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Topic: Immortal animals

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Anarion, Son of Elendil - rank 8
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Date: Mar 18, 2006
Immortal animals

If everything in Valinor was immortal and undying would the plant life and any animal life be immortal as well??? A feeble question but one which puzzles me.

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Chief Maiar
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Date: Mar 20, 2006
I would imagine that the animals there would be creations of Yavanna and such have longer life if not immortality, as for the plant life would it not bow to the will of the Valar and in doing so thrive better than normal.

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Elf of Beleriand - Rank 2
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Date: Mar 24, 2006

Valinor is according to definition a perfect ecosystem, which should include food-chains. Not all animals eat plants.


Furthermore [although this will sound primitive]: If the animals feed, they digest and so on. Do you think their droppings are placable in the Undying Lands? That is the natural way, and it is not influenced by evil. Is this worse or better than rotting carcasses?


Perhaps the animals [if they die] decompose in a different way, or are buried [?]. Because if they are prolific, and deathless, they do not return their bones to the earth. When you think deeper, the simplest solution is the one where Tolkien was born.


This is indeed difficult a problem to solve, and it might be that the solution does not reach beyond speculation.



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Anarion, Son of Elendil - rank 8
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Date: Mar 24, 2006
The titles 'Undying lands', and the 'lands where dwell the deathless' would seem to suggest however that nothing could perish or be stained in any way. The titles would hardly be earned if that meant that only the Holy ones and children of Eru were the only thing that did not die.

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Auta  i  lómë! 
Aurë entuluva!

Orc captain of Thangorodrim - Rank 3
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Date: Mar 24, 2006

In Letter #325, Tolkien says that "As for Frodo or other mortals, they could only dwell in Aman for a limited time - whether brief or long.  The Valar had neither the power nor the right to confer 'immortality' upon them.  Their sojourn was a 'purgatory', but one of peace and healing and they would eventually pass away (die at their own desire and of free will) to destinations of which the Elves knew nothing." (original italic)


By this quote, it is seen that beings that were not immortal could still live in Aman, and the term Immortal Lands applies to the inhabitants of the land, not to the land itself.



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Orc captain of Thangorodrim - Rank 3
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Date: Mar 25, 2006
Nicely answered once again, Elendil.

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Samwise Gamgee - rank 9
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Date: Mar 25, 2006
Yes but correct me if I am wrong only Gandalf out of Elrond, Galadriel, Celebor, Frodo, Bilbo, Gimli, Sam etc went across to Aman itself. The rest were confined to Tol-erresea, either becuase they were mortal or becuase they were of Noldor race.

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Elf of Beleriand - Rank 2
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Date: Apr 17, 2006

Death is a natural law.


And the slopes of the Undying lands have seen blood, death and rotting, then? Even if it does not relate to visitors from mortal lands?



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Fundin, Lord of Moria - Rank 5
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There is a text ('Aman') in Morgoth's Ring which notes that a beast transported to Aman, or brought into being there, would live one Valian Year for each year of its natural span in Middle-earth. The Valian Year in this text is equal to 144 Sun Years... so, say a given kind of 'regular' horse lives 30 years, that's 30 Valian Years in Aman or 30 x 144 in Sun Years.

The implication (in my opinion) is that the beasts will ultimately die however.

Reagarding plants, the published Silmarillion states that though all tides and seasons were at the will of the Valar, and in Valinor there was no winter of death, nonetheless Valinor was still within Time (Of The Darkening of Valinor) and thus Yavanna set times for the flowering and the ripening of all things that grew in Valinor.

Hmm.

Back to Aman: there it's noted that among the many creatures there were also 'plants that were steadfast'. Actually, much of the description concerns beasts, but there is a section that compares the fleeting life of birds and flowers innumerable (in 3000 years) in Middle-earth, but '... in Aman no creatures suffered any sickness or disorder of their natures; nor was there any decay or ageing more swift than the slow ageing of Arda itself. So that all things coming at last to fullness of form and virtue in that state, blissfully, ageing and wearying of their life and being no swifter than the Valar themselves.'

And also (same text): 'For in Aman the world appeared to them [the Eldar] as it does to men on Earth, but without the shadow of death soon to come. Whereas on Earth to them all things in comparison with themselves were fleeting, swift to change and die or pass away, in Aman they endured and did not so soon cheat love with their mortality.'

That passage at least, seems to include the ultimate death of plants. Agree? Disagree?

Anyway it might be noted that Aman falls under the Myths Transformed section of Morgoth's Ring, and holds concepts that do not necessarily agree with other accounts -- like 1 Valian Year = 144 Sun Years for example, though that agrees with the Elvish Long Year noted in The Lord of the Rings in any case.

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Samwise Gamgee - rank 9
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Date: Oct 22, 2010
I was under the impression that one Valian Year equals ten years of the Sun and Moon? Is that in another version?

As to this quote:

And also (same text):in Aman no creatures suffered any sickness or disorder of their natures; nor was there any decay or ageing more swift than the slow ageing of Arda itself. So that all things coming at last to fullness of form and virtue in that state, blissfully, ageing and wearying of their life and being no swifter than the Valar themselves.'

Although it does not mention plants, I don't get the impression they were excluded for the purpose of indicating that plants die in Valinor. It doesn't make much sense to me that if creatures endured as long as Arda itself in Valinor then plants would not likewise do the same.

This also leads onto the Elves of Valinor presumably not eating meat and only eating what the plants provide (in that land in quite an abundance, I would imagine). Is this correct? And what about Elves in Middle-earth?


-- Edited by mouth of sauron on Friday 22nd of October 2010 12:47:11 AM

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Fundin, Lord of Moria - Rank 5
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Date: Oct 22, 2010
That's right MOS, the Valian Year is equal to 9.582 Sun Years -- when Tolkien wrote The Annals of Aman and The Grey Annals (both revisions of earlier annals) in the early 1950s, that was the figure. At least we know that that chronology was imagined, at one point anyway, with this number. Tolkien later mused about 1 VY = 144 SYs rather, a much larger figure obviously. 

Hmm, can't remember about the Elves in Valinor -- concerning whether or not they ate meat -- but I do think the Elves of Middle-earth hunted and ate meat (the Green Elves may not have, however).


-- Edited by Galin on Friday 22nd of October 2010 03:47:40 AM

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Thorin Oakenshield - Rank 6
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It seems strange to me that if creatures in the Undying Lands are indeed immortal that the Elves would kill them for food.
Yet it is also seems strange that if the Elves of the Undying Lands do not kill the creatures and only eat plant-matter then the Elves of Middle-earth do not do likewise.

This calls for deep scholarly insight Galin!

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Loremaster Elf of Mirkwood - Rank 4
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Date: Oct 24, 2010
In the Silmarillion there is mentioned Huan, the great hound that helped Luthien and Beren. This dog was born in Valinor. He did not require sleep, had superior eyesight and hearing. He understood the speech of all living things and could speak himself. His story can be found in the Silmarillion and the History of Middle-earth.

There is the great eagles Thorondor, Gwarhir, Landroval and Meneldor. Thorondor was born in Valinor and all seemed to be in some kind of communication with Manwe of Valanor. Sources Silmarillion, The Hobbit, Lord of the Rings, the History of Middle-earth.

The Mearas, the line of horses born in Valinor. Indroduced into Middle-earth by the Valar Orome. These could also understand speech.

The Kirniki, a small red bird the size of a wren was on the Island of Numenor. But since the island was landscaped by the Elves of Valinor could they have be native of Valinor? Source the Silmarillion.

If most or all of the animals native to Valinor seems to have been uncommonly intelligent and of great heart and nobility can it be supposed that they were not hunted for food? I suppose not as in the Hobbit the white stag, known as the kine of the Fey, at least in human folklore, were hunted by Thranduil and the Elves of Mirkwood. But then the white stag may not have been bred and born in Valinor.

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Fundin, Lord of Moria - Rank 5
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Hmm, well again, I think the text Aman indicates that (in general) animals ultimately died, or if not, I'm not sure what the point is of noting their life span relative to Middle-earth -- that is, why indicate a beast would live one Valian Year for each year of its natural span in Middle-earth, if it did not ultimately die even in Valinor? 

In the Lay there were hounds untold (baying in woods beyond the West) 'of race immortal' and 'they flashed and fled from leash to scent for Tavros' joy and merriment.' Huan is seemingly one of these, so to my mind, the implication here is that Huan was hunting in Valinor (hunting hart, boar, fox, hare 'and nimble roe' for example) with Orome or Celegorm.

Of course the Lay is quite early. There is evidence -- written post-Lord of the Rings -- that Tolkien at least mused about Huan and certain eagles being Maiar-spirits who had taken beast-form.

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Loremaster Elf of Mirkwood - Rank 4
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Date: Oct 25, 2010
That informative and enlightening. Thank you, Galin

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