Earendil and the choice of Judgement

Discussion in '"The Silmarillion"' started by Symmone, Jan 8, 2018.

  1. Symmone

    Symmone New Member

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    My question surrounds the choice to be man or elven in Earendil's bloodline. Elrond and Elros were his children both of which were able to choose. Subsequently however, Arwen was able to choose but no one from Elros' line was which is why I am curious.

    So when Manwe said that this kindred may freely choose their fates, does Manwe just mean Elrond and Elros? Thus making Arwen's choice the result of something unrelated? Or maybe once Elros chose to be man his decedents lost their choice? Or maybe it was a continuity error?

    Id love to know what you all think. Im a fairly newby Toliken fan so I might not have the background to understand it quite yet.
     
  2. Yalerd

    Yalerd Thinker

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    Interesting.

    Yes, he just meant Elrond and Elros. Eärendil and Elwing couldn't now leave Aman but were granted to for the choice of their children. Arwen's choice is unrelated. We know that Arwen's "choice" is that of Luthien and Celebrindal, of being bound to the a mortal of whom she fell in love with. But to be honest, how they even have that choice is beyond me. Why can't it go the other way?
     

  3. Galin

    Galin Registered User

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    Good question! And one that's often been asked. And for myself, I've yet to find a fully satisfactory answer. Even from Tolkien! My opinion blathers on like this...

    ... we know (from Appendix A) that the choice was extended to the children of Elrond: "But to the children of Elrond a choice was also appointed: to pass with him from the circles of the world; or if they remained to become mortal and die in Middle-earth."

    Okay but why not to the children of Elros?

    It makes sense to me that Arwen, Elladan and Elrohir should not be automatically considered mortal, as if so, they would be automatically sundered in fate from their parents. It also makes sense to me that they not be automatically considered immortal, given that they have some measure of mortal blood, and being denied the choice to leave the world and its time seems ungood for someone with even partial mortal heritage. In short it makes sense to me to extend the choice to them...

    ... now granted, given the choice of Elros (and his wife I guess), an automatic default to mortality would not sunder children from parents. Okay so far, but they have a measure of "immortal" blood, and thus why are they essentially denied the choice to be judged as Elves?

    Tolkien himself seems to answer your question at least a couple of times (if I recall correctly), in his letters. Someone will no doubt post these citations. I won't, because I'm lazy, because this post is already long, and because neither statement works fully for me in any case. Yep, in general, I don't always agree with Tolkien himself.

    I have started arguments in empty rooms. LOL!

    As an interesting side note, Tolkien's version of this section of Quenta Silmarillion reads a bit differently from the 1977 Silmarillion. Tolkien wrote: "Then Manwe gave judgment (...). Now all those who have the blood of mortal Men, in whatever part, great or small, are mortal, unless other doom be granted to them; but in this matter the power of doom is given me. This is my decree: to Earendil and to Elwing and to their sons shall be given leave to choose freely under which kindred they shall be judged."

    We know Christopher Tolkien chose not to include this line, for whatever reason, in his Silmarillion published in 1977. And Tolkien never really fully updated the end of QS, so it's hard to say if he would have kept this idea moving forward (JRRT made some cursory corrections to the end of QS, but even Chistopher Tolkien warns that these shouldn't necessarily be taken as a stamp of acceptance regarding everything).

    But if Tolkien carried this statement into a theoretical update, I'd note that according to this conception the children of Elrond would be automatically mortal-fated, and thus automatically sundered from their parents, if no "other doom" was granted to them...


    ... which ("other doom") was granted to them anyway :)

    And also, the children of Elros would be automatically mortal, if again, no other doom was granted to them. As I say, at least no automatic parental sundering here...

    ... but still :D
     
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  4. Yalerd

    Yalerd Thinker

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    I would assume it would have to do with the nature of humans. Elros is one thing, but if you gave mortals the choice of immortality then what do you think they'd choose? Let alone if they were Kings.
     

  5. Symmone

    Symmone New Member

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    The more i read that line the more i think its supposed only apply to Elrond and Elros. But that sitll doesnt explain why Awren chooses.
     
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  6. Galin

    Galin Registered User

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    Good point Yalerd.

    My problem with this is that Eru seems to favor mortality here, in the sense that it seems that folks with partial mortal blood cannot be (automatically) denied the escape of Arda and its time (mortality), but folks with partial "immortality" can be denied an Elvish fate, by not getting a choice anyway.

    Generally speaking, while each folk might envy the other -- eventually Elves desiring the "gift" to escape the world and its time, with Men desiring the Elvish limited immortality -- I feel these gifts should be different, yes, but not (seemingly) weighted from Eru's point of view.

    In my opinion, all of Elrond's children chose mortality anyway (stress my opinion here), and I wonder if Tolkien could not have handled the Elros side of this equation in such a way as to allow the sons of Elros a choice, and yet stop the arguable/possible flow of "immortals" (so to speak), in some fashion.

    Admittedly I haven't really thought about what Tolkien "could" have done here, possibly because it wasn't done anyway!

    :D
     
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  7. Yalerd

    Yalerd Thinker

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    When it comes to Tolkein, maybe we're answering our own question here. Giving the sons of Elros a choice would completely strip away the impact of 1,500 years of Númenorean Kings coveting Immortality. Obviously a literal point of view.

    Even if they gave the choice to the children of Elros, I would assume they would be to JUST his kids and not the line of Elros. If Vardamir or Tar-Amandil chose immortality, then what of THEIR children, would they outlive all of their heirs?

    I have no doubt, Manwë weighed all of these options. :D
     
  8. Symmone

    Symmone New Member

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    Thanks for all the great replies everyone!
     
  9. Prince Ashitaka

    Prince Ashitaka Member

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    This is a very interesting point. I always did find it strange that Elrond's children get to choose but Elros' line didn't. Feels rather one sided.

    I guess once Elros chose to be numbered with men his Elvish bloodline stopped being passed down to his line. Evidentially no further choice for his blood line.
     
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