The Eldy Review of Lore

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Post by Elthir on Tue Feb 19, 2019 9:18 pm

For example, I do not consider The Book of Lost Tales to have an in-universe author in my personal Silmarillion, because my Silm is based primarily on much later versions of the mythology which can not coexist in the same fictional universe as the BoLT due to irreconcilable differences in history, chronology, geography, and actual matters of plot and character. When I turn to the BoLT for fine detail that is lacking elsewhere (eg, the Fall of Gondolin), I do so from an out-of-universe perspective, playing editor in order to have complete versions of the tales to mentally immerse myself in, but not ascribing in-universe provenance to these hybrid versions.

Yes. Even mentally pushing aside that there's no real reason to think Tolkien would have considered BOLT as an internal text in his Legendarium (as far as I know), while it's arguable that real world collections might have even drastically different texts, or poems or what-have-you, that could be linked in some measure to a given matter
(the Arthurian "matter" for example), when I begin to think in detail about the huge pile of discrepancy this approach produces, in my opinion it does Tolkien no service with respect to the art of subcreation -- considering the fact (apologies for using the f-word!) that Tolkien desired certain inconsistencies in his legendarium, in order to give it
that very feel . . .

. . . or rather, the fact (!) that I think this is true. I know I've said that before (and before and before), but hey, it's a new thread!


When I'm sane (going mad now and again helps keep me sane), I know that Qenta Noldorinwa, the 1930s Quenta Silmarillion, and the early 1950s phase Quenta Silmarillion (and so on) are not meant to be internal variations of Quenta Silmarillion. I can and do enjoy them for what they are (no small statement), and for what they reveal about Tolkien's creative process, but I don't feel the need to twist myself into a salty pretzel to try to explain why "certain Silmarillions" don't appear to know that Galadriel exists.

Just for one, Nerwen-obsessed example Very Happy

My guess is that Christopher Tolkien's imagined First Age would not necessarily abide by his own, constructed version. These creations aren't the same animals, and obviously CJRT had far more to consider when making a physical book for Tolkien's hungry readership. I don't consider my personal Silmarillion as an internal variant to Christopher Tolkien's version, it's just a sort of compartmentalization, I guess.

In general, I'm not sure my opinions and approach are necessarily consistent in all ways or from every perspective,
but that's part of why I put them here and there on the web. Recently (though it's been bubbling up for a while),
I've "had to" follow my own tracks (when hunting canon) and adjust my Silmarillion in a very colourful way. . .

. . . cough . . . the/my Minyar (Vanyar) are mostly dark-haired.

Sofa


Last edited by Elthir on Tue Feb 19, 2019 10:47 pm; edited 3 times in total

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Post by David H on Tue Feb 19, 2019 9:54 pm

Elthir wrote:. . . cough . . . the/my Minyar (Vanyar) are mostly dark-haired.

...except when they grey. Nod

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Post by Elthir on Wed Feb 27, 2019 9:09 pm

After reading the Panthael article (hopefully Sindarin speakers will get that), I haven't much to add to what Eldy's already written, except for a minor point concerning the "invented" conversation between Maglor and Maedros.

Granted, Wise is focused on the constructed Silmarillion, but considering his opinion that this conversation basically flies in the face of what "little is known" of the War of Wrath and so on, here's a brief sentence near the end of QS as Tolkien himself actually wrote/left it:

§28

"Yet not all the Eldalie were willing to forsake the Hither Lands where they had long suffered and long dwelt (…) and among these were Maglor, as hath been told; and with him for a while was Elrond Halfelven, who chose . . ."

JRRT, Quenta Silmarillion, The Lost Road And Other Writings

So despite the "seeming" brevity suggested in an earlier section (Maglor throws his Silmaril in the sea, and so on), we also know that he had grown to cherish Elros and Elrond, that love grew between them, so perhaps at some point he lingered with Elrond Halfelven "for a while" and divulged some of this conversation -- before wandering in regret by the sea, or (Lay of Leithian), casting himself into the Sea.

Obviously it's a very brief reference in itself, but perhaps noted with the transmission of the Maglor/Maedros conversation in mind?

Anyway back to a couple of D. Felagund's statements.

I disagree with Kane that these late notes are in any way definitive. To change the narrative point of view of the entire Silmarillion is no small feat, and while one can interpret the lack of mention of Pengolodh in The Later Quenta Silmarillion II (LQ2), which is contemporaneous with the notes in Myths Transformed, as evidence of Tolkien carrying his intentions to fruition, the same draft contains no revisions that suggest a Númenórean narrator.

Just to interrupt here, these late notes are relatively late. I know that's pedantic, but "late" could give the impression of the late 1960s for example, and it's the 1960s, early 1970s, that I want to press into the argument here.

In fact, two sections added to LQ2 represent a distinctively Eldarin point of view: Laws and Customs among the Eldar and The Statute of Finwë and Míriel. Both of these sections contain significant material concerning Elven views on eschatology. Given the Númenórean preoccupation with death, it defies credibility that, if Tolkien wrote this material with a Númenórean narrator in mind, that this narrator would be able to resist commenting on this material.

I won't argue with whether or not this would defy credibility, but I think it's arguable that these two texts were not, in any case, written with a Numenorean transmission in mind. Laws and Customs begins with Elfwine's preamble, includes an observation that ends with "So spoke Elfwine", and for example, contains a reference to the Elves who linger in Middle-earth "in these after days"

Also, in his commentary concerning the new Finwe and Miriel element (Morgoth's Ring), Christopher Tolkien generally notes: "Elfwine is still present as communicator and commentator; but there have been great changes in Elfinesse."

With respect to dating the materials in question, Hammond and Scull and Christopher Tolkien guess at a range:
?late 1958 -- ?mid 1960 And this includes the Myths Transformed texts. I can't say exactly what Tolkien had in mind when he included the Dome of Varda in LQS, or exactly when he added it in relation to every other text in this same phase [for another interesting change to an LQ2 text: "Of their lives was made the Lay of Leithian, Release from Bondage, which is the longest save one of the songs of [the Noldor >] Númenor concerning the world of old;..."]

  . . . but the matter doesn't end in the late 1950s anyway [not that D. Felagund said it did -- I don't have her full argument in any event].

1960s

In 1962, the Numenor element is ultimately pubished in The Adventures of Tom Bombadil
Now the idea enters print! That is, Tolkien-published text.

[The Lord of the Rings, revised edition, Bilbo become part of the transmission of texts dealing with the Elder Days]

1968 (Shibboleth of Feanor) Note 17: "As is seen in the Silmarillion. This is not an Eldarin title or work. It is a compilation, probably made in Numenor, which includes (in prose) the four great tales or lays of the heroes of the Atani, of which 'The Children of Hurin' was probably composed already in Beleriand in the First Age, but necessarily is preceded by an account of Feanor and his making of the Silmarils. All however are 'Mannish' works.'"

1968 Published in Vinyar Tengwar 48, we find the Synopsis of Pengoloð's Eldarinwe Leperi are Notessi: "The following account is an abbreviation of a curious document, preserved in the archives of Gondor by strange chance (or by many such chances) from the Elder Days, but in a copy apparently made in Númenor not long before its downfall: probably by or at the orders of Elendil himself, when selecting such records as he could hope to store for the journey to Middle-earth. This one no doubt owed its selection and its copying, first to Elendil's own love of the Eldarin tongues and of the works of the loremasters who wrote about their history; but also to the unusual contents of this disquisition in Quenya: Eldarinwe Leperi are Notessi: The Elvish Fingers and Numerals. It is attributed, by the copyist, to Pengoloð (or Quendingoldo) of Gondolin, and he describes the Elvish play-names of the fingers as used by and taught to children."

"This general idea lies behind the events of The Lord of the Rings and the Silmarillion, but it is not put forward as geologically or astronomically "true"; except that some special catastrophe is supposed to lie behind the legends and marked the first stage in the succession of Men to dominion of the world. But the legends are mainly of "Mannish" origin blended with those of the Sindar (Gray-elves) and others who had never left Middle-earth."
JRRT, Letter 325, 1971

Possibly as late as 1972 Last Writings Note 17: Here he wrote that the idea [the idea being that Elvish reincarnation might be achieved by rebirth as a child] "... must be abandoned, or at least noted as a false notion, e.g. probably of Mannish origin, since nearly all the matter of The Silmarillion is contained in myths and legends that have passed through Men's hands and minds, and are (in many points) plainly influenced by contact and confusion with the myths, theories, and legends of Men."

So why go here, consistently, in the 1960s? My answer goes back to a statement by Christopher Tolkien made in Myths Transformed, concerning which I've argued elsewhere in more detail, but generally speaking, going here saves the older mythology for Quenta Silmarillion, QS itself existing within a diverse Legendarium.


__________

Sun and Moon?

The Hobbit first edition: "(…) before they came back into the Wide World. In the Wide World the Wood-elves lingered in the twilight before the raising of the Sun and Moon; and afterwards they wandered in the forests that grew beneath the sunrise. They loved best the edges of the woods, . . ."

In 1966 JRRT altered this: "...  before some came back into the Wide World. In the Wide World the Wood-elves lingered in the twilight of our Sun and Moon, but loved best the stars; and they wandered in the great forests that grew tall in lands that are now lost. They dwelt most often by the edges of the woods,(…)"

Of course, here Tolkien does not delve into the origin of the Sun, but it's not nothing that he takes out a specific reference to -- what in my opinion is connected to -- a Mannish version of the Sun's origin.

Shape of Earth (Western Elvish perspective)?

Drowning of Anadune. Cough. I say "Ratified" in the 1960s. Cough. I went there again Very Happy


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Post by halfwise on Wed Feb 27, 2019 9:21 pm

If I've been reading this right, anything that doesn't conform to modern cosmology is taken to be "mannish", and the implicit assumption is that the elves have a perfectly clear non-mythological view of things.

In other words, anything 'magical' is a mannish construction, making men the magical/mystical race and elves the humdrum realistic race. I'm not sure I like it.

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Post by Elthir on Thu Feb 28, 2019 12:42 am

I would say anything magical seems too sweeping. Even in the scraps of the more Elvish Silmarillion the Two Trees still exist and give off light, or for example, Varda makes star-imagines for her Dome.

And if there's confusion or synthesis: according to Men, it's Men who must arise with the Sun, and since the Elves predate them, the Sun becomes a fruit of one of "their" magical trees. With respect to the Elves in direct contact with the Powers (not all Elves of course):

"their legends should have a closer relation to the knowledge now possessed of at least the form of the Solar System (= Kingdom of Arda); though it need not, of course, follow any "scientific" theory of its making or development."

JRRT, MT, text II


The rest of this post has been edited. Posted in haste, it needed more thinking . . . and more grammar  Wink


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Post by halfwise on Thu Feb 28, 2019 1:02 am

It's ticklish. I think Tolkien wanted his elves to be more 'enlightened' then men, which is to some part tied to scientific understanding. But since his elves were quite capable of pride and even occasional cruelty I never felt convinced by his depiction of elves as the race that never experienced the Fall of Man. In which case trying to give them too realistic a view of the cosmos is not a proper match. He seems to be acknowledging that in the quote above.

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Post by Pettytyrant101 on Thu Feb 28, 2019 1:04 am

{{Just like to say here that whilst I have absolutely nothing of any worth whatsoever to contribute here drunken its a bloody good read all this Nod Even if to me some of it is at times a little... grey (and you're not helping there Dave! Mad }}

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Post by Eldy on Fri Mar 08, 2019 5:43 am

Thank you as always for your insights, Elthir. It's good to see all the evidence laid out like that. Sorry for not responding until now.

The final book from my spurt of online purchases and ILL requests arrived today, so I have everything in place (the library books aren't due back until June; academic libraries ftw) except for my frame of mind. Neutral There's been a lot going on this week, emotionally, but I'm hoping to get back on track sooner rather than later.

However, on an administrative note: future updates to this project will not be posted here, but in a new thread on The Hall of Fire. I asked Doug Kane (aka Voronwë the Faithful) and he generously agreed to let me dump thousands of words of Lore rambling onto his forum. So that will be going up soon, starting with a slightly revised version of the material at the beginning of this thread. I mention this here in case anyone ever wonders what the status of the project is and so that the thread doesn't just cut off with no explanation. I sincerely appreciate all the feedback on the previous page.

http://www.thehalloffire.net/forum/viewforum.php?f=5
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