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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
Of the Coming of Men into the West, II: "There is room in the world, if the Eldar will let us be!"

sador
Half-elven


Jun 11 2013, 1:49pm

Post #1 of 19 (338 views)
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Of the Coming of Men into the West, II: "There is room in the world, if the Eldar will let us be!" Can't Post

Greetings!

It looks as if I have even less time to answer all your responses than I hoped - however they are great; and it's wonderful to have so many of them! It is a far cry from the previous discussion of The Silmarillion.

This post will be divided in four; those who want to read it in one go, should switch into Flat Mode - unless my internet connection breaks down again, as it did half an hour ago.

I am way behind in preparing the next post, which I scheduled for Thursday - I hope I'll manage it in time, as then I will probably go offline until Sunday.

'But my father loves them,' said Túrin, 'and he is not happy without them. He says that we have learned all that we know from them, and have been made a nobler people; and he says that the Men that have lately come over the Mountains are little better than Orcs.'
'That is true,' answered Sador; 'true at least of some of us. But the up-climbing is painful, and from high places it is easy to fall low.'

Who was right?
Join us in the Reading Room, for the discussion of Of the Coming of Men into the West, beginning on June 9!


sador
Half-elven


Jun 11 2013, 1:53pm

Post #2 of 19 (201 views)
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17/2, Story Time A - Who wants mortal guests? [In reply to] Can't Post

Soon after the departure of Felagund the two other clans of Men of whom Bëor had spoken cross into Beleriand. First come the Haladin, which turn north to Thargelion, the country of Caranthir, whose people pay little heed to them.
What does this say of Caranthir? Forget about showing friendship to them – needn't he be wary of people who were not yet allies against Angband? And after all, the tidings of the coming of Men was a major part of Fëanor rhetoric against the Valar – how did Caranthir of all the seven Sons get complacent about the newcomers?

In the next year the third people, the folk of Hador, join in.


Quote

…they were a tall and warlike folk, marching in ordered companies, and the Elves of Ossiriand hid themselves and did not waylay them.



Hador himself was originally conceived of as being the leader of this people; in the early 1950s, however, Tolkien revised the chronology and "removed" Hador four generations into the future (we might get to that in the next thread); the Third House of the Edain are led at the present by his great-great-grandfather, Marach.
Just a moment! Does the quoted sentence mean that the Elves of Ossiriand did waylay the Haladin?
After this welcome – why did the Haladin remain true to the case of the Elves?

The people of Marach finally come to the Estold, and settle near the dwellings of Baran son of Bëor, their friends and distant kin.
It seems that except for Caranthir and the Green-elves, most of the Noldor and Sindar are excited about the Atani (the Second People, as they were called in the prophecies of Valinor), which in Sindarin is "Edain". Like the word "Eldar" was given by Oromë to all Elves, but came to refer only to those who went on the Great Journey, the name "Edain" becomes an epithet only of the three kindreds of the Elf-friends.
Fingolfin welcomes them; and then many young and eager men go away to serve the Elven-lords, including Malach son of Marach, who is given the name of Aradan. Eventually he leads many of his people to Hithlum to serve under Fingolfin and Fingon. The people of Bëor also go North, but not so far to westward, and dwell in Dorthonion, which is held by the house of Finarfin.

Unlike Fingolfin, Thingol is less than overjoyed by the immigrants. Tolkien mentions two reasons: both because nobody except for Finrod consulted him, and because he was troubled by dreams concerning the coming of Men.


Quote


Therefore he commanded that Men should take no lands to dwell in save in the north, and that the princes whom they served should be answerable for all that they did; and he said: 'Into Doriath shall no Man come while my realm lasts, not even those of the house of Bëor who serve Finrod the beloved.'
Melian said nothing to him at that time, but afterwards she said to Galadriel: 'Now the world runs on swiftly to great tidings. And one of Men, even of Bëor’s house, shall indeed come, and the Girdle of Melian shall not restrain him, for doom greater than my power shall send him; and the songs that shall spring from that coming shall endure when all Middle-earth is changed.'



How do the two reasons given for Thingol's reluctance relate to each other? What do you believe?
Does Maedhros' ironic comment about Thingol's welcome to the Noldor ("A king is he that can hold his own, or else his title is vain. Thingol does but grant us lands where his power does not run …") apply here as well?

At least this time Thingol doesn't ignore Melian's prescience – she never tells him of it, having found a new bosom friend!
What does this say about them? Did Melian realize that her hubby has had enough of her Cassandra-like constant heralding of Doom? Did Tolkien intend Thingol to be marginalized so, or is he a necessary casuality of the enhancing of Galadriel's rôle? How did this prophecy affect Galadriel's reaction to Aragorn's courtship of Arwen?

'But my father loves them,' said Túrin, 'and he is not happy without them. He says that we have learned all that we know from them, and have been made a nobler people; and he says that the Men that have lately come over the Mountains are little better than Orcs.'
'That is true,' answered Sador; 'true at least of some of us. But the up-climbing is painful, and from high places it is easy to fall low.'

Who was right?
Join us in the Reading Room, for the discussion of Of the Coming of Men into the West, beginning on June 9!


sador
Half-elven


Jun 11 2013, 1:59pm

Post #3 of 19 (190 views)
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17/2, Story Time B - The Council of Estolad [In reply to] Can't Post

The people of Bëor take their posts in Dorthonion, and Malach Aradan leads his to Hithlum; but still, many Men remain in Estolad. Some simply hope that their wandering days are over, while others distrust and fear the Eldar.
One of the leaders of discontent is Bereg of the house of Bëor, who openly expresses his disappointment in finding that the Light in the West is still far away, across the Sea; and that the Men who have travelled far west to escape the Shadow that lies behind them, find it there before them – and the Elves, which battle with him, steer Men to the North, to set them against him!
A council and assembly is called. Many Elf-friends argue with Bereg, but another leader, Amlach grandson of Marach, seems to retort with "fell words that shook the hearts of all who heard him":


Quote


All this is but Elvish lore, tales to beguile newcomers that are unwary. The Sea has no shore. There is no Light in the West. You have followed a fool-fire of the Elves to the end of the world! Which of you has seen the least of the Gods? Who has beheld the Dark King in the North? Those who seek the dominion of Middle-earth are the Eldar. Greedy for wealth they have delved in the earth for its secrets and have stirred to wrath the things that dwell beneath it, as they have ever done and ever shall. Let the Orcs have the realm that is theirs, and we will have ours. There is room in the world, if the Eldar
will let us be!




Is Tolkien caricaturing atheism, or agnosticism, here? Or is this a fair representation of it?
The shocking revelation which follows aside, do the words attributed to Amlach ring true? If not them – is the disappointment of Bereg, at least, a valid point?

Amlach's words are frightening, but effective; and to everyone's surprise, he soon after "returned among them" (Tolkien's words), denying that he was present at the council, or ever spoke such words.

This seems to prove at least that the Enemy is trying to prevent Men from joining forces with the Elves. However, it is not yet clear what conclusion is to be drawn from the revelation: Bereg leads a thousand of the people of Bëor southwards, "and they passed out of the songs of those days" (but at least they survived!), as do some of the followers of Amlach. Amlach himself feels he has now a quarrel of his own with Morgoth; so he goes north and enters the service of Maedhros.
Can we be sure that Amlach really wasn't present at the council and didn't speak those fell words? Does anybody care to play Devil's Advocate for this?
What does it say of Amlach, that he went to join Maedhros of all Noldorin princes?
Did he go alone? What of the Elf-friends who were in the council? What happened to them?

'But my father loves them,' said Túrin, 'and he is not happy without them. He says that we have learned all that we know from them, and have been made a nobler people; and he says that the Men that have lately come over the Mountains are little better than Orcs.'
'That is true,' answered Sador; 'true at least of some of us. But the up-climbing is painful, and from high places it is easy to fall low.'

Who was right?
Join us in the Reading Room, for the discussion of Of the Coming of Men into the West, beginning on June 9!


sador
Half-elven


Jun 11 2013, 2:03pm

Post #4 of 19 (195 views)
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17/2, Text and Tradition A - The Blasphemous One [In reply to] Can't Post

It seems to be a safe assumption that the "fell words" misattributed to Amlach are Morgoth's. As for me, I would like to look a bit at them first.

In the speech (quoted above) the speaker makes several assertions, on which I have added my comments:
1. The Elves have been feeding the unwary newcomers with tall tales. The first sign of thinking for oneself, and/or of apostasy.
2. The Sea has no shore. But Men haven't ever seen the Sea in the west! Have they heard reliable reports by the orcs? Or does Morgoth prefer not to spread lies which can be proven wrong?
3. There is no Light in the West. Which is true, by the way; it could not have been a part of Finrod's teachings. Why would Morgoth bother with this? Surely this reflects Avari traditions, taught the forefathers of Men long before they came to Beleriand!
4. Men's westward trek was following a fool-fire of the Elves. The Avari of the East, of course.
5. Beleriand is the western end of the world.
6. There is no evidence to the gods' existence, not even to the existence of Morgoth himself!
7. The Eldar are greedy imperialists, seek the dominion of Middle-earth. According to chapter 9, "The Flight of the Noldor", this is true – at least of Galadriel… but of the rest as well.
8. As a part of their greed, they have delved in the earth for its secrets and have stirred to wrath the things that dwell beneath it. Again, re-using a LotR theme – that of the dwarves of Moria. Does this really apply to elves?
9. "As they have ever done and ever shall" – it's not as if the Elves could ever be changed or improved. Can they?
10. Men can live alongside Orcs, on a live-and-let-live basis. Well, according to The Hobbit, some wicked dwarves did manage to thrive pretty well doing just that… which leads to the question: What of dwarves? Did men have any dealings with them?

In general – do these questions really come as if they come from Morgoth? How would he know of the Avari traditions these men have accepted? And would he really teach men to deny his own existence?
Or were they just the products of independent-minded Mannish inquiry? Or did Morgoth teach men to think?
Is Tolkien taking the easy way out, in ascribing agnosticism and political appeasement to Morgoth – or is he raising serious questions, which need to be addressed?





If we assume indeed that Morgoth has preached this complete unbelief, not even instituting an alternative worship of himself (as Sauron dutifully set up in Númenor), then he must have given up all pretensions to supplant Eru, or even the Valar – he must have been bent on destruction for its own sake.

Tolkien has considered this in his series of philosophical discursions regarding Arda, which Christopher has collected and published in Morgoth's Ring under the title Myths Transformed. In text VII, pages 395-396, he concludes that Morgoth has become an utter nihilist, bent on the sheer ruining of other's work (he adds that Sauron has never degenerated that far). From an independent mind, he had become a contrarian, then an antagonist, and finally one who has become virtually impotent, existing only for the torment of others.

Is this an inevitable course stemming from his first rebellious choice? Or even a natural one? Do you find the description of his degeneration compelling, or familiar? Or do you reject it?

What might have led Tolkien to this frightening image? Is it consistent with Catholic theology? With the Miltonian Satan? Could it have been inspired by contemporary (for Tolkien) events – by the horrors of the mid-20th century? To put it bluntly, is text VII of Myths Transformed the allegory LotR never was?

Or are there internal reasons for this transformation? Could the literary need for the one who seems like Amlach to utter those sentiments, renouncing all that the Valar know is true; added with the assertion that these were Morgoth's teachings – could this have set these wheels in motion? Or perhaps it was the image of Morgoth's pain and fear, when in the clutches of Ungoliant (which is perhaps the very last Silmarillion text written), which led to this inquiry?





'But my father loves them,' said Túrin, 'and he is not happy without them. He says that we have learned all that we know from them, and have been made a nobler people; and he says that the Men that have lately come over the Mountains are little better than Orcs.'
'That is true,' answered Sador; 'true at least of some of us. But the up-climbing is painful, and from high places it is easy to fall low.'

Who was right?
Join us in the Reading Room, for the discussion of Of the Coming of Men into the West, beginning on June 9!

(This post was edited by sador on Jun 11 2013, 2:07pm)


sador
Half-elven


Jun 11 2013, 2:19pm

Post #5 of 19 (195 views)
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17/2, Text and Tradition B - The Darkness Behind (long) [In reply to] Can't Post

The questions of Amlach's words, and of Morgoth's degeneration, both reflect on Bëor's mysterious answer to Finrod's questioning:



Quote


'A darkness lies behind us,' Bëor said; 'and we have turned our backs
upon it, and we do not desire to return thither even in thought. Westwards our hearts have been turned, and we believe that there we shall find Light.'




This reference to something dark and ominous in Men's past did not exist in the early versions of this meeting; but from the beginning, Tolkien indicated that something in Eru's plans regarding Men went horribly wrong from the beginning.

We have mentioned Men's first awakening and discovery by the wizard Tú; however, according to The Book of Lost Tales, soon afterwards another character appeared on the scene, a certain Fankil who after the Valar defeated Melko and took him as a prisoner, still "dwelt uncaptured in the world" (HoME vol. I, page 237). Fankil had managed to corrupt Men, who ended up worshipping him and Melko. However, it appears that he only existed in outlines, and nothing was ever actually written about him.
These two shady characters were later somehow merged. In The Lay of Leithan, a wizard with a name which is a variant on the BoLT one, has become Morgoth's most powerful lieutenant, with a long career of corrupting men before him. This amalgamated character was then given some of the personal traits, and the rôle of Beren's jailor, from a third character in BoLT – the flamboyant Tevildo, Lord of the Cats – adding up to a terrifying new person (The Lays of Beleriand ps. 227-228, lines 2052-2069):


Quote


Now in that hill was the abode
of one most evil; and the road
that from Beleriand thither came
he watched with sleepless eyes of flame…
Men called him Thú, and as a god
in after years beneath his rod
bewildered bowed to him, and made
his ghastly temples in the shade.
Not yet by Men enthralled adored,
now he was Morgoth's mightiest lord…



Thú later was named Gorthaur, and then Sauron. The pecularities of his original components were not forgotten: the independence of Tú from both Manwë and Melko is repeated in Sauron's wavering and near-repentance after the War of Wrath; and Fankil's corrupting Men in The Akallabęth. However, he is no longer the prime corrupter – the described worship of him is yet in the bossom of the future.
I will later connect this history to our topic; but at this point, do you have any comments?

In our chapter, the alternative story is suggested:


Quote


But it was said afterwards among the Eldar that when Men awoke in
Hildórien at the rising of the Sun the spies of Morgoth were watchful, and tidings were soon brought to him; and this seemed to him so great a matter that secretly under shadow he himself departed from Angband, and went forth into Middle-earth, leaving to Sauron the command of the War.

Of his dealings with Men the Eldar indeed knew nothing, at that time, and learnt but little afterwards; but that a darkness lay upon the hearts of Men (as the shadow of the Kinslaying and the Doom of Mandos lay upon the Noldor) they perceived clearly even in the people of the Elf-friends whom they first knew.



This is hinted back in chapter 9, Of the Flight of the Noldor, when Morgoth is described as claiming the Kingship of Middle-earth: "Never but once only did he depart for a while secretly from his domain in the North…"
But wait a minute! In our first thread, the near-consensus was that Morgoth had underestimated Men, thiking them of little worth. Why then did he essay out from Angband just in order to see them for himself? Or was he disappointed with what he had found?

Whatever the answer to the above question is, it should surely take into account the following passage from chapter 7 (Of the Silmarils and the Unrest of the Noldor):


Quote

In those days, moreover, though the Valar knew indeed of the coming of Men that were to be, the Elves as yet knew naught of it; for Manwë had not revealed it to them. But Melkor spoke to them in secret of Mortal Men, seeing how the silence of the Valar might be twisted to evil. Little he knew yet concerning Men, for engrossed with his own thought in the music he had paid small heed to the Third
Theme of Ilúvatar…




Just to note in passing: this indicates that the Elves were the subjects of the Second Theme of Ilúvatar, and Men of the Third.


The question of the darkness in the far history of Men is discussed in one of Tolkien's most fascinating works: the Athrabeth Finrod Ah Andreth. As mentioned above, Voronwë the Faithful discussed it a few years ago.
The Athrabeth is a discussion between Finrod and Andreth, a wise-woman of the House of Bëor, who apparently knows more than the illustrious leader of her people's migration. To sum it broadly, it includes five parts:
1. Andreth's existential despair at the unfairness of mortality, and Finrod's comforting her.
2. Finrod's questioning of Andreth as to Men's original fall, to which she declines to answer, saying she does not quite know herself.
3. Finrod's vision of Men as ultimately saving the world from Morgoth's taint, and of the respective rôles of Elves and Men after this redemption; this part includes the famous distinction between two types of hope, Amdir and Estel.
4. Andreth's mentioning of "those of the Old Hope" – some among Men who believe that in the future Eru Himself will enter the world to save it. This hope is embraced by Finrod as the most wonderful tidings he has ever heard.
5. And last, the source of Andreth's bitterness is revealed and discussed – her unrequited (or more correctly, unconsumated) love for Aegnor, Finrod's younger brother.
The main text is followed by Tolkien's own commentary, discussing both characters as individuals and as representing their respective races; and by two appendices the tale of Adanel, said to be Hador's sister (which Voronwë discussed here), and a conversation between Ilúvatar and Manwë regarding the reincarnation of Elves.
I would love to participate in a full discussion of the Athrabeth! But that would likely require some ten separate discussions (including one for the question whether it should have been published with The Silmarillion, or at least with Unfinished Tales) – way beyond our scope here.
To our point, the first two parts are relevant, as is the tale of Adanel:

Andreth states the belief that death was never the intended lot of Men, but a calamity brought upon them by Morgoth; Finrod stoutly denies any such blasphemy, asserting that powerful as he may be, Morgoth would never be able to tamper that much with Ilúvatar's intentions. Rather, he states that death is some special Gift of Men, pretty much in accordance with Ilúvatar's words recorded at the end of chapter 1 (Of the Beginning of Days).
Finrod agrues that it is Men's despair, and their envy of the Elves' longevity – this refusal to accept Eru's Gift, which is the taint of Morgoth. He therefore asks Andreth what terrible sin have Men committed in their past which led to this despair. She declines to say, mentioning that maybe Adanel will know; but this leads to a discussion of hope and faith, in which each brings the other joyful tidings.
In the Tale of Adanel, Andreth actually does recount Finrod the traditions of the House of Marach which Adanel told her. Basically, they include direct communication between Eru (as the Voice) and Men. But after that a human-like Being comes among them bearing gifts, and then demanding more and more for these gifts until he compels them to disown the first Voice, who then is heard again bidding them farewell (more or less) while asserting that they still belong to Him, as does the Enemy himself.

Before entering Beleriand – where did Men get their idea of inherent immortality from? Morgoth? The Moriquendi? Surely they must have realized that most biological entities die! Or is this their loneliness, as the only mortal people endowed with the power of speech?
And Andreth's despair – is it also induced by Morgoth – or is it a natural result of Men's lonliness? Or did they feel humiliated by being mortal?
Does Adanel's tale account for the original sin which Finrod identified in Andreth's words? And how does it relate to the Old Hope she mentions?
What gifts could Morgoth offer, which would offset Eru's Gift? Only physical success – or also some metaphysical solace? Did Men feel despair before he came among them?
Are we sure this is really Morgoth? Doesn't this seem to be suspiciously like Sauron's methods – both with the Elven-smiths of Eregion, and with the Númenóreans?
Speaking of the Númenóreans – with such traditions among them, wouldn't they be more wary? Is their Fall a mere repetition of Men's original one?
Well, the last question belongs rather to the discussion of The Akallabęth. I'll replace it with a more provocatice one:
Doesn't Ilúvatar's direct intervention to destroy Númenor fulfill the Old Hope Andreth spoke about?

My question regarding Sauron as the possible deceiver refers not just to the original Fankil, but also to Tolkien's very last thoughts on this darkness in Men's history:
This has to do with Tolkien's continuing inquiries as to the nature of Orcs (see squire's summary here). His "last word" (I don't think one can speak of a "final word" when discussing The Silmarillion) was that they could not be corrupted Elves, as Morgoth could completely control the will of the Children of Ilúvatar, he could not keep those born as Elves enthralled forever; and therefore Orcs had to be Men. But since Orcs had troubled the Sindar for long before Morgoth returned to Middle-earth, it follows that Men must have woken up much earlier, long before the making of the Sun (well… that was another story he thought he should discard), and were captured and turned into Orcs by Sauron! (Myths Transformed, text X)
As I hinted above, this might actually work… but how do you feel about Tolkien's idea of radically changing essential parts of his mythology, just because of some philosophical consideration?
Just to throw in a couple of monkey-wrenches, Tolkien had no problem with having some Maiar completely enslaved as Balrogs and Orc-chieftains; he also seems to contradict the idea that only Men have power of their Destiny, beyond the Music of the Ainur! Is he asserting that Elves have the same power?
On the other hand – Sauron did manage to completely enslave at least nine Men. How does this work out?
And finally - if Men were enslaved in Middle-earth, and none of the Valar knew of it or gave them any thought - doesn't this justify retroactively the rebellion of Fëanor? How would Arda have been saved otherwise?

Well, that's enough for now. But at least one thing seems clear: the philosophical problems unleashed in this chapter were never completely resolved. Tolkien got bogged down by them, and this might have been one of the reasons he has never finished his re-write of The Silmarillion.

'But my father loves them,' said Túrin, 'and he is not happy without them. He says that we have learned all that we know from them, and have been made a nobler people; and he says that the Men that have lately come over the Mountains are little better than Orcs.'
'That is true,' answered Sador; 'true at least of some of us. But the up-climbing is painful, and from high places it is easy to fall low.'

Who was right?
Join us in the Reading Room, for the discussion of Of the Coming of Men into the West, beginning on June 9!


Hamfast Gamgee
Gondor

Jun 11 2013, 11:25pm

Post #6 of 19 (172 views)
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Bereg [In reply to] Can't Post

I quite like the idea that his people passed out of legend but survived. They might even have prospered in alliance with the Avari. And perhaps the fell beasts they had encountered on the way were pussy cats once they had got to know them! And about Amlach. I have often wondered who had impersenated him. It couldn't have been Morgoth himself as Morgoth at that time could only appear as a mighty dark lord. Was it Sauron possibly? In his nice form?


CuriousG
Valinor


Jun 12 2013, 2:37pm

Post #7 of 19 (157 views)
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'No Irish need apply" [In reply to] Can't Post

That was a common addition to employment ads where I live (Boston) up through the 1970s to discourage Irish immigrants; Thingol was surely behind it.

Caranthir: He's as mean as he's obtuse, isn't he? I wonder if he dislikes puppies too, and grandchildren, if he had any. You make a good point about him being negligent of his duty to defend the east marches of the leaguer, since these could have been enemy soldiers, and being new, he should have gotten more info about them. The big contrast is later he not only saves Haleth's people, he has pity on them and invites them to live among his own. Maybe that was not so much kindness as his calculation that they had proven brave in battle and could be useful to him, just as he pragmatically got along with the Dwarves for profit without ever liking them.

Great point about Feanor invoking the fear of the Edain. I never thought of that in connection with Caranthir, but yes, he should have thought about them for that reason too.

Green-Elves vs Haladin: not sure if they waylaid in an attack sense, but maybe they vandalized their property and did other unfriendly things to make them move on. It would explain why the Haladin keep to themselves and turn down Caranthir's invitation to join him up north.

Thingol: he remains as petty-proud as ever. The Noldor shine by comparison in their welcome of (or at least indifference to) the Edain, but he feels compelled to give them the cold shoulder as he did to the Noldor. Xenophobe. Fingolfin reliably takes the high road as High King, but the one who claims to be the true High King consistently takes the low road.

Though I'll admit that if his dreams are giving him some unquiet, he's justified in being worried about Men. As for wife Cassandra, I think she's given up trying to tell him anything since he routinely ignores her.

I'm not sure that Melian's prophecy has much effect on Galadriel, who presumably sticks around Beleriand long enough to see the whole Beren & Luthien story unfold in person. That would influence her later attitude toward Aragorn more than anything else, I think.


noWizardme
Tol Eressea


Jun 12 2013, 3:14pm

Post #8 of 19 (148 views)
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Thingol clerihew [In reply to] Can't Post

Thingol gave
A cold shoulder to the Noldor
But it was in vain
That he tried to do the same to the Edain

Disclaimers: The words of noWizardme may stand on their heads! I'm often wrong about things, and its fun to be taught more....

"nowimë I am in the West, Furincurunir to the Dwarves (or at least, to their best friend) and by other names in other lands. Mostly they just say 'Oh no it's him - look busy!' "
Or "Hold off! unhand me, grey-beard loon!"


noWizardme
Tol Eressea


Jun 12 2013, 3:28pm

Post #9 of 19 (142 views)
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I'm going to blame Sauron [In reply to] Can't Post

…in my attempt to square the various circles here.

The paradox is one you out well:
On the one hand- Men aren't interesting enough to take much bother over unless you think they're amusing like Finrod. Neither side seems to see much military potential in them either

On the other: someone has been putting effort into corrupting them

If Sauron had been taking humans on as a hobby, that might explain things without requiring much Morgothian involvement?

But I'm not to wedded to this theory - I agree its more likely that Tolkien had simply not rationalised all the different elements in here!

Disclaimers: The words of noWizardme may stand on their heads! I'm often wrong about things, and its fun to be taught more....

"nowimë I am in the West, Furincurunir to the Dwarves (or at least, to their best friend) and by other names in other lands. Mostly they just say 'Oh no it's him - look busy!' "
Or "Hold off! unhand me, grey-beard loon!"


FarFromHome
Valinor


Jun 12 2013, 4:11pm

Post #10 of 19 (148 views)
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I'm tempted to blame Satan... [In reply to] Can't Post

I wonder if Tolkien eventually got bogged down in trying to make the early history of Men fit with the Judeo-Christian story of Adam and Eve? The mysterious "original sin" (as you call it) might hint at the "real" Original Sin perhaps? It's as if he was trying to come up with his own version of the corruption of the first man and woman in the Garden of Eden, but never found a story he liked so ended up leaving things mysterious.

His troubles over the orcs are also perhaps, as you say, caused by his philosophical difficulties, as he became more deeply interested in wedding his legendarium to a Christian worldview in later years. I have often wondered if it was the feedback he got after the publication of LotR that sent him in this direction, and of course the realisation he came to himself that LotR had become "fundamentally Christian" as it developed.

Before entering Beleriand – where did Men get their idea of inherent immortality from? Morgoth? The Moriquendi? Surely they must have realized that most biological entities die!

Almost the earliest traces we have of men suggest that this idea has always been with us. Burials containing food or goods for the afterlife are some of the oldest archaeological evidence we have, I think. Of course, people have always known that their bodies die, but they seem to have always believed in another world, and that's the world that myths are concerned with - including this one.

What gifts could Morgoth offer, which would offset Eru's Gift?

Maybe the same gift that the serpent offered to Adam and Eve - forbidden knowledge. And like Adam and Eve, the Edain have to learn to live with the knowledge of death as loss and suffering, whereas if they had not fallen to temptation they could have stayed in their "Garden of Eden" where they would have understood death as a gift, leading to eternal bliss.


They went in, and Sam shut the door.
But even as he did so, he heard suddenly,
deep and unstilled,
the sigh and murmur of the Sea upon the shores of Middle-earth.
From the unpublished Epilogue to the Lord of the Rings



telain
Rohan

Jun 13 2013, 11:37pm

Post #11 of 19 (129 views)
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What's the Elvish word for "closed-minded?" [In reply to] Can't Post

And it didn't take me long to get back on the "What is up with Thingol?" train. Actually, sador, I think you have an interesting question here and I do think his two reasons are related. He was not consulted and he was troubled by strange dreams.

1) he doesn't listen to Melian (we know this...)
2) he doesn't like the Noldor and has very limited dealings with them, therefore he does not get multiple opinions and anecdotes relating to the Edain.
3) he has strange dreams re: Edain

As I mention in the earlier thread regarding the Laiquendi, there is something Tolkien is saying about "holing up". Limiting your exposure to and interaction with the world outside one's Girdle may keep you safe for a time, but it will also keep you scared, conservative, suspicious, stingy, xenophobic (hmmm, sounds like the negative traits given to Hobbits in LotR, no?) Thingol is so in love with his own perceptions of things that he won't take advice from the one person who is providing all that Girdle-y good safety. Closing one's borders closes the mind as well...

I give Caranthir a bit more credit actually. At first he was nonplussed with them (I envision Carathir saying "Edain? Meh.") but as soon as he learns of their prowess in battle and their willingness to learn from the Eldar, he changes his tune. To something like "Edain? Yeh, OK." At least he was willing to not only change his perception of them, but defend them and allow them to live in his realm. Makes Caranthir look positively soft and fluffy.

I don't think it was too strange (ok a little strange) that Caranthir doesn't pay the Haladin much mind. If they were as primitive as some of Tolkien's passages suggest (and more primitive arguably than the Laiquendi) then (like someone else we know with a name that starts with "M" and ends in "goth") perhaps he felt they didn't deserve his attention.


Brethil
Half-elven


Jun 20 2013, 1:05am

Post #12 of 19 (129 views)
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Some Morgothian theology [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
1. The Elves have been feeding the unwary newcomers with tall tales. The first sign of thinking for oneself, and/or of apostasy.
2. The Sea has no shore. But Men haven't ever seen the Sea in the west! Have they heard reliable reports by the orcs? Or does Morgoth prefer not to spread lies which can be proven wrong?
3. There is no Light in the West. Which is true, by the way; it could not have been a part of Finrod's teachings. Why would Morgoth bother with this? Surely this reflects Avari traditions, taught the forefathers of Men long before they came to Beleriand!
4. Men's westward trek was following a fool-fire of the Elves. The Avari of the East, of course.
5. Beleriand is the western end of the world.
6. There is no evidence to the gods' existence, not even to the existence of Morgoth himself!
7. The Eldar are greedy imperialists, seek the dominion of Middle-earth. According to chapter 9, "The Flight of the Noldor", this is true – at least of Galadriel… but of the rest as well.
8. As a part of their greed, they have delved in the earth for its secrets and have stirred to wrath the things that dwell beneath it. Again, re-using a LotR theme – that of the dwarves of Moria. Does this really apply to elves?
9. "As they have ever done and ever shall" – it's not as if the Elves could ever be changed or improved. Can they?
10. Men can live alongside Orcs, on a live-and-let-live basis. In general – do these questions really come as if they come from Morgoth? How would he know of the Avari traditions these men have accepted? And would he really teach men to deny his own existence? I do think that they might Sador - I'm not sure about the knowledge of the Avari traditions. But I do think it is in character for him to preach complete atheism; if that is what pulls Men out of the influence of the Valar and anything they symbolize, his aim is met. At any later time he can prove himself through his fists, as it were, and probably bring all the more fear along with the proof of his existence. So for a long-term plan of spiritual domination I think it works very well and is quite in his nature.
Or were they just the products of independent-minded Mannish inquiry? Or did Morgoth teach men to think? I think Men can think, and because of their short lives are perhaps very inquiring. That is why they might embrace any 'teachings' they come across, especially if they make more sense in the short term, and in the Mortal frame of reference, than far off tales of things they have never seen, as are the Elf traditions they come into contact with.
Is Tolkien taking the easy way out, in ascribing agnosticism and political appeasement to Morgoth – or is he raising serious questions, which need to be addressed? I think it is a political strategy which says something abut Men's nature: that the essential goodness and faith that I present MUST be subverted for accepting the rule of a destroying and therefore unnatural government. So I think JRRT is using the negative relief here to highlight his beliefs.

If we assume indeed that Morgoth has preached this complete unbelief, not even instituting an alternative worship of himself (as Sauron dutifully set up in Númenor), then he must have given up all pretensions to supplant Eru, or even the Valar – he must have been bent on destruction for its own sake. I don't think so. I think it is part of a very well thought out strategy for diminishing the souls of those he would control.

Is this an inevitable course stemming from his first rebellious choice? Or even a natural one? Do you find the description of his degeneration compelling, or familiar? Or do you reject it? I think it is compelling in that it shows the depths to which those seeking absolute, dehumanizing power will fall to, and that in order to achieve such control over sentient beings and integral part of their being, the soul, must be somehow perverted to accept this type of domination. From the desire to control more than one has allowance for, or wisdom to rule, the next progression is to use whatever means are needed to enforce one's own will, even at the cost of the subjects in question. An atrocious modern parallel in the Holocaust where racial propaganda marred the spiritual values of millions of people and assisted in them accepting the unthinkable as a political activity.
What might have led Tolkien to this frightening image? Is it consistent with Catholic theology? With the Miltonian Satan? Could it have been inspired by contemporary (for Tolkien) events – by the horrors of the mid-20th century? To put it bluntly, is text VII of Myths Transformed the allegory LotR never was? Yes, particularly I see parallels with Milton's Satan, especially in the denial of God and the self-spawning of the angels: denying the Valar and the light in the West, and debasing the origins of the Elves. Can we see the 20th century events as denial of divinity? Certainly as I said above the propaganda war to gain minds worked that way, debasing humanity. Its hard with JRRT though, because the question always remains that he denies modern allegory, particularly 20th century allegory...can we see back further into history and see it there? The many religious wars of the world, where the enemy was 'evil' because they were different?



Manwe, when asked a simple "Yes" or "No" question, contemplated, and responded "the middle one."


Brethil
Half-elven


Jun 20 2013, 2:55pm

Post #13 of 19 (90 views)
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Caranthir and Thingol [In reply to] Can't Post

Caranthir perhaps believed his own PR? It feels rather arrogant , simply writing off the newcomers. But much of Caranthir's actions seem to be, in contrast to Maehdros.

It does seem to imply that the Haladin might have been met by the Elves of Ossiriand, maybe not in the friendliest of fashions (unfriend fashion?) I think the Haladin were used to ungentle circumstances; and the Green elves it seems did not fully attack them, so their resolve may behave simply been to keep moving and living. It speaks for their judgment I think that they did not group all Elves together and seem to have judged each segment based on their behaviors.

Thingol does seem to be assuming leadership that he does not have: they aren't welcome in his lands, yet he seems to reserve the right to assess any behaviors against the Firstborn who do accept the Edain. Completely dismissive of the Edain as 'grown-ups' as he hold the Elves responsible for their conduct, like they are wards of the Elven state.

In the case of Melian, I think her envisioning the flow of Men into Doriath speaks of its doom - and for her that is an exeunt point. I have always felt Melian's attachment to Doriath is only through Thingol; and that she has foreknowledge of its loss and that limits her long-term plan for staying. I think Thingol was marginalized by his relationship with Melian from the start - not that he knew it. Quite to the contrary. As far as Galadriel, I think those words coming from Melian helped to prepare that the inheritance of Arda by Men will occur and will outlast the Elves. Maybe it gives her a sense of comfort when Aragorn arrives on the scene, as in some way the inheritance will happen through her own line.

Manwe, when asked a simple "Yes" or "No" question, contemplated, and responded "the middle one."


sador
Half-elven


Jun 24 2013, 11:38am

Post #14 of 19 (67 views)
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Summary, and my own responses [In reply to] Can't Post

Well, this thread had received considerably less responses than the previous one; so I hope to be able to go through it more quickly; however, I couldn't post yestreday, and today is difficult again! That's what RL is like...


What does this say of Caranthir? Forget about showing friendship to them – needn't he be wary of people who were not yet allies against Angband?
CuriousG was very much an anti-Caranthirian; telain was more benign towards him. However, telain and Brethil seem to have expected him to be more receptive and interested towards Men, while CuriousG followed the cue about him being negligent.
I really wonder about him; he could have known these were not evil people, as Finrod probably spread the information about two more tribes coming from the East among those who might have intercepted them.
Also, from his interaction with dwarves, it seems that Caranthir, whatever bad traits he might have, did have a clear head in assessing who was a friend or foe (and yes, Thingol was not a friend), regardless of whether elf, man or dwarf. And don't forget that both the Laiquendi and Ents apparently lived nearby!
The worst I can say about him, is that he probably got a sardonic fun out of the green-elves consternation about the newcomers. Evil

And after all, the tidings of the coming of Men was a major part of Fëanor rhetoric against the Valar – how did Caranthir of all the seven Sons get complacent about the newcomers?
Yes, this was a part of the anti-Valar agenda - but (as Thingol says in a previous chapter) the Noldor presented themselves as coming to help the poor Sindar which were stranded in Beleriand against Morgoth. They probably believed it themselves, and more so regarding Men, at least while their own dominion was not endangered.
So perhaps Caranthir's reaction is not so difficult to understand.


Just a moment! Does the quoted sentence mean that the Elves of Ossiriand did waylay the Haladin?

Yes, I think so. Although perhaps, like Brethil and CuriousG indicated, it was waylaying in a less aggressive way than Orcs would - a few booby traps, packages missing, food going all wrong and so on.

After this welcome – why did the Haladin remain true to the case of the Elves?
I suspect they've noticed how the other Eldar treated the Ossiriand ones, and decided just to shrug it and move on. Every race has its own bad eggs.


How do the two reasons given for Thingol's reluctance relate to each other? What do you believe?
Yes, they do. If the Princes of the Noldor do not consult him about such high matters, it is enough to cause bad dreams, is it not?
But seeing how he treated the incoming Noldor at the time - who can blame them?

Does Maedhros' ironic comment about Thingol's welcome to the Noldor apply here as well?

Yes, it does.
One of the most pathetic parts of a dwindling authority, is the post factum sanction given to acts which one couldn't control. It's the stage were Thingol begins deluding himself he has any real influence. At least Galadriel listens to Melian! Nobody seems to listen to Thingol.

What does this say about them? Did Melian realize that her hubby has had enough of her Cassandra-like constant heralding of Doom?
CuriousG thought so; Brethil had an interesting percpective - perhaps Melian shared her husbands premonition of doom, and realised that for her as well, the time for packing up is near! Wonderful!

Did Tolkien intend Thingol to be marginalized so, or is he a necessary casuality of the enhancing of Galadriel's rôle?
This is a real question: Tolkien sometimes enhanced some characters roles artificially after writing the story, thus destroying the balance. It's an (unavoidable?) downside of his perfectionism.
In this case I'm not quite sure. Verlyn Fleiger makes an important point in Splintered Light about Thingol's slide down to darkness.

How did this prophecy affect Galadriel's reaction to Aragorn's courtship of Arwen?
Brethil thought it did, CuriousG that it didn't really. I'm not sure either way.

'But my father loves them,' said Túrin, 'and he is not happy without them. He says that we have learned all that we know from them, and have been made a nobler people; and he says that the Men that have lately come over the Mountains are little better than Orcs.'
'That is true,' answered Sador; 'true at least of some of us. But the up-climbing is painful, and from high places it is easy to fall low.'

Who was right?
Join us in the Reading Room, for the discussion of Of the Coming of Men into the West, beginning on June 9!


sador
Half-elven


Jun 25 2013, 10:05am

Post #15 of 19 (64 views)
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Summary, and my own responses [In reply to] Can't Post

Well, there was only one answer to this post - by Hamfast Gamgee, who once mentioned that he was a fan-fic author.

Is Tolkien caricaturing atheism, or agnosticism, here? Or is this a fair representation of it?
Well, it could be seen as a fair representation of a healthy skepticism. Of course we know it is "not" true, but had we been introduced to our world as written by its author, wouldn't we know the same about it? In RL we are not privileged by any special knowledge, and therefore need not privilege any theological possibility. In short, the Men gathered at Estolad have only Finrod's word for what to believe in - as much as we have the word of those who have received a Revalation.
So yes, I think Tolkien was representing RL agnosticism, and arguing that it comes from the Devil.

The shocking revelation which follows aside, do the words attributed to Amlach ring true?

There is some truth to them; and the deeds of the Eldar could easily be spinned this way. Another instance of the power of fell words is in Glaurung's taunts to Turin, who sees himself as in a crooked mirror, and loathes what he sees.

If not them – is the disappointment of Bereg, at least, a valid point?
Yes, it is a valid argument that the Eldar see the Edain merely as cannon fodder, and that Men are rather getting the thin end of the stick.

Hamfast liked my wry observation, that at least Bereg's men survived, and wondered what came out of them. I would guess they joined the Numenoreans, but their descendants (Tolkien loves heredity) will be among those who lend an ear to Sauron.


Can we be sure that Amlach really wasn't present at the council and didn't speak those fell words? Does anybody care to play Devil's Advocate for this?
Nobody did. Hamfast suggested it was Sauron who assumed Amlach's visage, which might be logical, seeing howhe conjured a vision of Eilinel to trap Gorlim - but could have Sauron come so far South unnoticed?

I've been thinking along the lines of repentance while denying uttering the latest heresy, or even of schizophrenia - but Amalch's decisive words, taking up a lifelong quarrel with Morgoth himself, seem t prove he really wasn't there.

What does it say of Amlach, that he went to join Maedhros of all Noldorin princes?
In a previous discussion it was observed that Maedhros took the most difficult job of the defence of the North. Amlach goes to seek a perpetual war. But he is also going were no other Men are at the moment.

Did he go alone? What of the Elf-friends who were in the council? What happened to them?

Tolkien doesn;t say; but I would guess that Amalch went alone. As a penance, he goes to a lifelong exile.


'But my father loves them,' said Túrin, 'and he is not happy without them. He says that we have learned all that we know from them, and have been made a nobler people; and he says that the Men that have lately come over the Mountains are little better than Orcs.'
'That is true,' answered Sador; 'true at least of some of us. But the up-climbing is painful, and from high places it is easy to fall low.'

Who was right?
Join us in the Reading Room, for the discussion of Of the Coming of Men into the West, beginning on June 9!


sador
Half-elven


Jun 25 2013, 12:08pm

Post #16 of 19 (62 views)
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Summary, and my own responses [In reply to] Can't Post

This post received only one response to; but the response (Brethil's) was a long and detailed one. She didn't comment upon my dissection of the words attributed to Amlach, and I won't repeat them, but go directly to the questions.

In general – do these questions really come as if they come from Morgoth? How would he know of the Avari traditions these men have accepted?
Well, I suppose that he could have known about that, from evil Men under his sway, or even captive Avari. The true statement "there is no Light in the West" must have given him a true delight, as it was himself who overthrew the Light! And when the Noldor would have to admit it, or perchance someone may blurt it out, Morgoth will be proven right.

And would he really teach men to deny his own existence?
Brethil thought it was in character for Morgoth to preach complete atheism. if that is what it takes to entice Men away from the teachings of Finrod. After all, he can always "prove himself through his fists" (a nice phrase - I didn't know it!). This of course is reflected in Turin's words to Arminas and Gelmir (the messengers Cirdan sent to Nargothrond) - the Valar, if they exist, have forsaken Middle-earth; and the only Vala present is Morgoth.
And whoever it was who did the actual preaching - never mind about him. If he really does not believe in Morgoth's existence, he will soon be forced to acknowledge it.

Or were they just the products of independent-minded Mannish inquiry?
For sure they could be. But perhaps, as Brethil suggested, Men are more likely to embrace 'teachings' such as those.

Or did Morgoth teach men to think?
Most defintiely not! But to question what they've accepted as inalienable truths... isn't that a bit like he did with the Noldor in Valinor?

Is Tolkien taking the easy way out, in ascribing agnosticism and political appeasement to Morgoth – or is he raising serious questions, which need to be addressed?

Brethil thought "JRRT is using the negative relief here to highlight his beliefs". But I am not sure this is an entirely fair presentation of the problems. On the other hand, is there ever a fair presentation of fundamental questions?


Is this an inevitable course stemming from his first rebellious choice? Or even a natural one?
Just to mention here - Brethil denied the complete nihilism of Morgoth, which Tolkien described in Myths Transformed as necessary; she assumed that denying his own existence was just a well-planned bit of strategy, as above.
But hey, it was the professor who said it, not me.

Do you find the description of his degeneration compelling, or familiar? Or do you reject it?
Brethil thought it was, but I think she wasn't answering my question, but rather discussed the degeneration of seeking power to absolute evil. This is a familiar motif, but I was more interested in the slide to nihilism Tolkien describes.
I'm not sure I find this compelling. Sure, those who are bent on never sharing power sometimes care more about destruction than about achieving anything positive for themselves; but getting to utter nihilism?
I'm not sure, but Brethil mentioned Hitler as an example; and his last days do seem as if he was obsessed by the idea of Götterdämmerung.

What might have led Tolkien to this frightening image? Is it consistent with Catholic theology?
This seems more likely than Milton as an influence - but I know too little of Catholic teachings to say. Morgoth does begin with a Non servitam stance, but after that?

With the Miltonian Satan?
Brethil did see the parallel to Milton. I wonder why Shippey (who in The Road to Middle-earth did find a less-known poem by Milton which he claims might have influenced Tolkien, or at least speaks of similar themes) does not refer to this. Could he hve overlooked the importance of Myths Transformed? Unlikely; far more likely that he felt they belong to a later stage of Tolkien's creative work, and do not reflect Tolkien's original ideas. But was this idea so new to Tolkien, or did he just phrase something which has been there from the beginning?
However, Shippey knows both Milton and Tolkien far better than me, so he might think this is a wrong, or unprofitable, direction.

Could it have been inspired by contemporary (for Tolkien) events – by the horrors of the mid-20th century?
Well, the totalitarian dictatorships of the early 20th century did base themselves upon a denial of God. Is this process inevitable? Is there a good answer to Dostoevsky's challange that "if there is no God, all is permitted"? I do not know. I might have expected, after the turn of the last century, that the human race will lose its faith in Man - but so far, this is not the direction history has taken; and the postmodernist stance seems particularly effective in preventing people from returning to their father's faiths.

To put it bluntly, is text VII of Myths Transformed the allegory LotR never was?
Very possibly. The Lord of the Rings is first and foremost a vast work of art, and Tolkien naturally resented people who try to narrow it down to a contemporary, concrete moral. But Tolkien clearly thought deeply about his lefetime's events, and I think it is likely that he would transfer his observations to his invented world.



'But my father loves them,' said Túrin, 'and he is not happy without them. He says that we have learned all that we know from them, and have been made a nobler people; and he says that the Men that have lately come over the Mountains are little better than Orcs.'
'That is true,' answered Sador; 'true at least of some of us. But the up-climbing is painful, and from high places it is easy to fall low.'

Who was right?
Join us in the Reading Room, for the discussion of Of the Coming of Men into the West, beginning on June 9!


sador
Half-elven


Jun 25 2013, 1:11pm

Post #17 of 19 (61 views)
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Summary, and my own responses [In reply to] Can't Post

Well, this was a lot to read, and probably difficult for those with less knowledge of Morgoth's Ring. But among the RR participants there are some who know this book far better than I do; however, they chose not to weigh in. A pity.

In our first thread, the near-consensus was that Morgoth had underestimated Men, thiking them of little worth. Why then did he essay out from Angband just in order to see them for himself? Or was he disappointed with what he had found?
I have hinted that indeed, it might have been easier to revive the old theory about the Sauron-precursors as the corrupters of Men, and to give Morgoth's lieutenant this position. Tolkien himself was nearly forced to take this option, when he began playing around with the more fundamental components of his imagined chronology.
I have for a long time wondered whether this blaming of Sauron is not the most logical solution to the story-internal difficulties caused by Tolkien's contradicting statements. It appears that noWizardme also thinks of such a solution, which bodes well. Smile

Regarding my questions about the Athrabeth:

Before entering Beleriand – where did Men get their idea of inherent immortality from? Morgoth? The Moriquendi? Surely they must have realized that most biological entities die! Or is this their loneliness, as the only mortal people endowed with the power of speech?
It might have been the Moriquendi. Just think: an Avari family suddenly meets a primitive, but similar to elves, clan. They probably have no knowledge that Iluvatar has planned to send two fumndamentally different peoples into the world; so they would naturally assume the newcomers were immortal like themselves. And then they would find otherwise...
FarFromHome pointed out that the belief in the afterlife is one which goes to the very first known human cultures; they were struggling with their mortality from the time they first encountered it.

And Andreth's despair – is it also induced by Morgoth – or is it a natural result of Men's lonliness? Or did they feel humiliated by being mortal?

I'm not sure about this. Man is lonely: On the one hand, he is seperated from his brethen the animals, and being unable to use his greatest power - speech - and hold communion with them (Tolkien refers to this in Of Fairy-stories). On the other, he remains uncomforted by being alone and forsaken in this world, bereft of any real understanding of God and His plan, or even whether He exists.
Having elves in the world complicates the issue: if they could be trusted, atheism is no option; but on the other hand, you have at hand close kinsmen, which are seperated from you by the trivial detail that unlike you, they are not doomed to die.
Is this new loneliness humiliating as well? I think Andreth feels it; and Men combat it with making up a tale that death was not their intended lot, but was meted out as punishment for some terrible sin...
Compare to Genesis, chapter 3. Do you think Adam and Eve were originally intended to live for ever?

Does Adanel's tale account for the original sin which Finrod identified in Andreth's words?

It might have. And it also might have cause the mythmaking described above - we do not know for how long Morgoth was away, definitely less than a century. Could it be that no man had yet surrnedered his life? If Men began dying only after their betrayal of the First Voice, would they not have supposed that without this sin, they would have been immortal?

And how does it relate to the Old Hope she mentions?
Not directly. But it shows that Eru does directly involve Himself in Arda; moreover, He did speak directly to Men (something Elves never were granted), and did tell them of His mysterious projected return.


What gifts could Morgoth offer, which would offset Eru's Gift? Only physical success – or also some metaphysical solace? Did Men feel despair before he came among them?
I very much agree with FarFromHome here - he offered them a promise of forbidden knowledge, like the serpent offered Adam and Eve. This promise would have given them hope, and fend of fear.
Of course, the promised knowledge turned out to be of their own base weakness, and betrayal of God (Jewish tradition considers this to be the nakedness Adam and Eve have suddenly become aware of - Rashi, Gen. 3:7); and also of Morgoth's sudden assuming a tyrannical power over them. "Prince of this world", as Christian tradition has it (Jewish tradition doesn't - but after all, Tolkien was a Christian).

Are we sure this is really Morgoth? Doesn't this seem to be suspiciously like Sauron's methods – both with the Elven-smiths of Eregion, and with the Númenóreans?

As mentioned above, noWizardme liked this idea. But Tolkien intended it to be Morgoth himself.

Doesn't Ilúvatar's direct intervention to destroy Númenor fulfill the Old Hope Andreth spoke about?
Nobody rose to this bait! And clearly, Tolkien did not intend it as such.


As I hinted above, this might actually work… but how do you feel about Tolkien's idea of radically changing essential parts of his mythology, just because of some philosophical consideration?

He did that again and again, and this was detrimental to the stories - both in their contradictions and lack of coherence (which might be explained away as a compilation of conflicting traditions, as FarFromHome often suggested) and in the much-lamented result of his never rewriting the final three chapters.
Perhpas this was inevitable. One cannot devote decades of his life to create an imaginary world which is at great variance with his own deepest beliefs; and the great reconciliation of the two he tried to achieve was impossible, but also impossible for him to renounce.*

Just to throw in a couple of monkey-wrenches, Tolkien had no problem with having some Maiar completely enslaved as Balrogs and Orc-chieftains; he also seems to contradict the idea that only Men have power of their Destiny, beyond the Music of the Ainur! Is he asserting that Elves have the same power?

On the other hand – Sauron did manage to completely enslave at least nine Men. How does this work out?

These two questions are difficulties I find with these last thoughts regarding orcs. I still think the Elvish origin of orcs cannot be discarded without a complete overhaul of the mythology.


And finally - if Men were enslaved in Middle-earth, and none of the Valar knew of it or gave them any thought - doesn't this justify retroactively the rebellion of Fëanor? How would Arda have been saved otherwise?
Any answers?



* For those interested, see Shippey's and Fleiger's different readings of Smith of Wootton Major - Shippey's in both The Road to Middle-earth and (which I find a clearer presentation) Author of the Century; Fleiger's in A Question of Time.


'But my father loves them,' said Túrin, 'and he is not happy without them. He says that we have learned all that we know from them, and have been made a nobler people; and he says that the Men that have lately come over the Mountains are little better than Orcs.'
'That is true,' answered Sador; 'true at least of some of us. But the up-climbing is painful, and from high places it is easy to fall low.'

Who was right?
Join us in the Reading Room, for the discussion of Of the Coming of Men into the West, beginning on June 9!


Brethil
Half-elven


Jun 27 2013, 9:23pm

Post #18 of 19 (58 views)
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Summation Thanks! (and about Feanor) [In reply to] Can't Post


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And finally - if Men were enslaved in Middle-earth, and none of the Valar knew of it or gave them any thought - doesn't this justify retroactively the rebellion of Fëanor? How would Arda have been saved otherwise?
Not sure if you have seen the latest chapter postings all the way through - but while discussing Fate it does come to my mind that - inextricably linked with the Summoning - is a way for Arda to find the way back, to beseech the Valar for aid. So I would have to say yes, I like your notion here of a retroactive justification (or a fateful inevitability) of Feanor's rebellion and the Return: but linked to the act of the Summoning and not standing alone.

Thanks for all the summation and for posting your ideas here Sador Angelic - having only old-read knowledge of Andreth's tale I will try to obtain the volumes again (still replacing lost books) and have a read of the source texts, as it sounds very compelling; I remember being sad about the unrequited and lost love part most of all.





Manwe, when asked a simple "Yes" or "No" question, contemplated, and responded "the middle one."


sador
Half-elven


Jun 28 2013, 4:03am

Post #19 of 19 (59 views)
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Thank you! [In reply to] Can't Post

I was hoping to finish this summary by yesterday, but our home computer crashed, so I'll post it on Sunday from the office. But it's lovely that people are following it, despite it's falling to the second page!

Regarding the retroactive justification of Feanor - well of course; even Melkor could be justified retroactively, as Iluvatar said at the end of the Ainulindale! Also, remember Manwe's words at the beginning of chapter 11 and Mandos' reply. Here I was claiming something stronger - that if Men were out and about, being corrupted to Orcs at the very moment (according to Tolkien's latest idea) - then the Valar were surely in the wrong, and Feanor took the better decision (albeit with possibly the wrong motivation) at the very moment of rebellion. This would for sure controvert all that Tolkien intended!

And yes - re-reading Morgoth's Ring is highly recommended. Reading the whole series would be even better, but that would take long and is not for everybody's taste or range of interests.

'But my father loves them,' said Túrin, 'and he is not happy without them. He says that we have learned all that we know from them, and have been made a nobler people; and he says that the Men that have lately come over the Mountains are little better than Orcs.'
'That is true,' answered Sador; 'true at least of some of us. But the up-climbing is painful, and from high places it is easy to fall low.'

Who was right?
Join us in the Reading Room, for the discussion of Of the Coming of Men into the West, beginning on June 9!

 
 

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