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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
CoH: Turin in Nargothrond - A bit of backstory

Altaira
Superuser / Moderator


Aug 6 2007, 6:50pm

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CoH: Turin in Nargothrond - A bit of backstory Can't Post

Welcome to the discussion of the Chapter: Turin in Nargothrond.

By show of hands, how many of you were like me during the reading of this chapter and found yourselves flipping back to the maps to jog your memories as to exactly where Nargothrond is/was and to the family trees to find out exactly who Orodreth is/was? *peers through screen* Ha! I thought so. So, I thought it might be useful to begin the discussion of this chapter with a little ‘retrospective,’ if you will, of Nargothrond and Orodreth, and how they fit into the story of Middle-earth thus far. (Note: my sources are partially from The Encyclopedia of Arda, but mostly from flipping back and forth between the indices and text of Unfinished Tales and The Silmarillion).

Nargothrond was founded by Finrod approximately 100 years into the First Age, after he and his sister Galadriel visited Thingol in Doriath:

“Then Finrod was filled with wonder at the strength and majesty of Menegroth, its treasuries and armories and its many-pillared halls of stone.” -- The Silmarillion


Being sympathetic (and probably flattered), Thingol had his guides show Finrod to the gorge in the river Narog, where Finrod built the stronghold of Nargothrond (Galadriel stayed behind in Doriath, being enamored of a certain elf who lived there named CelebornHeart). Finrod’s ‘nickname,’ “Felagund” means “Hewer of Caves” in the tongue of the Dwarves who helped build it. Coincidentally, those same Dwarves made the Nauglamir (Necklace of the Dwarves) in Nargothrond which, years later, turned out to be Thingol’s undoing. Also coincidentally (that is, if you believe in coincidence in Tolkien’s tales) different Dwarves, the Petty Dwarves of Mim, were kicked out those very caves to make way for Finrod’s people. Hold a grudge much? Wink

Finrod ruled Nargothrond for over 400 years until a certain human, named Beren, found his way there. Because Beren’s father, Barahir had helped Finrod out of a tight fix, Finrod felt compelled to keep his vow of aid to Barahir and help Beren out of his tight fix of trying to wrest a Silmaril from Morgoth. Finrod left with Beren never to return, leaving his crown to his brother, Orodreth.

Those who have read The Silmarillion will recall that two of the sons of Feanor, Celegorm and Curufin, usurped the rule from Orodreth for a short time, and even kidnapped and kept Luthien captive there until her rescue by the dog Huan. But after Finrod’s death in the dungeons of Sauron, Celegorm and Curufin were exiled and Orodreth restored to his rule.

Much like Turgon and Gondolin, the people of Nargothrond chose to try to keep themselves and their abode hidden from Morgoth, striking Morgoth’s forces via small, stealthy forays rather than marching out in force. Then, another human, named Turin showed up, and…. well, we’ll have to wait to the next chapter to find out all the dirty details, but suffice it to say that poor Orodreth’s reign over Nargothrond was short-lived (just over 30 years).

In the family tree in the Geneologies section, you can see that in addition to being the brother of Finrod and the uncle of Galadriel, Orodreth was the father of the ill-fated Finduilas. But, there, I’m getting ahead of myself again.

So, there you have it. Nargothrond had quite a colorful and eventful history up to where it and our tale cross paths; and it's about to get a lot more eventful!

A few questions, then I’ll leave you with a few pictures before we start the discussion of the chapter proper.

1) Does the ‘missing’ backstory of Nargothrond hinder the story as presented (being an excerpt of the larger history of Elves and Men and Middle-earth), or does it simply give the reader a sense of a larger history surrounding the current events that Tolkien is so well known for?

2) In general, is enough material presented in The Children of Hurin, in the form of maps and geneologies, to make sufficient sense of all the locations and ‘relations’ discussed?

Below is a map showing the location of Nargothrond (courtesy of The Encyclopedia of Arda)




If you look at the fold-out map in the book, you can see that Nargothrond is located west of Doriath and well southwest of Gondolin. What I like about this small map is that you can clearly see Amon Rudh to the east, where Turin escaped of late.

Below are two renditions of Nargothrond, one by Felix Sotomayor (courtesy of Rolozo Tolkien) and one by J.R.R. Tolkien himself (courtesy of tolkiengateway.net)



http://img-fan.theonering.net/rolozo/images/sotomayor/Nargothrond.jpg
Nargothrond; Felix Sotomayor





http://tolkiengateway.net/wiki/Image:J.R.R._Tolkien_-_Nargothrond_%28II%29_%28Colored_by_H.E._Riddett%29.jpg

Nargothrond; J.R.R. Tolkien






3) Which picture of Nargothrond do you prefer and why?


Koru: Maori symbol representing a fern frond as it opens. The koru reaches towards the light, striving for perfection, encouraging new, positive beginnings.



"All we have to decide is what to do with the boards that are given to us"



"I take a moment to fervently hope that the camaradarie and just plain old fun I found at TORn will never end" -- LOTR_nutcase

TORn Calendar

(This post was edited by Altaira on Aug 6 2007, 6:54pm)


N.E. Brigand
Half-elven


Aug 6 2007, 11:21pm

Post #2 of 9 (490 views)
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Was the Nauglamir ever in Nargothrond? [In reply to] Can't Post

That's the story as presented in The Silmarillion, but Tolkien actually never wrote that plot, which was the 1970s invention of Christopher Tolkien and Guy Kay. In the versions of the tale as created by Tolkien, the Nauglamir was made in Doriath from the cursed gold that Húrin brought him from ruined Nargothrond. However, he left the story in more than a little disarray, and CT and GK felt compelled to change things. (And Orodreth may have been Finrod's nephew rather than his brother.) But to answer your first question...


Quote
Does the ‘missing’ backstory of Nargothrond hinder the story as presented (being an excerpt of the larger history of Elves and Men and Middle-earth), or does it simply give the reader a sense of a larger history surrounding the current events that Tolkien is so well known for?



...in some form, I would have preferred a little more history, perhaps along the lines of some of the historical asides in LotR. In CT's appendix to CoH, he specifically notes how the description of Nargothrond is much reduced in the Narn as compared to the earlier Lay.


Quote
In general, is enough material presented in The Children of Húrin, in the form of maps and geneologies, to make sufficient sense of all the locations and ‘relations’ discussed?



The EoA map you provide is a little more useful than the map CT created for CoH, though it would be nice if it included the Spyhill, which will become important later.


Quote
Which picture of Nargothrond do you prefer and why?



Tolkien's Nargothrond seems a bit out in the open, but still more secretive than Sotomayor's. (And is the latter on the wrong side of the river?) They show Nargothrond at different times, Tolkien before and Sotomayor after the bridge was built at Túrin's behest.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Discuss The Children of Húrin in the Reading Room, June 11-October 14.


Wynnie
Rohan


Aug 7 2007, 1:15am

Post #3 of 9 (478 views)
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too much information? [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
how many of you were like me during the reading of this chapter and found yourselves flipping back to the maps to jog your memories as to exactly where Nargothrond is/was and to the family trees to find out exactly who Orodreth is/was?

No need to flip; that's the beauty of having a fold-out map. I read much of the book with the map unfolded so I could glance at it whenever new places were named.

The genealogies don't interest me so much.



In Reply To
Does the ‘missing’ backstory of Nargothrond hinder the story as presented (being an excerpt of the larger history of Elves and Men and Middle-earth), or does it simply give the reader a sense of a larger history surrounding the current events that Tolkien is so well known for?

Too much backstory would disrupt the narrative flow; better to stick to Turin's story. More than history, I miss description of the place (it was lacking for Menegroth also), but the illustrations help fill that gap.


In Reply To
In general, is enough material presented in The Children of Hurin, in the form of maps and geneologies, to make sufficient sense of all the locations and ‘relations’ discussed?

I think so. Too much information can be more confusing than too little.


In Reply To
Which picture of Nargothrond do you prefer and why?

I do love Tolkien's illustrations just because they're Tolkien's, but his style is better suited to a lighthearted children's story like The Hobbit. Sotomayor creates a more convincing Elven stronghold.




I sit beside the fire and think
of all that I have seen,
of meadow-flowers and butterflies
in summers that have been




Eledhwen
Forum Admin / Moderator


Aug 7 2007, 1:36am

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Making an effort to participate [In reply to] Can't Post

I've been so bad at joining these discussions ...

1) I don't think it hinders. After all, not knowing much about Beren and Lúthien, or Earendil, doesn't detract from LOTR even though the stories are referred to. It's all part of the wider history thing. Especially in the story as presented in CoH, which is in some respects the lean, pared-down version - this story's about Túrin, not about Finrod and Orodreth and everyone. It suffices to know that Nargothrond is an Elvish fortress, and that Finduilas is the daughter of the King.

2) I think so, but I've never found it terribly hard to keep the genealogies straight in my mind. The map's fine, it gives just enough information.

3) Hmmm. Tolkien's picture almost makes Nargothrond look a bit hobbity. On the other hand the Sotomayor picture makes it look too fortressy. I think it would be somewhere in between - better-defended than in Tolkien's picture, but much less castly than Sotomayor's. Sotomayor's is very Mannish, really, rather like Minas Tirith - whereas this is an Elvish dwelling.

Marlborough vineyards on a sunny winter's day.

IMG_1107


Saelind
Lorien


Aug 8 2007, 3:38am

Post #5 of 9 (464 views)
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Backstory [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm familiar enough with this story to know how Nargothrond fits in. I think any extra material would have been confusing to new readers. It is enough to know that it is an elven stronghold similiar to Menegroth. I don't like the map in the back and pull out Karen Fonstad's Atlas instead. I do refer to the genologies to help keep folks straight but again familiarity helps.

I like Sotomayer's drawing a little more. It looks more fortress-like, though as NE Brigand points out it is on the wrong side of the river. I like Tolkien's drawing but it doesn't seem to have the "gravitas" that you would expect Nargothrond to have.

I was quite shocked when I find out that the "Ruin of Doriath" was not JRRT's work.


Altaira
Superuser / Moderator


Aug 8 2007, 4:31am

Post #6 of 9 (473 views)
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Did Galadriel meet Celeborn in Doriath? [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
Was the Nauglamir ever in Nargothrond?



One can but pick a version and fly with it. Wink


Koru: Maori symbol representing a fern frond as it opens. The koru reaches towards the light, striving for perfection, encouraging new, positive beginnings.



"All we have to decide is what to do with the boards that are given to us"



"I take a moment to fervently hope that the camaradarie and just plain old fun I found at TORn will never end" -- LOTR_nutcase

TORn Calendar


Altaira
Superuser / Moderator


Aug 8 2007, 4:38am

Post #7 of 9 (460 views)
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I agree [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
More than history, I miss description of the place (it was lacking for Menegroth also)



I'm also with you on Sotomayor's illustration. It has a gravitas that seems to fit this particular story well.

Other than the illustration in this chapter of the inside of Nargothrond, I also like some of Alan Lee's illustrations of the exterior. I was tempted to post some of them, but they all have to do with later chapters. Drat.


Koru: Maori symbol representing a fern frond as it opens. The koru reaches towards the light, striving for perfection, encouraging new, positive beginnings.



"All we have to decide is what to do with the boards that are given to us"



"I take a moment to fervently hope that the camaradarie and just plain old fun I found at TORn will never end" -- LOTR_nutcase

TORn Calendar


N.E. Brigand
Half-elven


Aug 8 2007, 5:20am

Post #8 of 9 (455 views)
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Well flown, er, said. // [In reply to] Can't Post

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Discuss The Children of Húrin in the Reading Room, June 11-October 14.


N.E. Brigand
Half-elven


Aug 8 2007, 5:50am

Post #9 of 9 (462 views)
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The wrong side of the river? [In reply to] Can't Post

It's hard to tell which way that river is flowing. Possibly we are looking downstream, and Nargothrond is therefore correctly pictured on the west side?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Discuss The Children of Húrin in the Reading Room, June 11-October 14.

 
 

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