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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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noWizardme
Tol Eressea


May 9 2014, 9:09pm

Post #51 of 71 (243 views)
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Melian & Galadriel- I just noticed… [In reply to] Can't Post

Galadriel tells the Fellowship:

Quote
I will not give you counsel, saying do this, or do that. For not in doing or contriving, nor in choosing between this course and another, can I avail; but only in knowing what was and is, and in part also what shall be.


I was wondering whether that knowing without doing is something seen even more in Melian? Since I find it odd to know without acting upon knowing, I wonder what it means…

~~~~~~

"… 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 10 2014, 4:30am

Post #52 of 71 (260 views)
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Turin, Elves. Elves, Turin. [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
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? I agree that the coming of Beren into Thingol's life paved the way for the acceptance of Turin at his knee. Still we have the complexities of Thingol, on a character and literary level...if he softened towards Men, he did not soften towards Dwarves, or change his conduct in matters of the Silmaril and this would cost him dearly. From the other consideration - from the plot and thematic one - Thingol serves the purpose in the same way that Hurin's sense of duty and Morwen's pride: to pull Turin further down the road towards his fate while being completely honorable, even loving. Sometimes when I read Turin, its as if JRRT took the task of telling a dark tale (such as Kullervo, or Oedipus) yet making the people who are the striking points in Turin's life to be all good, all well-meaning, and honorable. The road to hell being paved with all the *best* intentions. No single failing, or act of treachery in the early days of Turin's life by those closest to him. Yet the result is tragic, nonetheless. Thingol is like a courtly, feudal lord here: fostering this Man-child, like a great King among Elves and Men; though I note it was not custom, as JRRT states. So it stands alone as an act of generosity. I find it hard to read it as sheer politicking by Thingol: somehow it feels like more, especially taking the boy to his knee. Was Thingol himself taken by the glamour of Turin?

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? I cannot imagine Melian uninterested...silent perhaps. The Galadriel point, I suppose, depends on what view we take of her and Celeborn's early days. For myself, I like to think of here there, at the same time; just because it might on one hand seem overdone that she saw so much of Middle-earth's histories and moments; but then, on the other hand, it would be a logical place for her, with Doriath being such a center of relative safety and her bond with Melian inarguable. I have thought about interactions...somehow I am not sure of the young(ish, relatively) Elf-woman would have been interested in the child of Men. She had 'sense', certainly; we know she sensed a menace in Feanor. Interesting that there is no fateful statement from her, about this child; but I wonder if that is not Authorial versus Narrational - because of the ill-settled early paths of Galadriel and her history, and whether the commitment was simply not made to have her there.

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? I wonder...if she just had the feeling that this divided family would produce no good? It does seem she knows *something* of Morgoth's mind; I am sure she was aware of his malice, directed their way. In some ways, so much of what Melian does after Luthien and Beren seems to be 'exit strategy'...like she is already aware that her time in Berleriand is ending, and she wishes to have ends 'wrapped up', such as this child needing a mother figure that, in no way, could she ever be. By virtue of her Maia nature and her time with Thingol growing shorter.

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 heirloom bit just seems like PRIDE (yes, capitalized) and not in the best sense. She sends away heirlooms so as not to seem poor!


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! That heroic point, from myths, of the breaking of the blades. In this legendarium I think it sometimes signifies the creating of inherited, unfinished business, sort of marking the loss in a particular age to be righted in another. It has a very archaic feel to it doesn't it?

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? A sign, again, of honor and pride? But maybe taken to that extreme with Hurin; he would turn away from the tradition of raising the spirits of the people in order to bare his own face, as he so desired?


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!








Terazed
Bree

May 10 2014, 1:33pm

Post #53 of 71 (249 views)
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Different curses for different stages in life [In reply to] Can't Post

One thing that strikes me in the curse of COH vs LOTR is the age of the protagonists. COH follows Turin from age 8 till his 20s and LOTR follows Frodo in his 50s.

For Turin the curse is more a mythic telling of a trials of a boy growing into a man. He is gaining in physical strength but is delayed in going through the mental maturation that will take him from the me stage to the part of society stage. Perhaps it is his great strength and single minded focus that keeps him from mentally maturing into an adult. We certainly have seen more then one professional athlete that refuses to grow up until after he/she has passed the height of their athletic career.

For Frodo the curse is more that of the myth of a middle aged man coming to terms with the decline in his physical body and the loss of his position in society. The first stanza in the "Devine Comedy' come to mind:

Midway upon the journey of our life
I found myself within a forest dark,
For the straightforward pathway had been lost.

In Frodo's case his body is in decline throughout the entire story and is marred by non healing wounds and a fading that does not entirely go away. He also becomes progressively estranged first from his community and then from the fellowship. Mentally he prepares himself for the inevitability of his own death. When he finally does return to the Shire he is ready to accept that he can not play an active role in cleaning up the mess Saruman has made for the Shire. He also accepts without rancor afterwards that he is now a marginalized figure in the Shire. Eventually he goes into the far West without fear or regret.


noWizardme
Tol Eressea


May 10 2014, 4:14pm

Post #54 of 71 (221 views)
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Interesting observation! [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
One thing that strikes me in the curse of COH vs LOTR is the age of the protagonists. COH follows Turin from age 8 till his 20s and LOTR follows Frodo in his 50s.

For Turin the curse is more a mythic telling of a trials of a boy growing into a man. He is gaining in physical strength but is delayed in going through the mental maturation that will take him from the me stage to the part of society stage. Perhaps it is his great strength and single minded focus that keeps him from mentally maturing into an adult. We certainly have seen more then one professional athlete that refuses to grow up until after he/she has passed the height of their athletic career.

For Frodo the curse is more that of the myth of a middle aged man coming to terms with the decline in his physical body and the loss of his position in society. The first stanza in the "Devine Comedy' come to mind:

Midway upon the journey of our life
I found myself within a forest dark,
For the straightforward pathway had been lost.

In Frodo's case his body is in decline throughout the entire story and is marred by non healing wounds and a fading that does not entirely go away. He also becomes progressively estranged first from his community and then from the fellowship. Mentally he prepares himself for the inevitability of his own death. When he finally does return to the Shire he is ready to accept that he can not play an active role in cleaning up the mess Saruman has made for the Shire. He also accepts without rancor afterwards that he is now a marginalized figure in the Shire. Eventually he goes into the far West without fear or regret.


By coincidence or otherwise , Tolkien wrote what was to become CoH when he was a young man , and LOTR in his middle age…

~~~~~~

"… 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!"

(This post was edited by noWizardme on May 10 2014, 4:14pm)


sador
Half-elven


May 11 2014, 6:46pm

Post #55 of 71 (223 views)
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That's a good question! [In reply to] Can't Post

Eventually, Hurin could not be broken by Morgoth (Tolkien seems to disagree with Orwell's O'Brien regarding this), but he was slowly defeated, by his desire to see things, even if through Morgoth's eyes.
But yeah, in a direct contest of wills he seems to have gotten the upper hand - unlike Sauron vs. the (in theory) far more stern Finrod.


Hmm... your explanation semms a likely one, but I could suggest two others:
Either that Morgoth has essentially become weaker than Sauron in some respects; being just a tyrant bent on domination, he has lost the faculty of empathy and imagination needed for such a contest. Which reminds me of Gorlim the unhappy, who also felt it impossible to lie to Sauron (and I note that as originally written in the first drafts, it was Morgoth who subdued Gorlim - but this success was taken from him by the author). Which brings to mind Auden's observation of the lack of imagination being the seeds of Sauron's ultimate defeat - could it have been that half an age before, Gandalf and Elrond's gamble would have failed, and ended in disaster? Or is this loss of imagination an inevitable consequence of an Evil Overlord's pride?
And on the other hand, Men are somehow unfathomable even to the most powerful of the Valar. They can understand Elves, and get beneath their armour; but not Men.



But of course, these explanations are not mutually exclusive.


CuriousG
Valinor


May 11 2014, 8:42pm

Post #56 of 71 (215 views)
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Credit for Melian [In reply to] Can't Post

Since I often find fault with Melian, I must give her credit here. If you think about any traditional story and real life too, people avoid cursed people like lepers, they don't take them in. For Melian to be aware of the curse and not drive them out of Doriath and instead try to confound it speaks volumes of honor about her.


Brethil
Half-elven


May 11 2014, 11:36pm

Post #57 of 71 (197 views)
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"Credit for Melian"....(?) [In reply to] Can't Post

Ok, who are you, and what have you done with our beloved CG?Shocked

I am a bit on the fence here; as I said earlier, I feel that much of what Melian does after Beren and Luthien seems to be on auto-pilot. Like she has retreated a bit form the reality of the current day. It could be credit...or (drumroll, being Subversively Advocative) is it that she does not have the long-term investment in Doriath that she did in earlier days, seeing her time there ending? The consequences not seeming to matter as much?

In any case, her even tacit acceptance of the bedraggled Turin and his escort *does* do her credit, so there I concur. But...I note that the Queen does not change her mazes to aid their finding of Doriath; without the hunting Beleg, Turin and his company would have perished.

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!








(This post was edited by Brethil on May 11 2014, 11:37pm)


Rembrethil
Tol Eressea


May 12 2014, 2:54pm

Post #58 of 71 (193 views)
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Another thought... [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm also thinking of the action of casting the binding spell. In my muse, I began to wonder... Is this the first indication of the steps that Morgoth takes to confirm his self-styled title of 'Master of the fates of Arda?' He sets the spell so that Hurin will not die, but assuming a natural life-span, what danger was there to Hurin on the peak? Why did he need to be bound to life while Morgoth messed with his family? Wouldn't he live long enough, (as indeed he did) to see most, if not all of Turin, Morwen, and Nienor's lives? Does this show that Morgoth was uncertain as to the outcome, so he made sure Hurin would stick around long enough for him to get the upper hand, then come back and gloat?

I can see it both ways. He put the spell on him because he was 'Master' of Fate, thus he could, proving his point (Thus Hurin could have been held there indefinitely, giving the possibility for wraith-ification). Or he put the spell on him to bluster more, making sure he had enough time to suceed and claim credit for the interference in Hurin's family's life.

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


Meneldor
Tol Eressea


May 12 2014, 4:44pm

Post #59 of 71 (187 views)
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I had always just assumed [In reply to] Can't Post

that spell was meant to keep Hurin from committing suicide. Morgoth didn't want to be cheated out of his sadistic game, so he ensured Hurin had no "easy" way out.


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.


sador
Half-elven


May 13 2014, 2:26am

Post #60 of 71 (174 views)
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Annoyingly, it seems I will need to rush through this [In reply to] Can't Post

But yes, this is the Devil as the arch-nihilist - a point which CS Lewis has reiterated in The Screwtape Letters.

Hurin's answer here is clearly inspired. Perhaps this is Tolkien the Catholic arguing that Men do have an inborn sense of truth,some direct in meditated connection with the Creator, buried deep but still there.
Another seed of what will eventually be written in The Tale of Adanel - but the latter tale actually weakens this one, in asserting that the House of Hador did keep some of the true tradition. So perhaps Hurin was just repeating an old forgotten lesson? Meh.


sador
Half-elven


May 13 2014, 2:31am

Post #61 of 71 (170 views)
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Another good question. [In reply to] Can't Post

The only answer I can give is that at the present, after ages of willful distortion of the truth, Morgoth has probably began to believe his own lies. The picture he presents to Hurin is natural and unforced, and thus compelling.

Parallels to Primary World experience can be easily drawn - but am I the one to draw them? Who says my own view is not distorted?


Rembrethil
Tol Eressea


May 13 2014, 2:24pm

Post #62 of 71 (158 views)
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Probably right... [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm probably over complicating it, but in so many cases, Tolkien wrote something beyond the surface text, so I might be looking for something not there. I think it say a lot, though, as to the quality of his works if we fully expect to find deeper answers.

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


sador
Half-elven


May 13 2014, 6:08pm

Post #63 of 71 (162 views)
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"But that is not my doing. I merely foretell" [In reply to] Can't Post

given his unique position, I'm sure Christopher had insight into his father's mind.
I'm sure he had; but I wonder how much of this is a matter of JRRT's religious feelings, and how much of it did Christopher share.
And after all, in the direct combat of wills, it seems that Hurin emerged the victor, didn't he? Morgoth's curse and torture sem to be the results of his frustration at being bested. So is his "gigantic will" such an overpowering force? Or does free wil have a chance?
Now this is a real nut: after all, in later writings (especially in his letters), Tolkien asserted that Frodo was bound to fail in the Quest of Mount Doom; but is the silent will of a hardly sentient object, even if channeling Sauron's, more powerful than that of Sauron's master? Christopher's words are consistent with his fathers' letters regarding Frodo but hardly with the duel which just preceded the curse.

And then there is the small matter of the Music of the Ainur - how much of it did Morgoth know, or remember? I would guess no less than Gandalf knew in his heart (per The Quest of Erebor). Did the shadow of his thought lie upon the House of Hador back then? What was its power then?

All in all, Hurin has failed in his second struggle with the Devil. He had resisted both pain and temptation, and passed the first struggle with flying colours. This is an uplifting message to us all! But the second temptation is assuming that the Devil was beaten, and that you can continue playing at its game. So he does not refuse the knowledge which Morgoth metes out to him - for both a desire of information, and in the confidence that he can weed out the lies and remain with an unbiased view. And that is precisely where Hurin fails, and falls.



Rembrethil
Tol Eressea


May 13 2014, 7:22pm

Post #64 of 71 (155 views)
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Nicely said! [In reply to] Can't Post

I'd speculate that Morgoth's 'gigantic will' was something that he exerted on the circumstances and inanimate objects, with the aim of indirectly causing harm to his enemies. I think he tried to limit the number of good choices they could make, while increasing the number of evil paths to take. He could not remove free will, but he could rig the deck.

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


Brethil
Half-elven


May 14 2014, 4:10am

Post #65 of 71 (142 views)
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No way out for Hurin...and that worrysome Turgon... [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
I'm also thinking of the action of casting the binding spell. In my muse, I began to wonder... Is this the first indication of the steps that Morgoth takes to confirm his self-styled title of 'Master of the fates of Arda?' He sets the spell so that Hurin will not die, but assuming a natural life-span, what danger was there to Hurin on the peak? Why did he need to be bound to life while Morgoth messed with his family? Wouldn't he live long enough, (as indeed he did) to see most, if not all of Turin, Morwen, and Nienor's lives? Does this show that Morgoth was uncertain as to the outcome, so he made sure Hurin would stick around long enough for him to get the upper hand, then come back and gloat?

I can see it both ways. He put the spell on him because he was 'Master' of Fate, thus he could, proving his point (Thus Hurin could have been held there indefinitely, giving the possibility for wraith-ification). Or he put the spell on him to bluster more, making sure he had enough time to suceed and claim credit for the interference in Hurin's family's life.

As Meneldor posts, it certainly could have been a way for Morgoth to prevent Hurin from taking a self-harm way out; in fact, that's what I have read it as. But expanding the idea further though, and what it means from Morgoth's perspective: a sign perhaps of the deep unquiet he has about Turgon and his insecurity about his own power? Keeping Hurin alive to hope that one day the information on the location of Gondolin will be given to him? So maybe it shows his worry that, within the span of Hurin's life, his forces and his cunning could not find and destroy Turgon, whom he knows his downfall may be linked too, given his intense unease about him?

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!








Rembrethil
Tol Eressea


May 15 2014, 12:51pm

Post #66 of 71 (130 views)
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Double win possible [In reply to] Can't Post

I can see that. He had the perverted pleasure of torturing Hurin, but also left the option open in case he broke and told him about Turgon.

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


sador
Half-elven


May 15 2014, 3:00pm

Post #67 of 71 (126 views)
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Brodda [In reply to] Can't Post

One of the things I have always found annoying is the sheer stupidity of Morgoth in breaking his words to the Easterlings and hemming htem in Dor-Lomin. Tolkien seems so insistent on portraying him as completely base and faithless, that he begrudges him even the temporary keeping of his word, when it is truly in his own interests. Why? Did Morgoth fear Men so much? Or did he hope to get away with this shabby treatment of what Tolkien himself says (in The Silmarillion) was the critical part of winning the war?
I cannot get over the feeling that Tolkien's hate for evil had got the better of him here.

On the other hand, this does make us sympathise a bit with Brodda's plight - and we understand his motiation, while noting that despite his distrust of the old Men of Hador's house they have survived for a full generation under Brodda's sway; also, Aerin is not a concubine but a lawful wife. Tolkien seems to be extremely averse to the concpet of extramarital sex, that he cannot conceive of even the Easterlings having this as a mode of life.

So yes, all three move us a bit closer to Brodda, and will eventually make us condemn his killing; but I do not think this was Tolkien's purpose, but rather a side-effect of other authorial decisions.


sador
Half-elven


May 15 2014, 3:16pm

Post #68 of 71 (130 views)
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The weavers of fate is a well-known theme [In reply to] Can't Post

It appers in Greek mythology as well, for instance. And 'wyrd' is (I think) a Germanic term.

Regarding Sador, I note his under-his-breath criticism of Morwen's waiting, as well as his referring to himself by two different names in his two different roles. This hearkens back to Turin's nurse ("ask not about Lalaith, son of Hurim; but of Urwen your sister seek tiding of your mother"), and continues on and on, to the tragic climax of "Farewell, O twice beloved!".

You haven't asked of the first sorrow of Turin's life, in his cry out to Morwen upon leaving. Oddly enough, despite this element coming from the very first version in The Book of Lost Tales, Christopher Tolkien has omitted it from the published Silmarillion.

And about your last question - I do not think that Nienor was named as opposed to Lalaith; that was a Turin-given name (which will be echoed later in 'Niniel'). Nienor's name is in part mourning for Urwen.



(This post was edited by sador on May 15 2014, 3:16pm)


sador
Half-elven


May 15 2014, 3:24pm

Post #69 of 71 (125 views)
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Two short comment [In reply to] Can't Post

Regarding Melian - well, as Gwendelin in BoLT she was indeed a fay, but not such a great and powerful figure as Tolkien later conceived her to be. As her character grew, she was hemmed in a role which did not fit her, so on every opportunity Tolkien had her dropping words of great wisdom and caution; but they were never heeded, as the basic plots hardly changes. So she became a sort of a Greek Chorus, commenting ineffectively on events she doesn't control, perceived by some as a cumudgeon. Rather unfortunate, I say.

And Gamil Zirak was by no means greater than Telchar! He was his 'master' - that is, early teacher and mentor. But once we pass the limits of mere craft and get to art, any pupil which is on the same level as his master in talent must surpass him in achievement, as he absorbs all that the master could teach and builds upon it.


sador
Half-elven


May 15 2014, 3:27pm

Post #70 of 71 (137 views)
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Thank you! [In reply to] Can't Post

And my apologies for my tardiness, and the brevity of my responses.
No further comments at the present; had I realised you asked for them here, and would have saved Turin's first sorrow for this thread. Smile


cats16
Valinor


May 18 2014, 10:33pm

Post #71 of 71 (147 views)
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A brief thought on 'will'... [In reply to] Can't Post

Whoops, I'm a few days late here, so I hope I don't stiffen things by keeping this going.

A passage I've recently read again comes to mind when considering the 'gigantic will' of Morgoth you have mentioned, Rem:

"This liberated man, who is really entitled to make promises, this master of free will, this sovereign--how should he not be aware of his superiority over everything which cannot promise and vouch for itself? How should he not be aware of how much trust, how much fear, how much respect he arouses--he 'deserves' all three--and how much mastery over circumstances, over nature, and over all less reliable creatures with less enduring wills is necessarily given into his hands along with this self-mastery?" - F. Nietzsche, On the Genealogy of Morals, Second Essay [Author's emphasis]

Now I don't mean to start a separate discussion here relating the two authors or their intentions, but I find this an interesting passage to consider when thinking about Morgoth's will. There are other sections of the Genealogy I could have referenced here, but this one came to mind first.

Ack! I need to run off and take care of some things. I'll try to come back later to actually say my own thoughts on this, rather than simply quoting. Cool

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