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PotbellyHairyfoot
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Post QS -12 - Of Men
on: June 13, 2016 10:35
1)What differences were there between the happenings during and after the awakening of the Elves, and what happened during and after the awakening of Men?

2)So men are less wise, more frail, more subject to sickness, and more easily slain. How would they be able to look at the Elves and even consider that there was a 'Gift of Men'?
Elfeawen Lomiondil
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on: June 30, 2016 11:11
1. What differences were there between the circumstances in which Elves and Men awoke?

The Elves awoke in the long age before the dawn. The world as they first knew it changed and grew slowly, and many things still slept. But the humans knew no other world but the one in full bloom that they awakened to.

I am not sure, but it seems that Men enjoyed more peace from Morgoth in their early years. Do you think that is accurate?

Unlike the Elves, Men were given no direct guidance or protection from the Valar, although the Valar did light the world for their sake. No Maia went among Men to teach them, as Melian did with the Sindar. Nor did the Valar try to resettle them in Aman. From the beginning, no Ainu but Morgoth would directly interfere with the Younger Children of Iluvatar, with their strange gift of freedom.

2. How could Men compare themselves to Elves, and still conclude that the Gift of Men was a gift?

It would be tough, wouldn’t it? I felt a little inferior just reading about the Elves in LOTR.

Yet gift it remains, whether Men are able to understand it or not.

Of course, Men had no one with which to compare themselves until they met the Dark Elves, and no way of knowing about their Gift until they met the Noldor. (Perhaps Melian educated the Sindar on this matter, or maybe she did not know either. I do not know.)

There is little information on how Men perceived the Gift in what we have read so far. But most of them probably did not appreciate it. Morgoth made sure of that; for he “confounded it with darkness, and brought forth evil out of good, and fear out of hope” as “Of the Beginning of Days” tells us. The same chapter says that Morgoth feared and hated Men because of their Gift. That is an indication that it is pretty important. Tolkien’s writings often seem to be telling us that it is wrong to fear death. For many of his characters, fear of death is the path to the dark side. The later Numenorean kings and the Nazgul are examples. However, the wisest among Men understood the value of the Gift. Aragorn is one of these.

(Polite spoiler warning for any version of Children of Hurin)
The account given in The Unfinished Tales of the tale of the children of Hurin, shows in the dialogue between Hurin and Morgoth that in the midst of his torment, Hurin understood the power and freedom of the Gift of Men.

(Spoiler warning for “Akallabeth”)
We know that in some times and places Men did appreciate their Gift. One of these times and places was Numenore, until the kings became corrupted by fear of death. Aragorn, by example, sought to restore faith in the Gift to the descendants of Numenore.
"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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