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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
Silmarillion discussion: Of the Voyage of Earendil and the War of Wrath
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Ardamírë
Valinor


Aug 24 2013, 7:42pm

Post #76 of 100 (198 views)
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That could very well be [In reply to] Can't Post

I can very easily imagine that it was just something difficult for him to get into. Of course, it's just conjecture, like most of our musings on the professor.

Agreed; it's definitely our loss.

THE SONG OF TUOR
Only the reeds were rustling, but a mist lay on the streams
Like a sea-roke drawn far inland, like a shred of salt sea-dreams.
'Twas in the Land of Willows that I heard th'unfathomed breath
Of the Horns of Ylmir calling - and shall hear them till my death.


Ardamírë
Valinor


Aug 24 2013, 7:45pm

Post #77 of 100 (213 views)
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True love [In reply to] Can't Post

He certainly did make a powerful statement about true love with both Arwen and Luthien. He also made the inverse point of how selfishness and pride can destroy love in the tale of Aldarion and Erendis.

THE SONG OF TUOR
Only the reeds were rustling, but a mist lay on the streams
Like a sea-roke drawn far inland, like a shred of salt sea-dreams.
'Twas in the Land of Willows that I heard th'unfathomed breath
Of the Horns of Ylmir calling - and shall hear them till my death.


Elthir
Gondor

Aug 25 2013, 4:50am

Post #78 of 100 (237 views)
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loan words [In reply to] Can't Post

Incidentally I agree I think it's a bit odd that Tolkien didn't go there. On the other hand, I'm kind of glad to see JRRT simply keep true to what he had already published here.

I mean he really appears to have simply 'put on the breaks here' and decided not to dance around something he could have [I think, although I'm no trained linguist] danced around.

Anyway, interesting, as I thought: why not a loan word too.


sador
Half-elven


Aug 26 2013, 2:36pm

Post #79 of 100 (205 views)
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Regarding the Elessar [In reply to] Can't Post

Both versions have Enerdhil as the craftsman who created the original Elessar; the difference is whether the jewel Galadriel used, and gave to Celebrian, Arwen and finally Aragorn was the original one, brought back by Gandalf, or another one made by Celebrimbor. In either way, no account is given as to when Celebrian gave it to Arwen; logically, before leaving for the Havens - but did she carry it with her when the Orcs abducted her? How did she keep it concealed, then? Just a small puzzle which Tolkien could have solved with a new story, but we have no hint at what that story might have been.

My personal preference fore the second version is both because I love to read more about Celebrimbor (and could do without another Gandalf as a Deus ex Machina, thank you) and even more, because of the philosophical implications of his talk with Galadriel, a discussion of which I have linked to above.
The problem with this story is a plot-hole - just how did Celebrimbor get to Gondolin? Probably, Tolkien had already forgotten that his identity as descended from Feanor was already published in appendix B to The Lord of the Rings (and strongly hinted at in the star oif the House of Feanor on the Moria West-gate), as he clearly did when he wrote the latest version of The History of Celeborn and Galadriel, which "demoted" him further (I am relying on Christopher Tolkien's assertion in of Dwarves and Men in PoME, that had his father recalled this minor detail, he would not have contradicted it in later writings).
But once again, had JRRT recognized this plot-hole, he might have solved it with story - in my one attempt to dabble at fan-fic, I have envisioned him as a member of Gwindor's contigent to the Nirnaeth, which was wounded on the battlefield and was carried (perhaps even unrecognized) to Gondolin with other wounded. That's one possible direction.

This leads me to your comment regarding Tolkien's later writings - which often seem to aim at resolving some linguistic or philosophical issues, but often contradict greater inconsstencies with the earlier material - not just the yet-unpublished Silmarillion versions, but with The Lord of the Rings as well. That's why I think that Christopher took the right course when publishing the Sil, taking the nearly-complete 1951 version, using the later material (including the 1958 Second Stage re-write of the Quenta) only to augment it when it doesn't contradict. (Well, that's my impression of what he did, and is surely debatable in itself). The applies to the rest of the PoME and UT material. Tolkien later stuff is often brilliant - as The Mariner Wife, The Wandering of Hurin, Cirion and Eorl and also Smith of Wootton Major - but as standalone stories; they cannot just be added to the legendarium as it stood when they were written without contradicting and disrupting it.

The same applies to the Letters, of course - and especially those which were never sent; when a draft is discarded, it would behoove scholars to ask themselves why.


Which reminds me that I've never written the third part of my reply in the Gandalf-awareness thread, the first two parts of which I've posted a week ago. Should I complete it?


Voronwë_the_Faithful
Valinor

Aug 26 2013, 3:03pm

Post #80 of 100 (183 views)
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Debatable, indeed! :-) [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
That's why I think that Christopher took the right course when publishing the Sil, taking the nearly-complete 1951 version, using
the later material (including the 1958 Second Stage re-write of the Quenta) only to augment it when it doesn't contradict. (Well, that's my
impression of what he did, and is surely debatable in itself).







You had to guess that I would respond to this, if I saw it. Wink

I don't think that is an accurate description of what Christopher did. After all, the most material is taken, I am fairly sure, from the Annals, not from the Quenta. A better description (in my opinion) of what Christopher (and of course our friend Guy Kay) did, is to cut and paste liberally from all the different versions, probably primarily from the early 1950's material (both Annals and Quenta), but with much taken from both later and earlier material (with, obviously the earlier material becoming prominent in the latter part of the book, since not even the early 1950's material got that far), and very little of what Tolkien wrote being used without being changed significantly, primarily by being combined with other versions.

I do agree that much of the later material that you specify would have been difficult to incorporate, but (as you know from reading my book), I also believe that there a number of points where the material from the later Quenta could and should have been incorporated.

Smile


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

The Hall of Fire


sador
Half-elven


Aug 26 2013, 3:31pm

Post #81 of 100 (193 views)
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Thanks for clarifying! [In reply to] Can't Post

But of course, I did mean the early 1950s material - both the Quenta and the Annals.
For one thing, because they reflect the same stage of development.
Furthermore, the Quenta reaches only to what is now chapter 18 - and Christopher thinks most of the relevant material beyond chapter 14 was written later.
And finally, because I have read your book. Smile


CuriousG
Valinor


Aug 26 2013, 4:07pm

Post #82 of 100 (184 views)
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Quick answer [In reply to] Can't Post

to your question here: yes, it feels anticlimactic to me. While I enjoy the description of Earendil's and Elwing's visit to Valinor, the rest of the story seems too cursory for such an important chain of events. The War of Wrath ends too quickly for me; the Nirnaeth provided a large amount of detail, making it epic and tragic, but I don't find this war as epic or heroic as it could be from the scant details. The best part about it is the arrival of the cavalry (Earendil) to fight the dragons. I don't want to sound too critical. It is a good chapter. But when I read it, I want something more grandiose befitting a climax to a long, painful struggle.


CuriousG
Valinor


Aug 26 2013, 4:11pm

Post #83 of 100 (187 views)
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Earendil's "choice" [In reply to] Can't Post

Yes, from the lack of detail provided, it sounds almost like the Valar mandated that Vingilot go into the sky, and Earendil had to go along with it with no say in the matter. That could be completely untrue, and I hope it is, but I sometimes come to that conclusion, and it doesn't seem fair to him. It also seems like he is *stuck* on the same voyage *forever,* which also seems unfair.


Voronwë_the_Faithful
Valinor

Aug 26 2013, 4:25pm

Post #84 of 100 (188 views)
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Fascinating creative process! [In reply to] Can't Post

What led Tolkien to create these parallel and often overlapping paths? What a mind he had; I don't think the world has seen the like, nor likely will.

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

The Hall of Fire


CuriousG
Valinor


Aug 26 2013, 4:32pm

Post #85 of 100 (184 views)
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Yes, troubling [In reply to] Can't Post

Earendil is clearly a hero of the highest order, and Elwing seems conscientious, so it troubles me that they sail West instead of back to search for their sons. They could find their sons, bargain for their release, even give up the Silmaril if they had to, and then go back to find Valinor--it wasn't as if they were already in sight of it and couldn't turn back. As parents go, they don't come off too well. But it would surely have slowed down the pace of the story if they went back on a rescue mission for their sons, unless that was done in the same bare bones style as the rest of the chapter, maybe a quick sentence about it.

Fate seems to be driving Earendil to Valinor, and nothing should get in its way. And maybe they figured if they got to Valinor, the Valar would be more help in liberating their sons than anything they could do on their own. Perhaps Elwing, knowing that her brothers disappeared/died at the hands of the Noldor, just assumed her sons were killed too, and she wasn't ready to go back and face that grief. That's the explanation that works best for me.

An excuse for their behavior which wouldn't work for me is that Earendil decided that only with the Silmaril could they reach Valinor. If he truly believed that, he could have borrowed it from Elwing in the beginning, or had her accompany her as Idril went with Tuor) instead of getting it from her by accident.


elostirion74
Rohan

Aug 26 2013, 6:59pm

Post #86 of 100 (177 views)
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some answers [In reply to] Can't Post

It's not difficult to understand or surprising to me that so many people want more details or a closer perspective. But the main purpose of this chapter is to tell the main features of Eärendil and Elwing's story and to wrap up several other story strands, like the fate of the Silmarils, the war against Morgoth and what becomes of the sons of Fëanor and their oath. To be able do this I think it's important to avoid introducing too much complexity. Also several parts of the story seems to be told from the perspective of people who don't take part in or witness the events, but have heard them from other sources. Therefore they seem to have focused on the most essential points of each separate story strand. I actually find that this kind of storytelling creates a valuable distance which makes it feel more mythic. Tuor's story is different, it's a more limited and cohesive story which lends itself better to expansion.

If you compare the war of wrath with the description of the battles of Beleriand, I think it's quite clear that the battle of for instance Nirnaeth Arnoediad is described in greater detail, because it contains several significant elements that are crucial for later stories and events, like Húrin and Huors and their people's valiant stand to cover Turgon's retreat, the treachery of Uldor and his sons, the fall of the High King of the Noldor, the cruel act that leads to Gwindor son of Guilin making a premature attack on the forces of Morgoth. Since the war of Wrath covers the end of the Simarillion it's much less likely to contain these kind of events, and considering the tremendous scale and the terrible consequences of the war, I'm actually fine that it doesn't go more into detail. The only extra detail I think would have been useful is learning how the people not taking part in the war react to it, for instance who decides to escape to other parts of Middle Earth and how do they go about it, and who decides to stay.

The attack on the havens of Sirion could have been expanded, especially as far as Maedhros and Maglor's relation to Elrond and Elros is concerned. But that is actually the only part of the chapter where I'm inclined to miss detail. Of course one could imagine Eärendil's voyage as a mini-story, but it depends what you're interested in and what captures your imagination. I just happen to be more interested in what it resulted in and the power of the images they have chosen to sum up the main points of the story than the details of the voyage in itself.


Ardamírë
Valinor


Aug 26 2013, 7:30pm

Post #87 of 100 (174 views)
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My problem with scrapping it all [In reply to] Can't Post

(instead of using the loan word idea) is that there are so many tantalizing details that I love and would hate to lose. The prayer of Earendil before Manwe that I quoted is one of those.

THE SONG OF TUOR
Only the reeds were rustling, but a mist lay on the streams
Like a sea-roke drawn far inland, like a shred of salt sea-dreams.
'Twas in the Land of Willows that I heard th'unfathomed breath
Of the Horns of Ylmir calling - and shall hear them till my death.


Ardamírë
Valinor


Aug 26 2013, 7:45pm

Post #88 of 100 (173 views)
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I prefer Enerdhil [In reply to] Can't Post

I prefer Enerdhil because I feel like putting Celebrimbor in Gondolin is forcing the issue. It makes the world feel smaller, IMO. Also, keeping Enerdhil gives another face to the otherwise mostly faceless population of Gondolin.

I also like the second version where Celebrimbor recreates the Elessar. While I don't mind the idea that Gandalf brings the original back, I like the idea of Celebrimbor and Galadriel in the Second Age trying to recreate and recapture the glory of the Elder Days.

I can't remember a "demoting" of Celebrimbor, and my books are all packed away (I'm in the middle of a move). What are you referring to?

Hmm, again, I can't remember things in The Wanderings or The Mariner's Wife that contradict other writings. In fact, I'm still of the opinion that The Wanderings should have been incorporated in some way into the published Sil.

Speaking of The Wanderings of Hurin, do you (or anyone else in this thread) know why it was excluded from Unfinished Tales? I'm glad we finally got it, but it seems like it would have been a prime candidate for inclusion in that book.

THE SONG OF TUOR
Only the reeds were rustling, but a mist lay on the streams
Like a sea-roke drawn far inland, like a shred of salt sea-dreams.
'Twas in the Land of Willows that I heard th'unfathomed breath
Of the Horns of Ylmir calling - and shall hear them till my death.


Ardamírë
Valinor


Aug 26 2013, 7:49pm

Post #89 of 100 (169 views)
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Agreed [In reply to] Can't Post

It's all too cursory, but the story itself is excellent. The idea of the story is, IMO, grandiose and befitting as the climax to the whole book. It just needed to be expanded.

THE SONG OF TUOR
Only the reeds were rustling, but a mist lay on the streams
Like a sea-roke drawn far inland, like a shred of salt sea-dreams.
'Twas in the Land of Willows that I heard th'unfathomed breath
Of the Horns of Ylmir calling - and shall hear them till my death.


Ardamírë
Valinor


Aug 26 2013, 7:56pm

Post #90 of 100 (174 views)
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Parallel to Elured & Elurin [In reply to] Can't Post

I think the parallel to Elwing's brother's has to be in the background of the reader's mind. I think we're supposed to just think that Elwing thinks her sons are lost (which wouldn't be surprising given what happened to her before).

Speaking of which, I always forget that Elwing was involved (as a victim) in two of the three kinslayings. I can't imagine what that would be like!

THE SONG OF TUOR
Only the reeds were rustling, but a mist lay on the streams
Like a sea-roke drawn far inland, like a shred of salt sea-dreams.
'Twas in the Land of Willows that I heard th'unfathomed breath
Of the Horns of Ylmir calling - and shall hear them till my death.


Ardamírë
Valinor


Aug 26 2013, 8:03pm

Post #91 of 100 (162 views)
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Mythic quality [In reply to] Can't Post

I agree that the story needs to remain mythic and somewhat set apart. I guess I just feel that that is still possible while also being more expanded and less sparse. If anyone could balance both qualities, I think Tolkien could have done it, and I feel it's a shame that he never did.

THE SONG OF TUOR
Only the reeds were rustling, but a mist lay on the streams
Like a sea-roke drawn far inland, like a shred of salt sea-dreams.
'Twas in the Land of Willows that I heard th'unfathomed breath
Of the Horns of Ylmir calling - and shall hear them till my death.


CuriousG
Valinor


Aug 26 2013, 8:09pm

Post #92 of 100 (163 views)
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Kudos for Elwing [In reply to] Can't Post

She doesn't seem to be bitter toward the Noldor about being in two Kinslayings, and of course hearing about the first one, no doubt, from her visit to the Teleri. Maybe because she married a half-Noldo, or was the forgiving sort by nature.


Ardamírë
Valinor


Aug 26 2013, 8:16pm

Post #93 of 100 (157 views)
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Maybe she'd have been more bitter [In reply to] Can't Post

If ever she was developed as a character?

Besides that, I don't think it's fair to blame all the Noldor. It's mostly the fault of the Sons of Feanor.

THE SONG OF TUOR
Only the reeds were rustling, but a mist lay on the streams
Like a sea-roke drawn far inland, like a shred of salt sea-dreams.
'Twas in the Land of Willows that I heard th'unfathomed breath
Of the Horns of Ylmir calling - and shall hear them till my death.


CuriousG
Valinor


Aug 26 2013, 8:36pm

Post #94 of 100 (162 views)
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True, but [In reply to] Can't Post

Great-granddaddy Thingol had no problem blaming all the Noldor and banning their language to boot. Not that he was being fair, just that he didn't leave a legacy of clemency for her. I agree that if she were more developed as a character, we might see some ambivalence in her, or maybe not. Maybe it's the part about her turning into a bird, and also her somewhat reverent choice to be an Elf for Luthien's sake, that make me picture her as ethereal and above grudges.


Elthir
Gondor

Aug 27 2013, 12:01am

Post #95 of 100 (172 views)
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Celebrimbor [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
My personal preference fore the second version is both because I love to read more about Celebrimbor (and could do without another Gandalf as a Deus ex Machina, thank you) ...




Also, by the time Gandalf appeared in Middle-earth, Galadriel had Nenya and could use it. Why would she need the Elessar jewel for those things she speaks of with Gandalf? I wonder if Tolkien forgot about this, or was purposely injecting something that the reader could 'use' to question this version of the tale [with respect to which version seemed more valid].




Quote

The problem with this story is a plot-hole - just how did Celebrimbor get to Gondolin? Probably, Tolkien had already forgotten that his identity as descended from Feanor was already published in appendix B to The Lord of the Rings (and strongly hinted at in the star oif the House of Feanor on the Moria West-gate), as he clearly did when he wrote the latest version of The History of Celeborn and Galadriel, which "demoted" him further (I am relying on Christopher Tolkien's assertion in of Dwarves and Men in PoME, that had his father recalled this minor detail, he would not have contradicted it in later writings).



I think The Elessar text was written before the time when Celebrimbor became a Feanorean, which detail was added by JRRT to the Second Edition in the 1960s. But yes I think he clearly forgot this later.

In other words, I think in the original version of The Elessar and Concerning Galadriel and Celeborn [before revision], Celebrimbor was supposed to be an Elf of Gondolin in any case.


sador
Half-elven


Aug 27 2013, 4:18pm

Post #96 of 100 (141 views)
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Yes, indeed [In reply to] Can't Post

The simplest answer would be that the Annals began as a Tale of Years (of a similar concept to appendix B of LotR), to accompany the Quenta in the stage it was then, and later developed due to JRRT's incurable habit of enlarging upon leaves until they become trees, and even forests.

But I do not think this is the case, because of the parallel version to the first Annals of Aman, in Anglo-Saxon; not only Tolkien took the Aelfwine story seriously, he even provided an original text by Aelfwine, which a later scholar purportedly "translated" into Modern English. In The Lost Road, Christopher Tolkien indicates the Anglo-Saxon version possibly preceded the Modern English one - a fascinating attempt at providing an actual "vector" through which this myth, shortly before embarking upon The Lost Road.*
In fact, this idea "resurfaced" in The Notion Club Papers, as the curious documents of Lowdham's father which prof. Rashbold deciphered.
So yes, what a creative process!

On a different note - while I agree with Christopher's decision (possibly suggested by Guy Kay - but either way, Christopher was persuaded to accept this position, and the ultimate decision was his) to combine both the Annals with the Quenta to create one cohesive narrative, I still wonder why no abbreviated Tale of Years - even as a list of dates, was added. It would have helped me a lot to understand what was going on when; the only resource available was the one Robert Foster compiled by himself as an appendix to The Complete Guide to Middle-earth - which was pretty near the mark in the Years of the Sun, but knew nothing about Valian Years, or how to date events after the Fall of Gondolin. What do you think?

*Interestingly, I haven't seen Verlyn Fleiger refering to this in A Question of Time, despite her interest in the different imagined "vectors" of the story. Do you know if she does so in Interrupted Music? I haven't read that yet.


sador
Half-elven


Aug 27 2013, 5:26pm

Post #97 of 100 (140 views)
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The "demotion" of Celebrimbor [In reply to] Can't Post

I meant Noldorin prince -> Gondolin craftsman (a pupil of Enerdhil) -> Telerin follower of Celeborn.

The Mariner's Wife does not contradict anything in Tolkien's other writings, as far as I know; neither does The Wanderings of Hurin, except for the 1930 Quenta, which clearly needed replacing.
But that was exactly my point - that Tolkien's later writings, when read on their own, are excellent! But when he tries to improve parts of old stories, he seems to get entangled in contradictions (as in the 1960 re-write of The Hobbit regarding Bombur - which I've pointed out here).

Regarding the exclusion of the Wanderings from Unfinished Tales - I do not know how Christopher Tolkien decided what to include. Perhaps he wanted to give the Second and Third Ages the same space he did to the First? Or else he wanted to reinforce the prominence of the three Great Tales of the First Age?
With hindsight, I would have much prefered him to add The Wanderings of Hurin and the Athrabeth instead of the Narn, as I could wait for The Children of Hurin, and would probably get a bit more material regarding the Turin-saga in HoME. But well, who would have predicted what would have happened in thirty years? Christopher couldn't have even been sure he would live that long!


sador
Half-elven


Aug 27 2013, 5:49pm

Post #98 of 100 (126 views)
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Both excellent points. [In reply to] Can't Post

Also, by the time Gandalf appeared in Middle-earth, Galadriel had Nenya and could use it. Why would she need the Elessar jewel for those things she speaks of with Gandalf? I wonder if Tolkien forgot about this, or was purposely injecting something that the reader could 'use' to question this version of the tale [with respect to which version seemed more valid].
I'm pretty sure he wasn't just purposely injecting something.
It is also unlikely that he simply forgot about this... it is not a minor detail, such as whether his previous thoughts regarding Celebrimbor were published or not.

It is possible that he considered the Three to have quite different powers from the Elessar; I think such a case could be made, but the differences are too small are subtle. So yes, your argument stands.

I think The Elessar text was written before the time when Celebrimbor became a Feanorean, which detail was added by JRRT to the Second Edition in the 1960s. But yes I think he clearly forgot this later.
True, and I've forgotten that, despite having explained the matter myself three years ago.
However, I suppose the idea was present earlier, when Celebrimbor drew the heraldry of the House of Feanor on the Doors of Moria. Perhaps Tolkien abandoned this idea, and then returned to it.


Voronwë_the_Faithful
Valinor

Aug 27 2013, 5:50pm

Post #99 of 100 (138 views)
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The Narn needed to be included [In reply to] Can't Post

At the time that Christopher compiled Unfinished Tales he had no idea that HoMe would be published, let alone the full Children of Hurin. I am sure that it was inconceivable to him that as full a version as possible of the Turin saga not be published, despite the chaotic state of that material. Speculating further, I could imagine him concluding that then also including the Wanderings of Hurin would have overbalanced the book to one time-period, given that the Narn was already the longest "unfinished tale" in the book, the Wanderings are also long, and essentially continue the story directly from the Narn.

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

The Hall of Fire


Voronwë_the_Faithful
Valinor

Aug 27 2013, 5:56pm

Post #100 of 100 (148 views)
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I don't believe so [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
*Interestingly, I haven't seen Verlyn Fleiger refering to this in A Question of Time, despite her interest in the different imagined "vectors" of the story. Do you know if she does so in Interrupted Music? I haven't read that yet.



It has been a while since I've read Interrupted Music, but I don't recall Verlyn addressing this point, nor Elizabeth Whittingham in her worth Evolution of Tolkien's Mythology: A Study of The History of Middle-earth. It is a question well worth looking at!


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

The Hall of Fire

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