COTW: Silmarillion Chapter XVI "Of Maeglin"

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Huan the hound

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Jul 3, 2006, 2:01:30 PM7/3/06
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This is the chapter summary and initial discussion points for the
chapter "Of Maeglin."

"Of Maeglin" is pretty interesting and not very long. This chapter is
disturbing and deals with some unpleasant characters, and leaves some
suspense in the mind of the reader. There are less characters involved,
which makes a nice change from previous chapters. Several characters make
predictions about the ends of other characters.

Aredhel, Turgon's sister and Fingolfin's daughter, lived in Gondolin for
200 years, after which she wished to leave and ride freely. Turgon first
tried persuading her to stay, and then tried persuading her to go to
their brother Fingon. Aredhel clearly didn't like it when her brother
tried to influence her and threatened to go alone[1]. Turgon didn't want
anyone to reveal the location of Gondolin, but he ended up sending "three
lords of his household" to escort her.

Stubborn Aredhel set out towards her friend Celegorm[2] along the road
between Doriath and Nan Dungortheb. "The riders became enmeshed in
shadows,"[3] but Aredhel continued on. She reached Himlad safely, but
Celegorm and Curufin were in Thargelion with Caranthir. After waiting a
year, she eventually wandered across the river Celon and became "enmeshed
in Nan Elmoth," Eöl's home[3]. Turgon's lords returned to Gondolin and
reported that Aredhel was lost.

Eöl was "the" Dark Elf. Likes: silence, forest, twilight, stars, night,
Dwarves, ladies in white. Dislikes: Noldor, society, authority figures,
sons of Fëanor[4]. Occupation: making his patented metal "galvorn."

Eöl somehow used the forest to draw Aredhel to his home, and she became
his wife and they had a child, and everything was fine for quite a
while.[5] Eöl named his son Maeglin, meaning Sharp Glance. Maeglin had the
skills of his father but looked like the Noldor, and learned the location
of ores from the Dwarves and the tales of the Noldor from his mother. He
was extremely interested in Turgon and Gondolin, and particularly
interested that Turgon had no heir[6]. Aredhel did not tell Maeglin how to
find Gondolin but they both began thinking about going there.

Then Maeglin had a falling out with Eöl regarding a visit to the sons of
Fëanor, and Maeglin stopped traveling to visit the Dwarves with his
father[7]. When Eöl left for a feast in Nogrod, Aredhel and Maeglin decided
to tell the servants that they were riding to visit the sons of Fëanor,
Eöl's least favorite people. Then they headed west towards Gondolin.
Therefore when Eöl went looking for them in Himlad, he encountered Curufin
and they exchanged unpleasant words. Curufin sent Eöl west to follow
Aredhel and Maeglin, and he caught up with them in time to sneak behind
them into Gondolin.

Turgon liked Maeglin and Maeglin declared allegiance to Turgon. Eöl was
caught and brought before Turgon, who welcomed him warmly but required
him to stay in Gondolin to preserve its secrecy[8]. Eöl declared that he
would not be subject to Turgon's will and intended to leave with
Maeglin. Maeglin remained uninvolved, but Turgon would not release Eöl.
Suddenly Eöl threw a poisoned javelin at Maeglin, intending that they
should both die rather than live in Gondolin[9], and Aredhel was hit in the
shoulder by the javelin. She asked for mercy for her husband, but she
died that night and Eöl was thrown from a cliff as Maeglin watched silently.

After this, things went very well for Maeglin, and he became very
powerful. He found ore, forged excellent weapons, and was considered
wise and brave. He continued to be a quiet guy. However, in his heart,
Maeglin lusted for his cousin Idril, the daughter of Turgon, and this
became a "darkness in his heart." Cousins were off-limits for marriage,
and Idril strongly disliked Maeglin.


Discussion points

I hope someone can fill in the details of the evolution of this chapter.
I have never looked at any HOME volumes.

This chapter has a lot of predictions in it. I notice these:
-Turgon predicts no good for him or Aredhel if she leaves Gondolin
-Curufin predicts that Eöl will never return to Nan Elmoth
-Eöl predicts Maeglin's failure to win Idril and that he will die by being
thrown from that cliff
-Idril is troubled and mistrusts Maeglin from the first

When I read this chapter for the first time, I felt that it built up a lot
of suspense about what would happen to Maeglin. It seemed like he was
already evil. I actually felt that what did happen was a lot less
terrible than it could have been. I mean, after this chapter you might
begin to think that Maeglin will start trouble on his own, but we come to
find out that Morgoth started it, so Maeglin looks a little better.
Anyone else think so?


[1] Aredhel certainly seemed to be "firm of will" like her favorite
cousins. She doesn't do anything particularly admirable in the whole
chapter until she pleads for her husband's life and deflects the
spear from her son.

[2] We know from Chapter 5 that Aredhel the White Lady liked to ride and
hunt with the sons of Fëanor but that "to none was her heart's love
given." None probably means "no elf" but since it's written in the same
sentence with the sons of Fëanor, it makes me think "none" applies to
them. That's strange, because this chapter makes it clear that it was
deviant behavior to want to marry a cousin.

[3] What does "enmeshed in shadows" mean? Spider-webs? Lots of
enmeshing going on here even by elves.

[4] There's nothing particularly bad revealed about Eöl until he is in
Gondolin, after all the Fëanorians speak a lot more harshly than he does,
but with all the "dark" descriptions, you know he's just going to end up
being bad.

[5] Aredhel must have been willing to marry Eöl although Curufin
considered her to be stolen.

[6] This interest in Turgon and Turgon's lack of an heir is disturbing
and provides another reason why Maeglin has an unhealthy interest in Idril

[7] So we know that they had a falling out. Was that the whole reason
for sneaking away? I think it's more of an excuse - Maeglin already
wanted to leave his father and go to Gondolin, and therefore he picked a
fight about the Noldor so he could have a grievance against his father.
Was this falling out enough to cause Maeglin not to ask for mercy for his
father in Gondolin?

[8] Turgon is a Nice Guy. There is a big understatement in chapter 6:
"But the children of Indis were great and glorious, and their children
also; and if they had not lived the history of the Eldar would have been
diminished."

[9] IMO this is where Eöl proves that he's a little insane. Maeglin on
the other hand watches Idril for a very long time, and darkness grows in
his heart, but he didn't go insane without Morgoth's help.

-------
There seems to be a lack of interest in COTW at the moment. IMO we might
as well stick to the schedule because it's easy to reopen these threads.
For example, I haven't been keeping up and until now I had about 500
unread COTW messages showing in my newsreader. I wanted to catch up
before writing this chapter summary, and I did. I could have responded
to some of the old threads, and I know a few people do this already.
There's always the archive if your news server doesn't have the old
threads anymore. Anyway, just IMO.

--
Amanda D.
"Huan, the hound of Valinor"

Emma Pease

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Jul 3, 2006, 8:20:26 PM7/3/06
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In article <_Xcqg.25$BZ1...@fe06.lga>, Huan the hound wrote:
> This is the chapter summary and initial discussion points for the
> chapter "Of Maeglin."

...


>
> Discussion points
>
> I hope someone can fill in the details of the evolution of this chapter.
> I have never looked at any HOME volumes.
>
> This chapter has a lot of predictions in it. I notice these:
> -Turgon predicts no good for him or Aredhel if she leaves Gondolin
> -Curufin predicts that Eöl will never return to Nan Elmoth
> -Eöl predicts Maeglin's failure to win Idril and that he will die by being
> thrown from that cliff
> -Idril is troubled and mistrusts Maeglin from the first
>
> When I read this chapter for the first time, I felt that it built up a lot
> of suspense about what would happen to Maeglin. It seemed like he was
> already evil. I actually felt that what did happen was a lot less
> terrible than it could have been. I mean, after this chapter you might
> begin to think that Maeglin will start trouble on his own, but we come to
> find out that Morgoth started it, so Maeglin looks a little better.
> Anyone else think so?

I get the feeling that this part of the story was never developed that
much.

...

> [2] We know from Chapter 5 that Aredhel the White Lady liked to ride and
> hunt with the sons of Fëanor but that "to none was her heart's love
> given." None probably means "no elf" but since it's written in the same
> sentence with the sons of Fëanor, it makes me think "none" applies to
> them. That's strange, because this chapter makes it clear that it was
> deviant behavior to want to marry a cousin.

Well Fëanor's sons were actually half cousins (they shared a common
grandfather but not a common grandmother), perhaps that was distant
enough to make them legit marriage partners. IIRC some late variants
of Galadriel's story have her marrying her first cousin.

--
\----
|\* | Emma Pease Net Spinster
|_\/ Die Luft der Freiheit weht

burns...@yahoo.com

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Jul 4, 2006, 2:58:18 PM7/4/06
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Huan the hound wrote:

> Discussion points
>
> I hope someone can fill in the details of the evolution of this chapter.
> I have never looked at any HOME volumes.
>
> This chapter has a lot of predictions in it. I notice these:
> -Turgon predicts no good for him or Aredhel if she leaves Gondolin
> -Curufin predicts that Eöl will never return to Nan Elmoth
> -Eöl predicts Maeglin's failure to win Idril and that he will die by being
> thrown from that cliff
> -Idril is troubled and mistrusts Maeglin from the first
>
> When I read this chapter for the first time, I felt that it built up a lot
> of suspense about what would happen to Maeglin. It seemed like he was
> already evil. I actually felt that what did happen was a lot less
> terrible than it could have been. I mean, after this chapter you might
> begin to think that Maeglin will start trouble on his own, but we come to
> find out that Morgoth started it, so Maeglin looks a little better.
> Anyone else think so?

Given how many premonitions characters have in The Silmarillion, its a
miracle that the story can continue with any pretense of free-will. One
possibilitiy is these future echos are all the result of the Oath of
Feanor, which was in itself a free act and these are just the
consequences... anyways, I always thought Turgon to be among the most
noble and well intentioned of the Noldor.

Maeglin is not evil per se, but later causes much grief. Influenced by
Morgoth but not completely without guilt. I see Maeglin's compulsion as
greater than himself, he is incapable of resisting his lustful urges
for Idril. A pathetic character who descends into evil, but isn't
inherently evil (unlike Morgoth, for example).

> [1] Aredhel certainly seemed to be "firm of will" like her favorite
> cousins. She doesn't do anything particularly admirable in the whole
> chapter until she pleads for her husband's life and deflects the
> spear from her son.

Definitely a Valley Girl of the Noldor. Self-righteous and willful.
Pleading for her husband's life AND protecting her son is a sign of her
inability to make a decision IMHO -- either her husband is evil, or her
and her son are disloyal...she wants to have it both ways.

> [3] What does "enmeshed in shadows" mean? Spider-webs? Lots of
> enmeshing going on here even by elves.

Ungoliant, Melian, Eöl ... only one of which is elf. Enmeshed in
shadows sounds like misdirection through magic to me.

> [4] There's nothing particularly bad revealed about Eöl until he is in
> Gondolin, after all the Fëanorians speak a lot more harshly than he does,
> but with all the "dark" descriptions, you know he's just going to end up
> being bad.

I disagree. Turgon is most gracious as a host, but Eöl has no humility
and can accept no charity.

> [5] Aredhel must have been willing to marry Eöl although Curufin
> considered her to be stolen.

Curufin is not among the wisest of Feanor's sons.

> [6] This interest in Turgon and Turgon's lack of an heir is disturbing
> and provides another reason why Maeglin has an unhealthy interest in Idril

Yup.

> [7] So we know that they had a falling out. Was that the whole reason
> for sneaking away? I think it's more of an excuse - Maeglin already
> wanted to leave his father and go to Gondolin, and therefore he picked a
> fight about the Noldor so he could have a grievance against his father.
> Was this falling out enough to cause Maeglin not to ask for mercy for his
> father in Gondolin?

Freudian 'kill my father, marry my mother' syndrome?' As an adopted
son to Turgon Maeglin got to be close to Idril, but also it made
possible relations even less wholesome.

> [8] Turgon is a Nice Guy. There is a big understatement in chapter 6:
> "But the children of Indis were great and glorious, and their children
> also; and if they had not lived the history of the Eldar would have been
> diminished."

Turgon is perhaps the least flawed of the Noldor. Thingol, Fingolfin,
and Finrod all have their moments but also succumb to moments of
irrationality.

> [9] IMO this is where Eöl proves that he's a little insane. Maeglin on
> the other hand watches Idril for a very long time, and darkness grows in
> his heart, but he didn't go insane without Morgoth's help.

Eöl isn't insane, just cold hearted. Maeglin is the Judas of the
Noldor, that's for certain though.

Huan the hound

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Jul 4, 2006, 4:44:11 PM7/4/06
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On 2006-07-04, burns...@yahoo.com <burns...@yahoo.com> wrote in <1152039498....@m73g2000cwd.googlegroups.com>:
> Huan the hound wrote:

[snip]


> Maeglin is not evil per se, but later causes much grief. Influenced by
> Morgoth but not completely without guilt. I see Maeglin's compulsion as
> greater than himself, he is incapable of resisting his lustful urges
> for Idril. A pathetic character who descends into evil, but isn't
> inherently evil (unlike Morgoth, for example).

I agree with you. However, on my very first reading of chapter 16, I
expected worse from Maeglin than what I later read in the fall of Gondolin.

[snip]


>> [4] There's nothing particularly bad revealed about Eöl until he is in
>> Gondolin, after all the Fëanorians speak a lot more harshly than he does,
>> but with all the "dark" descriptions, you know he's just going to end up
>> being bad.
>
> I disagree. Turgon is most gracious as a host, but Eöl has no humility
> and can accept no charity.

Point 4 is a comment from midway through the summary, before he goes to
Gondolin. You are right about Eöl of course, but my point was that we
could predict he'd do the wrong thing in Gondolin only based on his dark
description rather than based on anything he'd done *so far* in the
chapter.

[snip]


>> [8] Turgon is a Nice Guy. There is a big understatement in chapter 6:
>> "But the children of Indis were great and glorious, and their children
>> also; and if they had not lived the history of the Eldar would have been
>> diminished."
>
> Turgon is perhaps the least flawed of the Noldor. Thingol, Fingolfin,
> and Finrod all have their moments but also succumb to moments of
> irrationality.

I find Thingol particularly frustrating.

--

Jamie Andrews; real address @ bottom of message

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Jul 4, 2006, 5:42:42 PM7/4/06
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In rec.arts.books.tolkien Huan the hound <huanth...@netscape.net> wrote:
> This is the chapter summary and initial discussion points for the
> chapter "Of Maeglin."

Thanks for that!

I'm a Gondolinophile, and this is where I feel that the
story of Gondolin really starts to heat up. That story is the
fourth big narrative thread in Silm, the others being the
rebellion of Fëanor and the Noldor, the story of Beren and
Luthien, and the story of Turin. The story of Gondolin is the
only one that's "distributed" through the book in snippets in
various chapters.

> When I read this chapter for the first time, I felt that it built up a lot
> of suspense about what would happen to Maeglin. It seemed like he was
> already evil. I actually felt that what did happen was a lot less
> terrible than it could have been. I mean, after this chapter you might
> begin to think that Maeglin will start trouble on his own, but we come to
> find out that Morgoth started it, so Maeglin looks a little better.

I have long felt that Tolkien did an extremely good job at
setting up Maeglin's angst. Maeglin doesn't get along with his
father, and so leaves him with his mother. As a result of that
decision, his father kills his mother, his father is executed
(with Maeglin being given the soul-wrenching choice of whether
to save him), his father curses him before he dies, he is stuck
forever in a place where he knows no one, he is thrown together
with one of the most beautiful Elves in Beleriand and he can't
help falling in love with her even though she is... his cousin.
Sheesh! That's the kind of life story you hear about from
hardened criminals.

There are also points of similarity to JRRT's own
background: both of his parents died when he was quite young,
and he was brought up by a kindly older person in a place where
he met and fell in love with a girl older than he. Of course,
JRRT was not related to Edith, and his love story had a happier
ending. I sometimes wonder if Maeglin is JRRT's picture of what
could have happened to him if he had been prevented permanently
from marrying Edith.

> [1] Aredhel certainly seemed to be "firm of will" like her favorite
> cousins.

Note the echoes of previous themes. The Valar try to keep
the Noldor in Aman, but they rebelliously leave. Turgon tries
to keep Aredhel in Gondolin, but she rebelliously leaves. Eöl
tries to keep Aredhel and Maeglin in Nan Elmoth, but they
rebelliously leave. Ironically, the downfall of Gondolin comes
because Turgon rebelliously decides to stay there.

> [2] We know from Chapter 5 that Aredhel the White Lady liked to ride and
> hunt with the sons of Fëanor but that "to none was her heart's love
> given." None probably means "no elf" but since it's written in the same
> sentence with the sons of Fëanor, it makes me think "none" applies to
> them. That's strange, because this chapter makes it clear that it was
> deviant behavior to want to marry a cousin.

Well... cousin is the outer limit of the incest bans in
many societies, including ours; even cousin's child is usually
considered OK. The Sons of Fëanor are Aredhel's half-cousins.
Still, I think you're right -- it's no coincidence that this
reminder of the limits of the incest ban happens to be in this
particular chapter.

> [4] There's nothing particularly bad revealed about Eöl until he is in
> Gondolin, after all the Fëanorians speak a lot more harshly than he does,
> but with all the "dark" descriptions, you know he's just going to end up
> being bad.

I dunno... he is said to consider the Noldor to be
invaders; he marries Aredhel without the involvement of her
relatives, which would seem at least common courtesy; he has
conflicts with Maeglin and seemingly wants to keep him on too
short a leash; and he smarts off to his neighbour Curufin, who
seems to be all too familiar with this behaviour from him. His
withdrawal into Nan Elmoth, lack of contact with other Elves and
association with Dwarves make him out to be at least a
curmudgeon. Elsewhere, we hear that Eöl "begrudges" Thingol the
gift of Anglachel. Seems like an all-round sourpuss.

> [7] So we know that they had a falling out. Was that the whole reason
> for sneaking away? I think it's more of an excuse - Maeglin already
> wanted to leave his father and go to Gondolin, and therefore he picked a
> fight about the Noldor so he could have a grievance against his father.
> Was this falling out enough to cause Maeglin not to ask for mercy for his
> father in Gondolin?

I think JRRT is painting in brief strokes a deep division
between Eöl and Maeglin. Eöl doesn't strike me as the type of
character that would make a caring, lovable father.

> [8] Turgon is a Nice Guy. There is a big understatement in chapter 6:
> "But the children of Indis were great and glorious, and their children
> also; and if they had not lived the history of the Eldar would have been
> diminished."

Yes, but I wonder what JRRT thought of capital punishment.
IIRC, he was writing this chapter only about 15 years before the
last execution in the UK... it may have been as much as 25
years. (IDHTBIFOM, i.e. IDH HoME IFOM.) As a devout Catholic,
he might have sympathized with the anti-capital-punishment
movement. Just speculation, I guess, but I still wonder. JRRT
gives Turgon the sin of pride (loving too much "the work of his
hands"), which is Lucifer's sin, so it looks like he was not
100% sweet on him.

There are some further echoes of previous chapters. Turgon
welcomes Eöl as a "kinsman", but then executes him; thus Turgon
is a "kinslayer", even if he was not one at Alqualondë (I don't
think we have any information about his behaviour at
Alqualondë). Eöl tries to kill his son, and ends up killing his
wife; thus he too is a "kinslayer". Maeglin refuses to save his
father's life; thus he too is a "kinslayer". They all end up
sharing in the fate predicted by Mandos for the kinslayers
("slain ye can be, and slain ye shall be"), even though Eöl is
not a Noldo.

> [9] IMO this is where Eöl proves that he's a little insane. Maeglin on
> the other hand watches Idril for a very long time, and darkness grows in
> his heart, but he didn't go insane without Morgoth's help.

Yes, it's interesting to trace the paths of evil from
Morgoth directly to Eöl (resentment of the Noldor), and from
Morgoth partly through Fëanor to Aredhel (rebelliousness), to
Maeglin and then finally from Morgoth directly to Maeglin.

--Jamie. (efil4dreN)
andrews .uwo } Merge these two lines to obtain my e-mail address.
@csd .ca } (Unsolicited "bulk" e-mail costs everyone.)

Huan the hound

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Jul 4, 2006, 10:25:25 PM7/4/06
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On 2006-07-04, Jamie Andrews; real address @ bottom of message
<m...@privacy.net> wrote in <4h05miF...@individual.net>:

[snip]


> There are also points of similarity to JRRT's own
> background: both of his parents died when he was quite young,
> and he was brought up by a kindly older person in a place where
> he met and fell in love with a girl older than he. Of course,
> JRRT was not related to Edith, and his love story had a happier
> ending. I sometimes wonder if Maeglin is JRRT's picture of what
> could have happened to him if he had been prevented permanently
> from marrying Edith.

Wow! This is a new idea to me, has it been discussed here in the past?

[snip]


> There are some further echoes of previous chapters. Turgon
> welcomes Eöl as a "kinsman", but then executes him; thus Turgon

> is a "kinslayer", even if he was not one at Alqualondė (I don't


> think we have any information about his behaviour at

> Alqualondė). Eöl tries to kill his son, and ends up killing his


> wife; thus he too is a "kinslayer". Maeglin refuses to save his
> father's life; thus he too is a "kinslayer". They all end up
> sharing in the fate predicted by Mandos for the kinslayers
> ("slain ye can be, and slain ye shall be"), even though Eöl is
> not a Noldo.

That's an impressive amount of connections, so my question is: did
Tolkien think all this out over time and add it in?

--

Huan, the hound of Valinor

<http://www.douban.net/people/2000366/>

Jamie Andrews; real address @ bottom of message

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Jul 5, 2006, 1:07:36 AM7/5/06
to
In rec.arts.books.tolkien Huan the hound <huanth...@netscape.net> wrote:
>> There are also points of similarity to JRRT's own
>> background: both of his parents died when he was quite young,
>> and he was brought up by a kindly older person in a place where
>> he met and fell in love with a girl older than he. Of course,
>> JRRT was not related to Edith, and his love story had a happier
>> ending. I sometimes wonder if Maeglin is JRRT's picture of what
>> could have happened to him if he had been prevented permanently
>> from marrying Edith.
> Wow! This is a new idea to me, has it been discussed here in the past?

I mentioned it here a few months ago, and some people
posted to say they thought I was nuts. :-)

As Carpenter tells it in his Biography, Father Francis
forbade JRRT from seeing or even writing to Edith, so that he
(JRRT) could concentrate on his studies. For three years he
obeyed, but never forgot her. When he reached the age of
majority (21) and thus felt free to write to Edith again, Edith
was already engaged to someone else. He arranged to meet her,
she broke off the engagement and the rest is history. What
would have happened if she had not broken off that engagement?
Poor Ronald.

Dirk Thierbach

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Jul 7, 2006, 7:24:10 AM7/7/06
to
Jamie Andrews; real address @ bottom of message <m...@privacy.net> wrote:
> There are some further echoes of previous chapters. Turgon
> welcomes Eöl as a "kinsman", but then executes him; thus Turgon
> is a "kinslayer", even if he was not one at Alqualondė (I don't

> think we have any information about his behaviour at
> Alqualondė). Eöl tries to kill his son, and ends up killing his

> wife; thus he too is a "kinslayer". Maeglin refuses to save his
> father's life; thus he too is a "kinslayer".

I think one must make a difference between "kinslaying" as in
*attacking* one's own relatives (unrightfully), and on the other hand
executing someone (even if related) as punishment with the lawful
authority to do so (which Turgon seems to have).

There's also a difference between desperation, and in desperation
trying to kill close family (that still happens today, the newspapers
are full of "man kills his family, and then commits suicide"
stories), and "kinslaying" in the above sense.

Finally, there's definitely a difference between "refusing to save
someone's life" (out of pity, or whatever), and wilfully attacking
somebody.

So while all these cases are related in the aspect that relatives are
killed, the circumstances are quite different.

One should also keep in mind that especially the silmarillion stories
are heavily influenced by the sagas, which have their own concept
of morals.

- Dirk

Jamie Andrews; real address @ bottom of message

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Jul 7, 2006, 10:25:46 AM7/7/06
to
> Jamie Andrews; real address @ bottom of message <m...@privacy.net> wrote:
>> There are some further echoes of previous chapters. Turgon
>> welcomes Eöl as a "kinsman", but then executes him; thus Turgon
>> is a "kinslayer", even if he was not one at Alqualondë (I don't

>> think we have any information about his behaviour at
>> Alqualondë). Eöl tries to kill his son, and ends up killing his

>> wife; thus he too is a "kinslayer". Maeglin refuses to save his
>> father's life; thus he too is a "kinslayer".

In rec.arts.books.tolkien Dirk Thierbach <dthie...@usenet.arcornews.de> wrote:
> I think one must make a difference between "kinslaying" as in
> *attacking* one's own relatives (unrightfully), and on the other hand
> executing someone (even if related) as punishment with the lawful
> authority to do so (which Turgon seems to have).

Yes, Turgon (as King of Gondolin) has the authority to
execute Eöl. When Aredhel dies, Eöl "finds no mercy" from
Turgon. But this is the Tolkien that wrote "It was Pity that
stayed his hand. Pity, and Mercy: not to strike without need."
Turgon doesn't really *have* to execute Eöl; he could keep him
imprisoned and try to reform him, as Gandalf did with Gollum.

I think Tolkien is trying to point out that Turgon has made
a moral choice that causes the death of someone he has claimed
as a kinsman. It's a case of someone's words tripping him up,
as for instance happens to the Sons of Fëanor. Whatever he did
at Alqualondë, Turgon can no longer claim in perfect truth never
to have slain a kinsman. You make a good point that the
Silmarillion stories are influenced by the morality of the
sagas, but perhaps Tolkien is partly criticizing that morality too.

> There's also a difference between desperation, and in desperation
> trying to kill close family (that still happens today, the newspapers
> are full of "man kills his family, and then commits suicide"
> stories), and "kinslaying" in the above sense.
> Finally, there's definitely a difference between "refusing to save
> someone's life" (out of pity, or whatever), and wilfully attacking
> somebody.

I agree; none of the choices made are equal to the
deliberate and rapacious kinslaying at Alqualondë, or for
instance the attack on Dior, Elured and Elurin by the Sons of
Fëanor. But they are still moral choices that kill kinsmen,
whether or not desperation or some moral choice is motivating
it. Turgon's choice in particular indicates that he isn't
perfect, and it foreshadows his failings that later lead to his
downfall.

Dirk Thierbach

unread,
Jul 7, 2006, 5:32:52 PM7/7/06
to
Jamie Andrews; real address @ bottom of message <m...@privacy.net> wrote:

> Yes, Turgon (as King of Gondolin) has the authority to
> execute Eöl. When Aredhel dies, Eöl "finds no mercy" from
> Turgon. But this is the Tolkien that wrote "It was Pity that
> stayed his hand. Pity, and Mercy: not to strike without need."
> Turgon doesn't really *have* to execute Eöl; he could keep him
> imprisoned and try to reform him, as Gandalf did with Gollum.

The "pity and mercy" theme comes from Tolkiens Christian background,
while (as said) the SIL is mostly influenced by the style of the
sagas. Yes, they don't mix well. One shouldn't expect consistency
in all points.

> I think Tolkien is trying to point out that Turgon has made
> a moral choice that causes the death of someone he has claimed
> as a kinsman.

Why should he? Turgon has shown generosity in accepting Eol as
"kinsman" (with all of the status that this implies). Eol has
more or less rejected that (rather impolite), and in the end
killed Turgons sister (who was the reason that Eol became "kin"
in the first place). The punishment for this death is death,
according to saga-style morals. End of story. No "kinslaying"
involved.

> It's a case of someone's words tripping him up, as for instance
> happens to the Sons of Fëanor.

I don't think so.

> Whatever he did at Alqualondë, Turgon can no longer claim in
> perfect truth never to have slain a kinsman.

But the point is not to be able claim that. The point is that
attacking innocent people is unjust, and that attacking close
relatives unjustly is even worse. That's what makes it a "hideous
crime", and this unjust deed comes back later to haunt the murders
(again, saga-style). Turgon however wasn't unjust, he was only
doing his duty as supreme judge.

> I agree; none of the choices made are equal to the
> deliberate and rapacious kinslaying at Alqualondë, or for
> instance the attack on Dior, Elured and Elurin by the Sons of

> Fëanor. But they are still moral choices that kill kinsmen, [...]

Yes, but so what? As said above, that's not the important point.

> Turgon's choice in particular indicates that he isn't
> perfect, and it foreshadows his failings that later lead to his
> downfall.

I don't think that this particular choice affects the downfall in
any way. Look at Ulmo's prophecy:

And Ulmo warned Turgon that he also lay under the Doom of Mandos, which Ulmo
had no power to remove. 'Thus it may come to pass,' he said, 'that the curse
of the Noldor shall find thee too ere the end, and treason awake within thy
walls. Then they shall be in peril of fire. But if this peril draweth nigh
indeed, then even from Nevrast one shall come to warn thee, and from him
beyond ruin and fire hope shall be born for Elves and Men.

Now look what happens when Tour comes to Gondolin:

[Tour] gave warning to Turgon that the Curse of Mandos now hastened to
its fulfilment, when all the works of the Noldor should perish; and he
bade him depart, and abandon the fair and mighty city that he had
built, and go down Sirion to the sea.

[...] But Turgon was become proud, and Gondolin as beautiful as a
memory of Elven Tirion, and he trusted still in its secret and
impregnable strength, though even a Vala should gainsay it; and after
the Nirnaeth Arnoediad the people of that city desired never again to
mingle in the woes of Elves and Men without, nor to return through
dread and danger into the West.

So (as in many other cases) the fault of Turgon is his pride in rejecting
the advice of Ulmo. Not that fact that he put Eol to a just death sentence,
relative or not. One may argue that Turgon shouldn't have accepted
Maeglin, but Maeglin would have probably betrayed Turgon in any case.

- Dirk

Emma Pease

unread,
Jul 7, 2006, 8:51:38 PM7/7/06
to
In article <4h7979F...@individual.net>, Jamie Andrews; real address @ bottom of message wrote:
>> Jamie Andrews; real address @ bottom of message <m...@privacy.net> wrote:
>>> There are some further echoes of previous chapters. Turgon
>>> welcomes Eöl as a "kinsman", but then executes him; thus Turgon
>>> is a "kinslayer", even if he was not one at Alqualondë (I don't
>>> think we have any information about his behaviour at
>>> Alqualondë). Eöl tries to kill his son, and ends up killing his
>>> wife; thus he too is a "kinslayer". Maeglin refuses to save his
>>> father's life; thus he too is a "kinslayer".
>
> In rec.arts.books.tolkien Dirk Thierbach
> <dthie...@usenet.arcornews.de> wrote:
>> I think one must make a difference between "kinslaying" as in
>> *attacking* one's own relatives (unrightfully), and on the other hand
>> executing someone (even if related) as punishment with the lawful
>> authority to do so (which Turgon seems to have).
>
> Yes, Turgon (as King of Gondolin) has the authority to
> execute Eöl. When Aredhel dies, Eöl "finds no mercy" from
> Turgon. But this is the Tolkien that wrote "It was Pity that
> stayed his hand. Pity, and Mercy: not to strike without need."
> Turgon doesn't really *have* to execute Eöl; he could keep him
> imprisoned and try to reform him, as Gandalf did with Gollum.

Was this the first execution of elf by elf? Did Turgon have the
authority? I suspect no Eldar, king or otherwise, in the West had the
authority (and would the Valar have ordered an execution?).

Shanahan

unread,
Jul 8, 2006, 12:18:29 AM7/8/06
to
Jamie Andrews; real address @ bottom of message wrote:
> In rec.arts.books.tolkien Dirk Thierbach
> <dthie...@usenet.arcornews.de> wrote:
>> I think one must make a difference between "kinslaying" as in
>> *attacking* one's own relatives (unrightfully), and on the other hand
>> executing someone (even if related) as punishment with the lawful
>> authority to do so (which Turgon seems to have).
>
> Yes, Turgon (as King of Gondolin) has the authority to
> execute Eöl. When Aredhel dies, Eöl "finds no mercy" from
> Turgon. But this is the Tolkien that wrote "It was Pity that
> stayed his hand. Pity, and Mercy: not to strike without need."
> Turgon doesn't really *have* to execute Eöl; he could keep him
> imprisoned and try to reform him, as Gandalf did with Gollum.
> I think Tolkien is trying to point out that Turgon has made
> a moral choice that causes the death of someone he has claimed
> as a kinsman. It's a case of someone's words tripping him up,
> as for instance happens to the Sons of Fëanor. Whatever he did
> at Alqualondë, Turgon can no longer claim in perfect truth never
> to have slain a kinsman. You make a good point that the
> Silmarillion stories are influenced by the morality of the
> sagas, but perhaps Tolkien is partly criticizing that morality too.

Oh, definitely. In Silm., I see a real pull between the 'pagan' Tolkien
who was transported by The Kalevala, the Eddas, etc.; and the Catholic
Tolkien. It's there in the pull between Doom/Fate/Destiny and Free Will.
As someone else noted a short while ago, there's darn little Free Will
in /The Silmarillion/ . But there is a powerful sense of Doom.

I believe that's why Ulmo is so important. He is the placemarker for
Free Will; he holds open the crack in the wall of Doom. And the Catholic
Tolkien had to represent free will in this "cycle of stories set in an
Elfinesse of my own imagination". I think if he'd been a Protestant or
an atheist, there would have been no need for a character like Ulmo, and
predestination would have an even larger role in Silm. than it does now.
(Ulmo vs. Mandos, the Catholic and the Calvinist. I love thinking of
Mandos as the lone Calvinist among the Valar.)

- Ciaran S., the Wrackspurt
------------------------------
I float in through your ears and make
your brain go fuzzy.


Stan Brown

unread,
Jul 8, 2006, 5:59:05 AM7/8/06
to
4 Jul 2006 21:42:42 GMT from Jamie Andrews <and...@csd.uwo.ca>:

> Turgon
> welcomes Eöl as a "kinsman", but then executes him; thus Turgon
> is a "kinslayer", even if he was not one at Alqualondë (I don't
> think we have any information about his behaviour at
> Alqualondë). Eöl tries to kill his son, and ends up killing his
> wife; thus he too is a "kinslayer". Maeglin refuses to save his
> father's life; thus he too is a "kinslayer". They all end up
> sharing in the fate predicted by Mandos for the kinslayers
> ("slain ye can be, and slain ye shall be"), even though Eöl is
> not a Noldo.

"You put your worst cause last and in the chief place," as Thorin
said to Bard. In no sense can someone be considered a murderer who
refuses to save a life. Maeglin didn't kill his father. Furthermore,
I don't even think it's fair to say he "refuses to save his father's
life". We have no particular reason to think that Turgon would have
granted Maeglin's prayer for mercy for a murderer, even if he had
made one; and why should Maeglin have prayed mercy for the man who
killed his mother?

Now for Eöl: He was a murderer, clearly enough.

Turgon, on the other hand, was not -- unless any judge who orders an
execution is a murderer. Whatever we may think about capital
punishment today, I think we must accept that murderers deserved
death in legendary times. A judge who carries out the law and orders
an execution is in no sense a murderer.

Finally, Turgon's hailing Eöl as "kinsman" was perhaps mere
politeness. Remember that Aredhel was taken to wife at least partly
against her will. As Curufin said, "those who steal the daughters of
the Noldor and wed them without gift or leave do not gain kinship
with their kin."

--
Stan Brown, Oak Road Systems, Tompkins County, New York, USA
http://OakRoadSystems.com
Tolkien FAQs: http://Tolkien.slimy.com (Steuard Jensen's site)
Tolkien letters FAQ:
http://users.telerama.com/~taliesen/tolkien/lettersfaq.html
FAQ of the Rings: http://oakroadsystems.com/genl/ringfaq.htm
Encyclopedia of Arda: http://www.glyphweb.com/arda/default.htm
more FAQs: http://oakroadsystems.com/genl/faqget.htm

er...@swva.net

unread,
Jul 8, 2006, 6:08:11 AM7/8/06
to

I have two points: First, Aredhel did not wholly marry Eol (I don't
know how to do umlauts) of her free will, but rather tricked her with
the help of magic; all in all, his courtship of her strikes me as a
little dishonest and creepy. Second, I think that Curufin suspected
something of the sort, or at least realized that _saying so_ was a good
way to insult Eol, and we know from his days in Nargothrond that
Curufin had a sharp and nasty tongue.

(snip)

Eric Root

Taemon

unread,
Jul 8, 2006, 6:17:06 AM7/8/06
to
Stan Brown wrote:

> Turgon, on the other hand, was not -- unless any judge who orders
> an execution is a murderer. Whatever we may think about capital
> punishment today, I think we must accept that murderers deserved
> death in legendary times.

They didn't deserve it any more or less than today. But in those
times, there where no better ways to deal with them.

> A judge who carries out the law and
> orders an execution is in no sense a murderer.

With that, I agree.

T.


Phlip

unread,
Jul 8, 2006, 6:36:10 AM7/8/06
to
Taemon wrote:

>> A judge who carries out the law and
>> orders an execution is in no sense a murderer.
>
> With that, I agree.

"I was just following orders!"

--
Phlip
http://c2.com/cgi/wiki?ZeekLand <-- NOT a blog!!!


Huan the hound

unread,
Jul 8, 2006, 12:38:46 PM7/8/06
to
On 2006-07-08, Stan Brown <the_sta...@fastmail.fm> wrote in
<MPG.1f194bf9a...@news.individual.net>:

> life". We have no particular reason to think that Turgon would have
> granted Maeglin's prayer for mercy for a murderer, even if he had
> made one; and why should Maeglin have prayed mercy for the man who
> killed his mother?

It is true that Turon and Maeglin had only just been introduced to each
other. Turgon wouldn't have any reason to be persuaded by this stranger,
and Maeglin wouldn't have any reason to expect him to.

--

Odysseus

unread,
Jul 8, 2006, 4:07:45 PM7/8/06
to
In article <1152353291.6...@p79g2000cwp.googlegroups.com>,
er...@swva.net wrote:

<snip>
>
> [...] Eol (I don't know how to do umlauts) [...]

The pair of dots on the O in Eöl is properly called a "diaeresis"; as in
English and French, the marked vowel is pronounced separately from its
neighbour instead of their being combined in a diphthong. Among
philologists the meaning of "umlaut" is restricted to a phonetic
modification of certain vowels in languages such as German; I don't
believe Elvish exhibits it.

"Umlaut" has become the more common term for the mark in popular and
non-linguistic technical contexts such as the HTML "entity" names for
non-ASCII characters, but I very much doubt Tolkien would have approved
of this development.

--
Odysseus

Derek Broughton

unread,
Jul 9, 2006, 3:35:03 PM7/9/06
to
Odysseus wrote:

LOL. Which gets the poster no closer to doing umlauts or diareses (?).
Just cut & paste: Eöl. Different systems have different ways to do foreign
accents, more or less easily, but in most cases I find it's easiest to just
cut & paste, as I'm hardly likely to be the person who introduces the
accent, just responding to someone using one.
--
derek

Michael Ikeda

unread,
Jul 9, 2006, 7:27:04 PM7/9/06
to
Derek Broughton <ne...@pointerstop.ca> wrote in
news:7c28o3-...@news.pointerstop.ca:

> LOL. Which gets the poster no closer to doing umlauts or
> diareses (?). Just cut & paste: Eöl. Different systems have
> different ways to do foreign accents, more or less easily, but
> in most cases I find it's easiest to just cut & paste, as I'm
> hardly likely to be the person who introduces the accent, just
> responding to someone using one.

Getting back to the chapter discussion...

One thing that occurs to me is that Turgon seems to order Eöl's death
in part out of vengeance. And that sort of thing often is Not a Good
Idea in the Tolkienverse. One might say that mercy seems to tend to
send positive ripples while vengeance often tends to send negative
ripples.

--
Michael Ikeda mmi...@erols.com
"Telling a statistician not to use sampling is like telling an
astronomer they can't say there is a moon and stars"
Lynne Billard, past president American Statistical Association

J.G. Ballard

unread,
Jul 9, 2006, 9:40:52 PM7/9/06
to
In article <e8nbo...@enews4.newsguy.com>,
"Shanahan" <pog...@bluefrog.com> wrote:

> I believe that's why Ulmo is so important. He is the placemarker for
> Free Will; he holds open the crack in the wall of Doom. And the Catholic
> Tolkien had to represent free will in this "cycle of stories set in an
> Elfinesse of my own imagination". I think if he'd been a Protestant or
> an atheist, there would have been no need for a character like Ulmo, and
> predestination would have an even larger role in Silm. than it does now.
> (Ulmo vs. Mandos, the Catholic and the Calvinist. I love thinking of
> Mandos as the lone Calvinist among the Valar.)

Just remember that there are a *lot* of non-Calvinist protestants (the
rather large Methodists congregations spring to mind, but there are
others). But I do like the idea of Mandos as being the
predestinationist Calvinist.

J.G.B.

Shanahan

unread,
Jul 10, 2006, 10:30:14 PM7/10/06
to
"J.G. Ballard" <jgballar...@yahoo.com> wrote in message
news:jgballar-keinspam-B...@netnews.insightbb.com...

Quite right. I was demonstrating my ignorance of Protestantism. Do
Methodists not believe in predestination?

At times Ulmo reminds me of the god/desses in Homer, what with the
direct interference in human affairs. Does anyone know of an Ulmo
analogue in Northern mythologies? I'm curious to know if Tolkien based
him at all on a preexisting god.

- Ciaran S.
-----------------------
mooreeffoc


Dirk Thierbach

unread,
Jul 11, 2006, 3:42:26 AM7/11/06
to
Shanahan <pog...@bluefrog.com> wrote:
> "J.G. Ballard" <jgballar...@yahoo.com> wrote in message

>> Just remember that there are a *lot* of non-Calvinist protestants (the


>> rather large Methodists congregations spring to mind, but there are
>> others). But I do like the idea of Mandos as being the
>> predestinationist Calvinist.

> Quite right. I was demonstrating my ignorance of Protestantism. Do
> Methodists not believe in predestination?

There aren't any methodists here that I know of, but none of the major
protestant churches here in Germany (which are only different in
details, anyway) believe in predestination. After all, they have their
origin in Luther, not in Calvin :-)

- Dirk

Derek Broughton

unread,
Jul 11, 2006, 8:22:14 AM7/11/06
to
Shanahan wrote:

> "J.G. Ballard" <jgballar...@yahoo.com> wrote in message
> news:jgballar-keinspam-B...@netnews.insightbb.com...
>>

>> Just remember that there are a *lot* of non-Calvinist protestants (the
>> rather large Methodists congregations spring to mind, but there are
>> others). But I do like the idea of Mandos as being the
>> predestinationist Calvinist.
>
> Quite right. I was demonstrating my ignorance of Protestantism. Do
> Methodists not believe in predestination?

The problem with categorizing protestants is that there's no single source
of authority. That's why I originally used the term "Calvinist" rather
than any particular protestant creed. There's no "Church of Calvin" but he
had a huge influence on many protestant denominations. I don't know what
Methodists believe - even though my father grew up Methodist - but many
members of the United Church of Canada (which was made up of Methodists,
Congregationalists and some Presbyterians) are Calvinist.
--
derek

Huan the hound

unread,
Jul 11, 2006, 4:43:06 PM7/11/06
to
On 2006-07-11, Shanahan <pog...@bluefrog.com> wrote in
<e8v33...@enews3.newsguy.com>:

> Quite right. I was demonstrating my ignorance of Protestantism. Do
> Methodists not believe in predestination?

John Wesley promoted Arminianism, so I guess that is the reason that
Methodist doctrine went that way, although the famous revival preacher
George Whitfield was Calvinist.

But there's no accounting for what any individual Methodist will believe. :-)

--
Huan, the Methodist

Troels Forchhammer

unread,
Jul 11, 2006, 4:54:24 PM7/11/06
to
In message <news:slrneajd2...@munin.Stanford.EDU>
Emma Pease <em...@kanpai.stanford.edu> enriched us with:
>
> In article <_Xcqg.25$BZ1...@fe06.lga>, Huan the hound wrote:
>>
>> This is the chapter summary and initial discussion points for the
>> chapter "Of Maeglin."

<snip>


>> [2] We know from Chapter 5 that Aredhel the White Lady liked to
>> ride and hunt with the sons of Fëanor but that "to none was her
>> heart's love given." None probably means "no elf" but since it's
>> written in the same sentence with the sons of Fëanor, it makes me
>> think "none" applies to them. That's strange, because this
>> chapter makes it clear that it was deviant behavior to want to
>> marry a cousin.
>
> Well Fëanor's sons were actually half cousins (they shared a
> common grandfather but not a common grandmother), perhaps that was
> distant enough to make them legit marriage partners.

At some point, in one of the versions of the Maeglin texts, Tolkien had
Eöl refer to Curufin as 'Nephew'. CT makes a point of this comment in
HoMe 11 (/The War of the Jewels/), in the section titled 'Maeglin'.

This narrative is followed by various notes. One of these
is a genealogical table:

Míriel = Finwë = Indis
| |
Fëanor Turgon, Aradhel = Eöl
| |
Curufin Maeglin

To this is added: 'So Curufin was half-nephew of Turgon
and Areðel. Eöl was uncle by marriage of Curufin, but that
was denied as a "forced marriage".' This genealogy is the
basis for Eöl's words cited under §22 above, 'to find one's
nephew so kindly at need'; but it is of course entirely
wrong. The correct genealogy is:

Míriel = Finwë = Indis
| |
Fëanor Fingolfin
| |
Curufin Turgon, Aradhel = Eöl

Curufin was not Eöl's nephew (through Areðel), but his
cousin (by marriage). It is a strange error, one might say
unprecedented, since it is not a mere casual slip.

Not that this really matters terribly, except, perhaps, to show that
Tolkien himself occasionally got things turned about ;)

--
Troels Forchhammer
Valid e-mail is <t.forch(a)email.dk>

Relativity applies to physics, not ethics.
- Albert Einstein (1875-1955)

Phlip

unread,
Jul 11, 2006, 5:03:50 PM7/11/06
to
Huan the hound wrote:

> But there's no accounting for what any individual Methodist will believe.
> :-)

Ooh, I can't find the lyrics to Fish Karma's "Baby, Let's Be Methodists
Tonight" on the 'net!

From memory:

- and I'll track a local sports team
and pretend their destiny is somehow wrapped up with mine!
- if they win I'll get excited and I'll drink a lot of beer
- if they loose I'll get depressed and then I'll drink a lot of beer!

And so on...

--
Phlip

Troels Forchhammer

unread,
Jul 11, 2006, 5:36:58 PM7/11/06
to
In message <news:4qGdnUR_odZVDSzZ...@rcn.net> Michael
Ikeda <mmi...@erols.com> enriched us with:
>

<snip>

> One thing that occurs to me is that Turgon seems to order Eöl's
> death in part out of vengeance.

There's some extra information in HoMe that didn't make it into the
published version of the Silm that is pertains to this question.

> And that sort of thing often is Not a Good Idea in the Tolkienverse.

That's putting it very mildly ;-)

But on to the information. Everything is from /The War of the Jewels/
(HoMe 11), 3,III 'Maeglin'.

Commenting the meeting between Eöl and Curufin, in particular Curufin's
parting shot containing, "By the laws of the Eldar I may not slay you
at this time", CT notes that his father had put a footnote in the
original:
Because the Eldar (which included the Sindar) were
forbidden to slay one another in revenge for any grievance
however great. Also at this time Eöl had ridden towards
Aglon with no ill intent, and it was not unjust that he
should seek news of Areðel and Maeglin.

So, to the Eldar, and definitely to Turgon, it was expressly forbidden
by the law to slay Eöl in revenge. As you note this makes the execution
of Eöl somewhat problematic, even if the Gondolindrim (with the
exception of Idril) agreed with. However, there are extenuating
circumstances; the manner in which Eöl killed Aredhel using poison was
shocking to all involved. Regarding the paragraph describing Aredhel's
death, "It was appointed that Eöl should be brought . . .", CT tells us
that "at the end of the paragraph my father added:"
For the Eldar never used any poison, not even against
their most cruel enemies, beast, ork, or man; and they
were filled with shame and horror that Eöl should have
meditated this evil deed.

So I suppose that the slaying of Eöl technically is a punishment for
the use of poison, but, though I am very far from being an expert on
Eldarin law, I suspect that this, too, would be forbidden (any
punishment carries an element of revenge).

> One might say that mercy seems to tend to send positive ripples
> while vengeance often tends to send negative ripples.

But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that
curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for
them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
[Matthew, 5:44]

And in particular

For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly
Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men
their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your
trespasses.
[Matthew, 6:14-15]

--
Troels Forchhammer
Valid e-mail is <t.forch(a)email.dk>

The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.
- /Hogfather/ (Terry Pratchett)

Shanahan

unread,
Jul 11, 2006, 10:18:45 PM7/11/06
to
Derek Broughton wrote:

<snip>


> The problem with categorizing protestants is that there's no
> single source of authority. That's why I originally used the term
> "Calvinist" rather than any particular protestant creed. There's
> no "Church of Calvin" but he had a huge influence on many
> protestant denominations. I don't know what Methodists believe -
> even though my father grew up Methodist - but many members of the
> United Church of Canada (which was made up of Methodists,
> Congregationalists and some Presbyterians) are Calvinist. --
> derek

Oh dear, now see the can o' worms! And then with the Lutherans, and
High and Low churches in England, and various fundies in the States
athumpin' Bibles about the Saved and the Damned...I can't keep it all
straight. That's why I was ignorant about protestantism in the first
place!

- Ciaran
-----------------------
mooreeffoc


J.G. Ballard

unread,
Jul 11, 2006, 11:07:25 PM7/11/06
to
In article <e8v33...@enews3.newsguy.com>,
"Shanahan" <pog...@bluefrog.com> wrote:

> Quite right. I was demonstrating my ignorance of Protestantism. Do
> Methodists not believe in predestination?

Nope. Methodists are Arminian in their theology. To quote the
Wikipedia:
"Within the broad scope of church history, Arminianism is closely
related to Calvinism (or Reformed theology), and the two systems share
both history and many doctrines in common. Nonetheless, they are often
viewed as archrivals within Evangelicalism because of their disagreement
over the doctrines of predestination and salvation."

For full details, see <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arminianism> or
<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Methodism>.


> At times Ulmo reminds me of the god/desses in Homer, what with the
> direct interference in human affairs. Does anyone know of an Ulmo
> analogue in Northern mythologies? I'm curious to know if Tolkien based
> him at all on a preexisting god.

I don't know Northern/Germanic mythology well enough to answer that one.
But it sounds like a good research project!

Cheers,
J.G.B.

J.G. Ballard

unread,
Jul 11, 2006, 11:48:04 PM7/11/06
to
In article <2006071107422...@dthierbach.news.arcor.de>,
Dirk Thierbach <dthie...@usenet.arcornews.de> wrote:

> There aren't any methodists here that I know of, but none of the major
> protestant churches here in Germany (which are only different in
> details, anyway) believe in predestination. After all, they have their
> origin in Luther, not in Calvin :-)

Well, according to the Wiki, there are *some* Methodists in Germany.

"There are small Methodist Churches in many European countries, the
strongest being in Germany. These mostly derive from links with the
American rather than the British church."
<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Methodism#Other_countries>

But you are entirely correct that Lutherans are not Calvinists, or
pre-destinationists of any sort. In the words of the large and
conservative Missouri Synod:
"On the other hand, we reject also the Calvinistic perversion of the
doctrine of conversion, that is, the doctrine that God does not desire
to convert and save all hearers of the Word, but only a portion of them.
Many hearers of the Word indeed remain unconverted and are not saved,
not because God does not earnestly desire their conversion and
salvation, but solely because they stubbornly resist the gracious
operation of the Holy Ghost, as Scripture teaches, Acts 7:51; Matt.
23:37; Acts 13:46." <http://www.lcms.org/pages/internal.asp?NavID=569>

Cheers,

J.G.B.

Dirk Thierbach

unread,
Jul 12, 2006, 3:14:11 AM7/12/06
to
J.G. Ballard <jgballar...@yahoo.com> wrote:
> In article <2006071107422...@dthierbach.news.arcor.de>,
> Dirk Thierbach <dthie...@usenet.arcornews.de> wrote:

>> There aren't any methodists here that I know of, but none of the major
>> protestant churches here in Germany (which are only different in
>> details, anyway) believe in predestination. After all, they have their
>> origin in Luther, not in Calvin :-)

> Well, according to the Wiki, there are *some* Methodists in Germany.

There are probably *some* members of every possible religion everywhere,
including Germany. Here, there are just not very significant compared to
the two big ones (catholic and protestant). If there are any Methodists
here, I just never happened to notice them.

> But you are entirely correct that Lutherans are not Calvinists, or
> pre-destinationists of any sort.

Careful. "Lutherans" is often used as the name of just another protestant
variation. Just because the protestant church here historically
began with Luther, that doesn't mean they are "Lutherans".

> In the words of the large and conservative Missouri Synod:

> "On the other hand, we reject also the Calvinistic perversion of the
> doctrine of conversion, that is, the doctrine that God does not desire
> to convert and save all hearers of the Word, but only a portion of them.

That doesn't sound very much like the sort of theological argument
either of the big churches here would make. The "agressive" stance
("convert and save hearers of the Word") is just not practically
relevant (and nobody would express it in that way in the first
place). Which, IMHO, is a good thing, because that sort of preaching
puts me off big time.

Protestants around the globe are just very different, and one shouldn't
mix them up (which was, I think, the original point_.

- Dirk

Öjevind Lång

unread,
Jul 12, 2006, 6:00:18 PM7/12/06
to
"Dirk Thierbach" <dthie...@usenet.arcornews.de> skrev i meddelandet
news:2006071207141...@dthierbach.news.arcor.de...

[snip]

>> "On the other hand, we reject also the Calvinistic perversion of the
>> doctrine of conversion, that is, the doctrine that God does not desire
>> to convert and save all hearers of the Word, but only a portion of them.
>
> That doesn't sound very much like the sort of theological argument
> either of the big churches here would make. The "agressive" stance
> ("convert and save hearers of the Word") is just not practically
> relevant (and nobody would express it in that way in the first
> place). Which, IMHO, is a good thing, because that sort of preaching
> puts me off big time.
>
> Protestants around the globe are just very different, and one shouldn't
> mix them up (which was, I think, the original point_.

In the Nordic countries, which basically became Lutherans because of
influences from Germany (the country of Luther), the Lutheran congregations
(which constitute the majority religion) do not believe in predestination at
all. I find it hard to believe that Lutherans in Germany are very different
in that respect. But as for the aggressiveness, ye be at your liberté. I
have no idea what the attitude to missionary work is among present-day
Germans of any description.

Öjevind


Öjevind Lång

unread,
Jul 12, 2006, 6:04:34 PM7/12/06
to
"Shanahan" <pog...@bluefrog.com> skrev i meddelandet
news:e91m3...@enews3.newsguy.com...

[snip]

> Oh dear, now see the can o' worms! And then with the Lutherans, and
> High and Low churches in England, and various fundies in the States
> athumpin' Bibles about the Saved and the Damned...I can't keep it all
> straight. That's why I was ignorant about protestantism in the first
> place!

If you find Protestantism uninteresting, that is, of course, something you
are perfectly entitled to. They do disagree about many things among
themselves. And then there are the disagreements betwen Catholics and
Othodox Christians, and between the both of them and the Coptic Christians,
and then there are the Nestorians, and the Thomas Christians, and, oh dear.
Congregationalism, anyone?

Öjevind

Öjevind


Pseudonymus al-Faqha'ter III

unread,
Jul 12, 2006, 10:33:16 PM7/12/06
to

That's why your best bet is to join FATS. For just $450.99 a year, we
will resolve all your doubts about everything.

J.G. Ballard

unread,
Jul 12, 2006, 11:42:26 PM7/12/06
to
In article <2006071207141...@dthierbach.news.arcor.de>,
Dirk Thierbach <dthie...@usenet.arcornews.de> wrote:

> There are probably *some* members of every possible religion everywhere,
> including Germany. Here, there are just not very significant compared to
> the two big ones (catholic and protestant). If there are any Methodists
> here, I just never happened to notice them.
>
> > But you are entirely correct that Lutherans are not Calvinists, or
> > pre-destinationists of any sort.
>
> Careful. "Lutherans" is often used as the name of just another protestant
> variation. Just because the protestant church here historically
> began with Luther, that doesn't mean they are "Lutherans".

I'm confused by your use of "protestant." Methodists are decidedly
protestant, or using my limited German, "evangelish." And I'm pretty
sure that many of the protestant/evangelishe churches in Germany are
"Lutheran" in denomination. And the ones that aren't "Lutheran" in
denomination are typically "Calvinist" Reformed churches.
<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EKD>

But then again, I'm relying upon what I learned in high school and
Wikipedia. You live there! So I'm not in the best position to argue.

Cheers,
J.G.B.
who remembers that this thread had something to do with Mandos at one
point! :)

Shanahan

unread,
Jul 13, 2006, 1:04:48 AM7/13/06
to
Öjevind Lång wrote:
> "Shanahan" <pog...@bluefrog.com> skrev i meddelandet
> news:e91m3...@enews3.newsguy.com...
>
> [snip]
>> protestantism in the first place!
>
> If you find Protestantism uninteresting, that is, of course,
> something you are perfectly entitled to.

Oh for heaven's sake, I was trying to inject a tone of light humor
into the discussion. It seems I failed.

- Ciaran
-----------------------
mooreeffoc


Morgil

unread,
Jul 13, 2006, 4:22:26 AM7/13/06
to
Shanahan wrote:
> Öjevind Lång wrote:
>
>>"Shanahan" <pog...@bluefrog.com> skrev i meddelandet
>>news:e91m3...@enews3.newsguy.com...
>>
>>[snip]
>>
>>>protestantism in the first place!
>>
>>If you find Protestantism uninteresting, that is, of course,
>>something you are perfectly entitled to.
>
>
> Oh for heaven's sake, I was trying to inject a tone of light humor
> into the discussion. It seems I failed.

And you're surprised that someone protested??

Morgil

Dirk Thierbach

unread,
Jul 13, 2006, 6:06:44 AM7/13/06
to
J.G. Ballard <jgballar...@yahoo.com> wrote:
> Dirk Thierbach <dthie...@usenet.arcornews.de> wrote:

>> Careful. "Lutherans" is often used as the name of just another
>> protestant variation. Just because the protestant church here
>> historically began with Luther, that doesn't mean they are
>> "Lutherans".

> I'm confused by your use of "protestant." Methodists are decidedly
> protestant, or using my limited German, "evangelish."

Yes.

> And I'm pretty sure that many of the protestant/evangelishe churches
> in Germany are "Lutheran" in denomination.

> <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EKD>

Yes, depending on what you mean by Lutheran. As this wiki page tells you,
the EKD (Evangelische Kirche Deutschland = Protestant Church of
Germany) consists of many "Landeskirchen" (regional churches, which
correspond roughly, but not exactly, to the "Bundeslaender"). Some of
those call themselves additionally "Lutheran".

There also also other minority churches which call themselves
Lutheran, which are not part of the EKD. To quote
http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lutheraner:

"Die [...] lutherischen Freikirchen, [...] gehören auf Grund ihrer
starken lutherischen Bekenntnisbindung nicht zur Evangelischen Kirche
in Deutschland."

Rough translation:

"The 'lutheran free churches' (lutherische Freikirchen) do not
belong to the Protestant Church of Germany, because of their
strong lutheran confession".

So when one speaks of "Lutherans" here, one often means the minority
of the "lutheran free churches", which are somewhat more conservative,
and not those "Lutherans" which are part of the EKD.

And one usually calls all of the regional churches that belong
to the EKD just "evangelisch", and it's not really important if
they were originally Lutheran or not, because they are mostly
just "mainstream Protestant" today.

Yes, it's confusing :-)

> And the ones that aren't "Lutheran" in denomination are typically
> "Calvinist" Reformed churches.

I don't know about all of the Landeskirchen from personal experience,
but I am pretty sure that the majority of those is not Calvinist, even
if they are not "Lutheran" in the first sense. And I would be really
surprised to learn that there's really a regional church in the EKD
whose members believe in predestination.

- Dirk

Dirk Thierbach

unread,
Jul 13, 2006, 6:33:35 AM7/13/06
to
"?jevind L?ng" <bredba...@ojevind.lang> wrote:

> In the Nordic countries, which basically became Lutherans because of
> influences from Germany (the country of Luther), the Lutheran
> congregations (which constitute the majority religion) do not
> believe in predestination at all.

Nor do they here.

> I find it hard to believe that Lutherans in Germany are very different
> in that respect.

Of course they are not. I hope I didn't expressed myself so badly that
you understood it this way.

- Dirk

Derek Broughton

unread,
Jul 13, 2006, 9:30:56 AM7/13/06
to
Shanahan wrote:

> Oh dear, now see the can o' worms!

No, no, no. _Wurms_!
--
derek
(who can't believe nobody else stooped this low...)

Morgoth's Curse

unread,
Jul 13, 2006, 3:18:09 PM7/13/06
to
On 11 Jul 2006 21:36:58 GMT, Troels Forchhammer
<Tro...@ThisIsFake.invalid> wrote:

>So, to the Eldar, and definitely to Turgon, it was expressly forbidden
>by the law to slay Eöl in revenge. As you note this makes the execution
>of Eöl somewhat problematic, even if the Gondolindrim (with the
>exception of Idril) agreed with. However, there are extenuating
>circumstances; the manner in which Eöl killed Aredhel using poison was
>shocking to all involved. Regarding the paragraph describing Aredhel's
>death, "It was appointed that Eöl should be brought . . .", CT tells us
>that "at the end of the paragraph my father added:"
> For the Eldar never used any poison, not even against
> their most cruel enemies, beast, ork, or man; and they
> were filled with shame and horror that Eöl should have
> meditated this evil deed.

I wonder if this footnote was related to Tolkien's own experiences
with poison gas during World War I. To the best of my knowledge,
neither Tolkien nor any of his company were ever gassed, but he
certainly would have shared his compatriots' horror when the Germans
first deployed that weapon. It certainly would have been an
abomination to one who was already drawn to the heroic spirit of the
Norse legends.

Morgoth's Curse

Christopher Kreuzer

unread,
Jul 13, 2006, 6:03:47 PM7/13/06
to
Derek Broughton <ne...@pointerstop.ca> wrote:
> Shanahan wrote:
>
>> Oh dear, now see the can o' worms!
>
> No, no, no. _Wurms_!

No, no, no, no, no, NO! Were-worms!

Laurie Forbes

unread,
Jul 13, 2006, 11:35:02 PM7/13/06
to

"Shanahan" <pog...@bluefrog.com> wrote in message
news:e94k6...@enews2.newsguy.com...

> Öjevind Lång wrote:
> > "Shanahan" <pog...@bluefrog.com> skrev i meddelandet
> > news:e91m3...@enews3.newsguy.com...
> >
> > [snip]
> >> protestantism in the first place!
> >
> > If you find Protestantism uninteresting, that is, of course,
> > something you are perfectly entitled to.
>
> Oh for heaven's sake, I was trying to inject a tone of light humor
> into the discussion. It seems I failed.

Yeah, Öjevind! What the heck's the matter with you?? And now Ciaran will
go and join FATS without even realizing that they've jacked the membership
price way up. (I joined as an infiltrator for only $250.99. They didn't
know what an "infiltrator" was, so I got a discount.)

OK, Mandos .... Mandos .... has anyone said "a mandate" yet?

> mooreeffoc

!seY


Flame of the West

unread,
Jul 15, 2006, 12:30:05 AM7/15/06
to
Öjevind Lång wrote:

> And then there are the disagreements betwen Catholics and
> Othodox Christians, and between the both of them and the Coptic Christians,
> and then there are the Nestorians, and the Thomas Christians, and, oh dear.

All those differences are trivial compared to their differences with
Protestantism.


-- FotW

Reality is for those who cannot cope with Middle-earth.

John W. Kennedy

unread,
Jul 15, 2006, 11:43:29 AM7/15/06
to
Flame of the West wrote:
> Öjevind Lång wrote:
>
>> And then there are the disagreements betwen Catholics and Othodox
>> Christians, and between the both of them and the Coptic Christians,
>> and then there are the Nestorians, and the Thomas Christians, and, oh
>> dear.
>
> All those differences are trivial compared to their differences with
> Protestantism.

On the contrary, the bitterness between the branches of Western
Christianity is specifically because they are close.

--
John W. Kennedy
"The blind rulers of Logres
Nourished the land on a fallacy of rational virtue."
-- Charles Williams. "Taliessin through Logres: Prelude"

Öjevind Lång

unread,
Jul 15, 2006, 12:14:31 PM7/15/06
to
"Laurie Forbes" <moc.rr.eniam@1sebrofr> skrev i meddelandet
news:GhEtg.56398$W97....@twister.nyroc.rr.com...

[snip]

>> >> protestantism in the first place!
>> >
>> > If you find Protestantism uninteresting, that is, of course,
>> > something you are perfectly entitled to.
>>
>> Oh for heaven's sake, I was trying to inject a tone of light humor
>> into the discussion. It seems I failed.
>
> Yeah, Öjevind! What the heck's the matter with you?? And now Ciaran will
> go and join FATS without even realizing that they've jacked the membership
> price way up. (I joined as an infiltrator for only $250.99. They didn't
> know what an "infiltrator" was, so I got a discount.)
>
> OK, Mandos .... Mandos .... has anyone said "a mandate" yet?

No, but I bet Morgul will.

>> mooreeffoc
>
> !seY

Notretsehc.

Öjevind


Öjevind Lång

unread,
Jul 15, 2006, 12:16:43 PM7/15/06
to
"John W. Kennedy" <jwk...@attglobal.net> skrev i meddelandet
news:I38ug.3844$F_6....@fe12.lga...

> Flame of the West wrote:
>> Öjevind Lång wrote:
>>
>>> And then there are the disagreements betwen Catholics and Othodox
>>> Christians, and between the both of them and the Coptic Christians, and
>>> then there are the Nestorians, and the Thomas Christians, and, oh dear.
>>
>> All those differences are trivial compared to their differences with
>> Protestantism.
>
> On the contrary, the bitterness between the branches of Western
> Christianity is specifically because they are close.

Yup! Not so far ago, the Catholic Church taught that Protestants would all
go to Hell as heretics. They never went quite that far when talking about
Orthodox or Syrianic Christians.

Öjevond


Flame of the West

unread,
Jul 15, 2006, 1:24:56 PM7/15/06
to
John W. Kennedy wrote:

>> All those differences are trivial compared to their differences with
>> Protestantism.
>
> On the contrary, the bitterness between the branches of Western
> Christianity is specifically because they are close.

They are geographically close but not doctrinally so. The differences
between Catholics and Orthodox are trivial compared to their differences
with even the most high-church Protestants.

As for "bitterness" between Christians, the religious wars of today
(at least here in the U.S.) are not between Catholics and Protestants
but within each denomination. It's most noticeable today in the
Episcopal Church, which is slowly but surely breaking apart into two
pieces, but the same fight is being waged across the board.

Flame of the West

unread,
Jul 15, 2006, 1:34:03 PM7/15/06
to
Öjevind Lång wrote:

> Yup! Not so far ago, the Catholic Church taught that Protestants would all
> go to Hell as heretics. They never went quite that far when talking about
> Orthodox or Syrianic Christians.

As for as the Catholic Church is concerned, Protestants and Orthodox are
not in the same boat - one group is schismatic and the other
heretical. But in both cases, the anathemas are against those that
rejected the Church, not their descendants. A Church that teaches that
virtuous pagans can be saved is not going to assert that a Southern
Baptist who spends his life in rural Mississippi and never even meets a
Catholic but lives a godly life is automatically going to Hell. That
was also true in whatever Bad Old Days you have in mind.

Öjevind Lång

unread,
Jul 15, 2006, 6:25:12 PM7/15/06
to
"Flame of the West" <je...@solinasNOSPAM.org> skrev i meddelandet
news:JOKdnQi7oetYuyTZ...@comcast.com...

So only the original Protestants went to hell automatically? Cool. Though I
wonder how much this nice little distinction has actually been observed in
Catholic teaching and practice.

Öjeviond


John W. Kennedy

unread,
Jul 15, 2006, 6:25:54 PM7/15/06
to
Flame of the West wrote:
> John W. Kennedy wrote:
>
>>> All those differences are trivial compared to their differences with
>>> Protestantism.
>>
>> On the contrary, the bitterness between the branches of Western
>> Christianity is specifically because they are close.
>
> They are geographically close but not doctrinally so. The differences
> between Catholics and Orthodox are trivial compared to their differences
> with even the most high-church Protestants.

The East and West disagree about the nature of the Trinity. The East and
West together are in disagreement with the ante-Chalcedonians about the
nature of the Incarnation.

Roman and Protestant Western Christians, on the other hand, are, when
you come down to it, in doctrinal disagreement only over where to put
the emphasis when interpreting Augustine of Hippo, a 4th-5th century
writer. (Rome long ago backed away from the indulgence-for-cash market,
after all.)

Apart from the Swedish Lutherans and the Anglicans, there is also a
grave dispute over polity -- which Rome also maintains against the two
last named, based on little more than a Papal /fiat/ -- but that is not
doctrine. There are also, of course, disputes over discipline.

> As for "bitterness" between Christians, the religious wars of today
> (at least here in the U.S.) are not between Catholics and Protestants
> but within each denomination. It's most noticeable today in the
> Episcopal Church, which is slowly but surely breaking apart into two
> pieces, but the same fight is being waged across the board.

I am well aware of that, though I'd say that US Protestantism is
experiencing a break into three pieces, with the loony left at one end,
the devil-worshiping, Bush-voting right at the other, and a poor remnant
of "mere Christians" stuck in the middle.

On the other hand, America is still a country where anti-Roman bigotry
is accepted without question nearly everywhere. Granted, we've graduated
to the "Some of my best friends are..." stage (cf. the weaselier
passages in "The DaVinci Code"), but we have a long way to go.

Count Menelvagor

unread,
Jul 15, 2006, 9:41:01 PM7/15/06
to

damn. infiltrating FATS has become so ... common.

Troels Forchhammer

unread,
Jul 16, 2006, 11:18:45 AM7/16/06
to
In message <news:4h05miF...@individual.net> m...@privacy.net
(Jamie Andrews; real address @ bottom of message) enriched us with:
>
> In rec.arts.books.tolkien Huan the hound
> <huanth...@netscape.net> wrote:
>>

In the following, unless other is mentioned, quotations are taken from
/The War of the Jewels/ (HoMe 11), 3-III 'Maeglin'.

>> This is the chapter summary and initial discussion points for the
>> chapter "Of Maeglin."
>
> Thanks for that!
>
> I'm a Gondolinophile,

Shouldn't that be 'Gondolindil' -- or perhaps even Ondolindil or
Ondolindemeldor ;)

> and this is where I feel that the story of Gondolin really starts
> to heat up.

Until now it has only been the prelude -- getting the place fixed up
and all that. Now we get down to the actual partying ;)

> That story is the fourth big narrative thread in Silm, the others
> being the rebellion of Fëanor and the Noldor, the story of Beren
> and Luthien, and the story of Turin.

With the story about Eärendil / Earendel as the never fully
accomplished fifth story, in which all the other tales come to their
conclusion. There are tantalizing glimpses in BoLT2 (HoMe 2), V 'The
Tale of Earendel' where CT gives some outlines for the tale, not to
speak of the Quenta (QII) given in /The Shaping of Middle-earth/ (HoMe
4):
In the Lay of Eärendel is many a thing sung of his
adventures in the deep and in lands untrodden, and in many
seas and many isles. Ungoliant in the South he slew, and
her darkness was destroyed, and light came to many regions
which had yet long been hid.
[SoMe (HoMe 4), III "The Quenta", "§17 (QII)"]

These five stories also constitute the bases for the five lays in /The
Lays of Beleriand/ (HoMe 3), though 'The Flight of the Noldor', the
'Lay of Eärendel' and 'The Lay of the Fall of Gondolin' were 'early
abandoned' (HoMe 3, II 'Poems Early Abandoned').

> The story of Gondolin is the only one that's "distributed" through
> the book in snippets in various chapters.

The other tales all play out in a short span of time (within the life-
time of a Man) or is uninterrupted by other stories. The tale of
Gondolin not only spans over a long time, but it is interwoven with
other tales, and we need to understand Tuor's background before he gets
to go to Gondolin -- oh, and that also requires that we know about Huor
and Húrin and their visit to Gondolin . . . etc. etc.

<re-instating sections of the summary I wish to comment upon>

>> Turgon [...] ended up sending "three lords of his household" to
>> escort her.

I found it interesting to learn that Tolkien for a long while had named
the escort, but ultimately decided against it:

Her escort though valiant chiefs would seem to have been
so bewildered and daunted by the horrors of the valleys
west of Esgalduin that they had never reached the Bridge
of Esgalduin or come near to Aglond. This makes it
necessary, I think, not to name the most eminent and
bravest chieftains (Glorfindel, Egalmoth, and Ecthelion)
as her escort.

>> Eöl was "the" Dark Elf.

For Eöl was said to be a 'Dark Elf', a term then applied to
any Elves who had not been willing to leave Middle-earth
[...], and often ill-disposed towards the 'Light-Elves'.
But it was also sometimes applied to Elves captured by
Morgoth and enslaved and then released to do mischief among
the Elves. I think this latter idea should be taken up. It
would explain much about Eöl and his smithcraft.

Though Tolkien played with the idea of Eöl being captured by Morgoth
and later released, he ultimately rejected it (in part, at least,
because of the too obvious parallel to his son), but I think that it is
interesting to know that Tolkien did consider this idea, and that it
might tell us some things about Eöl.

>> Likes: silence, forest, twilight, stars, night, Dwarves, ladies
>> in white.

I'm rather surprised, actually, that Thingol would allow this ill-
tempered, brooding pestilence to live in Nan Elmoth where he (Thingol)
had met Melian and had their 200+ years (Sun-years, that is) trance.

>> Dislikes: Noldor, society, authority figures, sons of Fëanor[4].

"The rest of the World" . . . :/

>> Occupation: making his patented metal "galvorn."

In the earlier versions, Maeglin (who also went through a series of
names, beginning with Meglin and ending with Maeglin) was named from
his father's metal.

>> Eöl somehow used the forest to draw Aredhel to his home

Then an enchantment fell on him, and he stood still; and
afar off beyond the voices of the lómelindi he heard the
voice of Melian, and it filled all his heart with wonder
and desire. He forgot then utterly all his people and all
the purposes of his mind, and following the birds under the
shadow of the trees he passed deep into Nan Elmoth and was
lost.
[Silm SQ,4 'Of Thingol and Melian']

The use of Nan Elmoth (Valley of Star-dusk'? 'Valley of Dusk under the
Stars'?) both for the enchanting of Thingol (I dare not say
'entrapment' as I am not even sure that Melian knew that Thingol was
around until he came upon her and the enchantment was mutual) and for
the entrapment of Aradhel seems not co-incidental when considering both
the meaning of Nan Elmoth and the significance in both cases of the
enchantments under the trees ("In that wood in ages past Melian walked
in the twilight of Middle-earth when the trees were young, and
enchantment lay upon it.")

I can't help thinking of the similarities and the differences between
the two situations; Thingol is enchanted by Melian's voice, and then
enters into the shadows of Nan Elmoth; Aradhel enters the forest, and
Eöl used the shadows to enchant her.

The discussion in /On Fairy Stories/ also comes to mind:

Enchantment produces a Secondary World into which both
designer and spectator can enter, to the satisfaction of
their senses while they are inside; but in its purity it
is artistic in desire and purpose.
[OFS, 'Fantasy']

And also the discussion in letter #155 about the various kinds of magic
strikes me as relevant here:

But I suppose that, for the purposes of the tale, some
would say that there is a latent distinction such as once
was called the distinction between magia and goeteia.[1]
Galadriel speaks of the 'deceits of the Enemy'. Well
enough, but magia could be, was, held good (per se), and
goeteia bad. Neither is, in this tale, good or bad (per
se), but only by motive or purpose or use. Both sides use
both, but with different motives.
[1] "Greek Goêteia* (Goês*, sorcerer); the English form
Goety is defined in the O.E.D. as 'witchcraft or magic
performed by the invocation and employment of evil
spirits; necromancy.'"
* written with Greek letters in original
"gamma - omicron - eta - tau - epsilon - iota - alpha"
and "gamma - omicron - eta - sigma"
[Letter #155 To Naomi Mitchison (unsent draft), 1954]

This passage is interesting because it explains that Galadriel's
protest isn't wholly appropriate (as we might see it), as the 'magic'
of the Enemy and of the Elves is not different in nature, but in
purpose or motive. Hence both Melian and Eöl could have been using the
same 'kind' of magic, but for different purposes. Eöl /did/ intent to
entrap Aradhel, and hence to deceive (and ultimately dominate) her.

[The Elves'] goetic effects are entirely /artistic/ and not
intended to deceive: they never deceive Elves (but may
deceive or bewilder unaware Men) since the difference is to
them as clear as the difference to us between fiction,
painting, and sculpture, and 'life'.
[ibid]

In context I'm not sure about that 'never' -- I would have categorized
Eöl's entrapment as a goetic effect rather than magic (it doesn't alter
the physical world of Arda), but the part I wanted to draw attention to
is in the relation between Elvish goeteia and Men. Could the same be
the case between Maiarin goeteia and Elves? Thus making the meeting
between Melian and Thingol parallel closely the later meeting between
their daughter and Beren.

But that cannot apply to the case of Aradhel and Eöl, for not only are
they both Elves, but Aradhel is a Calaquendi, while Eöl is of the Avari
(since the idea that he had been captured by Morgoth was abandoned,
this is the most likely explanation for him being called a 'dark Elf').

>> When I read this chapter for the first time, I felt that it built
>> up a lot of suspense about what would happen to Maeglin. It
>> seemed like he was already evil. I actually felt that what did
>> happen was a lot less terrible than it could have been. I mean,
>> after this chapter you might begin to think that Maeglin will
>> start trouble on his own, but we come to find out that Morgoth
>> started it, so Maeglin looks a little better.

Come on! He didn't even try: "the torment wherewith he was threatened
cowed his spirit, and he purchased his life and freedom" -- he jumped
at the chance to betray Gondolin because he was promised Idril, and he
didn't even wait to see if they really would make good their threats.

> I have long felt that Tolkien did an extremely good job at
> setting up Maeglin's angst.

Both aye and nay ;)

I agree that Tolkien does a very good job at setting up Maeglin's
treachery, but as I read it, the fault is Eöl's and Maeglin's alone.

> Maeglin doesn't get along with his father,

Who does, really (except for Dwarves, apparently) ;)

Maeglin, however, seems to have inherited a great part of his father's
brooding nature; vindictive, possessive and filled with resentment.

> and so leaves him with his mother.

By an escape route that takes them right beneath the Ered Gorgoroth.

In one version Aredhel and Maeglin seeks Curufin who helps them with
swift horses and a promise to hold back Eöl. I wonder how a meeting
with one of the Sons of Fëanor would have impressed Maeglin?

> As a result of that decision, his father kills his mother,

With poison even, and aiming at Maeglin himself.

> his father is executed

Quite unusual. Does anyone recall any other instance of execution among
the Eldar? It was even forbidden to slay any Orc who gave himself up.

> (with Maeglin being given the soul-wrenching choice of whether
> to save him)

Do you think so? I don't think Maeglin had any problem abandoning his
father to his fate. There is, I think, no sign of any internal
struggle, and Eöl interprets Maeglin's silency rightly, 'So you forsake
your father and his kin, ill-gotten son!'

> his father curses him before he dies,

And such dying curses (as well as blessings) have some power, we all
know . . .

> he is stuck forever in a place where he knows no one,

But where he is held in high honour.

> he is thrown together with one of the most beautiful Elves in
> Beleriand and he can't help falling in love with her even though
> she is... his cousin.

Here I think that we need to consider many things; among them Tolkien's
catholic morals. I don't think that his love for Idril was a cause of
Maeglin's malice, but rather a symptom of the darkness of his soul.
Loving your cousin would be an unnatural and evil thing in and off
itself, not something that the innocent would accidentally fall into
(in Tolkien's world).

> Sheesh! That's the kind of life story you hear about from
> hardened criminals.

:-)

Aye, but which kind . . .?

> There are also points of similarity to JRRT's own
> background: both of his parents died when he was quite young,
> and he was brought up by a kindly older person in a place where
> he met and fell in love with a girl older than he. Of course,
> JRRT was not related to Edith, and his love story had a happier
> ending. I sometimes wonder if Maeglin is JRRT's picture of what
> could have happened to him if he had been prevented permanently
> from marrying Edith.

Ooooh!

Though I think that there are some important differences, I think it's
a very interesting idea. The main difference is that Maeglin's love of
Idril wasn't 'right' -- it was, I think, unnatural and evil, but
Maeglin might be a picture of a hypothetical Tolkien who was unworthy
of Edith.

Regardless of the differences (and we shouldn't, IMO, disregard
Tolkien's stated dislike for this kind of direct symbolism/allegory), I
think it likely that Tolkien did draw upon his own experiences when
portraying Maeglin -- I seem to recall that there was a period when
Tolkien was unable to see Edith or something like that?

I am willing to accept Tolkien's own statements about 'meaning' and
'allegory' (as he use the words), and that would seem to me to rule out
the possibility that Maeglin is a deliberate picture of himself as
rejected. That leaves subconscious influences, in which case it
shouldn't be surprising, IMO, if the fault, the blame for not winning
his love, should be placed on Maeglin (I suppose I might as well take
it to the extreme, airing the idea that Tolkien, subconsciously, might
be saying that if he had not won Edith's love [not necessarily her
hand], it would have been his own fault and because of some blemish
upon himself).

The contrast to the three unions between Men and Eldar is, of course,
remarkable -- of these (which I believe all mirror aspects of Tolkien's
own story) came Hope to Elves and Men, both at the end of the First Age
/ start of the Second Age as well as ensuring the beginning of the Age
of Men.

Tolkien's writings contain many women 'marrying down' (Melian &
Thingol, Idril & Tuor, Beren & Lúthien, Galadriel & Celeborn, Arwen &
Aragorn and others), despite the relative rarity of that phenomenon
even today (though today 'up' and 'down' are not so much decided by
family). Now that we are already discussing the influence of Tolkien's
personal life upon his works, we might ask whether he felt that Edith
was 'marrying down' when she chose himself?

One notable exception is the marriage of Faramir and Éowyn. Tolkien's
connection/identification with Faramir is, of course, primarily through
the dream about the Great Wave, but even then this could be
interesting?

<snip>

>> [2] We know from Chapter 5 that Aredhel the White Lady liked to
>> ride and hunt with the sons of Fëanor but that "to none was her
>> heart's love given." None probably means "no elf"

Or Ainu, I suppose ;-)

She hadn't had any chance to meet any other races, so that part goes
without saying.

>> but since it's written in the same sentence with the sons of
>> Fëanor, it makes me think "none" applies to them.

My reading has been rather to see this as a confirmation that she
sought the freedom and excitement of the hunt -- she rode with them for
the love of the hunt itself. And of course it also points forwards --
though we know it not at that point, this small sentence assures us, at
least, that Aredhel was free to choose to marry Eöl.

>> That's strange, because this chapter makes it clear that it was
>> deviant behavior to want to marry a cousin.

It was directly forbidden, and, I belive, morally reprehensible.

> Well... cousin is the outer limit of the incest bans in
> many societies, including ours; even cousin's child is usually
> considered OK. The Sons of Fëanor are Aredhel's half-cousins.

Genetically(*) that would, I think, be about equivalent to a cousin's
child.

(*) Counting by simplistic fractions both correspond to an overlap of
1/16 -- but my knowledge of genetics is /very/ rudimentary ;)

> Still, I think you're right -- it's no coincidence that this
> reminder of the limits of the incest ban happens to be in this
> particular chapter.

No doubt about that, but I'm not sure that it is, here, intended to
refer to Aradhel and her half-cousins. I think rather that it is meant
to remind us how unnatural and alien to the Eldar that it was.

>> [3] What does "enmeshed in shadows" mean? Spider-webs?
>> Lots of enmeshing going on here even by elves.

There is often something sinister about (unnatural) 'shadows' in
Tolkien's writings. From Ungoliant to the shadows of fear that grip his
characters from time to time. Natural shadows are rarely sinister, but
the shadows in this chapter are, of course, not natural.

Doesn't 'enmeshed' suggest becoming entangled and caught up in as by a
web? Very appropriate for the shadows in Ered Gorgoroth: the legacy of
Ungoliant, and also for the image of Eäl trapping Aredhel: 'netting'
himself a bride . . ..

>> [4] There's nothing particularly bad revealed about Eöl until he
>> is in Gondolin,
[...]
>> but with all the "dark" descriptions, you know he's just going
>> to end up being bad.
>
> I dunno...
[...]
> Seems like an all-round sourpuss.

I don't have anything much to add to this, except to point to Tolkien's
ideas regarding Eöl's past (in particular the rejected idea that Eöl
had been captured by Morgoth).

Just for information, I think I'll throw in the second version of this
/rejected/ back-story for Eöl:

and when he heard that Melian would put a Girdle about
Doriath that none could pass ..... without the leave of the
king or of Melian herself, he left the Forest of Region
where he had dwelt and sought for a place to dwell. But
since he did not love the Noldor he found it hard to find a
place where he would be unmolested. It was believed
afterwards (though no certain tale was known) that in his
wandering he was captured by orks and taken to
Thangorodrim, and there became enslaved; but owing to his
skills (which in that place were turned much to smithcraft
and metalwork) he received some favour, and was freer than
most slaves to move about, and so eventually he escaped and
sought hiding in Nan Elmoth (maybe not without the
knowledge of Morgoth, who used such 'escaped' slaves to
work mischief among the Elves).

The reason I keep returning to this is that Christopher Tolkien cites
his father "in a scribbled note beside the two versions of the story he
said that this would not do, being too repetitive of the later history
of Maeglin, and that Eöl's skill was derived from the Dwarves."

My point is that Tolkien, apparently, didn't find the story
incompatible with Eöl's general personality, which seems to have always
been quite sinister at least.

>> [7] So we know that they had a falling out. Was that the whole
>> reason for sneaking away?
[...]
>> Was this falling out enough to cause Maeglin not to ask for
>> mercy for his father in Gondolin?
>
> I think JRRT is painting in brief strokes a deep division
> between Eöl and Maeglin. Eöl doesn't strike me as the type of
> character that would make a caring, lovable father.

Yes, I agree again.

This would also help explain how that last straw -- the poisonous
attack on Maeglin himself, resulting in his mother's death -- would
make Maeglin completely 'forsake [his] father and his kin'.

Eöl and his son were too much alike in many ways: both were brooding
introverts, possessive and good at carrying grudges, but Maeglin,
unlike his father, also wanted the admiration of others.

>> [8] Turgon is a Nice Guy.
[...]
>
> Yes,

There cannot be much doubt about that. Morgoth even feared Turgon -- or
at least had some kind of premonition that Turgon was bad news.

> but I wonder what JRRT thought of capital punishment.
[...]

I do not know that it is be stated anywhere other than perhaps
implicitly through his works. With respect to that, I have elsewhere
quoted the Eldarin law that it was forbidden to kill in revenge, and we
also know that the Eldar were forbidden to kill any enemy (including
Orcs) who surrendered (though it happened only very rarely or never
that an Orc surrendered). I don't know how far we can extrapolate from
the Valar's reaction to the kinslaying -- the only actual punishment
seems to shut and guard Valinor against the kinslayers; for the rest it
seems to me more a prediction of what their own evil would bring them
rather than a punishment inferred by the Valar.

Insofar as these examples are indicative of Tolkien's personal feelings
about capital (or incapitative) punishment, I think that he would have
probably disproved of the revenge-aspect of this punishment. As for
whether he felt that there were crimes so heinous that the only route
to forgiveness among men was through death, I cannot say: he definitely
argued (and eloquently so) the value of showing pity and mercy, even
foolishly so against one's temporal interests (Frodo and Gollum).

> JRRT gives Turgon the sin of pride (loving too much "the work
> of his hands"), which is Lucifer's sin, so it looks like he was
> not 100% sweet on him.

I think that pride is probably the most prominent sin in Tolkien's
writings -- at least it feels that way to me. From Melkor's fall to the
fall of Boromir, pride seems to me to be the underlying sin that leads
to the fall: they know themselves to be special, and being proudful of
that, they grow to think that they are both better than their peers and
entitled to more power.

Turgon was one of the leaders of the rebellion and flight of the
Noldor, and though he didn't (I think) participate in the kinslaying,
he did choose to forsake Valinor, and therefore he, too, came under the
Doom of the Noldor.

> There are some further echoes of previous chapters. Turgon
> welcomes Eöl as a "kinsman", but then executes him; thus Turgon
> is a "kinslayer",

In the narrative the terms "Kinslaying" and "kinslayer" seems reserved
for the Noldor who participated at Alqualondë -- later, for instance,
when Dior would not answer them, the sons of Fëanor "came at unawares
in the middle of winter, and fought with Dior in the Thousand Caves;
and so befell the second slaying of Elf by Elf." The attack on the
people at the mouths of Sirion is described as 'the last and cruellest
of the slayings of Elf by Elf'; but again the word "kin" is not used
(though it would be even more appropriate than Fëanor's attack on
Alqualondë).

> even if he was not one at Alqualondë (I don't think we have any
> information about his behaviour at Alqualondë).

Not directly, though I've always believed that Turgon, who spoke
against Fëanor in Tirion, were with his father, Fingolfin, rather than
with Fingon in the van, when the foremost of Fingolfin's host succoured
Fëanor's host at Alqualondë.

> Eöl tries to kill his son, and ends up killing his wife; thus he
> too is a "kinslayer".

At least in intention -- I suppose it can be argued that Aredhel, by
fleeing her husband, had renounced her kinship with him (though in that
case she ought not have acknowledged it when Eöl came to Gondolin).

> Maeglin refuses to save his father's life; thus he too is a
> "kinslayer".

I don't know about that, though. I'm reluctant to call Maeglin's
failure to beg for mercy for his father 'slaying'.

<snip>

--
Troels Forchhammer
Valid e-mail is <t.forch(a)email.dk>

If I have seen farther than others, it is because I was
standing on the shoulders of giants.
- Sir Isaac Newton

Christopher Kreuzer

unread,
Jul 16, 2006, 12:15:54 PM7/16/06
to
Troels Forchhammer <Tro...@ThisIsFake.invalid> wrote:
> (Jamie Andrews; real address @ bottom of message) enriched us with:
>> Huan the hound <huanth...@netscape.net> wrote:

<snip>

>>> [8] Turgon is a Nice Guy.
> [...]
>>
>> Yes,
>
> There cannot be much doubt about that. Morgoth even feared Turgon --
> or at least had some kind of premonition that Turgon was bad news.

You are right. I had forgotten that. We hear this in a later chapter:

"And most of all [Fingolfin's] kin Morgoth feared Turgon; for of old in
Valinor his eye had lighted upon him, and whenever he drew near a shadow
had fallen on his spirit, foreboding that in some time that yet lay
hidden, from Turgon ruin should come to him." (Of the Fifth Battle:
Nirnaeth Arnoediad)

Tolkien calls this foreboding, so this falls into that part of what I
would like to call the "prophetic spectrum" (ranging from foreboding to
outright prophecy).

Christopher

--
---
Reply clue: Saruman welcomes you to Spamgard

Flame of the West

unread,
Jul 16, 2006, 6:03:55 PM7/16/06
to
Öjevind Lång wrote:

>> As for as the Catholic Church is concerned, Protestants and Orthodox are
>> not in the same boat - one group is schismatic and the other heretical.
>> But in both cases, the anathemas are against those that rejected the
>> Church, not their descendants. A Church that teaches that virtuous pagans
>> can be saved is not going to assert that a Southern Baptist who spends his
>> life in rural Mississippi and never even meets a Catholic but lives a
>> godly life is automatically going to Hell. That was also true in whatever
>> Bad Old Days you have in mind.
>
> So only the original Protestants went to hell automatically?

They were excommunicated and left to the mercy of God.

> Cool. Though I
> wonder how much this nice little distinction has actually been observed in
> Catholic teaching and practice.

Imperfectly, as are the teachings of all religions and as you well know.
I'm sure many a misinformed nun taught her class that all Protestants
were going to Hell. And of course Protestants have repaid the sentiment
with interest. But things are better now for the most part between
Catholics and Protestants. As I mentioned, the real battl