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Question on the Blessed Realm

Wood Elf

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I have read the Akallabeth, and after the destruction of Numenor, the lands of the Blessed Realm are cut off forever from mortals, and if they sail into the west, they will come back right to where they started, meaning the earth is round. How do the elves get to the Blessed Realm, if the B.R. is a physical place on the earth? Do they go on a special hidden path that only immortals can go on? I mean, if the B.R. is there, in the West, how can they get to it, if the world is cut off from the B.R., and they would go in circles and never hit it?
 

Legolam

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I'm sure it's written somewhere that after Numenor sank (or was sunk) that the BR was "set outside the confines of this world"
 

Niniel

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Yes, it was. When the Numenoreans were still able to go the West, it was just an island, like other islands, were they could go to if they wanted, but later it was removed form the 'normal world' and placed somewhere where only the Elves could find it. If any Men were to go looking for it, they would indeed find that they had sailed around the world without finding the island of the Elves.
 

Dol Amroth

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The Lost Road

To get a good answer to this question, you should take a glance at Vol V - The Lost Road. It describes the Straight Path into the West which the Elves could take. Cf. P.17:
"For the old line of the world remained in the mind of the Gods and in the memory of the world as a shape and a plan that has been changed, but endures. And it has been likened to a plain of air, or to a straight vision that bends not to the hidden curve of the earth, or to a level bridge that rises imperceptibly but surely above the heavy air of earth....But upon the straight road only the Gods and the vanished Elves could walk, or such as the Gods summoned of the fading Elves of the round earth, who became deminished in substance as Men usurped the sun."
Perhaps it doesn't seem a perfectly satisfactory answer, but it's the only one I've come across in Tolkien's work.
 

Dol Amroth

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Originally posted by Niniel
When the Numenoreans were still able to go the West, it was just an island, like other islands, were they could go to if they wanted.
PS. The Numenoreans were never allowed to go to the Blessed Realm. They could sail westard only so far as they were still within sight of the coast of Numenor. Amongst men, only Earendil sets foot upon the shore of the Blessed Realm, and look what happened to him....
 

Grond

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Err... Umm... I believe that Ar-Pharazon also set foot on the Blessed Realm and in his arrogance brought about the destruction of Numenor and the changing of the world. The Blessed Realm was removed forever from the confines of Middle-earth and Middle-earth, at that moment, became a globe. That was my take on the Akallabeth... but I could be wrong... I don't have my book here at work.
 

Wood Elf

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Okay, so to men, Middle Earth became round, like our earth, and the Blessed Realm was taken out of the earth, where it had previously been like an island that you could sail to, but if you were mortal would get in big trouble. After the downfall of Numenor, the B.R became only accessable to elves, and only they knew how to get outside the confines of Middle Earth. Is the B.R. like in space somewhere? Because in the Akallabeth it says, when the messengers are at Numenor explaining why they (men) can't be immortal. The elves are bound to the earth though, and can't get out of the confines of it. If the B.R. was outside M.E, then elves could leave the confines of earth. Hmm...so the B.R. is like an elf heaven, right? That would be so cool to see..:)
 

Grond

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The Blessed Realm is a place in reality. (In the world of Middle-earth.) It is not a Heaven (because evil can come there and did through Melkor and Feanor, to name a few). It is the place where the Valar and Maiar reside and the Faithful of the Eldar (those who never left in the Flight of the Noldor or who have come back and been forgiven). It is not in space but on a different plane, much like where Frodo went when he wore the One Ring.

You are right though in asserting that it is outside the bounds of Middle-earth. That is what happened when the Numenoreans dared to set foot on Valinor. Eru Illuvator (God) broke the island of Numenor and sank it into the ocean. He plucked the lands of Valinor and placed them "somewhere else".
 

Wood Elf

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Oh, so the B.R. is in Middle Earth, just now on a different plane of being, so to speak. I think I get it. Humans when they die, go to a different place all together, Tolkien doesn't (not that I know of) say where, but it can't be accessed by Elves. How weird that must be for an elf, when they 'die', get killed, and they just come back, never to die (in the halls of Manwe) where they get the choice to stay there, or go back right? Or can't they go back to M.E? Kinda like the film "Groundhog Day" eh? You get killed, and just keep waking up alive again! Except the day doesn't repeat over again like in the film. Must kinda suck in a way, no escape...
 

Bucky

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Namo (aka Mandos) stated in 'The Doom of the Noldor' that Elves could be slain & would then their 'houseless spirits' would 'come to Mandos. There long shall ye abide & yearn for your bodies.'

The only 2 exceptions to this I see, where somebody gets another body (which seems very inconsistent to me) is the highly debatable 'Two or One Glorfindels' issue, & the statement after Finrod dies that he 'walks with Finarfin his father beneath the trees of Eldamar'.

On mortals getting to the Blessed Realm, besides Earendil (he was half Elven anyways) & Ar-Pharazon, at the end of Alkabeth:
'tales & rumors arose along the shores of the sea concerning mariners and men forlorn upon the water who, by some fate or grace of the Valar, had entered in upon the Straight Way & seen the face of the world sink below them, & so had come to the lamplit quays of Avallone, or verily to the last beaches on the margin of Aman, & there had looked upon the White Mountain, dreadful & beautiful, before they died.'
 

Grond

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Originally posted by Bucky
...'tales & rumors arose along the shores of the sea concerning mariners and men forlorn upon the water who, by some fate or grace of the Valar, had entered in upon the Straight Way & seen the face of the world sink below them, & so had come to the lamplit quays of Avallone, or verily to the last beaches on the margin of Aman, & there had looked upon the White Mountain, dreadful & beautiful, before they died.'
An interesting quote for sure but if the sailors saw the White Mountain before they died, where did the tales and rumors come from? I would guess that they were just tales and rumours and that was all.
Originally posted by Wood Elf
...Humans when they die, go to a different place all together,
Wood Elf, this isn't real clear either. In the Silmarillion it states that the Elves know not where Man goes upon death but it is not of this world. That would seem to indicate (in the context that the quote was made) that they do not reside in the Halls of Mandos. Only Eru, Manwe and Mandos know for sure... but it is somewhere because at Luthien's bidding, Mandos summoned Beren from that place where the souls of Man go upon death and he was called back to the land of the living. (These are my words and not those of the author. I can't find the exact quotes but the statements are correct.):)
 

Bucky

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>>> An interesting quote for sure but if the sailors saw the White Mountain before they died, where did the tales and rumors come from? I would guess that they were just tales and rumours and that was all.

True, but as Tolkien wrote it & he created the whole thing, it could be true anyway.

But, thinking like that kinda bursts the whole bubble I guess.....
 

Halandor

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Before the fall of numenor, the world was flat, as stated in the atlas of middle earth, and Aman was the farthest west. After the fall of numenor the world became round, and Aman was removed to a place beyond the circles of the world
 

Wood Elf

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So, if an elf gets slain, or dies of greif, they don't get to come back in their body form? They have to stay in the hall of Mandos without their body? I thought they could choose whether they wanted to go back to M.E. or not with their body they had before. Guess not, I must be mixing things up or something. But, do they get to go in the B.R when they 'die', because they are immortal?
 

Brent

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Originally posted by Dol Amroth

PS. The Numenoreans were never allowed to go to the Blessed Realm. They could sail westard only so far as they were still within sight of the coast of Numenor. Amongst men, only Earendil sets foot upon the shore of the Blessed Realm, and look what happened to him....
PPS and Tuor his old man
 

Brent

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Originally posted by Grond

That would seem to indicate (in the context that the quote was made) that they do not reside in the Halls of Mandos. Only Eru, Manwe and Mandos know for sure... but it is somewhere because at Luthien's bidding, Mandos summoned Beren from that place where the souls of Man go upon death and he was called back to the land of the living. (These are my words and not those of the author. I can't find the exact quotes but the statements are correct.):)
I don't think this is correct. I think (haven't got the book but Grond can correct me) that the souls of men wait awhile in mandos before they leave the world and Luthien comes to Mandos before Beren departs. It is not permitted for Mandos to stop the souls of men passing from the world, so Manwe goes for a chat with Eru and comes back with the offer that she can stay in Aman (be released from Mandos) and Beren leaves the world OR they can both go back.

Also it doesn't actually SAY that Manwe and Mandos know what happens to the souls of men. It says something like no one knows save "perhaps" Mandos and Manwe.
 

Dol Amroth

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Ok, I’m just going to attempt to put forward a few suggestions of how I view some of the questions which have been raised in this thread:
1) Grond: “Err... Umm... I believe that Ar-Pharazon also set foot on the Blessed Realm and in his arrogance brought about the destruction of Numenor and the changing of the world.”
Yes, you’re quiet right. Ar-Pharazon and many of his followers did make it onto the shores of the Blessed Realm, but “the King and the mortal warriors that had set foot upon the land of Aman were buried under falling hills: there it is said that they lie imprisoned in the Caves of the Forgotten, until the Last Battle and the Day of Doom.”
2) Bucky: “as Tolkien wrote it & he created the whole thing, it could be true anyway”
We probably shouldn’t get too hung-up on this, as there really are some people who believe that Tolkien was using secret source material available to him in his role as Rowlinson and Bosworth Professor of Anglo-Saxon at Oxford University; but he did repeatedly say that he didn’t feel himself that he was making it up, and said that he didn’t know all the answers…
Cf. Letters No. 131: “They arose in my mind as ‘given’ things…always I had the sense of recording what was already ‘there’ somewhere: not of ‘inventing’.”
3) Brent: “PPS and Tuor his old man”
In The Silmarillion, we’re told merely that, together with Idril, Tuor sat sail “into the sunset and the West, and came no more into any tale or song.” There was a rumour that he did indeed pass into the Uttermost West, but if so, it was because he “alone of mortal Men was numbered among the elder race”. Perhaps this is another case of Tolkien not knowing in himself what happened, and just putting forward a suggestion.
4) Elven after-life.
It is clear from Tolkien’s writings that the Elves are seen to be immortal (“Immortal were the elves”). Though their bodies may be slain, they do not cease to exist – though it is not wholly clear what this existence consists of. It must either be sitting in the Halls of Mandos until the Last Battle (similar to the Sheol of Jewish theology), or reincarnation. It seems that both were possibilities for individuals. Thus: “dying they are gathered to the halls of Mandos in Valinor, whence they may in time return.”
Cf. Letters No. 181: “When ‘killed’, by the injury or destruction of their incarnate form, they do not escape from time, but remain in the world, either discarnate, or being re-born.”
5) Human after-life.
“Some say that they too go to the halls of Mandos; but their place of waiting there is not that of the Elves, and Mandos under Iluvatar alone save Manwe knows whither they go after the time of recollection in those silent halls beside the Outer Sea.”
This seems to suggest to me that Men do indeed go to Mandos, for a time. This interim period may account for the summoning back of Beren – he had not yet moved on from the time of recollection. In Letters No. 153, Tolkien writes that “Luthien obtains a brief respite in which they both return to Middle-Earth ‘alive’”. It looks to me, therefore, that the unique grace which Luthien gains was that Beren and herself spend their time of recollection in Middle-Earth. Thus they are only “‘alive’” in inverted comers. After this sojourn in the Halls of Mandos, it is, of course, impossible even to guess what happens to Man, although Tolkien does say that they “die indeed, and leave the world”, in contrast with the Elves, who never truly leave it. Reincarnation or indefinite waiting in Mandos, it seems, are out of the question.
Phew! I think I’d better leave it at that for now and go and get some work done!!
 

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