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well he's back
12-16-2003, 10:18 AM
Yes another LOTR geek question: There are marriages and weddings mentioned in the books. Any speculations (serious and/or otherwise) from you dopers on what the ceremonies were like or who performed them since there is no mention of religion or churches in Middle Earth. Did the justice of the peace marry the couple? Are same-sex marriages allowed? Do the bride and groom wear white? Do they go to Vegas and do it?

cher3
12-16-2003, 12:45 PM
Middle Earth is conspicuously priestless. Tolkien was Catholic, though, and according to Catholic doctrine, the bride and groom conduct the sacrament of marriage themselves, with the priest only there as a witness. This seems to fit in with what little we know about the major pairings (Aragorn and Arwen, Faramir and Eowyn)--they pretty much determined the course of their own affairs. Undoubtedly there were large ceremonies with much pomp and the devil's own amount of songs and poetry and so forth, but I don't recall any mention of details. I can imagine hobbits being married by some sort of justice of the peace, but I don't think we are actually told.

Everyone of importance gets married off to a person of the opposite sex at the end, except for other elves (who have pretty much given up on that sort of thing), and wizards (who are celibate), and Frodo, who is beyond it all by then. And who knows what dwarves get up to--Gimli could have been a chick for all we know.

Bilbo remained a bachelor, I believe. Make of that whatever you like.

AuntiePam
12-16-2003, 01:23 PM
That's a good question, and I'm glad you asked it.

I'm new to fantasy fiction, just started getting into it in earnest in the last year or so, and am surprised that (so far anyway), there's no religion or belief in a higher power in anything I've read.

Of course there's very little religion in the non-genre stuff I read either, but I was surprised that fantasy's not full of it, because for some reason, I thought fantasy would be rife with gods and rituals and prayers and concern about an after-life.

I wonder why I expected that? Is it because so much fantasy is set in something that looks like medieval times, when religion was everywhere?

I'm not framing the question very well, or maybe it's not so much a question as an observation. Maybe there's something about it in the Clute book.

N9IWP
12-16-2003, 04:12 PM
There is plenty of greater powers in The Silmarillion.
I don't recall any details of the wedding ceremonies in LOTR.

Brian

BuckleberryFerry
12-16-2003, 04:57 PM
Originally posted by AuntiePam
I'm new to fantasy fiction, just started getting into it in earnest in the last year or so, and am surprised that (so far anyway), there's no religion or belief in a higher power in anything I've read.

I know of Eru in the LOTR universe (the Silmarillion specifically). Not sure if he's mentioned in the LOTR story itself or just the history books, but Eru is the one head "god" (valinor?) that has created all of Middle Earth and, AFAIK, dwells in Valinor, which has been taken from the circle of the Earth entirely.

All I learned, I read in skimmed snippits from the Illustrated Encyclopaedia and the first page of the Silmarillion, so I'm sure lots of it's wrong.

c_carol
12-16-2003, 05:15 PM
Eru is there in the background of LOTR if you know where to look, but He is not directly mentioned. The elves, and the human cultures who have had close contact with them, believe in and honor Eru and the Valar, but don't have much of anything that we would call "religion".

I think Laws & Customs may have a bit about Elvish weddings -- Qadgop?

jayjay
12-16-2003, 05:24 PM
Eru Iluvatar is outside the "world" of Middle-Earth. At the beginning, 14 of the greater Ainur (angels), the Valar, entered the world to help shape the Music. They brought with them a greater number of lesser "angels", or Maiar. The Balrog, Sauron, Saruman and Gandalf are all Maiar, in physical form. Elrond is descended from a union of elf and Maia (Elwe Thingol and Melian).

When a renegade Vala named Melkor ruined the original shape of the world, the other Valar retreated to Valinor and built the mountains around it as walls to keep Melkor out. After this, the elves awoke at Cuivienen and were drawn westward to Valinor. Thus, most of the Free Peoples look to the West as the spiritual realm.

TWDuke
12-16-2003, 05:50 PM
Much of the deeper mythology is found only in notes and fragments not published during Tolkien's lifetime and could therefore be considered apocryphal. In "The Lord of the Rings," however, the valar are mentioned occasionally and Elbereth, their queen, is frequently invoked in song (hymn? prayer?) and at moments of great danger. The Rohirrim (the horse lords), know of at least one vala, Orome. The One, however, remains off-stage and is never directly referenced during the events of "The Lord of the Rings". As a devout Catholic writing a pseudo-history of pre-Christian Europe, Tolkien didn't want to have a bunch of pagan gods running around. But since the Christian God had not revealed himself to the world, Tolkien's characters can't know much about Him. There are, however, references to a will greater than Sauron's guiding events, determining that the Ring find its way to Frodo, for instance. And Gandalf was "sent back" by a higher power after he fell fighting the balrog.

If you go on to the appendices, you'll find Aragorn and Arwen talking about death and the afterlife. You'll also learn that the wizards are themselves "messengers" sent to battle evil.

Aren't you glad you brought it up, AuntiePam?

Qadgop the Mercotan
12-16-2003, 06:40 PM
Originally posted by c_carol
I think Laws & Customs may have a bit about Elvish weddings -- Qadgop?
You're right, it does. Either in Morgoth's Ring or Peoples of Middle Earth. I forget exactly. But there's tons of debate and discussion between the Valar about whether its permissible for Finw to remarry. Along with philosophizing about the union of marriage, and problems with marriage between Eldar and Mortals. Vegas was not mentioned, nor was same-sex marriages.

Here, however is everything JRRT wrote about elfsex: http://www.ansereg.com/what_tolkien_officially_said_abo.htm

Remember, folks! All the Ainur participated in the Music, but Iluvatar (Eru) alone devised and implemented the Third Theme (containing The Children of Iluvatar). Some of the Ainur entered Arda, to become the Valar (The 15 most powerful) and the Maiar (other, less powerful Ainur). Some of the Ainur Melkor had corrupted before the making of Arda, some he corrupted after (ie Saruman).


And Buckleberry, Why have you not gotten past the first page of The Silmarillion? :dubious:
You gots to get edumakated!

Qadgop the Mercotan
12-16-2003, 06:43 PM
Oh, there's a ton of stuff about marriage and weddings in the above link too. Well, maybe not a ton. But it was from Morgoth's Ring like I thought.

BuckleberryFerry
12-16-2003, 07:01 PM
Originally posted by Qadgop the Mercotan
And Buckleberry, Why have you not gotten past the first page of The Silmarillion? :dubious:
You gots to get edumakated!

Meep! Chastised by the Tolkien scholar! Very sorry! As of now, I have no time to read the Sil, and a friend of mine said it was dry and dull and I didn't need to know it anyway. (She meant for the movies, as I had just barely finished LOTR and had heard of the Sil while waiting for TTT). I read a page of it while waiting in the library for something, and just haven't picked it up yet.

If it helps...that one page I read seemed really interesting!

Qadgop the Mercotan
12-16-2003, 07:05 PM
Dry and dull??[b] Dry [b]and dull?!

Noodles! Ninnyhammers!

jayjay
12-16-2003, 07:06 PM
Do NOT, repeat, DO NOT, read the Silmarillion as a novel. It isn't. Think of it as a collection of myths and legends of Middle-Earth. Read the sections as the mood takes you. Reading it straight through is much like reading the Bible straight through, interminable and dry.

dantheman
12-16-2003, 07:26 PM
Heh. I read it straight through on the train. But that was after I had read LOtR a couple of times.

AuntiePam
12-16-2003, 07:28 PM
Originally posted by TWDuke

Aren't you glad you brought it up, AuntiePam?

Well, actually, um, yeah, I guess so. :)

I did read a little bit in the appendices, and I do remember some of the names mentioned here -- I'd been thinking of them not as gods so much as people with special powers.

Maybe what's missing is the judgment-and-rules kind of god. I'm not used to the helpful-caretaker-watcher gods, which is what the Middle Earth gods seemed to be.

I'll keep reading, this is a lot to try and get a handle on.

Qadgop the Mercotan
12-16-2003, 07:53 PM
Originally posted by AuntiePam
I'm not used to the helpful-caretaker-watcher gods, which is what the Middle Earth gods seemed to be.
Nah, they're more "we already interfered enough, let 'em stew in their own juices for a few millenia. I'm sure it'll all work out according to Eru's plan in the end" kinda deities.

Heck, of the 5 divine 'emissaries' sent to help middle-earth, one got sidetracked by talking to the rabbits, two wandered off and weren't heard from again, and one joined the other side! Some help!

jayjay
12-16-2003, 08:06 PM
If anything, the Valar learned their lesson as far as intervention was concerned. The first time they tried it, in calling the Elves to Valinor, it ended in pain and suffering for the majority of Elves in Arda (the Kinslaying at Alqualonde, the centuries of war in Beleriand, the decimation of the Sindarin, the destruction of the Noldor, the Drowning of Beleriand...the only Elves that really came out of the First Age unscathed were Ingwe's kindred). The second time they tried to be buddies with the mortals, Numenor was destroyed and the Undying Lands removed from the circles of the world. In the Third Age, they got subtle and sent the Istari instead of coming in with guns blazing.

Eureka
12-16-2003, 08:36 PM
Aside to Auntie Pam :

A quote from Anne McCaffrey"When I was writing the first short story, we were going through quite a few religious wars and so I decided the one thing the people on Pern did not need was organized religion. In a disaster or war situation many people will query whether God should allow this or not. God has given us free will to make wars and kill other people. However, if you have been in one and your faith is not secure, it will weaken and be replaced by atheism or agnosticism. The people who first went to Pern had just finished a very nasty war. They took their disbeilef with them. But there is religion on Pern and it begins with a big D-- as in Dragon. that's what John Campbell[the legendary editor of Analog magazine] told me. It had not occurred to me before" from "The Divine Miss M" School Library Journal Jun99 vol. 45 Issue 6 p22

(Note: I did an author report on her a month and a half ago. I still have the stuff I looked up sitting around my apartment and could find it easily, hence the full citation.)

Anne McCaffrey writes Science Fiction, rather than fantasy(at least if you are willing to credit the author with knowing what she is trying to accomplish). However, she does incorporate elements more commonly associated with fantasy, especially in her Pern series. Also I suspect that what she has to say may also be true of some Fantasy authors, at least as far as having seen sufficient evil done in the name of religion and not wanting that to happen in their fantasy world. However, I'm not sure I've read enough Fantasy to judge.
Still, there are some elements of writing Fantasy that is probably like writing Historical Fiction, authors bring elements of their own times into everything they write. Thus Johnny Tremaine, written during World War II, is uncomfortably rah-rah patriotic and My Brother Sam is Dead, written during the Vietnam War, is more aware of how each person is an individual and must make his or her own choice. Both books are set in the Revolutionary War. And in the interest of full disclosure, if I've ever read either of them, I don't remember it, but they were good examples used in a recent class discussion.

AuntiePam
12-16-2003, 08:55 PM
Originally posted by Eureka
Also I suspect that what she has to say may also be true of some Fantasy authors, at least as far as having seen sufficient evil done in the name of religion and not wanting that to happen in their fantasy world. However, I'm not sure I've read enough Fantasy to judge.


I haven't either, but I've acquired a small bookcase full of it over the past several months, and I think it will be interesting to see how different writers handle it, if at all.

But this makes sense to me, as one good reason for a writer to leave religion out of the story, unless religion is going to be the focus. Which could also be interesting.

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