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Topic: Did the second born get a rough deal?

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Hobbit from Hobbiton - Rank 4
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Posts: 217
Date: Jun 7, 2009
Did the second born get a rough deal?

Hi all

Excuse my spelling

I love the Eldar, but I've always felt that man got short changed.

Ok so apart from the same general shape, the differnces bewteen men and elves is staggering!

We read how the men of Nummenor eventualy resented this difference.......

I read that to balance the difference, ERU gave men the gift.......to depart

Can anyone explain further ???? It seem such a raw deal !

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Anarion, Son of Elendil - rank 8
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Posts: 2161
Date: Jun 7, 2009
Well yes, you are correct. At first glance it does seem the Eldar have a raw deal.

However you need to look at it in more detail. To give a quote:

"But the sons of Men die indeed, and leave the world; wherefore they are called the Guests, or the Strangers. Death is their fate, the gift of Ilúvatar, which as Time wears even the Powers shall envy." The Silmarillion

Elves and the Ainur that entered the world have to live there permanently. Forever more until the very end, when the world is remade. Even when an Elf dies, its spirit usually goes back to the Halls of Mandos to reflect on its life, and may, in time, be reincarnated into a replica of its old body. So as you see, for an Elf, even when slain, they are trapped inside the world, almost forever. They cannot escape it. The worlds life is theirs. In the end, its gonna really start to annoy you. Even the Valar themselves, who are also bound to the world and cannot leave, will be in envy of Men.

Whereas Men can leave. They are not bound to the world. They have their time in it and can then depart beyond it, and go to whatever fate Iluvatar has assigned to them. Its a kind of 'last experience', a chance for Men to depart from Arda with the thought that something unknown is in store, something new and unforessen and exciting. Elves do not have that. They cannot leave until the End, when the world is broken and remade.

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Tom Bombadil
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Posts: 1886
Date: Jun 8, 2009
I for one would not want to live forever, only being able to die in Battle of from grief, like Feanor's mother, Miriel, who lost hope and died. But there were many man who were honored and befriended by the Eldar. Enjoying almost the same high respect and standards as the Eldar. And thinking of Eärendil, who is even now sailing his ship Vingelote in the skies with the Silmaril on his brow. And don't forget the Story of Lúthien
and Beren, which also received from the Valar a great gift.
And don't forget, like I said earlier, the Eldar CAN die in Battle. I hope this helps.

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Fundin, Lord of Moria - Rank 5
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Posts: 562
Date: Jun 8, 2009
And in his essay on Fairy Stories, JRRT wrote: 'And lastly there is the oldest and deepest desire, the Great Escape: the Escape from Death. Fairy-stories provide many examples and modes of this (...) Fairy-stories are made by men not by fairies. The Human-stories of the elves are doubtless full of the Escape from Deathlessness.'



-- Edited by Galin on Monday 8th of June 2009 12:32:14 PM

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Samwise Gamgee - rank 9
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Date: Jun 8, 2009
Aye, but remember Arwen that although an Elf can die from being slain, they are still bound to the world:

"For the Elves die not till the world dies, unless they are slain or waste in grief (and to both these seeming deaths they are subject); neither does age subdue their strength, unless one grow weary of ten thousand centuries; and dying they are gathered to the halls of Mandos in Valinor, whence they may in time return. But the sons of Men die indeed, and leave the world; wherefore they are called the Guests, or the Strangers."

Nice quote by the way Galinwink.gif

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Being lies with Eru - Rank 1
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Posts: 15
Date: Oct 20, 2011
Kind of an indirect answer, but this is a tough question, and one of the many things that makes Tolkien such a great way to examine ourselves. The half-elven are given the choice of which kind, a choice I think makes the reader consider the question. I've always considered Galadriel's quote about "fighting the long defeat" in LOTR not about the battle against Sauron -- to someone who has been through the flight of the Noldor and the wars of the first age, the war of the ring could be seen as just another chapter. I think she is referring to the fate of the elves (like all good literature, of course, the quote can have many meanings). That being said, I think many men (in our world or in Middle Earth) would choose the life of an Elf, and I go back and forth on the question for myself. Nonetheless, I think textually men can only be considered to have a "rough deal" because the lies of Morgoth clouded the gift of Iluvatar, transforming in their minds to an evil, rather than a positive aspect.


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Rick Nagy
 
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