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Old 05-07-2010, 05:25 PM   #1
Gorthaur the Cruel
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Melian among the maia

It seems that Melian is a truly powerfu and wise maia, and maybe even more powerful than the Istari (?). The fact that she was able to fend off a highly empowered (thanks to the Two Trees saps and Varda's wells) Ungoliant, whose darkness strangled all of Valinor's inhabitants (including the valar themselves), is truly impressive... considering it took a host of Balrogs to fend her off of Melkor. Of course, when Ungoliant headed for Doriath, she could have been less powerful due to the Balrogs' earlier contest with her, hence why Melian was able to restrain her? Or perhaps she was still in her full might even when apporaching the Girdle.
This makes me speculate that if the tragedies that transpired in Doriath (resulting in its destruction) did not occur, Melian's Girdle could have indefinitely held off Morgoth's full power (Sauron, Ancalagon, Glaurung, Gothmog and other Balrogs, Trolls, Orcs, and evil men).

In addition, speculate how Melian ranks against other powerful Maia like Uinen, Ilmare, Arien, Sauron, Gandalf, Saruman, and Radaghast in terms of raw power (however you want to define that). Some posters have mentioned that Sauron and Melian are possible equals, but if that were so, he wouldn't have had any reservations about attacking Doriath. Or am I giving Melian too much credit against the might of Angband?
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Old 02-27-2013, 09:21 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by Gorthaur the Cruel View Post
It seems that Melian is a truly powerfu and wise maia, and maybe even more powerful than the Istari (?). The fact that she was able to fend off a highly empowered (thanks to the Two Trees saps and Varda's wells) Ungoliant, whose darkness strangled all of Valinor's inhabitants (including the valar themselves), is truly impressive... considering it took a host of Balrogs to fend her off of Melkor. Of course, when Ungoliant headed for Doriath, she could have been less powerful due to the Balrogs' earlier contest with her, hence why Melian was able to restrain her? Or perhaps she was still in her full might even when apporaching the Girdle.
This makes me speculate that if the tragedies that transpired in Doriath (resulting in its destruction) did not occur, Melian's Girdle could have indefinitely held off Morgoth's full power (Sauron, Ancalagon, Glaurung, Gothmog and other Balrogs, Trolls, Orcs, and evil men).

In addition, speculate how Melian ranks against other powerful Maia like Uinen, Ilmare, Arien, Sauron, Gandalf, Saruman, and Radaghast in terms of raw power (however you want to define that). Some posters have mentioned that Sauron and Melian are possible equals, but if that were so, he wouldn't have had any reservations about attacking Doriath. Or am I giving Melian too much credit against the might of Angband?

I do believe Melian was one of the most powerful of the Maia that lingered in Middle Earth. Arguably almost as strong as Sauron, being able to withstand him. But her power was in withstanding and protecting rather than assault, or creating things of power or leading armies.

Some of the less physical entities, such as Uinen, Ilmare, Osse, etc, Were probably just up there in power with MAnwe's herald, but they spent their powers in other ways. Sauron did work with his hands and lived himself in Middle Earth for so logn takng on a physical form similar to an Elf, and later on of a terrible lord, that he (and Melian and Gandalf) are of a different type of Maiar. More terrestrial, or more corporeal it seems. And alot of their power was spread out in different ways, over time, rather than on a single task in a single place like Uinen or the others.


Certainly top 10 greatest Maiar spirits though, of Arda in terms of powers and contribution to Arda
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Old 02-27-2013, 11:15 AM   #3
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I think that Melian's power is much greater than simply resisting Ungoliant shows. Consider this quote, found in both The Sil and COH:

Quote:
Who knows now the counsels of Morgoth? Who can measure the reach of his thought, who has been Melkor, mighty among the Ainur of the Great Song, and sat now, a dark lord upon a dark throne in the North, weighing in his malice all the tidings that came to him, and perceiving more of the deeds and purposes of his enemies than even the wisest of them feared, save Melian the Queen? To her often the thought of Morgoth reached out, and there was foiled.
Before this quote, I would look at Melian as a powerful person but not someone who really has or uses the full potential. This quote, on the other hand, is like an eye opener to Melian's true power. She doesn't only create a wall of disorientation around her kingdom or keep Ungoliant away, she also continuously defeats Morgoth in a mind battle!
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Old 02-27-2013, 11:22 AM   #4
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I would look at Melian as a powerful person but not someone who really has or uses the full potential. This quote, on the other hand, is like an eye opener to Melian's true power. She doesn't only create a wall of disorientation around her kingdom or keep Ungoliant away, she also continuously defeats Morgoth in a mind battle!
This to me is a very close parallel to the situation between Galadriel and Sauron in the Third Age.

Galadiel too had a forested "fortress", and continually frustrated the attempts of Sauron to mentally probe for weakness and information. Since Galadriel had been a confidant of Melian's, I guess she got a few pointers on resisting evil in the bargain.
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Old 02-27-2013, 03:42 PM   #5
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It is beyond me why such a powerful Maia would use her powers to seduce Thingol of all people. Sheesh!

Anyway, if the gods would leave their business, and the birds of Valinor their mirth, and the fountains cease to flow when she sang in Lórien, she can't be a completely ordinary Maia.
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Old 03-05-2013, 04:16 AM   #6
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It is beyond me why such a powerful Maia would use her powers to seduce Thingol of all people. Sheesh!
Seduction implies an active part one takes on another and has a negative connotation. Thingol just ran into her while she was doing her thing in the forest and he even walked up to her and took her hand. It was love at first sight for both of them, and first sight was sure long lasting, "they STOOD THUS while long years were measured by the wheeling stars above them; and the trees of Nan Elmoth grew TALL and DARK before they spoke any word." [Sil, p. 58]
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Old 03-05-2013, 02:35 PM   #7
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Seduction implies an active part one takes on another and has a negative connotation. Thingol just ran into her while she was doing her thing in the forest and he even walked up to her and took her hand. It was love at first sight for both of them, and first sight was sure long lasting, "they STOOD THUS while long years were measured by the wheeling stars above them; and the trees of Nan Elmoth grew TALL and DARK before they spoke any word." [Sil, p. 58]
It seems clear that the Thingol/Melian pairing was something, like the later finding of the One Ring by Bilbo Baggins, that was meant to occur. From that union came Lúthien Tinúviel, who played such a major role in not only the history of the First Age, but whose existence had an impact all the way to the time of the War of the Ring.
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Old 03-05-2013, 03:04 PM   #8
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It seems clear that the Thingol/Melian pairing was something, like the later finding of the One Ring by Bilbo Baggins, that was meant to occur. From that union came Lúthien Tinúviel, who played such a major role in not only the history of the First Age, but whose existence had an impact all the way to the time of the War of the Ring.
## If it was "meant to occur", that would make a lot of sense: the union between them would then be an example of the pattern of unions between spouses of different kinds, in which the female is always of a nobler/higher "kind" than the male. The pattern as a whole does not begin with Luthien & Beren. Instead it would be:

Melian - Thingol
Luthien - Beren
Idril - Tuor
Arwen - Aragorn

(IMHO, this pattern of the higher marrying the lower can be seen elsewhere.) Which makes one wonder what would have happened if the Sons of Feanor had not killed Dior the Fair - his death may have been a far greater disaster than appears on the surface; he may not be as minor as the space he occupies in the Sil might suggest.
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Old 03-05-2013, 07:31 PM   #9
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Seduction implies an active part one takes on another and has a negative connotation.
For me anything to do with Thingol has a negative connotation. And yes I know, I just couldn't resist the temptation to spread some Thingol hate. I need to stop before I become old and bitter.

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Which makes one wonder what would have happened if the Sons of Feanor had not killed Dior the Fair - his death may have been a far greater disaster than appears on the surface; he may not be as minor as the space he occupies in the Sil might suggest.
I'm afraid I don't quite follow you here - can you explain?

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(IMHO, this pattern of the higher marrying the lower can be seen elsewhere.)
Hey cool! Correct me if this is just an easy stereotype I've accepted without thinking, but I seem to recall it was more typical of men than of women to marry lower in European history. Which makes the fact that with Tolkien it's the other way round... something. I wonder if it's been researched. (Yes, you can tell I finished the first draft of my thesis today.) Anyway sorry, these are late night ramblings.
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Old 03-05-2013, 09:18 PM   #10
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Belegorn's remark brings the question of the purpose of the "spell" that was laid on Thingol when he and Melian met. And who was responsible?

To the second question, I would say Melian did it. We later see Morgoth having the power to arrest physical change in Húrin (he could not die while Morgoth's power was on him), so it seems plausible Melian could have had a similar ability. And it seems the spell was for Thingol alone.

Quote:
[Melian] spoke no word; but being filled with love Elwë came to her and took her hand, and straightaway a spell was laid on him, so that they stood thus...
But why? Some sort of "enhancement" or ennoblement for Elwë, to prepare him for being the spouse of a divine being? He is obviously changed when next seen by his followers.

Quote:
[Elwë's] people gathered about him in joy, and they were amazed; for fair and noble as he had been, now he appeared as it were a lord of the Maiar...
The Silmarillion Of Eldamar

So he seemed to have been elevated from his previous stature. Was that just a requirement for matrimony? Sheesh. Women always want to change a man...
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Old 03-05-2013, 11:13 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Aganzir View Post
For me anything to do with Thingol has a negative connotation. And yes I know, I just couldn't resist the temptation to spread some Thingol hate. I need to stop before I become old and bitter.


I'm afraid I don't quite follow you here - can you explain?
## This happens a lot LOL

The point is, that with the three later unions, we learn that important goods came of them....but I've just realised that I mistakenly thought Dior's parents were not Beren & Luthien, whereas they definitely were. Sorry about that

The speculation may have something to be said for it even so, but would be irrelevant to the pattern of unions. Sorry about the confusion. I hope that clears things up.

As for Thingol, he is definitely one of my favourite characters - but so are Maedhros & Maeglin (& Feanor).

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But why? Some sort of "enhancement" or ennoblement for Elwë, to prepare him for being the spouse of a divine being? He is obviously changed when next seen by his followers.
## Ennoblement, or elevation or improvement, does seem to be a theme in the history of Arda: the Elves are "ennobled" by being brought to Valinor, the Numenoreans are "ennobled" by their friendship with the Elves, the Men of Middle Earth are "ennobled" by contact with the Numenoreans. And there is more than a hint of it in TLOTR. And it works the other way too - Morgoth ruins everything & everyone he comes in contact with - himself most of all. If the Numenoreans had been patient (as the messengers of the Valar advised), they might have "ennobled" all those enslaved to Sauron, and he might have fallen for ever much sooner, w/o the destruction of Numenor and a lot of other bad stuff.

FWIW, ennoblement of this sort would fit nicely with the Catholic notion that grace perfects, and does not destroy, nature (& Tolkien was a Catholic) - the change in Thingol would be a good illustration of the idea. If Thingol had remained as he was, something might have happened to him analogous to what the Numenoreans would have suffered, had they lived among the Valar:

"For it is not the land of Manwë that makes its people deathless, but the Deathless that dwell therein have hallowed the land; and there you would but wither and grow weary the sooner, as moths in a light too strong and steadfast.'"

Which is what happened to the Ringwraiths - except that they "crackled, withered, and went out" when the Barad-dur fell. So much for the promises of Sauron in the Akallabeth; in a lesser way, the gifts given to the Numenoreans "withered", slowly, when they rejected the Valar & the Elves. But by being with Melian, Thingol was "elevated" from being an Elf (albeit one who had seen the Trees & the Valar), to being a "Mairinised" Elf. Maybe that long time with her alone was the preparation he needed for the rest of his life with her.

If Sauron or Morgoth had come in full force against Doriath, I doubt Melian could have held them off indefinitely - I think she is more like Yavanna among the Valar than like Tulkas. Though she seems even more like Varda, overall: not a warlike Maia, not "technological" like Aule (& the Maiar Sauron & Saruman, who were of his "people"), but both creative & regal. IIRC, there is a close relation between the native endowments & character of members of the Ainur OTOH, and their "range of effective action" OTO. So perhaps her gifts gave her great power in certain respects - but not in others.

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Old 03-06-2013, 07:52 AM   #12
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Hey cool! Correct me if this is just an easy stereotype I've accepted without thinking, but I seem to recall it was more typical of men than of women to marry lower in European history.
Another example of the reverse kind would be Faramir with Eowen. He was a High Man, of the Steward's House. Also in the House of the Princes at Belfast an Elf woman was supposed to have been engaged with a Numenorean ancestor named Imrazor. I'll give one more reverse example that resulted in the Kin Strife which was dreadful for Gondor in the long run, that of the hereditary King of the Southern Kingdom, Valacar, who married Vidumavi of the Northmen. When he died his son by her, Eldacar, became involved in this war in Gondor. This also resulted in the mixing of alot of the High Men with Middle Men as their numbers lessened.
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Old 03-06-2013, 08:00 AM   #13
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If Sauron or Morgoth had come in full force against Doriath, I doubt Melian could have held them off indefinitely - I think she is more like Yavanna among the Valar than like Tulkas.
What's interesting is that the force Melkor had brought together to overrun Beleriand and it's other king Thingol was utterly destroyed by Feanor and his sons and they were the lesser group of the Noldor who had come to Beleriand as the greater numbers were with Fingolfin who had not yet came.

"from it returned all the hosts that he had prepared for the CONQUEST OF BELERIAND no more than a HANDFUL OF LEAVES." [Sil, p. 124]
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Old 03-06-2013, 03:48 PM   #14
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What's interesting is that the force Melkor had brought together to overrun Beleriand and it's other king Thingol was utterly destroyed by Feanor and his sons and they were the lesser group of the Noldor who had come to Beleriand as the greater numbers were with Fingolfin who had not yet came.

"from it returned all the hosts that he had prepared for the CONQUEST OF BELERIAND no more than a HANDFUL OF LEAVES." [Sil, p. 124]
## Maybe Feanor (& by extension, his sons) were sufficiently (to coin a phrase) "fired up"; like Hurin at the Nirnaeth, killing his 70 orcs. Tolkien may have meant the desperate courage of both, against impossible odds, to be a version of the battle-fury (or "joy of battle") of the Viking berserker - as shown by Theoden & Eomer at the Pelennor. When the odds are desperate, and victory is slipping out of one's grasp/totally out of the question, it's all the more necessary, not less, to go down fighting. Feanor's problem (or part of it), is (to use an Old English term Tolkien refers to at length) ofermod, arrogance:

http://valarguild.org/varda/Tolkien/...es/ofermod.htm

Only someone very arrogant could seriously think of taking on Melkor the Morgoth. OTOH, this kind of stubborn pride has the advantage of nerving the person who has it to keep fighting, even though defeat is staring him in the face. As this courage can be had without pride - as Frodo & Sam & Aragorn show - ISTM that the desperate courage of Feanor shows us something of the tragedy of Feanor: he has great strengths - but his Morgoth-like arrogance warps them, to his destruction & that of those near him. His strength, from being creative, becomes destructive - unlike that of Melian.

Feanor comes across as violent and impulsive, which is fine for a warrior (if he is warrior, & nothing more); "serene" & "peaceful" are two words that don't fit him at all; but they might well describe Melian. She's not passive - though her strength is the kind that can be confused with passivity. Though he is very wise in craft and lore, he has none of Melian's insight into the hearts of Elves & men (another respect in which Galadriel resembles her). He is alarmingly similar (in some ways) to Morgoth & Sauron - perhaps his hatred of Morgoth was (in part) hatred of something he saw in himself. Which may be why Galadriel rejected him even in Valinor.

"The light of Aman was not yet dimmed in their eyes, and they were strong and swift, and deadly in anger, and their swords were long and terrible" - that would have helped Feanor & those with him: as well as his own qualities, his being newly come from Valinor helped to make him formidable.
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Old 03-06-2013, 05:51 PM   #15
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Regarding Hurin's feat, I don't want to overstate it because Morgoth did want him taken alive, "they took him at last alive, by the command of Morgoth" [Sil, p. 238] So I would say he killed alot of those orcs/trolls because they were not necessarily bent on killing him. I think this impetus was shown with the orcs hands/arms still grasping him even though they were no longer attached to the Orcs bodies.

"the Orcs GRAPPLED him with their hands, which CLUNG TO HIM STILL though he HEWED OFF their ARMS" [p. 238]

Feanor himself, whether from Valinor or not was said the be the greatest of the Children of Iluvatar.
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Old 03-07-2013, 02:15 PM   #16
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Feanor himself, whether from Valinor or not was said the be the greatest of the Children of Iluvatar.
In The Silmarillion is stated that Fëanor was the most "subtle in mind" and "skilled in hand", though there are far more (and more important, I think) standards upon which "greatness" should be judged.
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Old 03-07-2013, 02:58 PM   #17
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The point is, that with the three later unions, we learn that important goods came of them....but I've just realised that I mistakenly thought Dior's parents were not Beren & Luthien, whereas they definitely were. Sorry about that
Okay, that's what made me wonder. He was married and had three children anyway by the time he was killed so I suppose he had played his part. The sons of Fëanor killing Elwing would've been a bigger problem, though, because it was through her that a streak of divine blood eventually passed on to the Children of Ilúvatar.

Quote:
As for Thingol, he is definitely one of my favourite characters - but so are Maedhros & Maeglin (& Feanor).
See, I like villains too (points down to signature) - I've just always had a strong, inexplicable aversion to the Sindar.

Quote:
But by being with Melian, Thingol was "elevated" from being an Elf (albeit one who had seen the Trees & the Valar), to being a "Mairinised" Elf. Maybe that long time with her alone was the preparation he needed for the rest of his life with her.
I've always interpreted Melian's despair at Thingol's death the way that they didn't meet again and their marriage was over, but of course there's a chance he gets a new hröa after some chilling in Mandos.
He might even have spent all of the Second Age happily in Valinor. *involuntary shudder*

Quote:
If Sauron or Morgoth had come in full force against Doriath, I doubt Melian could have held them off indefinitely
True about Morgoth - but then, the fact that he didn't is quite telling because they were clearly worried about Doriath. Perhaps they knew their losses would be so heavy it wouldn't be worth the trouble. I'm not so sure about Sauron because even Lúthien (who, it can be argued, wasn't as powerful as Melian) put him down single-handedly.

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Another example of the reverse kind would be Faramir with Eowen. He was a High Man, of the Steward's House. Also in the House of the Princes at Belfast an Elf woman was supposed to have been engaged with a Numenorean ancestor named Imrazor. I'll give one more reverse example that resulted in the Kin Strife which was dreadful for Gondor in the long run, that of the hereditary King of the Southern Kingdom, Valacar, who married Vidumavi of the Northmen. When he died his son by her, Eldacar, became involved in this war in Gondor. This also resulted in the mixing of alot of the High Men with Middle Men as their numbers lessened.
This might even deserve a thread of its own, unless there already is one. Yes, the likes of Faramir and Valacar exist but they seem to be the minority.
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Old 03-07-2013, 04:30 PM   #18
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Regarding Hurin's feat, I don't want to overstate it because Morgoth did want him taken alive, "they took him at last alive, by the command of Morgoth" [Sil, p. 238] So I would say he killed alot of those orcs/trolls because they were not necessarily bent on killing him. I think this impetus was shown with the orcs hands/arms still grasping him even though they were no longer attached to the Orcs bodies.

"the Orcs GRAPPLED him with their hands, which CLUNG TO HIM STILL though he HEWED OFF their ARMS" [p. 238]

Feanor himself, whether from Valinor or not was said the be the greatest of the Children of Iluvatar.
## The "omniscient" readers share the knowledge of Arda available to Tolkien, & can know Morgoth wanted Hurin taken alive - but did Hurin know this ? I don't think his heroism is diminished by fighting against enemies who (for their own self-preservation, if they survived) could not afford to kill him. Humanly speaking, he may have been in pretty much the same sort of fix as Isildur at the Gladden Fields: the only significant difference I can see is, that the orcs who killed Isildur's company wanted to do so, even if those orcs were unaware of what made them so ferocious. The will of the Ring, the will of the orcs, & the wills of Isildur & his company, are all different wills, but all are means of developing events.

If it was intended by Eru that Isildur should be killed, now that he had the Ring, that would not make the human activity of Isildur in trying to fight off the attack any less courageous. The intentions of the Valar may operate at a different level from those of beings in Arda. Maybe that is applicable here: the action of Hurin is still heroic, and undiminished by Morgoth's will that he be taken alive.

I know I'm making metaphysical & theological assumptions
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Old 03-07-2013, 10:05 PM   #19
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did Hurin know this ? I don't think his heroism is diminished by fighting against enemies who (for their own self-preservation, if they survived) could not afford to kill him.
I do not think his ignorance of Morgoth's intentions diminished his courage, but it can be factored into what happened there. He is fighting for his life, they are trying to take him in alive. I think if Morgoth wanted them all wiped out Hurin would have fought just as hard but without the same outcome.
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Old 03-08-2013, 09:51 AM   #20
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Sting Húrin's true courage

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I do not think his ignorance of Morgoth's intentions diminished his courage, but it can be factored into what happened there. He is fighting for his life, they are trying to take him in alive. I think if Morgoth wanted them all wiped out Hurin would have fought just as hard but without the same outcome.
My opinion is that Húrin's true courage comes after he is captured, when Morgoth can do what he likes to him. Despite this, he mocks and defies him, calling him 'an escaped thrall of the Valar' the most deadful insult to someone claiming to be King of Arda, as well as pointing out that he had no mercy.
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Old 03-10-2013, 05:16 AM   #21
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I think that Melian's power is much greater than simply resisting Ungoliant shows. Consider this quote, found in both The Sil and COH:

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Who knows now the counsels of Morgoth? Who can measure the reach of his thought, who has been Melkor, mighty among the Ainur of the Great Song, and sat now, a dark lord upon a dark throne in the North, weighing in his malice all the tidings that came to him, and perceiving more of the deeds and purposes of his enemies than even the wisest of them feared, save Melian the Queen? To her often the thought of Morgoth reached out, and there was foiled.

Before this quote, I would look at Melian as a powerful person but not someone who really has or uses the full potential. This quote, on the other hand, is like an eye opener to Melian's true power. She doesn't only create a wall of disorientation around her kingdom or keep Ungoliant away, she also continuously defeats Morgoth in a mind battle!
It seems to me that similar to Balrogs, who possessed right weapons to fight against Ungoliant, Melian was endowed with specific mental ability to penetrate Morgoth's thought and to prevent him from reading her own mind - despite the fact that his overall might was greater and he had many other capacities in which Melian could hardly compete (such as shaping landscapes). Still it seems she was very close to Sauron as one of the mightiest maiar.

There is also a feel that if a great power stayed in the same place for a long time in Tolkien's universe, it could achieve a tremendous level of control over the territory - some kind of symbiosis, so the place also contributed into the enhancement of the power. Valar in Aman, High Elves and Elrond with his Ring in Rivendell, Galadriel in Lorien, Sauron in Mordor, Saruman in Isengard, Balrog in Moria, Bombadil in his "country", Radagast in south Mirkwood and, may be even Gandalf in the Shire demonstrate such effect. Some disadvantage is that localising powers, a great spirit could often loose his/her interest and influence in everything beyond. Sauron and Gandalf, each in his own way, were able to overcome such limitations.
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Old 03-10-2013, 07:49 AM   #22
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It seems to me that similar to Balrogs, who possessed right weapons to fight against Ungoliant, Melian was endowed with specific mental ability to penetrate Morgoth's thought and to prevent him from reading her own mind - despite the fact that his overall might was greater and he had many other capacities in which Melian could hardly compete (such as shaping landscapes). Still it seems she was very close to Sauron as one of the mightiest maiar.
Again I see a parallel in Galadriel vs. Sauron: Good more easily comprehends evil, than the reverse. Melian and Galadriel gain a fair amount of understanding of their more innately powerful adversaries, while the latter remain relatively blind.

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There is also a feel that if a great power stayed in the same place for a long time in Tolkien's universe, it could achieve a tremendous level of control over the territory - some kind of symbiosis, so the place also contributed into the enhancement of the power. Valar in Aman, High Elves and Elrond with his Ring in Rivendell, Galadriel in Lorien, Sauron in Mordor, Saruman in Isengard, Balrog in Moria, Bombadil in his "country", Radagast in south Mirkwood and, may be even Gandalf in the Shire demonstrate such effect. Some disadvantage is that localising powers, a great spirit could often loose his/her interest and influence in everything beyond. Sauron and Gandalf, each in his own way, were able to overcome such limitations.
Though Gandalf took a special interest in the Shire, and visited it somewhat regularly, I don't think one can say it was any sort of "fortress" of his. The North in general was his province. The "power" in the area was clearly Bombadil, who took your theory of localization to its extreme. The Old Forest and the Barrow-downs certainly recognized him as what Goldberry called "the Master". Perhaps Bombadil was there indeed to safeguard the Shire in preparation for its future importance in conjunction with the Ring. Gandalf could have recognized that, and maybe that accounts for his visiting Tom after Sauron's defeat: the "rolling-stone" and the "moss-gatherer", two opposite cogs in a machine working for a common goal?
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Old 03-10-2013, 09:44 AM   #23
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Again I see a parallel in Galadriel vs. Sauron: Good more easily comprehends evil, than the reverse. Melian and Galadriel gain a fair amount of understanding of their more innately powerful adversaries, while the latter remain relatively blind.
Given how often this is the case, it's interesting that at the highest level the opposite was true, by which I mean the case of Manwë in judgement of Melkor: "For Manwë was free from evil and could not comprehend it, and he knew that in the beginning, in the thought of Ilúvatar, Melkor had been even as he; and he saw not to the depths of Melkor's heart and did not perceive that all love had departed from him for ever." (The Silmarillion p.65-66)
Of course by a later time in the First Age Morgoth's ability to conceal his thoughts from others may have been diminished. However, considering that Manwë was "free from evil" does the insight of characters like Melian convey a reduced freedom from evil with a "know thine enemy" connotation? But I suppose another parallel with Galadriel might be useful; she knew evil but rejected it, and perhaps knowing evil was not always a bad thing when it came to fighting evil, as long as it didn't go too far (as in the case of Saruman). That would seem to fit with Professor Tolkien's recurring theme that evil ultimately contributes to good, that Arda Healed would be greater than Arda Unmarred for having been Marred.
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Old 03-10-2013, 12:54 PM   #24
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Given how often this is the case, it's interesting that at the highest level the opposite was true, by which I mean the case of Manwë in judgement of Melkor: "For Manwë was free from evil and could not comprehend it, and he knew that in the beginning, in the thought of Ilúvatar, Melkor had been even as he; and he saw not to the depths of Melkor's heart and did not perceive that all love had departed from him for ever." (The Silmarillion p.65-66)
Maybe Manwë's innocence may be attributed to the simple fact that Morgoth was the primordial evil in Arda, the "test case", as it were.

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However, considering that Manwë was "free from evil" does the insight of characters like Melian convey a reduced freedom from evil with a "know thine enemy" connotation? But I suppose another parallel with Galadriel might be useful; she knew evil but rejected it, and perhaps knowing evil was not always a bad thing when it came to fighting evil, as long as it didn't go too far (as in the case of Saruman).
One wonders if Melian had ever been subjected to any sort of temptation along the lines of Galadriel's desire of the Ring. Being truly "embodied" and thus chained to the earth as Morgoth, Sauron, and later, the Istari, I wouldn't think she would have been immune from evil thoughts; merely she apparently possessed enough wisdom and will to spurn them.

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That would seem to fit with Professor Tolkien's recurring theme that evil ultimately contributes to good, that Arda Healed would be greater than Arda Unmarred for having been Marred.
That seems an echo of Frodo's words to Sam just before Frodo's departure from the Grey Havens.

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Old 06-27-2014, 11:38 AM   #25
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Remember when Huan had Sauron by the throat in sil? Luthian said to some extent that she would destroy his body so he would have to go as a spirit forever unless he gave her mastery of Minas Tirith. Not sure exact quote my book is at home and im at work. Just think if Melion was there instead of Luthien. Luthien for sure didnt have the power her mother had.
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