🧙 The Tolkien Forum 🧝

Welcome to our forum! Register a free account today to become a member! Once signed in, you'll be able to participate on this site by adding your own topics and posts, as well as connect with other members through your own private inbox! Plus you won't see ads ;)

Túrin and The Second Prophecy of Mandos

Maedhros

The Tall
Joined
Mar 18, 2002
Messages
1,189
Reaction score
3
Location
Formenos
Would Túrin really return from the dead and kill Morgoth? This prophecy has long roots. From The Book of Lost Tales II: Turambar and the Foalókë
Then Úrin departed, but would not touch the gold, and stricken in years he reached Hisilómë and died among Men, but his words living after him bred estrangement between Elves and Men. Yet it is said that when he was dead his shade fared into the woods seeking Mavwin, and long those twain haunted the woods about the fall of Silver Bowl bewailing their children. But the Elves of Kôr have told, and they know, that at last Úrin and Mavwin fared to Mandos, and Nienóri was not there nor Túrin their son. Turambar indeed had followed Nienóri along the black pathways to the doors of Fui, but Fui would not open to them, neither would Vefántur. Yet now the prayers of Úrin and Mavwin came even to Manwë, and the Gods had mercy on their unhappy fate, so that those twain Túrin and Nienóri entered into Fôs'Almir, the bath of flame, even as Urwendi and her maidens had done in ages past before the first rising of the Sun, and so were all their sorrows and stains washed away, and they dwelt as shining Valar among the blessed ones, and now the love of that brother and sister is very fair; but Turambar indeed shall stand beside Fionwë in the Great Wrack, and Melko and his drakes shall curse the sword of Mormakil.'
Then it changed again in the Sketch of the Mythology or 'earliest Silmarillion'.
From The Shaping of Middle-Earth: The Earliest Silmarillion
When the world is much older, and the Gods weary, Morgoth will come back through the Door, and the last battle of all will be fought. Fionwë will fight Morgoth on the plain of Valinor, and the spirit of Túrin shall be beside him; it shall be Túrin who with his black sword will slay Morgoth, and thus the children of Húrin shall be avenged.
Now we go to The Quenta. From The Shaping of Middle-Earth: The Quenta
Thus spake the prophecy of Mandos, which he declared in Valmar at the judgement of the Gods, and the rumour of it was whispered among all the Elves of the West: when the world is old and the Powers grow weary, then Morgoth shall come back through the Door out of the Timeless Night; and he shall destroy the Sun and the Moon, but Eärendel shall come upon him as a white flame and drive him from the airs. Then shall the last battle be gathered on the fields of Valinor. In that day Tulkas shall strive with Melko, and on his right shall stand Fionwë and on his left Túrin Turambar, son of Húrin, Conqueror of Fate,7 and it shall be the black sword of Túrin that deals unto Melko his death and final end; and so shall the children of Húrin and all Men be avenged.
7. Added here in pencil: coming from the halls of Mandos.
We have also a Commentary regarding this part. From The Shaping of Middle-Earth: Commentary on the Quenta
The appearance of Túrin at the end remains profoundly mysterious; and here it is said that the prophecy names him among the Gods, which is clearly to be related to the passage in the old Tale of Turambar (II. 116), where it is said that Túrin and Nienor 'dwelt as shining Valar among the blessed ones', after they had passed through Fôs' Almir, the bath of flame. In changes to the text of Q II it is said that Túrin is named among 'the songs of the Gods', rather than among the Gods, and also that he comes 'from the halls of Mandos' to the final battle; about which I can say no more than that Túrin Turambar, though a mortal Man, did not go, as do the race of Men, to a fate beyond the world.
We have also a reference of Túrin returning in the Annals. From Morgoth’s Ring: The Annals of Aman
On the two star-makings see p. 61, §24. There is here the remarkable statement that Menelmakar (Orion) was 'a sign of Túrin Turambar, who should come into the world, and a foreshowing of the Last Battle that shall be at the end of Days.' This is a reference to the Second Prophecy of Mandos
Yet in the Later Quentas, the Menelmakar, had removed as a sign of Túrin Turambar.
From Morgoth’s Ring: Later Quentas
Here the two star-makings are expressly contrasted, and Varda's names Tintallë 'the Kindler' and Elentári 'Queen of the Stars' differentiated in their bearing. The second star-making is described also in AAm§§35 - 6 (p. 71), but far more briefly, and though the 'gathering together of the ancient stars' to form signs in the heavens is mentioned there also, only the constellations Menelmakar (Orion) and Valakirka are named. That Menelmakar forebodes the Last Battle is said in both sources, but LQ does not name it as a sign of Túrin Turambar.
Now we come to an interesting change in the philosophy of The Silmarillion, when it changes from being made from an elvish perspective to a mannish one.
From Morgoth’s Ring: Myths Transformed
What we have in the Silmarillion etc. are traditions ... handed on by Men in Númenor and later in Middle-earth (Arnor and Gondor); but already far back - from the first association of the Dúnedain and Elf-friends with the Eldar in Beleriand - blended and confused with their own Mannish myths and cosmic ideas.
And then he have this piece from The Peoples of Middle-Earth: The Problem of Ros
17. The language of the Folk of Haleth was not used, for they had perished and would not rise again. Nor would their tongue be heard again, unless the prophecy of Andreth the Wise-woman should prove true, that Túrin in the Last Battle should return from the Dead, and before he left the Circles of the World for ever should challenge the Great Dragon of Morgoth, Ancalagon the Black, and deal him the death-stroke.
So we see the change that have taken place among the place of Túrin in the Second Prophecy of Mandos.
First he was made to come back from the dead and slay Morgoth with his black sword, then that conception changed to slaying Ancalagon the Black. The question that arises is can this prophecy be accounted as true?
From Morgoth’s Ring: The Valaquenta
Here ends The Valaquenta. If it has passed from the high and beautiful to darkness and ruin, that was of old the fate of Arda Marred; and if any change shall come and the Marring be amended, Manwë and Varda may know; but they have not revealed it, and it is not declared in the dooms of Mandos.
If Manwë and Varda may know, but have not revealed what would happen in the end of Arda, and Mandos has not declared it, how can The Second Prophecy of Mandos be true then? We have also this little bit.
From Morgoth’s Ring: Athrabeth Finrod Ah Andreth, Note 7
It is noteworthy that the Elves had no myths or legends dealing with the end of the world. The myth that appears at the end of the Silmarillion is of Númenórean origin;19 it is clearly made by Men, though Men acquainted with Elvish tradition. All Elvish traditions are presented as 'histories', or as accounts of what once was.
So, it seems clear that the Prophecy of Mandos, (at least the part awarded to Andreth), is just a tale made by her, but if the Eldar had no knowledge of the end, how can it be proven to be true. We may choose to believe that is true, but we can’t prove that it is so. If you want to believe it, you would need estel.
 

Goldberry

River Daughter
Joined
Feb 1, 2002
Messages
406
Reaction score
1
Location
Westchester County, New York
I wonder why, of all the humans, Tolkien picked Turin to actually come back from the dead? I do like the idea of Turin slaying Morgoth and having the revenge for House of Hurin. But I wonder also, how could Turin slay Morgoth? I thought the Valar could not be slain, and that is why he was shut behind the Door in the first place.
 

Ithrynluin

seeker of solace
Staff member
Joined
Apr 27, 2002
Messages
4,623
Reaction score
11
Originally posted by Goldberry
I wonder why, of all the humans, Tolkien picked Turin to actually come back from the dead? I do like the idea of Turin slaying Morgoth and having the revenge for House of Hurin. But I wonder also, how could Turin slay Morgoth? I thought the Valar could not be slain, and that is why he was shut behind the Door in the first place.
I believe Turin (and his kin) suffered the most from Melkor of all the race of Man. Melkor cursed Húrin, his wife and children and they had miserable lives and their hope was turned to despair. That is possibly why he was "granted" this place at the Last Battle, to be the one who deals the last deadly blow to Melkor.

I find it interesting that Túrin supposedly stayed in Aman (the Halls of Mandos) from the time he died until the Last Battle. Another proof of his special treatment by the Valar/Eru.

I also find this contradiction (or is it?) in the Athrabeth quite odd:

It is noteworthy that the Elves had no myths or legends dealing with the end of the world. The myth that appears at the end of the Silmarillion is of Númenórean origin;19 it is clearly made by Men, though Men acquainted with Elvish tradition. All Elvish traditions are presented as 'histories', or as accounts of what once was.
So the knowledge on the Last Battle and the Second Prophecy was acquired by the Edain, not the Eldar. To make their knowledge more credible, it is stated that these Men were "acquainted with Elvish tradition." But Elves had no such stories and legends regarding the End of the world. Where did Men hear rumours of this knowledge? From the whisperings of Eru himself?

Maedhros, an excellent analysis and summary of the various versions of the Second Prophecy.:)
 

Mirabella

Daughter of Gerontius
Joined
Jan 26, 2003
Messages
293
Reaction score
0
Location
Georgia, USA
We know that the Numenoreans were devout worshippers of Iluvatar, at least for the early part of their history. Maybe they did receive special enlightenment from Iluvatar concerning the End of the World and the role of Men in it.
 

Inderjit S

Bootylicious
Joined
Feb 12, 2003
Messages
2,109
Reaction score
4
Location
Wolverhampton, United Kingdom
We know that the Numenoreans were devout worshippers of Iluvatar, at least for the early part of their history. Maybe they did receive special enlightenment from Iluvatar concerning the End of the World and the role of Men in it.
No it was a mannish myth.
 

legandir

Registered User
Joined
Jul 3, 2003
Messages
19
Reaction score
0
Location
Just out of sight...
I dont have much to contribute to this question, but it does bring to my mind a central idea concerning the interpretation of Tolkiens works.

When I read HOME series or Silmarillion I do not ingest it as a literalist reader, I seems to me that the traditions/stories laid down are renderings of events that happened many years before.
In Tolkien's conception we have a few scribes who commit the stories to paper (like the Red Book, etc). Even in The Hobbit and The Lord of The Rings the 'history' is presented mostly through contemporary reactions coming from mostly ( and obviously) Hobbits and Mankind.

I read the quotes and such in HOME series and the Sil but do not take them literaly, a part of me also allows for possible stretches of the truth or fabrication of details that had to eventually make their way into the passing down of the oral traditions before the stories were committed to paper. I dont feel I am making too much of stretch when considering how Tolkien approaches his telling of the story, mostly through the Hobbits who in the scope of Arda are very new 'race' and thus process the history in a different way than say if they were history scholars taking their knowledge from the old parchments in Gondor (late 3rd Age timeframe).

So I cant be sure what exactly is the truth regarding the Last Battle at the End of days, these seem like interpretations of ancient, possibly oral traditions or just seriously created 'mythology' that has survived to the 4th age of Middle Earth.
 

jallan

Registered User
Joined
Jan 9, 2003
Messages
631
Reaction score
3
Location
Toronto, Canada
Inderjit S posted:
No it was a mannish myth.
Rather, Tolkien at a particular time considered that prophecy of the last Battle to be non-Elvish, and therefore a dubious Mannish tradition.

But J.R.R. Tolkien later introduced that strange prophecy of Andreth which Christopher Tolkien thinks refers to the Last Battle of Beleriand rather than to the Last Battle at the End.

But is the Last Battle of the First Age necessarily the Last Battle of Andreth’s prophecies? Andreth’s prophecy occurs in a note to the main text of the “The Problem of Ros”, not as part of the main text, though it might have been written at the same time (and I see no reason to think that it wasn’t).

“The Problem of Ros” is an essay written by Tolkien in his own persona, not puported commentary from the Red Book or ramblings of Pengolodh. The Last Battle of Beleriand is mentioned as a fact of Tolkien’s legendarium about which, presumably, details were well known to Tolkien or could be invented at will.

But in the main text Tolkien notes that Eärendil when petitioning Manwë spoke in Elvish and then only in the Mannish tongues of the House of Hador and of the House of Bëor and it is to this assertion that the note is applied.

Tolkien explains:
The language of the Folk of Haleth was not used, for they had perished and would not rise again. Nor would their tongue be heard again, unless the prophecy of Andreth the Wise-woman should prove true, that Túrin in the Last Battle should return from the Dead, and before he left the circles of the World for ever should challenge the Great Dragon of Morgoth, Ancalagon the Black, and deal him the death-stroke.
The conditional statement about the prophecy of Andreth and the wordings should prove, should return and should challenge are odd in the context of the Last Battle of Beleriand of which the details would surely be known. If Tolkien intended to bring back Túrin alive to the Last Battle of Beleriand, why would he not say instead something like this (emphasis mine):
Nor would their tongue be heard again, until the prophecy of Andreth the Wise-woman proved true, that Túrin in the Last Battle returned from the Dead, and before he left the circles of the World for ever, challenged the Great Dragon of Morgoth, Ancalagon the Black, and dealt him the death-stroke.
Why would Tolkien be in doubt about a return of Túrin for the Last Battle of Beleriand? He would know that this either occurred or did not occur. Such doubts as Tolkien might have would be expressed differently, speaking of Tolkien’s indecision as to how the tale should go. The language sits ill if it refers to known events that were part of Tolkien's history of the First Age.

However, since the Last Battle of Arda is in the future, one may quite rightly be uncertain to the extent to which prophecies that referred to it might come true.

As Maedhros indicates, in the Period 1950-51 Tolkien wrote clearly:
Here ends The Valaquenta. If it has passed from the high and beautiful to darkness and ruin, that was of old the fate of Arda Marred; and if any change shall come and the Marring be amended, Manwë and Varda may know; but they have not revealed it, and it is not declared in the dooms of Mandos...
As Maedhros also indicates, In 1959 in Athrabeth Tolkien wrote about the conclusion of his current Silmarillion text:
It is noteworthy that the Elves had no myths or legends dealing with the end of the world. The myth that appears at the end of the Silmarillion (i.e. The Second Prophecy) is of Numenorean origin; it is clearly made by Men, though Men acquainted with Elvish tradition...
But then in “The Problem of Ros” around 1968 we have this unique mention of what might be an emergence of the prophecy of the Last Battle assigned now to the mortal Wise-woman Andreth, hence likely enough to indeed be part of Mannish tradition.

Tolkien never actually removed the Prophecy of Mandos from the Silmarillion text. It is possible that he planned to change it to a prophecy of Andreth as well as revising it in other ways.

It is odd that Andreth who in Athrabeth has little faith in either Valar or Eru is in this later text the source of a prophecy. However the Athrabeth is concerned more with the general problem of evil than the current physical conflict with Morgoth’s physical self and a vision later given to Andreth about the final end of the conflict would perhaps be a suitable ending to her doubts.

Are there difficulties with this hypothesis which I propose without conviction?

It seems to me an unaesthetic concept that Ancalagon would be slain twice, once by Eärendil and again at the End by Túrin. But if this was Tolkien's idea then he would have also had some ideas about its development.

Indded a prophecy about Ancalagon is troublesome regardless of what Last Battle Andreth’s prophecy concerned. No winged dragons existed during Andreth’s life. Perhaps Tolkien here conceived that a name from Andreth’s prophecy was later applied to the greatest of winged dragons when it was seen to match the figure of Ancalagon in Andreth’s words.

Also odd is what sparks the idea that Túrin on his return (whenever it might be), should speak in the tongue of Haleth. Though Túrin’s last years were spent among the people of Haleth, their speech was not Túrin’s first language and there seems to me little motivation for him to return to it.

Also, why in any case send Túrin back to kill either Morgoth or Ancalagon. Túrin’s reputation suggests that he would probably end up accidently killing Manwë instead. ;)
 

Arvedui

Stargazer
Joined
Aug 19, 2002
Messages
1,979
Reaction score
7
Location
Norway
This thread has been moved out of the Guild of Scholar's Hall, and will hopefully be filled with the thoughts of more members.
 

Thread suggestions

Top