COTW Silm: Chapter XXIII: Of Tuor and the Fall of Gondolin

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Matthew T Curtis

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Nov 26, 2006, 6:58:24 PM11/26/06
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Silmarillion Chapter of the Week, Chapter XXIII: Of Tuor and the Fall
of Gondolin

Tuor is the posthumous son of Huor, raised, after the Nirnaeth and the
conquest of Dor-Lomin, by the Grey-elves in the caves of Androth; when
they try to move south, he is captured and enslaved, age sixteen, by
Lorgan the Easterling, and after three years in bondage he escapes and
becomes an outlaw for four years. At Ulmo's inspiration, he finds the
Annon-in-Gelydh, the Gate of the Noldor, and passes through a tunnel
in the mountains to long-deserted Nevrast, first of mankind to see the
Sea[1] where he lives for a year before going to Vinyamar, where he
finds the armour that Turgon long-ago prepared for him. Then Ulmo
appears out of the sea[2] and commands him to travel to Gondolin,
giving him a cloak of invisibility[3].

Tuor meets Voronwe, last survivor of the failed expedition Turgon sent
to seek Aman, who agrees to take him to Gondolin. They pass in secret
across the north - at one point seeing Turin[4] - and they come to the
hidden door to Gondolin, then through the seven gates, where the
warden Ecthelion of the Fountain recognises Tuor by his armour as a
messenger from Ulmo. Tuor sees Gondolin across the plain[5].

He is taken before Turgon, and Ulmo speaks through him[6], advising
him that the fall of the Noldor is at hand, and to travel down the
Sirion. Turgon does not listen[7]. He thinks his city impregnable, and
he closes the hidden door and the Way of Escape[8] and shuts out the
outside world, not heeding Thorondor's tidings from outside. Maeglin
mistrusts Tuor.

Tuor becomes a favourite of Turgon's, and marries his daughter
Idril[9], and they have a son, Earendil; but Maeglin is jealous of
Tuor.

Morgoth has long been trying to find Gondolin, and Hurin has led him
to the region, but still the eagles prevent him from finding the
precise location. Idril, inspired by a foreboding[10], causes to be
built a secret escape route, to the north. Maeglin, venturing in
secret beyond the safety of the hills, is taken by Morgoth and
tortured to reveal the location of Gondolin. Morgoth promises him
Idril[11] and the lordship of Gondolin, and sends him back.

When Earendil is seven, on the eve of a feast, Morgoth makes his
move, sending a host of Balrogs, orcs, wolves, and dragons against the
city from the north. There is a great battle and many deeds of
gallantry [12], but Gondolin is ravaged and destroyed. Maeglin seizes
Idril, but Tuor duels with him and casts him from the walls[13]. Tuor
and Idril gather the refugees and take them through Idril's secret
escape route while Gondolin burns around them, hidden by the smoke
and steam. They travel along a narrow pass, the Eagle's Cleft, where
they are ambushed by orcs and a Balrog. The eagles drive off the orcs
and Glorfindel duels with the Balrog, both dying and falling into the
abyss[14]. Thorondor rescues Glorfindel's body and the refugees bury
him.

Tuor leads the refugees to the vale of Sirion, and they make their way
south, protected by the presence of Ulmo's power in the river. After
tarrying in Nan-Tathren, where they hold a feast in remembrance of the
dead, they travel on to the Mouths of Sirion, far from Morgoth's
attention, where they join Elwing and the refugees from Doriath, and
the two peoples are joined from Balar by Cirdan's folk[15]. Ereinion
Gil-galad, last seen on Balar, is named High King of the Noldor[16],
in succession to Turgon.

Ulmo tries to persuade the Valar to aid the elves, without success;
only one who can speak in person for both elves and men can sway
Manwe[17].

In his old age, Tuor builds a ship, and sails with Idril into the
west, and out of the histories; 'but in after days it was sung that
Tuor alone of mortal Men was numbered among the elder race'[18].

Textual History

_The Fall of Gondolin_, 1916-17 (Book of Lost Tales II)

The only complete long version, with a much more detailed description
of the battle. Tuor (in some versions Tur with a circumflex) is a
musician, the son of Peleg son of Indor, no relation to Turin, and is
never enslaved. He meets Ulmo in the Land of Willows (Nan-Tathrin),
upstream from the Mouths of Sirion - there is no armour from Turgon,
but Ulmo gives him an escort of Noldoli, including Bronweg (Voronwe),
who is seeking refuge in Gondolin. The city is much more
comprehensively described, including the seven names of the city, the
marble-lined streets, the squares and fountains, the palace of Turgon,
and the heraldry of the noble families. He urges Turgon to prepare for
battle, or else go south. Tuor builds the secret passage. The
invasion comes when Earendel is one. Some Gondolindrim try to escape
through the Way of Escape but are ambushed by a dragon. One of the
refugees is named Legolas Greenleaf. They endure a year of many
hardships in the wastes before they come to a stream and Ulmo is able
to use his influence to keep them safe.

The Earliest _Silmarillion_ (S), 1926-30, the _Quenta Noldorinwa_
(Q), 1930, and the early _Annals of Beleriand_ (AB1), 1930s (_The
Shaping of Middle-Earth_)

In fragments he is called Turlin, Fengel, and even Turgon, and is
briefly an Easterling. Introduction of Tuor's ancestry and
enslavement (S). In Q, Ulmo intends Tuor to lead a force into Hithlum
and raise the Men to arms; in QII, to travel to the East and raise men
there. Bronweg has once been to Gondolin (Q). Earendel is seven at the
invasion (AB1).

The later _Annals of Beleriand_ (AB2), and the _Quenta Silmarillion_
(QS) (_The Lost Road_)

First mention of Tuor as an outlaw. Meglin arrives at Gondolin after
Tuor (AB2). No version of this tale is included in QS.

The Grey Annals (GA), and the later _Quenta Silmarillion_ (LQ) (_The
War of the Jewels_)

First mention of Tuor living in Nivrost (GA). The fall of Gondolin is
not included in GA, nor in LQ.

_Of Tuor and his Coming to Gondolin_ (Unfinished Tales_)

The only other long version, but incomplete. Discussion of this story
properly belongs in COTW: UT

Notes

.1. This is not stated explicitly in this chapter, but is present in
both longer versions of this story, in BOLT and UT.

2. This tale shows Ulmo at his most meddlesome. Ulmo seems to have had
a healthy disregard for the self-denying ordinances of the Valar. He
seems to have the best interests of the Children of Iluvatar at heart,
but isn't Ulmo running a risk here? After all, Men are supposed to be
able to take charge of their fate. All Ulmo's plans depend on Tuor's
free will.

3. One of the classic fantasy gadgets, most famously used by Harry
Potter.

4. Described only as a man in black, with a black sword, but named in
UT.

5. 'Mightiest in song of all dwellings of the Elves in the Hither
Lands'. We get the merest hint in this chapter of the glory of
Gondolin.

6. See note 2.

7. Typical Noldorin arrogance. He was perfectly happy to listen to
Ulmo when he told him to build the city in the first place.

8. This is an editorial interpolation by CJRT.

9. Turgon's attitude to mixed marriages is noticeably more enlightened
than that of Thingol.

10. From where did this foreboding come? Ulmo again?

11. The only known instance of sexual jealousy among Elves. Is this
because elves are unfallen as a race?

12. Annoyingly none of these are told in any detail. The most we are
told is that Ecthelion died in slaying Gothmog, Lord of the Balrogs,
but otherwise we are told of 'deeds of desperate valour there done, by
the chieftains of the noble houses and their warriors, and not least
by Tuor'; we are directed to _The Fall of Gondolin_, which was written
before 1920 and not published until 1986 (in BOLT). This is the only
time in the Silmarillion when readers are directed to an unpublished
work. A cheat by CJRT?

13. Maeglin's death seems satisfyingly cartoonish: 'and his body as it
fell smote the rocky slopes of Amon Gwareth thrice ere it pitched into
the flames below.' One feels that Tolkien wrote this with much relish.

14. The old Glorfindel question. Tolkien intended the LOTR character
to be the same person as this, forgetting that he had been killed off
in Gondolin. He made several contortions in trying to write himself
out of this corner, envisaging reincarnation or re-embodiment for
Glorfindel, allowing him to return to Middle-Earth with the Istari, et
cetera. But since the Silmarillion had not been published, why did he
feel himself bound by this, and not, for example, say it was a
different elf who died at Gondolin?

15. And thus we see that it is only as a result of genocide can old
enmities be set apart and the disparate races of the Eldar can come
together.

16. I will be returning to the vexed question of Gil-galad's ancestry
when I do the COTW on the Genealogies etc. in the New Year.

17. A neat bit of foreshadowing; but how can the compilers of the
Silmarillion know this? Speculation, or did they have a primary
source?

18. Or in other words, he had the gift of Men ripped from him; and
again, what can be the source for this?
--
Matthew T Curtis mtcurtis[at]dsl.pipex.com
HIV+ for 25 glorious years!
Before I came here I was confused about this subject. Having
listened to your lecture, I am still confused. But on a
higher level. - Enrico Fermi

Glenn Holliday

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Nov 28, 2006, 7:14:31 AM11/28/06
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Thanks Matthew.

Matthew T Curtis wrote:
> Silmarillion Chapter of the Week, Chapter XXIII: Of Tuor and the Fall
> of Gondolin

Just a quick comment for now. The Fall of Gondolin is the
part of the story of the Noldor that is most like classic
tragedy in the old Greek sense. Turgon is noble and believes
he is doing the right thing, but his pride in ignoring Ulmo
is the ultimate cause of the doom that falls on his people.
I can't help feeling sad for him. His story is very
different than the story of Feanor, who starts out noble,
suffers a character flaw that will prove fatal, but also
commits specific evil actions along the road to his doom.

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

Kevin

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Nov 29, 2006, 1:51:48 PM11/29/06
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In rec.arts.books.tolkien Matthew T Curtis <little...@dsl.pipex.com> wrote:

> 14. The old Glorfindel question. Tolkien intended the LOTR character
> to be the same person as this, forgetting that he had been killed off
> in Gondolin. He made several contortions in trying to write himself
> out of this corner, envisaging reincarnation or re-embodiment for
> Glorfindel, allowing him to return to Middle-Earth with the Istari, et
> cetera. But since the Silmarillion had not been published, why did he
> feel himself bound by this, and not, for example, say it was a
> different elf who died at Gondolin?

Hmm, I don't have the book in front of me but that's not how I recall
it. I thought that when writing LOTR Tolkien hadn't considered whether
the two Glorfindels were the same. Then he had to make up his mind on the
question later. He considered having them be different, with Glofindel
of Rivendell having been named after his "glorious ancestor," but rejected
that possibility.
Anyway, Elvish reincarnation was already well-established in other
writings, so to me there doesn't seem anything especially contorted about
it. The note on Glorfindel may have been the last thing Tolkien ever
wrote, and modest though it was I find it a fitting capstone to the
legendarium.


Kevin

Matthew Woodcraft

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Nov 29, 2006, 5:20:01 PM11/29/06
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Matthew T Curtis <little...@dsl.pipex.com> wrote:
> 12. Annoyingly none of these are told in any detail. The most we are
> told is that Ecthelion died in slaying Gothmog, Lord of the Balrogs,
> but otherwise we are told of 'deeds of desperate valour there done, by
> the chieftains of the noble houses and their warriors, and not least
> by Tuor'; we are directed to _The Fall of Gondolin_, which was written
> before 1920 and not published until 1986 (in BOLT). This is the only
> time in the Silmarillion when readers are directed to an unpublished
> work. A cheat by CJRT?

I don't think so. The reference to /The Fall of Gondolin/ is taken
directly from the Quenta.

In any case, I don't think "of this stuff much is told in the F of G"
is any different to the several "It is told in the Lay of Leithian"s,
or the reference to the Narn i Hin Hurin.

The references which feel a little more like cheats to me are those to
works like the Aldudenie or the Noldolante, which were almost certainly
never written.

-M-

Taemon

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Dec 3, 2006, 9:32:13 AM12/3/06
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Kevin wrote:

> Anyway, Elvish reincarnation was already well-established in
> other writings, so to me there doesn't seem anything especially
> contorted about it. The note on Glorfindel may have been the last
> thing Tolkien ever wrote, and modest though it was I find it a
> fitting capstone to the legendarium.

I have always thought that reincarnation thing rather disappointing.
You have a new baby, a new life, and it turns out this one already
existed! I'd feel quite cheated as a parent. And when do you know
this? Did they already name the child "Glorfindel"? Did he tell them
himself? "Our child said his first word today!"

T.


denaldo

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Dec 3, 2006, 11:04:49 AM12/3/06
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Zounds! That's why I love this group. That never occured to me.
Maybe they give all the elf babies tests like those used to
find the next Dalai Lama.


--
"Witch parking only! Violators will be toad!"
Instant Attitudes.
Send POINTless replies to den...@ePOInTv1.net

Taemon

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Dec 3, 2006, 4:23:20 PM12/3/06
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denaldo wrote:

> Zounds! That's why I love this group. That never occured to me.
> Maybe they give all the elf babies tests like those used to
> find the next Dalai Lama.

How much time was there between the death of the first Glorry and the
birth of the second? (I really don't know.)

T.


Stan Brown

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Dec 3, 2006, 4:30:26 PM12/3/06
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Tue, 28 Nov 2006 12:14:31 GMT from Glenn Holliday <holl...@acm.org>:

> Just a quick comment for now. The Fall of Gondolin is the
> part of the story of the Noldor that is most like classic
> tragedy in the old Greek sense

I won't argue about "most", but I always think of Turin as being
extremely close. His sin again was hubris, and in addition you've got
the elements of mistaken identity from the Oedipus story.

True, Turgon did ignore a warning form the gods, and was punished by
destruction. So his story is very Greek-myth-like as well. :-)

--
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

Stan Brown

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Dec 3, 2006, 4:35:57 PM12/3/06
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Sun, 3 Dec 2006 15:32:13 +0100 from Taemon <Tae...@zonnet.nl>:

> I have always thought that reincarnation thing rather disappointing.
> You have a new baby, a new life, and it turns out this one already
> existed! I'd feel quite cheated as a parent. And when do you know
> this? Did they already name the child "Glorfindel"? Did he tell them
> himself? "Our child said his first word today!"

IIRC, this is one thing Tolkien himself was never fully settled
about, exactly because of the objection you raised.

Theologically, I think Eru sends a soul to each new Elf hroa, and
it's in his discretion whether it be a new soul or an old soul. But I
personally like much better the version where the old soul rests and
heals in Mandos and is then helped to rehouse itself as a mature Elf.

Troels Forchhammer

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Dec 3, 2006, 6:47:41 PM12/3/06
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In message <news:4tgti4F...@mid.individual.net> "Taemon"
<Tae...@zonnet.nl> spoke these staves:
>

<snip>

> How much time was there between the death of the first Glorry and
> the birth of the second? (I really don't know.)

I don't think anyone do. IIRC Tolkien never got specific about it in
the late-ish 'Glorfindel' essays printed in PoMe, but considered merely
that Glorfindel, because of his sacrifice, would have got out of Mandos
fairly quickly -- exceptionally so for one of the rebel Noldor. The
idea, as I recall it, was that Glorfindel would have been rehoused at
some point in the Second Age and possibly even have travelled to
Middle-earth through Númenor (the other option is that he arrived with
the Istari).

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

It is useless to meet revenge with revenge: it will heal
nothing.
- Frodo Baggins, /The Return of the King/ (J.R.R. Tolkien)

Troels Forchhammer

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Dec 3, 2006, 6:54:40 PM12/3/06
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In message <news:MPG.1fdd0d49d...@news.individual.net>
Stan Brown <the_sta...@fastmail.fm> spoke these staves:
>

[Rebirth of Elves]

> IIRC, this is one thing Tolkien himself was never fully settled
> about, exactly because of the objection you raised.

It seems an idea that Tolkien entertained until the publication of
LotR and later. Even in 'Laws and Customs', the rebirth is still the
normal mode of Elves to return, with return to their former body as
the exception that proves the rule (the exceptional circumstances
surrounding Míriel's unharmed body are mentioned) -- construction of
a copy of the old body is not considered at all. In relation to
Athrabeth, however, is an appendix about a converse between Manwë and
Eru, where the rehousing is instated as the normal picture with
rebirth an exception achievable only through appeal to Eru directly.

The later Glorfindel essays also contain the idea of rehousing, and
it seems to me that Tolkien changed his mind at some point after
writing 'Laws and Customs' (perhaps not long after), exactly for the
reasons mentioned, and that he, after having changed his mind at that
point (which would be about 1960) didn't change it back.

> But I personally like much better the version where the old soul
> rests and heals in Mandos and is then helped to rehouse itself as
> a mature Elf.

Yes, I am pleased that this was the model Christopher chose to
present in the Silmarillion (insofar as any model is implied).

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

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable
from magic.
- Arthur C. Clarke, /Profiles of The Future/, 1961
(Also known as 'Clarke's third law')

William Cloud Hicklin

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Dec 4, 2006, 10:53:48 AM12/4/06
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Which is precisely why Tolkien rejected the idea. See the Athrabeth in
HME X. In his later writings, an Elf released from Mandos got a brand-new
copy of his adult body, so "rehoused" is perhaps more accurate than
"reincarnated", and certainly more so than "reborn".

--
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

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Dec 4, 2006, 10:56:56 AM12/4/06
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On Sun, 03 Dec 2006 16:35:57 -0500, Stan Brown
<the_sta...@fastmail.fm> wrote:

> Theologically, I think Eru sends a soul to each new Elf hroa, andit's in

> his discretion whether it be a new soul or an old soul.

I wouldn't go so far. Tolkien never said this explicitly, until he came
to consider the matter in detail- and then rejected it. To the contrary,
it seems that Mandos has absolute discretion in determining when and if to
release an Elvish fea.

Taemon

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Dec 4, 2006, 2:15:00 PM12/4/06
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Stan Brown wrote:
> But I personally like much better the version where the old soul
> rests and heals in Mandos and is then helped to rehouse itself as
> a mature Elf.

It makes more sense, that's for sure. But still. What's the use of
dying if you can come back?

T.


Christopher Kreuzer

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Dec 4, 2006, 6:30:06 PM12/4/06
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I think the point was that any 'death-happy' Elves, or even ones that were
'fey' like Feanor at the moment of his death charge, were not likely to
'come back' anytime soon. I guess that personal heroism, self-sacrifice and
general all-round nice guy, were high up on Mandos's list when he came into
the office each day to review that 'death list'...

We are explicitly told that Feanor will not be coming back until the end
("neither has his spirit left the halls of Mandos" - "But not until the End,
when Fëanor shall return who perished ere the Sun was made, and sits now in
the Halls of Awaiting and comes no more among his kin").

Are we told this for any other Elves? Miriel? What about someone like
Thingol? Fingolfin's charge, though grand and heroic, was ultimately a bit
pointless. If he was fey like Feanor, he too might be in Mandos for the long
haul. Ditto all the sons of Feanor.

In contrast, Finrod Felagund (who we are told "walks with Finarfin his
father beneath the trees in Eldamar") and Glorfindel (who fell in battle
with a Balrog to save the fleeing refugees from Gondolin), are rehoused, and
they display the 'good' traits of self-sacrifice and heroism.

I would guess that Mandos was like a purgatory for the Elves. If they were
'good' Elves, they would heal and eventally be released to be rehoused. If
not, well, there wouldn't have been any fire and brimstone, or Sisiphyean
torture, but there would be a long, lonely period of regret, with nothing
much to look forward to except the visits from Nienna ("all those who wait
in Mandos cry to her, for she brings strength to the spirit and turns sorrow
to wisdom") and maybe watching Vaire weave her webs ("[she] weaves all
things that have ever been in Time into her storied webs, and the halls of
Mandos that ever widen as the ages pass are clothed with them")

Also, remember the Doom of the Noldor, the Prophecy of the North, which
includes this little warning: "your houseless spirits shall come then to
Mandos. There long shall ye abide and yearn for your bodies, and find little
pity though all whom ye have slain should entreat for you".

Luthien was a special case, though we get another glimpse of 'life' in
Mandos when her spirit goes there: "There those that wait sit in the shadow
of their thought. But her beauty was more than their beauty, and her sorrow
deeper than their sorrows; and she knelt before Mandos and sang to him"

So, in general, I don't think Elves were in that much of a hurry to leave
this life and get themselves gone to the Halls of Mandos. There was a
promise, but no certainty for them, of a "resurrection to life eternal".

Christopher

William Cloud Hicklin

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Dec 4, 2006, 6:41:50 PM12/4/06
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On Mon, 04 Dec 2006 18:30:06 -0500, Christopher Kreuzer
<spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> wrote:

> Are we told this for any other Elves? Miriel?

Yes for Miriel. She expressly refused to return- that is what made
Finwe's remarriage possible.

Matthew Woodcraft

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Dec 4, 2006, 8:09:39 PM12/4/06
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Christopher Kreuzer <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> wrote:
> We are explicitly told that Feanor will not be coming back until the end
> ("neither has his spirit left the halls of Mandos" - "But not until the End,
> when Fëanor shall return who perished ere the Sun was made, and sits now in
> the Halls of Awaiting and comes no more among his kin").
>
> Are we told this for any other Elves? Miriel?

In the long version of the story in 'Laws and Customs', Miriel
eventually returns to her body (but not to the company of the other
Elves), while it is Finwe who remains forever in Mandos. (Things get a
bit confused in the later texts, but the same story seems to be there.)

> What about someone like Thingol? Fingolfin's charge, though grand and
> heroic, was ultimately a bit pointless. If he was fey like Feanor, he
> too might be in Mandos for the long haul. Ditto all the sons of
> Feanor.

I don't remember a statement about any of these. I don't imagine the
sons of Feanor would be out in a hurry (though it's not clear that
Maglor ever dies).

Finrod says that Aegnor won't be coming back before the end of Arda.
Admittedly Aegnor isn't even dead yet at that point, but Finrod is
foresighted.

-M-

Kristian Damm Jensen

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Dec 5, 2006, 5:17:27 AM12/5/06
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What's the use of dying if you *can't* come back?

--
Regards,
Kristian Damm Jensen
"This isn't Jeopardy. Answer below the question."


William Cloud Hicklin

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Dec 5, 2006, 9:32:06 AM12/5/06
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On Tue, 05 Dec 2006 05:17:27 -0500, Kristian Damm Jensen
<kristi...@mail.dk> wrote:

> Taemon wrote:
>> Stan Brown wrote:
>>> But I personally like much better the version where the old soul
>>> rests and heals in Mandos and is then helped to rehouse itself as
>>> a mature Elf.
>>
>> It makes more sense, that's for sure. But still. What's the use of
>> dying if you can come back?
>
> What's the use of dying if you *can't* come back?
>

Yeah, really: I can think of some pretty good reasons to be a
bloodthirsty avenging ghost. Payback is a bitch....

Jamie Andrews; real address @ bottom of message

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Dec 5, 2006, 5:56:50 PM12/5/06
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Thanks for a great summary, Matthew. Sorry for the delayed
followup.

In rec.arts.books.tolkien Matthew T Curtis <little...@dsl.pipex.com> wrote:
> Then Ulmo
> appears out of the sea[2] and commands him to travel to Gondolin,

> giving him a cloak of invisibility[3]....

> 2. This tale shows Ulmo at his most meddlesome. Ulmo seems to have had
> a healthy disregard for the self-denying ordinances of the Valar. He
> seems to have the best interests of the Children of Iluvatar at heart,
> but isn't Ulmo running a risk here? After all, Men are supposed to be
> able to take charge of their fate. All Ulmo's plans depend on Tuor's
> free will.

> [Tuor] is taken before Turgon, and Ulmo speaks through him[6]....

> 6. See note 2.

Indeed. I think this is the clearest case in Tolkien's
Middle-earth canon of a supernatural being acting through a
mortal. Even Frodo on Amon Hen is just made to realize that he
has a choice, and he makes that choice. Tuor-style
interventions would seem to contradict the fact that free will
is supposed to be one of the "gifts of the One to Men".

> In his old age, Tuor builds a ship, and sails with Idril into the
> west, and out of the histories; 'but in after days it was sung that
> Tuor alone of mortal Men was numbered among the elder race'[18].

> 18. Or in other words, he had the gift of Men ripped from him; and


> again, what can be the source for this?

Indeed. And of course the nefarious purpose of my
juxtaposing these two passages from your commentary is to give
me an excuse to repeat my pet theory, which is that Tuor lost
both his gifts as a result of coming under the control of Ulmo.
In contrast, his cousin and parallel Turin resisted the control
of Morgoth, eventually committing the ultimate act of both free
will and mortality: killing himself.

One can also draw an analogy with Luthien. She resisted
the will of her father (a powerful Elf) and several Ainur,
including Sauron and Morgoth (I can't remember whether there is
any passage in which she resists the will of Melian), exercising
free will on a number of occasions, all for noble causes (true
love and the defeat of Morgoth). Because she claimed one of the
gifts of Men (free will), she was ultimately granted the other
(mortality), which she did indeed view as a gift because it
would keep her with Beren forever. Tolkien did say that Luthien
and Tuor constituted "an exception either way".

One can imagine a timeline something like:

1. Y.S. 100 (or whenever it was). Ulmo sees that 2.-4. below
are going to come to pass, so he gets Turgon to build the
armour and leave it behind.

2. Y.S. 465 (or whenever it was). Luthien gets converted into
a Mortal. Ulmo says "Hey Eru, if you're into conversions
now, how about taking away the Gifts from some Man? Just
give his free will to me, I'll take care of the rest."

3. Y.S. 495 (or whenever it was). Tuor surrenders his free
will to Ulmo.

4. Y.S. 554 (or whenever it was). Eru comes through on his
part of the bargain and converts Tuor to Elfhood.

> ... Idril, inspired by a foreboding[10], causes to be
> built a secret escape route, to the north....

> 10. From where did this foreboding come? Ulmo again?

I like to think so. There was a fountain in the central
square of Gondolin. From there, the water must have flowed out
(perhaps through one of Tolkien's favourite devices, the
underground stream?) to the Sea. I like to think that Ulmo
maintained a tenuous permanent connection to Gondolin via that
route.

> .... Morgoth promises [Maeglin]


> Idril[11] and the lordship of Gondolin, and sends him back.

> 11. The only known instance of sexual jealousy among Elves. Is this


> because elves are unfallen as a race?

Perhaps one could say that the rebellion of the Noldor led
eventually to individual Noldor committing many sins and crimes,
including kinslaying, theft (of the boats at Alqualonde), arson
(same boats), attempted rape (Curufin and Celegorm, of Luthien),
more kinslaying and theft (the Sons of Feanor claiming the
Silmarils), and last but not least the sins of pride (Turgon)
and unnatural lust (Maeglin). He doesn't give all the Noldor
destined for death individual sins a la Shakespeare in Richard
III, but a fair number of them have sins that lead directly or
indirectly to their deaths.

> ...we are directed to _The Fall of Gondolin_, which was written


> before 1920 and not published until 1986 (in BOLT). This is the only
> time in the Silmarillion when readers are directed to an unpublished
> work. A cheat by CJRT?

Well, as for it being the only time, a fragment of _The Lay
of Leithian_ are published in "Of Beren and Luthien", and it's
suggested that there is more of it. As for it being a cheat --
no more so than JRRT himself alluding to _The Silmarillion_ in
the appendices to _LOTR_. It lends a sense of depth to the
story.

> Ulmo tries to persuade the Valar to aid the elves, without success;
> only one who can speak in person for both elves and men can sway
> Manwe[17].

> 17. A neat bit of foreshadowing; but how can the compilers of the


> Silmarillion know this? Speculation, or did they have a primary
> source?

I don't think we need the compilers of the Silmarillion to
be prescient... they were presumably writing all this down in
final written form long after the end of the First Age (or maybe
even after the end of the Second Age), no?

Thanks again for the summary, and for the excellent summary
of the HoME passages and manuscripts about this material.

--Jamie. (efil4dreN)
andrews .uwo } Merge these two lines to obtain my e-mail address.
@csd .ca } (Unsolicited "bulk" e-mail costs everyone.)

William Cloud Hicklin

unread,
Dec 5, 2006, 6:33:26 PM12/5/06
to
On Tue, 05 Dec 2006 17:56:50 -0500, Jamie Andrews; real address @ bottom
of message <m...@privacy.net> wrote:

>> 18. Or in other words, he had the gift of Men ripped from him; and
>> again, what can be the source for this?
> Indeed. And of course the nefarious purpose of my
> juxtaposing these two passages from your commentary is to give
> me an excuse to repeat my pet theory, which is that Tuor lost
> both his gifts as a result of coming under the control of Ulmo.
> In contrast, his cousin and parallel Turin resisted the control
> of Morgoth, eventually committing the ultimate act of both free
> will and mortality: killing himself.

I'm not so sure. It seems to me that 1) like Frodo, Tuor could have
refused, but 2) much more importantly, Tuor's errand, whether prompted by
a Vala or not, was a *violation of Doom.* Tuor, a Man (and his son, a
half-Man) did what no Elf could do- change the course of history and
contradict the Prophecy of Mandos. Nothing in the Doom of the North makes
any provision for an intervention, or a remission of the Ban on the
Noldor's return.

Christopher Kreuzer

unread,
Dec 5, 2006, 7:14:48 PM12/5/06
to
Jamie Andrews; real address @ bottom of message wrote:
> Thanks for a great summary, Matthew. Sorry for the delayed
> followup.

I haven't had time to respond yet, but I'd just like to add that I too
greatly enjoyed reading Matthew's summary. And all the other Silmarillion
summaries I haven't found time to reply to! Yet! :-)

Christopher


Christopher Kreuzer

unread,
Dec 5, 2006, 7:58:22 PM12/5/06
to
Jamie Andrews; real address @ bottom of message wrote:
> In rec.arts.books.tolkien Matthew T Curtis
> <little...@dsl.pipex.com> wrote:
>> Then Ulmo
>> appears out of the sea[2] and commands him to travel to Gondolin,
>> giving him a cloak of invisibility[3]....
>
>> 2. This tale shows Ulmo at his most meddlesome. Ulmo seems to have
>> had a healthy disregard for the self-denying ordinances of the
>> Valar. He seems to have the best interests of the Children of
>> Iluvatar at heart, but isn't Ulmo running a risk here? After all,
>> Men are supposed to be able to take charge of their fate. All Ulmo's
>> plans depend on Tuor's free will.
>
>> [Tuor] is taken before Turgon, and Ulmo speaks through him[6]....
>
>> 6. See note 2.
>
> Indeed. I think this is the clearest case in Tolkien's
> Middle-earth canon of a supernatural being acting through a
> mortal. Even Frodo on Amon Hen is just made to realize that he
> has a choice, and he makes that choice. Tuor-style
> interventions would seem to contradict the fact that free will
> is supposed to be one of the "gifts of the One to Men".

I think there are clearer examples of people speaking or acting through
others than the example of Frodo on Amon Hen ("He heard himself crying out:
Never, never! Or was it: Verily I come, I come to you? He could not tell." -
The Breaking of the Fellowship), such as the example of Frodo deciding to
take the Ring, at the council of Elrond:

"At last with an effort he spoke, and wondered to hear his own words, as if
some other will was using his small voice. 'I will take the Ring,' he said,
'though I do not know the way.'" (The Council of Elrond)

There is also the case of Sam in Mordor:

"But even as hope died in Sam, or seemed to die, it was turned to a new
strength. Sam's plain hobbit-face grew stern, almost grim, as the will
hardened in him, and he felt through all his limbs a thrill, as if he was
turning into some creature of stone and steel that neither despair nor
weariness nor endless barren miles could subdue." (Mount Doom)

There is also the point where Sam and Frodo are on the slopes of Mount Doom,
and again, some outside intervention seems to spur them on:

"Slowly the light grew. Suddenly a sense of urgency which he did not
understand came to Sam. It was almost as if he had been called: 'Now, now,
or it will be too late!'" (Mount Doom)

From the Silmarillion, the case of Beren is explicitly "words put into
mouth":

"Then Beren looking up beheld the eyes of Luthien, and his glance went also
to the face of Melian and it seemed to him that words were put into his
mouth. Fear left him, and the pride of the eldest house of Men returned to
him; and he said: 'My fate, O King, led me hither..." (Of Beren and Luthien)

But getting back to Ulmo's meddling, I was recently looking into the
backstory behind the whole Hurin/Huor and hence Turin/Tuor stories, and
re-discovered that Ulmo had a hand setting the whole thing going. When Hurin
and Huor, still young youths, were taking part in a battle, they were cut
off and seemed like to be killed, but...

"...they would have been taken or slain but for the power of Ulmo, that was
still strong in Sirion. A mist arose from the river and hid them from their
enemies, and they escaped over the Brithiach into Dimbar, and wandered among
the hills beneath the sheer walls of the Crissaegrim..." (Of the Ruin of
Beleriand and the Fall of Fingolfin)

They end up in Gondolin, and the rest is history. Clear-cut case of
intervention.

As for what Ulmo's overall design was, towards the end of the Tuor chapter,
we are told:

"...in that time Ulmo came to Valinor out of the deep waters, and spoke
there to the Valar of the need of the Elves; and he called on them to
forgive them, and rescue them..."

But this doesn't work. Is this Ulmo's plans backfiring, or is Ulmo
fulfilling his part in the grand design but not quite seeing the right
ending to the story? (Compare Ulmo's words to Tuor on the shores of Nevrast
in /Unfinished Tales/, where he talks about Fate and Doom and the Music).
Did Ulmo really expect the other Valar to agree to his pleas, or is it case
of this being a rhetorical device for the author to explain things to us,
the readers?

>> In his old age, Tuor builds a ship, and sails with Idril into the
>> west, and out of the histories; 'but in after days it was sung that
>> Tuor alone of mortal Men was numbered among the elder race'[18].
>
>> 18. Or in other words, he had the gift of Men ripped from him; and
>> again, what can be the source for this?
>
> Indeed. And of course the nefarious purpose of my
> juxtaposing these two passages from your commentary is to give
> me an excuse to repeat my pet theory, which is that Tuor lost
> both his gifts as a result of coming under the control of Ulmo.
> In contrast, his cousin and parallel Turin resisted the control
> of Morgoth, eventually committing the ultimate act of both free
> will and mortality: killing himself.

Interesting theory! The contrasting of the two cases certainly works.

> One can also draw an analogy with Luthien. She resisted
> the will of her father (a powerful Elf) and several Ainur,
> including Sauron and Morgoth (I can't remember whether there is
> any passage in which she resists the will of Melian)

I think the parallel there for Melian is more with Elrond:

"But Melian looked in her eyes and read the doom that was written there, and
turned away; for she knew that a parting beyond the end of the world had
come between them, and no grief of loss has been heavier than the grief of
Melian the Maia in that hour." (Of the Fifth Battle: Nirnaeth Arnoediad)

Compare with the the parting of Elrond and Arwen:

"None saw her last meeting with Elrond her father, for they went up into the
hills and there spoke long together, and bitter was their parting that
should endure beyond the ends of the world." (Many Partings)

You could, I suppose, consider this a "resisting the will of Melian/Elrond",
but no more really than the general expression of free will that
Luthien/Arwen is making.

> exercising free will on a number of occasions, all for noble causes (true
> love and the defeat of Morgoth). Because she claimed one of the
> gifts of Men (free will), she was ultimately granted the other
> (mortality), which she did indeed view as a gift because it
> would keep her with Beren forever. Tolkien did say that Luthien
> and Tuor constituted "an exception either way".

He did, didn't he. Can you remember exactly where? A letter?

<snip>

>> Ulmo tries to persuade the Valar to aid the elves, without success;
>> only one who can speak in person for both elves and men can sway
>> Manwe[17].
>
>> 17. A neat bit of foreshadowing; but how can the compilers of the
>> Silmarillion know this? Speculation, or did they have a primary
>> source?
>
> I don't think we need the compilers of the Silmarillion to
> be prescient... they were presumably writing all this down in
> final written form long after the end of the First Age (or maybe
> even after the end of the Second Age), no?

I think the question is more how they knew of it in the first place. I guess
this sort of stuff falls under the heading of stuff covered by this passage:

"Of the march of the host of the Valar to the north of Middle-earth little
is said in any tale; for among them went none of those Elves who had dwelt
and suffered in the Hither Lands, and who made the histories of those days
that still are known; and tidings of these things they only learned long
afterwards from their kinsfolk in Aman." (Of the Voyage of Earendil and the
War of Wrath)

But then all the "the Valar did this and that" stuff is a bit vague anyway.
Trying to pin down a source for it would be very difficult, other than to
say "it was said" or "the wise have said" sort of platitudes.

Christopher

Troels Forchhammer

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Dec 7, 2006, 7:11:42 AM12/7/06
to
In message <news:vGo*Kh...@news.chiark.greenend.org.uk> Matthew
Woodcraft <matt...@chiark.greenend.org.uk> spoke these staves:
>
> Matthew T Curtis <little...@dsl.pipex.com> wrote:
>>
[...]

>> we are directed to _The Fall of Gondolin_, which was written
>> before 1920 and not published until 1986 (in BOLT). This is
>> the only time in the Silmarillion when readers are directed
>> to an unpublished work. A cheat by CJRT?
>
> I don't think so. The reference to /The Fall of Gondolin/ is taken
> directly from the Quenta.

Yes. That whole passage, 'Of the deeds of . . . and the fall of Turgon
in its ruin.' is lifted almost verbatim from the Quenta Noldorinwa.

> In any case, I don't think "of this stuff much is told in the F of
> G" is any different to the several "It is told in the Lay of
> Leithian"s, or the reference to the Narn i Hin Hurin.

Yes, there are several examples of such references to old tales, lays
etc., some of which existed in their own right. The idea seems to be
that the /Quenta Silmarillion/ is this short version of the whole
creation, theft and war of the Silmarils, whereas many of the main
stories also existed as 'long version' tales in their own right: the
Aldudénië, the Noldolantë, the Lay of Leithian, the Narn i Chín Húrin,
the Fall of Gondolin, the Lay of Eärendil and probably others that I
have missed.

Tolkien also used this 'trick' in LotR when referring to the tale of
Lúthien and Beren (although not to the Lay of Leithian by name), to the
voyages of Eärendil (though again not to the Lay by name), and, in
Appendix A, to the /Akallabêth/ by name (again I suspect that I've
missed some).

We might rather wonder why there are no references to other extant
tales such as e.g. the story of Finwë and Míriel, the Athrabeth (though
I think that one was made after Tolkien had stopped making extensive
changes to 'the Silmarillion' texts), the Cuivienyarna etc.


> The references which feel a little more like cheats to me are
> those to works like the Aldudenie or the Noldolante, which were
> almost certainly never written.

I don't know that I'd call them 'cheats' in any way, except perhaps in
that I cannot have the pleasure of actually reading them ;-)

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

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

Christopher Kreuzer

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Dec 7, 2006, 10:29:36 PM12/7/06
to
Troels Forchhammer wrote:


<snip>

> there are several examples of such references to old tales, lays
> etc., some of which existed in their own right. The idea seems to be
> that the /Quenta Silmarillion/ is this short version of the whole
> creation, theft and war of the Silmarils, whereas many of the main
> stories also existed as 'long version' tales in their own right: the
> Aldudénië, the Noldolantë, the Lay of Leithian, the Narn i Chín Húrin,
> the Fall of Gondolin, the Lay of Eärendil and probably others that I
> have missed.

I decided to try and make a list... :-)

I looked in the index, and tried to remember the un-named songs as well. You
listed six (though I realise you weren't aiming for a comprehensive list).
The list I've compiled has 15 so far, but have also included a named speech
as well as the songs. Anyone want to try and guess the missing ones...? :-)

<SPOILER BREAK>
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.

Ainulindalë - (The Music of the Ainur) "Also the name of the account of
Creation said to have been composed by Rúmil of Tirion in the Elder Days."
(index); "as is told in the /Ainulindalë/" (Of the Darkening of Valinor)

Akallabęth - (The Downfallen) "Also the title of the account of the Downfall
of Númenor" (index); "as is told in the /Akallabęth/" (Of the Rings of Power
and the Third Age, two times)

Aldudénië - (Lament for the Two Trees) "Of the deeds of that day much is
told in the /Aldudénië/, that Elemmírë of the Vanyar made and is known to
all the Eldar." (Of the Darkening of Valinor)

Laer Cú Beleg - (The Song of the Great Bow) "There he made a song for Beleg,
and he named it Laer Cú Beleg, the Song of the Great Bow" (Of Túrin
Turambar)

The Lay of Leithian - (Release from Bondage) "Of their lives was made the
/Lay/ /of/ /Leithian/, Release from Bondage, which is the longest save one
of the songs concerning the world of old; but here is told in fewer words
and without song."; "It is told in the /Lay/ /of/ /Leithian/ that Beren came
stumbling into Doriath grey and bowed as with many years of woe"; "It is
told in the /Lay/ /of/ /Leithian/ that Beren passed through Doriath
unhindered"; "but Sauron had the mastery, as is told in the /Lay/ /of/
/Leithian/"; "It is told in the /Lay/ /of/ /Leithian/ how she escaped from
the house in Hírilorn"; "Thus ended the Quest of the Silmaril; but the /Lay/
/of/ /Leithian/, Release form Bondage does not end" (Of Beren and Luthien,
six times)

Narn i Hîn Húrin - (The Tale of the Children of Húrin) "the long lay from
which Chapter XXI was derived; ascribed to the poet Dirhavel, a Man who
lived at the Havens of Sirion in the days of Eärendil and perished in the
attack of the sons of Fëanor. Narn signifies a tale made in verse, but to be
spoken and not sung" (index); "Thus was the fate of Túrin woven, which is
fulltold in that lay that is called /Narn/ /i/ /Hîn/ /Húrin/, the Tale of
the Children of Húrin, and is the longest of all the lays that speak of
those days." (Of Túrin Turambar)

Narsilion - (The Song of the Sun and Moon) - "But the flower and the fruit
Yavanna gave to Aulë, and Manwë hallowed them, and Aulë and his people made
vessels to hold them and preserve their radiance: as is said in the
/Narsilion/, the Song of the Sun and Moon." (Of the Sun and Moon and the
Hiding of Valinor)

Noldolantë - (The Fall of the Noldor) - "Of the Kinslaying at Alqualondë
more is told in that lament which is named /Noldolantë/, the Fall of the
Noldor, that Maglor made ere he was lost" (Of the Flight of the Noldor)

The Prophecy of the North - "...from end to end of the hosts of the Noldor
the voice was heard speaking the curse and prophecy which is called the
Prophecy of the North, and the Doom of the Noldor." (Of the Flight of the
Noldor)

Quenta Silmarillion - (The History of the Silmarils) "as is told in the
/Quenta/ /Silmarillion/" (Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age)

Valaquenta - (Account of the Valar) "a short work treated as a separate
entity from /The/ /Silmarillion/ proper" (index)

Interestingly, the /Silmarillion/ index does not mention the following
(though the Lay of Eärendil appears under Eärendil, but the Fall of Gondolin
does not appear under Gondolin):

Nurtalë Valinóreva - (The Hiding of Valinor) "And in that time also, which
songs call /Nurtalë/ /Valinóreva/, the Hiding of Valinor, the Enchanted
Isles were set, and all the seas about them were filled with shadows and
bewilderment." (Of the Sun and Moon and the Hiding of Valinor) - maybe this
is technically not a song, but just a way of telling us the name of the
event, but the name _is_ given in italics, which makes me think that it is
indeed the name of a song, or part of a song.

The Fall of Gondolin - "Of the deeds of desperate valour there done [...]
much is told in /The/ /Fall/ /of/ /Gondolin/..." (Of the Fall of Gondolin)

The Lay of Eärendil - "In the /Lay/ /of/ /Eärendil/ is many a thing sung of
his adventures in the deep and in lands untrodden, and in many seas and in
many isles" (Of the Voyage of Eärendil and the War of Wrath); "in the /Lay/
/of/ /Eärendil/ it is told how at the last, when the victory of Morgoth was
almost complete" (Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age)

Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age - only used as a title, and is not
mentioned in the index. Not a very catchy song title, anyway! :-)

There are also other named songs/accounts mentioned in HoME. Can anyone
think of any of those offhand? I can remember the various versions of the
Oath of Feanor.

Then there are the un-named songs, which are clearly songs that are
remembered and could be named, but aren't. Anyone want to 'name' the
following songs? (No, I'm serious - I think it would be great to come up
with names for these songs that Tolkien mentions but doesn't name... in
Elvish of course!)

- "And it is sung that in that feast of the Spring of Arda Tulkas espoused
Nessa the sister of Oromë, and she danced before the Valar upon the green
grass of Almaren."

- "In that time the Valar were gathered together to hear the song of
Yavanna" (to bring forth the Two Trees, and later, to bring forth the Sun
and Moon)

- "the most ancient songs of the Elves, of which echoes are remembered still
in the West, tell of the shadow-shapes that walked in the hills above
Cuiviénen..."

- "Dagor-nuin-Giliath it is named, the Battle-under-Stars, for the Moon had
not yet risen; and it is renowned in song"

- "...[Fingon] took his harp and sang a song of Valinor that the Noldor made
of old, before strife was born among the sons of Finwë..."

- "men awoke and listened to Felagund as he harped and sang"

- "He is Beren son of Barahir, lord of Men, mighty foe of Morgoth, the tale
of whose deeds is become a song even among the Elves."

- "Felagund strove with Sauron in songs of power"

- "[Lúthien] sang a song that no walls of stone could hinder [...] in answer
[Beren] sang a song of challenge that he had made in praise of the Seven
Stars..."

- "he made the Song of Parting, in praise of Lúthien and the lights of
heaven; for he believed that he must now say farewell to both love and
light"

[Oops - I've just noticed that this is a _named_ song! Oh well, this makes
it easier to come up with the Elvish name - can we translate /Song/ /of/
/Parting/?]

- "The song of Lúthien before Mandos was the song most fair that ever in
words was woven, and the song most sorrowful that ever the world shall ever
hear."

- "...it is sung that the axe smoked in the black blood of the troll-guard
of Gothmog until it withered..."

- "it is said and sung that Lúthien wearing that necklace and that immortal
jewel was the vision of greatest beauty and glory that has ever been outside
the realm of Valinor"

- "It is told that a seer and harp-player of Brethil named Glirhuin made a
song, saying that the Stone of the Hapless should not be defiled by
Morgoth..."

- "Many are the songs that have been sung of the duel of Glorfindel with the
Balrog upon a pinnacle of rock"

- "There Tuor made a song for Eärendil his son, concerning the coming of
Ulmo the Lord of Waters to the shores of Nevrast aforetime"

- "in after days it was sung that Tuor alone of mortal Men was numbered
among the elder race"

- "For, as many songs have since sung, it was the Periannath, the Little
People, dwellers in hillsides and meadows, that brought them deliverance."

I make that 18 unnamed songs, though some of these could be thought of as
part of other, named songs. But still, at least 15 named songs/accounts, and
maybe another 18 as well. Over 30 possible songs. Just think if Tolkien had
attempted to write lays for all of these possibilities!

Christopher

Troels Forchhammer

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Dec 12, 2006, 9:18:13 AM12/12/06
to
In message <news:rgakm2p7of56qkprf...@4ax.com>
Matthew T Curtis <little...@dsl.pipex.com> spoke these staves:
>
> Silmarillion Chapter of the Week, Chapter XXIII: Of Tuor and the
> Fall of Gondolin

Excellent intro, thank you!

<snip>

> Maeglin, venturing in secret beyond the safety of the hills, is
> taken by Morgoth and tortured to reveal the location of Gondolin.

Actually, and I think this is an important point (against Maeglin), he
is never tortured, but is threatened by torture, which, together with
the promises mentioned, is enough to make him treasonously betray
Gondolin.

Comparing with another treachery: that of Gorlim, where we are told
that.
Thus Gorlim was ensnared; and taking him to their camp
they tormented, seeking to learn the hidings of Barahir
and all his ways. But nothing would Gorlim tell. Then
they promised him that he should be released and restored
to Eilinel, if he would yield; and being at last worn
with pain, and yearning for his wife, he faltered.
So Gorlim, whom I think the tale implies the reader should pity, does
withstand torture, and doesn't give in until promised to be united with
his legitimate love, his wife.

Maeglin, on the other hand, does not withstand any torment, but accepts
the offered bribe to satisfy his unnatural and unlawful lust, leading
him 'the easier his treachery, most infamous in all the histories of
the Elder Days.'

> Morgoth promises him Idril[11] and the lordship of Gondolin, and
> sends him back.
>
> When Earendil is seven, on the eve of a feast,

That appears to be standard tactics -- attacking during a feast. I
wonder if there is an element of desecration in this; of not keeping
the day of the high feast holy? Is this an element in the description
of the 'unholiness' of Morgoth?

<snip>

> The only other long version, but incomplete. Discussion of this
> story properly belongs in COTW: UT

Brilliant idea ;-)

<snip>

> 3. One of the classic fantasy gadgets, most famously used by Harry
> Potter.

My impression was that this cloak from Ulmo was closer in effect to
that of the the cloaks the Fellowship of the Ring received in Lórien
than to the traditional invisibility cloak -- diverting or confusing
the eye more than actual invisibility.

The excuse for believing this to be noteworthy is of course the
significance in LotR of the Unseen World -- the world inhabited by the
Wraiths, and into which you were drawn by the power of the Rings
(except for the Three).

<snip>

> 7. Typical Noldorin arrogance. He was perfectly happy to listen to
> Ulmo when he told him to build the city in the first place.

'Turgon was become proud' it says, heeding not the warning that was
part of Ulmo's advice not to love his city too dearly. And yes, the
typical Noldorin sin is that of pride and arrogance.

<snip>

> 9. Turgon's attitude to mixed marriages is noticeably more
> enlightened than that of Thingol.

I guess it's a bit different if the Man in question comes as an
emissary from one of the Valar, the one, even, who set Turgon up to
build Gondolin in the first place ;)

Had Beren arrived just as obviously as an emissary of Vána or Estë
(whom Melian appears to have served), then Melian may have had
something more to say about it before Thingol could have treated him as
haughtily as he did.


Idril building the escape route based on a foreboding:

> 10. From where did this foreboding come? Ulmo again?

I assume so. The alternative would seem to be Eru, but Ulmo has proved
that he knew already that someone of Turgon's and of Huor's line should
escape from Gondolin to 'bring into the world a hope' -- and Ulmo was
the one to set it into motion, that the hope should lie in Tuor, 'for
so I have chosen', he tells Tuor in UT. So, though it is not impossible
that Eru had taken an interest as well, Ulmo certainly had enough
invested in bringing forth this 'hope that they have not looked for' to
ensure its success.


Maeglin being jealous of Tuor:

> 11. The only known instance of sexual jealousy among Elves. Is
> this because elves are unfallen as a race?

I haven't thought of it on those terms earlier, but I think you've got
the right of it. Individual Elves may, of course, fall, but as a race
they seem unfallen.

<snip>

> 13. Maeglin's death seems satisfyingly cartoonish:

[...]


> One feels that Tolkien wrote this with much relish.

;-)

Take that! You dark git!

Yes, and if Tolkien didn't write it with relish, I swear that I do read
it with much relish.

<snip>


The foreshadowing of Eärendil's embassy at Ulmo's failed attempt to
sway the Valar:

> 17. A neat bit of foreshadowing; but how can the compilers of
> the Silmarillion know this? Speculation, or did they have a
> primary source?

After the arrival of this one, 'speaking in person for the cause of
both Elves and Men, pleading for pardon on their misdeeds and pity on
their woes', there was a major expeditionary force, including both
Noldor and Vanyar, that made war upon Morgoth, and even though the
Elves of Beleriand didn't join them, there was afterwards a camp to
which they were summoned by Eönwë to depart for Aman; but not all of
them went, and those who stayed presumably spoke also to the Elves of
the host of the Valar.

And for a transfer including Men, there was, in particular in the early
years, a lot of traffic between Númenor and Tol Eressëa, where the
Elves at Tol Eressëa can be presumed to have learned the full story.

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

Love while you've got
love to give.
Live while you've got
life to live.
- Piet Hein, /Memento Vivere/

Troels Forchhammer

unread,
Dec 14, 2006, 11:04:57 AM12/14/06
to
In message <news:op.tj3019wurwd1fl@emachine> "William Cloud Hicklin"
<icelof...@mindspring.com> spoke these staves:
>
> On Tue, 05 Dec 2006 17:56:50 -0500, Jamie Andrews; real address @
> bottom of message <m...@privacy.net> wrote:
>>
>> In rec.arts.books.tolkien Matthew T Curtis
>> <little...@dsl.pipex.com> wrote:
>>>

Reinstating earlier comments that I wish to address.

>>> 2. This tale shows Ulmo at his most meddlesome. Ulmo seems to
>>> have had a healthy disregard for the self-denying ordinances of
>>> the Valar. He seems to have the best interests of the Children of
>>> Iluvatar at heart,

I think Tolkien addressed this in the UT text:

Therefore, though in the days of this darkness I seem to
oppose the will of my brethren, the Lords of the West,
that is my part among them, to which I was appointed ere
the making of the World.
[UT 1,I 'Of Tuor and his Coming to Gondolin']

We never, as far as I can recall, hear about this appointing, but I
think that the view Ulmo expresses here is not in disregard of the
Doom of the Noldor and Curse of Mandos, but rather that it is his
role to work towards ending the Doom.

>>> but isn't Ulmo running a risk here? After all, Men are supposed
>>> to be able to take charge of their fate. All Ulmo's plans depend
>>> on Tuor's free will.

It does, and Ulmo is obliged to ask Tuor, 'Wilt thou take up my
errand?', but on the other hand Ulmo also was able to call to Tuor
(presumably in the form of the various signs and urgings that made
Tuor travel from Hithlum to Vinyamar). Men, the aftercomers, are, it
appears, free to create their own fate, but that doesn't mean that
the Valar have been forbidden any 'prompting' -- we see a lot of that
in LotR, with the dreams to Faramir and Boromir, the visions of
Malbeth the Seer and the foresight of Aragorn, the grace Frodo
receives at various times etc. etc. Some of this can possibly be put
down to Eru Himself, but surely not all?

>>> [Tuor] is taken before Turgon, and Ulmo speaks through him[6]....

[...]

>>> 6. See note 2.
>>
>> Indeed. I think this is the clearest case in Tolkien's
>> Middle-earth canon of a supernatural being acting through a
>> mortal.

I won't argue 'clearest' -- being the direct mouthpiece of a
supernatural being is a rather obvious example ;-)

But there are also other examples of varying obviousness>

Could we put Sam's exclamations in Cirith Ungol down to a similar
source? When 'his voice cried in a language which he did not know' (I
find the use of 'his voice cried' rather than 'he cried out' very
suggestive -- I think it implies that he did not himself control his
voice).

Within the Quenta Silmarillion itself, the other Great Tales provide
other examples. Melian foresees Beren long before he arrives, clearly
and indication that his arrival is 'meant' to take place. Húrin and
his children, on the other hand, serve as a scaring example of
Morgoth acting through morals.

>> Tuor-style interventions would seem to contradict the fact
>> that free will is supposed to be one of the "gifts of the One
>> to Men".

I don't think it is to Men only -- Free Will was doubtlessly gifted
equally to all kinds of the Children of Ilúvatar (how this fitted
with the Eldar and the Dwarves being bound by the Music is something
which Tolkien, perhaps to the better, never investigated).

But as for this particular case, I don't think it took any bit of
Tuor's free will away when Ulmo used him as his messenger. It is
quite clear from UT that Ulmo could only prompt Tuor to come to
Vinyamar, and from there Tuor had to freely accept the mission.


[Tuor being numbered among the Eldar]


>>> 18. Or in other words, he had the gift of Men ripped from him;
>>> and again, what can be the source for this?
>>
>> Indeed. And of course the nefarious purpose of my
>> juxtaposing these two passages from your commentary is to give
>> me an excuse to repeat my pet theory, which is that Tuor lost
>> both his gifts as a result of coming under the control of Ulmo.

As I said above, I don't think that he lost his Free Will, but quite
obviously he did lose the Gift of Ilúvatar when he was counted among
the Eldar. That, in and of itself, is of course also an obvious
violation of the Music: the supreme exercise of the Gift is to
relinquish it, as you might say.

>> In contrast, his cousin and parallel Turin resisted the control
>> of Morgoth,

Did he now? It seems to me that he, like his father, was manipulated
to do Morgoth's purpose, until the very end -- Húrin, at least,
managed to escape the curse, but I'm not sure that Turin wasn't
affected by it to the very end.

>> eventually committing the ultimate act of both free will and
>> mortality: killing himself.

Thereby serving Morgoth's purpose even with his death . . .

> I'm not so sure. It seems to me that 1) like Frodo, Tuor could
> have refused, but 2) much more importantly, Tuor's errand,
> whether prompted by a Vala or not, was a *violation of Doom.*

Good point.

Ulmo, on the other hand, as shown above, saw it as his role to oppose
the Doom, suggesting that he was appointed to that role before the
world was made. If that was the case, then this role must have been
part of the Music, possibly including the calling to Tuor.

> Tuor, a Man (and his son, a half-Man) did what no Elf could do-
> change the course of history and contradict the Prophecy of
> Mandos.

[...]

This makes me wonder again about the case of Lúthien -- though a
child of an Elf and a Maia, she managed something that would seem
equally in violation of the Music when she moved Mandos to pity.

I'm not sure entirely what I am driving at, but could there be
something significant in their respective attitudes to the Music and
to being bound by it?

>> One can also draw an analogy with Luthien.

Story-externally the mirror symmetry between the fates of Lúthien and
Tuor is, of course, very important. To have an elf give up
immortality to be with a Man, and to have a Man give up the Gift of
Ilúvatar to be with an Elf creates an important balance. It is
noteworthy that Arwen doesn't really move that balance, as she had
always the potential of both Man and Elf.

I think this balance is important even story-internally. I can't
imagine any of the two changes happening without Eru being involved,
and once Lúthien had become mortal, there was an imbalance that
called for a corresponding move the other way: Tuor was the obvious
choice for that.

[Lúthien]


>> Because she claimed one of the gifts of Men (free will),

As I've said above, I don't think that Free Will was a gift to Men in
particular, but a characteristic of all spirits -- Ainur, Elves,
Dwarves and Men equally (and Orcs as well, and other creatures with a
fëa). I won't claim that one can't find suggestions to the opposite,
but I think the following quotations from Tolkien's letters are very
suggestive:

According to the fable Elves and Men were the first of
these intrusions, made indeed while the 'story' was still
only a story and not 'realized' ; they were not therefore
in any sense conceived or made by the gods, the Valar,
and were called the Eruhíni or 'Children of God', and
were for the Valar an incalculable element: that is they
were rational creatures of free will in regard to God, of
the same historical rank as the Valar, though of far
smaller spiritual and intellectual power and status.
[/Letters/ #181, To Michael Straight [drafts], early 1956]

This explicitly states that 'Elves and Men' 'were rational creatures
of free will in regard to God', and suggests, I believe, that they
were, in this, the equals of the Ainur.

That Sauron was not himself destroyed in the anger of the
One is not my fault: the problem of evil, and its apparent
toleration, is a permanent one for all who concern them-
selves with our world. The indestructibility of /spirits/
with free wills, even by the Creator of them, is also an
inevitable feature, if one either believes in their exist-
ence, or feigns it in a story.
[/Letters/ #211, To Rhona Beare, 14 October 1958]

This touches on Sauron, an Ainu, but, in particular in the light of
the above, I think this 'spirits of free will' suggests a feature
that is common to /all/ spirits (or souls, including fëar) within Eä;
that they are always free-willed.

The particular Gift to Men is their ability to shape their life
'beyond the Music of the Ainur', but that is not equivalent to Free
Will (though naturally the value of that gift depends on Free Will).

So while I think your argument very convincing in many ways, I think
we should see Lúthien's claim rather as her free-willed insistence on
helping Beren to shape his life /beyond the Music/, and that
therefore,

>> she was ultimately granted the other (mortality), which she did
>> indeed view as a gift because it would keep her with Beren
>> forever.

And this argument is, I think, what I was groping towards in the
above. The obverse would then be that Tuor chose to place himself
fully under the Music of the Ainur (by giving himself over to Ulmo's
purpose).

>> Tolkien did say that Luthien and Tuor constituted "an exception
>> either way".

And that they were -- the interesting bit is in what ways ;-)

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

Do not meddle in the affairs of Wizards, for they are
subtle and quick to anger.
- Gildor Inglorion, /The Lord of the Rings/ (J.R.R. Tolkien)

Troels Forchhammer

unread,
Dec 16, 2006, 7:21:00 PM12/16/06
to
In message <news:A_4eh.13409$k74....@text.news.blueyonder.co.uk>
"Christopher Kreuzer" <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> spoke these
staves:
>
> Troels Forchhammer wrote:
>>
>> there are several examples of such references to old tales, lays
>> etc., some of which existed in their own right.
[...]

>
> I decided to try and make a list... :-)

So, should I express sarcastic surprise as the suggestion, or
cynically comment that Amazon has a word for your condition
("Listmania") -- it's too late to pass it over, at least ;-)

No, I am not surprised, but some day you have to put on-line some of
all those lists you make ;)

<snip lists>

> There are also other named songs/accounts mentioned in HoME. Can
> anyone think of any of those offhand?

The Athrabeth springs to mind.

And of course every chapter in the /Book of Lost Tales/ is supposed
to be an individual, named tale.

> I can remember the various versions of the Oath of Feanor.

Including the Oath is, I think, stretching the concept of 'song' a
bit, but on the other hand the poetic quality of both the Oath and
many of the prophecies (I'm thinking also of the words of Malbeth the
Seer as reported in LotR), makes me realize that you're including
every instance of 'poetic or prose text that has reached a
traditional form, and been given a name' -- or something along those
lines ;-)

> Then there are the un-named songs, which are clearly songs that
> are remembered and could be named, but aren't.

Exactly -- and most likely they do, story-internally, have a name,
but we just aren't told what it is (and given all that we've seen of
Tolkien's notes, I doubt that he bothered to invent the names).

That gives us yet another dimension to characterizing the story-
internal prose and poetry: not only by style and content, but also by
their level of 'revelation' -- how much they are revealed in the
texts (from us inferring their existence to the full text and name of
e.g. 'The Lay of Leithian').

<snip>

> - "the most ancient songs of the Elves,

[...]


> tell of the shadow-shapes that walked in the hills above
> Cuiviénen..."

Not fitting the description (neither song nor mentioning shadow-
shapes), but the Cuivienyarna nevertheless comes to mind.

As for the songs mentioned, perhaps the /Cuiviénelindë/ would do ;-)
(an invention intended to mean something like 'Song of the Waters of
Awakening').

<snip>

> - "Felagund strove with Sauron in songs of power"

Do these spell-songs count? This would also apply to Lúthien's
singing before Morgoth ('out of the shadows [Lúthien] began a song of
such surpassing loveliness, and of such blinding power, that he
listened perforce'). I'm a bit reluctant to include such as these,
since they seem rather to be once-only songs: specifically for one
particular situation and never sung again.

<snip>

> - "he made the Song of Parting,

[...]


>
> [Oops - I've just noticed that this is a _named_ song! Oh well,
> this makes it easier to come up with the Elvish name - can we
> translate /Song/ /of/ /Parting/?]

I've tried my best in Quenya (don't ask me about Sindarin), but I
can't find a really good gloss for 'parting' -- possibly /auta/ (to
pass, leave, go away) or /vanya/ (go, depart, disappear) would do, in
which case my best offer would be something like /Lindë Autalë/ or
/Lindë Vanyalë/ (using the simpler /lindë/ for song, and making the
participle in the same way as for 'sing', /linda/, in /Ainulindalë/;
lit. 'Ainu-Singing').

Or perhaps it should be 'Farewell-Singing', /Namarielindalë/?

> - "The song of Lúthien before Mandos was the song most fair that
> ever in words was woven, and the song most sorrowful that ever the
> world shall ever hear."

Another example of something that can only work by implication --
like the descriptions of Lúthien, Galadriel and Arwen there is no way
that any realization of this in an actual song could ever fulfill the
promise of this description. (There's another subject for a list --
intentionally unrealizable superlatives <G>).

<snip>

> I make that 18 unnamed songs, though some of these could be
> thought of as part of other, named songs.

Yes, there are definitely some that I could imagine being the
forerunners of the longer lays -- e.g. Tuor's song to Eärendil might
have become adopted into the Lay of Eärendil.

> But still, at least 15 named songs/accounts, and maybe another
> 18 as well.

And then we haven't even started to move into LotR and UT . . .

> Just think if Tolkien had attempted to write lays for all of
> these possibilities!

Perhaps we should be happy that he didn't? It would doubtlessly have
taken time off from other writings, so we should perhaps ask
ourselves which texts we'd exchange for it? Personally, though I
have come to appreciate Tolkien's poetry far more as I've grown
older, I'll still put his prose above his poetry (perhaps precisely
because of the often lyrical quality of his prose), and so I would
not, for instance, want the Athrabeth exchanged for the Narsilion or
the Noldolantë.

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

The idea that time may vary from place to place is a
difficult one, but it is the idea Einstein used, and it is
correct - believe it or not.
- Richard Feynman

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