Home is behind, the world is ahead

And there are many paths to tread.

Once you start looking for ‘people who ignore the outside world are destroyed by it’ themes in Tolkien, they’re everywhere.

Nargothrond, Gondolin, and narrowly averted in the Shire.

The Silmarillion is not as well polished as the LotR, and one way to see it is in the twists. The hobbits of the Shire didn’t want to pay attention to the outside world, like the elves of the first age. They turned inward and bent their efforts on the doing of good things. They mastered their crafts, took care of their people, and paid attention to their own histories and doings. And doom came to them.

But because several hobbits did get involved in the outside world, catastrophe passed from the Shire. Gondolin and Nargothrond fell. That twist is the mark of a well-polished novel, unlike the beautiful but somewhat protoformed stories of earlier books.

The wood elves of Mirkwood got off surprisingly easily.

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