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The history of Middle-Earth (chibi version): Part 9: War! What is it good for?

18th February 2013 (12:12)

I'm actually managing to keep to a regular posting schedule for these, and I did a couple more yesterday so I've some in the bank for the foreseeable future. Wonders never cease.

On the 'Buffy' reviews front, I didn't get into town for a long time recently (still convalescing) but I have finally got to the comics shop and acquired about a month's supply of Season 9 comics, so hopefully there'll be reviews of them at some point.

In this episode - how do you fight a war when everybody's immortal?

Word List: Eru = God (literally, "The One")

Part 9: War! What is it good for?

Next time: Part 10: Victory in Arda

Chibis by tektek.org
Original story by and copyright to J R R Tolkien, ed. C Tolkien: Primarily based on the Silmarillion, but incorporating ideas from the 12-volume History of Middle Earth series. Apologies to any Australians reading this! The "Elf" and "Human" chibis are ones I designed for Beren and Lúthien, so you'll see them again later.
Questions and comments welcome!


Posted by: Emmie (angearia)
Posted at: 18th February 2013 12:25 (UTC)

I love how Melkor is throwing shade as he just stands by all these retellings of destruction. He's like "yeah what of it?" And meanwhile everyone else is whining about him creating bugs and vermin to pollinate the earth and devour waste and feed the birds tuppence a bag and be part of the life cycle because they're SO GROSS.

Edited at 2013-02-18 12:26 (UTC)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 18th February 2013 12:58 (UTC)

I like to think that Melkor is actually touching his magic mace against the mountain to make it go 'Fwoom!', and so forth. (And this of course has nothing to do with the fact that due to my lack of artistic skill for stylistic reasons I'm just using the same chibis in every scene.)

But yes, the Valar do kind of subscribe to the theory that "It's evil because it's icky!". :) (Though I should point out that Melkor is still maliciously damaging their stuff without asking, even if sometimes his "improvements" are actually justified.)

Edited at 2013-02-18 12:58 (UTC)

Posted by: Emmie (angearia)
Posted at: 18th February 2013 13:02 (UTC)
Avengers - Thor

I'm just enjoying the dynamic and how it undercuts the good in the Good side, whereas Tolkien seemed pretty straightforward in reaffirming those attitudes. ;-)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 18th February 2013 14:04 (UTC)

To be fair to Tolkien, I think his work does usually present quite a nuanced view of good and evil - but because he's writing in the high fantasy genre of Dark Lords of Evil versus Heroic Champion of Good, it's easy to miss, or to over-simplify.

Even so, Tolkien makes quite clear in his work that Melkor started out with good intentions, and only gradually became corrupted. He was proud of his own skill and creativity; but that made him arrogant, and he started to feel contemptuous of the work of other people, and then angry at them. He started out making "improvements" to other people's work (without asking them), and only gradually slid into just malicious destructiveness for its own sake. Compare Willow in S6, if you like. :)

Even so, it was part of Tolkien's world-view that everybody - even the Devil himself (which is basically who Melkor is) - is capable of forgiveness and redemption... but only if he wants it, and is willing to ask for forgiveness. At the risk of spoilers, you'll see that Satan-Melkor is probably going to be too proud to ask God for redemption...

By the same token, Tolkien was quite happy to acknowledge that the "Good" guys make mistakes and fall into evil, or at least neglectfulness, as well. As he would probably phrase it, none of us is without sin.

Posted by: ((Anonymous))
Posted at: 8th May 2018 01:02 (UTC)

I guess the Valar made lemonade out of lemons and made them be beneficial as well as icky? All part of Iluvatar's grand plan probably maybe.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 8th May 2018 16:00 (UTC)

It was definitely part of Eru's grand plan.

"Nor can any alter the music in my despite. For he that attempteth this shall prove but mine instrument in the devising of things more wonderful, which he himself hath not imagined".

The Valar, on the other hand, were neither omnipotent nor omniscient, so they didn't necessarily know how to change something evil into something good. They just had to trust that Eru would make it all turn out right in the end. (Which is pretty much what Tolkien, as a Catholic, had to do with his God in this world.)

Posted by: Beer Good (beer_good_foamy)
Posted at: 18th February 2013 13:43 (UTC)

Parsley good
Weed bad

No wonder metal fans are so fascinated with Sauron.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 18th February 2013 14:07 (UTC)

That's actually Giant Hogweed that Melkor's growing there (Heracleum mantegazzianum), though Wikipedia tells me it's sometimes called "giant cow parsley", so perhaps that's what you meant?

Posted by: Beer Good (beer_good_foamy)
Posted at: 18th February 2013 14:19 (UTC)

Ah, I figured the parsley bit was the "life" that whatsherfrigg planted, and Melkor added the (presumably undead) spider.

I have to say that as supremely evil deeds go, inventing garnish isn't the vilest one.

Posted by: curiouswombat (curiouswombat)
Posted at: 18th February 2013 22:13 (UTC)
Oh Dear

So that accounts for all the spiders down under!

Actually I feel rather sorry for poor Mairon - he just wants to join the big kid(s)!

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 19th February 2013 15:41 (UTC)

As erimthar spotted in the post below, I'm writing Mairon as kind of like Andrew on 'Buffy' - except that unluckily for him he never got taken hostage by the good guys, but stayed evil.

Posted by: erimthar (erimthar)
Posted at: 19th February 2013 14:32 (UTC)

Hmmm. Young Mairon/Sauron there is kind of Andrew Wells to Melkor's Warren Mears, isn't he? Except without the redemption bit at the end.

I'd say Nienna and Estë are coming out of this the best... their signature contributions (clinical depression and a nap, respectively) have not been spoiled by Melkor. Assuming Estë is still asleep, that is.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 19th February 2013 15:43 (UTC)

Well spotted - the Andrew-Warren byplay was definitely something I was thinking of when I wrote their dialogue.

Estë does wake up occasionally; I've given her dialogue in upcoming issues. she just has the happy knack of being able to fall asleep anywhere, any time. It's her husband Irmo who spends all his time in a drug-fuelled haze dreamworld.

Edited at 2013-02-19 15:44 (UTC)

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