The enmity between elves and dwarves

Discussion in 'Judging' started by Ithrynluin, Jun 19, 2007.

  1. Ithrynluin

    Ithrynluin seeker of solace Staff Member

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  2. Ithrynluin

    Ithrynluin seeker of solace Staff Member

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    The judging thread's been open for quite some time, actually, but no one has volunteered.

    I've been away for a bit, and will be away for a whole lot longer. You can go about rounding up the judges, if you'd like. I think Bethelarien expressed an interest in judging, and I trust you'll do a fine job finding the other two, or however many you choose to have.
     

  3. chrysophalax

    chrysophalax Dragon of Note

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    Am not sure about Beth, since I know she's got a lot on her plate right now, including planning her wedding.
     
  4. chrysophalax

    chrysophalax Dragon of Note

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    Ok, I have one judge, HLG. Anybody got someone else?
     

  5. baragund

    baragund Brother in Arms

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    Bear with me, guys, while I take a bit of time to digest this debate. I'll be right back! btw, Excellent topic!! I loud HUZZAH! to whoever came up with it.:)


    I printed this debate so I could make notes while I digest it. 72 pages! I'm about 1/3 finished.
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2007
  6. Bethelarien

    Bethelarien The Lost Evenstar

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    I do have quite a bit on my plate, but I have every intention of judging this debate, if there's still room for me. I've been mostly keeping up with it as it's gone along, so I'll just need to read through it again.
     
  7. YayGollum

    YayGollum Conscience of TTF

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    Cool. That looks like three, to myself. I tossed a few Private Messages out but merely got no thankses. *sniff*
     
  8. HLGStrider

    HLGStrider All Knowing Magic Cat

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    Here I go. I am judging more by who I thought presented a better argument than by which side is textually right because I do agree that some key points differ depending upon which text is used and I do not consider myself able to judge one source against another. There are other factors besides textual proof in providing a good arguement.

    That said I would like to point out that last time I judged a debate (albiet during a more controversial and stressful time on the board) I ended up getting hate-filled pm's from one of the members of the losing team. I hope people remember this is simply a game and I don't think I could give a perfect judgement with so much to keep track of and so many differing arguments. This isn't life or death, though I have given it great consideration and taken copious notes.

    But, that said, I am judging in favor of Thorondor, Turgon, and Chryso. I used a Negative Point, Positive Point system meaning that when the team made a good point I gave them a point and when they made a bad point I took one away. That ended up with a close score of 5 positive points, elf side, 3 positive points, Dwarf side. Considering how many points were made, this is very very close.

    I felt the greatest point was the death of Thingol which was obviously led by greed. It is one thing to hate someone who has robbed or cheated you. It is another to hate someone who has murdered a beloved leader. Wealth can be regained. Thingol cannot be brought back to life.

    That said, I don't think it is fair to blame the leaving on Melian upon the Dwarves. This was her conscious choice, though the fact that she had pretty much lost all that she loved due in part to Dwarvish greed/violence was considered.

    The Dwarvish side also made good points in that Celeborn and Tharanduil were harsh upon the Dwarves who in one way or another stumbled onto their realms.
    Chrys, however, made an equally good point that the Elves were generally first to reach out in reconciliation (though I don't think it is fair to count Eol who had his own problems with Elves).

    Whatever the future results, I think it must be stated that the dwarves struck first and struck hardest. To me, it seems neither side was willing to give up the hate and "grievance smouldered" on both sides for an equal time, but when it came time for reconciliation, it was the elves who extended the olive branch.

    Thanks.

    And now my husband is wondering why I have spent the last 2 hours ignoring him, scribbling on legal pads while staring at the computer screen so I had best go reconcile him before he gets lonely and watches another stupid Kung Fu Movie.
     
  9. Maedhros

    Maedhros The Tall

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    Thanks for your judging.
    I have a question:
    What does this means?
     
  10. HLGStrider

    HLGStrider All Knowing Magic Cat

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    It means that the Elves' enimity started out because of a murder and the Dwarves started out because Thingol got greedy and tried to pay less than he had originally agreed to. You can't undo a murder. It might've been possible, had the Dwarves rather than killing Thingol, backed off or negotiated to get their money/wealth/payment rather than becoming angry and taking the king's life, the Elves never would've had a leg to stand on upon for any grudge. The dwarves may have suceeded in getting their wealth. Even if they didn't, they would have avoided all fault and would only be short an amount of gold they would have been able to gain back. There will never be a way for the Elves to resurrect Thingol.

    I don't know about you, but I'd rather have someone steal ANYTHING from me, anything or everything, than kill someone who meant something for me, so while there was some offense from both sides in what I consider to be the true rift former, the offense of the death is far greater than the offense of the withholding of payment.

    Though, while this was the greatest point in my personal opinion, it still only merited one plus point on the final score, so all points were equal.
     
  11. baragund

    baragund Brother in Arms

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    Thanks guys for inviting me to judge this debate. Apologies for taking so long!!

    The relationship and the dynamics between the Elves and Dwarves always fascinated me. Why was there this seemingly hard-wired enmity between the two races and why didn’t the two sides try harder to make amends for past transgressions and resolve their differences? After all, as Snaga pointed out, Men behaved at least as badly toward the Elves throughout Middle-earth’s history as the Dwarves yet the Elves’ attitude toward them is more like grief than hatred. Likewise, Men and Dwarves butted heads from time to time but the passage of time seemed to heal those wounds.

    Well, the issue at hand is to figure out who was more to blame for this ongoing enmity, this enduring and mutual hatred between Elves and Dwarves. Both sides deserve blame. Both sides did pretty rotten things to the other and the phrase “I’m sorry” is one you do NOT see hear very often uttered by either of those races. As I read this debate, I figured the race most to blame for this enmity would have to “out perform” the other race in a combination of the following three things:

    • Who started the feud?
    • Who nursed the grudge the most?
    • Who made the least effort at reconciliation?

    WHO STARTED THE FEUD?
    Two of the events discussed here got my particular attention. First was the settlement of Nargothrond. Yay made an argument that Finrod’s settlement there fueled Mim’s and, ultimately, the Dwarves resentment against the Elves. Thorondor and Turgon countered that Nargothrond was deserted by the time Finrod arrived, and that his settlement at that location was sanctioned by Ulmo. This is backed up by their description of the dying out of the Petty Dwarves with Mim and his two sons as the last survivors of that group. Chrys also pointed out how Finrod had the help of the Dwarves in expanding the caverns for his settlement. I find for the Tree Huggers here. Mim was merely an extremely disgruntled and bitter individual and there is no indication I know that any of the other Dwarven Houses begrudged Finrod and Orodreth for establishing their kingdom there.

    The real catalyst of the feud is the fight in Menegroth over the Nauglamir and the ensuing war between the Elves of Doriath and the Dwarves of Nogrod. Both sides behaved badly here but we get to the most controversial part of the debate: What version of the story should be considered “gospel”? Is it the account in the Quenta Noldorinwa as Maedhros proposes or the published Silmarillion as insisted by Thorondor and Turgon?

    Maedhros makes the case the published Silmarillion is incorrect based on the quoted note on Chapter 22 Of the Ruin of Doriath. Thorondor and Turdon’s maintains the position the published Silmarillion takes precedence because CT was given authority to change JRRT’s work and that the published Silmarillion is supposed to be a complete work. But they don’t provide a real response to the damning note on Chapter 22. Some have suggested that nothing in the HOME series should be used as “canon” but I think that is overly cautious. One has to be careful to demonstrate that the passage better fulfills the overall arc of the story than what is proposed to be replaced. Regardless, Thingol behaves badly in both accounts. In the Quenta, he is a deadbeat and in the Silmarillion, he is consumed by lust for the Silmaril and provokes the fight by scorning the Dwarves. Also, as a king of a great nation, Thingol has a greater responsibility to act in the interests of his people rather than his own personal enrichment. Much more so than the Dwarvish craftsman. In my mind, a king’s treachery is worse than a hired hand’s. I have to award this matter to the Stone Fondlers by a narrow margin.

    WHO NURSED THE GRUDGE?
    Snaga made this part of the debate easiest to judge. He portrayed Thranduil and Celeborn as absolute jerks in their treatment of Dwarves at specific instances, and he demonstrated how they institutionalized this discrimination by showing how they passed laws in their respective kingdoms to codify this behavior. Worst of all was Thranduil’s actions leading up to the Battle of Five Armies. Amassing an army to force Thorin and company to give up the treasure in Erebor! I remember my first reading of The Hobbit when I was a kid and even then, I thought Thranduil’s behavior stunk! Thank God the orcs came along and united the other parties!

    For the most part, the Tree Huggers tried to paint a picture of the Dwarves being at fault in their encounters in Mirkwood and Lothlorien but it didn’t hold water with me. Chrys oh so briefly touched on Gloin’s initially boorish behavior at the Council of Elrond but she needed to develop it further to show it was a commonly held attitude among the Dwarves to show that they held any grudge through the ages. On this point, I decidedly find for the Stone Fondlers.

    WHO MADE THE LEAST EFFORT AT RECONILLIATION?
    Again, Snaga scored the most points with me with Durin’s people coming to the aid of Celebrimbor and, ironically, Celeborn in Eregion in the Second Age. This aid was a natural result of the great friendship that developed between Eregion and Khazad-dum. But despite that friendship and despite the aid of the Dwarves, Celeborn maintains the discriminatory laws mentioned above through the rest of the 2nd Age and all of the 3rd Age. Go figure.

    Again, the Tree Huggers touched too briefly on what could have been good points: Turgon mentions the Dwarves “obsession with secrecy” and Chrys mentions Elrond’s magnanimity at his council in FOTR but they were not developed enough to demonstrate that either the Dwarves did not want to reconcile or that the Elves did. Turgon correctly identifies Celeborn’s ultimate willingess to make amends in The Mirror of Galadriel and Legolas’ friendship with Gimli, but those actions strike me as too little too late. I could not get Snaga’s mantra of 6000 years out of my head! Again, I find for the Stone Fondlers.

    So here we have it. The Dwarves, although not faultless, was not quite as much to blame in the feud as the Elves of Doriath, particularly Thingol. Nobody showed me any Dwarf nursed the grudge as much as Celeborn or Thranduil. And despite the friendship between Ost-in-Edhil and Khazad-dum (kudos to the Noldo Celebrimbor, Elrond and Gil-galad!), nobody provided a Dwarvish equivalent of Celeborn’s and Thranduil’s discrimination through the 3rd Age. It saddens me to find that the Elves were most to blame for the enmity between them and the Dwarves.
     
  12. Maedhros

    Maedhros The Tall

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    Thanks for you judgind baragund.
    There are some questions that i would like to make about it. Is that ok with you.

    Dear HLGStrider, I would like to make more questions about what you posted if that is ok with you.
     
  13. baragund

    baragund Brother in Arms

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    Fire away, old friend!:) I'll be happy to further explain my addled reasoning or elaborate on anything you like.
     
  14. Maedhros

    Maedhros The Tall

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    Thank you very much. I still remember the explanation that you gave to me regarding what is the difference between a freeway and a highway.

    First I would like to begin asking a simple question. What books about ME have you read. I'm guessing the Published Silmarillion, LOTR, The Hobbit, Unfinished Tales. Not sure if you have read HOME, RGEO and the ATB.


    There is something that is very peculiar with this debate. CT has done an amazing job in creating the Published Silmarillion, by using bits and pieces from the different parts of his fathers writtings. In the case that concerns this debate, CT admitted that his version was an invention from him.
    The one thing that i find peculiar with your judging, is that you are the only judge, that has taken into account the fact that in JRRT's version it is indeed Thingol the one responsible for the killings of the dwarven craftsmen. How come that you chose that way, instead of doing like the other judge and dismiss it completely?
    The other judge says:
    Why did you reach that conclusion baragund? Notice that while the other judge uses the argument found in the Quenta Ñoldorinwa, aobut the paying of the works, the other judge leaves out the killing of those dwarves by Thingol?
    Why is it, that to you the death of the dwarves is a cause for enmity, unlike the other judge?
     
  15. HLGStrider

    HLGStrider All Knowing Magic Cat

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    I don't mind further questions, but I have to warn you, I made my notes the old fashioned way and didn't keep them so I won't be able to give much of a complete accounting of it. I'm not very good at audits.
     
  16. Maedhros

    Maedhros The Tall

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    Thanks.
    Hopefully I will post my questions later today.
     
  17. baragund

    baragund Brother in Arms

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    Before I get into answering Maedhros’ questions, I’d like to point out that it’s been a while since I’ve had my nose seriously into the books. I considered brushing up on the material; poring over my copies before reviewing the debate but I decided against that and let the debaters guide me through the subject matter themselves. Also, the issue of who is to blame for the ongoing feud between the Elves and the Dwarves is one that I honestly have not held a firm opinion on one way or the other. I have always been ambivalent on the matter and I was looking forward to reading the debate to help me form my own opinion. Therefore, I think I had a pretty high level of objectivity going into this review.

    Now then, Maedhros’ first question gets into the extent of my familiarity with Tolkien’s works. Hmmm… One could interpret this as a way to question my qualifications to judge the issue at hand or it could be a means to verify them. No matter. I’ve read The Hobbit and LOTR many many times over the years, although it’s been a good five years since I read LOTR cover to cover. I’ve read the published Silmarillion several times and Unfinished Tales at least twice cover to cover but I go back and reread passages from time to time. I’ve read the first five volumes of HOME cover to cover, including the Quenta in vol. IV that is a big feature of the debate. I got bogged down plowing my way through vol. VI-IX because the multiple iterations of how Tolkien developed the LOTR plot and characters got into such a degree of minutia as to render the whole thing rather irrelevant to me. I skipped around different passages of vol. X-XII but have not read them cover to cover. I read bits and pieces of Humphrey Carpenter’s Letters and I started but never finished his biography of Tolkien. I also read Smith of Wooten Major and Roverandon. I don’t know what the acronyms RGEO or ATB stand for so it is likely I have not read them. I make a point of avoiding “guide” publications by others. I prefer reading the source material and drawing my own conclusions. It might also be helpful to point out that I’ve loved all things to do with Middle-earth and have been reading his works since Gerald Ford lived in the White House.

    Maedhros’ next question asks why I felt Thingol was responsible “for the killings of the dwarven craftsment” (his words). To answer, we first have to be careful of our word selection. Maedhros’ words make it sound like Thingol himself is guilty of murder or conspiracy to commit murder. That’s not the case. In my opinion, Thingol was responsible for the start of the feud by i) his refusal to pay the Dwarves their fee and ii) his scorning them. Why do I put the responsibility on Thingol rather than the Dwarves who drew first blood? The reason is Thingol’s greater responsibility, as King, to honor his business commitments and to address his subjects and guests in diplomatic, if not cordial, terms. When the Head of State speaks, he speaks for his entire people. So when Thingol calls the Dwarves “Stunted People” and other unkind things, those insults are received not as the words of one ignorant person, but as the attitude of an entire society, the kingdom of Doriath. When he tells the Dwarves to begone, without payment, he is not only showing himself to be a cheat, he is showing that behavior as representative of the people of Doriath… at least to Dwarves. If he had conducted himself as a Statesman the way he should, the situation could have been negotiated and solved, despite any plotting of the Dwarves to keep the Nauglamir.

    Elgee’s judgment rested on the murder of Thingol by the Dwarves. True, that action marks a point-of-no-return after which it would be almost impossible to diffuse the situation. With Thingol’s murder, some kind of protracted strife is inevitable. But up to that point, cooler heads could have prevailed with calm discussion and it was Thingol’s responsibility to do that.

    As I indicated above, the part of Maedhros’ question that may be off the mark is his words “killing of those dwarves by Thingol”. I’m not aware that Thingol himself killed anybody. The published Silmarillion describes Thingol’s scorning of the Dwarves and telling them to leave without payment. The Quenta describes Thingol’s intention to “scant” the Dwarves and a general statement about battle in the halls. Thingol’s actions consisted of treachery, by refusing to pay, and insults to the Dwarves. I don’t think he himself committed any physical violence.

    Hope this helps. Let me know if I’m missing anything.