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Scholar of Imladris and Theodens Lady
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Post Loyalty ~ person or principle? [keep]
on: March 11, 2004 08:16
A really short quote this week .... from the story of Beren and Lúthien. For those that haven't read the Silmarillion, basically what happens here is that Sauron captures Beren, Finrod Felagund and their men, and keeps them captive in a pit on Tol-in-Gaurhoth (the Isle of Werewolves). Every now and then he sends in a werewolf to kill one of the group, saving Finrod and Beren for last.
"From time to time they saw two eyes kindled in the dark, and a werewolf devoured one of the companions; but none betrayed their lord." (Silmarillion, Of Beren and Lúthien)
This quote says everything about the value Tolkien puts on loyalty to one's lord. It's an old tradition, prevalent in the Norse / English myths that Tolkien was so fond of. You only need to read Beowulf to realise the importance that loyalty to ones lord / king had in those cultures.

And Tolkien takes this forward into his writings. Loyalty is honoured, treachery despised. Think of the traitors in his work ... Grima, Gorlim ... they are protrayed in a particular unpleasant-sounding way. That's not to say that loyal people always lived long and happy lives. They usually don't. But they at least died knowing that their principles were intact, and that they died for love of their lord and country.

The example I really like of this is Huan Though actually he is one of the rare cases where someone switches their allegiance. After following Celegorm through thick and thin, even when you realise that he would rather be with Luthien.
"In that time Celebrimbor the son of Curufin repudiated the deeds of his father, and remained in Nargothrond; yet Huan followed still the horse of Celegorm his master."
Eventually Celegorm is so evil that Huan realised that Luthien needed him to protect her, and he leaves Celegorm's side. He then stays with Luthien until his death.

[Edited on 1/7/2007 by cirdaneth]
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Post RE: Loyalty ~ person or principle? [keep]
on: March 12, 2004 10:14
yes that does point out different typed of loyalities.
i agree with you that loyal people does not always live happily ever after..but sam, huan and all others did. i think it kind of depends if the loyality is served with evil in mind (of both master and "servant" to put it that way)

but the loyalty of sam and huan is very touching and should reflect how there are people that are loyal and good!

Melkor's Apprentice
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Post RE: Loyalty ~ person or principle? [keep]
on: January 04, 2005 01:21
I think another place where loyalty has an odd twist in Tolkien's works is in LotR -when Snowmane becomes the bane of his master...

Faithful servant yet master's bane
Lightfoot's foal, swift snowmane

It's quite interesting to see, I think, how the loyalty of human and animal have in different ways been the cause of much good and evil... or at least affected some good or evil...
-and same goes for the disloyalty...

I wonder though -should there under loyalty and disloyalty not also be considered that which is not actual being-wise.... but the loyalty one has to oneself... When Theoden again becomes loyal to himself and his values, many things are put into effect... or something:dizzy: Same goes for the disloyalty of Denethor...
Elvellon ar Pethdan
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Post RE: Loyalty ~ person or principle? [keep]
on: January 04, 2005 02:06
I think Tolkien's war experiences also played a large role in his perception of loyalty and friendship and cannot be forgotten when discussing this!
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Post RE: Loyalty ~ person or principle? [keep]
on: January 04, 2005 04:20
I think the other thing to keep in mind is that, as we all know, everyone has different people / ideas / etc. in their life, to which they feel they owe allegiance. So it is not necessarily disloyal to abandon a person or idea for another one, if that decision is made for honorable reasons, or because of moral necessity. Sometimes, extreme loyalty can be an abdication of thought, reason and judgement, and hence, in itself, morally unpalatable. So when Snowmane "abandons" his master for Gandalf, it doesn't necessarily indicate a failing in his character ( though I do agree that Tolkein was prone to depicting the issue in those terms ). Long story short, I suppose I'm just agreeing with ( and adding to- in a long winded way ) what Eressea has already said.
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Post RE: Loyalty ~ person or principle? [keep]
on: January 05, 2005 05:13
I agree that "extreme loyalty can be an abdication of thought, reason and judgement, and hence, in itself, morally unpalatable."
Tolkien's view of loyalty can in fact be quite revolting to the modern individual for this reason. It is now politically correct to think that "all men are equal in the eyes of God," and extreme loyalty to someone else implies that they are in some way superior to you.
Books Admin & Books Forum Moderator
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Post Re: Loyalty ~ person or principle? [keep]
on: May 20, 2012 02:42
I think it can only be called loyalty when it is subject to reason and judgement. Beyond that is only thralldom.
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