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  1. #26
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    Even though some comments say that there is no religion in this game, there most certainly is some sort of worshipping activity involved. There are quests that lead you to destroying foul idols (some of them are crude images of Sauron, apparently) and there even are orcs "praying", kneeled before those statues.

  2. #27
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    you should read the Silmarillion...
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  3. #28
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    Heck, they even had a Christmas Special for He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, Skeletor wanted to kidnap Santa Clause, who crashed his slide on Ethernia, if I remember correctly.

    What we have in Lotro is far from being THAT absurd.
    In Lotro it's the swedish Yule festival, Wookies in SW have the Life day, so that was celebrated in Winter, but it also became very christmaslike over the years.
    Last edited by Neumi; Mar 14 2013 at 09:35 AM.

  4. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by TharbadThief View Post
    Even though some comments say that there is no religion in this game, there most certainly is some sort of worshipping activity involved. There are quests that lead you to destroying foul idols (some of them are crude images of Sauron, apparently) and there even are orcs "praying", kneeled before those statues.
    That's something in line with what Tolkien wrote and described: 'powers of darkness' having followers that build idols and effigies and temples to their 'lords'. Remember Sauron in Numenor? Temple for Morgoth, in which the White Tree was burned?

    But the free peoples, the 'good folk'? Not so much. I can only remember Elves and their devotion to Elbereth...

    Apologies for possible gibberish: currently a bit loopy w/pain medicine.

  5. #30
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    And here I was thinking that LOTRO was steeped in Festivus tradition

  6. #31
    Few things as I understand them...

    Melkor (Morgoth) was not slain, or imprisoned in the Halls of Mandos - instead "he was cast forth from the circles of the world, to the void beyond".

    Essentially, still alive, but not able to ever come back or interact with anything or anyone. I ran a MERP evil campaign once where the PC's were trying to destroy the moon to bring him back... one of the ingredients was a Silmaril, so yeah... probably would never have happened

    Morgoth was essentially the "god" to whom most evil things worship or received powers from (sorcery etc.) through to his banishment - when they switched to Sauron. On his destruction, it is assumed that all evil sorcery was unmade, hence why Barad Dur collapsed, as it was created in part from Sauron's soul and sorcery. Who knows what happens in the 4th age, presumably some Balrog or powerful Mair that had turned to evil would continue his legacy.

    As far as Feanor's sons, I always understood that one was rumored to have survived, but wandered the earth mad, essentially on a penance of sorts. I believe it was Maglor.

    Last one, my understanding on Elves was that they were "undying" and essentially didn't go to the halls of Mandos (who was the Valar for "Death" essentially) - this was reserved for men only.

    Aman (the Undying Lands) were the "home" for Elvish souls, but since the fall of Beleriand, none have returned to Middle Earth from there. Theorectically, all the "dead" or "tired souls" that departed still "live" there, amongst the Mair and Valar. Bilbo and Frodo were granted special passage there as a reward for their service and sacrifice, and so undertook the trip across the sea. They did not go to the Halls.

    The idea, was that Eru (the one), would at sometime reawaken the souls of men who had passed in a so called "Second coming", where the earth would be renewed - but Elves, due to them being immortal and having Aman in the first place - would never return - would essentially "pass on" once the earth was renewed.

    It was Eru's gift to men seeing as he nerfed them on age

    Dunno what MoL would think to the above, but I think I'm almost right

  7. #32
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    Those saying LOTR has a religion and citing the existence of Eru and the Valar, etc. are confusing two separate things: the supposed existence of a Deity or Deities and a religion practiced by 'believers'.

    Tolkien goes to some length describing the Deities he populates the universe with, he barely makes and reference at all to organised 'religions'.

    I know of no writing in the works published in which he describes anything remotely resembling an organised religion as seen in the 'real world' practiced my Men or Hobbits nor does he suggest those races have any idea of the existence of 'gods' at all. Come to that, while the Elves and Dwarves are said to pay homage (in various senses) to specific Valar and Maiar, there is nothing resembling and organised 'church' even among those races.

    So, yes, JRRT wrote about 'gods' but since he made those 'gods' appear in corporeal form it required no 'faith' for Elves and some other to 'believe' in anything remotely resembling a 'religion'.
    Last edited by Kerin_Eldar; Mar 14 2013 at 12:14 PM.

  8. #33
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    So I've moved our conversation here into the J.R.R. Tolkien sub forum, as we're getting knee deep into the Professor's lore here.

    However, I just want to drop the reminder that discussion of religion is not permitted here on the site. But, as this is in-game lore we're discussing, I think we're safe here as long as we do not stray off of the lore path.

    So, remember everyone, let's keep this discussion firmly on Tolkien's lore, including Eru, the Maiar, and the Valar, etc. Thanks!
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  9. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fortinobrand View Post
    Keep in mind that people with a strong religious affiliation will often go to great lengths to fit anything they personally like into their world view. There are those who will go on and on about LotR being a "biblical" adventure, or a catholic story
    Tolkien did, in fact say that LOTR was a "fundamentally religious and Catholic work", and the fact that his imagined world is revealed to be definitively monotheistic in the Sil is a bit of a clue as well. Now, some people do of course read far too much into that but anyone who says that LOTR is fundamentally Catholic is really only echoing something the author said himself.

    Tolkien was certainly rooted in catholicism, but he was also exceptionally (one might say uniquely) well-versed in the histories, mythologies, lore, languages, and traditions of a number of Germanic and Northern Germanic (basically Scandinavian) peoples. He drew inspiration from a wide range of literary traditions. For every point-by-point list demonstrating whatever christian symbolism there is, a similar list could be composed for many other mythologies of which he knew.
    With the proviso that despite the borrowings, the Valar weren't gods, just beings who were so powerful that they could be mistaken for gods by Men. That was an explanation for men believing in a pantheon of pagan-style gods without that being presented as being 'true'. That was only needed to keep Tolkien's imagined world monotheistic, and that was only needed because Tolkien didn't want to imagine there being more than one true God (Eru Iluvatar was effectively just a pseudonym), even for the sake of writing constructed myth and legend. The Valar are also rather bland compared to your typical pagan pantheon, as a result, a sort of Bowdlerized version where they're too lofty to share many human motivations and so the goings-on are far less colourful, on the whole. There's a careful distinction made between revering the Valar (which the Elves did, in song and dance) and worshipping them (which they didn't) - the Valar (with the obvious exception of Melkor/Morgoth) didn't expect or demand worship or need to be placated with offerings. In a way, Tolkien's version subverts those traditions you mention; he only borrows what he wants to borrow and leaves the rest aside.

  10. #35
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    As well as the Silmarillion, I suggest you read the Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien and The Philiosopy of Tolkien by Peter Kreeft. The first two were by tolkien, the last is a book by a doctor of philiosopy on analyzing the Lord of the Rings and showing what the philiosopy behind it is(using LOTR, the Silmarillion, The letters, and On Fairy Stories). The sections on Metaphysics(philiosopical theology) and Angelology(study of Angels) would be helpful.

    J.R.R. Tolkien did state outright that it was a fundamentally religious and Catholic work and the Valar are angelic beings, not divine.

    The Elves do not require faith, but Men sometimes do(thought Eru was a myth made up by the elves to control them)
    Elves go to the halls of Mandos, Men depart from the circles of the world entirely.

    Enjoy your study of Middle Earth Theology & Metaphysics, it really is the way for the story to connect to life.
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  11. #36
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    For some clarification of the son of Feanor who has still alive...found in the Silmarillion "Of the Voyage of Earendil"

    "and it is told of Maglor that he could not endure the pain with which the Silmaril tormented him; and he cast it at last into the sea, and thereafter he wandered ever upon the shores, singing in pain and regret against the waves" (Tolkien 305).

    I suppose that we could assume he died as he "wandered ever upon the shores" (Tolkien 305). If anything different from this is indicated or said somewhere else I'd love to know where!

    As for my take on the religion discussion.

    I don't think for the most part that Tolkien bases anything off of Catholicism or Christianity at all. I believe it is a mixture of religions/myths/lore that he had a background in. For me the easiest way to explain Eru and the Valar is that Eru is like the Christian God and the Valar are like the greek gods in a way (obviously it is not a perfect comparison but it makes sense to me and it is easy to explain).

    In my readings of the LOTR I've always thought of the more noble men of Gondor as religious and I feel as if the peasants and for the most part all other men in middle earth do not believe in/care for/know of the Valar and Eru.


    In response to Chunky_Baby

    Men do not go to the halls of Mandos. The fate of men after death is unknown. The Halls of Mandos is for Elves. I'm sure someone could clarify more but I believe the Elves go there until released and they live again. So Elves never really die...they move.


    As for Melkor's Fate as found in "The Voyage of Earendil" in the Silmarillion.

    "But Morgoth himself the Valar thrust through the Door of Night beyond the Walls of the World, into the Timeless Void; and a guard is set for ever on those walls, and Earendil keeps watch upon the ramparts of the sky. Yet the lies that Melkor, the might and accursed, Morgoth Bauglir, the Power of Terror and of Hate, sowed in the hearts of Elves and Men are a seed that does not die and cannot be destroyed; and ever and anon it sprouts anew, and will bear dark fruit even unto the latest days" (Tolkien 306)

    Morgoth eventually escapes and breaks through the Door of Night. Turin, Eonwe, Tulkas, and Earendil basically fight him and then Turin kills him. After that the second music happens. I don't remember where I originally read that and if someone can tell me where that would be appreciated lol. You can however find it on Wikipedia just search Dagor Dagorath.

    My question is what happens when Morgoth dies. Does he die and his spirit stays around powerless or does he really die like man.
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  12. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tiadrop View Post
    So me and my son were discussing LOTRO last night when he suddenly asked do the various races have a religion? I told him that I wasn't sure and not being a full on Tolkien geek it got me wondering too. So is there anyone out there who could enlighten us as to whether there are Gods or even Goddesses, do the various races worship anyone or anything?

    To add at Xmas I took part in the events (sorry the name of the xmas zone has escaped me), but it begs the question of how and why that came to exist in Middle Earth. Is it just purely for gameplay purposes or is it in fact part of Middle Earth lore.

    Sorry if it's a daft question but with my ability to fall asleep reading a book, I never get past page two of any book
    Actually, in a way there is a religion in Arda. However, it is much better substantiated than our religions (Anyone who has been to Valinor will tell you that) because there are actually angels (Maiar) and archangels (Valar) living in Valinor. There is also a supreme god, Eru Illuvatar, who leads them. The first two parts of the Silmarillion (called Ainulindalë and Valaquenta) document the exploits of these divine beings. (Unbeknownst to many, the wizards are Maiar in disguise. That means Saruman, Gandalf, and Radagast, plus the Blue Wizards.)

  13. #38
    Since the dominion of Middle-earth was given to the Valar, the elves would sometimes evoke their names asking for help.

    the names of Varda and Manwe were also envoked in the Eldar marriage ceremony as well as it being one of the rare times the elves used the name of Eru ( Iluvatar) in their ceremonies. ( HOME Vol X, Of the Laws and Customs among the Eldar....). Although, this is mentioned for the Eldar, too often we generalize things mentioned for the Eldar into it being true for all elves.

  14. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fortinobrand View Post
    Keep in mind that people with a strong religious affiliation will often go to great lengths to fit anything they personally like into their world view. There are those who will go on and on about LotR being a "biblical" adventure, or a catholic story -- Tolkien was certainly rooted in catholicism, but he was also exceptionally (one might say uniquely) well-versed in the histories, mythologies, lore, languages, and traditions of a number of Germanic and Northern Germanic (basically Scandinavian) peoples. He drew inspiration from a wide range of literary traditions. For every point-by-point list demonstrating whatever christian symbolism there is, a similar list could be composed for many other mythologies of which he knew. A few of us once worked up such a list, but there was a great forum purge and some things that should not have been forgotten were lost. The Human experience is universal, and at the core we have the same hopes, fears, and dreams which by necessity come out in our stories, regardless of happenstance of birthplace.

    It's been said -- read the Silmarillion, there is much there that pertains to the question you pose. Note however that this tome is not to every reader's taste, and it's a very different feel than LotR or The Hobbit. I've read it years ago, but don't think I would do so again. I have been known now and again to slip Blind Guardian's Nightfall in Middle Earth into the CD player before a long drive.
    I agree with you, and I am not a Catholic though I am a Protestant Christian. Tolkien used the Saxon Norse Myths as he felt the English people lacked a similar mythology to the Norse people in that we lacked such myths and stories and he wanted to provide that. He himself admitted that was a major reason he wrote LOTR and he discussed it at great length with C.S Lewis. My comments are not trying to twist LOTR around any world view I hold, but an observation of what Tolkien himself spoke about at great length in explaining the very question the OP asked. Albeit in Nordic form, LOTR is a clear expression of Mr Tolkien's own Catholic world view point, that is not anybody's opinion but in his own words if you care to study everything he said and wrote about the world view he held that shaped the whole emphasis behind LOTR.

  15. #40
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    Tolkien's Middle Earth mythos

    Though Tolkien was surely a believing Roman Catholic, he was sympathetic to traditional religions as well - pretty obviously - but there's a curious thing that hasn't been mentioned -

    Tolkien's cosmology has a LOT in common with Neo-Platonism and the Hermetic tradition. The concept of orders or hierarchies of gods and angels is right out of those two ontological threads.

    Then add to this the fact that Eru, the supreme creator being, is portrayed very much like an Islamic conception of God. Without form, an intelligence that can't be fathomed or visualized, but merely >is<.

  16. #41
    Quote Originally Posted by Aamu View Post
    Tolkien's cosmology has a LOT in common with Neo-Platonism and the Hermetic tradition. The concept of orders or hierarchies of gods and angels is right out of those two ontological threads.

    Then add to this the fact that Eru, the supreme creator being, is portrayed very much like an Islamic conception of God. Without form, an intelligence that can't be fathomed or visualized, but merely >is<.
    Neo-Platonism also had a profound impact on Christianity as well by way of Origen, Augustine and Psuedo-Denys.

  17. #42
    Quote Originally Posted by Krindus View Post
    There is a quest-line in Enedwaith and early Dunland that introduces you to the Huntsman, one of the Valar that the Rohirrim (and apparently many of the southron people in the area) worship.
    There have been a few posts on this topic here, so I thought I’d post a correction from Berephon (one of the devs) on this, from the thread http://forums.lotro.com/showthread.p...e-all-the-time...

    Quote Originally Posted by Berephon View Post
    Correction: The Wild Huntsman (Rhi Helvarch) in our game is our own invention very loosely inspired by a character from Welsh folklore. In our lore, he is a Maia of Oromë the Hunter (who fills the role you mention above.) The Wild Huntsman stayed behind when the West was sundered from Middle-earth.
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  18. #43
    To answer the OP's question - the underlying core of the story reflects Christianity. However there is no organized religion in the actual lore because Tolkien felt it would be redundant given the above, and he didn't want to be anachronistic since LOTR is a fictional version of prehistory. There was some very rudimentary worship of Eru Illuvatar (God) by the Numenoreans (before they were corrupted), and the Elves acknowledged higher powers, but that's about it. However, there are cults, usually dedicated to Morgoth and Sauron, who deceived their followers into thinking they're gods.
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  19. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dol_Amroth_Knight View Post
    However, there are cults, usually dedicated to Morgoth and Sauron, who
    deceived their followers into thinking they're gods.
    I'd say rather that Sauron had frightened his followers into regarding him as a god: "To them Sauron was both king and god; and they feared him exceedingly, for he surrounded his abode with fire" (Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age). Morgoth, on the other hand, was easily powerful enough to qualify as a god (small 'g') by the usual standards of myth - it's just that as regards Middle-earth, Tolkien had raised the bar immeasurably by writing in Eru Iluvatar as 'the' God (all-knowing, all-seeing, omnipotent, moves in mysterious ways his wonders to perform, etc.) in order to follow his own religious sensibilities. The difference was that while Sauron could be defeated without the direct help of the Powers, Morgoth could not - as per what Manwë's messenger told Fëanor ('Vala he is, thou saist. Then thou hast sworn in vain, for none of the Valar canst thou overcome now or ever within the halls of Eä, not though Eru whom thou namest had made thee thrice greater than thou art.'). So as I see it Morgoth wasn't really faking it, mythologically speaking (other than in name, or by strict definition) while Sauron totally was, of course.

  20. #45
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    "The Lord of the Rings is firmly Catholic"

    That's rubbish.

    It wasn't intended as such. But to explore Elvish languages and 'create a mythology'. Middle-earth exists in its own timeline and long predating the period of Christianity's development.
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  21. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by CarltheRed View Post
    "The Lord of the Rings is firmly Catholic"

    That's rubbish.

    It wasn't intended as such. But to explore Elvish languages and 'create a mythology'. Middle-earth exists in its own timeline and long predating the period of Christianity's development.
    As pointed out earlier in the the thread:

    "The Lord of the Rings is of course a fundamentally religious and Catholic work; unconsciously so at first, but consciously in the revision."

    - Tolkien

    So I'm afraid you're arguing with the author, there. LOTR is fundamentally Catholic AND an exercise in constructed legend, both at the same time. To someone who believes in the Christian concept of God as eternal and unchanging, it wouldn't matter how far back in time you went - God would be there. That's what Eru Iluvatar is in the books, the presence in the fiction of the God Tolkien believed in. This was important to him, that there was only one true God in his invented milieu - otherwise there'd be no reason to make a created 'mythology for England' monotheistic, when the ancient native mythologies of Britain were polytheistic. Tolkien's mythology is Christianised, written for compatibility of spirit with his own beliefs.

  22. #47
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    Yes, he said so to a Catholic priest.

    At a time his work was being criticised by Catholics for not being Catholic.
    And in public, whenever asked on the allegorical issue he always rejected it.
    And makes another such emphasis in the forward to the second edition
    Last edited by CarltheRed; Mar 31 2013 at 09:07 AM.
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  23. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by CarltheRed View Post
    At a time his work was being criticised by Catholics for not being Catholic.
    For not being Catholic enough to suit their tastes, or not being obvious about it, I imagine. The reason we can have this sort of debate is that Tolkien was pretty subtle about it, not wanting to force it on his readers (he didn't want to practice the 'purposed domination' of readers by the author - that was a bone of contention between him and C.S.Lewis). LOTR itself only alludes to the influence of some higher power, unlike the Sil where it's made absolutely plain.

    And in public, whenever asked on the allegorical issue he always rejected it.
    A work can reflect religious thinking and contain religious symbolism without being allegorical. So yes, Tolkien said he had a 'cordial dislike' for allegory so that can definitely be set aside, but I think that when a devout Catholic tells us that his work came to be consciously Catholic, we really should take his word for it.

  24. #49
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    He didn't tell us that though. The opposite.

    He told a personal friend in a private letter of the same faith.

    And just because certain things in TLotR are similar in
    Christianity doesn't automatically make it religoous symbolism.
    Logically it has to be the intention of the author.
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  25. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by CarltheRed View Post
    He didn't tell us that though. The opposite.

    He told a personal friend in a private letter of the same faith.
    It's something he said about his work, though, isn't it? Who he told and when is no reason to ignore it. He doesn't force you to see it that way in the work itself (and I explained why) but it'd be foolish to seek to deny what he thought about it himself. If the author says it's fundamentally religious and Catholic and became intentionally so as it progressed then he should know, right?

    And just because certain things in TLotR are similar in
    Christianity doesn't automatically make it religoous symbolism.
    Logically it has to be the intention of the author.
    We know it was the intention of the author because he said so. For example, in a letter he directly likens calling on Elbereth to how someone might call on a saint for intercession. That's an example of how he actually thought about it. Sure, some things are universals but that doesn't reduce the likelihood that he came to them through his own religious beliefs, first and foremost. As I said earlier, his own beliefs were so important to him that he chose to make his constructed myth monotheistic, a concept that's utterly foreign to the myths, legends and tales he was otherwise borrowing from. That alone should tell you something.

 

 
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