Session 4.04 & 4.05 - Overarching Storylines

Faelivrin

Well-Known Member
Marie thank you for your considerate response.
We are talking about having an official ambassador to Thingol (Angrod) acknowledge how the Noldor reached Middle Earth maybe 5 years after it happened. He doesn't have to go into any detail, merely saying that the Noldor gained passage across the Grinding Ice with much loss and hardship, or something vague like that. Enough to paint the picture without volunteering any personal details. I don't think this is too much to ask, and if any Sinda tries to casually bring it up in an insensitive manner (such as over produce at the marketplace), a Noldo can shut the conversation down by saying that it is a painful subject and they don't wish to speak of it just now.
I acknowledge that shared traumas are not necessarily the same as personal traumas. But your examples are of people sharing with their own countrymen, a subject which was already widely known from textbooks and TV. That isn't entirely comparable to people without mass communication telling it to strangers outside of their own culture, who haven't shared their experience or anything like it. Your examples also appear to be all people who went public "eventually", not 5 years later.

I just don't believe that only 7 years later, less than a Valinorean year, Angrod is going to say any more to a total stranger than he absolutely has to. Which is "Our road was woeful and I shall not speak of it." He's an Elf. Even referring to the memory likely means reliving it in vivid living detail -- all the thousands of friends and maybe distant family he saw die horribly, all the many times he almost died himself... Not that nobody would ever speak of it, but 7 years would be too soon.

Telling of the Helkaraxe, when the Sindar know there were ships, is also inviting the Sindar to figure out about the Feud, and the arson by Feanorians (not the Kinslaying, but the other stuff). Angrod does eventually bring it all up, but he says at the time (year 67) they "forgave it. For this we are named tale-bearers to you and treasonable to the Noldor: untruly as you know, for we have of our loyalty been silent before you,". Fingolfin can't logically say "Nobody should talk about the Kinslaying, or the burning of the ships, and we are officially putting the feud behind us. But the Helkaraxe is a safe subject which has nothing to do with those other things." That... wouldn't actually work. And when Angrod brought it up in the book, Thingol had no idea about any of that. He thought Finrod and Angrod were Kinslayers, he hadn't known they had come separately from Feanor.

Tolkien didn't see a problem with Noldor not wanting to talk about it for several decades. As a veteran he may have understood something about shell-shock, as they called it. Maybe Elves don't have the same exact PTSD symptoms as Humans, but they can't be unaffected.

And... um, I'm not sure how to say this, but if the Sindar say "Look at those Noldor, so courageous and strong, talking about this in public." then what does that inadvertantly say about real survivors who don't want to talk about their trauma?


When the Kinslaying is finally revealed to the Sindar, it *won't* feel as though the consequences to the Noldor/Sindar relations came out of nowhere - that threat has been hanging over their heads from the moment they met the Sindar. It should feel a natural consequence of that action. I also don't think it would be viewed as a piling on or 'can't catch a break' moment.
If the rumors get started before the Dagor Aglareb then the consequences might already start before the battle... or perhaps we can build tension among the Noldor as they worry how long they can hide the Kinslaying from their new allies, among the audience as they watch the demons spying on the Noldor while they ask each other that... it'll be apparent they can't hide this forever.

How would moving the dreams from Ulmo earlier, and spreading out the building of Nargothrond and Gondolin over multiple episodes, affect how much time we have to either 1. Show the rumors spreading, or 2. Show tension before the Battle, if we do it Ange1's way?
 
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MithLuin

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Certainly, trauma is experienced and handled differently by different people. I would not be at all surprised if there were some among Fingolfin's Host who never wanted to speak about the crossing of the Helcaraxë in any context, at any time. Even 100 years later.

But I also have trouble picturing all of the Noldor having that reaction. Certainly, it was a grueling ordeal. Some people lost family members. All experienced cold and hunger and a seemingly endless trek across the ice desert. They survived, but there was a cost.

Idril is a child. Children tend to accept whatever they experience as 'normal' and just go with that, not recognizing until much later in life the impact an ordeal had on them. Perhaps young Idril is very quiet after the loss of her mother, being labeled 'shy' by the adults around her, in contrast to the vibrant child she was portrayed as at the Feast of Reconciliation in Valinor. She might emerge from this experience as a thoughtful/insightful/prophetic adult, and that might not have happened if she hadn't experienced such loss. We don't need to trivialize or sensationalize the death of her mother to show it having an impact on Idril.


Rwandan Genocide
While a reluctance to speak about trauma with strangers is natural, it does not mean that no one deals with it in that way. As an example, Immaculée Ilibagiza survived the Rwandan genocide...but her father and many other members of her family did not. Being under threat of death (from starvation or the genocide) for 90 days certainly is a grueling experience, and to emerge to find that your loved ones didn't make it has to be heartbreaking. That happened in 1994. In 2006, she had written and published Left to Tell, a book about the experience in English in America (so clearly intended for a foreign audience, not just for her own countrymen, who speak their native languages and French, primarily; not English). Currently, she is a full time public speaker at church retreats in America, talking about her faith and her experience. She has written additional books about her faith and family as well.

People have different reasons for wanting to share what they have gone through. Sometimes, the motivation is the 'never again!' impulse, to prevent future atrocities by raising awareness about their own suffering and ordeal. Other times, the goal is to memorialize those who were lost, by telling their stories. And sometimes it is simply to set the record straight, when silence seems to allow the ignorant to draw their own conclusions. In Immaculée's case, she seems to want to share her faith with others, so that they will be able to face the struggles in their own lives.

For the Noldor who crossed the Helcaraxë to reach Middle Earth...they obviously blame Fëanor for abandoning them and leaving them in that situation in the first place. The decision to cross was their own, though, and at least some of them certainly own that - they set out to accomplish something, and it was difficult, but they did it. That doesn't mean they were unmarked by their ordeal, but it does mean that they view themselves not as victims but as survivors who have overcome an obstacle in their way. For those who do consider their losses the direct result of Fëanor's betrayal, they are faced with a dead adversary. Fëanor has already been struck down, before they ever get there. So, while their anger does not go away, it does lose some steam. There is a sense that he has been 'taken care of', and they can move on. There is true reconciliation and forgiveness between the Noldor (at least in some cases).

The number of (burned) ships was obviously not enough to transport the entire Host, so the only alternative to revealing the crossing of the Helcaraxë is to imply that the Host of Fingolfin was ferried to Middle Earth as well. This seems...like it would require out right lying. I think that those who crossed would be more willing to say that they did than to lie about taking ships to reach Middle Earth. There seems little reason to lie about it.


Jonestown Mass Murder-Suicide (or whatever you called forced ritual suicide)
Certainly, it is not easy to discuss something horrific, especially if the person doing the questioning is unsympathetic or not very understanding. Here is an interview from one of the very few survivors of the Jonestown Massacre who was on the site when it happened. The interviewer is a reporter, and is certainly forcing him to tell what he saw, even though it's obviously difficult. (Basically, it is difficult to watch this without wanting to strangle the guy doing the interview.)
Obviously, this interview with Stanley Clayton occurred in the weeks following the massacre, when he was clearly still in shock and found it very very difficult to speak of what he had seen. But he did speak about it. Both Stanley Clayton and Odell Rhodes visited the site after the massacre with the coroner to identify bodies, and testified in court as to their experience on Dec. 14th, which was less than a month later. They had both been present in Jonestown during the massacre, and were 'supposed' to die there.
https://jonestown.sdsu.edu/?page_id=13675

As another example, Leslie Wagner-Wilson had not spoken publicly of her experience with Jonestown until this year, 40 years after the massacre. Her stated motivation for not keeping her story private is to help raise awareness for others involved in cults, to prevent future mass 'suicides'. I have not seen her testimony or the documentary it appears in, but apparently she also felt that not enough had been said about the young women supporting/enabling Jim Jones who actually mixed up the vats of cyanide, etc. She felt she could help fill in the story.

If the only thing someone knows about Jonestown is the ending, then a reflection such as this one (by B. Alethia Orsot 10 years after the massacre) might come as a surprise:
https://jonestown.sdsu.edu/?page_id=16993

Here, there was a need to share stories with law enforcement. A US Congressman was murdered. Over 900 people were dead. There were formal investigations, involving the governments of two countries. There was media attention. There were people from the group in Georgetown, Guyana who were not at the compound that day, but knew what was going on. The investigation wasn't necessarily particularly kind or thoughtful to the fact that these people had just gone through a terrible tragedy - there was a desire to find out the truth, and some of them were viewed as co-conspirators. They were asked why they didn't save anyone else.

The Sindar aren't likely to behave like that, but they *do* have questions, and they *are* going to ask. And while 'I really don't want to talk about this' works in private conversation, that's not really something you can say to a king when you are the official ambassador who is meant to answer his questions. You have to say something. And, honestly, I think they would say *something*...just not volunteer details. Yes, we crossed the Ice. It was difficult and there were losses. We're here now; no one can go back that way. The Noldor *are* hiding something; just as Thorin would only say that he was starving in the forest but not admit anything about the quest for Erebor, the Noldor will say nothing of the Kinslaying. But one could conceal that while still talking about the Crossing of the Helcaraxë.



I'm trying to think of a real life example from history that is comparable to the crossing of the Helcaraxë. It's not a war zone. It's not a massacre. It's more like a...famine, I guess. A long period of want and difficult survival. But it's not the Great Depression. The Israelites in the desert, maybe. Or the plane crash in the Andes? Or the May '96 disaster on Everest in which several climbers died. Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer (1997) and The Climb by Anatoli Boukreev (1997) are both first-hand accounts of this ill-fated expedition by survivors/guides. [The link to Into Thin Air includes Krakauer discussing his decision to write the book so soon after the event. He interviewed all of the people who were there as part of that process.]

(Wow, that was a more somber afternoon than I was planning to spend today! People are so resilient, but it's hard not to notice that people are also so awful too.)
 
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amysrevenge

Well-Known Member
I'm trying to think of a real life example from history that is comparable to the crossing of the Helcaraxë. It's not a war zone. It's not a massacre. It's more like a...famine, I guess. A long period of want and difficult survival. But it's not the Great Depression. The Israelites in the desert, maybe. Or the plane crash in the Andes? Or the May '96 disaster on Everest in which several climbers died. Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer (1997) and The Climb by Anatoli Boukreev (1997) are both first-hand accounts of this ill-fated expedition by survivors/guides. [The link to Into Thin Air includes Krakauer discussing his decision to write the book so soon after the event. He interviewed all of the people who were there as part of that process.]
Perhaps the Long March? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Long_March
 

MithLuin

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Sue Klebold, mother of Dylan Klebold (one of the Columbine shooters) first spoke publicly at a conference on murder-suicide 6 years after the event. And she did have anxiety attacks over that.
Sue Klebold's TED Talk:
https://www.ted.com/talks/sue_klebold_my_son_was_a_columbine_shooter_this_is_my_story#t-657863

Misty Bernall, mother of Cassie Bernall (one of the Columbine victims) wrote a book about her daughter in 2000, one year after the event: She Said Yes: The Unlikely Martyrdom of Cassie Bernall.

Rachel Scott's family also wrote a book about their daughter and spoke publicly about the Columbine shooting in the years immediately after the event. Rachel's Tears: The Spiritual Journey of Columbine Martyr Rachel Scott came out in April 2000, on the one year anniversary. I heard her father, Darrell Scott, talk when I was in college, and I graduated in 2002.

Fifteen people died in the Columbine shooting. It wasn't exactly a full scale kinslaying. But it was, I think, an equally shocking event, as...that wasn't meant to be a battlefield and no one was meant to die. So, some of the Noldor reactions to the Kinslaying itself might be not unlike these reactions.

Some people will never want to talk about it publicly. Not everyone wants to subject themselves to going on a talk show and being asked what it was like to lose their children, to say goodbye for the last time, etc.

Some people have a strong urge to memorialize the people who were lost - to tell their stories, share about their lives, make sure they are remembered.

Others try to seek out meaning, and become advocates for gun control laws or access to mental health services, etc. If their child was lost but others can be saved, then they have honored the memories and made the sacrifice worthwhile.

And...it's fundamentally different to be dealing with guilt vs simply loss. The families who lost a child experienced tragedy. The families whose children committed the murders experienced...something...else. And that is what is present in the Kinslaying. The Noldor are guilty and have blood on their hands. Not all of them, of course - but enough. All of the Fëanoreans. Fingolfin and Fingon. Many of the completely innocent (in the Host of Finarfin) turned back to Valinor with him. So, those (even the innocent) who kept going went forward with the knowledge that they were following the guilty and uniting with them.

I think this guilt is what helps to fuel the silence over the Kinslaying.
 

Alcarohtar

Active Member
Certainly, there would be positive reasons to have the Ban come before the battle. But I think that timing and pacing for the Season might make that difficult.
I think it can work with the battle before the Ban! If the Sindar concludes with that the Teleri ferried some of the Noldor over to Middle Earth, but was killed by Morgoth, and the rest had to cross the Helkaraxë to fight Morgoth, their opinion of them would rise as said in the last session. So at first the Sindar are a bit suspicious towards the Noldor, but then they learn what they think is the truth. Then the battle happens, they're united and win, even though some are captured. Morgoth gets mad, rumours and "traitors" gets loose. Thingols hears the real truth and imposes the Ban.
 

Ange1e4e5

Well-Known Member
Certainly, there would be positive reasons to have the Ban come before the battle. But I think that timing and pacing for the Season might make that difficult.

One issue is that the battle does go well for the Elves. They win. So, we have to keep that in mind when planning the tension. We can temper that win - a character could be captured, dampening the win as the audience worries about (Orodreth's) fate. The win can be a surprise -we can expect the villains to have figured out a way to decimate the elves by now, and have them be pleasantly surprised when it's just orcs. Recall that the last time the armies met, Morgoth wiped out the elves by introducing trolls onto the battlefield. Sure, trolls can't travel in sunlight, but...that doesn't mean the elves are entirely safe.

As for the Kinslaying...I feel that leading up to the battle, the rumors would be building in strength. Between the Feast and the Battle, Sauron discovers the truth. We need time for those things to play out, and we can't really push the battle into a later episode. (We could try to bring the Feast up to Episode 4, though that's pushing it.)




No matter how we handle it, it won't be a Yank the Dog's Chain moment, though, because those occur when you have an ongoing unsolvable problem. The Coyote is never going to catch the Roadrunner, so if you've set up something that *looks* like he might, clearly, you're going to have to mess it up before his trap is sprung. We aren't writing a serial show, and the problems for the characters evolve over time. Introducing new conflicts after particular conflicts are resolved is just...how the story goes. When the Kinslaying is finally revealed to the Sindar, it *won't* feel as though the consequences to the Noldor/Sindar relations came out of nowhere - that threat has been hanging over their heads from the moment they met the Sindar. It should feel a natural consequence of that action. I also don't think it would be viewed as a piling on or 'can't catch a break' moment.
I was thinking that an open grudge between the Sindar and the Noldor and even amongst the Feanoreans against the other Noldor could provide bigger tensions over the truth and the Ban rather than a mere suspicion and the confrontation with Thingol leading to the Ban. If they already have animosity, it will make their victory in the Dagor Aglareb more impressive; Compromising your culture because of a law is a pretty big deal; just look at any place that was under colonialism, there are still cultural clashes going on today. Pulling together to defeat the Orcs in the Dagor Aglareb could be a way of defusing the tensions for the time being because they have bigger problems to cope with.

The concept I've had of the Dagor Aglareb is a mid-season climax, with the Noldor and the Sindar putting their quarrel (the Ban) aside for the sake of beating back Morgoth. Then we have Morgoth working on Dragons, another victory, Turgon and Finrod constructing their cities, and the season finale is the appearance of Glaurung.

Well, the problem is unsolvable. No Elf or Maia can take down Morgoth directly until Earendil comes with the Valar. And even then, Morgoth almost won with Ancalagon the Black until Earendil swooped in.
 
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Ange1e4e5

Well-Known Member
On Kingship: I think being High King means the highest military authority and if any big decisions are made amongst the Noldor, he has the final say. Of course, this becomes a moot point after the Nirnaeth Arnoediad, where the High Kingship passes to Turgon, nobody knows where to look for Turgon, and the Noldor have no more resources to threaten Morgoth.

Now, as a King, I think the ousting of Finrod has to do with oaths of service and comradeship, that they would fight Morgoth before they fight each other, made possibly after the rescue of Maedhros? Since the people of Nargothrond decide to fight Finrod and violate their honor with a petty feud instead of aid him in his attempt to help Beren, he removes himself from the equation by giving up his kingship rather than either break his oath of friendship with the House of Beor or raise his hand against his people.
 

MithLuin

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I do think the Noldor are very much oath-shy after the Oath of Fëanor. There may be pledges of fealty and goodwill and allegiance...but probably not oaths of obedience, I wouldn't think.

Gimli wanted the Fellowship to swear an oath before setting out from Rivendell, and Elrond was strongly opposed. They traded clever sayings to make their points, but Elrond's aversion to oaths comes as someone who knows this history. He knows that oaths don't always go the way you mean them to...and one of the sayings he uses clearly was thought up by people who remembered the Darkening of Valinor (ie, First Age Noldor).

Granted, this doesn't mean no oaths at all. Obviously, Finrod is going to swear an oath to Barahir, and he's going to keep it. And I would not be surprised to see Turgon make all of the inhabitants of Gondolin swear an oath to keep it secret, keep it safe, for instance.

But as a general thing, oaths of obedience to a king seems to be taking it a bit too far, as that's completely open-ended and too much like the Oath of Fëanor. Human kings, sure - there should be oaths in Numenor and Rohan and Gondor. But the Noldor...maybe not. Can they just promise nicely, maybe?

The idea that the reconciliation of the Noldor would require some sort of mutual pledge to fight Morgoth, their true enemy, has merit. I can see some sort of pledge happening there, which is only truly put to the test at the Dagor Aglareb. Much better than a simple, can't we all just get along? Keep in mind that the fight against Glaurung at the end of the Season will be another test, so if the Ban comes after the Dagor Aglareb, it will still come before the 'skirmish' with Glaurung...and so all of the tensions can play out at that time.

I do agree that the High King of the Noldor is the one with the power to dictate military actions. That certainly seems to be how things played out, too. The Union of Maedhros requires the say-so of Fingon as High King.
 

amysrevenge

Well-Known Member
I've never looked at it quite this way before, but is there maybe something of "you might call it magic" in Elven Oaths in particular? Other than the (very inconvenient to my point) Stone of Erech oathbreakers, it seems like it's mostly Elves that run into trouble with Oaths.
 

Ange1e4e5

Well-Known Member
I do think the Noldor are very much oath-shy after the Oath of Fëanor. There may be pledges of fealty and goodwill and allegiance...but probably not oaths of obedience, I wouldn't think.

Gimli wanted the Fellowship to swear an oath before setting out from Rivendell, and Elrond was strongly opposed. They traded clever sayings to make their points, but Elrond's aversion to oaths comes as someone who knows this history. He knows that oaths don't always go the way you mean them to...and one of the sayings he uses clearly was thought up by people who remembered the Darkening of Valinor (ie, First Age Noldor).

Granted, this doesn't mean no oaths at all. Obviously, Finrod is going to swear an oath to Barahir, and he's going to keep it. And I would not be surprised to see Turgon make all of the inhabitants of Gondolin swear an oath to keep it secret, keep it safe, for instance.

But as a general thing, oaths of obedience to a king seems to be taking it a bit too far, as that's completely open-ended and too much like the Oath of Fëanor. Human kings, sure - there should be oaths in Numenor and Rohan and Gondor. But the Noldor...maybe not. Can they just promise nicely, maybe?

The idea that the reconciliation of the Noldor would require some sort of mutual pledge to fight Morgoth, their true enemy, has merit. I can see some sort of pledge happening there, which is only truly put to the test at the Dagor Aglareb. Much better than a simple, can't we all just get along? Keep in mind that the fight against Glaurung at the end of the Season will be another test, so if the Ban comes after the Dagor Aglareb, it will still come before the 'skirmish' with Glaurung...and so all of the tensions can play out at that time.

I do agree that the High King of the Noldor is the one with the power to dictate military actions. That certainly seems to be how things played out, too. The Union of Maedhros requires the say-so of Fingon as High King.
Well, yes for pledges of comradeship and not fighting each other. My idea of what’s going on in Nargothrond when Finrod abdicates goes like this:
  • The Ban is put in place before the Dagor Aglareb; they could be at blows between the Noldor and the Sindar and the Feanoreans with everyone else. After winning the Dagor Aglareb, the Noldor and the Sindar pledge to fight Morgoth before they fight each other.
  • When it comes to Nargothrond: the people of Nargothrond rise up against Finrod at the urging of Celegorm and Curufin. Finrod does not want to fight his people, so he abdicates.
 

MithLuin

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I've never looked at it quite this way before, but is there maybe something of "you might call it magic" in Elven Oaths in particular? Other than the (very inconvenient to my point) Stone of Erech oathbreakers, it seems like it's mostly Elves that run into trouble with Oaths.
I think the point is that in Middle Earth, Oaths are serious business and you are bound by your word. Not just in a, awww, I'm gonna lose face if I don't stick to this, but in a no, seriously...you just sold your soul and there's no getting out of it, and the oath will hold you to it kinda way. Like the Oathbreakers at Erech being actually bound to Middle Earth until they fulfilled their promised word.

It takes the Fëanoreans an awfully long time to get to the point of realizing, oh, hey...maybe it would be better to just, you know....break the Oath. Only Maglor ever voices that, and even he lets himself be talked out of the idea by Maedhros at the end of the First Age. We are going to have Amras voice his objection to the Oath more vocally in our version, so there is a clear choice being made. Despite that, they are so committed that they don't even seem to realize that following it is optional any more.

We are eventually going to show Isildur's Oathbreakers at Erech, and realize that, oh, hey, maybe Oaths are magically binding in Middle Earth.... But we need to have that point firmly in viewers minds already. So, having the Noldor behave superstitiously over oaths will probably be helpful. We've already seen the Fëanoreans interpret Amrod's death as see, this is what happens when you try to break your oath. But we'll need to reinforce that idea as seasons progress.

The Fëanoreans are wrong to keep their Oath, clearly. We don't need to defend them to the audience. But we also don't need to make them look stupid for honoring their dead father's wishes hundreds of years later, either, and therefore impressing the binding nature of the oath on everyone will matter.

It's not that we *can't* have oaths of fealty. We might need them in the wake of all this mistrust. But...there should be some clear reluctance on the Noldor's part to take them. It should feel like binding yourself in indentured servitude, not just a normal thing everyone does.
 

amysrevenge

Well-Known Member
I guess being careful with the use of the word "Oath" will be the way forward. Using words like "promise" or "swear" or "vow" or "pledge" (I like that one) when lower case "o" oath could otherwise apply might help.
 

Ange1e4e5

Well-Known Member
I think the point is that in Middle Earth, Oaths are serious business and you are bound by your word. Not just in a, awww, I'm gonna lose face if I don't stick to this, but in a no, seriously...you just sold your soul and there's no getting out of it, and the oath will hold you to it kinda way. Like the Oathbreakers at Erech being actually bound to Middle Earth until they fulfilled their promised word.

It takes the Fëanoreans an awfully long time to get to the point of realizing, oh, hey...maybe it would be better to just, you know....break the Oath. Only Maglor ever voices that, and even he lets himself be talked out of the idea by Maedhros at the end of the First Age. We are going to have Amras voice his objection to the Oath more vocally in our version, so there is a clear choice being made. Despite that, they are so committed that they don't even seem to realize that following it is optional any more.

We are eventually going to show Isildur's Oathbreakers at Erech, and realize that, oh, hey, maybe Oaths are magically binding in Middle Earth.... But we need to have that point firmly in viewers minds already. So, having the Noldor behave superstitiously over oaths will probably be helpful. We've already seen the Fëanoreans interpret Amrod's death as see, this is what happens when you try to break your oath. But we'll need to reinforce that idea as seasons progress.

The Fëanoreans are wrong to keep their Oath, clearly. We don't need to defend them to the audience. But we also don't need to make them look stupid for honoring their dead father's wishes hundreds of years later, either, and therefore impressing the binding nature of the oath on everyone will matter.

It's not that we *can't* have oaths of fealty. We might need them in the wake of all this mistrust. But...there should be some clear reluctance on the Noldor's part to take them. It should feel like binding yourself in indentured servitude, not just a normal thing everyone does.
So it's like an Unbreakable Vow from Harry Potter?
 

MithLuin

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Pretty much, yeah. You break it, you die. Or, in the case of the Oath of Fëanor, are cast out into the Void.
 

Ange1e4e5

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Pretty much, yeah. You break it, you die. Or, in the case of the Oath of Fëanor, are cast out into the Void.
Speaking of Feanor, I've wondered about what if he had been able to regain the Silmarils. Would he be able to touch them as their creator? Or would they burn him for his crimes?
 

amysrevenge

Well-Known Member
Frankly I think it's a more powerful story if it turns out the big Oath is all inside their heads, nothing supernatural. But like I said, who knows? Not me.
 

MithLuin

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I think it would be best to write it in such a way that this point is debatable and left up to audience interpretation. *Will* they be doomed to the Everlasting Darkness if they break their oath? Who can know for sure? But do they *think* they will be? Yes, definitely. Maglor is the only one who will survive long enough to forsake the Oath, and he's going to wander the world rather than die, so we don't have any data points. The others are (presumably) locked in the Halls of Mandos for a very, very long time.

We could have Amras speculate about this, and whenever someone reassures him that his twin is not condemned to the Void, he can wonder aloud if any of them would be if they too were to turn back.
 

Faelivrin

Well-Known Member
It is almost imposible to post but I have a lot to say.

Certainly, trauma is experienced and handled differently by different people. I would not be at all surprised if there were some among Fingolfin's Host who never wanted to speak about the crossing of the Helcaraxë in any context, at any time. Even 100 years later.

But I also have trouble picturing all of the Noldor having that reaction.
I didn’t say never. I said that nobody is going to speak of it just 7 years later, which to an Elf is 7 months or less. Especially when Fingolfin has told them they aren’t allowed to speak of it, because he’s not dumb enough to think that the Helkaraxe can be discussed openly without also revealing the arson at Losgar and the Feud. How can he possibly think it would be safe to discuss it? If he says “nobody can talk about the Kinslaying or the arson at Losgar” of course he won’t allow them to discuss the Helkaraxë either.

Your examples are, again, either people who willingly came forward decades after their ordeal, “never again” warnings, or who were forced by law enforcement who already knew the event had happened. The analogy of those coercive law enforcement interviews is when Thingol, already knowing about the Kinslaying, confronts Finarfin’s sons in Doriath. Thingol has no reason at all to confront Angrod when they first meet. Thingol has not personally seen the ships, and has no reason anyway to doubt that if there were fewer ships than people, they were used multiple times. Nobody has to lie. There is no “never again” about the Helkaraxë.

Tolkien showed Angrod not telling Thingol about the Helkaraxë, without having to lie. Why is Tolkien’s word about this not worth anything?

I'm trying to think of a real life example from history that is comparable to the crossing of the Helcaraxë.
The Trail of Tears, and many other imperial forced removals of people from their homes accompanied by famine, plague, and massacre. And most of those events were widely known, not secret. All of them deserved the "never again" treatment.


It takes the Fëanoreans an awfully long time to get to the point of realizing, oh, hey...maybe it would be better to just, you know....break the Oath. Only Maglor ever voices that,
That is not accurate. Look at the Annals of Beleriand (Lost Road) and the Tale of Years (War of the Jewels). Just 5 years after the 2nd Kinslaying, the Feanorians learned where Elwing and the Silmaril were. If they had attacked then, when she and Eärendil were just 8 years old, Elrond and Elros wouldn’t have been born. But Maedhros foreswore his Oath and then he and his remaining brothers tried for 26 years to break the Oath. During 11 of those years, they were withstanding torment caused by the Oath. They should have tried harder, certainly, but the fact is that Tolkien clearly showed them trying, very hard, to break the Oath, and showed it causing supernatural and extremely unpleasant effects on them while they were trying to break it. They did not carry it out voluntarily, just for honor’s sake. They were coerced into the 3rd Kinslaying, against their wills. They should have tried harder to break the Oath, but they absolutely did try.

I can quote the sections of the Annals and Tale of Years if you need it.

Christopher Tolkien for some reason reworded his father’s writing to make all the Sons of Fëanor look gung-ho about the Oath and never once try to break it, but that is a change I do not want to make. I don’t want to depict them as remorseless monsters.
 
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