Thorin and his Raven
Even now my heart desires to test my will upon it, to see if I could not wrench it from him and turn it where I would – to look across the wide seas of water and of time to Tirion the Fair, and perceive the unimaginable hand and mind of Feanor at their work, while both the White Tree and the Golden were in flower!’ He sighed and fell silent.
- The Two Towers
Generally speaking, reading Lord of the Rings after you’ve read the Silmarillion is a very comforting experience. All the references make sense and the songs make you weep and the history lends the story depth instead of (I’ll admit I didn’t like LotR too much on my first read) weighing it down.
But then there are a few moments like this, which leave you wondering if Tolkien and I read the same Silmarillion.
When I think about Fëanor’s legacy in Valinor, I tend to imagine he was hated, mistrusted, maybe grieved for, probably avoided in polite conversation. I tend to assume it would be a little taboo to express a longing to return to the world he lived in, or a willingness to sacrifice anything to see him at work once more. I’m guessing sentences like ‘the unimaginable hand and mind of Fëanor at their work’, followed by longing sighs, were right out.
Part of the dissonance is just that we’re never given the chance to see, in canon, the Fëanor who was inspiring and admired, the Fëanor Manwë wept for, the Fëanor who created and distributed and shared and enhanced the Ñoldorin understanding of the world. We’re told secondhand that he existed, but by the time we see him he’s entirely absorbed in political intrigue, and that makes his admirableness something of an informed characteristic. It’s understandable that, for most readers of the Silmarillion, a throwaway reference to Fëanor’s great achievements leaves a weak impression and a detailed description of horrifying violence that results from his decisions leaves a very, very strong one.
This is very interesting in the context of how mental illnesses are perceived in Valinor. The type of idealization you’re discussing here fits right in with a trend of a) associating characteristics of mental illness with morgoth/the marring and b) using mental illness to shift blame off of individuals that’s very characteristically Amanyar.
The other important example is, of course, Míriel. I personally believe that she was clinically depressed, there is at least canonical evidence that she was mentally and/or physically ill, and that this prompted her to leave her body. Ulmo’s speech in the discussion in LACE uses language that suggests sickness:
For the fea of Miriel may have departed by necessity, but it departed in the will not to return. Therein was her fault, for this will was not under compulsion irresistible; it was a failure in hope by the fea, acceptance of the weariness and weakness of the body, as a thing beyond healing, and which therefore was not healed.
And this is very closely associated with a moral fault, specifically stemming from the marring:
Then Manwe called Finwe to him, and said: ‘Thou hast heard the doom that has been declared. If Míriel, thy wife, will not return, your marriage is ended, and thou hast leave to take another wife. But this is permission, not counsel. For the severance cometh from the marring of Arda; and those who accept this permission accept the marring, whereas the bereaved who remain steadfast belong in spirit and will to Arda Unmarred.
Or, to put it simply: Míriel is sick, it is her fëa that is sick, this sickness is either directly or indirectly caused by the source of all evil. And this isn’t saying anything new.
(The quote referring to Fëanor’s birth that you use is also from LACE, and I think it’s worth noting that the document was ostensibly assembled by Aelfwine, while visiting Eressëa at some point after the end of the fourth age. The views expressed here are Amanyar and post-date the exile by millenia. And there’s a very high chance that the way the Valar are quoted in the text reflects late Amanyar views.)
The interesting part is that it’s exactly the same logic you posit was used to discredit Fëanor. He is sick, it is his fëa that is sick, and this sickness was directly caused by Morgoth. Conveniently taking away all of Fëanor’s agency and posthumously absolving him from blame. It’s the same thing that makes the statute so hard to read - nobody pauses to consider his motivations (Nienna might have, but we don’t hear from her this time around), because there’s only one explanation that fits into their worldview. And then you can pretend pre-corruption Fëanor never questioned the Valar, despite the mountains of evidence that he at least mistrusted them long before Morgoth’s release.
That the Valar are massively epistemically lazy doesn’t sound especially damning, but it’s the root of about 90% of my problems with them.
Okay. I have kind of been sitting on this one for a while. And it feels awkward saying anything, but.
I find posts talking about how all women experience harassment/catcalling/gender-based fear or discomfort kind of irritating. Because that’s not my experience. And I spend a fair amount of time in public places/activities that involve male-type people. And i’m not saying that that experience isn’t something that everyone should be aware of, or that it isn’t important, but it’s not universal. And it’s still important even if it’s not universal. And pretending that it is isn’t really helpful, for, I think, a lot of reasons.
I’ve definitely been in situations where friends have told me after the fact that we were being catcalled, or that guys were checking us out, or etc. So maybe it’s just that I don’t notice it on my own? Which given my usual complete social obliviousness is not unlikely. That, and I’ve been told that my body language sends very strong “get away from me” signals. Of course, all of this is autistic stuff. I don’t believe that all autistic women have the same experience that I do by any means. And I certainly don’t believe that not having the experience of hostile attraction that lots of people seem to is unique to autistic/neuroatypical women, I actually suspect it’s kind of common. But I do wish there were some resources geared towards people like me who will not pick up on the fact that we are in an unsafe environment/interacting with someone who’s probably pretty creepy, and that would help us figure out how to identify those situations. Instead of assuming we all feel like that anyway. Knowing that I won’t feel weird if I am in a genuinely hostile situation actually makes me feel more unsafe.
I am jumping up and down going THIS THIS THIS jsyk.
I can remember being catcalled… once. And I’m never sure how much of this is because I’ve lived in places where catcalling isn’t typical, whether I’m oblivious to it, or whether my body language reads as hostile or non-NT in a way that makes those men avoid me. But I definitely have the problem that I will often only register creepy/hostile/threatening situations as such after the fact.
Basically, my brain has decided to make “pass as neurotypical in all situations” its top priority and so when pressed for resources will happily shut down things like “critical thinking skills”, “ability form own opinion” or fun sensory things like “ability to process meaning of own speech before speaking” or “ability to understand spoken language, period” in favour of suppressing stimming and responding appropriately to verbal stimuli. This means that whenever I get low on cognitive resources I become incredibly, awfully vulnerable. (Also, capable of having a superficially-normal conversation with someone without being able to understand what either of us are saying. It’d be impressive if the potential consequences weren’t so frightening.)
So, yeah, chiming in. My problem isn’t that I notice inappropriate approaches and catcalling and they creep me out. My problem is that I don’t and they don’t and that is <em>terrifying.</em>
I pretty much only register these kinds of things after the fact. I only process a relatively small percentage of the things that are happening around me in any given situation, especially where it’s more ambiguous social stuff, and then I have time to let it sift through my brain later and I realize, oh, that could have been unfortunate. What happens to me when i’m tired or overloaded is that things start to get fuzzy, and I have to direct all my effort into how i’m moving and holding myself and my tone and etc., even when I don’t consciously want to be focusing on those things.
And aiffe and twinpistolsandablade - I’ve definitely had the experience of being yelled at because I wasn’t afraid enough of going places at night. Most of this has been from parents and friends, so I know it comes from a place of genuine concern for my safety, which I think is legitimate. I wasn’t talking as much about the immediate threat of rape as I was about the experience of being catcalled or harassed, which is supposed to be universal, and how those types of hostile situations tend to escape my notice. That said, the focus on stranger rape as opposed to rape by an acquaintance (even though the later is much more likely) is another problem with a lot of the discourse around sexual assault. And another thing that in my case relates to neuroatypicality, although in a different way. Which is kind of hard for me to articulate right now, but I know I’ve seen people write about it.
C A T A C L Y S M
an instrumental mix for the downfall of númenor
númenor went down into the sea, with all its children and its wives and its maidens and its ladies proud; and all its gardens and its halls and its towers, its tombs and its riches, and its jewels and its webs and its things painted and carven, and its laughter and its mirth and its music, its wisdom and its lore: they vanished for ever.
This is soooo good.
Between the Dagor Aglareb and the Dagor Bragollach, Fingolfin attempted to organize another assault on Angband. His plans failed, due in large part to the reluctance of the sons of Fëanor.
Curufin carefully locks the door to his chambers, sets his forehead against the wall, and breathes. The outer walls of Himring were built to contain a small town, the fortress can, at need, house an even larger army. Of the immediate family, only five are present. Maglor had refused Maedhros’s summons in an elegant letter pleading the importance of his post, recent troubles with orcs, the necessity of his continued presence. Celegorm couldn’t be bothered to feign respect. “It’s not as though you’d listen to me if I went,” he’d said, Huan lolling at his side. Then he’d paused, scratched the dog’s head, and continued. “I’m useless at that sort of politics, Curvo. Leave me be.” The keep is honeycombed with empty rooms.
It should be easier, then, to avoid Golfin’s messengers.Read more