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Silmarillion Discussion: Of Thingol and Melian

NZ Strider

Feb 11 2013, 12:43am

Views: 1337
Silmarillion Discussion: Of Thingol and Melian Can't Post

In this brief chapter Ė just two pages in my edition of the Silmarillion Ė a number of matters important both for the later history of Middle-earth as well as for Tolkienís own literary predilections come up. I will post a few questions today and a few more tomorrow.

Thingol meets Melian

Thingol, walking through the woods, hears the song of nightingales. He follows the sounds and comes upon Melian in a glade. He is immediately entranced and remains with Melian for the rest of his days in Middle-earth.

This is, I think, Tolkienís first use of this scene Ė a man sees a beautiful female in a glade and is promptly captivated. The scene will be repeated a little later when Beren meets Thingolís and Melianís daughter, Luthien; and much later when Aragorn first meets Arwen (LotR, App. A (v)).

1.) How do people feel about Tolkienís re-use of the basic scene? Does putative overuse give the later scenes a weary air of ďhere we go againĒ? Granted, when Tolkien published the LotR, there was little chance of the Silmarillion ever being published, so App. A (v) was the first published version of the scene.

2.) The scene is based on something from Tolkienís own life when Mrs. Tolkien (they were married at the time, so it was okay) danced for him beneath some trees in a moonlit glade. (I donít have the edition of Tolkienís letters with me, but if memory serves, he refers to this in one of his letters.) The episode clearly made a deep impression on him. Does knowing of the personal episode increase the sceneís ability to charm? Was this why he used and re-used it?

Melian the Maia

The Maiar are beings of the same general order of the Valar, but of a lower rank. Melianís union with Thingol will eventually produce Luthien. It is the only time when one of the beings created outside of Arda has such a union with a being created within Arda.

3.) How is this supposed to work? None of the other Valar/Maiar ever begets children.

4.) Given that Melian is a higher-order being than Thingol, it is clear what he saw in her. But what did Melian see in Thingol? Why did she enter into this union? Do we know enough about her character to have any idea? If not, is this a blemish on the plot since her act appears inexplicable and unmotivated? (Especially since her act has such great consequences farther down the line Ė without her union with Thingol there would be no Luthien for whose sake Beren would win a Silmaril, and so on.)

Subject User Time
Silmarillion Discussion: Of Thingol and Melian NZ Strider Send a private message to NZ Strider Feb 11 2013, 12:43am
    Everything that happens in Arda IdrilofGondolin Send a private message to IdrilofGondolin Feb 11 2013, 7:59pm
        The "take it or leave it" chapter noWizardme Send a private message to noWizardme Feb 11 2013, 9:35pm
    Time is a circle... telain Send a private message to telain Feb 12 2013, 4:37pm
    Of immortal marriages CuriousG Send a private message to CuriousG Feb 13 2013, 7:53pm
    After a long delay. sador Send a private message to sador Feb 17 2013, 2:55pm
    It is a bittersweet letter. dernwyn Send a private message to dernwyn Feb 24 2013, 2:41am


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