Goldilocks and the Three Trolls

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Goldilocks and the Three Trolls

Post by Elthir on Fri Nov 23, 2012 8:22 pm

Glorfindel

Yes, it's a thread about Glorfindel. All things Glorfindel! And it's not really about the trolls, so I expect this thread to be mostly about trolls.

The most obvious place to begin is with reincarnation. For long years -- well, not Elvish long years -- but after 1977 and before whenever The History of The Lord of the Rings was published (hey I don't have to look up everything to start a thread), we, the readers, had two Elves named Glorfindel in two different tales.

Were they the same? Many asked, no one knew, well almost no one.

Then suddenly (suddenly makes it sound more exciting) Christopher Tolkien revealed that they were the same being! Huzzah! But then some said, wait just a minute, show me where JRR Tolkien said so -- and so we, the readers again, had to await the last volume of The History of Middle-Earth series to see that Christopher Tolkien had not simply interpreted something that could be interpreted various ways -- at least not easily!

And then there was great joy. But not all, it seemed, wanted to know. Some liked not knowing better, and there is nothing wrong with that I would say. Yet Tolkien's essays about Glorfindel ('almost' two essays but part of the first is missing) were quite clear about there being only one Glorfindel. Now the question arises less often, at least in my experience, and when it does the debate is briefer. It's hard to argue with the author himself.

But that doesn't mean there are no arguments out there that one Glorfindel isn't 'necessarily true'. There are! And The Encyclopedia of Arda, on the web, seems to take up the 'cause' so to speak.


In the coming months and years I will attempt to post about some of the Glorfindel related questions that I have seen, and some of the ideas that I have seen that seemingly seek to undermine the acceptance of one Glorfindel. Or, I will just post something about Glorfindel, or someone will; although we don't know relatively that much about him from an internal perspective.

As always, I do not speak for Tolkien of course, and welcome those who may disagree with something I write. But if you're going to disagree I only ask that you be unfair or use foul language. This is the internet you know.


For now I will leave you with the indisputable fact that one of Sam's daughters was named Goldilocks. Slightly disputable was that her Sindarin name was Glorfinniel, attested in 'Noldorin' really, by JRRT, but still never published by Tolkien himself. And surely this Hobbit-maid knew of Bilbo's three trolls; and so we have come full circle to the end of this post.

A post with many words, but saying little.


And if you are bored, for 10 points find the Tolkien character 'hidden' in one of the English words above. You have only three months before the 10 points becomes 5 points however.
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Re: Goldilocks and the Three Trolls

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Fri Nov 23, 2012 11:01 pm

There was one Glorfindel, but he got about a bit. Simple. Nod

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Re: Goldilocks and the Three Trolls

Post by azriel on Fri Nov 23, 2012 11:03 pm

I thought "Sam" was the answer ? Shocked but then I thought...to obvious.

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Re: Goldilocks and the Three Trolls

Post by Mrs Figg on Sat Nov 24, 2012 12:34 am

*puts feet up and chews methodically on metaphysical sandwich waiting for brainstorm*


which doesnt come. Mad

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Re: Goldilocks and the Three Trolls

Post by Elthir on Sat Nov 24, 2012 1:40 am

Azriel wrote: I thought "Sam" was the answer ? but then I thought...to obvious.

You are correct as Sam occurs in 'same'... and you are also correct that that's not the answer I was looking for. So four points each for being technically correct on both counts. Plus one point for making me feel silly for not noticing Sam myself.

Unfortunately that adds up to only 9, so you might not be the winner... just yet.

Pettytyrant101 wrote:There was one Glorfindel, but he got about a bit. Simple. Nod

Shirly you're not implying... no Sir tyrant... not our Elvish paragon! Never!
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Re: Goldilocks and the Three Trolls

Post by chris63 on Sat Nov 24, 2012 4:33 am

Sauron, The Lord of the Rings.

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Re: Goldilocks and the Three Trolls

Post by Mrs Figg on Sat Nov 24, 2012 1:06 pm

Ori.

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Re: Goldilocks and the Three Trolls

Post by Norc on Sat Nov 24, 2012 1:23 pm

ctr+f = Oin occurs 13 times on this page and four times in the text, then Elthir said it two more times when making a reply.
And Ori as mrs Figg says, occurs one time in the text.
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Re: Goldilocks and the Three Trolls

Post by Elthir on Sat Nov 24, 2012 1:38 pm

Ah very good! but we have a three way tie then, between azriel, Mrs. Figg, and norc... 9 points for you all (ahem, same reasoning as for azriel earlier, or close enough, since I was apparently not aware of Ori and Oin as well).

And is 'Sauron' really there?

Hmm. How about 10 points for the Elvish name of a lady then... ah, that's what I meant to say? Oops.
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Re: Goldilocks and the Three Trolls

Post by Elthir on Sat Nov 24, 2012 2:25 pm

Back to the subject at hand... trolls!

Objection one (to the idea of Glorfindel of Imladris being the reincarnated Glorfindel of Gondolin): Tolkien himself never published this.

Well that's true, and actually touches upon my perspective that author-published text carries much more weight than posthumously published texts -- these being, very generally speaking, essentially still private 'draft texts' to Tolkien.

However, in my opinion the problem here is that Tolkien did not publish that there was a Glorfindel of Gondolin in the first place, so the very question of reincarnation arises from an acceptance of text Tolkien himself never published.

As Christopher Tolkien notes, an available option with respect to the 'Glorfindel question' was to simply change the name of the Elf of Gondolin. JRRT had once read The Fall of Gondolin to an audience, but neither The Hobbit nor The Lord of the Rings, nor The Adventures of Tom Bombadil nor The Road Goes Ever On, mention any Glorfindel of Gondolin, so if Tolkien really found himself 'in a fix' for some reason, he could have simply changed the name.

Granted some will argue that this was not an option, as an older Tolkien was here (in these essays) choosing to treat this detail as if it was already 'on record' or already in print, that is, as if readers already knew about Glorfindel of Gondolin; but I would note that an older Tolkien appears to change his mind about even long standing concepts... the nature of Elvish reincarnation being one of these!

No doubt Tolkien liked to play his own game, so to speak, but I would argue that if that game forced him down an unwanted path, the external reality of being able to alter still 'private texts' waited in the back of his mind as a viable option.


Last edited by Elthir on Sun Nov 25, 2012 12:10 am; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Goldilocks and the Three Trolls

Post by chris63 on Sat Nov 24, 2012 10:25 pm

Elthir wrote:Ah very good! but we have a three way tie then, between azriel, Mrs. Figg, and norc... 9 points for you all (ahem, same reasoning as for azriel earlier, or close enough, since I was apparently not aware of Ori and Oin as well).

And is 'Sauron' really there?

Hmm. How about 10 points for the Elvish name of a lady then... ah, that's what I meant to say? Oops.

The Lord of the Rings is Smile

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Re: Goldilocks and the Three Trolls

Post by Elthir on Sat Nov 24, 2012 11:57 pm

chris63 wrote: The Lord of the Rings is Smile

Oh I see... very clever. Still 9 points though. So now we have four tied at 9, with a winning 10 point answer still available Very Happy


Back to Glorfindel.

Objection 2 in the Glorfindel essays Tolkien is arguably forgetful and not as his best.

For example Tolkien seems to forget that he had earlier given Gondolin a significant Sindarin population (unless he was purposely revising again):

There is no escape from this. Gondolin is in The Silmarillion said to have been built and occupied by a people of almost entirely Noldorin origin. It might be possible, though inconsistent, to suppose that Glorfindel was a prince of Sindarin origin who had joined the host of Turgon, but this would entirely contradict what is said of Glorfindel in Rivendell in The Lord of the Rings: most notably in The Fellowship of the Ring, p. 235, where he is said to have been one of the 'lords of the Eldar from beyond the furthest seas.. who have dwelt in the Blessed Realm.' The Sindar have never left Middle Earth.

JRRT, Last Writings, Glorfindel


But even if Tolkien's memory was not at his best at this time (which matter I have raised in general myself) the main concern is the reincarnation of Glorfindel, and with respect to that Tolkien does not appear to forget anything significant which might hinder his ultimate decision.

And it might be noted that here Tolkien remembers description from The Lord of the Rings which casts Glorfindel of Imladris as Noldorin, which is a prime concern that he must abide by. In the early version of the Fall of Gondolin Glorfindel was a Gnome, one of the Noldoli, as were all the Elves of Gondolin -- Tolkien revised the general scenario so that large numbers of Sindarin Elves make up part of Gondolin -- but here in his late Glorfindel essay, he says 'almost entirely' Noldorin...

... however, even this still leaves room for some Sindarin Elves. And the reason this needs consideration is that while Glorfindel of Imladris must be Noldorin according to text published in The Lord of the Rings, Glorfindel of Gondolin, if a different person, could still be Sindarin even if Gondolin was almost entirely Noldorin.

At least this would remain a general consideration, while such an option would have been arguably 'falsely erased' if Tolkien, by being merely forgetful, had made no allowance whatsoever for a Sindarin presence in Gondolin.
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Re: Goldilocks and the Three Trolls

Post by CC12 35 on Sun Nov 25, 2012 2:15 am

I worked it out using google but I won't spoil the game for every1 Smile

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Re: Goldilocks and the Three Trolls

Post by CC12 35 on Sun Nov 25, 2012 2:19 am

Imagine if Isis went to India

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Re: Goldilocks and the Three Trolls

Post by Elthir on Sun Nov 25, 2012 2:48 pm

Carly Castle wrote:Imagine if Isis went to India

Oh now you've gone and made it easier Very Happy


Objection 3 Tolkien made a mistake and only made 'the Glorfindels' one person to cover up that mistake

I think the easiest answer to this objection is that, as already noted, Tolkien could have simply changed the name of the Elf of Gondolin; in other words, the Silmarillion being a private text from Tolkien's perspective, there was no 'internal mistake' in the first place, as no reader knew about the Elf of Gondolin. But the word 'mistake' has entered the discussion, probably because...


Consultation. Over M[isty] M[ountains]. Down Great River to Mordor. Dark Tower. Beyond(?) which is the Fiery Hill.
Story of Gil-galad told by Elrond? Who is Trotter? Glorfindel tells of his ancestry in Gondolin.


... Very notable is "Glorfindel tells of his ancestry in Gondolin". Years later, long after the publication of The Lord of the Rings, my father gave a great deal of thought to the matter of Glorfindel, and at that time he wrote: "[The use of Glorfindel] in The Lord of the Rings is one of the cases of the somewhat random use of the names found in the older legends, now referred to as the The Silmarillion, which escaped reconsideration in the final published form of The Lord of the Rings."

JRRT (the note and quoted commentary), Christopher Tolkien (commentary), The History of The Lord of the Rings

I would argue that there was no mistake at the time Tolkien was writing The Lord of the Rings, in that he knowingly borrowed the name Glorfindel from an older, still unknown tale, and the character was even going to tell of his ancestry in Gondolin at one point. That is, 'somewhat random' is not wholly random, and it's not like Tolkien had forgotten who Glorfindel of Gondolin was in The Silmarillion.

Some point to the phrase 'escaped reconsideration' as the mistake, but to my mind this only need mean that Tolkien did not again consider whether or not to keep the name at the time -- not necessarily that, if he had reconsidered borrowing this name at some point before The Fellowship of the Ring went off to publishers, he would have certainly altered it, at the time (it might be noted that the tale was sent to Tolkien's publishers years after Tolkien had first written Glorfindel into the story, thus tecnically JRRT had had years to reconsider this choice; although not that it should overly concern him in any case, among other considerations).

More later about reconsidering the name, when looking at the name itself.

Granted an older Tolkien might mean something like: 'Drat. It escaped reconsideration, meaning I certainly would have changed the name for The Lord of the Rings if I had thought about it more back then' -- but again, even if the reader characterizes this as an external mistake of some measure, Tolkien would be quite aware that having a character in The Lord of the Rings named Glorfindel did not itself constitute a mistake.

No reader would question this in my opinion. Why should anyone? And again, Tolkien could simply reconsider the name of the Elf of Gondolin if he desired, so the fact that the name entered The Lord of the Rings without reconsideration need not have forced Tolkien to arrive at the conclusion that the two Elves must be the same being.
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Re: Goldilocks and the Three Trolls

Post by halfwise on Sun Nov 25, 2012 3:11 pm

Well, it kinda is a mistake in that except for Beren no other character in the mythology is killed and then comes back. Glorfindel was killed in the sack of Gondolin (unless I'm remissrembering), causing major confusion for readers. I know I was confused: first thrilled to find Glorfindel while reading the Silmarillion - hey! a character from Lord of the Rings! Very exciting to learn more about this somewhat mysterious character.....then Zowie! he's dead. Shocked

"but I would note that an older Tolkien appears to change his mind about even long standing concepts... the nature of Elvish reincarnation being one of these!"

Do tell!

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Re: Goldilocks and the Three Trolls

Post by Elthir on Sun Nov 25, 2012 3:48 pm

halfwise wrote:Well, it kinda is a mistake in that except for Beren no other character in the mythology is killed and then comes back.


OK, and I assume you mean comes back to Middle-earth, as the natural course of life for all Elves (in potential) was reincarnation, a return to physical life. But why should it be deemed a mistake that reincarnated Elves could return to Middle-earth? Tolkien himself simply notes (he goes into a bit more detail in Morgoth's Ring about this, but for now)...

When they were re-embodied they could remain in Valinor, or return to Middle-earth if their home had been there.

JRRT, Last Writings, Glorfindel II

Granted Glorfindel seems to some to be too singular a case, but I'm not sure he needs to be. And Tolkien would not only devise reasons for his return, but had already devised reasons why Elves would normally not return to Middle-earth, noting that within the Three Ages there were periods when return to Middle-earth was either not possible or more perilous -- for example, Tolkien has Glorfindel return after the end of the First Age but before the removal of the Blessed Realm from the Circles of the World.


"but I would note that an older Tolkien appears to change his mind about even long standing concepts... the nature of Elvish reincarnation being one of these!"

Do tell!

Very briefly: for years, actually decades, Tolkien held to the idea that Elves were reincarnated by way of being reborn again, as actual Elf babies that is. Later in life Tolkien rejected this idea, in part because, as a notable objection at least, he then thought that it would be a condition of pain if the fea of an Elf ('fea' roughly translates as 'spirit') would, after being reborn as a child, have a different hroa to inhabit (hroa roughly translates as 'body').

In other words, spirit and body should be a special and individual union for each Elf, and the reincarnated Elf should not then have a different body, which he must have if reborn to new parents. So Tolkien rejected his long held idea of reincarnation by rebirth and found a new way for an Elf to be returned to incarnate life. This objection (the matter of the special union of spirit and body in general) seems to have informed his later thoughts about reincarnation among Dwarves too.
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Re: Goldilocks and the Three Trolls

Post by Norc on Sun Nov 25, 2012 6:21 pm

is it Indis? Who the fuck is that!?
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Re: Goldilocks and the Three Trolls

Post by Eldorion on Sun Nov 25, 2012 6:32 pm

You should brush up on your early Silmarillion, Norc. Nod

Spoiler:
Indis of the Vanyar, relative of Ingwe and second wife of Finwe. Mother of Fingolfin and Finarfin.
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Re: Goldilocks and the Three Trolls

Post by Norc on Sun Nov 25, 2012 6:48 pm

Eldorion wrote:You should brush up on your early Silmarillion, Norc. Nod

Spoiler:
Indis of the Vanyar, relative of Ingwe and second wife of Finwe. Mother of Fingolfin and Finarfin.

that, my friend, is exactly why I don't brush up my early Silmarillion Eldo.
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Re: Goldilocks and the Three Trolls

Post by Eldorion on Sun Nov 25, 2012 6:57 pm

Laughing It makes more sense reading through the story naturally. If you can keep track of relationships between Greek gods I'm sure you can keep track of the Elven royal families. Smile
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Re: Goldilocks and the Three Trolls

Post by Norc on Sun Nov 25, 2012 7:15 pm

haha, greek Gods what?

I read the beginning though... but that's it. oh yes, and the story of Beren and Luthien.
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Re: Goldilocks and the Three Trolls

Post by Elthir on Sun Nov 25, 2012 7:30 pm

Norc guessed: is it Indis?

Yes, from indisputable! That's it!

Unfortunately for you, according to my notes your three months started last July... so only 5 points rather than 10.

So Azriel wins with 9 points! Huzzah! As Azriel was the first to reach 9.



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Re: Goldilocks and the Three Trolls

Post by Norc on Sun Nov 25, 2012 7:54 pm

Elthir wrote:
Norc guessed: is it Indis?

Yes, from indisputable! That's it!

Unfortunately for you, according to my notes your three months started last July... so only 5 points rather than 10.


WHAT! what do you mean by that ! I guessed it and came up with Oin too!

and I had loads of points WTF!
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Re: Goldilocks and the Three Trolls

Post by Elthir on Sun Nov 25, 2012 8:20 pm

Here's how it works:

You (Norc) had 9 points [but only after Azriel].

You then gained 5 points for guessing Indis, not 10, as your three months started from July for some reason. That's 14.

You then lost 5 points because you only guessed Indis after Carly's huge hint. Anyone guessing Indis after this hint must automatically deduct 5 points for using the hint.

That leaves you with 9 points again, tied with Azriel and others.

And Azriel was first to receive 9 points, thus breaking the tie in a fair and impartial way. It's just math.

Thus Azriel wins.



Last edited by Elthir on Sun Nov 25, 2012 8:32 pm; edited 2 times in total
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