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Old 08-22-2002, 11:38 PM   #1
Anardil
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Sting How the Shadow fell on Numenor

Well, all right. I'm going to try a new topic. If this has been discussed before, please let me know.

During the course of the Second Age, a profound change gradually took place in the attitudes of the Numenoreans towards the Valar, the Elves, their fellow Men, and their own mortality. In the end, as we know, this led to king Ar-Pharazon's assault on Valinor and the subsequent destruction of Numenor. My question is: when did this Shadow first fall on Numenor, and what was the initial cause?

True, the most extreme phase of the rebellion did not begin until Sauron was brought to Numenor. It was because of Sauron's direct influence that the Numenoreans turned to the worship of Melkor, slew and enslaved the Men of Middle-Earth, fell the White Tree, and launched their attack on Aman. However, it is clear that the rebellion had started long before Sauron ever came.

It seems that the Shadow first appeared during the reign of Tar-Minastir, shortly after the victory in the War of Sauron and the Elves. Could this victory have had a negative effect on the Numenorean psyche? Perhaps it led to a certain degree of pride and hubris.
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Old 08-23-2002, 07:51 AM   #2
Mithadan
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Sting

Welcome to the Barrow-Downs, Anardil. Your post is a fine one and I am moving it to the Books forum where it more properly belongs. For all reading this, the distinction between the Books forum and the Newcomers forum does not necessarily relate to the length of time that a poster has been a member, but rather the nature of the discussion. Simple questions or less serious discussions should be posted in Newcomers. Posts of greater complexity such as those seeking to interpret Tolkien's work or speculate on issues not resolved should be posted in Books.

In my view, the root source of the discontent of the Numenoreans was the Valar themselves rather than any event in Middle Earth. Just as the Valar should not have summoned the Elves to Valinor, likewise they should not have summoned the Men to Numenor. Both invitations ran contrary to the "natural order" of things. Elves and Men were supposed to dwell in Middle Earth. Placing Men within close proximity to the Undying Lands but forbidding them access is the same as a parent showing a child a lovely antique toy, leaving it within reach but warning that it should not be touched. Eventually, the child's desire will overcome caution resulting from an exercise of rightful (but unwise) authority.
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Old 08-24-2002, 02:49 PM   #3
Ravenna
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Sting

Whilst agreeing with what Mithadan said, I would add that another facet of the shadow of discontent was the issue of eternal life.
The Valar were, of course, unable to give mankind immortality, and instead rewarded them with a greatly increased lifespan. After a period, being exposed to the immortality of the elves, the Numenoreans began to feel envious of that immortality, and their extended lives seemed not enough of a reward.
I suppose you could call it a version of the 'No matter how much I have, If someone else has more, I want it' mentality.
They could see immortality, but it was forbidden to them, just as the land of Valinor was forbidden, the two unquenched desires, intertwined and led to dissatisfaction.
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Old 08-26-2002, 06:58 PM   #4
akhtene
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Sting

I really appreciate the above posts, but perhaps just a couple more ideas
I’m afraid the seeds for the ‘darkening of Numenor’ were planted at the very time it was founded on the Isle of Elenna. Its first King Elros, given the choice, refused immortality, thus depriving his descendants of eternal life (as they believed). So having elven blood in their veins the Numenorian rulers were seeking immortality as something which could be theirs just if… And besides isn’t Eru himself to blame for it? He gave Men the Gift of death, but no-one, even the Valar themselves are aware of the nature of that gift. And if one doesn’t know want to do with a gift, they can’t appreciate it and may be even tempted to reject it. So that’s what the Numenorians could be trying to do – to reject the gift, the benefits of which they didn’t see (do you, by the way?).

And again, bringing the Edain to the place “removed from the dangers of Middle Earth” the Valar fully misinterpreted the nature of Men, who live short, but live fast and actively. I don’t suppose that the most valiant of Men (the ones who were thus rewarded by the Valar) could be long content with the role of just Elves’ disciples. They could as well get restless and bored. But what a deed could be worthwhile after the greatest Enemy of all had been done away with, and Sauron had been challenged and defeated? The Numenorians had come from the East. So in their pride and hubris, as Anardill put it, they started to look further west planning an invasion.
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Где найти мне сил, чтобы вернуться через века,
Чтобы ты - простил?..
А трава разлуки высока...
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