The Silmarillion Recap: One Step Closer to the Edge (or How Tar-Pharazôn Rivaled Morgoth Himself)

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

Last week, Isildur saved a seed from the White Tree before its destruction, foiling Sauron’s plans to destroy all connections with the Valar and the Elves. This week, Sauron pushes Tar-Pharazôn to the edge, and it’s not going to be pretty.

Akallabêth part 14

The White Tree known as Nimloth has been destroyed. After years of sitting in the king’s court, it’s finally gone. A symbol of just how far the Númenorians have fallen.

Instead of this old symbol, Sauron works his magic (more figuratively than literally) to ensure that the focus returns to his banished master, Morgoth (also known as Melkor), with a new temple built in Morgoth’s honor. It’s an impressive building that glimmers in the sunlight, but only for a very short time. Soon, it turns black from constant sacrifices made inside of the temple. The first victim: the White Tree, Nimloth. And Nimloth is soon followed by the Elendili (those still faithful to the Valar) and anyone else who seemingly opposes Tar-Pharazôn (and, of course, Sauron).

Why all of these horrific sacrifices? To please Morgoth and release themselves from death. After all, death has always been part of the human experience, even in Middle-earth, but it’s no longer viewed as the gift it is but something to be feared. For this reason, the Númenorians have long been seeking a way to avoid death, and this is just the newest method in the line up.

However, instead of freeing themselves from death, the Númenorians find themselves in worse shape than ever. Their lives are shorter than ever (though still considerably longer than those of the Men of Middle-earth), and now they have a new issue to deal with. Sickness and madness. It’s exactly what Sauron has been hoping for.

Next week, Amandil decides to do something desperate to save the people of Númenor, but is it too little too late?

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