TheĀ Silmarillian

May 22, 2010

Sr. Wantabee has started a new habit. She spends a fair amount of time in her car transporting kids, going back and forth town for chaplaincy and ESL teaching, and so she thought she would get a book on tape from the library. It was so much fun listening to several Nicolas Sparks books that she branched out and just finished 12 cassettes that record J.R.R. Tokien’s, “The Simarillion.”

She read The Silmarillion in her twenties. It gives the historic background to The Lord of the Rings trilogy but Tolkien also creates a fictional explanation of what falls between the cracks in Genesis. How is it that the “sons of God married the daughters of men?” Where did the tall people come from? And it is an exercise to read because it is like a hint of old English. But it was fascinating to listen to a pro reading it now, even if she could not remember all the names.

Tolkien creates from the high God, Iluvatar, spirits, elves, dwarfs, humans and they all interact on Middle Earth battling with the arch fallen spirit and his forces. In the next to the last chapter, there is a conversation that Sr. Wantabee found fascinating in its truth as there is a discussion on the nature of life and death.

“Whereas you and your people are not of the Firstborn, but are mortal Men as Iluvatar made you. Yet it seems that you desire now to have the good of both kindreds, to sail to Valinor when you will, and to return when you please to your homes. That cannot be. Nor can the Valar take away the gifts of Illuvatar. The Eldar, you say, are unpunished, and even those who rebelled do not die. yet that is to them neither reward nor punishment, but the fulfilment of their being. They cannot escape and are bound to the world, never to leave it so long as it lasts, for its life is theirs. And you are punished for the rebellion of Men, you say, in which you had small part, and so it is that you die. But that was not at first appointed for a punishment. Thus you escape, and leave the world, and are not bound to it, in hope or in weariness. Which of us should envy the other?’
And the Numenoreans answered: ‘Why should we not envy the Valar, or even the least of the Deathless? For of us is required a blind trust, and a hope without assurance, knowing not what lies before us in a little while. And yet we also love the Earth and would not loose it.’
Then the Messengers said: ‘Indeed the mind of Iluvatar concerning you is not known to the Valar, and he has not revealed all things that are to come. but this we hold to be true, that your home is not here… And the Doom of Men, that they should depart, was at first a gift of Iluvatar. It became a grief to them only because coming under the shadow of Morgoth it seemed to them that they were surrounded by a great darkness, of which they were afraid; and some grew wilful and proud and would not yield, until life was reft from them.” etc. (p. 265)

How true!