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Old September 17, 2021, 18:05   #11
archolewa
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The one I really mourn is the Fall of Gondolin. Rubbing salt in the wound, there is a beginning of a full rewrite of it in "Unfinished Tales", which is possibly my favourite piece of Tolkien's writing.
Yeah, I read both the paetial rewrite and the original version in the "Fall of Gondolin" book. Man, the old version may not quite line up with current canon, but it is *epic*.

Personally, though I have to go with the original version of Beren and Luthien for my favorite piece of writing. Theres a but when Luthien is first setting out to save Beren where she cries in terror, before pressing on. That really hammered home for me just how terrifying "Melko" was for the elves, and just how much she relied on her mother's girdle before then.
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Old September 19, 2021, 00:56   #12
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Would it be controversial to suggest that Tolkien might have had a very opposite-of-nuanced idea of evil? I don't think it's too much of stretch that his experiences during The War and religiosity may have affected the writing. I'm no literary critic or anything, but the themes in the books seem very Original Sin-esque and all that.

EDIT: Think of any random orc. Could that orc redeem himself through being a good person? Were they only capable of evil and therefore irredeemable? How could an orc in a society of orcs (who can only do evil) even function?

Dgmw, it works for a story, but it is very simplistic.

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Old September 19, 2021, 01:30   #13
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Would it be controversial to suggest that Tolkien might have had a very opposite-of-nuanced idea of evil? I don't think it's too much of stretch that his experiences and religiosity may have affected the writing. I'm no literary critic or anything, but the themes in the books seem very Original Sin-esque and all that.
He was a devout Catholic, and had a very strong belief in the concept of the Fall, and this definitely affected everything to do with his writing. So Morgoth is a pretty good equivalent to Lucifer. His ideas of evil when applied to humans in his works are pretty conventional for his background - everyone is capable of both evil and good, and so on. Boromir, for example, is tempted to do evil acts for what seem like good reasons to him, but then repents and is redeemed.

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EDIT: Think of any random orc. Could that orc redeem himself through being a good person?
This is where it gets tricky. Morgoth and Sauron are mostly regarded as an embodiment of evil (although both of them behave well at different times, and there is some hint that they had a chance of genuine repentance). Orcs were created by Morgoth (more or less - this was another thorny issue for Tolkien that he never really resolved), and so shared some of that embodied-evilness, which would imply the answer to your question is no. The description of the battle aftermath at the gate of Mordor after the ring was destroyed indicates the difference between how the humans behaved and how orcs and trolls did. But despite all that, you do get occasional flashes of "humanity" even from the orcs - in the conversation Sam overhears between Shagrat and Gorbag, for example.

My feeling is that Tolkien believed with his head that absolute evil exists, and translated that into his work, but faced with (real or written) sentient beings his feeling of faith in God and humanity softened the edges a bit.
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Old September 19, 2021, 02:40   #14
Pete Mack
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It is standard Catholic 'lore' that demons and fallen angels cannot be saved; only humans. (Why fallen angels, with no true free will, were created in the first place is left as a mystery.)
So yes, orcs are probably just beyond redemption.
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Old September 19, 2021, 18:25   #15
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IWhy fallen angels, with no true free will, were created in the first place is left as a mystery.)
The idea is that angels, not existing in time, and being created with full knowledge of everything they need to know, instantly made the decision to either fall or not fall using their free will, and since they have and had full knowledge of the consequences of their actions in their entirety from the instant of their simultaneous creation and fall, they will never change their minds.
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