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Old 03-29-2017, 02:28 AM   #41
Legate of Amon Lanc
A Voice That Gainsayeth
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Legate of Amon Lanc has passed beneath the Argonath.Legate of Amon Lanc has passed beneath the Argonath.Legate of Amon Lanc has passed beneath the Argonath.Legate of Amon Lanc has passed beneath the Argonath.Legate of Amon Lanc has passed beneath the Argonath.Legate of Amon Lanc has passed beneath the Argonath.

Originally Posted by Leaf View Post
Since this thread has already been resurrected, I might as well add my two cents on the original subject matter.

Back in 2004, the user Gorwingel offered an interesting interpretation:

The observation that not all of the ever so powerful entities in the middle-earth mythos do indeed fall, seems important to me. We encounter many instances of supremely powerful beings that don't get corrupted and twisted. First and formeost there's Manwë and the rest of the Valar. They may err at times but they ultimately stay true to their path. The same can be said for less powerful beings like Gandalf or Galadriel. They key difference between those characters and evil characters lies in the willingness to oblige to their preordained roles in the cosmic plan. This difference in attitude marks a certain breaking point: Melkor, Sauron, Saruman, the Númenóreans, and so forth, all of them went astray in ther desire for things that were beyond their stature and standing. This insight bears the quiet depressing notion that everything and everyone ought to stay right where they belong, or else...!

I think this is why these fallen characters are able to claim a somewhat rebellious and free-spirited appearance for themselves which consistently attracts an entourage of less powerful but like-minded mortals. And this claim isn't solely a lie or a ruse to catch some minions. Its plausibility rests on the fact that it can be quite scarry to surrender one's own fortune and wellbeing to a largely unknown and vague but indisputable cosmic plan.
This is a good point, even though for example as far as those flocking to Sauron, Morgoth or Saruman as minions would not for most part think of themselves as "oh, I am going to join this one so that I can be in control of my own destiny". (That is, even setting aside the fact that it is always the way to make sure their destiny is controlled by someone else.) Take the Dunlendings, probably the best example of originally "free" people joining Saruman simply under the pretext of getting "what is their due".

It's the motivation that is the key in here, and where the "fallen ones" always miss the mark: the fall always depends on why you are trying to do what you do, not what. When Elven or Dwarven smiths make things of beauty for the purpose of beauty alone, it is fine. But when the purpose of control sneaks into it (and it is very subtle), that already ruins the deed.

So if Noldor or Númenorean kings or whoever try to be "rebellious", but what they actually mean is usurping power or domain over something for themselves in one way or another, that is already a fall.

And not every deviation from the perceived "plan" means fall. I think there is one nice positive example: Aulë and his creation of Dwarves. It was also a "rebellion" - in this way, any "invention" is a rebellion. However, Ilúvatar approved of this rebellion exactly because Aulë didn't make the Dwarves to exert his control over something (which he showed not only by words, but by action in his willingness to let go of the thing he just had created - which he, at that point, still thought was just a "thing", an object he could claim ownership of).

The Music of the Ainur, too, is actually from its own logic innovative and inventive, and on top of it, even it is not the final border for what can or cannot be done, because new things arise in Arda in every Age, things which weren't perceived by the Ainur.

But that said, and to return a bit closer to the original topic of the thread, I think there might be something about the desire for power and the structures that are built with the aim to dominate others that they are doomed to fail. I think that might be a kind of inherent "law" of the world, if you will. If you build, make or do something with the desire to dominate, it is a fall, and it is also going to fall apart, eventually. If you do it with a good aim, without the aim to control, it will last.

Lord of the Rings is all about power, and the whole story of Arda just as well. That's why the Ring is the cutting edge, and that's why Ring would be a kind of "exception to the rule" to what I just said about intention being the criterion for whether your deed is "a fall" (and thus destined to fall) or not. Because we know that everything done with the Ring is going to fall (even if you are Samwise the Strong and use the Ring to make Mordor a garden, or become Galadriel the Great Unitor and bring people together with the Ring), and I believe that is because the Ring itself is Power, sort of "Power made flesh" (resp. "Power made gold"). That's why everything you do with the Ring is "a fall", because everything you do using (coercive) power is "a fall", and the Ring is (coercive) power made solid. And that is also why, once the "power" - the Ring - is destroyed, all the structures (Barad-Dur, Mordor, Sauron's current body, the powers that keep the Nazgul "alive" etc) break as well.
"But it is not your own Shire," said Gildor. "Others dwelt here before hobbits were; and others will dwell here again when hobbits are no more. The wide world is all about you: you can fence yourselves in, but you cannot for ever fence it out."
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