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  1. #26
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    Examples of men using magic in Tolkiens Middle Earth works from non elf descended Men

    Bard understanding thrush speech

    Beorn shape changing

    The prophesies of Malbeth the seer

    Aghans' pukel man animating and killing orcs
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  2. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Morthaur View Post
    Examples of men using magic in Tolkiens Middle Earth works from non elf descended Men

    Bard understanding thrush speech

    Beorn shape changing

    The prophesies of Malbeth the seer

    Aghans' pukel man animating and killing orcs
    Bard understanding the thrush's speech was not magic.

    Beorn's skin-changing was an innate ability peculiar to him and the men of his line. He was 'a bit of a magician' as well. However, that was in The Hobbit (which was written as a stand-alone fairy-tale, not to fit in with anything else) and that's no guide to Tolkien's thinking elsewhere.

    Foresight wasn't magical as such, it was a gift (and an unpredictable one at that).

    As for anything the Druedain did, all very mysterious and again, peculiar to them. (And they were an odd folk, unlike all other Men - they seem to have been Tolkien's version of Neanderthals).

    So none of that is applicable to Men in general.

  3. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Radhruin_EU View Post
    Bard understanding the thrush's speech was not magic.
    What was it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Radhruin_EU View Post
    Beorn's skin-changing was an innate ability peculiar to him and the men of his line---
    Quote Originally Posted by Radhruin_EU View Post
    Foresight wasn't magical as such, it was a gift (and an unpredictable one at that).
    'Innate ability' and 'gift'... both terms used interchangeably with 'magic'.

    Shall we draw into the discussion the idea, expressed by Tolkien in The Lord of the Rings, too, that 'magic' is much like 'beauty': that it's in the eye of the beholder? That another's 'magic' is another's mundanity?

  4. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daeross View Post
    What was it?
    The Men of Dale could understand their speech. Thorin said there was a trick to it but it seems it was actually an innate ability, because Bard was startled to find he could understand the thrush. So not magic in the sense of something to be learned or cast, just there all the time - if you happened to be of the old blood of Dale, like Bard was.

    'Innate ability' and 'gift'... both terms used interchangeably with 'magic'.
    Famously, only by those who didn't understand it

    Shall we draw into the discussion the idea, expressed by Tolkien in The Lord of the Rings, too, that 'magic' is much like 'beauty': that it's in the eye of the beholder? That another's 'magic' is another's mundanity?
    Okay, but I think we need to make the distinction between 'magic' as that sort of catch-all term (including passive and innate abilities) and spellcraft. Anyone using the latter is obviously a sorcerer or magician of some sort.

  5. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Radhruin_EU View Post

    Famously, only by those who didn't understand it


    Okay, but I think we need to make the distinction between 'magic' as that sort of catch-all term (including passive and innate abilities) and spellcraft. Anyone using the latter is obviously a sorcerer or magician of some sort.
    I don't know why make a fuzz about it, magic is definetly there elves had it and passed it to man, Children of Iluviatar aren't "powerless" in magic, sure its like beauty it can go both ways but definetly Tolkien meant it to be magic in his books.

    Beorn is a good example its in the hobbit but we can consider the hobbit to be prequel event to LOTR so it does work as cannon, Beorn had this "innate ability", Also Aragorn been King had the ability to summon the dead, weapons or relics of the past resemble what numenor had in their peak that made sauron afraid of them.

    Spellcraft is not the only magic there is, you can even say Middle earth is full of magic...its in the eyes of the reader.

  6. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Al. View Post
    I don't know why make a fuzz about it, magic is definetly there elves had it and passed it to man, Children of Iluviatar aren't "powerless" in magic, sure its like beauty it can go both ways but definetly Tolkien meant it to be magic in his books.
    The Elves didn't consider it to be 'magic' at all, if you care to remember. And there are precious few examples of magic among Men.

    Beorn is a good example its in the hobbit but we can consider the hobbit to be prequel event to LOTR so it does work as cannon, Beorn had this "innate ability", Also Aragorn been King had the ability to summon the dead, weapons or relics of the past resemble what numenor had in their peak that made sauron afraid of them.
    The Hobbit wasn't written as a prequel but as a standalone fairy-tale so actually no, we can't. LOTR isn't a true sequel to it, there are marked differences in style and content (not to mention the age group the two works are aimed at and the degree of serious thinking involved!). Beorn is not a good example at all because nobody even remotely like that appears in LOTR. Both books are obviously canon but that does not mean they exist in the exact same context.

    Aragorn's power over the Dead was nothing more than his legitimate kingly authority over them as Heir of Isildur, the direct descendant of the king they'd sworn their oath to. He's calling on them to appear before him to answer for having broken their oath. He's absolutely, definitely not 'summoning' them from some netherworld in the way that sort of thing often happens in fantasy. They were bound to the world, to haunt the Dwimorberg forever - unseen but still present - unless they fulfilled their oath and were deemed to have done so. What was making the curse work (the only thing that could make it work in this setting) was divine authority over the fate of the spirits of those Men. Isildur cursed them, Iluvatar honoured his intent. Aragorn pardoned them (after they'd done their duty and fought for him, as honour required) and Iluvatar honours that, and off they go to their appointed rest.

    Spellcraft is not the only magic there is, you can even say Middle earth is full of magic...its in the eyes of the reader.
    That's not how Tolkien saw it. He routinely referred to it in his notes and letters as 'magic', implying a difference. What Galadriel tells Sam and Frodo about how she doesn't understand quite what they mean by 'magic' is a hint at that. Now, we were talking about the sort of thing that sorcerers (and the Witch-king in particular) could do, that's definitely spellcraft (words in forgotten languages, sinister-looking symbols, all that jazz) and so is that other example I was talking about, the bane-spells on the Barrow-blades. The point I made was that use of such power among the Men of the Free Peoples was as rare as rocking-horse droppings and that's why we hear talk of sorcerers (and encounter some, too) but in the whole course of the book we never, ever see or even hear about anyone equivalent among the good guys. I draw the line at the reader seeing what he wants to see, imagining things that aren't there because they suit his preconceived notions of fantasy. Middle-earth isn't 'full' of magic - it's got its fair share but it's concentrated in some places and some beings rather than being everywhere. People (Men and hobbits, at least) could live their whole lives in Middle-earth and see no magic at all.

  7. #32

    Ringwraith Identities and Magic

    Ringwraiths

    I lent-out my trilogy, so I can't verify this myself atm, but

    When Eowyn stands against the Witch-King, doesn't the narrative provide a brief bio, that includes mention of his pre-ring status as a lord of the (Black) Numenoreans? I know Mouth of Sauron has a brief bio of this sort, but I'm thinking I remember a similar mention for the Witch-King, before Eowyn knocks his block off.

    The Nature of Magic in Middle-Earth

    In short, this is all chain-of-being stuff, empowerment by divine (or sublime) right: white wizards are entitled, or enlightened, while black sorcerors are thieves, cheats and usurpers (if not, indeed, mere charlatans).

    Aragorn supplants Sauron's control of the Palantir by asserting his own right to mastery of the stone (he could not hope to overpower the will of Sauron in any other type of contest; Denethor's failure is poignant, as he is a self-acknowledged, but desperate, usurper); Isildur cursed the Dead of Dunharrow, using the "virtue" of the Stone of Erech and his own rights as master of the Stone, and Aragorn releases them in precisely the same way; Gandalf the Grey pits the Sacred Fire of Anor against the Balrog, and reminds Durin's Bane that the Fire of Udun can not prevail; Gandalf the White summons Saruman to stand before judgment, breaks his staff, and ejects him from the Order of the Istari, but only because his reincarnation has imbued him with the Right; Elrond summons the flood to wash away the Ringwraiths because he is a Lord of the Eldar who has invested himself in the valley of Rivendell, and has made himself Master of the Vale.

    The Ringwraiths can not stand against water and fire, because the magic that sustains their being is a magic that is against nature, and even the most benign forces of nature will inflict pain, and even grievous harm: the very universe rebels against their abominate existence.

    Despite post-LotR revisions, The Hobbit is not 100% LotR-compatible, but mention of "the Necromancer" is acknowledged with dread, not skepticism, and Gandalf is remembered among the Hobbit-folk as a troublemaker of unknown powers and purpose; The Elf-King of Mirkwood has magical doors which open only when he commands them; Bard invokes the "virtue" of the Black Arrow, that he has saved to the very last, before loosing it against Smaug.

    In the Silmarillion, the sons of Feanor find they have lost all rights to possessing the Silmarils their father had made, because of all of the crimes ("against nature") they have committed in pursuit of their retrieval ...

    All of Tolkien's Middle-Earth literature is saturated with this stuff.

    HoG

  8. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harper_of_Gondolin View Post
    Ringwraiths

    The Nature of Magic in Middle-Earth

    In short, this is all chain-of-being stuff, empowerment by divine (or sublime) right: white wizards are entitled, or enlightened, while black sorcerors are thieves, cheats and usurpers (if not, indeed, mere charlatans).
    +rep for perfect summary. LotR "magic" is invoking the authority of the Valar, not the typical fantasy "hocus-pocus-abracadabra-KABOOM!"
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  9. #34
    First off, Aragorn summoning the dead wasn't magic. When the Men of the Mountain swore an oath to Isildur, either Illuvater or Mandos sealed that oath, and it was by their will that the men dwindled on and by their will that Aragorn could summon them. Aragorn was kind of like the key fitting the lock, he was required for the dead to be summoned but it was not he who possessed the power to do so. Mandos or Illuvater held that power, and used it to force the shades to answer to Aragorn.
    So that is one point I would like to make. Another is this: there was magic in Middle Earth. However, it was not "traditional" magic, if you will, as in magic wands shooting lightning, instant travel (Apparating, any Potter fans), etc. Gandalf used magic to shatter the Bridge of Khazad Dum, the Valar used music (essentially magic music) and by the will of Illuvater fashioned the world. These are the gods/angelic beings of Middle Earth, so this makes sense. It is also my opinion that Feanor also used magic to capture the light of the trees in the Silmarils, and the forging of the rings of power were also, in their own way, magical. It is not just skill that can turn gems and metal into objects that wielded such power. Elrond commanding the Ford was also magic. It was mentioned Gandalf contributed the foam forming horses, so perhaps his powers were used to increase the flood. Elrond though, was of the line of Finwe, and perhaps one of the most powerful elves in Middle Earth. His ring, Vilya, may also have helped him control the river. Magic in Middle Earth was much subtler in the ways of the Children of Illuvater, such as imbuing certain qualities to sword (Sting glowing around orcs) or power to a ring (rings of power). Most of the magic involved in the books was spells or enchantments that enhanced mundane objects. Merry's sword that smote the Witch King may have been during its forging by one of the Dunedain, who held some Elvish blood, and so had more "magical" power than an average man.
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  10. #35
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    Alright on first term, Elves do possess magic at least at the eyes of men and hobbits, their "arts" are learned by few men aswell possibly some still living in gondor for example as gondorians are friends of the elves.

    Your point on the hobbit not be "linked" to LOTR, different context argument is no-go as without bilbos ring there wouldn't be any LOTR, the story is linked for that alone we can safely assume Beorn and his kin still live around the events of the war of the ring, in fact they aid aragorn.

    third, as you know tolkien magic is very few yet there are examples of every races having their unique power, elves, dwarves, men and druedain.

    On aragorn summoning the dead is can be 2 options:

    Either Eru Iluviatar accepted the curse on men, or Mandos
    or
    Men had a "gift" from Iluviatar to bound evil men the the unseen world by the power invested in them, that is more likely because only Aragorn could do it by power of will alone, will power is the gift of men and tolkien is very specific through LOTR that is the main reason the fourth age is defined by men among other races.

  11. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Al. View Post
    Alright on first term, Elves do possess magic at least at the eyes of men and hobbits, their "arts" are learned by few men aswell possibly some still living in gondor for example as gondorians are friends of the elves.
    Where are you getting that from? The Gondorians were estranged from the Elves, for starters.

    Your point on the hobbit not be "linked" to LOTR, different context argument is no-go as without bilbos ring there wouldn't be any LOTR, the story is linked for that alone we can safely assume Beorn and his kin still live around the events of the war of the ring, in fact they aid aragorn.
    You're missing the point: I didn't say it wasn't linked, I said it wasn't a true sequel; the context shifts between the two. Because Tolkien had changed the style of how he was writing and gone all serious and grown-up in LOTR, (don't forget that The Hobbit had been written as a standalone story for kids), we can't take Beorn's magic (all that business with great big bees. all that honey plus horses and sheep as servants) we see in The Hobbit as an infallible guide to what we might have seen if the Beornings had featured directly in LOTR rather than just being in the background. And no, you can't assume Beorn still lived, he'd died of old age and his people were led by his son Grimbeorn the Old, who sounds a lot less fun.

    third, as you know tolkien magic is very few yet there are examples of every races having their unique power, elves, dwarves, men and druedain.
    Not for common Men, we don't. Nor for Dunedain at the time LOTR is set. That's the point. (And as for the Druedain we don't have examples of Pukel-men coming to life in that timeframe, either: I dare say that some of them still worked as the watch-stones Tolkien describes but given the general tone of LOTR, I have trouble imagining that he'd have had any of them stomping about squashing Orcs.

    On aragorn summoning the dead is can be 2 options:

    Either Eru Iluviatar accepted the curse on men, or Mandos
    ...which fits in with what we know from the Sil and elsewhere just fine (and LOTR was written to fit in with Tolkien's other work, remember)

    Men had a "gift" from Iluviatar to bound evil men the the unseen world by the power invested in them, that is more likely because only Aragorn could do it by power of will alone, will power is the gift of men and tolkien is very specific through LOTR that is the main reason the fourth age is defined by men among other races.
    ...which does not, that's just loose talk.
    Last edited by Radhruin_EU; Nov 29 2012 at 04:27 AM.

  12. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by Radhruin_EU View Post
    ---So not magic in the sense of something to be learned or cast, just there all the time - if you happened to be of the old blood of Dale, like Bard was.
    And whence did it come to this 'old blood'? And would it not seem to be 'like magic' to anyone not used to it, like the Mirror of Galadriel?

    Quote Originally Posted by Radhruin_EU View Post
    Famously, only by those who didn't understand it
    'Magic' is something one can 'understand'? Obviously, there's more than a slight miscommunication at work, then... or living in completely different planes of existence. Remember that truth attributed to a certain Mr Clarke?

    magic
    1.
    the art of producing illusions as entertainment by the use of sleight of hand, deceptive devices, etc.; legerdemain; conjuring: to pull a rabbit out of a hat by magic.
    2.
    the art of producing a desired effect or result through the use of incantation or various other techniques that presumably assure human control of supernatural agencies or the forces of nature. Compare contagious magic, imitative magic, sympathetic magic.
    3.
    the use of this art: Magic, it was believed, could drive illness from the body.
    4.
    the effects produced: the magic of recovery.
    5.
    power or influence exerted through this art: a wizard of great magic.

    Quote Originally Posted by Radhruin_EU View Post
    Okay, but I think we need to make the distinction between 'magic' as that sort of catch-all term (including passive and innate abilities) and spellcraft. Anyone using the latter is obviously a sorcerer or magician of some sort.
    That then, should be established at the very beginning of a conversation; for there to be hope of intelligent discourse, the participants should first agree on the terms used. Otherwise, they might almost as well be talking in different languages.

  13. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by Radhruin_EU View Post
    Not for common Men, we don't. Nor for Dunedain at the time LOTR is set. That's the point. (And as for the Druedain we don't have examples of Pukel-men coming to life in that timeframe, either: I dare say that some of them still worked as the watch-stones Tolkien describes but given the general tone of LOTR, I have trouble imagining that he'd have had any of them stomping about squashing Orcs.
    "---and (Drúedain) had, or were credited with, strange or magical powers.---
    --- In some ways they resembled rather the Dwarves: in build and stature and endurance; in their skill in carving stone; in the grim side of their character; and in their strange powers. But the 'magic' skills with which the Dwarves were credited were quite different---"
    -Unfinished Tales, 'The Drúedain'

  14. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daeross View Post
    And whence did it come to this 'old blood'? And would it not seem to be 'like magic' to anyone not used to it, like the Mirror of Galadriel?
    As The Hobbit is a fairy-story, there's no explanation given and nor would I expect to see one; it simply is as described (as is common in fairy-tales and folklore). However, there's no suggestion that it's the Dale-folk who are magical; it was the thrushes who were supposed to be (according to Thorin, anyway).

    'Magic' is something one can 'understand'? Obviously, there's more than a slight miscommunication at work, then... or living in completely different planes of existence. Remember that truth attributed to a certain Mr Clarke?
    Obviously if someone is a practitioner of 'magic' then they must understand it to some extent at least. Elvish 'magic' was something only Elves understood (plus of course the Ainur). By the look of it there was no easy way to explain it to the non-magical (Muggles? ), which is fair enough. What Arthur C Clarke said was that sufficiently advanced technology would be indistinguishable from magic but I don't think that's relevant here as it isn't really technology either. It's an innate art.

    That then, should be established at the very beginning of a conversation; for there to be hope of intelligent discourse, the participants should first agree on the terms used. Otherwise, they might almost as well be talking in different languages.
    Then you'd better point that out to everyone who's mixing up innate abilities (like turning into a great big bear, in Beorn's case) with the practice of magical techniques etc. as per that definition. You're not being entirely consistent here: why did you query what I said about Bard, when it's perfectly obvious he's not employing any art to understand the thrush? He's amazed by it because he has no idea such a thing could happen.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Daeross View Post
    "---and (Drúedain) had, or were credited with, strange or magical powers.---
    --- In some ways they resembled rather the Dwarves: in build and stature and endurance; in their skill in carving stone; in the grim side of their character; and in their strange powers. But the 'magic' skills with which the Dwarves were credited were quite different---"
    -Unfinished Tales, 'The Drúedain'
    Yes, and? They're a strange people 'credited' with mysterious powers, but they're rather different to all other Men too. It's got no implications for common Men like the Bree-folk or the Eorlingas. Whether we're talking about Bree, Rohan or even Gondor (at least the Gondor of the late Third Age), it's a case of "Magic? What magic?" in LOTR.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Radhruin_EU View Post
    Yes, and? They're a strange people 'credited' with mysterious powers, but they're rather different to all other Men too. It's got no implications for common Men like the Bree-folk or the Eorlingas. Whether we're talking about Bree, Rohan or even Gondor (at least the Gondor of the late Third Age), it's a case of "Magic? What magic?" in LOTR.
    You keep insisting in not using the hobbit as reference because is "child like" and using the "Silmarillion as grown up reference" well you are plain blind in LOTR if you keep insisting.

    The son of beorn and his kin retained the shape-shifting ability, also they aided aragorn in crossing the anduin with gollum captured, which is very important in the story of LOTR.

    Second term, you insist that all magic displayed by man-race especially kings of dunedain is just divine intervention this is the curse:

    Thou shalt be the last king, and if the west prove mightier than thy Black Master, this curse I lay upon thee and thy folk; to rest never until your oath is fulfilled. For this war will last through years uncounted, and you shall be summoned once again ere the end.

    I must say its ISILDUR making the curse, not mandos or Iluviatar. Its part of his power as a king of Gondor do such magic, just like Galandriel and her mirror and Dwarves make hidden doors and can call upon runes from their own language.

    The dead weren't summoned by gandalf for a reason.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Al. View Post
    You keep insisting in not using the hobbit as reference because is "child like" and using the "Silmarillion as grown up reference" well you are plain blind in LOTR if you keep insisting.
    It is very common in situations where an author did not plan to write a sequel, but eventually did so anyway, that the original novel and the sequels do not quite line up in terms of lore.
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  18. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by Al. View Post
    You keep insisting in not using the hobbit as reference because is "child like" and using the "Silmarillion as grown up reference" well you are plain blind in LOTR if you keep insisting.
    Not at all. You're simply having trouble dealing with the concept, which I can assure you is perfectly true. Tolkien wrote The Hobbit for his own children, originally, as a stand-alone rather than to fit in with the Quenta Silmarillion. It wasn't even thought of as being in the same setting. He originally set out to write a true sequel, which would have been very different from what we now have in LOTR: it would have been for children again, just like The Hobbit, and again it wouldn't have been written to fit in with anything else. What happened instead was that Tolkien had the sudden inspiration to make something much bigger out of it, with that harmless little ring of Bilbo's becoming the Ring, capital 'r', and having its master be none other than Sauron himself. Then and only then did Tolkien start thinking about it as an extension of his other work, and put his mind to bringing into the fold lore-wise. Much changed in the process.

    The son of beorn and his kin retained the shape-shifting ability, also they aided aragorn in crossing the anduin with gollum captured, which is very important in the story of LOTR.
    As we're told in The Hobbit, yes. I didn't say anything about bear's-shape, though, if you look: what I said was that the fairy-story details of Beorn's lifestyle (bees, all that bread and honey, animal servants etc.) wouldn't pass muster in a serious work like LOTR and that I would bet that if Grimbeorn had featured in LOTR in person everything about it have been a good deal more gritty. As it is, Tolkien chose to keep the Beornings well in the background. Shape-shifting by Men would actually have been a very awkward detail to deal with in the context of Tolkien's other tales, which LOTR was being written to fit in with, so I'm not at all surprised that it doesn't feature directly in LOTR.

    Second term, you insist that all magic displayed by man-race especially kings of dunedain is just divine intervention this is the curse:

    Thou shalt be the last king, and if the west prove mightier than thy Black Master, this curse I lay upon thee and thy folk; to rest never until your oath is fulfilled. For this war will last through years uncounted, and you shall be summoned once again ere the end.

    I must say its ISILDUR making the curse, not mandos or Iluviatar. Its part of his power as a king of Gondor do such magic, just like Galandriel and her mirror and Dwarves make hidden doors and can call upon runes from their own language.
    He can pronounce the curse, but that doesn't mean it's any power of his that's enforcing it. Lore-wise, it's far more significant than you're allowing for; loose talk about Galadriel's Mirror or Dwarf-doors is missing the point entirely. Mandos had authority over the spirits of dead Men, at least until their 'time of waiting' in the Halls was up, at which point their fate was in Iluvatar's hands. So, if those dead guys are floating around in Middle-earth it could only be because Mandos was allowing it; the spirits of dead Men usually went straight into his keeping with no choice about it, just as happened with Beren's spirit in Of Beren and Luthien in the Sil.

    The dead weren't summoned by gandalf for a reason.
    Yeah, and that reason is that he's got nothing to do with it; he's got no authority over them. The oath was sworn to Isildur, so only the Heir of Isildur can call upon them. You also seem to be stuck on this idea of summoning as meaning something magical. The Dead were already in the world, they didn't have to be called forth magically from anywhere, just called upon to appear. If you remember, Aragorn simply says "I summon you to the Stone of Erech" when he's in the Paths of the Dead and there, they can just hear his words. And they follow him to the Stone, the place where the oath had originally been sworn.
    Last edited by Radhruin_EU; Nov 30 2012 at 04:57 AM.

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    Ok, lets say I agree with you on the Oathbreakers, it wasn't the king's willpower that bound the spirits of dunharrow but was Mandos (Valar) or Eru himself (God).

    What I don't agree, is that the hobbit is not taken as reference, in fact as it stands is published material its actually "written in stone" that the hobbit is the prequel to LOTR, its foundation been a childrens tale doens't matter if you like the Lore you have to view the whole thing together not just what you want.

    Simarillion or Quenta Simarillion was wirtten not even by Tolkien although his son used plenty material from his father, The hobbit was actually published by J.R.R Tolkien so those books take prevalence over other material like Unfinished tales even Simarillion, so there you have it LOTR and the Hobbit are tied strongly together and cannont view one without at least viewing the other as reference.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Al. View Post
    What I don't agree, is that the hobbit is not taken as reference, in fact as it stands is published material its actually "written in stone" that the hobbit is the prequel to LOTR, its foundation been a childrens tale doens't matter if you like the Lore you have to view the whole thing together not just what you want.
    It does matter. Look at all closely and you can see the joins, it's not a seamless whole. Tolkien actually had to edit The Hobbit for the second edition (after LOTR was published) because as it was originally the passage where Bilbo gets the ring from Gollum did not make sense in the new context he'd invented for it (that of the ring being 'the' Ring, and all the rest). He did, in fact, want to do a lot more work on it or even rewrite the whole thing but realised you can't do that to something that's already been published. So much for 'written in stone', then. He was stuck with what he'd got, with the two not sitting all that comfortably together.

    Simarillion or Quenta Simarillion was wirtten not even by Tolkien although his son used plenty material from his father, The hobbit was actually published by J.R.R Tolkien so those books take prevalence over other material like Unfinished tales even Simarillion, so there you have it LOTR and the Hobbit are tied strongly together and cannont view one without at least viewing the other as reference.
    Oh, come on! Quenta Silmarillion was the name Tolkien invented for the cycle of tales himself, I'm not talking about the published work but the idea of it as a collection of tales. I mean, where do you think the character of Sauron came from? He's from the Sil, his appearing in LOTR was part of how Tolkien was adapting the fairy-tale world of The Hobbit so that it actually became part of Middle-earth conceptually, rather than being something separate. He couldn't do that entirely without rewriting The Hobbit to match, which as I said he knew he could not do, and so the rough edges of the join between the two (between fairy-tale and the 'serious' myth-making of his 'legendarium') will forever remain. It is misleading to regard them as if they were a seamless whole.

  21. #46
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    I stand with Radhruin_EU here. Tolkien talks much more of "innate power", rather than pure magic. The comparison with Arthur C. Clarke's thought about science and magic is not exact, but still works to some extent. The idea is that the more you know about the world, how it functions and affects everything around you, the more you can do with it. This is actually what the elves do, which is why they don't really understand what is "magic". Their power still follows the laws of the world and cannot break it. Elves are also described as the people that are most in tune with the world around us, save probably for the Ents, who also have great power (they just use it for other things).

    "Magic" by concept is something metaphysical. It may follow rules, but essentially, it breaks the rules of the natural world, like creating fire from nothing, keeping ghosts around for millenia, etc. What elves do has nothing with that; they just know the world around them better than the rest, and can use it to their advantage, like making weapons that glow when orcs are nearby, and deal heavier damage against them. Actually, dwarves have some power as well, since their armour is legendary.

    Regarding Men, it is no surprise that those who are considered "sorcerers" (which is mostly how they are perceived) are either from cultures that had great knowledge (like Numenor), or have learned from them. Even though Gondor didn't maintain contacts with the elves, they are descendants of Numenor, and they have extensive libraries, so extensive in fact, that even Gandalf went there to look for information. Of course, not many had thirst for knowledge, which is why few people had gifts or greater power. Still, Faramir is undoubtedly distinguished among his people, even if his knowledge is not as big as that of the elves, who usually have thousands of years to master their skill.

    In the end, there is a very clear line in Tolkien's world between true magic, i.e. powers that let you break the worlds of the natural world, and innate power, which means to understand the world better, and use it to do things that may seem magical to some, but in reality are not. I don't want to open another argument, but this is a good explanation why lore-masters in the game are mostly not considered lore-breaking, but rune-keepers mostly are thought as such.
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    Radhruin you seriously need to pay attention to chronology and continuity in LOTR lore, The hobbit is first published first, second is LOTR and third is Silmarillion.

    The story chronology is another different thing which is first silmarillion followed by the hobbit and third LOTR.Thats all I have to say, It doesn't matter if "tolkien had in mind different", he never changed it the ONE RING is same Bilbo gains and Frodo gains, exact ring so the story is tied, like it or not.


    @AdanamirHey Im saying that! I said "innate power" or "gift" was actual magic in LOTR, while Radhruin said the opposite its the gods or valar doing the magic for the people been elves, men or whatever its even Iluviatar that was Radhruin.What Im saying it can go both ways either its the valar or "innate" power, but magic exists in Middle earth not everything is rational there are some things like Galadriel mirror which is not explained how it works and even the mythology Tolkien based his works on like the Nibelungs and Viking Saga the heros can wield magical items like "swords" that are nearly unbreakable only break on certain occasions or capes that turn one invisible or other stuff...just saying Arthur C. Clarke phrase doesn't apply here in LOTR, this is not a sci-fi world were you can decipher everything with science...elves,men and dwarves do posses MAGIC.Think about it.
    Last edited by Al.; Nov 30 2012 at 11:06 PM.

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    Actually, I set a very clear line between magic and innate power/knowledge/lore mastery/whatever. Magic is always something inexplainable in nature, it is metaphysical, it just is. Power, on the other hand, is something natural, you can call it being in sync with the world around you, which lets you do things that appear to be magical, but actually are not.

    The example with Iluvatar refers to the Oathbreakers. Casting a curse over living people and turning them into uneasy ghosts for 3,000 years is certainly against nature, this is a magical act through and through. Therefore, the explanation, in line with the lore, is that Isildur called upon Iluvatar to make the curse active. If, by some reason, Isildur was not in Iluvatar's favour, it would be only vain rambling and nothing else. Aragorn doesn't do anything magical there, he just proves he meets the conditions that let the curse be lifted - being the heir of Isildur.

    It all ties in nicely. You will notice that even elves, the people withe the greatest power and knowledge, don't do any overt magical actions. For example, Elrond forces the waters of the Bruinen to sweep away the Nazgûl, but he doesn't create water from nothing, he just directs what is already there. Galadriel's Mirror, on the other hand, is much more a tool helping the observer to reach his or her innermost thoughts. She doesn't actually seenwhat Frodo see, she senses the dread from the Eye that Frodo feels. This is why she says that what Frodo saw may or may not happen - it wasn't a portal to the time-space continuum, it was a reach at Frodo's thoughts, fears, emotions. Everything elves do is just to improve what is already there - swords that are tougher, clothers that hide better, bread that is more nutricious, fertilizer that is more efficient, and so on.

    Harmony with nature is a very constant topic in Tolkien's works, which is why true magic, i.e. unexplainable, godlike feats are extremely rare. After all, it is an imaginary world, perceiving through the prism of our reality, where magic is non-existent, is pointless.
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  24. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by Al. View Post
    Radhruin you seriously need to pay attention to chronology and continuity in LOTR lore, The hobbit is first published first, second is LOTR and third is Silmarillion.
    Maybe you should consider the fact that Tolkien had written some of the tales in the Sil many years before they were published? When The Hobbit was first published, he had this to say about it:

    "I don’t much approve of The Hobbit myself, preferring my own mythology (which is just touched on) with its consistent nomenclature – Elrond, Gondolin and Esgaroth have escaped out of it – and organized history, to this rabble of Eddaic-named dwarves out of Volüspá, newfangled hobbits and gollums (invented in an idle hour) and Anglo-Saxon runes."

    He'd already been working on his 'own mythology' with its 'organized history' for twenty years by then; it was his hobby. For The Hobbit, he only borrowed a thing or two and it wasn't written to fit in (it was not seen as part of the mythology). When he wrote LOTR, rather than a straight sequel to The Hobbit he wrote it as something to follow on from his mythology as well, and so retrospectively The Hobbit became linked to the mythology he'd never meant it to be part of.

    At one point in LOTR, Aragorn tells the tale of Beren and Luthien, which is one of the stories from the Quenta Silmarillion. Tolkien could do that because he'd already written it. (What was eventually published was the third version of the tale, there having been two earlier versions: The Tale of Tinuviel and The Lay of Leithian). He did, in fact, want to publish his other tales at the same time as LOTR, to go along with it, but on the whole the material was in no way ready for that. Nor was it ever truly ready, of course.

    The story chronology is another different thing which is first silmarillion followed by the hobbit and third LOTR.Thats all I have to say, It doesn't matter if "tolkien had in mind different", he never changed it the ONE RING is same Bilbo gains and Frodo gains, exact ring so the story is tied, like it or not.
    They're obviously linked via LOTR's plot but it's all a retcon, a retrospective continuity change, and they're not wholly consistent with each other. I think you need to realize there's a lot more to this than you think and you don't know the half of it, so please stop trying to tell me what came first.

    @AdanamirHey Im saying that! I said "innate power" or "gift" was actual magic in LOTR, while Radhruin said the opposite its the gods or valar doing the magic for the people been elves, men or whatever its even Iluviatar that was Radhruin.What Im saying it can go both ways either its the valar or "innate" power, but magic exists in Middle earth not everything is rational there are some things like Galadriel mirror which is not explained how it works and even the mythology Tolkien based his works on like the Nibelungs and Viking Saga the heros can wield magical items like "swords" that are nearly unbreakable only break on certain occasions or capes that turn one invisible or other stuff...just saying Arthur C. Clarke phrase doesn't apply here in LOTR, this is not a sci-fi world were you can decipher everything with science...elves,men and dwarves do posses MAGIC.Think about it.
    Don't put words in my mouth, please. I said that in the case of the curse on the Dead, that was divine intervention, not that everything was. The point I was making (and I defy you to show otherwise) was that Men did not possess any 'magic', as a rule, with rare exceptions; the Dwarves were somewhat 'magical', particularly with regard to crafting; and then of course there were the Elves, who ranged from being somewhat 'magical' to being possessed of great power.
    Last edited by Radhruin_EU; Dec 01 2012 at 06:00 AM.

  25. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by Adanamir View Post
    It all ties in nicely. You will notice that even elves, the people withe the greatest power and knowledge, don't do any overt magical actions. For example, Elrond forces the waters of the Bruinen to sweep away the Nazgûl, but he doesn't create water from nothing, he just directs what is already there.
    I like this example. Forcing water to flow faster by some words as it would under normal physics. We could make some assumptions how this should be possible.

    First, elves could know some kind of technology. Something like this could be done with computers and machines. As we have no sign of complex machines anywhere in middleearth this is highly unlikly.

    Second, Elrond is using some kind of metaphysics. A fact you deny as this would be what you call magic.

    Third and following your arguments the most reasonable, middle earth physics and real earth physics cannot be the same, as there is no known way to do something like this in our world.

    The problem is, if we postulate that our physics are different, we can stop the whole debate. As we do not know anything about what exactly makes their physics different from ours, we could not even decide if a growing flower would be magic or physic (biology, chemistry, whatever...). In my eyes as scientist, there is no way to make a 100% valid statement about magic in middle earth without asking J.R.R.T.

 

 
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