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Meneldur's Choice


Apr 27, 12:30am

Post #1 of 5 (3183 views)
Meneldur's Choice Can't Post


"...When Aldarion left the chamber, Meneldur looked at the letter that his son had given him, wondering; for he saw that it came from King Gil-galad in Lindon. It was sealed and bore his device of white stars upon a blue rondure. Upon the outer fold was written:
Given at Mithlond to the hand of the Lord Aldarion King's Heir of Númenórë, to be delivered to the High King at Armenelos in person.

Then Meneldur broke the seal and read:
Ereinion Gil-galad son of Fingon to Tar-Meneldur of the line of Eärendil, greeting: the Valar keep you and may no shadow fall upon the Isle of Kings. Long I have owed you thanks, for you have so many times sent to me your son Anardil Aldarion: the greatest Elf-friend that now is among Men, as I deem. At this time I ask your pardon, if I have detained him overlong in my service; for I had great need of the knowledge of Men and their tongues which he alone possesses. He has dared many perils to bring me counsel. Of my need he will speak to you; yet he does not guess how great it is, being young and full of hope. Therefore I write this for the eyes of the King of Númenórë only.
A new shadow arises in the East. It is no tyranny of evil Men, as your son believes; but a servant of Morgoth is stirring, and evil things wake again. Each year it gains in strength, for most Men are ripe to its purpose. Not far off is the day, I judge, when it will become too great for the Eldar unaided to withstand. Therefore, whenever I behold a tall ship of the Kings of Men, my heart is eased. And now I make bold to seek your help. If you have any strength of Men to spare, lend it to me, I beg....
Behold! The darkness that is to come is filled with hatred for us, but it hates you no less. The Great Sea will not be too wide for its wings, if it is suffered to come to full growth.
Manwë keep you under the One, and send fair wind to your sails.

Meneldur let the parchment fall into his lap. Great clouds borne upon a wind out of the East brought darkness early, and the tall candles at his side seemed to dwindle in the gloom that filled his chamber. "May Eru call me before such a time comes!" he cried aloud.
"When the Valar gave to us the Land of Gift they did not make us their vice-regents; we were given the Kingdom of Númenor, not of the world. They are the Lords. Here we were to put away hatred and war; for war was ended, and Morgoth thrust forth from Arda. So I deemed, and so was taught.
"Yet if the world grows again dark, the Lords must know; and they have sent me no sign. Unless this be the sign. What then? Our fathers were rewarded for the aid they gave in the defeat of the Great Shadow. Shall their sons stand aloof, if evil finds a new head?
"I am in too great doubt to rule. To prepare or to let be? To prepare for war, which is yet only guessed: train craftsmen and tillers in the midst of peace for bloodspilling and battle: put iron in the hands of greedy captains who will love only conquest, and count the slain as their glory? Will they say to Eru: At least your enemies were amongst them? Or to fold hands, while friends die unjustly: let men live in blind peace, until the ravisher is at the gate? What then will they do: match naked hands against iron and die in vain, or flee leaving the cries of women behind them? Will they say to Eru: At least I spilled no blood?
"When either way may lead to evil, of what worth is choice? Let the Valar rule under Eru! I will resign the Sceptre to Aldarion. Yet that also is a choice, for I know well which road he will take. Unless Erendis..."

(Unfinished Tales, Part 2, Ch 2, Aldarion and Erendis)

What would you have done in Meneldur's position?

(This post was edited by Althoun on Apr 27, 12:30am)


Apr 29, 1:09pm

Post #2 of 5 (3118 views)
Great passage; tough choice [In reply to] Can't Post

I would like to say that I would make the wise and responsible decision, i.e., agree to fight this servant of Morgoth while its forces were still weak and the costs of war would be less and victory would seem more certain.

But I'm not sure I would decide that. Meneldur makes the observation that Numenor was not only a gift to Men, but a refuge from the world of war, like an Aman for mortals. Do you bring a war mentality to the Garden of Eden and expect it to remain Eden-like? That weighs heavily against intervention. He's responsible as the ruler for maintaining the integrity of his nation, and turning it into a war machine would undermine that (as we see later in their history, in fact).

His reasoning about "What will I say to Eru when I'm dead?" comes out the same both ways: either a lot of people die because he goes to war, or a lot of people die because he remains a pacifist and war comes to him.

His reasoning about the Valar seems pretty dang faulty to a Valar-skeptic like me: how many centuries did they allow Morgoth to run free? Look not to the Valar to defeat evil in a hurry; they take their time.

I think he exaggerates a bit when he says it's not his job to govern the world; fighting a great enemy doesn't mean you're taking on all responsibility for global maintenance of peace and prosperity.

In the end, trying to stay in his mind and within the passage cited, I think I would reluctantly prepare for war out of friendship with the Elves and respect for their wisdom in saying this is the right and necessary thing to do.

Hamfast Gamgee
Grey Havens

May 10, 10:19am

Post #3 of 5 (3000 views)
Personally, I would say [In reply to] Can't Post

Stop messing about and sent a destroyer over to Umbar and sort out this upstart. Just what ever you do don't take him prisoner and let him influence you and your court and take over Numenor by stealth and attack the Valar. Ooops. Actually, I wonder how this king would have reacted if, say, he had been in Rohan when the army of Saruman was marching through the land. His views and those of the Rohirrim seem exactly opposite.


May 10, 2:03pm

Post #4 of 5 (2997 views)
Well, [In reply to] Can't Post

the Rohirrim were a Proud Warrior Race, and Theoden was just one of a long line of Lords of Riddermark with a solid resume of sword-swinging.

Numenor, on the other hand, had been at peace for 600 years. War was something their remote ancestors had done back in the Bad Old Days when Morgoth was still around. The very concept of Numenor - as of Meneldur's time - was an escape from that, where swords were beaten into plowshares, and we don't study war no more.

The Shire

Jun 1, 10:05am

Post #5 of 5 (2417 views)
Actually [In reply to] Can't Post

Since Elros (Tar-Minyatur) lived to the ripe old age of 500 years of the sun, and his descendants lived on average about 300-400 years as well, and Tar-Meneldur was only the fifth to reign since Elros took the sceptre, it wasn't actually that long ago. (In modern terms, we're talking about a great-great-grandad who died some time in the 1880s.)

Little wonder he's a bit troubled by the thought of further conflict. (I assume the Numenoreans have in place something like the Chatham Islanders/Moriori's Nunuku's Law
https://teara.govt.nz/en/moriori amongst themselves. It would not have done to have blood feuds take place over this-that-and-the-other ... )


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