lindahoyland (lindahoyland) wrote,
lindahoyland
lindahoyland

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Tolkien's thoughts

I have been browsing Tolkien's letters and as I came across these interesting references to my favourite characters and will share them here,

Eowyn

244 From a draft to a reader of The Lord of the Rings [A fragment at the top of which Tolkien has written: 'Comments on a criticism (now lost?) concerning Faramir & Eowyn (c. 1963).']

Eowyn: It is possible to love more than one person (of the other sex) at the same time, but in a different mode and intensity. I do not think that Eowyn's feelings for Aragorn really changed much; and when he was revealed as so lofty a figure, in descent and office, she was able to go on loving and admiring him. He was old, and that is not only a physical quality: when not accompanied by any physical decay age can be alarming or awe-inspiring. Also she was not herself ambitious in the true political sense. Though not a 'dry nurse' in temper, she was also not really a soldier or 'amazon', but like many brave women was capable of great military gallantry at a crisis.

Faramir

I think you misunderstand Faramir. He was daunted by his father: not only in the ordinary way of a family with a stern proud father of great force of character, but as a Númenórean before the chief of the one surviving Númenórean state. He was motherless and sisterless (Eowyn was also motherless), and had a 'bossy' brother. He had been accustomed to giving way and not giving his own opinions air, while retaining a power of command among men, such as a man may obtain who is evidently personally courageous and decisive, but also modest, fair-minded and scrupulously just, and very merciful. I think he understood Eowyn very well. Also to be Prince of Ithilien, the greatest noble after Dol Amroth in the revived Númenórean state of Gondor, soon to be of imperial power and prestige, was not a 'market-garden job' as you term it. Until much had been done by the restored King, the P. of Ithilien would be the resident march-warden of Gondor, in its main eastward outpost – and also would have many duties in rehabilitating the lost territory, and clearing it of outlaws and orc-remnants, not to speak of the dreadful vale of Minas Ithil (Morgul). I did not, naturally, go into details about the way in which Aragorn, as King of Gondor, would govern the realm. But it was made clear that there was much fighting, and in the earlier years of A.'s reign expeditions against enemies in the East. The chief commanders, under the King, would be Faramir and Imrahil; and one of these would normally remain a military commander at home in the King's absence. A Númenórean King was monarch, with the power of unquestioned decision in debate; but he governed the realm with the frame of ancient law, of which he was administrator (and interpreter) but not the maker. In all debatable matters of importance domestic, or external, however, even Denethor had a Council, and at least listened to what the Lords of the Fiefs and the Captains of the Forces had to say. Aragorn re-established the Great Council of Gondor, and in that Faramir, who remained by inheritance the Steward (or representative of the King during his absence abroad, or sickness, or between his death and the accession of his heir) would [be] the chief counsellor.

Criticism of the speed of the relationship or 'love' of Faramir and Eowyn. In my experience feelings and decisions ripen very quickly (as measured by mere 'clock-time', which is actually not justly applicable) in periods of great stress, and especially under the expectation of imminent death. And I do not think that persons of high estate and breeding need all the petty fencing and approaches in matters of 'love'. This tale does not deal with a period of 'Courtly Love' and its pretences; but with a culture more primitive (sc. less corrupt) and nobler.


Aragorn

A difference in the use of 'magic' in this story is that it is not to be come by by 'lore' or spells; but is in an inherent power not possessed or attainable by Men as such. Aragorn's 'healing' might be regarded as 'magical', or at least a blend of magic with pharmacy and 'hypnotic' processes. But it is (in theory) reported by hobbits who have very little notions of philosophy and science; while Aragorn is not a pure 'Man', but at long remove one of the 'children of Lúthien'." (155)


Arwen and her Family

The view is that the Half-elven have a power of (irrevocable) choice, which may be delayed but not permanently, which kin's fate they will share. Elros chose to be a King and 'longaevus' but mortal, so all his descendants are mortal, and of a specially noble race, but with dwindling longevity: so Aragorn (who, however, has a greater life-span than his contemporaries, double, though not the original Númenórean treble, that of Men). Elrond chose to be among the Elves. His children – with a renewed Elvish strain, since their mother was Celebrían dtr. of Galadriel – have to make their choices. Arwen is not a 're-incarnation' of Lúthien (that in the view of this mythical history would be impossible, since Lúthien has died like a mortal and left the world of time) but a descendant very like her in looks, character, and fate. When she weds Aragorn (whose love-story elsewhere recounted is not here central and only occasionally referred to) she 'makes the choice of Lúthien', so the grief at her parting from Elrond is specially poignant. Elrond passes Over Sea. The end of his sons, Elladan and Elrohir, is not told: they delay their choice, and remain for a while (153)


Religion(an inspiration for 'A Time to Reap')

So while God (Eru) was a datum of good[1] Númenórean philosophy, and a prime fact in their conception of history. He had at the time of the War of the Ring no worship and no hallowed place. And that kind of negative truth was characteristic of the West, and all the area under Numenorean influence: the refusal to worship any 'creature', and above all no 'dark lord' or satanic demon, Sauron, or any other, was almost as far as they got. They had (I imagine) no petitionary prayers to God ; but preserved the vestige of thanksgiving. (Those under special Elvish influence might call on the angelic powers for help in immediate peril or fear of evil enemies.[2]) It later appears that there had been a 'hallow' on Mindolluin, only approachable by the King, where he had anciently offered thanks and praise on behalf of his people; but it had been forgotten. It was re-entered by Aragorn, and there he found a sapling of the White Tree, and replanted it in the Court of the Fountain. It is to be presumed that with the reemergence of the lineal priest kings (of whom Lúthien the Blessed Elf-maiden was a foremother) the worship of God would be renewed, and His Name (or title) be again more often heard. But there would be no temple of the True God while Númenórean influence lasted.



[1] There were evil Númenóreans: Sauronians, but they do not come into this story, except remotely; as the wicked Kings who had become Nazgûl or Ringwraiths.

[2] The Elves often called on Varda-Elbereth, the Queen of the Blessed Realm, their especial friend; and so does Frodo.


An early version of Faramir's Healing found in History of Middle earth - The War of the Ring.

By evening of 15th ((in pencil 14 )in a blood red sun victory is complete. All enemy is driven into or back over Anduin. Aragorn sets up his pavilion and standard outside gate, but will not enter city, yet. Denethor comes down to greet the victors. Theoden dies. He bids farewell to Gandalf, Aragorn, Eomer and Merry. Theoden and Eowyn laid for a time in the royal tombs.

Words of Aragorn and Denethor. Denethor will not yield Stewardship, yet: not until war is won or lost and all is made clear. He is cold and suspicious and? mock-courteous. Aragorn grave and silent. But Denethor says that Belike the Stewardship will run out anyway, since he seems like to lose both his sons. Faramir is sick of his wounds. If he dies then Gondor can take what new lord it likes. Aragorn says he will not be ‘taken’, he will take, but asks to see Faramir. Faramir is brought out and Aragorn tends him all that night, and love springs between them.

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