COTW: Index IV. Things

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Belba Grubb From Stock

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Oct 3, 2005, 7:14:39 PM10/3/05
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It's been a very busy and energy-consuming (AND profitable AND fun)
week, and this is my one day off and unfortunately I can't give this
index the sort of attention tonight that it should get. However, that's
all right, as these latter sections are a free-for-all and I'm just here
to introduce it. Steuard has drawn attention to (and I hope he expands
upon) all that the entry on "star" reveals, which is indeed quite
remarkable though not surprising, when one remembers Tolkien's
reflections over the Anglo-Saxon poem "O Earendel."

This index also provides a link to deeper matters, for instance, the
entry on "magic" and its cross-reference to "wizardry (magic of the kind
popularly ascribed to the Wizards)" points to sections that provide
fruitful grounds for thought on just exactly what JRRT meant by "magic"
and the role it played in his Secondary Creation.

And your thoughts, comments and wonderments on this index of "Things"?

Barb

adurdin

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Oct 5, 2005, 3:25:16 AM10/5/05
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I've always wondered why Borgil doesn't get a mention, although his
pals Remmirath and Menelvagor do... Perhaps one might argue that
Borgil is more of a "place" than the others, but it gets no mention in
the index of places either.

R. Dan Henry

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Oct 8, 2005, 2:16:23 PM10/8/05
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On Mon, 03 Oct 2005 18:14:39 -0500, Belba Grubb From Stock
<ba...@dbtech.net> wrote:

>And your thoughts, comments and wonderments on this index of "Things"?

Why is "Golden Wood" here and not in "Places"?

The "palantir" entry appears to confirm (to my surprise) that the "stone
like the Moon" that was in Minas Ithil was indeed a palantir.

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

Christopher Kreuzer

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Oct 9, 2005, 7:01:22 PM10/9/05
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[Redirected newsgroups heading from aft.fan.tolkien to alt.fan.tolkien,
a little slip of the finger that seems to originate from the original
post. Quite appropriate really, a typo of 'aft' when trying to post to
AFT...]

R. Dan Henry <danh...@inreach.com> wrote:
> On Mon, 03 Oct 2005 18:14:39 -0500, Belba Grubb From Stock
> <ba...@dbtech.net> wrote:
>
>> And your thoughts, comments and wonderments on this index of
>> "Things"?
>
> Why is "Golden Wood" here and not in "Places"?

I think this is one of several examples of idiosyncracies in this
indexing system. We probably have to remember that this index was (I
think) based on, or was originally drawn up, by someone else, for
Tolkien. Possibly he either didn't have time to spot all the little
errors, or failed to spot them.

> The "palantir" entry appears to confirm (to my surprise) that the
> "stone like the Moon" that was in Minas Ithil was indeed a palantir.

Oh, phoeey!

I seem to remember being invoved in a big discussion about that at some
point, and I also seem to remember some consensus that the "stone like
the Moon" probably wasn't a palantir.

Guess no-one thought to check the index... :-)

Christopher

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

Belba Grubb From Stock

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Oct 13, 2005, 8:32:21 AM10/13/05
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Offhand, I don't remember the text reference for Borgil, though I do
recall there is one.

It may be that the Remmirath and Menelvagor are very prominent in the
overall mythology (as, respectively, "the Valacirca, the Sickle of the
Valar and sign of doom" and "Menelmacar with his shining belt, that
forebodes the Last Battle that shall be at the end of days," per /The
Silmarillion/ ), and JRRT at this point was focusing on inserting as
much of the greater mythology as possible and then following up with
details in /The Silmarillion/ and so overlooked poor Borgil.

Barb


--
The thought of love, of compassion, of sympathetic joy, of equanimity,
if cultivated and developed, is of great fruit and profit.
-- from the Pali Canon

Troels Forchhammer

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Oct 13, 2005, 11:34:01 AM10/13/05
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In message <news:11kskvd...@corp.supernews.com>
Belba Grubb From Stock <ba...@dbtech.net> enriched us with:
>
> adurdin wrote:
>> I've always wondered why Borgil doesn't get a mention, although
>> his pals Remmirath and Menelvagor do... Perhaps one might argue
>> that Borgil is more of a "place" than the others, but it gets no
>> mention in the index of places either.
>
> Offhand, I don't remember the text reference for Borgil, though I
> do recall there is one.

Away high in the East swung Remmirath, the Netted Stars,
and slowly above the mists red Borgil rose, glowing like
a jewel of fire. Then by some shift of airs all the mist
was drawn away like a veil, and there leaned up, as he
climbed over the rim of the world, the Swordsman of the
Sky, Menelvagor with his shining belt. The Elves all
burst into song. Suddenly under the trees a fire sprang up
with a red light.
[LotR I,3 'Three is Company']

> It may be that the Remmirath and Menelvagor are very prominent in
> the overall mythology (as, respectively, "the Valacirca, the
> Sickle of the Valar and sign of doom" and "Menelmacar with his
> shining belt, that forebodes the Last Battle that shall be at the
> end of days," per /The Silmarillion/ ), and JRRT at this point was
> focusing on inserting as much of the greater mythology as possible
> and then following up with details in /The Silmarillion/ and so
> overlooked poor Borgil.

Quite possibly.

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

Elen síla lúmenn' omentielvo

Belba Grubb From Stock

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Oct 14, 2005, 7:12:12 AM10/14/05
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Troels Forchhammer wrote:
> In message <news:11kskvd...@corp.supernews.com>
> Belba Grubb From Stock <ba...@dbtech.net> enriched us with:
>
>>adurdin wrote:
>>
>>>I've always wondered why Borgil doesn't get a mention, although
>>>his pals Remmirath and Menelvagor do... Perhaps one might argue
>>>that Borgil is more of a "place" than the others, but it gets no
>>>mention in the index of places either.
>>
>>Offhand, I don't remember the text reference for Borgil, though I
>>do recall there is one.
>
>
> Away high in the East swung Remmirath, the Netted Stars,
> and slowly above the mists red Borgil rose, glowing like
> a jewel of fire. Then by some shift of airs all the mist
> was drawn away like a veil, and there leaned up, as he
> climbed over the rim of the world, the Swordsman of the
> Sky, Menelvagor with his shining belt. The Elves all
> burst into song. Suddenly under the trees a fire sprang up
> with a red light.
> [LotR I,3 'Three is Company']

Thank you! That's it. I did a little looking around and discovered the
"Is Borgil Betelgeuse or Aldebaran" question. Either one would work
in the above description. If Betelgeuse, then it would be considered
part of Menelvagor and not worth separate mention.

However, I think it's Aldebaran because in this description JRRT seems
to be following (in reverse) the arc that can be drawn from Sirius,
through Orion's belt and Aldebaran to the Pleiades. If that's the case,
then Borgil wouldn't be mentioned because it's a star not a
constellation; leaving aside the Morning/Evening star as a special case,
only constellations (3) are mentioned in the Index. JRRT may have
purposely excluded mention of any star but those associated with his
story; it worked in the text as a "hinge" between the Remmirath and
Menelvagor, but perhaps he saw no need to make a separate entry for it.

Hmm...in reading over the entry for Star in this light, I recall that
there are seven stars in the Pleiades cluster visible to the naked eye,
no? And that rises before Menelvagor, thus 'crowning' him. So one has,
in those two constellations, the same association with seven stars
crowning a human-like figure that one sees in Durin's Crown and the
device of Elendil. Nice parallel there.

Barb

Raven

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Oct 14, 2005, 11:13:02 PM10/14/05
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"Belba Grubb From Stock" <ba...@dbtech.net> skrev i en meddelelse
news:11kv4ki...@corp.supernews.com...

> Hmm...in reading over the entry for Star in this light, I recall that
> there are seven stars in the Pleiades cluster visible to the naked eye,
> no? And that rises before Menelvagor, thus 'crowning' him. So one has,
> in those two constellations, the same association with seven stars
> crowning a human-like figure that one sees in Durin's Crown and the
> device of Elendil. Nice parallel there.

The Pleiades are also called "The Seven-star" in our part of the
boondocks, but only six are visible to the naked eye. In the mythology,
they were seven princesses, but one of them hid in shame for some reason or
other.
A lot more than six are visible in even a small telescope or binocs. I
can recommend that you try: they're a pretty sight. The Elves, judging by
Legolas' rather good eyesight, would probably have been able to see much
more than six or seven.

Corbeau.


Odysseus

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Oct 15, 2005, 4:48:42 PM10/15/05
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The naked-eye visibility of stars in the Pleiades (AKA M45) is a
complicated issue; on one of the astronomy NGs just recently there
was a somewhat heated debate on the question. Some observers do claim
to see exactly seven, under certain observing conditions at least;
through optimal skies, even without optical aid a dozen or more can
be made out by those with acute vision. Nine have names: the seven
sisters and their parents, Atlas & Pleionë. The star-cluster actually
has about five hundred known members.

--
Odysseus

Christopher Kreuzer

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Oct 16, 2005, 5:24:40 AM10/16/05
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Troels Forchhammer <Tro...@ThisIsFake.invalid> wrote:
> In message <news:11kskvd...@corp.supernews.com>
> Belba Grubb From Stock <ba...@dbtech.net> enriched us with:
>>
>> adurdin wrote:
>>> I've always wondered why Borgil doesn't get a mention, although
>>> his pals Remmirath and Menelvagor do... Perhaps one might argue
>>> that Borgil is more of a "place" than the others, but it gets no
>>> mention in the index of places either.
>>
>> Offhand, I don't remember the text reference for Borgil, though I
>> do recall there is one.
>
> Away high in the East swung Remmirath, the Netted Stars,
> and slowly above the mists red Borgil rose, glowing like
> a jewel of fire. Then by some shift of airs all the mist
> was drawn away like a veil, and there leaned up, as he
> climbed over the rim of the world, the Swordsman of the
> Sky, Menelvagor with his shining belt. The Elves all
> burst into song. Suddenly under the trees a fire sprang up
> with a red light.
> [LotR I,3 'Three is Company']
>
>> It may be that the Remmirath and Menelvagor are very prominent in
>> the overall mythology (as, respectively, "the Valacirca, the
>> Sickle of the Valar and sign of doom" and "Menelmacar with his
>> shining belt, that forebodes the Last Battle that shall be at the
>> end of days," per /The Silmarillion/ )

<snip>

I was particularly struck by the way Tolkien describes all the mist
being "drawn away like a veil" when Menelvagor appears. He almost seems
to be saying that the appearance of the "Swordsman of the Valar" is
responsible for making the mists disappear. Recall that Sauron's
influence is sometimes described as "veiling" (remember that the Nazgul
are prowling around in the area at this time) and also recall the
'effects' that seem to take place when Earendil appears (in Lothlorien
and in Mordor), and it doesn't seem too much of a stretch of imagination
that a similar effect is happening here, with Menelvagor banishing the
mists. And the Elves burst into song at about the time Menelvagor
appears.

Belba Grubb From Stock

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Oct 16, 2005, 6:55:01 AM10/16/05
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Christopher Kreuzer wrote:

<snip>

> I was particularly struck by the way Tolkien describes all the mist
> being "drawn away like a veil" when Menelvagor appears. He almost seems
> to be saying that the appearance of the "Swordsman of the Valar" is
> responsible for making the mists disappear. Recall that Sauron's
> influence is sometimes described as "veiling" (remember that the Nazgul
> are prowling around in the area at this time) and also recall the
> 'effects' that seem to take place when Earendil appears (in Lothlorien
> and in Mordor), and it doesn't seem too much of a stretch of imagination
> that a similar effect is happening here, with Menelvagor banishing the
> mists. And the Elves burst into song at about the time Menelvagor
> appears.

That's interesting imagery and nice foreshadowing. One could follow it
along and consider the red star ominous, like the one Frodo will see
shining above the edge of Rivendell, but I don't think JRRT intended
that, as he described Borgil shining like a jewel (and in other works, I
have read, Borgil is called the Red Rose and other pleasant names).
There could be another layer of meaning here, in addition to the one you
have picked up: the "veil" that is sometimes drawn over mortals by
residents in Faerie who do not wish, for whatever reasons, to be
observed; in this situation, the Elves have welcomed Frodo, Pippin and
Sam and so the "veil" is removed. The three hobbits are truly enjoying
a rare privilege.

Just a couple other points:

-- Personally I think Aldebaran is much more yellow than Betelgeuse and
would be inclined to think of the latter when asked to identify a red
star in that area; however, it seems clear (to me anyway!) that JRRT was
following that arc as mentioned earlier and so Borgil would correspond
to Aldebaran.

-- Around Scout campfires here it is rumored (or at least used to be
rumored -- many decades have passed since those idyllic days) that the
Pleiads were used by the Indians to test a warrior's sight: anybody
could see six stars, but a warrior was expected to have keen enough
eyesight to see all seven. This is probably an "Indian tale" made up by
Europeans, as no particular tribe is ever associated with it, but still
it has inspired countless generations of youngsters to peer at the
cluster and jubilantly claim, with greater or lesser accuracy, that they
could see all seven stars. It has been a while since I did it, and I
have to wear readers now, but as I recall even as an adult and with a
little straining, I could see seven.

Barb

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