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Old 12-08-2012, 03:26 AM   #1
Glorthelion
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A question about advancements of weaponry

I most likely will get lambasted for this dumb question but I can't help asking. Why are the people of Middle Earth using swords and not rifles?
I mean, it's more than 6000 years since Feanor forged the first sword (correct me if I'm wrong) so why? The first sword like weapons were from approx 3300BC and the first guns appeared around 1200's in China. Is there something I should know about the universe?

Thx, again sorry for question. I had to know.
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Old 12-08-2012, 04:37 AM   #2
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I hope noone will lambast you ~ this should be a pllace to share information and ideas not to sneer at valid questions. No courteous poster should be lambasted. Since I suspect the responses may be theoretical and speculative rather than text based a passing mod may movd this to novices and newcomers but that is a "housekeeping" matter mot a criticism.

I will tackle the question when I get to a real computer later.
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Old 12-08-2012, 06:46 AM   #3
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A short answer seems to me to be that the use of substances such as gunpowder and explosives have, in Tolkien's Arda, a connotation with evil.

When the reader is first told of goblins in Bilbo's tale:

Quote:
It is not unlikely that [goblins] invented some of the machines that have since troubled the world, especially the ingenious devices for killing large numbers of people at once, for wheels and explosions always delighted them.
The Hobbit Over Hill and Under Hill

And in LOTR Aragorn has a singular word for Saruman's use of explosives:

Quote:
'Devilry of Saruman!' cried Aragorn. 'They have crept in the culvert again, while we talked, and they have lit the fire of Orthanc beneath our feet.'
The Two Towers Helm's Deep

"Devilry' I would equate with Morgoth or Sauron in that context.

Basically, it appears that even the research of such warfare methods is frowned upon by the "good" in Middle-earth, and those who delve into those matters are either evil or heading that way.
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Old 12-08-2012, 10:10 AM   #4
Rhod the Red
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Middle-earth is pre-Middle Ages for us, and "in its own time".

So it's both back in the past and its own timeline as it were.
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Old 12-08-2012, 01:24 PM   #5
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I completely agree with what has been said above. I also want to note that not only does ME technology seem to not develop overtime (in a positive way, not Sauron's/Saruman's things), but it also follows a general waning pattern. Start out with FA "magical" Elven swords, then lose that technique. Then you have a few bumps and spikes in the graph as you reach the height of Numenor, Arnor, Gondor, Dwarvish skills... but overall the trend goes downwards. The weapons (and artifacts in general) that are older are better and more valuable.
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Old 12-08-2012, 02:35 PM   #6
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Having given this more thought, I wonder if it wasn't Saruman's apparent non-magical "fire of Orthanc" that may have lit the fuse (pun definitely intended) for the ultimate development of such weapons, leading to their widespread use beyond the Fourth Age.

With the Istari gone, Elves dwindling and having over time less and less contact with the kingdoms of Men, it doesn't seem much of a stretch that over time the moral equation of impersonal technology designed to kill great numbers with "Morgothian" behavior would have fallen by the wayside. With that blockage gone, and always new enemies (of other Men), the motivation would have been there.
Though at the end of LOTR the reader is left with hope that King Elessar would lay a sure enough foundation that Gondor at least would remain true in heart to its old allegiance to the West, Tolkien himself began a story set after Elessar's death in which Gondorian boys were playing at "orcs" and the people there, in keeping with the state in our own world, were becoming ill at ease with peace. All that is to say that if the reader had been given a glimpse into Middle-earth just a few hundred years later, I don't think it's impossible that cannonballs could have been flying in some battle or other.
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