Was Fëanor proven right?

Discussion in 'Judging' started by Ithrynluin, Nov 1, 2005.

  1. Ithrynluin

    Ithrynluin seeker of solace Staff Member

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    Well, the debate is over though the Valarin team did not produce a closing post.

    The teams are:

    Fëanorian: Arvedui, Celebthol, YayGollum
    Valarin: Hammersmith, Ithrynluin, Thorondor_

    The debate premise:

    The Feanorian team argued for the affirmative position, the Valarin for the negative.

    After reading the debate, the five judges will give their vote to either the Feanorian or the Valarin team, or vote for a draw if they deem neither team had the upper hand.

    The judges are asked to lay aside their personal opinions and theories on the topic, and concentrate solely on the material presented by the two teams, and deliver their judgement based on which team put forth the better arguments and was more convincing on the whole.
     
  2. baragund

    baragund Brother in Arms

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    Hi Guys!

    Ithy invited me to help judge this debate and I enthusiastically agreed. Please give me a bit of time to digest your posts because I have not been following it. I printed it out last night so I can make notes as I read it and it's 65 pages long!

    This is going to be really interesting because I have always been on the fence when it comes to Feanor. Some things about him I admire and some things infuriate me. So I can really go either way on this issue.:)
     

  3. Maedhros

    Maedhros The Tall

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    Just an opinion!

    I have now read all of the debate and it was interesting. I was impressed by both sides, but the one who stood above the rest was Arvedui. He was the one who was always precise and to the point of the question in the debate.

    Now, I wouldn't say that the Fëanorian side won because in my opinion, the topic is not fair to the Valarin side. I don't think that Arvedui would have been as eloquent had he been in the Valarin side. Perhaps someone like Harad could have pulled it off.
     
  4. Ithrynluin

    Ithrynluin seeker of solace Staff Member

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    Hey, Maed. It was very kind of you to take the time and read the debate even though you were not specifically asked to. Had I known you were interested, perhaps I could have asked you to act as one of the judges, though not all of the ones I chose have confirmed their participation yet.

    I think we've all digressed at one point or another, but I also believe this to be a natural byproduct of debating because so many things and concepts are touched upon or worded dubiously that the other team can hardly let pass by unheeded, though no doubt these digressions ought to be bridled to some extent.

    Why do you think the topic was unfair to the Valarin side?

    Another thing I feel is imperative when it comes to judging this debate is that one detaches oneself from their opinions about the topic, whether pro-Feanor or anti.
     

  5. Gothmog

    Gothmog Lord of Balrogs Staff Member

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    Feanor Debate

    I wish to thank both teams for providing the most difficult debate I have had to judge. The conduct of both teams has been excellent with no problems from either side. The quality of the posts was (much as expected) good from both sides. However, much of the debate revolved around points that were not in the question of the quote. Such points as were Feanor's intentions and actions for good or ill. His reasons for starting the Rebellion of the Noldor and why he took them to M-e do not have any bearing on the question.

    As YayGollum pointed out the things that matter are the points in the quote:

    Did Eru set a greater fire in Feanor than the Valar knew?

    Did Feanor do such hurt to Melkor that the Valar wondered to hear of it?

    Did the Valar follow Feanor?


    First point. 'Did Eru set a greater fire in Feanor than the Valar knew?'

    While there was discussion on this point, there was no telling point either way until Arvedui gave the quote:

    Unfortunatly for the Feanorians, to me, this quote hinders rather than helps their case. That Manwë could in some measure conceive of what Feanor might have wrought shows that he must have had a reasonable idea of the power within him. Though this point was not picked up by any in the Valarin.

    Second point. ' Did Feanor do such hurt to Melkor that the Valar wondered to hear of it?'

    Throndor_ in his opening post for the debate said Whatever later merits the elves had in containing the enemy he (Feanor) cannot claim, since he uselessly dies in an early battle. And YayGollum in his answering post says

    Everybody writes about how much better other elves were when he (Feanor) didn't even have the chance to become great.

    Later Yay stated

    since we should only be debating about whether or not he (Feanor) was able to use them (the Nolor) effectively. In any way. Or at all.

    I find that I am not convinced by the arguments of the Feanorian team that Feanor was able to do any significant harm to Melkor (let alone 'such harm as cause the Valar to wonder' ) either as an individual or as a leader of the Noldor due to the short time that he was leading where even Yay considered '(Feanor) didn't even have the chance to become great'. However, the Valarin team did not use any instances to show that others among the Noldor had as leaders used the armies of the Noldor effectively, and even as an individual caused serious harm in single combat directly to Melkor. Because of this lack of evidence that other leaders had made effective use of the Noldor in battle instead of Feanor, I cannot be convinced by the Valarin side either.

    Third point. ' Did the Valar follow Feanor?'

    I must admit that I expected that this would be the easiest for the Feanorian team to prove and that the Valarin team would with equal ease show it to be of least importance to the question. However, The arguments seem to revolve solely around differing views on who followed who and so failed to convince either way.

    I would have called this debate a draw were it not for the negative point from the quote used by Arvedui. So it is only by the most slender of margins that I give my vote to the Valarin team.
     
  6. Alcuin

    Alcuin Registered User

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    Ithrynluin asked me to judge in this debate. It is my first experience at this.

    I had not read the Fëanor debate thread before yesterday. The debate topic seems to be clearly defined. The task for the Noldorin team was, in my mind, to attribute the initial motivation of the heroic actions of the Noldor in the Quenta Silmarillion to the leadership of Fëanor and the mistakes he made in the Flight of the Noldor so “that even the mighty in the Ring of Doom shall wonder to hear it.” The task of the Valarin team seemed to me to be to draw that line as narrowly as possible in order to prevent any credit for the mighty deeds of the Noldor to ascribe to Fëanor.

    That Fëanor’s spirit was surprisingly fiery was staked out early by YayGollum and never in serious dispute, in my mind. That it had become a destructive rather than constructive fire seems to have surprised those around him, too.

    The debate then evolved around the two remaining points: could Fëanor be attributed hurt to Melkor (or his nefarious cause) so that the Valar would wonder at the tale? And did the Valar follow Fëanor to Middle-earth?

    At one point late in the debate I was quite prepared to decide completely in favor of the Noldorin team. At the end of the debate, however, they allowed the Valarin team to finally draw the lines of the debate narrowly enough for the Valarin team to eke out a win.

    Everyone in this debate did well, in my opinion. The strongest participant was Arvedui, whose arguments took increasing force in the second half.

    I kept notes as I proceeded. If you care to see them, they’re posted at http://www.zarkanya.net/Tolkien/Was_Feanor_Proved_Right.htm
     
  7. DGoeij

    DGoeij Pan Narran

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    I was asked by Ithy to judge this debate and I just finished reading the debate thread. I'll dive into it one more time and give my judgement as soon as possible. It's a nice way to bend my mind to other matters for a while, now I'm learning for the last exam of this period on friday.

    EDIT:
    This sure wasn't easy. Let's consider the statement that lay at the heart of the debate:
    And it may be that Eru has set a greater fire in me than thou knowest. Such hurt at the least will I do to the Foe of the Valar that even the mighty in the Ring of Doom shall wonder to hear it. Yea, in the end they shall follow me
    As was pointed out, this statement makes three claims. Sometimes it was hard to follow the debate, because all three were now and then discussed simultaneously. But I feel I managed in the end.

    To start with the easier one: 'In the end they shall follow me'
    Apart from the fact that the Valar actually went to ME, I've seen no good claims which point towards a serious connection with Feanor’s doing in these actions of the Valar. I have seen (IMHO), better claims that suggest that the Valar did not follow Feanor, but went to ME for other reasons. So that one, I'll grant to the 'Valarin'.

    Now: And it may be that Eru has set a greater fire in me than thou knowest.
    Did the Valar know how feisty good ole Feanor was and was he in fact feisty at all? Hard to prove, one way or the other and I do not feel either side was capable of convincing me. IMHO, a draw.

    Such hurt at the least will I do to the Foe of the Valar that even the mighty in the Ring of Doom shall wonder to hear it.

    Did Feanor do so much hurt to Morgoth that the mighty wonder to hear it? As was pointed out, Feanor got himself killed quite soon after entering ME and can hardly claim he did serious damage to Morgoth. Wether his actions and the aftermath of them did much damage to Morgoth. both sides debated this endlessly, but it somehow shows to me that the aftermath was both good and bad in terms of damage to Morgoth. I haven’t seen any proof that there was much talk about Feanor’s actions, neither any that says there wasn’t. Again, to me, a draw.

    All in all, I feel the end result for either side is not enough to grant a victory to either Feanorians or Valarians. I have to vote for a draw in this case.

    Perhaps I have been a bit overwhelmed by the amount of information that had to support claims to three different parts of the claims made by Feanor, but I sure liked becoming a bit more informed about it. The fact that I wasn't convinced by either side does not mean their performance was poor though, I hope that's clear to all debaters involved.
     
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2005
  8. DGoeij

    DGoeij Pan Narran

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    *Bump*

    I added my comments to my latest post, but I realise people might miss the fact because there wasn't any post to warn everyone. It's here now.:)
     
  9. Celebthôl

    Celebthôl Loremaster

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    I vote Feanorian!

    Wooo! Yeh! Wooo!

    ;) :D
     
  10. Gothmog

    Gothmog Lord of Balrogs Staff Member

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    Why does this not surprise me?

    ;) :D
     
  11. Celebthôl

    Celebthôl Loremaster

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    Heh heh heh, you know me! :D

    We seem to be lacking votes, I thought I could get us in a sly one...;)
     
  12. Arvedui

    Arvedui Stargazer

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    Are we done yet? Or was there five judges?
     
  13. Ithrynluin

    Ithrynluin seeker of solace Staff Member

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    We're waiting for baragund and Helcaraxë to complete their judgement.
     
  14. Helcaraxë

    Helcaraxë The Grinding Ice

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    The fine print: I have waffled throughout this debate about which side is inherently stronger, so, as Ithy asked, my opinion on how the debate went will not be influenced by my opinions on the topic itself.

    On to the juicy stuff.

    Before I make a judgement, let me say that this was one of the best debates I have ever seen on TTF. I have read many debates here, and participated in one, and I think that the eloquence and clarity that both sides debated with is impressive.

    Anyway, here is my summary of the points put forth by each side:

    Fëanorean:

    -Fëanor lead the Noldor into Beleriand, thus causing great hurt to Melkor.
    -Saying that Fëanor had inferior fighting skills is largely irrelevant to this debate.
    -The Valar did end up following Fëanor to Middle-Earth, as he went there first and made the first offensive against Morgoth.
    -Manwë's statements upon learning about the response of Fëanor to the Messenger show that he did in fact, wonder at Fëanor's feats.
    -The Valar didn't really do much until Fëanor went to Middle-Earth and started waging war against Melkor.
    -His spirit and his deeds (direct or indirect) were so great that it became a wonder to the Valar.

    Valarian:

    -Fëanor only played a small part in bringing the Noldor to Beleriand and actually did more harm than good.
    -Fëanor did not do very much damage to Morgoth at all.
    -The Valar were sorrowful at Fëanor's deeds but did not wonder at them.
    -Fëanor followed the Valar, not the other way around.
    -The power of Fëanor's spirit is irrelevant; his deeds hindered the rest of the Noldor rather than helped them.

    Of course, I leave out many good points on both sides, but I think these are the salient ones.

    I thought that for most of the debate, it was dead even. However, there were a few points that I thought were argued more strongly by one side than the other: the part of Fëanor's statement that deals with doing such deeds that the Valar would wonder at them. I don't think YayGollum's point (clever as it was) that simply being mentioned by the Valar was enough to consitute "wonder" was as strong as the opposing point, which I mentioned above. Arvedui made some very good points about some of the injuries that Fëanor did to Morgoth, but I think never truly addressed the problem of why this was cause for wonder on the part of the Valar.

    Second, there was the point of the Valar following Fëanor. The Valarian side did an excellent job using quotations from the text to show that the Valar were the main powers in the Wars against Morgoth, and even though this was to some extent refuted by the Fëanorean side in stating that the Noldor did an immense amount of damage to Morgoth and in fact set the standard for the Valar to follow, I don't think the Fëanorean side was able to attribute this to Fëanor.

    So, though both sides were argued expertly and eloquently, my vote goes with the Valarian team.

    Well done, everyone, and I hope I see more debates of this fine quality on TTF in the future.

    Thanks,

    Helcaraxë
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2005
  15. baragund

    baragund Brother in Arms

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    Hi Guys!

    I've read the debate and got my review about half-written. I'm going through my notes to make sure I caught the major twists and turns so please bear with me just a tad longer. I'll try my best to be finished today or tomorrow.
     
  16. baragund

    baragund Brother in Arms

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    First off, let me give my sincere apologies for taking so long with my review and a heartfelt thank you for the vote of confidence in inviting me to take part in the judging. We have had a snowstorm and an ice storm here in northern Virginia over the past week and Baragund has had to put in lots of overtime.

    “And it may be that Eru has set a greater fire in me than thou knowest. Such hurt at the least will I do to the Foe of the Valar that even the mighty in the Ring of Doom shall wonder to hear it. Yea, in the end they shall follow me.”

    Those words uttered by Feanor: Was he proven right or not? We have the Noldor team of Celebthol, YayGollum, Turgon and Arvedui arguing that he was and we have the Valar team of Ithrynluin, Wraithguard, Thorondor and Hammersmith arguing that he was not.

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading this debate. All of the participants gave keen insight to Tolkien’s mythology and I truly value and respect the thoughts offered by all of you. The debate has enhanced my understanding of this part of the mythology. As I said earlier, I was able to go either way in my own opinion going into the debate so nobody had a bias to overcome.

    Each team had their own theme in arguing their respective positions. The Noldor tried to limit the scope of the question as much as possible and tried to steer the discussion to as literal an interpretation of the question as possible. That would make the question objective and reduce it to a simple "yes/no" proposition. The Valar, on the other hand, would cast their intellectual nets as wide as possible to build a case based on more global issues. In my mind, the struggle between the two teams was based on who did a better job. The Noldor had to be literal without picking nits too much, sounding lawyerly or missing the forest for the trees. The Valar had to capture the subjective meaning of the quote without reading more into things than there were.

    The Valar sometimes cast the net too wide. There was lots of discussion that lay all the troubles of Middle-earth on Feanor’s shoulders. This may or may not be true but that was not the debate question. On the other hand the question was “Was Feanor proven right?” The burden of proof was on the Noldor team to show that he was and, thus, their argument was more difficult to make. Yay’s posts kept the debate question better focused, although sometimes he would get too narrow on the “who followed who” question. Later on, Arvedui did a wonderful job of providing other passages of Tolkien’s writings to build more of a “big picture” argument.

    As I read the debate, my own opinion evolved. I came away thinking that Feanor was proven right in the first of the three items. The Noldor team convinced me the Valar did underestimate the fire within him. His ability to set things in motion and motivate his people demonstrated that.

    Regarding the second item, the credit for the successes of the Noldor (hurt to the Foe of the Valar) to me was inconclusive. And that’s what the second item meant to me. This was about more than a casual mention by one Vala to another at the water cooler (as Yay would have us think) but I interpreted this to be serious discussion in the Ring of Doom. There was a lot of back and forth for giving the credit to Feanor for setting things in motion vs. the other Noldor leaders for the actual victories, the building of their kingdoms and the long siege that sapped Melkor of much of his strength. The outcome of this part of the discussion left me with a similar feeling as trying to figure out if the chicken or the egg came first. Because nobody proved to me that it was Feanor that laid the hurt on Melkor, I award this part of the debate to the Valar team.

    Finally, we get to the part of whether or not the Valar followed Feanor in their mission to defeat Melkor. The discussion here was similar to the second part: was the Valar following Feanor’s lead when they launched the War of Wrath or somebody else? Again there was a lot of discussion of whether the Valar launched that war to follow Feanor vs. finally heeding the plight of the Eldar and the Edain. In my opinion, Hammersmith really did the best job in this argurment by defining “following” as agreeing with Feanor's philosophies and aims. Otherwise, one can get wrapped around the axle too easily with literal interpretations. The analogy of the visit to the pizzeria left my head spinning but convinced that a literal application was not the right way to go. I award this part of the debate to the Valar team.

    Soooo, it was a win on points as opposed to a knockout or even a TKO but I give this debate to the VALAR.

    Thanks again for inviting me to take part in this and thanks again for your patience!:)
     
  17. Thorondor_

    Thorondor_ Registered User

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    So, if I count correctly, three judges agreed with the Valarin team. Congrats to my team members, our "opponents" and thanks to the judges. Drinks for everyone! The Valar are buying ;)

    P.S. When will a new debate start? :D
     
  18. Hammersmith

    Hammersmith Irresistible Ork Child

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    Huzzah! I'll echo those thanks to my team members and my most worthy opponents, with especial thanks to baragund for his kind comments on my small part in the debate. My apologies for not granting the debate as much time as I would have liked.
     
  19. Arvedui

    Arvedui Stargazer

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    Congratulations to the Valar!
    A most interesting, and challenging debate. I think that it is the first time I have spent hours just composing a reply.
    A thoroughly enjoying debate. Too bad that the judges were wrong, though ;) ;) :D :D
     
  20. Ithrynluin

    Ithrynluin seeker of solace Staff Member

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    The end result is 4.5 votes for the Valarin team and 0.5 for the Fëanorians.

    I must say I greatly enjoyed debating with such a fun and shrewd bunch of people, both my teammates and our opponents.

    Last but not least, I know well enough that sifting through debates of this kind can be quite an arduous task. A big thanks to the judges for their time and patience.