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Old 07-22-2001, 02:19 PM   #1
jallanite
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Did Tolkien intend to eliminate mechanical dragons from his account of the fall of Gondolin?

If so, how this should be accomplished in a re-edited account?

I am setting this up as a separate discussion because it is a separate issue from any other problem with the fall of Gondolin. Changing the dragons from mechanical contructs to dragons of flesh and ichor would effect nothing else in the account, and nothing else in the account affects this issue.

It will be easier to keep track of arguments and proposed changes if this is a topic unto itself outside of the main Fall of Gondolin discussion.

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Old 07-22-2001, 02:54 PM   #2
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Re: Mechanical Monsters at the Fall of Gondolin?

<u> Mechanical dragons or Not?</u>

This is just a listing of evidence pertaining to whether or not Tolkien dropped mechanical dragons from his conception after the original &quot;Fall of Gondolin&quot; or not.


From The Book of Lost Tales 2 (HoME 2), &quot;The Fall of Gondolin&quot;

Meglin counsels Melko:<blockquote>Quote:<hr> Therefore he counselled Melko to devise out of his sorceries a succour for his warriors in their endeavour. From the greatness of his wealth of metals and his powers of fire he bid him make beasts like snakes and dragons of irrestible might that should overcreep the Encircling Hills and lap that plain and its fair city in flame and death.<hr></blockquote>In the battle which follows it appears that all serpents, dragons, and drakes mentioned are artificial beasts of this kind.

But we are also told (underlining mine):<blockquote>Quote:<hr> Then on a time Melko assembled all his most cunning smiths and sorcerers, and of iron and flame they wrought a host of monsters such as <u>have only at that time been seen and shall not again be till the Great End</u>.<hr></blockquote>Therefore we should not expect, if the metal monsters existed still in Tolkien's later concept, to necessarily find any mention of them whatsoever outside of the story of the fall of Gondolin. (Presumably, though they had been successful, Melko set them aside as now obsolete in favour of his newest concept, winged dragons.)

From The Shaping of Middle-Earth (HoME 3), &quot;The Earliest Silmarillion&quot;, 16:<blockquote>Quote:<hr> Not long after this Meglin going far afield over the mountains is taken by Orcs, and purchases his life when taken to Angband by revealing Gondolin and its secrets.<hr></blockquote>No particular mention of his counsel to make beasts of metal.<blockquote>Quote:<hr> At last Morgoth is ready, and the attack is made on Gondolin with dragons, Balrogs, and Orcs.<hr></blockquote>No indication that these are anything but &quot;normal&quot; dragons, who have already been mentioned in this account in the story of Túrin.



From The Shaping of Middle-Earth (HoME 3), &quot;The Quenta&quot;, 18

Meglin is captured by Morgoth:<blockquote>Quote:<hr> ... and he purchased his life and freedom by revealing unto Morgoth the place of Gondolin and the ways whereby it might be found and assailed.<hr></blockquote>Meglin again counsels how the city might be assailed, which might refer to the making of metal beasts as it did in FG.<blockquote>Quote:<hr> ... Morgoth was ready, and he loosed upon Gondolin his Orcs and his Balrogs and his serpents; and of these, dragons of many and dire shapes were new devised for the taking of the city.<hr></blockquote>The account emerges again of serpents or dragons being &quot;devised&quot; (not &quot;bred&quot in many shapes, though it is not said specifically that they are metal.



From The Shaping of Middle-Earth (HoME 3), &quot;The Earliest Annals of Beleriand&quot;:

From 206
:<blockquote>Quote:<hr> Meglin was taken in the hills and betrayed Gondolin to Morgoth.<hr></blockquote>A very unrevealing summary.

From 207:<blockquote>Quote:<hr> Here Morgoth loosed a host of dragons over the mountains from the North and Gondolin's vale was taken and the city besieged.<hr></blockquote>Orcs and Balrog later. Kind of dragon again unspecified. (In the The Lost Road (HoME 5), &quot;The Later Annals of Beleriand&quot;, 307 [507], the last part of this is changed without import to &quot;and they overran the vale of Tumladen, and besieged Gondolin.&quot; This material seems simply a condensation of the Quenta account.



From The Hobbit

In chapter III, &quot;A Short Rest&quot;, Elrond says:<blockquote>Quote:<hr> ... for dragons and goblins destroyed that city many ages ago.<hr></blockquote>A very short summary, but Tolkien has placed it in a work intended for publication, not just working notes for himself, and it would have been easy enough write &quot;dragons of iron and flame&quot; or some such if the old concept was still present.



From The War of the Jewels (HoME 11), &quot;The Wanderings of Húrin&quot;

In note 30:<blockquote>Quote:<hr> At this point in the draft manuscript my father wrote:
Later when captured and Maeglin wished to buy his release with treachery, Morgoth must answer laughing, saying: Stale news will buy nothing. I know this already, I am not easily blinded! So Maeglin was obliged to offer more*** to undermine resistance to Gondolin.
Almost exactly the same note is found on the slip giving information about the new meaning of the name Haladin (p.*270); but here, after the words 'undermine the resistance in Gondolin', my father continued: 'and to compassed the death of Tuor and Eärendel if he could. If he did he would be allowed to retain Idril (said Morogth).'<hr></blockquote>The idea that Morgoth knew already the location of Gondolin which disappeared after FG here re-emerges. This could have been a place for Tolkien to also mention that Maeglin suggested the use of mechanical dragons to Morgoth. He does not do so.



The Tale of Years

Too short a summary to be worth even looking at, but of course no mention of metal monsters or it would be worth looking at.



The Published Silmarillion

Christopher Tolkien mostly follows Q30, but changes the certain parts of his original (as underlined):<blockquote>Quote:<hr> ... and he loosed upon Gondolin his Balrogs, and his Orcs, and his <u>wolves</u>; and <u>with them came</u> dragons of <u>the brood of Glaurung, and they were become now become</u> many <u>and terrible</u>.<hr></blockquote>I've been able to find no source for the underlined material. Christopher Tolkien does sometimes mention certain material as being an editorial insertion by himself, but no mention of that here.

This might mean that he simply has not mentioned it in this case. (Some radical changes to the text to the War of Wrath. for example, are only mentioned by him in passing in §3 of &quot;The History of the Akallabêth&quot; in The Peoples of Middle-earth.) Or it might mean he accidently neglected to indicate the source for this information. It might be too that for some of the changes in the Silmarillion text CT is himself in doubt whether they were editorial modication or information taken from a note somewhere that cannot now be located.

The replacement of serpents by wolves is odd however. No wolves appears in the account of the battle in FG.



Conclusion

The created dragons of iron and bronze and flame might well have continued to exist for Tolkien. To suggest he discarded them is to argue from silence. No long account appears from times when he was thinking of the Silmarillion as a publishable text, not as a private account of his legendarium. Christopher Tolkien's emendation in QS77 to the Q30 account is very suspect.

On the other hand it is surprising that so unique a conception would not be explicitly referred to again if Tolkien intended to continue with it. Would he not have been somewhat proud of his originality?

My feeling is that the concept was discarded. I'm not confident in following that feeling. I would certainly not be at all surprised were a late note to appear indicating that the metal dragons were still part of the tale.

This is one of the cases there the principles don't help. Should we go with the metal dragons because we can't prove that they were discarded, for indeed we can't prove it, or should we drop them as here the argument from silence is a reasonably strong one?

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Old 07-22-2001, 06:03 PM   #3
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Re: No more metal monsters.

<u> Omitting the Metal Monsters</u>

In FG Tolkien, as will apear in a quotations below, distinguishes between three kinds of monsters:
***1. Those made of linked iron that flow like rivers of metal and are hollow within.
***2. Those of bronze and copper with spirits of blazing fire and with great feet, blasting and trampling all in their path.
***3. Extremely hot creatures of pure flame before which iron and stone melt and on which Balrogs ride.

This third kind is no problem later, as in the accounts in the battle it does not appear openly that the &quot;fire-drakes&quot; are composed of pure flame, and not simply a type of dragon of hotter and more firey metabolism. Indeed in &quot;Turambar and the Foalóke&quot; is written:<blockquote>Quote:<hr> Now the least mighty**- yet were they very great beside the Men of those days*** are cold as is the nature of snakes and serpents, and of them a many having wings go with uttermost noise and speed; but the mightier are hot and very heavy and slow-going, and some belch flame, and fire flickereth beneath their scales, and the lust and greed and cunning evil of these is the greatest of all creatures: and such was the Foalóke whose burning there set all the places of his habitation in waste and desolation.<hr></blockquote>So a fire-drake is now simply one of these latter kinds of dragons, still more adapted to be hot and firey.

As for the second kind, in &quot;Turambar and the Foalóke&quot; it is written of Glorund:<blockquote>Quote:<hr> ... and a great worm was with them whose scales were polished bronze, and his name was Glorund.<hr></blockquote> So some metalic imagery might be maintained for dragons of flesh though I do not do this here

In this first attempt all mechanical and metallic description is removed.

I code changes here as FG-D followed by a two-digit number. D of course stands of &quot;Dragon&quot;. As previously the following symbols are used:
[ ]*****Normalized, usually used for proper names indicating they are here in final form, not as in original text. Eg. &quot;M[orgoth]&quot; probably represents an original &quot;Melko&quot;, &quot;[ea]stward&quot;, represents original &quot;westward&quot;
{ }*****Material to be deleted.
<u>Underline</u> Material inserted for grammatical reasons or as editorial bridge.

The following complex of changes are understood to occur throughout and are not listed separately for each case: &quot;serpent(s) of (bronze and) iron&quot; to simple &quot;serpent(s)&quot;.

FG-D01: Deleting from Maeglin's advice to Morgoth.<blockquote>Quote:<hr> {From the greatness of his wealth of metal and his powers of fire h} <u>H</u>e bid him make {beasts like} snakes and dragons of irresistible might that should overcreep the Encircling Hills and lap that plain and its fair city in flame and death.<hr></blockquote>Maeglin now advises Morogth to make snakes and dragons (by which should be understood more of the normal kinds of snakes and dragons) but of great strength, as the best means of bringing Gondolin to the ground.

FG-D02: Devising of the dragons.<blockquote>Quote:<hr> Yet these years are filled by M[orgoth] in the utmost ferment of labour, and all the thrall-folk of the Noldo[r] must dig unceasingly for metals {while Melko sitteth and deviseth fires and calleth flames and smokes to come from the lower heats}, nor does {he}<u>Morgoth</u> suffer any of the Noldo[r] to stray ever a foot from their place of bondage. Then on a time M[orgoth] assembled all his most cunning {smiths and} sorcerers, and {of iron and flame} they wrought a host of monsters such as have only at that time been seen and shall not again be till the Great End. Some {were all of iron so cunningly linked that they} might flow like slow rivers of metal or coil themselves around and above all obstacles before them, and those {were filled in their innermost depths with} <u>carried on their backs</u> the grimmest of Or[k]s with scimitars and spears; others {of bronze and copper} were given hearts and spirits of blazing fire, and they blasted all that stood before them with the terror of their snorting or trampled whatso escaped the ardour of their breath; yet others were creatures of {pure} flame that writhed like ropes of molten metal, and they brought to ruin whatever fabric they came nigh, and iron and stone melted before them and became as water, and upon them rode the Balrogs {in hundreds[?]}; and these were the most dire of all those monsters which M[orgoth] devised against Gondolin.<hr></blockquote>The Noldor are now presumably mining metal to arm Morgoth's troops, not to create dragon. The revised acount leaves obscure how these monsters were devised: by breeding or by pods or other method. That they were only seen at that time would mean, in this new context, the time of the end of the First Age, not merely the time of the fall of Gondolin.

I am tempted to keep &quot;of bronze and copper&quot; and modify to &quot;with scales of bronze and copper&quot; here and elsewhere. It would be possible to distinguish iron-scaled and bronze-scaled dragons, but this feels too obviously &quot;clever&quot; to me. The omission of the number of Balrogs is questioned as something that should belong to another thread of change that chances to overlap this thread at this point and should not be considered in this discussion.

FG-D03: Description of the enemies.<blockquote>Quote:<hr> ... and go naked into the open against enemies of {steel and} fire, whose trampling shakes the earth ...<hr></blockquote>

FG-D04: Flexible dragons pressed into service.<blockquote>Quote:<hr> ****But now Gothmog, lord of Balrogs, captain of the hosts of M[orgoth], took counsel and gathered all his {things of iron} <u>creatures</u> that could coil themselves around and above all obstacles before them.<hr></blockquote>The word &quot;things&quot; doesn't really work at all if &quot;of iron&quot; is removed, as it doesn't seem to refer to the dragons sufficiently. It sounds like the account is talking about some kind of siege devices, like ropes with grapling hooks. Hence I emend to &quot;creatures&quot;. Too daring?

FG-D05: Hollowness of the iron beasts.<blockquote>Quote:<hr> Then the engines and the catapults of the king poured darts and boulders and molten metals on those ruthless beasts, and {their hollow bellies clanged} <u>they screamed</u> beneath the buffeting, yet it availed not, for they might not be broken, and the fires rolled off them. Then {were} <u>from</u> the topmost {opened about their middles, and} an innumerable host of the Or[k]s, the goblins of hatred, poured {therefrom} into the breach;<hr></blockquote>Minimal change here in the kind of noise that came from the beasts. If felt to be too daring then eliminate &quot;and their hollow bellies clanged beneath the buffeting,&quot; entirely.

Some deletions and movement of the word &quot;from&quot; in the last sentence to make it appear the Orks have climbed the stacked beasts as the great-footed dragons will soon do.

FG-D06: The great-footed dragons prepare to attack Gondolin.<blockquote>Quote:<hr> ****Now then the plan that they made was to hold what they had won, while those serpents {of bronze and} with great feet for trampling climbed slowly over {those of iron} <u>the others</u>, and reaching the walls there opened a breach wherethrough the Balrogs might ride upon the dragons of flame: yet they knew this must be done with speed, for the heats of those drakes lasted not for ever{, and might only be plenished from the wells of fire that Melko had made in the fastness of his own land}.<hr></blockquote>I think the replacement of &quot;those of iron&quot; with &quot;the others&quot; is a minimal change. That the fire of the dragons can only be replenished by wells of fire in Angband works for me with the original bronze dragons, but not with live creatures. But the idea that the flame of the dragons dies out after use and must be replenished (now presumably by rest) can be retained.

FG-D07: Breaking of the Walls.<blockquote>Quote:<hr> ... one of those {brazen} snakes <u>with great feet</u> heaves against the [ea]stern wall and a great mass of it shakes and falls, and behind comes a creature of fire and <u>a[?]</u> Balrog{s[?]} upon it.<hr></blockquote>We need something too connect the bronze serpent here to those previously mentioned. Since the attribute of bronze is gone, I repeat instead &quot;with great feet&quot; from the previous description. Again, the Balrog change belongs to another thread of consideration, hence the queries here.

FG-D08: Imprisonment of the Noldor.<blockquote>Quote:<hr> ... and many, if occasion let, they bound and led back and flung {in the iron chambers} amid the dragons of iron, that they might drag them afterward to be thralls of M[orgoth].<hr></blockquote>The prisoners are flung, presumably tied, to be guarded by dragons, not flung into cells within the dragons' bodies.

FG-D09: At the gate.<blockquote>Quote:<hr> Fire-drakes are about it and monsters {of iron} fare in and out of its gates, and great is that sack of the Balrogs and Or[k]s.<hr></blockquote>This is equivalent to FG-C08 in the main fall of Gondolin discussion. The change of course should now be considered as part of this discussion and not as part of discussion of the general closing changes.

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Old 07-22-2001, 07:23 PM   #4
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Re: Mechanical Monsters at the Fall of Gondolin?

I feel that we should eliminate the mechanical dragons. While I agree that a case can be made either way, I think we have sufficient evidence to justify this under principle 2; it seems that his latest conception was that these were merely 'dragons'; 'mechanical dragons' are really a completely different matter from ordinary living ones. While both the 'Sketch' and the 'Quenta' were drastically compressed, they were still essentially meant to be read by people who had no prior knowledge of the mythology. When Tolkien says 'dragons', I think we must accept that he means 'dragons' and not 'mechanical dragons'.

The only bit of evidence that makes me question this is 'dragons of many and dire shapes were new devised for the taking of the city.' This suggests that these dragons were made specifically for the sack of Gondolin. But I don't think this is really evidence for mechanical dragons. Prior to the Fall of Gondolin, the only dragon really known was Glaurung; indeed, he may well have been the ONLY dragon. Morgoth (perhaps at the suggestion of Maeglin) no doubt had to more or less re-invent the dragon after Glaurung's death. He now made (it seems) both fire-drakes like Glaurung and cold drakes like the later Scatha.

I do think that we should eliminate CRT's editorial 'of the brood of Glaurung'; the evidence would actually seem to point to these being not of the brood of Glaurung but of new design.

&lt;&lt;In FG Tolkien, as will apear in a quotations below, distinguishes between three kinds of monsters:
1. Those made of linked iron that flow like rivers of metal and are hollow within.
2. Those of bronze and copper with spirits of blazing fire and with great feet, blasting and trampling all in their path.
3. Extremely hot creatures of pure flame before which iron and stone melt and on which Balrogs ride.&gt;&gt;

I think these distinctions can be easily maintained. What we basically have when we eliminate mention of metal is:
1. Serpents (without legs or feet)that could not breathe fire.
2. Drakes (with legs and feet) that could not breath fire.
3. Drakes that could breathe fire (like Glaurung).

FG-D02: It feels a little artificial to me to keep the great mining and work of his thralls, but to entirely change its purpose. Still, it seems only logical that arms would be smithied in preparation for a battle. I think we might consider eliminating the whole passage, but it needs some thought.

That's all I can really contribute for the moment; this matter, I think, requires the input not only of the two of us and Lindil, but also of the various other members.








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Old 07-22-2001, 09:41 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jallanite
That they were only seen at that time would mean, in this new context, the time of the end of the First Age, not merely the time of the fall of Gondolin.
But different kinds of dragons were seen as much later as the end of the Third Age (namely Smaug). And he was not only survival, for:

Quote:
I don't see that this will help us much, said Thorin disappointedly after a glance. I remember the Mountain well enough and the lands about it. And I know where Mirkwood is, and the Withered Heath where the great dragons bred;

The Hobbit, p 14
So, great dragons still bred by the end of the Third age, which contradicts the statement that they were only seen by the end of the First
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Old 07-22-2001, 11:17 PM   #6
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Re: Mechanical Monsters at the Fall of Gondolin?

I think the ideas put forth of retaining the divisions of dragons and eliminating the metallic/mechanical aspects fits the goal of retaining as much as possible while omitting material that most likely would have been eliminated. as stated , we do not know for sure but just like CRT we will have to make some major decisions with a paucity of evidence. the outlines we have been given by J and A are as usual excellent.

In summary no mechanicals - yes divisions.

My wife and kids are going away for a few weeks so I hope [God willing] to be able to contribute a little more substantially.





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Old 07-24-2001, 06:11 PM   #7
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Re: Mechanical Monsters at the Fall of Gondolin?

From The War of the Jewels, &quot;The Grey Annals&quot;, §74, underlining mine:<blockquote>Quote:<hr> There came wolves, and wolfriders, and there came Balrogs a thousand, and there came <u>worms and drakes, and Glaurung, Father of Dragons</u>.<hr></blockquote>Under §332:<blockquote>Quote:<hr> Now the Naugrim withstood fire more hardily than either Elves or Men, and it was the custom moreover of the Enfeng to wear great masks [ struck out: or vizors] in battle hideous to look upon, which stood them in good stead against the drakes. And but for them Glaurung <u>and his brood</u> would have withered all that was left of the Noldor.<hr></blockquote>Sohere is Glaurung named &quot;Father of Dragons&quot; with other dragons about him in the battle, at least some of whom, if not all, are descended from him. I think (though have not checked completely) this is the source of the slightly modifed QS77 account which agrees with this except for unimportant changes of wording.

So there were definitely other dragons active before the fall of Gondolin besides Glaurung.

To HerenIstarion:

The original quoted passage only says that none of the creatures especially devised for the taking of Gondolin were known in later days, speaking nothing of other dragons. In the original FG Meglin advises Melko to &quot;make beasts <u>like snakes and dragons</u>&quot;, that is, new kinds of creatures in the likeness of the beasts that already existed, but of metal and fire. These new monsters were presumably either later destroyed or ceased to operate in other ways, for they were not seen again, whereas the lineage of the the earlier flesh dragons of course continued until much later.

I take this passage to be valid still in my editing (with some hesitation). Yes, other dragons descended from those active before the sacking of Gondolin were known much later, but not those here specially devised, though now not devised of metal.

Smaug is a winged dragon, and winged dragons are definitely not covered by the passage, as in the Silmarillion stream they first appear only at the end of the War of Wrath from which two escape, presumably that parents of later winged dragons.

On the different kinds of dragons, note that Tolkien refers to serpents as having feet. I can find no distinction whatsover in his use of dragon, drake, serpent, snake, and monster in FG. Rather oddly the word worm does not occur there, though later it is his favorite synomym for dragon.

I have no disagreement or quibbles of any kind with any of the other comments. The difficulties and hestitations mentioned are the same that I see, and I agree with the conclusions reached.


</p>Edited by: <A HREF=http://www.barrowdowns.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_profile&u=00000212>jallanit e</A> at: 7/24/01 8:24:13 pm
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Old 07-25-2001, 04:22 AM   #8
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Agreed

Yet the idea of specially devising creatures for the sake of taking one city, and then destroying those (after they proved themselves highly efficient) seems inconsistent to me. Even in the case if they quietly died away all by themselves. More proper sounds not mentioning specially devised at all, alongside with reducing number of Balrogs in action to 7

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Old 07-26-2001, 04:16 PM   #9
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Re: Re specially devised dragons again.

From Q30:<blockquote>Quote:<hr> ... dragons of many and dire shapes were new devised for the taking of the city.<hr></blockquote>This is the last account that even comes close to being more than chronological notations. So I can't see dropping the word &quot;devised&quot; without reason.

My guess would not be that they were ignored by Morgoth, but that they were destroyed in the War of Wrath, along with almost all the Balrogs (perhaps all but one) and all the winged dragons except for two.

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Old 07-27-2001, 06:14 AM   #10
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Old 08-07-2001, 11:59 AM   #11
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Re: Re specially devised dragons again.

<blockquote>Quote:<hr> I'm not confident in following that feeling. I would certainly not be at all surprised were a late note to appear indicating that the metal dragons were still part of the tale.<hr></blockquote>

Then this won't surprise you I guess.
Conclusion of the Silmarillion QS in Vol. 5.
There is mention of Dragons with wings of steel.
Thorondor is also mentioned as having a beak of Gold.

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Old 02-05-2002, 02:49 AM   #12
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I'm new to these boards, and admittedly don't know the ins and outs of HoMe that well. But it seems to me most folks are going about the mechanical dragon issue the wrong way. To me, the issue is not does the mechanical dragon thing pop up in later writings. That really is irrelevant IF the later writings are much shorter accounts, which in this case they are.

Shrinking something down to 77 Silm length, things like mechanical dragons had to go, whether he still conceived of them existing or not. You can't just suppose that he could have added a few extra words like change "dragons" to "dragons of iron" or whatever, because simply mentioning them as being made of iron isn't enough. In order to include them, you need to go into some detail to explain how they came to be, what they were all about, etc... and that's the kind of detail that gets dropped in a massive edit. Its a concept that either has to be done in full and properly explained, or dropped altogether - you can't just mention it in passing.

If you follow that same logic (no mention of thing X in later writings, therefore he must not have wanted it anymore), you're going to end up with a Silmarillion not much longer than the 77 one.

Are mechanical dragons an interesting thing that adds depth to an expanded Silm? Yes. Is there anything in later writings that explicitly shows he was against them that can't be explained away by simplication and editing needs? No. So why not keep them? I thought the purpose of this project was to create as expanded a Silm as could be reasonably justified, but it seems like different logic is being applied in this situation.
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Old 02-05-2002, 11:47 AM   #13
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Shrinking something down to 77 Silm length, things like mechanical dragons had to go, whether he still conceived of them existing or not.
I disagree. In the Quenta Noldorinwa Tolkien wrote:

Quote:
. . . and of these, dragons of many and dire shapes were new devised for the taking of the city.
Would it really have been that much harder for him to mention metallic monsters? He could have done it in one sentence or less. In FoG it takes only one sentence:

Quote:
From the greatness of his wealth of metals and his powers of fire he bid him make beasts like snakes and dragons of irrestible might that should overcreep the Encircling Hills and lap that plain and its fair city in flame and death.
He could have written the Q30 like this:

Quote:
Morgoth was ready, and he loosed upon Gondolin his Orcs and his Balrogs and his serpents, of which dragons of iron and flame and of many and dire shapes were new devised for the taking of the city.
But of course there's nothing like that. I think that mechanical dragons are a big enough detail that he would have mentioned them, even in the compressed Q30 account.
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Old 02-05-2002, 03:12 PM   #14
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"I think that mechanical dragons are a big enough detail that he would have mentioned them, even in the compressed Q30 account."

Aiwendil,
This is where you and I disagree. He couldn't mention mechanical dragons in a sentence precisely because it was a big enough of a deal. You just can't drop something like that on the reader without proper follow through.

Take a somewhat absurd example of Turin and Niniel. Imagine if he wrote in the Silm about their wedding, and then added a line "but little did either know that they were siblings", and leave it at that, and up until that point there has been no explanation about her previous life before her forgetfulness.

He would never do that, because that would be horrible writing, leaving too many unanswered questions that irk the reader. In the same way, imagine if he followed your advice and made a one sentence mention about mechanical dragons. Suddenly, the reader (who we must assume hasn't read the longer FoG) would have all kinds of questions. Were there iron dragons used before? Were they used again? How did they come to be used in this battle, and why? Why are they better for this battle than flesh and blood dragons? Were they animated by magic or was someone inside operating them, etc etc... You either have to give this concept its proper due, or don't mention it at all.

Your one sentence change isn't sufficient to answer all or even many of these questions, esp. because the mechanical dragons are tied up with Maeglin's treachery. They are a necessary plot device in the greater, more detailed story (esp if Morgoth already knew where Gondolin was), and the Maeglin factor explains why such mechanical creatures appeared exactly when they did and why.
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Old 07-28-2002, 08:42 PM   #15
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Quote:
I think the ideas put forth of retaining the divisions of dragons and eliminating the metallic/mechanical aspects fits the goal of retaining as much as possible while omitting material that most likely would have been eliminated. as stated , we do not know for sure but just like CRT we will have to make some major decisions with a paucity of evidence. the outlines we have been given by J and A are as usual excellent.
I agree too with droping the mechanical part.
Quote:
My guess would not be that they were ignored by Morgoth, but that they were destroyed in the War of Wrath, along with almost all the Balrogs (perhaps all but one) and all the winged dragons except for two.
About the devising new dragons for the attack on Gondolin, I just wonder if the time that elapsed between Maeglin's plan to Melkor is long enough for the creation of such dragons. Do we have a time prediction of how long it take to breed a dragon?
Quote:
Morgoth was ready, and he loosed upon Gondolin his Orcs and his Balrogs and his serpents, of which dragons of iron and flame and of many and dire shapes were new devised for the taking of the city.
I'm not sure if the "of iron" is going to be used in the revised version of FOG.
BTW, excellent work.
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Old 07-31-2002, 09:03 AM   #16
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About the devising new dragons for the attack on Gondolin, I just wonder if the time that elapsed between Maeglin's plan to Melkor is long enough for the creation of such dragons. Do we have a time prediction of how long it take to breed a dragon?
That's an excellent point. If the dragons are no longer made of metal, can we still speak of 'devising' them? Or must they instead be 'bred', a far longer process that could not have been achieved between Maeglin's treachery and the fall of Gondolin? If we decide on the latter, then we need to rethink FG-D01 and FG-D02.

Quote:
I'm not sure if the "of iron" is going to be used in the revised version of FOG.
No, that was just a fictitious sample of writing in the Q30 style intended to show that if the mechanical dragons had been retained at that point, the text could easily have said so.
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Old 08-01-2002, 05:58 AM   #17
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As anybody can easily see I am new registered on this board, but I have read especially in this part of the Downs for some time. And even when I must admit that I can't find your way of doing this revision in any point rightly done, I think you might be interested in some other idea how to deal with the mechanical dragons.

I would suggest something like this:
1. Iron Dragons: These were clearly a kind of machines rather then creatures. Why not retain them as such and eliminate the word dragon by a replacement (sorry I think my English is not good enough to devise one)?
2. The cooper and bronze dragons: These are a good description of dragons as they are mentioned in other Tolkien sources.
3. The purely flaming dragons: They do not rightly feel like Glaurung. What about retain them as kind of special devise of Morgoth and his sorcerers? I remember the Dagor Bargolach were it is said that with the streams of fire from Thangorodrim that consumed Ard-Galen came Glaurung and his brut and the Balrogs.

In the battle the dragon on which the Balrogs ride are described like normal fire-dragons. So they are more of the type 2.

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Old 08-02-2002, 08:24 AM   #18
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1. Iron Dragons: These were clearly a kind of machines rather then creatures. Why not retain them as such and eliminate the word dragon by a replacement?
We are aware that these were machines in the early Tale rather than actual creatures. There has been much discussion on whether to leave them as machines or change them to real dragons. The justification for changing them is that mechanical dragons never appear again in any of Tolkien's writings, not even in any later versions of the Fall of Gondolin. We haven't reached a concensus on this yet, but I must say I am firmly opposed to retaining the mechanical dragons.

Quote:
2. The cooper and bronze dragons: These are a good description of dragons as they are mentioned in other Tolkien sources.
Well, some metallic imagery was associated with dragons later on, but I think that in the Tale, these were literally supposed to be dragons made out of copper and bronze.

Quote:
The purely flaming dragons: They do not rightly feel like Glaurung. What about retain them as kind of special devise of Morgoth and his sorcerers?
Again, I think that since there is no later mention of these, they should be dropped.

There will probably be a vote on this eventually.
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Old 07-23-2003, 10:57 PM   #19
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I think that the time for this vote must come soon. I'm working right now on Part # 4, and we must make up or mind.
I think we could make a very good point of dropping the fact that Dragons were made for the attack of Gondolin. We must make a decision in order to go foward.
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Old 08-04-2003, 03:44 PM   #20
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I will again play the devils advocate. It seems to me, that you made the decision against the mechanical monsters in a pre-elected kind of mind. So I will try to give some reason for thought:

The classification of the monsters mentioned in “The Fall of Gondolin” is well done. So we have:
1. Those made of linked iron that flow like rivers of metal and are hollow within.
2. Those of bronze and copper with spirits of blazing fire and with great feet, blasting and trampling all in their path.
3. Extremely hot creatures of pure flame before which iron and stone melt and on which Balrogs ride.

What you have done so far was to make all this monsters normal dragons. Type 1 was turned into cold-dragons, type 2 and 3 into fire-dragons.
You deleted the dragon-riding Balrogs and replaced them by dragon-riding Orks. (Sorry that is clearly to simple put, but for me Orks in a hundred riding upon a cold-dragon is totally out of the picture.)

I will discuss the monsters each in turn, and I will start with the easiest one:
Type 2 monsters: The bronze and copper adorned dragons which “blasted all that stood before them with the terror of their snorting or trampled whatso escaped the ardour of their breath”. In comparison to that I will quote the description of Glaurungs fight in the Nirneath Arnoediad [“The Grey Annals”]:
“But even as the vanguard of Maidros came upon the Orcs, Morgoth loosed his last strength, and Angband was emptied. There came wolves, and wolfriders, and there came Balrogs{ a thousand}, and there came worms and drakes, and Glaurung, Father of Dragons. And the strength and terror of the Great Worm were now grown great indeed, and Elves and Men withered before him; and he came between the hosts of Maidros and Fingon and swept them apart.

Last of all the eastern forces to stand firm were the Enfeng of Belegost, and thus won renown. Now Naugrim withstood fire more hardily than either Elves or Men, and it was the custom moreover of the Enfeng to wear great masks in battle hideous to look upon, which stood them in good stead against the drakes. And but for them Glaurung and his brood would have withered all that was left of the Noldor. But the Naugrim made a circle about him when he assailed them, and even his mighty armour was not full proof against the blows of their great axes; and when in his rage he turned and struck down Azaghâl of Belegost and crawled over him, …”

Glaurung did in that battle exactly what the type 2 monsters in “The Fall of Gondolin” are created for. So here I agree with your opinion, that the type 2 monsters should be changed to normal fire-dragons. Such Dragons can clearly not be “created” in the one year+ that elapsed between Meglins treachery and the attack. They even cannot be breaded in such a short period. The only thing we can say about them is, that they can be mustered for the battle.
But it would be a shame to lose all the copper and bronze stuff. If we lock at the 2 most prominent dragons in Middle-Earth we can still see the influence of that early image of copper and bronze fabricated dragons: Glaurung is often called the Golden which is a perfect description of scales like polished bronze that might have covered him. Smaug is pictured as red-golden, which reminds one more of copper.
For me it isn’t a great deal more of change if you once have decided to make these type 2 monsters normal fire-dragons to change the actual text so that the dragons look like copper and bronze rather than being made of these metals.

Type 3 monsters: The “creatures of pure flame that writhed like ropes of molten metal, and … brought to ruin whatever fabric they came nigh, and iron and stone melted before them and became as water, and upon them rode the Balrogs {in hundreds}”.
Are these creatures really dragons? I don’t think so. They are supposed to “lap that plain and its fair city in flame and death”.
All this does remind me of the description of the Dagor Bragollach [“The Grey Annals”]:
“… This is named the Dagor Bragollach, the Battle of Sudden Flame. Rivers of fire ran down from Thangorodrim, and Glaurung, Father of Dragons, came forth in his full might. The green plains of Ardgalen were burned up and became a drear desert without growing thing; …”

A better description is given in the Silmarillion. I will quote from the 1999 edition but the text is essentially the same as in the manuscript of the Quenta Silmarillion of 1936 as emended in “The Later Quenta Silmarillion” series:
“There came a time of winter, when night was dark and without moon; and the wide plain of Ard-galen stretched dim beneath the cold stars, from the hill-forts of the Noldor to the feet of Thangorodrim. The watchfires burned low, and the guards were few; on the plain few were waking in the camps of the horsemen of Hithlum. Then suddenly Morgoth sent forth great rivers of flame that ran down swifter than Balrogs from Thangorodrim, and poured over all the plain; and the Mountains of Iron belched fort fires of many poisonous hues, and the fume of them stank upon the air, and was deadly. Thus Ard-galen perished, and fire devoured its grasses; and it became a burned and desolate waste, full of a choking dust, barren and lifeless. Thereafter its name was changed, and it was called Anfauglith, the Gasping Dust. Many charred bones had there their roofless grave; for many of the Noldor perished in that burning, who were caught by the running flame and could not fly to the hills. The heights of Dorthonion and Ered Wethrin held back the fiery torrents, but their woods upon the slopes that looked towards Angband were all kindled, and the smoke wrought confusion among the defenders. Thus began the fourth of the great battles, Dagor Bragollach, the Battle of Sudden Flame.
In the front of that fire came Glaurung the golden, father of dragons, in his full might; and in his train were Balrogs, and behind them came the black armies of the Orcs in multitudes such as the Noldor had never before seen or imagined. …”

The monsters of pure fire were also stopped by the Hill of Amon Gwareth:
“Then is there a cry of hope, for behold, the snakes of fire may not climb the hill of the city for its steepness and for its glassines, and by reason of the quenching waters that fall upon its sides; …”
and
“… the heats of those drakes lasted not for ever, and might only be plenished from the wells of fire that {Melko}[Morgoth] had made in the fastness of his own land.”

For me these worms of pure fire sound like Morgoth made (again) use of some kind of volcanic eruptions in a special way. And I find it telling, that these particular monsters were ever seen moving in connection with a Balrog. And aren’t the Balrogs as Maiar some of Morgoth’s “most cunning smiths and SORCERERS”?

Now at least to the hardest part, the type 1 monsters: The monsters that “were all of iron so cunningly linked that they might flow like slow rivers of metal or coil themselves around and above all obstacles before them, and those were filled in their innermost depths with the grimmest of Or[k]s with scimitars and spears”. For me that description sounds much more like a “mechanised infantry combat vehicle” or “armoured personnel carrier” (in German: Schützenpanzer), than like a snakelike cold-dragon without feet carrying Orks on his back. To be just to what you tried to do: if one wants to eliminate the mechanical air of these “monsters”, you can’t do otherwise than you have done, other than eliminating then at all. But, alas, they play a very essential part in the attack: coiled one over the other they allowed the other monsters to creep into the city. But even that roll seems to me much more believable for products of mechanical craftsmanship than of “real” creatures of flesh and blood. (Here me opinion might be influenced by my profession – I am mechanical engineer and not biologist.)
Lets for a moment take these monsters as a special kind of siege-engines. Whether they are animated by part of Morgoth's dispersed power or driven by a crew of “his most cunning smiths and sorcerers” is not revealed and does not matter (the second is much more likely in my view). The interesting question as Jallanite pointed out is: Have we heard of such engines ever again in Middle-Earth?
As Jallanite himself said we are note supposed to have done so, but are there any other instances (especially in the later writings) were an army of Orks used engines in a fight? If so I think we can assume that it wouldn’t be too much out of the picture take these type 1 monsters as engines and not as creatures.
In the Hobbit we learn that,
“goblins are cruel, wicked, and bad-hearted. They make no beautiful things, but they make many clever ones. They can tunnel and mine as well as any bur the most skilled dwarves, when they take the trouble, though they are usually untidy and dirty. Hammers, axes, swords, daggers, pickaxes, tongs, and also instruments of torture, they make very well, or get other people to make their design, prisoners and slaves that have to work till they die for want of air and light. It is not unlikely that they invented some of the machines that have since troubled the world, especially the ingenious devices for killing large numbers of people at once, for wheels and engines and explosions always delighted them, and also not working with their own hands more than they could help; but in those days and those wild parts they had not advanced (as it is called) so far.”

In view of the type 1 monsters I am dragged to add, “not working with their own hands [and walking on their own feet] more than they could help”. And in the perspective of Orks weren’t the days under Morgoth domino everything else than “those wild parts”?

In contrast to that in “The Lord of the Ring” the most siege-engines like rams and siege-towers were used by man. But in “The Silmarillion” itself we find another account of Orks using siege-engines:
“… But the next year, ere winter was come, Morgoth sent great strength over Hithlum and Nevrast, and they cam down the rivers Brithon and Nenning and ravaged all the Falas, and besieged the walls of Brithombar and Eglarest. Smiths and miners and masters of fire they brought with them, and they set up great engines; and valiantly though they were resisted they broke the walls at last. …”
So here the Orks did even build the engines them self. The use of engines at all is in Tolkiens fiction normally a sign of the “dark side” as you may call it. But to discuss this would surely go to fare in the moment.
I think, I could make clear, that the use of engines in battles and sieges are not totally unusual in Middle-Earth.

What you supposed are cold-dragons as a transport-vehicle for the Orks. As far as I know, there is no example for that in all Middle-Earth contexts.

Conclusion: If we once divide the monsters in the three types we could also deal with them differently:
Type 1 could be changed from monsters to machines “such as have only at that time been seen and shall not again be till the Great End”.
Type 2 could be made to normal fire-dragons. But if possible hold the images of “copper and bronze” in their look.
Type 3 could be left what they are: A special kind of “streams of fire”. Guided only by the Balrogs.

I will know try to edit the part were the mechanical monster come in:

“Yet these years are filled by M[orgoth] in the utmost ferment of labour, and all the thrall-folk of the Noldo[r] must dig unceasingly for metals while M[orgoth] sitteth and deviseth fires and calleth flames and smokes to come from the lower heats, nor does he suffer any of the Noldo[r] to stray ever a foot from their place of bondage. Then on a time M[orgoth] assembled all his most cunning smiths{ and sorcerers}, and of iron {and flame} they wrought a {host of monsters}[mass of machines] such as have only at that time been seen and shall not again be till the Great End. {Some}[They] were all of iron so cunningly linked that they might flow like slow rivers of metal or coil themselves around and above all obstacles before them, and {those}[they] were filled in their innermost depths with the grimmest of Or[k]s with scimitars and spears[. And the Dragons with scales like ]{; others of }bronze and copper[, with their]{ were given} hearts and spirits of blazing fire, [were mustered to]{and they} blast{ed} all that stood before them with the terror of their snorting or trample{d} whatso escaped the ardour of their breath{;}[. Morgoth and his sorcerers wrought] yet others {were }creatures of pure flame that writhed like ropes of molten metal, and they brought to ruin whatever fabric they came nigh, and iron and stone melted before them and became as water, and {upon}[with] them {rode}[moved] the Balrogs {in hundreds[?]}; and these were the most dire of all those {monsters}[creations] which M[orgoth] devised against Gondolin.”

The mass of text put into this part is greater than in any of your versions of it. But more of its content is saved and it should also be easier to edit the rest of the occurrence of “creations”/”dragons”.

I hope that this will stir some new thoughts and discussions.
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Old 08-06-2003, 08:11 AM   #21
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You make some very good arguments, Findegil, and I must say I am now very much in doubt concerning the whole matter.

For me, it was never a question of whether the mechanical monsters were acceptable or retainable - rather it was a question of whether they were in fact retained. I don't see them as incongruous with Tolkien's later writings at all (and you cite some excellent evidence for this). Personally, I would very much like to keep them. But what the decision ought to rest upon is whether Tolkien actually retained them - that is, if he had finished writing the later Tale of Tuor, would it have included mechanical monsters?

The fact is that there is no later reference to them, which is a bit odd considering what a striking feature of the old tale they are. I have argued, and I still think, that the absence of any future reference to them is strong evidence that they were discarded.

But on the other hand, Q30, the latest Fall of Gondolin account that exists, still has "serpents; and of these dragons of many and dire shapes were now devised for that taking of the city". This seems to indicate that we must be doing something wrong. For if the text was written without the intention that these dragons were mechanical, then we are wrong in thinking that ordinary dragons could not be specially devised for the attack on Gondolin; but if the text was written with the intention that they were mechanical, then we are wrong in thinking that the mechanical dragons were dropped after the Lost Tales.

I'll be honest: I have no idea what to do about this. I find Findegil's proposal very attractive, and at times I feel that it is definitely the way to go. At other times it seems too risky.
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Old 08-06-2003, 03:56 PM   #22
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I need more time to digest what Findegil has posted but I think that in this, we should take the Quenta Noldorinwa ideas as the basis for our Fall of Gondolin project. I would personally take the devising of creatures for the attack seriously.
I would probably follow Fingegil advice in regards as to using some real dragons and some mechanical creatures or machines. I will make a later post explaining my ideas.
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Old 08-06-2003, 04:27 PM   #23
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I will add a small and very fine spun argument that could give some more credibility to the type 1 monsters of iron as mechnical devices in the later story:
In the view I expressed above these type 1 monsters are the only once that are really special, that means the bronz and copper typ 2 dragons are changed to normal fire-dragons and the serpents of pure flame (type 3) are in way seen beforhand in the Dagor Bragollach. And these type 2 "monsters" had one very special purpose in the sack of Gondolin: They granted the access to walls for the attacking forces.
With these two facts in mind we can consider the passages of "The Fall of Gondolin" (which you retained at least in part - rightly in my oppinion), were Meaglin betrayed Gondolin:
"Therefore he counselled Melko to devise out of his sorceries a succour for his warriors in their endeavour. From the greatness of his wealth of metals and his powers of fire he bid him make beasts like snakes and dragons of irrestible might that should overcreep the Encircling Hills and lap that plain and its fair city in flame and death."
Later in a Note to "The Wanderings of Húrin" Tolkien said:
"Later when captured and Meaglin wished to buy his release with treachery, Morgoth must answer laughing, saying: Stale news will buy nothing. I know this already, I am not easily blinded! So Meaglin was obliged to offer more - to undermine resistance in Gondolin."
And on a another slip of paper containing the same note Tolkien added:
"and to compass the death of Tour and Eärendel if he could, If he did he would be allowed to retain Idril (said Morgoth)."
(It would be a shame to lose this, but I am not sure what you have done with it.) I would think on the basis of this note, that Meaglin was pressed to tell of the "fashion of that plain and city, of its walls and their height and thickness, and the valour of its gates; of the host of men at arms who now obeyed Turgon", which in the earlyer story he revealled freely, but which were then also stale news since Morgoth spies had allready seen the city from fare of but that was not the case in the later Tale. In the later Tale Morgoth doth only knew were the Gondolin was nothing more - so how could he creat these special way to bring his host up to the walls?
So I think, it is save to assume that exactly this type 1 monsters were what Meaglin counseld Morgoth to make. And the discription of these type 1 "monsters" gives also some fint evidence for that:
"{Some}[They] were all of iron so cunningly linked that they might flow like slow rivers of metal or coil themselves around and above all obstacles before them, ..." this does rimind me of tow thinks:
1. Mails of linked Rings especaily the discription of Frodos "shirt" im "The Fellowship of the Ring":
"The silver corslet shimmered before his eyes like the light upon a rippling sea. Carefully he took it of and held it up, and the gems on it glittered like stars, and the sound of the shaken rings was like the tinkle of rain in a pool."
About these kind of mail it is told in "The Grey Annals": "..., and in the making of mail of linked rings (which the Enfeng [the Dwarves of Belegost] first contirved) their work had no rival."
Meaglin himself had learned great parts of his smithskraft from the Dwarves when he visited thier citys in the Ered Luin with his father Eöl. So this builds already a faint link between Meaglin and such craftsmanship, as is needed for the type 2 "monsters".
2. Is a much stronger link to Meaglin, since it is the discription of one of his famous pieces of craftsmanship [Tuor and his coming to Gondolin]:
"Now sunlight fell upon the further road, for the walls of the hills were low on either side, and green, but for the snows upon their tops; and Elemmakil hastened forward, for the way was short to the Seventh Gate, named the Great, the Date of Steel that Maeglin wrought after the return from die Nirnaeth, across the wide entrance to the Orfalch Echor.
No wall stood there, but on either hand were two round towers of great height, many-windowed, tapering in seven storeys to a turret of bright steel, and between the towers there stood a mighty fence of steel that rusted not, but glittered cold and white. Seven great pillars of steel there were, tail wit height and girth of strong young trees, but ending in a spike tat rose to the sharpness of a needle; and between the pillars were seven cross-bars of steel, and in each space seven times seven rods of steel upright, with heads like the broad blades of spears. But in die centre, above the midmost and the greatest, was raised a mighty image of the king-helm of Turgon, the Crown of die Hidden Kingdom, set about with diamonds.
No gate or door could Tuor see in this mighty hedge of steel, but as he drew near through the spaces between its there came, as it seemed to him, a dazzling light, and he shaded his eyes, and stood still in dread and wonder. But Elemmakil went forward, and no gate opened to his touch; but he struck upon a bar, and die fence rang like a harp of many strings, giving forth clear notes in harmony that ran from tower to tower."
I must admiss that the connections was stronger in my mamory than it turned out in the quote, since I messed up the discription with that of one of the other gates. But it still is evidence for Meaglins surpassing skill in metallworking, which is clearly need for such creation like the type 1 "monsters".

Respectfully
Findegil

[ August 10, 2003: Message edited by: Findegil ]
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Old 08-08-2003, 04:01 PM   #24
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Like Maedhros "I need more time to digest what Findegil has posted but I think that in this, we should take the Quenta Noldorinwa ideas as the basis for our Fall of Gondolin project. I would personally take the devising of creatures for the attack seriously."

Q30 definetly gives us the proper scope for deciding in what direction to go with FoG.

a> there are several different kinds and
b> some were devised explicitly for the assault upon Gondolin.

Findegil, as for your bits on Maeglin, they are extremely cogent and in theory, well pasted together.

I am away from home/HoM-E and it will be another week or so before I can sift through everything as well as I might like, but I look forward to seeing what others think and come up with in the meanwhile.

-L

[ August 09, 2003: Message edited by: lindil ]
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Old 08-17-2003, 06:52 PM   #25
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Well Findegil, I have read your posts in detail now and I am ready to comment on them:
Originally posted by Findegil
Quote:
Type 2 could be made to normal fire-dragons. But if possible hold the images of "copper and bronze" in their look.
I think that you are right. We missed that one really.
Originally posted by Findegil
Quote:
Now at last to the hardest part, the type 1 monsters: The monsters that "were all of iron so cunningly linked that they might flow like slow rivers of metal or coil themselves around and above all obstacles before them, and those were filled in their innermost depths with the grimmest of Or[k]s with scimitars and spears".
Your information about Maeglin and the Orcs do support this assertion of yours. Based on that fact and that in the Quenta Noldorinwa is stated that things were devised for that attack, I agree with that idea.
Originally posted by Findegil
Quote:
Type 3 could be left what they are: A special kind of "streams of fire". Guided only by the Balrogs.
With your quotes it makes sense now. Now I'm almost forced to believe it. And yes I agree with them.

I would like to make the changes into the text with your revisions, but I would like to hear some input for Aiwendil and Co.
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Old 08-19-2003, 09:18 AM   #26
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When I worked out some changes for the "Revised Fall of Gondolin pt.4" - thread, I was faced by the fact that the replacement of "serpents of iron" to "machines of iron" does not work very well. For me at least it sounds to explicit to be repeated in any occasion.
I searched for a better word than machines but the only one a can offer is "creations" and that is also not very handsome.
For that reason I would like to suggest, that we work out the changes mostly in the debated passage were the "monsters" are created and try to minimise the changes in the further text.
So lets try again:
FG-D-01a Deleting from Maeglin's advice to Morgoth.
Quote:
From the greatness of his wealth of metals and his powers of fire he bid him make {beasts}[machines] like snakes and [streams of fire like ]dragons of irresistible might that should overcreep the Encircling Hills and lap that plain and its fair city in flame and death.
I did again split the references, to make them more understandable. But I would be pleased to read the thoughts of some members at least about this.

FG-D-02c Devising of the dragons.
Quote:
Yet these years are filled by M[orgoth] in the utmost ferment of labour, and all the thrall-folk of the Noldo[r] must dig unceasingly for metals while M[orgoth] sitteth and deviseth fires and calleth flames and smokes to come from the lower heats, nor does he suffer any of the Noldo[r] to stray ever a foot from their place of bondage. Then on a time M[orgoth] assembled all his most cunning smiths{ and sorcerers}, and of iron {and flame} they wrought a {host of monsters}[mass of machines] such as have only at that time been seen and shall not again be till the Great End. {Some}[They] were all of iron so cunningly linked that they might flow like slow rivers of metal or coil themselves around and above all obstacles before them, [and they looked like serpents of iron ]and {those} were filled in their innermost depths with the grimmest of Or[k]s with scimitars and spears[. And the Dragons with scales like]{; others of} bronze and copper[, with their]{ were given} hearts and spirits of blazing fire, [were mustered to]{and they} blast{ed} all that stood before them with the terror of their snorting or trample{d} whatso escaped the ardour of their breath{;}[. Morgoth and his sorcerers wrought] yet other{s were} creatures of pure flame that writhed like ropes of molten metal[ or streams of fire], and they brought to ruin whatever fabric they came nigh, and iron and stone melted before them and became as water, and {upon}[with] them {rode}[moved] the Balrogs {in hundreds}; and these were the most dire of all those {monsters}[creations] which M[orgoth] devised against Gondolin.
I put in the "serpents of iron" and the "streams of fire". If these were once established as names for that "monsters"/"creations", they can be used in the further text, so that the "serpents of iron" which are very often found in the text can stand and only the "dragons of fire" should be changed to "streams of fire".

FG-D-03a Description of the enemies.
Quote:
... and go naked into the open against enemies of steel and fire, whose trampling shakes the earth ...
Even when we remove the mechanical monsters, the description of the enemy of one "of steel and fire" is fitting to such battle and siege in an age of sword and bow.

FG-D-04a
Quote:
… but the stoutest were in dread seeing those {dragons}[streams] of fire and those serpents of {bronze and }iron …
Dragons (of bronze colour) were seen by the inhabitants of Gondolin in the Nirneach Arnoediad at least. So I retained the "monsters"/"creations" that were an expected.

FG-D-05a Flexible dragons pressed into service.
Quote:
But now Gothmog lord of Balrogs, captain of the hosts of {Melko} [Morgoth], took counsel and gathered all his things of iron that could coil themselves around and above all obstacles before them.
Here now things of iron can stand very well, if they are mechanical devises.

FG-D-06a Hollowness of the iron beasts.
Quote:
Then the engines and the catapults of the king poured darts and boulders and molten metals on those ruthless {beasts}[things], and their hollow bellies clanged beneath the buffeting, yet it availed not for they might not be broken, and the fires rolled off them. Then were the topmost opened about their middles, and an innumerable host of the {Orcs} [Orks], the goblins of hatred, poured therefrom into the breach; …
Here beasts is no longer fitting, even if they are later called serpents. The rest of the changes that were suggested are now not necessary.

FG-D-07a The great-footed dragons prepare to attack Gondolin.
Quote:
Now then the plan that they made was to hold what they had won, while those serpents of bronze [colour] and with great feet for trampling climbed slowly over those [serpents] of iron, and reaching the walls there opened a breach wherethrough the Balrogs might {ride upon} [come with] the {dragons}[streams] of [pure ]flame: yet they knew this must be done with speed, for the heats of those {drakes}[creatures] lasted not for ever, and might only be plenished from the wells of fire that Melko had made in the fastness of his own land.
The addition of "pure" in the description of the type 3 monsters, was done for clarity, Since Balrogs are always seen as connected to flames, "streams of flame" might be misunderstood here that . But I am not sure if it is necessary or did the job well. Please make some comments on it.

FG-D-08a Breaking of the Walls.
Quote:
… one of those brazen [coloured] snakes heaves against …
I think the colour is the best way to build the connection Lindil desired for that sentence.

FG-D-09a Imprisonment of the Noldor.
Quote:
... they bound and led back and flung in the iron chambers amid the {dragons}[serpents] of iron, that they might drag them afterward to be thralls of {Melko} [Morgoth].
FG-D-10a At the gate.
Quote:
Fire-drakes are about it and {monsters}[serpents] of iron fare in and out of its gates, …
FG-B-02c Balrogs shoot arrows of fire.
Quote:
... yet a worse matter was it that {a company} [some] of those demons climbed upon the coils of the serpents of iron and thence loosed unceasingly from their bows and slings till a fire began to burn in the city to the back of the main army of the defenders.
This passage is the one I had changed in the other thread to machines. But that sounded very strange. Since we now have established the name "serpents of Iron" for these machines we can let it stand here and in the previous and following quotes.

FG-B-03d Rog's men attack
Quote:
... but the men of Rog leapt even upon the coils of the serpents[ of Iron] and came at those Balrogs and smote them grievously, for all they had whips of flame and claws of steel, and were in stature very great. They battered them[ with their clubs] into {nought} [retreat], or catching at their whips [and] wield[ing] these against them, that they tore {them} [their skin] even as they had aforetime torn the {Gnomes} [Noldor]; and [that ]the {number of}Balrogs {that prished}[were defeated] was a marvel and dread to the hosts of Morgoth[.]{, for ere that day never had any of the Balrogs been slain by the hand of Elves or Men.}
Then Gothmog Lord of Balrogs gathers all his demons [and troops] that were about the city and ordered them thus: a number made for the folk of the Hammer and gave before them, but the greater company rushing upon the flank contrived to get to their backs, higher upon the coils of the {drakes}[serpents] and nearer to the gates, so that Rog might not win back save with great slaughter among his folk.
I didn't like "monsters" since that would mean Rog was fought down only by "demons and monsters". Demons refers normally to Balrogs and monsters to dragons. Since only a couple of Balrogs is left to us that would mean nearly only dragons would fight against Rog. Could we imaging a "greater company [of dragons] rushing upon the flank contrived to get to their backs, higher upon the coils of the {drakes}[serpents] and nearer to the gates"? I can't so what we need is some kind of normal infantry. That normally are Orks, but I wanted to be more ambiguous here.

FG-B-03.05a
Quote:
Then that house of the Hammer fared about smiting and hewing the astonied bands of Morgoth till they were hemmed at the last by an overwhelming force of the Orcs{ and the Balrogs}, and a fire-drake was loosed upon them.
I would rather delete the Balrogs completely. What is a single Balrog when they have a moment ago defeated some Balrogs that were firing arrows? But that shouldn't be the theme here. I included that quote because of the "fire-drake". When taken strictly my theory would interpret the fire-drake as type 3 monster, but I am inclined to change it to a normal fire-drake which would be a type 2 monster without any change to the text here.

Here I will stop for the moment. I think that most of the occasions were type 1 monsters are mentioned were covered in this post. But when I remember rightly during the fight in the city the type 3 monsters are several times mentioned as dragons. Since as yet these type 3 monsters were changed to fire dragons there was no change necessary. But when these type 3 monsters are now "streams of fire" some changes must be introduced. As with FG-B-03.05a it will often be the case that we have to discuss if we want to stick to the theory and change the text or shift the dragons from type 3 to type 2 monsters without any change in the text.

I hope to work on these further but I can't make an promise.
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Old 08-19-2003, 11:25 AM   #27
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I think I was a bit mistaken concerning your proposal, Findegil. I see absolutely no need to change "serpents", "drakes", "dragons", and so forth to "streams of flame", "machines", et cetera. In the old tale, the serpents and drakes in question are in fact machines or streams of fire. If eliminate the change whereby these things become actual, living, ordinary dragons, then we are back exactly where the old tale was. Why then alter the language of the tale at all?
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Old 08-24-2003, 11:22 AM   #28
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I have taken some time to ponder what Aiwendil said. He is right that my proposal has the virture, that with it in mind we must not change the text at all in respect to the mechanical monsters.
But that would mean to make a dicission and not comumicat it to the reader of the planed version of the "Translations from the Elvish". You have done similar things before. And mostly I was okay with it, but in this case I suggest that you should make at least once the nature of the monsters clear for the reader.
When I understood rightly the purpose of the project, than the supposed reader of your work isn't one how had read already the complet HoME series. (For such a reader the discussions her in the forum are much more intersting than the final results.) But a reader how reads in your work lets say for the second time time about the fall of Gondolin (only knowing the Sil '77), will not, as I think, out of the text as it stood in the HoME II get a clear understanding of the nature of the monsters. (Remember that these Group of very well read Tolkin enthusiast has needed more than 2 years of discussion to find such a clear understanding.)
When we now let the text stand as it was in the FoG we will leave the reader only with the same questions that we had asked 2 years ago. I don't think that's the way to go. I must admiss that I have overdone it in my last post. Thier I tried to use a clear definition and remind the reader of it in any occassion when the monsters occured. As Aiwendil remarked that is clearly a stylistic change and I my self must say, that I see know that it is even highly questinable if the result would be "good style".
So there we go again. I will try to rework it more in line with Aiwendils suggestions:
FG-D-01b Deleting from Maeglin's advice to Morgoth.
Quote:
From the greatness of his wealth of metals and his powers of fire he bid him make {beasts}[things] like snakes and [streams of fire like ]dragons of irresistible might that should overcreep the Encircling Hills and lap that plain and its fair city in flame and death.
As explained above I see still the need of clearty here. I changed "beasts" to "things" becuase I think even if we can with some liberty call the machines "monsters", "dragons" and "serpants", "beasts" is to specific becuase it is an abstarct word for animals. That means it does not call some special picture into the mind of the reader, it only reminds him of the animal like character. I view of my argument above that must be avioded at least for the type 1 monsters. "things of Iron" is at least once used in the text so we can use the implications of that word here to the benfit of clearty. The addition of "straems of fire" is in this place needed to distinguish them from the type 1 monsters and it servers to link them to the Dagor Bargorlach in accordance to my proposal.

FG-D-02d Devising of the dragons.
Quote:
Yet these years are filled by M[orgoth] in the utmost ferment of labour, and all the thrall-folk of the Noldo[r] must dig unceasingly for metals while M[orgoth] sitteth and deviseth fires and calleth flames and smokes to come from the lower heats, nor does he suffer any of the Noldo[r] to stray ever a foot from their place of bondage. Then on a time M[orgoth] assembled all his most cunning smiths{ and sorcerers}, and of iron {and flame} they wrought a {host of monsters}[mass of things] such as have only at that time been seen and shall not again be till the Great End. {Some}[They] were all of iron so cunningly linked that they might flow like slow rivers of metal or coil themselves around and above all obstacles before them, and {those} were filled in their innermost depths with the grimmest of Or[k]s with scimitars and spears[. And the Dragons with scales like]{; others of} bronze and copper[, with their]{ were given} hearts and spirits of blazing fire, [were mustered to]{and they} blast{ed} all that stood before them with the terror of their snorting or trample{d} whatso escaped the ardour of their breath{;}[. Morgoth and his sorcerers wrought] yet other{s were} creatures of pure flame that writhed like ropes of molten metal, and they brought to ruin whatever fabric they came nigh, and iron and stone melted before them and became as water, and {upon}[with] them {rode}[moved] the Balrogs{ in hundreds}; and these were the most dire of all those {monsters}[creations] which M[orgoth] devised against Gondolin.
I skipt my own additions, but again I replaced "monsters" by "things" for the (at least by my) desiered clearty. (Can we gramaticaly corect speak of "a host of things"? I don't think so but I do not know for sure, and I would like "host" more than "mass".)

FG-D-03a Description of the enemies.
Here my argument was not gainsaid, and I will stick to it.

FG-D-04b
Quote:
… but the stoutest were in dread seeing those dragons of fire and those serpents of {bronze and }iron [?and the host of bronzecolured dragons]…
When we will stick to the "dragons of fire" we have, in my view, to re-introduce the type 2 monsters to distinguish the 3 typs. Other wise the Gondolimdrim would in the mind of the reader be terrified by "normal" type 2 dragons, which in the original text is clearly not intended.

FG-D-05a Flexible dragons pressed into service.
Here now things of iron occure in the Text as written and should stand.

FG-D-06a Hollowness of the iron beasts.
Quote:
Then the engines and the catapults of the king poured darts and boulders and molten metals on those ruthless {beasts}[things], and their hollow bellies clanged beneath the buffeting, yet it availed not for they might not be broken, and the fires rolled off them. Then were the topmost opened about their middles, and an innumerable host of the {Orcs} [Orks], the goblins of hatred, poured therefrom into the breach; …
As I explained above, I don't think, we can use "beasts" even if "serpents" is retained. And when we change the text for the reason of clearty we should do it as clear as we can, so "things" is beter than let say "serpents".

FG-D-07b The great-footed dragons prepare to attack Gondolin.
Quote:
Now then the plan that they made was to hold what they had won, while those serpents of bronze [colour] and with great feet for trampling climbed slowly over those [things] of iron, and reaching the walls there opened a breach wherethrough the Balrogs might {ride upon} [come with] the dragons of flame: yet they knew this must be done with speed, for the heats of those drakes lasted not for ever, and might only be plenished from the wells of fire that Melko had made in the fastness of his own land.
The only changes left her are the insertion of "coulured" which I think is necessary when we talk about animals and the following addition of "things" to distinguish the to know far seperated kind of "monsters".

FG-D-08b Breaking of the Walls.
Quote:
… one of those brazen snakes heaves against …
Since here we deal only with one kind of monsters that has been discribed as animals in all occassion in the text before this. So I think, we can use the "brazen snakes" as a pictural discription with out any addition.

FG-D-09b Imprisonment of the Noldor.
Quote:
... they bound and led back and flung in the iron chambers amid the dragons of iron, that they might drag them afterward to be thralls of {Melko} [Morgoth].
If "dragons" is retained here that will awake in me the picture of women and childrend eaten up by the "monsters". So I suggest the change to "things" But I might by wrong and it is clearly a stylistic change that is not necessary. So I could also life with the original text.

FG-D-10 At the gate.
Quote:
Fire-drakes are about it and monsters of iron fare in and out of its gates, …
No change is realy necessary to the original text.

FG-B-02c Balrogs shoot arrows of fire.
Here I already did what Aiwendil suggested: let it stand as fare as possible.

FG-B-03e Rog's men attack
Quote:
... but the men of Rog leapt even upon the coils of the serpents and came at those Balrogs and smote them grievously, for all they had whips of flame and claws of steel, and were in stature very great. They battered them into {nought} [retreat], {or} catching at their whips [and] wield[ing] these against them{,} {that they tore them even as they had aforetime torn the Gnomes}; and [that ]the {number of} Balrogs {that prished}[were defeated] was a marvel and dread to the hosts of Morgoth[.]{, for ere that day never had any of the Balrogs been slain by the hand of Elves or Men.}
Then Gothmog Lord of Balrogs gathers all his demons [and troops] that were about the city and ordered them thus: a number made for the folk of the Hammer and gave before them, but the greater company rushing upon the flank contrived to get to their backs, higher upon the coils of the drakes and nearer to the gates, so that Rog might not win back save with great slaughter among his folk.
I made use of Aiwendils suggestions in the "FoG 4" thread. But I kept the change from "monsters" to "troops" in the addition to the second paragraph for the reason explained in my last post.
I am still not happy with loosing "that they tore them even as they had aforetime torn the Gnomes" completly. But I could only think of a chnage of the verb, since Aiwendil is right that the skin of the Balrogs was to risky addition. But the only change I cold come up with would be to "that they {tore}[tortured] them even as they had aforetime {tore}[tortured] the {Gnomes}[Noldor]". May be some one else has a better replacment for "tore"?

FG-B-03.05b
Quote:
Then that house of the Hammer fared about smiting and hewing the astonied bands of Morgoth till they were hemmed at the last by an overwhelming force of the Orcs[,] and the Balrogs [loosed]{and} a fire-drake{ was loosed} upon them.
As I said before the fire-drake is not clearly recoginsed as a type 3 monster. But since it is one, I found the mentioning of at least one Balrog necessary. So I tried to re-establish the Balrogs by an rather risky change. What I produced serves two purposess: The Balrogs of the original text are retained (so in supposedly much lesser number and diffrent role) and the fire-drake is more linked to the type 3 monsters of my proposal.

I still think that in some occassions in the further attack type 3 monsters will be discriebed in a way that they could be confussed with type 2 monsters. But that will have to wait for a closer look into the text.

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Old 08-25-2003, 08:44 AM   #29
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I must say that I still disagree - I don't see any reason to alter the text of the Tale simply for reasons of clarity. You are right that this is intended (partly, at least) for those who have not read the HoMe. So I do see your point; and your revisions themselves are well done. But I think, first, that the Tale is perfectly clear as it is and second that insofar as it is not clear, that is actually a virtue.

I don't think we ever doubted that in the Tale, the dragons are mechanical. A careful reader (as one must be to get anything out of the Silmarillion) will certainly pick this up. The question that concerned us was not about the nature of the dragons in the old Tale; it was about whether that nature was retained or rejected.

More importantly, I find the descriptions in the Tale to be better for their refusal to call the monsters "machines" at every turn. There is something less scientific and more menacing about the dragons. The Tale's description captures at once the mechanized, industrial aspect of the creatures and the monstrous aspect. I would rather not lose the latter, for (to me at least) much of the appeal of the mechanical dragons is that they are not simply machines - they are mechanical beasts.

As a final point, I would say that clarification of the kind you propose ought at least to wait until after the rest of the changes are finalized. For it's really a stylistic matter, and we are explicitly putting aside such matters for the present phase of the project.
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Old 08-26-2003, 06:04 AM   #30
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Aiwendil, when ever I am considering your argument without working on the text it self, I could follow your argumentation. But when I go back to the text and try to read it as it is, I see some storng contardictions.

Let make a short recapitulation of what has been done so far:
In search for arguments against the mechanical monsters jallanite devieded the monsters in three types. That provided the possibility to interpret the type 2 bronze and cooper monsters as animal-dragons and the type 3 pure fire monsters also as animal-fire-dragons. Type 3 monster were later changed by my intervention back to streams of fire. Type 1 iron dragons were than changed at first to cold dragons and later by my intervention became mechanical monsters.

In the original text the division of the monsters are made but they are not so sharp as we have made them in all our proposals. They are all named similar and 'created in one rush'. That brings type 1 and type 2 monster much nearer together than my proposal could bear. When we really want to stick to the text completly, the proposal had to be:
Type 1 monsters: mechanical monsters made of iron
Type 2 monsters: mechanical monsters made of bronze and copper
Type 3 monsters: streams of fire often to be confused with animal-fire-dragons

In my view, we will run in a problem with type 2 monsters hear. All the description of the type 2 monsters is so near to animal-fire-dragons that I think it is unbeliveable that Morgoth would have spent time and effort for such creations since he had a host of animal-fire-dragons to use in the battle.

In view of my proposal, and since Aiwendil's argument is valide, I could let go "beasts of iron" or such phrase for the type 1 monsters pass, as long as the types of monsters are clearly recognisable and seperated far enough garmatically (not named "serpants of iron and such of copper" or similar).

I have rereade the fight within the city and I can only disagree with Aiwendil. The text as is stands is in my view not so clear about the nature of the monsters as Aiwendil said it. And further there are even passages that will distrube the categories we have established:
Quote:
High up could they descry the form of the king, but about the base a serpent of iron spouting flame lashed and rowed with his tail, and Balrogs were round him.
Here we have a iron dragon (?type 1), that is spoting flame (?type 2) and is driven by Balrogs (???type 3).

I am in the moment at a loss what to do. I would like to hear some more oppinions from other minds.

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Old 08-26-2003, 11:27 AM   #31
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I don't know how to state this other than I agree with both of you.
I agree with Aiwendil in the sense that the descriptions of the monsters of Gondolin fall under the stylistic part of the revision which is at this point a later thing to do.

I agree with Findegil in principle that there should be a distinction between the 3 different kinds of monsters. The more I read the Tale, the more I'm inclined to it. For example, the use of scales of iron and gold seems ok with me.
What I don't see yet is how can we differentiate the different types of Monsters. I hesitate in using the terms machines, things, etc. If a suitable term, IMO, can´t be found, I would leave it as it stands.

I think that the most important thing is to keep going foward and to finish or revision of part 3 and 4, so that we could go on to 5. Then, when we have the whole tale, we can discuss all parts of the texts where the Mechanical Monsters appear and discuss each and every one of them separately.
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Old 08-26-2003, 08:53 PM   #32
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Quote:
I agree with Findegil in principle that there should be a distinction between the 3 different kinds of monsters.
Why?

Consider: in the old tale we have mechanical dragons which upon close inspection, we find can be divided roughly into three classes.

Based on the fact that there is no later reference to mechanical dragons, we decided that the old story should be changed so that the dragons were not mechanical. In order to aid with the adaptation of the tale to accommodate this change, we decided to rely on the three-fold distinction we had discovered.

Now we have decided (probably) that we were mistaken in thinking that the mechanical dragons had to be eliminated. Why then insist not only on retaining the three-fold distinction, but in fact on making it as explicit as possible? It was, after all, made in the first place in order to assist with the change from mechanical to flesh and blood.

Looking at the old Tale again, disregarding all the discussion that went into how to change it to accommodate the real dragons, I can see no reason to change the tale. It is not as though the three classes of dragon are established in some later text or note. If the Tale is ambiguous, let it be so.
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Old 08-27-2003, 06:46 AM   #33
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Posted by Maédhros:
Quote:
I think that the most important thing is to keep going foward and to finish or revision of part 3 and 4, so that we could go on to 5. Then, when we have the whole tale, we can discuss all parts of the texts where the Mechanical Monsters appear and discuss each and every one of them separately.
That would mean doing it all again later. As far as I have observed the project, it hadn't worked in that way, rather the oposit. And I at least found that a better way to do it.

Posted by Aiwendil:
Quote:
Why then insist not only on retaining the three-fold distinction, but in fact on making it as explicit as possible? It was, after all, made in the first place in order to assist with the change from mechanical to flesh and blood.
Because the world in which the story is set has changed, but the tale has not (if do not cghange it).
In the original Tales there had been never a battle with of host of dragons befor the Fall of Gondolin. In fact in the Lost Tales Glaurung (or better his old equivalent) had been the only dragon metioned at all before the Fall of Gondolin. But as the story stands now, we have the Dagor Bargolach and the Nirneath Anoediad in which a great nummber of animal-dragons fought. The Text of the Tale of te Fall of Gondolin has as it stands no other dragons than the mechanical monsters (or at least that is my impression of the text.)
When Fall of Gondolin is read in its rightfull frame the Lost Tales there is no reason what so ever for any confusion. The dragons all were made for the attack! Their fabrication and lock is somewhat obscure but that does not matter because they are a singel example (it is threefold really) of the craft of dragon fabrication.

So in my view the problem seems to be: We have in the tale the mechanical monster that wer never mentioned in any other text and we have in the texts around it animal-dragons that were not mentioned in the Fall of Gondolin.

Since it is stated in the Fall of Gondolin that these mechanical monsters were never seen again until the final End, we could deal with that situation, IF the mechanical monsters were not to be confused with the animal-dragons. But even then it would be dificault: Why should there be no animal-dragons in the attack on Gondolin since they had done a good job in fighting the Noldor down in two previous battles?

But the task is even more complicated: In the attack many of the mechanical monsters are discribed as exact peers of the animal-dragons seen in the battles before.

If we try to follow Aiwendils plan, the reader will see many of the type 2 and type 3 monsters as animal-fire-dragons. That is in it self not a problem, we might even come too the conclusion, that we desire this. But it is denied in the passage of the making of the mechnical monsters.

My proposal was to give the mechnical monsters and the animal-fire-dragons a place in the attack. But to do so we have to distinguish them in the text more then the old Tale does. For that reason I have seperated thier making and wanted to seperat them in the text by eliminating phrases like "serpants of Iron and such of copper".
What still was not settle, in the work I did for my proposal, is the confusion (at least in the mind of the reader) between type 2 and type 3 monster in the further battle in the city. Since that confusion is already in the Tale implied, I am (now) inclined not to introduce changes for clearty. But that would mean nearly no clear mention of type 3 monster would be left after the intrusion of the attackers into the city.

A possible solution would be to change the type 3 monsters to animal-fire-dragons. The changes to the text would be minimal (deleting type 3 in the creation could already be enough). But I doubt that this the right way to go.

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Old 09-07-2003, 11:11 AM   #34
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I feel that since I have brought this problem back to the discussion, I have to bring up the facts in the way that we can lock at them without a great deal of work for everyone. So I collected again all texts were the monsters / dragons are mentioned. If anybody is only interested in the conclusion I found by doing this, go to the end of the post. I will set out my opinions there in short.

I will start with the later text since in view of the principles it is more valuable in deciding what course we have to take in the case of the monsters.
In the section 16 of the Q30 dragons are only two times mentioned:
Quote:
At last, and Earendel was then seven years of age, Morgoth was ready, and he loosed upon Gondolin his Orcs and his Balrogs and his serpents; and of these, dragons of many and dire shapes were now devised for the taking of the city. ...
...
... Then Tuor and Idril led such remnants of the folk of Gondolin as they could gather in the confusion of the burning down a secret way that Idril had let prepare in the days of her foreboding. This was not yet complete, but its issue was already far beyond the walls and in the North of the plain where the mountains were long distant from Amon Gwareth. Those who would not come with them, but fled to the old Way of Escape that led into the gorge of Sirion, were caught and destroyed by a dragon that Morgoth had sent to watch that gate, being apprised of it by Meglin.
The second mentioning does not add any information that could help in our actual question.
But the first must be analysed with care. I will add some words to it just to make my reading of it clearer:
Quote:
At last, and Earendel was then seven years of age, Morgoth was ready, and he loosed upon Gondolin his Orcs and his Balrogs and his serpents; and of these [his serpents], dragons [not all his serpents] of many and dire shapes were new devised for the taking of the city.
I am not totally sure if the quote most be read in that way, but it clearly can be read thus.
What do we make out of it:
- there were serpents of Morgoth in the attack (that obvious)
- some of these were dragons newly devised for that battle
- that counterpart of that "some" is that there were others that were NOT new devised.

Let us turn know to the basic text of our editing:
FG-D-01 Deleting from Maeglin's advice to Morgoth.
Quote:
From the greatness of his wealth of metals and his powers of fire he bid him make beasts like snakes and dragons of irresistible might that should overcreep the Encircling Hills and lap that plain and its fair city in flame and death.
That quote can not be interpreted by its one so I will discuss it with the next one.

FG-D-02 Devising of the dragons.
Quote:
Yet these years are filled by M[orgoth] in the utmost ferment of labour, and all the thrall-folk of the Noldo[r] must dig unceasingly for metals while M[orgoth] sitteth and deviseth fires and calleth flames and smokes to come from the lower heats, nor does he suffer any of the Noldo[r] to stray ever a foot from their place of bondage. Then on a time M[orgoth] assembled all his most cunning smiths and sorcerers, and of iron and flame they wrought a host of monsters such as have only at that time been seen and shall not again be till the Great End. Some were all of iron so cunningly linked that they might flow like slow rivers of metal or coil themselves around and above all obstacles before them, and those were filled in their innermost depths with the grimmest of Or[k]s with scimitars and spears; others of bronze and copper were given hearts and spirits of blazing fire, and they blasted all that stood before them with the terror of their snorting or trampled whatso escaped the ardour of their breath; yet others were creatures of pure flame that writhed like ropes of molten metal, and they brought to ruin whatever fabric they came nigh, and iron and stone melted before them and became as water, and {upon}[with] them {rode}[moved] the Balrogs {in hundreds}; and these were the most dire of all those monsters which M[orgoth] devised against Gondolin.
Here are the devising of the dragons is described in more detail then in Q30. In respect of what is done Maeglins advice becomes clearer: "wealth of metals refers to the iron, bronze and copper used for the fabrication of the serpents. "power of fire" was clearly used for the "creatures of pure flame" and also for the "hearts of fire" for the second kind. "overcreep the Encircling Hills" can refer to all three kinds but "leaping ... in flame must refer to the later two kinds.
As I argued in my last post, the animal-fire-dragons are missing from that account. But we could deal with that, since we have here a description only of the new devising not of the complete muster of Morgoths forces.
It is still true that we have three types of "new devised dragons" and for easy reference it is good to remember our types:
Type 1: creations of iron, filled with orks -> clearly very mechanical
Type 2: creations of bronze and copper filled with hearts of fire that -> they do resemble animal fire dragons but in the tale they were often named together with the Type 1 so that they were clearly intended mechanical at first.
Type 3: creations of pure fire ever seen in connection with Balrogs -> clearly even in The Tale not meant mechanical but more demon like. Here the description is very unlike any dragon, but later we will find them often only named "dragons of fire" or simply "fire-drakes", so that some confusion is to be expected.

FG-A-05
Quote:
§48 ... /Q30 At last, and {Eärendel}[Eärendil] was then seven years of age, Morgoth was ready, and he loosed upon Gondolin his {Orcs}[Orks] and his Balrogs and his serpents; and of these, dragons of many and dire shapes {were} new devised for the taking of the city. The host of Morgoth came over the Northern hills where the height was greatest and the watch less vigilant, and it came at night at time of festival./
Here we inserted the muster of Morgoths hosts from Q30. And that does prove good, for as I read the sentence we have know added the animal-dragons of "the brood of Glaurung". For further reference I will call this "normal" dragons Type 4.

Quote:
§50 ... and a ruddy glow shone upon their faces and gleamed about the polished surfaces of their accoutrement. Behold, all the hills to the north were ablaze, and it was as if rivers of fire ran down the slopes that led to the plain of Tumladen, and folk might already feel the heat thereof.
"as if rivers of fire ran down the slopes" does very well fit with the description of the type 3 monsters (and add some small hint to the theory I brought out earlier, that these type 3 are similar to the streams of fire seen in the Dagor Bargollach and the Nirneach Arnoediad).

Quote:
§55 ... Yet Idril wept, for much had she cherished in her heart the fair city and her goodly house, and the love of Tuor and herself that had dwelt therein; but now she saw its destroying nigh at hand, and feared that her contriving would fail against this overwhelming might of the terror of the serpents.
§56 It was now four hours still from middle night, and the sky was red in the north and in the east and west; and those serpents of iron had reached the levels of Tumladen, and those fiery ones were among the lowest slopes of the hills, so that the guards were taken ' and set in evil torment by the Balrogs that scoured all about, saving only to the furthest south{ where was Cirith Thoronath the Cleft of Eagles}.
"Serpents" in §55 is ambiguous and might refer to all types. It is interesting that the "serpents of iron" (type 1) are faster than "those fiery ones" (type 3). But "those fiery" is so ambiguous that it could mean each type from 2, 3 or 4 or all of them.

Quote:
§ 62 And now came the Monsters across the valley [and there was no stay in the advance of the foe until they were beneath the very walls of Gondolin] and the white towers of Gondolin reddened before them [and Gondolin was beleaguered without hope] FG-A-07 ; but the stoutest were in dread seeing those dragons of fire and those serpents of bronze and iron FG-D-04 that fare already about the hill of the city; and they shot unavailing arrows at them. Then is there a cry of hope, for behold, the snakes of fire may not climb the hill for its steepness and for its glassiness, and by reason of the quenching waters that fall upon its sides; yet they lie about its feet and a vast steam arises where the streams of Amon Gwared and the flames of the serpents drive together.…
"dragons / snakes of fire" clearly refers to type 3, "serpents of bronze and iron" to type 2 and 1. The problem is only one of clarity since "dragons / snakes of fire" could not easily be understood as type 4 so that it doesn't forces us to change it.

FG-D-05 Flexible dragons pressed into service.
Quote:
§63 But now Gothmog lord of Balrogs, captain of the hosts of {Melko} [Morgoth], took counsel and gathered all his things of iron that could coil themselves around and above all obstacles before them. These he bade pile themselves before the northern gate; and behold, their great spires reached even to its threshold and thrust at the towers and bastions about it, and by reason of the exceeding heaviness of their bodies those gates fell, and great was the noise thereof: yet the most of the walls around them still stood firm. FG-D-06 Then the engines and the catapults of the king poured darts and boulders and molten metals on those ruthless beasts, and their hollow bellies clanged beneath the buffeting, yet it availed not for they might not be broken, and the fires rolled off them. Then were the topmost opened about their middles, and an innumerable host of the {Orcs} [Orks], the goblins of hatred, poured therefrom into the breach; ...
These indicates type 1 as mechanical, which is okay, when we accept mechanical monster at all.

FG-B-02 Balrogs shoot arrows of fire.
Quote:
§69 ... yet a worse matter was it that {a company} [some] of those demons climbed upon the coils of the serpents of iron and thence loosed unceasingly from their bows and slings till a fire began to burn in the city to the back of the main army of the defenders.
Type 1 again with out any further info.

FG-B-03 Rog's men attack
Quote:
§70 ... but the men of Rog leapt even upon the coils of the serpents and came at those Balrogs and smote them grievously, ...
§71 Then Gothmog Lord of Balrogs gathers all his demons [and troops] that were about the city and ordered them thus: a number made for the folk of the Hammer and gave before them, but the greater company rushing upon the flank contrived to get to their backs, higher upon the coils of the drakes and nearer to the gates, so that Rog might not win back save with great slaughter among his folk. ... FG-B-03.05 Then that house of the Hammer fared about smiting and hewing the astonied bands of Morgoth till they were hemmed at the last by an overwhelming force of the Orcs{ and the Balrogs}, and a fire-drake was loosed upon them.
"coils of the serpents/of the drakes" does more or less clearly refer to type 1, so we need no change her. As said before the fire-drake in the last sentence is in the original a type 3 monster, but when not altered it is understood as a type 4 and that isn't bad in my view.

FG-D-07a The great-footed dragons prepare to attack Gondolin.
Quote:
§74 Now then the plan that they made was to hold what they had won, while those serpents of bronze and with great feet for trampling climbed slowly over those of iron, and reaching the walls there opened a breach wherethrough the Balrogs might {ride upon} [come with] the dragons of flame: yet they knew this must be done with speed, for the heats of those drakes lasted not for ever, and might only be plenished from the wells of fire that Melko had made in the fastness of his own land.
Here we have again the types 1 to 3 all in one place. "Dragons of flame" is in my view okay, since it could not be so easily confused with type 4 dragons.

FG-D-08a Breaking of the Walls. and FG-B-05 Entrance into the city
Quote:
§76 ... But there behold a quaking and a trampling, for the dragons labour mightily at beating a path up Amon Gwared and at casting down the walls of the city; and already there is a gap therein and a confusion of masonry where the ward-towers have fallen in ruin. Bands of the Swallow and of the Arch of Heaven there fight bitterly amid the wreck or contest the walls to east and west with the foe; but even as Tuor comes nigh driving the Orcs, one of those brazen snakes heaves against the {western} [eastern]/why was this change done?/ wall and a great mass of it shakes and falls, and behind comes a creature of fire and Balrogs [and monsters]/what kind of monsters are meant by this addition and for what was it done?/ {upon} [with] it. Flames gust from the jaws of that worm and folk wither before it, and the wings of the helm of Tuor are blackened, but he stands and gathers about him his guard and all of the Arch and Swallow he can find, whereas on his right Ecthelion rallies the men of the Fountain of the South.
§77 Now the {Orcs} [Orks] again take heart from the coming of the drakes, and they mingle with the Balrogs that pour about the breach, and they assail the {Gondothlim} [Gondolindrim] grievously.
The first "dragons" is ambiguous and can stand for any type or all types, even including type 4. The "brazen snake" is clearly type 2, "creature of fire" is again clearly type 3. When type 3 is interpreted as "streams of fire" the "flames gust from the jaws of that worm" could refer only to the "brazen snake" of the sentence before, since type 3 has no "jaws". "drakes" in the last sentence is again ambiguous.

Quote:
§ 78 But so it is that few cannot fight always against the many, and Ecthelion's left arm got a sore rent from a whip of the Balrog's and his shield fell to earth even as {that} [a] FG-B-06.05b dragon of fire drew nigh amid the ruin of the walls. Then Ecthelion must lean on Tuor, and Tuor might not leave him, though the very feet of the trampling beast were upon them, and they were like to be overborne: but Tuor hewed at a foot of the creature so that flame spouted forth, and that serpent screamed, lashing with its tail; and many of both Orcs and Noldor got their death therefrom. Now Tuor gathered his might and lifted Ecthelion, and amid a remnant of the folk got thereunder and escaped the drake; yet dire was the killing of men that beast had wrought, and the Gondolindrim were sorely shaken.
Here we have a troublesome point in the narrative. I don't understand the change from "that" to "a" in FG-B-06.05b. What ever it was made for, isn't that a clear case of a change for clarity? "dragon of fire" in the first sentence is a type 3. But that brings in some confusion since "the very feet of the trampling beast" and "a foot of the creature" most refer to the bronze serpent that had ruined the wall, since the description of the type 3 monsters does not allow any feet. The following "drake" and "beast" must refer therefore to the same type dragon that Tour had hurt. In this paragraph we get some confusion between the first mentioning of a type 3 and than a fight against a type 2. Since the safest way to bring in clarity is elimination of one dragon I suppose that could go:
Quote:
§ 78 But so it is that few cannot fight always against the many, and Ecthelion's left arm got a sore rent from a whip of the Balrog's and his shield fell to earth{ even as {that} [a] FG-B-06.05b dragon of fire drew nigh amid the ruin of the walls}. Then ...
FG-D-09 Imprisonment of the Noldor.
Quote:
§ 79 Thus it was that Tuor son of Huor gave before the foe, fighting as he yielded ground, and bore from that battle Ecthelion of the Fountain, but the drakes and the foemen held half the city and all the north of it. Thence marauding bands fared about the streets and did much ransacking, or slew in the dark men and women and children, and many, if occasion let, they bound and led back and flung in the iron chambers amid the dragons of iron, that they might drag them afterward to be thralls of {Melko} [Morgoth].
"Drakes and foeman" refer to all the troops of Morgoth and so to each type of the dragons. In the second sentence we have again type 1 established as mechanical.

Quote:
§ 83 Now these had sustained a terrible conflict in the Great Market to the east of the city, where a force of Orcs {led by Balrogs} came on them at unawares FG-B-07 as they marched by a circuitous way to the fight about the gate. This they did to surprise the foe upon his left flank, but were themselves ambuscaded; there fought they bitterly for hours till a fire-drake new-come from the breach overwhelmed them, and Glorfindel cut his way out very hardly and with few men; but that place with its stores and its goodly things of fine workmanship was a waste of flames.
§ 84 ... so that many of them were trapped in the flames or sank before the breath of the serpent that revelled there.
I think that the "fire-drake" and "breath of the serpent" was meant in the original to be a type 3. But as the text stands now it sounds like a type 4. That isn't to bad since we have not many mentions of type 4. So I say let is as it is.

Quote:
§ 86 But now the {men} [host] FG-B-07.05 of Morgoth have assembled their forces, and seven dragons of fire are come with Orcs about them {and Balrogs upon them}[and a Balrog] down all the ways FG-B-08 from north, east, and west, seeking the Square of the King. Then there was carnage at the barriers, and Egalmoth and Tuor went from place to place of the defence, but Ecthelion lay by the fountain; and that stand was the most stubborn-valiant that is remembered in all the songs or in any tale. Yet at long last a drake bursts the barrier to the north -- and there had once been the issue of the Alley of Roses and a fair place to see or to walk in, but now there is but a lane of blackness and it is filled with noise.
§ 87 Tuor stood then in the way of that beast, but was sundered from Egalmoth, and they pressed him backward even to the centre of the square nigh the fountain.
Type 3 but dubious so it is understandable either way and can stand.

Quote:
§ 88 ... There seeing the wavering of the enemy by reason of the dread of the fall of Gothmog the marshal of the hosts, the royal house laid on and the king came down in splendour among them and hewed with them, that they swept again much of the square, {and of the Balrogs slew even two score,} which was a great prowess indeed FG-B-09: but greater still did they do, for they hemmed in one of the Fire-drakes for all his flaming, and forced him into the very waters of the fountain that he perished therein. ...
§ 89 Then dread fell on all for the doom of the fountain, and the square was filled with mists of scalding heat and blinding fogs, and the people of the royal house were killed therein by heat and by the foe and by the serpents and by one another ...
Here we come to one of the nail proof. In The Tale this might have been the type 3 monster ridden into the square by Gothmog. But now it is called "one of the fire-drakes" and that suggests at least as I have interpreted it since a type 4. And indeed "hemmed in ... for all his flaming, and forced him into the very water of the fountain" reminds me very much of the fight of the dwarves of Belegost against Glaurung in the Nirneath and of Smaug who in his attack upon Laketown in The Hobbit did know "that the cold water of the lake was mightier than he". (The fountain of the King was more an equilibrium to that dragon, as it seems.) So I am at a loss to decide what to do with these "fire-drake". But since the project leans against changes for clarity, and only such one could be made here, we must let the reader decide for himself what to make of it. The serpents in the next paragraph are ambiguous and should be so.

Quote:
§ 94 Then some of the hugest of the drakes came on and glared in the fog, and he must perforce bid the company to go at a run, fighting on the left at haphazard; ...
"glared in the fog" suggested type 3 for me but that was based mainly on the German translation which is "glühten" [would have been more accurate for glowing]. I realise now that it can mean type 2 and 4 as well and even a type 1 if you will.

Quote:
§ 94 ... Lo! a drake was coiled even on the very steps of the palace and defiled their whiteness; but swarms of the Orcs ransacked within and dragged forth forgotten women and children or slew men that fought alone. Glingal was {withered} [melted] FG-C-04 to the stock and Belthil was blackened utterly, and the king's tower was beset. High up could they descry the form of the king, but about the base a serpent of iron spouting flame lashed and rowed with his tail, and Balrogs were round him; and there was the king's house in great anguish, and dread cries carried up to the watchers. ...
Again a detail that is new and surprising: The "serpents of iron" could "spout flame"! I am again at a lose, what we should do here. I am inclined to deny the possibility of iron serpents that spout flame. But that goes for the old Tale as it does for our version. If this is a slip of the pen it has survived the revision from Tour A to Tour B and the proofread before the reading to the Exeter College (or was produced in one of these). So we could let it stand. (Even if it makes the type 1 to a kind of "eierlegender Woll-Milch-Sau" - sorry that's a German joke and means one animal that does produce every beneficial product of animal farming.)

Quote:
§ 96 ... Behold, the tower leapt into a flame and in a stab of fire it fell, for the dragons crushed the base of it and all who stood there. ...
Ambiguous "dragons" again that could mean any type.

Quote:
§ 102 ... but when that folk had descended the stairway to a level with the valley the heat grew to a torment for the fire of the dragons that were about the city; and they were indeed nigh, for the delving was there at no great depth in the earth. Boulders were loosened by the tremors of the ground and falling crushed many, and fumes were in the air so that their torches and lanterns went out.
Most naturally the dragons here are interpreted as type 3.

FG-D-10 At the gate.
Quote:
§ 103 ... Fire-drakes are about it and monsters of iron fare in and out of its gates, ...
In The Tale "fire-drakes" were type 3 but here we could led them go as type 4 as well. "monsters of iron" refers to type 1 and makes here sense since what we see is the plundering of the city, the iron serpents go in to be filled with booty and fare out again with it. Also I like to add that the change of the Thoron Sîr to the north fits here much better: Only here at the north gate was a ramp of iron serpents over which any of the dragons could reach a gate. So the scene is moved from one that has some incredibility’s to one that is more logical.

Quote:
§ 105 ... but fled to the old Way of Escape that led into the gorge of Sirion and opened it anew, were caught and destroyed by a dragon that Morgoth had sent to watch that gate ...
We are not told what dragon this was in Q30.

Quote:
§ 120 ... and then both Tuor and Voronwë saw that they were not far from the outer issue of old of the Way of Escape, and were once more in that deep dale of alders. Here were all the bushes trampled and the trees burnt, and the dale-wall scarred with flame, and they wept, for they thought they knew the fate of those who sundered aforetime from them at the tunnel-mouth.
Here no dragon is named, but it showes that in § 105 it was a fiery one. What does not mean anything since even type 1 could "spout flame" as we have learned. But since this dragon was not in the attack I would see him as type 4. No change needed of course.

Quote:
§ 121 Now they journeyed down that river but were again in fear from Morgoth, and fought affrays with his Orc-bands and were in peril from the wolfriders, but his firedrakes sought not at them, both for the great exhaustion of their fires in the taking of Gondolin, and the increasing power of Ulmo as the river grew.
The "exhaustion of their fires" makes this firedrakes clearly a reference to type 3 dragons. But the word it self was in most previous cases interpreted as type 4. For clarity a change is desirable here but for no other reason, and since it is still understandable we can let it stand.


Conclusion: Aiwendil is right in his opinion that we could let the text stand as it is. That will produce 4 types of monsters of which 2 are mechanical and 3 are a new devised for the attack on Gondolin. Some of the original mentions would be change in the meaning and some will be obscure, so that in some places I at least feel a strong desire for "changes for clarity" (see especially §§ 76, 78, 94 and 121).
Any other proposal to deal with the dragons would force more changes. So I think we have found a kind of “kings way” in this matter.

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Old 09-07-2003, 05:30 PM   #35
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Well, I find this analysis quite convincing, though of course I'm biased by the fact that it comes out supporting my earlier position. There is indeed a point that I had missed but which Findegil had considered from the beginning: the fact that in the later mythology it would seem incredible that there were no flesh and blood (type 4) dragons at the FoG. This refutes my earlier position. But as Findegil demonstrates, the prose of the Tale is sufficiently ambiguous to allow an interpretation that includes real, type 4 dragons. So I agree with Findegil's final conclusion: nearly all of the references to dragons in the Tale can be left as they stand.

I can sympathize with a desire for greater clarity. At times I feel that the ambiguity may be going too far. But ambiguity is our ally in dealing with canonical issues. The more specific, the more clear, we try to be, the more we are forced into an active editorial role in determining what the "true" course of events was. In this specific instance, there is also another benefit to ambiguity: it involves minimal alterations to Tolkien's actual words.

So I'm still moderately inclined against emendation for the sake of clarity.

I will try to look at some of the specific textual problems later tonight, if I have time.
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Old 09-08-2003, 09:47 PM   #36
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Here we have a troublesome point in the narrative. I don't understand the change from "that" to "a" in FG-B-06.05b.
I think that FG-B-06.05b was deleted. In the FoG section 4 thread, I think Maedhros and I came to a tentative agreement not to keep this change.

Quote:
"dragon of fire" in the first sentence is a type 3. But that brings in some confusion since "the very feet of the trampling beast" and "a foot of the creature" most refer to the bronze serpent that had ruined the wall, since the description of the type 3 monsters does not allow any feet. The following "drake" and "beast" must refer therefore to the same type dragon that Tour had hurt. In this paragraph we get some confusion between the first mentioning of a type 3 and than a fight against a type 2. Since the safest way to bring in clarity is elimination of one dragon I suppose that could go:
Hmm, I'm not sure what to make of this. But in this case, there is clearly no change relating to the addition of the type 4 dragons. The text may be unclear, but it is not made unclear as a result of our meddling; it is an original feature. So since it is the original text itself that contains the confusing point, I would leave it. It is not our job to improve or clarify Tolkien's text - the only time clarification ought to be considered is when something becomes unclear as a result of changes we have made.

Quote:
So I am at a loss to decide what to do with these "fire-drake". But since the project leans against changes for clarity, and only such one could be made here, we must let the reader decide for himself what to make of it.
Agreed. The "fire-drake" could easily be a type 4. Was not Glaurung an "Uruloke"?

Quote:
Again a detail that is new and surprising: The "serpents of iron" could "spout flame"! I am again at a lose, what we should do here. I am inclined to deny the possibility of iron serpents that spout flame. But that goes for the old Tale as it does for our version. If this is a slip of the pen it has survived the revision from Tour A to Tour B and the proofread before the reading to the Exeter College (or was produced in one of these). So we could let it stand.
You're right - this is indeed extremely puzzling. But again, and as you point out, it is a feature of the original tale and as such ought to be left alone, whether it makes sense or not.

[ September 10, 2003: Message edited by: Aiwendil ]
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Old 09-10-2003, 06:03 AM   #37
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Aiwendil you (and anyone else beside you) had as jet not commented on this passage:
Quote:
§ 121 Now they journeyed down that river but were again in fear from Morgoth, and fought affrays with his Orc-bands and were in peril from the wolfriders, but his firedrakes sought not at them, both for the great exhaustion of their fires in the taking of Gondolin, and the increasing power of Ulmo as the river grew.
I repeat here my comment from abvoe:
Quote:
The "exhaustion of their fires" makes this firedrakes clearly a reference to type 3 dragons. But the word it self was in most previous cases interpreted as type 4. For clarity a change is desirable here but for no other reason, and since it is still understandable we can let it stand.
After some more time, I must retake that last line in my coment. I think that we should change this "firedrakes" to "drakes of fire". The reason for that is that we can only argue that "firedrakes", "fire-drakes", "firedragons" and "fire-dragons" refer to type 4 when it is never used explicit for any other type. But here we would define it as typ 3. We are not explicit if any type 4 dragon was in the battle. I at least find that as a weckness in our text that is created by the restrictions we have put to our editing. But if we now allow the word "firedrakes" to be used for type 3 we would, in a review of the text, elliminat the faint implicit hints we have given for type 4 dragons in the battle.

Seeing that even Aiwendil has found it incredible that no type 4 dragons were in the battle, we should at least give a clear implicit possibility for them, if we can not do more.

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Old 09-11-2003, 08:19 AM   #38
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Aiwendil you (and anyone else beside you) had as jet not commented on this passage:
I've given some thought to this but I'm still unsure. Certainly "fire-drake" can refer to type 4. It seems a little odd and artificial, then, to refer to type 3 as "drakes of fire" as this will scarcely distinguish them.

But perhaps scarcely is enough. The question then is whether it is worth the change.

I am not completely convinced of this:

Quote:
The "exhaustion of their fires" makes this firedrakes clearly a reference to type 3 dragons.
As was discussed much earlier in the thread, it seems not entirely unreasonable to speculate that type 4 dragons could have their fires exhausted, or need them to be replenished. But that was, admittedly, when we were engaged in the project of transforming the whole text so that all the dragons were type 4. And I certainly agree that the "exhaustion of their fires" at the very least suggests type 3.

The hesitation I have about making the change is the same that I have had about certain other changes (though perhaps here it is not as justifiable). That is, it seems that if there is a problem, the change is an insufficient solution; if there is not, it's unnecessary.

But then again, maybe it is sufficient. Or perhaps not sufficient and yet the best we can do.

So I will tentatively support the change. But I'd really like to hear from the others on this (though it seems a very minor point).
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Old 09-11-2003, 01:19 PM   #39
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Quote:
Type 1 monsters: mechanical monsters made of iron
Type 2 monsters: mechanical monsters made of bronze and copper
Type 3 monsters: streams of fire often to be confused with animal-fire-dragons
Just so that I'm clear with this, does type four (4) refers to animal dragons or what?
Quote:
And that does prove good, for as I read the sentence we have know added the animal-dragons of "the brood of Glaurung". For further reference I will call this "normal" dragons Type 4.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but I was under the impression that we were going to make type 2 dragons normal ones, only with the note that they had scales of iron or copper.

As I have already said in the beginning, I think that I would like to distinguish in the Tale each and every type of dragon/monster as to the category it belongs. As to the specific changes that Findegil has made, let me look at every one of them in order to voice my opinion.
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Old 09-11-2003, 02:32 PM   #40
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Posted by Maédhros:
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Correct me if I'm wrong, but I was under the impression that we were going to make type 2 dragons normal ones, only with the note that they had scales of iron or copper.
Your are rigth that this was my initial plan. But Aiwendil insisted that it would need to much changes and that he would like to let the text as much as it is. So as it seems what I provided was the theory with which we could work with the text as it stood.
The only think I was concerned about (and still am a bit at least) is, that we have than no cleary mention of animal dragons in the text. To reconcile my theory with Aiwendils idea I postulated the categorie of the monsters as follows:

Type 1: mechanical monsters made of iron
Type 2: mechanical monsters made of copper and bronze (To make them animals while type 1 is still mechanical we had to edit the text heavily.)
Type 3: streams of fire
Type 4: animal fire dragons

What I tried out above was how we could work out the theory on each single mentioning of the monsters. For that I said:
Quote:
And that does prove good, for as I read the sentence we have know added the animal-dragons of "the brood of Glaurung". For further reference I will call this "normal" dragons Type 4.
The very faint distinguish between type 3 and type 4 that I could find was that I interpreted any "fire dragon", "fire-dragon", "fire drake" and "fire-drake" as type 4. and any serpents/dragon/stream or what ever of fire/flame as type 3. For that reason I whished the change in the last quote.

Posted by Maédhros:
Quote:
As I have already said in the beginning, I think that I would like to distinguish in the Tale each and every type of dragon/monster as to the category it belongs.
I found it also necessary at firts to comunicat what we decied. But we did clearly disagree with Aiwendil in this. And in view of the principals, I must say, that Aiwendil is right: If we find that mechanical monsters are possible, than we must not change the text only for clearty.

Posted by Maédhros:
Quote:
As to the specific changes that Findegil has made, let me look at every one of them in order to voice my opinion.
Well, when you look closer at my over last posts you will find that I have changed nearly nothing. I only collected the mentionings of the dragons/monsters and discussed each in turn. Only the last quote of all the tale created a problem and it seems that I can come to an agreement even with the most conservativ Aiwendil to change that singel entry from "firedrakes" to "drakes of fire".

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