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Old 03-11-2018, 07:13 PM   #9
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Morthoron is lost in the dark paths of Moria.Morthoron is lost in the dark paths of Moria.Morthoron is lost in the dark paths of Moria.Morthoron is lost in the dark paths of Moria.
Originally Posted by R.R.J Tolkien View Post
And as i argued in my op these are more the result of the first ages being mythical, legendary writings, rather than the historical writings of the third age. Things that gain power over time such as wisdom would generally increase with time i think galadriel is a good example. However i am not ruling out the conclusion of your either, just i am not so sure the third age was that distinct in "power" from the first two ages.

I agree there are many biblical parallels in LOTR.

but I am not sure I agree with the OT "mightier" depiction you suggest. In fact I see in the sillmarillion allot of the kind of hyperbole used in some old testament text i think supporting my view. for example in war literature of the time period used during the conquest.
I think you're quite off the mark there. I don't for once think that Tolkien meant the slow, inexorable fall from grace from the 1st to 2nd to 3rd Age to be hyperbolic in the least. There are any number of tangible pieces of integral plot-lines that can only lead to the inevitable conclusion that Tolkien intended a precipitous decline from the 1st to the 3rd Age.

From a maker's standpoint, the Silmarils and the Palantir of Fëanor, the galvorn of Eöl, and the weaponscraft of Telchar of Nogrod were not to be repeated in following Ages. The making of the Rings of Power required the intervention by Sauron to teach the craft surreptitiously to Celebrimbor, a scion of Fëanor. Without Sauron's direct influence and "instruction", the Rings would never be created, let alone even contemplated. It is notable that the Elven Rings' power in essence faded once the One Ring was destroyed; whereas the recovered Silmarils play an important role after Dagor Dagorath, when Yavanna shall break them at last and rekindle the light of the Two Trees. The potency of such power is palpable and everlasting.

How many characters in The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings opine of lost skill or lost grandeur or lost importance? Thorin bemoaned the Dwarves' loss of skill (save in the making of mithril chain), Aragorn and Faramir recount the greatness of the long dead Numenoreans. There is a pronounced sense of frustration and loss when we come to the Doors of Durin, or Gimli literally cries upon entering Moria, or that a 1500 year-old blade of Westernesse is necessary to unbind the hidden sinew of the WitchKing. Please also recall that Aragorn reforges Narsil, the heirloom of his House, which was first forged by Telchar in the 1st Age, and that his brooch, the Elessar, was crafted by an elven-smith in Gondolin named Enerdhil, whose skill in jewel-crafting was second only to Feanor. Not to mention Bilbo's Sting and Gandalf's Glamdring were also forged in Gondolin. Again, tangible.

And as far as the nature of evil itself, in the 1st Age it takes a host of Valinor -- the Valar, Maiar and Vanyar -- to defeat Morgoth, whereas Sauron is defeated in war by the Numenoreans, later in direct combat against Gil-Galad and Elendil, and, finally and most importantly, the least of all, a hobbit, destroyed the One Ring, and with its dissolution Sauron was expelled from Middle-earth once and for all. The least achieved what the greatest could not, a primary plot point of LotR. So too, the Valar do not directly get involved with 3rd Age affairs, sending instead the Istari, who themselves are cloaked in wizened figures of old men and not allowed to reveal their true natures to combat Sauron.

The downfall of Numenor, which is enumerated in the declining ages of its kings after Elros is a recorded phenomena in the works of Tolkien; again, tangible as opposed to hyperbole. Their Dunedain descendants continue the slow descent from Valaric favor to becoming mere mortals, and eventually only Aragorn is considered a throwback to Numenor, the first King in an Age to choose his time of death at the height of his glory. Tolkien is explicit when he has Aragorn say:

"I am the last of the Numenoreans and the latest King of the Elder Days; and to me has been given not only a span thrice that of Men of Middle-earth, but also the grace to go at my will, and give back the gift."

It is not hyperbole that has Aragorn referring back to the venerable Kings of Numenor or to the Elder Days. He is, by the grace of the Valar, the final King bestowed with the great gift that the Kings of Numenor frittered away and spurned thousands of years before he was born.

P.S. Upon further consideration, your biblical hyperbole analogy fails utterly because there were beings from the 1st Age still existing in the 3rd Age who could attest to the actual events of the Elder Days: among them Elrond, Galadriel, Treebeard, Gandalf, Círdan the Shipwright and Glorfindel (who himself battled a balrog and whose power was so great he drove the WitchKing away in fear). At the Ford of Bruinen, Glorfindel is revealed as a mighty Elf-lord terrible in his wrath; Frodo saw him as a shining figure. Gandalf explains this later to Frodo (and emphasizes my point!):

"In Rivendell there live still some of his chief foes: the Elven-wise, lords of the Eldar from beyond the furthest seas. They do not fear the Ringwraiths, for those who have dwelt in the Blessed Realm live at once in both worlds, and against both the Seen and the Unseen they have great power."

Even Legolas, a 3rd Age-born Elf by all accounts, knows a balrog when he sees it, although he could not possibly have seen one previously; however, the continuous retelling of Elvish history, perhaps even by those who actually beheld one of these malevolent Maia, gave him the basis to quickly identify it:

"It was a Balrog of Morgoth," said Legolas, "of all elf-banes the most deadly, save the One who sits in the Dark Tower.”
And your little sister's immaculate virginity wings away on the bony shoulders of a young horse named George who stole surreptitiously into her geography revision.

Last edited by Morthoron; 03-11-2018 at 07:49 PM.
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