This is topic Why did Nienor tear off her clothes? in forum Silmarillion at Minas Tirith Forums.

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Posted by Peter_20 (Citizen # 6368) on :
Why did Tolkien have Nienor take her clothes off as she was running away from Mablung & CO?
Is it a way to symbolize Nienor's "new life" as Níniel, so that she should wake up as a new-born child?
That's my theory, anyway.
Or maybe she just got scared of her clothes during her madness.

[ 09-12-2007, 02:16 PM: Message edited by: Peter_20 ]
Posted by Eluchil (Citizen # 5432) on :
It may be interesting to note that it has not always been so :
§312 Then the Orcs gave chase, and the Elves after; but though they overtook the Orcs indeed and slew them ere they could harm her, Niënor escaped them. For she fled as in a madness of fear, swifter than a deer; and tore off all her raiment as she ran, until she was naked [bracketed later:] but for a short kirtle.

The Grey Annals.

And here is Christopher's comment :
§312 Similarly in the manuscript of NE, after 'until she went naked' (p. 121), the words 'but for the short elven-kirtle above the knee that she had worn in her disguise' were bracketed for exclusion.

Posted by Belthronding (Citizen # 5113) on :
I think her nakedness is meant to be indicative of her madness.
Posted by Madomir (Citizen # 3084) on :
Symbolically it could mean any number of things..

Looking at it practically however gives us the possibility that the answer may be very simple.. mad people do mad things. It's hard to rationalize the actions of an irrational person, the high divorce rate and the sheer quantity of miserable husbands are proof of that! []
Posted by Hamfast Gamgee (Citizen # 5528) on :
I personally think it was a little bit of Tolkien porn!
Posted by Madomir (Citizen # 3084) on :
I can see it now.. Jenna Jameson as Galadriel.. the role she was born to play!!
Posted by Athene (Citizen # 3473) on :
No comment.
Posted by Snöwdog (Citizen # 15) on :
Posted by Marhwini (Citizen # 11433) on :
I got the impression that Niënor's clothes were torn off by her running through the underbrush.

But going back to read it in The Silmarillion does seem to indicate that she tore them off.

I am going to guess that there is a mythological and theological device at play here.

As we often see similar displays of nudity in Chivalric Romances where a character undergoes a form of Rebirth.

In the case of Niënor, she is reborn as Níniel.

The nudity in the story of Túrin with Niënor is non-sexual.

And it involves a Dragon spell stripping her of her identity.

Clothing is usually an indicator of Identity in Feudal Societies. So her stripping off her clothing would be symbolic of her stripping off her old identity, to be reborn as a new person, even if due to the effects of a malevolent power of the Dragon's Gaze.

Posted by Snöwdog (Citizen # 15) on :
Good analysis Marhwini!

I did figure it was some sort of 'change of personality' ritual of shedding the skin of the old self to emerge in the new, be it good or evil.
Posted by Hamfast Gamgee (Citizen # 5528) on :
Oddly enough, I did think there was a similar nature in this one and one of the female Valinor, whose name I forget used to run around in ancient times naked with deer. At least I think it was naked. BTW, Snowdoggie, it is fun to look at old threads and reply to them years later isn't it? You can only really do it in these forums nowadays.
Posted by Snöwdog (Citizen # 15) on :
Lol, yeah. I remember the days when a topic was started by someone new on board and they were jumped all over for not searching the forums and finding a thread on the same topic that went dormant a year before.
Posted by The Flammifer (Citizen # 11407) on :

“It’s cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey!”

When sailing ships needed cannon for protection they put their cannonballs on a “monkey” made of brass. The iron cannonballs wouldn’t rust to the brass monkey. The brass monkey had indentations to hold the cannonballs in place. They would then stack the cannonballs to various pyramidal heights.
When the temperature dropped severely the brass monkey would shrink in size faster than the iron cannonballs. The bottom layer of cannonballs would be forced from their indentations and the whole pyramid would fail and the cannonballs would roll off the brass monkey causing swashbuckling consternation. []

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