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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
Of the Coming of Men into the West, I: "A chance meeting, as we say in Middle-earth".
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Brethil
Half-elven


Jun 14 2013, 9:24pm

Post #76 of 98 (120 views)
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Or the salt on the slippery mountain road... [In reply to] Can't Post

....that my theory will have me plunging off of.... Crazy Salted boot heels really make a lot of sense. I think if you Holdeck to ME and spiral into no-return (likely) there is your retirement paid for.

Manwe, when asked a simple "Yes" or "No" question, contemplated, and responded "the middle one."


Ardamírë
Valinor


Jun 14 2013, 11:37pm

Post #77 of 98 (145 views)
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Here's the passage, Brethil. [In reply to] Can't Post

"But it is said in song that her tears falling from on high as she passed came like silver raindrops on the plain, and there a fountain sprang to life: the Fountain of Tinúviel, Eithel Nínui, most healing water until it withered in the flame."

"...not till now have I understood the tale of your people and their fall.
As wicked fools I scorned them, but I pity them at last.
For if this is indeed, as the Eldar say, the gift of the One to Men,
it is bitter to receive." -Arwen Undómiel




Ardamírë
Valinor


Jun 14 2013, 11:51pm

Post #78 of 98 (120 views)
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The Fall of Gondolin [In reply to] Can't Post

Yeah, the style is definitely more medieval than what it later came to be. I still think the story and the details are worth it, though. And really, it's not that much different than many Silmarillion passages. But it is a lot fuller. Truthfully, I think Christopher could have used a lot of it in the published Silmarillion. The detail of Maeglin hitting the wall three times before falling to the ground comes directly from BoLT, so it's not as though Christopher didn't know about the text. He could have easily used more of it and more of the UT text to create a fuller chapter more like Beren and Luthien and Turin Tarambar.

I really don't remember the last time I read through the descriptions of the gates, but I think I remember liking it. It just adds another layer of mystery and anticipation before actually getting into Gondolin.

As for there being a different version in HoME, there technically is, but it's very very short, possibly shorter than even the Silmarillion version. It would be in The Shaping of Middle-earth somewhere and be part of the "Qenta Noldorinwa" as it was known at the time. I don't remember for sure, but I think it's from either the late 20s or the early 30s.

"...not till now have I understood the tale of your people and their fall.
As wicked fools I scorned them, but I pity them at last.
For if this is indeed, as the Eldar say, the gift of the One to Men,
it is bitter to receive." -Arwen Undómiel




Brethil
Half-elven


Jun 15 2013, 12:35am

Post #79 of 98 (117 views)
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Beautiful! // [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks Ardamire!! Angelic

Manwe, when asked a simple "Yes" or "No" question, contemplated, and responded "the middle one."


Ardamírë
Valinor


Jun 15 2013, 12:53am

Post #80 of 98 (107 views)
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My pleasure! // [In reply to] Can't Post

 

"...not till now have I understood the tale of your people and their fall.
As wicked fools I scorned them, but I pity them at last.
For if this is indeed, as the Eldar say, the gift of the One to Men,
it is bitter to receive." -Arwen Undómiel




CuriousG
Valinor


Jun 15 2013, 2:09am

Post #81 of 98 (113 views)
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That is tremendous [In reply to] Can't Post

I think of her passing over Gondolin almost like a tourist. Not in a bad way, just that there's no particular point to it. But apparently, there was a point.


Ardamírë
Valinor


Jun 15 2013, 2:18am

Post #82 of 98 (112 views)
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Isn't it though? [In reply to] Can't Post

It's an utter shame that such a beautiful detail was left out. I'm not sure that it makes going over Gondolin any more purposeful (since the fountain is never mentioned again), but it's a lovely detail nonetheless.

"...not till now have I understood the tale of your people and their fall.
As wicked fools I scorned them, but I pity them at last.
For if this is indeed, as the Eldar say, the gift of the One to Men,
it is bitter to receive." -Arwen Undómiel




sador
Half-elven


Jun 18 2013, 10:37am

Post #83 of 98 (108 views)
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Summary, and my own responses [In reply to] Can't Post

Isn't this a bit too much like Aredhel in the previous chapter?
Here there was a bit of a disagreement. CuriousG did not see the parallel, and Brethil stated it was different - with Aredhel, Tolkien was making a statement about willfulness, while Finrod is a seeking spirit symbolizing discovery (which I'm not so sure about - it seems the dicovery happened to him). telain did see them as parallels - both have an innate wanderlust, and don't like to be hemmed in for long. I tend to agree with telain - the distinction Brethil makes seems to be more about the wanderer's inner goodness and the paths down which discovery leads him/her!

Another point raised by both CuriousG and telain was that both seem to have an affinity with the sons of Feanor; CuriousG raised the question what would have happened had the Oath come between the cousins. To which I can only reply:
1) We condemn the seven sons because we know how they will turn out - but this might not have been so obvious at the time, a couple of centuries before the Oath awoke.
2) We should revisit the topic next week, when reading Of Beren and Luthien.
3) Aredhel seeks for Celegorm and Curufin; Finrod rides with Maedhros and Maglor. Does this mean anything?

What is it about the Noldor noblepersons which entice them to ride alone, with no thought for security? Do they believe so much in Fingolfin's boast regarding the Siege of Angband being unbrerakable?
Brethil thought they did believe Fingolfin's boast! I'm glad she took up my suggestion; however, according to the Grey Annals timeline, only fifty years have passed since Glaurung had first raided the Northren lands. For sure Finrod shouldn't have forgotten this!

PhantomS and telain both found excuses for Finrod's carelessness; however, Lothwen (welcome again!) condemned him, at least initially - before suggesting that he was confident in his own prowess.

Or – is this a mythical device, preceding an unexpected discovery? If so, were both set approximately a hundred years before the Dagor Bragollach, as the period during which solitary roaming the mysterious, magical Elflands was conceivable?
I really like the "mythical period" idea, regarding both Aredhel and Finrod. Those who have answered this question have not commented upon it: CuriousG, however, noted that the "solitary discoverer" motif repeats itself in Tolkien - both in Orome and Tuor. As he often mentions his love of Watership Down, I refer him to Hawkbit's discovery of the deserted burrows in chapter 18.
Another bservation was made by telain - that a lone person is more likely to come upon people unaware, and to fall in love. This is brillian! hpwever, the first observation can't apply to Orome discovering the Quendi, as he was disclosed by the neighing of Nahar. What does this difference mean?

Is this innocence a bit too much to be believable?
Most of the reponses felt it was a bit too much (telain even named them "incredibly lucky"); noWizardme stated that this sleeping with no guards is "Arcadian" - but most reponses (Lothwen, CuriousG) prefered the image PhantomS suggested, of a "Promised Land effect".
As a matter of fact, I was more concrned by the fire left alone - which only Brethil commented about; she suggested it gives a sense of naivette, and also how far behind the elves the newcomers are. I like the first suggestion, but I think the second, is taking the idea too far away from the realistic. This seems a classical case of Tolkien's own naive depiction of the first Men - Henri Rousseau's paintings come to mind (as they do when looking at Tolkien's illustrations for The Hobbit).

And what about the strange language? Later on, this chapter states that the first Men learned their speech from dark-elves – surely Finrod would have recognized it? Conversely, would he know the secret tongue of dwarves had he heard it?

As PhantomS and Lothwen both said, Men have changed their language since learning it form the Moriquendi; so the Men couldn't understand Finrod. Both PhantomS and CuriousG seem to have argued that Finrod could read other's minds, as a regular elvish form of communication - which I strongly disagree with! I remeber there was a recent thread about it, but I still can't grasp how come Morgoth or all being was denied this ability.
All three aforementioned members stated that Dwarvish, as a completely foreign language, was more different from Elvish; as PhantomS said, only Eol ever learned it, and he was far gone from other elves by the time. Lothwen stated that Finrod would have been able to recognise the Dwarves' secret tongue, and it indeed seems that's what Tolkien meant - but I'm still unsure, as where would he learn it from? If they dwarves don't use it even on tombstones, would they speak it when they are hired labourers at an elvish prince?

'But my father loves them,' said Túrin, 'and he is not happy without them. He says that we have learned all that we know from them, and have been made a nobler people; and he says that the Men that have lately come over the Mountains are little better than Orcs.'
'That is true,' answered Sador; 'true at least of some of us. But the up-climbing is painful, and from high places it is easy to fall low.'

Who was right?
Join us in the Reading Room, for the discussion of Of the Coming of Men into the West, beginning on June 9!


sador
Half-elven


Jun 18 2013, 12:07pm

Post #84 of 98 (99 views)
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Summary, and my own responses [In reply to] Can't Post

It looks as if at most, I will be able to do this, and perhaps answer the third subthread today. Sorry.

What do you think? Do you agree that the longer description should not have been omitted?
The acceptance of squire's critique was unanimous
. It took a while, but after some time people began refering to what noWizardme called the "snigger factor". Brethil was eloquent, saying (if I may quote her) that the untended fire and sleeping band of Men "is more of a picture of the Children of a different generation of the same Song, rather than a "better' edition in the Elves and a ruder edition in Men".

To be fair, in the discussion I've linked to, Voronwe himself agreed that the "rude and scantily clad" bit should have been removed; he only contended that the description of the Men as "tall, strong and comely" and the camp as "well-ordered" should have been retained. But personally, I don't like picking half a description which is to one's taste - either add the whole sentence, or none of it at all (if a part contradicts other chapters, this might justify a different decision). Also, there is my question about the untended fire, and CuriousG's comment that Finrod looks pretty much like a stalker as is; this impression would be enhanced by adding that the newcomers were "comely".

What do you make of this "song of wisdom"? Is it a spell?
In this I must repeat telain's observations, that if the first Men were so uncouth, perhaps music was the best way to reach them. Others also did not consider it a spell - CuriousG considered it similar to the Lorien Elves' robes and ropes, into which the makers pour their own hearts and minds. Brethil viewed it as being in the tradition of Elves speaking mind-to-mind - the same notion again!

How does it compare to similar songs Tolkien describes – The Lament of Galadriel Frodo hears?
CuriousG liked that; he thought both songs bestow a vision upon the listeners.

Legolas' peception of the Rohirrim's song when he first enters Edoras?
Nobody refered to this. But if Legolas understood much of the Rohirrim by the song, shouldn't Finrod's song teach Men about Elves?

To those who have read The Lost Road and/or The Notion Club Papers, the song of King Sheaf as a child?
Again, no response. But telain made the observation that Finrod's song does not put the audience to sleep, but rather wakes them up - which is like Sheaf's.

Any other parallels?
CuriousG mentioned Aragorn's song of Luthien, which he felt summoned Arwen. I'm not sure about this - and must point out that Jackson in his film omitted this point, leaving only the dream part. What do you folf think about this?

FarFromHome mentioned the song in the Hall of Fire, which Sam channels in his hymn to Elbereth in Shelob's Lair. That's an interesting parallel - but they sure heard it often in Rivendell, and awake. This should also recall Gildor's song - yes, him again.
Brethil didn't mention any parallels, but she suggested that Finrod's song might be like a soothing-song for a dangerous beast. Which of course, brings to mind Luthien and Characharoth! As a matter of fact, that whole chapter is full of songs of power - it is noteworthy that Finrod challanges Sauron to a duel in that, and loses.

Um - and I forgot to mention Tom Bombadil's conjuring up visions for the four hobbits in both The House of Tom Bombadil and Fog on the Barrow-downs. My bad.

Do you like this kind of "Tolkien-lore"? does it enhance you understanding, or appreciation of the professor's work? Or do you find this just boring obscuriatae?
I've received three answers, all of which claimed they loved it. Brethil even said that this kind of lore is why she reads Arda Recontructed along with the Silmarillion discussion - a high praise!
FarFromHome noted the double possible meaning of the word in Greek; following which she mused whether Tolkien wanted to reclaim the word "gnome" like he did the word "elf"; telain also thought along the same lines.
But presumably, this survey is biased; those who are uninterested wouldn't be following this discvussion. Blush

Till tomorrow - after which I have to join nowiz's discussion, and repay some debts from two weeks ago!




'But my father loves them,' said Túrin, 'and he is not happy without them. He says that we have learned all that we know from them, and have been made a nobler people; and he says that the Men that have lately come over the Mountains are little better than Orcs.'
'That is true,' answered Sador; 'true at least of some of us. But the up-climbing is painful, and from high places it is easy to fall low.'

Who was right?
Join us in the Reading Room, for the discussion of Of the Coming of Men into the West, beginning on June 9!


Brethil
Half-elven


Jun 18 2013, 8:39pm

Post #85 of 98 (92 views)
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Great to read *your* thoughts Sador! [In reply to] Can't Post

And thank you for the summary, and for the analysis of this chapter. Angelic

Manwe, when asked a simple "Yes" or "No" question, contemplated, and responded "the middle one."


sador
Half-elven


Jun 19 2013, 7:25am

Post #86 of 98 (82 views)
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Thank you! [In reply to] Can't Post

Seeing that the thread fell to the second page, I was wondering whether to continue them. Thanks for the encouragement!

'But my father loves them,' said Túrin, 'and he is not happy without them. He says that we have learned all that we know from them, and have been made a nobler people; and he says that the Men that have lately come over the Mountains are little better than Orcs.'
'That is true,' answered Sador; 'true at least of some of us. But the up-climbing is painful, and from high places it is easy to fall low.'

Who was right?
Join us in the Reading Room, for the discussion of Of the Coming of Men into the West, beginning on June 9!


sador
Half-elven


Jun 19 2013, 9:50am

Post #87 of 98 (97 views)
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Summary, and my own responses [In reply to] Can't Post

Is this credible – that the foremost leader of the first people to cross the mountains knows nothing of their history? Is he just a petty warlord, to which the folk-wisdom was simply not imparted? Or did he really keep his knowledge even from Finrod?
Well, this was perhaps an unfair question, as the answer depends on whether one has read the Athrabeth or not; but I did link to Voronwe's discussion about it, which gave the answer!

The answer in the Athrabeth is that there was a certain class of wise-men and wise-women (mostly the latter) which did carry the old traditions, while the mere leaders were not privy to all this fascinating information. This seems quite like the mediaeval tradition of the monastries as the storehouse of knowledge, while the mere kings (and sometimes even high clergy!) were relative ignoramuses.
However, in our case Beor, and later Marach and Hador, seem to be instructed by the High-Elves, and have a more "true" tradition. So is the earlier model supplanted by a new one, the Greek priest-king archetype? Aragorn does indeed show signs of this in both The Departure_of_Boromir and The Houses_of_Healing; But why would Tolkien elevate the pagan archetype over the Catholic one?

The answer people here gave was that nomads on the move hardly keep this kind of histories (CuriousG; PhantomS - who also made a fascinating comparison to the Mongols!). But I feel this answer is insufficient; the "darkness behing them" is not an exact history, but rather a fundamental myth!
Brethil suggested tht Beor didn't want to impart the little he did know to Finrod, hoping to move away from it. This is an excellent proposition! Especially once we think of Turin's continually renaming himself, hoping in this way to escape his doom. One can also connect this to Bilbo's knowledge that one should never tell dragons their true name.
If Brethil is correct (and I really like her idea), this just shows the depths of existential despair to which Andreth has sunk, when she gets to tell Finrod about it in the Athrabeth. But it is exactly this despairing breakdown of her defences, which enables Finrod to comfort her.

Is this a name given out of affection? Is it a honorary title? Or is it the opposite – an expression of contempt? What do you think of this bold leader of free Men, going as the only specimen of his race to dwell among the lordly Elves?
The consensus here was that it was a mark of honour; indeed, I have no doubt that Tolkien considered it as one. Brethil was the only one who thought that it was not so clear-cut how other Men viewed it. Indeed, it seems quite ambivalent: vassalage is normally inherited, but here Baran remains in the Estolad to lead his people; and while they keep their connection with Finrod and the House of Finarfin - they actually move north to establish an independant realm in Dorthonion. Eventually, this choice leads to their annihilation, while saving Finrod himself.

Once again, how does this compare to other leaders who go to live among their betters – for instance, to Ingwë? Are there any other examples we know? And is the comparison valid – by which I mean, are the Elves as superior to Men as the Valar to them?
PhantomS considered the comparison to Ingwe fallacious, as Ingwe moved to live with the Valar with all of the Vanyar; Brethil thought it was a good one, and indeed, Tolkien's line at the end of chapter 5: "He abode thereafter at the feet of Manwë upon Taniquetil" indicates he became totally subservient.
My following, provocative question was why should Men feel so inferior to Elves? Which nobody answered; but I guess that upon first meeting them, that's how Men felt towards them. Little did they know.

Or another idea – how does this compare to Bilbo, ending his life among the Elves? To Frodo taking ship? To Gimli?
CuriousG contended that these three were essentially different, as they were elf-friends and not vassals; however, PhantomS did find a parallel, in that all three get to die peacefully, as did Beor (just to point out - this assertion is not based upon The Lord of the Rings, but on what Tolkien wrote about Frodo in his Letters); Brethil thought that both Bilbo and Frodo were siilar to Frodo, and were rewarded for their fealty "to the Good and the spirit of the West", but Gimli was different, as he never required either the Elves' stewardship or their healing.

Fascinating comparisons, all of these! But I have asked about something else - about this leaving of their kindred to live (and/or die) among the elves; this is why I specified Bilbo's going to Rivendell in my question, not the Havens. This is why I see Sam as different; not because he went out of love for Frodo (as PhantomS suggested), but because he left after a long, fullfilled life.
The same might be said about Gimli - but here I am even more upset, as he seems to leave his people and their destiny, to go chasing after Elves. Too much like Rebecca in Ivanhoe, for my taste.







Or another idea – how does this compare to Bilbo, ending his life among the Elves? To Frodo taking ship? To Gimli?


'But my father loves them,' said Túrin, 'and he is not happy without them. He says that we have learned all that we know from them, and have been made a nobler people; and he says that the Men that have lately come over the Mountains are little better than Orcs.'
'That is true,' answered Sador; 'true at least of some of us. But the up-climbing is painful, and from high places it is easy to fall low.'

Who was right?
Join us in the Reading Room, for the discussion of Of the Coming of Men into the West, beginning on June 9!


sador
Half-elven


Jun 19 2013, 3:00pm

Post #88 of 98 (103 views)
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Summary, and my own responses [In reply to] Can't Post

These do take time!

Did you ever notice this? What do you make out of it?

One or two member said they did notice, but none enlarged upon it.
I'm not sure, but "Felagund" doesn't quite sound Khuzdul. Maybe the word was somehow changed to sound Elvish? However, as I've mentioned below, Tolkien probably tried to make it look like another fortunate "coincidence".

Do you see any parallels between the two? All Gildor-fans – this is your opportunity!
Interestingly enough, even the avowed Gildor-fans such as telain felt that having him a lord of the house of Finrod is better - as it does not carry with it all the distracting, doom-y connotations, while it does carry the gravitas.
Ardamire went further, comparing Gildor to Galion (!) and CuriousG stated that having Gildor the exiled High King would be too much like Aragorn, and he would have missed Finrod's conversation with Galadriel.

Nevertheless, it is clear that Gildor was first conceived of as Finrod's son (long before the idea of Galadriel crossed his mind). He was never the exiled High-king - which might have been one of Christopher's considerations, when determining that his father intended Gil-galad to be Fingon's son. There is no way anyone of Finrod's house would have claimed the kingship of all the Noldor, let alone one who has no permanent kingdom. The heir of the High-kings at the time was supposedly Elrond, who was Turgon's descendant.
And Gildor is very powerful - as shown in both his scaring the Black Rider away, and in his authority to name Frodo elf-friend (which Goldberry acknowledges), and bless him in the name of Elbereth (which probably saves him on Weathertop). He is also named among the elf-lords who take Cirdan's ship.

So my question was really to what extent was Gildor's character inspired by Finrod's?
I think it was, in his being the keeper of the Valinorean tradition: it took years before Tolkien reached Rivendell with Frodo; and all that he knew of the songs in the Last Homely House at the time were the infamous tra-la-lally ones! Even Tom Bombadil's songs might have been inspired by Tolkien's idea that elves have degenerated and faded already - with Gildor a last scion of their former glory.
Apart of that, Gildor is one who, while professing taking little care in mortals affairs, does know both Bilbo and Frodo well, and clearly does care; I take this as a sign that he apologises for typical elvish attitude, while showing himself to be clearly different (CuriousG thought otherwise, but I disagree with him).
And as a third point - considering that Finrod (Inglor at the time) duelled with Sauron himself in songs of powewr and lost, having Gildor coming between a Black Rider and his prey with his song of power - is very satisfying.
I perfectly agree that if Gil-galad is only Orodreth's son, we must suppose that once he died, the whole male lineage of Finwe's descendants was extinguished (except for Elrond).


Do you see a connection between the two? Which?
Well, this question led people to express an opinion about Gil-galad's different lineages. PhantomS was the only one who tried to distinguish between the two, but I didn't quite understand the distinction he made. CuriousG considered Orodreth as an unimpressive person, which is better as Finrod's nephew or butler (seriously, guys - what are you about, deciding that Noldorin noblemen should be butlers? Crazy).

Ardamire stated that Gil-galad fits better as Orodreth's son, although frustratingly, he did not explain; in the thread I've linked to, the near-consensus was that he fits better as a son of Fingon, but if Christopher decided otherwise - we have to take his word.

I disagree with both assertments. First, the fact that Christopher has changed his mind between 1974 and 1996 does not necessarily mean that his second thought is more correct; he does give an obscure hint which might explain changing his mind, we need at the outset to assume both decisions are legitimate.
However, I think there is a major difference between the two possible parentages: if Gil-galad is Fingon's son, he comes from a tradition of benevolent heroism; while if he is from Finarfin's family, he is more connected - both to other kindreds of Middle-earth (Dwarves, Men) and to the Valar, thus becoming a symbol of hope.
I think that as Tolkien grew older, and tended to think of specific details and characters in the abstract, the Last King of the Elves became less of a heroic figure and more of an inspiration (for example, there is nothing in Tolkien's early writings which faintly resembles the King of Elfland in Smith of Wootton Major). Perhaps story-wise, he fits better as a grandson of Fingolfin, but once he moves from a story-character (of which we never hear a word, by the way - only read one letter he wrote) to a mythical archetype - he fits far better in the House of Finrod.

And likewise, how did Finrod's character (which was more or less fully drawn before The Lord of the Rings was written) affect Tolkien's portrayal of his sister, Galadriel?
Well, I have to close now (writing in dead moments at work is not always fast) - but I just want to say that again, this was my intent in the question. I won't enlarge on this; tomorrow I'll try to carry on.


'But my father loves them,' said Túrin, 'and he is not happy without them. He says that we have learned all that we know from them, and have been made a nobler people; and he says that the Men that have lately come over the Mountains are little better than Orcs.'
'That is true,' answered Sador; 'true at least of some of us. But the up-climbing is painful, and from high places it is easy to fall low.'

Who was right?
Join us in the Reading Room, for the discussion of Of the Coming of Men into the West, beginning on June 9!


Ardamírë
Valinor


Jun 19 2013, 6:10pm

Post #89 of 98 (84 views)
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Gil-galad [In reply to] Can't Post

I think that I like Gil-galad as Orodreth's son better than as Fingon's because otherwise the descent of the "High King of the Noldor" doesn't make any sense. Why would the kingship go to Turgon after the death of Fingon rather than to Gil-galad? And then after the death of Turgon it finally goes to Gil-galad?

That's basically the only reason. But like I said, that's not without it's problems (such as Finduilas's words to Turin).

"...not till now have I understood the tale of your people and their fall.
As wicked fools I scorned them, but I pity them at last.
For if this is indeed, as the Eldar say, the gift of the One to Men,
it is bitter to receive." -Arwen Undómiel




CuriousG
Valinor


Jun 19 2013, 7:07pm

Post #90 of 98 (80 views)
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Primogeniture vs "Other" [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm not sure of the name for the "other" form of inheritance, but it's existed in real-world dynasties where kingship would pass from eldest to youngest brother instead of king to son, then start over in the next generation with the son of the eldest brother who had been king. I'm not really sure how it works in Saudi Arabia, but it seems to be that way today, as an example. The kingship is definitely staying within one generation before going to the next.

I think Tolkien based the Noldor on "other", but Numenor was the more traditional primogeniture.

Re: Gil-Galad/Ereinion. Maybe he wasn't considered ready for the kingship? I'm not sure how old you have to be, but possibly he wasn't the right age.

Yet I'll agree that there's still something awkward about how the story handles Gil-Galad. He's sent off to live with Cirdan early in the story, keeping him out of the way until the rest have been killed off. It seems to me that maybe Tolkien wanted to keep the rulership of the Noldor in MEarth within the family of Fingolfin, since Finarfin ruled the Valinor branch, so he tacked Ereinion onto that limb of the family tree. Just speculation.


Ardamírë
Valinor


Jun 20 2013, 3:36am

Post #91 of 98 (73 views)
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An interesting thought [In reply to] Can't Post

I don't think I've ever heard of that king of inheritance before. I thought maybe that you were right, but then I thought about Maedhros. He renounced his claim to the kingship of the Noldor that he would have inherited following the death of Feanor. If Tolkien had based his inheritance on this "other" form, Maedhros would not have been able to do this as it would naturally have gone to Fingolfin anyway.

So I think that Tolkien was still basing his inheritance rules on the traditional model, and Gil-galad does not make sense as the son of Fingon for this reason. Also, I just like it that Gil-galad is lower down on the totem pole - the son of Orodreth, the son of Angrod, the son of Finarfin, son of Finwe. While he still has a noble lineage, he's not quite so high-and-mighty as if he were Fingon's son, and I like that.

But, I agree, it's obvious that Gil-galad was never firmly implanted into the Silmarillion narrative, and the way he's handled is somewhat awkward.

"...not till now have I understood the tale of your people and their fall.
As wicked fools I scorned them, but I pity them at last.
For if this is indeed, as the Eldar say, the gift of the One to Men,
it is bitter to receive." -Arwen Undómiel




sador
Half-elven


Jun 20 2013, 9:52am

Post #92 of 98 (74 views)
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Well, as a BoLT fan [In reply to] Can't Post

you probably remember that originally, Turgon was the son of Noleme king of the Noldoli, who after the disasterous battle in which the gnomes were defeated escaped south and founded the realm of Gondolin. At that point, the title "High King of the Noldor" was clearly apt.
Like CuriousG, I do not know how the line of succession works, nor why Galadriel was inegligible for the title. But after the fall of Fingon in the Nirnaeth, was there any point in elevating one of the remaining princes to the title of High King. Did Turgon have any authority, or influence, over Finrod or Orodreth? To say nothing of Maedhros and his crew! Did he even know that Gil-galad existed? He might have been born after Turgon left Nevrast.
However, Turgon was clearly perceived as the main threat to Morgoth, and the hope of all Noldor; so if anyone could have been named a titular High King, he had a better claim than anyone.
Neverthelss, I think Christopher should have edited out this line about Turgon taking the High Kingship after the Nirnaeth (and not added the line about Gil-galad taking the title after the Fall of Gondolin). It serves no purpose (continuity? not really; and can't a virtual throne be left vacant?), and only confuses. It seems that in this case, fillial piety (after all, his father did think of Turgon as High King, probably before any other gnome was named!) got the better of his judgment.

'But my father loves them,' said Túrin, 'and he is not happy without them. He says that we have learned all that we know from them, and have been made a nobler people; and he says that the Men that have lately come over the Mountains are little better than Orcs.'
'That is true,' answered Sador; 'true at least of some of us. But the up-climbing is painful, and from high places it is easy to fall low.'

Who was right?
Join us in the Reading Room, for the discussion of Of the Coming of Men into the West, beginning on June 9!


sador
Half-elven


Jun 20 2013, 10:11am

Post #93 of 98 (76 views)
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For the sake of completeness, regarding Galadriel [In reply to] Can't Post

The whole concept of a powerful Lady of the Blessed Realm who still lingered on in Middle-earth was late in coming to Tolkien. There were two hints of how to connect her to the early legends:
1) Considering that Elrond was envisioned as the leader of the High-elves lingering behind, and seeing that he was connected to the House of Fingolfin only through maternal descent, Galadriel must have been a member of the third House - Finrod's (later called Finarfin's). As I've stated above, Inglor's son was envisioned as still roaming the woodlands of the North; and as Galadriel. with her memory of Nargothrond and Gondolin, was likely his senior - she was set as Inglor's sister.
2) On the other hand, Celeborn is clearly portrayed by Tolkien as one of less nobility - hence, a Telerin prince. The obvious place for him to begin is Doriath, as one of Thingol's lords or kinsmen. However, if Galadriel lived in Doriath and eventually married one of its nobility, she must have become close to Melian.

Both Inglor (our Finrod) and Melian have existed, in Tolkien's legendarium long before The Lord of the Rings was ever thought of; and from the first moment she "emerged" (as Christopher Tolkien calls it), Galadriel was linked to these two well-portrayed characters. So I was wondering just how much of her traits Tolkien took from either of them.
It is also noteworthy that Tolkien made no real effort to integrate Celeborn into the legends of the First Age. Like Gil-galad and Celebrimbor, he toyed with ideas of his ancestry and hardly more (the little we know of the other two in The Silmarillion was mostly editorial additions by Christopher and Guy Kay, based on hints Tolkien dropped). However, Galadriel clearly fascinated him, as did Cirdan - so he did write them into the histories in several places.

'But my father loves them,' said Túrin, 'and he is not happy without them. He says that we have learned all that we know from them, and have been made a nobler people; and he says that the Men that have lately come over the Mountains are little better than Orcs.'
'That is true,' answered Sador; 'true at least of some of us. But the up-climbing is painful, and from high places it is easy to fall low.'

Who was right?
Join us in the Reading Room, for the discussion of Of the Coming of Men into the West, beginning on June 9!


sador
Half-elven


Jun 20 2013, 1:33pm

Post #94 of 98 (67 views)
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Summary, and my own responses [In reply to] Can't Post

Well, there is not much of a summary this time - this post received only one response, and a laconic one it was.

Do you like this parallel? Or does it feel like overworking a theme?
noWizardme said he did. In a response to a different post, CuriousG took this observation one step further, and stated that Finrod is supposed to parallel Orome.
Personally, I am not sure of this. Couldn't Tolkien have come up with something new? But perhaps because of the usual richness of Tolkien's world, this parallel is both intentional and meaningful.
However, there seems to be a fundamental difference: the Valar were awaiting the Elves, they when (approximately) they were supposed to come, and Varda has prepared for it. Finrod comes upon Men at unawares; they just are there all of a sudden. Also, as we've discussed before, Men have come to "usurp the sun" (chapter 12) and we are conditioned to see them if not as supplanters, at least as heralds of doom. So what's the point of the parallel?

Any comments on this parallel?
Well, I love it - as might have guessed by the superlatives I've used. Smile

On Tolkien's system of re-using his own imagery?
Yes, that's nice; whenever Tolkien wrote some description he loved, even after discarding the original text he transported the image to a different setting; apparently he simply loved certain images - and rightly so!
However, he also used variants of the same description more than once (as seen above), which means that a repeat does not necessarily indicate the early text was discarded.

A riddle for HoME scholars: where did he re-use the BoLT description of Manwë and Varda's sudden knowledge that the Elves have come?
Where's dernwyn? She used to love this kind of riddles, and she knows HoME well!
Ah well, since she's became an admin, the flamewars over at the Hobbit board are taking up most of her time. Frown
Anyway, in the discarded epilogue Tolkien wrote to the LotR (two versions of which were published in Sauron Defeated, HoME vol. IX), Rosie Cotton describes how on the morning Sam and his friends ride back to the Shire, she all of a sudden burst into song, despite her mother warning her of the ruffians.

Orcs! Comments?
I am actually quite happy with this disovery. But it is a wonderful example of Tolkien's re-using discarded ideas.


This is probably the best place to mention noWizardme's observation, that no similar meeting between Elves and Dwarves is described. He also noted that there is less love between these races, and suggested that it was easier for the Elves to love Men, as the newcomers admired the Eldar so much, while the dwarves considered themselves equals, coming to trade rather than to learn. Perhaps the elves felt a cultural shock?
I don't know about you, but I think it's a neat idea.

'But my father loves them,' said Túrin, 'and he is not happy without them. He says that we have learned all that we know from them, and have been made a nobler people; and he says that the Men that have lately come over the Mountains are little better than Orcs.'
'That is true,' answered Sador; 'true at least of some of us. But the up-climbing is painful, and from high places it is easy to fall low.'

Who was right?
Join us in the Reading Room, for the discussion of Of the Coming of Men into the West, beginning on June 9!


sador
Half-elven


Jun 20 2013, 3:10pm

Post #95 of 98 (69 views)
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Summary, and my own responses [In reply to] Can't Post

does this make sense for Moriquendi, who abided in starlit Middle-earth before the first Sunrise?
A provaocative question! PhantomS indeed concluded that the Laiquendi do not seem to like the stars, which is at odds with their usual "primitiveness". I don't know the answer to this one.

Based on these two descriptions – how do you imagine the Green-elves?
This question was answered by several, and a lively discussion ensued.
Most of the opinions were quite negative; nobody viewed them (as some did when Elizabeth led the discussion on the previous time) as merely peaceful vegetarians. noWizardme assessed them as "green" Eco-fanatics, but telain (based on her own experience living in woods) and CuriousG both considered them as primitive in both lifestyle and attitudes, observing that one can't base fires or make weapons from deadwood, and that unless they used animals, they would havbe nothing to eat or wear. CuriousG was also concerned by their threat to afflict Men (which, as I've mentioned in the next thread, they apparently did to the Haladin); and telain considered them to be surly and uncouth, based on the strange word they use - "unfriends" (this led to a lively discussion regarding their Facebook habits).
A more positive assessment (with pointed criticism in it) was offered by PahntomS: "They may be the only Elves that are close in thinking to the original Elves, albeit in a place that doesn't tolerate that kind of thinking".

Another question telain raised, was how in Middle-earth did the Green-elves expect Men to survive? But this leads to a different possibility, that they were not actually so far removed from other Elves and Men in their habits, but they rued the excessive use made by the first Men of trees. It si likely that it took Men time to learn the importance of some conserving of nature (compare to the Numenorean denuding of the Enedwaith, as described in Unfinished Tales, as opposed to Aldarion's careful policy).
So perhaps the folk of Beor behaved somewhat like the late Third-Age orcs? I note Legolas' words in The Riders of Rohan:


Quote

'No other folk make such a trampling,' said Legolas. 'It seems their delight to slash and beat down growing things that are not even in their way.'



But if that case, what of the other inhabitants of Ossiriand - the Ents?

What do you think? How do they compare to the elfs found elsewhere in European myths?
I was hoping someone would answer this - someone who knows about Northren European myths and folktales better than me! They do remind me of something Shippey wrotie about, but I don't know enough to venture an opinion.

Is this apparent already in our chapter?
By which I meant, the mythical dimension as the inhabitants of the Land of the Dead that Live. This somehow reminds me of the early descriptions of Artanor, which Garth describes in Tolkien and the Great War - of the Elves and Men sharing the same land, but the Men are blissfully unaware of their neighbours!
I'm not sure this is the case in our chapter as yet; but it might be. Did the Haladin ever know what hit them?


How do the Green-elves compare to (although as far as Tolkien writing is concerned, they draw upon) the mysterious wood-elves in Flies and Spiders (The Hobbit, ch. 8)?

noWizardme refered to this question, stating that they were similar, but the Laiquendi were even more reclusive, calling them "An extreme form of elvish elusiveness and solipsism". CuriousG pointed out that Thranduil's folk do light fires, and someone (I don't seem to find it - perhaps it was in the previous discussion?) mentioned that they also hunt.


Or to the invisible spirits inhabiting the island in The Sea-Bell (The Adventures of Tom Bombadil, no. 15)?
Oh, this seems more like it! But nobody took up this idea of mine. Oh well; you can't win them all.


'But my father loves them,' said Túrin, 'and he is not happy without them. He says that we have learned all that we know from them, and have been made a nobler people; and he says that the Men that have lately come over the Mountains are little better than Orcs.'
'That is true,' answered Sador; 'true at least of some of us. But the up-climbing is painful, and from high places it is easy to fall low.'

Who was right?
Join us in the Reading Room, for the discussion of Of the Coming of Men into the West, beginning on June 9!


Ardamírë
Valinor


Jun 23 2013, 5:56pm

Post #96 of 98 (65 views)
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Actually, I didn't remember that [In reply to] Can't Post

So thanks for the reminders. I admit, it's been a few years since I've really dug into BoLT. Personally, I don't think that Christopher should have edited out Turgon's elevation to kingship. Since the line of the Noldorin kings is something we follow in The Silmarillion, I don't see any reason to suddenly stop it now. Your reasons for Turgon receiving the (basically) honorary title make sense, so again, I think the "problem" falls on Gil-galad. The issue of kingship only confuses because Christopher edited in Gil-galad as the son of Fingon. He could have just said nothing, leaving Gil-galad's parentage unknown.

As for Galadriel, I'm not sure why she didn't receive the honorary title. The only reason I can think of is that the Noldor didn't consider women for the position. This makes sense, otherwise Idril would have inherited it after Turgon's death.

So far, I can't see any issues that arise (inheritance-wise) by moving Gil-galad to the son of Orodreth. So that's just what I like to think. Smile

"...not till now have I understood the tale of your people and their fall.
As wicked fools I scorned them, but I pity them at last.
For if this is indeed, as the Eldar say, the gift of the One to Men,
it is bitter to receive." -Arwen Undómiel




CuriousG
Valinor


Jun 24 2013, 1:24am

Post #97 of 98 (55 views)
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The empty title of High King [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
Neverthelss, I think Christopher should have edited out this line about Turgon taking the High Kingship after the Nirnaeth (and not added the line about Gil-galad taking the title after the Fall of Gondolin). It serves no purpose (continuity? not really; and can't a virtual throne be left vacant?), and only confuses.

I concur. The Silmarillion's compact prose suggests everything that's mentioned is significant and will lead to something else. On my 1st read, when this title came to Turgon, I expected him to do something with it. I wasn't sure what, but I thought he'd emerge into Beleriand and lead a new coalition against Morgoth or something besides spend the rest of his days sealed off from the rest of his "high kingdom." Since it became an empty title after the fall of Hithlum, it seems Tolkien could have stopped bringing it up and just let its fate go unnoticed (like the fate of the Entwives, Blue Wizards, or a million other loose ends).


CuriousG
Valinor


Jun 24 2013, 1:42am

Post #98 of 98 (70 views)
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Great, nuanced distinction to make between Finarfin and Fingolfin [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
However, I think there is a major difference between the two possible parentages: if Gil-galad is Fingon's son, he comes from a tradition of benevolent heroism; while if he is from Finarfin's family, he is more connected - both to other kindreds of Middle-earth (Dwarves, Men) and to the Valar, thus becoming a symbol of hope.

Does poor Gil-galad ever get any serious exposure as a character? It seems he's only referred to distantly, and I'd relish some meaty scenes where's he talking and doing things, and I could get a better picture of him. As it is, he remains an amorphous legend in my mind who could fit the mold of either lineage, heroism or hope. The only certain thing is that he has nothing to do with the sullied Feanorian house.

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