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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
The Palantír VI - It's the Tolkien reading day today!

sador
Half-elven


Mar 25 2011, 8:46am

Post #1 of 12 (2177 views)
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The Palantír VI - It's the Tolkien reading day today! Can't Post


Quote
Tall ships and tall kings
Three times three,
What brought they from the foundered land
Over the flowing sea?
Seven stars and seven stones
And one white tree.


Thus Tolkien extrapolated the ‘rhyme of lore’ which was running in his head, as he quoted in letter 163. I have discussed this poem when we read The Silmarillion, starting with question no. 10. At the risk of being a bore, I will rephrase one of the questions I asked then:
What do the ‘seven stars’ stand for? I can only think of Elendil’s emblem, as was revealed in Arwen’s standard. Do you agree? Or do you have any other idea?
Tolkien had connected this ‘rhyme of lore’ with the legend of Númenor. I like to think that this gave this legend some kind of concreteness which was missing in The Lost Road, and that led to the next attempt of The Notion Club Papers. I must mention that Christopher Tolkien dates the Hymns to Eärendil (The Lost Road p. 98), which mention the white tree, to the time of the later attempt.

One white tree! Just on time for the Tolkien reading day, which has Tolkien’s Trees this time for its theme! Perhaps the first time its legend has developed was in the Imram which was read at the Notion Club (HoME IX, Sauron Defeated, p. 296-299):

Quote
On high we heard in the starlit sky
a song, but not of bird:
neither noise of man nor angel's voice,
but maybe there is a third
fair kindred in the world yet lingers
beyond the foundered land.
But steep are the seas and the waters deep
beyond the White-tree Strand!


Does the ‘White-tree Strand’ refer to a beach with white trees, or to one white tree on the beach? Does the capitalization of the W and the S indicate the answer?
I have glanced at this poem here, and mentioned the visions St. Brendan has – ‘A Cloud, A Tree, A Star’. These images are connected through one of Tolkien’s less-known stories, Smith of Wooton Major, which I failed to take into account in that old discussion of The Sea-Bell:

Quote

Afterwards he went no longer to that strand, believing that he was in an island realm beleaguered by the Sea, and he turned his mind towards the mountains, desiring to come to the heart of the kingdom. Once in these wandering he was overtaken by a grey mist and strayed long at a loss, until the mist rolled away and he found that he was in a white plain. Far off there was a great hill of shadow, and out of that shadow, which was its root, he saw the King’s Tree springing up, tower upon tower, into the sky, and its light was as the sun at noon.

Here the tree has nothing to do with the strand, but the mist (cloud) and star are there (Smith is known in Faërie as Starbrow), and the tree is no less than the King’s Tree!
I suppose that both Smith and St. Brendan refer to Tirion in Eldamar, rather than to Númenor. But according to The Akallabêth, the tree which Elendil brought was a sapling of Nimloth, the King’s Tree, which was stolen by Isildur – and that Nimloth was a scion of the White Tree of Tirion, just like the palantíri!
What do you make of the King’s Tree theme in Tolkien?

To connect this rambling to our chapter again, I will conclude with an excerpt of Leaf by Niggle, which I used in my aborted attempt to post miscellania threads:

Quote

There was one picture in particular which bothered him. It began with a leaf caught in the wind, and it became a tree; and the tree grew, sending out innumerable branches, and thrusting out the most fantastic roots. Strange birds came and settled on the twigs and had to be attended to. Then all around the Tree, and behind it, a country began to open out; and there were glimpses of a forest marching over the land, and of the mountains tipped with snow.

Doesn’t this sound just like a parable for The Lord of the Rings, growing out of a hobbit caught in the storm (as said in Treebeard), growing in the most strange, fantastic way, with a whole country opening out?
In The Lord of the Rings, perhaps the most important source of information about these ‘innumerable branches’ is Gandalf, and with Pippin, we are treated to a long discourse by him. In this thread we will look at the part regarding the palantíri, before returining to Gandalf’s counsel regarding the paths they must now take.


Gandalf translates the name palantírithat which looks far away”, and mentions that the Kings of Old used them to converse with each other. They belong to a far past, and ancient art.

Quote
'Then it was not made, not made' – Pippin hesitated – 'by the Enemy?'
'No,' said Gandalf. 'Nor by Saruman. It is beyond his art, and beyond Sauron's too. The palantíri come from beyond Westrenesse, from Eldamar. The Noldor made them. Fëanor himself, maybe, wrought them, in the days so long ago that the time cannot be measured in years.


In what sense is the word “art” used here? Compare to The Road to Isengard, where Merry uses the same name for pipe-smoking. What did Merry mean? Which of the two fits better to our modern perception of art?
The attentive reader should know already what Westrenesse means. But “Eldamar” and “Fëanor” where only used once before each, and while one could guess at who Fëanor was, regarding Eldamar s/he is completely in the dark – until reading The Silmarillion, and even that took me at least three reading to understand. Regarding the Noldor, one is completely in the dark – at least until appendix A.
Do you remember where “Eldamar” and “Fëanor” are mentioned? Could a first-time reader be expected, if not to remember, at least recognize these as names s/he has met before? What is the effect of throwing these names a second time?
Regarding “the days so long ago that the time cannot be measured in years” – if not for The Silmarillion, would any reader understand them? Do you make any connection to Gandalf’s riddle in The Road to Isengard, or to The House of Tom Bombadil?
Shouldn’t Gandalf know whether Fëanor himself wrought the palantíri or not? Is the assumption that he must have known the reason so many fans assume they were indeed made by Fëanor? See here for a recent example.
Gandalf says the palantíri were beyond the art of Sauron himself. Does this make them superior to the Rings of Power?

Gandalf goes as far as to condemn Saruman for using the Orthanc-stone:

Quote
Alas for Saruman! It was his downfall, as I now perceive. Perilous to us all are the devices of an art deeper than we possess ourselves. Yet he must bear the blame. Fool! to keep it secret, for his own profit.


As I’ve mentioned in a previous thread, Tom Shippey considers Saruman a symbol of modern man (Author of the Century, p. 171). Is Tolkien here criticizing our modern treatment of science and technology – of the “art deeper than we possess ourselves” of G-d’s world?

'What did the Men of old use them for?' asked Pippin, delighted and astonished at getting answers to so many questions, and wondering how long it will last.
The hobbit (or hobbit-like) narrator appears again! What is the effect on the readers of this interpolation? Does it deflate Gandalf? Humanise him? Does it draw the reader into the story? How does it compare to Gandalf’s begging Merry’s pardon for not answering his question earlier that night?

After explaining the use of the palantíri, and where they were placed, Gandalf becomes wistful:

Quote
And how it draws one to itself! Have I not felt it? Even now my heart desires to test my will upon it, to see if I could not wrench it from him and turn it where I would—to look across the wide seas of water and of time to Tirion the Fair, and perceive the unimaginable hand and mind of Fëanor at their work, while both the White Tree and the Golden were in flower!' He sighed and fell silent.


Wait a minute! Can the the palantíri look backward in time? And how far can they look? How do they compare with the Mirror of Galadriel?
The trees again! Is Gandalf’s nostalgia the opposite of Saruman’s seeking to harness Middle-earth to his own ambition? dernwyn thought so. Is the accusation of Tolkien being a reactionary enemy of modernity justified?

Pippin is naturally overwhelmed, and says that had he known all of this, he would never have touched the stone. Gandalf disagrees:

Quote

If I had spoken sooner, it would not have lessened your desire, or made it easier to resist. On the contrary! No, the burned hand teaches the best. After that advice about fire goes to the heart.

Is this applicable to the modern world?


Let’s return to the camp at Dol Baran. After finding out that the Orthanc-stone was a palantír, Gandalf advises Théoden to ride secretly, while he rides ahead with Pippin:

Quote
I will ride ahead at once with Peregrin Took. It will be better for him then lying in the dark while others sleep.'
'I will keep Éomer and ten Riders,' said the king. 'They shall ride with me at early day. The rest may go with Aragorn and ride as soon as they have a mind.'
'As you will,' sad Gandalf. 'But make all the speed you may to cover the hills, to Helm's Deep!'


Does this mean that Théoden will wait until morning? Doesn’t it make more sense to try to cross the plain from the safety of Dol Baran to Helm’s Deep under the cover of the night?
Why does Gandalf accept Théoden’s decision so meekly? Does he agree? Is he weary of the latest struggle with Saruman and the calling back of Pippin? Or is he still under the impression of Aragorn’s self-assertion?
Does Gandalf ride to Minas Tirith for Pippin’s good (as he says here)? To keep him away from the palantír (as he implies in The Siege of Gondor)? To bring Denethor tidings? For his own safety? To be able to think in quite?
However, his counsel is changed quite immediately.

"In some ways, this chapter is more like the first chapter of Book V, rather than the last chapter of Book III. The first part of Book V is now set, with Gandalf on his way to Minas Tirith, and Aragorn in possession of the palantír, ready for the vital show-down with Sauron, which will set up the West's final strategy against the Dark Lord."
- Malbeth.


"The chapter ends as Gandalf rides with Pippin towards Minas Tirith, partially lost in his memories of the West; Pippin in a semi-dream as Shadowfax gallops. And there we leave them, to go back several days to Frodo and Sam."
- Eledhwen.

"We know why Gandalf is imparting so much information here: so we understand the set-up for the third book to come. It gives an urgency to our reading and whets our appetite for 'the tower of Denethor' and the purple slopes of 'Mindolluin'."
- Chip of Dale.

What do you think? How do you feel this chapter prepares for those chapters yet to come?
And of course, a more important question:

"What is the boiling point of a palantír in a vacuum?"
- drogo.


The weekly discussion of The Lord of the Rings is back. Join us in the Reading Room for The Palantír!



dernwyn
Forum Admin / Moderator


Mar 28 2011, 3:07am

Post #2 of 12 (1007 views)
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The excerpt from Leaf by Niggle [In reply to] Can't Post

about the leaf caught in the wind is to me not merely an analogy for LotR: it is the very description of Tolkien's entire legendarium!

And it is a legendarium filled with unanswered questions - which is why it is real. The seven stars are a great unknown: yes, they are on the royal emblem, but - why? What do they represent? They remind me of the verse in the folk song Green Grow the Rushes: "seven for the seven stars in the sky". Many of the verses of this ancient song are obscure in origin; this one is said to refer to the Pleiades, or the stars in the Big Dipper, or even the seven planets. Would the Dunedain have remembered at this place in time what the origin of their stars was, I wonder?

On to the tree in the phrase "beyond the White-tree Strand": because of the capitalization of the word "White-tree", I think it refers to only one peculiar, special tree on the beach. As for the King's Tree, once one understands the legend of the Two Trees that gave Light, the notion of the necessary preservation of that tree's line becomes evident: the Light must not fade out of the world.

Art is - well, art, whether it is the Mona Lisa or a child's scrawl. Any avocation which requires the use of a skill can be construed as being an "art" - even pipe-smoking! (But not cigarette-smoking; pipe-smoking requires careful tendering of the leaf and fire, and maintenance of the pipe itself.)

Ah, why let Pippin dangle at his tail all the way to Minas Tirith! Perhaps Gandalf feared that Sauron might look into the palantir again to try to communicate with Saruman, and Pippin would "feel" it? Maybe he did fear that Sauron would send a "messenger" to pick up Pippin - but then, why not bring Merry along as well? Or could this have been a "chance" decision of Gandalf's - one that he really did not know why he was doing, at the time!


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


"I desired dragons with a profound desire"

"It struck me last night that you might write a fearfully good romantic drama, with as much of the 'supernatural' as you cared to introduce. Have you ever thought of it?"
-Geoffrey B. Smith, letter to JRR Tolkien, 1915




Darkstone
Immortal


Mar 28 2011, 8:46pm

Post #3 of 12 (950 views)
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Well [In reply to] Can't Post

  
What do the ‘seven stars’ stand for?

I figured it referred to G-d’s admonishment in Job 38:32: “Can you bind the cluster of the Pleiades?” which made sense to me since the Numenoreans defied Eru.

I can only think of Elendil’s emblem, as was revealed in Arwen’s standard. Do you agree? Or do you have any other idea? Tolkien had connected this ‘rhyme of lore’ with the legend of Númenor.

I figured the seven stones referred to the remnants of Lyonesse, which like Numenor sunk beneath the sea. Lyonesse was off the west coast of England and was where the final battle between King Arthur and Mordred took place. Out on the west end of Cornwall they got a Seven Stones lighthouse and a Seven Stones motel and a Seven Stones gift shop and probably even a Seven Stones coloring book. Oh, there's also the Seven Stones themselves.


Does the ‘White-tree Strand’ refer to a beach with white trees, or to one white tree on the beach? Does the capitalization of the W and the S indicate the answer?

I was thinking of Genesis 30:37: "And Jacob took him rods of green poplar, and of the hazel and chesnut tree; and pilled white strakes in them, and made the white appear which was in the rods." Jacob arranged rods of the poplar (a white tree) in a pattern (or “strand”) that ensured fertility and strength in his legacy.


What do you make of the King’s Tree theme in Tolkien?

Jacob was the one Hebrew patriarch that struggled the hardest and suffered the most. Like how much more Aragorn had to struggle compared with his forebears in Numenor and the Two Kingdoms.


Doesn’t this sound just like a parable for The Lord of the Rings, growing out of a hobbit caught in the storm (as said in Treebeard), growing in the most strange, fantastic way, with a whole country opening out?

Or the twelve tribes of Israel growing out of Jacob’s wrestling with a stranger.


In what sense is the word “art” used here?

Skill, possibly mastery.


Compare to The Road to Isengard, where Merry uses the same name for pipe-smoking. What did Merry mean?

Pipe smoking is a skill. Some people never learn how to smoke a pipe properly. They should give up tobacco and go with soap bubbles.


Which of the two fits better to our modern perception of art?

Neither, unless you count PR as part of our modern perception of art.


The attentive reader should know already what Westrenesse means.

That is so close to the spelling of the sunken land of Lyonesse it's spooky.


“Eldamar” and “Fëanor” where only used once before each, and while one could guess at who Fëanor was, regarding Eldamar s/he is completely in the dark – until reading The Silmarillion, and even that took me at least three reading to understand. Regarding the Noldor, one is completely in the dark – at least until appendix A.

There’s lots of people and places mentioned only once in the Bible. Or Beowulf for that matter.


Do you remember where “Eldamar” and “Fëanor” are mentioned?

They were just good friends.


Could a first-time reader be expected, if not to remember, at least recognize these as names s/he has met before?

Nope.


What is the effect of throwing these names a second time?

A sense of déjà vu.


Regarding “the days so long ago that the time cannot be measured in years” – if not for The Silmarillion, would any reader understand them?

Do we really understand them even with The Silmarillion?


Do you make any connection to Gandalf’s riddle in The Road to Isengard, or to The House of Tom Bombadil?

Uh...


Shouldn’t Gandalf know whether Fëanor himself wrought the palantíri or not?

He’s not omniscient. I’m sure he also doesn’t know who put the roof on The Prancing Pony or paved the courtyard of Minas Tirith.


Is the assumption that he must have known the reason so many fans assume they were indeed made by Fëanor?

You know what they say about “assume”.


Gandalf says the palantíri were beyond the art of Sauron himself. Does this make them superior to the Rings of Power?

Peanut brittle was beyond the art of Leonardo DaVinci but that doesn’t make it superior to the Mona Lisa. (Er, wait, you just might have a point…)


As I’ve mentioned in a previous thread, Tom Shippey considers Saruman a symbol of modern man (Author of the Century, p. 171). Is Tolkien here criticizing our modern treatment of science and technology – of the “art deeper than we possess ourselves” of G-d’s world?

Well, I wouldn’t think a Brain Surgeon could necessarily rewire his house. If he tried without knowing how to do it, since electrical circuits and breaker boxes were "devices of an art deeper than he possessed himself" he might well meet his downfall.


'What did the Men of old use them for?' asked Pippin, delighted and astonished at getting answers to so many questions, and wondering how long it will last.
The hobbit (or hobbit-like) narrator appears again! What is the effect on the readers of this interpolation?


It’s how most of us act. Usually we don’t care how a home computer works, we just care what it can be used for.


Does it deflate Gandalf?

It’s like the joke about the little kid who asks his mother where he came from. After telling him all about the birds and bees and boys and girls the mother asks if he has any questions. He replies “Billy says he comes from Cleveland. Where do I come from?”

You can overcomplicate an answer.


Humanise him?

Sure.


Does it draw the reader into the story?

He‘s just asking the questions most readers would ask.


How does it compare to Gandalf’s begging Merry’s pardon for not answering his question earlier that night?

Nice.


Wait a minute! Can the the palantíri look backward in time?

As can my library of home movies and vacation slides.


And how far can they look?

I got an old photograph of grandma and grandpa, with dad as a kid, Aunt Maudie as a little girl, and Uncle Rusty as a baby. And there's statues and murals and frescos in museums from really far back. Then there is the Chauvet Cave which trumps all the rest.


How do they compare with the Mirror of Galadriel?

More reliable.


The trees again! Is Gandalf’s nostalgia the opposite of Saruman’s seeking to harness Middle-earth to his own ambition? dernwyn thought so. Is the accusation of Tolkien being a reactionary enemy of modernity justified?

I think it’s more about babies and bathwater, but that’s probably just me.


Pippin is naturally overwhelmed, and says that had he known all of this, he would never have touched the stone. Gandalf disagrees:

If I had spoken sooner, it would not have lessened your desire, or made it easier to resist. On the contrary! No, the burned hand teaches the best. After that advice about fire goes to the heart.

Is this applicable to the modern world?


Sure. Experience is the best teacher. Though you don’t really have enough time to make all the mistakes yourself so sometimes you just have to take someone’s word for it.


Does this mean that Théoden will wait until morning?

I think so.


Doesn’t it make more sense to try to cross the plain from the safety of Dol Baran to Helm’s Deep under the cover of the night?

Depends. They probably want to do it in daylight to make sure they can see to ride on the edge of any cultivated fields. Less likely to find gopher and groundhog holes that way.


Why does Gandalf accept Théoden’s decision so meekly? Does he agree? Is he weary of the latest struggle with Saruman and the calling back of Pippin? Or is he still under the impression of Aragorn’s self-assertion?

The best way to manage. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Let others have their way occasionally.


Does Gandalf ride to Minas Tirith for Pippin’s good (as he says here)? To keep him away from the palantír (as he implies in The Siege of Gondor)? To bring Denethor tidings? For his own safety? To be able to think in quite?

Yes.

******************************************
From IMDB trivia:

"A scene was cut from the finished film that showed Eowyn (Miranda Otto) stripping away her regular clothes and then dressing herself in the armor of a Rohan warrior."

*Darkstone bangs head against wall*


(This post was edited by Darkstone on Mar 28 2011, 8:48pm)


squire
Half-elven


Mar 29 2011, 2:13am

Post #4 of 12 (965 views)
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Not quite. [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote

Tall ships and tall kings
Three times three,
What brought they from the foundered land
Over the flowing sea?
Seven stars and seven stones
And one white tree.

A. What do the ‘seven stars’ stand for?
We can poke about the Silmarillion and discover that the seven stars of the Big Dipper constellation were called the “Sickle of the Valar”, a sign of Melkor’s Doom. And it’s too bad that when Varda creates new Stars to aid the new-born Elves, she only creates six!

“She took the silver dews from the vats of Telperion, and therewith she made new stars and brighter against the coming of the Firstborn; … [1] Carnil and [2] Luinil, [3] Nénar and [4] Lumbar, [5] Alcarinquë and [6] Elemmírë she wrought in that time,…” (Sil 3; numbering by squire)

Because there seems to be no evidence for a more specific meaning, I have always taken the Seven Stars of Elendil to be a fairly generic device. They represent, simply, the Stars of Heaven and of Varda. Seven is the number because that stands for “many” – anything less than six is less than “many”, and an odd number avoids the perils of symmetry. (To me, the fact that the Gates of Moria also feature seven stars - for the dwarven House of Durin - suggests that Tolkien was less than fanatical about the origins of this part of Elendil's heraldry.)


I can only think of Elendil’s emblem, as was revealed in Arwen’s standard.
B. Do you agree?
Yes, of course it’s the same.

Upon the foremost ship a great standard broke, and the wind displayed it as she turned towards the Harlond. There flowered a White Tree, and that was for Gondor; but Seven Stars were about it, and a high crown above it, the signs of Elendil that no lord had borne for years beyond count. (LotR V.6)

In fact, the devices of Elendil’s house are mentioned earlier in the book, in the reforging of Aragorn’s blade:

The Sword of Elendil was forged anew by Elvish smiths, and on its blade was traced a device of seven stars set between the crescent Moon and the rayed Sun… (LotR II.3)


C. Or do you have any other idea?
Answered in A. above.

One white tree! Just on time for the Tolkien reading day, which has Tolkien’s Trees this time for its theme! Perhaps the first time its legend has developed was in the Imram which was read at the Notion Club (HoME IX, Sauron Defeated, p. 296-299):
Quote

On high we heard in the starlit sky
a song, but not of bird:
neither noise of man nor angel's voice,
but maybe there is a third
fair kindred in the world yet lingers
beyond the foundered land.
But steep are the seas and the waters deep
beyond the White-tree Strand!

D. Does the ‘White-tree Strand’ refer to a beach with white trees, or to one white tree on the beach?
Reading the poem as a whole, we see that the reference is clearly to the one immense White Tree of Brendan’s/Frankey’s dream-voyage, which dominates a land fronted by a “silver strand [beach]”. The commentary by the Notion-Club members suggests that Brendan’s actual account regarded the leaves of the White Tree as “fallen angels” who followed Satan from heaven out of feudal loyalty, rather than in a spirit of rebellion against God. Thus they live in a kind of limbo. Yet the poem (which you excerpt above) that Frankley recites to the Notion-Club changes the image, as Lowdham notes, from angels to a “third fair kindred”, neither man nor angel: clearly a reference to Tolkien’s Elves.

That this Notion-Club/Irish mythology White Tree is connected to the Silver and Gold Trees of Valinor is undeniable; but the connection is not strong. The stronger identity of the “one white tree” of Elendil, brought “over the flowing sea” to Middle-earth from Númenor, is given in the Silmarillion in Chapter 5. The Elves of the city of Tirion upon the hill of Túna are given by Yavanna a lesser white tree, Galathilion, which is in the image of Telperion, the original Tree of Silver Light. By descent this will eventually lead us to the White Tree of Elendil and Gondor. What I have always wanted to know is, why was not the Golden Tree the one that the Elves desired? The answer seems to be the essential superiority, in Tolkien’s mind, of the Moon and the Night compared to the Sun and the Day­­, for both Elves and the Men of the West.

E. Does the capitalization of the W and the S indicate the answer?
Answered above.

I have glanced at this poem here, and mentioned the visions St. Brendan has – ‘A Cloud, A Tree, A Star’. These images are connected through one of Tolkien’s less-known stories, Smith of Wooton Major, which I failed to take into account in that old discussion of The Sea-Bell:
Quote

Afterwards he went no longer to that strand, believing that he was in an island realm beleaguered by the Sea, and he turned his mind towards the mountains, desiring to come to the heart of the kingdom. Once in these wandering he was overtaken by a grey mist and strayed long at a loss, until the mist rolled away and he found that he was in a white plain. Far off there was a great hill of shadow, and out of that shadow, which was its root, he saw the King’s Tree springing up, tower upon tower, into the sky, and its light was as the sun at noon.

Here the tree has nothing to do with the strand, but the mist (cloud) and star are there (Smith is known in Faërie as Starbrow), and the tree is no less than the King’s Tree!
I suppose that both Smith and St. Brendan refer to Tirion in Eldamar, rather than to Númenor. But according to The Akallabêth, the tree which Elendil brought was a sapling of Nimloth, the King’s Tree, which was stolen by Isildur – and that Nimloth was a scion of the White Tree of Tirion, just like the palantíri!
F. What do you make of the King’s Tree theme in Tolkien?
This entire theme reminds me of something I saw many years ago: the “Jesse Window” at Chartres Cathedral. There a White Tree rises from the loins of Jesse to bear the fruit of David and Solomon, and eventually of Jesus.






In other words, in Tolkien the King’s Tree can be read as a literal image of the original Family Tree, propagating the true blood and lineage of the King of Kings. This certainly works in the chapter we are reading now, where Aragorn inherits yet another heirloom left to him by his ancestors from the era of Elendil and Isildur.

Quote [from Leaf by Niggle]

There was one picture in particular which bothered him. It began with a leaf caught in the wind, and it became a tree; and the tree grew, sending out innumerable branches, and thrusting out the most fantastic roots. …

G. Doesn’t this sound just like a parable for The Lord of the Rings, growing out of a hobbit caught in the storm (as said in Treebeard), growing in the most strange, fantastic way, with a whole country opening out?
The Niggle story is most certainly a parable or allegory for Tolkien’s creation of The Lord of the Rings (and in a larger sense, his entire Middle-earth). But trees are one of Tolkien’s most central symbols. He uses them in numerous ways. I’m not sure that Niggle’s Tree (as an extension of his Leaf) is really helpful for understanding the reference to the White Tree in Gandalf’s rhyme of lore.

Gandalf translates the name palantíri “that which looks far away”, and mentions that the Kings of Old used them to converse with each other. They belong to a far past, and ancient art.
Quote

'Then it was not made, not made' – Pippin hesitated – 'by the Enemy?'
'No,' said Gandalf. 'Nor by Saruman. It is beyond his art, and beyond Sauron's too. The palantíri come from beyond Westrenesse, from Eldamar. The Noldor made them. Fëanor himself, maybe, wrought them, in the days so long ago that the time cannot be measured in years.’

H. In what sense is the word “art” used here?
In the sense of art and artifice – the ability to make a thing of beauty and usefulness through excellent technique. There is as well the overtone of art being a mystery to those who cannot do it.

Compare to “The Road to Isengard”, where Merry uses the same name for pipe-smoking.
I. What did Merry mean?
Actually, roughly the same thing, but with more emphasis on the aesthetic of function rather than appearance. Growing and curing tobacco is not an obvious exercise, nor is smoking it. The chief distinction is Tolkien’s familiar one of high and low. The Elves’ palantiri are high art, and the Hobbits’ tobacco cultivation is low art. Both have intrinsic and sacred value, in their place, but the relative ranking nevertheless has validity.

J. Which of the two fits better to our modern perception of art?
I don’t know what your or any one person’s “modern perception of art” is, so I am at a loss. Perhaps you are referring to the relatively modern phenomenon of “fine art” which divorces function from appearance, so that “real art” is considered to be paintings or other works whose only purpose is to be appreciated by educated minds. I find that to be harmful to society for the parallel reasons that it denigrates other art as being mere “design”; while it encourages a kind of reverse snobbery that denies that “high” and “low” are meaningful distinctions – that is, it leads some people to reject the obvious assertion that some art is better than other art. I don’t think Tolkien writes within this paradigm; he was aware of it, and disliked it.

The attentive reader should know already what Westernesse means. But “Eldamar” and “Fëanor” where only used once before each, and while one could guess at who Fëanor was, regarding Eldamar s/he is completely in the dark – until reading The Silmarillion, and even that took me at least three reading to understand. Regarding the Noldor, one is completely in the dark – at least until appendix A.
K. Do you remember where “Eldamar” and “Fëanor” are mentioned?
Not off the top of my head.

L. Could a first-time reader be expected, if not to remember, at least recognize these as names s/he has met before?
No, not at all. Yet the passage is understandable for all that – it is meant to be a little mysterious to us, just as it is to Pippin.

M. What is the effect of throwing these names a second time?
If a reader remembers them from an earlier mention, there would be a slight thrill of recognition and a growing sense of mastering some more of Tolkien’s elaborate world-creation. But I don’t think the “second time” is what’s important here.

N. Regarding “the days so long ago that the time cannot be measured in years” – if not for The Silmarillion, would any reader understand them?
I think it’s important that Tolkien used this phrase. It warns his readers that Gandalf is speculating about mythical events, despite the tantalizing clues that he knows quite a lot about the Elves who inhabited those myths. The endless attraction of Tolkien is his ability to historicize myth through the fantasy vehicle of immortal beings.

O. Do you make any connection to Gandalf’s riddle in “The Road to Isengard”, or to “The House of Tom Bombadil”?
Well, I didn’t. But I will from now on, thanks. I also think of Elrond’s drop-dead reply to Frodo’s astonishment at his recollection of the Last Alliance.

P. Shouldn’t Gandalf know whether Fëanor himself wrought the palantíri or not?
Evidently he doesn’t, so we have to accept it. It does “humanize” the old wizard. I have always loved Gandalf’s desperate curiosity to meet Fëanor, which follows closely on this passage (right! see BB. below). It is the flip side of his panicked rejection of the One Ring in Bag End at the beginning of the story.

Q. Is the assumption that he must have known the reason so many fans assume they were indeed made by Fëanor?
Do many fans assume that? What do the rest assume? Strictly speaking, I have to go along with this­; I see Gandalf’s speculative statement as being one of so many instances where his words stand in for the author’s intention -- while as usual coyly allowing for alternate interpretations. Tolkien inserted support for the standard view when he rewrote the Fëanor backstory in the post-LotR version of The Silmarillion, by the way.

Gandalf says the palantíri were beyond the art of Sauron himself.
R. Does this make them superior to the Rings of Power?
“Superior” is a tricky word here. In the sense that the stones are not weapons, but instruments of understanding, yes they are superior creations. As tools for control and conquest, no. We might remember that the Silmarils, to which the stones might be more usefully compared, are also more morally neutral than Sauron’s and the Elves’ Rings of Power. The larger lesson is that all these devices can be put to evil use, whether they were intended to be or not, because all of them arouse thoughts of possession in their custodians. This is the lesson that Aulë so seldom succeeds in teaching his disciples: possession of the other is the prime evil.

Gandalf goes as far as to condemn Saruman for using the Orthanc-stone:
Quote

Alas for Saruman! It was his downfall, as I now perceive. Perilous to us all are the devices of an art deeper than we possess ourselves. Yet he must bear the blame. Fool! to keep it secret, for his own profit.

As I’ve mentioned in a previous thread, Tom Shippey considers Saruman a symbol of modern man (Author of the Century, p. 171).
S. Is Tolkien here criticizing our modern treatment of science and technology – of the “art deeper than we possess ourselves” of G-d’s world?
Implicitly, yes – but it would be a self-centered error to restrict our interpretation of Tolkien’s target to ourselves and our own modern technological culture. He is talking about Man the maker and Man the dominator – a problem of sin and God that dates back to the Garden of Eden.

'What did the Men of old use them for?' asked Pippin, delighted and astonished at getting answers to so many questions, and wondering how long it would last.
The hobbit (or hobbit-like) narrator appears again!
T. What is the effect on the readers of this interpolation?
Pippin is asking the questions we want the answers to. So this interjection pleases us and engages us more deeply in the narrative.

U. Does it deflate Gandalf?
Not at all. I sense that Gandalf is currently welcoming Pippin’s questions, because they are helping him to recall and think more clearly about what is buried deep in his capacious memory.

V. Humanise him?
Gandalf has been quite human for some time now, ever since he saw no lie in Pippin’s eyes after the palantír episode.

W. Does it draw the reader into the story?
As per above.

X. How does it compare to Gandalf’s begging Merry’s pardon for not answering his question earlier that night?
Good question. Gandalf was quite sharp with Merry before apologizing. Here with Pippin he is friendly and accommodating. I think part of the difference is that Merry was asking about the tactics of the war, something Gandalf was quite preoccupied with and upset about. But Pippin is asking about lore, which I think Gandalf likes to talk about when he is in the teaching mood. It is also possible that Gandalf has actually learned from his recent near-disastrous experience what he had been joking about before: that hobbits are indeed “unquenchable” and must be given space to grow in. It seems to me that this chapter is the true beginning of Pippin and Merry’s growth to the heroic stature they will reach by the end of the war, thanks to Gandalf’s rather rueful indulgence.

After explaining the use of the palantíri, and where they were placed, Gandalf becomes wistful:
Quote

‘And how it draws one to itself! Have I not felt it? Even now my heart desires to test my will upon it, to see if I could not wrench it from him and turn it where I would—to look across the wide seas of water and of time to Tirion the Fair, and perceive the unimaginable hand and mind of Fëanor at their work, while both the White Tree and the Golden were in flower!’ He sighed and fell silent.

Wait a minute!
Y. Can the the palantíri look backward in time?
Gandalf says they can. Who are we to argue? Of course, in a later essay (found in Unfinished Tales), Tolkien explains the various “mechanisms” of the stones rather exactly. I am certainly glad that glorified owner’s manual never made it into The Lord of the Rings.

Z. And how far can they look?
Again, the answer (as much as there is one) can be found in Unfinished Tales. It seems that the lesser stones had lesser ranges, of 500 miles or so, for independent seeing (as opposed to dialog communication); the larger or greater ones could see further. If I remember, Gandalf turns out to be mistaken in thinking that he could use the Orthanc-stone to see Fëanor at work in Elven-home in the Elder Days, since it is said to be one of the lesser stones of Gondor.

AA. How do they compare with the Mirror of Galadriel?
It is hard to say, since we don’t know entirely what either magical device could do. Still, my sense is that the Mirror is more truly “magical”, as in being mystical, uncontrollable, and intuitive. The Palantíri more closely resemble a communications technology, using a lens analogy wrought both large and far. It has been proposed that the Mirror could act as a two-way device like the Palantíri, but I don’t like the functionalist implications of that UUT.



The trees again!
BB. Is Gandalf’s nostalgia the opposite of Saruman’s seeking to harness Middle-earth to his own ambition?
I’m not sure it’s nostalgia, as in wishing for a past time to be resurrected. Nor am I entirely sure that Fëanor is a good role model for Gandalf – can anyone doubt that Feanor would have fallen victim to the One Ring? But to take the wizard’s statement in its best light, as I said in P. above, Gandalf seems to be playing the scholar-artist here, who naturally wishes to meet and learn from the master scholar-artist of them all. The presence of the two Trees in his statement seems more illustrative than allusive. (There is always the mystery of just how much our Gandalf remembers of his life as Olórin “in the West that is forgotten”. In that dubious guise, he would surely have had the opportunity to meet Fëanor; whether he would have wanted to is another question.)

dernwyn thought so.
CC. Is the accusation of Tolkien being a reactionary enemy of modernity justified?
“Charge ‘em and they scatter!” he would cry with glee as he drove the family’s automobile through a crowd of Oxford pedestrians at the beginning of an excursion to see the White Horse.

Pippin is naturally overwhelmed, and says that had he known all of this, he would never have touched the stone. Gandalf disagrees:
Quote

‘If I had spoken sooner, it would not have lessened your desire, or made it easier to resist. On the contrary! No, the burned hand teaches the best. After that advice about fire goes to the heart.’

DD. Is this applicable to the modern world?
Again, this is the timeless wisdom of the parable of the Sorcerer’s Apprentice. I love Tolkien’s apparent coining of a proverb – I cannot quickly find if “the burned hand teaches best” predates his writing. If not, it again shows his gift for capturing the essence of ancient folklore in modern prose.

Let’s return to the camp at Dol Baran. After finding out that the Orthanc-stone was a palantír, Gandalf advises Théoden to ride secretly, while he rides ahead with Pippin:
Quote

‘I will ride ahead at once with Peregrin Took. It will be better for him than lying in the dark while others sleep.'
'I will keep Éomer and ten Riders,' said the king. 'They shall ride with me at early day. The rest may go with Aragorn and ride as soon as they have a mind.'
'As you will,' said Gandalf. 'But make all the speed you may to the cover of the hills, to Helm's Deep!'

EE. Does this mean that Théoden will wait until morning?
Yes. “…at early day” is pretty clear about that.

FF. Doesn’t it make more sense to try to cross the plain from the safety of Dol Baran to Helm’s Deep under the cover of the night?
I think that Théoden is feeling his years here. He needs to sleep.

GG. Why does Gandalf accept Théoden’s decision so meekly?
Gandalf doesn’t sweat the small stuff. This is small stuff. The main thing is that the Rohirrim assemble their army under cover at Dunharrow, rather than riding openly across the plains to Edoras.

HH. Does he agree?
As above.

II. Is he weary of the latest struggle with Saruman and the calling back of Pippin?
One would think so, but he has great reserves of energy. He tells Pippin to try to nap on horseback, since they will be riding until daybreak, when Shadowfax will get some rest, but he never mentions his own need for sleep. We have seen the same ability to go sleepless in Moria (and Aragorn is pretty good at this sort of thing, too.)

JJ. Or is he still under the impression of Aragorn’s self-assertion?
I’m not sure what this means.

KK. Does Gandalf ride to Minas Tirith for Pippin’s good (as he says here)?
No, no. He rides to Minas Tirith to reinforce the Seat of the Steward with his staff – if I may so euphemize. He was going to do so in any case, but now he rides immediately at midnight because of the appearance of the Nazgul, not the episode with the stone. Bringing Pippin along is both good for the hobbit, who needs psychological more than physical distance from the palantír – but I suspect (as in my reply to X. above) that Gandalf is also acting on an unformed instinct that for his own good he needs a “hobbit or two in his care” etc.

LL. To keep him away from the palantír (as he implies in "The Siege of Gondor")?
See above.

MM. To bring Denethor tidings?
Much more than that! Sauron’s army is coming to Minas Tirith, led by the Witch-king!

NN. For his own safety?
Whose safety? Gandalf’s, no. Pippin’s, no not really either, except in the specific case of the palantír.

OO. To be able to think in quite?
Not quite.



squire online:
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Lights! Action! Discuss on the Movie board!: 'A Journey in the Dark'. and 'Designing The Two Towers'.
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Hamfast Gamgee
Grey Havens

Mar 30 2011, 9:21am

Post #5 of 12 (921 views)
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Did the Palantir make Saruman evil? [In reply to] Can't Post

Gandalf does sort of hint that Saruman became evil through the use of the Palantir and was he somehow possessed or bewitched by Sauron? Or was Saruman heading that direction anyway and had plans for domination for a long while?


Elizabeth
Half-elven


Mar 30 2011, 9:31pm

Post #6 of 12 (943 views)
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"The fault is in ourselves" [In reply to] Can't Post

It was Saruman's internal lust for power that caused him to be vulnerable to Sauron. Denethor, for example, was misled and made some very wrong decisions, but he didn't really "turn evil". Arguably, Saruman would have had a stronger character then Denethor.






Join us in the Reading Room for LotR The Two Towers, Book IV! Discussion starts March 27!

Elizabeth is the TORnsib formerly known as 'erather'

(This post was edited by Elizabeth on Mar 30 2011, 9:32pm)


batik
Tol Eressea


Apr 1 2011, 6:56pm

Post #7 of 12 (927 views)
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my stars--I missed Tolkien Reading Day [In reply to] Can't Post

What do the ‘seven stars’ stand for? I can only think of Elendil’s emblem, as was revealed in Arwen’s standard. Do you agree? Or do you have any other idea?

Yet another..".hmmm....well" ... topic. Funny--Pippin asks about the seven stars and seven stones then Gandalf goes on (and on) for about a page and a half --but just about the stones. What is up with that?
I did a bit of research in the Book of Lost Tails (along with some Foster's) and noted that the seven stars could be referring to the Valacirca aka The Big Dipper aka The Great Bear. Hmmm---bear--Beorn! There you go!


Happy April 1st Wink


(This post was edited by batik on Apr 1 2011, 6:57pm)


sador
Half-elven


Apr 4 2011, 10:53am

Post #8 of 12 (871 views)
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I'm not sure what you mean. [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
the leaf caught in the wind is to me not merely an analogy for LotR: it is the very description of Tolkien's entire legendarium!


Tom Shippey suggests (yes, I know it's boring to read me quoting the same critic all the time; I've just finished Splintered Light, so there will in future be some diversity!) that the tree stands for LotR, and the rest of the legendarium is the marching forest - the other paintings which were tucked in to embellish the tree's background.
Do you agree - or do you think the tree is the languages, to which history, philosophy, religion and art were added?
Or yet again, is the tree Tolkien's longed-for "Mythology for England", which somehow turned to a Christian work, and a cosmology which he nearly rejected because it didn't fit with the contemporary astronomers' picture of the world?


In Reply To
Would the Dunedain have remembered at this place in time what the origin of their stars was, I wonder?


I'm sure Elrond would instruct them. But I'm not sure any of your suggestions could be the stars which the tall kings in the tall ships brought from over the Sea.
Another idea - might there have been six jewels resembling the Elendilmir?

"most of Frodo’s “positive” comments involve reaching Mordor, and Sam’s positive comments are almost always on remembering the Elves. So which is more hopeful?"
- Laerasëa.



The weekly discussion of The Lord of the Rings is back. Join us in the Reading Room for The Taming of Sméagol!



dernwyn
Forum Admin / Moderator


Apr 4 2011, 9:42pm

Post #9 of 12 (904 views)
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To define the Tree [In reply to] Can't Post

I'd think of Tolkien's languages as the "roots", and his initial Mythology is the Tree at a young age. It changes as it grows, and matures, and puts forth leaves, and the countryside around it comes into being as the Mythology, which by then includes the Hobbit and LotR, evolves even further. Branches grow, and fall off; the bark becomes rougher and more indeterminate.

But the entire thing is living, and growing, and thus constantly changing.

That's an intriguing thought about the stars representing the Elendilmir gem. Could it be that there might have been seven "houses" of the Faithful who survived the downfall of Numenor?


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


"I desired dragons with a profound desire"

"It struck me last night that you might write a fearfully good romantic drama, with as much of the 'supernatural' as you cared to introduce. Have you ever thought of it?"
-Geoffrey B. Smith, letter to JRR Tolkien, 1915




sador
Half-elven


Apr 6 2011, 12:22pm

Post #10 of 12 (858 views)
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Adding insult to injury [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm answering your post a week late - on top of never getting around to respond to your discussion! (but I promise I will) I hope our moving this week is an excuse... and composing one answer, only to see it go down the cyberdrain because of a bad link was some punishment.


In Reply To
I was thinking of Genesis 30:37: "And Jacob took him rods of green poplar, and of the hazel and chesnut tree; and pilled white strakes in them, and made the white appear which was in the rods." Jacob arranged rods of the poplar (a white tree) in a pattern (or “strand”) that ensured fertility and strength in his legacy.


Hmm... nice.
I must mention that when the modern Hebrew botanists re-identified trees, the "Livne" was identified as the sytrax. And for additional trivia - the name of Mrs. Livni, the head of the opposition, probably comes from that tree.


In Reply To
Some people never learn how to smoke a pipe properly. They should give up tobacco and go with soap bubbles.


I never learned to smoke properly, and in fact have never smoked (except for passively); but I'm not that great with soap bubbles either.

Wait a moment! Did you actually mean movie-Aragorn!?


In Reply To

Regarding “the days so long ago that the time cannot be measured in years” – if not for The Silmarillion, would any reader understand them?
Do we really understand them even with The Silmarillion?

I thought the time of the trees (which is when Feanor lived in Eldamar) is quite obvious; at least before Tolkien began his attempt to define 'pre-solar years', which one wouldn't know of without reading HoME.


In Reply To

You know what they say about “assume”.

I don't remember. Do tell!


In Reply To

Peanut brittle was beyond the art of Leonardo DaVinci but that doesn’t make it superior to the Mona Lisa. (Er, wait, you just might have a point…)

I'm no fan of daVinci, but peanut brittle? Meh.


In Reply To

Experience is the best teacher. Though you don’t really have enough time to make all the mistakes yourself so sometimes you just have to take someone’s word for it.

True.
But that is making the case for prejudice.


In Reply To
Doesn’t it make more sense to try to cross the plain from the safety of Dol Baran to Helm’s Deep under the cover of the night?
Depends. They probably want to do it in daylight to make sure they can see to ride on the edge of any cultivated fields. Less likely to find gopher and groundhog holes that way.


That's a good point.







"most of Frodo’s “positive” comments involve reaching Mordor, and Sam’s positive comments are almost always on remembering the Elves. So which is more hopeful?"
- Laerasëa.



The weekly discussion of The Lord of the Rings is back. Join us in the Reading Room for The Taming of Sméagol!



sador
Half-elven


Apr 6 2011, 2:27pm

Post #11 of 12 (878 views)
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Oops. Typo. (one of too many, as often when I post in a hurry) [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
In fact, the devices of Elendil’s house are mentioned earlier in the book, in the reforging of Aragorn’s blade


I forgot that. Thank you!



In Reply To

The poem (which you excerpt above) that Frankley recites to the Notion-Club changes the image, as Lowdham notes, from angels to a “third fair kindred”, neither man nor angel: clearly a reference to Tolkien’s Elves.

Of course.



In Reply To
What I have always wanted to know is, why was not the Golden Tree the one that the Elves desired? The answer seems to be the essential superiority, in Tolkien’s mind, of the Moon and the Night compared to the Sun and the Day­­, for both Elves and the Men of the West.


I have always thought it was because the Men are the children of the Sun:

Quote
the Sun was set as a sign for the awakening of Men and the waning of the Elves, but the Moon cherishes their memory.


But the issue is confused by Éomer and Gimli's discussion of their favourite ladies as emblems of the morning and the evening, is it not?



In Reply To

I’m not sure that Niggle’s Tree (as an extension of his Leaf) is really helpful for understanding the reference to the White Tree in Gandalf’s rhyme of lore.

Neither am I. I mentioned Niggle because of the theme of the Tolkien Reading Day, and I reconnected this to the chapter by the glimpses of the forest marching on the horizon - of which Gandalf often provides explanations.



In Reply To
Perhaps you are referring to the relatively modern phenomenon of “fine art” which divorces function from appearance, so that “real art” is considered to be paintings or other works whose only purpose is to be appreciated by educated minds. I find that to be harmful to society for the parallel reasons that it denigrates other art as being mere “design”; while it encourages a kind of reverse snobbery that denies that “high” and “low” are meaningful distinctions – that is, it leads some people to reject the obvious assertion that some art is better than other art.


Based on this definition, doesn't it appear that pipe-smoking is a finer art than making the palantiri?
But while I disapprove of this definition, I never could put a finger on why I do so. Thank you!



In Reply To
K. Do you remember where “Eldamar” and “Fëanor” are mentioned?
Not off the top of my head.


"Eldamar" is in Bilbo's poem of Eärendil; the emblem of “the house of Fëanor” is on the door of Durin.
But it is an obscure reference. So obscure that when I discussed the problem of Celebrimbor's ancestry I forgot (and so did Christopher Tolkien!) this indication that he was a Fëanorean.



In Reply To
I have always loved Gandalf’s desperate curiosity to meet Fëanor, which follows closely on this passage (right! see BB. below). It is the flip side of his panicked rejection of the One Ring in Bag End at the beginning of the story.


A very nice connection. Thank you!



In Reply To
It would be a self-centered error to restrict our interpretation of Tolkien’s target to ourselves and our own modern technological culture. He is talking about Man the maker and Man the dominator – a problem of sin and God that dates back to the Garden of Eden.


In general, of course. But in this context, I think he is being a bit more specific, and contemporary.



In Reply To
Pippin is asking the questions we want the answers to. So this interjection pleases us and engages us more deeply in the narrative.


I stand corrected.



In Reply To
It seems to me that this chapter is the true beginning of Pippin and Merry’s growth to the heroic stature they will reach by the end of the war, thanks to Gandalf’s rather rueful indulgence.


I would date Pippin's becoming heroic to The Urul-hai, and Merry's to the Barrow-downs. But this chapter definitely sets up the scene for Book V.



In Reply To

I am certainly glad that glorified owner’s manual never made it into The Lord of the Rings.

So am I. The essays in UT are fun, but really read as over-trying to explain events, glorifying Gandalf and Aragorn on the way - like claiming that Gandalf rode in a hurry to Minas Tirith because he realised that Denethor fell to the palantir's influence!
One could try to reconcile the differences between the palantiri essay and The Lord of the Rings by saying that The Lord of the Rings is a hobbit's account, and therefore seen through wondering eyes, while Unfinished Tales is a collection of Gondorian documents, therefore knowing better or promoting a pro-Elessar and Gandalf agenda.
Knowing you, you would probably prefer to say that in The Lord of the Rings Tolkien wrote the story as it "happened" in his mindscape, while in Unfinished Tales he tried to make sense of it, based on the exalted image he himself had of is heroes.
I contend that while one approach reconciles the different accounts by seeing them as different sources within the story, and the other discusses developements in Tolkien's view of his own legendarium, the two are equivalent (actually, homeomorphic is more exact) - and I enjoy both.



In Reply To
If I remember, Gandalf turns out to be mistaken in thinking that he could use the Orthanc-stone to see Fëanor at work in Elven-home in the Elder Days, since it is said to be one of the lesser stones of Gondor.


Yes, and the same essay says that Gildor was on his way back from looking in the more powerful Elostirion stone. So another thing Gandalf wished for was all the time under his very nose.



In Reply To


That was a great re-read.



In Reply To
There is always the mystery of just how much our Gandalf remembers of his life as Olórin “in the West that is forgotten”. In that dubious guise, he would surely have had the opportunity to meet Fëanor; whether he would have wanted to is another question.


He walked unseen then, didn't he? So yes, he probably saw Fëanor - but I can't call that "meeting"!



In Reply To

CC. Is the accusation of Tolkien being a reactionary enemy of modernity justified?
“Charge ‘em and they scatter!” he would cry with glee as he drove the family’s automobile through a crowd of Oxford pedestrians at the beginning of an excursion to see the White Horse.

So you think that like Saruman, he also tried to harness evil to his purpose, but wasn't any good in doing it carefully?



In Reply To

OO. To be able to think in quite?
Not quite.

Okay, I've apologised! What more? Do you want me to grovel?



Anyway, thank you again. But I must admit I actually guessed that some fourty questions would lure you to answering - there is nothing you like better on TORn than a challange!

"most of Frodo’s “positive” comments involve reaching Mordor, and Sam’s positive comments are almost always on remembering the Elves. So which is more hopeful?"
- Laerasëa.



The weekly discussion of The Lord of the Rings is back. Join us in the Reading Room for The Taming of Sméagol!



sador
Half-elven


Apr 6 2011, 2:31pm

Post #12 of 12 (884 views)
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I don't think so. [In reply to] Can't Post

Like Elizabeth, I think that Saruman's ambition came independently. Perhaps it was connected to the attack on Dol Guldur? At any rate, Tolkien implies that his being aware that Sauron was searching the Gladden Fields influenced him - and that might have been done by the palantir.

"most of Frodo’s “positive” comments involve reaching Mordor, and Sam’s positive comments are almost always on remembering the Elves. So which is more hopeful?"
- Laerasëa.



The weekly discussion of The Lord of the Rings is back. Join us in the Reading Room for The Taming of Sméagol!


 
 

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