CotW Silm ch 1 Of the Beginning of Days

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Christopher Kreuzer

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Nov 8, 2005, 4:07:42 PM11/8/05
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This post is part of the series of "Chapter of the Week" discussions on
'The Silmarillion' by J.R.R. Tolkien. To read previous Chapter of the
Week discussions, or to sign up to introduce a future chapter, please go
to:

http://parasha.maoltuile.org

Chapter of the Week (CotW) - The Silmarillion

Quenta Silmarillion (QS)
Chapter 1 - Of the Beginning of Days

After the Ainulindale (The Music of the Ainur) and the Valaquenta
(Account of the Valar and Maiar), the creation myth and the account of
the angelic gods respectively, we come to the core story of 'The
Silmarillion': the Quenta Silmarillion (The History of the Silmarils).
In the Foreword to 'The Silmarillion', Christopher Tolkien describes the
Quenta Silmarillion as "the Silmarillion proper", and it is this story
of the Silmarils that makes up most of the published Silmarillion, and
gives that book its name. [1]

This is a good place to point out that all the chapters in Quenta
Silmarillion start with the word 'Of'. Each chapter is 'hung' on a
certain subject matter, a 'peg' so to speak, and is often a loose
collection of tales and histories centred to a greater or lesser extent
on that subject. This also means that there is no definite plot, or
storyline, running through Quenta Silmarillion, but we are instead
dipping into a history of the major events and characters, before and
during the First Age, and we are eventually being shown the overarching
history of the Silmarils, and the Men and Elves that were caught up in
that history. [2]

But we start, as always, at the beginning, with chapter 1: Of the
Beginning of Days. [3] This chapter has three distinct parts.

1) The first part of this chapter takes up the story that was started in
the closing paragraphs of the Ainulindale, of the battles of the Valar
with Melkor, and of the ordering of the Earth. Whereas the Ainulindale
uses broad brushstrokes to describe the scenes, this account goes into
detail and continues the tale. We read about the Lamps of the Valar,
about the lands of Almaren and Aman, and of the Two Trees of Valinor, up
to "...and thus began also the Count of Time".

2) The second part of this chapter repeats or recasts much of the
material from the Valaquenta, and also presents some new material,
describing the Valar and their powers and responsibilities, from "But as
the ages drew on..." to "...and the lands were filled with shadows and
deceits". Unlike the more complete and ordered account of the
Valaquenta, this account is intended to show the relationship and
attitude of the Valar to Middle-earth, the Outer Lands lying in the
darkness of Melkor and the twilight beneath the stars. But the story of
the later labours and battles of the Valar is left for the following
chapters.

3) The third part of this chapter, from "Now all is said concerning the
manner of the Earth and its rulers in the beginning of days..." to the
end of the chapter, is a kind of philosophical treatise about Elves and
Men, the Children of Iluvatar. This account especially concerns
Iluvatar's gift of freedom and death to Men.

Summary points as reminders of the chapter structure for the detailed
discussion points:

[First War with Melkor; arrival of Tulkas]
[Lamps of the Valar; Almaren; Spring of Arda]
[Melkor returns; Spring marred; Lamps overthrown]
[Valar remove to Aman; Pelori; Valinor]
[Two Trees of Valinor; Count of Time begins]
[Valar; Middle-earth in dark and twilight]
[Ainur, Elves and Men; Gift of Men; Time]

Detailed discussion points:

- "for long Melkor had the upper hand" - reminding us that Melkor is
indeed "he who arises in might" (Valaquenta) and "mighty are the Ainur,
and mightiest among them is Melkor" (Ainulindale).

- "hearing in the far heaven that there was battle in the Little
Kingdom" - what is the 'far heaven' and the 'Little Kingdom' here, the
places from whence and to where Tulkas comes?

- "Melkor brooded in the outer darkness" - what is this 'outer
darkness'?

- The Lamps of the Valar - are there any parallels with other creation
myths? These lamps seem to be much greater and mightier objects than the
Two Trees are later, but maybe the Trees are in fact greater creations.
Do the names of the Lamps, Illuin and Ormal mean anything? Can the
process of their creation (and the Valar who work to create them - Aule,
Varda, Manwe) be compared to the later creation of the Two Trees (by
Yavanna, with the aid of Nienna)?

- The first seeds and creatures of Yavanna - mosses, grasses, great
ferns, tall trees, beasts on land and sea, but no flowers or birds. Is
this a nod to the real evolutionary history of our Earth, where
flowering plants and birds appear late in the story, and mosses and
ferns appear earlier? [Supposing of course that the grasses and great
trees are non-flowering ones].

- The lights of the Lamps - the blending of the light of the lamps seems
to be a foreshadowing of the blending of the light of the Two Trees. But
the light of the Lamps is steady and unchanging, with no waxing and
waning. As well as not giving rise to the Count of Time we see with the
Two Trees, does a steady and unchanging light make any sense
biologically? The Valar would have had to have changed things anyway (or
would they?), so maybe Melkor did them a favour by destroying the Lamps?

- "new-made green was yet a marvel in the eyes of the makers" - this
reminds me of a passage from 'The Lord of the Rings' where Frodo is in
the fair land of Lothlorien, and has arrived at Cerin Amroth: "It seemed
to him that he had stepped through a high window that looked on a
vanished world. A light was upon it for which his language had no name.
[...] He saw no colour but those he knew, gold and white and blue and
green, but they were fresh and poignant, as if he had at that moment
first perceived them and made for them names new and wonderful."
(Lothlorien). Is it possible that in Lothlorien Frodo is experiencing
something of what Galadriel experienced in Aman, and that this is some
faint echo of what the Valar achieved in the Spring of Arda? [Tolkien
also talks about this in his essay: 'On Fairy-stories].

- "Melkor knew of all that was done [...] he gathered to himself spirits
out of the halls of Ea..." - Does this suggest that the earlier
reference to 'outer darkness' was to an area that is within Ea?

- "the Spring of Arda was marred" - the marring of Arda is an important
theme in Tolkien's writings in Middle-earth. What significance does this
marring have here?

- The destruction of the Lamps - great piece of writing! You really get
the impression of massive destruction here, especially when the Valar
are described as having to restrain the tumults of the Earth.

- "though fear fell upon him" - we see here the first descriptions of
Melkor's fear. This will be an important theme later on. What exactly
does Melkor fear here?

- "who were yet to come in a time that was hidden from the Valar" - we
see here that the Valar do not know when the Children (Elves and Men)
will awake. In the Ainulindale, we were told that when Iluvatar showed
the Ainur a vision of their Music: "they saw with amazement the coming
of the Children of Iluvatar", but it seems that they were not aware of,
or shown, the details.

- The retreat to Aman - the Valar raised the Pelori to defend
themselves, much as Melkor raised the Hithaeglir to oppose the riding of
Orome in Middle-earth. Raising mountains as defences is an incredible
concept, but rather suitable for Powers such as these.

- Valinor - this is described as being "more beautiful even than
Middle-earth in the Spring of Arda". This seems to contradict the more
common model of things declining over time in Arda and Middle-earth, of
things never being quite as good as before. Is this completely true? Do
you think some aspects of the Spring of Arda were more beautiful and
gone beyond recall?

- The creation of the Two Trees - an absolutely beautiful creation myth
here, and one that involves song from Yavanna, music being of great
power in Ea. The importance of the event is shown by two phrases in
particular: "silence was over all the world in that hour" and "Of all
things which Yavanna made they have most renown, and about their fate
all the tales of the Elder Days are woven."

- Silver and Gold - I'd like to quote a passage from 'The Lord of the
Rings' here, from the bit where Frodo is before the Black Gate of
Mordor, lamenting his evil fate: "But he had taken it on himself in his
own sitting-room in the far-off spring of another year, so remote now
that it was like a chapter in a story of the world's youth, when the
Trees of Silver and Gold were still in bloom." (The Black Gate is
Closed); and also a comment by Gandalf to Pippin as they ride to Minas
Tirith: "Even now my heart desires [...] to look across the wide seas of
water and of time [...] and perceive the unimaginable hand and mind of
Feanor at their work, while both the White Tree and the Golden were in
flower!" (The Palantir). Just two examples to show the enduring
influence of the Two Trees on the history and legends of Middle-earth.

- The Two Trees - These are Telperion and Laurelin (and they are given
many other names beside). Telperion, the elder tree, gives forth a dew
of silver light, and is described as male. Laurelin gives forth warmth
and a great light, and is described as female. This distinct character
of each tree contrasts with the Two Lamps, which were not distinguished
other than in name. Are there any other creation myths that are similar
to this one involving trees sung into being and flower?

- The Count of Time - just as beautiful as the account of the creation
of the Two Trees, is the description of how the waxing and waning lights
begin the Count of Time: "the white glimmer of a silver dawn"; "the
Opening Hour"; the mingling of the lights; the "Days of the Bliss of
Valinor". Capitals being strewn around to show how important these
concepts are.

- "wells of water and of light" - the dews of Telperion seem to
correspond to the water, and the rain of Laurelin to the light, but it
seems that the 'water' from Telperion is in fact light, but whether it
can really be described as 'light' is not clear: "the light that was
spilled from the trees endured long, ere it was taken up into the airs
or sank down into the earth". It seems that this is a very mythical kind
of light, maybe even a metaphor of some kind. Do these metaphors of
water and of light have anything to do with, maybe, the starlight of
Varda and the waters of Ulmo, or the tears of Nienna? Remember that it
is Varda who is said to hoard the light of the Trees, and it is she who
later makes stars from the dews of Telperion.

- "in the darkness Melkor dwelt, and still often walked abroad, in many
shapes of power and fear" - this is a stark contrast to the beautiful
land of the Valar.

- "the fairest of all gems were the Silmarils, and they are lost" - I
have a theory that sometimes a story can be _more_ interesting if you
know what happened. You have an idea of where the story is going, and it
becomes easier to follow the story. Maybe that is why Tolkien inserts
these little "what happened bits", or maybe it is just to remind you
that this is a tale of long ago, and the ending is known to all. Though
to be fair, this bit actually ratchets up the tension. You want to read
on and find out _how_ the Silmarils were lost, or even to find out
_what_ the Silmarils are!

- "Spirits in the shapes of hawks and eagles" - what are these spirits
that help Manwe see what is going on? Are there normal hawks and eagles
as well?

- ""where Melkor sat in his dark thought impenetrable shadows lay" -
what a lovely turn of phrase: 'sat in his dark thought'! This phrase is
used again later on, as is the idea of impenetrable darkness.

- Noldor and Teleri - both are mentioned here before we know properly
who they are. Is this an editorial oversight?

- Ulmo's music - we are told here again of the strong connection between
Ulmo and music and the waters of the world: "in the deep places he gives
thought to music great and terrible".

- "flowering meads of Valinor" - obviously the Valar have got around to
making flowers now.

- "their elders and their chieftains" - the Valar (and other Ainur) are
described as such in relation to the Children of Iluvatar (Elves and
Men), and _not_ their masters. The obvious comparison is with Melkor,
who seeks to be master of everything.

- Ainur, Elves and Men - "Iluvatar made [Elves] more like in nature to
the Ainur, though less in might and stature; whereas to Men he gave
strange gifts." Much of the themes of Tolkien's writings seem to spring
from these differences. Death and Mortality, Immortality, Time, and so
on, but, in the closing words of this chapter, Tolkien tries to
communicate several complex philosophical points. Does he succeed?

- Iluvatar's thoughts - "for an age Iluvatar sat alone in thought" -
What does the mind of God look like? What does God think about? We are
told of Iluvatar's words. Who is telling us these words? Is this
something revealed by the Valar to the Elves by Manwe, who "knows most
of the mind of Iluvatar"?

- Tolkien introduces the words 'Quendi' (Elves) and 'Atani' (Men) here
for the first time in 'The Silmarillion', though the terms are also used
in the Appendices of 'The Lord of the Rings'.

- Fate and the Gift - Iluvatar says that he will give a new gift to Men:
"he willed that the hearts of Men should seek beyond the world and
should find no rest therein; but they should have a virtue to shape
their life, amid the powers and chances of the world, beyond the Music
of the Ainur, which is as fate to all things else; and of their
operation everything should be, in form and deed, completed, and the
world fulfilled unto the last and smallest." - Now, I think I understand
this up until the "as fate to all things else" bit, but the bit after
that I can never understand. What is Tolkien saying here?

- Does it mean anything that Iluvatar decided all this _after_ the Valar
had departed?

- Death and envious Valar - "Death is their fate, the gift of Iluvatar,
which as Time wears even the Powers shall envy." - Does this tell us
more about Men, or about Elves and Ainur? A relevant quote here seems to
be Legolas's comment on the Great River after the Fellowship leave
Lothlorien in 'The Lord of the Rings': "The passing seasons are but
ripples ever repeated in the long long stream. Yet beneath the Sun all
things must wear to an end at last." (The Great River). Will even the
Valar wear to an end at last, becoming ever more remote and distant as
the ages pass?

- Second Music of the Ainur - the final passage of this chapter seems to
contradict an earlier passage in the Ainulindale. The passage here is:
"Yet of old the Valar declared to the Elves in Valinor that Men shall
join in the Second Music of the Ainur; whereas Iluvatar has not revealed
what he purposes for the Elves after the World's end". The passage from
the Ainulindale is: "it has been said that a greater [Music] still shall
be made before Iluvatar by the choirs of the Ainur and the Children of
Iluvatar after the end of days." - Does this indicate that the Elves,
and maybe even the Ainur, do not really know what will happen after the
world ends? Are they all groping in the dark?

- Finally, regardless of the philosophical complexities of the closing
passages of this chapter, I'd like to say that I think the writing is
really quite wonderful. It has a rhythm and power all of its own, and
builds and progresses to its climax. It creates a powerful impression,
even if you aren't quite sure if you've understood it.

- Any other thoughts and comments?

Footnotes:

[1] Given that Christopher Tolkien says that the Ainulindale and
Valaquenta are "closely associated with 'The Silmarillion'", and given
the difficulty some people have in encountering the Ainulindale and
Valaquenta at the beginning when they first read 'The Silmarillion',
should people be advised to start reading 'The Silmarillion' at some
later point, and return to the Ainulindale and Valaquenta later, or not?
Or to put it another way, would it be good advice to tell people to
start reading 'The Silmarillion' from, say, 'Of the Beginning of Days',
or even from a later chapter in Quenta Silmarillion?

[2] How confusing is this structure of Quenta Silmarillion, and indeed
the whole of 'The Silmarillion' as a collection of stories and tales?
Was it difficult when first reading this book to understand what was
going on? Would something like a timeline help when reading it, or is
part of the charm and power the way the whole history crystallises out
of the stories?

[3] The recent discussion of the Ainulindale included comments about how
Christopher Tolkien's editing removed part of the Ainulindale texts (the
ones that he was using to form 'The Silmarillion' Ainulindale text) to
this chapter, and how the second chapter (Of Aule and Yavanna) was also
affected. Does anyone have any details of what happened here in
editorial terms?

[4] Writing style: "It is told..."; "In that time..."; "Now it came to
pass..."; "Thus ended..."; "But as the ages drew on..."; "And in that
time..."; "Now all is said..."; "For it is said..."; "Yet of old the
Valar declared...". This 'historical' tone and style runs through the
whole of 'The Silmarillion', but is very noticable here. Why is Tolkien
writing this way? Is this an easy style to write in? Is it an easy style
to read and understand? What do you think of the way Tolkien used this
style?

[5] Archaic and obscure words and phrases: forsook; more lofty far;
burgeon; deemed; espoused; naught; tumult; anew; dappled; well nigh all;
thither; thence; coursed; meads; whereat; redounds; whither; whence;
wherefore; confounded; whereas - Are these words easily understood when
encountered in the correct context? I am reminded of a quote from
Tolkien's Letters: "an honest word is an honest word, and its
acquaintance can only be made by meeting it in a right context. A good
vocabulary is not acquired by reading books written according to some
notion of the vocabulary of one's age group. It comes from reading books
above one." (draft letter to Walter Allen, April 1959). Admittedly, some
of these words are so archaic that they would be rarely encountered or
used, but if you here met words like 'tumult' or 'burgeon' or 'redounds'
for the first time, I think you would be helped by encountering them in
a correct context, as provided by Tolkien.

Christopher

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

Chris Kern

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Nov 8, 2005, 4:56:51 PM11/8/05
to
On Tue, 08 Nov 2005 21:07:42 GMT, "Christopher Kreuzer"
<spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> posted the following:

>[3] The recent discussion of the Ainulindale included comments about how
>Christopher Tolkien's editing removed part of the Ainulindale texts (the
>ones that he was using to form 'The Silmarillion' Ainulindale text) to
>this chapter, and how the second chapter (Of Aule and Yavanna) was also
>affected. Does anyone have any details of what happened here in
>editorial terms?

This chapter is a fusion of mainly three texts by Tolkien -- The
Ainulindale, the Annals of Aman, and Quenta Silmarillion Chapter 2
("Of Valinor and the Two Trees"). There is a lot of (relatively
minor) editorial alteration to merge the sources, and to get rid of
the explicit narrator (Pengolod) in the Ainulindale (for instance, "It
is told among the wise that the First War began before Arda was
full-shaped" was written by JRRT in the Ainulindale as "This tale I
have heard also among the loremasters of the Noldor in ages past. For
they tell us that the war began before Arda was full-shaped...")

I don't have the time or inclination to work out the exact sentences
that were drawn from each source, but I would say on casual
observation that it is at least 50-60% Ainulindale, perhaps another
20-30% Annals of Aman, and only a bit of QS.

As I said before, the only authority at all that HoME gives us for the
creation of this chapter is that on the Ainulindale C* (written before
the final version D), Tolkien questioned whether to move some of the
final material into the QS. CT may have been working off other
unpublished notes, or perhaps he had strong stylistic or form reasons
for doing this.

-Chris

Tar-Elenion

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Nov 8, 2005, 6:42:59 PM11/8/05
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In article <ys8cf.3653$Lw5....@text.news.blueyonder.co.uk>,
spam...@blueyonder.co.uk says...

> This post is part of the series of "Chapter of the Week" discussions on
> 'The Silmarillion' by J.R.R. Tolkien. To read previous Chapter of the
> Week discussions, or to sign up to introduce a future chapter, please go
> to:
>
> http://parasha.maoltuile.org
>
> Chapter of the Week (CotW) - The Silmarillion
>
> Quenta Silmarillion (QS)
> Chapter 1 - Of the Beginning of Days
<snip>

>
> Summary points as reminders of the chapter structure for the detailed
> discussion points:
>
> [First War with Melkor; arrival of Tulkas]
> [Lamps of the Valar; Almaren; Spring of Arda]
> [Melkor returns; Spring marred; Lamps overthrown]
> [Valar remove to Aman; Pelori; Valinor]
> [Two Trees of Valinor; Count of Time begins]
> [Valar; Middle-earth in dark and twilight]
> [Ainur, Elves and Men; Gift of Men; Time]
>
> Detailed discussion points:
>
> - "for long Melkor had the upper hand" - reminding us that Melkor is
> indeed "he who arises in might" (Valaquenta) and "mighty are the Ainur,
> and mightiest among them is Melkor" (Ainulindale).
>
> - "hearing in the far heaven that there was battle in the Little
> Kingdom" - what is the 'far heaven' and the 'Little Kingdom' here, the
> places from whence and to where Tulkas comes?

Far heaven, the regions of Ea distant from the Little Kingdom.

Little Kingdom, Arda.

>
> - "Melkor brooded in the outer darkness" - what is this 'outer
> darkness'?

The Void, interstellar space (or the region of Ea beyond the Walls of
Night).

>
> - "Melkor knew of all that was done [...] he gathered to himself spirits
> out of the halls of Ea..." - Does this suggest that the earlier
> reference to 'outer darkness' was to an area that is within Ea?

Yes.

<snip>
--
Tar-Elenion

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

Stan Brown

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Nov 9, 2005, 3:56:58 PM11/9/05
to
Tue, 08 Nov 2005 21:07:42 GMT from Christopher Kreuzer
<spam...@blueyonder.co.uk>:

> - "hearing in the far heaven that there was battle in the Little
> Kingdom" - what is the 'far heaven' and the 'Little Kingdom' here, the
> places from whence and to where Tulkas comes?

I think the far heaven us the Timeless Halls, where all the Ainur
lived with Iluvatar and where the ones who didn't descend into Eä
live still.

The Little Kingdom, from context, has to be Arda. Compare the line in
"Ainulindalė", "And this habitation might seem a little thing to
those who consider only the majesty of the Ainur."

> - "Melkor brooded in the outer darkness" - what is this 'outer
> darkness'?

At first I wrote:

It's either the same dark regions where he wandered before the Music,
or else it's Arda before lights were created. From the context it
sounds like this is happening before Melkor came down to Arda, but
that doesn't make sense to me because I thought he entered Arda at
the same time sa the (other) Valar, so that he could start getting up
to no good.

But I think you yourself gave a better answer later: this is
somewhere in Eä outside of Arda, in this passage (moved here out of
order):

> - "Melkor knew of all that was done [...] he gathered to himself spirits
> out of the halls of Ea..." - Does this suggest that the earlier
> reference to 'outer darkness' was to an area that is within Ea?

> - The Lamps of the Valar - are there any parallels with other creation
> myths? These lamps seem to be much greater and mightier objects than the
> Two Trees are later, but maybe the Trees are in fact greater creations.
> Do the names of the Lamps, Illuin and Ormal mean anything? Can the
> process of their creation (and the Valar who work to create them - Aule,
> Varda, Manwe) be compared to the later creation of the Two Trees (by
> Yavanna, with the aid of Nienna)?

I think the distinction is between Technology and Living Things. The
Lamps were essentially static; the Trees were living things that
waxed and waned.



> - "though fear fell upon him" - we see here the first descriptions of
> Melkor's fear. This will be an important theme later on. What exactly
> does Melkor fear here?

"though fear fell upon him; for above the roaring of the seas he
heard the voice of Manwė as a mighty wind, and the earth trembled
beneath the feet of Tulkas. But he came to Utumno ere Tulkas could
overtake him; and there he lay hid."

I think he feared retribution: capture and punishment.



> "Even now my heart desires [...] to look across the wide seas of
> water and of time [...] and perceive the unimaginable hand and mind of
> Feanor at their work, while both the White Tree and the Golden were in
> flower!" (The Palantir). Just two examples to show the enduring
> influence of the Two Trees on the history and legends of Middle-earth.

If I recall correctly, didn't Gandalf speak those words? He was there
when the Trees were in flower. Presumably in his native form he would
remember them clearly, but in his Istar guise his memories of Valinor
were imperfect.

> - The Two Trees - These are Telperion and Laurelin (and they are given
> many other names beside). Telperion, the elder tree, gives forth a dew
> of silver light, and is described as male. Laurelin gives forth warmth
> and a great light, and is described as female. This distinct character
> of each tree contrasts with the Two Lamps, which were not distinguished
> other than in name. Are there any other creation myths that are similar
> to this one involving trees sung into being and flower?

Do you count /The Magician's Nephew of C.S. Lewis? :-)



> - "wells of water and of light" - the dews of Telperion seem to
> correspond to the water, and the rain of Laurelin to the light, but it
> seems that the 'water' from Telperion is in fact light, but whether it
> can really be described as 'light' is not clear: "the light that was
> spilled from the trees endured long, ere it was taken up into the airs
> or sank down into the earth". It seems that this is a very mythical kind
> of light, maybe even a metaphor of some kind.

Somewhere -- I can't remember where; "Myths Transformed", maybe? --
CRT talks about the Trees as being pure light, unmarred. He said this
was an important element of Tolkien's mythology, the ide of pure and
original light, before the Marring. In this scheme the Sun and Moon,
which came later after the Trees had absorbed the poison of
Ungoliant, were imperfect.

This is (one reason) why the Silmarils were so important: they were
the last of the pure primeval light.

Wat don't get, about that, is why the stars didn't also count as
pure and perfect light, since they also were made before Melkor
marred all the raw materials.

> - Fate and the Gift - Iluvatar says that he will give a new gift to Men:
> "he willed that the hearts of Men should seek beyond the world and
> should find no rest therein; but they should have a virtue to shape
> their life, amid the powers and chances of the world, beyond the Music
> of the Ainur, which is as fate to all things else; and of their
> operation everything should be, in form and deed, completed, and the
> world fulfilled unto the last and smallest." - Now, I think I understand
> this up until the "as fate to all things else" bit, but the bit after
> that I can never understand. What is Tolkien saying here?

Sorry, no idea ether. It's beautiful language, but like you I'm not
sure what it _means_.



> - Does it mean anything that Iluvatar decided all this _after_ the Valar
> had departed?

We had a discussion not long ago about the appearance of time in the
Timeless Halls, of a First Theme and Second Theme requiring time
(else how could first come first?), but I don't think we ever
resolved it (or could).

The relevance here is that I'm not sure we are justified in
concluding that Iluvatar decided the fate of men at the point where
the narrator tells us about it. It may well have been part of his
eternal plan.

> [1] would it be good advice to tell people to


> start reading 'The Silmarillion' from, say, 'Of the Beginning of Days',
> or even from a later chapter in Quenta Silmarillion?

I'm minded of Julia Child teaching people to make quiche. She shows
how to make a pie crust from scratch, nd then says something to the
effect that if making teh crust is a stumbling block, just use a
tore-bought crust and you'll still have most of the goodness.

I wouldn't counsel anyone to skip Ainulindalė and Valaquenta
automatically. But if they're having trouble getting through those
sections, then I'd say "better to read the QS and come back later to
A and V, than to let the harder opening sections turn you off to the
entire book."

> [2] How confusing is this structure of Quenta Silmarillion, and indeed
> the whole of 'The Silmarillion' as a collection of stories and tales?
> Was it difficult when first reading this book to understand what was
> going on? Would something like a timeline help when reading it, or is
> part of the charm and power the way the whole history crystallises out
> of the stories?

A timeline would have been of great help to me. When reading LotR
after the first time -- i.e. when I knew of the existence of teh Tale
of Years in App B -- I referred frequently to it, to keep track of
what was happening simultaneously "off stage".

But with that excetion, I didn't find the structure of the QS
troublesome. To me the chapters never seemed all that disconnected
from each other: the work seemed like a great tapestry. IIRC, in the
Turin chapter there were some near-encounters with folks we had met
in earlier chapters, and I remember picking up on those references
with delight.

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

Stan Brown

unread,
Nov 9, 2005, 3:59:39 PM11/9/05
to
Tue, 08 Nov 2005 21:07:42 GMT from Christopher Kreuzer
<spam...@blueyonder.co.uk>:
> - "hearing in the far heaven that there was battle in the Little
> Kingdom" - what is the 'far heaven' and the 'Little Kingdom' here, the
> places from whence and to where Tulkas comes?

I think the far heaven us the Timeless Halls, where all the Ainur

lived with Iluvatar and where the ones who didn't descend into Eä
live still.

The Little Kingdom, from context, has to be Arda. Compare the line in
"Ainulindalė", "And this habitation might seem a little thing to
those who consider only the majesty of the Ainur."

> - "Melkor brooded in the outer darkness" - what is this 'outer
> darkness'?

At first I wrote:

It's either the same dark regions where he wandered before the Music,
or else it's Arda before lights were created. From the context it
sounds like this is happening before Melkor came down to Arda, but
that doesn't make sense to me because I thought he entered Arda at

the same time as the (other) Valar, so that he could start getting up
to no good.

But I think you yourself gave a better answer later: this is
somewhere in Eä outside of Arda, in this passage (moved here out of
order):

> - "Melkor knew of all that was done [...] he gathered to himself spirits


> out of the halls of Ea..." - Does this suggest that the earlier
> reference to 'outer darkness' was to an area that is within Ea?

> - The Lamps of the Valar - are there any parallels with other creation
> myths? These lamps seem to be much greater and mightier objects than the
> Two Trees are later, but maybe the Trees are in fact greater creations.
> Do the names of the Lamps, Illuin and Ormal mean anything? Can the
> process of their creation (and the Valar who work to create them - Aule,
> Varda, Manwe) be compared to the later creation of the Two Trees (by
> Yavanna, with the aid of Nienna)?

I think the distinction is between Technology and Living Things. The

Lamps were essentially static; the Trees were living things that
waxed and waned.

> - "though fear fell upon him" - we see here the first descriptions of
> Melkor's fear. This will be an important theme later on. What exactly
> does Melkor fear here?

"though fear fell upon him; for above the roaring of the seas he

heard the voice of Manwė as a mighty wind, and the earth trembled
beneath the feet of Tulkas. But he came to Utumno ere Tulkas could
overtake him; and there he lay hid."

I think he feared retribution: capture and punishment.

> "Even now my heart desires [...] to look across the wide seas of
> water and of time [...] and perceive the unimaginable hand and mind of
> Feanor at their work, while both the White Tree and the Golden were in
> flower!" (The Palantir). Just two examples to show the enduring
> influence of the Two Trees on the history and legends of Middle-earth.

If I recall correctly, didn't Gandalf speak those words? He was there

when the Trees were in flower. Presumably in his native form he would
remember them clearly, but in his Istar guise his memories of Valinor
were imperfect.

> - The Two Trees - These are Telperion and Laurelin (and they are given


> many other names beside). Telperion, the elder tree, gives forth a dew
> of silver light, and is described as male. Laurelin gives forth warmth
> and a great light, and is described as female. This distinct character
> of each tree contrasts with the Two Lamps, which were not distinguished
> other than in name. Are there any other creation myths that are similar
> to this one involving trees sung into being and flower?

Do you count /The Magician's Nephew of C.S. Lewis? :-)


> - "wells of water and of light" - the dews of Telperion seem to
> correspond to the water, and the rain of Laurelin to the light, but it
> seems that the 'water' from Telperion is in fact light, but whether it
> can really be described as 'light' is not clear: "the light that was
> spilled from the trees endured long, ere it was taken up into the airs
> or sank down into the earth". It seems that this is a very mythical kind
> of light, maybe even a metaphor of some kind.

Somewhere -- I can't remember where; "Myths Transformed", maybe? --

CRT talks about the Trees as being pure light, unmarred. He said this

was an important element of Tolkien's mythology, the idea of pure and

original light, before the Marring. In this scheme the Sun and Moon,
which came later after the Trees had absorbed the poison of
Ungoliant, were imperfect.

This is (one reason) why the Silmarils were so important: they were
the last of the pure primeval light.

Wat don't get, about that, is why the stars didn't also count as
pure and perfect light, since they also were made before Melkor
marred all the raw materials.

> - Fate and the Gift - Iluvatar says that he will give a new gift to Men:


> "he willed that the hearts of Men should seek beyond the world and
> should find no rest therein; but they should have a virtue to shape
> their life, amid the powers and chances of the world, beyond the Music
> of the Ainur, which is as fate to all things else; and of their
> operation everything should be, in form and deed, completed, and the
> world fulfilled unto the last and smallest." - Now, I think I understand
> this up until the "as fate to all things else" bit, but the bit after
> that I can never understand. What is Tolkien saying here?

Sorry, no idea ether. It's beautiful language, but like you I'm not
sure what it _means_.


> - Does it mean anything that Iluvatar decided all this _after_ the Valar
> had departed?

We had a discussion not long ago about the appearance of time in the

Timeless Halls, of a First Theme and Second Theme requiring time
(else how could first come first?), but I don't think we ever
resolved it (or could).

The relevance here is that I'm not sure we are justified in
concluding that Iluvatar decided the fate of men at the point where
the narrator tells us about it. It may well have been part of his
eternal plan.

> [1] would it be good advice to tell people to


> start reading 'The Silmarillion' from, say, 'Of the Beginning of Days',
> or even from a later chapter in Quenta Silmarillion?

I'm minded of Julia Child teaching people to make quiche. She shows

how to make a pie crust from scratch, nd then says something to the

effect that if making the crust is a stumbling block, just use a
store-bought crust and you'll still have a good quiche.

I wouldn't counsel anyone to skip Ainulindalė and Valaquenta
automatically. But if they're having trouble getting through those
sections, then I'd say "better to read the QS and come back later to
A and V, than to let the harder opening sections turn you off to the
entire book."

> [2] How confusing is this structure of Quenta Silmarillion, and indeed


> the whole of 'The Silmarillion' as a collection of stories and tales?
> Was it difficult when first reading this book to understand what was
> going on? Would something like a timeline help when reading it, or is
> part of the charm and power the way the whole history crystallises out
> of the stories?

A timeline would have been of great help to me. When reading LotR
after the first time -- i.e. when I knew of the existence of the Tale

of Years in App B -- I referred frequently to it, to keep track of
what was happening simultaneously "off stage".

But with that exception, I didn't find the structure of the QS

Chris Kern

unread,
Nov 9, 2005, 4:25:12 PM11/9/05
to
On Wed, 9 Nov 2005 15:56:58 -0500, Stan Brown
<the_sta...@fastmail.fm> posted the following:

>Tue, 08 Nov 2005 21:07:42 GMT from Christopher Kreuzer
><spam...@blueyonder.co.uk>:

>> - "wells of water and of light" - the dews of Telperion seem to


>> correspond to the water, and the rain of Laurelin to the light, but it
>> seems that the 'water' from Telperion is in fact light, but whether it
>> can really be described as 'light' is not clear: "the light that was
>> spilled from the trees endured long, ere it was taken up into the airs
>> or sank down into the earth". It seems that this is a very mythical kind
>> of light, maybe even a metaphor of some kind.
>
>Somewhere -- I can't remember where; "Myths Transformed", maybe? --
>CRT talks about the Trees as being pure light, unmarred. He said this
>was an important element of Tolkien's mythology, the ide of pure and
>original light, before the Marring. In this scheme the Sun and Moon,
>which came later after the Trees had absorbed the poison of
>Ungoliant, were imperfect.

Perhaps you are thinking of JRRT's projections for the revision of the
Silmarillion which would put the creation of the Sun and the Moon
before Arda. In these projections, Melkor tainted the Sun, but before
that happened, the pure light was preserved in the Two Trees.

>> - Fate and the Gift - Iluvatar says that he will give a new gift to Men:
>> "he willed that the hearts of Men should seek beyond the world and
>> should find no rest therein; but they should have a virtue to shape
>> their life, amid the powers and chances of the world, beyond the Music
>> of the Ainur, which is as fate to all things else; and of their
>> operation everything should be, in form and deed, completed, and the
>> world fulfilled unto the last and smallest." - Now, I think I understand
>> this up until the "as fate to all things else" bit, but the bit after
>> that I can never understand. What is Tolkien saying here?
>
>Sorry, no idea ether. It's beautiful language, but like you I'm not
>sure what it _means_.

My interpretation would be that this is a declaration that humans are
central to Iluvatar's theme, and that by their works the Music will be
brought to its ultimate conclusion and fulfillment.

-Chris

Stan Brown

unread,
Nov 10, 2005, 11:10:48 AM11/10/05
to
Apologies for the duplicate article. I don't know how it happened.

Paul Ciszek

unread,
Nov 12, 2005, 1:41:52 AM11/12/05
to

In article <ys8cf.3653$Lw5....@text.news.blueyonder.co.uk>,

Christopher Kreuzer <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> wrote:
>
>- The Lamps of the Valar - are there any parallels with other creation
>myths? These lamps seem to be much greater and mightier objects than the
>Two Trees are later, but maybe the Trees are in fact greater creations.
>Do the names of the Lamps, Illuin and Ormal mean anything?

I assumed that Tolkien was making a pun: "Is this the face that launched
a thousand ships, and burnt the topless towers of Illium?"


--
Please reply to: | "Any sufficiently advanced incompetence is
pciszek at panix dot com | indistinguishable from malice."
Autoreply is disabled |

Christopher Kreuzer

unread,
Nov 12, 2005, 5:25:47 AM11/12/05
to
Paul Ciszek <nos...@nospam.com> wrote:
> In article <ys8cf.3653$Lw5....@text.news.blueyonder.co.uk>,
> Christopher Kreuzer <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> wrote:
>>
>> - The Lamps of the Valar - are there any parallels with other
>> creation myths? These lamps seem to be much greater and mightier
>> objects than the Two Trees are later, but maybe the Trees are in
>> fact greater creations. Do the names of the Lamps, Illuin and Ormal
>> mean anything?
>
> I assumed that Tolkien was making a pun: "Is this the face that
> launched a thousand ships, and burnt the topless towers of Illium?"

Ilium is spelt with one 'l'. And Ilium and Illuin are spelt totally
differently, and it looks like they sound totally different as well
(which is probably more important). I did wonder briefly if you could
split it into Il-luin, using the Il- part of Iluvatar, and the -luin
thing that means blue in Ered Luin - hoping that it would come out as
'Blue Light' or something. But we aren't told what language was used to
name the lamps, whether we are reading some Valarin names told to the
Elves by the Valar, or Quenyarized forms of such names.

And in any case, I have analysed the word 'Iluvatar' wrongly. The index
and Appendix to /The Silmarillion/ say that Illuvatar means 'Father of
All', and the first fragment of Iluvatar comes from 'iluve' - 'the
whole, the all', and the second part - 'atar' - is 'father'.

Which brings us no closer to what, if anything, Illuin and Ormal mean. I
have drawn a complete blank here, though the Appendix says 'mal-' is
'gold', so it is tempting to speculate that one was blue and the other
gold, silly as that sounds. It makes more sense, given the "unchanging
day" description, that they both produced a yellow/white light. And it
would make more sense for their names, if they mean anything, to refer
to their locations in the north and the south.

Does anyone have _any_ idea what Ormal and Illuin mean? Do they, for
example, appear in earlier writings that might have a sentence
explaining what the words mean, or some further clues as to the nature
of the light they produced?

Prai Jei

unread,
Nov 12, 2005, 11:52:00 AM11/12/05
to
Christopher Kreuzer (or somebody else of the same name) wrote thusly in
message <Lqjdf.6281$Lw5....@text.news.blueyonder.co.uk>:

> Which brings us no closer to what, if anything, Illuin and Ormal mean. I
> have drawn a complete blank here, though the Appendix says 'mal-' is
> 'gold',

Attached to "or" which is French (and heraldic) for gold. The complete name
is close to a syllabic reversal of "mallorn" - could it mean the same
thing?

One possible pun is for Tolkien to have seen the initial N of 'normal' as a
negative prefix, and by removing this N he has created 'Ormal' as a
positive form, to indicate that the lamp is anything but normal -
"supranormal" perhaps, borrowing a word from the mathematicians.

It's an illuin that blows nobody any good? Or is there a hint of
'illumination' in the name?
--
Pelagiarism: passing off somebody else's heresy as your own

Interchange the alphabetic letter groups to reply

Stan Brown

unread,
Nov 12, 2005, 4:25:34 PM11/12/05
to
Sat, 12 Nov 2005 06:41:52 +0000 (UTC) from Paul Ciszek
<nos...@nospam.com>:

> In article <ys8cf.3653$Lw5....@text.news.blueyonder.co.uk>,
> Christopher Kreuzer <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> wrote:
> >
> >- The Lamps of the Valar - are there any parallels with other creation
> >myths? These lamps seem to be much greater and mightier objects than the
> >Two Trees are later, but maybe the Trees are in fact greater creations.
> >Do the names of the Lamps, Illuin and Ormal mean anything?
>
> I assumed that Tolkien was making a pun: "Is this the face that launched
> a thousand ships, and burnt the topless towers of Illium?"

I can't positively say he didn't, but I think it would be very much
out of character for him.

He created so many names of places and persons that there are bound
to be a few with similar sounds to real-world place names, but as far
as we know that's just coincidence. He addressed this point in Letter
324, responding to a query whether Gondar (in Egypt) had anything to
do with Gondor.

Conrad Dunkerson

unread,
Nov 12, 2005, 4:48:35 PM11/12/05
to
Christopher Kreuzer wrote:

> Does anyone have _any_ idea what Ormal and Illuin mean?

High Gold and Sky Blue

Conrad Dunkerson

unread,
Nov 12, 2005, 5:45:25 PM11/12/05
to
Chris Kern wrote:

> I don't have the time or inclination to work out the exact sentences
> that were drawn from each source, but I would say on casual
> observation that it is at least 50-60% Ainulindale, perhaps another
> 20-30% Annals of Aman, and only a bit of QS.

Seem like reasonable estimates. The 'Ainulindale' pieces are easy to
spot, but the rest of it is very chopped up.

> As I said before, the only authority at all that HoME gives us for the
> creation of this chapter is that on the Ainulindale C* (written before
> the final version D), Tolkien questioned whether to move some of the
> final material into the QS. CT may have been working off other
> unpublished notes, or perhaps he had strong stylistic or form reasons
> for doing this.

The published Silm text cuts off where the drafts have;

"And when he had ended the Ainulindale, such as Rumil had made it,
Pengolod the Sage paused a while..."
MR, Ainulindale - C (pg 17)

Within the chapter JRRT labeled 'Ainulindale' there was a story of that
name set down by Rumil AND then some information from Pengolod about
subsequent events. This is why I think CT decided to treat the
Ainulindale myth as a chapter by itself and then the material following
that (wherein Pengolod tells Aelfwine of the early history of Arda) as
part of the QS history. If the brief discussion is cut out then Silm's
'Ainulindale' and 'Beginning of Days' can be seen to separate at
precisely that point quoted above.

Christopher Kreuzer

unread,
Nov 12, 2005, 5:48:26 PM11/12/05
to

Hey! It looks like Gold and Blue was the right idea after all! Did you
get this from the Etymologies or something?

High Gold and Sky Blue would correspond nicely with a yellow sun in a
blue sky. Makes a lot of sense now. Illuin was in the north, and Ormal
was in the south. In the northern hemisphere, you would see a distant
yellow light (Ormal) in a blue sky (the light from Illuin). And
obviously, if you journeyed far enough to the south (in the Spring of
Arda), you would see a distant blue light (Illuin) in a yellow sky
(because you would be surrounded by the light of Ormal). Blue light in a
yellow sky!!

Did Tolkien ever try to go directly from the Lamps of the Valar to the
Sun and Moon? It wouldn't be a great leap of the imagination to go from
a blue light to a silver light.

As for the language. Well, 'mal' is gold, and 'luin' is blue. I did
consider whether the 'ilm' stem given in the Appendix to /The
Silmarillion/ was what is found in the word 'Illuin'. The stem 'ilm' is
found in the words 'Ilmen' [the region above the air where the stars
are]; and also in 'Ilmarin' ['mansion of the high airs']; and in
'Ilmare' [the handmaid of Varda - something to do with starlight]. But
doesn't the presence of that 'm' at the end of 'ilm' mess things up?
Shouldn't it be something like: 'Ilmluin'? Or is it acceptable to morph
that to form 'Illuin'? I guess it must be acceptable!

And does this imply that the Lamps of the Valar were tall enough to
reach up into Ilmen? Into the regions of the stars?

As for 'Or' in 'Ormal' meaning 'High', that makes a lot of sense as
well. You would see this in 'Orod' - mountain, and the 'orn' for tree
also speaks to the height of trees. But the 'or' in Orome is a red
herring, it seems.

Conrad Dunkerson

unread,
Nov 12, 2005, 6:43:03 PM11/12/05
to
Christopher Kreuzer wrote:

> Hey! It looks like Gold and Blue was the right idea after all! Did you
> get this from the Etymologies or something?

I just remembered having seen those translations. Now that I look into
it they seem to be interpretations rather than attested forms.

Ardalambion has 'Ormal = High Gold' as a suggested translation in the
Quenya wordlist. They also note the 'luin' portion of Illuin.

A Google search shows the two I gave as the most common interpretations
but also;

Illuin = [High] Pale-blue light
Ormal = Lofty Gold

One site has 'Blue Star' for Illuin, but I think that unlikely.

I'd break it down thus;

oro - mal = 'high' - 'gold'
ilu - luin = 'high airs' - 'blue / pale'

> Did Tolkien ever try to go directly from the Lamps of the Valar to the
> Sun and Moon? It wouldn't be a great leap of the imagination to go from
> a blue light to a silver light.

Well, the lights of the trees were patterned after the lights of the
lamps in some texts... so not a 'direct' link, but there is definitely a
connection between Sun and Moon and the lamps.

> As for 'Or' in 'Ormal' meaning 'High', that makes a lot of sense as
> well. You would see this in 'Orod' - mountain, and the 'orn' for tree
> also speaks to the height of trees. But the 'or' in Orome is a red
> herring, it seems.

'Orome' is apparently 'Eldarinized' from Valarin 'Aromez'.

Christopher Kreuzer

unread,
Nov 13, 2005, 5:09:38 AM11/13/05
to
Conrad Dunkerson <conrad.d...@worldnet.att.net> wrote:
> Christopher Kreuzer wrote:
>
>> Hey! It looks like Gold and Blue was the right idea after all! Did
>> you get this from the Etymologies or something?
>
> I just remembered having seen those translations. Now that I look into
> it they seem to be interpretations rather than attested forms.

Ah. So only interpretations. But pretty convincing ones.

> Ardalambion has 'Ormal = High Gold' as a suggested translation in the
> Quenya wordlist. They also note the 'luin' portion of Illuin.
>
> A Google search shows the two I gave as the most common
> interpretations but also;
>
> Illuin = [High] Pale-blue light

Why 'light' here and not in 'Ormal'? Maybe they were thinking of the
stem 'sil' seen in Silmaril? I would suggest that 'light' is incorect
here, and that 'high' might be a better interpretation of 'Il-'. My
reasoning is that (within the history of Arda) the words Illuin and
Ormal may predate the coining of the words that came to signify 'high
airs' (Ilm-) and to signify 'mountain' (Or- in Orod). Though I may have
this the wrong way round. I think I am trying to work out whether the
Elves, safely in Valinor and being told tales by the Valar of the Day
before Days (though strictly that phrase applies to the some of the Two
Trees, it could just as well be used of the time of the Two Lamps),
whether these Elves already had words for mountain (what later became
the Sindarin 'Orod') and for Ilmarin, and then applied those words to
what they were told about the Two Lamps?

I was hoping to be able to argue that 'Il' and 'Or' are proto-words that
both, in different ways, came to be applied to 'high' objects (Orod,
Ilmarin), maybe even originating from their use for the Two Lamps. But I
don't think the argument works.

> Ormal = Lofty Gold
>
> One site has 'Blue Star' for Illuin, but I think that unlikely.

They might have been thinking of Ilmare, and her association with stars.

> I'd break it down thus;
>
> oro - mal = 'high' - 'gold'
> ilu - luin = 'high airs' - 'blue / pale'

But the Appendix in /The Silmarillion/ says specifically that it is
'ilm', not 'ilu' that is found in 'Ilmarin', where the meaning 'high
airs' seems to be most clearly attested. Unless there are other
attestations you are thinking of.

And can any linguist confirm whether 'Ilm' + 'luin' can end up as
'Illuin'?

>> Did Tolkien ever try to go directly from the Lamps of the Valar to
>> the Sun and Moon? It wouldn't be a great leap of the imagination to
>> go from a blue light to a silver light.
>
> Well, the lights of the trees were patterned after the lights of the
> lamps in some texts...

Interesting. Can you remember which texts? It seems that no trace of
this survives into the published Silmarillion. The only connection
between the Lamps and the Trees (in the published Silmarillion) seems to
be that they emitted light, and in both cases there were two of them.

> so not a 'direct' link, but there is
> definitely a connection between Sun and Moon and the lamps.

To my mind, the Lamps seem closer in conception to the Sun and Moon (in
the sense of being lofty and distant lights), than to the conception of
the Two Trees (stuck in the ground in one part of the world).

Oh. There is one more similarity between Lamps and Trees that I forgot.
That they are both 'rooted' in the ground. In contrast, the Sun and Moon
are mobile and free.

Maybe a table can be constructed (first line is column headings):

Property Lamps Trees Sun and Moon

Number 2 2 2
Light Y Y Y
Lofty Y N Y
Fixed Y Y N
Colour Y Y Y
Variable N Y *
Marred N N Y
Destroyed Y Y N

I don't get the impression that the Trees were that tall, though maybe
they were taller than it seems. And the colour of the Lamps comes only
from the interpretations of their names, I don't know where this light
is directly described as other than "unchanging day".

* - The variability of the Sun and Moon comes not from an intrinsic
variation in the light (as it did for the Two Trees), but rather from
their movement. I can't find the explanation, within the mythology, for
the waxing and waning of the Moon, which does seem to recall the waxing
and waning of the Trees.

>> As for 'Or' in 'Ormal' meaning 'High', that makes a lot of sense as
>> well. You would see this in 'Orod' - mountain, and the 'orn' for tree
>> also speaks to the height of trees. But the 'or' in Orome is a red
>> herring, it seems.
>
> 'Orome' is apparently 'Eldarinized' from Valarin 'Aromez'.

This Valarin is strange! :-)

Conrad Dunkerson

unread,
Nov 13, 2005, 6:57:16 AM11/13/05
to
Christopher Kreuzer wrote:
> Conrad Dunkerson <conrad.d...@worldnet.att.net> wrote:

>>Illuin = [High] Pale-blue light

> Why 'light' here and not in 'Ormal'? Maybe they were thinking of the
> stem 'sil' seen in Silmaril? I would suggest that 'light' is incorect
> here, and that 'high' might be a better interpretation of 'Il-'.

I agree, but most likely they are taking it from the root GIL- and
related 'ilm' as you note below.

> My reasoning is that (within the history of Arda) the words Illuin and
> Ormal may predate the coining of the words that came to signify 'high
> airs' (Ilm-) and to signify 'mountain' (Or- in Orod). Though I may have
> this the wrong way round. I think I am trying to work out whether the
> Elves, safely in Valinor and being told tales by the Valar of the Day
> before Days (though strictly that phrase applies to the some of the Two
> Trees, it could just as well be used of the time of the Two Lamps),
> whether these Elves already had words for mountain (what later became
> the Sindarin 'Orod') and for Ilmarin, and then applied those words to
> what they were told about the Two Lamps?

The Eldar had crossed the Misty Mountains on their way to the West, so
it seems likely that they would have a word for 'mountains'. The root
for 'tall tree' (ORNI-) was also related. Tolkien also said the root RO-
was a form of ORO-... this meant "rise", but also somehow came to be the
source of various terms for 'East'; romen, rona, rhufen, rhun. 'ro -
men' would be 'place of rising' or somesuch and likely explains the
origin of the term... the place where the Elves awoke was in the East.
This connection puts the root very far back in the history of elven
linguistics.

All that being said, Tolkien first came up with the name 'Ormal' and
'Illuin' around 1951. Before that the pillars rather than the lamps
themselves were named. The late date for the creation of these names
means that Tolkien had a more developed form of the languages to work from.

>>I'd break it down thus;
>>oro - mal = 'high' - 'gold'
>>ilu - luin = 'high airs' - 'blue / pale'

> But the Appendix in /The Silmarillion/ says specifically that it is
> 'ilm', not 'ilu' that is found in 'Ilmarin', where the meaning 'high
> airs' seems to be most clearly attested. Unless there are other
> attestations you are thinking of.

The form 'ilu' is found in the older 'Quenya Lexicon'.

The original meaning of 'Iluvatar' was 'Sky Father' based on this root.
The 'ilu' = 'all' and ilu > ilm shift came in later, but were definitely
present by the time of the Etymologies circa 1937.

Which, of course, is contradictory to what I just said above about
'Illuin' being coigned circa 1951. Still, it is possible that JRRT used
the older form in this instance.

> Interesting. Can you remember which texts? It seems that no trace of
> this survives into the published Silmarillion. The only connection
> between the Lamps and the Trees (in the published Silmarillion) seems to
> be that they emitted light, and in both cases there were two of them.

BoLT I, Coming of the Valar - pages 70-73. The light of the lamps is
described as 'liquid light' which was gathered up into pools and used to
create the Trees. These pools and the liquid light sap of the trees
survive into the published Silmarillion though their origin is not
mentioned.

> I don't get the impression that the Trees were that tall, though maybe
> they were taller than it seems.

I've always had the impression that they were very tall. They are
described in Silm as "tall" and Ungoliant's shadow is said to come up to
their roots during the attack on them.

> And the colour of the Lamps comes only
> from the interpretations of their names, I don't know where this light
> is directly described as other than "unchanging day".

BoLT describes the lamp colors - same as the trees.

Christopher Kreuzer

unread,
Nov 13, 2005, 8:04:14 AM11/13/05
to
Conrad Dunkerson <conrad.d...@worldnet.att.net> wrote:

<snip>

Thanks for the etymology comments.

> The Eldar had crossed the Misty Mountains on their way to the West, so
> it seems likely that they would have a word for 'mountains'. The root
> for 'tall tree' (ORNI-) was also related. Tolkien also said the root
> RO- was a form of ORO-... this meant "rise", but also somehow came to
> be the source of various terms for 'East'; romen, rona, rhufen, rhun.
> 'ro - men' would be 'place of rising' or somesuch and likely explains
the
> origin of the term... the place where the Elves awoke was in the East.
> This connection puts the root very far back in the history of elven
> linguistics.

Staying on this topic, I looked up the annotations to Treebeard's song
(where he names lots of places) in 'Reader's Companion to LotR', and
Hammond and Scull quote from the "unfinished index of place-names"
composed by JRRT, and confirm that 'East End' is the name of Fangorn in
the Elder Days, and that 'Ambarona' ("And I walk in Ambarona, in
Tauremorna, in Aldalome./
In my own land, in the country of Fangorn...") is:

"[...] 'the ancient name of a region' It means 'uprising, sunrise,
orient', from Quenya /amba/ 'up(wards)' + /rone/ 'east'. An unpublished
gloss of the name in Tolkien's linguistic notes gives 'Eastern (land)'
with the annotation 'dawn = /ambarone/'."

<snip>

>> Interesting. Can you remember which texts? It seems that no trace of
>> this survives into the published Silmarillion. The only connection
>> between the Lamps and the Trees (in the published Silmarillion)
>> seems to be that they emitted light, and in both cases there were
>> two of them.
>
> BoLT I, Coming of the Valar - pages 70-73. The light of the lamps is
> described as 'liquid light' which was gathered up into pools and used
> to create the Trees.

Interesting. I wonder why this idea didn't survive. We do get the bit
about "when the lamps were spilled destroying flame was poured out over
the Earth" (*). This seems to imply that there were stores of liquid
fire inside the lamps (kind of like oil lamps instead of electric
lights). Maybe another property can be added to the table comparing
Lamps, Trees, and Sun and Moon: whether the light was 'liquid'. It seems
that the Lamps and Trees had liquid light (though only the Trees, it
seems, actually 'dripped' this liquid light), but I get the impression
that the Sun and Moon just emitted light, like the stars (and like
electric lights).

> These pools

Though in the published Silmarillion they were pools of light from the
Trees, never pools of light from the lamps.

> and the liquid light sap of the trees
> survive into the published Silmarillion though their origin is not
> mentioned.

The light of the Trees seems to be intrinsic. A new thing that comes
from the Trees. No connection with the lamps is made.

The origin of the pools of light _is_ made clear in the published
Silmarillion: "the dews of Telperion and the rain that fell from
Laurelin Varda hoarded in great vats like shining lakes, that were to
all the land of the Valar as wells of water and of light." (Of the
Beginning of Days)

>> I don't get the impression that the Trees were that tall, though
>> maybe they were taller than it seems.
>
> I've always had the impression that they were very tall. They are
> described in Silm as "tall" and Ungoliant's shadow is said to come up
> to their roots during the attack on them.

I'd never noticed that before! They must be fairly tall then.

>> And the colour of the Lamps comes only
>> from the interpretations of their names, I don't know where this
>> light is directly described as other than "unchanging day".
>
> BoLT describes the lamp colors - same as the trees.

Thanks.

Christopher Kreuzer

unread,
Nov 13, 2005, 11:16:13 AM11/13/05
to
Christopher Kreuzer <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> wrote:

<snip>

I've added five more rows to my table comparing the properties of the
Lamps of the Valar, the Two Trees of Valinor, and the Sun and Moon.

First line is column headings, see also notes following table:

Property Lamps Trees Sun and Moon

Number 2 2 2
Light Y Y Y

Lofty Y ^ Y


Fixed Y Y N
Colour Y Y Y
Variable N Y *
Marred N N Y
Destroyed Y Y N

Liquid Light Y Y N
Male/Female N Y Y
Technology Y N #
Living beings N Y &
One made first ~ Y Y

* - The variability of the Sun and Moon comes not from an intrinsic
variation in the light (as it did for the Two Trees), but rather from
their movement. I can't find the explanation, within the mythology, for
the waxing and waning of the Moon, which does seem to recall the waxing
and waning of the Trees.

^ - The Two Trees are said to be 'tall', but it seems that the Lamps
were loftier, and that the Sun and Moon were higher still. While the Sun
and Moon journeyed in Ilmen, there is a suggestion from the name Illuin,
that the Lamps may have been tall enough to be fixed objects within
Ilmen.

# - While the Two Trees were organically grown, and the Lamps of the
Valar seems to have been technologically constructed (and are also, as
far as I can tell, gender neutral), the Sun and Moon seem to be a
combination of organic origin (fruits of trees) and of technological
origin. The fruits were sung into being by Yavanna, but hallowed by
Manwe and put in vessels made by Aule - the results being given to Varda
to put in the heavens. We can compare the Valar said to contribute to
the making of the Lamps and Trees - and we can then note that all the
Valar thus named are combining to make the Sun and Moon: Aule, Varda and
Manwe made the Lamps; Yavanna and Nienna combined to make the Two Trees;
Yavanna and Nienna brought forth the final fruits from the Two Trees,
and Manwe, Varda and Aule work together to produce the Sun and Moon from
these fruits. We really see technology and nature working together here.

& - The Lamps of the Valar, again going back to the technology/nature
distinction, are not living beings. However, the Two Trees are living
beings that have grown organically from the Earth. In a sense they are
technology as well, but not in the normal sense of the word. The Sun and
the Moon, as discussed in the technology/nature comment, combine
technology and nature, but are also unique in the sense that they have
living beings (Tilion and Arien) to guide them - and this preserves the
gender distinction we saw with the Two Trees.

~ I don't know of any definite statement that Illuin was specifically
built, or the pillar on which it rested was raised, first, but this
seems to be what is suggested in 'Of the Beginning of Days', where
Illuin is described first, and then Ormal. More definitely, Telperion is
said to be the elder of the Two Trees, and this aspect is maintained
with the Sun and Moon, where the Moon rises first.

- The colour of Illuin-Telperion-Isil if we can draw a line connecting
these three objects, seems to change from pale blue, to silver (and the
tree is sometimes described as 'White' as well). The colour of
Ormal-Laurelin-Anar is always yellow/gold.

- Also, the Sun is depicted as being more powerful than the Moon. This
distinction is not clearly drawn, if at all, between the Two Trees or
the Two Lamps. Though Laurelin produces heat and Telperion does not, we
probably don't know enough about the Lamps to say whether or not there
was any difference there.

Raven

unread,
Nov 13, 2005, 12:03:24 PM11/13/05
to
"Christopher Kreuzer" <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> skrev i en meddelelse
news:ChEdf.6863$Lw5...@text.news.blueyonder.co.uk...

> And can any linguist confirm whether 'Ilm' + 'luin' can end up as
> 'Illuin'?

I'm no linguist, but it looks quite probable. Take the Latin compounds
"ad" + "lative" -> "allative" and "in" + "lative" -> "illative". And for
that matter, to Norwegian phonology -lml- is quite wrong, so to me it would
seem natural to combine "ilm" + "luin" to either "illuin" or "ilmeluin".
What does your English phonological gut-feeling tell you?

Corvus.


Christopher Kreuzer

unread,
Nov 13, 2005, 3:13:47 PM11/13/05
to
Raven <jonlennar...@damn.get2net.that.dk.spam> wrote:
> "Christopher Kreuzer" <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> skrev i en
> meddelelse news:ChEdf.6863$Lw5...@text.news.blueyonder.co.uk...
>
>> And can any linguist confirm whether 'Ilm' + 'luin' can end up as
>> 'Illuin'?
>
> I'm no linguist, but it looks quite probable. Take the Latin
> compounds "ad" + "lative" -> "allative" and "in" + "lative" ->
> "illative".

Hey, thanks! That does settle it, in my mind at least.

> And for that matter, to Norwegian phonology -lml- is
> quite wrong, so to me it would seem natural to combine "ilm" + "luin"
> to either "illuin" or "ilmeluin". What does your English phonological
> gut-feeling tell you?

I'm hungry? :-)

I don't think I have a gut feeling for English phonology. But I would
agree that 'lml' does sound wrong, so you need to throw in some vowels,
or glissade (I think that's the right word) across the 'm' (making it
effectively silent). So I'd say pretty much what you said.

Conrad Dunkerson

unread,
Nov 13, 2005, 8:15:53 PM11/13/05
to
Chris Kern wrote:

> I don't have the time or inclination to work out the exact sentences
> that were drawn from each source, but I would say on casual
> observation that it is at least 50-60% Ainulindale, perhaps another
> 20-30% Annals of Aman, and only a bit of QS.

To expand upon this a bit, the start and end of the Silm chapter are
taken from Ainulindale and portions in the middle (notably the creation
of the Trees) were constructed from Annals of Aman and Later Quenta
Silmarillion.

1919 1928 1930 1936 1951 1958
+MotA-0d --------------> MotA-D -------------------------------
\
+LT-CV > S > AV1 > AV2 > +AAm-0 > +AAm-1 > AAm > AAm* > AAm:t > Silm
\ /
-------------------------------------------------> LQ2 ---

See the Ainulindale and Valaquenta chapter of the week discussions for
textual antecedents of 'Music of the Ainur D' (MotA-D above), 'Later
Quenta 2' (LQ2 above), 'Sketch of the Mythology' (S above), and BoLT
'Coming of the Valar' (+LT-CV above).

Most abbreviations are CT's usage from HoME, but those marked with a '+'
are my own inventions to fill out the list of source texts. The listed
dates above are very approximate and intended only to show which texts
were roughly contemporary to each other.

The new texts listed here are;

Abbrev Title Start End Location
AV1 Annals of Valinor 1930 1930 SoME VI: 263-272
AV2 Later Annals of Valinor 1930~ 1937.11.15 LROW 2.I: 110-120
+AAm-0 Draft over AV2 text 1951+ 1958 MR 2: 56-58
+AAm-1 Draft of first page 1951+ 1958 MR 2: 48
AAm Annals of Aman 1951+ 1958 MR 2: 48-134
AAm* Author's typescript 1951+ 1958 MR 2: 64-80
AAm:t Amanuensis typescript 1958 ? MR 2: 68-138

The 'start' and 'end' dates are estimated dates between which the text
was written - based on CT's analysis. Most of the titles are per JRRT or
CT, but a few have been made up when no specific title is given.

All of these 'Annals' extend from pre-history up through the start of
the Years of the Sun. The portion relevant to 'Of the Beginning of
Days' is shortly after the start of each.

Conrad Dunkerson

unread,
Nov 13, 2005, 8:21:07 PM11/13/05
to
Conrad Dunkerson wrote:

> 1919 1928 1930 1936 1951 1958
> +MotA-0d --------------> MotA-D -------------------------------
> \
> +LT-CV > S > AV1 > AV2 > +AAm-0 > +AAm-1 > AAm > AAm* > AAm:t > Silm
> \ /
> -------------------------------------------------> LQ2 ---

Whupps, the LQ2 branch should split off from Sketch (S) rather than
Coming of the Valar (+LT-CV)... though the chapter in question is
specifically derived from that portion of Sketch related to +LT-CV.

Snis Pilbor

unread,
Nov 13, 2005, 9:49:18 PM11/13/05
to

Christopher Kreuzer wrote:
> This post is part of the series of "Chapter of the Week" discussions on
> 'The Silmarillion' by J.R.R. Tolkien. To read previous Chapter of the
> Week discussions, or to sign up to introduce a future chapter, please go
> to:
>
> http://parasha.maoltuile.org
>
> Chapter of the Week (CotW) - The Silmarillion
> (SNIP)

> [Ainur, Elves and Men; Gift of Men; Time]
>
> (SNIP)

Hi,

Sorry I am a latecomer to the Silm COTW. I just noticed you guys
had started one for Silmarillion. I never participated in the LoTR
COTW's because I am more of a "first age kinda guy". Anyway, you can
consider me a newbie...

I noticed there isn't a lot of discussion on the "Gift of Men"
aspect of chapter 1, that there is a general lack of understanding what
it means. This is one of my favorite parts of this chapter so I'll
talk about how I read it.
There are three parts to the gift of men: death, wanderlust, and
power over fate.
The gift of death is discussed a lot in the Akallabeth. It's made
pretty explicit throughout silm, although from other forums I've seen
it's a common point of confusion for new readers. The bulk of evidence
suggests death is a very priceless gift. One which "even the powers
shall envy as time wears". It is rest and escape for sure, but it has
many critics among the Numenoreans because it is also the great
unknown.
By the gift of "wanderlust" I mean the heart's yearning beyond
the confines of the world, mentioned by Iluvatar. The is the most
obscure gift because we don't really have any explicit examples of it.
Personally I interpret this in much the same way as the discontentness
theme in Pascal's Pensees: while in Arda humans are never truly
satisfied and are always looking to accomplish more, do more. I
believe this is part of what allows men, despite their short lifespans,
to compete with immortal elves. The best textual illustration of this
wanderlust gift is the words of Huor and Hurin when they are requesting
permission to leave Gondolin.
The gift of power over fate manifests itself again and again.
Beren subdues fate and teaches it who's master over and over. In the
UT story of Tuor's sojourn, several very explicit mentions are made
about Tuor narrowly avoiding an unforgiving fate. It is probably this
gift which causes Melkor to fear men so much, "even those that serve
him".

On another subject, in the same paragraph we read that the world
is to be a "mansion" for the men and elves. I think the importance of
this cannot be overstated. Compare it with Manwe's later vision where
it is revealed that the hand of Iluvatar upholds everything. The
moral? Even among the bitterest anguish and sorrow, Iluvatar is at
work and he knows what he's doing, and the wise should always be glad
even among torment, and glory in the beauty of the world.

I'm glad to see some Silm discussion going on and hopefully I'll
have time amidst swamps of homework to read and contribute!!

Snis Pilbor

Chris Kern

unread,
Nov 14, 2005, 8:36:49 AM11/14/05
to
On 13 Nov 2005 18:49:18 -0800, "Snis Pilbor" <snisp...@yahoo.com>
posted the following:

> Sorry I am a latecomer to the Silm COTW. I just noticed you guys
>had started one for Silmarillion. I never participated in the LoTR
>COTW's because I am more of a "first age kinda guy".

Same here.

> The gift of death is discussed a lot in the Akallabeth. It's made
>pretty explicit throughout silm, although from other forums I've seen
>it's a common point of confusion for new readers. The bulk of evidence
>suggests death is a very priceless gift. One which "even the powers
>shall envy as time wears". It is rest and escape for sure, but it has
>many critics among the Numenoreans because it is also the great
>unknown.

This is unusual for Tolkien because it is very different from the
concept of death in Catholicism. Catholic doctrine (and most of
Christianity) sees death as a punishment for sin -- if humanity had
never sinned, they would be immortal.

I like Tolkien's concept, though, that death was originally intended
as a gift and only became something to fear after the influence of
Melkor and the evil of Men.

> By the gift of "wanderlust" I mean the heart's yearning beyond
>the confines of the world, mentioned by Iluvatar. The is the most
>obscure gift because we don't really have any explicit examples of it.

Perhaps this manifests itself in Aragorn's conduct near the end of his
life, when he seems to desire death (not in the "evil" manner of a
suicide*, but as a natural course of events).

-Chris

* I specifically put evil in quotes because I am not saying people who
commit suicide are evil -- I'm treating it within the confines of the
religious doctrine Tolkien was influenced by (although Catholicism has
significantly revised its outlook on suicide in the past 50 years or
so).

Torkel Franzen

unread,
Nov 14, 2005, 9:16:33 AM11/14/05
to
Chris Kern <chris...@gmail.com> writes:

> * I specifically put evil in quotes because I am not saying people who
> commit suicide are evil -- I'm treating it within the confines of the
> religious doctrine Tolkien was influenced by (although Catholicism has
> significantly revised its outlook on suicide in the past 50 years or
> so).

Having slipped into this newsgroup by way of the off-topic topic of
Godel's incompleteness theorem, I'm impressed by its standard of
Tolkien scholarship (I'm just a reader of his two great tales myself).
What is the significant revision of the Catholic outlook on suicide
in the past 50 years?

Chris Kern

unread,
Nov 14, 2005, 4:11:21 PM11/14/05
to
On 14 Nov 2005 15:16:33 +0100, Torkel Franzen <tor...@sm.luth.se>
posted the following:

>What is the significant revision of the Catholic outlook on suicide
>in the past 50 years?

Well, the current Catechism states that while suicide is still a sin
(and a grave one at that), committing suicide does not automatically
mean you go to Hell.

Now, I can't say for certain that official Catholic doctrine ever
stated that you did go to Hell for committing suicide even before
Vatican II and the new Catechism -- it may have been just been a
popular misconception that was finally stamped out with the new
Catechism (that tends to be how Catholicism works -- they don't
formally define their doctrine until challenged).

-Chris

John W. Kennedy

unread,
Nov 14, 2005, 7:12:55 PM11/14/05
to
Chris Kern wrote:
> * I specifically put evil in quotes because I am not saying people who
> commit suicide are evil -- I'm treating it within the confines of the
> religious doctrine Tolkien was influenced by (although Catholicism has
> significantly revised its outlook on suicide in the past 50 years or
> so).

Note that Dante has only Christians in the Wood of the Suicides.

--
John W. Kennedy
"But now is a new thing which is very old--
that the rich make themselves richer and not poorer,
which is the true Gospel, for the poor's sake."
-- Charles Williams. "Judgement at Chelmsford"

Torkel Franzen

unread,
Nov 14, 2005, 8:34:40 PM11/14/05
to
Chris Kern <chris...@gmail.com> writes:

> Well, the current Catechism states that while suicide is still a sin
> (and a grave one at that), committing suicide does not automatically
> mean you go to Hell.

Checking in on the Vatican website, I find that it does indeed state
that

We should not despair of the eternal salvation of persons who have
taken their own lives. By ways known to him alone, God can provide the
opportunity for salutary repentance. the Church prays for persons who
have taken their own lives.

A Catholic priest on the Catholic Online Forum states:

The Catholic Church has always taught that suicide violates God’s law,
because God himself has revealed that it violates his law. But the
Catholic Church never taught that all who commit suicide are in
hell.

So maybe the popular idea about Catholic suicides going straight to
hell has little or no foundation.

Chris Kern

unread,
Nov 14, 2005, 11:35:05 PM11/14/05
to
On 15 Nov 2005 02:34:40 +0100, Torkel Franzen <tor...@sm.luth.se>
posted the following:

>So maybe the popular idea about Catholic suicides going straight to


>hell has little or no foundation.

That may well be true. Some people mistake "a lot of Catholics
believe X" for "the Catholic Church teaches X", which isn't always
accurate (unfortunately). I'm actually not aware of any denomination,
from liberal to fundamentalist, protestant or catholic, that believes
suicide is an automatic ticket to Hell no matter what.

-Chris

Morgil

unread,
Nov 15, 2005, 7:34:35 AM11/15/05
to

I think the logic behind it is that murder always sends you to hell
unless you repent and have your sins forgiven by a priest or such.
But if you kill yourself, you won't have a chance to repent and be
forgiven, so hell you go. The loophole of course in this case would
be to take slowly effecting but incurable poison, and arrange the
forgiveness ceremony before the poison has an effect :)

Morgil

Chris Kern

unread,
Nov 15, 2005, 4:35:02 PM11/15/05
to
On Tue, 15 Nov 2005 14:34:35 +0200, Morgil <more...@hotmail.com>
posted the following:

>I think the logic behind it is that murder always sends you to hell
>unless you repent and have your sins forgiven by a priest or such.
>But if you kill yourself, you won't have a chance to repent and be
>forgiven, so hell you go.

Right; this would be what people are thinking. This logic starts from
a false premise, however -- it misunderstands the difference between a
"grave sin" and a "mortal sin".

-Chris

Leo Talbot

unread,
Nov 16, 2005, 6:00:19 AM11/16/05
to

The Catholic Church teaches that if you die while in a state of mortal
sin (you have not confessed the sin in Confession), then you will go to
hell. Suicide is one such grave sin, but the loop-hole alluded to in the
Catechism relates to informed consent. In order for a grave matter
to be interpreted as a mortal sin, some conditions need to be met:

"Mortal sin requires full knowledge and complete consent. It presupposes
knowledge of the sinful character of the act, of its opposition to God's
law. It also implies a consent sufficiently deliberate to be a personal
choise. Feigned ignorance and hardness of heart do not diminish, but
rather increase, the voluntary character of a sin." (Taken from the
Catechism of the Church).

So, someone who was not fully in their right mind who committed suicide
may not die in a state of mortal sin. And given that we would not know
the mental state of someone who commits suicide, we cannot be sure that
they are not saved.

Leo
--
"But free debate is a war of ideas. It's a place where we should
be able to hurt each other" - Theo van Gogh
PGP: 0xD4225B61 fp=141B83BE A6F44EEF 8E379887 F6338DE7 D4225B61

Matthew T Curtis

unread,
Nov 18, 2005, 1:15:04 PM11/18/05
to
On Tue, 08 Nov 2005 21:07:42 GMT, "Christopher Kreuzer"
<spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> wrote:

>This post is part of the series of "Chapter of the Week" discussions on
>'The Silmarillion' by J.R.R. Tolkien. To read previous Chapter of the
>Week discussions, or to sign up to introduce a future chapter, please go
>to:
>
>http://parasha.maoltuile.org
>
>Chapter of the Week (CotW) - The Silmarillion
>

>Quenta Silmarillion (QS)
>Chapter 1 - Of the Beginning of Days
>
<snip>
There is one loose end left dangling in this chapter, one from an
earlier iteration of the legendarium: Salmar, who 'made the horns of
Ulmo', is presumably a Maia of Ulmo, but this is his solitary
appearance.

In the Lost Tales he was a Vala, subordinate to Ulmo (like Osse), also
called Noldorin; then he was a shadowy, ill-drawn figure (unlike Osse,
who always had more of a personality), brother of Omar-Amillo (another
lost Vala), concerned with music and friendly to the Noldor. CT
himself points out that this is his only mention apart from what was
published in the Silmarillion.

Did anybody else notice this solitary reference when they first read
the Silmarillion? Did you take it as a hint of greater depths to the
story (like Queen Beruthiel), or just as sloppy editing?
--
Matthew T Curtis mtcurtis[at]dsl.pipex.com
HIV+ for 25 glorious years!
There was a roar as the shout of a camel that finished seeing
two bricks. - Terry Pratchett, translated into Spanish and back

Christopher Kreuzer

unread,
Nov 21, 2005, 2:30:46 PM11/21/05
to
Christopher Kreuzer <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> wrote:

<snip>

> ~ I don't know of any definite statement that Illuin was specifically


> built, or the pillar on which it rested was raised, first, but this
> seems to be what is suggested in 'Of the Beginning of Days', where
> Illuin is described first, and then Ormal. More definitely, Telperion
> is said to be the elder of the Two Trees, and this aspect is
> maintained with the Sun and Moon, where the Moon rises first.

It has been mentioned before, but I forgot to add it to this post: the
motif of the silver Moon/Tree being the elder of the pair, is seen also
in the naming of Isildur and Anarion, with the elder son named after
Isil (the Moon) and the younger son after Anar (the Sun), and the Moon
being identified with the Quendi (Elves - the elder race of the Children
of Iluvatar) and the Sun with the Atani (Men - the younger race of the
Children of Iluvatar). Minas Anor and Minas Ithil (the cities of
Isildur and Anarion) are definitely named after Sun and Moon. Can anyone
confirm the etymology of the names Isildur and Anarion?

Christopher Kreuzer

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Dec 6, 2005, 2:52:07 AM12/6/05
to
Christopher Kreuzer <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> wrote:

<snip>

> * - The variability of the Sun and Moon comes not from an intrinsic


> variation in the light (as it did for the Two Trees), but rather from
> their movement. I can't find the explanation, within the mythology,
> for the waxing and waning of the Moon, which does seem to recall the
> waxing and waning of the Trees.

I've just realised that the Moon was said to come from a flower, and the
Sun from a fruit. The flower-thing might help explain waxing and waning,
such that the Moon waxes and wanes as a flower opens and closes. Still
can't find anything in the text, but I rather like this speculative
explanation! :-)

JimboCat

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Dec 6, 2005, 3:04:29 PM12/6/05
to
Christopher wrote:

>* - The variability of the Sun and Moon comes not from an intrinsic
>variation in the light (as it did for the Two Trees), but rather from
>their movement. I can't find the explanation, within the mythology, for
>the waxing and waning of the Moon, which does seem to recall the waxing
>and waning of the Trees.

IDHTBIFOM, but I clearly recall the explanation. Tilion is enamoured of
Arien (or maybe of her light) and keeps trying to get closer, but this
burns and darkens him. Sometimes he gets so close that he blocks her
light entirely (a solar eclipse). Eventually he backs off and regains
his glow.

I think this is from Silm, but might be in UT.

Jim Deutch
--
"The meek shall inherit the Earth. The rest of us are going to the
stars." - Peter Diamandis

Yuk Tang

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Dec 6, 2005, 5:15:10 PM12/6/05
to
"JimboCat" <10313...@compuserve.com> wrote in
news:1133899469....@f14g2000cwb.googlegroups.com:
>
> IDHTBIFOM

Shouldn't this be IDNHTBIFOM?


--
Cheers, ymt.

Raven

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Dec 6, 2005, 5:57:22 PM12/6/05
to
"Yuk Tang" <jim.l...@yahoo.com> skrev i en meddelelse
news:Xns9724E25DC518j...@130.133.1.4...

> > IDHTBIFOM

> Shouldn't this be IDNHTBIFOM?

Or alternatively IAGTBIFOM.

Marghvran.


Christopher Kreuzer

unread,
Dec 7, 2005, 4:06:25 AM12/7/05
to
JimboCat <10313...@compuserve.com> wrote:
> Christopher wrote:
>
>> * - The variability of the Sun and Moon comes not from an intrinsic
>> variation in the light (as it did for the Two Trees), but rather from
>> their movement. I can't find the explanation, within the mythology,
>> for the waxing and waning of the Moon, which does seem to recall the
>> waxing and waning of the Trees.
>
> IDHTBIFOM, but I clearly recall the explanation. Tilion is enamoured
> of Arien (or maybe of her light) and keeps trying to get closer, but
> this burns and darkens him. Sometimes he gets so close that he
> blocks her light entirely (a solar eclipse). Eventually he backs off
> and regains his glow.
>
> I think this is from Silm, but might be in UT.

That is in Silm. I thought that explained why certain areas of the Moon
are darker than others. See also Gimli's song in Moria, where the Moon
is described has not yet having any stain. But I like the idea that this
might refer to the phases of the Moon. It could in fact refer to both.
The initial approach of Tilion towards Arien is said to both "scorch"
and "darken" the Moon. And afterwards, it is said that Tilion "was still
drawn towards Arien", so you could still explain the waning phase of the
Moon as the Moon darkening as he draws nearer to the Sun. This chimes
neatly with the real scientific explanation, where a Full Moon is seen
when the Earth is on the side of the Earth opposite the Sun (which is
why you can never have a solar eclipse at Full Moon), and the New Moon
is seen when the Moon is on the other side of the Earth, and nearest the
Sun!

There is something else as well. Tilion is said to tarry under the Earth
and return late. This might refer to the Moon seemingly being absent
when there is a new Moon, but this could also refer to the way the Moon
doesn't follow the same path in the sky as the Sun, and moves in the sky
at a different speed (from day to day - rather than the movement
"caused" by the Earth's rotation).

Christopher Kreuzer

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Dec 7, 2005, 4:09:31 AM12/7/05
to

ID'NHTBIFOM?

Christopher Kreuzer

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Dec 7, 2005, 4:01:33 PM12/7/05
to
Christopher Kreuzer <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> wrote:
> Raven <jonlennar...@damn.get2net.that.dk.spam> wrote:
>> "Yuk Tang" <jim.l...@yahoo.com> skrev i en meddelelse
>> news:Xns9724E25DC518j...@130.133.1.4...
>>
>>> "JimboCat" <10313...@compuserve.com> wrote in
>>> news:1133899469....@f14g2000cwb.googlegroups.com:
>>
>>>> IDHTBIFOM

I do have the books in front of me.
I don't have the books in front of me.

>>> Shouldn't this be IDNHTBIFOM?

I do not have the books in front of me.

>> Or alternatively IAGTBIFOM.

I 'ave got the books in front of me.
I 'aven't got the books in front of me.
I ain't got the books in front of me.

> ID'NHTBIFOM?

This is complete rubbish. I'm not even going to bother explaining why I
tried to put an apostrophe in the abbreviation.

Speaking of which, the other big apostrophe hoohah was about another
film title. Something about the "Dos and Don'ts" of something or other,
which was rendered in the film title as "Do's and Don'ts".

The problem being that some people read dos as DOS, and does isn't
possible because doe is another word. The same problem arises with "to
read" and "to have read", though rewriting the sentence should escape
most problems. It is only having read the sentence that you realise it
may not read right.

And I've lost count of the number of times I've seen people say that
they took the lead and lead [sic] the way...

Yuk Tang

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Dec 7, 2005, 4:45:28 PM12/7/05
to
"Christopher Kreuzer" <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> wrote in
news:N4Ilf.4521$iz3....@text.news.blueyonder.co.uk:
> Christopher Kreuzer <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> wrote:
>> Raven <jonlennar...@damn.get2net.that.dk.spam> wrote:
>>> "Yuk Tang" <jim.l...@yahoo.com> skrev i en meddelelse
>>> news:Xns9724E25DC518j...@130.133.1.4...
>>>> "JimboCat" <10313...@compuserve.com> wrote in
>>>> news:1133899469....@f14g2000cwb.googlegroups.com:
>>>
>>>>> IDHTBIFOM
>
> I do have the books in front of me.
> I don't have the books in front of me.
>
>>>> Shouldn't this be IDNHTBIFOM?
>
> I do not have the books in front of me.

I used it to distinguish DN from D, using the same convention that
abbreviates database to db, not d. Ie. the abbreviation contains all
the necessary information that defines it from similar terms in the
same subject.


>>> Or alternatively IAGTBIFOM.
>
> I 'ave got the books in front of me.
> I 'aven't got the books in front of me.
> I ain't got the books in front of me.

I took a more positive reading from it, that Raven was getting the
book in front of him, unlike the lazy so-sos that the rest of us are.


>> ID'NHTBIFOM?
>
> This is complete rubbish. I'm not even going to bother explaining
> why I tried to put an apostrophe in the abbreviation.
>
> Speaking of which, the other big apostrophe hoohah was about
> another film title. Something about the "Dos and Don'ts" of
> something or other, which was rendered in the film title as "Do's
> and Don'ts".
>
> The problem being that some people read dos as DOS, and does isn't
> possible because doe is another word. The same problem arises with
> "to read" and "to have read", though rewriting the sentence should
> escape most problems. It is only having read the sentence that you
> realise it may not read right.

Actually, the film may have been talking about avoiding dog muck on
the pavement, in which case the apostrophe would be entirely correct.
Alternatively, the film may have been pushing unix, in which case the
title should have been "DOS and don'ts". I believe the gamekeeping
community produced a film during the reign of William I, warning
against the poaching of game in the royal forests, titled "Does and
don'ts".


> And I've lost count of the number of times I've seen people say
> that they took the lead and lead [sic] the way...

And the history groups have grown ups (much older than myself) who
discuss how countries 'loose' wars.


--
Cheers, ymt.

Christopher Kreuzer

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Dec 7, 2005, 5:17:07 PM12/7/05
to
Yuk Tang <jim.l...@yahoo.com> wrote:
> "Christopher Kreuzer" <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> wrote:

<snip>

>> Speaking of which, the other big apostrophe hoohah was about


>> another film title. Something about the "Dos and Don'ts" of
>> something or other, which was rendered in the film title as "Do's
>> and Don'ts".
>>
>> The problem being that some people read dos as DOS, and does isn't
>> possible because doe is another word. The same problem arises with
>> "to read" and "to have read", though rewriting the sentence should
>> escape most problems. It is only having read the sentence that you
>> realise it may not read right.
>
> Actually, the film may have been talking about avoiding dog muck on
> the pavement, in which case the apostrophe would be entirely correct.

Really? Do explain...

> Alternatively, the film may have been pushing unix, in which case the
> title should have been "DOS and don'ts". I believe the gamekeeping
> community produced a film during the reign of William I, warning
> against the poaching of game in the royal forests, titled "Does and
> don'ts".

Is that 'does' (female deer) or 'does' (one does this)?

>> And I've lost count of the number of times I've seen people say
>> that they took the lead and lead [sic] the way...
>
> And the history groups have grown ups (much older than myself) who
> discuss how countries 'loose' wars.

I still get confused over choose/chose/chosed.

Just saw another episode of 'Rome' tonight. The one with a raft of, um,
dead men, and Vorenus being very noble about Pompey. The way the action
was divided between Rome and Greece was a bit confusing though. And did
they really have that silly bloke announcing the news in the town square
all the time? I suppose I'm too used to newspapers, TV and radio, in our
media-saturated world.

Yuk Tang

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Dec 7, 2005, 7:27:57 PM12/7/05
to
"Christopher Kreuzer" <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> wrote in
news:DbJlf.4587$iz3....@text.news.blueyonder.co.uk:
> Yuk Tang <jim.l...@yahoo.com> wrote:
>> "Christopher Kreuzer" <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> wrote:
>
> <snip>
>
>>> Speaking of which, the other big apostrophe hoohah was about
>>> another film title. Something about the "Dos and Don'ts" of
>>> something or other, which was rendered in the film title as
>>> "Do's and Don'ts".
>>>
>>> The problem being that some people read dos as DOS, and does
>>> isn't possible because doe is another word. The same problem
>>> arises with "to read" and "to have read", though rewriting the
>>> sentence should escape most problems. It is only having read the
>>> sentence that you realise it may not read right.
>>
>> Actually, the film may have been talking about avoiding dog muck
>> on the pavement, in which case the apostrophe would be entirely
>> correct.
>
> Really? Do explain...

"Doos and don'ts".


>> Alternatively, the film may have been pushing unix, in which case
>> the title should have been "DOS and don'ts". I believe the
>> gamekeeping community produced a film during the reign of William
>> I, warning against the poaching of game in the royal forests,
>> titled "Does and don'ts".
>
> Is that 'does' (female deer) or 'does' (one does this)?

Doe, a deer, a female deer... Jokes that were hardly ribticklers to
begin with get even less funny when one has to explain them.


>>> And I've lost count of the number of times I've seen people say
>>> that they took the lead and lead [sic] the way...
>>
>> And the history groups have grown ups (much older than myself)
>> who discuss how countries 'loose' wars.
>
> I still get confused over choose/chose/chosed.

I've never seen "chosed".

Subjective present: choose, eg. I choose.
Subjective past: chose, eg. I chose.
Objective: chosen, eg. I am chosen, I was chosen.


> Just saw another episode of 'Rome' tonight. The one with a raft
> of, um, dead men, and Vorenus being very noble about Pompey. The
> way the action was divided between Rome and Greece was a bit
> confusing though.

The only way they could show the unpredictability of the situation, I
guess. Caesar pursued a bizarre strategy of trying to blockade
Pompey while the latter had command of the sea, and nearly came a
cropper at Dyrrachium when his troops routed and barely got back to
their camp. The cat and mouse game was reversed for a while, as
related in Ep5, until constant nagging from the senators pushed
Pompey into forcing battle at Pharsalus.

Incidentally IRL, Cato raised another few legions after Pharsalus and
Ponpey's escape. With Pompey absent, the command would have fallen
to the next most senior senator present, which was Cicero. Except
that 1. Cicero thought his military ability was a joke, 2. Cicero was
tired of the whole thing and only wanted to go home and face the
music.


> And did they really have that silly bloke
> announcing the news in the town square all the time? I suppose I'm
> too used to newspapers, TV and radio, in our media-saturated
> world.

Ancient historians don't mention that kind of thing, but I loved his
adverts for the Brotherhood of Millers, providing true Roman bread
for true Romans. If you've recorded it, note how little feeling he
puts into them.


--
Cheers, ymt.

JimboCat

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Dec 9, 2005, 12:19:45 PM12/9/05
to

You bring up a point I'd never considered: it seems that "no stain yet
on the moon was seen", which had puzzled me, refers to a definite,
identifiable (and pretty short!) historical period. We know the moon
first rose (and was a full moon) when Fingolfin's host arrived back in
ME. This was before the sun existed. THAT's when it was still
unstained! Presumably, it was also *always* full before the sun first
rose, since there was no Arien to "darken" it. Hmm, it's still a
puzzlement, though: I thought Durin first awoke long before that.
Wouldn't Gimli's song more appropriately have referred to the stars,
and no moon at all? I thought Durin woke long, long ages before the
Eldar returned to ME...

Do we know how long a time elapsed between the first rising of the moon
and that of the sun?

> There is something else as well. Tilion is said to tarry under the Earth
> and return late. This might refer to the Moon seemingly being absent
> when there is a new Moon, but this could also refer to the way the Moon
> doesn't follow the same path in the sky as the Sun, and moves in the sky
> at a different speed (from day to day - rather than the movement
> "caused" by the Earth's rotation).

So, between the first rising of the moon and the first rising of the
sun, "days" (reckoned as the period between moonrises) were probably
more than 24 modern hours. Could, in fact, have been practically
*anything*! Nowadays the moon rises about every 25 hours, and does so
on a very strict schedule, so it's hard to call it "late"....

Jim Deutch (JimboCat)
--
I'd rather be here now.

Tar-Elenion

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Dec 9, 2005, 12:36:18 PM12/9/05
to
In article <1134148785.0...@g49g2000cwa.googlegroups.com>,
10313...@compuserve.com says...

LotR, which is where the verse is from, has (like most of the post LotR
writings) a sun and moon that existed long before the Noldor returned to
Middle-earth. 'Historically', rather than 'mythologically' the Dwarves
awoke shortkly after Men (who awoke, IIRC, while the Eldar were on their
great journey to Aman)



> Do we know how long a time elapsed between the first rising of the moon

> and that of the sun.

In the Silmarillion "Tilion had traversed the heaven seven times" before
the sun rose, so about a week.
<snip>
--
Tar-Elenion

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

Christopher Kreuzer

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Dec 9, 2005, 1:35:25 PM12/9/05
to

<ahem> Of course I meant when the MOON is on the side of the Earth
opposite the Sun...

>> (which is why you can never have a
>> solar eclipse at Full Moon), and the New Moon is seen when the Moon
>> is on the other side of the Earth, and nearest the Sun!
>
> You bring up a point I'd never considered: it seems that "no stain yet
> on the moon was seen", which had puzzled me, refers to a definite,
> identifiable (and pretty short!) historical period.

Sorry to put the dampers on this. I too got quite excited when I
realised that the phrase "no stain yet on the moon was seen" might allow
precise dating of the time when Durin saw the Moon, only to be brought
back down to earth with Tar-Elenion explaining how the Sun and Moon are
different in LotR and in 'The Silmarillion' (as he has also done in
response to your post). This difference is mainly because of the way
Tolkien's thoughts on this changed over the years.

This is also seen in 'The Hobbit', where, after a passage describing the
passage of the other Elves to "Faerie in the West", we read that:

"In the Wide World the Wood-elves lingered in the twilight of our Sun
and Moon..." (Flies and Spiders)

This passage would be suitable to bring up in the discussion of chapter
3 of 'The Silmarillion'. I'll add something there.

> We know the moon first rose (and was a full moon) when Fingolfin's
> host arrived back in ME. This was before the sun existed. THAT's
> when it was still unstained! Presumably, it was also *always* full
> before the sun first rose, since there was no Arien to "darken" it.

Hadn't thought about the Moon always being full in those first seven
days. That's something to remember!

Not to get ahead of ourselves, but did you find the way the Moon and Sun
first moved in the heavens to be rather confusing and difficult to
visualize?

> Hmm, it's still a puzzlement, though: I thought Durin first awoke long
> before that. Wouldn't Gimli's song more appropriately have referred to
> the stars, and no moon at all? I thought Durin woke long, long ages
> before the Eldar returned to ME...

Presumably at some point after the Elves awoke (if you don't count the
initial waking of the dwarves when Aule created them), but before we
hear of the Sindar encountering dwarves in Beleriand and the dwarves
helping Thingol build his halls. I would also (for no particular reason)
presume that the dwarves were not around when the Elven hosts passed
west from Cuivienen over Middle-earth.

> Do we know how long a time elapsed between the first rising of the
> moon and that of the sun?
>
>> There is something else as well. Tilion is said to tarry under the
>> Earth and return late. This might refer to the Moon seemingly being
>> absent when there is a new Moon, but this could also refer to the
>> way the Moon doesn't follow the same path in the sky as the Sun, and
>> moves in the sky at a different speed (from day to day - rather than
>> the movement "caused" by the Earth's rotation).
>
> So, between the first rising of the moon and the first rising of the
> sun, "days" (reckoned as the period between moonrises) were probably
> more than 24 modern hours. Could, in fact, have been practically
> *anything*!

My impression is that the period of the Moon was the same as that of the
Sun, and that was similar to the period we observe today. I don't think
it was seven months, that's for certain. The Moon rises as Fingolfin
arrives in Middle-earth from the Helcaraxe, and the Sun rises as he
marches into Mithrim. We aren't told how far that is, but I get the
impression that a week would be about right, and we are also told that
the world still lay "in wonder" at the coming of the Moon, so that
implies it wasn't a long period of time.

> Nowadays the moon rises about every 25 hours, and does so
> on a very strict schedule, so it's hard to call it "late"....

What I mean, is that when it is new, it is difficult to see, so you
might think it is a few days late before you spot it again. Though I
don't actually have any experience looking for a New Moon. Is it easy to
find in the night sky?

JimboCat

unread,
Dec 12, 2005, 12:05:08 PM12/12/05
to
Tar-Elenion wrote:

>> You bring up a point I'd never considered: it seems that "no stain yet
>> on the moon was seen", which had puzzled me, refers to a definite,
>> identifiable (and pretty short!) historical period. We know the moon
>> first rose (and was a full moon) when Fingolfin's host arrived back in
>> ME. This was before the sun existed. THAT's when it was still
>> unstained! Presumably, it was also *always* full before the sun first
>> rose, since there was no Arien to "darken" it. Hmm, it's still a
>> puzzlement, though: I thought Durin first awoke long before that.
>> Wouldn't Gimli's song more appropriately have referred to the stars,
>> and no moon at all? I thought Durin woke long, long ages before the
>> Eldar returned to ME...
>
>LotR, which is where the verse is from, has (like most of the post LotR
>writings) a sun and moon that existed long before the Noldor returned to
>Middle-earth.

Do you have evidence from the text for that (other than Gimli's verse
about Durin, that is)? Certianly there's no evidence in LOTR I can
recall that the sun and the moon arose within any historical memory,
but none to the contrary that I know of, either...

>'Historically', rather than 'mythologically' the Dwarves
>awoke shortkly after Men (who awoke, IIRC, while the Eldar were on their
>great journey to Aman)

That's what I thought, which is why the verse is a puzzlement. It
implies the story of a new-made moon, pure and unstained, yet places it
in the wrong era entirely, far too long in the past to be reconciled
with other writings.

Your "solution" -- that the sun and moon were, in "fact", created far
earlier in the LOTR scenario than that of Silm is unconvincing to me. I
think it's a mere translation error <g>.

>> Do we know how long a time elapsed between the first rising of the moon
>> and that of the sun.
>
>In the Silmarillion "Tilion had traversed the heaven seven times" before
>the sun rose, so about a week.

One week the moon remained "unstained". After the sun rose, the moon
approached it and went through what we now know of as "phases". After
that first close pass of Arien and Tilion, the moon was darkened and
sooty, even when full.

That's a short period of time on which to base a poetic image in a song
referring to a time (by Gimli's time) thousands of years ago!

Jim Deutch (JimboCat)
--
"People treat nature the way an illiterate might treat a library: as a
great source of neatly stacked firewood" - Dan Janzen

JimboCat

unread,
Dec 12, 2005, 12:08:21 PM12/12/05
to
"Christopher Kreuzer" wrote:

>JimboCat <10313...@compuserve.com> wrote:
[snippage]


>> You bring up a point I'd never considered: it seems that "no stain yet
>> on the moon was seen", which had puzzled me, refers to a definite,
>> identifiable (and pretty short!) historical period.
>
>Sorry to put the dampers on this. I too got quite excited when I
>realised that the phrase "no stain yet on the moon was seen" might allow
>precise dating of the time when Durin saw the Moon, only to be brought
>back down to earth with Tar-Elenion explaining how the Sun and Moon are
>different in LotR and in 'The Silmarillion' (as he has also done in
>response to your post). This difference is mainly because of the way
>Tolkien's thoughts on this changed over the years.
>
>This is also seen in 'The Hobbit', where, after a passage describing the
>passage of the other Elves to "Faerie in the West", we read that:
>
>"In the Wide World the Wood-elves lingered in the twilight of our Sun
>and Moon..." (Flies and Spiders)

Oh, no dampers on me <g>. I do agree that there is a consistency gap,
here, but I don't see sufficient evidence (unless Tar-Elenion can trot
out some more) for there being a clear conception in LOTR of the
chronology of Sun and Moon in contradiction of that in the Silm. That
quote from TH is unconvincing: it only alludes, IMHO, to the usual JRRT
concept of "the good old days", of which the "now" of TH and LOTR is
just a pale and degraded echo. The Sun and the Moon just ain't what
they used to be, you know...

>> Nowadays the moon rises about every 25 hours, and does so
>> on a very strict schedule, so it's hard to call it "late"....

>What I mean, is that when it is new, it is difficult to see, so you
>might think it is a few days late before you spot it again. Though I
>don't actually have any experience looking for a New Moon. Is it easy to
>find in the night sky?

First sight of the new moon is important to Muslims, since their
calendar is *deliberately* non-deterministic [1]. The month starts, for
them, when the new moon is actually sighted, not when it's predicted.
Under good conditions a moon that is only hours past "new" can be
visible. Unexperienced observers won't be likely to see a moon less
than about 24 hours "old", however: it is still a pretty slim crescent
at that point, and sets well before the sky is completely dark.

[1] this prevents the correspondence -- which we have in the
western/christian calendar -- between Christian holidays (e.g
Christmas) and old pagan ones (e.g. the winter solstice). The month of
Ramadan, for instance, slowly cycles through the seasons: over time, it
can occur at any date of the western calendar whatever. (I hope I have
this all right: I'm not an expert by any means.)

Jim Deutch (JimboCat)
--
"The King James Bible was good enough for Moses,
and it's good enough for me." - anon

Tar-Elenion

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Dec 12, 2005, 1:12:47 PM12/12/05
to
In article <1134407108.8...@z14g2000cwz.googlegroups.com>,
10313...@compuserve.com says...

> Tar-Elenion wrote:
>
> >In article <1134148785.0...@g49g2000cwa.googlegroups.com>,
> >10313...@compuserve.com says...
> >
> >> You bring up a point I'd never considered: it seems that "no stain yet
> >> on the moon was seen", which had puzzled me, refers to a definite,
> >> identifiable (and pretty short!) historical period. We know the moon
> >> first rose (and was a full moon) when Fingolfin's host arrived back in
> >> ME. This was before the sun existed. THAT's when it was still
> >> unstained! Presumably, it was also *always* full before the sun first
> >> rose, since there was no Arien to "darken" it. Hmm, it's still a
> >> puzzlement, though: I thought Durin first awoke long before that.
> >> Wouldn't Gimli's song more appropriately have referred to the stars,
> >> and no moon at all? I thought Durin woke long, long ages before the
> >> Eldar returned to ME...
> >
> >LotR, which is where the verse is from, has (like most of the post LotR
> >writings) a sun and moon that existed long before the Noldor returned to
> >Middle-earth.
>
> Do you have evidence from the text for that (other than Gimli's verse
> about Durin, that is)? Certianly there's no evidence in LOTR I can
> recall that the sun and the moon arose within any historical memory,

Essentially correct. Taking LotR alone (or LotR and the Hobbit
together), with no knowledge of the Silmarillion etc., one would not
come to the conclusion that the Sun and Moon are 'recent' creations,
only appearing when the Noldor returned to Middle-earth.

> but none to the contrary that I know of, either...

"Then they all gazed at Gandalf with still greater wonder. Some glanced
darkly at the wood, and passed their hands over their brows, as if they
thought their eyes saw otherwise than his.
Gandalf laughed long and merrily. 'The trees?' he said. 'Nay, I see the
wood as plainly as do you. But that is no deed of mine. It is a thing
beyond the counsel of the wise. Better than my design, and better even
than my hope the event has proved.'
'Then if not yours, whose is the wizardry?' said Theoden. 'Not
Saruman's, that is plain. Is there some mightier sage, of whom we have
yet to learn?'
'It is not wizardry, but a power far older,' said Gandalf: 'a power that
walked the earth, ere elf sang or hammer rang.

Ere iron was found or tree was hewn,
When young was mountain under moon;
Ere ring was made, or wrought was woe,
It walked the forests long ago.'

'And what may be the answer to your riddle?' said Théoden.
'If you would learn that, you should come with me to Isengard ' answered
Gandalf."
TT, Road to Isengard

>
> >'Historically', rather than 'mythologically' the Dwarves
> >awoke shortkly after Men (who awoke, IIRC, while the Eldar were on their
> >great journey to Aman)
>
> That's what I thought, which is why the verse is a puzzlement. It
> implies the story of a new-made moon, pure and unstained, yet places it
> in the wrong era entirely, far too long in the past to be reconciled
> with other writings.

Huh? It is reconcilible with virtually all post LotR writings.
Sun and Moon are inexistence when the Elves awake, Men awake when the
Elves are on the Great Journey to Aman, Dwarves awke shortly after Men.
It might not be reconcilible with the Silmarillion if the myth in the
Silmarillion is take as 'fact', but as CT notes in the Forward to the
Silmarillion:
"A complete consistency (either within the compass of The Silmarillion
itself or between The Silmarillion and other published writings of my
father's) is not to be looked for, and could only be achieved, if at all
at heavy and needless cost."

>
> Your "solution" -- that the sun and moon were, in "fact", created far
> earlier in the LOTR scenario than that of Silm is unconvincing to me. I
> think it's a mere translation error <g>.

It is not my solution, it is JRRT's. See the Myths Transformed section
of Morgoth's Ring (HoME 10):
"It is now clear to me that in any case the Mythology must actually be a
'Mannish' affair. (Men are really only interested in Men and in Men's
ideas and visions.) The High Eldar living and being tutored by the
demiurgic beings must have known, or at least their writers and
loremasters must have known, the 'truth' (according to their measure of
understanding). What we have in the Silmarillion etc. are traditions
(especially personalized, and centred upon actors, such as Fëanor)
handed on by Men in Numenor and later in Middle-earth (Arnor and
Gondor); but already far back - from the first association of the
Dunedain and Elf-friends with the Eldar in Beleriand - blended and
confused with their own Mannish myths and cosmic ideas.
At that point (in reconsideration of the early cosmogonic parts) I was
inclined to adhere to the Flat Earth and the astronomically absurd
business of the making of the Sun and Moon. But you can make up stories
of that kind when you live among people who have the same general
background of imagination, when the Sun 'really' rises in the East and
goes down in the West, etc. When however (no matter how little most
people know or think about astronomy) it is the general belief that we
live upon a 'spherical' island in 'Space' you cannot do this any more."

or, for example:

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

>
> >> Do we know how long a time elapsed between the first rising of the moon
> >> and that of the sun.
> >
> >In the Silmarillion "Tilion had traversed the heaven seven times" before
> >the sun rose, so about a week.
>
> One week the moon remained "unstained". After the sun rose, the moon
> approached it and went through what we now know of as "phases". After
> that first close pass of Arien and Tilion, the moon was darkened and
> sooty, even when full.
>
> That's a short period of time on which to base a poetic image in a song
> referring to a time (by Gimli's time) thousands of years ago!
>

Tar-Elenion

unread,
Dec 12, 2005, 1:22:07 PM12/12/05
to
In article <1134407300....@f14g2000cwb.googlegroups.com>,
10313...@compuserve.com says...

The quote from the Hobbit was specifically changed by JRRT from one
which adhered to the myth that the Sun and Moon were made very late in
the First Age (it was "In the Wide World the Wood-elves lingered in the
twilight /before the raising of the/ Sun and Moon", see the Annotated
Hobbit).
The Wood-elves dwelt in a world with a Sun and Moon, while the Vanyar,
Noldor and Teleri were dwelling in Aman, before the return of the
Noldor.

<snip>