Nature of ME - Location of Dol Guldur - coincidence or not?

Bruce N H

Active Member
Hey all,

I was just re-listening to class 5, the one that cut off abruptly. I asked a question and Corey said we'd come back to it in a minute, but then the internet gods cut the class short. So I'll put this here:

Things we know:
- The spirits of dead elves can refuse the call to the Halls of Mandos and lurk around Middle Earth (generally a bad idea).
- Necromancy involves communication with the spirits of the dead. Not dead men, since their spirits leave the bounds of Arda, so by default we're talking the spirits of those elves who have refused the call to Mandos.
- During the Great March, elves lingered both on the east side of Mirkwood and later around what would become Lorien. Even some of the Vanyar and Noldor wanted to stay in this area, not to mention the Teleri. So the proto-Silvan elves could have been living right here for millennia.
- Later, the Necromancer set up shop in Dol Guldur, right between these two locations.

Speculation:
- The same elves who were unwilling to go to Aman in the first place might be more likely to refuse the call to the Halls of Mandos after death.
- Perhaps the spirits of elves who don't go to Mandos remain fairly local to the area where they died.
- If so, perhaps the Necromancer set up shop in this area BECAUSE there were more undead elf-spirits lurking around here than anywhere else. What better place to practice necromancy?

Thoughts?
Bruce / Bricktales
 

Rachel Port

Well-Known Member
The Oathbreakers' spirits didn't leave Arda because of Isildur's curse and their unfilled pledge. There might also have been other men whose spirits could not leave earth until they had completed their earthly purpose (i.e. unfinished business).

Would there be that many dead elves? How would they have died?
 

Flammifer

Well-Known Member
Hi Bruce N H,

I like your conjectures. I think they make some sense based on the evidence you cite.

One caveat: Your heading, "Things we know". I don't think that we 'know' any of those things. We know that they were all ideas that JRRT considered at one point or another. That does not mean that they are things which he would have continued to consider, or that they would have remained unchanged.

The entire 1959 thinking on 'Time and Aging' from 'The Nature of Middle-earth' (17 chapters of 1959 notes and math in 'The Nature of Middle-earth'), including the entire story of the Great March, which JRRT constructed in 1959, must be considered a draft which JRRT probably would have thrown out.

Chapter XIX of 'The Nature of Middle-earth', from 1965, indicates that by 1965, JRRT was dissatisfied with the entire 1959 scheme and was proposing a new, much simpler arrangement. Although JRRT back-tested this new arrangement against the timings of Galadriel, Celeborn, Celebrian, Elrond, Arwen, we have no evidence that he tested it against the history of the generations since the 'awakening' and the story of the Great March, which he devised in 1959.

His 1965 scheme, due to making Elf 'growth years' equal to only 3 loar, would have required a massive revision to the generational schemes of 1959, and to the timings and events of the Great March (as the necessity for long 'rest stops' to raise new generations of children would have been greatly reduced).

So, who knows where the Elves might have stopped to rest (if at all) in the revised account, or how long they might have stopped for?
 

Odola

Well-Known Member
The Oathbreakers' spirits didn't leave Arda because of Isildur's curse and their unfilled pledge. There might also have been other men whose spirits could not leave earth until they had completed their earthly purpose (i.e. unfinished business).

Would there be that many dead elves? How would they have died?
If Mirkwood was dangerous from the beginning there is plenty of ways that elves could have died. Also if one is convinced of the original "orcs as corrupted elves" origin story - as I am - then such a process would involve a huge amount of elvish casualities as a side cost anyway. I would suspect 70-90% of elves prefering death to being orcified. But how many of those dead elves would have had their trust in the Valar destroyed in the process to the excent of refusing a call to Mandos? Quite a lot imho.
 
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Bruce N H

Active Member
One caveat: Your heading, "Things we know". I don't think that we 'know' any of those things. We know that they were all ideas that JRRT considered at one point or another. That does not mean that they are things which he would have continued to consider, or that they would have remained unchanged.
Very good point and well-taken. I probably should have said "things directly tied to writings of Tolkien that may or may not have been later revised", it's just less catchy. ;)
Oh, and on chapter XIX, I'm not there yet. I'm not even caught up to XVIII, which I think is where Corey said we might possibly on a very outside chance get to by tomorrow night's class.*

Bruce

*I totally understand. Somehow I got two weeks behind this semester in organic 1, and so now I'm frantically trying to fit things in before the final. Luckily, I'm also the person teaching all three sections of organic 2 in the spring semester, so what I miss now I can catch up then.
 
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