COTW - Silmarillion Ch VII: Of the Silmarils and the Unrest of the Noldor

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R. Dan Henry

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Dec 27, 2005, 2:55:55 PM12/27/05
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This post is part of the series of "Chapter of the Week" discussions on
'The Silmarillion' by J.R.R. Tolkien. To read previous Chapter of the
Week discussions, or to sign up to introduce a future chapter, please go
to:

http://parasha.maoltuile.org

Chapter of the Week (CotW) - The Silmarillion

Quenta Silmarillion (QS)
Chapter VII - Of the Silmarils and the Unrest of the Noldor

The Noldor had been making and passing out shinies for awhile and
everyone was impressed with the ordinary gems of the Earth, but Feanor,
as mentioned in the last chapter, had gone further and made prettier
shinies and even the practical seeing stones. Now we get to the making
of the prettiest shinies of them all -- the Silmarils. Seeing as how the
whole book is named after them, it should be no surprise that these are
"those things that afterwards were most renowned of all the works of the
Elves."

The Silmarils were made in secret and Feanor shared his knowledge with
none, so their composition is unknown. However, they look like diamond,
but much stronger. ("[N]o violence could mar it or break it within the
Kingdom of Arda.") [Unbreakable plastic?] This crystal, however, was
made only as a housing, in which Feanor captured and preserved the
blended light of the Two Trees.

The Silmarils are loved by all, especially Feanor himself. Varda hallows
them so that they will burn any evil thing that touches them. Then
Melkor also becomes obsessive about the Silmarils, although he wasn't
allowed near them -- Feanor either wore them or locked them up.
[Wouldn't it have been a good idea to test his repentance by letting him
hold the Silmarils awhile?]

Melkor gets to work seeding the rumor mill and the Noldor gossip just
like humans, spreading and enlarging his lies. He spoke of the realms
the Noldor could have had in Middle-earth and suggested the Valar
brought them to Aman to restrain them, jealous of their possible power.
He told them of Men (which the Valar hadn't bothered to mention) and
suggested the Elves were removed from Middle-earth so Men could have it.
The Noldor grew proud and suspicious. And Feanor, who hated Melkor,
listened to the rumors he had planted and grew discontent. Meanwhile,
Feanor became even more possessive of the Silmarils, and forgetful that
their light was not his work.

Melkor then begins to work his lies to sow distrust between Feanor and
his half-brethren, easy work given the rift that already existed. Then
Melkor taught weapon-making and the Noldor began to openly carry shields
bearing tokens of their houses, while making weapons in secret. At last,
Feanor speaks openly against the Valar and proposes to lead the Noldor
back to Middle-earth. Fingolfin sees this as rebellion against his
father and urges Finwe to takes control of the situation. Feanor drives
Fingolfin from Finwe's house at sword point. Since this was seen by
many, word of the unrest of the Noldor at last reaches the Valar.

For threatening Fingolfin, Feanor must answer to the Valar and at last
it comes out that Melkor has been a bad parolee and Tulkas goes to
collect him. Feanor is exiled from Tirion for twelve years. Fingolfin is
forgiving, but Feanor is silent. Feanor makes a stronghold, with a
treasury and hoard of weapons. With him came his seven sons, and his
father. With Finwe absent, Fingolfin ruled the Noldor in Tirion. [Even
given that Feanor is his favorite, should Finwe join him in exile? Isn't
this an abdication of his duties? Doesn't leaving Fingolfin in charge
just feed Feanor's jealousy and paranoia?]

Melkor turns himself into a cloud and evades Tulkas. In this guise, he
dims the lights of Valinor, the Trees seeming to dim and the shadows
growing longer (!) and darker. He next materializes at Feanor's door. He
argues that events have proved him right and offer to aid Feanor in
departing Aman. Now, like Melkor, Feanor responded to his shame with
resentment, and he considered Melkor's offer. But Melkor tried to sway
his indecision by suggesting the Silmarils might be stolen by the Valar.
Feanor recognizes that the Vala most interested in stealing his pretties
is standing before him and he curses Melkor and slams the door in his
face. Melkor, naturally, doesn't take this well.

Finwe is frightened by these events and sends messengers to Manwe. Orome
and Tulkas prepare to go after Melkor, but word comes that he has been
seen leaving Valinor. The shadow that dimmed the light is gone, but
Melkor has escaped, evil as ever, the Valar looking like ineffective
chumps, whose efforts to locate him are fruitless. Those who dwell in
Aman had now to worry over what was to come when Melkor would reappear.

*** FURTHER ISSUES ***

"not until the Sun passes and the Moon falls" -- we get a glimpse of the
end of Middle-earth here. Compare to other end-of-the-world scenarios.

Melkor's lies are more along the line of half-truths. The Elves would,
in the natural course of things, created realms for themselves in
Middle-earth. Men were coming and would displace the Elves in
Middle-earth. The Valar bringing the Elves to Aman and then keeping Men
a secret didn't look too good when viewed critically. And of what he
tells Fingolfin and Finarfin ("Beware! Small love has the proud son of
Miriel ever had for the children of Indis. Now he has become great, and
he has his father in his hand. It will not be long before he drives you
forth from Tuna.") there is mostly truth and even the speculation isn't
necessarily wrong, given Feanor's desire to master minds. With better
management, could Aman have been better lie-proofed against Melkor?

Why is Feanor such a jerk? Spoiled by his father? Abandonment issues
because of his mother? Do you blame his father's remarriage and the
half-brothers, as some do? Or is it his "fiery" nature, too
obsessive-compulsive and impulsive to make good decisions? How did the
poor little rich boy go so very, very wrong?

Specifically, the Noldor make "swords and axes and spears" -- no mention
is made of bows or slings, nor of maces or flails. Is there any
significance to this? (The weapons they make are all edged weapons.)

How can the Valar be so totally clueless as to what is going on in their
own realm? What was the point of keeping Melkor close if nobody is going
to actually watch what he does? Why didn't the Valar at least speak up
when Feanor began to openly accuse them? "And Manwe was grieved, but he
watched and said no word." No investigation of why he had become a
malcontent, no attempt to set the record straight, no offer of aid in
returning to Middle-earth if that's what the Noldor want. Manwe just
sits on his throne on his mountain.

How exactly do you make the shadows grow *longer*? Darker, yes, if you
dim the Trees, but shadow length is a matter of height and the angle of
the light. I guess this is just one of those "mythological" elements.
Maybe some of Melkor's shadow -- the semi-physical kind -- lurks in the
normal shadows.

"But his cunning overreached his aim; his words touched too deep, and
awoke a fire more fierce than he designed; and Feanor looked upon Melkor
with eyes that burned through his fair semblance and pierced the cloaks
of his mind, perceiving there his fierce lust for the Silmarils." --
Telepathic power or poetically described recognition of a similar mind's
shared coveting of the shinies?

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

Christopher Kreuzer

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Dec 28, 2005, 8:41:28 AM12/28/05
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[cross-posting to AFT]

Taemon

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Dec 28, 2005, 11:06:05 AM12/28/05
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R. Dan Henry <danh...@inreach.com> wrote:

>> Why is Feanor such a jerk? Spoiled by his father? Abandonment
>> issues because of his mother? Do you blame his father's
>> remarriage and the half-brothers, as some do?

*He* does, I think. I don't think he has ever forgiven his mother for
"leaving" him. Maybe he felt guilty. And begrudged his father's
renewed happiness. Huuuh, Fëanor. I never liked him. He is
irresponsible and spoiled.

T.


Derek Broughton

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Dec 28, 2005, 5:19:16 PM12/28/05
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Taemon wrote:

Does anybody like him? Does he have any redeeming features? He's sort of
like the "friend" we've probably all had - who's helpful & generous & witty
& bright, until you cross him accidentally, and then it's all over!
--
derek

R. Dan Henry

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Dec 28, 2005, 6:40:26 PM12/28/05
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I don't like him, either. Only Melkor among the real characters
(excluding mere walk-ons like the Balrogs) is less likeable. Even Sauron
seems more likely to come around for a cup of tea and have a nice chat.
Feanor would just keep talking about himself and ignoring you. Oh, and
talking about how great his Silmarils are, but you can't see them.

Morgil

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Dec 28, 2005, 6:56:17 PM12/28/05
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Like in what sense? As a person he's not the most pleasent one,
but he had some very admirable features, and he's possibly the
most intersting and complex character that Tolkien ever created.
Sure, he also had negative traits, which along with unfortunate
circumstances led to some tragic results, but if he hadn't been
what he was, all the great things he accomplished would not have
happened either.

Morgil

Leon Trollski

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Dec 29, 2005, 1:12:45 PM12/29/05
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"R. Dan Henry" <danh...@inreach.com> wrote in message
news:pt63r15mrlq3tohtn...@4ax.com...

I only have more questions.

Which Vala did Fëanor most closely identify with? And why wouldn't this
Vala have become a sort of guide or mentor for this unruly Noldo? Or
appoint a Maia for the task (Olorin?) Surely these extraordinary powers
could have provoked more thought and debate on the part of the Valar? If
Yavanna thought enough of his works to 'hallow' them, surely their
protective instincts, well proven by the decision to bring the elves to
Valinor, would have found further use in Fëanor's guidance? After all
Melkor didn't miss the opportunity. Exiling this priceless asset, out of
sight and protection, surely is rash and inconsistent?

Stan Brown

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Dec 29, 2005, 3:18:40 PM12/29/05
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Tue, 27 Dec 2005 11:55:55 -0800 from R. Dan Henry
<danh...@inreach.com>:

> [Even
> given that Feanor is his favorite, should Finwe join him in exile? Isn't
> this an abdication of his duties? Doesn't leaving Fingolfin in charge
> just feed Feanor's jealousy and paranoia?]

Finwë comes of rather badly in the whole story, as does Miriel his
first wife. She feels "tired, soooo tired"(*) after birthing Fëanor,
so she lays herself down and leaves her body, refusing to return to
it; thus she abandons both husband and son.

Finwë, in turn, grows lonely and resentful because he has only one
child while other princes of the Eldar have more children. So he
determines to marry again, even though the Valar argue against it
without actually forbidding it. Thus _he_ abandons Fëanor
symbolically, by abandoning the memory of Fëanor's mother.

With parents like this, it's no wonder Fëanor grew up headstrong!

Then Finwë abandons his people to go off in a snit with his firstborn
son, even though it's clear that Fëanor is to blame for the
unpleasantness with Fingolfin. This is not only dereliction of duty
but, as you say, bad strategy. If Fingolfin really were plotting to
seize the throne, this gives him quite an opportunity; and if he's
not, it still feeds Fëanor's distrust.


(*) Later used by Mel Brooks for Lily von Shtupp's song in /Blazing
Saddles/.

--
Stan Brown, Oak Road Systems, Cortland 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

R. Dan Henry

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Dec 30, 2005, 12:41:17 AM12/30/05
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On Thu, 29 Dec 2005 18:12:45 GMT, "Leon Trollski" <fan...@netguy.net>
wrote:

>"R. Dan Henry" <danh...@inreach.com> wrote in message
>news:pt63r15mrlq3tohtn...@4ax.com...

[Entire article deleted. Mr. Trollski, it is considered polite to
include some context in your replies.]

>I only have more questions.
>
>Which Vala did Fëanor most closely identify with?

I doubt he did. If he were honest, he'd have to see he was closest to
Melkor. But Feanor wasn't much for listening to others, be they Elves or
Valar or little magical ponies.

>And why wouldn't this
>Vala have become a sort of guide or mentor for this unruly Noldo?

In a way, he did.

>Or appoint a Maia for the task (Olorin?)

Olorin wasn't even able to skillfully manage someone as proud as
Denethor, Steward of Gondor. I doubt that when much less experienced, he
could have gotten through to Feanor.

>Surely these extraordinary powers
>could have provoked more thought and debate on the part of the Valar?

Hmmm. The Valar... pay attention to what's going on and respond in a
timely manner? What a great idea! Don't expect to see it, though.

>If Yavanna thought enough of his works to 'hallow' them, surely their
>protective instincts, well proven by the decision to bring the elves to
>Valinor, would have found further use in Fëanor's guidance?

Varda. And I think she's basically looking out for her precious light
here, rather than it having much to do with her relationship to Feanor.

>After all
>Melkor didn't miss the opportunity. Exiling this priceless asset, out of
>sight and protection, surely is rash and inconsistent?

He was only exiled from the city where his crime occurred, and for a
short time by the standards of Elves or Valar. It's a little slap on the
wrist. If they'd wanted to watch him closely, they could easily have
done so where he was. The Department of Undying Lands Security, however,
was badly managed and nobody thought of that. Of course, it was only
very late that anyone realized that the Silmarils were of great interest
to Melkor (and that was Feanor when Melkor showed up at his door).

Morgil

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Dec 30, 2005, 8:32:59 AM12/30/05
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R. Dan Henry wrote:
> On Thu, 29 Dec 2005 18:12:45 GMT, "Leon Trollski" <fan...@netguy.net>
> wrote:

>>Which Vala did Fëanor most closely identify with?
>
>
> I doubt he did. If he were honest, he'd have to see he was closest to
> Melkor.

Rubbish. Feanor's pleasure was in creating new and beautiful
things. Melkor only wanted to destroy or corrupt everything
that was beautiful. They couldn't have been more different.
What's the purpose of this COTW thing anyway? Is it to debate
Tolkien's works, or to spread prejudicial misinformation?

Morgil

nand...@transact.bm

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Dec 30, 2005, 10:17:51 AM12/30/05
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Stan Brown wrote:
> Tue, 27 Dec 2005 11:55:55 -0800 from R. Dan Henry
> <danh...@inreach.com>:
> > <snip>

> Finwë comes of rather badly in the whole story, as does Miriel his
> first wife. She feels "tired, soooo tired"(*) after birthing Fëanor,
> so she lays herself down and leaves her body, refusing to return to
> it; thus she abandons both husband and son.
>

> <snip>


>
> (*) Later used by Mel Brooks for Lily von Shtupp's song in /Blazing
> Saddles/.

Awesome - a Mel Brooks/JRRT crossover thread should be started
immediately.

Hedley Lamarr also lifts chunks of Feanor's oratory in Tuna - "now go
do that voodoo that you do so well !!!" - when exhorting his villains
for the final attack.

Neil Anderson

R. Dan Henry

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Dec 30, 2005, 1:42:56 PM12/30/05
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On Fri, 30 Dec 2005 15:32:59 +0200, Morgil <more...@hotmail.com>
wrote:

>R. Dan Henry wrote:
>> On Thu, 29 Dec 2005 18:12:45 GMT, "Leon Trollski" <fan...@netguy.net>
>> wrote:
>
>>>Which Vala did Fëanor most closely identify with?
>>
>>
>> I doubt he did. If he were honest, he'd have to see he was closest to
>> Melkor.
>
>Rubbish. Feanor's pleasure was in creating new and beautiful
>things.

So was Melkor's, in the beginning. Feanor wasn't so far along the
downward path, yet, and his death curtailed his going farther. But the
jealousy that fueled Morgoth's nihilism was already there.

He's certainly not Melkor's twin, but he's much more unlike any other
Vala.

Morgil

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Dec 30, 2005, 3:20:46 PM12/30/05
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R. Dan Henry wrote:
> On Fri, 30 Dec 2005 15:32:59 +0200, Morgil <more...@hotmail.com>
> wrote:
>
>
>>R. Dan Henry wrote:
>>
>>>On Thu, 29 Dec 2005 18:12:45 GMT, "Leon Trollski" <fan...@netguy.net>
>>>wrote:
>>
>>>>Which Vala did Fëanor most closely identify with?
>>>
>>>
>>>I doubt he did. If he were honest, he'd have to see he was closest to
>>>Melkor.
>>
>>Rubbish. Feanor's pleasure was in creating new and beautiful
>>things.
>
>
> So was Melkor's, in the beginning.

Name one beautiful thing that Melkor ever created.

Feanor wasn't so far along the
> downward path, yet, and his death curtailed his going farther. But the
> jealousy that fueled Morgoth's nihilism was already there.

Not in any texts I have read. Can you give examples?

> He's certainly not Melkor's twin, but he's much more unlike any other
> Vala.

He certainly has more things in common with Aule then Melkor.

Morgil

R. Dan Henry

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Dec 30, 2005, 6:35:56 PM12/30/05
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On Fri, 30 Dec 2005 22:20:46 +0200, Morgil <more...@hotmail.com>
wrote:

>R. Dan Henry wrote:
>> On Fri, 30 Dec 2005 15:32:59 +0200, Morgil <more...@hotmail.com>
>> wrote:
>>
>>
>>>R. Dan Henry wrote:
>>>
>>>>On Thu, 29 Dec 2005 18:12:45 GMT, "Leon Trollski" <fan...@netguy.net>
>>>>wrote:
>>>
>>>>>Which Vala did Fëanor most closely identify with?

>>>>I doubt he did. If he were honest, he'd have to see he was closest to
>>>>Melkor.

>>>Rubbish. Feanor's pleasure was in creating new and beautiful
>>>things.

>> So was Melkor's, in the beginning.

>Name one beautiful thing that Melkor ever created.

Well, obviously, *he* thought his version of the Music was an
improvement on Iluvatar's. Since "beautiful" is a subjective judgment,
I'm not going to get into an argument on it, but certainly Melkor was
highly inventive in the beginning (the only *truly* original Vala, as
the others merely did detail work within Iluvatar's theme, while Melkor
worked outside it -- and Iluvatar certainly claimed that Melkor's work
had a certain beauty to it, so let's answer your question "snow".)

>> Feanor wasn't so far along the
>> downward path, yet, and his death curtailed his going farther. But the
>> jealousy that fueled Morgoth's nihilism was already there.
>
>Not in any texts I have read. Can you give examples?

You completely failed to notice his attitude towards his half-brothers?
Heck, he tried to usurp his father's leadership while his father was
still alive and he supposedly loved his father.

>> He's certainly not Melkor's twin, but he's much more unlike any other
>> Vala.
>
>He certainly has more things in common with Aule then Melkor.

I'd say that the things he has in common with Aule are the things Aule
has in common with Melkor. Let's see...

Feature Aule Feanor Melkor

Vala Yes No Yes
Skilled in Crafts Yes Yes Yes
Steps Over the Line Yes Yes Yes
Steps Back, Humbled Yes No No
Leads Others to Disaster No Yes Yes
Works in Secret Yes Yes Yes
Covets Silmarils No Yes Yes
Likes Elves Yes Some No
Creates Private Fortress No Yes Yes
Lots of Kids No* Yes* No*
Married Yes Yes No
Happy Marriage Yes No** No
Killed Elves No Yes Yes
Destroyed Elven Property No Yes Yes
Vengeful No Yes Yes
Condemned Criminal No Yes Yes
Worker of Metals Yes Yes Yes
Rejects Lawful Authority No Yes Yes
Seeks to Rule No Yes Yes
Creates Silmarils No Yes No

So far, not looking so good for your thesis, but feel free to extend the
chart.

* - Okay, you could make a parallel between the Seven Sons of Feanor and
the Seven Fathers of the Dwarves if you wanted to stretch things a lot.
But then, how many are the Fathers of the Orcs?

** - Started off promisingly, but no.

Morgil

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Dec 30, 2005, 7:54:49 PM12/30/05
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R. Dan Henry wrote:
> On Fri, 30 Dec 2005 22:20:46 +0200, Morgil <more...@hotmail.com>
> wrote:
>
>
>>R. Dan Henry wrote:
>>
>>>On Fri, 30 Dec 2005 15:32:59 +0200, Morgil <more...@hotmail.com>
>>>wrote:
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>>R. Dan Henry wrote:
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>>On Thu, 29 Dec 2005 18:12:45 GMT, "Leon Trollski" <fan...@netguy.net>
>>>>>wrote:
>>>>
>>>>>>Which Vala did Fëanor most closely identify with?
>
>
>>>>>I doubt he did. If he were honest, he'd have to see he was closest to
>>>>>Melkor.
>
>
>>>>Rubbish. Feanor's pleasure was in creating new and beautiful
>>>>things.
>
>
>>>So was Melkor's, in the beginning.
>
>
>>Name one beautiful thing that Melkor ever created.
>
>
> Well, obviously, *he* thought his version of the Music was an
> improvement on Iluvatar's. Since "beautiful" is a subjective judgment,
> I'm not going to get into an argument on it, but certainly Melkor was
> highly inventive in the beginning (the only *truly* original Vala, as
> the others merely did detail work within Iluvatar's theme, while Melkor
> worked outside it -- and Iluvatar certainly claimed that Melkor's work
> had a certain beauty to it, so let's answer your question "snow".)

It was never Melkor's intention to create snow or rain.
Your argument was that it was his pleasure to create
such things. Can you give an example of that?

>>>Feanor wasn't so far along the
>>>downward path, yet, and his death curtailed his going farther. But the
>>>jealousy that fueled Morgoth's nihilism was already there.
>>
>>Not in any texts I have read. Can you give examples?
>
>
> You completely failed to notice his attitude towards his half-brothers?

A little jealousy between siblings can hardly be considered
equal to Melkor's jealousy of everything and everyone that
he could not completely dominate.

> Heck, he tried to usurp his father's leadership while his father was
> still alive and he supposedly loved his father.

He believed that Noldor were living in thralldom of Valar.
It has nothing to do with jealousy.

>>>He's certainly not Melkor's twin, but he's much more unlike any other
>>>Vala.
>>
>>He certainly has more things in common with Aule then Melkor.
>
>
> I'd say that the things he has in common with Aule are the things Aule
> has in common with Melkor. Let's see...

<snip>
Both Feanor and Aule had joy in craftsmanship and they
gave freely away what they made. Melkor wanted slaves,
Feanor wanted to be free. Melkor wanted to destroy or
corrupt everything beautiful, Fenaor wanted to create
beautiful things or improve things that already were.
So while Aule and Feanor were very similar in at least
one important aspect, Feanor and Melkor were mostly
almost complete opposites. You see, just because you
don't like someone, doesn't mean they're the Devil :-)

Morgil

Stan Brown

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Dec 31, 2005, 12:52:43 PM12/31/05
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Fri, 30 Dec 2005 15:32:59 +0200 from Morgil <more...@hotmail.com>:

> R. Dan Henry wrote:
> > On Thu, 29 Dec 2005 18:12:45 GMT, "Leon Trollski" <fan...@netguy.net>
> > wrote:
>
> >>Which Vala did Fëanor most closely identify with?
> >
> >
> > I doubt he did. If he were honest, he'd have to see he was closest to
> > Melkor.
>
> Rubbish. Feanor's pleasure was in creating new and beautiful
> things. Melkor only wanted to destroy or corrupt everything
> that was beautiful. They couldn't have been more different.

While I agree that the identification with Melkor is wrong, I think
it is also wrong to say "they couldn't have been more different."

Both were persuasive speakers. Both were determined to get their way
at any cost. Both were the greatest of their kind, endowed by Eru
with many gifts. Both were rebels against the will of Eru. Both were
suspicious of others.

There were of course differences also: Melkor was 100% evil and
nihilistic; Fëanor wasn't nihilistic and wasn't 100% evil, though we
might wonder what he would have become if he'd lived longer.

--
Stan Brown, Oak Road Systems, Tompkins County, New York, USA

Leon Trollski

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Dec 31, 2005, 1:03:03 PM12/31/05
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"R. Dan Henry" <danh...@inreach.com> wrote in message
news:33i9r1to2us167ghf...@4ax.com...

> On Thu, 29 Dec 2005 18:12:45 GMT, "Leon Trollski" <fan...@netguy.net>
> wrote:
>
> >"R. Dan Henry" <danh...@inreach.com> wrote in message
> >news:pt63r15mrlq3tohtn...@4ax.com...
>
> [Entire article deleted. Mr. Trollski, it is considered polite to
> include some context in your replies.]

Well the wagging finger is certainly unexpected. More unfortunately, the
rest of your post is rather wanting in reason. PLONK.


Tamim

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Dec 31, 2005, 1:42:56 PM12/31/05
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Stan Brown <the_sta...@fastmail.fm> wrote:


snip


> with many gifts. Both were rebels against the will of Eru.

How? Feanor did things against the will of the Valar, but Eru?

Do you mean that he broke the ten commadments or human rights (ie. he
killed)? So did many others. Melkor OTOH went against Eru in a more
direct way because he knew Eru personally, unlike the elves.

Or do you mean that he went against the authority of the Valar and as an
extension against the authority of Eru? S why not extend it further. The
Valar were the rightful guardians of Arda, King of Gondor was the
rightful ruler of Gondor. So a thief in Minas Anor goes against Eru?
In a sense he does, but comparing that to the personal rebellion of
Morgoth is ridiculous. Feanor never personally knew or rebelled against
Eru, Melkor did.


> Both were
> suspicious of others.

So am I.

Leon Trollski

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Dec 31, 2005, 7:12:54 PM12/31/05
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"R. Dan Henry" <danh...@inreach.com> wrote in message
news:0pvar19j0a6apos17...@4ax.com...

> On Fri, 30 Dec 2005 15:32:59 +0200, Morgil <more...@hotmail.com>
> wrote:
>

> So was Melkor's, in the beginning.

You're dead wrong. Melkor was one for extremes, domination and possession
of anything and everything. The greatest noise, deepest frost, pitch
darkness, huge fires, the most dreadful creatures. He created not one
single object of beauty. He never had even one beautiful, admirable, or
useful thought or act. He's like a two year old boy run amok with infinite
powers.


Robert Kolker

unread,
Dec 31, 2005, 7:19:25 PM12/31/05
to
Leon Trollski wrote:
>
> You're dead wrong. Melkor was one for extremes, domination and possession
> of anything and everything. The greatest noise, deepest frost, pitch
> darkness, huge fires, the most dreadful creatures. He created not one
> single object of beauty. He never had even one beautiful, admirable, or
> useful thought or act. He's like a two year old boy run amok with infinite
> powers.

Melkor is id. Manwe is superego.

Illuvatar is not a good daddy. He shoud have put Melkor right from the
gitgo.

Bob Kolker

>
>
>
>

Tamim

unread,
Dec 31, 2005, 9:24:18 PM12/31/05
to
Robert Kolker <now...@nowhere.com> wrote:
> Leon Trollski wrote:
>>
>> You're dead wrong. Melkor was one for extremes, domination and possession
>> of anything and everything. The greatest noise, deepest frost, pitch
>> darkness, huge fires, the most dreadful creatures. He created not one
>> single object of beauty. He never had even one beautiful, admirable, or
>> useful thought or act. He's like a two year old boy run amok with infinite
>> powers.

> Melkor is id. Manwe is superego.

God I hate Freud ;)

> Illuvatar is not a good daddy. He shoud have put Melkor right from the
> gitgo.

> Bob Kolker

>>
>>
>>
>>

--

Robert Kolker

unread,
Dec 31, 2005, 10:00:40 PM12/31/05
to
Tamim wrote:
>
>
> God I hate Freud ;)

O Doktor Freude, Herr Doktor Freude
How we wish you had been differently employed
Instead of fiddling with neurosis,
You could have cured sclerosis,
O what a waste, Herr Doktor Freude.

Bob Kolker

R. Dan Henry

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Jan 1, 2006, 12:28:37 AM1/1/06
to
On Sat, 31 Dec 2005 12:52:43 -0500, Stan Brown
<the_sta...@fastmail.fm> wrote:

>Fri, 30 Dec 2005 15:32:59 +0200 from Morgil <more...@hotmail.com>:
>> R. Dan Henry wrote:
>> > On Thu, 29 Dec 2005 18:12:45 GMT, "Leon Trollski" <fan...@netguy.net>
>> > wrote:
>>
>> >>Which Vala did Fëanor most closely identify with?
>> >
>> >
>> > I doubt he did. If he were honest, he'd have to see he was closest to
>> > Melkor.
>>
>> Rubbish. Feanor's pleasure was in creating new and beautiful
>> things. Melkor only wanted to destroy or corrupt everything
>> that was beautiful. They couldn't have been more different.
>
>While I agree that the identification with Melkor is wrong, I think
>it is also wrong to say "they couldn't have been more different."

Well, good thing then that at least nobody has *identified* Feanor with
Melkor.

>Both were persuasive speakers. Both were determined to get their way
>at any cost. Both were the greatest of their kind, endowed by Eru
>with many gifts. Both were rebels against the will of Eru. Both were
>suspicious of others.
>
>There were of course differences also: Melkor was 100% evil and
>nihilistic; Fëanor wasn't nihilistic and wasn't 100% evil, though we
>might wonder what he would have become if he'd lived longer.

Thank you. This allows me to extend the comparison a bit, although I
already listed rebellion ("Rejects Lawful Authority") and actually left
out the "suspicious of others" because while we know Aule listens to the
advice of others, we really don't know how much Melkor does or doesn't
listen to his loyal officers. Sauron, for example, may be able to
convince Melkor to modify his positions. So I'm not comfortable with a
conclusion on that point.

Feature Aule Feanor Melkor

Vala Yes No Yes
Skilled in Crafts Yes Yes Yes
Steps Over the Line Yes Yes Yes
Steps Back, Humbled Yes No No

Greatest of his kind No Yes Yes
Persuasive leadership skills No**** Yes Yes


Leads Others to Disaster No Yes Yes
Works in Secret Yes Yes Yes
Covets Silmarils No Yes Yes
Likes Elves Yes Some No
Creates Private Fortress No Yes Yes
Lots of Kids No* Yes* No*
Married Yes Yes No
Happy Marriage Yes No** No
Killed Elves No Yes Yes
Destroyed Elven Property No Yes Yes
Vengeful No Yes Yes
Condemned Criminal No Yes Yes
Worker of Metals Yes Yes Yes
Rejects Lawful Authority No Yes Yes
Seeks to Rule No Yes Yes
Creates Silmarils No Yes No

Totally evil and nihilistic No No Yes-ish***

* - Okay, you could make a parallel between the Seven Sons of Feanor and
the Seven Fathers of the Dwarves if you wanted to stretch things a lot.
But then, how many are the Fathers of the Orcs?

** - Started off promisingly, but no.

*** - As I've pointed out elsewhere, he wasn't there yet at the time
Feanor knew him, as he had good enough left to feign repentance and was
non-nihilistic enough to pass up a chance to destroy the Silmarils when
Ungoliant "offered" to do so.

**** - At least, there's none in evidence and given how diplomatic his
"children" are, I think that's sufficient indirect evidence against to
make a listing.

R. Dan Henry

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Jan 1, 2006, 12:28:38 AM1/1/06
to
On Sat, 31 Dec 2005 02:54:49 +0200, Morgil <more...@hotmail.com>
wrote:

>>>>>R. Dan Henry wrote:

Proof?

>Your argument was that it was his pleasure to create
>such things. Can you give an example of that?

No, "snow" was the answer to the question you actually asked. I also
replied to the question you appear to have intended. If you missed that
the first time, please reread.

>>>>Feanor wasn't so far along the
>>>>downward path, yet, and his death curtailed his going farther. But the
>>>>jealousy that fueled Morgoth's nihilism was already there.

>>>Not in any texts I have read. Can you give examples?

>> You completely failed to notice his attitude towards his half-brothers?

>A little jealousy between siblings can hardly be considered
>equal to Melkor's jealousy of everything and everyone that
>he could not completely dominate.

I never said it was *equal*. Nor, for that matter have I said that
Feanor and Melkor were equivalent. Merely that of all the Valar, Melkor
was the one *most like* Feanor. That does not imply any equivalence
between them, nor even a close association. He isn't terribly similar to
any of the Valar, but he shares the most traits, both positive and
negative, with Melkor.

>> Heck, he tried to usurp his father's leadership while his father was
>> still alive and he supposedly loved his father.
>
>He believed that Noldor were living in thralldom of Valar.
>It has nothing to do with jealousy.

So you say, but a loyal son would have sought to sway his father, rather
stir up the masses.

If he was free from jealousy, how do you explain his self-delusion: "he
seldom remembered now that the light within them was not his own". I see
two obvious explanations: he dislikes giving credit to others (jealousy
of their skill) or that he simply has a bad memory. I see no other signs
of a bad memory.

>>>>He's certainly not Melkor's twin, but he's much more unlike any other
>>>>Vala.
>>>
>>>He certainly has more things in common with Aule then Melkor.

>> I'd say that the things he has in common with Aule are the things Aule
>> has in common with Melkor. Let's see...
><snip>

So, you aren't willing to go into details? Then I don't think we have
anything more to discuss.

>Both Feanor and Aule had joy in craftsmanship and they
>gave freely away what they made.

Feanor began to hide away the Silmarils and they were stolen
specifically because he "denied the sight of the Silmarils to the Valar
and the Eldar". Of course, his father also was in a snit when he stayed
home. If they'd been more reasonable, Melkor would have raided an empty
house.

During the time Feanor knew him, Melkor was giving away the fruits of
his efforts, as well. (Albeit with less good will than either Feanor nor
Melkor.) Nor did Feanor freely give the Silmarils. But then, I don't
think Aule gave away all he made, either. There isn't really enough
detail to analyze their behavior in this matter properly.

>Melkor wanted slaves, Feanor wanted to be free.

Melkor also wanted to be free. Both refused to accept the lawful
authority over them. Both gathered followers. No, Feanor did not
actually enslave anyone, but he saw fit to kill those who would not
accept what he wanted. He hadn't gone to the extremes Melkor had to get
his way, but he was willing to use force when his powers of persuasion
failed.

>Melkor wanted to destroy or corrupt everything beautiful,

Yes, eventually he became nihilistic. He was not so the beginning, and
his ability to change form at this time and his ability to seem fair in
his form and activity shows that his fall was not yet complete. His
original rebellion arose from his creative urges. "He had gone often
alone into the void places seeking the Imperishable Flame; for desire
grew hot within him to bring into Being things of his own, and it seemed
to him that Iluvatar took no thought for the Void, and he was impatient
of its emptiness." This is the very opposite of nihilism.

Note also that Melkor did not wish to *destroy*, but to *possess* the
beauty of the Silmarils. If he'd wanted them destroyed, he could simply
have fed them to Ungoliant when she demanded them.

However, Melkor was indeed truly evil by the time of the Unrest of the
Noldor, no mistake. Feanor was not evil as such, but merely flawed. They
are not morally equivalent and I never claimed that, although that seems
to be the claim you wish to argue against.

>Fenaor wanted to create beautiful things or improve things that already were.

So you like the things Feanor made, but not the things Melkor made.
That's too subjective to be arguable, as I've said. But even granted
that, that's only *one* trait. If you just pick and choose a couple of
traits, you can make connections willy-nilly. That's why I made up an
extensive chart of traits.

>So while Aule and Feanor were very similar in at least
>one important aspect, Feanor and Melkor were mostly
>almost complete opposites. You see, just because you
>don't like someone, doesn't mean they're the Devil :-)

I didn't claim he was the Devil or more specifically, that he was just
like Morgoth. If you choose to actually address the detailed comparison
I've made and the claim that Melkor is the Vala most like Feanor, we can
continue. However, if your only interest is in attacking a position I do
not hold, then we are done with this subthread.

Christopher Kreuzer

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Jan 1, 2006, 6:00:26 AM1/1/06
to
R. Dan Henry <danh...@inreach.com> wrote:
> On Sat, 31 Dec 2005 02:54:49 +0200, Morgil <more...@hotmail.com>
> wrote:

<snip>

>> Melkor wanted to destroy or corrupt everything beautiful,
>
> Yes, eventually he became nihilistic. He was not so the beginning, and
> his ability to change form at this time and his ability to seem fair
> in his form and activity shows that his fall was not yet complete.

I agree. This reminds me of the description of Sauron right at the end
of Valaquenta, where he is compared to Melkor, and where we are told
that Sauron: "walked behind him on the same ruinous path down into the
Void." (Valaquenta)

This seems to imply to me that both Melkor and Sauron were not evil in
their beginnings. Maybe you could say that by their actions they came to
define what was evil, rather than evil being a pre-existing state that
they chose to head towards.

Can something be evil without context? It's a bit like who hears the
tree fall in the forest. Is thinking about something evil in itself
evil?

These descriptions of Melkor and Sauron descending into evil sound a lot
like how people can change over time. Some people are more mallaeble
than others, and their experiences and thoughts can change them (I think
there is a description somewhere of Melkor brooding in his dark
thought). Ten years later, they can find themselves doing things that
they wouldn't have done back then because they were a different person
back then.

Over the course of a lifetime, is it possible to rigidly adhere to a
moral code and do "the right thing" at all times? How did Sauron and
Melkor change over their "lifetimes", and ditto for Feanor? Let's put
them on the psychologist's couch and let Freud loose on them! :-)

Christopher

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

Morgil

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Jan 1, 2006, 2:36:51 PM1/1/06
to
R. Dan Henry wrote:
> On Sat, 31 Dec 2005 02:54:49 +0200, Morgil <more...@hotmail.com>
> wrote:

>>It was never Melkor's intention to create snow or rain.
>
>
> Proof?

Why not just read the book yourself?

>>Your argument was that it was his pleasure to create
>>such things. Can you give an example of that?
>
>
> No, "snow" was the answer to the question you actually asked. I also
> replied to the question you appear to have intended. If you missed that
> the first time, please reread.

So there are no indications that Melkor ever took pleasure
of creating beautiful things, as you suggested? Good enough.

>>A little jealousy between siblings can hardly be considered
>>equal to Melkor's jealousy of everything and everyone that
>>he could not completely dominate.
>
>
> I never said it was *equal*.

You said that Feanor's jealousy was the *same* as that which
fueled Melkor's nihilism. But if we agree that wasn't the case,
that's good enough.

>>>Heck, he tried to usurp his father's leadership while his father was
>>>still alive and he supposedly loved his father.
>>
>>He believed that Noldor were living in thralldom of Valar.
>>It has nothing to do with jealousy.
>
>
> So you say, but a loyal son would have sought to sway his father, rather
> stir up the masses.

No, what I say is that the issue has nothing to do with jealousy.

> So, you aren't willing to go into details? Then I don't think we have
> anything more to discuss.

No, I'm just not interested in piling through all the nonsense.
I'd rather stick to the actual issue.

>>Both Feanor and Aule had joy in craftsmanship and they
>>gave freely away what they made.
>
>
> Feanor began to hide away the Silmarils and they were stolen
> specifically because he "denied the sight of the Silmarils to the Valar
> and the Eldar". Of course, his father also was in a snit when he stayed
> home. If they'd been more reasonable, Melkor would have raided an empty
> house.

And Aule was hiding the dwarves. But in general they did just that.

> During the time Feanor knew him, Melkor was giving away the fruits of
> his efforts, as well. (Albeit with less good will than either Feanor nor
> Melkor.) Nor did Feanor freely give the Silmarils. But then, I don't
> think Aule gave away all he made, either. There isn't really enough
> detail to analyze their behavior in this matter properly.

Fortunately it is not neccessary either. It is stated quite clearly
that it was the nature of Aule to do that, and the nature of Noldor
and Feanor as well. Therefore they were similar in this aspect,
even if circumstances sometimes caused them to act differently.
The things that were in the nature of Melkor were for the most
part *not* things that were in the nature of Feanor, even if
circumstances sometimes caused them to act in slightly similar
ways. This is what identifying with someone means, not wheter or
not they were happily married or whatever you had on your list.

And that's all there is to be said.

Morgil

Stan Brown

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Jan 2, 2006, 12:57:55 AM1/2/06
to
31 Dec 2005 18:42:56 GMT from Tamim <hall...@hotmail.com>:

> Stan Brown <the_sta...@fastmail.fm> wrote:
>
>
> snip
> > with many gifts. Both were rebels against the will of Eru.
>
> How? Feanor did things against the will of the Valar, but Eru?

Eru spoke in Arda through the Valar. Manwë in particular was his
vice-gerent; rebellion against Manwë was rebellion against Eru.

Stan Brown

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Jan 2, 2006, 1:01:55 AM1/2/06
to
Sat, 31 Dec 2005 21:28:38 -0800 from R. Dan Henry
<danh...@inreach.com>:

> On Sat, 31 Dec 2005 02:54:49 +0200, Morgil <more...@hotmail.com>
> wrote:
> >It was never Melkor's intention to create snow or rain.
>
> Proof?

I can't believe that's a serious request. "And Ilúvatar spoke to
Ulmo, and said: 'Seest thou not how here in this little realm in the
Deeps of Time Melkor hath made war upon thy province? He hath
bethought him of bitter cold immoderate, and yet hath not destroyed
the beauty of thy fountains, nor of my clear pools. Behold the snow,
and the cunning work of frost! Melkor hath devised heats and fire
without restraint, and hath not dried up thy desire nor utterly
quelled the music of the sea. Behold rather the height and glory of
the clouds, and the ever changing mists; and listen to the fall of
rain upon the Earth!' "

I can't see any way to read into that passage any good intent on
Melkor's part. Can you?

R. Dan Henry

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Jan 2, 2006, 3:11:42 AM1/2/06
to
On Mon, 2 Jan 2006 01:01:55 -0500, Stan Brown
<the_sta...@fastmail.fm> wrote:

>Sat, 31 Dec 2005 21:28:38 -0800 from R. Dan Henry
><danh...@inreach.com>:
>> On Sat, 31 Dec 2005 02:54:49 +0200, Morgil <more...@hotmail.com>
>> wrote:
>> >It was never Melkor's intention to create snow or rain.
>>
>> Proof?
>
>I can't believe that's a serious request. "And Ilúvatar spoke to
>Ulmo, and said: 'Seest thou not how here in this little realm in the
>Deeps of Time Melkor hath made war upon thy province? He hath
>bethought him of bitter cold immoderate, and yet hath not destroyed
>the beauty of thy fountains, nor of my clear pools. Behold the snow,
>and the cunning work of frost! Melkor hath devised heats and fire
>without restraint, and hath not dried up thy desire nor utterly
>quelled the music of the sea. Behold rather the height and glory of
>the clouds, and the ever changing mists; and listen to the fall of
>rain upon the Earth!' "
>
>I can't see any way to read into that passage any good intent on
>Melkor's part. Can you?

I agree that this passage doesn't indicate that Melkor's intent was
good; indeed, quite the opposite -- his "snow, and the cunning work of
frost" are created to be "bitter cold immoderate" and are beautiful
quite secondarily (so far as we can know). However, that was not the
issue. The issue was whether it was "Melkor's intention to create snow
or rain" -- and your quotation does not give any reason to think he did
not intend snow and only the slightest hint that he did not intend rain
in the remark that the heat "hath not dried up thy desire nor utterly
quelled the music of the sea". It is not even stated that this was
Melkor's hope -- note that Melkor gathers followers during the Music,
not simply silencing other Maiar, but drawing them to join in his
version of the Music. (Which also shows that he was not the only one to
find it appealing.) Melkor might have intended a reshaping of the seas
and not their destruction to begin with (although he doubtless had in
mind something less in tune with Ulmo's thought).

R. Dan Henry

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Jan 2, 2006, 3:26:03 AM1/2/06
to
On Thu, 29 Dec 2005 18:12:45 GMT, "Leon Trollski" <fan...@netguy.net>
wrote:

>

One point I forgot to make earlier -- you and Morgil are approaching
this from the wrong end. The Valar in general were teachers to the Elves
and Aule was especially eager to teach (impatient, even, given he made
the Dwarves rather than wait). Both Aule and his people came often among
the Noldor and taught them much. Surely a pupil such as Feanor would not
have been turned away. The question should be, why did Feanor chose to
learn smithcraft from Mahtan rather than directly from Aule? (Not that I
think there's anywhere near the detail necessary to answer such a
question other than utterly speculatively.) Possibly Mahtan was actually
the better choice for the Noldor "in many things... soon surpassed their
teachers." (Chapter 5)

Robert Kolker

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Jan 2, 2006, 3:57:44 AM1/2/06
to
Stan Brown wrote:

>
> I can't see any way to read into that passage any good intent on
> Melkor's part. Can you?

Quite the opposite. No matter what evil Morgoth devises, some good comes
of it. No matter how Morgoth fights against Eru's will he always fails.
Morgoth is pissing up a rope.

Bob Kolker

>

Christopher Kreuzer

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Jan 2, 2006, 8:22:55 AM1/2/06
to
Stan Brown <the_sta...@fastmail.fm> wrote:
> 31 Dec 2005 18:42:56 GMT from Tamim <hall...@hotmail.com>:
>> Stan Brown <the_sta...@fastmail.fm> wrote:
>>
>>
>> snip
>>> with many gifts. Both were rebels against the will of Eru.
>>
>> How? Feanor did things against the will of the Valar, but Eru?
>
> Eru spoke in Arda through the Valar. Manwë in particular was his
> vice-gerent; rebellion against Manwë was rebellion against Eru.

That's the second time I've noticed you use the word vice-gerent (also
spelt vicegerent). So I went and looked here for an answer:

http://tinyurl.com/cko38 (Google Groups search)

And then I went and checked in /The Silmarillion/, and it is indeed
there, right in the very chapter I re-read and summarised for the CotW
discussions!

"...he [Manwe] was appointed to be the vicegerent of Iluvatar, King of
the world of Valar and Elves and Men, and the chief defence against the
evil of Melkor." (Of the Beginning of Days)

I guess that time, like all the other times, my eyes skated over the
word and read it as "vice-regent". And I'd have carried on doing this
without you pointing out the correct word! :-)

Then I thought I'd see how accurate people have been in the past:

http://tinyurl.com/9s3yq (Google Groups search)

4 people correctly used vicegerent to refer to Manwe.

http://tinyurl.com/bbau5 (Google Groups search)

About 7 people incorrectly used vice-regent to refer to Manwe, though at
least two of the references appear to be to Elrond as vice-regent of
Gil-galad, and I haven't checked the context of the messages, or indeed
whether some people were just quoting what others wrote.

And there wouldn't be any difference between rebelling against a
vice-regent and a vice-gerent, would there?

Morgil

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Jan 2, 2006, 10:40:07 AM1/2/06