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Minas Tirith Forums » Silmarillion » The Silmarillion Forum - Guidelines and Introduction
Author Topic: The Silmarillion Forum - Guidelines and Introduction
Roll of Honor Fingolfin of the Noldor
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Citizen # 156

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"Welcome and well met", to this forum and this fair city. [] As long as you are registered you are more than welcome to post on or in any topic here which in some way pertains to the posthumously published work of J.R.R. Tolkien's entitled: The Silmarillion.

That said, it has been suggested as a good practice to, in an effort to keep from "continually reinventing the wheel", use the search function before posting a new question just in case it has already been asked. Also it would probably be most convient for others also interested in your question to make sure your topic title, when posting a question, is clear and consise And if you have any questions the Minas Tirith FAQ would probably be a good thing to check out.
Otherwise just DISCUSS AWAY! [] []

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Just to get you started here is a choice sampling of some of the more recent threads divided into rough catagories:

FËAR (Issues relating to Men, Elves, Dwarves, etc.)

ËALAR (Issues relating to the Valar, the Maiar, etc.)

CREATION (the roots of Tolkien's work)

THE NATURE OF REALITY (the "truth" behind Tolkien's universe)

HISTORICITY (The role of history and tradition internally)

QUESTIONS ON DETAILS AND DYNAMICS/COMMENTARIES (Other)



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GETTING STARTED (Having difficulty getting started with or motivated to read The Silmarillion? Well you're not alone. Here are some places you may be able to find help.)



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FUN AND GAMES (the rules are pretty much the same for all the games: ¹If you submit a correct answer you must submit a new question/scramble/etc. and ²If noone answers or submits a new one for a rather length segment of time the floor becomes open and anyone can ask/submit a new question/scramble/etc.)
  • Scramble »» Can you rearrange the seemingly randomly combined letters into the name of something from or somehow relating to the Silmarillion?
    ¤ Q. GRTHMO » A. MORGOTH
  • Trivia »» Can you answer the question?
    ¤ Q. Who was Turin's father? » A. Hurin.
  • Who/What Am I? »» Can you identify who/what the clues point to?
    ¤ Q. I am a talking dog. » A. Huan
  • Odd Man Out »» Can you identify who/what in the given list doesn't fit with the rest?
    ¤ Q. Frodo Merry Pippin Aragorn » A. Aragorn - he is not a hobbit
  • Describtions »» Can you identify who is being described?
    ¤ Q. He made some very bright gems. » A. Feanor
  • Name Game (err.....I know) »» Are you able to, being given a name, connect that to another name whose first letter is the same as the last letter of the name you were originally given?
    ¤ Q. Legolas » A. Legolas -> Sam, Sam was in the fellowship which had only one Elf: Legolas
  • To WHOM was it Spoken? »» Who did this line address?
    ¤ Q. "Then you shall enjoy your inheritance no longer..."(Hurin) » A. Mim

(NOTE: This list is by no means complete please PM me if I missed a thread which should be included)

[ 03-19-2005, 05:47 PM: Message edited by: Fingolfin of the Noldor ]

From: Worcester, MA | Registered: Nov 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Roll of Honor Fingolfin of the Noldor
Captain of Avatars
Citizen # 156

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Within The History of Middle-earth series and Unfinished Tales CT's contributions are rather clear cut. That is, his father's writtings are more or less presented as is(with some minor grammatical and other revisions for publication) with a separate and distinct commentary of Christopher Tolkien's.
In the case of The Silmarillion, the text is a bit more dubious given as CT states:
quote:
On my father's death it fell to me to try to bring the work into publishable form. It became clear to me that to attempt to present, within the covers of a single book the diversity of the materials—to show The Silmarillion as in truth a continuing and evolving creation extending over more than half a century—would in fact lead only to confusion and the submerging of what is essential I set myself therefore to work out a single text selecting and arranging in such a way as seemed to me to produce the most coherent and internally self-consistent narrative...A complete consistency (either within the compass of The Silmarillion itself or between The Silmarillion and other published writings of my father's) is not to be looked for, and could only be achieved, if at all at heavy and needless cost. Moreover, my father came to conceive The Silmarillion as a compilation, a compendious narrative, made long afterwards from sources of great diversity (poems, and annals, and oral tales) that had survived in agelong tradition; and this conception has indeed its parallel in the actual history of the book, for a great deal of earlier prose and poetry does underlie it, and it is to some extent a compendium in fact and not only in theory. -pg 7-8 The Silmarillion 'Forward'
Sadly this has widely given rise to the misconception that The Silmarillion was actually a work of Christopher Tolkien's in addition to his fathers and then though his editions are not defined in the published Silmarillion itself they can be found defined at various points throughout the latter portion of the History of Middle-earth series where the last texts and revisions of Tolkien's are discussed which became the source material from which the The Silmarillion in its now published(1977) form was compiled and I think clearly answer the common question: How much is actually Tolkien? The answer being: Virtually all.

The chapters of the Silmarillion are as follows:
  • Forward

    AINULINDALË

    VALAQUENTA
  • Of the Beginning of Days
  • Of Aulë and Yavanna
  • Of the Coming of the Elves and the Captivity of Melkor
  • Of Thingol and Melian
  • Of Eldamar and the Princes of the Eldalië
  • Of Fëanor and the Unchaining of Melkor
  • Of the Silmarils and the Unrest of the Noldor
  • Of the Darkening of Valinor
  • Of the Flight of the Noldor
  • Of the Sindar
  • Of the Sun and the Moon and the Hiding of Valinor
  • Of Men
  • Of the Return of the Noldor
  • Of Beleriand and its Realms
  • Of the Noldor in Beleriand
  • Of Maeglin
  • Of the Coming of Men into the West
  • Of the Ruin of Beleriand and the Fall of Fingolfin
  • Of Beren and Lúthien
  • Of the Fifth Battle: Niraeth Arnoediad
  • Of Túrin Turambar
  • Of the Ruin of Doriath
  • Of Tuor and the Fall of Gondolin
  • Of the Voyage of Eärendil and the War of Wrath

    AKALLABETH

    OF THE RINGS OF POWER AND THE THIRD AGE

PART ONE:

The Ainulindale was essentially taken straight from the JRRT's final draft Ainulindale D(with later emendations) though the latter portion was integrated into the first chapter of the Silmarillion proper


PART TWO:

The Valaquenta likewise is almost entirely a direct work of Tolkien's though the very last portion was taken and moved to the conclusion of the Silmarillion for reasons presented here:


PART THREE(The Silmarillion proper):

Of the Beginning of Days was essentially the combination of two texts the latter portion of the Ainulindale and the chapter Of Valinor and the Two Trees from one of the primary source texts: The Later Quenta Silmarillion

Of Aulë and Yavanna was also a combination of two works namely another later work of JRR Tolkien's from the source text The Later Quenta Silmarillion namely a later version of the portion Of the Naugrim and a late(1959) essay entitled Of Ents and Eagles

Of the Coming of the Elves and the Captivity of Melkor through Of the Ruin of Beleriand and the Fall of Fingolfin are for the most part direct interweavings of the two primarily sources of Tolkien's latest work on the Silmarillion traditionas(1 aforementioned): The Later Quenta Silmarillion and the Annals(this devided into two separate texts: The Annals of Aman(in Valinor) and The Grey Annals(In Beleriand)) both dating in their latest forms at around the late 1950's. This general combining of his father's texts can be taken as a rule here though it is of course with a few notible exceptions eg:
  • 1. The Darkening of Valinor follows more closely the Annals of Aman text as in this case there is a disparity between the Later Quenta Silmarillion in its latest form and Annals such that in the former Melkor and Ungoliant are not both present at the destruction of the Two Trees while in the latter they are.
  • 2. Of Maeglin not a work from the revised versions of the stories but primarily a very late work(1970)

Of Beren and Luthien primarily drawn from the Annals

Of the Fifth Battle: Niraeth Arnoediad taken for the most part from material associated with the late Narn i [C]hin Hurin text and the Grey Annals.

Of Túrin Turambar drawn mainly from the Narn i [C]him Hurin and the Grey Annals and rendered as a combination of the two.

Of the Ruin of Doriath an editorial addition of CT's including a new version of the travelings of Hurin, and the account of the Nauglamír, and the actual fall or Doriath. Made given the fact the latest versions of Tolkien's works in this regard were either quite archiac dating no later than 1930 or quite inconsistant. A portion of this rewrittings of CT's is actually, however, based on a version presented of the story in a quite late latter(1963) and so is partially drawn from JRR Tolkien. (see The Letters of JRR Tolkien letter #247 to Colonel Worskett pg 334)

Of Tuor and the Fall of Gondolin a combination of another late text Of Tuor and his Coming to Gondolin(also published in UT) along with the early text(as in the case immediatly preceding this 1930 text being the latest version of portions of the story though quite old and obsolete) of the Quenta(HoME 4) though very heavily emended.

Of the Voyage of Eärendil and the War of Wrath also based primarily on early though in the case later text(HoME 5). Heavily revised and integrating a portion of the late Valaquenta this text was also later corrected cursorily by Tolkien.


PART FOUR:

The Akallabêth more or less directly taken from JRR Tolkien's final version but with a number of minor editorial revisions eg the removal of mention of Eonwë at one point given how CT felt his father viewed the last battle of Beleriand at that point aswell as a supporting disparity between later and earlier versions of the First Age 'Tales of Years' text.


PART FIVE:

The Rings of Power and the Third Age likewise for the most part drawn completely from a Tolkien's late work

Another element of the published Sil which deserves mention would be the map. Though based on JRR Tolkien's latest versions it is not actually his and has a number of changes from it including(as stuck out to me anyway) the removal of the northern portion including Angband given inconsistancies in contemporary texts as to specific distances at that point. For more info in this regard refer to The War of the Jewels(HoME 11)

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[ 03-19-2005, 05:48 PM: Message edited by: Fingolfin of the Noldor ]

From: Worcester, MA | Registered: Nov 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Roll of Honor Fingolfin of the Noldor
Captain of Avatars
Citizen # 156

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While attending Exeter College at Oxford University Tolkien in 1913 was struct by two lines from Cynewulf's Anglo-Saxon poem(105-106) Crist:
quote:
Eala Earendel engla beorhtast,
ofer middangeard monnum sended!

He later wrote of them:
quote:
When I came across that citation in the dictionary I felt a curious thrill, as if something had stirred in me, half wakened from sleep. There was something very remote and strange and beautiful behind those words, if I could grasp it, far beyond ancient English. (p. 237 Sauron Defeated(HoME9) "The Notion Club Papers" HMC)
and subsequently in the September of 1914 while on vacation at Pheonix Farm in Nottinghamshire he wrote a poem titled: Eala Earendil Engla Beorhtast which though drawn around a character from Cynewulf's Crist was completely original and unique:



Earendel sprang up from the Oceans's cup
In the gloom of the mid-world's rim;
From the door of Night as a ray of light
Leapt over twilight brim,
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.

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.
On the gathering tide of Darkness ride
The argosies of the sky,
And spangle the night with their sails of light
As the Evening sails go by.

But unheeding he dips past these twinkling ships,
By his wandering spirit whirld
On an magic quest through the darkening West
Toward the margent of the world;
And he fares in hase 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.

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.
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 ardent-orbed bark.

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

Then he glimmering passed to the starless vast
As an isled lamp at sea,
And beyond the ken of mortal men
Set his lonely erranty,
Tracking the Sun in his galleon
And voyaging the skies
Till his splendor was shorn by the birth of Morn
And he died with the Dawn in his eyes.
(pp. 271-3 The Book of Lost Tales 2 BB)



When Tolkien showed this poem to his friend G.B. Smith Smith said he liked it but also asked what it meant. Tolkien replied: "I don't know but I'll try to find out."(p.83 J. R. R. Tolkien: A biography by Humphrey Carpenter)

This then led directly to the formation of "The Lay of Earendel" or a set of poetry directly related to that original poem including works entitled: The Bidding of the Minstrel, The Shores of Faëry and The Happy Mariners as Tolkien further explored this "new world" he had discovered and this process continued up to World War I through the production of new and the drawing in of old previously unrelated verse until finally during and following the First World War those stories previously touched on only in poetry were set to prose:

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CLICK ON THE LINK ABOVE FOR A BRIEF
ACCOUNT FROM CHRISTOPHER TOLKIEN


and of which the first recorded work is "The Fall of Gondolin"(Winter 1916)


GREEN: Early Verse
RED: Lost Tales
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[ 03-19-2005, 05:49 PM: Message edited by: Fingolfin of the Noldor ]

From: Worcester, MA | Registered: Nov 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Roll of Honor Fingolfin of the Noldor
Captain of Avatars
Citizen # 156

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Another common source of confusion with regard to the Silmarillion is actually the map included and shown above; that is specifically, its precise relation to the map shown in The Lord of the Rings and also the relative locations of several areas mentioned and described in it but not included in the map such as Valinor and Angband.

The best way to answer questions relating to such things is probably to present a map of the entire world, that is Earth or Imbar, and some of the most accurate maps of such things available are those published in Karen Fonstad's The Atlas of Middle-earth being based on Tolkien's own latest writings and maps:

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Another map good for detailing the specific relation between the lands of Beleriand in the First Age and the lands where the action of the Lord of the Rings took place in the Third Age can be found as follows detailing specific anchors which solidify the relationship such as the Hill of Himling in the First Age which survivied as the island of Himring in the Third:

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For more information on the lands and geography of Tolkien's world(which is accurate being based on Tolkien's own diagrams) through the Ages be sure to check out John Ohara's brialliant "Tolkien Atlas Home Page":

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[ 03-19-2005, 05:49 PM: Message edited by: Fingolfin of the Noldor ]

From: Worcester, MA | Registered: Nov 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
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