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Hall of Fire this weekend. Mortality. Immortality. Is the grass really greener?

April 17, 2015 at 9:41 pm by Demosthenes  - 

Barliman's Chat This weekend, Hall of Fire will be focusing on mortality and immortality in Tolkien’s legendarium. A lot of people seem to feel that immortality is superior. But is that truly the case?

But the Lords of Valinor forbade [the Dúnedain] to sail so far westward that the coasts of Númenor could no longer be seen; and for long the Dúnedain were content, though they did not fully understand the purpose of this ban.

But the design of Manwë was that the Númenóreans should not be tempted to seek for the Blessed Realm, nor desire to overpass the limits set to their bliss, becoming enamoured of the immortality of the Valar and the Eldar and the lands where all things endure.

Mortality and Immortality. Is one really better than the other?

We see repeatedly in Tolkien’s works that Men envy the immortality of elves (interestingly, neither Dwarves nor Hobbits seem be prey to the same covetousness of long life) — usually to their downfall.

Why do Men want what they can’t have? Is the grass really greener over n the side of immortality? What do you think elves surrender by being immortal? Conversely, what do Men gain through their mortality?

And do you think that elves exhibit a similar envy of the brief lives of Men?

Join us at 6pm EDT this Saturday (April 18) when we’ll talk about all this and more as we examine mortality and immortality in the Tolkien legendarium.


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Beren and Luthien by breathing2004.

Useful reading:

LOTR: The Tale of Arwen and Aragorn
The Silmarillion: Of Beren and Luthien
The Silmarillion: Akallabeth
The History of Middle-earth: Finrod and Andreth

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Posted in Barliman News, Barlimans, Hall of Fire on April 17, 2015 by