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Old 09-14-2015, 03:34 PM   #1
Arvegil145
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Pipe Curse of Túrin

Hello, all my fellow corpses!

To begin, Narn i-Chîn Húrin is my favorite story that Tolkien wrote.

To begin again, I think that Morgoth had no power over Húrin, Túrin, Morwen or Niënor. I think that all their woe stems from their pride - only Ilúvatar had any power over his Children - Elves and Men - their origin comes from Eru Himself - and none other than Eru can change or alter their fate.

I am an atheist myself, but Tolkien's conception of the differences between Elves and Men - their differences in their fates - have fascinated me from the time I can remember myself springing to this world.

HOWEVER - I think that Glaurung WAS MORGOTH HIMSELF - in other words, Morgoth dispersed himself, as in the matter of Arda, to Glaurung himself - and in his irrational malice he used his "avatar" Glaurung, so to speak, to get revenge on Húrin and his offspring.


Now, I know that Tolkien had some qualms about Túrin killing Morgoth FOR REAL, but I think it would have been none other than Túrin Turambar, Conqueror of Fate himself, to strike Morgoth with a final blow, with his BLACK sword Gurthang, Iron of DEATH, into the BLACK heart of Morgoth, thus vanquishing Morgoth, the black foe of Arda, forever - avenging both his kin and ALL the children of Men - thus also bringing to naught Morgoth's curse over his kin.



Now, what are your thoughts on Túrin? Not on the character of Túrin himself, but on his place in the great history of Eä?

To my mind, Túrin represents the best and the worst of the humanity - and I think it would be fitting to have Túrin destroy the Evil of humanity once and for all - it would bring a new era of humanity in which Túrin (representation of ALL humanity in one person) would become Tuor or Eärendil (representation of humanity as it SHOULD have been).

So...having nothing other to say I would fain like my fellow Downers to put their thoughts on this matter - if I were not overbearing in my post.


With all respect - Arvegil145 (although I want to change my PURPOSELESS name)!
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Old 09-14-2015, 03:51 PM   #2
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I also quite like Túrin's tale in all its forms. There are things in his story I don't find elsewhere in Tolkien's works.

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Originally Posted by Arvegil145 View Post
To begin again, I think that Morgoth had no power over Húrin, Túrin, Morwen or Niënor. I think that all their woe stems from their pride - only Ilúvatar had any power over his Children - Elves and Men - their origin comes from Eru Himself - and none other than Eru can change or alter their fate.
I've advanced the "pride" aspect here myself. I see a great deal in Túrin's woes that are mainly attributable to his own thickheadedness, and refusal to take advice of others.

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HOWEVER - I think that Glaurung WAS MORGOTH HIMSELF - in other words, Morgoth dispersed himself, as in the matter of Arda, to Glaurung himself - and in his irrational malice he used his "avatar" Glaurung, so to speak, to get revenge on Húrin and his offspring.
Touching on that, I've wondered why Glaurung, a "creation" of Morgoth, was able to affect Túrin and Nienor the way he did, with respect to their mesmerized-like state in his presence (after meeting his eyes), while Morgoth in person was not capable of forcing Húrin to divulge what he knew about Gondolin. Did Morgoth spend that part of himself in the spirit of Glaurung? Old Bond-villain Morgoth might have missed an opportunity there by not giving the dragon a crack at Húrin.

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Now, I know that Tolkien had some qualms about Túrin killing Morgoth FOR REAL, but I think it would have been none other than Túrin Turambar, Conqueror of Fate himself, to strike Morgoth with a final blow, with his BLACK sword Gurthang, Iron of DEATH, into the BLACK heart of Morgoth, thus vanquishing Morgoth, the black foe of Arda, forever - avenging both his kin and ALL the children of Men - thus also bringing to naught Morgoth's curse over his kin.
Wasn't that part of the cryptic Second Prophesy of Mandos mentioned by CT somewhere? Doubtless one of our resident Tolkien Scholars® will know more about that.

Overall, I like to read about Túrin and I do pity him, but he really did bring a lot of his troubles on himself. Whether Morgoth's curse had any real teeth or not, Túrin had chances to turn aside from the path Morgoth laid for him, and spurned them because of his pride. He's not a guy I would have wanted to buddy up with, that's for sure.
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Old 09-14-2015, 04:18 PM   #3
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White Tree

Túrin is a MAN (in the sense of the entirety of HUMAN KIND) - none other than Túrin - representing the humanity itself would have been able to beat Morgoth (the Satan) himself - it is a battle between all the qualms of humanity begotten by Morgoth and between the bliss and innocence of Ilúvatar's plan for his Children - in which, in the end, Eru Ilúvatar, must win - Gurthang, Iron of Death - blessed by Ilúvatar Himself - would in the end bring to naught Morgoth, and all the discord of the Arda Marred - IRON OF DEATH - mind you - death of whom? of Morgoth himself? I think that Tolkien assigned a greater importance to the new name of Anglachel - Gurthang - I think that his idea was that the curse of Morgoth backfired in the end to Morgoth himself - and that through Túrin the humanity itself was redeemed and brought to a new beginning - the Second Music of the Ainur - in which all would know their part in its making - and its making indeed would bring a new world to being as it is being sung.
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Old 09-14-2015, 09:05 PM   #4
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To begin, Narn i-Chîn Húrin is my favorite story that Tolkien wrote.
Mine too. Well, kind of. I can't pick one absolute favourite, but if I really had to COH/Narn would be the one.

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Originally Posted by Arvegil
To begin again, I think that Morgoth had no power over Húrin, Túrin, Morwen or Niënor. I think that all their woe stems from their pride - only Ilúvatar had any power over his Children - Elves and Men - their origin comes from Eru Himself - and none other than Eru can change or alter their fate.
In this I beg to differ. There are other instances of curses "coming true". You might say some are coincidental (e.g. Mim's arrow curse), but some just can't be denied (e.g. Isildur's curse). Some are half-prophetic half-curses (e.g. Frodo's exclamation to Gollum on the slopes of Orodruin). You could say, I suppose, that Eru "sanctions" the righteous curses and discards Morgoth's, but I don't think that's the case. For one thing, Eru is not a bureaucratic Human Resources office. For another, there are words that have power beyond the ordinary; Tolkien showed it better than many in the legendarium. Curses have power - real curses, that it. I am not referring to an old Lobelia Sackville-Baggins thinking in her rocking chair, "When will that Bilbo die, curse him!". I mean real curses, curses that require a great deal of willpower and almost feel like the speaker leaves part of himself behind with that curse. If curses really originate from Eru, well, it just cheapens them and their casters. It turns them into empty words.

Specifically in this story, however, I cannot say that Morgoth's curse had no effect whatsoever. He wanted Hurin to suffer by watching his family suffer. Let's suppose he has ultimate power over their fates/lives/actions and over Arda - just let's suppose that for argument's sake. He could cause them anguish by making it rain lava on them one drop at a time. He could put on a Tantalus play and starve them into wraith-hood. He could apply a whole range of exquisite tortures. But what torture could equal the family's downfall at its own hands? Anything that Morgoth would force on this family just makes them more heroic and him more horrifying, but also weaker and less keen at the same time. So, taking my original assumption aside, it's true we can't see Morgoth's direct involvement in the Narn, but that does not necessarily disprove its existence, as Morgoth is too clever and sadistic to use more direct means (even if he had the ability to do so). It's much better to have Hurin take the audience's perspective, see all the dramatic irony, and be unable to even warn his loved ones - especially if they are the ones who choose to make these choices that Hurin knows won't bode them well.

I don't deny, and never have denied, that there is a fair bit of pride and stubbornness involved. However, if you look at each instance from the point of view of Morwen/Turin/Nienor, without the extra background you know as the audience - most of their choices are not meant wrongly, and are definitely made with good intentions. Put yourself in their place and their limited knowledge. Would you be able to choose any better? Some things just genuinely seem to be right. Heck, the last Kings of Arnor chose wrong in the end, and yet they missed their chance that seemed like the worse option at that time, but people can understand that and relate to it. They were even told a prophecy that they should choose the option that seemed less sound! It happens to people, and it's not their fault, because players are not readers and have limited knowledge. It happens to Hin Hurin a bit too often, though. Almost like there is a guiding hand behind each success-that-turns-into-failure. Somehow, we tend to believe that if only Turin stayed in Doriath, or if only Nienor didn't follow Morwen, or if only half the choices in the book were made differently, then their fate would be better. But here's the thing: we don't know that. These if onlies exist to torment the reader just as they are tormenting Hurin. They don't mean that it would necessarily turn out otherwise.

Thus, my conclusion on that point is that we can't prove Morgoth's curse, but neither can we disprove it. No one knows the exact extent of it. I think even Morgoth doesn't know, since he doubts himself several times along the way and fears Turin. I definitely don't think Morgoth's curse was empty words, intended to scare Hurin, but neither does it wholly dominate the story. I think I prefer not to know just how much influence it actually had. I think some things can't be known, and shouldn't be know, and this is one of them.

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HOWEVER - I think that Glaurung WAS MORGOTH HIMSELF - in other words, Morgoth dispersed himself, as in the matter of Arda, to Glaurung himself - and in his irrational malice he used his "avatar" Glaurung, so to speak, to get revenge on Húrin and his offspring.
I'll be honest with you. When I first read that, I thought this belongs more in a sci-fi movie than a Tolkien book. But after thinking it over for a bit, it doesn't seem that out of place. It's not like Morgoth possessed Glaurung or something, but people leave traces of themselves in their work - like in their curses. Perhaps, consciously or by chance, Morgoth put a little more personalized malice into this particular creation (or distortion?). Glaurung does seem more sadistic and horrifying than most other evildoers - but maybe it's just because he's the only one with more than a couple lines of dialogue. I don't know, but I also don't think it's implausible. And Glaurung definitely represents Morgoth's malice, even if he isn't actually physically carrying it in him. So in the end the curse gets Turin - but he gets Morgoth too.

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To my mind, Túrin represents the best and the worst of the humanity - and I think it would be fitting to have Túrin destroy the Evil of humanity once and for all - it would bring a new era of humanity in which Túrin (representation of ALL humanity in one person) would become Tuor or Eärendil (representation of humanity as it SHOULD have been).
Perhaps he stands for all humanity, especially in the final struggle with Glaurung. During his life, though, I think he does not. He seems to want to get away from humanity, to distance himself from it, to run away from people and from himself. He's certainly a contrasting character. I believe Melian even told him once to "beware both the heat and the coldness of your heart" (paraphrased from the Narn). One thing that can be said for him, though, is that he knows what the true evil is. He has a conscience, which is more than can be said about certain others, but he is also driven by his fight against Morgoth. It's possible that this passion, being so great to match such a great foe, in part blinded him to the importance of smaller acts. He was so caught up in the grandiose that he missed many a chance of goodness. But that doesn't make his cause less noble just his sight too focused on his goal to see wider.



I had another thought, in response to Inzil's last sentence, but I wrote way more than I intended to and it's getting late. Basically, I was gonna say that Turin is a person, or maybe character, of a certain mold of tragic heroes. They are people who are hard to love personally, but hard not to follow. They are charismatic but impersonal, or cold, or like Turin with whatever social/ethical flaws you choose to name. I just finished reading Les Mis, so I had the urge to write another several paragraphs comparing Turin to Enjolras, but looking at the clock I will refrain from doing so and limit myself to noting that these two are of the same mold or prototype, just Enjolras's "mischoices" are shown in a much less negative light than Turin's while his charisma is more emphasized. If there is enough interest in this, I might start a thread of character comparisons.

Good night, and aure entuluva!
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Old 09-14-2015, 09:38 PM   #5
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I think that Morgoth purposed through Glaurung to bring to naught the children of Húrin - but that was not his only intent - remember: through the workings of Húrin and his children and wife - he brought the destruction of Doriath, Nargothrond, Brethil and Gondolin - indirectly.

And I still stand firm to my point - ONLY Ilúvatar can "curse" or change the course of the destiny of a certain individual - remember that the Eruhíni were conceived by Eru ALONE - therefore, anyone, even Morgoth, could curse someone, but it would be in vain (at least in my opinion).
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Old 09-15-2015, 10:14 AM   #6
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But Turin and Hurin were Men, and Men have no "destiny:' they aren't bound by the Music.

Morgoth's curse was effective, but it worked by destroying his victims from within, turning them into agents who would work his will even while consciously opposing him. The Hurin who was released was a twisted, bitter, merciless old man whose brooding lust for vengeance destroyed one realm (Brethil) and contributed to the fall of another (Doriath). (Note in this context that Melian "healed" him, in other words ameliorated the Melkorian poisons at work in his heart).
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Old 09-15-2015, 11:42 AM   #7
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(Note in this context that Melian "healed" him, in other words ameliorated the Melkorian poisons at work in his heart).
This, as far as I know, was an addition by CT (not J.R.R.) in his revision Of the Ruin of Doriath in the published "Silmarillion".

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But Turin and Hurin were Men, and Men have no "destiny:' they aren't bound by the Music.
I know that - and that is precisely why I am of opinion that Morgoth had no inherent power to alter the will of Ilúvatar - Morgoth, of course, could, and did, make the lives of Elves and Men miserable - but the fact is: Morgoth could NOT affect the free will of neither Elves nor Men (or at least their fëar) - he could only achieve his "curse" by indirect means - through Túrin's and Morwen's pride - and through Glaurung.
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Old 09-15-2015, 03:23 PM   #8
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No, he couldn't destroy their free will- but he could induce them to choose evil (compare Sauron's cozening of Gorlim). Morgoth of course could work at a far more elemental level than mere deceit.
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Old 09-16-2015, 06:03 PM   #9
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I think that Morgoth purposed through Glaurung to bring to naught the children of Húrin - but that was not his only intent - remember: through the workings of Húrin and his children and wife - he brought the destruction of Doriath, Nargothrond, Brethil and Gondolin - indirectly.
But here's the thing: he couldn't have counted on it. The only way he would be sure that Hin Hurin would seriously undermine any of his important enemies would be if he felt confident that his curse was in effect (and a tiny note here - he didn't feel confident at that, at least not all the time; there were times when he thought Turin would overpower him and his fate).

So either that could not have been Morgoth's intent but rather an added bonus, or then you might have to revise your stance on Morgoth's involvement with the fate of Hin Hurin. Otherwise there is a contradiction in your logic. If you meant something different, please elaborate on it as I am interested to hear the theory (even if I might respectfully disagree).

But speaking of the fall of all these kingdoms, I remember this point cropping up in a previous Turin discussion. If these kingdoms did not fall, Earendil would not have sailed West with a guiding Silmaril. Every time I think about it, I can't help but think of this beautiful passage:
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'So shall it be! Dear-bought those songs shall be accounted, and yet shall be well-bought. For the price could be no other. Thus even as Eru spoke to us shall beauty not before conceived be brought into Eä, and evil yet be good to have been.'

But Mandos said: 'And yet remain evil
I think this sums up Turin's life moderately well, actually.

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Originally Posted by Arvegil
And I still stand firm to my point - ONLY Ilúvatar can "curse" or change the course of the destiny of a certain individual - remember that the Eruhíni were conceived by Eru ALONE - therefore, anyone, even Morgoth, could curse someone, but it would be in vain (at least in my opinion).
Well, we don't have to agree on this point (and we probably won't, which - hey! - is part of the point of this forum), but I just see a few problems with this standpoint. First of all, you assume that people have a pre-designated destiny which, nonetheless, can be altered by someone (ie Eru). I might be a bit overly Spinozean, but this doesn't seem like a legitimate functional model. If your destiny is overwritten by Eru and your fate therefore changes, isn't it then just your true destiny that your supposed destiny was changed? If that was confusing, let me give an example. One of my teachers was very fond of a legend about Rabbi Akiva's daughter. The stars foretold that she would die her wedding night, but during the celebration she gave a platter of food to a beggar whom no one else noticed. Before going to bed she pinned her hair pin into the wall, and in the morning she discovered that with that pin she killed a snake that would have otherwise killed her during the night. The moral of the story was that destiny isn't fixed; humans can change their own fate, like the girl lived through the night because of her kindness the day before. But my argument to the story is that if their really is destiny, then it is what happens. The girl's destiny was never to die that night, but to give food to the poor man and accidentally kill the snake. She was never "supposed" to die that night in the first place, and the astronomers were just wrong on this one - which was part of her destiny and their destiny too. It just doesn't seem right to me that destiny, especially specific destiny, can be decided on by an entity, even a Godly entity. I prefer the perspective that destiny is, well, predestined and you can't change it (because attempts to change it are still part of your fate). I can accept the perspective that there is no destiny and humans write their own fates. I can also accept the view that humans can alter each other's fates. But I just don't understand the point of view where a God-like figure gets to handpick people's fates. If him, why not others? If not others, then why him? Why at all? And he is an entity too - don't you think he has his own destiny? Like the destiny to create puny little Eruhini? (I realize I'm getting into theology and philosophy more than Tolkien, and it's my desire to argue with everything showing through, but I think it would help if you explained why you think this way. Sometimes you think a certain way just because it feels right to you, and I can relate to that - that's how I feel about curses. But I think these are all points worth discussing).

The other major problem (and probably the bigger of the two) I see with this line of reasoning is that we see curses come to fulfillment on several occasions. Curses, blessings, legit prophecies and prophetic lines all exist and all have power throughout the legendarium. So if you dismiss curses as empty words, you have to address those cases as well.

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I know that - and that is precisely why I am of opinion that Morgoth had no inherent power to alter the will of Ilúvatar - Morgoth, of course, could, and did, make the lives of Elves and Men miserable - but the fact is: Morgoth could NOT affect the free will of neither Elves nor Men (or at least their fëar) - he could only achieve his "curse" by indirect means - through Túrin's and Morwen's pride - and through Glaurung.
Ah, but free will and destiny are not necessarily contradictory. At the point of making a choice, a person has no idea what he will choose. But based on factors of his past and present (personality, mood, inclinations, current and previous influences, etc) he is predestined to choose a certain way. He's predestined to, say, choose vanilla over chocolate flavour in the ice cream booth because of events already in the past (which were shaped by yet older events in turn), but he doesn't know that until he actually orders the ice cream. So he does shape his future in the present, but, from the perspective of the future, he couldn't have done anything else.

However, philosophy aside, I think that in the world of Middle-Earth people can affect each others futures with words, and the more innately powerful the speaker, the more powerful the words. This does not affect the free choice at any point, just the final outcome. Like Mim's curse on Androg - free will is just marginally involved if you pedantically insist on every instance Androg could have left Turin's gang and avoided the battle - just the outcome is influenced. And what makes this curse more believable is that Androg was mortally wounded twice by an arrow, since with Beleg's help the first time did not come to fruition. Where Turin is concerned, He chose to act as he did, but his choices are not evil or bad - in fact they are remarkably good. It's the outcomes that are disappointing. Raise an army to fight Morgoth? Great! Destruction of Nargothrond? Well crap. Is it Turin's fault? In part, maybe, but certainly not in its entirely. You know what I mean?
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Old 09-16-2015, 09:59 PM   #10
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I will start with this - Morgoth (meseems) at the end of the First Age was a glorified troll: all his inherent power was, and still is, in the matter of Arda.

And I don't think that the curses are really "curses" - to me they seem more of a foresight, or a conclusion drawn from the current circumstances.

Concerning Ilúvatar - I have always imagined him/her/it not as a person, an individual, but as an ultimate compilation of everything, both in an outside this world, compressed in one form.

If Ilúvatar is omniscient, than he HAS to know what he would do next, for example, and in that he is powerless.

Of Men and their "free will" - I consider this free will as nothing more than an ignorance of what was, was is, and what will to come to pass - the mightier a being is, the more is it bound to the ultimate thread of time - in the sense of knowing what will happen next.
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Old 09-17-2015, 05:41 AM   #11
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I will start with this - Morgoth (meseems) at the end of the First Age was a glorified troll: all his inherent power was, and still is, in the matter of Arda.
That's true, but less powerful beings have cast curses too - even considering Morgoth's fall. Though I like your description of him.

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And I don't think that the curses are really "curses" - to me they seem more of a foresight, or a conclusion drawn from the current circumstances.

...

Of Men and their "free will" - I consider this free will as nothing more than an ignorance of what was, was is, and what will to come to pass - the mightier a being is, the more is it bound to the ultimate thread of time - in the sense of knowing what will happen next.
Fair points, both. I can see where you're coming from now.

Still don't agree with you on Iluvatar. If he knows what will happen, than it will happen. If it will not happen, then he thinks incorrectly and does not, in fact, know. Therefore, if he "changes" fate, then that which he thought was supposed to happen didn't actually happen... See what I mean? If fate turns around, that was just an inherent part of it, not a change initiated by Eru.
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Old 09-18-2015, 06:19 AM   #12
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Túrin was proud - overproud. He brought his "curse" upon himself - or if we want to go "cosmic", then Ilúvatar himself "cursed him".

The TIME is no different than the SPACE - it has its boundaries, which, inside a finite universe, they are set. If Ilúvatar is omnipotent, he cannot be omniscient, and vice-versa.

And IF Ilúvatar is ONLY omniscient he is bound by his knowledge of both past, present, and the future - therefore, there is no deed which he can do that he didn't foresee.

And IF Ilúvatar is ONLY omnipotent, than he cannot see the future (which includes his OWN actions). But then again, if he is omnipotent he SHOULD be able to see the future (one aspect of omnipotence - ability to do ANYTHING at will) - and then WHAT?

Omnipotence and omniscience are NOT compatible. Unless you are willing to do some really elaborate mental gymnastics. And even then, you would only break your bones.

But that is the atheist and materialist speaking in me. And I digress.


Concerning Túrin - we can only speculate - his story reminds me of ancient Nordic sagas in which FAITH had an integral part - faith, mind you, in the sense of a path set before the individual by forces greater than his own. And, interestingly enough, I subscribe to this view of the world.

Though I do NOT believe in any god (even the God) or any "higher" power, I still think that any deed I have ever done or that I will ever do, is firmly set already in the thread of time.

I CAN NOT change anything - meaning, even if I change something, it would STILL be not a change, but a simple following of the said thread. It is only in my own mind that such concepts as "free will" and "faith" arise - they are but illusions - electro-chemical jesting in my squishy soft lump of fat called the brain.


Thank you for you reply, Galadriel! And I hope you will have patience to read mine too - and, maybe, understand a thing or two I have raved about .
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Old 09-18-2015, 03:00 PM   #13
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Thank you for you reply, Galadriel! And I hope you will have patience to read mine too - and, maybe, understand a thing or two I have raved about.
More like "the homework will have enough patience to wait until after I reply"

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Túrin was proud - overproud. He brought his "curse" upon himself - or if we want to go "cosmic", then Ilúvatar himself "cursed him".
Turin brought the curse on himself - yes. (Which in my opinion does not contradict Morgoth's curse: bad luck and action are separate but can coexist).

(Saying that, though, I can understand where the opinion that Turin's life was his own fault comes from, even if I don't entirely agree.)

Iluvatar "cursed him" - no. Having created what there was to be created, he kind of set back and watched from afar. The only time he interfered with the ways of the world was when the Valar - his "secretaries" - all called to him for help with the upstart Numenorians. That intervention was preceded by an undermining of the good of the world by the hopelessly corrupt(ed by Sauron) and unconvincible nation, and the plea of the Valar who felt this "heresy" to be beyond their scope of work. Curse Turin? For what? His pride? But is that really enough to make his life - and the life of those around him - a drawn-out torture? Would Iluvatar really a) intervene in the first place, and b) still have suffering follow Turin around wherever he goes? If he wants to teach Turin a lesson and is providing opportunities for repentance - ok, but what lesson was he teaching to Beleg and Gwindor and Finduilas and Brandir and so many unnamed others? No, I cannot accept that Turin's misfortunes were a result of Eru's approval, much less his decision.

The other big issue I have with that is related to the Catholic influence on the Eru/Valar roles. One thing that really bothers me in real life is when theological texts or articles or the like portray a monotheistic God as essentially a policeman with a beating stick, handing out rewards and punishments. I feel like if you believe in God, whatever the specifics of this God, it is not because he threatens you with eternal punishment if you don't and with great rewards if you do; it is for greater reasons. Same applies to Eru. I can't see him going, "Turin? Too proud. Assign punishment of magnitude 9 on the Richter scale. Tuor is much nicer, though, I think I'll give him some candy." That's just fundamentally wrong.

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Originally Posted by Arvegil
The TIME is no different than the SPACE - it has its boundaries, which, inside a finite universe, they are set. If Ilúvatar is omnipotent, he cannot be omniscient, and vice-versa.

And IF Ilúvatar is ONLY omniscient he is bound by his knowledge of both past, present, and the future - therefore, there is no deed which he can do that he didn't foresee.

And IF Ilúvatar is ONLY omnipotent, than he cannot see the future (which includes his OWN actions). But then again, if he is omnipotent he SHOULD be able to see the future (one aspect of omnipotence - ability to do ANYTHING at will) - and then WHAT?

Omnipotence and omniscience are NOT compatible. Unless you are willing to do some really elaborate mental gymnastics. And even then, you would only break your bones.
If you're referring to the comment at the bottom of my previous post, I think we're talking about different things here. The message I got from your posts was that you believe Eru "cursed" Turin. To elaborate: Turin originally had a happier, or at least different fate; Eru cursed him, thus changing Turin's fate; Turin's fate now sucks. The key word here is "change". From what I gather, I think you agree with me that we don't "change" fates - as you say in #10, free will is ignorance of the influencing factors***, and that any attempted change is actually part of fate. Saying that Eru curses Turin implies that without this curse, Turin would have had a better/different life, and Eru intentionally changed his fate. Also, beyond this hypothetical knot, there's another thing that bothers me here. It chafes me in real religions and it chafes me in your descriptions. You place Eru in a position where he can influence fate, where he has control over fate. He is a being that can interact with the world, and yet he can influence fate. That's equivalent to a referee also being a player. Fate, to me, seems like a thing above all the players - even omnipotent or omniscient ones. It just seems wrong to me that fate is controlled by anyone, because as soon as the tiniest subconscious thought (not to say anything of intention or action) of influencing fate appears, the person already joins the game. They are already a player whose moves are laid out.

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Concerning Túrin - we can only speculate - his story reminds me of ancient Nordic sagas in which FAITH had an integral part - faith, mind you, in the sense of a path set before the individual by forces greater than his own. And, interestingly enough, I subscribe to this view of the world.
I don't disagree with that. I disagree with the view that Eru controls or embodies fate/faith/destiny. I feel like it's a thing beyond even his reach.



*** And on the topic of fate, free will, and God, I'm wondering if you by any chance are familiar with Spinoza? I can't boast to be familiar with many philosophers, but from among those that I've encountered this guy is my hero. I don't align with him 100%, but his conceptions align with my own in many cases. And at any rate, from a historical point of view I think he can be described as an atheist that is actually a monotheist. It's pretty cool. His description of "free" will is very similar to you described it, which is why I'm asking you about it. He says that It's an illusion born of ignorance of the causes of that decision. Once the causes are identified, though, you can see that they come out of the causes and not out of the blue, the present comes out directly from the past, and therefore there is only one possible way things could end up and history could flow.

(And the flip side of that is utter skepticism in any causality, that connections between "cause" and "effect" exist only in our minds and patterns of nature could just be a repeated coincidence. I don't think that's a very viable way of thinking, but it is fun to employ it to sneer at science. Water boils on the stove because it is heated? Oh please. )


Anyways, it seems to me like we actually hold more similar real life views than I thought originally, and on this thread disagree more about Eru's role in Arda's metaphysics than Turin's actual story. I love philosophical debates, and I'm really enjoying our discussion. I can't pass up a chance to talk about Turin and metaphysics at once (and possibly convert more people to "Spinoza-ism")! Thanks for making and carrying on this thread, and I hope I don't scare away other people with my rants.
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Old 09-20-2015, 02:50 PM   #14
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What happened to all the debating? Did I kill it?
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Old 09-20-2015, 02:58 PM   #15
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What happened to all the debating? Did I kill it?
Hahahahahaha...no...BUT I'M SURE I'M GOING TO KILL SOMETHING! (don't worry, I won't). I was working on the Translations from the Elvish, revising some chapters for hours and hours - and wouldn't you know it!? I DELETED ALL THE STUFF I WAS WORKING ON!

But now...going back to your question about debate - I'll get to it when I catch a break from all the stuff I'm currently working on...

Sorry for the rant, but I lost literally hours of my time on nothing. But again, glad to see someone still interested in the topic .
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Old 09-20-2015, 10:58 PM   #16
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Turning to the debate again - if Morgoth could actually curse Húrin and his kin - to the extent of completely devastating them AND 4 realms along the side, it begs the question of why he couldn't just curse everybody and destroy everyone while he's at it (though, admittedly, he did, but not with a curse...I think...)?

It COULD be that he exerted what power he still had INTO the curse itself, basically making a little "avatar" of himself inside Túrin himself - or maybe inside Glaurung for that matter - sort of like a puppet master.

But that would be "cursing" only by indirect means - and he had the mastery at that field of endeavor for certain. Note how I sometimes put curse inside the quotation marks? The same I did when I mentioned how Ilúvatar "cursed" him - I did not mean that he actually, literally, cursed him in the sense of maliciously manipulating his fate and/or free will - in that context I was simply trying to show how far can you go, step by step, towards putting the blame on someone/something - in that case, towards the ultimate end - God Himself. But that is another matter and I won't go into it (at least for now).
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Old 09-21-2015, 03:39 AM   #17
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I suppose Morgoth was petty enough to have 'pet hates'? He never forgave what he perceived as wrongs done to him. Seems like a tyrant's decision to make an example of a ringleader, and maybe try to cow the rest into submission - which he would see as a victory. Also, I think he saw it as a challenge to break the spirit of Hurin and his kin - he would see that as an enormous victory, too - although it was probably a challenge he began in arrogance, confident he would win but determined to enjoy it. Spite and revenge wreaked on his major opponents, and sadistic pleasure taken in making them suffer.
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Old 09-21-2015, 06:20 AM   #18
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Turning to the debate again - if Morgoth could actually curse Húrin and his kin - to the extent of completely devastating them AND 4 realms along the side, it begs the question of why he couldn't just curse everybody and destroy everyone while he's at it (though, admittedly, he did, but not with a curse...I think...)?
One thing I want to point out again is that Morgoth couldn't have forseen the fall of the kingdoms. His curse was directed to Hurin & co on a personal level - to make their lives miserable. But because they tried to fight it, and because they rose so high and associated themselves with the highest in Middle Earth - well, the higher you climb the harder you fall, as they say.

Another thing is that I do not think Morgoth himself knew how the curse would work, and if it would work at all. The curse was an act of ill-will, a trace of his malice left on the family through his willpower - still terrible, however diluted. But maybe, just maybe, the power of these men was so great that it could throw off the curse, that these people would be unaffected? At first, Morgoth thought it inconceivable. However, he certainly begins to doubt himself by Amon Rudh, and possibly to a lesser extent during Turin's other rises. But, fortunately for Morgoth, Turin was just powerful enough to rise and associate with the high kingdoms, but not powerful enough to escape him.

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It COULD be that he exerted what power he still had INTO the curse itself, basically making a little "avatar" of himself inside Túrin himself - or maybe inside Glaurung for that matter - sort of like a puppet master.
I wouldn't have put it that way, but that is one way I tend to think of it.

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But that would be "cursing" only by indirect means - and he had the mastery at that field of endeavor for certain. Note how I sometimes put curse inside the quotation marks? The same I did when I mentioned how Ilúvatar "cursed" him - I did not mean that he actually, literally, cursed him in the sense of maliciously manipulating his fate and/or free will - in that context I was simply trying to show how far can you go, step by step, towards putting the blame on someone/something - in that case, towards the ultimate end - God Himself. But that is another matter and I won't go into it (at least for now).
I don't blame Morgoth for all the woes of Turin. And I agree with whoever says his pride, stubbornness, and rashness are to blame for the physical actions and physical consequences. But I do believe that to some level there is a lot of just plain rotten luck involved - way more than average, way more than other similar characters get. I don't think Turin's fate is purely Morgoth's doing, but I do think he had some influence. Perhaps not all the time, and only in the luck element, but it's just a wonder to see someone so great become so misfortunate (yes, that is now a word. Says me. Live with it. ).
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Old 09-22-2015, 10:07 AM   #19
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Morgoth couldn't have forseen the fall of the kingdoms.
I'm not so sure about that. Morgoth after all was present in the Music, the greatest of the participants therein, even if much of the time his attention was on his own invention/corruption rather than what the rest were singing. Nonetheless, he was certainly aware of the major points, and the Music might not bind the Younger Children but certainly is as Fate to the Elder and their kingdoms.

In some ways I think his work on Hurin, in particular, was the creation of a spiritual Typhoid Mary, a walking moral bioweapon "infected" with evil, in that Hurin's spirit, originally great and noble, was now twisted, bitter and hate-filled, a contagion he spread everywhere he went after his release. And to what end, if not planting the seeds of destruction in those realms which still resisted?
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Old 09-22-2015, 12:09 PM   #20
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In some ways I think his work on Hurin, in particular, was the creation of a spiritual Typhoid Mary, a walking moral bioweapon "infected" with evil, in that Hurin's spirit, originally great and noble, was now twisted, bitter and hate-filled, a contagion he spread everywhere he went after his release. And to what end, if not planting the seeds of destruction in those realms which still resisted?
Yet Húrin, even more than his son, would seem to have been placed to avoid being such a "carrier".
Húrin knew Morgoth hated him and had placed the curse. He also is said to have been well aware of Morgoth's evil purpose in releasing him. Yet, he still went about playing the part set.
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Old 09-22-2015, 03:23 PM   #21
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It is also interesting to note that, despite Túrin's pride and arrogance, he managed to destroy only 1/3 of the remaining Elven kingdoms (not directly, of course).

It was actually Húrin himself who was the main "bio-weapon" of Morgoth. But considering his bitterness and his "evilness", I don't know about you, but if I was chained for 28 years and during that time forced to watch the ruin of everything that I hold dear, I would be little more than bitter and hate-filled - and even though he DID guess the purpose of Morgoth behind his release, what should've he done? In the words of Húrin himself (speaking to the dying Manthor):

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Why, must I not still walk in the world?
Besides, the king and the realm, which he was protecting for so long and by such a heavy cost to himself and his kin, have basically disowned him when they heard that Morgoth released him (although Turgon did, ultimately, repent of his decision, it was by then too late) - and one more thing that just crossed my mind - had Turgon sent Thorondor to fetch Húrin when he first heard of his release, then Gondolin would stand at least for a while longer - and both the fate of Húrin AND the fate of the realms and peoples entwined with his fate might have been a little different.

Yes, in the end, Morgoth WOULD have prevailed, but at much greater cost to himself, and at much lesser cost to those who opposed him (at least as it seems to me).


Sorry for such a long rant, but my point is this - none should lightly judge people (especially in the case of Húrin).


P.S. I know, I know...I'm almost done...but basically everyone treated Húrin with a despicable disrespect when he was released - and they brought doom to themselves BY themselves.
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Old 09-22-2015, 03:37 PM   #22
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P.S. I know, I know...I'm almost done...but basically everyone treated Húrin with a despicable disrespect when he was released - and they brought doom to themselves BY themselves.
Well, yes, but, well, no... I see where you're coming from, but even if you deny any overarching fate/curse/whatever, it's still kind of hard to bring all that doom down all by oneself. Pretty much whenever some doom - or even a happily-ended but still grand event - falls, there is more than one party involved, and if any one of them did just one thing differently they could have changed the whole outcome. The "bad guys" make mistakes too, and the "[relatively] good guys" often have more than one voice/opinion, or more than one person with a flaw. Like, whose fault was the Fall of Doriath? Who brought this doom onto themselves? Or by themselves?
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Old 09-23-2015, 02:26 AM   #23
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One could blame Saeros. He drove Túrin out of Doriath and with that started the chain of Events that led to Húrins blaming Thingol by giving him the fataly cursed necklace.

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Old 09-23-2015, 06:52 AM   #24
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Lots of little evils add up. With regard to Doriath, Hurin's bringing of the Hoard of Nargothrond/Nauglamir was in itself a neutral act, but for the curse of Mim; and even then the primary factor was the greed of the Dwarves of Nogrod. And Doriath still did not fall, yet; it was ravaged, but its ultimate destruction lay with the Sons of Feanor and the Oath, and if the Second Kinslaying had any prior agency involved it depended on the heroic "good" actions of Beren and Luthien.

Similarly with Gondolin: Hurin may have given away the ballpark geographic location, but that by itself would have amounted to nothing but for Maeglin's treachery- or for that matter Turgon's (non-evil) pride in failing to heed Ulmo.
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Old 11-07-2015, 09:28 PM   #25
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Hello, all my fellow corpses!

To begin, Narn i-Chîn Húrin is my favorite story that Tolkien wrote.

To begin again, I think that Morgoth had no power over Húrin, Túrin, Morwen or Niënor. I think that all their woe stems from their pride - only Ilúvatar had any power over his Children - Elves and Men - their origin comes from Eru Himself - and none other than Eru can change or alter their fate.

I am an atheist myself, but Tolkien's conception of the differences between Elves and Men - their differences in their fates - have fascinated me from the time I can remember myself springing to this world.

HOWEVER - I think that Glaurung WAS MORGOTH HIMSELF - in other words, Morgoth dispersed himself, as in the matter of Arda, to Glaurung himself - and in his irrational malice he used his "avatar" Glaurung, so to speak, to get revenge on Húrin and his offspring.


Now, I know that Tolkien had some qualms about Túrin killing Morgoth FOR REAL, but I think it would have been none other than Túrin Turambar, Conqueror of Fate himself, to strike Morgoth with a final blow, with his BLACK sword Gurthang, Iron of DEATH, into the BLACK heart of Morgoth, thus vanquishing Morgoth, the black foe of Arda, forever - avenging both his kin and ALL the children of Men - thus also bringing to naught Morgoth's curse over his kin.



Now, what are your thoughts on Túrin? Not on the character of Túrin himself, but on his place in the great history of Eä?

To my mind, Túrin represents the best and the worst of the humanity - and I think it would be fitting to have Túrin destroy the Evil of humanity once and for all - it would bring a new era of humanity in which Túrin (representation of ALL humanity in one person) would become Tuor or Eärendil (representation of humanity as it SHOULD have been).

So...having nothing other to say I would fain like my fellow Downers to put their thoughts on this matter - if I were not overbearing in my post.


With all respect - Arvegil145 (although I want to change my PURPOSELESS name)!
That was a fun read. Thank you for the post. My father was an atheist, although he loved nature so very clearly and saw such wonder in living things, it was his variation on spirituality and is comforting to recall.

I do like what you wrote about pride and how that attracted so much trouble for the lotta them.

I have always very much avoided the Tale of the House of Hurin, and struggled with it each time I read it. It's so preternaturally dark and it strides from perversion to perversion--with the sibling incest finish line. Then a hurling off of a cliff of woman. A haunting of the house by Morgoth, in a particularly virulent form of stalking of a whole house!

There were some highlights as well.

Were it but for the Second Prophesy of Mandos, I'd have felt 'Frodo-ised' by 'bearing the Burden of the Story' such that "please somebody - is there one boat left going to Valinor. This hitch hiker would rather poke pins in his eyes than read one more blackening of House Hurin! HELP!!!".

Yes - help came. Have you crossed paths with the redemption script in the Second Prophesy of Mandos, and would you like me to rant/babble about it a little?

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