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War of Wrath II the timelining

I have just realised (I think I knew this, but had forgotten) that at the end of the Silmarillion's War of Wrath, poor Elros and Elrond, who were abducted away from both their parents when they were aged seven, get to see their father again... looking up at him from below, up at him in his flying ship high above the ground.   He is forbidden to land, despite having just basically won the war that the Valar had been fighting for 43 years for them.   Because, apparently, Rules Are Rules.

I wondered if going through all the Feanorian Silmarillion details would make me feel less generally Feanorian in my sentiments.  I mean, they are mass murderers who make terrible decisions. But in fact, exactly the opposite has occurred.


Also, it is really hard to come up with 43 years worth of details for a war that is described in canon as basically 'And then the Valar stomped everyone and it  all fell in the sea.'    I'm trying to make up a possible timeline.  Any warlike suggestions happily accepted.



( 21 comments — Leave a comment )
6th Jan, 2017 03:10 (UTC)
Perhaps it was too dangerous to try and land it in Middle-earth? Perhaps it used all kinds of scary Valinorean technology, that might have had all kinds of (even more) deleterious effects on the environment and people.

I wrote a story once that took place during that war, near the end ("Before Thangorodrim"). Basically my conception was a long, slowly escalating, subcontinent-wide war of attrition between many different units of both armies, in different locations (different kinds of elves, Men, Dwarves, Orcs, Wargs etc etc) in a rapidly deteriorating environmental situation, with massive civilian flight across the mountains, and bigger and bigger weapons being deployed by the Valar. Including nukes eventually, developed by Feanor's daughter-in-law, Curufin's wife (different story,"Bright Than Ten Thousand Suns"). Really good nukes, for a specific value of "good", with maximal matter-to-energy conversion rates and minimal fall-out. Immediate, continent-killing destructiveness, but little lingering radiation (so that the people of Lindon were not catching three-headed fish throughout the Second Age).

More like World War II, with many different fronts, rather than a pre-industrial war with defined battlefields (once Ainur are involved it stops being a pre-industrial war).

Edited at 2017-01-06 05:27 (UTC)
6th Jan, 2017 10:03 (UTC)
I think it definitely has to escalate slowly, but I'm sort of struggling with the description in the Silmarillion where he sort of makes it sound like they stormed right up to Anfauglith in about a week.

I'm trying hard not to be tempted to read your take on it right now, because if I do it will derail me (fell into that trap with my other Arthurian long story I am working on and got blocked : I am now resolved to read all the other versions, either before starting or AFTER the end...)

Civilian flight across the mountains? Hmm. That's a thought. I've been trying to work out how they can sink Beleriand without wiping out the Edain.
6th Jan, 2017 11:59 (UTC)
... Also on the landing of Vingilot, I just can't believe it! Honestly, they can't get a really long ladder, or an Eagle to at least whizz him down to earth for a brief chat? I bet they could if they wanted to!

I guess the Valar would say 'Well, OK, go to Valinor, then you can meet him' but that is still pretty brutal: leave behind their entire lives to see parents they haven't seen in 60-odd years, when you know, he's right there. But no, you can't talk to him.

Actually, I think their treatment of Earendil is brutal too, given that he didn't even pick 'Elf' in the Half-Elven Quiz of Doom but let his wife do it for him.

In conclusion, DOWN WITH THE VALAR. :-D
6th Jan, 2017 07:00 (UTC)
; )

it all sounds exciting

i'm not a gamer or follower of tales, but i like your expression.

it's kind of poetic
6th Jan, 2017 10:04 (UTC)
Re: ; )
What, my expression that goes D:=


I guess it is sort of funny.
6th Jan, 2017 22:28 (UTC)
There's a bit of extra detail in the final section of the Later Annals of Beleriand in The Lost Road/HoME V (final annals), not all of it compatible with the published Silmarillion text. Have you seen that?
I came at it because I recently checked the bio of Ingwion at Tolkien Gateway, which refers to that section.

Anna Wing doesn't mention it but she has also mooted an explanation for the longer-term strategy of the Valar in another of her fics. According to that, they were actually waiting for Morgoth to over-commit himself to destroying the Noldor in Beleriand, gradually making himself vulnerable and laying himself open to successful attack--but the consequence was that Morgoth was so bound up in Beleriand that they ended up having to destroy both--however otherwise the damage would have affected an even wider territory, as in previous wars of the Valar, and these areas were now all populated. At least, that is how I remember the theory.
6th Jan, 2017 23:07 (UTC)
Ooh, no, I haven't! Thanks. I think I gave up on buying & reading HoME at #4 and only later picked up 10 & 12.

Tempted!... but perhaps I will wimp out and try to make do with the Wikipedia entry, which I now note has some stuff from that book - since I want to concentrate on the East anyway, and after all it's all quite absurdly uncanonical in a way, being from the point of view of Dead Feanor. And yet, can't resist the temptation to keep trying to poke extra bits of sort-of-canon in there, like a bird trying to dress an unprepossessing nest with stolen brightly coloured bits!

Hey ho.

I do like the idea that Morgoth gets more and more snarled in Beleriand until he's in a giant knot like a really bad kitten, but I'm pretty sure that no argument is quite going to get me entirely onside with the Valar. :-D

9th Jan, 2017 03:33 (UTC)
I think that was actually Tolkien's own explanation, somewhere in HoME. It was tied up with Morgoth's own degradation and failure - from being the mightiest being in the universe he went down to just being a king and tyrant, wasting time and energy squabbling over a little patch of land with a small bunch of enemies so far beneath him that he should have needed a miocroscope just to see them.
9th Jan, 2017 03:49 (UTC)
I don't think I went and re-read the bit in HoME, but as I understood your explanation at the time, it was you who made this an actual strategy of the Valar, rather than just an observation about Morgoth, though.
9th Jan, 2017 08:12 (UTC)
Gosh, did I? I will have to re-read my fics, though I don't disagree with it as a strategy. It might have come out in one of the discussions about the Silmarillion that SWG did.
9th Jan, 2017 21:42 (UTC)
It makes a lot of sense as a strategy, certainly. But there is, still, a coldness to that strategy which I can't help reacting to - in the same way that there is a coldness to making Earendil a hero, but not allowing him to greet his sons.

There's a sense of a cold, absolute light set against the darkness. Which is very First Age, but absolutely not LOTR, where the heart of it is so kind, even when kindness does not seem reasonable.

OK, I recant my cry of 'Down with the Valar'. Instead, I shall replace it with 'All wizards should have a hobbit or two in their care—to teach them the meaning of the word*, and to correct them.'

* I'm sure this should be 'word' not 'world' which is what the quote site I c&p'd from said. But the edition I read most obsessively does have a few typos (I still think the people of Bree SHOULD speak the 'Bee-dialect'!!!) so I'm not sure. And my copy is upstairs, which is miles.

Edited at 2017-01-09 21:46 (UTC)
10th Jan, 2017 01:59 (UTC)
I don't think it's that they don't care, exactly, it's just that the learning curve is very steep. Consider how short the time-line is for them to learn how to deal with either Elves or Men, compared to the happy geological ages beforehand when the only thing to worry about was cleaning up after Morgoth!

I think of them as well-meaning aliens, doing the best that they can in a situation and with beings that they don't really understand. Also I think they're rational, which is a bit of a handicap.
10th Jan, 2017 09:32 (UTC)
Some of them seem to care more than others. Ulmo, for example.

But Mandos seems like a prime example of someone with absolutely the wrong temperament, in completely the wrong job:

'Tears unnumbered ye shall shed; and the Valar will fence Valinor against you, and shut you out, so that not even the echo of your lamentation shall pass over the mountains. On the House of Fëanor the wrath of the Valar lieth from the West unto the uttermost East, and upon all that will follow them it shall be laid also. Their Oath shall drive them, and yet betray them, and ever snatch away the very treasures that they have sworn to pursue. To evil end shall all things turn that they begin well; and by treason of kin unto kin, and the fear of treason, shall this come to pass. The Dispossessed shall they be for ever.

'Ye have spilled the blood of your kindred unrighteously and have stained the land of Aman. For blood ye shall render blood, and beyond Aman ye shall dwell in Death's shadow. For though Eru appointed to you to die not in Eä, and no sickness may assail you, yet slain ye may be, and slain ye shall be: by weapon and by torment and by grief; and your houseless spirits shall come then to Mandos. There long shall ye abide and yearn for your bodies, and find little pity though all whom ye have slain should entreat for you. And those that endure in Middle-earth and come not to Mandos shall grow weary of the world as with a great burden, and shall wane, and become as shadows of regret before the younger race that cometh after. The Valar have spoken.'

It leaves them with no possible way out other than the awful one they took: in fact, it sounds like it is binding them to that path.

Particularly when combined with 'and Mandos was moved to pity, who never before was so moved, nor has been since.'

11th Jan, 2017 02:25 (UTC)
Yes, Mandos does strike me as having much more difficulty dealing with incarnates than Orome or even Ulmo. I see him as the embodiment of Karma, in the sense of inevitable cause and effect, so I took him as not so much cursing the Noldor as giving a straightforward warning of what was going to happen to them if they carried on being thieves and mass murderers. I agree that it could have been better phrased.

Though perhaps he felt the need to be explicit, since this was an unprecedented situation. If he had been trying to say something similar to any random bunch of Men in any later era, all he could have said was, "And it shall be, er, business as usual for you chaps."
11th Jan, 2017 09:07 (UTC)
I read the 'long shall ye abide and yearn for your bodies, and find little pity' bit as quite punitive, and contrary to the normal run of things, either for Elves or Men - given the central role of pity generally. That sounds to me like 'and no visits from Nienna with tea and cakes for you lot!'

Mandos does seem to have discretion about who stays in the halls and who leaves, reading the bit about Míriel, so the idea that he has no choice there seems odd to me.

Also, although it gives Finarfin, Fingolfin and their guys every incentive to turn around, because it names the House of Feanor specifically, they don't get the choice to change their minds, even Celebrimbor, who has done nothing that say, Fingon didn't do.

Different for Men, of course because Mandos can't do anything to them: whatever awful things they do, they will die and be off to do their own thing (except Beren, briefly, and Tuor, who is such a loose end. All rules seem to have an 'except Tuor' clause.) But Elves are bound to the world, so a threat from Mandos is a much bigger deal.

11th Jan, 2017 11:45 (UTC)
I did wonder how they dealt with Tuor. Did he just stop ageing? Or did he die and come back Elf-shaped (preferable, both psychologically and physically)?

I suspect Thingol would have been quite upset to find out about Tuor,even though I recall seeing somewhere that Tuor was basically co-opted to fill the Luthien-shaped hole in the Elvish population. I suppose Luthien could leave because she was half-Maia, and therefore not totally tied to the world, unlike a regular Elf.
11th Jan, 2017 11:55 (UTC)
The other weird thing about Idril and Tuor is that they get to sail off to Valinor some time before Earendil does.

Earendil & Elwing get through because of the Silmaril, but I don't think there is an explanation given for how Tuor and Idril make it across, or why THEY don't appeal to the Valar when they get there!

Possibly it is simply the power of Tuor's awesome Tuor-ness :-D Or maybe something to do with Ulmo again. Ulmo does like Tuor a lot.
11th Jan, 2017 12:19 (UTC)
I recall seeing something about them having been intercepted by the Enchanted Isles. So they were asleep/in suspended animation, presumably until Earendil turned up and they were retrieved. Or of course, they died in their sleep and then were reincarnated.

I can see Ulmo being very pressing about the rectification of Tuor's species status.
9th Jan, 2017 21:44 (UTC)
... I gave in and bought HoME 5. I should know by now that kidding myself I was not going to do that was far more of a fantasy than the Silmarillion. :-D
10th Jan, 2017 08:53 (UTC)
I swear I have no financial interest in the Tolkien Estate!
Hope you get good use out of HoME 5!
10th Jan, 2017 09:46 (UTC)
:-D It was second-hand, so not an expensive investment!
( 21 comments — Leave a comment )

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