Valar as Parents

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Vee
Posts: 2711

Valar as Parents

Post#1 » Thu Jan 12, 2006 3:37 pm

Men and elves were the Children of Eru. The Valar were also 'children' of Eru so they were the older siblings, useful for childminding, taxi service, loans, advice and all the other things older siblings have to do.

Did they do a good job?

I don't think so. They held back valuable information, they ignored pleas for help, they delayed, they chastised without guidance and they basically let the kids wander off with the local psychopath.


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gandalf-olorin
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Valar as Parents

Post#2 » Thu Jan 12, 2006 5:33 pm

Now, V, knowing what you know about Tolkien, do you really think he would have written such a bad part for the Valar? I think they were bound by certain laws by Eru, just as the lesser "children" were bound. They had to respect the freedom of the Elves and of Men, ie., they could not force themselves or overwhelm the world of these other children by their power. So they were rather reluctant to interfere in the various "dooms" that Elves and Men had. But I don't think that makes them bad. Just a bit remote at times. But remember also, the Elves always sang to Elbereth, so they obviously thought she was listening.

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valedhelgwath
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Valar as Parents

Post#3 » Fri Jan 13, 2006 2:39 am

As is the case anywhere, you get good parents and bad parents. And sometimes, when it is time for a child to leave the parental home, you also have to be cruel to be kind. Like doting parents, the Valar loved the "Children", particularly the Firstborn. They wanted them close and protected. They knew Melkor intended mischief so they encouraged them to return to Valinor where they could be taught and be safe. There, they taught them a great deal of knowledge, and for a while had paradise on earth. When things went bad, they advised the Noldor to stay. When they refused, Mandos imparted his Doom. This was not a punishment, however. Of any of the Valar, Mandos had the best knowledge of the future. His Doom was pretty much just a premonition of what would happen if the Noldor followed Melkor to Middle Earth. By their actions it became a curse, and much of the wrong doing came about because of the Oath of Feanor and his sons, rather then the Doom of the Noldor, although both are closely intertwined.

On this score I think the Good Valar were good siblings. Those who tried to manipulate without giving choices, however, are considered as being evil (ie. Melkor, Sauron, Saruman).

The question arises of why the Valar gave so much time to the Elves, but very little to Men. Had they had their fill of the Children by the time Men awoke, and like an old toy had no use for them? I don't think so. It was written that the Elves were more akin to the Valar, while Men were more akin to Eru. I think they understood the Elves better than they did Men. The fate of Men was also hidden from them. Men frequently committed acts that the Valar did not understand, and frequently grieved. I think they realised that Men needed to have more independence in order to achieve their destiny than the Elves did. Also, when they realised how short lived men were, they propbably thought it kinder not to bring them to a world in which everything else is immortal. Again, then, I think the Valar did okay with Men. They did not simply abandon them, but left them to their best course.

After the sinking of Numenor, why did the Valar become so isolationist? Well, one, it would have been a pretty short book if the Valar had had interceded everytime something went wrong. Maybe, however, they realised they had taught the children enough by then, and that they now had to learn how to sort their own problems out. The Children had come of age, in other words. For the Elves, whose fate was tied to Ea, they had their home in Valinor, where they had their Heaven on Earth until the End, as was their fate. For Men, whose fate lay outside Ea, they had their own world in Middle Earth, in which they lived for a short while until their deaths took them to their own fate.

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miruvor
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Valar as Parents

Post#4 » Fri Jan 13, 2006 2:54 am

On this score I think the Good Valar were good siblings. Those who tried to manipulate without giving choices, however, are considered as being evil (ie. Melkor, Sauron, Saruman).

All fourteen Valar seem good to me.

Melkor wasn't counted among the Valar after he started war on his brethren, and Sauron and Saruman are Maiar, not Valar.

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floyd_n_milan
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Valar as Parents

Post#5 » Fri Jan 13, 2006 9:06 am


Now, V, knowing what you know about Tolkien, do you really think he would have written such a bad part for the Valar?


What's this obsession with good being absolutely good and bad being absolutely bad? Only a Sith deals in the absolute, remember? This is one thing that annoys me about Tolkien. Evil is shown to be completely evil. Orcs are ugly to look upon. They are corrupted, bad.. Why can't Morgoth be a great painter or say, Sauron a great singer? Apparently not. Because they're evil. Now as far as I'm concerned, it would be very very narrow minded of Tolkien to make the Valar absolutely perfect in all respects.

Mind you, I don't treat Tolkien as some kind of a legendary figure. As far as I'm concerned, he was a human who had great imagination. I can find a few 'faults' in his works. I see him being narrow minded about some things. Though, obviously, on the whole, I do love his works.

Anyway, great post Val, bang on target, as usual.

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miruvor
Posts: 849

Valar as Parents

Post#6 » Fri Jan 13, 2006 10:36 am

Evil is shown to be completely evil. Orcs are ugly to look upon. They are corrupted, bad.. Why can't Morgoth be a great painter or say, Sauron a great singer? Apparently not.

In fact, Melkor was a great musician, even though his Morgothic chants kinda swept his fellow Ainur off his feet during the Music of the Ainur.

And Sauron was a great craftsman as after all, he was originally a Maia of Aulë's.

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gandalf-olorin
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Valar as Parents

Post#7 » Fri Jan 13, 2006 10:45 am

Being evil did not negate the innate power held by Morgoth or Sauron. But, Floyd, you cannot fault Tolkien for writing from his own perspective which was both Western and Catholic. He did his best to write a "rousing good tale" that would interest very many people. But there are bound to be many aspects, based as these are in his background, which will not please people from other cultures. I don't think this limitation of Tolkien's is necessarily a bad thing. Knowing one's limitations and working with them is accounted a strength. I would pay good money to have Tolkien's talent and "limitations."

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grondmaster
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Valar as Parents

Post#8 » Fri Jan 13, 2006 4:21 pm

The question arises of why the Valar gave so much time to the Elves, but very little to Men.

I think the answer was that the lives of Men flashed by so fast in the eyes of the Valar, that they didn't have much time to get to know them individually, whereas the Elves each hung around for millenia.

Sort of like us and fruit flies. We have an idea about them as a whole, but have no idea about whether there are any who like Nike over Adidas, are rooting for the Seahawks over the Redskins, like reading Tolkien, or who their famous authors are, or even if they can read.

There have been Sci-Fi stories that also describe what I'm trying to say here, those about abutting dimensions that occupy the same space, but operate at quite different speeds. Where were they to slow down to a crawl and speak, we would only here a slight buzz.
'Share and enjoy'

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floyd_n_milan
Posts: 551

Valar as Parents

Post#9 » Fri Jan 13, 2006 5:24 pm

Being evil did not negate the innate power held by Morgoth or Sauron.


I can't find any mention of any good qualities held by either. The only thing that's been made obvious is the fact that they used their powers for bad.

But, Floyd, you cannot fault Tolkien for writing from his own perspective which was both Western and Catholic.


I'm not faulting him for that. My mere point is that if you're creating something as big, you would do well to at least try and understand what other cultures are about, before directly associating their rituals or whatever with the evil side. I think it is high time that we rose above such narrow minded approach and actually tried to understand what other cultures are about. This is what makes Tolkien just a normal human in my book. He would have been quite a legend if he had actually taken into consideration what other cultures stand for. Then again, this is just my view.

I don't think this limitation of Tolkien's is necessarily a bad thing. Knowing one's limitations and working with them is accounted a strength.


I never said that it's a bad thing. But there's always a room for improvement :) Though actually I wonder if Tolkien himself would see this as a limitation of his. I'm sure the thought never occurred to him. ;)

I would pay good money to have Tolkien's talent and "limitations."


I already have paid the money ;)

Anyway, I do think that Tolkien's works are quite extraordinary. I just don't think the same of the man himself :)

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valedhelgwath
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Valar as Parents

Post#10 » Sat Jan 14, 2006 3:08 am

I'm not faulting him for that. My mere point is that if you're creating something as big, you would do well to at least try and understand what other cultures are about, before directly associating their rituals or whatever with the evil side. I think it is high time that we rose above such narrow minded approach and actually tried to understand what other cultures are about. This is what makes Tolkien just a normal human in my book. He would have been quite a legend if he had actually taken into consideration what other cultures stand for. Then again, this is just my view.


I think you have to bear in mind what generation Tolkien came from. I've seen big differences towards cultural tolerance in my lifetime in this country. My parents, who lived through WW2 and come from a less diverse culture than is present today, still see Germans, for instance, as bad guys. Tolkien came from my grandfather's generation, a generation who lived through two world wars, and who were born at a time when England had very little cultural diversity. He began writing his books early in this period, too, before attitudes towards cultural tolerance began to relax.

Quite often attitudes we are brought up with take a lot of breaking as we get older. Now days people seem to understand better that life is more complicated than being able to personify evil as ugly etc. Tolkien simply came from a generation where that was not the case. Look at any old story and you will often see a similar flaw... Cinderella is beautiful under her grime, whereas her nasty sisters are ugly, Beowulf vs Grendel, etc. I think had Tolkien been born 50 years on, and still writing, his cultural attitude would have been different.

Can you all please try to ensure this thread stays on topic, and does not breach our rules on politics or religion

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