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Old 03-16-2018, 03:44 PM   #38
R.R.J Tolkien
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Originally Posted by Morthoron View Post
That is not a counter-argument. Saruman did not create the Uruk-hai, he merely borrowed the recipe from Sauron who actually first bred the race earlier in the 3rd Age. But Saruman and Sauron tinkering only goes back to the point that they were Maiar, and 1st Age (actually Ainulindalë) beings that are holdovers in the 3rd Age, and these Maiar easily swayed the 3rd Age races under their control (which merely bolsters my point). That both Sauron and Saruman were once Maiar in the service of Aulë, the Vala master of all crafts, is notable and they learned their abilities under his tutelage in the deeps of time. But unlike Aulë who created the Dwarves (with the final permission of Eru), Sauron and Saruman did not create life, merely subverted existing creatures.
A counter to strength in the first age is to give example of strength that increased in the third age imo. If it were Sauron or Saruman does not matter [thanks for the correction if so] but that it was the third age vs earlier forms. I think it supported my argument that knowledge can be gained over time [such as numonrians longer life spans] and so even though sauron and saruman were both Maiar and were first age beings, that does not take away that over time they created a better breed of ork that morgoth [valar] could not and sauron could not in the first 2 ages.

Originally Posted by Morthoron View Post
In addition, it's interesting the other characters you named. The 3 wielders of the Elven Rings of power were a Maia (Gandalf) and two 1st Age Elves (or half-Elf as the case may be) Elrond and Galadriel, and the previous holders of these Rings, Cirdan and Gil-Galad were also 1st Age Elves. The ents were led by Treebeard, again, a 1st Age being. The Haradrim domesticating Műmakil really doesn't equate in this conversation, although the idea of using them in war was perhaps just as novel for the period as Hannibal using elephants during the Punic Wars against the Romans.
I am not saying the Maia are not powerful creatures in middle earth. They will always be among the most powerful. I did say they tend to be set apart to much IMO as far away and above all others that I dont think is accurate to Tolkien mythology. For example we are talking on increase in knowledge over time In Valinar the Noldor elves “thirst for more knowledge , and in many things surpassed their teachers” [the valar].”

But I think you missed my point. The rings themselves added to maia such as gandalf or elves such as galadriel a power that was not around in the first age. Gandalf himself is an added power at least to ME compared to the first age. I also made the point I would think Galdriel [more powerful than elrond part maia] was more powerful [in part because of the ring] in the third age than the first. The ents were around but never united for a war on the scale of isengard. That mumakil to me seems a good example where time and knowledge was increased [to domesticate the wild beasts] for action and causing an increase in power over previous ages in this case.

Originally Posted by Morthoron View Post
The dwarves, even retaking Moria in the 4th Age, were a shadow of their 1st Age or 2nd Age greatness. Their numbers were decimated by the end of the War of the Ring, and Tolkien infers they will eventually disappear (that whole lack of comely dwarf maidens thing). The men of Laketown certainly were not to the level of greatness as Dale earlier in the 3rd Age, and Aragorn may have restored Gondor as an empire, but that doesn't in any way mean that the the Dunedain blood of Gondorions themselves wouldn't continue to wane and mix with lesser races. As I mentioned previously, Aragorn himself admits he is the last of his line (meaning a Numenorean throwback). He was a reflection of former glory.
I dont disagree, In fact moria and lake town depended on trade with elves for economy and with them leaving ME, they could not fully restore power. But to prove my point they did not have to, just a change of power happens with a loss of power such as the orcs in moria. Or as you say the dwindleing of the dwarves [and elves] they will however be replaced by mankind. However this thread does not deal with 4th age hypothetical but the first 3 ages.

Originally Posted by Morthoron View Post
I think you are misreading the passage of Ar-Pharazon's invasion in the Akallabęth. It's not necessarily true that the Numenoreans "could have taken" the Valar (in fact, you can't "kill" the Valar in the conventional sense). Tolkien himself referred to Ar-Pharazon's folly as "going up with war against the Deathless" as he broke the ban of the Valar. It seems to me the more likely scenario is that Manwe, not wishing to spill the blood of First and Second Born Children of Eru in a catastrophic war, and the Valar themselves forced to kill Numenoreans, gave up power to Illuvatar himself to make a final, divine judgement over his Children.
True i did not get it from the passage, but from Tolkiens letters. In Tolkiens letters 130 he said of the attack on valinar by men “The Numen-oreans directed by Sauron could have wrought ruin in Valinor itself." While the valar perhaps could not be "killed" in the same sense, we see valar and maiar being wounded or bodily killed by conventional weapons from the first age to the third age. I dont disagree fully with what you have said about Manwe. But weather he steeped aside or not does not take away from what Tolkien called the mightiest navy to ever gather in ME and its potential to ruin valinor itself.

Originally Posted by Morthoron View Post
Again, there were 1st Age beings present and leading or influencing the peoples of the 3rd Age (whether that be Sauron, Gandalf, Galadriel or Elrond). They did not downplay the past; on the contrary, these 1st Age beings superseded and were by far more powerful than any 3rd age character.
I dont disagree. I am not "downplaying" I am simply pointing out a style of writing and its effects on perception of those historical events. I am simply pointing out the style it was written for a better proper understanding.

“Pure myth and legend....cosmological myth ”
-Letters of J.R.R Tolkien 122

Tolkien's writings use hyperbole language especially in his yet unpublished silmarillion. This is not false, just a style of writing. Over long periods of history tales grow and over time exaggerated characters and beasts become more powerful than they were. Yet even within the text they are often not as mighty as presumed. Often various times you will hear someone was the “greatest” or “tallest” etc.

“Tolkien uses profoundly figurative language – particularly when describing distant events in semi-legendary past.”
-John Garth

I am not saying maia or valar are not of the most powerful beings. My op says

"the valar the strongest beings outside of Eru [God]"

"Valar were the strongest creations by eru"

Originally Posted by Morthoron View Post
But in the 1st Age, Sauron was a lieutenant of a greater Vala, and Saruman and Gandalf were followers of the Valar as well. Galadriel, great as she was, learned much under the tutelage of Melian the Maia, and Master Elrond was a lieutenant as well, not a prince. Even Shelob, as evil and bloated as she was, was merely another of the thousands of offspring of Ungoliant, who rivaled Morgoth himself. And the WitchKing may have filled 3rd Age Men with dread, but on two occasions he fled from a 1st Age Elf-lord like Glorfindel.

You wish to conflate the deeds of 3rd Age folk, while minimizing 1st Age power claiming the use of hyperbole. That is simply not how Tolkien wrote the story.
Agreed as my op says of morgoth

“His might was greatest of all things in this world.”
-of the ruin of Beleriand

However i think he is a great example of why the valar [he being the greatest] are not so far and above all other creatures as my op argues. Some also argue Sauron became stronger with the ring and had more success than morgoth.

Yes galadriel learned from the valar and maia and that is part of her power. Because especially early the maia and valar were the most powerful as they taught the children of eru. However In Valinar the Noldor elves “thirst for more knowledge , and in many things surpassed their teachers” [valar] I would think Galadriel would be such a candidate for this.

Calling Elrond a lieutenant and saying he was weaker goes against you as he was part maia and thus below pure elves. I would suggest it had to do with time of birth, family etc.

You said "Ungoliant, who rivaled Morgoth himself" I will let that speak for itself.

I would say I am doing neither, but trying to understand them as Tolkien did.

“Moreover my father came to conceive the silmarillion as a compilation , a compedious narrative, made long afterwords from sources of great diversity [poems annuals and oral tales] that have survived in tradition”
-Christopher Tolkien Forward to the Silmarillion
“I am a Christian, that fact can be deduced from my stories.”
-J.R.R Tolkien
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