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Topic: Lost history and speculative fun

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Being lies with Eru - Rank 1
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Date: Oct 29, 2013
RE: Lost history and speculative fun

I would say that there is more value to speculation if it stays consistent with facts. That facts are often not consistent among themselves makes it more challenging but also more interesting. I think in this thread we can tackle "what if" kind of questions and try to fill the gaps, but issues with at least partial knowledge don't have to be excluded, they just will need caution and more research, in my view it is existing facts that give food for imagination...

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Lórellinë

Being lies with Eru - Rank 1
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On another note, did you mean, Bear, that we cannot discuss or criticize the proposed theories? I would think that (especially in the absence of facts) the beauty of a story (guess that's what Galin called elegance) could be a good criterion, if for example several alternatives are proposed for something. So some stories could be refuted.

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Lórellinë

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'What comes to mind is many things are said about the Silmarils. And what may be noted is that not everything holds true. At least whatever pertains to who they should or should not burn. To me this burning thing is one of their most important qualities, and since they don't operate as predicted in that respect, this gives a certain ground to question the remaining predictions as well - although that ground is rather shaky.' Also, Mannish myths aside, Feanor himself says that he may unlock/break the Jools.'

 

True, but looking a bit closer, Feanor says: 'Mayhap I can unlock my jewels, but never again shall I make their like; and if they be broken, then broken will be my heart, and I shall die...' JRRT, Annals of Aman

With respect to the Later Quenta Silmarillion II, Christopher Tolkien only says that this section is 'virtually identical' to the Annals of Aman here, except at the end of section 120, and the beginning of section 121, with respect to Feanor's words about his death. So I'm not wholly certain that 'if they be broken' [Annals of Aman] was changed to 'if I must break them' [Silmarillion as published] by Tolkien himself -- arguably so, since the two statements are different enough in my opinion --  but mayhap seems altered by Christopher Tolkien in any case, to 'It may be...' as there are more examples of Tolkien being more archaic compared to the passages in the 1977 Silmarillion.

 

And mayhap means 'perhaps' which means 'possibly but not certainly'. But even if the reader interprets Feanor's words in full to mean that he could break them but doesn't want to, in my opinion we have an easy enough reason why: 'But not until the End, when Feanor shall return who perished ere the Sun was made (...) shall it be known of what substance they were made.'

 

And so I think there need be no contradiction of note with the former statement, as in my opinion it stands to reason that the person who actually made the Silmarils possibly holds the key to breaking them, as an exception.

Tolkien, in 1951, writes to Milton Waldman [letter number 131]. 'The jewels are recovered (by the final intervention of the gods) only to be lost for ever to the Elves, one in the sea, one in the deeps of earth, and one as a star of heaven. The legendarium ends with a vision of the end of the world, its breaking and remaking, and the recovery of the Silmarilli and the light 'before the Sun' -- after a final battle...'

 

And to me it would be yet another hoop [of some measure at least], if someone is going to try to emphasize 'to the Elves' here, considering, to my mind, the greater implication of this description.

 

With respect to the purpose of this thread: in my opinion, based on the wording of the first post, it's supposed to be that of a marriage of 'what is given' with 'what could possibly be', with an example Glamdring -- not to toss out what we know about Glamdring, or contradict that which is known about the sword, but to speculate about that which is not known. The first post asks: 'If there are no comments on the above piece, what have you ever guessed at? What questions were never answered that made you wonder openly of what could have possibly happened to bring things to pass as they have in Tolkien's works?'

 

To me, although I am having fun in any case, this is not simply a thread for imaginative fun without regard to 'what is given'. Although [and if I am correct, that is] I have no problem if anyone wants to start such a thread of course, or turn this thread into a different kind of thread.



-- Edited by Galin on Tuesday 29th of October 2013 01:49:17 PM

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Haldir of Lorien - Rank 6
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I had thought the thread was a little of both. Fun speculation and perhaps finding the truth. For the things that are truly unknown, things like Starbucks start-ups works for me; and for things that I just don't know, finding out the truth is kinda cool too.

But, perhaps we should check with the Creator of the thread. His view is what is important I think.

What say you, Jaido?



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Lord Elrond of Rivendell - Rank 9
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Hmmm ...
Shouldn't this referenced discussion be in a Silmarils or an Arkenstone thread?
Don't we have enough threads (or catagories) that this discussion would fit in?

Hell ... I enjoy the lively interaction ...

Seems I am nit-picking ... time for me to let it go and move along ...

The Arkenstone was sacred to the Dwarves and was found and labeled as the Heart of the Lonely Mountain even before it was cut and polished.

Feanor was supported by Aule ... because he knew before Feanor spoke that the Silmarils were a once in a lifetime work and that part of Feanor's soul went into their making ... sort of like Sauron and the One Ring.

 

Speculation ... in the halls of Mandos, Mandos got Feanor's spirit drunk, then interrogated him until he spilled the secret of the Silmarils, revealing that he had the hots for Yavanna but she would not put out until he delivered her his "jools".  Mandos ratted Feanor out to Aule and Aule beat on Feanor's butt with his hammer which a stoned party of dwarves made for him.(the drunk dwarves laughed because they thought that Feanor was going to be "nailed")

 

Now the really important parts ... What was the size of Aule's hammer? Did Feanor have hemorrhoids after the beating on his butt? And did Eru know the Yavanna was spreading the wealth across Valinor?

 

(please DO NOT answer the "important parts" because they are not ... they are just a sarcastic jibe ... meant to bring a smile ... not a discourse.)

 

Looking forward to your next posts ...

I will be on the sidelines cheering you on!

Truly,

Bear

 

 



-- Edited by Bear on Wednesday 30th of October 2013 07:35:45 PM

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Being lies with Eru - Rank 1
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"But even if the reader interprets Feanor's words in full to mean that he could break them but doesn't want to, in my opinion we have an easy enough reason why: 'But not until the End, when Feanor shall return who perished ere the Sun was made (...) shall it be known of what substance they were made.'"

Are you saying that Feanor's reason not to break the Jools right when Yavanna asks him for that is because he plans to return later and only then unlock them? (The substance of which they were made was known to Feanor anyway.) Definitely you meant something else but it just doesn't come through (to me at least). In any event, is the point that Feanor is the only one who can break the Silmarils (as you state later more clearly)?


As to 'mayhap' versus 'may be', I fail to see the difference since my mastery of English remains suboptimal, but my interpretation of 'may' (I may break) was exactly 'possibly, not certainly' as opposed to 'can' for example. Although the Valar seem to have no doubt that yes, he can break them.


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Lórellinë

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'Are you saying that Feanor's reason not to break the Jools right when Yavanna asks him for that is because he plans to return later and only then unlock them? (The substance of which they were made was known to Feanor anyway.) Definitely you meant something else but it just doesn't come through (to me at least). In any event, is the point that Feanor is the only one who can break the Silmarils (as you state later more clearly)?'


Sorry for any confusion, but I was talking about the possibility of breaking the Silmarils [compared to the former statement where they appear to be generally unbreakable within Arda], not Feanor's reason to say no to Yavanna.

And that Feanor might be thought to be an exception to this statement seems reasonable enough to me, since he made the Jewels.


 



-- Edited by Galin on Wednesday 30th of October 2013 12:08:32 PM

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To me, the highlight of 'an' means 'just one of possible exceptions' as opposed to 'the only exception', so if that is what you mean, then where there is one exception, there could be others... that is not the only equivocal thing about the Silmarils as we know.

You mention that the Arkenstone/Silmaril hypothesis is encountered on various Tolkien forums. As a favor, if you know, where else did that happen (other than The One ring and this very site)?

In another thread we were playing with the rings, and although the rings didn't roll too far, it did not hurt to list the things known or speculated about them. I want to try to do that to this infamous rocks.

First of all, is there any will in them?

(1) They are likened to 'living things': 'as were they indeed living things, they rejoiced in light...' '...that crystal was to the Silmarils but as is the body to the Children of Iluvatar: the house of its inner fire, that is within it and yet in all parts of it, and is its life'.

(2) Feanor's 'heart' is literally tied up to them; he (when asked to surrender the Silmarils) says: '...in that deed [that can be accomplished only once] his [whoever accomplishes that deed] heart shall rest' and also, as cited previously, 'if they be broken, then broken will be my [Feanor's] heart...'
Well, even 'life' doesn't necessarily imply 'will', but then we have
(3) The most obvious manifestation of their 'will' - which is their choice of who to burn.

Like I mentioned previously, that they can burn at all seems to be a quality given to them later, by Varda not Feanor. At least I got that impression. So this is another equivocal element about them. We are told that 'no violence within the walls of this world could mar it [the substance of the jewels] or break it'; I may be wrong but it looks like they could not be changed in any way, and yet acquiring this new (burning) quality is a change, and an important one (and is conferred not by the original maker). Again, where there is one change, why is another impossible.

I would speculate that if the Silmarils are given up to somebody of free will, they will not burn the person to which they are given. When they are obtained in a violent way, however, they may or may not burn, and it's hard to predict this in each individual case.

What other qualities do the Jools possess? They instill lust (Elwing's case is most disheartening). Anything else?

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Lórellinë

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To me, the highlight of 'an' means 'just one of possible exceptions' as opposed to 'the only exception', so if that is what you mean, then where there is one exception, there could be others... that is not the only equivocal thing about the Silmarils as we know.

 

The reason I highlighted the word is that you said only [within a question admittedly] after I said an. Feanor is 'an' arguable exception whether his is the only one or not.

I left it more open on purpose: is there another arguable exception to this point? Perhaps someone else thinks so and can persuade me. I've never really looked at this matter as in depth as I could, maybe partly because I see no compelling reason to arrive at the notion of the Arkenstone as an actual Silmaril, within the story, and so far I find no compelling external evidence that Tolkien thought this was so. 

And in any case I keep in mind the context here: the seeming argument that certain Dwarves can be said to have 'cut and fashioned' the Arkenstone from an actual Silmaril, despite the statement in the Silmarillion -- concerning which the only arguable exception raised here so far, on this particular point, involves Feanor, the person who made them. 

'You mention that the Arkenstone/Silmaril hypothesis is encountered on various Tolkien forums. As a favor, if you know, where else did that happen (other than The One ring and this very site)?'

At Barrow Downs for instance [this year I think, or at least part of the thread is fairly 'recent' if I recall correctly].

And I feel like I've seen this idea before that, but I've been reading or chatting Tolkien on the web for some time now, at various forums, and if I have read it before [even more than once before], I can't really remember exactly where or when at the moment, beyond Barrow Downs.



-- Edited by Galin on Thursday 31st of October 2013 12:45:28 PM

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Well I think that Varda is another exception - in the sense that she can (and did) alter the properties of the Jools as it seems. She is a Valie of course and Dwarves cannot be compared to her. In fact I have happily forgotten about them, but was wondering still whether Maedhros could have done something to his Silmaril. If yes, then later even Dwarves could further do stuff to it; although I would think that if the Silmaril remained intact, then handle it the Dwarves might but cut no way; at an attempt to cut it probably would start burning them. Just a speculation. I would be more interested in those gems themselves, putting aside the Arkenstone case.

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Lórellinë

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Varda hallowed the Jewels, yes, but this is not marring them with violence nor breaking them, and not an exception in my opinion. To my mind this is not even altering the properties that Feanor made, but adding a property of Varda's own [and in that sense can the Silmarils be said to be altered].

But I agree, in any case we could not compare the Dwarves to Varda, nor I think, to the maker of the Silmarils themselves.



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Ahem! (Queue the Thunder and Lightning now, thank you).

It is I the creator of this creature which has run amok! (Cough, cough...sorry!)

Laurelin has it right here people. We can freely speculate. Speculate all things Tolkien and let's say I pose this little example: "I think Nimrodel got lost in the White Mountains and never made it to the Gondorian Southern Shores...." Then if one of you sites an actual real finding or a real note of what Tolkien proposed saying something like: "In the Tolkien letters, Tolkien says that she did INDEED make it to the Southern shores of Gondor and sailed away." Then you have educated me and my theory or "Speculation" has found its ending.

This is not intended to unwrite or uncreate what is known but to explore the unknown. I may be naive of a certain fact that one of you is privy to and therefore I should welcome the reality within the source material. If there is no written fact pertaining to how a "Speculation" actually was designed to end by Tolkien or his estate...then the "Speculator" can proceed with speculation and others can add to it or debate whether that is feasible or not, but it would be helpful if the opposition had solid reasons to counteract one's "Speculation" and not just launch a series of "No,no,no,no,no,no,no's" with their fingers stuffing their ears and throwing an outright tantrum. There are no wrong answers (unless documented by the approved source material) but NO one should say, "If it wasn't written then it just didn't exist," that is not the spirit of this thread.

Take for example how Sting, Glamdring, and Orcrist passed out of Gondolin to come to the cave troll's lair. Now we can start a whole tirade like the fellows in Monty Python's the Holy Grail by determining whether Scatha grasped the coconut by the husk or whether or not it was an African Swallow or impractical for a dragon to abscond such things. There is a huge gap in the story line there in which an entire theme park of "Speculation" can take place. Some of the Dragon's were said to be mechanical and house a bunch of Orcs. What if they looted the place, stuffing the mechanized Dragons and making their way out of there then Scatha turned on one of them taking what he could or what if the Machination broke down and the plunder was plundered again. Who knows (Some of you may be in possession of material that says Tolkien threw out the idea of Mechanized Dragons altogether, then that fact would be appreciated therefore causing me to find another route to the final end).  Otherwise no one out there can say I'm wrong for guessing what is not written in that gap (although if you think a better solution is right under my nose then bring it up, it actually may be entirely better than my speculation, then we are building together).  Oh by the by if in the "Scatha Treasure" theory I leap up and say something like:  "Then a Golden God came from the sky and wisked the treasure away to Eregion where the trolls found it..." then you can openly tell me to go suck a railroad spike because that is a wingnut theory full of more holes then we originally set out to patch.  And that's the fun!!! You see? Good Stuff. I'm outta here!

(And queue the Thunder and Lightning again with a little flash powder and smoke.....thank you).

 

 

I hope this has helped a bit.  It was intended to be a completely free realm to entertain your theories and "What if's", in the process getting our friends to weigh in and help develop plausible scenarios....

Your friend Jaidoprism7



-- Edited by Jaidoprism7 on Thursday 31st of October 2013 10:02:02 PM

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I sincerely hope that what I am writing is speculative enough for this thread...

To me, adding a new property to something that didn't have it looks like an alteration. Or maybe I should have said 'a change'. I would say that Varda makes a big change to the jewels, invisible as it was. Notably, she is not violent, nor does she act violently, yet what she adds to the jewels is essentially violence. Whether that is marring or not, I am not sure, nothing seen by eye, but quite perceptible. I find it ironic that this is called 'hallowing'. Not that I am arguing with the author...

I now recall that in the earlier versions (Tale of Nauglafring) it is said that the Silmarils after being in the Morgoth's iron crown got some malicious qualities and caused sickness to Luthien. So potentially we have yet another example of changing of the Silmarils' qualities, this time more in line with violence. I am not sure though that the Silmarils at that particular external stage were the same as later; initially they weren't. Since the proper later version of those events does not really exist (an editorial creation), it is hard to say anything definite. My impression is that in general the Silmarils are believed to bring bliss not sickness in the later versions, but it also seems this is presented as a belief, not a fact, if I am not mistaken.



-- Edited by Lorelline on Friday 1st of November 2013 06:06:46 AM

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Lórellinë

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Jaido, you've got me laughing like a fool. Glad no one is here to witness it rofl.gif

 

Total change of subject, but this just popped in my head. What does anyone know about Glorfindel. Was he reincarnated from the dead Glorfindel in the Sil? I read somewhere that this might be the case. But doesn't that mean that Luthien wasn't the only one to die and return?

 Or perhaps the name Glorfindel is like the John Smith of ME.



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Hey Laurelin,

I found this tender little tidbit in "The Tolkien Letters." (Nod to Friend Bear):

The Children of God are thus primevally related and akin, and primevally different.  Since also they are something wholly 'other' to the gods, in the making of which the gods played no part, they are the object of the special desire and love of the gods.  These are the First-born, the Elves; and the Followers Men.  The doom of the Elves is to be immortal, to love the beauty of the world, to bring it to full flower with their gifts of delicacy and perfection, to last while it lasts, never leaving it even when 'slain', but returning-and yet, when the Followers come, to teach them, and make way for them, to 'fade' as the Followers grow and absorb the life from which both proceed. ---The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, Letter #131 pg. 147 paragraph I. 

 

Funny you should ask this question, I had just read it yesterday and your question sparked the recent memory.  Strange how those coincidences occur.  Nice! 



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Being lies with Eru - Rank 1
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Laurelin,
These two Glorfindels are the same, yes. The one in LOTR is a reincarnation of Glorfindel of Gondolin. But unlike Luthien he returns as an elf, not mortal. It looks that you are right in that only he and Luthien returned to Middle-earth (oh and Beren too), but at least Finrod Felagund also returns from the dead; he stays in Valinor though, didn't he have enough of Middle-earth?
In fact there was some brief discussion of just the question you asked, in Elven Lore, but a long time ago.
Would be interesting to speculate why it was him (not somebody else) who returned.

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Lórellinë

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In my opinion for an 'exception' to the quote I raised we need a physical-related example. Hallowing is not 'marring' the physical substance of the Silmarils, and:  'Like the crystal of diamonds it appeared, and yet was more strong than adamant, so that no violence could mar it or break it within the Kingdom of Arda.' this to me is clearly with respect to the hardness of the jewels, stronger than diamond. Thus Feanor is an arguable exception because, as the maker, it is possible that he can physically break them.

The Silmarils should look the same despite any attempted violence to them, just as they do when taken out of the belly of Carcharoth for example.

The context of this 'exception' line of argument at least began with the theory of Dwarves possibly 'cutting and fashioning' a Silmaril, again a theoried physical change to one of the jewels.

 

 

 



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"'Like the crystal of diamonds it appeared, and yet was more strong than adamant, so that no violence could mar it or break it within the Kingdom of Arda.' this to me is clearly with respect to the hardness of the jewels, stronger than diamond. Thus Feanor is an arguable exception because, as the maker, it is possible that he can physically break them."

This is an interesting point, in that the reference sort of implies that there is more to the Jewels than the physical substance (as was my impression for a while anyway). And it is also said by the way that "no violence" can mar/break the substance. Anybody willing to do so could say that (1) the non-physical qualities can be changed; or at least it is not said that they couldn't; and we actually know that they were changed; and (2) a non-violent way can be employed to interact with the physical substance. I would think that Feanor would have used some non-violent way to unlock them, if he had been persuaded or constrained to do this. Would that involve some sort of call upon the jewels' non-physical substance (spirit/mind/will)?
And so one can speculate to no end what is violent and what is not, although how productive that line of thought would be I am not sure.
True we have no evidence (the Arkenstone/Silmaril hypothesis aside) that anything ever has been done to their physical material.

"The Silmarils should look the same despite any attempted violence to them, just as they do when taken out of the belly of Carcharoth for example."

Not at all what I meant though. The Silmarils after hallowing still looked the same but were 'stuffed' with potential violence on their own.

"The context of this 'exception' line of argument at least began with the theory of Dwarves possibly 'cutting and fashioning' a Silmaril, again a theoried physical change to one of the jewels."

This is correct. I was wondering about this hypothesis (A/S) purely because of the superficial similarity of the Jools. Without strong assumptions and heavy speculation this hypothesis just doesn't hold water. That's why I knew better than opening a lore thread on this - thanks to Jaidoprism7 we can still speculate here on whatever. I must say that to me this topic was helpful for understanding the properties and qualities of the Silmarils. Will post more on that separately.

Thanks by the way for referring me to that other forum. I finished reading that thread (among some others) after 5 am. Lots of points made, geology and lust for the Silmarils and stuff. Lots of identical arguments too. No one was as crazy as to say that Maedhros has changed the Silmaril. Sorry for the off-topic, but are Feanorians and/or their oath discussed there? The search just doesn't work for a visitor and I am reluctant to register only to do search.


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Lórellinë

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'Not at all what I meant though.'

I knew that that was not what you meant, but I was still talking about exceptions to this citation about the physical marring of the Silmarils, in the context of the 'Arkenstone as Silmaril' speculation.

'(...) I was wondering about this hypothesis (A/S) purely because of the superficial similarity of the Jools. Without strong assumptions and heavy speculation this hypothesis just doesn't hold water.'

 

Judging from this, unless I interpret it wrongly, it seems you might agree that 'the Arkenstone is a Silmaril' is a strained argument at least; although if so you're saying it more nicely than I am perhaps.  

 

Although I arguably say it just a bit more nicely than some over at Barrow Downs biggrin



-- Edited by Galin on Saturday 2nd of November 2013 10:57:03 PM

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'Total change of subject, but this just popped in my head. What does anyone know about Glorfindel. Was he reincarnated from the dead Glorfindel in the Sil? I read somewhere that this might be the case. But doesn't that mean that Luthien wasn't the only one to die and return?'

To expand slightly upon what has been posted already: late in life Tolkien wrote two Glorfindel texts in which he imagined that Glorfindel of Rivendell was indeed Glorfindel of Gondolin -- reincarnated in an exact duplicate of his former body.

Jumping back in time: while writing The Lord of the Rings Tolkien mused that maybe Glorfindel should tell of his ancestry in Gondolin -- however one interprets that brief statement this never made it into the tale of course, and the matter was left open.

Tolkien also noted that the name Glorfindel 'escaped reconsideration' before the book was actually published. Maybe so, but if so it was an arguably slow escape in one sense anyway, as it took many years for the book to be 'finished' and published. In any event, in my opinion this need not mean that JRRT, at the time, would certainly have altered the name in The Lord of the Rings before it was published...

... although, in any case again, he could have easily altered the name Glorfindel for the Gondolin tale.

'Or perhaps the name Glorfindel is like the John Smith of ME.'

Here, perhaps interestingly, Tolkien also thought that the name Glorfindel should not be repeated.

 



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"Judging from this, unless I interpret it wrongly, it seems you might agree that 'the Arkenstone is a Silmaril' is a strained argument at least; although if so you're saying it more nicely than I am perhaps. "

I would say that my enthusiasm for this hypothesis is dampened (if you are familiar with this jargon); it sure shouldn't make it into Appendices to LOTR (so far only 'Goldberry is Nienor's daughter' by JD7 and 'Rockall is the tip of sunken Thangorodrim' by JtJ are firmly established new discoveries LOL).


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Lórellinë

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Galin,
"The Children of God are thus primevally related and akin, and primevally different. Since also they are something wholly 'other' to the gods, in the making of which the gods played no part, they are the object of the special desire and love of the gods. These are the First-born, the Elves; and the Followers Men. The doom of the Elves is to be immortal, to love the beauty of the world, to bring it to full flower with their gifts of delicacy and perfection, to last while it lasts, never leaving it even when 'slain', but returning-and yet, when the Followers come, to teach them, and make way for them, to 'fade' as the Followers grow and absorb the life from which both proceed." ---The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, Letter #131 pg. 147 paragraph I.

I think that Glorfindel was indeed reincarnated. We don't know if his bones were ever recovered from the fall he took when he fought the Balrog but his spirit could await rebirth in the Halls of Mandos. Would a reincarnation require the bones or husk of the reborn? If so could not Manwe send his eagles to reclaim it?



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Fundin, Lord of Moria - Rank 5
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Hi Jaidoprism

 

The relatively late idea seems to be that the fea [roughy translated as 'spirit' in English] of an Elf contains a memory of its former hroa [roughly tranlated as 'body' in English] so precise that an identical body could be made from it. So we don't need the former body.

 

The earlier idea [and relatively long held idea] was that Elves were reincarnated by being actually reborn again [as babies], but Tolkien later rejected this: JRRT noted that this would mean a different body, which did not suit his idea that each fea should be specially connected to a specific body [to explain it somewhat poorly here]. And I think that means that when Finrod is said to be reincarnated, at least in the early version of the Lay of Leithian for example, the idea behind it was that he had been born again as a child...

 

... I guess!?! Unless I'm forgetting something here.

 

Anyway, as I say that notion was rather emphatically rejected later by JRRT. Elves were still unable to leave the Circles of the World, but, generally speaking, they returned to their same physical bodies without being born again as babies.



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Awesome Galin,

Thanks for illuminating that. I did not know about the fea and hroa concept but that does make perfect sense that he would return and his former allies would recognize him after so many long years in the halls of Mandos.

So indeed it could be finalized that the Glorfindel from the Silmarillion is in fact the same in the LOTR! Splendid. Now anyone reading this can go forth and educated others. Well done.

Do you think it is the same for the Half-elven or those who choose to give their lives like Arwen? And was Elrond truly Half elf as his moniker implies?

Again, Galin Thank you. If anyone on this site had the knowledge to lend in this matter it was definitely you!

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I am (n+1)th time feeling lucky that this thread exists. Although the nonsense I am about to post now beats all my previous nonsense.

The problem of reincarnation troubled me for quite a while. Although a fëa is not destructible, hroa is made of the matter of Arda, and so can be destroyed and made anew. Those technical issues of re-creating a body are quite interesting. At some point I like Jaidoprism7 was thinking that Elves, to be reincarnated in the identical body, would need to have some body tissue preserved, so that they could be cloned from somatic cells. I even thought of a tissue bank maintained by Este. I guess it would be her and her Maiar's job to work on all that. Yet, in fact, a tissue sample is not really needed if the fea preserves the memory of the body and if that includes the full DNA sequence as well. Then the Valar/Maiar would just synthesize the DNA and use it for cloning.

The fact that an Elf is reincarnated as an adult (if that was the condition at death) would require the cloned body to grow. If we agree that it is about 50 to 100 years that is needed for a full grown body, then no problem. Or there may exist ways to expedite the growth. If on the other hand the natural growth takes up to 3000 years, then 'natural cloning' is not the method if choice - then the memory of the body's full molecular structure is required. That's a lot!
Some would say that Elves did not have DNA or molecules or stuff... if anybody wants to speculate then sure; but I think they were just like humans in that respect.

Two more issues. (1) Was the body assembled first and only then the fea was introduced (that's what I would think; although a hroa needs a fea normally, the Valar could somehow keep the developing hroa alive while they were working on it)? Or was the fea in the developing body from the beginning?

And (2). This problem exists only if cloning is not used. Let's take Maedhros for example. Suppose he was finally reincarnated. Would he have one hand or both of them? The last condition he is in before his fatal fall is he is one-handed; but it is sort of disappointing if even after the reincarnation he is still like that. But if not, then the fea has to remember a whole lot. Indeed, the problem with retaining the memory of the hroa is that there are changes the hroa undergoes in the course of life, so if all that is remembered it is just incredible.

I am trying to remember if Beren had both of his hands when he came back. That would be my impression because he was able to fight with the Dwarves that stole the Silmaril, although this is not any sort of evidence (Maedhros was still a warrior with his single left hand).


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Lórellinë

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This article helped me clarify a dissertation dealing with spirituality in Tolkien works. It was very helpful.
Here it is

Fëa and hröa
fëa, plural fëar (pronounced fe.ar), and hröa, plural hröar (pronounced [ro.ar]), are Quenya terms for "soul" (or "spirit") and "body". The Sindarin equivalents are fae  and rhaw, respectively.

The Children of Ilúvatar (Elves and Men) are described as existing in two parts: they have a "spirit" or "soul" called a fëa which comes from the Secret Fire of Ilúvatar, and a body or hröa which is made out of the material of Arda. The Elves compared the relationship of hröa and fëa to a House and an Indweller. For this reason, when death (which is the separation of the two) occured, the fëa was said to be "houseless" or "in exile". Fëar are said to come from beyond the created Universe (that is, Eä), directly from Ilúvatar, while hröar are of course begotten by parents. According to the Elves, the fëa is nearly powerless without the hröa, and likewise the hröa would die without the fëa. Only when they are together are the Children of Ilúvatar complete beings who can take part in the history of the world, for which reason they are called the Incarnates by the Elves.

Strictly speaking, only the souls of the Incarnates can be referred to as fëar. The spirits of those not designed to dwell in a body (namely, the Ainur) are called ëalar or "beings".


 Elvish Fëar and Hröar
    The Elves' fate is to live as long as Arda exists; they are bound to the world and cannot leave it. Unlike Men, Elves do not die of disease or of old age. For this reason, their hröar are much more well adapted to the presence of their fëar than Men. Their spirits are in considerably greater control of their bodies. In turn, the Elves' hröar are much more durable than those of Men, and they can heal from wounds that would be fatal to mortals.
    However, since fëar are indestructible within the world, while hröar can be broken by the disorders of Arda Marred, "death", which is their separation, is an ever present risk of existence in Middle-earth, even for the Elves. They may be slain or lose the will to live, for instance because of grief. When an Elf dies, the fëa leaves the hröa, which then "dies" and is reabsorbed into Arda. The fëa is called to the Halls of Mandos, where it is judged. After a time of Waiting, the fëa may be reincarnated into a new-born body that is identical to the previous hröa if allowed by Mandos. It is only by coming to Mandos that an Elvish fëa can hope to be reincarnated, as the Elves do not possess this ability in themselves. Alternatively, a fëa might decide to stay in Mandos until the end of Arda, or it may be denied reincarnation, if it had done much evil in life.
    For slain Elves, going to the Halls of Mandos was an option and not a requirement; their fëar could refuse the summons of Mandos and remain in Middle-earth, though if they made this choice they could not be reembodied. Refusal of the summons was seen as a sign of taint in the fëa, since Mandos' call is backed by the authority of the Valar. It was said that in later Ages, more and more Elvish fëar chose to ignore the summons and instead haunted places they had frequented in life. Because these fëar in many cases had unworthy motives (such as the desire to possess the hröar of others), it was forbidden to the Living to commune with them. Sauron's title "the Necromancer" might have referred to his practice of mastering these Houseless fëar and using them to do his will.
    Due to the Marring of Arda, the Elves living in Middle-earth suffered a weakening of their hröar over long periods of time. This waning caused their fëar to consume their bodies, so that in the end they became much like wraiths. It was the weakening of the hröar of the Elves that brought about the Dominion of Men and the departure of the Eldar into the West: the Elves in Middle-earth could only avoid this grievous process by leaving the lands they loved and sailing to Aman, for such waning of the body did not exist there. In the West, the Elves could maintain a normal incarnate state.

 Mannish Fëar and Hröar
    The situation of Men is much different from that of the Elves: a Mannish fëa is only a visitor to Arda, and when the hröa (inevitably) dies, the fëa leaves Arda completely. This severance of fëa and hröa happens after a short time, especially as the Elves measure it. For this reason, it is said that Men are not bound to the fate of Arda as the Elves are, and are released from Time itself. This mode of mortality is called the Gift of Men by the Elves, and is a fate unique to them. It is important to note that Men themselves, however, rarely view death as a Gift, and even have traditions stating that they also possessed immortality (or at least much longer life) until they were corrupted by Morgoth.
    What happens to Men after death is unknown to any of the inhabitants of Arda, except perhaps some of the Valar. The Elves said that they went to the Halls of Mandos as well (though without choice in the matter), and were there given up to Eru, though this is mere speculation. There were some that were cursed to stay in Arda, specifically the ones cursed by Isildur and became oathbreakers. However, the Valar proclaimed to the Elves that eventually the race of Men would participate in the Second Music of the Ainur, whereas the ultimate fate of the Elves is unknown.
    Because the fëar of Men must leave the world while the Elves must remain in it until its end, it is said the fates of Men and Elves are sundered.

 The Half-elven
    There were at least three marriages between Elves and Men, which resulted in Half-elven children. Those who were in contact with the Valar were given the choice to be numbered among Elves or Men. This choice was of course mainly one of the fëa, not the hröa. For example, Lúthien Tinúviel chose the Fate of Men, and so her fëa passed out of Arda and was lost to her kin.
    Among those who did not have contact with the Valar, such as (possibly) the Lords of Dol Amroth, Mannish mortality appeared to be the default state.

Other Fëar

It was not only the Children of Ilúvatar who possessed fëar: they were also granted to the Ents and some animals, such as Huan the Hound and the great Eagles
    When Ilúvatar adopted Aulë's children, the Dwarves, he granted them fëar of their own also.
(Thank you to Tolkien Gateway;http://tolkiengateway.net/wiki/F%C3%ABa_and_hr%C3%B6a)

 

I think that the healing of the hröa was instantaneous.  The instilling of the fëa however was an act of Eru through Mandos. It seems that "fëa" is equivalent to "soul." And "soul" is an equivalent to "psyche." So instillation of the "psyche" to the hröa was dependent on the judgement of the "psyche" by the Ainur and Eru.
And that means the creation of a possibility of "lost souls."

 





-- Edited by Bear on Wednesday 6th of November 2013 06:02:59 AM

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"Do you think it is the same for the Half-elven or those who choose to give their lives like Arwen? And was Elrond truly Half elf as his moniker implies?"

May I try to speculate on this too? I hope Galin can set me corrected as necessary. The question is so provocative I cannot resist.

So Arwen chooses a fate of a mortal and within Arda gets no reincarnation, her fea leaves Arda. Elrond by blood is 'half-Elven' although there is an admixture of Maiarin origin. He leaves for Valinor and since he chose the fate of Elves, he stays there without dying until (1) Arda ceases to exist, or (2) Men finally find their way to the parallel universe where Valinor is hiding and it occurs to them to murder Elrond for some reason - whatever comes earlier. What happens under scenario (1) is hidden from Elves (and Elrond) but they have to have estel and believe that Eru's plan was good for them; under (2) if the Valar are able to take care of those villains Elrond will be reincarnated if he wants that and is still deserving.
Of course I disregarded the possibility of another Kinslaying there, not that it is likely at all.

The choice the Elrond's sons are given is similar to Arwen's - to stay in Middle-earth and become mortals or to leave and be counted among the Elves. They don't leave when their father leaves (is anybody surprised? Not I). Whether that makes their choice final I am not sure. What happens if they are killed while undecided is also interesting. I saw people writing that then the choice is made in Mandos. I had an impression though that mortals and Elves come to different places within Mandos from the very beginning, and would argue that if undecided half-Elven are killed in Middle-earth they will pass for mortals and leave the circles of the world - no reincarnation.

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'So indeed it could be finalized that the Glorfindel from the Silmarillion is in fact the same in the LOTR! Splendid. Now anyone reading this can go forth and educated others. Well done.'

 

I agree Jaidoprism [and thanks for the kind words]. I do find that some still challenge Tolkien's decision about Glorfindel on various grounds, or at least, some do not accept the notion as necessarily 'true'. The Encyclopedia of Arda for instance, while fully aware of these late essays, still gives separate entries for 'two Glorfindels' and notes their reasons for doing so. 

They raise a text [about the word ros] to illustrate that JRRT wrote certain descriptions that not only were never published by the author himself, but that sometimes conflicted in some way with something he had already published. General caution noted; but yet they offer no reason why this might undermine Tolkien's specific decision concerning only one Glorfindel.

 

In other words, what is there in these late essays about Glorfindel that also conflicts with already published work? Nothing that I can think of so far, at least with respect to the main idea of Glorfindel returning. 

In one of these late essays we even see Tolkien considering that, according to already published description, he can't easily claim Glorfindel of Rivendell is Sindarin. Anyway, I'm not sure why this fact [Tolkien sometimes wrote stuff that conflicted with things already in print], while true enough in general, is compelling enough to EOA to shape their description of Glorfindel. 

And the mere fact that JRRT himself never published his Glorfindel texts seems hardly problematic to my mind, as the question of the possibility of two Glorfindels only arises when we choose to consider a story that Tolkien never published [Fall of Gondolin], along with one he did. Another seemingly popular argument is that JRRT was only forced to make this decision due to a 'mistake', which I also disagree with, but for now I'll move on...

... and I'll stop arguing with people from past discussions on other websites biggrin

'Do you think it is the same for the Half-elven or those who choose to give their lives like Arwen?' 

I think the same is true for those of mixed blood who were given the choice and chose an Elvish fate, as they must then remain bound to the world until its end, like Elves, and in my opinion, if slain they should (again generally speaking) have the right to return to incarnate life, also like Elves.

 

For myself I imagine Elven reincarnation to be rather instant once the right to return to bodily life has been sought and granted.



-- Edited by Galin on Wednesday 6th of November 2013 02:57:59 PM

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I was also not sure about the following. Suppose Elladan and/or Elrohir decide to go to Valinor. By that, they make their choice and are almost as good as Elves. Almost - because if they decide to marry and have kids in Valinor (or Eressea), those kids are still given a choice, and if that choice is to become mortals (unlikely as it may seem), what do they do? I guess they should be allowed to leave the Blessed Realm?

"For myself I imagine Elven reincarnation to be rather instant once the right to return to bodily life has been sought and granted."
Seems Bear has a similar view.

Any reason for this? Instantaneous in what sense - literal? To me, something like 50 years is as good as instantaneous for both Elves and the Valar that were resurrecting them. Looking through both Glorfindel texts in Vol. XII as well as whatever is on the reincarnation subject in Vol. X, I could never find any hint as to the timing of it. I understand that the Elven fea cannot restore its own hroa from memory and needs Valar's intervention for that. An Ainu on the other hand can reincarnate him/herself, and as we know, that may take time - in fact, in the case of Sauron to get into any sort of shape (for the last attested time) it takes quite a while, like millennia. Yes, he was weakened and all that, but still why the process should be instantaneous?

And any thought of the condition in which the new body will be? In the 'best possible', or 'last remembered'?


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"I was also not sure about the following. Suppose Elladan and/or Elrohir decide to go to Valinor. By that, they make their choice and are almost as good as Elves. Almost - because if they decide to marry and have kids in Valinor (or Eressea), those kids are still given a choice, and if that choice is to become mortals (unlikely as it may seem), what do they do? I guess they should be allowed to leave the Blessed Realm?"

I had wondered something similar Lorelline. How long does the line of Elrond have to "decide" on Elvish-ness or mortality? I mean will his great grand kids have to make a decision if both parents are elves?

 

"And any thought of the condition in which the new body will be? In the 'best possible', or 'last remembered'?"

Um, I would hope it would be my body at age 20, but since Elves are ageless, would it matter? Excepting those who were maimed in someway. I should think they would get their whole body back. I mean what's the point of dying, getting to Mandos, and then getting stuck back in ME without one's "whole" self?

 



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"I had wondered something similar Lorelline. How long does the line of Elrond have to "decide" on Elvish-ness or mortality? I mean will his great grand kids have to make a decision if both parents are elves?"

Indeed a good question; nominally as long as there is any mortal origin left. And it will always be there, however diluted.

I was thinking also, as I ever tend to, of the practical side of making those choices. Earendil and Elwing - we know more or less how they do it. Seemingly they inform the Valar of their choices. Now, how do Elrond and Elros learn that they are given the choice? I don't remember this described. I would assume Eonwe lets them know. Somehow Eonwe should know that Elrond and Elros are still around (their (sorry) failures of parents had no idea as to what happened to the kids). I seriously doubt it that Maedhros and Maglor mentioned these foster children (in fact grown-ups by the time) in their letter when demanding the Silmarils from Eonwe. So we simply lack that information.

And then Elrond and Elros make their choices... Do they need to let the Valar/Eonwe know what they chose? Or is the choice made for themselves and that's enough?

But then, both Elrond and Elros somehow get knowledge of what choices their kids will have, so that Elros makes the choice for the whole line of his offspring, they are all mortals, while Elrond's offspring will have choice until some of them choose a mortal life - then in that line there will be no more choices.

The simplest thing would be that Eonwe tells them all this. It is said that Eonwe 'came among them [the remaining Edain] and taught them...' And perhaps around that time Elrond and Elros approached Eonwe and told him who they were? Or was Eonwe looking for them? Maybe they were easily identifiable by their looks? Any ideas?



-- Edited by Lorelline on Friday 8th of November 2013 07:39:52 AM

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'Any reason for this? Instantaneous in what sense - literal? To me, something like 50 years is as good as instantaneous for both Elves and the Valar that were resurrecting them. Looking through both Glorfindel texts in Vol. XII as well as whatever is on the reincarnation subject in Vol. X, I could never find any hint as to the timing of it.'

 

My 'rather instant' notion is just my personal preference (so far). I don't recall if there's anything published (again so far) that necessarily invalidates such an interpretation, although I don't remember anything that supports it either.

In my opinion the Glorfindel essays describe this restoration in brief terms, although this can be deceptive admittedly. The late texts seem to reveal that Glorfindel spent some time in Mandos after his death, and was at least already incarnate before the general Ban on the Exiles was lifted, although that doesn't prove his restoration was 'rather instant' of course.

Tolkien seems a bit pressed to explain why Glorfindel was allowed in the Blessed Realm in bodily form considering the Ban on the Exiles. We have about 80 years from the sack of Gondolin to the end of the First Age and the lifting of the Ban in any case (and if we consider every source, the lifting of the general Ban is itself an issue as far as where the Exiles will be allowed to live permanently after it's lifted. The ban on certain leaders like Galadriel also aside here).

 

Anyway, if one were to argue that the even 'the Powers' should not be powerful enough for my rather instant reincarnation, so far I would rather imagine that Eru gave the Valar special efficacy when it came to 're-clothing' his children in flesh. In The Converse of Manwe and Eru the Valar appear unsure if they should meddle with Eru's children in this way, even if they have the power. Eru grants them the authority, and reveals to Manwe the method (Eru tells Manwe about the fea and so on), and notes that the Valar do have the power. 

In other words (other issues with this text aside, like that it still includes a measure of reincarnation by rebirth for example) since these are Eru's children we are talking about, perhaps Eru not only gave authority to the Valar, but also special potency in this matter specifically.

I realize it's all too easy to basically say 'Eru made it so', but can it be shown that even the Valar could not achieve this reconstitution 'quickly' in mortal terms? I'm not sure at the moment. Looking at Sauron's case, Tolkien noted [letter 200] that Sauron took longer to rebuild his own body after being slain at the Last Alliance, longer than he had taken after the fall of Numenor: ('I suppose because each building-up used up some of the inherent energy of the spirit, which might be called the 'will' of the effective link between the indestructible mind and being and the realization of its imagination)'

To my mind that seems to say that Sauron was lessened in spiritual energy after each rebuilding. Granted he is not a Vala, and this is a self-incarnation, but with the reincarnation of Elves, we have thousands and thousands of Elvish bodies that need making, in potential anyway. I'm not really sure that Tolkien had all these things figured out!

 

And granted 50 years is arguably not very long to a Vala or an Elda, but it's long to me, as a mortal reader, and the image of a Vala 'constructing a body' for any notable length of time [again from my perspective] sometimes gives me a feeling that 'borders on the macabre' so to speak.

It need not I admit, and can be beautiful no doubt; but as I say, so far it's just my preference that Elvish reincarnation be rather instant.

 



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"And granted 50 years is arguably not very long to a Vala or an Elda, but it's long to me, as a mortal reader, and the image of a Vala 'constructing a body' for any notable length of time [again from my perspective] sometimes gives me a feeling that 'borders on the macabre' so to speak."

There is no arguing with personal preferences.
What I was suggesting was based on my impression that in general there is very little magic in Tolkien's writings, no more than absolutely necessary (which I like). Thus this totally natural approach to reincarnation seems plausible to me. The process takes time but little resources (and least possible memory) and goes on its own - a Vala will not need to do anything, or not much, other than just start the process and keep an eye on it at times. Indeed thousands could be reincarnated that way. Not that anything of the sort could occur to Tolkien! And of course this has nothing to do with 'incorporeal' resurrection of the body, but it seems this idea did not survive.

I am looking closer at that conversation of Eru and Manwe, and to my dismay it says that the new 'house' should be rebuilt in all particulars as it had before evil befell it (which evil exactly?); with a further interpretation that the hroa should be identical to that which death has overtaken. If that view (by Christopher Tolkien) is indeed correct, then too bad for Maedhros, Gwindor, and others who suffered various kinds of 'changes' to their hroar from which they did not die (assuming they will ever be deemed healed and ready for reincarnation).

Coming back to those half-Elven, how do they know of their choices? 'The doom was spoken' at the birth of Elrond's children, but by whom? The Istari have not yet arrived. Eonwe is long gone. A vision is sent to Elrond from Valinor by Irmo? Seems there is nothing said about that.

I was looking through Barrow Downs (as the problem of originality and duplication of efforts always troubles me; but 104 pages was a lot) and the topic of 'Immortality and the sons of Elrond' was of course right there as a very recent one; hope it is ok to ask a related question. So, Elros's descendants have no choice (and quite a number of them lust for immortality; but no...) and Elrond's children do have one.

According to Galin,
"In this way, no person with mortal blood (in any measure) is automatically withheld from a mortal death -- release from the Circles of the World and time. And no children are automatically sundered from their parent if that parent chooses immortality."

So is it assumed here that the Valar cared about a potential grief that could arise at such sort of parting between parents and children? A very sweet thought. However, is that likely? The founders of the half-Elven line demonstrate such parental neglect (they never even try to ask the Valar for a permission to sail back and find out what is going on with their sons; maybe they would not have been allowed but they made no attempt), that compared to them even Feanor looks not much worse as a parent. Given this behavior, why would the Valar think it would be important for them and their descendants to have the opportunity to share the same fate? If I understood the idea that is.

Or maybe it was the Silmaril that clouded the minds of both Elwing and Earendil, even though it didn't burn. Those Jools were treacherous.



-- Edited by Lorelline on Tuesday 24th of June 2014 09:18:38 PM

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'Thus this totally natural approach to reincarnation seems plausible to me. The process takes time but little resources (and least possible memory) and goes on its own - a Vala will not need to do anything, or not much, other than just start the process and keep an eye on it at times. Indeed thousands could be reincarnated that way. (...)' 

 

I thought of this idea too, as a way to imagine a Vala not working specifically on one body for a given 'long time' [again, as I perceive time anyway], as that's the part that I would like to imaginatively avoid, so to speak.


'I was looking through Barrow Downs (...) So, Elros's descendants have no choice (and quite a number of them lust for immortality; but no...) and Elrond's children do have one.

According to Galin,
"In this way, no person with mortal blood (in any measure) is automatically withheld from a mortal death -- release from the Circles of the World and time. And no children are automatically sundered from their parent if that parent chooses immortality."

So is it assumed here that the Valar cared about a potential grief that could arise at such sort of parting between parents and children? A very sweet thought. However, is that likely? The founders of the half-Elven line demonstrate such parental neglect (they never even try to ask the Valar for a permission to sail back and find out what is going on with their sons; maybe they would not have been allowed but they made no attempt), that compared to them even Feanor looks not much worse as a parent. Given this behavior, why would the Valar think it would be important for them and their descendants to have the opportunity to share the same fate? If I understood the idea that is.'

 

I wasn't really planning on posting about it here (in this thread anyway), but my theory is based on a passage from Quenta Silmarillion that was not used by Christopher Tolkien for the 1977 Silmarillion. The passage as I interpret it basically states that all those with a measure of mortal blood, no matter how much, are automatically mortal, unless 'other doom' is granted to them. I further interpret this default state as an 'edict' of Eru so to speak, revealed through the Valar.

So if that is true (that is, if we considering this information as 'true' before moving on), it seems fair enough to me that from the start (built into the choice itself): a potential choice of an Elven fate automatically extends the choice to one's children, if the children have mixed blood.

 

In my opinion it's about potential rather than what any given parent has done or might do within time. Elrond for example: when he considers the choice of Mortal-fate versus Elven-fate would he choose 'immortality' knowing his children will be automatically mortal, and thus automatically sundered from him [as far as he knew anyway]? That would seem to me to be a rather notable negative consequence of the immortal choice before it's even made.

This is arguably mitigated if Elrond knows that if he were to choose immortality his children will at least also receive the choice. So before the choice is even made, the potential impact (on that choice) of an automatic sundering is avoided. 

As I hope I made clear at Barrow Downs, I'm just trying to provide another possible reason for why the children of Elrond get a choice and the children of Elros don't. My idea is not attested by Tolkien, although the line from Quenta Silmarillion was written by JRRT, but we are looking at the mid to later 1930s version of QS here as well.   

Also there could be a different Galin over at Barrow Downs. It's possible anyway. Okay it's me smile



-- Edited by Galin on Friday 8th of November 2013 04:58:31 PM

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All,

"If we agree that it is about 50 to 100 years that is needed for a full grown body, then no problem. Or there may exist ways to expedite the growth." --- Lorelline.

And as for Galin's piece on "Fëa and hröa" coupled with Bear's also very informative piece on the same matter (if I understood well enough) something has dawned on me:

I can see an Elf being born naturally into the world having much a conventional gestation period In Utero and birth for whatever length of time those two things will take the Long-lived in Elvish terms. But once adulthood is achieved I believe that the spirit (forgive me for not remembering which of the terms is for "Spirit") may have enough of its own memory to come back into its own once allowed to return to physical form...? What if Beren's reality (according to the history of own life that is engrained in his soul at the time of his Death) was that he had only one hand? Then it would be natural to be reincarnated that way. Unless Mandos decided to catch that on the way out the door and be gracious enough to throw that it in at no extra cost.....lol.

The wizards were born or materialized as old men because that was the nature of their spirits, they were wise and possessed long-life and memory of mind and spirit that was ageless and therefore they never had an infancy. They came into existence as they were meant to; they embodied the maturity of their spirit. Glorfindel, once he made his way to Halls of Mandos came into the being that he could only naturally inhabit which was as Bear mentioned, the "Houseless fëar". He returns to his House...so to speak in full adult form, the same he knew in life before his end. I think.....

Galin playfully says: "Also there could be a different Galin over at Barrow Downs. It's possible anyway. Okay it's me." But his quip that just made me think of what Bear had said about the ability of the Necromancer to coerce these spirits that have not heeded the Call of Mandos. And that would explain these souls that inhabited the old Kings in the Actual Barrow Downs....Was it not said that the spirits that embodied the Wights haled from Carn Dum or some such place. I know this post only unravels more thread then ties together so I apologize if this helped wear someone down...




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Jaidoprism7,
"I can see an Elf being born naturally into the world having much a conventional gestation period In Utero and birth for whatever length of time those two things will take the Long-lived in Elvish terms. But once adulthood is achieved I believe that the spirit (forgive me for not remembering which of the terms is for "Spirit") may have enough of its own memory to come back into its own once allowed to return to physical form...? "

I would say that what I meant by natural was not being reborn in the normal sense (involving a new set of parents), nor using a surrogate mother (that would carry a child genetically unrelated to her, much like in the artificial reproduction techniques nowadays) but being 'cloned' without involving other Elves' help, completely in-vitro (we are not there yet, not even close). Why it is still 'natural' is because the development of the body from one cell will proceed on its own without much manipulation, while creating that cell using the memory stored in the fea would be the main task for the Valar. Once the body is 'ready to use', the fea that provided the genetic memory for it will settle in, with all the other (non-genetic) memory. So a new (but genetically identical) body but just the same fea, "coming back to its own".

However, all that works only if the time is sufficient. And maybe for Elves it is still an ok theory, but you have just given me a counter-example of Beren. I am looking into the Grey Annals (Vol. XI) and Beren is slain in 467 (originally born in 432), and returns to life in 469 (with how many hands is not told). Not enough time at all to produce a 35-year old person in a 'natural' way! Some other reincarnation technique has been used (or the growth accelerated; the Valar knew more than we do about such things. The cuts to the NIH funding are to blame here).

"What if Beren's reality (according to the history of own life that is engrained in his soul at the time of his Death) was that he had only one hand? Then it would be natural to be reincarnated that way."

Yes, but how disconcerting! Yet there is some mention of healing of the fea first, then reincarnation. Although healing was mostly about repentance, maybe the memory of physical damage could be healed too? At least if death was not immediate there sure would be memory of those wounds that eventually caused death, and those are not present on the new body; so maybe earlier losses/disfigurements could be taken care of as well. Hopefully!


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Galin,
"I wasn't really planning on posting about it here (in this thread anyway)..."
Then what I did was inappropriate.
The proper way would have been to register and post right there. But somehow I was not motivated enough after looking through all that forum. I just thought your idea in that thread was novel. Hope you are not upset too much.

"...but my theory is based on a passage from Quenta Silmarillion that was not used by Christopher Tolkien for the 1977 Silmarillion. The passage as I interpret it basically states that all those with a measure of mortal blood, no matter how much, are automatically mortal, unless 'other doom' is granted to them. I further interpret this default state as an 'edict' of Eru so to speak, revealed through the Valar."

Yes - this was discussed in the Dior Eluchil thread here as well.

"... it seems fair enough to me that from the start (built into the choice itself): a potential choice of an Elven fate automatically extends the choice to one's children, if the children have mixed blood (...) Elrond for example: when he considers the choice of Mortal-fate versus Elven-fate would he choose 'immortality' knowing his children will be automatically mortal, and thus automatically sundered from him [as far as he knew anyway]? That would seem to me to be a rather notable negative consequence of the immortal choice before it's even made."

So then I misunderstood your theory. It actually implies that despite the choice of the Elven fate by Elrond his children will be still considered as carrying mortal blood and because of that will be mortal by default. But since they are given a choice, then they too may become 'immortal'.
In other words, his choice is not heritable (-> default state for kids is mortals).
And I was thinking that Elrond's choice meant that his kids, if his spouse was an Elf, would be Elves also (his choice is heritable -> default state for kids is immortal ) , but not giving them the choice would be denying to them the Gift of Iluvatar, and because by having a measure of mortal blood they are entitled to it, they should be offered it.

Either way Elros's kids cannot win! Not in the world where death is considered a gift. For us mortals the reverse situation would be the most intuitive.

"This is arguably mitigated if Elrond knows that if he were to choose immortality his children will at least also receive the choice."

Exactly my point - does he know? To me even the knowledge of his own choice seems an obscure matter. And if the doom for his children was spoken at their birth only, then, assuming Elrond expected his choice not heritable and the kids to be mortals by default, he did not have the comforting thought that there will be an opportunity for them to be immortal. Yet he married an Elf nevertheless, from whom the (mortal) kids would be sundered also! (Again if I am not confused about your theory).

"Also there could be a different Galin over at Barrow Downs. It's possible anyway. Okay it's me"
The name might not be unique. However, you are not seriously saying that your style can be easily confused with somebody else's, are you?



-- Edited by Lorelline on Saturday 9th of November 2013 01:31:19 PM

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Lórellinë

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"I wasn't really planning on posting about it here (in this thread anyway)..." 'Then what I did was inappropriate. The proper way would have been to register and post right there. But somehow I was not motivated enough after looking through all that forum. I just thought your idea in that thread was novel. Hope you are not upset too much.'

I'm not upset at all. My statement was just a 'matter of fact' type of statement, as I had already planned to skip (at least in this thread) some aspects of the matter of the Half-elven.

'So then I misunderstood your theory. It actually implies that despite the choice of the Elven fate by Elrond his children will be still considered as carrying mortal blood and because of that will be mortal by default. But since they are given a choice, then they too may become 'immortal'. In other words, his choice is not heritable (-> default state for kids is mortals).'

Yes that's basically it. Again if we accept the 1930s Quenta Silmarillion statement as the 'edict' of Eru.


'And I was thinking that Elrond's choice meant that his kids, if his spouse was an Elf, would be Elves also (his choice is heritable -> default state for kids is immortal ) , but not giving them the choice would be denying to them the Gift of Iluvatar, and because by having a measure of mortal blood they are entitled to it, they should be offered it. Either way Elros's kids cannot win! Not in the world where death is considered a gift. For us mortals the reverse situation would be the most intuitive.'

 

I have often seen the idea that since Elrond's children have a measure of mortal blood, they cannot be denied a mortal fate. For me that works as part of the answer, but (again for me) it does not explain well enough why Elros' children, having a measure of Elvish blood, are yet seemingly 'denied' an Elvish fate.

Considering Elros with my theoretical addition, with his choice the 'edict' of Eru can kick in and all his children, all with a measure of mortal blood, are mortal and there will be no automatic sundering of parent and child. In one sense at least, the natural order is restored. But that said, my theory doesn't really explain why the edict of Eru should be 'any measure of mortal blood means default mortal' in the first place!



"This is arguably mitigated if Elrond knows that if he were to choose immortality his children will at least also receive the choice."  'Exactly my point - does he know? To me even the knowledge of his own choice seems an obscure matter. And if the doom for his children was spoken at their birth only, then, assuming Elrond expected his choice not heritable and the kids to be mortals by default, he did not have the comforting thought that there will be an opportunity for them to be immortal. Yet he married an Elf nevertheless, from whom the (mortal) kids would be sundered also! (Again if I am not confused about your theory).'

 

Yes for my theory to be valid, Elrond has to somehow know not only what is noted at the end of Quenta Silmarillion, but that his potential choice of an Elven-fate comes with an automatic choice for his children.

With respect to the doom spoken at their birth (Elrond's children), is this in any of the passages published by JRRT himself? I can't recall at the moment. I know it's in a draft for Appendix B at least, although yet again it's from the 'long version' of The Tale Of Years (T4) that Tolkien himself desired to be published at one point.

So as you point out, if we consider this text it doesn't really fit well with my idea. I could try to emphasize that this doom was maybe 'spoken' but already known, but that would be me reaching too far I think. I mean why note 'at their birth' if Elrond already knew that his children also would receive a choice when he made his choice.

Wait I'm arguing with me again. That's too strained Galin! Maybe there are at least two Galins biggrin

I would have to consider this a 'rejected' description from a draft, although generally I sometimes use T4 to support other arguments, or at least one that I can think of. Technically the version T4 was revised for publication in any case, and not merely to arrive at a more abbreviated version (for one example the date in T4 for the entry in question was changed, as Elrond and Celebrian would wed much earlier in the final version).  

But that said, I generally take T4 as a fairly strong text in general, if cited with caution, for surely much of it was lost simply due to Tolkien following the advice of his publisher to trim it down and so on. JRRT might have altered this particular wording if he had ultimately been allowed his desired fuller version of The Tale Of Years, but I have no great reason to think so, rather than need it to be so with respect to my idea.

"Also there could be a different Galin over at Barrow Downs. It's possible anyway. Okay it's me" 'The name might not be unique. However, you are not seriously saying that your style can be easily confused with somebody else's, are you?'

That was a bit of attempted humor, yes. But possibility can be a wide door to open too wink

 



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"I have often seen the idea that since Elrond's children have a measure of mortal blood, they cannot be denied a mortal fate. For me that works as part of the answer, but (again for me) it does not explain well enough why Elros' children, having a measure of Elvish blood, are yet seemingly 'denied' an Elvish fate."

It is strange to me too. Death is a gift but immortality is not. If those with both mortal and immortal origin were treated as mixed-bloods (no default mortal state) and all were given a choice that would have been clear. It does seem that the Valar understand pretty well that mortals want immortality but maybe they don't comprehend why. Interestingly, only Tuor gets it - we are never told that he is presented with a choice. Not to part with Idril? Then how about his parents... well, he didn't know them; but nor did Elrond and Elros. Tuor happily avoided that precious gift of Iluvatar. So Iluvatar himself had to upgrade Tuor's fea.

By the way, this issue of knowledge of choices has more implications. The Numenoreans conceivably had no idea that Elrond's children were given a choice, or they would have brought up this very issue. When talking with the messengers from the Valar they only referred to Earendil but they would really have thought they were treated unfairly had they known about those choices that Elrond's descendants had. Pity they didn't ask that question because then we would have known the answer. That people nowadays could only envy the Numenoreans the latter had no clue.


"I mean why note 'at their birth' if Elrond already knew that his children also would receive a choice when he made his choice."

Maybe because their choice wasn't exactly like his? They couldn't choose this or that and no strings attached. They had to confirm their choice by actions. (So Elrond might have known that there would be a choice, but not in full detail what choice exactly).

"Maybe there are at least two Galins" - maybe more; two here, a few at other forums, there might also exist the real-life one. Start talking of clones and here they are (but even the Valar couldn't clone a fea). The more the merrier, anyway!


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"I mean why note 'at their birth' if Elrond already knew that his children also would receive a choice when he made his choice." Maybe because their choice wasn't exactly like his? They couldn't choose this or that and no strings attached. They had to confirm their choice by actions. (So Elrond might have known that there would be a choice, but not in full detail what choice exactly).'

 

Good point Lorelline! Thinking about it more, this doom might not be so much about revealing that there is a choice, but rather the particulars, especially with respect to the timing of Elrond's passing Over Sea. 'The children were three parts of the Elven-race, but the doom spoken at their birth was that they should live even as the Elves, so long as their father remained in Middle-earth; but if he departed they should have then the choice either to pass over the Sea with him, or to become mortal, if they remained behind.' JRRT, Tale of Years, draft T4

 

I think that this timing is the 'easy implication' that Tolkien left in the author-published passages too, and thus it's my belief that, even given the choice, all of Elrond's children chose mortality, and sadly, were all sundered from their parents. A thorn in this has been letter 153, where Tolkien explains a bit about the Half-elven, and ends with: 'Elrond passes Over Sea. The end of his sons, Elladan and Elrohir, is not told: they delay their choice, and remain for a while.' 

Which seems to say that the sons of Elrond could delay their choice after Elrond sailed, and thus their not departing 'with' Elrond need not represent a choice of mortality. In the past I have wondered about the timing of the letter however, as it was written in 1954, and in 1955 Tolkien was still seemingly working on texts which would, or might, impact this issue -- that is, the Numenorean Kings (i) Numenor, and (V) Part of the Tale of Aragorn and Arwen!

 

But reading another reaction from someone posting as Inziladun (over at Barrow Downs): 'I like to think the "delay" was perhaps only meant in the sense that the brothers didn't choose when Arwen did, but still decided before Elrond left. If that was indeed the case, then both apparently picked mortality.'

 

Hmm. The fuller context reads: '(...) The view is that the Half-elven have a power of (irrevocable) choice, which may be delayed but not permanently, which kin's fate they will share. Elros chose to be a King and 'longaevus' but mortal, so all his descendants are mortal, and of a specially noble race, but with dwindling longevity: so Aragorn (who, however, has a greater life-span than his contemporaries, double, though not the original Númenórean treble, that of Men). Elrond chose to be among the Elves. His children -- with a renewed Elvish strain, since their mother was Celebrían dtr. of Galadriel -- have to make their choices. Arwen is not a 're-incarnation' of Lúthien (that in the view of this mythical history would be impossible, since Lúthien has died like a mortal and left the world of time) but a descendant very like her in looks, character, and fate. When she weds Aragorn (whose love-story elsewhere recounted is not here central and only occasionally referred to) she 'makes the choice of Lúthien', so the grief at her parting from Elrond is specially poignant. Elrond passes Over Sea. The end of his sons, Elladan and Elrohir, is not told: they delay their choice, and remain for a while.' JRRT, letter 153

 

What do others think of Inziladun's interpretation here I wonder? I also wonder about this part: 'His children -- with a renewed Elvish strain, since their mother was Celebrían dtr. of Galadriel -- have to make their choices.'

Is Tolkien simply digressing here that the children of Elrond have a renewed Elvish strain? Or is he rather explaining (in brief or in part even) why the children of Elrond get a choice? In any case, even with Celebrian as a mother, Elrond's children still have a measure of mortal blood.

 

Time for a confused emoticon confuse



-- Edited by Galin on Sunday 10th of November 2013 04:59:27 PM

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