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The Children of Hurin Chapter Discussion: The Land of Bow and Helm
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Brethil
Half-elven


May 30 2014, 1:52am

Post #1 of 29 (317 views)
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The Children of Hurin Chapter Discussion: The Land of Bow and Helm Can't Post

Welcome Smile to the next installment of this weeks discussion of The Children of Hurin, 'The Land of Bow and Helm'. This chapter details Turin and Beleg and the newly named land of Dor Cuarthol, which as the Bow (Beleg) and the Helm (Turin) they attempt to drive back Morgoth...yet a team with different ideas of purpose, as we will discuss.


We read in the last chapter that Turin high-handedly refuses lembas from Doriath, and any and all things from there. Yet he accepts Beleg to him as his right hand. Is there an irony here, in rejecting gifts from Melian yet accepting the Helm from Beleg - since ultimately the Helm will identify him to Morgoth and make him a target?


The band around Turin grows with his reputation in the Camp of the Faithful. Morgoth uses this, by sending feints to build the confidence of the band - unknown to him at the time. Later we read that when Morgoth learns of Turin's identity, he sends spies so that Turin may be seized before his power would void Morgoth's curse. We discussed the mechanics of the curse in earlier chapter discussions; how does this idea, of Morgoth fearing Turin's growth of power, impact the workings of the curse and what the curse might mean?


At first, Beleg is happy that Turin dons the Helm. But shortly after this, we read 'that the Helm had wrought otherwise with Turin than he had hoped; and looking into the days to come he was troubled in mind.' In the last chapter he thinks that it might lift Turin's thought again above his life in the wild as the leader of a petty company. What do you think Beleg's thought and ultimate plan was when he brought the Helm to Turin?


The differing goals of the Two Captains: Beleg cautions Turin that the fingertips of Angband have been burned and will return...Turin's answer is, 'But is not the wrath of Angband our purpose and delight?' Beleg also specifically mentions 'the passing of secrecy'. So it seems Tuirn is living in the moment, and that the torment of Morgoth is reward in itself. Beleg seems to see beyond this. An example of the conflicting goals of Elves and Men, or of just two people who see things differently?


An insight into isolationism: Orodreth and Thingol sharing counsel. 'And he was a wise lord, according to the wisdom of those who considered first their own people, and how long they might preserve their life and wealth against the lust of the North'. Thoughts?


Orodreth also bans the company from entering his land, will not send aid, but says he will 'offer them help.' Hmmmm. I'm puzzled: what does this even mean?


Mim and his sons: the second 'also told' version of the story of Mim's betrayal involves the Orcs using his remaining son as leverage; most likely having more weight as this is the last child Mim has due to Androg's arrow (Androg, who dies a brave death). This tale doesn't clear Mim of treachery, but gives him some moral latitude. What do you think the reason for the 'alternate tale'?


In a general sense, what are your reactions to Turin and Beleg in this part of their story?

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 30 2014, 1:56am)


Ihearthee
The Shire

May 30 2014, 1:49pm

Post #2 of 29 (378 views)
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Melkor's Curse [In reply to] Can't Post

I believe that Melkor's curse was nothing more than one of his lies, and I like to think that he does it to test the hearts of people, and him being such a terror I am sure many truly believed they were cursed, and people failed to see they created the curse from their own thoughts, letting the seeds of his lies grown in their minds, and they unknowingly created their own terrible illusions, in a way I see this as somewhat fair, and if one is true at heart, and shatters that illusion, they will ever be noble and fearless, and have a greater understanding of all things, and maybe some would be glad that the suffered this, and held some respect for Melkor in their hearts, and the only ones to survive this are those with nothing but good intentions and a true love for the world.


Rembrethil
Tol Eressea


May 30 2014, 2:25pm

Post #3 of 29 (187 views)
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Welcome Ihearthee! [In reply to] Can't Post

Yes, that is the one Oliphaunt in the room. But was it as material as Balrog wings?EvilLaugh

I have wavered back and forth a bit, but I am now of the mind that much of the ill in Turin's life was self-inflicted. Sure he had problems, and these things made it harder to make the right choice, but then you see the small hobbits, Frodo and Sam pushing on through a M-E Hell. (Well, at least purgatory.) I also see a pattern of Moral strength=Physical/Mental strength, in Tolkien. This was how I read the character of Hurin in the beginning. Then you have the contest of Finrod and Thu (Later Sauron) on the Isle of Cats. Finrod seemed to be unable to maintain his magic when the evil deeds of the Noldor were mentioned in the verse. There are others, but I am beginning to ramble....

Anyway, I agree with you. At least for the moment...Laugh

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


Rembrethil
Tol Eressea


May 30 2014, 2:53pm

Post #4 of 29 (404 views)
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Some thoughts on rejection and acceptance.... [In reply to] Can't Post

I interpret the refusal of the lembas, (Which they use later, don't they?Wink) as a further rejection of the authority of Doriath, and a confirmation of his self-inflicted outlawry.

In the end, I see his banishment from Doriath as a gigantic gaffe on Turin's part. He really wasn't banned-- as evidenced by the lembas from Melian-- but he chose to believe he was, and deluded himslef into thinking it was the truth. This must be one of the ways 'he was quick to take insult, and slow to forget a grievance'. (Horrible paraphrasing, mine). He had this strong sense of right and justice, but it seemed to be a rigid, but twisted and warped sense. However, I think there is a subtle difference between law and justice/right. In an ideal world, they are identical, but since we don't live in one, we try to get them as close as possible.

In Doriath, the law was begin carried out by Thingol, hence his sadness. It demanded Turin's exile for his actions, but was that just? Without the testimony of Nellas and aid of Beleg, the law would have been carried out, and justice left un-served.In the end, Turin was pardoned, but in his refusal to return, he rejected the justice that was served. By doing so, he was forced to find his own conclusion, his own justice--though it was hardly the most objective or best. So instead, he confirmed the warped sense of wrong and hurt that he felt.

In the acceptance of Beleg, I see Turin's selfish-ness re-asserting itself. He will accept what he wishes, or what he thinks he wants, and try to reject what he doesn't. He doesn't want to be beholden to anyone, and thinks he can pick and choose what he receives in life, but he can't be so independent. Beleg tells him as much, and he seems to be the smart one here--except for being a Turin adherent.

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


Rembrethil
Tol Eressea


May 30 2014, 3:18pm

Post #5 of 29 (215 views)
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Breaking the non-existant? curse and heroic headgear. (With a note on Orodreth) [In reply to] Can't Post

I see the fear of Morgoth as genuine. I think that Turin has so much going well for him, that it overshadows his flaws. If he continues on this path, he will either be able to overcome those flaws by natural progression, or his success might be dependent upon his inner wrestling with with his demons. He seems in a good place to do the latter, strong position, isolation from evil, and a good councilor. I think this is his climax. Unfortunately, I think he fails in this moment. He makes himself more susceptible to attack by expanding his numbers, gathers attention with the Dragon-helm, and then ignores the advice of Beleg.

The helm itself is interesting. I think Beleg wanted Turin to feel the weight of his greater destiny and duty to his Family and people, however, Turin seems to want to confirm himself in his own course, He seems to be thinking smaller than he should, and when he remembers his family... well that' another week isn't it?Wink

Note on Orodreth:

He has seen his lord Finrod die helping Beren (Another suggested this similarity was the cause of Daeron and Saeros' dislike.) Is there such a similarity? I hope to come back to this point.

In 'offering help' I imagine that he means it he will offer help on his terms, when it coincides with his aims. He will not send 'aid', but he will 'help' on his terms, when it suits him. Can we blame his caution? Maybe he is emulating the as-yet untouched Thingol?

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


Mikah
Lorien

May 31 2014, 12:19am

Post #6 of 29 (168 views)
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And I will take it a step further! [In reply to] Can't Post

I interpret the refusal of the lembas, (Which they use later, don't they?Wink) as a further rejection of the authority of Doriath, and a confirmation of his self-inflicted outlawry

I agree with you 100% on this Rem. I will take it a step further and say that I believe it is a rejection of Thingol and Melian as well. For some reason, I can not put my finger on why, I get the impression that Turin almost resents his foster parents. Perhaps it is simply my own perception, but I can not shake it. That is why I believe that it would not be so difficult for him to accept Beleg. He does not see Beleg as an ambassador from Thingol, (although he was). If he did see Beleg in this light, I believe he might have rejected him too. You make an interesting point too...he does not want to be beholden to anyone. For some reason the lembas makes him feel indebted to Melian, while Beleg does not make him feel the same way. I wonder if you are correct in that it is pure selfishness on his part.

He indeed does have a selfish streak. I also find it interesting how quick he is to consider himself "wronged." We see many instances of this in chapters to come. Yet, he rarely considers how his actions effect those around him. I think that it is in this area where he falls short of being the leader that he could have been. But now here I go rambling!!! Smile


Mikah
Lorien

May 31 2014, 12:33am

Post #7 of 29 (170 views)
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Yes! Welcome! [In reply to] Can't Post

You both raise some good points here. I am definitely a believer in self-fulfilling prophecies. But I think I probably place more merit in the curse than most of those here do. Morfoth was most definitely the master of lies, the master of deceit. But, to the best of my knowledge, during Turin's time in Doriath he did not know he was cursed. And there were little indications that all was not well with Turin there. I believe that Mablung had even commented that he felt a shadow upon Doriath after the ummm, unfortunate situation with Saeros.

I kind of also believe that if Morgoth had the power to sit Hurin upon Thangorodrim and cause him to see all the doings of his son in an evil light, he does indeed hold some power. I also think of the ring made by Sauron, if Morgoth's underling had such power to curse, then I speculate that Morgoth would more so. However, these are just my thoughts and I am by no means an authority on the tale of Turin. I do realize that I am also in the minority here.Wink


Mikah
Lorien

May 31 2014, 12:41am

Post #8 of 29 (170 views)
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Indeed... [In reply to] Can't Post

Once again, 100% agreement! This whole post...beginning to end! I had very similiar thoughts jumbling around in my mind, but was kind of at a loss how to articulate them. Orodreth will only help on his own terms, I really don't blame him. You know what you got me to thinking about? Does Orodreth know in any way that Turin is kin to Beren? And if he did know, would this in any way influence his decision?


Ihearthee
The Shire

May 31 2014, 2:45am

Post #9 of 29 (163 views)
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Thank you [In reply to] Can't Post

Thank you, you both touch on very good points, but I just feel that certain evils will keep repeating themselves, unless the deeds of evil characters are looked at in a different light, and love itself cannot expand, and may dim if we cannot find the strength to forgive those who brought darkness, and we have the freedom to hold hate in our hearts, the source of evil itself, or we can love the suffering, and the courage discovered, and love the character, because that is how the author made them, in a hope that we would let it unfold into something beautiful in the end if we wished it.


Rembrethil
Tol Eressea


May 31 2014, 3:53am

Post #10 of 29 (162 views)
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A thought on the purposes of good and evil in Literature [In reply to] Can't Post

I posted a similar thought a while ago, but it fits this case so well, that I've made some minor tweaks to fit here.

Good can become evil, it is true, but we must also allow for evil to turn back to good.

So many times we see the evil done, and magnify it over the potential for good. We only see the evil end that came from the well-intentioned actions, and judge it ex post facto. If it had come to a positive end, would we feel differently? We cannot answer this question definitively,(proving a negative and all), but let's consider it.

If each corrrupted character had a chance to do good, shouldn't we give it to him? I take the stories as a whole to mean that they all DID still have the ability to repent (lit. Turn around), but they CHOSE not to. It all really boils down to free-will-- the freedom to be bad.

In the opposite vein, I think of Galadriel's temptation (An implied end, which I think totally possible). People who are forced to do good are not really admirable, but those who struggle and overcome are lauded and worthy of it. I agree. We love Galadriel because she made the right choice, and decry others for the wrong. It was wrong, but I feel more pity for them than anything else. We mourn their failures because we see what they could have been.

Herein lies the trouble in condemning literary characters, once we read a book, we must accept at least some authorial dicta. I think that Tolkien (as the moral standard of his own work) had judged Turin and found path to glory and success possible--even fated--, but he decided as an author/storyteller (a role separate and distinct from moral judgement) that he didn't take the moral high road.

Another thing that seems to cause us to decry fallen characters is thay we know what they should do, but they transgress that moral standard. The heroes are totally commited to the right, so we wonder why the others aren't. Which one of us ALWAYS does the right thing? No one, it is impossible! The problem comes in the fictional setting. The heroes are free from any limitations we experience, and as such, they would be moral overachievers when placed in our world. It really isn't their fault, though, if they are a bit too perfect.

I think the point is to take what is good, learn from it, and reject what is bad, and turn from it. There will always be human (whether fictional or not) signposts that point in the wrong directions. We're they meant to be there, or born to be bad in thier context? I don't think so. They all have a part to play, even if it was not the one fate decreed, but good will have out.

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


Mikah
Lorien

May 31 2014, 1:24pm

Post #11 of 29 (148 views)
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C.S Lewis and the nexus of evil. [In reply to] Can't Post

This is very well articulated Rem. Your post brings to mind an essay written by Tolkien's colleague and friend C.S. Lewis. The essay was on good and evil, I believe that it is in the book "Mere Christianity." I believe that it is hands down the best book on Christian Theology ever written. Strong words I know, but I stand behind them. C.S. Lewis points out that evil is typically good becoming corrupted. The corruption may be in the fulfillment of a natural desire or perhaps the marring of the individual in achieving what may be a rightful goal. Oftentimes it is not the goal which is evil, but the perplexities that surround the person in the a achievement of that goal. As an example, the desire for security is not an evil thing. It can motivate us to work every day, save our money rather than spend it on frivolous items, and provide comfort to those around us, when we are able to give to those in need. However, when this desire becomes corrupted it can often look miserly. In its worst form, when corrupted by pride it looks like greed. C.S. Lewis points out that this principal can be applied to many, many things, I believe the example he used was sexual desire.

I believe that you are so correct in your analysis. I find that the people I admire most in life and in fiction, are those who had obstacles to overcome, whether it be their own pride, addictions, etc., and were able to overcome them. As you point out, Galadriel is a most excellent example. Had there been no temptation for her, the rejection of the ring would not have meant so much. I find this to be true in everyday life as well. There are those who have had a relatively easy time of it in life. Their childhoods were comfortable, they did not often have to do without, Families relatively intact. I hold nothing against these people, I was one of those people. They are not typically the people that I admire however. It is the people who have overcome tremendous obstacles and in the process, developed character and integrity, who inspire me. I am blessed to have a few of those in my life. People who have faced tremendous adversity and overcome the evil that you speak of.

Anyway, I digress, your post got me to thinking about all of these things. I want to thank you for it, it is a very good post.


Mikah
Lorien

May 31 2014, 1:55pm

Post #12 of 29 (151 views)
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Quandary of Elves and Men [In reply to] Can't Post

I have addressed a couple of these questions in response to Rem. I just wanted to touch upon another of these questions..

So it seems Tuirn is living in the moment, and that the torment of Morgoth is reward in itself. Beleg seems to see beyond this. An example of the conflicting goals of Elves and Men, or of just two people who see things differently?

I think that we have a little of both here. I know that it is the easy answer, nonetheless it is the way that I see this conundrum. In a sense they are both right...and wrong.

Beleg is thinking more long term, because he is quite simply an elf. There is reason to believe that he will still be in Middle Earth ages to come, while Turin's time is quite limited. Perhaps Beleg believes that if they are able to protect Doriath, that in time the Valar will have pity upon them and eventually deal with Morgoth themselves. Eventually, of course, they do. However, being mortal, it is difficult for Turin to see things in this perspective. He has no reason to believe that he will be around to see the fall of Morgoth unless he achieves it himself. And rightly so. There have been many unsuccessful attempts to usurp the evil power.

Turin here also has a personal vendetta, while Beleg's is not quite so personal. Morgoth has harmed the people Turin most loves in a very personal way. While Beleg, has a more general cause to want to see Morgoth destroyed, or at least contained. Morgoth has caused much wickedness in Middle Earth, to be certain. But for Beleg, it is not nearly so personal. Their ambitions are very different and it is very difficult for one to see the others perspective. I also find it interesting, that it is in selflessness, rather than ambition, that Turin does strike a terrible blow against Morgoth when he slays Glaurung. If only Turin had not been corrupted by his own pride he would have been the quintessential hero of Middle Earth.


Rembrethil
Tol Eressea


May 31 2014, 3:07pm

Post #13 of 29 (152 views)
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Why people do stuff... [In reply to] Can't Post

I think this is as good a time as any to introduce the classical method of assigning motivation. It was proposed by Aristotle in his book Rhetoric, and he claimed seven contributory causes for Human Action.

"All human actions have one or more of these seven causes: chance, nature, compulsions, habit, reason, passion, desire." - Aristotle: Rhetoric. Book I, Chapter X

We can further sub-divide these seven into two sets: Voluntary and Involuntary

Involuntary

Chance


Chance events affect us all the time and, although some have little effect in changing what we do, a number of others force us to act or otherwise motivate us into action.

'The things that happen by chance are all those whose cause cannot be determined, that have no purpose, and that happen neither always nor usually nor in any fixed way.'

Nature

Natural forces are those 'originating in the body, such as the desire for nourishment, namely hunger and thirst' as well as other forces, such as to procreate.

'Those things happen by nature which have a fixed and internal cause; they take place uniformly, either always or usually.'

Compulsion

Compulsion occurs when we feel that we must act, even though we may not wish to act this way. This may be compliance with the law or dysfunctional obsessive-compulsive behavior.

'Those things happen through compulsion which take place contrary to the desire or reason of the doer, yet through his own agency.'

Voluntary

Habit

Habit is unthinking action. Aristotle said ' Acts are done from habit which men do because they have often done them before.' Whilst compulsion is unpleasant and un-useful repetition of action, habit is pleasant and generally useful.

'Habit, whether acquired by mere familiarity or by effort, belongs to the class of pleasant things, for there are many actions not naturally pleasant which men perform with pleasure, once they have become used to them.'

Reason/Wish

Aristotle points out that rational and reasoned action are to defined ends, achieving something that serves personal goals.

'Actions are due to reasoning when, in view of any of the goods already mentioned, they appear useful either as ends or as means to an end, and are performed for that reason.'

He also notes that when we act in a way that we believe to be rational then we also believe that it is good.

'Rational craving is a craving for good, i.e. a wish -- nobody wishes for anything unless he thinks it good. Irrational craving is twofold, viz. anger and appetite.'

Anger/Passion

Sometimes interpreted as 'passion', anger can lead to extreme action. Anger is closely related to revenge, and anger curiously lessens when there is no prospect of vengeance.

'To passion and anger are due all acts of revenge...no one grows angry with a person on whom there is no prospect of taking vengeance, and we feel comparatively little anger, or none at all, with those who are much our superiors in power.'

Aristotle notes that 'angry people suffer extreme pain when they fail to get their revenge'. Applying the pain-reduction principle, then perhaps it is not surprising that anger reduces in such circumstances.

Appetite/Desire

Sometimes interpreted as 'desire', appetite is 'craving for pleasure'. Whilst anger serves negative motivation, 'Appetite is the cause of all actions that appear pleasant'. Aristotle pointed out that wealth or poverty is not a cause of action, although the appetite for wealth may well motivate.

'Nor, again, is action due to wealth or poverty; it is of course true that poor men, being short of money, do have an appetite for it, and that rich men, being able to command needless pleasures, do have an appetite for such pleasures: but here, again, their actions will be due not to wealth or poverty but to appetite.'


Source- http://changingminds.org/explanations/motivation/seven_causes.htm (They said it a whole lot better)

Here is a diagram to illustrate:




So, everything on the right is technically unavoidable, but on the left, the actions are morally culpable. Where do you think Turin falls?

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

(This post was edited by Rembrethil on May 31 2014, 3:11pm)


Brethil
Half-elven


May 31 2014, 11:48pm

Post #14 of 29 (125 views)
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Self-fulfillment [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
I believe that Melkor's curse was nothing more than one of his lies, and I like to think that he does it to test the hearts of people, and him being such a terror I am sure many truly believed they were cursed, and people failed to see they created the curse from their own thoughts, letting the seeds of his lies grown in their minds, and they unknowingly created their own terrible illusions, in a way I see this as somewhat fair, and if one is true at heart, and shatters that illusion, they will ever be noble and fearless, and have a greater understanding of all things, and maybe some would be glad that the suffered this, and held some respect for Melkor in their hearts, and the only ones to survive this are those with nothing but good intentions and a true love for the world.


This reminds me of Steven's TAS piece, about how the curse develops its own life through Turin and becomes self-fulfilling. It seems Turin had a sense of the shortness if time and human life (which maybe explains his restlessness?), and did not have the wisdom to see beyond that knowledge perhaps.

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 31 2014, 11:51pm

Post #15 of 29 (125 views)
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Resentment as fuel [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
I interpret the refusal of the lembas, (Which they use later, don't they?Wink) as a further rejection of the authority of Doriath, and a confirmation of his self-inflicted outlawry.

In the end, I see his banishment from Doriath as a gigantic gaffe on Turin's part. He really wasn't banned-- as evidenced by the lembas from Melian-- but he chose to believe he was, and deluded himslef into thinking it was the truth. This must be one of the ways 'he was quick to take insult, and slow to forget a grievance'. (Horrible paraphrasing, mine). He had this strong sense of right and justice, but it seemed to be a rigid, but twisted and warped sense.

Excellent point. Maybe too in a way that sense of being 'wronged' gave him impetus to move further from the Elves and the choice of Hurin. So the warped part could be seen as self-serving.

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 31 2014, 11:58pm

Post #16 of 29 (130 views)
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Beleg's true importance [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
I see the fear of Morgoth as genuine. I think that Turin has so much going well for him, that it overshadows his flaws. If he continues on this path, he will either be able to overcome those flaws by natural progression, or his success might be dependent upon his inner wrestling with with his demons. He seems in a good place to do the latter, strong position, isolation from evil, and a good councilor. I think this is his climax. Unfortunately, I think he fails in this moment. He makes himself more susceptible to attack by expanding his numbers, gathers attention with the Dragon-helm, and then ignores the advice of Beleg. Not allowing Turin the time or circumstances to be well-advised or to make good choices - excellent strategy really on Morgoth's part; if that is the worry, than I suppose it says that the curse is more internal to Turin and less in Morgoth's hands than he would like Hurin to believe. A whiff of Morgoth scrambling, before he is undone by Turin's success? Of course, Turin loses Beleg through Morgoth's direct action: checkmate on Turin there. It really gives me a sense of how important Beleg was and could have been.

The helm itself is interesting. I think Beleg wanted Turin to feel the weight of his greater destiny and duty to his Family and people, however, Turin seems to want to confirm himself in his own course, He seems to be thinking smaller than he should, and when he remembers his family... well that' another week isn't it?Wink That's a bit of my feel as well...Turin is thinking very much like a Man here, with a smaller world sense.

Note on Orodreth:

He has seen his lord Finrod die helping Beren (Another suggested this similarity was the cause of Daeron and Saeros' dislike.) Is there such a similarity? I hope to come back to this point.
In 'offering help' I imagine that he means it he will offer help on his terms, when it coincides with his aims. He will not send 'aid', but he will 'help' on his terms, when it suits him. Can we blame his caution? Maybe he is emulating the as-yet untouched Thingol?

Intriguing idea for the reasons behind the Elf enmity (say that fast, 10x). I do think Orodreth was emulating Thingol and taking counsel form him as well. Of course, Orodreth doesn't have a Maiar-bride and a magic girdle...


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


Jun 1 2014, 12:03am

Post #17 of 29 (124 views)
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This is an excellent synopsis of the dynamic Mikah [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
I have addressed a couple of these questions in response to Rem. I just wanted to touch upon another of these questions..

So it seems Tuirn is living in the moment, and that the torment of Morgoth is reward in itself. Beleg seems to see beyond this. An example of the conflicting goals of Elves and Men, or of just two people who see things differently?

I think that we have a little of both here. I know that it is the easy answer, nonetheless it is the way that I see this conundrum. In a sense they are both right...and wrong.

Beleg is thinking more long term, because he is quite simply an elf. There is reason to believe that he will still be in Middle Earth ages to come, while Turin's time is quite limited. Perhaps Beleg believes that if they are able to protect Doriath, that in time the Valar will have pity upon them and eventually deal with Morgoth themselves. Eventually, of course, they do. However, being mortal, it is difficult for Turin to see things in this perspective. He has no reason to believe that he will be around to see the fall of Morgoth unless he achieves it himself. And rightly so. There have been many unsuccessful attempts to usurp the evil power.

Turin here also has a personal vendetta, while Beleg's is not quite so personal. Morgoth has harmed the people Turin most loves in a very personal way. While Beleg, has a more general cause to want to see Morgoth destroyed, or at least contained. Morgoth has caused much wickedness in Middle Earth, to be certain. But for Beleg, it is not nearly so personal. Their ambitions are very different and it is very difficult for one to see the others perspective. I also find it interesting, that it is in selflessness, rather than ambition, that Turin does strike a terrible blow against Morgoth when he slays Glaurung. If only Turin had not been corrupted by his own pride he would have been the quintessential hero of Middle Earth.




The more short-lived mortal idea that if one does nor do it immediately, or by oneself, the thing will not happen. And the danger to life and self that can happen if caution is thrown to the wind due to short-sightedness.
I also like your point about the real heroism of slaying Glaurung - but how it is immediately and bitterly undone.

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!








Mikah
Lorien

Jun 1 2014, 4:17pm

Post #18 of 29 (120 views)
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Motivations of Turin's behavior. [In reply to] Can't Post

This is most interesting Rem. I do not remember coming across this in any of my philosophy classes, which is kind of surprising to me. However, I believe that they were more focused on determinism and this is most definitely not deterministic of thought, is it? I do find that Turin, probably like all of us, falls on both sides. His circumstances, while as a child, were chance. The capture of his father, would definitely be considered a motivating factor pertaining to his circumstance. One thing I would like clarification on however, does chance primarily pertain to the events, or the people, in our lives? I would imagine, either way, that it would apply to Turin.

I also see how compulsion can apply to Turin, especially in the situation with Saeros. Now that I re-read Aristotle's definition of compulsion, I see how it can apply in many instances through his life. Aristotle seems to define compulsion as acting contrary to one's own will. Am I correct in my interpretation, or have I missed the mark a bit? I find that often-times Turin acts in regrettable ways. Especially later in the book. So I would like to correct my original statement, upon further reflection I do not believe that compulsion would apply to Saeros, but I do believe it applies later on down the line.

I believe that by far, the main motivator, defined in Aristotle's terms would definitely be anger/passion. This is what would definitely apply in the case with Saeros and many situations to come. Turin is the epitome of Aristotle's paradigm of Anger/Passion: anger leading to extreme action, could be a mantra for Turin. I find it extremely interesting that Aristotle states that angry people suffer pain when they fail to obtain the revenge they seek. What I am curious about, is does this pain manifest itself psychologically or physically, or both? It brings to mind how psychologists call anger the silent killer due to the health problems it creates. But, I wonder if Aristotle is speaking more in a psychological sense?

One other thought, if you have researched this further, do you know if Aristotle considers all of these motivations in the positive or negative? Or is he neutral on them, thinking that they can be both positive or negative depending on situation?


Rembrethil
Tol Eressea


Jun 1 2014, 7:57pm

Post #19 of 29 (104 views)
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Clarification? [In reply to] Can't Post

I hope this helps, rather than confusing you any more.

This is most interesting Rem. I do not remember coming across this in any of my philosophy classes, which is kind of surprising to me. However, I believe that they were more focused on determinism and this is most definitely not deterministic of thought, is it?

I don't really agree with Determinism as a whole idea. It seems to want to combine the fields of natural sciences, physics, and meta-physics with philosophy, creating a grand scheme in which you will understand the big picture. It sounds very nice, but in practice, I find that in drawing conclusions based on evidence and procedures synthesised from different sciences, one must be careful, else you will end up comparing apples to oranges. I remember one study that 'proved' that Love is a mere illusion created by chemicals in the brain. The Greeks perfected the art of independent study of the parts to understand the whole, and it is at the feet of Socrates, Aristotle, Plato and others that I sit enraptured. I could grumble-rant further, but I think I've said enough about my own opinions.

I do find that Turin, probably like all of us, falls on both sides. His circumstances, while as a child, were chance. The capture of his father, would definitely be considered a motivating factor pertaining to his circumstance. One thing I would like clarification on however, does chance primarily pertain to the events, or the people, in our lives? I would imagine, either way, that it would apply to Turin.

Chance: 'The things that happen by chance are all those whose cause cannot be determined...' In this category, the circumstances you mention fail the test of 'chance' if we attribute them to Morgoth, or any one person or cause. Then it would become 'Compulsion'--External forces acting upon Turin, making, or influencing, him to do things he would rather not. 'Compulsion', however, still does not remove all culpability', hence my 'technical' caveat in my post. Under compulsion, the actions, 'take place contrary to the desire or reason of the doer, yet through his own agency.' Choice is still present.

The whole argument and structure is highly logical in nature, and a firm grasp of Logic--at whose shrine the Greeks worshipped-- is needed to navigate the complicated quags that lie beyond the pages of a textbook, as the smallest error would taint the results. Precision and accurate data are crucial to the Greek system, or else it would seem to fail.

I also see how compulsion can apply to Turin, especially in the situation with Saeros. Now that I re-read Aristotle's definition of compulsion, I see how it can apply in many instances through his life. Aristotle seems to define compulsion as acting contrary to one's own will. Am I correct in my interpretation, or have I missed the mark a bit?

I think that I answered this above. Let me know if I need to further elucidate. It is against one's will, but still 'through his own agency'.

I find that often-times Turin acts in regrettable ways. Especially later in the book. So I would like to correct my original statement, upon further reflection I do not believe that compulsion would apply to Saeros, but I do believe it applies later on down the line.

I agree. There is a fine shade of difference, and you have found it. I am curious. Of which instances are you thinking?

I believe that by far, the main motivator, defined in Aristotle's terms would definitely be anger/passion. This is what would definitely apply in the case with Saeros and many situations to come. Turin is the epitome of Aristotle's paradigm of Anger/Passion: anger leading to extreme action, could be a mantra for Turin.

Yes, it looks so, but the fact that these are only contributory causes that can act concurrently, muddies the water a bit.

I see 'Chance' things possible in his circumstances-- Meeting his sister and marrying her. Whose fault was that? I think it is unattributable to any person.

'Nature'-- Reacting to the pain of the knife and killing Beleg.

'Compulsion'-- Leaving his home and mother for Doriath.

'Habit'-- Any self-conditoned actions. 'Pride' might fit here, but specifically Turin's habit of being 'quick to take insult, and slow to forgive.' He had a choice here, and he chose not to forgive or forget.

'Wish'-- His desire for vengeance and self-vindication. Totally rational.

I find it extremely interesting that Aristotle states that angry people suffer pain when they fail to obtain the revenge they seek. What I am curious about, is does this pain manifest itself psychologically or physically, or both? It brings to mind how psychologists call anger the silent killer due to the health problems it creates. But, I wonder if Aristotle is speaking more in a psychological sense?

I cannot speak for Aristotle (Who would feel worthy to do so?), but I think that 'pain' encompasses all the types you mention. Is any type more or less real?

One other thought, if you have researched this further, do you know if Aristotle considers all of these motivations in the positive or negative? Or is he neutral on them, thinking that they can be both positive or negative depending on situation?

They are neutral, though I'd imagine that any devotee of Logic would gasp in horror at the non-rational courses. The actions resulting from these motives are independent of morality, that is why Logic can coexist with any belief system-- It is a tool to make sense of the facts and data. It does not draw it's own conclusions, nor make judgements, instead, it allows us to do so by inputting our own values and standards.


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

(This post was edited by Rembrethil on Jun 1 2014, 7:59pm)


CuriousG
Valinor


Jun 1 2014, 8:07pm

Post #20 of 29 (100 views)
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No casual curse [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm with you on the potency of the curse, Mikah. I don't think it was empty words on Morgoth's part, or Tolkien wouldn't have devoted such a big, complex story to it. The complexity involves plenty of free will on Turin's part, so he shoots himself in the foot on his own, but his own bad decisions are tangled with the miasma of ill will that haunts him wherever he goes and twists events around him.


CuriousG
Valinor


Jun 1 2014, 8:12pm

Post #21 of 29 (104 views)
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Turin as teenager [In reply to] Can't Post

Turin rejecting the lembas reminds me of being a teenager and fighting with my parents and hating EVERYTHING connected with them for the duration of a fight: the house we lived in, the dinner my mom made, whatever they wanted to watch on TV. It was all wrong! You get over those feelings, or you're supposed to, but I think you're right about the resentment that he feels toward his foster parents, and he never gets over it. I think this tale is as much a cautionary one about bad parenting as about bad habits while growing up.


CuriousG
Valinor


Jun 1 2014, 9:06pm

Post #22 of 29 (108 views)
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The only person more twisted than Turin and Morgoth is [In reply to] Can't Post

Mim! Oh, what to make of that guy? Especially with the description, which I know is not meant to be homoerotic, of his jealous hatred of Beleg for doing good works among the outlaws and being loved by Turin (platonically). I suppose if Elves had hunted my race to near extinction I'd hate all Elves, but hasn't Mim ever heard of exceptions?

Beleg is so perfect in mind, body, and personality that you just have to love him (platonically). Or is that part of the problem? I'm reminded of The Kite Runner here, where the protagonist admires his best friend for being morally superior, but resents him too, and the resentment seems to carry the day. Is there something decent in Mim who wishes he could be like Beleg?

You've compared Mim to Gollum before, Brethil, and it seems to me that Mim selling out Turin & Co was similar to Gollum selling out Frodo & Sam to Shelob. Strangely, Gollum had a flicker of remorse about it, maybe because he was a hobbit, because Mim has zero remorse, or even less than zero. His sadistic approach to Beleg's immobilized body is chilling.

Who saw Androg redeeming himself by giving his last life energy to save Beleg? That was amazing. I think that's the romantic hand of Tolkien at work, trying to find redemption in everyone. It's nice to think that way. Though if I turn on the news in the real world and see the latest atrocity, I would dampen my own belief in the % of bad people who are redeemable.


CuriousG
Valinor


Jun 1 2014, 9:19pm

Post #23 of 29 (98 views)
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Cursing do's and don't's [In reply to] Can't Post

Mim's curse seems like a Petri dish for understanding Morgoth's. He curses Androg about using a bow & arrow, and sure enough, it leads to Androg being almost fatally wounded, but Beleg confounds the curse by healing him. Mim reacts bitterly that the curse will bite again, and it does. But how many "charges" does a curse have? What if Androg were repeatedly wounded and Beleg kept healing him, would Mim's curse eventually run out of steam, or once uttered, does it last forever?

By healing Androg and interfering with Mim's curse, did Beleg call it upon himself, or are curses not contagious? If Mim's curse could be countered by an Elf's power, could Morgoth's have been countered? Melian tried to, of course, but she didn't have any luck. Or if she'd bailed Turin out of a few situations, would Morgoth's curse just bite again? (Then again, Morgoth himself seemed worried his curse would wear off. Isn't he the expert in these things?)

A profound difference between Mim and Melkor is that Mim was the victim of bereavement in cursing Androg. Melkor was never the victim of anything (though he deserved to be!) and was instead the victimizer. Victims usually seem to have some moral high ground, but Mim blew up that premise by selling out the outlaws to the Orcs. If he really wanted Beleg dead, why didn't he just curse him too?


(This post was edited by CuriousG on Jun 1 2014, 9:20pm)


CuriousG
Valinor


Jun 1 2014, 9:33pm

Post #24 of 29 (95 views)
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Mixing Elves and politics [In reply to] Can't Post

Orodreth doesn't make a lot of sense to me in this chapter. I understand he's trying to keep his people secret and safe, but why not offer food, clothing, weapon repair, etc to Turin & Co? If Orodreth was following the news, he'd see that Morgoth was invading everywhere he could, and he'd invade the Nargothrond area whether Turin was taunting him there or not. At least Turin was keeping the Big Bad at bay, or seeming to. I'd think Orodreth could have secretly supplied him if he could secretly send messages to Doriath and back. On the other hand, I can understand him wanting to keep the theater of war as far from his front door as possible.

On the individual level, it's interesting trying to figure out the Beleg-Turin dynamic. Turin charitably names the land after both of them, but he's clearly the #1 leader with Beleg in a support position. Yet Beleg is immeasurably older and more experienced as a leader, so why does he play second to Turin? And for the Elves that they attract into their following, why do they follow Turin and not Beleg?

I'm sure that Beleg, like Rembrethil, tries to see the good in everyone, so he thought that giving the Helm to Turin would reawaken his noble past and encourage him to return to Doriath, be pardoned, be part of a REAL kingdom again, and live happily ever after. I'm sure he didn't think that Turin would stay in a pique forever.


sador
Half-elven


Jun 2 2014, 11:46am

Post #25 of 29 (92 views)
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A few answers, and one lame joke [In reply to] Can't Post

Is there an irony here, in rejecting gifts from Melian yet accepting the Helm from Beleg - since ultimately the Helm will identify him to Morgoth and make him a target?
Well, the Helm was essentially Morwen's gift; unless Thingol had confiscated all Turin's property (which he couldn't do as long as his pardon stood), he had no right to withold it.
Yes, the Helm will ultimately betray Turin - and so save him from death. After all, Morgoth would never tolerate this little kingdom blocking his way South; but had the orcs not received an express order to take Turin alive he would have surely been slain.

how does this idea, of Morgoth fearing Turin's growth of power, impact the workings of the curse and what the curse might mean?
I stated before that Morgoth's curse was more invoking his memory of the Music of the Ainur, during which he better interfered with the work of other singers than now, when as physical entities they are more or less independent (as I always answer these threads a week late nowadays, possibly nobody reads my answers...).
So this idea reflects more than anything Morgoth's own fears and insecurities, including being insecure in his memory.

In the last chapter he thinks that it might lift Turin's thought again above his life in the wild as the leader of a petty company. What do you think Beleg's thought and ultimate plan was when he brought the Helm to Turin?
Yes, I'm sure that Beleg was much disappointed to find him with that petty band, in the house of another petty fellow.

Quote
Somewhere, somehow, somebody must have kicked you around some
Who knows maybe you were kidnapped tied up,
Taken away and held for ransom
It don't make no difference to me
Everybody has to fight to be free, you see
You don't have to live like a refugee
(Don't have to live like a refugee)

(end of lame joke)

An example of the conflicting goals of Elves and Men, or of just two people who see things differently?
It's more like a clash of perspectives. Men would strive either for peace in their lives, or short-term success; Elves have got more time, and a prophecy of deliverance to wait for (as Gwindor tells Turin in Nargothrond); but Elves seem to be ever and again overcome by the sheer charisma of Men's urge to do things now.

An insight into isolationism: Orodreth and Thingol sharing counsel. 'And he was a wise lord, according to the wisdom of those who considered first their own people, and how long they might preserve their life and wealth against the lust of the North'. Thoughts?
This has too many contemporary political ramifications for me.

Orodreth also bans the company from entering his land, will not send aid, but says he will 'offer them help.' Hmmmm. I'm puzzled: what does this even mean?
Food, medicine. Do you really think they could live on Mim's bounty alone?
But this also shows how unaware Turin is of what sustains his petty lordship.

This tale doesn't clear Mim of treachery, but gives him some moral latitude. What do you think the reason for the 'alternate tale'?
I've touched on this in my answer to your previous thread.

In a general sense, what are your reactions to Turin and Beleg in this part of their story?
I feel sorry for Beleg, the first (second? what about Nellas?) victim of Turin's fatal, err, attraction. Turin is just himself; this is the latest-expanded part of the story, but I do not think we gain any special new insights into his character.

But I still consider Androg to be the most interesting character of this section, with Mim a second.

And what of Ibun? Was he released, or did the orcs kill him? And why didn't Mim try to get the reward he has bargained for?


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