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

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Wednesday, July 6, 2011


Hojo Warf
Rhûn Darkmoon
Fifi Wickentower   
Lihan Taifun           
AelKennyr Rhiano 
Jorgio Vaher           

Notecard "Melkor/Morgoth and Sauron" for background reading.

Melkor had weakened himself so much that, by the War of Wrath, he could not shift out of his physical form, nor could he create a new body after his body was killed. Would his exile into the Void make him stronger or weaker? As far as we know, only evil Ainur lose their powers. Would anything, other than turning back to good, restore those powers?

We don't know whether there was ever a time, before Creation, when Melkor was “good”. If he was always “evil”, does that mean Eru created him that way, needing a “dark” to contrast with the “light”?

Sauron “knew more about the Song than Melkor” because Melkor wasn't really paying attention to the Song; he was just trying to drown it out.

Metaphysical discussion about whether individual free choice necessarily implies a good/evil duality.

Lihan Taifun:            did everyone get the notecard I sent out for this week? "Melkor/Morgoth and Sauron". it would have come with the group notices. Now this notecard was taken from notes JRRT wrote long after Lord of the Rings, so we don't know how much of this was in his mind at the time, and how much is later musings

AelKennyr Rhiano:  Morgoth at the time of the War of the Jewels had become permanently 'incarnate': Does this mean that since he is now in the void, he cannot do as other Valar and take on a physical form?
Lihan Taifun:            I took that to mean that he was stuck in that physical form, which was why it was possible to "take him prisoner"
Rhûn Darkmoon nods, 'That is what it says in the second to last paragraph also
Lihan Taifun:            although, if he isn't strong enough to change his form, that would be related to not being strong enough to take a new form
AelKennyr Rhiano:  That was my thought, too. Would the time in the void, separated from the physical world, could that act in a way as a restorative? Reconnect him in an odd with his spiritual nature?
Lihan Taifun:            that seems remarkably fast, for someone of Melkor's strength to lose it so quickly
Lihan Taifun:            do we have any idea what restores the strength of Ainur?
Rhûn Darkmoon:     'The song?'
Fifi Wickentower:    the song didn't really create the ainur . . . they sang it to manifest creation/arda
AelKennyr Rhiano:  Well, if he had, indeed, allowed himself to pass into the physical constituents of the Earth as described, then I have to wonder if then being separated from it has any effect that may actually renew him as an Ainur.
Hojo Warf:                His power was disseminated into Middle-Earth so he himself had become rather small and we can assume that much of that power was destroyed in the war
Rhûn Darkmoon:     'But have we not spoken when planning the role play the the song might help restore those affected by the dark magics? Are we planning wrong?
Fifi Wickentower:    it might aid in taking a corporeal form. he is not created by the Song
AelKennyr Rhiano:  Indeed, Hojo, but energy is neither created nor destroyed but exists eternally.
Fifi Wickentower:    he was a Singer . .he element of disharmony and counterpoint
Rhûn Darkmoon:     'No, no, my lady, you mistake me. Lady Lihan asked what might restore strength to an Ainu.
AelKennyr Rhiano:  Fifi is right. He is a singer, So how is it that Sauron new more of the Song?
Fifi Wickentower:    the song i see as restoratove at the end . . or maybe in small pars to aid in the healing of arda itself
Lihan Taifun:            we have commented before that only the evil AInur seem to lose their ability to take form
AelKennyr Rhiano nods
Fifi Wickentower:    XD !LOL! ‚òÖ abuse the power and you lose it 'abuse it and lose it ;)
Lihan Taifun:            ((remember not everyone here is in Fourth Age, so we don't want to get too heavy into plot questions right now))
AelKennyr Rhiano:  right
Fifi Wickentower:    yep
Rhûn Darkmoon nods, 'I understand. It was not my intent to do so.
AelKennyr Rhiano:  But it is an interesting thought.
Lihan Taifun:            if evil diminishes an Ainu's powers, would not turning back to good restore them?
Fifi Wickentower:    that would be the healing, would it not?
Hojo Warf:                Why would evil diminish an Ainu's powers?
Fifi Wickentower:    we are pre-supposing that mel is not created evil and thus has a way back from the dark
AelKennyr Rhiano:  Well, I think that we could point to that as an analogy to the concept of the "fallen angels" in Christian mythology, who were originally pure, but followed Lucifer."
Fifi Wickentower:    including ole lu himself :) hubris . that and pride cause the 'fall'
Hojo Warf:                Melkor was an agent of discord even in the great song. Others were persuaded from good to his side but he was never on the "good" side.
Fifi Wickentower:    it came out in the Song . .we have no way of knowing if he showed tendancies prior
AelKennyr Rhiano:  But that still does not answer why Sauron knew more of the music than Melkor.
Fifi Wickentower:    because he was paying attention :D?
Lihan Taifun:            Melkor was hardly paying attention to "the song" at all, he was singing his own stuff
AelKennyr Rhiano:  Ahhhh
Lihan Taifun:            so, did we decide that we don't know whether Melkor was ever "good"?
Fifi Wickentower:    only illuvatar knows, so yes? maybe he was created with the seed of discord or maybe it is a crack in illuvatar's vision itself
AelKennyr Rhiano:  And so are we saying that Sauron is wiser here, because he both knew more of the song and did not act out of pride in that early time?
Fifi Wickentower:    i think so ael
Hojo Warf:                I think evil was part of the plan. There are no heroes without heroic deeds to overcome adversity. I think Melkor was created evil.
Fifi Wickentower:    we will ever know . .but to speculate is fun
Rhûn Darkmoon:     'Perhaps it is necessary for balance?'
Lihan Taifun:            if all the Ainur were "born of the thought of Iluvatar", it is hard to imagine Iluvatar slipping up so badly
AelKennyr Rhiano:  I don't think Melkor was evil. I think Melkor was necessary.
Fifi Wickentower:    we are putting qualities and values from a vantage of how it is in arda/earth. the Ainur do not live in that realm. the good/bad has played out in the created worlds
AelKennyr Rhiano:  But they do, don't they? In a way? "As above, so below??"
Fifi Wickentower:    unknown . . . .could be part of a great experiment known only to illuvatr
Hojo Warf:                I don't know if balance is the right word. The world has more good than evil at most times.
Rhûn Darkmoon nods at Hojo, 'I do not mean it created an even balance of good and evil, but rather the evil was necessary for the good to be known for what it was. It was the balance of knowledge and understanding rather than balance of good and evil.'
Hojo Warf:                nods at Rhun. Not sure what Ael said.
Fifi Wickentower:    we re still responding as in a world of duality ie: balance/good-bad/light-dark/polarities . . . .these are not necessarily a part of Aman. that was the marvel of Arda and the creation
AelKennyr Rhiano:  But why would it not be? How it not be?
Rhûn Darkmoon:     'But they are not necessarily not, either, Lady Fifi.'
AelKennyr Rhiano:  It must have that potential.
Hojo Warf:                certainly creation and destruction are more concrete ways to put it.
Fifi Wickentower:    maybe . . .but unknowable and always in the realm of 'belief'. and discussions are so interesting
AelKennyr Rhiano:  I think Melkor and Sauron, and to a less degree, Aule, are proof that duality exists in Aman. And we should include Osse as well.
Rhûn Darkmoon smiles, 'I believe that is the whole point of discussions, not to state what it known but to ponder and think on what is not.'
AelKennyr Rhiano:  Well said, Rhun.
Lihan Taifun:            why are they examples of duality?
AelKennyr Rhiano:  Because they all demonstrate the capacity for good and for ill.
Rhûn Darkmoon nods, 'Yes, they do.'
Fifi Wickentower:    yes . . examples of individuality but . . . ?
Rhûn Darkmoon:     'My Lady, Melkor, Sauron and even Aule I can understand but.. Osse? Would you enlighten me?'
AelKennyr Rhiano:  Osse was swayed by Melkor for a brief time and disobeyed Ulmo.
Rhûn Darkmoon:     'Ahh, thank you. I had not known that.'
AelKennyr Rhiano smiles. So even mighty Aule has the seeds of discord though disobedience. as did the Maiar Osse
Lihan Taifun:            I can see them as examples of individuality and individual capacity for choice. I am not sure I see them as illustrating that a good/evil duality is what is going on
Rhûn Darkmoon:     'Does not choice imply a duality though? After all, otherwise what is one choosing from?'
AelKennyr Rhiano:  Free will is always about duality
Lihan Taifun:            what about a continuous spectrum? Why does choice imply duality? There is chocolate and vanilla, and strawberry too
AelKennyr Rhiano:  But wasn't the first choice to have ice cream or not ? Consider this: if there did not exist duality in the Ainur, then how does that duality, which is found in the Children of Illuvatar exists?
Rhûn Darkmoon smiles at Ael, 'yes, what he said.'
AelKennyr Rhiano:  We have to also ask another question...Is duality truly a matter of yes/ no, on/off, or is our limited perception?
Rhûn Darkmoon nods, 'It could easily be on a sliding scale, rather than a direct on/off switch. Good, bad and all shades of both in between.
AelKennyr Rhiano:  So, looked at that way, Lihan, you have a very valid point about the ice cream.
Hojo Warf:                But still two poles are implied.
AelKennyr Rhiano:  They implied, but we "assume a shift to one extreme or another, and that may be an incorrect assumption.
Jorgio Vaher:            hello, am I intruding?
Hojo Warf:                I think the word duality just recognizes the existence of the poles. It doesn't demand that everyone be at one pole or the other.
AelKennyr Rhiano:  Oh not at all
AelKennyr Rhiano:  hi :)
Rhûn Darkmoon thinks, 'Yes, they are implied, but no I do not think there was always a shift from one extreme to the other. For instance, by being impatient and making the Dwarves, Aule slide on the scale towards the evil, but did not go to the extreme.
{Greetings for Jorgio.}
AelKennyr Rhiano:  Is this your first time here?
Hojo Warf:                This is a Tolkien discussion group. You are welcome to join in or listen if you like.
Lihan Taifun:            ((meanwhile William Shrinshee sends his regrets. He got caught in another meeting that ran overtime.))

Lihan Taifun:            We were discussing Sauron, and whether he was always evil
Lihan Taifun:            and then got onto the nature of evil
AelKennyr Rhiano:  oops...heh heh. yes...we were getting very metaphysical.
Fifi Wickentower:    nod nod nod
Jorgio Vaher:            Im nor very knowledgable about the Tolkirn worlds
AelKennyr Rhiano:  Are you familar with Tolkien, Jorgio?
Jorgio Vaher:            I read some of the Silmarillion
Fifi Wickentower:    all we need are a few words to start and then off we go!!!!
AelKennyr Rhiano:  not us! :P
Fifi Wickentower:    in only the best way!!! ;D
Jorgio Vaher:            and some of the Hobbit, but I haven't been able to set it out in my mind
AelKennyr Rhiano:  Did you watch the LOTR movies?
Fifi Wickentower:    that is why we meet weekly to discuss and go in depth :)
Lihan Taifun:            or go off on tangents :)
Fifi Wickentower:    all good . . . love the tangents
AelKennyr Rhiano:  Me? Tangents?
AelKennyr Rhiano nods at Fifi's words.
Jorgio Vaher:            it doesn't count that I saw the movies, they probly don't represent what Tolkien was trying to say
Lihan Taifun:            a sensible fellow -- doesn't trust the movies!
Hojo Warf:                The real benefit of the silmarilion and all the back story is that it enhances your appreciation of the LOTR books as you experience them.
AelKennyr Rhiano:  oh, well said.
Hojo Warf:                I love the movies but Frodo and Sam never were taken to Osgiliath dammit
AelKennyr Rhiano nods
Jorgio Vaher:            do you discuss canon here too ))
Fifi Wickentower:    Lihan and Ael are our experts. . .
AelKennyr Rhiano:  Me? oh. no, no... I was going to say...that you and Lihan are.
Fifi Wickentower:    i sit at the feet o the masters, figuratively speaking , f course
AelKennyr Rhiano:  Oh, no, I am no scholar at all.
Hojo Warf:                there wer no elves at helms deep. Elrond never went to the muster by the evil mountain. ummm...
Lihan Taifun:            and if the Ringwraiths had ever known for sure where Frodo and the Ring were, the story would have ended right there, in the middle of movie #2
Rhûn Darkmoon chuckles
AelKennyr Rhiano:  Yeah, Peter almost stepped in that one.
Fifi Wickentower:    Lihan is our fearless keeper of canon
Lihan Taifun:            :P head full of trivia
Rhûn Darkmoon nods, 'She is our beautiful keeper of canon.'
AelKennyr Rhiano:  She is our true scholar.
{Hojo needs to leave. Farewells.}
AelKennyr Rhiano:  Shall we continue this next week.
Fifi Wickentower:    the best kind of trivia . . I would like to formally thank you and ael for the incredible amount i have learned in the past few years
AelKennyr Rhiano:  Oh, Fifi, I learn from you, too
Lihan Taifun:            yeah, I thought Fifi was one of the experts
AelKennyr Rhiano:  yes!
Jorgio Vaher:            do you have regular discussions here?
AelKennyr Rhiano:  yes...we do :)
Lihan Taifun:            every week, Wednesday nights, 7 pm
Jorgio Vaher:            on Wednesday nights? cool; would you mind if I drop in when I can?
Lihan Taifun:            please do!
AelKennyr Rhiano:  yes, please !

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