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Cirashala
Tol Eressea


Dec 18 2018, 11:17pm

Post #26 of 42 (1087 views)
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I agree [In reply to] Can't Post

I think there were some aspects he either forgot he said one thing and said another, or he simply hadn't made up his mind yet.

In what's name?

That's fair. Still, it's fun to speculate :) Physical therapy has been kicking my rear lately and I've been in a lot of pain from it and my medical condition (still trying to get surgery approval should hopefully have word today but we'll see it's been 11 weeks now), so I haven't been able to do much except explore Tolkien and watch Netflix documentaries (in my efforts to explore Tolkien lol- watched a lot of desert ones out of interest in the southern areas of ME).

Reading the Silmarillion now in the meantime Smile

My writing and novels:

My Hobbit Fanfiction

My historical novel print and kindle version

My historical novels ebook version compatible with all ereaders

You can also find my novel at most major book retailers online (and for those outside the US who prefer a print book, you can find the print version at Book Depository). Search "Amazing Grace Amanda Longpre'" to find it.

Happy reading everyone!


uncle Iorlas
Rivendell


Dec 24 2018, 3:19am

Post #27 of 42 (859 views)
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In the name of consistency, I meant, sorry. [In reply to] Can't Post

Sounds like you're up against something big. I hope a time comes before long when all of this seems past and remote.

In the meantime, good holidays, and enjoy going through an interesting old book.


Cirashala
Tol Eressea


Dec 24 2018, 3:26am

Post #28 of 42 (856 views)
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No worries! [In reply to] Can't Post

and yes, I am- but good news! My surgery was finally approved! I need a hysterectomy and endometriosis lesion removal, so yup it's pretty big. It's disabled me for six years due to a misdiagnosis initially, but January 17th will see me finally healed after six years of pain and suffering! I eagerly await it Smile

The Sil is a very interesting book-I've read it 4 times now I think, and I learn something new each time. I just finished it about a half hour ago, and it struck me as being quite sad at the end. The image of all the Eldar leaving ME forever, never to return...wow. Bring on the tissues!

My writing and novels:

My Hobbit Fanfiction

My historical novel print and kindle version

My historical novels ebook version compatible with all ereaders

You can also find my novel at most major book retailers online (and for those outside the US who prefer a print book, you can find the print version at Book Depository). Search "Amazing Grace Amanda Longpre'" to find it.

Happy reading everyone!


CuriousG
Half-elven


Dec 25 2018, 1:36pm

Post #29 of 42 (816 views)
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Glad you'll be on the mend soon! [In reply to] Can't Post

And re: The Sil's sad ending. Yes, and sadder than LOTR. Frodo and the Elves seemed to have a sad fate at the end of LOTR, leaving Middle-earth behind, even if they were going to nice island resort, but people like Sam, Faramir, and Eowyn had a happy ending. But because The Sil involves so much struggle, loss, and heartbreak, and Ultimate Evil is ultimately defeated, it's tremendously sad to get to the end and realize it's a pyrrhic victory, and the Eldar and Edain lost so much too--their lives, their realms, all that they'd built, even most of Beleriand. You get to the end and think: was this all worth it? (I mean that in an emotional sense while empathizing with the characters; it's definitely worth the read!)


Cirashala
Tol Eressea


Dec 26 2018, 3:44am

Post #30 of 42 (741 views)
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I know everyone thinks TH's losses reflect Tolkien's war experience [In reply to] Can't Post

but after reading the Sil again this time, I feel that the end perfectly encapsulates WWI and WWII. Evil is finally defeated, but at what cost? There is nothing left except the broken and the suffering, both in the land and in the people (Eldar and Edain) who survived.

WWII especially slaughtered a generation of men and destroyed the lands of Europe and Asia and north Africa. There's STILL, 73 years later, scarring from this horrible war, and the war that preceded it as well. There is no victor in war. There is one side that loses, and another side that loses even if they technically "win". Yes, Melkor was defeated, but his creations and subversions were not (not entirely, anyway). A balrog survived, dragons survived (I doubt Smaug was that old), orcs survived, Sauron survived, etc. The evil that he wrought into Arda during the Music of the Ainur still showed a broken world marred by evil, an evil which could never be fully eradicated even by the most valiant of non-Eru warriors.

Even the Valar, whom I consider more akin to cherubim and seraphim (Bible-speaking, at least that's how I, a Protestant Christian, think of them. Creations with power, but still creations of Eru/God, not gods themselves, just like maiar I view more like angels. I believe Tolkien viewed the Valar similarly to saints, unless someone has a letter or something to state otherwise), cannot eradicate evil without destroying Arda completely, and that is not a task Eru has given them.

War is hell, plain and simple. You can fight it, you can take down those responsible for starting it, but you can't win it. The cost of war is simply far too great, far too tragic to EVER be called a victory.

Tolkien went to war in WWI. He lost his best friends. He saw unimaginable horrors, horrors that (unless you're a veteran) we cannot possibly hope to comprehend. He did not see victory in war. He saw death and destruction. He saw people become former shadows of themselves (the elf with Beleg when Turin accidentally kills Beleg- I forget his name- is a perfect example of this), and families rent asunder. He saw once beautiful lands destroyed in mere seconds, once gorgeous architecture turned to ruin, fields turn to mud and blood, childhood innocence destroyed forever.

And like the Edain and Eldar that survived the War of Wrath and the subsequent sinking of Beleriand and loss of everything they'd ever known, of the Noldor who lost and did not know if they (with the Ban) would ever see their kin again, of the Teleri who may have thought the same (if they were told that the Valar had blocked the Straight Road), the homes that were destroyed, the cities and realms that were decimated.

TH speaks of losing friends in battle. Yes, losing Fili and Kili and Thorin were tragic (I cried like a baby when I read it). There's no doubt about that. And one needs to defend those who cannot defend themselves in the face of evil if it is necessary to ensure that no one else will suffer from said evil again.

But if one were to look at all Tolkien's works (including posthumously published), I'd say The Silmarillion would be FAR better at truly describing the true cost of war.

Because in war, no one wins.

My writing and novels:

My Hobbit Fanfiction

My historical novel print and kindle version

My historical novels ebook version compatible with all ereaders

You can also find my novel at most major book retailers online (and for those outside the US who prefer a print book, you can find the print version at Book Depository). Search "Amazing Grace Amanda Longpre'" to find it.

Happy reading everyone!


Kimi
Forum Admin / Moderator


Dec 26 2018, 5:36am

Post #31 of 42 (735 views)
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There are indeed letters on this subject. [In reply to] Can't Post

Valar as angels is a comparison that appears quite a few times in "Letters". For example from Letter 131 of 1951:

"The cycles begin with a cosmogonical myth: the Music of the Ainur. God and the Valar (or powers: Englished as gods) are revealed. These latter are as we should say angelic powers, whose function is to exercise delegated authority in their spheres (of rule and government, not creation, making or re-making). They are 'divine', that is, were originally 'outside' and existed 'before' the making of the world."

Saints are humans, so Tolkien would not have seen the Valar as similar to saints. There's a sort of connection made in Letter 153 of 1954, though:

"The immediate 'authorities' are the Valar (the Powers or Authorities): the 'gods'. But they are only created spirits – of high angelic order we should say, with their attendant lesser angels – reverend, therefore, but not worshipful"

There's a footnote to this:
"There are thus no temples or 'churches' or fanes in this 'world' among 'good' peoples. They had little or no ’religion’ in the sense of worship. For help they may call on a Vala (as Elbereth), as a Catholic might on a Saint, though no doubt knowing in theory as well as he that the power of the Vala was limited and derivative."


The Passing of Mistress Rose
My historical novels

Do we find happiness so often that we should turn it off the box when it happens to sit there?

- A Room With a View


Cirashala
Tol Eressea


Dec 26 2018, 3:50pm

Post #32 of 42 (705 views)
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Thanks for that Kimi! [In reply to] Can't Post

I had a feeling I was pretty close to what Tolkien viewed the Valar as Smile I do like that tidbit that he who calls on a Vala knows that their power is limited and derivative. It tells me that the Valar weren't treated as gods but more helpers, whereas Eru was God to them. This also seems consistent with the idea that elven marriage names the One (Eru) as opposed to Elbereth or one of the other Valar-giving authority where authority is due in Tolkien's world.

I am a bit confused as to why Valinor is too much for mortals though, and why the Valar seem to love the elves but not the second-born. Do they view mortals as second-class then? If so, then that is rather mean-spirited of them...

My writing and novels:

My Hobbit Fanfiction

My historical novel print and kindle version

My historical novels ebook version compatible with all ereaders

You can also find my novel at most major book retailers online (and for those outside the US who prefer a print book, you can find the print version at Book Depository). Search "Amazing Grace Amanda Longpre'" to find it.

Happy reading everyone!


Chen G.
Lorien

Dec 26 2018, 4:55pm

Post #33 of 42 (695 views)
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Well [In reply to] Can't Post

The centerpiece of Tolkien's creation as a piece of literature were the Elves. It was after all, to no small extent, concieved as a vehicle for providing a "background for Elvish tongues" and as a literary criticism of the diminutive depiction of Elves in Edwardian and Victorian England.

Indeed, originally, many more of Tolkien's characters were Elves rather than Men: Beren (and therefore Barahir) was an Elf, members of the Gaurwaith were Elves, as were (I beleive) members of Hurin's company in his latter days. The vehicle through which the tales of the Eldar days survive are Elves, rather than Hobbits.

As a result, the world of Middle Earth kind of discriminates men for Elves.


(This post was edited by Chen G. on Dec 26 2018, 4:58pm)


Cirashala
Tol Eressea


Dec 26 2018, 5:58pm

Post #34 of 42 (685 views)
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I agree with you there [In reply to] Can't Post

though Tolkien appreciated the idea of elves fading and the dominion of Men eventually. Plus, his heroes were either men or hobbits, depending on the tale (Beren, Earendil, Frodo, Bilbo, etc). Still, there's definitely an element of elf-centric in the world, though by LOTR elves are fading and Men are growing.

I don't really like the Valar's attitude toward Men though. I get that mortals cannot long survive the angelic power that is in Valinor, but for the Valar to abandon the rest of ME in favor of Valinor, and THEN make the elves join them and not allow the elves to stay behind in the rest of ME to be the shepherds of Men they were designed to be (even those who are will eventually feel the sea-longing, like Legolas) seems to be a rather huge example of their arrogance and discrimination of Men and other races.

I would rather the Valar have guided the elves within Arda and helped them that way, than take all the elves to Valinor to be their "pets" and abandon Arda altogether. Perhaps with the Valar's guidance, they could have helped heal the hurts that Melkor wrought upon Arda, but instead the Valar were very selfish and wanted their pets to join them in Aman, and to heck with the other races that still dwelt within Arda.

My writing and novels:

My Hobbit Fanfiction

My historical novel print and kindle version

My historical novels ebook version compatible with all ereaders

You can also find my novel at most major book retailers online (and for those outside the US who prefer a print book, you can find the print version at Book Depository). Search "Amazing Grace Amanda Longpre'" to find it.

Happy reading everyone!


squire
Half-elven


Dec 26 2018, 6:01pm

Post #35 of 42 (687 views)
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I think the Valar do not fully understand Men, rather than not 'loving' them [In reply to] Can't Post

The whole point of the Younger Children seems to be the addition of a 'wild card' to the workings-out of the Music and the Fates. Their weaker spirits, shortened lives, lesser talents, and unknown fates after death all combine to lead Men into situations and commitments that the Elves avoid - some of which bring more evil into the world and some of which bring more good. I've always thought the Valar are, ultimately, somewhat puzzled by the race of Man, and so stand off from trying to influence, benefit, or penalize them, for fear of crossing some purpose of Eru regarding Men that the Powers have not been informed of.
"The fate of Men after death, maybe, is not in the hands of the Valar, nor was all foretold in the Music of the Ainur." - The Silmarillion, "Of Men".
Some examples of this are actually seen in the First Age tales of the Silmarils, where Men such as Beren, Turin, Tuor, and Earendil affect the fate of the Jewels and the First Children in ways the Valar did not anticipate and could only respond to. Likewise, in later developments, the various Falls of Men to sin, such as in Numenor, cause the Valar to throw up their hands and call to Eru for decisive help. And even the Ring tale, which was not in Tolkien's mind when he first developed the entire cosmogony of Elves and Men as the two central races of Middle-earth, exemplifies how, as the Elves fall prey to their own immortality and inability to commit to life in a mortal world, Men rise to take their parts in the struggles against evil - flawed but resilient in ways the Elves are not. As usual, Tolkien is far more expressive and eloquent about this question in his later and more accessible book:
‘It is ever so with the things that Men begin: there is a frost in Spring, or a blight in Summer, and they fail of their promise.’
‘Yet seldom do they fail of their seed,’ said Legolas. ‘And that will lie in the dust and rot to spring up again in times and places unlooked-for. The deeds of Men will outlast us, Gimli.’
‘And yet come to naught in the end but might-have-beens, I guess,’ said the Dwarf.
‘To that the Elves know not the answer,’ said Legolas. - LR V.9.
To the final line, I would guess Legolas could have said, 'To that the Elves and Valar know not the answer,' ... if he had dared!



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Chen G.
Lorien

Dec 26 2018, 6:04pm

Post #36 of 42 (682 views)
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It should be noted [In reply to] Can't Post

The Valar simply aren't terribly succesful. They let Morgoth have free reign in Beleriand, and when they finally do intervene, they destroy the land with him.

Even in the Second Age, they did nothing substantial to prevent the rise of the Shadow in Numenore, and when Ar Pharazon landed on their shore, instead of dealing with him themselves, they cried out for Iluvatar.


Cirashala
Tol Eressea


Dec 26 2018, 6:06pm

Post #37 of 42 (682 views)
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That's fair, to a point [In reply to] Can't Post

but why would the Valar be so inclined to take the elves to Valinor (by one way or another) than let them work within Arda? Still seems selfish to me.

My writing and novels:

My Hobbit Fanfiction

My historical novel print and kindle version

My historical novels ebook version compatible with all ereaders

You can also find my novel at most major book retailers online (and for those outside the US who prefer a print book, you can find the print version at Book Depository). Search "Amazing Grace Amanda Longpre'" to find it.

Happy reading everyone!


Cirashala
Tol Eressea


Dec 26 2018, 6:08pm

Post #38 of 42 (677 views)
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I think the Ar-pharazon thing [In reply to] Can't Post

is because they did not wish to risk the wrath of Eru by destroying the Second-born.

As to their interference in Beleriand, yeah that wasn't overly successful for sure. I think perhaps the Valar are taken to be more powerful than they really are, or at the very least there are times where their judgment is questionable at best.

My writing and novels:

My Hobbit Fanfiction

My historical novel print and kindle version

My historical novels ebook version compatible with all ereaders

You can also find my novel at most major book retailers online (and for those outside the US who prefer a print book, you can find the print version at Book Depository). Search "Amazing Grace Amanda Longpre'" to find it.

Happy reading everyone!


CuriousG
Half-elven


Dec 28 2018, 5:08pm

Post #39 of 42 (596 views)
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The Valar are pretty disappointing [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
there are times where their judgment is questionable at best.


Or one of my favorite jokes from Wiz: "discretion is the better part of the Valar."

I think as readers, we see these godlike beings create the world and everything in it, and without quibbling over god vs angel, that seems pretty darn godlike to me. And then they let us down by, as you put it, making pets of the Elves and then swinging the other way with Men, only getting around to helping them in the 2nd Age by giving them Numenor, and doing nothing to dislodge Sauron from Numenor as he drove it towards destruction other than putting a menacing cloud or two in the sky.

I think Tolkien was constrained by plot needs when it comes to the Valar: he needed them to create the world according to the Music, and then he needed them to step back and let things go wrong so there would be tragedy and heroism. If they fixed everything, it would be a dull tale. But he sets readers' expectations high with them as angelic beings who appear variously as indifferent or confused or whatever the working excuse is for them to not be more helpful. They don't stand up to logical questions very well: in the 3rd Age the first five Istari for the most part failed, so why not send more and try to get it right the second time? In the 1st Age, why let the Sindar and Edain suffer under Morgoth because of sins committed by the Noldor? Aren't these supposed to be morally superior beings? Consequently, the fewer questions I ask about the Valar, the less riled up I get. Smile


Cirashala
Tol Eressea


Dec 28 2018, 8:41pm

Post #40 of 42 (588 views)
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I feel like [In reply to] Can't Post

the Valar abandoned ME as a whole, save for their pretty little piece of it in Aman. When Morgoth destroyed and marred ME, the Valar decided to give up on it, and everything in it- including the Teleri, which is horrible for them considering the Valar wanted the elves as pets. And yet, they abandoned them, making THEM be the ones (via ships) to come to them, rather than going among them and letting them stay there.

So it's bigger than abandoning the Teleri/Sindarin elves and the Edain. It was an abandonment of Middle-earth as a whole.

Seems as though they didn't listen to what Eru said about everything (it strikes me that Eru is God, and God sent higher angels- the Valar- to bring forth what He had commanded. So I wouldn't count them as gods, but rather servants of Eru sent to do His bidding in creation), about how He allowed Morgoth's discord and that it was a bigger part of His plan, not Morgoth's, so that in the end everything worked toward Eru's goal, and that is Arda remade.

So rather than deal with their troublesome "sibling" (Morgoth), they just decided to let things be and let ME go to the wolves. I wonder if this was laziness on their part or just part of the giving up on Middle-earth bit.

But to punish the Teleri simply for missing the boat (because they were trying to find Thingol) seems downright mean. At least Ulmo decided to set the sea-longing in their hearts and tried to help them, rather than giving up on ME.

My writing and novels:

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My historical novels ebook version compatible with all ereaders

You can also find my novel at most major book retailers online (and for those outside the US who prefer a print book, you can find the print version at Book Depository). Search "Amazing Grace Amanda Longpre'" to find it.

Happy reading everyone!


CuriousG
Half-elven


Dec 28 2018, 8:47pm

Post #41 of 42 (589 views)
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And Tolkien undermines his own point on that abandonment [In reply to] Can't Post

Officially the reason for their retreat to Aman is to rest up from past fights and also to preserve ME from further destruction in more fights. So, if that's the case, then why can Orome lead his hosts in a one-Vala struggle against Melkor's dominance? (Yavanna and Ulmo visited ME too but in non-combat roles.) If fighting Melkor is so destructive to Arda, why didn't Orome's ventures make a mess of things? So once again, it doesn't stand up to logic. And like you, I think it just feels wrong for them to isolate themselves like that. But again, I think it was necessary to make the plot work.


uncle Iorlas
Rivendell


Dec 29 2018, 2:11am

Post #42 of 42 (552 views)
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The First Age is mythic tall-tale goofiness. [In reply to] Can't Post

I don't think we're ever really meant to take available accounts of that remote age as any kind of responsible history. That's like the Vedas. There may be clues to history but mostly it's sheer myth. And it's not at all consistent. How big is a giant? However big the storyteller currently needs one to be.

As for the Valar playing favorites, I guess I see all that as part of the mystery of the separate gifts given to elves and humans. Tolkien loves his elves, but I can't believe he would let himself give them the gods' greatest favor in the end. Anyway they're reflections of us, personifications of our artistic urge--and not above reproach, either. He as much as says that their endless longing to freeze everything and preserve it just as it was is ultimately wrongheaded. Even though the entire body of work is saturated with that melancholy.

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