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PotbellyHairyfoot
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Post QS 10, Of The Sindar
on: May 21, 2016 06:14
1) The title for this chapter is a bit misleading as a lot of the chapter deals with the Dwarves. What similarities are there between the Elves and Dwarves? What major differences? How did each benefit from their meeting?

2) The 'Girdle of Melian', is formed in this chapter. Was sitting behind it the best tactic?

3) in this chapter we have our first battles with the Orcs. How would you rate the outcome? Who ended up the better?

added later

4) The Elves were taught how to make armor. Who taught the orcs?


[Edited on 06/05/2016 by PotbellyHairyfoot]
Gandolorin
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on: May 24, 2016 04:45
1) The most obvious difference is that the Dwarves were creations of Aulë and "only" adopted by Eru, thus not Eruhini of the Ainulindalë.
The major similarity, in my view, is that they each learned speech by themselves and not one from the other, while all other speakers learned from the Elves - with Ents, I am certain, with Men, it is more of a guess.
The Elves, or at least Thingol's realm, benefited from the Dwarves in that the Dwarves did the heavy work in creating Menegroth, and at least the first smithing of weapons and armor for the Elves (the work of the Dwarves with steel remained supreme even to the skill of the Noldor later on).
The Dwarves benefited most in lore, apparently mostly from Melian, and of course in taking over Daeron's runes for their writing.

2) First off one thing that strikes me as an anachronism: Melkor, or now Morgoth, needed the help of his Balrogs to escape from Ungoliant. But here, the "mere" Girdle of Melian is enough to deter Ungoliant. Should Melian have marched off to Angband, laid Morgoth across her knee (this stuff was originally written about 90 years ago when such stuff was still considered acceptable), given him a sound thrashing, then grabbed him by the ear and dragged him across - the Helcaraxë perhaps? - and hand him over to Námo (Mandos) for the latter's keeping? (OK, I'm turning off the wild imagination now. Note to self: Image)
Or is the fact that Ungoliant's last "diet" had consisted entirely of Noldorin jewels the reason, perhaps analogous to someone of us stuffing their face with pure sugar, and that this had led Ungoliant into the analogy of a diabetic shock? She would then have been very wobbly on her legs, no matter that she had eight of them.
As to sitting behind the Girdle of Melian, at this time, Thingol's offensive capabilities were barely enough to defeat one Orc army, with help from the original Denethor. The victory was dearly bought, and had the Noldor not arrived back in Middle-earth, things would have looked a bit grim, or more than that for Cirdan. And as for theoretically attacking Angband, that proved to be beyond the combined might of all Elves without help from Valinor.

3) Ahhh - wrote a bit about that above already; not a very promising start for the Elves of Middle-earth, and without the return of the Noldor, things would probably have gotten worse and worse with time.
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Elfeawen Lomiondil
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on: June 07, 2016 10:56
1. How are Elves and Dwarves different?

Of course Elves are immortal and Dwarves are not. Because of their different origins, Elves and Dwarves have different kinds of souls, and different fates befall them after death. One interesting thing about the Dwarves that makes them distinct is that they are the only people of ME to be created to fit conditions on the ground, that is, Aulë made them extra tough to resist hardship and corruption.

The Dwarves were made by a single Vala acting without the counsel of the others, a being who was himself but a part of the mind of a greater entity. I think this makes the Dwarves somewhat “unbalanced” as a people; they are masculine smiths and miners because they were made by a male smith. Elves show a little more diversity in their interests and preferred habitats.

Dwarves seem to care more for the inanimate and less for things that grow, compared to Elves. This is likely for reasons given above.

And, ah, I really don’t have to mention the height issue . . .

Similar?

Even though Elves may reincarnate while Dwarves remain with Aulë, one thing they have in common is that the souls of both are bound to the Earth.

Compared to Men, both Elves and Dwarves are more uniform and consistent as a people. This is likely because Men have greater ability to shape their lives beyond the Music.

Elves and Dwarves both have a strongly developed sense of the aesthetic. Though Elves famously and stereotypically like trees while Dwarves like rocks, they both love nature in their own way and have a different relationship to nature than Men do. Perhaps Dwarves like to alter nature more to fit their ideal of beauty, but as Gimli’s admiration for the Glittering Caves shows, the distinction is not that strong.

At least one group of Elves, the Noldor, share the Dwarves’ passion for smithing, thanks to Aulë’s teachings.

How did they benefit from each other?

The Dwarves got some materials, like pearls, that they could not otherwise, but their true gain was knowledge. Melian brought Valinoran knowledge about the cosmos and the shaping of Middle Earth to Beleriand. Through the sharing of her knowledge and power, the Sindar were raised above the state of Dark Elves. I think it was similar for the Dwarves who learned from her. The Dwarves also received writing from the Sindar and put Daeron’s runes to good use.

The Sindar gained a strong, safe, and uniquely beautiful home that they could not have made on their own. The Dwarves supplied them with superior metal goods and weapons to protect themselves, and eventually, the training to make those things too.

2. Was staying behind the Girdle the best tactic?

I ask myself that a lot. Limiting myself to this chapter, I think it was fine. Melian fulfilled her responsibility to protect her people. The Girdle preserved the peaceful Sindar lifestyle for this time. Suppose they had built a conventional fortress instead. Melian and Thingol’s first duty was to their people and they were justified in using all means at their disposal to keep them safe. The only alternative I can see is to abandon Beleriand all together and head East, looking for a place where Morgoth hopefully would not bother them for a long time. But they loved their home deeply and probably didn’t consider the situation that dire yet.

It is only over the long term and in the big picture that staying behind the Girdle becomes questionable.

3. What was the outcome of the first battle with the Orcs? Who came out better?

Both sides lost something. Morgoth lost many fighters and did not increase the territory under his direct control. The Elves also lost many fighters including a leader, Denethor of the Nandor/Silvan. Although they didn’t really lose territory, the land in which they could walk safely and freely was greatly diminished. Thingol’s folk were cut off from Cirdan’s, a serious loss. It was a draw in some ways, but Morgoth could afford to wait, whether or not it pleased him to do so, and his losses would make little difference to him in the long run.

I think the greatest loss to the Elves was the effect the battle had on Denethor’s people. Never again would they name a king, and most had no wish to participate in active resistance to Morgoth again.
"There shall be war between the Children of Iluvatar and the Ainu Melko. What if we perish in our quest? The dark halls of Vê be little worse than this bright prison" ~ Fëanor
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