The Gift of Iluvatar

Phillip Menzies

Staff member
Finally in session 5-09 the hosts talked about the Gift of Iluvatar, although briefly. This is a theme that resounded with me from the first time I read the Silmarillion and demonstrates a striking difference between elves and men. I believe this should be an important theme in season 5, but we need something to convince the hosts to spend more time considering this theme. I also have a vested interest because I have written a musical theme for the Gift of Iluvatar and I would like the hosts to be expecting me to use it based on their discussions.
I feel that what we need is a mini arc for this theme so we need to work out what events during the season relate to this and what do we want the characters to discover over time about the ultimate fate of men. The biggest problem I see is in the discovering. In the text the concept of the Gift of Iluvatar is given to us by the narrator, so how would the characters find out this truth within the story without being told by someone outside of the world?


Active Member
In terms of the higher degree of free will Men possess (to act beyond the Music which is as fate to all else), this paper explains it in a way that is pretty satisfactory to me, but it requires you to understand and agree with specific conceptions of free will. More importantly, this topic is probably way too complicated to get into in a way that doesn't raise more questions than it answers, and afaik Corey doesn't really care for this aspect of the text much at all so it's unlikely he'll want it to appear at any cost.

When it comes to the fate of Men to go beyond Ea after their body dies, we talked about the elves not knowing much about it - the elves of Nargothrond know that Men's bodies age quickly and have to die as a consequence, but the Valar didn't tell them about what happens to Men's souls afterwards. As I see it, they should at least consider that the Halls of Mandos are already getting filled with men's souls and eventually Valinor will be the home of reincarnated Men; it's the only kind of post-death experience they know, and Men might just be different in the sense that it's natural for them to die and be reincarnated frequently or something similar. Philosophically inclined and wise Calaquendi (most likely Finrod) could believably figure out that Men have a fate beyond Arda though, and Melian (whom Finrod can visit as a son of Earwen) might suspect a thing or two; and of course there's always to possibility of a sudden event of fore- or insight leading a helping hand.