Welcome Guest 

Register

Author Topic:
GreenhillFox
Council Member
Posts: 66
Send Message
Post Mortals sailing west
on: July 26, 2018 02:21
Hi there and wake up, got a question (hmm not very diplomatic of mine, if I can hope for any reaction other than unfriendly!). I must admit that a sweltering heatwave is going around here in the EU and it's poorly contributing to activity! Anyway, here I go, with my sweaty fingers on my hot keyboard.

A few mortals were offered a voyage west. I have on my list Bilbo, Frodo, Sam and Gimli, if that is complete.

Clearly, JRRT presented us that as a very (extremely) high "reward", or call it "recognition", for their contributions to the war of the Ring.

Apart from entering a "land of milk and honey”... they did die there eventually anyway, didn't they? Bilbo being extremely old would not have survived the journey long, if so at all.

Did this journey mean more than just a place to recover (like in Frodo’s case) and then die peacefully?

I was just wondering about that because I can’t sleep at night with this heat and with nothing else to think about with this misery, a fox wants to sniff this out.
'There’s something mighty queer behind this.'
tarcolan
Movies Moderator
Posts: 5558
Send Message
Post
on: July 26, 2018 07:50
All mortals spend at least a little time in the Halls of Mandos, after they die. The ones you mention were not dead and no-one knows how long they lived in bliss in the Blessed Realm (Land of the Undying, Land of the Living, Land of the Dead, Land of Faërie, in Celtic lore). Even Bilbo could've lived as long as he wanted, I suspect. I expect Gimli would have sought out Aulë, Sam would wander the gardens.

There was one other mortal who may have made that journey, and another whose spirit was returned to Middle Earth as mortal man.

Lord_Sauron
Council Member
Posts: 6243
Send Message
Avatar
Post
on: July 26, 2018 10:01
I could be wrong but didn't Tuor go to the Undying Lands with Idril?
Gandolorin
Council Member
Posts: 23427
Send Message
Post
on: July 27, 2018 12:01
tarcolan said: All mortals spend at least a little time in the Halls of Mandos, after they die. ...There was one other mortal who may have made that journey, and another whose spirit was returned to Middle Earth as mortal man.

Lord_Sauron said: I could be wrong but didn't Tuor go to the Undying Lands with Idril?

I'm scratching my head as to how far those Halls of Mandos set side for humans (or "Men" as older English terminology calls them, German "Menschen" for once being neutral on gender) are solidly canon. Of course for "Beren and Lúthien" it is absolutely necessary for Beren to be in the HoM, so that Lúthien has the chance to sway Mandos for the one and only time in the history of M-e (her being half-Maia probably had something to do withher success). But let us not forget that Beren as originally conceived was an Elf, so his presence in the HoM would have been absolutely normal. So when JRRT decided to make him human, he probably was not able to excise the HoM part, it being so central and indispenable to the tale.

I'm guessing you mean Beren with "... whose spirit was returned to Middle Earth as mortal man.", tarc.

And "... one other mortal who may have made that journey ..." would probably be Tuor, as L-S mentions explicitly. But Tuor having been accepted into the ranks of the "Elder Children of Iluvatar" is only given as an assumption without any certainty somewhere (I hope our other fox avatar, Elthir, butts in with his extensive supply of direct quotes! ). It would balance Lúthien's decision to become mortal, which was far more fundamental than Arwen's was, as Arwen was one of the Half-Elven. For both Tuor and Lúthien, the decision definitely cannot have been made by the Valar, so one must assume a decision by Eru.

Again relying on gut feeling (or the mulch of what I read in HoME over the years but cannot quote satisfactorily), at least a part of Eärendil's motivation for his earlier voyages was to find his parents, who had set sail into The West a while earlier. So possibly Eärendil (and Elwing?) would have beenn able to confirm Tuor's transformation into one of the Eldar, but then he (they) never returned to Middle-earth ...

As to Bilbo, Frodo, Sam and Gimli ... the first three had been bearers of the One Ring, and all very important in its destruction. Purely by his time as an actual Ring-bearer, Sam's is miniscule to the vanishing point of all who bore it after Isildur had taken it from Sauron. But he beat back Shelob, he rescued Frodo from the tower if Cirith Ungol (admittedly after the Orcs had practically self-destructed themselves as potential obstacles), and after their escape from that tower, Frodo would hardly have made it accros more than the odd mile without Sam. Frodo had the burden of carrying the One Ring, which probably has little if any burdens of like terror in our primary world. But Sam got them to the Cracks of Doom, even, just before that culmination-point had been reached, echoing Bilbo and Frodo by not killing Gollum (by them a creature so wretched that no multiple-substance abuser in our primary world comes close to).

Gimli. A very special case. In the Fourth Age Lord of the Glittering Caves behind Helm's Deep. But also called, very likely singularly among Dwarves, "Elf-friend" (a title not lightly bestowed; among Hobbits limited to Bilbo and Frodo). That he might have contacted Aulë as the (sub-) creator of his race seems plausible. But what set him apart firmly was his devotion to Galadriel.

How long did they live in the "blessed realm"? (And was this only Tol Eressëa or did it include Aman?) JRRT being (as far as I can tell) very firm on the natural life-span of any "race", as he demonstrated with Bilbo's comments to Gandalf at (after) the "Long-expected party", about feeling streched, or too little butter scraped accross too much bread (and then consider that Gollum reached roughly four times Bilbo's age!), Bilbo cannot have lived very much longer after his arrival in the "blessed realm". Frodo, having just turned 50 when he set out from Hobbiton, and 53 when he left Middle-earth from the Grey Havens together with Galadriel, Elrond and Gandalf (bearers of the three Elven Rings) and Bilbo, might have been given a life-span of over 100 years which was not at all unnatural among Hobbits. Speculating in a way which would likely get a "not-amused" stare from JRRT himself, maybe even exceeding Bilbo? Probably irrelevant west (and something very oddly else) of our Atlantic shores (note to Californians: nope, your western shores are very definitely not meant!)

To return to Gimli, and that in a savagely satirical mode: Gimli was given three locks of Galadriel's hair, which he then encased in some jewel (!!!) as a memorial. In this savagely satirical mode, I could envision Galadriel, with Gimli in tow, visiting Feänor in his specific hall in Mandos. And Galadriel coldly tounge-lashing Feänor with the resons why she refused his request for one lock of hair a looooong time ago, while granting a Dwarf three.
Image
tarcolan
Movies Moderator
Posts: 5558
Send Message
Post
on: July 28, 2018 12:34
I was being pedantic in an effort to find other (living) mortals accepted in Valinor. If Túor did receive the gift of immortality it would probably have been bestowed in Valinor, so he was mortal when he arrived. In a letter to Mr Hastings (153) Tolkien states that
Lúthien (and Túor) and the position of their descendants was a direct act of God.
The common thread which binds these few mortals is love; Frodo for the Hobbits and the Shire, Sam for Frodo. Bilbo? Who knows?

I had got the idea from somewhere that all fëa spent time in the Halls.
Gandolorin
Council Member
Posts: 23427
Send Message
Post
on: July 29, 2018 12:45
tarcolan said: I had got the idea from somewhere that all fëa spent time in the Halls.

Yes, I also have that impression mouldering away somewhere in my HoME mulch. But there is always the problem of concepts shifting over the decades.

I've been re-reading my Shippey, Carpenter, Flieger et. al. books, and I would venture a guess that perhaps in the time before the publication of TH and very much more so LoTR, JRRT may have been more comfortable with his 'Silmarillion' and the various annals being more in a northern heroic pagan / heathan mode (the latter sanitized to some degree). But he was even then careful not to let any of his concepts become the equivalent to Christian scripture (echos, yes). Allegory territory, perhaps, like the special Halls of Mandos for Men being equivalent with purgatory.

Later, at least with LoTR, he seemed to be increasingly anxious to portray it as consistent with Christian, specifically Catholic, orthodoxy - though in one letter he did defend his subcreative prerogative as an author that not everything must be covered by orthodoxy, making the point that (even!) that is human knowledge and thus imperfect, incomplete. And as for the Sil, he had become dissatisfied with the originally flat earth / the Two Trees as progenitors of the moon and sun concept, which could have led to an upheaval in the mythology approaching that which occurred when he abandoned the Book of Lost Tales with Eriol / Aelfwine concept.

The urge towards more consistency between his mythology (very much influenced by his official professional doings) and C. orthodoxy might very well have eliminated (in case it hasn't already done so somewhere in the thousands of pages of HoME) to reject special Halls of Mandos for Men, say for their being too close for his comfort to the concept of purgatory that I mentioned above.
Image
Members Online
Print Friendly, PDF & Email