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Round 9: Ost-in-Edhil vs. Tolkienology

Arvedui

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Originally posted by Rhiannon
Topic: 'Who proved more detrimental to the good of the other peoples of Middle-Earth: The Noldorin Exiles or the lesser houses of Men?'
The answer to this is the lesser houses of Men.

From Athrabeth Finrod ah Andreth:
'Then are you content here?' said Finrod.
'Content?' said Andreth. No heart of Man is content. All passing and dying is a grief to it; but if the withering is less soon then that is some amendment, a little lifting of the Shadow.'
So already before the Edain met the Eldar, there was grief among Men. Why is this?
the answer can be found in The 'Tale of Adanel.' After Men had been deceived away from Eru, he came back and spoke to them one more time:
'Ye have abjured Me, but ye remain Mine. I gave you life. Now it shall be shortened, and each of you in a little while shall come to Me, to learn who is your Lord: the one ye worship, or I who made him.'
And Men grew afraid, but fearing their Master, still did his bidding. But:
For most of us, this was in vain. But to some he began to show favour: to the strongest and cruellest, and to those who went most often to the House. He gave gifts to them, and knowledge that they kept secret; and they became powerful and proud, and they enslaved us, so that we had no rest from labour amidst our afflictions.
Does not this description fit others that we have heard of from the Silmarillion? Brodda the easterling, and Lorgan. Men, who were powerful and proud, and who enslaved other Men.

And let us not forget Men like the sons of Ulfang, who at the turning point of the Nirnaeth Arnoediad
went over suddenly to Morgoth an drove in upon the rear of the Sons of Fëanor, and in the confusion that they wrought they came near to the standard of Maedhros. They reaped not the reward that Morgoth had promised them, for Maglor slew Uldor the accursed, the leader in treason, and the sons of Bór slew Ulfast and Ulwarth ere they themselves were slain. But new strength of evil Men came up that Uldor had summoned and kept hidden in the eastern hills, and the host of Maedhros was assailed now on three sides, and it broke, and was scattered, and fled this way and that.
The Silmarillion
And so the eastern defences fell to the power of Morgoth.
Great was the triumph of Morgoth, and his design was accomplished in a manner after his own heart; for Men took the lives of Men, and betrayed the Eldar, and fear and hatred were aroused among those that should have been united against him. From that day the hearts of the Elves were estranged from Men, save only those of the Three houses of the Edain.
The Silmarillion
And after this, Hithlum fell, and Doriath was ruined, and last of all fell Gondolin.
Men fought against Men, Dwarves, Elves and Men were alienated, against eachother. The only peoples who kept a firm alliance against Morgoth, were Elves and the Men of the Three Houses of the Edain. And from them came Eärendil, and the downfall of Morgoth.
 

Gil-Galad

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I would like to make a short announcement.
One of our debators has some problems and he is not able to participate in the debate.Is it possible our sweet and noble Finduilas to replace him?
Thank you very much.:rolleyes:
 

Arvedui

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Yes!

Although one word posts are not allowed.

But then it isn't any longer, is it?;)
 

Eriol

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We will attempt to show how the evil brought about by the Noldor is of a more serious and damaging nature than the evil brought about by the lesser houses of Men.

1. On bias

This may seem to be a small consideration, but it will become more important as our argument develops. The Silmarillion – and all other stories in the legendarium pertaining to that matter – were written by Elves, or by people instructed by Elves. It is small wonder if Men are thus seen as big bad guys. To corroborate this point:

Published Silmarillion, "Of Men"

Of Men little is told in these tales, which concern the Eldest Days before the waxing of the mortals and the waning of the Elves, save of those fathers of men, the Atanatári...
The bias inherent in the "little that is told of Men" may be shown by the famous words a bit above that quote:

The Atani they were named by the Eldar, the Second People; but they called them also Hildor, the Followers, and many other names: Apanónar, the After-born, Engwar, the Sickly, and Fírimar, the Mortals; and they named them the Usurpers, the Strangers, and the Inscrutable, the Self-cursed, the Heavy-handed, the Night-fearers, the Children of the Sun.
I believe this is enough on the matter of the bias; it is quite explicit.

2. The comparison between the Noldor and Men as regards the evil brought about by them

In many instances there is a comparison between the Fall of Men, addressed by Arvedui in his quotes of the Athrabeth, and the "Fall" of the Noldor. I remember one Letter in which Tolkien speaks of it; I’ll hunt for it later. And there is this:

The Published Silmarillion, "Of the Coming of Men into the West"

Of his [Morgoth] dealings with Men the Eldar indeed knew little, at that time, and learnt but little afterwards; but that a darkness lay upon the hearts of Men (as the shadow of the Kinslaying and the Doom of Mandos lay upon the Noldor) they perceived clearly even in the people of the Elf-friends whom they first knew.
The specific hurts brought about by each race are known; Arvedui mentioned a few of the Mannish faults, and I can name the Noldorin faults just as easily. Arvedui attributes two of them to the lesser houses of Men, by the way – the fall of both Doriath and Gondolin. I think he is mistaken. Surely these two realms fell because of the Doom of Mandos, a Noldorin fault; men had precious little to do with Doriath and nothing to do with Gondolin.

The point I intend to make here is that in a story told from a biased point of view the two evils are deemed to be comparable. The bias then indicates that if there is any mistake in the reporting, it is against the bias – i.e., if the story told in the Silmarillion is lenient to any of the two groups, it is for the Noldor. It is not conclusive, but it is an interesting aspect of it.

That said, and before I go to my next point, let me quote what is in my opinion the most succinct paragraph in the Sil, and one of the best overall:

The Published Silmarillion, "Of Men"

But the dawn is brief and the day full often belies its promise; and now the time drew on to the great wars of the powers of the North, when Noldor and Sindar and Men strove against the hosts of Morgoth Bauglir, and went down in ruin. To this end the cunning lies of Morgoth that he sowed of old, and sowed ever anew among his foes, and the curse that came of the slaying at Alqualondë, and the oath of Fëanor, were ever at work. Only a part is here told of the deeds of those days, and most is said of the Noldor, and the Silmarils, and the mortals that became entangled in their fate...
I call your attention to the listing of the reasons offered in this paragraph, and to the word "entangled". Men became "entangled" in the fate of the Noldor.

3. Culpability, or "they should have known better!"

The Noldor were the most skilled of the Eldar. They were skilled artisans and loremasters. They were taught by the Valar. They were loved by the Valar. They lived in the Blessed Realm of Aman. And yet... they fell to Morgoth’s lies as easily as Men. How did Men fell for Morgoth’s lies? No Valar came for them. They had only the cautious Avari as friends. They were hunted by beasts and worse things. And then Melkor, He Who Arises in Might, shows himself and offers them prosperity and power.

Who is more to be blamed? Who had more opportunity to avoid "drinking the bitter cup that Melkor had prepared for them?" The children of Men, or the wise Noldor?

4. Conclusion

The record shows that the two kinds of evil were of the same magnitude; a biased record shows that. The Noldor had much more opportunities (they "should have known better") to avoid falling for Morgoth’s lies, which were at the base of both evils. And so their weakness was proved to be more detrimental to the good of the peoples of Middle-Earth.

And that is the Tolkienologist's position :)
 

Lhunithiliel

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detrimental = harmful

So…. Which of those large groups of people was really more harmful ?

Lesser Men - say our opponents. In what way? Just because they were overwhelmed by grief and finding no escape from the “shadow”?
Grief however did not make them be destructive. The influence of Melkor over the race of Men was enormous … yet all they did was to flee from it in attempts to find light – the light of the West as they had heard about from their scarce communications with the Avari in the lands of ME.
What harm could their grief bring? Except of course to themselves!

From the “Athrabeth:
'No heart of Man is content. All passing and dying is a grief to it; but if the withering is less soon then that is some amendment, a little lifting of the Shadow.'
But…let me continue the “light”-search – motif. In searching for it Men discover only that: (the Athrabeth)
…. we cannot escape within this world, nay, not even if we could come to the Light beyond the Sea, or that Aman of which ye tell. In that hope we set out and have journeyed through many lives of Men; but the hope was vain.
So said the Wise, but that did not stay the march, for as I have said, they are little heeded. And lo! we have fled from the Shadow to the last shores of Middle-earth, to find only that it is here before us!'
No light! No salvation from Evil! Coming to the lands of ME to only find that even the western shores were under the dominion of the Dark Lord.
Then …. Whom to fight? Whom to cause harm? WHY cause any harm at all?
I don’t think the coming of Men to the lands of ME was ever meant to be intended to doing any harm.
Despair is what Men had brought to ME, but not harm.

But then came the Noldor.

A few point here to clear:
1. Why did they come back to ME?
2. What did they bring?
3. What did they do?
4. What was the final result from their return?

To start with :

P.1/ WHY did they come back to ME?

From the Silmarillion, Chapter 7
Of the Silmarils and the Unrest of the Noldor

In those days, moreover, though the Valar knew indeed of the coming of Men that were to be, the Elves as yet knew naught of it; for Manwë had not revealed it to them. Bat Melkor spoke to them in secret of Mortal Men, seeing how the silence of the Valar might be twisted to evil. Little he knew yet concerning Men, for engrossed with his own thought in the Music he had paid small heed to the Third Theme of Ilúvatar; but now the whisper went among the Elves that Manwë held them captive, so that Men might come and supplant them in the kingdoms of Middle-earth, for the Valar saw that they might more easily sway this short-lived and weaker race, defrauding the Elves of the inheritance of Ilúvatar. Small truth was there in this, and little have the Valar ever prevailed to sway the wills of Men; but many of the Noldor believed, or half believed, the evil words.
Thus with lies and evil whisperings and false counsel Melkor kindled the hearts of the Noldor to strife; and of their quarrels came at length the end of the high days of Valinor and the evening of its ancient glory. For Fëanor now began openly to speak words of rebellion against the Valar, crying aloud that he would depart from Valinor back to the world without, and would deliver the Noldor from thraldom, if they would follow him.
It is obvious how strongly had the minds of the Noldor been poisoned by the lies of Melkor.
Lies or not…but they had achieved the aim! The Noldor were convinced they had to fight their ancient home back from both – Morgoth and Men!

So they went back to ME. They went there with the full, although wrong, belief that they were the lawful masters of those lands and that no other race should claim that right! They went back to ME as conquerors.

To me this “mood” seems much more harmful and leading to a far stronger detrimental effect than the grievous state of mind of Men!

tbc
 

Lhunithiliel

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in continuation...

p.2/ >>>> What did they bring to ME?

Many would say – the Noldor brought knowledge and lore… True! This cannot be denied! This could even be called that “light” Men were searching for!

Yet, following the story itself, what we witness is that they also brought :
>> quarrels
>> intolerance
>> clear desire to settle on the lands of ME as rightful masters without being too much co-operative with neither their kin nor with Men (at least at the beginning of their exile).
>> pursuit of their own aims – the Silmarilli – quite a selfish reason, yet highly harmful in itself being bound by an oath.

But also they brought with themselves one of the strongest “spells” ever cast in Arda – the Curse of Mandos.
And this, together with all the above stated points, was powerful enough as to do much more harm, hence have a far more detrimental effect!

p.3/ What did they do?

Here I’ll be brief . For not much comment needs the fact that they set ME on fire, leading destructive wars, involving in them all the races….

Pretty detrimental, don’t you agree?

Which leads me to the final of the above enlisted points.

p.4/ What was the final result from their return?

In one word: Destruction!
Destruction of lands, peoples, kingdoms.
Destruction of high achievements in knowledge, craft, lore – sadly, most of these created by themselves.
Destruction of moral and ethical notions, bringing to a strong alienation among the races of ME and in particular between the Firstborn and the Followers.

And if Men were involved in that destruction, and even if those, called “lesser” had their “share” in it all, that was still not imposed by them, but by the Noldor!
…. and the mortals that became entangled in their fate...
Detrimental effect? It is obvious! And caused it is by the actions of the Noldor - being the more powerful, the more learned but also being the initiators and the executors of strongly detrimental deeds.

To finalize this long post (I’m sorry!) I’d like to say to those who would counter me saying that I seem to find no positive effects from the presence of the Noldor – I do! The Noldor came to ME bringing a lot of everything and their impact therefore was far stronger.

But as they came bringing also the evil that already had marred them, this strong impact turned out to be ever more detrimental than having a final positive outcome.

Meaning that they proved to be more detrimental than lesser Men.
Which is the position of GoT
 

Arvedui

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The influence of Melkor over the race of Men was enormous … yet all they did was to flee from it in attempts to find light
Now that is an interesting statement, for as far as I recollect, the only Men that sought westward for the light with a purpose for doing so, where those of the Three Houses!

A number of Men remained in the East, under the dark shadow of Morgoth. We know these people mostly as Easterlings. Some of them went westward after a time, and joined the Elves. The most famous, or rather: infamous, of them were Ulfang and his sons. I do not think that I will have to repeat what I wrote in the opening post?

And ever since, the Easterlings have kept their alliance with Morgoth, and later his servant Sauron. From them came the Balchoth and the Wainriders.
And we have the Haradrim, who were just as jolly as the Easterlings.
And let us not forget the best example of them all: The Nazgûl. The majority of them came also from the lesser houses.
men had precious little to do with Doriath and nothing to do with Gondolin.
Really?
From The Silmarillion, Of the Ruin of Doriath:
Then he cried aloud in the wilderness, heedless of any ears, and he cursed the pitiless land; and standing at last upon a high rock he looked towards Gondolin and called in a great voice: 'Turgon, Turgon, remember the Fen of Serech! O Turgon, will you not hear in your hidden halls?' But there was no sound save the wind in the dry grasses. 'Even so they hissed in Serech at the sunset,' he said; and as he spoke the sun went behind the Mountains of Shadow, and a darkness fell about him, and the wind ceased, and there was silence in the waste.
Yet there were ears that heard the words that Húrin spoke, and report of all came soon to the Dark Throne in the north; and Morgoth smiled, for he knew now clearly in what region Turgon dwelt, though because of the eagles no spy of his could yet come within sight of the land behind the Encircling Mountains. This was the first evil that the freedom of Húrin achieved.
And who was it that brought the Nauglamír to Menegroth? The same Húrin.
Now Húrin came from one of the Three Houses, and his actions were caused by the bewitchement from Morgoth.
Why could he have been bewitched?
Because he was imprisoned.
How did he get imprisoned?
He was defeated, but not killed in the Nirnaeth Arnoediad.
This happened because the armies of Morgoth prevented the Eastern and Western Armies of Beleriand to meet and join forces, and a large part of the reason for that was the treachery of Ulfang and his sons.
 

Lhunithiliel

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Originally posted by Arvedui
Now that is an interesting statement, for as far as I recollect, the only Men that sought westward for the light with a purpose for doing so, where those of the Three Houses!
The first to come to ME. Yes - those from the Three Houses.
Can you prove the later commers had other reason to follow?

A number of Men remained in the East, under the dark shadow of Morgoth. We know these people mostly as Easterlings. Some of them went westward after a time, and joined the Elves.
Why do you think they did so?
1-st "Why" - Why did they come to ME?
2-nd "Why" - Why did they join the Elves?

And who was it that brought the Nauglamír to Menegroth? The same Húrin.
Now Húrin came from one of the Three Houses, and his actions were caused by the bewitchement from Morgoth.
Why could he have been bewitched?
Because he was imprisoned.
How did he get imprisoned?
He was defeated, but not killed in the Nirnaeth Arnoediad.
This happened because the armies of Morgoth prevented the Eastern and Western Armies of Beleriand to meet and join forces, and a large part of the reason for that was the treachery of Ulfang and his sons.
And WHO was the initiator of the worst conflicts and wars in Beleriand? - the Noldor.
Who involved Ulfang and his men in a war? - the Noldor.

You see, Men were most actively involved in all the actions of the Elves since the coming of the Noldor exiles. For good or bad, in peace or in war - they were made allies or/and enemies to the Elves because of the Noldor.
So ... even if Men had their detrimental influence upon the historical development of ME, it's only a consequence. The roots lie with the Noldor exiles - their ambitions, their oath, the curse they brought with them ....
 

Arvedui

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Originally posted by Lhunithiliel
The first to come to ME. Yes - those from the Three Houses.
Can you prove the later commers had other reason to follow?
Yes:
The Silmarillion; Of the Ruin of Beleriand and the Fall of Fingolfin:
To Men Morgoth feigned pity, if any would hearken to his messages, saying that their woes came only of their servitude to the rebel Noldor, but at the hands of the rightful Lord of Middle-earth they would get honour and a just reward of valour, if they would leave rebellion. But few men of the Three Houses of the Edain would give ear to him, not even were they brought to the torment of Angband. Therefore Morgoth pursued them with hatred; and he sent his messengers over the mountains.
It is told that at this time the Swarthy Men came first into Beleriand. Some were already secretly under the dominion of Morgoth, and came at his call; but not all, for the rumour of Beleriand, of its lands and waters, of its wars and riches, went now far and wide, and the wandering feet of Men were ever set westward in those days. These Men were short and broad, long and strong in the arm; their skins were swart or sallow, and their hair was dark as were their eyes. Their houses were many, and some had greater liking for the Dwarves of the mountains than for the Elves. But Maedhros, knowing the weakness of the Noldor and the Edain, whereas the pits of Angband seemed to hold store inexhaustible and ever-renewed, made alliance with these new-come Men, and gave his friendship to the greatest of their chieftains, Bór and Ulfang. And Morgoth was well content; for this was as he had designed.
Why do you think they did so?
1-st "Why" - Why did they come to ME?
2-nd "Why" - Why did they join the Elves?
The answers are all in the quote above.
Who involved Ulfang and his men in a war?
See above quote.
And WHO was the initiator of the worst conflicts and wars in Beleriand?
Morgoth!
 

Lhunithiliel

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Hehe, Arvedui, we two seem to have a personal debate here! :)
I might lose it...Yet, please let me use the same quote ...Only I'd like to underline some other words:

To Men Morgoth feigned pity, if any would hearken to his messages, saying that their woes came only of their servitude to the rebel Noldor, but at the hands of the rightful Lord of Middle-earth they would get honour and a just reward of valour, if they would leave rebellion. But few men of the Three Houses of the Edain would give ear to him, not even were they brought to the torment of Angband. Therefore Morgoth pursued them with hatred; and he sent his messengers over the mountains.
It is told that at this time the Swarthy Men came first into Beleriand. Some were already secretly under the dominion of Morgoth, and came at his call; but not all, for the rumour of Beleriand, of its lands and waters, of its wars and riches, went now far and wide, and the wandering feet of Men were ever set westward in those days. These Men were short and broad, long and strong in the arm; their skins were swart or sallow, and their hair was dark as were their eyes. Their houses were many, and some had greater liking for the Dwarves of the mountains than for the Elves. But Maedhros, knowing the weakness of the Noldor and the Edain, whereas the pits of Angband seemed to hold store inexhaustible and ever-renewed, made alliance with these new-come Men, and gave his friendship to the greatest of their chieftains, Bór and Ulfang. And Morgoth was well content; for this was as he had designed.
So...in my interpretation this same quote proves one of the arguments that I already developed in my previous posts. And I did not ask the two "Why"-questions for the purpose of just asking! ;)
The Noldor exiles brought much lore, knowledge and skills - such as had not been seen in ME before them.
The kingdoms they created, the riches that were accumulated based on the lore and skills the Noldor exiles brought to ME were a powerful incentive for other peoples to come to their lands. That was the reason that brought most of those who followed the first representatives of the Three Houses of men.
Quite a natural process, I'd say. It's called migration.

It is true that some of men brought evil with them, having been already enslaved completely by Melkor. But far not all! (read the above quote! ;) )
Besides, their powers were not to be compared with those of the Noldor on any possible level! Therefore, their impact would have been not sufficiant enough IF they were not involved in the matters of the Noldor. (as the last underlined part in the above quote shows).

Now... as for the argument that it was Morgoth who initiated the worst conflicts in Beleriand ... I am somehow reluctant to agree.

Where was he at the time the exiles entered Beleriand? - Well hidden in fear of the new come light over his once dark and "cozy" realm.
What were the first serious "steps" of the Noldor exiles in Beleriand? - seek war with Morgoth.
Why?
For the Silmarilli of course.

Of course Melkor was the bearer of Evil! That was his "doom". But speaking in particular of the wars in Beleriand the story tells us that the Noldor were the initiators. They had to free ME from Morgoth! And those from the House of Feanor had to take back their precious stones!
So....it was they who imposed war right from the beginning!
Not to even mention that the Noldor exiles showed not too much friendliness and co-operation with their kin.

And to finish this post - Let me ask another question.

On whom, do you think, the influence of Morgoth was greater?
 

Eriol

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Well, the buck has to stop somewhere. If we go far back enough in our analysis the ultimate "blame" must be held by Eru ;). I think that free will and personal responsibility can't be overlooked, and the Fall of Gondolin was mostly a result (intended or not) of the actions of three persons: Húrin, Turgon, and Maeglin (as well as Morgoth, obviously :)). None of them is "of the lesser houses of Men". The Doom of Mandos is much more clearly operative in that event than the Nirnaeth; and the Doom of Mandos is to be accounted as a Noldorin evil.

But I don't think that this matter can be cleared by numbering specific evils and comparing them... Tolkien himself, and the hypothetical (and biased in favor of the Noldor) author of the tales, compares them as similar in scope and nature. Who are we to discuss with them?

(I still owe you that quote from a Letter :(. I'll only get to my book of Letters tomorrow night.)

Whatever evils the lesser houses of men may have committed (and as I said, I don't think Doriath and Gondolin may be counted among them), they are comparable to the evils of the Noldor. And yet the Noldor knew much more and were much wiser. So much greater then was their evil.
 

Arvedui

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Originally posted by Lhunithiliel
Hehe, Arvedui, we two seem to have a personal debate here! :)
I might lose it...
You very well might...;)
The kingdoms they created, the riches that were accumulated based on the lore and skills the Noldor exiles brought to ME were a powerful incentive for other peoples to come to their lands. That was the reason that brought most of those who followed the first representatives of the Three Houses of men.
Doesn't sound very detrimental to me!
It is true that some of men brought evil with them, having been already enslaved completely by Melkor.
I'm glad that we agree. Some, but not all.
Where was he at the time the exiles entered Beleriand? - Well hidden in fear of the new come light over his once dark and "cozy" realm.
What were the first serious "steps" of the Noldor exiles in Beleriand? - seek war with Morgoth.
Why?
For the Silmarilli of course.
And why did they seek war over the Silmarilli?
Because Morgoth had deceived them and ensnared them. Killed their King, and managed to bring strife between the Noldor and the Valar. Thats why! If it wasn't for Morgoth, then maybe the Noldor wouldn't have come to Beleriand at all. And not with any curse hanging over their heads.
But speaking in particular of the wars in Beleriand the story tells us that the Noldor were the initiators. They had to free ME from Morgoth!
And how can that be detrimental to the good of the other peoples?
On whom, do you think, the influence of Morgoth was greater?
i think that should be obvious: Men. More precise: Men of the lesser houses, Easterlings, Haradrim and others that remained in the east, while the people of the Houses of Hador, Beor, and Haleth remained steadfast in their fight against Morgoth.
 

Lhunithiliel

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Originally posted by Arvedui
You very well might...;)
But let me at least try to defend myself! ;) :)

Doesn't sound very detrimental to me!
Because you seem to not be paying attention to my words!
Those Men - most of them - came to Beleriand NOT with intentions to bring wars and conflicts! They were attracted by the achievements of the peoples that had developed and created those riches. And who were they? - the Noldor. Thus,
...the mortals ... became entangled in their fate...
And the fate of the Noldor was doomed to bring disaster for the disaster they had caused in Aman! So, Men became entangled in this and their detrimental deeds were more a consequence of the above fact, than of their own will.

And why did they seek war over the Silmarilli?
Because Morgoth had deceived them and ensnared them. Killed their King, and managed to bring strife between the Noldor and the Valar. Thats why! If it wasn't for Morgoth, then maybe the Noldor wouldn't have come to Beleriand at all. And not with any curse hanging over their heads.
I am glad we agree on this! ;) However it does not counter my argument.
Have I denied it? On the conrary! Read p.1 of my very first post!

And how can that be detrimental to the good of the other peoples?
How detrimental does it seem to you to unleash wars that finally brought to a complete chaos and destruction?

i think that should be obvious: Men. More precise: Men of the lesser houses, Easterlings, Haradrim and others that remained in the east, while the people of the Houses of Hador, Beor, and Haleth remained steadfast in their fight against Morgoth.
Wrong!
Elves and the Noldor in particular were the first victims of Morgoth. Much more powerful was his influence on them if they rebelled against the Valar-Gods themselves!!!!
 

Gothmog

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A first post just to look at some points. I will later answer certain points brought up by our opponents.

As Arvedui has show, the problems for the peoples of Middle-earth started soon after the awakening of Men. In fact they started long before this. However, we are discussing which of only two were the most detrimental to the rest of the peoples of Middle-earth, the Noldor or the lesser houses of Men.

Arvedui has given some views on Men, let us take a look at what the Noldor did.

When Melkor did harm to Valinor and left, he came to Middle-earth to take control of it and enslave the peoples thereof. These were the Quendi who remained in Middle-earth, the Dwarves and the soon to come Men. At this time there was in Middle-earth only Melian the Maia living in Doriath who knew anything about Melkor and none who could successfully oppose him. When Melkor returned he unleashed his hoards upon Beleriand and had almost complete control of the land. Only in Doriath and the haven's of Cirdan was there any resistance left. The Dwarves, although a warring race were still no match for Melkor and his armies.

This situation lasted until the coming of the Noldor from Aman. They gave for a time freedom to the peoples of Middle-earth by confining Melkor in the north for most of the time until the breaking of the siege of Angband. When Men awoke Melkor became aware of them and seduced to his service, either by going to them himself or sending a powerful lieutenant as an embassy.

Arvedui has shown the results of this so we will go to the point where Finrod finds the people of Beor. These are of the few who tried to escape from the darkness. So what is detrimental to the peoples of Middle-earth in this.
If we consider the situation after the escape of Morgoth and the reestablishment of his abode in Middle-earth, we shall see that the heroic Noldor were the best possible weapon with which to keep Morgoth at bay, virtually besieged, and at any rate fully occupied, on the northern fringe of Middle-earth, without provoking him to a frenzy of nihilistic destruction. And in the meanwhile, Men, or the best elements in Mankind, shaking off his shadow, came into contact with a people who had actually seen and experienced the Blessed Realm.
In their association with the warring Eldar Men were raised to their fullest achievable stature, and by the two marriages the transference to them, or infusion into Mankind, of the noblest Elf-strain was accomplished, in readiness for the still distant, but inevitably approaching, days when the Elves would 'fade'.
From Morgoth's Ring: Myths Transformed: Notes on Motives in the Silmarillion (iii)

So the detrimental acts of the Noldor were to be the best possible weapon to keep Morgoth at bay, raise Men to their fullest achievable stature and transfer or infuse in to Mankind the noblest Elf-strain. So how could the Noldorin exiles be considered more detrimental than the lesser houses of Men who fought for Melkor against the good of Middle-earth.

More to follow soon. :)
 

Gothmog

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Ok some answers.
Eriol
The bias inherent in the "little that is told of Men" may be shown by the famous words a bit above that quote:
Of course there is some bias in the writings of the Atani. They were in Tolkien's words – "Men, or the best elements in Mankind" and "In their association with the warring Eldar Men were raised to their fullest achievable stature". So they are going to write from the perspective of those who had been given great gifts of knowledge and wisdom.
Eriol
In many instances there is a comparison between the Fall of Men, addressed by Arvedui in his quotes of the Athrabeth, and the "Fall" of the Noldor. I remember one Letter in which Tolkien speaks of it;
I agree that comparisons can be drawn between the Falls of Men and Noldor. However, we are debating on the results of these Falls in Middle-earth. The Noldor from their fall did much good in ME by battling against Melkor. The lesser houses of Men on the other hand did not. Many of them remained loyal to Melkor and later to Sauron and fought against Elves, Men and Dwarves.
Eriol
Who is more to be blamed? Who had more opportunity to avoid "drinking the bitter cup that Melkor had prepared for them?" The children of Men, or the wise Noldor?
I ask you who is to be blamed for this? Was it perhaps the Valar who allowed Melkor to corrupt the wisdom of the Noldor and the peace of Aman or was it Eru who allowed Melkor to corrupt Men while under his care.
Eriol
The record shows that the two kinds of evil were of the same magnitude; a biased record shows that. The Noldor had much more opportunities (they "should have known better") to avoid falling for Morgoth’s lies, which were at the base of both evils. And so their weakness was proved to be more detrimental to the good of the peoples of Middle-Earth.
Melkor was going to return to Middle-earth soon any way. The only defence that ME had was a people that knew enough about him to fight his successfully for a time without being so great as to pose a real threat to him too soon. This is what the Noldor did while also raising Men to their highest possible stature.
Lhunithiliel
Lesser Men - say our opponents. In what way? Just because they were overwhelmed by grief and finding no escape from the “shadow”?
Grief however did not make them be destructive. The influence of Melkor over the race of Men was enormous … yet all they did was to flee from it in attempts to find light – the light of the West as they had heard about from their scarce communications with the Avari in the lands of ME.
Yet those who fled from the shadow became the greater houses of the Atani. The lesser houses were those who for the most part did not flee. They stayed loyal to Melkor and fought for him against the Atani.
Lhunithiliel
It is obvious how strongly had the minds of the Noldor been poisoned by the lies of Melkor.
Lies or not…but they had achieved the aim! The Noldor were convinced they had to fight their ancient home back from both – Morgoth and Men!
Yes they came back for less than noble reasons. But while that were in ME they did what no other could do.
Lhunithiliel
Many would say – the Noldor brought knowledge and lore… True! This cannot be denied! This could even be called that “light” Men were searching for!
It was. As Tolkien himself said.
Myths Transformed
In their association with the warring Eldar Men were raised to their fullest achievable stature, and by the two marriages the transference to them, or infusion into Mankind, of the noblest Elf-strain was accomplished, in readiness for the still distant, but inevitably approaching, days when the Elves would 'fade'.
This far out weighed the minor troubles that they brought or the ignoble reasons that caused them to do what was needed for the greater good of Arda and the other peoples of ME.
Lhunithiliel
Here I’ll be brief . For not much comment needs the fact that they set ME on fire, leading destructive wars, involving in them all the races….
They did not set ME on fire. Melkor had already done this. Only in Doriath or the havens of Cirdan was there any safety for any in Beleriand. This was the situation when Fëanor and his band landed on the shores of ME. It was only the intervention of the Noldor that changed this at all.
Lhunithiliel
.4/ What was the final result from their return?
Our esteemed opponents would have you believe that the destruction of Beleriand was due to the Noldor. Well, powerful as were the Noldor, they did not have anywhere near that power. However, Melkor Did.
Myths Transformed
If we consider the situation after the escape of Morgoth and the reestablishment of his abode in Middle-earth, we shall see that the heroic Noldor were the best possible weapon with which to keep Morgoth at bay, virtually besieged, and at any rate fully occupied, on the northern fringe of Middle-earth, without provoking him to a frenzy of nihilistic destruction.
Had the Noldor not come to Middle-earth then the Valar would have had two choices.

1. Take on Melkor in direct confrontation and watch the destruction of All of Arda.

2. Allow Melkor free rein in Middle-earth until they felt that he could be defeated without risk to Arda. (this would mean that all the peoples of Middle-earth would be left under the control of Melkor).
Lhunithiliel
But as they came bringing also the evil that already had marred them, this strong impact turned out to be ever more detrimental than having a final positive outcome.
This is incorrect. The Noldor did not bring the evil that had marred them. That evil was Melkor and he came before them. The Noldor Followed the evil to fight it.
Lhunithiliel
How detrimental does it seem to you to unleash wars that finally brought to a complete chaos and destruction?
The Noldor did not unleash wars that brought to a complete chaos and destruction. The Noldor prevented such a result from war with Melkor. Had any but the Noldor been involved then either they would have been too weak to halt Melkor even for a short time or so powerful that Melkor would have destroyed not only the small area of Beleriand but the whole of Arda and all in it.
 

Finduilas

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Some points (not full though).

Because Morgoth had deceived them and ensnared them. Killed their King, and managed to bring strife between the Noldor and the Valar. Thats why! If it wasn't for Morgoth, then maybe the Noldor wouldn't have come to Beleriand at all. And not with any curse hanging over their heads.
But tell me would there be as much grief as then if Morgoth hadn't come at all? It was Melkor who proceeded the entire 'evil' procedure of destruction and hence the question is who used His evil more and who fell under Morgoth's power more easily and with worse consequences? In other words, who was the one who was more influanced by Melkor in his existance?

Let's look at the question from another point of view. What is the greatest 'weapon' in the world? What is the most dangerous weapon? Is it force? I don't think so.
The most detrimental 'weapon' is the knowledge, the experience and greater thought. In other words, the intelect. The one who owns the 'better weapon' is the one who can make more damages. And who provided ME with lore and knowledge? The Noldor. As in real life, the great knowledge of the human race may kill us all one day (regarding WW2, and the atomic bombs), so can the endless and growing knowledge of the Noldor destroy the living life on ME. If we leave behind the wars the Noldor caused (as well as the curse) and concentrate on their enormous knowledge and common sense, we may be terrified by the power they posses.
 

Ravenna

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I think we can all agree that all war is detrimental, however we should also look at the motives for war.

The Noldor fought to restrain, and hopefully prevent Morgoth from overrunning Middle Earth and enslaving the peoples therein. They provided a valuable bulwark against the depredations of the enemy, until such time as the Valar felt able to take the final step to remove him. This, whilst admittedly bringing the inevitable tragedies of war, at least was done to iimprove the lives of the peoples on Middle Earth in the long run.

And the lesser Houses of Men? What did they go to war for?
Why to aid in the subjugation of the peoples of Middle Earth, to help fulfil Morgoth's insatiable greed for power, presumbly they were also promised a measure of power andcx wealth for themselves too.

Our opponents appear to suggest that without the Noldor there would have been no war in Middle Earth, and that therefore any detrimental results are purely of Noldorin origin. Are we then to assume that without the Noldor none of the other peoples would have resisted Morgoth at all? I find that very hard to believe. They may not have been strong enough to be sucessful, but they would have tried.
Morgoth was not going to leave anyone free and happy if he could enslave them, so war was inevitable from the moment he returned to Middle Earth, the Noldor simply unified resistance to him and strengthened those who would oppose him.

Much too has been made of the fact that men became 'entangled ' in the fates of the Noldor. True enough, but they had free choice as to which side they espoused. The lesser houses chose the side bent upon destruction, a much more detrimental choice which helped to prolong the wars and therefore caused a much longer period of damage than may otherwise have occurred.
 

Lhunithiliel

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Ancalagon Yet those who fled from the shadow became the greater houses of the Atani. The lesser houses were those who for the most part did not flee. They stayed loyal to Melkor and fought for him against the Atani.
Some! Not most men of the "lesser" were Morgoth's allies.
What detrimental effect do you see in the simple fact of peoples' migration to better lands with better opportunities for better lives? Only some of them were Morgoth's "spies" but far not most of them!
Now...what did these "lesser" Men bring to the flourishing Beleriand?
Did they bring knowledge, lore and skills higher than those of the Noldor? Hardly! And it is through knowledge that one becomes powerful enough to rule, influence and alter the course of events.
The Noldor had that power. Not the "lesser" Men!
So, how then to compare the detrimental effect of the "lesser" to that of the Noldor in favour of the "lesser"?

Ancalagon This far out weighed the minor troubles that they brought or the ignoble reasons that caused them to do what was needed for the greater good of Arda and the other peoples of ME.
MINOR TROUBLES ??????????? :eek:

First of all, the Noldor did not return to ME with any "noble" cause. Unfortunately and sadly, being already deeply corrupted by Melkor's lies, some (the House of Feanor) went to ME in pursuit of the Silmarilli and seeking revenge for the death of their King and for the rape of their precious stones. Those from the other Noldor houses went to ME with the clear purpose of settling there and of establishing their own kingdoms (as they did). ME was the land of their awakening. Long before it had been taken from them by Morgoth - Noldor's worst enemy, and now seemed to be threatened by a new race - Men, which was coming to claim rights over the Elves' homeland (this is what at that time the Noldor were convinced in!). They had to re- gain their rights over that land and fight it back from Morgoth. They returned as conquerers. They returned with the clear intentions of fighting.
As for Men, quite some time (310 years) had passed before the Noldor first met them! You wouldn't say that the Noldor developed their society in Beleriand for the good of all races! They established and developed their realms for their own good! All the rest had to take the existance and the power of the Noldorin kingdoms into consideration and either co-operate as allies in friendship or be claimed as enemies of the Noldor and be at constant war with the most powerful nation in ME.
I'd call such type of political relations "assimillation".
And even though at first it was working for the good of Men, then it turned out a real disaster. Men had been assimillated into the Noldor societies, they had been given much and thus had been made allies to the Noldor. But in times of war, Men had to "return the favour". And they perished on the battlefields of Beleriand defending NOT their own interests, but mostly those of the Noldor. Of course, I admit that those were mostly Edain.

But, if you say that the "lesser" were Morgoth's allies, then how come that many of them still fought and died on the side of the Noldor? Because not all of them deserted the battlefields as the "famous" Ulfang and his people.
On the other hand, even accepting that many of the "lesser" were in Morgoth's service, how to explain then that they fled back to their lands far from the conflicts of the two major powers that were at war in ME - Melkor and the Noldor, not wishing to fight for any of these two?. They committed treachery to the Noldor - yes. But they did the same to their "true Master" - as our opponents want us to believe that Melkor was their true Master and that him they served.

All this leads to a conclusion that the "lesser" Men could not have an essential detrimental impact of the events and the development of ME, because:

>> they were not powerful enough to influence the course of historical events in ME
>> they had not enough knowledge
>> they did not have well organized social structures which could exert certain serious influence

All the above the Noldor had!
Therefore their impact was far greater. And I doubt it that any could claim that the negative impact was less than the positive one! The force worked equally to both directions!
That is why, the Noldor had a far greater detrimental impact on the events in ME than the "lesser".

tbc
 

Lhunithiliel

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Now... about who set Beleriand on fire.

Our opponents say - it was Melkor and the creatures he had bread and released over all the territory.
That was, as Gothmog said, the situation when the Noldor returned to ME. Yes, Morgoth was a ful master of ME at the start of the First Age. But he was seriously "desturbed" in his own dark "bliss" for two major reasons:
- the coming of the Noldor in pursuit of him
- the rising of the Sun and the Moon

Now let's remember the reasons that drove the Noldor to ME! (I have commented on this above and in my previous posts).
Just and only for the fact that they returned, ME was 'doomed" to be involved in war conflicts. It was absolutely inevitable!
And it turned out exactly so! The First Age, as is well known, was the age of most wars and almost never ceasing , battles, conflicts and for most part - unstable peace.

FIVE major wars we witness in the First age!

1.Dagor-nuin-Giliath – year 1 of the FA (within the first 10 days from the coming of the Noldor!) - It is the first war Fëanor fights against his most bitter enemy – Morgoth at the first days of the coming of his host into ME.
It is held in Mithrim and the lands east across Ered Wethrin.

2. Dagor Aglareb - year 75 of FA[/u] - pretty soon after the first major conflict!
Even though considered as an act of defence on behalf of the Noldor against the attacks of Melkor's creatures, it is still their increasing power that made Melkor do that move!
The outcome this time :
Yet the Noldor could not capture Angband, nor could they regain the Silmarils; and war never wholly ceased in all that time of the Siege, for Morgoth devised new evils, and ever and anon he would make trial of his enemies.
To me such an outcome seems quite "unpleasant" and bearing a serious threat for the peace and good of ME!

3. Dagor-Bragollach – the winter of 455 – the spring of 456 of the FA - a major war conflict.
As the Noldor had held Morgoth under siege for almost 200 years,
....Morgoth had long prepared his force in secret, while ever the malice of his heart grew greater, and his hatred of the Noldor more bitter; and he desired not only to end his foes but to destroy also and defile the lands that they had taken and made fair.
Ironically, the good the Noldor did and achieved, brought eventually to a detrimental result - another devastating war!

At this time "lesser" Men were still not involved in any of these events. Therefore one could hardly find their detrimental effect upon ME!

And detrimental those wars and conflicts between the Noldor and Melkor were!

- The Siege of Angband is thus ended and Morgoth disperses most of his foes.
- The Noldor oppose Morgoth’s armies at the cost of great losses and many of the Noldorian best warriors and princes perish in battles.
- Fingolfin, High King of the Noldor is slain by Morgoth.
- Sauron, first appears as the“greatest and most terrible of the servants of Morgoth”.
He takes Minas Tirith and makes it a watchtower for Morgoth, “a stronghold of evil, and a menace”.
- Dorthonion is lost.
- All Hithlum – ravaged.
- for aiding the Noldor , the Atani become persecuted by Morgoth.
- A lot of Noldor and Sindar are taken captive to Angband and tortured and “forcing them to use their skill and their knowledge in the service of Morgoth”.
- Morgoth’s spies spread out and do even more damage, establishing discord and malice in the relations among elves and men of different regions and between the peoples of Men and Elves.

This war is lost with a bitter defeat of the allied forces of Elves and the Edain and it is followed by dark years of despair under the rule of Melkor over the ME.

Pretty detrimental, don't you agree?!

4. Nirnaeth Arnoediad – spring of year 471 FA -
less than 20 years only from the previous war!
Will the Noldor ever learn ?!!!

After the recovering of one of the Silmarils, Feanor’s sons and in particular Maedhros, believe that Morgoth, inspite all his powers, is not undefeatable. So, they start forming a new alliance for a new war against him.

Nevertheless, the fact that a Silmaril is in possession of other Elves (at that time Thingol, King of Doriath has it), arises constant conflicts between the Noldor and the other elven peoples in Beleriand.
However, with all the forces he has been able to gather, Maedhros resolves to assault Angband

But the Noldor wronged again! They involved the races of ME into another hopeless war! The result was disastrous - and all, unfortunately mostly for not well thought of startegy and lack of co-operation among the Noldor themselves!

That was the "infamous" war where the Easterlings commited their treachery. But before we blame this event for the losing the war, let's remember :
- the initial purpose for starting the war itself
- the lack of co-operation between the Noldorin forces!

Those were far more important reasons for losing the war than the treachery of the Easterlings!

Now, as a grevious result from the wrong war policy of the Noldor, Beleriand was almost ruined.
But still the last war was to come - the one that practically can be called a calamity - the War of Wrath!

Now...all these wars had perhaps a good reason - the Noldor really wanted to stop and diminish Melkor's influence and presence in ME. But the results of these wars were far too detrimental and much more harm they brought than good!
A fact!

That is why I say that the Noldor were to blame for the devastating war conflicts in ME, thus having a far greater detrimental impact than the "lesser" Men.


And finally, I would like to see this debate prevented from "What if" - scenarios. Let's stick to the story as it is. :)
 

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