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Old 03-17-2018, 02:49 AM   #50
Ghost Prince of Cardolan
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To highlight one specific and concrete example of Tolkien making (not just considering and never writing) significant post-LotR changes to the Legendarium, the Athrabeth Finrod ah Andreth (found in HoME X Morgoth's Ring) was written in 1959. It dramatically changes the in-universe view of the lifespan of mortals - according to Andreth, they were originally either immortal or very long-lived, until they fell by worshipping Melkor! - and introduces not only something that looks very much like a prediction of Jesus Christ (the Old Hope), but also Finrod's prophecy of Arda Remade, after the Dagor Dagorath.

The Athrabeth therefore radically changes both the beginning and the end of the Middle-earth story, and does so with absolutely no precedent. (I believe it also introduces the doomed Aegnor/Andreth romance, which would certainly cast the other Eldar/Edain relationships in a different light.) It's a wonderful piece of writing, and I don't think it could have been written - and certainly not in this form - had the 1937 Silmarillion been finished and published.

But at the same time as the Athrabeth was written, Tolkien was (per the intro to the 'later Quenta Silmarillion' section) writing the Valinorean sections of the Quenta afresh, and putting corrections to the Beleriand parts (which still weren't finished!). What we have is a very clear model of how Tolkien revised his work:

-If something was substantially okay, he made notes on the typescript.
-If he didn't like the style or content, he wrote a new version, sometimes without looking at the original.
-If he had a new idea, he wrote a new story to hold it.

And all of this at once, and with no regards for whether it drew the work closer to or further from completion!


Specifically regarding Balrogs, HoME X contains these quotes:

From the Annals of Aman (post-LotR, revised from the Annals of Valinor)

-"[In the first Year of the Trees] in Utumno he wrought the race of demons whom the Elves after named the Balrogs."

-"... he sent forth on a sudden a host of Balrogs, the last of his servants that remained, and... they were withered in the wind of [Manwe's] wrath and slain with the lightning of his sword; and Melkor stood at last alone."

-A note by CT that the first quote above post-dates the idea of Maiar.

-Tolkien's revision to the first entry: "... in Utumno he multiplied the race of the evil spirits who followed him, the Umaiar, of whom the chief were those whom the Elves afterwards named the Balrogath."

-Tolkien's famous note (the '3 or at most 7' one) accompanies the change of the second entry from "a host of Balrogs" to simply "his Balrogs".

-(During the Thieves' Quarrel) "Then there came to his aid the Balrogs, who endured still in the deep places of the North..."

From the Quenta Silmarillion (late 1950s)

-"... gathered his demons about him. These were the first madr of his creatures: their hearts were of fire, but they were cloaked in darkness, and terror went before them... Balrogs they were named..."

-Note to the above: "See Valaquenta for true account." (which points to the text as in the published Silm)

-Edit to the above: "These were the spirits who first adhered to him in the days of his splendour, and became most like him in his corruption: their hearts were of fire" etc.

-From a later period, after the writing of the Laws and Customs, we have text of the attack on Ungoliant, essentially as it appears in the Silm (right down to 'winged speed'!).

From late material (aka Myths Transformed)

-"The Valar find that they can deal with his agents (sc. armies, Balrogs, etc.) piecemeal." This is significant in seemingly ruling out armies of Balrogs.

-Notes that Balrogs are not as powerful as Sauron, and that Balrogs are corrupted Maiar.

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