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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
Sil discussion of Turin Turambar: Dragons and Vala
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Brethil
Half-elven


Jul 20 2013, 6:14pm

Post #26 of 34 (118 views)
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Ungoliant and Glaurung [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
I have trouble squaring dragon origins with Morgoth's inability to create something new, especially since Glaurung clearly has his own will, unlike Aule's original, robotic Dwarves. Ungoliant might provide a clue. She was a spirit (Ainu or not) who gave birth to a race of spiders with no apparent mate. (Rumors in Angband said that Morgoth refused to pay child support and denied all paternity claims.) So maybe there was an initial dragon who somehow self-bred like Ungoliant to create the dragon race. But does anyone know if Tolkien ever explained where they came from? The Silmarillion certainly reveals no secrets about their origin.

I'm tempted to think Glaurung was a Maia or Maia-derivative given his independence from Morgoth, but I'm reminded of the rebellious Orcs of Mordor who said things like they hoped the Nazgul would be killed. That's not slavish obedience. Given his power, Glaurung could get away with a lot more defiance than an Orc could, and in one version (not very popular), Tolkien had Morgoth create Orcs from the earth, not from Elves who would have always harbored an inner hatred of him for corrupting them.




Your child-support theory is very compelling....Wink

I think they are parallel in creation as well as similar to Balrogs. So as far as the giant spiders and Balrogs go -

In Letter's (#144) JRRT describes the Balrogs as ...'primeval spirits of destroying fire, chief servants of the primeval Dark Power of the First Age." So 'primeval' here is a description of age and like origin describes both Morgoth and the Balrogs, and they are 'spirits' (incarnate, not stated but implied.) So I think they are spirits of early Creation, of great age, who came down to Arda - and choose Morgoth over Eru (though directly perhaps over the other Vala.)

As far as spiders in general, "The giant spiders (including Shelob) were themselves only (undl. by me) the offspring of Ungoliante the primeval devourer of light, that in spider-form assisted the Dark Power, but ultimately quarreled with him." Back to that idea maybe that once something reproduces it is bound - my guess for a mate would be a kindred spirit, choosing spider form as well. (Unless you have *inside information* from those Angband Family Court documents...)And I like her independence in her ability to 'quarrel' with Morgoth - certainly a powerful spirit who did not fear him.

Primeval again, dating the origin and the contemporaneous existence with Morgoth and then with Balrogs I think. And the use of 'spider-form' I think is a (slight) implication that this was not her initial or destined shape - ie: I think she was a descending spirit who chose this shape.

Making a long story short (always too late for me) I think dragons fall right into this same mold of creation - spirits who descended, chose their side and their form - and I think the mate mechanism is the same, finding a similar nasty, hungry, greedy soul who thought the Dragon-form was smokin' hot (pun *quite* intended)... and after the first clutch of babies the Dragons were a physical part of Arda.



Really though, maybe you should ask Fealoki (maybe right before dinner? Because I don't think you can ask her *after* dinner. Sorry.) Unsure

Coming soon!- The first TORn Amateur Symposium, starts Sunday 21st July in the Reading Room. Closing date for essay submission Sunday 14th July, but even if you don't submit, join us for some interesting discussion on some different and personal ways of looking at Tolkien's work.







CuriousG
Valinor


Jul 20 2013, 6:41pm

Post #27 of 34 (113 views)
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Ulmo and Turin [In reply to] Can't Post

Woops, missed this part.

When it comes to the Valar struggling against each other, Morgoth's spite certainly trumps Ulmo's compassion in this story. Ulmo's intervention goes amiss twice. I think his healing via Ivrin of Turin's woe was Turin's chance to make a new start in life, and he blew it. He's got all the hubris of someone in a Greek tragedy, and that dooms Nargothrond. (Once again, Ulmo's message is ignored--why does he even bother? Doesn't he seem like Melian being ignored? It's not easy being an Ainu among lesser beings or a Cassandra, another tragic Greek character.)

Turin is blessed with prodigious gifts but not with the maturity to discipline them. Curse or no curse, that can doom anyone. (A certain Feanor comes to mind; Turin is his mortal counterpart.)

While Ulmo's prophecies generally seem to come from divine insight, the one about Nargothrond's danger with the bridge and open warfare is stating the obvious. Morgoth has already wiped out the grand alliance of Fingon and Maedhros. What was little Nargothrond supposed to do against him? (By comparison, Thingol felt he could win a war against Nargothrond but didn't think he could beat the Sons of Feanor, so Nargothrond was a relatively weak kingdom.)


CuriousG
Valinor


Jul 20 2013, 6:44pm

Post #28 of 34 (113 views)
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It's safer [In reply to] Can't Post

to ask Fealoki after dinner, when her hunger makes her less eager to eat people conversing with her. At least, I hope so.


elaen32
Gondor


Jul 20 2013, 7:04pm

Post #29 of 34 (113 views)
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Not when you ARE the dinner though CG [In reply to] Can't Post

Haven't you read elsewhere that you are first on the menu?

Seriously though- I agree with your idea that the dragons are incarnate spirits, in league with Morgoth. Like Ungoliant, maybe they chose their form, bred and subsequently that form was a fixture in Middle-earth


Coming soon!- The first TORn Amateur Symposium, starts Sunday 21st July in the Reading Room. Closing date for essay submission Sunday 14th July, but even if you don't submit, join us for some interesting discussion on some different and personal ways of looking at Tolkien's work



Brethil
Half-elven


Jul 20 2013, 8:23pm

Post #30 of 34 (101 views)
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I'm afraid that IS the case...! [In reply to] Can't Post


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Haven't you read elsewhere that you are first on the menu?

Seriously though- I agree with your idea that the dragons are incarnate spirits, in league with Morgoth. Like Ungoliant, maybe they chose their form, bred and subsequently that form was a fixture in Middle-earth




(Also on the serious side - I am starting to see that as a workable hypothesis too. )

I wonder if CG realizes that 'dressing for dinner' means him eating things that Fealoki would enjoy as 'dressing' (ie: stuffing to us silly Colonials.).

Coming soon!- The first TORn Amateur Symposium, starts Sunday 21st July in the Reading Room. Closing date for essay submission Sunday 14th July, but even if you don't submit, join us for some interesting discussion on some different and personal ways of looking at Tolkien's work.







fealoki
The Shire


Jul 20 2013, 8:42pm

Post #31 of 34 (107 views)
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The Flame Living [In reply to] Can't Post

 
O Most Curious of Gs, Who Possesses Politeness Out of Remembrance --

This dragon must assure the Most Curious of Gs and all others who would wonder,
that dragons are the flame living, all-consuming, and ever-hungering.

The spirits of the dragons Morgoth did not create; they belong to the dragons alone.
And ambitions dragons have -- for gold, for conquest, for glory -- that are all their own.

This dragon is pleased to invite the CuriousG to dinner,
as this dragon is possessed of a tureen likely suited to a CuriousG.


In mendacious sincerity,



Fealoki


elaen32
Gondor


Jul 20 2013, 8:46pm

Post #32 of 34 (95 views)
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? Tureen [In reply to] Can't Post

Er... can't you just barbecue your victims.. I mean meals Fealoki? Or do you like a change now and then? Just curious (but not curious G you understand!)


Coming soon!- The first TORn Amateur Symposium, starts Sunday 21st July in the Reading Room. Closing date for essay submission Sunday 14th July, but even if you don't submit, join us for some interesting discussion on some different and personal ways of looking at Tolkien's work



Brethil
Half-elven


Jul 21 2013, 2:03am

Post #33 of 34 (92 views)
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Mirrors and swords! [In reply to] Can't Post

Glad you liked that bit about Mirrors - and perfectly phrased CG, that's exactly how I was thinking of it: Galadriel's Mirror showing things that are or can be; but the Mirror of the Dragon perverting what *is* like a carnival funhouse mirror (very nasty one too). And in someone guiltless, or fully confident, it would have no effect; but if you DO have something bothering you...look out. What a customized, personalized impact! Like walking up to someone whispering "I know your secret..."

I like the death of Turin as the cause of Gurthang's death too. I have cited the Second Prophecy of Mandos before, and even if it was not fully incorporated I like to think of it, to think of Turin with Gurthang in hand (in his metallic ethic yearning for Morgoth's blood) to finally get revenge and destroy Morgoth for good, striking a blow from men. Them, awaiting the Final Battle together...that's a thought to pay for what came before.

Coming soon!- The first TORn Amateur Symposium, starts Sunday 21st July in the Reading Room. Closing date for essay submission Sunday 14th July, but even if you don't submit, join us for some interesting discussion on some different and personal ways of looking at Tolkien's work.







Brethil
Half-elven


Jul 21 2013, 2:12am

Post #34 of 34 (107 views)
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Nargothrond and pride (more pride! Pride everywhere!) [In reply to] Can't Post


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Woops, missed this part. (Why? I only asked about 14,000 questions...!)

When it comes to the Valar struggling against each other, Morgoth's spite certainly trumps Ulmo's compassion in this story. Ulmo's intervention goes amiss twice. I think his healing via Ivrin of Turin's woe was Turin's chance to make a new start in life, and he blew it. He's got all the hubris of someone in a Greek tragedy, and that dooms Nargothrond. (Once again, Ulmo's message is ignored--why does he even bother? Doesn't he seem like Melian being ignored? It's not easy being an Ainu among lesser beings or a Cassandra, another tragic Greek character.) I agree about the 'second chance' like the cycle of laughter. How much do you think Gwindor's reveal of his name has to do with the ultimate fall of Nargothrond though? I think in this case Ulmo already knew Nargothrond was doomed - and it had served its purpose anyway; Finrod was already gone, and Beren had been saved.

Turin is blessed with prodigious gifts but not with the maturity to discipline them. Curse or no curse, that can doom anyone. (A certain Feanor comes to mind; Turin is his mortal counterpart.) True!
While Ulmo's prophecies generally seem to come from divine insight, the one about Nargothrond's danger with the bridge and open warfare is stating the obvious. Morgoth has already wiped out the grand alliance of Fingon and Maedhros. What was little Nargothrond supposed to do against him? (By comparison, Thingol felt he could win a war against Nargothrond but didn't think he could beat the Sons of Feanor, so Nargothrond was a relatively weak kingdom.) So true - its hope lay in concealment - but concealment didn't sit right with Turin (reminds me a little of the pride of Boromir, letting loose on the Horn when they leave - supposedly secretly - from Rivendell because he simply must declare himself and will not slink.)


Coming soon!- The first TORn Amateur Symposium, starts Sunday 21st July in the Reading Room. Closing date for essay submission Sunday 14th July, but even if you don't submit, join us for some interesting discussion on some different and personal ways of looking at Tolkien's work.






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