Tolkien Gateway

Letter 325

The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien
Letter 325
RecipientRoger Lancelyn Green
Date17 July 1971
Subject(s)Details about going to Aman

Letter 325 is a letter written by J.R.R. Tolkien and published in The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien.

[edit] Summary

"Immortals" permitted to seek Aman sailed in ships specially made and hallowed for this voyage, and steered due West towards the ancient site of Valinor and Eressëa. They only sailed after sundown, but a keen-eyed observer watching one of these ships would never see it hull-down but only dwindled by distance. It followed the straight road to the true west and not the bend of the earth's surface. Those who took the road could not return.

The angelic immortals, the Valar, and others of the same order but less in power, needed no transport unless they had become incarnated. As for Frodo or other mortals, they could only dwell in Aman for a limited time. It was a peaceful and healing "purgatory" from which they would die at their own desire and free will.

This general idea lay behind the events of The Silmarillion and The Lord of the Rings. It was not put forward as geologically or astronomically "true"; it is part of the legends of "Mannish" origin blended with those of the Sindar (who had never left Middle-earth).