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Ar-Pharazôn the Golden, the last Vala-hating king of Numenor, led an army to conquer Valinor, but Illuvatar trapped them in a cave-in where they will remain until the end of time - the Caves of the Forgotten.

In their current status, are they technically alive, and thus necessarily the only immortal and longest living humans around?

  • Are the Caves of the Forgotten cited in the published Silmarillion, or in an older version of the Akallabeth in the Lost Tales / Unfinished Tales / other books? (admittedly it has been a while since last rereading, but I don't remember that name) – lfurini Jun 17 '16 at 17:50
  • There was the analogous Army of the Dead from LOTR. They were dead, but still came back to fight at Pelennor Fields to atone for their (somewhat less greivous) sin. – Spencer Jun 17 '16 at 18:29
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    The Army of the Dead crossed Gondor with Aragorn et al, fought at Pelargir, then were released from their oath. – chepner Jun 23 '16 at 1:20
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Questions about humans who are waiting, in some sense alive, until the Battle of Battles are unlikely to have definitive answers. Christopher Tolkien did not include Mandos' prophecy regarding the Dagor Dagorath in the published Silmarillion, because his father's thoughts about the battle had changed significantly over the years. One of the major issues with the prophecy was the role of Turin, who, in early versions of the legendarium, had become immortal and would be Morgoth's final slayer. Yet this was not consistent with Tolkien's eventual view of the Gift of Men. There would be similar issues with the surviving invaders from Numenor.

Of course, we know from The Lord of the Rings that it is within the power of the Ainur to keep men "alive" beyond the natural span of their years, as Sauron did with the ringwraiths. However, their total "life" had to be stretched out over a longer and longer period, robbing them of their human characters. If the armies of Numenor were kept alive in the cave, they might similarly have become worn out remnants of their former selves; or they might have been held in suspended animation, waiting to awaken for the end of days.

  • It's not necessarily inconsistent with the Gift of Men. Immortal souls may not leave Eä, while mortal soles will, but it doesn't specify when. – OrangeDog Jun 17 '16 at 12:55
  • @OrangeDog Just nitpicking, but both elves' and men's souls are immortal, otherwise they would not survive the body's death :-) – lfurini Jun 17 '16 at 18:36
  • @Ifurini that's not Tolkein's definition of mortal. – OrangeDog Jun 17 '16 at 19:09
  • @OrangeDog Of course men are defined as mortal ("... Nine for the mortal men doomed to die ..."); I was just saying (half-jokingly) that the expression "mortal soul" seems an oxymoron. – lfurini Jun 17 '16 at 19:39
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Ar Pharazon, the Golden and his army of Numenoreans were not alive as other mortal men but Tolkien did not throw light upon this matter. Either they were buried or put to sleep by Illuvitar, it is not known till they atone for the sins and fight in the Dagor Dagorath. They are not the oldest of men if Tuor isn't alive, remember Tuor was the only mortal man who was counted among elves. So if he would have been alive which is not known than he would have been the oldest of his race.

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