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Topic: Why the Silmaril?

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Royal Guard of Menegroth - Rank 5
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Date: Oct 19, 2006
Why the Silmaril?

Maybe I have just forgotten, but a question just struck me while posting in another thread.

In the midst of war against Morgoth, Thingol demands a Silmaril from Beren. This seems extraordinarily odd on the part of Thingol. If he wanted an impossible task completed, why not simply demand that Beren sail to Valinor and get permission. It's just as improbable as taking a Silmaril, but lacks the downside.

Thingol knew all about the Oath of Feanor and his sons, so he would have to know that if he claimed a Silmaril he would be fighting a war on two fronts against the sons of Feanor and the hosts of Morgoth. I know he didnt think it was possible for a man to succeed where the Noldor had failed, but he had to know the consequences of success. So why ask for such a thing?

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Black Numenorean - Rank 3
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Maybe it was in his rashness to get rid of Beren.

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Royal Guard of Menegroth - Rank 5
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I took that into account already. It was supposed to be an impossible task, but the ramifications of success were to great to dismiss.

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Witchking of Angmar - Rank 10
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Maybe he wanted the Silmaril for himself. He was probably sure Beren would fail, but as long as a small chance existed that he would succeed, Thingol could get the Silmaril for himself. It is clear it was an object he much desired, we can see this when he asked the Dwarves to set it in the Nauglamir.
If everyone in your land is fighting to find a certain object, you surely want to see what all the fuss is about.

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Royal Guard of Menegroth - Rank 5
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I thought about that too. We know the Silmarils inspired a 'lust' to keep them, but Thingol had not seen them prior to Beren and Luthien's success.

In regard to your comment about wanting to see what the fuss was all about, it makes sense, but then he would also know that he would have to face the sons of Feanor. That would put him between a rock and a hard place, having to face the Noldor and Morgoth. It just seems like a very poor decision.

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Anarion, Son of Elendil - rank 8
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What is the most perilous place in Arda? Morgoth's realm. What is the most unlikely place somebody could get to? Angband after Utumno was destroyed. What would involve the most danger? goign to Morgoth. All of  these factors made Thingol conclude his challenge, plus the fact that if there was a small chance of success then he would get a Silmaril out of it.


This also leads me to ask another question:


How did Beren and Luthien simply manage to get into the inner chambers of Morgoth at all? There is no mention of closed gates in the Sil and Morgoth would not leave all his gates wide open to allow people to come in...What about archers shooting at them as well?



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Royal Guard of Menegroth - Rank 5
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I completely agree with you that Thingol saw it as a near impossible task, but sending a Man to Valinor would be equally perilous. Gaining a Silmaril on that small chance of success was not something that Thingol should have seen as a good thing. That is the whole point of the question. Thingol's desire for a Silmaril seems quite odd since it would bring him directly into conflict with the only thing keeping Morgoth remotely at bay.

I will have to look into the Silmarillion for an answer to your question.

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Peoples of Beleriand - Rank 1
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Are we not forgetting Melian here, after all none could enter Thingols domain without his wish (well I say none....not many). Surely Thingol would have assumed that she could have protected his lands from the Noldor.



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Witchking of Angmar - Rank 10
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still, once he got the Silmaril he didn't seem to be in a hurry to return it to the Sons of Feanor
of course sending Beren to ask for mercy in Valinor would have been a better idea, maybe he just didn't think about that
and if he did we would have the Quenta Valinorian or smth like that not the Quenta Silmarillion
Since the Silmarils had such a central role in the story, Tolkien probably wanted Thingol do sent Beren on a mission that had to do with the Silmarils

btw, Luthien sang her way into Angband
fer song made all (including Melkor) fall asleep, and so they could sneak in and steal a Silmaril


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Royal Guard of Menegroth - Rank 5
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To address the role of Melian, the Noldor (and Sindar) were at war against Morgoth. If they were willing to attack Morgoth then the thought of attacking a realm protected by one of the Maiar would not dissuade the sons of Feanor. Thingol would surely know that.

The Eldar were not afraid of the Ainur, but rather saw them as a higher race, just as men were not afraid of the Eldar in general, but recognized them as a higher race.

I think TM is on the right track with Thingols decision being a device by which Tolkien could add complexity to the story. My original point was that it just seemed a little out of character for Thingol to visit such a doom upon himself and his people.

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Peoples of Beleriand - Rank 1
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Just a quick question, was Thingol a Cala'Quendi or Mori'Quendi??? I can't quite remember.

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Samwise Gamgee - rank 9
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TM - Singing would make the forces fall asleep, but it would not open gates that barred there way in.


Also there seems to be an idear that Sending Beren to Valino0r would be more perilous than sending him to Morgoth. I don't think so. At least the Valar show merci sometimes. Morgoth does not. The valar ould have simply put an enchantment on Beren's boat to make it so it ended up back in Middle-earth. Morgoth would have killed Beren, no doubt about it.



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Royal Guard of Menegroth - Rank 5
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Thingol was Calaquendi as far as I can remember. I thought Finwe, Ingwe, and Elwe all made it to Valinor.


As for traveling to Valinor vs obtaining a Silmaril, both were equally perilous for Men. As far as I know both acts were completed successfully twice (not by men in the case of the Silmarils) and the results were only good one out of four times.



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Black Numenorean - Rank 3
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mouth of sauron wrote:



TM - Singing would make the forces fall asleep, but it would not open gates that barred there way in.



Can i ask where it says that gates barred the way?

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Samwise Gamgee - rank 9
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It doesn't but we know Angband has gates and no-one can seriously think they are going to be wide open.

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Royal Guard of Menegroth - Rank 5
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Beren and Luthien were disguised and Luthien had already bested Carcharoth at the gates of Angband. So they then walked through Angband and into Morgoth's chamber where Luthien revealed herself to Morgoth.

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Samwise Gamgee - rank 9
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'Walked through' - I don't know a way to walk through closed gates. Could you enlighten?

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Witchking of Angmar - Rank 10
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going to Valinor is not perilous?
the Valar show mercy?
tell that to Amandil and to all the Elves sent on a mission to Valinor
Voronwe was lucky enough to be spared by the Sea, but this also only with the purpose to lead Tuor to Gondolin

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Samwise Gamgee - rank 9
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Read my post again and you will see I did not say going to Valinor was not perilous. I merely said it was less perilous than going to Angband.


What about Amandil? It seems he made it to Valinor considering the Valar seemed to know that Elendil and co was ihn boats ready.


What about Earendil? He made it to Valinor. And as you say Voronwe did.



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Witchking of Angmar - Rank 10
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mouth of sauron wrote:

What about Amandil? It seems he made it to Valinor considering the Valar seemed to know that Elendil and co was ihn boats ready.


What about Earendil? He made it to Valinor. And as you say Voronwe did.





As far as Amandil is concerned, I want to see your proof.
As far as Voronwe is concerned, I never said he made it to Valinor, I just said that after wondering through the Great Sea (read his account on the journey in UT to see really how terrible the journey was) he eventually managed to escape after their ship was destroyed in a storm off the coasts of Nevrast.
Earendil did make it, but this was a special case...we don't know if he would have done it without the Silmaril.

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Black Numenorean - Rank 3
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I wouldn't had thought it would be that likely. after all, why not use a 'holy' object to reach 'holy' lands.

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Samwise Gamgee - rank 9
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The Might - the basic point I am trying to make is is that it was a grewter peril going into Angband and to the Throne of Morgoth than sailing into the West.


The Valar would not have killed any persons who sailed west. They would not have slain the Children of Eru (remember the Numenoreans). That goes against all there purposes. Morgoth however would have in a trice.



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Witchking of Angmar - Rank 10
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I can't really see why that would be more dangerous, but have it your way.

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Anarion, Son of Elendil - rank 8
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Becuase the Valar are GOOD beings, and show merci mostly. Morgoth is EVIL and shows no merci or repent. Its pretty obvious.


And mos is right - Even when the Valar were being attacked by the Numenoreans they did not lay a finger upon them - they simply called on Eru to help. I very much doubt therefore that its in there ways to kill any mortal who tries to head for the blessed realm.



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Royal Guard of Menegroth - Rank 5
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Ok I think I can clear this up, especially since it was my comment that started it.

Firstly: MoS - Beren and Luthien were able to walk through the gates of Angband because once Luthien had bested Carcharoth, she and Beren were in 'foul' disguise (Beren appeared as a wolf, I believe), so they were just let in like any old orc or foul thing.

Secondly the crux of the latter debate: The Silmarillion clearly states that regaining a Silmaril from Morgoth was the 'greatest deed of elf or man'. So yes, it was more perilous than going to Valinor.

The only reason that was brought up, was because it would have been perceived by the Elves as impossible, similar to gaining a Silmaril, but without the negative backlash. As has been stated, the Valar are merciful, but Thingol and Melian both knew that success would bring Doriath into conflict with the majority of the Noldor in Beleriand. Which is why I posed the question in this thread. It just doesnt make sense. Was Melian gone the day he thought that up?




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Black Numenorean - Rank 3
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Celethil wrote:


As has been stated, the Valar are merciful, but Thingol and Melian both knew that success would bring Doriath into conflict with the majority of the Noldor in Beleriand. Which is why I posed the question in this thread. It just doesnt make sense. Was Melian gone the day he thought that up?



I don't understand what you're saying here. Why would going to valinor, and the whole thing be a sucess, "bring Doriath into conflict with the majority of the Noldor in Beleriand." 
 



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Royal Guard of Menegroth - Rank 5
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jammi - It's poorly structured sentences is all. The portion after the comma is actually referring to the subject of the previous sentence.

Allow me to correct..

As has been stated, the Valar are merciful, but Thingol and Melian both knew that success in regaining a Silmaril would bring Doriath in conflict with ...

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Black Numenorean - Rank 3
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sorry if i sounded rude. thanks for the correction, it makes much more sense now.

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Being lies with Eru - Rank 1
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Old thread, I know, but "why" questions are enticing...

It does not seem out of character for Thingol to demand a Silmaril. He does come across as whimsical - remember banning of Quenya as if that could help anything. He was ill disposed towards Noldor even before he knew of the Kinslaying (despite their help against orcs). The Oath of Feanor "slept" at the time (it is another question why), so Thingol could well have underestimated how serious it was. Being in conflict with Feanorians didn't bother him - they could not cross the Girdle of Melian. That's why Celegorm and Curufin could not even have a refuge in Doriath during Dagor Bragollach and had to flee to Nargothrond along the borders of Doriath. And it is the Feanorians, not Thingol, who would have to fight against two enemies (him and Morgoth). Thingol never took any major part in any war with Morgoth.

In fact, all he got from the Feanorians later was a written request to relinquish the Silmaril (which he happily ignored) and some verbal threats. Melian was present when Thingol "thought that up" and was troubled, but he paid little attention at that.

It doesn't seem likely that sending Beren to Valinor would occur to Thingol at all. It appears that he put all thought of Valinor out of his mind when he chose to stay with Melian.

Now it strikes me that in that age, the only other elf in the same situation - having to deal with a mortal suitor of his daughter - was Turgon, and for him to come up with such a quest would have been quite plausible, given his many attempts to send messengers to Valinor. But luckily he was a reasonable person.



-- Edited by Lorelline on Wednesday 31st of July 2013 07:37:36 PM

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Samwise Gamgee - rank 9
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I'm sensing you're not a big fan of Thingol, Lorelline?

You're right though, he does come across as somewhat arrogant and lofty. Not sending armed forces along with the other Elves in the 'March of Maedhros' was a major mistake - that was the best chance the Elves had at defeating Morgoth. After that it was inevitable doom. I don't think enough blame is laid on Thingol for this decision. He put his own pride ahead of the fate of all of Beleriand.

One could say it was karma that he received such an ignoble death at the hands of greedy Dwarves in his own halls.

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Being lies with Eru - Rank 1
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True I am no fan of Thingol's at all, but concerning the Union of Maedhros, I am not sure I agree. Thingol had reasons not to participate.
- it was plain safer for him and his subjects - as we know, Doriath did not suffer from Morgoth's forces even after the defeat of the Noldor in Nirnaeth; Thingol trusted the Girdle, and rightly so;
- he hated Feanorians, all of them (just in case), even though only two of them really did evil to Luthien; so joining a union organized by any of them was out of question;
- he may have thought that it is due to the Noldor's rebellion against the Valar that the war with Morgoth lasted for so long and the Valar provided no help; and if it's all their fault, why help them?
- Thingol also was nonplussed when he was asked to give the jewel back; and he simply might have been afraid to meet with the sons of Feanor face to face.
It would have been pure altruism for him to join that union. And he was no hero.




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Actually I quite like your reply, Lore.      I was looking at the question from a logical and mortal point of view.   If I look at it from Thingol's point of view, then I should see first off that he doesn't expect the quest to be successful and secondly that if it is successful then it doesn't matter if the Noldor will be upset or not because he is king of his realm and unconcerned with the kinslayers.  

 



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Therefore I say that we will go on, and this doom I add: the deeds that we shall do shall be the matter of song until the last days of Arda
Being lies with Eru - Rank 1
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When you say that "the Noldor will be upset", do you mean specifically the House of Feanor, or do you think some other Noldor would not like the fact that Thingol appropriated the Silmaril? We are not told about that (Finrod actually helps Beren, which of course doesn't mean he was happy about all this). Although sure enough each of the seven (or the six remaining according to the later legend) Feanor's sons were upset, maybe not all of them would have attempted the war on Thingol even if they had not contemplated the war on Morgoth at that time. They treated their oath with amazing flexibility as it appears.

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