mahal's children

Yamuna River - Agra, India

Most of the city of Agra is built along the Yamuna River, which flows from the far north of the country, and through Delhi. The river has played an important role in the life of the cities most famous building, the Taj Mahal. Many of the materials used to build the monument came from the river, or were transported to the area by river. The Taj is located on a sharp bend in the river, down stream from Agra fort. The calmness of the river at this section allows the Taj Mahal to reflect off the water perfectly, like a mirror. 

The Taj Mahal was built by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan, for his wife Mumtaz Mahal, who died in Childbirth. When construction of the Taj was completed, the body of Mumtaz was transported in a golden casket along the river, to its final resting place in the centre of the Mausoleum. Thirty-five years later, upon his own death, the Body of Shah Jahan made its journey down the river, to be laid to rest next to his wife, in the mausoleum that he built for her. 

The Obscenity of Smaug: On Mahal and Dwarven Sacred Space

Smaug is a problem. In the text he is a fascinating and even an appealing antagonist; on screen, he is captivating and more than a little terrifying. But in the context of Middle Earth, particularly within the world of the Dwarves, he is nothing short of an utter obscenity. Wiser heads than mine have explored the political, economic, and physical problems he poses. Here, I would like to consider Smaug’s occupation of Erebor and the possible religious implications.

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there is a song called traveler’s train.  a dwarf wrote it; one of Thorin’s mountain, though not one he is acquainted with personally.  To the best of his knowledge, anyway.

He’s learned it from his dwarves, because it spread and they teach it to each other, and dwarves carry it from one settlement to another caravan to a different caravan to a little enclave of Longbeards in the halls of the Stonefoots to a caravan to a settlement in Gondor where his dwarves sleep with one ear cocked for angry Men’s voices, ready to slip out the little tunnels they’ve already prepared, to meet whatever caravan is passing and keep on.  Traveler’s Train, a wordless tune that they play, whoever’s riding on the carts on what instruments they have and the rest of them humming, to pass the long miles between meals.  Thorin is their king and Thorin is one of them, and has learned the song, and brought it to others, he and Dis and their boys, he and Balin and Dwalin and Odi, who always rides in the cart these days.  He and the ravens, who croak and quork and snap their beaks almost in rhythm.

Traveler’s Train, it is called, and Fili and Kili, like the other children in this caravan, call it Caravan Travelling and Road-dwarf song in code-switching Khuzdul and Westron and the speech of ravens that has no name.  Odi is teaching them ancient extinct languages of Men.  Khazad-train song, Fili calls it in one of them, and one of the adults cries out to Mahal that their children know no other life than this: endlessly walking the roads that they built millennia ago, never resting under stone as anything more than guests, that they think the word traveler can be translated as dwarf, with not a single descriptor or modifier.

Traveler’s Train, and it has traveled the world over and back so many times Thorin has lost track, the Broadbeams in his Company play it along with the Longbeards because they know it just as well; the wizard makes no comment but the halfling says “oh, I know this song.”

Dwarves twist around in their saddles to look at him.

“My mother used to sing it,” he continues blithely, and now they all swivel their heads to look at Bombur, who shrugs and reddens slightly, and Bofur gives them that grin that says he’ll kill anyone who so much as insinuates his brother perhaps should not have taught a hobbit-maid a dwarven song.  Thorin gives Bombur a minute nod, which he knows enough of the others will have been watching him to see and note: the song is wordless, an idle rambling tune written in exile, and is not a secret.  Bombur was given little enough time with the little hobbit-maid who married another hobbit in the end.  Thorin won’t begrudge it, no matter how it grates against his instinctive reaction.

But their own little hobbit opens his mouth and starts to sing along in Westron.  The lyrics are hobbitish, clearly: full of imagery drawn from farms and things that… grow and hop and crawl and fly.  Thorin doesn’t know whether most of the things mentioned are flowers or animals.

He sings of a dwarf-caravan, coming through year after year, and the dwarf-tinker who comes with them.  He sings of the alluring call of the open road, and the romance of a life ever-changing, and how the tinker would never settle in one place, not even for love.  But I packed a bag in secret, he sang, and someday, someday, I’ll follow him away, unless you ask me now—

He breaks off, looking appalled, and stays silent for the rest of the afternoon.

Good.  Thorin is so angry that his vision is greying out at the edges; if the halfling says another word it is unlikely Thorin will be able to continue guiding his own pony.

The Link (arrangedMarriage!AU, Bagginshield)

A plague is raging through Middle-earth. Nobody can say where it came from, and nobody knows how to stop it.
The few elves left seem not affected at all by it (of course), but who can tell if there are more of their numbers dwindling away in the forest nowadays?
The humans somehow simply shrug off the fact that 5% of those who contract it do not survive, and go on with their short lives like nothing happened.
But the dwarves cannot. They are dying. One in three hit by the disease returns to the stone of which they were made of, and the loss is too high.
Thorin II Oakenshield, son of Thrain, son of Thror, King of Durin’s folk is desperate.

Help comes in the form of small and harmless looking people from the far West.
They offer a cure (a working one), but it comes with a price.
In order to ensure the correct treatment of the victims (and the safety of the healers), they want guarantees for the cooperation. A bond between allies, a link between their kind and the children of Mahal.
A connection through marriage.

To ensure that they will have enough influence over the people of Erebor, they present different options. The number of the dwarves that have to be wed depends on their social standing.
Either 1000 miners or soldiers –“No way we are giving them an army!“ “We are not, Dwalin, calm down.”–, 100 merchants or craftsmen –”The guilds will not stand for this, Thorin.”, 10 nobles –“I could write a list, you know.” “Nori, please, they said they will not take those who are too young, too old, too sick, or already in a relationship. And I don’t want the leftover vipers to ally with the strangers”– or…
one member of the royal family –”It does not have to be the King”–

But then again, who else could it be? The heir of Durin agrees to take one of those strangers as a consort to save his people. After all “we have come off really cheap, Balin. One life in exchange for so many. The line is secured in Fili, and I have faced worse in battle before. There is no choice.”
But will the link forged by this arranged marriage be strong enough to ensure the end of the plague and the survival of the dwarves?

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This idea hit me out of the blue, and as you can see, I am no writer, so I thought I should maybe just set it free while it is still young.
Somehow in my mind it is not exactly the conventional Middle-earth story either, with the halflings using plant magic and Yavanna’s gifts as healers (though it could be), but a clash of technologies as well, having the Hobbits use more sophisticated Star Trek like medicine and knowledge. (Maybe I am just eager to see classic Tolkien dwarves get their hands on tricorders?)
There might be some dystopian elements in there regarding the plague, but there is also lots of room for fluff and pining (and politics?), too.
So, if any of you are interested, please feel free to take this prompt and turn it into a story.
Thank you!
- Janna

avelera  asked:

Hobbit meta speculation - dwarves view destruction by fire as sacrilegious - discuss ;)

(THANK YOU for asking this - I have Thoughts on this subjects!)

A Truth: Mahal, the Maker, is a smith. He works in fire and metal, and great are his works.

A Truth: Mahal created the Dwarves by his own hands and after his own likeness, that he might teach them and bring them up, and that they might learn to be like him.

Then: The Dwarves were created in fire, tempered for strength and endurance, and imbued with the Sacred Flame when Illuvatar accepted them as his adopted children. Fire is Creation.

A Truth: the Dwarves do not burn their dead. It is a not a thing unknown in Middle Earth; the Kings of Men once burned theirs on great pyres - but the Dwarves do not. Not until Azanulbizar, and the Burned Dwarves. Not until necessity drove them past all lines of what had been acceptable, until the choice was to burn the works of their Maker’s hands or to let them rot in the sun, falling victim to the corpse-eaters. 

A Truth: to be a Burned Dwarf is a thing that becomes a mark of distinction, after Azanulbizar.

I ask you, then: if you work in fire and metal, and mighty are your works; if you create beauty and strength in a refiner’s fire; if fire is life and creation and your tangible proof that you are alive and beloved of your Creator - how can you cast anything lightly into the flames and watch it’s consumption? Can you treat that force that brought you into being as nothing but destruction? I think you do not burn the cities of your enemies, if you are a Dwarf. I think you do not burn anything without need.

Fire is for creation and refinement. Fire burns out impurities, burns off everything you do not need, so that what is left is pure and strong, as the Maker would have it. Dragonfire is an abomination, because there is no creation in it - but to pass through it and come out the other side makes you stronger, makes you something special. 

Burning your own dead is sacrilege - but it also serves a purpose. It protects them from worse indignities - and it makes you stronger, because it is what you must do to survive and to protect those you have loved. It is a Creation, of a sort, this intentional destruction by fire. You create yourselves again as you lay the fire and mourn the dead. You make yourselves stronger and more ready. 

But how must Mahal mourn for his children who are lost in fire?

anonymous asked:

I don't know if you got this, because I sent it when Tumblr was acting up a bit, but I was wondering if you had any thoughts about Dwarves being children of Mahal and Hobbits probably being children of his wife Yavanna? I feel like that is significant in a Bagginshieldy kind of way ! :D

YES I HAVE MANY THOUGHTS ABOUT THIS

like how freckles are called ‘kisses of yavanna’ and how dwarves consider dimples a small miracle because that’s where mahal pressed his thumbs when he was creating his children

and how mahal and yavanna are almost polar opposites, he is all about metalwork and mountains and fire and forging things and power, while she is all about flowers and fertility and warmth and growth, and yet, they are married, ie something must obviously connect them - I think it’s the element of earth in general, just the love for nature’s wonders, may they be found in smelting, or gardening

and then of course there’s bilbo and thorin, and not only are the similarities visual, but, and I’m gonna copypaste my reply to a similar message some months ago, imagine Thorin (Mahal) spending all his time at the forge, surrounded with smoke and heat and dust, and loving it, but equally loving the sensation when he comes out for fresh air and sees Bilbo (Yavanna) working in the gardens with the tools he’d created for him. They complement each other. Yavanna brings light into the depths of Mahal’s smithys, life into his creations. Mahal keeps Yavanna warm, very simply put.

SO YESSSS YES TO ALL, hobbits being yavanna’s perfect warm plump beautiful creations and dwarves being mahal’s forbidden race, sturdy and perhaps not as soft and delicate, but still, they complement each other aayyy