A Monster for Every Season: Summer 2
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  1. - Top - End - #451
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    Default Re: Pendell reads the Silmarillion

    Quote Originally Posted by runeghost View Post
    This seems like a good point to share a fascinating theory on the identity of the Lord of the Nazgul, and the Fall of Numenor I found (and saved the link for) years ago: http://www.zarkanya.net/Tolkien/origins_of_Nazgul.htm
    I'll quote a few passages to convey the general idea, but if it's at all of interest, I recommend reading the whole thing. It's well researched and written, and makes what I find to be a compelling case that fits the "feel" of Middle-earth perfectly.
    That's an interesting theory, both possible and plausible. That the Witchking was originally a Numenorean is, I believe, canon (though he could have been born in Middle-Earth) and the chronology fits. But I feel that it goes against the "logic" of the story. Ir gives too much agency to Sauron.Men don't need a Ring to be corrupted.
    Last edited by diplomancer; 2022-09-22 at 01:50 PM.

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    Three of the Nazgul were supposed to be of Numenorean origin:

    "Yet Sauron was ever guileful, and it is said that among those whom he ensnared with the Nine Rings three were great lords of Númenórëan race."

    It's not an implausible idea, that one or more might even be residents of Numenor itself, rather than "settlers".
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    Default Re: Pendell reads the Silmarillion

    Quote Originally Posted by hamishspence View Post
    Three of the Nazgul were supposed to be of Numenorean origin:

    "Yet Sauron was ever guileful, and it is said that among those whom he ensnared with the Nine Rings three were great lords of Númenórëan race."

    It's not an implausible idea, that one or more might even be residents of Numenor itself, rather than "settlers".
    Indeed, and "Great lords" implies either of the royal family or those closely akin, like the house of Amandil which is not royal but is descended from the royal line by a daughter. Probably not from the houses of the elf-friends, but there's a black sheep in every family.

    Quote Originally Posted by Diplomancer
    But I feel that it goes against the "logic" of the story. Ir gives too much agency to Sauron.Men don't need a Ring to be corrupted.
    Both can be true; which is, the witch king and his fellow wraiths may have been already corrupt , which may be why Sauron gave them the rings. While the rings will eventually corrupt anyone, Sauron probably gets maximum benefit from a willing host; I would hazard the fall will be quicker and he has to wait less time for the benefit. Also, the more the wraith is willing, I suggest the more of its natural gifts and abilities will come through. By contrast, someone wraithified by force, I would expect to always be hesitant. While they might not be able to refuse Sauron's order they might be able to slow-roll his orders or apply the bare minimum effort they can get away with. That's what forced labor has always done throughout the ages, ring or no ring.

    The way I see it, the nine rings are the toughest job interview in Middle-earth -- out of the thousands or millions of humans in the world, Sauron can choose nine. So he would look for those that are bold, ambitious, highly skilled in war, and utterly ruthless. A good person, like Faramir, might refuse the gift of a ring altogether. So I think a good ringwraith would have to have all the other talents goings for them but otherwise not being especially bright, so they'd accept a gift from "Annatar" and not realize what was wrong until it was too late.


    So I think, for most of the nine, they were already evil and corrupt in themselves when Sauron gave them their rings. Their evil built off of each other in a vicious circle. I don't think they were naturally good people turned wicked. As with Bilbo, the powers of fate watch over the innocent and frequently provide a way of escape from such traps.

    ETA: As I recall, nine were given to the 'proud and great'. This implies the people who got the rings were people like Cersei or Joffrey or Stannis from Game of Thrones; people of high position who wanted still more. Someone like Stannis might have been initially hesitant, but at the end he would stop at nothing to achieve his goals no matter how unsavory. He'd have been an ideal candidate for a ring.

    Respectfully,

    Brian P.
    Last edited by pendell; 2022-09-22 at 07:41 PM.
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    Default Re: Pendell reads the Silmarillion

    Akallabeth: The Downfall of Numenor
    Part 3: That sinking feeling

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    At the end of our last segment Tar-Palantir the far-sighted, king of Numenor, has died of grief. His daughter, Miriel, is by right the ruling queen of the Numenoreans; since the sixth monarch the rule is that the crown passes to the oldest progeny of the royal line regardless of gender. The other ruling queens are Tar-Ancalime , Tar-Telperion and Tar-Vanimelde.

    However, there are intrigues afoot. Gimilkhad, as told, was the younger brother of Tar-Palantir, his polar opposite in matters open and secret. He died an early death in his 200s; his son is a victorious commander in the Numenoreans' wars of conquest in Middle-Earth, a Ceasar-figure. Returning from war with rich booty, he gives it out in order to make allies and win a political following. Thus, he is able to force Miriel to marry him and , once he does, he seizes the scepter, taking a royal title which is not his by right, and rules in his own name, choosing the throne name Ar-Pharazon, "the Golden". Miriel is apparently a prisoner in her own palace.

    "The Golden", eh? Shouldn't his name be "Au-Pharazon" then? eh? eh?

    ...

    tough crowd.

    ANYWAY, we see the continued decline of the Dunadain in this, for not only is this "wedding" a forced marriage against the laws, but also in that , as first cousins, such a marriage violates cosanguinity regulations also in force on the island. But Ar-Pharazon, like Caesar and Marc Antony, cares nothing about laws; he bends them to his own purpose. The rule of law in Numenor is dead; it is now a full tyranny. And he is determined, like Alexander the Great, to rule the whole world. And the first order of business is Sauron. He orders full-scale mobilization; a great horde of weapons and equipment is smithied, and they sail in a massive fleet to Umbar, on the shores of Middle Earth.

    It is a glorious moment which even the Faithful look back on with a certain amount of pride.

    In an echo of the scene before the Black Gate in Return of the King, Ar-Pharazon, 25th king of the Numenoreans, dispatches heralds demanding that the Lord of the Black Land come forth and be judged.

    The servants of Sauron take one look, and desert en masse.

    Seeing no hope in war, Sauron unconditionally surrenders. Wearing his guise of Annatar, Lord of Gifts, he humbles himself before the heir of Elros. All he says seems fair and wise and the king, in his arrogance, takes him back as captive to Armenelos, where he will serve as an advisor for many decades.

    Sauron pretends hesitation, but in fact that was exactly what he wished when he surrendered; to deceive the Numenoreans by false counsels and so destroy them.

    I'm a bit surprised that Sauron doesn't offer him one of the nine rings in token of good will. Is it that Ar-Pharazon knows better? Or is it that there can only be one keeper of a ring at any one time, even if that keeper is a wraith with little self-will left. Supposedly Sauron took back the rings of the wraiths and held them as hostage for their good behavior; but this didn't mean he could give out one of the rings to bring even more humans under his sway.

    Three years pass. Sauron has earned his way into the king's favour and all his counselors suck up to him, save Amandil who doesn't trust him.

    Sauron gainsays all the Valar's teachings, claiming that they merely hide humans from the truth for their own gain , keeping them away from the true lord of Middle-Earth. In secret, he tells Ar-Pharazon that he speaks of Morgoth, who can give rich gifts to those who serve the Lord of Darkness.

    Ar-Pharazon apparently knows nothing of the original Morgoth, how he was a liar without shame. Ar-Pharazon turns to the worship of the dark, first secretly but finally openly, and in the face of his people. Most of his people follow him, and the lot of the Faithful grows worse; they are now called Rebels.

    Amandil is dismissed as the King's counselor. No indications of what Miriel is doing; there appears to be no attempt made to place her back on her rightful throne, despite the fact Ar-Pharazon is a usurper ruling illegally. Why not? Is she co-operating with him? Or is it just that this would be a futile gesture, since Ar-Pharazon is popular with the people?

    Amandil returns to the city of Romenna, while Sauron advocates that the white tree be cut down, thus severing their ties forever with the Valar. Ar-Pharazon is hesitant, but Amandil is certain that sooner or later he will have his way.

    At this , Isildur undertakes a stealth mission; sneaking into the hallow and evading or killing the guards, he succeeds in stealing a fruit of the tree, which he brings back to his father's house. There it is tended and preserved with great care, though Isildur is badly wounded in the adventure and takes a long time to recover, possibly with supernatural aid.

    After this incident Ar-Pharazon yields to Sauron, and the white tree is felled. A great temple is built in Armenelos, with a silver dome, which is soon blackened. Within this place, on its altar, Sauron kindles the first fire with the wood from Nimloth; a terrible gray smoke goes up before blowing away into the west.

    Things become awful on the island. Sauron and his emissaries run a troll farm, provoking anger and strife along every edge and faultline in society. The humans have become quick to anger and slay each other over trifles, like the orcs. And for all their worship of the dark and of death, death does not depart from them; instead it comes sooner and it's pretty awful when it comes.

    Within Sauron's temple, human sacrifice is made on the altar daily. Usually, these victims are among the Faithful, accused on trumped-up charges. That is, while the charges are usually false some among the faithful are so radical the charges actually prove out.

    The ordinary people and lord of Numenor have no problem with any of this ; they are greatly growing in wealth and power. Their expeditions to Middle-Earth are now little more than piracy, in which they loot and destroy the ordinary inhabitants and carry the plunder back to enrich themselves. They also bring their love of human sacrifice with them, and the tales told of them are dreadful.


    And now, when the world has become a little Mordor and Ar-Pharazon is feeling his age, Sauron suggests he build a great armada, sail into the west, and wrest immortality from the valar by armed force. Secretly, of course, he hopes that the Valar will kill both Ar-Pharazon and his army, leaving Sauron the undisputed ruler of the island and, therefore, of the world.

    Amandil, seeing all this, calls his sons together and warns them to stay out of the war; to get to sea in ships and wait on events. As for himself, he will take a ship to Valinor and plead for the pardon of the Valar, "for there is only one loyalty from which no man can be absolved in his heart for any cause." His plan is to go alone, so that if there is a punishment for breaking the Valar's ban, he will suffer it himself rather than all his people.

    He takes ship, and is never seen again. The author notes "Men could not be saved a second time by such an embassy, and for the treason of Numenor there was no easy absolving."

    They board the ships to evacuate with all they cannot bear to part with, including the seven far-seeing stones and the new white tree, which is on Isildur's ship and guarded by him personally.

    The Valar are aware , and just as in Dragonlance there were the Thirteen Days before the Cataclysm, and in much other apocalyptic literature, so there are supernatural signs and warnings to tell the humans "Don't do this".

    -- The weather turns foul, which it never was before. Some clouds look like great eagles with lightning in their wings, a clear message. But Sauron puts the words in the king's mouth which he rallies the people and continues down the path.
    -- Lightning multiplies and kills people in the hills.
    -- The ships of the Numenoreans every now and then are destroyed by Osse, which had never before happened in all their history.
    -- Lightning strikes the temple in Armenelos, but Sauron turns this to his advantage, standing on the roof and defying the lightning. At this the onlookers of the King's Men hail him as a god, and obey him in all things.
    -- There is a great earthquake, and smoke issues from the previously-dormant Meneltarma.
    -- Finally, the eagles overfly the island in a land, threatening and terrifying.

    But for all these warnings, Ar-Pharazon hardens his heart. He finally boards his flagship, ALCARONDAS ("Castle of the Sea") and sails to Valinor.

    Ar-Pharazon's fleet anchors around Tol Eressea and the king beholds the mountain of Taniquetil, high and white and beautiful, and at the last minute, doubt over takes him.

    For a minute all is silent, and doom hangs as if by a thread.

    But come on, it's not like Ar-Pharazon has come all this way just to turn back at the last moment. He's spent years hardening himself for this moment. So at last he overcomes his final waverings and steps onto the undying lands, waving his sword and challenging the Valar to battle.

    Manwe has no interest in fighting the children of Illuvatar; so he looks at Illuvatar and lays down his sign of office. "Eru? It's over to you. They're your kids and your problem. I won't be responsible."

    Eru takes terrible action in response.

    A chasm is opened in the sea, and a great earthquake occurs. Ar-Pharazon and his men on the land are buried under falling hills where, it is said, they will wait until the final battle at the world's end.

    The ships of the Numenoreans are swallowed by the waves from the chasm; none escape.

    Fire bursts from the Meneltarma back on the island of gift, and after much convulsion the green, cold wave mounts the island and takes all to the bottom. The gifts of the powers are for them to grant or withhold, as they choose, and the land of gift is now being taken back.

    Sauron himself gets a nasty surprise , sitting in the temple where victims are still burning before him. He had laughed when he heard the trumpets of the sailing ships and he laughs now, plotting what he will do with the king gone, when the waves come for him and he can't find a form capable of swimming. Don't know why he won't turn into a fish, but his body drowns. His spirit leaves on a dark wind, clutching the One Ring with him, back to Mordor, where he creates a new body for himself, one that is dreadful and terrible to behold; never again can he appear fair in the eyes of men.

    And last of all Tar-Miriel, the queen, is taken by the waves as she strives to the high shrine atop the mountain -- though, given it is now an active volcano -- seems dangerous in the extreme. She doesn't make it, and is the last casualty of Numenor, the last queen.

    As terrible as this is, especially for the infants and the children, I can't help but think it is a mercy for Middle-Earth that Numenor is no more. Had the island survived, Sauron would have ruled it. The lot of infants and children under his rule might have been immeasurably worse than a mere drowning -- they might have been mutated by his dark arts into some dreadful creature. Certainly they would have nothing to look forward to but misery.

    We also find, far later, that Valinor has been removed right out of the world and the world is now round -- "bent", in Tolkien's phrase. it is now only possible to reach Valinor by magic.

    The ships of the faithful -- 3 for Elendil, and 2 each for his sons Anarion and Isildur -- are borne by the waves back to MiddleEarth, and wrecked there.

    The refugees get on with the business of founding kingdoms in exile in the northwest of middle-earth; they believe that Sauron has also perished in the disaster, and they can now enter into an age of peace. It is, of course, not so. Sauron returns with war to overthrow them. The surviving Numenoreans form the Last Alliance with Gil-Galad, High-King of the Elves, and together they make war on Sauron. They win, and besiege Barad-dur. Anarion, Elendil's second son, dies when a stone is dropped on his head from the tower. The last combat is fought on the slopes of Mount Doom between Sauron himself on the one hand with Elendil and Gil-Galad on the other. The three combatants kill each other, and Isildur , coming on the wreck, takes a little souvenir from Sauron's hand .


    And that is the end of one story and the beginning of another.







    Respectfully,

    Brian P.
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  5. - Top - End - #455
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    BlackDragon

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    Default Re: Pendell reads the Silmarillion

    The Valar have no power outside the Circles of the World, as far as we know, which is why they probably had to call Daddy in to do the job for them. It does kind of indicate just how powerful and scary that Numenorean army was that they had to go to those lengths, though--I guess if they'd tried fighting them directly they'd have (a) lost a lot of people and (b) maybe even risk Valinor suffering a similar fate to Beleriand when Morgoth was defeated.

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    Default Re: Pendell reads the Silmarillion

    Quote Originally Posted by factotum View Post
    The Valar have no power outside the Circles of the World, as far as we know, which is why they probably had to call Daddy in to do the job for them. It does kind of indicate just how powerful and scary that Numenorean army was that they had to go to those lengths, though--I guess if they'd tried fighting them directly they'd have (a) lost a lot of people and (b) maybe even risk Valinor suffering a similar fate to Beleriand when Morgoth was defeated.
    Agreed. I have no doubt whatever that the army which crushed Angband would have no trouble overcoming the Numenoreans -- but they can't defeat the Numenoreans without wrecking Aman in the process. Besides, I get the distinct impression the children of Illuvatar are outside the jurisdiction of the Valar. Which may explain why they didn't resist Feanor's departure with armed force or lift a finger to save the Teleri when they were slaughtered by the Feanorians.

    Respectfully,

    Brian P.
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    Quote Originally Posted by pendell View Post
    Agreed. I have no doubt whatever that the army which crushed Angband would have no trouble overcoming the Numenoreans -- but they can't defeat the Numenoreans without wrecking Aman in the process. Besides, I get the distinct impression the children of Illuvatar are outside the jurisdiction of the Valar. Which may explain why they didn't resist Feanor's departure with armed force or lift a finger to save the Teleri when they were slaughtered by the Feanorians.
    I think the latter is the more important bit - Valar shown time and again they don't want to mess with the fates of the children of Illuvatar (with some exceptions I guess), especially on a larger scale. Hence they turn to him to sort the mess out.

    And I have a feeling they'd have enough power to simply wash the army away with some huge waves if they really wanted to.
    Quote Originally Posted by Pickford View Post
    I don't understand your point. Why does it matter what I said?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Divayth Fyr View Post
    And I have a feeling they'd have enough power to simply wash the army away with some huge waves if they really wanted to.
    To do that they'd have to perforce have tsunamis flowing right through Valinor, which doesn't seem a great idea.

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    Default Re: Pendell reads the Silmarillion

    Ar-Pharazon and his men on the land are buried under falling hills where, it is said, they will wait until the final battle at the world's end.
    I don't recall anything else about this aside from a bit about Morgoth also escaping from the void at the end of things as well. I don't think Tolkein ever filled this in, but given his field of study and personal beliefs, I suppose there's some sort of Armageddon/Ragnarok mashup that's assumed to happen at the end of the world.

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    Quote Originally Posted by factotum View Post
    To do that they'd have to perforce have tsunamis flowing right through Valinor, which doesn't seem a great idea.
    Well, the Pelori would probably shield most of Valinor itself from the waves...

    Quote Originally Posted by J-H View Post
    I don't recall anything else about this aside from a bit about Morgoth also escaping from the void at the end of things as well. I don't think Tolkein ever filled this in, but given his field of study and personal beliefs, I suppose there's some sort of Armageddon/Ragnarok mashup that's assumed to happen at the end of the world.
    https://tolkiengateway.net/wiki/Dagor_Dagorath
    Quote Originally Posted by Pickford View Post
    I don't understand your point. Why does it matter what I said?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Divayth Fyr View Post
    Well, the Pelori would probably shield most of Valinor itself from the waves...

    https://tolkiengateway.net/wiki/Dagor_Dagorath
    I think that a measure of bitter irony is present, conceptually, in Dagor_Dagorath, given Tolkien's service in The War to End all Wars.
    Last edited by KorvinStarmast; 2022-09-24 at 01:37 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by factotum View Post
    To do that they'd have to perforce have tsunamis flowing right through Valinor, which doesn't seem a great idea.
    I'm quite certain that they could sink a fleet without needing tsunamis that can threaten their own continent.

    For one thing we know they can control the weather to a substantial degree, so they could just becalm the fleet and let them starve to death and/or die of exposure while drifting aimlessly, or use whirlpools to suck them to the sea floor. Or hit the ships with lightning to set them on fire, or any of a number of other things. The Valar can build mountains, even diminished as they are with the advancing of years sinking a few hundred ships should be well within their abilities.



    I always feel that the Numenorean fleet being deus ex machina'd away is a bit narratively unsatisfying personally. The Valar have a long history of neglecting Middle Earth while living in Aman, facing few trials over the millennia while the elves, dwarves, men and orcs have spent many long years in torment, pain, fear and deprivation. Now someone is actually planning to bring conflict to the one place the Valar can't just ignore it, and they immediately cry foul and get help from dad.
    Sanity is nice to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there.

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    Default Re: Pendell reads the Silmarillion

    Are they allowed to sink the ships, or do they have to wait for them to land to prove they broke the rules?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kornaki View Post
    Are they allowed to sink the ships, or do they have to wait for them to land to prove they broke the rules?
    Terms unspecified.


    Osse sinks a few ships in the lead up to the invasion attempt, which presumably would have killed some of them, but elsewhere it's suggested the Valar aren't allowed to kill mortals other than the ones altered by Morgoth, which then raises the question of why he could sink ships before they had gone fully bad and not after. Presumably Manwe and/or Mandos told him to stop, given that they are the voices most in favour of 'do nothing' based plans.

    Similarly the Valar caused lightning and earthquakes on Numenor, which killed people, before Eru just destroyed the place in it's entirety for them.

    So I think the Valar can kill elves and men, they just don't do it often and shy away from doing it even when it's necessary.
    Last edited by Grim Portent; 2022-09-24 at 04:02 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grim Portent View Post
    Terms unspecified.
    Actually, pretty sure the terms are defined quite well--the Ban of the Valar means that no Numenorean ship can sail West far enough that they can no longer see Numenor itself. The only slight problem is that we're told you can see Tol Eressea from the highest mountains in Numenor, and that's within easy view of the Calacirya pass through the Pelori, so it really wouldn't take long for the ships to reach the shore after exceeding the Ban.

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    Quote Originally Posted by factotum View Post
    Actually, pretty sure the terms are defined quite well--the Ban of the Valar means that no Numenorean ship can sail West far enough that they can no longer see Numenor itself. The only slight problem is that we're told you can see Tol Eressea from the highest mountains in Numenor, and that's within easy view of the Calacirya pass through the Pelori, so it really wouldn't take long for the ships to reach the shore after exceeding the Ban.
    They (the Valar) kill people before the ban is actually broken, so it's not exactly a hard and fast restriction on when they can start smiting the Numenoreans.
    Sanity is nice to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there.

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