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Old 02-04-2009, 03:26 PM   #41
Tuor in Gondolin
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Excellent posting and a well-thought out philosophy
of life Ladybrooke .

Of course, in later Numenor you'd obviously be one of the Faithful,
challenging, especially if you're prone to seasickness.
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Old 02-05-2009, 10:51 AM   #42
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A rather morbid view from a kid, but I’d rather spend my life living rather than spend it avoiding death.
Far from being morbid, I think you've stated a very healthy outlook.

This last reading of LotR (6th), I noticed something that I had apparently forgotten about in previous readings: when Sam is alone near Cirith Ungol, in the chapter, "Choices of Master Samwise", he does actually consider suicide. His answer is decisive if vaguely thought. I found it quite fascinating that Tolkien would have even happy Sam think that way.
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Old 02-05-2009, 10:55 AM   #43
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Originally Posted by littlemanpoet View Post
This last reading of LotR (6th), I noticed something that I had apparently forgotten about in previous readings: when Sam is alone near Cirith Ungol, in the chapter, "Choices of Master Samwise", he does actually consider suicide. His answer is decisive if vaguely thought. I found it quite fascinating that Tolkien would have even happy Sam think that way.
Really? What exactly do you have in mind? Could you quote? (I am too lazy to look it up on my own now and anyway, I think for potential readers of this thread, it would be helpful as well.)
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Old 02-05-2009, 08:58 PM   #44
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Well, it seems there are two things a man cannot resist, the lure of the One Ring and the lure of a good discussion in the Barrow Downs. A hearty hello for those of you who remember me! And another hello for those of you who will be hearing from me for the first time.

Talking about suicide in Middle Earth, and even though this has already been stated to a higher or lesser degree, I find there are two kinds of "self-inflicted deaths"

On one hand we have the relenquishing of life by the Kings of Numenor, which I've always thought was less of a suicide/self inflicted death and more of an acknowledgement that his time had come as ordained by Iluvatar (and thus, not really the King's fault). It was not borne out of despair or any other selfish feelings and perhaps it was not even a real choice for the king. It might have been a sudden insight that the time had come and that Illuvatar wished him to pass on to whatever fate men had. What man not swayed by the shadows would refuse Iluvatar's will? Thus it is not much of a choice, is it?

On the other hand we have the taking of one's life by violence, like Turin did when he took a dive on Mormegil. While one can say that his motives were altrusitic because all he had done had come to grief and thus by removing himself from Arda he would avoid bringing further trouble to his loved ones, it was a selfish act and quite likely against the will of Iluvatar. After all, if I know my christian theology properly, it is said that G'd has a plan for each of us and that no matter how tough things might look He knows what He is doing and in the end it all becomes clear. So assuming Tolkien borrowed from this tradition, by killing himself, Turin might've not only acted against Iluvatar's will but he might have also prevented Iluvatar's plan for him from being fulfilled. Perhaps Turin, after all his failures, would have in the end won a redeeming battle against Morgoth. We will never know.

Then there are other scenarios that have been brought up. Hurin's "last stand" is an example of, essentially, giving up on life (even if for a very altruistic cause). However, how does this fit in with Iluvatar's "plan"? Well, since Hurin did not slay himself and instead he fought hard and well against those who would slay him, it is clear he was not making the choice. If it was Iluvatar's will that he would die so others could live he was willing to make that sacrifice, but as we see that is not what happens. So Hurin is not making a choice that is not his to make (that is, WHEN to die) but rather making a choice that is very much within his responsability as a leader of men in war.

Finally there is the example of the elves which I find is no death at all (although that's not to say that there is no fault in it). If we part from the premises that
a) Elves do not really die the same way men do
b) The Halls of Mandos is a place of healing and restoring, and
c) The elves know this
then I hope we can agree there is no fault in allowing their fea to leave their hroa if they feel overwhelmed by Arda Marred. We must understand that elves (or at least elves in Middle Earth) are constantly faced with matters they were not "meant to". They were meant to be in Arda Unmarred and to take energy from Arda itself. Since they instead take their energy from Arda Marred, they will at times be caught in situations to which they are unable to find a way out. That's where the Halls of Mandos comes in, I have been slowly making my way through HoME and I just read "Laws and customs of the elves" (I think that's the name) and it changed my perspective on Mandos

I used to think Mandos was a place of punishment, and it may be after a fashion, but it is also a place of healing, where the discrepancies between what elves SHOULD have experienced (Arda Unmarred) and what they DO experience (Arda Marred) are reconciled so that the elf (if both him and Mandos so choose) can return to physical life.

So, while not exactly ideal or natural, the elves do not die as men do, and their (potentially temporary) lack of physical life does not mean an end to their spirit's life in Middle Earth. Conversely, for men there might be another kind of life, but it is beyond Middle Earth.

Unfortunately I've run out of time so I do not know if I'm making sense or not but must leave in a hurry . I will try to come back and edit this post later on tonight if I get the chance, but I hope what I wrote makes as much sense here as it did in my head!
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Old 02-05-2009, 09:31 PM   #45
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Originally Posted by Legate of Amon Lanc View Post
Really? What exactly do you have in mind? Could you quote? (I am too lazy to look it up on my own now and anyway, I think for potential readers of this thread, it would be helpful as well.)
Here it is (my italics & bolds below):

Quote:
Now he tried to find strength to tear himself away and go on a lonely journey --- for vengeance. If once he could go, his anger would bear him down all the roads of the world, pursuing, until he had him at last: Gollum. Then Gollum would die in a corner. But that was not what he had set out to do. It would not be worth while to leave his master for that. It would not bring him back. Nothing would. They had better both be dead together. And that too would be a lonely journey.

He looked on the bright point of the sword. He thought of the places behind where there was a black and an empty fall into nothingness. There was no escape that way. That was to do nothing, not even to grieve. That was not what he had set out to do.
It is a very subtle (not quite the word I want) implication, but clear nonetheless. It also works as a comparison to Denethor, who professed to grieve but did not; rather as Gandalf said, to ease his own death-taking.
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Old 02-06-2009, 05:26 PM   #46
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Boots

I must admit that I'd never noticed that either.

Excellent find lmp!!

I think its interesting that it is a sense of duty that compels Sam to continue.

There might be something to be said for having something left to do.
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Old 03-17-2012, 03:43 PM   #47
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I'd recently thought of starting a thread on this topic, but a search of the forum revealed this more than adequate discussion on the matter.
A lot of good points have been made, but I had a couple of observations.

It seems to me that Tolkien had a general disdain for suicides committed by his characters, at least in LOTR. In earlier stories, Túrin and Húrin don't seem to bear the judgement of the author, or any other character, though maybe the fact that a representative of the Valar was not present to give any such judgement was the difference.
On the other hand, in LOTR we do see Gandalf severely disapproving of the actions of Denethor in the latter's self-inflicted death by fire.
There might seem to be a double standard, though, related to the same book.
In Letters #210 written in 1958, Tolkien had harsh words after reading a screenplay of sorts for an animated movie that was in the works. One of his criticisms had to do with the treatment of Saruman.

Quote:
Z (the writer) has cut out the end of the book, including Saruman's proper death. In that case I can see no good reason in making him die. Saruman would never have committed suicide: to cling to life to its basest dregs was the sort of person he had become.
Tolkien almost seems to imply Saruman should have done himself in. Also, it's funny how he describes Saruman's chosen path using the words "cling to life": wasn't that a great sin of the Númenórean rebels? Is he saying Saruman's judgement might have been different if he had deliberately killed himself? Or is it merely a contrast to Gandalf, who didn't die by his own hand, but allowed the sacrifice of his mortal body in order to accomplish his errand?

On an unrelated note, I've wondered if Gollum's "slip" wasn't really a suicide, conscious or not. The suggestion could have been planted in his mind just before his death by Frodo.

Quote:
'Begone, and trouble me no more! If you touch me ever again, you shall be cast yourself into the Fire of Doom.'
I can see Gollum welcoming death at that point, thinking that ultimately he had no hope in life, and seeing an out that would free both him and Frodo, whom he had gained at least some affection for. Was he deliberately careless after attacking Frodo, not concerned with his movements near the Fire? The book says his eyes looked up at the Ring as he took the fatal step. Simple Ring-lust, or a desire to have it be the last thing he saw as he fell? The book says he tottered on the edge, and wavered, but it doesn't look to me as if he really tried to save himself.

That's all just an idea, but I think it's interesting.
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Old 03-17-2012, 09:03 PM   #48
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General thoughts on suicide

Tolkien held the belief that Men have to be able to give up their life freely. Death was given to Men from Eru as a gift, but Morgoth turned into a curse, and people began to fear it. How wretched does life have to seem for a person to cast it away and seek solace in death? Pretty wretched. So in such a case Tolkien condones suicide, or at least does not condemn it. He makes us pity the character. In some cases, though... I guess I'll have to go over the cases/passages individually.

Miriel - that's not suicide. That's just death, as death is. When you have no strength - physical, emotional, spiritual, etc - to live, then guess what? You die. There's no suicide here.

Fingolfin - in a way you can call that suicide. Causing as much suffering to your foe - knowing logically that you cannot beat him, but fighting anyways - since you know (or think) you're going to die anyways, so might as well bring him down with you or cause as much damage as you can. The Sil says that "a great madness of rage was upon him", so he did not think logically, but man, you have to be completely cracked to think you'll make it alive. It's the causing-as-much-damage case. And it's absolutely condoned, even admired (not in the sense that you should do that, but it is deeply respected).

It's possible to make an analogy to Theoden, when he went into battle at Minas Tirith against overwhelming odds, to do the most while you still can. However, as hopeless as his case was it was not nearly as hopeless as Fingolfin's.

Nienor - she's the perfect case of what I said earlier. She was so horrified and distraught of what has been done to her life (what she has done to her life) that Tolkien makes us pity her. Or at least me, since I know in advance Zil will disagree with me about everything I say regarding that family . But looking at her you cannot say that she was a coward. It takes a good deal of gut to take away your own life. And the manner in which she did it too - to quote COH:
Last of men to look down into its darkness was Brandir son of Handir; and he turned away in horror, for his heart quailed, and though he hated now his life, he could not there take the death that he desired.
Guys, it's the same "crazed" Brandir who killed Dorlas. Sure, Nienor was mad, and madness makes people blind, but madness does only so much.

One could say that Nienor escaped life because she didn't have the courage to fix it and set it right again, but that's not applicable here. Not with her life: it's doomed, and until she lives like Turin she'll cast her curse onto her loved ones. There is not way to set it right. And she can't escape it either (Turin tried that, but the past always caught up with him). ***see Denethor***

Turin - yet another "mad" one. Throughout his life he tried to put aside his past, his name, and his curse, and start life over again. He had a purpose in life for a long time - to take revenge on Morgoth. Hatered drove him on. However, when he came to accept who he is - Turin son of Hurin, a curse onto his kin, etc - and realised he can't just run away and start afresh his fate was much like Nienor's. And even more so, since he realised that by hating Morgoth he was doing what Morgoth planned for him. This was his motivation for living, as well as his family, which he thought was safe and found out was dead. It's like taking out two pillars that hold a building.

There's also another key thing here, forever. Just the thought of forever being Morgoth's puppet, forever bringing harm and destruction to where you tried to bring good, it's frightening.

To summarise, Turin's suicide is condoned. Both by the reader and by later generations.

Hurin - another one who has lost purpose and desire to live. "Bereft of all purpose and desire" - that's what The Sil says. There's no difference between death and life. Nothing matters. He wasn't escaping anything, because he had nothing to escape. Life is worthless. Hurin is honoured, respected, etc.

And since I'm on this family, I'd like to mention Morwen, who, once has achieved her only goal - to find her children - gives way to death. Her purpose drove her on when a more, quote unquote, sane person would have died, and once it was achieved the fire of life went out of her.

Elwing - yes, she's attempted suicide. During the Third Kinslaying she cast herself into the Sea. Thinking about her motivation, I came up with this thought: rather take my life and my dearest posessions myself than let them do it". This is questionable, though, since she left her sons to their own fate. We don't know the exact circumstances of Elwing's attempt, though, so it's possible that she did not willingly abandon Elrond and Elros - maybe they were captured, or they were separated, etc. The topic of lack of motherly protection has been quite popular, so I won't pursue it.

Maedhros - yet another one without a purpose. The loss of the right to the Silmarili this time. Maglor, on the other hand, always seemed to me as the less ambitious one, a more accepting personality. And he took solace in music.

Eowyn - somewhat similar to Fingolfin. But her's isn't a case of taking down as many foes as you can. She's such a case that I have a hard time explaining or putting down in words. I put special emphasis on the desire for death in battle. She was at the same time trying to take the last desperate step to her dream, and proving herself to Aragorn, and committing suicide. But I'm still missing the point I want to make. *sigh*

Denethor - utter, utter despair. His suicide can be sort of divided into two parts: before Gandalf's arrival and after. Before, we think his despair was caused by Faramir's near-death state. And that is, even in my opinion (), no legitimate reason to throw in the towel. But then we find out that this is only the breaking straw for Denethor - his despair goes much deeper beyond that, through the Palantir. And no, I can't anymore condemn him. He should have seen some light at the end of the tunnel, but you can't force a person to see it. Gandalf tried, unsuccessfully. In other words, I am taking the blame off Denethor. He's yet another character who the reader pities. And also one who is half mad.

His case is different from Nienor's because he actually had a real chance to find hope, start over, recover, you name it.

The Later Numenorians - they did not want to accept death when it came, and they tried to prolong their life. They clung onto their lives past their limits. In a way, they became thralls to life:
Fed only to keep alive, kept alive only to toil, toiling only for the fear of pain or death. (Sador in COH)
As mortals who are not completely broken by fate as the people above, they love life - who doesn't? But you have to give it away eventually. "One who cannot cast away a treasure at need is in fetters."

Aragorn - like the Numenorians during the earlier SA, Aragorn gives up his life on his own free will. He caught the right moment. You don't throw away your life just because you'll die eventually anyways, but you don't cling to it either. You just, well, hand it over when the moment comes.

This reminds me uncannily of the Tale of the Three Brothers (or some such - I forgot what it's really called) from Harry Potter 7. You know, the one about Death. Only the person who lived his life wisely and when time came embraced death died honourably.


But here comes this contradictory piece:
"Authority is not given to you, Stewart of Gondor, to order the hour of your death. And only the heathen kings, under the domination of the Dark Power, did thus, slaying themselves in pride and despair, murdering their kin to ease their own death." (Gandalf to Denethor, ROTK)
The first part, about the authority, probably means that the right moment didn't come yet - according to Gandalf's judgement. The part about the suicidal kings condemns suicide for the sake of suicide - and murder, to make it less emotionally painful.


Generally speaking (which I wanted to do in the beginning, but ended up writing this for 2 hours), I tend to condone suicide. It's not to be idealised or encouraged, but I don't have it in me to call any person who deliberately parts with their life a coward. It's no simple thing to do. I've had many arguments about various suicidal characters with different people, and I always say that even if suicide is an escape from the obstacles of life, or the consequences, or etc, it's not like walking out the front door. It's not that you're just escaping your current conditions, you're escaping through something that generally living creatures fear to death (bad pun, I know). Instead, I ask to look at suicide from a different perspective: how dreadful or worthless can life be, if death seems better? Going back to the quote about Brandir, his life was also in shatters, but it wasn't bad enough for him to take his life himself. He didn't fear death in the end, but giving up your life and talking it yourself are in a way different things. Brandir did not have the despair to jump into Cabed Naeramarth, or perhaps the courage - which is not to call him a coward at all.

Ok, now I'm going off topic again, so I'm going to stop.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zil
Tolkien almost seems to imply Saruman should have done himself in.
Maybe not exactly done himself in, but loved life a tad less, if you get my meaning. He became a thrall of life.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zil
On an unrelated note, I've wondered if Gollum's "slip" wasn't really a suicide, conscious or not.
I don't believe that an accident can be called a suicide. The slip was accidental on Gollums part; you can argue that it was meant so by fate, but fate doesn't always give you your preference. I don't see a reason for Gollum to want to die. The Smeagol inside of him was dead a long time ago. His affection for Frodo disappeared. The only thing he had left was his hunger for his preciouss. In a sense, Gollum also falls into the category of people who upon their death have no purpose - either because it is unachievable, or because it has been achieved.



This might be the longest post I've written so far. Sorry for the novel.
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Old 03-18-2012, 02:15 PM   #49
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This calls to mind a related question - that of the idea of Faith vs. Knowledge in the elves. Perhaps if there is sufficient discussion, this should be given it's own thread...

Particularly of the elves born in Middle-earth (though possibly of the older elves, whereas memory of Mandos and Valinor might have faded to a dreamlike remembrance over the passage of millenia), is their eventual appearance in Mandos or journey to Valinor upon being slain or leaving Middle-earth forgone knowledge that they could count upon in their every day actions and decisions, or is it more akin to a strong conviction or faith, hoping for and believing in an "afterlife" upon leaving Middle-earth...?
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Old 03-18-2012, 02:26 PM   #50
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This calls to mind a related question - that of the idea of Faith vs. Knowledge in the elves. Perhaps if there is sufficient discussion, this should be given it's own thread...

Particularly of the elves born in Middle-earth (though possibly of the older elves, whereas memory of Mandos and Valinor might have faded to a dreamlike remembrance over the passage of millenia), is their eventual appearance in Mandos or journey to Valinor upon being slain or leaving Middle-earth forgone knowledge that they could count upon in their every day actions and decisions, or is it more akin to a strong conviction or faith, hoping for and believing in an "afterlife" upon leaving Middle-earth...?
Well obviously they have no way of verifying it "physically" - they have never seen it with their own eyes. So it is rather, as you say, a strong conviction or faith. They have to believe what their ancestors and friends who claim to have spoken to Valar themselves etc., and to believe to the legends that go among the Elves since the beginning... but in fact, to be precise, even the Elves who had e.g. met Valar face-to-face don't have any absolute knowledge. If I am not mistaken, nobody of the living has been in Mandos to actually verify that the Elves are sitting there, no? The only exception would be Glorfindel (if he indeed is the same one), so he is the closest you can get to as "eyewitness". Apart from that? You have to believe the claims of the Elves around you, or even the Valar - it is still just believing their words, not anything else.

(But of course, as a note, the fact that it is not "knowledge" but "only" faith does not mean that they could not count on it in their every day actions and decisions. What good would it be for them if they didn't? That's no faith to speak of, obviously.)
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Old 03-18-2012, 05:33 PM   #51
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If I am not mistaken, nobody of the living has been in Mandos to actually verify that the Elves are sitting there, no?
The way I understood it is that most of the Elves do, eventually, come out of Mandos, and they reincarnate - like Glorfindel. However, none of the reincarnated save Glorfindel ever came to ME... unless some of those who came there during War of Wrath have been through Mandos. I doubt it, though. I think Mandos doesn't let fear out so quickly... but, on the other hand, Finwe waited for Miriel to return for a long time before marrying Indis. So for some (depending on their deeds during their physical life, I would guess) the period of awaiting a new body may be short, though it's always up to them to take it or to leave it...

Argh. To many what-ifs and on-the-other-hands. Am I some kind of octopus?
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Old 03-18-2012, 07:04 PM   #52
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Argh. To many what-ifs and on-the-other-hands. Am I some kind of octopus?
Do not go to Galadriel for advice, for she shall say, yea, nay, maybe, on the other hand, perhaps, definitely...
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Old 03-18-2012, 07:29 PM   #53
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Do not go to Galadriel for advice, for she shall say, yea, nay, maybe, on the other hand, perhaps, definitely...
There is a 94.87% chance that it shall be so, but you know there's always the possibility of the other 5.13% out there.

However, if the fact that you said "Galadriel" and not "Galadriel55" will be taken (seriously) into account, the above statement is not exact.

See? It is exact.

On the other other other other hand, though...
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Old 03-30-2012, 07:09 PM   #54
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I don't believe that an accident can be called a suicide. The slip was accidental on Gollums part; you can argue that it was meant so by fate, but fate doesn't always give you your preference.
What I key on is Frodo's threat that Gollum would be cast into the Fire. One might take that as a doom, or a curse, but Gollum wasn't made to fall by any discernible outside force. Therefore, I see it as a very possible subconscious effort on his part to free himself from the Ring in the only way he was then capable of being free. Frodo had given him the idea.

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Originally Posted by Galadriel55 View Post
I don't see a reason for Gollum to want to die. The Smeagol inside of him was dead a long time ago. His affection for Frodo disappeared. The only thing he had left was his hunger for his preciouss. In a sense, Gollum also falls into the category of people who upon their death have no purpose - either because it is unachievable, or because it has been achieved.
Even at the very end I don't feel the Sméagol part was "dead". It was beaten down into only a whisper in Gollum's mind, but still: he could have felt a desire to help Frodo as well, if there was a way to do so without forgoing the Ring.
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Old 03-31-2012, 08:20 AM   #55
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Originally Posted by Inziladun View Post
What I key on is Frodo's threat that Gollum would be cast into the Fire. One might take that as a doom, or a curse, but Gollum wasn't made to fall by any discernible outside force. Therefore, I see it as a very possible subconscious effort on his part to free himself from the Ring in the only way he was then capable of being free. Frodo had given him the idea.
I have a different spin on the threat. I believe it was the ring itself that pronounced the threat / curse / prophecy / promise, rather than Frodo.
Then suddenly, as before under the eaves of the Emyn Muil, Sam saw these two rivals with other vision. A crouching shape, scarcely more than the shadow of a living thing, a creature now wholly ruined and defeated, yet filled with a hiddeous rage and lust; and before it stood stern, untouchable now by pity, a figure robed in white, but at its breast it held a wheel of fire. Out of the fire there spoke a commanding voice.

"Begone, and trouble me no more! If you touch me ever again, you shall be cast yourself into the Fire of Doom."
The key words are 'out of the fire'. If so, the Ring, an aspect of and creation of Sauron, pronounced its own doom.

That the ring spoke those words is important to the primary theme. Throughout, Frodo was merciful towards Gollum, Sam was merciful towards Gollum, everyone was merciful towards Gollum. It's a big deal that the good guys, though Gollum deserved death, did not give it to him. Even the elves of Mirkwood showed Gollum more kindness than they would show a bunch of random dwarves. It was the Ring itself that did not show mercy.
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Last edited by blantyr; 04-01-2012 at 10:49 PM. Reason: An extra paragraph...
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Old 09-25-2012, 05:01 AM   #56
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Silmaril Suicide in ME

First of all we must separate elven suicide and that of men.

First Children of Eru are bound to Arda, their fea can't leave it. When they are killed they go to Halls of Mandos where they find rest and healing. The Halls set them right, drive away the weariness of spent years. If Namo and Manwe decide that this fea is ready to live again, if the fea is ready to have children again (thanks Eru Feanor will return only before the end... 14 Sons of Feanor! Hide!) and if Eru gives his blessing then the elf is reembodied. The new body is like the one elf had in previous life. Being embodied is a natural state for the Elves, it is like a marriage of fea and hroa, soul and body, and it is not right for an elf to end his life. Celebrian decided to wait for help rather than commit suicide even if she had to depart to Valinor for healing later.
The hroa can die, "or so hurt that it ceases to have health, sooner or later it 'dies'. That is: it becomes painful for the fea to dwell in it, being neither a help to life and will nor a delight to use, so that the fea departs from it."
It is easy for an elf to kill himself. He just wills it to happen and whoa! he is in Mandos. Elves do it when they don't have the strenght or will to live on, or if they are heartbroken (Luthien) and it is not always considers bad. But sometimes it is impossible to do so. Maedhros couldn't die so he begged Fingon to shoot him. I suppose Morgoth denied his prisoners that way out of Angband, and the spell worked all their lives (Gwindor son of Guilin had no will to live before he met Turin, Maedhros had to jump into the fire crack to end his own existence).
Still sometimes fea can be denied the right to live again: if it commited grave sins (Feanor for sure and possibly all of his sons), if the elf fled from his body while he could still carry on his life (for example some elf was bored of living and decided to 'die' even if he was not weary as Miriel Therinde was). All in all those who killed themmselves have to spent more time in Mandos before they can feel the will to live again. Another probability to be denied life is if the fea's spouse is married again. That is why Miriel, even if the Valar said she was not guilty (she gave up her life), could not return after Finwe married Indis. Finwe had to stay in Mandos forever with both Miriel (alive) and Indis having a spouse in Mandos. Sometimes fea doesn't want to return, so it stays in Mandos. That is the sign of its weakness. Sadly Aegnor son of Finarfin is considered weak, even if he stayed because the woman he loved was mortal and couldn't return to Arda after her death. Those who died twice as a rule don't want to return, but that is not a weakness, at least I never found quotes where it is named the fea's fault. There is another sign of fea's "weakness": some don't answer The Call and never make it to Mandos (most of Avari). Those souls stay in the Middle-Earth longing for a body for ever, but they are not subjects for our study.
So as we can see Elven Suicide is not always a bad thing, but it is not for them to misuse the ability to flee from their problems))

As for Men, they never were the part of Arda to begin with. They are just guests in Middle-Earth, so they mustn't be afraid to move on, leave this world to find another one where they will be hosts (and the Elves - guests, as Finrod believes). Death was Eru's 'gift' to them, the chanse to see new places and walk away in search of their own for their souls are travellers. But Morgoth tainted it, planted in men fear of death, made them seek a cure from it. That was the Mens Failing, with it came illnesses and shortening of their lifespan.
When Numenoran kings decide to die they decide to accept the gift of death and depart without struggle. But it is only right when the time is right, and when you don't kill yourself out of despair. So Denethor II is wrong in his suicide and Elessar is accepting the One's gift. Nienor and Turin were locked in Arda and couldn't depart after their deaths in early versions of the text, so their suicides are not "right".

Tolkien never states that suicide is a good thing. He says that we must try our hardest to live when we can. and we mustn't be afraid of inevitable. It is natural for us to depart. So we will die. We have to do it with grace, if we do we will be the ones who accepted His Gift.


I recommend to read HoME-10 "Laws and Customs among the Eldar" and "Athrabeth Finrod ah Andreth" for more info)
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Old 07-25-2019, 03:43 PM   #57
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This topic was on my mind, and I was near starting a thread on it. I did a search first, and a good thing. I had quite forgotten this one, even though I posted in it.

I just wanted to bump it up and see if someone wanted to put in their two silver pennies.
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Old 07-25-2019, 05:29 PM   #58
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This topic was on my mind, and I was near starting a thread on it. I did a search first, and a good thing. I had quite forgotten this one, even though I posted in it. .
Yes. The thought of it just kills me.
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Old 07-25-2019, 06:35 PM   #59
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Yes. The thought of it just kills me.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9CdVTCDdEwI
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Old 07-26-2019, 02:54 AM   #60
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I can recall at least three people who committed suicide (one Elf and two Men)
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Old 07-26-2019, 03:16 AM   #61
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Reading G55's 'General thoughts' post (here), I get the distinct impression that Tolkien viewed life as something you can, by force of will, drag on beyond its natural end. The bulk of the 'suicide' cases are people who just let go, and pass on peacefully. (There are obvious exceptions - Turin and Nienor being the chief.)

This explains why Denethor's act is wrong, while Aragorn's is laudable: Aragorn was in the final stages of his life, where he could just will himself to stop. Denethor was still hale and hearty, and had to use external means (fire) to kill himself. To put it another way, Aragorn was accepting the Gift proffered by Iluvatar at the end of his life, while Denethor was attempting to seize it early.

The modern nursing concept of end-of-life care may be relevant here. As I understand it, that's where you stop trying to treat whatever problems your patient has, and just keep them comfortable while they go. If we mix that with Tolkien's view, we get Numenorean kings who come down with eminently treatable diseases (perhaps simply a winter cold), but take it as a sign from the One that it's time to let go.

And then in the later days, we have aggressive treatment regimes, increasingly expensive medications, and kings who hang on until their diseases force the life out of them.

So what about Turin? As Galadriel55 says, the story generally views his death as acceptable, despite falling firmly in the 'seizing death early' category. Perhaps this reflects a more Elvish view, where physical infirmity isn't a thing, and the message that it's time to let go (and head to Mandos for a rest, in their case) comes through weariness of spirit. The House of Hurin were spiritually exhausted, and the Eldar would absolutely understand that as a good reason to leave (see Miriel).

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Old 07-26-2019, 10:08 AM   #62
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I can recall at least three people who committed suicide (one Elf and two Men)
Two elves: Miriel and Maedhros. Also Maglor depending on version. Nienor together with Turin and Denethor. And (some say) Hurin. That gets us to three and four.

---

Also, Brandir might count as a suicide-by-Turin. And Fingolfin probably counts as a kamikaze.
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