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Old 09-10-2014, 12:38 AM   #1
Tar-Jx
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What role did greed play in Tolkien's books?

I've been studying this topic for a while now, and I thought that it would make quite a good thread.

Let's have ALL the walls of text.

I'll start with Thorin II Oakenshield.

Greed was his driving force. He wanted to take back his home, which seems like a righteous cause, but underneath all of that was a dwarf's greed. All throughout his story, he is talking about how the gold is his, and it belongs to him and his people, which it does, but the extent he uses these words to really gives a clear indication that it's not just getting Smaug out of Erebor that he wants, it is his gold.

The Arkenstone had a very strong hold over him, and when his company looked through their treasures after Smaug had left the mountain, Thorin focused solely on finding the Arkenstone. While some argue that it was a Silmaril, and had a hold on him because of that, I debate otherwise. Thorin wanted the Arkenstone because he believed it to be a priceless treasure, worthy of kings. Taking back Erebor and holding on to the Arkenstone surely would have made Thorin a very powerful and respectable king.

Thorin's greed took his company across half of Middle Earth, got 3 of them killed, and resulted in countless casualties on both sides in the Battle of the Five Armies. Thorin's greed led to Bilbo finding the One Ring, and letting it slowly take over his mind, until it was passed onto Frodo. Thorin's greed lasted after his death, too, as when he was buried, it was with Orcrist, which symbolises that the elves respected him, and with the Arkenstone, that he may live after death with the thing he treasured most.

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Originally Posted by Tar-Jx
In his famous novel, 'The Hobbit', Tolkien accentuated how much greed can affect an individual, and how it is important to not overlook such a trait. 'The Hobbit' has a very heavy Norse influence, due to Tolkien’s interest in that period of time, and their language, so it shares names, elements, and strong similarity to the legends from the Norse period. Particular characters, like Thorin and Smaug, show the telltale signs that greed has deeps roots inside them, becoming reckless, overprotective, and unnecessarily violent when their prize is at risk. Greed is such an important theme, because almost all of the events that happen in The Hobbit are either a direct or indirect result of a character’s greed.
Thorin Oakenshield II is an honourable, and noble, dwarf, but is deeply flawed by his own greedy visions. He fills the usual categories that you would expect a dwarf to be; wealthy, hairy, good at fighting, and most notably, fond of treasure. Thorin valued the hoard of Erebor, taken over by Smaug with his fiery breath, so much, that he risked his life, and the lives of all of his companions on a chance to get them back. His entire quest was based around the risk of facing a dragon to reclaim their home, and their gold. While this risk did pay off in the end, putting his friends and relatives at risk, along with contributing to the peaceful town of Esgaroth becoming involved, and attacked, was hardly a considerate or well thought out plan. The point stands that Thorin was more concerned about his stolen wealth, and in particular, the Arkenstone, a special gem which happened to be very beautiful, eye-catching, and a family heirloom which many wanted to get their hands on. After the dragon had been slain by Bard, the bowman, and the men of Esgaroth had come to claim their promised share of the hoard, Thorin refused them, telling them that it was all property of his company. This dispute escalated, and Thorin stopped thinking about what he was doing, which was contributing to the growing tension leading to a battle, and focused solely on what he wanted, threatening Bilbo’s life after learning of his ‘betrayal’ of giving the Arkenstone to Bard. His greed put the lives of his company, those of Laketown, and more characters they met along the way, in great amounts of danger, and he didn’t even take a second to consider the implications of his actions. Thorin’s recklessness is attributed almost entirely to his selfish and greedy aspirations.
On the contrary to the previous statements about Thorin, he is still a genuine leader and does care about his company, even if he does end up putting them in danger with his reckless decisions, and sometimes gets carried away with personal desires. While the dwarves’ quest to reclaim Erebor was incredibly dangerous, to the point of a return journey being and uncertain future, they were all willing to risk their lives trying. All of his company, including Bilbo, felt a sense of duty to return to their mountain, and at least attempt to slay the dragon. They shared the same aspirations of Thorin, putting the quest first, and their welfare second. Thorin may have been motivated by greed, but in doing so in an honourable and respectable fashion, he showed the dwarves why they were on their quest, and why it was worth risking everything for. In times of great peril, when goblins and wargs were set on killing them, Thorin managed to set aside his greed, and become a role model for the party, becoming their inspiration. Because of his position as heir to the throne, and his noble blood, he handled responsibility with ease, and knew when it was time to become an icon for the rest to follow. Even after he found out that Bilbo had discovered the Arkenstone, but given it to Bard as a way to strike a deal, and he was about to kill him, he managed to restrain himself. He remembered all the times Bilbo had saved the dwarves, and decided to choose Bilbo as more important than whoever currently possessed the Arkenstone. While flawed with greed, Thorin could still manage to set it aside and choose the better cause of action. This shows us that Thorin is not just a greedy dwarf, but a strong-willed leader who can think for the greater good, rather than just himself.
Bilbo Baggins, while the protagonist of the story, does not manage to escape the grasp of greed after finding the Ring, which played with the user’s desires. When the party is captured by goblins after resting in a suspicious opening in the side of the mountain, and Gandalf comes to the rescue, Bilbo is left behind, only to find himself very lost. While lost, something was found; a magic ring of ancient times, allowing the user to become invisible, among other useful abilities. The ring did not appear to have anything special about it, but the moment he picked it up, it started to see into his mind, and compel him to use it. The power of this ring amazed Bilbo, enticing him to use it more. In the revision of this section in the story, Tolkien gave us a subtle foreshadowing of what Bilbo could become if he continued to use the ring, in the form of Gollum. Before Bilbo decided to tell the dwarves about the ring, it’s power started to grab him, causing him to keep it as his secret. Unbeknownst to the dwarves, Bilbo’s secret ring was starting to have an effect on him. He was becoming overly protective of it, and developed a Thorin-like sense of greed, which became apparent when traversing the hoard of Erebor, looking for the Arkenstone. Bilbo did, in fact, find the stone, but decided to keep it to himself, just as he had the ring, logically assuming that no harm could come of it, and that could be his share of treasure. Bilbo had become selfish, and greedy, wanting nobody to even set eyes on his treasure. However, Bilbo was an exceptional hobbit, and just like Thorin had demonstrated, managed to set aside his greed. In the giving of the Arkenstone to Bard, the Bowman, Tolkien shows us that Bilbo is still very much himself, managing to see through the veil of greed put in place by the ring. Bilbo is comparable to Thorin, in that he developed selfishness and greed, but his strong will and sense of righteousness overpowered them to cause him to make the right decisions.
The hoard of Erebor is presented almost as ‘cursed gold’, and follows the traditional folklore idea that same treasures carry dark burdens, causing the owner to think only of their prized mountain of gold. The dwarves who had to flee from Erebor had been exposed to this gold, and treasure, for a long time, so it had a strong hold on them, and when it came to it, leaving it behind became a very difficult task. For the whole time before the quest, they longed to be back in the comfort of their halls, and have the sense of security of possessing such a hoard. To a number of the dwarves in Thorin’s party, his quest was not about reclaiming their home, but reclaiming their gold. They craved it so much that it featured as the main motivation in their dirge of the Lonely Mountain. The only thing in the dwarves’ way of going back to Erebor was the dragon who took it from them, Smaug. Smaug shares great similarity to the dragon, Fafnir, from Norse legends, which formed the roots of The Hobbit, who was enthralled by a hoard of gold, and slept over it, keeping it safe and secure. Smaug was so obsessed with the treasures of Erebor, that when Bilbo sneaked in and stole a single goblet, he became furious, and tried to hunt down the thief, causing great calamity around the mountain. Smaug’s very existence was based off of greed, and when presented with a kingly amount of gold, lost his mind over it in joy, excitement, and lust. The Hoard of Erebor had a strong hold over the dwarves, causing them to put even the chance to see it again over their own lives, and when Smaug stole it from them, he too, cared of nothing else.
The Hobbit is very much a book entertaining the notion that greed is a very real trait, and everyone has it inside of them. The Norse origins of the book also detail this negative quality, with characters sharing the same greedy ideals as the dwarves in Thorin’s company. When faced with a particular treasure, making the best decision is often difficult. You could simply reach out, and take what is there, keeping it for yourself, or you could decide to let it alone, and focus on what would be the best thing to do in a particular situation. This issue reached all of the characters, even the hobbit, Bilbo, who struggled against it ever since discovering the ring. Tolkien shows us how greed can negatively influence decisions, causing you to only consider your personal gain. However, he also gives the other side, that even if one is greedy, they can overcome this burden and act with leadership, authority, and honour.
Because why wouldn't I submit my actual, relevant, work here?


Your turn, now.

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Old 09-10-2014, 07:28 AM   #2
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Hmm, I would disagree that Thorin's quest was "really" motivated by greed. The Dwarves' gold is not just gold to them; all their riches are also their creations, their achievements. Seeking and delving for more is not so much their greed, but their calling. The Elves of Lorien were grieved to leave their forest behind - their beautiful forest, with unique mallorn trees that they took care of and "customized" to fit their character and their needs. Is it the Dwarves' fault that the mallorns of their character are jewels and gold?

Furthermore, getting some gold on the side is seen mostly as a positive thing by most people, but not of these people necessarily thirst for that gold for the sake of the gold. Plus, Thorin's people were dwindling away in the unpromising mountains in the west. Wanting to return their former gold - their former self-esteem, character, and status in society - does not equate to greed.

Thorin was taken by greed towards the end of their quest, but I do not believe that greed was the hidden true motivation. They really did have a home and a status to retake. And Thorin wanted revenge too. Yes, Thorin's greed was the main cause for the disputes between the Men, Elves, and Dwarves, but the Orcs would have come either way, so the battle would not have been prevented. The only thing I can see happening if Thorin was more generous is that when the Orcs attacked, he would call for help, and everybody would send him legions half the size of those they brought to get their share of the gold - if at all - and the battle would be lost. So in a roundabut way, Thorin's greed actually allowed for enough strength to come together to defeat the Orcs, which does not do Thorin much credit but is a funny plot twist.

As for the Arkenstone, well, everybody decided to let go of their greed and recognize the others' right to some things (that spurred the others' greed, but that's water under the bridge). Yes, the treasure must be shared. But Thorin also deserved the respect. I think he truly wanted the Arkenstone. Sure, that desire was increased tenfold to almost insanity by greed, but he did not only value the Arkenstone for its monetary value. The Arkenstone was his personal Erebor. When Thorin's death put a little damper on things, and he was the first to recognize his wrong, others began to recognize theirs as well - and the portion of right in other people's wrongs. Had Thorin lived, I do not believe that it would be that simple and that clean; but he had not, so this is how it was.


Anyways, really cool thread - I would post an actual analysis of a different character, but I have very little time, and this post took up a lot already. It's a very interesting topic, I will definitely come back to it one day when I'm not as busy.
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Old 09-10-2014, 10:20 AM   #3
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I agree with Galadriel55 that Thorin's quest was not primarily motivated by greed, but I think Tar-Jx might be onto something here, regardless. Even if Thorin, the character, has more diverse motivations than greed--and I think at the start of his quest, Thorin's home-longing and desire for revenge is much stronger than greed--greed *is* a major factor in The Hobbit. Indeed, I want to say that it's the primary vice explored in the novel.

The main competitor, off the traditional list of seven anyway, would seem to be sloth, but Bilbo, for all his desire to avoid adventures, isn't particularly lazy and even taken as the umbrella vice for cowardice, the development of courage in Bilbo--and in the Dwarves!--through the novel is something of a necessary theme in an adventure story, whereas greed gets a deliberate treatment.

Thorin isn't the only one whose actions are motivated by greed; until the Goblins show up, greed was main motivator for all the participants at the Battle of the Five Armies. Smaug, as a dragon, is the embodiment of greed as much as any of the vices. But I wouldn't say that greed gets a deliberate treatment in The Hobbit if the book's hero were not such a good illustration of the opposing virtues.

Bilbo, like Thorin, longs for home and for the things that are "his." But where Thorin's desire for Erebor grows and darkens until it blots out even recognition that Bilbo has helped him reclaim it, Bilbo's remains focused on the little things: food and his fireplace, and as the book wears on its frequency seems to diminish (this is an impression, rather than something I can point to numbers on), or at the very least seems to shift from pining to a sort of comfort-day-dream in the dreariness and weariness of his adventure.

Bilbo's reward too, is in direct contrast to Thorin's overwhelming greed: despite having a claim to a vast quantity of treasure and a better claim to have liberated it than most of the other claimants (Bard being the main exception), Bilbo is content with no more treasure than a single pony can carry--and he gives away some of that almost immediately, in what is another minor lesson to a greedy character (namely, the Elvenking).

~*~*~*~*~

Apart from The Hobbit, greed crops up in The Silmarillion too--the legacy of the treasures of Nargothrond is an immediate point of contact, and greed for the gems of the Noldor is one of Morgoth's motivators. Even more so than in The Hobbit, though, it's a mixed topic. Pride is everywhere and regarding the Silmarils, I would almost call it lust more than greed. But as the dragonhoard of Glaurung shows, and sheds light back towards Smaug's hoard, Tolkien definitely makes use of dragon treasure a catalyst for greed.
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Old 09-10-2014, 06:06 PM   #4
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As for Thorin being buried with the Arkenstone, I've always interpreted this as being less about Thorin being able to have it through all eternity and more about acknowledging that it is better if NO ONE living has the Arkenstone; that it represents too much of a temptation not to be likely to start more squabbles in the future, that, given the bloodshed already caused, it is far better to put the thing out of everyone's reach.
As for Orchrist, why shouldn't he have been buried with it? It's his sword. He found it he claimed it. The fact it was made in Gondolin doesn't mean the Wood elves (who would be the only elves at the funeral, Elrond isn't there) have any claim to it, or that they accorded him any particular honor by not yanking it out of his cold dead fingers. It's never accounted as a royal treasure, so it's not like Dain has any claim on it either*. If he really want's a Gondolin blade, he can simply take one of the ones in the Troll cache (the Dwarves said they were planning to come back and pick up the rest of it, and I see no reason why they wouldn't once things were settled). Burying a king or warrior with his weapons is the NORMAL thing to do in ME. Had Ganadalf fallen in the battle of the five armies, there is no doubt he would have been buried with Glamdring, had Bilbo, with Sting. There's no more extra honor in the decision to bury Orchrist with Thorin than with putting Boromir's weapons and cloven hunting horn in the boat with him. They're his, so they stay with him.



*Though I do not doubt that, had the fighting in the War of the Ring ever gotten bad enough to make such a desperate action necessary (and for some reason the troll cache had been lost or destroyed), Dain might have ordered, Thorin's tomb opened and Orchrist retrieved, if he thought that a Gondolin blade, with its proven history of being particularly effective against orc-kind would be a game changer in his battles (sort of like my theory that, had the Shadow returned in later years (as Tolkien one started to write), and King Eldarion had been aware of their existence,he might have sent men to the Barrow downs to exhume them in hopes of uncovering MORE shadow killing weapons of Cardolan, in hopes hey might provide an edge in the fight)
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Old 09-11-2014, 01:32 AM   #5
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Interesting point about the Arkenstone.

It was probably written so it could be interpreted in any way, but still have sort of the same meaning.

I disagree that Bard was motivated by greed when in conflict at the beginning of the Battle of the Five Armies, however, as even when he had the Arkenstone, he didn't want to keep it, but instead use it as a bargaining tool, as Bilbo suggested, to get what was best for his people. Bard acknowledged Thorin's greed and tried to work with it, but Bard's diplomatic skills aren't quite as sharp as his skills as a bowman, and the tension between them rose until the goblins came and started the battle.
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Old 10-12-2014, 11:02 PM   #6
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Currently in the process of writing an essay on this topic. Should have it finished in a few weeks.
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Old 10-13-2014, 06:28 AM   #7
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Currently in the process of writing an essay on this topic. Should have it finished in a few weeks.
Due to my prescient ability, I am currently writing a scathing rebuttal to confute your essay on this topic.
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Old 10-13-2014, 05:45 PM   #8
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Due to my prescient ability, I am currently writing a scathing rebuttal to confute your essay on this topic.
Ah! A battle! This shall become very interesting within a short amount of time. I will be sure to include an opposing view to my own in my essay as to make your job more difficult.
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Old 10-13-2014, 09:57 PM   #9
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Ah! A battle! This shall become very interesting within a short amount of time. I will be sure to include an opposing view to my own in my essay as to make your job more difficult.
Ah, but I shall confound your opposing view by agreeing to your original assertions, thus assuming the points of your essay without wasting time doing the research. It is lazy....but diabolical!

P.S. Oh, by the way, I've just reached 2000 posts with one of my more pointless points.
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Old 10-14-2014, 02:28 AM   #10
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Ah, but I shall confound your opposing view by agreeing to your original assertions, thus assuming the points of your essay without wasting time doing the research. It is lazy....but diabolical!

P.S. Oh, by the way, I've just reached 2000 posts with one of my more pointless points.
I don't think post milestones are really anything to care about.
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Old 10-14-2014, 07:26 AM   #11
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I don't think post milestones are really anything to care about.
They're fun. Usually I miss mine (my last one was used for some banter about Christian babies ), but I've actually used the opportunity of my 5555th post to start a new and hopefully meaningful thread. Either way, post count is fun. We don't tend to pay much attention to it, as you said, but we do perk up at anniversaries.

To stay on topic, here's a small comment:

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I disagree that Bard was motivated by greed when in conflict at the beginning of the Battle of the Five Armies, however, as even when he had the Arkenstone, he didn't want to keep it, but instead use it as a bargaining tool, as Bilbo suggested, to get what was best for his people. Bard acknowledged Thorin's greed and tried to work with it, but Bard's diplomatic skills aren't quite as sharp as his skills as a bowman, and the tension between them rose until the goblins came and started the battle.
I don't think he was motivated by greed either, more so by need. But a bit later, the sense of need turned into a sense of justice - we deserve a portion of that gold, and not just any portion, but our rightful share! I think that, although greed was not Bard's prime motivation, and although he did not quite come to it yet, it was creeping up on him too.
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Old 10-14-2014, 10:01 AM   #12
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I don't think post milestones are really anything to care about.
Life is illusory, therefore celebrate each trick of the light.
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Old 10-14-2014, 08:54 PM   #13
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I don't think post milestones are really anything to care about.
I care about boogers in my nose. I think people will have a care about most everything in their experience. Like this big spider web in my room. Someone might be like why don't you care about that and wipe it away. I've kept it there cause I'm like maybe this spider can kill some of these nasty bugs for me, even though spiders are ugly to me. The even lesser brood of Ungoliant, ugly but maybe useful.
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Old 10-14-2014, 09:00 PM   #14
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Thorin's greed took his company across half of Middle Earth, got 3 of them killed, and resulted in countless casualties on both sides in the Battle of the Five Armies. Thorin's greed led to Bilbo finding the One Ring, and letting it slowly take over his mind, until it was passed onto Frodo. Thorin's greed lasted after his death, too, as when he was buried, it was with Orcrist, which symbolises that the elves respected him, and with the Arkenstone, that he may live after death with the thing he treasured most.
I don't know. I think it was also a move of Gandalf's to help set up the free people's against the evil in Middle-earth. So I can't say Thorin was responsible for all that happened on the journey. There are 14 other personalities with him. When does any responsibility lie with them? Thorin did have several cousins who were part of that journey. I'd say they would be close to the throne.
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Old 10-27-2014, 05:45 PM   #15
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Essay added. If I had any lore fails, please tell me so I can fix them. But only lore fails.

Morthoron, I expect your essay in a week. Be as late as you like, because I'm not going anywhere.

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Old 07-25-2015, 10:41 AM   #16
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Well, it's indubitably true that greed was the principal theme of Peter Jackson's Hobbit movies....
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Old 07-27-2015, 02:08 AM   #17
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Sting A good thread

Tar-Jx, you began an interesting thread here, in the discussion of Thorin II and greed. Personally, I don't believe that he and the other dwarves were greedy for wanting the hoard back. Bilbo, when talking with Smaug, pointed out that they came for Revenge, using the capital letter and emphasis. They also wanted their home back, as Galadriel55 pointed out.

Afterwards, when Smaug was dead, I believe things began to change. Thorin refused Bard's legitimate claim to some of the treasure, pointing out that he would not negotiate with an army at his gates, one that included the Elves of Mirkwood. I wonder if greed was an undisclosed reason for his refusal to negotiate.

Bard, while having a legitimate reason for fighting the dwarves, needing the treasure to help his people, might have been greedy to possess it, although for the best of reasons. He certainly didn't go off with some of it, as the Master later did.

The Elvenking is quite different. Tolkien makes it when first introducing him, that he is greedy for treasure, that being a reason why Thorin refused to talk with him. Later, however, he is able to overcome this greed, being the person reluctant to fight the dwarves in this 'war for gold'.

As Formendacil mentioned, Bilbo was the most free of greed in the book. While he takes the Arkenstone as his reward, he is prepared to freely surrender it in order for a peaceful resolution over the division of the hoard. Even later, Bilbo appears to hold to his stated earlier resolution that he took his fourteenth share and disposed of it. He would only accept two small chests, one of silver and one of gold, as a reward. Perhaps this was a symbolic payment for his rescuing the dwarves both from the giant spiders and the Elvenking's cells, something he pointed out was not included in his original contract.
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Old 07-30-2015, 10:03 AM   #18
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Is Aule god of pride and greed?

How odd! This very topic is why I logged in again after a year. I was reading LOTR again and while reading through TT, I began pondering Saurumans pride and greed. Giving it more thought I started contemplating if Aule could be considered the god of pride and greed as well.
The following characters are associated with him and all exhibit various levels of pride and greed. Sauron, Sauruman, Dwarves and the Noldor. Though the Noldor were children of Eru, he taught the Noldor much, and even Feanor would have been one of his pupils. Arguably Feanor held his own pride apart from Aule, but all the Noldor learned much from Aule and also demonstrated pride and later even greed. We can see even Galadriel demonstrates greed (desire) though she successfully rejects the ring.
Aule demonstrates himself some characteristics of pride when he creates the Dwarves. Within this context I am proposing the idea that pride is driving greed. Though I am not suggesting that Aule is greedy.
Sauron can be argued to have received his negative influences from Melkor. Certainly we can associate many negative characteristics to Melkor, envy being directly attributed to him, and envy can also be associated with greed. But Sauron also was of a different mindset than Melkor, he wanted dominion over others.
Tolkien certainly threaded many many messages within his mythology, as any mythology will. we can see the results of greed throughout his works. Tolkien did give some less than perfect characteristics to the gods, and each had their flaws, even if only alluded to.
Aule's interaction or influence on many of the characters throughout the mythology, could been seen as to create a sense of pride and hence greed.
Just one humble Hobbits observation. Time for my second breakfast.
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Old 07-30-2015, 12:51 PM   #19
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Bilbo appears to hold to his stated earlier resolution that he took his fourteenth share and disposed of it. He would only accept two small chests, one of silver and one of gold, as a reward. Perhaps this was a symbolic payment for his rescuing the dwarves both from the giant spiders and the Elvenking's cells, something he pointed out was not included in his original contract.
Well, that and the fact that Thorin did, eventually, get the Arkenstone.....

Worth noting as well that Bilbo gave away his share of the Trolls' loot, feeling that he had "received stolen goods": not the act of a greedy hobbit.
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Old 07-30-2015, 01:59 PM   #20
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Aule demonstrates himself some characteristics of pride when he creates the Dwarves. Within this context I am proposing the idea that pride is driving greed. Though I am not suggesting that Aule is greedy.
In Aul's case though, when he 'made' the Dwarves, he did so only out of a desire to share his knowledge, and to have his own 'children', who could appreciate the world Eru had made. I see no sign of pride with his motives.

As for the associations with him by various individuals with less benign desires, I think that is connected with his innate appreciation for things made with the hands, which admittedly does lend itself readily to evil. I don't think Aul taught his pupils to be possessive or contentious, though. They simply fell prey to other influences and used what Aul had given them to their own ends.
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Old 07-30-2015, 03:52 PM   #21
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The line between pride and greed isn't actually all that sharp or broad
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Old 07-31-2015, 06:30 AM   #22
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The line between pride and greed isn't actually all that sharp or broad
I beg to differ. While the two may be related, they are different enough that having one, you don't necessarily have the other.
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Old 07-31-2015, 07:45 AM   #23
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While I don't believe Aul himself is a proud or greedy character, I do believe that Professor Tolkien consistently argued that his discipline, "making", was a very dangerous one. I believe he saw a potential connection between a desire to "make" and a desire to control. Thus "makers" are often the ones who desire power and domination. "Makers" (in Arda) wish to bring their will into being, and their will might easily transform from "the existence of a thing" to "a state of affairs".

That's a way in which I see it.
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Old 08-22-2015, 06:43 PM   #24
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White Tree A few examples of greed

A pretty prominent one. Examples include:

Melkor
The Dwarves as a People
Feanor
Thingol
Turgon
Ancalime
Tar-Atanamir the Great
Tar-Ciryatan
Tar-Telemmaite
Ar-Pharazon
the Numenoreans after the Shadow falls.
Sauron
Isildur ?
Smaug
Thorin has trouble with the Arkenstone, at least
Denethor II
Lobelia Sackville-Baggins

- and arguably Saruman.

Galadriel & Gandalf are both tested by having to resist their desire for the Ring.

All these characters desire, or are tempted to desire, what they cannot have, or should not use as they do. Melkor wants "the dominion of Arda". Feanor comes to love the Silmarils with a "possessive love", so that he cannot give them up after the Trees are poisoned. Denethor is so intent on "the good of Gondor", and his grief at the loss of Boromir, that he loses sight of the big picture. And Turgon is so enamoured of the beauty and strength of Gondolin, that he fails to heed the warning of Ulmo. Lobelia covets Bag End - with disastrous results

IMHO, the motif of greed could be regarded as a motif of disordered love - and love is a very prominent motif in the books. This is one reason Tom Bombadil is such a very important character - he has the inner freedom that protects him from wrongful desire. A Vala & a Hobbit and many beings between all suffer from wrongful desires of various desires - he is almost defined by not doing so. He is anything but a meaningless excrescence added for no good purpose - he is essential to the moral structure of the story.

I think making is essentially a form of self-giving, of - in a sense - relinquishing control, stepping back so that what is made can have a life of its own. And I think this requires power no Valar can have, because they are limited, not transcendent. FWIW, AFAICS making = subcreation, with creation in the strict sense being something only Eru can do. For creation, one must have the Flame Imperishable.

Last edited by Saurondil; 08-22-2015 at 07:01 PM. Reason: Double-posting carve-up
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