Horror in Middle-earth

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Vee
Posts: 2711

Horror in Middle-earth

Post#1 » Thu Jul 01, 2004 7:50 am

Tolkien was a wiz at putting a lot of meaning into few words. He rarely went into great detail about the horrific and menacing things that happened but what he did say was quite spine chilling.

From the Silmarillion : Of Beren and Luthien....

...but Luthien ws stripped of her disguise by the will of Morgorth, and he bent his gaze upon her. She was not daunted by his eyes; and she named her own name, and offered her service to sing before him, after the manner of a minstrel. Then Morgoth looking upon her beauty conceived in his thought an evil lust, and a design more dark than any that had yet come into his heart since he fled from Valinor. Thus he was beguiled by his own malice, for he watched her, leaving her free for a while, and taking secret pleasure in his thought.....


One dreads to think what evil design he conceived......

And Nienor and Turin.....

Thereat Glaurung stirred for the last time ere he died, and he spoke with his last breath, saying : 'Hail, Nienor, daughter of Hurin. We meet again ere the end. I give thee joy that thou hast found they brother at last....... But the worst of all his deeds thou shalt feel in thyself.'


Not a pleasant subject.

What's the worst horror you've read in Tolkien's work? Torture? Human sacrifice...... ?

I would ask that sensitive subjects are treated sensitively. Please.

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valedhelgwath
Posts: 4233

Horror in Middle-earth

Post#2 » Thu Jul 01, 2004 2:08 pm

Maybe this one which befell Elrond's wife, Celebrian

In 2509 Celebrian wife of Elrond was journeying to Lorien when she was waylaid in the Redhorn Pass, and her escort being scattered by the sudden assault of the Orcs, she was siezed and carried off. She was pursued and rescued by Elladan and Elrohir, but not before she had suffered torment and had received a poisoned wound. She was brought back to Imladris, and though healed in body by Elrond, lost all delight in Middle Earth, and the next year went to the Havens and passed over the Sea.


Tolkien cleverly uses the word torment to let our imaginations conjure a host of dark thoughts. By letting the reader imagine their own personal torments, the effect is stronger than if he had tried to describe a few of them.

Hurin's fate at the hands of Melkor was also terrible.

Therefore Hurin was brought before Morgoth, for Morgoth knew that he had the friendship of the King of Gondolin, but Hurin defied him and mocked him. The Morgoth cursed Hurin and Morwen and their offspring, and set a doom upon them of darkness and sorrow; and taking Hurin from prison he set him in a chair of stone upon a high place of Thangorodrim. There he was bound by the power of Morgoth, and Morgoth standing beside him cursed him again; and he said: "Sit now there; and look out upon the lands where evil and despair shall come upon those whom thou lovest. Though hast dared to mock me and to question the power of Melkor, Master of the fates of Arda. Therefore with my eyes thou shalt see, and with my ears thou shalt hear; and never shalt thou move from this place until all is fulfilled unto its bitter end."


Being forced to watch all of the terrible things which then happened to his wife and children, and have them amplified by the lies of Morgoth, must have been terrible. I'd hate to have to sit and watch my children suffer.

JonnieA
Posts: 54

Horror in Middle-earth

Post#3 » Thu Jul 01, 2004 2:45 pm

Most of the worst deeds done by evil are more mental than physical...the one Val mentiond about Hurin, Sauron's tormenting of the guy who betrayed Barahir by fooling him with an illusion of his dead wife, Glaurung telling Turin he has accidentaly married his sister, etc. I think he is right in that such horrors can be greater than physical pain or disfigurement - e.g. Turin and Nienor are driven to kill themselves by Glaurungs words.

He can do the gory as well though: the orcs kill Gwindor's brother by chopping him into pieces in front of Fingon's army, provoking a disasterously rash response...though even here there is cunning and malice at work rather than mere brutality.

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Vee
Posts: 2711

Horror in Middle-earth

Post#4 » Tue Jul 06, 2004 4:39 am

The Return of the King - The Siege of Gondor:

All about the streets and lanes behind the Gate it tumbled down, small round shot that did not burn. But when men ran to learn what it might be, they cried aloud or wept. For the enemy was flinging into the City all the heads of those who had fallen fighting at Osgiliath, or on the Rammas, or in the fields. They were grim to look on; for though some were crushed and shapeless, and some had been cruelly hewn, yet many had features that could be told, and it seemed that they had died in pain; and all were branded with the foul token of the Lidless Eye. But marred and dishonoured as they were, it often chanced that thus a man would see again the face of someone that he had known, who had walked proudly once in arms, or tilled the fields, or ridden in upon a holiday from the green vales in the hills.

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Amarië
Posts: 2785

Horror in Middle-earth

Post#5 » Tue Jul 06, 2004 10:26 am

But the worst of all his deeds thou shalt feel in thyself.
You could stab me in the guts with a dagger of ice and I would feel better than I do when I read this. It kills me to read it.. :(

Tolkien knows how to paint both the most gruesome and the most beautiful images in our heads.
"Don't complain under the stars
about the lack of bright spots in you life."
Henrik Wergeland, Norwegian writer

JonnieA
Posts: 54

Horror in Middle-earth

Post#6 » Tue Jul 06, 2004 2:22 pm

You both found excellent quotes! Thanks, it's always good to be reminded about the best bits of Tolkien, even if they are about a grim subject.

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Etharion
Posts: 1717

Horror in Middle-earth

Post#7 » Tue Jul 06, 2004 3:18 pm

I "like" the one where Morgoth pins that guy....umm....memory lapse....onto the mountain to watch all his evil in progress. You know the one....

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grondmaster
Posts: 25451

Horror in Middle-earth

Post#8 » Tue Jul 06, 2004 3:26 pm

That would be Hurin and the quote is in Val's above post.
'Share and enjoy'

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Etharion
Posts: 1717

Horror in Middle-earth

Post#9 » Tue Jul 06, 2004 3:28 pm

Ah yes Grondy , i see :elfbiggrin: . Iv been under a lot of stress because my exams.

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valedhelgwath
Posts: 4233

Horror in Middle-earth

Post#10 » Tue Jul 06, 2004 4:46 pm

I "like" the one where Morgoth pins that guy....umm....memory lapse....onto the mountain to watch all his evil in progress. You know the one....


That would be Hurin and the quote is in Val's above post.


It could also refer to Maedhros who was bound by the right hand to the mountain until Fingon was able to rescue him.

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