This weekend, Hall of Fire returns to discussing the Silmarillion. Chapter 12 — Of Men — begins with the Valar withdrawing more and more from Middle-earth and its inhabitants, both elves and Men. Why is Ulmo — perhaps the one least suited to the task — the only one who seems to care?
Does this seem like a wise move? If the Valar were at all interested in the Children of Ilúvatar, why do they they turn away and leave them to Morgoth?
Could it be that the Valar themselves are weakening, and less capable of intervening in Middle Earth except as allies? Or having been burnt in trying to befriend the Elves, are they simply wary of the greater pitfalls that may await if they are to meddle with the fate of the more mysterious Second Children?
Instead, it appears as though the human race was simply turned loose on the earth. No Vala came to guide them. Is this the core reason why they come to fear rather than love the Valar? But then, if they had no contact, how would humans know to fear the Valar? How mcuh of this is the responsibility of Morgoth and how much may be due to those first early dealings with the Moriquendi — the elves that never went to Valinor?
We are told that at the rising of the Sun, humans awoke in a place called Hildórien in the eastward regions of Middle-earth. Is there any significance to this location? And why does the Sun first rise in the West? Is it to draw them towards the Valar?
We are also given a list of names, in true elven style, for the newcomers:
Atani : the Second People
Hildor: the Followers
Apanónar: the After-born
Engwar: the Sickly
F’rimar: the Mortals
They are also called Usurpers, Strangers, Inscrutable, Self-cursed, Heavy-handed, Night-fearers, and Children of the Sun.
From these names alone, we get a picture of elves as standoffish, resentful, and fearful. Was this the attitude of the Eldar in the beginning, or is this an example of revisionist storytelling? Is the attitude justified?
And why are humans characterised as being at strife with the world and at variance with the Powers? They are creations of Ilúvatar, after all, just as the elves are, so why should they be portrayed as being at odds with their creator?
Join us in the Hall of Fire on Sunday September 18 at 2:00pm EDT as we discuss Of Men – Chapter 12 of the Silmarillion.
Time and date:
Sunday September 18
8:00pm Central Europe
4.00am (Monday) Brisbane
4.00am (Monday) Sydney
6.00am (Monday) Wellington
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Sun September 18 – Silmarillion Ch 12
Sat September 24 – Silmarillion Ch 13
Sun October 2 – Silmarillion Ch 13
Sat October 8 – Were Merry, Pippin, Gimli and Legolas essential to the quest?
Sun October 16 Were Merry, Pippin, Gimli and Legolas essential to the quest?
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