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The History of Middle-earth (chibi version) - Part 121: What dreams may come

1st May 2014 (12:48)

Tolkien went through several different ideas on how Elvish death and immortality worked, but this is the one that made most sense to me. The basis is the short piece 'The Converse of Manwë and Eru' in 'Morgoth's Ring'.

Also, in 'Laws and Customs of the Eldar' it says, "Only those return whom, after Mandos has spoken the doom of release, Manwë and Varda bless". It's not clear whether Manwë and Varda possess this authority jointly or severally, though. Or maybe Manwë does the men and Varda does the women, or vice-versa.


Part 121: What dreams may come



Next time: Part 122: Judge of the Dead

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.
Questions and comments welcome!

PS: Yes, it's canon that God is slightly snarky about the Valar summoning the Elves to Valinor. Tolkien's actual text is,

Manwë said: "Is it Thy will that we should attempt these things? For we fear to meddle with Thy Children."

Eru answered: "Have I not given to the Valar the rule of Arda, and power over all the substance thereof, to shape it at their will under My will? Ye have not been backward in these things. As for my First-born, have ye not removed great numbers of them to Aman from the Middle-earth in which I set them?"

Comments

Posted by: erimthar (erimthar)
Posted at: 1st May 2014 13:52 (UTC)

"Now, I'm going to spend the next couple of ages on a beach in far, far Harad. Buggeth me not again with such matters, unless thou art hemorrhaging or an enemy armada lands on the shores of Aman or something."

I guess the fate of Dwarven souls is as much a mystery in chibi-land as it was in Tolkien's own writings.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 1st May 2014 14:13 (UTC)

You're right; I believe this is the last personal appearance of Eru until the end of the Second Age.


This history certainly contains extrapolations and missing scenes and reinterpretations, but I don't make things up entirely from whole cloth; so yes, the fate of Dwarven souls is a mystery. Námo would know, though: but he's not telling.

Posted by: (bumbleball)
Posted at: 1st May 2014 18:36 (UTC)

Doesn't Eru get involved in deciding the fate of Lúthien, at least in some versions of the story?

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 1st May 2014 21:03 (UTC)

*checks*

"Manwë sought counsel in his inmost thought, where the will of Ilúvatar was revealed."

So... not a direct appearance and no dialogue, but yes, it could be depicted in chibi-form by Manwë getting on the phone to God to ask advice. So Eru might appear again before the Akallabeth after all!

Posted by: curiouswombat (curiouswombat)
Posted at: 1st May 2014 18:15 (UTC)
Intelligence

Makes sense to me!

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 1st May 2014 18:27 (UTC)

There's a couple of things that don't entirely make sense to me:

Elves have the right to refuse rebirth, but they don't have the right to insist on it. I'm not sure whether that's logical. It does make sense from a practical perspective - if they resurrected Míriel against her wishes she could just promptly choose to die again; but by what right do the Valar (spoilers!) keep Fëanor imprisoned in Mandos for all eternity? Even Melkor only got 3000 years.

Related: Námo summons houseless Elves to Mandos, but he can't compel them to go there. He can, however compel them to stay there once they arrive. What are the ethics of that, beyond pure 'might makes right'?

Posted by: curiouswombat (curiouswombat)
Posted at: 1st May 2014 21:34 (UTC)
Feanorian penguins

What are the ethics of that, beyond pure 'might makes right'?

I think, perhaps, the Great Creator JRRT didn't always think things through exactly. Or he did, but left a variety of notes in which he pondered different possibilities in his waste bin, and under his bed, and as bookmarks, alongside his to-do list for his next lecture tour and a shopping list, and they somehow all turned into a book edited by Christopher...

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