Active Member
There was talk about domination during the Silmfilm session yesterday (Session 4-17). I think somewhat bigger leeway might be given for dominating things without free will, or with no will at all. Also, I think chopping down a tree for making something, should be considered different than just chopping it down. Doing agriculture should be ok. Destroying things for the joy of enforcing your will, not so much.


Staff member
Yeah, I think you have the right of it. The ents were mad at Saruman's orcs in part because they cut down trees and left them lying...wanton destruction, and for no purpose or benefit.

Good guys have to act like good guys. So, wasteful destruction is right out. But they also can't pave paradise and put up a parking lot. They can't be so utilitarian as to accept ugliness and destruction as necessary for some greater good. Saruman again, in his speech to Gandalf about regretting evil done along the way. Not cool.

We want our elves to seem elvish. I don't mean they have to be all Fern Gully about things, but that their making should delight in art and beauty. They should consider their starting materials in and of themselves, not start with the end product in mind and force the materials to get there. Elvish woodworking should make you think of trees when you see it, or bring out the beauty of the grain of the wood, something that celebrates the original and gives it a new form that is even more itself. Yes, they can cut stones into blocks and build fortresses with it. But the fortress should look like it grew out of the land because it innately belongs there. There should be some fundamental understanding of what things are FOR, and the elves are just giving the raw materials the form they would like to have. Words like fostering or organic or natural would describe their process, not words like mechanical or forced. They can be technical and innovative. ..but innovation in an interactive way.

If the stone doesn't want to be part of your fortress, you don't force it make the stone into what the stone wants to be.

In Season 1 of this project, we depicted the Valar forming Middle-earth. They were a bit dismayed when they entered and found the song...incomplete. Nothing that they sang of was there yet or ready-made. It was a raw material that they had to form into the Song that they remembered. Elves don't make like the Valar, on a primordial level, so their work is less pre-ordained and more 'original'....but it is a step down, not a different type of thing all together. So, just as the Valar had to learn to collaborate with one another to form their vision of Arda, the elves have to collaborate with the materials of Arda as they subcreate.

Or put another way, Gimli's description of how the dwarves would not mine Aglarond, but would carefully shape it into a masterpiece because of their great love for the that. Where there is clearly respect and esteem for what you are working with, and a desire to make art. They're still changing it and making it different from what it was before...but the changes they are making and how they go about doing it is the antithesis of a slash-and-burn, grab-what-you-want policy.

Or like...if you watch the Indiana Jones movies with an actual archeologist. They are appalled at all the destruction Indy and friends wrought in the sites they are exploring. There's a lot of Nooooo! when tombs are upended and stuff is set on fire and brought crashing down behind them. They're definitely grave looters. I get's an action/adventure flick, and the characterization consists of direct declarative statements like 'I hate snakes.' and 'Nazis, I hate those guys.' I'm not asking Indiana Jones to be anyone other than who he is. But his complete *disregard* is not an attitude we can give any elven or dwarvish craftsman.
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Staff member
Yes this is a really interesting subject. I think you are right, there's got to be a consideration of the intent behind a destructive action. If you harm someone, it has to matter whether it's in self-defence or not. If you are in a position of power, you don't just attack someone in a weaker position. Remember how Bilbo spared Gollum. There are many more examples.
During the session, I threw a number of messages at Corey, and he picked up a couple of the more intelligible ones. I was trying to make the case that it all has to do with the Music. It's more or less what MithLuin is saying. When an elf uses magic, which they seem to do almost all of the time if you are looking with Sam Gamgee's eyes, they are working with the Music and their own understanding of it. They are experts at bringing out the hidden potential in everything that is Arda. Their creations are acts of love - and their creations love them back, making ropes untie themselves when necessary, boats avoid capsizing etc. When Fingolfin reforges his sword, he uses his understanding of the Music. All of his experience of the crossing of Helcaraxë, his people's suffering, their struggle, their losses, the loved ones who were lost - Fingolfin processes that in his soul and the pain and sorrow, mixed with the more positive feelings of satisfaction when making it, etc., becomes wisdom, that is, understanding of the Music. He uses that deep insight into the plan of Iluvatar to make his sword powerful.
That is different from how Sauron would do it, of course. His mission is to enforce his will on the world. That is the extreme opposite position. The intention is to change the Music.
Ok so perhaps that was a digression... Well, consider that Eru has put everything in the world for reasons, and that everything has an intrinsic value - but add also that the most important in his creation are the Children. They have certain needs that they cannot satisfy without affecting the world, so that has to be part of the Music. But, as you say, when the intent is to just destroy, that is wrong - it is an act of opposition to the Music. And dominating someone is to be in a position of power and using it to restrict their possibilities of fulfilling their potential - fulfil their part of the Music.
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