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Minas Tirith Forums » Silmarillion » Female Power (Page 1)
Author Topic: Female Power
Belthronding
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quote:
Out of the deeps of Eä Varda came to the aid of Manwë; for Melkor she knew from before the making of the music and rejected him, and he hated her, and feared her more than all the others whom Eru made.
- From Valaquenta

I had often overlooked this quote from the beginning of the Silmarillion, but in rereading, it recently jumped off the page at me. Varda, queen of the stars, is feared most by Melkor. Really?

I began to wonder why this might be? Is it her love of and general connection to light that Melkor fears? Is Tolkien setting up the classic light vs. dark dichotomy here?

Or might it have to do with the fact that Varda is a female? A quick review of the entire Legendarium reveals many females with not only bueaty and wisdom, but also great physical power - Galadriel is mentioned several times as the most powerful of all the Elves left on ME at the end of the third age. There is also Melian, of course, and her daugther Luthien, who is brave enough to face both Sauron and Melkor himself. The list is long ...

What do you believe is Tolkien's message regarding women, their social roles and their abilities as revealed in the Legendarium? Why exault women above the heroic men at the center of so many of his tales? Or am I missing the point entirely?

[ 11-01-2007, 12:56 PM: Message edited by: Belthronding ]

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Roll of Honor Athene
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quote:
for Melkor she knew from before the making of the music and rejected him
What does JRRT mean by rejected? Rejected romantically? Or just rejected his ideals? I'm guessing the former, as Melkor's badassery wasn't really extant before the making of the music, was it?
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The Dread Pirate Roberts
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I think Athene is on to something. Lots of immature dudes are afraid of chicks they have a crush on. They tend to overcompensate with an abundance of badassery. Could all this mess be simply a guy trying to impress a girl?
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Luke
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Maybe that's how it started, but it turned into something else for the fact that he failed again and again to impress anyone. Because of that his drive to do evil turned from impressing righteous Vala to impressing fallen Maia by being more evil than they were and rulling over them (i.e. Sauron).

Surely though, Melkor had his evil ideals firmly planted in his mind far before he tried impressing anyone with them, because if his deeds were based merely on gaining a Vala's aproval he would have changed tactics long ago. Long before they showed up at his place, cut his legs off and threw him into the Void.

[ 11-01-2007, 07:58 PM: Message edited by: Luke ]

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Amárië
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Ah, but the question of the day - were Melkor's idea's evil?

It makes it quite clear in that the music - all parts of it, including Melkor's - were created by Eru...

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Hamfast Gamgee
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I think Melkor became a little bit evil towards the end didn't he? []
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Eluchil
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In the Legendarium, nothing is bad from its beginning.

quote:
Ah, but the question of the day - were Melkor's idea's evil?
It was :
quote:
In the first interpretation, the vast Music of the Ainur, Melkor introduced alterations, not interpretations of the mind of the One, and great discord arose.

Letters n° 212.

In doing so, Melkor tried to get away from Ilúvatar's "path". Which is evil []
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Belthronding
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So personal creativity is evil?
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Eluchil
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Not if it is an interpretation.
[E: in any case, "alterations" is not about personal creativity. The latter does not really exist in the Music.]

Freedom is limited within the Legendarium

[ 11-02-2007, 03:41 PM: Message edited by: Eluchil ]

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Prince Imrahil
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quote:
Ah, but the question of the day - were Melkor's idea's evil?
This reminds me of a discussion that took place elsewhere on this site where we tried to come up with a definition and if memory serves, the one we "settled" on is pretty much what Eluchil stated:
quote:
Melkor tried to get away from Ilúvatar's "path". Which is evil
The interesting part is that under this definiton is that it also means that Aule's creation of the Khazad was also evil. The difference however was Aule had a different intent (as in not malicious), and he sued for pardon (and Melkor would never abase himself unless there was another evil intent behind doing so).

quote:
So personal creativity is evil?
You would have to be more specific. If you mean creating a new race, that's been covered (Dwarves, Orcs, Dragons, etc). If you're talking about the Ainur doing something, I think that they (at least generally) know whether or not creating something does or does not go against Iluvatar. But also, Melkor's meddling in the Ainulindale may have changed the rules to whatever extent. I'm sure the Pelori wren't really in Eru's designs, but they became somewhat needed after the destrucion of the trees. As to Elves and Men, I think the question is mute. Since they weren't there for the music, nor did they have any direct connect with Eru, so they wouldn't really know what is/is not against him. thus the best they could do is try to be good people.

[ 11-02-2007, 10:50 PM: Message edited by: Prince Imrahil ]

-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-
And last and proudest, Imrahil, Prince of Dol Amroth, kinsman of the lord, with gilded banners bearing his token of the Ship and the Silver Swan, and a company of knights in full harness riding grey horses...tall as lords, grey-eyed, dark-haired, singing as they came.

-Minas Tirith

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Eluchil
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quote:
If you're talking about the Ainur doing something, I think that they (at least generally) know whether or not creating something does or does not go against Iluvatar.
The Ainur can only sub-create.

quote:
But also, Melkor's meddling in the Ainulindale may have changed the rules to whatever extent.
Absolutely not :
quote:
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.

Ainulindalë.

The rules cannot be changed.

quote:
I'm sure the Pelori wren't really in Eru's designs, but they became somewhat needed after the destrucion of the trees. As to Elves and Men, I think the question is mute. Since they weren't there for
the music, nor did they have any direct connect with Eru,

Beg you pardon ?

quote:
so they wouldn't really know what is/is not against him. thus the best they could do is try to be good people
Extremely difficult question. I first wait for your answer to the latter []

Just about coming back to the topic :
quote:
But Melkor, as hath been told, lusted after all light, desiring it jealously for his own. Moreover he soon perceived that in As there was a light that had been concealed from him, and which had a power of which he had not thought. Therefore, afire at once with desire and anger, he went to Âs [written above: Asa], and he spoke to Árië, saying: 'I have chosen thee, and thou shalt be my spouse, even as Varda is to Manwë, and together we shall wield all splendour and mastery. Then the kingship of Arda shall be mine in deed as in right, and thou shalt be the partner of my glory.'
But Árië rejected Melkor and rebuked him, saying: 'Speak not of right, which thou hast long forgotten. Neither for thee nor by thee alone was Eä made; and thou shalt not be King of Arda. Beware therefore; for there is in the heart of As a light in which thou hast no part, and a fire which will not serve thee. Put not out thy hand to it. For though thy potency may destroy it, it will burn thee and thy brightness will be made dark.'
Melkor did not heed her warning, but cried in his wrath: 'The gift which is withheld I take!' and he ravished Árië, desiring both to abase her and to take into himself her powers. Then the spirit of Árië went up like a flame of anguish and wrath, and departed for ever from Arda;* and the Sun was bereft of the Light of Varda, and was stained by the assault of Melkor. And being for a long while without rule it flamed with excessive heat or grew too cool, so that grievous hurt was done to Arda and the fashioning of the world was marred and delayed, until with long toil the Valar made a new order. But even as Árië foretold, Melkor was burned and his brightness darkened, and he gave no more light, but light pained him exceedingly and he hated it.

Myths Transformed, Text II.


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The Witch-King of Angmar
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quote:
So personal creativity is evil?
When it goes against Eru's plan, by dominating the creativity of others:

quote:
But now Ilúvatar sat and hearkened, and for a great while it seemed good to him, for in the music there were no flaws. But as the theme progressed, it came into the heart of Melkor to interweave matters of his own imagining that were not in accord with the theme of Ilúvatar, for he sought therein to increase the power and glory of the part assigned to himself. To Melkor among the Ainur had been given the greatest gifts of power and knowledge, and he had a share in all the gifts of his brethren. He had gone often alone into the void places seeking the Imperishable Flame; for desire grew hot within him to bring into Being things of his own, and it seemed to him that Ilúvatar took no thought for the Void, and he was impatient of its emptiness. Yet he found not the Fire, for it is with Ilúvatar. But being alone he had begun to conceive thoughts of his own unlike those of his brethren.
Some of these thoughts he now wove into his music, and straightway discord arose about him, and many that sang nigh him grew despondent, and their thought was disturbed and their music faltered; but some began to attune their music to his rather than to the thought which they had at first. Then the discord of Melkor spread ever wider, and the melodies which had been heard before foundered in a sea of turbulent sound. But Ilúvatar sat and hearkened until it seemed that about his throne there was a raging storm, as of dark waters that made war one upon another in an endless wrath that would not be assuaged.


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Eluchil
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quote:
creativity of others
Of others ? in the Music ? I wish Tuor would read this []
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Madomir
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quote:
As to Elves and Men, I think the question is mute.
How exactly does a mute ask a question?? Hand signals??
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Tuor
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I think he meant Mute as in "Ent Mute", not deaf mute. []
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Madomir
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Well then my question is rendered moot, isn't it... carry on then []
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Mithrennaith
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Luke
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quote:
I'm sure the Pelori wren't really in Eru's designs
Everything, including the cancer in the music was in Eru's designs...and not just because Eru says so. Knowing the nature of what exactly the music IS helps us to see this. The music was a blueprint for the creation of matter and the precise movements of it. Since there were hidden elements in this music, these elements worked themselves into or were "born" into existence as certain events and strange occurances in the make-up of Arda that could not be understood or even remotely explained by the Ainur. Manwe and even Mandos could not fortell everything that would happen in Arda, and why? Because they were playing a completely different song than Melkor. They didn't know his song.

Theoretically, this "otherness", or Melkor's part of the music, can be classified as another song entirely...a completely different music, yet played at the same time as the Ainur's music to make it "appear" that this chaotic addition to the music was just a part of one big song. Maybe it was an attempt by Melkor to mess with the minds of the Ainur, causing them to think that their music had somehow changed, when in reality there was just another song being played someplace else...and it was very very loud. You see, Melkor was the first multi-tasker...he could fool the Ainur into thinking that he had lost his reason and understanding of the music by his being so discordant and beligerant. At the same time he fooled them some more by making them think that something had gone wrong in the plan of Illuvatar, because "supposedly" the song He had taught them was able to be messed with by a punk...when this is not the case at all.

The real case is that there were two different orchestras before the seat of Eru and He was just listening to two completely different Musics. Melkor's group of musicians were just loud...thus drowning out the Ainur's Music, making it appear that this was just another stanza. Eru probably created Melkor with a defect that caused him to defect from the group and play a completely different music, and created the fallen Maia with defects that would cause them to follow him. So Melkor's completely different music, as we'll as the "free" choice of some fallen Maia to follow him, and even his plan to sow (or rather throw) discord into the separate Music of the Ainur can all be traced back to Eru. He stopped Melkor from playing because he wouldn't wait his turn to play his song.

[ 11-03-2007, 06:18 AM: Message edited by: Luke ]

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Hamfast Gamgee
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There is a little bit of a contradiction here. On the one hand one can say that everything is predetermined in fate so everything in Arda happens as it should. On the other, though, it is perfectly possible that Sauron could have triumphed in the War of the Ring, had one of a number of turning points happened differently and the entire world plunged into his evil for ever. Would that have been predicted and planned by Eru, and if it was, it wasn't really a very good plan was it!
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Eluchil
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quote:
Eru probably created Melkor with a defect that caused him to defect from the group and play a completely different music, and created the fallen Maia with defects that would cause them to follow him.
[] never heard of free will, did you ?

Hamfast,
quote:
On the one hand one can say that everything is predetermined in fate so everything in Arda happens as it should.
No, not everything is predetermined. That's exactly free will []
quote:
On the other, though, it is perfectly possible that Sauron could have triumphed in the War of the Ring, had one of a number of turning points happened differently and the entire world plunged into his evil for ever.
And what about "chance", "hazard", or, as Tolkien calls it in his letters, Providence ? []
quote:
Would that have been predicted and planned by Eru, and if it was, it wasn't really a very good plan was it!
Sauron was to be defeated by Men, as Manwë knew it (cf. Text VII of Myths Transformed). That was "predicted".
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Tuor
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I guess some would call free will a defect. I think Melkor would see it as a defect.
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Luke
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quote:
On the one hand one can say that everything is predetermined in fate so everything in Arda happens as it should.
What do you mean by "as it should"? As the Valar would have it? As the free (emphasis on the word: FREE) peoples would have it? If the freedom of the free peoples (civil elves, men, dwarves, etc.) depends upon them exercising their own free wills to submit their free will to Eru and those who represent Him (Vala), then I can understand where the phrase: "as it should be" comes from...it comes from those creatures with free will who have let their wills be dirrected by Eru's will. They're wills are still free, but MORE free than Melkor's and those of the servants of evil, because the free peoples have the power over their own free wills. Power to control them by submitting them to Eru's will, instead of being controlled and consumed by them.

quote:
On the other, though, it is perfectly possible that Sauron could have triumphed in the War of the Ring, had one of a number of turning points happened differently and the entire world plunged into his evil for ever.
What do you mean by forever? As long as Arda lasted, or until Eru remade everything? Even if Sauron had defeated Gandalf and Aragorn, he would still, eventually, perish by the hands of men. One event, one "turning point" as you say, no matter how big, isn't enough to somehow tweak or destroy the prophesy of Vala. Take, for instance, the part of Boromir's dream about "the halfling forth shall stand". Now, even if the Nazgul had captured Frodo and Sam there would have still been another hobbit or halfling brought into the picture who would "stand forth" or be a hero of some kind. It wouldn't matter if Sauron had burnt the Shire to ground, there would still be one hobbit left, male, female, old or young that would be involved with the ring's destruction.

Prophesies work out their designs upon events, not the other way around. But since people don't make up prophesies (prophesies that actually happen) we tend to think we can avoid them with cleverness. But prophesies are so insane (why would you send a Hobbit to destroy the ring?!?) that the clever man, elf, or very clever Sauron can't understand them...and what you can't understand you can't outwit. You can be a great mathematician and not understand the chaos theory.

quote:
Would that have been predicted and planned by Eru, and if it was, it wasn't really a very good plan was it!
Usually in Tolkien's writting the more evil something is, more good will come out of it. For instance, if Sauron had spread darkness over every last inch of middle earth and slaughtered, drove out or enslaved all the free peoples (not to mention elves, who the Valar reguard as their children) do you think this would cause the Valar to...THINK...about holding council? As far as we know, ME was not off limits to the Valar at any time. An assault of Sauron's forces may have followed, and, of course, they'd be obliterated by the Valar. Then the Valar, and not a corruptable lineage of men, would have ruled ME and Aman. You see, the quantity and quality of good would be better if something worse had happened.

The drawback with this scenario isn't whether or not this could happen if prophesy was lined up with it in the books. What the real problem is, is the whole scenario of Sauron actually gaining total dominance, because its not lined up with any prophesy. That, and that alone, is why the Valar would do what I said above. They're actions (squashing Sauron's forces) are contingeant upon Sauron overwhelming ME, and Sauron overwhelming ME is contingeant upon certain prophesies being changed...which, based on my second paragraph in this post, is impossible.

[ 11-05-2007, 03:29 AM: Message edited by: Luke ]

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Eluchil
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The only thoughful and sensible thing from that last post is :
quote:
Usually in Tolkien's writting the more evil something is, more good will come out of it.
And even, I'm still hesitating []
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Luke
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In case you were confused, in my first paragraph I was responding to the "Free Will" paradox...thus my enboldened word FREE as it related to the free people's of middle earth. The elves, men and dwarves are all "free" in a sense, but even then not all of them were free to submit their wills to the will of Eru...because they were evil.

I was connecting true free will with only those people who SUBMIT THEIR WILLS TO THE WILL OF ERU...which Melkor didn't do, thus his will wasn't TRULLY free, but it was rather a captive of his instincts and lusts. Realizing this drives a wedge between trully free wills and the will of an idiot. So we see that evil beings like Sauron have wills of their own, but not wills that make them free.

My second paragraph was harder to understand because it dealt with the impossibility of altering prophesy. I'm sorry my fellow colleage, but I have'nt the strength to reitterate all that again. Nothing against you...I just can't.

As for my third paragraph...I don't know how you could've followed anything in it unless you understood my second paragraph, because the second led straight into the third. But somehow you understood the main point of the third pretty well...as you put it in quotes in your last post. []

[ 11-04-2007, 02:18 AM: Message edited by: Luke ]

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Eluchil
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Typical confusion between free will and freedom - and misunderstanding of how it works within the Legendarium []

Mandos - Q - Luke : time to go to bed []

[ 11-04-2007, 02:53 AM: Message edited by: Eluchil ]

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