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Old 03-13-2018, 04:54 PM   #11
R.R.J Tolkien
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Great post thanks for taking the time. I hope I clarified my position and I think it will find us much more in agreement.

Originally Posted by Morthoron View Post
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.

I agree and disagree, i think it depends on what is meant by decline. In many ways such as the elves, their was a drastic decline and i agree as my op said. But there was also the emergence of mankind uniting under Aragon and growth.

Let me clarify some. Lets take balrogs. In the first age collectively, they were far more powerful as their numbers were many. The third age they were few and thus far less powerful. However my op is aimed more at individuals such as an third age balrog vs a first age balrog. I accept blame i was not clear. And more to the point, the strength of the legendary creatures and heroes was exaggerated in the mythical/legendary writings of the first two ages.

After thinking about it I guess i am also arguing against more power overall in the first two ages, but i agree there was a decline in this area perhaps not as much as often assumed.

Originally Posted by Morthoron View Post
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.
Very true. cant really argue. but maybe as a counter perhaps something along the lines of Sauromans breeding of the uruk-hai. Saurons improvements of the olog-hai as improved over previous trolls. The hardrim domestication of the mumakil. The rings of power brought into middle earth and used by the like of galadriel. The witch king and the ring wraiths power, 5 wizards sent to ME, gandalf the grey to gandalf the white. the army of the dead put into action. The ents uniting for the attack on isengard. The rise of power in Mordor. Those are a few off the top of my head. Maybe these are not craftsmanship, but they do seem to show a few examples where power seemed to increase or at least reached a higher power in the third age.

Originally Posted by Morthoron View Post
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.

I agree and once more an generally speaking of individuals more than a total power. However what you have rightly pointed out above fits my view still. Take Moria, yes the great dwarven city was gone, however it was know a power of the followers of melkor and the balrog. So while the dwarves morn, any orc passing by would celebrate the rise of the power of moria for the evil side. Yes the hobbit contains lost power, however the book is on the restoration of that power to the dwarves and men of lake town that can now flourish. And yes the men of gondor nd arnor were in a big decline, but they are restored [at least gondor] under aragorn.

Originally Posted by Morthoron View Post
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.
True, but dont forget the Numenoreans could have taken valar and had to be stopped by Eru himself. One of my points was that the valar and maiar are not as epic as sometimes portrayed. I think we see that in the war of wrath as i pointed out in my op. The valar needed rescuing in the battle. On the other side it was the dragons that were most fierce in battle.

Originally Posted by Morthoron View Post
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.

I agree fully with the historical downfall of the men of numenor [and there return under aragorn in many ways] I think you might have misunderstood hyperbole as used in my op. The sil and its events are generally historical and true. However simply exaggerated in some areas yet based on truth.

Originally Posted by Morthoron View Post
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.”

Once more I think you might not object much to my op with a different understanding of what i meant by hyperbole. It only applied to small sections that were based on historical events. For example my biblical argument. The conquest was a historical narrative, yet in the war literature of its day it used hyperbole at times describing the events "all killed" "men woman children" etc these were hyperbole statements used in the standard language of the day describing historical events.
“I am a Christian, that fact can be deduced from my stories.”
-J.R.R Tolkien

Last edited by R.R.J Tolkien; 03-13-2018 at 05:08 PM.
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