CotW - The Silmarillion - Ch 22 - Of the Ruin of Doriath

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Christopher Kreuzer

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Nov 18, 2006, 8:28:38 PM11/18/06
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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 22 - Of the Ruin of Doriath.

INTRODUCTION

In this chapter, the loose ends of the Túrin saga are tied up, and the
endgame of /Quenta Silmarillion/ begins in earnest, as we see the fall of
one of the two major Elven kingdoms left in Beleriand. The stage is also set
for the later chapters, as the Silmaril, through much turmoil and
vicissitudes, is brought by the author to the coast of Beleriand, where it,
and its bearer, Elwing, are left by the author, unknowingly awaiting the
survivors of another ruined kingdom.

The tales of Húrin, Morwen, Thingol, Melian, Beren and Lúthien, reach their
end in this chapter, the first two intertwined with the malice of Morgoth,
and the others caught up in the fate of the Silmaril. In the closing scenes
of the chapter, the Oath of Fëanor awakes again from sleep, bringing about
the second slaying of Elf by Elf.

The following sections include a brief chapter synopsis, a look at the
dialogues and monologues, several general discussion points, a selection of
some of the archaic words used, and a brief introduction to the textual
history (to be covered in more detail elsewhere). Please add any comments or
responses you may have, plus any further questions you can think of.

CHAPTER SYNOPSIS

1) Wanderings of Húrin

"[Morgoth's] purpose was that Húrin should still further his [Morgoth's]
hatred for Elves and Men, ere he died." (Of the Ruin of Doriath)

(a) Freeing of Húrin
(b) Húrin seeks Gondolin
(c) The death of Morwen
(d) Húrin at Nargothrond
(e) Húrin in Doriath
(f) The death of Húrin

2) The Fate of Doriath

"And now is Doriath drawn within the fate of a mightier realm." (Melian - Of
Beren and Lúthien)

(a) Thingol and the Silmaril
(b) Thingol and the Dwarves
(c) Death of Thingol
(d) Departure of Melian
(e) First Sack of Menegroth
(f) Battle of Sarn Athrad
(g) Renewal of Doriath
(h) Death of Beren and Lúthien
(i) Oath of Fëanor awakes
(j) Second Sack of Menegroth

DIALOGUES/MONOLOGUES

1) Turgon-Thorondor

"If the Eagles of Manwë were wont to err thus, then long ago, lord, your
hiding would have been in vain."

2) Húrin (Turgon)

"O Turgon, will you not hear in your hidden halls?"

3) Húrin-Morwen

Morwen: "You come at last. I have waited too long."

Húrin: "It was a dark road. I have come as I could."

4) Húrin-Mîm

Mîm: "I am Mîm; and before the proud ones came from over the Sea, Dwarves
delved the halls of Nulukkizdîn. I have but returned to take what is mine;
for I am the last of my people."

Húrin: "...not unknown is it to me by whom the Dragon-helm of Dor-lómin was
betrayed."

5) Húrin-Melian (Thingol)

Húrin: "Receive thou thy fee, for thy fair keeping of my children and my
wife!"

Melian: "With the voice of Morgoth thou dost now upbraid thy friends."

6) Thingol (Dwarves)

"How do ye of uncouth race dare to demand aught of me, Elu Thingol, Lord of
Beleriand, whose life began by the waters of Cuiviénen years uncounted ere
the fathers of the stunted people awoke?"

DRAMATIC SCENES

- The aged Húrin arriving in Hithlum
- Húrin crying aloud in the wilderness
- The night-sentinels' sighting of Húrin
- Morwen's death scene
- The darkness and decay of Nargothrond
- Húrin confronting Thingol
- Thingol confronting the dwarves
- Dior receiving the Silmaril-Nauglamír

DISCUSSION POINTS

- Húrin's appearance when he is released is striking: "His hair and beard
were white and long, but he walked unbowed, bearing a great black staff; and
he was girt with a sword." - does this sound anything like a biblical
prophet, or even a certain wizard?

- What would have happened had Turgon told Thorondor to bring Húrin to
Gondolin again, as indeed he later wished he had?

- The scene where Húrin cries aloud to Turgon in the wilderness, recalling
the scene at the Fen of Serech in the Fifth Battle, also has striking
parallels with scenes from the battle, including the scene where Húrin is
captured at the end of the battle.

"Húrin stood in despair before the silent cliffs of the Echoriath, and the
westering sun, piercing the clouds, stained his white hair with red. Then he
cried aloud in the wilderness [...] 'Turgon, Turgon, remember the Fen of
Serech!' [...] But there was no sound save the wind in the dry grasses.
'Even so they hissed in Serech at the sunset,' he said; and as he spoke the
sun went behind the Mountains of Shadow, and a darkness fell about him, and
the wind ceased, and there was silence in the waste." (Of the Ruin of
Doriath)

"There as the sun westered on the sixth day, and the shadow of Ered Wethrin
grew dark, Huor fell pierced with a venomed arrow in his eye, and all the
valiant Men of Hador were slain about him in a heap; and the Orcs hewed
their heads and piled them as a mound of gold in the sunset. [Húrin is
eventually captured.] Thus ended Nirnaeth Arnoediad, as the sun went down
beyond the sea. Night fell in Hithlum, and there came a great storm of wind
out of the West." (Of the Fifth Battle: Nirnaeth Arnoediad)

The parallels I see here include the shadow of Ered Wethrin (The Mountains
of Shadow) being mentioned both times. Also, Húrin's now-white hair catches
the westering sun, with a gleam like that of blood, compared to the golden
hair of the dead Men of Hador gleaming like gold in the sunset. There is
also the obvious recalling of the Fen of Serech, followed by the scenes both
ending with sunset and the falling of night. At the battle, 28 years
earlier, a great storm of wind came out of the West, a suitable follow-up to
the defiance shown by Húrin with his cries of "Aurë entuluva! Day shall come
again!". Now, an old, white-haired man, embittered by Morgoth, and reminded
of the adventures of his youth with Huor, his long-dead brother, Húrin
despairs in the face of the silent cliffs, and there is no great storm of
wind to accompany the sunset, merely a "silence in the waste".

- Inadvertently revealing to Morgoth's spies the region where Gondolin was,
is described as "the first evil that the freedom of Húrin achieved". What
were the later evils that Húrin's freedom caused?

- Húrin is lead to Brethil by dreams of Morwen. Whence came these dreams?

- The night-sentinels at the Crossings of Teiglin see Húrin thus: "they
thought that they saw a ghost out of some ancient battle-mound that walked
with darkness about it". What is this darkness they see about him? Later,
after Húrin buries Morwen, we are told that Húrin does not lie in that
grave: "for his doom drove him on, and the Shadow still followed him." Were
the night-sentinels sensing this shadow, this curse that Morgoth had laid on
Húrin and his kin?

- Imagine the pain Húrin felt as Morwen asked him "if you know, tell me! How
did she [Nienor] find him [Túrin]?" He, of course, knew, but stayed silent
as she died: "...he closed her eyes, and sat unmoving beside her as the
night drew down. The waters of Cabed Naeramarth roared on, but he heard no
sound, and he saw nothing, and felt nothing, for his heart was stone within
him."

- The reference to Tol Morwen, the Stone of the Hapless, contains another of
those references that reveal that the land will be reshaped by the wrath of
the Valar, making clear that the end of the story (the Valar come and
overthrow Morgoth) is not the point here. Rather it is the stories within
the story that are the points.

- In Nargothrond, does Mîm have a point when he talks about having returned
to take what is his? Is the slaying of Mîm by Húrin another of the evils
caused by Húrin's freedom?

- In Doriath, when Húrin casts the Nauglamír at Thingol's feet, Thingol
shows impressive restraint and endures Húrin's scorn, letting Melian speak
instead. This Thingol contrasts sharply with the proud and haughty Thingol
who spoke to Beren, and also with the prideful Thingol (admittedly obsessed
with the Silmaril) who insulted the dwarves.

- What do you think Melian's reaction was when Húrin freely gave the
Nauglamír to Thingol as a gift? Did she feel the web of fate drawing ever
tighter around Thingol and herself and their kingdom?

- Is the ending of Húrin's tale a satisfactory one? A "happy ending"?
Despite being Morgoth's thrall "no longer", we are told that "all that saw
him fell back before his face" (what did they see there?). He is also
described as being "bereft of all purpose and desire" and we are told that
he "cast himself at last into the western sea".

- "...as the years passed Thingol's thought turned unceasingly to the jewel
of Fëanor, and became bound to it, and he liked not to let it rest even
behind the doors of his inmost treasury; and he was minded now to bear it
with him always, waking and sleeping." This is not good! Is this a flaw in
Thingol's character? An unavoidable fate? An effect special to the Silmaril?
The dwarves seem to be affected in a similar way.

- Did the dwarves have a genuine claim to the Nauglamír? How would you
resolve this dispute over a combined work of the Dwarves and the Elves?

- Why is it significant that Thingol, with his last sight, gazed upon the
light of the Trees of Valinor, contained in the Silmaril? Is there something
more here than just the fact that he "alone of the Forsaken Elves" had seen
the original light? He is, literally and metaphorically "seeing the light"?
Or does he go to his death not understanding the folly of his pride?

- Why did Doriath not expect the attack from the Dwarves of Nogrod? Should
Melian have done more to warn them?

- This chapter contains references to Celeborn and Galadriel (who are also
encountered in 'The Lord of the Rings') and to 'Shepherds of the Trees'
(better known as Ents in LotR) - were these Shepherds of the Trees added
before or after Ents were written into the text of 'The Lord of the Rings'?
For that matter, were the references to Galadriel and Celeborn added
retrospectively as well (ie. added by Tolkien after he wrote LotR)?

- Had Dior already been designated Thingol's heir, or was this just
something he took upon himself, to "raise anew the glory of the kingdom of
Doriath"?

- Was it really wise for the Silmaril to be passed on to Dior? Didn't Dior
realise that the Sons of Fëanor would lay claim to it? Could Dior have
handled things better, or has he inherited the pride of Thingol?

- The "babes in the wood" story is a staple of legends from many cultures.
But here it seems there is no happy ending. What happened to Eluréd and
Elurín?

- This chapter was extensively edited from different parts of Tolkien's
writings, and some bits were added in order to maintain a consistent and
coherent story. Can you tell which bits are by J. R. R. Tolkien, and which
bits aren't?

ARCHAIC WORDS AND SPEECH

- "aught that was good" - 'aught' means 'nothing'
- "descry" - to see from a distance
- "straightway" - straightaway
- "wont to err thus" - /Thorondor/ ('wont' - accustomed)
- "thou; thy; thee" - /Húrin/
- "hath; thee; seeth; thou; dost" - /Melian/
- "aforetime" - before
- "amidmost" - in the very centre
- "ye; aught; ere" - /Thingol/
- "trammels" - restraints
- "selfsame" - identical
- "anew" - starting again

TEXTUAL HISTORY

This section briefly looks at the construction of this chapter and the
question of who wrote which bits.

Christopher Tolkien (CJRT) edited /The Silmarillion/ from the many and
varied versions of the stories that J. R. R. Tolkien (JRRT) had, throughout
his life, written about the First Age. CJRT describes it thus:

"On my father's death it fell to me to try to bring the work into
publishable form. [...] I set myself therefore to work out a single text
selecting and arranging in such a way as seemed to me to produce the most
coherent and internally self-consistent narrative. In this work the
concluding chapters (from the death of Túrin Turambar) introduced peculiar
difficulties, in that they had remained unchanged for many years, and were
in some respects in serious disharmony with more developed conceptions in
other parts of the book." (Foreword, /The Silmarillion/)

In other words, the last three chapters of the 1977 Silmarillion (the book
published in 1977), of which three this chapter is the first, cover material
that Tolkien had not returned to and updated during his rewriting of his
tales of the First Age. As quoted above, Christopher Tolkien mentions this
in the /Foreword/ to the book. He also said that: "In the difficult and
doubtful task of preparing the text of the book I was very greatly assisted
by Guy [Gavriel] Kay, who worked with me in 1974-1975."

Details of how extensive the editorial selection and stitching together of
disparate stories had been, was not fully clear until the publication of the
relevant /History of Middle-earth/ volumes. To deal with the problems,
Christopher Tolkien and Guy Gavriel Kay wrote new material to fill the gaps
in the narrative that could not otherwise be filled without encountering
the inconsistencies previously mentioned.

Christopher Tolkien has said that he regretted some of the editorial actions
he carried out when putting /The Silmarillion/ together. This may refer in
part to the way this chapter was put together.

A lot more could be written about the textual history of this chapter, but I
am going to stop here, because I think these discussions should first and
foremost discuss the story in the chapter. I hope to post more about the
textual history of this chapter in a separate post. If anyone else wants to
start discussing this first, please do so, as I may take a while to
assimilate the relevant HoME volumes!

**

My favourite quote from this chapter:

"Then Dior arose, and about his neck he clasped the Nauglamír; and now he
appeared as the fairest of all the children of the world, of threefold race:
of the Edain, and of the Eldar, and of the Maiar of the Blessed Realm."

Christopher

Raven

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Nov 18, 2006, 9:56:50 PM11/18/06
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"Christopher Kreuzer" <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> wrote in message
news:arO7h.2828$k74....@text.news.blueyonder.co.uk...

> - What would have happened had Turgon told Thorondor to bring Húrin to
> Gondolin again, as indeed he later wished he had?

The spies of Morgoth knew or guessed that Húrin sought Gondolin. Had
Thorondor picked up Húrin before he came near, and before he cried before
the barren cliff-face, it is possible that they would have been unable to
learn the region in which Turgon dwelt. Had Thorondor done so after Húrin
cried out, they would have learnt not only that which they did, but also
guessed at Thorondor's connection with Turgon. This might have added to
Morgoth's profit from the affair. Otherwise it does not seem to me that the
fate of Gondolin would have been much affected.
As for Húrin's fate, his end would presumably have been less bitter. He
would not have met Morwen.
He would also not have brought the Nauglamir to Doriath, and probably the
slaying of Thingol by the Dwarves would have been avoided. Melian not
departing, the Girdle would have remained intact, and the sons of Fëanor
would not have been able to make a direct assault as they did in the second
sack of Menegroth. But possibly that dreadful oath would have found another
way to bring war and ruin to Doriath.

> - Inadvertently revealing to Morgoth's spies the region where Gondolin
> was, is described as "the first evil that the freedom of Húrin achieved".
> What were the later evils that Húrin's freedom caused?

I would guess that this must be the bringing of the Nauglamir to Doriath.
Though this could scarcely have been one of the evils planned or hoped for
by Morgoth.

> - The "babes in the wood" story is a staple of legends from many cultures.
> But here it seems there is no happy ending. What happened to Eluréd and
> Elurín?

Nothing more is recorded of their fates. Had they survived, heirs to
Díor and to Thingol before him, it would have been recorded. Presumably
they died of hunger and thirst.

Hraban.


Christopher Kreuzer

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Nov 19, 2006, 10:59:28 AM11/19/06
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Raven wrote:
> "Christopher Kreuzer" <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> wrote in message
> news:arO7h.2828$k74....@text.news.blueyonder.co.uk...
>
>> - What would have happened had Turgon told Thorondor to bring Húrin
>> to Gondolin again, as indeed he later wished he had?
>
> The spies of Morgoth knew or guessed that Húrin sought Gondolin. Had
> Thorondor picked up Húrin before he came near, and before he
> cried before the barren cliff-face, it is possible that they would
> have been unable to learn the region in which Turgon dwelt. Had
> Thorondor done so after Húrin cried out, they would have learnt not
> only that which they did, but also guessed at Thorondor's connection
> with Turgon. This might have added to Morgoth's profit from the
> affair. Otherwise it does not seem to me that the fate of Gondolin
> would have been much affected. As for Húrin's fate, his end would
> presumably have been less bitter.

I wonder. Hurin was freed 28 years after the end of the Nirnaeth Arnoediad,
and a year after the death of Turin. Tuor was born in the year of the Fifth
Battle, and went to Gondolin in the year of the fall of Nargothrond, when he
was 20 (I think - based on the text saying "16" and then "four years
later"). Hurin therefore was seeking for Gondolin after Tuor arrived there,
and probably some 8 years laer. Tuor married Idril 7 years after he arrived,
and Gondolin fell 7 years after that. So Hurin would have spent some 6 years
in Gondolin before it fell. Would those have been happy years for him? Would
he have fallen in battle defending Turgon's tower? Or would something more
tragic have befallen, with Hurin, not Maeglin, leading to the Fall of
Gondolin?

> He would not have met Morwen.

Good point. In some ways that would have avoided pain, but there would have
been no closure for him or her. The meeting with Morwen is definitely
needed, for the reader as much as for them.

> He would also not have brought the Nauglamir to Doriath, and
> probably the slaying of Thingol by the Dwarves would have been
> avoided. Melian not departing, the Girdle would have remained
> intact, and the sons of Fëanor would not have been able to make a
> direct assault as they did in the second sack of Menegroth. But
> possibly that dreadful oath would have found another way to bring war
> and ruin to Doriath.

Almost certainly. The authorial hand hovers here, like the shadow of doom
and fate. The author knows that certain things need to be done, and in a
suitably tragic way, so some things were always going to happen,
story-externally.

>> - Inadvertently revealing to Morgoth's spies the region where
>> Gondolin was, is described as "the first evil that the freedom of
>> Húrin achieved". What were the later evils that Húrin's freedom
>> caused?
>
> I would guess that this must be the bringing of the Nauglamir to
> Doriath. Though this could scarcely have been one of the evils
> planned or hoped for by Morgoth.

I've uncovered about the Nauglamir, and the development of this story, in my
HoME research. I'll post that soon.

>> - The "babes in the wood" story is a staple of legends from many
>> cultures. But here it seems there is no happy ending. What happened
>> to Eluréd and Elurín?
>
> Nothing more is recorded of their fates. Had they survived, heirs
> to Díor and to Thingol before him, it would have been recorded. Presumably
> they died of hunger and thirst.

I like to think that they survived, but that their fate was simply not
recorded. Them coming back to reclaim their kingdom would be the normal
ending, but the greater story (of the Silmarils) overwhelms this
side-branch, and we hear nothing more.

Christopher

Odysseus

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Nov 19, 2006, 3:33:38 PM11/19/06
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In article <arO7h.2828$k74....@text.news.blueyonder.co.uk>,
"Christopher Kreuzer" <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> wrote:

<snip>


>
> ARCHAIC WORDS AND SPEECH
>
> - "aught that was good" - 'aught' means 'nothing'

No, it means 'anything', the opposite of "naught".

--
Odysseus

Christopher Kreuzer

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Nov 19, 2006, 3:36:43 PM11/19/06
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Christopher Kreuzer wrote:

<snip>

As promised, more on the textual history of this chapter, 'Of the Ruin of
Doriath'.

I've now looked through all the /History of Middle-earth/ volumes and their
indices and chosen the Nauglamír as the convenient hook by which to find the
relevant material.

The following HoME volumes (HarperCollins) had relevant references:

The Book of Lost Tales 2 (BoLT 2)
The Shaping of Middle-earth (SoME)
The Lost Road and Other Writings (LRaoW)
The War of the Jewels (WotJ)

INDEX ENTRIES (Nauglamír and related terms)

- BoLT 2

'Nauglafring' (also 'Necklace of the Dwarves') - 41, 59, 72, 136-7, 144,
221, 227-8, 231-2, 234-5, 237-41, 243, 245-7, 252-6, 259, 264, see
especially 228

- SoME

'Nauglafring' - 33, 38-9, 62-4, 68-9, 71, 74, 134-5, 149-50, 152-3, 155,
190, 197, 306-7, 313, 325; OE Dweorgmene 33; Sigelmoerels 211; See Glingna
Nauglir, Nauglamír.

'Nauglamír' - 135, 155, 190, 313, 325

'Necklace of the Dwarves' - (32), 33, 61, 63, 134, 211, 306-7, 326

'Glingna Nauglir' - The Necklace of the Dwarves - 33

- LRaoW

'Nauglamír' - 141-2, 373, 375 (also Mir na Nauglin, Nauglavir)

'Necklace of the Dwarves' - 306; Dwarf-necklace 141.

- WotJ

'Nauglamír' - 244, 298, 345-7, 350-1, 353, 355

'Necklace of the Dwarves' - 244, 258, 297, 347; the Necklace, Thingol's
necklace 350-1, 353; Sigel Elu-naeth 'Necklace of the Woe of Thingol' 258,
297.

From this we can already see a plethora of variant names and terms for the
object we first encounter in /The Silmarillion/ (1977) as the 'Nauglamír'
(the Necklace of the Dwarves), but which J.R.R Tolkien first conceived of as
the Nauglafring:

Nauglamír
Nauglafring
Glingna Nauglir
The Necklace of the Dwarves
Dwarf-necklace
Thingol's necklace
Nauglavir
Mir na Nauglin
Sigel Elu-naeth
Necklace of the Woe of Thingol

There are also two Old English terms: Dweorgmene and Sigelmoerels.

Two essential bits of commentary by Christopher Tolkien are (1) BoLT 2 (pp
245-251) and (2) WotJ (pp 297-8):

(1) BoLT 2 (pp 245-251)

Christopher Tolkien (CJRT) is here commentating on /The Tale of the
Nauglafring/, a story written by J.R.R. Tolkien in the 1920s as part of the
/Book of Lost Tales/, and comparing it with /Of the Ruin of Doriath/ a
chapter of /The Silmarillion/ that was produced by Christopher Tolkien and
Guy Gavriel Kay after the death of J.R.R. Tolkien (in 1973), and published
in 1977. This commentary was published by Christopher Tolkien in 1984.

[A brief note by your present author on /The Tale of the Nauglafring/ - this
tale includes characters that are recognisable as appearing in later tales
under similar or different names: Urin for Hurin, Glorund for Glaurung,
Tinwelint for Thingol, Hisilome for Hithlum, Gwendelin for Melian, Beren
(then an Elf) and Tinuviel (Luthien), but is also wholly different from the
later tale in tone. Now on to CJRT's commentary.]

"In this commentary I shall not compare in detail the /Tale of the
Nauglafring/ with the story told in /The Silmarillion/ (Chapter 22, /Of the
Ruin of Doriath/). The stories are profoundly different in essential
features - above all, in the reduction of the treasure brought by Hurin from
Nargothrond to a single object, the Necklace of the Dwarves, which had long
been in existence (though not, of course, containing the Silmaril); while
the whole history of the relation between Thingol and the Dwarves is
changed. My father never again wrote any part of this story on a remotely
comparable scale, and the formation of the published text was here of the
utmost difficulty; I hope later to give an account of it...."

[skip several pages of comparisons to reach the following concerning the
Girdle of Melian, which is not present in the earlier story]

"Extraordinary difficulties of narrative structure were caused by this
element of the inviolability of Doriath, as I hope to describe at a future
date."

(The Nauglafring - The Book of Lost Tales 2)

(2) WotJ (pp 297-8)

Christopher Tolkien (CJRT) is here commentating on the unfinished state of
/The Wanderings of Hurin/, a story written by J.R.R. Tolkien after the
publication of /The Lord of the Rings/ (ie. after 1955), and contemplating
its relation to the earlier tales, and questioning the whole idea of making
a "unified Silmarillion", as he had published in 1977 (with this material
relating to the period covered in /Of the Ruin of Doriath/). This commentary
was published by Christopher Tolkien in 1995.

[A brief note by your present author on /The Wanderings of Hurin/ - this
tale, to quote the blurb on the back of the book, concerns "the disaster
that overtook the forest people of Brethil when Hurin the Steadfast came
among them after his release from long years of captivity in Angband, the
fortress of Morgoth." The tale includes characters such as Manthor and
Avranc. OK, now over to CJRT!]

"My father never returned to follow the further wanderings of Hurin. We come
here to the furthest point in the narrative of the Elder Days that he
reached in his work on /The Silmarillion/ (in the widest sense) after the
Second [World] War and the completion of /The Lord of the Rings/. There are
bits of information about the succeding parts - not much - but no further
new or revised narrative; and the promise held out in his words 'Link to the
Necklace of Dwarves, /Sigil Elu-naeth/, Necklace of the Woe of Thingol' was
never fulfilled. It is as if we come to the brink of a great cliff, and look
down from highlands raised in some later age onto an ancient plain far
below. For the story of the Nauglamir and the destruction of Doriath, the
fall of Gondolin, the attack on the Havens, we must return through more than
a quarter of a century to the /Quenta Noldorinwa/ (Q), or beyond."

[What a great analogy! The brink of a great cliff... Highlands raised in
some later age... An ancient plain far below... A bit later, we come to the
key point, relating to this chapter]

"In the published /Silmarillion/ I excluded it [/The Wanderings of Hurin/],
apart from from using Hurin's vain attempt to reach Gondolin and his finding
of Morwen dying beside the Standing Stone. Morwen's grave is made by Hurin
alone; and having made it, 'he passed southwards down the ancient road that
led to Nargothrond'.

[CJRT explains that he did not wish to undertake the kind of retelling
necessary to integrate such a dense narrative into the tale, and feared it
would diminish the "fearful image" of the old man, Thalion the Steadfast,
furthering the purposes of Morgoth. A similar wish probably motivated his
leaving the Tale of Tuor and his Coming to Gondolin out of the published
/Silmarillion/. CJRT concludes with this passage on whether he was right to
exclude the tale of the Wanderings of Hurin]

"But it seems to me now, many years later, to have been an excessive
tampering with my father's actual thought and intention: thus raising the
question, whether the attempt to make a 'unified' /Silmarillion/ should have
been embarked on"

(The Wanderings of Hurin - The War of the Jewels)

So what are we (who are discussing this chapter) to make of all this? Was
Christopher Tolkien right to doubt the wisdom of attempting a 'unified'
/Silmarillion/?

Two things seem clear to me so far: (1) The story of Hurin, the Naugalmir,
Thingol, Melian, the dwarves, and the Ruin of Doriath, goes back to
Tolkien's earliest writings in the 1920s, but the some of the concepts
changed extensively. (2) A large chunk of the later writing (/The Wanderings
of Hurin/) were omitted from the published /Silmarillion/, though some bits
were used in the published chapter /Of the Ruin of Doriath/.

But what exactly were the changes made? I have not been able to find any
definitive quotes from CJRT yet (I am probably looking in the wrong part of
HoME), but from memory of previous discussions, and scanning the older
versions of the stories, I think the changes can be summed up along these
lines:

The Dwarves did not slay Thingol/Tinwelint and then flee with the
Nauglamir/Nauglafring. They were booted out of Doriath/Artanor and then
returned with an army to sack Doriath/Artanor (at which point
Thingol/Tinwelint dies). The problem here seems to have been that the Girdle
of Melian (which Gwendelin, a mere woodland fairy queen, did not have - not
having been yet raised to the Ainuic stature that Melian later attained),
would prevent such a thing. So it seems that the earlier slaying of Thingol
by the dwarves was inserted by CJRT/GGK as a device to remove Melian
(through grief) and hence the girdle, and allow the Sack of Menegroth to
proceed as needed for the later story.

It is worth quoting Christopher Tolkien again, this time from the
introduction to /The War of the Jewels/:

"...it will be seen [...] that (the most remarkable fact in the whole
history of /The Silmarillion/) the last chapters (the tale of Hurin and the
dragon-gold of Nargothrond, the Necklace of the Dwarves, the ruin of
Doriath, the fall of Gondolin, the Kin-slayings) remained in the form of the
/Quenta Noldorinwa/ of 1930 and were never touched again. [...] For this
there can be no simple explanation, but it seems to me that an important
element was the centrality that my father accorded to the story of Hurin and
Morwen and their children, Turin Turambar and Nienor Niniel. This became for
him, I believe, the dominant and absorbing story of the end of the Elder
Days, in which complexity of motive and character, trapped in the mysterious
workings of Morgoth's curse, sets it altogether apart."

[CJRT then goes on to speculate about what might have been - how all this
might have led to a fully rewritten /Quenta Silmarillion/ - but he
eventually concludes with the following]

"Freely as my father often wrote of his work, he never so much as hinted at
his larger intentions for the structure of the whole. I think that it must
be said that we are left, finally, in the dark"

(Foreword, The War of the Jewels)

I wonder if the forthcoming /The Children of Hurin/ will shed some light on
all this?

Finally, I've tracked down in /Quenta Noldorinwa/ one part of /The Ruin of
Doriath/ that in its later parts is almost a verbatim version of what
appeared in the 1977 published /Silmarillion/. See pages 132-134 of /The
Shaping of Middle-earth/, chapter 14 of /Quenta Noldorinwa/.

So it seems that the chapter /Of the Ruin of Doriath/ is essentially an
amalgm of bits from /Quenta Noldorinwa/, /The Wanderings of Hurin/, and
stitching added by CJRT and Guy Gavriel Kay. The /Later Annals of Beleriand/
and /Quenta Silmarillion/ texts published in /The Lost Road and Other
Writings/ do not shed much more light on the matter.

The major changes, as mentioned before, seem to be the loss of the "dragon
hoard", Hurin's outlaws and his time in Brethil, the addition of scenes from
/The Wanderings of Hurin/, and the change in the point where Thingol is
slain (which seems to have been completed added - I haven't found anything
to suggest that J.R.R. Tolkien ever considered having Thingol saying the
proud words he did, and then being slain in isolation by the dwarves, as
opposed to falling in battle later).

If anyone can confirm or correct the above, please do so, as I may well have
missed bits of commentary hidden away in some version of the tales. I'd
particularly appreciate any reference to commentary where Christopher
Tolkien explicitly states which new bits were added to the /Of the Ruin of
Doriath/ chapter.

Christopher

Christopher Kreuzer

unread,
Nov 19, 2006, 3:48:02 PM11/19/06
to

Thanks! I blindly typed "define: aught" into Google, and it gave me a
definition of naught. But I should have spotted that. I could have been
worse I suppose. It could have given me a definition of ought! :-)

Christopher

William Cloud Hicklin

unread,
Nov 20, 2006, 11:46:47 AM11/20/06
to
On Sat, 18 Nov 2006 20:28:38 -0500, Christopher Kreuzer
<spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> wrote:

> To deal with the problems,
> Christopher Tolkien and Guy Gavriel Kay wrote new material to fill the
> gaps
> in the narrative

[and similar comments throughout the subsequent discussion]

Guy Gavriel Kay is a fine author and has developed a well-deserved fan
base. But fans often like to believe a bit more of their hero than the
facts justify, and such is the case here. CRT did NOT, as one website has
it, "hire well-known fantasy autor Guy Gavriel Kay to ghost-write The
Silmarillion." CRT did not in fact hire GGK to write anything at all, nor
did GGK write anything, nor has GGK ever claimed to have done so. GGK was
not a fantasy writer at the time, but a law student; he only actually
considered being an author as a result of his time with CRT in 1975-76.

GGK was brought on board through family connections (Baillie Tolkien is
Canadian) to act as CRT's assistant- literally, as in filing and copying
and fetching coffee. Kay's role in the event went beyond that- a very
great deal of it involved the sorting and organising of the incredible
mass of disordered, dateless, and often illegible papers, most of this
work carried out on numerous long tables set up in a large barn. CRT came
to value his opinion, and GGK became a sounding board and a source of
suggestions, in a sense not unlike the Inklings or CRT himself with regard
to JRRT's work. But Kay didn't write any of it, and the claims I've seen
that "you can spot GGK's style at x, y, and z in The Sil" are delusory.

With regard to the present COTW, vide CRT's comment in HME XI, p. 356:
"This story was not lightly or easily conceived, but was the outcome of
long experimentation among alternating conceptions. In this work Guy Kay
took a major part, and the chapter *that I finally wrote* owes much to my
discussions with him."

--
" I would even contend that a reaction against Tolkien's non-Modernist
prose style is just as influential in the rejection of Tolkien by
traditional literary scholars as is Modernist antipathy to the themes of
his work"

Matthew Woodcraft

unread,
Nov 20, 2006, 5:00:57 PM11/20/06
to
Christopher Kreuzer <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> wrote:

>- WotJ
>
>'Nauglamír' - 244, 298, 345-7, 350-1, 353, 355

[...]

> But what exactly were the changes made? I have not been able to find any
> definitive quotes from CJRT yet (I am probably looking in the wrong part of

> HoME) [...]

I think you are. You found the right bit in the index line above: the
'note on Chapter 22' placed at the end of the chapter on the Tale of
Years.

-M-

William Cloud Hicklin

unread,
Nov 20, 2006, 5:23:04 PM11/20/06
to
On Sun, 19 Nov 2006 15:36:43 -0500, Christopher Kreuzer
<spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> wrote:

> A similar wish probably motivated his
> leaving the Tale of Tuor and his Coming to Gondolin out of the published
> /Silmarillion/.

Well, he didn't leave it out,he"compressed" it": all of the "Long Tuor" is
summarized in the first two pages of Chapter 23. That this is undeniably
the source text is shown, inter alia, by Ulmo's appearance at Vinyamar
rather than Nan-tathren, and many other details not found in or at
variance with QN, AB, and the old Tale.

But from this point onward, the source text is essentially QN, somewhat
rehandled in the interest of stylistic consistency. Tiny bits of GA (not
much). But with one detail brought forward from the Tale- anybody guess
what it is?

William Cloud Hicklin

unread,
Nov 20, 2006, 5:28:01 PM11/20/06
to
On Sun, 19 Nov 2006 15:36:43 -0500, Christopher Kreuzer
<spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> wrote:

> If anyone can confirm or correct the above, please do so, as I may well
> have
> missed bits of commentary hidden away in some version of the tales. I'd
> particularly appreciate any reference to commentary where Christopher
> Tolkien explicitly states which new bits were added to the /Of the Ruin
> of
> Doriath/ chapter.

You've got it pretty much right. The first part of Chapter 22, concerning
Hurin, was lifted from "The Wanderings of Hurin;" after that QN was used
where it was /possible,/ i.e. not inconsistent with the revised story.
But the whole business of the Nauglamir and Thingol's death is new, not
traceable to any source (which means QN- I don't believe there is anything
unpublished here)- and so must be CJRT's addition.

Christopher Kreuzer

unread,
Nov 20, 2006, 6:16:37 PM11/20/06
to
William Cloud Hicklin wrote:
> On Sat, 18 Nov 2006 20:28:38 -0500, Christopher Kreuzer
> <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> wrote:
>
>> To deal with the problems, Christopher Tolkien and Guy Gavriel Kay
>> wrote new material to fill the gaps in the narrative
>
> [and similar comments throughout the subsequent discussion]

Oh dear. I hope I didn't belabour my misleading account of what Guy Gavriel
Kay's role was in all this. First, I'd like to thank you for pointing this
out this error on my part. Secondly, I want to apologise for promulgating
this myth.

I picked this idea up many years ago, during a discussion of various
passages from this chapter.[1] The discussion was about the bit where
Melian, in her union with Thingol is described as being bound by the "chain
and trammels of the flesh of Arda". Someone said something along the lines
of "Tolkien [JRRT] didn't write those bits", and that led to a discussion of
how various bits from this chapter (though it was never clearly said which
bits) had been written by "Christopher Tolkien and Guy Gavriel Kay". I have
a vague memory that I did discover that the concept behind this "chain and
trammels" sentence is actually somewhere in one of JRRT's texts, but anyway,
this laid the seed for wanting to find out what went on here, but also laid
the seed that GGK wrote bits, rather than (as you say) just advising.

I really should have checked all this out further before posting. Thanks
again for pointing out the error. I have a few more comments, which I'll add
below.

> Guy Gavriel Kay is a fine author and has developed a well-deserved fan
> base. But fans often like to believe a bit more of their hero than
> the facts justify, and such is the case here.

Ah. So you ascribe the start and spread of the myth to fans of GGK? That
could be the case. I've never read GGK's work, so I couldn't say either way.
What would be interesting is to do a brief survey here and find out how many
people, like me, had heard (and believed) this "GGK wrote bits of /The
Silmarillion/" myth?

Anyone?

Also, I wonder if it is possible to track down some of the earliest forms of
this myth. Presumably it didn't start until GGK published his fantasy tales,
and, I think, some people compared his work with Tolkien's. I hope I've got
/that/ "rumour" right! :-)

> CRT did NOT, as one
> website has it, "hire well-known fantasy autor Guy Gavriel Kay to
> ghost-write The Silmarillion."

That is a massive leap from an incorrect "he wrote bits of it" to an also
incorrect but much more misleading "he wrote all of it" and an awful thing
to say! :-( I Googled and couldn't find the phrase, so hopefully the website
has been corrected.

Quite apart from anything else, it insults the massive amount of work that
Christopher Tolkien has put into publishing and analysing his father's
unpublished writings, and, with the forthcoming book, continues to do so.

> CRT did not in fact hire GGK to write
> anything at all, nor did GGK write anything, nor has GGK ever claimed
> to have done so. GGK was not a fantasy writer at the time, but a law
> student; he only actually considered being an author as a result of
> his time with CRT in 1975-76.
> GGK was brought on board through family connections (Baillie Tolkien
> is Canadian) to act as CRT's assistant- literally, as in filing and
> copying and fetching coffee. Kay's role in the event went beyond
> that- a very great deal of it involved the sorting and organising of
> the incredible mass of disordered, dateless, and often illegible
> papers, most of this work carried out on numerous long tables set up
> in a large barn. CRT came to value his opinion, and GGK became a
> sounding board and a source of suggestions, in a sense not unlike the
> Inklings or CRT himself with regard to JRRT's work. But Kay didn't
> write any of it, and the claims I've seen that "you can spot GGK's
> style at x, y, and z in The Sil" are delusory.

Thanks for that. I assume the "barn" story and other bits above are from
interviews or talks by GGK? I've read the "barn" story in a booklet called
"The Best of Amon Hen" (which reprinted articles from Amon Hen, the bulletin
of the Tolkien Society). I mentioned it here (May 2005) and here (October
2005):

http://groups.google.co.uk/group/alt.fan.tolkien/msg/ebb83209bf2f4ac0
http://groups.google.co.uk/group/alt.fan.tolkien/msg/5917d4e6ea0e9d91

But in particular, I quoted it here (February 2006):

http://groups.google.co.uk/group/rec.arts.books.tolkien/msg/3b23e23a5438da88

But hey, maybe all this is really in HoME somewhere, if you look hard
enough!

> With regard to the present COTW, vide CRT's comment in HME XI, p. 356:
> "This story was not lightly or easily conceived, but was the outcome
> of long experimentation among alternating conceptions. In this work
> Guy Kay took a major part, and the chapter *that I finally wrote*
> owes much to my discussions with him."

I /knew/ I'd been looking in the wrong place! I found the endnote to the
"Wanderings of Hurin" bit a few page before that, and latched on to the
"cliffs" and "raised highlands" and "ancient plain" analogy, and didn't
bother to go any further. If I had, I would have found "A note on Chapter 22
Of the Ruin of Doriath in the published Silmarillion" - which explains
things rather neatly! Thanks for pointing that out.

I think it is worth emphasising again, the doubt Christopher Tolkien
expresses here and elsewhere in HoME about all this. Quoting from the same
source you use above, when CJRT is writing some twenty years after the work
in question on /The Silmarillion/:

"It is, and was, obvious that a step was being taken of a different order
from any other 'manipulation' of my father's own writings. [...] It seemed
at the time [...] that there was here an inescapable choice: either to
abandon that conception [of /The Silmarillion/ as projected], or else to
alter the story. I think now that this was a mistaken view, and that the
undoubted difficulties could have been, and should have been, surmounted
without so far overstepping the bounds of the editorial function."

What do people here think? Do you think Christopher Tolkien was right to
worry in this way. Do you, or will you, react differently to reading /The
Silmarillion/ as you realise that behind it all there are other stories, and
that "other versions" of /The Silmarillion/ are possible? Or do you prefer
to stick to the published version and enjoy that?

Christopher

[1] I went and looked up the old discussions, one from February 1999 and
two other ones from 2004 and 2005, and I found the following posts and
threads.

(a) Start of February 1999 thread:

http://groups.google.co.uk/group/rec.arts.books.tolkien/msg/39b8ad8e4db37787

(b) Post 28 in that February 1999 thread:

http://groups.google.co.uk/group/rec.arts.books.tolkien/msg/15cb0093b7a417f3

From this post, read through posts 28-35 for the "old discussion" I referred
to up above in the main body of the post, plus some opinions about Guy
Gavriel Kay. This was, remember, my first real introduction to the idea that
/The Silmarillion/ was not a finished work, but a hodge-podge of different
texts by JRRT (I doubt I had really taken much note of CJRT's Foreword at
that age).

(c) Post 39 in that February 1999 thread:

http://groups.google.co.uk/group/rec.arts.books.tolkien/msg/a2eecfbfbc994b59

A repost of a summary of how CRJT edited /The Silmarillion/, written by none
other than a "Mr. Hicklin"! :-) Might I ask if Mr Hicklin would consider
reposting an expanded version of that post in a new discussion for the
current subscribers to the newsgroup?

(d) Post 254 in an October 2004 thread:

http://groups.google.co.uk/group/rec.arts.books.tolkien/msg/ba61ee58ba1eaf9e

I'm told again to be careful about using these 'non-canonical' passage from
'Of the Ruin of Doriath' to support my arguments (see the previous post,
number 253).

(e) Post 55 in a February 2005 thread:

http://groups.google.co.uk/group/rec.arts.books.tolkien/msg/138534a7a7ce8c00

I try my arguments again, with the "JRRT/CJRT/GGK patchwork" disclaimer.

[end footnote]


Christopher Kreuzer

unread,
Nov 20, 2006, 6:35:55 PM11/20/06
to

Thanks! Rather silly of me, that. I copied out all those index page
references, meaning to look them all up, got distracted, only looked a few
up, and missed the most important one... Which reminds me, I must look up
the Old English references in SoME: Dweorgmene 33; Sigelmoerels 211.

Hmm. It looks like Tolkien dabbled with OE equivalents of Elvish words.
Dweorgmene is OE for Dwarf-necklace. Tolkien wrote it above 'Nauglafring',
crossed it out and then wrote 'Glingna Nauglir' (which reminds me of
Glingal - 'Hanging Flame' - the golden one of the two trees of Gondolin,
made by Turgon in image of Laurelin). 'Sigelmoerels' is more interesting, as
'Sigel' and 'Sigelmaerels' is given as the OE equivalent(s) of 'Silmaril'
(where 'sigel' = 'sun, jewel', as in 'Sigelwara land' - an essay by Tolkien
that (I think) linked the phrase to Ethiopia; and 'moerels' is rope (ie.
jewel-rope = necklace). Does this linguistic play symbolise the story of the
Silmaril being placed in the Nauglamir? It all looks very interesting. Can
any linguists add any more to this?

Christopher

Christopher Kreuzer

unread,
Nov 20, 2006, 6:56:42 PM11/20/06
to
William Cloud Hicklin wrote:
> On Sun, 19 Nov 2006 15:36:43 -0500, Christopher Kreuzer
> <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> wrote:
>
>> If anyone can confirm or correct the above, please do so, as I may
>> well have missed bits of commentary hidden away in some version of the
>> tales. I'd particularly appreciate any reference to commentary where
>> Christopher Tolkien explicitly states which new bits were added to
>> the /Of the Ruin of Doriath/ chapter.
>
> You've got it pretty much right. The first part of Chapter 22,
> concerning Hurin, was lifted from "The Wanderings of Hurin;" after
> that QN was used where it was /possible,/ i.e. not inconsistent with
> the revised story. But the whole business of the Nauglamir and
> Thingol's death is new, not traceable to any source (which means QN-
> I don't believe there is anything unpublished here)- and so must be
> CJRT's addition.

Well, in QN, there is only mention of the Dragon-gold of Nargothrond, cursed
by Mim, and the effect it had on Thingol and the Dwarves. The Nauglamir is
not mentioned until the Battle of Sarn Arthrad, as far as I can tell. But
the idea of the Nauglamir being the cause of, or related to, the woe of
Thingol is not new. That can be seen in the old tale of the Nauglafring in
the Book of Lost Tales (where Thingol is Tinwelint), and more relevantly in
the note Tolkien made to link the tale of Hurin to the 'Sigel Elu-naeth',
the 'Necklace of the Woe of Thingol'. It seems that CJRT interpreted JRRT's
note to mean that JRRT was going to bring the Nauglamir to the forefront of
the story, but maybe that is not clear from the texts. So I think you mean
the idea of replacing the dragon-gold with the Nauglamir was CJRT's way of
removing the outlaws and the dragon-gold and Mim's curse from the equation.
ie. elevating the role of the Nauglamir, and removing the dragon-gold.

Thingol's death in other versions seems uniformly to be in battle with
dwarves (and/or orcs) attacking Doriath. Would it be right to say that the
idea of Thingol being murdered in secret by the dwarves is the new idea?

Christopher

Christopher Kreuzer

unread,
Nov 20, 2006, 7:34:03 PM11/20/06
to
William Cloud Hicklin wrote:
> On Sun, 19 Nov 2006 15:36:43 -0500, Christopher Kreuzer
> <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> wrote:
>
>> A similar wish probably motivated his
>> leaving the Tale of Tuor and his Coming to Gondolin out of the
>> published /Silmarillion/.
>
> Well, he didn't leave it out,he"compressed" it": all of the "Long
> Tuor" is summarized in the first two pages of Chapter 23. That this
> is undeniably the source text is shown, inter alia, by Ulmo's
> appearance at Vinyamar rather than Nan-tathren, and many other
> details not found in or at variance with QN, AB, and the old Tale.
>
> But from this point onward, the source text is essentially QN,
> somewhat rehandled in the interest of stylistic consistency. Tiny
> bits of GA (not much). But with one detail brought forward from the
> Tale- anybody guess what it is?

This should probably be left until the next discussion, of that chapter, but
just to be clear in my mind, you are here referring to the Tuor story in
/Unfinished Tales/ as "Long Tuor", which CJRT retitled "Of Tuor and his
Coming to Gondolin" (as the story breaks off at the point when they arrive
there), and the old Tale is the one published in the Book of Lost Tales
(part 2)?

[GA = Grey Annals; QN = Quenta Noldorinwa; AB = something I've forgotten]

So, there is a bit in the published /Silmarillion/ chapter on Tuor and the
Fall of Gondolin, that is not in QN, but is found in the old Tale. Hmm. At
first I thought it was a passing reference to the Two Trees of Gondolin, but
then a verbatim passage jumped out at me from the old Tale, a passage which
is in the published /Silmarillion/ chapter, but not in QN. A detail in the
death of Maeglin: "his body as it fell smote the rocky slopes of Amon
Gwareth thrice ere it pitched into the flames below".

I suspect this is not what you meant, as QN doesn't really omit this, but
just glosses over it without going into detail. The essential elements of
the fight are still there. Do you mean something that is omitted entirely
from QN, but reappears in the published chapter and is /only/ found in the
old Tale?

Christopher


William Cloud Hicklin

unread,
Nov 20, 2006, 9:39:53 PM11/20/06
to

You spotted it exactly! As with so much of the old Lost Tale, there's no
telling how much was never rejected, just left out due to compression.
Certainly JRRT had it in front of him when writing the UT "Long Tuor." But
the one specific detail CJRT resurrected was just that, Maeglin's
triple-header down the hillside.

William Cloud Hicklin

unread,
Nov 20, 2006, 9:46:23 PM11/20/06
to
On Mon, 20 Nov 2006 18:56:42 -0500, Christopher Kreuzer
<spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> wrote:

I would say so- together with the idea that the Nauglamir had been made
years before for Felagund, and that it was the only thing that Hurin
brought out of Nargothrond. In all previous versions, the Necklace was
only made at this time, from Hurin's dragon-gold.

However, as I read CT's commentary the problem he had was the simple
logistics of hauling all that treaure through hostile wilderness. The
Tale solution, by which Hurin gets Tinwelint's Elves to do the cartage,
really rather spoils the gesture!

William Cloud Hicklin

unread,
Nov 20, 2006, 10:17:23 PM11/20/06
to

> other than a "Mr. Hicklin"! Might I ask if Mr Hicklin would consider


> reposting an expanded version of that post in a new discussion for the
> current subscribers to the newsgroup?

What Mr Hicklin really should do, if he can find the time, is to write up
his "Compleat Textual Concordance" of The Silmarillion (which amounts to a
paperback copy of the Sil, carefully underlined with a multitude of
colored pencils so as to relate each passage to its source-text). What's
really remarkable, looking through that volume, is the extent to which, at
least to the end of Beren and Luthien, there is almost no CJRT at all
(except of course in the "selection and arrangement." Leaving aside the
updating of names, the changes are generally of the "and" > "then" sort:
what one would expect of a copyeditor. It really is all in JRRT's own
words: about 97%.

William Cloud Hicklin

unread,
Nov 20, 2006, 10:28:12 PM11/20/06
to
On Mon, 20 Nov 2006 18:16:37 -0500, Christopher Kreuzer
<spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> wrote:

> Thanks for that. I assume the "barn" story and other bits above are from
> interviews or talks by GGK?


All but the barn story, which was IIRC related by Charles Noad.

Matthew Woodcraft

unread,
Nov 21, 2006, 2:04:22 PM11/21/06
to
Christopher Kreuzer wrote:
> 'Sigelmoerels' is more interesting, as 'Sigel' and 'Sigelmaerels' is
> given as the OE equivalent(s) of 'Silmaril' (where 'sigel' = 'sun,
> jewel', as in 'Sigelwara land' - an essay by Tolkien that (I think)
> linked the phrase to Ethiopia; and 'moerels' is rope (ie. jewel-rope =
> necklace). Does this linguistic play symbolise the story of the
> Silmaril being placed in the Nauglamir? It all looks very interesting.
> Can any linguists add any more to this?

Remember that the idea that the Silmaril was placed in an existing
Nauglamír is part of Christopher's invention. In the old story it was
intended as a housing for the Silmaril from the beginning.

This does lead to a question of how appropriate that name is in the
published Silmarillion version, both in its composition and in form.

In the published story, the Nauglamír did not have a single prominent
jewel when it was first made. But I can't think of any other place where
'mír' can't be read as referring to a single jewel rather than a piece
of jewellery.

The other oddity is the long vowel in the last syllable. Words of this
form are extremely rare in published Sindarin, except in names
originating in Doriath, where they're rather common: Eluréd, Elurín,
Eluchíl, Aranrúth, and Nauglamír. Perhaps (and I admit this is complete
speculation on my part) Tolkien thought of this as a distinctive feature
of the speech of Doriath, in which case again the name of the Nauglamír
becomes strange when the story is that it was made in Nargothrond.

-M-

Matthew Woodcraft

unread,
Nov 23, 2006, 7:36:16 PM11/23/06
to
William Cloud Hicklin <icelof...@mindspring.com> wrote:
> What's really remarkable, looking through that volume, is the extent
> to which, at least to the end of Beren and Luthien, there is almost
> no CJRT at all (except of course in the "selection and arrangement."
> Leaving aside the updating of names, the changes are generally of the
> "and" > "then" sort: what one would expect of a copyeditor. It really
> is all in JRRT's own words: about 97%.


In the bits of the present chapter which do derive directly from
Tolkien's writing, the editorial changes to the style and wording seem
somewhat more pervasive.

I've typed up a comparison of the two forms of one of the passages which
Chris picked out: Hurin's call to Turgon.

Some of the changes I can see as being for consistency. In particular,
'you' for 'ye' and 'has' for 'hath', which parallel changes which
Tolkien had made himself elsewhere. But most of the changes seem to be
for stylistic improvement. To my eyes, they're removing both modernisms
and archaisms from the original.

I wonder if some of these changes were in fact made as corrections to
the typescript but not mentioned in XI. I can see nothing explicitly
saying what the handling was, but elsewhere Christopher says his
practice was to include corrections which seemed to be contemporary but
omit ones which seemed to be significantly later.

-M-


------------------------

(Typescript of the Wanderings of Hurin as published in XI, followed by
the published Silmarillion):


But Turgon said 'Nay! This is past belief! Unless Morgoth sleeps. Ye
were mistaken.'

But Turgon said: 'Does Morgoth sleep? You were mistaken.'


'Nay, not so,' answered Sorontar. 'If the Eagles of Manwe were wont to
err thus, Lord, your hiding would have been in vain.'

'Not so,' said Thorondor. 'If the Eagles of Manwe were wont to err thus,
then long ago, lord, your hiding would have been in vain.'


'Then your words bode ill,' said Turgon; 'for they can mean only that
even Hurin Thalion hath surrendered to the will of Morgoth. My heart is
shut.'

'Then your words bode ill,' said Turgon; 'for they can bear but one
meaning. Even Hurin Thalion has surrendered to the will of Morgoth. My
heart is shut.'


But when he had dismissed Sorontar, Turgon sat long in thought, and he
was troubled, remembering the deeds of Hurin. And he opened his heart,
and sent to the Eagles to seek for Hurin, and to bring him, if they
could, to Gondolin.

But when Thorondor was gone, Turgon sat long in thought, and he was
troubled, remembering the deeds of Hurin of Dor-lomin; and he opened his
heart, and sent to the eagles to seek for Hurin, and to bring him if
they might to Gondolin.


But it was too late, and they saw him never again in light or in shadow.

But it was too late, and they never saw him again in light or in shadow.


For Hurin stood at last in despair before the stern silence of the
Echoriad, and the westering sun, piercing the clouds, stained his white
hair with red.

For Hurin stood in despair before the silent cliffs of the Echoriath,


and the westering sun, piercing the clouds, stained his white hair with
red.


Then he cried aloud in the wilderness, heedless of any ears, and he
cursed the pitiless land: 'hard as the hearts of Elves and Men'. And he
stood at last on a great stone, and spreading wide his arms, looking
towards Gondolin, he called in a great voice: 'Turgon, Turgon! Remember
the fen of Serech!' And again: 'Turgon! Hurin calls you. O Turgon, will
you not hear in your hidden halls?'

Then he cried aloud in the wilderness, heedless of any ears, and he
cursed the pitiless land; and standing at last upon a high rock he
looked towards Gondolin and called in a great voice: 'Turgon, Turgon,
remember the Fen of Serech! O Turgon, will you not hear in your hidden
halls?'


But there was no answer, and all that he heard was wind in the dry
grasses. 'Even so they hissed in Serech at the sunset,' he said.

Christopher Kreuzer

unread,
Nov 23, 2006, 9:14:56 PM11/23/06
to
William Cloud Hicklin wrote:
> On Mon, 20 Nov 2006 19:34:03 -0500, Christopher Kreuzer
> <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> wrote:
>>
>> So, there is a bit in the published /Silmarillion/ chapter on Tuor
>> and the Fall of Gondolin, that is not in QN, but is found in the old
>> Tale.
>> Hmm. At first I thought it was a passing reference to the Two Trees of
>> Gondolin, but then a verbatim passage jumped out at me from the old
>> Tale, a passage which is in the published /Silmarillion/ chapter, but not
>> in
>> QN. A detail in the death of Maeglin: "his body as it fell smote the
>> rocky
>> slopes of Amon Gwareth thrice ere it pitched into the flames below".
>>
>> I suspect this is not what you meant, as QN doesn't really omit
>> this, but just glosses over it without going into detail. The
>> essential elements of the fight are still there. Do you mean
>> something that is omitted entirely from QN, but reappears in the
>> published chapter and is /only/ found in the
>> old Tale?
>>
> You spotted it exactly!

:-) Thanks! I'm as surprised as anyone! LOL!

> As with so much of the old Lost Tale,
> there's no telling how much was never rejected, just left out due to
> compression. Certainly JRRT had it in front of him when writing the
> UT "Long Tuor." But the one specific detail CJRT resurrected was just
> that, Maeglin's triple-header down the hillside.

Did he just like it, I wonder, or would there be a reason behind this
resurrection? One thing I note he didn't resurrect was the image of this
heroic Earendil figure biting people's hands when he was a child!! :-/
Trying to be like Gollum, or something...

Christopher

Christopher Kreuzer

unread,
Nov 23, 2006, 9:32:33 PM11/23/06
to

I assume this earlier bit in /The Silmarillion/ was inserted by CJRT to
support all this?

"And in that time was made for him [Finrod] the Nauglamír, the Necklace of
the Dwarves, most renowned of their works in the Elder Days. It was a
carcanet of gold, and set therein were gems uncounted from Valinor..." (Of
the Return of the Noldor)

> However, as I read CT's commentary the problem he had was the simple
> logistics of hauling all that treaure through hostile wilderness. The
> Tale solution, by which Hurin gets Tinwelint's Elves to do the
> cartage, really rather spoils the gesture!

I so like the (paraphrasing) 'he bore one thing only out of the vast halls
of Nargothrond whereat the treasures of Valinor were spread in darkness and
decay'. See, the paraphrasing just doesn't do it justice. <rummages in book>
Ah, here we are:

"Then he entered in, and stayed a while in that dreadful place, where the
treasures of Valinor lay strewn upon the floors in darkness and decay; but
it is told that when Húrin came forth from the wreck of Nargothrond and
stood again beneath the sky he bore with him out of all that great hoard but
one thing only." (Of the Ruin of Doriath)

This has got me thinking of other ways to deal with the problem that CJRT
encountered. I wonder if it is too presumptuous to try a few ideas (the
commentary says that CJRT and GGK did try out other ideas - would be
fascinating to know what those other ideas were).

How about: Mim makes the Nauglamir from the dragon-gold when he returns to
Nargothrond, and then offers it to Hurin if he will spare his life. Hurin
then slays Mim and Mim lays his curse on the Nauglamir. Rest of story as
before. (This sounds familiar - hope it is not the same as one of Tolkien's
versions!)

Also, the bit where the dwarves slay Thingol in Doriath seems unnecessary.
Why not have Thingol slain outside Doriath (say, on a hunting trip),
surprised by a Dwarf army returning after Thingol booted them out for trying
to claim the Nauglamir? That gets rid of the Girdle problems, though
actually, in those troubled times with the power of Morgoth very much in the
ascendency, Thingol wouldn't have ventured outside Doriath, so the problem
remains. And you still have the dwarf army unable to get into Doriath. The
departure of Melian after Thingol's death is from JRRT, but it looks like
CJRT made it crucial by explicitly linking this to the failure of the
Girdle.

However, I do like the 'haughty Thingol slain by the dwarves' scene,
especially the "last sight" looking on the Silmaril bit. So is there any
real need to worry that this is "not Tolkien"? Are we certain it is not
Tolkien's? ie. are there _any_ traces or hints of this in any of Tolkien's
writings?

Christopher

William Cloud Hicklin

unread,
Nov 24, 2006, 4:38:21 PM11/24/06
to
On Thu, 23 Nov 2006 19:36:16 -0500, Matthew Woodcraft
<matt...@chiark.greenend.org.uk> wrote:

> William Cloud Hicklin <icelof...@mindspring.com> wrote:
>> What's really remarkable, looking through that volume, is the extent
>> to which, at least to the end of Beren and Luthien, there is almost
>> no CJRT at all (except of course in the "selection and arrangement."
>> Leaving aside the updating of names, the changes are generally of the
>> "and" > "then" sort: what one would expect of a copyeditor. It really
>> is all in JRRT's own words: about 97%.

> In the bits of the present chapter which do derive directly from
> Tolkien's writing, the editorial changes to the style and wording seem
> somewhat more pervasive.
> I've typed up a comparison of the two forms of one of the passages which
> Chris picked out: Hurin's call to Turgon.
> Some of the changes I can see as being for consistency. In particular,
> 'you' for 'ye' and 'has' for 'hath', which parallel changes which
> Tolkien had made himself elsewhere. But most of the changes seem to be
> for stylistic improvement. To my eyes, they're removing both modernisms
> and archaisms from the original.
> I wonder if some of these changes were in fact made as corrections to
> the typescript but not mentioned in XI. I can see nothing explicitly
> saying what the handling was, but elsewhere Christopher says his
> practice was to include corrections which seemed to be contemporary but
> omit ones which seemed to be significantly later.

"Late corrections" are always a potential problem in this sort of
analysis; but here, I think, the alterations are largely editorial. For
the most part they seem merely to be slight "compressions," cutting the
length of the original somewhat. This is understandable under the
circumstances, where we have, on one side, the end of Turin, taken from
the Grey Annals, and on the other side Tuor, most of which was taken
perforce from the old Quenta Noldorinwa. I believe CRT was trying to
exert some control over the "expansiveness" of the text, so that the scale
or "focal length" remained roughly consistent. The best model he had
available was JRRT's own handling of the last part of Turin- the detailed
Narn, and the GA version which was a compressed version of that text. WH
is a narrative on Narn-scale, and so it's reasonable to postulate that The
Silmarillion required a text on GA-scale.

My figures posted previously don't apply to the later chapters of the
book, after the end of the QS/LQ texts. The editorial hand necessarily had
a lot more to do there.

Troels Forchhammer

unread,
Dec 3, 2006, 10:10:58 AM12/3/06
to
In message <news:arO7h.2828$k74....@text.news.blueyonder.co.uk>
"Christopher Kreuzer" <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> spoke these
staves:
>
> Chapter of the Week (CotW) - The Silmarillion - Quenta
> Silmarillion (QS), Chapter 22 - Of the Ruin of Doriath.

A bit belated, I'm afraid, but still.

> 1) Wanderings of Húrin

Húrin was set free, when Morgoth 'judged the time to be ripe'. Why
did Morgoth decide the time was ripe?

Is it to do with his particular efforts regarding the rulers of
Doriath?

In all ways Morgoth sought most to cast an evil light on
those things that Thingol and Melian had done, for he
hated them, and feared them.

It does say, that 'When therefore he judged . . .' as if the
statement about Thingol was his reason for judging the time ripe. In
that case, I'd assume that he had been waiting until he was sure that
Húrin was sufficiently mad at Thingol and Melion to do something
stupid (like for instance handing them a piece of cursed jewelry).

> "[Morgoth's] purpose was that Húrin should still further his
> [Morgoth's] hatred for Elves and Men, ere he died." (Of the Ruin
> of Doriath)

Yes, even Húrin himself expected as much, but I wonder if Morgoth had
any specific expectations from the freeing of Húrin? Did he, for
instance, expect to learn in which part of Beleriand Turgon lived? In
that connection I am also curious to know if Húrin's 'escort' was
meant to isolate Húrin, driving him on from Hihtlum, as it appears to
me it was.

<snip>

> DISCUSSION POINTS
>
> - Húrin's appearance when he is released is striking: "His hair
> and beard were white and long, but he walked unbowed, bearing a
> great black staff; and he was girt with a sword." - does this
> sound anything like a biblical prophet, or even a certain wizard?

I don't think that too much should be read into that. The white hair
and beard is a symbol of age and great suffering (in Húrin's case of
suffering), and walking unbowed simply symbolizes that his suffering
hasn't cowed him.

The staff and sword are more interesting. The sword symbolizes the
warrior, the one who is fighting against the enemy (as it did for
Gandalf).

The staff is more ambiguous, and has been used in many connections.
Given the title of the underlying text (I'm thinking of 'The
Wanderings of Húrin'), it seems to me likely that this is a
wanderer's staff, rather than, for instance, a wizard's staff or a
shepherd's staff. In that case the image is that of a solitary
wanderer, an old warrior who has seen too much, but who hasn't lost
his courage.

The combination is naturally striking familiar echoes, as you note,
of e.g. Gandalf, but in this case I think it is the result of similar
problems leading to similar answers rather than either being intended
to recall the other.

<snip>

> - Húrin is lead to Brethil by dreams of Morwen. Whence came these
> dreams?

Within the context of the story, I could imagine it coming from
several sources for various reasons.

Morgoth would be trying to get Húrin to move on towards the southern
lands and the purpose Morgoth wanted him to serve there (against both
the Men in Brethil and the Elves in Doriath).

Ulmo -- he would want Húrin to catch up with Morwen. Possibly because
there would be something redeeming about being with Morwen as she
died, or because he wanted Húrin to go to Doriath as a messenger
unlooked for (the latter could e.g. be as a warning to Melian: Ulmo
had already prophecied that the hope would come from Tuor and Idril,
but perhaps he was setting up the other circumstances necessary to
provide that hope: the chain of events that would eventually bring
the Silmaril to the mouth of Sirion).

Eru: In some ways Eru is the easy way out, as one can always say it
served His purpose, but I admit I would feel that that was a bit on
the cheap side.

Of the three, I think Eru is probably the least likely -- Húrin's
wanderings are known to have a direct impact on matters which both
Morgoth and Ulmo were interested in, and it is always better to use
someone (or something) that is known to be close to the business.

[...]


> Were the night-sentinels sensing this shadow, this curse that
> Morgoth had laid on Húrin and his kin?

Yes.

OK, I was tempted to leave it at that, because it seemed to me so
clear that this darkness and shadow are related, and somehow
represents the mark Morgoth has left on Húrin, and I don't see what
else it could be.

[...]


> "...he closed her eyes, and sat unmoving beside her as the night
> drew down. The waters of Cabed Naeramarth roared on, but he heard
> no sound, and he saw nothing, and felt nothing, for his heart was
> stone within him."

Well, my heart weren't and my eyes didn't stay dry. It's a wonderful
passage that.

I'm not actually sure that there is any eucatastrophic moments in the
story of Húrin after his release from Angband, but if the ones that
come closest are, IMO, this moment, when he and Morwen share what is
left of the night (followed by the promise of the sanctity of Tol
Morwen), and the moment when Melian finally sets him free of Morgoth
and he is 'his thrall no longer.'

[...]


> Rather it is the stories within the story that are the points.

Yes. The Beleriandric wars is a setting for stories, not the story
itself. The Quenta Silmarillion uses these wars to tie all the
stories together, but the actual manouvres and battles between Good
and Evil fill relatively little in the tale.

Tolkien is, in other words, using the wars as a background, on which
he paints stories of individual valour, tragedy etc. but surprisingly
little about much of the other stuff that has filled much of the war
literature in the wake of the two great wars of the twentieth
century: not the gory details of the 'disenchanted' literature (such
as e.g. /All Quiet on the Western Front/), nor the details of troop
movements, skirmishes etc. Tolkien, IMO, manages to strike an
amazing balance where the war in itself is portrayed as evil and
wasteful, it also draws out both the worst and the best from those
who are caught up in it, and that is what Tolkien shows in his
individual tales from the Beleriandric wars.

> - In Nargothrond, does Mîm have a point when he talks about having
> returned to take what is his?

I don't think so. Húrin, I believe, rejects Mîm's claim by referring
to himself (implicitly) as the heir to Túrin's claim, which Túrin
apparently would have as slayer of Glaurung (rightful 'spoils of
war', I suppose). My impression here is that we are supposed to
recognize Húrin's claim as the rightful one (i.e. the one Tolkien
favours).

> Is the slaying of Mîm by Húrin another of the evils caused by
> Húrin's freedom?

In other words, should Húrin have shown, as Frodo, mercy, pity and
forgiveness of injury?

Perhaps he should -- though I wonder how it would have helped?

Had he found that healing it required to spare Mîm, would he have
gone back empty-handed to Thingol and Melian, or would he have taken
something -- the Nauglamir -- from the treasure to present to them in
the spirit in which he finally gave it to Thingol?

The big problem would be to incorporate both an early healing for
Húrin while retaining his setting into motion the events leading to
the sack of Doriath.

[...]
Thingol & Beren (at firest), Thingol & Húrin and Thingol & the
Dwarves.

> This Thingol contrasts sharply with the proud and haughty Thingol

[...]

Thingol's scorn for the dwarves is, of course, an invention by CJRT,
which, though in line with his earlier hauteur towards Beren, shows
little of the mellowing of Thingol's mind that came about after Beren
and Lúthien's deeds.

The other meetings, with Beren and Húrin, come from the Quenta
Noldorinwa (c. 1930: Húrin) and the Quenta Silmarillion (c. 1937:
Beren) respectively -- both works of the thirties separated by only a
few years, the later essentially expanding upon the earlier. What
truly separate these two portrayals of Elu Thingol is, IMO, rather
the quest of Beren and Lúthien, and Thingol's own regret[*] at
Túrin's flight from Doriath and refusal to return.

[*] I'm not sure that 'regret' is the right word -- I want to imply a
sadness and a deep wish that it could have been otherwise, but no
feelings of guilt or shame.


<snip>

> - Is the ending of Húrin's tale a satisfactory one? A "happy
> ending"?

I don't think the suicide of 'the mightiest of the warriors of mortal
Men' can count as a happy ending by any stretch of imagination.

But that doesn't, I think, preclude the story from having
eucatastrophic moments earlier on, though I am not sure that this in
fact does contain any. As stated above my preferrred candidates would
be that last night with Morwen (followed by the promise of the
permanent sanctity of the Stone of the Hapless), and the release from
Morgoth's thralldom under the protection of the Girdle of Melian.

> Despite being Morgoth's thrall "no longer", we are told
> that "all that saw him fell back before his face" (what did they
> see there?).

The words 'I am his thrall no longer' imply also the realization that
Húrin had been Morgoth's thrall right up until the moment when Melian
opened his eyes. Despite his gesture afterwards, Húrin goes forth
with the realization that even after his release, he has been serving
Morgoth's purposes rather than his own, perhaps recalling other
situations where his deeds can have benefitted Morgoth.

Small wonder if he looks a bit odd ;)

The big question is what feeling was reflected in that face.

> He is also described as being "bereft of all purpose and desire"
> and we are told that he "cast himself at last into the western
> sea".

So I would find it unlikely that his emotional state was one of anger
and defiance -- if that was the case, he would gone out to die
killing orcs; possibly even offered to fill the gap left by Beleg.

I think the face that the Sindar fell back before was that of one fey
-- of one doomed to die (interestingly this, spelled "fej", in modern
Danish, has the meaning of 'timid' or 'cowardly').

The idea here seems to be a complete abandonment of all hope -- both
'amdir' and 'estel', a dejection and despair so complete that it
would appear nearly contagious -- or at least very scaring to the
elves around him (a quite common human reaction, by the way: we also
typically shy away from e.g. the terminally ill).

[... obsession with the Silmaril]


> This is not good! Is this a flaw in Thingol's character? An
> unavoidable fate? An effect special to the Silmaril? The dwarves
> seem to be affected in a similar way.

Like the crystal of diamonds it appeared, and yet was more
strong than adamant, so that no violence could mar it or
break it within the Kingdom of Arda. Yet that crystal was
to the Silmarils but as is the body to the Children of
Ilúvatar: the house of its inner fire, that is within it
and yet in all parts of it, and is its life. And the inner
fire of the Silmarils Fëanor made of the blended light of
the Trees of Valinor, which lives in them yet, though the
Trees have long withered and shine no more. Therefore even
in the darkness of the deepest treasury the Silmarils of
their own radiance shone like the stars of Varda; and yet,
as were they indeed living things, they rejoiced in light
and received it and gave it back in hues more marvellous
than before.
All who dwelt in Aman were filled with wonder and
delight at the work of Fëanor. And Varda hallowed the
Silmarils, so that thereafter no mortal flesh, nor hands
unclean, nor anything of evil will might touch them, but
it was scorched and withered; and Mandos foretold that the
fates of Arda, earth, sea, and air, lay locked within
them. The heart of Fëanor was fast bound to these things
that he himself had made.
Then Melkor lusted for the Silmarils, and the very
memory of their radiance was a gnawing fire in his heart.
[Silm QS,7 'Of the Silmarils and the Unrest of the Noldor']

Wether by design or accident, the Silmarils were from their
conception desirable, and since the rape of the Two Trees they were
doubly so. To lust after a Silmaril once you had seen it was, I
think, a natural state of affairs, even if most people were able to
subdue their lust enough not to commit crimes for it.

But this obsession seems in some ways similar to the obsession, or
addiction, of the One Ring. This is more obvious in Fëanor's reaction
than in Thingol's -- Fëanor hid the Silmarils and didn't even suffer
others to see them, much less hold them, while Thingol at least
didn't stop at letting the dwarves have it in their custody
(admittedly while they were apparently at his mercy in Menegroth).

This reminds me of a few questions of my own regarding the Silmarils
(I suppose it is only fair to issue a warning of story-internal
nipicking here):

1) When Varda hallowed the Silmarils, why did she preclude 'mortal
flesh'? The only mortal flesh to ever touch them, apparently, was
Beren: did she already have some kind of premonition of Beren,
whose grasp of the Silmaril was made even more exceptional because
he not only wrested it from the Iron Crown, but he also managed to
touch it despite Varda's hallowing ('the jewel suffered his touch
and hurt him not.')?

2) A comment about the skills of the dwarves, who managed to set the
Silmaril in the Nauglamir without actually touching the jewel ;)

3) I believe 'hallow' is related etymologically to Danish "hellig",
normally translated 'sacred' with the connotation of 'holy',
and that English 'hallow' still has pretty much the same meaning.
Can anyone confirm these assumptions?

> - Did the dwarves have a genuine claim to the Nauglamír?

No. That much is obvious from the description that 'they dissembled
their mind, and consented to the task' despite being 'filled with a
great lust to possess' the Silmaril and the Nauglamir. Had there been
any validity to the claim, they would, I strongly believe, have
stated it up front (not in real life, perhaps, but in this context).

In any case the Dwarves had given the Nauglamir to Felagund, thereby
relinquishing all claim to it.

> How would you resolve this dispute over a combined work of the
> Dwarves and the Elves?

The dwarven claim is, IMO, fallacious, but apart from that the
dispute is not supposed to be resolvable -- it is a trap.

> - Why is it significant that Thingol, with his last sight, gazed
> upon the light of the Trees of Valinor, contained in the Silmaril?
> Is there something more here than just the fact that he "alone of
> the Forsaken Elves" had seen the original light? He is, literally
> and metaphorically "seeing the light"? Or does he go to his death
> not understanding the folly of his pride?

Isn't this one of Christopher's additions?

Not that it matters much -- I think it fits very well in the
narrative, and the significance would surely be beyond the death of
Elwë Singollo with the blessed light of Valinor in his eyes.

But I also think it likely (more likely than not) that Thingol also
'saw the light' in the metaphorical sense -- that he realized that he
had been blinded by that hallowed light; that he saw in his death, as
you put it, 'the folly of his pride'.

<snip>

> - Had Dior already been designated Thingol's heir,

[...]

I don't know if Tolkien ever wrote something reflecting on that, but
I doubt it.

Wouldn't Thingol's heir formally have been Lúthien (or her husband)?
In that case it would appear that this was a duty Dior took upon
himself because his parents were unwilling to take that task upon
themselves, having, as it were, withdrawn almost completely from the
worries of the world.

> - Was it really wise for the Silmaril to be passed on to Dior?

Where else could it have gone? Lúthien had borne it, and after her
death (and that of Beren), the Silmaril /had/ to go to Dior first,
for him to decide what to do with it.

> Didn't Dior realise that the Sons of Fëanor would lay claim to it?

If he didn't realize beforehand, he did most certainly realize quite
soon when their demand for it came in. But that hardly matters -- the
point must be in his reaction to that demand.

> Could Dior have handled things better, or has he inherited the
> pride of Thingol?

I'm not sure there is aught he could have done differently. The
Fëanorians were 'the Dispossessed' in more ways than one, and I
suspect that it was their doom never to get back any of the
Silmarils. Their claim to them had been made void, but they didn't
realize that until they stole the last two from Eönwë.

Dior, who had been caught up in the Doom of the Noldor (as Melian had
realized long before) by Thingol's haughty demand of Beren, could no
more have given them the Silmaril that Beren and Lúthien won than he
could have given them the last two Jewels from the Iron Crown -- it
was otherwise doomed.

> - The "babes in the wood" story is a staple of legends from many
> cultures.

Indeed. Quite well known.

[...]


> What happened to Eluréd and Elurín?

They died, of course, starved to death in the woods where they were
left by Celegorm's servants.


This chapter evokes for me, more strongly in the earlier conceptions,
but still, some echoes of Norse myth.

All stories of Lúthien and Dior wearing the remade Nauglamir with the
Silmaril recalls to me the image of Freya wearing Brisingamen, the
necklace that ensured that she was the most beautiful of all the
gods.

At other points the whole story of the gold reminds me strongly of
points in the Volsungasaga[#] with the Nauglamir in the role of
Andvari's ring. The gold from Nargothrond had become 'dragon-
guarded', and it was cursed by dwarves (Mîm and the Lord of Nogrod).

In particular the image of the Lord of Nogrod laying his curse upon
the treasure, which was then thrown into the river, recalls the fate
of Fafnir's treasure.

[#] <http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/vlsng/index.htm>


These are, of course, but echoes of possible sources of inspiration,
but I'd be interested to hear if others can point to other legends
(such as Christopher mentioning the 'babes in the woods' above) of
which they perceive echoes in this.

<snip>

--
Troels Forchhammer
Valid e-mail is <troelsfo(a)gmail.com>
Please put '[AFT]', '[RABT]' or 'Tolkien' in subject.

++?????++ Out of Cheese Error. Redo From Start.
- /Interesting Times/ (Terry Pratchett)

Emma Pease

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Dec 3, 2006, 2:40:49 PM12/3/06
to
In article <Xns988EA49E...@130.133.1.4>, Troels Forchhammer wrote:
> In message <news:arO7h.2828$k74....@text.news.blueyonder.co.uk>
...

> This reminds me of a few questions of my own regarding the Silmarils
> (I suppose it is only fair to issue a warning of story-internal
> nipicking here):
>
> 1) When Varda hallowed the Silmarils, why did she preclude 'mortal
> flesh'? The only mortal flesh to ever touch them, apparently, was
> Beren: did she already have some kind of premonition of Beren,
> whose grasp of the Silmaril was made even more exceptional because
> he not only wrested it from the Iron Crown, but he also managed to
> touch it despite Varda's hallowing ('the jewel suffered his touch
> and hurt him not.')?
>
> 2) A comment about the skills of the dwarves, who managed to set the
> Silmaril in the Nauglamir without actually touching the jewel ;)
>
> 3) I believe 'hallow' is related etymologically to Danish "hellig",
> normally translated 'sacred' with the connotation of 'holy',
> and that English 'hallow' still has pretty much the same meaning.
> Can anyone confirm these assumptions?

Yes. It is uncommon in Modern English but the Lord's Prayer (King
James Version) has "Hallowed be thy name". Also Halloween is short
for All Hallows Eve or the eve of All Saints day. So hallow as a noun
means saint (dying out around 1500 as a usage except in Halloween and
related words) and as a verb means to make holy. Hallows (plural) can
also mean holy place.


--
\----
|\* | Emma Pease Net Spinster
|_\/ Die Luft der Freiheit weht

Count Menelvagor

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Dec 3, 2006, 9:50:25 PM12/3/06
to

Troels Forchhammer wrote:

> The staff and sword are more interesting. The sword symbolizes the
> warrior, the one who is fighting against the enemy (as it did for
> Gandalf).
>
> The staff is more ambiguous, and has been used in many connections.
> Given the title of the underlying text (I'm thinking of 'The
> Wanderings of Húrin'), it seems to me likely that this is a
> wanderer's staff, rather than, for instance, a wizard's staff or a
> shepherd's staff. In that case the image is that of a solitary
> wanderer, an old warrior who has seen too much, but who hasn't lost
> his courage.

of course gandalf's staff is a bit ambiguous as well, gandalf being
both a wizard and a wanderer, and for the most part conealing or
downplaying his *wizardly* attributes. (it's interesting that tolkien
doesn't have much in the way of magic, but stretching the topic of the
thread a bit too far, i guess.)


> > Rather it is the stories within the story that are the points.
>
> Yes. The Beleriandric wars is a setting for stories, not the story
> itself. The Quenta Silmarillion uses these wars to tie all the
> stories together, but the actual manouvres and battles between Good
> and Evil fill relatively little in the tale.
>
> Tolkien is, in other words, using the wars as a background, on which
> he paints stories of individual valour, tragedy etc.

yes; in addition to providing a frame foor the lesser stories, the
losing struggle with morgoth serves to deepen the tragedy of the
children of hurin and to highlight, by way of contrast, the
eucatastrophe of beren and luthien.

but surprisingly
> little about much of the other stuff that has filled much of the war
> literature in the wake of the two great wars of the twentieth
> century:

note to self: when i get time, re-read garth. (still on shippey atm.)

William Cloud Hicklin

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Dec 4, 2006, 10:41:29 AM12/4/06
to
On Sun, 03 Dec 2006 10:10:58 -0500, Troels Forchhammer
<Tro...@ThisIsFake.invalid> wrote:

> Thingol's scorn for the dwarves is, of course, an invention by CJRT,
> which, though in line with his earlier hauteur towards Beren, shows
> little of the mellowing of Thingol's mind that came about after Beren
> and Lúthien's deeds.
> The other meetings, with Beren and Húrin, come from the Quenta
> Noldorinwa (c. 1930: Húrin) and the Quenta Silmarillion (c. 1937:
> Beren) respectively -- both works of the thirties separated by only a
> few years, the later essentially expanding upon the earlier. What
> truly separate these two portrayals of Elu Thingol is, IMO, rather
> the quest of Beren and Lúthien, and Thingol's own regret[*] at
> Túrin's flight from Doriath and refusal to return.

"Christopher's invention" is putting it a bit strongly (unless you mean by
"Thingol's scorn" his particular contemptuous speech right before his
death). The Elves always looked down on the unlovely Stunted People
(except perhaps Felagund, but he's the nice one). In pre-Lotter writings,
the Dwarves generally deserved it, too. Fifties versions necessarily
rehabilitated the Dwarves' character, but the Elves' contempt remained-
now of course more as a reflection of Elvish arrogance.

--
The Dodo never had a chance. He seems to have been invented for the sole
purpose of becoming extinct and that was all he was good for.

William Cloud Hicklin

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Dec 4, 2006, 10:50:18 AM12/4/06
to
On Sun, 03 Dec 2006 14:40:49 -0500, Emma Pease <em...@kanpai.stanford.edu>
wrote:


>
> Yes. It is uncommon in Modern English but the Lord's Prayer (King
> James Version) has "Hallowed be thy name". Also Halloween is short
> for All Hallows Eve or the eve of All Saints day. So hallow as a noun
> means saint (dying out around 1500 as a usage except in Halloween and
> related words) and as a verb means to make holy. Hallows (plural) can
> also mean holy place.
>

generally, "something holy", both words deriving from OE /haelig/. As a
noun in more-or-less modern usage, mostly "a holy place" (cf the Hallows
of Rath Dinen). All Hallows translates All Saints simply because Latin
/sanctus/ = holy: i.e. Saint James = Holy James.

This is an interesting angle on the Ainulindale, and Tolkien's glossing of
the Ainur as the Holy Ones. In liturgical English the "saints" (=holy
ones) collectively are all those Men whose souls are now in Heaven.
(Angels generally get St. as a courtesy title). This may be reflected in
the prophecy of the Second Music, which will involve the Ainur *and* the
Children of Men.

Dirk Thierbach

unread,
Dec 4, 2006, 10:37:09 AM12/4/06
to
Christopher Kreuzer <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> wrote:
> - The scene where Húrin cries aloud to Turgon in the wilderness, recalling
> the scene at the Fen of Serech in the Fifth Battle, also has striking
> parallels with scenes from the battle, including the scene where Húrin is
> captured at the end of the battle.

: Húrin stood in despair before the silent cliffs of the Echoriath,


: and the westering sun, piercing the clouds, stained his white hair
: with red. Then he cried aloud in the wilderness, heedless of any ears,

: and he cursed the pitiless land; and standing at last upon a high rock


: he looked towards Gondolin and called in a great voice: 'Turgon,
: Turgon, remember the Fen of Serech! O Turgon, will you not hear in

: your hidden halls?' But there was no sound save the wind in the dry
: grasses. 'Even so they hissed in Serech at the sunset,' he said; and
: as he spoke the sun went behind the Mountains of Shadow, and a
: darkness fell about him, and the wind ceased, and there was silence in
: the waste.
:
: Yet there were ears that heard the words that Húrin spoke, [...]

In TRtME, Shippey does an interesting analysis on this scene:

[...] Turgon's pause is there only to allow [Húrin] to make a fateful
decision and then regret it -- or, one might say, to prove the
adjective 'pitiless' in the passage quoted. It is not the land which
has no pity, but Turgon, and the elves and men who rejected Húrin
earlier. By similar transference cliffs are 'silent', grasses 'dry',
the red sunset and white hair stand for future catastrophe and
present despair, while the sun behind 'Shadow' marks the beginning
of the end for Gondolin [...]. Over all hangs the implication that
the real sunset is in Húrin's heart, a loss of hope to elvish, and
natural, indifference. And yet the indifference is illusion, the
silence full of ears, the despair a fatal mistake...

The scene is a picture, a posed /tableau/. Yet it centres on an
outctry of spontanous passion (like so many scenes of medieval
romance). Dynamism is generated from it as soon as one ask the
question 'whose fault?' [...]

There are also other "tableaus" in Tolkien's works, though I didn't
notice them until I head read this analysis :-)

- Dirk

Dirk Thierbach

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Dec 5, 2006, 6:08:43 AM12/5/06
to
William Cloud Hicklin <icelof...@mindspring.com> wrote:
> This is an interesting angle on the Ainulindale, and Tolkien's glossing of
> the Ainur as the Holy Ones. In liturgical English the "saints" (=holy
> ones) collectively are all those Men whose souls are now in Heaven.

I learned in school that "holy" just means "with God" (i.e., in his
presence). I am not sure if it applies to Tolkien, because it's
Protestant Theology, but...

> This may be reflected in the prophecy of the Second Music, which
> will involve the Ainur *and* the Children of Men.

...that would allow a simpler explanation: The Ainur are the "Holy Ones"
because they were initially with God. (And the saints are "holy" because
they are after their death with God, immediately, while all the others
have to wait a bit longer :-) So no need to invoke the prohecy of the
Second Music.

- Dirk

William Cloud Hicklin

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Dec 5, 2006, 9:29:48 AM12/5/06
to
On Tue, 05 Dec 2006 06:08:43 -0500, Dirk Thierbach
<dthie...@usenet.arcornews.de> wrote:

> (And the saints are "holy" because
> they are after their death with God, immediately, while all the others
> have to wait a bit longer

That's not precisely the Catholic view. The "saints" properly are all the
Faithful, living and dead, although in common usage it's the dead ones who
are meant. In colloquial usage the term is limited to that list of
persons "canonized" by the Church- this doesn't imply that these are the
only ones, still less that the Church "put" them there: it simply means,
based on the evidence of intercessory miracles, that we're pretty sure
that they are there.

Dirk Thierbach

unread,
Dec 5, 2006, 10:05:51 AM12/5/06
to
William Cloud Hicklin <icelof...@mindspring.com> wrote:
> On Tue, 05 Dec 2006 06:08:43 -0500, Dirk Thierbach
> <dthie...@usenet.arcornews.de> wrote:

>> And the saints are "holy" because they are after their death with

>> God, immediately, while all the others have to wait a bit longer :-)

> That's not precisely the Catholic view. The "saints" properly are all the
> Faithful, living and dead

That would surprise me. I always thought only people who are already
dead can be "sanctified" (is that the correct word) by the Pope?

But to equate "all the faithful" with "saints" just looks wrong to me.
Sources?

> although in common usage it's the dead ones who
> are meant. In colloquial usage the term is limited to that list of
> persons "canonized" by the Church- this doesn't imply that these are the
> only ones, still less that the Church "put" them there: it simply means,
> based on the evidence of intercessory miracles, that we're pretty sure
> that they are there.

Yes, of course. But isn't the whole point of praying to a saint, as I
have understood it, that they are actually "face to face" with God, so
they can "talk" to God on behalf of the one who is praying? That would
again make the saints all those who are "with God" (even if the
"canonized" ones are only a part of them).

And I would also be surprised if evidence of miracles is still a
necessary condition for the present Catholic church.

- Dirk

William Cloud Hicklin

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Dec 5, 2006, 11:16:19 AM12/5/06
to
On Tue, 05 Dec 2006 10:05:51 -0500, Dirk Thierbach
<dthie...@usenet.arcornews.de> wrote:

Then be surprised. It still is. Even for Mother Teresa. (This is not to
say that the standards for "miracles" aren't fudged in some cases. Nor
that politics aren't involved: backers of particular candidates campaign
as intensely as studios at Oscar time. OTOH, the rules for certifying
miracles are a LOT tighter than they were in, say, the Middle Ages. The
overwhelming majority of claimed wonders are rejected)

William Cloud Hicklin

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Dec 5, 2006, 11:24:48 AM12/5/06
to
On Tue, 05 Dec 2006 10:05:51 -0500, Dirk Thierbach
<dthie...@usenet.arcornews.de> wrote:

> But to equate "all the faithful" with "saints" just looks wrong to me.
> Sources?

The Catechism of the Catholic Church, 946: After confessing "the holy
catholic Church," the Apostles' Creed adds "the communion of saints." In a
certain sense this article is a further explanation of the preceding:
"What is the Church if not the assembly of all the saints?" The communion
of saints is the Church.

Peter Bruells

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Dec 5, 2006, 11:28:27 AM12/5/06
to
Dirk Thierbach <dthie...@usenet.arcornews.de> writes:

> William Cloud Hicklin <icelof...@mindspring.com> wrote:
> > On Tue, 05 Dec 2006 06:08:43 -0500, Dirk Thierbach
> > <dthie...@usenet.arcornews.de> wrote:
>
> >> And the saints are "holy" because they are after their death with
> >> God, immediately, while all the others have to wait a bit longer :-)
>
> > That's not precisely the Catholic view. The "saints" properly are
> > all the Faithful, living and dead
>
> That would surprise me. I always thought only people who are already
> dead can be "sanctified" (is that the correct word) by the Pope?

> But to equate "all the faithful" with "saints" just looks wrong to me.
> Sources?

About any catholic priest or theologican. Paulus would be a good
start. William's simply right. Any catholic, probably every
Christian, who received the sacrament of baptism is "holy" because
they accepted Jesus and take part in his holiness. Catholic saints are
just eople who are, according to the rules of the Catholic rules, with
certainity in god's presence.

...


> Yes, of course. But isn't the whole point of praying to a saint,

You don't pray "to saints", since that would imply worship. Saints get
revered and you pray *with* saints. However, the flock at large is
somewhat unclear about these matters.

> as I have understood it, that they are actually "face to face" with
> God, so they can "talk" to God on behalf of the one who is praying?

Yes, the canonized saints are.

> That would again make the saints all those who are "with God" (even
> if the "canonized" ones are only a part of them).

> And I would also be surprised if evidence of miracles is still a
> necessary condition for the present Catholic church.

I wouldn't, because the lack of properly verified miracles is one of
the reasons why Pope John Paul II hasn't been canonized yet. It was
already a concession to start his beautification process early - by
church law, it can't be be stared earlier than five years after death.


The church, back in the days when martyer-worship got our of hand,
established the rules of canonization to prevent dilution of the
theology and estahlishing lots of local minor deities.

These days, only real matyrdrom (like Maximiliam Kolbe) gets you
sainthood real fast. Otherwise you need at least one miracle to your
name - usually a miracle of healing, verified by real physicians to be
unexplainable.

William Cloud Hicklin

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Dec 5, 2006, 11:42:16 AM12/5/06
to
On Tue, 05 Dec 2006 11:28:27 -0500, Peter Bruells <p...@ecce-terram.de>
wrote:

> These days, only real matyrdrom (like Maximiliam Kolbe) gets you
> sainthood real fast. Otherwise you need at least one miracle to your
> name - usually a miracle of healing, verified by real physicians to be
> unexplainable.

IIRC, one miracle just gets you beatification: full canonization requires
two. In fact, I'm pretty sure that martyrdom alone just qualifies for
blessed status. E.g. my own patron William of Norwich (which I'm not
comfortable about, since his "martyrdom" seems to have been the invention
of hysterical anti-Semites: in fact, since the Church has absolutely and
utterly rejected and condemned the "blood libel," poor little William
really ought to be stricken from the Calendar. I would much prefer St.
Cloud anyway- a saint because not slaughtering your relatives was
apparently 'saintly' conduct for a Merovingian royal.)

Peter Bruells

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Dec 5, 2006, 11:45:18 AM12/5/06
to

Who, however, has already been beatified at top speed.

William Cloud Hicklin

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Dec 5, 2006, 11:59:09 AM12/5/06
to
On Tue, 05 Dec 2006 11:45:18 -0500, Peter Bruells <p...@ecce-terram.de>
wrote:


>> >


>> > And I would also be surprised if evidence of miracles is still a
>> > necessary condition for the present Catholic church.
>> >
>> Then be surprised. It still is. Even for Mother Teresa.
>
> Who, however, has already been beatified at top speed.
>

Yup. But she still needs her mirabili.

Peter Bruells

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Dec 5, 2006, 12:50:04 PM12/5/06
to
"William Cloud Hicklin" <icelof...@mindspring.com> writes:

> On Tue, 05 Dec 2006 11:45:18 -0500, Peter Bruells <p...@ecce-terram.de>
> wrote:
>
>
> >> >
> >> > And I would also be surprised if evidence of miracles is still a
> >> > necessary condition for the present Catholic church.
> >> >
> >> Then be surprised. It still is. Even for Mother Teresa.
> >
> > Who, however, has already been beatified at top speed.
> >
>
> Yup. But she still needs her mirabili.

I'm quite sure her sisters will find some for her...

Troels Forchhammer

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Dec 5, 2006, 1:49:38 PM12/5/06
to
In message <news:op.tj1kjmmfrwd1fl@emachine> "William Cloud Hicklin"
<icelof...@mindspring.com> spoke these staves:
>
> On Sun, 03 Dec 2006 10:10:58 -0500, Troels Forchhammer
> <Tro...@ThisIsFake.invalid> wrote:
>>
>> Thingol's scorn for the dwarves is, of course, an invention by
>> CJRT,
[...]

>
> "Christopher's invention" is putting it a bit strongly (unless you
> mean by "Thingol's scorn" his particular contemptuous speech
> right before his death).

You are right, thanks. I was only referring to the argument over the
refitted Nauglamir (I thought I had caught all instances of
'invention' in reference to this, substituting 'addition', though in
this case I'm not sure it would have made the intention any clearer).

--
Troels Forchhammer
Valid e-mail is <troelsfo(a)gmail.com>
Please put '[AFT]', '[RABT]' or 'Tolkien' in subject.

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable
from magic.
- Arthur C. Clarke, /Profiles of The Future/, 1961
(Also known as 'Clarke's third law')

Christopher Kreuzer

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Dec 5, 2006, 8:50:16 PM12/5/06
to
Dirk Thierbach wrote:
> Christopher Kreuzer <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> wrote:
>> - The scene where Húrin cries aloud to Turgon in the wilderness,
>> recalling the scene at the Fen of Serech in the Fifth Battle, also
>> has striking parallels with scenes from the battle, including the
>> scene where Húrin is captured at the end of the battle.
>
>> Húrin stood in despair before the silent cliffs of the Echoriath,
>> and the westering sun, piercing the clouds, stained his white hair
>> with red. Then he cried aloud in the wilderness, heedless of any
>> ears, and he cursed the pitiless land; and standing at last upon a
>> high rock he looked towards Gondolin and called in a great voice:
>> 'Turgon,
>> Turgon, remember the Fen of Serech! O Turgon, will you not hear in
>> your hidden halls?' But there was no sound save the wind in the dry
>> grasses. 'Even so they hissed in Serech at the sunset,' he said; and
>> as he spoke the sun went behind the Mountains of Shadow, and a
>> darkness fell about him, and the wind ceased, and there was silence
>> in the waste.
>>
>> Yet there were ears that heard the words that Húrin spoke, [...]
>
> In TRtME, Shippey does an interesting analysis on this scene:

Wow. Thanks for pointing this out. Dare I ask whether you find this more
convincing than the comparisons I made looking back to the scene at the end
of the Fifth Battle? Particularly the contrasting of the "storm of wind" and
the "silence in the waste"? And the hope and defiance of Hurin in his youth,
compared with the despair of his old age?

> [...] Turgon's pause is there only to allow [Húrin] to make a fateful
> decision and then regret it -- or, one might say, to prove the
> adjective 'pitiless' in the passage quoted. It is not the land which
> has no pity, but Turgon, and the elves and men who rejected Húrin
> earlier. By similar transference cliffs are 'silent', grasses 'dry',
> the red sunset and white hair stand for future catastrophe and
> present despair, while the sun behind 'Shadow' marks the beginning
> of the end for Gondolin [...]. Over all hangs the implication that
> the real sunset is in Húrin's heart, a loss of hope to elvish, and
> natural, indifference. And yet the indifference is illusion, the
> silence full of ears, the despair a fatal mistake...

I like this 'transference' idea. And the 'sunset in Hurin's heart' bit is
great as well. I'm not so sure about the red sunset, white hair, and
'beginning of the end for Gondolin' bits. Though there is a little bit that
I noticed that does seem to recall something about the fate of Gondolin...

> The scene is a picture, a posed /tableau/. Yet it centres on an
> outctry of spontanous passion (like so many scenes of medieval
> romance). Dynamism is generated from it as soon as one ask the
> question 'whose fault?' [...]

That's a lovely concept as well. A 'posed tableau'.

> There are also other "tableaus" in Tolkien's works, though I didn't
> notice them until I head read this analysis :-)

I think we all notice them, but we wouldn't have called them tableaux. I
would have said they were the bits of the narrative that strongly evoke a
frozen _scene_ in my mind, where you can literally see in your mind's eye
the pivotal moment of tragedy, hope, or whatever. It is nice to have a name
now with which to discuss these moments!

One of the other tableaux I went and looked up relates to the bit from the
Hurin at Gondolin tableau mentioned above, where I said I had noticed
something that seems to recall the fate of Gondolin:

"...standing at last upon a high rock he [Hurin] looked towards Gondolin and
called in a great voice..." (Of the Ruin of Doriath)

This reminded me of another great posed tableau:

"they came at length to [...] the empty waste of Araman which [was]
mountainous and cold. There they beheld suddenly a dark figure standing high
upon a rock [...] And they heard a loud voice, solemn and terrible, that
bade them stand and give ear." (Of the Flight of the Noldor)

Is it really a coincidence that Hurin's pose upon a high rock, calling out
to Turgon with the voice of impending doom, signalling the beginning of the
end for Gondolin, is like that of Mandos, standing high upon a rock,
declaring the Prophecy of the North, which of course includes references to
the Fall of Gondolin (not so-much in the published /Silmarillion/, though
traces remain there, but in the Book of Lost Tales versions of this
Prophecy, where the fate of Gondolin is made explicit)?

On a more general note, one thing that has struck be from looking at the
story of Hurin and Morwen is that, unlike Turin (who could be a nasty bit of
work sometimes), Hurin and Morwen don't deserve what they get (though maybe
some think that Turin didn't deserve any of his fate either).

Looking in particular at Hurin:

1) Gets to go to Gondolin
2) Fights with great valour in the battles
3) Gets captured
4) Endures years of watching his son's life unravel
5) Released by Morgoth
6) Rejected by his people
7) Unwittingly furthers Morgoth's purposes
8) Realises he had been a thrall even after release
9) Commits suicide

So no, not a happy ending. And he doesn't seem to have any fault or anything
that would help assuage the tragedy of it all. I suppose at the end, it can
be tracked down to Hurin defying Morgoth, and being cursed by Morgoth, as is
said in general of the Narn: "it is called the Tale of Grief, for it is
sorrowful, and in it are revealed most evil works of Morgoth Bauglir."

Christopher

William Cloud Hicklin

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Dec 5, 2006, 9:18:56 PM12/5/06
to

This is why the Wanderingss of Hurin is so interesting- Hurin *is*
responsible for the catastrophe of Brethil. Not that the Haladin aren't
also in part guilty- but here there's no external Fist of Fate pounding
away.

Christopher Kreuzer

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Dec 5, 2006, 9:47:54 PM12/5/06
to
Troels Forchhammer wrote:
> In message <news:arO7h.2828$k74....@text.news.blueyonder.co.uk>
> "Christopher Kreuzer" <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> spoke these
> staves:
>>
>> Chapter of the Week (CotW) - The Silmarillion - Quenta
>> Silmarillion (QS), Chapter 22 - Of the Ruin of Doriath.
>
> A bit belated, I'm afraid, but still.

Your response or my introduction. ;-)

(I know, it's the latter. Belated apologies!)

<snip>

>> - Húrin is lead to Brethil by dreams of Morwen. Whence came these
>> dreams?
>
> Within the context of the story, I could imagine it coming from
> several sources for various reasons.

I thought Ulmo, but your other suggestions are interesting. Maybe though, it
is just fate. No particular cause, but just an instinct that subconsciously
led Hurin to Brethil (I guess he knew from his knowledge of Turin's story
the significance of Brethil).

<snip>

> [...]
>> Were the night-sentinels sensing this shadow, this curse that
>> Morgoth had laid on Húrin and his kin?
>
> Yes.
>
> OK, I was tempted to leave it at that, because it seemed to me so
> clear that this darkness and shadow are related, and somehow
> represents the mark Morgoth has left on Húrin, and I don't see what
> else it could be.

I don't think it is that clear at first. It is only with the later line
"...his doom drove him on, and the Shadow still followed him." that it
becomes obvious that this darkness may be the Shadow of Morgoth, though
earlier we were told: "Then Morgoth cursed Hurin and Morwen and their
offspring, and set a doom upon them of darkness and sorrow..." (Of the Fifth
Battle...)

I agree, though, that once the connection is made, it is obvious.

> [...]
>> "...he closed her eyes, and sat unmoving beside her as the night
>> drew down. The waters of Cabed Naeramarth roared on, but he heard
>> no sound, and he saw nothing, and felt nothing, for his heart was
>> stone within him."
>
> Well, my heart weren't and my eyes didn't stay dry. It's a wonderful
> passage that.
>
> I'm not actually sure that there is any eucatastrophic moments in the
> story of Húrin after his release from Angband, but if the ones that
> come closest are, IMO, this moment, when he and Morwen share what is
> left of the night (followed by the promise of the sanctity of Tol
> Morwen), and the moment when Melian finally sets him free of Morgoth
> and he is 'his thrall no longer.'

I agree, the 'promise of the sanctity of Tol Morwen' (a lovely phrase) is a
eucatastrophic moment. I am wondering whether there are other moments of
eucatastrophe in /The Silmarillion/. Count Menelvagor has pointed to the
story of Beren and Luthien, though more specific moments from that story
should be identified. I think the moment when Beren lifts up his right and
then left hand, and names himself Camlost, and Thingol's then looks kindly
on him. Maybe also the moment when Luthien sings before Mandos, and the
moment when Dior learn's that Beren and Luthien have died. But outside the
main stories of Beren and Luthien, and the Turin saga, I wonder what other
eucatastrophic moments there are?

Maybe the coda at the end, about Arda Marred? Which seems to imply that the
whole story is one long arc leading to ultimate eucatastrophe.

"If it has passed from the high and the beautiful to darkness and ruin, that
was of old the fate of Arda Marred"

Or the moment when the dying Trees put forth one last blossoming:

"Yet even as hope failed and her song faltered, Telperion bore at last upon
a leafless bough one great flower of silver, and Laurelin a single trait of
gold."

Or the moment when Eonwe cries out to greet the coming of Earendil?

"Hail Earendil, bearer of light before the Sun and Moon! Splendour of the
Children of Earth, star in the darkness, jewel in the sunset, radiant in the
morning!"

But maybe these aren't truly eucatastropic moments. That requires a feeling
of despair to be replaced with one of great joy, no? Or is that
oversimplifying it?

>> Rather it is the stories within the story that are the points.

<snip>

> Tolkien, IMO, manages to strike an
> amazing balance where the war in itself is portrayed as evil and
> wasteful, it also draws out both the worst and the best from those
> who are caught up in it, and that is what Tolkien shows in his
> individual tales from the Beleriandric wars.

And also a balance between the high and remote style, and the intense
individual stories. That is an important part of the technique, I feel.
Dipping in and out of a rich history, and switching persepctives. This
switching narrative style is also seen in LotR as well, as I think you've
mentioned before.

<snip>

> What truly separate these two portrayals of Elu Thingol is, IMO, rather
> the quest of Beren and Lúthien, and Thingol's own regret[*] at
> Túrin's flight from Doriath and refusal to return.
>
> [*] I'm not sure that 'regret' is the right word -- I want to imply a
> sadness and a deep wish that it could have been otherwise, but no
> feelings of guilt or shame.

Regret is precisely the right word, IMO. But it can be extensively modified.
Regret is not always sad. In essence it is a neutral word that is usually
modifeid by an adjective. Thingol here is showing sad regret, maybe
remorseful regret (your 'deep wish that it could have been otherwise'). In
contrast, you can also have shameful regret, guilty regret, angry regret,
exasperated regret, and so on.

> <snip>
>
>> - Is the ending of Húrin's tale a satisfactory one? A "happy
>> ending"?
>
> I don't think the suicide of 'the mightiest of the warriors of mortal
> Men' can count as a happy ending by any stretch of imagination.
>
> But that doesn't, I think, preclude the story from having
> eucatastrophic moments earlier on, though I am not sure that this in
> fact does contain any. As stated above my preferrred candidates would
> be that last night with Morwen (followed by the promise of the
> permanent sanctity of the Stone of the Hapless), and the release from
> Morgoth's thralldom under the protection of the Girdle of Melian.

Yes, I agree these have elements of eucatastrophe. Pain and despair followed
by peace and/or joy. However, it is difficult to find any happiness for
Hurin. Morwen is at peace, but I don't think Hurin truly finds peace until
he casts himself in the sea, and that is an unremittingly sad indictment of
how his life has been ruined by Morgoth.

>> Despite being Morgoth's thrall "no longer", we are told
>> that "all that saw him fell back before his face" (what did they
>> see there?).
>
> The words 'I am his thrall no longer' imply also the realization that
> Húrin had been Morgoth's thrall right up until the moment when Melian
> opened his eyes. Despite his gesture afterwards, Húrin goes forth
> with the realization that even after his release, he has been serving
> Morgoth's purposes rather than his own, perhaps recalling other
> situations where his deeds can have benefitted Morgoth.

Good points.

> Small wonder if he looks a bit odd ;)
>
> The big question is what feeling was reflected in that face.

That's exactly what I wanted to get people to think about.

>> He is also described as being "bereft of all purpose and desire"

I think this is what people would see in his face. An aimless despair that
is so blank and beyond saving that people fall back from him in horror.

<snip>

> I think the face that the Sindar fell back before was that of one fey
> -- of one doomed to die (interestingly this, spelled "fej", in modern
> Danish, has the meaning of 'timid' or 'cowardly').

I agree with your despair assessment, but I'm not sure about the 'doomed to
die', and a feyness and death wish. That is possible, but not necessary. He
could just be a broken shell of a man, with the last shreds of his dignity
nearly gone and unable to bring himself to face life anymore.

> The idea here seems to be a complete abandonment of all hope -- both
> 'amdir' and 'estel', a dejection and despair so complete that it
> would appear nearly contagious -- or at least very scaring to the
> elves around him (a quite common human reaction, by the way: we also
> typically shy away from e.g. the terminally ill).

Or the suicidal and terminally depressed. A deep sadness etched in his face
that nothing would be able to remove. He has resisted for so long that the
ending, when it came, was swift and brutal. He was a free man (thanks to
Melian), but a completely broken man mentally.

> [... obsession with the Silmaril]
>> This is not good! Is this a flaw in Thingol's character? An
>> unavoidable fate? An effect special to the Silmaril? The dwarves
>> seem to be affected in a similar way.

<snip quote>

> Wether by design or accident, the Silmarils were from their
> conception desirable, and since the rape of the Two Trees they were
> doubly so. To lust after a Silmaril once you had seen it was, I
> think, a natural state of affairs, even if most people were able to
> subdue their lust enough not to commit crimes for it.

Thanks. I think that explains lots of things about people's behaviour in
this chapter. But it seems to come back to who can subdue their lust for it.
Would Beren and Luthien or Dior have lusted for it in the same way that
Thingol, Feanor or Melkor did? Or even Carcharoth, for instance.

> But this obsession seems in some ways similar to the obsession, or
> addiction, of the One Ring. This is more obvious in Fëanor's reaction
> than in Thingol's -- Fëanor hid the Silmarils and didn't even suffer
> others to see them, much less hold them, while Thingol at least
> didn't stop at letting the dwarves have it in their custody
> (admittedly while they were apparently at his mercy in Menegroth).


So different people do react in different ways.

<snip>

>> - Why is it significant that Thingol, with his last sight, gazed
>> upon the light of the Trees of Valinor, contained in the Silmaril?
>> Is there something more here than just the fact that he "alone of
>> the Forsaken Elves" had seen the original light? He is, literally
>> and metaphorically "seeing the light"? Or does he go to his death
>> not understanding the folly of his pride?
>
> Isn't this one of Christopher's additions?

Not sure. I think so.

> Not that it matters much -- I think it fits very well in the
> narrative, and the significance would surely be beyond the death of
> Elwë Singollo with the blessed light of Valinor in his eyes.
>
> But I also think it likely (more likely than not) that Thingol also
> 'saw the light' in the metaphorical sense -- that he realized that he
> had been blinded by that hallowed light; that he saw in his death, as
> you put it, 'the folly of his pride'.

I could also be that even as he was dying, Thingol was _still_ desiring the
Silmaril and the light contained therein. In other words, no change at all.

<snip>

>> Could Dior have handled things better, or has he inherited the
>> pride of Thingol?
>
> I'm not sure there is aught he could have done differently. The
> Fëanorians were 'the Dispossessed' in more ways than one, and I
> suspect that it was their doom never to get back any of the
> Silmarils. Their claim to them had been made void, but they didn't
> realize that until they stole the last two from Eönwë.
>
> Dior, who had been caught up in the Doom of the Noldor (as Melian had
> realized long before) by Thingol's haughty demand of Beren, could no
> more have given them the Silmaril that Beren and Lúthien won than he
> could have given them the last two Jewels from the Iron Crown -- it
> was otherwise doomed.


Agreed.

>> - The "babes in the wood" story is a staple of legends from many
>> cultures.
>
> Indeed. Quite well known.
>
> [...]
>> What happened to Eluréd and Elurín?
>
> They died, of course, starved to death in the woods where they were
> left by Celegorm's servants.

Well, you have the brothers Huor and Hurin, and Elrond and Elros, who
survive their little adventures. It just seems sad to me that Elured and
Elurin would be the exception. I like to think that the "of their fate no
tale tells" leaves a ray of hope that maybe they did survive, but did not
enter the histories of those days.

> This chapter evokes for me, more strongly in the earlier conceptions,
> but still, some echoes of Norse myth.

<snip examples>

Those sound plausible to me.

> These are, of course, but echoes of possible sources of inspiration,
> but I'd be interested to hear if others can point to other legends
> (such as Christopher mentioning the 'babes in the woods' above) of
> which they perceive echoes in this.

Not from this chapter, but I re-read the Beren and Luthien one recently, and
the hunting of Carcharoth the Wolf, with the gathering of the "heroes of the
age" to take part in the hunt, is obviously modelled after the Greek legend
of the hunting of a wild boar that was ravaging the lands (much like
Carcharoth was). The legend is known as the Calydonian Boar:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calydonian_Boar

The particular parallels I can see are:

1) Ravaging of the lands by a supernatural power
2) The gathering of the great heroes
3) The wounding of the king

That last one seems to be a mis-remembering on my part. Beren defends
Thingol, and I thought something similar happens here, but in fact the host
king, Eurytion, is killed accidentally. That now reminds me of Turin's
slaying of Beleg, and I'm sure 'accidental slayings' are rife in mythology
and legend.

Christopher

Dirk Thierbach

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Dec 6, 2006, 3:47:11 AM12/6/06
to
Peter Bruells <p...@ecce-terram.de> wrote:
> Dirk Thierbach <dthie...@usenet.arcornews.de> writes:
>> William Cloud Hicklin <icelof...@mindspring.com> wrote:

>> > That's not precisely the Catholic view. The "saints" properly are
>> > all the Faithful, living and dead

>> That would surprise me. I always thought only people who are already
>> dead can be "sanctified" (is that the correct word) by the Pope?

>> But to equate "all the faithful" with "saints" just looks wrong to me.
>> Sources?

> About any catholic priest or theologican.

I happened to be in the library yesterday, and looked it up. Several
lexica of religion agree that there is a concept that (originally) the
martyrs went directly to heaven, and hence can intervene directly with
God on behalf of those who pray to them. That concept has been later
extended to the Saints.

OTOH, I think we agree that the Faithful will have to wait until
Resurrection until they see God "face to face".

Hence, obviously to be a Saint (whether canonicized or not) is different
from being just a believer.

> Paulus would be a good start.

The lexica also say that this concept can be found already in the
bible, for example in Relevations and Matthew. (Sorry, I didn't
write don't the exact place).

> William's simply right. Any catholic, probably every Christian, who
> received the sacrament of baptism is "holy" because they accepted
> Jesus and take part in his holiness.

But that's different from "being a Saint". "Holy" here just means
"dedicated to God, belonging to God, participating in God" or
something like this. Not in his, well, "direct" presence, if that's
the way to put it.

> Catholic saints are just eople who are, according to the rules of
> the Catholic rules, with certainity in god's presence.

Yes, but if there is doubt whether someone is in God's presence or
not (before Doomsday), then this cannot be a universal attribute,
can it? Otherwise it wouldn't be necessary to single out those
Saints for which the attribute is certain, and you could pray to
anyone of Catholic faith who is dead. No need to have the concept
of a "Saint" at all.

> You don't pray "to saints", since that would imply worship.

Exactly :-) (And it was a convenient way to integrate worship of
local deities during Christianization). Though of course the
Catholic church had to put an end to this later on.

> Saints get revered and you pray *with* saints.

In other words, you ask the Saints to support your plea, yes.
That's what I said, didn't I?

>> And I would also be surprised if evidence of miracles is still a
>> necessary condition for the present Catholic church.

> I wouldn't, because the lack of properly verified miracles is one of
> the reasons why Pope John Paul II hasn't been canonized yet.

I really do wonder how one could verify a proper miracle today
(miracle in the sense of "something normally impossible"). Unless one
uses a very diluted definition of miracle, of course.

> These days, only real matyrdrom (like Maximiliam Kolbe) gets you
> sainthood real fast. Otherwise you need at least one miracle to your
> name

Hm. First you say one does need a proper miracle, always. Now you say
that in some cases you don't. Now I am a bit confused :-)

- Dirk

Dirk Thierbach

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Dec 6, 2006, 3:49:35 AM12/6/06
to
William Cloud Hicklin <icelof...@mindspring.com> wrote:
> On Tue, 05 Dec 2006 10:05:51 -0500, Dirk Thierbach
> <dthie...@usenet.arcornews.de> wrote:

>> And I would also be surprised if evidence of miracles is still a
>> necessary condition for the present Catholic church.

> Then be surprised. It still is. Even for Mother Teresa. (This is not to
> say that the standards for "miracles" aren't fudged in some cases.

So it boils down to self-delusion?

- Dirk

Dirk Thierbach

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Dec 6, 2006, 6:17:47 AM12/6/06
to
Christopher Kreuzer <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> wrote:
>> In TRtME, Shippey does an interesting analysis on this scene:

> Wow.

Yes, I also found it an eye-opener. :-)

> Thanks for pointing this out. Dare I ask whether you find this more
> convincing than the comparisons I made looking back to the scene at
> the end of the Fifth Battle?

Well, I don't think the interpretations contradict each other.
I think Shippey's observations hit the spot pretty well. OTOH, it's
probably fair game to compare both scenes. I have to admit that I
don't think the *parallels* are very strong (some of the symbolism
is the same, e.g. the "sunset" and the "shadow", but that symbolism
is quite universal). But ...

> Particularly the contrasting of the "storm of wind" and the "silence
> in the waste"? And the hope and defiance of Hurin in his youth,
> compared with the despair of his old age?

... the *contrast* between both scenes is probably interesting enough
in itself.

[...]


>> There are also other "tableaus" in Tolkien's works, though I didn't
>> notice them until I head read this analysis :-)

> I think we all notice them, but we wouldn't have called them tableaux. I
> would have said they were the bits of the narrative that strongly evoke a
> frozen _scene_ in my mind, where you can literally see in your mind's eye
> the pivotal moment of tragedy, hope, or whatever.

Well, for me, it just didn't happen -- when reading a book, I tend to
visualize (or half-visualize) the action, or the surroundings, but
certainly not those kinds of "stills". I can recognize them and
interpret them in paintings or other images, but I wouldn't have
looked for them in prose. Maybe I am just not familiar enough with
this kind of art. I really needed to have it pointed out to me, though
in retrospect it's quite obvious. Tolkien probably really visualized
those "stills" first (maybe in the same way he visualized the
landscape), and then just wrote down a description.

> It is nice to have a name now with which to discuss these moments!

Yes, names for concepts are always very important.

> On a more general note, one thing that has struck be from looking at
> the story of Hurin and Morwen is that, unlike Turin (who could be a
> nasty bit of work sometimes), Hurin and Morwen don't deserve what

> they get [...]

> And he doesn't seem to have any fault or anything that would help
> assuage the tragedy of it all.

Yes, that's why it's called tragedy :-) In other words, shit happens.
Look at Job.

> I suppose at the end, it can be tracked down to Hurin defying
> Morgoth, and being cursed by Morgoth,

Even without being cursed by Morgoth, people don't always get what
they deserve.

- Dirk

William Cloud Hicklin

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Dec 6, 2006, 11:27:35 AM12/6/06
to
On Wed, 06 Dec 2006 03:47:11 -0500, Dirk Thierbach
<dthie...@usenet.arcornews.de> wrote:

>> These days, only real matyrdrom (like Maximiliam Kolbe) gets you
>> sainthood real fast. Otherwise you need at least one miracle to your
>> name
> Hm. First you say one does need a proper miracle, always. Now you say
> that in some cases you don't. Now I am a bit confused


Martyrdom has always been considered a little different from "generic"
sainthood. A free pass, so to speak.

And the Church does not hold or teach that the dead just lie around until
Doomsday- or rather, the church postulated centuries ago that God's time
frame is (at the least) orthogonal to Earthly time. Doomsday is "now" to
those who die. Which is why traditional Catholics pray for the Dead- on
the assumption that they are "currently" in Purgatory (unless they've been
canonized).

William Cloud Hicklin

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Dec 6, 2006, 11:39:02 AM12/6/06
to
On Wed, 06 Dec 2006 06:17:47 -0500, Dirk Thierbach
<dthie...@usenet.arcornews.de> wrote:

> Yes, that's why it's called tragedy In other words, shit happens.


> Look at Job.
>
>> I suppose at the end, it can be tracked down to Hurin defying
>> Morgoth, and being cursed by Morgoth,
> Even without being cursed by Morgoth, people don't always get what
> they deserve.


Well, "tragedy" is subject to some rather different definitions. To the
Greeks, tragedy was a deliberate punishment by the Gods for a great sin,
usually but not always hubris (although by Sophocles' time this view was
loosening up). In Shakespeare, the divine element is greatly reduced or
eliminated: tragedy is earned, the tragic hero brings about his own
destruction through a chain of causation without divine intervention.
(This is more or less true even of Macbeth- the Weird Sisters (note the
name) don't directly *cause* anything, they just suggest it to him). The
Nordic version, Wyrd, is even more impersonal. Wyrd is nearly random, it
seems: certainly there's rarely a question of deserving what you get.
"Wyrd" selected which poor bastards Grendel ate, but there's never a
suggestion that they were asking for it. Shit happens.