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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
Late answers

sador
Valinor


Mar 18 2013, 7:35am


Views: 152
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Late answers [In reply to] Can't Post

Crime and Punishment:

1. Melkor was kept chained in the halls of Mandos, and in solitary confinement. What do you imagine that was like?
Hardly fun; but I agree with those who suggested that time passage for a Vala is rather different than for us. As Saruman said: "we can bide our time…"

2. The Valar apprently believed in punishment rather than reform; would a different approach have made any difference?

Maybe.

Were the Valar capable of "capital punishment"?
Well, Melkor gave himself up because he apparently feared something…
And at the end of the War of Wrath, he was thrust out of the Doors of Night. So perhaps the answer is yes.

Would another more reform-minded approach worked, or was Melkor beyond help?
I suppose it wouldn't; but who can tell?

3. Why does Nienna aid Melkor in this way?
That's her essence.
I'm not sure to what extent the Valar embodied divine attributes, as opposed to their having distinct personalities. I tend to think Tolkien wavered between the two options; so perhaps Christopher and Guy Kay felt that the debate regarding Miriel would tilt the balance too much in one direction? I am more reluctant than others in the forum seem to protest against their decisions, but it's not as if I have a good answer myself.

4. We have seen so far in The Silmarilion that Mandos can be maddeningly vague -- why does he choose to say nothing now?

As above – who said it's a choice?

Does he think he's offering a not-so-subtle hint, or does he actually not know what Melkor is up to?
Let's say that he didn't look into what Manwe didn't bid him, or Eru did not reveal.

The Nature of Evil: The Enemy Within

5. Is Tolkien suggesting (like many modern crime dramas and police procedurals) that one must know -- or be -- a little evil in order to recognize it?
I disagree with what Macilliel wrote – of course one needs to understand evil to recognize it! But I suspect s/he didn't mean that, but only to contradict your suggestion that you must identify with evil yourself to comprehend it. I don’t think that's what Tolkien meant, either.

What does this say about Ulmo, Tulkas, and the Vanyar (or is suspicion something else entirely?)Why do they suspect Melkor of deceit?
Ulmo is deep enough, Tulkas is shallow enough, and the Vanyar are Manwe's lackeys and haven't been told specifically to speak to Melkor.

6. Melkor's evil seems to stem from envy -- what is the difference between envy and admiration?

Of whom? It seems to me that his evil stems from the wish to subjugate all other wills and talents to his own. Once the Noldor surpass him in anything, he needs to break them, since as long as they do so they are free to a certain degree. Consider Gwindor's escape from Angband – although Tolkien does leave open the possibility that several of the thralls escaped in according with Melkor's plan.

How does envy become so negatively charged and why does it inherently spell doom in this story (and many, many others)?
Because envy is the malevolent side of admiration.

7. Without staying too far into future chapters, why does Melkor take credit for Feanor?
You meant "straying", I assume.
I suppose Melkor would take credit for anything he could.

Why doesn't Feanor protest?
It seems that he holds Melkor in contempt, so he doesn't bother to.
In which case, Feanor's fundamental sin is really the oldest and most grevious one – the sin of pride in one's greatness. If you wish, of self-admiration.

8. It seems to me that the actions or protestations of some key people are missing in this chapter (more on that subject later). What were the Vanyar, the Teleri, and Aule -- the one who first taught the Noldor -- doing during all of this?

Why should they protest? The Vanyar were not told to, the Teleri are not uppity enough to speak, and at the moment they enjoy the fruits of the Noldor's craft (as Feanor will later remind them). and how much does Aule know, or care?

i. Why did Christopher seek to standardize this text?
If you read the footnotes to Voronwe's book, you'll see that this was not Christopher's initial purpose – apparently Guy Kay urged for this format.

Was it the publishers?
I don't think they really had a part in it.

His view of what the audience wanted or could handle?
Look, CuriousG stated that Christopher underestimated the audience, and then admitted that he never properly read UT!
With benefit of hindsight, one could say that the audience could handle more – but that is only after years of reading the published Sil, and having the great wisdom of Wikipedia and similar works to fall upon. I am sure that if I had read on my first reading the full digression of the Valar puzzling over the concept of Catholic marriage among elves, I would not really care – but I would get the impression that Eru left Arda in the hand of a bunch of hifaluting incompetents.
And I am still not sure that Tolkien had any intention of "fleshing out" the personalities of the individual Valar – for an Orthodox Christian, this would be anathema! He might have intended them to be more of impersonal virtues, and the debate regarding Miriel could have been just a mediaeval drama of morals (with Patience allying itself with Sloth and Indifference against the excesses of Zeal and Sentimentality, etc.).

Do you think the chapters of the Silmarilion are cohesive?
Far more than the source material, to be sure.

i.e., did Christopher achieve his goal?
But what was his goal? To the best of my recollection, we haven't established that as yet.

Or would you rather have seen the collection of annals, poems and tales that lay scattered about the Tolkien residence?
But I have seen it – or at least, the bits which Christopher published in the twelve volumes of HoME.

Would it have been charming, or too difficult, to read in that format?
Now, I like it and am fascinated by it. But I have worked as an editor for a decade, and for half a decade I have been a member of a message board given to analyzing to death these minutae. Would I have liked the said collection had I read it twelve years ago? I don't know.

Thank you all for your comments, clarifications, and questions!
Thank you, telain! As usual, you did a great job.

Subject User Time
Silmarilion Discussion, Chapter 6: "...and the Unchaining of Melkor" 2 of 2 telain Send a private message to telain Mar 11 2013, 4:42pm
    Unleashing the beast CuriousG Send a private message to CuriousG Mar 13 2013, 5:55pm
        how well do we really know Melkor? telain Send a private message to telain Mar 16 2013, 11:02pm
            Melkor Choice and naivete of the Valar Brethil Send a private message to Brethil Mar 17 2013, 1:38am
                Melkor's dark music and Nienna's healing telain Send a private message to telain Mar 17 2013, 11:34pm
                    Pride and pity CuriousG Send a private message to CuriousG Mar 18 2013, 12:49am
                        I get your thoughts CG! Brethil Send a private message to Brethil Mar 18 2013, 1:19am
                    Some thoughts on Nienna and Olorin and pity Brethil Send a private message to Brethil Mar 18 2013, 1:12am
                        I'm always learning something new here CuriousG Send a private message to CuriousG Mar 18 2013, 2:04am
                            Clueless? Hardly! Brethil Send a private message to Brethil Mar 18 2013, 3:15am
    My thoughts Finwe Send a private message to Finwe Mar 14 2013, 7:07pm
        how did Aule get in this chapter? Oh, yes... telain Send a private message to telain Mar 16 2013, 11:39pm
            The whole "Knowledge- good or bad?" question elaen32 Send a private message to elaen32 Mar 17 2013, 10:28am
    my thoughts Maciliel Send a private message to Maciliel Mar 16 2013, 12:30am
        Free will Elizabeth Send a private message to Elizabeth Mar 16 2013, 4:40am
            then how does this apply to the gift of men? Maciliel Send a private message to Maciliel Mar 16 2013, 11:09am
                It's not easy for us Mortals to see it as a gift, is it? Brethil Send a private message to Brethil Mar 16 2013, 3:45pm
                    as you've described it.. Maciliel Send a private message to Maciliel Mar 16 2013, 4:06pm
                        Scratching head, flipping though text- Brethil Send a private message to Brethil Mar 16 2013, 4:49pm
                            I think the "gift" is not connected to "free will". Elizabeth Send a private message to Elizabeth Mar 16 2013, 9:40pm
                                Did not intend to imply control Brethil Send a private message to Brethil Mar 16 2013, 10:13pm
        Feanor is a pit of smouldering coals... telain Send a private message to telain Mar 16 2013, 11:52pm
    Hello all, my first post about Sil, but I have been following :) Brethil Send a private message to Brethil Mar 16 2013, 2:01am
    Late answers sador Send a private message to sador Mar 18 2013, 7:35am

 
 
 

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