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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
What parts of the legendarium do you wish we knew more?

kzer_za
Rivendell

Feb 1, 3:14pm

Post #1 of 23 (1131 views)
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What parts of the legendarium do you wish we knew more? Can't Post

Tolkien's legendarium is of course an unfinished project, with only LotR and The Hobbit as the absolutely definitive "canon" (and even there, The Hobbit is problematic in some ways). So what do you wish he had written more about?

The biggest one that will be obvious to anyone who's dove deep into the legendarium is the aborted rewrite of Fall of Gondolin. A completed version would have been spectacular indeed.

I wish we knew more about the outer nations of Harad, Rhun, Khand, etc and he would have developed their history and culture further. The racial or at least ethnocentric critique that the non-western nations are, even if not inherently evil, all monolithically deceived by Sauron has some legitimacy I think. Tolkien was thinking in the right direction with his late reconsideration of the blue wizards (see HoME XII), having pockets of resistance against Sauron in the East for thousands of years even back to the Second Age - too bad he never got to elaborate. (It would be a nice irony if Harad was resisting Sauron more effectively than late Númenor!)

I would like to hear more about Beorn and the Beornings outside The Hobbit, as well as the woodmen.


(This post was edited by kzer_za on Feb 1, 3:17pm)


CuriousG
Half-elven


Feb 1, 7:16pm

Post #2 of 23 (1065 views)
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Great question [In reply to] Can't Post

And all your points are mine as well.

1. One thing I'd like to know more about is Gondolin during its prime, and not just its fall.

2. And I'd like a better understanding of the transportation and communication between the Teleri in Aman and those living on Tol Eressea. (Were there any rules restricting movement? Why does Tolkien talk about Galadriel getting to Tol Eressea but not to Tuna where her father is? etc)

3. Who was living in Eriador, and where, during the LOTR? There is a mention of scattered settlements, but I want to know if it was really all empty (which Rhudaur and Hollin appeared to be), or if there was a network of Bree-like waystations, which would make the commerce between Isengard and the Shire more understandable.

4. How many Elves are left in Lindon and the Havens? How many of them are Noldor?

Just a few of 1,000+ things I'd like to know more about.


hanne
Lorien

Feb 1, 10:56pm

Post #3 of 23 (1058 views)
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1,000s and 10,000s! [In reply to] Can't Post

It is a testament to how real Tolkien made his world that there are so many details we can imagine fleshed out.

I would love to know all the things Feanor invented.
What happened to the Avari and where are they now?
A proper story of Elwing, not just an outline.
All about the Snowmen in the Ice Bay!

And yes to how many Elves. I am not great at math and my brain always breaks when I try to figure out how population growth worked out in a population where everyone is immortal.


CuriousG
Half-elven


Feb 2, 12:06am

Post #4 of 23 (1048 views)
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I forgot the Snowmen--more on them too! [In reply to] Can't Post

That story of Arvedui's last year is told so well that it is worthy of its own book. And what was up with those Snowmen--tell us more about how their society was organized. And why did they have better snowstorm sense than Cirdan's immortal Elven sailors? And what did they sell the Ring of Barahir for, given that they weren't economically integrated? Fish?


kzer_za
Rivendell

Feb 2, 12:15am

Post #5 of 23 (1045 views)
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Forochel is a great choice indeed! [In reply to] Can't Post

One of the highlights of the appendices.


(This post was edited by kzer_za on Feb 2, 12:15am)


Chen G.
Lorien

Feb 3, 6:50pm

Post #6 of 23 (891 views)
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The unfinished elements [In reply to] Can't Post

There are a few glimpses in Tolkien's drafts of neat concepts that were either never expanded upon, or disqqualified from the legendarium. I'm thinking about the names mentioned in Beleg's whetting spell, the giants that Luthien mentions in her lengthening spell (the one, Gilim, strikes me as a Frost Giant from Norse myth, given his name), the mention of the adventures along Earendil's voyage that were never expanded upon, etcetra.

In terms of something that actually did materialize into the legendarium, which I want more of is the Dwarves. Tolkien imbues each race with its own sense of melancholy, but for me the Dwarves style of melancholy, their secretive nature - its all very intriguing, and there's very little in the way of a Dwarf-centric narrative in Tolkien's works.


Meneldor
Valinor


Feb 3, 11:22pm

Post #7 of 23 (878 views)
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Another vote for 1st Age sea voyage adventures. [In reply to] Can't Post

I'd also like to know all about Dol Amroth, Imrahil, and the Knights of the Swan.

Oh, almost forgot, I'm sure Beren and his companions had many thrilling escapades before they were betrayed.


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. -Psalm 107


Cirashala
Tol Eressea


Feb 3, 11:29pm

Post #8 of 23 (876 views)
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I would have loved to have seen more [In reply to] Can't Post

of Beleg and their adventures/interactions. I would also have liked to see more on Thranduil's kingdom, and in general just the everyday lives of the other races of ME. We get a very good sense of what everyday life was like for a hobbit, but Tolkien was more sparse about other races, especially the dwarves. We also don't know a whole lot about the eastern and southern lands (Khand, Harad, etc).

And he didn't exactly favor the "everyday" lives either. It makes it harder to really be able to imagine what life in ME was like, outside of the various quests. I would have loved to have seen more of that.

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Happy reading everyone!


CuriousG
Half-elven


Feb 4, 3:44am

Post #9 of 23 (865 views)
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I actually feel somewhat cheated by how little we get on Earendil [In reply to] Can't Post

He's the "mightiest mariner of song" and has so many references to him, but the story about him in The Sil is so abbreviated that it's disappointing. Yes, more about his sea adventures, please!


(This post was edited by CuriousG on Feb 4, 3:47am)


squire
Half-elven


Feb 4, 4:18am

Post #10 of 23 (858 views)
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I think we all feel that way. [In reply to] Can't Post

Tolkien just never got around to it, since it was the last Tale in a long string of Tales that needed revision and retelling at a time in his life when he was running out of steam.

That said, I've never been sure that even a fully rendered version of the Lay of Earendil, or the Tale of Earendil, would involve a bunch of "sea adventures". That was just not a genre that Tolkien ever showed any interest in throughout the many decades of his writing career. The Sea was always a background element for a legendarium that takes place on land.



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Chen G.
Lorien

Feb 4, 10:07am

Post #11 of 23 (834 views)
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I wouldn't know [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Oh, almost forgot, I'm sure Beren and his companions had many thrilling escapades before they were betrayed.


I wouldn't know about that (weren't they basically hiding in Tarn Aeluin since the Dagor Bragollach?) but I do know that Tolkien had the intention of expanding The story of Beren and Luthien. He wanted to have more of the geopolitical background, by playing more on the tension between Thingol and the Sons of Feanor, to the point of having the realm titlating towards war, and he wanted more escapades with Beren and Luthien.

From The Return of the King, we know that he intended for Beren to have a big fight with a spawn of Ungoliant in the Mountains, and at one point he wanted Beren and Luthien, on their way back to Doriath, to be captured by a spider and rescued by Huan.


CuriousG
Half-elven


Feb 4, 2:58pm

Post #12 of 23 (805 views)
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Barahir's and Beren's adventures [In reply to] Can't Post

To me it seems there's fodder for the tales of both father & his group, and Beren on his own, given the hints Tolkien drops. They had to be doing a lot of damage to Morgoth's forces, or he wouldn't have prioritized finding them. I've always liked how Beren ranked #2 on the bounty list after Fingon--high honor!



Quote
Thither Barahir and his outlaws withdrew, and there made their lair, and Morgoth could not discover it. But the rumour of the deeds of Barahir and his companions went far and wide; and Morgoth commanded Sauron to find them and destroy them.




Quote
He [Beren] did not fear death, but only captivity, and being bold and desperate he escaped both death and bonds; and the deeds of lonely daring that he achieved were noised abroad throughout Beleriand, and the tale of them came even into Doriath. At length Morgoth set a price upon his head no less than the price upon the head of Fingon, High King of the Noldor; but the Orcs fled rather at the rumour of his approach than sought him out.



Saruman
The Shire


Feb 5, 1:44am

Post #13 of 23 (766 views)
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Saruman's "ruffians" [In reply to] Can't Post

There is so much that jumps to mind, but for now, I'll state my most recent musings.

In my opinion, Tolkien wasn't very sympathetic to the characters who sided with the "bad guys," like Saruman. We know of the strange folk like Bill Ferny in Bree, the ruffians that help Saruman take over the Shire, and the Dunlendings, but none of these people are ever really given much spotlight or explanation as to what's going on in their minds - what's at stake for them, what they hope to achieve besides just being a rotten no-good ruffian, etc. They are written like people who have fallen and have no hope of redemption. I wonder if there were men who worked for Saruman who actually weren't really "bad guys," but rather men with agency who just didn't fall in line with Gondor's or Rohan's points of view, or had some reason to hate the kingdoms of Men, and maybe sided with Saruman for some other reason than just being a nasty person. For instance, I feel like there had to be some skilled men who sided with Saruman because they felt fed up with the way Middle-earth was, just like their master. And just maybe that man wasn't totally evil, but had some legitimate reason for siding with Saruman's point of view.

It's a fan-fiction just waiting to be written. :)


"I have seen it..."


kzer_za
Rivendell

Feb 5, 3:48pm

Post #14 of 23 (691 views)
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He did write a liitle about this... [In reply to] Can't Post

In Unfinished Tales and HoME XII he writes a bit about Numenorean treatment of the Dunlendings' ancestors - basically, they were badly oppressed by Numenor and Saruman took advantage of their legitimate grievances to deceive them and get them on his side. He even suggests the Numenorean division into "high, middle, lower" men is at least partly based in self-serving ideology.


(This post was edited by kzer_za on Feb 5, 3:54pm)


Saruman
The Shire


Feb 7, 2:47am

Post #15 of 23 (591 views)
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Indeed, [In reply to] Can't Post

The Dunlendings' are fleshed out a little bit, their legitimate beef with Rohan is explained. But even with them, we don't know much about individuals. I don't know if I would call Saruman's enlisting of them deceit, as it makes total sense that the Dunlendings would side with him without any deceit needed. He took advantage of it, sure.

"I have seen it..."


Hamfast Gamgee
Grey Havens

Feb 7, 9:38am

Post #16 of 23 (560 views)
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What about Earendil meets [In reply to] Can't Post

The Krakkan of early middle-earth?


Hamfast Gamgee
Grey Havens

Feb 7, 9:46am

Post #17 of 23 (558 views)
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How about the everyday lives of the folks of Archet? [In reply to] Can't Post

The village next to Bree in case you where wondering. A village of Men and Hobbits with visiting Dwarves and possibly even a few mysterious Elves and a certain Tom Bombadil can appear every now and again. That's the good news. The bad news is that whole decades can go by and absolutely nothing of interest happens. A little bit like the radio soap the Archers in the old days before the BBC decided to ramp it up to compete with other soaps. Or a bit like the Woodlanders by Thomas Hardy. I hope I've sold this story to you!


CuriousG
Half-elven


Feb 7, 2:03pm

Post #18 of 23 (550 views)
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I think Earendil's tales could also be told Prince Caspian-style or Odyssey-style [In reply to] Can't Post

where the sea adventures include landing on unique islands.


Ardamírë
Valinor


Feb 7, 4:41pm

Post #19 of 23 (544 views)
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This is exactly how I imagine it [In reply to] Can't Post

Earwendil’s adventures always seem to me to be inspired by The Odyssey. I’d imagine there would be many episodic adventures that all eventually culminate in his greatest voyage to Valinor. It’s too bad Tolkien never got around to writing this fourth Great Tale.

"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


Saruman
The Shire


Feb 10, 5:43am

Post #20 of 23 (409 views)
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Folks of Archet & Bree [In reply to] Can't Post

This!

I found myself thinking the same thing when I reread the Bree chapter. We know virtually nothing about these very unique and interesting melting pot areas.

"I have seen it..."


Chen G.
Lorien

Mon, 5:34pm

Post #21 of 23 (348 views)
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Absolutely [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Earendil’s adventures always seem to me to be inspired by The Odyssey.


Very much so. You read his sketches, where he had in mind Earendil going south and encountering "cannibal ogres" and immediately you think of the Cyclops in the Odyssey.

Even in Bilbo's song of Earendil, its mentioned that he went near Helcaraxe, and in Tolkien's draft, there's a whirlpool near Helcaraxe, Wiruin, which is very much modelled after Charybdis.

Its all very intriguing.


Saruman
The Shire


Tue, 2:28am

Post #22 of 23 (270 views)
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Elves [In reply to] Can't Post

I would also like to know more about the female Elves in LotR (so, in the Third Age) besides Galadriel and Arwen. I'm a man so it never really stood out to me how Tolkien's list of A-list characters are almost exclusively male, but as I reread the books I realized just how little we know about the females in Middle-earth, especially Elves besides Galadriel and Arwen. Of humans we have Eowyn, and Ioreth, who Tolkien is not exactly kind to.

"I have seen it..."

(This post was edited by Saruman on Tue, 2:29am)


Padster
Bree


Wed, 2:00pm

Post #23 of 23 (224 views)
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Two things: The re-write of the creation story, and the tales of the War of Wrath [In reply to] Can't Post

Firstly, in the HOME X, Morgoth's Ring, there are essays on how Mr T was giving serious consideration to how he might totally re-write the story of the initial creation, given over the course of Mr T's life-time, real world knowledge was expanding fast and real knowledge of the creation of the real universe and the real Earth was becoming more widespread.

This woudl have meant a total and fundamental re-write of the practical subcreative aspects of the Song of the Ainur, with the Suna nd the Moon clearly coming first, and the Two Trees after. Indeed he sketched this out and it is SUCH an interesting read.

So, I would love it if he had been able to flesh this out and re-write the early history of creation and Arda, to the point where Fingolfin arrives in Middle-Earth, that in The Silmarillion comes with the rising of the moon (if I recall rightly).

Secondly, althought it might be redundant, as the build up to the War of Wrath is adventure enough, I seem to recall reading somewhere (just can't find it right now) that there were plenty of deeds during the period of the War of Wrath that were almost the equal, if not the equal of, the deeds and tales that make up The Silmarillion. So, fleshing that out would be nice.

Cheers


Padster

 
 

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