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Thread: Royal gift of foreseeing?

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I know that the most powerful of the Elves had the ability to foresee what the future will bring. I was wondering if Men, especially those of royal descent (especially Dunedain, as Aragorn for example) had some kind of ability to foresee the future? Or was it simply their wisdom, wide knowledge of tales, history, experience? I was thinking about it for a few days now. I was searching for clues in LOTR yesterday, but couldn't find anything. The whole thing might be because I watched PJ's trilogy too many times already and I certainly see some clues there (for example - ROTK, where King Theoden saying to Eowyn "You shall live to see these days renewed"). I can see director planting the idea into movie without any particular reason or correlation to the original story. I need to re-read LOTR so badly, and I have no time Sad Smilie And I'm sure it would help me Sad Smilie
I only know of one Numenorean King who had the true power of Foresight. His name was Tar Palantir. He was well known as a prophet and foresaw that the destruction of Numenor was conected to The White Tree ( a gift from The Eldar of The West via Yavanna herself ) which stood in his court. Sauron, in later days by his bewilderment of The last King of Numenor had the tree burned at the alter which had been built in Melkor's name. This act was closely followed by the brainwashed foolish king sailing his huge fleet to Valinor, which of course was breaking the ban of The Valar and as soon as the King set foot on the Undying Lands the Earth was changed forever by Illuvatar. Cataclysm ensued and the flat world was made globed and Valinor and The lonely Ise were removed forever. Numenor was totally swamped and sank beneath the waves destroying the greatest Men to ever have walked the Earth.

Tar Palantir was the last true King, a man faithful to The Valar and Eru and an Elf friend. His prophesy came true to devestating end.

From memory his name means to see from afar. A name he shares with the globed seeing stones The Palantiri.

Oh yes, I remember now. Tar Palantir. You made a great point here. He was exceptionally gifted when it comes to foreseeing.

I did some research moments ago and found Malbeth The Seer, who was an author of two prophecies.

He's mentioned in the Return Of The King:

'The living have never used that road since the coming of the Rohirrim,' said
Aragorn, 'for it is closed to them. But in this dark hour the heir of Isildur may use it, if
he dare. Listen! This is the word that the sons of Elrond bring to me from their father
in Rivendell, wisest in lore: Bid Aragorn remember the words of the seer, and the
Paths of the Dead.'
'And what may be the words of the seer?' said Legolas.
“Thus spoke Malbeth the Seer, in the days of Arvedui, last king at Fornost,' said
Over the land there lies a long shadow,
westward reaching wings of darkness.
The Tower trembles; to the tombs of kings
doom approaches. The Dead awaken;
for the hour is come for the oathbreakers;
at the Stone of Erech they shall stand again
and hear there a horn in the hills ringing.
Whose shall the horn be? Who shall call them
from the prey twilight, the forgotten people?
The heir of him to whom the oath they swore.
From the North shall he come, need shall drive him:
he shall pass the Door to the Paths of the Dead.

And in the Appendix A, ROTK, "Gondor and the heirs of Anárion"

'Arvedui was indeed the last king, as his name signifies. It is said that this name
was given to him at his birth by Malbeth the Seer, who said to his father: "Arvedui
you shall call him, for he will be the last in Arthedain. Though a choice will come to
the Dunedain, and if they take the one that seems less hopeful, then your son will
change his name and become king of a greatrealm. If not, then much sorrow and
many lives of men shall pass, until the Dunedain arise and are united again.

According to tolkiengateway:

Due to the length of time between the dates of his known prophecies (at least 100 years), it is likely that Malbeth was of Numenorean descent, although this isn't explicitly stated.

Fantastic Indis.  Id forgotten about those.

 Wish we had seen more and correct gathering the army of the dead in the film.  It was so spooky in the book and much more drawn out and weird...

I wasn't online for a few weeks, but I did some research during that time. The topic is still very interesting to me. Here's what I found.

In Lord of the Rings, Return of the King, Appendix A - story of Aragorn and Arwen - there's a part, when Aragorn talks to his mother, Gilraen.

""Then bitter will my days be, and I will walk in the wild alone," said Aragorn. ""That will indeed be your fate," said Gilraen; but though she had in a measure the foresight of her people, she said no more to him of her foreboding, nor did she speak to any one of what her son had told her."

In Silmarillion there's a few places where I was able to find quotes suggesting that at least some of the most powerful Men were able to foresee the future in some situations. In the chapter "Of the Fifth Battle: Nirnaeth Arnoediad" I found this:

Then Huor spoke and said: "Yet if it stands but a little while, then out of your house shall come the hope of Elves and Men. This I say to you, lord, with the eyes of death:  though we part here for ever, and I shall not look on your white walls again, from you  and from me a new star shall arise. Farewell!"

And Maeglin, Turgon's sister-son, who stood by, heard these words, and did not forget them; but he said nothing."

Then in a more descriptive parts of the chapter Akallabeth (The Downfall of Numenor) I found some parts about Dunedain and their various abilities.

This was the beginning of that people that in the Grey-elven speech are called the Dunedain: the Numenoreans, Kings among Men. But they did not thus escape from the doom of death that Il˙vatar had set upon all Mankind, and they were mortal still, though their years were long, and they knew no sickness, ere the shadow fell upon them. Therefore they grew wise and glorious, and in all things more like to the Firstborn than any other of the kindreds of Men; and they were tall, taller than the tallest of the sons of Middle-earth; and the light of their eyes was like the bright stars.

Maybe I'm reading into it too much, but think it may mean that they were able to know and see more, especially when I think about their initial closeness to Elves and the Lords of Valinor. The quote can be linked to another one, from the same chapter, only a few paragraphs later.

For in those days the Numenoreans were far-sighted; yet even so it was only the  keenest eyes among them that could see this vision, from the Meneltarma, maybe, or  from some tall ship that lay off their western coast as far as it was lawful for them to go.

Yes, I know - the quote above mean that they had really good eyesight but it also shows how much more superior abilities and senses they had comparing to the Men in Middle Earth.

There's another quote I'd like to paste from Silmarillion. It's from the same chapter as the previous two.

But when Inziladun acceded to the sceptre, he took again a title in the Elven-tongue as of old, calling himself Tar-Palantir, for he was far-sighted both in eye and in mind, and  even those that hated him feared his words as those of a true-seer. He gave peace for a while to the Faithful; and he went once more at due seasons to the Hallow of Eru upon the Meneltarma, which Ar-Gimilzor had forsaken. The White Tree he tended again with honour; and he prophesied, saying that when the Tree perished, then also would  the line of the Kings come to its end.

In the Unfinished Tales and Children of Hurin I also found something similar. One of them belongs to the part where we can read about Turin's little sister - Urwena (Lalaith). Her father - Hurin says to his wife:

"Fair as an Elf-child is Lalaith," said Húrin to Morwen; "but briefer, alas! And so fairer, maybe, or dearer." And Túrin hearing these words pondered them, but could not understand them.

And another one from Unfinished Tales  - the story of Aldarion and Erendis. In this part Tar-Meneldur, who is a Numenorean King shows his concerns about his son's wife.

Then Meneldur's thought turned in disquiet to Erendis in Emerië. "But there is little hope there (if it should be called hope). He will not bend in such grave matters. I know  her choice – even were she to listen long enough to understand. For her heart has no wings beyond Númenor, and she has no guess of the cost. If her choice should lead to  death in her own time, she would die bravely. But what will she do with life, and other wills? The Valar themselves, even as I, must wait to discover."

I must admit that this quote in my native language suggests that in the bold part there may be some kind presumption based on intuition. In English it doesn't look that way.

Finrod told an Edain woman, "foresight is given to the Eldar in many things not far off, though seldom of joy" [MR, The Debate of Finrod and Andreth] The Dunedain had a share in the gifts of the Elves although they did not share their fate. Tolkien in Letter #132 said the Dunedain "became thus in appearance, and even in powers of mind, hardly distinguishable from the Elves - but they remained mortal". Both Aragorn, who experienced when "the foresight of his kindred came to him" [RotK, Appendix A] and his mother Gilrean who "had in a measure the foresight of her people" had it. I'd say that their people/kindred are not merely members of the Royal House but of the Dunedain at large. Both of Aragorn's parents were of royal descent, however, as was the House of the Stewards in Gondor. I think this was some glimpse into the future shared by both Elves and High Men perhaps brought about by some inherent putting together of the threads being woven in the world.

The dream both Faramir and Boromir shared may perhaps be relevant here too. They were both Dunedain of the South Kingdom;

"a dream came to my brother in a troubled sleep; and afterwards a like dream came oft to him again, and once to me. In that dream I  thought the eastern sky grew dark and there was a growing thunder, but in the West a pale light lingered, and out of it I heard a voice, remote but clear, crying: 'Seek for the Sword that was broken: In Imladris it dwells: there shall be counsels taken stronger than Morgul-spells. There shall be shown a token that Doom is at hand, for Isildur's Bane shall waken, and the Halfling forth shall stand.'" [FotR, Council of Elrond]

Interestingly Faramir has this dream numerous times where Boromir only had it once. It is clear that Faramir like his father inherited many gifts of the Dunedain as opposed to Boromir.

Your quote from Hurin seems to me to indicate that his daughter is fairer, "maybe, or dearer", but maybe moreso than Elves in their fairness because her's is fleeting.


I should add, according to the Elves, there is one type of foresight possessed by Eru and the Valar who he showed parts of the future too (prevision), and there is another foresight which is "the deduction of the wise" and "any mind, whether of the Valar or the Incarnate, may deduce by reason what will or may come to pass" [Osanwe-kenta, note 6], that is, forecasting. So one will probably most likely have foresight of the deducing kind, but they may receive some sort of foresight from those who have seen it, Eru or the Valar. Otherwise, it is forecasting about a future you have not seen.