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The Tale of Years (Appendix B): Part I – The 2nd Age, 1 -1600
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Morthoron
Gondor


Feb 23 2009, 6:42am

Post #1 of 161 (1229 views)
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The Tale of Years (Appendix B): Part I – The 2nd Age, 1 -1600 Can't Post

The ‘Tale of Years’ section of the LotR Appendix has always been intriguing for many Tolkien enthusiasts, condensing thousands of years of Middle-earth history into a maddening, ambiguous and altogether too brief few pages. But what was once merely an interesting mine of Tolkien data for various long-winded Middle-earth disputes has taken on the added luster of possibly finding its way into the second of two planned Hobbit films, and a single vague sentence describing a certain year may well be the hinge-point for any number of aspects of the film, most importantly character development. I shudder at the prospect.

Not surprisingly, I will be offering an overview of ‘The Tale of Years’ chronologically, which is only logical, time wise. I will section off the discussion as follows:

Part I – The 2nd Age, years 1 – 1600
Part II – The 2nd Age, years 1601 - 3441
Part III – The 3rd Age, years 1 - 1976
Part IV – The 3rd Age, year 1977 - 3017
Part V – The 3rd Age, the Great Years 3018 - 3021
Part VI – The Last of the 3rd Age and Concluding Comments

There is a brief preface describing the end of each Age, but we shall dispense with dwelling on it, save for the sly literary device Tolkien often employs which ends the preface: “the histories of the time are not recorded here,” and later when he states, “Of events in Middle-earth the records are few and brief, and their dates are often uncertain,” as if implying the specific author of this piece (Frodo?) did not have access to the historical accounts of the 1st Age and barely anything for the 2nd Age (or perhaps I’m just reading more into the statement for the sake of a decent question).

Does Tolkien’s insistence that various other authors recorded the events of his mythos (Bilbo, Frodo, Elendil, Samwise, etc.) increase the depth of the story for you, or give the illusion of factuality? Why or why not?

I personally find the 2nd Age more intriguing than either the 1st or the 3rd Age. This is perhaps due to the dearth of information surrounding that epoch in comparison to the other Ages. Sador did an admirable job reviewing the Numenorean Kingdoms; therefore the necessity of reiterating the anomalies and errors of the royal line as fleshed out more fully in ‘Unfinished Tales’ would be redundant. But essentially the 2nd Age could be rightly described as the Age of Numenor, because its politics, empire-building and wars defined the era (of the 38 entries for the 2nd Age, 26 deal in whole or part with Numenor or Numenoreans in exile). And although it may be a Numenorean Age, predicated on the foundation through to the destruction of the ‘Land of the Gift’, the prime mover was, of course, Sauron, whether in his guise as Annatar, or in his last incarnation as the dark and dreadful Lord of Mordor.

You know, I had never really noticed it before, but Sauron started his seduction of the Elves in the year 1200 SA, but Celebrimbor and the Elven smiths of Eregion did not begin the crafting of the Rings of Power under Sauron/Annatar’s tutelage until 1500 SA (Celebrimbor completed the Three Rings in 1590), and Sauron himself did not forge the One Ring until 1600 SA – an interim of a full 400 years!

Discuss the significance of four centuries of lasting interrelationship between the Elves and Sauron. Do you not find it strange that both Galadriel and the Elven High King, Gil-Galad, immediately refused Sauron’s advances, yet the elves of Eregion (who certainly owed vassalage to the High King) remained on friendly terms with Sauron for such a long period of time (albeit in his incarnation of Annatar)?

From another standpoint, when reviewing the ‘Tale of Years’ or Tolkien’s other chronological records, do you perhaps find an inconsistency in Tolkien’s method of stretching out eras well past their plausible limits? Other cases in point would be the rather stagnant line of succession among the Ruling Stewards of Gondor, wherein no political or title change occurred for almost a thousand years, or the interminable line of Dunedain Chieftains. Do you consider this a weakness of an author perhaps lost in the vastness of his own creation?

Another interesting aspect of the 2nd Age is the Odd Couple relationship between the Elves of Eregion and the Dwarves of Moria. The primary motivation of the Noldor settling in Eregion at first seems to be based strictly on the Dwarves finding mithril: “This they did because they learned that mithril had been discovered in Moria.” But a genuine friendship eventually flourished, perhaps because the Noldor did not share the Sindar’s hatred of the dwarves stemming from the sack of Menegroth.

In other news, Sauron chose the land of Mordor as the site for Barad-dur in the year 1000 SA, sending local property values plummeting. It would seem even then that Sauron considered Numenor a greater threat than the Elvish kingdoms.

What do you think Mordor was like prior to Sauron’s negative influence? Rather fortunate for Sauron that mountain ranges form three sides of a square around Mordor, don’t you think? Is there any real world geological precedence for such a seemingly incongruous formation?

Read the ongoing serialization of MONTY PYTHON'S 'The HOBBIT', found here:
http://www.fanfiction.net/...y_Pythons_The_Hobbit

(This post was edited by Ataahua on Feb 23 2009, 5:53pm)


Dreamdeer
Valinor


Feb 23 2009, 5:04pm

Post #2 of 161 (401 views)
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Does Tolkien’s insistence that various other authors recorded the events of his mythos (Bilbo, Frodo, Elendil, Samwise, etc.) increase the depth of the story for you, or give the illusion of factuality? Why or why not?
It increases the depth of the sory for me, and gives the illusion of factuality. I like the way he covered his backside, too, by admitting the uncertainty of the dates. Therefore, we can dismiss inconsistencies as the sort of thing that happens in haphazard folk history, rather than seeing it as a writer's error that jars suspension of disbelief, even if it really is a writer's error.

Discuss the significance of four centuries of lasting interrelationship between the Elves and Sauron. Do you not find it strange that both Galadriel and the Elven High King, Gil-Galad, immediately refused Sauron’s advances, yet the elves of Eregion (who certainly owed vassalage to the High King) remained on friendly terms with Sauron for such a long period of time (albeit in his incarnation of Annatar)? It shows that Galadriel and Gil-Galad's intuition was on-target, yet even among elves intuition alone cannot persuade others, and Gil-Galad could not substantiate his suspicions enough to justify forbidding his followers to hobnob with Annatar.

400 years of influence? That could sink deep into the culture, even coming around to those who do not listen to Annatar directly. Sauron would hit each species at their vulnerable point. Even as he later troubled men about their mortality, he would have troubled elves about their immortality, inflaming their desire to keep all things unchanging, so that eventually even Galadriel and Gil-Galad would not pass through untouched, but accept rings that would help them to hold off decay in their own realms.

This would also delay the fading of the elves, which for humankind would mean never coming into their own; men would wait like restless, aging heirs, whose abnormally long-lived predecessors have used unnatural means to hold onto what in the normal course should have been their inheritance. Or like adult offspring who cannot escape parental authority long after it comes time to strike out on their own. All of which Sauron could use to stir up all kinds of nasty resentments, ingratitude, and murderous inclinations.

From another standpoint, when reviewing the ‘Tale of Years’ or Tolkien’s other chronological records, do you perhaps find an inconsistency in Tolkien’s method of stretching out eras well past their plausible limits? Other cases in point would be the rather stagnant line of succession among the Ruling Stewards of Gondor, wherein no political or title change occurred for almost a thousand years, or the interminable line of Dunedain Chieftains. Do you consider this a weakness of an author perhaps lost in the vastness of his own creation?
No, I find that quite consistent with records kept by someone with limited resources. What looks stagnant might merely imply lack of information. Also, those who keep track of royal lines notoriously fudge. The Romanovs of Russia, for instance, actually had a break in the succession practically in every generation, but managed to hush it up so well that they literally got away with murder for sport based on the divine right of kings. Was this Tolkien's intention? Not necessarily. But if he's basing his history on real life histories as taught in those days such stagnant lines of succession abounded without too much question except in limited academic circles. Maybe he knew this, being an academician, himself, but he certainly knew that Frodo wouldn't.
Another interesting aspect of the 2nd Age is the Odd Couple relationship between the Elves of Eregion and the Dwarves of Moria. The primary motivation of the Noldor settling in Eregion at first seems to be based strictly on the Dwarves finding mithril: “This they did because they learned that mithril had been discovered in Moria.” But a genuine friendship eventually flourished, perhaps because the Noldor did not share the Sindar’s hatred of the dwarves stemming from the sack of Menegroth.
Correct me if I'm wrong--but isn't there something about dissident dwarves who did not agree with the sack of Menegroth fleeing eastwards and eventually settling in Moria?

What do you think Mordor was like prior to Sauron’s negative influence? Rather fortunate for Sauron that mountain ranges form three sides of a square around Mordor, don’t you think? Is there any real world geological precedence for such a seemingly incongruous formation? 1. The Council of Elrond made clear that Sauron could cause the very hills to writhe in torment. I always took this to mean that he gave Mordor its peculiar shape, that it is not a natural configuration. Sauron wanted a place protected on all sides, so he created one. 2. People without precise surveying instruments have a natural tendency to square up maps. For instance, it is hard for folks to wrap their brains around the fact that Reno, Nevada, is west of San Diego, because everybody knows that Nevada is east of California, and San Diego is on the west coast of California. Even living a life with accurate maps frequently in front of their faces, people forget just how much the Pacific Coast slants. Mapmaking under the medieval conditions that Tolkien sets forth would fall far short of an exact science. Mordor is probably not near so boxy as it appears on a map, but then neither are many features on ancient maps. As to what it was like before Sauron, I can picture it as serene, pastoral, perhaps even level, not yet vulcanized. He was, after all, an earth-maia, and stirring up selective volcanic activity would be as much up his alley as Gandalf making the best fireworks that the Shire had ever seen.

Life is beautiful and dangerous! Beware! Enjoy!


Darkstone
Immortal


Feb 23 2009, 6:24pm

Post #3 of 161 (394 views)
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"...any historical value it may possess must always be of secondary importance." [In reply to] Can't Post

Does Tolkien’s insistence that various other authors recorded the events of his mythos (Bilbo, Frodo, Elendil, Samwise, etc.) increase the depth of the story for you, or give the illusion of factuality? Why or why not?

It provides a cover for the differences in histories, geographies, genealogies, and writing styles that we encounter in the book and appendices. Either Tolkien was covering up for being lazy, or this all means something. I’m thinking it’s like how if you pick up a edition of an ancient manuscript like, oh, say, Beowulf, there’s a multitude of footnotes all through the text and an annotated bibliography at the end with conflicting interpretations from a boatload of scholars explaining all the historical and philological implications of this word and that. But as Tolkien said:

"Beowulf is in fact so interesting as poetry, in places poetry so powerful, that any historical value it may possess must always be of secondary importance."
-JRR Tolkien, Beowulf and the Critics


Discuss the significance of four centuries of lasting interrelationship between the Elves and Sauron.

Elves are pretty dense.


Do you not find it strange that both Galadriel and the Elven High King, Gil-Galad, immediately refused Sauron’s advances, yet the elves of Eregion (who certainly owed vassalage to the High King) remained on friendly terms with Sauron for such a long period of time (albeit in his incarnation of Annatar)?

The laws of the Elven High King were more like guidelines anyway.


From another standpoint, when reviewing the ‘Tale of Years’ or Tolkien’s other chronological records, do you perhaps find an inconsistency in Tolkien’s method of stretching out eras well past their plausible limits?

Creation officially started precisely at nightfall, October 22, 4004 BC and so began the world. Rome officially fell September 4, 476 AD and so began the Dark Ages. Archivists in charge of “official records” tend to like things tidy. Real life tends to be much less precise. Tolkien would know this.


Other cases in point would be the rather stagnant line of succession among the Ruling Stewards of Gondor, wherein no political or title change occurred for almost a thousand years, or the interminable line of Dunedain Chieftains. Do you consider this a weakness of an author perhaps lost in the vastness of his own creation?

According to official records, the Japanese Imperial family is the longest unbroken ruling bloodline in the world. The key phrase here is “according to official records”.


Another interesting aspect of the 2nd Age is the Odd Couple relationship between the Elves of Eregion and the Dwarves of Moria. The primary motivation of the Noldor settling in Eregion at first seems to be based strictly on the Dwarves finding mithril: “This they did because they learned that mithril had been discovered in Moria.”

So Eregion was a boomtown. No wonder it’s a ghost town now. Same story played out all over the American West. One can imagine Elven storekeepers overcharging Dwarven miners for goods. And then there's the Elven-maids in the dance halls....


But a genuine friendship eventually flourished, perhaps because the Noldor did not share the Sindar’s hatred of the dwarves stemming from the sack of Menegroth.

The possibility of wealth overcomes petty prejudices.


In other news, Sauron chose the land of Mordor as the site for Barad-dur in the year 1000 SA, sending local property values plummeting. It would seem even then that Sauron considered Numenor a greater threat than the Elvish kingdoms.

What do you think Mordor was like prior to Sauron’s negative influence?


Probably overcrowded. Everyone was leaving and migrating West. Those left behind were poor and without hope, ripe for a Fascist strongman to come along and lead them to prosperity.


Rather fortunate for Sauron that mountain ranges form three sides of a square around Mordor, don’t you think?

Coincidence? I think not!


Is there any real world geological precedence for such a seemingly incongruous formation?

The Golden Triangle of the Rockies, The Devil’s Triangle of Bermuda, The Golden Triangle of Thailand, The TransAtlantic Slaves-to-Molassas-to-Rum Triangle.

But geologically speaking, there’s the Fergana Valley in Central Asia, a triangle formed by the Tien Shan, Gissar, and Alay mountain ranges. If you’re willing to stretch geography a bit, it’s pretty much where Mordor would be in the real world.

******************************************
The audacious proposal stirred his heart. And the stirring became a song, and it mingled with the songs of Gil-galad and Celebrian, and with those of Feanor and Fingon. The song-weaving created a larger song, and then another, until suddenly it was as if a long forgotten memory woke and for one breathtaking moment the Music of the Ainur revealed itself in all glory. He opened his lips to sing and share this song. Then he realized that the others would not understand. Not even Mithrandir given his current state of mind. So he smiled and simply said "A diversion.”



Tolkien Forever
Gondor

Feb 23 2009, 7:51pm

Post #4 of 161 (375 views)
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ANOTHR Wiped Out Post! [In reply to] Can't Post

Geez, I posted here last night....

Or thought I did and it's missing today. Very fustrating.

Does Tolkien’s insistence that various other authors recorded the events of his mythos (Bilbo, Frodo, Elendil, Samwise, etc.) increase the depth of the story for you, or give the illusion of factuality? Why or why not?


It gives the impression of 'realism', the plotline that Tolkien uses that Middle-earth morphed into the world we live in today.


Discuss the significance of four centuries of lasting interrelationship between the Elves and Sauron. Do you not find it strange that both Galadriel and the Elven High King, Gil-Galad, immediately refused Sauron’s advances, yet the elves of Eregion (who certainly owed vassalage to the High King) remained on friendly terms with Sauron for such a long period of time (albeit in his incarnation of Annatar)?

The Elves could take 4 centuries to sing songs in the Hall of Fire without stopping for all we know.....

400 years to them is not what it is to us and this is hardly the most active time in Middle-earth in the West.

AS for the Noldorin Elves of Eregion, it is quite natural that they would be drawn to Annatar, a former Maia of Aule, in a fair guise, feigning to do what he can do to better 'this Middle-earth of our's' as Celebrimbor & the Elven-smiths want to do.....

This is the trap that the Elven-smiths quite naturally fall into that the other Elvish leaders like Gil-Galad, Galadriel & Elrond who are not craftsmen persay do not feel drawn into.


From another standpoint, when reviewing the ‘Tale of Years’ or Tolkien’s other chronological records, do you perhaps find an inconsistency in Tolkien’s method of stretching out eras well past their plausible limits? Other cases in point would be the rather stagnant line of succession among the Ruling Stewards of Gondor, wherein no political or title change occurred for almost a thousand years, or the interminable line of Dunedain Chieftains.

I don't see that at all......

The Second and Third Ages both go on about the same length. Somebody who lives a set amount of years has to rule those years and it adds up. Tolkien uses the 3017 years of the Third Age leading up to the 'Great Years' to carefully craft a history of the rise & decline of the Numenoreans & return of Sauron. So no, I don't see any inconsistency or overstretching.


Do you consider this a weakness of an author perhaps lost in the vastness of his own creation?


No, I think this depth of believable history is what makes Tolkien the 'Grandfather of all Fantasy'.


What do you think Mordor was like prior to Sauron’s negative influence? Rather fortunate for Sauron that mountain ranges form three sides of a square around Mordor, don’t you think? Is there any real world geological precedence for such a seemingly incongruous formation?


Well, I don't think it was the Elvish Riviera before Sauron got there......

I don't know world geography to a 'T', but I doubt it.

Remember 'The Gates of Sirion' too....

It is fantasy, not reality after all.


squire
Valinor


Feb 23 2009, 10:34pm

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  1. we can dismiss inconsistencies as the sort of thing that happens in haphazard folk history
  2. Maybe he knew this, being an academician, himself, but he certainly knew that Frodo wouldn't.
  3. Mordor is probably not near so boxy as it appears on a map

As much as I know you respect Tolkien's achievements as an artist, all these statements sound to me like: "Whenever Tolkien doesn't provide my imagination with what I want, I just tell myself that Tolkien was wrong."
  1. Specifically, once we dismiss inconsistencies in the Tale of Years as "haphazard folk history", what basis do we have for accepting any of it as true at all? Shouldn't all of it be assumed to be wrong?
  2. I agree that Frodo wouldn't know much about Romanov history, whether as it was taught in the 1940s or today. But could Tolkien be so sure that Frodo, student of Gandalf, Aragorn, Elrond, and Bilbo, would not know that the lines of succession of the Stewards and Dunedain were elaborately forged and faked, possibly even splashed with blood and poisons, if in fact they were -- and Tolkien knew they were? The thing becomes absurd. As above, the question is whether the violent facts and vulgar fictions of real world history should make us question the annals of Middle-earth. If so - then we should question it all. If not - then not.
  3. If Mordor is not as box-shaped as it is shown on all the maps that Tolkien drew, all of which are drawn as consistently as possible with what he wrote - because, of course, "ancient maps" are always quite unreliable in such matters - how will we ever know? Perhaps Christopher Tolkien should be informed that Mordor's geography seems open to question on grounds of geophysical probability, and would he care to draw - sorry, "discover" or "find what had long thought to be lost forever" - a new (no, make that a "better") map that would satisfy our complaints?




squire online:
RR Discussions: The Valaquenta, A Shortcut to Mushrooms, and Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit
Lights! Action! Discuss on the Movie board!: 'A Journey in the Dark'. and 'Designing The Two Towers'.
Footeramas: The 3rd TORn Reading Room LotR Discussion; and "Tolkien would have LOVED it!"
squiretalk introduces the J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia: A Reader's Diary


Curious
Half-elven


Feb 23 2009, 10:42pm

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Thoughts. [In reply to] Can't Post

Does Tolkien’s insistence that various other authors recorded the events of his mythos (Bilbo, Frodo, Elendil, Samwise, etc.) increase the depth of the story for you, or give the illusion of factuality? Why or why not?

I'm not sure what you mean by "Tolkien's insistence." From time to time Tolkien pretends that other authors are involved, and nowhere more so than in the Appendices, but even here I contend that on close examination the pretense pretty quickly breaks down. Tolkien is too obsessive to introduce actual contradictions and inaccuracies and biases into his account of the kind we might find in a history that really was written by different people throughout history with imperfect knowledge and political agendas.

So, despite the objections of others, I continue to see it as a mistake to take the historical pretense too seriously, unless we are more interested in playing Tolkien's game than in critical analysis of what he actually wrote. For me, the sense of depth in LotR comes not from the Prologue or Appendices, but from the bits and pieces of The Silmarillion and The Akallabeth and the history of the Third Age that Tolkien strews throughout the tale.

Then again, perhaps I should lighten up and enjoy the Appendices! They do give us a glimpse into Tolkien's creative process, and if Tolkien liked to refer to a fictional historian from time to time, and readers like to imagine the same, what's the harm?

Discuss the significance of four centuries of lasting interrelationship between the Elves and Sauron. Do you not find it strange that both Galadriel and the Elven High King, Gil-Galad, immediately refused Sauron’s advances, yet the elves of Eregion (who certainly owed vassalage to the High King) remained on friendly terms with Sauron for such a long period of time (albeit in his incarnation of Annatar)?

I find it very hard to imagine any of the Elves we meet in LotR being deceived by Sauron, just as I find it hard to imagine Gandalf and the White Council being deceived by Saruman. Tolkien rarely shows us such deceptions take place, and when he does the victims seem as guilty as the deceivers. Celebrimbor must have been quite a piece of work -- lesser than but similar to Feanor, who was similarly deceived by Melkor.

From another standpoint, when reviewing the ‘Tale of Years’ or Tolkien’s other chronological records, do you perhaps find an inconsistency in Tolkien’s method of stretching out eras well past their plausible limits? Other cases in point would be the rather stagnant line of succession among the Ruling Stewards of Gondor, wherein no political or title change occurred for almost a thousand years, or the interminable line of Dunedain Chieftains. Do you consider this a weakness of an author perhaps lost in the vastness of his own creation?

It's a feature, not a flaw. Tolkien's ideal was the Undying Lands, where nothing changed. Even in decadent Gondor, or under the Dunedain Chieftans, they prided themselves on their stability, and thousands of years of tradition. Even the hobbits, whose history was not nearly so long and illustrious, took pride in the stability of the Shire. And that's not even counting the elder races, the elves, ents, and dwarves, whose histories made even the Dunedain look like upstarts. Tolkien was quite conscious of this feature, and his timeline moves more quickly when lesser men and more recent times are involved, and more slowly when elder races and earlier ages are involved, but always and everywhere much more slowly than in our contemporary, everchanging world.

What do you think Mordor was like prior to Sauron’s negative influence? Rather fortunate for Sauron that mountain ranges form three sides of a square around Mordor, don’t you think? Is there any real world geological precedence for such a seemingly incongruous formation?

We know quite well that Melkor was capable of raising mountain ranges as walls. We also know from Morgoth's Ring that Morgoth polluted the world with his Taint. Mount Doom seems to be a center of that Taint, and Sauron seems to have located there in order to take advantage of that Source of Taint. Mordor seems to have been designed as a fortress filled with Morgoth's Taint, although it seems unlikely that Sauron was the designer. More likely it was a southern outpost of Morgoth's of which Sauron was aware.

Tolkien's mountain ranges are far less permeable than real-world mountain ranges. They help him force his characters into certain paths, as if they were in a maze or dungeon instead of the wide world. In Dungeons and Dragons, dungeonmasters liked to try to force players into these paths; the best players always tried to go around the paths, and the best dungeonmasters had to foresee such attempts without being too heavy handed. It's easier for an author -- the characters don't fight back -- but Tolkien still had to work at it a bit to satisfy the readers. Even now, many readers wonder why the Eagles didn't carry the Fellowship at least part of the way to Mordor, and perhaps all the way to Mount Doom. So no, the Mountain Ranges of Middle-earth are not like those in the real world, even if we can find something that looks similar. But they are close enough that we can suspend disbelief and pretend that these are naturally-occurring mountain ranges such as we might encounter in the real world.





squire
Valinor


Feb 23 2009, 11:01pm

Post #7 of 161 (381 views)
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Hey, darken down! Stop having fun! Take this more seriously! [In reply to] Can't Post

I contend that on close examination

I continue to see it as a mistake to take the historical pretense too seriously

we are more interested in ... critical analysis of what he actually wrote.

For me, the sense of depth in LotR comes ... from the bits and pieces of The Silmarillion and The Akallabeth

the Appendices...do give us a glimpse into Tolkien's creative process

Why do you somewhat defensively assume that the above sensibility is in need of "lightening up" and learning to "enjoy"? Everyone here reads Tolkien for their own reasons and in their own way. Of course there's no "harm" in anyone trying to read Tolkien's "internal authors" fantasy about as far as possible, if not further (hahae).

But I don't agree that a more - external? - approach (mine, for instance, which agrees with your post here in most respects) is somehow a downer that lacks a sense of lightness and enjoyment. I feel joy and lightness when I analyze Tolkien, anyway. That's why I'm here!








squire online:
RR Discussions: The Valaquenta, A Shortcut to Mushrooms, and Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit
Lights! Action! Discuss on the Movie board!: 'A Journey in the Dark'. and 'Designing The Two Towers'.
Footeramas: The 3rd TORn Reading Room LotR Discussion; and "Tolkien would have LOVED it!"
squiretalk introduces the J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia: A Reader's Diary


Morthoron
Gondor


Feb 24 2009, 1:32am

Post #8 of 161 (352 views)
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In addition... [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
I find it very hard to imagine any of the Elves we meet in LotR being deceived by Sauron, just as I find it hard to imagine Gandalf and the White Council being deceived by Saruman. Tolkien rarely shows us such deceptions take place, and when he does the victims seem as guilty as the deceivers. Celebrimbor must have been quite a piece of work -- lesser than but similar to Feanor, who was similarly deceived by Melkor.



The problem I have with such a long associaton between the Elves and Annatar is that it seems no one among the Noldor asked a simple question like: "Who are you, and how come I don't ever remember you being around when I was in Valinor?" There had to be at least a few remaining Eldar among the Noldorin contingent in Eregion who had lived in Aman, and if that was the case, one would sensibly believe that such an elf would be acquainted, or at least met, every Maia in Valinor. Their High King mistrusted Annatar, Galadriel mistrusted Annatar, but none could penetrate the disguise? No one said, "Okay, you say you are a Maia of Aule, well I worked for a few centuries in Aule's forges and don't remember seeing you once. Who did you hang out with again?"

There is an element of implausibility there that rankles me. It's one of the aspects of the story I have to ignore in order to maintain a suspension of disbelief.

Read the ongoing serialization of MONTY PYTHON'S 'The HOBBIT', found here:
http://www.fanfiction.net/...y_Pythons_The_Hobbit


Curious
Half-elven


Feb 24 2009, 1:49am

Post #9 of 161 (376 views)
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Perhaps I am sensitive about the Reading Room's [In reply to] Can't Post

reputation. Many people claim to be intimidated by the tone of the Reading Room, and I don't want to scare any of them away. But yes, I have fun treating LotR the way I would Plato's Republic or War and Peace, and not just as a game of pretend.


Voronwë_the_Faithful
Valinor

Feb 24 2009, 4:34am

Post #10 of 161 (354 views)
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Some Thoughts About Some of Your Thoughts [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
From time to time Tolkien pretends that other authors are involved, and nowhere more so than in the Appendices, but even here I contend that on close examination the pretense pretty quickly breaks down. Tolkien is too obsessive to introduce actual contradictions and inaccuracies and biases into his account of the kind we might find in a history that really was written by different people throughout history with imperfect knowledge and political agendas.



I disagree with you, particularly if you look at the broader legendarium. The device of "other authors" is very common throughout the legendarium, and there are many instances of actual contradictions and inaccuracies and even biases that are introduced. Here's a few that I can think of, just off the top of my head. There is the statement in "Of the Rings of Power .." that Frodo cast the Ring into the Fire, which of course contradicts the story as told in LOTR. There is the Second Prophecy of Mandos, which Tolkien says in the commentary to the Athrabeth was a Mannish myth, not Elvish history, and which should have ended the Quenta, and which directly contradicted the statement in what Tolkien wrote as the final coda of the Valaquenta (but that Christopher instead used as the final coda of the Quenta) that "if any change shall come and the Marring be amended, Manwë and Varda may know; but they have not revealed it, and it is not declared in the dooms of Mandos." There are two completely different tales (written at roughly the same time) of the Nirnaeth, one of which has Maedhros delayed by the treachery of Uldor the Easterling, and another in which that element is completely lacking (and Maedhros is intercepted by a separate army of Morgoth's). And there are numerous different variations in the story of Turin (perhaps the most significant being that in one alternative, unlike the version included in The Silmarillion and CoH, Turin firmly DID love Finduilas, but tried unsuccessfully to avoid drawing her into his Doom). There are many other examples, but I'm sure you get the point.


In Reply To

Celebrimbor must have been quite a piece of work -- lesser than but similar to Feanor, who was similarly deceived by Melkor.



Despite the superficial similarities of being create craftsman and being deceived by Melkor and Sauron, Celebrimbor was really quite different that Feanor his grandfather. He was a much milder, and ultimately wiser, person. For instance, there is the statement in The Silmarillion that Celebrimbor repudiated the deeds of his father Curufin and stayed in Nargothrond when Curufin and Celegorm are driven out from there after Finrod's death. This was actually an editorial edition that Christopher says was based on a late note. I believe this late note was actually a note that Tolkien wrote on one of his copies of the second edition of ROTK next to the statement in Appendix B about Celebrimbor being descended from Feanor that Celebrimbor was the son of Curufin and was aghast at his father's behavior and refused to go with him when he left Nargothrond (which Christopher mentions in a footnote to the the essay "Of Dwarves and Men" in PoMe). Moreover, Celebrimbor's actions with the three Elven Rings contrasts starkly with Feanor's greedy, selfish conduct with the Silmarils. Instead of hoarding the Three Rings, Celebrimbor delivered them to the wisest of the Elves, and he perceives the designs of Sauron, enabling the Three to be hidden from him. There is also one of the versions of the story of the Elessar, in which Celebrimbor made a replica of the original stone to ease Galadriel's cares.


'But very bright were the stars upon the margin of the world, when at times the clouds about the West were drawn aside.'


squire
Valinor


Feb 24 2009, 5:34am

Post #11 of 161 (366 views)
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The broader legendarium is a first class mess. Not the work of a niggling and perfectionist writer. [In reply to] Can't Post

If I remember, Tolkien from the beginning of his Silmarillion project imagined that it would all be written as if transcribed by some travelling seaman from England - an idea he changed in midstream to it all being a transcription by a late-history Elvish scholar. And he never quite let this go, although it never seemed to stick or work very well. The same idea is certainly present in The Lord of the Rings, retrofitted into its later stages - the "Red Book", etc. Ditto, but with far less success, for The Hobbit.

But isn't Curious pointing out that the "numerous authors" device is used by Tolkien in the post-LotR years mostly to excuse inconsistencies and changes in style that Tolkien knew were there, but which he did not have the time or ability to remove? If I understand Curious, he believes that Tolkien strove to eliminate all contradictions and inconsistencies wherever possible, something he would hardly have done if he felt that the "translation/ancient authors" device was working in his favor.

Seen this way, this whole layer of appreciation is not a clever addition of mock-authorial depth to the legendarium, for which Tolkien the artist is to be congratulated, but rather a desperate solution to an insoluble problem caused by a too-extensive creative urge. Tolkien's biographer, and of course Christopher T. his literary executor, repeatedly point out that Tolkien was not a great finisher, starting far more textual projects than he could possibly coordinate. He always preferring to rewrite from the beginning rather than edit systematically, which produced even more inconsistent (when not incoherent) texts.

All the examples you cite, after all, come from his notoriously large corpus of "unfinished" work. In my mind, he left them unfinished, if for no other reasons aesthetic or narrative, because he was so daunted by the prospect of hunting down and eliminating all the conflicts you (and others) now perceive. But he would have, if he could have - he always sought a single voice, even if that voice was of an author-substitute, when he was writing his primary narratives.

And wouldn't he have loathed the possibility that his readers might be forced to say: "How brilliantly Tolkien constructs a simulacrum of a real mythology! Why look here: text A seems to be by Elvish author xx, while text B must surely be read as being by Numenorean scribe yy." He would have grabbed either A, or B, and tossed it on the grate. Or.. no.. let's face it, he would have grabbed A, looked briefly at it, frowned, turned it over, and begun writing C... adding fiercely worded instructions on the envelope in which all three were later forwarded to Allen & Unwin, that none of the enclosed was meant for publication, but rather for his editors' elucidation in proofing the already-submitted D.

The results were returned to him four months later, in proofs as Appendix A.II.2, and he - with no time left - let it go with just the addition of an italicised footnote or two about "Findregil, the king's scribe" doing a bang-up job on what is, frankly, a mess.



squire online:
RR Discussions: The Valaquenta, A Shortcut to Mushrooms, and Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit
Lights! Action! Discuss on the Movie board!: 'A Journey in the Dark'. and 'Designing The Two Towers'.
Footeramas: The 3rd TORn Reading Room LotR Discussion; and "Tolkien would have LOVED it!"
squiretalk introduces the J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia: A Reader's Diary


Curious
Half-elven


Feb 24 2009, 6:25am

Post #12 of 161 (340 views)
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I am not "looking at the broader [In reply to] Can't Post

legendarium." I'm looking at LotR itself.

As squire notes, the inconsistencies in the broader legendarium come from Tolkien's efforts to rewrite the legendarium several times over. HoME, after all, includes the drafts to LotR, as well as several versions, none final, of The Silmarillion. Yes, there are inconsistencies in those drafts, but there, too, they do not read like history, but instead like the author of a fictional history trying again and again to eliminate inconsistencies.

Stating that Celebrimbor repudiated the deeds of Curufin and Celegorm, or did not hoard the Three Rings after he realized Sauron's evil designs, isn't holding him to a very high standard. It's like saying that Boromir was, in the end, better than Denethor because he realized his sins before he died trying to make up for them. And remember that Feanor himself, when he was first seduced by Melkor, was not yet the Kinslayer. If Feanor had realized his mistake after Melkor cut down the Two Trees, he still could have saved his soul, if not the Silmarils.

My point is that in order to have been seduced by Sauron, despite the clear warnings of wiser elves, Celebrimbor must have been, for several hundred years, more clever than wise, and probably deceived himself because of his own desires. Yes, in the end he realized his mistake, but it was still a grave mistake, with dire consequences for all of Middle-earth.


Curious
Half-elven


Feb 24 2009, 6:32am

Post #13 of 161 (355 views)
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Was Annatar pretending to be an elf? [In reply to] Can't Post

It seems to me more likely that Annatar declared himself to be one of the Maia, which indeed he was, or perhaps one of the miscellaneous spirits, where Bombadil is often classified. There are plenty of those who did not live in Valinor, or if they did may have had another guise, like the Istari. Indeed, Annatar is in some ways a precursor of the Istari. Perhaps Sauron anticipated the kind of messenger the Valar might really send, and pretended to be such a messenger.


FarFromHome
Valinor


Feb 24 2009, 8:51am

Post #14 of 161 (348 views)
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I don't get it. [In reply to] Can't Post

Why do you assume that the idea of the texts being written by different authors is a mere "game" on Tolkien's part? Isn't that an intrinsic part of the kinds of manuscripts he was inspired by in his professional life? And isn't writing via the voices and viewpoints of one's characters a serious and valid approach in literature?

And conversely, why do you find it a more worthwhile and serious approach to "suspend disbelief and pretend..."? Couldn't it be said that it's pretending that a fantasy world is "real", and making obsessive attempts to reconcile all the conflicting evidence into a single, correct 'canonical' answer, whether it's about balrogs, dragons or Elven history, that's the real "game"?

Compared to that, it seems to me that examining the literary effect of presenting a story as a set of linked legends might be the more interesting and serious approach to the work. It may be, as squire argues, that Tolkien eventually came to want to eliminate all the inconsistencies that would have been perfectly fine in a set of legends, and that his failure to be able to do this was what led to much of his work remaining unpublished. But Voronwë_the_Faithful provides interesting evidence that at least in the early stages, a set of linked and sometimes contradictory legends was Tolkien's aim. And, as we've discussed many times, there are many references to this approach in LotR itself (although, as you say, there are none of the deep contradictions that real-world legends often have).

It seems to me to be doing Tolkien a disservice to assume, as squire seems to, that all this was a mistake that Tolkien deeply regretted but was unable to fix. Why not at least consider that it may be an integral part of the work? Even if in his later years (perhaps after he saw the way people reacted to LotR as an "alternate reality" and failed to appreciate his medievalist's viewpoint) he tried to clean up his multiple versions into a single "history" (and I don't know if this is fundamentally true or not), the "legendarium" approach is still deeply embedded in the work. To look at this seriously is not just about making an excuse for Tolkien's messy imaginative processes - in fact, perhaps his imaginative processes might have been inspired by just this sense that there are many valid versions of every story.

Farewell, friends! I hear the call.
The ship’s beside the stony wall.
Foam is white and waves are grey;
beyond the sunset leads my way.
Bilbo's Last Song



sador
Half-elven

Feb 24 2009, 1:43pm

Post #15 of 161 (326 views)
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Now it was my turn! [In reply to] Can't Post

To have a long post deleted...
I'll try to answer in brief this time:

Does Tolkien’s insistence that various other authors recorded the events of his mythos (Bilbo, Frodo, Elendil, Samwise, etc.) increase the depth of the story for you, or give the illusion of factuality? Why or why not?
Perhaps it does. But squire is right - I don't think the different authors really have different voices; it's more like Tolkien trying to be "authentic" and explain where he got his material from.
Personally, I like to occasionally ask whether there might be an influence - but it's more likely that different accounts vary because of the different approach Tolkien took each time.
And the only one around here except for me who looks at things this way is Darkstone (perhaps it would be more correct to start with him, and add me as a support - but you've asked what this does to me...).

Discuss the significance of four centuries of lasting interrelationship between the Elves and Sauron. Do you not find it strange that both Galadriel and the Elven High King, Gil-Galad, immediately refused Sauron’s advances, yet the elves of Eregion (who certainly owed vassalage to the High King) remained on friendly terms with Sauron for such a long period of time (albeit in his incarnation of Annatar)?
The politics of the Elves in Middle-earth were likely to be very complex. Tolkien dealt with them rather briefly, and I find it far from satisfying.
We are left to speculate: Galadriel was far older than Gil-galad; she was married to a Telerin prince, ruling a Noldorin realm; Celebrimbor seemed content to be ruled by her, and in one account actually loved her; the smithes might have been Feanorean, in which case they would deeply resent her rule; on wonders why they didn't revolt earlier, given that a grandson of Feanor was amongst them; in fact, Celebrimbor's whole history is extremely obscure - for instance, how did he escape the sack of Nargothrond?; Annatar, as a supposed emissary from the Valar would be naturally resented by Galadriel, who refused the summons - there is no need to suppose tshe saw through him!; Elrond might have, but was he trusted?; add to all this that Tolkien changed his mind about Gil-galad's ancestry, which (if accepted) would weaken his authority even more in the eyes of Feanor's followers - and there is a lot of trouble brewing. A lot of political discontent and suspicions for Sauron to work with.
One might try and visualise his way through it - but this would belong more properly in the Fan Art forum than in the Reading Room!

From another standpoint, when reviewing the ‘Tale of Years’ or Tolkien’s other chronological records, do you perhaps find an inconsistency in Tolkien’s method of stretching out eras well past their plausible limits? Other cases in point would be the rather stagnant line of succession among the Ruling Stewards of Gondor, wherein no political or title change occurred for almost a thousand years, or the interminable line of Dunedain Chieftains. Do you consider this a weakness of an author perhaps lost in the vastness of his own creation?
I wonder. For a conservative like Tolkien, wouldn't this stability seem like the proper thing? But I agree that to our modern eyes this seems strange.
And as for the Stewards - well, Boromir agreed with you!

What do you think Mordor was like prior to Sauron’s negative influence? Rather fortunate for Sauron that mountain ranges form three sides of a square around Mordor, don’t you think? Is there any real world geological precedence for such a seemingly incongruous formation?
Well, I've discussed that in length, in previous discussions I've led - here, here and here.
I feel like a jerk doing this, so I'll add a fourth link!
On the 2005 discussion, Finding Frodo asked for pictures which resembled Mordor. enjoy!

"He gave out that he was interested in history and geography (at which there was much wagging of heads, although neither of these words were much used in the Bree-dialect)."


Tolkien Forever
Gondor

Feb 24 2009, 2:05pm

Post #16 of 161 (327 views)
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What 'Miscellaneous Spirits'? [In reply to] Can't Post

When did Tom Bombadil get classified as a 'miscellaneous spirit' - I didn't know such things existed......

must he be anything other than what he told us? "Eldest" Or what Goldberry said? "He is".....

Anything else is just trying to make something round fit into a square hole that Tolkien himself never intended.


In Reply To
I find it very hard to imagine any of the Elves we meet in LotR being deceived by Sauron, just as I find it hard to imagine Gandalf and the White Council being deceived by Saruman. Tolkien rarely shows us such deceptions take place, and when he does the victims seem as guilty as the deceivers. Celebrimbor must have been quite a piece of work -- lesser than but similar to Feanor, who was similarly deceived by Melkor.
Voronwe posted my thoughts on Celebrimbor before I could (after another post crashed last night) and more thoroughly than I had intended anyhow..... Blush I also don't see the issue of deception being so terribly hard to fathom..... Manwe himself was deceived by Melkor after his three ages in captivity in Mandos by going about doing good, giving aid and counsel: 'and it seemed to Manwe that the evil of Melkor was cured forever.'



Voronwë_the_Faithful
Valinor

Feb 24 2009, 2:27pm

Post #17 of 161 (328 views)
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Tolkien in his later years was not the literary equivalent of a dog chasing his tail [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
It may be, as squire argues, that Tolkien eventually came to want to eliminate all the inconsistencies that would have been perfectly fine in a set of legends, and that his failure to be able to do this was what led to much of his work remaining unpublished. But Voronwë_the_Faithful provides interesting evidence that at least in the early stages, a set of linked and sometimes contradictory legends was Tolkien's aim.

Actually, all of the evidence that I provide comes from his later work, after LOTR was completed. And there are many other examples from that time period. I certainly agree with with squire (and Curious) that Tolkien was famously bad at finishing things (it is a bit of a miracle that he completed LOTR). But I see little evidence that his failure to complete The Silmarillion was due to his inability to eliminate all the inconsistencies that resulted from there being different versions of the legends (I think his speculations about the viability of such things as the story of the creation of the Sun and the Moon, and the nature of the Orcs, was something else altogether). In fact, I think he was moving more towards that tendency, not away from it, so that (if completed) it truly would have resembled a set of linked and sometimes contradictory legends.

In Reply To
It seems to me to be doing Tolkien a disservice to assume, as squire seems to, that all this was a mistake that Tolkien deeply regretted but was unable to fix. Why not at least consider that it may be an integral part of the work? Even if in his later years (perhaps after he saw the way people reacted to LotR as an "alternate reality" and failed to appreciate his medievalist's viewpoint) he tried to clean up his multiple versions into a single "history" (and I don't know if this is fundamentally true or not), the "legendarium" approach is still deeply embedded in the work. To look at this seriously is not just about making an excuse for Tolkien's messy imaginative processes - in fact, perhaps his imaginative processes might have been inspired by just this sense that there are many valid versions of every story.

I agree, and I think that is well said. I don't believe, as squire and Curious seemed to imply, that Tolkien's work in his later years was essentially the literary equivalent of a dog chasing his tail (sorry but that is the strong image that I get from reading both of their posts). Rather, I see it as the finally flowerings of one one of the most imaginative minds that has ever graced this earth. I don't think his inability to finish the work was because he was unable to finally limit it to a single cohesive legend. Rather, I think he was finally defeated by his inability to expand it to match the infinite scope of what he saw in his imagination. To use the imagery of Leaf By Niggle Tolkien great picture was infinitely expanding; beyond the mountains, there was always more mountains to be seen and added. And though he ultimately was not able to achieve that impossible goal, that final flowering yielded some of his most brilliant and thought-provoking work, including the Athrabeth, LACE and the associated extended story of Miriel and Finwe, the various different and conflicting stories associated with Turin, and with the Nirnaeth, the Wanderings of Hurin, the coming of Tuor of Gondolin, the brilliant Shibboleth of Feanor, and much more.


'But very bright were the stars upon the margin of the world, when at times the clouds about the West were drawn aside.'


Curious
Half-elven


Feb 24 2009, 3:02pm

Post #18 of 161 (347 views)
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I should stop talking about serious / not serious. And I didn't say "mere." [In reply to] Can't Post

One can be quite serious about treating the Appendices or the legendarium as if it were a real history, filling in all the blanks as if we, too, were historians. And, as squire notes and often exemplifies, analyzing Tolkien's writings as pure fiction does not have to be a serious enterprise either -- I come here to have fun, and leave here when more serious matters demand my attention. So forget I said anything about that.

However, when I use the word game I use Tolkien's word, one I got from his letters. Nevertheless, just because Tolkien called it a game doesn't mean he didn't take it seriously, or that his readers shouldn't do so. I don't mean to be dismissive, or to pass judgment when I use that word. I don't think I ever said "mere" game -- that was your term.

I will say, however, that approaching LotR and the legendarium as a real history is different from literary analysis. There are places where they overlap, but they are different. I judge it to be a mistake to treat the Appendices as a real history when engaging in literary analysis. I judge it to be quite appropriate to speak of Tolkien's conceit that it was real, and to analyze whether that conceit holds up under critical examination. Playing Tolkien's game, seriously or gleefully, is an entirely different and mostly uncritical enterprise, in which every contradiction is a mystery to be explained not by giving up the idea that this is a real history, but by inventing plausible explanations.


(This post was edited by Curious on Feb 24 2009, 3:09pm)


Curious
Half-elven


Feb 24 2009, 3:24pm

Post #19 of 161 (332 views)
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It's just a theory. [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
When did Tom Bombadil get classified as a 'miscellaneous spirit' - I didn't know such things existed......


In some of his writings Tolkien contemplated the idea that there may be spirits in Arda not classified as Valar or Maiar. And some readers reject the idea that Bombadil is one of the Valar or or Maiar. Indeed, you seem to reject that idea yourself, as an attempt to "make something round fit into a square hole that Tolkien himself never intended." But Bombadil clearly is immortal, and if he really was around before the first acorn, it seems likely that he was a spirit. Therefore he would be either one of the known spirits, Valar or Maiar, or one of the miscellaneous spirits, not Valar or Maiar.


Quote
Manwe himself was deceived by Melkor after his three ages in captivity in Mandos by going about doing good, giving aid and counsel: 'and it seemed to Manwe that the evil of Melkor was cured forever.'


Yes, well, I've always found that hard to swallow. Manwe seems very innocent and gullible. But at least Manwe was not deceived into doing great harm like Feanor or Celebrimbor are. Manwe is more like Treebeard, or the elves who kept Gollum captive, wanting to see their prisoners reform, and getting deceived by their better natures.



(This post was edited by Curious on Feb 24 2009, 3:33pm)


FarFromHome
Valinor


Feb 24 2009, 3:36pm

Post #20 of 161 (311 views)
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"Mere" was probably my addition, I agree. [In reply to] Can't Post

But, rightly or wrongly, I read your post as being quite dismissive of the "game", whatever it may be.


In Reply To

However, when I use the word game I use Tolkien's word, one I got from his letters.



Would you be able to point me to the letter in question? "Game" doesn't appear in the appendix, and I'd be interested to see exactly what he said. Just what exactly did he consider the game to be? Is it something that he indulged in while writing, or something he engaged in after the fact, perhaps to please his fans?

And yes, I agree that we're all here to have fun. People have many different ways of enjoying Tolkien, and it's all good. In fact, that's what I love about these boards - whatever "flavour" of Tolkien you like, there's sure to be something for you here!

Smile


Farewell, friends! I hear the call.
The ship’s beside the stony wall.
Foam is white and waves are grey;
beyond the sunset leads my way.
Bilbo's Last Song



Dreamdeer
Valinor


Feb 24 2009, 3:48pm

Post #21 of 161 (356 views)
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Suddenly *I'm* the one looking for errors? [In reply to] Can't Post

Oh, that's rich, coming from Squire!

I wasn't seeing the examples you gave as errors on Tolkien's part at all. I was seeing him as cleverly mimicking the sort of errors that creep into historical documents all the time--and incidently covering himself, in case, like any writer, he lets a few continuity errors slip in--which he has, and which you've caught time and time again, ignoring that he wrote in a device to maintain the suspension of disbelief.

As for dismissing inconsistencies as the sort of thing that happens in haphazard folk history, I was saying exactly what Tolkien himself said--that the in-story writer of this timeline did not necessarily have access to accurate dates. That was quoted, directly, at the very start of this thread. Tolkien wrote that, not me.

As for the integrity of the royal line of succession, I'm not the one who claimed that it was "stagnant" if not filled with scandal. I merely played along and said that if such a line inevitably must have scandal, then it would also have, just as inevitably, scribes and bureaucrats busily covering the scandals up. The two go hand in hand. If, on the other hand, one does not require scandal for a royal line to be realistic, then one also does not need the real-world host of cover-up artists.

As for the boxiness of Mordor, first off, I wrote a valid argument for why it might really be that shape: Sauron artificially created the mountains, as alluded to in the Council of Elrond.

Second, allowing for the possibility of it not actually being that boxy, as was proposed in the first place, I'm serious about the research on how people think about spatial relationships--if you look at any old map drawn before the days of modern scientific surveying, you will find all lines somewhat more boxy than reality--not perfectly so, but the errors always pull towards either 90 degree or 45 degree angles. That is a psychological fact of human perception. That includes Tolkien's perception, when he drew his maps. Notice, throughout the entire map that lines tend to pull towards the vertical, horizontal, or a 45 degree angle, in the lines of forests, mountains, rivers, and coastlines. Not completely, but more than actually warranted by geography. Everybody draws maps like that, unless corrected by precise instrumental readings.

Now answer me honestly: Did you, Squire, think of Reno as being west of San Diego before I pointed it out? Or that Bolivia is east of most of the United States?

(A word of warning: the last time anybody drew a line in the sand in Yaqui territory, we creamed the Spanish army.)

Life is beautiful and dangerous! Beware! Enjoy!

(This post was edited by Dreamdeer on Feb 24 2009, 3:54pm)


Dreamdeer
Valinor


Feb 24 2009, 4:02pm

Post #22 of 161 (310 views)
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Not so implausible to me [In reply to] Can't Post

If you take the view that Middle Earth is essentially run by maiar, great and small, urging each seed to sprout and flower to bloom, and no rock, river, or tree is without one, then it would not surprise anyone for an earth-maia to introduce himself to the elves without anyone having met him in Valinor. Many different peoples have held a similar view about fairies, devas, nymphs, or guardian angels. Since Tolkien was steeped both in Catholicism and fairy lore, absorbing the same opinion from two perspectives at once, plus being well-versed in Classical Greek mythology (perspective #3) I would assume that his maiar behave in the same way. I would consider it rather odd if he omitted something so culturally natural to a man of his background.

Life is beautiful and dangerous! Beware! Enjoy!


hanne
Rivendell

Feb 24 2009, 4:17pm

Post #23 of 161 (312 views)
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real world boxy mountains [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
Is there any real world geological precedence for such a seemingly incongruous formation?


The Tarim Basin in Western China is enclosed by mountains on three sides, and there are a couple of quite angular corners in those ranges. Sorry to link instead of just showing the image but I could not figure out how to make the image I took of it just 50K - so here is the Google Maps link:
http://maps.google.ca/....125&t=p&z=6


Quote
Mordor is probably not near so boxy as it appears on a map, but then neither are many features on ancient maps.


That made me think of the Peutinger Map (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tabula_Peutingeriana), which is rectangular - sort of carrying the concept to the extreme!

When I first saw the maps, I thought Morder's configuration couldn't have been real, but thought it was just poetic license. After reading the Silmarillion, I thought the mountains must have been raised artificially. The two are probably one and the same. The Morgai, for example, are described as "the fences of the land".

I would love to know what would have happened if the Easterlings had had an Aragorn or a Gandalf - Mordor would have been wide open to their heroes and armies. But it seems the further East you are from the less heroic you can be, in Middle Earth.


Curious
Half-elven


Feb 24 2009, 6:49pm

Post #24 of 161 (301 views)
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Letter #160, as [In reply to] Can't Post

Darkstone recently noted.


Tolkien Forever
Gondor

Feb 24 2009, 8:01pm

Post #25 of 161 (286 views)
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Never Heard That [In reply to] Can't Post

In some of his writings Tolkien contemplated the idea that there may be spirits in Arda not classified as Valar or Maiar.

I'm not aware of that.....

Where?

There is mention of 'minor spirits'.....

I do know he says in 'Myth's Transformed' that Tolkien refers to these spirits as First Age Orc Captains, 'corrupted minor spirits assuming bodily shape (These would exhibit terrifying and demonic characters)', but also says, 'Melkor had corrupted many spirits, some great, as Sauron, or less so, as Balrogs. The least of these could have been primitive (and much more powerful and perilous) Orcs...'

So, it appears that Tolkien classifies these 'minor spirits' as Maiar nonetheless.


As far as anything like Bombadil, he's something all right, but certainly not Vala as they are all accounted for & that is really a leap of speculation when we are told that all the Valar except Ulmo are in Valinor while Bombadil is in Middle-earth all those years (he was there when the Elves went West).

So, can he be an Ainu? of course.....


But all Ainu are Vala or Maia from what I gather.
Can you post some passages where Tolkien says otherwise as I never saw any?

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