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Old 05-27-2002, 08:30 AM   #1
The Silver-shod Muse
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Pipe Reincarnation

After Glorfindel was destroyed by the Balrog, he went to the Halls of Mandos and was then "recycled" back into life. Does anyone know how this happened? I'm just curious, but did he have a second set of parents, coming back as a baby, or did he just appear somewhere as an adult and go on with whatever he had been doing when he left?

Does Tolkien ever specify how the Valar reincarnate the Elves in one of his letters? I would appreciate it if someone could explain this to me. It seems like it would be an important part of ME's mythology.
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Old 05-27-2002, 09:46 AM   #2
Aiwendil
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This is discussed in great depth in HoMe X, Morgoth's Ring. To make a long story short, Tolkien originally decided that Elves were reborn in their descendants. In this version, Glorfindel would have had new parents and gradually remembered his former life. Tolkien later decided that this was inconsistent with the metaphysics of Arda, however. He changed the mythology so that Elves are not reborn, but reincarnated. Since each fea (soul) corresponds precisely to a single hroa (body), the Valar are capable of making an exact replica of the body of an Elvish soul. So in the later version, Glorfindel appeared as an adult.

Elves were, naturally, reincarnated in Valinor. HoMe XII, The Peoples of Middle-earth, discusses Glorfindel's return from Valinor. It seems that Tolkien's latest idea was that Glorfindel was sent, like the Istari, to aid the free peoples of Middle-earth against Sauron; there are varying accounts of when exactly he returned, but it seems to have been during the Second Age.
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Old 05-27-2002, 11:00 AM   #3
twinkle
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here are a bunch of quotes from HoME that may help you out.....

Quote:
volume 1
III.
THE COMING OF THE VALAR
AND THE BUILDING OF
VALINOR.
Thither in after days fared the Elves of all the clans who were by illhap slain with weap-
ons or did die of grief for those that were slain -- and only so might the Eldar die, and then it was only for a while.
There Mandos spake their doom, and there they waited in the darkness, dreaming of their past deeds, until such time as he appointed when they might again be born into their children, and go forth to laugh and sing again.
Most important in the passage concerning Mandos is the clear statement about the fate of Elves who die: that they wait in the halls of Mandos until Vefantur decrees their release, to be reborn in their own children.
Quote:
volume 4
II. THE EARLIEST SILMARILLION'. (The 'Sketch of the Mythology').
Moreover in the early texts rebirth in their own children seems to be represented as the universal fate of the Eldar who die; whereas in S they are said to return from Mandos 'to free life'. Rebirth is mentioned in S very briefly and only in a later interpolation.
Quote:
volume 6
'[The use of Glorfindel] in The Lord of the Rings is one of the cases of the somewhat random use of the names found in the older legends, now referred to as The Silmarillion, which escaped reconsider-
ation in the final published form of The Lord of the Rings.' He came to the conclusion that Glorfindel of Gondolin, who fell to his death in combat with a Balrog after the sack of the city II.192 - 4, IV.145), and Glorfindel of Rivendell were one and the same: he was released from Mandos and returned to Middle-earth in the Second Age.
Quote:
athrabeth volume 10
In what appears to be a second thought my father then asked
whether it might not be possible that the 'houseless' fea was itself allowed (being instructed) to rebuild its hroa from its memory (and this, as appears from very late writing on the subject of the reincarnation of Glorfindel of Gondolin, became his firm and stable view of the
matter). He wrote here: 'Memory by a fea of experience is evidently powerful, vivid, and complete. So the underlying conception is that "matter" will be taken up into "spirit", by becoming part of its knowledge - and so rendered timeless and under the spirit's command. As the Elves remaining in Middle-earth slowly "consumed"
their bodies - or made them into raiments of memory? The resurrection of the body (at least as far as Elves were concerned) was in a sense incorporeal. But while it could pass physical barriers at will, it could at will oppose a barrier to matter. If you touched a resurrected body you felt it. Or if it willed it could simply elude you - disappear. Its position
in space was at will.'
Quote:
volume 12 Late Writings
Glorfindel

We can therefore reasonably suppose that Glorfindel, after the purging or forgiveness of his part in the rebellion of the Noldor, was released from Mandos and became himself again, but remained in the Blessed Realm - for Gondolin was destroyed and all or most of his kin had perished. We can thus understand why he seems so powerful a figure and almost 'angelic'. For he had returned to the primitive innocence of the First-born, and
had then lived among those Elves who had never rebelled, and in the companionship of the Maiar (2) for ages: from the last years of the First Age, through the Second Age, to the end of the first millennium of the Third Age: before he returned to Middle-
earth.(3)since he said here that while
Glorfindel might have come with Gandalf, 'it seems far more likely that he was sent in the crisis of the Second Age, when Sauron invaded Eriador, to assist Elrond, and that though not(yet) mentioned in the annals recording Sauron's defeat he played a notable and heroic part in the war.' At the end of this note he wrote the words 'Numenorean ship', presumably indicating how Glorfindel might have crossed the Great Sea.
It is therefore entirely in keeping with the general design of The Silmarillion to describe the subsequent history of Glorfindel thus. After his purging of any
guilt that he had incurred in the rebellion, he was released from Mandos, and Manwe restored him.(12) He then became again a living incarnate person, but was permitted to dwell in the Blessed Realm; for he had regained the primitive innocence and
grace of the Eldar. For long years he remained in Valinor, in reunion with the Eldar who had not rebelled, and in the companionship of the Maiar. To these he had now become almost an equal, for though he was an incarnate (to whom a bodily form not made or chosen by himself was necessary) his spiritual
power had been greatly enhanced by his self-sacrifice. At some time, probably early in his sojourn in Valinor, he became a follower, and a friend, of Olorin (Gandalf), who as is said in The Silmarillion had an especial love and concern for the Children of Eru.(13) That Olorin, as was possible for one of the Maiar, had already visited Middle-earth and had become acquainted not
only with the Sindarin Elves and others deeper in Middle-earth, but also with Men, is likely, but nothing is [> has yet been] said of this.
Glorfindel remained in the Blessed Realm, no doubt at first by his own choice: Gondolin was destroyed, and all his kin had perished, and were still in the Halls of Waiting unapproachable by the living. But his long sojourn during the last years of the First Age, and at least far into the Second Age, no doubt was also in accord with the wishes and designs of Manwe.
When did Glorfindel return to Middle-earth? This must probably have occurred before the end of the Second Age, and the 'Change of the World' and the Drowning of Numenor, after which no living embodied creature, 'humane' or of lesser kinds, could return from the Blessed Realm which had been 'removed
from the Circles of the World'. This was according to a general ordinance proceeding from Eru Himself; and though, until the end of the Third Age, when Eru decreed that the Dominion of Men must begin, Manwe could be supposed to have received the permission of Eru to make an exception in his case, and to have devised some means for the transportation of Glorfindel to Middle-earth, this is improbable and would make Glorfindel
of greater power and importance than seems fitting.
We may then best suppose that Glorfindel returned during the Second Age, before the 'shadow' fell on Numenor, and while the Numenoreans were welcomed by the Eldar as powerful allies. His return must have been for the purpose of strengthening Gil-galad and Elrond, when the growing evil of the intentions of Sauron were at last perceived by them. It might, therefore, have been as early as Second Age 1200, when Sauron came in person to Lindon, and attempted to deceive Gil-galad, but was rejected and dismissed.(14) But it may have been, perhaps more probably,
as late as c.1600, the Year of Dread, when Barad-dur was completed and the One Ring forged, and Celebrimbor at last became aware of the trap into which he had fallen. For in 1200, though he was filled with anxiety, Gil-galad still felt strong
and able to treat Sauron with contempt.(15) Also at that time his Numenorean allies were beginning to make strong permanent havens for their great ships, and also many of them had actually begun to dwell there permanently. In 1600 it became clear to all the leaders of Elves and Men (and Dwarves) that war was inevitable against Sauron, now unmasked as a new Dark Lord.
They therefore began to prepare for his assault; and no doubt urgent messages and prayers asking for help were received in Numenor (and in Valinor).(16)
so while born into their children sounds a lot like an actual rebirth, the late writings make me believe that he returned as a mature being.

hope these helped rather than confused [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img]

twinkle

[ May 27, 2002: Message edited by: twinkle ]
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Old 05-27-2002, 12:30 PM   #4
GreatWarg
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Question

Er'hem... twink, you're confusing me. But there are inconsistincies (sp?) in the books in relation from LOTR to the Silm.
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Old 05-27-2002, 12:49 PM   #5
twinkle
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Sting

GW....the quotes were all from HoME concerning the reincarnation as well as the appearance of Glorfindel in Gondolin and later in LOTR....
it partly discusses wether or not Glorfindel of LOTR and Gondolin were identical, therefore tying in with the reincarnation question....
but as to the original question of the thread, Aiwendil beautifully summed up what i tried to show in the quotes, just beat me to the punch [img]smilies/wink.gif[/img]

twinkle
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