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Old 11-02-2001, 08:34 AM   #1
Mithadan
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Sting Myths Transformed

Since this barrow has been so slow lately, I thought I'd throw this into the mix. In the ancient history of the canon project, there was an extended discussion of the Myths Transformed section of Morgoth's Ring and the part that those writings should play in the canon. Flat earth v. round earth, the origin of Orcs and a central issue strongly related to all the others: are the Silmarillion tales Elvish or Numenorean in genesis?

I was reading a piece of the "Canon", i.e. works by JRRT published during his lifetime, which is generally overlooked: Tales of Tom Bombadil. The poems themselves are "Hobbitish" in origin or translations of works by Bilbo. However, the Introduction is, of course, by Tolkien in his full "I translated the Red Book" mode (fun reading in itself). In the intro, there is a reference to the tale of Turin and Mim, which was part of ME's then obscure history. JRRT describes the Turin/Mim tale as "Numenorean", not a translation from Elvish. This could be considered a clear statement of JRRT's intent in the Canon (note the upper case "C", meaning published during his lifetime)about a central Myths Transformed concept which may place the related revisions in play for canon (lower case "c" for our canon) treatment. Consider this an attempt to stir up the beehive. Thoughts?
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Old 11-04-2001, 05:30 AM   #2
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Old 11-05-2001, 08:07 PM   #3
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As far as the Myths Transformed material relates to this project, I'd say it roughly divides into two groups: first that which deals with the change from flat to round earth and second, all the rest. The first we've decided not to use, and I think it would be unwise to reopen debate on that subject now that we've come so far.

The difficulty with the rest of the material is twofold: first, much of it stems from, or at least relates to, the new round earth version. Second, much of it is speculative. The real question for us is: what material can we reasonably integrate with the established narrative? These are my preliminary thoughts on some of the particular issues.

Orc Origins

Tolkien here goes through a number of ideas about the nature of Orcs, ranging from human to Maiar. His final (though quite uncertain) conclusion seems to be that Orcs are in the end indeed of Elvish origin. Even if we decide that this cannot be accepted as a definitive statement that Orcs were made from Elves, we certainly don't have a clear enough line of reasoning in this essay to make them mannish - especially considering that a mannish origin relies on a much earlier creation of men. I'd say we should leave this situation as it is in the '50s Silmarillion.

Melkor's Dissemination of Power

This is one element I think we can safely pick up from Myths Transformed. This is an element that does appear, albeit briefly, in the '77, when Morgoth returns to Middle-earth. I think perhaps we should lift these elements from the Myths Transformed material: at the Battle of the Powers, Melkor and Manwe both realize that Melkor himself has grown far less powerful; Melkor submits willingly, hoping to bring down Valinor from the inside; and perhaps also some mention of the dispersion of his power into the fabric of Arda (it would be nice if we could work in the "Morgoth's Ring" quote, but as this will be before Sauron's rings are introduced, the analogy doesn't seem quite appropriate. On the other hand, we do have to assume that he who reads the Silm. has read LotR.)

Boldogs

It would be very nice to incorporate something of this, but I'm not sure if there's any way.

Numenorean vs. Elvish Tradition

It's probably not best to make this explicit. The current project, at any rate, is not purported to be any actual document from Arda, but simply a coherent history of Middle-earth. No doubt the actual Quenta Silmarillion is of Numenorean origin.
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Old 11-06-2001, 08:16 PM   #4
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Sting

Aiwendil: No doubt the actual Quenta Silmarillion is of
Numenorean origin.
Lindil: what about Bilbo's Translations from the elvish and his Rivendell sources?

As regards all else [seperating round worls from other MT elements and using what we can] A. has summed up my positions [as usual] better than I could myself.

thanks for the prod Greyman

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Old 12-14-2001, 05:37 AM   #5
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Sting

Im sorry but I have not had time to read the old thread about MT - but I stumpled on somthing in Aiwendils post - just after reading MT yesterday.

Aiwendil wrote:
Quote:
Melkor submits willingly, hoping to bring down Valinor from the inside
This section of MT is basicly conserned with JRRTs problems of converting a flat earth mythology to a round earth mythology. The important word in the quote from Aiwendils post is 'INSIDE' - which reffers to Melkor and his spies problems of penetrating the Dome of Varda - If you abandon the round earth myth - then you will also have to abandon the Dome of Varda - or so I guess. Wherefore the part where Melkor submits willing - rather than the 'original' version where he fights Tulkas, champion of the Valar - in my opinion is rather vain and undramatic. Thoughts?

Cheers T

[ December 14, 2001: Message edited by: Telchar ]
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Old 12-14-2001, 10:14 PM   #6
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Quote:
This section of MT is basicly conserned with JRRTs problems of converting a flat earth mythology to a round earth mythology. The important word in the quote from Aiwendils post is 'INSIDE' - which reffers to Melkor and his spies problems of penetrating the Dome of Varda - If you abandon the round earth myth - then you will also have to abandon the Dome of Varda - or so I guess. Wherefore the part where Melkor submits willing - rather than the 'original' version where he fights Tulkas, champion of the Valar - in my opinion is rather vain and undramatic. Thoughts?
I must respectfully disagree. While much of MT is concerned with the conversion from flat earth to round earth, this particular essay seems to have little reference to it. The change in the story of the captivity of Melkor came about, I think, not from the round earth story but from the increasing power of Melkor and the story of his dissemination of power. The new story arose when JRRT realized that both Manwe and Melkor would realize at this point that Melkor himself had diminished as an individual. I don't think that the Dome of Varda really makes much of a difference - Valinor is a "vaunted fastness" whether protected by the Dome or merely by the Pelori and the power of the Valar.

[ December 14, 2001: Message edited by: Aiwendil ]
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Old 08-02-2003, 03:17 PM   #7
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Quote:
Tolkien here goes through a number of ideas about the nature of Orcs, ranging from human to Maiar. His final (though quite uncertain) conclusion seems to be that Orcs are in the end indeed of Elvish origin. Even if we decide that this cannot be accepted as a definitive statement that Orcs were made from Elves, we certainly don't have a clear enough line of reasoning in this essay to make them mannish - especially considering that a mannish origin relies on a much earlier creation of men. I'd say we should leave this situation as it is in the '50s Silmarillion.
Why do you say that Tolkien's final decision was that orcs had an Elven origin?

Chris Tolkien wrote that his father's final decision was that orcs had a mannish origin.
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Old 08-02-2003, 10:52 PM   #8
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I have written 2 books.I wanted to change my mind on alot of the orgins of my charcters.I had to stop because it would take me up two hours to come up with something I liked.Then I would want to change it again.So maybe tolkien is the same way.

He decided on something only to later chance his mind.
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Old 12-14-2004, 03:26 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mithadan
Consider this an attempt to stir up the beehive
Another stick into the stirring. Up it goes
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Old 12-14-2004, 08:53 AM   #10
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Just a short remark to the topic starting issue: The story of Túrin and Mîm refered to in The Adventures of Tom Bambadil is with out any question Narn î Chin Húrin written by Dírhavel. Even if all the rest of what became Queta Silmarillion were of Elvish origin this praticular Lay was not. Thus it is hard to extract any such decision out of the mention of the manish origin of the Túrin story.

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Old 12-14-2004, 10:18 AM   #11
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Quote:
The story of Túrin and Mîm refered to in The Adventures of Tom Bombadil is with out any question Narn î Chin Húrin written by Dírhavel. Even if all the rest of what became Quenta Silmarillion were of Elvish origin this particular Lay was not. Thus it is hard to extract any such decision out of the mention of the manish origin of the Túrin story.
Just so that people can see what he is referring to:
From The Adventures of Tom Bombadil: The Hoard

Quote:
When the moon was new and the sun young
of silver and gold the gods sung:
in the green grass they silver spilled,
and the white waters they with gold filled.
Ere the pit was dug or Hell yawned,
ere dwarf was bred or dragon spawned,
there were Elves of old, and strong spells
under green hills in hollow dells
they sang as they wrought many fair things,
and the bright crowns of the Elf-kings.
But their doom fell, and their song waned,
by iron hewn and by steel chained.
Greed that sang not, nor with mouth smiled,
in dark holes their wealth piled,
graven silver and carven gold:
over Elvenhome the shadow rolled.

There was an old dwarf in a dark cave,
to silver and gold his fingers clave;
with hammer and tongs and anvil-stone
he worked his hands to the hard bone.
and coins he made, and strings of rings,
and thought to buy the power of kings.
But his eyes grew dim and his ears dull
and the skin yellow on his old skull;
through his bony claw with a pale sheen
the stony jewels slipped unseen.
No feet he heard, though the earth quaked.
when the young dragon his thirst slaked.
and the stream smoked at his dark door.
The flames hissed on the dank floor,
and he died alone in the red fire;
his bones were ashes in the hot mire.

There was an old dragon under grey stone;
his red eyes blinked as he lay alone.
His joy was dead and his youth spent,
he was knobbed and wrinkled, and his limbs bent
in the long years to his gold chained;
in his heart's furnace the fire waned.
To his belly's slime gems stuck thick,
silver and gold he would snuff and lick:
he knew the place of the least ring
beneath the shadow of his black wing.
Of thieves he thought on his hard bed,
and dreamed that on their flesh he fed,
their bones crushed, and their blood drank:
his ears drooped and his breath sank.
Mail-rings rang. He heard them not.
A voice echoed in his deep grot:
a young warrior with a bright sword
called him forth to defend his hoard.
His teeth were knives, and of horn his hide,
but iron tore him, and his flame died.

There was an old king on a high throne:
his white beard lay on knees of bone;
his mouth savoured neither meat nor drink,
nor his ears song; he could only think
of his huge chest with carven lid
where pale gems and gold lay hid
in secret treasury in the dark ground;
its strong doors were iron-bound.
The swords of his thanes were dull with rust,
his glory fallen, his rule unjust,
his halls hollow, and his bowers cold,
but king he was of elvish gold.
He heard not the horns in the mountain-pass,
he smelt not the blood on the trodden grass,
but his halls were burned, his kingdom lost;
in a cold pit his bones were tossed.

There is an old hoard in a dark rock,
forgotten behind doors none can unlock;
that grim gate no man can pass.
On the mound grows the green grass;
there sheep feed and the larks soar,
and the wind blows from the sea-shore.
The old hoard the Night shall keep,
while earth waits and the Elves sleep.
Unless I'm completely wrong, is this the poem that you are referring to Findegil?
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Old 12-15-2004, 08:32 AM   #12
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Oops! It seems my post was very cryptic. In addition I have a bit misread Mithadans firstpost. But any way, I will try to explain it beter this time.

What Mithadan reffered to in his post #1 was the following passage from the introduction of The Adventures of Tom Bombadil:
Quote:
... No. 14 also depends on the lore of Rivendell, Elvish and Númenorean, concerning the heroic days at the end of the First Age; it seems to contain echoes of the Númenorean tale of Turin and Mim the Dwarf.
No. 14 reffered to in the quote is named The Hoard, and is given in Maédhros post #11.
"The tale of Turin and Mim" is clearly a reference to the Turin Saga, meaning the story of of Húrins children in a general sense not any particular version of it. My misreading was now that I did only associate "Númenorean tale" with the wider sense of "manish tradtion" not with the restricted one of "númenorean tradition". In view of this I wanted to add the fact, that how ever the Narn was traded, it had in Tolkiens view an manish author. That fact can be learned from The History of Middle-Earth; volume 11: The War of the JEwels; part 3: The Wanderings of Húrin and other writings not forming part of the Quenta Silmarillion; chapter II: Ælfwine and Dírhaval.
Nonthless does that not contradict the point that Mithadan did make: The Introduction of The Adventures of Tom Bombadil provide us with a clear statment, that the Turin Saga was preserved in a númenorean tradition.
But in view of what The Hoard says one must wonder if the "Númenorean Tale of Turin and Mim" was really that acurate. Looking in addition to the later statments in Ælfwine and Dírhaval I wonder if their were not other traditions of the Turin Saga that were beter preserved than the "Númenorean Tale".
Also the Intorducion said that it "depends on the lore of Rivendell, Elvish and Númenorean". Is that not a statment, that there were Elvish tradtions of the end of the First Age in Rivendell that some Hobbits did learn from?

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Old 04-22-2010, 10:20 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Findegil
(...) In view of this I wanted to add the fact, that how ever the Narn was traded, it had in Tolkiens view an manish author. (...) Nonthless does that not contradict the point that Mithadan did make: The Introduction of The Adventures of Tom Bombadil provide us with a clear statment, that the Turin Saga was preserved in a númenorean tradition.
Since Elfwine And Dírhaval dates to around 1958, and The Adventures of Tom Bombadil was published in 1962, one might wonder if Tolkien dropped not only Elfwine, but Dírhaval too! But in note 17 to The Shibboleth of Feanor (1968 or later) Tolkien notes that the Silmarillion is not an Eldarin title or work, but a compilation, probably made in Numenor: '... which includes (in prose) the four great tales or lays of the heroes of the Atani, of which 'The Children of Hurin' was probably composed already in Beleriand in the First Age...'

Tolkien's parenthetical note 'in prose' is interesting here, for Dírhaval wrote in verse and his work was (according to the text) rendered into prose by Elfwine. So I would guess that Dírhaval remains along with his version, but the prose version is 'now' possibly made by an unknown Númenórean.

In any case the measure of accuracy of number 14 may be due to its writer (the author of 14), rather than the source, containing only echoes of the lore in the sources available, for whatever reason.

Quote:
Also the Intorducion said that it "depends on the lore of Rivendell, Elvish and Númenorean". Is that not a statment, that there were Elvish tradtions of the end of the First Age in Rivendell that some Hobbits did learn from?
I agree that it means that (and arguably includes mixed traditions). In the 1960s (for the Second Edition) Tolkien also added that Bilbo had used all the sources available to him in Rivendell 'both living and written'.

The living sources can be Elves, but I wonder how much of the written sources were Elvish. At the end of note 17 to the Shibboleth, Tolkien concludes (concerning the compiled Silmarillion, and the four great tales in prose, and seemingly the account of Feanor and his making of the Silmarils). 'All however are 'Mannish' works'. Also (for another example): 'The cosmogonic myths are Númenórean, blending Elven-lore with human myth and imagination' (note 2, Myths Transformed Text I).

Not that the following necessarily represents the transmission of all texts! but it's interesting that Tolkien's preamble for The Annals of Aman (AAm* version here) states that Rúmil made the Annals: '... and they were held in memory by the Exiles. Those parts which we learned and remembered were thus set down in Númenor before the Shadow fell upon it.'

Thus memory is key (though there was interaction between the Elves of the West and Númenor, for instance, after the fall of Beleriand, in any case). The Grey Annals and Quenta Silmarillion seem to have remained in 'Elfwine mode' compared to this version of Annals of Aman, but we have these interesting comments concerning Elvish memory from The Shibboleth of Feanor as well:

Quote:
'All peace and all strongholds were at last destroyed by Morgoth; but if any wonder how any lore and treasure was preserved from ruin, it may be answered: of the treasure little was preserved, and the loss of things of beauty great and small is incalculable; but the lore of the Eldar did not depend on perishable records, being stored in the vast houses of their minds. When the Eldar made records in written form, even those that to us would seem voluminous, they did only summarise, as it were, for the use of others whose lore was maybe in other fields of knowledge*, matters which were kept for ever undimmed in intricate detail in their minds.'

*Author's footnote

'And as some insurance against their own death. For books were made only in strong places at a time when death in battle was likely to befall any of the Eldar, but it was not yet believed that Morgoth could ever capture or destroy their fortresses.' JRRT

And with respect to the shape of the world, generally speaking, in my opinion Akallabêth represents a 'mixed' account, with the idea of the World made round (instead of being round from the start) being a Mannish notion.

Although I'm sure some disagree with this last opinion, at least




Edit: I just noticed this interesting change as well, to Quenta Silmarillion (the LQ2 text): 'Of their lives was made the Lay of Leithian, Release from Bondage, which is the longest save one of the songs of [the Noldor >] Númenor concerning the world of old;...'

From: The Last Chapters Of The Quenta Silmarillion, The War Of The Jewels

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