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Old 08-11-2022, 02:16 PM   #1
Mithadan
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The Silmarils and the Rings

While the Concerning... The Hoard discussion continues regarding whether that note represents, in whole or in part, a final conception of The Fall of Doriath and The Wanderings of Hurin, (for the full text and that discussion, see http://forum.barrowdowns.com/showthread.php?t=19607), a couple of lines at the end of that document have caught my attention. Tolkien writes:
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The Silmarils had become to Feanor symbols and instruments of power: he called himself “the lord of the lights”. The Rings began in that evil mode in which the Jewels ended.
Ignoring the question of whether it is stated elsewhere that Feanor referred to himself as "the lord of the lights" (he seems to have said something like this, but not speaking in the first person), what does Tolkien mean by his comparison of the Rings to the Silmarils?
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Old 08-11-2022, 04:54 PM   #2
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Well, the Rings certainly were "instruments of power," and arguably were "symbols of power" as well depending on whether Celebrimbor originally intended them to be wielded openly. He would in effect have created a class of nineteen Ringbearers, superior in power and inevitably in influence to all other Elves: a ruling caste based on might.

Contrast the original purpose of the Silmarils - as the ultimate works of pure Art - compared to what they became by the end of the First Age- objects of lust and desire, and not devoid of power either.
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Old 08-11-2022, 05:27 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by William Cloud Hicklin View Post
Contrast the original purpose of the Silmarils - as the ultimate works of pure Art - compared to what they became by the end of the First Age- objects of lust and desire, and not devoid of power either.
I think there was a certain similarity, though primarily between the Jewels and the Three Rings.

The Silmarils were made by Fëanor after he had considered how he might preserve the light of the Trees, and The Silmarillion intimates that he could have had a bit of foresight as to their coming fate.

Celebrimbor fashioned the Three as instruments of preservation also, to retain in a fading world some semblance of what had been lost. I would posit that, as a Noldo, he could have had been indeed inspired by the Silmarils. After all, the Jewels gained a negative aspect only after the Fëanor's Oath, and the further deeds of he and his sons. No such corrupting aspect tainted the Three.
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Old 08-11-2022, 06:45 PM   #4
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I think there was a certain similarity, though primarily between the Jewels and the Three Rings.

The Silmarils were made by Fëanor after he had considered how he might preserve the light of the Trees, and The Silmarillion intimates that he could have had a bit of foresight as to their coming fate.

Celebrimbor fashioned the Three as instruments of preservation also, to retain in a fading world some semblance of what had been lost. I would posit that, as a Noldo, he could have had been indeed inspired by the Silmarils. After all, the Jewels gained a negative aspect only after the Fëanor's Oath, and the further deeds of he and his sons. No such corrupting aspect tainted the Three.
No- but they were effectively neutralized thanks to the One.
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Old Yesterday, 01:40 AM   #5
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When I first read that statement, I connected it to the earlier claim in the text that 'The “War of the Rings” is, as it were, a breaking out again of the “Wars of the Jewels”, though in a different mode.' But on thinking about it again, I'm inclined to link it to a different part of the text:

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The Silmarils were made by Feänor, greatest of the Elves, and chief of all craftsmen, originally with no motive but the making of beauty. [...] For Feänor became obsessed with love of these jewels, his “own works”, and guarded them jealously, seldom permitting anyone else to look at them.
The Silmarils began as a work of pure beauty; but they became obsessively possessed, jealously guarded, "symbols and instruments of power" that had to be controlled. The Rings, from the Three to the One, fell into the latter category from the start - they may have been beautiful, but their purpose was power. Is it going too far to say that, in a world where the One was never forged, the Three might have been worn openly as symbols of their wielders' authority? If their intended bearers were Celebrimbor, Galadriel, and Gil-Galad, that's a potent show of the Might of the Noldor.

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Old Yesterday, 02:00 AM   #6
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As Tolkien explains in some length that the pure idea of perservation of the state of affairs is sinfull in a world that is based on change/progression, I do not think that neither the Silmarills nor the Rings of Power needed any farther taint. The concept that leads to the making of both was a step away from a true belive and trust in Ilúvatar.

But since that 'road of sins' is slipery and step, these artefacts rapidly collect more taints when used or desired.

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Old Yesterday, 12:44 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Findegil View Post
As Tolkien explains in some length that the pure idea of perservation of the state of affairs is sinfull in a world that is based on change/progression, I do not think that neither the Silmarills nor the Rings of Power needed any farther taint. The concept that leads to the making of both was a step away from a true belive and trust in Ilúvatar.

But since that 'road of sins' is slipery and step, these artefacts rapidly collect more taints when used or desired.

Respectfully
Findegil
I don't think Tolkien was thinking of the Silmarils as "tainted" nor as a step away from the plans of Ilúvatar. First of all in the Silmarillion they are hallowed by Varda, and she wouldn't have done that against His consent. Furthermore the Silmaril of Eärendil is in the Third Age a symbol of hope.

The analogies for me are simply two:
1) Both the Silmarils and the Rings are meant to preserve. In the rings there's clearly a negative elements as the preservations does not permit time to evolve naturally. They are not only "memory"

2) Both the Silmarils and the Rings are the objects behind the wars of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd ages.
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Old Today, 01:25 AM   #8
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I believe that Tolkien's intention in the sentence is already exposed in everything you have already said.
The Silmarils ended up as instruments of power and desire, because of the Dark Lord. I mean before Eärendil's use of it. And the rings began the same way, as instruments of power, perhaps at first with good intentions on the part of Celebrimbor, but ultimately because of the Dark Lord, the other.
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