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The Fall of Men
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Cari
Bree

Jul 7 2014, 5:18am

Post #1 of 52 (1545 views)
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The Fall of Men Can't Post

First time poster here ^.^
I stumbled upon the story of the Fall of Men from Morgoth's Ring while browsing Tolkien Gateway and I do not remember there ever being any reference to this story within the Silmarillion except when Beor refused to say what the Edain were fleeing from in the East. Is the tale about Melkor bringing the doom of man part of the official Legendarium or did Tolkien abandon this idea?


HeWhoArisesinMight
Rivendell


Jul 7 2014, 2:03pm

Post #2 of 52 (1170 views)
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Athrabeth Finrod ah Andreth... [In reply to] Can't Post

There is a discussion between Finrod Felagund and Andreth, a women of the House of Beor, about the fate of Men and their Fall. The chapter is not in the published Silmarillion, but it is in Vol. X of the History of Middle Earth, Morgoth's Ring. The chapter is called the Athrabeth Finrod ah Andreth, or the "Conversation between Finrod and Andreth."


Andreth fell in love with Finrod's brother Aegnor. She is heartbroken that Aegnor can't return her love because she is mortal and he is immortal. During her discussion with Finrod, she laments that Men must die while Elves do not. She says that Men were immortal before their Fall, which is due to their worship of Melkor over Eru. Andreth says that after Men abjure the rule of Eru, he revokes his "gift" from them.


Finrod pities Andreth for her despair at the fate of men and that she is sundered from the person she loves. It is somewhat disheartening tale, and Finrod grieves at the plight men face. But he also tries to comfort her saying that Men are the hope of Arda Re-Made and will play a role in healing its hurts. But she is so depressed, she cannot accept this hope.


It is a very interesting discussion and one of the most philosophical debates in Tolkien's legendarium. It is one of my favorite chapters in the HOME series. In fact, I was reading this very chapter the previous night of your post so it is still fresh in my mind Wink


(This post was edited by HeWhoArisesinMight on Jul 7 2014, 2:05pm)


Cari
Bree

Jul 7 2014, 2:59pm

Post #3 of 52 (1105 views)
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Thank you for answering [In reply to] Can't Post

Though my main question was, is that conversation most likely part of the official story even though it is not in the published version?


HeWhoArisesinMight
Rivendell


Jul 7 2014, 3:13pm

Post #4 of 52 (1113 views)
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Depends... [In reply to] Can't Post

on what you consider cannon? If you are strict and consider only those Middle Earth works published by JRR Tolkien (The Hobbit and LOTR series), then no. If you add the Silmarillion (edited by Christoher Tolkien) as part of the cannon, the answer is still no because the tale is not in the Sil.


Some consider only The Hobbit, LOTR and Sil as part of cannon. I agree with that, but I don't mind expanding the cannon to include the History of Middle Earth series. Problem is, if you do that, you enter a lot of contradictions into the legenarium.


So each person has to determine which is the "official" part of the legendarium to them. From a strict standpoint, only Hobbit, LOTR and maybe the Silmarillion count. But that criteria is always up for debate.


Elthir
Grey Havens

Jul 7 2014, 4:01pm

Post #5 of 52 (1129 views)
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there is no published version of The Silmarillion... [In reply to] Can't Post

... no published version from the author himself Smile

And no where that I'm aware of does Christopher Tolkien illustrate that he intended his edited, constructed version to be taken as 'canon'.

And your question [and this would not be a bad thing, but a good thing in my opinion] perhaps illustrates that you desire the 'true' story [official story], something that was important to Tolkien himself, something artistic and not easy to achieve.

Perhaps strangely, that is what the edited Silmarillion can provide: an internal version to help meet this desire of the reader. However, not the version in place of Tolkien. I know that seems to conflict, but it's an easy thing to switch on and off...

... in other words I enjoy the 1977 edited Silmarillion as internal [it is 'the' version] while I'm reading it. I allow the magic of the Elvish craft to take over here. That's why this version was edited together in my opinion, as well as the constructed Children of Hurin. Tolkien, all else aside, desired the 'reader experience' that these edited works provide, not the scholarly experience that HME often delivers.

It's not canon however, and I imagine my own constructed Silmarillion using the texts as written by JRRT himself, based around what Tolkien himself published however. So what of The Athrabeth Finrod Ah Andreth itself?

It seems that Tolkien intended it to be part of his legendarium, as [if I recall correctly] he notes that it should probably be given as an appendix to Quenta Silmarillion. Okay but in the exact form that we have it in The History of Middle-Earth series? Probably not, as Tolkien was a notorious niggler of details and arguably would have written at least one more 'final' version before going to press.

But we can't ever really know that theoretical version of course. Still [and I'm not saying there is] there could be a reason to question its content, or some of it anyway, or a detail within it, based on some later note or something, or some other text written in the same 'phase' perhaps.

So my question becomes: is there a reason to question its content, or a detail within it? Again I'm just raising the possibility, as I haven't really focused my attention on that question [like I have with the text Concerning Galadriel And Celeborn for example] but in any event Tolkien probably hadn't himself published very much that could even contradict something from this text.

Or that is to say, from what we have to go on, it seems that JRRT desired the publication of this conversation. If you want a answer with any real finality to it, or certain certainty however, in my opinion we would need the actual act of publication.


(This post was edited by Elthir on Jul 7 2014, 4:14pm)


Elthir
Grey Havens

Jul 7 2014, 4:31pm

Post #6 of 52 (1088 views)
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PS [In reply to] Can't Post

In another thread here, Voronwe [Doug Kane] noted about the Athrabeth:


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As Christopher says in his introduction to the work, "it is a major and finished work, and is referred to elsewhere as if it had for my father some 'authority'." Indeed, we later learn that Tolkien had specifically written on the newspaper used to cover the typescript that he wanted it to be the last item in an appendix to The Silmarillion.




I would still retain my earlier caution as to 'finished' here. I'm not sure Christopher Tolkien himself would necessarily agree, or that he means 'finished' in every sense possible in any case, but Tolkien still had the chance to revise something before it was 'out of his hands' [gone to print]; although given this characterization this work is hardly comparable to Concerning Galadriel and Celeborn for instance.

So my caution becomes arguably a bit pedantic given the notion of 'finished' when compared to this characterization, which I had admittedly forgotten about, and I haven't read the Athrabeth in a while...

... but I remembered the part I underlined anyway Smile


(This post was edited by Elthir on Jul 7 2014, 4:39pm)


Cari
Bree

Jul 7 2014, 5:12pm

Post #7 of 52 (1053 views)
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At this Point [In reply to] Can't Post

It seems that due to the Silmarillion never being actually "finished" (by Tolkien himself that is) the official canon is up to the readers interpretation at this point.


Elthir
Grey Havens

Jul 7 2014, 5:36pm

Post #8 of 52 (1046 views)
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interpretation [In reply to] Can't Post

No doubt Smile

But I'm still not sure what the argument is for accepting the constructed Silmarillion -- something edited together from disparate writings written at different times, and something that includes outright invention, in some measure, because of the former fact creating problematic issues -- as official canon. If Christopher Tolkien himself doesn't treat it this way especially.

Perhaps between 1977 and the publication of HME there was the simple fact that the readership could not say what the Silmarillion really was with respect to Tolkien's extant writings. It was canon by default, or 'had' to be, for the simple reason that that's all that was revealed to the general public.

But that's changed now.


Cari
Bree

Jul 7 2014, 5:52pm

Post #9 of 52 (1048 views)
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Contradictions [In reply to] Can't Post

Unfortunately now the texts are more complicated and contradictory such as Galadriel and Celeborn.


Laineth
Lorien

Jul 7 2014, 7:13pm

Post #10 of 52 (1032 views)
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Me too. [In reply to] Can't Post

It's one of my favorite pieces too. Smile

I always got the impression there was no real fall, that it was a fanasty made by Morgoth.


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'And yet at least ours is slow-footed, you would say?' said Finrod. 'True. But it is not clear that a foreseen doom long delayed is in all ways a lighter burden than one that comes soon. But if I have understood your words thus far, you do not believe that this difference was designed so in the beginning. You were not at first doomed to swift death.

'Much could be said concerning this belief (be it a true guess or no). But first I would ask: how do ye say that this has come about? By the malice of Melkor I guessed, and you have not denied it. But I see now that you do not speak of the diminish- ment that all in Arda Marred suffer; but of some special stroke of enmity against your people, against Men as Men. Is that so?'

'It is indeed,' said Andreth. 'Then this is a matter of dread,' said Finrod. 'We know Melkor, the Morgoth, and know him to be mighty. Yea, I have seen him, and I have heard his voice; and I have stood blind in the night that is at the heart of his shadow, whereof you, Andreth, know nought save by hearsay and the memory of your people. But never even in the night have we believed that he could prevail against the Children of Eru. This one he might cozen, or that one he might corrupt; but to change the doom of a whole people of the Children, to rob them of their inheritance: if he could do that in Eru's despite, then greater and more terrible is he by far than we guessed; then all the valour of the Noldor is but presumption and folly - nay, Valinor and the Mountains of the Pelori are builded on sand.'

'Behold!' said Andreth. 'Did I not say that ye do not know death? Lo! when you are made to face it in thought only, as we know it in deed and in thought all our lives, at once you fall into a despair. We know, if ye do not,(9) that the Nameless is Lord of this World, and your valour, and ours too, is a folly; or at least it is fruitless.'

'Beware!' said Finrod. 'Beware lest you speak the unspeakable, wittingly or in ignorance, confounding Eru with the Enemy who would fain have you do so. The Lord of this World is not he, but the One who made him, and his Vicegerent is Manwe, the Elder King of Arda who is blessed.

'Nay, Andreth, the mind darkened and distraught; to bow and yet to loathe; to flee and yet not to reject; to love the body and yet scorn it, the carrion-disgust: these things may come from the Morgoth, indeed. But to doom the deathless to death, from father unto son, and yet to leave to them the memory of an inheritance taken away, and the desire for what is lost: could the Morgoth do this? No, I say. And for that reason I said that if your tale is true, then all in Arda is vain, from the pinnacle of Oiolosse to the uttermost abyss. For I do not believe your tale. None could have done this save the One.

'Therefore I say to you, Andreth, what did ye do, ye Men, long ago in the dark? How did ye anger Eru? For otherwise all your tales are but dark dreams devised in a Dark Mind. Will you say what you know or have heard?'


And later Finrod says:


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'Ever more you amaze my thought, Andreth,' said Finrod. 'For if your claim is true, then lo! a fea which is here but a traveller is wedded indissolubly to a hroa of Arda; to divide them is a grievous hurt, and yet each must fulfill its right nature without tyranny of the other. Then this must surely follow: the fea when it departs must take with it the hroa. And what can this mean unless it be that the fea shall have the power to uplift the hroa, as its eternal spouse and companion, into an endurance everlasting beyond Ea, and beyond Time? Thus would Arda, or part thereof, be healed not only of the taint of Melkor, but released even from the limits that were set for it in the "Vision of Eru" of which the Valar speak.

'Therefore I say that if this can be believed, then mighty indeed under Eru were Men made in their beginning; and dreadful beyond all other calamities was the change in their state.



It doesn't sound like he actually believes it. In the Commentary, Tolkien says:


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As is seen in the Athrabeth, Finrod is deeply moved and amazed to discover this tradition. He uncovers a concomitant tradition that the change in the condition of Men from their original design was due to a primeval disaster, about which human lore is unclear, or Andreth is at least unwilling to say much. (Author's Note 9, p. 343) He remains, nonetheless, in the opinion that the condition of Men before the disaster (or as we might say, of unfallen Man) cannot have been the same as that of the Elves. That is, their 'immortality' cannot have been the longevity within Arda of the Elves; otherwise they would have been simply Elves, and their separate introduction later into the Drama by Eru would have no function. He thinks that the notion of Men that, unchanged, they would not have died (in the sense of leaving Arda) is due to human misrepresentation of their own tradition, and possibly to envious comparison of themselves to the Elves. For one thing, he does not think this fits, as we might say, 'the observable peculiarities of human psychology', as compared with Elvish feelings towards the visible world.

He therefore guesses that it is the fear of death that is the result of the disaster. It is feared because it now is combined with severance of hroa and fea. But the fear of Men must have been designed to leave Arda willingly or indeed by desire - maybe after a longer time than the present average human life, but still in a time very short compared with Elvish lives. Then basing his argument on the axiom that severance of hroa and fea is unnatural and contrary to design, he comes (or if you like jumps) to the conclusion that the fea of unfallen Man would have taken with it its hroa into the new mode of existence (free from Time).


He is still thinking of Andreth's line of thinking; that if they were not made to seperate than the logical conclusion is that the body too would leave Arda. But he's said numerous times that he doesn't think that's true - that the only corruption is in the fear of death, not death itself.


(This post was edited by Laineth on Jul 7 2014, 7:17pm)


CuriousG
Half-elven


Jul 7 2014, 8:01pm

Post #11 of 52 (1026 views)
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Welcome to the Rdg Room, Cari! [In reply to] Can't Post

Laineth, your points from Tolkien made me think about the sense of consistency within the legendarium--not just specific points or what is or isn't canon, but what works together organically.

Even given that Melkor is the most powerful Vala, he's still a Vala and not Eru. Could he really go around granting immortality and taking it away? That seems something that ought to be beyond his power. Melkor hoped to find the Flame Imperishable and rival Iluvatar's might, but was doomed to never do so, and lacking that power, it seems that he couldn't have changed something as profound as the spiritual destiny of Men.


VoronwŰ_the_Faithful
Valinor

Jul 7 2014, 8:40pm

Post #12 of 52 (1031 views)
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Caution is good [In reply to] Can't Post

Of course, Tolkien didn't hesitate to makes changes to works even after they were "'out of his hands' [gone to print]" so by that definition even The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings could not be considered finished. Indeed, in the case of The Lord of the Rings, numerous changes have been made after he passed away, which some people consider to have brought the text closer to Tolkien's intentions, and others consider to have brought it further away, so even his death did not result in the work being "finished".

'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


Cari
Bree

Jul 7 2014, 10:22pm

Post #13 of 52 (1019 views)
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Thanks [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks ^.^ I've been a long time lurker here lol

It seems to me that in the Legendarium the tale was an "origin story" for men to explain why they died unlike the elves. The tale perhaps also had influence on the fall of Numenor since it most likely had been carried there with the surviving Edain.


HeWhoArisesinMight
Rivendell


Jul 7 2014, 11:28pm

Post #14 of 52 (1025 views)
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Who defines the canon? [In reply to] Can't Post

This is the problem with any "canon," whether religious texts or comic books. Tolkien himself would ostensibly be the arbiter on what counted as canon in Middle Earth, but he is now gone. Christopher Tolkien could serve as a stand-in, one could surmise, but did he know "everything" his father intended. If you read the HOME series, he admits on many occasions that he could not divine his father's intentions on every matter.


There is no ecclesiastical group that can define to us what is true "canon" of Middle Earth. And if there were, you would always have "heretics" who disagreed with the "church" and break off like protestants.


Now, this does not mean that "canon" does not or cannot exist. There has to be some parameters to what is Middle Earth, otherwise we can easily enter Spiderman or Harry Potter into the Middle Earth legendarium if there are no "rules."


So what are the rules of the "canon." Can we rely on a group of elders to define it? Should it be left up to each individual reader? Does whatever come from the mouth (or pen) of the prophet count as canon, even if it was not "officially" published?


The discussion of canon of course is bigger than Middle Earth. I see debates about Star Wars and the Marvel Universe. But to stick with Middle Earth, how are we to decide what can be considered part of the "universe." From my standpoint, the Anthrabeth Finrod ah Andreth could easily fit in the legendarium given that it does not necessarily contradict with what is published. But what of Tevildo? What of the contradictions about whether it is Eonwe (Fionwe) or Turin who finally slays Morgoth? What of the origin of Gil-galad? (for me, he will always be the son of Fingon, but Christopher Tolkien admits this was a mistake and he should have been the son of Orodreth).


How should we resolve these issues has fans of Tolkien? More importantly, should we?


(This post was edited by entmaiden on Jul 14 2014, 5:10pm)


Elizabeth
Half-elven


Jul 8 2014, 2:27am

Post #15 of 52 (1011 views)
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If you'd like a road map... [In reply to] Can't Post

...you might like Arda Reconstructed by Doug Kane, who posts here and might stick up his hand Wink Personally, I find it fascinating. He takes various passages and correlates all their different versions, to show the derivation of the variations that ended up in the published Sil. In some cased CT picked and chose, and in others either cut or amplified.








(This post was edited by Elizabeth on Jul 8 2014, 2:28am)


Elizabeth
Half-elven


Jul 8 2014, 2:29am

Post #16 of 52 (1017 views)
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Strict constructionists stay with TH and LotR. [In reply to] Can't Post

Anything else becomes a matter of judgement and individual preference.








CuriousG
Half-elven


Jul 8 2014, 3:27am

Post #17 of 52 (1001 views)
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Spiderman vs Ungoliant [In reply to] Can't Post

--if we get to change all the rules. :)

I see some of the bitter debates people have about fictional universes and what is the "truth" behind them (such as Star Wars), and I don't quite understand the ferocious debate over truth in an unreal world. There are undisputed facts (Frodo was a Ringbearer; Glorfindel was not), but when an author writes contradictory versions of things, the sense of authority breaks down if he's not around to explain them. And what if Tolkien were alive and well and gave interviews where he said he changed his mind, as authors do in real life, and he'd like to go back and revise this and that?

George Lucas altered the original Star Wars movies, leading to fan wars about what's canon. That makes me think that there is no absolute canon for him or for the niggling Tolkien, and to answer your question, no, we shouldn't get too worked up about it, because who needs to bring more needless strife into the world?

It's fun when people know details that others don't and can answer questions readers naturally have. That's where someone who knows "canon" can be helpful, but it's still fiction, and fiction with alternate versions in print, so yes, I think a lot is left up to readers' head canons. (And for me, I like Galadriel as is, not as the scrubbed version that Chris Tolkien says his father intended to change. I get a say in what version I like, and hopefully there's no Tolkien Taliban ready to shoot me for my infidel views.)


squire
Half-elven


Jul 8 2014, 3:30am

Post #18 of 52 (1005 views)
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Strictly speaking [In reply to] Can't Post

The Adventures of Tom Bombadil, the collection of "Middle-earth" poems that Tolkien published in the early 1960s, would be included in the small set of books that the author himself edited and approved for publication. Not that it adds a whole lot to our knowledge of the War of the Ring, but it does fill in some fascinating (!) little corners of information primarily about Tom, hobbits, and the Shire.

As argued fairly recently around here, the very obscure song commentary booklet The Road Goes Ever On also has some new thoughts and 'facts' on Middle-earth that Tolkien judged publishable, even if they appear to contradict or muddy what he wrote in The Lord of the Rings.

Lastly and most nittily, the Map of Middle-earth illustrated by Pauline Baynes in 1969 was done under Tolkien's supervision, and has a few added geographic features that do not appear in the LotR book's maps.

Even as I helpfully try to come up with these minor examples of what might be considered Tolkien 'canon', I reflect that I personally have never understood the importance to some fans of defining 'canon' for this author's works. I mean, I know they feel it's important, but it seems to me to be an oversimplification of Tolkien's creative process across his entire lifetime. Oh well, 'different strokes etc.', as they say in Bree.



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IdrilLalaith
Rivendell


Jul 8 2014, 4:06am

Post #19 of 52 (999 views)
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I agree [In reply to] Can't Post

The fall as a cause of Men's mortality would have to be an origin story within the context of Middle-earth. It's pretty clear through all of Tolkien's writings that Men were always mortal, regardless of their goodness or lack thereof.

That's not to say that Men didn't fall. They certainly seem to be fallen (that is, not-altogether-good) creatures.

I believe Tolkien deliberately decided not to get into the exact nature of the fall of Men because of his Catholicism. To address the fall would have come way to close to theology. (If I remember correctly, C.S. Lewis annoyed him sometimes because he wrote about theology even though he wasn't a theologian. Tolkien surely would have avoided that!)

TolkienBlog.com


HeWhoArisesinMight
Rivendell


Jul 8 2014, 5:42am

Post #20 of 52 (1001 views)
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Tolkien's theology does creep into the Anthrabth... [In reply to] Can't Post

I would agree that Tolkien shied away from allegory, but the Anthrabeth is probably the exception. There is a brief commentary called the "Tale of Adanel" that explains how men fell. They hear the Voice of Eru when they first awake, but they become impatient with his instruction. Later, another voice comes and seduces them (the voice of Melkor, obviously). They eventually accept the second voice and reject the first Voice. The first Voice then says:


Quote
"Ye have abjured Me, but ye remain Mine. I gave you life, now it shell be shortened, and each of you in a little while shall come to Me, to learn who is your Lord: the one ye worship, or I who made him." (Morgoth's Ring, p. 347, hardback edition.


This passage, IMO, draws from his Catholicism. But even his faith is even more evident when it enters into another commentary (Note 7). In this essay, Finrod suggests that only Eru can heal Arda Marred.


Quote
"Therefore, since it was unthinkable that Eru would abandon the world to the ultimate triumph and dominion of Melkor, Eru himself must at some time come to oppose Melkor. But Eru could not enter wholly (emphasis author) into the world and its history, which is, however, great, only a finite Drama. He must as Author always remain 'outside' the Drama, even though the Drama depends on his design and His will for its beginning and countenance, in every detail and moment. Finrod therefore thinks that He will, when He comes, have to be both 'outside' and inside; and so he glimpses the possibility of the complexity or of its distinctions in the nature of Eru, which nonetheless leaves Him 'The One.'

Since Finrod already guessed that the redemptive function was originally specially assigned to Men, he probably proceeded to the expectation that 'the coming of Eru', if it took place, would be specially and primarily concerned with Men: that is to an imaginative guess or vision that Eru would come incarnated in human form (emphasis mine). This, however, does not appear in Anthrabeth." (p.335)



Although this commentary is not "official" canon, it does provide insight into Tolkien's thinking about Men and their downfall. The idea of Eru entering Arda incarnate as a Man, to me, is inspired by his Catholicism and is probably an analogue of the Jesus story. This is not to say that the Anthrabeth itself is a direct allegory of Christianity, but Tolkien appears to be drawing from the same milieu: a divine being that becomes incarnate to redeem humanity.


Elthir
Grey Havens

Jul 8 2014, 1:40pm

Post #21 of 52 (1003 views)
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Galadriel and Celeborn [In reply to] Can't Post

This is exactly what I'm talking about, because it is, in my opinion, somewhat 'unfortunate' that the posthumously published texts have muddied the waters here. Something JRRT would be against in my opinion, although I do not lay any blame on Christopher Tolkien.

Incidentally Voronwe's book is in reference to the Silmarillion [the texts used in its construction], which of course includes some Galadriel stuff -- but for a close look at the external history of Galadriel and Celeborn -- from draft work to 1970s -- I recommend a thread on the web called 'Galadriel and her husband'... or something like that... although I really should know the title, since the thread and the work in it is mine.

That's right I recommended myself. Well... no one else is going to Wink

But slightly more seriously, in my opinion much of the stuff about G&C on the web is a subjective mix and match of disparate texts. I try to stay more Hammond and Scull-ish* about it, but you probably would have to do a fair amount of work to arrive at the opinion of whether I do... or not. To be fair, the website 'Dreamflower' is fairly clear when it comes to the history of these two...

... and it's not my website Wink

That said, while what Tolkien himself published about these two characters can get a little hazy, it is much less confusing without the posthumously published stuff.

So [Tolkien published]:

The Hobbit
The Lord of The Rings
The Adventures of Tom Bombadil
The Road Goes Ever On

And he helped with a map by Pauline Baynes

For Galadriel's history of the Elder Days I generally go with the constructed Silmarillion [which employs text from the early 1950s, if not the only phase], as it easily enough agrees with author published work in my opinion.

__________
*Hammond and Scull are notable Tolkien scholars, who in my opinion excel at being 'purely descriptive' as well as being clear when they are indulging in opinion.


(This post was edited by Elthir on Jul 8 2014, 1:47pm)


Elthir
Grey Havens

Jul 8 2014, 2:07pm

Post #22 of 52 (991 views)
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RGEO [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
As argued fairly recently around here, the very obscure song commentary booklet The Road Goes Ever On also has some new thoughts and 'facts' on Middle-earth that Tolkien judged publishable, even if they appear to contradict or muddy what he wrote in The Lord of the Rings.



Huzzah to you sir, for not forgetting it.



Quote
Even as I helpfully try to come up with these minor examples of what might be considered Tolkien 'canon', I reflect that I personally have never understood the importance to some fans of defining 'canon' for this author's works. I mean, I know they feel it's important, but it seems to me to be an oversimplification of Tolkien's creative process across his entire lifetime. Oh well, 'different strokes etc.', as they say in Bree.



For me the search for canon revolves around the act of reading -- that is, indulging in the Subcreated World as a Subcreation. Reading The Children of Hurin edited version is not like reading the external history of its creation -- and that is why Christopher Tolkien constructed it in my opinion, at least in part, for its different impact as a story [and that is also why I think Guy Kay was against the publication of HME].

The joy of the book experience is arguably undermined -- at least for some -- by going behind the scenes and breaking the conceit [or 'causing' confusion about which story is supposed to be the 'real one' as well]. It's kinda like watching a film and suddenly the character in the film says something as the actor. The 'finished art' should avoid this.

Of course this search for the internal world could be seen as an oversimplification if one is going to pay no mind to a more scholarly approach to Tolkien's creative process across a lifetime; but to my mind these things are not exclusive. One can indulge in both...

... despite the -- and yes I'm going to dare to use this word -- 'fact' that Tolkien was not working towards publishing his many draft papers, rejected versions of the Silmarillion, and so on. Okay I take back 'fact' but I very much doubt that had JRRT finished his legendarium in enough measure [in publication], we would be reading anything but the 'internal tale' on bookshelves.

Canon would be an easier debate Wink


Elthir
Grey Havens

Jul 8 2014, 2:24pm

Post #23 of 52 (986 views)
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going to print [In reply to] Can't Post


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Of course, Tolkien didn't hesitate to makes changes to works even after they were "'out of his hands' [gone to print]" so by that definition even The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings could not be considered finished.



Yes but with The Lord of the Rings this was also much later, when [as you no doubt know] the unusual circumstance with Ace Books called for a revised version and Tolkien indulged his niggling nature, beside merely adding text. With The Hobbit, outside of Ace Books, for the second edition we had Tolkien desiring to be consistent about the One and Gollum, although again he niggled.

And even if one were to indulge in 'not finished' in the sense you are raising here, with the author now passed on the books as they stand in all states [revised or not] are to my mind finished. Even though it can be correctly pointed out that...


Quote

Indeed, in the case of The Lord of the Rings, numerous changes have been made after he passed away, which some people consider to have brought the text closer to Tolkien's intentions, and others consider to have brought it further away, so even his death did not result in the work being "finished".



... I can't go that far, as far as being able use the word finished. I mean, technically yes... but yeesh Wink

And typos and correcting printer errors that have crept in over the years are one thing, but now, in my opinion, we are seeing 'changes of fact' based on subjective considerations of what the author 'might' have done, some of which I must disagree with actually.


squire
Half-elven


Jul 9 2014, 12:11am

Post #24 of 52 (969 views)
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Would the drafts have been published if JRRT had finished the Sil? [In reply to] Can't Post

It's a good question.

I have a funny feeling that Christopher Tolkien's own personality, as a son of a scholar and a scholar himself, has the most to do with the appearance of the vast body of 'draft' ephemera that has been published. The second biggest factor is the very nature of JRRT's creation, the immense imaginary universe that he created within which The Lord of the Rings, his best and most popular book, resides. There seems to be something about fantasy worlds that drives fans nuts and makes them demand encyclopedic and consistent reference material (thus the 'canon') about the world in which the stories reside. Tolkien himself was both flattered and frustrated by this reaction to his magnum opus, since as he admitted, he was his own best fan and understood ("all too well") the attraction.

With these factors in play -- CT as amanuensis and a massive fan base as audience -- it's hard to believe that the publication of the author's own The Silmarillion in, say, 1971, would have prevented Christopher Tolkien from mining the vast array of boxes and files that his father would have left behind even after achieving the legendarily postponed publication. No matter what version of what stories, not to mention the painful subject of a 'framing device', eventually made it into this supposed 'real' Sil, I believe we would still be tantalized with at least a few volumes of the rest of the storehouse of stories -- at which point the games would still have begun.

Dubious? Why did CT bother to publish many of the drafts of LotR in three and a half volumes of the HoME epic? Why did CT subcontract the same job to John Rateliff for The Hobbit? Both were published works; both are relatively immune from the 'canon' controversy. I think Tolkien built this appeal into his works from the beginning, with his desire to write legends rather than fiction and his knowledge that legends have many sources, not just one. For many reasons, he ended up writing the many sources himself. Once he achieved a popular audience with the LotR, his own nature as a scholar-author guaranteed that some kind of miniature version of his philological scholarship would eventually flourish about his fictional Middle-earth - The Silmarillion, by J. R. R. Tolkien, London: Allen & Unwin, 1971, be damned.



squire online:
RR Discussions: The Valaquenta, A Shortcut to Mushrooms, and Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit
Lights! Action! Discuss on the Movie board!: 'A Journey in the Dark'. and 'Designing The Two Towers'.
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squiretalk introduces the J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia: A Reader's Diary


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Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Jul 9 2014, 11:31am

Post #25 of 52 (968 views)
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JRR Tolkien's completed 'Quenta Silmarillion' [In reply to] Can't Post

My understanding is that Professor Tolkien did produce a completed draft of the Quenta Silmarillion that was never published. This would have been about the same time as the publication of The Return of the King. Perhaps this was when the chronicle was still attributed to the character of Eriol/Ălfwine?

How different would this have been from the published Silmarillion?

'There are older and fouler things than Orcs in the deep places of the world.' - Gandalf the Grey, The Fellowship of the Ring

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