The Silmarillion Recap: House Rules (Made by the Valar)

Want to catch up on The Silmarillion so far? Check out the Silmarillion Recaps page here.

Last time, we covered the lineage and importance of Elros, the first king of Númenor. This week, a little more about the island’s inhabitants and their one unbreakable rule.

Akallabêth part 4

The people of Númenor, called the Dúnedain, are undeniably impressive. They live on a special island protected by the Valar, are buddies with the Elves of Valinor, and enjoy incredibly long lives. They’re mighty, skilled, and peaceful. Not to mention that they’re incredible ship builders with a sense of adventure. It seems like they have everything.

But there is one unbreakable rule that the Dúnedain have to follow: they are not allowed to sail West. As long as they can see the coast of Númenor, they are fine, but that’s all the further west they can go. As for north, south, and east, they can sail as far as they like.

This rule is called the Ban of the Lords of the West. While it might seem harsh or pointless, the Valar actually have an excellent reason for imposing such a rule. Men have been given the gift of mortality. Even though the Valar can extend the lives of the Dúnedain, they still will die. It’s part of the beauty of humanity. However, spending time in Valinor, a land filled with immortality, could cause temptation, making the Dúnedain less grateful for their gift and more interested in extending their lives long past their original design. To protect them from such an overwhelming temptation, the Ban is put in place.

And the Dúnedain don’t understand, but they’re content (for now). After all, there’s so much to explore in every other direction.

One of the place the Dúnedain frequent is Middle-earth. It’s been a while since the Dúnedain left, and the Men who stayed behind are living in fear. Morgoth might be banished, but that doesn’t mean his evil minions aren’t still plaguing the land. Men have slipped back into something rather akin to the Dark Ages; they’ve forgotten many of the skills and knowledge that they used to know. However, the Dúnedain restore it with their visits. The Men in Middle-earth love the Dúnedain, whom they call the Sea-kings, and they anxiously look forward to their visits. However, the Dúnedain never stay for long. Their primary interest is always in the west, where their home lies.

Next week, 11 generations after Elros, the Ban of the Lords of the West comes into question, and Númenor will never be the same.


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