so in LOTR’s appendices it says that legolas eventually builds a boat and takes gimli across the seas and into the west, the gray havens. you know, the place arwen isn’t allowed to go because she’s in love with a human dude bUT LEGOLAS (AKA ‘YOU LITTLE SHIT’) JUST SAYS “FUCK IT” AND SNEAKS GIMLI INTO THE GODDAMN UNDYING LANDS LIKE CONTRABAND TWIZZLERS INTO A MOVIE THEATER
best literary analysis ever
For the record Arwen was never “not allowed” to go to the Grey Havens. She was part human (remember, Elrond is a half elf) and thus able to CHOOSE to give up her immortality and live as a human woman with Aragorn, then leave…well, the cosmology of Middle Earth is complicated.
It’s important to remember that what we call Middle Earth is actually a continent on the planet Arda, and that Valinor (where the Grey Havens are) is actually just another continent, though it’s a really beautiful and special one because of the presence of the Valar (who are like archangels). When elves go to the Havens, they are literally just sailing across the ocean. But if a human were to set sail at the exact same time, from the exact same place as an elf, they’d simply get lost at sea, because of an enchantment or something (Tolkien describes Valinor as “having been removed from the circles of the earth,” so maybe it’s in a pocket dimension or something). When elves die, they go to the halls of Mandos on the western shore of Valinor, to await the return of the Creator and the end of the world. So if you’re an elf, it doesn’t matter if you get stabbed by an orc or sail away in a silver ship, you’re going to Valinor. You may not get to have as much fun there if you go by stabbing, but you’re still going. You don’t really have a choice in the matter.
But humans don’t go to Valinor. Their souls go somewhere else, possibly straight back to the Creator? Nobody knows. This USED to be considered a special gift of Man (the elves really aren’t all that keen on spending thousands of years hanging around Mandos and a bunch of people who all died violently) until Sauron poisoned the minds of the Numenorean kings, Aragorn’s ancestors. The fate of dwarf and hobbit souls are also a mystery, though dwarves believe that their father, the Valar Aule gathers them together and will give them a special role of their own in the end of the world and the remaking that follows. Some elves think dwarves don’t actually have souls at all, because some elves are real dicks.
So when Arwen had to choose between marrying Aragorn or sailing to Valinor, she was literally choosing between untold millenia in Valinor (because nobody knows when the Creator will return) or death and mysterious afterlife with him. She chose to stay with him, through mortal life AND INTO DEATH AFTERWARDS.
THAT’S WHY HER CHOICE WAS SUCH A BIG DEAL. THAT’S WHY SHE DIES LIKE SIX MONTHS AFTER HE DOES.
It was a never a question of Arwen “not being allowed” because she loved a mortal man. It was Arwen loving that mortal man SO MUCH that she gave up eons of bliss JUST TO STAY WITH HIM.
Also this is why Legolas taking Gimli with him is such a big deal, because he KNOWS all these stories. XD He tried to imagine life without Gimli, said nope fuck that, and took him along. This is also a really big deal from Gimli’s POV, cause like I said dwarves believe that when they die they go to be with their ancestors. GIMLI GAVE UP HIS AFTERLIFE TO STAY WITH LEGOLAS.
Like do you understand what a big deal that is???? CAUSE IT’S A REALLY REALLY BIG DEAL. AND THAT’S WHY BOTH PAIRINGS ARE MY FOREVER OTPS.
Thank you for this explanation! Eternal OTPs are the best. <3
One point of clarification: it’s not that Valinor is a pocket dimension. It’s just… in an alternate geological reality. Or something.
When Eru (Tolkien’s version of the Judeo-Christian God) first created the universe, the world was as flat as a pancake, and anybody could get on a boat and sail to Valinor if they wanted to. Then, the second age happened, and the Men of Numenor were heretics and fucked up everything forever. (Like actually, the King of Numenor at the time sailed a fleet of warships toward Valinor with the intention of overthrowing the Valar).
So, Eru went all Old Testament on Numenor and drowned the whole damn kingdom, and then he set about making sure that no surviving humans could ever try to reach Valinor again. Basically, he did this by smiting the laws of physics even harder than humanity.
Eru transformed the world from a flat disc into a globe, because when you’re God apparently you can just do ridiculous shit like that. As a result, any mortals who tried to sail to Valinor again would just… keep sailing, until they went all the way around and got back to where they started. But! Eru decreed that if any elf tried to do that, they would be able to find the straight road.
The. Straight. Road.
*teeth grinding noises*
The Straight Road: As in… the route that is literally straight, which does not subscribe to the curvature of the earth, which elves sail on to get to Valinor! And it’s not like this thing takes them up into the sky. Nope! They just sail along on the ocean, and because God loves them so much, their little swan-ships just skull-fuck the universe and reality curves itself around their boat without anybody noticing?? and they end up somewhere that doesn’t exist at all under other circumstances.
Yup. That straight road.
Honestly, this sounds to me like Somebody spent to much time listening to scientists argue whether the world was flat or not, and was just too indecisive to pick a side.
Really though, can we just take a second to reflect on all this?? According to Tolkien, the world USED TO BE FLAT, and now it’s NOT anymore, EXCEPT TO SOME PEOPLE, all because the rest of us fucked it up. When Gandalf goes on one of his old-man grumbles about ‘before the world was bent’ he’s not being poetic, he’s referring to the literal time before God picked up the world and twisted it around like a soggy piece of inter-dimensional origami. HOW DOES THAT EVEN WORK? SERIOUSLY ERU, YOU CAN’T MAKE A SPHERE OUT OF A FLAT CIRCLE WITHOUT DISTORTING THE SHIT OUT OF IT.
Batman you are my hero.
You beat me to most of the good ranting, so I’m just going to nitpick instead. The “Grey Havens” do not refer to Valinor or Aman. They are ports on the Gulf of Lune, in the realm of Lindon, which is the domain of Cirdan the shipwright (and just about all that’s left of Beleriand after it got sunk with extreme prejudice at the end of the First Age. Tier-One beings in the LotR universe are kind of hard on continents). They are the last stop for someone planning to set sail for Valinor, not Valinor itself.
While we’re on this subject, can we take a moment to appreciate Cirdan? Way back in the Zeroth Age, before the sun existed (and there’s room for a whole angry rant on just that topic, but I’ll leave it to 10FF), many of the Nelyar (the ancestors of the Teleri) were on their way to the Undying Lands. The group lead by Cirdan was at their vanguard, and when they reached the coast, were among the first to learn the arts of shipbuilding. Their king Elwë got kind of side tracked, so his brother Olwë asked Cirdan to stay behind and wait for him. You know, a few hours, maybe a couple days, no big deal, right?
Several centuries later, Elwë had renamed himself Elu Thingol, begun establishing the kingdom of Elgador, which would become Doriath. He effectively became king of all the elves who had made it to Beleriand but then stayed there, and gave Cirdan some domains along the Western coast, so he could sail along the coasts as much as he liked even if he couldn’t make the journey to Aman.
Many thousand years after THAT, Melkor came back to Middle Earth and immediately began fucking shit up, followed by several crowds of angry Noldor who solved only slightly more problems than they caused. Cirdan got along pretty well with Finrod Felagund, less well with the sons of Feanor, and not at all well with the orcs (who were quite fond of burning down his stuff). He was responsible for moving around a lot of refugees and occasionally trying to send messengers to Valinor, although until he built Vingilot for Eärendil, none of them got anywhere.
When the Valar finally got off their asses and intervened, they intervened hard, with the result being the destruction of Belariand. Cirdan shrugged and moved his domain to the new Western coast of Middle Earth, (which was now de-facto ruled by Gil-Galad), and went right back to building ships. His people did very good trade with Númenor, and likely met with some of his Erassean kin …until they fucked everything up. He was responsible for sheltering Elendil and his people when they last fled the continent.
He was also pretty skeptical of the whole “Ring” business, and along with Eldrond and Gil-Galad, went toe-to-toe with Sauron during the Last Alliance of Men And Elves. When Gil-Galad fell, he inherited Narya, the Ring of Fire, but passed it on to Gandalf who he felt could use it better. With the possible exception of Treebeard and his kin, Cirdan is by a fair margin the oldest of the Children of Illuvatar left on Middle Earth. Old enough, should the mood strike him, to tell Galadriel to get off his lawn.
He kept moving pilgrims and refugees around all through the Third Age, and he personally fashioned the ship that carried the ring-bearers into the undying lands. He stayed behind, however, to command the very last ship to head into the West. Then, and only then, could he finally go home.
AFAIK, Cirdan is also the only elf in all of Tolkein’s work who explicitly has any facial hair, and that’s in the form of a beard to rival Gandalf’s.
I am a nurse. For 30 years of my career, I was a labor and delivery nurse. I took care of women through all stages of labor and through their delivery. Due to the many times that I have worked 16 hour shifts, I bonded with many women and helped them through long hours. Finally, through much work on the mom’s part with my guidance, she would be ready to deliver. In would sail the doctor, spend five minutes catching the baby, and then pose for all the pictures. I would hear from the families how wonderful he/she was.
Then why is my back killing me because I stood for two to three hours with a woman in a variety of positions including resting her foot on my shoulder while she pushed? Oh, and did I mention that she is also paralyzed from the waist down from the epidural, so I was also helping to hold her up while she squatted to push?
Why have I had to change my scrub clothes twice in a shift because someone either puked on me or amniotic fluid soaked everything?
Who is it that actually got that IV started while reassuring the poor mom?
Who is it that took the camera out of the daddy’s trembling hand and started taking family pictures because she knew that otherwise there would be no proof that he had even been in the room? And capturing the look of wonder on both parent’s faces at the same time.
Who is it that cleaned up every body fluid that can spew from a human, with a smile on her face and encouraging words for the mortified patient who has never been sick in front of a stranger in her life?
Who is it that tracked down the anesthesia people, chased them out of the lounge, and threatened them with their lives if they didn’t take care of her patient, NOW?
And when things didn’t go well, who was it that took that poor baby that didn’t make it, cleaned it up, dressed it, wrapped it in a soft blanket, and brought it to the broken-hearted parents to hold for the first and last time?
..I’ll never forget the first baby I caught as a student nurse because the doctor was out buying a magazine or something because the mom was “only 50 cents’ worth of dilated” and couldn’t possibly be ready to deliver for another three or four hours. Oh yeah.
Most doctors are wonderful. No question. But 90% of the people who take care of you in the hospital are the nurses.
There is now a measles outbreak in New York. A whole ward of cancer patients currently undergoing chemotherapy have been exposed to it. Imagine fighting cancer for years only to die because some jackass didn’t vaccinate their brat and you caught measles.
People who took the news of feathered dinosaurs like this:
And those who took it like this:
I hate it when people say “science ruined dinosaurs” as though dinosaurs are just some pop culture monster invention and not real things that existed and that we are continuing to make new discoveries about
I was just on your blog and like a week ago someone said you're anti-sj. if you're anti-sj, what are you pro? (this is a legitimate question).
Anti-sj is kind of a term that sounds more extreme than it is and probably also doesn’t cover what most anti-sj blogs or people that agree with it are about.
We’re not anti social justice, or against help and equality or anything like that. We’re anti the aggressive counterproductive “pseudo helping” attitude that sometimes runs rampant on tumblr under the guise of social justice. It just became kind of easy to call the people against that anti-sj and most blogs ran with it.
So for the record, I’m not against social justice itself, I’m against the toxic and stupid tumblr brand. Let’s see if I can find a few examples real quick.
[safety is now discrimination]
Or that time that people running a blog all about how white people food is shit and stupid accidentally made fun of asian food on there and quickly apologized because you can’t insult asian food it was only garbage if it was white.
Or that time death treats were sent towards a innocent tumblr blogger who posted a photo of herself in a kimono because she was “culturally appropriating” despite if being a gift from her host family abroad.
Or that time that there was a news report about the death of a white 9 year old boy over racial bullying and people responded with “cry more white tears”
Or every single time when someone claims to be offended and it’s used as a excuse to bully or threaten everyone who opposes them. And then saying that you are silencing and tone policing if people object to hostile bullying behavior.
Or absolutely annihilating anyone over something offensive they’ve said in the past and deeming people problematic and trash because god nobody ever makes a mistake or says something wrong ever in their lives, right?
Basically the toxic attitude that isn’t helping anyone and has driven people away from good causes. No room for debate, questioning things isn’t allowed. Hiding behind social justice as a shield of immunity in general and abusing that. Seeking problems behind everything and using it as an excuse for abuse, aggression, restricting and bullying.
what if there was a show where every character was gay and you had the token straight guy character who acted really stereotypical and was into cars beers and women and everyone was like OH STRAIGHT LARRY YOU’RE SO FUNNY AND STRAIGHT
Let’s talk about libraries. Libraries! “Oh, hello, are you a person? Great, you’ve met our qualifications. Please enjoy unlimited borrowing of any number of any books. Do we not have the book you seek? Let us know and we will buy it so that you can read it. You will owe us nothing. Stay as long as you want.” Libraries are like pleasant, real-life morphine dreams.