This website contains archives of the Tolkien Discussion Group from 2009 to early 2013.

The discussion group continues to meet
in Second Life in Alqualonde the Swanhaven. Contact AelKennyr Rhiano in Second Life.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Wraiths, Orcs, and Monsters, part 1

Tolkien Discussion Group
October 27, 2010
Wraiths, Orcs, and Monsters

Shawn Daysleeper
Fifi Wickentower
Kellinar Trevellion
AelKennyr Rhiano
Lihan Taifun (briefly)

Nothing related to Tolkien.
Some discussion of whether Linden Labs employs orcs.
Some discussion of Movie Nights and Game Nights in Alqualondë The Swanhaven.
Some discussion of SL viewers, and which ones run on a Mac, and whether this would change if Microsoft really did buy SL.

AelKennyr Rhiano: The teleri are the "party elves" you don't want to have next door because they always have parties midweek and play their harps too loud!
Shawn Daysleeper: hehe
Kellinar Trevellion: grins
Fifi Wickentower: Try that - - see if you can acces the pics
Kellinar Trevellion: omg....that is too funny!

Lihan Taifun: and I wanted to know about the parallel universe :( The Tolkien wraiths really do seem to inhabit a parallel universe. I wanted to see how that worked. What are we discussing next week?
AelKennyr Rhiano: Let's talk about wraiths then?
Kellinar Trevellion: Yes, sounds interesting.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Humans - and the Waning of the Elves, part 2

Tolkien Discussion Group
October 20, 2010
Silmarillion Chapter 12: "Of Men"

Fifi Wickentower
AelKennyr Rhiano
Shawn Daysleeper
Lihan Taifun

It seems to be some form of evolution (or elv-olution), but there was no consensus whether elves were becoming more human and assimilating into humans, or whether elves were becoming more Ainur-ish, and humans were moving into the niche previously occupied by elves.
Humans generally change their environment to suit them, and elves generally work in harmony with the environment, so elves don't appreciate humans as neighbors. As the human population increased, elves either moved to the West (the High Elves) or retreated to remote areas (the wild elves.) Some of the wild elves might have assimilated into human society, if they had no other option.
How would the changes of the Ages affect the Elves in the Undying Lands?

Lihan Taifun: . . . . . . . yay!
Fifi Wickentower: . . . . hello!! good to see you
Lihan Taifun: . . . . . . . it's so boring without you

Lihan Taifun: . . . . . . . there isn't much meat in this chapter
Fifi Wickentower: . . . . nibbles on a few words
Lihan Taifun: . . . . . . . but we were wondering why it was "inevitable" that elves would diminish, once humans were on the scene
Fifi Wickentower: . . . . I have a theory but nothing to back it up . . just my own opinion
Lihan Taifun: . . . . . . . that's as much as we usually have
Fifi Wickentower: . . . . we usually try to pull out obscure references to shore up opinion . . at least I do

Lihan Taifun: . . . . . . . Fifi said she had a theory!
Fifi Wickentower: . . . . aside from natural ELV-olution. I would rather you all say stuff first
Lihan Taifun whacks Fifi again
Fifi Wickentower: . . . . I'm impervious . . .anyone want a cookie?
Lihan Taifun: . . . . . . . let's see, last week we mentioned that elves -- in a number of traditions -- are associated with a past "Golden Age"

AelKennyr Rhiano: . . Sooo. the ascent of man and the waning of the that like the cockroaches taking over the world?
Fifi Wickentower: . . . . kinda. Fifi Wickentower shudders
Lihan Taifun: . . . . . . . apparently. Humans have a comparatively high birthrate, and they are naturally impatient
Fifi Wickentower: . . . . as the light withdraws and the world becomes more dense and 'material'
Lihan Taifun: . . . . . . . does that mean trolls will take over from humans?
Fifi Wickentower: . . . . I don't think so . . something we don't know yet will follow the humans . . . as they breed, and as the needs of life change
Lihan Taifun: . . . . . . . something even more dense and material than humans?
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . but is that evolution...or de-evolution?
Fifi Wickentower: . . . . Illuvitar knows
Lihan Taifun: . . . . . . . yes, devolution you would think
Fifi Wickentower: . . . . is there a difference? hehe
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . I had a similar theory... that the elves are not waning
Fifi Wickentower: . . . . it's like making copies . . .the master is the crispest
Lihan Taifun: . . . . . . . so humans are less crisp?
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . they are blurry
Fifi Wickentower: . . . . well, yes . . . that's why dragons cook them . . to crisp them up and dunk in ketchup
Lihan Taifun: . . . . . . . it did sound like a dragonish thing to say
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . euuuuu, all that bad cholesterol
Fifi Wickentower: . . . . toothy grin . . . . .I do live around dragons - - must be affecting me
Lihan Taifun: . . . . . . . "do not meddle in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy and good with ketchup"
Fifi Wickentower: . . . . yes!!!!
Fifi Wickentower: . . . . so pesky humans
Lihan Taifun: . . . . . . . yes -- blurry copies of elves
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . I don't think the elves are waning
Fifi Wickentower: . . . . Ael, is it your thought that the elves are withdrawing rather than dying out?
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . no. I actually believe in the evolution but in a different direction
Fifi Wickentower: . . . . listens
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . well, in that as a possibilty. I think that over times....the elves who live near and around the Ainur become more Ainur like over time. They evolved, grow up....
Fifi Wickentower: . . . . I agree. There are few, tho
Lihan Taifun: . . . . . . . that assumes the Ainur are "grown up" -- but go on
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . Evolution does not tolerate a gap though, so humans evolve, grow up to fill the void left by the elven evolution. Well, speaking metaphorically
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . or perhaps fae are evolving to fill the gaps left by the humans, and humans to fill the gap left by the fae
Fifi Wickentower: . . . . humans are not evolved enough, in their present, state to perceive the world beyond their senses
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . nor would middle earth elves
Fifi Wickentower: . . . . it seems that the fae leaving causes a sharp decline in the heath of the 'natural' world
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . The eldar, I think, would become "of" the world but not "in" it, unless there was a great need to force them to interact directly with other races
Fifi Wickentower: . . . . nods. Just as with the Ainur
Lihan Taifun: . . . . . . . that part I understand
Fifi Wickentower: . . . . and length of life has something to do with it too . . .we talked about that before.What say you Lihan? Have you a theory?
Lihan Taifun: . . . . . . . only the part about humans breeding faster and being more impatient, and thus crowding out the elves. Iit does seem to me that the elves are "withdrawing" as much as dying off
Fifi Wickentower: . . . . so the elves are not capable of protecting themselves from the hoards of humans?
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . like an invasion of Mongols?
Fifi Wickentower: . . . . yep
Lihan Taifun: . . . . . . . not killing off the elves directly, but, crowding them out, making life uncomfortable
Fifi Wickentower: . . . . or an uh oh . . .humans are moving in next door and bulldozing down the forest
Shawn Daysleeper: . I mentioned some time ago that humans modify the environment to benefit themselves, while elves seek harmony in their environment, so humans can occupy a much larger range of environments
Fifi Wickentower: . . . . good point
Lihan Taifun: . . . . . . . yes. And also so elves would seldom enjoy having humans for neighbors
Fifi Wickentower: . . . . I look at it as a vibrational frequency . . . .each color has a certain rate . . . and as the rate of vibration becomes more dense . . humans arise and elves naturally are further away
Lihan Taifun: . . . . . . . even when humans were living in the same kingdom as elves -- like under Gilgalad in Lindon, they generally didn't live in the same settlements
Fifi Wickentower: . . . . they don't change their essence to fit in with the new kids . . they would not thrive
Lihan Taifun: . . . . . . . more that the elves allowed some human "reservations"
Fifi Wickentower nod
AelKennyr Rhiano nods
Lihan Taifun: . . . . . . . or even Rivendell, how many humans lived there full time? none, I think
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . Humans would be difficult for elves to understand, I think...especially as human civilization develops
Lihan Taifun: . . . . . . . yes, it seems like the elves mostly put up with the few humans who could adapt to elven civilization
Fifi Wickentower: . . . . yes
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . Well, the basic perspective on life would be vastly different.
Lihan Taifun: . . . . . . . did any humans ever learn elven "technology"?
Shawn Daysleeper: . yes, for example the palantiri were created by elves
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . I think a few may have learned the rudiments of sailing from the elves
Lihan Taifun: . . . . . . . ok, sailing, maybe some building, but the technologies diverged pretty quickly. I can't imagine humans making palantiri, or rings of power
Shawn Daysleeper: . yes but they used them
Lihan Taifun: . . . . . . . and those are things humans would covet
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . I could see them learning agriculture from the elves
Lihan Taifun: . . . . . . . true, metalworking, so the elves probably taught the humans, up to about early iron-age technology
Shawn Daysleeper: . what about leadership? did humans have kings when they first met the elves?
AelKennyr Rhiano: . .
Shawn Daysleeper: . there were the Faithful humans of Numenore, did they learn things from elves?
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . I believe they would
Shawn Daysleeper: . right, then you have the ones that defied the elves and the valar. they seemed to be responsible for the waning of the elves in that country
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . perhaps?
Sorry, I thought these two webpages were interesting...blushes
Shawn Daysleeper: . yes Shawn Daysleeper smiles
Fifi Wickentower: . . . . they are!!! chewing on words and cookie
Fifi Wickentower: . . . . that's the first time I have seen it laid out like that . . second link nod nod nod
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . me, too...I was really impressed by that
Shawn Daysleeper: . yes
Lihan Taifun: . . . . . . . yes, a very good summary

AelKennyr Rhiano: . . perhaps the change in Elvish Fëar and Hröar could play a role in the waning of the elves. 
{editor:fëar = "spirits", hröar = "physical bodies"}

AelKennyr Rhiano: . . but as nature does not like a vacuum...something had to fill the void created by those elves who chose not to go to the Halls of Mandos. I thought you pretty much had to go, for the most part.
Lihan Taifun: . . . . . . . yes, that was the first I had seen about elves being able to refuse. I wonder what the webpage's source was, for that
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . Wow, in the 4th Age rp...if a Vanya elf were to die and refuse to go to the Halls of Mandos, can you imagine the stir that would cause?
Fifi Wickentower: . . . . hmmmm!!
Lihan Taifun: . . . . . . . WHY would a Vanya refuse? they are such goody two-shoes I can't imagine them defying the Valar
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . Exactly
Fifi Wickentower: . . . . maybe hanging around humans too much
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . To refuse would mean that something either changed that elf, or the race itself.
Lihan Taifun: . . . . . . . very much so. And how would a Vanya ever meet a human?
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . Elven teenage rebel runs away from home?
Fifi Wickentower: . . . . there!!!
Lihan Taifun: . . . . . . . sounds like Galadriel
Fifi Wickentower: . . . . lol . . it does
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . Or perhaps, if the race is evolving and changing....their racial characteristics change as well, perhaps they become "curious". With the 4th age rp, for example, perhaps, the unseen hand of a Vala gives them a "push" to develop to change.
Lihan Taifun: . . . . . . . if they are changing and evolving, that implies some change or stress they are responding to
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . Thus Elwing appears in Alqualonde. The marring of Arda could have a profound effect on their racial psyche? I think more so than on either the Noldor or the Teleri
Lihan Taifun: . . . . . . . on the Vanyar's racial psyche?
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . yes? perhaps
Lihan Taifun: . . . . . . . they seem so distant from Arda
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . maybe not?
Lihan Taifun: . . . . . . . I would have thought they were the ones becoming "Ainurish" the fastest
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . good point
Lihan Taifun: . . . . . . . do you have some Vanyar who want to get into a storyline?
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . well, about this...the Ainu explored the world when it was formed and they went in search of elves... if the Vanya are becoming more ainuish, perhap they would become the same way toward humans.
Lihan Taifun: . . . . . . . why the sudden push to make the Vanyar interesting?
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . I don't think so...was mainly using it for example
Lihan Taifun: . . . . . . . oh, I see
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . since they were the least active of the three
Lihan Taifun: . . . . . . . "least active" -- much more polite than "boring"
Shawn Daysleeper: . maybe one could rp a rebel vanya, as you said earlier
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . I was just thinking of ways they would "evolve" over time, reasons
Shawn Daysleeper: . I think that would be the only way to make it interesting, or not boring
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . probably
Lihan Taifun: . . . . . . . but would any elves be becoming more "humanlike?"
Fifi Wickentower: . . . . I doubt it . . . why would they?
Lihan Taifun: . . . . . . . right. There isn't even a vacuum -- plenty of humans being humanlike
Fifi Wickentower: . . . . I just think it is part of the overall natural changes that occur in any age
Lihan Taifun: . . . . . . . I was just wondering why elves would be moving in a human-ish direction, instead of diverging
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . I would think the progression would be more toward that a word? except for the wild elves or those who remain among men. Perhaps that would be the reason for becoming humanlike...assimiliate or die out?
Shawn Daysleeper: . or sail to the west
Lihan Taifun: . . . . . . . or, become Ainur-ish, and fade away from view
AelKennyr Rhiano nods. Fading from view, would that be the same as waning? Seen from a human Fifi Wickentower: . . . . either way . . do they eventually lose the elvishness of themselves?
Lihan Taifun: . . . . . . . from the human perspective, probably it would. Why would it be losing their elvishness?
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . huh?
Fifi Wickentower: . . . . if they become more humanish . . . is at the expense of their elven nature? I don't know . . only asking
Lihan Taifun: . . . . . . . oh, if they became more human-like
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . living with humans? History shows that when a weaker group lives side by side with a stronger group, there is danger of assimilation. And humans are more numerous....if the elves began to intermarry, adopt human customs and cultures to survive. Their elvishness would not, I fear.
Fifi Wickentower: . . . . nod nod . . .would their ears become rounded? which are the dominant genes?
Lihan Taifun: . . . . . . . if elves did that, then I suppose they could lose their elvishness
Shawn Daysleeper: . I agree
Lihan Taifun: . . . . . . . but, would elves hang out with humans?
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . I guess I was using the Vanyar as examples before because if the evolutionary move for elves were toward humanism.....they would be either the most affected by the change or they would simply die out.
Shawn Daysleeper: . not likely, which may explain why they wane. as human numbers grew, they sought to avoid humans.
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . if it were survival?
Fifi Wickentower: . . . . wasn't it?
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . if your only option is to watch your people die out, which would you choose?
Lihan Taifun: . . . . . . . if they wanted to avoid humans, the easiest way is to sail back to the West. Or are you talking about the wild elves?
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . maybe both? this is all so hypothetical
Shawn Daysleeper nods
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . but I cannot see wildelves choosing extinction
Lihan Taifun: . . . . . . . I can imagine wild elves intermarrying with humans and being assimilated
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . me, too
Lihan Taifun: . . . . . . . in a previous discussion, we figured the hobbits had done that
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . I remember. And those Noldor who went to middle earth. What about the Sindar?
Lihan Taifun: . . . . . . . well, most of the Noldor sailed West
Lihan Taifun: . . . . . . . the Sindar might have assimilated, I suppose, if they didnt' withdraw deeper into the forests, or underground again
AelKennyr Rhiano nods. Shawn Daysleeper nods
Lihan Taifun: . . . . . . . so, does that leave any groups of elves unaccounted for?
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . I am sure it does, but who knows? lol
Shawn Daysleeper: . none that I know
Lihan Taifun: . . . . . . . those who could, sailed back to the Undying Lands, and those who couldn't, may have assimilated
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . or died out
Lihan Taifun: . . . . . . . or else haunt very remote places, which, um, may be a stage on the way to dying out
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . yes
Fifi Wickentower: . . . . poor elves
Shawn Daysleeper: . ya
AelKennyr Rhiano gives the Ainur big puppy dog eyes
Fifi Wickentower: . . . . awwwww
Shawn Daysleeper grins
Fifi Wickentower: . . . . not buying it hehe
Lihan Taifun: . . . . . . . they don't even get an "elvish historical museum" to commemorate them

AelKennyr Rhiano: . . What is our topic for next time?
Lihan Taifun: . . . . . . . I don't think we have any stored-up extra topics
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . witches, goblins and ghosts, in honor of halloween?
Lihan Taifun: . . . . . . . is that Tolkienish?
Shawn Daysleeper tries to think of any witches or ghosts in middle earth...
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . How about goblins, balrogs, and wraiths?
Fifi Wickentower: . . . . I think I'm traveling next week sigh
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . WE missed you!
Lihan Taifun: . . . . . . . awwww
Fifi Wickentower: . . . . beams
Shawn Daysleeper: . yes I missed you Fifi

Lihan Taifun: . . . . . . . wraiths are a bit like ghosts
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . orc, goblins and wraiths...oh my!
Lihan Taifun: . . . . . . . Sauron and Saruman are a lot like ghosts these days
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . true

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Humans - and the Waning of the Elves, part 1

Tolkien Discussion Group
October 13, 2010
Silmarillion Chapter 12: "Of Men"

Shawn Daysleeper
Lihan Taifun
AelKennyr Rhiano
Rajani Milton (briefly)

In what sense do the Elves "wane"? How do you define the "dominant" species?
In many mythologies, "elves" are associated with a past "golden age".
Perhaps the Elves couldn't bear watching Humans squander the Creator's gifts. Elves would not enjoy the changes Humans made to the environment.
Perhaps Elves evolved to become more Ainur-like.

{We discuss The Books vs The Movies. Then we discuss Bored of the Rings parody.}

AelKennyr Rhiano: . . You know, I wondered something...when human came on the scene...why did the elves HAVE to wane?

{Lihan crashes and relogs.}

Lihan Taifun:. . . . . . . last I remember, Ael was asking whether the elves had to wane? was there an answer?
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . We thought you were giving us a great long answer, so we waited, and waited, then you went poof! :P
Lihan Taifun:. . . . . . . ohhh, I was actually crashing. I said "good question"
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . oh,darn, I was hoping for a good answer heh heh
Shawn Daysleeper: . ✦✧HaHaHa✦✧
Lihan Taifun:. . . . . . . it isn't obvious why humans would supplant elves
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . no, not really
Lihan Taifun:. . . . . . . although it was pretty clear that, in the 20th century, when JRRT was writing, elves weren't the dominant species
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . well not from a human perspective, and it depends upon the definition of dominant as to whether humans really are ...
Lihan Taifun:. . . . . . . any other candidates?
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . does it come from the ability to display intelligence? the ability to destroy the world? the ability to affect the balance of nature. There are other species that are more numerous, for example
Shawn Daysleeper: . ya there are far more insects than humans
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . and humans are not the only intelligent life that communicates. The earth is mostly water and we have yet to discover what lies deep beneath the ocean
Lihan Taifun:. . . . . . . all true. How does that affect elves vs humans?
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . So humans are the only dominant species that Humans are aware of? I just was wondering why, in so many mythologies, there is this recurrent theme of the elves waning as the human waxes
Lihan Taifun:. . . . . . . the elves "waned" in political influence?
AelKennyr Rhiano nods. Or in visibility. Once human appear, the elves seem to decline in some manne
Lihan Taifun:. . . . . . . in mythologies, the elves seem to be remnants of some earlier group. Tthe elves belong to some previous "golden age"
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . yes..very much like the passing of a golden age
Shawn Daysleeper: . is it because humans are more adaptable? and also manipulate their environment to survive? elves prefer not to tamper with nature so their habitat is more restrictive
Lihan Taifun:. . . . . . . that does seem to be part of it -- "loss of elf habitat" -- "they paved paradise and put up a parking lot"
Shawn Daysleeper: . yup
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . Well, I noted in the Silmarillion that it is remarked that the elves grew in wisdom over the pasing of their long lives...perhaps seeing the way humans squander the gifts of Illuvatar, the natural resources is too much for them to bear
Lihan Taifun:. . . . . . . that must hurt them
Shawn Daysleeper nods
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . or...perhaps....elves "evolve"....become more like the ainur....concerned for the world but yet removed from it
Lihan Taifun:. . . . . . . it did say the elves had more human-like bodies in the beginning, and then the fire of their spirits did something to them
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . yes. There seemed to be a distinction made between the elves who went to th West and the ones who stayed in middle earth
Lihan Taifun:. . . . . . . I suppose Fifi would say the elves got more ethereal
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . If Elu grew more like a Maia in appearance and strength and ability from his relationship with Melian...then what would living in the Shining Lands do to the elves there?
Lihan Taifun:. . . . . . . it did seem to affect them
Lihan Taifun:. . . . . . . the word "flame eyed" was sometimes used to describe elves who had lived in the West
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . I wondered about that term, what it meant
Lihan Taifun:. . . . . . . I've been reading dictionaries
AelKennyr Rhiano nods. In the rp, We Teleri look different than other elves in other ever notice that, Shawn?
Shawn Daysleeper: . yes, we look different than most elves in other rp
Lihan Taifun:. . . . . . . the Teleri are pale and light haired?
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . taller, usually
Lihan Taifun:. . . . . . . Tolkien elves are always tall
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . less delicate
Shawn Daysleeper: . we're also more beautiful. Shawn Daysleeper grins
AelKennyr Rhiano blushes
Shawn Daysleeper: . joking
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . heh heh
Lihan Taifun:. . . . . . . no, we won't discuss Peter Jackson elves ...

{We discuss which actors in The Movies were hot.}

AelKennyr Rhiano: . . Did you like th movies, Lihan?
Lihan Taifun:. . . . . . . I'm too much of a purist
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . you are?
Lihan Taifun:. . . . . . . the first movie was ok
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . but you rp the 4th age?
Lihan Taifun:. . . . . . . then the plot started to diverge from the books, and people who liked a book seldom like the movie made from it
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . that is classic Hollywood for you
Shawn Daysleeper: . I liked them at first, but I remember first seeing the Faramir scene and I was like ... omg!
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . all things considered, I like the movies
Lihan Taifun:. . . . . . . I liked the way they played Faramir. It's controversial, but I liked it
AelKennyr Rhiano nods thoughtfully.. I had to really watch it again and think about it
Shawn Daysleeper: . ya Faramir was ok, but when he sent frodo/sam to osgiliath, was kinda odd
Lihan Taifun:. . . . . . . having Frodo meet the Nazgul in the middle of the scene shoots a huge hole in the plot, though
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . true, very true
Shawn Daysleeper: . ya
Lihan Taifun:. . . . . . . yeah, so going to Osgiliath, on the whole, doesn't work so well, but the interpretation of Faramir's personality was good
Shawn Daysleeper: . I thought it weakened Sauron a lot
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . But the whole idea of translating LOTR into a commercial movie...that is very daunting. Because the bottom line is appealing to the lowest common denominator
Lihan Taifun:. . . . . . . very true. And then having to condense it to 9 hours
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . yes, that too. I don't think we would watch 120 hours of LOTR, and it would take a series to really tell the story
Shawn Daysleeper: . ya all in all it was good film
Lihan Taifun:. . . . . . . an awful lot of least common denominator
Shawn Daysleeper: . yup. But I think the movies did spark a lot of interest in the books
Lihan Taifun:. . . . . . . I wonder how many of them ended up liking the books? The beginning of Fellowship of the Ring is waaaaaay to slow
Shawn Daysleeper: . I have met people that liked the books better, after seeing the films
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . A lot of my students liked the graphic novels, but not the books
Lihan Taifun:. . . . . . . really?
Shawn Daysleeper: . ya
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . did they say why?
Shawn Daysleeper: . characterization, mainly. The characters are better described I the books, their actions reasoning, etc. But some people only like books if the characters are believable and well developed. Tolkien does a good job at this
Lihan Taifun:. . . . . . . interesting, since I thought the movies tried to add some personality to the characters. I thought the books were a little lacking in some of the characters
Shawn Daysleeper: . but then I meet some who don't like all the descriptions, like Tolkien taking a few pages to describe a tree. So I have met both
Lihan Taifun:. . . . . . . I can relate to that
Shawn Daysleeper: . ya
AelKennyr Rhiano nods
Shawn Daysleeper: . I agree the beginning is way too slow in the books. I tell people to get past the first 50 pages, then it will be worth it
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . lol
Shawn Daysleeper grins
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . but that is not uncommon for books of that era to take a little long to get going
Lihan Taifun:. . . . . . . there is another slow stretch between Weathertop and the Fords
Shawn Daysleeper: . yup, and again in Rivendell
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . oh yeah, forgot about that
Lihan Taifun:. . . . . . . a good editor could fix that. So I don't object to screenwriters skipping over the boring parts
Shawn Daysleeper nods
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . yes, but imagine being Tolkien's editor and suggesting that...yikes
Shawn Daysleeper laughs
Lihan Taifun:. . . . . . . no one would dare suggest any changes now. Can't mess with Sacred Texts :P
Shawn Daysleeper nods
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . absolutely. But you know those parodies that are popular now... like Little Vampire Women... Abraham Lincoln, Vampire slayer....imagine them doing one of the Hobbitt
Shawn Daysleeper: . are they? for the Hobbit?
Lihan Taifun:. . . . . . . I've read the Harvard Lampoon of it
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . I wouldn't be surprised.. but I doubt Chris would let them. oh, I did too....Bored of the Rings. I didn't get all the cultural references thought
Lihan Taifun:. . . . . . . cultural references?
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . well it was written in the 1960s I think
Lihan Taifun:. . . . . . . Tom Benzadrine. tsk, you're too young
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . heh heh I gues I was... I remember it followed the outline of the Lord of the Rings...
Lihan Taifun:. . . . . . . naturally
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . oooh I do know a piece of trivia about the parody..though... the first Signet cover edition....was drawn by Michael Frith, one of the designers for the Muppets
Lihan Taifun:. . . . . . . was that the cover that was a parody of the old LotR paperback covers?
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . yes. I remember that Pippin became Pepsi in the parody. Frodo was Frito. Samwise was Spam
Lihan Taifun:. . . . . . . Frito and Spam. Pepsi and Moxie. Arrowroot, son of Arrowshirt
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . oh yeah
Lihan Taifun:. . . . . . . Gimlet and Legolamb
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . and Celeborn was Cellophane
Lihan Taifun:. . . . . . . oh yes! and Gladwrap
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . oh...oh...and Treebeard the Ent was Birdseye the Vee-Ates
Lihan Taifun:. . . . . . . oh, and he talked just like the Jolly Green Giant!
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . and the orcs were narcs. yes! lol
Lihan Taifun:. . . . . . . and the sheep-riders, with their German accents
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . heh heh

AelKennyr Rhiano: . . ummmm...we didn't talk about the coming of men at all
Lihan Taifun:. . . . . . . we tried to
Lihan Taifun:. . . . . . . are we enjoying these discussions? Do we want to keep doing this?
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . heh heh Hopefully we are not boring Shawn
Shawn Daysleeper smiles. No you are not
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . I didn't know about this
Shawn Daysleeper: . I have not seen this
Lihan Taifun:. . . . . . . oh dear, movies
Shawn Daysleeper: . lol
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . lolol
Shawn Daysleeper grins
Lihan Taifun:. . . . . . . here comes Rajani
Rajani Milton: . . . . . . Oselle!
Lihan Taifun:. . . . . . . this is my sister Rajani


Rajani Milton: . . . . . . So have we been discussing the attractiveness of certain Edain, or has the discussion moved on?
Lihan Taifun:. . . . . . . Ilmare IS a more canon patron than Tilion. It was more like whether Legolas was hot
Rajani Milton: . . . . . . but probably not as good a consort Ah!
AelKennyr Rhiano blushes and grins
Rajani Milton: . . . . . . Dark-haired Legolas yes, blond Legolas meh
Shawn Daysleeper grins
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . There is hair dye for that...blushes and smiles. Well, we didn't discuss Chapter 12 but we enjoyed ourselves
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . and besides...humans are dull
Shawn Daysleeper: . ✦✧HaHaHa✦✧
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . you just get them all housebroken and then they up and die on you
Lihan Taifun:. . . . . . . Chapter 12 was where the humans showed up
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . housebroken*
Shawn Daysleeper: . thank you for the fun discussion, but I need to go sleep
Lihan Taifun:. . . . . . . and then they crowd the elves out, for no reason
Rajani Milton: . . . . . . they do

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


Tolkien Discussion Group
October 6, 2010

Topic: Telepathy

AelKennyr Rhiano
Shawn Daysleeper
Lihan Taifun

We know Valar, and some elves, were able to communicate mentally, at close range. (Remember Galadriel questioning the Fellowship.) Telepathy does not seem to be a common skill among elves. We also don't know what its limits were.
Telepathy would be a can of worms in roleplay, as a dangerous invitation to god-modding.
While not exactly "telepathy", both Smaug and Saruman had the more-than-natural ability to temporarily influence other people's thinking.
There are also examples of technology-induced telepathy (and seeing and hearing at a distance) -- the palantiri, the Seats of Seeing and Hearing at Amon Hen and Amon Lhaw, Galadriel's Mirror, and to some extent the Rings of Power. These do not necessarily require a skilled user.
Galadriel's Mirror may well have used the technology Fëanor developed for the palantiri.

Lihan Taifun: . . . . . . . anyone else coming tonight?
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . Looks like we are it.
Lihan Taifun: . . . . . . . I did some research --- trying to get the notecard ... Shawn, did you find anything about Smaug?
Shawn Daysleeper: . oops, no I did not
Lihan Taifun: . . . . . . . (now we have a break while everyone reads)

Lihan Taifun: . . . . . . . it seems like a lot of instances "telepathy" is closely related to seeing or hearing at a distance. "clairvoyance"?

AelKennyr Rhiano: . . I guess a question would be did all elves possess these abilities?

Lihan Taifun: . . . . . . . anyway, there are several Quenya words that relate to telepathy -- "thought sending", "thought reading", "mental closed-ness"

AelKennyr Rhiano: . . so in the rp where Olwe encounter this unseen entity...could that have been Melkor? Could that have been that he tapped into the elven ability for telepathy?
Lihan Taifun: . . . . . . . I don't think we know how widespread the talent was. I would expect it was something people studied ... but could they occasionally get flashes of it?
AelKennyr Rhiano nods
Lihan Taifun: . . . . . . . actually telepathy would be a can of worms for rp
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . oh yes
Shawn Daysleeper: . yes
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . dangerously close to godmodding, if not careful
Lihan Taifun: . . . . . . . yes
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . that was why I was so careful in that scenario to leave it open as to whether it really happened or was just Olwe's insanity
Lihan Taifun: . . . . . . . and even if it really happened, was it the other being's power that was transmitting?
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . precisely
Lihan Taifun: . . . . . . . Nienna hasn't used her telepathy for anything that couldn't have been communicated by words
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . But we also have the instance of where Ulmo "heard" Elwing... and is going to Alqualonde to see why she is there. as her mind was clouded.
Lihan Taifun: . . . . . . . well, Ulmo is a powerful Vala
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . Am I playing him too "weak?"
Lihan Taifun: . . . . . . . I haven't read it yet (ooops)
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . oops lol
If telepathy is an elven ability, then why can't Nole find Olwe? or any other elf, for that matter?
Lihan Taifun: . . . . . . . well, do we have any examples of elves using telepathy at a distance? without technology? and the technology is usually in linked sets ... a set of palantiri, the Rings of Power as a set ...
Shawn Daysleeper: . it seems to be an ability used close to the recipient. Ya I need to know if I am rp Nole correctly
Lihan Taifun: . . . . . . . in the canon stories, telepathy is NOT a common occurance
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . ok, so we are pretty much on target

Shawn Daysleeper: . it appears Smaug was not using telepathy. I am not sure where I got that idea
Lihan Taifun: . . . . . . . Jedi mind tricks?
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . hahahahah
Lihan Taifun: . . . . . . . I don't have it in front of me ... something about trying to influence Bilbo's mind
Shawn Daysleeper: . dragons are smooth talkers
Lihan Taifun: . . . . . . . very
Shawn Daysleeper: . it's in the language, not necessarily telepathic
Lihan Taifun: . . . . . . . and the comment that "Bilbo was in danger of falling under a dragon spell", which sounded like more than just being cozened by the smooth talking
Shawn Daysleeper: . ya, kinda like Sauruman later on after isengard fell
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . well, he was centuries old
Lihan Taifun: . . . . . . . I was just thinking of Saruman
Shawn Daysleeper nods. Saruman is centuries old also, maybe comes with age
Lihan Taifun: . . . . . . . hypnotic smooth talkers
Shawn Daysleeper: . which is why some elves may be perciebed to have telepathy

AelKennyr Rhiano: . . In common with Tolkien's other dragons, Smaug has power of hypnosis using his eyes; every time he looks towards the unseen Bilbo, he puts him "in mortal danger of falling under the dragon's spell", and makes him suddenly want to tell him everything. The eyes "rove" from side to side in search of him, however Bilbo is invisible with the help of the One Ring at the time and the impact of their power does not consume his mind completely. Smaug does, however, possess what is described as "quite an overwhelming personality", as well as a dry, if cruel, sense of humour, so that aside from coming close to making Bilbo betray his friends, he also causes him to temporarily believe that the dwarves are trying to swindle him out of his share of the treasure and that it would be impossible for them to remove it all even if they allowed him some.

Shawn Daysleeper: . wow, that sounds kinda... borderline
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . yes
Lihan Taifun: . . . . . . . yes
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . also like a good con artist
Lihan Taifun: . . . . . . . both a con artist AND having some powers of control
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . and a bipolar personality
Lihan Taifun: . . . . . . . huh? Smaug has a depressed side?

AelKennyr Rhiano: . . A further weakness lies with Smaug's own pride: he believes himself to be invulnerable, and is unaware of the unarmoured patch of bare skin on his breast when he goes to Esgaroth to set the town alight and hunt its people.

AelKennyr Rhiano: . . that belief in one's own grandeur...
Lihan Taifun: . . . . . . . hubris, a classic

AelKennyr Rhiano: . . yes oh, and btw....Many of Smaug's attributes and behavior in The Hobbit derive directly from the unnamed "old night-scather" in Beowulf: great age; winged, fiery, and reptilian form; a stolen barrow within which he lies on his hoard; disturbance by a theft; and violent airborne revenge on the lands all about. From 1925 to 1945, Tolkien was a Professor of Anglo-Saxon at Oxford University, and an important critic of Beowulf — on which he gave a lecture at the British Academy in 1936.[4] In addition, similarities to the dragon Fafnir of the Nibelungenlied are obvious, especially in Smaug's ability to speak, which the Beowulf dragon notably lacks or does not exercise.

I thought I remembered he was an expert on Beowulf
Shawn Daysleeper: . yup I remember he worked with that epic a lot
Lihan Taifun: . . . . . . . and other northern European writings
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . oh yes
Lihan Taifun: . . . . . . . many of the names are cribbed from other old sagas
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . nod nod nod. So, really, whether elves had telepathy as a natural ability is up for debate, isn't it?
Lihan Taifun: . . . . . . . yes All we know for sure is that some elves can, no idea how common it is, or how many centuries it took to learn
Shawn Daysleeper: . well, the ones that did had tools, eh? Galadriel had her ring of adamant
Lihan Taifun: . . . . . . . Arwen can "watch over" Aragorn. We presume those two had a close bond
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . but for those elves who remained in the Undying Lands, so close to the Ainur.....could it be over time...they acquired some measure of telepathic ability? Maybe something that elves who did not live in the Shining Lands did not acquire or lost?
Lihan Taifun: . . . . . . . since there are Quenya words, you would think someone was doing it
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . So Feamahtar could acquire telepathic abilities? If our gamemaster allowed?
Shawn Daysleeper: . hmmm, have to be real careful with that
Lihan Taifun: . . . . . . . ah, now we get to how to keep the abilities balanced
Shawn Daysleeper: . telepathy can be abused easily
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . yes
Lihan Taifun: . . . . . . . as far as authenticity is concerned, I agree that is a skill an elf could have ... as far as keeping people from abusing it in rp - that is harder
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . so best to avoid it completely.
Shawn Daysleeper: . ya, I'd rather not open that can of worms, but I will go with what you decide
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . oh, no, I agree.
Shawn Daysleeper: . it is definately not a common skill, eh? reserved for the most powerful elves
Lihan Taifun: . . . . . . . no evidence Legolas had it
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . I think that is the consensus.
Shawn Daysleeper: . ok
Lihan Taifun: . . . . . . . as far as I know, no evidence even Elrond had it. No evidence Arwen could even pass a message to Aragorn, and if she could, she probably would have
Shawn Daysleeper: . they seemed to sense feelings perhaps, but not specific facts or messages, if I am understanding it correctly
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . which would make sense between lovers
Lihan Taifun: . . . . . . . Galadriel's mirror - there was a big point made of how hard it was to interpret what one was seeing. After the discussion a while back about the history between Galadriel and Feanor - I wonder whether Galadriel built her mirror in imitation of the palantiri
Shawn Daysleeper: . could be, like she was trying to trump what he did
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . She would have had knowledge of the palantiri
Lihan Taifun: . . . . . . . and possibly of the technolgy they used. I'm not sure she did "trump" the palantiri
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . that would be hard, wouldn't it?
Lihan Taifun: . . . . . . . but, it was a useful gadget, and she now has one of her own
Shawn Daysleeper: . ya but I am not sure I would call plantiri telepathic devices. They seem kinda like early cellphones to me, with video chat. ✦✧HaHaHa✦✧
Lihan Taifun: . . . . . . . lol
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . rofl no text messaging?
Shawn Daysleeper: . nope, too primitive. Or the cell phone provider didn't have the option yet.Well, palantiri provider
Lihan Taifun: . . . . . . . and the Ainur are the only ones we know who could do long-distance communication. Well, they could receive .... not sure they could transmit
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . lolol
Shawn Daysleeper: . hehe
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . and no email!
Shawn Daysleeper: . maybe there was no coverage. Shawn Daysleeper grins
Lihan Taifun: . . . . . . . the Ainur never bothered upgrading Middle Earth; it was always a sore point
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . man, and the roaming charges!
Shawn Daysleeper: . ya no 3G coverage even. Man, palantiri wireless is kinda lame. hehe

AelKennyr Rhiano: . . So....what is for next week? And do you want to post notices for these meetings in the BoA? because atm I'm not posting them...I don't know if you are or not.
Lihan Taifun: . . . . . . . eeep, I should have been, but I didn't
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . That is ok. If you want me to hand over the reins of the group to you, I will. It was originally an Ardan group
Lihan Taifun: . . . . . . . I'm not taking new responsibilities this week, thank you
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . Well, let's leave it at this....if at some future point, you want me to pass off ownership to someone else, I will. No hard feelings on my part.

Shawn Daysleeper: . well, chapter 12 in the silmarillion?
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . Chapter 12 sounds fine
Lihan Taifun: . . . . . . . what is Chapter 12?
Shawn Daysleeper: . of Men, comes after sun and moon

Telepathy -- Reading Material

Ainu Perception and Communication:
When Manwë there ascends his throne and looks forth, if Varda is beside him, he sees further than all other eyes, through mist, and through darkness, and over the leagues of the sea. And if Manwë is with her, Varda hears more clearly than all other ears the sound of voices that cry from east to west, from the hills and the valleys, and from the dark places that Melkor has made upon Earth.
But mostly Ulmo speaks to those who dwell in Middle-earth with voices that are heard only as the music of water. For all seas, lakes, rivers, fountains and springs are in his government .... Thus news comes to Ulmo, even in the deeps, of all the needs and griefs of Arda, which otherwise would be hidden from Manwë.
Silmarillion, "Valaquenta"

It is told that after the flight of Melkor the Valar sat long unmoved upon their thrones in the Ring of Doom; but they were not idle .... For the Valar may work many things with thought rather than with hands, and without voices in silence they may hold council one with another.
Silmarillion, "Of the Sun and Moon"

Elvish Perception and Communication

[Galadriel:] 'Gandalf the Grey set out with the Company, but he did not pass the borders of this land. Now tell us where he is; for I much desired to speak with him again. But I cannot see him from afar, unless he comes within the fences of Lothlórien: a grey mist is about him, and the ways of his feet and of his mind are hidden from me.'
The Fellowship of the Ring, "The Mirror of Galadriel"

And with that word she held them with her eyes, and in silence looked searchingly at each of them in turn.
'If you want to know, I felt as if I hadn't got nothing on, and I didn't like it. She seemed to be looking inside me and asking me what I would do if she gave me the chance of flying back home to the Shire to a nice little hole with -- with a bit of garden of my own.' ...
All of them, it seemed, had fared alike: each had felt that he was offered a choice ...
The Fellowship of the Ring, "The Mirror of Galadriel"

'Do not think that only by singing amid the trees, nor even by the slender arrows of elven-bows, is this land of Lothlórien maintained and defended against its Enemy. I say to you, Frodo, that even as I speak to you, I perceive the Dark Lord and know his mind, or all of his mind that concerns the Elves. And he gropes ever to see me and my thought. But still the door is closed!
The Fellowship of the Ring, "The Mirror of Galadriel"

Arwen remained in Rivendell, and when Aragorn was abroad, from afar she watched over him in thought.
Lord of the Rings, Appendix A

[added April 13, 2011]
Often after the hobbits  were wrapped in sleep they [Celeborn, Galadriel, Gandalf, and Elrond] would sit together under the stars, recalling the ages that were gone and all their joys and labours in the world, or holding council, concerning the days to come.  If any wanderer had chanced to pass, little would he have seen or heard, and it would have seemed to him only that he saw grey figures, carved in stone, memorials of forgotten things now lost in unpeopled lands.  For they did not move or speak with mouth, looking from mind to mind; and only their shining eyes stirred and kindled as their thoughts went to and fro.
The Return of the King, "Many Partings"


Other crystals [Fëanor] made also, wherein things far away could be seen small but clear, as with the eyes of the eagles of Manwë.
Silmarillion, "Of Fëanor"
That is not necessarily to say Fëanor personally made the seven palantíri that came to Middle-earth, but he is credited with developing the technology they used.

The Faithful [of Númenor] put aboard their wives and their children, and their heirlooms, and great store of goods. ... And Seven Stones they had, the gift of the Eldar.
Silmarillion, "Akallabêth"

Now theses Stones had this virtue that those who looked therein might perceive in them things far off, whether in place or in time. For the most part they revealed only things near to another kindred Stone, for the Stones called to each other; but those who possessed great strength of will and of mind might learn to direct their gaze whither they would. Thus the Númenóreans were aware of many things that their enemies wished to conceal, and little escaped their vigilance in the days of their might.
Silmarillion, "Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age"

'Then it was not made ... by the Enemy?'
'No,' said Gandalf. 'Nor by Saruman. It is beyond his art and beyond Sauron's too. The palantíri came from beyond Westernesse, from Eldamar. The Noldor made them. Fëanor himself, maybe, wrought them, in days so long ago that the time cannot be measured in years. ..."
'What did they Men of old use them for?'
'To see far off, and to converse in thought with one another.'
The Two Towers, "The Palantír"

[Pippin describes his experience using the palantír:] "... He did not speak so that I could hear words. He just looked, and I understood."
The Two Towers, "The Palantír"
And, although Pippin is completely unskilled in using a palantír, Sauron has no trouble understanding Pippin's replies.
'Many things I can command the Mirror to reveal, and to some I can show what they desire to see. But the Mirror will also show things unbidden. ... What you will see, if you leave the Mirror free to work, I cannot tell. For it shows things that were, and things that are, and things that yet may be. But which it is that he sees, even the wisest cannot always tell.
...'This is what your fold would call magic, I believe, though I do not understand clearly what they mean; and they seem also to use the same word of the deceits of the Enemy. But this, if you will, is the magic of Galadriel.'
The Fellowship of the Ring, "The Mirror of Galadriel"
'Upon the left stands Amon Lhaw, and upon the right is Amon Hen, the Hills of Hearing and of Sight. In the days of the great kings there were high seats upon them, and watch was kept there."
The Fellowship of the Ring, "The Great River"

Up [Frodo] went and sat upon the ancient chair ...
At first he could see little. He seemed to be in a world of mist in which there were only shadows: the Ring was upon him. Then here and there the mist gave way and he saw many visions: small and clear as if they were under his eyes upon a table, and yet remote. There was no sound, only bright living images. ... He was sitting upon the Seat of Seeing, on Amon Hen, the Hill of the Eye of the Men of Númenor.
And suddenly he felt the Eye. There was an eye in the Dark Tower that did not sleep. He knew that it had become aware of his gaze. ... It leaped towards him; almost like a finger he felt it, searching for him.

... Then in a flash from some other point of power there came to his mind another thought: Take it off! Take it off! Fool, take it off! Take off the Ring!

The Fellowship of the Ring, "The Breaking of the Fellowship"

But Sauron guided [the Elven smith's] labors ... for his desire was to set a bond upon the Elves and to bring them under his vigilance.
... Secretly Sauron made One Ring to rule all the others ... And much of the strength and will of Sauron passed into that One Ring; for the power of the Elven-rings was very great, and that which should govern them must be a thing of surpassing potency .... And while he wore the One Ring he could perceive all the things that were done by means of the lesser rings, and he could see and govern the very thoughts of those that wore them.
But the Elves were not so lightly to be caught. As soon as Sauron set the One Ring upon his finger they were aware of him; and they knew him, and perceived that he would be master of them, and of all that they wrought. Then in anger and fear they took off their rings.
Silmarillion, "Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age"

Quenya Words

ósanwë : communication of thought, interchange of thought (= telepathy)
sanwë-latya: "thought-opening" (direct, telepathic thought-transfer)

sanwë-menta: "thought-sending" (mental message)

sanwecenda: "thought-inspection, thought-reading"

aquapahtië: privacy (literally "fully-closedness"), used of a mind that closes itself against telepathic communication

Vinyar Tengwar 39:23, 30, VT41:5, Morgoth's Ring:415