tip: katekyou "alternate universe" sort:>words
“Well, I’m off. I myself have friends and kinsmen (in the long view) that I owe a good long visit, for the last time I saw them I was naked and in a terrible hurry. "Just SNORTED with laughter, quite loudly, in the middle of the night while my roommates are trying to sleep... One of many reasons Gandalf is my favorite! Your portrayal of the valar is really fascinating and, I think, spot on. I particularly love how the description of what Mandos looks and sounds like makes all these abstract concepts into something that seems nevertheless to viscerally exist. And your note about the contract and the curse both falling under his purview! I suppose that makes him the God of lawyers as well as of fate and death? ;) and Bilbo is, after all, an esquire hobbit...
Yes! I'm so pleased you noted the bit about Mandos and curses and contract. Mandos is, after all, the Doomsman of the Valar; he deals with Rules. (Which, interestingly, means that he understands and appreciates, but is fundamentally powerless over, exceptions and changes. Part of why he is very keen for one of the Secondborn to take a shot at luring Feanor out from behind the walls...)
His word is law, by definition and not just by convention. It's fascinating how much power words have in this world - the root of the problem with the oath, isn't it?