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Old 08-19-2002, 11:42 AM   #1
Merri
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Question Interpretation of The Gray Havens

What's your interpretation of The Gray Havens? I think it's Tolkien's take on death and the after life . . . but then part of me insists that Frodo never really dies.
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Old 08-19-2002, 12:56 PM   #2
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I picture the Grey Havens as a port and not much more.
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Old 08-19-2002, 02:46 PM   #3
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I always thought that Frodo kind of died, and he does, no one in ME ever sees him again. He was going there until all of his hurts were healed. From the sounds of that he is going somewere else after he is better. Only elves are imortal, and I think that it doesn't change no matter where they live, only elves will live forever. Does anyone else have more proof?

Oh, one more thing, Frodo DOES stilll live, in the books, in our memories and the memories of his friends.

[ August 19, 2002: Message edited by: Arwen Imladris ]
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Old 08-19-2002, 03:00 PM   #4
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Tolkien

I think of it as Tolkiens own heaven.

As for Frodo, I kinda thought he never died either, but I don't really have anything to back that idea up.
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Old 08-19-2002, 03:53 PM   #5
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All right, lets get some things straight. The Grey Havens is the point where elves go to sail into the west to return to Valinor. Only elves have the right to pass into the west, all other races will get lost and never make it. However, an exception was made for the ring bearers of the one ring. so that is why Frodo and Bilbo went to the Grey Havens to sail into the west. They were completely alive when they went there. Did going to the undying lands make them Immortal? no. they lived the rest of their lives in Valinor and died there as well.

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Old 08-19-2002, 04:25 PM   #6
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RE: All right, lets get some things straight...


Close, but no cigar. Gimli also is allowed into Valinor, very likely at the intercession of Galadriel and Gandalf.

Frodo and Bilbo are allowed into Valinor to heal their souls before going to wherever Men go after death. They did eventually die, as all men must.
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Old 08-19-2002, 04:35 PM   #7
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all right, lets get some things straight FOR REAL. Bilbo and Frodo never actually went all the way to Valinor, they went to the island just off of the main continent named Tol Eresea. And I believe that you are right about Gimili, though he didn't go with Bilbo and Frodo, he must have gone at a different time.

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Old 08-19-2002, 04:40 PM   #8
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Legolas built the boat, took Gimli aboard and sailed down the Great River for Valinor.
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Old 09-12-2002, 08:37 AM   #9
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Eye

I also read some where that Sam left M-E for Tol Eressa, but it said that know one new if he ever made it.

Please correct me if I'm wrong!

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Old 09-12-2002, 03:43 PM   #10
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Samwise Gamgee passed over the sea in the year 61 of the fourth age right after his wife Rosie died. Do not be confused...not all hobbits passed over the sea to the undying lands, but sam was allowed to because he still carried the ring for a short while back in Mordor.

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Old 09-17-2002, 02:01 PM   #11
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Sting

The first time I read LOTR, I was eleven or twelve. I cried and cried when it was over. I couldn't believe Frodo had abandoned Sam like that. I couldn't believe Gandalf and Bilbo were gone. Only after I had a look at the Appendices I realised Sam would eventually meet Frodo again one day. And after reading the Silmarillion, I had a better idea of what Valinor was.
Valinor does not seem like a heaven to me. It is a place. You don't have to die to go there. To me, it's more real than that.
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Old 09-17-2002, 08:42 PM   #12
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Yeah, Valinor is not "Heaven". It is the land of the elves. No living things go to Valinor when they die. The only place we know of that holds the dead is the Hall of Mandos, which is where slain elves go.

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Old 09-18-2002, 10:35 AM   #13
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I always considered the grey havens as a port with lots of buildings eroded by waves .
with a long dock streching out into the gulf .
[img]smilies/wink.gif[/img] [img]smilies/wink.gif[/img]
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Old 09-18-2002, 02:41 PM   #14
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I just pictured the Grey Havens as a vast land over a huge sea where new creatures dwell,good and evil [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img] I cried when the i had read the whole series [img]smilies/frown.gif[/img]
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Old 09-18-2002, 04:21 PM   #15
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Sting

I saw it as a desolate place, a reminder of greater years.
I think it was sparsely populated, if populated at all, except for Cirdan and whatever helpers he had there. And Cirdan was only really dwelling there in anticipation for Gandalf's, Elrond's and Galadriel's passage to the West. I pictured it as grey (duh), a gloomy place with a long pier jutting out to sea with crappy weather and not a great deal of buildings or architecture. I imagine that the Ringbearer's ship had sat there for many years, and in these years there was little activity at the Havens, except for departing Elves, the numbers of whom would diminish with each year.

And I reckon Cirdan was just really bored waiting for their arses to get on the boat, so he could get the full low-down, and that the place was only kept active and alive because of this last instrumental passage.
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Old 10-18-2002, 07:25 PM   #16
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Sting

My interpretation is where the elves and men origionally came from, beyond the seas for at the end:
And the ship went into the High Sea and passed the West, until at last on a night of rain Frodo smelled a sweet fragrance on the air and heard the sound of singing that came over the water. And then it seemed to him that as in his dream in the house of Bombadil, the grey rain-curtain turned all to silver glass and was rolled back, and he beheldwhite shores and beyond them a far green country under a swift sunrise.

I think it's this was because elves do not die, when Arwen died (see Appendix) nothing was mentioned about the Grey Haven and Sam was able to reach, and later on (somewhere in the appendix) it said something about Gimili and Legolas coing back after the built a boat. I'm a bit lost, but that is all the infromaton I've gathered.
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Old 10-19-2002, 05:03 AM   #17
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Tolkien

I cried when I thought Frodo had left Sam too, and since it took me awhile before I started to read the appendices, I was certain that they never met again. After finding out that Sam, Legolas and Gimli actually did leave ME, I started crying again. (Of joy this time, hehe)
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Old 10-19-2002, 07:30 AM   #18
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I belive that is sort of like an eternal saturday, if you think of it like that, no work, only the peaceful crashing of waves upon the sand in a place so very disconnected from Middle Earth.
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Old 10-19-2002, 07:40 PM   #19
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Well, I'm pretty new to Tolkien, ME, and LOTR, but I would like to put in my opinion here. [img]smilies/tongue.gif[/img] I think of the Grey Havens sort of like a port, but not exactly. It's at the edge of the woods, with the water going out into the mist. It's foggy there, And you see the ship coming up like a shadow through the fog. AS far as what happens once you get, there... I think of it like Heaven. Elves are immortal, but that means they don't age, and can only die from a few things. I'm going to Heaven, but that doesn't make me immortal, although once I get to Heaven I will not die. Then again, maybe that does make me immortal.... [img]smilies/biggrin.gif[/img]
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Old 10-20-2002, 06:55 PM   #20
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It's silly, but the first time I read LotR I merely cnfused HAVENS and HEAVENS. At that point I wasn't probably paying attention. It didn't make any sense and yet it did. (Well, this doesn't make any sence
[img]smilies/frown.gif[/img] )
I understood the mistake long ago, but yetI can't help picturing the place as obscure and misty, already beyond M-E
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Old 10-20-2002, 09:28 PM   #21
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yeah
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Old 03-26-2014, 07:04 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gwindor View Post
Bilbo and Frodo never actually went all the way to Valinor, they went to the island just off of the main continent named Tol Eresea.
I have wondered about something here. Bilbo, Gimli and Sam, all being mortals are allowed to sail across the Sea without any Jewel like Frodo. What was the need of that Jewel that Arwen gave him? He could have gone there without the jewel too. Does that indicate that Frodo, among all the Mortals, is allowed to go to Valinor too?
Was there any other importance it, Arwen's gem's, or just a "ticket" for Frodo, while others went without any ticket?
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Old 03-26-2014, 02:16 PM   #23
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Originally posted by Lotrelf:
Quote:
Was there any other importance it, Arwen's gem's
I've often wondered about this gem. There seems no indication that it was special in any way, except that it was a gift from Arwen. However, I recall that one of the times that Frodo became ill he was found fingering the gem around his neck and saying something like, "It is gone forever." or something like that (sorry, I can't look it up. My books are currently in a storage bin 1100 miles away.) This incident made me wonder if perhaps Arwen, who spent a lot of time in her youth in Lorien, with Galadriel, no doubt learning the arts that Galadriel could teach, had imbued this gem with some small magic, similar to the three Rings, or the Phial? Perhaps it gave its wearer a memory of happier times, to help give them strength through difficulties. It may have been nothing more than a gift from Arwen to Frodo, but the scene when he is sick just makes me think it may have been something more.
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Old 03-26-2014, 04:30 PM   #24
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I feel sure I've read something more in depth regarding the gem, either from CT or from unpublished writings. I can't think of anything specific, though.

My thought therefore would be that the jewel had more of a symbolic purpose than one of actual power. Arwen's words to Frodo upon giving to him were:

Quote:
'If your hurts grieve you still and the memory of your burden is heavy, then you may pass into the West, until all your wounds and weariness are healed. But wear this now in memory of Elfstone and Evenstar with whom your life has been woven!'
And she took a white gem like a star....and she set the chain about Frodo's neck.'When the memory of the fear and the darkness troubles you,' she said, 'this will bring you aid.'
ROTK Many Partings

Perhaps the gem was first, a token that Frodo was allowed to take Arwen's place aboard ship with Elrond. But before that could occur, if Frodo felt too oppressed by his memories and experiences, the gem was a symbol of hope for the future: a reminder that there was a place he could go, and be at peace.
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Old 03-26-2014, 08:51 PM   #25
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Yes, he says something like, "it is gone forever, and all is dark and empty." What does this "it" refer to? Ring? May be. But, I'd read somewhere "it" may refer to a "light." This is why he feels "darkness and emptiness," and the Gem aids him in that darkness and emptiness providing him the light.
But, while giving the gem, Arwen had said something like "in my place you'll go" and, IIRC, Professor Tolkien also says somewhere that it was a ticket for Frodo. Wouldn't she have gone to Valinor too, so her jewel might be for that?
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Old 03-28-2014, 06:55 AM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lotrelf View Post
Yes, he says something like, "it is gone forever, and all is dark and empty." What does this "it" refer to? Ring?
I would certainly say it was the Ring which gave Frodo that sense of loss. He was holding the gem when he said that, and I think he was doing so to give himself strength to get through that 'episode" with hope for his future over the Sea.

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Originally Posted by Lotrelf View Post
But, while giving the gem, Arwen had said something like "in my place you'll go" and, IIRC, Professor Tolkien also says somewhere that it was a ticket for Frodo. Wouldn't she have gone to Valinor too, so her jewel might be for that?
Arwen, of course, did not need the gem to board a ship. It might have been a symbol of her simple wish that Frodo could go in her place.

Something else occurred to me about your earlier observation that only Frodo bore a gem, Lotrelf. The Phial of Galadriel could look more like a 'ticket', actually, than the gem. It held the light of Eärendil's star, and that light was the last thing Sam saw of the ship as it passed into the West. Since the Silmaril was what allowed Eärendil to make it to Valnor, and later the Star of Eärendil guided the Edain to Númenor, I've always thought it especially fitting that imprisoned light from that star (a by-proxy Silmaril) was so prominent to viewers as Frodo's ship sailed.
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Old 03-28-2014, 01:25 PM   #27
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No, actually Tolkien explicitly denied that the Gem was a "ticket" or that Arwen could simply "give her place on the boat" to Frodo. Its purpose, as mentioned above, was as a symbol and token of hope that Frodo could cling to in his dark moments, a reminder that there was a Way Out. The exception to The Rules by which Bilbo and Frodo were permitted into the West- something granted previously to no other mortals, ever, except possiby Tuor and in his case if the legend was true he was 'converted' to an Elf - had to be granted by Authority; in this case the Authority was the Maia Olorin, as Tolkien said Manwe's plenipotentiary in Middle-earth, who also went with them on the ship so there wouldn't have been any holdup with Customs....

Bilbo and Frodo, and later Sam (and perhaps Gimli) didn't go to live in Valinor proper (which as Tolkien points out would be unendurable torment for a mortal), but on Tol Eressea, Elvenhome, an 'undying' land which yet had something of Middle-earth about it, a place where returned Elves felt more at home. This was not permanent. Hobbits did not gain "immortality" from being in the Undying Lands any more than Ar-Pharazon could have. It was conceived by Tolkien as a place of rest and healing, before in their own time they accepted the Gift of Men, much as Aragorn eventually did.
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Old 03-28-2014, 02:55 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by William Cloud Hicklin View Post
No, actually Tolkien explicitly denied that the Gem was a "ticket" or that Arwen could simply "give her place on the boat" to Frodo. Its purpose, as mentioned above, was as a symbol and token of hope that Frodo could cling to in his dark moments, a reminder that there was a Way Out. The exception to The Rules by which Bilbo and Frodo were permitted into the West- something granted previously to no other mortals, ever, except possiby Tuor and in his case if the legend was true he was 'converted' to an Elf - had to be granted by Authority; in this case the Authority was the Maia Olorin, as Tolkien said Manwe's plenipotentiary in Middle-earth, who also went with them on the ship so there wouldn't have been any holdup with Customs....

Bilbo and Frodo, and later Sam (and perhaps Gimli) didn't go to live in Valinor proper (which as Tolkien points out would be unendurable torment for a mortal), but on Tol Eressea, Elvenhome, an 'undying' land which yet had something of Middle-earth about it, a place where returned Elves felt more at home. This was not permanent. Hobbits did not gain "immortality" from being in the Undying Lands any more than Ar-Pharazon could have. It was conceived by Tolkien as a place of rest and healing, before in their own time they accepted the Gift of Men, much as Aragorn eventually did.
Perfectly summed up. Will just add letter which your information comes from.

"It is not made explicit how she could arrange this. She could not of course just transfer her ticket on the boat like that! For any except those of Elvish race 'sailing West' was not permitted, and any exception required 'authority', and
she was not in direct communication with the Valar, especially not since her choice to become 'mortal'. What is meant is that it was Arwen who first thought of sending Frodo into the West, and put in a plea for him to Gandalf (direct or through Galadriel, or both), and she used her own renunciation of the right to go West as an argument. Her renunciation and suffering were related to and enmeshed with Frodo's : both were parts of a plan for the regeneration of the state of Men. Her prayer might therefore be specially effective, and her plan have a certain equity of exchange. No doubt it was Gandalf who was the authority that accepted her plea. "
-Letter 246
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