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The identity of the Witch-King of Angmar...

Úlairi

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Well, Inder already knows most of this argument, but I'm going to post not only who I believe the Witch-King is, but propose another idea also.

The Silmarillion: The AkallabĂȘth
"Thus it came to pass that in that time that the NĂșmenĂłreans first made great settlements on the west shores of the ancient lands; for their own land seemed to them shrunken, and they had no rest or content therein, and they desired now wealth and dominion in Middle-earth, since the West was denied."
The Silmarillion: The AkallabĂȘth
"Yet Sauron was ever guileful, and it is said that among those whom he ensnared with the Nine Rings three were great lords of NĂșmenĂłrean race."
The Silmarillion: Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age
"Now Sauron prepared war against the Eldar and the Men of Westernesse, and the fires of the Mountain were wakened again. Wherefore seeing the smoke of Orodruin from afar, and perceiving that Sauron had returned, the NĂșmenĂłreans named that mountain anew Amon Amarth, which is Mount Doom. And Sauron gathered to him great strength of his servants out of the east and south; and among them were not a few of the high race of NĂșmenĂłr. For in the days of the sojourn of Sauron in that land the hearts of well nigh all its people had been turned towards darkness. Therefore many of those who sailed east in that time and made fortresses and dwellings upn the coasts were already bent to his will, and they served him still gladly in Middle-earth. But because of the power of Gil-galad these renegades, lords both mighty and evil, for the most part took up their abodes in the southlands far away, yet two there were, Herumor and Fuinur, who rose to power among the Haradrim, a great and cruel people that dwelt in the wides lands south of Mordor beyond the mouths of Anduin."
I'm proposing that the Witch-King is indeed Herumor, he has a Quenyan name (translated as 'dark-lord'), and only those of the race of NĂșmenĂłr still spoke Quenya. As Inderjit S kindly pointed out, the problem in the belief that Herumor is the Witch-King comes along with the problem that the dates don't correspond correctly.

The Lord of the Rings: Appendix B: The Tale of Years: The Second Age
  • "1800 From about this time onward the NĂșmenĂłreans begin to establish dominions on the coast. Sauron extends his power eastwards. The shadow falls on NĂșmenor.
  • 2251 Tar-Atanamir takes the sceptre. Rebellion and division of the NĂșmenĂłreans begins. About this time the NazgĂ»l or Ringwraiths, slaves of the Nine Rings first appear."
Hence, the problem.

The Lord of the Rings: Appendix B: The Tale of Years: The Second Age
  • "3262 Sauron is taken as prisoner to NĂșmenor; 3262-3310 Sauron seduces the King and corrupts the NĂșmenĂłreans.
    .
    .
    .
  • 3319 Ar-PharazĂŽn assails Valinor. Downfall of NĂșmenor. Elendil and his sons escape."
You can obviously see the dilemma, it can't be Herumor according to the dates. It seems as though people were still sailing to ME in the days that Sauron was held prisoner in NĂșmenor. However, who is to say that there was perhaps a context-change in the passage above. Who is indeed to say that Herumor couldn't have been corrupted in the period of 1800-2251 SA??? Well, perhaps Christopher Tolkien might be one. A quote from the index to the Sil.

The Silmarillion: Index
" Herumor A renegade NĂșmenĂłrean who became mighty among the Haradrim at the end of the Second Age.
So, this shoots a hole in the theory. If we were to divide the Second Age up into three equal parts, beginning, middle, and end. That would then mean that the beginning was 0-1147, middle 1147-2294, and the end 2294-3441. Now, 2251 is basically at the end of the middle of the Second Age, but can we say that it is closer to the end? Another thing is, I believe, that if Tolkien wished to reveal the identity of the Witch-King, he would indeed use Herumor, and perhaps (even though unlikely), there was a change of context in the previous passage, and it was referring to the renegade NĂșmenĂłreans in general.

Now, for the proposal, the reason that I chose Herumor was because there is a Herumor referred to in the Fourth Age in the sequel to The Lord of the Rings called The New Shadow, which is mentioned in The Peoples of Middle-earth in the Unfinished Tales section. You see, it was indeed this quote that interested me when Éowyn killed the Witch-King.

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King: Book I: Chapter VI: The Battle of the Pelennor Fields
"Shapeless the lay now on the ground, torn and tumbled; and a cry went up into the shuddering air, and faded to a shrill wailing, passing with the wind, a voice bodiless and thin that died, and was swallowed up, and was never heard again in that age of this world."
Now, Inder (of course), disagreed strongly to this, but I will now reveal my purposes in making that thread in The Hobbit forum, The Necromancer of Dol Guldur, I had heard of a quote of the Necromancy of Sauron (in the Latter Quenta Silmarillion), knowing that it would help my argument. Thanks for the quote again Inderjit S! You see, as I undoubtedly know that you've guessed, you think that I believe that the Witch-King is capable of re-incarnation in some form, perhaps he is. But if he isn't? This indeed may help to explain it.

HoME X: Morgoth's Ring: The Later Quenta Silmarillion (II)
"It is therefore a foolish and perilous thing, besides being a wrong deed forbidden justly by the appointed Rulers of Arda, if the Living seek to commune with the Unbodied, though the houseless may desire it, especially the most unworthy among them. For the Unbodied, wandering in the world, are those who at the least have refused the door of life and remain in regret and self-pity. Some filled with bitterness, grievance, and envy. Some were enslaved by the Dark Lord and do his work still, though he himself is gone. They will not speak truth or wisdom. To call them is folly. To attempt to master them and to make them servants of one's own will is wickedness. Such practices are of Morgoth; and the necromancers are of the host of Sauron his servant.

Some say that the Houseless desire bodies, though they are not willing to seek them lawfully by submission to the judgement of Mandos. The wicked among them will take bodies, if they can, unlawfully. The peril of communing with them is, therefore, not only the peril of being deluded by fantasies or lies: there is peril also of destruction. For one of the hungry Houseless, if it is admitted to the friendship of the Living, may seek to eject the fëa from its body; and in the contest for mastery the body may be gravely injured, even if it be not wrested from its rightful habitant. Or the Houseless may plead for shelter, and if it is admitted, then it will seek to enslave its host and use both his will and his body for its own purposes. It is said that Sauron did these things, and taught his followers how to achieve them."
So, perhaps the Witch-King 'ejected the fëa' from another person in the Fourth Age, and began to dominate the wills of Men in either his own name (as he would theoretically be free of Sauron's will), or perhaps still in his master's name. Who knows?
 

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I agree... who knows?

This cult was surely messing with Necromancy, so the chances of them happening upon the spirit of the Witch-king seems likely enough. He may not even have stolen a fea... they may just speak with his spirit. But it's likely that if they're messing around with spirits that are stuck within Arda, they may become possessed.

PS: As for him doing this in Sauron's name... I see no reason he should. He is a man... evil but free of Sauron, as you have said. He may mention Morgoth perhaps, but mentioning Sauron is of little use I think.
 

Úlairi

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Yeah, he may be doing it in the name of Sauron, as I don't really think that the Witch-King would have been doing it in the name of Morgoth. Sauron by the end of the Third Age claimed to be Morgoth himself returned. However, the Witch-King wouldn't know too much about Morgoth I deem, according to the dates anyway.
 

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Hmm... yes, I had forgot that statement about Sauron claiming to be Morgoth.
If the Witch-king believed that Sauron was Morgoth, then yes he might believe he is working for Sauron (who he thinks of as Morgoth) but then if it came down to using a name I don't think he would use Sauron's with Gondorians who should know Sauron was not Morgoth?

On the other hand, would the Witch-King have believed Sauron was Morgoth? The Numenoreans would have known that he was not. But then, if the Mouth of Sauron can forget his own name... I guess the Witch-King could forget about the true Morgoth... or even more likely I think, he could be convinced by Sauron that anything he'd heard about Morgoth... the facts of the existance of Morgoth and his being thrown into the void... were lies.
 

Bucky

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Sauron by the end of the Third Age claimed to be Morgoth himself returned.

Where's that?

However, the Witch-King wouldn't know too much about Morgoth I deem, according to the dates anyway.

Why so?
At THE END of the 2nd age, when the Witch-king/Lord Of The Nazgul was certainly already around, Sauron was seducing the Numenoreans to worship Melkor.
 

Úlairi

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Bucky said:
Sauron by the end of the Third Age claimed to be Morgoth himself returned.

Where's that?
In The Letters of JRR Tolkien!!! ;) There is a note in reference to the text at the bottom of page 243.

The Letters of JRR Tolkien

183 Notes on W. H. Auden's review of The Return of the King

"3. When he [Sauron] found how greatly his knowledge was admired by all other rational creatures and how easy it was to influence them, his pride became boundless. By the end of the Second Age he assumed the position of Morgoth's representative. By the end of the Third Age (though actually much weaker then before) he claimed to be Morgoth returned."
However, the Witch-King was enslaved in the Second Age, and would have therefore presumed that Sauron was taking (and always would take) the position of Mogoth's representative.

Bucky said:
However, the Witch-King wouldn't know too much about Morgoth I deem, according to the dates anyway.

Why so?
At THE END of the 2nd age, when the Witch-king/Lord Of The Nazgul was certainly already around, Sauron was seducing the Numenoreans to worshipMelkor.
My point exactly, we can't just assume that the Witch-King was also taught the ways of Melkor, he was completely subservient to the will of Sauron. When Sauron gives the Nine out, I don't think you'd mention anything about the Prime Evil Being of Arda! By the time that the Witch-King was his slave, his will would have been Sauron's, so, if Sauron willed him to acknowledge Melkor as God, then he would do so, he was never seduced and (as I hold) never taught of Melkor until he was under the dominion of Sauron. The Witch-King wouldn't have been one of the NĂșmenĂłreans that were seduced to Melkor-worship, as the dates wouldn't correspond correctly.
 

Flammifer

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In regards to Sauron's servants knowing Sauron as Morgoth/Melkor, I don't understand why they shouldn't believe him.

LotR: The Two Towers, "The Departure of Boromir"

Upon their [the Orcs'] shields they bore a strange device: a small white hand in the centre of a black field; on the front of their iron helms was set an S-rune, wrought of some white metal.
'I have not seen these tokens before,' said Aragorn. 'What do they mean?'
'S is for Sauron,' said Gimli. 'That is easy to read.'
'Nay!' said Legolas. 'Sauron does not use the Elf-runes.'
'Neither does he use his right name, nor permit it to be spelt or spoken,' said Aragorn.
The servants of Sauron therefore did not know for certain who he was. For all they knew, he could have been Morgoth. All through LotR, the Orcs refer to Sauron (among others) as "Number One" or "He/Him/His" or "The Eye". All they knew is that Sauron was a very powerful lord, who could well have been Morgoth. Why should they not believe him?

Something I can think of to counter this is the "mortality/immortality of Orcs" debate. Obviously some Orcs survived the War of Wrath, so, if Orcs are immortal, then they most probably would have noticed that Morgoth suddenly wasn't there! Maybe they even witnessed him being chained in Againor (screw the spelling you know what I mean) and getting taken away.

In regards to the Witch-king arising after the Fall of Sauron, I would add this quote:

LotR: The Fellowship of the Ring, "The Ring Goes South"

'I thought they [the Ringwraiths] were all destroyed in the flood,' said Merry.
'You cannot destroy Ringwraiths like that,' said Gandalf. 'The power of their master is in them, and they stand or fall by him.'
Logically, once Sauron was gone, the Nazgul also went. If we've got any evidence that says that the Witch-king attempted to re-embody (which we haven't), we certainly do not have any evidence to say that any other the other Ringwraiths attempted this. One would think that if the Witch-king was able to re-embody, then the other Nazgul would also be able to. You could even say that the Witch-king was "deader" than the other Nazgul, having been killed by Eowyn, and then destroyed when Sauron fell!

But that's a bit far-fetched. :) :rolleyes:
 

Úlairi

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Indeed, it may be far-fetched (well, a little), however, then why would Tolkien say the words ...in that age? Makes me think a little. As for him being able to reincarnate, it does not necessarily mean that the others can, the Witch-King was the greatest of the Nine. The point you made about him being 'deader' than the others is also a good argument for my case, for indeed, he was killed before the fall of his master, perhaps giving his fëa some form of potency in comparison to the others. Of course, this is all mere conjecture, but isn't it fun? ;)
 

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Well I think one could still say the Witch-King did fall, at least in that he was finally able to die. The way I see it, it was his spirit leaving his unseen body which defined his death. But if his spirit wondered around Arda instead of leaving it, I see no reason he could not communicate, or even enter the body of some living kids who were summoning spirits. On the other hand they might have also been able to communicate with Sauron's own spirit, as far as I recall.

I see no reason that the Witch-King would have more ability to 'reincarnate' (I would be reluctant to use that word for this) only because he did not fall when Sauron did... Unless for some reason the other nazgul left Arda when this happened and he did not.

As for the servants not knowing his name... I'm not sure this means they didn't, especially Men, know that he was called Sauron. The orcs could believe he was Morgoth more readily than a former Numenorean I think.

Tolkien does write about a chance that some of the greater orcs may have been Maiar type spirits, so these would be immortal if they do in fact exist... and if so they may have known or suspected their master was not the same as their former master (not only because they had been around longer but because as Ainur spirits they might have been able to easily recognize fellow Ainur on a spiritual level... though they would be so evil and perhaps incarnated permanently having lost all concern or ability found in Ainur spirits)... but your average orc would probably be in the dark. Also, the Southrons and Easterlings may have believed he was Morgoth, having never met the guy themselves and more importantly they didn't have the same knowledge that the Edain had of the Elder Days.

And I guess it is not impossible than any evil spirits these kids came in contact with may have neverminded the Valar, Iluvatar and Morgoth/Sauron, and claimed soemthing different... maybe even that there was no Iluvatar or Morgoth. We don't know much on the belief these kids had other than that they perhaps embraced an idea that Men were evil. This is not an idea found elsewhere that I know of, such as among the Numenoreans when they took up Morgoth worship. But then evil uses what the times call for, so that it can work.
 

Flammifer

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NĂłm said:
As for the servants not knowing his name... I'm not sure this means they didn't, especially Men, know that he was called Sauron. The orcs could believe he was Morgoth more readily than a former Numenorean I think.
Yes, this is a good point. However, Sauron controlled the wills and very minds of the Nazgul. They didn't have any will of their own. So one would think that Sauron could almost "make" the Nine believe that he was Morgoth.
 

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Wasn't "Khamul" the name of the Black Captain?
(Or was that his lieutenant's name...?)

Concerning the Nazgul and Sauron's control over them:
It's true that they were slaves to the one Ring, and that through their own rings Sauron controlled them. However, in the case of the Black Captain we know that he was able to operate independently, according to his own will. I believe it's in Unfinished Tales where we read of the tendency of the Nazgul, when on their own, to wander and lose focus on their mission. But that is not true of the BC. When they are with him, they are even more dangerous, and he keeps them focused.

In fact, the BC was able to re-established his kingdom after the defeat of Sauron at the end of the Second Age. He planned and brought about the defeat of the kingdom of Arnor, and even sent the barrow-wights to prevent its ever being re-established. Shoot, he even had his own domain toward the end of the Third Age under Sauron! (Minas Morgul) Maybe if he had survived he would have taken Sauron's place...?

So if anyone would be able to make a come-back after his defeat, it would likely be the Black Captain, since we know that Sauron was no longer powerful enough to do so. We also know, as Flammifer pointed out, that Tolkien even hinted (strongly hinted) that he made a return after the fall of Sauron. Also, unlike Sauron who invested the bulk of his power into his Ring, the Black Captain seems to have kept all of his own power, and somehow have gained more through his association with Sauron. So how much if any of his own power did the BC lose when he was defeated by Merry and Eowyn? If he kept most or all of it, then we may assume that he may have been able to keep his spirit on the earth. How he kept it from leaving is beyond me, except that he either had enough power to keep himself here, or God or the Valar "condemned" him to remain in the world instead of leaving with the rest of his kind.
 

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I just answered my own question.
Khamul is the BC's lieutenant, also known as The Shadow of the East.
 

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So how much if any of his own power did the BC lose when he was defeated by Merry and Eowyn?

Enough to die. :eek:

Plus, the power of the Ring he held originally through The Nine (which Sauron had now taken back) was destroyed soon afterwards.

But, make no mistake, he was deader than dead at this point.

But, he is referred to by Gandalf as a 'Sorcerer & king of old' when describing him in Minas Tirith in ROTK.

Does all evidence point to The Lord Of The Nazgul/Witch-king being able to return? Yes, I agree & think a compelling arguement is presented here & I 'buy it' despite the vagueness of when Herumer lived & when the Ringwraiths appeared.

BUT, remember, Tolkien himself says in 'The Tale Of The Years' that records are few & dates are often uncertain' in the 2nd Age.
 

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I have not looked fully at this thread until now. So far I have not come to a conclusion as to the identity of the Witch-King. However, on this point by Úlairi
I believe that the Witch-King is capable of re-incarnation in some form, perhaps he is. But if he isn't? This indeed may help to explain it.
The quote used to explain the possible re-incarnation or Take over of a body by the Witch-King at a later time does not in fact do so. The quote is part of a discussion about the Fea of Elves and does not cover those of Men. The only Fea "Bound to Arda" are those of Elves. On the Death of the body the Fea of Elves are summoned to Mandos if they are willing. The Fea of Men on the other hand are required to leave Arda as they are not bound to it. There is only one known case of the Fea of Men remaining in Arda after the death of their bodies. That is the "Dead Men of Dunharrow". They remained because of the power of an Oath they had broken. When this Oath was fulfilled they then left and were never seen again.

For the Witch-King to even be around to take over the body of another would require a similar power. There was none. The Ring that enslaved him may have allowed this but it did not have the power after the One Ring was destroyed even if it survived the fall of the Barrad-dĂ»r. Sauron no longer had the power to hold the Fea of the Witch-King within Arda after death, against the Doom of Men set by IlĂșvatar, if he ever had such power before.

So I would say that whatever the truth of the identity of the Witch-King. Once the One Ring was destroyed stripping the lesser rings of their power all the NazgĂșl died indeed and all were forced by the Doom of Men to leave forever the circles of the World.
 

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Gothmog, I agree with your conclusion that as far as we know, there was no power other than Isildur's oath (whatever power that was) that could keep men in the world. However, what then does this mean: "he was not seen again in that age of the world". Does it mean that he re-appeared later in the Fourth Age, or some time after that, or does it mean that he again appeared with Morgoth and his league in the last battle? Or that he was seen again in some judgement or gathering after the last battle?

It's this line of text that seems to be the sticking point, concering whether he actually remained in the world after his defeat. Otherwise I don't think there'd be any question that, yes, he followed all other men who have died and went where only Eru knows.

But...consider that his fate may have been rather special (for lack of a better word). Look what happened to Curunir when he died. He looked to the West, which is where he was supposed to have returned, but was apparently denied. So then his spirit was carried away to the East. Apparently the doom of a Wizard upon death or completion of his mission was to go back to the West. Just as Elves were doomed to the Halls of Mandos or somewhere else in Arda, and men were doomed to leave. Yet we know there were special cases in exceptional circumstances where such doom was over-ridden and changed. A few Elves left the world upon death and joined Men. And one or two Men were joined to the Elves. So then exceptionally wicked and evil Men, Maiar, and whoever else, as the Witch-king, Sauron, Curunir, etc, maybe they had a different fate upon death. Maybe the Witch-king was sent to the East with Sauron, Curunir, and the rest of the Nazgul. Sauron and the others probably returned in some form and in some way, though as we know that didn't have the power to do much. So who knows; maybe this would explain if and how the W-k might could stick around to make a return appearance.
 

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But there was only One who could change the Doom of any creature be it Ainur, Elf or Man. That is the One that set the Dooms Iluvatar. I cannot see that He would have so changed the Doom of the Witch-King to allow him to remain.

If any of those who you named could have risen to become the dark lord of the fourth age I would put more money on it being Saruman. The Nazgul were Mortals held from Death by the Rings. Sauron Lost most of his power when the One Ring was destroyed. Saruman suffered a great defeat of his plans which while he was Incarnate made him less powerful than he had been earlier. However, He lost one body and it would seem, some of his native power in this. However, He was, like Sauron an Ainu, a Maia in Arda. When his body was killed his spirit was refused return to Aman. He may well have been more able than Sauron to regain enough strength to Self-Incarnate or Take Over the body of a Man. Thereby becoming the lesser Dark Lord of the Fourth Age.
 

Úlairi

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Then I guess Gothmog, that you never saw this quote?

HoME X: Morgoth's Ring: The Later Quenta Silmarillion (II)
"It is therefore a foolish and perilous thing, besides being a wrong deed forbidden justly by the appointed Rulers of Arda, if the Living seek to commune with the Unbodied, though the houseless may desire it, especially the most unworthy among them. For the Unbodied, wandering in the world, are those who at the least have refused the door of life and remain in regret and self-pity. Some filled with bitterness, grievance, and envy. Some were enslaved by the Dark Lord and do his work still, though he himself is gone. They will not speak truth or wisdom. To call them is folly. To attempt to master them and to make them servants of one's own will is wickedness. Such practices are of Morgoth; and the necromancers are of the host of Sauron his servant.

Some say that the Houseless desire bodies, though they are not willing to seek them lawfully by submission to the judgement of Mandos. The wicked among them will take bodies, if they can, unlawfully. The peril of communing with them is, therefore, not only the peril of being deluded by fantasies or lies: there is peril also of destruction. For one of the hungry Houseless, if it is admitted to the friendship of the Living, may seek to eject the fëa from its body; and in the contest for mastery the body may be gravely injured, even if it be not wrested from its rightful habitant. Or the Houseless may plead for shelter, and if it is admitted, then it will seek to enslave its host and use both his will and his body for its own purposes. It is said that Sauron did these things, and taught his followers how to achieve them."
Now, no where is the door to the Halls of Mandos ever referred to as the 'Door of Life', as the Elves (even in death) always have life. And what about Beren, he even re-incarnated! This was supposedly under the authority of Mandos, who wasn't even supposed to come into contact with Mortals!!!
 

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I did see that point. But let us look at just where that passage you quote comes from.

Morgoth's Ring but the title of the essay is "OF RE-BIRTH AND OTHER DOOMS OF THOSE THAT GO TO MANDOS." So it refers to the Elves that go to Mandos to be Re-housed. Men do not come under that category.

As for Beren.
And what about Beren, he even re-incarnated! This was supposedly under the authority of Mandos, who wasn't even supposed to come into contact with Mortals!!!
In The War of the Jewels all we find is this passage about it.
$214. In this year, it hath been [thought >] said, Beren and Luthien returned to the world, for a while. For Luthien had won this doom from Manwe that Beren might return to live again, and she with him; but only so that she too thereafter should be mortal as he, and should soon die indeed and lose the world and depart from the numbers of the Eldalie for ever.
This is from the point of view of the Elves of Middle-earth. They were not privy to the councils of the Valar and could only guess as to how the Dooms of Beren and Luthien were change and by who.

However, the most complete view of this is to be found in the published Silmarillion.
Then a winter, as it were the hoar age of mortal Men, fell upon Thingol. But LĂșthien came to the halls of Mandos, where are the appointed places of the EldaliĂ«, beyond the mansions of the West upon the confines of the world. there those that wait sit in the shadow of their thought. But her beauty was more than their beauty, and her sorrow deeper than their sorrows; and she knelt before Mandos and sang to him.
The song of LĂșthien before Mandos was the song most fair that ever in words was woven, and the song most sorrowful that ever the world shall hear. Unchanged, imperishable, it is sung still in Valinor beyond the hearing of the world, and listening the Valar are grieved. For LĂșthien wove two themes of words, of the sorrow of the Eldar and the grief of Men, of the Two Kindreds of Earth amid the innumerable stars. And as she knelt before him her tears fell upon his feet like rain upon the stones; and Mandos was moved to pity, who never before was so moved, not has been since.
Therefore he summoned Beren, and even as LĂșthien had spoken in the hour of his death they met again beyond the Western Sea. But Mandos had no power to withhold the spirits of Men that were dead within the confines of the world, after their time of waiting; nor could he change the fates of the Children of IlĂșvatar. He went therefore to ManwĂ«, Lord of the Valar, who governed the world under the hand of IlĂșvatar; and ManwĂ« sought counsel in his inmost thought, where the will of IlĂșvatar was revealed.
It may seem that this shows Man as among those that "Go To Mandos" But even if this is so it is for a different reason. Men would only go there on their way from the circles of the World, not to be allowed re-housing in Arda. It may be that Beren only went by the Halls of Mandos because Luthien asked him to wait there for her and his re-housing was not done under the authority of Mandos. He has no such authority. Even ManwĂ« does not. It was IlĂșvatar that decided on this and gave a choice to Luthien. Mandos simply passed on the choice of IlĂșvatar.
These were the choices that he gave to LĂșthien. Because of her labours and her sorrow, she should be released from Mandos, and go to Valimar, there to dwell until the world's end among the Valar, forgetting all griefs that her life had known. thither Beren could not come. For it was not permitted to the Valar to withhold Death from him, which is the gift of IlĂșvatar to Men. But the other choice was this: that she might return to Middle-earth, and take with her Beren, there to dwell again, but without certitude of life or joy. Then she would become mortal, and subject to a second death, even as he; and ere long she would leave the world for ever, and her beauty become only a memory in song.
This doom she chose, forsaking the Blessed Realm, and putting aside all claim to kinship with those that dwell there; that thus whatever grief might lie in wait, the fates of Beren and LĂșthien might be joined, and their paths lead together beyond the confines of the world. So it was that alone of the EldaliĂ« she has died indeed, and left the world long ago. Yet in her choice the Two kindreds have been joined; and she is the forerunner of many in whom the Eldar see yet, though all the world is changed, the likeness of LĂșthien the beloved, whom they have lost.
So at no time did any of the Valar have the power to change the fates of Men or Elves. Only IlĂșvatar could do this. It was only on very rare occasions that the Valar even asked that such fate be altered.
 

Úlairi

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That's interesting, 'cause:

HoME X: Morgoth's Ring: Athrabeth Finrod ah Andreth: Note IV
"Sooner or later: because the Elves believed that the fĂ«ar of dead Men also went to Mandos (without choice in the matter: their free will with regard to death was taken away). There they waited until they were surrendered to Eru. The truth of this is not asserted. No living Man was allowed to go to Aman. No fĂ«a of a dead Man ever returned to life in Middle-earth. To all such statements and decrees there are always some exceptions (because of the 'Freedom of Eru'). EĂ€rendil reached Aman, even in the time of the Ban; but he bore the Silmaril recovered by his ancestress LĂșthien, and he was 'half-elven': he was not allowed to return to Middle-earth. Beren returned to actual life, for a short time; but he was not actually seen again by living Men."
A lot to digest there I agree, many self-contradictory statements, 'but there are always exceptions' in the words of Tolkien. Now, as for the statement:

No fëa of a dead Man ever returned to life in Middle-earth.
Well, the fëa cannot die, so, it must therefore be referrring to the hröa in that statement. But, if that fëa takes over another man, it is therefore not breaking that rule of Tolkien, it is inhabiting another hröa and not its own. And even then, it says that Beren was another 'exception to the rule'. ;)
 

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