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The Silver Swan

 February, 23 2006

The place for discussion about Hethlin's new adventures.

Isabeau wrote: The passing of the Elves to me is the passing of magic as well.

That's how I always interpreted it too.

Which idea I really hate, and makes me sad, though the men of 'Rothos' sort are also capable of miracles of another sort. And horrors as well. He may find out a bit about that some day.

Well... I don't know. Yes, the passing of the Elves is defintely sad, just because it seems that both sides (mortals and immortals) lose. I suppose that the passing of magic in the mortal world is sad too, but I don't see it to be necessarily a bad thing. What is the nature of magic? My best guess is that it was a being's ability to infuse some small part of their will into an aspect of the material world. It would take a powerful, strong being to be able to do that, and that explains, to my satisfaction at least, why most mortal men weren't able to perform magic. The Witch King being a notable exception.

But the thing about infusing, or imposing, some small part of one's will on the material world is that the material world is in a constant state of change, and the imposition of an unchanging self into that dynamic system is going to cause. There are going to be imbalances ultimately. It's this fundamental fact that all of the immortal beings in Tolkien's world have a very hard time coping with. Valinor seems to be a retreat from that, where the Valar have apparently minimized the change that is at the heart of Eru's material creation. The non-immortal living things are actually better aligned with the eternal process of change than the immortal living things are. So the presence of magic in the world imposes things on mortals that constrict them in some ways, I think.

What Amrothos represents, to me at least, is a way for men to gain a higher understanding of the world they live in than what their immediate, non-magical senses can provide. They too can impact their physical environment in ever-increasing and powerful ways. With, as you point out Isabeau, potentially disastrous consequences. But whether for good or bad, the control of the environment will be coming from beings that are part of that dynamic of change, instead of struggling against it. Which to me seems like a good thing.

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