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Topic: The greatest sin in Arda

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Hobbit from Hobbiton - Rank 4
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Date: Jun 2, 2010
The greatest sin in Arda

I often wade in the warm waters of sins of the flesh.

Enough about me. (There's never enough....ever)

Arda...our Arda

What one crime, what one sin.........stands out against all the others.

Doesn't need to be the biggest....might be small......

But it mattered to you.



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Samwise Gamgee - rank 9
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Well I suppose the top ones are:

The "creation" of the Orcs, probably recognised as the all-time greatest sin (most hateful to Iluvatar).

The marring of Feanor.

Darkening of Valinor and the slaying of the Two Trees.

Setting the Numenoreans against Valinor.


Have I missed any?

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Lord Elrond of Rivendell - Rank 9
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Tolkien is a master at creating creature whose actions we humans would call sin:
Morgoth, Ungoliant, Feanor, Maeglin, Saruman, Sauron, Gollum, ... and on and on and on ...
And he even tries to create scenarios for the redemption of sin ... successfully like Galadriel ... and dismal failure like Smeagol ...

I think ... in my own imaginal hall of infamy ... Saruman ... he knew better but still crossed to the dark side ...
The sin?
Amoral Egocentric Lust for Power ... and with it the corruption of spirits, minds, bodies, and the earth itself.


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Tom Bombadil
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When the Valar had to fight Morgoth and Arda was torn up and rearranged. Was one of the most horrible things I can imagine.

The betrayal and destruction of Gondolin was another.

The destruction of Khazad-dûm by the Yrch

The deceiving of the Noldor by Morgoth

The destruction of Caves of Menegroth in which Thingol and Melian lived by the Dwarves and other creatures.

The illicit marriage of Nienor to Turin.

The Binding of Hurin to Thangorodrim for 27 years

The Kinslaying of the Telerí

I probably could come up with more, but those are the ones that came to mind.

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Thorin Oakenshield - Rank 6
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Saruman may also have found the bones of Isildur in his searches:

"Therefore Isildur must have fallen not into the deep stream but into shallow water, no more than shoulder-high, Why then, though an Age had passed, were there no traces of his bones? Had Saruman found them, and scorned them burned them with dishonour in one of his furnaces? If that were so, it was a shameful deed; but not his worst." UT

I guess his worst would have been his meddling with Uruk-hai?

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Guard of Armenelos - Rank 4
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The one betrayal that comes to mind is when the Dwarfs turned on Thingol and killed him for the Nauglamir, the necklace they had wrought for him which contained the Silmaril of Feanor. That whole thing started the distrust of Elves and Dwarfs which lasted perhaps even further than the defeat of Sauron in the Third age.

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Thorin Oakenshield - Rank 6
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That did start a long conflict but I'm not sure it can be called a sin.

"'By what right does the Elvenking lay claim to the Nauglamír, that was made by our fathers for Finrod Felagund who is dead? It has come to him but by the hand of Húrin the Man of Dor-lómin, who took it as a thief out of the darkness of Nargothrond.' But Thingol perceived their hearts, and saw well that desiring the Silmaril they sought but a pretext and fair cloak for their true intent"

It seems the Silmaril had an effect on the dwarves that drove them to claim it for their own.

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Guard of Armenelos - Rank 4
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The Dwarfs were ferocious when it came to their craft-work. I can't produce it now but I believe Tolkien mentions something about their hearts being kindled to rage when it came to their treasures. Who was in the wrong?: Elves for standing over the dwarfs and commissioning a work by their hands? The dwarfs for desiring the Simaril (which was the Elves' by origin)? Or was it the Simaril itself? Like the One Ring, it was a source of so much desire?

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Tower Guard of Minas Tirith - Rank 4
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I don't think id compare the one ring and the silmarils in such a way jaidoprism7, maybe J7 would be an acceptable shortening, the one ring was created by sauron in his evil to be an even greater evil where as the silmarils were made to be great and awe inspiring.

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But no wizardry nor spell, neither fang nor venom,nor devil's art nor beast-strength, could overthrow Huan of Valinor;
Thorin Oakenshield - Rank 6
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You're right Huan, the two are different in that way. The One Ring lures people by instilling a sinister desire to dominate it - when it in fact will end up dominating them.

But the Silmarils lured people by their sheer brilliance. Yet because Dwarves have a peculiar fascination with their crafts - no doubt originating with Aule their maker - it's possible the Silmaril may have had a similar affect on them; instilling a jealous greed and desire for possession of the Silmaril. It may not have had this affect on men and elves, at least not in the same way.

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Tower Guard of Minas Tirith - Rank 4
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Well spoken mr baggins!

Dwarves always have had quite the lust for treasures it seems

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But no wizardry nor spell, neither fang nor venom,nor devil's art nor beast-strength, could overthrow Huan of Valinor;
Lord Elrond of Rivendell - Rank 9
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I have often wondered at the pattern Tolkien uses of sin to beget greater sin.

Feanor captured the lights of the Two Trees in the Silmarils.
And even the Ainur marveled at his creation.
No sin so far ... right.

 

So along comes Melkor and Ungoliant ... so far the big sin has been the self-will run riot of Melkor and the little sin of Feanor's arrogance and resentment of his step-siblings.

Then Melkor and Ungoliant have destroy the Trees, kill Finwe, and snatched the Silmarils.

Feanor, not knowing the jewels have been snatched, when asked by the Valar, he refuses to break them to re-kindle the Trees. Then, finding his father murdered and the Silmarils stolen, runs amok in a rage that leads to the stealing of the swan ships and the Kin-Slaying ... and then the evil (or sin) goes on and on ... until ... well actually it never stops ...

 

And this sets the tone for all the heroic deeds that follow in every one of Tolkien's creations.

 

Perhaps the greatest sin is ... ???



-- Edited by Bear on Wednesday 24th of August 2011 02:51:45 AM

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Tower Guard of Minas Tirith - Rank 4
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Bear, you said that perhaps saruman had the greatest sin in arda for the reason that he knew beter and still crossed over to the darkside. Well I truelly believe that JRR Tolkien would have agreed. He was a christian man and in the bible it says that all sin is equal. But when someone knows what he/she is sin that it make the sin even worse. that's not a derect quote from the bible but I forget the passage its in but I will let you know the exact phrasing when I find it. So being that his soure for the truth told him that sinners with the knowledge of what they should and should not do were even greater sinners I believe he would agree that sarumans evil was even worse then others.

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But no wizardry nor spell, neither fang nor venom,nor devil's art nor beast-strength, could overthrow Huan of Valinor;
Being lies with Eru - Rank 1
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I must first say that i am very pleased to have stumbled onto this site! I agree with Bear and Huon about Saruman's lust for power to be the most blatant sin. But when it comes to the Silmarils, i have always imagined how beautiful to behold they would be. That being said, i also do not think i would want to gaze upon them for fear of what might befall. I would like to think that some of Morgoth's malice and evil intent were absorbed from the years of wearing his heavy crown, but maybe Feanor's vanity over his truly wondrous creations tainted their legacy from the start.

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Tower Guard of Minas Tirith - Rank 4
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I remember something ing the silmarilion, when beren and luthien were at morgoth's throne, it said something to the effect of "he conceived an evil lust, and a design more dark than any that had come into his heart since he fled valinor." I'm not sure exactly what was ment but it sounds like the worst of sins.

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But no wizardry nor spell, neither fang nor venom,nor devil's art nor beast-strength, could overthrow Huan of Valinor;
Tom Bombadil
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In my book, Betrayal of a friend is the worst of sins.

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Ring a dong! hop along! fal lal the willow!
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Rohirrim of Edoras - Rank 4
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Very true, ArwenLegolas. I am a little surprised that more emphasis has not been placed on Melkor's manipulation of the song or the Ainur. His self importance and jealousy is the origination of all darkness in Middle Earth. Before he wove his dark discord through his sibling's songs it was all butterflies and rainbows. So perhaps, like the eating of the apple in the Garden of Eden to open mankinds eyes to good and evil, the original sin is the worst?

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Guard of Armenelos - Rank 4
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Could it have been Saruman's betrayal? He was sent by the Valar to aid the free folk of Middle-earth against Sauron's devices but he became an instrument to Sauron instead. I don't think that kind of blasphemy (beside Melkor and Sauron) had been so openly been attempted against the designs of the Valar....

He was like a fallen angel in a sense...sent by the Gods to help but instead decided he would implant himself as a sovereign ruler?

I can't think of another Maia or Istari that did that....maybe someone could refresh my memory but that's pretty audacious to say the least... although a sin that never came to fruition but a sin?

Yes?
No?
put a check next to your answer....just kidding....

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Lord Elrond of Rivendell - Rank 9
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Jaidoprism7,

I really like the "fallen angel" analogy.  Especially if we follow it to Saruman's end ...

I cite these few paragraphs from The Return of The King;

    "Saruman turned to go, and Wormtongue shuffled after him. But even as Saruman passed close to Frodo a knife flashed in his hand, and he stabbed swiftly. The blade turned on the hidden mail-coat and snapped. A dozen hobbits, led by Sam, leaped forward with a cry and flung the villain to the ground. Sam drew his sword.
    'No, Sam!' said Frodo. 'Do not kill him even now. For he has not hurt me. And in any case I do not wish him to be slain in this evil mood. He was great once, of a noble kind that we should not dare to raise our hands against. He is fallen, and his cure is beyond us; but I would still spare him, in the hope that he may find it.'
    Saruman rose to his feet, and stared at Frodo. There was a strange look in his eyes of mingled wonder and respect and hatred. 'You have grown, Halfling,' he said. 'Yes, you have grown very much. You are wise, and cruel. You have robbed my revenge of sweetness, and now I must go hence in bitterness, in debt to your mercy. I hate it and you! Well, I go and I will trouble you no more. But do not expect me to wish you health and long life. You will have neither. But that is not my doing. I merely foretell ...'
********************************************************************************
 ... Saruman laughed. 'You do what Sharkey says, always, don't you, Worm? Well, now he says: follow!' He kicked Wormtongue in the face as he grovelled, and turned and made off. But at that something snapped: suddenly Wormtongue rose up, drawing a hidden knife, and then with a snarl like a dog he sprang on Saruman's back, jerked his head back, cut his throat, and with a yell ran off down the lane. Before Frodo could recover or speak a word, three hobbit-bows twanged and Wormtongue fell dead.
    To the dismay of those that stood by, about the body of Saruman a grey mist gathered, and rising slowly to a great height like smoke from a fire, as a pale shrouded figure it loomed over the Hill. For a moment it wavered, looking to the West; but out of the West came a cold wind, and it bent away, and with a sigh dissolved into nothing ..."  (The Lord Of The Rings, The Return of the King, Book Six, Chapter VIII ~  "The Scouring of the Shire", pgs 1019-1020)

Both Frodo's injunction to spare him as a creature once of noble kind ... coupled with the hope for his redemption ... the analogy of the "fallen angel" fits very well ... almost a biblical level of mercy and Frodo's divine insight.  Follow that with a "metaphysical" act of Saruman's spirit being rejected from divine elements or "heaven's gates" of the west ... but it brings into a different light " the greatest sin in Arda.
It is said that "evil" begets "evil".
And in looking at this through the lense of "the greatest sin in Arda" perhaps is Saruman's corruption of Grima Wormtongue and his Shire ruffians ... both men and hobbits ... this "sin" may be more than simple treachery ... perhaps Saruman's perversion of what once was good ... his betrayal of his "divine angelic mission" ... means his ultimate rejection by The West 

 



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Guard of Armenelos - Rank 4
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I always wanted to see that scene play-out on film....maybe one day

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Haldir of Lorien - Rank 6
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Wasn't Dante's last ring in Hell for people who betrayed others? I believe that was where Judas was.

The problem with beginning questions like this is they lead into discussions of predestination and such. If Saurman hadn't betrayed, would have everything turned out okay in the end? Was he free to choose? Is it a sin really if everything is foreordained?

By no means am I trying to answer those questions. I am so not qualified. But, in my Judeo-Christian upbringing I was always told that a sin is a sin, one is not greater than another. So, by that standard, wouldn't any sin against Eru be the greatest?

 



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Guard of Armenelos - Rank 4
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Truly,

Perhaps we're dealing with the most repercussive (if that's a word), with most repercussions?


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Lord Elrond of Rivendell - Rank 9
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My friends ...
The greatest sin?

It almost feels like " ... which sin gives us the biggest bang for our buck?"

I love these postings ... there is so much to learn and so much to share ...



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Thorin Oakenshield - Rank 6
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Laurelin wrote:
 But, in my Judeo-Christian upbringing I was always told that a sin is a sin, one is not greater than another. So, by that standard, wouldn't any sin against Eru be the greatest?

 Not according to Tolkien it seems, at least in the context of Middle-earth. He says that if Saruman had burned the bones of Isildur in one of his furnaces then it would have been a terrible sin 'but not his worst'.



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Hobbit from Hobbiton - Rank 4
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Ok this post was written five years ago.......ROLL CALL!....Who is still in the house?

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Lord Elrond of Rivendell - Rank 9
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Present ...

Sometimes ... not always ... I see the arrogance and malice of Thingol in dealing with Beren and Luthien as the greatest sin ... yet, in a way, it is the beginning of the redemption of Arda ... definitely a very interesting theme ...



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Samwise Gamgee - rank 9
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My my, this is an old thread. I guess I'll add one more to the list of mine - the corruption of men by Morgoth. Assuredly one of the greatest sins.

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