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The History of Middle-earth (chibi version) - Part 126: Marriage Laws

19th May 2014 (23:44)

So in today's posting I attempt to condense around ten pages of some of the most densely-written philosophical and theological pondering Tolkien ever wrote, most of it in highly archaic dialect, into a single-page chibi cartoon. I think I deserve a medal. :)

It is however, probably the longest passage of direct-speech conversation between the Valar he ever wrote, so it's interesting from that perspective. Here's a brief extract for those without access to HoME, to give you an idea of the style:

Then Yavanna spoke, and though she was the spouse of Aulë she leaned rather to Ulmo. "My lord Aulë errs," she said, "in that he speaks of Finwë and Míriel as being free in heart and thought from the Shadow, as if that proved that naught that befell them could come from the Shadow or from the marring of Arda. But even as the Children are not as we (who came from beyond Arda wholly and in all our being) but are both spirit and body, and their body is of Arda and by Arda was nourished: so the Shadow worketh not only upon spirits, but has marred the very hrón of Arda, and all Middle-earth is perverted by the evil of Melkor, who has wrought in it as mightily as any one among us here. Therefore none of those who awoke in Middle-earth, and there dwelt before they came hither, have come here wholly free. The failing of the strength of the body of Míriel may then be ascribed, with some reason, to the evil of Arda Marred, and her death be a thing unnatural. And that this should appear in Aman seemeth to me as to Ulmo a sign to be heeded."

Which I summed up as, "I agree. Míriel's body failed her because of the taint of the Shadow."

Part 126: Marriage Laws

Next time: Part 127

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!


Posted by: curiouswombat (curiouswombat)
Posted at: 19th May 2014 22:51 (UTC)

I think I deserve a medal. :)

I absolutely agree! Will a cookie do?

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 19th May 2014 22:59 (UTC)

How a bout a cookie wrapped in gold foil and hung on a chain around the neck? :)

Posted by: L'Ignota (lignota)
Posted at: 19th May 2014 23:28 (UTC)
all will yet be well

Well, I'm impressed. Have a flower wreath.

As someone who hasn't read all of HoMe, I really enjoy having these plot and philosophical elements presented in a comprehensible way.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 20th May 2014 10:34 (UTC)

Thanks! I'll wear it with pride. :)

Actually, if you are interested - that cartoon was actually my second attempt at summarising the argument. The first was twice as long, but I decided it was too wordy and too much of a sidetrack to include. It does, however, include rather more of Tolkien's actual dialogue, including Manwë's philosophising about the role of Hope in a fallen world. Also Mandos making a prophecy, which I left out because of spoilers. :)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 20th May 2014 10:40 (UTC)

Eärendil will be Indis's great-great-grandson; hence, presumably, the mention of him. :)

Posted by: L'Ignota (lignota)
Posted at: 20th May 2014 16:24 (UTC)

That was interesting to read, though I agree that the shorter version is more effective as a comic.

Bah, Eärendil. I think he's over-rated. :-P I don't have anything against him personally, but he's not my favorite descendant of Indis. I may have Opinions on the Doom of the Noldor and the particular circumstances under which the Valar are willing to receive messengers. (I know, spoilers.)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 20th May 2014 17:08 (UTC)

It really doesn't help that Tolkien never, as far as I know, ever wrote a detailed account of Earendil's life - all we have are his condensed notes and a couple of poems. (What appears in the published Silmarillion is Christopher's attempt to edit a chapter together from those notes.)

He had a bad habit of starting to write a new version of the Silmarillion, getting partway through, then abandoning it and starting from the beginning again because he's thought of a better way to do it. Which means that the last chapter - that of Earendil - never actually got written!

As for the Valar's Ban - yeah, it's the kind of fairy-tale prohibition that doesn't actually make much sense if you think about it rationally instead of mythically.

Posted by: erimthar (erimthar)
Posted at: 20th May 2014 13:51 (UTC)

Námo: "The dead spouse has to stay dead. Um, unless the other spouse also dies, in which case he'd be together in Mandos with a wife he's not married to anymore, which would be awkward and might make the Creator's monocle pop out. So, uh, then the originally dead spouse would come back to life so they wouldn't be together anymore. It would be like in those Bugs Bunny cartoons, where people are running back and forth across the hallway and going through different doors, trying to avoid each other."

Manwë: "Dammit, Námo, who's Bugs Bunny?"

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 20th May 2014 15:05 (UTC)


Spoilers for both the Silmarillion and Bugs Bunny!

Posted by: erimthar (erimthar)
Posted at: 20th May 2014 15:57 (UTC)

Námo was just speaking hypothetically, of course!

Posted by: Garth St.Claire (Garth St.Claire)
Posted at: 20th May 2014 23:30 (UTC)

Ah, yes that debate. You did go a good job summing it up. I love the Homie version of that debate: Not only has it another instance where Aule and Yavanna disagree, but also contains my favorite piece of dialogue from one of the Valar Tolkien has ever wrote. Vaire's words about Miriel (she is very strong and she is of the sort who once she says "This I will do" makes her own words her command, never to be broken) it offer's so much insight into Miriel's character, it's marvelous!

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 22nd May 2014 01:01 (UTC)


I think it's healthy that Aulë and Yavanna aren't in lockstep with each other. :)

Edited at 2014-05-22 09:20 (UTC)

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