Round 9: Ost-in-Edhil vs. Tolkienology

Discussion in 'Debates' started by Rhiannon, Oct 24, 2003.

  1. Eriol

    Eriol Estel

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    Here is the quote I promised from the Letters. The famous Letter 131, to Milton Waldman:

    My point, as I stated it when I mentioned that quote without giving it, is that Tolkien compares the Noldorin exile with the Fall of Men.

    Now to some other matters.

    "A Balrog... now I understand. And I am already weary..."

    :D ;)

    As I see it, Gothmog, and Arvedui, neglect the role of personal responsibility when assigning blame. If we disregard personal responsibility, all blame must be laid at Eru's door; and the debate is tied :). If we accept personal responsibility, on the other hand, the Oath of Fëanor, the slaying at Alqualondë, and such, are to be considered as faults of the Noldor; not of the Valar, or of Morgoth, or of Eru. No one forced Fëanor to swear his oath; not even Eru did that, if we accept Free Will. By the same token, the treason of Ulfang is Ulfang's responsibility.

    My point is that we must ascribe blame according to responsibility; thus, to ascribe the Fall of Gondolin as a responsibility of the lesser houses of Men strikes me as odd. That is just an example; Doriath is another. I'll add some examples at the end of the post, some neglected issues (so far) in this debate. But as I said in my first post, I don't think this kind of question may be answered by a tallying of faults.

    And I think our opponents are lucky that it is so; Lhun's posts already point at a greater number of Noldorin faults, and I'll add some. Tallying faults would result in a much greater number of faults for the Noldor; to be frank, surely this can be ascribed to the fact that the story is "elf-centered" and, quite possibly, many grievous acts were committed by the lesser houses of Men that we are not aware of. As I said, our opponents are lucky that we are not tallying faults; we can't very well speculate on hypothetical scenarios without hard data, and the hard data points at the Noldor as the culprits.

    Indeed I think the method to be used is to accept that the two evils are comparable (as Tolkien compared them) and to see who had the most chance of avoiding the evil. If two people steal bread, we are more lenient towards the one who is starving than towards the one who is well fed. And according to that criterion, the Noldor were much better fed -- in all accounts.

    And now for the neglected matter: the 2nd and 3rd ages. Sauron was doing his mischief, oppressing Men (only the lesser houses of Men, by the way ;) ) all around. What were the Noldor doing? Why, they were falling for the old ruse -- again! Were they dumb? Were they blind? Were they unwise? No. They were smart, far-seeing, and proud of their wisdom. And again they were indulging in sorcery, in "magic" of the not-so-safe kind. They were making Rings. Ah, they had great reasons for doing so... but still the path to Hell is paved with good intentions, and those Rings proved themselves to be the most detrimental objects in those Ages. Let me quote Tolkien again (Letter 181):

    So, even the Three Rings, though unsullied and good in a limited way, are still the result of the Elvish "weakness", and the desire for "power" (as opposed to "art"). Those acquainted with Tolkien's Letters will know that Tolkien's ideas of the desire for "Power" are not very complimentary :). He is criticizing the Elven-smiths, quite harshly. And well he might; for those guys "should have known better!".

    If we consider all the Rings as a group, we see how harmful they were. And at that time the lesser houses of Men were being oppressed, by both Sauron and Númenóreans. One could make a case that the Númenórean oppression of the lesser houses of Men is a result of the Noldorin effect on the Three Houses of the Edain... I won't make that case, though, because I still think that we should focus on personal responsibility here, and the Númenórean oppression, though fomented by their glory, which is a result of Noldorin acts, is not directly attributable to the Noldor.

    The lesser houses of Men were crushed by everybody in the latter ages. They definitely were "worse fed". And so I submit that the Noldor have a (much) greater responsibility to bear in the history of Middle-Earth. They brought good, but they also brought evil; and they should have known better. Though the evils were comparable in scope and magnitude, the Noldor had better reasons to avoid them; and thus a greater responsibility.
     
  2. Gothmog

    Gothmog Lord of Balrogs Staff Member

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    Our opponents claim that the Noldor were more detrimental to the other peoples of ME because of the wars of the Jewels. Well let us look at how things would have been if the Noldor had not returned to ME.
    Yes. But we must look beyond this.

    Melkor had done his harm in Aman and could not stay there nor did he want to. His realm was ME. So he returned to subjugate that land. We will be kind to the Valar and assume that even without the Noldor returning they still make the effort to provide light to ME by way of the Sun and the Moon.

    So then a closer look at some of the wars.
    How was it that Melkor was able to have such a force ready to battle Fëanor's host only 10 days from the coming of the Noldor? If the Noldor were the cause of the problem then it would have taken Melkor far longer to have an army ready at that place. Melkor was already fighting the Elves of Beleriand and winning.
    Yes it is in fact very soon after when you consider that the Sun and the Moon were still in the sky. So the light was only a very temporary pause to the designs of Melkor. And it is not the increasing power that made Melkor do that move but the fact that the Noldor were standing in the way of those designs.
    What Peace was there? No Noldor no peace. The havens of Cirdan would have fallen quickly and even Doriath could not have held out for long against Melkor. Melian was powerful but she was only One Maia. Melkor was Vala and had other Maiar working for him.
    For 200 years Beleriand had peace that would not have existed had the Noldor not been there. Melkor would have increased his hold on ME and made it more and more difficult to remove him later without the destruction of Arda.
    And he can finally continue with the war he started before the coming of the Noldor.
    Giving their lives in the ME in that defence of Beleriand.
    Trying to defeat Melkor.
    Sauron had been corrupted by Melkor far earlier and seems to have done much before this.
    So while this may have been the first time he was named it certainly was not the first time he was involved in the conflict.
    Dorthonion was Melkor's before the coming of the Noldor. Almost every part of Beleriand was.
    See above.
    Not so. Those three houses of Men that became The Atani were already persecuted by Melkor and his followers because they fled from servitude to him in the East.
    How many of the Sindar would have been free had the Noldor not kept Melkor captive in the North for so long? None!!! In fact this would have happened, and did happen, when Melkor was unopposed.
    Of course they did. It was the only way that he had to defeat the armies opposing him. Had the Noldor not been there these different peoples would have been slaves of Meklor.
    No. Since without the Noldor the dark years of despair would have started far sooner (just after Melkor returned to ME) and would have continued for far longer. The Three houses of the Atani would have come in to Beleriand to find that the dark master they fled was already there and in control. How long would they have survived? Not long I think.
    Not a fact!
    Without the Noldor Beleriand and all ME would have been ruined sooner. You say that the War of Wrath can Practically be called a Calamity. What then of the war if Melkor had not been weakened in such a way. You have not commented on the quote I gave from Tolkien himself about this.
    This would have been a total calamity with the complete destruction of Arda. And further to this from the same comments by Tolkien
    What if Scenarios are the way to show what was done. The story as it is shows what happened. To find the good and the bad you have to look beyond what did happen to see what the result would have been otherwise. ;)
     

  3. Finduilas

    Finduilas Hope brings Death...

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    The disastrous nature of the Noldori is inevitable. Their pure proclivity to foreseeing and causing (not always intentionally though) detriment has been proved in their actions and is “gifted” in their name.

    Noldor – from Sindarin it means wise but in a sense of cognition and not in meaning of prudence and right assumption.

    Let’s trace the participation of the Noldor in the Initial History, the One noticing the absence of men:

    The first war and its attendant disasters. caused by the Noldor, is the one following their Awaking:

    Here even though it is spoken of Elves as a kindred, we should consider that the Noldor were actually elves and therefore were involved and considered responsible too. Whereas, Men were still to Awake.

    Later on:

    …as well as…

    …and…

    Much is done for the sake of the Noldor, the Elves, the minions of the Valar. And yet much of it lead to detrimental consequences.

    Let’s trace the deeds of the Noldor caused most damages to Middle-earth then anybody else, eccept Melkor, of course!
    To start with, we should find who’s fault it was for his heart to burn so brithly!
    :)

    The Deeds of Finwe:
    Now Finwe could not be blamed for irrationalism, but probably for a lack of luck and lack of fortune. Nevertheless, no matter what the reason is he certainly has a great deal of influence over his son’s up-growing.
     
  4. Finduilas

    Finduilas Hope brings Death...

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    The Deeds of Cufinwe (Feanor):

    His entire life is full of predestined miseries, which were caused by his powerful character, revealed even before his birth:

    However, this negativism wasn’t only in the meaning of his birth but as well as in his life. This non-positive power, which is about to cause great events in the History of Arda, is revealed during his childhood:

    For the future detriment of his deeds speaks the secret in which he works:

    Here finishes the acts which are actually done by Feanor and are causes for detriment. However, the Silmarils have caused much more destruction, one which none could imagine, as well as greed and jealousy.

    Here follows the consequences of Feanor’s actions:

    And all the rest is known…the wars (described very well by Lhunithiliel) follow, one after another, and it was only Feanor that started them…even though he didn’t meant to do it. He was unlucky, yes, he was with a great spirit, yes, he caused detrimental…yes! Men were involved in the forecoming wars, but it was not them that actually caused them (meaning either deeds or specific acts).
     

  5. Lhunithiliel

    Lhunithiliel Fëanorean

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    Our opponents did a detailed "disection" of my post! :)

    Yet, as a result, there are two facts that become obvious even stronger now following that analyses, namely:

    1/ Melkor was the root of evil and that evil was mightily demonstrated through the deeds of the Noldor.

    Which makes them far more detrimental than the lesser Men.

    and

    2/ The analyses still shows nothing to prove that the lesser Men had a more detrimental impact on ME than the Noldor!

    Letting myself accept the "what if"-scenario proposed by our opponents, all I see is a ME as the unclaimed realm of Melkor where he is the only powerful Master. He! Not anyone else!

    What is the role and the effect of the lesser Men, then, please?

    And...btw, would they have come to ME at all...except of course driven as wretched slaves. What impact can a slave have?!

    So...however we look at it - from my point of view or from yours, the far stronger negative impact of the Noldor exiles upon the course of events just cannot be denied when compared to that of the lesser Men!
    Because the main conflict was between the two main "figures" at that period - Melkor and the Noldor!
    Men, both - the Edain and the "lesser", were still not a force to count with!
     
  6. Gothmog

    Gothmog Lord of Balrogs Staff Member

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    Not so. I was answering your points on " Culpability, or "they should have known better!"
    You refer to the teachings and love of the Valar
    You ignore that Eru himself had the care of Men. My answer was to point out that from this post you are saying that the Valar Failed both Noldor and Men when it was not true in either case.
    Except that Men had the better chef!
    We only see how harmful they were when given to other races. 7 were given to dwarves 9 to Men. The harm was due to Sauron's influence and their being taken from the Elves and given to those who could not use them. Of the 9 given to Men it would seem that at least 6 were to men of the lesser houses as it is only rumoured that 3 were given to black numenorians.

    One could try to make a case that "the Númenorean oppression of the lesser houses of Men is a result of the Noldorin effect on the Three Houses of the Edain" If one ignores the quote I gave earlier from Myths Transformed. The effect on the Three Houses of the Edain was to raise them to "their fullest achievable stature". This cannot be done by the Noldor having a detrimental effect on them. In fact the case for the Númenorian oppression of ME has nothing to do with the Noldor but everything to do with the scars left by Melkor.
    No the lesser houses of Men followed Sauron. They fought amongst themselves and prayed on any that were weaker. Through out the second and third ages many of them fought for Sauron against the Elves still in ME. It was only the intervention of the Númenorians that halted this. After the fall of Númenor the realms in exile were under constant threat if not actual invasion from the lesser houses of men of the East and the South. It was men of these houses following the Witch King of Agnmar that caused the collapse of Northern kingdoms. Though there was much strife between the three kingdoms before this.

    In what way do the Noldor have a greater responsibility to bear? Because they were taught by the Valar? Men were under the care of Eru a far better teacher. The Noldor did indeed bring good. But they came after to fight against Evil. The only Noldor that could be said to have Brought evil were Fëanor and his seven sons due to their oath. However, This means a grand total of 8 out of all the Noldor that came to ME following the evil of Melkor. If you wish to tar all the Noldor with that brush then you will also have to do the same to Men because of the those Men that swore false oaths to the Elves and betrayed them in battle. Do not forget it was Melkor that wanted to enslave all of ME. It was the Noldor and the Three houses of Atani that stood in his way. So who allowed Melkor his victory? Let us look at the Silmarillion.
    And what was that treachery and who by?
    Ulfang and his sons of one of the lesser houses were the chief source of the treachery but also there were many others who came at his call. If not for these Melkor would not have won the day.
    It was by the acts of these lesser houses that a barrier was formed between Elves and the rest of Men. Had these lesser houses of Men not acted in such a way then the friendship between the Three Houses and Elves could have been extended to include All Men. This would have raised not only the Three houses to their fullest achievable stature but the rest of Men also. This would have been the best possible outcome but was prevented by the greatly detrimental acts of treachery of the lesser houses of Men.
     
  7. Finduilas

    Finduilas Hope brings Death...

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    The point is that there had been a truce, though not a strong one, but a truce. And it was only when Feanor went down to the Bay of Drengist with other Noldor that it ended!

    Yet the Noldor were the ones that made the war to last almost a whole set of four centuries!

    Yes, if that Peace hadn't been held, there would have been great damages. However, we should consider the fact that Melkor had been involved in a 400 years long war! He may be a Vala but his slaves are not! His might would have weakened and the damages wouldn't have been as detrimental as they happened to be after his appearance in the next war. He had been gaining both power and making new creatures, which , you must agree, is very detrimental. ;)

    Yet they were the kindred gained most congnition and made a whole treasure of artworks. They certainly were the perfect slaves!

    As for the quote, let's refresh our memory:


    This quotes speaks of the strenght that Men are gaining and the inevitable end of the Elves, in other words Noldor. However, this only shows the great lost of ME, because the Elves are those who gave it power and knowledge, as well as the Silmarils. After their 'fade', ME will loose a part of its 'flesh' and therefore new wars for the Ruleness over ME may start. Future is unpredictable but History has shown us that if a Giant dies, another one must be chosen...and that would mean WAR!
     
  8. Ravenna

    Ravenna Registered User

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    Finduilas said

    _________________________

    The first war and its attendant disasters. caused by the Noldor, is the one following their Awaking:

    quote:From The Published Silmarillion:
    Chapter 3 Of the Coming of the Elves and the Captivity of Melkor:
    Never did Melkor forget that this war was made for the sake of the Elves, and that they were the cause of his downfall.


    Here even though it is spoken of Elves as a kindred, we should consider that the Noldor were actually elves and therefore were involved and considered responsible too. Whereas, Men were still to Awake.

    ________________________


    Hardly fair, I would say to blame the Noldor, or even Elves in general for something which was decided upon by beings of far greater power and wisdom even if it was for their benefit.
    After all

    Admittedly this war was waged for their sake, but you cannot lay blame for it at their feet and therefore, any detrimental effects of it can only be laid at the feet on the Valar themselves.
     
  9. Gothmog

    Gothmog Lord of Balrogs Staff Member

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    Finduilas
    To continue from the post of Ravanna
    Yes it is done for the sake of the Elves not the Noldor. The Elves are not and never were "Minions of the Valar" They were Kindred to the Valar but of lesser stature and might.
    Ok We shall.
    Even from the mouth of Fëanor himself comes the answer. Eru.
    Is that so?
    and
    then
    Yet Fëanor was full grown before Finwe married his second wife. So that has little bearing on this.
    And by your claims not by the Noldor either. It seems that you are blaming all on One Elf. Fëanor. Therefore as He is the only one responsible the rest of the Noldor could not have a detrimental effect. In fact they were the ones that helped the rest of the peoples of ME.

    Lhunithiliel, You still have not answered the quote I gave in my first post. "The heroic Noldor were the best possible weapon with which to keep Morgoth at bay". These are Tolkien's words. If they are the Best weapon for this task how could they be the most detrimental?
    Yes Melkor was the only powerful Master. The Noldor were the only ones that could hold him back for long enough to teach the Atani and allow Melkor to weaken himself to the point that the Valar could remove him from ME without this resulting in the total destruction of Arda.
    They allowed Melkor to gain victory over the Noldor and their allies the Atani. See my previous post.
    They were in ME. They could be nowhere else. As for why they came. Most came to betray or fight against the Elves and the Atani at the orders of Melkor.
    From your point of view this is how you see it. However, while the main conflict was at that time between the Noldor and Melkor, had it not been so there would have been no Beleriand and no chance for Men.

    Until the Lesser houses of Men betrayed and fought against the Noldor and their allies Melkor was kept in the North with peace for the rest of Beleriand. When these men of the lesser houses fought for Melkor the war spread throughout that land. So which was the more detrimental? The war in the North that gave peace to the South in Beleriand or the victory of Melkor brought about by the treachery of the Lesser houses of Men that unleashed the might of Melkor on the lands once more?
     
  10. Gothmog

    Gothmog Lord of Balrogs Staff Member

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    Finduilas
    You claim that there was a truce? With whom then was this truce? If we look in the Silmarillion for the time when Fëanor and his army landed in ME we find There:
    And a little later in the same chapter
    There was no truce, the Elves of Beleriand had been forced to retreat from most of the land. The creatures of Melkor had the run of Beleriand except for the area covered by the Girdle of Melian and the Walled Havens of the Falas. The Noldor freed Beleriand from these creatures.
    No, the Noldor held back the tide of Melkor's wrath for 4 centuries. Melkor without the Noldor would have ended the war sooner it is true but only by enslaving or killing all who lived in ME. Not just Beleriand.
    His slaves were part of the reason he became weak enough for the Valar to remove him without the destruction of Arda. Without the war against the Noldor he would have lost less of his personal power into the Matter of Arda and into his creatures. Had the Valar gone against him instead of the Noldor, even if they had waited, Melkor would have destroyed Arda rather than let the Valar remove him. As for the creatures he had been breeding, This he was doing anyway and would have done so had the Noldor not returned to ME. Melkor would have needed more creatures to extend his war to the rest of ME beyond Beleriand. Also He would have lost far less of them against the other peoples than he did because of the Noldor.
    I do not understand what you are saying here. The Elves fading was inevitable because that is how Ilúvatar decided it would be. The Elves to come first to ME and then make way for Men. The Noldor helped to prepare Men to be ready for this and for their greater task to work towards Arda Healed. When you talk about History showing us that in the context of Tolkien's work you must remember that this is due to the marring of Arda by Melkor during the Music of the Ainur. Evil will always return in some form and Greater Good will come out of it.

    Had Melkor not been weakened by the war against the Noldor he would have been too powerful for the Valar to remove. Had he remained in ME Men would have been unable to fight against him and there would be no chance to see Arda Healed. Had the lesser houses of Men not caused a rift between the Elves and the greater part Men more of these could have been taught and raised to greater stature as had the Atani. This would have aided the whole of Arda. As it was these Men of the lesser houses Betrayed and fought against the Elves and their Allies and consequently weakened Men as a whole preventing them from reaching the heights that they could have and should have attained at that time. By doing this they also harmed the other peoples of ME as war did not cease after this time and the Men of the East and South still followed the ways of Melkor. Sauron lead them against any that opposed him.
     
  11. Starflower

    Starflower Almost here

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    first of all, apologies for my late appearance in this debate.



    You are arguing that the lesser Men caused all the problems, they are the ones who caused a rift between Elves and Men. Well I argue that ti was indeed the Elves who started this, when they exptended their friendship and protectoin to the Three Houses of Edain only. Why did they not attempt tp make friends with the rest of the MEn ?
    a reason might be found in this quote:

    These were the Green-Elves, they had never met Men before, just hear ugly rumours about them, so they make up their minds that they must be evil. But the evil wasnot of the Men, it was caused by Morgoth.
    I see this as a direct consequence of the coming of the Noldor to Middle-earth, as Morgoth considerd Feanor ' his bitterest foe', and hearing of the Noldor's return made war on them.

    GOiE asks 'In what way do the Noldor have a greater responsibility to bear? Because they were taught by the Valar? Men were under the care of Eru a far better teacher.'
    Yes, the Men were Children of Iluvatar, but nowhere do we see any evidence that Eru in any way taught them or cared for them directly, as the Valar had done for the Eldar. Everywhere we are told that the Elves surpassed the Men in wisdom and knowledge, as well as physical stature. So how can the ELves not be responsible? If they so far surpass the other race, would it not be in their own interest - if not a responsibility - to befriend them, teach them and care for them. And what do they do ? Pick the best of the crop and leave the rest to fend for themselves. It is the opinion of the Guild that the actions of the Noldor were in the long run far more detrimental than those of the lesser Men
     
  12. Lhunithiliel

    Lhunithiliel Fëanorean

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    The detrimental effect of the Noldor IMO comes precisely from this - for being there, for doing everything possible to hinder the spread of Melkor's influence over ME, for being the "best possible weapon with which to keep Morgoth at bay", the Noldor involve all the races of those times in endless conflicts - Elves against Melkor, Elves and Edaini against Melkor, Edaini against lesser Men, Elves against Elves etc .... all that destroying the positive achievements reached through the relatively short periods of peace in-between wars and battles.

    In simpler words - evil and harm resulted from the "good" intentions and achievements of the Noldor!
    That's why their impact can be considered as far more harmful than that of the "lesser" Men.

    The roots of that sad fact are clear and both teams have not different opinions on this matter.
    However, we are here to compare in which race Melkor's corruption was manifested stronger, hence followed by a stronger detrimental impact on part of this race.
    And analysing this - the answer is here - it were the Noldor!

    And I think that Eriol, Finduilas, Starflower and I have shown this fact in full light!

    When trying to prove the stronger detrimental effect of the lesser men, our opponents stick to the isolated case of Ulfang and the treachery of his people causing to an extent the losing of ... what?
    Of one battle !

    But comparing it to the overall strong influence of the deeds of the Noldor, it still stays simply this - an isolated case.

    As I already said, in First Age and even in the Secong Age, the "lesser" were still not a force to count with, Therefore, comparing their impact on the course of events to that of the Noldor and later - to the Numenoreans, it is obvious that lesser Men did not and could not have a stronger detrimental effect than the Noldor.

    I would also like to briefly address sth. our opponents bring forward as an argument.
    They say that Men were instructed by Eru himself.
    Yet, in numerous ways they also state that Men were under the direct influence of Melkor and HIM they held as their supreme God.
    Could you make up your mind? ;)

    Because, if take it like "Men guided by Eru directly", then what detrimental effect could've they had? Would Eru have permitted them do this?

    And if we take it like "Men - slaves and allies to Melkor", it is again Melkor himself who is to be held responsible for the effect of their deeds. For no free will would Melkor have ever given to them!

    However, if we face the real situation we learn that even the Edaini knew too little of the Valar and Eru. Remember Andreth? What to expect from the lesser?!

    At the clash we are observing - Melkor < > Noldor, Men acted for either the one or the other side. But not for and by themsleves. Not yet!

    Only much later, with the withdrawing of the Elves' effective presence and authority, the role of the race of Men becomes more important. Hence - their impact - stronger. But even in the Third Age the "lesser" still could not be considered as a key force. Not to mention that a great part of them had been assimillated into the societies of the new Lords of ME - the Numenoreans.
     
  13. Eriol

    Eriol Estel

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    Actually, I'm not focusing any argument on the Valar's faults. I never said that the Valar failed Noldor and Men. I said that Noldor had 'better food' (figuratively speaking), and that therefore greater things might be expected by them. And this is not what we see; we see the Noldor falling for Morgoth's and later Sauron's lies as easily as the lesser houses of Men. It is important to note that only some of the lesser houses of Men fell for Morgoth's and Sauron's lies; the only exception is the First Fall recorded in the Athrabeth. However, it can be compared (as Tolkien did) with the Noldorin Exile, in which all Noldor fall for Fëanor's strong words, driven by lies of Melkor.

    In every individual Noldor that left Aman, there was a case of a 'better fed' person stealing bread, to refer back to that analogy of mine; a case of someone who should have known better doing something foolish, and wrong. The Vanyar knew as much as the Noldor, and so did the Teleri. They didn't rebel. Finarfin also knew as much as them, and in fact had also the aggravating instance of personal kinship to Finwë; he had the same anger (in a different mode, to be sure) towards Melkor and the same desire for justice as Fëanor. He didn't rebel. He hearkened to Mandos and went back.

    My arguments do not relate at all to faults or merits of the Valar.

    Two points might be made regarding that. Starflower already addressed the first point: you are speculating. Eru spoke to Men, but he did not "teach" Men according to any meaning of that word. He said that Men should look for the answer by themselves. They looked, and were taught by Dwarves and Avari. Not Eru. You don't see any instance of a Man wanting to learn something about the world, asking Eru, and getting an answer. How is it that Eru 'taught' them, then? No, Men were taught by Dwarves and Avari (and Morgoth!!); far worse teachers than the Valar.

    The second point is that personal responsibility is again being ducked. It is not the fault of the chef, it is the fault of the person doing a wrong thing. Men fell to Morgoth worship; Eru can't be blamed for that. The Noldor rebelled against the Valar; The Valar can't be blamed for that.

    The question is, who had the best shot at resisting temptation and not making such a big blunder? Who was better fed? Noldor were fed by the Valar; Men were fed by Avari and Dwarves.

    For both instances were blunders; that much is clear. Tolkien speaks of them as "Falls", and is very harsh on both instances. All of the songs and poetry about the Noldor do not erase that fact.

    Again, personal responsibility was ducked. "The harm was due to Sauron's influence and their being taken from the Elves..." Well, that is not Tolkien's opinion ;). He says that the people at Ost-in-Edhil (the Noldor from Eregion, hehe :D) "fell to Sauron's deceits", due to a weakness of their own. They desired "power" over things as they are.

    (This is all in a quote in my last post).

    So according to Tolkien the 'harm' was due to the weakness of the guys at Ost-in-Edhil; Sauron only exploited that to his own purposes. The point is made clearer when we remember that both Gil-Galad and Elrond rejected Sauron, even in his fair form as Annatar, the Lord of Gifts. Why didn't the Eregion jewellers do the same?

    Personal responsibility :). Celebrimbor & Co. goofed up; just as Fëanor did, thousands of years earlier. And Celebrimbor had lots of history and experience and learning on his side. "He should have known better"; he was better fed. Did Celembrimbor really fall for that line, "Knowledge, Rule, Order", as Saruman put it later? It is astonishing...

    Yep. Strife caused by the "higher houses of Men" squabbling, by the way... But if men of the Lesser houses fought for Angmar, they also fought for Arnor. The bulk of the population of both Arnor and Gondor was "men of the lesser houses". So this is a point both for and against the lesser houses. In the Third Age all men were of the "lesser houses", to a point, except the rulers of Arnor and Gondor; and they were not the smartest of rulers, as the history of both Gondor and Arnor shows. To call them "higher houses" is odd, at this point.

    At the risk of sounding repetitive, I think we should accept as the ground of the debate that the two evils, that of the lesser houses of Men and that of the Noldor, are comparable in scope; as Tolkien thought. To number individual mistakes makes for a very interesting debate, to be sure, but it loses focus.

    I addressed that already. Eru never taught Men; or at least I haven't seen any quote to that effect. I have to check the Athrabeth, but I think he only told Men to look elsewhere for the answers.

    My keyword is personal responsibility. The Oath is NOT the only "blunder" of the Noldor. The slaying of Alqualondë, and the rebellion against the Valar, was a responsibility of ALL Noldor; even Finarfin took some of the blame for that. He knew what is personal responsibility. This is why it is said that he received the 'pardon of the Valar'. And I'm talking about Finarfin!! No, ALL Noldor committed grievous acts in that moment; and they were ALL cursed by Mandos.

    The Curse (or Doom) of Mandos then tainted all of the Noldorin efforts at Middle-Earth. The Doom was brought about by the Noldorin acts; every Noldor, man and woman, leader and follower, had personal responsibility there. They all brought evil.

    I do 'tar with the same brush' all Men who swore false oaths and then betrayed the Elves in battle. But using the same yardstick of personal responsibility, I do NOT tar those men who did not betray the Elves (like Bór) or those men who never swore any oaths, or men who never came to Beleriand.

    Are Elves that... stubborn and prejudiced? They would 'tar with the same brush' people who never betrayed them at all, and men who never came to Beleriand? Would they shun Bór & Co. because he is from 'the Lesser Houses of Men', even after Bór proved faithful? This question assumes a new twist when we realize that "Elves" means mostly Noldor and Sindar in that quote of Gothmog; for the Avari had already made friendship with Men. I don't think that the friendship between the men of Dale and the Elves of Mirkwood had anything to do with Ulfang's acts :). And in fact friendship between Men and Avari had already raised men to some stature; not the fullest achievable stature, but some stature.

    Only the Noldor could "raise men to their fullest achievable stature". And why didn't they? Because of Ulfang's acts? But then they are being (extremely) prejudiced, and stubborn, to the point of being dumb. Did the Breelanders know of Ulfang? Why damn the Breelanders for Ulfang's sins, then?

    Gothmog's point becomes then an argument against the Noldor. For this is surely an example of the Noldorin detrimental effect. The Noldor refused to spread knowledge throughout Men, something that Gothmog called "the best possible outcome", because of... their prejudice.

    Ought they not to "have known better?"

    Check the end of Starflower's last post for a better way to phrase what I'm saying here :).
     
  14. Aulë

    Aulë The Larrikin

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    Just a little reminder: there is only 12 hours to go. :)
     
  15. Arvedui

    Arvedui Stargazer

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    Okay, last things first.
    The Tolkienologists claim that Eru didn't care for Men.
    From HoME X, Morgoth's Ring. Athrabeth Finrod Ah Andreth:
    And so Men did.
    But after a while, they fell to the deceits of Morgoth, and turned away from The Voice (Eru). This is normally accepted by all, and is called the First Fall of Men.

    Some Men saw after a while that this was wrong, and they tried to flee away from Morgoth and his followers. They fled westwards, and ended in Beleriand where they were met by Elves and joined forces with them against Morgoth. These Men came from what was later known as the Three Houses of the Faithful.
    From Starflower:
    ???
    So you are now claiming that Maedhros did not attempt to make friends with the rest of the Men? Are you claiming that Bór and Ulfast were of the Three Houses?
    Oh yes! The Noldor tried indeed to befriend the rest of the Men. And what was their reward for doing that? They were betrayed!
    And as Gothmog has already proven with his quote: that deceit gave Morgoth the victory. Nothing else.

    From Lhunithiliel:
    We agree on that.

    We also claim that the Noldor were the main bullwark against him. If it weren't for the Noldor, ME would have been under Morgoth's dominion. After all, that was what Morgoth sought: domination over Arda. That is why he
    (Myths transformed)
    The claim that the Noldor caused the wars, is putting the facts upside down. It is just the sort of arguments Hitler used in the late 1930's. Germany was denied 'lebensraum' so they were forced to go to war. And this was the fault of France, Great Britain and Poland.

    In the First Age, Morgoth sought dominion over Arda. Against his armies stood the Elves and the Men of the Three Houses. The main contribution from the Men of the 'lesser houses,' was treason.

    In the Second Age, Sauron had taken over Morgoth's role as the main enemy. Against him stood Elves and Men of the Three Houses (this time they were called Númenóreans). In the end, the Last Alliance was formed, led by Gil-galad, a Noldorean descendant, and Elendil, leader of the faithful from the Three Houses.
    Sauron was defeated, but Evil was not. Evil lived on in the south and east, in the form of Lesser Men. Evil grew in the north in form of Angmar, led by the Witch-king.
    Who had to pay for their continuing existance? Fathful Men, and the remaining Elves and Dwarves.

    In the Third Age, Sauron grew again. His arsenal included still (in addition to orcs), Men of the lesser houses. Among these the Nazgûl, of whom 6 out of 9 were from the lesser Houses.
    Against Sauron stood the remaining Free Peoples of the Earth, led by Gandalf (a Maia), Aragorn (descendant of the Three Houses of Men), Galadriel (Noldor), and Elrond (descendant of both the Noldor and the Three Houses of Men).
    Sauron was finally cast down. The Men of the Lesser Houses swore allegiance to King Elessar (still a descendant of the Three Houses), and peace broke out.

    It is our claim that fighting the main evil of Arda must be considered as a major part of the whole, when one is considering what is detrimental and what is not.
    We claim that joining forces with the One Major Factor working against the designs of Eru is more detrimental to the good of other peoples of ME, than anything else.

    The lesser houses of Men did this. The Noldor did not!
     
  16. Eriol

    Eriol Estel

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    ?

    Where did the Tolkienologists claim that?

    We claimed that Eru did not teach Men; and we stand by our claim, He did not. Men were taught by Avari and Dwarves, mostly; as well as by Morgoth and his followers. There was no mention of Eru's care or lack of care.

    Eru may care for men without teaching them. He may 'care' for them without 'caring directly' (as in, giving food and shelter and most importantly, answers).

    And that's what He did.

    And for the deceit of one group of Men (Ulfang and his followers), the Noldor condemned all other Men to oblivion, ignorance, and suffering under Sauron. That was Gothmog's argument; that the treachery in the Nirnaeth was the root of the estrangement between Men and Elves.

    Ost-in-Edhil (the Guild :D) are incurring in the same mistake of the Noldor -- that of 'tarring everyone with the same brush'. Among 'the lesser Houses of Men' were included Breelanders, Northmen of Dale and Rhovanion, Haradrim who would become 'tainted' by Sauron in the Second Age only, Dunlendings, etc. etc. Who can say what would have happened if the Noldor had been fair enough to judge each group by his own merits, and to give friendship to friendly groups of Men? But no, they cared only about the Three Houses of Men, the Elf-friends, and the other Men were irrelevant.

    I can only think of Lindir talking to Bilbo in Rivendell, "the sheep may look very different to other sheep, but to a shepherd they all look the same. We don't have time to dabble in the concerns of mortals".

    (Paraphrased)

    Behind that attitude, behind that sentence, is the whole story of the Noldor in Middle-Earth.

    Bór did not betray. That is fully half of the Easterlings. And of course the Easterlings in Beleriand were a very small fraction of the Lesser Houses of Men in Middle-Earth. It is only by 'tarring all with the same brush' that it can be said that 'the Lesser Houses of Men' main contribution was treason'.

    And there was the small matter of Númneóreans enslaving people on the coasts of Middle-Earth -- people who belonged to the Lesser Houses of Men, squeezed between Númenor and Sauron. I suppose that was all right, because "Evil lived on the South and East, in the form of Lesser Men" (Check next quote from Arvedui).

    Yep, kill them all. That's the way to go. "Who had to pay for their continuing existance"?

    And if Evil lived in the form of Lesser Men, so did Good. The bulk of Arnorian and Gondorian population was Lesser Men. Rhovanion was filled with lesser Men, later to become the Men of Dale and Rohirrim and Beornings.

    And so did the arsenal of the good people -- almost entirely Men of the lesser Houses. The Elves did not think it was ok to fight, then. They defended their homes, but that was as far as it went.

    Rohan, Gondor, Dale -- all composed of Men of the Lesser Houses. The Dúnedain were a very small minority in Gondor, remember; it is no wonder that Aragorn and his kin were called "The Dúnedain". There were very few other Dúnedain around. Check the composition of the armies of Gondor, in ROTK, to see how many Dúnedain were fighting for Gondor. Men of Lebennin, of Pelargir, of Morthond, of the Westmark... pretty few Dúnedain.

    Well, someone must get it right among the "Higher Houses" :D. Sure, Aragorn was a great leader. I'll not say that every Edain and every Noldor was wrong just because Fëanor, his sons, every Noldor who left Aman, Celebrimbor and the people at Ost-in-Edhil (the city), Ar-Pharazôn and the King's Men, the Black Númenóreans, the Arnorian rulers who lost their kingdom in petty squabbling, the Gondorian kings who dwindled up to Eärnur who died without a heir... did I miss someone?... well, as I was saying, I'll not say that every Edain and every Noldor was wrong because those people were wrong.

    Just as I don't say that every Man of the Lesser Houses is wrong because of Ulfang and his followers, and because of the guys who later followed Sauron.

    Personal responsibility...

    Compare the two lists now and ask yourself: Who knew better? Who had the better chance of avoiding evil, and mistakes?

    And we claim that some people of some of the Lesser Houses did this. And that the tarring of ALL people with the same brush by the Noldor was MUCH more detrimental than the betrayal of Ulfang (the only instance really offered by our opponents). The Noldor had a unique opportunity to heal so much of the pain in Arda, especially those who chose to remain in Middle-Earth... and when we look at it, they followed the "Shepherd" reasoning and stayed aloof.

    The Tolkienologists claim that the Noldor had better chances of avoiding evil and mistakes; and that they later had better chances of healing those. They did not follow either course; they chose evil and rebellion against the Valar, and later chose aloofness. If they had a grain of sense, they would have rejected Sauron and embraced Men; poor guys, they did the exact opposite.
     
  17. Arvedui

    Arvedui Stargazer

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    From Starflower:
    And may I remind you what you posted yourself, Eriol?
    If you need to look up where I found that quote from Starflower, it was at the end at her post...

    Does it really matter if Bór changed his mind?
    The treachery of Men gave Morgoth the victory. It is written in black and white by JRR Tolkien, edited by his son. Is it the Ost-in-Edhil that is 'tarring everyone with the same brush'?
    Our honorable opponents are also trying to make the Easterlings and the Haradhrim and other Men like them, to stand as a minor nuisance that didn't really matter. Is that really so?
     
  18. Eriol

    Eriol Estel

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    Well, if you want to equate Starflower's last paragraph with the sentence

    "Eru did not care for men",

    It is a free debate, go ahead. But I can also say that the Tolkienologists' did not make that claim, right?

    As soon as once reads Starflower's paragraph, it is clear that she makes a very important distinction between "caring" (as in loving) and "caring directly" (as in nourishing and aiding and teaching).

    This distinction was also made in my last post.

    Eru did care for men; he did not teach men. And that is what the Tolkienologists said.

    We always seem to get embroiled over semantics here :).

    As for

    Not at all. They, and "men like them", are the most important people of the debate; they are the ones who suffered the detrimental aspect (which is the question of the debate) of the mistakes and faults of both sides. It is Ost-in-Edhil who ignores that the Haradrim were guileless at the end of the First Age, and only fell under Sauron because of Noldorin arrogance. That the men of Northern Rhovanion remained guileless thoroughout the ages, and yet they were never raised to the "fullest achievable stature"; what Gothmog called "the best possible ourcome"; because of -- Noldorin arrogance. That all the victims in Sauron's wars in the Late Third Age came about because of the making of Rings, by Celebrimbor and Co., a result of -- Noldorin arrogance.

    The facts are, Haradrim and Easterlings and etc. were alienated from the highest possible knowledge available to them because the Noldor 'tarred them with the same brush', and condemned them because of Ulfang's treason. Even Bór's people were tainted by that treason, though they betrayed Morgoth.

    Try to explain that to a Breelander, or a man of Dale -- "we do not trust you because of Ulfang!" Their answer would probably be, "uh?"

    Just as Elrond in the movies tainted all Men on account of Isildur, the Noldor in the books tainted all Men (minus the Three Houses of the Edain) because of Ulfang. Hardly reasonable, in either case.

    I think this is a good point to thank all involved for a very pleasant debate :).
     
  19. Gothmog

    Gothmog Lord of Balrogs Staff Member

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    What better food. The Valar did not arm the Noldor against Melkor and neither did Eru arm Men. So both were equal in that respect.
    Are you sure of this?
    So the Vanyar were not interested simply because they were content. Does not show that they "knew Better" only that they did not want to do anything else. As for the Teleri, they knew less than the Noldor. Melkor did not even try to do anything with them.
    They did not receive any teaching from other Peoples of ME until some rebelled against Melkor and the Men that followed him willingly. I said that Men were under the Care of Eru. The Valar and Eru did not do anything to arm those under their care against such power and lies as were to be found in Melkor. Men had the Better Chef yet both Noldor and Men had the same food in this case, None!!!
    Men were corrupted by Melkor long before they saw Avari or Dwarves. They Fell while still under the sole care of Eru. It was not until they started wandering that they met other peoples and that was after some Men rebelled against Melkor. The Noldor Knew the power of the Valar. Melkor was a Valar. Melkor helped the other Valar, so from the point of view of the Noldor why should they not listen to him. The Valar did not give them any warning or guidance on this. So both Noldor and Men were in the same situation there.
    Yet when they got to ME they gave peace to Beleriand for many years and did what no other not even the Valar could do for the peoples of ME. They caused Melkor to become weak enough that the Valar could remove him from ME without Arda being destroyed. The Lesser houses interfered with this process so that although limited Beleriand was destroyed. Had Men not betrayed Elves, Men and Dwarves when they did the Damage done when Melkor was removed by the Valar could well have been limited to just the area around Angband itself.
    No because of Ulfang, his sons and the host of Men of lesser houses that came and fought on the side of Melkor.
    I did not say that the Noldor Refused. The Treachery of Men of Lesser houses caused the estrangement between Elves and Men. After the Nirnaeth Arnoediad There was little chance for the Noldor to learn more of Men that did not come into Beleriand and even less chance for them to be able to help in the way that they had done before. The damage done by that treachery was immense, Many Noldor died and the rest were scattered. The only strongholds of the Elves were hidden to protect them from the Orcs of Melkor. As for prejudice, the only Elf that showed much of this was not a Noldor but Thingol of Doriath who would not even allow Men into his kingdom before Beren came.

    Those Men that were in Beleriand at that time were either of the Atani or of the lesser houses. With the exception of a very small number, these lesser houses fought for Melkor. At the end of the War of Wrath most of the Noldor remaining left along with the Atani. So it is not surprising that such estrangement would continue. After all the Noldor were no longer in a position to help Men to greater stature between the Nirnaeth Arnoediad and the War of Wrath. And of course After that there was no Beleriand left because of the strength that still remained to Melkor.

    As to the Rings.
    First Melkor Deceived the Noldor in Aman and Men Hildórien. The Noldor quickly learned that they had been deceived and fought against Melkor. Men learned quickly that they had been deceived by Melkor and Many continued to fight for Melkor. The Noldor of Ost-in-Edhil were deceived by Sauron and upon learning the truth they took off the rings and tried to fight against Sauron and continued to do so until the time of the last Alliance. Many Men continued to serve Sauron as willingly as they did Melkor before.
     
  20. Gothmog

    Gothmog Lord of Balrogs Staff Member

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    Final Post.

    The Noldor came to ME from Aman following after Melkor to fight against him because of the damage he had done to them in Valinor. Their reasons for coming to ME do not matter. What we must look at is what they did while they were there.

    To start with Fëanor's army came to ME in 1497VY. Fingolfin did not get there until 1500VY. they found a land occupied by the Orcs of Melkor with the Elves of the land trapped in small enclaves. In fighting their first battle Fëanor's host effectively freed Beleriand at one stroke. Now the first battle against Morgoth's creatures occurred 3 long Valionorian years before the rising of the Moon and Sun (roughly 30 years of the Sun). So great was victory of Fëanor and his army that Morgoth was stopped then and could do no more before Fingolfin arrived in SY1 at the rising of the Moon. (dates from HoME 11 The Gray Annals, other Annals give differing dates but agree on the Three Valinorian years between the landings of Fëanor and Fingolfin).

    By then besieging Angband the Noldor then kept Beleriand free for many years until the battle of Sudden Flame and the breaking of the Siege. Yet in that time they allowed Beleriand freedom and they also helped the first houses of Men to achieve great stature in mind and body. The other and even more important thing accomplished by the Noldor during this time was the weakening of Melkor to the point that he could no longer destroy Arda. They had no need to involve any other people in ME although they would accept any help that was offered.

    It was Melkor himself that involved all the peoples of ME in was as it was his design that all should bow down before him.

    As for the lesser houses of Men. After the corruption of Men by Melkor soon after their awakening, those that later became known as the lesser houses were the stronger. They were the ones that followed Melkor willingly and were given gifts by him that allowed them to enslave the rest of Men. When these Lesser houses of Men came into Beleriand after the Breaking of the Siege of Angband most did so to aid the war on the side of Melkor and in so doing did great harm to the last chance of the Alliance of Elves, Men and Dwarves. Where there had been a chance to destroy the Hosts of Melkor and give peace once more to Beleriand these Men of the lesser houses gave Melkor the victory that otherwise would not have happened. Had Melkor not won he would have had to spend even more of his strength in rebuilding his Hosts and the harm to ME of the War of Wrath would have been even less than it was.

    After The War of Wrath where the Valar finally could remove Melkor from ME with only minimal damage to ME and the removal of many of the Noldor and also of the Atani, these followers of Melkor aided Sauron in his aims.

    So the lesser houses of Men worked for Melkor almost from the beginning to prevent Men from achieving that which Eru himself intended them to do. When some of Men began to reach the stature that would allow them to do serious harm to the designs of Melkor these lesser houses came to Melkor's aid. In doing this They cause great harm to all. While it can be shown that 8 of the Noldor, (Fëanor and his seven son's ) did do things that were detrimental to Elves, it was the lesser houses of Men that did things detrimental to all the peoples of ME. The Noldor, even those who followed the House of Fëanor did Good for the peoples of ME.

    So far none of the arguments have addressed the fact that the Noldor were the best possible weapon to hold Melkor in check until such time as he had weakened himself sufficiently to allow the Valar to remove him without causing the destruction of Arda. The Lesser houses of Men not only caused the Allies to lose the last chance of peace in Beleriand but after this continued to serve Melkor and later Sauron in the same way causing even more detrimental effects right up to the end of the third age.

    My thanks to the Guild of Tolkinology for a very interesting debate.