?

Log in

No account? Create an account

Medium Dawn Felagund of the Fountain

Modified M-Word Thing from Oshun! Fandom Characters

The (Cyber) Bag of Weasels

bread and puppet




"About as much fun as a bag of weasels"...when I first saw this Irish adage, it made me think of the life of a writer: sometimes perilous, sometimes painful, certainly interesting. My paper journal has always been called "The Bag of Weasels." This is the Bag of Weasels' online home.

Modified M-Word Thing from Oshun! Fandom Characters

Previous Entry Share Next Entry
feanorians
I say "modified" because I want to do this, but as many of you know, I'm a one-fandom girl, so there's no point in asking you to ask me about my fandoms. There's only one! I could maybe answer most of these for True Blood, despite never participating in the online fandom, because Bobby and I constitute a fandom-of-two in our house, and I do occasionally talk with some of y'all too about it. But the only fandom I really deeply know is the Tolkien fandom, focusing on The Silmarillion. So here goes!

1. The character I first fell in love with

Maedhros Maedhros Maedhros. In a truly Tolkienish twist, I was fascinated by the look and sound of his name first.1 That made me pay attention to him foremost among the stew of characters that overwhelmed my first reading of The Silmarillion. The Thangorodrim rescue story compelled me, and the trajectory of his life tickled my imagination. I started writing AMC to counter the notion that Maedhros (and his family generally, but mostly Maedhros, which is why his character is central to that story even though people tend to prefer other characters) was an evil character, a villain.

1: How I ended up a Felagund, too, incidentally, as I thought being a lord of caves sounded hella cool--I wanted to be a lord of caves, so I adopted the name.

2. The character I never expected to love as much as I do now

Probably Finarfin, even though he's my namesake's dad, so he should have been on my radar, one would think. He was a non-entity to me through my first readings of the Silm. It was not until I began to write Silmfic--and my focus tended toward Aman rather than Beleriand--that I began to appreciate Finarfin as more than a foil to his brothers in both the positive and negative sense (pacific where they were warmongers; a tool to the Valar where they were fiercely independent). I came to see Finarfin's unique forms of courage and strength, and through exploring these topics in writing, I came to two other characters I now adore in Eärwen and Anairë. Finarfin is one of my favorite characters to write now.

3. The character everyone else loves that I don’t

Hmm. I don't think I dislike anyone who's a fandom favorite. There are some, like Glorfindel, who get a lot of press but whom I don't often write, but that's not because I don't like the character but mainly because the chance hasn't yet arisen to write that character, or I feel that other writers have done so well with that character that I'd prefer to focus elsewhere. Beren and Lúthien come first to mind but, as I just noted to Oshun, I don't think they get a lot of love in the fandom communities I run around with, so they're not a fully suitable answer. As far as Silm characters go, they all offer opportunity to explore in a deeper sense, which is what I love about the book.

4. The character I love that everyone else hates

I'm going to reach back to when I first entered the fandom and Celegorm, Caranthir, and Curufin were the Convenient VillainsTM to many writers, even those who depicted others of the Fëanorians positively. My approach then wasn't "*relief* I have bad guys for my story" but to wonder why they made the disastrous choices that they did later in their lives. Tolkien gave us tantalizing glimpses of potential good in all of them: Celegorm's allegiance with Huan and Oromë, Caranthir's aid to Haleth's people, Curufin's lengthy relationship with his son. Two of them are married, so someone saw enough good in them to pledge to love them forever. They're clearly more--much more--than convenient villains. Exploring this idea has resulted in some of my most rewarding writing about the Fëanorians.

Outside of my insular little Silmfic world, I realize that the Fëanorians are detested by many Tolkien fans. I do feel like these people don't really get it. Sweeping them into the bad guys' camp misses a major point of the story, imo. From a narrative standpoint, the Fëanorians succeed because they feel so human.

5. The character I used to love but don’t any longer

I don't think I've fallen out of love with any characters. Not totally. I'd say that the LotR characters that first intrigued me have been replaced by Silm characters. I love Sam's character in LotR, and I was once fascinated by the Nâzgul. But I loved none of them deeply enough to write about them, which is why they sort of pale in my mind now, as I've spent many years now thinking and writing about certain Silm characters.

6. The character I would totally smooch

Maedhros! No surprise there. ;)

7. The character I’d want to be like

It's kinda funny because I chose to identify as a Felagund before I even finished the book once, half as a joke, based on the sound of the name and the title "lord of caves," but once I made it through the book twice and began to distinguish between the various Fins, I came to realize that I do actually admire Finrod Felagund the most of the characters. He is at once strong, courageous, clearly one of the best of the Noldorin leaders, skilled, and thoughtful. He is open-minded and chooses to find common cause with people unlike him. He is noble and does what he thinks is right rather than what is most expedient. These are all things I aspire to.

8. The character I’d slap

Dior and Elwing. I've never understood how these characters plop their respective people directly in harm's way out of lust for the Silmaril and end up being treated like saints. Elwing especially deserted her children to almost certain harm to keep the Silmaril from the Fëanorians. To me, that sounds like the same pathological obsession that led to their downfall; they are vilified and she is written as a hero. I guess the difference is throwing yourself into a fiery chasm versus being invited to live in a white tower in Aman.

9. A pairing that I love

I love writing all of Finwë's sons with their wives. Fëanor/Nerdanel would probably be my favorite because so many dimensions of that story appeal to me: their deep philosophical differences, their professional and creative commonalities, her obvious strength, his obvious respect for her strength, the strong implication that theirs was a marriage based in love and perhaps at least somewhat in defiance of expectation, the fact that we witness the tragedy of their demise as a couple (versus mere implication of the same). She humanizes Fëanor and remains one of Tolkien's most fully drawn women (largely absent from the published text due to Christopher's edits, not JRRT's, unfortunately).

As far as non-canon couples, my favorite of my personal canon is Caranthir/Taryindë for many of the same reasons as Nerdanel/Fëanor. And both of them are nucking futs, so they're fun to write. Even though I don't write them much, I absolutely adore reading Maedhros/Fingon and wish there was more Maedhros/Finrod.

10. A pairing that I despise

I think "despise" is a bit too strong. Beren/Lúthien is not particularly satisfying to me because the story, as a whole, feels too mythic for me to connect to it. Tolkien's attachment to this particular pairing always comes across too strongly to me, in that it seems to distort that section of the story: The tone is completely different, and after the strife and struggle for every meager success in the book to that point, that chapter feels too ... easy. I realize that is part of the point; it just doesn't work for me, particularly, as a reader because I feel that chapter and pairing loses the human dimension that makes the Silm such a rewarding work to think and write about.



This post was originally posted on Dreamwidth and, using my Felagundish Elf magic, crossposted to LiveJournal. You can comment here or there!

http://dawn-felagund.dreamwidth.org/309797.html
  • Your responses deeply resonate with me, but I guess you probably would have guessed that.

    I do not share your fondness for Finarfin. I have almost gotten to the point where I am willing to forgive him for disloyalty. I was born and raised a rebel and a dissident, so he can never quite be a hero to me; like I said, working on forgiving him. I loved him in AMC and he and his wife were a fun couple there.

    I wanna slap Dior and Elwing also!

    The LotR characters I loved paled for me after I read The Silmarillion. Faramir I loved probably the most (book!Faramir!!) is a little like Felagund, only small by comparison. The women in LotR cannot hold a candle to the Silmarillion kick-ass women.



    • I was born and raised a rebel and a dissident, so he can never quite be a hero to me

      But he was! He was with his brothers until the kinslaying, when he decided that their ... ummm ... approach wasn't one he could support. I think it probably took more courage to turn his back on Feanor than Manwe! ;) As a nonviolent person myself, his choice to not participate in a movement with no compunctions against wanton violence resonates with me.

      I do wish he'd had an alternative rather than going back to Valinor. Although his kingship also fascinates me and how Noldorin relationships with the Valar might have been shaped going forward.

      The women in LotR cannot hold a candle to the Silmarillion kick-ass women.

      Yes. I feel like Tolkien never fully got the opportunity to erase the relative bad-assness of the Silm women that he created in his youth.
      • But he was! He was with his brothers until the kinslaying, when he decided that their ... ummm ... approach wasn't one he could support.

        He can be your hero.

        no compunctions against wanton violence resonates with me

        I would also disagree with this. Maybe Feanor had reached that point. But the rest of them argued among themselves about questions related to violent actions.

  • She humanizes Fëanor and remains one of Tolkien's most fully drawn women (largely absent from the published text due to Christopher's edits, not JRRT's, unfortunately).

    So where does one find the unpublished bits?
    • In the HoME. The particular bit I was thinking of here comes from Morgoth's Ring:

      While still in early youth Feanor wedded Nerdanel, a maiden of the Noldor; at which many wondered, for she was not among the fairest of her people. But she was strong, and free of mind, and filled with the desire of knowledge. In her youth she loved to wander far from the dwellings of the Noldor, either beside the long shores of the Sea or in the hills; and thus she and Feanor had met and were companions in many journeys. Her father, Mahtan, was a great smith, and among those of the Noldor most dear to the heart of Aule. Of Mahtan Nerdanel learned much of crafts that women of the Noldor seldom used: the making of things of metal and stone. She made images, some of the Valar in their forms visible, and many others of men and women of the Eldar, and these were so like that their friends, if they knew not her art, would speak to them; but many things she wrought also of her own thought in shapes strong and strange but beautiful.

      She also was firm of will, but she was slower and more patient than Feanor, desiring to understand minds rather than to master them. When in company with others she would often sit still listening to their words, and watching their gestures and the movements of their faces. Her mood she bequeathed in part to some of her sons, but not to all. Seven sons she bore to Feanor, and it is not recorded in the histories of old that any others of the Eldar had so many children. With her wisdom at first she restrained Feanor when the fire of his heart burned too hot; but his later deeds grieved her and they became estranged.


      While I was aware of the existence of that passage, I never knew the reason it wasn't included in the published book until Kane's Arda Reconstructed came out; he documents how Christopher, on several occasions, removed material about female characters in the Silm that did much to develop them, as Nerdanel is developed in the MR passage. I'm definitely not one to jump on the Tolkien-wasn't-a-sexist! bandwagon--even with the omitted passages left in, the Silm certainly doesn't give equal or fair treatment to woman characters--but in this case, he did do more for some of his woman characters than the published book gives him credit for.
      • Thanks for that quote and explanation! Another book to add to my wish list...

        And this also leads me to a (possibly silly) question I've been pondering: do sufficiently curious people purchase the whole 12 volumes of HoME? Or do folks buy specific volumes that pertain to certain aspects of the legendarium?
        • It's not silly at all! :) Most people I know buy the volumes most relevant to their particular interests first. They may eventually acquire all of them, but not necessarily; I have them all, but I don't even think I've cracked open the LotR volumes except to periodically check the index (when researching a Silm character! :D) My first were Morgoth's Ring (X) and The Peoples of Middle-earth (12). The early books in the series are available in paperback, which is nice.

          I have them all as e-books, so they're not perfect, being scanned from hard copies (making typos common and the formatting kind of odd), and I'm happy to share, if you're interested. :)
  • The character I love that everyone else hates

    Caranthir! \o/

    That is all.

    A pairing that I despise

    Would you believe... I actually decided Beren & Luthien were sweet on my last reread? ME! O.o Hell is freezing...

    But, this was purely the romance. A thing outside the history of the Silm. The rest of it...I'm with you. Tolkien's love for them comes across too much. (On a similar note, it also seemed he disliked Orodreth...) It's like he had the story written where Morgoth held the silmarils, and wanted to throw in another kinslaying or two, and bridged those two sections of story with Beren and Luthien. Inadequately. As I said to Oshun in her post, it would have been more believable if Luthien had defeated Sauron by punching him in the balls! XD

    The rest sounds pretty familiar. ;)
    • I actually really like the B&L story as it was first written, in the BoLT. There, it fit better with the tone and style of the work as a whole, which was much more whimsical. Beren and Luthien also strike me as being much more relatable.

      I read your comment on Oshun's post! I lol'ed! :D
      • Admittedly, I...cannot remember the BoLT version. It's in a box somewhere. I think it might be 5 years since I opened it... >.> Might have to dig it out. Maybe. I know where that box is, and it's kind of buried. BoLT & HoME X hanging out in the dark, passing from memory. ;)

        I said to Oshun, every time I read B&L in the Silm, I keep thinking, "Hang on, she's only half maia..." I groan a little every time I get to the B&L chapter. Then, we move on to the Nirnaeth and it's back to a history text with a splashing of gore. B&L account as written by Daeron, anyone? Could explain a lot...

        I will have to post my own version of the meme thing, methinks!
        • Hang on, she's only half maia...

          Exactly! In a world where the use of magic is very restrained and not particularly flashy, it's too often used as a device in that chapter to get her and Beren out of situations with way too much ease. The chapter almost has a fairy-tale feel to it, which would be okay if not for the gore-splattered history book that is the rest of the text (love that! :) That's part of why the BoLT version works better, I think, because the magical!Faery element is more present there. (Let me know if you want me to wing the e-text your way if you want to reread it without embarking on an archaeological dig. ;)

          I hope you do the meme! I'd love to see your answers. :)

          ETA ... love the three birds with one stone, btw. ;)

          Edited at 2013-01-26 05:14 pm (UTC)
          • it's too often used as a device in that chapter to get her and Beren out of situations with way too much ease

            Too right. It's only highlighted by several tens of thousands of orcs/balrogs/dragons/wolves/etc. apparently just sitting and staring while she and Beren trot out of Angband.

            Hmm, maybe this picture was a better depiction than I originally gave it credit for...


            As a stand alone fairytale, I can buy it better. Or the children's version. ;)

            Let me know if you want me to wing the e-text your way if you want to reread it without embarking on an archaeological dig. ;)

            I am all for digital shinies please!

            I hope you do the meme!

            I'm working on it right now! I keep getting interrupted by Louis putting his head on my laptop.

            wish there was more Maedhros/Finrod.

            Somehow missed this first time round! All I can say is YES! And laugh. But it's even greater that they could actually work as a serious pairing.
            • Gods, I loathe that painting. Yet I stare at it in fascination whenever I encounter it. So wrong, on so many levels. ;)

              I just sent the BoLT to you!

              I can't believe you missed Maedhros/Finrod in my original post! Tsktsk. You're slipping!

              The Mae/Finrod story I wrote for you, "Discretion," was one of the most fun pieces I've ever worked on. So they may make future appearances as well. ;)
              • That painting is godawful. I love how I stare in abject horror at lingerie Luthien for several moments before remembering there's also Beren there perving in the corner. Still, it doesn't quite match the amazingness of Gondor Needs No Pants.

                I can't believe you missed Maedhros/Finrod in my original post! Tsktsk. You're slipping!

                I KNOW!!! What is wrong with me! I maintain that I must've misread it as "Fingon". Or something. How's the compost? ;)

                I reread "Discretion" the other day! Still love it.

                So they may make future appearances as well. ;)

                Ooh she is tantalising me... Evil.
  • I've never understood how these characters plop their respective people directly in harm's way out of lust for the Silmaril and end up being treated like saints. Elwing especially deserted her children to almost certain harm to keep the Silmaril from the Fëanorians. To me, that sounds like the same pathological obsession that led to their downfall; they are vilified and she is written as a hero. I guess the difference is throwing yourself into a fiery chasm versus being invited to live in a white tower in Aman.

    Agreed. I decided that Elwing had to have been had Silmaril 'addiction' for her to choose it over her sons, as I couldn't imagine any mother putting any-one or anything over her children. I had to write that part, but I couldn't summon any sympathy for her. It all went to her children.
    • I decided that Elwing had to have been had Silmaril 'addiction' for her to choose it over her sons, as I couldn't imagine any mother putting any-one or anything over her children.

      I've recently come to terms with Elwing exactly for that reason. I think it's interesting that in a world so steeped in patriarchy, and with so many female characters following the author's very Catholic ideas, there's a woman who does exactly the opposite of what society (even our modern one, even from the side of us feminist fangirls!) would expect of her... and yet, she's not the least bit vilified in the books. She abandons her children for a cause she considers higher which many consider an absolute no-go for a woman (What about Eärendil? What about his duties as a dad, damnit?)... yet she is clearly a heroine. (Though I assume she faced many of the reservations we have from other characters in Aman. Or that's how I write it.)
      So that fascinates me. (It also fascinates me that so many feminist fangirls absolutely hate her for not putting her children first...)

      Of course, considering what a woobie I am about children and harm these days, I'm sure this only works for me because I know the children are safe. If they had ended dying helplessly in the woods like Elwing's brothers, or even if I believed the Fëanorians had treated them cruelly, I'd probably hate Elwing, too.
      [/ramble]
      • Though I assume she faced many of the reservations we have from other characters in Aman. Or that's how I write it

        I would have thought so.

        I neither like nor hate Elwing; I'm just not very interested in her (or her husband) I do believe though, she was under the 'influence' of the Silmaril when she did what she did. I'm not saying that some women wouldn't put a 'great cause' over their children, but I don't think I would, so I choose to think she was not entirely herself.
        • That I can get behind. I just don't get the severe mislike many Tolkien fans - including those whom one would expect to rejoice at a female character who gets to defy conventions and is NOT vilified for it. Instead, everyone goes "HOW CAN SHE ABANDON HER CHILDREN UNNATURAL WOMAN!!!". It really puzzles me!

          And yeah, I think the author has made it quite clear that most characters aren't quite themselves when under the influence of the Silmarils.
      • I personally class Elwing more with Dior in this (whom I also think made horrible choices that don't really reflect in how the texts depict him--of course, there are reasons why that would be true as well--and many fans view him), as leaders of their people who had the opportunity to make a decision that would have removed their people from harm's way, and did not. While it is interesting that people will pile on Elwing but not Dior (Dior is rarely even mentioned, in my experience), Elwing also survived Doriath and probably should have taken the Feanorians' letters with more seriousness than her father did; after all, she knew they had no problem with attacking civilians and children especially. She acknowledges that they keep the Silmaril because they believe it brings "healing and blessing," yet the imminent threat of being targeted in a kinslaying doesn't factor into that decision?

        Spiced Wine's idea of the Silmaril having addictive properties that prevent its holder from making rational choices is indeed one of the only ways that I can wrap my brain around first Dior, then Elwing. In that sense, they become characters who are sad in the same way that the Feanorians are sad: driven to terrible decisions over a trinket that's value is largely symbolic, certainly not worth, one would think, allowing the wholesale slaughter of one's people.

        Earendil is a bit different in my mind since he wasn't directly responsible for the decision to keep the Silmaril and put his people into harm's way. However, he is also a character I have trouble classifying as unequivocally heroic as the text and many fans would have it, and for the reasons you mention. He is a deadbeat dad who does abandon his people, apparently without investing his wife with the authority to make the kinds of decisions she needs to make in his absence (unless her excuse to not relinquish the Silmaril while he was gone was just that--an excuse). In that sense, it is unfair that the responsibility--and therefore the blame--fall on Elwing.
        • LJ is acting strange and eating my comment so I'll be try again.

          I don't find Earendil an interesting character. His main virtue is to be related by blood to almost everybody that matters. Maybe his adventures as a mariner could have fleshed him out but as it is ... Elwing is another story: when she jumps, she's committing suicide not taking the Silmaril to Earendil. What prompts her actions is Doriath trauma (reasonable) and Silmaril addiction (very likely) though she *knows* what Feanorians can do to captive children. So from that point of view I find it hard to sympathise with her though her decisions are understandable.

          Maglor rules! (though Maedhros is close behind!)
    • I can actually find sympathy for her from the "addiction" perspective. My major issues with her--and Dior--is that they deliberately put their people, including their children, in harm's way. Elwing is a little bit worse, in my mind, because she survived the kinslaying at Doriath, dangit! She knew that the Feanorians wouldn't balk at attacking civilians, including children.
      • She knew that the Feanorians wouldn't balk at attacking civilians, including children.

        Yes, that is true. It made me think about the power of the Silmarils when I was writing it - my mind went off at a tangent.
  • 1. *chortle* No surprise here! For me, it was Fëanor first, then Maedhros, but after that I became really fickle and started loving them all one by one. ;)
    2. For me it's Ecthelion. Lately I've been rereading The Fall of Gondolin and it makes me wish that Tolkien had not died when he did and could have finished (or at least written more inThe Silm.) Alas. :(
    3. Yes, it's hard, isn't it? I have to jump on the Beren/Luthien bandwagon although I hate to do so in part because I believe that if Tolkien had had a chance at a 'do-over' he may have written their story a little differently (and better). I think the story suffered in that it was too personal for him and he put his Luthien on a pedestal.
    4. Totally, TOTALLY agree here. These three are such fascinating subjects because of this!
    5. Yeah, this was a tough one to make a choice on.
    6. No, no surprise there. ;)
    (I'm so fickle I have soooooo many....) But I've recently fallen for Maglor again, so it's him.
    7. Good choice! But I'd choose Maglor for his survival skills. I'm all into that.
    8. Oh, good choice! I never thought of it that way! (I chose Celegorm to slap and I'd stick by that because of the wasted potential.)
    9. Maedhros/Fingon. TEH OTP. ;P
    10. You are so right on! :)

    • But I've recently fallen for Maglor again, so it's him.

      Maglor had almost no appeal to me until I started writing AMC! The reason, actually, it takes so long for him to have a PoV chapter in that story is that I felt utterly uninspired by him. I blame fanfic for this, actually: Most of the stories I was reading about him at the time overused the wimpy!Maglor trope (one of those fanons that makes me introduce my head to hard objects like desktops and walls ;). Once I began actually reading what the Silm says about him, of course, I found him much more intriguing. I enjoy writing him now, and of course, I know authors who write him as a much more complex character also.
  • I still like Elwing, strangely enough - I don't want to excuse her actions, but maybe it is the way her chapter is written and framed, which is to say that yes, there is some narrative bias, but (I think) not nearly as much as there could have been. It would have been easy to demonize the opposing party, but even the Fëanorians are written as tragic there, and rather than chalking up the blame to either them or Elwing entirely, the text goes out of its way to mention the confusion of that battle and fighters switching sides - and even states that Elrond and Elros grew to love their new foster-fathers... which is decidedly grey-morality territory to me.

    None of that excuses Elwing's actions of abandoning her children, or putting her people's lives on the line, but - she has Lúthien's legacy to defend (and the obsession with her Silmaril to combat), and the Fëanorians have the Oath, which (imho) doesn't excuse the their actions either. So she could have acted more prudently, definitely, but I don't think she deserves the bad rep. (And of course Tolkien has a tendency to put many of his female characters on pedestals rather than make them people with motivations and failures to their name - which I think is to blame here too - she fails and gets rewarded nonetheless, the whole 'fate of the world' thing aside - and that annoys me to no end.)

    Tolkien's most fully drawn women (largely absent from the published text due to Christopher's edits, not JRRT's, unfortunately).

    Oooooh? Is this the HoMe vs. Silm treatment, or Arda Reconstructed vs. HoMe? You know I love Nerdanel, so I'm itching for an answer here. ;) I've been wanting to get that book anyway, and this would be a good incentive if there ever was one. XD
    • I just commented to Spiced Wine and Lyra above that I can find far more sympathy for Elwing (and Dior) when considering the Silmaril as having properties that tend to diminish a person's capability for rational thinking. As I think about it more, it's not even Elwing's actions during the kinslaying so much that bother me as it is the deliberate choice to put her people into harm's way. She shares this with Dior, but unlike Dior, she'd survived an experience that should have driven home the point that the Feanorians would attack civilians, including children.

      It just occurred to me too, inspired by your comment, that I think some of the upset over Elwing's abandonment of her children has a fanon origin. As you note, there was great confusion, yet I've seen numerous fanworks that show Elwing, Elrond, and Elros together in the same place when Elwing decides to take her dive. That is, admittedly, harder to accept, but I don't see any textual evidence for that. The order of events isn't even described (and would it be trustworthy even if it were?); we don't know that E&E weren't captured before Elwing took her dive. Certainly, Elwing seems to know of their captivity when she arrives at Vingilot.

      Now I feel a Heretic Loremaster post coming on, and I really need to focus on the research paper for my History of Religion class! Grr! ;)

      Earendil factors into it too, of course, although I didn't mention him specifically because he didn't make the decision to choose the "healing and blessing" of the Silmaril over almost certain slaughter of his people by the Feanorians. Nonetheless, he is absent and therefore negligent of his responsibilities, and Elwing's reply to the Feanorians that she will not relinquish the jewel while he is away makes me wonder if she was even invested with the power to make these kinds of decisions (or if this is just an excuse to buy more time).
      • She shares this with Dior, but unlike Dior, she'd survived an experience that should have driven home the point that the Feanorians would attack civilians, including children.

        Yes, that is true. Dior had no proper antecedent (Alqualondë was for the ships, not the Silmarils), so maybe he just believed they wouldn't. Elwing certainly could've known better. But I still somehow feel sympathy for her. I mean, it's a hard decision. The smart move would definitely have been trading the Silmaril, but then, I can sort of understand how you wouldn't want to surrender a precious heirloom to the exact people who killed your parents and brothers. As a leader, one should obviously look beyond such personal animosities when necessary... but I can see how one wouldn't manage to. Especially considering the mind-messing properties the Silmarils definitely possess.

        yet I've seen numerous fanworks that show Elwing, Elrond, and Elros together in the same place when Elwing decides to take her dive.

        Good grief! I've never come across any such fanworks (that I remember), and the idea makes no sense to me at all. I've always assumed that Elwing and the boys were far apart from each other at the point of her decision - either because they were with their nurse/governess/teacher/whatever person while Elwing had to do leader-of-her-people-y stuff, or because they had already disappeared and she presumably assumed they were dead already (so she wouldn't so much "abandon her children" as "give in to despair").
        I do hope you'll find the time for the HL post :D

        Elwing's reply to the Feanorians that she will not relinquish the jewel while he is away makes me wonder if she was even invested with the power to make these kinds of decisions

        I think it's a bullshit excuse, to be honest. In Real World (TM) history, medieval ladies tended to be the de facto leader of their households when the lords were away (for parliament season or for sport or for a pilgrimage or for whatever other reason). (Apparently, few people had trouble accepting that a woman governed an estate, as long as she officially did it in her husband's/father's name, not her own.) Eileen Power did her research about the economic situation of women in history (among other things) between the 1910s and 1940s, so that sort of information was available for Tolkien's contemporaries. So it is likely that Elwing really would have had the power to make such decisions. Actually, considering that the Silmaril comes from her side of the family, it's probably hers to dispose of (or not :P) anyway.
        ... which possibly explains why the Fëanorians didn't wait (something that has so far puzzled me a bit, because after all Eärendil is - not that distantly - related to them, so one surely could've worked something out in time) - they decided that they were given bullshit, and thus felt they had to act at once. :(

        But I still feel sorry for Elwing. Did she make some really stupid decisions? Sure. But so did Fëanor and Fingolfin, and I love those guys anyway. ^^

  • I'd definitely love to hear your thoughts about the characters True Blood some time :) I think I'm gonna do the meme.
    • Okay, here goes! See how little persuading I required ... ;)

      1. The character I first fell in love with

      Probably Tara. She was ballsy and, even in the first episodes, had hints of complexity that I didn't find in the other characters. (I didn't like TB at all until about episode 4 and quickly got hooked after that.) My eventual favorite character, of course, wasn't really playing much of a role at that point. ;)

      I felt like they put Tara too often in the victim role in later seasons, which I didn't like.

      2. The character I never expected to love as much as I do now

      Pam. I loved the development of her character in the later seasons. I squeed massively when she and Tara got together. I adore her obvious love and loyalty for Eric (and clearly non-sexual, which must be ... difficult ;) and her willingness to sacrifice herself for him and for Tara, all behind that flinty veneer. And she has some of the best one-liners in the show.

      3. The character everyone else loves that I don’t

      Jason Stackhouse. I despised him in the early seasons and was actively rooting for him to be offed. My negative feelings toward him have cooled a bit, but I really dislike how he is lusted after by women who really should be strong enough to know better, like Tara and Jessica. He's not even handsome to me, so it can't even be his good looks; it sure as hell ain't what's between his ears! He looks [and thinks] like GW Bush.

      4. The character I love that everyone else hates

      I really like Sookie, and I know she gets a lot of hate. I love that she is feminine, sometimes very vulnerable, and yet she quite often gets to rescue the men in her life who should be quite competent enough to get themselves out of situations! Yet they need her. I have seen her put down for her willingness to rush headlong into obvious danger, but to me, she seems a clever revision of the knight-in-shining-armor trope; if she was a man rushing to rescue a woman under the same circumstances, she'd be an obvious hero, so that's how I prefer to see her.

      5. The character I used to love but don’t any longer

      I used to like Sam a lot more than I do now, but his involvement in subplots I could do without have cooled me toward him somewhat. First it was his long-lost brother Tommy, now the kid-in-peril!trope with Luna and her daughter, which has long been one of my least favorite plot devices evah. My biggest complaint with TB is that it creates subplots that just one day up and end (werepanthers?? *groan*) as though they never existed in the first place, and Sam seems to be involved in those to a pretty heavy degree.
      • I love what you said about Sookie. I think you're right, even though I don't really like her all that much. You summed up her character pretty nicely. Then, I like everything you said about Pam. She's one of the most colorful, realistic characters in the show (if one can say such a thing about a vampire). I really dig her backstory in the show, in comparison to the one from the books.

        While I don't really like Tara too much, I can see why you do.

        Jason handsome? Where exactly? ROTFL! Loved your GW Bush comparison.

        As for the subplots, I don't get why they multiply them as they do. Come on, some of them are okay, though pretty annoying if they last too long (Terry and her post-Iraqi trauma as an example), but there were some that were a total waste of space and time, like the whole Mickenses thing. Bleh.

        I still like Sam, but IMO he should have ended up with Tara, not Luna.
    • Continued ...

      6. The character I would totally smooch

      Eric Northman. ;)

      7. The character I’d want to be like

      Sookie. As I noted above, she is at once feminine and heroic. I love her strength and her courage. I love her ability to empathize with people, as in her response to Eric's pain when Godric died. I love the way she embraces her sexuality after starting the show as the stereotypical virgin. One of my favorite scenes in the whole series so far is when she lectures Eric and Bill, whilst wearing very sexy red lingerie, about how she is not theirs; rather, they are hers. And how dare they be prudes about what that implies--they're vampires! ;)

      8. The character I’d slap

      Jason Stackhouse. Again. Just because he's an idiot, and he looks like GW Bush to boot. ;)

      9. A pairing that I love

      Sookie/Eric! My OTP! I've never much liked Bill or Sookie/Bill. I've been rooting for Sookie and Eric to hook up since she started fantasizing about him in Season 2.

      I used to really love Jessica/Hoyt. They were adorable together. The demise of their relationship, however, struck me as really believable given their characters and situation, so my shipping them remains a nostalgic memory, kind of like the first flushes of their own love. :)

      10. A pairing that I despise

      Sookie/Bill. I've never gotten what she sees in him. The on-again-off-again nature of their relationship is kind of annoying, given how she's willing to so quickly commit to him. C'mon, Sookie! The fact that you break up with him every three episodes should clue you in that he's not the right guy for you! And Eric totally is, of course. ;)

      How many days left till Season 6?? :D
      • 1. The character I first fell in love with
        Before Eric made his appearance, I liked Sam Merlotte very much. I still like him and I think he's one of the most interesting characters in the show, however they really overdid the subplots with him -- first with Tommy, then with Luna. How about he should have stuck with Tara? But no, they had to complicate him like that.

        Since Eric's first scene, I've been totally in love with him, so Sam must forgive me.

        2. The character I never expected to love as much as I do now
        Lafayette. Perhaps because he's never made it past the first book and in the show he really deveopled from a drug dealer to a compelling character.

        Then goes Pam. Kinda for obvious reasons ;)

        3. The character everyone else loves that I don’t
        Jessica Hamby. She's a whiny, annoying teenager who thinks she knows everything about the world. Okay, she has her moments, but most of the time she irks me so much it's really ridiculous.

        4. The character I love that everyone else hates
        Russell Edgington. That was a first class villain, a maniac, but absolutely charming when he wanted. It was such a waste that they killed him off in the 5th season, but I kind of understand why they did that -- they wanted Eric to have his revenge and they needed to make room for Warlow (sp.) and Billith.

        5. The character I used to love but don’t any longer
        Not too fond of Alcide any more, even though the actor playing him is an eye candy. His packmaster subplot got too irritating, and I sometimes think that all he does in the show is fists flying and sexing up a random she-were-wolf.

        6. The character I would totally smooch
        Sam Merlotte. Only because Eric would never let me do it ;)

        7. The character I’d want to be like
        Godric, but not dead ;)

        8. The character I’d slap
        JASON STACKHOUSE. OMG, he's such a dumbass.

        Then goes Bill. For the obvious reasons.

        9. A pairing that I love
        Eric/Sookie forever. But, sometimes I think she really deserves a solid punch in the ribs for allowing Bill to get closer to her, again and again.

        10. A pairing that I despise
        Bill/Sookie forever. I admit I liked Bill in the 4th season because he started wearing suits and got a normal haircut. He looked way better, but is forever a pansy. And now Billith, what's more ridiculous? Perhaps Eric's sister.

        I don't like Tara/Pam. Because I think Tara should never have been made vampire, first of all. Then, it was too obvious to me, glaring even, that Tara would 'suddenly' be lesbian only because she was disappointed with men, and that she would have a thing for her maker in the end.



        The 6th season will be aired on the 9th of June, but it's gonna have only 10 episodes, I read.
        • he character everyone else loves that I don’t
          Jessica Hamby.


          I like Jessica, but I also like teenagers (handy for a high school teacher ;) and am by now immune to their ways, so she doesn't bother me much.

          The character I love that everyone else hates
          Russell Edgington.


          I loved to hate Russell Edgington. He was one of the best villains I've encountered on TV. He made me want to take a bath every time I saw him, but he was brilliant in that role, the perfect mix of slime and and charm with a bit of abject violence thrown in the mix.

          His packmaster subplot got too irritating

          Agreed there. Maybe because the werewolves remind me too much of the people who live in Carroll County (god, guns, and lots of flannel), that particular subplot does very little for me. I don't find that particular subculture of U.S. life very appealing at all.

          Godric, but not dead ;)

          Yes! Totally agreed! Now I'm mixed on what my answer would be.

          But, sometimes I think she really deserves a solid punch in the ribs for allowing Bill to get closer to her, again and again.

          Ugh. Right on there. To me, it's an inconsistency in how her character is developed; the whole "she's Faerie so she's unusually attracted to vampires" seemed a cop-out to me to explain how an otherwise pretty sensible, clear-headed young woman would simply fall for someone, then keep up with it when it was clearly so wrong for her. (And Eric was clearly so right, just sayin'. ;)

          And now Billith, what's more ridiculous? Perhaps Eric's sister.

          Billith was comical to me. Definitely one of those moments when the show plays on being more than a little hokey! :D Eric's sister--that plot point didn't do much for me, and the way she just kind of ... arrived one day, had me thinking, "Whoa wtf."

          Aside from allowing ample opportunities for ghost!Godric to make appearances, that subplot, to me, would have worked better if they'd had a strictly romantic past.

          The 6th season will be aired on the 9th of June

          Just added it to my Google calendar! ;^D
          • Also, I read that the mysterious Warlow will be played by Rutger Hauer (omg, one of my all time favs). If they can throw Christopher Walken into the mix, I'll be the happiest gal in the world.
  • Dior and Elwing. I've never understood how these characters plop their respective people directly in harm's way out of lust for the Silmaril and end up being treated like saints. (...) To me, that sounds like the same pathological obsession that led to their downfall; they are vilified and she is written as a hero.

    Because there's a difference between putting your people in harm's way as a reaction to aggression and actively going to attack other people. Elwing put her own people into danger, the sons of Fëanor put his own people in harm's way by leading them to war, and harmed a lot of people who had done nothing to harm them.
    Besides, irrational as Elwing's actions may have been, I have a lot more sympathy for her being irrational and hating the Fëanorians as a result of having her family slaughtered (and her grandparents and grand-greatparents threatened) by them than I have for the Fëanorians being that way as a result of, basically, other people having something that they want.
    • This, yes.

      Now I've started writing about her, I've wondered how I would have reacted in Elwing's position. She was a child when she and the Silmaril were brought to Sirion - it was always there, and she would have been raised to think of it as her family's heirloom, which she would have taken into her marriage, making it perhaps as much Earendil's as hers. Then the people who had destroyed her first home, killed her parents and left her brothers to starve to death started threatening her people, and her husband, the person whose judgement she perhaps relied on a little too much, was away at sea.... Considering how the attack on Doriath must have traumatized her as a child, she would have been terrified, and terrified people do things that might not make sense looked at from the outside.

      Edited at 2013-01-26 06:53 pm (UTC)
      • I think the complexity of the emotions she must have felt (coupled, likely, with the influence of the Silmaril itself) is a really good point. However, I have trouble imagining that Elwing would have been naive of the Silmaril's history and its ownership by the Feanorians, intensified by their oath. Even if she believed that she had a legitimate claim to it--which is arguable (I tend to side with the Feanorians on this one, as recovery of stolen property doesn't give a person the right to that property)--that claim is hardly ironclad. Of course she's not a bad person (I don't think the Feanorians are "bad people" either) but she definitely made some bad choices, imo, that led to a significant loss of life for her people that might have been avoided.
        • I see her as a frightened young woman, nominally in charge of a big, multicultural settlement - Sindar, Noldor, Telerin, Nandor, whatever else - and desperately trying to buy time until her husband gets home. I wonder what Idril's view about the Silmaril might have been, or Cirdan's? Elwing would have grown up trusting the people around her, and it's their interpretation of her family history that would have held weight, not an unbiased overview of the rights and wrongs. Not understanding the other person's side of the argument has been at the heart of an awful lot of conflict down through history.

          ETA - eish, LJ is in a foul mood today!

          Edited at 2013-01-26 08:04 pm (UTC)
          • It was (hoping I am safe not going with is). I lost one lengthy comment yesterday. I suspect we'll get an email, upping paid account time by one day. ;)

            I like your interpretation. Not having written Elwing, I've cheated her of the deeper consideration you've obviously given her. I think the key word in your explanation is "nominally in charge"; my own views of her haven't assumed this. I just hauled out my consolidated timelines and see she was very young when Sirion was attacked, so this makes a lot of sense.
    • [Trying this again! LJ ate my first attempt. Grrr, LJ!]

      Because there's a difference between putting your people in harm's way as a reaction to aggression and actively going to attack other people.

      I am not arguing that the Feanorians should be given a pass. I am not a Feanorian apologist, even though my fascination (as a writer) is tracing their downfall, and I do try to understand them as more than villains. Theirs is certainly the greater evil.

      However, I also believe that Dior and Elwing are given perhaps too much of a pass. They--especially Elwing--were well aware of the Feanorians' capacity for violence. Their claim on the jewel was tenuous at best; recovering stolen property does not give one an automatic claim to that property. Yet Dior wouldn't even reply to the Feanorians, and neither did much of anything to protect their people from the attacks to come.

      I have a lot more sympathy for her being irrational and hating the Fëanorians as a result of having her family slaughtered (and her grandparents and grand-greatparents threatened) by them than I have for the Fëanorians being that way as a result of, basically, other people having something that they want.

      I would honestly question Elwing's sanity if she didn't hate the Feanorians. :) Of course she has every right to do so (as did Dior), and I agree with Kei below that those emotions certainly clouded her judgment.

      But I also disagree that her justifiable hatred of the Feanorians has much of anything to do with defending her [lack of] response. Firstly, the Feanorians weren't simply after something she had that they wanted; their father made that Silmaril and it was stolen from him amid murder of their grandfather and king. It belonged to them. As I noted above, Luthien's recovery of that jewel makes first Dior's then Elwing's right to it tenuous at best. If I dislike my neighbor for some wrong he committed against me, and his dog is stolen, that doesn't give me the right to keep the dog when it winds up in my backyard. (For the record I like my neighbor but not his dog. ;) Perhaps an argument can be made in Dior and Elwing's favor, but their claim was hardly ironclad.

      Even if it was, pretending that that "right" is somehow going to defend innocent people against known murderers is irresponsible bordering on complicit. I honestly cannot wrap my head around it unless I consider the Silmaril as influencing people in a way that impedes their reason (which I do think is the case). That makes Elwing human, a relatable and flawed character. However, it doesn't make her worthy, imo, of the somewhat saintly treatment she sometimes receives, as though she was a wholly innocent victim unable to do anything in her own defense. She made bad choices that resulted in the deaths of many and her children's capture.

      ETA: This conversation made me do some research, and I see that Elwing was also very young when Sirion was attacked. Given that, Kei's explanation makes a lot of sense.

      Edited at 2013-01-27 04:31 pm (UTC)
  • Awww the three C's are getting some lurv together!

    Ah and Elwing... yes. Hmm, so much has been said about her, the possible influence of the jewel (which could have been corrupted as well). The past two years I have enjoyed Keiliss Solstice stories which features a young and fragile Elwing & Gil Galad. The way Kei approaches her and her background, makes it a wee bit more plausible as to why she made her decisions later in life. Just a discreet rec as it were.
    • Pretty much everything Kei has written that I haven't read yet is on my radar for when I have reading time again. ;) Her explanation of Elwing's decision in the comments above makes a lot of sense to me; I just dug out my consolidated timelines, and Elwing was very young with Sirion was attacked. Now I'm looking sternly at Earendil. ;)
Powered by LiveJournal.com