9

In the Silmillarion, Mandos says:

Tears unnumbered ye shall shed; and the Valar will fence Valinor against you, and shut you out, so that not even the echo of your lamentation shall pass over the mountains. On the House of Fëanor the wrath of the Valar lieth from the West unto the uttermost East, and upon all that will follow them it shall be laid also. Their Oath shall drive them, and yet betray them, and ever snatch away the very treasures that they have sworn to pursue. To evil end shall all things turn that they begin well; and by treason of kin unto kin, and the fear of treason, shall this come to pass. The Dispossessed shall they be for ever. ...

Which eventually comes to pass.

Question: was Mandos simply predicting the future, or was it actually a curse backed by the power of the Valar?

  • 3
    When you are a god-like being who helped to create the universe as you know it, blessed with senses and awareness beyond the ken of almost all around you except your creator, is there really a difference between a doom pronounced and a doom recognized? Personally, I don't think Mandos was a dooming sort of fellow, so I would call it a prediction/awareness of the future and run with it... – Thaddeus Howze Jan 3 '13 at 0:06
8

Mandos is said to be the grimmest of the Valar. However, this in no way implies that Mandos is dark or evil. His grimness is wholly part of his nature, coming (one must assume) from that part of the mind of Ilúvatar from which he was created. Neither is Mandos willful or malevolent in declaring the fates of Arda. Only at the bidding of Manwë will Mandos ever pronounce his dooms. See: Tolkien Gateway > Mandos

  • Pronouncing judgements as was his job as the "Doomsman of the Valar" did not mean he caused those fates, only that he would be aware of them before (or outside of) the normal passage of time. Only Manwe and Illuvatar knew more about the fates of anyone or anything in Arda.

  • When you are a god-like being who helped to create the universe as you know it, blessed with senses and awareness beyond the ken of almost all around you (Manwe knew as much) except your Creator, is there really a difference between a doom pronounced and a doom recognized? Personally, I don't think Mandos was a dooming sort of fellow, so I would call it a prediction/awareness of the future and run with it...

  • is it overstating it to say that Manwe knows more? Mandos seem to be the court stenographer of Illuvatar: Manwe may have heard it too, but Mandos wrote it all down. – horatio Jan 3 '13 at 22:47
4

Tolkien was a linguist and he used words very carefully, always using exactly the word that conveyed his meaning. In this case, the word is clearly a noun and not a verb. We can infer from the definition of the noun form of the word itself that he means either a judgement or an inevitable fate, and not a curse.

3

"Doom" is another word for "judgment," and knowing the elves better than they know themselves, he is predicting what will come.

2

It was a prediction. It is explicitly stated in The Silmarillion:

For Maedhros begged forgiveness for the desertion in Araman; and he waived his claim to kingship over all the Noldor, [...].

Therefore even as Mandos foretold the House of Fëanor were called the Dispossessed, because the overlordship passed from it, the elder, to the house of Fingolfin, both in Elendë and in Beleriand, and because also of the loss of the Silmarils.

Foretelling is a synonym for prophesing and predicting. The Doom of Mandos is also called The First Prophecy of Mandos, the Second being the Dagor Dagorath. A "prophecy" simply means:

Prophecy [noun]: a prediction of what will happen in the future.

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