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Old 09-26-2011, 02:41 AM   #1
Estelyn Telcontar
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Silmaril Silmarillion - Chapter 24 - Of the Voyage of Eärendil and the War of Wrath

This is the final chapter of the Silmarillion proper. In it, the fate of the Silmarils and the end of the Oath are told, but first of all we read about Eärendil and Elwing.

What is it about mariners?! Eärendil has the same restlessness that we read of in the UT accounts of Númenorean sailors. His pure motivation, however, makes a difference. First, though, comes another tragedy, one last Elven Kinslaying resulting from the Oath of Fëanor's sons.

Ulmo continues to be the Vala who actively helps the people of Middle-earth, saving Elwing's life, and finally the other Valar get involved. What do you think is so special about these persons and events - is it the Silmaril that causes them to act?

'Hail Eärendil, of mariners most renowned' - if I remember rightly, that echoes the Old English poem that inspired Tolkien to create his Legendarium. There is a poem version of this story in LotR - "Eärendil was a mariner" in 'Many Meetings', first chapter of Book Two. (It contains the name for the lamp: "the Flammifer of Westernesse". OT - That is, incidentally, the name of the German Tolkien Society's publication.)

Some important groundwork is laid here for the LotR - we first encounter Elrond and the choice of the Half-Elven.

Vingilot is Tolkien's mythical explanation of our Morning Star, the planet Venus. What is it about "Eärendil in the Sky with Silmaril" ( ) that gives hope to the people of Middle-earth?

Morgoth's defeat in the Great Battle is certainly cause for rejoicing, yet there is still strife, coming from the last two sons of Fëanor. What do you think would have happened if Maglor had convinced his brother to yield? Interesting to read that the Silmarils burned them, whereas the one that had remained with the other Elves did not harm anyone. I'm reminded of the recent discussion on the effect of lembas on Gollum and the Orcs - what is evil cannot stand to touch pure goodness.

Happy ending? Tolkien's footnote seems to think not - though he leaves the possibility for one in the future open. Morgoth may be captive in the Void, but evil lives on in Middle-earth.

How do you feel about the end of the story and the fate of the Silmarils?
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Old 09-26-2011, 07:29 AM   #2
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For all its importance, the final story of the First Age received significantly less attention from Tolkien than the few tales preceding it. In part, this can be attributed to its being the last tale - Tolkien's habit of leaving texts unfinished meant that they often broke off before reaching the story of Earendil and the War of Wrath.

The germ of the Earendil story actually predates the 'Book of Lost Tales'. As Tolkien explained in a 1967 letter, he was struck by the name in the Old English poem 'Crist': Eala Earendel engla beorhtast. In 1914-1915 he wrote several poems on the subject of 'Earendel': 'Eala Earendel Engla Beorhtast', 'The Bidding of the Minstrel', 'The Shores of Faery', and 'The Happy Mariners', which, though not yet part of a coherent Legendarium, prefigured certain elements of the later Earendil story.

In the Book of Lost Tales, 'The Tale of Earendel' was conceived on a grand scale; indeed, it was actually to be a series of six connected tales. But these tales were never written, and all that we have of them is a series of tantalizing notes and outlines. Notably, in these outlines the end of the story is very different from that in the later Silmarillion. Here, the War of Wrath is unconnected with Earendil; birds from Gondolin bring the news of its fall to Valinor, and the Teleri and Solosimpi (i.e. Vanyar and Teleri), against the wishes of the Valar, go to war against Morgoth. Meanwhile Earendil reaches Kor (i.e. Tirion) and finds it empty. He then sails back to Sirion and finds it empty. Eventually he sails west again and launches his ship over the edge of the world and into the sky.

In the 1920s Tolkien wrote a fragment of alliterative verse that appears to be the beginning of a 'Lay of Earendel', but this proved to be the last time he would undertake to write a full version of the story. In the 'Sketch of the Mythology' and the 'Quenta Noldorinwa' the story is summarised - and though these texts differ in many ways from the 'Lost Tales' notes, the coming of the Valar and the War of Wrath are still unconnected with Earendil. In the 'Quenta', Earendil's chief motive for sailing west becomes his desire to seek aid from the Valar, but in this version 'he came too late'. It was only in a subsequent revision of the 'Quenta' that the key role of Earendil in obtaining the aid of the Valar was introduced. The 1937 'Quenta Silmarillion' breaks off after Turin's story, but it does include an isolated text that starts with Earendil's arrival in Tirion and extends to the end of the First Age; the chapter in the published Silmarillion is based partly on this text and partly on the 'Quenta Noldorinwa'.

Additional readings
HoMe II - Notes and outlines for the 'Tale of Earendel'; early poems
HoMe III - Fragment of a 'Lay of Earendel'
HoMe IV - 'Sketch of the Mythology' and 'Quenta Noldorinwa'
HoMe V - 'Quenta Silmarillion' ending

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Old 09-26-2011, 02:08 PM   #3
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In a weird sort of way, the fact that Tolkien never visited these final tales in detail makes them (and really, this single chapter could have been--or should have been--several tales, not just one) some of my favourites. The fact that they were sketched in such spare detail means that there is more empty canvas than usual to fill in with the imagination.

This is not to say that the rest of the Silmarillion leaves the reader thinking that everything that could be said about any given story has been said--on the contrary, the Silmarillion works a lot of its magic because of its remoteness: through the sense that there is so much unsaid, and unremembered.

The Tale of Eärendil, which should be the grand conclusion to the Silmarillion, takes this distance to greater lengths than the foregoing tales, and I think this adds to the deep sense of nostalgia* one feels in reading the Silmarillion. The breakdown of detailed narrative puts the reader into the position that Tolkien was in when he was grasping at the mostly-forgotten stories behind words like "Éarendel."




*And as a philological note, I think that the "-algia" part of this word, which comes from "pain" (or something approximating that... I don't speak Greek, after all), is quite appropriate.
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Old 09-28-2011, 03:55 PM   #4
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But Morgoth himself the Valar thrust through the Door of Night beyond the Walls of the World, into the Timeless Void; and a guard is set for ever on those walls, and Earendil keeps watch upon the ramparts of the sky. Yet the lies that Melkor, the mighty and accursed, Morgoth Bauglir, the Power of Terror and of Hate, sowed in the hearts of Elves and Men are a seed that does not die and cannot be destroyed; and ever and anon it sprouts anew, and wil bear dark fruit even unto the latest days.

~The Sil, Of the Voyage of Earendil and the War of Wrath
A passage at the end that sumarises the irony, the feeling of a long defeat, the whole nature of The Sil. It's all concentrated in here.

But that's not the only reason I want to bring it up. In a way it suggests that the evil of ME, and possibly of our world as well, lies in lies. () Morgoth brought discord to the world even before it was created, and with it he brought a lie, a pretence that he wants to take care of it just like the other Valar. And from then on 'lies' stemmed into treachery, deciet, tricks, and etc and etc. When I think about it it makes more and more sense to me. It all involves lies.

Morgoth used lie after lie, sham after sham, to get the Noldor to revolt and during their war. His underlings did exactly the same. But lies were used in "good" context as well in the legendarium (although generally not):

-Frodo lies to Gollum to try and save him near Heneth Annun.

-Bilbo tricks the Dwarves and gives the Arkenstone to Thranduil

-Isildur saves the fruit of the Tree in disguise

-Amandil sails West against the king's laws

-Maedhros' attempt to trick Morgoth into giving back the Silmarils (which resulted in him being captured)

-The idea of bluff in the Battle of Cormallen

-and others.

Although in most of these those lying are uncomfortable with it, or they do it because they have no other choice, or it is a choice between a lie and something much worse. Yet deceit is used against "evil". Is this the case of everything serving Eru's purpose in the end? It doesn't really seem so, since most of the lying is still done by the opposite side. What is it then?

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What is it about "Eärendil in the Sky with Silmaril" that gives hope to the people of Middle-earth?
From the start they were rather attached to the Stars. Stars always meant hope for them. A new star, hence, means new hope. Moreover, this unexpected bit of light in the West was like a signal to them that help unlooked for will come from Valinor. I don't think that many of them got the direct message (who would, if the help is unlooked for?), but the idea of hope reached them (possibly with the help of their close connection with nature).


It makes perfect sense for the story that Earendil is literally halfelven. But that is a bit strange in the broader picture, since he is the only one of the Peredhil to be exactly half-half. Tolkien never seemed to me as one who paid much attention to being politically-correct. Earendil must really be a special case with the symbolic representation of the Two Kindreds.
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Old 09-28-2011, 09:17 PM   #5
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It makes perfect sense for the story that Earendil is literally halfelven. But that is a bit strange in the broader picture, since he is the only one of the Peredhil to be exactly half-half. Tolkien never seemed to me as one who paid much attention to being politically-correct. Earendil must really be a special case with the symbolic representation of the Two Kindreds.
I find it intriguing that an entreaty by a true "halfelven" was the only means by which the aid of the Valar to defeat Morgoth could be obtained.

Obviously, the Noldor were the ones under the Doom; they had committed terrible acts of murder in the Blessed Realm itself, and there could be no easy solution for them. But what about the Edain? They were drawn to the West out of desire to see the fabled Light there, and to escape Morgoth. They should not have been part of the Doom.

Yet, in the chapter before, foreshadowing Eärendil, there is an account of a plea to the Valar from Ulmo in which he asks them to deliver the Noldor and recover the Silmarils. The answer was no, and it was said:

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....the hour was not yet come, and that only one speaking in person for the cause of both Elves and Men, pleading for pardon on their misdeeds and pity on their woes, might move the counsels of the Powers....
So, the Noldor had been guilty of the Kinslaying, and other evil deeds in Beleriand later. Why did Men have to be spoken for? Because some of them had followed Morgoth? Does that indicate that the Dwarves were in no need of a spokesman, that they just weren't as "guilty" in the eyes of the Valar as the other two kindreds?
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Old 09-29-2011, 08:51 AM   #6
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So, the Noldor had been guilty of the Kinslaying, and other evil deeds in Beleriand later. Why did Men have to be spoken for? Because some of them had followed Morgoth? Does that indicate that the Dwarves were in no need of a spokesman, that they just weren't as "guilty" in the eyes of the Valar as the other two kindreds?
The Dwarves do seem separate from Elves and Men. I think that their lives were entirely separate from the Two Kindreds, aside from some trade and a few words with them. They were by themselves. Elves and Men (especially Edain) were interlocked. The Edain adopted Elvish tradition, they lived with the Elves, they fought for the Elves (for themselves too, obviously, but for the Elves second right after that). The Men thus also got their share of the Doom of the Noldor. Dwarves, even though they helped, didn't fight for the Elves. They lived their own lives, independant of the Fair Folk. If they had any Doom, it was of the Dwarves.

Men, Edain in particular, put themselves under the same roof as Elves. Dwarves didn't. That's why Men need to be spoken for, and Dwarves aren't.

Just as a side note, intermarriage between Elves and Men is highly rare, but it happened. You don't see any Dwarf marrying outside of his/her kin. They were strictly separate.
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Old 09-22-2014, 03:11 AM   #7
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On Sauron
The parallel of Sauron losing his physical form and retreating into his fortress as a disembodied spirit relates to how in the Garden of Eden the presence of evil was the serpent in actual physical form. Today, we do not see a physical devil but fight an invisible spirit. Tolkien might have assumed that the Flood is where the change took place, where Satan lost his actual physical form on earth.
Except that Sauron isn't disembodied in the War of Wrath- he is in the Downfall of Numenor, but only temporarily- could you be confusing the two? And why would Tolkien make such an assumption about Satan and the Flood, anyway? Is there some tradition about this that I wasn't aware of?

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Around the Flood story in Genesis there are comments on the sons of god marrying the women of men and having children by them. Tolkien addresses this in the marriages between the Elves and Men.
But Elves come from Northern European folklore- it's not another word for "angel" (a concept for which Middle-earth does have a much closer equivalent in the Ainur, anyway).

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He addresses the seeming near immortality of the early men who's lives extend 900 plus years in Genesis.
I don't understand what you mean here by "address". Do you mean it's a parallel?

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I do not agree with Tolkien's dealing with Mortality as a blessing. To be true to the Bible - death came because of sin. Death is not a blessing, but a curse. The Bible speaks of death being our final enemy.
Look, the Silmarillion is not actually just a re-telling of Genesis. Certainly there are influences- but there are many others from non-Biblical sources as well. That being so, I don't see why Tolkien should have felt obliged to "be true to the Bible" (at least in the literal way you seem to mean). If he had, I rather think he'd have left the Elves out, for a start.
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Old 09-22-2014, 03:35 AM   #8
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In fact,
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Again, the Biblical account of the Flood closely parallels Tolkien's Flood end of the flat world and beginning of a globe. Earendil's fleet being the only to survive is like Noah's family being saved. The fleet having no navigational control in the washout is like Noah not steering the ark. The floodgates are opened in both stories.
VarTalman, I am sure you're conflating Elendil with Earendil and the War of Wrath (ending the First Age) with the Downfall of Numenor (ending the Second). The *latter* (which, though it too may have similarities to the Flood story, is most obviously based on that of Atlantis) is the one which involves the change from a flat to a round world.
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Old 09-22-2014, 06:16 AM   #9
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I don't know about any Biblical parallels with the sinking of Númenor especially since the water never receded. I'd think Thingol + Melian is more like the Angel + Man thing since she was one of the gods and Thingol being an Elf was closely related to Men. Death is the fate of man in Arda. They are thus called the visitors. The Elves on the other hand are immortal so long as Arda endures and even they taste death before that. Eärendil had nothing to do with a flood or drowning, he did fight a dragon in the War of Wrath. Sauron sort of lost his physical form, he could not take pleasing shapes after Númenor's destruction, but he was not disembodied ever after. He took shape more than once after his body was destroyed. Remember the Last Alliance fought an embodied Sauron. Isildur cut the Ring off of his finger at the end of the 2nd Age. In the 3rd Age he was not seen, but not disembodied. Gollum himself even says he saw his four-fingered hand.
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Old 09-23-2014, 02:46 PM   #10
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In fact,

VarTalman, I am sure you're conflating Elendil with Earendil and the War of Wrath (ending the First Age) with the Downfall of Numenor (ending the Second). The *latter* (which, though it too may have similarities to the Flood story, is most obviously based on that of Atlantis) is the one which involves the change from a flat to a round world.
Yes, thank you. Wrong chapter.

But the parallels are there with intention. We write from what we know. Tolkien knew the narrative of scripture thoroughly. I will have words with anyone who thinks otherwise. The parallels are strong. Tolkien was relating to all human history so to tie in Atlantis was to add lore. It is quite fascinating how actual history translates into Middle Earth and because the biblical narratives of Creation, the Fall, Job, Isaac and Ishmael, Noah, Hell, the Cross, The Empty Tomb, Revelation all are resourced by Tolkien in his books, it is then fair to say that this was his intention.

Also, the Elves have their place if paralleled to angels as in Tolkien's letter published at the beginning in Christopher's Sil. Tolkien admits the Sil to be the tale of pre-human history which scripture allows room for. Angels play their part in our human history every day. Men do enter the story of Creation but long after the Elves who if angels in representation had the First Age to themselves.

If I am correct, Tolkien had to account for the chaining and bannishment of Satan from heaven, the creation of Hell, the building of Eden all before introducing humans to the tale. Which is pretty much what Tolkien did.

It would be quite a Herculaen task to basically take much of actual human history as accounted for in the Bible, translate it to Middle Earth, tie all of the correct connections together... all of which Tolkien did in 50 years and longer. To say that he did not do anything like this is to detract from Tolkien's greatness and genius. It is quite evident that he did, and I will not take that from him.

Tolkien did not like allegory. It might have been that he was actually expounding on true human history and therefore did not want his works excused as quaint.

Secular skeptics rob Tolkien of his magnificent work when they do not know the Bible and think he was avoiding all ties. Christian skeptics detract from his genius when they follow popular secular thought and do not take fully into account how much theology Tolkien studied and how he attacked C.S. Lewis for handling the Biblical stories childishly. Catholic elder, Oxford fellow, Tolkien engulfed his life in the Bible. He is not borrowing tidbits from it. He expounded on the meta-narrative of all of scripture, both Old and New Testaments. Let no one cheapen his masterpiece. Tolkien, as a strong man of faith knew like Lewis he would have to answer to God with what he did with his life and what legacy he left behind. He also knew that leading people astray after death only aquires more guilt on his own head. Tolkien was careful with his own eternal soul and also with the souls of his readers.
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Old 09-23-2014, 03:58 PM   #11
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Men do enter the story of Creation but long after the Elves who if angels in representation had the First Age to themselves.
The rising of the Sun was the start of the 1st Age, into which Men were come. There were Ages before that, but this was before the Sun was made.

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If I am correct, Tolkien had to account for the chaining and bannishment of Satan from heaven, the creation of Hell, the building of Eden all before introducing humans to the tale.
This was actually accomplished when Elves were introduced into the tale. The Valar had the Elves come to Aman where Melkor was imprisoned for three Ages. Also, the Maiar were all bound to Eä who entered it. There was no heaven. Melkor reigned in the North of Beleriand. Aman was set west of Beleriand in the sea. In Manwë's words:

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we should take up again the mastery of Arda, at whatsoever cost, and deliver the Quendi from the shadow of Melkor.
I'm not sure about the Aman - Eden comparison. It was never meant to be a home to Men, but rather of the Elves [who it seems you are assuming are like the angels of the Bible; I'd say, if I were to have a pick, that it was the Maiar who were like angels] and the Maiar, and they built it and fortified it as a defense against Melkor.
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Old 06-05-2015, 09:08 AM   #12
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Sting Victory after all, I suppose!

When I read this chapter, particularly about the Great Battle, I keep thinking of what Bilbo said above, after finding out about the outcome of the Battle of the Five Armies.

In this world, there's also what the Duke of Wellington wrote about the aftermath of the Battle of Waterloo (1815), his great victory: 'My heart is broken by the terrible loss I have sustained in my old friends and companions and my poor soldiers. Believe me, nothing except a battle lost can be half so melancholy as a battle won'.

This is without even mentioning Tolkien's own experience of the First World War, and how he and many of his contemporaries might have thought when it ended.

In one sense, it's even worse than the wars already mentioned; because while not only have so many been killed, maimed, mutilated, and suffered psychological scars (what Tolkien's contemporaries would have called 'shell shock'), Belariand itself has been destroyed. Belgium and Northern France at least survived what happened in 1914-1918, although they still show the scars.

We also have the victors fighting among themselves, the surviving sons of Fëanor killing again to take the surviving Silmarils, but finding that they couldn't keep them...

Do people feel that the Valar missed an opportunity, by failing to take Sauron prisoner as well as Morgoth?
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Old 06-05-2015, 10:25 AM   #13
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This is without even mentioning Tolkien's own experience of the First World War, and how he and many of his contemporaries might have thought when it ended.

In one sense, it's even worse than the wars already mentioned; because while not only have so many been killed, maimed, mutilated, and suffered psychological scars (what Tolkien's contemporaries would have called 'shell shock'), Belariand itself has been destroyed. Belgium and Northern France at least survived what happened in 1914-1918, although they still show the scars.

Even though Western Europe was not destroyed in the Great War, in a sense it had indeed gone forever, as those of Tolkien's time might have thought.

That war was one in which traditional conduct of honor and chivalry in battle were finally dismissed, and civilian casualties were no longer seen as something to be avoided at all costs, but a means to demoralize the enemy.

It also brought the use of WMDs in the form of mustard gas, and aerial conflict. I've wondered if the sights and sounds of dogfighting aircraft might not have figured in Tolkien's mind as he conceived the fight of Eärendil and Ancalagon.

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Do people feel that the Valar missed an opportunity, by failing to take Sauron prisoner as well as Morgoth?
I think the Valar wanted to give Sauron the benefit of the doubt, seeing him maybe as a deluded and misguided servant. After all, Ulmo's vassal Ossë had been deceived by Melkor long before, and had been given an opportunity to repent, which he had accepted.
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Old 06-05-2015, 03:04 PM   #14
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Absent from the published Silmarillion are a few lines found in Morgoth's Ring (don't recall which section, either the Annals of Aman or the later Silmarillion) regarding Morgoth's release from Mandos. Manwe is described as being without evil and being unable to understand it. As a result, he believed that Morgoth could be redeemed or rehabilitated.

The same error seems to have been made regarding Sauron after Morgoth's defeat.
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Old 06-06-2015, 12:36 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Mithadan View Post
Absent from the published Silmarillion are a few lines found in Morgoth's Ring (don't recall which section, either the Annals of Aman or the later Silmarillion) regarding Morgoth's release from Mandos. Manwe is described as being without evil and being unable to understand it. As a result, he believed that Morgoth could be redeemed or rehabilitated.

The same error seems to have been made regarding Sauron after Morgoth's defeat.
Indeed. Giving second chances was apparently hardwired into the Valar. Remember too that Gandalf was ready to pardon and allow Saruman to repent, though in that case an imperfect and merely temporary atonement would seem to have carried much more risk than a backsliding Sauron.
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Old 06-07-2015, 06:39 AM   #16
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Thumbs up Thanks for the comments

Thanks for the comments, Inziladun and Mithadan.

The published Silmarillion does say in Chapter 6 that Melkor was first given a provisional pardon by Manwë, and confined to Valmar; but after a while he was allowed to 'go freely about the land'. The reason was that Manwë 'was free from evil and could not comprehend it', knowing that in the beginning, Melkor 'had been even as he; and he saw not to the depths of Melkor's heart, and did not perceive that all love had departed from him for ever'.

I was always amused by the fact that at least two of the Valar weren't taken in by Melkor's act: Ulmo and Tulkas.

John Garth, in Chapter 11 of his Tolkien and the Great War, looked at Tolkien's story 'The Fall of Gondolin', saying of the bronze dragons, fiery dragons, and iron dragons built by Melko for the assault on the city, that 'The more they differ from the dragons of mythology, however, the more these monsters resemble the tanks of the Somme'.
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Old 06-07-2015, 06:49 AM   #17
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The Eye I agree with you here

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Originally Posted by Inziladun View Post
Indeed. Giving second chances was apparently hardwired into the Valar. Remember too that Gandalf was ready to pardon and allow Saruman to repent, though in that case an imperfect and merely temporary atonement would seem to have carried much more risk than a backsliding Sauron.
As you correctly pointed out, Saruman had only gone to the bad for a short time, while Sauron had behaved that way for millennia. By the time of the War of the Ring, the latter was so known for deception that he was called by Gandalf 'Base Master of Treachery'.
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Old 06-07-2015, 04:32 PM   #18
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I found the quote I referred to above: "and it seemed to Manwe that his evil was cured. For he himself was free from the evil and could not comprehend it..." This is found at section 48 of the later Silmarillion.
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Old 06-07-2015, 05:07 PM   #19
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As you correctly pointed out, Saruman had only gone to the bad for a short time, while Sauron had behaved that way for millennia. By the time of the War of the Ring, the latter was so known for deception that he was called by Gandalf 'Base Master of Treachery'.
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I found the quote I referred to above: "and it seemed to Manwe that his evil was cured. For he himself was free from the evil and could not comprehend it..." This is found at section 48 of the later Silmarillion.
This may be getting a little off-track, but could Gandalf be said to be "free from evil"? Whether he was or not, I don't think he was in any way deceived as to Saruman's potential for repentance. He seems to have offered Saruman the chance, simply because it was "right". Was he just following his Valar higher-ups, who gave a second chance to Ossë, Melkor, and Sauron?
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Old 06-07-2015, 09:00 PM   #20
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Yes, it's off track and may be worthy of a separate thread. Nonetheless, I'll take a shot at this.

Wow. Pure speculation at this point. Gandalf is a Maia affiliated with Lorien, who drives dreams and perhaps insight and understanding of the peoples of Middle Earth. Gandalf is wise and insightful. He can inspire those in need of encouragement. In my view, Gandalf can distinguish between evil and good, not because he is capable of evil, but rather because he is capable of understanding it.
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Old 06-08-2015, 07:10 AM   #21
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In my view, Gandalf can distinguish between evil and good, not because he is capable of evil, but rather because he is capable of understanding it.
I agree, and that's in line with Gandalf's obvious ability to get inside Sauron's head, so to speak, and correctly anticipate his thoughts and actions in the War of the Ring.

I think it's worth noting that Sauron wasn't offered a second chance, after all. He himself approached Eönwë after Morgoth's defeat, and asked for pardon. After being told that he had to return to Valinor for a judgement from the Valar, he changed his mind. I do think though that he likely would have been granted a second chance, but under the close eyes of the Valar, no doubt.
Manwë probably would have been even more vigilant with Sauron, after having been fooled by Melkor.
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Old 06-08-2015, 08:59 AM   #22
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Question Was Gandalf following orders from the Valar?

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Originally Posted by Inziladun View Post
Whether he was or not, I don't think he was in any way deceived as to Saruman's potential for repentance. He seems to have offered Saruman the chance, simply because it was "right". Was he just following his Valar higher-ups, who gave a second chance to Ossë, Melkor, and Sauron?
It's a good question, to which we've no evidence to give a conclusive answer. In my opinion, I don't think Gandalf would have offered Saruman the possibility of repentance without at least the agreement of the Valar, leaving aside if he received any direct orders from them.
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Old 06-09-2015, 06:09 PM   #23
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The rising of the Sun was the start of the 1st Age, into which Men were come. There were Ages before that, but this was before the Sun was made.
This is true in the Silmarillion as first written and also in the Silmarillion as published by Christopher Tolkien. However when setting up the Silmarillion material when writing The Lord of the Rings, Tolkien changed this. See the first four lines of the poem “The World was young, the mountains green” on page 315:
The world was young, the mountains green,
No stain yet on the Moon was seen,
N
o words were laid on stream or stone
When Durin woke and walked alone.
In the standard Silmarillion chronology these events occurred long before Sun and Moon were created from the last fruit and flower of the Two Trees.

Gandalf later sings a short poem about the Ents (emphasis mine) on page 544:
Ere iron was found or tree was hewn,
When young was mountain under moon;
Ere ring was made, or wrought was woe,
It walked the forests long ago.

Here the moon predates the first hewing of trees, presumably by Elves.

Tolkien had originally written in The Hobbit:
In the Wide World the Wood-elves lingered in the twilight before the raising of the Sun and Moon; and afterwards they wandered in the forests that grew beneath the sunrise.
In the revision of 1966 this was changed, removing all mention of a “raising of the Sun and Moon”:
In the Wide World the Wood-elves lingered in the twilight of our Sun and Moon, but loved best the stars; and they wandered in the great forests that grew tall in lands that are now lost.
In the last three volumes of the HoME series the Sun and Moon are in existence in all accounts if Middle-earth from earliest times, save in accounts attributed to the “Quenta Silmarillion” or the “Grey Annals”. The Silmarillion is here imagined as a partially inaccurate mythology partially invented by Men.

In Morgoth’s Ring (HoME X), Christopher Tolkien writes as Note 19:
In other scribbled notes (written at the same time as text II and constituting a part of that manuscript) my father wrote that Varda gave the holy light received in gift from Ilúvatar (see p. 380) not only to the Sun and to the Two Trees but also to ‘the significant Star’. The meaning of this is nowhere explained. Beside it he wrote Signifier, and many experimental Elvish names, as Taengyl, Tengyl, Tannacolli or Tankol, Tainacolli; also a verbal root tana ‘show, indicate’; tanna ‘sign’; and kolla ‘borne, worn especially a vestment or cloak’, with the note ‘Sindikoll-o is masculinized’.
It seems to me that this “significant Star” was likely intended by Tolkien to have been the planet Venus, the brightest regularly seen object in the sky next to the Sun and Moon. The story that Eärendil became with his ship the planet Venus was intended to become a further mythical inaccuracy in the Silmarillion account of Eärendil’s fate, similar to the mythical account that the Sun and Moon were in origin the last fruit and flower of the Two Trees.

Note that in all Silmarillion accounts Eärendil’s heavenly ship is identical with his earthly ship Vingilot in which Eärendil “was lifted up even into the oceans of heaven” and which he sails through the air to his battle with the dragon Ancalagon the Black. However in Bilbo’s poem “Eärendel was a mariner”:
A ship then new they built for him
of mithril and of elven-glass
with shining prow; no shaven oar
nor sail she bore on silver mast:
the Silmaril as lantern light
and banner bright with living flame
to gleam thereon by Elbereth
herself was set, who thither came
and wings immortal made for him,
and laid on him undying doom,
to sail the shoreless skies and come
behind the Sun and light of Moon.

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Old 06-11-2017, 11:12 PM   #24
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This is the final chapter of the Silmarillion proper. In it, the fate of the Silmarils and the end of the Oath are told, but first of all we read about Eärendil and Elwing.

What is it about mariners?! Eärendil has the same restlessness that we read of in the UT accounts of Númenorean sailors. His pure motivation, however, makes a difference. First, though, comes another tragedy, one last Elven Kinslaying resulting from the Oath of Fëanor's sons.

Ulmo continues to be the Vala who actively helps the people of Middle-earth, saving Elwing's life, and finally the other Valar get involved. What do you think is so special about these persons and events - is it the Silmaril that causes them to act?

'Hail Eärendil, of mariners most renowned' - if I remember rightly, that echoes the Old English poem that inspired Tolkien to create his Legendarium. There is a poem version of this story in LotR - "Eärendil was a mariner" in 'Many Meetings', first chapter of Book Two. (It contains the name for the lamp: "the Flammifer of Westernesse". OT - That is, incidentally, the name of the German Tolkien Society's publication.)

Some important groundwork is laid here for the LotR - we first encounter Elrond and the choice of the Half-Elven.

Vingilot is Tolkien's mythical explanation of our Morning Star, the planet Venus. What is it about "Eärendil in the Sky with Silmaril" ( ) that gives hope to the people of Middle-earth?

Morgoth's defeat in the Great Battle is certainly cause for rejoicing, yet there is still strife, coming from the last two sons of Fëanor. What do you think would have happened if Maglor had convinced his brother to yield? Interesting to read that the Silmarils burned them, whereas the one that had remained with the other Elves did not harm anyone. I'm reminded of the recent discussion on the effect of lembas on Gollum and the Orcs - what is evil cannot stand to touch pure goodness.

Happy ending? Tolkien's footnote seems to think not - though he leaves the possibility for one in the future open. Morgoth may be captive in the Void, but evil lives on in Middle-earth.

How do you feel about the end of the story and the fate of the Silmarils?
I would say that it is very boring on Vigilot.

Earendil was able to bind the Silmaril to his brow, and he must have heard the Lore of origins of the gems and of Valinor. His plea to the West to stay the onslaught from Angband must have been much like an Emissary or family ambassador appealing to angry, estranged relatives to resolve the situation. The Silmarils were living jewels, so I suppose it is possible that they affect thinking and motivation like a Ring, but for different ends (i.e. call to their Origins - Valinor and Yavanna).

It is interesting that after the War of Wrath, Sauron's pleading to the Host involved Sauron seemingly pleading in earnest "he lied even unto himself". I do not know what power of Vanity exists that it is the case that judgers are unable to discern lies of the kind that led to Annatar.

It is interesting that the Silmarils burned the Sons of Feanor, yet Morgoth happily had them burning down upon his head (though dimmed as described). I suspect that this is an indication of rejection by the Stones (the Stones choosing who they permit) as they were living jewels, although how Maglor should be more culpable by that time than all the rest of the host is unclear. The Oath of Feanor probably has something to do with it, or perhaps some tie of the Stones to Mandos (after all, Mandos is everywhere in the Doom of the Stones).

Had the stones been released to Eonwe, then perhaps as was said in the Second Prophesy of Mandos, Yavanna could have rekindled the tress.
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