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I tend to think so as well. They had free will, and conceivably could have been brought to the Light - but Morgoth's corruption and literally millennia of bad blood between them and all the other races made that impossible in practice.  

I don't think Tolkien ever made it clear whether Orcs are mortal or not. I think not, given that we never see aged Orcs - but it could be read as variable, since even if Orcs were originally corrupted Elves (and thus immortal), they've been cross-bred with Men since then to produce the Uruk-Hai.  

Edited by Winter Bass

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On ‎11‎/‎2‎/‎2018 at 12:05 PM, Lord Varys said:

 

The Uruk Hai were included in Aragorn's warning at Helm's Deep, and the half-Orcs and men captured by the hobbits at the end were kicked out of the Shire, not massacred.

So, I don't think it's right to assume that the ultimate fate of orcs was genocide.

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On 11/4/2018 at 5:38 AM, The Marquis de Leech said:

Melkor was created as a being of staggering power - but he wasn't evil in the beginning. He just used his Free Will to turn out that way (Tolkien's universe being a Free Will universe).

But a creator-god the kind of Eru (or the Christian God) is responsible for the actions of his creations, especially if he creates beings with enormous and dreadful power and then allows them to run amok. If the devil or some demon kills me in the next minute, then both god and the devil/demon are responsible for that. God for creating the creature and allowing it to do what it did (while he knew it would do that) and the devil/demon for actually doing it.

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As for locking him up in a prison for Criminally Insane Angels, that is actually what happened. Meanwhile the best notes from Melkor's own music are taken and used by Eru - creation would have been lesser without Melkor.

Eru should have done that before Melkor soiled his musical creation - voluntarily or involuntarily - and, even more importantly, before he entered the creation. Eru allowed Melkor to enter the world and torture, kill, and twist his children. What kind of a father would do that?

Melkor is also not imprisoned. His impotency is temporary. He will return for the Dagor Dagorath. And if Eru's hint in the Ainulindale leads anywhere, Melkor will be there for the Second Music, too, where he'll have understood all his mistakes, etc.

On 11/4/2018 at 8:26 AM, The Marquis de Leech said:

Congratulations. You have just asked the single toughest question in Tolkien - a question Tolkien himself puzzled over for decades, and never resolved (basically, he was trying to square Free Will with his portrayal of the Orcs, because the idea of an irredeemably evil race made him profoundly uncomfortable. That way lies Calvinism).

Tolkien's free will concept is pretty weird - as are most of those Christians concepts there. Either you have free will in the sense that you can choose between good and evil - which then means when you do evil you condemn yourself fully understanding the consequences (which gets very twisted when we introduce proper Christian sexuality vs. actual human sexuality) - or you are twisted and marred by original sin (which exists in Tolkien's world in the version of the 'Tale of Adanel' version as well as in Melkor using his own evil substance to forever mar Arda - which means everything in Arda is unduly nudged towards evil - which is the reason how and why the paradise of Valinor ended even before Melkor was loosed, e.g. the death of Míriel and the presumptuous and unnatural desire of Finwe).

A free choice between good and evil when you cannot look at the matter impartially is unfair and no free choice at all.

For the Orcs we can say that they never enjoyed inward free will (freedom to choose between good and evil) nor were they capable to act on any choices they may have made without severe inward (twisted nature) and outward pressure (existence of the Dark Lords).

If Tolkien had ever cared about the moral dilemma of the Orcs he should have given us one good Orc. A heroic Orc defying his nature. That would have been a start. But he did not.

On 11/4/2018 at 2:18 PM, Ser Scot A Ellison said:

I think Orcs were broken people.  I think they absolutely had free will.  They simply didn’t believe that they had free will.

You are entitled to your opinions, but I'm not sure Tolkien's text support any of that. You are also blaming the victims here, justifying the pathetic state the Orcs are in by citing their own (apparent) brokenness.

19 hours ago, Winter Bass said:

I tend to think so as well. They had free will, and conceivably could have been brought to the Light - but Morgoth's corruption and literally millennia of bad blood between them and all the other races made that impossible in practice.

Which means those who could not bring themselves to forgive, heal, and integrate them into their societies were nearly as bad as the Orcs themselves. If you cannot love me because you think I'm hideous, ugly, and filthy you have issues, too, not just I (assuming I am all of that things - which some Orcs might be, but clearly not all of them - especially not those born after Sauron's end or perhaps even those while no Dark Lord was around for some time). Just ask Frankenstein's creature about that...

19 hours ago, Winter Bass said:

I don't think Tolkien ever made it clear whether Orcs are mortal or not. I think not, given that we never see aged Orcs - but it could be read as variable, since even if Orcs were originally corrupted Elves (and thus immortal), they've been cross-bred with Men since then to produce the Uruk-Hai.  

We also never see female Orcs or Orc children but we know they must exist. We do know that the normal cross-breeds don't have long lifespans (think of the Princes of Dol Amroth), but there is a chances that demons (lesser Ainur following Melkor) made up a good chunk of original Orcs and/or Orc-leaders (there is this footnote about this Boldog fellow somewhere, and there may have been more like him - and descendants of such creatures may have a longer lifespan). But all descendants of Men but the special half-elven breed are counted as Men. Which means the moment the first Man entered the Orc-line all the subsequent descendants of Orcs became mortal (from that line at least).

Considering how many Orcs show up in the SA and TA - and how few Elves - it seems a given that Men made up the bulk of Orc population since before the end of FA. Most Men are corrupted followers of the Dark Lords anyway, giving both Morgoth and later Sauron more than enough material to breed new Orcs.

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On 11/4/2018 at 9:36 AM, A True Kaniggit said:

I don't think this conversation shows that orcs have free will though, even though they are sentient.

If they were created with a limited embedded command such as "you may not co-exist with any other sentient species", then the orcs could seem to have free will in the short term. But if a command like that is their primary driver, an instinct that is impossible for them to shrug off, then no, they don't have free will.

The Orcs are corrupted creatures on a metaphysical level. They do not just look hideous or just have a bad culture, they simply cannot help themselves. Such creatures do not qualify as people one would ascribe free will to - at least not in any meaningful sense. It would be akin to say I've a free will to not eat or drink - I've, but if I don't want to die I will have to drink. I don't have a choice. Or take breathing - I can hold my breath for a time but eventually I will breathe again. I cannot help myself.

Or take a person a with brain injures/defects. They cannot make the same kind of decisions the same way 'normal' people can. Which means they are - in various degrees - not responsible for their actions. Any sane person judging the actions of an/the Orcs would use similar criteria - which actually shows how far out there Tolkien is with his Orc thing if we really take it seriously as a concept.

1 hour ago, SeanF said:

The Uruk Hai were included in Aragorn's warning at Helm's Deep, and the half-Orcs and men captured by the hobbits at the end were kicked out of the Shire, not massacred.

So, I don't think it's right to assume that the ultimate fate of orcs was genocide.

Frodo is a very enlightened being. Not all do share his views. We know the Rohirrim of old cleansed the White Mountains of Orcs, the same was done (more or less) by the Dwarves with the Misty Mountains after the death of Thrór.

I don't think there is any indication that the Rohirrim suddenly all behave like Frodo, or that King Elessar suffers any Orcs in his sphere of influence. He made peace with Men following Sauron, not the Orcs.

And if that's fictional past of our world then the Orcs are clearly gone. Whether all were exterminated by Men is unclear, but many would have been. Perhaps the others just died of in reservations? We don't know. What we do know is that no character in Tolkien's work considers it bad to kill an Orc. It is good to rid the world of those creatures.

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LV,

it not “blaming” it is seeking an explanation for their behavior.  They clearly have free will as Gorbag and Shagrat discuss deserting.  If they had no free will they wouldn’t have that alternative.

As far as I can tell if a “God” exists in any given universe you blame that God for all evil.

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5 hours ago, Ser Scot A Ellison said:

LV,

it not “blaming” it is seeking an explanation for their behavior.  They clearly have free will as Gorbag and Shagrat discuss deserting.  If they had no free will they wouldn’t have that alternative.

That is not free will in the relevant metaphysical sense. It is the question between good and evil. The more or less libertarian free will that's talked about in theological contexts - the ability what good and evil are in the metaphysical sense - has nothing to do whether you can desert an army or not. It has to do whether you have the mindset and the ability to actually choose between good and evil.

And there is no indication whatsoever that Tolkien made any attempt - or succeeded - at presenting the Orcs in a manner that implies they could make such decisions.

The same goes - in lesser ways also for Tolkien's Men. They are supposed to make important decisions while neither god nor his angels actually show up and give them proper information and knowledge.

The rhetorical trick of claiming both good and bad people have the same amount of information/knowledge doesn't work in Tolkien's world because it is quite clear that the Easterlings of the FA, SA, and TA do not have the same amount of knowledge/information as the three houses of the Edain or the later Númenóreans. If you are friends with the Elves and actually hang out with Melian and the Noldor then your basis to make an informed decision is infinitely larger than those of the barbarians and wild men.

How is that fair?

On top of that we get Arda Marred and the effects it has on everyone. If you very flesh is stained by 'evil' to various degrees you don't have the same free will you would have if said flesh was clean and healthy, no?

5 hours ago, Ser Scot A Ellison said:

As far as I can tell if a “God” exists in any given universe you blame that God for all evil.

Basically, yes. Because it is only relevant if said god would care and actually created the universe and the creatures therein. It is very easy to create a universe with rules where evil either doesn't exist or is irrelevant (because nobody has any intention to commit it).

Those fall stories which start everything - both in Eden and in heaven - are obviously flaws in the design of the creatures. You do not limit the free will of a creature if you make them so they understand their role and purpose of creation. Melkor/the devil do reflect worse on their creator than they do on themselves. Psychopaths and the like are not responsible for how they are. But if their parent is a god in the traditional sense then he most definitely is responsible for them considering he knew in advance what they would do - and he let them. And he did nothing to stop them.

The more I think about the Silmarillion texts the clearer is that they are, in the end, a huge failure. Tolkien started to write a mythology for England that was supposed to be what he felt was Anglo-Saxon. This mythology was supposed to be not too irreconcilable with Catholicism but it wasn't supposed to be outward Christian, either. The Ainulindale is not how Christianity imagines creation. The devil had no role in god's creation, nor any other (former) angels. God created the world, not his staff.

The Valar were also designed as pagan deities - and originally that's what they were. They were sub-deities beneath the big guy, not angelic beings. That comes later when they lose their proper bodies and their children.

Essentially the entire Silmarillion complex - which is basically a continuous repetition of the LT - is a heroic pagan mythology, and full of plots and characters and twists and turns fitting to such a mythology.

But when the whole thing was christianized Tolkien only did that on the inside - changing the nature of the Valar, making the Orcs corrupted Elves/Men rather than golem creatures, etc. - never on the outside. The actual stories never truly changed. Some grew more elaborate and details were added, others shrank and (nearly) disappeared, but the actual content was never revised.

And that's what should have been done if the thing was supposed to work. Angels don't live in cities. They are not male or female in spirit (a ridiculous concept). They do not invite people to live with them or abandon them to the devil. And, of course, the devil is not a dictator incarnate, nor do his demons create monsters out of Men or Elves.

It is actually great that he never got around to properly christianize the Silmarillion and that the sequel to the Silmarillion was actually also a sequel to the Hobbit. That made LotR one of the crucial foundation novels of 20th century fantasy literature. A mythology for England wouldn't have been able to do that.

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LV,

If a "God" creates a universe wherein people cannot choose to do "bad" things then, in my view there is no "freewill".  That God is creating tools not beings with independent choice.  

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And there is no indication whatsoever that Tolkien made any attempt - or succeeded - at presenting the Orcs in a manner that implies they could make such decisions.

Kind of, his writings note that he struggled with the concept, (he talks about it in some of his letters) but he never came to a satisfactory conclusion that managed to reconcile his issues. (should be noted that he didn't see stuff as "finished" but rather as an ongoing process, and one that continued after his death)

 

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1 hour ago, Ser Scot A Ellison said:

LV,

If a "God" creates a universe wherein people cannot choose to do "bad" things then, in my view there is no "freewill".  That God is creating tools not beings with independent choice.  

You have to look at the thing in detail. There are certain things we all want to do or be but we simply can't. This doesn't mean we don't have free will. A world in which I couldn't kill (because there are no bodies or we are all invincible) or where we could not lie because we know everything about anything and anyone, etc. wouldn't be a world where there is no free will. It would just be a different world than ours.

Christianity promises (or rather: announces) that there will be a time and place where nobody does anything evil, so this certainly is possible. Tolkien does the same thing with the Second Music and Arda Remade. Now, what's different in the New Jerusalem/heaven and Arda Remade that couldn't be part of the original run of creation?

In relation to Tolkien the whole symbolism of the Ainulindale makes Eru look very bad. If an orchestra makes bad music the man to blame is the director, not the individual musician. Especially not if the director neither explained they had to play all unison nor that what they were playing would become a world for living beings.

25 minutes ago, Galactus said:

Kind of, his writings note that he struggled with the concept, (he talks about it in some of his letters) but he never came to a satisfactory conclusion that managed to reconcile his issues. (should be noted that he didn't see stuff as "finished" but rather as an ongoing process, and one that continued after his death).

When people asked him about why he portrayed thinking sentient beings basically as sub-humans everybody seems to hate and want to kill. The writings the man published actually do not show any conflict there. And that is the issue. Nothing in LotR shows that Tolkien gave a rat's ass about the Orcs or wanted to portray them in any other way than as foes who only deserve to die.

He later realized that he had dropped the ball there - just as he realized that his flat earth cosmology and fruit orbs was childish and silly (although not without a certain charm - I prefer it to the revised cosmology of later years, if only because he completely failed to rewrite the stories to fit the new cosmology) - but this couldn't be rectified. Whatever he thought or wrote about the Orcs later did not change the way they were presented in LotR or the Silmarillion stories.

And if he had cared to change that he could have written a story about some good Orcs or actually laid out how he thought the Orcs felt about their roles in the plans of the Dark Lords, etc.

There are reflections about misguided people in LotR - but nobody ever reflects about the Orcs.

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17 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

But a creator-god the kind of Eru (or the Christian God) is responsible for the actions of his creations, especially if he creates beings with enormous and dreadful power and then allows them to run amok. If the devil or some demon kills me in the next minute, then both god and the devil/demon are responsible for that. God for creating the creature and allowing it to do what it did (while he knew it would do that) and the devil/demon for actually doing it.

Eru should have done that before Melkor soiled his musical creation - voluntarily or involuntarily - and, even more importantly, before he entered the creation. Eru allowed Melkor to enter the world and torture, kill, and twist his children. What kind of a father would do that?

Melkor is also not imprisoned. His impotency is temporary. He will return for the Dagor Dagorath. And if Eru's hint in the Ainulindale leads anywhere, Melkor will be there for the Second Music, too, where he'll have understood all his mistakes, etc.

 

As far as I understand it excluding Melkor would have been impossible. The song is the world, the world merely a different way to experience the song.

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And if he had cared to change that he could have written a story about some good Orcs or actually laid out how he thought the Orcs felt about their roles in the plans of the Dark Lords, etc.

Or you know, he didn't have time to do that satisfactorily because he died.

 

As said, ongoing process. Even the Silmarillion wasn't a finished work, remember. 

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Trolls, orcs, balrogs, giant spiders, dragons, werewolves, vampires were all thinking, sentient, beings that sided with the Dark Lords.  Were any redeemed?  I've no idea, but it doesn't spoil my enjoyment of the stories if they were not.

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LV,

So, unless God creates a Universe full of omnipotent beings those beings lack free will?

And doesn’t the success or failure of a Director depend upon the Director’s goal?  If it is to self create beauty with the assistance of others you may be right.  If it is to create beings and see what beauty they create then the Director’s success or failure is unknown until the story is complete.

Edited by Ser Scot A Ellison

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20 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

But a creator-god the kind of Eru (or the Christian God) is responsible for the actions of his creations, especially if he creates beings with enormous and dreadful power and then allows them to run amok. If the devil or some demon kills me in the next minute, then both god and the devil/demon are responsible for that. God for creating the creature and allowing it to do what it did (while he knew it would do that) and the devil/demon for actually doing it.

No, Melkor is responsible for his own actions. That's the point of Free Will: Eru isn't forcing you to do anything.

But let's take a step back. How would you write a setting that (1) has both a God figure in it, and (2) has Evil in it? What is your solution to the Problem of Evil?

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6 hours ago, Seli said:

As far as I understand it excluding Melkor would have been impossible. The song is the world, the world merely a different way to experience the song.

The Ainulindale is only the world as such, not the Ainur who entered it. Melkor's tones would still be in the world if Eru created it that way (which he didn't have to - he could have just excised the discord of Melkor and his buddies, or better still: he could have told the Ainur to make another music he would then give reality, a music Melkor and his buddies would not participate in) but there was no reason why Eru should allow Melkor to enter Ea and actually do evil there. He knew what he would do yet he still allowed him to go in there. Other Ainur stayed out of the world.

5 hours ago, Galactus said:

Or you know, he didn't have time to do that satisfactorily because he died.

As said, ongoing process. Even the Silmarillion wasn't a finished work, remember. 

In a sense it was finished. One of the old versions is pretty complete. The names do not all fit and the seeds for LotR are mostly not there, but this thing is pretty complete. The rewriting process didn't work, and I think I big reason why that failed is that Tolkien realized his stories could never survive the transfer into his new line of thought. His mythos couldn't be properly christianized (nor modernized into a cosmology for grown-ups).

5 hours ago, SeanF said:

Trolls, orcs, balrogs, giant spiders, dragons, werewolves, vampires were all thinking, sentient, beings that sided with the Dark Lords.  Were any redeemed?  I've no idea, but it doesn't spoil my enjoyment of the stories if they were not.

Sorry that you cannot empathize with your fellow dehumanized brothers. I mean, those Orcs are human beings, right? They are branded as Orcs - demon-like, ugly creatures - and killed. And that's not a tendency Tolkien has reserved for the Orcs. The men following the Dark Lords don't appear to friendly or sympathetic to western European eyes and ears, too. That is pretty much a pattern.

I have less of a problem when demons or monsters are killed in a fantasy story - and it is more or less clear that and why they are evil. But human beings transformed into monsters who were completely innocent being killed doesn't make for a very good moral. If Tolkien had shut up and the Orcs had just been the Orcs - demons/evil guys or unknown origin - fine. That could have been accepted (and that's the case in LotR, if I'm not misremembering).

But if you take the back story into account it is like happily eating the deer from this or that fairy-tale that's actually some transformed prince or princess.

3 hours ago, Ser Scot A Ellison said:

LV,

So, unless God creates a Universe full of omnipotent beings those beings lack free will?

And doesn’t the success or failure of a Director depend upon the Director’s goal?  If it is to self create beauty with the assistance of others you may be right.  If it is to create beings and see what beauty they create then the Director’s success or failure is unknown until the story is complete.

No, the point is that a god setting up the world in a proper way would reduce the chances that people would make the false choices to zero. Which your god can and has done. Or don't you think everything is alright in heaven and in god's presence? What's the difference between that state and place and our own world?

We can only judge the story by what we know - and what we know makes it clear that Arda is very fucked up. The Valar were not supposed to live in Aman -> they went there because of Melkor. The Elves belonged to Middle-earth -> they were taken to Aman because of Melkor and the Valar. The Elves were supposed to faint -> they did so because of Melkor. The Elves/Men were not supposed to be twisted into Orcs -> this was done because of Melkor. And so on and so forth.

If you make a music together and you only later learn that your music influences or decides the fate of a world then you likely would have played a different music if you had known what you were doing in the first place, no? I would, you most definitely, too. Eru didn't tell the Ainur why or what kind of a music they were making. 

The director's music was full of discord. His orchestra couldn't work in unison. This is his fault. Melkor was his musician. His choice. If you sat in the audience you would complain that the director allowed that Melkor fellow and his buddies to be part of the ensemble. You would also think Melkor had no place, there of course, but if you were to complain you would complain about the director and the company employing such morons, you would not go to Melkor and his buddies to demand your money back...

3 hours ago, The Marquis de Leech said:

No, Melkor is responsible for his own actions. That's the point of Free Will: Eru isn't forcing you to do anything.

Last time I looked he didn't allow Ar-Pharazôn to destroy the Blessed Realm. Why is that? And Eru certainly forces you to do stuff. He had the Ainur make a music, he stopped speaking to Men according to the Tale of Adanel and changed their fate, and he does a lot by not making his voice heard - like the curse the sons of Feanor brought on themselves to live on and kill them all, etc.

Eru deliberately allowed the tiger Melkor to enter the pen of his sheep. He even put the sheep into the tiger's den. Melkor was in his world and on the very continent his children awakened (while the good guys were half a world away) because Eru did that. His children could have awakened in Valinor, could they not?

3 hours ago, The Marquis de Leech said:

But let's take a step back. How would you write a setting that (1) has both a God figure in it, and (2) has Evil in it? What is your solution to the Problem of Evil?

I'd not really write that kind of setting because it inevitably leads to the contradictions I'm pointing out here. But Tolkien did a much better job when the Valar were actually the sub-deities of a pagan setting. You have to give up one of the contradicting premises - the big god doesn't care all that much, the sub-deities are not as perfect as Manwe later supposedly is, certain things are not determined or influenced by the big god, etc.

Else you just get an incoherent mess.

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7 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

The Ainulindale is only the world as such, not the Ainur who entered it. Melkor's tones would still be in the world if Eru created it that way (which he didn't have to - he could have just excised the discord of Melkor and his buddies, or better still: he could have told the Ainur to make another music he would then give reality, a music Melkor and his buddies would not participate in) but there was no reason why Eru should allow Melkor to enter Ea and actually do evil there. He knew what he would do yet he still allowed him to go in there. Other Ainur stayed out of the world.

In a sense it was finished. One of the old versions is pretty complete. The names do not all fit and the seeds for LotR are mostly not there, but this thing is pretty complete. The rewriting process didn't work, and I think I big reason why that failed is that Tolkien realized his stories could never survive the transfer into his new line of thought. His mythos couldn't be properly christianized (nor modernized into a cosmology for grown-ups).

Sorry that you cannot empathize with your fellow dehumanized brothers. I mean, those Orcs are human beings, right? They are branded as Orcs - demon-like, ugly creatures - and killed. And that's not a tendency Tolkien has reserved for the Orcs. The men following the Dark Lords don't appear to friendly or sympathetic to western European eyes and ears, too. That is pretty much a pattern.

I have less of a problem when demons or monsters are killed in a fantasy story - and it is more or less clear that and why they are evil. But human beings transformed into monsters who were completely innocent being killed doesn't make for a very good moral. If Tolkien had shut up and the Orcs had just been the Orcs - demons/evil guys or unknown origin - fine. That could have been accepted (and that's the case in LotR, if I'm not misremembering).

But if you take the back story into account it is like happily eating the deer from this or that fairy-tale that's actually some transformed prince or princess.

No, the point is that a god setting up the world in a proper way would reduce the chances that people would make the false choices to zero. Which your god can and has done. Or don't you think everything is alright in heaven and in god's presence? What's the difference between that state and place and our own world?

We can only judge the story by what we know - and what we know makes it clear that Arda is very fucked up. The Valar were not supposed to live in Aman -> they went there because of Melkor. The Elves belonged to Middle-earth -> they were taken to Aman because of Melkor and the Valar. The Elves were supposed to faint -> they did so because of Melkor. The Elves/Men were not supposed to be twisted into Orcs -> this was done because of Melkor. And so on and so forth.

If you make a music together and you only later learn that your music influences or decides the fate of a world then you likely would have played a different music if you had known what you were doing in the first place, no? I would, you most definitely, too. Eru didn't tell the Ainur why or what kind of a music they were making. 

The director's music was full of discord. His orchestra couldn't work in unison. This is his fault. Melkor was his musician. His choice. If you sat in the audience you would complain that the director allowed that Melkor fellow and his buddies to be part of the ensemble. You would also think Melkor had no place, there of course, but if you were to complain you would complain about the director and the company employing such morons, you would not go to Melkor and his buddies to demand your money back...

Last time I looked he didn't allow Ar-Pharazôn to destroy the Blessed Realm. Why is that? And Eru certainly forces you to do stuff. He had the Ainur make a music, he stopped speaking to Men according to the Tale of Adanel and changed their fate, and he does a lot by not making his voice heard - like the curse the sons of Feanor brought on themselves to live on and kill them all, etc.

Eru deliberately allowed the tiger Melkor to enter the pen of his sheep. He even put the sheep into the tiger's den. Melkor was in his world and on the very continent his children awakened (while the good guys were half a world away) because Eru did that. His children could have awakened in Valinor, could they not?

I'd not really write that kind of setting because it inevitably leads to the contradictions I'm pointing out here. But Tolkien did a much better job when the Valar were actually the sub-deities of a pagan setting. You have to give up one of the contradicting premises - the big god doesn't care all that much, the sub-deities are not as perfect as Manwe later supposedly is, certain things are not determined or influenced by the big god, etc.

Else you just get an incoherent mess.

Well, it's too bad.  Bad things happen to antagonists in books.

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8 minutes ago, SeanF said:

Well, it's too bad.  Bad things happen to antagonists in books.

If you say so. But this isn't the point. The point is what those antagonists are and how they are portrayed. They are, basically, humans who dehumanized into monsters. There is no orc-species in this world, no Orc race created by Eru. These guys are either Men or Elves, but they are not treated or even addressed as such, are they?

That is racism in its purest form. You take a group, point out existing or imagined criteria that set them apart from you, brand them with an derogatory term, and then you deal with them accordingly.

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12 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

If you say so. But this isn't the point. The point is what those antagonists are and how they are portrayed. They are, basically, humans who dehumanized into monsters. There is no orc-species in this world, no Orc race created by Eru. These guys are either Men or Elves, but they are not treated or even addressed as such, are they?

That is racism in its purest form. You take a group, point out existing or imagined criteria that set them apart from you, brand them with an derogatory term, and then you deal with them accordingly.

An awful lot of fantasy writing involves creating fictional races of antagonists for the protagonists to combat.  Orcs/goblins are one such, in exactly the same way as Others, Norns, Shanka, trolls, dementors, giants, vampires etc, all of whom have some human qualities.  And one can write interesting tales from the point of view of the antagonists.  But, one can just as easily write a good tale purely from the point of view of the protagonists.

Edited by SeanF

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7 hours ago, SeanF said:

An awful lot of fantasy writing involves creating fictional races of antagonists for the protagonists to combat.  Orcs/goblins are one such, in exactly the same way as Others, Norns, Shanka, trolls, dementors, giants, vampires etc, all of whom have some human qualities.  And one can write interesting tales from the point of view of the antagonists.  But, one can just as easily write a good tale purely from the point of view of the protagonists.

Oh, that's not the issue. I agree that you can have villains and evil species and the like in fantasy literature - with Tolkien the issue is that Orcs are Men/Elves but are not treated as such. They are collectively branded as sub-human or non-humans. They are not treated like the Men following the Dark Lords. 

If the Orcs were actually a different race than Elves/Men one could, perhaps, justify it better that they are treated the way they are treated. But that's not the case. Metaphysically, on the level of Tolkien's soul-and-body concept, the fear of the Orcs and the fear of Elves and Men shouldn't be different. Which means they are identical, yet their brethren look down on them and kill them.

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