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Thread: Finishing the Silmarillion, my

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Ainahirwen posted this as a journal entry but I think it is most worthy of posting in the forum. Especially since she has raised some very interesting questions.

Author - Ainahirwen
Written on - Monday 9th February 2004 (03:07am)

As I read these last sections, I am struck by how fast Tolkien is moving through history. In the earlier chapters the events seem more drawn out.

I found it interesting that, at the beginning of Akallabeth, it talks of men "worshiping the Darkness" and at the same time seeking "a light which the Shadow could not dim." I can really start to see the separations of the lines of men and it begins to explain why some of them decided to follow Sauron in The Lord of the Rings series, though why you would want to follow someone who is bent on destruction and is a master of lies, who will most likely turn around and kill you after you've served your purpose, is beyond me. Though I suppose a large part of it was fear.

Something I found somewhat surprising is that Tolkien has the Valar forsake the Men of Middle-Earth for a time. I wonder why he added that. It doesn't seem like something they would do given what we have read so far.

I have always wondered why Elrond was known as Elrond Half-eleven. I wonder what it would be like to choose to live forever when your brother chose to die. Was Elrond afraid of death or of growing old? Was he afraid of what would happen to his soul if he died? (Especially since Tolkien never really goes into what the races believed happens after death) Did he ever regret the choice he made as he watched his brother and his descendants grow old and die?

It is interesting that the Valar see death as a gift. Could Tolkien's reasoning behind that idea have something to do with the fact that he participated in a World War? And, if he sees death as a gift, is immortality a curse? I suppose it all depends on your perspective. The Numenoreans were jealous of the immortals, could it be that some immortals where jelous of the mortals and their release of death?

Evil is STILL running rampant even though Morgoth has been sealed away again. Of course, if there was no evil in the world while he was sealed it wouldn't make for an interesting history. It's typical of evil, both in fiction literature and in real life, that you can never truly destroy it or completely seal it away. It always seems to sneak back in and obliterate the periods of peace. How old is Sauron anyway? Did you notice that there really isnít too much said about him until now even though he is basically said to be Morgothís right-hand man at the beginning of the Silmarillion?

It was cool to learn more about Earendil, especially since the name comes up periodically throughout Tolkien's various books and there was a brief mention in the movie.

It was exciting to hear how the Isitar (wizards) came about. They never go into that in The Lord of the Rings, and it made me wonder if Tolkien purposely skipped over it because he did not know how to explain there origins (or maybe he was still hashing out the details when he was writing them)
Nice post...

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, though why you would want to follow someone who is bent on destruction and is a master of lies,


The fact that someone is a master of lies probably. If you are a master of lying, those who you tell them to probably never find out until it is too late. Besides, in a lot of cases, I think Sauron was perhaps promising rewards his follows coverted (immortality for the Numenorians, the throne of Gondor to the Corsairs of Umbar etc)

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Something I found somewhat surprising is that Tolkien has the Valar forsake the Men of Middle-Earth for a time. I wonder why he added that. It doesn't seem like something they would do given what we have read so far.


It does seem to be against their nature just to forsake Men. I think for the purpose of the story, he needed the Valar out of the way for a while. The Silmarillion would not be half as interesting if they stormed in and put everything to rights as soon as it went wrong.

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Did he ever regret the choice he made as he watched his brother and his descendants grow old and die?


I think Elrond must have found this very difficult, particularly when his daughter chose the mortal path too. I believe Elrond and Elros's choices were preordained anyway. Both carried the Maian blood of Melian which then enriched and strengthened the line of kings. First, Elros enriched the Line of Numenor. This line eventually weakened, however, but Eru needed another strong line of Men to lead Men into the Fourth Age (the Age of Men). Elrond's task, therefore, as well as guarding the surviving Kings in excile, was also to "babysit" the Maian blood in his veins until the Line of Men once more needed it. Elrond would not have been aware of this role, until Arwen unexplicably fell for a dirty ranger, but I believe it was a role Eru had set aside for him.

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And, if he sees death as a gift, is immortality a curse? I suppose it all depends on your perspective. The Numenoreans were jealous of the immortals, could it be that some immortals where jealous of the mortals and their release of death?


The Gift of Man was that after The End (the Final Battle and the final fruition of Ea - the end of the First Great Music), Man would join with Eru and the Ainur in the Second Great Music, which would be greater than the first. To me, this strongly suggests Heaven.

Little is said of the Elven fate after the End, but their fate is tied to Ea. I believe that once Ea has reached it's final fruition, and becomes the perfect, unmarred place envisaged in the Beginning, it will then disappear from existance and the Elves with it. It suggests in Morgoth's Ring that many Elves feel this to be the case too, and just as Men fear their death, these Elves also fear this blinking out of existance. To me it seems that Elves have immortality during the life of Ea, followed by death, while Men have a short lifespan within Ea, followed by immortality in Heaven. Of the two, it is Men therefore, who are truely immortal.

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How old is Sauron anyway? Did you notice that there really isnít too much said about him until now even though he is basically said to be Morgothís right-hand man at the beginning of the Silmarillion?


Sauron is one of the Ainur. He, therefore, was created with all of the other Ainur by Eru from his thought. They were the first things Eru created, so Sauron is basically as old as it gets. He predates the creation of Ea.

Before he was Melkor's lieutenant, he was Aule's chief servant. Saruman was also a servant of Aule until Sauron corrupted him.

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It was exciting to hear how the Isitar (wizards) came about. They never go into that in The Lord of the Rings, and it made me wonder if Tolkien purposely skipped over it because he did not know how to explain there origins (or maybe he was still hashing out the details when he was writing them)


I think Tolkien had a lot of Istari background written prior to the release of LotR, but did not include it in that story. The wizards are mysterious, wize Men. Part of that mystery comes form not knowing much about them. Again it is a storywriter's technique. If he revealed too much of their background in LotR, they would lose much of their mystery. Also it would take away that impact you get when you read the Silmarillion, and suddenly find out who they really are.

If you like the Istari, I suggest you read Unfinished Tales. There is a nice section about the five of them in there.