RÓMENNA MEETING REPORT
Rómenna Meeting Report - August 6, 1983
August 6, 1983
|Margaret Purdy (host)
We started off our largest meeting to date with discussion of "Of the Ruin
of Doriath." A survey of the travels of Húrin after his release from captivity
revealed that he is the only one who ever listened to Melian's advice. He was
able to see his mistake and put away his bitterness toward the rulers of Doriath.
There was some concern, again, over whether Húrin was damned by his suicide
(there had been similar concerns voiced at earlier meetings about Túrin
and Nienor). It was suggested that Húrin's saying of Morwen "She was not conquered"
indicated that she, at least, escaped damnation.
After Húrin's departure, Thingol begins to meditate on the Silmaril, and
to be possessed with the same greedy love of it that Fëanor had, but with less
reason, it was pointed out, since Feanor had fashioned the jewels and Thingol
had not. He has the Dwarves set the jewel in the Nauglamír of Finrod Felagund,
which Húrin had brought from the ruins of Nargothrond. The Dwarves, not surprisingly,
decide they'd rather keep the Silmaril for themselves, and slay
Thingol, thus leading to a war between them and the Elves of Doriath. A tragic
irony was noted as the Nauglamír, created as a symbol of friendship between
Elves and Dwarves, becomes a bone of contention between the two races.
Here there was a digression on race relations (wherein it was noted that
Elves and Maiar get along better than Elves and Men, or Elves and Dwarves), on
geography (how does the Silmarillion
map relate to the Third Age map), and the
immortality or otherwise of elf-human crosses (which was seen as an example of
Lamarckian genetics) .
Getting ourselves back to the topic, we noted that after defeating the
Dwarf-host with the help of the Green-elves and the Ents (here appearing for
the first time), Beren has the good sense to dump the treasure in the river.
If there was ever any doubt about Beren's "sainthood," this action should lay
it to rest. He does, however, recover the Silmaril. His and Lúthien's son
Dior assumes the kingship of Doriath, and when the Silmaril is sent to him,
he knows that Beren and Lúthien have at last died.
At this point the sons of Fëanor get into the act once more, sending messages
to Dior saying, more or less, "Please give the Silmaril back or else."
Dior refuses, and the sons of Fëanor attack and lay waste to Doriath. Dior is
slain, and his young sons Elured and Elurín are abandoned in the forest by
Celegorm's people (it was noted that Maedhros characteristically repents of
this action and tries to find the children, but with no success, after which
he probably gave Celegorm's people a royal chewing-out). The Silmaril, however,
is saved by Dior's daughter Elwing, who flees to the coastal lands of
Nan-Tathren with a remnant of the people of Doriath. But Doriath as a kingdom
is at an end.
We now turned to the next chapter, "Of Tuor and the Fall of Gondolin." It
was noted that Gondolin pursues the classic policy of isolationism, shutting itself off from the outside world and its problems, to concern itself with its
own affairs. This policy works no better for Gondolin, in the end, than it has
for countries in the Primary World who have used it. When Tuor comes to Gondolin
with Ulmo's warning, Turgon will not listen to him, having fallen prey to
the feelings Ulmo warned against: "Love not too much the work of thy hands or
the devices of thy heart." Here again is the fault of Fëanor in a new form.
This possessive love is also felt by Maeglin for Idril, and it is his desire
for her and for power that eventually leads him to betray Gondolin when
he is captured by Morgoth. Morgoth thus finds out the location of Gondolin,
and proceeds to employ a tactic that has since been used in our own day: attacking on a holiday (cf. the Tet Offensive and the Yom Kippur War, not to
mention Washington crossing the Delaware and wiping out a bunch of Hessians
who had been making merry on Christmas). Fortunately, Idril has had an escape
route constructed, making sure that Maeglin didn't hear about it. She, Tuor,
their son Eärendil, and a small group of followers are able to flee the ruin
of Gondolin. It was noted that Idril employs the same ruse that was to serve
Fredo and Sam ages later: tricking evil by going toward
it (the escape route
was constructed to the north, in the direction of Thangorodrim). Eventually
the refugees come to the coasts of Beleriand where they will eventually join
up with the refugees from Doriath (and Eärendil meets Elwing).
The voyage of Earendil is foreshadowed by Ulmo's embassage to the Valar
on behalf of the embattled Children of Ilúvatar. His plea is refused, and it
is stated that only a representative of both Elves and Men will be able to succeed in persuading the Valar to intervene.
It was about at this point that Alexei arrived (having missed the bus),
to point out that Ulmo corresponds in symbols to the Gabriel of cabalistic
literature, having the attributes "water-messenger-horn." He also commented
that the death of Turgon (falling from his own tower) resembles the Tower of
the Tarot, whose meaning might be very well expressed as "Love not too much
the work of thy hands. . . ."
In the tradition of the Beren and Lúthien ballet and the Túrin operatic
cycle, it was suggested that the Fall of Gondolin would make a terrific disaster movie. And with this the discussion came to a close.
--reported by Margaret Purdy
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