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Old 07-08-2016, 10:36 PM   #67
Join Date: Jun 2016
Posts: 144
Marwhini has just left Hobbiton.
Originally Posted by Zigūr View Post
Perhaps. Allow me, if you will, to approach it from another direction.

In Letter 175, Professor Tolkien says that Willowman is not "an ally of Mordor" and is not "in league with the Devil".

Now if we argue that Mordor is "in league with the Devil", ie Morgoth, surely that can only really be true in a fairly abstract sense; Morgoth was expelled into the Void over a thousand years before Sauron founded his realm in Mordor, so surely Mordor cannot really be "in league" with Morgoth in a personal sense. It might be "in league with the Devil", meaning in this case Morgoth, in the sense that it is the primary stronghold of evil at the time Professor Tolkien is talking about, and Melkor-Morgoth is the originator of evil.

Surely by that logic, Willowman is also "in league with the Devil" because he is an evil being as well, or at least a malevolent and malicious one, "hostile to men and hobbits", and as Melkor-Morgoth is the originator of evil, Willowman is just as much "in league with the Devil" as Mordor is; ie, only rather indirectly.

But if Willowman is neither "an ally of Mordor" nor "in league with the Devil", surely then "the Devil" cannot mean Morgoth.

Then again, maybe I'm making Willowman out to be more evil than he actually was, and thus he is not "in league with the Devil" while Mordor is. But to me I feel the implication is that if being "an ally of Mordor" means being "in league with the Devil", in the context of that letter "the Devil" is a figure of speech referring to Sauron as the "incarnation of evil" of that time, or at least more generally referring to "the chief evil of that time" (which at that time happened to be Sauron).

At any rate, this thread has spiralled wildly off topic, and it's partly my fault, for which I apologise.
I guess my question would be:

Can there be TWO "Devils" in a world which is supposed to be somewhat representational of an Idealized (And I don't mean "Ideal" as in "perfect," I mean "Idealized" as in "someone's romanticized") Mythological Christian Universe?

But I suppose this tangent has run as far as it needs.

I understand the basic inference, but have lost track of where the original thread was going at this point...

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