Tag Archives: Tolkien

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.

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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?

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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?

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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

Let’s Begin at the Beginning (Silmarillion Slow Cooker)

STM-Silm-20150202The page-a-post Silmmie readalong has completed the Ainulindalë read.

And I’ve been wondering how do I exploit participate without over-committing on time I don’t quite have. Apart from adding my random ramblies to the posts, I’ve decided I’m going to collate each chapter’s posts into corresponding meta posts for my chapter notes. (Stroke of genius, if i may say so myself.)

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cybergeisha:More Realistic Titles for The Silmarillion Oooh, the…

cybergeisha:

More Realistic Titles for The Silmarillion

Oooh, the feels! LoL!

Elves definitely behave badly. As do Men, Dwarves, an (ex) Valar and a lot of his fanclub members. 😛

cybergeisha:More Realistic Titles for The Silmarillion
Oooh, the…

In Varda’s playground, aka stellar rorschach

VardaAgainst the deep of the Firmament, the Queen of the Valar made new stars, twinkling beacons that break the unending dark, a welcome from the heavens for the Firstborn waking upon the shores of Cuiviénen, in response to the Doom Mandos spoke.

‘In this age the Children of Ilúvatar shall come indeed, but they come not yet. Moreover it is doom that the Firstborn shall come in the darkness, and shall look first upon the stars. Great light shall be for their waning. To Varda ever shall they call at need.’

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Men, Hobbits, and Framing, Or How Tolkien Still Couldn’t Start the Silmarillion (Part 2)

STM-Silm-20150130Men, Hobbits, and Framing, Or How Tolkien Still Couldn’t Start the Silmarillion (Part 2).

The follow-up to The Wandering Elf-friend, Or How Tolkien Couldn’t Start the Silmarillion (Part 1).

Continuing on details about the gestation of the Silmarillion. It’s fascinating, the changes, and unchanges, the manuscript got through the years.

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The Wandering Elf-friend, Or How Tolkien Couldn’t Start the Silmarillion (Part 1)

STM-Silm-20150128The Wandering Elf-friend, Or How Tolkien Couldn’t Start the Silmarillion (Part 1).

So it began, the return of the Silmarillion read, slow-cook style.

This is cuisine vastly different from the read-along on the tumblr group. I think of the tumblr read-along as hors d’oeuvre, and this slow-cook as the entrée. Because the Silm does need several passes to “get”.

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Reader: The Silmarillion. The Tengwar Script on the Title Page

Silm-TitlePageDid you ever wonder about the Tengwar script adorning the title page of the Silmarillion?

I have. It’s been a little questioning prick in the nape that I know is there, but never got round to assuaging.

Someday, I told myself, I would find out exactly what it said.

Days turned into years, and the world moved on.

Finally, the answer fell into my lap.

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