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Round 9: Ost-in-Edhil vs. Tolkienology

Eriol

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

So, proceeding, the Elves have a fall, before their 'history' can become storial. (The first fall of Man, for reasons explained, nowhere appears -- Men do not come on stage untill all that is long past, and there is only a rumour that for a while they fell under the domination of the Enemy and that some repented). The main body of the tale, the Silmarillion proper, is about the fall of the most gifted kindred of the Elves...

[A long portion of the letter then explains the Silmarillion proper to Milton Waldman; I assume we are all acquainted with that book :here D. Of course, Tolkien speaks of FĂ«anor and his oath in a bad light. But proceeding to the point at hand...]

... The first fruit of their fall is war in Paradise, the slaying of Elves by Elves, and this and their evil oath dogs all their later heroism, generating treracheries and undoing all victories.
My point, as I stated it when I mentioned that quote without giving it, is that Tolkien compares the Noldorin exile with the Fall of Men.

Now to some other matters.

Originally posted by Gothmog
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.
"A Balrog... now I understand. And I am already weary..."

:D ;)

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

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

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

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

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

... the Elvish weakness is in these terms naturally to regret the past, and to become unwilling to face change: as if a man were to hate a very long book still going on, and wished to settle down in a favourite power. Hence they fell in a measure to Sauron's deceits: they desired some 'power' over things as they are (which is quite distinct from art), to make their particular will to preservation effective: to arrest change, and keep things always fresh and fair. The 'Three Rings' were 'unsullied', because this object was in a limited way good, it included the healing of the real damages of malice, as well as the mere arrest of change.
So, even the Three Rings, though unsullied and good in a limited way, are still the result of the Elvish "weakness", and the desire for "power" (as opposed to "art"). Those acquainted with Tolkien's Letters will know that Tolkien's ideas of the desire for "Power" are not very complimentary :). He is criticizing the Elven-smiths, quite harshly. And well he might; for those guys "should have known better!".

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

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

Gothmog

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

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

So then a closer look at some of the wars.
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.
How was it that Melkor was able to have such a force ready to battle FĂ«anor's host only 10 days from the coming of the Noldor? If the Noldor were the cause of the problem then it would have taken Melkor far longer to have an army ready at that place. Melkor was already fighting the Elves of Beleriand and winning.
2. Dagor Aglareb - year 75 of FA - 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!
Yes it is in fact very soon after when you consider that the Sun and the Moon were still in the sky. So the light was only a very temporary pause to the designs of Melkor. And it is not the increasing power that made Melkor do that move but the fact that the Noldor were standing in the way of those designs.
The outcome this time :

quote:
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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.
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To me such an outcome seems quite "unpleasant" and bearing a serious threat for the peace and good of ME!
What Peace was there? No Noldor no peace. The havens of Cirdan would have fallen quickly and even Doriath could not have held out for long against Melkor. Melian was powerful but she was only One Maia. Melkor was Vala and had other Maiar working for him.
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,

quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
....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.
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Ironically, the good the Noldor did and achieved, brought eventually to a detrimental result - another devastating war!
For 200 years Beleriand had peace that would not have existed had the Noldor not been there. Melkor would have increased his hold on ME and made it more and more difficult to remove him later without the destruction of Arda.
The Siege of Angband is thus ended and Morgoth disperses most of his foes.
And he can finally continue with the war he started before the coming of the Noldor.
The Noldor oppose Morgoth's armies at the cost of great losses and many of the Noldorian best warriors and princes perish in battles.
Giving their lives in the ME in that defence of Beleriand.
Fingolfin, High King of the Noldor is slain by Morgoth.
Trying to defeat Melkor.
Sauron, first appears as the"greatest and most terrible of the servants of Morgoth".
Sauron had been corrupted by Melkor far earlier and seems to have done much before this.
The Silmarillion: Of the Enemies
Among those of his servants that have names the greatest was that spirit whom the Eldar called Sauron, of Gorthaur the Cruel. In his beginning he was of the Maiar of Aulë, and he remained mighty in the lore of that people. In all the deeds of Melkor the Morgoth upon Arda, in his vast works and in the deceits of his cunning, Sauron had a part, and was only less evil than his master in that for long he served another and not himself.
So while this may have been the first time he was named it certainly was not the first time he was involved in the conflict.
Dorthonion is lost.
Dorthonion was Melkor's before the coming of the Noldor. Almost every part of Beleriand was.
All Hithlum - ravaged.
See above.
for aiding the Noldor , the Atani become persecuted by Morgoth.
Not so. Those three houses of Men that became The Atani were already persecuted by Melkor and his followers because they fled from servitude to him in the East.
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".
How many of the Sindar would have been free had the Noldor not kept Melkor captive in the North for so long? None!!! In fact this would have happened, and did happen, when Melkor was unopposed.
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.
Of course they did. It was the only way that he had to defeat the armies opposing him. Had the Noldor not been there these different peoples would have been slaves of Meklor.
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?!
No. Since without the Noldor the dark years of despair would have started far sooner (just after Melkor returned to ME) and would have continued for far longer. The Three houses of the Atani would have come in to Beleriand to find that the dark master they fled was already there and in control. How long would they have survived? Not long I think.
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!
Not a fact!
Without the Noldor Beleriand and all ME would have been ruined sooner. You say that the War of Wrath can Practically be called a Calamity. What then of the war if Melkor had not been weakened in such a way. You have not commented on the quote I gave from Tolkien himself about this.
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.
This would have been a total calamity with the complete destruction of Arda. And further to this from the same comments by Tolkien
The last intervention with physical force by the Valar, ending in the breaking of Thangorodrim, may then be viewed as not in fact reluctant or even unduly delayed, but timed with precision. The intervention came before the annihilation of the Eldar and the Edain. Morgoth though locally triumphant had neglected most of Middle-earth during the war; and by it he had in fact been weakened: in power and prestige (he had lost and failed to recover one of the Silmarils), and above all in mind. He had become absorbed in 'kingship', and though a tyrant of ogre-size and monstrous power, this was a vast fall even from his former wickedness of hate, and his terrible nihilism. He had fallen to like being a tyrant-king with conquered slaves, and vast obedient armies.(8)
The war was successful, and ruin was limited to the small (if beautiful) region of Beleriand. Morgoth was thus actually made captive in physical form,(9) and in that form taken as a mere criminal to Aman and delivered to Namo Mandos as judge - and executioner.
Lhunithiliel
And finally, I would like to see this debate prevented from "What if" - scenarios. Let's stick to the story as it is.
What if Scenarios are the way to show what was done. The story as it is shows what happened. To find the good and the bad you have to look beyond what did happen to see what the result would have been otherwise. ;)
 

Finduilas

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

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

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

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

From The Published Silmarillion:
Chapter 3 Of the Coming of the Elves and the Captivity of Melkor:

Never did Melkor forget that this war was made for the sake of the Elves, and that they were the cause of his downfall.
Here even though it is spoken of Elves as a kindred, we should consider that the Noldor were actually elves and therefore were involved and considered responsible too. Whereas, Men were still to Awake.

Later on:

From The Published Silmarillion:
Chapter 3 Of the Coming of the Elves and the Captivity of Melkor:

But the most part feared for the Quendi in the dangerous world amid the deceits of the starlit dusk; and they were filled moreover with the love of the beauty of the Elves and desired their fellowship. At the last, therefore, the Valar summoned the Quendi to Valinor, there to be gathered at the knees of the Powers in the light of the Trees for ever; and Mandos broke his silence, saying; 'So it is doomed.' From this summons came many woes that afterwards befell.
…as well as…

From The Published Silmarillion:
Chapter 6 Of FĂ«anor and the Unchaining of Melkor:


But the Noldor took delight in the hidden knowledge that he could reveal to them; and some hearkened to words that it would have been better for them never to have heard.
…and…

From The Published Silmarillion:
Chapter 7 Of theSilmarils and the Unrest of the Noldor:


The Noldor began to murmur against them, and many became filled with pride, forgetting how much of what they had and knew came to them in gift from the Valar.
Much is done for the sake of the Noldor, the Elves, the minions of the Valar. And yet much of it lead to detrimental consequences.

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

The Deeds of Finwe:
From The Published Silmarillion:
Chapter 6 Of FĂ«anor and the Unchaining of Melkor:


The wedding of his father was not pleasing to Fëanor; and he had no great love for Indis, nor for Fingolfin and Finarfin, her sons. He lived apart from them, exploring the land of Aman, or busying himself with the knowledge and the crafts in which he delighted. In those unhappy things which later came to pass, and in which Fëanor was the leader, many saw the effect of this breach within the house of Finwë, judging that if Finwë had endured his loss and been content with the fathering of his mighty son, the evil might have been prevented; for the sorrow and the strife in the house of Finwë is graven in the memory of the Noldorin Elves.
Now Finwe could not be blamed for irrationalism, but probably for a lack of luck and lack of fortune. Nevertheless, no matter what the reason is he certainly has a great deal of influence over his son’s up-growing.
 

Finduilas

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The Deeds of Cufinwe (Feanor):

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

From the Published Silmarillion:
Chapter 6 Of FĂ«anor and the Unchaining of Melkor:


But in the bearing of her son Míriel was consumed in spirit and body; and after his birth she yearned for release from the labour of living. And when she had named him, she said to Finwë: 'Never again shall I bear child; for strength that would have nourished the life of many has gone forth into Fëanor.'
However, this negativism wasn’t only in the meaning of his birth but as well as in his life. This non-positive power, which is about to cause great events in the History of Arda, is revealed during his childhood:

From the Published Silmarillion:
Chapter 6 Of FĂ«anor and the Unchaining of Melkor:


All his love he gave hereafter to his son; and Fëanor grew swiftly, as if a secret fire were kindled within him. He was tall, and fair of face, and masterful, his eyes piercingly bright and his hair raven-dark; in the pursuit of all his purposes eager and steadfast. Few ever changed his courses by counsel, none by force. he became of all the Noldor, then or after, the most subtle in mind and the most skilled in hand. In his youth, bettering the work of Rúmil, he devised those letters which bear his name, and which the Eldar used ever after; and he it was who, first of the Noldor, discovered how gems greater and brighter than those of the Earth might be made with skill. The first gems that Fëanor made were white and colourless, but being set under starlight they would blaze with blue and silver fires brighter than Helluin; and other crystals he made also, wherein things far away could be seen small but clear, as with eyes of the eagles of Manwë. Seldom were the hands and mind of Fëanor at rest.
While still in his early youth he wedded Nerdanel, the daughter of a great smith named Mahtan, among those of the Noldor most dear to Aulë, and of Mahtan he learned much of the making of things in metal and in stone. Nerdanel also was firm of will, but more patient than Fëanor, desiring to understand minds rather than to master them, and at first she restrained him when the fire of his heart grew too hot; but his later deeds grieved her , and they became estranged. Seven sons she bore to Fëanor; her mood she bequeathed in part to some of them, but not to all.
The wedding of his father was not pleasing to Fëanor; and he had no great love for Indis, nor for Fingolfin and Finarfin, her sons. He lived apart from them, exploring the land of Aman, or busying himself with the knowledge and the crafts in which he delighted. In those unhappy things which later came to pass, and in which Fëanor was the leader, many saw the effect of this breach within the house of Finwë, judging that if Finwë had endured his loss and been content with the fathering of his mighty son, the evil might have been prevented; for the sorrow and the strife in the house of Finwë is graven in the memory of the Noldorin Elves.
For the future detriment of his deeds speaks the secret in which he works:

From the Published Silmarillion:
Chapter 6 Of FĂ«anor and the Unchaining of Melkor:


For FĂ«anor was driven by the fire of his own heart only, working ever swiftly and alone; and he asked the aid and sought the counsel of none that dwelt in Aman, great or small, save only and for a little while of Nerdanel the wise, his Wife.
From the Published Silmarillion:
Chapter 7 Of the Silmarils and the Unrest of the Noldor:


All who dwell in Aman were filled with wonder and delight at the work of FĂ«anor. And Varda hallowed the Silmarils, so that thereafter no mortal flesh, nor hands unclean, nor anything of evil will might touch them, but it was scorched and withered; and Mandos foretold that the fates of Arda, earth, sea, and air, lay locked within them. The heart of FĂ«anor was fast bound to these things that he himself had made.
Fiercest burned the new flame of desire for freedom and wider realms in the eager heart of Fëanor […] For Fëanor began to love the Silmarils with a greedy love, and grudged the sight of them to all save to his father and his seven sons; he seldom remembered now that the light within them was not his own.
And Fëanor made a secret forge, of which not even Melkor was aware; and there he tempered fell swords for himself and for his sons, and made tall helms with plumes of red. Bitterly did Mahtan rue the day when he taught to the husband of Nerdanel all the lore of metalwork that he had learned of Aulë.
For FĂ«anor 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.
With him into banishment went his seven sons, and northward in Valinor they made a strong place and treasury in the hills; and there at Formenos as multitude of gems were laid in hoard, and weapons also, and the Silmarils were shut in a chamber of iron. Thither also came Finwë the King, because of the love that he bore to Fëanor; and Fingolfin ruled the Noldor in Tirion. Thus the lies of Melkor were made true in seeming, though Fëanor by his own deeds had brought this thing to pass;
Here finishes the acts which are actually done by Feanor and are causes for detriment. However, the Silmarils have caused much more destruction, one which none could imagine, as well as greed and jealousy.

From the Published Silmarillion:
Chapter 8 Of the Darkening of Valinor:


It is told that even as Fëanor and Fingolfin stood before Manwë there came the mingling of the lights, when both Trees were shining, and the silent city of Valmar was filled with a radiance of silver and gold. And in that very hour Melkor and Ungoliant came hastening over the fields of Valinor, as the shadow of a black cloud upon the wind fleets over the sunlit earth; and they came before the green mound Ezellohar. Then the Unlight of Ungoliant rose up even to the roots of the Trees, and Melkor sprang upon the mound; and with his black spear he smote each Tree to its core, wounded them deep, and their sap poured forth as it were their blood, and was spilled upon the ground. But Ungoliant sucked it up, and going then from Tree to Tree she set her black beak to their wounds, till they were drained; and the poison to Death that was in her went into their tissues and withered them, root, branch, and leaf; and they died. And still she thirsted, and going to the Wells of Varda she drank them dry; but Ungoliant belched forth black vapours as she drank, and swelled to a shape so vast and hideous that Melkor was afraid.
Here follows the consequences of Feanor’s actions:

From the Published Silmarillion:
Chapter 9 Of the Flight of the Noldor:


But FĂ«anor spoke then, and cried bitterly: 'For the less even as for the greater there is some deed that he may accomplish but once only; and in that deed his heart shall rest. It may be that I can unlock my jewels, but never again shall I make their like; and if I must break them, I shall break my heart, and I shall be slain; first of all the Eldar in Aman.'
'Not the first,' said Mandos, but they did not understand his word; and again there was silence, while FĂ«anor brooded in the dark.
'This thing I will not do of free will. But if the Valar will constrain me, then shall I know indeed that Melkor is of their kindred.'
But even as Nienna mourned, there came messengers from Formenos, and they were Noldor and bore new tidings of evil. For they told how a blind Darkness came northward, and in the midst walked some power for which there was no name, and the Darkness issued from it. But Melkor also was there, and he came to the house of Fëanor, and there he slew Finwë King of the Noldor before his doors, and spilled the first blood in the Blessed Realm; for Finwë alone had not fled from the horror of the Dark. And they told that Melkor had broken the stronghold of Formenos, and taken all the jewels of the Noldor that were hoarded in that place; and the Silmarils were gone.
Then Fëanor rose, and lifting up his hand before Manwë he cursed Melkor, naming him Morgoth, the Black Foe of the World; and by that name only was he known to the Eldar ever after. And he cursed also the summons of Manwë and the hour in which he came to Taniquetil, thinking in the madness of his rage and grief that had he been at Formenos his strength would have availed more than to be slain also, as Melkor had purposed. Then Fëanor ran from the Ring of Doom, and fled into the night; for his father was dearer to him than the Light of Valinor or the peerless works of his hands; and who among sons, of Elves or of Men, have held their fathers of greater worth?
And all the rest is known…the wars (described very well by Lhunithiliel) follow, one after another, and it was only Feanor that started them…even though he didn’t meant to do it. He was unlucky, yes, he was with a great spirit, yes, he caused detrimental…yes! Men were involved in the forecoming wars, but it was not them that actually caused them (meaning either deeds or specific acts).
 

Lhunithiliel

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

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

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

Which makes them far more detrimental than the lesser Men.

and

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

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

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

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

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

Gothmog

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Eriol
As I see it, Gothmog, and Arvedui, neglect the role of personal responsibility when assigning blame. If we disregard personal responsibility, all blame must be laid at Eru's door
Not so. I was answering your points on " 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.
You refer to the teachings and love of the Valar
How did Men fell for Morgoth's lies? No Valar came for them. They had only the cautious Avari as friends.
You ignore that Eru himself had the care of Men. My answer was to point out that from this post you are saying that the Valar Failed both Noldor and Men when it was not true in either case.
Indeed I think the method to be used is to accept that the two evils are comparable (as Tolkien compared them) and to see who had the most chance of avoiding the evil. If two people steal bread, we are more lenient towards the one who is starving than towards the one who is well fed. And according to that criterion, the Noldor were much better fed -- in all accounts.
Except that Men had the better chef!
If we consider all the Rings as a group, we see how harmful they were. And at that time the lesser houses of Men were being oppressed, by both Sauron and NĂşmenĂłreans. One could make a case that the NĂşmenĂłrean oppression of the lesser houses of Men is a result of the Noldorin effect on the Three Houses of the Edain... I won't make that case, though, because I still think that we should focus on personal responsibility here, and the NĂşmenĂłrean oppression, though fomented by their glory, which is a result of Noldorin acts, is not directly attributable to the Noldor.
We only see how harmful they were when given to other races. 7 were given to dwarves 9 to Men. The harm was due to Sauron's influence and their being taken from the Elves and given to those who could not use them. Of the 9 given to Men it would seem that at least 6 were to men of the lesser houses as it is only rumoured that 3 were given to black numenorians.

One could try to make a case that "the NĂşmenorean oppression of the lesser houses of Men is a result of the Noldorin effect on the Three Houses of the Edain" If one ignores the quote I gave earlier from Myths Transformed. The effect on the Three Houses of the Edain was to raise them to "their fullest achievable stature". This cannot be done by the Noldor having a detrimental effect on them. In fact the case for the NĂşmenorian oppression of ME has nothing to do with the Noldor but everything to do with the scars left by Melkor.
The lesser houses of Men were crushed by everybody in the latter ages. They definitely were "worse fed". And so I submit that the Noldor have a (much) greater responsibility to bear in the history of Middle-Earth. They brought good, but they also brought evil; and they should have known better. Though the evils were comparable in scope and magnitude, the Noldor had better reasons to avoid them; and thus a greater responsibility.
No the lesser houses of Men followed Sauron. They fought amongst themselves and prayed on any that were weaker. Through out the second and third ages many of them fought for Sauron against the Elves still in ME. It was only the intervention of the NĂşmenorians that halted this. After the fall of NĂşmenor the realms in exile were under constant threat if not actual invasion from the lesser houses of men of the East and the South. It was men of these houses following the Witch King of Agnmar that caused the collapse of Northern kingdoms. Though there was much strife between the three kingdoms before this.

In what way do the Noldor have a greater responsibility to bear? Because they were taught by the Valar? Men were under the care of Eru a far better teacher. The Noldor did indeed bring good. But they came after to fight against Evil. The only Noldor that could be said to have Brought evil were FĂ«anor and his seven sons due to their oath. However, This means a grand total of 8 out of all the Noldor that came to ME following the evil of Melkor. If you wish to tar all the Noldor with that brush then you will also have to do the same to Men because of the those Men that swore false oaths to the Elves and betrayed them in battle. Do not forget it was Melkor that wanted to enslave all of ME. It was the Noldor and the Three houses of Atani that stood in his way. So who allowed Melkor his victory? Let us look at the Silmarillion.
Of the Fifth Battle: Nirnaeth Arnoediad
Yet neither by wolf, not by Balrog, nor by Dragon, would Morgoth have achieved his end, but for the treachery of Men.
And what was that treachery and who by?
Same Chapter
In this hour the plots of Ulfang were revealed. Many of the Easterlings turned and fled, their hearts being filled with lies and fear; but the sons of Ulfang went over suddenly to the Morgoth and drove in upon the rear of the sons of FĂ«anor, and in the confusion that they wrought they came near to the standard of Maedhros. They reaped not the reward that Morgoth promised them, for Maglor slew Uldor the accursed, the leader in treason, and the sons of BĂłr 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.
Ulfang and his sons of one of the lesser houses were the chief source of the treachery but also there were many others who came at his call. If not for these Melkor would not have won the day.
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.
It was by the acts of these lesser houses that a barrier was formed between Elves and the rest of Men. Had these lesser houses of Men not acted in such a way then the friendship between the Three Houses and Elves could have been extended to include All Men. This would have raised not only the Three houses to their fullest achievable stature but the rest of Men also. This would have been the best possible outcome but was prevented by the greatly detrimental acts of treachery of the lesser houses of Men.
 

Finduilas

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Originally posted by Gothmog:
How was it that Melkor was able to have such a force ready to battle FĂ«anor's host only 10 days from the coming of the Noldor? If the Noldor were the cause of the problem then it would have taken Melkor far longer to have an army ready at that place. Melkor was already fighting the Elves of Beleriand and winning.
The point is that there had been a truce, though not a strong one, but a truce. And it was only when Feanor went down to the Bay of Drengist with other Noldor that it ended!

Originally posted by Gothmog:
Yes it is in fact very soon after when you consider that the Sun and the Moon were still in the sky. So the light was only a very temporary pause to the designs of Melkor. And it is not the increasing power that made Melkor do that move but the fact that the Noldor were standing in the way of those designs.
Yet the Noldor were the ones that made the war to last almost a whole set of four centuries!

Originally posted by Gothmog:
For 200 years Beleriand had peace that would not have existed had the Noldor not been there. Melkor would have increased his hold on ME and made it more and more difficult to remove him later without the destruction of Arda.
Yes, if that Peace hadn't been held, there would have been great damages. However, we should consider the fact that Melkor had been involved in a 400 years long war! He may be a Vala but his slaves are not! His might would have weakened and the damages wouldn't have been as detrimental as they happened to be after his appearance in the next war. He had been gaining both power and making new creatures, which , you must agree, is very detrimental. ;)

Originally posted by Gothmog
Of course they did. It was the only way that he had to defeat the armies opposing him. Had the Noldor not been there these different peoples would have been slaves of Meklor.
Yet they were the kindred gained most congnition and made a whole treasure of artworks. They certainly were the perfect slaves!

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


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

Ravenna

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Finduilas said

_________________________

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

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


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

________________________


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

Yet they had no part in those deeds,and they know little of the riding of the might of the West against the North in the beginning of their days.
Admittedly this war was waged for their sake, but you cannot lay blame for it at their feet and therefore, any detrimental effects of it can only be laid at the feet on the Valar themselves.
 

Gothmog

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To continue from the post of Ravanna
Much is done for the sake of the Noldor, the Elves, the minions of the Valar. And yet much of it lead to detrimental consequences.
Yes it is done for the sake of the Elves not the Noldor. The Elves are not and never were "Minions of the Valar" They were Kindred to the Valar but of lesser stature and might.
To start with, we should find who's fault it was for his heart to burn so brithly!
Ok We shall.
Of the flight of the Noldor
Then turning to the herald he cried: 'Say this to Manwë Súlimo, High King of Arda: if Fëanor cannot overthrow Morgoth, at least he delays not to assail him, and sits not idle in grief. And it may be that Eru has set in me a fire greater 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. Farewell!'
Even from the mouth of FĂ«anor himself comes the answer. Eru.
Now Finwe could not be blamed for irrationalism, but probably for a lack of luck and lack of fortune. Nevertheless, no matter what the reason is he certainly has a great deal of influence over his son's up-growing.
Is that so?
Of FĂ«anor and the Unchaining of Melkor
In that time was born in Eldamar, in the house of the King in Tirion upon the crown of Túna, the eldest of the sons of Finwë, and the most beloved. Curufinwë was his name, but by his mother he was called Fëanor, Spirit of Fire; and thus he is remembered in all the tales of the Noldor.
and
All his love he gave hereafter to his son; and FĂ«anor grew swiftly, as if a secret fire were kindled within him. He was tall, and fair of face, and masterful, his eyes piercingly bright and his hair raven-dark; in the pursuit of all his purposes eager and steadfast. Few ever changed his courses by counsel, none by force.
then
Now it came to pass that Finwë took as his second wife Indis the Fair. She was a Vanya, close king of Ingwë the High King, golden-haired and tall, and in all ways unlike Míriel. Finwë loved her greatly, and was glad again. But the shadow of Míriel did not depart from the house of Finwë, nor from his heart; and of all whom he loved Fëanor had ever the chief share of his thought.
Yet FĂ«anor was full grown before Finwe married his second wife. So that has little bearing on this.
And all the rest is known…the wars (described very well by Lhunithiliel) follow, one after another, and it was only Feanor that started them…even though he didn't meant to do it. He was unlucky, yes, he was with a great spirit, yes, he caused detrimental…yes! Men were involved in the forecoming wars, but it was not them that actually caused them (meaning either deeds or specific acts).
And by your claims not by the Noldor either. It seems that you are blaming all on One Elf. FĂ«anor. Therefore as He is the only one responsible the rest of the Noldor could not have a detrimental effect. In fact they were the ones that helped the rest of the peoples of ME.

Lhunithiliel, You still have not answered the quote I gave in my first post. "The heroic Noldor were the best possible weapon with which to keep Morgoth at bay". These are Tolkien's words. If they are the Best weapon for this task how could they be the most detrimental?
Letting myself accept the "what if"-scenario proposed by our opponents, all I see is a ME as the unclaimed realm of Melkor where he is the only powerful Master. He! Not anyone else!
Yes Melkor was the only powerful Master. The Noldor were the only ones that could hold him back for long enough to teach the Atani and allow Melkor to weaken himself to the point that the Valar could remove him from ME without this resulting in the total destruction of Arda.
What is the role and the effect of the lesser Men, then, please?
They allowed Melkor to gain victory over the Noldor and their allies the Atani. See my previous post.
And...btw, would they have come to ME at all...except of course driven as wretched slaves. What impact can a slave have?!
They were in ME. They could be nowhere else. As for why they came. Most came to betray or fight against the Elves and the Atani at the orders of Melkor.
So...however we look at it - from my point of view or from yours, the far stronger negative impact of the Noldor exiles upon the course of events just cannot be denied when compared to that of the lesser Men!
Because the main conflict was between the two main "figures" at that period - Melkor and the Noldor!
From your point of view this is how you see it. However, while the main conflict was at that time between the Noldor and Melkor, had it not been so there would have been no Beleriand and no chance for Men.

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

Gothmog

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The point is that there had been a truce, though not a strong one, but a truce. And it was only when Feanor went down to the Bay of Drengist with other Noldor that it ended!
You claim that there was a truce? With whom then was this truce? If we look in the Silmarillion for the time when FĂ«anor and his army landed in ME we find There:
Of the Sindar
Now the Orcs that multiplied in the darkness of the earth grew strong and fell, and their dark lord filled them with a lust of ruin and death; and they issued from Angband's gates under the clouds that Morgoth sent forth, and passed silently into the highlands of the north. Thence on a sudden a great army came into Beleriand and assailed King Thingol.
And a little later in the same chapter
And when Thingol came again to Menegroth he learned that the Orc-host in the west was victorious, and had drive CĂ­rdan to the rim of the sea. Therefore he withdrew all his people that his summons could reach within the fastness of Neldoreth and Region, and Melian put forth her power and fenced all that dominion round about with an unseen was of shadow and bewilderment: the Girdle of Melian, that none thereafter could pass against her will or the will of King Thingol, unless one should come with a power greater than that of Melian the Maia. And this inner land, which was long named Eglador, was after called Doriath, the guarded kingdom, Land of the Girdle. Within it there was yet a watchful peace; but without there was peril and great fear, and the servants of Morgoth roamed at will, save in the walled havens of the Falas.

But new tidings were at hand, which none in Middle-earth had foreseen, neither Morgoth in his pits nor Melian in Menegroth; for no news came out of Aman, whether by messenger, or by spirit, or by vision in dream, after the death of the Trees. In this same time FĂ«anor came over the Sea in the white ships of the Teleri, and landed in the Firth of Drengist, and there burned the ships at Losgar.
There was no truce, the Elves of Beleriand had been forced to retreat from most of the land. The creatures of Melkor had the run of Beleriand except for the area covered by the Girdle of Melian and the Walled Havens of the Falas. The Noldor freed Beleriand from these creatures.
Yet the Noldor were the ones that made the war to last almost a whole set of four centuries!
No, the Noldor held back the tide of Melkor's wrath for 4 centuries. Melkor without the Noldor would have ended the war sooner it is true but only by enslaving or killing all who lived in ME. Not just Beleriand.
Yes, if that Peace hadn't been held, there would have been great damages. However, we should consider the fact that Melkor had been involved in a 400 years long war! He may be a Vala but his slaves are not! His might would have weakened and the damages wouldn't have been as detrimental as they happened to be after his appearance in the next war. He had been gaining both power and making new creatures, which , you must agree, is very detrimental.
His slaves were part of the reason he became weak enough for the Valar to remove him without the destruction of Arda. Without the war against the Noldor he would have lost less of his personal power into the Matter of Arda and into his creatures. Had the Valar gone against him instead of the Noldor, even if they had waited, Melkor would have destroyed Arda rather than let the Valar remove him. As for the creatures he had been breeding, This he was doing anyway and would have done so had the Noldor not returned to ME. Melkor would have needed more creatures to extend his war to the rest of ME beyond Beleriand. Also He would have lost far less of them against the other peoples than he did because of the Noldor.
This quotes speaks of the strenght that Men are gaining and the inevitable end of the Elves, in other words Noldor. However, this only shows the great lost of ME, because the Elves are those who gave it power and knowledge, as well as the Silmarils. After their 'fade', ME will loose a part of its 'flesh' and therefore new wars for the Ruleness over ME may start. Future is unpredictable but History has shown us that if a Giant dies, another one must be chosen...and that would mean WAR!
I do not understand what you are saying here. The Elves fading was inevitable because that is how IlĂşvatar decided it would be. The Elves to come first to ME and then make way for Men. The Noldor helped to prepare Men to be ready for this and for their greater task to work towards Arda Healed. When you talk about History showing us that in the context of Tolkien's work you must remember that this is due to the marring of Arda by Melkor during the Music of the Ainur. Evil will always return in some form and Greater Good will come out of it.

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

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



Had the lesser houses of Men not caused a rift between the Elves and the greater part Men more of these could have been taught and raised to greater stature as had the Atani. This would have aided the whole of Arda. As it was these Men of the lesser houses Betrayed and fought against the Elves and their Allies and consequently weakened Men as a whole preventing them from reaching the heights that they could have and should have attained at that time. By doing this they also harmed the other peoples of ME as war did not cease after this time and the Men of the East and South still followed the ways of Melkor. Sauron lead them against any that opposed him.
You are arguing that the lesser Men caused all the problems, they are the ones who caused a rift between Elves and Men. Well I argue that ti was indeed the Elves who started this, when they exptended their friendship and protectoin to the Three Houses of Edain only. Why did they not attempt tp make friends with the rest of the MEn ?
a reason might be found in this quote:

Now the Green-Elves of Ossiriand were troubled by the coming of Men, and when they heard that a lord of the Eldar from over the Sea was among them they sent messengers to Felagund.'Lord,' they said, 'if you have power over these newcomers, bid them return by the ways that they came or else to go forward. For we desire no strangers in this land to break the peace in which we live. And these folk are hewers of trees and hunters of beasts; therefore we are their unfriends, and if they will not depart we shall afflict them in all ways that we can.'
These were the Green-Elves, they had never met Men before, just hear ugly rumours about them, so they make up their minds that they must be evil. But the evil wasnot of the Men, it was caused by Morgoth.
But Morgoth , seeing that by lies and deciets he could not yet wholly estrange the Elves and Men, was filled with wrath and he endeavoured to do Men what harm he could.
I see this as a direct consequence of the coming of the Noldor to Middle-earth, as Morgoth considerd Feanor ' his bitterest foe', and hearing of the Noldor's return made war on them.

GOiE asks 'In what way do the Noldor have a greater responsibility to bear? Because they were taught by the Valar? Men were under the care of Eru a far better teacher.'
To Hildorien there cam no Vala to guide Men, or to summon them to dwell in Valinor; and Men have feared the Valar, and have not understood the purposes of the Powers.
Yes, the Men were Children of Iluvatar, but nowhere do we see any evidence that Eru in any way taught them or cared for them directly, as the Valar had done for the Eldar. Everywhere we are told that the Elves surpassed the Men in wisdom and knowledge, as well as physical stature. So how can the ELves not be responsible? If they so far surpass the other race, would it not be in their own interest - if not a responsibility - to befriend them, teach them and care for them. And what do they do ? Pick the best of the crop and leave the rest to fend for themselves. It is the opinion of the Guild that the actions of the Noldor were in the long run far more detrimental than those of the lesser Men
 

Lhunithiliel

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Lhunithiliel, You still have not answered the quote I gave in my first post. "The heroic Noldor were the best possible weapon with which to keep Morgoth at bay". These are Tolkien's words. If they are the Best weapon for this task how could they be the most detrimental?
The detrimental effect of the Noldor IMO comes precisely from this - for being there, for doing everything possible to hinder the spread of Melkor's influence over ME, for being the "best possible weapon with which to keep Morgoth at bay", the Noldor involve all the races of those times in endless conflicts - Elves against Melkor, Elves and Edaini against Melkor, Edaini against lesser Men, Elves against Elves etc .... all that destroying the positive achievements reached through the relatively short periods of peace in-between wars and battles.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Eriol

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Originally posted by Gothmog
I was answering your points on " Culpability, or "they should have known better!" You refer to the teachings and love of the Valar; you ignore that Eru himself had the care of Men. My answer was to point out that from this post you are saying that the Valar failed both Noldor and Men when it was not true in either case.
Actually, I'm not focusing any argument on the Valar's faults. I never said that the Valar failed Noldor and Men. I said that Noldor had 'better food' (figuratively speaking), and that therefore greater things might be expected by them. And this is not what we see; we see the Noldor falling for Morgoth's and later Sauron's lies as easily as the lesser houses of Men. It is important to note that only some of the lesser houses of Men fell for Morgoth's and Sauron's lies; the only exception is the First Fall recorded in the Athrabeth. However, it can be compared (as Tolkien did) with the Noldorin Exile, in which all Noldor fall for FĂ«anor's strong words, driven by lies of Melkor.

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

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

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

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

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

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

We only see how harmful they were when given to other races. 7 were given to dwarves 9 to Men. The harm was due to Sauron's influence and their being taken from the Elves and given to those who could not use them. Of the 9 given to Men it would seem that at least 6 were to men of the lesser houses as it is only rumoured that 3 were given to black numenorians.
Again, personal responsibility was ducked. "The harm was due to Sauron's influence and their being taken from the Elves..." Well, that is not Tolkien's opinion ;). He says that the people at Ost-in-Edhil (the Noldor from Eregion, hehe :D) "fell to Sauron's deceits", due to a weakness of their own. They desired "power" over things as they are.

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

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

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

After the fall of NĂşmenor the realms in exile were under constant threat if not actual invasion from the lesser houses of men of the East and the South. It was men of these houses following the Witch King of Agnmar that caused the collapse of Northern kingdoms. Though there was much strife between the three kingdoms before this.
Yep. Strife caused by the "higher houses of Men" squabbling, by the way... But if men of the Lesser houses fought for Angmar, they also fought for Arnor. The bulk of the population of both Arnor and Gondor was "men of the lesser houses". So this is a point both for and against the lesser houses. In the Third Age all men were of the "lesser houses", to a point, except the rulers of Arnor and Gondor; and they were not the smartest of rulers, as the history of both Gondor and Arnor shows. To call them "higher houses" is odd, at this point.

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

Gothmog In what way do the Noldor have a greater responsibility to bear? Because they were taught by the Valar? Men were under the care of Eru a far better teacher.
I addressed that already. Eru never taught Men; or at least I haven't seen any quote to that effect. I have to check the Athrabeth, but I think he only told Men to look elsewhere for the answers.

Gothmog The only Noldor that could be said to have Brought evil were FĂ«anor and his seven sons due to their oath. However, This means a grand total of 8 out of all the Noldor that came to ME following the evil of Melkor. If you wish to tar all the Noldor with that brush then you will also have to do the same to Men because of the those Men that swore false oaths to the Elves and betrayed them in battle.
My keyword is personal responsibility. The Oath is NOT the only "blunder" of the Noldor. The slaying of Alqualondë, and the rebellion against the Valar, was a responsibility of ALL Noldor; even Finarfin took some of the blame for that. He knew what is personal responsibility. This is why it is said that he received the 'pardon of the Valar'. And I'm talking about Finarfin!! No, ALL Noldor committed grievous acts in that moment; and they were ALL cursed by Mandos.

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

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

Gothmog It was by the acts of these lesser houses that a barrier was formed between Elves and the rest of Men. Had these lesser houses of Men not acted in such a way then the friendship between the Three Houses and Elves could have been extended to include All Men. This would have raised not only the Three houses to their fullest achievable stature but the rest of Men also. This would have been the best possible outcome but was prevented by the greatly detrimental acts of treachery of the lesser houses of Men.
Are Elves that... stubborn and prejudiced? They would 'tar with the same brush' people who never betrayed them at all, and men who never came to Beleriand? Would they shun BĂłr & Co. because he is from 'the Lesser Houses of Men', even after BĂłr proved faithful? This question assumes a new twist when we realize that "Elves" means mostly Noldor and Sindar in that quote of Gothmog; for the Avari had already made friendship with Men. I don't think that the friendship between the men of Dale and the Elves of Mirkwood had anything to do with Ulfang's acts :). And in fact friendship between Men and Avari had already raised men to some stature; not the fullest achievable stature, but some stature.

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

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

Ought they not to "have known better?"

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

Arvedui

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Okay, last things first.
The Tolkienologists claim that Eru didn't care for Men.
From HoME X, Morgoth's Ring. Athrabeth Finrod Ah Andreth:
Then Andreth being urged by Finrod said at last: 'This is the tale that Adanel of the House of Hador told to me:
Some say the Disaster happened at the beginning of the history of our people, before any had yet died. The Voice had spoken to us, and we had listened. The Voice said: 'Ye are my children. I have sent you to dwell here. In time ye will inherit all this Earth, but first ye must be children and learn. Call on me and I shall hear; for I am watching over you.'
And so Men did.
But after a while, they fell to the deceits of Morgoth, and turned away from The Voice (Eru). This is normally accepted by all, and is called the First Fall of Men.

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

From Lhunithiliel:
1/ Melkor was the root of evil
We agree on that.

We also claim that the Noldor were the main bullwark against him. If it weren't for the Noldor, ME would have been under Morgoth's dominion. After all, that was what Morgoth sought: domination over Arda. That is why he
let most of his being pass into the physical constituents of the Earth - hence all things that were born on Earth and lived on and by it, beasts or plants or incarnate spirits, were liable to be 'stained.'
(Myths transformed)
The claim that the Noldor caused the wars, is putting the facts upside down. It is just the sort of arguments Hitler used in the late 1930's. Germany was denied 'lebensraum' so they were forced to go to war. And this was the fault of France, Great Britain and Poland.

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

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

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

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

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

Eriol

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Originally posted by Arvedui
Okay, last things first.
The Tolkienologists claim that Eru didn't care for Men.
?

Where did the Tolkienologists claim that?

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

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

And that's what He did.

So you are now claiming that Maedhros did not attempt to make friends with the rest of the Men? Are you claiming that BĂłr and Ulfast were of the Three Houses?
Oh yes! The Noldor tried indeed to befriend the rest of the Men. And what was their reward for doing that? They were betrayed!
And as Gothmog has already proven with his quote: that deceit gave Morgoth the victory. Nothing else.
And for the deceit of one group of Men (Ulfang and his followers), the Noldor condemned all other Men to oblivion, ignorance, and suffering under Sauron. That was Gothmog's argument; that the treachery in the Nirnaeth was the root of the estrangement between Men and Elves.

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

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

(Paraphrased)

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

In the First Age, Morgoth sought dominion over Arda. Against his armies stood the Elves and the Men of the Three Houses. The main contribution from the Men of the 'lesser houses,' was treason.
BĂłr did not betray. That is fully half of the Easterlings. And of course the Easterlings in Beleriand were a very small fraction of the Lesser Houses of Men in Middle-Earth. It is only by 'tarring all with the same brush' that it can be said that 'the Lesser Houses of Men' main contribution was treason'.

In the Second Age, Sauron had taken over Morgoth's role as the main enemy. Against him stood Elves and Men of the Three Houses (this time they were called NĂşmenĂłreans). In the end, the Last Alliance was formed, led by Gil-galad, a Noldorean descendant, and Elendil, leader of the faithful from the Three Houses.
And there was the small matter of NĂşmneĂłreans enslaving people on the coasts of Middle-Earth -- people who belonged to the Lesser Houses of Men, squeezed between NĂşmenor and Sauron. I suppose that was all right, because "Evil lived on the South and East, in the form of Lesser Men" (Check next quote from Arvedui).

Sauron was defeated, but Evil was not. Evil lived on in the south and east, in the form of Lesser Men. Evil grew in the north in form of Angmar, led by the Witch-king.
Who had to pay for their continuing existance? Faithful Men, and the remaining Elves and Dwarves.
Yep, kill them all. That's the way to go. "Who had to pay for their continuing existance"?

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

In the Third Age, Sauron grew again. His arsenal included still (in addition to orcs), Men of the lesser houses.
And so did the arsenal of the good people -- almost entirely Men of the lesser Houses. The Elves did not think it was ok to fight, then. They defended their homes, but that was as far as it went.

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

Among these the Nazgûl, of whom 6 out of 9 were from the lesser Houses.
Against Sauron stood the remaining Free Peoples of the Earth, led by Gandalf (a Maia), Aragorn (descendant of the Three Houses of Men), Galadriel (Noldor), and Elrond (descendant of both the Noldor and the Three Houses of Men).
Sauron was finally cast down. The Men of the Lesser Houses swore allegiance to King Elessar (still a descendant of the Three Houses), and peace broke out.
Well, someone must get it right among the "Higher Houses" :D. Sure, Aragorn was a great leader. I'll not say that every Edain and every Noldor was wrong just because Fëanor, his sons, every Noldor who left Aman, Celebrimbor and the people at Ost-in-Edhil (the city), Ar-Pharazôn and the King's Men, the Black Númenóreans, the Arnorian rulers who lost their kingdom in petty squabbling, the Gondorian kings who dwindled up to Eärnur who died without a heir... did I miss someone?... well, as I was saying, I'll not say that every Edain and every Noldor was wrong because those people were wrong.

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

Personal responsibility...

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

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

The lesser houses of Men did this. The Noldor did not!
And we claim that some people of some of the Lesser Houses did this. And that the tarring of ALL people with the same brush by the Noldor was MUCH more detrimental than the betrayal of Ulfang (the only instance really offered by our opponents). The Noldor had a unique opportunity to heal so much of the pain in Arda, especially those who chose to remain in Middle-Earth... and when we look at it, they followed the "Shepherd" reasoning and stayed aloof.

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

Arvedui

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Originally posted by Eriol
?

Where did the Tolkienologists claim that?
Here:
From Starflower:
Yes, the Men were Children of Iluvatar, but nowhere do we see any evidence that Eru in any way taught them or cared for them directly,
And may I remind you what you posted yourself, Eriol?
Check the end of Starflower's last post for a better way to phrase what I'm saying here
If you need to look up where I found that quote from Starflower, it was at the end at her post...

Of the Fifth Battle: Nirnaeth Arnoediad
Yet neither by wolf, not by Balrog, nor by Dragon, would Morgoth have achieved his end, but for the treachery of Men.
Does it really matter if BĂłr changed his mind?
The treachery of Men gave Morgoth the victory. It is written in black and white by JRR Tolkien, edited by his son. Is it the Ost-in-Edhil that is 'tarring everyone with the same brush'?
Our honorable opponents are also trying to make the Easterlings and the Haradhrim and other Men like them, to stand as a minor nuisance that didn't really matter. Is that really so?
 

Eriol

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

"Eru did not care for men",

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

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

This distinction was also made in my last post.

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

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

As for

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

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

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

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

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

Gothmog

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Eriol
Actually, I'm not focusing any argument on the Valar's faults. I never said that the Valar failed Noldor and Men. I said that Noldor had 'better food' (figuratively speaking), and that therefore greater things might be expected by them.
What better food. The Valar did not arm the Noldor against Melkor and neither did Eru arm Men. So both were equal in that respect.
In every individual Noldor that left Aman, there was a case of a 'better fed' person stealing bread, to refer back to that analogy of mine; a case of someone who should have known better doing something foolish, and wrong. The Vanyar knew as much as the Noldor, and so did the Teleri.
Are you sure of this?
Of FĂ«anor and the Unchaining of Melkor
The Vanyar indeed held him in suspicion, for they dwelt in the light of the trees and were content; and to the Teleri he gave small heed, thinking them of little worth, tools too weak for his designs.
So the Vanyar were not interested simply because they were content. Does not show that they "knew Better" only that they did not want to do anything else. As for the Teleri, they knew less than the Noldor. Melkor did not even try to do anything with them.
They looked, and were taught by Dwarves and Avari. Not Eru. You don't see any instance of a Man wanting to learn something about the world, asking Eru, and getting an answer. How is it that Eru 'taught' them, then? No, Men were taught by Dwarves and Avari (and Morgoth!!); far worse teachers than the Valar.
They did not receive any teaching from other Peoples of ME until some rebelled against Melkor and the Men that followed him willingly. I said that Men were under the Care of Eru. The Valar and Eru did not do anything to arm those under their care against such power and lies as were to be found in Melkor. Men had the Better Chef yet both Noldor and Men had the same food in this case, None!!!
The question is, who had the best shot at resisting temptation and not making such a big blunder? Who was better fed? Noldor were fed by the Valar; Men were fed by Avari and Dwarves.
Men were corrupted by Melkor long before they saw Avari or Dwarves. They Fell while still under the sole care of Eru. It was not until they started wandering that they met other peoples and that was after some Men rebelled against Melkor. The Noldor Knew the power of the Valar. Melkor was a Valar. Melkor helped the other Valar, so from the point of view of the Noldor why should they not listen to him. The Valar did not give them any warning or guidance on this. So both Noldor and Men were in the same situation there.
My keyword is personal responsibility. The Oath is NOT the only "blunder" of the Noldor. The slaying of Alqualondë, and the rebellion against the Valar, was a responsibility of ALL Noldor; even Finarfin took some of the blame for that. He knew what is personal responsibility. This is why it is said that he received the 'pardon of the Valar'. And I'm talking about Finarfin!! No, ALL Noldor committed grievous acts in that moment; and they were ALL cursed by Mandos.
Yet when they got to ME they gave peace to Beleriand for many years and did what no other not even the Valar could do for the peoples of ME. They caused Melkor to become weak enough that the Valar could remove him from ME without Arda being destroyed. The Lesser houses interfered with this process so that although limited Beleriand was destroyed. Had Men not betrayed Elves, Men and Dwarves when they did the Damage done when Melkor was removed by the Valar could well have been limited to just the area around Angband itself.
Only the Noldor could "raise men to their fullest achievable stature". And why didn't they? Because of Ulfang's acts? But then they are being (extremely) prejudiced, and stubborn, to the point of being dumb. Did the Breelanders know of Ulfang? Why damn the Breelanders for Ulfang's sins, then?
No because of Ulfang, his sons and the host of Men of lesser houses that came and fought on the side of Melkor.
Gothmog's point becomes then an argument against the Noldor. For this is surely an example of the Noldorin detrimental effect. The Noldor refused to spread knowledge throughout Men, something that Gothmog called "the best possible outcome", because of... their prejudice.
I did not say that the Noldor Refused. The Treachery of Men of Lesser houses caused the estrangement between Elves and Men. After the Nirnaeth Arnoediad There was little chance for the Noldor to learn more of Men that did not come into Beleriand and even less chance for them to be able to help in the way that they had done before. The damage done by that treachery was immense, Many Noldor died and the rest were scattered. The only strongholds of the Elves were hidden to protect them from the Orcs of Melkor. As for prejudice, the only Elf that showed much of this was not a Noldor but Thingol of Doriath who would not even allow Men into his kingdom before Beren came.

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

As to the Rings.
So according to Tolkien the 'harm' was due to the weakness of the guys at Ost-in-Edhil; Sauron only exploited that to his own purposes. The point is made clearer when we remember that both Gil-Galad and Elrond rejected Sauron, even in his fair form as Annatar, the Lord of Gifts. Why didn't the Eregion jewellers do the same?
First Melkor Deceived the Noldor in Aman and Men HildĂłrien. The Noldor quickly learned that they had been deceived and fought against Melkor. Men learned quickly that they had been deceived by Melkor and Many continued to fight for Melkor. The Noldor of Ost-in-Edhil were deceived by Sauron and upon learning the truth they took off the rings and tried to fight against Sauron and continued to do so until the time of the last Alliance. Many Men continued to serve Sauron as willingly as they did Melkor before.
 

Gothmog

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Final Post.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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