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Thread: Fate of Maglor

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I was wondering what other people imagine the fate of Maglor to be? I feel like there is a whole story yet to be told in this regard. I imagine a sad, regretful, pained - but much wiser - Maglor forever wandering amongst the younger races, as something akin to a cross between Dorian Grey and the Mariner from Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner. Freed finally from the burden of the Oath, now the gentler nature of Nerdanel would manifest. He would feel that although nothing can ever erase his past sins, he could try to make his life worth having been lived by helping others avoid his mistakes - by passing on to them the wisdom he paid so dearly for. His goal would be to help others become better people - able to solve their own problems - and become heroes in their own right. So I don't see such a future-Maglor taking too direct a hand in the problems of the world - instead helping others rise to face and overcome the challenges those problems present. Or atleast this bit of cultural-engineering would be his intent. Sometimes he would be a bit like Gandalf - a person behind the scenes that saves the day by making exactly the right suggestion to the right person at the right time. Other times he would be frustrated when he can foresee something coming as plain as day, tries to warn someone, but that warning is ignored. After thousands of years, no doubt Maglor would start to view the world on a grand scale. One can only speculate - given future-Maglor's accumulated wisdom and insight in the workings of the world, and the potentially unlimited amount of time he could conduct such a process of cultural-engineering - what his aggregate effect upon peoples and their culture might eventually be. As I said, the story of future-Maglor would be fascinating. What do you think? If you were to imagine a Maglor's future, what would it be?

Oooh great question and welcome to PT!!

I think it makes the most sense that he sank with Beleriand into the sea. Think about it, he was a known mariner, he is the one responsible for putting a silmaril in one of its three known resting places, water, one could officially say he had disappeared by that time, and he would probably still lament his deeds and feel the best solution is to give himself to the world, to the waves that he loved so much.

His tale is another tragic one and I don't see him going down a hero path. Rather a lost soul, more like a Nienor than a Gandalf. And knowing he would never die naturally he decided to take matters into his own hands and just let it happen. And hey, perhaps like Nienor there is a random island, or just a rock, sticking out of the ocean somewhere which is what became of the final resting place for Maglor.

Unless if my memory is wrong, didn't Beleriand sank before he had the Silmaril?

I agree, he would be more of a lost soul than a hero.

Maglor drowning in the sea shortly after he threw in the Silmaril is certainly a plausible option, however, it would make for a fairly short story. I view the influence of Melkor and the Oath as sort of poison - or addiction - influences that caused the Fenorians to behave in a non-heroic fashion, whereas their nature without those influences would have been heroic. The cure all along was to recant the Oath - but part of the disease is that one can not see or accept the cure. And, the tragic irony is that the cure is right before them and available the entire time - but pride and stubbornness blinds them. When Maglor finally casts away the Silmaril, he is recanting the Oath and it is a moment of catharsis and rebirth. Now his true nature can take over, and he could possibly live up to his original potential. I imagine Maedhros's fate as that of the lost soul - he can not keep the Silmaril and can not let it go. The only resolution is his suicide. Maglor, however, does manage to let go and recant the Oath. From this contrast of their immediate actions, its seems natural to have similar contrast in their fates.

So, this why I would not predict Maglor's future based on his actions while under the Oath, but rather by what he might have been if Melkor and the Oath had never happened. Anyway, I'm not saying either of our views is right or wrong - just that if I were to continue the story of Maglor, the rebirth scenario would seem the most sensible option to me.

Hello and welcome! I realize you are going by the 1977 Silmarillion here, but this is one of those matters where Tolkien's 'final' scenario seems a bit hazy. If interested, the external details appear to be...

... that Tolkien's 'latest known idea' (as far as I can date the relevant texts anyway) was that Maglor cast himself into the Sea. Tolkien noted this in a letter, although in The Tale of Years he seems to then retain the idea that Maglor wandered and so on -- but the latest text here is The Lay of Leithian, where Maglor (there called Maelor) casts himself into the Sea along with the Silmaril.

It's possible that Tolkien intended to represent two variant traditions about Maglor (one from a poetic source and another from a prose source), and I think this is one of those matters which actually lends itself well to variant traditions existing within the corpus. But if this is not so, again it looks like the last known path for Maglor was also self destruction (so far I haven't noticed anything later anyway).


There is also a very interesting detail in The Tale of Years concerning Maedhros: there it is he who forswears his oath and it is he who fosters Elrond and Elros with care, not Maglor.

The problem is, Tolkien doesn't get far enough in The Tale Years to even suggest who yields to whom concerning the words of Fionwe [Eonwe]; and if we go back to Qenta Noldorinwa I (1930), we see that it was Maidros who was more willing to submit to Fionwe...

... in other words, it's not a given that it was always Maglor who was more willing to submit to Eonwe, and perhaps Tolkien was thinking about switching once again, considering the revised fostering at least.

Of course anyone is free to speculate based solely upon the description chosen for the constructed Silmarillion (and obviously it was Tolkien's own idea, at least at one point), but again for possible sake of interest, this is part of the textual scenario as it existed, as revealed by Christopher Tolkien in later publications.

Called it!! Sort of....


Also, as Tolkien tends to do with stories which perhaps he indented eventually returning to, he states that Maglor wandered the shores driven mad by perhaps guilt and pain from the Sill "as he still does". Perhaps he is still there, wandering like a lost spirit unwilling to return to the West.

Truly a sad and mornful example of fate.

So, does anyone else see Maglor casting the last Silmaril into the sea as a recanting of the Oath? As a catharsis and rebirth? Or am I alone in that interpretation?

Interesting thought Gregory. I see it more as an acknowledgment of the futility of the Oath and perhaps it was Maglor's way of finally fulfilling Illuvatar's Doom in scattering the Three Silmarils into the three most predominant Elements, there to await the final confrontation with Melkor.
I have always thought that both Maglor and Maedhros recanted their oaths at the end

Not really recanted.  The Oath was simply deemed void.

"The oath says not that we may not bide our time, and it may be that in Valinor all shall be forgiven and forgot, and we shall come into our own in peace.

But Maedhros answered that if they returned to Aman but the favour of the Valar were withheld from them, then their oath would still remain, but its fulfilment be beyond all hope; and he said: 'Who can tell to what dreadful doom we shall come, if we disobey the Powers in their own land, or purpose ever to bring war again into their holy realm?'

Yet Maglor still held back, saying: 'If Manwë and Varda themselves deny the fulfilment of an oath to which we named them in witness, is it not made void?

Maglor returned to Tirion, that is my theory.

I have thought about him, and it is beautiful to wonder so much, I really love what I read here, very great thoughts! I am not sure what his fate was, but I will share in all your ideas, so each time I read the book, I will be moved in another way.