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Old 01-25-2003, 08:43 PM   #1
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Question Seven Stars and Seven Stones

Quote:
Tall ships and tall kings Three times three
What brought they from the foundered land Over the flowing sea?
Seven stars and seven stones And one white tree.
I know what the seven stones are (the palantiri), but what about the seven stars?

From doing a search, I find that the standard of Elendil's house consists of seven stars and the White Tree. Also, the chief palantir in Gondor was kept at the Dome of Stars in Osgiliath. One fanfic I've read interprets this as having been a sort of planetarium showing the stars as they appeared from Numenor. Is there any evidence from Tolkien's writings to support this interpretation?

Does "seven stars" simply refer to the design of Elendil's banner, or were there any actual star shaped objects carried from Numenor?
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Old 01-25-2003, 08:53 PM   #2
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I always imagined that the seven stars were on the standard, as well as in "The Sickle of the Valar". It seemed a major constellation (very similar to the Great Dipper, or Usra Major), and I never quite remembered how many stars were in it, so I presumed...

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Old 01-25-2003, 09:27 PM   #3
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Iarwain, you're right that "seven stars" is used to refer to the sickle of the Valar. I hadn't mentioned that since clearly Elendil didn't bring a constellation with him, unless it was a picture of one on his standard.

Also there were seven stars (plus the star of the house of Fëanor) drawn on the West-Gate of Moria--but probably that's unrelated.

I guess the standard seems the likely answer.
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Old 01-25-2003, 09:31 PM   #4
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They needn't have brought the actual stars with them, knowledge of the constellation would be good enough. I think that the poem refers mainly to Elendil's standard. Perhaps the gems on the standard that Aragorn bore were passed down from Numenor. That would put the Stars into a physical object.

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[ January 25, 2003: Message edited by: Iarwain ]
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Old 01-25-2003, 10:07 PM   #5
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Silmaril

Unfinished Tales has a chapter called A Description of The Island of Numenor. This chapter states that the island of Numenor itself is shaped like a five-pointed star (hence the five pointed stars in the emblem of Elendil).
Quote:
The land of Numenor resembled in outline a five-pointed star, or pentangle with a central portion some two hundred and fifty miles across, north and south, and east and west, from which extended five large peninsular promontories.
Futher research indicates that the seven stars represent each of the Palantir that Elendil brought from Numenor.
This page has good information on the Emblem of Elendil.
Note: scroll down to sub-headding THE THIRD AGE: ARNOR AND GONDOR
Quote from 'Unfinished Tales' Part 2: ch 1
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Old 01-25-2003, 10:24 PM   #6
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Iargwath, that heraldry page is FANTASTIC! Thanks very much.

The Seven Stars of Elendil were almost certainly inspired by the Valacirca, the constellation with seven major stars that was set in the north by Varda at the coming of the Elves. I believe it is described explicitly like this in The Silmarillion, probably in Of the Coming of the Elves. Elendil was the leader of the Faithful, and it makes perfect sense that his emblem should pay homage to both the Eldar and the Valar.

I don't see anything supporting the fact that the seven stars were the same as the seven stones - why make separate mention like that?

Perhaps on another level, aside from bringing the emblem of seven stars, Elendil and co also brought back to Middle-Earth what it stood for - reverence for the Elder Kindred and for the gods of Arda. Similarly, the one white tree might be symbolic of their devotion to Eru. Or it might not!
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Old 01-25-2003, 10:37 PM   #7
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No worries Doug. Its a favourite page of mine also.
Quote:
Perhaps on another level, aside from bringing the emblem of seven stars, Elendil and co also brought back to Middle-Earth what it stood for - reverence for the Elder Kindred and for the gods of Arda.
Sounds promising Doug.
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Old 01-26-2003, 02:00 PM   #8
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One would also wonder why Durin's symbols would contain such distinct reference to Valinor, both in respect of the Trees and The Sickle?
Quote:
At the top, as high as Gandalf could reach, was an arch of interlacing letters in an Elvish character. Below, though the threads were in places blurred or broken, the outline could be seen of an anvil and a hammer surmounted by a crown with seven stars. Beneath these again were two trees, each bearing crescent moons. More clearly than all else there shone forth in the middle of the door a single star with many rays.
Yet, while trying to discover something about it I came across this reference;
Quote:
Now this is indeed the true beginning of Morwinyon and his beauty, yet the Seven Stars were not set by Varda, being indeed the sparks from Aule's forge whose brightness in the ancient heavens urged Varda to make their rivals; yet this did she never achieve.The Coming of Elves and the Making of Kor - HOME 1
I would imagine that since Celebrimbor drew the the design on the gates of Moria, the symbolism was of his choosing in acknowledgement of Durin? I guess another may be able to shed a little more light on the matter though!
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Old 01-26-2003, 02:19 PM   #9
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The Heraldry page whose link Iargwath gives above says that the upper part of the design on the doors of Moria (stars, crown, hammer and anvil) is Durin's symbol. He was led to found Moria by seeing the stars fo the Valacirca reflected in the lake at the east entrance.
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Old 01-26-2003, 02:20 PM   #10
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Sting

7 is a big number in all the free races of M.E.

The 7 stars COULD represent the Durin as he was the eldest of the 7 Dwarf lords. (Was Durin around during the fashioning of the doors?) The 7 Stars were also famous in the Dwarf tongues too were they not? I recall some mention of them being reflected in the Kheled-Zaram for some reason... But the two trees represent the two Hollin trees that stood beside the door, a symbol of the frienship between the Noldor and the dwarves of Moria.
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Old 01-26-2003, 02:22 PM   #11
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Well, you learn a little every day! Thanks [img]smilies/wink.gif[/img]
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Old 01-26-2003, 03:06 PM   #12
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Sting

You beat me to it Ultimatejoe but the quote you are thinking about is.
Quote:
They stooped over the dark water. At first they could see nothing. Then slowly they saw the forms of the encircling mountains mirrored in a profound blue, and the peaks were like plumes of white flame above them; beyond there was a space of sky. There like jewels sunk in the deep shone glinting stars, though sunlight was in the sky above. Of their own stooping forms no shadow could be seen.
'O Kheled-zâram fair and wonderful! ' said Gimli. `There lies the Crown of Durin till he wakes. Farewell! ' He bowed, and turned away, and hastened back up the green-sward to the road again.
That fact is the door was the point at which Khazad-dûm and Erigion touched So it is not surprising that they bare the tokens of both the House of Durin and of the High-elves.
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Old 01-26-2003, 04:06 PM   #13
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Thanks for finding the passage I remembered.
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Old 01-29-2003, 04:08 PM   #14
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Hi. I don't know about Durin's emblem but in the RotK index, entry Stars, Tolkien explains that the Seven Stars represented the seven ships (of 9) that carried palantiri. The tree is of course the baby white tree Isildur brought from Numenor.
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Old 01-29-2003, 06:05 PM   #15
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Silmaril

Sometimes when a lay or a poem is written it's not literal.
The Valacirca or The Great Bear was set in the heavens as a challenge to Melkor and a sign of warning. Perhaps The Seven stars is a warning to Sauron servant of Melkor to bring terror to him of his doom.

The Seven Stones being the Palantir were used to keep each region in contact, if some evil should arise, the evil plot would be spoiled.Note only great kings could ever use these. This could be a sign of a Great King
The tree is of course the Galathilion, which at one time Sauron had felled, the tree being grown again would bring terror to him. The Tree is a trade Mark of Numenore

So this Poem could be Saying (in essence)

This is a sign of doom, A Great King will arise, and the Blood of the Numenore will over take your Kingdom.

YOUR GOIN' DOWN!! [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img] Just a thought,
-(~<~>Yavanna

SO in answer to your question, the Stars could be the sign of impending doom.

p.s. The Valacirca is set in the Northern sky. Aragorn hails from the North,as a Ranger,and a Numenorean. [img]smilies/wink.gif[/img] Get it?

[ January 29, 2003: Message edited by: Yavanna Kementari ]
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Old 01-30-2003, 08:05 AM   #16
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It is highly unlikely that the Sickle of the Gods has ANYTHING to do with Aragorn... by the time he's having his career-revival enough "new" elements had been woven into the history of Arda that the Valar could not have forseen it.
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Old 01-30-2003, 04:44 PM   #17
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I saw the notes about the 'stars' being in physical form as the little stones or gems or whatever they were. I also remeber that Arwen Evenstar actually had the Evenstar. It was taht little (white?) gem that she gave Frodo. maybe the seven stars were like these.
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Old 01-30-2003, 04:45 PM   #18
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Quote:
What brought they from the foundered land Over the flowing sea?
Seven stars and seven stones And one white tree.
The stars of the Valacirca (the Sickle) couldn't have been "brought" over the sea by the Numenoreans. I had always thought that the "stars" referred to the jewels which the lords of the Dunedain wore on their foreheads. Aragorn bore the Star of Elendil. Unfinished Tales makes reference to Isengard being searched after Saruman's departure and the Star of Isildur being found there among bones, etc.
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Old 01-31-2003, 09:59 AM   #19
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The kings only wore a "star" on their brow so 7 cannot apply.
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Old 01-31-2003, 01:15 PM   #20
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Sting

Coudln't they be a metaphorical reference ot the seven ships of the Numenoreans, that came 'flying' to M-e?
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Old 02-01-2003, 08:37 AM   #21
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Sting

In RoTK Tolkien writes in the index, where he explicitly refers to the rhyme, "[the] Seven stars, of Elendil and his captains. ... [They] originally represented to single stars on the banners of each of seven ships (of 9 [three times three]) that bore a palantir; in Gondor the seven stars were set about a white-flowered tree, over which the Kings set a winged crown."

Moreover, he writes that the Seven stars in the emblem of Durin represented the Plough.

c.c.
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Old 10-25-2003, 02:34 PM   #22
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Iargwath, in the heraldry page you linked it is said that they were five-pointed stars, and, even though, I like your explanation that this is because of the shape of the island of Númenor, in the index of RotK it is said that they were six-pointed [img]smilies/redface.gif[/img]

Quote:
Star, as emblem: (...)
(2) Star of Elendil (...)
(4) Seven stars of Elendil and his captains (...)
(2) and (4) had six rays
Index; RotK
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Old 10-26-2003, 07:56 PM   #23
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Sting

Quote:
Aragorn bore the Star of Elendil. Unfinished Tales makes reference to Isengard being searched after Saruman's departure and the Star of Isildur being found there among bones
The star of Isildur was the elendilmir,the star of Elendil. The gem that Aragorn wore was a recreation of this as the original had been lost when Isildur was lost.
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Old 12-05-2017, 04:27 AM   #24
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White Tree

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ailios View Post
In RoTK Tolkien writes in the index, where he explicitly refers to the rhyme, "[the] Seven stars, of Elendil and his captains. ... [They] originally represented to single stars on the banners of each of seven ships (of 9 [three times three]) that bore a palantir; in Gondor the seven stars were set about a white-flowered tree, over which the Kings set a winged crown."
Aha! I came looking for this, because the 'seven stars' in Gandalf's poem have always bothered me. The poem was quoted to explain the Seven Stones, and we see a lot of the One White Tree, but the stars seemed to just be there to take up space! Obviously I should have checked the index, because... I guess that's where you find worldbuilding these days?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Amarie of the Vanyar View Post
Iargwath, in the heraldry page you linked it is said that they were five-pointed stars, and, even though, I like your explanation that this is because of the shape of the island of Númenor, in the index of RotK it is said that they were six-pointed
This worries me, because under 'Elendil' in the Google Books copy of RotK, I find the words 'Seven Stars of Elendil and his captains, had five rays...' This version of the index does not include an extensive entry under 'Stars, as emblems' - it just redirects to Elendil.

So which is it? Are the stars on the flag of Gondor five- or six-pointed? The five-ray version appears to be from the 50th Anniversary edition, which [urly="http://forum.barrowdowns.com/showthread.php?t=11338&page=2"]this thread[/URL] suggests featured an all-new, non-Tolkien index. So... is this simply a mistake, or is it a reversion to Tolkien's original intent? Is there anyone with a copy of the Readers' Guide who can shed any light on the question?

And... are they real objects, or not? The index (either version) says:

Seven Stars of Elendil and his captains... originally represented the single stars on the banners of each of seven ships (of 9) that bore a palantir; in Gondor the seven stars were set about a white-flowered tree, over which the Kings set a winged crown

They could be jewels worn by Elendil and six of his captains, with the Elendilmir being the primary one; but that would mean the jewels were put in place after the banners on the ships. Or they could be what it says - seven stars on seven banners. But then they're essentially just a stand-in for the Stones, which are already named in the song... I admit I would prefer them to be something that actually existed, but that might just be wistful thinking.

hS
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Old 01-12-2018, 12:24 AM   #25
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Tolkien Companion 2014 and the points on the 7 stars of Elendil

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Originally Posted by Huinesoron View Post
So which is it? Are the stars on the flag of Gondor five- or six-pointed? The five-ray version appears to be from the 50th Anniversary edition, which this thread suggests featured an all-new, non-Tolkien index. So... is this simply a mistake, or is it a reversion to Tolkien's original intent? Is there anyone with a copy of the Readers' Guide who can shed any light on the question?
About the Tolkien Companion - it contains this passage, on p.516, beginning at the second line from the top:

“In regard to many-pointed stars, in the 1966 Index as first published each of the seven stars of Elendil (see note for p.597) is said to have six points. But in the Allen & Unwin de luxe edition of 1969 this was changed to five points, possibly because the binding art of that book is an adaptation of Tolkien’s dust-jacket design for The Return of the King (see ‘Preliminaries’, above), in which each of the stars has five points.”

Page 597 is not p.597 of the Guide, but p.597 of the continuously paginated edition of 2004, reprinted with corrections in 2005.

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Old 01-12-2018, 03:19 AM   #26
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Ah, the cover art! D'you know, that never even occurred to me? But Tolkien's design is indeed very clear. That answers that.

(Incidentally, the cover art for The Two Towers also answers once and for all what the 'two towers' were - it's Orthanc and Minas Morgul. And is that a very bird-like Fell Beast flying between them...? But that's probably a question for another thread.)

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Old 01-12-2018, 01:15 PM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Huinesoron View Post
Ah, the cover art! D'you know, that never even occurred to me? But Tolkien's design is indeed very clear. That answers that.

(Incidentally, the cover art for The Two Towers also answers once and for all what the 'two towers' were - it's Orthanc and Minas Morgul. And is that a very bird-like Fell Beast flying between them...? But that's probably a question for another thread.)

hS
My impression is that there was no pressing narrative reason for one number of points to be preferred to the other. Though it would have been appropriate, had there been a connection between the five-pointed stars, and the five promontories of the Land of the Star

A connection between the Valacirca, the Seven Stars, the shape of Numenor, the Star of Feanor, and the Crown of Durin, would have been better....
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Old 01-13-2018, 07:48 AM   #28
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Originally Posted by Saurondil View Post
A connection between the Valacirca, the Seven Stars, the shape of Numenor, the Star of Feanor, and the Crown of Durin, would have been better....
It is interesting to look for connections among the various symbols.

Númenor of course was a five-pointed star shape, and the Star of the House of Fëanor is described by Gandalf on the Moria West-gate as only having 'many rays'. The illustration seems to show sixteen.

We also see seven Lords of the Valar and seven Queens.

The Crown of Durin certainly has seven stars, which would seem to correlate with the Seven Fathers of the Dwarves. Aulë the Vala 'made' the Dwarves with Eru's blessing, and so attains the Seven connection that way, maybe?

The Silmarillion in Of the Beginning of Days states the Trees both took seven hours to fully wax and wane.

Seven has the Christian significance of being the 'perfect' number; ie the Days of Creation, and in the West of the world today is still considered lucky. I'd be very tempted to say that factored into Tolkien's repeated use of the number.
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