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Old 01-26-2019, 08:00 AM
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More LOTR questions!


I'm going by the movies, extended versions:

1. Are elvish bows enchanted, or just really well crafted? Legolas gets a new white bow from Galadriel, is that one enchanted in some way?

2. For that matter, what enchantments, if any, beyond glowing in the presence of orcs and goblins, does Glamdrig, Orcist, and Sting have?

3. When the Fellowship finds the entrance to the Mines of Moria, Gandalf can't figure out the password, then Frodo says it's a puzzle, what's the Elvish word for "friend"? Does Gimli have no clue about this secret password? Why does a Dwarven mine have a password in Elvish?

4. Not a question so much as an observation: when Theoden and Aragorn and company ride out to meet the Uruks, Gimli somehow gets horn-blowing duty? They couldn't get anyone else? Given Gimli's love of battle, wouldn't horn duty be a major letdown?
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Old 01-26-2019, 08:25 AM
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Thought of a couple more:

5. Who is the oldest character we encounter in the story? Shelob is supposed to be older than Sauron. Treebeard calls Gandalf "young". Galadriel seems older than Elrond, who is thousands of years old. I know the movies don't include him, but I understand that Tom Bombadil is incredibly old.

6. How strong are dwarves, elves, and wizards in comparison to normal humans? Gandalf seems superhuman in strength, Legolas pulls up Aragorn AND Gimli at Helm's Deep seemingly by himself, etc. For that matter, Aragorn in that instance holds Gimli in one hand and holds the rope with the other, no easy feat for a normal human.

7. "Swords are of no more use here" Gandalf says, then proceeds to use his sword to fight the Balrog. Ha! Just thought that was funny.
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Old 01-26-2019, 08:33 AM
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Let me try to help with #1 and #2, and any others along that vein ...

Tolkien's writings are not a Dungeons and Dragons sourcebook.

A great deal of D&D came from Tolkien's writings, but Tolkien is doing something else. Elves are a creation of the greater powers with an innate bond with the world, as it was created, and they understand its inner workings intuitively. They craft things that are in a sense "bound to the source code" of creation. Everything they make, is magic.

So, a direct answer:

Are elvish bows enchanted, or just really well crafted?

Yes. And yes.

Which? Magical?

Yes.

Which +to hit, what +damage bonus? What saving throw bonus to crushing blow roll for item damage? What bonus for elf hands vs. human hands?

No. Or unknown. Or whatever the story demands. But yes. Except.
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Old 01-26-2019, 08:35 AM
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3. When the Fellowship finds the entrance to the Mines of Moria, Gandalf can't figure out the password, then Frodo says it's a puzzle, what's the Elvish word for "friend"? Does Gimli have no clue about this secret password? Why does a Dwarven mine have a password in Elvish?
I don't think Frodo said that. Merry realizes it is a puzzle and Gandalf solves it.

And it isn't in English, the answer is "Mellon", which I think is friend in Dwarvish.

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Thought of a couple more:

5. Who is the oldest character we encounter in the story? Shelob is supposed to be older than Sauron. Treebeard calls Gandalf "young". Galadriel seems older than Elrond, who is thousands of years old. I know the movies don't include him, but I understand that Tom Bombadil is incredibly old.
Unknown. It's either Tom Bombadil, Sauron, or one of the wizards. Treebeard makes a claim at being the oldest, but I think the Elves woke the Ents.
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Old 01-26-2019, 09:01 AM
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1: Tolkien's works don't really feature "magic items", like you might be used to from modern games. There's no line drawn between "these items are nonmagical but really well-crafted, but these other items are magical". Most of what ends up getting called "magical" by ignorant folks is what the makers of those things would call "high craft".


2: As to specific weapons: The swords that Sam, Merry, and Pippen wield are better than ordinary swords. When Merry uses his against the Witch-King, it's destroyed just like any weapon would be, but that's literally the highest purpose for which that sword was created, and so it's able to penetrate the Witch-King's magic, making him vulnerable to Eowyn's killing stroke.

On the other hand, Sam's matching sword was all but useless against Shelob's webs (it took something like a half-dozen strokes to cut a single strand), but Sting slashed through them like they were ordinary cobwebs. So in that regard, at least, and possibly in other unspecified ways, Sting was superior.

Both Sting and Orcrist glow in the presence of orcs, but it's implied that Orcrist is the superior weapon (at the very least, it's already well-known and named, but Bilbo has to name Sting himself, because none of its specific history is known).

Glamdring is certainly superior to Orcrist: It was originally the personal weapon of the King of Gondolin, the most powerful of the ancient Elven kingdoms. And it glows in the presence of all enemies, not just orcs. On the other hand, the Orcs regarded both swords with equal dread, which suggests that Orcrist might be especially effective against them specifically.

Anduril (renamed Narsil when it's reforged) might be on a par with Glamdring. But its main significance is that it marks Aragorn, its wielder, as the true legitimate King. That means something, to Tolkien.


3: That particular entrance to Moria (there were many) bordered on Elvish lands. The password was a relic of a happier time, when relations between the two nations were friendly, and there were few or none of the evil creatures about. The door was more about keeping out inclement weather than enemies, and so no real security was needed. The inscription of "speak, friend, and enter" was the equivalent of a sign saying "push here to open door".


5: Treebeard is the oldest creature under the Sun, but there are those around who are older than the Sun: Galadriel, in particular, was born in the Years of the Trees. Shelob was spawned some time after her dam, Ungoliant, left the West, and therefore after the Years of the Trees, but it's unknown whether she was before or after the Sun. Tom Bombadil, it's very difficult to say anything about, but I think he's as old as the World. Gandalf, Saruman, Sauron, and the Balrog might be young in their current forms, but in essence, all predate the World, and in fact played a part in its creation. Elrond, by comparison, is a youngster, born at the very tail end of the First Age.

Or to put them in order from oldest to youngest:
Illuvatar (the One, the Creator, God Almighty)
The various Maiar and Valar (Gandalf, Saruman, Sauron, the Balrog, Melian, Elbereth, Melkor, etc.)
The World, and probably Tom Bombadil with it (or maybe not, who knows)
Ungoliant
Cirdan (the elf who waits at the Grey Havens, and builds the ships: He's of the First Generation)
Galadriel (of the Second Generation of elves)
Treebeard
Shelob (or possibly ahead of Treebeard)
Young elves like Elrond, Thranduil (Legolas' father), etc.
Legolas
Most Dwarves
Bilbo
Aragorn
All other humans and hobbits
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Old 01-26-2019, 09:06 AM
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I don't think Frodo said that. Merry realizes it is a puzzle and Gandalf solves it.

And it isn't in English, the answer is "Mellon", which I think is friend in Dwarvish.
I think you may have misunderstood; in the movie, at least, Frodo asks what is the word for "friend" in Elvish (English is never mentioned, nor would it be) and that password works. So the question is, why, with the animosity between Elves and Dwarves, would a Dwarven mine have an Elven password? Regardless of who solves the puzzle in the books, it's still an Elven password for a Dwarven mine, yes?
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Old 01-26-2019, 09:08 AM
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1: Tolkien's works don't really feature "magic items", like you might be used to from modern games. There's no line drawn between "these items are nonmagical but really well-crafted, but these other items are magical". Most of what ends up getting called "magical" by ignorant folks is what the makers of those things would call "high craft".


2: As to specific weapons: The swords that Sam, Merry, and Pippen wield are better than ordinary swords. When Merry uses his against the Witch-King, it's destroyed just like any weapon would be, but that's literally the highest purpose for which that sword was created, and so it's able to penetrate the Witch-King's magic, making him vulnerable to Eowyn's killing stroke.

On the other hand, Sam's matching sword was all but useless against Shelob's webs (it took something like a half-dozen strokes to cut a single strand), but Sting slashed through them like they were ordinary cobwebs. So in that regard, at least, and possibly in other unspecified ways, Sting was superior.

Both Sting and Orcrist glow in the presence of orcs, but it's implied that Orcrist is the superior weapon (at the very least, it's already well-known and named, but Bilbo has to name Sting himself, because none of its specific history is known).

Glamdring is certainly superior to Orcrist: It was originally the personal weapon of the King of Gondolin, the most powerful of the ancient Elven kingdoms. And it glows in the presence of all enemies, not just orcs. On the other hand, the Orcs regarded both swords with equal dread, which suggests that Orcrist might be especially effective against them specifically.

Anduril (renamed Narsil when it's reforged) might be on a par with Glamdring. But its main significance is that it marks Aragorn, its wielder, as the true legitimate King. That means something, to Tolkien.


3: That particular entrance to Moria (there were many) bordered on Elvish lands. The password was a relic of a happier time, when relations between the two nations were friendly, and there were few or none of the evil creatures about. The door was more about keeping out inclement weather than enemies, and so no real security was needed. The inscription of "speak, friend, and enter" was the equivalent of a sign saying "push here to open door".


5: Treebeard is the oldest creature under the Sun, but there are those around who are older than the Sun: Galadriel, in particular, was born in the Years of the Trees. Shelob was spawned some time after her dam, Ungoliant, left the West, and therefore after the Years of the Trees, but it's unknown whether she was before or after the Sun. Tom Bombadil, it's very difficult to say anything about, but I think he's as old as the World. Gandalf, Saruman, Sauron, and the Balrog might be young in their current forms, but in essence, all predate the World, and in fact played a part in its creation. Elrond, by comparison, is a youngster, born at the very tail end of the First Age.

Or to put them in order from oldest to youngest:
Illuvatar (the One, the Creator, God Almighty)
The various Maiar and Valar (Gandalf, Saruman, Sauron, the Balrog, Melian, Elbereth, Melkor, etc.)
The World, and probably Tom Bombadil with it (or maybe not, who knows)
Ungoliant
Cirdan (the elf who waits at the Grey Havens, and builds the ships: He's of the First Generation)
Galadriel (of the Second Generation of elves)
Treebeard
Shelob (or possibly ahead of Treebeard)
Young elves like Elrond, Thranduil (Legolas' father), etc.
Legolas
Most Dwarves
Bilbo
Aragorn
All other humans and hobbits
Thanks, great answer!
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Old 01-26-2019, 09:12 AM
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Many things in the films were changed from the books, to be more cinematic, to further character arcs (Tolkien wasn't real big on character arcs -- only gave them to the hobbits, and that was for Christian didactic purposes -- and Eowyn). And because Peter Jackson is an entirely different person than JRR.

If you want to understand LOTR you have to read the books. If you want to understand the movies, watching the "making the film" DVDs (I think there are at least six separate ones included in the extended complete version) would be more to the point.
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Old 01-26-2019, 09:16 AM
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I'm not sure if you want answers in the context of the movies or the book, but I'll answer from the book's point of view.

1. Nothing is said about elvish bows being enchanted. In fact there is almost no overt physical elvish magic in the book. At one point Merry asks an elf if a cloak he has been given is "magical". The elf replies that he doesn't understand what Merry means by the word, and explains that the cloak is "fair", is "Elvish" and that the elves "put the thought of all that we love into all that we make". I am reasonably confident that if asked the question directly, Tolkien would say that elvish bows are not enchanted or magical.

2. Glamdring, Orcrist and Sting glow when orcs are near. That is all that is said about any supernatural properties. Merry's sword from the Barrow Downs on the other hand does seem to have some magical property because after he stabs the Black Rider the narrator says "no other blade ... would have dealt that foe a wound so bitter, cleaving the undead flesh, breaking the spell that knit his unseen sinews to his will".

3. The password was not a secret -- it was printed right on the door: "Say 'friend' and enter". The door was created at a time when there was, quite unusually, good relations and much commerce between the elves and dwarves of Hollin. The text on the door and the password "Mellon" are elvish, not dwarvish.

4. I forgot that nonsensical change from the book in the movie.

5. Sauron, Gandalf and Saruman are Maiar and therefore existed before the creation of the world. They are older than any elf or Treebeard. It's not clear who Tom Bombadil was. He claims to be "Eldest". If he is a Maiar then he is the same age as the other Maiar. But honestly, he doesn't really fit into Tolkien's legendarium, and Tolkien included him in the book because he had already created the character in an unrelated poem and wanted to use him.
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Old 01-26-2019, 09:20 AM
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OK, so the special attributes of the Elvish weapons are a result of the maker's understanding of nature and the world, right? So the named weapons must have been especially well-made. And even rank-and-file Elvish weapons would be superior to those made by men, right? I'm guessing Dwarvish weapons fall somewhere in between in terms of durability, sharpness, etc? I would think Dwarves also had a very close connection with the earth, so I would also think Gimli's axes are superior to anything forged by men. Am I on the right track?
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Old 01-26-2019, 09:23 AM
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Elven stuff is magical the way an Iphone would be magical to a medieval peasant. It's not magic, they just know how to make shit better.
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Old 01-26-2019, 09:49 AM
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Galadriel (of the Second Generation of elves)
She's third generation, daughter of Finarfin, and grand-daughter of both Finwe and Olwe.
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Old 01-26-2019, 09:53 AM
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There are (or at least, have been) great craftsmen of all races. The blades wielded by Sam, Merry, and Pippen, for instance, were created by humans, as was the Tower of Orthanc that even the Ents couldn't damage (though most of those techniques are lost to humans, by the time of the story). The greatest craftsman of all times happened to be an Elf, but I don't think any of his works ended up being relevant in the Third Age. Overall, the biggest difference between human and elven craftsmen seems to not be the presence of great craftsmen, but in the absence of mediocre ones: We never see anything made by elves of merely ordinary quality.

DigitalC, I'd liken it more to the difference between a Rolls Royce and a Ford. Both are cars, and both work on the same basic principles, but the Rolls is just that much higher quality (and of course, that quality is expensive).

EDIT: Baron Greenback, one of the great things about this forum is that if you make a mistake, someone will invariably correct you.

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Old 01-26-2019, 09:57 AM
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Aragorn
All other humans and hobbits
Denethor was a year older than Aragorn. Aragorn was the oldest human at the end of his life, but not at the time of LotR, being a mere 80 or so.
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Old 01-26-2019, 09:59 AM
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EDIT: Baron Greenback, one of the great things about this forum is that if you make a mistake, someone will invariably correct you.
Particularly in matters of Tolkienology, I find.
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Old 01-26-2019, 10:03 AM
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So the Maiar and Valar are analogues to angels, right?
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Old 01-26-2019, 10:04 AM
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7. "Swords are of no more use here" Gandalf says, then proceeds to use his sword to fight the Balrog. Ha! Just thought that was funny.
The physical battle, visible to mortal eyes, was only a tiny fraction of that fight.
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Old 01-26-2019, 10:10 AM
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I'm going by the movies, extended versions:

1. Are elvish bows enchanted, or just really well crafted? Legolas gets a new white bow from Galadriel, is that one enchanted in some way?
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1: Tolkien's works don't really feature "magic items", like you might be used to from modern games. There's no line drawn between "these items are nonmagical but really well-crafted, but these other items are magical". Most of what ends up getting called "magical" by ignorant folks is what the makers of those things would call "high craft".
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Elven stuff is magical the way an Iphone would be magical to a medieval peasant. It's not magic, they just know how to make shit better.
To expound on this a bit:

The elves in Tolkien's world originally came in different "flavors" (if you will). Most of the "High" elves that the LotR talks about, properly called the Noldor, were originally his conception of gnomes. We're not talking the small statues that you find on your lawn these days; in Tolkien's mind, gnomes should represent elves who are focused on knowledge (from gnomic, derived ultimately from greek γιγνώσκω, "to know"). So the Noldor are the elves who turn to knowledge and technology. Not shockingly, they are the elves that are the creators of things like the Silmarils, the Palantiri, the written characters used in elvish writing, various swords (including Glamdring and Orcrist), etc. Their later descendants, not shockingly, are the creators of the various rings that Sauron sought to control through the One Ring. They are the world's techies.

Tolkien had a love/hate relationship with the concept of progress and science. This is born out in the fact that it is the Noldor who are the focus of his great legendarium, of which the best published example was The Silmarillion. The Vanyar and the Teleri who went to Aman are hardly mentioned, except on the few times when they ended up interacting with the Noldor (such as the Kinslaying). In his stories, one of the themes is that an essential part of the character of the Noldor was that they paired with their thirst for knowledge a pride in themselves and their knowledge, which bordered on (indeed, often slopped over into) arrogance. This is constantly used to get them into trouble. So Tolkien is warning about the danger of thinking that it's imperative, vital to progress through knowledge, then falling in love with the products of that knowledge.

Thus, in one sense, there is no "magic" involved in things like Glamdring or Orcrist (or Sting, which is just a long knife, really), or in the Seeing Stones, or in the Silmarils themselves (or Galadriel's Phial that she gives to Sam, as a more "modern: (meaning Third Age) example). They are the result of technology, a technology that humans do not possess. The same, by the way, is true of things like Minas Tirith, the Argonath (those huge statues on Anduin), or Orthanc (Saruman's home, but not built by him). These workings of stone are the results of a technology that the modern human kingdoms simply do not know how to replicate. The humans that built them, the Numenoreans, learned how to do those things from the elves, particularly from the Noldor (gnomes). So, as DigitalC notes above, it's not magic except in the sense that any higher order technology is magical to a population that can't understand the science.

Probably the only "magic" that we witness in all of Tolkien's version of the LotR is evidenced by Gandalf, when he does things like make his staff glow in Moria, or shoots a bolt of light at the flying Nazgl to ward them off from Faramir's retreating company outside Minas Tirith before the siege. But Gandalf is an angel, so that's not really a shock.

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Old 01-26-2019, 10:16 AM
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The items that the various races crafted had an "affinity" for their own kind and were hostile to their foes. It was just a part of their nature. The elven rope that Sam climbed down on was thoroughly tied and held them securely. But when they needed it back, it came loose automatically just because that was the most helpful thing. But when tied to Gollum, it stung and burned because it was inherently hostile to him. Merrys' long knife wounded the Witch King because it was the weapon of the Witch Kings old foe and therefore was anathematic to him.
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Old 01-26-2019, 10:20 AM
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OK, so the special attributes of the Elvish weapons are a result of the maker's understanding of nature and the world, right?
There's a sort of working theme that Tolkien explored in his later musings - starting with Melkor pouring so much of his essence into the fundamental corruption of Arda that he left himself ultimately weakened. Similarly with Sauron and the Ring, and with Feanor and the Silmarils (and possibly the Palantir). It's not quite magic - its a transfer of innate power, with a cost attached.

In that context it's not so unlikely that a very motivated Elven smithy could produce some serious weapons.
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Old 01-26-2019, 10:24 AM
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So the Maiar and Valar are analogues to angels, right?
Yes.

Ainur: The angels.

Valar: Fourteen (originally Fifteen, but Melkor ... ) high angels. The most powerful of the angelic types that came to E (the Universe). They were ainur who had a specific insight into Iluvatar's (God's) mind. Each understood a specific part (Melkor understood everything) of the mind of God. They were the ones who wanted to see the music of the Ainur made into reality. Some of them are considered more important than others by the races of Arda (the World). They are led by Manw and Varda (also called Elbereth).

Maiar: The lesser angels that followed the Valar into E. They generally attached themselves to one of the Valar, whose sphere of power they found interesting. Thus, for example, Saruman, originally Curumo, attached himself to the Vala Aul, who was the smith of the Valar (the one who was into making things). Over time, Melkor managed to convince a large number of Maiar into supporting his rebellion against the Valar; Sauron (originally Mairon) was one such Maiar. The Maiar are not all equal in ability or power.
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Old 01-26-2019, 10:25 AM
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She's third generation, daughter of Finarfin, and grand-daughter of both Finwe and Olwe.
Tolkien never really settled down and determined how many generations were before Finw, Ingw and Olw, if any. While some writings presented them as having awakened at Cuivienen, others indicated it was their forebears who'd awakened there.
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Old 01-26-2019, 10:32 AM
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So Sauron is an analogue for Lucifer?
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Old 01-26-2019, 10:36 AM
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3. When the Fellowship finds the entrance to the Mines of Moria, Gandalf can't figure out the password, then Frodo says it's a puzzle, what's the Elvish word for "friend"? Does Gimli have no clue about this secret password? Why does a Dwarven mine have a password in Elvish?
Note: the gate was build by both Dwarves and Elves, specifically for commerce between Elves and Dwarves (it's called the "Elvish Gate"). During the good old days, the magic word to open it wasn't a big issue since the gate was almost always open anyway.
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Old 01-26-2019, 10:39 AM
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So Sauron is an analogue for Lucifer?
No. Melkor/Morgoth is Lucifer. Sauron's just one of Lucifer's lackeys.
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Old 01-26-2019, 10:40 AM
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So Sauron is an analogue for Lucifer?
I got the impression his boss Melkor, with his army of Balrogs and other demons, was more of an obvious Lucifer.
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Old 01-26-2019, 10:43 AM
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So the Maiar and Valar are analogues to angels, right?
The Valar are essentially gods, with the Maiar being lesser angelic beings. They are both Ainur - beings who existed before Arda was created - and of course part of the actual God Eru's plans.

There's a lot of stuff about the Valar in The Silmarillion, but by the time of LotR they are mostly disengaged from Middle-Earth, with only a few whispers and hints that they are still around
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Old 01-26-2019, 10:44 AM
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OK, so Sauron is more like Asmodeus or even more likely, Belial.
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Old 01-26-2019, 10:44 AM
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3: That particular entrance to Moria (there were many) bordered on Elvish lands. The password was a relic of a happier time, when relations between the two nations were friendly, and there were few or none of the evil creatures about. The door was more about keeping out inclement weather than enemies, and so no real security was needed. The inscription of "speak, friend, and enter" was the equivalent of a sign saying "push here to open door".
Let me take issue with this answer only in one way: the elvish inscription had no commas.

So, when Gandalf originally reads the inscription, he reads it with the commas you have included, and parses it accordingly. But in reality, the inscription should be read without commas: "Speak (or Say) 'friend' and enter." The inscription on the door is literally telling people "Tell us you're our friend, and you can enter." Or, if you prefer, "Any friend of ours is welcome!"
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Old 01-26-2019, 11:02 AM
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Tolkien never really settled down and determined how many generations were before Finw, Ingw and Olw, if any. While some writings presented them as having awakened at Cuivienen, others indicated it was their forebears who'd awakened there.
That's true, but I can't help but think that Finw, Ingw, Elw and Olw were all first awakenings. There's no hint anywhere that the Lords of the three Houses of Elvendom were all orphans.
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Old 01-26-2019, 11:11 AM
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Denethor was a year older than Aragorn. Aragorn was the oldest human at the end of his life, but not at the time of LotR, being a mere 80 or so.
It's interesting that when Aragorn first met Arwen, he was just 20 years old, and she was 2,710 years old. I wonder what they had to talk about.
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Old 01-26-2019, 11:20 AM
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It's interesting that when Aragorn first met Arwen, he was just 20 years old, and she was 2,710 years old. I wonder what they had to talk about.
Like thousand year old vampires dating high school girls.

But what do you DO for 2,710 years, anyway? There's only so much to experience, I think the bucket list for an Elf must get appended a lot.
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  #33  
Old 01-26-2019, 11:22 AM
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It's interesting that when Aragorn first met Arwen, he was just 20 years old, and she was 2,710 years old. I wonder what they had to talk about.
They had quite a lot of relatives in common, and Arwen's family did have a bit of a history of extraordinary immortal beauties falling for scruffy outlaws.

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  #34  
Old 01-26-2019, 11:22 AM
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It's interesting that when Aragorn first met Arwen, he was just 20 years old, and she was 2,710 years old. I wonder what they had to talk about.
Hey, babe, show me your sword.
  #35  
Old 01-26-2019, 11:27 AM
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Hey, babe, show me your sword.
"I...I've only got the shaft bit. Your Dad has the tip in his house? "
  #36  
Old 01-26-2019, 11:34 AM
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That's true, but I can't help but think that Finw, Ingw, Elw and Olw were all first awakenings. There's no hint anywhere that the Lords of the three Houses of Elvendom were all orphans.
But Celeborn, husband of Galadriel, is described as a “kinsman” of Elwe/Elu Thingol. If the latter is one of the first awakened, how can he have kin, other than descendants?

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  #37  
Old 01-26-2019, 11:42 AM
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"I...I've only got the shaft bit. Your Dad has the tip in his house? "
*dies*
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Old 01-26-2019, 12:52 PM
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I've always wondered a little about Elven reproduction. Assuming that Elven women are similar to human women, they'd only have so many eggs.

I seem to recall Tolkien saying that Elves got married and had kids, then moved on to the next part of their long, long lives. They looked back on their child-raising years fondly, but they had their new lives to tend to.

So my fanwank is that female Elves spent some thousands of years as "girls", unable to procreate. Then they spent fifty or a hundred years as fertile women before they hit some kind of Elvish menopause, after which, they spent the rest of their lives unable to further reproduce.

Do we know of any Elven siblings born more than fifty or even a hundred years apart?
  #39  
Old 01-26-2019, 01:06 PM
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"I...I've only got the shaft bit. Your Dad has the tip in his house? "
"That's ok honey, there's an old Elvish saying: Length mattereth not, when thou hast skill.
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Old 01-26-2019, 01:11 PM
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Like thousand year old vampires dating high school girls.

But what do you DO for 2,710 years, anyway? There's only so much to experience, I think the bucket list for an Elf must get appended a lot.
That's where I always thought the greatness of the elves comes from. It's not that they're magical or anything. It's that they've each had so long to live they've really learned how to optimize everything they do. There's a perfect way to make that sword or bow. There's a perfect, most efficient way to walk lightly.

And so forth and so on.
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Old 01-26-2019, 01:12 PM
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Do we know of any Elven siblings born more than fifty or even a hundred years apart?
Arwen was born 111 years after her brothers Elladan and Elrohir. I wouldn't call that strong evidence against your theory. But we don't have exact birth dates for many elves.
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Old 01-26-2019, 01:17 PM
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To expand a bit on a couple of the answers...

1) You may see Tolkien geeks talking about "sub-creation". There's a mythic (as opposed to "mystical") element to the highest craftsmanship in Tolkien's stories. The act of crafting is an echo of Eru Ilvatar's creation of the world, a soft repetition of a theme in the Music of the Ainur. Master crafters could imbue an echo of their own song into their works, giving them purpose and a semblance of life and will that could persist beyond the lives of their makers.

Perhaps this was most common among elves simply because elves had the most skilled crafters, or perhaps it was because they were closer to the original song, and their echoes were stronger, but crafters of other races with the skill and the will could lend them to their works as well.

3) It's not just the password in Elvish. The runes on the door are signed: "I, Celebrimbor of Hollin, drew these signs." Celebrimbor was a prince, ruler of Eregion, which was the elven domain the gates faced toward. He was also the smith who forged the Three, the rings of the elves. Not only were the dwarves of Khazad-dm friendly with the elves, they were on such good terms that a major elvish bigshot came to help them move in. There was historical bad blood between the races, but these particular sets were close at the time; I would speculate that a mutual love of fine craftsmanship was part of that bond.
  #43  
Old 01-26-2019, 01:20 PM
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But Celeborn, husband of Galadriel, is described as a kinsman of Elwe/Elu Thingol. If the latter is one of the first awakened, how can he have kin, other than descendants?
I genuinely don't understand what you mean here. "Kin" is just "family" where I'm from.
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Old 01-26-2019, 01:34 PM
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That's where I always thought the greatness of the elves comes from. It's not that they're magical or anything. It's that they've each had so long to live they've really learned how to optimize everything they do. There's a perfect way to make that sword or bow. There's a perfect, most efficient way to walk lightly.

And so forth and so on.
Yeah, that makes sense. A thousand years of practice would produce a really accurate archer. Which makes Aragorn's skill as an archer even more impressive, at least in the movies, as he seems to be second only to Legolas in skill.
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Old 01-26-2019, 02:10 PM
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I genuinely don't understand what you mean here. "Kin" is just "family" where I'm from.
Right, family. So how are they related? Cousins? Uncle and nephew? Both of those require Elwe to have parents, dont they?
  #46  
Old 01-26-2019, 02:19 PM
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It's interesting that when Aragorn first met Arwen, he was just 20 years old, and she was 2,710 years old. I wonder what they had to talk about.
I thought Aragorn was a toddler when he first met her.
  #47  
Old 01-26-2019, 02:23 PM
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Gandalf and the other wizards are primordial spirits, therefore as old as time. However in corporeal form, they are "only" a little over 2000 years old, having come in around TA1000. And "Gandalf" is probably younger, as he was Olrin for a time, then probably Mithrandir before Gandalf. Not sure when he started paling around with men.
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So Sauron is an analogue for Lucifer?
LOTR isn't as explicitly religious as Narnia. No doubt there are analogues to religion (though as others noted, Melkor is the big bad), but it's not intended as allegory for Christianity.
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Old 01-26-2019, 02:32 PM
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I thought Aragorn was a toddler when he first met her.
From the Tale of Years in Appendix B:
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2931 Aragorn son of Arathorn II born on March 1st.
...
2951 Arwen, newly returned from Lorien, meets Aragorn in the woods of Imladris.
  #49  
Old 01-26-2019, 02:33 PM
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Right, family. So how are they related? Cousins? Uncle and nephew? Both of those require Elwe to have parents, dont they?
Celeborn could have been a great*-grandchild of Thingol. Are you saying you wouldn't call that relationship "kin"?
  #50  
Old 01-26-2019, 02:50 PM
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Right, family. So how are they related? Cousins? Uncle and nephew? Both of those require Elwe to have parents, dont they?
The Firstborn couldn't have any cousins (or parents or grandparents or uncles or aunts) obviously, but they could certainly be uncles and aunts themselves and have nephews and nieces etc
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