Thursday, November 12, 2015

The Void

Let's talk about "the void". In The Silmarillion we learned all about the original bad guy, Morgoth. At the end of the tale we learn that Morgoth is defeated despite his prowess. Upon defeat he is "thrust through the Door of Night beyond the Walls of the World, into the Timeless Void." This is an interesting statement. He is beyond the walls of the world. I take this to mean the physical plane of Arda and Valinor. In The Silmarillion we read that Iluvatar and the remaining Ainur remain on a different plane from Arda. Is this where "the void" is located? Does the void have a physical location? Or is it perhaps simply separate and exists in another dimension?


Estë said...

This is a really interesting question! The questions you raise are reminiscent of those we ask ourselves in regards to religion and the afterlife, I think. Is there a physical place where we go after we die? Does it exist in the same plane of reality that we exist in? It certainly seems like Morgoth has been banished to some other-worldly or maybe out-of-worldly place. Probably it is something that we can’t exactly conceive of, but maybe some sort of limbo between existence and non-existence. I wonder if it is the same place that Iluvatar dwelled in the beginning before the first songs. That’s an interesting thought- instead of a heaven and hell sort of Christian conception of other realms within Middle-earth, maybe a different idea of separation from realities in an empty, between-worlds kind of way.

Manwë said...

I always pictured the void as some sort of other ‘dimension,’ something completely separate from Middle-earth. While Iluvatar remains in another dimension as well, I would separate that dimension from the one Melkor resides in- meaning that there are at least 3 dimensions, perhaps each created for a specific purpose. Going into this type of question is always so confusing! Like what existed before then? I would almost say that being placed in the void is almost a destruction of sorts, like maybe Melkor doesn’t even exist as he once did in an actual form but has been completely dissipated in the void- though I would say that that idea is not true because it is stated that Túrin would go and defeat Melkor at the end of time…. But if it’s the end of time does Melkor need defeating? Is there some sort of cyclical creation of universes? With some elements of previous incarnations depicted in the new universe? That would be cool, though I’m not sure we will ever know… at least in terms of what Tolkien would truly want.

Oromë said...

We all know how important names were to Tolkien, so we cannot ignore the word that he chose to name the "dimension" of the Void. The name "the Void" implies a lack, an un-existence. I have always perceived the void as a realm outside of existence, completely apart from and inaccessible in the physical world. The Void may seem to come from Tolkien's Christian beliefs, but this cannot be the only answer because the Void is very different from the cosmological realms of Christianity. According to Christian doctrine, heaven and hell are very real places with a physicality and tangibility that makes them resemble the earth, or rather, the earth resemble heaven. These cosmological realms may be separate from the created earth, but they are still physical in nature. The Void, on the other hand, seems to be a realm of non-existence, which is neither physical nor tangible.