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Old 04-13-2019, 03:08 AM   #1
Urwen
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Tidbits of Curiosity

So here's the deal. Rather than making a separate thread for each random/silly question I might have, I'll put all of my question here.


Now, for my first question: Did Maeglin really deserve to die?
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Old 04-13-2019, 05:50 AM   #2
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Now, for my first question: Did Maeglin really deserve to die?
Shall we quote Gandalf about the dangers of passing judgement on who deserves death?

In seriousness, though, whatever his reasons Maeglin did betray his entire city to Morgoth. He got captured going against the law, he gave away the location of Gondolin not for fear or pain but for greed, and it wouldn't be unreasonable that national treason of such scale be rewarded death. Such a betrayal is not justified by personal quarrel. He gave up the entire city, the city that was said to be the hope of Elvenkind, the only thing Morgoth couldn't find or control, a whole freaking Elven kingdom - knowingly and willingly! It's a tad different from Gorlim who also betrayed companions for personal reasons, but he was tricked and unwilling. I guess grief is also a more sympathetic feeling than lust.

Good idea for a small question chatroom-like thread!
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Old 04-13-2019, 05:54 AM   #3
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So you believe he did deserve it?
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Old 04-13-2019, 06:55 AM   #4
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So you believe he did deserve it?
Why not ask the other way around: what do you think did he deserve? What could have gone differently so that he lived? Or maybe died differently? So - do you think he deserved a different end?
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Old 04-13-2019, 07:02 AM   #5
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Well, if you asked me, they were bound to notice he was missing, so they should have searched for him. Maybe the whole thing could have been averted if they did.


And he was not merely one of the multitudes either. He was practically royalty, and quite possibly the heir to the city (There was no law that allowed women to inherit at the time). So there was no reason not to look for him.


Furthermore, if they had organized a search-and-rescue operation, they could have healed him from the physical/mental wounds. And they could have helped him overcome his lust as well.


The whole thing reeks of neglect to me.
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Old 04-13-2019, 11:16 AM   #6
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Taking the 1917 Fall of Gondolin as my source, I can at least say that Maeglin - Meglin, at that point - deserved to die at the time he was killed: he was busy trying to abduct Idril and murder Earendil at the time. In a war, killing someone who is attacking you is fairly acceptable.

As a more general 'was M[a]eglin irredemable', I think the 1917 text gives a fairly firm yes to that, too. There's no indication that he was lost for a long time: he goes to the hills, wanders off into the mountains, gets captured by Orcs, and almost immediately says 'Hey, I'm the prince of Gondolin and I can tell you how to destroy it' (he says this to his captors, not to Morgoth or any higher-ups; all indications are that he just launched straight into high treason). He was also sent home 'lest at his absence men suspect somewhat'; that implies that in the events that actually occurred, he wasn't gone over-long.

How do the other versions of the tale match up? (I'm just working through the Fall of Gondolin standalone here.) The Sketch of the Mythology tells us that he went 'far afield' over the mountains, and only betrays Gondolin in Angband - though his lust for Idril and hatred for Tuor make it easier for him. Tuor still rescues his family from Maeglin and kills him.

The Quenta Noldorinwa informs us that Maeglin 'purposed to possess' Idril, and in this case his getting lost is because he 'went with few of his folk beyond the leaguer of the hills, though the king knew not that his bidding was defied'. It seems that Maeglin was prone to going off on long mining expeditions; there was no way for people to know that this time he'd gotten lost.

However, this time it's threat of torture that leads to his betrayal... but he's also explicitly tasked with helping the invasion from the inside. Yet again Tuor has to rescue his family, and this time Maeglin's death seems to be from falling over the wall during a fight.

And that's... it, as far as the source texts go (Of Tuor &c never got that far). From all the evidence, I would say that:

-Maeglin was super creepy about Idril. Admittedly that isn't a capital crime.
-No-one had reason to believe he had been captured; he was just off on another long mining trip.
-He was probably breaking the law of the city already on those trips.
-He wasn't tortured into revealing the secrets of Gondolin, but gave them up in return for his safety and great rewards (usually rule of the city + Idril).
-At his death, he was actively attacking Idril and Earendil; Tuor's actions were in defense of his family.

I'm going to say yes, based on everything we know, he deserved to die.

hS
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Old 04-13-2019, 11:21 AM   #7
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I concur.


I confess I'm rather attached to him for some reason......


(I had a picture of him hanged on my bedroom wall for a while, can you believe that?)
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Old 04-13-2019, 12:25 PM   #8
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Anyway, this brings me to my next question. There are some theories that his fall didn't kill him at all. What do you think?
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Old 04-13-2019, 01:35 PM   #9
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Anyway, this brings me to my next question. There are some theories that his fall didn't kill him at all. What do you think?
"Great was the fall of his body, and it smote Amon Gwareth three times ere it pitched in the midmost of the flames."

You're right that it doesn't actually say that he dies (just that his name has 'gone out in shame'). But, I mean... that sounds pretty deadly.

It is possible that Elven toughness plus cleverly-wrought mail might protect someone against a short fall (as Frodo's mithril protected him against a spear-thrust), so the question becomes: how tall are the walls of Gondolin, and how tall is Amon Gwareth?

The FoG tells us that Tuor and Voronwe reached the bottom of the stairs 'after a day's light march', and that they reached top at 'the last sunlight'. We know it's a long stair, but how long?

Perhaps it's easier to come at this the other way: if Maeglin struck the rock three times, that makes for four impacts total. Assuming he comes to a complete vertical halt each time, and assuming all four impacts are evenly spaced, how far can each fall be before an impact is unsurvivable?

A quick Google turns up the fact that 90% of 80-foot falls are fatal to humans. Under Earth's gravity, that's about a 2-second drop, at which point you'll be moving at about 40 mph. (That ties in with how dangerous a 40mph car crash is to a pedestrian.) If we assume that 4 such impacts would kill even an elf, we end up with a maximum survivable height of Gondolin plus Amon Gwareth of 320 ft. That's significantly shorter than a large cathedral; Amon Gwareth would hardly be worth mentioning if it were that small! So the hill must be taller, the falls lomger, the impacts harder... yeah, I don't think Maeglin's coming out of this one alive.

hS
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Old 04-13-2019, 01:49 PM   #10
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You're very thorough.....I like it.


In fact, part of the reason I made this was so I could discuss things with you.


I am also curious about what sort of punishment he'd get. There aren't many details about the punishments in Halls of Mandos, so I'd like you to tackle this one.


This is my last question regarding him, at least for now. I might throw some additional ones later, should they spring to mind.


P.S: Recent comments have made me change my signature.
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Old 04-13-2019, 02:51 PM   #11
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"Great was the fall of his body, and it smote Amon Gwareth three times ere it pitched in the midmost of the flames."

You're right that it doesn't actually say that he dies (just that his name has 'gone out in shame'). But, I mean... that sounds pretty deadly.

It is possible that Elven toughness plus cleverly-wrought mail might protect someone against a short fall (as Frodo's mithril protected him against a spear-thrust), so the question becomes: how tall are the walls of Gondolin, and how tall is Amon Gwareth?

The FoG tells us that Tuor and Voronwe reached the bottom of the stairs 'after a day's light march', and that they reached top at 'the last sunlight'. We know it's a long stair, but how long?

Perhaps it's easier to come at this the other way: if Maeglin struck the rock three times, that makes for four impacts total. Assuming he comes to a complete vertical halt each time, and assuming all four impacts are evenly spaced, how far can each fall be before an impact is unsurvivable?

A quick Google turns up the fact that 90% of 80-foot falls are fatal to humans. Under Earth's gravity, that's about a 2-second drop, at which point you'll be moving at about 40 mph. (That ties in with how dangerous a 40mph car crash is to a pedestrian.) If we assume that 4 such impacts would kill even an elf, we end up with a maximum survivable height of Gondolin plus Amon Gwareth of 320 ft. That's significantly shorter than a large cathedral; Amon Gwareth would hardly be worth mentioning if it were that small! So the hill must be taller, the falls lomger, the impacts harder... yeah, I don't think Maeglin's coming out of this one alive.

hS
Who thinks of what, but the medical student in me wants to assess the extent to which the Elves' health and biological resilience applied to internal organ damage...
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Old 04-13-2019, 03:06 PM   #12
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Who thinks of what, but the medical student in me wants to assess the extent to which the Elves' health and biological resilience applied to internal organ damage...

You ain't experimenting on Maeglin, or on la familia. Or on any of my favorites. Not for as long as I stand.
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Old 04-13-2019, 03:33 PM   #13
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Who thinks of what, but the medical student in me wants to assess the extent to which the Elves' health and biological resilience applied to internal organ damage...
Do it! I'm not sure what the best evidence regarding blunt-force trauma is... Fingolfin's duel with Morgoth, maybe?

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You're very thorough.....I like it.

In fact, part of the reason I made this was so I could discuss things with you.
Well, I'm always happy to talk... the only problem is sorting my wild theorising from the facts!

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I am also curious about what sort of punishment he'd get. There aren't many details about the punishments in Halls of Mandos, so I'd like you to tackle this one.
Hmm... punishment? You're right that the Silm doesn't go i to the details of the Halls much, but BoLT tells us a lot more:

"There Mandos spake their doom, and there they waited in the darkness, dreaming of their past deeds, until such time as he appointed when they might again... go forth to laugh and sing again."

There's no word here of punishment, except in the length of their stay; it's widely asserted that Feanor is never getting out, but the Silm tells us that Finrod left very quickly. That's Mandos' judgement: how long you have to stay there.

The Prophecy of Mandos confirms that this is actually a punishment, in the Silm: "There long shall ye abide and yearn for your bodies, and find little pity though all whom ye have slain should entreat for you." But the implication seems to be that the only direct punitive action is locking you up with your memories of what you did - unfiltered, one assumes, by the delusions of righteousness we create in life.

Interestingly, there is punishment of the dead in BoLT - but only of Men. Fui, who's kind of a dark fusion of Vaire and Nienna, judges them in her hall that's even grimmer than Mandos. Some she sends on to Mandos (for reasons unspecified), some get to go live in Valmar, most she sends down to camp on the plains of Arvalin until the End of Days - but some she straight up kicks back over the mountains to be captured by Melkor.

Fortunately, this whole idea was entirely rejected by the time of the Silm; but Mandos as a place of waiting and reflection seems to have remained.

One idea I haven't been able to source tonight is that some Elven shades might never reach Mandos, but be captured by Morgoth. I know I've seen it bandied about; if it holds true in the later canon, then the only named defector to Morgoth would probably be a good candidate - and we can assume that the Dark Lord wouldn't be inclined to treat his new toy gently...

hS
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Old 04-13-2019, 03:41 PM   #14
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You ain't experimenting on Maeglin, or on la familia. Or on any of my favorites. Not for as long as I stand.
Needs no experiment, just an ultrasound machine after his fall...

Occasionally my brain runs on autopilot down familiar tracts, and I end up in weird places. Like I may start wondering how quickly Hurin's kidney function would tank if Morgoth didn't let him drink, and I have to remind myself that creatinine clearance doesn't apply to humans who are magically put into a state of trance-like existence for many many years. Or I read about the Houses of Healing and start debating which patient is the most acidotic, and remind myself that the Black Breath is not supposed to be explicable by physiology to begin with. In some stories it's fun to diagnose the characters, but Tolkien's books are not meant for that.

But what I wonder about most in the fantasy universes is how the heart functions are split between the two Time Lord hearts, how the cardiovascular system is connected, and how electrical activity and contractility are coordinated. This is not just my brain reacting to trigger words, this is a legitimate question. Does no one else wonder what the two-heart physiology is like?
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Old 04-13-2019, 03:45 PM   #15
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Do it! I'm not sure what the best evidence regarding blunt-force trauma is... Fingolfin's duel with Morgoth, maybe?



Well, I'm always happy to talk... the only problem is sorting my wild theorising from the facts!



Hmm... punishment? You're right that the Silm doesn't go i to the details of the Halls much, but BoLT tells us a lot more:

"There Mandos spake their doom, and there they waited in the darkness, dreaming of their past deeds, until such time as he appointed when they might again... go forth to laugh and sing again."

There's no word here of punishment, except in the length of their stay; it's widely asserted that Feanor is never getting out, but the Silm tells us that Finrod left very quickly. That's Mandos' judgement: how long you have to stay there.

The Prophecy of Mandos confirms that this is actually a punishment, in the Silm: "There long shall ye abide and yearn for your bodies, and find little pity though all whom ye have slain should entreat for you." But the implication seems to be that the only direct punitive action is locking you up with your memories of what you did - unfiltered, one assumes, by the delusions of righteousness we create in life.

Interestingly, there is punishment of the dead in BoLT - but only of Men. Fui, who's kind of a dark fusion of Vaire and Nienna, judges them in her hall that's even grimmer than Mandos. Some she sends on to Mandos (for reasons unspecified), some get to go live in Valmar, most she sends down to camp on the plains of Arvalin until the End of Days - but some she straight up kicks back over the mountains to be captured by Melkor.

Fortunately, this whole idea was entirely rejected by the time of the Silm; but Mandos as a place of waiting and reflection seems to have remained.

One idea I haven't been able to source tonight is that some Elven shades might never reach Mandos, but be captured by Morgoth. I know I've seen it bandied about; if it holds true in the later canon, then the only named defector to Morgoth would probably be a good candidate - and we can assume that the Dark Lord wouldn't be inclined to treat his new toy gently...

hS

A certain fanfiction writer posited that dead souls can be counter-summoned by Morgoth to do his bidding. What if he did that with Maeglin?


Oh, and also, I think that if there were psychiatrists in middle Earth, several individuals could have benefit from them (Turin, Nienor, Maeglin etc)


Most notably Turin, for obvious reasons.
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Old 04-13-2019, 03:49 PM   #16
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the only named defector to Morgoth would probably be a good candidate - and we can assume that the Dark Lord wouldn't be inclined to treat his new toy gently...

hS

Who are you referring to here?
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Old 04-13-2019, 03:58 PM   #17
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A certain fanfiction writer posited that dead souls can be counter-summoned by Morgoth to do his bidding. What if he did that with Maeglin?
What kind of bidding are we talking about? What can a soul actually do?

But generally I don't think Maeglin would be very happy about it. He might demand some favours in repayment for his betrayal though.


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Oh, and also, I think that if there were psychiatrists in middle Earth, several individuals could have benefit from them (Turin, Nienor, Maeglin etc)
Put Morwen on some antidepressants, for god's sake!
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Old 04-13-2019, 04:04 PM   #18
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I dunno, but I suppose that's who Huin was talking about in his latest post. There are plenty of individuals who defected to Morgoth - Ulfang, Uldor and their Easterlings, for example - but he talked about Elves beforehand. And there is only one known elf that defected to Morgoth.


(P.S. You two should really try a hand at my latest password.)
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Old 04-13-2019, 04:08 PM   #19
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Who are you referring to here?
Sorry, yes, I meant 'only elf', ie, Maeglin.

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Put Morwen on some antidepressants, for god's sake!
Ai, Morwen... her death is so depressing. "Hey, husband - our kids are dead, so I may as well give up. How's you?"

I hope Nienna had a nice sympathetic chat with that entire house before Mandos sent them on their way.

hS
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Old 04-13-2019, 04:15 PM   #20
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Sorry, yes, I meant 'only elf', ie, Maeglin.

That is....a rather disturbing spin on the whole thing. Also, I suppose that this is also your answer to this question


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A certain fanfiction writer posited that dead souls can be counter-summoned by Morgoth to do his bidding. What if he did that with Maeglin?

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Old 04-13-2019, 04:16 PM   #21
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Ai, Morwen... her death is so depressing. "Hey, husband - our kids are dead, so I may as well give up. How's you?"
I was thinking more about "My younger child died of illness so I'm just gonna neglect the older one".

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I hope Nienna had a nice sympathetic chat with that entire house before Mandos sent them on their way.
Grief counselling is a thing... Seriously though, that family just has an abnormal share of terrible things happen to them. I would like to see Nienna and Mandos make some extra effort with them.
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Old 04-13-2019, 04:24 PM   #22
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I was thinking more about "My younger child died of illness so I'm just gonna neglect the older one".



Grief counselling is a thing... Seriously though, that family just has an abnormal share of terrible things happen to them. I would like to see Nienna and Mandos make some extra effort with them.

But none of la familia ended up in Mandos, so I doubt that they're under jurisdiction of those two.
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Old 04-13-2019, 04:37 PM   #23
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But none of la familia ended up in Mandos, so I doubt that they're under jurisdiction of those two.
A little kindness wouldn't hurt.

The Valar kind of gave Men the short end of the stick. Elves got the attention, and the guidance, and a cozy corner in the house; it was their choice to do what they did. Men never had so much love or such a choice. Their fate is not bound to this world so what, the Valar have no responsibility for them? They get stuck with Morgoth and just have to deal with it. House of Hador gets the sucks even more than the rest. And Hurin even argues theology with Morgoth, he stands by what he has learned about the Valar from the Elves. Is it not at least slightly decent to give that family some recognition? We're not talking about judgement or jurisdiction, just a kind word (or maybe even a "thank you", if not an "I'm sorry"?).

Not to mention that Turin may have the power to one day vanquish Morgoth and you want him to not hate you ^.^
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Old 04-13-2019, 04:41 PM   #24
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Funny how this thread went from discussing Maeglin to discussing la familia.


(Not that I mind, as both topics have my interest, but it's still funny)
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Old 04-13-2019, 04:43 PM   #25
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Funny how this thread went from discussing Maeglin to discussing la familia.


(Not that I mind, as both topics have my interest, but it's still funny)
What I am enjoying most is not closing the Downs page for hours now, going between this thread and the Quiz room endlessly. This much activity only ever happens in Werewolf games! It's great!
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Old 04-13-2019, 04:50 PM   #26
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What I am enjoying most is not closing the Downs page for hours now, going between this thread and the Quiz room endlessly. This much activity only ever happens in Werewolf games! It's great!

Me too. Let's see how fast you guess the remaining two
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Old 04-13-2019, 05:01 PM   #27
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Me too. Let's see how fast you guess the remaining two
They are proving to be difficult to solve.
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Old 04-13-2019, 05:12 PM   #28
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They are proving to be difficult to solve.

I could say something right now that would let you have the last one on the silver platter, but in the interest of fairness, I'm not gonna.
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Old 04-13-2019, 05:18 PM   #29
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I could say something right now that would let you have the last one on the silver platter, but in the interest of fairness, I'm not gonna.
Give it some time, and a chance for others to help.
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Old 04-13-2019, 05:32 PM   #30
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Give it some time, and a chance for others to help.

Mwahahaha, I am in stitches. I used this very thread to kickstart the theme!


I am so cheeky.
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Old 04-13-2019, 05:39 PM   #31
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Urwen has just left Hobbiton.
Anyway, back to the topic at hand. Do you have any themes in particular you'd like to discuss while I think about my next question?
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Old 04-13-2019, 06:10 PM   #32
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Sorry, dropped the ball (but only because I was writing the next password!). Dunno, I'm mainly fooling around.
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Old 04-14-2019, 12:26 AM   #33
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A little kindness wouldn't hurt.

The Valar kind of gave Men the short end of the stick. Elves got the attention, and the guidance, and a cozy corner in the house; it was their choice to do what they did. Men never had so much love or such a choice. Their fate is not bound to this world so what, the Valar have no responsibility for them? They get stuck with Morgoth and just have to deal with it. House of Hador gets the sucks even more than the rest. And Hurin even argues theology with Morgoth, he stands by what he has learned about the Valar from the Elves. Is it not at least slightly decent to give that family some recognition? We're not talking about judgement or jurisdiction, just a kind word (or maybe even a "thank you", if not an "I'm sorry"?).

Not to mention that Turin may have the power to one day vanquish Morgoth and you want him to not hate you ^.^
I think there is reason to hope for exactly this. Obviously the idea of Men going to Nienna's halls for judgement is out, but consider this:

-Tolkien Gateway gives, unsourced, the statement that the name 'Halls of Awaiting' refers to the fact that Men and Elves await their different fates in Mandos.

-The Valaquenta tells us that 'all those who wait in Mandos cry to' Nienna, 'for she brings strength to the spirit and turns sorrow to wisdom'.

We know how much Tolkien liked to keep and adapt old ideas rather than just throwing them out; it's perfectly reasonable to think that, where once Fui was the cruel judge of mortals, now Nienna is their kind listening ear and shoulder to cry on, to help them get their heads in order before they head on Out.

Shades of Death of the Endless here, I know, but in a setting where even Feanor just gets put in permanent time-out, I think we have to assume Turin and Nienor at least get a hug.

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Old 04-14-2019, 02:00 AM   #34
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I just realized that Turin and Tuor have something in common: they both killed an Elf (or Elves, in Turin's case). I feel that this is an interesting parallel.
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Old 04-14-2019, 05:23 AM   #35
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Also, is it just me, or is Tuor glaring at Maeglin in this picture?





Maybe he realized the truth early on?


(Image credit to Kazuki-MENDOU)
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Old 04-14-2019, 09:03 AM   #36
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I think Maeglin's earlier attempts at professing love to Idril would have been more overt. But here Maeglin looks more like Grima might after whispering something nasty but selfless sounding to Theoden. He just has this smug plotting look on his face.
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Old 04-14-2019, 09:31 AM   #37
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Any thoughts on this?


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I just realized that Turin and Tuor have something in common: they both killed an Elf (or Elves, in Turin's case). I feel that this is an interesting parallel.
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Old 04-14-2019, 09:35 AM   #38
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I just realized that Turin and Tuor have something in common: they both killed an Elf (or Elves, in Turin's case). I feel that this is an interesting parallel.
That's really interesting! Are there... any other Men known to have pulled that off? (Don't say 'Beren', that's just mean, he didn't intend to... though he was on his way to killing Curufin until Luthien called him off.)

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Also, is it just me, or is Tuor glaring at Maeglin in this picture?

Maybe he realized the truth early on?
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Originally Posted by Galadriel55 View Post
I think Maeglin's earlier attempts at professing love to Idril would have been more overt. But here Maeglin looks more like Grima might after whispering something nasty but selfless sounding to Theoden. He just has this smug plotting look on his face.
It's really interesting to compare Maeglin's attempts at swaying his king with Grima's. Maeglin managed to keep the defenses of Gondolin relatively low, whereas Rohan never seems to have disarmed; it was all Wormtongue could do to keep Eomer and Theodred from going on the attack! But while Grima was able to get his rival for power (Eomer) exiled, Maeglin couldn't keep his from being given lordship of a House and the hand of the princess. (Also, it seems like Maeglin's obstruction predates his fall to the Dark, whereas Grima's was only at the urging of Saruman.)

Tuor's mistrust was probably... helped by the part where his wife the Seer said 'yeah, I've just had a vision of Cousin M throwing our baby in a fire, that's probably bad'. Idril really is the driving force for Good during the Fall of Gondolin, despite how little attention she gets.

hS
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Old 04-14-2019, 09:40 AM   #39
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I believe that she offered her kindness to him, him being an orphan and all, and that's where his love for her comes. He was emotionally stunted, and mistook familial love for romantic one.
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Old 04-14-2019, 09:48 AM   #40
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That's really interesting! Are there... any other Men known to have pulled that off?

Apart from the two of them, there were none.
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