Silmarillion COTW: Chapter XV: "Of the Noldor in Beleriand"

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Christopher Kreuzer

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Jun 22, 2006, 10:28:17 PM6/22/06
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This post is part of the ongoing discussions of 'The Silmarillion' by J.
R. R. Tolkien. For further details, please see the schedule posted
elsewhere in these newsgroups.

Chapter of the Week (CotW) - The Silmarillion - Quenta Silmarillion
(QS), Chapter 15 - Of the Noldor in Beleriand.

The previous chapter (Of Beleriand and its Realms) was largely
descriptive passages dealing with the geography of Beleriand, setting
the scene for later stories. The chapter contained no dialogue between
characters, and did not advance the storylines. The style of this
chapter (Of the Noldor in Beleriand) is very different. It too contains
descriptive passages, but these are interspersed with scenes containing
dialogue between characters. These descriptions and scenes take up some
of the narrative threads from earlier chapters and continue the overall
story. The chapter gives us an insight into the different fortunes of
some of the Noldor in Beleriand, but the over-riding theme of the
chapter is the dark and inescapable shadow that lies over them.

CHAPTER SYNOPSIS

There are four main parts to the chapter:

1) With guidance, counsel and protection from Ulmo, Turgon establishes
the hidden realm of Gondolin.

2) From Galadriel, Melian learns of the Silmarils, and part, but not
all, of the reasons for the Noldor coming to Beleriand.

3) Melian counsels Thingol on these weighty matters, but their debate is
inconclusive.

4) Thingol hears rumours of the dark deeds of the Noldor before they
reached Beleriand, and he confronts the sons of Finarfin about the
Kinslaying.

The reaction of Thingol and Melian make it clear that the Noldor in
Beleriand cannot escape the shadow that lies on them, the Doom of
Mandos. The chapter ends with a foresighted Finrod foreboding his own
doom, and that of his kingdom.

Unlike some of the chapters in /The Silmarillion/, this one has a large
amount of dialogue between the characters, as opposed to the events and
conversations being described by the narrator.

The main dialogues/monologues are:

A) Ulmo speaking to Turgon
B) Galadriel speaking with Melian
C) Melian speaking with Thingol
D) Thingol speaking with Finrod and Angrod

How effective is this switching back and forth between narrative and
dialogue? Here, it seems to bring forth a great deal of emotion, while
still allowing links to earlier moments, along with foreshadowing
(predestination?) of later moments.

DISCUSSION POINTS

a) Ulmo's foresight and prophetic declarations

Following the building of Gondolin, Ulmo appears to Turgon in Nevrast,
and while speaking to him says:

"Longest of all the realms of the Eldalie shall Gondolin stand against
Melkor. But love not too well the work of thy hands and the devices of
thy heart; and remember that the true hope of the Noldor lieth in the
West and cometh from the Sea."

Here, Ulmo foretells that Gondolin will endure longest, but he mixes
this prophecy with both a warning (foreshadowing Turgon's later decision
not to abandon Gondolin) and also with a message of hope (foreshadowing
the aid from the Valar and the War of Wrath).

But then we read:

"And Ulmo warned Turgon that he also lay under the Doom of Mandos, which
Ulmo had no power to remove. 'Thus it may come to pass,' he said, 'that
the curse of the Noldor shall find thee too ere the end, and treason
awake within thy walls. Then they shall be in peril of fire. But if this
peril draweth nigh indeed, then even from Nevrast one shall come to warn
thee, and from him beyond ruin and fire hope shall be born for Elves and
Men."

Here, Ulmo reminds Turgon (and the reader) of the earlier passages
concerning the Doom of the Noldor, and the Prophecy of the North. That
prophecy (in 'Of the Flight of the Noldor') specifically mentioned that
doom would come upon the Noldor by "treason of kin unto kin". Ulmo's
words here ("treason awake within thy walls") echo and reinforce this
earlier prophecy, though the full extent of this theme is not developed
until later chapters (in fact, the very next chapter).

Ulmo also foreshadows some specific details of Gondolin's fate ("peril
of fire", "ruin and fire") and his final words set the scene for the
later coming of Tuor ("even from Nevrast one shall come to warn thee"),
and Earendil ("hope shall be born for Elves and Men").

At this point, it is worth pointing out the other moments when Ulmo
makes these prophetic and, dare I say, interventionist, appearances. He
appears later to Tuor, but has also influenced Finrod and Turgon
earlier, and sends dreams and messages, and ensures that Hurin and Huor
are kindly received in Gondolin, and Ulmo also saves an Elven mariner to
guide Tuor to Gondolin, and also sends warnings to Cirdan and to
Orodreth in Nargothrond, and, finally, Ulmo rescues Elwing and sets in
motion the voyage that brought salvation to the Men and Elves of
Beleriand. The best of these scenes, the coming of Ulmo to Tuor on the
shores of Nevrast, is described in greater detail in /Unfinished Tales/,
and is essential reading for anyone wanting to begin to understand
Ulmo's role in these tales.

But even at this early stage, it seems clear that Ulmo is appearing, or
being mentioned, fairly often in the story. What do people think of
Ulmo? Of his role, and the atmosphere his words and appearances create
for the reader?

b) Melian learns much from Galadriel

The next scene with spoken words involves another Ainu, Melian the Maia,
wife and queen of Thingol of Doriath, speaking with Galadriel, sister of
Finrod Felagund and daughter of Finarfin. In her wisdom, Melian
perceives that much has been left unspoken about the reasons for the
departure of the Noldor from Aman. At first, Galadriel wishes to leave
the story untold, but Melian's shrewd speculation that the Noldor were
"driven forth as exiles" and that an "evil lies on the sons of Feanor",
leads Galadriel to tell Melian some of the story. She reveals the
existence and theft of the Silmarils, and Finwe's murder by Morgoth, and
that the Noldor have come to Beleriand seeking vengeance and to regain
the Silmarils. Melian, being who she is, perceives that this is still
not the whole story, but Galadriel will say no more.

- Why did the Noldor hide these matters from their allies and kin in
Beleriand? Why did they pretend, or fail to correct the misapprehension,
that the Noldor were messengers from the Valar?

- Why does Galadriel say what she does, but not say any more than she
does? Could matters have turned out better if she had said more? Should
Melian have tried to find out more?

- What is the nature of Melian's sight, and can it be compared to the
sight of Galadriel, Elrond and other elves?

"There is some woe that lies upon you and your kin. That I can see in
you, but all else is hidden from me; for by no vision or thought can I
perceive anything that passed or passes in the West: a shadow lies over
all the land of Aman, and reaches far out over the sea." (Melian, Silm)

"Varda, the Queen of the Stars, from Mount Everwhite has uplifted her
hands like clouds, and all paths are drowned deep in shadow; and out of
a grey country darkness lies on the foaming waves between us, and mist
covers the jewels of Calacirya for ever. Now lost, lost to those from
the East is Valimar!" (Galadriel, LotR)

"I cannot see him [Gandalf] from afar, unless he comes within the fences
of Lothlorien: a grey mist is about him, and the ways of his feet and of
his mind are hidden from me." (Galadriel, LotR)

"The Shadow [of Sauron] has crept now to the feet of the Mountains, and
draws nigh even to the borders of Greyflood; and under the Shadow all is
dark to me." (Elrond, LotR)

Are there any other examples of elves or others perceiving shadows in
this way?

c) Melian gets to the heart of the matter

We are told that Melian tells Thingol all that she has learnt from
Galadriel, but she focuses not on the half-truths or lies of omission
from the Noldor, but rather on the mightier import of this news, and the
nature of the Silmarils. Indeed, Melian, like Ulmo, foretells what will
happen:

"This is a great matter, greater indeed than the Noldor themselves
understand; for the Light of Aman and the fate of Arda lie locked now in
these things, the work of Feanor, who is gone. They shall not be
recovered, I foretell, by any power of the Eldar; and the world shall be
broken in battles that are to come, ere they are wrested from Morgoth."

The rest of the scene is a debate between Thingol and Melian. Thingol
grieves at the news of the death of Finwe, his friend, and also focuses
on the news about the true motives of the Noldor. Melian tries to warn
Thingol about the Sons of Feanor ("the shadow of the wrath of the Valar
lies upon them"), but Thingol does not seem to appreciate what Melian is
telling him.

- Why does Thingol not pay more heed to his wife? Is this a way of
depicting Melian as a Cassandra-type figure? Fated to give warnings but
not to be listened to?

- Why are we told that afterwards Melian and Thingol "spoke no more of
this matter"? There doesn't really seem to be any follow-up to this
later in the story.

d) Thingol learns the full truth

The final, key, scene of this chapter, arises some time later. Dark
rumours spring up about evil deeds that the Noldor did before they came
to Beleriand. We are told "certain it is whence they [the rumours]
came", but are we certain? Did they come from Morgoth? How would he have
known of the Kinslaying?

Thingol, greatly angered by this news about the Kinslaying, confronts
the sons of Finarfin who are in Doriath visiting their sister Galadriel
who dwells there (the sons of Finarfin are Finrod, Orodreth, Angrod and
Aegnor - though only Finrod and Angrod are named here). We are told that
Finrod falls silent, not wanting to make matters worse, but Angrod,
prompted by memories of an earlier scene involving Caranthir (found in
'Of the Return of the Noldor') tells the full story of the Kinslaying,
the Doom of Mandos, the burning of the ships at Losgar, and the
harrowing passage of the Grinding Ice.

We are told that Angrod's outburst was an attempt to defend himself and
his brothers, and he shows his bitterness at being called on the one
hand "tale-bearers" and "treasonable to the Noldor", and on the other
hand "kinslayers and traitors". This outburst reveals the deep divisions
that exist between the Princes of the Noldor, which, as Melian said, had
been but "lulled to sleep".

Despite this outburst, the reaction of Melian and Thingol is clear.
Melian: "Yet the shadow of Mandos lies on you also". Thingol (after long
silence): "Go now! For my heart is hot within me..." followed by Thingol
leaving open the door of friendship, but banning the language of the
Noldor from his realm.

- Do much of the problems for the children of Finarfin arise from their
mixed heritage? Do they feel divided loyalty to the people of Earwen
(the Teleri) on the one hand, and the people of Finwe (the Noldor) on
the other hand?

- Was Finrod right to keep silent, and should Angrod have also kept
silent?

- Could Melian and Thingol have reacted any other way? Thingol says that
their griefs must be "lost in [their] hatred of the Power that wrought
all this woe", which seems rather sensible.

- Why have Thingol ban the language of the Noldor? Is there a reason or
other meaning behind this?

- Finrod forbodes his doom and that of his kingdom, and his words also
foreshadow his later oath to Beren. This is yet another example of
prophecy/foresight/foreshadowing in a chapter that is full to bursting
with examples of such things. How impressive is Tolkien's use of this
technique? How well does it work?

OTHER

- The vale of Tumladen (where Gondolin is built upon a hill) used to be
"a great lake in ancient days". Did Tolkien ever write any more about
this?

- Turgon built Gondolin as a "memorial of Tirion upon Tuna" - this
sounds similar to the building of Kortirion/Warwick that is related in
the earliest stories of the mythologies in /The Book of Lost Tales/.

- With elven-craft, Turgon makes Glingal and Belthil, "images of the
Trees of old" (the Two Trees of Valinor). The textual history of Glingal
and Belthil in the HoME volumes is complicated, but the concept of
memorials or likenesses of _both_ of the Two Trees (rather than just the
White Tree of Numenor and then Gondor) is also found in /The Lord of the
Rings/. In a footnote in the Appendices concerning references in the
main text to the Two Trees, we read: "...no likeness remained in
Middle-earth of Laurelin the Golden." The implication seems to be that
likenesses of Laurelin _did_ exist at one time, with Glingal from
Gondolin being an example of such a likeness.

- This chapter also contains a map of the realms of Beleriand, as
described in the previous chapter. At least this map is in this chapter
in my edition of /The Silmarillion/. Maybe the map was placed here due
to publishing constraints on the layout of the original hardback
edition? The map is similar to, but smaller than, the one of the whole
of Beleriand (at the back of the book), but has the names of the
Noldorin princes labelling their realms, along with the Sindarin realms
of Thingol and Melian, and Cirdan.

- If anyone knows the textual history of this chapter, as given in the
volumes of the History of Middle-earth, please feel free to discuss that
as well!

Christopher

--
---
Reply clue: Saruman welcomes you to Spamgard

"Gondolin upon Amon Gwareth became fair indeed and fit to compare even
with Elven Tirion beyond the sea. High and white were its walls, and
smooth its stairs, and tall and strong was the Tower of the King. There
shining fountains played, and in the courts of Turgon stood images of
the Trees of old, which Turgon himself wrought with elven-craft; and the
Tree which he made of gold was named Glingal, and the Tree whose flowers
he made of silver was named Belthil." (Of the Noldor in Beleriand)

Phlip

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Jun 22, 2006, 11:11:10 PM6/22/06
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Christopher Kreuzer wrote:

> But even at this early stage, it seems clear that Ulmo is appearing, or
> being mentioned, fairly often in the story. What do people think of
> Ulmo? Of his role, and the atmosphere his words and appearances create
> for the reader?

I seem to recall that, as the Valar retreated to Valinor, Ulmo remained the
only power in continuous contact with Middle-earth, through the water, and
its tributaries in all the rivers and watersheds. There are probably words
to the effect that he represents intervention in Middle-earth.

This theme apparently carries all the way through LotR. Galadriel's Ring of
Water checks Sauron, across the Anduin at Dol Guldur. The Nazgul have
trouble crossing water and possibly trouble seeing across it, and water is
where they lose 10 of the 11 mounts that they lose in total (before the One
went down). Are there any citations that any of these effects represent the
power of Ulmo?

> - Why did the Noldor hide these matters from their allies and kin in
> Beleriand? Why did they pretend, or fail to correct the misapprehension,
> that the Noldor were messengers from the Valar?

Simple shame.

Also note that some of these beings, despite being tens of thousands of
years old, have never before experienced anything but the Bliss of Valinor
under the Two Trees. Actually mixing things up, getting in trouble, and
feeling shame are all new to them.

> "There is some woe that lies upon you and your kin. That I can see in
> you, but all else is hidden from me; for by no vision or thought can I
> perceive anything that passed or passes in the West: a shadow lies over
> all the land of Aman, and reaches far out over the sea." (Melian, Silm)

I suspect that directly scries the Shadowy Seas, now raised before Valinor.
So long as Melian remains housed, she's on this side of the barrier.

> "Varda, the Queen of the Stars, from Mount Everwhite has uplifted her
> hands like clouds, and all paths are drowned deep in shadow; and out of
> a grey country darkness lies on the foaming waves between us, and mist
> covers the jewels of Calacirya for ever. Now lost, lost to those from
> the East is Valimar!" (Galadriel, LotR)

Thanks! I always interpreted that to mean the gleam of Valinor and of
Everwhite to shine over the clefts in the mountains, drowning the paths down
into those clefts in shadow. I never noticed the Shadowy Seas hook.

So here's Frodo, representing (hopefully) the _end_ of Galadriel's realm in
Middle-earth. He is boating (!) down the Anduin from Lothlorien, and
Galadriel is singing to him of how she felt when she first traveled to
Middle-earth, and became aware that she was going to be stuck there for
quite a long time.

> - Why does Thingol not pay more heed to his wife? Is this a way of
> depicting Melian as a Cassandra-type figure? Fated to give warnings but
> not to be listened to?
>
> - Why are we told that afterwards Melian and Thingol "spoke no more of
> this matter"? There doesn't really seem to be any follow-up to this
> later in the story.

Thingol is a politician whose moves and attitudes are watched. He has no
need to taint his people with misgivings about other Eldar; he's still wise
enough to know that could hasten their doom.

So he is much more prudent than he'll become in only a few long-years.

> Did they come from Morgoth?

Tolkien is allowing even the most naive reader to realize for themselves
that one!

And this is at least the second time Morgoth did it. During his freedom in
Valinor, he spread rumors that the Valar were shepherding the Eldar, etc.

> How would he have
> known of the Kinslaying?

Uh, because he's a Valar, and not subject to restrictions on scrying?
Because the kinslaying occurred before the Shadowy Seas arose? Because the
Noldor came with tens of thousands (?) of elves, some few of whom might
already be missing?

> - Do much of the problems for the children of Finarfin arise from their
> mixed heritage? Do they feel divided loyalty to the people of Earwen
> (the Teleri) on the one hand, and the people of Finwe (the Noldor) on
> the other hand?

That was foreboded by Feanor's mom when she passed away (or something),
right?

> - Was Finrod right to keep silent, and should Angrod have also kept
> silent?

What do their names mean?

> - Could Melian and Thingol have reacted any other way? Thingol says that
> their griefs must be "lost in [their] hatred of the Power that wrought
> all this woe", which seems rather sensible.

Not just Morgoth wrought all this woe.

> - Why have Thingol ban the language of the Noldor? Is there a reason or
> other meaning behind this?

He wants to preserve some semblance of Doriath's long peace during the
twilight.

> - Finrod forbodes his doom and that of his kingdom, and his words also
> foreshadow his later oath to Beren. This is yet another example of
> prophecy/foresight/foreshadowing in a chapter that is full to bursting
> with examples of such things. How impressive is Tolkien's use of this
> technique? How well does it work?

It is a response to the worst political disturbance to yet occur in
Middle-earth (to Eldar). And all foresight happens downstream from the
Prophecy of the North - the big one. Anyone who is psychic is picking up
their own little bit of it.

> - The vale of Tumladen (where Gondolin is built upon a hill) used to be
> "a great lake in ancient days". Did Tolkien ever write any more about
> this?

An ice-age lake is a common feature of vales ringed by mountains. He's just
setting up the geography.

> - Turgon built Gondolin as a "memorial of Tirion upon Tuna" - this
> sounds similar to the building of Kortirion/Warwick that is related in
> the earliest stories of the mythologies in /The Book of Lost Tales/.

Exactly. A great outer ring, with a mound in the middle, and a fortified
ring on this. All the earliest civilizations built fortified mounds like
that.

> ... The implication seems to be that


> likenesses of Laurelin _did_ exist at one time, with Glingal from
> Gondolin being an example of such a likeness.

The White Tree of Gondor was a living replica of Telperion. In our terms,
Eldar genetically engineered a line of trees to resemble a legendary
diety/tree.

The implication is no growing tree species resembles Laurelin. Are Glingal
and Belthil living trees or statues?

--
Phlip
http://c2.com/cgi/wiki?ZeekLand <-- NOT a blog!!!


Troels Forchhammer

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Jul 3, 2006, 10:26:05 AM7/3/06
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In message <news:5lImg.90274$wl.8...@text.news.blueyonder.co.uk>
"Christopher Kreuzer" <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> enriched us with:
>

<snip>

> Chapter of the Week (CotW) - The Silmarillion - Quenta
> Silmarillion (QS), Chapter 15 - Of the Noldor in Beleriand.

Good to get it going again, thanks Christopher.

<snip>

> CHAPTER SYNOPSIS
>
> There are four main parts to the chapter:

Each associated with one of the dia-/monologues you list below.

> 1) With guidance, counsel and protection from Ulmo, Turgon
> establishes the hidden realm of Gondolin.

Once more we get back to the matter of Ulmo's persistent help to the
exiles. That is certainly not what was promised by the messenger
from Manwë before the gates of Tirion, 'No aid will the Valar lend
you in this quest,' nor is it in the spirit of the Doom of the
Noldor where Mandos promised that 'the Valar will fence Valinor
against you, and shut you out, so that not even the echo of your
lamentation shall pass over the mountains.'

Ulmo himself addresses this issue in his monologue to Tuor when the
latter reached Vinyamar.
Therefore, though in the days of this darkness I seem to
oppose the will of my brethren, the Lords of the West, that
is my part among them, to which I was appointed ere the
making of the World.
[UT 1,I 'Of Tuor and his Coming to Gondolin']

Ulmo's explanation, that it is his role, his fate (or destiny, if
you will) to 'seem to oppose the will' of the other Valar, seems to
me to imply that he thinks (as do I) that he is doing Eru's Will.

This creates an interesting duality between Mandos and Ulmo, who
both act, as I see it, according to Eru's Will and in accordance
with the fate of Arda, and yet they apparently contradict each
other.


> 2) From Galadriel, Melian learns of the Silmarils, and part, but
> not all, of the reasons for the Noldor coming to Beleriand.

This, to me, further raises the question of the justification for
the silence of Fingolfin's host.

They say (more or less) that they consider the injustice done to
themselves as forgiven, and therefore they will not bring them up
nor any other crimes that Fëanor's house has done against others.

To me it seems that they are also trying to evade the Doom of the
Noldor -- not that I know why I get that idea, really.

So, why do you think that they stay silent towards Thingol and Melian?
True forgiveness, mercy and pity? Trying to evade their destiny ("if we
don't talk about it, it won't happen")? Political convenience ("let's
not with one stroke antagonize both the sons of Fëanor and King Elu
Thingol; our two most important allies")? Or possibly a little of
each? And do the various leaders have different motives here?


> 3) Melian counsels Thingol on these weighty matters, but their
> debate is inconclusive.

Having but a part of the facts, Melian has to conclude merely that
'the shadow of the wrath of the Valar lies upon [the sons of
Fëanor]; and they have done evil', which is, of course, quite
precise.

Coming to think of it, I'm a bit surprised at Melian's perception. I
don't think she has ever met any of Fëanor's sons, nor have, again
AFAIK, any of them been inside Doriath at all. How, then, can Melian
perceive that the shadow of the wrath of the Valar lies upon them?
Is this something that, for someone of Melian's power, can be
perceived at a long distance?


> 4) Thingol hears rumours of the dark deeds of the Noldor before
> they reached Beleriand, and he confronts the sons of Finarfin
> about the Kinslaying.

And once more Morgoth proves the master of rumour. As before, when
he told the Noldor about the coming of Men, there is a kernel of
truth in the rumours. As I understand it, the rumours this time
accuse all the Noldor of the atrocities in Alqualondë, and thus
Morgoth once more manages to put his chief opponents in the worst
possible light.

> The reaction of Thingol and Melian make it clear that the Noldor
> in Beleriand cannot escape the shadow that lies on them, the Doom
> of Mandos.

Reaffirming Ulmo's statement to Turgon.

We begin to understand just how terrible the Doom of the Noldor
really was.

I wonder what sense of 'doom' was intended there? Was it Mandos'
judgement, their sentence, that he declared, or did he 'just' tell
them what destiny that awaited them? In other words; did Mandos make
this fate, or just pass on the bad news to them?

> The chapter ends with a foresighted Finrod foreboding his own doom,
> and that of his kingdom.

But it is said that not until that hour had such cold
thoughts ruled him; for indeed she whom he had loved was
Amarië of the Vanyar, and she went not with him into exile.

Absolutely chilling.

It says that 'foresight came upon Felagund', so it wasn't something he
derived from the Doom of the Noldor, but rather one more example of the
ability to actually see into the future, which occasionaly hits
Tolkien's characters (we have also a number of examples from LotR).
Being whom I am, I can't help but committing the error of wanting to
know how it works ;) In particular -- could this kind of foresight be
wrong?

I don't mean whether we could imagine it not happening once the
narrator has reported it, but could we imagine that there has been
unreported instances of foresight coming upon someone and the events
foresighted not happening?

<snip>


> How effective is this switching back and forth between narrative
> and dialogue?

Isn't that how most fiction works? ;)

I think it is rather the use of very long passages, even whole
chapters, without any dialogue that is unusual and special to Tolkien's
style: this is more like standard fiction.

> Here, it seems to bring forth a great deal of emotion, while still
> allowing links to earlier moments,

For me the linking of the 'present' in the narrative to both its past
and its future is part of the of what evokes the emotions -- this
knowledge that all the greatness and heroics, past and present, of the
Noldor will fail.

> along with foreshadowing (predestination?) of later moments.

Now this requires that we tread carefully.

Foreshadowing can work on two levels, I think: the story-external
level and the story-internal narrative level (Bilbo 'telling' the
story of the Elder Days).

At the basic story-internal level (Turgon, Ulmo, Melian, Galadriel
etc. living through the events described), I wouldn't use
'foreshadow', but rather 'foresee' og 'prophecy' (or, possibly,
premonition).

Predestination could also work at a couple of levels, though the
story- external level is probably a bit too exotic to consider
seriously ;-)

Next, when speaking about predestination, we have to distinguish
between actually doing the fixing of a destiny, and merely
foretelling an already fixed destiny.

There is, IMO, also a fine distinction to be made between
predestination and foretelling. As I understand predestination it
requires that the destiny is not only inevitable, but that it is
upheld by an external agency that is conscious of the
predestination, and who will, if necessary, carry the actors kicking
and screaming to the stage in a violation of their Free Will.
Foretelling does not, as I see it, have to violate Free Will, as it
can be compared to a posteriori knowledge that is simply shifted
forward in time so that it becomes, effectively, a priori knowledge
of the outcome of the actors' free choices.


> DISCUSSION POINTS

I see that I've already started on a number of these, making a bit of a
disorderly mess of my post :/

> a) Ulmo's foresight and prophetic declarations

[...]


> Here, Ulmo foretells that Gondolin will endure longest, but he
> mixes this prophecy with both a warning (foreshadowing Turgon's
> later decision not to abandon Gondolin)

This foreshadowing is quite clever, I think. It would work as
foreshadowing both of the actual later events (Turgon not abandoning
Gondolin), but also of Turgon abandoning Gondolin at the coming of
Tuor. It is reasonably clear already at this point that this is
foreshadowing (as is e.g. Finrod foreseeing the doom of himself and his
realm), but here it isn't clear what exactly is being foreshadowed --
whether it will be for good or for evil.

> and also with a message of hope (foreshadowing the aid from the
> Valar and the War of Wrath).

As did Fëanor in a way:

Such hurt at the least will I do to the Foe of the Valar
that even the mighty in the Ring of Doom shall wonder to
hear it. Yea, in the end they shall follow me.

It is according to Fëanor's person and his mood that he sees the Valar
as following him (personally -- "me", not "us"), whereas of course Ulmo
speaks of the true hope of the Noldor coming from Aman, but in the end
they seem to me to be speaking of the same thing.

[...]


> Here, Ulmo reminds Turgon (and the reader) of the earlier passages
> concerning the Doom of the Noldor, and the Prophecy of the North.

The prophecy fascinates me -- I always feel like I'm missing out on the
nine parts of it and that it really (in the parts I can't find <G>) is
a summary history of the rest of the First Age.

<snip>

> The best of these scenes, the coming of Ulmo to Tuor on the
> shores of Nevrast, is described in greater detail in /Unfinished
> Tales/,

I think I've said so before, but that monologue by Ulmo is one of my
favourite Tolkien passages -- it is absolutely wonderful.

> and is essential reading for anyone wanting to begin to
> understand Ulmo's role in these tales.

And what is that role? ;-)

True, he is the water-god of the Valar, but unlike his colleagues,
Poseidon, Neptune and Aegir, he seems dissatisfied to stick to the
seas, but uses his control of water to meddle in the affairs of the
Children of Ilúvatar.

Some of it is doubtlessly related to the special role of water in
relation to the Music:

And they observed the winds and the air, and the matters
of which Arda was made, of iron and stone and silver and
gold and many substances: but of all these water they most
greatly praised. And it is said by the Eldar that in water
there lives yet the echo of the Music of the Ainur more
than in any substance else that is in this Earth; and many
of the Children of Ilúvatar hearken still unsated to the
voices of the Sea, and yet know not for what they listen.

And, as it is told immediately thereafter, Ulmo turned his thought to
water "and of all most deeply was he instructed by Ilúvatar in music."
I sense a causal connection here, Ulmo's deeper understanding of music
and his interest in water seems connected, though I am not entirely
sure which way it goes (did Ulmo sense the musicality of water and
hence grow to love it, or did he help put the musicality into the
substance of water?)

If we look at Manwë, Ulmo and Mandos, each of them seems to understand
some aspect of Eru's mind better than his brothers -- and Ulmo's
understanding seems rooted in the Music and in the replay he gets in
the water, and has to do with some kind of overall sense. Manwë seems
to have a better understanding of Eru's intention (and have access to
special instructions), whereas Mandos seems to know in scaring detail
the specifics of isolated events, but rarely the 'big picture'.

Ulmo himself says that it is his role to (seemingly?) oppose the will
of the Valar, and though I am not convinced that he really did oppose
their will, I think that his role in this is somehow related to that
understanding of Eru's intention that he gets from the music of the
water, as well as the knowledge of Middle-earth that he obtains through
the water.


> b) Melian learns much from Galadriel

<snip>

> - Why did the Noldor hide these matters from their allies and
> kin in Beleriand?

Oh, sorry -- I guess I asked the same question earlier ;)

I don't know, and I suspect that the motives were mixed: some of them
truly thinking that they had put it past them in a spirit of mercy and
forgiveness, and others for more selfish motives: trying to distance
themselves from the Doom of the Noldor.

> - Why does Galadriel say what she does, but not say any more
> than she does?

She's trying to walk a thin line. On one hand she does owe Melian as
much of an explanation as she can give, but on the other hand she also
wants to avoid pointing fingers: she has forgiven the Fëanorians, and
it would be a poor forgiveness that went out and told the tale to
others (leaving these others to assign blame).

> Could matters have turned out better if she had said more?

Galadriel might have been able to put things in a better light than did
the rumours that Morgoth spread. In that respect it might have been
better for Galadriel to speak, but what would that have meant for her,
personally? I think there's a good chance that Galadriel would have
felt that she was somehow betraying a trust if she had told more, and
that that would have pained her -- even more so because of the Prophecy
of the North: if someone had foretold that there was going to be
treachery of kin unto kin, then she was, I believe, going to go out of
her way to make sure that it was not going to be her. Even to the
extent of not telling other allies of the negative things that had
happened.

> Should Melian have tried to find out more?

I think Melian sensed that Galadriel was not going to willingly say
more, and she respected that.

> - What is the nature of Melian's sight, and can it be compared to
> the sight of Galadriel, Elrond and other elves?

<snip quotations>

I'm quite impressed by Melian being able to sense that there is
something specific about Fëanor's sons though she had never met them.

But apart from Melian being, it seems to me, better at it, I think that
it is in many ways the same thing, although the shadow of the Mandos'
Doom, the veiling of Valinor and the shadow of Sauron's influence are,
I believe, different in nature.

> c) Melian gets to the heart of the matter

<snip>

> "This is a great matter, greater indeed than the Noldor themselves
> understand; for the Light of Aman and the fate of Arda lie locked
> now in these things, the work of Feanor, who is gone.

OK, this definitely sounds as if there is much more to Mandos
foretelling that 'the fates of Arda, earth, sea, and air, lay locked
within [the Silmarils]' than merely that one ends in the sky (on
Vingilot), one in the great sea and one inside the earth.

So I get back to the question of what can be meant by this? Can Arda's
ultimate fate be split into those three: earth, see and air? Or is the
meaning that the Silmarils are tied to these particular aspects of
Arda's fate? And how does the fates 'lay locked within them'?

> They shall not be recovered, I foretell, by any power of the
> Eldar;

Nothing new in that -- the messenger from Manwë foretold that at the
gates of Tirion, and Fëanor realised it in death (though he still
enjoined on his sons to do it).

> and the world shall be broken in battles that are to come, ere
> they are wrested from Morgoth."

Foreseeing new details of the War of Wrath, which Ulmo has already
foreshadowed to Turgon.

At this point you have to be even slower than me not to have realised
that
a) this will end very badly for the Noldor
and
b) eventually salvation will come from Aman

As with many other stories (LotR not the least) one does know where it
will end, and the interesting part really is the 'how'. In LotR,
however, I can still get that feeling of excitement at the moment, and
it is characteristic of Tolkien's ability to convey the feeling of the
moment that when Sam collapses in front of the lower door to the Tower
of Cirith Ungol, I have (despite knowing precisely what'll happen next)
always a brief moment when I think, 'Oh dear! Now they're done for!'
;-)

In the Silmarillion this is perhaps even stronger, for though it is
foreshadowed that help will ultimately come from the West, and that
Morgoth will certainly fall, the fate of the individual is uncertain,
and, as we'll see in the chapter of Túrin, an individual fate can very
well be extremely tragic.


> The rest of the scene is a debate between Thingol and Melian.
> Thingol grieves at the news of the death of Finwe, his friend, and
> also focuses on the news about the true motives of the Noldor.
> Melian tries to warn Thingol about the Sons of Feanor ("the shadow
> of the wrath of the Valar lies upon them"), but Thingol does not
> seem to appreciate what Melian is telling him.
>
> - Why does Thingol not pay more heed to his wife?

What could he have done otherwise?

Should he have closed Doriath to all Noldor? I don't think that he had
the power to forbid all Sindar any connection to the Noldor, and if he
closed Doriath, he would rather have shut himself out than the Noldor.

Not to speak of the matter of proof. Melian could sense that the Valar
were wroth with Fëanor's sons, but to the best of their knowledge,
there was at most reason for caution in all dealings with Noldor, and
with the sons of Fëanor (who were already not really welcome in
Doriath) in particular.

All he could do at this point was to exert some extra caution and to
distance himself from the Noldor (though not enough to imperil their
alliance).

It is only later that we find out that he didn't really understand --
when he requested a Silmaril of Beren, he entangled himself and his
realm in the Doom of the Noldor.

> Is this a way of depicting Melian as a Cassandra-type figure?
> Fated to give warnings but not to be listened to?

My impression is rather that of one more wife who's wiser than her
husband ;-) Galadriel, for unfathomable (or perhaps not) reasons,
comes to mind here ;)


> - Why are we told that afterwards Melian and Thingol "spoke
> no more of this matter"? There doesn't really seem to be
> any follow-up to this later in the story.

I think that the scene when Beren first speaks with Thingol refers back
to this earlier scene. 'Thus he wrought the doom of Doriath, and was
ensnared within the curse of Mandos.' And Melian's words that 'now is
Doriath drawn within the fate of a mightier realm.'

I don't know what he could have done better at the earlier point when
he first began to learn the story behind the arrival of the Noldor in
Middle-earth (except, perhaps, to exert more caution), but not until
the story of Beren and Lúthien do we really learn what that was to him,
which he dismissed in his pride.

<snip>


> - Do much of the problems for the children of Finarfin arise from
> their mixed heritage? Do they feel divided loyalty to the people
> of Earwen (the Teleri) on the one hand, and the people of Finwe
> (the Noldor) on the other hand?

Isn't it enough that they were also under the Ban and subjects to the
Doom of the Noldor?

But, yes, their split loyalty to both Thingol and the Fëanorians
certainly does help speed things along, though I don't think it would
have been a problem if not for the Ban and their Doom.

> - Was Finrod right to keep silent, and should Angrod have also
> kept silent?

Yes, and yes, I believe. Given Galadriel's role overall, I think it
likely that her cause of action would be the one that Tolkien felt was
the more 'right' (actually forgiving the Fëanorians and putting the
controversy behind them).

> - Could Melian and Thingol have reacted any other way? Thingol
> says that their griefs must be "lost in [their] hatred of the
> Power that wrought all this woe", which seems rather sensible.

Quite. Again a preference for uniting and forgiving. Morgoth is, of
course, not forgivable, but his redemption and mercy would have had to
be put in the hands of the Valar in any case.

How many of the players do, at this point in the story, realise that
Morgoth can only be overcome with help from Valinor?

> - Why have Thingol ban the language of the Noldor? Is there a
> reason or other meaning behind this?

I wonder if there is some linguistic prejudice involved here --
something along the lines of "the language defines the people".

I'm also reminded of the time after 1657 when Scania was lost (by
Denmark to Sweden) and it became punishable by death to speak Danish
(/I/ am of course not surprised that Swedes would turn to genocide
<G>).

The policy applied in Schleswig-Holstein by Denmark between 1850 and
1864 against the German language was only slightly less cruel, and my
wife's grandmother was soundly beaten in school for speaking Danish.

So, it seems a good historical tradition to attempt to put their
language into disuse as a part of an attempt to assimilate a people,
and with Tolkien's general feeling for language, I am not surprised
that he would be very aware of this.

> This is yet another example of prophecy/foresight/foreshadowing
> in a chapter that is full to bursting with examples of such things.
> How impressive is Tolkien's use of this technique? How well does
> it work?

Preaching to the already converted ;) I won't turn it into an
exercise in superlatives -- it works.

<snip>

--
Troels Forchhammer
Valid e-mail is <t.forch(a)email.dk>

To make a name for learning
when other roads are barred,
take something very easy
and make it very hard.
- Piet Hein, /Wide Road/

Huan the hound

unread,
Jul 3, 2006, 11:44:08 AM7/3/06
to
On 2006-07-03, Troels Forchhammer <Tro...@ThisIsFake.invalid> wrote in
<Xns97F5A959...@131.228.6.98>:

> In message <news:5lImg.90274$wl.8...@text.news.blueyonder.co.uk>
> "Christopher Kreuzer" <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> enriched us with:

[snip]


>> b) Melian learns much from Galadriel

[snip]


>> Could matters have turned out better if she had said more?

[snip]


>> Should Melian have tried to find out more?

><snip>
>
>> "This is a great matter, greater indeed than the Noldor themselves
>> understand; for the Light of Aman and the fate of Arda lie locked
>> now in these things, the work of Feanor, who is gone.

[snip]


>> - Why does Thingol not pay more heed to his wife?
>
> What could he have done otherwise?

[snip]


> It is only later that we find out that he didn't really understand --
> when he requested a Silmaril of Beren, he entangled himself and his
> realm in the Doom of the Noldor.

Thingol must have been more interested (and upset about) the Kinslaying
than the Oath. It turned out that he might as well not have known about
any of the events leading to the exile, then at least ignorance could
have been his excuse. After learning about the Oath he should have
stayed uninvolved and instead he puts himself in the middle of it.

--
Huan, the hound of Valinor

Phlip

unread,
Jul 3, 2006, 12:38:01 PM7/3/06
to
Huan the hound wrote:

> Thingol must have been more interested (and upset about) the Kinslaying
> than the Oath. It turned out that he might as well not have known about
> any of the events leading to the exile, then at least ignorance could
> have been his excuse. After learning about the Oath he should have
> stayed uninvolved and instead he puts himself in the middle of it.

Thingol is grumpy, ignorant, and prejudiced agains Humans. And Beren
probably looks like a total bum. (Consider the Monty Python "Ken Shabby"
sketch, where Connie Booth dotes on Michael Palin, dressed as a bag-person,
and introducing him to her father, the officious Graham Chapman. "Get'em
while they're young eh? OOOH know what I mean? Ooooh!")

Thingol has to get rid of him - hopefully get him killed - as royally and
officially as possible. Something his court will accept. Sending him to get
anything less than a Silmaril would be an insult.

Never thinking he could get one represents the common fantasy theme of a
higher race underestimating humans.

However, Thingol doesn't realize that from the moment the word "Silmaril"
passed his lips, Doriath was entangled with the Noldor's curse. He obviously
didn't understand the curse well enough. And love for his only child blinded
him.

Flame of the West

unread,
Jul 3, 2006, 1:03:34 PM7/3/06
to
Phlip wrote:

> Thingol is grumpy, ignorant, and prejudiced agains Humans. And Beren
> probably looks like a total bum. (Consider the Monty Python "Ken Shabby"
> sketch, where Connie Booth dotes on Michael Palin, dressed as a bag-person,
> and introducing him to her father, the officious Graham Chapman. "Get'em
> while they're young eh? OOOH know what I mean? Ooooh!")

And the joke is that Thingol himself married way above his station. To
the Ainur he probably appears a Ken Shabby himself. Indeed he must
appear much worse to them than Beren does to him, because he is both far
below their station AND an insufferable snob. How they must chuckle
when he rails at Beren, when he too is a creature from the dirt of the
Earth!


-- FotW

Reality is for those who cannot cope with Middle-earth.

Phlip

unread,
Jul 3, 2006, 1:13:29 PM7/3/06
to
Flame of the West wrote:

> And the joke is that Thingol himself married way above his station. To
> the Ainur he probably appears a Ken Shabby himself. Indeed he must appear
> much worse to them than Beren does to him, because he is both far below
> their station AND an insufferable snob. How they must chuckle when he
> rails at Beren, when he too is a creature from the dirt of the Earth!

Luthien meeting Beren represents the Fallen Angel meeting the Risen Ape.
Both give rise to the nobility and rancor that is humanity.

Thingol's plot arc, correct me if I'm wrong, appears to be...

- awaken by Cuivienen Bay with the first elf-children
- rose to eldar nobility by merit
- one of the three ambassadors to Aman
- soaked up some Tree light
- returned to Middle-earth
- among the leaders of the Great Journey
- waylaid by Melian

Note the encounter resembles Beren meeting Luthien. A risen elf (but not a
furry ape) meeting a fallen angel!

Tar-Elenion

unread,
Jul 3, 2006, 1:24:53 PM7/3/06
to
In article <Zecqg.61471$fb2....@newssvr27.news.prodigy.net>,
phli...@yahoo.com says...
<snip>

>
> Thingol's plot arc, correct me if I'm wrong, appears to be...
>
> - awaken by Cuivienen Bay with the first elf-children

Born at Cuivienen, probably a third generation Elf; he had parents.

> - rose to eldar nobility by merit
> - one of the three ambassadors to Aman
> - soaked up some Tree light
> - returned to Middle-earth
> - among the leaders of the Great Journey
> - waylaid by Melian


--
Tar-Elenion

He is a warrior, and a spirit of wrath. In every
stroke that he deals he sees the Enemy who long
ago did thee this hurt.

Phlip

unread,
Jul 3, 2006, 1:26:24 PM7/3/06
to
Tar-Elenion wrote:

>> Thingol's plot arc, correct me if I'm wrong, appears to be...
>>
>> - awaken by Cuivienen Bay with the first elf-children
>
> Born at Cuivienen, probably a third generation Elf; he had parents.

In terms of dirt, where'd the /first/ elves come from? Glowing flowers with
big pendulous pods??

Tar-Elenion

unread,
Jul 3, 2006, 1:44:43 PM7/3/06
to
In article <4rcqg.61475$fb2....@newssvr27.news.prodigy.net>,
phli...@yahoo.com says...

> Tar-Elenion wrote:
>
> >> Thingol's plot arc, correct me if I'm wrong, appears to be...
> >>
> >> - awaken by Cuivienen Bay with the first elf-children
> >
> > Born at Cuivienen, probably a third generation Elf; he had parents.
>
> In terms of dirt, where'd the /first/ elves come from? Glowing flowers with
> big pendulous pods??

What?

Christopher Kreuzer

unread,
Jul 3, 2006, 4:49:41 PM7/3/06
to
Flame of the West <je...@solinasNOSPAM.org> wrote:

<snip>

> And the joke is that Thingol himself married way above his station.
> To the Ainur he probably appears a Ken Shabby himself. Indeed he must
> appear much worse to them than Beren does to him, because he is both
> far below their station AND an insufferable snob. How they must
> chuckle when he rails at Beren, when he too is a creature from the
> dirt of the Earth!

To a certain extent. But in some respects, Ainur and Elves have more in
common than Elves and Men. Ainur and Elves are both bound to Arda, to be
its life and their's until the end. To the Ainur, Men are probably as
mysterious as they are to Elves.

And Men can be snobs too: "Look at us! WE have the Gift! We'll send you
a postcard from BtCotW. See ya later alligator!"

Christopher Kreuzer

unread,
Jul 3, 2006, 4:54:01 PM7/3/06
to
Huan the hound <huanth...@netscape.net> wrote:
> Troels Forchhammer <Tro...@ThisIsFake.invalid> wrote:

[Thingol and the Silmaril]

<snip>

>> It is only later that we find out that he didn't really understand --
>> when he requested a Silmaril of Beren, he entangled himself and his
>> realm in the Doom of the Noldor.
>
> Thingol must have been more interested (and upset about) the
> Kinslaying than the Oath. It turned out that he might as well not
> have known about any of the events leading to the exile, then at
> least ignorance could have been his excuse. After learning about the
> Oath he should have stayed uninvolved and instead he puts himself in
> the middle of it.

Phlip <phli...@yahoo.com> wrote:

> However, Thingol doesn't realize that from the moment the word
> "Silmaril" passed his lips, Doriath was entangled with the Noldor's
> curse. He obviously didn't understand the curse well enough. And love
> for his only child blinded him.

Not much to add, but I just wanted to say thanks for those three
comments, which I think have helped me understand the Doom of the
Noldor, the Oath of Feanor, and the Kinslaying, a lot better. I always
forget how the evil of the Kinslaying drives a lot of the later evils.
They can't escape from the consequences of that earlier evil.

Christopher Kreuzer

unread,
Jul 3, 2006, 5:06:37 PM7/3/06
to
Troels Forchhammer <Tro...@ThisIsFake.invalid> wrote:

<snip>

> I don't mean whether we could imagine it not happening once the
> narrator has reported it, but could we imagine that there has been
> unreported instances of foresight coming upon someone and the events
> foresighted not happening?

Don't be silly! :-)

Why would anyone report or record a foretelling that failed. That would
require people to be scientific and objective about such things...

<snip>

>> "This is a great matter, greater indeed than the Noldor themselves
>> understand; for the Light of Aman and the fate of Arda lie locked
>> now in these things, the work of Feanor, who is gone.
>
> OK, this definitely sounds as if there is much more to Mandos
> foretelling that 'the fates of Arda, earth, sea, and air, lay locked
> within [the Silmarils]' than merely that one ends in the sky (on
> Vingilot), one in the great sea and one inside the earth.
>
> So I get back to the question of what can be meant by this? Can Arda's
> ultimate fate be split into those three: earth, see and air? Or is the
> meaning that the Silmarils are tied to these particular aspects of
> Arda's fate? And how does the fates 'lay locked within them'?

I think it refers to other texts (in HoME) where after the Final Battle
and the breaking of earth, sea, and sky, the Silmarils are recovered,
Feanor returns, he unlocks the Silmarils, and the light is used to
restore the Two Trees.

Now, I may have just made that up. But even if I have, I think a
prophecy like that would be pretty awesome! :-)

OTOH, there is the bit at the end of /The Silmarillion/ where we are
told that none of the Valar know if the Marring of Arda will be undone,
and it is not foretold in the Dooms of Mandos.

But the author's son did warn us in the Foreword not to expect
consistency!

<snip>

> As with many other stories (LotR not the least) one does know where it
> will end, and the interesting part really is the 'how'. In LotR,
> however, I can still get that feeling of excitement at the moment, and
> it is characteristic of Tolkien's ability to convey the feeling of the
> moment that when Sam collapses in front of the lower door to the Tower
> of Cirith Ungol, I have (despite knowing precisely what'll happen
> next) always a brief moment when I think, 'Oh dear! Now they're done
> for!' ;-)

Not quite the same feeling as the first time, surely? But I too feel
that there is something in Tolkien's writings that never grows stale,
even after many re-readings.

> In the Silmarillion this is perhaps even stronger, for though it is
> foreshadowed that help will ultimately come from the West, and that
> Morgoth will certainly fall, the fate of the individual is uncertain,
> and, as we'll see in the chapter of Túrin, an individual fate can very
> well be extremely tragic.

Good point.

<snip>

>> - Why have Thingol ban the language of the Noldor? Is there a
>> reason or other meaning behind this?
>
> I wonder if there is some linguistic prejudice involved here --
> something along the lines of "the language defines the people".

<snip examples>

I like that idea. Sounds very plausible.

<snip rest>

ste...@nomail.com

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Jul 3, 2006, 5:18:05 PM7/3/06
to
In rec.arts.books.tolkien Christopher Kreuzer <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> wrote:

> And Men can be snobs too: "Look at us! WE have the Gift! We'll send you
> a postcard from BtCotW. See ya later alligator!"

Before the Chapter of the Week?????

:)

Stephen

Christopher Kreuzer

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Jul 3, 2006, 5:22:35 PM7/3/06
to

LOL! I'm not telling you what it really means.
I'm sure someone will be able to guess, if you haven't already.

Troels Forchhammer

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Jul 3, 2006, 5:58:20 PM7/3/06
to
In message <news:vUfqg.95645$wl.3...@text.news.blueyonder.co.uk>
"Christopher Kreuzer" <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> enriched us with:
>
> ste...@nomail.com <ste...@nomail.com> wrote:
>>
>> In rec.arts.books.tolkien Christopher Kreuzer
>> <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> wrote:
>>
>>> And Men can be snobs too: "Look at us! WE have the Gift!
>>> We'll send you a postcard from BtCotW.
>>
>> Before the Chapter of the Week?????
>> :)
>
> LOL!

LOL! Indeed ;)

I, too, overlooked the leading Bt at first, getting it somewhat
wrong.

> I'm not telling you what it really means.

Somehow that wouldn't be nearly as much fun, would it ;)

> I'm sure someone will be able to guess, if you haven't already.

I guess I was expecting BtCoA, but yours is better in this case.

--
Troels Forchhammer
Valid e-mail is <t.forch(a)email.dk>

Taking fun
as simply fun
and earnestness
in earnest
shows how thouroughly
thou none
of the two
discernest.

Phlip

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Jul 3, 2006, 9:05:07 PM7/3/06
to
Christopher Kreuzer wrote:

>>> And Men can be snobs too: "Look at us! WE have the Gift! We'll send
>>> you a postcard from BtCotW. See ya later alligator!"
>>
>> Before the Chapter of the Week?????
>>
>> :)
>
> LOL! I'm not telling you what it really means.

Beyond the Curse of the West, where "CotW" is the internal technical name
for the videogame Darkwatch, published by High Moon Studios.

Christopher Kreuzer

unread,
Jul 3, 2006, 9:30:20 PM7/3/06
to
Phlip <phli...@yahoo.com> wrote:
> Christopher Kreuzer wrote:
>
>>>> And Men can be snobs too: "Look at us! WE have the Gift! We'll send
>>>> you a postcard from BtCotW. See ya later alligator!"
>>>
>>> Before the Chapter of the Week?????
>>>
>>> :)
>>
>> LOL! I'm not telling you what it really means.
>
> Beyond the Curse of the West, where "CotW" is the internal technical
> name for the videogame Darkwatch, published by High Moon Studios.

Nope! Strike 2.

Phlip

unread,
Jul 3, 2006, 9:38:10 PM7/3/06
to
Christopher Kreuzer wrote:

> Nope! Strike 2.

How'd I pick up someone else's Strike 1?

Jamie Andrews; real address @ bottom of message

unread,
Jul 4, 2006, 4:07:41 PM7/4/06
to
> ste...@nomail.com <ste...@nomail.com> wrote:
>> In rec.arts.books.tolkien Christopher Kreuzer
>> <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> wrote:
>>> And Men can be snobs too: "Look at us! WE have the Gift! We'll send
>>> you a postcard from BtCotW. See ya later alligator!"
>> Before the Chapter of the Week?????

"We are not bound forever to the Chapter of the Week" :-)

--Jamie. (efil4dreN)
andrews .uwo } Merge these two lines to obtain my e-mail address.
@csd .ca } (Unsolicited "bulk" e-mail costs everyone.)

Troels Forchhammer

unread,
Jul 4, 2006, 4:55:21 PM7/4/06
to
In message <news:4h004dF...@individual.net> m...@privacy.net
(Jamie Andrews; real address @ bottom of message) enriched us with:
>
>> ste...@nomail.com <ste...@nomail.com> wrote:
>>>
>>> In rec.arts.books.tolkien Christopher Kreuzer
>>> <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> wrote:
>>>>
>>>> And Men can be snobs too: "Look at us! WE have the Gift! We'll
>>>> send you a postcard from BtCotW. See ya later alligator!"
>>>
>>> Before the Chapter of the Week?????
>
> "We are not bound forever to the Chapter of the Week" :-)

. . and beyond it is more than memory . . .

--
Troels Forchhammer
Valid e-mail is <t.forch(a)email.dk>

People demand freedom of speech to make up for the freedom
of thought which they avoid.
- Soren Kierkegaard

Count Menelvagor

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Jul 4, 2006, 5:10:46 PM7/4/06
to

Flame of the West wrote:

that is just SO typical of incarnates.

what are the country clubs of the eldar but a mud hut where brigands
reek in the drink, and their brats roll on the floor with the dogs?

Stan Brown

unread,
Jul 4, 2006, 10:43:12 PM7/4/06
to
Fri, 23 Jun 2006 02:28:17 GMT from Christopher Kreuzer
<spam...@blueyonder.co.uk>:

> But even at this early stage, it seems clear that Ulmo is appearing, or
> being mentioned, fairly often in the story. What do people think of
> Ulmo? Of his role, and the atmosphere his words and appearances create
> for the reader?

Seems to me he's the only one of the Valar who actually takes trouble
over the Noldor in exile. The other Valar seem to pursue a policy of
"out of sight, out of mind", but he at least tries to nudge a few of
the princes of the Noldor in the right direction.

--
Stan Brown, Oak Road Systems, Tompkins County, New York, USA
http://OakRoadSystems.com
Tolkien FAQs: http://Tolkien.slimy.com (Steuard Jensen's site)
Tolkien letters FAQ:
http://users.telerama.com/~taliesen/tolkien/lettersfaq.html
FAQ of the Rings: http://oakroadsystems.com/genl/ringfaq.htm
Encyclopedia of Arda: http://www.glyphweb.com/arda/default.htm
more FAQs: http://oakroadsystems.com/genl/faqget.htm

Stan Brown

unread,
Jul 4, 2006, 10:50:22 PM7/4/06
to
Fri, 23 Jun 2006 02:28:17 GMT from Christopher Kreuzer
<spam...@blueyonder.co.uk>:
> - What is the nature of Melian's sight, and can it be compared to the
> sight of Galadriel, Elrond and other elves?
>
> "There is some woe that lies upon you and your kin. That I can see in
> you, but all else is hidden from me; for by no vision or thought can I
> perceive anything that passed or passes in the West: a shadow lies over
> all the land of Aman, and reaches far out over the sea." (Melian, Silm)

Melian was part of the Music of the Ainur -- her quoted words would
be consistent with her remembering a general impression of the Noldor
and a sadness from that music.

I never really thought about the last clause before. It seems she's
saying that the enchantments that the Valar put over the approaches
to Aman were proof against even one of the greatest of the Maiar.
Since Melian was *not* an exile, I would have thought she'd have kept
up some contact with the Valar by Osanwe, at least with Vana and
Este.

Digression on Osanwe-kenta:

Like many of us, I find Tolkien's essay on this topic fascinating.
But it doesn't really seem consistent with the story. Too much in
Silm and LotR would have been unnecessary if Osanwe really worked the
way the essay says it did. Elrond would not have had to wait for the
scouts to report back before the Company set out; Galadriel would not
have needed messengers from Rivendell; Sauron could have sent new
steeds to meet the Nazgul, saving them most of the walk south; Melian
would have known the Noldor were coming before they arrived, and she
would not have had to guess that they were exiles.

Stan Brown

unread,
Jul 4, 2006, 10:59:03 PM7/4/06
to
Mon, 03 Jul 2006 14:26:05 GMT from Troels Forchhammer
<Tro...@ThisIsFake.invalid>:

> Once more we get back to the matter of Ulmo's persistent help to the
> exiles. That is certainly not what was promised by the messenger
> from Manwë before the gates of Tirion, 'No aid will the Valar lend
> you in this quest,' nor is it in the spirit of the Doom of the
> Noldor where Mandos promised that 'the Valar will fence Valinor
> against you, and shut you out, so that not even the echo of your
> lamentation shall pass over the mountains.'
>
> Ulmo himself addresses this issue in his monologue to Tuor when the
> latter reached Vinyamar.
> Therefore, though in the days of this darkness I seem to
> oppose the will of my brethren, the Lords of the West, that
> is my part among them, to which I was appointed ere the
> making of the World.
> [UT 1,I 'Of Tuor and his Coming to Gondolin']
>
> Ulmo's explanation, that it is his role, his fate (or destiny, if
> you will) to 'seem to oppose the will' of the other Valar, seems to
> me to imply that he thinks (as do I) that he is doing Eru's Will.
>
> This creates an interesting duality between Mandos and Ulmo, who
> both act, as I see it, according to Eru's Will and in accordance
> with the fate of Arda, and yet they apparently contradict each
> other.

It can be read as a contradiction, but I want very much not to read
it that way. There's never been the shadow of a suggestion that
either Mandos or Ulmo has a rebellious thought, against Eru or
against Mane, so I want very much for them not to be working at cross
purposes.

Here's how I look at it: Ulmo offered *counsel*, not *aid*, to the
Noldor. He told Turgon what to do but did not help him do t. He _did_
offer aid to Tuor, but Mandos had laid a curse on the Noldor, not on
Men.

As for "not even the echo of your lamentation", I don't see any
contradiction there. As far as we are told, the Valar gave no thought
to the Noldor of Middle-earth (much less to any of the other peoples)
until Earendil burst into Valinor in person.

I think Ulmo's words to Tuor in UT mean that what he was doing was
part of the Music of the Ainur. The greater Valar probably had some
dim idea that Ulmo was supposed to be the friend of the Noldor in
Exile, even though they might not know or remember any details.

Stan Brown

unread,
Jul 4, 2006, 11:02:38 PM7/4/06
to
Mon, 03 Jul 2006 14:26:05 GMT from Troels Forchhammer
<Tro...@ThisIsFake.invalid>:
> I don't mean whether we could imagine it not happening once the
> narrator has reported it, but could we imagine that there has been
> unreported instances of foresight coming upon someone and the events
> foresighted not happening?

I can't recall any direct instance, but Galadriel alludes to the
possibility in the "Mirror" chapter, saying that some things her
mirror shows won't happen *unless* people take action to try to
prevent them.

"Remember that the Mirror shows many things, and not all have yet
come to pass. Some never come to be, unless those that behold the
visions turn aside from their path to prevent them. The Mirror is
dangerous as a guide of deeds."

Christopher Kreuzer

unread,
Jul 5, 2006, 3:09:54 AM7/5/06
to
Phlip <phli...@yahoo.com> wrote:
> Christopher Kreuzer wrote:
>
>> Nope! Strike 2.
>
> How'd I pick up someone else's Strike 1?

Team effort! :-)

Christopher Kreuzer

unread,
Jul 5, 2006, 3:19:45 AM7/5/06
to
Jamie Andrews; real address @ bottom of message <m...@privacy.net> wrote:
>> ste...@nomail.com <ste...@nomail.com> wrote:
>>> In rec.arts.books.tolkien Christopher Kreuzer
>>> <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> wrote:
>>>> And Men can be snobs too: "Look at us! WE have the Gift! We'll send
>>>> you a postcard from BtCotW. See ya later alligator!"
>>> Before the Chapter of the Week?????
>
> "We are not bound forever to the Chapter of the Week" :-)

Dang! Someone (else) got it! :-)

<good pun there!>

Morgoth's Curse

unread,
Jul 5, 2006, 8:58:10 AM7/5/06
to
On Tue, 4 Jul 2006 22:50:22 -0400, Stan Brown
<the_sta...@fastmail.fm> wrote:

>Digression on Osanwe-kenta:
>
>Like many of us, I find Tolkien's essay on this topic fascinating.
>But it doesn't really seem consistent with the story. Too much in
>Silm and LotR would have been unnecessary if Osanwe really worked the
>way the essay says it did. Elrond would not have had to wait for the
>scouts to report back before the Company set out; Galadriel would not
>have needed messengers from Rivendell; Sauron could have sent new
>steeds to meet the Nazgul, saving them most of the walk south; Melian
>would have known the Noldor were coming before they arrived, and she
>would not have had to guess that they were exiles.

Perhaps that would explain why the essay was never included in any of
Tolkien's published works? Or did Tolkien set it aside for further
revision?

Morgoth's Curse

JimboCat

unread,
Jul 5, 2006, 2:55:46 PM7/5/06
to
Troels Forchhammer wrote:

> I wonder if there is some linguistic prejudice involved here --
> something along the lines of "the language defines the people".

And what is it exactly that Treebeard said? "The Elves taught the Ents
to speak...they were always doing things like that in the old days,
waking things up and talking to them..." (paraphrased) And yet it looks
to me like the Ents still managed -- apparently after being taught to
speak at all -- to invent their own language, and one quite unlike any
other in Middle Earth. I bet there are things that can be said in Old
Entish that can't be said in any other language! (or if they could, no
one would ever bother to take the time)

Jim Deutch (JimboCat)
--
Colorless green ideas sleep furiously

Flame of the West

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Jul 5, 2006, 6:35:34 PM7/5/06
to
Count Menelvagor wrote:

> that is just SO typical of incarnates.
>
> what are the country clubs of the eldar but a mud hut where brigands
> reek in the drink, and their brats roll on the floor with the dogs?

And what's the deal with that low-rent tramp, Melian? Was there no
one of the race of the Maiar to choose? She could have hooked up with
Gandalf, Saruman, Sauron, or any of the Balrogs. (I'll bet that
Sauron would have forged her a wedding ring like no other.) But no,
she had to marry a mere Elf, and an intolerable snob at that!

Pseudonymus al-Faqha'ter III

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Jul 5, 2006, 7:42:55 PM7/5/06
to

Flame of the West wrote:
> Count Menelvagor wrote:
>
> > that is just SO typical of incarnates.
> >
> > what are the country clubs of the eldar but a mud hut where brigands
> > reek in the drink, and their brats roll on the floor with the dogs?
>
> And what's the deal with that low-rent tramp, Melian? Was there no
> one of the race of the Maiar to choose? She could have hooked up with
> Gandalf, Saruman, Sauron, or any of the Balrogs. (I'll bet that
> Sauron would have forged her a wedding ring like no other.) But no,
> she had to marry a mere Elf, and an intolerable snob at that!

History and the Market have taken their revenge. FATS offers elvish
products at a discount price.

Dirk Thierbach

unread,
Jul 7, 2006, 6:02:25 AM7/7/06
to
Christopher Kreuzer <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> wrote:
> Troels Forchhammer <Tro...@ThisIsFake.invalid> wrote:

[BTW, Stan, I just snipped all the text from Christopher's posting
between the attributions he left in and the text below. Just in case
you want to complain :-) ]

>>> - Why have Thingol ban the language of the Noldor? Is there a
>>> reason or other meaning behind this?

>> I wonder if there is some linguistic prejudice involved here --
>> something along the lines of "the language defines the people".

> <snip examples>
>
> I like that idea. Sounds very plausible.

There are actually many more examples, like the English banning
Irish, and punishing the Irish people when they were still using it.

OTOH, Tolkien needed a historical background to explain why the
Noldor were all speaking Sindarin, and Quenya became an "elven-latin"
over time. So, he invented one in form of a story (as he did with
many other things).

- Dirk

Jamie Andrews; real address @ bottom of message

unread,
Jul 7, 2006, 3:06:11 PM7/7/06
to
Sorry for the lateness of this (I am replying to this after
my replies to the next chapter!).

In rec.arts.books.tolkien Christopher Kreuzer <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> wrote:

> But even at this early stage, it seems clear that Ulmo is appearing, or
> being mentioned, fairly often in the story. What do people think of
> Ulmo? Of his role, and the atmosphere his words and appearances create
> for the reader?

The relative importance of the various Valar was one of the
biggest surprises for me in Silm. From LOTR, I had been led to
suspect that Elbereth (Varda) would be the main Vala mentioned.
I believe that Manwe is also described in one of the appendices
to LOTR, so I suspected I would get a glimpse of him.

However, it turned out that Ulmo was the Vala that had the
most to do with the Noldor in Beleriand. That was a surprise to
me -- IIRC, he is not even mentioned in LOTR! I wonder why
Tolkien did this, since he must have written the relative
passages of Silm before the appendices to LOTR. Maybe he was
thinking of de-emphasizing Ulmo? But I don't remember seeing
any indications of this.

> - Why have Thingol ban the language of the Noldor? Is there a reason or
> other meaning behind this?

Maybe he wanted to understand all that was being said in
his realm. Perhaps he also wanted to punish the Noldor, and/or
to emphasize the fact that he ruled Doriath and no one was going
to take it from him.

> - This chapter also contains a map of the realms of Beleriand, as
> described in the previous chapter. At least this map is in this chapter
> in my edition of /The Silmarillion/. Maybe the map was placed here due
> to publishing constraints on the layout of the original hardback
> edition? The map is similar to, but smaller than, the one of the whole
> of Beleriand (at the back of the book), but has the names of the
> Noldorin princes labelling their realms, along with the Sindarin realms
> of Thingol and Melian, and Cirdan.

That map is in that place in my first-edition hardback copy
of Silm (first edition, but not first printing, so not at all
valuable).

k2g...@gmail.com

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Jul 9, 2006, 4:32:18 AM7/9/06
to
Jamie Andrews; real address @ bottom of message wrote:
> The relative importance of the various Valar was one of the
> biggest surprises for me in Silm. From LOTR, I had been led to
> suspect that Elbereth (Varda) would be the main Vala mentioned.
> I believe that Manwe is also described in one of the appendices
> to LOTR, so I suspected I would get a glimpse of him.
>
> However, it turned out that Ulmo was the Vala that had the
> most to do with the Noldor in Beleriand. That was a surprise to
> me -- IIRC, he is not even mentioned in LOTR! I wonder why
> Tolkien did this, since he must have written the relative
> passages of Silm before the appendices to LOTR. Maybe he was
> thinking of de-emphasizing Ulmo? But I don't remember seeing
> any indications of this.
>
> --Jamie. (efil4dreN)

Varda might have been mentioned the most in LotR and Manwe might be the
highest in due order, but while that would make them the most elgible
for their names to appear in LotR that doesn't necessarily imply they
have greater role in the Silmarillion.

For example, in the Valaquenta a bunch of Valar are described and the
greater part of them do absolutely nothing, unless you count when it
says that the Valar as a whole do some act. They also describe Maiar,
and the main ones are Ilmare, who never appears again, and Eonwe, who
gets about 4 paragraphs in the last chapter. There is also Osse and
Uinen, who are mentioned as being most known in ME. I don't think the
word Uinen ever appears in Quenta Silmarillion and Osse only shows up a
little during the journey to Aman.

On the other hand Melian gets one paragraph which talks about her
singing with nightingales and yet her role in Quenta Silmarillion is
about as much as Eonwe, Ilmare, Osse, and Uinen put together,
multiplied by 5.

I suppose one effect of all this is that it may imply that the LotR
appendixes, the Valaquenta, and the Quenta Silmarillion were written by
different people and were all put together, so the book The
Silmarillion ends up being a kind of collection of different stories.

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