It is currently Thu Nov 21, 2019 11:19 am

All times are UTC




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 28 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2  Next
Author Message
PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2007 2:09 pm 
Offline
1000%
User avatar

Joined: Mon Nov 21, 2005 12:41 am
Posts: 35416
[I split this off from the thread on LOTR, Hope, and the Theory of Courage - VtF]

Quote:
Suicide is inherently selfish, even if takes the form of throwing your life away in glorious battle. And I always felt that Éowyn was seeking death more than glory when she rode as Dernhelm. Even her desire to protect and fight with those she loved was less of a motivation, I think.


And yet <looks over his shoulder to see if Alatar is watching> in Tolkien's work it always comes down to a question of fate vs. free will. Yes it is true that there is no curse at work in the case of Éowyn, as there is with Túrin. But still, how much of her actions can be laid at the feet of Eru and His divine plan (as revealed, in part, in the Music)? After all, there is Glorfindel's statement about the Witchking that "Far off yet is his doom, and not by the hand of man will he fall." To what extent was Éowyn's actions actually set in motion in order to actualize that doom?

_________________
In gratitude forever … .


Last edited by Voronwë the Faithful on Thu Sep 20, 2007 8:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2007 2:18 pm 
Offline
of Vinyamar
User avatar

Joined: Thu Dec 01, 2005 10:39 pm
Posts: 8837
Location: Ireland
:x

:rage: :rage: :rage:


Whatever about the Sil, I refuse to believe that Tolkien considered the Music while writing LotR. There may be issues of fate and predestination, but they're more in the epic style of prophecy.

As Galadriel says:

Quote:
I do not foretell, for all foretelling is now vain: on the one hand lies darkness, and on the other only hope.


and again

Quote:
Remember that the Mirror shows many things, and not all have yet come to pass. Some never come to be, unless those that behold the visions turn aside from their path to prevent them.


If all was fixed, the Mirror would always show the future.

_________________
Image
The Vinyamars on Stage! This time at Bag End


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2007 2:26 pm 
Offline
1000%
User avatar

Joined: Mon Nov 21, 2005 12:41 am
Posts: 35416
I should have looked over the other shoulder. :P

I'm not saying that it was all fixed; I don't believe that. Even if the Music is taken into consideration (as I think it must be, because it is all one continuous Tale, as Sam and Frodo tell us), Tolkien made it clear that the Music was not "as fate" to Men. And yet they (we) are certainly caught up in that fate.

It would be an interesting question to look at those comments of Galadriel that you quote in the context of the broader mythology. But that probably should be the subject of a different thread.

_________________
In gratitude forever … .


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2007 3:44 pm 
Offline
of Vinyamar
User avatar

Joined: Thu Dec 01, 2005 10:39 pm
Posts: 8837
Location: Ireland
Voronwë_the_Faithful wrote:
Even if the Music is taken into consideration (as I think it must be, because it is all one continuous Tale, as Sam and Frodo tell us)


I think thats a bit of a leap. The link between the great tales that Sam speaks of is a tenuous one, merely that Galadriels phial contains light from Earendils star, and thus from a Silmaril. I don't think Tolkien would have considered LotR to be part of the story of the Silmarils, more of an addendum or appendix.

_________________
Image
The Vinyamars on Stage! This time at Bag End


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2007 3:49 pm 
Offline
1000%
User avatar

Joined: Mon Nov 21, 2005 12:41 am
Posts: 35416
Tolkien, in Letter 126 wrote:
I had in my letter made a strong point that the Silmarillion etc. and The Lord of the Rings went together, as one long Saga of the Jewels and the Rings, and that I was resolved to treat them as one thing, however they might formally be issues.


He then goes on in that famous letter to Milton Waldman to describe that long saga, beginning with the Music, and going all the way through to the destruction of the Ring.

_________________
In gratitude forever … .


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2007 3:56 pm 
Offline
of Vinyamar
User avatar

Joined: Thu Dec 01, 2005 10:39 pm
Posts: 8837
Location: Ireland
Sorry, but I never accepted Tolkiens "after the fact" rationalisations as being his original intentions. He may say so later, but thats like saying Bilbo's ring was always meant to be Sauron's one ring. He even revised the Hobbit to make it work, but it was never intended. I suspect Tolkien was attempting to do the same with the Sil and LotR after the fact.

Of course, I have no proof of this, but I still believe it.

_________________
Image
The Vinyamars on Stage! This time at Bag End


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2007 4:18 pm 
Offline
1000%
User avatar

Joined: Mon Nov 21, 2005 12:41 am
Posts: 35416
After what fact? This letter was written in around 1951, well before LOTR was published. What about the appendices to LOTR, which briefly trace the story back to Fëanor? What about the inclusion of the tale of Beren and Lúthien told by Aragorn. What about all different references to the Valar, particularly Varda? What about Galadriel's songs with her references to Elven Tirion in Eldamar and Valimar? Are all these things added in "after the fact"?

_________________
In gratitude forever … .


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2007 4:35 pm 
Offline

Joined: Sat Dec 31, 2005 4:31 pm
Posts: 5870
Tolkien spent his entire life editing and revising aspects of his "story". He managed to weave a good deal of it together, but clearly LOTR started out as a different tale than the Sil aspect.
I think there were cases where he referred to material he already had about and managed to fit them into the story.

I'm not sure at what point he penned the part of Aragorn singing part of the Lay of Leithian, but it is possible he was still at a point where the then two stories we far from being fully merged.

It was never a seamless merging and couldn't possibly have been when he started out telling another hobbit tale as opposed to the Sil in full.

As far as Tolkien knew, nobody was ever going to read the full story from the first age onwards, but he did spend his time continually revising text to try and make it fit. The story of Galadriel and Celeborn was never fully finished or rather there were multiple versions of it.

Essentially by his own doing, he was forced to go back and rework parts of the Sil to mesh with an already published work. Although I really have no rights to call the Sil a finished work as it clearly was not. Yet the story had its outline and history laid out.

_________________
Image


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2007 7:57 pm 
Offline
of Vinyamar
User avatar

Joined: Thu Dec 01, 2005 10:39 pm
Posts: 8837
Location: Ireland
What Holby said. :)

_________________
Image
The Vinyamars on Stage! This time at Bag End


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2007 8:45 pm 
Offline
bioalchemist
User avatar

Joined: Thu Sep 20, 2007 12:08 am
Posts: 10876
Location: the dry land
Here's something I can't quite square (aside from my general and universal dislike for fate and divine planning). It says right there, black and white, in the Silmarillion, that Men are not bound by fate, that Men are born in the world, live in it, and then leave the place entirely upon dying. Yet Beren, Túrin and his kin, and Tuor are all Men who end up being more or less the puppets of fate. In fact, most of the characters in the Sil are puppets of fate. The rage and rail against it, but they're stuck on the path ordained for them.

LOTR is very different. The mortal characters in LOTR make decisions and shape events in accordance to their own designs. They're more actively engaged. Frodo doesn't get the ring dumped on him. He takes it up of his own free will. Aragorn very deliberately makes his move on Gondor's throne - he is not twisted around and screwed up by a pre-written destiny. If there's a hand of God in it, it's more like God said "Here is Point A. Here is Point B. It is My wish that you lot go to Point B. I care not how you do it, but there are certain ways to take that will please Me more than others, and if you follow such paths that are pleasing to Me I will do things like send forth Eagles and generally cheer you on from behind the scenes. Otherwise, I'm not getting involved. See you at the finish."

As I was typing that, something occured to me. Oaths get sworn up and down and all around in the Sil. Oaths in Middle Earth are powerful things that bind, direct, and hold. In LOTR, oaths are not sworn. In fact, oaths are actively discouraged - Elrond counsels against it, and so does Frodo in the taming of Sméagol. It's as if the characters in LOTR know something that the Sil characters didn't: in making an oath, you surrender your freedom. Of course, an oath made and taken seriously is a powerful thing. Such an oath brought the Rohirrim to Gondor's aid. But how many other cases are there where an oath works out well for those that took it?


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2007 9:00 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Mon Apr 30, 2007 6:37 pm
Posts: 3728
Location: Engineering a monarchist coup d'etat
Of course, it's an open (and interesting) question whether Túrin *had* to make the series of bad decisions he did. It also seems to be the case that mortal Free Will can be overborne by demonic force: ultimately Frodo succumbs, and fails.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2007 9:01 pm 
Offline
1000%
User avatar

Joined: Mon Nov 21, 2005 12:41 am
Posts: 35416
River wrote:
Frodo doesn't get the ring dumped on him. He takes it up of his own free will.


But at the same time, he was "meant to have the Ring" presumably by Eru. And when he was unable to destroy the Ring, the hand of God inserts itself into the story and tips Gollum over the edge.

Quote:
As I was typing that, something occured to me. Oaths get sworn up and down and all around in the Sil. Oaths in Middle Earth are powerful things that bind, direct, and hold. In LOTR, oaths are not sworn. In fact, oaths are actively discouraged - Elrond counsels against it, and so does Frodo in the taming of Sméagol. It's as if the characters in LOTR know something that the Sil characters didn't: in making an oath, you surrender your freedom. Of course, an oath made and taken seriously is a powerful thing. Such an oath brought the Rohirrim to Gondor's aid. But how many other cases are there where an oath works out well for those that took it?


The most vivid example of an oath in LOTR is the breaking of the oath made to Isildur by the people who become the inhabitants of the Paths of the Dead. Of course, it was the eventual fulfilling of that oath that enabled Aragorn to play his part in saving Gondor, and giving Frodo his opportunity to destroy the Ring.

_________________
In gratitude forever … .


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2007 9:46 pm 
Offline
of Vinyamar
User avatar

Joined: Thu Dec 01, 2005 10:39 pm
Posts: 8837
Location: Ireland
Voronwë_the_Faithful wrote:
But at the same time, he was "meant to have the Ring" presumably by Eru. And when he was unable to destroy the Ring, the hand of God inserts itself into the story and tips Gollum over the edge.


I really hope you're making that up, cause if Tolkien intended that it cheapens the story beyond belief. "Oh, struggle to the ends of your strength, and then when you fail I'll 'fix' it..."

_________________
Image
The Vinyamars on Stage! This time at Bag End


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2007 9:59 pm 
Offline
1000%
User avatar

Joined: Mon Nov 21, 2005 12:41 am
Posts: 35416
Al, that's my interpretation [edit: referring to the hand of God tipping Gollum over the edge part, of course, not the "meant to have the Ring"], not based on anything that Tolkien said (at least that I think of right now). So not to worry. :)

_________________
In gratitude forever … .


Last edited by Voronwë the Faithful on Thu Sep 20, 2007 10:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2007 10:02 pm 
Offline

Joined: Sat Dec 31, 2005 4:31 pm
Posts: 5870
In UT there is a chpater with Gandalf talking to the hobbits and Gimli in Minas Tirith about the whole ring business and the part he played.

I believe there was enough free will left in decisions that the quest could still have failed. I think the Powers regretted their past decisions regarding Sauron and helped tip the balance in the West's favor.

Having said all of that, the Music of the Ainur clearly details that all that will occur is already known by Eru and the Valar have been given a glimpse.

There is only so much free will to go around I guess. ;)

_________________
Image


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2007 10:32 pm 
Offline

Joined: Sat Dec 31, 2005 4:31 pm
Posts: 5870
Sorry for the double post, but this aspect as well as others shed a lot of light in just how unfinished and discordant the Sil was in relation to LOTR.

Seing how LOTR was the only author sanctioned publication it is hard for me to take any of his other works without at least a grain of salt. There was constant revisions still going on until the very end, and it turned out to be such a vast work that I doubt if he had 10 more years he could have gathered all of his strings together.

I believe men had free will but I guess in Tolkien's eyes there were other powers at work that would surpass even their free will. So I guess in a way they were able to choose, but their choices didn't matter all of that much.

_________________
Image


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2007 1:43 am 
Offline
1000%
User avatar

Joined: Mon Nov 21, 2005 12:41 am
Posts: 35416
One book that really discusses this issue really well is Verlyn Flieger's Splintered Light. I have quoted in the past her discussion about how the Elves being bound by fate affects the destiny of Men, and how Men's ability to excercise free will affects the Elve's fate, so I'm not going to quote that again now (although I may dig it up again later). Instead, I'm going to quote her statement about what happened at the crack of doom, because she expresses it so much better than I do. Forgive the long quote:

Verlyn Flieger wrote:
At the Cracks of Doom it is otherwise. There, weakened by his long journey and his wounds, finally broken under the strain of his burden, Frodo succumbs to the force of darkness. Working on the growing darkness within him , the Ring has eroded his will so that he is no longer, as he was on Amond Hen, himself. He is separated from his true being and has become what Gollum so dreadfully embeodies. Frodo's words as he sets teh Ring on his finger and claims it are filled with awul irony: "I do not choose now now to do what I came to do," and "I will not do this deed" (LOTR 924). His use of choose and will makes it clear that he believes he is acting freely. But the negative, the repeated not is telling evidence that his will has been perverted and his choice preempted.

The moment is shocking and powerful. The mind wants to reject it. It is unthinkable that the best hobbit of them all, after his long struggle, his sacrifice, adn the humility and mercy he has shown, should go bad. It is the triumph of evil. Having engineered such shock, Tolkien with consummate timing shifts the spotlight to Gollum, shows his reaction to Frodo's action -- more overwhelming than the reader's -- and brings the scene to a close with the final triumph of evil undoing itself.

An yet, what has happened has happened. It was not necessarily destined, not necessarily foresung in the Music, and yet the concatenation of events is such that nothing else could have happened. The ring is governemd by fate, its very creation foresung in the Music. Gollum and Frodo, each as a Hobbit of the race of Men, of human kind, have the power to act beyond the Music and to have their actions shape events. In a lett, Tolkien described the destruction of the Ring and the salvation of Frodo as "grace," the unforeseeable result of free actions by Sam, Frodo, and Gollum. [Golllum] "did rob and injure [Frodo] in teh end -- but by a 'grace,' that last betrayal was at a precise juncture when the final evil deed was the most beneficial thing anyone cd. have done for Frodo!" (Letters 234). Fate and free will have come together to produce the inevitable, unpredictable, and necessary end.


Exactly what I believe.

_________________
In gratitude forever … .


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2007 2:02 am 
Offline

Joined: Sat Dec 31, 2005 4:31 pm
Posts: 5870
I don't agree with her use of the word unpredictable. Something inevitable cannot be unpredictable. The method perhaps, but not the actual event and that may be what she was referring to.

Other than that I am essentially saying the same thing minus the spin she puts on it. Try and affect things as they might, man can't overcome the music or fate that was set forth. Yes they can act beyond the music but they cannot undue its intent.



"...And thou, Melkor, shalt see that no theme may be played that hath not its uttermost source in me, nor can any alter the music in my despite. For he that attempteth this shall prove but mine instrument in the devising of things more wonderful, which he himself had not imagined."

Try as he may, Gollum could in no way alter the fate already set forth.

_________________
Image


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2007 2:12 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Mon Apr 30, 2007 6:37 pm
Posts: 3728
Location: Engineering a monarchist coup d'etat
Quote:
I really hope you're making that up, cause if Tolkien intended that it cheapens the story beyond belief. "Oh, struggle to the ends of your strength, and then when you fail I'll 'fix' it..."


Actually, Alatar, that's precisely what Tolkien intended. He says so explicitly in Letters: the most concise version is

Quote:
...Of course, [Gandalf] did not mean to say that one must be merciful, for it may prove useful later - it would not then be mercy or pity, which are only truly present when contrary to prudence. Not ours to plan! But we are assured that we must be ourselves extravagantly generous, if we are to hope for the extravagant generosity which the slightest easing of, or escape from, the consequenses of our own follies and errors represents. And that mercy does sometimes occur in this life.

Frodo deserved all honour because he spent every drop of his power of will and body, and that was just sufficient to bring him to the destined point, and no further. Few others, possibly no others of his time, would have got so far. The Other Power then took over: the Writer of the Story (by which I do not mean myself), 'that one ever-present Person who is never absent and never named.'

--Letter No 192, 27 July 1956. See also Letters Nos. 181, 191, 246, in each of which Tolkien emphasizes the inevitability of Frodo's failure, and the role of Mercy in redressing it.

Compare also his comments on Gandalf's death and resurrection: the Valar's plan failed in Khazad-dûm; but in the moment of its failure the plan was taken up, ratified and enhanced by Higher Authority.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2007 2:24 am 
Offline
1000%
User avatar

Joined: Mon Nov 21, 2005 12:41 am
Posts: 35416
All of that is, of course, true, Soli. What I was saying is that Tolkien never explicitly stated, as I did here (and in the past) that Eru actually physically inserted his hand in the story to push Gollum over the edge of the Cracks of Doom. That is, admittedly, a bit of a leap, but it is always how I have seen the story.

_________________
In gratitude forever … .


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 28 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2  Next

All times are UTC


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group