COTW - Silmarillion Chapter 3

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Gregory Hernandez

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Nov 27, 2005, 6:53:11 PM11/27/05
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SUMMARY

In this chapter, several themes come to a head. The Firstborn of the
Children of the Ilúvatar (the Elves) are due to awaken, which prompt a
number of actions on the part of the Valar. First of all, Yavanna, who had
many works despoiled by Melkor, had long prompted the other Valar to make
war on him, but now with the time of the Awakening drawing near, her
pleadings grew more urgent. With her stood Tulkas who was for making war on
Melkor swiftly. Mandos was prompted by Manwë to quell the Valar by
mentioning that the fate of the Firstborn was to awaken during the present
time of darkness. This in turn prompts Varda to take the light gathered
from one of the Two Trees (Telperion) and seed the sky with its lesser
light. This is the origin of her many names in Quenya and Sindarin, which
we read about in the Lord of the Rings, where Varda is commonly called
Elbereth, "Queen of Stars". There is a painting by Barry Windsor-Smith
called "Fate Sowing The Stars" which to me perfectly illustrates this scene.

Elsewhere, the chapter describes Melkor's fortress of Angband. Sauron is
also for the first time mentioned in the Silmarillion proper (he was briefly
referenced in the Valaquenta).

So the Elves awakened by the water and under stars, and thence began their
love of both. The Elves called themselves the Quendi, signifying "those who
speak with voices". It was by the sound of their singing that Oromë the
hunter found them, where he called them the Eldar, the "people of the stars".
Not everyone who saw Oromë were pleased among the Quendi, there were many
who were in fact afraid of his coming, and this was the doing of Melkor.
For Melkor had taken to kidnapping those Elves who wandered, and stealing
them away in his fortress. And this it was said was the beginning of the
race of Orcs. And it was this corruption above all else that led to the
next consequence in this chapter. Melkor's abomination led to the Valar
gathering together and finally rising up in all their might against the Dark
Vala.

After a tremendous battle, Melkor lay with his fortresses broken, his might
crushed, and was ultimately taken in chains to Valinor.

After the war of the Valar, the Elves were summoned to Valinor, to dwell in
the light of the Two Trees. Possibly in part because of the fear of the
great powers that was instilled by Melkor, not all of the Elves were at
first willing to obey the summons.

As a result of the response to their being summoned to Valinor, some in fact
went and others did not. This was in time called the Sundering of the
Elves. And the Elvish race was split into the Eldar proper, those who
followed Oromë to Valinor and the Avari ("Unwilling"), who stayed behind.
The ELdar in turn were subdivided into the Vayar ("Fair Elves"), the Noldor
("Deep Elves"), and the Teleri ("Sea Elves"). Much of the remainder of the
chapter deals with the various migrations of the Elves and whether they went
to the West or they stayed behind.

DISCUSSION POINTS.

1. It was said that it was at the bidding of Manwë that Mandos declared
that the Firstborn would awaken in the time of night. Why would it be at
his bidding and to what end could his speaking-by-proxy had served?

2. Was it in fact their fear of the Valar that led the Elves to not all go
to Valinor or was this an instance of plot necessitating action regardless
of internal logic? For example, as I understand, Tolkien was working on
Quenya (or proto Quenya) and Sindarin, and he would need a reason for their
being two languages, and thus invented the Sundering of the races as a
result of the summoning to Valinor to describe the origins of their being
two Elvish languages.

3. The idea of being "summoned" is possibly a little troublesome in this
regard, as it makes it seem that the Valar were lords over the Elves,
whereas I don't know that that is in fact the case.

4. How believable is this origin of the race of Orcs? I know that this in
fact is something that Tolkien himself wrestled with. He wanted a race of
bad guys, as it were, but had to contend with the idea of free will. Does
this origin (or any origin) preclude the possibility of their being "good
Orcs"?

5. For those who have the knowledge of this, it would be interesting as
usual to know the document history of this chapter and the revisions that it
went through.


Glenn Holliday

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Dec 3, 2005, 9:45:46 AM12/3/05
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Gregory Hernandez wrote:
>
> 2. Was it in fact their fear of the Valar that led the Elves to not all go
> to Valinor or was this an instance of plot necessitating action regardless
> of internal logic? For example, as I understand, Tolkien was working on
> Quenya (or proto Quenya) and Sindarin, and he would need a reason for their
> being two languages, and thus invented the Sundering of the races as a
> result of the summoning to Valinor to describe the origins of their being
> two Elvish languages.

This connects to things I've seen attributed to Tolkien in biographies,
but I only partially know what he thought about it.

Tolkien believed languages and mythologies were tightly connected.
A myth is written in a language, but Tolkien held that a culture's
myths in some way create its language.

--
Glenn Holliday holl...@acm.org

Gregory Hernandez

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Dec 3, 2005, 12:46:47 PM12/3/05
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I recall reading somewhere (the exact reference escapes me), but either
Tolkien himself or perhaps his son thought that the reasons given for their
being two languages didn't really hold water, in that a race as long-lived
as the elves would have retained their knowledge and use of Quenya. I also
recollect that Tolkien was aiming for Quenya to be Middle-Earth's version of
Latin.
I also wonder at the proliferation of Mannish and other tongues -- it would
seem to me that these languages would not have been as independent of Quenya
and Sindarin as they are shown to be. It would make more sense if there
were other continents, islands, etc. where humans and the other races
developed outside of contact with the elves, but that is nowhere shown to be
the case.
I wonder sometimes if there is anywhere any reference to just how big Middle
Earth is and whther there are any other landmasses, etc. I'm going under
the assumption that Middle Earth corresponds to "our" earth in size, since
the orbits, moonrises and sunrises, etc. correspond to ours. I wonder
therefore about how big the continent that we know from the stories is --
even if it's the size of Australia, that leaves a heckuva lot of Arda
unexplorered.
GRH
"Glenn Holliday" <holl...@acm.org> wrote in message
news:4391AF95...@acm.org...

Stan Brown

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Dec 3, 2005, 5:05:05 PM12/3/05
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(Please don't post upside down.)

Sat, 03 Dec 2005 17:46:47 GMT from Gregory Hernandez
<greg...@earthlink.net>:


> I recall reading somewhere (the exact reference escapes me), but either
> Tolkien himself or perhaps his son thought that the reasons given for their
> being two languages didn't really hold water, in that a race as long-lived
> as the elves would have retained their knowledge and use of Quenya.

Somewhere in the later volumes of HoME (I'm thinking "The Shibboleth
of Fëanor", in (?)Morgoth's Ring), Tolkien writes that the Elves
deliberately changed their language, again and again, essentially for
reasons of fashion. Perhaps he came up with that to justify the
divergence of Quenya in Valinor and on Tol Eressëa from its original
form.

The changes of Sindarin from original Elvish can be explained as a
product of the swift changes of _everything_ in Middle-earth.

--
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

Gregory Hernandez

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Dec 4, 2005, 9:33:53 AM12/4/05
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"Stan Brown" wrote:>
> Somewhere in the later volumes of HoME (I'm thinking "The Shibboleth
> of Fëanor", in (?)Morgoth's Ring), Tolkien writes that the Elves
> deliberately changed their language, again and again, essentially for
> reasons of fashion. Perhaps he came up with that to justify the
> divergence of Quenya in Valinor and on Tol Eressëa from its original
> form.

Although my first impression was that that explanation seemed unlikely, a
friend of mine was here as I read your reply and he said that he basically
felt the same as you did. Goes to show you.


Gregory Hernandez

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Dec 4, 2005, 10:51:58 PM12/4/05
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I mention the painting "Fate Sowing The Stars" by Barry WIndsor-Smith. Here
are a couple of pages that show (somewhat reduced) images of the painting,
along with other works by the same artist:
http://www.artistsuk.co.uk/acatalog/ARTISTS_UK__THE_INCREDIBLE_WORK_OF_BARRY_WINDSOR_SMITH_96.html
http://www.bookpalace.com/acatalog/Home_Barry_Windsor_Smith_Art_237.html

I also had forgotten that Frazetta had done a portfolio of drawings for a
Lord of the Rings portfolio:
http://www.wadhome.org/frazetta/tolkien.html

And here's a link to an excellent compendium of artists who have done
Tolkien-related work, (which includes some great images I'd not seen
previously!)
http://www.nightrunner.com/gallery/html/


Christopher Kreuzer

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Dec 8, 2005, 7:03:32 AM12/8/05
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Gregory Hernandez <greg...@earthlink.net> wrote:

<snip>

Thanks for the summary, Greg. Apologies for taking so long to get round
to this chapter. I'm going to respond to some of your discussion points
first, and then raise a few of my own in another post. Hopefully others
will raise any questions they have as well.

> DISCUSSION POINTS.
>
> 1. It was said that it was at the bidding of Manwë that Mandos
> declared that the Firstborn would awaken in the time of night. Why
> would it be at his bidding and to what end could his
> speaking-by-proxy had served?

The "at the bidding of Manwe" to me merely suggests that as the Valar
sat at council, gathered on their thrones in the Mahanaxar, the Ring of
Doom, Manwe (chairing the meeting) asked Mandos to address the meeting.
I also get the impression that Mandos mostly didn't say anything unless
he had some important doom (kind of prophetic judgement on the fate of
the world) to tell people about.

Mandos makes clear that he is revealing one of his dooms, when he says:
"Moreover it is doom that the Firstborn shall come in the darkness, and
shall look first upon the stars. Great light shall be for their waning."

Given the later story, and what we are told about the Sun and Moon,
Mandos is clearly foretelling not only that the Elves shall waken under
the stars, but also that the coming of the Sun (and, though Mandos does
not say it here, the arising of Men) will forbode their waning.

Mandos also says: "To Varda ever shall they call at need."

This seems to directly inspire Varda to make new, and brighter stars.

> 2. Was it in fact their fear of the Valar that led the Elves to not
> all go to Valinor or was this an instance of plot necessitating
> action regardless of internal logic? For example, as I understand,
> Tolkien was working on Quenya (or proto Quenya) and Sindarin, and he
> would need a reason for their being two languages, and thus invented
> the Sundering of the races as a result of the summoning to Valinor to
> describe the origins of their being two Elvish languages.

This division of the Elves is a necessary part of the later story, but
there are good story-internal reasons for the division into Eldar and
Avari. The main reason seems to be Melkor:

"...the most ancient songs of the Elves, of which echoes are remembered
still in the West, tell of the shadow-shapes that walked in the hills
above Cuivienen, or would pass suddenly over the stars..."

This, along with the disappearance of Elves that wondered off, led some
Elves to fear the coming of Orome: "some of the Quendi hid themselves,
and some fled and were lost".

Tolkien also makes clear that only the noblest of the Elves and those
with courage, approached Orome. And later the Elves felt and saw the
effects of the mighty battle waged in the north against Melkor: "they
had as yet seen the Valar only in their wrath as they went to war"
(apart from Orome).

So the reasons for an Elf becoming Avari could include some or all of:

- Hiding or fleeing (and being lost) after the first approach of Orome
(and not being later persuaded that they should follow Orome into the
West).

- Being fearful of the Valar (after seeing their wrath).

- Not believing the stories about the trees (from Ingwe, Finwe and
Elwe), and preferring Middle-earth: "preferring the starlight and the
wide spaces of Middle-earth to the rumour of the Trees".

It would seem more unbelievable to me if _all_ the Elves had gone West.
And I've always been sympathetic towards the Avari. We don't hear much
about them, but I've always appreciated the bits and pieces we do hear,
such as how it was Avari who first of the Elves befriended Men.

> 3. The idea of being "summoned" is possibly a little troublesome in
> this regard, as it makes it seem that the Valar were lords over the
> Elves, whereas I don't know that that is in fact the case.

It is indeed very troublesome. Though I think that summoning, in this
sense, is not really an order, but an invitation. We are also told that
the Valar were divided over this, but in the end the words of Mandos sum
it up nicely: "So it is doomed". Also, the words immediately following
that: "From this summons came many woes that afterwards befell."

I seem to remember that there is something written somewhere that says
that the Valar eventually realised that they had been mistaken to summon
the Elves to dwell in Valinor with them. Ulmo's suggestion seems better:
"the Quendi should be left free to walk as they would in Middle-earth,
and with their gifts of skill to order all the lands and heal their
hurts."

And the Valar are not lords over the Elves. We are told this in chapter
1:

"...the Valar are to these kindreds rather their elders and their
chieftains than their masters; and if ever in their dealings with Elves
and Men the Ainur have endeavoured to force them when they would not be
guided, seldom has this turned to good, howsoever good the intent." (Of
the Beginning of Days)

And this summoning of the Elves to Valinor (even though Manwe later says
that they came freely) seems to be misguided on the part of the Valar,
and an example of things not turning out well. Also, it seems strange
that in this chapter we hear Yavanna say: "Shall they call Melkor lord
while Manwe sits upon Taniquetil?"

But the distinction seems clear. Melkor wants to be Lord of all things,
but Manwe and the other Valar don't want lordship. As Aule says to
Iluvatar when he made the dwarves: "I did not desire such lordship. I
desired things other than I am, to love and to teach them, so that they
too might perceive the beauty of Ea, which thou hast caused to be."

In the bit where the Valar debate whether to summon the Elves, the final
reasons we are given are: "they were filled moreover with the love of
the beauty of the Elves and desired their fellowship."

I must admit though, that the description of being "gathered at the
knees of the Powers in the light of the Trees for ever" is not something
that gets me wildly excited. It reminds me of the imagery of the
Christian heaven, of being, gathered at the foot of the throne of God.

It strikes me as a very spiritual existence, very different from the
earthly life that can be led in Middle-earth, or even on Tol Eressea or
Tirion upon Tuna. We do see that the Vanyar seem particularly suited to
this existence, the Noldor less so, the Teleri of Valinor less so again,
the Teleri of Beleriand even less so, and finally the various Avari were
much happier to stay in Middle-earth. There seems to be a clear spectrum
of spiritual development. Different kindreds of Elves and different
individual elves enter in at different points on this spectrum, and move
along it at different rates until they are ready to depart West (even
Avari may eventually awake to the sea-longing), and I suppose ultimately
all end up in Aman at the feet of the Powers.

It seems that the Valar disrupted this natural order of things. Not all
the Elves were ready to go to Valinor yet (Avari), or rather they
weren't ready to stay there forever (Noldor).

Christopher

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

Christopher Kreuzer

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Dec 8, 2005, 7:35:39 AM12/8/05
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Gregory Hernandez <greg...@earthlink.net> wrote:

<snip>

> DISCUSSION POINTS.

<snip>

Some more discussion points:

6) "...already the oldest living things had arisen: in the seas the
great weeds, and on earth the shadow of great trees; and in the valleys
of the night-clad hills there were dark creatures old and strong."

What are these things, these shadows and dark creatures? Are they
different from Melkor's creatures?

"...the evil things that he had perverted walked abroad, and the dark
and slumbering woods were haunted by monsters and shapes of dread."

7) "...[Varda] began a great labour, greatest of all the works of the
Valar since their coming into Arda."

So Varda's creation of the stars is considered greater than the creation
of the Lamps or the Trees? Or is Tolkien just using a "rhetorical
superlative" again? This term, "rhetorical superlative", was coined by
Christopher Tolkien who has said that his father was given to this kind
of "rhetorical superlative" (as said in the Reader's Companion [Hammond
and Scull] in the comment about "last living memory of the Elder Days"
in the prologue to LotR [RC:45]).

Other examples of rhetorical superlative might be the bits about Tom
Bombadil and Treebeard being Eldest and oldest. And (in my opinion) also
the bits about lots of women being the "most" beautiful (as in the next
chapter about Melian).

8) Names of the stars. Someone has done a list somewhere, but I can't
find it. Can anyone remember what these stars refer to?

STARS:

Carnil
Luinil
Nénar
Lumbar
Alcarinquë
Elemmírë
Helluin

CONSTELLATIONS:

Wilwarin
Telumendil
Soronúmë
Anarríma
Menelmacar

8) Orome becomes aware of the Elves when he hears them singing. This
seems to be echoed by Finrod later, when he hears Men singing in
Ossiriand in Beleriand. Though of course the Avari were aware of Men
before Finrod was, and Melkor seems to have been aware of both Elves and
Men before the Valar were aware of the Elves, or the Elves of Men.

9) This is an interesting passage:

"From without the World, though all things may be forethought in music
or foreshown in vision from afar, to those who enter verily into Ea each
in its time shall be met at unawares as something new and unforetold."

But what does it mean? :-)

10) "...naught that had life of its own, nor the semblance of life,
could ever Melkor make since his rebellion in the Ainulindale before the
Beginning: so say the wise."

Does this passage imply that Melkor could create things of his own
before he rebelled? Or is it just that Eru blessed the creations of the
other Valar and gave them life, and this was withheld from Melkor?

11) There are some nice descriptive passages concerning the battle of
the Valar against Melkor: "the Earth shook and groaned beneath them, and
the waters were moved, and in the north there were lights as of mighty
fires. Long and grievous was the siege of Utumno [...] great clouds hung
still black in the North above the ruins of war, and the stars in that
region were hidden."

12) I still remember the thrill of surprise when I first read about the
journey of the Elves westwards, and they came to the River Anduin and
the Towers of the Mist (Hithaeglir) - and I realised that these were the
Misty Mountains!

13) Is the wondering of the Elves, through long years, in any way
inspired by the wonderings of the tribes of Israel in the Bible? Which
is in itself but an example of the wonderings of a nomadic people who
eventually become a settled agrarian society. Is this a common story in
the world's mythologies, of a period of wandering in the far past by the
ancestors of those telling the story?

Yuk Tang

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Dec 8, 2005, 8:10:51 AM12/8/05
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"Christopher Kreuzer" <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> wrote in
news:oiVlf.4859$iz3....@text.news.blueyonder.co.uk:
>
> I also get the impression that Mandos mostly
> didn't say anything unless he had some important doom (kind of
> prophetic judgement on the fate of the world) to tell people
> about.

He must have been popular at parties then.

"Hey Namo. What do you think of our winning the Ashes? Sure, we lost
the preliminaries, but I always said that Gatt would come good come the
Test matches. I reckon we'll continue to thrash them in years to
come."

"Rejoice ye not, for this will be the dawn of lamentations. The Ashes
shall be kept from ye, till grown men not yet born shall yearn for its
light. Games unnumbered shall ye yield. Eight years and ten shall
pass before ye will even get a sniff of the urn. Yea, I have spoken."

"Erm, right. Tulkas, be a dear and pass a sausage on a stick."


--
Cheers, ymt.

Christopher Kreuzer

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Dec 8, 2005, 8:55:14 AM12/8/05
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Yuk Tang <jim.l...@yahoo.com> wrote:
> "Christopher Kreuzer" <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> wrote in
> news:oiVlf.4859$iz3....@text.news.blueyonder.co.uk:
>>
>> I also get the impression that Mandos mostly
>> didn't say anything unless he had some important doom (kind of
>> prophetic judgement on the fate of the world) to tell people
>> about.
>
> He must have been popular at parties then.

:-)

My favourite one is:

"'Not the first,' said Mandos, but they did not understand his words".

Gregory Hernandez

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Dec 8, 2005, 9:10:33 PM12/8/05
to
> "Christopher Kreuzer" wrote

>> I also get the impression that Mandos mostly
>> didn't say anything unless he had some important doom (kind of
>> prophetic judgement on the fate of the world) to tell people
>> about.

> "Yuk Tang" responded:


> He must have been popular at parties then.
>
> "Hey Namo. What do you think of our winning the Ashes? Sure, we lost
> the preliminaries, but I always said that Gatt would come good come the
> Test matches. I reckon we'll continue to thrash them in years to
> come."
>
> "Rejoice ye not, for this will be the dawn of lamentations. The Ashes
> shall be kept from ye, till grown men not yet born shall yearn for its
> light. Games unnumbered shall ye yield. Eight years and ten shall
> pass before ye will even get a sniff of the urn. Yea, I have spoken."
>
> "Erm, right. Tulkas, be a dear and pass a sausage on a stick."
>

ROFLMAO!


Christopher Kreuzer

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Dec 9, 2005, 1:44:55 PM12/9/05
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Gregory Hernandez <greg...@earthlink.net> wrote:

<snip>

> After the war of the Valar, the Elves were summoned to Valinor, to


> dwell in the light of the Two Trees. Possibly in part because of the
> fear of the great powers that was instilled by Melkor, not all of the
> Elves were at first willing to obey the summons.

There is a passage from 'The Hobbit' which covers what happens in this
chapter, describing where the different Elf-kindreds ended up:

"...most of [the Wood-elves] [...] were descended from the ancient
tribes that never went to Faerie in the West. There the Light-elves and
the Deep-elves and the Sea-elves went and lived for ages, and grew
fairer and wiser and more learned, and invented their magic and their
cunning craft, in the making of beautiful and marvellous things, before
some came back into the Wide World. In the Wide World the Wood-elves
lingered in the twilight of our Sun and Moon but loved best the stars;
and they wandered in the great forests that grew tall in lands that are
now lost." (Flies and Spiders)

The Wide World seems to be another term for Middle-earth, also referred
to in the index for 'The Silmarillion' as the Hither Lands, the Outer
Lands, the Great Lands, and Endor.

Faerie would be Valinor, or maybe Eldamar. The Light-elves would be the
Vanyar, the Deep-elves the Noldor, and the Sea-elves the Falmari (the
Teleri that went to Valinor). The Wood-elves would seem to be Avari and
Sindar, and others of the Moriquendi.

Troels Forchhammer

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Dec 20, 2005, 5:45:52 PM12/20/05
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In message
<news:HFrif.6414$wf....@newsread3.news.atl.earthlink.net>
"Gregory Hernandez" <greg...@earthlink.net> enriched us with:
>
> SUMMARY
>

<snip>

> Mandos was prompted by Manwë to quell the Valar by mentioning that
> the fate of the Firstborn was to awaken during the present time of
> darkness.

The specific wording here, 'it is doom that the Firstborn shall come
in the darkness, and shall look first upon the stars' comes, as far
as I can see, from the Later Quenta (LQ), though the general idea is
also present in the Annals of Aman (AAm). I haven't got around to
look further than that.

I do, however, wonder about intention/interpretation here. Why did
the Valar assume that this doom meant that they could not make war on
Melkor at this time? The conjugation of looking first upon the stars
implies that the darkness mentioned in the first part is merely a
physical darkness rather than the metaphysical darkness of Melkor
(and later Sauron).

Had the Valar, at this point, gone forth in strength from Valinor,
making war upon Melkor and defeating him weakening his influence over
Middle-earth as per their later, actual, war, though probably even
less strength would have survived as Melkor would not have had time
to create Orcs or dig neither Utumno nor Angband as deep as they
became. This scenario would still have let the Quendi waken by
Cuiviénen in the darkness without Lamps, Trees or Sun and Moon,
looking 'first upon the stars', wouldn't it?

> This in turn prompts Varda to take the light gathered from one
> of the Two Trees (Telperion) and seed the sky with its lesser
> light.

Lesser? 'and therewith she made new stars /and brighter/ against the
coming of the Firstborn' (my emphasis). Among those we know that
Carnil = Mars, Alcarinquë = Jupiter, and the others were probably of
similar magnitude (speculations have suggested that the list were of
the remainder of the ancient planets, except Venus, which in the
mythology is Eärendil's Silmaril, but Christopher Tolkien, CT, finds
this suggestion inappropriate in Morgoth's Ring, MR) -- possibly this
would include e.g. Sirius and other of the brightest stars.

She also did some re-arranging of the older stars a bit, creating new
constellations: Telumendil , Soronúmë, and Anarríma; and Menelmacar
(Orion) and the Sickle of the Valar ('the Wain' among Men in the
North -- reminding us of the Scandinavian name, 'Karlsvognen', or
'the Plough' -- a part of Ursa Major). Supposedly the other
constellations are similarly prominent in the Northern sky, though I
am not going to make any guesses ;-)

> This is the origin of her many names in Quenya and Sindarin, which
> we read about in the Lord of the Rings, where Varda is commonly
> called Elbereth, "Queen of Stars".

/Gilthoniel/ = 'Star-kindler' in Sindarin. This is probably the
parallel of the Quenya /Tintallë/ = 'Kindler', though /Tin-/ is also
used to imply 'star' (from /tínë/ = 'shining' -> /tinwë/ = 'sparkle'
= 'star').

<snip>

> Elsewhere, the chapter describes Melkor's fortress of Angband.
> Sauron is also for the first time mentioned in the Silmarillion
> proper (he was briefly referenced in the Valaquenta).

And the passage including him and Angband was added as a pencilled
note to LQ2 (a typescript from about 1958, which puts the
introduction of Sauron at Angband at a later date than that).

> So the Elves awakened by the water and under stars, and thence
> began their love of both.

I also love the passage where Ulmo plays for them on his horn, thus
removing their fear of the great sea, turning it into a longing.

> The Elves called themselves the Quendi, signifying "those who
> speak with voices". It was by the sound of their singing that
> Oromë the hunter found them,

Oromë finding them by the sound of their singing of course emphasizes
the appriateness of the name they've given themselves.

> where he called them the Eldar, the "people of the stars".

Which was almost inevitable given Mandos' pronouncement that they
should awaken under the stars and turn ever to Varda.

Later the Quendi and the Eldar come to mean slightly different things
(the Eldar being a subset of the Quendi). How appropriate is this
shift in meaning given both the meaning and the history of the two
names? The 'people of the stars' become those who seek towards
another light than that of the stars.

<snip>

> For Melkor had taken to kidnapping those Elves who wandered, and
> stealing them away in his fortress. And this it was said was the
> beginning of the race of Orcs.

The whole business of the origin of the Orcs was problematic for
Tolkien, and remains so. I can appreciate Christopher's decision to
simplify the issue in the published Silmarillion and the solution he
accepted (from AAm, though probably with a longer history than that)
is, IMO, the one that also fits best with what little is said in LotR
about this (that the Orcs were made 'by the Enemy in the Great
Darkness' in mockery of the Elves, and that 'the Shadow that bred
them can only mock, it cannot make: not real new things of its own'.

Despite of all this, I also wonder whether the note mentioned above
containing the information about Sauron and Angband was added when
Tolkien was considering that Sauron bred the Orcs from /Men/ to
Morgoth's design while Morgoth was held captive in Valinor, as is
suggested in Myths Transformed (MR), text X.

> 4. How believable is this origin of the race of Orcs? I know
> that this in fact is something that Tolkien himself wrestled
> with.

Within the context of the mythology, I think it works OK. It is not
without problems, but is probably the one that offers the least. The
details of the corruption are conveniently left unspecified, so we
have to accept on faith that it is possible to create an inheritable
corruption that causes later generations to choose evil of their own
Free Will.

> He wanted a race of bad guys, as it were,

One to be the mirror of the Elves, I think. Recall the statement in
/The Hobbit/, 'Still elves they were and remain, and that is Good
People.' The Orcs, I think, were in their conception (by Tolkien)
intended as a counter-balance to that, and making the Orcs implicitly
the evil 'branch' of the Elven race would fit that mirroring very
well.

> but had to contend with the idea of free will.

Free Will and inheritable corruption in addition to wanting (in
particular in the last years) a mythology in accordance with modern
science. Not an easy task, to say the least ;-)

> Does this origin (or any origin) preclude the possibility
> of their being "good Orcs"?

I don't think that they were redeemable short of a special miracle.
That would mean only by Eru's direct intervention could an Orc be
made Good.

<snip>

> After a tremendous battle, Melkor lay with his fortresses broken,
> his might crushed, and was ultimately taken in chains to Valinor.

I've been trying to find out from where CT got the passage describing
the changes to the world after this battle -- the part 'and it broke
in upon the coasts [...] and the mountains about Hithlum.' This is
not from the AAm or LQ where most of the text comes from, and though
CT discusses this passage in the discussion of the Ambarkanta in HoMe
IV, /The Shaping of Middle-earth/, it is only to note that it doesn't
come from neither the Quenta or the Ambarkenta . . .

I hope that someone can enlighten us on this.

<snip>

> The ELdar in turn were subdivided into the Vayar ("Fair Elves"),
> the Noldor ("Deep Elves"), and the Teleri ("Sea Elves").

This subdivision, I think, pre-existed even the coming of Oromë.
These three are and were the original three 'tribes' of the Quendi --
we are somewhere told how different proportions of each of these
three kindreds embark on the journey -- all of the Vanyar IIRC,
nearly all of the Noldor and least of the Teleri (though the latter,
being the largest tribe by far, still were the most numerous of the
Eldalië).

> Much of the remainder of the chapter deals with the various
> migrations of the Elves and whether they went to the West or
> they stayed behind.

Wasn't there some discussion at one point about the status of the
Sylvan Elves in Lothlorien and Mirkwood? Here, at least, it is
obvious that they are some of the Teleri that followed Lenwë, a part
of whom later reached Beleriand. I seem, however, to recall that
other passages were quoted that suggested otherwise, but I don't
recall the details. Is it possible that someone with a better memory
can fill in some details (I don't seem able to find the discussion on
Google)?

> DISCUSSION POINTS.
>
> 1. It was said that it was at the bidding of Manwë that Mandos
> declared that the Firstborn would awaken in the time of night.
> Why would it be at his bidding and to what end could his
> speaking-by-proxy had served?

This is doubtlessly related to Mandos' role as the doomsman of the
Valar -- it is he who pronounces these fated judgements. In the
Valaquenta it is described thus:

He forgets nothing; and he knows all things that shall
be, save only those that lie still in the freedom of
Ilúvatar. He is the Doomsman of the Valar; but he
pronounces his dooms and his Judgements only at the
bidding of Manwë.

This makes it sound as if this is to prevent Mandos' knowledge from
being used where inappropriate -- Manwë gets to decide when it is
appropriate for the Valar to hear what shall be, but he doesn't have
the knowledge himself and thus has to bid Námo/Mandos to speak his
doom. A security measure against abuse of foreknowledge?

<snip>

> 5. For those who have the knowledge of this, it would be
> interesting as usual to know the document history of this
> chapter and the revisions that it went through.

I've been looking for the origin of some of the passages, and it does
seem that most of the text comes from the Annals of Aman and the
Later Quenta. CT seems to have selected for each passage the longest
possible source, sometimes mixing information from both sources,
making the final account as long as possible (there are a few things
that have got cut, but that isn't much -- perhaps that could also be
an interesting discussion: what did CT leave out?)

For more details, I hope that somebody with more knowledge will step
in ;-)

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

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

Christopher Kreuzer

unread,
Dec 21, 2005, 4:02:50 AM12/21/05
to
Troels Forchhammer <Tro...@ThisIsFake.invalid> wrote:
> In message
> <news:HFrif.6414$wf....@newsread3.news.atl.earthlink.net>
> "Gregory Hernandez" <greg...@earthlink.net> enriched us with:
>>
>> SUMMARY
>>
>
> <snip>
>
>> Mandos was prompted by Manwë to quell the Valar by mentioning that
>> the fate of the Firstborn was to awaken during the present time of
>> darkness.
>
> The specific wording here, 'it is doom that the Firstborn shall come
> in the darkness, and shall look first upon the stars' comes, as far
> as I can see, from the Later Quenta (LQ), though the general idea is
> also present in the Annals of Aman (AAm). I haven't got around to
> look further than that.
>
> I do, however, wonder about intention/interpretation here.

I think you mean the "Moreover" that connects the statements by Mandos:
that the Elves will come in this age, but not yet; and that they shall
come in the darkness. It seems to connect them, but I think these are
separate things.

> Why did the Valar assume that this doom meant that they could not
> make war on Melkor at this time?

I think you are connecting two separate things.

> The conjugation of looking first
> upon the stars implies that the darkness mentioned in the first part
is
> merely a physical darkness rather than the metaphysical darkness of
> Melkor (and later Sauron).

Yes.

> Had the Valar, at this point, gone forth in strength from Valinor,
> making war upon Melkor and defeating him weakening his influence over
> Middle-earth as per their later, actual, war, though probably even
> less strength would have survived as Melkor would not have had time
> to create Orcs or dig neither Utumno nor Angband as deep as they
> became. This scenario would still have let the Quendi waken by
> Cuiviénen in the darkness without Lamps, Trees or Sun and Moon,
> looking 'first upon the stars', wouldn't it?

If you look back at the Valar discussing "the tidings that Yavanna and
Orome brought from the Outer Lands", we see that they are concerned
about two things, best expressed in these three questions from Yavanna:

"Shall we then leave the lands of their dwelling desolate and full of
evil? Shall they walk in darkness while we have light? Shall they call


Melkor lord while Manwe sits upon Taniquetil?"

So they are discussing two separate things, actually.

1) Shall we get rid of Melkor (and his evil minions)?
2) Shall we light the Middle-earth with more than starlight?

Tulkas wants to go to war. But Manwe calls on Mandos, and Mandos says,
effectively, "no", and "only stars". So the Valar don't go to war, and
Varda goes and makes better and brighter stars.

The explanation for only making stars is given in the doom from Mandos.
The statement by Mandos that the Elves have not yet awoken goes some way
to explaining why the Valar do not make war yet. For the full reason,
you have to look back to chapter one and the destruction of the Lamps:

"...afterwards they feared to rend the Earth again, until they knew
where the Children of Iluvatar were dwelling..." (Of the Beginning of
Days)

And then, later, when they do go to war, it is after the Elves awake
(and Varda only just finishes making her stars in time) and have been
discovered, and this was indeed at unawares:

"...to those who enter verily into Ea each in its time shall be met at


unawares as something new and unforetold."

And the Valar, now knowing where the Elves are, place a guard about
Cuivienen and happily go to war, knowing that they won't accidently
tread on a group of Elves, or rend a mountainside and bury them deep, or
that destroying flame won't destroy the Quendi.

What I wonder, is how they knew that Men would be safe... :-)

>> This in turn prompts Varda to take the light gathered from one
>> of the Two Trees (Telperion) and seed the sky with its lesser
>> light.
>
> Lesser?

Yes, lesser. Read the description of the Two Trees, and of the Sun and
Moon, and it is clear that Telperion is considered the lesser of the Two
Trees in terms of heat and brightness. Maybe 'different' is better than
'lesser' here, if people in this day and age get uncomfortable with
'lesser'. It would also avoid D&D-style "power" wars... :-)

> 'and therewith she made new stars /and brighter/ against the
> coming of the Firstborn' (my emphasis).

<snip>

>> Elsewhere, the chapter describes Melkor's fortress of Angband.
>> Sauron is also for the first time mentioned in the Silmarillion
>> proper (he was briefly referenced in the Valaquenta).
>
> And the passage including him and Angband was added as a pencilled
> note to LQ2 (a typescript from about 1958, which puts the
> introduction of Sauron at Angband at a later date than that).

Ooh. Thanks for that.

<snip>

>> where he called them the Eldar, the "people of the stars".
>
> Which was almost inevitable given Mandos' pronouncement that they
> should awaken under the stars and turn ever to Varda.
>
> Later the Quendi and the Eldar come to mean slightly different things
> (the Eldar being a subset of the Quendi). How appropriate is this
> shift in meaning given both the meaning and the history of the two
> names? The 'people of the stars' become those who seek towards
> another light than that of the stars.

I hadn't noticed that irony before. But maybe we should remember that
only some of the Eldar end up in Valinor, though all the Eldar set out
on that journey. Maybe the answer lies in the mention that 'Quendi' is
the name the Elves gave themselves, and that 'Eldar' is the name Orome
gave them. Those that fled at the approach of Orome, or didn't journey
west with Orome (ie. the Avari), might call themselves Quendi, but not
Eldar.

<snip>

>> He wanted a race of bad guys, as it were,
>
> One to be the mirror of the Elves, I think. Recall the statement in
> /The Hobbit/, 'Still elves they were and remain, and that is Good
> People.' The Orcs, I think, were in their conception (by Tolkien)
> intended as a counter-balance to that, and making the Orcs implicitly
> the evil 'branch' of the Elven race would fit that mirroring very
> well.

Some of the arguments about Orcs being corrupted Men actually make more
sense than them being Elves. I can't recall those arguments now, but the
idea of Elves = Good and Orcs = Bad is almost as seductive.

<snip>

>> After a tremendous battle, Melkor lay with his fortresses broken,
>> his might crushed, and was ultimately taken in chains to Valinor.
>
> I've been trying to find out from where CT got the passage describing
> the changes to the world after this battle -- the part 'and it broke
> in upon the coasts [...] and the mountains about Hithlum.' This is
> not from the AAm or LQ where most of the text comes from, and though
> CT discusses this passage in the discussion of the Ambarkanta in HoMe
> IV, /The Shaping of Middle-earth/, it is only to note that it doesn't
> come from neither the Quenta or the Ambarkenta . . .
>
> I hope that someone can enlighten us on this.

Me too...

>> The ELdar in turn were subdivided into the Vayar ("Fair Elves"),
>> the Noldor ("Deep Elves"), and the Teleri ("Sea Elves").
>
> This subdivision, I think, pre-existed even the coming of Oromë.
> These three are and were the original three 'tribes' of the Quendi --
> we are somewhere told how different proportions of each of these
> three kindreds embark on the journey -- all of the Vanyar IIRC,
> nearly all of the Noldor and least of the Teleri (though the latter,
> being the largest tribe by far, still were the most numerous of the
> Eldalië).

Yes. There is a passage describing the awaking of the Elves and how the
three that first awoke chose their people. It is presented as sort of a
fable: "he who waits longest gets more Elves"... :-)

I can't remember where in HoME this tale is. Anyone?

>> Much of the remainder of the chapter deals with the various
>> migrations of the Elves and whether they went to the West or
>> they stayed behind.
>
> Wasn't there some discussion at one point about the status of the
> Sylvan Elves in Lothlorien and Mirkwood? Here, at least, it is
> obvious that they are some of the Teleri that followed Lenwë, a part
> of whom later reached Beleriand. I seem, however, to recall that
> other passages were quoted that suggested otherwise, but I don't
> recall the details. Is it possible that someone with a better memory
> can fill in some details (I don't seem able to find the discussion on
> Google)?

For some reason the names Russ, Tar-Elenion and Conrad Dunkerson seem
familiar in connection with this discussion. I remember it as well, but
haven't looked yet. About a year ago or slightly less, I think.
Searching for Silvan, Nandor and suchlike terms might help.

>> DISCUSSION POINTS.
>>
>> 1. It was said that it was at the bidding of Manwë that Mandos
>> declared that the Firstborn would awaken in the time of night.
>> Why would it be at his bidding and to what end could his
>> speaking-by-proxy had served?
>
> This is doubtlessly related to Mandos' role as the doomsman of the
> Valar -- it is he who pronounces these fated judgements. In the
> Valaquenta it is described thus:
>
> He forgets nothing; and he knows all things that shall
> be, save only those that lie still in the freedom of
> Ilúvatar. He is the Doomsman of the Valar; but he
> pronounces his dooms and his Judgements only at the
> bidding of Manwë.

Rubbish! Mandos often interjects his snarky comments without so much as
a by-your-leave to Manwe! :-)

> This makes it sound as if this is to prevent Mandos' knowledge from
> being used where inappropriate -- Manwë gets to decide when it is
> appropriate for the Valar to hear what shall be, but he doesn't have
> the knowledge himself and thus has to bid Námo/Mandos to speak his
> doom. A security measure against abuse of foreknowledge?

No. Just a safety measure to prevent the other Valar getting annoyed by
Mandos and his unexpected and jarring dooms stated in the middle of a
nice tea-party... :-)

Troels Forchhammer

unread,
Dec 21, 2005, 7:56:55 AM12/21/05
to
In message <news:_S8qf.12554$iz3....@text.news.blueyonder.co.uk>
"Christopher Kreuzer" <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> enriched us with:
>
> Troels Forchhammer <Tro...@ThisIsFake.invalid> wrote:
>>
>> In message
>> <news:HFrif.6414$wf....@newsread3.news.atl.earthlink.net>
>> "Gregory Hernandez" <greg...@earthlink.net> enriched us with:
>>>
>>> SUMMARY
>>>
>>> Mandos was prompted by Manwë to quell the Valar by mentioning
>>> that the fate of the Firstborn was to awaken during the present
>>> time of darkness.

<snip>

>> Why did the Valar assume that this doom meant that they could not
>> make war on Melkor at this time?

<snip>

> So they are discussing two separate things, actually.
>
> 1) Shall we get rid of Melkor (and his evil minions)?
> 2) Shall we light the Middle-earth with more than starlight?

Precisely!

> Tulkas wants to go to war. But Manwe calls on Mandos, and Mandos
> says, effectively, "no", and "only stars". So the Valar don't go
> to war, and Varda goes and makes better and brighter stars.

My point was that Mandos says absolutely nothing regarding the first
point, but still the Valar acquiesce and don't do anything (except
for Varda's star-making and constellation-building).

Mandos says 'this age, but not yet' and 'darkness'. The first is
simply a confirmation that the time is growing nearer (big surprise),
and the latter addresses only the second point you raise.

> For the full reason, you have to look back to chapter one and
> the destruction of the Lamps:
>
> "...afterwards they feared to rend the Earth again, until they
> knew where the Children of Iluvatar were dwelling..." (Of the
> Beginning of Days)

That's a good point, thanks.

So they were afraid of hurting the Elves if they started a war
without know where the Elves were dwelling, and they were unwilling
to begin searching for the Elves in earnest (we might attribute that
to the same fear of a confrontation with Melkor).

> What I wonder, is how they knew that Men would be safe... :-)

Precisely, and when did the Children of Ilúvatar appear in Middle-
earth at all? I assume that they were inserted (or created on the
spot) by Eru Ilúvatar, but the descriptions suggest that they spend
at least some time in some kind of dormant state before their
'awakening', but how long?

<snip>

>>> This in turn prompts Varda to take the light gathered from one
>>> of the Two Trees (Telperion) and seed the sky with its lesser
>>> light.
>>
>> Lesser?
>
> Yes, lesser. Read the description of the Two Trees, and of the Sun
> and Moon, and it is clear that Telperion is considered the lesser
> of the Two Trees in terms of heat and brightness.

Thanks -- I misunderstood and thought the intention was 'lesser
lights of the sky' (i.e. 'lesser stars').

<snip>

> Rubbish! Mandos often interjects his snarky comments without so
> much as a by-your-leave to Manwe! :-)

;-)

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

"What're quantum mechanics?"
"I don't know. People who repair quantums, I suppose."
- /Eric/ (Terry Pratchett)

nand...@transact.bm

unread,
Dec 21, 2005, 8:41:03 AM12/21/05
to

Christopher Kreuzer wrote:
> <snip>

> > This subdivision, I think, pre-existed even the coming of Oromë.
> > These three are and were the original three 'tribes' of the Quendi --
> > we are somewhere told how different proportions of each of these
> > three kindreds embark on the journey -- all of the Vanyar IIRC,
> > nearly all of the Noldor and least of the Teleri (though the latter,
> > being the largest tribe by far, still were the most numerous of the
> > Eldalië).
>
> Yes. There is a passage describing the awaking of the Elves and how the
> three that first awoke chose their people. It is presented as sort of a
> fable: "he who waits longest gets more Elves"... :-)
>
> I can't remember where in HoME this tale is. Anyone?
>
<snip>

I think I once asked the same question in this newsgroup, so I will go
search for that post and see if I can dig it up. If memory serves, it
is in the last third of HoMe, when CJRT returned to the post-LotR work
his father did on the Silmarillion texts.

Neil Anderson

nand...@transact.bm

unread,
Dec 21, 2005, 8:45:11 AM12/21/05
to
http://groups.google.com/group/rec.arts.books.tolkien/browse_frm/thread/9c749214820c244e/c227591a84f38aec?q=legend+elves&rnum=9#c227591a84f38aec

There you go - War of the Jewels it is, although the post above quotes
most of the text.

Neil Anderson

Tar-Elenion

unread,
Dec 21, 2005, 11:20:28 AM12/21/05
to
In article <_S8qf.12554$iz3....@text.news.blueyonder.co.uk>,
spam...@blueyonder.co.uk says...

> Troels Forchhammer <Tro...@ThisIsFake.invalid> wrote:
> > In message
> > <news:HFrif.6414$wf....@newsread3.news.atl.earthlink.net>
> > "Gregory Hernandez" <greg...@earthlink.net> enriched us with:
> >>
<snip>

> >> The ELdar in turn were subdivided into the Vayar ("Fair Elves"),
> >> the Noldor ("Deep Elves"), and the Teleri ("Sea Elves").
> >
> > This subdivision, I think, pre-existed even the coming of Oromė.

> > These three are and were the original three 'tribes' of the Quendi --
> > we are somewhere told how different proportions of each of these
> > three kindreds embark on the journey -- all of the Vanyar IIRC,
> > nearly all of the Noldor and least of the Teleri (though the latter,
> > being the largest tribe by far, still were the most numerous of the
> > Eldaliė).

>
> Yes. There is a passage describing the awaking of the Elves and how the
> three that first awoke chose their people. It is presented as sort of a
> fable: "he who waits longest gets more Elves"... :-)
>
> I can't remember where in HoME this tale is. Anyone?

War of the Jewels: Quendi and Eldar + Cuivienyarna.

>
> >> Much of the remainder of the chapter deals with the various
> >> migrations of the Elves and whether they went to the West or
> >> they stayed behind.
> >
> > Wasn't there some discussion at one point about the status of the
> > Sylvan Elves in Lothlorien and Mirkwood? Here, at least, it is

> > obvious that they are some of the Teleri that followed Lenwė, a part


> > of whom later reached Beleriand. I seem, however, to recall that
> > other passages were quoted that suggested otherwise, but I don't
> > recall the details. Is it possible that someone with a better memory
> > can fill in some details (I don't seem able to find the discussion on
> > Google)?
>
> For some reason the names Russ, Tar-Elenion and Conrad Dunkerson seem
> familiar in connection with this discussion. I remember it as well, but
> haven't looked yet. About a year ago or slightly less, I think.
> Searching for Silvan, Nandor and suchlike terms might help.

We are troublemakers. You can probably find several discussions over the
past four or five years.

--
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

unread,
Dec 21, 2005, 3:14:58 PM12/21/05
to
Tar-Elenion <tar_e...@hotmail.com> wrote:
> In article <_S8qf.12554$iz3....@text.news.blueyonder.co.uk>,
> spam...@blueyonder.co.uk says...
>> Troels Forchhammer <Tro...@ThisIsFake.invalid> wrote:
>>> In message
>>> <news:HFrif.6414$wf....@newsread3.news.atl.earthlink.net>
>>> "Gregory Hernandez" <greg...@earthlink.net> enriched us with:

<snip>

>>>> Much of the remainder of the chapter deals with the various


>>>> migrations of the Elves and whether they went to the West or
>>>> they stayed behind.
>>>
>>> Wasn't there some discussion at one point about the status of the
>>> Sylvan Elves in Lothlorien and Mirkwood? Here, at least, it is

>>> obvious that they are some of the Teleri that followed Lenwë, a part


>>> of whom later reached Beleriand. I seem, however, to recall that
>>> other passages were quoted that suggested otherwise, but I don't
>>> recall the details. Is it possible that someone with a better memory
>>> can fill in some details (I don't seem able to find the discussion
>>> on Google)?
>>
>> For some reason the names Russ, Tar-Elenion and Conrad Dunkerson
>> seem familiar in connection with this discussion. I remember it as
well,
>> but haven't looked yet. About a year ago or slightly less, I think.
>> Searching for Silvan, Nandor and suchlike terms might help.
>
> We are troublemakers. You can probably find several discussions over
> the past four or five years.

Well, you didn't make trouble this time! I've found the discussion I was
thinking of, and it was Conrad and Russ. Here are some links (they might
break over lines and need fiddling cutting and pasting).

The debate between Russ and Conrad seems to start here (post by
McREsq 10/08/2004):

http://groups.google.com/group/rec.arts.books.tolkien/msg/f1bed6684747046b

And end about here: (post by McREsq 26/08/2004):

http://groups.google.com/group/rec.arts.books.tolkien/msg/3523dd68ed422489

The debate as a whole (including other people) seems to be
contained mostly within messages 30-94 of this thread (What is it
with the Noldor? - started by jsberry on 23/07/2004):

http://groups.google.com/group/rec.arts.books.tolkien/browse_frm/thread/03bd98d71ec62898

I must also confess that I don't remember much about the debate at
the time, though I remember reading it with fairly glazed eyes. Was
there an executive summary produced at any point?

And surely it would be easier to find things like this if people
actually
CHANGED the subject line when the subject changes. Um. Like I
nearly forgot to do just now...

smile.gif

Christopher Kreuzer

unread,
Dec 22, 2005, 3:49:45 AM12/22/05
to
Troels Forchhammer <Tro...@ThisIsFake.invalid> wrote:
> In message <news:_S8qf.12554$iz3....@text.news.blueyonder.co.uk>
> "Christopher Kreuzer" <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> enriched us with:

<snip>

>> So they are discussing two separate things, actually.
>>
>> 1) Shall we get rid of Melkor (and his evil minions)?
>> 2) Shall we light the Middle-earth with more than starlight?
>
> Precisely!
>
>> Tulkas wants to go to war. But Manwe calls on Mandos, and Mandos
>> says, effectively, "no", and "only stars". So the Valar don't go
>> to war, and Varda goes and makes better and brighter stars.
>
> My point was that Mandos says absolutely nothing regarding the first
> point, but still the Valar acquiesce and don't do anything (except
> for Varda's star-making and constellation-building).

You know, I said that Varda only just finished making her stars in time,
as the Elves awoke "as Varda ended her labours", but I'm actually
thinking now that this is not mere chance. It does sound like certain
'conditions' have been filled and that now is the right moment for the
Elves to awake.

> Mandos says 'this age, but not yet' and 'darkness'. The first is
> simply a confirmation that the time is growing nearer (big surprise),
> and the latter addresses only the second point you raise.

Well, I think the unstated implication is that Mandos is saying:

"They are not here yet [so we can't fight Melkor yet]".

But it is not made clear in the text at that point, I agree.

>> For the full reason, you have to look back to chapter one and
>> the destruction of the Lamps:
>>
>> "...afterwards they feared to rend the Earth again, until they
>> knew where the Children of Iluvatar were dwelling..." (Of the
>> Beginning of Days)
>
> That's a good point, thanks.
>
> So they were afraid of hurting the Elves if they started a war
> without know where the Elves were dwelling, and they were unwilling
> to begin searching for the Elves in earnest (we might attribute that
> to the same fear of a confrontation with Melkor).

As for not searching for the Elves, that is a very good point. We know
that Melkor was _more_ watchful and seems to have encountered Elves and
Men before the Valar did. It almost seems that the Valar, the "Guardians
of the World", are dwelling in bliss in Valinor, and only Yavanna and
Orome (and presumably Ulmo, though it is not specifically stated in this
chapter) bothered to visit Middle-earth.

But then again, we are also told that the Valar did not know everything,
and that the Children specifically were something that they knew little
about. And also, a systematic search by the Valar of Middle-earth
doesn't quite feel right! In any case, such a search would, as you point
out, have aroused Melkor to contest the territory with them.

>> What I wonder, is how they knew that Men would be safe... :-)
>
> Precisely, and when did the Children of Ilúvatar appear in Middle-
> earth at all? I assume that they were inserted (or created on the
> spot) by Eru Ilúvatar, but the descriptions suggest that they spend
> at least some time in some kind of dormant state before their
> 'awakening', but how long?

I've never really thought about it. It depends how you interpret the
phrase "sleep of Iluvatar" that they arose from. This might be different
or similar to the sleep that Yavanna had laid on other living things in
Middle-earth.

<snip>

Christopher Kreuzer

unread,
Dec 22, 2005, 3:52:18 AM12/22/05
to
nand...@transact.bm <nand...@transact.bm> wrote:

>> Christopher Kreuzer wrote:
>>
>>> There is a passage describing the awaking of the Elves and how
>>> the three that first awoke chose their people. It is presented as
>>> sort of a fable: "he who waits longest gets more Elves"... :-)

I think I misremembered this. I think the one who waited longest ended
up with less. But anyway, there was definitely a moral in there
somewhere,

>>> I can't remember where in HoME this tale is. Anyone?

>

Thanks!

NobodyMan

unread,
Dec 22, 2005, 9:53:09 PM12/22/05
to

Don't post binaries to a text newsgroup. I didn't want your crappy
picture on my hard drive.

Christopher Kreuzer

unread,
Dec 23, 2005, 3:56:45 AM12/23/05
to
NobodyMan <no...@none.net> wrote:
> Don't post binaries to a text newsgroup. I didn't want your crappy
> picture on my hard drive.

Sorry about that. I cut and pasted from another e-mail that had a
smile.gif in it. I normally remember to retype those bits, but I forgot
that time.


R. Dan Henry

unread,
Dec 27, 2005, 2:54:36 PM12/27/05
to
On Thu, 08 Dec 2005 12:35:39 GMT, "Christopher Kreuzer"
<spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> wrote:

>Some more discussion points:
>
>6) "...already the oldest living things had arisen: in the seas the
>great weeds, and on earth the shadow of great trees; and in the valleys
>of the night-clad hills there were dark creatures old and strong."
>
>What are these things, these shadows and dark creatures? Are they
>different from Melkor's creatures?

>"...the evil things that he had perverted walked abroad, and the dark
>and slumbering woods were haunted by monsters and shapes of dread."

Some of the creatures would be Morgothian perversions, but I think most
would simply be ordinary animals made frightful by the struggle for
survival in the lands under Melkor's shadow. For the Elves would have
remembered these creatures as they saw them in the twilight under the
stars, when fear was exaggerated by Melkor's cunning, and before they
had learned the arts to master dangerous beasts.

Or else Melkor had modified all the big animals by then, and I don't
think that works out.

>7) "...[Varda] began a great labour, greatest of all the works of the
>Valar since their coming into Arda."
>
>So Varda's creation of the stars is considered greater than the creation
>of the Lamps or the Trees?

Which lasted? Anyway, it's subjective what counts as "greatest labor",
so it's a term that can be thrown about a bit. The scribe who recorded
this bit liked the stars best. Possibly because the tales were written
down by those who hadn't actually seen the Trees (and certainly not the
Lamps).

>8) Orome becomes aware of the Elves when he hears them singing. This
>seems to be echoed by Finrod later, when he hears Men singing in
>Ossiriand in Beleriand. Though of course the Avari were aware of Men
>before Finrod was, and Melkor seems to have been aware of both Elves and
>Men before the Valar were aware of the Elves, or the Elves of Men.

That's because Melkor, for all his many faults, managed to stay on the
job. How the heck do Manwe's visions and bird-agents manage to miss the
Elves? How do Ulmo and his servants miss the Elves hanging out by the
water? Somebody should have been paying attention. And for that matter,
Orome might have ridden to the East regularly -- Melkor wouldn't have
raised a mountain range to hinder his riding if there weren't something
of interest on the other side.

>10) "...naught that had life of its own, nor the semblance of life,
>could ever Melkor make since his rebellion in the Ainulindale before the
>Beginning: so say the wise."
>
>Does this passage imply that Melkor could create things of his own
>before he rebelled? Or is it just that Eru blessed the creations of the
>other Valar and gave them life, and this was withheld from Melkor?

Well, the Dwarves had a "semblance of life" fresh from Aule's hands,
before Eru gave them the real thing. So, one could say that Melkor's
power in this area was more limited (in which case, orcs as automata are
out), as well as Eru not taking up his ideas and blessing them with
life, like the Ents and Eagles and so forth.

>12) I still remember the thrill of surprise when I first read about the
>journey of the Elves westwards, and they came to the River Anduin and
>the Towers of the Mist (Hithaeglir) - and I realised that these were the
>Misty Mountains!

It's a rare glimpse of familiar territory for the LOTR/Hobbit reader
going to the Silmarillion and it's very nice to have that.

>13) Is the wondering of the Elves, through long years, in any way
>inspired by the wonderings of the tribes of Israel in the Bible?

I wonder. :-)

--
R. Dan Henry
danh...@inreach.com

R. Dan Henry

unread,
Dec 27, 2005, 2:54:42 PM12/27/05
to
On Thu, 08 Dec 2005 12:03:32 GMT, "Christopher Kreuzer"
<spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> wrote:

>It is indeed very troublesome. Though I think that summoning, in this
>sense, is not really an order, but an invitation. We are also told that
>the Valar were divided over this, but in the end the words of Mandos sum
>it up nicely: "So it is doomed". Also, the words immediately following
>that: "From this summons came many woes that afterwards befell."

Personally, I think a bunch of the Valar wanted the Children all brought
to Valinor so they could continue to neglect Middle-earth and rest on
their laurels. Lazy Valar.

>I seem to remember that there is something written somewhere that says
>that the Valar eventually realised that they had been mistaken to summon
>the Elves to dwell in Valinor with them. Ulmo's suggestion seems better:
>"the Quendi should be left free to walk as they would in Middle-earth,
>and with their gifts of skill to order all the lands and heal their
>hurts."

See, hard-working Ulmo, never neglectful of Middle-earth, doesn't feel
any need to herd the Quendi anywhere. Nor does he fail to think ahead to
realize that without care, Middle-earth may still be a mess when the
Secondborn arrive.

>In the bit where the Valar debate whether to summon the Elves, the final
>reasons we are given are: "they were filled moreover with the love of
>the beauty of the Elves and desired their fellowship."

And the laziness to want the Elves to do all the traveling (except good
old Orome, who likes going for long rides).

And what's with the whole "why don't we just let Melkor run all over
Middle-earth and have every chance to spoil things for the Children
until they actually show up and then we'll confront him when the
Firstborn are possible collateral damage, instead of getting the
earthshaking conflict out of the way before they're here" policy of the
Valar?

R. Dan Henry

unread,
Dec 27, 2005, 2:54:47 PM12/27/05
to
On 20 Dec 2005 22:45:52 GMT, Troels Forchhammer
<Tro...@ThisIsFake.invalid> wrote:

>Had the Valar, at this point, gone forth in strength from Valinor,
>making war upon Melkor and defeating him weakening his influence over
>Middle-earth as per their later, actual, war, though probably even
>less strength would have survived as Melkor would not have had time
>to create Orcs or dig neither Utumno nor Angband as deep as they
>became. This scenario would still have let the Quendi waken by
>Cuiviénen in the darkness without Lamps, Trees or Sun and Moon,
>looking 'first upon the stars', wouldn't it?

Seems like it. Frankly, the Valar seem to be less competent than one
would like for the rulers of the world to be. It seems they think that
if they don't know where the Elves are coming, they might squish that
place, but that shows a lack of faith in Eru's foresight. I'd expect
that He would know where to place His Children in order for them to not
be immediately destroyed.

>Lesser? 'and therewith she made new stars /and brighter/ against the
>coming of the Firstborn' (my emphasis). Among those we know that
>Carnil = Mars, Alcarinquë = Jupiter, and the others were probably of
>similar magnitude (speculations have suggested that the list were of
>the remainder of the ancient planets, except Venus, which in the
>mythology is Eärendil's Silmaril, but Christopher Tolkien, CT, finds
>this suggestion inappropriate in Morgoth's Ring, MR) -- possibly this
>would include e.g. Sirius and other of the brightest stars.

So it does include Mars. Red, red Mars. Or maybe you can call it orange.
Not, in any case, a color one would expect from the dews of Telperion. I
find this one of the less plausible bits of the mythology. Not because
it conflicts with modern astronomy, but because it doesn't fit basic
observation of the skies. "That red star there, it was made with silvery
light. And, uh, Varda cut herself making that one, so it's a little
bloody."

Christopher Kreuzer

unread,
Dec 28, 2005, 7:45:07 AM12/28/05
to
R. Dan Henry <danh...@inreach.com> wrote:
> On Thu, 08 Dec 2005 12:35:39 GMT, "Christopher Kreuzer"
> <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> wrote:
>
>> Some more discussion points:
>>
>> 6) "...already the oldest living things had arisen: in the seas the
>> great weeds, and on earth the shadow of great trees; and in the
>> valleys of the night-clad hills there were dark creatures old and
>> strong."
>>
>> What are these things, these shadows and dark creatures? Are they
>> different from Melkor's creatures?
>
>> "...the evil things that he had perverted walked abroad, and the dark
>> and slumbering woods were haunted by monsters and shapes of dread."
>
> Some of the creatures would be Morgothian perversions, but I think
> most would simply be ordinary animals made frightful by the struggle
> for survival in the lands under Melkor's shadow. For the Elves would
> have remembered these creatures as they saw them in the twilight
> under the stars, when fear was exaggerated by Melkor's cunning, and
> before they had learned the arts to master dangerous beasts.

That's a good point, about fear making things seem more frightful than
they are, and seeing them in the dark. Gandalf said that Sauron did this
as well: "the power of Sauron is still less than fear makes it" (The
Council of Elrond)

That phrase "twilight under the stars" reminded me of Tom Bombadil's bit
here:

"He knew the dark under the stars when it was fearless - before the Dark
Lord came from Outside." (In the House of Tom Bombadil, LotR)

Which is why I think Bombadil is definitely referring here to Melkor's
coming to Middle-earth from Outside, when he came back with his army
from the far reaches of Ea:

"...he passed therefore over the Walls of the Night with his host, and
came to Middle-earth far in the north..." (Of the Beginning of Days,
Silm)

So I think Bombadil was around before this point. Bombadil's bit about
knowing the dark under the stars when it was fearless (Bombadil is
referring to himself in the third person), is the _last_ bit he
mentions, and ties in beautifully with the earlier bit about ancient
starlight:

"...still on and back Tom went singing out into ancient starlight, when
only the Elf-sires were awake. Then suddenly he stopped, and they saw
that he nodded as if he was falling asleep."

This falling asleep bit seems to indicate that Tom, like the Elves and
Men and the spirits of the trees, and much of the natural world, _awoke_
from a deep sleep. But the masterful bit is where Tolkien has this as
the enchanted, beautiful bit ("The hobbits sat still before him,
enchanted...") and then, a few sentences later, effectively gives us a
different perspective, or version, with this 'horror' bit:

"'He knew the dark under the stars when it was fearless - before the
Dark Lord came from Outside.' A shadow seemed to pass by the window, and
the hobbits glanced hastily through the panes."

The appearance of this shadow (which is only Goldberry) works on one
level as a horror story and a release of tension, and also ties in to
these passages in /The Silmarillion/ about:

"night-clad hills" and "dark creatures old and strong" and "monsters and
shapes of dread".

This seems a good point to add the comment I made about "shadow-walkers"
in the discussion of chapter one, which seems relevant here as well:

<START QUOTE>

[Book edited by Tom Shippey] "The Shadow-Walkers: Jacob Grimm's
Mythology of the Monstrous":

<snip>

http://www.asu.edu/clas/acmrs/publications/mrts/germany.htm

<snip>

The review/blurb goes on to say:

"They cover material in Old and Middle English, Old and Middle High
German, Old Norse, and the modern languages of North-West Europe,
especially of Iceland, home of the strongest living folk-tradition.
Sagas, eddas, epics, and romances mix with folk-tales, place-name
evidence, and surviving superstition. They throw unexpected light on
'the shadow-walkers', the ancient creatures that still haunt the modern
imagination."

Sounds fascinating! This book sounds like essential reading for anyone
interested in Tolkien's myth-making and learning more about the
tradition that he was part of. The bit about "shadow-walkers" reminds me
of this bit from the Elves awakening by Cuivienen:

"...Melkor, ever watchful, was first aware of the awakening of the
Quendi, and sent shadows and evil spirits to spy upon them and waylay
them [...] the most ancient songs of the Elves, of which echoes are


remembered still in the West, tell of the shadow-shapes that walked in

the hills above Cuivienen, or would pass suddenly over the stars..." (Of
the Coming of the Elves)

Hmm. I'm going to have to get hold of a copy of the book now and read
the essay on shadow-walkers!

<END QUOTE>

>> 7) "...[Varda] began a great labour, greatest of all the works of the
>> Valar since their coming into Arda."
>>
>> So Varda's creation of the stars is considered greater than the
>> creation of the Lamps or the Trees?
>
> Which lasted? Anyway, it's subjective what counts as "greatest labor",
> so it's a term that can be thrown about a bit. The scribe who recorded
> this bit liked the stars best. Possibly because the tales were written
> down by those who hadn't actually seen the Trees (and certainly not
> the Lamps).

I'd agree with the "Elves like stars, hence Elvish scribes call it
greatest labour", bit. But maybe this is Tolkien himself liking this
labour best of all, and accounting it the greatest?

I think I'll add "greatest" to that list of superlative terms (like
"mightiest") that Tolkien does seem to bandy around a lot. Not an awful
lot, but enough to be noticeable.

>> 8) Orome becomes aware of the Elves when he hears them singing. This
>> seems to be echoed by Finrod later, when he hears Men singing in
>> Ossiriand in Beleriand. Though of course the Avari were aware of Men
>> before Finrod was, and Melkor seems to have been aware of both Elves
>> and Men before the Valar were aware of the Elves, or the Elves of
>> Men.
>
> That's because Melkor, for all his many faults, managed to stay on the

> job.

What job was that? Since he seems to have discovered the Elves first,
why didn't he just kill all of them? OK, that would be a very short
mythology, but Melkor obviously wants to take this new life and pervert
it towards his own ends. This seems to tell us a lot about Melkor. The
Elves were something new and strange to him, as well as to the other
Valar. And the same thing with Men. The tidings of their awaking was
news enough for he himself to come forth from Angband.

<snip>

>> 13) Is the wondering of the Elves, through long years, in any way
>> inspired by the wonderings of the tribes of Israel in the Bible?
>
> I wonder. :-)

OK, maybe the wandering of the tribes of Men that made it into Beleriand
might be a better model! :-)

Christopher Kreuzer

unread,
Dec 28, 2005, 7:56:57 AM12/28/05
to
R. Dan Henry <danh...@inreach.com> wrote:

[Varda's stars]

> So it does include Mars. Red, red Mars.

<snip>

> "That red star there, it was made with silvery light. And, uh, Varda
> cut herself making that one, so it's a little bloody."

ROTFL!

Christopher Kreuzer

unread,
Dec 28, 2005, 8:02:43 AM12/28/05
to
R. Dan Henry <danh...@inreach.com> wrote:

<snip>

> And what's with the whole "why don't we just let Melkor run all over
> Middle-earth and have every chance to spoil things for the Children
> until they actually show up and then we'll confront him when the
> Firstborn are possible collateral damage, instead of getting the
> earthshaking conflict out of the way before they're here" policy of
> the Valar?

I think the point is, as I am slowly coming to realise, that the
Children didn't "arrive", but were there, asleep, from the beginning. So
the earthshaking conflict might damage them. Which still doesn't explain
the earlier earthshaking conflicts not damaging them. But waiting until
the Elves were here is simple: the Valar were then able to place a guard
over Cuivienen during the earthshaking conflict (and let Men take care
of themselves, asleep as they are).

Anyway, did this issue really come across in your first reading? I don't
remember thinking this the first few times I read /The Silmarillion/
(though I think I was trying very hard to remember all the names). It
was only later that it was like: "hang on a minute, could things have
been done differently?"

I think it all ties back into Tolkien's theology. It is like a moral
story here. Do things for the right reason, rather than talk yourself
into doing what you want to do. I think this whole "Elves being summoned
to Valinor" bit comes very close to this:

"...if ever in their dealings with Elves and Men the Ainur have


endeavoured to force them when they would not be guided, seldom has this
turned to good, howsoever good the intent." (Of the Beginning of Days)

It seems plain, from the reaction of the Avari and Teleri, that the
Valar didn't handle the whole issue that well, but maybe the
alternatives would have been worse? They couldn't know for sure. I am
actually impressed with the way the Valar, once they had summoned the
Elves, let them determine their own fate (staying behind, dawdling,
going ahead faster).

I would definitely have been a bad idea to force Avari or Sindar to go
to Valinor before they were ready. Imagine Eol in Valinor!

R. Dan Henry

unread,
Dec 28, 2005, 6:40:17 PM12/28/05
to
On Wed, 28 Dec 2005 13:02:43 GMT, "Christopher Kreuzer"
<spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> wrote:

>R. Dan Henry <danh...@inreach.com> wrote:
>
><snip>
>
>> And what's with the whole "why don't we just let Melkor run all over
>> Middle-earth and have every chance to spoil things for the Children
>> until they actually show up and then we'll confront him when the
>> Firstborn are possible collateral damage, instead of getting the
>> earthshaking conflict out of the way before they're here" policy of
>> the Valar?
>
>I think the point is, as I am slowly coming to realise, that the
>Children didn't "arrive", but were there, asleep, from the beginning. So
>the earthshaking conflict might damage them. Which still doesn't explain
>the earlier earthshaking conflicts not damaging them. But waiting until
>the Elves were here is simple: the Valar were then able to place a guard
>over Cuivienen during the earthshaking conflict (and let Men take care
>of themselves, asleep as they are).

Well, that lets us know how we rate!

Doesn't explain why they didn't make an effort to find them, then.

>Anyway, did this issue really come across in your first reading? I don't
>remember thinking this the first few times I read /The Silmarillion/
>(though I think I was trying very hard to remember all the names). It
>was only later that it was like: "hang on a minute, could things have
>been done differently?"

I think I've always found the Valar a little... ineffective.

>I would definitely have been a bad idea to force Avari or Sindar to go
>to Valinor before they were ready. Imagine Eol in Valinor!

I certainly don't think they should have *forced* them to go to Valinor.
I'm saying they should have remembered that the whole world was supposed
to be in their care, instead of most of them hanging out in their little
private garden while Melkor ran the rest of the world to hell.

R. Dan Henry

unread,
Dec 28, 2005, 6:40:19 PM12/28/05
to
On Wed, 28 Dec 2005 12:45:07 GMT, "Christopher Kreuzer"
<spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> wrote:

>R. Dan Henry <danh...@inreach.com> wrote:
>> On Thu, 08 Dec 2005 12:35:39 GMT, "Christopher Kreuzer"
>> <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> wrote:

>>> 7) "...[Varda] began a great labour, greatest of all the works of the
>>> Valar since their coming into Arda."
>>>
>>> So Varda's creation of the stars is considered greater than the
>>> creation of the Lamps or the Trees?
>>
>> Which lasted? Anyway, it's subjective what counts as "greatest labor",
>> so it's a term that can be thrown about a bit. The scribe who recorded
>> this bit liked the stars best. Possibly because the tales were written
>> down by those who hadn't actually seen the Trees (and certainly not
>> the Lamps).
>
>I'd agree with the "Elves like stars, hence Elvish scribes call it
>greatest labour", bit. But maybe this is Tolkien himself liking this
>labour best of all, and accounting it the greatest?

Again, those would be the only ones he'd actually seen.

>I think I'll add "greatest" to that list of superlative terms (like
>"mightiest") that Tolkien does seem to bandy around a lot. Not an awful
>lot, but enough to be noticeable.

Well, it's a fairly generic superlative.

>>> 8) Orome becomes aware of the Elves when he hears them singing. This
>>> seems to be echoed by Finrod later, when he hears Men singing in
>>> Ossiriand in Beleriand. Though of course the Avari were aware of Men
>>> before Finrod was, and Melkor seems to have been aware of both Elves
>>> and Men before the Valar were aware of the Elves, or the Elves of
>>> Men.
>>
>> That's because Melkor, for all his many faults, managed to stay on the
>> job.
>
>What job was that?

His self-appointed job of reworking the world to his own tastes.

>Since he seems to have discovered the Elves first,
>why didn't he just kill all of them?

Evidently, he wasn't entirely nihilistic yet and hoped to twist them to
his own ends (a far better slap in the face for Eru and Valar than just
killing them if he succeeds, even looked at purely from the spiteful
point of view -- and it isn't clear he doesn't have positive, if
perverse, goals of his own still at this point). If Orcs were made from
Elves, he succeeded in part, and this gets credited as his vilest deed,
even before destroying the Lamps, or the Trees, or playing gangsta rap
in the Timeless Halls.

If nothing else, Men were coming later, and studying the First Born
might give some clues to dealing with the Second Born.

>>> 13) Is the wondering of the Elves, through long years, in any way
>>> inspired by the wonderings of the tribes of Israel in the Bible?
>>
>> I wonder. :-)
>
>OK, maybe the wandering of the tribes of Men that made it into Beleriand
>might be a better model! :-)

Actually, I was just remarking on the consistent typo.

Troels Forchhammer

unread,
Dec 30, 2005, 7:04:33 AM12/30/05
to
In message <news:JMtqf.13073$iz3....@text.news.blueyonder.co.uk>

"Christopher Kreuzer" <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> enriched us with:
>
> Troels Forchhammer <Tro...@ThisIsFake.invalid> wrote:
>>
>> In message
>> <news:_S8qf.12554$iz3....@text.news.blueyonder.co.uk>
>> "Christopher Kreuzer" <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> enriched us
>> with:
>>>

<snip>

> You know, I said that Varda only just finished making her stars in


> time, as the Elves awoke "as Varda ended her labours", but I'm
> actually thinking now that this is not mere chance. It does sound
> like certain 'conditions' have been filled and that now is the
> right moment for the Elves to awake.

I think we're still at this point very close to the Music, and things
are still being played out as foreordained (as forethought and
foreshown), so I agree that the timing here is predestined to match.
Whether there was any freedom for Varda to finish her new round of
star-kindling at some other time is a difficult question, I'd think.

I am not entirely sure of the role of foreknowledge (as that of the
Valar) and foresight (as e.g. Aragorn and Malbeth) in Tolkien's sub-
creation: When e.g. Malbeth prophecied the advent of Aragorn and his
journey along the Paths of the Dead, what was the causation status of
this -- both of the prophecy and the later event? We are also
introduced to the idea of things that are 'meant' to be, which
implies that there is an uncertainty involved (such as Frodo carrying
the Ring), is the same the case for Aragorn at the Stone of Erech?

Allowing foreknowledge and omniscience creates some problems with
respect both to causation and Free Will -- not insurmountable, but
questions that can be answered in many way and which answers may be
important for our understanding.

<snip>


>> So they were afraid of hurting the Elves if they started a war
>> without know where the Elves were dwelling, and they were
>> unwilling to begin searching for the Elves in earnest (we might
>> attribute that to the same fear of a confrontation with Melkor).
>
> As for not searching for the Elves, that is a very good point. We
> know that Melkor was _more_ watchful and seems to have encountered
> Elves and Men before the Valar did.

One might wonder if he managed to find them before they awoke?

> It almost seems that the Valar, the "Guardians of the World",
> are dwelling in bliss in Valinor, and only Yavanna and Orome
> (and presumably Ulmo, though it is not specifically stated in
> this chapter) bothered to visit Middle-earth.

Yes.

Ulmo is probably not very important in this context, as he was
visiting the waters (a pity he didn't take a look around Cuiviénen a
little earliler) and thus didn't chance encountering Melkor's
minions.

The descriptions of Yavanna's activities in Middle-earth seem quite
non-confrontational, and probably Melkor and his monsters were happy
to just leave her to her own devises.

Only Oromë was actually doing anything against Melkor, and I wonder
whether that was the reason why he was 'allowed' to find the Elves --
because he was hunting evil instead of just mourning good?

> But then again, we are also told that the Valar did not know
> everything, and that the Children specifically were something that
> they knew little about.

That would also apply to Melkor, I'd say.

> And also, a systematic search by the Valar of Middle-earth doesn't
> quite feel right!

'OK, you people! Listen up! You form a chain with five
miles between you, and make sure you do /not/ miss any
child of Ilúvatar! Understand?'
'Yes, Manwë.

No, that wouldn't feel right ;-)

<snip>

>>> What I wonder, is how they knew that Men would be safe... :-)
>>
>> Precisely, and when did the Children of Ilúvatar appear in
>> Middle- earth at all? I assume that they were inserted (or
>> created on the spot) by Eru Ilúvatar, but the descriptions
>> suggest that they spend at least some time in some kind of
>> dormant state before their 'awakening', but how long?
>
> I've never really thought about it. It depends how you interpret
> the phrase "sleep of Iluvatar" that they arose from.

I'd forgotten about that.

Part of my question relates to whether Men and Elves were
inserted/created into Middle-earth at the same time (and thus Men lay
dormant in ths 'sleep of Ilúvatar' longer than Elves), or whether
there was no relation between their insertions and their awakenings
(such that Men, for instance, could have been sleeping in their place
of awakening before there were any Elves at Cuiviénen at all --
though I'd consider that particular scenario very unlikely).

And if, in this version, the Valar could be sure that the Atani were
not sleeping anywhere when they finally did move against Melkor,
would Tolkien have had to change this aspect also when he was
transforming the myths?

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

And he that breaks a thing to find out what it is has left
the path of wisdom.
- Gandalf, /The Fellowship of the Ring/ (J.R.R. Tolkien)

R. Dan Henry

unread,
Dec 31, 2005, 2:15:16 AM12/31/05
to
On Fri, 30 Dec 2005 12:04:33 GMT, Troels Forchhammer
<Tro...@ThisIsFake.invalid> wrote:

>In message <news:JMtqf.13073$iz3....@text.news.blueyonder.co.uk>
>"Christopher Kreuzer" <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> enriched us with:

>> But then again, we are also told that the Valar did not know


>> everything, and that the Children specifically were something that
>> they knew little about.
>
>That would also apply to Melkor, I'd say.

It would apply to Melkor especially. "But Melkor spoke to them in secret
of Mortal Men... Little he knew yet concerning Men, for engrossed with
his own thought in the Music he had paid small heed to the Third Theme
of Iluvatar" -- "Of the Silmarils and the Unrest of the Noldor"

Melkor wasn't really listening. At least most of the Valar just had
trouble understanding what they heard.

Troels Forchhammer

unread,
Jan 3, 2006, 4:32:42 AM1/3/06
to
In message <news:6Jiqf.12914$iz3....@text.news.blueyonder.co.uk>

"Christopher Kreuzer" <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> enriched us with:
>

<snip>

> Well, you didn't make trouble this time! I've found the discussion
> I was thinking of, and it was Conrad and Russ. Here are some links

Thanks, Christopher!

That was the debate I was thinking of as well, and I admit to a similar
glazing at the time. I've had this post floating about for a while,
meaning to read the debate and see where my questions went, but I'm
afraid that's going to be a while yet before I find the time for it :(
(these guys go on for ever about it <G>)

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

Knowing what
thou knowest not
is in a sense
omniscience
- Piet Hein, /Omniscience/

Dirk Thierbach

unread,
Jan 5, 2006, 6:46:52 AM1/5/06
to
Christopher Kreuzer <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> wrote:

> Or is Tolkien just using a "rhetorical superlative" again? This
> term, "rhetorical superlative", was coined by Christopher Tolkien
> who has said that his father was given to this kind of "rhetorical
> superlative" [...]

BTW, in latin this use of superlative is called "elative", und
usually translated with "very ...", e.g. /altissimus/ "very high"
instead of "highest".

Maybe Tolkien was used to encounter them during his work on old sources,
so he used it himself.

- Dirk

Christopher Kreuzer

unread,
Jan 5, 2006, 5:29:22 PM1/5/06
to
Dirk Thierbach <dthie...@usenet.arcornews.de> wrote:
> Christopher Kreuzer <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> wrote:
>
>> Or is Tolkien just using a "rhetorical superlative" again? This
>> term, "rhetorical superlative", was coined by Christopher Tolkien
>> who has said that his father was given to this kind of "rhetorical
>> superlative" [...]
>
> BTW, in latin this use of superlative is called "elative", und
> usually translated with "very ...", e.g. /altissimus/ "very high"
> instead of "highest".

Hmm. Interesting. I looked into this "elative" thing a bit more, and I'm
not entirely sure if this is the same thing at all. I started with a
google definition search:

http://www.google.co.uk/search?hl=en&q=define%3A+elative&meta=

Though the three definitions don't seem to agree that closely (the first
one seems to be referring to the elative case, which may or may not be
something a bit different):

- "A case-function expressing the notion of 'motion away from'."
- "a word or expression added to a proposition or grammatical unit to
emphasize or indicate a greater degree of something. Example: This
worker helped people more abundantly than the others did."
- "The Elative is a stage of gradation in the Semitic languages that can
be used both for a global maximum (see superlative) and for comparison
(see comparative)."

Following that last definition, we get:

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

"Mention should be made also of the elative, if not an actual separate
inflection but the intensified degree of adverbs and adjective; e.g. "I
am the greatest", or "she is most beautiful". Intensification in these
cases means "really great" or "very beautiful indeed", and is usually
used without relating it to other persons, things or entities which a
normal superlative does."

I then thought of doing a search for "rhetorical superlative". You get
one guess as to what the first hit was! Yes, a web-feed of this Usenet
discussion thread! :-) [There were only two other examples, both on
discussion boards, one talking about evil dictators, the other talking
about fantasy American football.]

But I'm not quite sure how all this relates back to the original
examples. The main one was the Reader's Companion [Hammond and Scull]
comment on the "last living memory of the Elder Days" bit in the
prologue to LotR [RC:45].

That example in full:

"It is said that Celeborn went to dwell there after the departure of
Galadriel; but there is no record of the day when at last he sought the
Grey Havens, and with him went the last living memory of the Elder Days
in Middle-earth." (Prologue, LotR)

I would be tempted to call this a typical _flourish_ used by Tolkien to
end a story, like the way he ends Quenta Silmarillion, and Akallabeth,
and others of his tales. Sometimes the superlatives are literal (at the
end of QS, he literally means that dark fruit will sprout ever and anon
until the latest of days), sometimes they are rhetorical (the 'last'
beaches at the end of Akallabeth could be said to be literal, but the
intended effect is the key point, making this something more symbolic,
more like a rhetorical superlative).

Maybe defining rhetorical and superlative separately will help:

RHETORICAL:

"concerned primarily with style or effect; effectively expressive" -
uhaweb.hartford.edu/BUCKBERRO/vocabulary2_22.html

[This to me seems to perfectly describe the intended effect of; "last
living memory of the Elder Days".]

SUPERLATIVE:

"the form of an adjective or adverb that shows that the object or event
it describes has a certain quality in a measure greater than any other
object or event being compared in the context. It often has only elative
force (eg very). Example: God lives in the highest heaven. Cf.
comparative and positive degree." -
www.biblecentre.net/nt/greek/alex/glo.htm

[Again, something about 'elative' - which is confusing me even more.
Though I think I am slowly beginning to understand the bit about
'elative' not comparing directly to others. For example, in saying "I am
the greatest!", you sometimes only mean that you are 'very grea't, not
literally that you are _the_ greatest - it is more a rhetorical effect
to impress others, rather than being a literal meaning. In the same way,
Celeborn being referred to as the "last living memory" may only be
saying that it was "very last" rather than _the_ last, if that makes any
sense.

The other examples I came up with (though they may be incorrect
examples, as that comment from Christopher Tolkien only referred to the
Celeborn bit, while hinting at many other, unstated, examples), were:

Treebeard as eldest.
Bombadil as eldest.

Some other examples of superlatives are:

- Luthien wearing the Nauglamir and Silmaril.
- The song of Luthien before Mandos.
- Melkor as greatest of Ainur.
- Varda's star-kindling as greatest work.
- Morgoth's cry of anguish when attacked by Ungoliant.
- Beleg being greatest in skill in Beleriand in Elder Days.

Which of these are rhetorical, and which are literal?

> Maybe Tolkien was used to encounter them during his work on old
> sources, so he used it himself.

He would probably have been aware of it, having learnt Greek and Latin
at school. He probably forgot more about grammar and cases and whatnot
than many people today (like me) will ever know.

Dirk Thierbach

unread,
Jan 6, 2006, 11:18:20 AM1/6/06
to
Christopher Kreuzer <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> wrote:

> "Mention should be made also of the elative, if not an actual separate
> inflection but the intensified degree of adverbs and adjective; e.g. "I
> am the greatest", or "she is most beautiful". Intensification in these
> cases means "really great" or "very beautiful indeed", and is usually
> used without relating it to other persons, things or entities which a
> normal superlative does."

The definition looks ok.

> But I'm not quite sure how all this relates back to the original
> examples.

I didn't know what examples you meant, but I was referring to things
like "oldest and fatherless" for Tom Bombadil, and "[Fangorn is] the
oldest living thing that still walks beneath the Sun upon this
Middle-earth.", and so on.

> The main one was the Reader's Companion [Hammond and Scull]
> comment on the "last living memory of the Elder Days" bit in the
> prologue to LotR [RC:45].

> "It is said that Celeborn went to dwell there after the departure of


> Galadriel; but there is no record of the day when at last he sought the
> Grey Havens, and with him went the last living memory of the Elder Days
> in Middle-earth." (Prologue, LotR)

Yes, that's probably a slightly different category, though related.

> Though I think I am slowly beginning to understand the bit about
> 'elative' not comparing directly to others. For example, in saying "I am
> the greatest!", you sometimes only mean that you are 'very great', not
> literally that you are _the_ greatest - it is more a rhetorical effect
> to impress others, rather than being a literal meaning.

Exactly.

> The other examples I came up with (though they may be incorrect
> examples, as that comment from Christopher Tolkien only referred to the
> Celeborn bit, while hinting at many other, unstated, examples), were:
>
> Treebeard as eldest.
> Bombadil as eldest.

See, you were thinking of them, too! :-)

> Some other examples of superlatives are:

> - Luthien wearing the Nauglamir and Silmaril.
> - The song of Luthien before Mandos.
> - Melkor as greatest of Ainur.
> - Varda's star-kindling as greatest work.
> - Morgoth's cry of anguish when attacked by Ungoliant.
> - Beleg being greatest in skill in Beleriand in Elder Days.

> Which of these are rhetorical, and which are literal?

All these "greatest" look like an elative.

- Dirk

Christopher Kreuzer

unread,
Jan 6, 2006, 5:59:07 PM1/6/06
to
Dirk Thierbach <dthie...@usenet.arcornews.de> wrote:
> Christopher Kreuzer <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> wrote:

<snip>

Thanks for helping me at least partly understand that elative stuff!

>> The other examples I came up with (though they may be incorrect
>> examples, as that comment from Christopher Tolkien only referred to
>> the Celeborn bit, while hinting at many other, unstated, examples),
>> were:
>>
>> Treebeard as eldest.
>> Bombadil as eldest.
>
> See, you were thinking of them, too! :-)

:-)

>> Some other examples of superlatives are:
>
>> - Luthien wearing the Nauglamir and Silmaril.
>> - The song of Luthien before Mandos.
>> - Melkor as greatest of Ainur.
>> - Varda's star-kindling as greatest work.
>> - Morgoth's cry of anguish when attacked by Ungoliant.
>> - Beleg being greatest in skill in Beleriand in Elder Days.
>
>> Which of these are rhetorical, and which are literal?
>
> All these "greatest" look like an elative.

So does that mean they were greatest or not?
Hmm. Does this mean I haven't really understood what elative means?

And what about these?

"The greatest host came last, and they are named the Teleri..."

"The host of Morgoth came over the northern hills where the height was
greatest and the watch least vigilant..."

"Greatest of all the mansions of the Dwarves was Khazad-dum..."

"...the Valar set them [the Lamps] upon high pillars, more lofty far
than are any mountains of the later days..."

"...Gondolin the great, city of seven names, whose fame and glory is
mightiest in song of all dwellings of the Elves in the Hither Lands."

"...he took upon himself the form of a werewolf, and made himself the
mightiest that had yet walked the world..."

Dirk Thierbach

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Jan 7, 2006, 5:13:43 PM1/7/06
to
Gregory Hernandez <greg...@earthlink.net> wrote:

> I wonder sometimes if there is anywhere any reference to just how
> big Middle Earth is and whther there are any other landmasses, etc.
> I'm going under the assumption that Middle Earth corresponds to
> "our" earth in size, since the orbits, moonrises and sunrises,
> etc. correspond to ours. I wonder therefore about how big the
> continent that we know from the stories is -- even if it's the size
> of Australia, that leaves a heckuva lot of Arda unexplorered.

One can extract some information from letter 293:

If Hobbiton and Rivendell are taken (as intended) to be at about the
latitude of Oxford, then Minas Tirith, 600 miles south, is at about
the latitude of Florence. The Mouths of Anduin and the ancient city of
Pelargir are at about the latitude of ancient Troy.

The east end of Beleriand on the SIL map fits with the west end on
the LotR map, so one probably make an estimation of at least those parts
we have maps for.

- Dirk

Dirk Thierbach

unread,
Jan 8, 2006, 5:05:08 AM1/8/06
to
Christopher Kreuzer <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> wrote:
> Dirk Thierbach <dthie...@usenet.arcornews.de> wrote:

>>> Some other examples of superlatives are:
>>
>>> - Luthien wearing the Nauglamir and Silmaril.
>>> - The song of Luthien before Mandos.
>>> - Melkor as greatest of Ainur.
>>> - Varda's star-kindling as greatest work.
>>> - Morgoth's cry of anguish when attacked by Ungoliant.
>>> - Beleg being greatest in skill in Beleriand in Elder Days.

>>> Which of these are rhetorical, and which are literal?

>> All these "greatest" look like an elative.

> So does that mean they were greatest or not?

How should one judge "greatest"? There's no linear scale of comparison.
"Beleg being greatest in skill" just means that he was famous for
his skill, i.e., he had a great amount of it. It doesn't mean that
there wasn't some particular thing that someone else couldn't do
better.

Same for Melkor.

And for Varda's star-kindling, again, that's probably her most famous
work, because it is visible to so many; but how should one compare
it's "greatness"?

> Hmm. Does this mean I haven't really understood what elative means?

Well, they are probably not the best examples to start with :-)

> And what about these?

> "The greatest host came last, and they are named the Teleri..."

Here the scope of the comparison is clear: Of all hosts which arrived,
the greatest, i.e. that of the Teleri, came last. That's a real
superlative, and not an elative.

> "The host of Morgoth came over the northern hills where the height was
> greatest and the watch least vigilant..."

Same thing.

> "Greatest of all the mansions of the Dwarves was Khazad-dum..."

Not so clear, because probably the number of "mansions of the Dwarves"
is limited, and Moria may have really been the biggest.

> "...the Valar set them [the Lamps] upon high pillars, more lofty far
> than are any mountains of the later days..."

Superlative.

> "...Gondolin the great, city of seven names, whose fame and glory is
> mightiest in song of all dwellings of the Elves in the Hither Lands."

More elative than superlative, IMO. (Notice the element of "boasting"?).
But not so clear; one could argue as for Moria above.

> "...he took upon himself the form of a werewolf, and made himself the
> mightiest that had yet walked the world..."

Also more elative than superlative. (Again, some form of boasting).
OTOH, the number of werewolves Sauron could be compared to is not so
large.

In some of those cases, it's not so easy to decide. You picked the
hard ones :-) The ones like "she was the most beautiful", etc. are
easier.

- Dirk

Christopher Kreuzer

unread,
Jan 8, 2006, 6:43:21 AM1/8/06
to
Dirk Thierbach <dthie...@usenet.arcornews.de> wrote:
> Christopher Kreuzer <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> wrote:
>> Dirk Thierbach <dthie...@usenet.arcornews.de> wrote:
>
>>>> Some other examples of superlatives are:
>>>
>>>> - Luthien wearing the Nauglamir and Silmaril.
>>>> - The song of Luthien before Mandos.
>>>> - Melkor as greatest of Ainur.
>>>> - Varda's star-kindling as greatest work.
>>>> - Morgoth's cry of anguish when attacked by Ungoliant.
>>>> - Beleg being greatest in skill in Beleriand in Elder Days.
>
>>>> Which of these are rhetorical, and which are literal?
>
>>> All these "greatest" look like an elative.
>
>> So does that mean they were greatest or not?
>
> How should one judge "greatest"? There's no linear scale of
> comparison. "Beleg being greatest in skill" just means that he was
> famous for his skill, i.e., he had a great amount of it. It doesn't
mean
> that there wasn't some particular thing that someone else couldn't do
> better.

I like your way of putting it there:

<X> being greatest in <y> just means that <X> was famous for <y>, i.e.,
<X> had a great amount of <y>.

> Same for Melkor.
>
> And for Varda's star-kindling, again, that's probably her most famous
> work, because it is visible to so many; but how should one compare
> it's "greatness"?
>
>> Hmm. Does this mean I haven't really understood what elative means?
>
> Well, they are probably not the best examples to start with :-)
>
>> And what about these?
>
>> "The greatest host came last, and they are named the Teleri..."
>
> Here the scope of the comparison is clear: Of all hosts which arrived,
> the greatest, i.e. that of the Teleri, came last. That's a real
> superlative, and not an elative.
>
>> "The host of Morgoth came over the northern hills where the height
>> was greatest and the watch least vigilant..."
>
> Same thing.
>
>> "Greatest of all the mansions of the Dwarves was Khazad-dum..."
>
> Not so clear, because probably the number of "mansions of the Dwarves"
> is limited, and Moria may have really been the biggest.
>
>> "...the Valar set them [the Lamps] upon high pillars, more lofty far
>> than are any mountains of the later days..."
>
> Superlative.

Not so sure about this. Because it is more clearly in the realm of true
myth, even for the Elves, it falls into the class of stories handed down
from of old, along with the scattering of superlatives that find their
way into such stories:

"This is a story of long ago, when everything was much bigger and better
than it is now..."

So I wouldn't call it a literal superlative, but more a literary, or
maybe even a mythopoeic superlative.

>> "...Gondolin the great, city of seven names, whose fame and glory is
>> mightiest in song of all dwellings of the Elves in the Hither Lands."
>
> More elative than superlative, IMO. (Notice the element of
> "boasting"?). But not so clear; one could argue as for Moria above.
>
>> "...he took upon himself the form of a werewolf, and made himself the
>> mightiest that had yet walked the world..."
>
> Also more elative than superlative. (Again, some form of boasting).
> OTOH, the number of werewolves Sauron could be compared to is not so
> large.
>
> In some of those cases, it's not so easy to decide. You picked the
> hard ones :-) The ones like "she was the most beautiful", etc. are
> easier.

I think the 'fame' and 'boasting' element you've identified is
important. Particularly for the Moria, Gondolin, Sauron as werewolf,
Varda's star-kindling, and the Luthien examples.

There is also an element of what I would call mythical grandstanding. No
true myths are complete without recourse to using the language of
grandeur and of an epic, both in time and space.

The one about Morgoth's cry echoing in Lammoth is a good example. Also
as an example of supernatural stories being used to explain natural
phenomena (a place where sound echoes). It is only natural to call it
the "greatest" cry ever heard.

You can probably classify examples of uses of superlatives by the effect
they are intended to produce: mythical, rhetorical, literal, elative,
boasting, and so on; or indeed combinations of several of these (some
may be near-synonyms in any case).

Does this sound a sensible way of understanding Tolkien's (or any
author's) use of superlatives? It might seem obvious, but the exact
meaning of the superlative is being modified by its context, and can't
and shouldn't be considered independently. Greatest, when used in the
context of Melkor, has a different meaning to when it is used in the
context of the hills around Gondolin. I don't mean the literal
dictionary definition of the word, but the meaning in context. Whatever
that means.

R. Dan Henry

unread,
Jan 12, 2006, 1:48:13 AM1/12/06
to
On Sun, 8 Jan 2006 11:05:08 +0100, Dirk Thierbach
<dthie...@usenet.arcornews.de> wrote:

>Christopher Kreuzer <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> wrote:

>> "...he took upon himself the form of a werewolf, and made himself the
>> mightiest that had yet walked the world..."
>
>Also more elative than superlative. (Again, some form of boasting).
>OTOH, the number of werewolves Sauron could be compared to is not so
>large.

In this case, it wouldn't make any sense at all if it wasn't literally
true. Sauron was trying to qualify for the "the mightiest wolf that
would ever walk the world" prophesy so he could kill Huan. He wouldn't
be thinking "biggish", he'd have to make it the biggest, baddest wolf
yet.

>In some of those cases, it's not so easy to decide. You picked the
>hard ones :-) The ones like "she was the most beautiful", etc. are
>easier.

Yes, given how specific the scope is in the description of Melian, it is
almost certainly a true superlative.

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