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*Silmarillion Discussion: Chapter 5, "Of Eldamar and the Princes of the Eldalie", Part 2 -- The Great Teleri Compromise and a Guided Tour…*


Feb 23 2013, 9:18pm

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*Silmarillion Discussion: Chapter 5, "Of Eldamar and the Princes of the Eldalie", Part 2 -- The Great Teleri Compromise and a Guided Tour…* Can't Post

Just when they were about to hang up the “welcome to Aman” banner for the Teleri, Osse strikes again. When the island ship reaches the Bay of Eldamar (aka Elvenhome), Osse makes a fuss, and begs Ulmo to "stay the voyage" of the Teleri.

Ulmo grants Osse his wish, and Osse roots the floating island in the Bay. This is done in part because Ulmo was against the Elves being summoned to Aman in the first place.

The rest of the Valar are not too happy about this. Neither is Finwe. First, because he spent a lot of time convincing Ulmo to bring the Teleri to Aman, and second, because the one guy he really wanted to see – Elwe -- didn’t even board the island ship.

Even though not everyone is happy, the island-ship is not moved again, and becomes known as Tol Eressea, the Lonely Isle. The Teleri make it their home, so they can live under the stars, but still see Aman. A consequence of this is that they develop a different language than that of the Noldor and Vanyar living in Aman.

Meanwhile, the Vanyar aren’t entirely happy with their accommodations in Aman. Though the Valar gave them their own place to live, filled with radiant flowers, they wanted land with a view of the stars. So the Valar, good hosts that they are, make a gap in the mountain walls of the Pelori (the mountains that defend Aman). This pass is called the Calacirya (the Pass of Light) because through it the light from paradise shines out and reaches the Lonely Isle. Here is how Tolkien describes it:

“Then, through the Calacirya, the Pass of Light, the radiance of the Blessed Realm streamed forth, kindling the dark waves to silver and gold, and it touched the Lonely Isle, and its western shores grew green and fair."

Where the light touches the Lonely Isle, the first flowers east of the Mountains of Aman appear.

The Pass features a deep green valley that leads down to the sea, within which is a high green hill, called Túna. On the west side of this hill, the light of the Trees in Valinor falls, and on the east side it looks toward the Lonely Isle, the Bay, and the Sea. Here is how Tolkien describes this:

“Upon the tower of Túna the city of the Elves was built, the white walls and terraces of Tirion; and the highest of the towers of that city was the Tower of Ingwe, Mindon Eldaliéva, whose silver lamp shone far out into the mists of the sea. Few are the ships of mortal men who have seen its slender beam.”

The Vanyar and Noldor live in Fellowship in this city, and because they love the White Tree of Valinor, Yavanna makes them a lesser image of it, which does not shine on its own. This tree is called Galathilion. It is planted in the courts of the Tower of Ingwe, and it has many seedlings. One of these is transplanted to the Lonely Isle, which is called Celeborn, and from it comes Nimloth, the White Tree of Númenor.

Discussion Questions and Musings for you to pick from...

1. Lonely Mountains, Lonely Isles…they may be one of a kind, but why does Tolkien choose to call them Lonely? Does he use that term for any other spots in Aman or Middle Earth? How does that descriptor impact your impressions of these places?

2. Osse causes trouble again! What is with this guy? Why can’t he just let the Teleri go?

3. Is the creation of the Lonely Isle a political compromise? What are the ramifications of Osse and Ulmo’s actions in choosing to root the Island in the Bay? Why don’t the Valar just outvote these guys and move the Island?

4. For divine beings, the Valar and the Maia are pretty human at times, aren't they? They continue to second guess each other, give into persuasion, change their minds and avoid confrontation. And later, we’ll see that the Noldor have all kinds of conflicts, emotions, and problems of their own.

It strikes me that Tolkien idealizes his settings, and the physical attributes of his characters, but their motivations and actions are closer to the human condition. Do you agree? Other thoughts on these musings?

Is the divine being acting in human ways found in other mythologies? What about in fairy stories, Faerie stories, or fantasy tales?

5. Let’s talk about the very brief descriptions of the Calacirya, Túna and Tirion in this section, which I included above.

Do you like the imagery here? I find these passages very moving in some ways – do you?

Tolkien will refer to Tuna and Tirion many times in the Sil -- does he give us enough to go on here to be able to recall these places or have some kind of emotional resonance with them when he does bring them up again?

What about the reference to mortal men in connection with Tirion – does it make you curious as to who those lucky guys will be? Does the introduction of the human element impact your perceptions of this place in any way?

6. And how about some musings on how the Sil and LOTR relate to each other, as stories…

In this section, we get the introduction of the White Tree of Numenor…for me, when I first read the Sil, the references to people, places and things I’d encountered in LOTR were very helpful because they gave me a place to land in the middle of all of the new things Tolkien was pouring out at me. Anyone else find this helpful?

And of course, if I found something in the Sil that I remembered being mentioned in LOTR, I went back and looked it up and had a lot of “aha” moments, when I realized, for example, what the heck Galadriel was singing about in her lament. That added a new level of delight, as a reader, which I appreciated. Would you say this is one of the key things that sets LOTR apart from other fantasy tales?

On the other hand, an author can get too carried away by trying to connect all the dots between past and future, and the story becomes an explanation and not a story, if I can put it that way (“cough” Star Wars prequels). Does Tolkien manage to avoid this trap, for you? Any comments on the way Tolkien weaves the Sil into LOTR and LOTR into the Sil?

Next: Noldor Casting Call for rest of the Sil...


Subject User Time
*Silmarillion Discussion: Chapter 5, "Of Eldamar and the Princes of the Eldalie", Part 2 -- The Great Teleri Compromise and a Guided Tour…* weaver Send a private message to weaver Feb 23 2013, 9:18pm
    Of islands and where to live CuriousG Send a private message to CuriousG Feb 24 2013, 12:32am
    lists, names and more stuff to remember... elevorn Send a private message to elevorn Feb 25 2013, 6:42pm
    answers for questions that need them Escapist Send a private message to Escapist Feb 25 2013, 7:13pm
    Some answers from a "mythic" perspective FarFromHome Send a private message to FarFromHome Feb 27 2013, 12:39pm
        Silmarillion's actuality Mixel Send a private message to Mixel Feb 28 2013, 11:45pm
        and thank you for those answers! telain Send a private message to telain Mar 1 2013, 12:36am
            Myths, floods, and physical geography? CuriousG Send a private message to CuriousG Mar 1 2013, 1:20am
                a very dim light! but a light nonetheless telain Send a private message to telain Mar 1 2013, 11:55pm
                    Enlightening--thanks!// CuriousG Send a private message to CuriousG Mar 3 2013, 2:29pm
    Late answers sador Send a private message to sador Mar 3 2013, 10:40am


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