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Old 08-16-2002, 09:45 AM   #1
Lush
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Question Aredhel the bad girl?

Guys, I was recently having lunch with one of my more scholarly acquaintances, when the topic of The Silmarillion came up. I don't know how we got on the subject, but we ended up talking a great deal about our least favorite characters, the ones that if you met them in real life, you would want to slap.
Well, surprisingly enough, my friend reserves that dubious honor for Aredhel, the mother of Maeglin. Essentially, he blames her for the fall of Gondolin.
Plot-wise, the fall of Gondolin can indeed be traced to Ardhel's dissatisfaction and restlessness, but should one actually go so far as to name her the root of the evil behind Gondolin's downfall? Was Aredhel's character Tolkien's main tool in creating an example of what a good woman shouldn't be?
Personally, I disagree with this on many levels, but I want to hear what you guys think. Who is Aredhel to you? A selfish brat, a victim of circumstances, or a little bit of both?
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Old 08-16-2002, 10:04 AM   #2
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Personaly I think the smallest discessions can make the world of a difference. I agree with the concept that Aredhel was part of the downfall, however it would be unfair to choose that because it is an example of what a "good woman" should not do.

Something that I have been learning about the Silmarillion, the stories may seem to have everything pre-determined, you do not have a choice. However it is a story of choice as well as pre-destination. Maglor made the choice to throw the silmaril into the ocean. He also did not want to steal the last two stones, but his brother persuaded him to do so.

It is our own belief that creates the doom. We think there is not a choice when there is. We create our own doom. Maeglin choose to go at his cousin after he was told no. Maeglin also choice to ask his mother to flee Nan Enmoth to return home and leave Eol behind.
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Old 08-16-2002, 10:43 AM   #3
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I don't personally think Aredhel was the example of what a woman shouldn't be. I mean, imagine being in the same place for hundreds and hundreds of years. Wouldn't you want to go out and see different things? But many things happen good or bad, because of one small thing. It's true, if Aredhel never left Gondolin, Gondolin wouldn't have fallen. But if Feanor wasn't such a good craftsman, he wouldn't have made the Silmarills, and without the Silmarills, there would have probably been no Gondolin. Even one detail can change everything. And right now I'm wondering if I'm still on topic..
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Old 08-16-2002, 10:57 AM   #4
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Alright, the main point that my friend was making is that Aredhel differs from other female characters in Tolkien's works, because she acts upon her feelings of boredom and restlessness. He believes this is inexcusable, especially for a woman. Women, "by nature", should not be restless, apparently. Wandering is traditionally a man's occupation, no?
When I brought up the issue of owyn, a woman in similar circumstances, I was told that owyn did what she did because her people were involved in a war. Aredhel, on the other hand, is a villian because she chose to do her own thing just because she "felt like it."
She was just, inexplicably, "wearied" of her life. Is a woman's weariness and dissatisfaction something that Tolkein despised? My friend seems to think so, and he points out the mother of Fanor in backing himself up. Had she, he argues, tried to stick around for the sake of her only son, mayhap he would not have grown up to be such a prat. What do you make of that?
Maybe I'm making a big deal out of nothing, but our conversation left me steamed.
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Old 08-16-2002, 11:04 AM   #5
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Lothiriel brought up a good point. The story of Aredhel falls under the category of the cause-and-effect relationships that pervade Tolkien's mythology; i.e. if this hadn't happened then this couldn't have happened...

Like all Tolkien's characters, Aredhel was necessary to set larger wheels in motion. She wasn't evil or bad, just the next ill-fated restless spirit since Feanor. Some of the choices she made weren't entirely smart, but nobody's perfect.
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Old 08-16-2002, 11:07 AM   #6
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I was hoping someone would come up with a good negative example, and Lothiriel Silmarien has done so. To blame Aradhel for "wanderlust" would be like blaming Feanor for his desire to make gems and jewels; or like blaming Gollum for liking a good swim.

I was thinking about doom and destiny as I read the original post, and behold Eol brings it right up. I agree in general with Eol, but Tolkien writes elsewhere that the Elves are more bound by destiny, fate, doom, whatever you want to call it, than Humans. The oaths they swear seem to follow them like a bad smell. Being long-lived doesn't help this, obviously. I'm sure oaths mean a lot to Humans in Middle Earth, too, but being short-lived, it's doubtful that they affected very many people for very long - I think. At any rate, I think the Elves were more bound by destiny and Humans less so; thus Aradhel, Maeglin, and all the rest, cannot entirely be blamed for the results of any of their actions. I know that sounds like they were all just marionettes, but if one presupposes anything like pre-destination, there are certain degrees to which someone's destiny controls her actions more than she does herself. Scary, huh?
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Old 08-16-2002, 11:09 AM   #7
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Quote:
He believes this is inexcusable, especially for a woman. Women, "by nature", should not be restless, apparently. Wandering is traditionally a man's occupation, no?
that is culture speaking from different period of time. I know women wondered, it just not as recorded. It was also not safe to wander on your own because there are rather no so cool people out there. I am assuming that is what should be thought rather then the other idea.


This is a great thing to discuss, not a waste of time. Many people think Tolkien is a sexist because he did not have a lot of women his stories. Think of yourself, if you are a woman, would you have a story with a lot of men? It is an unconscious habit that happens.You write what you know.

I find nothing sexist about Tolkien's work. What I do find sexist is the narrow-minded consideration that either women are demeaned in the stories or there is not enough and have to add more or exstend their roles.
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Old 08-16-2002, 11:11 AM   #8
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Lush, making a big deal out of nothing starts most topics though! So, nothing wrong with that [img]smilies/wink.gif[/img] [img]smilies/tongue.gif[/img] Good topic though.
Ok, that part what your friend said, about wandering being a man's job!? WHAT! IS it right that the women stay cooped up inside just because they're women?! Are they not people too!! Regardless of your sex, wondering is not something that only a man should do. But in Aredhel's case, I can see why he might say that. She didn't have such a good reason to be out wandering. Just because of her restlessness, she had caused many problems. But had she known of what would happen, I dont think she would have done what she did.

By the way, thank you Lomelinde and LMP! [img]smilies/wink.gif[/img] I'm glad I brought up a good point!!

[ August 16, 2002: Message edited by: Lothiriel Silmarien ]
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Old 08-16-2002, 11:23 AM   #9
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I wish I had some scholarly aquantinces to talk to over lunch....good thing I have you guys.

I don't think it was really Aredhel's fault that Gondolin was destroyed. It was already slated for destruction by Morgoth; Ulmo said that it would be the last Elven stronghold to fall, but it would still fall.

But if you still want someone to blame, blame El. Maeglin was "in mood and mind...the son of his father." If he had been more like the Noldor, he would not have become so jealous of Tuor, and not betrayed Gondolin to Morgoth.

And, I have to say it....where did Aredhel go wrong raising Maeglin? He loved his cousin, for Eru's sake!
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Old 08-16-2002, 11:27 AM   #10
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Well if we knew the consequences of our acts, would still make the same choice?

Aredhel knew better to leave on her own and was ensnared by Eol's obession( wow, I have an obession? [img]smilies/wink.gif[/img] ). That was the consequence of her choice. It also states that she did not try to flee after coming out of the snare.

You must also realize that most of the women mention are of very high standing...so they have higher expectations and are at higher risk of being used for ransom or create serious troubles. Morgoth had a lot of power and sought the power that the Elves posessed. Later Sauron almost achieves that...
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Old 08-16-2002, 12:34 PM   #11
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The problem with Aredhel, from a man's point of view at the least, is that her desires seem frivolous. Without knowing it, she sets great events in motion because she wants a little spice in her life, or whatever. Many of Tolkien's females defy other's standards, but almost all seem to have a good reason for it. Lthien runs away because she is trying to save the man she loves, Galadriel wants to rule her own territory, Haleth is trying to save her people...At first glance, Aredhel really does seem like a brat.
But for me, she is one of the most interesting characters Tolkien ever created. Why? Because she a female who is neither here nor there, wavering, stubborn, who makes bad choices in love (did she even love El? What do you think?), and ends up paying dearly for them. Most of Tolkien's prominent females are saved by the love of a man (or Elf), this one is destroyed by it. I find that intriguing.
I also sometimes wonder if Aredhel's restlessness was in part caused by the power of Morgoth himself. You know, the breath of unhappiness that seeps in the tiniest crack, and finds a victim. In order to get at Gondolin, Morgoth needed dissent and betrayal to occur. What better place to start than with Aredhel, the sister of the leader?

[ August 16, 2002: Message edited by: Lush ]
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Old 08-16-2002, 12:41 PM   #12
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Ding! Lush gets a cookie! [img]smilies/biggrin.gif[/img]
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Old 08-16-2002, 02:02 PM   #13
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Even if a male Elf had left Gondolin and returned it would have brought down the city. I don't think that this has anything to do with her being a woman, I just think that whoever did it, be it male or female, brought about the downfall of Gondolin.

Aradhel should really have known better. She had a responsibility and she didn't carry it out, resulting in disaster for many others.
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Old 08-16-2002, 02:19 PM   #14
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I think that what I find hard to accept about Aredhel is the fact that it isn't just her that pays dearly for her rather self-indulgent behaviour. She causes disaster for many through nothing more than whims and selfishness. She wasn't the only person who'd been cooped up in Gondolin for years, but because of her rank she was able to escape. She wanted that privilege, but when it came to living up to the responsibilities that went with it she was suddenly enamoured of the simple life. Granted, she's interesting, but for all the wrong reasons.
She is incapable of considering the consequences of her actions; she cares nothing for the welfare of the very people who provide her wealth, or even for her own family; and although she's not the sharpest tool in the box, she will not take anyone's advice. I cringe when I read her words to Turgon in The Silmarillion:

Quote:
'I am your sister and not your servant, and beyond your bounds I will go as seems good to me. And if you grudge me an escort I will go alone.'
To my mind that reeks of adolescent petulance. It makes Turgon seem all the more dignified when he answers:

Quote:
I grudge you nothing that I have. Yet I desire that none shall dwell beyond my walls who know the way hither; and if I trust you, my sister, others I trust less to keep guard on their tongues.
Anyway, that's enough ranting about what an idiot the White Lady of the Noldor was. On to whether or not she loved Eol: this wasn't exactly Middle-earth's greatest love-match, as we can see from the following:
Quote:
It is not said that Aredhel was wholly unwilling, nor that her life in Nan Elmoth was hateful to her for many years.
Let's face it: that isn't exactly Romeo and Juliet. To me it looks like the spoiled little rich girl tying herself to the wrong kind of man to spite Daddy (or in this case, her brother, although the relationship seems remarkably similar). She comes to regret it, of course; but don't we always regret decisions that were made for the wrong reasons?
I think that this is why she is destroyed. Neither she nor Eol really loves the other, which causes disaster for both of them. Thus it is my belief that the relationship between Aredhel and Eol is as strong a criticism of loveless marriage as you will find in Tolkien's literature.

It is, however, ridiculous to blame one rather foolish character for an event as huge as the Fall of Gondolin. Aredhel is one of many people who, for differing reasons and with differing levels of culpability, bring down the Hidden City. I expect that this was one of Melkor's discordant themes, as the threads of wilfulness and self-interest that run through it seem so much in accord with his character.
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Old 08-16-2002, 02:24 PM   #15
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*choking on cookie*

Eomer, but the crack was bound to appear somewhere. My friend stressed that because Aredhel is a woman, her mistake is more significant, because it is so "out of character" for a woman to risk her life in that fashion. I happen to think this sort of behaviour is actually pretty common, though I doubt Tolkien was much concerned with the female psyche when drafting the chain that would lead to the eventual fall of Gondolin.

Here is another thing: could you say that Aredhel was somehow ensnared by the Oath of Fanor, and that the oath itself is the underlying reason for her departure? Then, after the evil has played half it's part and Maeglin is born, she is pulled in the other direction, back to Gondolin, so that the betrayal may someday come from within. Do I get another cookie?

I'm sorry if this is something that's obvious, or even stupid, I've just never really thought about Aredhel's role in this way before.
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Old 08-16-2002, 02:55 PM   #16
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Ah, Sir Squatter, you must have picked up on the fact that one silly wench always looks for another silly wench to indetify with (are you sure I wasn't having lunch with YOU the other day?). I was actually overjoyed when I found Aredhel in the Sil, if only because most other females that populate ME are so darn perfect. And if they're not, they still come to good in the end. Not Aredhel.
By saying this, I'm not trying to celebrate stupidity and selfishness. I am trying to point out that Aredhel, in my eyes at least, makes Tolkien's work more complete. Here is a woman who doesn't know what she wants, and she reminds me of my, er, "friend..." You know, the girl who says, "I want an Italian boyfriend! I want a piece of candy as big as my head! I want to go shopping at a Morroccan bazaar!" while having no clue as to actually what or who will please her, or how she can please others. Self-destructive behaviour is even more amplified in the case of the "White Lady", because Aredhel isn't just jabbing a poisoned needle into her own vein, she effectively poisons her city, albeit unintentionally.
I think that perhaps you are right, and that Aredhel's story is in part a jab at loveless marriage, and an example of the brilliance of Morgoth (as in, the Oath). Or perhaps a criticism of over-indulgence and moral weakness. Either way, I find it enjoyable to read, for whatever twisted, or ordinary reason.
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Old 08-16-2002, 06:57 PM   #17
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Perhaps it was out of character for a woman to long to leave the confines of the lovely prison of Gondolin, but wasn't it even more out of character for the entire male population of the city to be perfectly content to stay home and be good? I mean, how did the fellows pass the time there, anyway: knitting and starting book clubs? Pu-leeze! That's a bit of a stretch, even for the Elf Folk.

If poor Aredhel is to be "blamed" for anything, it's for giving birth to a little snit of a son who got so bent out of shape because he couldn't have the woman he wanted, he decided to betray an entire city to get even. And don't go handing me that "Oh, but he was tortured" line. He sang like a canary because he wanted to get back at Tuor and Idril.

I mean, they should have known it was coming just by looking at that Elf-kid's father. The acorn never falls far from the tree.

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Old 08-16-2002, 07:24 PM   #18
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Everyone has such good answers! Lush, you do bring up a good point though- Aredhel was a woman (and an elf) and she wasn't perfect! I also think it's interesting!
Quote:
I was actually overjoyed when I found Aredhel in the Sil, if only because most other females that populate ME are so darn perfect. And if they're not, they still come to good in the end. Not Aredhel.
By saying this, I'm not trying to celebrate stupidity and selfishness. I am trying to point out that Aredhel, in my eyes at least, makes Tolkien's work more complete
You said it! [img]smilies/wink.gif[/img] [img]smilies/biggrin.gif[/img]
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Old 08-16-2002, 07:56 PM   #19
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You brought out an interesting point. Was Maeglin doomed to become like his father? I stand by the there of "i won't be like them, but become them" theory. If an indvidual focuses so much on not becoming as their parent or uncle, later the become such.

I have seen that too many times.
Of course there was that how curse thing that Eol put on his son when he was thrown over the wall to his death.

[ August 16, 2002: Message edited by: Eol ]
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Old 08-16-2002, 08:04 PM   #20
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...And if you accept the way Tolkien's world works, you realise that curses really are potent. Too potent, in fact.
Though curse aside, Maeglin was raised in an extremely difficult environment, by a mother who didn't love his father, and by a father who treated his family like property. Maeglin then saw father kill the mother, and followed his example in betraying Gondolin, or, essentialy, Idril, following the same princinple of "if I can't have you, no one will" that his dear old dad followed.
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Old 08-17-2002, 07:41 AM   #21
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Lets be honest. What did Turgon do to deserve that family crisis?

Why exactly did the 'crack' have to appear at some point? As far as I see it, Gondolin was doing alright for itself.
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Old 08-17-2002, 10:11 AM   #22
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Heh, secrets cannot remain secrets forever. Th valar knew it would be only time before Morgoth could destroy Gondolin.
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Old 08-17-2002, 11:23 AM   #23
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I think you can find the reason for the fall of Gondolin in the Bible.
Turgon was told, "Love not too well the work of thy hands and the device of thy heart; and remember that the true hope of the Noldor lieth in the West, and cometh from the Sea." Pretty clear, is it not?
And if this isn't a Christian allusion, then I am an ostrich.
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Old 08-17-2002, 12:44 PM   #24
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Eh, I think you're pushing a little, Lush. The idea that people are more important than the works of ones hands permeates many religions, including my own, not just Christianity. Turgon's flaw was being caught up too much in a place and a city; Gondolin could be rebuilt, moved, changed, torn down, but as long as it's people survived they could start anew. He didn't place faith in that, and was too attached to one place; if you stay in one place, you can eventually be found. You're confined in a small space--Middle Earth. Eventually, although it may take several thousand years, Melkor would have found Gondolin by the virtue of simply having looked everywhere else.

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Old 08-17-2002, 01:10 PM   #25
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As to the subject of Arehdil herself . . .the first person not guilty of doing something minorly selfish, raise your right hand now.

Yeah, that's what I thought. As has been pointed out, it's true that if she'd stayed behind in Gondolin like a good little girl, Gondolin wouldn't have fallen. Then again, if Eol hadn't randomly kidnapped a passing lovely elf woman--go back and read that passage again, it was captivation and confinement--Gondolin also would have fallen. If Turgon had been smart enough to leave the city when advised, Gondolin wouldn't have fallen. If Gondolin had never been built, Gondolin wouldn't have fallen. If Eol hadn't been so sickly, possessively stubborn, Gondolin wouldn't have fallen. If Maeglin hadn't had a rather incestuous interest in his cousin, Gondolin wouldn't have fallen. If Idril hadn't fallen for Tuor, Gondolin wouldn't have fallen.

And I'm sure that if someone's great-great-great-grandfather hadn't swatted a malaria-bearing mosquito, then someone wouldn't have died and . . .you see where I'm going with this.

Lush, I think your friend has some pretty unrealistic ideas of women if he thinks we don't have just as much impulse to wander, see, explore and not be cooped up in one place as men do. As for a woman's "place" . . .I do have issues with Tolkien's portrayal of taht, but I'm also well aware of the point of view, timewise, religionwise and time-in-storywise that he was writing from, so I deal.
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Old 08-18-2002, 05:29 AM   #26
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I have to agree that your friend needs to get out more, Lush. Whilst I don't like Aredhel very much, I wouldn't consider her any better or worse if she'd been a man: the idea that one sex has the monopoly on responsibility and selflessness is pretty daft to my mind. I certainly don't hold her singly responsible for the tragedy of Gondolin, because that already has a single perpetrator, namely Morgoth: he it was that destroyed the Two Trees; stole the Silmarils and killed Fanor's father. Were it not for him there would have been no Oath; no Kinslaying and no need for hidden cities to be built in Beleriand.

Having said that, the fact that Morgoth created the situation in which their actions could cause harm doesn't excuse the likes of Aredhel, El, Maeglin and Fanor: their actions arise from considering their own feelings at the time above the welfare of everyone and everything else, including their own wellbeing and happiness. I agree that it adds a great deal to Tolkien's mythology that evil befalls the Noldor through their own weakness, rather than being simply imposed upon them by Melkor; that he invents characters who are petty, stupid, jealous and self-centred, and who bring destruction in their wake, but that doesn't mean that we have to like those characters. I certainly don't.

This brings me neatly to the following (no offence, Naaramare):

Quote:
As to the subject of Arehdil herself . . .the first person not guilty of doing something minorly selfish, raise your right hand now.
Although my hand remains steadfastly down, I have to say that I don't regard Aredhel's selfishness as minor. Minor selfishness is something like pretending to be ill to avoid going to a boring family party, or eating all of the mince pies at Christmas. My view of Aredhel's actions is as follows:

Her refusal to take 'no' for an answer lays her brother open to accusations of nepotism, and a flood of demands for leave to travel outside the city, demands which he is bound to refuse, since a mass exodus would reveal Gondolin as surely as putting up a huge sign saying "we're here". These refusals could well lead to civil unrest. She doesn't consider what her actions will do to her city's morale: why should she? She won't be there any more.

That point is fairly minor when we consider the rest of it: do you think that Turgon received Aredhel's escort with open arms when they came back without her? I expect that their careers in his household were effectively over, but she doesn't consider what will happen to them: she wants to visit the sons of Fanor, so she's jolly well going to because she's a princess, dammit; and princesses get to do what they like, right?

Then there's the issue of the destination. Turgon can turn this fiasco of a journey to the good of Gondolin if he can just make it look like an embassy to his brother and use it to gather strategic information; but that's not good enough for Aredhel, and besides what's Gondolin compared to seeing her friends? Just some boring people who cook her food, wash her clothes, groom her horses and guard her while she lives in ease and comfort. Just a dull big brother who never lets her do or have exactly what she wants, just when she wants it. How many of those dull, boring people of Gondolin would have given their right arms just to get outside on any mission? But they can't, because they don't have the status to go on fact-finding missions to the court of Fingon.

At every turn we see that Aredhel just wants to have her cake and eat it. She wants escorts and nice clothes, and to be treated like a princess, but she will not perform the remarkably light duties that come with the position. In fine, she thinks that the whole world revolves around her, what she wants and what she, for want of a better word, thinks. Minor selfishness is one thing, but Aredhel is just a spoiled brat who's old enough and learned enough to know a lot better. She's every bit as bad as Fanor, although she does far less harm than he, and if this thread sets her up to be some sort of feminist heroine I shall be extremely annoyed.

I should also like to take issue with the idea that El kidnapped Aredhel. True, he treated both her and his son abominably afterwards, but all that the Silmarillion says is that
Quote:
And, when Aredhel, weary with wandering, came at last to his doors, he revealed himself; and he welcomed her, and led her into his house. And there she remained; for El took her to wife...
He may have led her to him through enchantment, but the text doesn't say that he forced her into his home or his bed. Instead it fudges the issue, as the quotation in my last post will show.

Lush, old thing: you mustn't sell yourself short: I'm sure that your "friend" wouldn't put her family and friends in danger just to go horse-riding (who doesn't fancy going to a Moroccan bazaar?) Besides, as you so perceptively pointed out, her position means that whatever harm she does herself will reflect on the whole of her city. Your point about it being a good read is the main issue, though: I may hate these idiotic Noldor, but I keep coming back for more of the same. Their beguilement by the very enemy they're fighting is a masterpiece of plot development.
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Old 08-18-2002, 10:50 AM   #27
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Could have not said it better myself!
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Old 08-18-2002, 03:16 PM   #28
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Eh, I think you're pushing a little, Lush. The idea that people are more important than the works of ones hands permeates many religions, including my own, not just Christianity.
Oh, but Tolkien was a Catholic. A pretty ardent one, apparently, considering that he insisted his wife convert. Therefore, it is more likely that he was drawing from the Christian well, and not say, Buddhist or Muslim. Of course, I wasn't trying to sideline anyone's religion. I just think it's more likely that the Bible influenced Tolkien more than the texts of other religions.

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...and if this thread sets her up to be some sort of feminist heroine I shall be extremely annoyed.
Not feminist, dear Squatter, but realistic. Much closer to the heart of other corrupt selfish females, like myself (I doubt I would ever knowlingly endanger my family, but I can guarantee that I am stupid enough to do so unknowingly, and maybe Aredhel just couldn't think far enough in the future), than, say, Miss Arwen.

I don't like Aredhel, but like you say, I enjoy reading and thinking about her. Above all, even when you lay Gondolin aside, hers is a cautionary tale: "Beware of what you wish for..." Because Aredhel really did get her freedom. In death. And I am somehow sure that this outcome wasn't something that she planned for.
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Old 08-19-2002, 12:52 PM   #29
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I don't really think that Aredhel was a corrupted, tragic hero like, say, Boromir.

But Lush is right. She is interesting because of her imperfections.
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Old 08-19-2002, 05:21 PM   #30
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I still think you're laying it a little hard on Aredhel, Squatter. Perhaps her actions could be considered selfish if you agree with Turgon that his hidden city in the mountains would keep his people safe forever.

But Turgon's failing was not considering "Elven" nature. Did not the followers of Maeglin also feel perfectly justified in leaving the city through their secret tunnels, in order to pursue their knowledge of metals and smith-work? And I'm sure that every one of them reasoned to themselves that they would never betray the secret of the city, but their wants and needs were too important to be gainsaid, even by the orders of a king.

For Turgon to not see this is by far the greater failing. And for him to ignore the warnings of Tuor, and even the Valar, in a desperate attempt to preserve his dream city, rather than save the people in it by fleeing? That is the greatest failing of all.

[ August 19, 2002: Message edited by: Birdland ]
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Old 08-21-2002, 06:29 AM   #31
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I'm answering the question posed at the beginning of the thread:
Quote:
Who is Aredhel to you? A selfish brat, a victim of circumstances, or a little bit of both?
I gave my opinion of Aredhel, which is, I grant you, quite harsh. Others are as bad or worse, but to my mind that doesn't make her any better. As for Turgon's decision being wrong, I'd accept it as an argument if Aredhel had demonstrated that she was in favour of a general evacuation, or that she had some foreboding about staying in Gondolin. As it was she wanted a luxury and she was going to have it, whatever the cost. Her decision was selfish and moronic; ergo she is a selfish moron. It's as simple as that. Of course that doesn't preclude other characters being more selfish or more moronic, but this thread is about Aredhel, not them.
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Old 08-21-2002, 10:22 AM   #32
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Her decision was selfish and moronic; ergo she is a selfish moron.
That, my friend, is overly simplistic, imho. One drink does not an alcoholic make. One drunken night doesn't, either.
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Old 08-21-2002, 07:05 PM   #33
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Quote:
Her decision was selfish and moronic...
Selfish and moronic? Or merely "human"? History and the daily news are full of examples of people making decisions that may have seemed disasterous, considering the circumstances. "Now why did those people travel to (pick a country), when they knew there was a good chance they could get killed?" I suppose they had their reasons.

Now maybe Aredhel was constantly reminded that it was way too dangerous to leave Gondolin, what with Morgoth being out there and all. But there were plenty of other people, both Men and Elves, living their lives outside the safe, prison walls of Turgon's dream. To cut yourself off from all of your kin, and civilzation itself, for the sake of safety in secrecy...well, that's just letting Morgoth win, if you ask me. [img]smilies/rolleyes.gif[/img]

And Aredhel never broke her promise to keep the secret of Gondolin safe. Until she returned with her husband and son, she told no one where the city was. If she had chosen to never return to Gondolin, I have no doubt she would have taken the secret to her grave.

As you can probably tell by now, Squatter, I have little sympathy with Turgon and his "safe" city. You can hide under a rock all your life, and it would probably be nice and safe. But it wouldn't be much of a life.

[ August 21, 2002: Message edited by: Birdland ]
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Old 08-21-2002, 07:37 PM   #34
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That, my friend, is overly simplistic, imho. One drink does not an alcoholic make. One drunken night doesn't, either.
Please, tell that to my mother! [img]smilies/biggrin.gif[/img] Nevermind, she won't listen!

Really, Sir Squatter's opinion regarding the wench of Gondolin is a valid one, it just makes me wish to never be around Squatter when I screw up.

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Old 08-21-2002, 11:09 PM   #35
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Well, she was clearly a very poor decision maker. Going off her path to find Feanor's sons and wandering away from her escort was not really the smartest idea either, although I should note that I don't consider poor decision making to be quite the same as stupidity. Her storytelling ability, for example, suggests that she was not entirely emptyheaded. She just wasn't very good at predicting the consequences of her actions and probably didn't consider her departure a serious threat to Gondolin. I would call her silly and immature rather than selfish and moronic.

The thing about Aredhel is that she can get slammed either way. The willfulness that leads her to leave Gondolin is problematic (as it is for many characters in the Sil), but it's her return that ultimately leads to the city's downfall.. and she had refrained from abandoning Eol and going home until urged by her son to do so. So the submissive-woman-listening-to-what-she's-told thing--or should I call it the mother-watching-out-for-her-son thing?--doesn't work for her either. I guess the point is that you have to be wise and know who you should put above you and who you shouldn't.

But she isn't wise.

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(Irrelevant Side Note: Interesting coincidence--this was recently, and spontaneously, discussed in the chat room at some length, thanks to Niltaliel. I have hope for that place yet.)

[ August 22, 2002: Message edited by: Belin ]
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Old 08-22-2002, 03:37 PM   #36
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Quote:
Selfish and moronic? Or merely "human"?
Those are the same thing.

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it just makes me wish to never be around Squatter when I screw up
You're not fictional Elven royalty, Lush. Ordinary people are allowed to make mistakes, but it's tough at the top.

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I would call her silly and immature rather than selfish and moronic.
Ah, but I wouldn't have annoyed anyone by saying that, would I?
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Old 08-22-2002, 04:25 PM   #37
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Lady Aredhel is definitely not your typical elf. It's more interesting the fact that it's a woman. I have always wondered how come didn't the other elves in Gondolin, even Turgon, to never leave the city, didn't they get bored?
Yes, Aredhel desires seems trivial compared tot he whole picture but how can any one blame a person for being booooored of being in one place for so long, maybe it was a little touch of the Doom of Mandos.
As someone has mentioned before me, the marriage between her and El, was not perfect it was more of a mockery of a marriage.
You could also blame for the Fall of Gondolin Thingol, who didn't permit Aredhel to pass through his lands to seek Celegorn.
Quote:
Therefore the march-wardens said to Aredhel: 'To the land of Celegorm for which you seek, Lady, you may by no means pass through the realm of King Thingol; you must ride beyond the Girdle of Melian, to the south or to the north. The speediest way is by the paths that lead east from the Brithiach through Dimbar and along the north-march of this kingdom, until you pass the Bridge of Esgalduin and the Fords of Aros, and come to the lands that lie behind the Hill of Himring. There dwell, as we believe, Celegorm and Curufin, and it may be that you will find them; but the road is perilous.'
Should a woman stayed at home, not necessarily, is it desirable that she does, I think so.
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Old 08-22-2002, 04:56 PM   #38
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My dear Lush,

Quote:
I want to hear what you guys think.
Is this a generic or a gendered call? Can I reply? *curtsies respecfully, yet still a little full of Tomfoolery, without denying the seriousness of the question*

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Old 08-22-2002, 05:26 PM   #39
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Well Squatter, if you want to put it that way, then Turgon is a selfish brat as well for not packing up and shipping out when Ulmo told him to, because he was juat FAR to important to listen to the advice of a vala and he didnt want to leave anyways.

As for the responsiblility for the Fall of Gondolin, this could go on for hours. You could trace it all the way back to Eru if you really wanted to.
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Old 08-22-2002, 05:34 PM   #40
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i don't think tolkien was really saying what a woman shouldn't be or should be. i think it was that aredhel was the different one.the one who stood out;an independent woman with a free spirit and a mind of her own.and i don't think it was her fault that gondolin fell.she was a victim of fate. i don't think she woke up one morning and said,"i think i'll leave gondolin,get lost in a dark forest,be half forced to marry a dark elf,and have an evil child who will eventually bring doom and destrution on my brother's people".and if she did she's on my most hated list too.


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