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The Silver Swan

By:Isabeau
 February, 23 2006

The place for discussion about Hethlin's new adventures.


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38 replies


 [11] Imhiriel, I agree 100% with all of your points.

BUT: There is that fine line Tolkien draws between good and evil magic. He calls the former "Art". And the other is distinguished by imposing one's will by force on other things/beings/phenpmena. And I think the disappearance of Art is what is sad.

Yes, very true. I get the sense that Soledad's vision of the power of the Avari is like that and I must read more of her stuff because that's how I see it too.

Lórien deteriorates so rapidly after the departure of Galadriel because she kept it beautiful and magical and, yes, unchanging, by means of Nenya. After the Three Rings lose their power, the sudden withdrawal of this stay is like a shock to the wood, like all these centuries catching up at once with the present. In contrast to this I see Eryn Lasgalen. Held without any Rings of Powers, and therefore, despite Dol Guldur and spiders etc. "healthier". IIRC, Elrond used his Ring only sparingly, which would speak for Rivendell better able to accomodate the change after the fall of Sauron.

Exactly how I see it. Galadriel trod the line between artfully guiding/protecting and imposing her will. The lack of change in Lorien represents, to me, not only the physical damage that can be done when an unchanging power is imposed on the material world of dynamic change, but also the spiritual damage it can do. Mortals weren't welcome in the Golden Wood, while Thranduil and Elrond kept open ties with communities of men. Lorien was this ideal place that mortals weren't allowed to access, it stood as a reprimand to them: "no matter how noble of heart you are, no matter how courageous or intelligent you are, we exceed you. You cannot achieve what we inherently are; you cannot affect us and we don't care enough to affect you." It's a reflection of the Valar's weird attitude towards Middle Earth and its mortal inhabitants (and those of its immortal inhabitants who didn't jump on the Train to Aman). The whole Ban imposed on the Numenoreans -- "you've got a nice little island, and we might come and visit you sometimes, or at least the Elves will, but you can't come to our Even Better Place That Never Changes!" -- set mortals in a real conundrum. They knew that there were beings who were wiser than they, who had ways of knowing and ways of affecting the material world that they themselves could not access. It's very hard to find your own, innovative way forward when you've got people far ahead of you in knowledge. You'll just do your best to copy them. It won't occur to you to look for another way to find knowledge. Knowledge is possessed by others, not you. You'll just strive to become more like them ... which is a sad thing for mortals to do.

I think Tolkien recognized that on some level, when he mentioned of the Gift of Men. He attributed their failure to recognize it as such to Morgoth's, and later Sauron's, corruptive influence. I can't help but think that the Elves, and possibly even the Valar themselves, unwittingly contributed to that devaluation of mortality. The Elves were superior to men in strength, in knowledge, in art, in beauty -- in just about every way imaginable. People in Dol Amroth strive to emulate Elven ways. Numenoreans look more Elven than other men do, and the Numenorean standard of beauty holds sway. As long as the Elves remain in Middle Earth, men will, in vain, try to be like them. In some ways, to their detriment.

But to me, it's not Sherlock Holmes that leaps to my mind, but rather the image of the Renaissance-man: highly educated, curious, open for all kinds of knowledge, sciences, arts, looking not only into the future with new discoveries, but also with an eye to preserving what is worthy from the past - Leonardo da Vinci. And "The Machine that changed the World" fits awfully well in this renaissance theme, don't you think?

That's exactly how I see it! There is a brilliant triology called The Baroque Cycle, by Neal Stephenson, which features as some of its central characters Leibniz and Newton. I know, that's the Enlightenment rather than the Renaissance, but the same spirit of inquisitiveness and genius held sway then too. Really fascinating people, I'm awed by them (and the Renaissance figures like Da Vinci or Galileo too, of course). The questions they posed, and their means of investigating those questions; to create empirical knowledge that is replicable and demonstrable instead of taken on faith is such an enormous transformation of the way that people made meaning of the world. Amazing stuff!!

OK, back to the world of Silver Swan: I think the passing of the Elves and magic is definitely sad on some levels. Because they're so beautiful and wise and have such lovely hair. And excellent fashion sense! But sad for them as much as for the mortals they leave behind. As a place devoid of change (and devoid by that point of even the Feanorians), Valinor sounds like a snoozefest. All the interesting stuff is going to be happening in Middle Earth, and it's going to be people like Amrothos, and also possibly in her own way Hethlin, who will make it interesting. Amrothos by inventing printing presses and explosives and perhaps some binoculars. Hethlin by breaking the old mold of leadership and making more room for people with talents that extend beyond the roles assigned to them by tradition.

I'm sorry to see the Elves leave... of course. But I'm excited for men. Excited and apprehensive.

Rebecca
Posted:Feb 28, 2006 18:14 GMT  Reply to this Comment


 [12] Following up on Nargil's esquire question above, I had a few questions in the same line I'll bring over from the monster thread: What is the regular class vs. whatever Hethlin was in before in Dol Amroth Yule? How many esquires are typically in the program from year to year? And what is the usual age range?

Also, Altariel's Nuzgul aside, it would be great to watch some of the interaction between Imrahil and Eomer now that they are back in Edoras. Eomer teased Imrahil terribly in CMC (the old ladies' horse, etc.), and I'd love to know how Imrahil retaliates. Somehow, I can't see him letting any good opportunities slide by... Don't know that it can be fit into Silver Swan, of course - just a hopeful comment. :)

Denise
Posted:Mar 8, 2006 01:52 GMT  Reply to this Comment


 [13] Denise wrote: Following up on Nargil's esquire question above, I had a few questions in the same line I'll bring over from the monster thread: What is the regular class vs. whatever Hethlin was in before in Dol Amroth Yule?

Andrahar was training Hethlin seperately from the other esquires when she first arrive in Dol Amroth. The others have a group arms practice.

How many esquires are typically in the program from year to year?

It varies. There's not really a set number-some of it depends on how many nobles have sent their sons to train and some of it depends on who Andra and Imri think is worthy. They won't let people in just to make up a set quota.

And what is the usual age range?

The youngest start training at sixteen. It can go up to about thirty for the men-at-arms who've distinguished themselves. So Heth is not a real abberation in terms of age at least.

Also, Altariel's Nuzgul aside, it would be great to watch some of the interaction between Imrahil and Eomer now that they are back in Edoras. Eomer teased Imrahil terribly in CMC (the old ladies' horse, etc.), and I'd love to know how Imrahil retaliates. Somehow, I can't see him letting any good opportunities slide by... Don't know that it can be fit into Silver Swan, of course - just a hopeful comment. :)

Imrahil and Eomer are going to be doing something together in Silver Swan, something they cook up while Aragorn is taking the others north. But I won't say more than that. Haven't decided about the form Imrahil's retaliation will take, or when he'll take it. He might wait until the day he's got Eomer on his home ground. Perhaps that's why poor Eomer ends up on that boat in the drabble...Imri's a patient fellow, he can wait for the right time.


Posted:Mar 9, 2006 04:16 GMT  Reply to this Comment


 [14] How did Andra end up with two of the top jobs in the Swan knights?

Also will we get to see Heth's lady training or just the Swan knight stuff?

When does she make up with Lady Tirathiel, she seems to have a good opinion of her in Dol-Amroth Yule?

Nargil
Posted:Mar 9, 2006 10:03 GMT  Reply to this Comment


 [15] Isabeau: Perhaps that's why poor Eomer ends up on that boat in the drabble...Imri's a patient fellow, he can wait for the right time.

LOL! Yes, Eomer would be particularly vulnerable when he's pursuing Lothiriel... Dealing with big brothers, asking for her hand... I'm almost feeling sorry for the guy already.

Denise
Posted:Mar 10, 2006 02:13 GMT  Reply to this Comment


 [16] Imri's a patient fellow, he can wait for the right time.

Yes, and perhaps Andra taught him some of the wisdom of the Haradrim -- revenge is a dish best served cold! I'm assuming, of course, that such a principle is a tenet of the honor-bound society of Harad...

Rebecca
Posted:Mar 11, 2006 10:58 GMT  Reply to this Comment


 [17] Nargil wrote: How did Andra end up with two of the top jobs in the Swan knights?

That's Imri's fault. He started with one and got assigned the other, but I haven't decided which one he was first, though I'm leaning towards Commander, with everyone deciding that he was the best person to be Armsmaster as well later on. It's something that has happened before from time to time, and if there are Swan Knights resentful because he's got two of the top spots sewn up, they don't say so anywhere near Imri or Andra. The Prince is considered to have the final say in that matter.

Also will we get to see Heth's lady training or just the Swan knight stuff?

Would I forego letting everyone see Heth suffer through learning how not to lope across a dance floor? Of course not!

When does she make up with Lady Tirathiel, she seems to have a good opinion of her in Dol-Amroth Yule?

I don't think they really make up, per se. Tirathiel will apologize, but she'll be pretty relentless with Heth's training. It's just that Heth does have something in common with Andrahar: she can appreciate when someone is very good at something she herself has no interest in. And she realizes that Tirathiel is a master at what she does.


Posted:Mar 12, 2006 07:24 GMT  Reply to this Comment


 [18] Rebecca wrote: Yes, and perhaps Andra taught him some of the wisdom of the Haradrim -- revenge is a dish best served cold! I'm assuming, of course, that such a principle is a tenet of the honor-bound society of Harad...

Very much so. I might be addressing that at some point in the future.


Posted:Mar 12, 2006 07:26 GMT  Reply to this Comment


 [19] Isabeau, I think I've noticed that the tiger keeps emerging as an emblem for Andrahar -- is that just coincidence or is there significance?

From Kinstrife:

"You learn your weapons well, my tiger,” Isfhandijar’s deep voice rumbled in approval. “Now if only your book learning were so advanced…”

... in that same scene Andrahar's mother was embroidering little tigers on his shirt

And then from Silver Swan:

the Prince murmured something softly in Haradric.

“What was that?” I asked him equally softly.

“Poetry,” came his quiet response. His eyes never left the battle. “The translation would be something along the line of:

‘All others give way
When the tiger comes down to drink.’”

Faramir shot his uncle an appreciative look. “Boromir actually liked that one, did you know?” he said.

“I know who taught it to him,” Imrahil murmured


It was stated more than once in Kinstrife that Andra was not bookish, so if he taught Boromir a poem am I right in thinking it must have held some significance for him?

Rebecca
Posted:Mar 15, 2006 16:01 GMT  Reply to this Comment


 [20] Tigers / Dragons

I wonder if the poem was in the book that gets mentioned quite a bit "The Tale of Asinyal and Kedara, A Poem of the Haradrim" its in Dwims story Trust and is mentioned a couple of times, or was it somthing Soledad invented?

Also she mentions Andra being known as the dragon after the mountains in Bakshir in seaside coversations 2.

I quite like the idea of the tigers though, suits him, Boromir also mentions Andra having a cats dislike of water somewhere.

Nargil
Posted:Mar 15, 2006 16:28 GMT  Reply to this Comment
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