COTW: Of the Voyage of Earendil and the War of Wrath at last!

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Larry Swain

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Jan 5, 2007, 2:16:44 AM1/5/07
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And so we close the Silmarillion proper with the Voyage of Earendil and
the War of Wrath. After Tuor and Idril leave Middle Earth, Earendil
grows up and marries Elwing, and they rule over the elves living at the
mouth of the Sirion, mostly exiles and survivors of the Fall of Gondolin
and Doriath. Earendil and Cirdan became friends and Cirdan helped E.
build a ship, Vingilot, Sea-Foam. E. and and Elwing also have twin
sons, Elros and Elrond. E. has two things that drive him: to find his
parents if possible, and also if possible to repair the rift between the
Noldor and men of Middle Earth and the Valar in the West. And so he
spends most of his time sailing the sea and trodding on new lands.

The sons of Feanor discover after a time that Elwing lived and that she
had a Silmaril. They sent messengers in peace and made both peaceful
noises, and yet firm demands that the jewel be returned to them. Elwing
and her people refuse, for one thing being relunctant to give up the
jewel that Beren and Luthien won from the crown of Morgoth and paid so
dearly for. Further, Earendil was away and they did not wish to make
such a decision in his absence. And finally, times were beginning to be
good for the exiles and they credited their good fortunes to the
presence of the jewel. The sons of Feanor gathered their forces and
attacked. They routed their fellow elves again, though 2 of the 4
remaining sons of Feanor died. Maedhros captured Elros and Elrond and
took them hostage, and it was said that Elwing threw herself into the
sea. But Ulmo saw her and was moved, and he gave her the shape of a
swan, and she flew westward in search of her husband with the Silmaril
bound about her neck.

Maedhros grew to love the half-elven sons (who were more than
half-elven, but we shan't quibble), and they him, and so the boys grew.

Meanwhile, Earendil the Mariner had been long at sea and foiled by the
mists and shadows about Valinor, along with a contrary wind. But he was
having troubling dreams and so set sail for home, hoping the wind would
carry him quicly enough. ONe night as Earendil sailed east his sails
full of wind a large, beautful white swan with something about its neck
fell onto his deck. He picked it up and held it to his chest, and fell
asleep. When he awoke in the morning, it was his wife who lay in his
arms, exhausted, but alive and well with the Silmaril about her neck.
When she told Earendil all there was to tell, E. bound the jewel about
his brow and set sail for the West determined to ask the Valar's aid.
The power of the jewel was such that he sailed through the shadows and
fog and so came to the Blessed Realm.

He wished to go alone, but Elwing would share his fate. His companions
he ordered to remain on the ship lest they earn the wrath of the Valar,
on which he alone it should fall. So he and Elwing began to go inland.
E. asked Elwing to remain and wait while he continued, and as he went,
he found no one, for all were at festival. E. thought that some evil
had come to even the Blessed Realm and eventually turned to go when
Eonwe, Manwe's herald hailed him and brought him before the Valar.
There E. asked forgiveness for the Noldor and for men and begged the
Valar's help in defeating Morgoth and his evil.

The Valar considered. The chief problem however seemed to be what to do
about Earendil: half mortal and so should never have set foot on the
Blessed Realm, and half-elven, the Noldor forbidden to ever return.
Manwe's doom was that Earendil, his wife, and their sons could choose
which fate they would follow, moral or immortal, and that the Noldor
would be forgiven. The Valar then gathered their hosts, except the
Teleri who still remembered the Kin Slaying, but still used their ships
to carry the Valar and their elven army across the sea, and went up
against Morgoth in Angband.

E. gave his wife first choice and she chose to have the fate of her
people, and so E. though his heart was with men, chose the elven path
also. The Valar tooks E's companions from his ship and set them on the
sea in a small boat with a stiff wind from the west. Vingilot herself
they raised from the water and prepared her for another sea with a
wavering flame inside and her captain at the healm shone with the dust
of the Blessed Realm, the silmaril bound to his beow as he sailed the
heavens. lwing stayed on land in a white tower made for her. She became
like one of the sea birds,and was able to fly to meet her husband on his
voyages. The movement of Vingilot was seen by the people of Middle-earth
as a new star, and they called it Gil-estel (the Star of High Hope).

The Valar went to war in Middle Earth. To make this summary not quite
as long as the actual chapter, the end of it is that Morgoth lost. His
armies were decimated. The balrogs were destroyed or else ran and hid
themselves in the roots of the mountains. At the moment when victory
was in hand, Morgoth unleashed his last stroke: the dragons. But then
Earendil came sailing in Vingilot with birds and eagles and they
destroyed most of the dragons. Morgoth sued for peace. He received
shackles instead, and from the his crown they took the remaining 2
silmarils and made the crown into a collar. They took him and cast him
through the Door of Night beyond the Walls of the World and set a guard
on it where it is ever watched.

Such was the nature of this battle and the wrath of the Valar that the
land was changed. Much sunk into the sea, other low lands were raised
up, rivers were drowned or found new paths.

Eonwe took the 2 remaining Silmarils and called for the Noldor to return
to Valinor. The remaining sons of Feanor asked for the return of the
jewels. Eonwe replied that they had forfeited their claims on the
jewels by the evil deeds they had done in the fulfillment of their oath.
Maedhros and Morgil considered what to do: and Maedhros decided that
they should attempt to steal the jewels. With misgiving Morgil gave in,
for both were now weary of the oath, and yet could not utterly forsake
it. So they stole the jewels, and Eonwe forbade their deaths and let
them go with them. The jewels now burned them, and in agaon Maedhros
cast the Silmaril and himself into a fiery chasm of the earth. Morgil
cast the Silmaril he carried into the sea. But he wandered that sea
shore and sang until he was no more. And so the Silarmils find their
ultimate resting place until the all is unmade: the heavens, the earth,
and the sea. And so ends the tales of the First Age.

Discussion Points:

1. At the end of the previous chapter it is indicated that Tuor and
Idril made it to the Blessed Realm. In this chapter it is indicated
that Earendil is the first mortal to set foot there. If Tuor made it,
in spite of having thrown in his lot with the elves, wouldn't he be the
first?

2. Why do Elrond's children have the choice of kindreds, but Elros' do not?

3. Why did Eonwe let Morgil and Maedhros go without pursuit and so lose
the silmarils?

4. Why are the Valar unable to eradicate Morgoth's evil among elves and
men?

5. Did the Elves and Men of Middle Earth not take part in the War of
Wrath? Why not?

A few notes and interesting things:

Interesting that the Silmarils are taken at a festival and and the one
returns at the festival.

As is well known, Bilbo is cheeky enough to recite a poem in LOTR Many
Meetings about Earendel, the Song of Earendel. This poem is related to
the poem Errantry in A Tolkien Reader and I give them both here for some
comparison to each other and to the Silm. tale:

Song of Earendil

Eäärendil was a mariner
that tarried in Arvernien;
he built a boat of timber felled
in Nimbrethil to journey in;
her sails he wove of silver fair,
of silver were her lanterns made,
her prow was fashioned like a swan,
and light upon her banners laid.

In panoply of ancient kings,
in chained rings he armoured him;
his shining shield was scored with runes
to ward all wounds and harm from him;
his bow was made of dragon-horn,
his arrows shorn of ebony,
of silver was his habergeon,
his scabbard of chalcedony;
his sword of steel was valiant,
of adamant his helmet tall,
an eagle-plume upon his crest,
upon his breast an emerald.

Beneath the Moon and under star
he wandered far from northern strands,
bewildered on enchanted ways
beyond the days of mortal lands.
From gnashing of the Narrow Ice
where shadow lies on frozen hills,
from nether heats and burning waste
he turned in haste, and roving still
on starless waters far astray
at last he came to Night of Naught,
and passed, and never sight he saw
of shining shore nor light he sought.

The winds of wrath came driving him,
and blindly in the foam he fled
from west to east and errandless,
unheralded he homeward sped.

There flying Elwing came to him,
and flame was in the darkness lit;
more bright than light of diamond
the fire upon her carcanet.
The Silmaril she bound on him
and crowned him with the living light
and dauntless then with burning brow
he turned his prow; and in the night
from Otherworld beyond the Sea
there strong and free a storm arose,
a wind of power in Tarmenel;
by paths that seldom mortal goes
his boat it bore with biting breath
as might of death across the grey
and long-forsaken seas distressed:
from east to west he passed away.

Through Evernight he back was borne
on black and roaring waves that ran
o'er leagues unlit and foundered shores
that drowned before the Days began,
until he heard on strands of pearl
where ends the world the music long,
where ever-foaming billows roll
the yellow gold and jewels wan.

He saw the Mountain silent rise
where twilight lies upon the knees
of Valinor, and Eldamar
beheld afar beyond the seas.
A wanderer escaped from night
to haven white he came at last,
to Elvenhome the green and fair
where keen the air, where pale as glass
beneath the Hill of Ilmarin
a-glimmer in valley sheer
the lamplit towers of Tirion
are mirrored on the Shadowmere.

He tarried there from errantry,
and melodies they taught to him,
and sages old him marvels told,
and harps of gold they brought to him.
They clothed him then in elven-white,
and seven lights before him sent,
as through the Calacirian
to hidden land forlorn he went.
He came unto the timeless halls
where shining fall the countless years,
and endless reigns the Elder King
in Ilmarin on Mountain sheer;
and words unheard were spoken then
of folk of Men and Elven-kin.
Beyond the world were visions showed
forbid to those that dwell therein.

A ship then new they built for him
of mithril and of elven-glass
with shining prow; no shaven oar
nor sail she bore on silver mast:
the Silmaril as lantern light
and banner bright with living flame
to gleam thereon by Elbereth
herself was set, who thither came
and wings immortal made for him,
and laid on him undying doom,
to sail the shoreless skies and come
behind the Sun and light of Moon.

From Evereven's lofty hills
where softly silver fountains fall
his wings him bore, a wandering light,
beyond the mighty Mountain Wall.
From World's End then he turned away,
and yearned again to find afar
his home through shadows journeying,
and burning as an island star
on high above the mists he came,
a distant flame before the Sun,
a wonder ere the waking dawn
where grey the Norland waters run.

And over Middle-earth he passed
and heard at last the weeping sore
of women and of elven-maids
in Elder Days, in years of yore.
But on him mighty doom was laid,
till Moon should fade, an orbééd star
to pass, and tarry never more
on Hither Shores where mortals are;
for ever still a herald on
an errand that should never rest
to bear his shining lamp afar,
the Flammifer of Westernesse.

Errantry


There was a merry passenger,
a messenger, a mariner
he built a guilded gondola
to wander in, and had in her
a load of yellow oranges
and porridge for his provender;
he perfumed her with marjoram
and cardamon and lavender

He called the winds of argosies
with cargoes in to carry him
across the rivers seventeen
that lay between to tarry him.
He landed all in loneliness
where stonily the pebbles on
the running river Derrilyn
goes merrily forever on.
He journeyed then through meadow-lands
to Shadow-land that dreary lay,
and under hill and over hill
went roving still a weary way.

He sat and sang a melody,
his errantry a-tarrying;
he begged a pretty butterfly
that fluttered by to marry him.
She scorned him and she scoffed at him,
she laughed at him unpitying;
so long he studied wizardry
and sigaldry and smithying.

He wove a tissue airy-thin
to snare her in; to follow her
he made him beetle-leather wing
and feather wing of swallow hair.
He caught her in bewilderment
with filament of spider-thread;
he made her soft pavilions
of lilies, and a bridal bed
of flowers and of thistle-down
to nestle down and rest her in;
and silky webs of filmy white
and silver light he dressed her in.

He threaded gems in necklaces,
but recklessly she squandered them
and fell to bitter quarrelling;
then sorrowing he wandered on,
and there he left her withering,
as shivering he fled away;
with windy weather following
on swallow-wing he sped away.

He passed the archipelagoes
where yellow grows the marigold
where countless silver fountains are,
and mountains are of fairy-gold.
He took to war and foraying,
a-harrying beyond the sea,
and roaming over Belmarie
and Thellamie and Fantasie.

He made a shield and morion
of coral and of ivory,
a sword he made of emerald,
and terrible his rivalry
with elven-Knights of Aerie
and Faerie, with paladins
that golden-haired and shining-eyed
came riding by and challenged him.

Of crystal was his habergeon,
his scabbard of chalcedony;
with silver tipped at plenilune
his spear was hewn of ebony.
His javelins were of malachite
and stalactite - he brandished them,
and went and fought the dragon-flies
of Paradise, and vanquished them.

He battled with the Dumbledors
the Hummerhorns, and Honeybees,
and won the Golden Honeycomb;
and running home on sunny seas
in a ship of leaves and gossamer
with blossom for a canopy,
he sat and sang, and furbished up
and burnished up his panoply.

He tarried for a little while
in little isles that lonely lay,
and found there nought but blowing grass;
and so at last the only way
he took, and turned, and coming home
with honeycomb, to memory
his message came, and errand too!
In derring-do and glamoury
he had forgot them, journeying
and tournying, a wanderer.
So now he must depart again
and start again his gondola,
for ever still a messenger,
a passenger, a tarrier,
a-roving as a feather does,
a weather-driven mariner.

Note again the importance of love between husband and wife that we have
certainly seen before, Beren and Luthien being the primary examples.
But Elwing plays a rather significant role in the story and should not
be overlooked.

Linguistically, Earendel is a Quenya name and means "Lover of the Sea."
As is well known also, Tolkien borrowed the name from a line of Old
English poetry The first mention of Earendel in a poem by Tolkien dates
to 1914. The Old English poem Christ (Crist) by Cynewulf contains the
line: éala éarendel engla beorhtast / ofer middangeard monnum sended
which means "Hail Earendel, brightest of angels, sent over
Middle-earth to men." The poem identifies the "morning star" as John
the Baptist, herald of Christ, the Sol Invictus; astrologically the
morning star (and the evening star) are the planet Venus. Earendel
certainly fits the line. Angel of course means "messenger" in Greek and
here in the OE line, and Earendel was a messenger ot the Valar, and the
Valar set him in the heavens as a message to the peoples of Middle Earth.

Frodo echoes the OE line when he says in Cirith Ungol, Aiya Eärendil
Elenion Ancalima!, which is Quenya and translates as "Hail Earendel
brightest of stars!"

There were other forms of the name too, and this background I think
would have interested Tolkien. In Old Norse, also referring to the
stars, is Aurvindal, mentioned in the Prose Edda by Snorri Sturlson.
Thor in order to reward Gora for doctoring him carries Auvrindal her
husband in a basket out of Jotlunheim; one of A's toes stuck out of the
basket and was frozen. Thor snapped it off and cast it into the heavens
where it shone brightly. Venus is one of the popular identifications of
the star being referred to here in this story, though not the only choice.

In Lombardic was the name Auriwandalo, the name of an historical prince
of the kingdom, and in German was Orentil, is the eponymous hero of his
own poem that I confess I've not read. Saxo Grammaticus, names the
father of Hamlet (Amlethus) as Horvandilus, a Latinized version of the
name. All that is known of him is that he was a mariner, loved the sea,
and Jacob Polorny following Jacob Grimm thought the name associated with
Germanic words for dawn. Others associate it with words for waves and
the sea. There seems to be some confusion or conflation of a great
archer myth with a great mariner myth and there are many connections
with Odysseus and the Odyssey, who happens to be both a great mariner
and archer.

Tolkien in Letter 297 says: The most important name in this connexion is
Eärendil. This name is in fact (as is obvious) derived from A-S
éarendel. When first studying A-S professionally (1913 –) – I had done
so as a boyish hobby when supposed to be learning Greek and Latin – I
was struck by the great beauty of this word (or name), entirely coherent
with the normal style of A-S, but euphonic to a peculiar degree in that
pleasing but not 'delectable' language. Also its form strongly suggests
that it is in origin a proper name and not a common noun. This is borne
out by the obviously related forms in other Germanic languages; from
which amid the confusions and debasements of late traditions it at least
seems certain that it belonged to astronomical-myth, and was the name of
a star or star-group. To my mind the A-S uses(*) seem plainly to
indicate that it was a star presaging the dawn (at any rate in English
tradition): that is what we now call Venus: the morning-star as it may
be seen shining brilliantly in the dawn, before the actual rising of the
Sun. That is at any rate how I took it. Before 1914 I wrote a 'poem'
upon Earendel who launched his ship like a bright spark from the havens
of the Sun. I adopted him into my mythology – in which he became a prime
figure as a mariner, and eventually as a herald star, and a sign of hope
to men. Aiya Eärendil Elenion Ancalima 'hail Earendil brightest of
Stars' is derived at long remove from Éala Éarendel engla beorhtast. But
the name could not be adopted just like that: it had to be accommodated
to the Elvish linguistic situation, at the same time as a place for this
person was made in legend." And he adds in a footnote: *)Its earliest
recorded A-S form is earendil (oer-), later earendel, eorendel. Mostly
in glosses on jubar = leoma (A-S leoma = Lat. jubar; 'ray of light,
radiance -- ChW); also on aurora. But also in Blickling Homilies 163, se
niwa 'éorendel applied to St John the Baptist; and most notably Crist
104, éala! éarendel engla beorhtast ofer middangeard monnum sended.
Often supposed to refer to Christ (or Mary), but comparison with Bl.
Homs. suggests that it refers to the Baptist. The lines refer to a
herald, and divine messenger, clearly not the soðfæsta sunnan léoma =
Christ."

I found Jacob Grimm's discussion on the Net in Deutsches Mythologie at
Northvegr.org:
We have still remaining a somewhat rude poem, certainly founded on very
ancient material, about a king Orendel or Erentel, whom the appendix to
the Heldenbuch pronounces the first of all heroes that were ever born.
He suffers shipwreck on a voyage, takes shelter with a master fisherman
Eisen, (65) earns the seamless coat of his master, and afterwards wins
frau Breide, the fairest of women: king Eigel of Trier was his father's
name. The whole tissue of the fable puts one in mind of the Odyssey: the
shipwrecked man clings to the plank, digs himself a hole, holds a bough
before him; even the seamless coat may be compared to Ino's veil, and
the fisher to the swineherd, dame Breide's templars would be Penelope's
suitors, and angels are sent often, like Zeus's messengers. Yet many
things take a different turn, more in German fashion, and incidents are
added, such as the laying of a naked sword between the newly married
couple, which the Greek story knows nothing of. The hero's name is found
even in OHG. documents: Orendil, Meichelb. 61; Trad. fuld. 2, 24. 2, 109
(Schannat 308); Orendil a Bavarian count (an. 843 in. Eccard's Fr. or.
2, 367); a village Orendelsal, now Orendensall, in Hohenlohe, v. Haupts
zeitschr. 7, 558.---But the Edda has another myth, which was alluded to
in speaking of the stone in Thôrr's head. Grôa is busy conning her magic
spell, when Thôrr, to requite her for the approaching cure, imparts the
welcome news, that in coming from Iötunheim in the North he has carried
her husband th bold Örvandill in a basket on his back, and he is sure to
be home soon; he adds by the way of token, that Örvandil's toe had stuck
out of the basket and got frozen, he broke it off and flung it at the
sky, and made a star of it, which is called Örvandils-tâ. But Grôa in
her joy at the tidings forgot her spell, so the stone in the god's head
never got loose, Sn. 110-1. Grôa, the growing, the grass-green, is
equivalent to Breide, i.e., Berhta (p. 272) the bright, it is only
another part of his history that is related here: Örvandill must have
set out on his travels again, and on this second adventure forfeited the
toe which Thôrr set in the sky, though what he had to do with the god we
are not clearly told. Beyond a doubt, the name of the glittering
star-group is referred to, when AS. glosses render 'jubar' by earendel,
and a hymn to the virgin Mary in Cod. Exon. 7, 20 presents the following
passage:

''Eala Earendel, engla beorhtast,
ofer middangeard monnum sended,
and sôðfæsta sunnan leoma
torht ofer tunglas, þu tîda gehwane
of sylfum þe symle inlîhtes!
''

i.e., O jubar, angelorum splendidissime, super orbem terrarum hominibus
misse, radie vere solis, supra stellas lucide, qui omni tempore ex te
ipso luces! Mary or Christ is here addressed under the heathen name of
the constellation. I am only in doubt as to the right spelling and
interpretation of the word; an OHG. ôrentil implies AS. eárendel, and
the two demand ON. aurvendill, eyrvendill; but if we start with ON.
örvendill, then AS. earendel, OHG. erentil would seem preferable. The
latter part of the compound certainly contains entil = wentil. (66) The
first part should be either ôra, eáre (auris), or else ON. ör, gen.
örvar [[arrow]] (sagitta). Now, as there occurs in a tale in Saxo Gram.,
p. 48, a Horvendilus filius Gervendili, and in OHG. a name Kêrwentil
(Schm. 2, 334) and Gêrentil (Trad. fuld. 2, 106), and as geir (hasta)
agrees better with ör than with eyra (auris), the second interpretation
may command our assent;(67) a sight of the complete legend would explain
the reason of the name. I think Orentil's father deserves attention too:
Eigil is another old and obscure name, borne for instance by an abbot of
Fulda who died in 822 (Pertz 1, 95. 356. 2, 366. Trad. fuld. 1, 77-8.
122). In the Rhine-Moselle? country are the singular Eigelsteine,
Weisth. 2, 744 (see Suppl.). (68) In AS. we find the names Aegles burg
(Aylesbury), Aegles ford (Aylesford), Aegles þorp; but I shall come back
to Eigil presently. Possibly Orentil was the thundergod's companion in
expeditions against giants. Can the story of Orentil's wanderings
possibly be so old amongst us, that in Orentil and Eigil of Trier we are
to look for that Ulysses and Laertes whom Tacitus places on our Rhine
(p. 365)? The names shew nothing in common. (69)

As I put the finishing touches on this overlong bit, I note that William
has invoked Michael's name and so I include a link to one of MM's
articles on War of Wrath:
http://www.merp.com/essays/MichaelMartinez/michaelmartinezsuite101essay96

Ok, I'm done. Discuss.

William Cloud Hicklin

unread,
Jan 5, 2007, 12:09:47 PM1/5/07
to
On Fri, 05 Jan 2007 02:16:44 -0500, Larry Swain <thes...@operamail.com>
wrote:


>
> 1. At the end of the previous chapter it is indicated that Tuor and
> Idril made it to the Blessed Realm. In this chapter it is indicated
> that Earendil is the first mortal to set foot there. If Tuor made it,
> in spite of having thrown in his lot with the elves, wouldn't he be the
> first?

Tolkien was soft-hearted, just as with Bill the Pony? He does
chacteristically hedge with an "it is said" locution.

>
> 2. Why do Elrond's children have the choice of kindreds, but Elros' do
> not?

I get the impression that the Gift of Men is a one-way door. Tolkien
never "balances" it with an irrevocable "Gift of the Quendi." Of course,
from an external perspective, this position was rather forced on Tolkien
thanks to Aragorn-Arwen's intrusion into the mythos. I note that nothing
is said anywhere about Dior's status, but his marriage to Nimloth is never
pointed out as miscegenation; and it is at least firmly implied that
Elwing is immortal.

>
> 3. Why did Eonwe let Morgil and Maedhros go without pursuit and so lose
> the silmarils?

Maglor you mean? "Eonwe (Fionwe) would not permit the slaying of the sons
of Feanor." My guess is that Fionwe was wise enough to foresee the
outcome, and knew the Oath had to play itself out.


>
> 4. Why are the Valar unable to eradicate Morgoth's evil among elves and
> men?

"Yet the lies that Melkor...sowed in the hearts of Elves and men are a
seed that does not die and cannot be destroyed." This one is beyond the
power of the Valar. The Valar couldn't even cure the evil Melkor sowed
among the princes of the Noldor within Valinor. Of course, men Fell
offstage before they even appear in the legendarium. Arda Marred is
viewed as something irreparable (bar Eru's personal intervention). Tolkien
concluded by the late 50s at least that Melkor's evil will was dispersed
throughout the physical material of Arda: "the whole of Middle-earth was
Morgoth's Ring."

>
> 5. Did the Elves and Men of Middle Earth not take part in the War of
> Wrath? Why not?

??? "And such few as were left of the three houses of the Elf-friends,
fathers of Men, fought upon the part of the Valar; and they were avenged
in those days for [their slain heroes]. But a great part of the sons of
Men, whether of the people of Uldor or others new-come out of the east,
marched with the enemy." There is s parallel passage at the beginning of
Akallabeth.

As for the Elves: well, a line which CRT edited out reads "[Eonwe]
summoned unto him all Elves and Men from Hithlum unto the East." Elrond
was an eyewitness to the breaking of Thangorodrim, and since he was then
living with the surviving Eldar on Balar, that implies that those Elves
(few as they were) took part.


>
> Linguistically, Earendel is a Quenya name and means "Lover of the Sea."
> As is well known also, Tolkien borrowed the name from a line of Old
> English poetry The first mention of Earendel in a poem by

> Tolkien...[snip]

Thank you *very* much for this: not merely Crist and Tolkien's letter,
which most of us have read I'm guessing, but the long citation from Grimm,
which was new (I'm guessing) to most of us.


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

William Cloud Hicklin

unread,
Jan 5, 2007, 12:25:39 PM1/5/07
to
On Fri, 05 Jan 2007 12:09:47 -0500, William Cloud Hicklin
<icelof...@mindspring.com> wrote:

> 1. At the end of the previous chapter it is indicated that Tuor and
> Idril made it to the Blessed Realm. In this chapter it is indicated
> that Earendil is the first mortal to set foot there. If Tuor made it,
> in spite of having thrown in his lot with the elves, wouldn't he be the
> first?
> Tolkien was soft-hearted, just as with Bill the Pony? He does
> chacteristically hedge with an "it is said" locution.

Another thought: It's not implied that Tuor ever made it physically;
rather the converse. Perhaps Tuor and Idril were lost at sea and entered
Aman via Mandos?

William Cloud Hicklin

unread,
Jan 5, 2007, 12:28:50 PM1/5/07
to
On Fri, 05 Jan 2007 12:09:47 -0500, William Cloud Hicklin
<icelof...@mindspring.com> wrote:

> Elrond was an eyewitness to the breaking of Thangorodrim, and since he
> was then living with the surviving Eldar on Balar, that implies that
> those Elves (few as they were) took part.


Oy! I'm a dummy. Elrond of course was fostered by Maglor after the
attack on Sirion's mouth. But that then implies that the Feanorians, at
least, fought.

William Cloud Hicklin

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Jan 5, 2007, 12:33:58 PM1/5/07
to
Another oddity: Tolkien tells us that we know little about the march of
the Host of the Valar, because the Elves of Middle-earth didn't witness
it: but there's lots of material, especially in this chapter, which the
Exiles and the Sindar weren't party to, but which Pengolod or somebody
learned about later in Eressea. So why with regard to the March, only,
were the "tidings of these things they only learned long afterwards from
their kinsfolk in Aman" so minimal?

Glenn Holliday

unread,
Jan 5, 2007, 10:49:00 PM1/5/07
to
Larry Swain wrote:
> 3. Why did Eonwe let Morgil and Maedhros go without pursuit and so lose
> the silmarils?

Partly, I think, to resolve the ambiguity about the relationship of
the Valar to the Silmarils. Chasing the Sons of Feanor would have
made the Valar look like they also suffered the madness of the
Oath.

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

Steve Morrison

unread,
Jan 6, 2007, 12:27:16 AM1/6/07
to
William Cloud Hicklin wrote:
> On Fri, 05 Jan 2007 02:16:44 -0500, Larry Swain <thes...@operamail.com>
> wrote:
>
>>
>> 3. Why did Eonwe let Morgil and Maedhros go without pursuit and so
>> lose the silmarils?
>
> Maglor you mean? "Eonwe (Fionwe) would not permit the slaying of the
> sons of Feanor." My guess is that Fionwe was wise enough to foresee the
> outcome, and knew the Oath had to play itself out.

OTOH, this could explain why Morgil is spending so much effort
campaigning against the death penalty on rabt/aft! Morgil, don't
worry -- after all, the odds that you'll be arrested along with
Maedhros for the murder of the guards in a case of mistaken
identity, and then executed before Eönwë realizes the real culprit
was Maglor, are vanishingly small.

Morgil

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Jan 6, 2007, 1:33:18 AM1/6/07
to

It also explains why my credit card applications keep getting
rejected...

Morgil

Stan Brown

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Jan 6, 2007, 5:01:09 PM1/6/07
to
Fri, 05 Jan 2007 01:16:44 -0600 from Larry Swain
<thes...@operamail.com>:

> And so we close the Silmarillion proper with the Voyage of Earendil and
> the War of Wrath.

Thanks for posting this, Larry!

This is not my favorite chapter. It feels too abrupt, for one thing;
I would have liked to see more details about other things, as we had
in the debate between Maedhros and Maglor.

> Elwing threw herself into the
> sea. But Ulmo saw her and was moved, and he gave her the shape of a
> swan, and she flew westward in search of her husband with the Silmaril
> bound about her neck.

Did I miss something? My copy says "great white bird" -- I pictured a
tern or something similar, because I don't think swans fly over sea.


> Maedhros grew to love the half-elven sons (who were more than
> half-elven, but we shan't quibble), and they him, and so the boys grew.

I was going to quibble, but I think you're right. Eärendil was 1/2
Elf, having a full-Elf mother and a full-Man father. Dior was 1/2
human, 1/4 Maia, 1/4 Elf; I believe Mrs Dior was an Elf (do we have
confirmation?), so Elwing would be 1/4 human, 1/8 Maia, 5/8 Elf.
Since the average of 1/2 and 5/8 is 9/16, Elrond and Elros should be
referred to as "the 9/16-Elven". :-)

> Manwe's herald hailed him and brought him before the Valar.

Eönwë's words never fail to give me a thrill:
"Hail Eärendil, of mariners most renowned, the looked for that cometh
at unawares, the longed for that cometh beyond hope! Hail Eärendil,
bearer of light before the Sun and Moon! Splendour of the Children of
Earth, star in the darkness, jewel in the sunset, radiant in the
morning!"

> There E. asked forgiveness for the Noldor and for men and begged the
> Valar's help in defeating Morgoth and his evil.

E. was careful to ask pardon for the Noldor, but not for Men since
they had not rebelled against the Valar. He ashed fotr mercy and help
for both ELves and Men.

> The movement of Vingilot was seen by the people of Middle-earth
> as a new star, and they called it Gil-estel (the Star of High Hope).

Do I remember rightly, that Eärendil is the Morning Star, which we
call Venus?

> The Valar went to war in Middle Earth. To make this summary not quite
> as long as the actual chapter, the end of it is that Morgoth lost. His
> armies were decimated.

Much, much more than decimated, fortunately. :-) If 90% of the Orcs
and Balrogs and dragons were still at large , the Valar would have
considered the war a failure (and so would Elves and Men who had to
live in Middle-earth).

> Discussion Points:
>
> 1. At the end of the previous chapter it is indicated that Tuor and
> Idril made it to the Blessed Realm. In this chapter it is indicated
> that Earendil is the first mortal to set foot there. If Tuor made it,
> in spite of having thrown in his lot with the elves, wouldn't he be the
> first?

The last paragraph of the preceding chapter says that he "set sail
into ... the Wsst", not that he reached Valinor. It does say that "it
was sung that" he counted as an Elf, but this could have been done
after he died and his spirit appeared before Mandos.

> 2. Why do Elrond's children have the choice of kindreds, but Elros' do not?

The Gift of Men (which is mortality, to die and pass out of the
world) comes from Eru. The Valar are not permitted to take it away.
So once Elros chose to accept the Gift of Men, it belonged to all his
descendants, and the Valar could not take it away even if a mortal of
Elros' race wanted to give it up. On the other hand, in very limited
circumstances, Eru permitted the Valar to *give* the Gift of Men, and
that is how Lúthien, Elrond, and Elros were allowed to choose. Since
Elrond rejected the Gift of Men, he remained an Elf. His children
were born Elves but were allowed to accept the Gift as a special
matter of grace.

> 3. Why did Eonwe let Morgil and Maedhros go without pursuit and so lose
> the silmarils?

I don't see anything in the chapter that says he *decided* notto
pursue them. Did he actually know what they were doing till after
they had left the camp?



> 4. Why are the Valar unable to eradicate Morgoth's evil among elves and
> men?

"He that sows lies will not lack of a harvest."

More generally, remember that Morgoth spread his evil nature through
all the stuff of Arda. Every Elf and every Man has Morgoth's evil in
his physical body.

> The Old English poem Christ (Crist) by Cynewulf contains the
> line: éala éarendel engla beorhtast / ofer middangeard monnum sended
> which means "Hail Earendel, brightest of angels, sent over
> Middle-earth to men."

Eönwë's words upon first hailing Eärendil echo this too.


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

Prai Jei

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Jan 7, 2007, 6:56:55 AM1/7/07
to
Stan Brown (or somebody else of the same name) wrote thusly in message
<MPG.2009e6303...@news.individual.net>:

>> The Valar went to war in Middle Earth. To make this summary not quite
>> as long as the actual chapter, the end of it is that Morgoth lost. His
>> armies were decimated.
>
> Much, much more than decimated, fortunately. :-) If 90% of the Orcs
> and Balrogs and dragons were still at large , the Valar would have
> considered the war a failure (and so would Elves and Men who had to
> live in Middle-earth).

Unfortunately popular usage of the word "decimate" does not accord with its
ancient usage. Colloquially the word seems to imply 10% or less survival,
even to mean total wipeout with all etymological linkage to words for "ten"
forgotten.
--
Terms and conditions apply. Batteries not included. Subject to status.
Contains moderate language. Always read the label. Keep out of children.

Interchange the alphabetic letter groups to reply

Troels Forchhammer

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Jan 16, 2007, 5:36:55 PM1/16/07
to
In message <news:df2dnWp1BMrEZgDY...@rcn.net>
Larry Swain <thes...@operamail.com> spoke these staves:
>

I finally find the time to address this excellent post -- I am sorry
about the delay in my response. I shall most likely have to split my
respons into several posts, unless the composition of it shall take
up yet another week ;-)

> And so we close the Silmarillion proper with the Voyage of
> Earendil and the War of Wrath.

[...]

> And so he spends most of his time sailing the sea and trodding
> on new lands.

Reading CJRT's summary of his father's notes for this, never written,
lost tale, one can feel how this story, founded on one of the very
first writings to inspire Tolkien's mythopoeic works, the pre-war
(WWI) version of 'Errantry', 'The Voyage of Éarendel the Evening
Star' (discussed at length in Garth's /Tolkien and the Great War/ pp.
44 - 47) and which influence is summarized on p. 309:

Some of [/The Lord of the Rings'/] success may be
attributed to a sense of depth and detail unparallelled
in an imagined world: the result of a long germination
that began not in December 1937, when the first sentence
of this new story was written, but in 1914, with 'The
Voyage of Éarendel the Evening Star'; /The Lord of the
Rings/ was a part of the same tree that the Great War
spurred into growth.

The whole poem is given in LT2, but at this time my main point is
about the unfulfilled potential here. As Garth points out, the story
about Éarendel, the later Eärendil, is probably the very first
Tolkien wrote that belonged to the legendarium, but it was also one
tale that never got completed in any extensive form, despite the
promise of the notes for the lost tale showing the potential for a
very long tale.

A full discussion of the textual history of the tale of Eärendil's
voyages must include the various poems describing it -- something
I'll take up in another post. Here I will point out that in the early
versions: the Lost Tales (LT2), the sketch of the Mythology (SM) and
the first Quenta Noldorinwa, Q1 (SM), the projected story of
Eärendil's voyages matched quite well that of the old poem: he was to
tour Middle-earth in search for Elwing, before reaching Aman, where
he would not be the messenger to the Valar, but simply launch his
boat into the air, continuing his search for Elwing.

<snip>


> When she told Earendil all there was to tell, E. bound the jewel
> about his brow and set sail for the West determined to ask the
> Valar's aid.

This passage confuses me a bit, I admit. We hear that:

Great was the sorrow of Eärendil and Elwing for the
ruin of the havens of Sirion, and the captivity of their
sons, and they feared that they would be slain; but it
was not so.

So, Elwing and Eärendil /knew/ that their sons had been taken
captive, and feared that they would be slain, and the turned towards
the West anyway? I know that they are under a certain necessity here
-- there is something higher than their family at stake, but this
acquiescence to the fate of their boys still strikes me as odd.

There might, of course, be something of an explanation in the opening
sentence of the following paragraph, 'Yet Eärendil saw now no hope
left in the lands of Middle-earth, and he turned again in despair and
came not home'. If they believed that there was a chance that their
sons would be alive, then, surely, Eärendil would have seen some hope
left, so I expect that the statement that 'the feared that [the boys]
would be slain' has to be understood as Elwing and Eärendil being
certain of their death (quite possibly based on Elwing's experiences
and in particular the fates of her brothers).

> The power of the jewel was such that he sailed through the shadows
> and fog and so came to the Blessed Realm.

Through the 'Shadowy Seas' where lay the Enchanted Isles -- the
'Evernight' from Bilbo's song, I think.

> The Valar then gathered their hosts, except the Teleri who still
> remembered the Kin Slaying, but still used their ships to carry
> the Valar and their elven army across the sea, and went up against
> Morgoth in Angband.

I can understand why they would be holding a grudge against the
Noldor, even if there were almost none of the Kinslayers left it was,
after all, a mere five of our centuries since the misdeed, but could
they not have gone to save their kin -- those who stayed with Elwë
Singollo in Middle-earth, and whom Elwing Dior's Daughter could
represent. Refusing to help one's own kin because one might
accidentally end up helping also some evil-doers does, to me, seem to
carry the grudge a little too far.

<snip>

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

A learning experience is one of those things that says,
'You know that thing you just did? Don't do that.'
- Douglas Adams

Michael Urban

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Jan 17, 2007, 9:44:28 AM1/17/07
to
In article <df2dnWp1BMrEZgDY...@rcn.net>,

Larry Swain <thes...@operamail.com> wrote:
>
>In Lombardic was the name Auriwandalo, the name of an historical prince
>of the kingdom, and in German was Orentil, is the eponymous hero of his
>own poem that I confess I've not read. Saxo Grammaticus, names the
>father of Hamlet (Amlethus) as Horvandilus, a Latinized version of the
>name. All that is known of him is that he was a mariner, loved the sea,
>and Jacob Polorny following Jacob Grimm thought the name associated with
>Germanic words for dawn. Others associate it with words for waves and
>the sea. There seems to be some confusion or conflation of a great
>archer myth with a great mariner myth and there are many connections
>with Odysseus and the Odyssey, who happens to be both a great mariner
>and archer.

And so Earendil is related at length to Horvendile, the ubiquitous
demiurge in James Branch Cabell's 'Poictesme' cycle. The history
of names is a wond'rous thing.

Troels Forchhammer

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Jan 18, 2007, 3:59:03 PM1/18/07
to
in message <news:MPG.2009e6303...@news.individual.net>
Stan Brown <the_sta...@fastmail.fm> spoke these staves:
>
> Fri, 05 Jan 2007 01:16:44 -0600 from Larry Swain
> <thes...@operamail.com>:
>>

<snip>

>> Elwing threw herself into the
>> sea. But Ulmo saw her and was moved, and he gave her the shape
>> of a swan, and she flew westward in search of her husband with
>> the Silmaril bound about her neck.
>
> Did I miss something? My copy says "great white bird" -- I
> pictured a tern or something similar, because I don't think swans
> fly over sea.

This prompted me to go for a search of Elwing's feathered history ;)

There are, of course, lots of references to swans in connection with
the sea in Tolkien's writings -- Eärendil at one point makes a ship
called 'Swan-wing', and the haven of the Teleri is the Swan-haven
(Alqualondë), their ships the swan-ships (in the early versions), and
Tuor's emblem was a swan-wing (I get the impression that Tolkien
intended it to symbolize also Tuor's sea-longing), so, though I agree
in not considering swans a race of sea-birds (though they are known to
live in salt, or at least brackish, water, but, with the usual
reservations with respect to Wikipedia, it doesn't list swans as
seabirds[*]), it does seem as though Tolkien did use them in connection
to the sea.

[*] <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seabird>

That said, I am not sure if it applies to Elwing.

In LT2, V 'The Tale of Eärendel' (sic), outline C mentions that
'Elwing became a seabird', without any mention of species:

Elwing became a seabird. His grief is very great. His
garments and body shine like diamonds and his face is in
silver flame for the grief and ..........
He sets sail with Voronwë and dwells on the Isle of
Seabirds in the northern waters (not far from Falasquil) -
and there hopes that Elwing will return among the
seabirds, but she is seeking him wailing along all the
shores and especially among wreckage.

CJRT comments:
However, with the fate of Elwing B and C seem clearly to
part company: in B there is a simple reference to her
death, apparently associated with the curse of the
Nauglafring, and from the order in which the events are
set down it may be surmised that her death took place on
the journey to Tol Eressëa; C specifically refers to the
‘sinking’ of Elwing and the Nauglafring - but says that
Elwing became a seabird, an idea that survived (The
Silmarillion p. 247).

The only reference I have found to a specific race comes also from
LT2, scheme D of 'The Tale of Eärendel', where:

[Eärendel] learns of Elwing's foundering. He sitteth on
the Isle of Seabirds. Elwing as a seamew comes to him. He
sets sail over the margent of the world.

The next development was the 'Sketch of the Mythology', where CJRT
summarizes the developments of §17 thus:

In the old outlines Elwing was taken captive (as is to
be deduced, by Melko); there is no mention of her release
from captivity, and she next appears in references to the
sinking of her ship (on the way to Tol Eressëa) and the
loss of the Nauglafring; after which she becomes a seabird
to seek Eärendel. Eärendel returning from his long voyage
and finding the dwellings at Sirion's mouth sacked, goes
with Voronwë to the ruins of Gondolin, and in an isolated
note (II. 264, xv) he ‘goes even to the empty Halls of
Iron seeking Elwing’.
All this has disappeared in S, with the new story of
Elwing casting herself and the Nauglafring into the sea,
except that she still becomes a seabird (thus changed by
Ulmo) and flies to seek Eärendel about all the shores of
the world. The early outlines are then at variance: in C
it is said that Eärendel dwelt on the Isle of Seabirds and
hoped that Elwing would come to him, 'but she is seeking
him wailing along all the shores'—yet ‘he will find Elwing
at the Faring Forth’, while in the short outline E (II.
260) she came to him as a seamew on the Isle of Seabirds.
But in S Elwing is further mentioned only as being sought
by Eärendel when he sets sail again, until she reappears
at the end (§19) and is restored to Eärendel.
[SM, 'Commentary on the ‘Sketch of the Mythology’']

In the 1930s /Quenta Noldorinwa/ the ideas from the sketch are first
repeated:

And yet the sons of Fëanor gained not the Silmaril; for
Elwing cast the Nauglafring into the sea, whence it shall
not return until the End; and she leapt herself into the
waves, and took the form of a white sea-bird, and flew
away lamenting and seeking for Eärendel about all the
shores of the world.
[SM, 'The Quenta' §17 in QI, p. 150]

In the revised QII text appears finally the version we're used to from
the published /Silmarillion/:

But Ulmo bore her up and he gave unto her the likeness
of a great white bird, and upon her breast there shone as
a star the shining Silmaril, as she flew over the water to
seek Eärendel her beloved. And on a time of night Eärendel
at the helm saw her come towards him, [...]. And in the
morn with marvelling eyes he beheld his wife in her own
form beside him with her hair upon his face; and she
slept.
[SM, 'The Quenta' §17 in QII, p. 153]

This is not developed further in the later QS, and this is the
source for the published version.

We can never, of course, know why the specification of 'seamew' and
later of 'seabird' was abandoned -- it wasn't necessarily because
Tolkien wanted her to become of some other species, and in any case
there are a number of mews (or seagulls) to which the description of
'a great white bird' is very apt indeed, but finally there are also
other large, white (or 'white-ish') seabirds -- like albatrosses,
pelicans, terns etc.

>> Maedhros grew to love the half-elven sons (who were more than
>> half-elven, but we shan't quibble), and they him, and so the boys
>> grew.
>
> I was going to quibble, but I think you're right.

And adding to that that 'half-elven' received a very specific
meaning that applied specifically to Eärendil and Elwing and their
sons[#], we'd have to be careful about quibbling in any case ;-)

I think also that such terms, referring to someone of mixed descent
(regardless of the ingredients), are usually used imprecisely to
cover all mixes (the precision used in the Nazi designations of
Jewishness was, I believe, an anormality).

[#] I wonder about the further generations. Arwen and her brothers
were, naturally, also half-elven, but what about Elros' line? Wasn't
the term, as it developed[$], applied exclusively to those who
received the choice?

[$] As originally envisioned, the description in /The Hobbit/ seems
apt:
The master of the house was an elf-friend-one of those
people whose fathers came into the strange stories before
the beginning of History, the wars of the evil goblins and
the elves and the first men in the North. In those days of
our tale there were still some people who had both elves
and heroes of the North for ancestors, and Elrond the
master of the house was their chief.
[/The Hobbit/ ch. 3 'A Short Rest']

This does not, IMO, describe one who is counted an Elf -- otherwise the
application of 'elf-friend' would seem pointless. Elrond, in this
description, seems to me to be a Man who counted Elves among his
ancestors. This seems to me also the implication of the text in the
'Sketch of the Mythology':

Their son (Elrond) who is half-mortal and half-elfin,[%]
a child, was saved however by Maidros. When later the
Elves return to the West, bound by his mortal half he
elects to stay on earth. Through him the blood of Húrin[&]
(his great-uncle) and of the Elves is yet among Men, and
is seen yet in valour and in beauty and in poetry.
[%] This sentence was changed to read:
Their son (Elrond) who is part mortal and part
elfin and part of the race of Valar,
[&] Húrin struck out, and Huor and of Beren written above, together
with some illegible words. One might expect Through
him the blood of Huor and of Beren his
great-grandfathers, but the illegible words do not
seem to be these. (Húrin was in fact Elrond's
great-great-uncle.)
[SM, 'Sketch of the Mythology' §17 and commentary]

[...]


> Elrond and Elros should be referred to as "the 9/16-Elven". :-)

;-)

Or one-sixteenth-Maian

I wonder if they were called 'Peredain' by the Elves?

>> Manwe's herald hailed him and brought him before the Valar.
>
> Eönwë's words never fail to give me a thrill:

[...]

Indeed. I think that this particular passage, more than any
description of the ensuing War of Wrath and its aftermath, is /the/
eucatastrophe of the /Quenta Silmarillion/.

>> There E. asked forgiveness for the Noldor and for men and begged
>> the Valar's help in defeating Morgoth and his evil.
>
> E. was careful to ask pardon for the Noldor, but not for Men since
> they had not rebelled against the Valar. He ashed fotr mercy and
> help for both ELves and Men.

That's a good point:

Pardon he asked for the Noldor and pity for their great
sorrows, and mercy upon Men and Elves and succour in their
need. And his prayer was granted.

Eärendil was already attracted to the side of Men because of Tuor,
and on their behalf he asked for mercy and help (as well as for
/all/ Elves of Middle-earth), but only for the Noldor did he as for
pardon and pity.

>> The movement of Vingilot was seen by the people of
>> Middle-earth as a new star, and they called it Gil-estel
>> (the Star of High Hope).
>
> Do I remember rightly, that Eärendil is the Morning Star, which we
> call Venus?

Yup. That is the underlying assumption already in the 1914 poem `The
Voyage of Éarendel the Evening Star’ (and is implied also in the
title -- Venus is both the Evening Star and the Morning Star), and
it is stated explicitly that this was Tolkien's intention in letter
#297:

To my mind the A--S uses seem plainly to indicate that it

was a star presaging the dawn (at any rate in English
tradition) : that is what we now call Venus: the
morning-star as it may be seen shining brilliantly in the
dawn, before the actual rising of the Sun. That is at any
rate how I took it. Before 1914 I wrote a 'poem' upon
Earendel who launched his ship like a bright spark from
the havens of the Sun. I adopted him into my mythology

[/Letters/, #297 to 'Mr Rang' (drafts), August 1967]

<snip>

>> Discussion Points:
>>
>> 1. At the end of the previous chapter it is indicated that Tuor
>> and Idril made it to the Blessed Realm. In this chapter it is
>> indicated that Earendil is the first mortal to set foot there.
>> If Tuor made it, in spite of having thrown in his lot with the
>> elves, wouldn't he be the
>> first?
>
> The last paragraph of the preceding chapter says that he "set sail
> into ... the Wsst", not that he reached Valinor. It does say that
> "it was sung that" he counted as an Elf, but this could have been
> done after he died and his spirit appeared before Mandos.

In the QII version, where this first appears, it is clear that Tuor did
indeed reach Valinor in the conventional way:

In those days Tuor felt old age creep upon him, and ever
a longing for the deeps of the sea grew stronger in his
heart. Wherefore he built a great ship Eärámë, Eagle's
Pinion,[2] and with Idril he set sail into the sunset and
the West, and came no more into any tale or song.[3]
[3] Added here:
But Tuor alone of mortal Men was numbered among the elder
race, and joined with the Noldoli whom he loved, and in
after time dwelt still, or so it hath been said, [struck
out: in Tol Eressëa] ever upon his ship voyaging the seas
of Fairyland [> the Elven-lands], or resting a while in
the harbours of the Gnomes of Tol Eressëa; and his fate is
sundered from the fate of Men.
[SM, the Quenta §17 in QII]

>> 2. Why do Elrond's children have the choice of kindreds, but
>> Elros' do not?
>
> The Gift of Men (which is mortality, to die and pass out of the
> world) comes from Eru. The Valar are not permitted to take it
> away. So once Elros chose to accept the Gift of Men, it belonged
> to all his descendants, and the Valar could not take it away even
> if a mortal of Elros' race wanted to give it up. On the other
> hand, in very limited circumstances, Eru permitted the Valar to
> *give* the Gift of Men, and that is how Lúthien, Elrond, and Elros
> were allowed to choose. Since Elrond rejected the Gift of Men, he
> remained an Elf. His children were born Elves but were allowed to
> accept the Gift as a special matter of grace.

I basically agree with what you say, but I don't think that it fully
answers Larry's question. In these terms we might as why the
inheritability of the Gift of Men 'overrides' the inheritability of the
Choice.

In external logic, I suppose it makes some sense, at least -- otherwise
just about everybody these days would have the Choice (since the line
of Lúthien is foretold to never die out). Men are more prolific than
Elves, and with their short generations, the number of Peredhil with a
choice could soon become overwhelming. The Elves, on the other hand,
only got a single generation -- three children of Elrond -- before the
choice was removed as a practical reality (any children Elrond and
Celebrindal might conceive in Valinor would have no inclination to
choose mortality).

in message <news:op.tloxym1frwd1fl@emachine> "William Cloud Hicklin"
<icelof...@mindspring.com> opined:
::: I get the impression that the Gift of Men is a one-way door.

I guess there is little doubt about that part -- the problem, as I
understand it, is rather /why/ the Gift of Men is irrevocable not only
for the person who makes the choice, but for their issue as well.

::: Tolkien never "balances" it with an irrevocable "Gift of the
::: Quendi."

Unless you see their immortality within Arda, and their great artistic
(sub-creative) gifts as that.

::: Of course, from an external perspective, this position was rather

::: forced on Tolkien thanks to Aragorn-Arwen's intrusion into the
::: mythos.

That makes me curious as to the sequence of things here. Surely the
story of Elros and Númenor emerged before the story of Arwen and
Aragorn, so was the first assumption that the parents' choice would
affect their children as well, and the idea of Elrond's children having
a choice only emerging with the story of Aragorn and Arwen? Or is the
sequence completely different?

::: I note that nothing is said anywhere about Dior's status, but

::: his marriage to Nimloth is never pointed out as miscegenation;
::: and it is at least firmly implied that Elwing is immortal.

The status of Dior has been discussed before -- I seem to recall that
some posters held rather strong positions on the matter. The matter of
Elwing could be, and IIRC it was, argued to be a retroactive wording,
the tale being composed after her choice to be counted among the Eldar.

>> 3. Why did Eonwe let Morgil and Maedhros go without pursuit and
>> so lose the silmarils?
>
> I don't see anything in the chapter that says he *decided* not to
> pursue them. Did he actually know what they were doing till after
> they had left the camp?

It was certainly a deliberate decision that Eönwë made:

Then all the camp was raised against them, and they
prepared to die, defending themselves until the last. But
Eönwë would not permit the slaying of the sons of Fëanor;
and departing unfought they fled far away.

William's guess is that 'Fionwe was wise enough to foresee the
outcome, and knew the Oath had to play itself out', and I suppose
that that is part of it, but I also suspect that he did not want to
repeat the slaying of Elf by Elf[@], regardless of their sins, there
were people in the host of the Valar who were their kin.

[@] Eönwë's host was composed of Elves, it seems. We learn that the
Vanyar and the remaining Noldor marched 'beneath their white
banners' in the 'host of the Valar', and we also know that none of
the Valar actually marched with their host, but what about the
Maiar? Was Eönwë really the only Maia in the host, or is he merely
the only one we hear about? In the /Quenta Noldorinwa/, 'the sons of
the Valar' prepared for battle, and the Elves went with them,

>> 4. Why are the Valar unable to eradicate Morgoth's evil among
>> elves and men?
>
> "He that sows lies will not lack of a harvest."
>
> More generally, remember that Morgoth spread his evil nature
> through all the stuff of Arda. Every Elf and every Man has
> Morgoth's evil in his physical body.

Nicely explaining why sin enter through the flesh ;)

I agree, though, that the /hröa/ of Arda Marred entering into the
/hröa/ of the Children of Eru is largely responsible for the Eruhíni in
Middle-earth being all, to greater or less extent, themselves marred in
the spiritual sense. If the matter of the Blessed Realm is still
Unmarred, and if that is the matter of which the new body is build when
a dead Elf is re-housed, then this Elf would start in an Unmarred body,
which might change things drastically. This might also have
repercussions for our understanding of Glorfindel whom, though he of
course slowly would have contaminated his body, also would have arrived
in Middle-earth Unmarred.



>> The Old English poem Christ (Crist) by Cynewulf contains the
>> line: éala éarendel engla beorhtast / ofer middangeard monnum
>> sended which means "Hail Earendel, brightest of angels, sent
>> over Middle-earth to men."
>
> Eönwë's words upon first hailing Eärendil echo this too.

Good catch.

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

A common mistake people make when trying to design
something completely foolproof is to underestimate the
ingenuity of complete fools.
- Douglas Adams, /Mostly Harmless/

Christopher Kreuzer

unread,
Jan 18, 2007, 7:44:44 PM1/18/07
to
Troels Forchhammer wrote:
> Stan Brown <the_sta...@fastmail.fm> spoke these staves:
>> Larry Swain <thes...@operamail.com> wrote:

<snip>

>>> Elwing threw herself into the
>>> sea. But Ulmo saw her and was moved, and he gave her the shape
>>> of a swan, and she flew westward in search of her husband with
>>> the Silmaril bound about her neck.
>>
>> Did I miss something? My copy says "great white bird" -- I
>> pictured a tern or something similar, because I don't think swans
>> fly over sea.
>
> This prompted me to go for a search of Elwing's feathered history ;)

Nice search. It got me thinking more about swans in general in Tolkien's
works. Turns out that swans are a common motif in Tolkien's works.

> There are, of course, lots of references to swans in connection with
> the sea in Tolkien's writings -- Eärendil at one point makes a ship
> called 'Swan-wing'

Bilbo's song of Earendil says that the prow of his boat was "fashioned like
a swan".

> and the haven of the Teleri is the Swan-haven
> (Alqualondë), their ships the swan-ships (in the early versions)

I think they were swan-ships in the published version as well. Their ships
are certainly drawn across the sea from Tol Eressea to Aman by swans sent by
Osse:

"...when their ships were built he brought them as his parting gift many
strong-winged swans. Then the swans drew the white ships of the Teleri over
the windless sea; and thus at last and latest they came to Aman and the
shores of Eldamar." (Of Eldamar and the Princes of the Eldalie)

Still coastal waters, but definitely swans flying over the sea.

And if ships shaped like swans are a bit difficult to imagine, Tolkien helps
out with a stunning description in Lothlorien:

"They turned a sharp bend in the river, and there, sailing proudly down the
stream toward them, they saw a swan of great size. The water rippled on
either side of the white breast beneath its curving neck. Its beak shone
like burnished gold, and its eyes glinted like jet set in yellow stones; its
huge white wings were half lifted. A music came down the river as it drew
nearer; and suddenly they perceived that it was a ship, wrought and carved
with elven-skill in the likeness of a bird." (Farewell to Lorien)

> and Tuor's emblem was a swan-wing (I get the impression that Tolkien
> intended it to symbolize also Tuor's sea-longing)

Where is it said that Tuor's emblem was a swan-wing? Is that in Unfinished
Tales or HoME?

> so, though I agree in not considering swans a race of sea-birds [...]


> it does seem as though Tolkien did use them in connection to the sea.

Other examples being the seven swans sent by Ulmo to Tuor as a sign.

"...when the autumn came he saw seven great swans flying south, and he knew
them for a sign that he had tarried overlong, and he followed their flight
along the shores of the sea." (Of Tuor and the Fall of Gondolin)

(But Turgon's earlier messengers had failed, even though "they besought the
birds of the sea to guide them. But the seas were wild and wide, and shadow
and enchantment lay upon them; and Valinor was hidden. Therefore none of the
messengers of Turgon came into the West" (Of the Ruin of Beleriand and the
Fall of Fingolfin). Interestingly, this image of looking up and seeing swans
flying overhead is re-used in LotR - see further below).

Plus, there is Elwing's tower and her association with sea-birds, though
references to her use the word 'bird', not 'sea-bird' and not 'swan', but
first the quote that started all this off:

"Ulmo bore up Elwing out of the waves, and he gave her the likeness of a
great white bird"

Then later, Elwing's tower:

"...and thither at times all the sea-birds of the earth repaired. And it is
said that Elwing learned the tongues of birds, who herself had once worn
their shape; and they taught her the craft of flight, and her wings were of
white and silver-grey. And at times, when Earendil returning drew near again
to Arda, she would fly to meet him, even as she had flown long ago, when she
was rescued from the sea. Then the far-sighted among the Elves that dwelt in
the Lonely Isle would see her like a white bird, shining, rose-stained in
the sunset, as she soared in joy to greet the coming of Vingilot to haven."
(Of the Voyage of Earendil and the War of Wrath)

Compare this to Earendil marshalling the "great birds of heaven" in the War
of Wrath, and this description of the Eldar journeying to Numenor: "thence
at times the Firstborn still would come sailing to Numenor in oarless boats,
as white birds flying from the sunset." (Akallabeth)

There are references to swans, mews, and sea-birds in LotR as well.

Would you believe that Gandalf's fireworks included swans! :-) "a phalanx of
flying swans". I suspect that Gandalf's fireworks can all be linked to
events earlier or later in the history or the story (Gandalf himself, at one
point, is described by Gwaihir as "light as a swan's feather"). Certainly
some swans appear later in the story, as the Fellowship travel down the
Great River: "Once or twice the travellers heard the rush and whine of
swan-wings, and looking up they saw a great phalanx streaming along the
sky." (black swans, as well, not white ones...). Mayhaps Ulmo is telling
them they have tarried overlong in Lothlorien? :-) Were these swans from the
marshes around the Swanfleet river I wonder? "Far to the west in a haze lay
the meres and eyots through which it wound its way to the Greyflood: there
countless swans housed in a land of reeds." (seen by those returning through
Dunland after the War of the Ring).

The swan is the emblem of Dol Amroth, seen on their banners, and their
knights are called swan-knights. Also, from the Lay of Nimrodel (the part
sung by Legolas on the borders of Lothlorien), Amroth dives into the water
from his ship as "mew upon the wing", and then is seen "riding like a swan"
in the sea. The resemblence of this scenario to that of Elwing being borne
up as a white bird from the waves by Ulmo, is surely not coincidental,
except that Amroth, it seems, does not survive. Or does he? Hmm. Anyway,
this story of Amroth "riding like a swan" seems sufficient to explain the
emblem of Dol Amroth being a Swan-ship on the Sea, silver on blue.

So I think we can safely conclude that Tolkien used swans flying on the
coasts and swan-ships, and sea-going swans (at least once) in his stories. I
suppose swans are more beautiful, grander if you like, than seagulls, so it
kind of makes sense that way.

<snip>

Hmm. I though I'd better look up what swans are found on coasts, and whether
any migrate over open sea, and of course they do. Specifically, Whooper
Swans migrating from Iceland to the UK:

http://www.wwt.org.uk/swan/migration.asp

"Autumn migration begins in late September or October and the 800km crossing
from Iceland to Britain is probably the longest sea crossing undertaken by
any swan species." and "satellite-tracking studies have found that they
generally fly at levels needed for ground clearance, ranging from 100m over
the sea to 1300m over Icelandic glaciers."

So it _is_ possible to see swans flying over the open sea. Not sure if they
would land on the water though. I think migratory birds tend to fly across
open sea in one go without stopping. The sea is often a bit rougher than a
river or lake surface. So Amroth "riding like a swan" probably wasn't the
best idea! :-)

> The only reference I have found to a specific race comes also from
> LT2, scheme D of 'The Tale of Eärendel', where:
>
> [Eärendel] learns of Elwing's foundering. He sitteth on
> the Isle of Seabirds. Elwing as a seamew comes to him. He
> sets sail over the margent of the world.

There is the reference above to Amroth diving as "mew upon the wing", which
sounds like a plunge-diving type of sea-bird. What is the etymology of the
word 'mew' I wonder? I'm also reminded of the Mewlips, as in the poem of the
same name by Tolkien. It is not clear what they are, but they don't seem to
be birds.

http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=mew

Apparently the seagull meaning of 'mew' is from Proto-Germanic, leading to a
word in Old English: 'maew', and in Dutch we have 'meeuw'.

<snip>

>>> The Old English poem Christ (Crist) by Cynewulf contains the
>>> line: éala éarendel engla beorhtast / ofer middangeard monnum
>>> sended which means "Hail Earendel, brightest of angels, sent
>>> over Middle-earth to men."
>>
>> Eönwë's words upon first hailing Eärendil echo this too.
>
> Good catch.

Yes. Very good. I hadn't noticed that before.
Seems obvious now, of course! :-)

Christopher


Christopher Kreuzer

unread,
Jan 18, 2007, 7:52:50 PM1/18/07
to
>> Stan Brown <the_sta...@fastmail.fm> spoke these staves:
>>> Larry Swain <thes...@operamail.com> wrote:

<snip>

>>>> The Old English poem Christ (Crist) by Cynewulf contains the


>>>> line: éala éarendel engla beorhtast / ofer middangeard monnum
>>>> sended which means "Hail Earendel, brightest of angels, sent
>>>> over Middle-earth to men."
>>>
>>> Eönwë's words upon first hailing Eärendil echo this too.

Even if a film of /The Silmarillion/ is unlikely in our lifetimes, we can at
least imagine a far-sighted film-maker insisting that the script has Eonwe
cry out to Earendil in Old English, using the words from /Crist/. Wouldn't
that be something?

Christopher

Kristian Damm Jensen

unread,
Jan 19, 2007, 10:06:48 AM1/19/07
to
Troels Forchhammer wrote:
<snip>

> In the QII version, where this first appears, it is clear that Tuor
> did indeed reach Valinor in the conventional way:
>
> In those days Tuor felt old age creep upon him, and ever
> a longing for the deeps of the sea grew stronger in his
> heart. Wherefore he built a great ship Eärámë, Eagle's
> Pinion,[2] and with Idril he set sail into the sunset and
> the West, and came no more into any tale or song.[3]
> [3] Added here:
> But Tuor alone of mortal Men was numbered among the elder
> race, and joined with the Noldoli whom he loved, and in
> after time dwelt still, or so it hath been said, [struck
> out: in Tol Eressëa] ever upon his ship voyaging the seas
> of Fairyland [> the Elven-lands], or resting a while in
> the harbours of the Gnomes of Tol Eressëa; and his fate is
> sundered from the fate of Men.
> [SM, the Quenta §17 in QII]

Reading this, it suddenly struck me: To "feel old age creep upon" one, is a
very human trait. I can't envision elves get this feeling. Furthermore Tuor
wasn't that old, when he got that feeling. How then, could he be counted
among the elves? Would he then be eternally old?

<snip>

--
Venlig hilsen /Best regards
Kristian Damm Jensen


Troels Forchhammer

unread,
Jan 21, 2007, 8:13:42 AM1/21/07
to
In message <news:45b0e93c$0$937$edfa...@dread12.news.tele.dk>
"Kristian Damm Jensen" <kristi...@yahoo.dk> spoke these staves:

>
> Troels Forchhammer wrote:
> <snip>
>> In the QII version, where this first appears, it is clear that
>> Tuor did indeed reach Valinor in the conventional way:
>>
>> In those days Tuor felt old age creep upon him,
[...]

>> [SM, the Quenta §17 in QII]
>
> Reading this, it suddenly struck me: To "feel old age creep upon"
> one, is a very human trait. I can't envision elves get this
> feeling.

I'm inclined to agree, though I suppose that Elves in Middle-earth,
perhaps just before fading, might get a somewhat similar feeling, but
that's besides the point -- it would certainly not have happened to
anyone contemporary with Tuor's human life.

> Furthermore Tuor wasn't that old, when he got that feeling.

Fortunately ;)

> How then, could he be counted among the elves?

I think that the feeling disappeared once his fate was transformed,
since old age would then definitely not creep in. Most likely his
physical body would remain as it were (I don't think the shape of his
ears was changed <GG>), but with renewed vigour.

> Would he then be eternally old?

Nah -- a man of his best age, ageing /very/ slowly (at the rate of
Arda itself).

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

For animals, the entire universe has been neatly divided
into things to (a) mate with, (b) eat, (c) run away from,
and (d) rocks.
- /Equal Rites/ (Terry Pratchett)

Troels Forchhammer

unread,
Jan 21, 2007, 6:11:05 PM1/21/07
to
In message <news:0wUrh.33359$k74....@text.news.blueyonder.co.uk>
"Christopher Kreuzer" <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> spoke these
staves:
>
> Troels Forchhammer wrote:
>>
>> Stan Brown <the_sta...@fastmail.fm> spoke these staves:
>>> Larry Swain <thes...@operamail.com> wrote:

<snip>

> Nice search. It got me thinking more about swans in general in


> Tolkien's works. Turns out that swans are a common motif in
> Tolkien's works.

Indeed.

> Bilbo's song of Earendil says that the prow of his boat was
> "fashioned like a swan".

'that white upon the falas roam.'
[from the 'ultimate' version of the poem -- see below]

'falas', 'beach', 'shore' 'line of surf'.

<snip>

>> and Tuor's emblem was a swan-wing (I get the impression that
>> Tolkien intended it to symbolize also Tuor's sea-longing)
>
> Where is it said that Tuor's emblem was a swan-wing? Is that
> in Unfinished Tales or HoME?

BoLT 2:

Chapter III 'The Fall of Gondolin:

Upon a time the king caused his most cunning artificers
to fashion a suit of armour for Tuor as a great gift, and
it was made of Gnome-steel overlaid with silver; but his
helm was adorned with a device of metals and jewels like
to two swan-wings, one on either side, and a swan's wing
was wrought on his shield;
[shortly after Tuor came to Gondolin, p. 165 in my Del Rey paberback]

later in the chapter:

Then were the Gondothlim glad, and they made in after
days the Eagle a sign of their kindred in token of their
joy, and Idril bore it, but Eärendel loved rather the
Swan-wing of his father.
[just before Glorfindel fighting the Balrog, p. 194]

And in the commentary:
The southward-flying swans (seven, not three, in the
later Tuor) play essentially the same part in both
narratives, drawing Tuor to continue his journey; but the
emblem of the Swan was afterwards given a different
origin, as ‘the token of Annael and his foster-folk’, the
Grey-elves of Mithrim (later Tuor p. 25).
[p. 205]

>> The only reference I have found to a specific race comes also
>> from LT2, scheme D of 'The Tale of Eärendel', where:
>>
>> [Eärendel] learns of Elwing's foundering. He sitteth on
>> the Isle of Seabirds. Elwing as a seamew comes to him. He sets
>> sail over the margent of the world.
>
> There is the reference above to Amroth diving as "mew upon the
> wing", which sounds like a plunge-diving type of sea-bird.

Reading the RC, I found what H&S describe as 'the ultimate form of
the poem, the /Eärendillinwë/' in their commentary to Bilbo's song in
Rivendell (II,1). Apparently this had been lost when LotR went to the
printer and an earlier version was printed. In this, the final form,
Elwing's dive is described thus:

and Elwing from her fastness dim
then cast her in the waters wide,
but like a mew was swiftly borne,
uplifted o'er the roaring tide.
[RC, commentary to II,1 'Many Meetings' p. 211]

Judging by the commentary, this has also been published in /The
Treason of Isengard/ chapter 5. If this was the final form prior to
publication, but got lost before the publication, I suppose it would
stem from the latter half of the forties -- I don't know if someone
with TI could see if CJRT attempts to date this version?

In any case, it seems that Tolkien actually intended to publish a
version in which Elwing was turned into a mew -- that is at least
good enough for me, unless someone can come up with something to the
contrary.


> What is the etymology of the word 'mew' I wonder?

[...]


> Apparently the seagull meaning of 'mew' is from Proto-Germanic,
> leading to a word in Old English: 'maew', and in Dutch we have
> 'meeuw'.

And, I suppose, Danish "måge" ("må-" very much like in English 'mow'
as in mowing the lawn, "ge" with /very/ soft 'g').

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

Steve Morrison

unread,
Jan 21, 2007, 11:53:16 PM1/21/07
to
Troels Forchhammer wrote:

> Reading the RC, I found what H&S describe as 'the ultimate form of
> the poem, the /Eärendillinwë/' in their commentary to Bilbo's song in
> Rivendell (II,1). Apparently this had been lost when LotR went to the
> printer and an earlier version was printed. In this, the final form,
> Elwing's dive is described thus:
>
> and Elwing from her fastness dim
> then cast her in the waters wide,
> but like a mew was swiftly borne,
> uplifted o'er the roaring tide.
> [RC, commentary to II,1 'Many Meetings' p. 211]
>
> Judging by the commentary, this has also been published in /The
> Treason of Isengard/ chapter 5. If this was the final form prior to
> publication, but got lost before the publication, I suppose it would
> stem from the latter half of the forties -- I don't know if someone
> with TI could see if CJRT attempts to date this version?
>
> In any case, it seems that Tolkien actually intended to publish a
> version in which Elwing was turned into a mew -- that is at least
> good enough for me, unless someone can come up with something to the
> contrary.

Unfortunately, CJRT is uncertain of the date of the "final" version.
But the chapter of ToI you refer to, "Bilbo's Song at Rivendell",
goes on for over twenty pages tracing the history of "Errantry",
which went through many, many versions in the process of revision.
CJRT says, "No poem of my father's had so long and complex a history
as that which he named /Errantry/." IMO it's worth buying ToI for
this chapter alone. The very oldest complete version begins:

There was a merry passenger,

a messenger, an errander;
he took a tiny porringer
and oranges for provender;
he took a little grasshopper
and harnessed her to carry him;
he chased a little butterfly
that fluttered by, to marry him.

Other versions refer to the old story which had Eärendil slay
Ungoliant:

Ungoliant abiding there
in Spider-lair her thread entwined;
for endless years a gloom she spun
the Sun and Moon in web to wind.

His sword was like a flashing light
as flashing bright he smote with it;
he shore away her poisoned neb,
her noisome web he broke with it.

(I missed this last year when I was searching for citations for
someone's reference to the slaying of Ungoliant by Eärendil, and
also overlooked the fact that, according to Garth, this element was
present in the very first writings about Eärendil, from 1914!)

Incidentally, the language column "World Wide Words" recently had a
short article on the word "plenilune", which refers specifically to
Tolkien's use of it in "Errantry" and quotes from Letter #234! The
URL is http://www.worldwidewords.org/weirdwords/ww-ple1.htm

Troels Forchhammer

unread,
Jan 23, 2007, 3:40:46 AM1/23/07
to
in message <news:12r8gpv...@corp.supernews.com> Steve Morrison
<rim...@toast.net> wrote spoke these staves:
>
> Troels Forchhammer wrote:
>>
>> Reading the RC, I found what H&S describe as 'the ultimate form
>> of the poem, the /Eärendillinwë/'
[...]

>
> Unfortunately, CJRT is uncertain of the date of the "final"
> version.

Ah, OK. Thanks.

> But the chapter of ToI you refer to, "Bilbo's Song at Rivendell",

It got a whole chapter all to itself -- wonderful ;)

> goes on for over twenty pages tracing the history of "Errantry",
> which went through many, many versions in the process of revision.
> CJRT says, "No poem of my father's had so long and complex a
> history as that which he named /Errantry/." IMO it's worth buying
> ToI for this chapter alone.

I won't deny that it sounds tempting, but I've decided to wait with
the History of LotR volumes until I've got around to read a lot more
of the Tolkien books that I have already (I have, for instance, had
Carpenter's biography sitting on the shelf since last summer, and I
haven't even started yet).

Do any of the versions carry any trace of the early story of Eärendil
flying from the Moon and being burned by the Sun?

> The very oldest complete version begins:
>
> There was a merry passenger,
> a messenger, an errander;
> he took a tiny porringer
> and oranges for provender;
> he took a little grasshopper
> and harnessed her to carry him;
> he chased a little butterfly
> that fluttered by, to marry him.

This echoes strongly passages from the Errantry Larry cited (I
haven't got around to check if that is similar to the version printed
in /The Road Goes Ever On/). Of course there is a direct relation
between the two poems, so it is hardly surprising, though I do wonder
if Bilbo's song, at this point, was intended to be about Eärendil?

> Other versions refer to the old story which had Eärendil slay
> Ungoliant:

Another motif going back to early days -- this was a Lost Tale that
remained forever lost . . . :(

--
Troels Forchhammer


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

Physics is like sex. Sure, it may give some practical
results, but that's not why we do it.
- Richard Feynman

Odysseus

unread,
Jan 24, 2007, 5:07:09 AM1/24/07
to
In article <Xns98C16247...@131.228.6.99>,
Troels Forchhammer <Tro...@ThisIsFake.invalid> wrote:

<snip>


>
> > The very oldest complete version begins:
> >
> > There was a merry passenger,
> > a messenger, an errander;
> > he took a tiny porringer
> > and oranges for provender;
> > he took a little grasshopper
> > and harnessed her to carry him;
> > he chased a little butterfly
> > that fluttered by, to marry him.
>
> This echoes strongly passages from the Errantry Larry cited (I
> haven't got around to check if that is similar to the version printed
> in /The Road Goes Ever On/).

"There was a merry passenger, a messenger, a mariner;
he built a gilded gondola to wander in, and had in her


a load of yellow oranges and porridge for his provender;

he perfumed her with marjoram and cardamom and lavender.

"He called the winds of argosies with cargoes in to carry him
across the rivers seventeen that lay between to tarry him.
He landed all in loneliness where stonily the pebbles on

the running river Derrilyn go merrily for ever on.

"He journeyed then through meadowlands to Shadowland that dreary lay,


and under hill and over hill went roving still a weary way.
He sat and sang a melody, his errantry a-tarrying;
he begged a pretty butterfly that fluttered by to marry him.
She scorned him and she scoffed at him, she laughed at him unpitying;
so long he studied wizardry and sigaldry and smithying.

"He wove a tissue airy-thin to snare her in; to follow her

he made him beetle-leather wing and feather wing of swallow-hair.


He caught her in bewilderment with filament of spider-thread;
he made her soft pavilions of lilies, and a bridal bed

of flowers and of thistledown to nestle down and rest her in,
and silken webs of filmy white and silver light he dressed her in.

"He threaded gems in necklaces, but recklessly she squandered them

and fell to bitter quarrelling;-- then sorrowing he wandered on,


and there he left her withering, as shivering he fled away;
with windy weather following on swallow-wing he sped away.

He passed the archipelagoes where yellow grows the marigold,


where countless silver fountains are, and mountains are of fairy-gold.
He took to war and foraying, a-harrying beyond the sea,
and roaming over Belmarie and Thellamie and Fantasie.

"He made a shield and morion of coral and of ivory,
a sword he made of emerald, and terrible his rivalry

with elven knights of Aerie and Faerie, with paladins


that golden-haired and shining-eyed came riding by and challenged him.
Of crystal was his habergeon, his scabbard of chalcedony;
with silver tipped at plenilune his spear was hewn of ebony.

His javelins were of malachite and stalactite he brandished them,
and went and fought the dragonflies of Paradise, and vanquished them.

"He battled with the Dumbledors, the Hummerhorns, and Honeybees,--


and won the Golden Honeycomb; and running home on sunny seas

in ship of leaves and gossamer with blossom for a canopy,


he sat and sang, and furbished up and burnished up his panoply.

"He tarried for a little while in little isles that lonely lay,

and found there naught but blowing grass;-- and so at last the only way


he took, and turned, and coming home with honeycomb, to memory
his message came, and errand too! In derring-do and glamoury

he had forgot them, journeying and tourneying, a wanderer.


So now he must depart again and start again his gondola,
for ever still a messenger, a passenger, a tarrier,

a-roving as a feather does,-- a weather-driven mariner."

(_RGEO_, 2nd ed., 1978.)

--
Odysseus

Steve Morrison

unread,
Jan 24, 2007, 3:09:53 PM1/24/07
to
Larry Swain wrote:

>
> 4. Why are the Valar unable to eradicate Morgoth's evil among elves and
> men?

Because it is evil in the form of moral corruption ("the lies that
Melkor[...] sowed in the hearts of Elves and Men") and can't be
eradicated by force.

> I found Jacob Grimm's discussion on the Net in Deutsches Mythologie at
> Northvegr.org:

The precise URL is http://www.northvegr.org/lore/grimmst/015_11.php

Troels Forchhammer

unread,
Jan 25, 2007, 5:16:05 PM1/25/07
to
In message
<news:odysseus1479-at-BB...@news.telus.net>
Odysseus <odysseu...@yahoo-dot.com> spoke these staves:
>
> In article <Xns98C16247...@131.228.6.99>,
> Troels Forchhammer <Tro...@ThisIsFake.invalid> wrote:
>>
>> in message <news:12r8gpv...@corp.supernews.com>
>> Steve Morrison <rim...@toast.net> wrote spoke these staves:
>>>

The history of 'Errantry' and Bilbo's song in Rivendell:

>>> The very oldest complete version begins:

<snip>

>> This echoes strongly passages from the Errantry Larry cited (I
>> haven't got around to check if that is similar to the version
>> printed in /The Road Goes Ever On/).
>
> "There was a merry passenger, a messenger, a mariner;
> he built a gilded gondola to wander in, and had in her
> a load of yellow oranges and porridge for his provender;
> he perfumed her with marjoram and cardamom and lavender.

Thanks.

And to add to the picture, I think we should note also the earlier
Eärendel poem:

First the first version -- Garth dates it to the 24th of September
1914 at Phoenix Farm:

The Voyage of Éarendel the Evening Star

Éarendel sprang up from the Ocean's cup
In the gloom of the mid-world's rim;
From the door of Night as a ray of light
Leapt over the twilight brim, 4
And launching his bark like a silver spark
From the golden-fading sand
Down the sunlit breath of Day's fiery Death
He sped from Westerland. 8

He threaded his path o'er the aftermath
Of the glory of the Sun,
And went wandering far past many a star
In his gleaming galleon. 12
On the gathering tide of darkness ride
The argosies of the sky,
And spangle the night with their sails of light
As the Evening star goes by. 16

But unheeding he dips past these twinkling ships,
By his wandering spirit whirled
On an magic quest through the darkening West
Toward the margent of the world; 20
And he fares in haste o'er the jewelled waste
To the dusk from whence he came
With his heart afire with bright desire
And his face in silver flame. 24

For the Ship of the Moon from the East comes soon
From the Haven of the Sun,
Whose white gates gleam in the coming beam
Of the mighty silver one. 28
Lo! with bellying clouds as his vessel's shrouds
He weighs anchor down the dark,
And on shimmering oars leaves the skiey shores
In his argent-orbéd bark. 32

And Éarendel fled from that Shipman dread
Beyond the dark earth's pale,
Back under the rim of the Ocean dim,
And behind the world set sail; 36
And he heard the mirth of the folk of earth
And hearkened to their tears,
As the world dropped back in a cloudy wrack
On its journey down the years. 40

Then he glimmering passed to the starless vast
As an isléd lamp at sea,
And beyond the ken of mortal men
Set his lonely errantry, 44
Tracking the Sun in his galleon
And voyaging the skies
Till his splendour was shorn by the birth of Morn
And he died with the Dawn in his eyes. 48

This poem was made before there was anything else to Tolkien's
legendarium, but though nearly everything (except the name Éarendel/
Eärendil and his identification with Venus) was changed later, there
are elements that can be recognized from later versions. The Havens
of the Sun and the Moon and the Door of Night all made it into the
Lost Tales version of the legendarium, and of course the idea of the
Sun and the Moon sailing the firmament in each their own vessel
survived long.

And the last surviving version of this poem, 'the date of which
cannot be determined, though the handwriting shows it to be
substantially later than the original composition' (CJRT in LT2).


The Last Voyage of Eärendel

Eärendel arose where the shadow flows
At Ocean's silent brim;
Through the mouth of night as a ray of light
Where the shores are sheer and dim 4
He launched his bark like a silver spark
From the last and lonely sand;
Then on sunlit breath of day's fiery death
He sailed from Westerland. 8

He threaded his path o'er the aftermath
Of the splendour of the Sun,
And wandered far past many a star
In his gleaming galleon. 12
On the gathering tide of darkness ride
The argosies of the sky,
And spangle the night with their sails of light
As the streaming star goes by. 16

Unheeding he dips past these twinkling ships,
By his wayward spirit whirled
On an endless quest through the darkling West
O'er the margin of the world; 20
And he fares in haste o'er the jewelled waste
And the dusk from whence he came
With his heart afire with bright desire
And his face in silver flame. 24

The Ship of the Moon from the East comes soon
From the Haven of the Sun,
Whose white gates gleam in the coming beam
Of the mighty silver one. 28
Lo! with bellying clouds as his vessel's shrouds
He weighs anchor down the dark,
And on shimmering oars leaves the blazing shores
In his argent-timbered bark. 32

Then Éarendel fled from that Shipman dread
Beyond the dark earth's pale,
Back under the rim of the Ocean dim,
And behind the world set sail; 36
And he heard the mirth of the folk of earth
And the falling of their tears,
As the world dropped back in a cloudy wrack
On its journey down the years. 40

Then he glimmering passed to the starless vast
As an isléd lamp at sea,
And beyond the ken of mortal men
Set his lonely errantry, 44
Tracking the Sun in his galleon
Through the pathless firmament,
Till his light grew old in abysses cold
And his eager flame was spent. 48

To this should be added a couple of fragments from the notes given by
CJRT in LT2, V 'The Tale of Eärendel':

Reaches bar at margin of the world and sets sail on
oceans of the firmament in order to gaze over the Earth.
The Moon mariner chases him for his brightness and he dives
through the Door of Night. How he cannot now return to the
world or he will die.
[Outline C]

(xix) Eärendel ‘returns from the firmament ever and anon
with Voronwë to Kôr to see if the Magic Sun has been lit
and the fairies have come back- but the Moon drives him
back’.
[Loose note XIX]

The 'Lay of Eärendil' (in LB) never reach very far, and doesn't throw
any new light on the connection between the poems and the story
(though I think that the existence of even a beginning of a lay
supports my suspicion that the story of Eärendil was originally
intended to be of the same scope at least as the Narn, the story of
Beren and Lúthien and the Fall of Gondolin).

The 'Sketch of the Mythology' (SM) from about 1930 (originally 1926
with later revisions, 'in places very heavily') introduces Elrond as
the (only) son of Elwing and Eärendil, and concludes the story thus:

He comes to the magic isles, and to the Lonely Isle, and
at last to the Bay of Faërie. He climbs the hill of Côr,
and walks in the deserted ways of Tûn, and his raiment
becomes encrusted with the dust of diamonds and of jewels.
He dares not go further into Valinor. He builds a tower on
an isle in the northern seas, to which all the seabirds of
the world repair. He sails by the aid of their wings even
over the airs in search of Elwing, but is scorched by the
Sun, and hunted from the sky by the Moon, and for a long
while he wanders the sky as a fugitive star.

In the QI version of the Quenta Noldorinwa, the corresponding
paragraphs read:

Learning these things Eärendel was overcome with sorrow;
and with Bronweg he set sail once more in search of Elwing
and of Valinor. And it is told in the Lay of Eärendel that
he came at last unto the Magic Isles, and hardly escaped
their enchantment, and found again the Lonely Isle, and the
Shadowy Seas, and the Bay of Faërie on the borders of the
world. There he landed on the immortal shore alone of
living Men, and his feet clomb the marvellous hill of Côr;
and he walked in the deserted ways of Tûn, where the dust
upon his raiment and his shoes was a dust of diamonds and
gems. But he ventured not into Valinor. He came too late to
bring messages to the Elves, for the Elves had gone.[1]
He built a tower in the Northern Seas to which all the
sea-birds of the world might at times repair, and ever he
grieved for fair Elwing looking for her return to him. And
Wingelot was lifted on their wings and sailed now even in
the airs searching for Elwing; marvellous and magical was
that ship, a starlit flower in the sky. But the Sun
scorched it and the Moon hunted it in heaven, and long
Eärendel wandered over Earth, glimmering as a fugitive
star.
[1] At the foot of the page is written very quickly and
faintly in pencil:
Make Eärendel move the Gods. And it is said that
there were Men of Hithlum repentant of their evil in
that day, and that so were fulfilled Ulmo's words,
for by Eärendel's embassy and the aid of valiant Men
the Orcs and Balrogs were destroyed, yet not as
utterly as might have been.
At the top of the next page is written: Men turned the
[tide] (the last word is illegible).

And, following the directions in the note, in the QII version, we've
arrived at what is in essence the story we know from the published
/Silmarillion/.

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

History is the fiction we invent to persuade ourselves that
events are knowable and that life has order and direction.
That's why events are always reinterpreted when values
change. We need new versions of history to allow for our
current prejudices.
- Calvin, /Calvin and Hobbes/ (Bill Watterson)

Steve Morrison

unread,
Jan 25, 2007, 9:07:47 PM1/25/07
to
Troels Forchhammer wrote:

>Do any of the versions carry any trace of the early story of Eärendil
>flying from the Moon and being burned by the Sun?
>

I can't find any which do.

>>The very oldest complete version begins:
>>
>> There was a merry passenger,
>> a messenger, an errander;
>> he took a tiny porringer
>> and oranges for provender;
>> he took a little grasshopper
>> and harnessed her to carry him;
>> he chased a little butterfly
>> that fluttered by, to marry him.
>
>This echoes strongly passages from the Errantry Larry cited (I
>haven't got around to check if that is similar to the version printed
>in /The Road Goes Ever On/). Of course there is a direct relation
>between the two poems, so it is hardly surprising, though I do wonder
>if Bilbo's song, at this point, was intended to be about Eärendil?

No, this was pre-LotR, sometime in the early 1930's; it precedes
even the version which was published in /The Oxford Magazine/ in
1933. (JRRT calls this the "Authorized Version" in Letter #133; he
uses the term "Revised Version" for the "Errantry" which was printed
in /AoTB/. The version in /RGEO/ appears to be identical to the
"Revised Version" except in that the lines "[...]the pebbles
on / the running river Derrilyn / goes merrily for ever on" are
corrected to "[...]go merrily for ever on".

CJRT says that the "Rivendell version" consists of fifteen
manuscripts, in which the earlier ones begin with "There was a
merry messenger" or similar, but the later with "Earendel was a
mariner" (always using that spelling). The poems in the early group
have an opening stanza very similar to that in "Errantry", but the
rest of the poem is then far more like the "Eärendillinwë". One of
these is a manuscript written on the back of a letter dated 13
December 1944; the rest are typescripts which CJRT believes to be
later than the manuscript. He also believes (but can't be sure) that
there were several years between the last "merry messenger" version
and the first "Earendel was a mariner" version. He labels the
latter A through F, with C the closest to what was actually included
in /FotR/, and F the "final" version printed in /RC/. (CJRT also
admits that we can't be certain that JRRT didn't reject versions D
through F at some point, but considers it very unlikely.)

The /ToI/ chapter also quotes from a letter by JRRT to Donald Swann
(not included in /Letters/) in which JRRT says that "Errantry" was
meant to be recited with each stanza spoken more slowly than the
last, until the reciter reached the words "and errand too!"; then
the rest should be spoken very quickly, before returning to the
beginning. JRRT also says that the piece was influenced by something
called "D'ye ken the rhyme to porringer", but CJRT has no idea what
he was talking about (and Google is no help)!

RPN

unread,
Jan 25, 2007, 10:09:59 PM1/25/07
to

On Jan 25, 8:07 pm, Steve Morrison <rima...@toast.net> wrote:

> The /ToI/ chapter also quotes from a letter by JRRT to Donald Swann
> (not included in /Letters/) in which JRRT says that "Errantry" was
> meant to be recited with each stanza spoken more slowly than the
> last, until the reciter reached the words "and errand too!"; then
> the rest should be spoken very quickly, before returning to the
> beginning. JRRT also says that the piece was influenced by something
> called "D'ye ken the rhyme to porringer", but CJRT has no idea what
> he was talking about (and Google is no help)!


Perhaps a variant of this (quoted from *The Oxford Dictionary of
Nursery Rhymes*, ed. Iona and Peter Opie):

What is the rhyme for porringer?
What is the rhyme for porringer?
The king he had a daughter fair
And gave the Prince of Orange her.

(According to the Opies, "The seeming difficulty to the unenlightened
of finding a rhyme for the word porringer has since frequently
attracted attention, and may already have been a joke before the
Jacobite protest. . . . Money has been won and lost by those who,
boasting of their rhyming abilities, have been challenged with the
word.")

RPN

Steve Morrison

unread,
Jan 25, 2007, 11:06:28 PM1/25/07
to

That must be it! In the letter to Swann, JRRT said of the poem, "I
looked to see if it could be abbreviated; but its metrical scheme,
with its trisyllabic near-rhymes, makes this very difficult. It is
of course a piece of verbal acrobatics and metrical high-jinks[...]"
which obviously fits in with the allusion to a very difficult rhyme.

The original context was as follows:

The piece has had a curious history. It was begun very many years
ago, in an attempt to go on with the model that came unbidden into
my mind: the first six lines, in which, I guess, /D'ye ken the
rhyme to porringer/ had a part.

CJRT's footnote to the last sentence reads, "I cannot explain this
reference."

Dirk Thierbach

unread,
Jan 26, 2007, 5:48:50 AM1/26/07
to
Troels Forchhammer <Tro...@thisisfake.invalid> wrote:
> "Christopher Kreuzer" <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> spoke these

>> Nice search. It got me thinking more about swans in general in


>> Tolkien's works. Turns out that swans are a common motif in
>> Tolkien's works.

> Indeed.

OTOH, swans are a common motif in mythology and fairy-tales generally
(e.g. Zeus and Leda, Lohengrin, and lots of Black and White Swans in other
Irish and German tales).

>> What is the etymology of the word 'mew' I wonder?
> [...]
>> Apparently the seagull meaning of 'mew' is from Proto-Germanic,
>> leading to a word in Old English: 'maew', and in Dutch we have
>> 'meeuw'.

> And, I suppose, Danish "måge" ("må-" very much like in English 'mow'
> as in mowing the lawn, "ge" with /very/ soft 'g').

And German "Möwe". My etymological dictionary suggests that it is
onomatopoeic (and also gives some nordic and french variations).

- Dirk

Larry Swain

unread,
Jan 26, 2007, 8:43:47 AM1/26/07
to
Dirk Thierbach wrote:
> Troels Forchhammer <Tro...@thisisfake.invalid> wrote:
>
>>"Christopher Kreuzer" <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> spoke these
>
>
>>>Nice search. It got me thinking more about swans in general in
>>>Tolkien's works. Turns out that swans are a common motif in
>>>Tolkien's works.
>
>
>>Indeed.
>
>
> OTOH, swans are a common motif in mythology and fairy-tales generally
> (e.g. Zeus and Leda, Lohengrin, and lots of Black and White Swans in other
> Irish and German tales).


I've been refraining from replying, but will note quickly that an Old
English kenning used in Beowulf for "the sea" is "swan-road."

William Cloud Hicklin

unread,
Jan 26, 2007, 9:30:06 AM1/26/07
to
On Thu, 25 Jan 2007 23:06:28 -0500, Steve Morrison <rim...@toast.net>
wrote:

>
> That must be it! In the letter to Swann, JRRT said of the poem, "I
> looked to see if it could be abbreviated; but its metrical scheme,
> with its trisyllabic near-rhymes, makes this very difficult. It is
> of course a piece of verbal acrobatics and metrical high-jinks[...]"
> which obviously fits in with the allusion to a very difficult rhyme.
>
> The original context was as follows:
>
> The piece has had a curious history. It was begun very many years
> ago, in an attempt to go on with the model that came unbidden into
> my mind: the first six lines, in which, I guess, /D'ye ken the
> rhyme to porringer/ had a part.
>
> CJRT's footnote to the last sentence reads, "I cannot explain this
> reference."

But in the Foreword to The War of the Ring, CRT acknowledges readers who
had written him about the Jacobite doggerel.

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

Christopher Kreuzer

unread,
Jan 26, 2007, 9:01:21 PM1/26/07
to
William Cloud Hicklin wrote:
> On Thu, 25 Jan 2007 23:06:28 -0500, Steve Morrison <rim...@toast.net>
> wrote:
>>
>> That must be it! In the letter to Swann, JRRT said of the poem, "I
>> looked to see if it could be abbreviated; but its metrical scheme,
>> with its trisyllabic near-rhymes, makes this very difficult. It is
>> of course a piece of verbal acrobatics and metrical high-jinks[...]"
>> which obviously fits in with the allusion to a very difficult rhyme.
>>
>> The original context was as follows:
>>
>> The piece has had a curious history. It was begun very many years
>> ago, in an attempt to go on with the model that came unbidden into
>> my mind: the first six lines, in which, I guess, /D'ye ken the
>> rhyme to porringer/ had a part.
>>
>> CJRT's footnote to the last sentence reads, "I cannot explain this
>> reference."
>
> But in the Foreword to The War of the Ring, CRT acknowledges readers
> who had written him about the Jacobite doggerel.

Oh. That means I can bin the suggestion to batter down CRT's door and say
"Look! We found what it was referring to!" Pity.


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