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Tolkien/Jordan 'Crossover' Essay: On the motives of Ishamael

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A text from a hypothetical Jordan/Tolkien crossover, in which (of course) Shai'tan and Morgoth and identified as one and the same.

This particular text is inspired by the section in Morgoth's Ring titled: On the motives in 'The Silmarillion'. Both Sauron and Morgoth are given a place in that essay, and this is a hypothetical addition about Ishamael in it.

Please tell me what you think and thank you in advance!:)



Ishamael was, if not the most moral, at least the least petty and selfish among all the Forsaken, and even among many servants Morgoth had through the ages, divine (as Sauron and the Balrogs) or mortal (as the Men of Darkness in the First Age, of which the Thirteen were all descendants). This is because his original choice for destruction of all things had indeed been made with a heart of despair and misery. Having witnessed all fruits of evil that were brought forth when Morgoth was released from the Bore, his mind was too marred by this experience. 

Rather than a person of pride or arrogance as the other Forsaken, Elan Morin Tedronai was, at first, a good person, intimately understanding of the suffering of his fellow man. As a philosopher and theologian, he sought to answer these questions precisely because of the evils he had witnessed by Morgoth's hand. The only pride that could be attributed to him was that, when the power of the Dark One spread over the land and poisoned all minds, he was thinking he himself would be spared of such manipulation and stay of clear mind.

This was merely another ploy of Morgoth, the same he used on Fëanor - though the Elf-lord hated the Dark Lord more than anyone, he had fallen the most to his lies. This was the same for Elan, thought in a different kind. After beholding all that suffering and realizing the cycles of death and pain would go on as long as Morgoth endures, and (as the knowledge of the Gods was primitive in his time) he believed Morgoth would endure forever, by the nature of being older than time itself. Thus, he took up Morgoth's offer - to rend all of Creation into dust. 

The oath of fealty to Morgoth doomed him. Elan (now Ishamael) soon become, through the countless ages of service, the human being most alike to Morgoth, a "man after Morgoth's own heart". This is not to say Ishamael became as evil or cruel as Morgoth - far from it! None can reach those limits (not even Sauron, who was of Morgoth's own kin, could) especially since the nihilistic desire for eternal peace was still a goal for "the good of all", however twisted it might be - the absence of the lust for power (that was inherent to Morgoth) already made him better than his master.

What is meant by this is that he fell most deeply to his Lord'd lies, deeper than any Elda or Man had before or after. Before Morgoth he had already witnessed countless evils, but when he entered the servitude of the Lord of Evil he only fell deeper into abyss. A mind of a common man (or woman) experiences grief, darkness and loss - most grow above it, while others empty their misery through the ways of  tyranny. But few there are who find no joy anymore left and start to desire death.

Elan Morin Tedronai had a mind greater than a common man and experienced more than one. Because of that, the scars on his soul were even deeper than most. In both tragic and irony, the lord he swore to serve was the source of all that suffering and misery he witnessed, but Elan's soul was so grieved beyond comfort, mind so broken beyond repair, that he lost sense of reality. The relationship between Elan and Morgoth is not unlike that of a master who beats his slave, only to blame him for that pain later on. After a while, the mind of the slave will break and he will consider his master gracious whenever he is not violent. In this way, Ishamael, indeed, came to worship Morgoth in ways no other ever had.

His goal was indeed mingled with that of Morgoth (though for different reasons): nothing would have given him satisfaction and rest except if all of Arda was levelled to dust, and then his own soul broken and slain. His suicidal tendencies and self-hatred grew to proportions no one could imagine, and he became one of Morgoth's greatest victims.

Does this mean now that Ishamael is without fault? Not at all - the choice to step into the darkness was his free decision. But the breaking that followed that choice and the madness that shattered him was the whip of Morgoth's, striking harder every time at his soul. For that reason, to reject him and be angry at him is a valid choice, but to pity him and understand him even more important.

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This is interesting. However, for me, it is dangerous to pity Ishamael in this light with Morgoth, and seek to understand him.


With what I know of Morgoth, Ishamael must be rejected, or Morgoth wins his battle, and Rand must kill them both. Morgoth being equated with the Dark One does not work for me, for the very reason that the Creator would be above him, not an equal force, which Morgoth never was, and make Rand un needed.


He was Eru's greatest servant, and would make Ishamael a reflection of Morgoth's entire history. I still like my theory of the Dark One being entirely separate and outside from Eru and his creation, and even more so with Morgoth long gone is more fitting to what happens, and the fact that Ishamael in many ways, helped reseal the Dark One.


Morgoth would kill Ishamael the instant that became a possibility, and before Rand ever got near him. The Dark One would have no need to do this, since he has another turning to try again.

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wotfan4472 Sorry for not replying sooner! I got no notification about your reply.



I have by now started understanding your own Tolkien/Jordan headcanon, which differs from my own in that you don't like the idea Morgoth=Shai'tan. On that, we disagree (since I never got the impression Shai'tan is the Creator's equal either) but that is all fun and games.



Having said even that, if we remove Tolkien from my "essay" entirely, I do think it describes why I have always seen Ishamael as a very pitiable character, deserving of sympathy rather than parody.

Edited by Rhaegar Targaryen
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I still disagree on  him deserving sympathy. The reason, is the two intellectual and academic disciplines he came from. Just one or the other would garner sympathy from me. The presence of both of them means for me, he gets no sympathy, and only slightly above even Semirhage or Graendal do, since both of those Forsaken have disciplines that are far more impactful and important.


A parody is the best compromise for me to do so, even though I think he was an awesome villain. Juxtapose with Semirhage and Graendal both of whom I thoroughly enjoy their arcs, and their fates in the story.


For me, the most sympathetic Forsaken has to be Demandred. I totally get that character, and understand how his life lead him to where he ended up.


I agree, that this is fun and games. Gives my mind a good workout.

Edited by wotfan4472
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