Thread: Ambarkanta
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Old 02-15-2019, 11:22 AM   #6
Ghost Prince of Cardolan
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Let me respond to each of you separately


I agree that gondowe's "now" does not help, and I agree with the summary of the issue you've laid out. To me it seems that A) is our best option, since to make the interior spaces larger would be immensely difficult from a logical standpoint and from a narrative one. I think our best bet is to assume that the entire work treats mostly with Arda, since that, to me, is the only way that the cosmology makes sense.

About ur points:
- If we go with A) then the ice can be said to reach out to the walls of the world, which is supposed to be an example of the Helcaraxe.
- Did you mean Vilya? In this case I agree, since Melkor passes through it without the aid of Manwe.
- The chasm of Ilmen is also said to be between the shores of Valinor and the sea of Ekkaia in the chapter Of the Sun and Moon and the Hiding of Valinor when it describes the Moon sailing over Valinor and plunging into the chasm of Ilmen and chasing the stars beneath the world. But I agree it is an odd concept and a difficult one to understand.
- I agree now about the lakes, and as gandalf said I added in that change in keeping with this idea.


Our text does indeed say this, and it is part and parcel with these comments we need to address. It is indeed possible that the Walls of Night are different from the Walls of the World, but I do not think so. In any case this does not solve the issue. Melkor must be able to pass through the Walls of Night at will, but when he is thrust out of the Doors of Night (supposedly in the Walls of the World) he cannot return. This would lend one to think thus: 1) the walls of the world and the walls of night are different. 2) the walls of night enclose Arda while the walls of the world enclose Ea. 3) Melkor was thus thrust out of Ea which is why he cannot return. However, Tolkien explicitly says this is impossible, since no being can leave Ea until the End, as it is part and parcel with their nature that they are bound to Creation, except Men, who are strange. Therefore our neat vision is wrecked. We must seek other solutions:

1) This was a special case of Eru allowing it for the good of Arda
- This would allow the neatest answer, since we would need to make no changes to the text, and would simply (as gandalf suggests) allow the reader to interpret the existence of two walls and chalk any confusion up to in-universe author imperfection. However, this is against the goals of the project. The whole project was designed to answer the question "What is canon?" therefore, leaving things that are wrong and chalking it up to in-universe error goes against the project's goals. That being said, the idea that Eru gave some special dispensation is possible, and we cannot outright discount it.
2) The two walls are different, and the building of the Door of Night is significant because it prevents reentry through the Wall of Night (around Arda), not because it opens through an impassable wall.
- This one would solve the issue of the Valar passing over/through the Walls of Night to enter Arda. If we make them just enclose Arda, then the Valar can pass through them no problem, with the Walls of the World around Ea being the impassable ones. We can thus change every reference to the Walls of the World relating to Valinor or the distance from the land of Arda to the Walls of Night. The Door of Night could be significant because it prevents Melkor's reentry, not because it opens on the Void outside of Ea. The issue with this approach is that it is invented, but to be honest, the idea of there being two walls is in itself invented, and Tolkien must forgive us some clever invention to make this cosmology work.

As for the other points:
- Agreed with Fin about gondowe's change
- I think we must leave them in because the Akallabeth is a very late source compared to this, so to remove it from there is something serious. I think we must try to include them if possible.
- I think you are right in that Eru allowed them to enter Ea for the first time. We do not need to specify this.
- If we take the Ambarcanta to only describe Arda, then it does not make the transition to our cosmology impossible. Once Valinor is removed 'into the realm of hidden things,' we can assume that Vaiya went with it. Then Ilmen becomes open to the spaces of Ea, enclosed within the Walls of Night (preventing Melkor from returning to Arda). But this allows the Sun and Moon to expand into Ea as well as other heavenly bodies which might have been in Ilmen previously. Ilmen then simly becomes our upper atmosphere. It makes enough sense that it shouldn't cause too much concern.
- Thank you for posting this change, it slipped my mind!
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