COTW Silmarillion: Chapter XXI "Of Turin Turambar"- Part 1

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William Cloud Hicklin

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Oct 31, 2006, 8:49:44 AM10/31/06
to
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>.


Chapter of the Week:
/The Silmarillion/ Chapter 21, 'Of Túrin Turambar'


++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
"/Narn i Chîn Húrin/, the Tale of the Children of Húrin, is the longest of
all the lays that speak of those

days; and it is called the Tale of Grief, for it is sorrowful, and in it
are revealed most evil works of

Morgoth Bauglir."
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Fittingly, "Of Túrin Turambar" is also the longest chapter in /The
Silmarillion/, and most would I thînk
consider it the most sorrowful. Indeed, the expanded /Children of Húrin/,
due out this April, is the
longest sustained narrative of the Elder Days Tolkien ever wrote; and he
spent more of his time on it than
any other Tale.

Summary:
Morgoth, eager to discover Turgon's hidden kingdom, torments the captive
Man Húrin by laying a curse on
Húrin's family and forcing him to watch it play out. Húrin's son Túrin
becomes an oulaw through his
ill-controlled temper, kills his best friend by mistake, rises to
authority in Nargothrond and through his
pride leads it to destruction by the dragon Glaurung, and after taking
refuge with the Men of Brethil
unwittingly marries his own sister. This awful truth is revealed in a
doom-laden finale in which Túrin
finally slays Glaurung; the dragon's death unveiling all, he and his
sister/wife both commit suicide.

Textual History:
The Tale of Túrin occupies a significant and in some ways frustrating
point in the textual history of the
Silmarillion, because it was at an early point in this Tale that Tolkien
abandoned the Quenta Silmarillion
to begin "a new book about Hobbits." Although in later years he would
heavily revise much of the existing
Quenta Silmarillion, he never carried the narrative forward, a lack which
can be clearly felt in the last
chapters of the published work.

On the other hand, unlike the following Tales (the Necklace of the
Dwarves, the Fall of Gondolin, and the
Voyage of Eärendil), Tolkien did not leave us to the brief and obsolescent
Quenta Noldorinwa (1930) for the
further course of Túrin's story. In the first place, the Grey Annals of
Beleriand (ca. 1951) continue on
through Túrin's death, and for the latter part of his story take on an
expansive form well beyond "annals,"
but rather a medium focus similar to that of QS. Secondly, Tolkien spent
the better part of the 1950s
retelling the Tale in a close-up, almost novelistic manner; this "long
Túrin" was characteristically never
finished, but Tolkien did bring it close enough to completion to allow for
its later reconstruction.
Christopher Tolkien published parts of it as the "Narn i Hîn Húrin" in
/Unfinished Tales/; and in April 2007 he will publish the full story as
/The Children of Húrin/.

The existing Chapter 21 therefore represents a "compression" of the Narn;
but there really are two
completely different compressions involved. As CRT explains in HoME XI,
the end of the Narn - i.e. Túrin's
sojourn in Brethil, his marriage and death - was the first part of the
Narn Tolkien actually wrote, and was
brought to a highly finished state. JRRT thereupon proceeded to write the
last entries of the Grey Annals
*as a compressed version of the end of the Narn.* For this portion of the
chapter, therefore, the text is
that of the Grey Annals and is essentially all original JRRT. Tolkien
made no equivalent for the rest of
the Tale; the bulk of the chapter thus represents Christopher Tolkien's
compression of the Narn on his
father's model, making it the first place in /The Silmarillion/ where the
narrative text for any significant length is editorial rather than
authorial.

There are two additional sections derived from the Grey Annals: it was
characteristic for a passage of
dialog to lead Tolkien into "full narrative" where he had set out to write
a sketch, and this phenomenon
occurs in the Grey Annals for the Túrin-Gwindor-Finduilas relationship,
and for Túrin's confrontation with
the dragon before the Gates of Nargothrond. In the chapter these passages
derive from the Grey Annals
largely intact.

--
" 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"

Troels Forchhammer

unread,
Oct 31, 2006, 6:06:20 PM10/31/06
to
Cross-posting to RABT
(This is going to ruin my OCR . . . <G>)

I can't do UFT-8, so I've had to reformat the content-type

In message <news:op.tiagpbc5rwd1fl@emachine> "William Cloud Hicklin"
<icelof...@mindspring.com> enriched us with:

>
> 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>.
>
>
>
>
> Chapter of the Week:
> /The Silmarillion/ Chapter 21, 'Of Túrin Turambar'
>
>
> +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

> "/Narn i Chín Húrin/, the Tale of the Children of Húrin, is the

> longest of all the lays that speak of those days; and it is called
> the Tale of Grief, for it is sorrowful, and in it are revealed most
> evil works of Morgoth Bauglir."
> +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
>
>

> Fittingly, "Of Túrin Turambar" is also the longest chapter in /The

> Silmarillion/, and most would I thínk consider it the most

> sorrowful. Indeed, the expanded /Children of Húrin/, due out this
> April, is the longest sustained narrative of the Elder Days Tolkien
> ever wrote; and he spent more of his time on it than any other Tale.
>
>
> Summary:
> Morgoth, eager to discover Turgon's hidden kingdom, torments the
> captive Man Húrin by laying a curse on Húrin's family and forcing
> him to watch it play out. Húrin's son Túrin becomes an oulaw through
> his ill-controlled temper, kills his best friend by mistake, rises
> to authority in Nargothrond and through his pride leads it to
> destruction by the dragon Glaurung, and after taking refuge with the
> Men of Brethil unwittingly marries his own sister. This awful truth
> is revealed in a doom-laden finale in which Túrin finally slays
> Glaurung; the dragon's death unveiling all, he and his sister/wife
> both commit suicide.
>
>
> Textual History:
> The Tale of Túrin occupies a significant and in some ways
> frustrating point in the textual history of the Silmarillion,
> because it was at an early point in this Tale that Tolkien abandoned
> the Quenta Silmarillion to begin "a new book about Hobbits."
> Although in later years he would heavily revise much of the existing
> Quenta Silmarillion, he never carried the narrative forward, a lack
> which can be clearly felt in the last chapters of the published
> work.
>
> On the other hand, unlike the following Tales (the Necklace of the

> Dwarves, the Fall of Gondolin, and the Voyage of Eärendil), Tolkien

> did not leave us to the brief and obsolescent Quenta Noldorinwa
> (1930) for the further course of Túrin's story. In the first place,
> the Grey Annals of Beleriand (ca. 1951) continue on through Túrin's
> death, and for the latter part of his story take on an expansive
> form well beyond "annals," but rather a medium focus similar to that
> of QS. Secondly, Tolkien spent the better part of the 1950s
> retelling the Tale in a close-up, almost novelistic manner; this
> "long Túrin" was characteristically never finished, but Tolkien did
> bring it close enough to completion to allow for its later
> reconstruction. Christopher Tolkien published parts of it as the

> "Narn i Hín Húrin" in /Unfinished Tales/; and in April 2007 he will

> publish the full story as /The Children of Húrin/.
>
> The existing Chapter 21 therefore represents a "compression" of the
> Narn; but there really are two completely different compressions
> involved. As CRT explains in HoME XI, the end of the Narn - i.e.
> Túrin's sojourn in Brethil, his marriage and death - was the first
> part of the Narn Tolkien actually wrote, and was brought to a highly
> finished state. JRRT thereupon proceeded to write the last entries
> of the Grey Annals *as a compressed version of the end of the Narn.*
> For this portion of the chapter, therefore, the text is that of the
> Grey Annals and is essentially all original JRRT. Tolkien made no
> equivalent for the rest of the Tale; the bulk of the chapter thus
> represents Christopher Tolkien's compression of the Narn on his
> father's model, making it the first place in /The Silmarillion/
> where the narrative text for any significant length is editorial
> rather than authorial.
>
> There are two additional sections derived from the Grey Annals: it
> was characteristic for a passage of dialog to lead Tolkien into
> "full narrative" where he had set out to write a sketch, and this
> phenomenon occurs in the Grey Annals for the Túrin-Gwindor-Finduilas
> relationship, and for Túrin's confrontation with the dragon before
> the Gates of Nargothrond. In the chapter these passages derive from
> the Grey Annals largely intact.

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

Giving in is no defeat.
Passing on is no retreat.
Selves are made to rise above.
You shall live in what you love.
- Piet Hein, /The Me Above the Me/

William Cloud Hicklin

unread,
Oct 31, 2006, 9:34:20 PM10/31/06
to
On Tue, 31 Oct 2006 18:06:20 -0500, Troels Forchhammer
<Tro...@ThisIsFake.invalid> wrote:

> Cross-posting to RABT
> (This is going to ruin my OCR . . . <G>)
>
> I can't do UFT-8, so I've had to reformat the content-type
>

Is there an encoding which works better for everyone? I'll be happy to
use it.

Troels Forchhammer

unread,
Nov 1, 2006, 3:44:56 AM11/1/06
to
In message <news:op.tibf3pyfrwd1fl@emachine>
"William Cloud Hicklin" <icelof...@mindspring.com> enriched us with:
>
> On Tue, 31 Oct 2006 18:06:20 -0500, Troels Forchhammer
> <Tro...@ThisIsFake.invalid> wrote:
>>
>> I can't do UFT-8, so I've had to reformat the content-type
>
> Is there an encoding which works better for everyone? I'll be
> happy to use it.

I obviously can't speak for everyone, but I believe that plain text
using the ISO-8859-1 character set should work for most.

Lacking support for UTF-8 is, however, a recognized error in XNews, and
probably shouldn't stop you (in particular if I'm the only one to have
that problem -- I only mentioned it as an implicit apology for re-
formatting your post).

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

Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not
simpler.
- Albert Einstein

Morgoth's Curse

unread,
Nov 11, 2006, 12:10:32 PM11/11/06
to
On Tue, 31 Oct 2006 13:49:44 GMT, "William Cloud Hicklin"
<icelof...@mindspring.com> wrote:

>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>.
>
>
>
>
>Chapter of the Week:
>/The Silmarillion/ Chapter 21, 'Of Túrin Turambar'
>
>
>++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
>"/Narn i Chîn Húrin/, the Tale of the Children of Húrin, is the longest of
>all the lays that speak of those
>
>days; and it is called the Tale of Grief, for it is sorrowful, and in it
>are revealed most evil works of
>
>Morgoth Bauglir."
>++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
>
>
>
>Fittingly, "Of Túrin Turambar" is also the longest chapter in /The
>Silmarillion/, and most would I thînk
>consider it the most sorrowful. Indeed, the expanded /Children of Húrin/,
>due out this April, is the
>longest sustained narrative of the Elder Days Tolkien ever wrote; and he
>spent more of his time on it than
>any other Tale.

Why do I sense that you are waiting for the expanded version before
you truly examine this chapter? ;-)

Morgoth's Curse

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