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Wednesday, January 13, 2010


Tolkien Discussion Group
January 13, 2010
Topic: Geography

Fifi Wickentower
AelKennyr Rhiano
Lihan Taifun
Ossy Portocarrero

Several people wanted a summary of the discussion. :)
We reviewed the Sinking of Numenor, and the bending of the flat earth into a sphere.
Harad is in the south.
What does it mean to say that Ilúvatar, and the souls of dead humans, live "beyond the circles of the world"?

For the forum for the Tolkien Discussions...could we maybe do like synopses instead of verbatum transcripts?
Well, "synopsis" assumes we reach some conclusion
Ok...a summary of what was discussed?
I will consider that you want them edited tighter
I liked reading back . . including the funny, of topicstuff

Soo....the geography of Tolkien's world
Where are we in geographical terms?
in Valarinde
and Valarinde is in the continent of Aman, which is the Blessed Lands
and the Blessed Lands are the same as the Undying Lands
Awwhh...Ossy, I was hoping you could give us the geography lesson
He might tell us about the oceans
The oceans are on the edges. And they are wet. The end
Wow, that was PG. G version, even said, Lihan, that no one travels to the Undying Lands without permission of the Valar?
Now, after then end of the 2nd Age, after Numenor sank. Before that, the world was flat, and you could sail anywhere on the oceans
So during the entire first Age, the world was flat?
yes, a flat disk with the Outer Seas around the edge.
So you could sail off the edge​?
You would probably sink in the storms in the Outer Sea first
Sounds like a medieval view of the world, Pre Galileo
THEORETICALLY you could sail off the edge
There be dragons?? isn't that what some thought?
On some medival maps the edges had that inscribed
After the last king of Numenor tried to sail a war fleet to the Blessed Lands, the Ainur got nervous, and asked Iluvatar to change the shape of the world (besides the part about sinking Numenor) After that, the world was round, and you can sail all around it, without ever getting to the Blessed Lands. They are now in sort of a parallel dimension, and you can only sail the "straight road" to the Blessed Lands if you have permission from the Valar. That btw is the "Lost Road".
the ultimate gated community
Numenor was founded by Eros?
Elros, yes he was the first king of Numenor
And Numenor was not is Middle Earth...right?
If you think of Middle Earth as the 3rd Age continent that is where Europe is now ... then no, Numenor was not there. Numenor was a large island out in the middle of the Inner Sea. The Inner Sea being the one that separates Middle Earth from the Blessed Lands
And the Númenóreans were humans, yes?
yes, humans, the Edain, ancestors of Gondor
And the Númenóreans were friendly for a time with the Teleri of Tol Eressea
Oh yes indeed. You even gave them a seedling of the White Tree
Did they get jealous of Elves after the defeat of Sauron?
Most of them were drowned, so they were dead?
I mean the survivors...over time
The survivors, who went back to Middle Earth? The people of Gondor, essentially?
yes. They went to Middle Earth, colonizing large parts and over time became tyrants, I thought
hmmm, yes. Not Elendil personally, but you are right, a lot of other Numenoreans had moved back to Middle Earth, and not all of them the nicest of the Numenoreans
Ar-Pharazon...he was one of their kings
With Sauron as his advisor, Ar-Pharazôn had a 500-foot (150 m) tall temple to Melkor erected, in which he offered human sacrifices to Melkor (those selected to be sacrificed were Elendili, Númenóreans who were still faithful to the Elves).
Sauron was such a sweetie
Wasn't he the king who landed in Aman...? And that was the reason the Undying Lands were removed from Arda forever, the flat earth made into a globe.
I don't think he actually landed. Did he? Maybe he got one foot onto the land
If I remember rightly, He went to make war on the Valar in hopes of becoming immortal.
Yes, that was his plan. Take over the Undying Lands, and become immortal. Not realizing that it doesn't work that way
The Valar were not allowed to directly interfere with humans, so Manwe called upon Eru, who removed Aman from the world.
"The Valar were not allowed to directly interfere with humans." That is important.
Free will, and all
We were thinking that, for the role play, there might be some reason why the ainur couldn't USE all their theoretical power
That act by Ar-Pharazon,,,did that cause the sinking of Numenor?
It must have been Eru who caused the Numenor to sink
That also killed Sauron's body, yes. Beccause he was imprisioned there
Sauron's body drowned. I'm not sure where the Ring was during that time
Now, I have a question that is off the track: Was Sauron ainu or human?
Ainu, of the house of Aule (before he went over to Melkor)
Well supposedly this prevented Sauron from ever taking a fair form did it prevent that?
Wasn't that one of those things where Sauron was wearing out his ability to chance forms?
I am not sure. I am a little fuzzy on that.
There seems to be some reading-between-the-lines on why the evil ainur lose their ability to chance form
They perveted the pure flow and lost their soul
Cut themselves off from the source of their energies.
Like a plant that is in too much shade when it needs full sun
Like a plant that moves itself into the shade, when it needs full sun

And the fall of Numenor was also a fall of man. So, when it sank, what was left outside of Middle Earth?
Do we really know? Vague references to "other lands" that don't enter the story. Certainly there were lands to the south, and to the east of the "MIddle Earth" we know
What do we know about them?
Um, dwarves live over the mountains in the east. Two of the 5 wizards went east, presumably on an assignment that we don't hear about. In the south are Near Harad and Far Harad, which are inhabited by humans. They took his side in the war
Yes. With the implication that they might have been basically decent people, whose leaders had been lied to by Sauron.
And the Haradrim were swarthy, like Mediterraneans?
or like Africans. "Swarthy", that's all we know. I think it means "darker than the person telling the story".

Once Eru removed the undyling lands from the with Middle earth, that was probably at a premium?
Well, I'm an Ainu, I don't have physical needs
But elves, like the Teleri, do, and we are in the Shining Lands.
Aman is a big continent, but, if you need or want stuff from Middle Earth you would have to trade for it. And the Teleri would be the best position to do that trading
Does Aman ever return to the world? or is it forever separate?
You mean, is there a plan for it to come back, after the Dagor Dagoroth?
or before, in preparation for it?
Everything we know about the Dagor Dagorth is about 2 sentences
I don't recall plans for that
Sounds kinda pointless to open the gates BEFORE the battle
What do we know? That happens in the 4th Age, right?
I suppose. Although there is the embarassing problem with prophecies: the 21st century is apparently past the 4th Age, and the battle hasn't happened yet.
It hasn't? Perhaps Tolkien thought of WWII as it.
We are in the 6-7th age currently?
hmmm, and we just don't notice the revived Two Trees?
I read something awhile back that said The Professor indicated that time was speeding up and the ages became shorter, shorter being a relative term
"The light of the Two Trees will fill the world in eternal bliss." I hadn't noticed that happening yet
nor I

I found the map we were looking at last week: I used to have a pair of maps showing how the coastline had moved inland quite a bit between the 1st Age and the 3rd Age. A lot of those maps have been taken down
Why? Copyright issues?

Lihan, what about the circles of the world?
The circles? What circles?
I think beyond the circles is where Ilúvatar dwells. When humans die, they pass out of the circles of the world.
hmmm, That sounds like "outside these dimensions" or something. Sounds poetic
A general term that seems to refer to the boundaries between the World and the Outer Void, though its usage is vague and does not seem to be completely consistent. In its earlier uses, it appears to be a completely inclusive term, describing the entirety of the World and its surrounding seas and airs, and explicitly including the Undying Lands of Aman. The region beyond the Circles is the place where Ilúvatar dwells (presumably with those of the Ainur who did not descend into Arda), and it is the fate of Men to pass out of the Circles of the World after death.
After the Downfall of Númenor, the term becomes more narrow in meaning. After the Bending of the World, and the taking away of Aman, the lands of the Uttermost West are said to be no longer within the Circles of the World, though they are clearly still part of the World in some sense. After this point, it seems that the Circles of the World are simply the boundaries of the Mortal Lands of Middle-earth.
Maybe all actually dwells within Iluvatar
So is that like men dying and going to heaven or...hell?
Well, it was written by elves, right? Who considered the fate of humans to be mysterious. Remember, Tolkien needed , or wanted, a system that was compatible with his own beliefs. So he couldn't exactly have the dead humans going to the Halls of Mandos
True. But humans and elves were different species, just like dwarves.They do not go to the halls of Mandos either
And the humans and the elves have different afterlives. And apparently a third fate for dwarves. I suppose hobbits count as a subspecies of humans. That is rather unclear

May I ask what we would like to discuss next time?
We haven't done hobbits yet
Ossy...perhaps you can do a little synopsis about hobits, for us? In your own words next week?
Um. They're short, they have hairy feet, and they eat all the time. The end :D
AelKennyr Rhiano pokes Ossy. Not that short
Also, according to one of my sources.. they are all bastards?
Ossy refrains from "short" jokes?
Ossy Portocarrero motions at his waist. I've had it up to HERE with hobbits