The Tolkien Road

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0320 » The Song of Númenor » Elendil, The Lost Road, CS Lewis, The Rings Of Power

What was the purpose of Númenor? In this episode, we explore that question through the lens of the song of Númenor.


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lovely is numenor but my heart resteth not here forever for here is ending and there will be an end and the fading when all is counted and all numbered at last but yet it will not be enough not enough what will the louvitar oh I loveitar give me in that day beyond the end when my son faileth hey there fellow Travelers welcome to the Tolkien Road episode 320. in this episode we’ll be taking a close look at the song of numenor an obscure poem of tolkiens that gets to the heart of numenor’s story before we get started on that I’d like to give a double up air 5 to our patrons three two one whoops hope I didn’t catch you off guard special thanks to this episode’s executive producers John R Caitlin ft with Tolkien Jacob blockham John H scotchy Bobo and aru27. become a patron by visiting Tolkien Road your financial support helps the Tolkien road to keep on evering on and lend you some cool perks along the way learn more at Tolkien Road check out for Tolkien Road merch like t-shirts signed copies of my books and the Glorious two trees camper mug just like this right here you’re use promo code lost 320 to get 10 off your order that’s check out the show notes for the link and hey YouTube hit that like button don’t forget to subscribe and let us know what’s on your mind in the comments below all right so that bit of poetry I read at the beginning is from a passage in the Lost Road right here actually it’s from a footnote in the Lost road so we’ll get a little bit into that what was the purpose of numenor many of you know that I have argued that numenor’s purpose went beyond being a mere reward for the descendants of the Adine and seemed to be filled with symbolism and rituals intended to point them to a greater Destiny both in this world and Beyond it I’ve explored that in other videos we’ve talked about that on our rings of power reaction videos but you know I’m really starting to get into those kinds of questions more is I’d Begin work on my next book and um and I as I was reading through the Lost Road recently I found this poem and just was blown away by its beauty but also how it gets really to the heart of the numenorian legend like like what’s really there what caught what what Tolkien was thinking when he first conceived of this Legend right back in the late 30s

um so let’s let’s talk about a little background of it first it’s found in the history of Middle Earth part five the Lost Road and other writings um you can go back and watch our video we did on this particular volume of the history of Middle Earth um but it’s actually it’s going to be in the section in the section titled the Lost Road and you have to go all the way to the footnote or to the endnotes uh footnotes and notes whatever you want to call them um notes on the numenorean chapters of the Lost Road and it’s it’s in note number 12 right there in which Christopher gives some context for it Tolkien actually wrote this thing in uh what he was calling Edison at that time it’s a form of Elvish but there’s a translation given there as well and that’s the translation that’s given in the text is the one we’re going to be using as we discuss this song of numenor um the Lost road is a legend that was written is a story that was written in the in the late 30s it’s a really interesting story I hope we can do kind of a focused view of the of what we have from the Lost Road uh maybe sometime in the new year sometime in 2023 because I think it’d be worth spending some time just talking about this especially now that the rings of power is out and numenor is you know kind of a little bit more known now than it maybe previously was in the on the popular scale I think it’s fascinating to go back and understand the origins of the legend and it’s really found in the Lost Road right that’s the first place where Tolkien really wrote in a great great deal about this place of numenor what’s really interesting is that numenor was not originally a part of the legendarium as we think of it right you just you can kind of think of this as Tolkien wrote the stories that became the silmarillion the stories of the first age he wrote those going all the way back to uh World War one kind of began writing those during World War One um you know started started giving those kind of a formless recognizable to us into the early 20s had these stories continued working on them continued developing the legendarium of that period of time wrote The Hobbit in the mid 30s The Hobbit kind of found its way accidentally um into into the Middle Earth legendarium the stories of you know kind of connected to the stories of the first age even though it wasn’t in the first stage um he he was like why not just make this little connection here and uh and then after he wrote The Hobbit and it was somewhat of a success they wanted him to write it sequel Tolkien wanted to get the silmarillion published he also had the Lost Road uh which he had been working on the Lost Road was a um was an idea that came from his friendship with C.S Lewis actually many of you know C.S Lewis wrote the space Trilogy right out of the Silent Planet pearlandra and That Hideous Strength well the deal was that Tolkien and Lewis kind of weren’t big fans of the uh speculative fiction that was around at that time and so they challenged one another to uh to to see if they could write something better right and so uh Lewis’s job from Tolkien said Louis you’re going to write the time the space travel story and that became out of the Silent Planet and then perilandra and That Hideous Strength those stories have been pretty well known for a long time um tolkien’s job was to write the time travel story Tolkien of course it was notoriously slow in writing and getting to a in notoriously a perfectionist uh so he never really got the Lost road to the point where he wanted it to be but you know his approach to writing this was very interesting it was not um it wasn’t what we kind of generally think of as time travel stories and the popular culture of our time we probably think of like Back to the Future right that’s probably the most well-known time travel story this wasn’t about uh people getting into a time machine and traveling to a different period of time this was much this was this was more of a like time overlapping like two periods of time an ancient period of time and modern time kind of overlapping in a way um but again I’m going to save all that until we go into the Lost Road and in full in detail um in a late much later episode so um the Lost Road was begun he got about four chapters into it the first two chapters would you wouldn’t even recognize how they connect to any of this probably unless you like really read it in detail but chapters three and four of the Lost Road uh that Tolkien wrote they look very familiar right these these talk about uh well-known like characters we already know especially elindil right and there’s another character herendale who eventually became a sildor right later on um so a Lindale and an early version of isildura are both characters in these later chapters of the Lost Road here um so uh the Lost road again we’ll get into how lost Road became the notion Club papers and was eventually unfolded into the backstory of The Lord of the Rings and now you know and how it was developed later on into the Middle Earth legendarium that’s all that’s all information for another episode further on down the road or probably a series of episodes in reality so that’s a little bit of the background here um let’s let’s look at the song in context before so like I said the the actual poem uh the snippet of which I read at the beginning is actually found in in a footnote slash endnote for the Lost Road um but I want to read the context within the story where we get some little Snippets of this song so that we have an understanding of how it fit into the story all right and I’m going to use some technology here to allow you all to read along with me if you’re on YouTube the light was fading swiftly as they passed up the paths of the garden amid flowers pale and luminous in the Twilight the trees were shedding sweet night sense a lomalende began its thrilling bird song by a pool above them Rose the house its white wall is gleamed as if Moonlight was imprisoned in their substance but there was no moon yet only a cool light diffused and shadowless through the clear sky like fragile glass small Stars stabbed their white flames a voice from a high window came falling down like silver into the pool of Twilight where they walked elendil knew the voice it was the voice of firiel a maiden of his household daughter of laurentor his heart sank for firiel was dwelling in his house because Iran tour had departed men said he was on a long Voyage others said that he had fled the displeasure of the king elindil knew that he was on a mission from which he might never return or return too late and he loved orantor and feriel was fair now her voice sang an even song in the Edison tongue but made by men long ago the Nightingale ceased a Lindale Stood Still to listen and the words came to him far off and strange as some Melody and archaic speech sung sadly in a forgotten Twilight in the beginning of man’s journey in the world

the father made the world for elves and Mortals and he gave it into the hands of the Lords who are in the West so saying firial on high until her voice fell sadly to the question with which that song ends montare antava nineluvatar ilubitar in


give me in that day beyond the end when my son faileth Amon antavvaro what will he give indeed City Lyndale and stood in somber thought she should not sing that song out of a window said hirendil breaking the silence they sing it otherwise now Melco cometh back they say and the King shall give us the son forever I know what they say serial indil do not say it to thy father nor in his house he passed in at a dark door and hit India shrugging his shoulders followed him all right so um apologies for any mispronunciations on the Elvish there uh did my best uh not language foreign languages not always my strong suit but I do love reading Elvish it’s it’s fun to uh to attempt it and it’s just truly beautiful when it rolls off the tongue um so if I got anything mispronounced anything there let me know in the comments um so what do we have here well we have this uh in the context we have this conversation going on between elendil and herendil or who we will later be isildur right um and they hear this song coming out of a coming out of a window as they’re on this walk uh and it is this uh Maiden filiel who is uh who is the the friend of or the daughter of a friend right of illendale and um and this song that she’s singing right um it is you know it’s kind of a a Melancholy song Right speaking about how lovely numenor is but the but her you know her heart can’t rest here forever in fact it actually begins with something is that was as I was pondering it it almost reminds me of like a creedal statement right the father made the world for elves and Mortals and he gave it into the hands of the Lords right it’s almost like the statement of belief right the numenorian like statement of belief um they’re in the west they are holy blessed and beloved save the dark one he has fallen right what’s really interesting is that this kind of basic idea of the new minority of the downfall is already here right we find um you know this this tension of uh you know she shouldn’t be singing this song right or she’ll be heard by the wrong people right she’s in numenor but she’s singing this song and it’s clear that they these are the people these are like of the faithful right the faithful party of numenor right the ones that want to keep to the Friendship of the elves uh the worship of a louvitar right as opposed to uh the worship of melkor right and we see there Melco right that that Melco has been kind of there’s a version of the song that has come along that talks about Melco will be the one coming back right the Melco will be coming back and doing melchorage things so we see that tension there right that the uh the kind of the forces of evil are taking over numenor right and having their sway in numenor one would suppose because they’ve been deceived by Sauron so that’s the context of this song um you know let’s let’s look a little more closely at it so I’m going to read the translation that is in uh that is uh in footnote 12 here let me see if I can find it all right so highlight it here and I’ll share this with you guys all right the father made the world for elves and Mortals and he gave it into the hands of the Lords there in the west they are holy blessed and beloved save the dark one he has fallen Melco has gone from Earth it is good for elves they made the moon but for men the Red Sun which are beautiful to all they gave in measure the gifts of illumitar the world is fair the sky the Seas the Earth and all that is in them lovely is numenor but my heart resteth not here forever for here is ending and there will be an end and the fading when all is counted and all are numbered at last but yet it will not be enough not enough what will the father O Father give me in that day beyond the end when my son faileth so you know let’s just kind of parse this a little bit and you know understand what’s being said in this you know what’s being sung here um so you know begins like I said with kind of this creedal statement right the father made the world for elves and Mortals elves and Men right so the father who’s that referring to it’s referring to illumitar that’s actually uh that’s actually the word in the um in the uh the Edison the Elvis tongue given here all right so illumitar made the world for elves and Mortals for Mortal men and he gave it into the hands of the Lords who are the Lords they are the Valar right into the hands of the Valar the Lords of the West right they are holy blessed and beloved save the dark one so it’s it’s clear that uh uh firiel who’s singing this song and when one would suppose that Lindell and herendale view the Lords of the West favorably right they view them as holy blessed and beloved save the dark one right the Fallen one he has fallen that’s Melco Melco melkor as we would know him has gone from Earth it is good so this is again like the whole idea of him being cast out at the end of the first stage is our is here as well right it’s in this story you know I read this and I’m like well Tolkien was already working it’s like even from this starting point he was already working the the framework of Middle Earth into uh this Legend even though it came uh you know even though he maybe didn’t conceive of it in that way it’s almost like the stories that he had come up with initially you know and uh in his younger younger years we’re just so much a part of him he had to work them into everything he did um I mean you could see that a lot of his writings that supposedly aren’t related to Middle Earth um uh yeah I think of I think of even something like Smith of Wooten major which we hope to cover here soon on the podcast uh along with Greta um I I even think of something like that which came much later on and it’s and it seems to work in a lot of those uh you know a lot of those themes right a lot of those um ideas from Middle Earth all right so for the elves they made the moon the Lords of the West made the moon the Valar but for men the Red Sun which are beautiful to all they gave and measure the gifts of illumitar the world is fair the sky the Seas the Earth and all that is in them so that’s you know we we get to the end of kind of the first part of this and it’s this the world is fair it kind of talks about the moon the stars the Sun the world is fair the sky the Seas the Earth and all that is in them they’re all fair it’s all beautiful the world is a wonderful place right and she says lovely as numenor right maybe even you know we’re supposed to understand that like above all numenor is lovely right it’s this paradise for Mortals this Mortal Paradise right but my heart resteth not here forever my heart resteth not here forever if you’re familiar at all if you’ve read a calibath if you’ve read other uh other writings that concern numenor you know that this question of rest in this world uh is a key one and it’s a reason it’s a large reason why numenor eventually Falls because the hearts of men cannot seem to find rest in this world they want to find rest and and for those who are able to acknowledge that they can’t find rest in this world they’re able to pass on in peace right they’re able to pass out of this world in peace but it’s later on when they abandon the friendship with the Elves and the Lords of the West when they abandon the heartfelt true Devotion to a louvitar that they begin to uh they begin to fear death right they begin to fear passing away from this world and um and they become Restless right there they won’t allow themselves to fall to fall asleep right you have kind of the peaceful death early on of so many of the Kings and later on it’s like these agonizing deaths where they’re just holding on they’re holding on past where they should okay um

you know it’s it’s I kind of I think you know it’s it’s a moment this story Maybe uh it’s the story of Newman was kind of a Memento Mori right it’s like it should make us think like how will I react when it comes time for my death right um and that’s a hard question to answer but it’s it’s worth asking ourselves from time to time you know am I looking just at this world is all that there is or is there something Beyond it and it’s clear that for the the faithful of numenor from the very beginning of this Legend um tolkien’s conception of this Legend the faithful of numenor look Beyond right and we see that in the second half of this song my heart resteth not here forever for here is ending and there will be an end in the fading when all is counted and all numbered at last but yet it will not be enough not enough when will the father O Father give me in that day beyond what I’m sorry what will the father O Father give me in that day be on the end when my son faileth yeah so what’s you know what’s going to be given uh to me when when there is no more world right when this world ends completely okay ethereal is thinking to that right she’s looking Beyond what’s here and now to that now this is not I don’t think this is furiel’s song originally right um this is a song that uh had perhaps been around for a long time it’s maybe like a Hymn of the numenorian religion right um and you know she’s singing it here and then Lindale and herendale are familiar enough with it to reflect upon it and to uh you know and to think deeply about it um but that’s you know it’s those final lines that really get to the heart of this legend of numenor what is there for me Beyond this world right the numenoreans know that their lives even though they live longer lives their lives are numbered right they’re mortal as compared to the elves as compared to the Valar so what is there for them this world may be a lovely place right how many of us can say that right this world is a lovely place but what is there for me Beyond this world whether I’m around when it ends for good or whether I end before it does right is there anything for me Beyond it that’s really the question that’s that I feel is at the heart of the new minority Legend you see it all over the place you see it in a collabath you see it in um in the very shape of the Island right a star-shaped Island they get to numenor by following this star and they can see the Blessed land of the Earth but it’s like the Blessed realm of valinor they can kind of Glimpse it dimly from the very tall mountain but they can only Glimpse at dimly and they know they can’t go there right they know they they know they’re forbidden from going there from reaching Earthly Bliss right the undying lands of this world but instead when they’re Standing On That Mountain the mental tarma what are they drawn to well their eyes should be drawn up to the heavens right to see the star of Arendelle right that they’re drawn like air indel to the Stars to the heavens okay that their lives are drawn upward and we see that because they’re standing on the mental tarma where they go and they’ve been given this worship of a louvitar right that they’re supposed to be Heaven oriented right star oriented okay not not necessarily the physical Stars right but but the heavens right they’re supposed to be oriented to the things that go beyond this world that’s a Louis vuitar’s will for them that’s why they’ve been brought to numenor right they they can Glimpse the undying lands but they can’t go there that’s not for them they have a greater purpose Beyond this world and that’s the key they have to understand that it’s a greater purpose okay now you know this is it it’s all this this doesn’t seem like it’s a really like negotiable interpretation to me this seems very intentional on tolkien’s part again you know we don’t necessarily see him saying this is what the story of numenor is about except that he actually does say the story of numenor is about God’s sole right to Divine Worship in one of his letters right but what is the point of that worship right it’s it’s not see like Tolkien would have understood this it’s not about God needing our worship right it’s not about a louvitar needing the worship of the numenoreans it’s about the worship of God makes strong heals the numenoreans right the worship of God heals us right the proper worship the right worship okay that’s the central question you know that’s where these stories overlap with tolkien’s own faith right so um you know so so it’s worth pondering this story this song right that’s told here and understanding that from the very beginning the numerian legend had this connection right it had this basis from the mind of Tolkien so you know I I think this is just fascinating you know it’s it’s definitely something I’m going to be exploring in my next book um art which I’ve already you know begun begun good work on hoping to share more about that with you all in the not too distant future um and um you know it’s something I’d really you know as much as I’ve struggled with the first you know enjoying the first season of the Rings of power I’d really love to see them work these kinds of things in to the into the rings of power in future Seasons because it’s the heart of the story right and if you don’t have the heart of the story it’s really hard uh to tell it well okay um I wasn’t I wasn’t super impressed by that in the first place anyway I didn’t want to get too much into a criticism this isn’t about criticism of the show but uh but it’s relevant right it’s relevant here because the song of numenor is um uh you know it it’s not something that Tolkien he may not have included this in his later writings but it’s not something he left behind in terms of the themes that are in the story The akalabath all these sorts of things in fact it’s so beautiful that it kind of makes me wonder like this this scene is so beautiful I kind of picture this like um you know like I could see this happening within the show right these are the kinds of things that it’s like why make it up and I know there’s the whole thing about do they have the rights to use this but you could kind of do something like this right you don’t use the same names or even the same language but you could probably do something very similar to it um just a truly kind of beautiful moment where Father and Son Lindell and herendale AKA sildor are conversing while they hear this beautiful song right uh you know being sung Okay so so that’s the song of numenor what do you guys think did uh you think you think uh my interpretation of it is right on you think it’s off base for some reason let’s talk about in the comments below all right well um hey I wanted to read a uh a little bit of Correspondence so trying to get back to doing some correspondence on a regular basis I’m going to read uh since we’re on the theme of poetry this week I wanted to read a couple of haiku that were left over this is from listener uh John W and uh John says greetings John and Greta I’ve been a huge fan of your show since 2017 but I’m not very talkative I’ve enjoyed listening on Spotify and you’ve got five star rating there I deeply appreciate your talented presentation um so thank you John I appreciate the rating over on Spotify that’s awesome to hear and John shared uh three Haiku so um the first one is thoughts on Amazon’s rings of power silver spent time lost honor gray Wicked clever waves of discontent very nice beautiful the next one is on a calabath dangerous reward Pride cometh before the Fall Mountain under waves ah the dangerous reward I love it that’s great um yeah one of the key things that Tolkien said about the numenorian legend was reward The Perils are reward that it’s more that reward is more dangerous for men than punishment right I think that’s almost the verbatim quote from one of his letters on the themes of new from the Waldman letter actually so good stuff there John and his final one on on the uh of the third age in the rings of power one ring to find them deceived for power and pain friends will march to war very good stuff thank you so much John appreciate you all right well hey you want to be like John drop us a line you can correspond with us in a number of ways check out the show notes to learn more YouTube email Twitter uh you can find us easily on Instagram and Facebook we don’t check those as often but I usually get notified if somebody drops us a line over there so hopefully that’s still working all right we’ll do our best to respond to you somehow and at some point all right well that’s all for this episode you all thank you to our amazing patrons especially the following John R Caitlin of t with Tolkien Jacob lockham John H scotchy Bobo aru27 Ms Anonymous Andrew T Redhawk Shannon S Brian o Emilio P Zeke F James a James L Chris L Chuck F ozzyavi ish of the hammer Teresa C David of pints with Jack Jonathan D Eric B Johanna T Mike m Robert H Paul D Julia wurti Matthew W Joe bagelman Chris K Jacob S Richard K Matt R Garrett P John W Eugene D Chris B and Daniel S as well as those celebrating their Patron anniversary in December of 2022 Zeke F Shannon S Emilio P Brian o Andrew T and Amy h thank you all so much we really appreciate our patrons thank you all so much for your support and thanks everybody for watching and are listening we will talk at you next time bye-bye


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