by Max Barry

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Region: Middle Earth

March of Maedhros wrote:
The "island" is not an island and it is called Valinor
Long story short is that Valinor was another continent west of Middle Earth where the Valar (the "gods") lived some 10,000 years before the events of LOTR. Their big evil brother Morgoth was bullying everyone in Middle Earth, so the Valar brought the Elves (only those who wanted to go) to Valinor as a way of protecting them, hence the moniker "Undying Lands". Skipping over many, many events, and a long time later the men of Numenor are tricked into attacking Valinor by Sauron. Eru ("God") and the Valar decide enough is enough and move the continent into what is effectively outer space/off the planet and teach some Elves how to sail off the planet if they so wish to go there (which they all eventually do).

The Commonwealth of Lindon-Rivendell is right in saying that the ringbearers (Frodo, Bilbo, and Sam) had to go. Also, I think, it is also due in part to the fact that there is no "evil" (Sauron) left in Middle Earth except in those who carried the ring, so they must leave. Gandalf is from Valinor, and Elrond, Galadriel, and Cirdan (the Elf guy standing by the ship in movie) go because they are Elves and that is where they "belong".

I hope that clarifies things, though it is very condensed.

I enjoyed the read, as well. It's always informative to hear how others might sum up something.

Personally, I always thought of Valinor as having been moved more to a separate dimension/otherworld, though I don't recall what the actual text says. I really like the idea of envisioning it more as off-planet. Pretty cool.

In one of Tom Shippey's books on Tolkien, he talks about his own interpretation of the departure to the west undertaken by the hobbits at the end of the book. Keeping in mind Tolkien's own disdain for allegory and insistence that such devices are impractical for analyzing his works, Shippey discusses Tolkien's own experiences in the first world war, his and other returning vets' experiences in attempting to rejoin the civilized world, and how many of them felt such a re-acclimation to be impossible and had to "leave" once again. It doesn't have to be a one-to-one allegory, but the emotions and experience certainly seem to have contributed, in some way, to depicting how and why story shows the ring-bearers departing after all is said and done.