The Silmarillon Seminar participants did not think that we could get an entire session out of the “Unfinished Tales” version of the description of Numenor given the length of the chapter. However, like always, Tolkien surprised us, and gave us a full session. Here’s a recap of what we talked about in last night’s Seminar (10:15ET–MyMERadio)-Brandon
The first main issue we discussed was the Geography of Numenor, and the strange fact that it is described in the text as Five-Pointed, or as a “Pentagle,” the inversion of which is the sign the the symbol Satanism. In Goethe’s “Faust,” Faust’s devil appears because he made a mistake in the geometry (i.e. a line was broken) of this five-pointed star. the devil appears.
However an upright star, a Pentagle, is supposed to stand for “perfection” or “virtue” and is on Texaco,Wall-Mart, The USA Army (and many corporate logos beside).
But why why Five? Is there anywhere else in Tolkien’s world that we find “five” as a sacred, (maybe even holy) number? It seems the Valar like this number, as they sent in numbers of five Istari in numbers of Five, though we only hear about the White, Grey and Brown.
I was blamed (jokingly) for saying the Valar are responsible for this intentional act of subcreation. Aule’s subcreation is stopped by Illuvatar, but the sub-creation here is a Gift to Men from the Valar and allowed to go on. Perhaps the Valar can create geography and people to fill it, but not Children of their own?
Manwe’s Eagles fly above the Island, perhaps, as Jason suggested, keeping an eye on the Numenoreans. The proximity of Numenor being between Middle-Earth and Valinor, as pointed out by Matt, will prove to a problem later. What will Eru think of the Valar’s subcreation here, which could be–as was argued–an interference with The Children of Illuvavtar? Stay tuned!
It was also brought up that Tolkien had on his mind the Island of Atlantis. Was Plato’s description of Atlantis in “The Republic” is proximate to the size of Numenor? Are there other places? It seems roughly the size of California and the west coast of the United States, perhaps the size of Texas, the Lone Star State.
If you want to find out how Five is an important number in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight click here.
Interference by the Gods in myth tend to bloodshed, but is this a good thing or a bad thing? Does Tolkien even care for the Geography of Arda ? Is there any significance given to the number nine? How about the number seven? Numerology and Geography is sure something to think about.
Join us next time as The Silmarillion Seminar meets back Thursday, July 26th at 10:15pm!