when many others (e.g. Maeglin and the other thralls) were so completely cowed? Was there a moral aspect to the contest of wills? Felagund seemed strong against this hypnotic gaze until the evils of the Noldor were mentioned:

...Then the gloom gathered: darkness growing
in Valinor, the red blood flowing
beside the sea, where the Noldor slew
the Foamriders, and stealing drew
their white ships with their white sails
from lamplit havens. The wind wails.
The wolf howls. The ravens flee.
The ice mutters in the mouths of the sea.
The captives sad in Angband mourn.
Thunder rumbles, the fires burn -
and Finrod fell before the throne...


Perhaps Hurin was pure in his intentions to keep his oaths and people safe, and that was the reason for his strength? It is said that, '...Hurin could not yet be daunted,...' (emphasis mine). Does that imply some future failure on his part?

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

(This post was edited by Rembrethil on May 6 2014, 11:42pm)


Rembrethil
Tol Eressea


May 6 2014, 11:42pm

Post #3 of 71 (1001 views)
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Captives and Curses [In reply to] Can't Post

Morgoth then tries to break Hurin by a series of tortures, then offering rewards for his betrayl of Turgon, but he refuses in scorn. Then setting Hurin on the Haudh-en-Nirnaeth, he threatens his family and in his wrath, curses them.

Hurin really shows a high level of physical and psychological tolerance here in defying torture and the very prescence of Morgoth, but does his apparent lack of concern for his family seem strange? Is he simply resigned to the fact that if Morgoth wants to kill them all, he will? Or is he secure in the fact that they will never betray Turgon because of their ignorance? He really is 'Steadfast' here, like an immovable rock, but it seems like he is being a little hard-hearted here. BTW, Hurin being set on a huge mound of decaying bodies...Yech!!! Is Tolkien trying to make us gag? First clinging, severed hands, now a hill of bodies?

After uttering his curse, Hurin and Morgoth engage in a debate as to the efficacy of it. Morgoth promises that his hate would follow Hurin's family wherever they go, but Hurin counters that his permanent incarnate form hinders his reach. Morgoth points to the vast amount of inherent power he possesses, but at the same time discredits the notion of interference from the West. Hurin assuredly states the supremacy of Manwe, but Morgoth boasts of his own position as,'first and mightiest', also claiming creative power over Arda and an intimate linkage of the world to his will.

The first part of this exchange seems to be bluster and intimidation on Morgoth's part, and it gains size as the dialogue continues. He may well be powerful, but by exalting his position as a Vala, then decrying the Valar's power as a whole, seems to be an open faced lie. 'I am a great power, but all the rest of them combined cannot help you!' Yeah....right. He increases his hubris by claiming that he 'made' the world. What do you think? Is there any truth in what he says? In Hurin's counters, is this the influence of the lore he has gained from the Noldo, how well does it serve him?

Hurin goes on to make a bold declaration, unbased on Noldorin lore. He asserts that Morgoth will never win over Men. Even in death they defy him; going somewhere he cannot. Morgoth replies in a nihilistic manner, that there is no escape for Men in Arda nothing beyond it for them. Hurin denies this, but Morgoth asserts that it is true, and says he can prove it.

Where does this inspiration come from? Eru? The Valar? His own people's lore? Is Morgoth lying about what is beyond Arda? He has seen the Timeless Halls and the Void, and they are beyond Arda. Is this what he speaks of as 'Nothing' or something else? Can Morgoth really prove his claims?

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


Rembrethil
Tol Eressea


May 6 2014, 11:45pm

Post #4 of 71 (983 views)
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Spells and Surveillance Systems [In reply to] Can't Post

Setting Hurin in a high place, he curses him again, (To make doubly sure it works? Wasn't once enough? As a publicity stunt for his minions? Or to strengthen its power?) then binds him with a spell of immobility and seeming immortality to bear witness to his interference in the lives of Hurin's family. Morgoth says that he will grant to Hurin his own sight and senses to follow the actions of his kin.

This spell, though later we find that it doesn't prevent aging, (Hurin is white-haired when released), how does it compare to the preservative power of the Ring and the effects of Ringwraith's rings? How does it work? Is this where Sauron got the idea? Is the spell an anchor for the fea (roughly: spirit), disallowing severance while allowing the hroa (roughly: body) to wither? Would Hurin have become a wraith like the Ulari? What about sustenance? I cannot see Morgoth or the orcs feeding Hurin daily. Was the spell one of serial existence that allowed time to pass without the need for nourishment?


Now on the topic of Hurin's personal surveillance system. How much was true or distorted? I think the answer lies in the Introduction by CT (Christopher Tolkien).

"The torment that he devised... was 'to see with Morgoth's eyes'. My father gave a definition of what he meant: if one were forced to look into Morgoth's eye he would

'see'... a compellingly credible picture of events, distorted by Morgoth's bottomless malice;..."


So there is a definite distortion. I recall the same idea being proposed as to the effect of the dragon's eye. Is this a case of the eye being an 'window to the soul' and seeing a reflection of the world as the other sees it, or through their personal bias? Is the view of Morgoth wittingly deceptive, or is it a case of transference? Is this how Morgoth really saw the world? Is Hurin the victim of Morgoth's delusions?

The topic of the actual 'Curse', itself, is in the next post.

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


Rembrethil
Tol Eressea


May 6 2014, 11:48pm

Post #5 of 71 (994 views)
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How to Curse (No, not THAT kind): the Vala edition [In reply to] Can't Post

Now on the actual mechanics of the 'curse', there is a lot to say. In fact, as we move forward, we will be considering the far-reaching effects of this one event. I have known some to even suggest that the 'curse' should be studied as an individual character, in accordance with its vast importance to the tale. There is not much effect to study yet, but here is another quote from the Introduction to get things started:

"The curse of such a being...{who can claim such power}...is unlike the curses or imprecations of beings of far less power. Morgoth is not 'invoking' evil or calamity on Hurin and his children, he is not 'calling on' a higher power to be agent: for he... intends to bring about the ruin of his enemy by the force of his gigantic will. Thus he 'designs' the future of those whom he hates, and so he says to Hurin: 'Upon all whom you love my thought shall weigh as a cloud of Doom, and it shall bring them down into darkness and despair.'"

So does this mean he is a schemer trying to sabotage the lives of others by any means? Does this mean he is totally responsible for all the evil in their lives, or would he take credit for all the evil that occurs? In the quote, the usage of words 'force of his gigantic will' , makes it seem like a broad, brute-force attack rather than a calculated, action to direct results. Does that mean that Morgoth is having to deal with a lot of external and complicated variables, and it is not as easy for him as he makes it sound? What are your thoughts so far? Do you consider this view as canon, or simply commentary by Christopher?

Further on in the Introduction, this is said:

"In the tale of Turin... the curse of Morgoth seems to be seen as power unleashed to work evil, seeking out its victims; so...{Morgoth}...himself...fear{ed} that Turin 'would grow to such a power that the curse... would become void, and he would escape the doom that had been designed for him'. And afterwards in Nargothrond Turin concealed his true name, so that when Gwindor revealed it he was angered: 'You have done ill to me...to betray my right name, and call down my doom...from which I would lie hid'. ...Gwindor...had told Turin ...that Morgoth had laid a curse on {him}. But ... {Gwindor} replied...'the doom lies in yourself, not in your name.'

So essential is this complex conception in the story that my father even proposed an alternative title to it:...The Tale of the Curse of Morgoth. And his view of it is seen in these words: 'So ended the tale of Turin the hapless; the worst of the works of Morgoth among Men in the ancient world.'"


This part seems to me, to be more commentary than anything else, in absence of any cited note written by JRRT, but given his unique position, I'm sure Christopher had insight into his father's mind. So, how do you see the curse? It would also seem that the nebulous identity of the curse is recognised by CT, and he seems to acknowledge the irritating fact that there is no clearcut answer as to the quantifiable effect the curse had. So does this mean it was meant to be ambigous from the start? Does it dash our hopes for a secret note that explains this niggling question?

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


Rembrethil
Tol Eressea


May 6 2014, 11:49pm

Post #6 of 71 (976 views)
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Meanwhile, back at the ranch... [In reply to] Can't Post

In this chapter we begin to come to the portion of the story overshadowed by 'The Curse of Morgoth'. Rian, Huor's wife, dies in grief on the hideous mound of bodies before Angband, after securing the safety of her son, Tuor. For Morwen, now pregnant, and Turin, life was hard. After the disastrous issue of the Nirnaeth Arnoidiad, the Easterlings-- Men from the east in league with Morgoth, and who marched traitorously under Maedhros--(I don't know why I think of giant, pastel eggs marching with spears!) take over the lands of the House of Hador and enforce slavery upon the young and womenfolk, killing the elderly and sick. In the homestead of Hurin, they were shielded by a mystic fear of Morwen, but their people were not so protected. Morwen tries to support her family, but finally accepts aid from a relative who had been taken as a wife by an Easterling.

Can we attribute Rian's death to Morgoth? Is she a victim of the curse? It is said that Morwen accepted the charity of her kinswoman grudgingly. Why? Does this show us that she was really isolated and independant of everyone, except Hurin perhaps? She, nonetheless, has the sense to take it out of necessity.

We then get a sketch of Brodda's (the Easterling who plundered and setteld on Hurin's lands) plans. Take undesirable land, marry local, get an heir and lordship, and move up in the Easterling social status.

Why the explanation? Are we supposed to sympathise? Setup for Turin's return?


Next, we have an insight into Turin and Morwen's respective attitudes. Turin expresses unlimited confidence in his father, but his mother cools his ardour with hard facts--he may have died, been captured, or be driven away. In the face of this, Turin loses hope of his father's life, claiming that if he were alive, he would save them. Again Morwen discourages these notions, and Turin hides his dissapointment.

What do you think of the interplay here? Turin was distant from Hurin, but now relies on him, why? Is Morwen being morbid, or calmly rational? Why does Turin despair so easily? Is this the dominating influence of his mother's personality?

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


Rembrethil
Tol Eressea


May 6 2014, 11:52pm

Post #7 of 71 (981 views)
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Decisions, Departures, and a Delivery [In reply to] Can't Post

Morwen then ponders the advisability of sending Turin away the foster at Doriath, but she loathes the idea of living on the charity of anyone else, so she delays. This is a decisive point in Turin's life, and we are told that by this action, the first strand of his fate is woven.

Why is this decision, or its timing, so important? Did the few months delay really change Turin that much? Or is it the refusal of Morwen to follow the memory of Hurin, thus Turin gets less of the 'steadfastness' of his father? How about that reference to 'strands being woven'? Is that an expression of wyrd and callback to the Three Weavers of Celtic myth?

Summer fades to Autumn, fears and dangers multiply, and Morwen comes to a conclusion: Turin must be sent away, alone--she will not go. She tells Turin, and he is brought to tears when his mother lists the practical dangers and consequences of staying, but will not go into details of slavery.

Why? She seems to speak plainly about death, but will not mention humiliation. Is this because of her proud position in life or natural disposition?

Turin returns to speak with Sador, who has sheltered with them from the genocide. He explains the reality of thralldom, and Turin seems enlightened. Then he tells him of his mother's resolve, needing someone to speak with. He also confesses his desire to stay, and weeps that he must go. Sador comforts him, and reminds him of his longing to serve an Elf-King. Turin seizes upon that as a binding statement, yet laments the fact that he must keep his words, declaring that he will take care to make no more such promises in the future.

Why is Turin drawn to Sador? He is so open and free with him. Why also, is Sador so recieving? Earlier he was abashed that he should be instructing his lord's son in some matters, yet now he seems to have little reserve. Does he fear Hurin's death and/or sense the lack of nurturing in Morwen? Has he taken a surrogate father position? What also becomes of Turin's childhood wisdom? Sador, and even Turin himself, makes several wise statements (e.g. '...Whenever I say that I will do this or that, it looks very different when the time comes... I must take care not to say such things again.') He holds his word in high regard, but what became of this caution? Foreshadowing and the seeds of tragedy are well sown in Turin's life.

After they are gone, Morwen delivers her child and names her, somewhat bleakly, 'Mourning' (Nienor)

Why? Is this a callback to the 'Laughter' she has lost?

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


Rembrethil
Tol Eressea


May 6 2014, 11:56pm

Post #8 of 71 (985 views)
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A New Home and Old Heirlooms [In reply to] Can't Post

Turin travels with his guides, and they get as far as the Girdle that protects Doriath. There, wandering and lost, they meet Beleg the Strongbow, and he takes liking to Turin. Word is sent to Thingol and Melian, and they recieve the party into the Guarded Realm. Gaining audience, Thingol recieves Turin and takes him as his adopted son, to the astonishment of all.

Here is the crossing of paths of the two great friends, Beleg and Turin--A fatal attraction for Beleg. Why do you think he took such a liking to him? I assume that he took interest in Turin from now until he became old enough to fight beside him. Both rulers agree to let Turin into Doriath, but Thingol takes the step to offer love and affection. How does that fit with what we know if the proud king? Is Turin's kinship with Beren and the king's loss of Luthien the thawing factor on this strict isolationist? He lists the advantages that Turin would now have. What do you think of them? What would be the equivalent in our day? Where is Melian? Is she not interested, or a silent spectator? Why didn't she know of the arrival and ensnarement of the Turin's company as she knew of Beren's intrusion? Where also do you think Galadriel is? She should be here. What interaction do you think she and Turin might have had?

One of Turin's guides returns to Morwen, carrying a message and gifts to her from the now apparent Melian. She wants Morwen to come to Doriath, both for safety and to subvert the malice of Morgoth. Morwen would not go, out of pride and fear for her newborn daughter, yet she committed the care of the last heirloom of Hurin to them for her son, the Helm of Hador. Turin is saddened when his mother does not come. Melian pities her and also begins to see that the evil she fears will need a stronger counter.

Melian seems to know more than she lets on. How much of Morgoth's plans does she suspect? She is 'wise and foresighted, and...'hoped thus to avert the evil...in the thought of Morgoth'. Does she read his thoughts as Galadriel did for Sauron? How do you see Morwen here, safeguarding heirlooms and putting on a brave front, but neglecting her personal safety? Melian 'pities' her. What do you make of this? Is it akin to pride or love? After her initial disappointment, what else do you think she might do to subvert Morgoth's plans? Galadriel seems to channel Melian very well in the Third Age!

The Helm and messages of Morwen reach Doriath, and we are told that it was made by Telchar and imbued with a warding spell-like power. Unlike other helms, it had a visor, no doubt a legacy from the famous Dwarven smith.

What about all these magical weapons and spells in the Third Age? Arda seems to become more practical and scientific outside of Beleriand. Is it the lack of divine personages that constitues the difference? Telchar, there is a name you might recall. Among his other works were Angrist, the knife of Curifin, taken by Beren and used to cut out a Silmaril, and Narsil, later re-forged into Anduril. His craftsmanship is esteemed but what about all the failures? Angrist snapped in Beren's hand, causing their flight from Angband, then we have the breaking of Narsil. Where is quality control?ShockedLaughAlso, his master, Gamil Zirak, is esteemed as greater than himself, but what did he make? Nothing important we are told about!

Hurin was reluctant to wear the Helm, we are told, even though his father and grandfather had done so, inspiring courage in their followers. Thingol knows the worth of it, and he esteems it greatly, giving it to Turin as a token of love and heritage.

Why wouldn't Hurin wear it? Was he that different from his father and grandfather?

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


Rembrethil
Tol Eressea


May 6 2014, 11:59pm

Post #9 of 71 (983 views)
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Final thoughts [In reply to] Can't Post

There is A LOT in these few chapters. Seeds are sown from the first page that will continue to grow through 'til the tragic end. Morwen frustrates me here, and I almost want to take back all the nice things I said about her! Why is she SO stubborn?!

What about Melian? She seems to be sitting on a stash of actionable intelligence and be concerned with Turin, but what does she actually do? Is this Isolationist attitude born of the Eldar and bequeathed to Elrond, Galadriel, Celeborn, and Cirdan?

Turin seems like a child caught in a bad place--a very bad place--, but he seems to be doing very well! (Kids are resillient?) He seems to be quiet balanced, and there is hope for recovery in my eyes, but who can offer it to him? At such an age, I don't think it is his fault that he is messed up. He can hardly control much in his life at nine.

He gets a nice situation in Doriath and his mother won't come. Would it have been beneficial? Melian thought so! But what about all the issues that Morwen had, and might have passed on to her son? Couldn't it have worked without her, or would she have found healing there at this time? Timing may be the key, as she does come to Doriath later.

In these chapters we have a similar chapter interlacing like LoTR, but it comes to an end here. Why do we lose sight of Hurin? Nothing to report? He seemed to be a focus for much of the first chapters. (He has his own!) Is this a paradigm shift (<---Love that phrase!) to following the Child(ren) of Hurin, Turin and Nienor?

Now on the chapter titles themselves:

The words of Hurin and Morgoth: The first chapter is dialogue heavy. How does that affect your reading experience? To me, it recalls the Athrabeth and The Council of Elrond-- not boring at all, and totally relevant. Indeed, much of this foreshadowing enhabces the plot's tragedy, in my eyes.

The Departure of Turin: This chapter really is about leave-taking. Leaving childhood, home, an only friend, family (born and unborn), and saftey. He's leaving all he's ever known. Security is a luxury, and what little protection from the Curse he had at home, is gone as he joins the wide world. What are your thoughts?

Anything I miss?

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


noWizardme
Half-elven


May 7 2014, 8:55pm

Post #10 of 71 (980 views)
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Pride? Curse effect #1? [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Morwen then ponders the advisability of sending Turin away the foster at Doriath, but she loathes the idea of living on the charity of anyone else, so she delays. This is a decisive point in Turin's life, and we are told that by this action, the first strand of his fate is woven.

Why is this decision, or its timing, so important?


Quick answer: I think this pertains to the conversation Morwen & Hurin had about what to do if the war goes badly he impresses on her "but do not delay!" (Fatherly concern here, or some premonition/ help from the Valar??) But here she is, delaying- either because of pride, because of the curse (it doesn't seem like she's assessing the situation & deciding the plans she & Hurin made aren't valid any longer : it's that she can't quite go through with it).

Superlative chapter lead off, Rem: I need to go away & re-read to think about all these interesting questions!!

~~~~~~

"… 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!"


Brethil
Half-elven


May 7 2014, 10:50pm

Post #11 of 71 (956 views)
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Great lead off Rem [In reply to] Can't Post

And I must warn you, I *did* do some cursing today, relative to an old sprinkler. Just being transparent here.

Great point on the eyes: the mirrors of the soul. Focal points in so many confrontations with the forces of darkness, like Morgoth, Glaurung and Sauron.

I do agree on Hurin not 'yet' being daunted. He is still full of resolve; still the warrior and not yet the captive.

The next TORn Amateur Symposium is a special edition: the Jubilee TAS to celebrate 60 years of FOTR! If you have an LOTR idea you would like to write about, we'd love to see your writing featured there!








Brethil
Half-elven


May 7 2014, 11:15pm

Post #12 of 71 (954 views)
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Morgoth and 'nothing' [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Morgoth then tries to break Hurin by a series of tortures, then offering rewards for his betrayl of Turgon, but he refuses in scorn. Then setting Hurin on the Haudh-en-Nirnaeth, he threatens his family and in his wrath, curses them.
Hurin really shows a high level of physical and psychological tolerance here in defying torture and the very prescence of Morgoth, but does his apparent lack of concern for his family seem strange? Is he simply resigned to the fact that if Morgoth wants to kill them all, he will? Or is he secure in the fact that they will never betray Turgon because of their ignorance? He really is 'Steadfast' here, like an immovable rock, but it seems like he is being a little hard-hearted here. I think its a matter of Hurin's ideas of loyalty; his removal and distance from his human family life, and his intimate involvement with the causes of the Elves have made him an invaulable warrior and confederate. I don't think you can fully have one or the other, to the almost superhuman and heroic extent that Hurin does.


BTW, Hurin being set on a huge mound of decaying bodies...Yech!!! Is Tolkien trying to make us gag? First clinging, severed hands, now a hill of bodies?
Almost Biblical in its graphic descriptions of battle and its ultimate aftermath: mass death and decay. But then so are many of the Northern tales. Not for the faint of heart!


After uttering his curse, Hurin and Morgoth engage in a debate as to the efficacy of it. Morgoth promises that his hate would follow Hurin's family wherever they go, but Hurin counters that his permanent incarnate form hinders his reach. Morgoth points to the vast amount of inherent power he possesses, but at the same time discredits the notion of interference from the West. Hurin assuredly states the supremacy of Manwe, but Morgoth boasts of his own position as,'first and mightiest', also claiming creative power over Arda and an intimate linkage of the world to his will.
The first part of this exchange seems to be bluster and intimidation on Morgoth's part, and it gains size as the dialogue continues. He may well be powerful, but by exalting his position as a Vala, then decrying the Valar's power as a whole, seems to be an open faced lie. 'I am a great power, but all the rest of them combined cannot help you!' Yeah....right. He increases his hubris by claiming that he 'made' the world. What do you think? Is there any truth in what he says? In Hurin's counters, is this the influence of the lore he has gained from the Noldo, how well does it serve him?
Hurin goes on to make a bold declaration, unbased on Noldorin lore. He asserts that Morgoth will never win over Men. Even in death they defy him; going somewhere he cannot. Morgoth replies in a nihilistic manner, that there is no escape for Men in Arda nothing beyond it for them. Hurin denies this, but Morgoth asserts that it is true, and says he can prove it.

Interesting in light of the Athrabeth. Hurin holds onto hope here - along with the newer lore (to men) that the Elves have taught him. Perhaps this hope is what gives him the deep resolve he has, to defy Morgoth? If he has hope of something past Arda for Men, then death loses its sting for him, and for everyone; at least, in this early moment of defiance and before the tragedy plays out. So is Hurin like unstained hope, before being beset by hardship and loss?

It is this hope of Hurin's that Morgoth seems to attack most fiercely, I think...he has that desire to have Men be nihilists ans thus be only concerned with the Here and Now; a way for him to control their reactions more, and to tempt with earthly payoffs (that, mind you, he never seems to pay anyway) in light of 'nothing' hereafter.


Where does this inspiration come from? Eru? The Valar? His own people's lore? Is Morgoth lying about what is beyond Arda? He has seen the Timeless Halls and the Void, and they are beyond Arda. Is this what he speaks of as 'Nothing' or something else? Can Morgoth really prove his claims? I think the concepts of "I don't know" and therefore "nothing" may be the same in Morgoth's mind. He sees himself as a world author; and I do not think in his resentment of Eru he cannot get past the 'unknown'. To do so is admitting subservience. So though it may trouble his mind, the answer of 'nothing' is the answer that saves his face and also denies hope to Men. And I think he may want to believe 'nothing' versus 'Eru has hidden it from me.'

The proving of his claim is, *I think*, the destruction of hope maybe? If Hurin, strapped to the chair, is buoyed by hope, is the breaking of that hope the cost that the soul will pay for watching the suffering he will see?


The next TORn Amateur Symposium is a special edition: the Jubilee TAS to celebrate 60 years of FOTR! If you have an LOTR idea you would like to write about, we'd love to see your writing featured there!








CuriousG
Half-elven


May 7 2014, 11:16pm

Post #13 of 71 (951 views)
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Hey, Rem, you remembered about COH without prodding from Brethil. Cool! :) [In reply to] Can't Post

About that stare down. Great comparisons! The First Age was a heroic age, and Hurin was an exceptional hero if he could stare back at Morgoth. I suppose there wasn't much staring between Morgoth and Fingolfin, just combat, but I don't see the evil eye working on the High King even if it came to do that. I don't imagine too many other heroes being able to stand up to Morgoth, or he wouldn't be that scary, would he?

Part of what helped Hurin was his imitation of the Eldar. Another part was his integrity. While pride dooms a Tolkien character, loyalty rewards them, and Hurin was steadfastly loyal to Turgon, which had to strengthen him, in addition to having his own grievances against the Enemy. Since mortals weaken over time, Hurin couldn't keep it up forever. Certainly by the time he was released he was broken enough, though Morgoth didn't force the issue then. He didn't need to.


(This post was edited by CuriousG on May 7 2014, 11:19pm)


CuriousG
Half-elven


May 7 2014, 11:29pm

Post #14 of 71 (936 views)
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All smoke and no fire [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm left with the conclusion that Morgoth is already a has-been by this point. Another century or two and he's going to be begging for mercy from the Valar's army. His power has been flowing outward into Orcs and dragons and who knows what else. He's trying to intimidate Hurin with the god he used to be and is probably still trying to convince himself he is.

Putting him on a hill of bodies is truly gross! Why not make him eat raw worms or something similarly gruesome too?

I think Hurin represents what we all wish we would do in that situation: be defiant to the end in the name of the good guys. Meanwhile I think Hurin has good judgment and knows that Morgoth is a habitual liar, and he can't do anything to save his family, so there's no point in trying. Though this is also a duel of two alpha males, and neither can afford to back down no matter the price. Morgoth actually comes off a little bit whiny to me, almost complaining that Hurin won't play along and give in.


Brethil
Half-elven


May 7 2014, 11:31pm

Post #15 of 71 (940 views)
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Morgoth and the Three....? [In reply to] Can't Post

I love what you are doing here: exploring the mechanics of the binding of Hurin. We may never have a definitive answer but its damn fun to speculate.

In truth, I wonder if the genesis of the spell isn't a nasty inverse of the Three: preserving things in a slower realm of Time and thus rendering them less at the mercy of Time: thus equaling serial existence, and effectively making the need for nourishment a lot less. An ugly opposite of particularly Nenya ... preserving the captive relatively unstained by Time while bound. I feel like this clicks with me: the theoretical and superficial beauty of the Three has that ugly undertone, the goal of 'embalming', as JRRT puts it.

The cracked and smeary window of Morgoth's vision: a scary proposition. As we posted a week or two ago, I can see parallels here between Hurin and Denethor, with them both seeing the world as the Enemy wished him too, while chained (one literally, one metaphorically) to the viewing.

The next TORn Amateur Symposium is a special edition: the Jubilee TAS to celebrate 60 years of FOTR! If you have an LOTR idea you would like to write about, we'd love to see your writing featured there!








Brethil
Half-elven


May 7 2014, 11:43pm

Post #16 of 71 (928 views)
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The Curse [In reply to] Can't Post

Excellent citations, Rem.

I suppose...that if one is a co-sub-creator of the world based on one's thoughts becoming real, that the thoughts if even the incarnate and thus less-powerful Morgoth are to be reckoned with. There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so...

If Hurin is mortal unbroken Hope, I suppose his opposite as Morgoth's will is Despair. So much of what happens to Turin is seeded within his early life...yet, one of the lynchpins,and one of the earliest influences - as we see from CG's excellent handling of the first two chapters - is the death of Lalaith at the distant (almost ill-will-class) hands of Morgoth. Was the breath that he sent out a one-off, with his Vala insight, unsure of the eventual payoff but nagged (as he is by Turgon) by those Elf-friendly Men?

I'm starting to see Hurin as a symbol of hope, maintaining his will even as the dead rot and the price of war surrounds him...and the devil in the picture is the slant of despair, clouding one's vision and suffocating hope.

The next TORn Amateur Symposium is a special edition: the Jubilee TAS to celebrate 60 years of FOTR! If you have an LOTR idea you would like to write about, we'd love to see your writing featured there!








Brethil
Half-elven


May 7 2014, 11:45pm

Post #17 of 71 (929 views)
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That was a fun footer while it lasted...// [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Hey, Rem, you remembered about COH without prodding from Brethil. Cool! :)


The next TORn Amateur Symposium is a special edition: the Jubilee TAS to celebrate 60 years of FOTR! If you have an LOTR idea you would like to write about, we'd love to see your writing featured there!








CuriousG
Half-elven


May 7 2014, 11:46pm

Post #18 of 71 (926 views)
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A precursor to curses [In reply to] Can't Post

I think for dramatic effect, biological necessities have to be glossed over. I would imagine Hurin still ate and drank and had to go potty, but thinking about that detracts from the image of spending decades frozen to a stone. I can't imagine his life being preserved without food and water, but then again, I've never been held captive by Melkor, and I hope I don't.

Nice comparison to what Rings do! That idea of stretching life rather than extending it, until the object of the spell/curse is diminished by time, which is inexorable. I don't think evil guys have too many tricks up their sleeve, and Sauron was imitating Daddy with that idea. Would Hurin have ultimately become a wraith? My guess is yes, though not an evil one like the Nazgul, who participated in their own corruption. Now here's an experiment to try at home, kids: put one of the Nine on Hurin and see if he can resist it.

I feel like Hurin seeing through Morgoth's eyes is the same distortion Denethor experienced looking into the palantir and having his vision warped by Sauron. And to be fair to Turin, he had some good days. Did Morgoth blot all that out, or just twist it somehow?

Accurate vision plays a big role in Middle-earth, doesn't it? Bombadil, wholly good, could see Frodo while invisible, and the Ring couldn't make him invisible. Gandalf says to himself about Frodo: "He may become like a glass filled with clear light for eyes to see that can." Galadriel tells Frodo that his vision and perception are increased from having worn the One and seen Sauron's Eye. Good people see things clearly, and see more than others do, while bad people distort your perception of reality.


Brethil
Half-elven


May 8 2014, 12:02am

Post #19 of 71 (918 views)
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So well put CG // [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Accurate vision plays a big role in Middle-earth, doesn't it? Bombadil, wholly good, could see Frodo while invisible, and the Ring couldn't make him invisible. Gandalf says to himself about Frodo: "He may become like a glass filled with clear light for eyes to see that can." Galadriel tells Frodo that his vision and perception are increased from having worn the One and seen Sauron's Eye. Good people see things clearly, and see more than others do, while bad people distort your perception of reality.


The next TORn Amateur Symposium is a special edition: the Jubilee TAS to celebrate 60 years of FOTR! If you have an LOTR idea you would like to write about, we'd love to see your writing featured there!








CuriousG
Half-elven


May 8 2014, 12:08am

Post #20 of 71 (919 views)
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Curses, curses, where's the user manual? [In reply to] Can't Post

You've got me wondering about the mechanics of the curse now. Why didn't Morgoth curse Turgon? Why didn't he curse everyone? Could he only curse Men, or only curse people in line of sight? Did he only have one good curse in him the way Feanor could only make the Silmarils once and Yavanna could only make the Trees once? Did he curse anyone else that we don't know of?

Does the Curse have agency? I think so, similar to how Sauron created the One and it had limited agency. I don't think it completely controlled Turin from the inside, or he'd be a robot, nor did it completely control his environment, because he had some good times and didn't spend his whole life in hell. It ebbed and flowed, though Ulmo would resent my use of water imagery, I'm sure. It does make the tale seem like a detective story where we get to look for clues about where the curse was active and where it wasn't. And did Turin ever hold the curse at bay in his own way? We'll find out.

I'm with you in concluding that Chris knew his father's mind on this one. This is a foundational story that I'm sure JRR would have discussed with him, not a forgettable tangent like the cats of Queen Beruthiel.

PS. I like the idea of studying the Curse as a character.


(This post was edited by CuriousG on May 8 2014, 12:10am)


CuriousG
Half-elven


May 8 2014, 12:17am

Post #21 of 71 (919 views)
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Hurin as symbol of hope [In reply to] Can't Post

Funny that you say that, Breth, because I was starting to think the same thing. I've certainly read this story often enough but always thought of Hurin as a symbol of defiance, courage, stubbornness, integrity--lots of things, but not hope, but I think you're right, and I suspect Tolkien intended us to see him that way. I suppose the reason I didn't before is because everything ended so badly and his hope came to naught, but it was just one defeat in a larger war of hope vs despair.

Morwen is no pushover, but even she feels the charisma of Hurin's optimism:


Quote
Morwen did not gainsay him; for in Húrin’s company the hopeful ever seemed the more likely.



Meneldor
Valinor


May 8 2014, 12:22am

Post #22 of 71 (912 views)
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I've never been a prisoner, [In reply to] Can't Post

but I have been through the Air Force training for surviving prison camp. One of the things they taught us is the importance of hope. As long as you keep hope, all those other virtues you mentioned - defiance, courage, stubbornness, integrity - have a foundation to stand on. Without hope, there's not really any reason to hold on to anything else.


They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters; These see the works of the Lord, and His wonders in the deep.


Brethil
Half-elven


May 8 2014, 12:23am

Post #23 of 71 (912 views)
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I vote Pride. // [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To

In Reply To
Morwen then ponders the advisability of sending Turin away the foster at Doriath, but she loathes the idea of living on the charity of anyone else, so she delays. This is a decisive point in Turin's life, and we are told that by this action, the first strand of his fate is woven.

Why is this decision, or its timing, so important?


Quick answer: I think this pertains to the conversation Morwen & Hurin had about what to do if the war goes badly he impresses on her "but do not delay!" (Fatherly concern here, or some premonition/ help from the Valar??) But here she is, delaying- either because of pride, because of the curse (it doesn't seem like she's assessing the situation & deciding the plans she & Hurin made aren't valid any longer : it's that she can't quite go through with it).

Superlative chapter lead off, Rem: I need to go away & re-read to think about all these interesting questions!!


The next TORn Amateur Symposium is a special edition: the Jubilee TAS to celebrate 60 years of FOTR! If you have an LOTR idea you would like to write about, we'd love to see your writing featured there!








Brethil
Half-elven


May 8 2014, 12:32am

Post #24 of 71 (919 views)
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Canon or commentary [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
What are your thoughts so far? Do you consider this view as canon, or simply commentary by Christopher?

Further on in the Introduction, this is said:

"In the tale of Turin... the curse of Morgoth seems to be seen as power unleashed to work evil, seeking out its victims; so...{Morgoth}...himself...fear{ed} that Turin 'would grow to such a power that the curse... would become void, and he would escape the doom that had been designed for him'. And afterwards in Nargothrond Turin concealed his true name, so that when Gwindor revealed it he was angered: 'You have done ill to me...to betray my right name, and call down my doom...from which I would lie hid'. ...Gwindor...had told Turin ...that Morgoth had laid a curse on {him}. But ... {Gwindor} replied...'the doom lies in yourself, not in your name.'

So essential is this complex conception in the story that my father even proposed an alternative title to it:...The Tale of the Curse of Morgoth. And his view of it is seen in these words: 'So ended the tale of Turin the hapless; the worst of the works of Morgoth among Men in the ancient world.'"

Intriguing question. Considering the potential titling of the work by JRRT, I guess I would give the curse as active and agent more weight than just Christopher's commentary.

The next TORn Amateur Symposium is a special edition: the Jubilee TAS to celebrate 60 years of FOTR! If you have an LOTR idea you would like to write about, we'd love to see your writing featured there!








CuriousG
Half-elven


May 8 2014, 12:33am

Post #25 of 71 (904 views)
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Thanks for the insight [In reply to] Can't Post

Hurin couldn't last as long as he did as a prisoner without a ferocious kind of hope.

I was rereading the chapter and noticed this incidence of hope being twisted by the curse:


Quote
And her heart still cheated her with hope unadmitted; her inmost thought foreboded that Húrin was not dead, and she listened for his footfall in the sleepless watches of the night, or would wake thinking that she had heard in the courtyard the neigh of Arroch his horse. Moreover, though she was willing that her son should be fostered in the halls of another, after the manner of that time, she would not yet humble her pride to be an alms-guest, not even of a king. Therefore the voice of Húrin, or the memory of his voice, was denied, and the first strand of the fate of Túrin was woven.


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