Nuzgûl Hutch

Numenorean Death

Challenge Details

The Numenorean Way of Death is surely one of the more unusual aspects of Tolkien’s mythology. Aragorn's choice is the main canon story about this, and many people have written stories about it. But most dodge the hard questions: why does he make this choice? What do others around him really think about it? Is Arwen reconciled to it, or is she angry, resentful, etc.?

Then there are the broader questions. What was Tolkien's intention in creating this ability of Numenoreans? (You might also ask, How did he reconcile it with Catholic doctrine, which outlaws suicide?) He says that "a good Numenorean" would make this choice; one assumes, therefore, that it was considered the "right thing" to do as opposed to waiting for nature to take its course. Presumably, at some point in Numenor this must have changed, given the story of the Downfall. When did the kings stop practicing it?

How did this practice impact Numenorean culture? What kinds of ceremonies did they have? Why did women mainly not make this choice (a challenging question indeed)? What attitudes did the Numenoreans in exile (Gondor and Arnor) have toward it?

What is your own opinion of Numenorean death? One question that has come up is whether the choice is justified if you do not believe in an Afterlife.

Any story, essay, poem, drabble, whatever, can explore an aspect of this difficult subject. Tragedy, drama, comedy, parody, critical analysis--you decide.

Entries with Stories

The following authors have entered a story in the Challenge.

Gwynnyd - The Lap of Time
General Audience
Last Updated: 12 Oct 06
Deciding to be mortal did not automatically make death achievable for Arwen. Why did she linger when Aragorn lay down his life? With many, many thanks to Sulriel, Gandalf's Apprentice, Oshun, Pen52 and LadyA for beta duties above and beyond, and a nod to Kipling for some of the imagery.


The following authors have entered a placeholder in the Challenge.

Gandalfs apprentice
Adoption Date: 29 Aug 06

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Challenge Info

Created: August 29, 2006

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Entries: 2

Originator: Gandalfs apprentice

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