Tag Archives: meta-elves

We Are Fanor?

dawnfelagund:

Or Thoughts on Reading Moral Ambiguity into the Characterizations of the Fëanorians

[Crossposted to the Heretic Loremaster]

Several weeks ago, I got irritated at a piece about The Silmarillion in a well-known blog that cast Fëanor in the role of the unmitigated villain. It was a rare show of negativity for me, and I almost didn’t post it because of that. But I did, and I’ve been thinking about why this particular interpretation of Fëanor as some evil entity irritates me to the point of uncharacteristic venom (especially since I’ve been known to roll my eyes at people who can’t be arsed to go out to vote because it’s raining but will tip over cars because of a football game or encourage teenagers to self-harm because they don’t like their fan fiction).

… … …

I feel like to reduce Fëanor (or his sons) to villains flattens one of the most interesting questions posed in The Silmarillion to where it isn’t even worth asking: What causes a person to “fall”? ….

… … …

But to acknowledge that a character like Fëanor is capable of villainous actions without existing purely as a villain is a scary proposition for a lot of people, I think. We like to imagine people like Fëanor as somehow different from us in their capacity for evil deeds. We—those of us who are good by nature—would never rob, murder, and betray our fellow humans like that. There is something extraordinary and wrong in the nature of Fëanor that he can and does.

Read More

image

Beautiful and insightful. I’m not sure where I’m going with this, but it seems like our capacity for selective retention, and thus the rather interesting (but thoroughly exasperating) side effect of the spawning of fanon, is related to this phenomenon Dawn Felagund mentioned.

I believe, unless one’s comprehension ability is genuinely that low, that inside us there is a need to rationalise and compartmentalise, label things so our brains can process and accept or make sense of things. Often it seems this involves “othering” behaviour we have negative ideas of, or do not want to be associated with. It can even be behaviour, states or traits we feel, for some reason, unable (or perhaps the more appropriate word is reluctant) to try for, or attain personally (”Wow, he/she must have super willpower to lose that weight at all. I can never do what he/she did.”).

On the other hand, the romantising, elevation, and “pedestalling” of characters we like (or want to like, or wish to cast into perfection), that need to whitewash bad behaviour, is just as prevalent.

But is the world ever really so black and white? Honestly, the moral ambiguity of the Silmarillion characters is what makes it so interesting for me. The vagueness of Thranduil’s character arc and background amidst the opulent foundation of the Silm is what makes him so appealing to me.

Before anyone start making a swiss cheese imitation out of this post, I’ll just say this: I am well aware of the irony of being both a book!canon fan and a fan fiction writer. It may seem like semantics to some, but to me there is a very clear distinction between knowing and using canon to create a fan fiction, and spawning fanon and corrupting canon. I just hope I never develop blindspots and fall into the fanon trap, or if I did, to recognise I got in a hole and find ways to get out of it.

We Are Fanor?

Fragments on Elvish Reincarnation

lintamande:

erunyauve:

I’ve compiled some of the bits I found interesting from ‘Fragments on ElvishReincarnation’, published in L’Effigie
des Elfes
, edited by Michaël Devaux, Bragelonne 2014.

The
text begins with a recap of the ‘Converse of Manwë with Eru’ that appears as an
appendix to ‘Athrabeth Finrod ah Andreth’ in Morgoth’s Ring.  Some of the
text that follows appears in Christopher Tolkien’s notes to this text and
others, but this is the first time it has been published as a whole.

The
‘Converse’ was written in 1959, and begins with Manwë’s presentation of the
problem to Eru:  Elves, who were supposed
to be immortal, were dying.  This comes
to a crisis point when Míriel dies.  In
Tolkien’s ‘Comments’, he writes:

The Valar were troubled,
not only because of the case of Finwë and Míriel but because of the Avari and
Sindar;  for Middle-earth was perilous to
bodies, and many had died, even before the Eldar came to Aman.
(p 102)

So,
the Valar actually did remember, and care about the Elves who were left behind?

Read More

That is the most terrifying and disturbing interpretation of the reshaping of the world ever, I’m really annoyed with Tolkien now. Eru takes Valinor out of the world by just…killing all the Elves? Everyone who takes the Straight Road is (unknowingly) leaving the physical world behind to half-exist as spirits until the end of Arda? And the mortals who go with them just die? I knew Tolkien and I had different senses of what constituted a happy ending, but I feel weirdly betrayed now. 

(mentally files this away with ‘Teleporno’ to totally ignore)

Deep stuff. Ima trying to wrap my head around it still. But yeah, this oughta be under “Read and forget”.

Fragments on Elvish Reincarnation

On Valarin and the creation of the Silmarils

On Valarin and the creation of the Silmarils:

onehandedly:

curufinwefeanaro:

|| Yesterday lintamande answered a question of mine concerning Feanor learning Valarin (over here). Which prompted a conversation with misbehavingmaiar that ended up with me freaking out about what learning Valarin might mean in terms of creation of the…

Interesting read.

On Valarin and the creation of the Silmarils

Thranduil’s Scars

Thranduil’s Scars:

elf-esteem:

An essay with pictures about Thranduil’s scars, Elven magic, Elven healing, and Tolkien’s lore vs. the movie.

So, I’ve seen fans posting about Thranduil being blind in his left eye; I frowned 😡 and decided to try to help clear the air. Tolkien would have wtf’d the whole thing, if he ever wtf’d,…

 

Even with just this bit, I had to laugh and agree all at once. Bless elf-esteem for her detailed and thorough essay. The premise goes beyond movie!Thranduil’s scars to the physical constitution of Elves themselves. Just perfect meta on the scars of movie!Thranduil. Canon-heads should be chuffed as kitties after an indulgence of cream.

Beautiful rendition of Thranduil’s scar vanity. (Source: xi zhang’s art station site)

They make for a great visual, but really, as elf-esteem puts so succinctly:

We, the fans, in this case, are the thick-skulled Dwarves that Jackson was pandering to because actually understanding the subtleties of Elves, which Tolkien spent years explaining, is ‘complicated’ without reading the explanations.

Sadly, within the strangely compressed, and yet drawn out spiel of the movie!Hobbit, devices that shock and awe seem par for course (sometimes even favoured) by the powers that be.

Yet, where did the powers pluck the interesting bits from?

Where else?

Canon. Book canon that is.

If you’re one for it, it does preclude those scars as they were presented in the movie.

Look, everyone who watched the movies know Sauron’s almighty. But when even Sauron’s boss, who’s another level of almighty, couldn’t rid himself of the gimp he got in a fight with an Elf, lesser beings (among whom Elves figure, and among whom Thranduil number – shocking, I know) aren’t going to suddenly leapfrog him and self-regenerate and live forever young all at once. (Being able to do BOTH is the exclusive province of these guys.)

Even though it lacks the visual drama of those scars, still canon has its own distinctive allure. It reaches to Ages far, far back and long, long ago.

Nothing wrong with being exclusively movie-devout, but as a movie-firster myself, I contend that anyone intensely interested in Thranduil could do far worse than attempt the effort to (at least try) understand the character’s true origins.

Admittedly, Thranduil himself doesn’t grace the works much at all, but the peripherals still informs who he was. In itself, it is richly textured and much more interesting than the headcanon spawning visual drama of those scars. elf-esteem’s comprehensive essay is a GREAT start. Besides, reading’s always FUN, what more Thranduil studies? =)

Thranduil’s Scars