CotW: LotR App. A,I(v) The Tale of Aragorn and Arwen

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Troels Forchhammer

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May 25, 2005, 1:25:52 PM5/25/05
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Chapter of the Week. LotR Appendix A,I(v)

'Here Follows a Part of the Tale of Aragorn and Arwen'

This post is a chapter introduction in the Tolkien newsgroups' 'Chapter
of the Week' (CotW) project. For more information visit the CotW
homepage at <http://parasha.maoltuile.org/>.

'The Tale of Aragorn and Arwen'

Here it is -- the love story! Boy meets Girl and sweet music ensues.

It is also the part of the main narrative that didn't get into the
six books, though much of it ought to have been more strongly hinted at
much earlier. The hints /are/ there -- as early as in 2,I 'Many
Meetings', but they are subtle enough that they went 'whoosh' over the
head of a certain Danish teenage boy, whose name shall remain
mercifully unmentioned ;-)

It turns out that Aragorn's marriage to Arwen and the union of the
separate branches of the Peredhil wasn't Tolkien's original intention:
he first had another wife in mind for Aragorn, and consequently most of
the hints to the love-story with Arwen are added late in the process,
and we get this connected love-story in the appendix.

I am afraid that this introduction has reached a length that is
comparable to the text it is supposed to introduce. For those who think
that far too long, I recommend stopping after the indexed discussion
points ;-)


[Summary]

Aragorn, son of Arathorn and Gilraen, loses his father, the chieftain
of the northern Dúnedain, early, and is afterwards raised in Rivendell
under the name of Estel. His true heritage is kept secret from him, but
after he, at the age of twenty returns to Rivendell "after great deeds
in the company of the sons of Elrond", Elrond told him about his
heritage (having also realised that Aragorn "was early come to
manhood" -- Argorn died on his two-hundred and tenth birthday, so
barely a tenth of his life had passed).

The following day Aragorn meets Arwen Undómiel, daughter of Elrond, one
of the Peredhil and Evenstar of her people. It is a brief meeting, but
it seals the fate of the two: Aragorn falls in love with this noble
Elf-maiden.

Aragorn, however, is surrounded by perceptive people, and soon finds
himself having a chat first with mum (She's above you) and 'dad' (She's
above you, but don't fool around with anyone else . . . ). After these
encouraging chats it is no wonder that our hopeful young lad spends a
number of years roaming the wild alone or with that wise old Wizard,
Gandalf.

Some years later (Aragorn is now fourty-nine), having finished his
business at the borders of Mordor (unfortunately not meeting that
miserable, twisted old Hobbit who was moving that way at the time)
Aragorn is on his way back to Elrond in Rivendell, when he, passing
close by Lórien, "was admitted to the hidden land by the Lady
Galadriel."[1] Not satisfied with merely inviting a mortal in, she
insists on dressing him up to look more like "an Elf-lord from the
Isles of the West"[2] than a mortal man. Just incidentally Arwen
happens to be there, and this time it is her turn to get that "catch of
the breath, a beat and lifting of the heart" -- now Arwen falls in love
with Aragorn[3] and "her choice was made and her doom appointed."[4]

On the evening of Midsummer Aragorn and Arwen, on the hill of Cerin
Amroth[5] together renounces both the Shadow (the evil of Sauron) and
the Twilight (the 'world' of the Elves and the ticket to Tol
Eressëa).[4][6]

Returning to Rivendell Aragorn finds himself confronting Elrond one
more time about Arwen, but this time it is different: Arwen has made
her choice. Elrond, however, states that "Arwen Undómiel shall not
diminish her life's grace for less cause. She shall not be the bride of
any Man less than the King of both Gondor and Arnor."[4] As if Aragorn
needed any extra motivation . . .

We're nearing the end, but I do have to mention Aragorn's mother,
Gilraen's, last words:
/Ónen i-Estel Edain, ú-chebin estel anim,/
which translates to 'I gave Hope to the Dúnedain, I have kept no hope
for myself.'

Many years pass, including the events discussed over the last many
months in the weekly chapter discussions, Aragorn and Arwen wed (on
Midsummer's eve -- exactly 39 years to the day after they renounced the
Shadow and the Twilight at Cerin Amroth in Lothlórien: Co-incidence? I
think not!)

Aragorn and Arwen gets 120 years together (anybody who has an idea of
what sort of anniversary that would be? Mithril-anniversary?
Silmaril-anniversary?) at the end of which Aragorn feels old age
creeping in, and, being, as he says, "the last of the Númenoreans", he
decides to 'sleep'. And Arwen? "for all her wisdom and lineage she
could not forbear to plead with him to stay yet for a while."

The discussion between Aragorn and Arwen at this point is, for me, one
of the strongest passages in LotR. First Arwen's despair that gets the
whole thing going. Then Aragorn's 'I am the last of the Númenoreans'
speech, showing just how much elevated above his subjects this Man and
King is -- he is of the kind that ruled Andor, the Land of Gift, when
it was young -- the first rulers of Elanna, Númenórë.

Then there is Aragorn's non-comfort, apparently believing that Arwen
could still remake her choice, which she rejects[4] showing
understanding and pity[7], and finally there is the real consolation --
the true comfort[8]:

"But let us not be overthrown at the final test, who of old
renounced the Shadow and the Ring. In sorrow we must go,
but not in despair. Behold! we are not bound for ever to
the circles of the world, and beyond them is more than
memory, Farewell!"

I would have liked to stop here, but I guess we'll have to mention that
after Aragorn's death[9], Arwen soon takes leave of her son and
daughters and went to Lórien:

" 'There at last when the mallorn-leaves were falling, but
spring had not yet come, she laid herself to rest upon
Cerin Amroth; and there is her green grave, until the world
is changed, and all the days of her life are utterly
forgotten by men that come after, and elanor and niphredil
bloom no more east of the Sea."


[Discussion points]

[1] I've always wondered: did Aragorn seek entry into Lórien when he
met Arwen there, or was he merely passing by when someone came
with an invitation from Galadriel?

[2] Aragorn being dressed up by Galadriel: "Then more than any kind of
Men he appeared, and seemed rather an Elf-lord from the Isles of
the West."
Which Isles of the West would that be? Tol Eressëa? But that is
"The Lonely Isle" . . .

[3] OK -- Who does not believe that Galadriel was setting Aragorn and
Arwen up, playing matchmaker for all she was worth?
And for those who do believe that she did so -- why did she do it?

[4] Arwen's choice and the circumstances surrounding it fills quite a
lot in this appendix. But how did it work?
First, when Arwen sees Aragorn clad as an Elf in Lórien: "as he
came walking towards her under the trees of Caras Galadhon laden
with flowers of gold, her choice was made and her doom appointed."
That doesn't exactly sound as if there is any way back. And shortly
after, on Cerin Amroth, Arwen pledges, "I will cleave to you,
Dúnadan, and turn from the Twilight."
But Elrond evidently doesn't think it is too late and he implies
that only by marrying Aragorn will her choice be final. The problem
is that in their first conversation with Aragorn, Elrond implied
that her choice would be made when Elrond departed Middle-earth (I
wonder what would have happened had she married an Elf -- would
she have had to depart with her husband or her father, then?)
Finally we have the death-bed discussion where Aragorn suggests
that she regret and turn to Grey Havens, but she says that "that
choice is long over" and that no ship would carry her to now to Tol
Eressëa -- she must accept the fate of Men.
But regardless of the exact mechanics of her choice, the coice
itself is the important bit. Arwen made the same choice as Lúthien
before her, and thus the Elves had to give to Men the two most
beautiful maids ever.

[5] Remember the last paragraph of LotR II,6 'Lothlórien' and Aragorn's
words there:
" 'Here is the heart of Elvendom on earth,' he said, 'and
here my heart dwells ever, unless there be a light beyond
the dark roads that we still must tread, you and I. Come
with me!' And taking Frodo's hand in his, he left the hill
of Cerin Amroth and came there never again as living man."
OK, so I am a sentimental old fool, but I always get a lump in my
throat when I read this, remembering the significance of that place
for Aragorn, and the role it plays later.

[6] Renouncing twilight must have been extremely hard on the girl: her
Quenya name, Undómiel, is translated 'Evenstar' but it literally
means 'Star of the Twilight' -- she is renouncing a very important
part of herself (and symbolically ending the twilight of the Elven
race in Middle-earth). "She loved her father dearly."

[7] Arwen's understanding and pity for the Númenorean Fall makes me
think that she is symbolically redeeming the Elven race, not only
by this understanding and pity for the weaknesses of Men, but also
by the sacrifice of her own immortality and thus by the sacrifice
of her own beauty, which would be lost to the Elves forever.

[8] The true comfort of Aragorn is in the promise he makes of a meeting
beyond the circles of Arda where there will be more than memory --
a promise Arwen hopes for in her final crying out to him: "Estel,
Estel!" She is speaking her native tongue there, so is she calling
for Aragorn or for hope or for both?
See also my discussion of hope and of eucatastrophe.

[9] Aragorn's death once more emphasises the unique nature of this man
-- he would fit well in the age of his sires of old -- Beren, Tuor
and Eärendil.
"Then a great beauty was revealed in him, so that all who
after came there looked on him in wonder; for they saw that
the grace of his youth, and the valour of his manhood, and
the wisdom and majesty of his age were blended together.
And long there he lay, an image of the splendour of the
Kings of Men in glory undimmed before the breaking of the
world."


[The persons]

First the family tree of Aragorn and Arwen -- just to keep the persons
straight. I haven't found the name of Aragorn's paternal grandmother,
but the rest are there back to to grandparents. Those grandparents that
are marked are known descendants of Lúthien the Fair.

* * *
Arador = ? Dírhael = Ivorwen Morwen = Eären. Celeborn = Galadriel
| | | |
Arathorn = Gilraen Elrond = Celebrían
| |
Aragorn = Arwen
|
Eldarion (and various sisters)

All in all the good Eldarion has quite an heritage there ;-)


[Foresight]

Foresight plays a major role in this tale.

Dírhael's 'heart foreboded' that Arathorn would die young.
Ivorwen, "who was also foresighted," saw that if Arathorn and Gilraen
were to wed quickly, "hope may be born for our people; but if they
delay, it will not come while this age lasts."

When Elrond calls Aragorn 'Estel', which is Hope, did he see the
potential in Aragorn's fate?

Later we learn that Gilraen "had in a measure the foresight of her
people", but all she says that Aragorn's fade will indeed be to walk in
the wild alone.

But also Aragorn is foresighted:
"Then suddenly the foresight of his kindred came to him, and
he said: 'But lo! Master Elrond, the years of your abiding
run short at last, and the choice must soon be laid on your
children, to part either with you or with Middle-earth.'"

What is this foresight?

An immanent ability of the descendants of Melian?
A case-by-case divine intervention?
A divine gift?
Art (of the same sort that allowed the Dúnedain to create the Argonath
or Orthanc -- art of an Elven quality)?

If it is a divine intervention, can it then be inheritable, as is, IMO,
suggested by the phrase "the foresight of her people"?

Also, when Arwen, at the first meeting with Aragorn, responds to his
comparison with her to Lúthien with the words, "Yet her name is not
mine. Though maybe my doom will be not unlike hers." Is this foresight,
premonition or just empty conversation? (I suppose that there might be
other possibilities as well <G>)


[Names]

Some people seem to collect names, and Aragorn ('Our King') is quite
good at it, but he is not alone in having several names. What is this
tendency to have name upon name?

The names in Tolkien's books often tell us something about the
character or place -- but it isn't always obvious what or in what way.
How do the names of the people in this appendix help the
characterisation of these people?

For the King:
Aragorn S. Ara- + gorn: Royal Valour
Estel Q&S Hope
Strider Q. Telcontar
Elessar Q. Elen + sar: Elfstone [actually Star-stone]
Thorongil S. Thoron + gil: Bright Eagle
Wingfoot ;-)

For the Queen:
Arwen Q+S. Ar- + -wen: Noble Maiden
Undómiel Q. Undómë + -el: Twilight Star -- Evenstar
(would also fit Q. Undómë + -iel -- Daughter of Twilight)

I am wondering about the texts on naming practice. Which are
her father-name, mother-name and self-names (or, if only two are
really known, which are they?)

Other names:

Arador S. Ara- + dôr: Royal Land
(compare Arandor -- the "Kingsland" of Númenor, UT)
S. Ara- + doron: Royal Oak
Dírhael S. Dîr + hael: Man + wise
Ivorwen S. Ivor + wen: Crystal Maiden
Arathorn S. Ara- + thoron: Royal Eagle
Gilraen S. Gîl + raen: Brightly Enlaced
(For details, see in particular
<http://www.tuckborough.net/dunedain.html#Gilraen>.)
Eldarion Q. Eldar + -ion: Descendant of Elves
Celebrían S. Celeb + ri + and: Silver Wreath Long????

I have deliberately omitted the rest of Arwen's family here --
discussing them and their names emphasising the relation between names
and character would be worthy of a week's discussion all by itself.

Translations thanks to the following linguistic ressources:
- /Unfinished Tales/ Index
- Ardalambion (by Helge Fauskanger) and the Quenya wordlists there
<http://www.uib.no/People/hnohf/>
- Hiswelókë's Sindarin dictionary (Edition 1.6, Lexicon 0.993)]
<http://www.jrrvf.com/hisweloke/sindar/index.html>
- Encyclopedia of Arda
<http://www.glyphweb.com/arda/default.htm>
- The Thain's Book (People -- Dúnedain of the North)
<http://www.tuckborough.net/>

In a small personal dyscatastrophe I managed to misplace my copy of
RotK with the index, so I have not had the use of the LotR index.

[A New Hope]

That title proved too tempting ;-)

When Aragorn was being raised in Rivendell (from the age of two until
twenty), his ancestry was concealed from himself as well as all other
outsiders (we might speculate on whom, besides Gilraen, his mother, was
allowed to know the truth), and given, by Elrond, the name 'Estel'
which means hope, but not, as Tolkien carefully explains in /Athrabeth
Finrod ah Andreth/, just any kind of hope:

" 'What is hope?' she said. 'An expectation of good, which
though uncertain has some foundation in what is known? Then
we have none.'
'That is one thing that Men call "hope",' said Finrod.
'/Amdir/ we call it, "looking up". But there is another
which is founded deeper. /Estel/ we call it, that is
"trust". It is not defeated by the ways of the world, for
it does not come from experience, but from our nature and
first being. If we are indeed the /Eruhin/, the Children of
the One, then He will not suffer Himself to be deprived of
His own, not by any Enemy, not even by ourselves. This is
the last foundation of /Estel/, which we keep even when we
contemplate the End: of all His designs the issue must be
for His Children's joy. /Amdir/ you have not, you say. Does
no /Estel/ at all abide?'"
[HoMe 10, /Morgoth's Ring/, 4, 'Athrabeth Finrod ah Andreth']

Elrond's choice of name is apt -- Aragorn does represent the trust that
Eru will not forsake his Children; and he represents that hope in more
than one way, I believe.

In terms of the story of LotR, Aragorn, as Frodo, represents the mortal
virtue that Gandalf expounds of doing the unexpected and placing your
fate in Eru's hands.

For Gondor and Arnor, Aragorn is the one that is hoped for, the King
that all the future subjects wants. The /potential/ of that hope is, I
believe, what Ivorwen saw before all others, and which is also
expressed in Gilraen's linnod -- she did give hope to the dúnedain (not
just the dúnedain of Arnor), but where did she lose her own?

At a more personal level he is the hope of eternal life for the mortals
-- most specifically illustrated by Arwen who chooses mortality for his
sake, and when the choice turns bitter she turns to his promise of
eternity with the cry for him and the hope he represents, "Estel,
Estel!"

In OFS Tolkien expounds the idea of the Cauldron -- the cooking pot of
Fairy-stories. New soup can be cooked on old bones, and though it is
cooked on mostly the same stock as the earlier stories, each dish can
still be new and fresh. He illustrates that well by using elements of
many story-tellers that preceded him, some of which can be identified
(Turin and Kalevala is one identifiable connection), but most of which
are single elements, which, brought into a wholly new context, remain
unrecognisable. It is natural, perhaps even inevitable, that Tolkien
should use elements from the tale which contains "the greatest and most
complete conceivable eucatastrophe" -- the Gospels. While I do not
remotely wish to postulate that Aragorn is an actual Christ-figure in
LotR, I still think that Aragorn is the one character in LotR who has
'borrowed' the most Christ-elements, including some that come close to
the hope and promise of redemption and salvation.


[Eucatastrophe]

Let me first recapitulate what Tolkien said in /On Fairy-stories/ about
/Eucatastrophe/.

But the "consolation" of fairy-tales has another aspect
than the imaginative satisfaction of ancient desires. Far
more important is the Consolation of the Happy Ending.
Almost I would venture to assert that all complete
fairy-stories must have it. At least I would say that
Tragedy is the true form of Drama, its highest function;
but the opposite is true of Fairy-story. Since we do not
appear to possess a word that expresses this opposite-I
will call it Eucatastrophe. The eucatastrophic tale is the
true form of fairy-tale, and its highest function.
The consolation of fairy-stories, the joy of the happy
ending: or more correctly of the good catastrophe, the
sudden joyous "turn" (for there is no true end to any
fairy-tale): this joy, which is one of the things which
fairy-stories can produce supremely well, is not
essentially "escapist," nor "fugitive." In its
fairy-tale-or otherworld-setting, it is a sudden and
miraculous grace: never to be counted on to recur. It does
not deny the existence of dyscatastrophe, of sorrow and
failure: the possibility of these is necessary to the joy
of deliverance; it denies (in the face of much evidence, if
you will) universal final defeat and in so far is
evangelium, giving a fleeting glimpse of Joy, Joy beyond
the walls of the world, poignant as grief.
It is the mark of a good fairy-story, of the higher or
more complete kind, that however wild its events, however
fantastic or terrible the adventures, it can give to child
or man that hears it, when the "turn" comes, a catch of the
breath, a beat and lifting of the heart, near to (or indeed
accompanied by) tears, as keen as that given by any form of
literary art, and having a peculiar quality.

So, if "the eucatastrophic tale is the true form of fairy-tale" should
we not expect /The Lord of the Rings/ to be of this kind? I don't claim
that the idea is new -- if my recollection doesn't desert me entirely,
it has been suggested before on these groups that /The Lord of the
Rings/ is actually the /actualisation/ of the ideas expressed in /On
Fairy-stories/, which then works as a manifesto (it is interesting,
IMO, that Frodo and Sam's conversation about the 'great tales' on the
Stairs of Cirith Ungol in many ways works as an addendum to the fairy-
tale manifesto of OFS).

Well -- obviously LotR /is/ a eucatastrophic tale, but what is the
eucatastrophe of LotR -- are there more than one eucatastrophe, and if
so, which is the main eucatastrophe; for yourself, for the author of
the tale (Tolkien) and for the Author (Eru).

To help that discussion, let us try to extract from the above the
characteristics of the eucatastrophe:

1: the good catastrophe
2: consolation
3: suddenness
4: "joyous turn"
5: "miraculous grace"
6: "never to be counted on to recur"
7: gives "a catch of the breath, a beat and lifting of the heart"
8: "near to (or indeed accompanied by) tears"

I have two thoughts to offer with respect to this.

First I think the end of LotR, the last several chapters, actually,
is either one long eucatastrophe or a series of eucatastrophes. I am
not sure if the distinction is meaningful because each step relies on
the previous steps. The main steps, as I see them are:
- the destruction of the One Ring
- the praise of the Ringbearers (the field of Cormallen)
- Éowyn's yes to Faramir
- the crowning of Aragorn
- finding the seedling of the White Tree
- the wedding of Aragorn to Arwen
- the tribute to Théoden at his funeral

At this point the happiness seems to get less. We get the survival of
Saruman and the aging of Bilbo before we are reminded of the
eucatastrophe in Bree as the run-up to the destruction of the Shire.

There is the old gaffer praising his fourteen-twenty, but nearly all of
the Hobitto-centric happiness is hidden away in the appendices --
mainly the Tale of Years.

I don't consider Frodo's departure from Grey Havens a eucatastrophe,
though it is indeed a "miraculous grace never to be counted on to
recur", but Sam's pain and the cause for his departure removes the joy
and there is no consolation to be found there. Joy and consolation,
however, is indubitably found in Sam's return to Bag End, "Well, I'm
back" but I can't accept that as sudden or a miraculous grace.

To turn for a moment to the films, I suspect that the awkwardness that
many have commented on about the end of the last film is, to a large
extent, caused by this strange structure where we have the
eucatastrophe in several installments (or several eucatastrophes, if
you will), but not as the end (Tolkien explicitly shows that his story
has no true end) and with the main narrative ending on a sad note.

The second point I wanted to bring up regards the eucatastrophe of this
week's 'chapter' -- the tale of Aragorn and Arwen.

I turn to Tolkien's thoughts in the epilogue to OFS where he ties his
thoughts on fairy-tales, and in particular the eucatastrophe, to the
Tale of Christ. Tolkien sees the New Testament as the ultimate
eucatastrophic tale, and I propose that, to Tolkien, Aragorn's words in
comfort to Arwen that "we are not bound for ever to the circles of the
world, and beyond them is more than memory" are reminiscent of the
Christian eucatastrophe, and that these words are the eucatastrophe of
the Tale of Aragorn and Arwen, and the promise of the eternal life of
the Christian faith.

Other discussion points:

Parallels between the story of Aragorn and Arwen and the story of Beren
and Lúthien are numerous, though there are also some significant
differences (such as Arwen's very passive role). What is the
significance of this almost-repetition of the same story? Try to look
at it both story-internally and from the story-external,
mythology-building points of view. And what is the significance of the
differences?


Your thoughts and ideas?

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

"It would seem that you have no useful skill or talent whatsoever," he
said. "Have you thought of going into teaching?"
- (Terry Pratchett, Mort)

Mark Edelstein

unread,
May 26, 2005, 9:20:59 AM5/26/05
to

> Parallels between the story of Aragorn and Arwen and the story of Beren
> and Lúthien are numerous, though there are also some significant
> differences (such as Arwen's very passive role). What is the
> significance of this almost-repetition of the same story? Try to look
> at it both story-internally and from the story-external,
> mythology-building points of view. And what is the significance of the
> differences?
>

The last first:

LOTR is "the last fairy tale" (after all it ends with the passing of
the Eldar) and it is not surprising it echoes the Silmarillion. Indeed
the idea of history as cyclic resoates throughout the story as we see
the rise and fall of good and evil several times (especially including
the Silmarillion narrative). There are two great differences: For one
this is the last tale, and is therefore especially bittersweet. But, it
also is in a sense a "diluted" tale. There is a sense that Beren's
tale, or Tuor's, or Turin's (all of whome are mentioned in passing in
the narrative), were all far greater. There is also a sense that the
remnants of the Eldar are mere echoes of their old realms, of Gondolin,
or Nargothrond, and that Minas Tirith was an echo of itself, and really
a pale shadow of what Numenor was. This is appropriate for the central
idea: The influence of the Eldar (beyond any subtle effects) fade over
time, and also is a powerful sub-creative tool. By making this story
both a part of, but also "less then" what came before, it magnifies the
richness of Middle Earth.

AC

unread,
May 26, 2005, 2:30:00 PM5/26/05
to
On 25 May 2005 17:25:52 GMT,
Troels Forchhammer <Tro...@ThisIsFake.invalid> wrote:

<snip>

>
> [2] Aragorn being dressed up by Galadriel: "Then more than any kind of
> Men he appeared, and seemed rather an Elf-lord from the Isles of
> the West."
> Which Isles of the West would that be? Tol Eressëa? But that is
> "The Lonely Isle" . . .

Tol Eressea would, historically, be the part of the Undying Lands that
Numenoreans would know the most about. Before the Shadow fell on Numenor,
communications seemed to have been very frequent between the two islands, so
I suspect that is the basis of this relationship.

>
> [3] OK -- Who does not believe that Galadriel was setting Aragorn and
> Arwen up, playing matchmaker for all she was worth?
> And for those who do believe that she did so -- why did she do it?

I'm fairly certain she had had a hand in it, and the answer is obvious, to
bring some restoration to Men, and particularly to the line of Elros.

>
> [4] Arwen's choice and the circumstances surrounding it fills quite a
> lot in this appendix. But how did it work?
> First, when Arwen sees Aragorn clad as an Elf in Lórien: "as he
> came walking towards her under the trees of Caras Galadhon laden
> with flowers of gold, her choice was made and her doom appointed."
> That doesn't exactly sound as if there is any way back. And shortly
> after, on Cerin Amroth, Arwen pledges, "I will cleave to you,
> Dúnadan, and turn from the Twilight."
> But Elrond evidently doesn't think it is too late and he implies
> that only by marrying Aragorn will her choice be final. The problem
> is that in their first conversation with Aragorn, Elrond implied
> that her choice would be made when Elrond departed Middle-earth (I
> wonder what would have happened had she married an Elf -- would
> she have had to depart with her husband or her father, then?)
> Finally we have the death-bed discussion where Aragorn suggests
> that she regret and turn to Grey Havens, but she says that "that
> choice is long over" and that no ship would carry her to now to Tol
> Eressëa -- she must accept the fate of Men.
> But regardless of the exact mechanics of her choice, the coice
> itself is the important bit. Arwen made the same choice as Lúthien
> before her, and thus the Elves had to give to Men the two most
> beautiful maids ever.

I really get the impresson that Elrond was not at all happy about this, even
though Aragorn did fulfil his end of the bargain and become King of the
Numenorian domains in Middle Earth. At the same time, I do not think that
the choice was irrevocable until they were wed. I think Aragorn's deathbed
statement is an attempt to heal her wounds, but she had long ago made the
choice and would be counted among the Second Born.

<snip>

> [7] Arwen's understanding and pity for the Númenorean Fall makes me
> think that she is symbolically redeeming the Elven race, not only
> by this understanding and pity for the weaknesses of Men, but also
> by the sacrifice of her own immortality and thus by the sacrifice
> of her own beauty, which would be lost to the Elves forever.

It's an interesting point. I have always looked at the union the other, as
a redemption of the Numenoreans. But yes, I think through her at least the
Elves might gain a better understanding of the fall of the Numenoreans.

<snip>

> [9] Aragorn's death once more emphasises the unique nature of this man
> -- he would fit well in the age of his sires of old -- Beren, Tuor
> and Eärendil.
> "Then a great beauty was revealed in him, so that all who
> after came there looked on him in wonder; for they saw that
> the grace of his youth, and the valour of his manhood, and
> the wisdom and majesty of his age were blended together.
> And long there he lay, an image of the splendour of the
> Kings of Men in glory undimmed before the breaking of the
> world."

It's a rather extraordinary passage, one of my favorite in all of Tolkien's
writings.

<snip>

--
mightym...@hotmail.com

Christopher Kreuzer

unread,
May 26, 2005, 2:57:03 PM5/26/05
to
AC <mightym...@hotmail.com> wrote:
> Troels Forchhammer <Tro...@ThisIsFake.invalid> wrote:

<snip>

[Tale of Aragorn and Arwen]

>> [2] Aragorn being dressed up by Galadriel: "Then more than any kind
>> of Men he appeared, and seemed rather an Elf-lord from the Isles
>> of the West."
>> Which Isles of the West would that be? Tol Eressëa? But that is
>> "The Lonely Isle" . . .
>
> Tol Eressea would, historically, be the part of the Undying Lands that
> Numenoreans would know the most about. Before the Shadow fell on
> Numenor, communications seemed to have been very frequent between the
> two islands, so I suspect that is the basis of this relationship.

I think Troels was asking why is "Isles of the West" plural, when the
"Lonely Isle" is singular by implication of being alone. Are you
answering that question by suggesting that there are _two_ "Isles of the
West"? Tol Eressea and Numenor?

My first thought was that these Isles of the West might be the
"Enchanted Isles" that Earendil and Elwing pass to get to Aman, but then
I got to wondering why there would be Elf-lords there? The only answer I
could come up with is that there might be some indications in the early
(or maybe late) HoME material that Tolkien intended to say more about
the Enchanted Isles if he had ever expanded the story of Earendil's
voyage. I vaguely recall that some of the BoLT versions of the mythology
had Aelfwine (or whoever that mariner was) either go to these islands,
or be told tales about them.

But I think I prefer: Numenor + Tol Eressea = Isles of the West.

Christopher

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

the softrat

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May 26, 2005, 5:48:39 PM5/26/05
to
On 26 May 2005 18:30:00 GMT, AC <mightym...@hotmail.com> wrote:

>I do not think that the choice was irrevocable until they were wed.

Given Tolkien's philosophy about Elven sexual relations, probably when
they consummated their marriage.

the softrat
"Honi soit qui mal y pense."
mailto:sof...@pobox.com
--
If you cannot listen to the answers, why do you inconvenience me
with questions?

Graham Lockwood

unread,
May 26, 2005, 10:20:35 PM5/26/05
to
On Wed, 25 May 2005 12:25:52 -0500, Troels Forchhammer wrote
{snip}

> [8] The true comfort of Aragorn is in the promise he makes of a meeting
> beyond the circles of Arda where there will be more than memory --
> a promise Arwen hopes for in her final crying out to him: "Estel,
> Estel!" She is speaking her native tongue there, so is she calling
> for Aragorn or for hope or for both?
> See also my discussion of hope and of eucatastrophe.

I must admit I hadn't thought of it like that before. I thought she was just
calling to him by his name, the name she first knew him as.

{snip}


> * * *
> Arador = ? Dírhael = Ivorwen Morwen = Eären. Celeborn = Galadriel
> | | | |
> Arathorn = Gilraen Elrond = Celebrían
> | |
> Aragorn = Arwen
> |
> Eldarion (and various sisters)

Err, wasn't Elrond's mother Elwing? Morwen was... let's see... the sister of
the mother of the father of the father of Elrond which would make her his...
great-grand-aunt? I have not a Hobbit's patience with relations, so I'm not
sure about the title...

> All in all the good Eldarion has quite an heritage there ;-)

And the fact that he had numerous sisters brings up the old question of Elven
reproductivity. Since elf women seem to ovulate much less often than human
women, it lends evidence to the idea that Arwen became mortal at the
beginning of her marriage to Aragorn so that she would be able to have so
many kids in so short a period of time (for an elf). Either at the wedding or
upon consummation. Maybe at the wedding at she started ovulating at exactly
that moment so she'd be nice and fertile for the honeymoon? ;)

{snip}

---
Graham

Troels Forchhammer

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May 27, 2005, 3:16:19 AM5/27/05
to
In message <0001HW.BEBBEE23...@news.x-privat.org>,
Graham Lockwood <g-...@yeehawgropes.com> enriched us with:

>
> On Wed, 25 May 2005 12:25:52 -0500, Troels Forchhammer wrote
> {snip}
>> [8] The true comfort of Aragorn is in the promise he makes of a
>> meeting beyond the circles of Arda where there will be more than
>> memory -- a promise Arwen hopes for in her final crying out to
>> him: "Estel, Estel!" She is speaking her native tongue there, so
>> is she calling for Aragorn or for hope or for both?
>> See also my discussion of hope and of eucatastrophe.
>
> I must admit I hadn't thought of it like that before. I thought she
> was just calling to him by his name, the name she first knew him as.

Knew him first? Perhaps, but by a matter of seconds:
"Estel I was called," he said; "but I am Aragorn, Arathorn's
son, Isildur's Heir, Lord of the Dúnedain"
To which her response is to claim kinship from afar . . .

Later in the history she alternates between various addresses, including
Estel, until that last cry. I get the very distinct impression that she
only uses Estel when Tolkien wanted to stress that he, for her,
represented a hope.

> Err, wasn't Elrond's mother Elwing?

Yes, you're right. Thanks.

<snip>

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

The significant problems we have cannot be solved at the same level of
thinking with which we created them.
- Albert Einstein


the softrat

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May 27, 2005, 6:20:59 PM5/27/05
to
On Thu, 26 May 2005 21:20:35 -0500, Graham Lockwood
<g-...@yeehawgropes.com> wrote:
>
>Err, wasn't Elrond's mother Elwing?

Yeah. The Troel has gravlaxed things up again.

the softrat
"Honi soit qui mal y pense."
mailto:sof...@pobox.com
--

"Aim towards the enemy." - Instruction printed on U.S. Army
rocket launcher

Graham Lockwood

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May 29, 2005, 5:09:53 PM5/29/05
to
On Thu, 26 May 2005 08:20:59 -0500, Mark Edelstein wrote
(in article <1117113659.3...@f14g2000cwb.googlegroups.com>):

"Doubtless the good stone-work is the older and was wrought in the first
building."

---
Graham

Dirk Thierbach

unread,
Jun 2, 2005, 10:24:08 AM6/2/05
to
Troels Forchhammer <Tro...@thisisfake.invalid> wrote:
[Many interesting things to which I can add nothing useful right now]

> Foresight plays a major role in this tale.

> [...]
> What is this foresight?

> An immanent ability of the descendants of Melian?
> A case-by-case divine intervention?
> A divine gift?
> Art (of the same sort that allowed the Dúnedain to create the Argonath
> or Orthanc -- art of an Elven quality)?

I think all of these are perhaps not the right way to look at it. I
cannot put my finger on it and spell it out precisely, but I think
that the foresight is (on the one hand) connected to the concept of
"doom". The underlying idea seems to be that the "personal" doom is
somehow "grounded" in one's (unchanging) character, and will determine
the eventual outcome of events (as in Turin's case, for example), since
no one can escape himself. On the other hand, it's connected to
the concept of a "divine plan", which unfolds to the eventual
benefit of all.

Foresight is the ability to get a glimpse of those aspects (and it
also makes a good literary device, often used in fairy-tales,
and others as well, e.g. Macbeth).

(That's probably as good as I can express it at the momemnt.)

> If it is a divine intervention, can it then be inheritable, as is, IMO,
> suggested by the phrase "the foresight of her people"?

Why shouldn't the deity favour a particular bloodline? :-) (But again,
I think trying to figure out the "mechanism" behind it is the
wrong approach).

> [A New Hope]
>
> That title proved too tempting ;-)

They had a re-run of episode IV a few weeks ago. and the more often
I see it, the more similarities in motives I find between it and LotR...
probably not by chance.

[...]


> First I think the end of LotR, the last several chapters, actually,
> is either one long eucatastrophe or a series of eucatastrophes.

I would see it as two "eucatastrophes": The destruction of the Ring
(including all the good endings of story threads that come with it,
which you listed), and the successful scouring of the Shire.

These are really the main ones.

Also note that each eucatastrophe is "tainted": There is always some
loss associated with it (as in the "big eucatastrophe" in the
new testament). IIRC Tolkien doesn't make this an important feature
in OFS, but IMHO it distinguishes them from Hollywood-style
Happy Endings.

- Dirk

Dirk Thierbach

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Jun 2, 2005, 10:27:37 AM6/2/05
to
AC <mightym...@hotmail.com> wrote:
> I really get the impresson that Elrond was not at all happy about this, even
> though Aragorn did fulfil his end of the bargain and become King of the
> Numenorian domains in Middle Earth. At the same time, I do not think that
> the choice was irrevocable until they were wed. I think Aragorn's deathbed
> statement is an attempt to heal her wounds, but she had long ago made the
> choice and would be counted among the Second Born.

I'd like to second that. That's exactly the way I always thought
about it.

[...]

> It's an interesting point. I have always looked at the union the other, as
> a redemption of the Numenoreans. But yes, I think through her at least the
> Elves might gain a better understanding of the fall of the Numenoreans.

Hm. But I think this better understanding is really restricted to Arwen
herself: One has to *experience* these things to really understand them.
She could try to explain it to the other elves, but they wouldn't really
understand it unless they had been in a similar situation.
(BTW, a nice play that deals with that subject is "Look Back in Anger".)

- Dirk

Christopher Kreuzer

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Jun 2, 2005, 3:47:48 PM6/2/05
to
Troels Forchhammer <Tro...@ThisIsFake.invalid> wrote:
> Chapter of the Week. LotR Appendix A,I(v)
>
> 'Here Follows a Part of the Tale of Aragorn and Arwen'

<snip>

> I am afraid that this introduction has reached a length that is
> comparable to the text it is supposed to introduce. For those who
> think that far too long, I recommend stopping after the indexed
> discussion points ;-)

I was going to ask if the length was part of the reason why the post was
delayed, but as my reply is even more tardy (though this is one of the
posts that, as you said about Mount Doom, _has_ to be answered
eventually), I think that is an unfair question... :-)

<snip>

[Aragorn's age when betrothed]

> Some years later (Aragorn is now forty-nine)

I wonder if this age was planned? Much like Bilbo and Frodo's ages being
50 when they set off on their great adventures? We do know that soon
after this, Aragorn sets off on his "great errantries" to Harad and
Rhun.

<snip>

> We're nearing the end

The end? Of the post, or of the summary?
Neither by the looks of it... ;-)

[Gilraen's linnod]

> but I do have to mention Aragorn's mother, Gilraen's, last words:
> /Ónen i-Estel Edain, ú-chebin estel anim,/
> which translates to 'I gave Hope to the Dúnedain, I have kept no hope
> for myself.'

But seriously, I've often wondered of the significance of Estel being
used here, instead of Amdir. Obviously it is needed because Aragorn's
name is Estel, but doesn't Gilraen confess here to a lack of estel? You
discuss Arwen's use of the word/name Estel on Aragorn's deathbed, and
also mention Gilraen's use of the words as well, but only in passing.
IMO, this use of the word/name Estel by Gilraen is just as significant.

I also wonder at why Gilraen's foresight failed her? I've always found
this passing of Gilraen, with no hope left, to be very sad, and
comparable to the fading of Miriel, who similarly spent herself (in
spirit) giving birth to Feanor, just as Gilraen confesses that she has
lost her estel. Can the comparison between Miriel and Gilraen be drawn
this closely? Can we construct a similar linnod for Miriel to say to
Finwe (should be to Feanor, but I think Feanor was too young at that
point)?

[Betrothal scene]

> Many years pass, including the events discussed over the last many
> months in the weekly chapter discussions, Aragorn and Arwen wed (on
> Midsummer's eve -- exactly 39 years to the day after they renounced
> the Shadow and the Twilight at Cerin Amroth in Lothlórien:
> Co-incidence? I think not!)

No. I hope not anyway, as I've previously noted the puzzling repeats of
the number 39 at several points, as well as the number 93, which
visually is the reverse of 39. Specifically, the fact that Aragorn is
said to be the nine and thirtieth heir of Isildur, the fact that (as
you've also pointed out) their betrothal was 39 years long, and that
doom fell on Numenor nine and thirty days after the sailing of
Ar-Pharazon's fleet into the West.

The number 93 is found as the age of Beor when he died, and also as the
distance from Erech to Pelargir ("ninety leagues and three). I not sure
whether these mean anything, or whether it is just a stylistic thing on
Tolkien's part.

<snip>

[Deathbed scene]

> The discussion between Aragorn and Arwen at this point is, for me, one
> of the strongest passages in LotR.

Agreed. One of my favorite passages.

> [1] I've always wondered: did Aragorn seek entry into Lórien when he
> met Arwen there, or was he merely passing by when someone came
> with an invitation from Galadriel?

I got the impression he was always welcome there.

> [2] Aragorn being dressed up by Galadriel: "Then more than any kind of
> Men he appeared, and seemed rather an Elf-lord from the Isles of
> the West."
> Which Isles of the West would that be? Tol Eressëa? But that is
> "The Lonely Isle" . . .

Still not sure if this reference to Isles in the plural is a reference
to both Tol Eressea and Numenor, but that would be my guess. The implica
tion being that the High Numenoreans appeared to be of similar stature
in mind and body to the Eldar, much as we hear said of Turin and Huor
and Tuor and other heroes of the First Age. Describing Aragorn this way
is a nice continuation of that theme. Note also that this is how he
appears briefly in the chapter 'Many Meetings' in Rivendell - probably
directly inserted by Tolkien to firm up the new love story:

"To his surprise Frodo saw that Aragorn stood beside [Arwen]; his dark
cloak was thrown back, and he seemed to be clad in elven-mail, and a
star shone on his breast." (Many Meetings)

> [3] OK -- Who does not believe that Galadriel was setting Aragorn and
> Arwen up, playing matchmaker for all she was worth?
> And for those who do believe that she did so -- why did she do it?

I believe she is playing matchmaker. Not quite sure why. The obvious
answer, and probably the correct one, is that with the departure of
Celebrian, Galadriel is playing the role of surrogate mother to Arwen.

Maybe she has the foresight (and Elrond maybe also perceives this in his
own way, despite his pain at the choice of his daughter) that this is
all needed for fate and destiny to work to their required conclusions
and have Aragorn raised up to perform his role in the War of the Ring.
But is it strictly necessary to have the Arwen-Aragorn subplot to make
the rest of the story work? Probably not, as shown by the fact that
Tolkien worked it in retrospectively towards the end of his writing of
the story, and in the final analysis Tolkien probably couldn't resist
the temptation to rework another of his themes from 'The Silmarillion'
(namely the choices facing mortals and immortals who fall in love in his
world).

So maybe the question is not why Galadriel played matchmaker, but why
Tolkien (once he had decided to bring Arwen and Aragorn together)
decided to cast Galadriel in the role of matchmaker?

It might help to look back at the other two cases we know of, Luthien
and Beren and Tuor and Idril. I don't think we know much about the
romance between Idril and Tuor, except that they wed seven years after
Tuor came to Gondolin (those pesky numbers again). The case of Beren and
Luthien doesn't have a match-maker as such (at least not in the
published version - possibly that minstrel helps in some of the earlier
versions or in the Lay of Leithian), but the cry of "Tinuviel!" is
repeated, though that is an internal historical reference as the legend
influences Aragorn to make that cry.

Are there any other cases of people playing the match-maker in Tolkien's
writings? Not that I can recall. Though Melian (the closest analogue to
Galadriel in the First Age) plays a similar role with Beren and Luthien,
in that she seems to aid Beren's words to Thingol (who should probably
be compared with Elrond - both the father of the Elf-woman):

"Then Beren looking up beheld the eyes of Luthien, and his glance went
also to the face of Melian and it seemed to him that words were put into
his mouth. Fear left him, and the pride of the eldest house of Men
returned to him; and he said: 'My fate, O King, led me hither, through
perils such as few even of the Elves would dare..." (Of Beren and
Luthien)

This could be compared with Aragorn's proud words to Elrond (where
Aragorn's words come with his foresight, rather than induced by Melian -
but the external influence is still there):

"But lo! Master Elrond, the years of your abiding run short at last, and
the choice must soon be laid on your children, to part either with you

or with Middle-earth." (Appendix AIv, LotR)

Which is slightly ironic because Aragorn has just said to Elrond that he
(Aragorn) has turned his eyes on a treasure no less dear than the
treasure of Thingol.

But the differences between Aragorn/Arwen/Elrond/Galadriel and
Beren/Luthien/Thingol/Melian are just as important. Elrond and Aragorn
part lovingly, indeed Elrond seems to be a surrogate father to Aragorn;
but Thingol and Beren are much more antagonistic. Both Aragorn and Beren
do, however, have to perform heroic deeds to win the hands of their
loves. Can Elrond's setting of the task to become "King of Gondor and
Arnor" be compared (and compared favorably) with Thingol's setting of
the task "get me a Silmaril from Angband"?

<snip>

> Arwen made the same choice as Lúthien before her, and thus the Elves
> had to give to Men the two most beautiful maids ever.
>
> [5] Remember the last paragraph of LotR II,6 'Lothlórien' and
> Aragorn's words there:
> " 'Here is the heart of Elvendom on earth,' he said, 'and
> here my heart dwells ever, unless there be a light beyond
> the dark roads that we still must tread, you and I. Come
> with me!' And taking Frodo's hand in his, he left the hill
> of Cerin Amroth and came there never again as living man."
> OK, so I am a sentimental old fool, but I always get a lump in my
> throat when I read this, remembering the significance of that
> place for Aragorn, and the role it plays later.

As well as that part of the story, there is at least one more that has
the same effect on me, and that is the part where Aragorn tells the
hobbits the story of Luthien and Beren. Aragorn knows full-well the
implications of what he says, but neither the first-time reader or the
hobbits realise what is really happening here. But the second-time
reader has an advantage over the hobbits, and he now knows part of the
Tale of Aragorn and Arwen, which make this bit very poignant:

"There live still those of whom Luthien was the foremother, and it is
said that her line shall never fail. Elrond of Rivendell is of that Kin.
For of Beren and Luthien was born Dior Thingol's heir; and of him Elwing
the White whom Earendil wedded, he that sailed his ship out of the mists
of the world into the seas of heaven with the Silmaril upon his brow.
And of Earendil came the Kings of Numenor, that is Westernesse." (A
Knife in the Dark)

Remember that this comes just after he has talked about Luthien chosing
to be mortal to be with Beren. Aragorn knows that both he and Arwen are
of the line of Luthien, and that Arwen has chosen to be mortal to be
with him. The following description of Aragorn's demeanor:

"...his strange eager face, dimly lit in the red glow of the wood-fire.
His eyes shone, and his voice was rich and deep..."

...emphasises for me the deep emotion of this moment. Tolkien, maybe
deliberately, rather awkwardly breaks this moment with the rising of the
moon and the hobbits getting up to stretch their legs, and then the
attack of the Nazgul. Or maybe this is the best way to glide past a
meaningful moment, but one that will only be meaningful on re-reading
the story.

The Cerin Amroth moment in Lothlorien is less subtle, but just as
powerful.

<snip>

> [The persons]
>
> First the family tree of Aragorn and Arwen -- just to keep the persons
> straight. I haven't found the name of Aragorn's paternal grandmother,
> but the rest are there back to to grandparents. Those grandparents
> that are marked are known descendants of Lúthien the Fair.
>
> * * *
> Arador = ? Dírhael = Ivorwen Morwen = Eären. Celeborn = Galadriel
> | | | |
> Arathorn = Gilraen Elrond = Celebrían
> | |
> Aragorn = Arwen
> |
> Eldarion (and various sisters)
>
> All in all the good Eldarion has quite an heritage there ;-)

I assume Eären. = Eärendil, and that Morwen = Elwing? As for Arathorn's
mother, I don't remember seeing that recorded anywhere. But if you are
interested, there is a _very_ comprehensive family tree for Aragorn and
Arwen in Mallorn 41 (July 2003), by David B. Vale. It lists all the
Kings of Numenor and the lines of the South and North Kingdoms in Exile,
as well as the Edain ancestry and the Noldorin ancestry. All fits neatly
onto two A4 pages!

<snip rest - very interesting but not a lot of comments>

> Parallels between the story of Aragorn and Arwen and the story of
> Beren and Lúthien are numerous, though there are also some significant
> differences (such as Arwen's very passive role). What is the
> significance of this almost-repetition of the same story? Try to look
> at it both story-internally and from the story-external,
> mythology-building points of view. And what is the significance of the
> differences?

Ooh! I started to answer this above... :-)

> Your thoughts and ideas?

Maybe you should repost your eucatastrophe bit separately? I enjoyed
reading it and it is worthy of its own discussion.

Rhino 7

unread,
Jun 2, 2005, 10:16:58 PM6/2/05
to
On Thu, 02 Jun 2005 19:47:48 GMT, "Christopher Kreuzer"
<spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> wrote:

<massive snip>


>But the differences between Aragorn/Arwen/Elrond/Galadriel and
>Beren/Luthien/Thingol/Melian are just as important. Elrond and Aragorn
>part lovingly, indeed Elrond seems to be a surrogate father to Aragorn;
>but Thingol and Beren are much more antagonistic. Both Aragorn and Beren
>do, however, have to perform heroic deeds to win the hands of their
>loves. Can Elrond's setting of the task to become "King of Gondor and
>Arnor" be compared (and compared favorably) with Thingol's setting of
>the task "get me a Silmaril from Angband"?
>

>Christopher

I've always thought that Thingol's desire of the Silmaril was a greed
thing. And because he basically tortured Beren and his only daughter
to get some major bling for his hoard, he was punished in turn by
"events". Do I hear echoes of the curse of the Niebelungen (sp?)?

Elrond sets Aragorn a tough goal, but it isn't so he can increase the
size of his treasury. I think this makes a rather significant
difference.

Regards,
Rhino7

Robert J. Kolker

unread,
Jun 3, 2005, 7:05:58 AM6/3/05
to
Rhino 7 wrote:
>
>
> I've always thought that Thingol's desire of the Silmaril was a greed
> thing.

I think not. Thingol challenged Beren to bring back a Silmaril because
he believed it could not be done. It was a way of sending Beren away
from his daughter. What a surprise to Thingo when one-handed Beren comes
back and says his hand (in the belly of an ueber wolf) is grasping a
Silmaril. Once the Silmaril was recovered and placed in Thingol's
possession he became covetous.

Bob Kolker


Rhino 7

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Jun 3, 2005, 7:17:20 PM6/3/05
to

So, you don't think the whole "Feanorean curse" was active?

You don't think Thingol was a bit extreme. Not only did he send his
daughter's love off to be killed, he locked her in a tower.

All in all, his behavior has always struck me as borderline insane.

Rhino7

Christopher Kreuzer

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Jun 3, 2005, 10:06:53 PM6/3/05
to
Rhino 7 <lan...@comfishcast.net> wrote:

<snip>

> You don't think Thingol was a bit extreme. Not only did he send his
> daughter's love off to be killed, he locked her in a tower.

tower -> tree (three-trunked as well!)

Christopher Kreuzer

unread,
Jun 4, 2005, 7:55:17 AM6/4/05
to
[AFT added back in!!]

Rhino 7 <lan...@comfishcast.net> wrote:


> Kolker wrote:
>> Rhino 7 wrote:
>>>
>>> I've always thought that Thingol's desire of the Silmaril was a
>>> greed thing.
>>
>> I think not. Thingol challenged Beren to bring back a Silmaril
>> because he believed it could not be done. It was a way of sending
>> Beren away from his daughter. What a surprise to Thingo when
>> one-handed Beren comes back and says his hand (in the belly of an
>> ueber wolf) is grasping a Silmaril. Once the Silmaril was recovered
>> and placed in Thingol's possession he became covetous.
>

> So, you don't think the whole "Feanorean curse" was active?

I've always had the impression that the curse never really became active
until Thingol actually had the Silmaril, and it then ate away at his
mind. Actually perceiving truly the tangled webs of Fate and Doom is not
easy.

Melian shows great wisdom in foreseeing that such a thing might happen.
This is seen in her words to Thingol after Thingol set Beren the task of
recovering a Silmaril:

"Then at last Melian spoke, and she said to Thingol: 'O King, you have
devised cunning counsel. But if my eyes have not lost their sight, it is
ill for you, whether Beren fail in his errand, or achieve it. For you
have doomed either your daughter, or yourself. And now is Doriath drawn
within the fate of a mightier realm.'" (Of Beren and Luthien)

I can only think that Melian is referring to the prophecy of Mandos
concerning the fate of the Silmarils:

"...and Mandos foretold that the fates of Arda, earth, sea, and air, lay
locked within them." (Of the Silmarils and the Unrest of the Noldor)

This prophecy would have been widely known by the Noldor and could have
been transmitted to Melian somehow, possibly by Angrod:

"Angrod son of Finarfin was the first of the Exiles to come to
Menegroth, as messenger of his brother Finrod, and he spoke long with
the King..." (Of the Return of the Noldor)

Or else Melian is using foresight here. Which is implied by her use of
the phrase "if my eyes have not lost their sight", though she could be
saying that as a metaphor for her wisdom.

Christopher Kreuzer

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Jun 4, 2005, 8:16:00 AM6/4/05
to
Christopher Kreuzer <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> wrote:
> Troels Forchhammer <Tro...@ThisIsFake.invalid> wrote:
>> Chapter of the Week. LotR Appendix A,I(v)
>>
>> 'Here Follows a Part of the Tale of Aragorn and Arwen'

<snip>

>> [5] Remember the last paragraph of LotR II,6 'Lothlórien' and


>> Aragorn's words there:
>> " 'Here is the heart of Elvendom on earth,' he said, 'and
>> here my heart dwells ever, unless there be a light beyond
>> the dark roads that we still must tread, you and I. Come
>> with me!' And taking Frodo's hand in his, he left the hill
>> of Cerin Amroth and came there never again as living man."
>> OK, so I am a sentimental old fool, but I always get a lump in my
>> throat when I read this, remembering the significance of that
>> place for Aragorn, and the role it plays later.
>
> As well as that part of the story, there is at least one more that has
> the same effect on me, and that is the part where Aragorn tells the
> hobbits the story of Luthien and Beren. Aragorn knows full-well the
> implications of what he says, but neither the first-time reader or the
> hobbits realise what is really happening here. But the second-time
> reader has an advantage over the hobbits, and he now knows part of the

> Tale of Aragorn and Arwen, which make this bit very poignant.

Another way to put this, is to say that the first-time reader sees
things from the point-of-view of the hobbits, but the second-time
reader, or the reader who has read /The Silmarillion/ can see things
from _other_ points of view. In this case, the reader can appreciate
more fully Aragorn's point-of-view.

Another example is Elrond's reminiscences about the First Age at the
Council of Elrond, or Treebeard and Galadriel mentioning places in
Beleriand, and Gandalf talking about Feanor in Aman. The reader, as she
reads more of Tolkien's writings, can move from being an open-mouthed
hobbit listening to tales of things far away and long ago (the hints of
great depth to the story), to placing herself in the mind of
Treebeard/Elrond/Galadriel/Gandalf as they remember these events
(beginning to appreciate the whole history, the large woven tapestry
being revealed to the reader).

Rhino 7

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Jun 4, 2005, 11:21:05 AM6/4/05
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The way I see it (and it is clearly a minority view) is that it was
morally neutral/acceptable for Feanor to capture the light of the two
trees while they were still there. Once they were gone and Feanor
refused (even though it worked out he couldn't have anyway) to use
them to restore the trees, the gems were "tainted" by his refusal.
(Does this sound faintly Buddhist to anyone?) Anyone who took
Feanor's view that they could be "owned" - his sons and Thingol (at
the end) would also be tainted.

I see your point that Thingol's request might have been initially
merely a really really tough quest to remove one of the gems from
Morgoth's posession (a good act). Even though I think that it
shouldn't have taken the wisdom of a Maia to see that it would come to
no good. I can't think of a fairy/folk tale where a daughter let her
father chase off her love except as a ruse. And it's a rare tale that
doesn't address the evil tendencies in the lust for treasure.

Rhino7

Christopher Kreuzer

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Jun 4, 2005, 8:59:56 PM6/4/05
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Troels Forchhammer <Tro...@ThisIsFake.invalid> wrote:
> Chapter of the Week. LotR Appendix A,I(v)
>
> 'Here Follows a Part of the Tale of Aragorn and Arwen'

<snip>

> [5] Remember the last paragraph of LotR II,6 'Lothlórien' and
> Aragorn's words there:
> " 'Here is the heart of Elvendom on earth,' he said, 'and
> here my heart dwells ever, unless there be a light beyond
> the dark roads that we still must tread, you and I. Come
> with me!' And taking Frodo's hand in his, he left the hill
> of Cerin Amroth and came there never again as living man."
> OK, so I am a sentimental old fool, but I always get a lump in my
> throat when I read this, remembering the significance of that
> place for Aragorn, and the role it plays later.

I've just been re-reading the ending of the Lothlorien chapter in the
context of the material in Appendix A, and spotted some things worthy of
mention, some already known, some I haven't seen mentioned before:

1) The well-known bit is that Frodo, coming down from Cerin Amroth,
catches Aragorn "wrapped in some fair memory", which is fairly obviously
his time there with Arwen. Frodo is even said to be seeing things "as
they once had been in this same place" (something to do with the power
of the land of Lorien and the Lady of that land). Aragorn appears
"clothed in white, a young lord tall and fair", and speaks words to
Arwen.

The past and present are seamlessly merging here, with Aragorn's
betrothal scene (where Galadriel dressed him in "silver and white" to
appear like "an Elf-lord") merging with his present location in Frodo's
time. There may even be echoes of his deathbed scene, with "the grim
years were removed from the face of Aragorn" (Frodo seeing a young
Aragorn in Lothlorien) being comparable with "a great beauty was
revealed in him" (including a sense of youth). And this all ties in
again with Aragorn appearing like an Elf (recall Elrond being described
as "ageless, neither old nor young").

2) So there are many echoes between this scene in Lothlorien, and
passages from "The Tale of Aragorn and Arwen". But there is one echo
that I have only just noticed. It is the bit where Frodo comes down from
Cerin Amroth and sees Aragorn:

"standing still and silent as a tree" (Lothlorien)

There is a _direct_ analogue of this in the Tale of Aragorn and Arwen,
and in the most appropriate place. We are by Cerin Amroth where Arwen
made her choice to cleave to Aragorn, and the later description of her
as she makes her choice, is this:

"she stood then as still as a white tree, looking into the West, and at
last she said..." (The Tale of Aragorn and Arwen)

There are three direct points that match in these descriptions. The use
of a tree metaphor, standing still, and being silent ("at last she said"
= period of silent thought).

So I think that Tolkien deliberately described Aragorn in Lothlorien in
this way, as a parallel of the description of the scene of Arwen making
her earlier choice in Lothlorien. Either that, or Tolkien was over-fond
of tree metaphors...

3) And one more, minor echo, this time with the tale of Beren and
Luthien, which is that in the Tale of Aragorn and Arwen we hear that
after Aragorn comes to Lothlorien: "for a season they wandered together
in the glades of Lothlorien, until it was time for him to depart" (cue
betrothal scene on Cerin Amroth). Turning to the tale of Beren and
Luthien, we read that "they went in secret through the woods together
from spring to summer" (Of Beren and Luthien).

So in both tales, the lovers are together for a season of happiness.
Which might even be comparable with a time in Tolkien's life: the time
when he was a young officer invalided out of WW1, and Edith danced for
him in the hemlocks in a wood near Roos, in Yorkshire (see final pages
of the 'Lost Tales' chapter of the Carpenter biography, where it is
acknowledged that this moment in Tolkien's life directly inspired the
Beren and Luthien scene).

Just to reinforce this, the moment of choice for the Elf-maidens in each
tale is just before this "season of happiness". Arwen: "...her choice
was made and her doom appointed..."; Luthien: "...as she looked on him,
doom fell on her, and she loved him..."

Steve Morrison

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Jun 5, 2005, 11:08:25 PM6/5/05
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Troels Forchhammer wrote:

> Celebrían S. Celeb + ri + and: Silver Wreath Long????

Letter #345 says "Celebrian" means "Silver Queen".

R. Dan Henry

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Jun 22, 2005, 4:06:07 AM6/22/05
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On 25 May 2005 17:25:52 GMT, Troels Forchhammer
<Tro...@ThisIsFake.invalid> wrote:

>Chapter of the Week. LotR Appendix A,I(v)

It's so sad! And happy! And sad!

>Aragorn and Arwen gets 120 years together (anybody who has an idea of
>what sort of anniversary that would be? Mithril-anniversary?
>Silmaril-anniversary?)

I'd go with mithril. They might actually have received some, in the
first place. In the second, Silmaril-anniversary isn't exactly a
good-omened phrase.

>[Discussion points]
>
>[1] I've always wondered: did Aragorn seek entry into Lórien when he
> met Arwen there, or was he merely passing by when someone came
> with an invitation from Galadriel?

I would have thought he'd drop in; after all, he's used to the company
of Elves, he's in the neighborhood, and Elrond and Gandalf both said
it had some really impressive trees. Oh, and that Celeborn guy might
be able to provide some advice.

>[3] OK -- Who does not believe that Galadriel was setting Aragorn and
> Arwen up, playing matchmaker for all she was worth?
> And for those who do believe that she did so -- why did she do it?

She's a wild romantic. And she has perhaps a different view of the
relative merits of the fates of Elves and Men than does Elrond. Then
again, she may just enjoy playing dress-up with visitors.

Maybe she's just worried about Arwen becoming an old maid. I mean,
becoming a really, really, really, really, really old maid.

>[4] Arwen's choice and the circumstances surrounding it fills quite a
> lot in this appendix. But how did it work?
> First, when Arwen sees Aragorn clad as an Elf in Lórien: "as he
> came walking towards her under the trees of Caras Galadhon laden
> with flowers of gold, her choice was made and her doom appointed."
> That doesn't exactly sound as if there is any way back.

In her heart, there was not. She hadn't actually made the choice that
bound her to the Fate of Men, but she wasn't going to not make that
choice, so her fate was (unofficially) sealed.

> Finally we have the death-bed discussion where Aragorn suggests
> that she regret and turn to Grey Havens, but she says that "that
> choice is long over" and that no ship would carry her to now to Tol
> Eressëa -- she must accept the fate of Men.

She already has accepted the Fate of Men, which is why no ship would
carry her there. I'm not sure Aragorn doesn't actually realize this,
but feigns ignorance to make his point about their shared fate
offering a chance at "more than memory".

> But regardless of the exact mechanics of her choice, the coice
> itself is the important bit. Arwen made the same choice as Lúthien
> before her, and thus the Elves had to give to Men the two most
> beautiful maids ever.

Well, there was Galadriel, who was pretty damned hot herself. Although
there's rumors about her, of course. Gimli. That trip through
Khazad-dum. The fact that some Elves remember her as being the first
to describe Dwarves as "made of stone".

Seriously, Arwen must have instantly been attracted to Aragorn, too,
although she hadn't fallen hard for him yet, as when they first meet
and he calls her "Tinuviel", she says she isn't her, although perhaps
she'll share the same fate. That's really some pretty bold flirtation
for an Elf-maiden [1] who has just met a mortal Man.

[1] Nearly 3000 years old and she's never been done it? Not even out
of curiosity? Is this more or less difficult to believe as a fantasy
element than invisibility rings and walking trees?

>[5] Remember the last paragraph of LotR II,6 'Lothlórien' and Aragorn's
> words there:
> " 'Here is the heart of Elvendom on earth,' he said, 'and
> here my heart dwells ever, unless there be a light beyond
> the dark roads that we still must tread, you and I. Come
> with me!' And taking Frodo's hand in his, he left the hill
> of Cerin Amroth and came there never again as living man."

And dead, he lay in his tomb in Gondor, so he never again came there
at all, unless we aren't told about his adventures in the sequel,
"Aragorn, Zombie Warrior!" or they just forgot to mention Arwen's
morbid graverobbing and relocation of the King's remains.

>[Foresight]

>What is this foresight?

Precognition. :-)

>An immanent ability of the descendants of Melian?

>A divine gift?

I'd go for one or both of these. The Numenorean lifespan was a gift,
so might their foresight be, and the ability to look into the hearts
and minds of other men, which Aragorn, Denethor, and Faramir display.

>If it is a divine intervention, can it then be inheritable, as is, IMO,
>suggested by the phrase "the foresight of her people"?

I wouldn't use the term "intervention", which suggests a case-by-case
action of divine power, which wouldn't be inheritable, as each
instance, even in one individual, would be independent. But the gifts
of the Numenoreans were inheritable, although they seem to fade in
ways that aren't entirely genetic in operation.

>When Elrond calls Aragorn 'Estel', which is Hope, did he see the
>potential in Aragorn's fate?

I think he'd have been 'Amdir' if their was foresight involved.

>Also, when Arwen, at the first meeting with Aragorn, responds to his
>comparison with her to Lúthien with the words, "Yet her name is not
>mine. Though maybe my doom will be not unlike hers." Is this foresight,
>premonition or just empty conversation? (I suppose that there might be
>other possibilities as well <G>)

See above. Hey, after 3000 years, I guess you would start to consider
any guy who struck you as possibly desirable, even if you knew there
were, uh, technical difficulties.

>[Names]
>
>Some people seem to collect names, and Aragorn ('Our King') is quite
>good at it, but he is not alone in having several names. What is this
>tendency to have name upon name?

I've born, hmmm, let's see, at least nine different names that people
have called me with some regularity, and I haven't even been trying.
Three is pretty normal as a minimum -- given name, family name with
title, and some sort of nickname/pet name. One of the difficulties of
Russian novels is that the authors use the multitude of names for
their characters. It's cultural whether people tend towards fewer or
more names. And since every time you give someone a name, you get to
play with language, guess which choice Tolkien makes? I think that has
more to do with it than characterization.

> Strider Q. Telcontar

Strider-Man, Strider-Man, does whatever a Ranger can...

>Ivorwen S. Ivor + wen: Crystal Maiden

She liked sugar?

>[A New Hope]
>
>That title proved too tempting ;-)
>
>When Aragorn was being raised in Rivendell (from the age of two until
>twenty), his ancestry was concealed from himself as well as all other
>outsiders (we might speculate on whom, besides Gilraen, his mother, was
>allowed to know the truth),

One wonders how the Dunadain of the North were dealing with not having
a known king for the first time... ever. At least this one does.

>Other discussion points:
>
>Parallels between the story of Aragorn and Arwen and the story of Beren
>and Lúthien are numerous, though there are also some significant
>differences (such as Arwen's very passive role). What is the
>significance of this almost-repetition of the same story?

Tolkien was getting lazy. He added this late in writing and so he cut
a few corners by copying himself.

--
R. Dan Henry
danh...@inreach.com

R. Dan Henry

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Jun 22, 2005, 4:06:06 AM6/22/05
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On Sat, 04 Jun 2005 08:21:05 -0700, Rhino 7 <lan...@comfishcast.net>
wrote:

>The way I see it (and it is clearly a minority view) is that it was
>morally neutral/acceptable for Feanor to capture the light of the two
>trees while they were still there. Once they were gone and Feanor
>refused (even though it worked out he couldn't have anyway) to use
>them to restore the trees, the gems were "tainted" by his refusal.
>(Does this sound faintly Buddhist to anyone?) Anyone who took
>Feanor's view that they could be "owned" - his sons and Thingol (at
>the end) would also be tainted.

While refusing to give the Silmarils to the Valar was ungenerous, it
wasn't *evil*. It was the Oath and the Kinslaying that put the
Feanoreans over the edge into being bad people. Feanor *did* own the
Silmarils; it was his willingness to defend his ownership *without
scruple* that turned him bad.

R. Dan Henry

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Jun 22, 2005, 4:06:05 AM6/22/05
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On 26 May 2005 18:30:00 GMT, AC <mightym...@hotmail.com> wrote:

>I really get the impresson that Elrond was not at all happy about this, even
>though Aragorn did fulfil his end of the bargain and become King of the
>Numenorian domains in Middle Earth.

Well, no, he wasn't *happy* about it, but he was wise enough to see
that there wasn't going to be any ending that wasn't at best
bittersweet. I think seeing his brother's people restored was partly
something to console himself with; by attaching this condition to his
parting with his daughter, he would see some great good coming out of
the loss, making it easier to bear.

Taemon

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Jun 22, 2005, 6:21:31 AM6/22/05
to
R. Dan Henry wrote:

> [1] Nearly 3000 years old and she's never been done it? Not even out
> of curiosity? Is this more or less difficult to believe as a fantasy
> element than invisibility rings and walking trees?

Sex doesn't seem to exist in Tolkien's work, even with all the talk
about looks. I bet babies are brought by the stork. Is there any talk
about women swelling with pregnancy, or dying while giving birth?

T.


Odysseus

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Jun 22, 2005, 4:40:26 AM6/22/05
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"R. Dan Henry" wrote:
>
> On 25 May 2005 17:25:52 GMT, Troels Forchhammer
> <Tro...@ThisIsFake.invalid> wrote:
>
<snip>

>
> >Ivorwen S. Ivor + wen: Crystal Maiden
>
> She liked sugar?
>

Methamphetamine.

--
Odysseus

Charles Jones

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Jun 22, 2005, 3:49:14 PM6/22/05
to
In article <g00ib11sb878lbvig...@4ax.com>,
danh...@inreach.com says...

> On 25 May 2005 17:25:52 GMT, Troels Forchhammer
> <Tro...@ThisIsFake.invalid> wrote:
>
> >[5] Remember the last paragraph of LotR II,6 'Lothlórien' and Aragorn's
> > words there:
> > " 'Here is the heart of Elvendom on earth,' he said, 'and
> > here my heart dwells ever, unless there be a light beyond
> > the dark roads that we still must tread, you and I. Come
> > with me!' And taking Frodo's hand in his, he left the hill
> > of Cerin Amroth and came there never again as living man."
>
> And dead, he lay in his tomb in Gondor, so he never again came there
> at all, unless we aren't told about his adventures in the sequel,
> "Aragorn, Zombie Warrior!" or they just forgot to mention Arwen's
> morbid graverobbing and relocation of the King's remains.
>

It is funny that you mention that. Since the first time I connected
that phrase and the Appendix entry regarding Arwen's death, I have had
an image in my mind of Aragorn's spirit meeting with Arwen's on Cerin
Amroth at her passing, and their journeying together to the Halls of
Mandos and beyond.

--
Charles Jones (char...@frii.com)
Loveland, Colorado
AIM: LovelandCharles
ICQ: 29610755
MSN: charl...@passport.com

Count Menelvagor

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Jun 22, 2005, 5:40:37 PM6/22/05
to

Troels Forchhammer wrote:

> " 'Here is the heart of Elvendom on earth,' he said, 'and
> here my heart dwells ever, unless there be a light beyond
> the dark roads that we still must tread, you and I. Come
> with me!' And taking Frodo's hand in his, he left the hill
> of Cerin Amroth and came there never again as living man."

> OK, so I am a sentimental old fool, but I always get a lump in my
> throat when I read this, remembering the significance of that place
> for Aragorn, and the role it plays later.

sad (though he does get the girl), and also puzzling. why wdn't he and
arwen be able to honeymoon there after their wedding?


> [Foresight]

> What is this foresight?
>


> An immanent ability of the descendants of Melian?

> A case-by-case divine intervention?
> A divine gift?
> Art (of the same sort that allowed the Dúnedain to create the Argonath
> or Orthanc -- art of an Elven quality)?
>

> If it is a divine intervention, can it then be inheritable, as is, IMO,
> suggested by the phrase "the foresight of her people"?
>

> Also, when Arwen, at the first meeting with Aragorn, responds to his
> comparison with her to Lúthien with the words, "Yet her name is not
> mine. Though maybe my doom will be not unlike hers." Is this foresight,
> premonition or just empty conversation? (I suppose that there might be
> other possibilities as well <G>)

i have only a few vague thougths about thiis. foresight has something
to do with the way perception relates to time. maybe this perception
was less linear in the third age than it is today. it's like literal
sight in that it isn't always equally clear, but depends on the
person's innate qualities, as well as on other factors that are hard to
udnerstand. gladriel makes the limitations of her own foresight very
clear: "i do not foretell, for all foretelling is vain [...]; but if
our hopes do not fail," gimli will makes globs of money (i'm quoting
from memory). and elsewhere: "hope remians while all the company is
true." further, she explaisn that her mirror shows thigns that MAY
coem to pass, and is a perilous guide for deeds.

> [Names]
>
> Some people seem to collect names, and Aragorn ('Our King') is quite
> good at it, but he is not alone in having several names. What is this
> tendency to have name upon name?

partly it reflects ientity: aragorn has as many identities as he does
names. "strider the ranger has returned." "he has never been away."
and partly it's because tolkien thought making up lots of names was
kewl.

> [A New Hope]

[amdir vs. estel; gilraen's linnod]

did the distinction between "amdir" and "estel" exist when tolkien was
writing LOTR? or is it later gloss? perhaps in LOTR, "estel" covers
both "amdir" *and* [the later] "estel." so maybe "ú-chebin estel
anim" means she lost hope in the [later] sense of "amdir."

Morgil

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Jun 22, 2005, 9:55:13 PM6/22/05
to

Was the Oath itself 'evil'? Unwise, excessive, hostile surely,
but in a legal sense it merely declared that extreme measures
would be taken against those who would knowingly seize Feanor's
property without permission. What's so evil in taht? :-)

And Kinslaying did not neccessarily make them evil either.
The reality of the situation was that the Teleri ships were
their only way to get out of Valinor, which the Valar had
declared they were free to do. So while they had no legal
right to seize Teleri ships, their desperate situation gives
some justification to their actions. And when the situation
escalated into violence, it was the Teleri who hit the first
blow. All and all, Kinslaying was just a terribly unfortunate
incident, and both sides contributed in creating the
circumstances which led into it. If we look for pure evil
deeds by Feanor, the later burning of those ships would be
such, but at that point he was already so mentally disbalanced
that he wasn't in full responsibility of his actions, IMO.

Morgil

R. Dan Henry

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Jun 23, 2005, 1:03:36 AM6/23/05
to

Theoden's wife Elfhild died in child birth.

Dirk Thierbach

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Jun 23, 2005, 5:02:45 AM6/23/05
to
Morgil <more...@hotmail.com> wrote:
> Was the Oath itself 'evil'?

"Their Oath shall drive them, and yet betray them, and ever snatch
away the very treasures that they have sworn to pursue. To evil end
shall all things turn that they begin well; and by treason of kin unto
kin, and the fear of treason, shall this come to pass."

> And Kinslaying did not neccessarily make them evil either.

"Ye have spilled the blood of your kindred unrighteously and have
stained the land of Aman. For blood ye shall render blood, and beyond
Aman ye shall dwell in Death's shadow. For though Eru appointed to you
to die not in Ea, and no sickness may assail you, yet slain ye may
be, and slain ye shall be: by weapon and by torment and by grief; and
your houseless spirits shall come then to Mandos. There long shall ye
abide and yearn for your bodies, and find little pity though all whom
ye have slain should entreat for you."

That's pretty much direct, isn't it? :-)

- Dirk

wa...@fordham.edu

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Jun 23, 2005, 9:47:57 AM6/23/05
to
>Tolkien was getting lazy. He added this late in writing and so he cut
>a few corners by copying himself

More likely he had little hope of seeing the story of Beren and Luthien
published, and this was an opportunity to tell a story that meant a
great deal to him.

Michael Wares

Derek Broughton

unread,
Jun 23, 2005, 10:05:34 AM6/23/05
to
Dirk Thierbach wrote:

> Morgil <more...@hotmail.com> wrote:
>> Was the Oath itself 'evil'?
>
> "Their Oath shall drive them, and yet betray them, and ever snatch
> away the very treasures that they have sworn to pursue. To evil end
> shall all things turn that they begin well; and by treason of kin unto
> kin, and the fear of treason, shall this come to pass."

Certainly there are many who believe that swearing an oath - even for the
best of reasons - is "wrong". Whether they'd go so far as to call it evil,
I don't know, but I the Oath of Feanor was not made for the best of
reasons. It was made out of selfishness and a desire for revenge. The
Oath itself may not have been evil, but its ends certainly were.


>
>> And Kinslaying did not neccessarily make them evil either.

Now _that's_ trolling. You'd have a hard time convincing a jury...
--
derek

JimboCat

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Jun 23, 2005, 10:30:12 AM6/23/05
to
Morgil wrote:
>
> Was the Oath itself 'evil'? Unwise, excessive, hostile surely,
> but in a legal sense it merely declared that extreme measures
> would be taken against those who would knowingly seize Feanor's
> property without permission. What's so evil in taht? :-)

IMHO, it was the invocation of the name of Illuvatar for such petty
issues as the seizure of mere physical property that put the Oath over
the top. The Oath itself may not have been strictly evil, but it very
directly *led* to evil.

> And Kinslaying did not neccessarily make them evil either.

Oh, yes it did.

> The reality of the situation was that the Teleri ships were
> their only way to get out of Valinor,

Not. As proved by those who followed, over Helcaraxe. It was simply
their only way to get quickly and conveniently out of Valinor. Killing
for expediency is very definitely evil.

> which the Valar had
> declared they were free to do. So while they had no legal
> right to seize Teleri ships, their desperate situation gives
> some justification to their actions.

Massively insufficient justification. Now, if they'd declared that the
Teleri were harboring WMDs on the other hand...

> And when the situation
> escalated into violence, it was the Teleri who hit the first
> blow. All and all, Kinslaying was just a terribly unfortunate
> incident, and both sides contributed in creating the
> circumstances which led into it.

The Teleri -- though they hadn't declared a nearly-blasphemous oath
with Mandos as witness, like Feanor did -- still had just as much right
to prevent the unauthorized seizure of their property as Feanor, had
they not? When Feanor said "no" to the breaking of the Silmarils for
the restoration of the Trees, the Valar accepted his refusal: they did
not and would not force their will upon him.

It is precisely that -- forcing your own will upon others against their
own -- wherein evil lies: we see this in Tolkien time and again. The
Ring is utterly evil *because* it aids its bearer in overcoming other
wills (and indeed overcomes the bearer's will to force this to happen,
if the bearer starts out with no evil intent). Morgoth was evil
*because* he wanted to order things his way, irregardless of others.
The greatest evil of the Nazgul was the Black Breath -- the subjugation
of wills to despair and fear.

The Kinslaying is just another example of the evil of imposing your own
will upon those unwilling to follow your dictates.

> If we look for pure evil
> deeds by Feanor, the later burning of those ships would be
> such, but at that point he was already so mentally disbalanced
> that he wasn't in full responsibility of his actions, IMO.

That was a desecration, certainly, but I don't see why that should be
more evil than the Kinslaying. Don't see that at all.

Jim Deutch (JimboCat)
--
"You cannot reason a man out of a position he did not reach through
reason." - unk

Taemon

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Jun 23, 2005, 3:00:20 PM6/23/05
to
R. Dan Henry wrote:

Ah. Must have been a particularly evil stork, then.

T.


Morgil

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Jun 23, 2005, 6:15:02 PM6/23/05
to
Derek Broughton wrote:
> Dirk Thierbach wrote:
>
>
>>Morgil <more...@hotmail.com> wrote:
>>
>>>Was the Oath itself 'evil'?
>>
>>"Their Oath shall drive them, and yet betray them, and ever snatch
>>away the very treasures that they have sworn to pursue. To evil end
>>shall all things turn that they begin well; and by treason of kin unto
>>kin, and the fear of treason, shall this come to pass."

That would be the Curse, not the Oath.

> Certainly there are many who believe that swearing an oath - even for the
> best of reasons - is "wrong". Whether they'd go so far as to call it evil,
> I don't know, but I the Oath of Feanor was not made for the best of
> reasons. It was made out of selfishness and a desire for revenge. The
> Oath itself may not have been evil, but its ends certainly were.

Not neccessarily. If whoever took the Simarils would return them
voluntarily, would the Oath still demand them to take revenge?

>>>And Kinslaying did not neccessarily make them evil either.
>
>
> Now _that's_ trolling. You'd have a hard time convincing a jury...

I enjoy challenges :-)

And no, it is not trolling. I honestly believe that the Kinslaying,
as it has been told in the Silmarillion, does not require an evil
intention or an evil mind to perform, and it could be even justified.

Morgil

Morgil

unread,
Jun 23, 2005, 6:49:06 PM6/23/05
to
JimboCat wrote:
> Morgil wrote:

>>And Kinslaying did not neccessarily make them evil either.
>
>
> Oh, yes it did.
>
>
>>The reality of the situation was that the Teleri ships were
>>their only way to get out of Valinor,
>
>
> Not. As proved by those who followed, over Helcaraxe. It was simply
> their only way to get quickly and conveniently out of Valinor. Killing
> for expediency is very definitely evil.

But they *didn't* use the ships for a quick getaway. Even with
ships they still took the long road. There must be some other
reason why they needed them so desperately. Answer - logistics.
It took 7 or 8 months to reach Helcaraxe. You don't carry that
kind of rations in your backpack. What else could it be?

>>which the Valar had
>>declared they were free to do. So while they had no legal
>>right to seize Teleri ships, their desperate situation gives
>>some justification to their actions.
>
>
> Massively insufficient justification. Now, if they'd declared that the
> Teleri were harboring WMDs on the other hand...

They were protecting a known terrorist ;-)

>>And when the situation
>>escalated into violence, it was the Teleri who hit the first
>>blow. All and all, Kinslaying was just a terribly unfortunate
>>incident, and both sides contributed in creating the
>>circumstances which led into it.
>
>
> The Teleri -- though they hadn't declared a nearly-blasphemous oath
> with Mandos as witness, like Feanor did -- still had just as much right
> to prevent the unauthorized seizure of their property as Feanor, had
> they not? When Feanor said "no" to the breaking of the Silmarils for
> the restoration of the Trees, the Valar accepted his refusal: they did
> not and would not force their will upon him.
>
> It is precisely that -- forcing your own will upon others against their
> own -- wherein evil lies: we see this in Tolkien time and again. The
> Ring is utterly evil *because* it aids its bearer in overcoming other
> wills (and indeed overcomes the bearer's will to force this to happen,
> if the bearer starts out with no evil intent). Morgoth was evil
> *because* he wanted to order things his way, irregardless of others.
> The greatest evil of the Nazgul was the Black Breath -- the subjugation
> of wills to despair and fear.
>
> The Kinslaying is just another example of the evil of imposing your own
> will upon those unwilling to follow your dictates.

They only borrowed a few ships. They didn't try to capture any
of the Teleri and force them to transport them over the sea.
It is not the same thing at all.

Morgil

AC

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Jun 23, 2005, 7:14:53 PM6/23/05
to

Well, he'd got to play the part of Thingol, and in a way his demand upon
Aragorn must have seemed, at the time, nearly as impossible as Thingol's
upon Beren.

--
mightym...@hotmail.com

AC

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Jun 23, 2005, 11:19:27 PM6/23/05
to

Well, the Teleri were defending their property. If Feanor could claim the
Silmarils as his own, then the Teleri could claim their ships. The Noldor
had no right whatsoever to those ships. They could ask, but the Teleri had
the right to refuse. Sorry, the Noldor committed an evil act, and trying to
say somehow that the Teleri gave justification for the Kinslaying is simply
blaming the victim.

--
mightym...@hotmail.com

AC

unread,
Jun 23, 2005, 11:22:08 PM6/23/05
to
On Fri, 24 Jun 2005 01:49:06 +0300,
Morgil <more...@hotmail.com> wrote:
>
> They only borrowed a few ships. They didn't try to capture any
> of the Teleri and force them to transport them over the sea.
> It is not the same thing at all.

Sure it is. Those ships were one of a kind. That was the point that the
Teleri tried to make. The Teleri were under no obligation to aid the
Noldor. The Noldor had no right to the property of the Teleri. The Noldor
behaved towards the Teleri as Morgoth had behaved towards Feanor.

You betray your own argument when you say "a few ships".

--
mightym...@hotmail.com

Derek Broughton

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Jun 24, 2005, 9:13:32 AM6/24/05