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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
Unfinished Tales discussion: The Wanderings of Tuor part 4

demnation
Rohan

Dec 15 2013, 9:55am

Post #1 of 21 (266 views)
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Unfinished Tales discussion: The Wanderings of Tuor part 4 Can't Post

We now find Tuor and Voronwe departing from the sea and setting out on their long journey "of which there is little to tell." But soon enough, things start happening: a fell winter comes out of the north, and things become much worse for our two travellers. I can't help but make note of this little line:

"Thus though they set out before the middle of Narquelie, the Hisime came in with biting frost even as they drew nigh to the Sources of Narog."

And we wonder why some people don't like fantasy!



We come upon disaster: the pool of Ivrin (my hands want to put Irvin for some reason) and the surrounding area has been destroyed by the Great Worm of Angband (a.k.a Glaurung) Tuor remarks that it is as Ulmo spoke to him:

"The springs are poisned, and my power withdraws from the waters of the land." Chilling.

As they are observing the area, they hear a cry in the woods. What a surprise: it's a cameo by Turin himself! How cool is that? Turin is running around in grief, yelling out:

"Ivrin, Faelivrin! Gwindor and Beleg! Here once I was healed. But now never shall I drink the draught of peace again!." He then runs away, yelling "Faelivrin, Finduilas!"

What do you make of Turin and Tuor crossing paths, if ever so slightly?

Not wanting to remain by the defilement of Ivrin, our duo continues on. Sleeping little and uneasily, they are suddenly beset by snow and ice. Near death, Tuor manages the wrangle out of Voronwe the general location of Gondolin: in the north, though they are not close yet. In terms of atmosphere, I love this section. Though the writing itself is quite sparse, I could feel the cold and unease that Tuor and Voronwe feel, and I felt Tuor's burning desire to take the fire from the orcs. Voronwe holds Tuor back from attacking the orcs, warning him that bringing an enemy host to the gates of the Hidden City is forbidden. They evade the orcs and use the cloak given to Tuor by Ulmo. I wonder: any relation between this cloak and those used by the fellowship centuries later?

They move through the trees, evading the orcs and the traps set for the Blacksword (Turin), until Voronwe sees that they have reached the Encircling Mountains and the walls of the realm of Turgon. They come to the ford of Brithiach, at Sirion. Voronwe sees a sign that it is safe to cross (eagles), and they do so. They are finally within reach of the Gondolin. I like the conversation they have after they cross the ford. What do you think of it?


And here we are, approching Gondolin at last. What a journey it has been, both for our characters and for me. Thanks again for the opportunity, and I hope everyone enjoyed DOS! (I haven't seen it yet!)
Frown

Hello!


cats16
Tol Eressea


Dec 16 2013, 6:35am

Post #2 of 21 (154 views)
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Some thoughts... [In reply to] Can't Post

I definitely get the same vibe with Glaurung's path of destruction as the desolation left by Smaug. Though Ulmo's words, as you say, are much more chilling. Glaurung's devices are much more poisonous to the region and reflects the 'evil spirit' within him of his master, Morgoth.

On Tuor and Túrin crossing paths: I love Tuor, and I love to hate to love Túrin. Putting them in the same space is really neat. It's such a fleeting moment. Neither Tuor nor Voronwe say anything (I don't remember them even saying a word about it to themselves, though I could be mistaken here). It's a sad moment, too. They'll never meet each other, despite being cousins. The moment feels so mundane, in a strange way. As if it's just another man on the road, looking for something or someone. Although, this moment seems quite different from other chance encounters in Middle-earth. It serves no role in the plot (meaning, it isn't something like Radagast and Gandalf's meeting along the Road, or Frodo and Co. encountering Saruman on the return journey). It's useless to the actual story being told, yet it's not. It represents something about the abnormality surrounding Tuor and Túrin's lives, and the great journey each undertook. It's quite a moment

Thanks, demnation! Smile I didn't answer everything, although I just realized that I do have UT with me (I posted in another thread that I wouldn't have it until 2014). *facepalm* Nice to know that I have it with me!


PhantomS
Rohan


Dec 16 2013, 3:03pm

Post #3 of 21 (141 views)
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it is a crossing of the hair colors as well [In reply to] Can't Post

It's interesting to notice that Tuor is at the beginning of his journey to greatness in Gondolin while Turin is running from the destruction of Narogthond, the death of Beleg and right into his downward spiral into insanity. Tuor says nothing as he does not know this man; Turin has the misfortune of looking more like his mother than his father, and Tuor knew neither of them to start with. Much like Sam and the Southron , who knows what Tuor is thinking- who is this strong Man, what is that sword in his hand, why is he almost as tall as me, why is he yelling in Elvish? And how can he be ignoring the both of us? And who is Findulas?

It could have been the set up for an epic encounter had Turin stopped, but as Tolkien would have it Turin keeps running to his accursed doom while Tuor keeps on going following Ulmo's quest. Perhaps Tuor had better luck because he followed the instructions of the Valar while Turin kept on ignoring them?


CuriousG
Valinor


Dec 16 2013, 4:01pm

Post #4 of 21 (142 views)
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Chance encounters [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
Although, this moment seems quite different from other chance encounters in Middle-earth. It serves no role in the plot (meaning, it isn't something like Radagast and Gandalf's meeting along the Road, or Frodo and Co. encountering Saruman on the return journey). It's useless to the actual story being told, yet it's not. It represents something about the abnormality surrounding Tuor and Túrin's lives, and the great journey each undertook. It's quite a moment


Thanks for articulating this, Cats, because I was having no success myself. This encounter has always stuck out at me as different from all the rest, just as you say. I'm fine with that, but a little intrigued that Tolkien, who loved adding layers of meaning to little events, didn't feel tempted to do so here. There was no exchange at all between them, not even a little cryptic foreshadowing, just the character contrast, which is left to us as readers to infer. As you say, it almost seems useless, but it still works, if for no other reason than to remind us that the stories are simultaneous. Given that the history of Beleriand spans centuries and involved immortal beings whose names begin with either F, T, or M, you can get lost and lose the connections. This one is as nice as having Luthien fly over Gondolin, which she didn't need to, it was just another good connection. (And in that one, Tolkien did give into temptation and had one of her tears give rise to a fountain there, in one draft. I can imagine a draft of this meeting where some exchange did take place, or foreboding, or something.)

And thanks for leading the discussion again, Dem! I need to reply as well; just taking a quick break from work for now.


Dame Ioreth
Grey Havens


Dec 16 2013, 5:03pm

Post #5 of 21 (136 views)
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Was it a placeholder? [In reply to] Can't Post

I got the feeling Tolkien had something in mind that he might connect "someday".

I have this mental image of his mind as a vast web of ideas. He writes along on particular thread and when he crosses another, he puts something in to remind himself to come back and fill in the detail later. It's not an important detail that his mind went rabbiting off after but there was a niggle of something. Maybe something reminded him of a piece in the other story and that resonated across the web enough to put this little detail in with its to do list of character names.

Where there's life there's hope, and need of vittles.
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings







Brethil
Half-elven


Dec 16 2013, 6:51pm

Post #6 of 21 (139 views)
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Cousins that pass in the night [In reply to] Can't Post

Hello all! A lot of great points already brought up here. I love the sections you have highlighted Demnation. A lot happens in this section.

Part of me wonders too Ioreth on the place-marker idea. Was this a meeting that might have been worked up further, with some sort of impact? Not sure: if they spoke it might have changed both their fates and not for the better in Tuor's case if he was somehow waylaid. But Tuor sticks to his purpose and Ulmo's mission. (That feels important.) If he had mentioned it anywhere later in any tales..."I saw a man, he called out 'Finduilas'..." I can say as a reader it would have been like goose-walking-over-a-grave sort of feeling!

I like Phantom's point that despite their fairly close blood relationship the two had no reason to recognize each other. I find that's seems to accent the underlying contrast between them, as many encounters in JRRT's works describe characters seeming to recognize or 'know' the other - yet these two, though they are related, have no such sense (well Tuor does not anyway, as we see it from his perspective here - in CoH we read nothing of it from Turin's eye.) I like too as Phantom points out the different directions these two are taking, both having impact but in different ways and scopes. Turin's journey has already contracted, descending and darkened, and has been cast already. Tuor's on the other hand is still amorphous, and ascending, and will impact all of Men and Elves.

Above all though, I see the tales interesecting with some subtle optimism (and a small point to the plot, though Tuor doesn't know it): Turin's mad descent still plays a part to save Men and Elves, because Turin's past helps save Tuor here: the Orcs are so hotly busy looking for the Blacksword and don't notice Tuor and Voronwe hiding (like foxes.) Of course, they have no idea who the Blacksword is...or that THAT is who they saw.

So I actually find the crossing 'feels' significant, like Cats pointed out, in a sense of fate and foreboding which is powerful and does play a plot role. And considering how much of Beleriand would have been wild, and how the passages through it would have been shared by the races, its not implausible that they would pass each other on the road, so to speak. I can only speculate in RL history how many such trails have crossed close by each other and it will never be known.

The part about Voronwe feeling that sense of unease about crossing the Highway speaks to me of JRRT's war experiences, moving through lands that are beset by organized hostiles and knowing the danger zones where the watch will be highest. And its a dark spot where the Elf fears for death as well.

Another point of contrast perhaps between the two cousins. Would Turin have been able to resist the impulse to take the fire and meat, not seeing the far-reaching impact of the situational heroism? Or would he have seen the destroying of the enemy (heroic, right?) securing food and fire (good, right?) and not perceived or listened to the words of Voronwe to instead hold out for the greater quest? A more mortal response perhaps on Turin's part - one which Voronwe tempers and Tuor, with his less impulsive nature (as served him well in slavery) accedes to?

Awesome discussion Demnation! Thanks for leading us out!

Have an idea relating to the world of JRR Tolkien that you would like to write about? If so, the Third TORn Amateur Symposium will be running in the Reading Room in March, 2014. We hope to see you there!





(This post was edited by Brethil on Dec 16 2013, 6:52pm)


cats16
Tol Eressea


Dec 16 2013, 9:48pm

Post #7 of 21 (152 views)
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Very neat, CG. [In reply to] Can't Post

I had no idea Tolkien had Lúthien's tear turn into a fountain in a draft.

It was a struggle to type the words that I did write, so I know what you mean, CG. Very good point about the stories being simultaneous. That makes my mind jump to thinking about where Tuor could have been when Túrin was following Mim to Amon Rudh, and so forth (sort of reminiscent of wondering where Frodo and Sam are when x happens to Merry and Pippen in Fangorn). This makes Tolkien's world seem so much bigger than what's shown on the page. Chance encounters really do add layers to these tales.


Ardamírë
Valinor


Dec 17 2013, 8:30pm

Post #8 of 21 (112 views)
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It was more than a draft [In reply to] Can't Post

I don't have my books with me at the moment (as I'm on vacation), but as I recall, that line about Luthien's tear springing up into a fountain on the plain should have been in the published Silmarillion but for whatever reason it was dropped by Christopher Tolkien. I'll look it up to be exactly sure when I get home.

"Yet fairest of all are the willows of Nan-tathren, pale green, or silver in the wind, and the rustle of their innumerable leaves is a spell of music: day and night would flicker by uncounted, while still I stood knee-deep in grass and listened. There I was enchanted, and forgot the Sea in my heart." - Unfinished Tales


Brethil
Half-elven


Dec 17 2013, 9:43pm

Post #9 of 21 (115 views)
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Got the reference for you Arda [In reply to] Can't Post

I loved when you posted that earlier this year. Its in Book 5 (The Lost Road) and in my paperback edition its p 332, in the discussion of the B and L drafts and choices made.

'But it is said in song that her tears falling from on high as she passed came like silver raindrops on the plain, and there a fountain sprang to life: the Fountain of Tinuviel, Eithel Ninui, most healing water until it withered in the flame.' (commentary: This passage, found already in the draft text C, should not have been omitted.)

Have an idea relating to the world of JRR Tolkien that you would like to write about? If so, the Third TORn Amateur Symposium will be running in the Reading Room in March, 2014. We hope to see you there!





(This post was edited by Brethil on Dec 17 2013, 9:44pm)


Ardamírë
Valinor


Dec 17 2013, 10:32pm

Post #10 of 21 (109 views)
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Thag you very buch [In reply to] Can't Post

I love that passage, too Smile It's quite the pity that it was omitted, and for reasons not really known. This is why I'd love a revised Silmarillion that fixes little things like this. Of course, I'd also love an expanded Silmarillion that had things like the whole chapter about Miriel that was omitted.

"Yet fairest of all are the willows of Nan-tathren, pale green, or silver in the wind, and the rustle of their innumerable leaves is a spell of music: day and night would flicker by uncounted, while still I stood knee-deep in grass and listened. There I was enchanted, and forgot the Sea in my heart." - Unfinished Tales


Brethil
Half-elven


Dec 18 2013, 12:51am

Post #11 of 21 (100 views)
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Now you're talking... [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
I love that passage, too Smile It's quite the pity that it was omitted, and for reasons not really known. This is why I'd love a revised Silmarillion that fixes little things like this. Of course, I'd also love an expanded Silmarillion that had things like the whole chapter about Miriel that was omitted.
That would be great, and that extra insight into Miriel would give Feanor's story so much more depth. We sort of have him born, and then making the Silmarils and that's it, all calamitous adventure from there. Some of the quiet and contributory (SO contributory) backstory would be a welcome addition.
I'd love to read about Elrond and Elros being found in the cave too.
(And you are most welcome!Angelic)


Have an idea relating to the world of JRR Tolkien that you would like to write about? If so, the Third TORn Amateur Symposium will be running in the Reading Room in March, 2014. We hope to see you there!





Ardamírë
Valinor


Dec 18 2013, 1:47am

Post #12 of 21 (94 views)
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The only way I see it working [In reply to] Can't Post

Is if Christopher himself would oversee the revision. Otherwise it comes off as a slap in the face to him after all the hard work he has put into the middle-earth legendarium over the years. That said, I would greatly desire to possess such a thing.

"Yet fairest of all are the willows of Nan-tathren, pale green, or silver in the wind, and the rustle of their innumerable leaves is a spell of music: day and night would flicker by uncounted, while still I stood knee-deep in grass and listened. There I was enchanted, and forgot the Sea in my heart." - Unfinished Tales


Brethil
Half-elven


Dec 18 2013, 1:53am

Post #13 of 21 (85 views)
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I can see that [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Is if Christopher himself would oversee the revision. Otherwise it comes off as a slap in the face to him after all the hard work he has put into the middle-earth legendarium over the years. That said, I would greatly desire to possess such a thing.
Especially with the time lapse, and time to consider what might belong and what doesn't in the larger perspective. I get you - he is so vested and personally involved it would be his task. I wonder if he already has an idea what he would potentially add and change...I tend to think so. Greatly desire (which I hear in Cate's deeply trembling voice) is a good turn of phrase for how we would feel about that book!!!!! Angelic


Have an idea relating to the world of JRR Tolkien that you would like to write about? If so, the Third TORn Amateur Symposium will be running in the Reading Room in March, 2014. We hope to see you there!





Rembrethil
Tol Eressea


Dec 18 2013, 3:28am

Post #14 of 21 (80 views)
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Yes, I remember it too. [In reply to] Can't Post

I was working on a chronology for the Silmarillion, and made especial note of that. I cannot remember where I read it either.

Call me Rem, and remember, not all who ramble are lost...Uh...where was I?


Plurmo
Rohan

Dec 19 2013, 1:25am

Post #15 of 21 (102 views)
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A Mauron perspective [In reply to] Can't Post

(The following post considers a very personal take on the works of Ulmo and the symbols of his surreptitious involvement.)

What about the place of the encounter?

No place better represents the withdrawal of Ulmo (and therefore the blindness and deafness to his counsels) than the defiled pools of Eithel Ivrin. By comming there at that very moment, Tuor faces his own lateness to Ulmo's summons, Turin's deafness to Ulmo's counsels and neglect to Nargothrond, the fate of Finduilas and the ill will of Gurthang's (Anglachel).

As I'm a very ulmocentric reader and as I see the motif of Sun fire on water as pure Ulmo symbolism (ex. Narya), I tend to see in Finduilas (Faelivrin, the gleam of the Sun in the pools of Ivrin) a designated ancestress. In that sense, when Tuor crosses the defiled Eithel Ivrin, it is as if he is stepping on the wreckage of a whole future, a lost half-elven bloodline killed by Glaurung. Perhaps the original Numenórean line.

It is a reminder (to me, at least) of what could have happened in case Tuor didn't succeed in reaching Gondolin and thus keeping Idril from Maeglin's (the bearer of Anguirel) designs that would eventually lead to her death and to the inevitable betrayal of Gondolin.

It could be argued that Tuor's coming to Eithel Ivrin, if it represents the fate of Finduilas, indicates that at that point Tuor will carry the lost fate of Finduilas as designated ancestress within his own fate.

True ulmocentric Mauron interpretation, but it is what I see in this meeting nonetheless.


Brethil
Half-elven


Dec 19 2013, 5:39am

Post #16 of 21 (70 views)
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Fascinating take here Plurmo [In reply to] Can't Post

With the despoiled pool of Ivrin being the mirror of the two fates. Ties up with the directionality of their fates that Phantom had mentioned, with the symbol of the taint as the pool.
Very poignant connection you have made between the fates of Finduilas and Idril, based on the choices of the men in their spheres.
More great insights from you Plurmo!

Have an idea relating to the world of JRR Tolkien that you would like to write about? If so, the Third TORn Amateur Symposium will be running in the Reading Room in March, 2014. We hope to see you there!





Mikah
Lorien

Dec 20 2013, 1:02am

Post #17 of 21 (59 views)
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Sorry for the lateness! [In reply to] Can't Post

I meant to respond sooner but have been a little under the weather. Feeling better now though! This really is an interesting section, isn't it? It is funny to think about the similarities between the two cousins. Each of their destinies lie so entwined with those of the elves. Yet their fates turn out so different. Tuor becomes a hero, while Turin a most tragic figure, one of the most tragic figures in Middle Earth. At least that is my perception. I deem that this is a result of Morgoth's curse on Hurin and his kin. I guess it does go to show you how much power Morgoth had at this time. His curse bringing to destruction one of the greatest of the families of men, his power staying Ulmo's as we draw closer to the fall of Gondolin. As Cats pointed out is indeed ironic the timing of this chance brief meeting. Turin running from the destruction of Nargothrond, while Tuor is attempting to save Gondolin. I have often wondered what would have been said between the two, had they spoken?.

Like you Demnation, I really did feel connected with this part of the story. As you say, the writing is indeed sparse, but the imagery is vivid. It really creates a somber mood and tone to this section of the story. You could feel the desperation of our hero's. It was well done, as was your chapter discussion of this part of the book!


(This post was edited by Mikah on Dec 20 2013, 1:06am)


sador
Half-elven


Dec 20 2013, 6:18am

Post #18 of 21 (74 views)
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The original Numenorean bloodline? [In reply to] Can't Post

I do not think there was any chance of that. At the point he met Finduilas, Turin was already stained with too much innocent blood. And had Tuor not come between Maeglin and Idril - would Maeglin have betrayed Gondolin? Who can tell? (to say nothing of nobody finding him there before the first betrayal by Hurin).


But Tuor is no thief of love; Idril disliked Maeglin from the beginning, and their match was anyway forbidden as incestous (JRRT covered all the bases here - a bit too thoroughly for my taste, but that's beside the point).
However, I note that Finduilas probably had the Golden hair of her grandfather - in which case the colour contrast PhantomS noticed runs deeper: Tuor was a fair Man which a dark-haired elf loved, while Turin was the opposite.


Plurmo
Rohan

Dec 21 2013, 4:13am

Post #19 of 21 (35 views)
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In hindsight, yes, Turin was already too stained [In reply to] Can't Post

and his fate was set, otherwise perhaps Glaurung would have failed in enthralling him while Finduilas called. But the designated ancestress and changer of Turin's fate was Finduilas. She wasn't stained. In any case, eventually the Idril-based numenorean bloodline became as stained as Turin and Númenor was wiped out. It is quite disappointing to see a bloodline starting with Tuor and Idril and also infused with Luthien's Maiar strain becoming so corrupted. It would be more understandable had that bloodline begun with Turin instead of Tuor and without Maiar strain. In the end there was the division of the remnant numenorean kingdom between Arnor and Gondor. Perhaps that division was meant to be of two different lines. Perhaps the Maiar strain was supposed to mix with the half-elven later in the process had Finduilas survived. But she's gone.

In my view, Tuor or no Tuor, Maeglin would have betrayed Gondolin all the same. His choice of stealing and keeping Anguirel was fatal, I think.


Meneldor
Grey Havens


Dec 21 2013, 4:36am

Post #20 of 21 (32 views)
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Actually, The Silmarillion describes Idril: [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Tuor was a fair Man which a dark-haired elf loved, while Turin was the opposite.

...she that was called Celebrindal, the Silver-foot, whose hair was as the gold of Laurelin before the coming of Melkor.


They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters; These see the works of the Lord, and His wonders in the deep.


sador
Half-elven


Dec 21 2013, 5:02pm

Post #21 of 21 (43 views)
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Oops! [In reply to] Can't Post

Blush
Thank you!

 
 

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