Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Meneltarma and Númenor

I suppose it is about time I made some connections for those who are unfamiliar with the themes embedded in this blog. I do this out of fear for my credibility, not considering myself a Tolkien scholar by any stretch of the imagination. I recommend you take a little peek at the Tolkien links I have posted under (of all things) "Tolkien etc." You might find yourself inundated by unfamiliar terms such as Andúnië, Elendil, Valar, Westernesse and much more. The point, though is to tie together some of these names and places, and perhaps give a greater sense of what the themes are all about--what they represent to my small understanding of them.

This is important to me. I like to have meaning in such things; there are no more inspiring themes for me than what you see on these pages. In my way of thinking, they offer a sort of picturesque rendition of the Church in both its glory and failures. Númenor is a special place given to a people who are set aside. They have a covenant, of sorts, with their Creator, Eru Ilúvatar. They worship in a place called Meneltarma, a mountain in the center of Númenor. They fall in later years and rebel--the island is destroyed and a faithful remnant escapes to Middle Earth. It's a fantastic picture in my mind. Yes, and I am one who is very cynical of allegory. I have great respect for this one, though, because the author was also admittedly cynical of allegory! He had a better sense of what I look for in a good one than the fluff modern evangelicals desperately try to read into something like The Matrix. I am even cynical of efforts to try to find a "Christ figure" in The Lord of the Rings. In my opinion, it's simply not there. It was not intended to be there! If it is there in your mind that's fine with me because I am conscious of Tolkien's Christian (albeit Catholic) worldview. For example:

He recognizes the fallen nature of man. This is a very vivid theme in much of his writings. How he carries it through, on the other hand, into some kind of victory is something that is a little less clear in my mind. Since, though, there is a recognition of a monotheistic, sovereign Creator, it can logically follow that it is He who upholds the faithful--even while they are prone to failure. If you want an example of this in the Lord of the Rings, consider Frodo's failure in Mount Doom. He did finally fail and claim the Ring. "Providence," as it were, saved him from himself and destroyed the Ring despite his failure. Victory cannot be ultimately attributed to Frodo because it was not him who really won anything.

To get back to my point--ever since I have read about Númenor, I have, in a sense, fallen in love with it. I mean this in a lighter sense, only as a reflection of my love for Christ and the Church. God's holiness and faithfulness even in the darkest circumstances is so brilliantly portrayed.

One more thing: Before you accuse me of being too focused on the "things" involved, such as Númenor and the Meneltarma, remember that it was these thing which are literally destroyed in the story. You cannot truly love this story without accepting this fact: that the faithful remained even as the visible glory of their society disintegrated around them. God is faithful even as the institutions we built on Christian foundations crumble about our ears. We long to again see the day when the Church is revered and loved in our country and culture. We wish man was not so rebellious. Let us appreciate, then, that which never fails. Let us strive for the up-building and edification of the Church, the Body of Christ and His Kingdom: You and me.
<< Home 7 Comments:
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice :)
I like it.


12:28 AM, October 02, 2004  
Blogger Mark said...

I'm speechless too!

12:51 AM, October 02, 2004  
Blogger Mark said...

No, I do appreciate it though, Jackie. It means a lot coming from a Tolkien scholar! My thanks!

2:44 PM, October 02, 2004  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Doesn't Meneltarma mean Pillar of the Heavens?

9:53 AM, November 25, 2006  
Blogger Mark said...


Yes it does. The only thing wrong with the portrayal in my flag picture is the mountain isn't flattened on top...

2:06 PM, November 26, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't know, Mark; I've become pretty disillusioned with Tolkien over time. The world starting with song nice, but the angels ruling instead of God directly is not. Additionally, both of those concepts show India's Hindu influence as opposed to the Bible's.
I guess the Bible is a story of people's endless failures to be faithful, but the Silmarillion, without God being in the middle, is *just* a story of failures.

5:10 AM, December 18, 2006  
Blogger Mark said...

I agree Robert. But really, I guess I look for specific things in Tolkien. I see him as a great story teller with a plethora of images. I don't expect him to create a recreation of the biblical creator--because I don't think he intends to. If I was a true scholar, I would tell you i had examples...but I'm not so I don't. :)

8:54 PM, December 18, 2006  

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