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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
Christopher Tolkien Cannon?
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N.E. Brigand
Half-elven


Feb 9, 10:21pm

Post #51 of 68 (2753 views)
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You don't look at all like Mick Jagger. // [In reply to] Can't Post

 

Treason doth neuer prosper? What's the Reason?
for if it prosper none dare call it treason.


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Discuss Tolkien's life and works in the Reading Room!
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How to find old Reading Room discussions.


Voronwë_the_Faithful
Valinor

Feb 9, 11:54pm

Post #52 of 68 (2748 views)
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But what's puzzling you ... [In reply to] Can't Post

... is the nature of my game

Wink

'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


Tolkien R.J.J
Bree


Feb 10, 12:37am

Post #53 of 68 (2741 views)
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Versions [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
later versions of the Silmarillion? The Sil was published in 1977, after JRRT died. It's not been updated since it was published, and it's still in print. I have several copies, and I would recommend the Ted Nasmith illustrated version - it's gorgeous.

You might be referring to other Tolkien "works" that were published after he died. His son Christopher, has published the twelve-volume History of Middle-earth, which is a collection of writings that JRRT created while working on The Lord of the Rings and the other stories of Middle-earth. It's not a story, but rather an in-depth analysis of the world of Middle-earth. There are some stand-alone stories, like the story of Beren and Luthien, and the story of Turin, but most of it is disconnected.

Christopher Tolkien has published a couple stand-alone books of the Children of Hurin and Beren and Luthien.

The discussion going on here is about that constitutes "canon" or the definitive "story". Does it encompass just the published works, or is the entire legendarium considered "canon"? A conversation that flourishes in the Reading Room Smile.

Hope that answers your question!


Sorry, i meant his later editions and versions of the stories that were published in the sil. i was under the understanding that most of his late life versions to the silmarillion were not published by his son.

“In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit, eventually I thought I’d better find out what hobbits were like. But that’s only the beginning”
- J.R.R Tolkien

“If you really want to know what middle earth is based on, it’s my wonder and delight in the earth as is, particularity the natural earth”
-J.R.R Tolkien

“If literature teaches us anything at all, it is this that we have in us an eternal element.”
-J.R.R Tolkien


Tolkien R.J.J
Bree


Feb 10, 12:38am

Post #54 of 68 (2745 views)
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Perfect [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Volumes X and XI of The History of Middle-earth series, which are titled Morgoth's Ring and The War of the Jewels respectively, are together known as "The Later Silmarillion". They include most of Tolkien's First Age works that were written after the completion of The Lord of the Rings, although there are some relevant texts to be found in volume XII (The Peoples of Middle-earth) as well. As Otaku-sempai notes, none of these were ever finished by Tolkien but they are presented with considerable commentary by Christopher Tolkien that helps put everything in context.



Perfect, that is what i was looking for thanks.

“In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit, eventually I thought I’d better find out what hobbits were like. But that’s only the beginning”
- J.R.R Tolkien

“If you really want to know what middle earth is based on, it’s my wonder and delight in the earth as is, particularity the natural earth”
-J.R.R Tolkien

“If literature teaches us anything at all, it is this that we have in us an eternal element.”
-J.R.R Tolkien


ange1e4e5
Rohan

Feb 10, 2:25pm

Post #55 of 68 (2684 views)
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My thoughts on canon is that it's what the author writes, with adaptations deemed non-canon. [In reply to] Can't Post

I developed this when comparing JK Rowling's Harry Potter books with their respective movies.

I always follow my job through.


Ettelewen
Rohan

Feb 12, 10:35pm

Post #56 of 68 (2644 views)
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OK, now I have that song stuck in my head. [In reply to] Can't Post

Not that that's a bad thing. Wink I'm pleased to meet you too! I enjoy your posts.


Voronwë_the_Faithful
Valinor

Feb 12, 10:56pm

Post #57 of 68 (2639 views)
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Thank you! [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm pleased to meet you as well.

(I think I have driven either through or near your town on the way to the Mendocino National Forest so maybe our paths have crossed Wink.)

'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


Petty Dwarf
Bree


Feb 14, 4:06am

Post #58 of 68 (2618 views)
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canon is as canon does, [In reply to] Can't Post

But I think that it doesn't matter very much. LotR and The Hobbit are definite-for-sure canon, but anything else? It's mythology. Feel free to pick and choose whichever versions you like best.

Did Galadriel take part in the kin-slaying? Did Tolkien even write that she did? I'm really asking, help me out here. It makes sense to me that that's why she had to pass a test.

Would it be nice if Tolkien had finished his works and published them? Yes, it would, but it was not to be. And because of that, canon is only constrained by the documents Christopher Tolkien has published and our imaginations.

"No words were laid on stream or stone
When Durin woke and walked alone."


Elthir
Grey Havens

Feb 14, 11:19pm

Post #59 of 68 (2575 views)
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kin defender [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Did Galadriel take part in the kin-slaying?


Unknown.


In Reply To
Did Tolkien even write that she did? I'm really asking, help me out here.


Tolkien never wrote that she did in any canonical work.

I couldn't resist Wink

In two late texts Tolkien wrote that Galadriel fought fiercely(1) and/or heroically (2) in defense of her mother's kin and/or Swanhaven (in one of these she wasn't even involved in Feanor's rebellion). Did she necessarily kill anyone? I would say "unknown" again, despite the adverbs involved.

Also, mythology is not usually made up of a single writer's draft texts as he or she works toward the goal of a "story" (or what really happened). Or what if I answered your question with something like: there is no Galadriel at Swanhaven or in the Rebellion because in the Qenta Noldorinwa Galadriel is not mentioned once in the whole work. Would I likely be corrected? Even if not, would you then ask the same question again, possibly aware that I had answered with respect to a text in which Tolkien had not yet even imagined Galadriel existing?

Galadriel was in the Noldorin rebellion according to a source Tolkien wrote, finished, and published himself for a once and future readership: The Road Goes Ever On...

... compare this to a very late, unfinished (adumbrated) note where she had no part in the Rebellion, a text so unfinished that it was (if no doubt accurately) paraphrased by Christopher Tolkien in Unfinished Tales, rather than being merely published as it was. It's also written in a phase of Tolkien's life where even he [JRRT] acknowledges that his memory is no longer retentive.

For me there is no contest between these two sources.

I do find it interesting, for example (as I read the evidence anyway), that the Finarfinians had had no part in the Kinslaying -- arriving too late in any case -- from the Quenta Silmarillion of the mid to later 1930s to, again in my opinion, at least the post-Lord of the Rings text called Concerning Galadriel and Celeborn.

And to my mind, it is in this context that Galadriel's words to Melian are to be read (that is, she wasn't even there during any bloodshed). Would JRRT have altered the conversation with Melian after he had decided Galadriel "in fact" was at the battle?

Another unknown, I think. I'm still not wholly certain JRRT would have had Galadriel fight at all.

If he published this however...

As a general Tolkien fan: I say give me all the Galadriels you got!

As an imaginator/reader. I'll have no Galadriel but Galadriel!

Smile


Voronwë_the_Faithful
Valinor

Feb 15, 12:14am

Post #60 of 68 (2570 views)
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The old debate [In reply to] Can't Post

As always, I disagree with you that a text being published by the author is the be-all and end-all as to its value. I really can't see that the accident that a text like The Road Goes Ever On happened to get published during Tolkien's lifetime would give it more authenticity then another text that he might have put far more care and thought into but never was able to publish during his lifetime. I rebel against such hard and fast rules. To borrow a legal term, I think the better path is to consider the totality of the circumstances in judging a text's validity. Author-publication is certainly a factor to consider, but it is only one of several factors.

I'm my extraordinarily humble opinion, of course!

'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


Elthir
Grey Havens

Feb 15, 1:32am

Post #61 of 68 (2554 views)
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if I may call you VF, that is [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
As always, I disagree with you that a text being published by the author is the be-all and end-all as to its value.


But VF/Doug, I find plenty of value in texts not only never published by Tolkien, but in texts or ideas arguably rejected by Tolkien with respect to being part of his legendarium.

As I say, as a general fan: give me every Galadriel you got!

But someone asked about, or at least wondered about, the value, as in any value (it seemed to me), with adopting a canon, and I've tried to describe how it's valuable to me as a reader/person imagining Middle-earth (letting the green sun be green, so to speak, even if Tolkien once thought it was orange).


In Reply To
I really can't see that the accident that a text like The Road Goes Ever On happened to get published during Tolkien's lifetime would give it more authenticity then another text that he might have put far more care and thought into but never was able to publish during his lifetime.



Tolkien put care and thought into his ideas hinging on a Beorian ros, but accident or not, the ros in question had already been published as Sindarin, and JRRT was forced to note that most of his new text failed.

I think Tolkien had a canon, even when choosing to step on it (if and when he was aware).

Also, do folks with HOME go to Tolkien's Qenta Noldorinwa as an alternate mythology to answer a question about "Inglor" Felagund's family? For what that observation is worth. Probably not much. But I think part of this, at least, might be because...

... we are readers, discussing a sub-created world that some part of us (and not just in a madman like me, I hope) believes is real, or wants too, and in that mode Galadriel either did lead the Etyangoldi over the Gringing Ice, and was punished for it, or she did not.

And to say that internal scribes don't know, both "could" be true... well to me that's a fan made inconsistency, stepping on the art of subcreation in my view, an art Tolkien took seriously -- and I would say he must if he wants you under his Elvish spell.

And it's not wholly about some strangling consistency, it's about art. A text Tolkien himself never published has great value to me, including for shaping my legendarium: The Drowning of Anadune.

It's not canon (as I define it), but it's part of my personal legendarium.


(This post was edited by Elthir on Feb 15, 1:40am)


Voronwë_the_Faithful
Valinor

Feb 15, 3:37am

Post #62 of 68 (2539 views)
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Tolkien's Green Sun [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
To make a Secondary World inside which the green sun will be credible, commanding Secondary Belief, will probably require labour and thought, and will certainly demand a special skill, a kind of elvish craft. Few attempt such difficult tasks. But when they are attempted and in any degree accomplished then we have a rare achievement of Art: indeed narrative art, story-making in its primary and most potent mode.


Tolkien's "Green Sun" was nothing less than creating a semi-complete fictional universe from the creation of physical world through to the dawn of modern times that parallels old world mythological traditions complete with contradictory concepts and philosophical and moral quandaries. That was the heart of his special skill, his elvish craft. Publication was never his primary goal; he was always more concerned with questions of philology, cosmology, theology and mythology. To separate out those few texts that were published by him in his lifetime as "canon" and reject the rest fails to do justice to his "rare achievement of Art."

'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


Elthir
Grey Havens

Feb 15, 3:28pm

Post #63 of 68 (2486 views)
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credible green [In reply to] Can't Post

And again, but with my emphasis:
__________

"To make a Secondary World inside which the green sun will be credible, commanding Secondary Belief, will probably require labour and thought, and will certainly demand a special skill, a kind of elvish craft. Few attempt such difficult tasks. But when they are attempted and in any degree accomplished then we have a rare achievement of Art: indeed narrative art, story-making in its primary and most potent mode."
__________



In Reply To
Tolkien's "Green Sun" was nothing less than creating a semi-complete fictional universe from the creation of physical world through to the dawn of modern times that parallels old world mythological traditions complete with contradictory concepts and philosophical and moral quandaries. That was the heart of his special skill, his elvish craft.


Agreed.


In Reply To
Publication was never his primary goal; he was always more concerned with questions of philology, cosmology, theology and mythology.


If not "primary" in the context of important content, the goal to publish nonetheless goes hand in hand with this art. Qenta Noldorinwa is not an internal variant mythology and was never meant to be. Tolkien did not hope Waldman was going to publish it, or any part of it.

And all the content you describe above was going to lie within Tolkien's, finished, submitted-for-publication Silmarillion, along with any other related material meant to see print.

All of it made in mind with what Tolkien had already himself published -- as a good subcreator must do, to keep his readers believing, and under his spell.

The green sun one believes in, the credible sun, because Tolkien, indeed while making a complex work on many levels, has done his job well.


In Reply To
To separate out those few texts that were published by him in his lifetime as "canon" and reject the rest fails to do justice to his "rare achievement of Art."


Doug, I hope I haven't been so vague in this thread that anyone should think I'm simply "rejecting the rest". If you do, then perhaps my bad in expressing my thoughts here.

In any case, I think I might be getting better at expressing my position; though I might a couple hundred more canon threads of practice!

Wink


Voronwë_the_Faithful
Valinor

Feb 15, 7:12pm

Post #64 of 68 (2466 views)
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My bad [In reply to] Can't Post

I clearly just don't understand what it is that you mean by "canon" or even why it is important. I'm sure that is my lacking, not yours.

However, Tolkien did appoint Christopher as his literary executor so that more of his legendarium could be published. I'm not sure if that supports my position or yours, but it seems important one way or the other.

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


Ardamírë
Valinor


Feb 16, 12:06am

Post #65 of 68 (2434 views)
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Thank goodness he did! [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
However, Tolkien did appoint Christopher as his literary executor so that more of his legendarium could be published.


I can't imagine Middle-earth without knowing about the first age. The published Silmarillion might not be perfect, but I wouldn't do without it.

"Behold! the hope of Elvenland,
the fire of Fëanor, Light of Morn
before the sun and moon were born,
thus out of bondage came at last,
from iron to mortal hand it passed."
-The Lay of Leithian


Elthir
Grey Havens

Feb 16, 3:51am

Post #66 of 68 (2422 views)
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thanks for saying that... [In reply to] Can't Post

... though now that I think of it, no one's ever responded to any of my canon posts with something like "makes sense to me."

I'm currently in a canon thread elsewhere too. No response like that over there either... not yet!

Wink


Elthir
Grey Havens

Feb 16, 3:11pm

Post #67 of 68 (2338 views)
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I'm grateful too [In reply to] Can't Post

But I think what is meant is that JRRT allowing Christopher Tolkien to (basically) do what he wanted with respect to the then private Silmarillion material (including destroying it all), thus allowed more to be published, as one option... as opposed to JRRT giving direction that he desired these materials, as they stood, be made public.

And even if he did, that does not necessarily mean he would then approve of "natural inconsistencies" (that simply arise in the creative course of writing and revising), to be confused with purposed inconsistency/variation...

... the latter being introduced to echo the variations found in real world collections.

No that anyone said otherwise Smile


(This post was edited by Elthir on Feb 16, 3:17pm)


Voronwë_the_Faithful
Valinor

Feb 16, 7:53pm

Post #68 of 68 (2299 views)
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I feel confident that he knew that Christopher would take great care of the material [In reply to] Can't Post

After all, Christopher was the person who when he was four or five years old said to his father "Last time, you said Bilbo's front door was blue, and you said Thorin had a golden tassel on his hood, but you've just said that Bilbo's front door was green and that Thorin's hood was silver."

Tongue

'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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