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Old 03-27-2001, 02:33 PM   #56
Aiwendil
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Join Date: Mar 2001
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Aiwendil has been trapped in the Barrow!
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If you intend to use only JRRT's words, then there are some other problems to be addressed. For example, I don't believe that the Narn or the Wanderings of Hurin could be included in such a version, for two reasons. First, if this is to be THE &quot;Silmarillion&quot;, as it is to have been in Bilbo's books, we should honor JRRT's concept of the &quot;Silmarillion,&quot; namely, that it was a reduction based on much longer and fuller accounts. The Narn, Wanderings, and the later Tuor represent unfinished attempts at creating these fuller accounts, but were never intended to be part of the Silmarillion proper.

Second, there is the matter of the merit of the finished product in literary terms. While Tolkien fans have become good at patching together bits of narrative in totally different styles, in a complete Silmarillion, there is a certain consistency to be looked for. If we were to use only the fullest accounts written by JRRT, we would end up with a book that looked something like this: about 150 pages on the elves in Aman and the darkening of Valinor, maybe another 100 on the first few centuries of the war, including Beren and Luthien, then about another 150 pages on Turin, followed by 30 pages of a detailed narrative on Hurin, and then about 20 pages of quick summary for an ending. Clearly these are not the proportions that Tolkien envisioned! Nor would it make for very good reading; the ending in particular, I think, would be disappointing (after 180 pages of the Turin saga leading to . . . nothing?). Casual readers would be disgusted, and true Tolkien fans would rather read HoME.

If a unified Silm. is to be created, one of three choices must be taken: the allowance for certain creative expansions (which would eliminate the possibility of these being Bilbo's books), the extreme compression of the Narn and other large scale works (which would seem to trivialize them, and would certainly lose much of their power), or a compromise like what Christopher did, not using the Narn or Wanderings, except to further illuminate the course of the story.



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