“But Mariners are men of two minds, at war with themselves; and the desire of the sea still holds me…”The Unfinished Tales
The story of the Mariner and his wife is a heavy one. It is filled with love and passion but also despair and coldness. Meneldur is the son of the King of Numenor and marries Almarion. He has a great mind and loves the stars! How different his son would be. When Aldarion is born, it is obvious that he is not like his father but feels called to the sea. When he is old enough, Meneldur is hesitant but allows Aldarion to set sail and explore lands outside of Numenor. As he traveled, Meneldur becomes King of Numenor and is desperate for his son to assume his responsibility as the Heir.
When Aldarion is home he spends his time creating Guilds and building shipyards. Then he meets the lovely Erendis. But his heart lays with the sea. He leaves for seven years, only to return and leave again. At first, Erendis has patience and hope. Erendis has no love of the sea but prefers the company of the trees– which are cut down to build Aldarion’s ships. Soon Meneldur loses his patience and forbids Aldarion to sail. In response to Aldarion’s refusal to listen, Meneldur shuts down the guilds and shipping yards. And Erendis loses hope and returns home.
“Life on land was irksome to him, for aboard his ship he was subject to no other will…”The Unfinished Tales
When he finally returns, he decides to seek a betrothal to Erendis and his family rejoices. But yet, in the 15 years on land, he grew cold. Erendis feared the sea, knowing it would call to him. She even began to hate the trees that she dearly loved before. But they wed and have a daughter named Ancalime. When she is 4-years-old, Aldarion is called again to sail. This time, Erendis loses her love for Aldarion. She shuts their home and retreats to another and her love transforms into anger and grief. All the love she possesses is given to her daughter. Eventually, Aldarion returns with a letter about the Darkness of Sauron as if that is an excuse for being an absent parent. While it is easy to see why Aldarion kept sailing for the reasons he did, he shouldn’t have expected a warm reunion. He puts Erendis through so much and proves time and again that her love never came first.
There are aspects of this story that remind me of The Odyssey. Odysseus is a warrior who is cunning. He claims to want to return home but finds himself delaying his trip. Ok, I admit, a few of his excuses were understandable. The only difference is Penelope waits for twenty years. Erendis knows she deserves love in return, she knows her worth. But it is a common trait amongst mariners. But this story also shows the smaller effects that Sauron has on Middle-earth. It isn’t just destruction he unleashes but also keeps families apart.