Forum: Prospective Challenges

Discussing: I'm a Believer!

I'm a Believer!

**Discussion of religion. No offense meant to anyone. My most sincere apologies if I spell anything wrong.** Whilst leafing through the index of my brand-new copy of Unfinished Tales (What? Reading the index is almost as much fun as reading the book itself…), I came across 3 Númenorean holidays: Eruhantalë (“Thanksgiving to Eru”; autumn feast), Erukyermë (“Prayer to Eru”; spring feast), and Erulaitalë (“Praise of Eru”; midsummer feast). This set me to thinking. All religions celebrate their faith in different ways, and with different special days. Christianity has Christmas and Easter, Judaism has Rosh Hashanah and Chanukah, and Islam has Ramadan. How do the cultures of Middle-earth celebrate their faiths? Before it darkened, Númenor obviously revered Eru Ilúvatar with festivals and feasts through the year. How did the Elves celebrate their faith in the Valar and Eru? Did the Dwarves pray to Aulë? How about the race of Men? Did Gondor have special days for religion (the seventh day of their week is named Valanya: “Powers-day”)? Rohan revered Oromë, calling him Béma: did they devote a day of the year to him? And what about those myriad others? Did the Haradrim and Easterlings even believe in Eru and the Valar, or did they pray to their own gods? What about the Variags of Khand? And here’s a twist. To illustrate, I quote Sphinx’s wonderful story Eloquent Remembrance: “The Valar left us to our devices long ago. In our hope that they would remember, that they would acknowledge the existence of those other than their precious exiles – we were failed. Four Ages of that land did I see, many war trumpets and gleaming swords and rivers of blood, but only once did they come. Only once did they step from their mighty thrones to sink the world as we knew it in water and flame.” (snip) “The Valar love all of Ilúvatar’s children, Celeborn,” Finarfin said gently, attempting to calm the troubled air. “Tell that to the screams of Doriath as it crumbled, or to the bodies that lay lifeless in Sirion. Tell it to Hithlum besieged and Gondolin burning. Tell it to Nargothrond overthrown and Balar overrun. Tell those who lay dying that the Valar heard their cries and still loved them. Tell Eluchíl, Eärendil and the line of the Halfelven that their doom was in their choice. Sing of the glory of the Valar, lord! Sing of their patience and mercy as they watched a land drown in the waves of the sea, glory lost and honor forgotten. Praise their passivity, and the love that they had for the children they would not save!” How did the Sindar feel about the Valar staying in safety in Aman while they fought Morgoth's forces? What about the spirits of the Faithful who perished in the Fall of Numenor (not all of them could have been saved in the ships from Romenna)? Were there some people who were angry at their god(s)? Were other Elves angry at what they saw as inaction? Did some actually denounce their god(s)? And (if they were Elves who reached Valinor), how did the gods themselves react to such behavior? It doesn't even have to be an organized religion: just anyone, anywhere celebrating (or denouncing) their faith and/or god(s). Any length, genre, format: your pick. So here are some prompts to write on. (Simply swearing by a god doesn’t count.) *A festival celebrating a higher power *Someone denouncing a higher power. *Someone praying. *Someone interacting with a higher power (i.e., the Elves in pre-strife Valinor). *A written prayer (comparable to the Lord's Prayer).

 

 

Re: I'm a Believer!

Death, taxes, politics, religion--I've seen taxes, death, and politics aplenty in Tolkien fics, and even religiosity and religion. So I doubt you're offending. For those thinking, "But wait, there's no religion in M-e!", I'd suggest a quick peak at the "Languages in Arda" forum, under "!(@*&$#&^!^& in Middle-earth"—it has some good background in it. Also, I do think we might draw a distinction between "religion" and "faith"—not all faith is religious in the sense of organized formally, with leaders and followers; that may help to set us in a more Arda-esque frame of mind, although my suspicion is the line will blur for anyone taking up this nuzgûl. And on that note, do we have any takers for this one?

 

 

Re: I'm a Believer!

Moi. Elemmíre

 

 

Re: I'm a Believer!

All right, so we have one. I know we have people out there who are interested in the Valar and the Maiar, and this might be a very interesting way of exploring their relationship to M-e. We also have hints of religious practice in the regions further south of Gondor. We have at least two races who have some notion of reincarnation, which suggests a field for answering this Challenge. One wonders about the Ents—they were awakened by the Elves. So what does that mean? Were they not originally part of the Master Plan? Or how do they view their relationship to the POwers That Be In Arda? There are always the orcs, for those interested in some of the thorniest theological issues Tolkien created for himself. Multiple opportunities, here...

 

 

Re: I'm a Believer!

There are always the orcs, for those interested in some of the thorniest theological issues Tolkien created for himself. And to SSP the Challenge I'm guilty of starting: you might then also be able to enter your story into the "Life and Times of the Orcs"-challenge... Two birds with one stone! Back on topic: I do find this another (*sigh*) interesting challenge, might even have a vague story idea for it, but right now I'm not really willing to commit to another Challenge. It wouldn't be fair since I doubt I'll bring myself to extending said story idea any time soon. I really need to work on my WIP! But hey, lots of talented folks around. Five believers needed, how hard can it be? Amanda.

 

 

Re: I'm a Believer!

Sign me up for this one! I had a couple of interesting concepts drifting around before you posted this and made them crystallise. I'm thinking Elven as my focus and the deistic, absentee view of the Valar seems intriguing. Then again hmm Orcs...ooh such good ideas. I will get stuck into this tomorrow!

 

 

Re: I'm a Believer!

Sophia Silfaery: Sign me up for this one! I had a couple of interesting concepts drifting around before you posted this and made them crystallise. All right! That's two. You know that book, "The Blind Watchmaker"? I think it's Dawkins who wrote it, but even if not--that seems a very apt deistic metaphor for your absentee Valar. And yes, Amanda, I definitely see the possibilities of a dual entry. So who else do we have, here? What about those hobbits? Or the Breelanders? How about the embalmers of Gondor?

 

 

Re: I'm a Believer!

Any length, genre, format: your pick. So here are some prompts to write on. (Simply swearing by a god doesn’t count.) *A festival celebrating a higher power *Someone denouncing a higher power. *Someone praying. *Someone interacting with a higher power (i.e., the Elves in pre-strife Valinor). Hi Meril, I could add a small poem in form of a prayer which I once wrote as a birthday gift for Dwimordene. It would fulfill Any length, genre and *Someone praying. Best wishes Elanor

 

 

Re: I'm a Believer!

Absolutely! That sounds fantastic! ~Meril Edit: So that makes four: myself (my own nuzgul turned its fangs on me), Elanor, Elemmire, and Sophia. Any more takers?

 

 

Re: I'm a Believer!

I'm well on the way with mine! I chose in the end to write from an Orc's POV as it felt the first flutters of awareness that there was something to the divine that went beyond Morgoth and Sauron. It's not religiously explicit but will include Elven ideas about the relationship of the body and spirt, funeral rites and life after 'death'. This isn't entirely what it began with but it morphed, if anyone would like to beta me for ideas and grammar I would be happy to do likewise. My grammar is not perfect but I will happily make comments about phrasing and content etc.

 

 

Re: I'm a Believer!

This sounds really interesting. Could you count me in? CLF

 

 

Re: I'm a Believer!

Argh... Apparently, my post didn't carry through earlier. Lucky I copied and saved it earlier. Bwa ha ha... And we have five! Me, Sophia, Elanor, Elemmire, and CLF. Does the wording sound fine to everyone? I was thinking of blurring the line between religion (organized) and faith. That'd broaden the parameters nicely. As to deadline, I was thinking of maybe six months. Three is a bit short for me, but I can pull something out in less than a year. *sheepish grin* I've overextended my limit on challenges in the past few weeks, and I'm being selfish and asking for a longer-than-three-months running time. I swear, after I take this one, I AM NOT TAKING ANY MORE CHALLENGES! I AM DEEP IN CHALLENGE CREDIT! *sigh* Famous last words. ~ Meril Edit: I've gone through and polished the challenge wording. Sounds fine to me now. Does six months sound good for everyone?

 

 

Re: I'm a Believer!

Looks good to me. My initial idea was to do a set of hymns to the Valar, either from a Sindarin or Exilic viewpoint, but now I'm thinking a dwarf piece might be interesting... -- Regarding the Númenórean feasts, I happened to read Exodus the other day, and noticed a similarity... Exodus 23:14-17 Three times a year you are to keep a pilgrim-feast to me. You are the celebrate the pilgrim feast of Unleavened Bread [March/April]...You are to celebrate the pilgrim-feast of Harvest [end of May], with the firstfruits of your work in sowing the land, and the pilgrim feast of Ingathering [early October] at the end of the year, when you gather the fruits of your work in from the land. Those three times a year all your males are to come into the presence of the Lord GOD. [...] are mine. A Description of Númenor, Unfinished Tales Thrice only in each year the King spoke, offering prayer for the coming year at the Erukeyermë in the first days of spring, praise of Eru Illúvatar at the Erulaitalë in midsummer, and thanksgiving to him at the Eruhantalë at the end of autumn. At these times the King ascended the mountain on foot followed by a great concourse of the people... , Elemmíre

 

 

Re: I'm a Believer!

Does the wording sound fine to everyone? I was thinking of blurring the line between religion (organized) and faith. That'd broaden the parameters nicely. The text of the challenge sounds good to me. Blurring the line between religion and faith works very good in ME. I do not remember any priests. For me six months is good ;-) Best wishes Elanor

 

 

Re: I'm a Believer!

I'm a Believer! is up! Visit the thread here, and join in! Challenge closes in 6 months (3/9/05). , Meril

 

 

In Forums

Discussion Info

Intended for: General Audience

This forum is open to all HASA members. It is read-only for the general public.

Membership on HASA is free and it takes only a few minutes to join. If you would like to participate, please click here.

If you are already a member, please log in to participate.

« Back to Prospective Challenges