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NF-Lee's Gildor and Frodo

Happy 116th Birthday to Tolkien: photos, letter #328, and a reflection.

Posted on 2008.01.03 at 15:15


mechtild at 2008-01-05 16:54 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, Jan. You are blush-making. :D

And I wonder too, if, in the natural course of things, some "vessels" might themselves become "sources". Frodo changed in his "education", became a being much more pure, more full of light.

I suppose it's a theological point with me, part of my religious beliefs, but I can't wrap my mind around the idea that Frodo is, or becomes, a light-source himself, even if he becomes a better and better conveyor of it. There is only one generator of that light: the pure, life-giving light, although it has many vessels. The phial Galadriel gave Frodo holds the light of Earendil, and the light of Earendil holds the light of the Silmaril, which holds the light of the Two Trees, the Trees having been sung into being by Yavanna, herself an embodied spirit created by Iluvatar to assist in the bringing forth of Arda.

I think in Tolkien that all good light has its source in this primal pure light of creation that comes from Iluvatar. At the bridge of Khazad-dum, Gandalf calls himself "a servant of the Secret Fire" and "wielder of the flame of Anor", as opposed to the destructive "dark fire of Udun".

Here's the "Complete Guide to Middle-earth"'s entry for "Secret Fire":

Secret Fire: The Holy Spirit, the power giving substance and life to the Creation of Iluvatar. It was this light, also called the flame of Amor (perhaps loosely), that Gandalf served and the evil followers of Melkor and Sauron envied and feared. The Secret Fire is most probably the same as the Flame Imperishable.

This is the light Gandalf used to repel the Nazgul on the Pelennor fields, not the magic laser beam he used in the film.

I am pretty sure that the light the High Elves give off is meant to be the result of having lived in the presence of the Two Trees in Aman, before the Trees were destroyed. It is not their own light, although they bear it, but a reflected light. I think that the light perceptible in Frodo is related to this light. He bears it, but it is not his own. The light that illuminates him (for those to see that can), like the Elves, or the Phial of Galadriel, or the Silmaril on Eardenil's brow, is the light of Aman, coming from the Two Trees, but ultimately from Iluvatar himself, "the Secret Fire". Thus, even if a person can become a clearer and clearer vessel (i.e. what might be called "sanctification"), thus a better and better bearer of this light, the light is not that person's, it is Iluvatar's: a manifestation of "the Secret Fire".

I hope this didn't sound lecture-ish, I didn't mean it to. But this "illuminated Frodo" thing been nagging me ever since this summer when I read the great big Frodo fic (of which we have spoken). If that story bore no other fruit, it was worth reading ten times over if only to spur me on to think more deeply about the light Frodo bore.

P.S. What does “Tenna' telwan” mean? *sheepish face* (Must buy an Elvish phrase book!!)
(Anonymous) at 2008-01-05 20:28 (UTC) (Link)
dear Mech - I just spent over an hour writing a response to this, only to have my computer shut down utterly as I was about to post. (even the "history", where I hoped there might be a copy, was gone) It's been a bad day, all around. I don't think I have it in me at the moment to reconstruct all of what I said, but let me just briefly state that I did not at all feel you were lecturing me, that it has given me much to think about. Maybe we can resume later, when both I and the computer have taken some rest.

the Elven phrase means "until later". Here is a handy-dandy phrase site:



mechtild at 2008-01-05 20:55 (UTC) (Link)
GAWD, I hate that when that happens! GRRRRRRRR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thanks for the handy-dandy phrase site. I will link it for browsing!!!
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