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Eärendil’s Tale  by Bodkin 5 Review(s)
Jay of LasgalenReviewed Chapter: 8 on 5/21/2005
This chapter is beautifully descriptive and evocative. It reminds me a little of the Ancient Mariner - 'a painted ship upon a painted ocean', and the enchanted isles in 'Voyage of the Dawn Treader'.

Earendil's words about Feanor ' Even to sacrificing his own sons to a terrible fate.’ are a little ironic, considering what happened to his own sons' childhood!


Author Reply: Funnily enough, both the Ancient Mariner and the Voyage of the Dawn Treader were in my mind here! Not that I've read either of them for years - but the influence remains!

There is a difference, I think, between Feanor, his sons and the oath and Earendil's quest. Intention, perhaps. Earendil did leave his sons at home with their mother in a supposedly relatively safe haven. But they were tiny and in need of their father. Feanor, on the other hand - well, his sons were adult and could have refused to take his oath, I suppose, but he bound them to an eternal commitment and then led them into the First Kinslaying - took them to Arda and burned the boats so they couldn't go back for their kin. Perhaps it's that Earendil's mission was generally humanitarian (elfitarian?), whereas Feanor's was selfish - the defeating of Morgoth being, to my mind secondary to revenge for Finwe's death and, most particularly, getting the Silmarils back.

But you're right - knowing what we do about what happened to Elros and Elrond, his words are ironic.

elliskaReviewed Chapter: 8 on 5/15/2005
So sorry it took me so long to review this chapter. I've been at an encampment since Friday (no electricity, and thus no computers, in 1597). This review may not be entirely literate either because I am just exhausted.

Nonetheless--I really loved this chapter. I really like when you delve into explanations/explorations of things like why Elrond's line gets a choice when others didn't. That was one of my favorite parts of this and I agree with it.

I also liked the discussion of the Silmaril. That is a tough debate. On the one hand, they are the greatest work of the elves and are made from the light of the trees. On the other hand--look at everything they caused! That is one of the things I love about Tolkien. Not a lot of black and white here. Elrond has the right idea on the Silmaril, I think.

The departure was sad, given that we know its the last the children will see of their adar for a very long time. And the whole part on the island was just really tense. I didn't know that part of the story at all and I had no idea what to expect so I was really on edge waiting to see what would happen. Great job with that.

This is a really wonderful story and this was a great chapter. So glad to come back and get to read it. :-)

Author Reply: Why 1597? I suppose I could investigate the significance, but it seems simpler to ask. Sit in a comfy chair, drink coffee, enjoy plumbing. All other things that were missing from 1597, too.

I'm glad you like the sitting around and talking! I like doing that - and writing from several people's view means I can offer all my thoughts without having to come to any good conclusions!

Yes, the Silmarils. Very hard one. They weren't evil in themselves, but they seem to have aroused a possessiveness in those who held them that was definitely bad news. The shades of grey and inconsistencies - not to mention all those books of background, throw-away information - are what makes this such an exciting world to play in.

There isn't really any compulsory story when Earendil is at sea. There are about five threads where Tolkien outlined stuff, but it is contradictory and little more than a list of ideas. The Sleeper in the Tower of Pearl being Idril is one of them - I put Tuor with her, since it seemed the best way to have them survive until the time comes to decide what to do with them.

The whole story of Earendil is quite sad, really. A triumph, in a way, but sad too. And you have to feel for them - isolated in their corner of Valinor, flying Vingilot, cut off from their children - and knowing that they will not see Elros again while the world endures.

Not much more now, I think. A couple of chapters, probably. Thank you for reviewing. Now get some rest.

RedheredhReviewed Chapter: 8 on 5/15/2005
Elwing's take on the nature of Melian and her children was very insightful. That she would be the best reason the Peredhil would have a choice. After all, Elwing - not Earendil - was the one who decided to be of the Eldar.

But this does not competely answer the question of Dior. He was born after Luthien returned from Mandos as a mortal. Was he actually entirely mortal or half-elf? If elf, then his children would be 3/4 and definitely eldar. If mortal, they would be 1/2 and mortal. So, if only Melian's blood makes them eldar as well, then Earendil would be mortal... Unless Tuor was not exactly a regular mortal... Then maybe that is part of the reason Ulmo chose both father and son... But what about Elwing's choosing Earendil for a husband... interesting this whole matter of bloodlines...

Putting Tuor and Idril into an enchanted sleep was itself an enchanting idea and an enchanting episode with just the right amount of exciting fright. Personally, I liken this to King Arthur on Avalon, waiting for the time for his needed return. Perhaps for the War of Wrath because someone should teach Finarfin what he needs to know about waging a successful campaign in Beleriand.

'I am but a simple sailor.' Yeah, right. But, it was gracefully said with true humility. His leave-taking at the docks was reminicent of all those in this and ages who take up service in a cause and may not return. Simple soldiers and sailors, not so simple heroes.

I do so love your Voronwe.

So, another great chapter, written in you wonderfully lyrical, descriptive style, and you say 'tis almost the end.

*doggone it*

Author Reply: This is going to be painfully long. I'm at work and can't do an e-mail and I've already written a page and a half of my random thoughts. Apologies in advance.

Right. Well. My musings are doubtless going to be wallowing in inconsistencies and non-Tolkien specifics and contradict loads of things, but. . .

I’m not sure that immortality is something that can be taken away and replaced with a mortal life – Lúthien was half elf/half Maia and immortal. On death she would have gone to Námo’s Halls, eventually to be re-embodied, unless her Maiar half took over and she just put off her body to become spirit. Equally, mortal life cannot be returned – so, once Beren had popped his clogs, that should have been it. And playing with the rules (except for Tuor) doesn’t really happen anywhere else. Frodo and Sam – and Gimli – went to the Undying Lands, but they still died, because they were mortals.

So why did it happen for Lúthien and Beren? The only reason that hits me is because they had not done something that was essential for the Fate of the World, and since they had already liberated the Silmaril, the only other thing they did was have Dior.

But was their essential being changed? Lúthien was still the child of Elu and Melian, Beren was still mortal – but how many other mortals have been returned to life, produced children and then gone on to die again? (Doesn’t that, in some ways, make him more likely than Tuor to have been the one who ended up in the Undying Lands?) Maybe the suspension of the rules needed to enable Dior to be born meant that Lúthien and Beren’s continued existence challenged causality in some way, so that they had to be removed from Arda – or I can just imagine Lúthien bargaining with Ilúvatar and fast-talking (singing?) him into agreeing that, if Beren needed to be removed from the world, then so did she. For whatever reason, their return was limited and rules set on it.

Despite this, the essential nature of each of them was unchanged. Dior inherited the genes of elf and Maia from Lúthien, and human genes from Beren. He had to, because the reason for their union in the first place was to bring together the first and second born. Lúthien / Beren and Tuor / Idril were designed by fate / nature / Ilúvatar to bring about Elros and Elrond and, eventually, Aragorn and Arwen.

That, to my mind, makes Dior quarter-Maia, quarter-elven and half-man, (even if the man was a unique re-embodied man), because that is what he needed to be. He married an elf, so, when the time came for him to leave the Halls of Mandos, he would have been offered the choice of the half-elven – and decided to return to his body and Nimloth.

Tuor is a different problem, because, as far as I know, he is pure man, but, on the other hand, Tolkien actually says that he was the only man in the Undying Lands. I suppose he could have done a Frodo – gone to Valinor and then died – but I find that unsatisfactory. Why would Ilúvatar/Tolkien go out of his way to arrange these particular cross-species marriages and ensure that they had surviving fertile offspring and then abandon them? So I am working on the theory here that Ulmo imbued Tuor with his spirit in order to make him a suitable messenger. Once he became the Vala’s messenger, Tuor was no longer entirely a man – so Ulmo was able to swing it in his favour by pointing out that Tuor was to him as Eonwë was to Manwë and he therefore needed him in Valinor.

And then, there’s the balance theory. Lúthien should not have passed beyond the circles of the world, but she did, so to plug the hole, Tuor is allowed immortality in Valinor. The elves are tied to Ea while it exists – so Lúthien’s absence could have led to a – I don’t know – a hole in the space-time continuum or something, which could only be repaired by taking someone equal and opposite and using him to repair the damage.

And to stop it happening again, Ilúvatar tightened up the rules. The descendants of these two elf/man + (/Maia/messenger-of-the-Valar) couples were allowed to select their race, (even Dior, the dead descendant), but later born scions of their houses only got to choose if their parents had chosen to be counted among the Firstborn. The choice of Secondborn was irrevocable on the chooser and his/her descendants. Any other elf/man pairings would result in the children being counted among the Secondborn and the parents enduring division after the death of the mortal partner (eg: Mithrellas and Imrazor). The Mortals-cannot-live-forever-in-the-Undying-Lands rule might date from the same time.

Not well-thought-out, I know. I’m doing it all the wrong way – starting from a desired (or written) outcome and trying to fix the arguments to support what I want to happen while fitting it in with what Tolkien wrote. I suppose the thing is that I don’t really like the story of Beren and Lúthien much. It’s one of those tales that seems romantic – in the way of Romeo and Juliet. When you look at it more closely, there seems to be something quite nasty underneath all the marshmallow. Which is, after all, so often the way with fairy tales.

Now - moving on from thoughts of mortality! I put Tuor in an enchanted sleep - but Tolkien is responsible for Idril. She was the Sleeper in the Tower of Pearl in the UT - woken by a gong rung by Littleheart who was Voronwe's son. Changed it a bit. More Sleeping Beauty in a remarkably dust-free castle. But, since Tuor was feeling his years when he sailed, and yet Tolkien himself puts him in Valinor, it seemed a good way to get him to survive the interim. And the idea of having him act as a military advisor is brilliant. The perfect role for him - and it should get him in the good books of Uncle Finarfin.

I feel for Earendil and Elwing. Being the pawns of fate isn't a lot of fun. But they are true heroes.

Possibly two more chapters. I've a feeling that telling the end bit might take up more space than I think.

Thank you for your review. Sorry to yabber on so.

KarriReviewed Chapter: 8 on 5/13/2005
I think I tend to side more with Elwing in my view of the Silmarils. ;-) Terrific chapter!

Author Reply: Thank you. I'm glad you liked it. Tuor did make it into this one, although he was unconscious at the time!

I'm on Elwing's side with the Silmarils. For pure, beautiful jewels containing the perfection of the Two Trees, those three wretched stones caused a lot of trouble. On the other hand, Earendil has got to feel a bit more positive about them, because he is stuck carrying one on his brow - presumably until the world is remade.

Probably not too much more now.

daw the minstrelReviewed Chapter: 8 on 5/13/2005
That was very spooky! Is that canon, Bodkin? Or is it your own reasoning about Tuor and Idril's fate? Would it be wrong for me to say that this story is uncharted territory (pun intended)?

I liked the ending. Elwing's arrival was dramatic.

Author Reply: It's sort of a variation on Unfinished Tales stuff. 'The Tower of Pearl rises pale upon the Westernmost cape of the Twilit Isles' and 'here slept the Sleeper of the Tower of Pearl'. And from the earliest tales the S in the ToP was Idril. There are then various versions, I think (all this area is pretty uncertain). In one scheme the Sleeper is awoken by Littleheart's gong - and Littleheart is Voronwe's son.

I am guilty of putting Tuor to sleep in the Tower with Idril - he's got to go somewhere until after Earendil gets to Valinor and the Valar decide what it to be done with Earendil's line and Tuor and Idril. And it was sung that Tuor was numbered among the Elday and his fate was sundered from the fate of men. Since he set sail because he was feeling his years, it seemed good to me to have him doing some kind of Sleeping Beauty act while he waits. I'm working on the 2 + ? = 4 theory of planning!

So it's an extrapolation. And uncharted - (pun appreciated) - one of those maps with pictures of dragons and sea monsters and imaginary lands.

Author Reply: I mean Eldar, of course. Why is it so difficult to spot typos before you press submit?

I'm glad Elwing's arrival was dramatic. I don't think I'm terribly good at dramatic.

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