CotW, Silm part 5 'Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age'

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Troels Forchhammer

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Feb 13, 2007, 8:19:13 AM2/13/07
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Chapter of the Week, The Silmarillion part 5
Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age

This post is a chapter introduction in the Tolkien newsgroups'
'Chapter of the Week' (CotW) project. For more information visit the
CotW homepage at <http://silenceisdefeat.org/~aft-rabt/cotw.html>.

My apologies for the lateness of this post which should have appeared
more than a week ago -- I was too tardy at first, and unfortunately
got suddenly very busy at work when I could have used a bit of extra
time.


Discussion:

So, we get to the last real chapter of /The Silmarillion/,

Together with the previous chapter, 'The Akkalabêth', this chapter
forms the link between Tolkien's two great artistic efforts: the
world of the Elves' war against Melko(r) over the Silmarils and the
world of the Hobbits. As Tolkien wrote to Mrs Farrer (probably 1948):

[...] the 'Rings of Power', which with the 'Fall of
Númenor' is the link between the Silmarillion and the
Hobbit world.
[/Letters/ #155, to Katherine Farrer]

In 'The Fall of Númenor' we took up the story of those of the Edain
who decided to leave Middle-earth, taking a detour (though perhaps it
turns out to be a short-cut) to the future, and in this chapter we
(mainly) take up the story of the Eldar in Middle-earth; those who
decided to refuse the invitation to abandon the world.

The text to 'Of the Rings of Power' arose out of discarded parts of a
swollen account given at the Council of Elrond to which is added
surplus material from 'The Shadow of the Past' and some other bits
and pieces. As with the Akallabêth the published version was first
written in the period about the finishing of LotR (the Akallabêth
having a longer history of preceding versions). A lot of this is the
speech of Elrond that is just summarized in the LotR text: 'Then all
listened while Elrond in his clear voice spoke of Sauron and the
Rings of Power, and their forging in the Second Age of the world long
ago. A part of his tale was known to some there, but the full tale to
none'.

As Tolkien, in the letter quoted above, continues the 'essentials' of
'Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age' are 'included in Ch. II of
The Lord of the Rings.' I'd say that one would need ch. 2 of both
books I and II, but when these are combined also with the material in
appendices A and B ('Annals of Kings and Rulers' and 'The Tale of
Years'), nearly all of the material in 'Of the Rings of Power and the
Third Age' is already covered. The present text collects the various
material, sorts our some details, adds some others, and provides what
appears not to be a hobbit view-point. [1]

Since I believe that I can assume the 'essentials' to be well-known,
I shall forgo the usual summary of the plot and try instead to focus
on the points where the two accounts differ -- mainly the additions
and changes introduced in the present text, but also on what appears
to me significant omissions.

We learn that Sauron, after the War of Wrath, approached Eönwë as the
obeiscant penetant, and that 'some hold that this was not at first
falsely done'[2]. This possibly echoes Elrond's assertion during the
council that even Sauron was not evil in the beginning (although that
may also refer to the time before he was lured to Melkor). But Sauron
cannot suffer the indignity of having to return to Valinor and beg
pardon of the Valar and from them receive his sentence. So in the end
he stayed in Middle-earth to trouble the next couple of ages.

A number of Eldar (perhaps not the greater part of the Eldar in
Middle-earth, but still 'many') stayed in Middle-earth despite the
renewed invitation to come to the Blessed Realm[3]. The Noldor made
two settlements, the main being in Lindon, the only part of Beleriand
that remained, the other being in Eregion just outside Khazad-dûm,
which also swelled at this time from an influx of dwarves from Nogrod
and Belegost. Many of the Sindar 'established realms among the Silvan
Elves in woods and mountains far from the sea' -- Thranduil in
Greenwood, for instance.

More is said about Sauron's activities. His nature quickly re-
asserted itself and he began to sway the Men who were multiplying in
the east and the south, but the Eldar he hated and the Númenóreans he
feared.

As always he found it easy to turn the minds of Men to evil (though
not yet the Númenóreans), but he made the bigger effort with the
Eldar, who had the greater power.

Sauron assumed a new form as the wise and generous Lord of Gifts,
Annatar, but Gil-galad and Elrond, we're told, nevertheless suspected
him (though they did not know that he was Sauron)[4], and they sent
messengers to other Elves, warning them of trusting this Annatar.

We come now to a key part, the 'seduction' of the jewelsmiths of
Eregion, the Mírdain. Sauron's key argument was one of love of
Middle-earth and a desire for its glorification:

But wherefore should Middle-earth remain for ever desolate
and dark, whereas the Elves could make it as fair as
Eressëa, nay even as Valinor? And since you have not
returned thither, as you might, I perceive that you love
this Middle-earth, as do I. Is it not then our task to
labour together for its enrichment, and for the raising of
all the Elven-kindreds that wander here untaught to the
height of that power and knowledge which those have who
are beyond the Sea?

This argument proved too much for the Mírdain who wanted to have
their cake and eat it -- wanting both the blessedness of Valinor and
the power and status they had in Middle-earth[5]. So with the help of
Sauron they achieved a skill second only to Fëanor's who wrought the
Silmarils, and they embarked on their greatest works: the Rings of
Power. But Sauron took part in their labours, and he deceived them,
for he made the Master Ring.

The Elves, however, were aware of him (Celebrimbor, we're told in
LotR, even spied on Sauron in the Chambers of Fire when he made the
One) and they took off their own Rings, so that they would not become
subject to Sauron, and, angered by being 'betrayed'[6], Sauron made
war upon the Elves -- a war that should not really cease until the
end of the Third Age, although there was a long lack of major
hostilities in the first part fo the Third Age.

This war between Sauron and the Elves is described more fully in the
chapter on Galadriel and Celeborn in UT, and there is litte new in
this description. At this time Elrond established Imladris as a
refuge and staging point, Eregion was abandoned and the gates of
Moria closed, but Sauron still managed to capture the sixteen Rings
he had directly helped make. This left only the Three on the hands of
Elves:

Now these were the Three that had last been made, and
they possessed the greatest powers. Narya, Nenya, and
Vilya, they were named, the Rings of Fire, and of Water,
and of Air,[7] set with ruby and adamant and sapphire; and
of all the Elven-rings Sauron most desired to possess
them, for those who had them in their keeping could ward
off the decays of time and postpone the weariness of the
world.[8] But Sauron could not discover them, for they
were given into the hands of the Wise, who concealed them
and never again used them openly while Sauron kept the
Ruling Ring. Therefore the Three remained unsullied[9],
for they were forged by Celebrimbor alone, and the hand of
Sauron had never touched them; yet they also were subject
to the One.

The Dwarves resisted the domination that Elves and Men suffered, and
could not be controlled through their Rings nor could they 'be turned
to shadows.' The only negative effect on them was to increase their
greed and wrath.

The story of Sauron's confrontation with Númenor has already been
told, but we hear that Sauron called himself 'Lord of the Earth', and
that his surrender to the Númenórean king was, indeed, deliberate as
he was 'hoping to accomplish by cunning what he could not achieve by
force'.

After the Downfall, Elendil and his sons establish the realms in
exile, Gondor and Arnor. The Hobbit naming the towers on the Tower
Hills 'Elf-towers' (Prologue) is shown to be entirely justified; the
towers on the Emyn Beraid were indeed built by Elves as a gift to
Elendil as a place to keep one of the Palantíri, which were given to
Elendil's father as comfort in the Dark Years, when the Eldar could
not come openly to his haven on Númenor.

Sauron took shape again, but his ability to assume a fair-looking
guise had been lost with the body he lost in the Downfall[10], so he
assumes a 'Dark Lord' form[11] appropriate to a tyrant ruling with
fear.

Sauron first attacked Gondor, at which point Isildur went to Elendil
for help, and they took council with Gil-galad, forming the Last
Alliance, lest Sauron should defeat his enemies one by one. The
armies move out, there's a huge battle on Dagorlad, which is won by
the Last Alliance and is followed by a siege of Barad-dûr as the
forces of the Last Alliance move into Mordor. The siege lasted seven
years, during which Elendil's son, Isildur's brother, Anárion, was
killed, as were many others.

But at the last the siege was so strait that Sauron
himself came forth; and he wrestled with Gil-galad and
Elendil[12], and they both were slain, and the sword of
Elendil broke under him as he fell.

I looked up 'strait' for this -- AskOxford.com has '*adjective*
archaic 1 narrow or cramped. 2 strict or rigorous.' So the meaning
appears to be that the siege was so tight about Barad-dûr that there
was no hope of breaking through by pouring out more Orcs, so
therefore Sauron came forth himself, hoping, it would seem, to stop
the siege by killing the leaders of the Last Alliance.

But Sauron also was thrown down, and with the hilt-shard
of Narsil Isildur cut the Ruling Ring from the hand of
Sauron and took it for his own. Then Sauron was for that
time vanquished, and he forsook his body, and his spirit
fled far away and hid in waste places; and he took no
visible shape again for many long years.

I think this description is a bit clearer than the one in LotR in
explaining that though Elendil and Gil-galad had managed to throw
down Sauron (probably enabling Isildur to step in -- in situation not
much unlike that of Merry and Éowyn) it was only when Isildur cut off
the Ruling Ring that Sauron was vanquished and his /fëa/ fled. Also
Isildur, when claiming the Ring, said 'Was it not I that dealt the
Enemy his death-blow?'

The account of the Third Age adds very little to what we know from
LotR. Most surprising, to me, is the statement that

[...] ere the Third Age was ended the Elves perceived that
the Ring of Sapphire was with Elrond, in the fair valley
of Rivendell, upon whose house the stars of heaven most
brightly shone; whereas the Ring of Adamant was in the
Land of Lórien where dwelt the Lady Galadriel.

My impression from LotR is that it was a great secret, though
possibly we should not make too much of intelligent guesses ;)

Another point at which I can't help smiling in amusement is when it
is said of Galadriel that 'a queen she was of the woodland Elves' --
I thought that she was /not/ an Elvenqueen (as Tolkien was careful to
point out in letter #210). A slip of the hand? ;-)

Of other points I will mention:

- Gandalf specifically refused the office as head of the white
council -- he didn't lose it through Saruman's machinations.

- In this presentation Gandalf said, after discovering that the
power in Dol Guldur was indeed Sauron, that 'It is Sauron
himself who has taken shape again and now grows apace;' so
here it is clear that Sauron has re-embodied at this point
(the wording in LotR is imprecise here).

- Elrond foresaw the finding of the One Ring even when Saruman had
asserted that it would not happen, but he couldn't see the hope of
delivery from the 'second darkness': it was Gandalf who forespoke
that help would come from the weak, when the wise faltered.

Notes:


[1] What is the narrative view-point of this text?
- Is it a later Gondorian compilation?
- Is it mainly the tale by Elrond (with additions by Gandalf,
perhaps)?

[2] I usually trust what information is given in these 'it is told'
and 'some say' clauses -- but in this case, can it be 'true'
repentance if out of fear? Isn't this just Sauron's regret that
it had turned out that he had not, after all, allied himself with
the biggest bully in the school yard, and now he wanted to swop?

[3] Were they actually allowed to come to Valinor? We are told that
they stayed on Tol Eressëa, but was this out of choice (perhaps
because their experiences to some extent set them apart from
their kindred in Tirion and Aqualondë) or was there a compulsion
for them to do so -- were they not allowed to settle in the old
cities of the Eldar in Valinor itself?

[4] Why did Gil-galad and Elrond suspect Annatar? Foreboding? Or did
they have a concrete reason for their distrust?

[5] Am I being too harsh on the Elvensmiths and the rebellious Noldor
(or some of them at least), when I imply that a great part of
their love for Middle-earth was based on their own relatively
greater status there? Better to be a ruler in Middle-earth than
to be a penitant sinner in Aman . . ..

[6] I've always liked that bit -- Sauron feels 'betrayed' because his
own treachery is discovered and the effects of it curtailed --
talk about megalomania ;)

[7] Compare with the three Silmarils, whose fate was in the Air, the
Earth and the Water. To some extent it is, of course, reasonable
to say that the One Ring was the Ring of Earth (wrought in the
earth, one might say), but is there any significance to these
elements, that it could be imagined that Tolkien was thinking of
(we already know, of course, of the ability of the Ring of Fire
to kindle hearts as well as help with fireworks of the more
mundane sort).

[8] It says here that the /three/ had the ability to 'ward off the
decays of time', but in letter #131, Tolkien wrote that,
The chief power (of all the rings alike) was the
prevention or slowing of decay (i.e. 'change'
viewed as a regrettable thing), the preservation of
what is desired or loved, or its semblance - this
is more or less an Elvish motive.
How do we reconcile this (and should we)? It emphasizes, of
course, the 'Elvishness' of this motive if it was only the chief
power of the Three rather than of all the Rings. See also note 9
below.

[9] More on this 'unsullied' business. We are here told that the
Three
were unsullied because Sauron hadn't touched them, and in LotR we
are in addition told that 'they endure no evil'. In letter #144
Tolkien wrote:
Though unsullied, because they were not made by
Sauron nor touched by him, they were nonetheless
partly products of his instruction, and ultimately
under the control of the One.
[/Letters/ #144, to Naomi Mitchison, April 1954]
But in letter #181 the subject is expanded upon. Speaking of the
motive of preservation, to 'arrest change, and keep things always
fresh and fair' Tolkien explained:
The 'Three Rings' were 'unsullied', because this
object was in a limited way good, it included the
healing of the real damages of malice, as well as
the mere arrest of change; and the Elves did not
desire to dominate other wills, nor to usurp all
the world to their particular pleasure.
[/Letters/ #181, to Michael Straight, 1956]
This later explanation echoes, to some extent, the idea that the
Three Rings were alone in this motive, or at least were the only
in which the motive was to /heal/ (which I think is also part of
the answer to the question above).

[10] That Sauron should loose the ability to assume a fair form in
direct connection to him causing major perversion of Arda echoes,
of course, Melkor's loss of the same ability in connection with
the Darkening of Valinor.

[11] I wonder to what extent Sauron's later form was inspired by the
Melkor's later shape, which he 'had worn as the tyrant of Utumno:
a dark Lord, tall and terrible.'? Wouldn't it be a nice touch if
Sauron, in this as in other things, attempted to imitate his own
Master?

[12] This gives to me the impression of Sauron coming forth to settle
the issue in 'single' combat -- much as the fight between Morgoth
and Fingolfin, but obviously with a different result.

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

Lo! we have gathered, and we have spent, and now the time
of payment draws near.
- Aragorn, /The Lord of the Rings/ (J.R.R. Tolkien)

Marina Degtjarova

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Feb 13, 2007, 9:07:02 AM2/13/07
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Hi! I'm new, so - sorry in advance for anything stupid I might do/say :)

Troels Forchhammer wrote:

> [3] Were they actually allowed to come to Valinor? We are told that
> they stayed on Tol Eressëa, but was this out of choice (perhaps
> because their experiences to some extent set them apart from
> their kindred in Tirion and Aqualondë) or was there a compulsion
> for them to do so -- were they not allowed to settle in the old
> cities of the Eldar in Valinor itself?

I don't know about settle in the old cities, but "Of the Voyage of
Eärendil" says:

"And when they came into the West the elves of Beleriand dwelt upon Tol
Eressëa, the Lonely Isle, that looks both west and east; whence they
might come even to Valinor"

This suggests they they lived on the island, but were allowed to visit
Valinor. The question is - could these be permanent visits, or only
'one-day trips'? I cannot imagine that those elves that had some family
(Galadriel, Elrond) or old friends in Valinor would be forbidden to see
them or live with them - after all they have been _forgiven_ by the Valar.

Miri

William Cloud Hicklin

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Feb 13, 2007, 10:58:54 AM2/13/07
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On Tue, 13 Feb 2007 08:19:13 -0500, Troels Forchhammer
<Tro...@ThisIsFake.invalid> wrote:

> it was only when Isildur cut off
> the Ruling Ring that Sauron was vanquished and his /fëa/ fled.

Technical quibble: _fea_ refers to the "soul" of an Incarnate (elf, man,
or prob. dwarf) An Ainu or other "spirit" is/has an _eala_.

--
Tolkien's written work is characterized by disputes over the ownership of
jewelry, and the hand injuries that occur as a result.

William Cloud Hicklin

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Feb 13, 2007, 11:00:20 AM2/13/07
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On Tue, 13 Feb 2007 08:19:13 -0500, Troels Forchhammer
<Tro...@ThisIsFake.invalid> wrote:

> My impression from LotR is that it was a great secret, though
> possibly we should not make too much of intelligent guesses

"Before the end of the Third Age" could refer merely to the period between
Sauron's fall and the departure of the Keepers.

William Cloud Hicklin

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Feb 13, 2007, 11:01:12 AM2/13/07
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On Tue, 13 Feb 2007 08:19:13 -0500, Troels Forchhammer
<Tro...@ThisIsFake.invalid> wrote:

> [2] I usually trust what information is given in these 'it is told'
> and 'some say' clauses -- but in this case, can it be 'true'
> repentance if out of fear? Isn't this just Sauron's regret that
> it had turned out that he had not, after all, allied himself with
> the biggest bully in the school yard, and now he wanted to swop?

I imagine Tolkien uses circumlocution here because Sauron didn't give
interviews! The Elves could only guess at his motives.

William Cloud Hicklin

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Feb 13, 2007, 11:04:32 AM2/13/07
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On Tue, 13 Feb 2007 08:19:13 -0500, Troels Forchhammer
<Tro...@ThisIsFake.invalid> wrote:

> [3] Were they actually allowed to come to Valinor? We are told that
> they stayed on Tol Eressëa, but was this out of choice (perhaps
> because their experiences to some extent set them apart from
> their kindred in Tirion and Aqualondë) or was there a compulsion
> for them to do so -- were they not allowed to settle in the old
> cities of the Eldar in Valinor itself?

I doubt the latter. We observe that slain-and-pardoned Noldor like Finrod
and Glorfindel dwelt in Valinor itself, so why should the
generally-pardoned be any different? I would guess that Eressea was
voluntary, perhaps because it was in some way more Middle-earth-like than
Aman proper.

William Cloud Hicklin

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Feb 13, 2007, 11:05:02 AM2/13/07
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On Tue, 13 Feb 2007 08:19:13 -0500, Troels Forchhammer
<Tro...@ThisIsFake.invalid> wrote:

> [7] Compare with the three Silmarils, whose fate was in the Air, the
> Earth and the Water. To some extent it is, of course, reasonable
> to say that the One Ring was the Ring of Earth

Maedhros cast himself into a *fiery* chasm...

Troels Forchhammer

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Feb 13, 2007, 2:31:59 PM2/13/07
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In message <news:eqsgai$p3j$03$1...@news.t-online.com>
Marina Degtjarova <mier...@yahoo.de> spoke these staves:
>
> Hi! I'm new, so - sorry in advance for anything stupid I might
> do/say :)

Hi, and welcome -- I hope you've seen (and read) Steuard's greeting
(and bookmarked the FAQ) ;)

Draw up a chair and join the fun.

> Troels Forchhammer wrote:
>>

[The returning Eldar]

>> [3] Were they actually allowed to come to Valinor?

[...]


>
> I don't know about settle in the old cities, but "Of the Voyage of
> Eärendil" says:

Well, I've been around for a while now, but I managed to overlook
that one (let's just blame it on my being in a hurry to finish --
that way I won't answer any questions as to the probability of
remembering on my own had I taken a bit longer to consider <G>).
Thanks.

> This suggests they they lived on the island, but were allowed to
> visit Valinor. The question is - could these be permanent visits,
> or only 'one-day trips'?

Here I agree with what you say, and wish to draw attention also to
William's answer to the same question, pointing out that re-housed
Elves were certainly allowed to live in Valinor; though for these
there was a surety of redemption -- once they were re-housed, the
other Eldar, and perhaps particularly the Teleri, were sure that they
had been redeemed.

The question should probably have been simply 'why Tol Eressëa?' --
that was what I wondered, and what I actually wrote was then the
second line of questions ;)

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

In this case the cause (not the 'hero') was triumphant,
because by the exercise of pity, mercy, and forgiveness of
injury, a situation was produced in which all was redressed
and disaster averted.
- J.R.R. Tolkien, /The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien/ #192

Troels Forchhammer

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Feb 13, 2007, 2:33:24 PM2/13/07
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In message <news:op.tno2okdjrwd1fl@emachine> "William Cloud Hicklin"
<icelof...@mindspring.com> spoke these staves:
>
> On Tue, 13 Feb 2007 08:19:13 -0500, Troels Forchhammer
> <Tro...@ThisIsFake.invalid> wrote:
>>
>> it was only when Isildur cut off the Ruling Ring that Sauron was
>> vanquished and his /fëa/ fled.
>
> Technical quibble: _fea_ refers to the "soul" of an Incarnate
> (elf, man, or prob. dwarf) An Ainu or other "spirit" is/has an
> _eala_.

Right, thank you!

As said elsewhere, I did finish the introduction in a hurry ;)

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

Thus, the future of the universe is not completely
determined by the laws of science, and its present state,
as Laplace thought. God still has a few tricks up his
sleeve.
- Stephen Hawking

Troels Forchhammer

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Feb 13, 2007, 6:25:03 PM2/13/07
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In message <news:op.tno2qyvrrwd1fl@emachine> "William Cloud Hicklin"
<icelof...@mindspring.com> spoke these staves:
>
> On Tue, 13 Feb 2007 08:19:13 -0500, Troels Forchhammer
> <Tro...@ThisIsFake.invalid> wrote:
>>
>> My impression from LotR is that it was a great secret, though
>> possibly we should not make too much of intelligent guesses
>
> "Before the end of the Third Age" could refer merely to the period
> between Sauron's fall and the departure of the Keepers.

I suppose it could, but I'd also have to say that I don't believe that
that was the intention.

The context is that of the special situation of Rivendell and
Lothlórien, and the implication, IMO, is that it was precisely because
'where they abode there mirth also dwelt and all things were unstained
by the griefs of time' that it was guessed.

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

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

Christopher Kreuzer

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Feb 13, 2007, 6:35:09 PM2/13/07
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William Cloud Hicklin wrote:
> On Tue, 13 Feb 2007 08:19:13 -0500, Troels Forchhammer
> <Tro...@ThisIsFake.invalid> wrote:
>
>> My impression from LotR is that it was a great secret, though
>> possibly we should not make too much of intelligent guesses
>
> "Before the end of the Third Age" could refer merely to the period
> between Sauron's fall and the departure of the Keepers.

I disagree. In context, the "ere the the Third Age ended" quote is clearly
referring to a point before the War of the Ring. Especially when contrasted
with this bit: "But the Red Ring remained hidden until the end..." This
clearly implies that the Elves perceived where the Ring of Sapphire and the
Ring of Adament were before they perceived the Red Ring.

[It is doubly appropriate that Elrond, "upon whose house the stars of heaven
most brightly shone" got the Ring of Sapphire, given that his father took a
Silmaril into the heavens as an evening star.]

Contrast that "ere the Third Age ended" statement with a real resolving
statement - one that resolves and ties up a lot of loose ends:

"But when all these things were done, and the Heir of Isildur had taken up
the lordship of Men, and the dominion of the West had passed to him, then it
was made plain that the power of the Three Rings also was ended, and to the
Firstborn the world grew old and grey."

That perfectly sums things up with an amazing economy of words.

And as this is the last section of the book, I would like to emphasise just
how well Tolkien handles his first and last sentences, introducing and
wrapping up a text on just the right note, setting and closing the scene
with great economy and force of words.

"Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age - in which these tales come to
their end

[...]

In the twilight of autumn [the last ship] sailed out of Mithlond, until the
seas of the Bent World fell away beneath it, and the winds of the round sky
troubled it no more, and borne upon the high airs above the mists of the
world it passed into the Ancient West, and an end was come for the Eldar of
story and of song." (Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age)

The "in which these tales come to their end" bit is a classic phrase in
storytelling and fairy tales, ranking alongside "and they lived happily ever
after". The final words of the text draw the reader back and present the
whole picture, as that of an immense story-arc encompassing the story of the
Eldar in Middle-earth.

Compare this 'high' tone of story, with how the same event is presented in
LotR, from the hobbit point-of-view:

"...the wind blew, and slowly the ship slipped away down the long grey
firth; and the light of the glass of Galadriel that Frodo bore glimmered and
was lost. And the ship went out into the High Sea and passed on into the
West [...] But to Sam the evening deepened to darkness as he stood at the
Haven; and as he looked at the grey sea he saw only a shadow on the waters
that was soon lost in the West. There still he stood far into the night,
hearing only the sigh and murmur of the waves on the shores of Middle-earth,
and the sound of them sank deep into his heart." (The Grey Havens)

The story of the Eldar has come to an end, but traces of the music linger in
Sam's heart, and his story (and that of Rosie and Elanor and his other
children to come) still goes on.

The story-arc bit harks back to what Christopher Tolkien said in the
foreword, all those many chapters and pages ago:

"...by [the inclusion of the Akallabeth and Of the Rings of Power and the
Third Age] the entire history is set forth from the Music of the Ainur in
which the world began to the passing of the Ringbearers from the havens of
Mithlond at the end of the Third Age." (Foreword to 'The Silmarillion')

This point Tolkien made of ending on a point of closure, at the end of an
age, is seen also in various endpoints (some from the Fourth Age) in the
Appendices to LotR:

Appendix A(I): "Here ends this tale, as it has come to us from the South;
and with the passing of Evenstar no more is said in this book of the days of
old."

Appendix A(II): "And wherever King Elessar went with war King Eomer went
with him; and beyond the Sea of Rhun and on the far fields of the South the
thunder of the cavalry of the Mark was heard, and the White Horse upon Green
flew in many winds until Eomer grew old."

Appendix A(III): "But it is said that Gimli went also out of desire to see
again the beauty of Galadriel; and it may be that she, being mighty among
the Eldar, obtained this grace for him. More cannot be said of this matter."

Appendix B: "[The endings of Eomer, Pippin and Mery are related, along with
the departure of Legolas and Gimli] And when that ship passed an end was
come in the Middle-earth of the Fellowship of the Ring."

Appendix F: "They were a race high and beautiful the older Children of the
world, and among them the Eldar were as kings, who now are gone [...] They
were valiant, but the history of those that returned to Middle-earth in
exile was grievous; and though it was in far-off days crossed by the fate of
the Fathers, their fate is not that of Men. Their dominion passed long ago,
and they dwell now beyond the circles of the world, and do not return."

This last one in particular, the ending to Appendix F and thus the ending
for the whole of LotR (apart from the obligatory footnotes), feels very much
like 'The Silmarillion' in tone. It would be perfect, in my opinion, as a
frontispiece quote for 'The Silmarillion', as it perfectly introduces the
immense story-arc that plays out in the legendarium that is 'The
Silmarillion', a collection of tales and legends, telling the story of the
Eldar in the first three Ages of the world.

Christopher


Christopher Kreuzer

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Feb 13, 2007, 6:40:11 PM2/13/07
to
William Cloud Hicklin wrote:
> On Tue, 13 Feb 2007 08:19:13 -0500, Troels Forchhammer
> <Tro...@ThisIsFake.invalid> wrote:
>
>> [3] Were they actually allowed to come to Valinor? We are told that
>> they stayed on Tol Eressëa, but was this out of choice (perhaps
>> because their experiences to some extent set them apart from
>> their kindred in Tirion and Aqualondë) or was there a compulsion
>> for them to do so -- were they not allowed to settle in the old
>> cities of the Eldar in Valinor itself?
>
> I doubt the latter. We observe that slain-and-pardoned Noldor like
> Finrod and Glorfindel dwelt in Valinor itself, so why should the
> generally-pardoned be any different? I would guess that Eressea was
> voluntary, perhaps because it was in some way more Middle-earth-like
> than Aman proper.

I agree. I always saw this as something like Valinor being too 'bright' to
go back to too soon from the twilight of Middle-earth. A sort of
acclimatization period is needed, as we see in the quote provided from
'Quenta Silmarillion': "whence they might come even to Valinor". The 'might'
bit says to me that they _may_ come there, not that they _can_ come there.
They are being permitted to return, once they are able to.

Christopher

William Cloud Hicklin

unread,
Feb 13, 2007, 7:15:04 PM2/13/07
to
Lovely post, Christopher. You and Troels are right, of course. My bad!
Additionally, the word "perceived" makes more sense in this context, where
my notion would have called for "learned" or "was made plain to" or
somesuch.


R

--

ste...@nomail.com

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Feb 13, 2007, 9:12:35 PM2/13/07
to
In rec.arts.books.tolkien Troels Forchhammer <Tro...@thisisfake.invalid> wrote:
> The Elves, however, were aware of him (Celebrimbor, we're told in
> LotR, even spied on Sauron in the Chambers of Fire when he made the
> One)

Where are we told that? There is no statement that I am aware
of that says Celebrimbor was spying on Sauron.

Stephen


Rast

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Feb 14, 2007, 2:33:08 AM2/14/07
to
On Tue, 13 Feb 2007 13:19:13 GMT,
Troels Forchhammer (Tro...@ThisIsFake.invalid) wrote:

> Chapter of the Week, The Silmarillion part 5
> Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age

> The Elves, however, were aware of him (Celebrimbor, we're told in

> LotR, even spied on Sauron in the Chambers of Fire when he made the
> One)

Not quite.

"For in that time he was not yet evil to behold, and they received his
aid and grew mighty in craft, whereas he learned all their secrets, and
betrayed them, and forged secretly in the Mountain of Fire the One Ring
to be their master. But Celebrimbor was aware of him, and hid the Three
which he had made; and there was war, and the land was laid waste, and
the gate of Moria was shut."

and

"For in the day that Sauron first put on the One, Celebrimbor, maker of
the Three, was aware of him, and from afar he heard him speak these
words, and so his evil purposes were revealed."


> But at the last the siege was so strait that Sauron
> himself came forth; and he wrestled with Gil-galad and
> Elendil[12], and they both were slain, and the sword of
> Elendil broke under him as he fell.
>
> I looked up 'strait' for this -- AskOxford.com has '*adjective*
> archaic 1 narrow or cramped. 2 strict or rigorous.' So the meaning
> appears to be that the siege was so tight about Barad-dûr that there
> was no hope of breaking through by pouring out more Orcs,

No. The meaning here is "A position of difficulty, perplexity, distress,
or need. Often used in the plural: in desperate straits."
http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=strait


--
"Sometimes I stand by the door and look into the darkness. Then I
am reminded how dearly I cherish my boredom, and what a precious
commodity is so much misery." -- Jack Vance

Troels Forchhammer

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Feb 14, 2007, 3:42:56 AM2/14/07
to
In message <news:eqtr6j$1nn$1...@news.msu.edu> ste...@nomail.com spoke
these staves:

A way of describing the overhearing of words you're not meant to, or
invited to, overhear ;)

For in the day that Sauron first put on the One,
Celebrimbor, maker of the Three, was aware of him, and
from afar he heard him speak these words, and so his evil
purposes were revealed.

I remembered wrong, though, in saying that it was during the making of
the One Ring -- it was clearly when Sauron 'first put on the One' that
Celebrimbor was listening in at a distance (I suppose that I have
imagined that Sauron put on the One immediately after having made it in
the Sammath Naur, and that made the connection in my mind).

I do wonder, however, how Celebrimbor managed to hear Sauron from afar
-- that's a neat trick (Amon Lhaw, perhas?)

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

In this case the cause (not the 'hero') was triumphant,

Derek Broughton

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Feb 14, 2007, 7:42:20 AM2/14/07
to
Troels Forchhammer wrote:

> In message <news:eqtr6j$1nn$1...@news.msu.edu> ste...@nomail.com spoke
> these staves:
>>
>> In rec.arts.books.tolkien Troels Forchhammer
>> <Tro...@thisisfake.invalid> wrote:
>>>
>>> The Elves, however, were aware of him (Celebrimbor, we're told in
>>> LotR, even spied on Sauron in the Chambers of Fire when he made
>>> the One)
>>
>> Where are we told that? There is no statement that I am aware
>> of that says Celebrimbor was spying on Sauron.
>
> A way of describing the overhearing of words you're not meant to, or
> invited to, overhear ;)
>
> For in the day that Sauron first put on the One,
> Celebrimbor, maker of the Three, was aware of him, and
> from afar he heard him speak these words, and so his evil
> purposes were revealed.
>
> I remembered wrong, though, in saying that it was during the making of
> the One Ring -- it was clearly when Sauron 'first put on the One' that
> Celebrimbor was listening in at a distance (I suppose that I have
> imagined that Sauron put on the One immediately after having made it in
> the Sammath Naur, and that made the connection in my mind).

I never imagined that this was an active spying. I rather suspect that
_all_ the holders of the Rings of power heard Sauron speak these words.
For Celebrimbor, however, it was just a confirmation of the suspicion he
already had, whereas for the holders of the Rings that Sauron had already
tainted it was the snapping of the trap.
--
derek

Larry Swain

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Feb 14, 2007, 8:45:08 AM2/14/07
to
Troels Forchhammer wrote:
> In message <news:eqtr6j$1nn$1...@news.msu.edu> ste...@nomail.com spoke
> these staves:
>
>>In rec.arts.books.tolkien Troels Forchhammer
>><Tro...@thisisfake.invalid> wrote:
>>
>>>The Elves, however, were aware of him (Celebrimbor, we're told in
>>>LotR, even spied on Sauron in the Chambers of Fire when he made
>>>the One)
>>
>>Where are we told that? There is no statement that I am aware
>>of that says Celebrimbor was spying on Sauron.
>
>
> A way of describing the overhearing of words you're not meant to, or
> invited to, overhear ;)
>
> For in the day that Sauron first put on the One,
> Celebrimbor, maker of the Three, was aware of him, and
> from afar he heard him speak these words, and so his evil
> purposes were revealed.
>
> I remembered wrong, though, in saying that it was during the making of
> the One Ring -- it was clearly when Sauron 'first put on the One' that
> Celebrimbor was listening in at a distance (I suppose that I have
> imagined that Sauron put on the One immediately after having made it in
> the Sammath Naur, and that made the connection in my mind).
>
> I do wonder, however, how Celebrimbor managed to hear Sauron from afar
> -- that's a neat trick (Amon Lhaw, perhas?)
>

I think the answer you seek you have already stated in The Eye thread:
the weareers of the 3 perceive and "hear" the thoughts to some degree of
the others, and of course of the wearer of the One. Galadriel knows
that Frodo has donned the Ring but thrice, Gandalf the White is able to
communicate "in a far off voice" via his ring to Frodo on Amon Hen.
Celebrimbor was simply wearing his ring when Sauron donned the One and
spoke the words, and he heard as Frodo heard Gandalf, a voice from far off.

William Cloud Hicklin

unread,
Feb 14, 2007, 9:03:05 AM2/14/07
to
On Wed, 14 Feb 2007 08:45:08 -0500, Larry Swain <thes...@operamail.com>
wrote:

I think this quite plausible, as Option 1: I've always felt that Gandalf
was not fooled at the Black Gate because, if Sauron had the Ring, he would
have known it by similar means.

But we could consider Option 2: that Celebrimbor, greatest of elven-smiths
save his own grandfather, had mastered some art not dissimilar to the
Palantiri (oriented to sound not vision).

ste...@nomail.com

unread,
Feb 14, 2007, 11:51:43 AM2/14/07
to

That is how I have always imagined it as well. Apparently Sauron did not
expect the Elves to be aware of him. The fact that they were was because
Sauron underestimated Elvish perception in some manner, not because of
excessive vigilance on the part of the Elves.

Stephen

Stan Brown

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Feb 14, 2007, 2:59:34 PM2/14/07
to
Tue, 13 Feb 2007 13:19:13 GMT from Troels Forchhammer
<Tro...@ThisIsFake.invalid>:

> Celebrimbor, we're told in LotR, even spied on Sauron in the
> Chambers of Fire when he made the One

He did? I thought he "was aware of" Sauron when Sauron put on the
One Ring, but I never saw anything that said he spied on Sauron
before then. Can you give us your reference, please?


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

Stan Brown

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Feb 14, 2007, 3:08:25 PM2/14/07
to
Tue, 13 Feb 2007 13:19:13 GMT from Troels Forchhammer
<Tro...@ThisIsFake.invalid>:
> We learn that Sauron, after the War of Wrath, approached Eönwë as the
> obeiscant penetant, and that 'some hold that this was not at first
> falsely done' ...

> I usually trust what information is given in these 'it is told' and
> 'some say' clauses -- but in this case, can it be 'true' repentance
> if out of fear? Isn't this just Sauron's regret that it had turned
> out that he had not, after all, allied himself with the biggest
> bully in the school yard, and now he wanted to swop?

I think the key words are "at first". I believe that in the first
flush of the defeat, overwhelmed by the power of the host of the
Valar, Sauron could see clearly that he was not the greatest being on
earth after Melkor, and that Melkor was not the greatest being. In
that moment of humility, true repentance might have crept in.

But it was fragile -- when ordered to go back to Valinor for judgment
Sauron decided not to. (I'm amazed that Eönwë did not follow up. It's
bad enough that he left Balrogs at large, but it should have been
obvious that capturing Morgoth's chief deputy was a priority, and
Sauron's failure to go to Valinor as ordered should have been clear
proof that his repentance was false.) Sauron quickly fell into his
old patterns of thought, as you say, now made even more bitter by the
memory of humbling himself to a mere herald of the Valar.

Stan Brown

unread,
Feb 14, 2007, 3:12:15 PM2/14/07
to
Tue, 13 Feb 2007 16:04:32 GMT from William Cloud Hicklin
<icelof...@mindspring.com>:

> On Tue, 13 Feb 2007 08:19:13 -0500, Troels Forchhammer
> <Tro...@ThisIsFake.invalid> wrote:
> > [3] Were they actually allowed to come to Valinor?
>
> I doubt the latter. We observe that slain-and-pardoned Noldor like Finrod
> and Glorfindel dwelt in Valinor itself, so why should the
> generally-pardoned be any different?

Because the slain were purged of their rebellion in the Halls of
Mandos before being reborn, whereas the living have simply come back.
I think it would be natural to wonder how firm was their repentance

Stan Brown

unread,
Feb 14, 2007, 3:19:06 PM2/14/07
to
Wed, 14 Feb 2007 02:33:08 -0500 from Rast <ra...@hotmail.com>:

> On Tue, 13 Feb 2007 13:19:13 GMT,
> Troels Forchhammer (Tro...@ThisIsFake.invalid) wrote:
> > But at the last the siege was so strait that Sauron
> > himself came forth; and he wrestled with Gil-galad and
> > Elendil[12], and they both were slain, and the sword of
> > Elendil broke under him as he fell.
> >
> > I looked up 'strait' for this -- AskOxford.com has '*adjective*
> > archaic 1 narrow or cramped. 2 strict or rigorous.' So the meaning
> > appears to be that the siege was so tight about Barad-dūr that there
> > was no hope of breaking through by pouring out more Orcs,
>
> No. The meaning here is "A position of difficulty, perplexity, distress,
> or need. Often used in the plural: in desperate straits."
> http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=strait

I feel I must side with Troels on this one.

In the quoted passage, it seems to me that "strait" is an adjective,
whereas your meaning is for a noun. They're related, I agree, but not
identical.

In the siege passage, "strait" has always seemed to me to have the
meaning of strict or rigorous. I guess I never thought of the word as
archaic -- that may say something about my age!

Christians (or at least folks who have read the King James Bible)
would know of the "strait gate", showing the meaning of "narrow":

"Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is
the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in
thereat" (Matthew 7:13) -- the "strait [narrow] gate" is the gate of
heaven, compared with the broad road and wide gate of hell.

"Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you,
will seek to enter in, and shall not be able." (Luke 13:24)

Troels Forchhammer

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Feb 15, 2007, 3:22:31 AM2/15/07
to
In message <news:MPG.203d38c15...@news.individual.net>
Stan Brown <the_sta...@fastmail.fm> spoke these staves:
>
> Wed, 14 Feb 2007 02:33:08 -0500 from Rast <ra...@hotmail.com>:
>>
>> On Tue, 13 Feb 2007 13:19:13 GMT,
>> Troels Forchhammer (Tro...@ThisIsFake.invalid) wrote:
>>>
>>> I looked up 'strait' for this -- AskOxford.com has '*adjective*
>>> archaic 1 narrow or cramped. 2 strict or rigorous.' So the
>>> meaning appears to be that the siege was so tight about
>>> Barad-dûr that there was no hope of breaking through by pouring

>>> out more Orcs,
>>
>> No. The meaning here is "A position of difficulty, perplexity,
>> distress, or need. Often used in the plural: in desperate
>> straits." http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=strait
>
> I feel I must side with Troels on this one.
>
> In the quoted passage, it seems to me that "strait" is an
> adjective, whereas your meaning is for a noun. They're related, I
> agree, but not identical.

As you say, in the passage from Tolkien's text, the word is clearly
used as an adjective, so naturally I looked for the adjectival
definition.

In the maritime meaning of 'strait' we have the similar word,
"stræde", in Danish, which can also be used for narrow streets --
alleys, side-lanes etc. (I do wonder if the English word 'street' is
derived from the same root?). It seems likely that the common origin
is a word meaning 'narrow' or 'tight' (which also fits Rast's
definition of 'straits' as synonymous with 'a tight spot')

> In the siege passage, "strait" has always seemed to me to have the
> meaning of strict or rigorous.

I don't recall having ever puzzled at it earlier, but the meaning is
reasonably clear regardless of whether one understands the word
entirely -- clearly it describes a quality of the siege that would
force Sauron to come out himself.

There's quite a few instances in Tolkien's writings like that, though
I think that I have, over the years, looked up every word in LotR
that I didn't understand, but it very rarely interferes with the
general meaning.

> I guess I never thought of the word as archaic -- that may say
> something about my age!

Or your preferences in literature ;-) Sometimes I get the impression
that saying that a sense is archaic makes it more likely that that
was the sense which Tolkien intended.

We've been on camp a few times with English scouts, and while they
can usually understand me, they tend to comment that my vocabulary is
old-fashioned -- and I'll admit that reading Hammond and Scull's
/Reader's Companion/ has occasionally been an eye-opener: words that
I thought perfectly normal are glossed on account of being archaic
(it doesn't exactly say that for 'Isildur's bane', but that is the
impression I get).

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

If no thought
your mind does visit,
make your speech
not too explicit.
- Piet Hein, /The Case for Obscurity/

Derek Broughton

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Feb 15, 2007, 12:19:46 PM2/15/07
to
Stan Brown wrote:

> In the siege passage, "strait" has always seemed to me to have the
> meaning of strict or rigorous. I guess I never thought of the word as
> archaic -- that may say something about my age!

Me neither, and I know _I'm_ still young.


>
> Christians (or at least folks who have read the King James Bible)
> would know of the "strait gate", showing the meaning of "narrow":
>
> "Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is
> the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in
> thereat" (Matthew 7:13) -- the "strait [narrow] gate" is the gate of
> heaven, compared with the broad road and wide gate of hell.

Which raises a completely OT question in my mind. Does "straight & narrow"
really mean "straight" or is it a poetic redundancy that is really "strait
& narrow"?
--
derek

Raven

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Feb 15, 2007, 4:42:24 PM2/15/07
to
"Troels Forchhammer" <Tro...@ThisIsFake.invalid> wrote in message
news:Xns98D85FBD...@131.228.6.98...

> In the maritime meaning of 'strait' we have the similar word,
> "stræde", in Danish, which can also be used for narrow streets --
> alleys, side-lanes etc. (I do wonder if the English word 'street' is
> derived from the same root?). It seems likely that the common origin
> is a word meaning 'narrow' or 'tight' (which also fits Rast's
> definition of 'straits' as synonymous with 'a tight spot')

http://www.etymonline.com is your friend here. "Strait" is imported
from Old French "estreit" (modern French "étroit"), which again comes from
Latin "strictus", past participle of a verb meaning "bind or draw tight".
So "strait" and "strict" are two English words with a vaguely similar
meaning and the same root. But "street" is in origin a West Germanic word
borrowed from Latin "strata", implying "via strata" or "paved road", where
"strata" is a feminine past participle of "sternere" meaning "lay down",
"spread out", "stretch".

Corvus.


Raven

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Feb 15, 2007, 5:13:52 PM2/15/07
to
"Derek Broughton" <ne...@pointerstop.ca> wrote in message
news:iahea4-...@pointerstop.ca...

> Which raises a completely OT question in my mind. Does "straight &
> narrow" really mean "straight" or is it a poetic redundancy that is really
> "strait & narrow"?

According to Etymonline.com, the latter.

Hræfn.


William Cloud Hicklin

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Feb 15, 2007, 5:33:27 PM2/15/07
to

Also "dire straits."

If strait comes from L. strictus, (as T doubtless knew), then I think he
means that the seige was "constricting"- Barad dur was having the squeeze
put on it. Or in military/historical terms, nothing got in or out,
especially food for all those Orcs. Hunger is of course one of a
besieger's principal weapon.

Stan Brown

unread,
Feb 15, 2007, 7:33:03 PM2/15/07
to
Thu, 15 Feb 2007 08:22:31 GMT from Troels Forchhammer
<Tro...@ThisIsFake.invalid>:

> In the maritime meaning of 'strait' we have the similar word,
> "stræde", in Danish, which can also be used for narrow streets --
> alleys, side-lanes etc. (I do wonder if the English word 'street' is
> derived from the same root?).

Does this help? It's from the "Indo-European Roots" section of my
merican Heritage Dictionary:

ster-2
Also ster?-. To spread.
Derivatives include destroy, industry, straw, street, and stratagem.


I. Extended form *streu-.

1. STRAIN2, from Old English streon, something gained, offspring,
from Germanic suffixed form *streu-nam.
2. STRUCTURE; CONSTRUCT, DESTROY, INSTRUCT, INSTRUMENT, OBSTRUCT,
SUBSTRUCTION, from Latin struere, to pile up, construct.
3. Zero-grade form *stru-. INDUSTRY, from Latin industrius, diligent,
from Archaic Latin indostruus (endo-, within; see en).
4. BREMSSTRAHLUNG, from Old High German strala, arrow, lightning
bolt, from Germanic *strelo.

II. O-grade extended form *strou-.

1. Suffixed form *strou-eyo-.

a. STREW, from Old English stre(o)wian, to strew;
b. STREUSEL, from Old High German strouwen, strowwen, to sprinkle,
strew. Both a and b from Germanic *strawjan.

2. Suffixed form *strow-o-. STRAW, from Old English streaw, straw,
from Germanic *strawam, "that which is scattered."

III. O-grade extended form *stroi-. PERESTROIKA, from Old Russian
stroji, order.
IV. Basic forms *ster-, *ster?-.

1. Nasalized form *ster-n-?-. ESTRAY, STRATUS, STRAY, STREET;
CONSTERNATE, PROSTRATE, SUBSTRATUM, from Latin sternere (past
participle stratus from zero-grade *st??-to-), to stretch, extend.
2. Suffixed form *ster-no-. STERNUM; STERNOCLEIDOMASTOID, from Greek
sternon, breast, breastbone.

V. Zero-grade form *st?-, *st??-.

1. Suffixed form *st?-to-. STRATAGEM; STRATOCRACY, from Greek
stratos, multitude, army, expedition.
2. Suffixed form *st??-to-. STRATH, from Old Irish srath, a wide
river valley, from Celtic *s(t)rato-.
3. Suffixed extended form *st??-m?. STROMA; STROMATOLITE, from Greek
stroma, mattress, bed.


[Pokorny 5. ster- 1029.]

Matthew Woodcraft

unread,
Feb 15, 2007, 7:22:55 PM2/15/07
to
Christopher Kreuzer <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> wrote:
> In the twilight of autumn [the last ship] sailed out of Mithlond, until the
> seas of the Bent World fell away beneath it, and the winds of the round sky
> troubled it no more, and borne upon the high airs above the mists of the
> world it passed into the Ancient West, and an end was come for the Eldar of
> story and of song." (Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age)

You know, I've never been sure how to read that last clause. Does it
mean "an end was come for the eldar-of-story-and-of-song" or "an end
was come for-the-eldar of story and of song"?

I suppose the former would mean "an end of their time in Middle-earth";
the latter could mean "there would be no more stories or songs for the
Eldar", which doesn't make much sense, or "there would be no more
stories or songs about the Eldar", which for me makes the most sense of
the three, but is rather a strained reading.

-M-

Christopher Kreuzer

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Feb 15, 2007, 8:14:22 PM2/15/07
to
"Matthew Woodcraft" <matt...@chiark.greenend.org.uk> wrote in message
news:7ej*x5...@news.chiark.greenend.org.uk...

You know, I find that analysing nice phrases like that too closely tends to
spoil them! :-) I remember doing that for the Cirdan and the 'last ship'
phrase, and the Arwen 'until all the days of her life are utterly forgotten'
phrase, and it never seems to really work. These phrases kind of work on an
intuitive, rhythmic, natural, linguistic level.

Here, I think the phrase just means "THE END"... :-)

Though more prosaically, I would say that this phrase is saying that the
Eldar will no longer feature in the stories and songs of Middle-earth (your
third option). They have left Middle-earth, and their role in the songs and
stories has ended.

ie. "an end was come for the Eldar of (their part in) story and [in] song."

A bit like this bit from the end of LotR:

"Then Elrond and Galadriel rode on; for the Third Age was over, and the Days
of the Rings were passed, and an end was come of the story and song of those
times." (The Grey Havens)

In fact, the textual history of these phrases are probably linked. Tolkien
could well have written one based on the other. That might explain the
strained nature of the reading for some, if Tolkien shuffled phrases around,
snipped and borrowed, and rewrote without stopping to think how else people
might parse the clauses. It would be interesting to find other examples of
possibly linked cases like this.

Christopher

Steve Morrison

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Feb 16, 2007, 12:05:14 AM2/16/07
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William Cloud Hicklin wrote:
> On Thu, 15 Feb 2007 17:13:52 -0500, Raven
> <jon.lennart.beck...@mail.its.in.danmark> wrote:
>
>> "Derek Broughton" <ne...@pointerstop.ca> wrote in message
>> news:iahea4-...@pointerstop.ca...
>>
>>> Which raises a completely OT question in my mind. Does "straight &
>>> narrow" really mean "straight" or is it a poetic redundancy that is
>>> really
>>> "strait & narrow"?
>>
>> According to Etymonline.com, the latter.
>>
> Also "dire straits."
>
> If strait comes from L. strictus, (as T doubtless knew), then I think he
> means that the seige was "constricting"- Barad dur was having the
> squeeze put on it. Or in military/historical terms, nothing got in or
> out, especially food for all those Orcs. Hunger is of course one of a
> besieger's principal weapon.

It's originally from the Biblical "Because strait is the gate, and
narrow is the way which leadeth unto life, and few there be that
find it." (Matthew 7:14) "Strait" also occurs in "straitjacket" and
"strait-laced"; the latter originally referred to a tightly-laced
garment, but had acquired the modern sense of "morally strict" as
early as the sixteenth century -- information from Michael Quinion's
/Ballyhoo, Buckaroo, and Spuds/.

Rast

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Feb 18, 2007, 2:17:37 PM2/18/07
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On Wed, 14 Feb 2007 15:19:06 -0500,
Stan Brown (the_sta...@fastmail.fm) wrote:

> Wed, 14 Feb 2007 02:33:08 -0500 from Rast <ra...@hotmail.com>:
> > On Tue, 13 Feb 2007 13:19:13 GMT,
> > Troels Forchhammer (Tro...@ThisIsFake.invalid) wrote:
> > > But at the last the siege was so strait that Sauron
> > > himself came forth; and he wrestled with Gil-galad and
> > > Elendil[12], and they both were slain, and the sword of
> > > Elendil broke under him as he fell.
> > >
> > > I looked up 'strait' for this -- AskOxford.com has '*adjective*
> > > archaic 1 narrow or cramped. 2 strict or rigorous.' So the meaning

> > > appears to be that the siege was so tight about Barad-dûr that there

> > > was no hope of breaking through by pouring out more Orcs,
> >
> > No. The meaning here is "A position of difficulty, perplexity, distress,
> > or need. Often used in the plural: in desperate straits."
> > http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=strait
>
> I feel I must side with Troels on this one.
>
> In the quoted passage, it seems to me that "strait" is an adjective,
> whereas your meaning is for a noun. They're related, I agree, but not
> identical.

I stand corrected.

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