Section 1: 'Ainulindalë' and 'Valaquenta' Thread 1B (Open)

Come here to join in a structured study of Tolkien's Works. Please read the guidelines before posting. New and veteran readers welcome.

Postby Fingolfin_of_the_Noldor » Tue Jun 18, 2002 10:28 am

<i>But are not the Valar similarly reduced, although not to so great an extent? Is it because they are reduced (primarily in that great creative burst at the outset and then in their subsequent actions) that they take so little active part in the life of Arda by the time of the Silm and even more so LOTR? </i><BR><BR>I think so. In describing the reduction of Morgoth it seems to me Tolkien relates this in a sense to that of the Valar as they both through their works became less potent as a certain degree of their energy/power was used to make these changes and orderings manifest. The primary difference may perhaps be that Morgoth sought the greatest individual change and so blinded by his state(at times) of almost nihilistic madness expended himself in such an irrevocable, permanent way. I believe this actually is hinted at by Tolkien when Morgoth was brought before manwe as appears later in the Silm as we will probably go into later. I am willing to bet he came to be happy with this action(as that power became in essence an anchor as others have aluded to) but I don't think he initially intended this given that aforementioned and that he was more concerned with his own discord than the music itself and so as Tolkien seems to say could not have foreseen the benefits for himself.<BR><BR>In regard to general reduction I believe that can be likened to the general reduction(ie fading[not so much the literal fading discussed elsewhere]) of the elves. Really, in their regard, as their role was being fulfilled and that of Men was about to come to the fore they became less important and hence, in a sense, less potent. I think it is safe to extend this as an analogy to the Valar and other incarnated ainur as they seem to have had a role themselves and to have been rather decreased following its greatest fulfillment. Their cheif purpose, as established in the Ainulindale being the making and ordering of Arda, seems to have more or less come to a close(notwithstanding minor though important interventions) with the raising of the pelori Mountains by extension, it seems, less importatn, less potent, and probably in a way less powerful. (IMO) <img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-smile.gif"border=0><BR><BR><i>There would be no way to see them and Varda would have created them for nothing! Well, maybe not for nothing. But are the stars limited things up in the sky, only to be taken down when the Trees are reborn? </i><BR><BR>We must remember that Varda was not the kindler or all stars but of the "great stars" according to the ainulindale. Stars had existed before her world with the initial creation of Ea, no doubt, representing further more isolated stories having little to do with the chief central story of The Kingdom of Arda. That said, we actually don't know if in the end their will be a reemergence of the Two Trees. The second prophecy of Mandos, is as you said a relatively early concept which according to Christopher Tolkien was later rejected not surviving into the traditions we are discussing now. It is actually quite sad that in the silmarillion we have now nothing as definitive is given though of what is said Tolkien does seem to leave room for many of the things mentioned. Perhaps he later felt it better to leave the end a little more ambiguous leaving room for more philosophizing within what is established as parts of of the "Children." Would the new/healed world have the trees and the greater stars? I think this is an interesting question but one which even Tolkien seems to have not have had the answers to.
User avatar
Fingolfin_of_the_Noldor
Ranger of the North

 
Posts: 1816
Joined: Sat Jun 30, 2001 9:46 am
Top

Postby Falborn » Tue Jun 18, 2002 12:25 pm

Going back the the themes.<BR><BR>Manwe was the instrument of the second theme and Eru, the third. There is some confusion in my mind whether the Elves come in the second or third theme, but we know that Man comes in the third theme. If the Elves come in the second theme would this imply that they are more attuned to the Valar and that Men, coming in Eru's third theme, would be more attuned to Eru? That is basically what happens: the Elves live with the Ainur for all Time, men go to Eru.<BR><BR>
User avatar
Falborn
Shield Bearer

 
Posts: 395
Joined: Sat Mar 30, 2002 11:11 am
Top

Postby Luthien_elentari » Tue Jun 18, 2002 12:54 pm

Wondering if I can joind this discussion because there really are interesting things to talk about.<BR><BR>About the themes: I belive it is logical that Elves are more attuned to the Valar, because they lives by the Valar for long, and were taught first-hand by them. The descendants, born in Arda, would have retained much or their parents. However, I do not think Men felt any particular affilitation with Eru. when they first came to the World, they were not greeted by the Valar, but rather by the Firstborn. I think this made a world of a difference. They were scattered and divided from the start, and they never, not even at their creation, shared one unified belief over their origins. (It is no wonder that this information is taken from the Elves). Therefore, although some Men were befriended by Elves and taught by them, most Men would not have known of Eru, which would make it difficult to create a link between them. Of course, I belive that the Elves were also affiliated to Eru (though not as much as with the Valar) because the teachings of the Valar came from the teachings of Eru and the Music.<BR><BR>However, if we base ourselves soley on the themes, and the time of creation of the Children of Illúvatar, then I suppose Men go to Eru...but I have never seen any particular connection between them, so I do not think Men would be attuned to Eru. Nor would they be attuned to the Valar. As a matter of fact, Men would be mostly attuned to Elves, even though that's not strictly possible.
User avatar
Luthien_elentari
Ranger of the North

 
Posts: 2423
Joined: Tue Mar 12, 2002 5:38 pm
Top

Postby greenleafwood » Tue Jun 18, 2002 12:55 pm

falborn, I'm confused too. I'm quite adamant in believing that both Elves and Men are referred to as the Children at the end of days. If Elves are attuned to the Ainur, and Men Eru, does that mean both Elves and Men will exist on different planes at the end? Sorry for my stupidity, but the Silmarillion is not one of my easy armchair reads.<BR><BR><BR>greenleaf
User avatar
greenleafwood
Ranger of the North

 
Posts: 1882
Joined: Sun Jan 13, 2002 3:03 pm
Top

Postby Fingolfin_of_the_Noldor » Tue Jun 18, 2002 1:20 pm

While the disparity(between the ainulindale and the silmarillion as published), as CT discusses, that you cite in origin is more of a result of time than design your interpretation does reconcile well various aspects presented in each. As such it is quite an interesting take and as you cite seems to ring true in many otehr respects. <img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-smile.gif"border=0> Indeed if memory serves Tolkien would often refer to elves being <u>in nature</u> more like to the Valar.<BR><BR>greenleaf, that is not stupid at all <img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-smile.gif"border=0> indeed both are refered to as the Children of Iluvatar and both made designed(their fear[souls} at least) by Iluvatar as is pretty consistantly held. I think Falborn here is exploring the idea of possible influence of Manwe and what that would entail notibly possible attunment. Indeed your entire analysis, to my mind, has great foundation.<BR><BR><i>If Elves are attuned to the Ainur, and Men Eru, does that mean both Elves and Men will exist on different planes at the end?</i><BR><BR>It may very well becasue though by a different course Tolkien came to the same conclusion that ultimately, though he remained considerably vague, elves and men will exist in the new arda though perhaps the elves in a different form than the men. <BR>
User avatar
Fingolfin_of_the_Noldor
Ranger of the North

 
Posts: 1816
Joined: Sat Jun 30, 2001 9:46 am
Top

Postby Falborn » Tue Jun 18, 2002 3:22 pm

greenleafwood, Tolkien explored an idea about the life of the Children at the end in the Athrabeth, which is taken up on page 303 of Morgoths Ring. (I found the Athrabeth to be quite moving).<BR><BR>Tolkiens idea, which is presented as an insight of King Finrod, is that Elves and Men will live together for eternity in a new Arda, unmarred, which shall be achieved by Men. The Elves will bring their gift of memory to their new home together. I hope I have that right.<BR><BR>This idea may or may not be in conflict with the idea that all of Eru's creations will sing the Music and that it will then be given the secret fire in it's entirety, which would presumably include the Music made by Men, which transformed Arda and which is somehow unmarred.<BR><BR>I am curious about the aesthetics of the various forms of the same stories and would like to comment on them. I understand that greek playwrites would create new versions of old stories as a matter of course. That is what it feels like reading the various versions of the Ainulidale and the Valaquenta. The early versions from The Book of Lost Tales are very visual. To me the flat earth version is more beautiful and evocative, but I must admit there are concepts in it that I have a hard time visualizing. The round earth version is much clearer to me, but it seems he abandoned it because he wanted to retain the elves waking to the stars - Tokien knew a good visual image when he saw one.<BR><BR>EDIT: Athrabeth, not Arthrabeth, sorry.
User avatar
Falborn
Shield Bearer

 
Posts: 395
Joined: Sat Mar 30, 2002 11:11 am
Top

Postby Istariquendi » Tue Jun 18, 2002 5:04 pm

I believe that elves are more attuned to the Valar than men. First of all, no men sawany of the Valar, save maybe Tuor, and I heard somewhere that he becomes immortal (Not sure about that!). Tolkien described the Valar not as powerful deities to be worshiped, but elders of the Elves, to teach them their wisdom and watch them grow with their knowledge. This sort of brings to mind a big sibling-little sibling relationship.<BR><BR>If I remember correctly, it was said in the Sil that men looked most like Melkor, so maybe they were created by the chaos that Melkor wrought in the Void and by Eru's eleviating it. Maybe because of Melkor's rebellion, that is how Man became mortal and able to leave the Circles of the World. Just a thought. And always it brings up to mind where men went when they died. Did they go straight to Eru, or did they linger in peace in a place set for them until the end of the world and the new world? Oh, how it irks me that Tolkien left such things unexplained, but then again, that is the beauty of it right?<BR><BR>If I recall, I found in the Atlas of Middle-earth that it was both round and flat. Before the rebellion of Numenor and Valinor leaving the Circles of the World, it was flat. After, it became round. Here is quotes from the Atlas<BR><BR><i>'... the consideration of whether this world was round or flat is inescapable for a cartographer attempting to map a world. One reference that strongly indicated that Arda was originally flat: At the time of the fall of Numenor, Valinor was removed from Arda; then "the world was indeed made round" although those permitted could still find the "Straight Road" to Valinor. Prior to the change, the usage of the phrase "Circles of the World" reffered not to the planetary spherical shape, but rather to the physical outer limits or "confines." The maps and diagrams in <u>The Shaping of Middle-earth,</u> "The Ambarkanta," all confirm this interpretation.<BR><BR>'Tolkien was envisioning his world much as our medieval cartoographers viewed our own. They showed the earth aas a disk, with oceans around the circumference. The top was oriented toward "Paradise" in the east. Conversly, Tolkien stated that in Middle-earth the compass points began with and faced west, apparently toward Valinor, their Paradise. In spite of Tolkien's comment, however, all his maps were oriented for his readers rather than for inhabitants of Middle-earth. They show North at the top, and those in this Atlas do the same.<BR><BR>'From the edge of the disk, however, the reader sees the "Vista" (inner airs) domed above the land surface, and the solid "Ambar" (earth) below; with "Vaiya" (the encircling "seas"- but obviously not used in the usual sense of seas) seperating the whole from "Kuma" (the Void). There is no contradiction in the statement "it globed amid the Void," for the diagrams clearly demonstrate that Middle-earth could be both round and flat! So we can safely consider Middle-earth as flat- at least until the Fall of Numenor' -Intro. ix <b>Atlas of Middle-Earth.</b></i><BR><BR>Of course this is just an inference based on part by the cartographers of the Atlas. But I find that much evidence, as stated above, point that there is no visible fault in doing so. I think that much of what is said would make sense, and eleviate the arguments that the earth was round because Tolkien stated that it was actually our Earth.<BR><BR>One argument to this, however, is that the maps that Tolkien made were flat, and always he insisted that they were accurate. Yet, as we know from our maps of the world, this cannot be so upon a round world. For as we try to map a globed land it becomes distorted, thus the reason why Greenland looks enormous and such. Here is some more quotes:<BR><BR> <i>'After a fashion of the world changed, and Arda was made round, there were cartographic difficulties. The maps of Middle-earth included in <u>The Lord of the Rings</u> showed both a north arrow and a bar scale. This means that both distance and direction were considered to be accurate- an impossibility in mapping a round world. One of the biggest mapping problems though the centuries has been putting a round world on a flat piece of paper. It is impossible for all distances to be correct in any case. If the direction is consistent, then the shapes and areas are distorted. Maps of small areas can ignore these variations as negligible, but continent and world-sized maps cannot. Accuracy of any these properties can only result in inaccuracy in others.<BR><BR>'So we return to the beginning- Tolkien's world, at least after the Change, was round; yet it appears to have been mapped as flat. The only reasonable solution is to map his maps- treating his world as if it were flat. Then Middle-earth will appear to us as it did to Tolkien. After all, how few of us really percieve ourselves living on a rounded surface, even though we know it is?- Intro ix-x <b>The Atlas of Middle-Earth.</b></i><BR><BR>Thus it is shown that the world was round, but mapped as it would be in the past, as people percieved it upon the ground, as flat.
User avatar
Istariquendi
Ranger of the North

 
Posts: 2420
Joined: Sat Jan 19, 2002 6:48 pm
Top

Postby jallan » Tue Jun 18, 2002 6:17 pm

Fingolfin_of_the_Noldor posted:<BR><BR><< <i>Tolkien also speculates that the Eagles and those Orcs who were Maiar in physical form may have reproduced.</i><BR><BR>Could you please tell me from what material you got this? >><BR><BR>In <i>Morgoth's Ring</i> (HoME 10), VIII, <i>Orcs</i>, Tolkien indicates that Sorontar the great Eagle could probably not be a Maia, as he is said in <i>The Lord of the Rings</i> to have descendants (under his other name Thorondor). However in the next paragraph Tolkien speaks of the Maiar in Orc-form practising "procreation". Here then we see that Maiar can procreate with each other, as indeed we would expect if Ungoliant is a Maia. Pondering this seems to have led to the next paragraph which appears to speak of possible children from such unions:<BR><BR><<    But again -- would Eru provide <i>fëar</i> for such creatures? For the Eagles etc. perhaps. But not for Orcs. >><BR><BR>Earlier in "The Annals of Aman", Notes, §169, Tolkien had indicated that the Eagles were indeed Maiar:<BR><BR><< Manwë however sent Maia spirits in Eagle form to dwell near Thangorodrim and keep watch on all that Melkor did and assist the Noldor in extreme cases. >><BR><BR>Further discussion on this point should probably await the discussion of chapter II of the "Quenta Silmarillion".<BR><BR>Falborn posted:<BR><BR><< It seems that the Ainur dissipated themselves in creating Arda and confronting Melkor. Furthermore they substantially dissipated their power when they took incarnate forms. Help me recall, didn't the Istari substantially weaken themselves and lose much of their memory when they became incarnate? Wouldn't the Ainur lose much of their wisdom if they lost much of their memory when incarnate? >><BR><BR>The incarnation of the Istari was, as indicated in Tolkien's articles published in <i>Unfinished Tales</i>, a special case, where these emmisaries were purposely sent in weak forms, whence probably also their lessened memory. There is no reason to think that Melkor or Sauron lost power when they took on physical forms. Indeed, if so, why would they have done so? Eventually they became dependant on these forms, it is true, but did they lose power otherwise?<BR><BR>In <i>Morgoth's Ring</i> (HoME 10), in "Myths Transformed", VI and VII, Tolkien makes clear that it was the dispersion of Melkor's originl power into matter to gain control of matter, to corrupt matter, which had weakened him.<BR><BR>As to the Valar generally becoming weaker in power after their great efforts at the beginning, I don't believe that is ever indicated by Tolkien. It remains, I believe, only a possibility, unsupported on either side.<BR><BR>Falborn posted:<BR><BR><< We must remember that Varda was not the kindler or all stars but of the "great stars" according to the ainulindale. Stars had existed before her world with the initial creation of Ea, no doubt, representing further more isolated stories having little to do with the chief central story of The Kingdom of Arda. >><BR><BR>In the Annals of Aman, §24, written following the completion of <i>The Lord of the Rings</i>:<BR><BR><< Middle-earth lay in a twilight beneath the stars that Varda had wrought in the ages forgotten of her labours in Ëa. >><BR><BR>This of course merely repeats older material<BR><BR>But when he considered adopting a large universe cosmology, Tolkien thought to change this, as appears in <i>Morgoth's Ring</i>, "Myths Transformed", II:<BR><BR><<    The Stars, therefore, in general will be other and remoter parts of the Great Tale of Eä, which do not concern the Valar of Arda.<BR>     ....<BR>     Varda, therefore, as one of the great Valar of Arda, cannot be said to have 'kindled' the stars, as an original subcreative act -- not at least the stars in general. >><BR><BR>In section IV Tolkien suggests, again in the context of a large universe cosmos, in "the 'demiuric period', before the establishment of Arda 'the Realm'", Varda "designed and set in their places most of the principal stars" and arranged their patterns as they would be seen from Arda.<BR><BR>In the published <i>Silmarillion</i> which, except for the "Ainulindalë" is generally small universe in conception, there is no mention of the origin of most of the stars, only of the special bright stars created by Varda in the second star making. In the Myths Transformed version this second star making, shortly before the waking of the Elves, seems to be replaced by a wind that blew away the glooms of Melkor from the skies so that the Elves then awoke under bright starlight.<BR><BR>On the matter of the prophesy of Mandos, in <i>Morgoth's Ring</i> (HoME 10), chapter 8, "The Later <i>Quenta Silmarillion</i> (II), "The Second Phase", "The Valaquenta", we find that the "Valaquenta" as Tolkien actually wrote it had an additional final paragraph:<BR><BR><<   Here ends <i>The Valaquenta</i>. If it has passed from the high and beautiful to darkness and ruin, that was of old the fate of Arda Marred; and if any change shall come and the Marring be amended, Manwë and Varda may know; but they have not revealed it, and it is not declared in the dooms of Mandos. >><BR><BR>Christopher Tolkien indicates, I think correctly, that this paragraph rejects totally the second prophecy of Mandos, and accordingly Christopher Tolkien moved this paragraph to the end of the "Quenta Silmarillion" to appear in place of the prophecy, slightly adapting the paragraph to fit its new position.<BR><BR>In "Athrabeth Finrod Ah Andreth", <i>Note 7</i>:<BR><BR><< It is noteworthy that the Elves had no myths or legends dealing with the end of the world. The myth that appears at the end of the <i>Silmarillion</i> is of Númenórean origin:^19 it is clearly made by Men, though Men acquainted with Elvish tradition. All Elvish traditions are presented as 'histories', or as accounts of what once was. <BR><BR>19   'The myth that appears at the end of the <i>Silmarillion</i>': in so far as the reference is to any actual text, this is the conclusion of QS (V.333, §§31-2), the Prophecy of Mandos. >><BR><BR>By this time Tolkien was imagining the <i>Silmarillion</i> material as legend rather than history, and accordingly it could have in it material that was not true, such as its story of the creation of Moon and Sun from flower and fruit. One might ask why, if Christopher Tolkien kept the Sun and Moon creation tale, ignoring his father's later disatisfaction, he did not also retain the Prophecy of Mandos, perhaps with an added introduction indicating that some Men have said ...."?<BR><BR>I point this out mainly to indicate the difficulties Christopher Tolkien faced.<BR><BR>But it is difficult to see that the Elves had no traditions of prophecy, unless the first prophecy of Mandos and Ulmo's prohecies to Turgon and Tuor are also to be rejected as Mannish invention.<BR><BR>But Tolkien may have later restored a version of the prophecy of the Last Battle. In <i>The Peoples of Middle-earth</i> (HoME 12), chapter XII, "The Problem of <i>Ros</i>", Notes, 17, we find in a note about the four languages used by Eärendil when he spoke his plea to Manwë:<BR><BR><< The language of the Folk of Haleth was not used, for they had perished and would not rise again. Nor would their tongue be heard again, unless the prophecy of Andreth the Wise-woman should prove true, that Túrin in the Last Battle should return from the Dead, and before he left the Circles of the World for ever should challenge the Great Dragon of Morgoth, Ancalagon the Black, and deal him the death-stroke. >><BR><BR>Christopher Tolkien follows this with citation and discucssion of his father's earlier writings about the return of Túrin, originally to slay Melko himself. Christopher Tolkien then interprets the Last Battle mentioned here as the Last Battle of Beleriand, called the "Last Battle" later in this essay, and believes that Túrin is here taking on the role of the slayer of Ancalagon which earlier accounts, and the published <i>Silmarillion</i>, give to Eärendil.<BR><BR>I'm not at all sure Christopher Tolkien is correct here. His father's use of the subjunctive in his note seems to me to point more strongly to something that has not yet happened from the point of view of the writer, and might not happen.<BR><BR>As to a final forgiveness of Melkor, that is something outside of Tolkien's legendarium. But for a discussion of the belief that eventually all will be "saved", even Satan and his followers, and the condemnation of this belief as heretical in the Council of 543, refer to <a target=new href="http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/01599a.htm">Catholic Encyclopedia: Apocatstasis</a>.
User avatar
jallan
Rider of the Mark

 
Posts: 885
Joined: Fri Apr 06, 2001 12:39 pm
Top

Postby Fingolfin_of_the_Noldor » Tue Jun 18, 2002 6:42 pm

<i>Falborn posted:<BR><BR><< We must remember that Varda was not the kindler or all stars but of the "great stars" according to the ainulindale. Stars had existed before her world with the initial creation of Ea, no doubt, representing further more isolated stories having little to do with the chief central story of The Kingdom of Arda. >></i><BR><BR>Actually that was me and I don't see exactly where the facts you cited contradict my remarks. Indeed it was from them that I drew that conclusion.<BR><BR><i><BR>In Morgoth's Ring (HoME 10), VIII, Orcs, Tolkien indicates that Sorontar the great Eagle could probably not be a Maia, as he is said in The Lord of the Rings to have descendants (under his other name Thorondor). However in the next paragraph Tolkien speaks of the Maiar in Orc-form practising "procreation". Here then we see that Maiar can procreate with each other, as indeed we would expect if Ungoliant is a Maia. Pondering this seems to have led to the next paragraph which appears to speak of possible children from such unions:<BR></i><BR><BR>Ok I originally misunderstood you I thought you were saying that incarnated Maiar could reproduce in the sense of a re-emergence of the concept of the "valarindi" thanks for the clarification. I was aware of that passage and especially that which you cite that in fact being the basis for my question.<BR><BR><i>As to the Valar generally becoming weaker in power after their great efforts at the beginning, I don't believe that is ever indicated by Tolkien. It remains, I believe, only a possibility, unsupported on either side.</i><BR><BR>I am quite sure that Tolkien does make a remark to this general effect either in the myths transformed texts such as you cite or in the letters as I do believe I came upon something like that recently in the process of researching a response elsewhere. I am not entirely sure where this is but I will look and get back to you.<BR><BR>Interestings take on the end of days traditions especially the latter part. I must say I never considered anything other than CT's interpretation and you certainly present a viable alternative but I am afraid I nevertheless must disagree given CT's own reference of the use of the same phrase in that specific context: <i>For after the Last Battle and the overthrow of Morgoth, when the Valar gave to Elros and Elrond a choice... -371</i> this may be a bit overly simplistic but it makes the most sense to me.
User avatar
Fingolfin_of_the_Noldor
Ranger of the North

 
Posts: 1816
Joined: Sat Jun 30, 2001 9:46 am
Top

Postby Alexandros » Wed Jun 19, 2002 1:26 am

What?..<i>clueless....</i>
User avatar
Alexandros
Mariner

 
Posts: 5424
Joined: Sun Mar 03, 2002 3:12 am
Top

Postby Falborn » Wed Jun 19, 2002 4:52 am

jallan, always a pleasure to be instructed by you. You posted<BR><BR>"As to the Valar generally becoming weaker in power after their great efforts at the beginning, I don't believe that is ever indicated by Tolkien. It remains, I believe, only a possibility, unsupported on either side."<BR><BR>With Fingolfin I think you may be wrong on this post but don't have time to hunt down references for a few days. My theory on incarnation was just that and I appreciate your response to it.<BR><BR>Interesting that the Catholic Encyclopedia article describes 'apocatstasis' and it's history with such clarity but does not refute it (at least in english) except to say that Augustine was opposed and so was an official body 1600 years ago. Again the idea that even the Enemies would succomb to the music over an eternity of time is merely a theory and one which, if anything, is contrary to Tolkien's writings which describe retribution against Morgoth in the End. Again, I appreciate your wonderful response. Keep those Catholic Encyclopedia references coming! Personally, I'm not sure the article achieved the intent of it's authors: apocatstasis still seems like a good resolution , at least to the legndarium.<BR><BR>By the way jallan, I loved your comment: "But again -- would Eru provide fëar for such creatures? For the Eagles etc. perhaps. But not for Orcs." It seems this is a good insight which may be unsupported by any references (if you have any I will be very impressed).<BR><BR>The orcs are troubling to me because they appear to be creatures that have been written off as irredeemable and exterminated without remorse. In a world where genocide is all too common, this is disturbing. <BR><BR>I am going out of town for a few days and would like to leave this thought. We have been so focused on meaning that we have not looked at the Tolkien's artfulness, the beauty of his writing. Are there any passages people find especially beautiful?<BR><BR><BR>
User avatar
Falborn
Shield Bearer

 
Posts: 395
Joined: Sat Mar 30, 2002 11:11 am
Top

Postby Fingolfin_of_the_Noldor » Wed Jun 19, 2002 6:22 am

<i>By the way jallan, I loved your comment: "But again -- would Eru provide fëar for such creatures? For the Eagles etc. perhaps. But not for Orcs." It seems this is a good insight which may be unsupported by any references (if you have any I will be very impressed).<BR></i><BR><BR>Falborn, those aren't jallan's words but Tolkien's found on page 410 of Morgoth's Ring
User avatar
Fingolfin_of_the_Noldor
Ranger of the North

 
Posts: 1816
Joined: Sat Jun 30, 2001 9:46 am
Top

Postby ArPharazon » Wed Jun 19, 2002 9:42 am

This may seem stupid and retrograde after so much in depth and inspired debate, but I wonder whether we are not getting into too much detail and missing a very simple point that Tolkien is making.<BR><BR>This week I was reminded of the passages in Job (Bible) that include the following (Job 38 v 4, 32,33):<BR><BR>"Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare if thou hast understanding."<BR><BR>"Canst thou bring forth Mazzaroth in his season? or canst thou guide Arcturus with his sons?<BR><BR>"Knowest thou the ordinances of heaven? canst thou set the dominion thereof in the earth?"<BR><BR>In this context is not the whole of the Ainulindale saying this.<BR><BR>I Eru create all, and that includes life, being, and all that constitutes existence. I govern it. I sustain it. When all is said and done, and each element of creation has played his part - including by free/self/personal will, doing things that he/she deems right - you will find that it all comes back to ME. I am that I am and there is none else. Thou shall't have no other gods before me. am Alpha and Omega - the beginning and the end. Behold I show you a new heaven and a new earth - for the former things are passed away.<BR><BR>All these latter are biblical references - all would have been familiar to Tolkien. Maybe he was just painting that same picture using his own words and a musical idiom. Nothing more revolutionary. Nothing heretical. And given his background, maybe he had just as much difficulty as we have had in making that releant to his mythology.<BR><BR>It kept going pagan on him - the Norse and olympian parallels. But equally he could not have a sub-creation without a creation myth. Hence the later writings trying to work out in his own mind, whether this was real or just someones "misunderstanding of Vala or Eldar traditions handed down...<BR><BR>So basically, Tolkien never left the framework of biblical reference. Never tried to be desperately original. he just tried to put his own inimitable stamp on much loved ideas.<BR><BR>I'm afraid its not sophisticated, but as I see it now, it fits as well as any of the other theories we have discussed.<BR><BR>
User avatar
ArPharazon
Mariner

 
Posts: 6743
Joined: Thu Dec 13, 2001 1:21 pm
Top

Postby PstTBG » Wed Jun 19, 2002 11:47 am

ArPharazon I really appreciate your insight. I was trying to make the same type of point in my essay in the "how should it be approached?" thread.<BR><BR>I include this quote from JRRT: "I am a Roman Catholic, so that I do not expect ‘history’ to be anything but a ‘long defeat’ –– though it contains (and in a legend may contain more clearly and movingly) some samples or glimpses of final victory."<BR><BR>Though Tolkien was not overtly religious in his writings, it is unmistakeable that his faith was underlying what he wrote.
User avatar
PstTBG
Rider of the Mark
 
Posts: 601
Joined: Mon Apr 08, 2002 7:35 am
Top

Postby Istariquendi » Wed Jun 19, 2002 6:11 pm

<i>Upon the crown of Tuna the city of the Elves was built, the white walls and terraces of Tirion; and the highest of the towers of that city was the Tower of Ingwë, Mindon Eldalieva, whose silver lamp shone far out into the mists of the sea. Few are the ships of mortal Men that have seen its slender beam. In Tirion upon Tuna the Vanyar and the Noldor lived long in fellowship. And since of all things in Valinor they loved most the White Tree, Yavanna made for them a tree like to a lesser image of Telperion, save that it did not give light of its own being; Galathilion it was named in the Sindarin tongue. This tree was planted in the courts beneath the Mindon and there flourished, and its seedlings were many in Eldamar. Of these one was afterwards planted in Tol Eressëa, and it prospered there, and was named Celeborn, thence came in the fullness of time, as is elsewhere told, Nimloth, the White tree of Numenor.</i> <BR><BR>Pg 59- <i>The Silmarillion</i><BR><BR>I always loved Tirion, such a wonderful place.
User avatar
Istariquendi
Ranger of the North

 
Posts: 2420
Joined: Sat Jan 19, 2002 6:48 pm
Top

Postby mnemosyne » Wed Jun 19, 2002 8:10 pm

Well, time to dip my toe once again into this rushing river of knowledge and insightfulness <img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-smile.gif"border=0>. I have been reading each post with great interest and delight as understanding dawns (wow, that was a bit grandiose, even for me <img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-blush.gif"border=0>)<BR><BR>Anyway, ArPhy, I would just like to say that you say everything so eloquently. I tried to put down my opinions on Eru's omnipotence, but it didn't come out nearly as well -- by the way, boy am I glad that the discussion has returned to a topic that I get a little better <img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-happy.gif"border=0>.<BR><BR>As to passages that are lovely, well, there's one that I find humourous more than anything else:<BR><BR><i>Then Manwe and Yavanna parted for that time, and Yavanna returned to Aule; and he was in his smithy, pouring molten metal into a mould. 'Eru is bountiful,' she said. 'Now let thy children beware! For there shall walk a power in the forests that they will arouse at their own peril.'</i><BR><BR><i>'Nonetheless they will have need of wood,' said Aule, and he went on with his smith-work.</i><BR><BR>Well, humourous and thought-provoking. Aule is quite bull-headed, isn't he? (To him I say: I'd take an Ent over a dwarf any day) <img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-smile.gif"border=0><BR><BR>---<BR><BR>mnem
User avatar
mnemosyne
Shield Bearer

 
Posts: 298
Joined: Thu Jun 06, 2002 11:02 pm
Top

Postby Novice » Wed Jun 19, 2002 9:53 pm

Sorry people, but cannot take the time to respond appropriately right now as I lost a VERY IMPORTANT file with a horrible deadline inching closer every minute...<BR><BR>..nevertheless, wanted to drop in and say I'm still here and will be just as verbose and purple in my phrasing very soon!<BR><BR>....MUST WORK....MUST WORK.....MUST WORK....(gotta keep reminding myself)<BR><BR>-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------<BR>Casual chat amongst friends for all bookish people at <a target=new href="http://www.tolkienonline.com/thewhitecouncil/messageview.cfm?start=80&catid=24&threadid=48072">A word aside....the lounge for bookworms</a><BR><BR>
User avatar
Novice
Ranger of the North


 
Posts: 2791
Joined: Thu Feb 14, 2002 5:19 pm
Top

Postby Mahima » Thu Jun 20, 2002 4:41 am

Istariquendi said:<BR><i>If I remember correctly, it was said in the Sil that men looked most like Melkor, so maybe they were created by the chaos that Melkor wrought in the Void and by Eru's eleviating it. </i><BR><BR>Umm, no I don't think so. In the first music which Eru and the Valar created together (and Melkor rose in distort), later it is mentioned that in that music itself Eru thought of Men and of giving them different gifts. So Men were part of the whole design from the start.<BR><BR><BR>
User avatar
Mahima
Ranger of the North

 
Posts: 3531
Joined: Thu May 02, 2002 10:04 pm
Top

Postby Istariquendi » Thu Jun 20, 2002 8:21 am

It was merely a thought Mahima. And since all Melkor does is under the will of Iluvatar, I merely thought it might have been so. But as I read the Sil I come across this line:<BR><BR><i>For the Children of Iluvatar were concieved by him [Eru] alone; and they came with the third theme and were not in the theme that Iluvatar propounded at the beginning.</i><BR><BR>Now as I think about it, I remember the Third Theme being a rather chaoctic one of two parts, one soothing and slow, the other quick and light. Here is a passage from the Sil:<BR><BR><i>... and he [Eru] lifted up his right hand, and behold! a third theme grew amid the confusion, and it was unlike the others. For it seemed at first soft and sweet, a mere rippling of gentle sounds in delicate melodies; but it could not be quenched, and it took to itself power and profundity. And it seemed at last that there were two musics progressing at one time before the seat of Iluvatar, and they were utterly at variance. The one was deep and wide and beautiful, but slow and blended with an unmeasurable sorrow, from which its beauty chiefly came. The othere had now achieved a beauty of its own; but it was loud. and vain, and endlessly repeated; and it had little harmony, but rather a clamorous unison as of many trumpets braying upon a few notes. And it essayed to drown the other music by the violence of its own voice, but it seemed that most triumphant notes were taken by the other and woven into its own solemn pattern.</i><BR><BR>Here was the Children of Iluvatar born. I can safely assume that most would agree that the first music is of the Eldar, soft, slow and full of sorrow, while the other is of the Edain, loud, vain, and violent. Such were the personalities of each race. Elves were always described as beautiful yet full of sorrow not known to Man, and men were always loud and full of life, "endlessly repeating". This brings up things about human nature, how man must control thigs, such as the music trying to overcome the softer one. How we are violent by nature and the "endlessly repeating" theme can sort of represent the saying, "History repeats itself." It is a wonderful description of the races. Yet we must know that before that was the discord of Melkor, and the Ainur who sang both with him and against him brought it into being. I believe the Second Theme is the War of the Powers when the world was being created, and yet it was unsuccessful in stopping Melkor in his discord. Then, Iluvatar draws up from another source, and creates a theme that stops Melkor. I find it funny that it is the music that created the Children that stops him. Then comes this passage:<BR><BR><i>Then he [Eru] raises up both his hands, and in one chord, deeper than the Abyss, higher than the Firmament, piercing as the light of the eye of Iluvatar, the Music ceased.</i><BR><BR>I believe that this represents the Last Battle, and the 'one chord' represents the ultimate unity of the Eldar and the Edain as they defeat Melkor in that final battle. It is sad that the unity is so short, yet it is so.<BR><BR>Now, IMHO, I think that Melkor indirectly created the Children. By his rebellion, Iluavatar, for lack of a better word, was forced to call upon the third theme to stop the discord of the Ainur. Of course, this is only me talking, but I find that maybe it is so.
User avatar
Istariquendi
Ranger of the North

 
Posts: 2420
Joined: Sat Jan 19, 2002 6:48 pm
Top

Postby wilko185 » Thu Jun 20, 2002 1:17 pm

I have only read the first few (excellent) posts so far, but the VSG seems to be thriving (if volume of posts is any indicator, at least <img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-wink.gif"border=0>). Hopefully there aren't too many problems to iron out? Skimming through, it seems to be a reasonably linear discussion (there was talk of "invisible threads" and such-like earlier, which I assume didn't pan out. Or are they here and I just can't see them? <img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-wink.gif"border=0>)<BR><BR>I may jump in feet-first with a quote, I think Istariquendi may have been thinking of this from the end of Chapter 1:<BR><BR><i>But Ilúvatar knew that Men, being set amid the turmoils of the powers of the world, would stray often, and would not use their gifts in harmony; and he said: "These too in their time shall find that all that they do redounds at the end only to the glory of my work." Yet the Elves believe that Men are often a grief to Manwë, who knows most of the mind of Ilúvatar; for <b>it seems to the Elves that Men resemble Melkor most of all the Ainur</b>, although he has ever feared and hated them, even those that served him.</i><BR><BR>This resemblance between Men and Morgoth is presented as a belief of the Elves, but I suppose we can take it as Manwë's position too. I would say Men are seen as <u>taking the same path</u> as Melkor (ie. they don't act in harmony with the other elements of Ilúvatar's creation, but all that they do is part of the "big plan" ), rather than Men being instruments or direct productions of Melkor. However, Melkor's influence on the Music that created Men must have a parallel with his influence on the actual origins of Men in the world: if there had been no Melkor, the character of Men would surely have been different.<BR><BR>[Btw, Istariquendi said <i>I can safely assume that most would agree that the first music is of the Eldar...</i>. I'll be interested to see if and how this point of correspondance between Men and Elves and the two "components" of the Music is agreed upon earlier in this thread. But I'm probably going over old ground.. I'll read the thread before posting in future, I just wanted to get my feet wet]
User avatar
wilko185
Mariner

 
Posts: 8306
Joined: Sun Nov 18, 2001 2:10 pm
Top

Postby ArPharazon » Thu Jun 20, 2002 2:31 pm

"I just wanted to get my feet wet" he says!!<BR><BR>With his first incisive post Wilko the Wanderer proves that he can walk on water!!<img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-happy.gif"border=0><img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-happy.gif"border=0><img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-happy.gif"border=0><BR><BR>Damn but we have missed your style.!!
User avatar
ArPharazon
Mariner

 
Posts: 6743
Joined: Thu Dec 13, 2001 1:21 pm
Top

Postby -Rómestámo- » Thu Jun 20, 2002 2:41 pm

<b>Istariquendi</b>: <i>Here was the Children of Iluvatar born. I can safely assume that most would agree that the first music is of the Eldar, soft, slow and full of sorrow, while the other is of the Edain, loud, vain, and violent.</i><BR><BR>I would argue that the sad, delicate melody represents all who oppose Melkor and the Dark- both Eldar and Edain, whilst the raucous, clamourous music signifies the followers of Melkor and Sauron, and the Evil forces of Arda Marred. The schema you have proposed, while valid, is less likely than a division of the music into 'pro-Melkor' and 'anti-Melkor' factions. <BR><BR>The Music represents all that is and occurs in Arda, not just the actions of the <i>Éruhini</i>. Evil is predominantly human, but not exclusively so, nor is Good exclusive to the Elves. Consequently, I find the second, discordant music more indicative of repressive, totalitarian and dictatorial societies and 'Evil' individuals rather than "Human Nature". <BR><BR>The climactic final chord still remains as a <i>Dagor Dagorath</i>, the Last Battle, but rather than it representing the one time that Men and Elves act in concert, it signifies where the Forces of Good and Evil meet for a final resolution.
User avatar
-Rómestámo-
Ranger of the North


 
Posts: 2947
Joined: Wed Mar 06, 2002 9:54 am
Top

Postby Novice » Thu Jun 20, 2002 7:29 pm

<BR>Sorry to interrupt the discussion--and excuse drive-by but I'm very pushed.<BR><BR>Rodia has prompted me to remind all that the next study portion begins 1 July and we need <b>SUGGESTIONS FOR SUPPLEMENTARY READING MATERIAL</b><BR><BR>Please post your suggestions to Parador's Resource thread and she will incorporate in the appropriate post along with the Silm chapter details.<BR><BR>....okay, back to the discussion....<BR><BR>-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------<BR>Casual chat amongst friends for all (Tolkien) booklovers at <a target=new href="http://www.tolkienonline.com/thewhitecouncil/messageview.cfm?start=80&catid=24&threadid=48072">A word aside....the lounge for bookworms</a><BR><BR><b> by the way, we're hosting a party in the lounge at the moment, to welcome Wilko back <img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-happy.gif"border=0> </b><BR><BR>
User avatar
Novice
Ranger of the North


 
Posts: 2791
Joined: Thu Feb 14, 2002 5:19 pm
Top

Postby jallan » Thu Jun 20, 2002 8:35 pm

ArPharazon posted: <BR><BR><< So basically, Tolkien never left the framework of biblical reference. Never tried to be desperately original. he just tried to put his own inimitable stamp on much loved ideas. >><BR><BR>I agree totally, though perhaps it would be more true to say "could not help putting" instead of "just tried to put".<BR><BR>Tolkien was certainly not iconaclastically original. His main fictional work is quite in the line of John Ruskin, William Morris, Lord Dunsany, George MacDonald, and E.R. Eddison and doubtless other lesser lights, mostly forgotten, particularly writers of childrens' tales.<BR><BR>Tolkien's work is different from these writers in much the same way as these works of each of these writers differ among themselves.<BR><BR>But theirs was the genre in which he was writing, attempting the same <i>king</i> of thing.<BR><BR>Tolkien is perhaps most different in his concern for placing his tales in a single coherent cycle. <BR><BR>But even in this he was following along with other fantasy and science-fiction and horror authors of the beginning of the twentieth century who were doing the same thing. Robert E. Howard had his Hyborean age, many of Lovecraft's stories were interconnected by the shared Chtullu mythos, Isaac Asimov, whom Tolkien mentions reading and enjoying, also placed cross-references from one story to another, as did Robert A. Heinlein. Edgar Rice Burroughs, whom Tolkien claimed to have read and enjoyed, also did this, though not as much.<BR><BR>Some of these writers had particular philosophies that appear in their tales, but mostly the stories are enjoyed for the sake of the stories, not the philophies.<BR><BR>If you want to understand the science behind the science fiction stories you are usually better off reading books about science than just reading more science fiction.<BR><BR>If you want to understand what philosophies lie behind some of Tolkien's conceptions, you are often better off reading genuine books of Christian theology or philosophy than more of Tolkien, for his writings are <i>mostly</i> not intended as philosophy, but as good stories.<BR><BR>The tales often avoid rather than deal with philosophical difficulties that they sometimes raise, and Tolkien himself, when attempting to adopt an "aware metaphysic" indeed found many of the problems insoluable and so best not treated directly.<BR><BR>Some of these problems, such as God's toleration of evil, Tolkien did not need not attempt to solve in his imagined world. Philosophers have attempted to solve them in the real world and any interested may read their thoughts. Yes, some religious thinkers had thought that in the end all will be saved, and some denied it. Tolkien doesn't go there at all in any of his published writings and we don't know what he might have thought on the issue at various times. But his stories don't go there either, one way or the other.<BR><BR>Similarly the historical problem of when exactly the Elves and Men of his tales lived and how the geography of Europe is now so impossibly different from that of the first Three Ages is left unanswered within the tales as relatively unimportant.<BR><BR>If you are knowledgeable enough to realize how impossible Tolkien's account is in a geological sense, even accepting that much of it is supposed to be legend, you either suspend your belief for the sake of the tale, or you don't. <BR><BR><i>The Silmarillion</i> is a difficult work to read in part because parts of it and aspects of it gain very much from be examined with great care but similar attention to other parts destroys the tale. It is omewhat like an imaginary reader of <i>Aesop's Fables</i> becoming obsessed mainly with when and where animals talked and what kind of relations existed among them while ignoring what the tales are actually about, that is, what those who told them meant them to say.<BR><BR>A problem with <i>The Silmarillion</i> is in part what it was originally most meant for was to set forth a coherent background and clear pattern of revision for Tolkien's earlier writings. Increasingly, as Tolkien expanded it, stories began to be told more fully and somewhat for their own sake, especially when Tolkien added to or changed his earlier conceptions. But we are still mostly reading data originally set down to elucidate or summarize fuller accounts whether or not previously ever written down. (Tolkien would not have had to write them down in many cases.)<BR><BR>In the "Valaquenta" Tolkien mentions once "Ilmarë, the handmaid of Varda" who goes back to <i>Unfinished Tales</i> as Erinti the daughter of Manwë and Varda. Yet even here she has no tale, save one Tolkien hints at in an "isolated heading 'Uolë and Erinti' in the little pocket-book used among things for suggestions of stories to be told".<BR><BR>Much of the "Valaquenta" explains little more. It is a summary of a mythology that in part we must go elsewhere to understand in full, notably to the two volumes of <i>THe Book of Lost Tales</i>, and in part we will never know, because it was never written down or, if written down, lost.
User avatar
jallan
Rider of the Mark

 
Posts: 885
Joined: Fri Apr 06, 2001 12:39 pm
Top

Postby Mahima » Thu Jun 20, 2002 10:10 pm

<i> How we are violent by nature and the "endlessly repeating" theme can sort of represent the saying, "History repeats itself." </i><BR><BR>Oh, thats an interesting thought! How I had percieved it was to do with the Morality of Men, that they are born, live, die, born again and that cycle... What do you think?<BR><BR><i> I think that Melkor indirectly created the Children. By his rebellion, Iluavatar, for lack of a better word, was forced to call upon the third theme to stop the discord of the Ainur. Of course, this is only me talking, but I find that maybe it is so. </i><BR><BR>I feel that Eru would have the power to silence Melkor even without creating Men... and if I remember correctly (I don't have my Sil with me right now --- sorry) Melkor didn't realise in the beginning that Men were to follow Elves too. <BR><BR><BR><i>However, Melkor's influence on the Music that created Men must have a parallel with his influence on the actual origins of Men in the world: if there had been no Melkor, the character of Men would surely have been different. </i><BR><BR>So what you are saying here is that Melkor is an analogy of Satan here, who has a hand in corrupting Men and straying them from their paths?? <BR><BR>
User avatar
Mahima
Ranger of the North

 
Posts: 3531
Joined: Thu May 02, 2002 10:04 pm
Top

Postby ArPharazon » Thu Jun 20, 2002 11:31 pm

Jallan <img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-smile.gif"border=0> - Just a few observations on your long and as ever thought-provoking post.<BR><BR>I did indeed say "So basically, Tolkien never left the framework of biblical reference. Never tried to be desperately original. He just tried to put his own inimitable stamp on much loved ideas." <BR><BR>While I agree with your suggestion that the Professor "could not help putting" his own stamp on things. I think I do prefer my own words. The point of my post was that we have actually been giving too much attention to the "spin" that Tolkien may have given his sources/influences, rather than seeing how little they are changed below the surface.<BR><BR>But you are right - Tolkien was never satisfied until he had tinkered with things (could not help fiddling)!! <img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-happy.gif"border=0><BR><BR>While other authors have invented creation myths and linked stories, I would argue that Tolkien differed from some - if not all - of them.<BR><BR>For instance, always feel that Lord Dunsany is slightly mocking his own ideas, and that he is as much in love with the words as with the characters/stories. With Tolkien, words (however beautiful)are always in the service of his intent. Dunsany though did invent a creation myth from scratch, while Tolkien (it increasingly seems to me) merely looks at the biblical story from a different perspective.<BR><BR>E.R. Eddison I find frankly almost unreadable, although there are elements of great interest in his work.<BR><BR>I am not, of course, for a moment disagreeing from your conclusion that "Tolkien's work is different from these writers in much the same way as these works of each of these writers differ among themselves." <BR><BR>That said, I am less sure that I would agree that Tolkien differs in "placing his tales in a single coherent cycle". I think, as we have said, authors before and since have done that.<BR><BR>Howard's Hyborean Age is more a lose setting, albeit well described and lively, and I rather enjoy spotting his references to then (20s/30s) current historical thinking. I don't think he ever wrote a creation myth though, and while inter-connected, the stories are basically only linked by one man's journey.<BR><BR>Lovecraft's Cthulu mythos has been an interest of mine for many years - but again, the inconsistencies are as great as the linkages. It is simply a central idea around which MANY people (Bloch, Ashton Smith etc) wove stories. there is little internal consistency and much of what exists has been imposed by others that HRL.<BR><BR>Rice Burroughs, of course, has his Martian (Barsoomian),Venusian and other backdrops - but are we really (enjoyable though they are) going to compare these to ME? <BR><BR>I do think you state something VERY IMPORTANT to this thread in writing "If you want to understand what philosophies lie behind some of Tolkien's conceptions, you are often better off reading genuine books of Christian theology or philosophy..." although not quite for thr reasons you give. I think the point is that Tolkin did not explicitly explore the theological implications of his creation myth and thus, to understand what may have been in his mind, we have to explore the influences that may have impacted on his writing. Thus I again wholly agree with your conclusion that: "The tales often avoid rather than deal with philosophical difficulties that they sometimes raise, and Tolkien himself, when attempting to adopt an "aware metaphysic" indeed found many of the problems insoluable and so best not treated directly." To me the realisation of that may be one of the primary outcomes of this initial thread.<BR><BR>WHEN the Elves and Men of his tales lived" was something on which I think Tolkien was clear - it was our Earth "at a differnt stage of imagination". In Letters he specifically gives rough geographic co-ordinates for his settings. But because it is a world at a different stage of imagination, we do not need to suspend our belief. <BR><BR>I also am less sure that I accept your analogy between The Silmarillion and Aesop's Fables. The latter is clearly "allegorical" while that is NOT true for The Sil. I think Tolkien himself showed that to answer questions about ME, you must plunge into deductive logic from the material we have just as you would in the real world. <BR><BR>Also, surely The Silmarillion IS Tolkien's earlier writings (somewhat revised) NOT a coherent background. It is "background" only to (say) The Hobbit and LOTR. But that would be rather like saying the Old Testament is "background" to the New.<BR><BR>To summarise - I found your post most interesting and enjoyable jallan - I hope you don't mind my observations on some aspects of it. <img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-happy.gif"border=0>
User avatar
ArPharazon
Mariner

 
Posts: 6743
Joined: Thu Dec 13, 2001 1:21 pm
Top

Postby ArPharazon » Fri Jun 21, 2002 10:37 am

Change of mood maybe.<BR><BR>A question I have been dying to ask since the thread began, but thought too trivial given the level of the discussion. If I don't ask it soon though I'll run out of time.<BR><BR>Some of us - though not by any means all - think visually. I have VERY strong ideas in my mind of how the Valar and some of the Maiar looked based on JRRT's descriptions and my responses to the plot.<BR><BR>Maybe those of you who share my visual imagination would like to share some of your ideas on how manwe, etc might look.<BR><BR>To give some ideas of my own - its only fair.<BR><BR>Manwe: Like a cross between the Phydias'statue of Zeus at Olympia and Victorian engravings of Jesus. Tall, long shoulder length hair, (but clean shaven) majestic stance, and a long sky blue gown with a sort of darker blue mantle or toga over it. Maybe a staff of sceptre in his hand. He looks facially, beautiful, serene , composed.<BR><BR>Varda: tall and slender, all in gauzy greens, beautiful bone structure, long fingers, lovely flowing hair and eyes like stars.<BR><BR>Tulkas. A figure of perfect proportions like Michelangelo's David, clad in a short tunic with no sleeves. In battle a golden breastplate and helmet, greaves and sword. Curly blond hair and a laughing, handome, rather boyish face.<BR><BR>Mandos: Tall, thin, grim. Almost the standard figure of death without the scythe. Clad in shades of grey and black, with a cadaverous but still handsome and impassive countenance.<BR><BR>Over to you now. Mine may be all wrong to you - and against the book (I haven't checked). I've just tried to be as honest about my mental pictures as I can.
User avatar
ArPharazon
Mariner

 
Posts: 6743
Joined: Thu Dec 13, 2001 1:21 pm
Top

Postby jeanelf » Fri Jun 21, 2002 10:58 am

What a great question, Arph!!! I love it; it's a fun little one. <img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-smile.gif"border=0><BR><BR>I don't think I pictured them all too clearly; a little foggy in my mind because I think I concentrated more on getting their personalities down (took a few readings to do this). However, for what it's worth, just from my heart, not having the book or any descriptions nearby:<BR><BR>I did see them all about 40-50 years old, except for Manwe, Aule, and Ulmo, whom I picture older; about 65.<BR><BR>I see Mandos wearing a full-length getup like Gandalf, but white, with black hair and a little gold circlet around his head; always carrying a little book or something. <BR><BR>I see Tulkas and Orome dressed rather like Ben-Hur (I believe this rather matches your thoughts) with longer flowing hair, much like Aragorn and Boromir's. Quick in anger, action and laughter.<BR><BR>I see Vanya dressed all in silver and blue also with long black hair--a little aloof appearing. I see Yvanna as having long brown hair dressed in green and browns with flowers and leaves woven in her hair. Nienna I see as quiet, small, pale and wearing beige.<BR><BR>For some reason I don't picture any blonds (maybe Lorien); Ulmo and Manwe I picture the oldest, both with grey curly hair, Ulmo with a beard. Perhaps this has been colored by the images I've seen drawn of him. <BR><BR>I can't picture their individual faces very much except that I picture the "women" as looking rather serene and kind.
User avatar
jeanelf
Ranger of the North

 
Posts: 2178
Joined: Thu Jun 21, 2001 1:40 pm
Top

Postby Istariquendi » Fri Jun 21, 2002 1:02 pm

Great Arphy!<BR><BR>Manwë: It is mostly like your description, though I picture his hair to be sor of shorter and with brown curls. He has very deep blue eyes and is tall and thin, though not guant. All the rest is exactly like yours.<BR><BR>Tulkas: I have it different. I actually picture his quite short but well built. He is the only one I picture bearded and with long blond hair. He is sort of like the image of a Dwarf, though much more powerful, and a little more human and taller, he is not incredibly short but just a little. Maybe even like the Norse god Thor.<BR><BR>Ulmo: I pictue him strange, tall, well built and with bluer eyes than Manwë. He looks older than Manwë looks, and has a little grey in his hair, though it doesn't look very old. He dresses in green and blue, sometimes looking like fish scales.<BR><BR>Varda: Amazingly like yours, tall, thin and pale with ebony hair. I picture her eyes as dark and always seeming to reflect pinpoints of light in them. She is amazingly beautiful. <BR><BR>Mandos: Mandos is a short wide man with long straight black hair. He wears white robes and has dark eyes. He is even paler than Varda and nearly always silent.<BR><BR>Oromë: He has long blonde hair that ends on his shoulders. He is tall, taller than all of the other Valar. He is the only one I can imagine as armored. He nearly always has a spear beside him as he rides Nahar.<BR><BR>Yavanna: Tall and supple, almost frail as a flower. She is almost like Goldberri in LOTR, her hair stretching to her feet and always wearing green with sometimes colors embroidered upon ehr dress.<BR><BR>Aulë: Not the tallest of the Valar, yet not as short as Tulkas. His brown hair stretches just above his shoulders. He has green eyes that are always gentle and wise. He is strongly muscled, moreso than Oromë, yet not as much as Tulkas. Ever he has a hammer in his hand.<BR><BR>Melkor: The vision of Manwë save that his hair is darker and his eyes are near black. His skin is also very pale and he seems somewhat frail. When he comes with Ungoliant he is in black armor yet without a helm.
User avatar
Istariquendi
Ranger of the North

 
Posts: 2420
Joined: Sat Jan 19, 2002 6:48 pm
Top

Postby greenleafwood » Fri Jun 21, 2002 3:48 pm

I always vaguely pictured the Valar looking like gods out of Norse or Greek mythology, Ulmo like Neptune with a three pronged thing in his hand (which is probably not very Tolkienish). Nobody mentioned beards at all, as with the Elves, though I read somewhere that Elves develop facial hair when they get really old.<BR>Did Tolkien paint any Valarian images, or portraits if you can call them that?<BR><BR>greenleaf
User avatar
greenleafwood
Ranger of the North

 
Posts: 1882
Joined: Sun Jan 13, 2002 3:03 pm
Top

PreviousNext

Return to Virtual Tolkien Study Group

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests