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Old 12-04-2002, 03:12 AM   #1
Gwaihir the Windlord
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Sting New evidence for the Arkenstone-Silmaril case

Compiled by yours truly. Well, not really evidence as such, simply some decent reasoning (or at least I hope so) I've come up with. Anyway, please take the trouble to read it and see what you think. Some points are left out, obviously, like Galadriel's glass; but they are open to discussion. For those who weren't around for that rather old thread on this topic (which it might be a good idea to have a look at), this can serve as introduction.

(In fact I've sent a copy of this to Kittle, to be hopefully published as an article -- it was about a month ago I think -- but, busy as he is I suppose, he hasn't even got back to me, let alone actually done anything with it. Which is a bit of a bugger, but it doesn't matter. You can see it now...)

=============

Was the Arkenstone of Thráin really Maedhros’ lost Silmaril?
<u>Gwaihir the Windlord</u>

While rereading The Hobbit, a few weeks ago, I suddenly recalled an old discussion thread I had (lightly) taken part in, a year or so back. It’s topic was that upon which I am now writing. As I remember, the general conclusion of the thread had been that no, the Arkenstone was not the Silmaril lost by Maedhros at the end of the First Age. Then I was inclined to agree; but reading The Hobbit that night I changed my mind. And so I reopen the debate.

At the end of the First Age, after the War of Wrath and the recapture of the two remaining Silmarils, Maedhros and Maglor – driven by the Oath of the Sons of Fëanor – took it upon themselves to steal the Silmarils from the camp of Eönwe. In this they succeeded. However the pain that the Silmarils inflicted upon them (as they did on all unlawful handlers of the gems was so great that Maglor cast his Silmaril into the sea, and Maedhros, despairing, threw himself and the Silmaril he was carrying into a fiery chasm. So it was that both the great jewels were lost. Lost, but not destroyed; the Silmarils are indestructible.

<font color="#c71585">‘And they knew that those jewels could not be found and brought together again, unless the world be broken and remade.’

Perhaps not all found and brought together, but I believe that one of them at least was found – the Arkenstone. Could it be that Meadhros’ stolen Silmaril, sucked into the molten bosom of the world, was swirled around and moved by subterranean forces until it resurfaced in Erebor? We do not know where the ‘fiery chasm’ in which Maedhros found his death was; it could have been anywhere. It doesn’t matter though. The convection currents that constantly spin inside the mantle of the Earth can transport matter for thousands of miles, to be forced out in the eruptions of volcanoes.

Volcanoes, for example, like Erebor. The Lonely Mountain was certainly an extinct volcano; all alone in the plain, and with a distinct pointy summit. So the setting for a Silmaril re-surfacing is ideal. The gem found it’s way under Erebor as aforementioned. The next eruption saw it inside the mountain, and when the dwarves came they dug it up. Erebor was long dead by the time the dwarves arrived. (The eruption that carried the Arkenstone was probably the last, weak burst of activity from a volcano that had been ailing for some time.) The gem was even found exactly where it would be, had it been put there in an eruption – at the ‘heart of the mountain’, close to or inside the central lava pipe found in all volcanoes. So as you can see, the setting for a discovery of the Silmaril is near perfect. If the Arkenstone had been found, say, in earth in some shallow mine near Hobbiton, then that would have probably cut the debate off from the start. As it is I have laid out half of the supporting evidence already.

Now let’s look at the similarities between the two stones themselves. First the descriptions, which are amazingly similar…

This is the Silm’s description of the Silmarils:

<font color="#c71585">‘Like the crystal of diamonds it appeared, and yet was more strong than adamant, so that no violence could mar or break it within the Kingdom of Arda. Yet that crystal was to the Silmarils but as is the body to the Children of Illuvítar: the house of its inner fire, that is within it and yet in all parts of it, and is its life. And the inner fire of Silmarils Fëanor made of the blended light of the Trees of Valinor, which lives in them yet, though the trees have long withered and shine no more. Therefore even in the darkness of the deepest treasury the Silmarils of their own radiance shone like the stars of Varda; and yet, as were they indeed living things, they rejoiced in light and received it and gave it back in hues more marvellous than before.’

And in The Hobbit, the Arkenstone:

<font color="#c71585">‘It was the Arkenstone, the Heart of the Mountain. So Bilbo guessed from Thorin’s description; but indeed there could be no two such gems, even in so marvellous a hoard, even in all the world. Even as he climbed, the same white gleam had shone before him and drawn his feet towards it. Slowly it grew to a little globe of pallid light. Now, as he came near. It was tinged with a flickering sparkle of many colours at the surface, reflected and splintered from the wavering light of his torch. At last he looked down upon it, and he caught his breath. The great jewel shone before his feet of its own inner light, and yet, cut and fashioned by the dwarves, who had dug it up from the heart of the mountain long ago, it took all light that fell upon it and changed it into ten thousand sparks of white radiance shot with glints of the rainbow.’

No two such gems, even in all the world? Perhaps this was only Bilbo’s wonder at seeing it, but perhaps it really was true, that the Arkenstone was the most brilliant jewel on Earth. In which case, of course, it was a Silmaril. Both stones shine of their own inner radiance; both reflect light falling upon them, making it more brilliant than before; even in the darkness, they both gleamed. What gem, other than the Silmarils themselves, actually produced light of their own creation?

There are, however, two things in these passages which seem slightly contradictive to this. The material that the Silmarili were forged from – Silma – could not be scratched, marred or broken ‘by any violence within the Kingdom of Arda’. Yet it is said that the Arkenstone was ‘cut and fashioned by the dwarves’. Obviously, if it was a Silmaril, this would not be true. It can be argued that it isn’t. No-one actually knew (maybe some High Elves had suspicions but didn’t disclose them, Gandalf and Saruman may have known, but the general public didn’t) that the Arkenstone (if it was) was a Silmaril. It was simply dug up from the earth, impossible that it should have been cut and polished before the dwarves got to it. And that had happened so long ago, many lives of Men. The shrouding of time and myth, and the thinking of common sense, says that the dwarves were the ones who fashioned it; so that’s what was believed.

The only other point worth wrangling about here is the strength of the light each stone gave. One shone like ‘the stars of Varda’, the other was a ‘white gleam’, a ‘pallid globe’. An explanation can, though, be offered. The Arkenstone had been lying in the darkness of Smaug’s hoard for many, many lightless years; perhaps it was depressed. It’s energies would have been at a low ebb. While Feanor’s Silmarils were kept in a vault, I am sure he would have taken them out for an airing quite often, more than he let on about anyway, and at least a lot more than the Arkenstone was left in the hoard for. So they were joyous and kept shining like the stars, while the Arkenstone – not seeing much light in the Earth for all those millennia, then just sitting in the blackness of Smaug’s lair – shone with a lower wattage.

Another similarity between the Arkenstone and the Silmarili was that they both seemed to affect people, to take a hold on them. The Silmarils, in the First Age, had a great hold on various people around Beleriand – the Sons of Fëanor most notably –and were generally the cause of great chaos and conflict all throughout that Age.

The Arkenstone had the same property, but interestingly it was somewhat more focused. Focused largely on Thorin Oakenshield, but also, to a lesser extent, on Bilbo Baggins the Thief. Thorin was clearly extremely fond of the Arkenstone. When the dwarves reached the hoard of Smaug it was practically all he could think about, and when Bilbo gave it to the Lakemen, he was willing first to pay a very great sum of money for it, and then to fight a large (and likely disastrous) bloody battle over it. It’s hold on him, in fact, was so great that he was driven almost to killing his close companion Bilbo in pure revenge for its loss. Of course, thankfully, he did not in the end commit any great acts of rashness – he had sworn a powerful oath – but still, his good judgement and nature were severely clouded by his lust for the stone. This in turn had an effect on the other dwarves who had come on the expedition.

Bilbo also experienced the attraction of the Arkenstone, although to a far lesser extent. The fact that he was a hobbit probably helped in this. Apparently, he felt the real pull of the gem only on one occasion, related here:

<font color="#c71585">‘Even as he climbed, the same white gleam had drawn his feet towards it… suddenly Bilbo’s arm went towards it, drawn by its enchantment…’

But even after that, he was still somehow reluctant to give it back to the dwarves.

So you see the Arkenstone did have an attraction for people, although, through the aforementioned ‘focused’ effect, not an incredibly great one except for those it was focused on (Thorin and his twelve dwarves). Bilbo submitted to his sense in the end, giving the stone up. When it came to Thorin’s burial, the dwarves were perfectly happy to throw it onto his coffin and cheerfully shovel several feet of rock on top of it. (In fact this carefree burial of the Arkenstone was, as I remember, the main ammunition for the ‘against’ side in the forum. Would they have done this if it was a Silmaril? Perhaps they would.

<font color="#c71585">‘And thus it came to pass that the Silmarils each found their long homes; one in the airs of heaven, and one in the fires of the heart of the world, and one in the deep waters.’

And as Mandos had prophesied:

<font color="#c71585">‘The fates of Arda, earth sea and air, lay locked within them.’

From these two passages we can see that Maedhros’s Silmaril was meant to stay in the Earth; it was its destiny. So it was, maybe, that the dwarves buried it. The period it spent in the air in the halls of the dwarves was but a respite. When it came to Thorin’s burial, the dwarves felt no pull to keep the Arkenstone and put it back into the Earth once more. That was, after all, where it belonged if it was a Silmaril. The dwarves were simply playing their part in the ‘fates of Arda’. This seems solid enough – it explains why the stone was attractive only to certain people, for a start; by being so, it’s fate was completed.

Admittedly, burial under just a few feet or so of rock doesn’t really come close to the ‘fires of the heart of the world’. This, I suppose, would be a bit of a flaw in the theory, but still it was not simply buried in the open ground. Thorin’s tomb was laid under a deep chamber in the roots of the Mountain – certainly more than just six feet under. Who knows? A small rockfall in that part of the tunnel, a geological shift, some slight volcanic activity; once again, the stone is inaccessibly buried. Rocks do move around over time, especially those under mountains.

And there is one more point worth discussing in these passages. In the second one, Mandos’ prophesy, given again for reference:

<font color="#c71585">‘The fates of Arda, earth sea and air, lay locked within them.’

It is easy to miss, but there is a possible interpretation of this other than that readily apparent. It is in the wording. Mandos does not say that the fates of the Silmarils are locked within Arda – meaning simply that the gems themselves are destined to stay within the confines earth, sea and air, of Arda – but the other way around. The fates of Arda, in fact, are contained within the Silmarils.

Does this not mean that the Silmarili will each have a part to play, in the destiny of the world? One in air, one in the sea, one in earth? It is very possible that this is what Mandos actually meant. The Silmaril of air, for one, was certainly important in the fate of Arda. Were it not for Eärendil, and the Silmaril he bears in Vingilot in the heavens, the War of Wrath could not have been won; for the dragons of Morgoth would surely have vanquished Eönwe, if Vingilot had not appeared and overcome them at the last minute. Moreover it is largely Eärendil, wielding the light of his Silmaril, that guard against the return again of Melkor from the Timeless Void:

<font color="#c71585"> ‘…and Eärendil keeps vigilance (against Morgoth’s return) upon the ramparts of heaven…’

The Silmaril that Maglor cast into the sea has not yet played it’s part (not that we know of, anyway). But if the Arkenstone was a Silmaril – the Silmaril of Earth – then it has, I think, performed it’s duty already. Clearly the Quest of Erebor and the after effects had gigantic consequences for Middle-Earth. The finding of the Ring, the reinstating of the King under the Mountain, the slaying of Smaug… how much of this was down to the Arkenstone’s pull on Thorin?

Probably not all that much. His desire to reclaim his old kingdom was probably fiercer because of it, to be sure, but still he would have most likely gone anyway. But what about the events that took place after Smaug’s death? The hostilities between Dwarves, Elves and Men, the Battle of Five Armies, the balance of power that took place between them – they were all tied up with the Arkenstone. Who knows? If the Arkenstone wasn’t present, perhaps the Battle of Five Armies would have been lost.

I wonder whether Tolkien deliberately made this connection between the Arkenstone and the lost Silmarili. Maybe he did; but then again, he may not have. The theory is tantalisingly possible though, regardless.

It is my hope, with this article, to have added a bit more depth to the issue than was there previously (a little one sided perhaps, but then that does happen to be my viewpoint), not to mention resurrecting it from a long-forgotten grave. I haven’t seen any more topics on this plane in the forum after that first one anyway (excuse me if there has been one, I’ve been away from the downs for quite some time…) and it is, in my opinion, a very interesting one. We will never know the answer, of course, but we may have an idea; from the information given us, I am inclined in this case to the affirmative.

=============

[ December 04, 2002: Message edited by: Gwaihir the Windlord ]
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Old 12-04-2002, 03:23 AM   #2
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1420!

Um....I can't see your quotes. Is it just me or is it like that for others too?

Sorry
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Old 12-04-2002, 03:32 AM   #3
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Sorry, I screwed up the HTML coding for the colour... try it now.
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Old 12-04-2002, 06:07 AM   #4
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77, almost verbatim from QS: "Yet their [i.e. Eönwë's and the host's] joy in victory was diminished, for they returned without the Silmarils and the light before the Sun and Moon, and they knew that those jewels could not be found or brought together again until the world was broken, and re-made anew."

[ December 04, 2002: Message edited by: Sharkû ]
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Old 12-04-2002, 06:09 AM   #5
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My dear Gwaihir!
You have given us quite something to think about, I guess. After reading your article, I think that you could be right, but I haven't even given a thought to this Arkenstone-Silmaril-thing before.
For my part, i guess that was just another hint of Tolkien that he put into the story to give people who read it for more than entertainment something to think about. Or maybe this similarity of the Arkenstone to the Silmaril was accidental, maybe he just thought about a really impressing crystal and described it after his style (which I have been admiring since I have read the LotR for the first time).
All in all this is a subject like "Is Bombadil a Maya?", or "Do Balrogs have wings?": You will never get a precise answer to those questions. But your attempt to give an answer to it was really great!
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Old 12-04-2002, 08:29 AM   #6
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Excellent article, Gwaihir. I’m inclined to agree with you, especially as I think the Arkenstone is not just a pretty jewel fashioned by dwarves. You handled the “cut and polished” by dwarves bit very well, as well as the problem of it being laid to rest with Thorin. However, Sharkû’s quotation is a major sticking point. It would be one thing if the Silm said “and”, but instead it says “found or brought.” I read this as the silmirili cannot be found at all unless the world be broken.
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Old 12-04-2002, 10:38 AM   #7
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Tolkien

Quote:
I read this as the silmirili cannot be found at all unless the world be broken.
Someone can probably prove me wrong here, but I'm going to try to say something intelligent anyway. Was the lonely mountain (as a volcano) created after the Silmarils were lost? Is it possible? If that's the case, doesn't a huge hunk of rock ripping up through the crust of the earth could as at least part of the world being broken? That way, the Arkenstone could be a Silmaril and the quote could still hold true.

I more than halfway believe that the Arkenstone is a Silmaril, but (I don't know if this is from the books or just my strange imaginings) I always imagined the Arkenstone to be rather large as compared to the Silmarils. Possibly the size of a Palantir? It's probably just the picture I made for myself before reading the description carefully, but it may have some relevence. I'll leave it to the experts, though. [img]smilies/wink.gif[/img]
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Old 12-04-2002, 02:11 PM   #8
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If it was prophisised in the silmarillion that the silmarils would not be found again until the earth was broken, does not the bending of the seas, numenor being sucked into a huge chasm and the removal of valinor from the "circles of the world" at the end of the second age count as the world being broken? in which case, by the time the dwarves came to find he arkenstone under erebor, the world would have long been "broken" since Maedros and his silmaril's fall into the deep places of the world? This would make it possible for the arkenstone to be a lost silmaril even following what was said in the silmarilion. Thats just my interpretation, please feel free to tell me im wrong.
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Old 12-04-2002, 03:01 PM   #9
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Excellent reasoning, the mortal elf and Curulin. The world was indeed broken, if that is the word, by the departure of Valinor and Elenna, as well as the sinking of Beleriand. Since the sketchy writings of the Dagor Dagoroth only include Eárendil's Silmaril, and the "flattening of the Pelóri", the reference to Aulë and the Dwarves rebuilding the world could just mean fixing, since it doesn't seem to have been too much destroyed. I, in any case, now believe that the Arkenstone was a Silmaril, even though I had never thought of the comparison before. Great essay, Gwaihir the Windlord!
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Old 12-04-2002, 03:39 PM   #10
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The fact that the dwarves cut and refashioned the Arkenstone does more than conflict with the idea that it is a Silmaril. Something can't be the same if it lacks such a property of not being able to be cut or scratched. Furthermore, if the Arkenstone was a Silmaril, not even the dwarves would dare try to alter it (and they certainly couldn't better it), as it would already be the finest jewel in the world.
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Old 12-04-2002, 04:21 PM   #11
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Westerly and all the rest who bring up the point of the "cutting," remember that it said that in Bilbo's tale, which can hardly be counted as 100% accuracy towards the history of Middle Earth. Remembering that the dwarves actually killed king Elu Thingol to get their hands on the Silmaril of Air, their lust for it in ages past could have indicated a basis for a lie, even if it was a completely different clan of dwarves and a completely different Silmaril and situation.

Oh, and those parts the Silmaril's were destined to help play out, well I think they were used to kill the Uruloki (actually the winged fire drakes, not just fire drakes). Earendil's quest killed Ancalagon and Bilbo's destroyed Smaug. Who knows? Maybe Melkor had intended to attack Ulmo's realm as well out of his hatred for the sea and inability to conquer it. Maybe that's where sea serpents came from. The Gargouille, the Gargent Serpent of european legend was powerful enough to compare with those two heavy hitters. But then, it wouldn't be a fire drake would it. Still, maybe in Middle Earth's oceans there were merfolk that had a struggle against some great serpent, and the Silmaril of Maeglin came into play. All just theoretical nonsense, but whatever.
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Old 12-05-2002, 02:05 AM   #12
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The cut and fashioned bit was discussed in my essay. That's my opinion on the explanation here.

Good points about the world being 'broken and remade anew', although I think that probably referred more to the time when the world will indeed be shattered by Morgoth, and remade again after his supposed defeat in the Last Battle. I remember a quote in the Sil that talks about the Dwarves having a legend that says they will assist Aule in building the world again after the Last Battle; don't have the book to hand, so I can't give you it exactly. You probably know what I'm talking about.

No; it's a good theory, but I don't think it fits. The Drowning of Beleriand happened right after the War of Wrath; why would Eonwe worry about not finding the Silmarils until after that, only a life of Men or less ahead? The removal of the Undying Lands from the physical world may constitue a breaking and renewing of the world, though. But I don't think Beleriand, internal Earthly turmoils or Numenor would mean much to that effect. Another explanation could also be that Eonwe was simply mistaken -- who said he was infallible?

Thanks for the comments on the essay, and Sharku for correcting my post. All I want is Ron in here so I can get the damn thing published on the main site...
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Old 12-05-2002, 04:37 AM   #13
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It is true, as Gwaihir says, that Sharku's quote refers to the breaking of the world after the Last Battle.

From the (somewhat notorious) Second Prophecy of Mandos in HoME V:

Quote:
Thereafter shall Earth be broken and re-made, and the Silmarils shall be recovered out of Air and Earth and Sea; for Earendil shall descend and yield up the flame which he hath had in keeping.
While I would be extrememly hesitent to accept whole of the Second Prophecy as Canon, I think it at least makes it clear what Tolkien was refering to in the quote from the Silmarillion.
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Old 12-05-2002, 05:37 AM   #14
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Silmaril

Oh.My.God. What an essay! Rock on Gwaihir!
Well this has probobly already been posted but: If in the First age, the dwarves slew Thingol out of Lust for a Silmaril, why would they now(not the same dwarves obviously, but still...) just throw it in ontop of Thorin and bury it?
I am a very ameture Tolkien-ologist so feel free to point out my mistakes, Its the only way Ill learn [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img]
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Old 12-05-2002, 10:33 AM   #15
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Great idea Gwaihir. The way you get around the “cut and fashioned” part is interesting, and the theory put forward about “breaking of the world” is a good angle, even if I don’t necessarily agree. All very thought provoking. I like the whole arkenstone = silmaril idea a lot. I think it would be a neat added twist, but I lean toward thinking they are not the same jewel for reasons already given by others in this thread.

One other maybe minor point:

Quote:
The Lonely Mountain was certainly an extinct volcano; all alone in the plain, and with a distinct pointy summit.
Now I’m not a geologist or anything, but I am under the impression that extinct volcanoes are not pointy. From Merriam-Webster Dictionary:

Quote:
CALDERA: a volcanic crater that has a diameter many times that of the vent and is formed by collapse of the central part of a volcano or by explosions of extraordinary violence
Volcanoes that erupt violently don’t seem to be pointy. A volcano that erupted slowly would seem to have sloping sides. As the lava flowed slowly down the sides it would cool and layer up. And it would also have the crater in the top.

I guess this does not necessarily disprove that the dwarves may have mined and found a Silmaril, but it does seem to suggest Lonely Mountain is not an old volcano. I’m no volcano expert though.
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Old 12-05-2002, 11:54 AM   #16
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Interesting idea Gwaihir, you present a very convincing case!

I want to make a few observations on what has been said before in this thread...

1. When the Second Prophecy says that
Quote:
the Silmarils shall be recovered out of Air and Earth and Sea
I don't think that necessarily means that they had to be lost before, certainly we know where Eärendil's is to be found. Alternately a Silmaril could be found for a time and then lost again, perhaps during the Last Battle itself.

2. Volcanoes typically have a central "plug" of lava which is much harder and more resistant to erosion than the surrounding rock. An active volcano has a crater in the center, but after it goes extinct and experiences some erosion, the plug (just below the crater) is exposed and gives the mountain a pointed top (for instance, Devil's Tower in Wyoming, USA).

3. Would Bilbo know a Silmaril if he saw one? At the time, no. In fact he probably didn't even know what a Silmaril was. Since The Hobbit is presented as having written by Bilbo, the statement of the dwarves having fashioned it does need to be taken with a grain of salt. Note, however, that the final editing of Bilbo's account happened when he was living in Rivendell, at the same time as he was translating The Silmarillion. Certainly by this point he did know about Silmarils... Maybe (assuming the Arkenstone was a Silmaril, it just never dawned on Bilbo. Or maybe it did, but having learned the lessons of the 1st Age in the course of doing his translation, he realized that telling the elves that a Silmaril was buried with Thorin would just compound the animosity between elves and dwarves. Maybe he did tell Gandalf, who just decided to keep it quiet until the Ringbearers crossed the sea.

A really bizarre possibility is that the deeper purpose behind Bilbo and Frodo's adventures was to inform the Valar of the location of one of the lost Silmarils...as opposed to the deeper purpose of Bilbo's journey being to find the One Ring.
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Old 12-05-2002, 12:01 PM   #17
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but after it goes extinct and experiences some erosion, the plug (just below the crater) is exposed and gives the mountain a pointed top
Hmm... I didn't know that. Some erosion? Sounds like that much erosion would take a LONG time. Longer than from when Maedhros jumped in the fire to when the Lonely Mountain would have become a volcano and spewed up the Silmaril. Just how long would it be between those two events anyway, theoretically?
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Old 12-05-2002, 03:19 PM   #18
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As far as I know, volcanoes are not good for mining. Although useful for forging rings of power, a volcano does not yield any useful of precious rock but only cooled lava.
If this is true, it would be a poor place for dwarves to make their home. And since they did make their home there, it could be assumed that it is not an extinct volcano. Of course this all depends on how reliable my geological knowledge is. This doesn't nessessarily destroy the theory. Dwarves, as we all know, delve deep, and regardless of if the lonely mountain was a volcano or not, dwarves are capable of mining to a place where a silmaril could have ended up.

Also, I may be gramatically in error, but could "found or brought together" be logically divided into "found together or brought together"? if so, the prophesy does not pose an obstacle to the Arkenstone being a silmaril, since the arkenstone/silmaril was not together with any other silmaril.
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Old 12-05-2002, 06:43 PM   #19
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Impressive article Gwaihir the Windlord. It has definitely given us all something to think about. I happen to agree with you, after the evidence you have shown, and the guesses you have made. The reasoning is sound, the facts are there, but we will truly never know.

Great contribution to the board!
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Old 12-06-2002, 10:04 PM   #20
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Again, I thank you for your comments. It's very morale-boosting, especially just after my rather bad exam results...

Near where I live -- a couple of hours drive away or so -- there are a collection of small extinct volcanoes scattered over a plain. They are conical in shape, and are certainly pointy; their points are somewhat rounded, but pointy nonetheless. Now they are very old volcanoes, a lot older than Erebor would be, but still I think the Loneley Mountain was almost definetely a volcano. It was not surrounded by other moutains for a start, which points to this, and it is conical. Slow-erupting volcanoes don't have very big craters anyway, so it wouldn't have taken that long for the crater to erode away (especially after being blasted by Smaug).

*taps fingers impatiently* (Where has that Wight got to...)


The ideas people have posted in this thread are very good as well. They add a lot to the essay; thankyou for them.
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Old 12-06-2002, 11:10 PM   #21
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As far as I know, volcanoes are not good for mining...a volcano does not yield any useful of precious rock but only cooled lava.
Tirinor, I remember reading in one of my high school science books that diamonds are often found in "lava pipes." I just did a tad of research to make sure I had not been imagining things:

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Diamonds were probably formed millions of years ago in molten lava. As the lava flowed to the Earth's surface through vents known as pipes, it cooled and solidified into kimberlite, a blue rock. Kimberlite contains the diamonds and is known to diamond miners as blue ground. ( source)
A diagram of these formations is here.

This example is solely for diamonds and also concerns their theoretical origins. Nevertheless, I believe it indicates that it would be possible for the Silmaril to resurface in an eruption of Erebor.

Gwaihir, this is a fascinating subject! My compliments for an excellent discussion. Can you tell me where on earth you live? It's not everyone who has volcanoes for neighbors! [img]smilies/biggrin.gif[/img]

[ December 07, 2002: Message edited by: Nuranar ]
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Old 12-07-2002, 01:15 AM   #22
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interesting note about the diamonds, Nuranar. Nevertheless, it would seem odd to me for dwarves to make such a significant dwelling in a place that would only produce diamonds. All other evidence for the Lonely mountain being a volcano is convincing, and the Silmaril theory is quite compelling, but the impracticality of a volcano for mining persuades me, at least, to believe that it was not one.

I like the idea that the Arkenstone may have been a silmaril, and regardless of whether the lonely mountain was a volcano or not, I think the case is strong. And, as I said earlier, unless someone can gramatically prove otherwise, I interpret the Silmaril prophesy to be directed mainly at the prospect of more than one Silmaril being in the same place at once - brought together, or found together.

Good thoughts, Gwaihir the Windlord. And thanks again for the geology lesson, Nuranar.
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Old 12-07-2002, 10:30 AM   #23
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Sounds like that much erosion would take a LONG time. Longer than from when Maedhros jumped in the fire to when the Lonely Mountain would have become a volcano and spewed up the Silmaril. Just how long would it be between those two events anyway, theoretically?
The time between the end of the First Age and the finding of the Arkenstone could not have been less than 5033 years (since the Kingdom-under-the-Mountain was founded in TA 1999). Volcanos have grown, erupted, and decayed in much less time than that. I remember (but don't have sources) learning about a volcano in Mexico that started in a corn field, erupted, and grew to some great height in about 50 years. Erebor going from active to extinct in 5000 isn't that dificult to concieve....but who says that the Silmaril was cast into Erebor itself? It might have floated around underground for a while, until it hit a vent and was spewed forth....
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Old 12-07-2002, 11:07 AM   #24
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Fantastic arguments have been put forward here. I never considered that the Arkenstone could be a Silmaril until now!
The sticking point for me though is that if Erebor is not a volcano, its more unlikely for the Silmaril to have resurfaced there. The Atlas of Middle-Earth tells us that the mountain had a wealth of gold and jewels, but makes no mention of volcanic activity.
Nevertheless, a great suggestion, definitely worth thinking about...
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Old 04-26-2003, 05:55 PM   #25
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Here's my take on the "cut and fashioned" bit.
If the Silmaril had been floating around in magma for a long time, wouldn't it have become crusted with lava? Then the dwarves could have basically scraped it off. That could account for the cutting and fashioning could it not?
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Old 04-26-2003, 06:36 PM   #26
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Great article from Gwaihir. Thank you, Tinuviel, for unearthing it (from the heart of the Downs, as it were [img]smilies/wink.gif[/img]).

I would reallly like to believe that the Arkenstone was a Silmaril. It would be a great twist. But, despite Gwaihir's powerful arguments, I alas cannot.

First, a gut feeling. I just don't think that JRRT would allow one of the items central to the history of ME to end up in Thorin's grave. It just doesn't strike me as an appropriate resting place for a Silmaril.

Secondly, whatever might be said about There and Back Again having been written by Bilbo, JRRT, the real author of the book as opposed to the fictional Bilbo, tells us that the Arkenstone was cut and fashioned by Dwarves. This being a statement in one of the published works, it surely counts as canon. And, if so, how can it be said that the Arkenstone was a Silmaril?
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Old 04-26-2003, 07:55 PM   #27
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I rather like this thread, it has a lot of good points, but some are a little incomplete, off, or confusing:

"I just don't think that JRRT would allow one of the items central to the history of ME to end up in Thorin's grave."

Why not, Saucepan Man? He allowed the One Ring into the hands of a boring little Hobbit, why wouldn't he allow a different 'central item' into the hands of a Dwarven lord?

"Nevertheless, it would seem odd to me for dwarves to make such a significant dwelling in a place that would only produce diamonds."

Volcanic eruptions yield not only diamonds, but also peridot, and if my memory serves me, rubies and other such gems.

"If the Silmaril had been floating around in magma for a long time, wouldn't it have become crusted with lava? Then the dwarves could have basically scraped it off. That could account for the cutting and fashioning could it not?"

No. It's so hot 'floating around in magma' that it would impossible for it to cool long enough for a crust to form. And, although scraping of lava could account for cutting and fashioning alone, technically they wouldn't be fashioning the stone itself.

These points argue both for and against the Silmaril theory, but my question is, if the Arkenstone is NOT a Silmaril, then what type of stone could it be made of? A moonstone perhaps, since they are said to glow as does the moon, hence the name? An actual many faceted diamond (and that brings my question 'how did Dwarves cut diamonds?' into play), perhaps?

A very interesting thread. My regards, Gwaihir.
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Old 04-26-2003, 09:14 PM   #28
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Impressive article. [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img] Personally, I think that the Arkenstone isn't a Silmaril. I mean (I think someone already brought this up...) if the Dwarves in the First Age lusted for the Silmaril so much that they killed Thingol in his own halls, why would the Dwarves in the Third Age just plop it in the garve of their lord? OK, I know that Tolkien never really said that the Dwarves killed Thingol in Menegrtoh (it was his son), but still.

As to what it could be: I really don't know the history of Erebor well enough to prove this, but could it have been another jewel made by another Elf that had been lost? If I remember right, the Elessar (made either by Celebrimor (sp?) of Eregion or Enerdhil (sp?) of Gondolin) shone somewhat with it's own light...
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Old 04-26-2003, 09:29 PM   #29
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Why not, Saucepan Man? He allowed the One Ring into the hands of a boring little Hobbit, why wouldn't he allow a different 'central item' into the hands of a Dwarven lord?
As I said, just gut instinct. It doesn't feel right to me. As for the Ring, it did not remain with Bilbo and, I think, most certainly did have a fitting end. [img]smilies/wink.gif[/img]
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Old 04-26-2003, 10:23 PM   #30
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A really bizarre possibility is that the deeper purpose behind Bilbo and Frodo's adventures was to inform the Valar of the location of one of the lost Silmarils...as opposed to the deeper purpose of Bilbo's journey being to find the One Ring.
I love this thought!

I don't necessarily agree with it though. I just really like the flip of our whole perspective around when you say, 'oops! we're not even thinking of the right powerful object in all this!' It is bizarre, and fascinating.

The only major objection I have to the idea of the Arkenstone's being a resurfaced Silmaril is the idea of distance. Maedhros seems to have waited a relatively short time to chuck himself in a canyon (half the time Maglor did, perchance? he only had half as many hands to burn...) it's a long way for a rock to move under the earth from Beleriand to Erebor.

But I don't know... I've thought a lot about what would happen if Maglor's Silmaril washed up on a beach somewhere, or if Maglor himself showed up (his death isn't recorded). It deserves more thought. As Saucepan Man says though, it just doesn't feel canonical to me.

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Old 04-27-2003, 05:24 PM   #31
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A really bizarre possibility is that the deeper purpose behind Bilbo and Frodo's adventures was to inform the Valar of the location of one of the lost Silmarils...as opposed to the deeper purpose of Bilbo's journey being to find the One Ring.
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I love this thought!
Me too. [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img]

On the subject of volcanoes, yes they are very often broad and rounded, but they certainly don't have to be. Mt Rainier is volcanic, and it's pretty sharp looking.

Also, though I can't remember for sure, I seem to recall from one of my geology classes, as stated by Feanor of the Peredhil, that eruptions can indeed yield other sorts of jewels besides diamonds.

As far as the dwarves cutting and fashioning it, I'm totally with you on that Gwaihir. That statement just doesn't hold any water, so we can entirely discount that in this debate.

Someone mentioned earlier a size discrepancy. I, too, always thought that the arkenstone was larger. Anyone want to shed any light on that question? Maybe find places where someone is holding the jewel and see how large it sounds.

So far, I can't see anything that would conflict with this theory. I don't believe it myself, but I'd be willing to let others believe it unless the theory is soundly refuted.

("or if Maglor himself showed up (his death isn't recorded"
I've considered that too. I've always thought it would be neat if he came out of nowhere leading an army and helped fight Sauron. That would be cool. [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img] )
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Old 04-27-2003, 05:33 PM   #32
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This is one thing I thought of that speaks against Arkenstone=Silmaril. The hallowing of Varda:

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And Varda hallowed the Silmarils, so that thereafter no mortal flesh, nor hands unclean, nor anything of evil might touch them, but it was scorched and withered; and Mandos foretold that the fates of Arda, earth, sea, and air, lay locked within them.
Now in Beren and Luthien's tale, it is specifically said that the Silmaril didn't burn him:
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As he closed it in his hand, the radience welled through his living flesh, and his hand became as a shining lamp; but the jewel suffered his touch and hurt him not.
Nowhere in the Hobbit is it mentioned that the Arkenstone was hot, that it burned any of the Mortals who touched it (Bilbo, Thorin, the dwarves who buried Thorin). If it was a Silmaril it surely would have burned, wouldn't it? Something like a hallowing by Varda doesn't wear off.

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Old 04-27-2003, 08:23 PM   #33
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A very interesting discussion. If it were a silmaril, surely Gandalf would have recognised it as one and quite possibly the elves of Mirkwood, if they did they would never allow a dwarf to have a silmaril. Also because of the great possessive nature of the holders of the silmarils when Bilbo gave the arkenstone to the men of laketown they would have not returned it to the dwarves nor should they have been able to touch it because of the hallowing be Varda.
I too also considered the arkenstone to be much larger than a silmaril, by the way does it ever say how large a silmaril actually is?
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Old 04-27-2003, 08:46 PM   #34
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As far as the dwarves cutting and fashioning it, I'm totally with you on that Gwaihir. That statement just doesn't hold any water, so we can entirely discount that in this debate.
Why? JRRT tells us that the Arkenstone was cut and fashioned by the Dwarves, so why should it not be true? Or are we free to disregard anything written in the Hobbit that tells of things that happened long in the past but cannot be sustantiated by a character with first hand knowledge or corroborated by evidence elsewhere in JRRT's writings?
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Old 04-27-2003, 09:28 PM   #35
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I someone was to make the 'cut and fashioned' argument (which I think is a legitimate one) I'd say that one could say (contrary to the opinion that someone had previously expressed) that the cutting and fashioning could be the scraping off of accumulated gunk from the surface of the gem. Even though while the Silmaril floated around in the lava it wouldn't accumulate crud, it would certainly harden on as the lava cooled, would it not? You can't argue that the dwaves pulled it out of the still hot lava...

But as to why someone would dismiss that statement without even thinking about the crusting rates of lava, Saucepan Man, I don't know... [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img]

Is there somewhere in the Hobbit where it says expressly how big the Arkenstone was?

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Old 04-27-2003, 11:01 PM   #36
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Or are we free to disregard anything written in the Hobbit that tells of things that happened long in the past but cannot be sustantiated by a character with first hand knowledge or corroborated by evidence elsewhere in JRRT's writings?
Sounds good to me. [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img]

Well, actually, I suppose I wouldn't agree with that every time, but in this case, yes. I thought Gwaihir did an excellent job in his first post addressing this issue.
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And that had happened so long ago, many lives of Men. The shrouding of time and myth, and the thinking of common sense, says that the dwarves were the ones who fashioned it; so that’s what was believed.
I, too, don't believe that the text about the arkenstone's creation can be taken as concrete, which means it can't be used to refute or support an arguement. It would merely be speculation (which much of this theory is, of course).

So I figure, let's just toss it out and focus on other aspects of the debate, to see if we can hit on some concrete evidence (which is why I suggested, in my last post, looking for the sizes of the jewels).
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Old 04-28-2003, 12:11 AM   #37
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Well, JRRT came out with The Hobbit before the Silmarillion. So, the arkenstone was, in reality, created (by JRRT) before the silmarils were. If JRRT wanted to have the arkenstone be a silmaril, then he would not have made the point that the silmarils could not be fasioned or cut, as the arkenstone was.

And I agree with The Saucepan Man in regards to taking the Hobbit serious in it's text. it was written by JRRT, so why should we disregard it? If anything, we should disregard text from the Silmarillion, since although JRRT did write it, Christopher Tolkien edited it.
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Old 04-28-2003, 06:22 AM   #38
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So I figure, let's just toss it out and focus on other aspects of the debate
Woah! Hang on a moment. Sorry to bang on about this, but I think that it is pretty vital to the question of interpreting JRRT’s works.

JRRT, in describing the Arkenstone, tells us that it was cut and fashioned by Dwarves. This is not another character relating to Bilbo the history of the Stone. Nor is it a product of any assumption made by Bilbo. It is JRRT’s description, plain and simple. On that basis, can it really be legitimate to dismiss this description as one which cannot be regarded as accurate because the truth or otherwise of it is lost in the mists of time? Phantom, you rely on the explanation originally given by Gwaihir:

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And that had happened so long ago, many lives of Men. The shrouding of time and myth, and the thinking of common sense, says that the dwarves were the ones who fashioned it; so that’s what was believed.
Surely this is something that can be said about many of the events described by JRRT in his writings. If we can say in this case: “Well this is just an old myth and not necessarily true”, why can we not apply the same reasoning in other cases? Why should it be restricted just to the Hobbit? Why should we not be free to apply it to LotR too? And the Silmarillion ...

It just seems to me that, if one were free to dismiss a description of an item given by JRRT in one of his published works on this basis, then one would be free to dismiss a good many other things in the published works besides. And there is no knowing where that might end.

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I, too, don't believe that the text about the arkenstone's creation can be taken as concrete, which means it can't be used to refute or support an arguement. It would merely be speculation (which much of this theory is, of course).
I am not sure how it can be regarded as speculative relying on a statement that is there in one of JRRT's published works. Personally, if JRRT tells us that the Arkenstone was cut and fashioned by Dwarves, then I am willing to believe that it was cut and fashioned by Dwarves and not created by Feanor.

Btw, Sophia, I would think that cutting and fashioning a Gemstone would involve more than simply cleaning the detritus off it. It suggests influencing the shape and characteristics of the Stone itself.
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Old 04-28-2003, 09:42 AM   #39
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it was written by JRRT, so why should we disregard it?
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If anything, we should disregard text from the Silmarillion, since although JRRT did write it, Christopher Tolkien edited it.
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Surely this is something that can be said about many of the events described by JRRT in his writings. If we can say in this case: “Well this is just an old myth and not necessarily true”, why can we not apply the same reasoning in other cases? Why should it be restricted just to the Hobbit? Why should we not be free to apply it to LotR too? And the Silmarillion ...
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I am not sure how it can be regarded as speculative relying on a statement that is there in one of JRRT's published works.
Hmm...I believe I'm hearing the footsteps of a problem that has stalked hundreds, no thousands, or maybe millions of Tolkien debates.

The age old questions "What is real?", "What is literal?", "What was the final version?", "What were his final ideas?", and so on. I'd rather not open up that can of worms in yet another thread, which is why I suggest sticking to things less open for interpretation.

I'll refer back to a point made by The Saucepan Man..
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Or are we free to disregard anything written in the Hobbit that tells of things that happened long in the past but cannot be sustantiated by a character with first hand knowledge or corroborated by evidence elsewhere in JRRT's writings?
Well, that sort of describes the way I view things. Not that I completely disregard statements like that, in fact I usually accept them, but I do not accept them unconditionally. I prefer to say "I believe JRRT's statement, but I suppose by a great stretch of the imagination it might perhaps, maybe, just possibly not be 100% concrete, so I'll let other people believe differently".

Remember, I said earlier that I didn't (and still don't, and probably never will) believe the arkenstone was a Silmaril, but I'm willing to let others believe it. I like things to be left open to people's imagination. It's more fun that way. Look at how much fun we're having with this topic. [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img]
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Old 04-28-2003, 11:44 AM   #40
drigel
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I agree with Saucepans well written arguments. It's a nice speculation but not quite at the level of "balrog's wings" ..
I think there is a better chance of the other silmarill sitting on Ulmo's lap than the Arkenstone being a slimarill..
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