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Just a thought

Hamfast Gamgee
Grey Havens

May 21, 10:10pm

Post #1 of 7 (1472 views)
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Just a thought Can't Post

About Oaths and things like that. But thinking of the oath which was sworn by Feanor and his sons over the Silmarils which some regretted later, but felt they still had to abide by it's terms forever which was a bit of a shame. But Ages later, literally and thinking of Hobbits. Now its a strange thing, but if Hobbits had inadvertently sworn an oath like that and thought about it, I don't think they would have gone through with it, even if that wasn't to the letter of the oath they had sworn. I think some Hobbit-sense would have stopped them.
Lets say that for example that if Hamfast Gamgee and Lobellia had in some wild youthful fling had a few too much alcohol and sworn everlasting love and to marry and then regretted it a few days later. I don't think the pair would have gone through with it. I think they would have said that fine they did swear, but common sense just says no.
I think it's just a different approach from different societies!


CuriousG
Half-elven


May 22, 11:37am

Post #2 of 7 (1419 views)
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Not disagreeing in principle, but [In reply to] Can't Post

As I try to think of examples one way or the other, I think of:

1. Frodo’s disgust with Gollum (talking with Gandalf) at cheating at the apparently sacred Riddle Game, saying “Hobbits don’t cheat.”
2. Bilbo’s will, which was so legalistic I think he had 7 witnesses sign in red ink.

Not an exhaustive list by any means, but it makes me think hobbits are the sort to take oaths seriously as legally binding.

But in a more intuitive sense, I think you’re right that 1) hobbits would never have made a ghastly, sacrilegious oath in the first place, and 2) even other oaths they make such as the scenario you give would be overruled by common sense and the light of a sober day. They are, after all, people who love drinking in pubs, and anyone who drinks doesn’t want to be bound by what they said while under the influence once they’re sober again. So, my gut still says you’re right.


noWizardme
Valinor


May 25, 8:57am

Post #3 of 7 (1357 views)
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I think there's more than a difference in culture [In reply to] Can't Post

The impression that I got when we read the Sil. was that the Sons of Feanor swore an oath that was literally unbreakable: it doesn't matter whether they'd like to break it or not, they just can't. At times in the book it sometimes seems that oath can control their wills and destiny. (To be fair I remember that we discussed the oath seeming inconsistent - at times it seem like a sort of unstoppable cosmic force, and at times it seems ignorable or resit-able). If I'm right, then there's no equivalent to this oath in real life where the consequences of oath-breaking could be legal punishment or social disgrace, or consequences in the afterlife. Those are consequences that could be very grave but which in theory a person could decide to face.

~~~~~~
Where's that old read-through discussion?
A wonderful list of links to previous chapters in the 2014-2016 LOTR read-through (and to previous read-throughs) is curated by our very own 'squire' here http://users.bestweb.net/...-SixthDiscussion.htm


uncle Iorlas
Bree


May 26, 2:11am

Post #4 of 7 (1302 views)
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a whole different kettle of fish [In reply to] Can't Post

Things in the First Age don't work the same way as later things. It's all too mythic. Gods fight with blunt sticks that cumulatively sink subcontinents, but elves not unlike the elves we know from LOTR can stand toe to toe with them and fight back. Sometimes. How strong is an oath? How big is a giant?

I'm not sure we're really meant to take the older material any too literally.


Maciliel
Valinor


May 28, 10:53pm

Post #5 of 7 (1254 views)
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feeling an itch to do a read-through of the sil again [In reply to] Can't Post

 
feeling an itch to do a read-through of the sil again.

i got the feeling that feanor's (et al) oath tapped into cosmological energy sources that were governed by their own natural laws. i'd want to re-read for a thoughtful assessment, but part of the natural physics involved were the silmarils themselves, and perhaps the nature of themselves as elves (which rhymes, which makes it even more binding).


cheers --


.


aka. fili orc-enshield
+++++++++++++++++++
the scene, as i understand it, is exceptionally well-written. fili (in sort of a callback to the scene with the eagles), calls out "thorRIIIIIIN!!!" just as he sees the pale orc veer in for the kill. he picks up the severed arm of an orc which is lying on the ground, swings it up in desperation, effectively blocking the pale orc's blow. and thus, forever after, fili is known as "fili orc-enshield."

this earns him deep respect from his hard-to-please uncle. as well as a hug. kili wipes his boots on the pale orc's glory box. -- maciliel telpemairo


Maciliel
Valinor


May 28, 10:55pm

Post #6 of 7 (1251 views)
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i thought the multiple signatures [In reply to] Can't Post

 
thought the multiple signatures were an aspect of hobbit legal practice, rather than bilbo's nature.


cheers --

.


aka. fili orc-enshield
+++++++++++++++++++
the scene, as i understand it, is exceptionally well-written. fili (in sort of a callback to the scene with the eagles), calls out "thorRIIIIIIN!!!" just as he sees the pale orc veer in for the kill. he picks up the severed arm of an orc which is lying on the ground, swings it up in desperation, effectively blocking the pale orc's blow. and thus, forever after, fili is known as "fili orc-enshield."

this earns him deep respect from his hard-to-please uncle. as well as a hug. kili wipes his boots on the pale orc's glory box. -- maciliel telpemairo


Plurmo
Rohan

May 30, 2:54am

Post #7 of 7 (1213 views)
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I guess the Refusal* was the deed that [In reply to] Can't Post

"tapped into cosmological energy sources," as you say, and the Oath followed it as a natural step. The same as the killing of Deagol was to Gollum swearing under The One, leading him to his own destruction. Perhaps, given their respective statures in the order of things, an immortal refusing a Vala while she tries to keep alive her greatest creation is of the same gravity as a mere mortal hobbit killing a friend.

Probably what Hamfast Gamgee is trying to evaluate is how an oath made by an immortal is necessarily heavier in consequences (to the oathmaker) than an oath made by a mortal, though at the end of the day, it is the commitment to it that really matters. An oath before a mere council was enough for Frodo the hobbit to persevere on his path till the very Sammath Naur (so much for Hobbit-sense,) and an oath for love was enough for Beren to take him inside Morgoth's lair.

Tolkien is full of commitments. From the great valar chosing to abide in Arda and being tasked to fulfilling its creation to the humble hobbit chosing to follow his master and friend and being tasked to carry him up Orodruin.

*To Yavanna's request of unlocking a Silmaril.

 
 

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