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  #1  
Old 09-09-2003, 10:11 AM
ArtyDooDoo ArtyDooDoo is offline
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Aragorns healing powers

In FOTR Frodo is stabbed by a ringwraith. Aragorn gets sam to look for kingsfoil but ultimatly says "this is beyond my powers to heal. He needs elvish medicine".

In ROTK however he is the only one who can heal Eowyn and Merry ( I think ) from their wounds from fighting with the ringwraith. He's the only one able to do this because only the King with his kingsfoil can heal. Why is he not able to do this with frodo? Same enemy, same plant available, same aragorn.
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  #2  
Old 09-09-2003, 10:25 AM
Qadgop the Mercotan Qadgop the Mercotan is offline
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Frodo was stabbed with a Morgul blade, a far worse wound than mere "black breath" or close exposure to the evil influence of the nazgul. And a fragment of the blade was still in Frodo! Even so, Aragorn was able to abate Frodo's illness with his touch and kingsfoil.
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  #3  
Old 09-09-2003, 10:32 AM
BrotherCadfael BrotherCadfael is offline
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Same enemy, same plant, same Aragorn, different injury.

Frodo was pierced by a Morgul-knife, a fragment of which remained in the wound and was "working its way inward". Eoywn had a broken arm, and Merry just had the worst case of the Black Breath ever recorded...
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  #4  
Old 09-09-2003, 10:44 AM
ArtyDooDoo ArtyDooDoo is offline
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I seeee, so Aragorn isnt some all powerful healer guy even with his kingsfoil/ethalas.

Ok thanks, i'm satisfied with that. Although i'd always fancied myself as the finder of an inconsistantcy.
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  #5  
Old 09-09-2003, 02:11 PM
Hello Again Hello Again is offline
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Aragorn is more like an experienced field medic. He can patch most things up but he also knows his limits.

And actually, in Minas Tirith, they never quite say Aragorn is the only one who can heal Merry & Eowyn. Only that's he's the only person who happens to know how. The knowledge of the healing powers of kingsfoil was lost to them (remember the physician at the houses of Healing called it a weed).

I think Aragorn either learned about it from Elrond or perhaps it was lore preserved by the Dunedain. I suspect there were many elves and some men who could have healed them just the same.

It so happens that his actions fit with a local prophecy: "the hands of the King are the hands of a healer." It wasn't his Kingness that gave him his healing powers, quite the reverse in fact.

JMHO, of course.
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  #6  
Old 09-09-2003, 02:21 PM
BrotherCadfael BrotherCadfael is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by BrotherCadfael
...and Merry just had the worst case of the Black Breath ever recorded...
Although my wife, in the morning...
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  #7  
Old 09-09-2003, 02:44 PM
Qadgop the Mercotan Qadgop the Mercotan is offline
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Sorry, Hello Again, I must disagree. It's Aragorn's ancestry, as a descendant of Earendil, via Elros, Elrond's brother, that give him his powers. The kings of Gondor and Arnor, and Numenor before them were all descendants, who had similar healing skills.

In ROTK, Aragorn even called for Elladan and Elrohir, Elrond's sons, to help with the healing of others who suffered from the Black breath after the Battle of Pellenor fields.
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  #8  
Old 09-09-2003, 03:01 PM
AmericanMaid AmericanMaid is offline
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I think part of the reason why he was able to heal in Return of the King is that he had accepted his heritage, his birthright, and power. Plus, there was that old nurse who remembered the rhyme about the healing king.
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  #9  
Old 09-09-2003, 03:11 PM
Hello Again Hello Again is offline
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Where is it said that Earendil's heirs had healing powers *other than lore* which was lost to most men?

From whence did this powers come? Could it not be that any healing powers came not from Earendil's heirs but from Luthien's (she was half Maiar, yes?), hence Elwing's.

I bow to you as resident Tolkien expert, yet I yearn to know more.
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  #10  
Old 09-09-2003, 06:20 PM
Qadgop the Mercotan Qadgop the Mercotan is offline
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Well, JRRT left a lot unsaid, Hello Again. But some things can be speculated on based on existing statements by the author. Firstly, kingsfoil is described by JRRT as having healing powers, "especially in the hands of the descendants of the royal line of Numenor". This implies that it comes down from Elros.

Later, Aragorn acknowledges Elrond as his superior in healing, and also calls upon the sons of Elrond to assist him with healing. This implies the ability did not arise in Elros alone, but rather in both Elros and Elrond.



The reasonable implication is that the ability lies in the "heirs of Eärendil". This means all children of Eärendil and Elwing. One may posit that the ability came from one parent or the other. But as far as I can recall, there is no further speculation in the writings as to whom the powers came from.

It would seem logical to infer it coming from Luthien via Elwing, as surely Luthien had the greatest powers of any child of Iluvatar (she did defeat Sauron one on one, and stunned Morgoth into insensibility). She also healed Beren of some real nasty hurts during the Quest of the Silmaril.

So if I were a betting man, I'd put money on your assertion that the healing powers put forth by the heirs of Eärendil did indeed come from that divine branch of their genealogy, which was present before,and participated in, the making of the world.
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  #11  
Old 09-10-2003, 09:44 AM
Hello Again Hello Again is offline
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Hm. I am still not totally convinved that the references definitively indicate an inherited more-than-human power for healing.

Healing was hardly a common occupation in MIddle-Earth with even the most learned physicians of Gondor being fairly ignorant. I think it is fair to say that the elves of Rivendell and the Dunedain knew more about the history of Middle-Earth than nearly anyone else -- ergo knowledge of healing that may have been lost to others was preserved to them.

What Aragorn, Elladan and Elrohir knew about healing, they could easily have learned from Elrond by conventional means.

I can see the argument for the children of Luthien having some mildly superhuman powers, but I am not convinced that Aragorn is anything more than a frood who *really* knows where his towel is.

This is a great discussion though!
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  #12  
Old 09-10-2003, 11:18 AM
dalovindj dalovindj is offline
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Quote:
I am not convinced that Aragorn is anything more than a frood who *really* knows where his towel is.
And thusly magic faded from the world . . .
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  #13  
Old 09-10-2003, 05:46 PM
Qadgop the Mercotan Qadgop the Mercotan is offline
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<<sigh>>

You said it all, dalovindj.
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  #14  
Old 09-10-2003, 06:10 PM
Dogface Dogface is offline
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Aragorn has healing powers because he is a King, of the line of Kings. Of course, he can heal more glamorous things than the "King's Itch"...
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  #15  
Old 09-10-2003, 09:48 PM
Polycarp Polycarp is offline
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Actually, Qadgop, you were close, but like the famous genealogist joke about the guy who could only trace his lineage back to Seth, not all the way to Adam, you stopped one generation too short.

Who was responsible for shaping the world, including awareness of healing powers? The Valar and the Maiar. Which Vala and his Maiar was healing a special property of? Lorien (Irmo). Of all the miscellaneous Maiar we encounter in the Silmarillion and the LOTR, which one is "of Lorien"? Melian. (Olorin was "of Manwe" though he "walked in the gardens of Lorien.")

Who are known living descendants of Melian at the end of the Third Age? Elrond, his sons and daughter, and Aragorn. Period.

This, by the way, plays off a longstanding real-world tradition that the laying on of hands by an anointed king, with prayer, is effective for the healing of scrofula -- something that was still sufficiently believed in that it was occasionally practiced right down to the time of Anne Stuart in the early 1700s.
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  #16  
Old 09-11-2003, 05:59 AM
Malacandra Malacandra is offline
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And at least Aragorn didn't say "The Valar give you better health and more sense".
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  #17  
Old 09-11-2003, 09:58 AM
Qadgop the Mercotan Qadgop the Mercotan is offline
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But I thought all that was self-evident, Polycarp! Who among us doesn't think, when they hear Luthien mentioned; "Ah yes, daughter of Melian the Maia, of Lorien, noted for healing, whose relationship with Thingol brought a strain of the Divine among elves and men"?

Really? Some people don't think that automatically?

Damn.
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  #18  
Old 09-11-2003, 04:12 PM
C K Dexter Haven C K Dexter Haven is offline
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I think that one of the great strengths of Tolkien is the way that "magic" is so understated and apears so natural (in context.) It's not cheap, theatrical, every-day magic like from Grimm or Sheherazade.

Is Aragorn able to heal because of some "magic" that resides within him, or does he just happen to know lots of herb lore, or is it some combination of both? The text is beautifully ambiguous.

Similarly, for instance, when Gandalf is riding into battle, shining in white -- I don't have the text handy, so I can't quote exactly -- like the rays of the sun, and it inspires the troops. Is that "magic" or is it just that Gandalf is very charismatic?

The elven rope that comes untied at just the right moment: is that a magic of the rope, or is that sheer lucky coincidence?

Or the snows that block the Fellowship atop Caradhras. In the movie, it's clear that the storm is a sending of Saruman. In the books, however, it's deliciously ambiguous -- is it a magic of Saruman, is it just bad luck, is it some malice of the mountain itself? We don't know, the characters don't know, it's up for speculation.

The Ring feels heavier as Frodo moves into Mordor. The lure of the ring is in greed, we never see actual "magic" (aside from the invisibility trick.) Invisibility is a minor trick the Ring can do, but the main magic of the Ring has to do with lust, greed, and power. It's not the trite type of magic where rubbing the ring causes a genii to appear, or whatever. Tolkien's magic is much more subtle and more "natural."

Even the bits that are clearly "magic", like the Phial of Galadriel that becomes a light when all others go out -- but it's flamed more by courage than by incantation.

IMHO, the way that Tolkien makes magic seem "natural" is one of the joys of LotR. And that means that you will never resolve this discussion. Even if Tolkien were here, I suspect he wouldn't answer the question, he would leave the ambiguity.
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  #19  
Old 09-11-2003, 06:17 PM
Chronos Chronos is offline
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In the books, when Aragorn is admitting that he can't heal Frodo himself, doesn't he refer to Elrond as "The wisest and most powerful of our House, and more learned than I", or some such? That would imply that descent is, indeed, significant. And Aragorn referring to himself and Elrond in the same house implies that we need to go back at least as far as Eärendil and Elwing for the geneology, not just the line of Kings of Numenor.

Dex, to continue your musings about magic in Middle Earth, what exactly are the Silmarils? What's so special about them? They have great power, yet they don't really do much of anything. A Silmaril is, it doesn't do.
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  #20  
Old 09-11-2003, 09:24 PM
Deep Throat Deep Throat is offline
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C K Dexter Haven, you read my mind. Must be magic.

And Chronos, to answer your question about the silmarils, only the greatest creation from elf hands, you must buy the book, the Silmarillion. There is about 100 pages answering your question. Not only what they are, but the impact they have on changing the World of Middle Earth forever. And Sauron isn't even a bad ass. He was just one of Morgoths' Lieutentants.

Dang, just typeing this is prompting me to read the books again. Well, there goes my 4.0 this semester....sigh....

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  #21  
Old 09-11-2003, 09:28 PM
Deep Throat Deep Throat is offline
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....sarcastically of course...
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  #22  
Old 09-11-2003, 11:49 PM
Chronos Chronos is offline
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Um, I own and have read and re-read the Silmarillion, Unfinished Tales, and Lost Tales. The question about the Silmarils was meant to be rhetorical.
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  #23  
Old 09-12-2003, 12:42 AM
Northern Piper Northern Piper is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by C K Dexter Haven
The lure of the ring is in greed, we never see actual "magic" (aside from the invisibility trick.)
I thought the whole point of invisibility was that you don't see it?
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  #24  
Old 09-12-2003, 09:28 AM
Qadgop the Mercotan Qadgop the Mercotan is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Chronos
Um, I own and have read and re-read the Silmarillion, Unfinished Tales, and Lost Tales.
But can you identify Makar and Meassa yet?
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  #25  
Old 09-12-2003, 09:38 AM
BrotherCadfael BrotherCadfael is offline
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The Silmarils are just the biggest McGuffins ever in the history of the worlds!

I don't have my books handy, but there is a passage in LOTR at the departure from Lothlorien where Pippin* asks "are these magic cloaks"? The reply is that the cloaks were woven by Galadriel and her women, and they have no magic except that which inherent in the materials they were made of, and contain the best of the fields, and the forests, and the valleys, etc.

A truly beautify passage, and maybe somebody out there can dig up the exact quote. Anyway, it seems to indicate very clearly that the magic of the Elves is the magic of the good things in nature.


*or Merry, but it's such a dumb question, I assume it's Pippin.
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  #26  
Old 09-12-2003, 08:52 PM
C K Dexter Haven C K Dexter Haven is offline
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Good quote, Cadfael, exactly my point. Yet the elven cloaks have great "power" to hide or camoflage the wearer.

Even in THE HOBBIT, one of the opening lines is that hobbits don't have "magic" about them, except the normal every-day magic that allows them to move quietly through the woods, hide without being seen, etc. That, to me, crystalizes Tolkien's attitude towards magic -- it's "natural."

Magic in the Silmarillion is different from magic in LotR, and more explicit. I can't help but wonder if that's one reason the JRR himself never published it. I do like the bit -- very much -- where Luthien sings to Morgoth, and the singing puts him to sleep, to rest from the cares of all the evil he was doing. I think that's brilliant.
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  #27  
Old 09-13-2003, 12:06 AM
Apos Apos is offline
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Yeah, Tolkien's idea of magic, especially Elven magic, is very different from D&D type spells and other fantasy. It's much more tightly integrated with the world than it is a supernatural force.
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