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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Main:
Is Curufin really the most like Feanor?

ange1e4e5
Rohan

Oct 15, 3:35pm

Post #1 of 16 (1821 views)
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Is Curufin really the most like Feanor? Can't Post

Curufin is said to be the most like Feanor in appearance and character, but from what we see of Curufin in The Silmarillion, he doesn't really match Feanor's skill in craftsmanship and is not as impulsive or passionate as his father; his speech to the people of Nargothrond is more insidious and threatening than Feanor's call to action. On the contrary, Curufin is calmer and calculating; he makes plans (like the one to get Finrod killed and have Celegorm marry Luthien), Feanor does not.

I always follow my job through.

(This post was edited by ange1e4e5 on Oct 15, 3:48pm)


CuriousG
Half-elven


Oct 16, 12:00am

Post #2 of 16 (1750 views)
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Well [In reply to] Can't Post

You make very solid points. But I think that the Feanor we saw was hot-headed from the death of his father, the theft of the Silmarils, the Kinslaying, and the defiance of the Valar. If he had a few centuries to cool down, he might be more cold and calculating like his son Curufin, who I think was just as evil.


ange1e4e5
Rohan

Oct 16, 6:29pm

Post #3 of 16 (1717 views)
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He was pretty hot-headed before that, [In reply to] Can't Post

When he threatened Fingolfin.

I always follow my job through.


L. Ron Halfelven
Grey Havens


Oct 17, 2:26am

Post #4 of 16 (1693 views)
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His mother's first name was Nerd, after all./ [In reply to] Can't Post



ange1e4e5
Rohan

Oct 17, 8:05pm

Post #5 of 16 (1641 views)
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I don't quite follow you. [In reply to] Can't Post

I was specifically referring to comparisons between Feanor and Curufin.

I always follow my job through.


CuriousG
Half-elven


Oct 18, 1:29am

Post #6 of 16 (1619 views)
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Do you think another son is most like Feanor? // [In reply to] Can't Post

 


Maciliel
Valinor


Oct 24, 1:43am

Post #7 of 16 (1424 views)
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heat and evil [In reply to] Can't Post

 
i always got the impression that feanor was hot-headed even before the death of his father. reference his attack on one of his half-brothers, that got them all exiled out of the city. fun fact -- his father didn't have to go with him, but went anyway. which means that he left his wife, indis, behind. i never really fully gave that enough weight until now. he triggered the separation of his father from his step-mother, indis (my recollection is that he did not care for her). there's an opportunity lost. feanor might have gotten some healing from a mother-figure, even though he was (presumably?) an adult when his father married indis. am i remembering correctly? how old was feanor when his father remarried?

is feanor evil? he certainly performs evil acts. some are performed when his blood is up, so maybe mitigating circumstances. others seem to originate from a self-centered nature, which seems to grow into a sort of narcissism. extreme narcissism often looks like evil, when one sees it.

did tolkien think of feanor as evil? unsure. can elves be evil? the likely candidates would be feanor, maeglin, eol, various feanorian sons. if they are indeed evil, it does not seem that they began so or were doomed to be so, but became so from choosing actions, and building patterns on those choices.

there certainly seems to be a thread of evilness running through the actions of the above, but i'm not certain that tolkien saw them as evil individuals.

narcissism certainly lends itself to great evil. the qualities of self-centeredness, disregard for the feelings of others, need for adoration, etc. seems to be fertile ground to grow evil. does true evil need a grand scale (like at a global level), or can it exist when the only people affected are in a small ecosystem, like a household or neighborhood?

some great leaders like f.d.r, and churchill certainly had narcissistic elements to their personalities. narcissists are oftene charmers, because they need to wheedle the admiration out of their audiences. that can make a dangerous combination, because a narcissist who is also charming can be ruinous.

feanor seemed to have an almost magical ability to charm. a separate gift? or part of his narcissism? i get the impression it started as a natural gift, separate from his narcissism.

so many thoughts here, so much to write. but i will stop here.

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


CuriousG
Half-elven


Oct 24, 3:09pm

Post #8 of 16 (1387 views)
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Slicing and dicing evil (and making julienne fries) [In reply to] Can't Post

Nice to see you, Mac!

There are "pure evil" characters in Tolkien, people who've turned to the dark side and are no longer capable of or interested in doing anything we'd consider good: Morgoth, Sauron, the Nazgul.

Then there are mixed evil people, where they might still do some good, and not every thought from them is about hurting someone else. I think Feanor falls into this category. He still loved his father; I don't think a Nazgul would.

I think Tokien was speaking through Mandos when he called Feanor evil:

Quote
But at that last word of Fanor: that at the least the Noldor should do deeds to live in song for ever, he raised his head, as one that hears a voice far off, and he said: So shall it be! Dear-bought those songs shall be accounted, and yet shall be well-bought. For the price could be no other. Thus even as Eru spoke to us shall beauty not before conceived be brought into E, and evil yet be good to have been.

But Mandos said: And yet remain evil. To me shall Fanor come soon.


I think narcissism predisposes people to act in evil ways, not for the pursuit of evil, but because they have no moral sense of responsibility to other people. So maybe Narcissist A just wants a really green lawn, and he mows, fertilizes, and mulches it endlessly, and it's the greenest lawn ever, and that's not evil. But Narcissist B wants to feel powerful, so they use, manipulate, betray, and murder anyone who gets in their way. Those are evil acts which make them look like an evil person even though they're not a worshiper of the Dark Side, they're just focused on personal fulfillment and don't care who gets in the way.

It's easy for me to call Hitler evil, and most people would agree, but if we could summon the spirit of Eva Braun for her personal opinion of him, I doubt she'd say she thought he was evil and would instead make a list of whatever personal qualities he had that attracted her to him. Hence I don't think there's ever unanimity on what constitutes an evil person.


Maciliel
Valinor


Oct 26, 6:43am

Post #9 of 16 (1348 views)
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"thus even as eru spoke to us shall beauty not before conceived be brought into ea, and evil yet be good to have been." [In reply to] Can't Post

 
true... these folks seem truly the definition of evil -- but -- they are all mystically evil, superhumanly evil. the first two originate as angelic powers. the last group are corrupted by mystically-derived, superhumanly-derived evil, into another mystical / superhuman form. that may be a special category of evil.

what of non-mystical / non-superhuman evil? (i'm counting elves in this category as well). seems pretty easy to think that superhuman entities can be evil -- they're larger than life, epic, etc.

but can a "regular" being actually "be" evil? as opposed to committing evil acts, which i think is readily apparent.

does feanor commit evil acts because he was originally corrupted by morgoth's (superhuman) evil? in prior reading room discussions, morgoth's evil was compared to a sort of mystical radioactive force, that corrupted, destroyed, left a corrosive power even when he or his agents were long gone or dead.

would feanor have been capable of comitting evil acts if there was no morgoth? could he have arrived at evil acts just through the loss of his mother, and seeing his father remarry indis? (is it possible to blame miriel's death on morgoth? or is that something that happened from a separate thread?)

is all evil in middle earth ultimately derived from morgoth, or is evil able to arise separate from his "radioactivity"?

besides feanor, turin strikes me as... not quite evil... but something in the neighborhood. there's a sort of self-centeredness about turin, and i could never quite get behind him as a tragic hero.

if non-superhumans can commit evil acts (even if as individuals they start off as non-evil), can a non-superhuman become evil through the accumulation of evil acts? can there be a single action so evil that forever casts a regular person (human or elf) as evil?

and what of this quote from mandos... "thus even as eru spoke to us shall beauty not before conceived be brought into ea, and evil yet be good to have been.

?

that last little bit... "evil yet be good to have been." what does that mean?

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


CuriousG
Half-elven


Oct 26, 5:33pm

Post #10 of 16 (1312 views)
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Evil is good for you. Have another bowl of it. [In reply to] Can't Post

My interpretation of that quote is that Evil is ultimately caught up in Eru's plan, so while it may do hurtful things according to its will, it can still play a an unintentional role in bringing about good things that Eru wants or desires. A few examples:

1. Gollum biting off Frodo's finger and obtaining the Ring--pretty evil, and treacherous considering the oath he'd sworn to him. Gollum didn't plan to fall into the volcano with the Ring and fulfill the quest, but he did, and the other options were pretty bad (such as Frodo throwing himself in, or Sam pushing him in, or Sam cutting the Ring from his finger, or whatever alternative you'd like to propose--all bad).

2. The creation of Valinor and the Two Trees. This was really done out of Morgoth's victory and the Valar's defeat, thus evil led to the creation of sublime beauty (check a box off for Eru) that Evil never intended.

3. Melkor killing the Two Trees: pretty dang evil, but the unintended, Eru-pleasing result was that all of Arda was given moonlight and sunlight, and the sunlight also kept evil indoors and subdued.

For your question:

Quote
is all evil in middle earth ultimately derived from morgoth, or is evil able to arise separate from his "radioactivity"?


My personal view is to say "yes" to your Part B, but I think Tolkien would say "yes" to your Part A.


Maciliel
Valinor


Oct 26, 6:06pm

Post #11 of 16 (1305 views)
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evil part A and evil part B -- interesting [In reply to] Can't Post

 
interesting is your response... yes / tolkien / part A vs. yes / curiousg / part B...

is... perhaps deemed by tolkien, but maychance also deemed by curiousg.... is evil (as manifested as evil acts and consequences) unavoidable, because it's part of eru's plan? or is it eru's plan only that anything evil that happens will always have an unintended, good consequence (meaning, evil actions do not have to take place... just that if they do, they will bear good fruit)?

(so good to be conversing with you again, curiousg : ) you always make me laugh with your deft way of summarizing an issue that is both humorous and savvy.)

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


CuriousG
Half-elven


Oct 27, 6:07pm

Post #12 of 16 (1212 views)
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And yoda-like, your response is [In reply to] Can't Post

But anyway, for your question:

Quote
is evil (as manifested as evil acts and consequences) unavoidable, because it's part of eru's plan? or is it eru's plan only that anything evil that happens will always have an unintended, good consequence (meaning, evil actions do not have to take place... just that if they do, they will bear good fruit)?

My interpretation is that Eru would prefer a universe without evil and certainly didn't introduce it into his design himself, but he gave the Ainur free will, and Melkor used his free will to invent evil and persuade others how much fun it is to be evil, so Eru's stuck with it, but it wasn't inevitable and wouldn't have appeared if Melkor been a good choir boy. Eru, however, still gets the upper hand over evil by making it lead to good down the road.

I hope your inquiries about evil are inspired by the proximity of Halloween and not a new personal hobby you're working on, Mac. Evil






Maciliel
Valinor


Oct 28, 3:21am

Post #13 of 16 (1191 views)
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wonderfully enlightening, your explanation is... : ) [In reply to] Can't Post

 
your assessment makes sense to me...

related to narcissism and evil... recently i watched the documentary "the woman who wasn't there." i thought it was going to be a documentary about someone who survived being in one of the towers on 9/11. to my surprise, it was about a woman who entirely fabricated her survival story. in fact, she was in barcelona at the time of the building strikes.

she went on to insert herself into the 9/11 survivor community, leading a successful campaign to force a long-time, active member (and 9/11 survivor) of one of the survivor organizations off the board. in that same time period, she became the president of that same organization (which had never had a president before).

when her lies were uncovered, the real survivors had a hard time understanding her motivations. everyone said she was charming and inspiring.

she struck me as a narcissist. clearly not caring about the feelings of others (even going so far to tell a friend whom she met through the survivor network, who was actually a survivor) that her pain was so much greater than hers (the friend's).

the need for attention, the feeding off of it. the ability to easily and self-righteously elevate her own fraudulent "pain" above the real pain of her friend. the fact that so many around her found her charming, and "electrifying."

i think there are some things that can explain things, but not exonerate them. i think that woman did evil. is she evil? i don't know. but the degree of her narcissism suggests that she has no qualms about committing acts of evil, and that perhaps she was only limited by her scope and power.

i think it's very hard for good folks to understand what they're dealing with re underhanded people. people who habitually do evil things. because it's not part of their nature, so it's hard for them to conceptualize, so it's easier for bad folks to take advantage.

sort of reminds me of the part in the sillmarillion where manwe (and some others?) agree to melkor's release. they just couldn't understand what they were dealing with re melkor's nature and likely future crimes.

re inquiries related to evil -- related to current events, but sparked by your discussion of feanor.


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


squire
Half-elven


Oct 28, 12:01pm

Post #14 of 16 (1152 views)
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I've always contrasted Manwe's innocence and folly with Eomer's [In reply to] Can't Post

When meeting Strider and hearing his story, Eomer says:
Yet you speak the truth, that is plain: the Men of the Mark do not lie, and therefore they are not easily deceived." (LR III.2)
I've never quite understood where Tolkien was coming from here. It seems to me that the human experience is more like the one you talk of, and that we see with Manwe. Those unused to Evil, who are innocent as children, cannot and do not understand Evil and don't recognize it when it is present. Wouldn't that apply to honest men when confronted with a liar?

The inverse would not seem to apply either, but in Tolkien it does to very great effect in the LotR story. Sauron, convinced that all people are as consumed with Power as he is, cannot conceive that the Council would foreswear the Ring and choose to destroy it instead. This provides both cover for the hopeless quest, and one of Tolkien's greatest themes in his book, that to use Power in the cause of Good can only result in further Evil.



squire online:
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CuriousG
Half-elven


Oct 28, 7:39pm

Post #15 of 16 (1131 views)
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I'd call that woman evil [In reply to] Can't Post

I think unawareness of others' feelings doesn't let you off the moral hook. But as evil goes, I would count her less evil than someone behind a genocide or a murder.

And spot on here, you are:

Quote
sort of reminds me of the part in the sillmarillion where manwe (and some others?) agree to melkor's release. they just couldn't understand what they were dealing with re melkor's nature and likely future crimes.


You also point out a funny thing about narcissists: they are usually very charismatic and charming. I forget the explanation why, but I think since they don't even feel like they're faking it (and faking things takes energy), it comes easily to them, the way the rest of us would say, "I want light on in this room, so I'll just flip this handy light switch." Voila! It's that easy (for them).


Hamfast Gamgee
Grey Havens

Nov 7, 9:59pm

Post #16 of 16 (806 views)
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One interesting thing about him, however. [In reply to] Can't Post

Was that he was fond of Dwarves and had dealings with them. Although it could have been simply a meeting of minds that liked doing crafts.

 
 

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