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Minas Tirith Forums » Library Council of Minas Tirith » The End of Arda or the Apocalypse of Tolkien (Page 1)
Author Topic: The End of Arda or the Apocalypse of Tolkien
Eluchil
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So, I wrote something some time ago, and somebody advised me to translate it. So here we go (and sorry for my poor english [] ).


Introduction

This essay aims at bringing out, from the silence, or rather the weak hints in the Silmarillion published by Christopher Tolkien (I.), the varied Ardarin traditions on the apocalypse. On the basis of The History of Middle-earth (HoMe) anf from an internal point of view, four main traditions will be examined : the Númenórean tradition (II.), the Elvish tradition (III.), and a mixed tradition, derived from the Athrabeth Finrod ah Andreth (IV.); the last one, the Dark tradition, is a relatively specific tradition (V.).

But first, the framework of this topic has to be fixed, by determining the scope of the concept of apocalypse, and then by applying it to the Tale of Arda.

The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary gives the following definition for "apocalypse" :
  • 1. The supposed revelation of the future made to St John in the island of Patmos; the book of the New Testament relating this.
  • 2. Any vision or prophecy, esp. of violent or climatic events comparable with those foretold in the book Revelation of St John. Also, the events themselves.
The second part of this definition is the relevant one, as will be seen with the stories relating the end of Arda. The etymology of this name already indicates the form these stories will take : the name is derived from ecclesiastical Latin apocalypsis, from Greek αποκαλυψις "revelation". These stories will indeed often be presented as visions, or even prophecies.

Last, within the Tale of Arda, the phrase "end of Arda" needs to be understood in the light of the traditional Ardarin triptych relating to the Marring. The stories of the Elder Days tell us indeed that three Ardas have to be distinguished with respect to the Marring :
  • Arda Alahasta, or Arda Unmarred, which is Arda as it should have been without the Marring, and which has never existed outside of the Music of the Ainur,
  • Arda Sahta/Hastaina, or Arda Marred, which is Arda in which the Tale of Arda unfold, and
  • Arda Envinyanta, or Arda Healed/Renewed, which is Arda as it will be when the Marring will be unmade, after the final defeat of Melkor.
In the light of this distinction, the phrase "end of Arda", which is sometime replaced by "end of time" in the Legendarium, can only mean the end of Arda Marred.


I. The Invisible Apocalypse

The Silmarillion having a genesis, the '"Ainulindalë", one could expect it to also have an apocalypse, an end of time. Yet it only lightly touches on this potential end of time, in several places, and makes it rather mysterious. So can we read that :

quote:
"[...] the Valar have not seen as with sight the Later Ages or the ending of the World."

The Silmarillion, "Ainulindalë".

However, we know that some events will happen in that time :

quote:
"Never since have the Ainur made any music like to this music, thought it has been said that a greater still shall be made before Ilúvatar by the choirs of the Ainur and the Children of Ilúvatar after the ends of days. Then the Themes of Ilúvatar shall be played aright, and take Being in the moment of their utterance, for all shall then understand fully his intent in their part, and each shall know the comprehension of each, and Ilúvatar shall give to their thoughts the secret fire, being well pleased."

Ibid.

Events already foretold by some signs :

quote:
"[...] and Menelmacar with his shining belt, that forebodes the Last Battle that shall be at the end of days."

Ibid., "Quenta Silmarillion - Of the Coming of the Elves and the Captivity of Melkor".

In that time, more will be known about the Silmarils :

quote:
"But not until the End, when Fëanor shall return who perished ere the Sun was made, and sits now in the Halls of Awaiting and comes no more among his kin; not until the Sun passes and the Moon falls, shall it be known of what substance they were made."

Ibid., "Quenta Silmarillion - Of the Silmarils and the Unrest of the Noldor".

The part of some races can be guessed, as the one of the Dwarves (minute evidence of a Dwarvish tradition)[1] :

quote:
"[...] and that [Aulë] declared to their Fathers of old that Ilúvatar will hallow them and give them a place among the Children in the End. Then their part shall be to serve Aulë and to aid him in the remaking of Arda after the Last Battle."

Ibid., "Quenta Silmarillion - Of Aulë and Yavanna".

On Men[2] and Elves :

quote:
"Yet of old the Valar declared to the Elves in Valinor that Men shall join in the Second Music of the Ainur; whereas Ilúvatar has not revealed what he purposes for the Elves After the World's end, and Melkor has not discovered it."

Ibid., "Quenta Silmarillion - Of the Beginning of Days".

But the conclusion of the "Quenta Silmarillion" comes as a bombshell :

quote:
"Here ends the Silmarillion. If it has passed from the high and the beautiful to sadness and ruin, that was of old the fate of Arda Marred; and if any change shall come and the Marring be amended, Manwë and Varda may know; but they have not revealed it, and it is not declared in the dooms of Mandos."

Ibid., "Quenta Silmarillion - Of the Voyage of Eärendil and the War of Wrath".

However, this passage needs to be put into perspective : HoMe X, Morgoth's Ring, "The Later Quenta Silmarillion" shows that, according to Tolkien, it was meant to be the conclusion of the Valaquenta, not the one of the Quenta Silmarillion. Moreover, it was very lately (end of the fifties) added as a conclusion to the Valaquenta. A further investigation into HoMes is thus necessary.


II. The Númenórean Tradition

The HoMe collection allows us to consider a text on the end of time and belonging to the Númenórean tradition, the Second Prophecy of Mandos.

Before considering the text of this prophecy (II.3.), the specific role of Mandos has to be recalled (II.1.), as well as what is named the First Prophecy of Mandos (II.2.).


II.1. Mandos

Mandos, or Námo by his true name, is one of the fourteen Valar, and also one of the nine Aratar, and one of the two Fëanturi. The Silmarillion describes him as follows :

quote:
"Námo the elder dwells in Mandos, which is [north]ward* in Valinor. He is the keeper of the Houses of the Dead, and the summoner of the spirits of the slain. He forgets nothing; and he knows all things that shall be, save only those that lie still in the freedom of Ilúvatar. He is the Doomsman of the Valar; but he pronounces his dooms and his Judgements only at the bidding of Manwë."

Ibid., "Valaquenta".
________
* [Correction of the editorial mistake (cf. HoMe X, Morgoth's Ring, "The Later Quenta Silmarillion - Second Phase - The Valaquenta").]

HoMe X adds to this description, with Mandos telling :

quote:
"Hearken now, О Valar! To me foretelling* is granted no less than doom, and I will proclaim now to you things both near and far."

HoMe X, Morgoth's Ring, "The Statute of Finwë and Míriel".
________
* [footnote to the text] By which was meant prophecy concerning things which neither reason upon evidence, nor (for the Valar) knowledge of the Great Theme, could discover or swiftly perceive. Only rarely and in great matters was Mandos moved to prophecy.

Compared to the other Valar, the particular role of Námo Mandos is thus double : he is the judge - pronouncer of sentences, and a prophet. This function of prophet is displayed on several places in the Legendarium; the two most famous examples are the two prophecies of Mandos.


II.2. The First Prophecy of Mandos

This first prophecy (often called "the Doom of the Noldor" or "the Prophecy of the North") is not directly linked to the theme of the end of time but is given here for the sake of comprehensiveness.

quote:
"Tears unnumbered ye shall shed; and the Valar will fence Valinor against you, and shut you out, so that not even the echo of your lamentation shall pass over the mountains. On the House of Fëanor the wrath of the Valar lieth from the West unto the uttermost East, and upon all that will follow them it shall be laid also. Their Oath shall drive them, and yet betray them, and ever snatch away the very treasures that they have sworn to pursue. To evil end shall all things turn that they begin well; and by treason of kin unto kin, and the fear of treason, shall this come to pass. The Dispossessed shall they be for ever.

Ye have spilled the blood of your kindred unrighteously and have stained the land of Aman. For blood ye shall render blood, and beyond Aman ye shall dwell in Death's shadow. For though Eru appointed to you to die not in Eä, and no sickness may assail you, yet slain ye may be, and slain ye shall be: by weapon and by torment and by grief; and your houseless spirits shall come then to Mandos. There long shall ye abide and yearn for your bodies, and find little pity though all whom ye have slain should entreat for you. And those that endure in Middle-earth and come not to Mandos shall grow weary of the world as with a great burden, and shall wane, and become as shadows of regret before the younger race that cometh after. The Valar have spoken."

The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion - Of the Flight of the Noldor".

II.3. The Second Prophecy of Mandos

Though its form has been altered several times, this text stands in the Legendarium since its beginning. It was meant to appear at the end of the Quenta Silmarillion, just before its conclusion.

As every texts of the last chapters of the Quenta Silmarillion, the Second Prophecy of Mandos has partly escaped to its last revision. Thus the last full version of this text, provided by HoMe, goes back to the thirties and reads :

quote:
"Thus spake Mandos in prophecy, when the Gods sat in judgement in Valinor, and the rumour of his words was whispered among all the Elves of the West. When the world is old and the Powers grow weary, then Morgoth, seeing that the guard sleepeth, shall come back through the Door of Night out of the Timeless Void; and he shall destroy the Sun and Moon. But Earendel shall descend upon him as a white and searing flame and drive him from the airs. Then shall the Last Battle be gathered on the fields of Valinor. In that day Tulkas shall strive with Morgoth, and on his right hand shall be Fionwë, and on his left Túrin Turambar, son of Húrin, coming from the halls of Mandos; and the black sword of Túrin shall deal unto Morgoth his death and final end; and so shall the children of Húrin and all Men be avenged.

Thereafter shall Earth be broken and re-made, and the Silmarils shall be recovered out of Air and Earth and Sea; for Earendel shall descend and surrender that flame which he hath had in keeping. Then Fëanor shall take the Three Jewels and bear them to Yavanna Palúrien; and she will break them and with their fire rekindle the Two Trees, and a great light shall come forth. And the Mountains of Valinor shall be levelled, so that the Light shall go out over all the world. In that light the Gods will grow young again, and the Elves awake and all their dead arise, and the purpose of Ilúvatar be fulfilled concerning them. But of Men in that day the prophecy of Mandos doth not speak, and no Man it names, save Túrin only, and to him a place is given among the sons of the Valar."

HoMe V, The Loast Road and other writings, "Quenta Silmarillion".

With the alterations made at the end of the forties, shown by Christopher Tolkien in HoMe XI, The War of the Jewels, "The Later Quenta Silmarillion", the consolidated version of the text would read :

quote:
"Thus spake Mandos in prophecy, when the Gods sat in judgement in Valinor, and the rumour of his words was whispered among all the Elves of the West. When the world is old and the Powers grow weary, then Morgoth, seeing that the guard sleepeth, shall come back through the Door of Night out of the Timeless Void; and he shall destroy the Sun and Moon. But Earendel shall descend upon him as a white and searing flame and drive him from the airs. Then shall the Last Battle be gathered on the fields of Valinor. In that day Tulkas shall strive with Morgoth, and on his right hand shall be Fionwë, and on his left Túrin Turambar, son of Húrin, returning from the Doom of Men at the ending of the world [and Beren Camlost ?]; and the black sword of Túrin shall deal unto Morgoth his death and final end; and so shall the children of Húrin and all Men be avenged.

Thereafter shall Earth be broken and re-made, and the Silmarils shall be recovered out of Air and Earth and Sea; for Earendel shall descend and surrender that flame which he hath had in keeping. Then Fëanor shall take the Three Jewels and bear them to Yavanna Palúrien; and he will break them and with their fire Yavanna will rekindle the Two Trees, and a great light shall come forth. And the Mountains of Valinor shall be levelled, so that the Light shall go out over all the world. In that light the Gods will grow young again, and the Elves awake and all their dead arise, and the purpose of Ilúvatar be fulfilled concerning them. [? : But of Men in that day the prophecy of Mandos doth not speak, and no Man it names, save Túrin only, and to him a place is given among the sons of the Valar.]"

Had Tolkien completed this revision, it is likely that he would have replaced "Fionwë" by "Eönwë" (as he did in several other texts), "Earendel" by "Eärendil", and "Gods" by "Valar" or "Powers".[3] However, on can hardly guess what he would have done with Beren Camlost as well as with the last sentence ...

Without really explaining himself, Christopher Tolkien has concluded that the appearance of the above-mentioned conclusion of the Valaquenta (cf. point I.) meant that his father had finally rejected the Second Prophecy of Mandos. He therefore decided not to include it in the Silmarillion. This seems at least questionable. Indeed, the Commentary on the Athrabeth tells us that this very text was a Númenórean tradition :

quote:
The myth that appears at the end of the Silmarillion is of Númenórean origin;* it is clearly made by Men, though Men acquainted with Elvish tradition.

HoMe X, Morgoth's Ring, "Athrabeth Finrod ah Andreth".
______
* [Christopher Tolkien's note] "The myth that appears at the end of the Silmarillion" : in so far as the reference is to any actual written text, this is the conclusion of QS (V.333, §§31 - 2), the Prophecy of Mandos.

This note from Christopher Tolkien blatantly opposes what he previously said of the Second Prophecy of Mandos, which he thought his father had abandoned. This reopens the issue of its status : indeed, how could Tolkien have abandoned a text that he was still referring to in a contemporary text ?[4] The problem Christopher Tolkien was confronted with lays in the conclusion of the Quenta Silmarillion : this conclusion was originally the conclusion of a text of a different nature, the Valaquenta (cf. Point I.); at that place, it did not directly interfere with the Second Prophecy of Mandos. On the other hand, the Quenta Silmarillion as left by Tolkien did not have a satisfactory conclusion. The moving by Christopher Tolkien of the Valaquenta conclusion to the Quenta Silmarillion has thus the advantage of litterary elegance, but it introduces an important contradiction between the two texts and, in the so-obtained Quenta Silmarillion, causes the rejection of one of them, i.e. the Prophecy. But does one need to conclude, as Christopher Tolkien did it, that the Second Prophecy of Mandos was abandoned ? On the basis of the above-mentioned extract of the Commentary on the Athrabeth, as well as of an element based on the Dark Tradition (cf. Point V.), one does not.


III. The Elvish Tradition

The Commentary on the Athrabeth tells us that the Elvish tradition is in fact a lack of tradition :

quote:
"It is noteworthy that the Elves had no myths or legends dealing with the end of the world."

Ibid.

Yet the Elves knew there would be an end for Arda, as it was finite, as opposed to Eru who is infinite. The Commentary tells us again how they perceived the end of Arda :

quote:
"The Elves expected the End of Arda to be catastrophic. They thought that it would be brought about by the dissolution of the structure of Imbar at least, if not of the whole system. The End of Arda is not, of course, the same thing as the end of Eä. About this they held that nothing could be known, except that Eä was ultimately finite."

Ibid.

A catastrophe that, with regard to what will follow it - Arda Envinyanta, or Arda Healed -, can be described as an eucatastrophe, a catastrophe producing a greater good.

Yet the Elves did not know about their fate after the end of time :

quote:
"Beyond the 'End of Arda' Elvish thought could not penetrate, and they were without any specific instruction. It seemed clear to them that their hröar must then end, and therefore any kind of re-incarnation would be impossible. All the Elves would then 'die' at the End of Arda. What this would mean they did not know. They said therefore that Men had a shadow behind them, but the Elves had a shadow before them."

Ibid.

In answer to this shadow there was no Elvish tradition, but a Hope, Estel, a "naked" Estel :

quote:
"the trust in Eru, that whatever He designed beyond the End would be recognized by each fëa as wholly satisfying (at the least). Probably it would contain joys unforeseeable. But they remained in the belief that it would remain in intelligible relation with their present nature and desires, proceed from them, and include them."

Ibid.

IV. The "Athrabethin" Tradition

The Athrabeth Finrod ah Andreth is essentially a work on the dialectics mortality - immortality through a debate between two characters of the Legendarium, the philosopher Elven-King Finrod and the Mannish Wise-woman Andreth.

In this debate, Finrod, talking about the fate of Elves, comes to the subject of the end of Arda :

quote:
"Now none of us know, though the Valar may know, the future of Arda, or how long it is ordained to endure. But it will not endure for ever. It was made by Eru, but He is not in it. The One only has no limits. Arda, and Eä itself, must therefore be bounded."

Ibid.

Answering to Andreth, who was putting forward that Elves did not know Death, contrary to Men, Finrod explains the Elvish fear about the end of time, the famous shadow in front of them, thus confirming the uncertainty mentioned in the Silmarillion (cf. point I.) :

quote:
"You see us, the Quendi, still in the first ages of our being, and the end is far off. As maybe among you death may seem to a young man in his strength; save that we have long years of life and thought already behind us. But the end will come. That we all know. And then we must die; we must perish utterly, it seems, for we belong to Arda (in hröa and fëa). And beyond that what? 'The going out to no return', as you say; 'the uttermost end, the irremediable loss'?
Our hunter is slow-footed, but he never loses the trail. Beyond the day when he shall blow the mort, we have no certainty, no knowledge. And no one speaks to us of hope."

Ibid.

Then, on the basis of the Mannish believe of their original immortality (cf. HoMe X, Morgoth's Ring, "Athrabeth Finrod ah Andreth - The Tale of Adanel"), combining immortality of both the Mannish fëa and hröa, Finrod concludes :

quote:
"Then this must surely follow: the fëa when it departs must take with it the hröa. And what can this mean unless it be that the fëa shall have the power to uplift the hröa, as its eternal spouse and companion, into an endurance everlasting beyond Eä, and beyond Time? Thus would Arda, or part thereof, be healed not only of the taint of Melkor, but released even from the limits that were set for it in the 'Vision of Eru' of which the Valar speak.
Therefore I say that if this can be believed, then mighty indeed under Eru were Men made in their beginning; and dreadful beyond all other calamities was the change in their state. [...]
This then, I propound, was the errand of Men, not the followers, but the heirs and fulfillers of all: to heal the Marring of Arda, already foreshadowed before their devising; and to do more, as agents of the magnificence of Eru: to enlarge the Music and surpass the Vision of the World!"

Ibid.

Finrod comes then to perceive Men as agents of the Healing of Arda, which will come at the end of time. Then, he wonders if it could be that the Valar did not listen to the Great Music till its end, or if Eru hid it from them, and Andreth asks him what that end would be. This answer from Finrod follows, full of Estel :

quote:
"'Ah, wise lady!' said Finrod. 'I am an Elda, and again I was thinking of my own people. But nay, of all the Children of Eru. I was thinking that by the Second Children we might have been delivered from death. For ever as we spoke of death being a division of the united, I thought in my heart of a death that is not so: but the ending together of both. For that is what lies before us, so far as our reason could see: the completion of Arda and its end, and therefore also of us children of Arda; the end when all the long lives of the Elves shall be wholly in the past.
And then suddenly I beheld as a vision Arda Remade; and there the Eldar completed but not ended could abide in the present for ever, and there walk, maybe, with the Children of Men, their deliverers, and sing to them such songs as, even in the Bliss beyond bliss, should make the green valleys ring and the everlasting mountain-tops to throb like harps.'"

Ibid.

But this conclusion is based on the supposed original Mannish immortality. Therefore, being now mortal, Men cannot be the only agents of the Healing of Arda, and an external agent is needed. Mannish Wises, called "of the Old Hope", put forward an answer as to the identity of this external agent :

quote:
"'They say,' answered Andreth: 'they say that the One will himself enter into Arda, and heal Men and all the Marring from the beginning to the end. This they say also, or they feign, is a rumour that has come down through years uncounted, even from the days of our undoing.'"

Ibid.

Such is the answer of the Athrabeth as to the end of time : the Healing of Arda by Eru Himself, entering Arda, and by Men as co-agents; a combination at which Tolkien hints in his Commentary :

quote:
"Since Finrod had already guessed that the redemptive function was originally specially assigned to Men, he probably proceeded to the expectation that 'the coming of Eru', if it took place, would be specially and primarily concerned with Men: that is to an imaginative guess or vision that Eru would come incarnated in human form. This, however, does not appear in the Athrabeth."

Ibid.

V. The Dark Tradition

The "Dark Tradition" is the last examined tradition and is so called because of its originator(s) : Morgoth and/or Sauron.

The most obvious sign of this tradition is found in The Lord of the Rings, more precisely in the incantation uttered by the Barrow-wight toward Sam, Merry and Pippin :

quote:
"Cold be hand and heart and bone,
and cold be sleep under stone:
never more to wake on stony bed,
never, till the Sun fails and the Moon is dead.
In the black wind the stars shall die,
and still on gold here let them lie,
till the dark lord lifts his hand
over dead sea and withered land."

The Lord of the Rings, Book I, Chapter 8.

By its phrasing and by the events it foretells (destruction of the Sun and the Moon), this incantation directly counterbalances the Second Prophecy of Mandos : the events are the same, but victory seems to have passed to the other side ("seems" because the final outcome is not explicitely mentioned). Its appearance in The Lord of the Rings also seems to strengthen the point that Tolkien did not abandon the Second Prophecy of Mandos (cf. Point II.) : Tolkien used to give a special importance to his published works.

This tradition is remotely echoed by other servants of the Dark Lord, Orcs, in the oath that Thû (the future Sauron) reminds them :

quote:
"Death to light, to law, to love !
Cursed be moon and stars above !
May darkness everlasting old
that waits outside in surges cold
drown Manwë, Varda, and the sun !
May all in hatred be begun,
and all in evil ended be,
in the moaning of the endless Sea !"

HoMe III, The Lays of Beleriand, "The Lay of Leithian".

However, this tradition has a particular nature, compared to the three other ones : its originator, be it Morgoth himself or, more likely, Sauron, but in both cases Ainur, cannot believe in it. Indeed, the outcome of this prophecy, the victory of the Dark Lord, cannot be held as true by any Ainu : the Ainur had directly known Eru, as well as His words to Melkor at the time of the Great Music. Therefore, this is a lie, one of the favourite deceits of the Dark Lord.

This tradition surviving till the end of the Third Age, with the Barrow-wight's incantation, directly points at Sauron. To make one believe in a final victory of the Dark Lord indeed recalls the Morgothic worship that Sauron established in Númenor (as well as in Middle-earth), in order to serve his own purposes :

quote:
"To wean one of the God-fearing from their allegiance it is best to propound another unseen object of allegiance and another hope of benefits; propound to him a Lord who will sanction what he desires and not forbid it. Sauron, apparently a defeated rival for world-power, now a mere hostage, can hardly propound himself; but as the former servant and disciple of Melkor, the worship of Melkor will raise him from hostage to high priest."

HoMe X, Morgoth's Ring, "Myths Transformed", Text VII.

Conclusion

Behind the silence of the Silmarillion are thus hidden several Ardarin apocalyptic traditions. If we put aside the Elvish (non) tradition and the (deceitful) Dark tradition, we are left with the Númenórean and the "Athrabethin" traditions, two traditions preserved and passed on by Númenor.

Both traditions can prove to be interesting if examined from an external point of view; we can indeed feel in them what the French Tolkienologist Michaël Devaux calls "the two scents of the Legendarium" : a first one, Anglo-Saxon, or even Nordic, therefore pagan, found in the Númenórean tradition, and a second one, Christian, and more specifically Catholic, hinted at in the "Athrabethin" tradition. This feeling could certainly be confirmed by a thorough study of the sources of these two traditions; however, such a task is not within the scope of this essay.


[1] While waiting for the end of time, Dwarves believed "that Aulë cares for them and gathers them in Mandos in halls set apart for them, and there they wait, not in idleness but in the practice of crafts and the learning of yet deeper lore" (HoMe XI, The War of the Jewels, "Later Quenta Silmarillion", chapter 13).
[2] The end of time will also be the end of the imprisonment of some Men, sc. Ar-Pharazôn and his warriors that had set foot upon the land of Aman and that lie imprisoned in the Caves of the Forgotten.
[3] What he also did coherently in those texts that he had the time to revise on this point. Moreover, this substitution was part of Christopher Tolkien's editorial policy for the composition of the Silmarillion.
[4] The issue is even larger : references to the Dagor Dagorath are found in other texts contemporary to or even later than the so-called rejection of the Second Prophecy of Mandos : "The Istari" (1954), "Myths Transformed", Text VII (second half of the fifties), "Concerning Dwarves" (revision of +/- 1958), "The Problem of Ros" (+/- 1968). This last text is interesting, as it ascribes to Andreth, a Wise-woman of the People of Bëor, a prophecy on the return of Túrin at the time of the Last Battle, foretelling that he will slay Ancalagon, the winged dragon.

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Eluchil
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Reactions are welcome, he []
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Artaresto
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This is scholarship []

A great work, in-depth and professional. Great achievement! []

Much of this I am not (or wasn't) familiar with, but this essay sums everything up in a very good way []

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Roll of Honor Thorin
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Excellent essay!

I'm sorry, Eluchil, my time is very pressed at the moment but I wanted to get some clarification:
quote:
The moving by Christopher Tolkien of the Valaquenta conclusion to the Quenta Silmarillion has thus the advantage of litterary elegance, but it introduces an important contradiction between the two texts and, in the so-obtained Quenta Silmarillion, causes the rejection of one of them, i.e. the Prophecy. But does one need to conclude, as Christopher Tolkien did it, that the Second Prophecy of Mandos was abandoned ?
If Christopher moved the text it would make sense that he wanted it coherent, and did some editing to make it a whole narrative. However, you say that he thought the 2nd prophecy was abandoned. Why? He can't think it was abandoned simply to justify his editing. He must have a reason behind this thinking. I tried to do some research on this yesterday but didn't have the time. So I'll ask you instead. []
quote:
Both traditions can prove to be interesting if examined from an external point of view; we can indeed feel in them what the French Tolkienologist Michaël Devaux calls "the two scents of the Legendarium" : a first one, Anglo-Saxon, or even Nordic, therefore pagan, found in the Númenórean tradition, and a second one, Christian, and more specifically Catholic, hinted at in the "Athrabethin" tradition. This feeling could certainly be confirmed by a thorough study of the sources of these two traditions; however, such a task is not within the scope of this essay.
Maybe, but I think it would be the logical follow-up essay. That teaser at the end left me wanting more!
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Eluchil
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Thanks []
quote:
He must have a reason behind this thinking.
Well, if he has, he could have explained it. Here's his comment :
quote:
The Valaquenta texts end thus, and speak of the Marring of Arda, the underlying concern of many of the writings given subsequently in this book:
quote:
Here ends The Valaquenta. If it has passed from the high and beautiful to darkness and ruin, that was of old the fate of Arda Marred; and if any change shall come and the Marring be amended, Manwë and Varda may know; but they have not revealed it, and it is not declared in the dooms of Mandos.
The Second Prophecy of Mandos (V.333) had now therefore definitively disappeared. This passage was used to form a conclusion to the published Silmarillion (p. 255).

The Latest Quenta Silmarillion - The Second Phase.

This hardly tells us something about it ...

Edit : I forgot the "teaser" ( [] ) : I'm afraid I don't know enough about Nordic mythology ... but if anybody does, he's welcome []

[ 03-23-2007, 11:35 AM: Message edited by: Eluchil ]

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Galin
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I think CJRT might mean the Second Prophecy of Mandos is rejected specifically. In other words Mandos is either going to deliver (be said to have delivered) a Second Prophecy or not (one would assume). If he is not that doesn't mean that there are no traditions, or hints within traditions, Mannish or mixed for example, regarding the End of the World (though in what measure or detail is another matter).

This could be splitting hairs but given CJRT's frankness with respect to uncertainties about other matters, perhaps his statement 'The Second Prophecy of Mandos (V. 333) had now therefore definitively disappeared.' might be seen in this light? Though I agree the characterization of the myth (in the author's notes to the commentary, MR) is interesting indeed.

Nice work in any case []

[ 04-03-2007, 03:16 PM: Message edited by: Galin ]

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Eluchil
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Thanks []

I'm not sure to understand your point, though. Do you mean that in the framework of the Valaquenta, there's no place for the Prophecy ? in which case, I of course agree (most of all as it was never a part of the rather new Valaquenta). But that does not mean per se that there was no place for it anymore in the framework of the Quenta Silmarillion.

quote:
If he is not that doesn't mean that there are no traditions, or hints within traditions, Mannish or mixed for example, regarding the End of the World (though in what measure or detail is another matter).
Well, then, it could have stayed in the QS (which is my opinion) if Christopher hadn't moved the Valaquenta conclusion.
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Galin
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quote:
I'm not sure to understand your point, though. Do you mean that in the framework of the Valaquenta, there's no place for the Prophecy?
I mean that CJRT probably thought there would be no second prophecy (specifically) to end the Silmarillion. The content of that prophecy (or details from it) however may not have been definitively rejected (the content could be the 'myth' of Tolkien's note in MR). If indeed the myth was to survive in whole or in part and characterized as mostly Mannish in notions, I think Christopher Tolkien concluded, in any case, that it was not to be thought of as coming from Mandos.

quote:
Galin wrote: If he is not that doesn't mean that there are no traditions, or hints within traditions, Mannish or mixed for example, regarding the End of the World (though in what measure or detail is another matter). Eluchil responded: Well, then, it could have stayed in the QS (which is my opinion) if Christopher hadn't moved the Valaquenta conclusion.
Putting the prophecy of Andreth (see The Problem of Ros) aside for the moment, possibly.

It could be included in QS (and the Valaquenta passage could appear in its own place) with the suggestion that the myth represents 'confused' or Mannish ideas. It's not impossible that Men acquainted with Elvish tradition could put this myth into such a context (it would not be surprising to see the great Men of the great tales included in any case), but when Mandos speaks one tends to really listen, if you follow my meaning.

[]

[ 11-03-2010, 01:56 PM: Message edited by: Galin ]

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Eluchil
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Arnkell
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quote:
This tradition is remotely echoed by other servants of the Dark Lord, Orcs, in the oath that Thû (the future Sauron) reminds them
When, historically, is this Thû-Sauron active?
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Eluchil
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Do you mean internally or externally ?
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Roll of Honor Thorin
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You know, after reading Children of Hurin I'm pretty convinced that if anyone should kill Morgoth it should be Turin. That curse was pretty hard core.
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Eluchil
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I had forgotten it from UT, but it's also in there, as it is in CoH (Finduilas talking to Gwindor) :
quote:
The Adanedhel is mighty in the tale of the World, and his stature shall reach yet to Morgoth in some far day to come.

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Eluchil
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[] : several months later : but in any case, that's a Mannish tradition. The story of Túrin is derived from Dírhaval, a Mannish poet.
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Hamfast Gamgee
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I wonder if Turin could be trusted with the task of killing Morgoth? I mean, given his character, Turin is just as likely to lose his temper with the other Valar and kill some of them as well! Probably mistakingly kill Feanor too boot!

[ 10-28-2007, 10:10 AM: Message edited by: Hamfast Gamgee ]

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Roll of Honor Wandering Tuor
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Great post, Eluchil.

It should be noted that many details and themes of the Ardarin apocalypse as related in the second prophecy of Mandos are taken from the Ragnarok of Norse mythology as described in the Eddas.

1. Foreknowledge – Ragnarok (that is, the fate of the Gods) is foretold in the prophecy known as the Voluspa (and other poems in the Elder Edda, including the Vafþrúðnismál); the fate of Arda is foretold in the second prophecy of Mandos.

2. Return of the Enemy(ies) – Ragnarok is preceded by the return of the giants, the god Loki and the wolf Fenrir. Mandos foretells that Morgoth will "come back through the Door of Night".

3. Destruction of the Sun and Moon – Prior to Ragnarok, the sun and moon are swallowed by the wolf Fenrir (or by two other wolves, depending on the source); according to Mandos' second Prophecy, Morgoth destroys the sun and moon.

4. The Last Battle – The last battle in Norse mythology, all of the gods join in the battle against the giants, Loki and Fenrir. Freyr, Thor, Odin and Heimdall (among other gods) are killed, and the world is destroyed by fire from the fire giant Surtr. Mandos prophesies that earth "will be broken and re-made".

5. Rebirth – After the conflagration, a new earth rises up:

Now do I see | the earth anew
Rise all green | from the waves again;
The cataracts fall, | and the eagle flies,
And fish he catches | beneath the cliffs.

(Voluspa, stanza 59)

And after Arda is destroyed it is re-made as Eluchil has expained.

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Roll of Honor Wandering Tuor
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Following up on Hamfast's post: I've always wondered why Túrin was always Tolkien's choice (in the Second Prophecy) for the final slayer of Morgoth.

Was it just because Túrin had fallen the farthest and suffered the greatest hurt from Morgoth?

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The Dread Pirate Roberts
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Certainly Turin owes him a debt of vengeance, but I have often thought Tuor would be at least as appropriate. After all, he sailed west, never to be seen again by mortal man. Surely he's being held for some great destiny, no? Plus, they're cousins who never met; wouldn't it be great to see them meet on the battlefield for the first time and slay Melkor together? 'You may say I'm a dreamer but I'm not the only one.'
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Eluchil
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On the Rebirth, I seem to reckon that there is a difference : in the Voluspa tradition, won't the new Earth belong to the same kind of cycle, i.e. Ragnarok again ? This is of course not the same with Arda Healed.

As for Túrin, I can see two answers :
  • internal : Túrin is the last lord of the House of Hador, and the Númenóreans mainly descended from this House. Moreover, Túrin's saga was well known in Númenor, he was a kind of "national hero". It thus seems to me to be quite normal that he is the only Man named in this Númenórean legend.
  • external : among the Mannish heroes of the three great tales of the First Age (the Narn, the Lay of Leithian and the Tale of Tuor), i.e. Túrin, Beren and Tuor, which one would be the most appropriate to fight Morgoth ? Beren did not really fought against him. And Tuor was in any case said to be counted among the Noldor.

quote:
Was it just because Túrin had fallen the farthest and suffered the greatest hurt from Morgoth?
I like this [] but I wonder if this is not a bit anachronic : the prophecy dates from the 1930s (before Tolkien wrote a cross against the last lines). At this time, I'm not sure Túrin could be so characterised ...
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Mithrennaith
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Eluchil:
quote:
Túrin is the last lord of the House of Hador, and the Númenóreans mainly descended from this House. Moreover, Túrin's saga was well known in Númenor, he was a kind of "national hero". It thus seems to me to be quite normal that he is the only Man named in this Númenórean legend.
Well no, not quite. Tuor was Túrin's first cousin and, nominally at least, his successor as lord of the House of Hador. And he was the direct lineal ancestor of the kings of Númenor (starting with his grandson), who can be seen as the replacement of the lords of the House of Hador, or indeed the Three Houses, which Túrin wasn't. There is as much if not more reason for him to be named in Númenórean legend.
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Eluchil
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And in any case Túrin died before Húrin - I don't know what I had in my mind when I wrote that []
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Eluchil
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I'm just thinking about this : could not Tuor have been considered (by Númenóreans), being accounted amongst the Noldor, as having min. abandonned, max. rejected his Mannish origins ?

E: sp. []

[ 02-01-2008, 11:25 PM: Message edited by: Eluchil ]

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Mithrennaith
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Possibly; it's certainly worth considering. But would that also mean discounting Elros' ancestry though Tuor? Of course the Peredhil also descended through Beren from the Houses of Hador as well as that of Bëor. But it was only through Tuor that they descended from the Haladin.

Then again, the Haladin part of the Edainic ancestry seems never to have been that important to the Númenóreans. On the other hand it looks like the Hadorian element in Númenórean culture and society was even more important than the Bëorian. Or at least that is the impression I got from 'The Mariners Wife', to point at one source. So I still think that the Tuor strand of their ancestry was at least as important to the Númenórean Kings as the Bëor strand.

Compare also Tar-Atanamir's words from Sil [AK:20]:
quote:
But the King said: 'And does not Eärendil, my forefather, live? Or is he not in the land of Aman?'
Yet it might be possible that indeed the Númenóreans discounted Tuor as a Man, and in a way transferred his place in their ancestry to Túrin, who was genetically almost as close to him as a brother.

-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-
I am in too great doubt to rule. To prepare or to let be? To prepare for war, which is yet only guessed: train craftsmen and tillers in the midst of peace for bloodspilling and battle: put iron in the hands of greedy captains who will love only conquest, and count the slain as their glory? Will they say to Eru: At least your enemies were amongst them? Or to fold hands, while friends die unjustly: let men live in blind peace, until the ravisher is at the gate? What then will they do: match naked hands against iron and die in vain, or flee leaving the cries of women behind them? Will they say to Eru: At least I spilled no blood?
'When either way may lead to evil, of what worth is choice? Let the Valar rule under Eru!
- Tar Meneldur [UT 2 II:173-174]

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Hamfast Gamgee
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Then again, I don't doubt that some of the Numenoreans thought something like, 'If Tuor who was of man could gain immortal life, why can't we?' which would certainly increase the propaganda value of the King's men. So Turin was a national hero amongst the Numenoreans was he? That explains a lot. A shame that more than a few could have kept in note the more tragic nature of his life.
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Eluchil
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quote:
But would that also mean discounting Elros' ancestry though Tuor?
I'm not sure : after all, Elros chose the Mannish fate.

Btw, you wrote "Edainic" (I don't know why, I don't like that [] ), while I would have writen "Adanic", or perhaps even better (but then mixing with Quenya) "Atanic". Though I really doubt these are attested []

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