Thread: Losing Immortality
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Bilbo, Frodo and Sam left Middle Earth as a reward (?) for being Ring Bearers, didn't they?
Like you, I don't know about Luthien's situation. Was it ever explained in the Appendixes or in the Silmarillion?
I'm also curious to know why Elrond and Elros had to choose between mortality and immortality. (If I had been Elros I would have picked immortality, I know that much!) Also, why did Aragorn and Arwen's son Eldarion not get a choice?
Actually she could have left, but she chose to remain in Middle-earth and eventually die because of Aragorn.
[quote:178drlcx]But Luthien Tinuviel was elven, so why couldn't she leave?[/quote:178drlcx]
The path to the Undying Lands wasn't open to the Eldar during Luthien's life, not that she had any real reason to go (her spirit was able to traverse the distance though independent of her body). Later when she chose to become mortal she forfeited her Elvishness and also died before the offer to come to the Undying Lands was reissued at the end of the First Age.
[quote:178drlcx]And even if she gave up her immortality, then how could hobbits and (possibly) a dwarf even go into the west?[/quote:178drlcx]
Bilbo, Frodo, and (presumably) Sam and Gimli were very special cases and granted exceptions to the rule that non-Elves couldn't go to the Undying Lands (sort of like Luthien was a special case and received the Gift of Death). However, they did [i:178drlcx]not[/i:178drlcx] live forever there.
Hope this helps.
They couldn't very well be mortal and immortal at the same time, could they? The Valar decided for some reason - who knows what their thought process was - that since Elrond and Elros had mixed heritage (Maia, Elvish, and Mannish) they would be allowed to "choose their destiny" so to speak. This choice was not granted to anyone else after Elrond and Elros except Elrond's children (why they got a choice but Elros' didn't is not explained to my knowledge).
[quote:1cw5bg1w]Also, why did Aragorn and Arwen's son Eldarion not get a choice?[/quote:1cw5bg1w]
Arwen had for all intents and purposes become a mortal, and Aragorn had about 6000 years of mortal heritage on his side. Eldarion simply wasn't covered by the Valar's decree.
I thought I read somewhere that Ring Bearers might have been allowed to sail, that's why Sam might have been able to go. I'm not sure what special grace Gimli would have had though.
As to being both mortal and immortal at the same time, I think they can. Elves can have 'mortality' thrust upon them - and so inherently they enjoy both the "mortal" and the "immortal" state. Talk about lucky. (I'm making an aside here to Mortality being God's Gift to Man. Some Gift!) As to your witty remark: "Oh you!"
Are you sure Arwen had a choice? Wasn't she "fated" to die when she married Aragorn? Could you quote the passage that refers to her making a Choice. I thought her Choice was: marry Aragorn and you die. Not: you can marry Aragorn, but when he dies you can sail if you still want to. I'm really unclear about this.
Eldorion is right on the mark in his responses. I'd ruminate a bit further, but I'm getting an email alert.
Eldorion: "Arwen had for all intents and purposes become a mortal..." Please explain that. I need more convincing.
I can't check my book at the moment, but I believe the end of Appendix A mentions it was because of his friendship with Legolas and his puppy-love (er ... reverance ) for Galadriel that allowed him to go. Perhaps the Valar were simply feeling generous.
[quote:3jdrz8ew]As to being both mortal and immortal at the same time, I think they can. Elves can have 'mortality' thrust upon them - and so inherently they enjoy both the "mortal" and the "immortal" state. Talk about lucky.[/quote:3jdrz8ew]
The only instance I can recall of an elf loosing immortality is Luthien (Arwen doesn't count since she had a choice as the daughter of Elrond Half-Elven) and Luthien only got it by special decision of the Valar (probably after consultation with Eru). She is hardly representative of Elves in general though anymore than Tuor (who did not die) is representative of Men in general.
[quote:3jdrz8ew](I'm making an aside here to Mortality being God's Gift to Man. Some Gift!) [/quote:3jdrz8ew]
It was intended as such, and while as Men ourselves (well, in my case a human but not necessarily a [i:3jdrz8ew]man[/i:3jdrz8ew] per se ) we might not appreciate it as such, the Elves were somewhat jealous. They are bound to the world and very well might not outlast it (for the world is not eternal). The uncertainty of death though is not something I particularly care for, though. Before this becomes a real world philosophy discussion, I'll just say that I can sympathize with the Numenoreans.
[quote:3jdrz8ew]Are you sure Arwen had a choice? Wasn't she "fated" to die when she married Aragorn? Could you quote the passage that refers to her making a Choice. I thought her Choice was: marry Aragorn and you die. Not: you can marry Aragorn, but when he dies you can sail if you still want to. I'm really unclear about this.[/quote:3jdrz8ew]
Her choice was to either sail Oversea or stay in Middle-earth and die, and her decision to stay behind was because of Aragorn. Had she stayed behind for some other reason though she still would have died. I can't quote the exact passage unfortunately, but there is a description of the choice in [i:3jdrz8ew]The Silmarillion[/i:3jdrz8ew] I believe, in either the final chapter or one of the two appended texts.
[quote:3jdrz8ew]"Arwen had for all intents and purposes become a mortal..." Please explain that.[/quote:3jdrz8ew]
Arwen was [i:3jdrz8ew]de facto[/i:3jdrz8ew] elf for most of her life, but at some point after her decision to remain in Middle-earth she became mortal. At what point her innate longevity actually left her (her decision to stay, when Elrond left but she stayed, when Aragorn died, or even the moment at which she herself died) I do not know. In any case, after her decision to remain the question of her dying was no longer one of if, but when.
I hope this is somewhat clearer.
I remember the mention of Galadriel possibly putting in a good word for Gimli - and I must say I liked the way T made out he did not know what had happened. It almost seemed that T himself was only aware of a rumour to that effect. Wonderful!
LUTHIEN AND ARWEN:-
Yes, I seem to remember she choose mortality. Arwen I thought did too. It seems to me it was the price of marrying mortals. Could Arwen have still chosen immortality and still married Aragorn? I don't know that any text supports that.
ERU's GIFT TO MAN:-
Nah! Can't come at it being a GIFT. Most people do have uncertainty about death and would probably like the opportunity at least to live much longer than our mortal span allows. If we had the Elvish Gift of immortalility - we could always choose to give up our Spirit at the time of our own choosing - like Arwen apparently did (before her chosen 'mortality' kicked in!)
Yes, I sympathize too. Elros certainly made a decision that his descendants disagreed with! Kind of selfish if you look at it in a certain light, I think.
ARWEN AND ARAGORN:-
I agree with you. Arwen stayed because of Aragorn and thereby chose mortality. Her immortality was rescinded. She chose the time of her own demise, but she would have died anyway. Just like Luthien.
I think we actually agree about Arwen's mortality. We just seem to disagree about the timing. When did she become mortal? I think it was the minute she married Aragorn (or maybe when she made the 'final' decision to stay behind in Middle Earth?) You seem to think it was at some indeterminate time later?
Well she could have but they would have been separated from each other forever after death, which I would imagine kind of sucks for a husband and wife.
[quote:2uin3id3]If we had the Elvish Gift of immortalility - we could always choose to give up our Spirit at the time of our own choosing - like Arwen apparently did (before her chosen 'mortality' kicked in!)[/quote:2uin3id3]
Arwen was a very special case and by no means representative of elves in general. She had the choice to give up her immortality because of her father, for all other Elves (except Luthien who got a divine decree in her favor) had no such option: they were stuck, immortal, in Arda forever. That's why they were jealous of humans.
[quote:2uin3id3]Kind of selfish if you look at it in a certain light, I think.[/quote:2uin3id3]
I'm sure the later Numenorean Kings looked on it that way, though to be fair I don't know if Elros was aware that he was depriving his descendants of a choice.
[quote:2uin3id3]When did she become mortal? I think it was the minute she married Aragorn (or maybe when she made the 'final' decision to stay behind in Middle Earth?) You seem to think it was at some indeterminate time later? [/quote:2uin3id3]
I don't know when it was, like I said in my last post. Once she made her choice it was inevitable though.
I was just re-reading the thread and noticed this sentence in a new light. Tolkien, when writing [i:12p94cqb]The Lord of the Rings[/i:12p94cqb], had a "conceit" or pretension that he was merely rediscovering a lost history. ([i:12p94cqb]The Hobbit[/i:12p94cqb] was also included in this.) There are some references to this history in the Prologue and the final chapter (the Red Book, titled [i:12p94cqb]The Downfall of the Lord of the Rings and the Return of the King[/i:12p94cqb] by Frodo, and Bilbo's [i:12p94cqb]Translations from the Elvish[/i:12p94cqb] (presumably [i:12p94cqb]The Silmarillion[/i:12p94cqb]) both make an appearance. These were the works of Hobbits but some of them were based on older works by Elves and Men.
Since these writings were supposedly the work of non-omniscient characters within the story they did not have perfect knowledge of the story or the world, so in some cases we do have only rumours or legends.
P.S. Does this thread fit the bill for your request for a "juicy new topic"?
And, yes, I was wondering if Tinuviel might have risen to my challenge for a juicy new topic? I was just too shy and modest to suggest it! I certainly hope I don't sound conceited saying so.
Whatever the case, well done Tinuviel!
Agreed. Now she just needs to post here again, though we have been moving fast. It hasn't even been a full 24 hours yet!
Aragorn says in Appendix A.I.v that "I am the last of the Numenoreans and the latest King of the Elder Days; and to me has been given not only a span thrice that of Men of Middle-earth..." I don't think this means the line (descendants) of Numenor disappears, just that they are not [i:3t1krg58]truly[/i:3t1krg58] Numenoreans after Aragorn but lesser descendants of Numenoreans. This waning had been going on for millennia and apparently reached a certain point after Aragorn.
Aragorn (last of the Numenoreans) marries Arwen (daughter of Elrond Half-Elven and an Elven Princess - what was her name again?) and yet their Bloodline becomes Lesser? That doesn't sound fair - or logical!
If Eru has ordained this, well, it just goes to show just how fickle gods can be!
And I often use the term "bittersweet" to describe the ending of LotR too.
Specifically about Aragorn's descendants though, they were not entirely diminished. The two branches of the Half-elven were reunited by Aragorn and Arwen, but that was a gap stretching back to before there even was a Numenor, so the marriage wouldn't restore any Numenorean-ness to the bloodline.
In the end though, the rejuvenation under Aragorn was really only temporary as his descendants continued diminishing despite the brief step forward. Eventually most of the remaining magic would also go.
I hate to do this since it made you happy, but Aragorn, Merry and Pippin all stayed behind in Middle-earth.
[quote:27r0vsbu]Yet if the elves and cool peeps left, then what of the dwarves?[/quote:27r0vsbu]
There is a mention in [i:27r0vsbu]The History of Middle-earth XII[/i:27r0vsbu] (I believe) about the race of Durin (the other branches of the Dwarves aren't mentioned there or almost anywhere else) would end, though this passage wasn't published in Tolkien's lifetime. I'm doubtful that Dwarves interbred with the general human population however since there's no examples of this occurring at any other point in Middle-earth.
Tolkien did intend that Middle Earth be a version of our own past. In that context, I think it's not a stretch to conclude that the Dwarves and Little People in our Modern World are descendants of Hobbits and Dwarves, and that they may have interbred with humans.
Hey! And imagine if the computer age had come about twenty five years earlier? LOTR could have been twice as long and be, in my opinion, the right length! (Even T admitted it was too short - and he'd know!)
It seems someone might have to write that sequel. Maybe it could be about a character called Odovocar Banks, or something... Must put my mind to it... Someone should! Someone must!
You know, if it was done properly the characters in this sequel would become immortal in a sense. Immortal - do you get it - like this thread being supposed to have something to do with 'immortals' - why do we drift so? (With apologies to Tinuviel!)
I have to respectfully disagree. We do know that Hobbits and Men could dwell side-by-side, as they did in Bree, but we also know that this was extremely rare (Bree was said to be the only place in the world this happened; [i:3mi2uspz]FotR[/i:3mi2uspz], At the Sign of the Prancing Pony). Now I suppose it could be biologically possible for Hobbits and Men (or Dwarves and Men) to interbreed. The Prologue to [i:3mi2uspz]LotR[/i:3mi2uspz] sets out the relationship of other "races" to Men as such, in order of increasing distance:
Hobbits --- Dwarves --- Elves
Since Elves and Men are able to reproduce it stands to reason that the others could possibly as well. However, I don't know how much of a factor size would play (I'd have a hard time imagining a Great Dane and a Poodle having offspring together, for instance, even though they're both dogs). I also think that the cultural barrier (intermingling of the different races does not generally occur, and even between Hobbits and Men there is eventually estrangement - see the Prologue).
They're pretty interesting to me; a glimpse of what happened in Middle-earth in the Fourth Age.
So what's a Hobbit (or Dwarf) to do? Of course some would make themselves very difficult to find, but the rest would learn to hide in plain sight and mingle with other humans, pretending they were mere "accidents" of birth. This is really quite easy to imagine, because this happens when ethnic groups interact all the time. Those in the minority often try their best to blend in.
And a few biological facts: a Great Dane and a Chihuahua can still interbreed. And the Hobbits of today (often called midgets, preferred to be called Little People--they have all the correct human proportions but are small) and Dwarfs of today (still called Dwarfs--their proportions are generally "normal sized" heads and torsos, with very short limbs), are all progeny of, and can mate with the Big People. It happens all the time.
So if we take Tolkien's "conceit" at face value, and pretend along with him that his History is in fact our own, then there is no reason to assume that, given the biological facts, Hobbits and Dwarfs ever died out, but rather became part of the Greater Human Race. The small people we have with us today can thus be attributed to expressions of regressive genes.
Anyway, it's a fun speculation that is actually supported by science. And it's a hopeful speculation too, because it suggests that there's still a wee bit o' magic left. Some of the Elven genes that passed on through the Numenoreans, would have regressive expressions occasionally also. Maybe this part of the human DNA strand will reassert itself, leading to the next stage in human evolution and bringing with it a New Age of Magic. And thus New Hope is born from Tolkien's "Bittersweet" ending .
Hey, it could happen .
P.S. I haven't read The History of Middle Earth yet, so perhaps the scenario I propose above occurred later in the 4th Age, or even maybe would have been the defining feature of a 5th Age.
And about having some elven genes, I WISH! how amazing would it be if that was the next step of evolution!
I know about the recent finds in New Guinea, but there are still communities in Africa of Pygmy sized people, and a few individuals amongst the general population. Most of the "Hobbit" hype surrounding the find was a media invention.
But I suppose that's what makes me a Romantic. I refuse to believe that Magic is completely extinct . I would rather find a living link to our Mythical past. Anyway, that's my "conceit" to bear.
The Shire didn't really have any special protrections, just remoteness and a band of Rangers looking after the borders. Of course, these would eventually fade as the Reunited Kingdom passed away (eventually) and other populations (mainly human) increased.
As for Hobbits, they are generally uncomfortable around humans, with the obvious exception of the Bree-land ones. The Prologue to [i:1wyqfq5r]LotR[/i:1wyqfq5r] mentions that Hobbits and Humans have undergone estrangement though, and the first chapter of [i:1wyqfq5r]The Hobbit[/i:1wyqfq5r] makes mention of their timidity around humans. Granted, it is possible that these references to latter-day Hobbits are relevant to only a portion of the original population, but I can think of no evidence for interbreeding. I can think of even less to suggest that the xenophobic Dwarves engaged in any significant interbreeding. I bow to your knowledge about breeding and concede that it is theoretically possible, however.
It's a bit depressing, but I think that the Hobbits and Dwarves merely dwindled and possibly died out, though perhaps there are still a few hiding out somewhere....
As to T's knowledge, I believe he must have known Hobbits in person. But being the honorable Gentleman he was, never directly let on he had met any. It seems obvious he met descendants of the Fairbairns, at least!
I don't believe Hobbits intermingled with Humans (or Dwarves neither). They continue to exist like they have always done since time out of mind, it's just Scientific Folk can't broaden the mind far enough to even begin to think to look for them (which is just as well!)
I don't know, I can't believe Hobbits are related genetically to Homo Sapiens - and if you can show me your genealogy, that might help prove your case. Maybe you are a descendant of intermarrying Bree-folk, but if true, a lot of Hobbits will be shocked to hear it.
One of our cousins did a genealogical search years ago, but only got as far back as Ann Boleyn, which presents it's own curiosities .
But if I discover a family tree dating back to the 4th age, I'll let you know.
Good luck with all that. If we could nail down just when 'time out of mind' was, we might at least take a step in the right direction. I assume that this was when the FA was.
I'm still not convinced that the intermingling actually happened though.
Eldorion, I'm pleased to see you're not totally comfortable with the prospect that any 'intermingling' went on. Maybe GB's right about the genetic argument, but I have a 'philosophic' difficulty with Hobbits having too much to do with Man. You see, I still believe that Hobbits have a simple 'everyday' kind of Magic, perhaps a prosaic kind of Magic if I have understood T rightly, but a Magic nonetheless, which contamination with any Mannish bloodline could only diminish. Hey! Hobbits might be able to intermingle with us, but what a horrible thought if they have!
Anyway, away with you GB, what with your Modern Zoological Thinking and your views from 'outside' conceit!
And it is my sense that the Hobbits have a bit of Magic in them (as you suggest also) that urges me to "believe" that Hobbits and Elves (and yes, even Dwarfs) intermingled with Humans.
I don't want Magic to be dead. I want Fairies and Unicorns to be real. I want Magic to live on in Me and the World. I don't think it diminishes Magic for it to be spread around a bit. If anything I think the opposite is true. The More Magic in our blood the better. If we could only tap into it, recognize it, we could revitalize the world and return a sense of the Immortality and Joy of Life to our existence.
Just imagine if we all discovered we were part Elf or part Hobbit tomorrow . I think the World would be a better place for it.
I knew I'd get you back! In my view Reality does not exist, only Fantasy does (at least on this forum!)
I can't feel satisfied, though, with Man absorbing Hobbit (or Elvish) Magic, no matter by what process. I remember my first reading of The Hobbit, and though, of course, I identified with Bilbo and saw parallels between me and him - we both had two legs and arms two and one head, and were both therefore "people" for a start! - it was his "otherness" that appealed most. I know his "otherness" might be almost indiscernible, but nonetheless it was just the right amount.
Funny, now I think of it, this is probably the core reason I have little time for most modern fantasy. CS and T had a natural way of talking about, dare I say, 'unnatural' things (things of Faerie, I mean!) Other fantasies try too hard to impress, I feel, with their "imagination." I think both CS and T 'believed' their stories were true and just "passed on" what they had learned. History, lad, that's what I mean! Truly what happened....!
Your fault, GB... One minute the Scientist, the next, a flagrant Romanticist! Is that what it's like to be a Gemini?
If so, I'll stay Sagitarian! It's easier... simpler...more direct somehow... straight shooting... I'm rambling again...
I'm not sure how to explain it, but it all works out in my head. It's all Many but it's One. Science and Romanticism are two sides of the same coin for me. And to me the concepts of "Supernatural" or "the Other" have little meaning.
As far as I'm concerned, If something occurs, or exists, no matter how miraculous, it is natural by definition. And I do not see "otherness" as separate from my "Self". My skin isn't simply a border between me and everything else, It is what connects me with everything, or everyone, else. And when I experience the beauty of a culture or being apparently "alien" to myself, I realize that it appeals because it resonates with my inner "alien". Very Hindu, Very Pagan, and also the point modern physics and modern biology/ecology has brought us too. It's a full circle.
Science and Romanticism are finally cleaving together again. The separation of Matter from Spirit in our Western Ways, both in religion and science truly ended with Einstein, after centuries of Alchemists attempting to bridge the gap. Ecology shows us how interconnected and holistic everything is ultimately. Quantum Physics demonstrates, that if we can conceive it, it must exist--if not in our own little corner of the Multi-verse--at least somewhere in the Multi-verse.
And if we could strip away that Illusion of the Skin Encased Ego, which is very Real on one level, we could discover our Immortal Elven Self which is just as Real (if not more-so) on another level.
So it's all Real, or it's all an Illusion--but even that Dichotomy is in itself an Illusion which must be stripped away to see the Imaginal Reality for what it truly is. Okay, maybe I've completely gone off the deep end, but I think it's where we are all trying to get too in the "end".
NB And I still don't think Man ever mated with Hobbits, so there!
In this view there is also no distinction between the real world and the imaginary world of Arda. I pretend that we really [i:2f5llhht]are[/i:2f5llhht] living in a latter-day Arda and that [i:2f5llhht]The Silmarillion[/i:2f5llhht], [i:2f5llhht]The Hobbit[/i:2f5llhht], [i:2f5llhht]The Lord of the Rings[/i:2f5llhht], etc. provide our best knowledge of the "true" history of the world. This involves the willing temporary suspension of certain real-world beliefs about history and science. Of course, I don't [i:2f5llhht]actually[/i:2f5llhht] think that LOTR is a historical record, but it's a supposition made for the sake of analysis.
Once in this mindset I approach the text as generally accurate but not inerrant. There is a possibility of inconsistency or omission on the part of the recorders. I am not, however, like the people who wrote [i:2f5llhht]The Black Book of Arda[/i:2f5llhht] in which Melkor is actually the hero of the story who has just been given a bad name by his enemies. I still accept the story told as more or less accurate, but I don't expect the recorders to have been omniscient.
Moving back to the original discussion of hobbits: we can assume from the Prologue (which is written in a style that is clearly a historian - Tolkien - commenting on the older texts) that Tolkien had some familiarity with hobbit practices well after the end of the Third Age. Therefore, it would stand to reason that he came into contact with some hobbits; perhaps that was how he obtained a copy of the Red Book to translate and/or how he learned Westron (Common). I think the comments made in the Prologue give evidence more to the separation idea than the interbreeding one.
Wow, this has somehow become a short treatise on textual analysis of Tolkien's writings.
The Prologue (I seem to be referring to this a lot lately ) states that "Hobbits have never, in fact, studied magic of any kind, and their elusiveness is due solely to a professional skill that heredity and practice, and a close friendship with the earth, have rendered inimitable by bigger and clumsier races."
NB I managed to miss your second post earlier.