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*Silmarillion Discussion: Chapter 5, "Of Eldamar and the Princes of the Eldalie", Conclusion -- Go Teleri on the Mountain...**

weaver
Half-elven


Mar 1 2013, 9:51pm

Post #1 of 7 (392 views)
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*Silmarillion Discussion: Chapter 5, "Of Eldamar and the Princes of the Eldalie", Conclusion -- Go Teleri on the Mountain...** Can't Post

Thanks for your patience with this final chapter post. Please forgive any typos or nonsensical questions, itís been a long week for me!

Good news Ė the Teleri finally make it to Aman. They overcome their love of the sea enough that the Valar tell Ulmo to tell Osse to teach them how to build ships to get across it. The ships are pulled by swans to Eldamar. And while they can now go to Valmar, the City of the Gods in Valinor, or hang out in the Elven city of Tķna, they cling to the shore, and sail in the water of the Bay. The beaches have gems on them courtesy of the Noldor, and the Teleri win pearls out of the sea as well. They build a city called Alqualonde, or the Haven of the Swans. The city is illuminated with many lamps, and there are ships that look like swans in the docks. There is a harbour with an arch of living rock carved by the sea. Alqualonde is located north of the Calacirya, where you see the stars more than the light of paradise.

The Vanyar, finally, get tired of Tķna and move in with Manwe, and become sundered from the Noldor. As a result, the Noldor and Teleri become closer. The Noldor are more restless, and they wander all over Valinor. This is particularly true of Feanor and his sons, who even start to check out the borders of the land and to seek out the unknown. Sometimes they visit Aule, but Celegorm likes to hang out with Orome, and there he learns about birds and beasts Ė all the living things that are or have been in Arda lived then in Aman, except Melkorís evil creations, of course. This includes creatures that have not or never will be seen in Middle Earth, because ďthe fashion of the worldĒ has changed.

Question For Your Discussion Pleasure:

1. Why donít people travel from the Lonely Isle to Aman? And how come the Teleri never travel back to the Lonely Isle once they have ships?

2. Would you like to visit Alqualonde, based on this description? Would Tolkien have made a good travel writer?

3. Why are swans so often referenced in Tolkien?

4. What exactly is living rock?

5. Will the Teleri ever be happy?

6. What new things do we learn about the Noldor here? And why of all the sons of Feanor does Tolkien choose to tell us more about Celegorm here?

7. Middle Earth has mumaks, wargs, giant eagles and talking birds, among other things. How do you think those would stack up whatever creatures live only in Aman? Is Tolkien referencing dinosaurs or something more mythic or fantastic?

8. Any other comments on this section or the chapter as a whole?

Thanks to everyone who replied or lurked. I did enjoy reading all the comments, just wish I would have had time to enter into the discussion. Maybe next time!

Weaver



ArdamŪrŽ
Valinor


Mar 1 2013, 10:42pm

Post #2 of 7 (146 views)
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Alqualonde [In reply to] Can't Post

I would have loved to have visited it. It sounds magnificent. Too bad it doesn't get as much recognition as some of the other cities. I love its association with swans. I'm not sure of Tolkien's fascination with them, but it makes for some lovely imagery.

I also like that it seems to be in some sort of perpetual twilight where the stars are always visible and there's a blue kind of light. That's how I've always imagined it anyway. Couple that with the Sea, and it's just beautiful!

There's a sad sort of clanging from the clock in the hall and the bells in the steeple, too.
And up in the nursery an absurd little bird is popping out to say coo-coo (coo-coo, coo-coo).


FarFromHome
Valinor


Mar 3 2013, 5:02pm

Post #3 of 7 (133 views)
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A few rather random thoughts [In reply to] Can't Post

1. Why donít people travel from the Lonely Isle to Aman? And how come the Teleri never travel back to the Lonely Isle once they have ships?

I guess the Teleri couldn't leave the Isle until they learned to make ships. Once they did have ships they chose to migrate to the mainland, but I don't think we're told specifically that they never revisited the Lonely Isle - they do sail the waters of the Bay of Elvenhome where the Isle lies, so perhaps the occasional ship stops for a visit. But I suppose that compared to the mainland it no longer appeals as a place to live. I recall that there are uninhabited island off Ireland's coast, for example the Blasket Islands off the coast of Co. Kerry, that were lived on and farmed for centuries. But once the inhabitants were offered the opportunity of leaving their hard life and living on the mainland, the islands and their ancient way of life was abandoned.

2. Would you like to visit Alqualonde, based on this description? Would Tolkien have made a good travel writer?

It sounds too much like a luxury resort to me! Like all Paradises, it sounds beautiful but just a bit dull. On the other hand, Tolkien describes some other destinations that I'd definitely consider booking a trip to - so I think you could call him a good travel writer, but it's the "adventure travel" that really appeals, rather than the resorts, at least for me.

3. Why are swans so often referenced in Tolkien?

Perhaps he was influenced by the invoking of swans in Beowulf - the sea is called the "swan road", and ships are compared to swans as well. So they have the "glamour" associated with ancient legends. Their elegance and gleaming whiteness seems to fit very nicely into this scenery too.

4. What exactly is living rock?


All it literally means is rock that is part of the earth, as opposed to quarried rock. But I suspect that Tolkien really likes the expression because it implies the "life" of the earth itself.

5. Will the Teleri ever be happy?


Perhaps they're as happy in this chapter as they will ever be, with their swift ships and their pearl fishing. Unfortunately, once you have something as valuable as the technology of those ships, it won't be long before someone wants to take it from you...

7. Middle Earth has mumaks, wargs, giant eagles and talking birds, among other things. How do you think those would stack up whatever creatures live only in Aman? Is Tolkien referencing dinosaurs or something more mythic or fantastic?

To me he seems to be suggesting the differences between the animals of different land-masses. Once the "fashion of the world" is changed and Aman is cut off from Middle-earth, it becomes a kind of Galapagos, you might say. So from the perspective of Middle-earth (which, in Tolkien's original concept, these legends are written from) there could be all kinds of amazing animals "over there" that we will never see. (In the real world, elephants, giraffes and so on were considered fantastical in Europe and Asia for many centuries - specimens would be brought back by adventurers to prove that they really existed. And in fact, Sam thinks the mumak/oliphaunt/elephant is fantastical until he sees one with his own eyes!) All the things you list are in fact pretty much "real", though, wouldn't you say? They are exaggerated, but still recognisably species we know. As for dinosaurs, there's one passage that suggests that there had been dinosaurs in Middle-earth:
"...it was a winged creature: if bird, then greater than all other birds, and it was naked, and neither quill nor feather did it bear, and its vast pinions were as webs of hide between horned fingers; and it stank. A creature of an older world maybe it was, whose kind, lingering in forgotten mountains cold beneath the Moon, outstayed their day, and in hideous eyrie bred this last untimely brood, apt to evil."
That's the Witch-king's steed, as described in The Battle of the Pelennor Fields. It sounds a bit pteranodon-like maybe? (By the way, I saw a documentary on TV recently that argued that dinosaur bones might have been the basis for legends of dragons. They showed some evidence for legends of dragons occurring close to areas where dinosaur fossils might have been visible in earlier times. Early people might see an event (a meteor strike, a volcanic eruption) that needs an explanation and, having seen the bones of those mysterious creatures, put two and two together...)

8. Any other comments on this section or the chapter as a whole?

Thanks for doing this, weaver, despite your busy schedule! Much appreciated! (And I didn't notice any nonsensical questions, although I'm not sure I can say the same about my answers...Tongue)


They went in, and Sam shut the door.
But even as he did so, he heard suddenly,
deep and unstilled,
the sigh and murmur of the Sea upon the shores of Middle-earth.
From the unpublished Epilogue to the Lord of the Rings



(This post was edited by FarFromHome on Mar 3 2013, 5:05pm)


PhantomS
Rohan


Mar 4 2013, 3:52pm

Post #4 of 7 (107 views)
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Miami, Elf style [In reply to] Can't Post

1. Why donít people travel from the Lonely Isle to Aman? And how come the Teleri never travel back to the Lonely Isle once they have ships?

Who is to say they don't? We don't really know how the Teleri on the mainland interact with those on the island but as both are hallowed ground it's probably simple commutes to visit relatives and such. The Silmarillion says Tol Eressea is actually the western bit of the Isle of Balar, so maybe some Teleri think it stinks of Morgoth, while some others still remember it as part of Middle Earth and such. Sailiors came from Eressea to Numenor; surely they also went to Valinor with no problems.

2. Would you like to visit Alqualonde, based on this description? Would Tolkien have made a good travel writer?


The description is a bit like Gondolin or Minas Tirith- too grand for its own good, without many of the sad details within that no one gets to hear or see. As Tolkien did travel a bit, he would relate the experiences he had but to be a travel writer one must also detach one self from the land, which Tolkien is very hesitant- he describes his lands in mostly great detail, almost excitedly through characters or third person narrative.


3. Why are swans so often referenced in Tolkien?

"All living things were divided that day, apart from the Elves and the swans," - Bird-o-dil, keeper of the Silver Bird House. it seems majestic birds can do no wrong in Tolkien's world!

4. What exactly is living rock?

Rock that is left to erode, weather and expand without interference. Gimli considered the Glittering Caves to be living rock because ofa ll the crystals he saw, which grow and evolve purely by natural processes. Minas Tirith was hewed out of living rock, so it literally looks like it is sticking out of the mountain.

5. Will the Teleri ever be happy?

Because they are simple folk compared to the other Elves, they can only really be happy without anyone else around.

6. What new things do we learn about the Noldor here? And why of all the sons of Feanor does Tolkien choose to tell us more about Celegorm here?

Celegorm is a hunter unlike his father , so he learned many things the likes of Maedhros did not. When there are seven sons Tolkien has to give them some spotlight somewhere; Maglor has the end, Maedhros has his arm-chain moment with Finrod etc

7. Middle Earth has mumaks, wargs, giant eagles and talking birds, among other things. How do you think those would stack up whatever creatures live only in Aman? Is Tolkien referencing dinosaurs or something more mythic or fantastic?


They have talking birds in Aman- where do you think the Eagles came from?

Aman certainly has special horses, as Orome brought some with him to found he Mearas (indeed his own horse is special). I would think that there are the same animals in Aman as there are in Middle Earth, only with more consciousness and free will.

8. Any other comments on this section or the chapter as a whole?

Why didn't the Elves also try to explore the world after it got rounded? The Numenoreans went all the way to the Gate of Morning after all.



elevorn
Lorien


Mar 4 2013, 4:12pm

Post #5 of 7 (132 views)
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short answers to questions that deserve more athn what I have given [In reply to] Can't Post

1. Why donít people travel from the Lonely Isle to Aman? And how come the Teleri never travel back to the Lonely Isle once they have ships?

Why go back when it had taken you this long, and besides there is nothing hunting you on your island or the other shore.

2. Would you like to visit Alqualonde, based on this description? Would Tolkien have made a good travel writer?


I would love to go there, only preferably after the sun was put in the sky. I can only handle twilight for so long. (That has no reference to the Vampire books, I canít stand them at all.)
Tolkienís descriptions always work quite well for me. He has beautiful descriptions of landscapes. His pictures really are worth a thousand words.

3. Why are swans so often referenced in Tolkien?
Like the other poster said, most likely Beowulf.

4. What exactly is living rock?
Iím gonna go for rock that is more than the rock you simply pull out of the ground. More like the rocks whose veins run far down into the depths of the earth. Unquarried stone that is carved as it is.

5. Will the Teleri ever be happy?
Probably not completely, not many elves are by our standards. Itís kind of the way they are what with the burden of immortality and all.

6. What new things do we learn about the Noldor here? And why of all the sons of Feanor does Tolkien choose to tell us more about Celegorm here?
We learn of their connection to Aule. Interesting bit here since Sauron was also a teacher of Aule. Could be that his teaching has some unforeseen consequences to it. Not to mention the connection to the dwarves as well. As far as Celegorm, not sure, perhaps it is to give us the sense of his ability as a hunter for when he returns to Beleriand.





"clever hobbits to climb so high!"
Check out my writing www.jdstudios.wordpress.com


CuriousG
Valinor


Mar 11 2013, 10:16pm

Post #6 of 7 (87 views)
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Late answers [In reply to] Can't Post

Not sure where the last 2 weeks went, but here goes:

1. Why donít people travel from the Lonely Isle to Aman? And how come the Teleri never travel back to the Lonely Isle once they have ships?

It's odd to me that Tolkien doesn't clarify this, or Christopher didn't. Tol Eressea is later confirmed as inhabited, so wasn't it always so? Did Teleri stay behind there when some left for Alqualonde? That tribe certainly has a penchant for remnants staying behind. Did they travel back and forth? That seems most likely, but still hard to say.

2. Would you like to visit Alqualonde, based on this description? Would Tolkien have made a good travel writer?

Yes and yes!

3. Why are swans so often referenced in Tolkien?

I think he must have found them very elegant, one of the most elegant of animals. I certainly think they are. I can go to a zoo where swans, geese, and ducks all swim in the same pool, and the swans stand out as the sleek, sophisticated ones. Those extra long necks ought to see a bit odd, but somehow they look graceful.

4. What exactly is living rock?

Agree with others: hewn, not quarried, and adds the perception that it's somehow alive.

5. Will the Teleri ever be happy?

Actually, they seem like the happy ones compared to the Noldor, who disrupt their lives both in Eldamar and Beleriand. Will the Noldor ever be happy?

6. What new things do we learn about the Noldor here? And why of all the sons of Feanor does Tolkien choose to tell us more about Celegorm here?

The Noldor stand out as the most ambitious and industrious race, almost like Dwarves. It's odd to me about Celegorm getting special mention here. Maybe it was all just to set up Huan being in his service since both Celegorm and Huan play a significant role in Beren & Luthien?

7. Middle Earth has mumaks, wargs, giant eagles and talking birds, among other things. How do you think those would stack up whatever creatures live only in Aman? Is Tolkien referencing dinosaurs or something more mythic or fantastic?

I think this is a Tolkien Tease begging our imagination to come up with whatever we'd like. There could be unicorns, or non-evil spiders, or lions that lay down with lambs. Or dinosaurs. It's all fair game, it seems.

8. Any other comments on this section or the chapter as a whole?

Thanks for leading the discussion, Weaver. This isn't an easy chapter since it has a lot of description of places without much character interaction, but you certainly mined up a lot of gems for the rest of us.


sador
Half-elven


Mar 12 2013, 9:14pm

Post #7 of 7 (136 views)
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<looking sheepish> [In reply to] Can't Post

In fact, I was thinking seriously of skipping this thread altogether - seeing that telain has already posted two new ones, Laera posted a new report, and SAST#7 is under way...
But here I am. In brief.

1. Why donít people travel from the Lonely Isle to Aman? And how come the Teleri never travel back to the Lonely Isle once they have ships?
Don't they? It does seem as if all the Elves have a westward wish - not to the Sea, but to the great Beyond (which incidentally, reinforces the point squire_made). But I don't think nobody ever returned.
That would also mean that the "pardoned" Noldor returning at the end of the First Age would find themselves in a worse exile than they had on Middle-earth, leaving the world behind them, forsaken by their kin, slowly to forget and be forgotten. Rather than Elvenhome, they are put in limbo.
A terrible fate! But while it does fit with the concept of the Fading of the Elves, I can hardly think that's what Tolkien meant.

2. Would you like to visit Alqualonde, based on this description? Would Tolkien have made a good travel writer?

It seems nice.
I don't know if Tolkien would have made a good travel writer (as CuriousG seems to think) - but I make a lousy travel reader.

3. Why are swans so often referenced in Tolkien?

Yes, they are! In connection with Tuor, Dol Amroth, even the black swans in the Anduin near the Great River.
I don't know; but this is the kind of topic I'm sure somebody wrote about. Where's NEB when we need him?

4. What exactly is living rock?
Again, I must point to a recent_discussion. Also to one of LoTR's most haunting sentences (which I posted there), and another (which squire posted in his anoser to me.)

I think Tolkien really thought of rock as a being, not just as stuff.

5. Will the Teleri ever be happy?
No elf ever will - not for long.
That's the price they have to pay for immortality.

6. What new things do we learn about the Noldor here?
They have found out they are unhappy already. The price of wisdom.

And why of all the sons of Feanor does Tolkien choose to tell us more about Celegorm here?
Setting up Huan in chapter 19.

7. Middle Earth has mumaks, wargs, giant eagles and talking birds, among other things. How do you think those would stack up whatever creatures live only in Aman? Is Tolkien referencing dinosaurs or something more mythic or fantastic?
Talking purses?

8. Any other comments on this section or the chapter as a whole?
It is a very technical chapter. Tolkien rewrote it and developed the fragmentation of the Elves several times, as a backstory for the different languages he created and their interrelations; however, it never became a real story. Which was a shame.

Thank you weaver!


 
 

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