Questions for the Lore Masters.

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Re: Questions for the Lore Masters.

Post by halfwise on Wed Apr 06, 2016 8:45 pm

I like the obscure lore you pull together again, Eldo. It's a good question how far Gondor extended along the White Mountains; I think you can point out the Paths of the Dead are due north of Dol Amroth, and Isildur already considered the people there should be fighting for Gondor. So the reach was pretty far even in the first generation.

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Re: Questions for the Lore Masters.

Post by Elthir on Wed Apr 06, 2016 8:54 pm

By the way Eldo, I should add that CFH and PW include hil in their Adunaic dictionary, but they asterisk the meaning *"heir, follower, son or daughter, or as pl. children." They also note the names Ar-Zimrahil, Eruhil, Imrahil and point to the Eldarin base KHIL- (The Lost Road) "follow", Quenya Hildi "followers", mortal men or sons, and Sindarin -chil (long i) in Eluchil "Heir of Elu"

They also also include hil with a mark that "indicates a form found only as part of a compound. Only compounds in which the constituent elements can be distinguished with a fair degree of certainty have been so divided."

The entry for Imrahil reads: "Imrahil '? -son' prince of Dol Amroth at the time of the War of the Ring (and then follows with the quote I noted above, and sources).

Doesn't help much I know... but a member of the Letobards told me you were relying on me for quote and context with respect to the VT Adunaic Dictionary, so here's more (quote and context) in case it ever comes in handy.

It's good stuff for dinner discussion anyway Wink
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Re: Questions for the Lore Masters.

Post by Eldorion on Wed Apr 06, 2016 9:43 pm

Thanks, halfy. Smile You raise a good point, although Isildur's grip on the men of the mountains seemed fairly tenuous, at least that far to the west. LOTR tells us that:

ROTK, V, The Passing of the Grey Company wrote:'For at Erech there stands yet a black stone that was brought, it was said, from Númenor by Isildur; and it was set upon a hill, and upon it the King of the Mountains swore allegiance to him in the beginning of the realm of Gondor. But when Sauron returned and grew in might again, Isildur summoned the Men of the Mountains to fulfil their oath, an they would not: for they had worshipped Sauron in the Dark Years.

'Then Isildur said to their king: "Thou shalt be the last king. And if the west prove mightier than thy Black Master, this curse I lay upon thee and all thy folk: to rest never until your oath is fulfilled.'

Between this quote and my earlier attempt at approximating Isildur's boundary surveying mission in the first years of the Third Age, I agree that the Paths of the Dead were (in Isildur's eyes) part of Gondor. Isildur's inability to compel the Men of the Mountains to military service could easily be explained as him needing to devote all his resources to the threat from Mordor and not wanting to begin a two-front war. However, that the ruler in the mountains was still called king, even by Isildur himself, implies to be more of a tributary relationship than a fully integrated province.

We know from Unfinished Tales that the far western end of Gondor, the Cape of Andrast jutting out into the Great Sea, was never significantly settled by the Dúnedain and was thought to be uninhabited at the time of the War of the Ring (UT, The Drúedain), making it de facto not a part of the realm, though the de jure situation is unclear. In that case, the only remaining candidate for the location of Falastur's western conquests is Anfalas, the region in between Andrast and Belfalas. Anfalas was integrated enough at the time of the War of the Ring to send men to the defense of Minas Tirith, so clearly Falastur's conquest was successful in the long term (perhaps there was movement of settlers involved too, though this is pure speculation).

However, Anfalas is directly south of the western portion of Calendardhon/Rohan, raising the question of why Gondor did not extend as far west south of the mountains as it did north, especially since landlocked Calendardhon was effectively even more remote from the core area of Gondor. Calenardhon was originally inhabited by the people later known as Dunlendings, who were related to the Men of the Mountains who later became the Dead. The Dunlendings lived in the northern vales of the White Mountains, some spreading northward from there (LOTR, Appendix F), but for the most part they did not end up in the region known as Dunland until they were expelled from Calenardhon by the Steward Cirion after he decided to give the region to the Éothéod (Rohirrim) in T.A. 2510. However, the Appendix to "The Battles of the Fords of Isen" in UT speaks of the Dunlendings as living in Dunland and only sometimes marauding over the Isen to harass "the people of Calenardhon" long before the arrival of the Rohirrim.

This seems to be contrary not only to the implications of Appendix F's statement that the Dunlendings were originally from the White Mountains, but also with the main text of LOTR. In the chapter "Helm's Deep", Gamling describes the Dunlendings' grievance with the Rohirrim:

TTT, III, Helm's Deep wrote:'Yet there are many that cry in the Dunland tongue,' said Gamlin. 'I know that tongue. It is an ancient speech of men, and once was spoken in many western vales of the Mark. Hark! They hate us, and they are glad; for our doom seems certain to them. "The king, the king!" they cry. "We will take their king. Death to the Forgoil! Death to the Strawheads! Death to the robbers of the North!" Such names they have for us. Not in half a thousand years have they forgotten their grievance that the lords of Gondor gave the Mark to Eorl the Young and made alliance with him. That old hatred Saruman has inflamed.'

Given its important position in LOTR, I don't think we can dismiss the notion that the Dunlendings were the original inhabitants of Rohan. We know that the Dunlendings largely merged with the Dúnedain-descended garrison of Angrenost (Isengard) in the late Third Age (UT, The Battles of the Fords of Isen), but it's unclear what the relationship between the Dunlendings and the Dúnedain were during the 2500+ years that Calendardhon was part of the realm of Gondor. It is hard to imagine that there was that much intermarriage or integration, since Cirion was willing to eject them seemingly without a second thought. But if that is the case, then it's hard to imagine how early Gondor could have made significantly more headway into that region than they did in Anfalas.

My best guess at this point is that Calenardhon was in fact not really integrated into the realm of Gondor, at least not outside of the Eastfold region near Amon Anwar, and that Angrenost and Aglarond were in fact mere islands of Dúnedain society surrounded by a sparsely populated but largely hostile area, which could explain how the hereditary guards there got so insular, as described in the appendix to "The Battles of the Fords of Isen". (It also fits with Gamling's statement that the Dunlendings once inhabited the western part of Rohan, specifically.) The references to the (probably Dúnedain) "people of Calenardhon" implies that there was eventually settlement of some sort, but presumably quite limited. The hostile native population could explain why Calenardhon was not more heavily settled, since otherwise the land would seem ripe for prosperous, farming subjects of Gondor.

I feel like I'm getting way too rambly and off-point here, but I guess my point is that (after having read through a bunch more sources just now), my impression is that Gondor did not expand much further west than Dol Amroth either north or south of the White Mountains, with the exception of its two large, self-contained fortresses guarding the Gap of Calenardhon, until well into the Third Age. And that western Calenardhon never experienced a parallel to Falastur's conquest of the natives of Anfalas and subsequent assimilation, until the arrival of the Rohirrim. Although, if this was the case, it is curious that it gets no mention in "Cirion and Eorl". Though as noted above the textual situation is not entirely consistent when it comes to the Dunlendings.

I'm really tired and have a headache but I'm curious if this makes sense to anyone else. Laughing
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Re: Questions for the Lore Masters.

Post by Eldorion on Wed Apr 06, 2016 9:44 pm

Simulpost with Mr Letobeard. I greatly appreciate your elaboration on that quote, and will rely on it should the need to defend myself elsewhere arise, or should I try to turn all these ridiculous stream-of-consciousness posts into a more coherent single essay some time. Razz
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Re: Questions for the Lore Masters.

Post by halfwise on Wed Apr 06, 2016 11:25 pm

Good ruminations. But if the somewhat hostile Dunlanders inhabited the area between Isengard and Helm's Deep, one has to wonder who these fortresses were meant to protect against?

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Re: Questions for the Lore Masters.

Post by Eldorion on Thu Apr 07, 2016 1:04 am

Good question, halfy. Regardless of whether the the Dunlendings of the Third Age were living west of the Misty Mountains that early, the Númenóreans had been dealing with hostile native tribes in the region of the Enedwaith (west and north of Rohan but south of Eriador) since the early to mid Second Age. This is discussed at some length in Unfinished Tales and actually the Númenóreans come out of it looking really bad, destroying huge swathes of forest partly out of spite to destroy the native's way of life (it always reminded me of American settlers killing bison en masse). These natives are stated to have taken refuge "in the eastern mountains where afterward was Dunland" (UT, Galadriel and Celeborn, Appendix D). These peoples may have been related to the Dunlendings we know (some of whom are known to have passed north as far as Bree, which they founded). In any event, early Gondor still had hostile regions to its west that they'd want to secure the Gap of Calenardhon against.
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Re: Questions for the Lore Masters.

Post by Eldorion on Sun Apr 10, 2016 9:20 am

Posting some additional notes I made, in part so I don't forget later, and also because if anyone else wants to riff off this I'd be delighted.

ROTK, V 1 wrote:The townlands were rich, with wide tilth and many orchards, and homesteads there were with oast and garner, fold and byre, and many rills rippling through the green from the highlands down to Anduin. Yet the herdsmen and husbandmen that dwelt there were not many, and the most part of the people of Gondor lived in the seven circles of the City, or in the high vales of the mountain-borders, in Lossarnach, or further south in fair Lebennin with its five swift streams. There dwelt a hardy folk between the mountains and the sea. They were reckoned men of Gondor, yet their blood was mingled, and there were short and swarthy folk among them whose sires came more from the forgotten men who housed in the shadow of the hills in the Dark Years ere the coming of the kings. But beyond, in the great fief of Belfalas, dwelt Prince Imrahil in his castle of Dol Amroth by the sea, and he was of high blood, and his folk also, tall men and proud with sea-grey eyes.

Implications and points of further thought:

  • Since Lebennin was within the previously discussed boundaries of Second Age Gondor, did the intermarriage/assimilation progress begin then, or was there an Apartheid type situation going on for a while?
  • Lebennin is a coastal and Anduin region, but it is specifically noted as having a population with less Dúnedain descent then Lossarnach, which is in those mountain vales that the ancesotrs of the Lebinnese(?) came from. Presumably they were displaced after Minas Anor was built for being too close? In that case that population might have been forced into the mountains by the arrival of the Númenóreans at Pelargir and then forced back towards Pelargir once Minas Anor (and adjacent Osgiliath) became the more important settlements. Keep in mind that Pelargir was fairly insignificant after the Downfall (when it was suddenly separated from the sea by the newly created river delta) and the time of the Ship-kings, when it was "repaired" by Eärnil I.
  • This brief description only covers lands near Minas Tirith and doesn't go any further afield then Lebennin. Later in the chapter, when the companies from the Outlands arrive, there is no description of the racial characteristics of the soldiers from Lebennin or Anfalas (which should presumably have an equally high, or even higher, percentage of people with indigenous Gondorian ancestry). However, the men of Dol Amroth (and specifically the men at arms, so we're not just talking about nobility here) are described as phenotypically Dúnedain: "tall as lords, grey-eyed, dark-haired". This coupled with the mention of Dol Amroth in the block quote above suggests that it's high percentage of ethnically Dúnedain inhabitants was rare, probably unique to it and the Minas Tirith/Lossarnach area by the end of the Third Age (we hear so little about the northern part of Anórien and it is conspicuously absent from the roll call of soldiers arriving for the defense of Minas Tirith, so I would assume it is largely uninhabited).
  • In Faramir's recounting of the Númenórean racial categories (High - Middle - Wild) in TTT, IV, The Window on the West, he admits that even by their own standards, the Dúnedain of Gondor have become largely indistinguishable from their "Middle Men" allies. He ascribes this primarily to cultural shifts, like putting a greater value on martial things.
  • On the previous page, however, he discusses the issue of racial assimilation more directly. Faramir states that the Stewards were wiser than the Kings, "for they recruited the strength of our people from the sturdy folk of the sea-coast, and from the hardy mountaineers of Ered Nimrais", as well as noting the alliance with the Northmen/Eotheod/Rohirrim who had previously been enemies of Gondor (though the Appendices and UT make it clear that the Northmen had ceased to be enemies of Gondor while the Kings were still around, so Faramir is clearly not an expert on this stuff). It's also unclear whether "recruiting the strength of our people" from ethnic minorities means considering them to be full Gondorians for the first time, or just giving them greater recognition, rights, or opportunities for service.
  • No discussion of Gondor and race is complete without a mention of the Kin-strife. This 15th century T.A. civil war was over whether or not the King could be descended from anything less than "pure" Númenórean ancestry; specifically, his mother was a princess of Rhovanion. The more racist side lost, but the chroniclers responsible for writing Appendix A (and Tolkien does specifically ascribe this stuff to in-universe historians!) do note and seem to lament that the Kin-strife was followed by increased immigration from Rhovanion, which led to "the blood of the kingly house and other houses of the Dúnedain [becoming] more mingled with that of lesser Men".
  • The unique status in which the Northmen and later the Rohirrim were held (largely as a way of assuaging Gondorian pride) is noted a couple of times. It seems safe to say that, while intermarriage between Godnorian nobility and this group of foreigners became acceptable eventually, the fact that it was a big deal when it started suggests that intermarriage between the nobility and the indigenous peoples of Gondor had not happened to any significant extent before ~T.A. 1500, and probably not for some time after that as well. It's hard to say whether this was the nobility being particularly stuck-up (I mean, it's not like they would have been marrying Northmen peasants; maybe the issue was more that there was no sufficiently esteemed aristocracy among the natives whom the Dúnedain nobles recognized), or if Dúnedain commoners also rejected intermarriage that late.
  • The comments about the particular ethnic nature of various different regions of Gondor suggests relatively little movement or intermarriage between those regions. Is that in line with historical analogues for Gondor? Was in enforced or just a norm? I honestly don't know.
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Re: Questions for the Lore Masters.

Post by chris63 on Wed Apr 13, 2016 4:36 am

After the fall of Sauron, what happened to all the Orcs and Trolls and the things that didn't sleep ?
Must have been tens of thousands of Orcs that ran away to hide back under the mountains.


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Re: Questions for the Lore Masters.

Post by Eldorion on Thu Apr 14, 2016 2:20 am

Got into a discussion on Reddit about whether the Dead Men were capable of killing people. Received wisdom over there (and in much of the fandom in general) is that they can't, because Legolas speculates that they might not be able to in ROTK. My argument is that the Leggy quote is the opposite of conclusive and that Tolkien all but ascribes responsibility for the death of Baldor to the Dead in The Rivers and Beacon-hills of Gondor. Curious to get you guys' take on this, as I valued the feedback I got here when I was arguing against common fandom opinion regarding how willing the Eagles were to help in the fight against Sauron.

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Re: Questions for the Lore Masters.

Post by halfwise on Thu Apr 14, 2016 3:59 am

I always felt that the door that Baldor was clawing against led to the southern portion of the paths of the dead; and when the torches were blown out the door was opened to let the grey company through. But then of course, I find myself arguing against Tolkien. Rather uppity of him to negate me, but I'll do him the courtesy of not arguing the point.

As to whether the dead could kill or not, I think it's really a question of whether they can apply any physical force at all. Ghosts traditionally can only move small things; to really make a ruckus takes a poltergeist. I rather think that they could kill some people by fear alone - heart attacks and such. But as Legolas points out, they really don't need to kill when fear will accomplish the same goal of driving back the enemy.

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Re: Questions for the Lore Masters.

Post by Eldorion on Thu Apr 14, 2016 4:20 am

I spent a few minutes flipping through ROTK trying to find a quote that established beyond a shadow of a doubt that the debt were definitely disembodied (as opposed to invisible but still with a physical presence in the real world, like the Ringwraiths*) but I didn't find anything conclusive. Might look again tomorrow.

*They could wear clothing, and the Witch-king is described as having sinew, though after Eowyn kills him his clothing is empty as what's left of his spirit flies away as a cry on the wind.
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Re: Questions for the Lore Masters.

Post by David H on Thu Apr 14, 2016 5:49 am

halfwise wrote:  Ghosts traditionally can only move small things; to really make a ruckus takes a poltergeist.

I think it depends very much on the tradition you're talking about.
If I remember from the Icelandic sagas, viking ghosts can be disturbingly corporeal.affraid
(They bury them with swords for a reason.... Sofa)

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Re: Questions for the Lore Masters.

Post by Eldorion on Fri Apr 15, 2016 3:58 am

That's a good point, Dave. I suspect the idea of the Dead being incorporeal comes largely form their depiction in the films, though it's ironic since that wasn't even how PJ wanted to depict them. He had to change his original idea after the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie came out first while doing something similar to their original idea.
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Re: Questions for the Lore Masters.

Post by halfwise on Fri Apr 15, 2016 3:36 pm

chris63 wrote:After the fall of Sauron, what happened to all the Orcs and Trolls and the things that didn't sleep ?
Must have been tens of thousands of Orcs that ran away to hide back under the mountains.



I think that's a good question. There's something in the Tale of Years about Aragorn leading detachments to pacify the greenway. I'd assume not much would happen to the orcs of the misty mountains, but the orcs of Mordor would start fighting each other as the supply chain of food from south Mordor was cut off.

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Re: Questions for the Lore Masters.

Post by Eldorion on Fri Apr 15, 2016 3:51 pm

The unpleasant but most likely answer is that Aragorn and co. "ethnically cleansed" the Westlands of orcs.
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Re: Questions for the Lore Masters.

Post by Elthir on Fri Apr 15, 2016 4:56 pm

Speaking of canon :cough:

In the second version of the Epilogue to The Lord of the Rings, Mother Rose and Sam's children have asked Sam many questions, one of which is: "Have the mines of Moria been opened again? Are there any Orcs left?"

Well, that's two I guess... anyway Sam writes: "Moria: I have heard no news. Maybe the foretelling about Durin* is not in our time. Dark places need a lot of cleaning up. I guess it will take a lot of trouble and daring deeds yet to root out the evil creatures from the halls of Moria. For there are certainly plenty of Orcs left in such places. It is not likely that we shall ever get quite rid of them."

I like Tolkien in letter 153: "It is not true actually of the Orcs -- who are fundamentally a race of "rational incarnate" creatures, though horribly corrupted, if no more so than many Men to be met today."

Laughing

In The New Shadow Tolkien toyed with "orc cults" among certain men, but at the moment I can't recall if there's any certain reference here to actual orcs returning (to have any part in the projected tale)... although in any case the abandoned story didn't get very far.


*Tolkien did note that a Dwarf named Durin returned to Moria at least, and there was light again in deep places and so on, until the world grew old and the Dwarves failed and the days of Durin's race were ended -- but CJRT cannot be certain whether this statement became lost when preparing the Appendices, or was rejected by his father. It's not in the published Appendices, but a "Durin VII and Last" does appear in the Line of the Dwarves of Erebor as set out by Gimli, Appendix A.

Anyway... I would say grey horses.
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Re: Questions for the Lore Masters.

Post by Eldorion on Sun Apr 17, 2016 6:45 pm

My take on the orc cults was that they were like teenagers flirting with neo-Nazism: dumb kids with no conception of what the real thing was like but who got excited engaging in a taboo and starting shit with their elders. Though Borlas smelled "the old Evil" in it so presumably there was a more nefarious source for all this.
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Re: Questions for the Lore Masters.

Post by halfwise on Sat May 14, 2016 12:20 pm


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Re: Questions for the Lore Masters.

Post by Eldorion on Sat May 14, 2016 5:37 pm

Laughing

Not fair! Razz
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Re: Questions for the Lore Masters.

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Sat May 14, 2016 9:32 pm

{{{Definitely cheating- which edition at least Mad }}}

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Re: Questions for the Lore Masters.

Post by Eldorion on Tue Jun 07, 2016 4:45 am

I wanted this to be a fairly straightforward answer piece but it ended up touching on a whole bunch of esoteric philosophical points and I kept having to try to explain why such and such idea wasn't final and we can't be sure if Tolkien would have retained for it a finished Silm and so on. Razz Hopefully it turned out alright though. Would love to hear what you guys think!



What happens when you die in Middle-earth?

When asked about the themes of The Lord of the Rings, Tolkien stated that “the tale is not really about Power and Dominion: that only sets the wheels going; it is about Death and the desire for deathlessness. Which is hardly more than to say it is a tale written by a Man!” (Letters, no. 203). Some readers have expressed puzzlement or disagreement with this as there are other themes that sometimes seem more prominent in The Lord of the Rings, but Tolkien’s approach to the theme of death is more fully explored in The Silmarillion and other writings published after his death. The topic of death in Arda intersects with several of Tolkien’s other philosophical concerns, not all of which have clear answers. Tolkien, who was orphaned at the age of 12, was a devout Catholic and this influence can be seen in his works, but he did not allow himself to be bound by orthodoxy as an author. To better understand the theme of death in his works, it is worthwhile to examine what exactly death meant for Tolkien’s characters, which varied among his different races.

For practical purposes, we can define death as the severance of the connection between body and soul. All individual members of Tolkien’s sentient races, had a soul, called a fëa in Quenya (plural fëar) housed within a body, or hröa (plural hröar). This was the metaphysical nature of the Children of Ilúvatar: Elves and Men, and eventually Dwarves as well (HoMe X, Laws and Customs among the Eldar). The fëa came directly from Ilúvatar (HoMe X, Athrabeth Finrod ah Andreth, Commentary) and was what distinguished sentient beings from animals. When Aulë created the Dwarves, they were not truly sentient or self-aware until Ilúvatar granted them fëar“‘Thy offer I accepted even as it was made. Dost thou not see that these things have now a life of their own, and speak with their own voices?’” (TS, Of Aulë and Yavanna). This is also why Morgoth was unable to create beings of his own, but only corrupt and mock the Children (ROTK, VI 1). However, the idea that evil could not create was not yet present in earlier versions of the mythology and Tolkien never completely ironed out all the resulting inconsistencies. Having to make sense of inconsistent texts is something of an occupational hazard when it comes to studying The History of Middle-earth, though. For now, let’s consider each race in turn.

The Elves had greater control over their bodies than humans did and their fëar were “immortal” in the sense that they endure for the whole life of Arda (the world), but not necessarily longer than that. The Elven hröa was also intended to last this long and so was physically tough and not subject to disease. However, Elves could suffer bodily death through violence, as in fact happened quite frequently in “The Silmarillion”. When this occurred, the fëa of the deceased Elf was summoned to the Halls of Mandos in Aman (HoMe X, Laws and Customs). Tolkien’s earlier idea, described in Laws and Customs, was that Elves could then be reborn among their people and as they matured would regain the memories of their previous life. However, Tolkien later rejected this on the grounds that each individual’s fëa and hröa were specially fitted for each other. In The Converse of Manwë and Eru (an appendix to the Athrabeth in HoMe X), Tolkien suggested that the Elvish fëa could be given a new, identical copy of its hröa based on memories of the body that were “imprinted” on the soul. Whether the creation of the new hröa was done by the Valar or by the incorporeal fëa itself is unclear. There are contradictory notes on this matter and since Tolkien never published any of them we can’t speak with certainty. In any event, it does not appear that Tolkien intended to alter the idea that the Valar could refuse to allow a specific fëa to re-embody (cf. HoMe X, Later versions of the Story of Finwë and Míriel; TS, Of the Return of the Noldor).

A recently disembodied Elvish fëa could refuse the summons to Mandos, however, and remain in the area where they died. Usually this occurred among the Elves of Middle-earth, either those who still could not bear to leave it behind or those already in some way corrupted by the Shadow. However, the act of refusing the summons was itself a sign of corruption and rebellion. A houseless fëa could be communed with, though this was not recommended by Elvish loremasters because the fëa could try to seize control of another’s body. On the other hand, houseless fëarcould be captured and enslaved through necromancy, which was a particular specialty of Sauron (HoMe X, Laws and Customs). Sauron’s connection with necromancy is displayed in The Silmarillion (TS, Of the Ruin of Beleriand), and is alluded to in The Hobbit where he is known as “the Necromancer”. The Silmarillion describes werewolves as “fell beasts inhabited by dreadful spirits that he [Sauron] had imprisoned in their bodies” (TS, Of Beren and Lúthien), and it may be that some of those spirits were captured disembodied Elves, though there are other possibilities discussed later in this essay.

While the Elvish fëa was irrevocably tied to the fate of Arda, the human soul only briefly inhabited Arda. (For the purposes of this essay, humans and hobbits are considered as one since Hobbits are more closely akin to humans than any of the other Children of Ilúvatar [LOTR, Prologue].) The Elvish loremasters believed that human fëar were also summoned to Mandos and were unable to refuse these summons. They then spent a brief period in the Halls of Mandos before being“surrendered to Eru” and leaving Arda entirely (HoMe X, Athrabeth, Commentary). This waiting period in Mandos is why Lúthien was able to win Beren a temporary return to life, since his fëa had not yet departed Arda. However, the story of Beren and Lúthien in The Silmarillion also depicts the wraith of a recently deceased man (Gorlim the Unhappy, who warns Beren of his treachery in a dream), which casts some doubt on the accuracy of the Elvish loremasters’ statements. Tolkien was careful to specify that these ideas about the fate of human souls were only what was speculated by the Elves within the story working with imperfect knowledge. It is possible that Gorlim simply resisted the call to Mandos for a short time so that he could warn Beren, much as Beren himself was said to have “tarried in the Halls of Mandos, unwilling to leave the world” but was only able to delay his fate, not escape it (TS, Of Beren and Lúthien). This must remain speculation, though.

Tolkien elaborated at length on both Elvish and human views of mortality in the philosophical dialogue Athrabeth Finrod ah Andreth (The Debate of Finrod and Andreth). Andreth, a wise-woman of the Edain, rejected the Elvish idea that death was the gift of Ilúvatar to men (the same point of view that the messengers of the Valar communicated to the rebellious Númenóreans in theAkallabêth), and claimed that humans were originally intended to be immortal like Elves but had been punished by Eru for the original sin of worshipping Melkor when he came among them and deceived them. This was normally something that human loremasters kept secret and Finrod was surprised to learn of it. For their part, the Elves believed that since they were tied to the world they were destined for utter destruction, body and soul, when Arda ended, but that humans would live forever with Ilúvatar beyond the limits of the physical world. The lack of understanding of either group for the other is one of the major themes of the Athrabeth and is reflected in chronologically later tales as well. The parallels with Christianity get especially prominent when Andreth describes the belief among some humans that Eru himself will enter Arda to heal its Marring, an idea which astounds Finrod but also gives him hope. Tolkien was concerned that the dialogue read like “a parody of Christianity” and felt that including a legend of the Fall of Man “would make it completely so” (HoMe X, Athrabeth). While Tolkien wished to include the Athrabeth as an appendix to a published “Silmarillion”, it remains an open question what he may have changed in the course of finalizing the text.

The Silmarillion offers two potential explanations of the ultimate fate of Dwarves. First it is stated that “[a]foretime it was held among the Elves in Middle-earth that dying the Dwarves returned to the earth and the stone of which they were made”, which does not seem consistent with the idea of Dwarves being sentient and having fëar. It is significant that this belief is stated to have been held “aforetime”, implying that the Elves had since changed their beliefs, although the only other belief stated is the Dwarves’ own: “that Aulë the Maker, whom they call Mahal, cares for them, and gathers them to Mandos in halls set apart” (TS, Of Aulë and Yavanna). The implication seems to be that the Elves accepted this Dwarvish idea at some point. This would be consistent with a late essay in which Tolkien stated that the Sindar encountered the Petty-dwarves before any others of that race and “thought that they were a kind of cunning two-legged animals living in caves” and hunted them (HoMe XII, Quendi and Eldar). The Sindar eventually met the “great Dwarves”, realized the truth, and ceased attacking the Petty-dwarves, but this is stated to be one of the grievances of the Dwarves against the Elves. Interestingly, the Dwarvish belief that “their part shall be to serve Aulë and to aid him in the remaking of Arda after the Last Battle” (TS, Of Aulë and Yavanna) is reminiscent of Finrod’s hope that Men would be responsible for the remaking of Arda and the deliverance of the Elves from death after the end of the world (HoMe X, Athrabeth).

Once the related ideas that evil could not create and that fëar came from Eru became entrenched in the mythology, the existence of orcs became a puzzle that Tolkien never totally solved. The earlier idea that Morgoth had created the orcs had to be abandoned and Tolkien concluded that Morgoth must have corrupted them from existing beings. He played around with many different possible origins but the question remained unresolved at his death. Christopher Tolkien used the idea that orcs originated from captured Elves in The Silmarillion (TS, Of the Coming of the Elves), in part because other explanations would have required substantial rewriting. Tolkien wrote that captured humans were a “likely” source (HoMe X, Myths Transformed, Text X), though this was only possible in the radically altered timeline and cosmology he considered during the Myths Transformed period. He also speculated that orcs might have been bred from animals and could only mimic speech, but this does not really gel with the depictions of orcs elsewhere, including inThe Lord of the Rings. Tolkien also considered the possibility that the original orcs were corrupted Maiar, though Tolkien did not think Eru would grant fëar to later generations of orcs (HoMe X, Myths Transformed, Text VIII). There is ultimately no clear answer on the question of whether orcs had souls, whether they were redeemable, and what (if anything) happened to them after death.

Whether or not Tolkien would have retained the idea that orcs were descended from corrupted Maiar, this was not the only example of Ainur reproducing. The Silmarillion of course prominently features Melian the Maia, wife of Elu Thingol and mother of Lúthien Tinúviel. However, in The Book of Lost Tales (one of the earliest phases of the mythology), the Valar themselves had children, most notably Fiönwë, son of Manwë (HoMe I, The Music of the Ainur). Tolkien later rejected this idea and Fiönwë became Eönwë, herald of Manwë and one of the Maiar (TS, Valaquenta). The concept of the Maiar did not enter the mythology until after the completion of The Lord of the Rings during the reworking of the Annals of Valinor into the Annals of Aman and was something of a catch-all for many previous classes of spirits (HoMe X, Annals of Aman, notes on section 1). However, Tolkien did not reject the idea that the Valar could have children, merely that they did. The Ainur pre-dated the physical universe and were created as incorporeal spirits. They could take physical form, even the same forms as Elves or Men, but they were not by nature bound to these forms (TS, Valaquenta). This was one of the differences between the Ainur and the Incarnates. However, the longer an Ainu spent in the same form the harder it was to change form (and the less they were inclined to do so), until in some cases they became unable to change their physical form at all, as happened to Morgoth (TS, Of the Darkening of Valinor). Morgoth was trapped in his “Dark Lord” form because he had expended so much of his initial being, allowing his spiritual power to pass from himself to the physical matter of Arda and his corrupted servants. After the War of Wrath, his physical body was brought before Mandos to be judged and subsequently executed, leaving his newly disembodied spirit impotent as it was thrust into the Void. However, due to his vast initial strength, Morgoth was in the probably unique position of being able to regrow his power even after being so utterly reduced (HoMe X, Myths Transformed, Text VII).

We see the form-changing ability of an undiminished Ainu in action during Sauron’s battle with Huan, when he takes the forms of a great wolf, a serpent, his standard humanoid form, and a vampire in rapid succession. He shifts between these forms with ease, but remains held in place by Huan. He could have escaped Huan’s grasp by abandoning physical form entirely but he feared the humiliation of being forced to do so (TS, Of Beren and Lúthien). Much later, after investing so much of his spiritual power in the One Ring, Sauron became diminished in the same way as his former master. He was able to create new bodies after the destruction of his physical forms in the Downfall of Númenor and the War of the Last Alliance because the Ring still existed, but he was no longer able to change form at will. Like the Incarnates he could only become incorporeal again through the death of his body, though his disembodied spirit possessed much greater potency than a houseless Elvish fëa. Once the Ring (and the spiritual power he’d placed within it) was destroyed, Sauron could not regain physical form and his spirit was powerless (TS, Akallabêth;ROTK, V 9). Procreation using one’s physical form also involved an outlay of energy for the Ainur and Melian became similarly bound to her form as Queen of Doriath, both from the length of time she inhabited it and especially from bearing Lúthien (HoMe X, Myths Transformed, Text VIII). The later conceptions of the Valar could have had children as well, but chose not to, although they increasingly remained in forms similar to those of the Chidlren of Ilúvatar as time went on (Ibid.). That said, the Valar did expend great amounts of energy in the shaping of Arda: note Yavanna’s inability to make something like the Two Trees more than once (TS, Of the Flight of the Noldor).

In light of this, the Maiar are a possible source for many beings and creatures within Middle-earth. Werewolves, as mentioned above, were spirits imprisoned within lupine bodies. Maiar in the service of Sauron (voluntarily or otherwise) are another possible explanation here. Werewolves were able to procreate, as Carcharoth was a descendant of Draugluin, though Carcharoth is also said to have become “filled with a devouring spirit, tormented, terrible, and strong” only after being raised by Morgoth (TS, Of Beren and Lúthien). On the other hand, dragons in later Ages reproduced in the wild and their descendants, most notably Smaug, were sentient without (as far as we know) any binding of spirits within them by a Dark Lord. However, we run into the same question of whether Eru would grant fëar in this case as we did with orcs. On a more pleasant note, Ents and Eagles were said to originate from “spirits [summoned] from afar, and they will go among the kelvar and the olvar [animals and plants], and some will dwell therein” (TS, Of Aulë and Yavanna). This sort of vague reference to spirit is the kind of thing that mostly fell under the umbrella label of Maiar in the later “Silmarillion”, though there remained unexplained categories of beings as well. Of course, the Ents and Entwives are known to reproduce (TTT, III 4) and the Eagles presumably did so as well, which is not incompatible with the idea that the first generation of each were Maiar taking permanent physical forms. Their descendants were probably not Maiar, however, especially if (as seems likely in the case of the Eagles) they mated with normal creatures. Just as Lúthien, daughter of a Maia and an Elf, possessed a fëa and was metaphysically the same as other Elves (albeit an unusually powerful one), the Eagles of the Third Age probably possessedfëar and were Incarnates like other sentient beings (HoMe X, Myths Transformed, Text VIII). Their fate after death remains a mystery, but they may have been summoned to Mandos as that seems to be the common thread in the fates of Elves, Men, and Dwarves.

While there are certain points that are too vague or contradictory to make clear statements, we seem to be left with three broad classes of beings. Animals (kelvar) without sentience are not survived by any soul or spirit after their physical death. This category possibly includes orcs and trolls as well. Naturally disembodied spirits, principally the Ainur, are essentially eternal. Even when they became bound to a specific form they still survived the destruction of their body and lingered on, though their spirit would be diminished. Incarnate beings (Elves, Men, Dwarves, Hobbits, and probably the Ents and Eagles) have souls that are tied to their bodies but outlast physical death, though they go to different pre-determined destinations. Elves are permanently bound to the world and may be reincarnated but their souls might be destroyed at the end of the world. Human souls depart the physical universe entirely and go to Eru. Dwarven souls might be held in Mandos awaiting the end times. The eschatology of Middle-earth is very vague, so we can only speak to the beliefs of different groups. The Silmarillion ends with a statement that no one except maybe Manwë and Varda know if the Marring of Arda will be undone but earlier alludes to a Second Music of the Ainur involving Men (TS, Of the Beginning of Days). Hope for this Healing is expressed in The Lord of the Rings by Galadriel when she tells Treebeard that they will meet again“[n]ot in Middle-earth, nor until the lands that lie under the wave are lifted up again. Then in the willow-meads of Tasarinan we may meet in the Spring” (ROTK, VI 6). Tolkien wrote an descriptions of the end times as the Second Prophecy of Mandos in the 1930s, before The Lord of the Rings or the idea that the mythology would extended past the First Age, but in the 1950s he wrote a version of the Valaquenta specifying that the future had not been prophesied which Christopher Tolkien used in the published Silmarillion (HoMe X, The Valaquenta). Tolkien made a few references to eschatological prophecy in the later “Silmarillion” works as well, but in one of the last instances he changed it to be a prophecy by Andreth of the end of the First Age, rather than a prophecy by Mandos of the end of the world (HoMe XII, The Problem of Ros).

The ultimate fate of Arda and of the Children of Ilúvatar remains a question for the characters of Tolkien’s works as much as it is for his readers, which is very much in keeping with the notion that the stories of Middle-earth was recorded by the characters who lived through them. The lack of certainty regarding death is a major theme in many of the stories about humans, just as it is a concern for many people in the real world. The Tale of Aragorn and Arwen (LOTR, Appendix A) depicts two different human perspectives on death when Aragorn bids farewell to Arwen from his deathbed. Arwen, still with little experience of mortality, is as bitter about death as Andreth or the Second Age Númenóreans, but Aragorn holds to the essentially religious beliefs of the Elf-friends: “Behold! we are not bound for ever to the circles of the world, and beyond them is more than memory. Farewell!”
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Re: Questions for the Lore Masters.

Post by halfwise on Tue Jun 07, 2016 12:18 pm

Definitely some new ideas to me here, Eldo. Never heard of Elvish "ghosts" before. There's an awful lot going on in HoME, but from past experience with Christopher Tolkien, how much is in text and how much is in footnote? Or is it in a form that does not require so many footnotes?

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Re: Questions for the Lore Masters.

Post by Eldorion on Tue Jun 07, 2016 4:21 pm

LACE isn't as reliant on footnotes as some parts of HoME, but in general a lot it's in the notes so it's a good idea to refer to them. Especially if you're curious about what Tolkien's latest ideas might have been, as sometimes revisions to the text are only noted in the notes.
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Re: Questions for the Lore Masters.

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Tue Jun 07, 2016 5:04 pm

{{{An excellent read Eldo :clap: I get so used to your consistent high standards that its easy to forget just how well crafted these pieces of yours are. Plenty to digest there, and many small details I did not know. }}}

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Re: Questions for the Lore Masters.

Post by Eldorion on Tue Jun 07, 2016 6:27 pm

Thanks Petty. Embarassed I have fun writing them, but it's very gratifying to know that other people enjoy reading them, too! Smile
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