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text 2017-09-21 00:14
Silmarillion Blues : Quenta Silmarillion : VI. Of Fëanor and the Unchaining of Melkor
The Silmarillion - J.R.R. Tolkien,Ted Nasmith, Christopher Tolkien

All good things must come to an end.

Things start out quite nicely, with Melkor locked away, the Eldar gathering and enjoying a time of peace.  We even have a love story.

Spoiler: it all ends horribly.

As soon as I read that Míriel could only stand to bear a single child and that Finwë wanted more my first thought was "Well, this is going to end poorly."

steep cliffs under a twilight sky, overlooking the sea

Tolkien enjoys his epic love stories, ill fated or destined for greatness.  And so we have the marriage of Finwë and Míriel, deeply in love and from whom comes perhaps the greats of the Noldar artisans, Fëanor.  Birth is never easy, something that we often forget when it happens behind the closed doors of hospital rooms.  Women undergo intense physiological and psychological changes during pregnancy and at the end of it they suddenly have another life they are responsible for.  Actually, one of the biggest fears I have regarding spawning is that with my baseline neurochemical imbalances (and other factors) I have a deep seated fear of postpartum depression and/or postpartum psychosis.

Míriel bears a son, and "was consumed in spirit and in body; and after his birth she yearned for release from the labour of living."  I can't help but feel intensely frustrated with Finwë expansive grief when his wife says "No more children."  Functionally immortal with their first child yet a babe, they have time (let alone arguments about bodily autonomy and reproductive choice).  In a few decades or more, maybe she would look at her life and reconsider how she felt about bearing another child (or not, and that's OK).  Instead he displays a complete inability to understand the depth that is wife was suffering.  Maybe there was nothing Finwë could do to save Míriel, and the Eldar are a young race with much to be learned about heart and mind.

So Míriel lays down in the gardens of Lorien to rest, and her spirit departs.  I'm still not convinced this is not a deep deep depression and it's repercussions.  A literal "giving up the ghost," but not a deliberate suicide in my interpretation (I realize others do not agree with this assessment).  Meanwhile, Fëanor grows up brilliant, strong, and glorious, creating masterworks of metals and gems, and for a time married to Nerdanel who provided balance to his life and bore him seven sons.

And then, in no particular order, Finwë marries again and Fëanor is decidedly not happy with his stepmother or new brothers, Fëanor largely splits from the family and becomes his own force of driven angst, and Melkor makes parole.

How I summarize what comes next (to see video link you'll probably have to view on blog page):

Manwe is simply too innocent and too good to understand evil, though Ulmo and Tulkas grok what's going on.  Or maybe they're just distrustful and hold a grudge, but that's better than anyone else, so I'm giving them the benefit of the doubt.  In this case, even with Melkor confined to a region, the Valar are showing a depressingly characteristic lack of wisdom or understanding of things beyond their personal and limited scopes.  "But fair-seeming were all the words and deeds of Melkor in that time, and both the Valar and the Eldar had profit from his aid and counsel, if they sought it."

Interestingly, while the Valar and the Eldar, the Noldar in particular, availed themselves of Melkor's knowledge, Fëanor holds a deep seated hatred of Melkor deep enough to surpass any desire or ambition.  “But he lied in his lust and his envy, for none of the Eldalie ever hated Melkor more than Feanor.”  I was surprised by this, I totally expected Fëanor to succumb to ambition based on all the hinting this chapter gave.  I guess his dark destiny still awaits.

Predictions: things will continue to worsen, including in several theoretically preventable ways.

Source: libromancersapprentice.blogspot.com/2017/09/silmarillion-blues-quenta-silmarillion_20.html
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text 2017-09-17 15:01
Reading progress update: I've read 139 out of 159 pages.
Difficulties of a Bridegroom - Ted Hughes

OK, I caved in and skipped over the remaining reprints from Wodwo - I found them fairly tedious and unrewarding last time round. That leaves just the final story, Head, which so far is a story about white hunters disrespecting Slott Indians, their beliefs and forest home.

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text 2017-09-16 17:21
Reading progress update: I've read 60 out of 176 pages.
Difficulties of a Bridegroom - Ted Hughes

Deadfall: Half childhood memory, half old-fashioned ghost story.


O'Kelly's Angel: Youthful, amusing satire on all things religious. (Hughes was simultaneously very superstitious and opposed to Christianity - probably all religion.)


Snow: An apparent corpse wandering around for months in a perpetual blizzard, determined to find an escape. WUT???? Probably symbolic of something I don't understand...

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text 2017-09-15 15:40
Reading progress update: I've read 56 out of 176 pages.
Difficulties of a Bridegroom - Ted Hughes

6 out of 9 stories were first published in Wodwo, which I've read. The most memorable of those was Rain Horse.

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text 2017-09-09 03:21
Silmarillion Blues : Quenta Silmarillion : V. Of Eldamar and the Princes of the Eldalië
The Silmarillion - J.R.R. Tolkien,Ted Nasmith, Christopher Tolkien

This week, a picture says a thousand words.

The divisions between the Elves partially came down to luck, which I have various grumbly feelings about.  That those who were too far away to hear Ulmo's summons are a sub-classification in terms of Elven standing and lore is a bit snobbish.  Especially since the Valar could have reunited the groups much earlier than they did.

That being said, residing in Valinor and among the Valar wrought changes on the Quendi, so there is reason behind the division between the different groups.  And, while I generally bitch about the Valar failing their duties, even those doing some of them, Ulmo actually does seem to take care of the Elves, including forming an island for the Teleri and their love of the sea.  The Valar variously had their favorites, those inline with their own inclinations.  After all, they are only fallible, so such a human favoritism is almost to be expected.  But to their favorites they impart knowledge, wisdom, and skills, enriching the Calaquendi.

For those in Valinor, there was the White Tree and it's light.  Their love so strong that Yavanna made them their own Tree in it's image, a tree that does not shed light, yet loved none the less.  That tree and it's seedlings, including the white Tree of Numenor, are loved, but loved I feel more for their creation as an act of kindness and affection, and for their resemblance to the White Tree itself.  But remember as well that at this time Middle Earth still exists in a perpetual twilight.  Love and veneration of the White Tree is akin to veneration of the Sun.  It would be stranger if they didn't hold the Tree as sacred.  It also bears remembering that Elves are functionally immortal, so there are Elves who beheld the Light of the Tree at large during the time of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings who remember a time before there was sunlight.  I feel like that's worthy of dwelling on.

Source: libromancersapprentice.blogspot.com/2017/09/silmarillion-blues-quenta-silmarillion_8.html
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