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Latest comment: 25 March 2012 by Mith in topic Debate on Immortality

Would it be nitpicking if we were to include Shadowfax and Gandalf among the few non-Elves to pass along the Straight Road?--Quidon88 03:14, 14 January 2007 (EST)

This article needs cleanup and expanding, so I don't think it would be wrong to make a list of elves and non-elves that returned to Aman. Just as a side note, it is not sure that Shadowfax ever went to Aman. The horse is not mentioned in the final chapter The Grey Havens, and Shadowfax was not a "ring-bearer". However, because he was a non-sentient being, it is possible that Gandalf took him on the ship. Speaking of which, is this mentioned in the Shadowfax article? I'll go look. --Narfil Palùrfalas 13:01, 14 January 2007 (EST)
I looked in The Tolkien Companion, and it said he sailed over the Sea with his master, but I can't find it in the Grey Havens. When I first saw your reply, I thought, "oh crap, was that some fanfic idea?", but I looked, and the Companion has never steered me wrong. Perhaps it says so in the Appendices?--Quidon88 15:35, 14 January 2007 (EST)
While it was never stated what happened to Shadowfax, JRRT does give his opinion on the matter in a letter to a fan:
"I think Shadowfax certainly went with Gandalf [across the Sea], though this is not stated...I should argue so: Shadowfax came of a special race (II 126, 129, III346) being as it were an Elvish equivalent of ordinary horses: his 'blood' came from 'West over Sea'. It would not be unfitting for him to 'go West'. Gandalf was not 'dying', or going by a special grace to the Western Land, before passing on 'beyond the circles of the world': he was going home, being plainly one of the 'immortals', an angelic emissary of the angelic governors (Valar) of the Earth. He would take or could take what he loved. Gandalf was last seen riding Shadowfax (III 276). He must have ridden to the Havens, and it is inconceivable that he would [have] ridden any beast but Shadowfax; so Shadowfax must have been there. A chronicler winding up a long tale, and for the moment moved principally by the sorrow of those left behind (himself among them!) might omit mention of the horse; but had the great horse also shared in the grief of sundering, he could hardly have been forgotten."
The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, #268
That's enough evidence for me. --Hyarion 15:42, 14 January 2007 (EST)
All right, good. I was unaware of that quote, only having the Letters when I am able to borrow the collection from the library. I think we can note him as at least a probable, then. --Narfil Palùrfalas 15:54, 14 January 2007 (EST)

Debate on Immortality[edit source]

Removed the following section:

==Immortality== There has been some debate whether the protagonists who sailed in the West became immortal or not. [[Robert Foster]] in his foreword to ''[[The Complete Guide to Middle-earth]]'' says that he did not provide death dates for those characters "for they still live". In reality, the Undying Lands were called like that because immortals dwelled in them, not because they granted immortality, something which becomes clear in the ''[[Akallabêth]]''.

While I think we could have an OR in this case, the argument against Foster is weak: why does it become clear in the Akallabêth? It needs a rewrite. --Morgan 14:29, 24 March 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Actually, I would say the argument against Foster is incredibly strong:

The Eldar reported these words to the Valar, and Manwë was grieved, seeing a cloud gather on the noontide of Númenor. And he sent messengers to the Dúnedain, who spoke earnestly to the King, and to all who would listen, concerning the fate and fashion of the world.

‘The Doom of the World,’ they said, ‘One alone can change who made it. And were you so to voyage that escaping all deceits and snares you came indeed to Aman, the Blessed Realm, little would it profit you. For it is not the land of Manwë that makes its people deathless, but the Deathless that dwell therein have hallowed the land; and there you would but wither and grow weary the sooner, as moths in a light too strong and steadfast.’
J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Akallabêth: The Downfall of Númenor"

Furthermore, if it were the case that those who go to the Undying Lands are instantly made immortal, doesn't that mean that Gimli and Bilbo would have to spend an eternity as old men? Doesn't seem that nice to me. --Mith (Talk/Contribs/Edits) 13:54, 25 March 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Now it's better, since you actually state the argument from the Akallabeth. That wasn't the case before. The second argument, based on logic/reasoning, is in my taste too much of original research to be added.--Morgan 15:08, 25 March 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think there is a place for arguments based on logic and plausibility. However, allowing it would probably open the proverbial can of worms. Also, I don't think that the section should have been simply removed as it was; the fact that Tolkien scholars hold different interpretations should be noted in the article, and the Akallabêth could have been quickly checked to verify the statement.-- KingAragorn  talk  contribs  edits  email  16:36, 25 March 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I agree with KA that we should note the different interpetations of Tolkien scholars. --Amroth 17:02, 25 March 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
"the fact that Tolkien scholars hold different interpretations should be noted in the article, and the Akallabêth could have been quickly checked to verify the statement". Easy to say, harder to do. If I had been of the opinion that this section was beyond saving, I would just have deleted it. But since I thought that the basic premise was good, I moved it to the talk page. In most cases we just throw in those {{fact}}, and then nothing happens.--Morgan 17:24, 25 March 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
When you want to know some philosophical point about Tolkien's legendarium it is always helpful to consult The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien (one of the reasons why I felt it was important to write all those summaries). Here are J.R.R. Tolkien's own statements on the matter:
  1. "...certain 'mortals', who have played some great part in Elvish affairs, may pass with the Elves to Elvenhome...I have said nothing about it in this book [The Lord of the Rings], but the mythical idea underlying is that for mortals, since their 'kind' cannot be changed for ever, this is strictly only a temporary reward: a healing and redress of suffering. They cannot abide for ever, and though they cannot return to mortal earth, they can and will 'die' - of free will, and leave the world." -- The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, Letter 154
  2. "As for Frodo or other mortals, they could only dwell in Aman for a limited time - whether brief or long. The Valar had neither the power nor the right to confer 'immortality' upon them. Their sojourn was a 'purgatory', but one of peace and healing and they would eventually pass away (die at their own desire and of free will) to destinations of which the Elves knew nothing." -- The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, Letter 325
--Gamling 18:05, 25 March 2012
Where are these different interpretations by scholars? We have some pretty conclusive evidence here. I have a feeling this might be weasel words. Remove this "debate" rubbish, I think, and state firmly that these people do not become immortal (a point worth mentioning, I think). --Mith (Talk/Contribs/Edits) 19:24, 25 March 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Other names[edit source]

The article says: In The Hobbit Tolkien also calls this continent "Faerie in the West". – Could it be so that "Faerie in the West" = Eldamar and not the whole of Aman? --Tik 00:39, 24 November 2013 (UTC)