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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
Galadriel55
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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.

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