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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
How much of the Numenor story was in LOTR?

uncle Iorlas
The Shire


May 2, 5:40am

Post #1 of 20 (2454 views)
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How much of the Numenor story was in LOTR? Can't Post

If you only had the trilogy to go on, before the Silmarillion was published--would you know that the island sank into the ocean? Is it ever mentioned then, other than the words "downfall of Numenor" in the Tale of Years?


hanne
Lorien

May 2, 6:04am

Post #2 of 20 (2391 views)
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from Faramir... [In reply to] Can't Post

Faramir is constantly talking about Numenor, dropping hints here and there. But in The Steward and the King he is more explicit:


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It reminds me of Numenor. Of the land of Westernesse that foundered, and of the great dark wave climbing over the green lands and above the hills, and coming on, darkness unescapable. I often dream of it.



Otaku-sempai
Immortal


May 2, 2:20pm

Post #3 of 20 (2320 views)
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We must also look at Appendix A. [In reply to] Can't Post

The first section of Appendix A in The Lord of the Rings provides a brief description and history of Númenor and discusses the Númenórean kings. Special attention is given to Ar-Pharazôn, his corruption, and the destruction of Númenor.


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At length Ar-Pharazôn listened to [Sauron's] counsel, for he felt the waning of his days and was besotted by the fear of Death. He prepared then the greatest armament that the world had seen, and when all was ready he sounded his trumpets and set sail; and he broke the Ban of the Valar, going up with war to wrest everlasting life from the Lords of the West. But when Ar-Pharazôn set foot upon the shores of Aman the Blessed, the Valar laid down their Guardianship and called upon the One, and the world was changed. Númenor was thrown down and swallowed in the Sea, and the Undying Lands were removed for ever from the circles of the world. So ended the glory of Númenor.


"I may be on the side of the angels, but do not think for one second that I am one of them." - Sherlock

(This post was edited by Otaku-sempai on May 2, 2:29pm)


CuriousG
Half-elven


May 2, 7:55pm

Post #4 of 20 (2302 views)
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Though that line from Faramir misled me on first read. [In reply to] Can't Post

So much of LOTR is talking about the darkness of Sauron setting on the world, and quite literally when his dark clouds cover Anorien before his invasion. So when Faramir tells Eowyn in that passage about Numenor being overcome by “darkness unescapable,” I inferred that Sauron himself (current lord of darkness) had destroyed the island-nation with a great ocean wave, not Eru.

Not a big deal, just trying to make the point that it’s hard to sort out from LOTR alone what really happened with Numenor.


Bracegirdle
Valinor


May 2, 10:54pm

Post #5 of 20 (2285 views)
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Lest we forget [In reply to] Can't Post

The importance of The Stone of Erech. An approximately 70 ton, about ten foot in diameter rock brought from Númenor.

‘. . . the rule of no realm is mine . . .
But all worthy things that are in peril . . . those are my care.
For I also am a steward. Did you not know?'

Gandalf to Denethor




(This post was edited by Bracegirdle on May 2, 11:03pm)


hanne
Lorien

May 3, 3:32pm

Post #6 of 20 (2219 views)
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Oh yes! [In reply to] Can't Post

Faramir is really just dropping hints, as if assuming you know what he's talking about...for me, too, it didn't really click until reading the appendix.

It's a nice authorial trick though, and the one he uses so often, tossing in mentions of this and that. I'm sure we can think of many more examples. You get the impression of this vast history...and then come to the appendices and realize it really exists! :)


noWizardme
Valinor


May 4, 12:01pm

Post #7 of 20 (2122 views)
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"a nice authorial trick ... tossing in mentions of this and that..." [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
It's a nice authorial trick though, and the one he uses so often, tossing in mentions of this and that. I'm sure we can think of many more examples. You get the impression of this vast history...and then come to the appendices and realize it really exists! :)


I agree! It does, however 'spoil us' a little - it's easy to feel entitled to the background on any particular thing. And sometimes I'm not sure whether the mystery isn't more satisfying than the explanation.

Certainly, I'm not sure I'd like LOTR better if the story had to be paused repeatedly for long history lessons. Probably the scheme of a story with appendices was the best idea.

For my early readings I had a one-volume paperback edition that didn't include the Appendices. But that bothered me surprisingly little - I think the story feels complete, with characters (realistically enough) referring to things that aren't fully explained.

~~~~~~
Where's that old read-through discussion?
A wonderful list of links to previous chapters in the 2014-2016 LOTR read-through (and to previous read-throughs) is curated by our very own 'squire' here http://users.bestweb.net/...-SixthDiscussion.htm


Darkstone
Immortal


May 4, 6:21pm

Post #8 of 20 (2086 views)
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Yes [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm noticing a lot of fantasy writers can't resist throwing in a couple of pages or three of exposition and explanation every time some new person, place, or thing is mentioned. Stops the story dead in its tracks as my eyes glaze over.

Tolkien had the right of it.

******************************************
“Did you say 'You Shall Not Pass' or 'You Shall Not Sass'?" asked the Balrog.

"I said 'You Shall Not Pass,'” replied Gandalf; "and I wish you wouldn't keep appearing and vanishing so suddenly: you make one quite giddy."

"All right," said the Balrog; and this time it vanished quite slowly, beginning with the end of its wings, and ending with its shadow, which remained some time after the rest of it had gone.

'Well! I've often seen wings without a Balrog,' thought Gandalf; `but a Balrog without wings! It's the most curious thing I ever saw in my life!’

-The Adventures of Gandalf in Middle-earth Land




uncle Iorlas
The Shire


May 5, 2:56am

Post #9 of 20 (2037 views)
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excellent, many thanks [In reply to] Can't Post

and Bracegirdle, where are we told that the Stone of Erech is from Numenor? I don't think that ever sank in to my head. Is it in the main text? Do we get any more about it? What a fascinating and unlikely thing.


noWizardme
Valinor


May 5, 10:30am

Post #10 of 20 (1980 views)
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"There is of course a clash..." [In reply to] Can't Post


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There is of course a clash between 'literary' technique, and the fascination of elaborating in detail an imaginary mythical Age.

(Tolkien, letter 144, to Mrs Naomi Mitchison, who was working as a proof reader for LOTR in 1954, and had asked a number of interesting questions about the text)


Tolkien so often gets this right. He had, I think, a keen sense of what the audience needs to know, and when they need to know it. That's as opposed to what they might like to know (e.g. does Tom Bombadill have wings and who is a balrog?). And it's different again to what Tolkien had had fun making up (e.g. Merry's lecture to Theoden on herb lore, which once appeared in the text & later was curtailed by Gandalf in the text and mostly moved elsewhere).

~~~~~~
Where's that old read-through discussion?
A wonderful list of links to previous chapters in the 2014-2016 LOTR read-through (and to previous read-throughs) is curated by our very own 'squire' here http://users.bestweb.net/...-SixthDiscussion.htm


entmaiden
Forum Admin / Moderator


May 5, 5:20pm

Post #11 of 20 (1948 views)
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Yes - the source for Erech is in the main text [In reply to] Can't Post

It's in the chapter "The Passing of the Grey Company". "Unearthly it looked, though its had fallen from the sky, as some believed; but those who remembered still the lore of Westernesse told that it had been brought out of the ruin of Numenor and there set by Isildur at his landing."


noWizardme
Valinor


May 5, 5:22pm

Post #12 of 20 (1939 views)
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I wonder what happened to the bat that went with that ball? // [In reply to] Can't Post

 

~~~~~~
Where's that old read-through discussion?
A wonderful list of links to previous chapters in the 2014-2016 LOTR read-through (and to previous read-throughs) is curated by our very own 'squire' here http://users.bestweb.net/...-SixthDiscussion.htm


Plurmo
Rohan

May 7, 1:24am

Post #13 of 20 (1728 views)
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Interesting that you mention that chapter, [In reply to] Can't Post

because it is one those the title of which I take as a metaphor, being, in this case, that it implies the end of the obscurity (grayness) of the Rangers of the North. It is a personal interpretation, obviously, based on the fact that the summons to the Stone of Erech was re-foretold by Elrond (the uncle of all numenoreans,) who was the keeper of the sceptre of Annuminas, so that, after fulfilling the prophecy, they are no longer the grey company, but Knights of Arnor who escort Elessar to victory and coronation.

It is interesting because one of the other chapters that, in my view, falls in this category is The Window on the West, which I take to be a window into the wholesomeness of the numenorean character, as displayed by Faramir, who represents the numenorean Faithful who are, as I see it, the very ones "the audience needs to know" about, as noWizardme would put it. The chapter introduces Samwise (literally lectures him) to the ways of the numenorean brotherhood in earnest, he who, being faithful as well ends up, like Faramir himself, getting the love of the girl he cared for and the right to the estate he tended to. Faramir the faithful, Steward of Gondor, and Samwise Gamgee the faithful, member of the chivalric order of the Star of the Dunadan (knight of Arnor, possibly,) Mayor and Steward of the Shire*. Warrior wizards**, just like Gandalf, the Steward of Middle-earth.

*Peregrin knight of Gondor, the Thain of the Shire, Meriadoc knight of Rohan, the Marching Lord of the Shire.
** Flight to the Ford (right after the troll song) and The Window on the West, last words spoken by Sam.

Digressed a bit, could be worse, anyway there is a lot of numenorean context, I think, displayed openly through Faramir, and implicitly through Sam`s development. Being of valor and being faithful, that`s Numenor.


Plurmo
Rohan

May 7, 1:26am

Post #14 of 20 (1726 views)
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There were four bats [In reply to] Can't Post

and the set was called an Orthanc. They must be somewhere but those numenoreans left us no clue whatsoever, killjoys that they were.


sador
Half-elven


May 7, 2:33am

Post #15 of 20 (1720 views)
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Is it the same one [In reply to] Can't Post

...that made Bilbo drop his torch in Not at Home?

Had it been mentioned in HoME we might have known.k


noWizardme
Valinor


May 7, 12:07pm

Post #16 of 20 (1687 views)
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...and interesting that we get more about Numenorian character than their history [In reply to] Can't Post

I like that idea - Window on the West having both a literal west-facing window in the action, but also providing Frodo with a window on the Numenorian character (as demonstrated by Faramir).

I'm thinking that one reason we get as much (or more) on character then on history is that Tolkien has to make it feasible that Faramir doesn't carry out his standing orders and arrest the Ringbearers.

But of course there is a lot else going in in that chapter, and after our recent (well, 2016) read-through
( http://newboards.theonering.net/...i?post=893970#893970 ) I'm not sure how much to take what Faramir says at face value and how much to think he's playing 'good cop' as a means of interrogation.

~~~~~~
Where's that old read-through discussion?
A wonderful list of links to previous chapters in the 2014-2016 LOTR read-through (and to previous read-throughs) is curated by our very own 'squire' here http://users.bestweb.net/...-SixthDiscussion.htm


Darkstone
Immortal


May 7, 2:17pm

Post #17 of 20 (1681 views)
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Personal (professional?) experience. [In reply to] Can't Post

As an Anglo-Saxon scholar Tolkien had experience reading crumbling old manuscripts that referenced people, places, and things that, if he was lucky, were explained in other crumbling old manuscripts, or, if he was unlucky, were in crumbling old manuscripts that had been forever lost to time. Doubtless his profession could be rather frustrating.

******************************************
“Did you say 'You Shall Not Pass' or 'You Shall Not Sass'?" asked the Balrog.

"I said 'You Shall Not Pass,'” replied Gandalf; "and I wish you wouldn't keep appearing and vanishing so suddenly: you make one quite giddy."

"All right," said the Balrog; and this time it vanished quite slowly, beginning with the end of its wings, and ending with its shadow, which remained some time after the rest of it had gone.

'Well! I've often seen wings without a Balrog,' thought Gandalf; `but a Balrog without wings! It's the most curious thing I ever saw in my life!’

-The Adventures of Gandalf in Middle-earth Land




hanne
Lorien

May 7, 3:42pm

Post #18 of 20 (1678 views)
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interesting way of reading the chapter titles [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks for that Plurmo! What a wonderful insight.

Now you point it out there are quite a few chapter titles that have such a double meaning. Farewell to Lorien is another; the sense of loss is so great you really feel it. The world as seen by the Elves is disappearing for ever.

And the Mirror of Galadriel - whose character gets examined? Not just the hobbits's!


uncle Iorlas
The Shire


May 10, 11:03am

Post #19 of 20 (1612 views)
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. [In reply to] Can't Post

Plurmo, you have an intriguing brain.


Plurmo
Rohan

May 18, 9:53pm

Post #20 of 20 (1399 views)
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Ah, Dr. Lecter, I presume! :) // [In reply to] Can't Post

 

 
 

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