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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
Hello! I'm new here and am quite happy to find that I managed to arrive when an electronic Silmarillion-reading party is getting started!

Gwenhwyfar
The Shire

Jan 9 2013, 6:33am


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Hello! I'm new here and am quite happy to find that I managed to arrive when an electronic Silmarillion-reading party is getting started! [In reply to] Can't Post

How did you feel the first time you ever arrived at this chapter and discovered it was a long list?

I actually didn't define the Valaquenta as a "list" the first time I read it (when I was 14 or 15), and I was grateful for the concise presentation of information to which I could return when I needed to look somebody up. Perhaps this was because my best friend (the person who started me on The Hobbit & LOTR) gave me advance warning not to expect The Silmarillion to be the same novel-like kind of book. In fact, she described it as "a history book for elf children to study." While that definition might be debatable, it made the book comprehensible to me.



I note that (at least in my edition) we get the lists as “flat” prose This also makes sense if one looks at the Valaquenta as a reference book for little beginner-level elf students. I always imagined it as a sort of summary document that was derived/adapted from more complicated songs and legends that the the grown-ups would know. (This textbook approach comes with an added bonus: an excuse to imagine all the strategies adorable elf kids could employ when trying to get out of doing their homework!)


How do you react to authors deploying so much invented terminology (Tolkien specifically, other authors for comparison)? Tolkien was the first author who did this that I read. I loved the intricacy of his world and languages, but I've been disappointed with most other authors who attempt such things. Primarily, when I'm displeased with an author's invented vocabulary, it has been because I felt that they were unoriginal and simply emulating Tolkien (whether consciously or not). I was particularly irked by Christopher Paolini's YA Eragon series. For example, his map contained places called "Melian" and "Beirland" and he had a character named "Arya" (she was an elf princess/love interest, of course). He also used real Old English to provide vocabulary for his "ancient language" which held magical properties. Now, why is it ok with me for Tolkien to apply Old English to the language of the Rohirrim but not for anybody else to make similar use of it? Tolkien didn't invent Old English, yet I still decided that Mr. Paolini was "trying too hard to be Tolkien." Is it simply that Paolini isn't a very good writer (which is probably true regardless of his language usage)? Your question made me realize that I haven't encountered any invented-language-intensive books written before Tolkien's writings were published and therefore I can't help comparing any such book to his. This may or may not be fair, so I'd love to hear about earlier language-makers if anyone has suggestions. It could be (probably is) that Tolkien is better at inventing languages than any other author, but I've read and enjoyed lots of medium-quality yet original fantasy but this is seldom the case when word-invention takes the forefront. I now wonder whether I'm excessively picky (or have had bad luck finding the right books) or if all the middle-quality language inventors are overwhelmed by the magnitude of Tolkien's lingusitic imagination?


The Valar have gender, but we’re told in Ainulindale that they can alter their appearance like clothes and similar comments are made in Valaquenta. Do you reckon they are stuck being male/female, as humans are? I agree with squire. Tolkien seems to have regarded gender as an essential part of a person's personality, so it's unlikely that the Valar he imagined would ever feel "stuck" in their gender or wish to change it even if they could.


The Valar come in pairs and are mostly married (a male Valar and a female Valier). Is that significant?
Melkor is not married, and is without female equivalent. Is this significant? I like what Eldineth said about Melkor being a non-sharing person. While this goes a good way toward explaining his evilness, he isn't the only unmarried Vala mentioned. Nienna, who "dwells alone" is my favorite character in the Valaquenta (anybody Gandalf wants to hang out with must be pretty coolCool). The difference is that she cares deeply about others and shares their griefs. Melkor in his self-isolation is willing to impose his will on others but not to receive any advice, friendship, etc. Nienna seems like his opposite. She shares in a primarily receptive way; since she "does not weep for herself," she needs to hear, absorb, and learn from the sorrows of others if she is to have any power at all. Her job is to comfort and strengthen people who are hurting, so she would be useless if she couldn't take in other people's pain. I wonder if -- in the plan where Melkor never turned evil -- he and Nienna were meant to be paired?

Subject User Time
The Silmarillion discussion: Valaquenta noWizardme Send a private message to noWizardme Jan 7 2013, 12:58pm
    No turning back CuriousG Send a private message to CuriousG Jan 7 2013, 1:35pm
        thank you! telain Send a private message to telain Jan 7 2013, 2:45pm
            link to our earlier discussion of Ainulindale noWizardme Send a private message to noWizardme Jan 7 2013, 2:54pm
                just posted there... and thank you!// telain Send a private message to telain Jan 8 2013, 6:12pm
    I look forward to your discussion post... telain Send a private message to telain Jan 7 2013, 2:43pm
        Experts definitely not needed! CuriousG Send a private message to CuriousG Jan 7 2013, 3:24pm
    A note on book "Arda Reconstructed" by Voronwe the Faithful CuriousG Send a private message to CuriousG Jan 7 2013, 4:36pm
        "DO keep up, Samwise Gamgee!" :)- Nah, you've been great// noWizardme Send a private message to noWizardme Jan 7 2013, 4:39pm
        I have that book as well. Ardamírë Send a private message to Ardamírë Jan 7 2013, 5:50pm
        That makes me quite happy! Voronwë_the_Faithful Send a private message to Voronwë_the_Faithful Jan 8 2013, 4:32pm
    Oops, I seem to have started.... noWizardme Send a private message to noWizardme Jan 7 2013, 5:22pm
        ...and well, one thing led to another... (not for serious readers) noWizardme Send a private message to noWizardme Jan 7 2013, 5:34pm
        Great post! ; mnemonic CuriousG Send a private message to CuriousG Jan 7 2013, 8:16pm
            An org chart for the Valar noWizardme Send a private message to noWizardme Jan 7 2013, 9:18pm
                Ok, this is just me quite at random entering the world of the Reading Room, but.. Xanaseb Send a private message to Xanaseb Jan 12 2013, 1:01pm
                    I see what you mean noWizardme Send a private message to noWizardme Jan 12 2013, 5:23pm
                        Ah! of course. Sorry, thought the lines meant that they came about -by- Eru ;) // Xanaseb Send a private message to Xanaseb Jan 12 2013, 8:58pm
                        every time I see "org chart", I read "orc chart!"// telain Send a private message to telain Jan 13 2013, 11:42pm
            Nice mnemonics, curiousG // noWizardme Send a private message to noWizardme Jan 8 2013, 6:36pm
            Mandos: Hand of Fate telain Send a private message to telain Jan 10 2013, 1:38am
            *mods up* // Aunt Dora Baggins Send a private message to Aunt Dora Baggins Jan 12 2013, 5:29am
        "The Valaquenta underneath the bough, a squishy chair, Corvoisier, and thou, lurking beside me in the Reading Room." squire Send a private message to squire Jan 7 2013, 9:09pm
            ...this forum is world enough? noWizardme Send a private message to noWizardme Jan 7 2013, 9:35pm
        First of all... Eldineth Send a private message to Eldineth Jan 7 2013, 11:11pm
            Eldineth, I would never have guessed from your post that you were not a native English speaker! Well-written post.! // noWizardme Send a private message to noWizardme Jan 8 2013, 6:34pm
                Thank you, noWizardme! Eldineth Send a private message to Eldineth Jan 9 2013, 1:11am
            Your English is terrific! // CuriousG Send a private message to CuriousG Jan 10 2013, 4:38am
                Thank you! Eldineth Send a private message to Eldineth Jan 10 2013, 4:26pm
        I agree with Squire about the Melkorina Ardamírë Send a private message to Ardamírë Jan 7 2013, 11:21pm
        I think this is where I gave up on my first reading… Mim Send a private message to Mim Jan 7 2013, 11:29pm
            The Shadow of Your Posts noWizardme Send a private message to noWizardme Jan 8 2013, 1:56pm
        Hello! I'm new here and am quite happy to find that I managed to arrive when an electronic Silmarillion-reading party is getting started! Gwenhwyfar Send a private message to Gwenhwyfar Jan 9 2013, 6:33am
            Neat idea about Nienna and Melkor squire Send a private message to squire Jan 9 2013, 11:23am
                Evil bachelors CuriousG Send a private message to CuriousG Jan 9 2013, 1:50pm
                    "obsidian bunker" and other matters... noWizardme Send a private message to noWizardme Jan 9 2013, 5:43pm
                    No evil women Mim Send a private message to Mim Jan 9 2013, 5:49pm
                        There was also Thuringwethil DanielLB Send a private message to DanielLB Jan 9 2013, 6:04pm
                        Females at large noWizardme Send a private message to noWizardme Jan 9 2013, 6:22pm
                            Sure... Mim Send a private message to Mim Jan 9 2013, 7:10pm
                                Sorry, I'm probably dragging you off subject... noWizardme Send a private message to noWizardme Jan 9 2013, 8:13pm
                                Amazorcs? telain Send a private message to telain Jan 10 2013, 12:53am
                                    No beards, but . . . . Gwenhwyfar Send a private message to Gwenhwyfar Jan 10 2013, 2:48am
                                        Married gods and single heroes noWizardme Send a private message to noWizardme Jan 10 2013, 2:55pm
                                        Good point. Eldineth Send a private message to Eldineth Jan 10 2013, 4:56pm
                                    Surely Orcs are a construction of Sauron? The Gardener Send a private message to The Gardener Jan 10 2013, 10:40am
                                        Perhaps... Mim Send a private message to Mim Jan 10 2013, 1:35pm
                                        You assume wrongly... Otaku-sempai Send a private message to Otaku-sempai Jan 10 2013, 4:16pm
                                            Young goblins as a gollum-snack; good point. Though just to be awkward.... noWizardme Send a private message to noWizardme Jan 10 2013, 4:37pm
                                                Orc sex CuriousG Send a private message to CuriousG Jan 10 2013, 5:59pm
                                                    You probably just greatly increased the number of hits this thread will get from search engines :) // noWizardme Send a private message to noWizardme Jan 10 2013, 6:11pm
                                                    Orc domesticity Gwenhwyfar Send a private message to Gwenhwyfar Jan 10 2013, 7:54pm
                                                        Great point: "really evil of heart" = incompatible with babies noWizardme Send a private message to noWizardme Jan 10 2013, 10:08pm
                                                            Yay for electronic magic! Gwenhwyfar Send a private message to Gwenhwyfar Jan 10 2013, 11:41pm
                                                                Sam vs. the Valaquenta (stylistically I mean) noWizardme Send a private message to noWizardme Jan 11 2013, 1:27pm
                                                                    I meant "the word 'valar' appears only 3 times in the text ( not inc. appendices)" // noWizardme Send a private message to noWizardme Jan 11 2013, 4:47pm
                                                                        Out of which, only two are clear references. sador Send a private message to sador Jan 17 2013, 12:54pm
                                                                            "The Elder King" CuriousG Send a private message to CuriousG Jan 17 2013, 1:09pm
                                                                                Actually, Bilbo. sador Send a private message to sador Jan 27 2013, 10:11pm
                                                            "light-years" away from the subject, but... telain Send a private message to telain Jan 11 2013, 4:29pm
                                                        Wow! I did start something there! The Gardener Send a private message to The Gardener Jan 11 2013, 6:48am
                                                        There's a lively discussion of Orc origins on this thread: http://newboards.theonering.net/forum/gforum/perl/gforum.cgi?post=562557#562557 // noWizardme Send a private message to noWizardme Jan 27 2013, 2:54pm
                                                    I just don't think Rostron2 Send a private message to Rostron2 Jan 10 2013, 10:23pm
                                                You still have Bolg Azog's son. // sador Send a private message to sador Jan 17 2013, 12:51pm
                                        Wait... Eldineth Send a private message to Eldineth Jan 10 2013, 4:25pm
                                    The reserves Mim Send a private message to Mim Jan 10 2013, 1:29pm
                        Arien and Galadriel Plurmo Send a private message to Plurmo Jan 9 2013, 6:31pm
                            Female evil... Mim Send a private message to Mim Jan 9 2013, 7:18pm
        On Lists... beren_boy Send a private message to beren_boy Jan 9 2013, 10:01am
            List of kings acheron Send a private message to acheron Jan 9 2013, 1:30pm
        Male - Female - and Melkor The Gardener Send a private message to The Gardener Jan 9 2013, 4:46pm
            Yes, I always think Elves call out to Varda the way Catholics do to Mary.// CuriousG Send a private message to CuriousG Jan 10 2013, 4:38am
        How did you feel the first time you ever arrived at this chapter and discovered it was a long list? Rostron2 Send a private message to Rostron2 Jan 9 2013, 6:19pm
        Varda, not starry-eyed for Melkor; on being a single Vala/ier telain Send a private message to telain Jan 10 2013, 1:26am
            Beware the lonely CuriousG Send a private message to CuriousG Jan 10 2013, 4:36am
                Hmmm Gwenhwyfar Send a private message to Gwenhwyfar Jan 10 2013, 5:30am
                    the importance of being social telain Send a private message to telain Jan 11 2013, 4:51pm
        Fab discussion! Valar Rhyme for Hobbit Children hanne Send a private message to hanne Jan 14 2013, 1:18pm
            Excellent! // noWizardme Send a private message to noWizardme Jan 14 2013, 1:26pm
            Truly beautiful and excellent--thanks for posting it.// CuriousG Send a private message to CuriousG Jan 14 2013, 1:56pm
                thank you both - am happy you enjoyed! // hanne Send a private message to hanne Jan 15 2013, 2:43am
            Mods up. sador Send a private message to sador Jan 17 2013, 12:56pm
            Doesn't it bother anyone else... Etarre Send a private message to Etarre Jan 22 2013, 10:17pm
                Post away- we have no "last posting date" :) // noWizardme Send a private message to noWizardme Jan 22 2013, 10:26pm
                A picture of the Valar in all their might and glory? Got it. It ain't beautiful, but it is fan art squire Send a private message to squire Jan 23 2013, 2:08am
                Pre-feminist Tolkien CuriousG Send a private message to CuriousG Jan 23 2013, 4:57pm
        Still within a fortnight of your post... sador Send a private message to sador Jan 20 2013, 4:27pm
    the Secret Fire acheron Send a private message to acheron Jan 8 2013, 12:27am
    The "V" Chapter--get ready for "F"s; and, more on Olorin CuriousG Send a private message to CuriousG Jan 10 2013, 4:53am
        M for Bad? The Gardener Send a private message to The Gardener Jan 10 2013, 10:57am
    when do you want to start the next chapter? noWizardme Send a private message to noWizardme Jan 10 2013, 3:42pm
    Ready for the next chapter? noWizardme Send a private message to noWizardme Jan 14 2013, 4:31pm

 
 
 

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