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Old 02-08-2001, 03:06 PM   #1
Mithadan
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The hand of fate is occaisionally (and some will undoubtedly argue frequently) in Middle Earth. Fate for purposes of this thread shall be defined as certain events being preordained, that matters flow inexorably and unavoidably to the culmination of the event. Fate is not prophecy, though the concepts are related. Prophecy is the ability to foresee a future event, though Galadriel suggests that prophecy is less certain and may only be fulfilled if one turns out of his way to avoid it.

How does fate work in Middle Earth? What events were &quot;fated&quot;? Who is governed by fate? Feanor? Turin? Frodo? Gollum? Aragorn?

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Old 02-08-2001, 06:49 PM   #2
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Re: The role of Fate in Middle Earth

I think everything is governed by fate, it is inescapable. I believe that in ME, Arda, etc. everyone has a destiny that was preordained by Il¨vatar. It may seem as though a certain person is going against what Il¨vatar said but this is not true, as he said, it is only tributary to his glory and in the end but part of his design. It might feel like fate isn't predestined because no one can see the future, but certain entities can. ManwŰ for one and Namo is another. Even then certain things aren't &quot;revealed&quot; to them. Revealed was a good word to choose because this implies that someone else does know. Il¨vatar is the most likely candidate, normally we would associate omniscience to one such as he. He created everything so it should be safe to assume that he knows how everything will be. So if someone, even a Supreme Being knows everything then fate exists, for everything and there are no exceptions.

Therefore Feanor was destined to create the silmarills, the silmarills were destined to be stolen, lost, destroyed, Aragorn was destined to become king, Frodo was destined to come into possession of the ring, and so on.

It may seem like someone is going to do something and end up not doing it, but if Il¨vatar is omniscient, then he knows this is going to come to be and it becomes destiny merely because it can be no other way.

A little philosophical, I don't know if I explained my point well enough to understand. If I did, then that is great, if not, post again I guess.



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Old 02-08-2001, 09:10 PM   #3
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Re: The role of Fate in Middle Earth

I agree.Gandalf himself affirmed that ME was under a guiding hand,saying to Frodo of the Ring's finding:

<blockquote>Quote:<hr> &quot;Behind that there was something else at work,beyond any design of the Ring-maker.I can put it no plainer than by saying that Bilbo was meant to find the Ring,and not by its maker.In which case you also were meant to have it.&quot;<hr></blockquote>

Meant by fate,or Il˙vatar.They are one and the same.

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Old 02-09-2001, 12:02 PM   #4
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Re: The role of Fate in Middle Earth

If, for the purpose of discussion, we make the reasonable assumption that Illuvatar=God, then the Christian debates on the nature of Fate/Omnipotence vs. Free Will come into play.

The theological question: If God is all powerful and foreknows all, then how is Free Will possible?

I have an answer that settles it for me (in my own limited understanding).

Let's head out to the baseball field for a moment...

Babe Ruth steps up to the plate. The unruly Yankees crowd jeers the great player, for he has lately been in a slump. But the Babe promised the dying boy, listening now on the radio, that he would hit a home run especially for him. So as the crowd calls out various insults, the Sultan of Swat points his bat high into the stands over left field. The young pitcher sneers, throws his pitch, and the Babe knocks it right into the stands where he pointed.

Now, the Babe did not know what pitch would next come his way. But having been a pitcher himself, he knew every pitch that could possibly come across that plate and what he would have to do with it to knock it where he wanted.

Similarly (IMHO), God, in order that we would have free will, has limited his own power, but being God, can take whatever we throw at him, and knock it right into the prophetic.

Thus, while not constraining us to behave as automatons, he nevertheless is a player himself, and like Illuvatar, can make the Destiny that is His Will come forth, no matter what Morgoth may sing to the contrary. The songs of Tolkien's creation were powerful themes. The actions of the creatures were variations on those themes.

But the Song was still Illuvatar's.

I would argue that this was Tolkien's understanding. I don't think we are talking about Fate, as such. I think, rather, it is Destiny (If I may make a distinction.). Thus, we are not Fated to decide one thing or another. But we are Destined for a particular end according to our decisions.

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Old 02-09-2001, 01:13 PM   #5
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Re: The role of Fate in Middle Earth

Good post Gilthalion!

Fate: the principle or determining cause or will by which things in general are believed to come to be as they are or events to happen as they do

Destiny: a predetermined course of events often held to be an irresistible power or agency


(From Merriam-Webster Online)


After reading these definitions I would have to say that Fate plays more of a role than Destiny in Middle Earth. It does not seem that there is a 'predetermined course of events'. As Gilthalion states, beings of ME have their own free will. Iluvatar, or the powers that be, take what is thrown at them and then choose to intervene or not. By intervene, I don't mean how the Valar participated in the War of Wrath, I mean influence. Or, in the case of Earendil (haven't read his story in ages, so please forgive if I'm off here) making it the voyage to the West. The paths were closed to all, but, by the powers that be, Earendil made it. I would say that many characters in Middle Earth were 'fated' for certain greatness or doom. The prime example is Tuor. He was 'led' by Ulmo to his destiny. But I would also say there was much prophecy or forsight regarding characters too. For example, when Feanor and his sons took their oath, they sealed their doom - this was known (forseen?) by all. I don't have any references with me, so I can't provide any hard evidence. Wasn't it 'prophecised' that this oath would drive them and be their demise? Also, Morgoth always had an unreasonable fear of Turgon. Could he 'forsee' that from Turgon would come the last hope of the Elves and his end? Was there something in the Music that he just couldn't remember? Could it be that all the answers were in the Music, but the Ainur just didn't catch it while they were singing? Or was it just an intuition, a hunch? Another example, if my memory serves me, it seems that those who knew Tuor during his life before Gondolin knew that he had a certain 'destiny' that would be fulfilled. Could they have forseen his marraige to Idril and the voyage of Earendil? Also, Tuor had always been moved by the name of Turgon and ever sought information about him. Did he forsee his destiny and how it was mingled with Turgon's? Or did Ulmo 'plant' the name in his thoughts?

I'm kind of rambling now so I'll sign off. Just some random thoughts for a Friday lunch hour!

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Old 02-09-2001, 03:07 PM   #6
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Re: The role of Fate in Middle Earth

In an attempt to draw this discussion from a generalized discussion of fate/doom/foresight to a Middle Earth specific discussion, I quote the following:

<blockquote>Quote:<hr> &quot;the hearts of Men should seek beyond the world and have no rest therein; but they should have a virtue to shape their life, amid the powers and chances of the world, beyond the Music of the Valar, which is as fate to all things else...&quot; Silmarillion, p.22 <hr></blockquote>

Now this suggests that while men have free will, elves and the Valar and all else does not, at least to the extent that any matter derives from the Music. Two points. First, the Music was interrupted or prematurely terminated due to Melkor's disruption (which, as part of the Music is also &quot;as fate&quot. Second, the vision of Arda which followed also ended early (before the coming of the Man?).

Does this mean Men have free will and elves, etc. do not? What happens when the races interact? Perhaps men are caught up in fate or doom when they deal with elves or the Valar (or even Maiar such as Gandalf or Sauron). Assuming the Music was broad brush strokes of fate, are the details subject to free will? What happens when history goes beyond the point where the Music ended? Do elves, etc. then have free will?

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Old 02-09-2001, 04:12 PM   #7
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Re: The role of Fate in Middle Earth

Perhaps the most revealing passage about fate in the Silmarillion:

<blockquote>Quote:<hr> Therefore he [Illuvatar] willed that the hearts of Men should seek beyond the world and find no rest therein; but that they should have a virtue to shape their life, amid the powers and chances of the world, beyond the Music of the Ainur, which is as fate to all things else; and of their operation everything should be, in form and deed, completed, and the world fulfilled unto the last and smallest.<hr></blockquote>

It seems then, that the fates of Elves and even those of the Valar themselves were foresung in the Music of the Ainur. They could not be changed, except perhaps by Eru himself. There was one exception - Men. Having been given the gift of Free Will by Illuvatar, it seems they could choose their own destiny. If the lives of Men were fated, it wasn't in the Music.

What we don't know, however, is how much fate was actually in the Music. Is fate a rigid definition of what will happen, in minutest detail, from beginning to end? Or is it more of a loose framework which history simply fits into. Personally, I prefer to believe in the latter.

I expect many of the great events in the history of Arda were fated to take place - The Two Trees and their destruction, the making of the Silmarils, the Oath of Feanor, and the Nirnaeth to name a few. The details, however, would have been left undecided - up to chance. The outcome might have been pre-ordained, but the route to it was not.

Were the lives of Men fated? Certainly the tragic life of Turin seems to be. There are several references made in the tale to Turin's 'Doom'. But I'm inclined to think that the 'Doom' was due to the Malice of Morgoth, just as the fate of Tuor might have been due to the guidance of Ulmo. Of course, it could be that the destinies of Turin and Tuor were fixed because of their involvement with the elves, whose lives were fated. I don't think it can be proved either way.

Most of this (if not all of it) is the merest speculation - buy hey, isn't that what philosophy's all about?

Edit: I seem to have missed Mithadan's post there - he seems to have covered many of my points already. Oh well.

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Old 02-09-2001, 08:27 PM   #8
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Re: The role of Fate in Middle Earth

Gilthalion: The Christian concept of fate and free will at the same time, as far as I know, is based on the idea that God exists outside of the universe (including time), and therefore can say exactly what will happen and when, so in a way, we are fated to do certain things. On the other hand, we exists inside the universe and time and can make our own decisions, although God knows in advance what our choices will be. It's not about limiting power.

(At least, I think that's how it goes. But then, I've never had any formal theological training, and I could be wrong.)

Just thought the side note could be of interest. You can get back to Fate in the ME now. <img src=wink.gif ALT="">

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Old 02-10-2001, 01:49 AM   #9
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Re: The role of Fate in Middle Earth

Fate in Me was, I think, a set of predetermined or 'fated' circumstances and choices. However, what one did with those circs, or which choice or decision one made ultimately affected the events in ME.

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Old 02-10-2001, 01:53 AM   #10
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Mandos

Wasn't the fate in Middle-Earth, although to some extent (controlled) by Illuvatar, the 'responsibility' of Mandos? Or could he only percieve/propecise fate? I don't have anything really long and interesting to say here <img src=wink.gif ALT="">

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Old 02-10-2001, 08:12 AM   #11
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Fate vs. Free will

I might be just repeating stuff here, but I think that there's a difference between knowing what will happen and making something in particular happen, and there's a mixture of both in ME (and IRL, too). Eru, or whoever was the &quot;something else at work,&quot; may have merely known about the goblins capturing Bilbo and the dwarves in the mountains, but he may have guided his hand in the dark to where the ring was, for example. Or to go back a bit, Thorin may have asked Gandalf for advice on a fourteenth member of his own free will, but knowing that he would ask, Eru could have caused the memory of Bilbo to come up in Gandalf's mind.

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Old 02-11-2001, 03:23 PM   #12
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Re: The role of Fate in Middle Earth

Regarding Zoe's side-note:

I'm not sure we're really talking about different things.

God (Eru/Illuvatar in the Silmarillion) in Eternity certainly is separate from Creation, which exists in Time.

I recall that the ancient Hebrew concept for Eternity is &quot;all of time at once.&quot; This certainly is a difficult concept to grasp. Of course, we really can't. But it is at the heart of the Free Will vs. Omnipotence argument. By the act of Creation in Time, God has created something other than Himself, which by definition imposes a limit (that is: Something other than God).

The miraculous/magical occurs when power is exerted to overturn the course of Time and the order of Creation. The fact that God does not impose his will, but rather works his will through our choices is a self-imposed limit to his power through the act of creating the whole set up. The fact that he can move outside of this self-imposed boundary to effect the miraculous is evidence of the Creator working his will (rather than scrapping Creation and starting over).

Discussions of this nature, matters beyond the mathematical, break down in talks of this sort because words (even Elvish ones I imagine) are too clumsy and rough a set of tools for describing the infinitely sublime.

Nevertheless, we CAN &quot;feel&quot; it, or intuit it when description fails. For example, I had my distinction between FATE and DESTINY precisely backwards, evidently. Yet, I think everyone grasped what I was trying to convey!

This is another of those matters that sets Tolkien's work so far above the rest of the genre, indeed, above all but the loftiest and greatest works of history, perhaps to even rank among them. Tolkien taps into matters such as these, and we understand it and feel that there is something &quot;True&quot; in his work that transcends ordinary fiction.



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Old 02-11-2001, 04:21 PM   #13
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Re: The role of Fate in Middle Earth

I agree with Zoe. But no sense in arguing the point that God can limit himself with his own omnipotence, it is not necissarily impossible, but it is I guess undefined, like have 0/0 it isn't 0 and it isn't infinity it isn't and it is everything. Can God create a boulder that is to heavy for him to move? No one can answer that question besides God.

Back to the original discussion, which seems to have a lot to do with our world. I think everything is forseen by Il¨vatar, an omniscient being. And being all knowing Il¨vatar knows every event which has occurred and will occur. Just because something didn't happen in the music doens't mean that it isn't known by him, it just means that it isn't known to the Valar.

Free will and fate are not opposites, they can coexist. We have free will. But God or Il¨vatar, which ever you prefer, can &quot;look into the future&quot;, see what choices we have made, come back in time and make up a predetermined course of events that cannot be changed. More or less that is how I see it done.

"It seems fate is not without a sense of irony."</p>
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Old 02-11-2001, 06:23 PM   #14
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Mith, you are askin a question that can not be answered, or if it may be, it can give only personal opinions with ambivalency of possible belief or rejection. I mean that when all the history of the ME (except the last ages, when fading of the Firstborn approaches it's fulfilment) concerns mostly elves, and those have no answer. And I doubt JRRT himself had a clear opinion about that. C.f.

Quote:
though it has been said that a greater still shall be made before Il˙vatar by the choirs of the Ainur and the Children of Il˙vatar after the end of days
with

Quote:
Yet of old the Valar declared to the Elves in Valinor that Men shall join in the Second Music of the Ainur; whereas Il˙vatar has hot revealed what he purposes for the Elves after the World's end, and Melkor has not discovered it.
Comparing this two quotes one may come to think that Men a beloved ones, truly Children of Eru, and elves and Ainur are not, but that would be false idea, and the truth is simple - no one can know all the purposes of the One


Quote:
Now this suggests that while men have free will, elves and the Valar and all else does not, at least to the extent that any matter derives from the Music.
Free will is expressed rather by a gift of choice than by an ability to leave the circles of the world. It is true that all is predicted in Music, but it is true as well that
Quote:
but it seemed that its most triumphant notes were taken by the other and woven into its own solemn pattern
So comes that any thing made comes in the end to be the praise of Illuvatar.


Now for my personal opinion:

Children, as well as Valar, live in time, which means all that befell them comes as a chain of different moments, so their experience is limited. Eru, who is out of time, sees it in all it's length and knows all things that were, are and are still to come. One can cocnclude that, as all that is to come is already known by Eru, as he is experiencing it as we experience our present , there is no place for a free will. But it may be argued this way - to watch somebody doing something is not the same as to make him do it, is not it so? And, as well, see the quote above, about music woving everything into it's pattern
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Old 02-11-2001, 06:55 PM   #15
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Re: The role of Fate in Middle Earth

Well said H-I. I think we have about the same opinion, but in situations such as this, it is hard to tell for sure.

"It seems fate is not without a sense of irony."</p>
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Old 02-17-2001, 05:53 PM   #16
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Re: The role of Fate in Middle Earth

We've seen a lot of very good comments on the idea of fate in ME, now can anyone give some examples?

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Old 02-17-2001, 07:58 PM   #17
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Re: The role of Fate in Middle Earth

Oh, and Gilthalion, Zoe said Omniscinece, not Omnipotence, there is a difference between the two.

An example, well, everything was fated in ME, so everything is an example, even if some things weren't known to Namo.

It seems fate is not without a sense of irony.</p>
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Old 02-18-2001, 02:20 PM   #18
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Re: The role of Fate in Middle Earth

About examples of fate...
I was going to suggest Bombadil's &quot;just happening&quot; to be out and about near Old Man Willow when frodod and the gang were in trouble...but then again, I think I remember reading where Tom was informed that they were coming.
And then I was going to suggest Bilbo &quot;just happening&quot; to make his way down into the cave where Gollum was, and &quot;just happening&quot; happening to think of the perfect riddle...but then again, I think I remember reading how it was the ring working in that whole scenario.
Well, I did find a statement about fate in the Silmarillion in &quot;The Fifth Battle&quot;:
&quot;Yet fate saved the sons of Feanor, and though all were wounded none were slain...&quot; (p. 235, bottom). I've got to keep reading on to see how it all works out. I'd still be interested to see some examples that you guys can come up with.


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Old 02-18-2001, 02:26 PM   #19
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Re: The role of Fate in Middle Earth

I think I found a real one. Wasn't it fate that led Wormtoungue to throw the palantir at Gandalf? Because that happened, Pippin was led to look in it, and Sauron's attention was led in that direction (and away from Frodo and the ring). thereafter, Sauron must have been bending his thoughts toward the west. Maybe he thought he saw the hobbit he was looking for? Anyway, It seems very non-coincidental.

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Old 02-18-2001, 02:39 PM   #20
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Re: The role of Fate in Middle Earth

<blockquote>Quote:<hr> Can God create a boulder that is to heavy for him to move? <hr></blockquote>
I think free will is that boulder.

You know, with all this Fate and Destiny stuff, I don't think anyone's yet mentioned Doom. It's through Tolkien that I was impressed with the inherent sense of fate in that word (way beyond C3PO's constant &quot;We┤re doomed,&quot; in Star Wars).

But tell me, who are you, alone, yourself and nameless?</p>
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Old 02-21-2001, 09:16 AM   #21
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Quote:
Can God create a boulder that is too heavy for him to move?
The matter of free will is not a boulder in a sence the given quote suggests. C.S.Lewis gave a very fitting example of God - Creature relation in that aspect. Imagine some given mother, who, naturally, wants her son's room to be kept in order. On the other hand, she wants him too be independent and act freely. So the duty of making up a room is pronounced a voluntary service. Her son may stop making it up immediatly. So, her will is not fulfilled - room is disordered, yet her is fulfilled - her son expresses his own free will. The general aim is to have a situation, when service is voluntary, yet room is in order
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Old 02-21-2001, 10:23 PM   #22
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Re: The role of Fate in Middle Earth

I thought that when the world of Middle Earth was created Illutavar (something like that) ordained for his creation to have free will. If this is the case it makes it hard for fate to play a role seeming as the people of ME control their own destinies.

However in the action of LoTR their is a thin line all the characters walk along which would be so easy to disrupt; eg. The hobbits getting caught at the ford or on weathertop or Sauron leaving just one or two guards in Mount Doom. I believe that Illutavar or even Manwe has a plan for ME and gives aid to the characters in achieveing their destinies rather than setting it aforehand

Then they all turned to the newcomer and cried, "From whence do you hail stranger." And he replied, pilboy@hotmail.com </p>
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Old 02-22-2001, 08:08 AM   #23
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Re: The role of Fate in Middle Earth

This is a difficult issue. The Silmarillion expressly states that men have free will &quot;unlike&quot; elves and the Valar. But the extent to which the actions of elves and the Valar are governed by fate is very murky. It seems that the music of the Ainur set forth at least a skeletal outline of the creation and workings of Arda and that the music, including Melkor's disruption, is incorporated into the unfolding of the history of Arda. Then there is the &quot;vision&quot; of Arda which was made by Eru after the Music. This vision ended early, either just before the coming of Elves or the awakening of Men.

Some portion of Arda's history is &quot;recorded&quot; by the music and the vision. It appears to be &quot;set&quot; or preordained. However, it is questionable: (1) how complete the &quot;pre-recorded history was; and (2) whether such history is &quot;set&quot; even after the vision concluded. In my opinion, the Music and the Vision created broad brush strokes with details filed in by the free will of individuals and that elves are much more bound up by fate than men. Thus it was &quot;set&quot; that Melkor would interfere with the history of the world and would attempt to corrupt elves and men, but exactly how it would happen was not set. Also, when certain events occur, a &quot;stream of fate&quot; is created, i.e. Feanor rebels &gt; Noldor go into exile &gt; Wars of Beleriand &gt; the Noldor's inevitable defeat &gt; Valar intervene. This allows some events to be predictable, so Feanor can &quot;foresee&quot; that the Valar will intervene some time in the future, Ulmo can foresee the need for Gondolin and the coming of someone like Tuor, etc.

An additional theory: the free will of men is reduced when they interact with elves/Valar/Maiar so that their actions are more &quot;fated&quot; or predictable. Thus in the cases of Beren, Turin, Tuor, and even Aragorn and Frodo, their interactions with elves, Morgoth, Sauron result in them being bound up in &quot;streams of fate&quot;.

I disagree with some of the posts above which suggest that Eru took active part in the events of Middle Earth. Other than when his aid is called upon by Manwe, it seems he does not (thus Eru criticizes the decision to summon the elves to Valinor and grieves at the actions of men). Middle Earth is not our world and our theology does not directly apply. JRRT says

<blockquote>Quote:<hr> &quot;I don't feel under any obligation to make my story fit with formalized Christian theology, though I intended it to be consonant with Christian thought and belief&quot; Lettrers #269 <hr></blockquote>

JRRT here means that ethics and morals apply (thus orcs are not irredeemable -- the subject of the quoted letter). There is good and evil and all should strive to act ethically and there are consequences when one fails to do so ( the Noldor's defeat in Beleriand, the assumption of power of the Stewards after the prideful actions of the last king, Boromir's attempt to seize the Ring, etc.). But in Letters, JRRT expressly states that Iluvatar does not enter Arda and distinguishes Arda and its history from Christian &quot;mythology&quot; (his word not mine).

--Mithadan--
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were kindled clear, and waxing bright
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above the reek of earth leap forth." </p>
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Old 02-22-2001, 08:56 PM   #24
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Re: The role of Fate in Middle Earth

Interesting post, Mith. So are you saying then that when Gandalf says, <blockquote>Quote:<hr> 'I can put it no plainer than by saying that Bilbo was meant to find the Ring, and not by its maker. In which case you also were meant to have it.'<hr></blockquote>...or Aragorn says,<blockquote>Quote:<hr> `He is the Bearer, and the fate of the Burden is on him. I do not think that it is our part to drive him one way or the other. Nor do I think that we should succeed, if we tried. There are other powers at work far stronger.'<hr></blockquote>...that they are not obliquely referring to Eru/Il˙vatar? What about Gandalf's (so-called <img src=wink.gif ALT=""> ) &quot;enhancement&quot; and return? Doesn't that constitute direct intervention?

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Old 02-22-2001, 09:45 PM   #25
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Re: The role of Fate in Middle Earth

UUUUUNNNNNDDDDEEEERRRRHHHHHIIIIILLLLL!!! <img src=biggrin.gif ALT="">

-rÚd

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"He was as noble and as fair in face as an elf-lord, as strong as a warrior, as wise as a wizard, as venerable as a king of dwarves, and as kind as summer."</p>

-A Short Rest, The Hobbit</p></blockquote></p>
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Old 02-22-2001, 10:57 PM   #26
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Re: The role of Fate in Middle Earth

RRRRR╔╔╔╔╔╔╔╔╔╔╔╔╔╔╔DDDDDDDD!!!!

Trying times for Underhill = no chance to post or chat. <img src=frown.gif ALT="">

Where's Elrond when I need him? I could sure use a bunk at the Last Homely House right about now.

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Old 02-23-2001, 07:56 AM   #27
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Re: The role of Fate in Middle Earth

Actually Underhill, both quotes to an extent are consonant with my general theory. Bilbo, living in the Shire is relatively unaffected by fate. Then he involves himself in the affairs of Gandalf, a Maia whose purposes though then hidden are now clear, and comes into the vicinity of the Ring which is being sought for and called out to by its master, Sauron, another Maia. Bilbo goes from a mundane &quot;human&quot; existence to being wrapped up in the affairs of Maiar and Elves and becomes subject to &quot;fate&quot;.

Similarly, Frodo carries the Ring which is again wrapped up in the concerns and affairs of Maiar and the Elves. He too becomes subject to &quot;fate&quot;.

When men become involved in the events surrounding beings subject to fate, whether by joining the Noldor in the Wars of Beleriand, or the wars against Sauron, some get wrapped up in fate. Arguably, the history of Numenor is, in its entirety, an example of this. The Numenoreans dwell on an island created and gifted to them by the Valar and their lives are extended beyond the normal limits of men. Perhaps the history which follows is inexorable, set into motion by the acts of the Valar.

--Mithadan--
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above the reek of earth leap forth." </p>
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Old 02-23-2001, 08:52 AM   #28
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Re: The role of Fate in Middle Earth

But did he start associating with Gandalf or Gandalf with him. You are only looking at a partial fate, partial free will type scenario. Being that I think free will and fate exist together, I may be blind to your point. But Bilbo was picked by Gandalf, because fate had a role in the matter. It was fate that led Gandalf to Bilbo, Bilbo to choose Frodo as heir,Frodo to take the ring to the Cracks of Doom, and Gollum to bite his gum his finger off.

I just see your perspective Mith. Do you believe that fate only exists when great deeds have been done? Nothing much happens in the Shire, but I don't think that its inhabitants are beyond fate.

It seems fate is not without a sense of irony.</p>
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Old 02-23-2001, 09:33 AM   #29
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That quote ...

Beautiful discussion.

Excuse me if I missed the exact reference , but where in the Silm is it said that the Valar and Elves don't have free will and Men do?

I always love seeing things I completely missed.
Especially philosophical principles of great import - that show just how dense I can be.


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</p>Edited by: <A HREF=http://www.barrowdowns.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_profile&u=00000076>lindil</A> at: 2/23/01 10:36:40 am
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Old 02-23-2001, 10:28 AM   #30
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Re: That quote ...

Its quoted above and can be found at p. 22, Houghton Mifflin Edition (original issuance not the Second or illustrated editions).

--Mithadan--
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Old 02-23-2001, 11:24 AM   #31
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Re: That quote ...

I'm intrigued by your theory, Mithadan, but I want to know more. So are you saying that the guiding or directing force behind the &quot;fated&quot; stream of events is not Il˙vatar? If it is him, then doesn't this constitute direct involvement of some kind? If not, then who? The Valar (i.e. ManwŰ)?

</p>Edited by: <A HREF=http://www.barrowdowns.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_profile&u=00000005>Mister Underhill</A> at: 2/23/01 12:25:37 pm
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Old 02-23-2001, 11:46 AM   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mithadan
But in Letters, JRRT expressly states that Iluvatar does not enter Arda and distinguishes Arda and its history from Christian mythology
That may imply that Illuvatar won't enter Arda as an incarnate, showing no parallels with Christian mithology in that point.
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Old 02-23-2001, 12:19 PM   #33
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Re: That quote ...

Struggling to strictly interpret JRRT's words, it appears that &quot;fate&quot; was established by the Music and possibly by the Vision. Although arguably the Music ultimately derives from Iluvatar, JRRT stresses that the Valar possessed free will in the making of the Music. Indeed, he notes that here, his mythology diverges significantly from Christian theology. In Ainulindale, Melkor exercises his free will by creating disruption in the Music, rendering the world marred from its very beginning, while in Judeo-Christian tradition it is Adam's acceptance of the apple in violation of the dictates of God that creates the &quot;Fall&quot;. See Letters, #212 (fascinating letter from a philosophical standpoint). Thus in the case of Arda, the marring and the resulting evil is inherent to the nature of the world. There was no &quot;Eden&quot; in Middle Earth.

Thus the Ainur possess free will outside of Arda but are bound into Arda's history and &quot;fate&quot; when they enter as Valar and Maiar. The stream of history or fate derives from the Music and the Vision and does not result from the direct intervention of Iluvatar into the affairs of Arda.

--Mithadan--
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above the reek of earth leap forth." </p>
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Old 02-23-2001, 01:16 PM   #34
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Re: That quote ...

So Bilbo finding the ring could be one of those things woven into the music.

But tell me, who are you, alone, yourself and nameless?</p>
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Old 02-23-2001, 02:50 PM   #35
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Re: That quote ...

Theoretically it could, but it seems that the Music and the Vision did not create a full history of Arda, but rather stopped at about the time the Elves awoke.

--Mithadan--
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Old 02-23-2001, 03:36 PM   #36
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Re: That quote ...

I always thought (and the letter you cited seems to agree) that the Music created the complete history of the world, but the Vision revealed only its beginning to the Ainur. Anyway, we're back to the same tricky conundrum. As you point out, Mithadan, Il˙vatar exists outside of Arda, and therefore outside of time. To say that he created Arda and then &quot;let it run&quot; without his interference has no meaning in this context.

But putting that sßma-bending problem aside, I'll point out another instance where Il˙vatar seems to have intervened: what about the little episode with AulŰ and the Dwarves?

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Old 02-23-2001, 05:30 PM   #37
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....

I always thought Manwe governed by the will of Il˙vatar, he is constantly deep in thought, maybe 'speaking' to Eru. So wouldn't this be intervening?

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Old 02-24-2001, 05:16 AM   #38
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Quote:
it was made by Eru, but He is not in it

Finrod to Andreth

Quote:
They [those of ôthe Old Hope ľ H-I] say that the One will himself enter into Arda, and heal Men and all the Marring from the beginning to the end
Quote:
How could Eru enter into the thing that he has made, and than which He is beyond measure greater? Can the singer enter into his tale or the designer into his picture?
He is already in it, as well as outsideĺ said Finrodĺ but inded the ôin-dwellingö and the ôout-livingö are not in the same modeĺ
Ĺtrulyĺ said Andreth.ĺSo may Eru in that mode be present in Ea that proceeded from Him. But they speak of Eru Himself entering into Arda, and that is thing wholly different
Some additions to strenghten allusions of christian theology. I have a feeling (but at that personal) that JRRT rejected those only when directly asked (if not blamed) about the subject. But being a Christian, having a Christian mentality and background he (maybe sometimes unintentionally) always put it there. There were some interesting note of his in the letters about subcreation, and his world being his part, his addition into creative act of the One. Compare ôof Aule and Yavanna". Are not we, all of us, smaller Aules offering our creations to Creator?
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Old 02-27-2001, 05:21 PM   #39
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Re: ....

Imp: Eru intervenes when asked by Manwe. Thus the drowning of Numenor. Aule's creation of the dwarves occurred early enough to be foretold by the Music. Clearly the actions of the Valar are, to some extent, influenced by fate, notwithstanding whether the Music was comprehensive or not.

Someone questioned whether the Music ended prematurely or just the vision. The vision clearly did. The Music? Not entirely sure. It seems to have ended earlier than planned and was likely less complete than it could have been. The disruption caused by Morgoth made many of the Ainur stop singing in dismay. This may support the &quot;broad brush&quot; concept of fate resulting from the Music. Or it may not. This is just an idea or theory which may or may not be correct.

--Mithadan--
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Old 02-27-2001, 06:26 PM   #40
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Re: ....

If I may approach this at a very prosaic level, I have always thought that JRRT hits both the free-will note and the fate note very heavily at the end of the Council of Elrond:
<blockquote>Quote:<hr> I think that this task is appointed for you, Frodo; and if you do not find a way, no one will. This is the hour of the Shire-folk, when they arise form their quiet fields to shake the towers and counsels of the great. Who of all the Wise could have forseen it? Or if they are wise, why should they expect to know it, until the hour has struck?<hr></blockquote>
If this informs the discussion at all (and I'm hardly sure that it does) it would be useful to render that word Wise back into Elvish. A quick check at Ardalambion suggests that all of the Elvish roots for Wise lead us straight back to the Noldor, the Sindar and the Istari. (The roots being ngol, thin and is, respectively. That is, I take Elrond to be saying that the Shire-folk, mortals, operate outside the certain knowledge of the Wise. This might, indeed, back up the distinction between the fated experience of the firstborn and the free experience of the followers suggested (I think first in thread) by Mithadan.
That said, what of appointed? It does not appear in the Ardlambion glossaries. An OED search demonstrates that in the King James Edition it does have the kind of significance that would correspond with divine preordination: Num. ix. 2
Keepe the Passe~ouer at his appointed season.
(Would the Catholic Prof. use CoE language? How not?)
So if that ainĺt equivocal evidence, I donĺt know what would be. See if it feeds your conversation (which is already over my head).
g.


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