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SeanF

Tolkien 3.0

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An interesting note from Myths Transformed:

the Wise in the Elder Days taught always that the Orcs were not 'made' by Melkor, and therefore were not in their origin evil. They might have become irredeemable (at least by Elves and Men), but they remained within the Law. That is, that though of necessity, being the fingers of the hand of Morgoth, they must be fought with the utmost severity, they must not be dealt with in their own terms of cruelty and treachery. Captives must not be tormented, not even to discover information for the defence of the homes of Elves and Men. If any Orcs surrendered and asked for mercy, they must be granted it, even at a cost.* This was the teaching of the Wise, though in the horror of the War it was not always heeded.

Footnote: Few Orcs ever did so in the Elder Days, and at no time would any Orc treat with any Elf. For one thing Morgoth had achieved was to convince the Orcs beyond refutation that the Elves were crueller than themselves, taking captives only for 'amusement', or to eat them (as the Orcs would do at need).)

So, no, Orkish genocide was off the table.

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As for Eru letting loose a Melkorian wolf in a pen of sheep:

(1) The Valar (you know, the shepherds) make mistakes. Nowhere in Tolkien's work does it suggest otherwise.

(2) Evil defeats itself, and is ultimately futile. Melkor would not have satisfied his desires, even if he had destroyed all sentient life.

(3) Eru's Music takes the best of Melkor's, and uses it for its own purposes. Melkor is ultimately working for the greater glory of creation, even as he hates it.

You also mentioned Eru intervening against Ar-Pharazon. Yes, he did. After the Valar had basically laid down their guardianship, and appealed to him to intervene - since the alternative would be the Valar having to take up arms against the Children of Iluvatar. The Valar were in an impossible situation, and Eru had to act.

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14 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

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.

Well, they're at war.  In real life, humans have treated each other far more brutally than the treatment meted out to orcs in LOTR.

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2 hours ago, The Marquis de Leech said:

An interesting note from Myths Transformed:

the Wise in the Elder Days taught always that the Orcs were not 'made' by Melkor, and therefore were not in their origin evil. They might have become irredeemable (at least by Elves and Men), but they remained within the Law. That is, that though of necessity, being the fingers of the hand of Morgoth, they must be fought with the utmost severity, they must not be dealt with in their own terms of cruelty and treachery. Captives must not be tormented, not even to discover information for the defence of the homes of Elves and Men. If any Orcs surrendered and asked for mercy, they must be granted it, even at a cost.* This was the teaching of the Wise, though in the horror of the War it was not always heeded.

Footnote: Few Orcs ever did so in the Elder Days, and at no time would any Orc treat with any Elf. For one thing Morgoth had achieved was to convince the Orcs beyond refutation that the Elves were crueller than themselves, taking captives only for 'amusement', or to eat them (as the Orcs would do at need).)

So, no, Orkish genocide was off the table.

I know that quote, but it doesn't really fit well with the events portrayed in the story, does it? What the Wise believed didn't necessarily influence the actions of the not-so-wise, especially not among Men.

And Gandalf never mentions anything along those lines - the point to bring that up would have been when Gandalf chided Frodo for Gollum. Instead he limited his lesson to Gollum rather than hitting a point an angel of the lord should have mentioned at that point, no?

2 hours ago, The Marquis de Leech said:

As for Eru letting loose a Melkorian wolf in a pen of sheep:

(1) The Valar (you know, the shepherds) make mistakes. Nowhere in Tolkien's work does it suggest otherwise.

Nobody talks about the Valar here. We talk about Eru. Who decided to put his children in Melkor's den. It is Eru's responsibility that the first Elves met the devil before they met the angels. He allowed Melkor to put fear and terror into the hearts of Elves and Men.

If you leave your younger children at the mercy/guidance of your elder children then you are to be blamed for any mistreatment of the younger children. Or would you say it is fine to leave an infant alone with a bunch ten-year-olds?

2 hours ago, The Marquis de Leech said:

(2) Evil defeats itself, and is ultimately futile. Melkor would not have satisfied his desires, even if he had destroyed all sentient life.

Not sure how this is relevant to topic. We are not talking about 'ultimately'. We are talking about specific events at given moments. You don't care that evil is ultimately futile when you are victim of very concrete evil that's happening to you, right?

Take the hypothetical first Orc-mother on the left - an immortal companion of Ingwe - who was raped and tortured and mutilated by Melkor and his minions for ages. What has she done to deserve that fate? What has Ingwe done to sit in splendor and nearly eternal bliss at the feet of Manwe and Varda?

2 hours ago, The Marquis de Leech said:

(3) Eru's Music takes the best of Melkor's, and uses it for its own purposes. Melkor is ultimately working for the greater glory of creation, even as he hates it.

That is Eru's claim, but we never actually see that happening (the snowflake excluded). It is Arda Marred, remember? The entire history of the world Tolkien describes shows that the world grew worse not better thanks to Melkor.

2 hours ago, The Marquis de Leech said:

You also mentioned Eru intervening against Ar-Pharazon. Yes, he did. After the Valar had basically laid down their guardianship, and appealed to him to intervene - since the alternative would be the Valar having to take up arms against the Children of Iluvatar. The Valar were in an impossible situation, and Eru had to act.

That didn't address my issue and I'm sure you know that: If Eru can limit/turn against the free will of Ar-Pharazôn and his men to invade Aman and butcher the Elves there, then he could also have limited Melkor's free will in a similar fashion.

Why did he kill all those people instead of not allowing Melkor and his buddies to enter Ea? Why did he integrate their discord into his creation? Why didn't he actually take steps to prevent the Númenóreans from their fall?

No rational/sane person would act the way this Eru-fellow does if he truly had the best interests of those children of his at heart. Eru obviously values Melkor's free will and ability to express himself more than he values the lives and well-being of Elves and Men.

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On 11/7/2018 at 4:14 PM, SeanF said:

Well, they're at war.  In real life, humans have treated each other far more brutally than the treatment meted out to orcs in LOTR.

That has little to do with our theological debate. Real world people killing each other were not guided and advised and supported by angels of the lord, or were they? Nor did they fight against the devil (or a demon) incarnate. In that kind of mythological setting one expects the good side to actually preach and live up to mythological standards of goodness and especially those anonymous 'Wise' (which should include Gandalf, Galadriel, Elrond, Círdan etc.) should actually preach and do everything in their power to teach people proper goodness.

But there is no indication that they did. And this is a pattern. The good guys never show up and provide those who don't know better or who start to have doubts any real knowledge. No Vala ever feels compelled to inform Men directly about how things are (as far as they know). Manwe doesn't trouble himself with going personally to Númenor to talk with the people there. The Men and Sindar remaining in Middle-earth are left alone during the FA (and before). And the Istari in the TA are don't give any indication that they care to find out what's going on in Dol Guldur or that they move the attention of the (then still) powerful kingdoms of Men to the Necromancer, so that the rise of Sauron could be prevented before he became too powerful.

In an actual mythological setting where the good guys live up to certain moral and theological truths, people would not act the way Tolkien's mythological characters act. 

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On 11/7/2018 at 8:40 AM, The Marquis de Leech said:

As for Eru letting loose a Melkorian wolf in a pen of sheep:

(1) The Valar (you know, the shepherds) make mistakes. Nowhere in Tolkien's work does it suggest otherwise.

(2) Evil defeats itself, and is ultimately futile. Melkor would not have satisfied his desires, even if he had destroyed all sentient life.

(3) Eru's Music takes the best of Melkor's, and uses it for its own purposes. Melkor is ultimately working for the greater glory of creation, even as he hates it.

You also mentioned Eru intervening against Ar-Pharazon. Yes, he did. After the Valar had basically laid down their guardianship, and appealed to him to intervene - since the alternative would be the Valar having to take up arms against the Children of Iluvatar. The Valar were in an impossible situation, and Eru had to act.

RBPL,

I think that LV believes that in any universe with a Supreme being that such a Supreme being is responsible for all evil because that being allowed a Universe to exist that has evil and suffering in it.

What LV, and anyone who takes this position, cannot explain is how anyone could differentiate happiness from everyday life in a Universe wherein which no evil and no suffering ever existed.  Where everyone is always perfectly content because that Universe was designed without any beings ever suffering from “natural causes” or any being having the ability to cause harm or suffering to any other being.

Edited by Ser Scot A Ellison

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20 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

That has little to do with our theological debate. Real world people killing each other were not guided and advised and supported by angels of the lord, or were they? Nor did they fight against the devil (or a demon) incarnate. In that kind of mythological setting one expects the good side to actually preach and live up to mythological standards of goodness and especially those anonymous 'Wise' (which should include Gandalf, Galadriel, Elrond, Círdan etc.) should actually preach and do everything in their power to teach people proper goodness.

But there is no indication that they did. And this is a pattern. The good guys never show up and provide those who don't know better or who start to have doubts any real knowledge. No Vala ever feels compelled to inform Men directly about how things are (as far as they know). Manwe doesn't trouble himself with going personally to Númenor to talk with the people there. The Men and Sindar remaining in Middle-earth are left alone during the FA (and before). And the Istari in the TA are don't give any indication that they care to find out what's going on in Dol Guldur or that they move the attention of the (then still) powerful kingdoms of Men to the Necromancer, so that the rise of Sauron could be prevented before he became too powerful.

In an actual mythological setting where the good guys live up to certain moral and theological truths, people would not act the way Tolkien's mythological characters act. 

The good guys are quite capable of doing bad things.  I think that's pretty plain from the histories of Gondor, Numenor, Rohan, elves and dwarves.

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14 hours ago, SeanF said:

The good guys are quite capable of doing bad things.  I think that's pretty plain from the histories of Gondor, Numenor, Rohan, elves and dwarves.

Which doesn't make much sense if they are properly schooled and educated by 'the Wise', no? I mean, what kind of message were the Istari spreading for about 2,000 years?

The dwarves are another matter entirely. They are a flawed species and they were deliberately created as flawed by Eru - which also feels like a mean thing to do. Great for Aule's vanity but not exactly good for the dwarves. Surely their 'free will' is crippled and twisted from the start considering that we know they were given very specific characteristics and traits...

Edited by Lord Varys

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9 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Which doesn't make much sense if they are properly schooled and educated by 'the Wise', no? I mean, what kind of message were the Istari spreading for about 2,000 years?

The dwarves are another matter entirely. They are a flawed species and they were deliberately created as flawed by Eru - which also feels like a mean thing to do. Great for Aule's vanity but not exactly good for the dwarves. Surely their 'free will' is crippled and twisted from the start considering that we know they were given very specific characteristics and traits...

Tolkien avoided graphic accounts of violence and rape, but Middle Earth throughout its history is as cruel and depraved as our own world.

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6 hours ago, SeanF said:

Tolkien avoided graphic accounts of violence and rape, but Middle Earth throughout its history is as cruel and depraved as our own world.

Case in point: The Rohirrim hunting the Dunlendings for mere sport. Not to mention Numenor's later predilection for human sacrifice.

Edited by The Grey Wolf

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