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Old 03-18-2013, 10:20 AM   #1
Zigûr
Ghost Prince of Cardolan
 
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Amandil

Hello all,
Something that's been weighing on my mind lately is the story of Amandil. I always thought that the tale of his journey into the West was one of the most haunting elements of the Akallabêth. It is one of those details which I have always felt makes the account particularly powerful. I suppose I have always found for my own part that Amandil does not seem to really believe that he could petition the Valar for mercy but that somebody at least had to try, which is an interesting variation on the often successful "fool's hope" (as Gandalf puts it) in fiction, where a major example of its success is of course the Quest of the Ring.

Anyway, I've always thought that the quest of Amandil fits so perfectly into the apocalyptic imagery of the last days of Númenor that it almost becomes hard to believe that he reached the shores of Aman, let alone spoke to Manwë, but it is suggsted that the grace of the Valar might have been responsible for the salvation of the Faithful in their flight to Middle-earth.

What I find especially tragic about the Fall of Númenor is how it represents the deterioration of faith in a powerful, advanced society. The Men of Númenor had become the masters of the world; what need had they of faith? But this meant that for all their strength they were only more weak: they had no facility for handling the one thing over which they could never have mastery, death.

Amandil described Númenor as "defiled" but noted that he was seeking mercy "since some at least have remained faithful." What I'm wondering is: do you think Amandil made it, and the survival of Elendil and his sons was mercy from the Elder King? Or perhaps Amandil was lost in the Enchanted Isles but the far-seeing Valar recognised his cause and granted mercy to his son anyway.

One other question. Amandil tells Elendil "There is but one loyalty from which no man can be absolved in heart for any cause." (p. 275) I feel confused about what he is referring to. Does he mean "absolved" as in no man can be released from his duty to Eru, or that no many can be forgiven for worshipping the Enemy? I'm assuming the former but it's a curious remark, especially in context: Elendil was concerned about the malicious rumours regarding the Faithful being proved true, to which Amandil replied "If I thought that Manwë needed such a messenger I would betray the King." I realise he is implying that the Valar already knew about the corruption of the Númenóreans but what loyalty is he referring to?
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