UrsusArctos contributes a lot to this page, and I almost glossed over this email as stuff we'd heard before, but it grew on me. Have a look, see what you think.
UrsusArctos (email@example.com) writes:
The Great Journey- Potentially the strongest Tolkien connection, and also the hardest one to make in some ways. The immortal Elves were called by the Valar(Archangels) to cross the Great Sea of Middle Earth and come to their deathless realm of Valinor, where nothing died(Whatever was killed would have its spirit wait in a sort of Valhalla). But, however, they were fated to prepare the world for the coming of Men(Whom the Elves called the Aftercomers or the Followers). Some of the Elves refused to go along on the Great Journey, and they were left behind(Compare with what Truth says to the Arbiter and Mercy says to the Master Chief). Others went to Valinor and returned later, most of them during Feanor's war of the Silmarils. After the defeat of Sauron in Lord of the Rings, most of the Elves went west over the sea and never returned.
Just to be speculative, what if the Forerunner saw the flood threat approaching, and decided to set things up for later races to inhabit the galaxy? The Halos fired, and the forerunner died physically, but, as with Tolkien's elves, went to a place where they could linger on and continue to influence the events of the world, and even come back into the world when needed. According to Joe Staten, the Forerunner never really died out, but "faded away", an epithet that easily fits the fate of slain Elves. (Guilty Spark, an AI, would consider physical death to be the end, and not appreciate the great beyond.) Master Chief was born in Elysium, the blessed afterlife of the Greeks. He has an innate understanding of forerunner writing and technology. Could he be a reincarnated forerunner, who was sent back from the Halo equivalent of Valhalla through whatever technology the forerunners had created over the centuries?
Then there's the sea, another recurring theme in the Great Journey. People have noticed the wierd link between water and the Halos ever since the game came out, pointing out higher water levels in Silent Cartographer and AotCR, the frozen waterfall near Halo 04's control room, driftwood on SC, the lake Regret's temple is on top of, so on. In First Strike, the hallway leading to the room with the crystal has blue tiles that give the impression of waves breaking upon a shore. High Charity has seagulls aboard.(Stephen Loftus pointed that one out on the forum). Elves who come near the sea and hear the call of the gull can no longer resist the desire to go on the Great Journey(from Lord of the Rings). Regret: "It's divine wind will rush through the stars, propelling the worthy along the path to salvation". Doesn't wind propel sailing ships?