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Old 10-16-2013, 08:57 PM   #41
jallanite
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Originally Posted by William Cloud Hicklin View Post
As to statements by CT or the Estate, note that on the dust jacket of Tolkien’s The Fall of Arthur it is stated: “The Fall of Arthur, the only venture by J.R.R. Tolkien into the legends of Arthur King of Britain ...”. This entirely ignores “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight” in J. R. R. Tolkien’s Sir Gawain and the Green Knight: Pearl: Sir Orfeo.

Jacket blurbs come from the publisher, not the author; and Tolkien's Gawain was just a translation of a 14th-c poem, not an original work.
I am quite aware of that. But often the author of the book, or in this case the editor, in involved in discussing them before they are finally printed. But in this case someone slipped. The blurb might have said something like
The Fall of Arthur, the only venture by J.R.R. Tolkien into the legends of Arthur King of Britain (save for his translation of ‘Sir Gawain and the Green Knight’) ...
or like
The Fall of Arthur, by J.R.R. Tolkien; not a translation, but a verse venture into the legends of Arthur King of Britain mostly from his own imagination ...
As it reads now, it is inaccurate.

Quote:
It might be relevant to hear what Guy Kay had to say about the process of constructing the Silmarillion, and CT's intentions. When GK came aboard, CT's plan had been to present the Silmarillion material in keeping with the sentiment he expressed in the excerpt given above from "The War of the Jewels"- that the work is its history, in a way, and what CT envisioned at that time was something like UT:
"The initial idea had been to produce a scholarly text rather than a single narrative. Such a book would have been some 1300 pages long, and would have consisted of chapters which had as their main text the latest version of the passage concerned, followed by appendices giving variant readings from other, earlier versions, complete with an editorial apparatus of footnotes and comments on dates and inconsistencies, and so on. The first two chapters had already been drafted by Christopher Tolkien in this academic style when Kay started work. However, Kay felt strongly that such an approach was the wrong one ..."
It was in great part Kay who convinced him to make a "synthetic" Silmarillion for publication, and I get the feeling that CT has always had nagging doubts about having agreed to do so.
Quite so. I think Guy Kay was quite right in this, but that the other treatment was also required. Now Christopher Tolkien has provided both to us.

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Old 10-19-2013, 03:12 PM   #42
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Personally, CJRT had the right approach at first, there could still be a brilliant 'annotated' silmarillion that has all the major variants and incredible bits of HoME with minimal commentary. Hopefully douglas anderson or someone with cjrt's ear can pull it off. too much incredible material is buried in HoME thatr would be perfectly in place in a greater silmarillion. As to what is canon, i don't too much care anymore, though a group trying to work it out is an understandable if hazardous exercise ;-).
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Old 11-05-2013, 09:31 AM   #43
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Um, HoME already exists. Why do we need an "abridged version?"

(Incidentally, I did ask Christopher about the prospect of a sort of "Unfinished Tales II" or "HoME Reader" which would repackage some of the more complete narratives like The Wanderings of Hurin, the LR Epilogue and so forth with reduced commentary into a single ca 400 page volume. He was unenthusiastic.)
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Old 05-08-2014, 12:02 PM   #44
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JRRT's will essentially gave CJRT the right to do whatever he wanted with the unpublished material; he could:

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publish edit alter rewrite or complete any work of mine which may be unpublished at my death or to destroy the whole or any part or parts of any such unpublished works as he in his absolute discretion may think fit and subject thereto
(Source: http://sacnoths.blogspot.com/2009/12/tolkiens-will.html)

Based on that I don't think we've much choice but to accept the published Silmarillion as being anything other than in accordance with JRRT's wishes, which distils the debate down to whether or not it's what JRRT would have done had he lived.

I personally don't think that JRRT would have ever completed the Silmarillion. He'd become too distracted by cosmological and philosophical matters, and his apparent preferred direction would - IMO have destroyed the myth of the Trees. I think CJRT made the right decisions here.

I'm not sure if I'm in a minority or if this is a controversial statement, but I also hugely approve of what CJRT did with the Ruin of Doriath. The image of Thingol's death is one of the most abiding (and saddest) memories from my first reading, and I even think JRRT would have given it the nod as "what really happened" (and no doubt niggled endlessly over some of the finer points).

In the end I view the published Silmarillion as being in the legendary world what it also is in the real world - a compilation of divergent material from different sources, some historical, some mythical, but not all necessarily accurate. View it as a way of saying "according to one version of the mythology this is what happened, but there are other versions and they may or may not say different". In the end it is mostly dealing with a mythical age, preserved in various traditions but mostly recorded later and filtered through poor understanding and whatever scraps survived the various Disasters. It's as if there were 12 Homers each of who wrote their own Iliad, then a later author assembles them into an account which is neither wholly accurate to the 12 sources nor reflective of an actual historical Trojan War.

I think that view is actually quite representative of JRRT's own, and may be one reason why CJRT is happy to let the published work stand, even if dissatisfied with much of what he did in constructing it.
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Old 06-16-2014, 11:16 PM   #45
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Originally Posted by mhagain View Post
Based on that I don't think we've much choice but to accept the published Silmarillion as being anything other than in accordance with JRRT's wishes, which distils the debate down to whether or not it's what JRRT would have done had he lived.
Anyone is still at perfect liberty to personally approve or disapprove what Christopher Tolkien has done, regardless of whether it might have been or not been in accord with his father’s wishes. Personally I generally approve of what Christopher Tolkien has done, which is about the best that can be reasonably hoped for.

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He'd become too distracted by cosmological and philosophical matters, and his apparent preferred direction would - IMO have destroyed the myth of the Trees. I think CJRT made the right decisions here.
J. R. R. Tolkien did not intend to destroy the myth of the Two Trees. Much of it appears in the Appendices to The Lord of the Rings. In Morgoth’s Ring (HoME X) J. R. R. Tolkien announced his attention to rework his universe into a more realistic round-Earth universe, but still to retain his older flat-Earth cosmogony as Mannish legend, thus allowing the old Silmarillion concepts to still exist, but now to be considered as distorted mythology. He was somewhat imagining a world like that of Classical Greece and Rome, in which almost everyone who was educated knew that the Earth was really spherical in shape following the scientific findings of natural philosophers but still retold the old myths, now commonly known as “the lies of the poets” .

For example, in Ovid’s Metamorphoses the poem begins with a creation story taken from then popular natural philosophy in which a god or gods creates the universe from a confused mass of atoms. Ovid’s Earth is apparently spherical. Ovid writes, beginning with Bk. I lines 32–51 (A. S. Kline’s translation):
When whichever god it was had ordered and divided the mass, and collected it into separate parts, he first gathered the earth into a great ball so that it was uniform on all sides. Then he ordered the seas to spread and rise in waves in the flowing winds and pour around the coasts of the encircled land. He added springs and standing pools and lakes, and contained in shelving banks the widely separated rivers, some of which are swallowed by the earth itself, others of which reach the sea and entering the expanse of open waters beat against coastlines instead of riverbanks. He ordered the plains to extend, the valleys to subside, leaves to hide the trees, stony mountains to rise: and just as the heavens are divided into two zones to the north and two to the south, with a fifth and hotter between them, so the god carefully marked out the enclosed matter with the same number, and described as many regions on the earth. The equatorial zone is too hot to be habitable; the two poles are covered by deep snow; and he placed two regions between and gave them a temperate climate mixing heat and cold.
But later when telling the myth of Phaethon, Ovid unscientifically pictures the Earth as flat with the sun-god rising in the air every day from its eastern parts. See Bk. II line 1 and following.

On page 374 of Morgoth’s Ring J. R. R. Tolkien records in note 2:
The cosmogonic myths are Númenorian, blending Elven-lore with human myth and imagination. A note should say that the Wise of Númenor recorded that the making of stars was not so, nor of Sun and Moon. For Sun and stars were all older than Arda. But the placing of Arda amidst the Stars and under [?guard] of the Sun was due to Manwë and Varda before the assault of Melkor.
Seemingly Tolkien planned to insert similar notes in his Silmarillion when eventually completed. Tolkien in this fashion would be able to retain both his Silmarillion stores of a flat Earth and a more scientific depiction of the cosmology of his world without having to explain everything scientifically.

Beginning with the section “Athrabeth Finrod Ah Andreth” in Morgoth’s Ring and going through the following two HoME books, when referencing the period before the first rising of the Sun in the Silmarillion tradition, Tolkien always imagines normal days and sunlight, not darkness under the stars. He distinguishes clearly what was written in the Silmarillion document from what supposedly really happened.

In The Hobbit Tolkien in the chapter 8 “Flies and Spiders” originally wrote a sentence which imagines a late first raising of Moon and Sun:
In the Wide World the Wood-elves lingered in the twilight before the raising of the Sun and Moon; and afterwards they wandered in the forests that grew beneath the sunrise.
In 1966 Tolkien revised this sentence to remove the raising of the Sun and Moon:
In the Wide World the Wood-elves lingered in the twilight of our Sun and Moon, but loved best the stars; and they wandered in the great forests that grew tall in lands that are now lost.
In The Fellowship of the Ring, Book II, chapter 4 “A Journey in the Dark”, Gimli recites a poem about the awakening of his distant ancestor Durin:

      The world was young, the mountains green,
      No stain yet on the Moon was seen,
      No words were laid on stream or stone
      When Durin woke and walked alone.


This is set in an ancient time when the moon is still unmarked, but according to Silmarillion chronology the moon should not yet even exist when Durin woke.

Tolkien’s account of the elder Days as given by Treebeard also disagrees with the Silmarillion account.

Seemingly Tolkien when writing The Lord of the Rings decided that no era in which the Earth had been sunless ever existed, except in the Mannish tales incorporated in The Silmarillion. He later consistently distinguished between Silmarillion tradition and traditions deriving from the Wise.

Quote:
I'm not sure if I'm in a minority or if this is a controversial statement, but I also hugely approve of what CJRT did with the Ruin of Doriath. The image of Thingol's death is one of the most abiding (and saddest) memories from my first reading, and I even think JRRT would have given it the nod as "what really happened" (and no doubt niggled endlessly over some of the finer points).
In The War of the Jewels (HoME XI), page 22, Christopher Tolkien writes:
This story was not lightly or easily conceived, but was the outcome of long experimentation among alternative conceptions. In this work Guy Kay took a major part, and the chapter that I finally wrote owes much to my discussions with him. It is, and was, obvious that a step was being taken of a different order from any other ‘manipulation’ of my father’s own writing in the course of the book: even in the case of the story of The Fall of Gondolin, to which my father had never returned, something could be contrived without introducing radical changes in the narrative. It seemed at that time that there were elements inherent in the story of the Ruin of Doriath as it stood that were radically incompatible with ‘The Silmarillion’ as projected, and that there was here an inescapable choice: either to abandon that conception, or else to alter the story. I think now that this was a mistaken view, and that the undoubted difficulties could have been, and should have been, surmounted without so far overstepping the bounds of the editorial function.
In short Christopher Tolkien disagrees with you. He does not give his account the nod. In any case, Thingol’s death is part of all recorded versions. The site project version is to be found here: http://forum.barrowdowns.com/showthread.php?t=4425 .

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It's as if there were 12 Homers each of who wrote their own Iliad, then a later author assembles them into an account which is neither wholly accurate to the 12 sources nor reflective of an actual historical Trojan War.
In part, yes. Christopher Tolkien often goes out of his way to point out minor differences between different versions.

Quote:
I think that view is actually quite representative of JRRT's own, and may be one reason why CJRT is happy to let the published work stand, even if dissatisfied with much of what he did in constructing it.
I think it more the case that he finds it impossible to generally produce a better version. I was once involved with a product on this site to produce a new version of the Silmarillion. All of those then involved resigned from the project at different times, I first, because of the difficulty of determining which of J. R. R. Tolkien’s writings would take priority when they disagreed with one another. Again and again there was no way of telling what Tolkien would have finally decided, and we did not want to produce just a fan version of what we thought was best, but to do a better job at producing the Silmarillion than Christopher Tolkien had done. It turned out not to be possible to produce the kind of document we wanted.

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Old 06-17-2014, 05:22 PM   #46
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Originally Posted by jallanite View Post
In short Christopher Tolkien disagrees with you.
I'm aware of the texts (I believe I may have been one of the first to note that the Hobbit was a case of the latter Sun and Moon story appearing in print) but I'm happy to live with CT disagreeing with me.

Just to stir it up, another CT-ism that I accept is Gil-galad as the son of Fingon. The reason why is because this keeps the kingship (of the Noldor in Middle-earth) in the house of Fingolfin; it would seem odd indeed if the kingship were to jump across to Finarfin's house.

Aside from making a mockery of the name Ereinion (how could he be a "scion of kings" when his ancestors had never held the kingship in Middle-earth?) it seems to have been Tolkien's intent that Finarfin's family, aside from Galadriel, be wiped-out in the First Age:

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Angrod is gone, and Aegnor is gone, and Felagund is no more. Of Finarfin's children I am the last.
Just accepting the latest versions of stories that were left unfinished, and when those versions were possibly a result of Tolkien's infamous niggling (and would no doubt have been niggled even more over had he ever returned to them), may not get an end-result that's in harmony with the rest of the stories.
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Old 06-17-2014, 07:11 PM   #47
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Originally Posted by mhagain View Post
Just accepting the latest versions of stories that were left unfinished, and when those versions were possibly a result of Tolkien's infamous niggling (and would no doubt have been niggled even more over had he ever returned to them), may not get an end-result that's in harmony with the rest of the stories.
My point is that Tolkien decided in Morgoth’s Ring that the Silmarillion was, in part, untrue Mannish legend, which allowed him to retain much of the old Silmarillion stories as just stories along with a more scientific viewpoint. That Tolkien, over and above that, also wrote matter that was contradictory is another issue altogether. Confusing these two just makes the matter more confusing.

Your listing of personal details on which you personally disagree with Christopher Tolkien’s Silmarillion tradition contradicts your statement:
Based on that I don't think we've much choice but to accept the published Silmarillion as being anything other than in accordance with JRRT's wishes, which distils the debate down to whether or not it's what JRRT would have done had he lived.
You seemingly do not accept some of Christopher Tolkien’s decisions. I would say you have a perfect right to choose not to accept Christopher Tolkien’s decisions and have already said so. But Tolkien’s decision to change his Silmarillion tradition before the return of the Noldor to make it into partly Mannish legend has the result that often there will be two contradictory versions of any legend, that of the Silmarillion and that of the Wise, both of which Tolkien updated.

My own feeling is that accepting usually does not enter the matter, for me. Tolkien was writing fiction. He intended his writing to be coherent and one may point out where he has failed. But when one coherent statement contradicts another coherent statement then both statements should be equally acceptable. The Silmarillion material was almost all unpublished in Tolkien’s lifetime and so other than likelihood of Tolkien deciding on a particular statement, there is no way to choose among discrepant statements.
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Old 06-18-2014, 06:40 AM   #48
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Aside from making a mockery of the name Ereinion (how could he be a "scion of kings" when his ancestors had never held the kingship in Middle-earth?)...
Orodreth/Arothir was still King of Nargothrond however, and in the Ereinion text Tolkien notes his descent from Finwe. Plus, I think the only text with Ereinion in it [unless I've missed another reference] dates rather late, 1968 or later, after Tolkien had at least made the change of Orodreth/Arothir being the son of Angrod, and Gil-galad being the son of Arothir.

So a name meaning 'Scion of Kings' seems to have been invented after the switch to Gil-galad [again] becoming a Finarfinian.
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Old 06-18-2014, 01:10 PM   #49
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Originally Posted by jallanite View Post
Your listing of personal details on which you personally disagree with Christopher Tolkien’s Silmarillion tradition contradicts your statement:
Based on that I don't think we've much choice but to accept the published Silmarillion as being anything other than in accordance with JRRT's wishes, which distils the debate down to whether or not it's what JRRT would have done had he lived.
You seemingly do not accept some of Christopher Tolkien’s decisions. I would say you have a perfect right to choose not to accept Christopher Tolkien’s decisions and have already said so. But Tolkien’s decision to change his Silmarillion tradition before the return of the Noldor to make it into partly Mannish legend has the result that often there will be two contradictory versions of any legend, that of the Silmarillion and that of the Wise, both of which Tolkien updated.
The contradiction is only apparent.

I accept CT's decisions at the time he made them, in the early/mid 70s, and accept them as being in accordance with JRRT's explicit wish that CT take over the reins and do what he wanted.

It's very well documented that CT subsequently came to view many of those decisions as incorrect, so we're not dealing with a single opinion formed at a single point in time here, and I would have hoped that would have been obvious.
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Old 06-19-2014, 12:41 PM   #50
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Originally Posted by mhagain View Post
The contradiction is only apparent.
See Galin’s discussion of J. R. R. Tolkien’s actual use of the name Ereinion. If Galin is right here, then Gil-galad at the time that Tolkien named him Ereinion was indeed the “Scion of Kings”.

Yes, legally Christopher Tolkien had the right to do anything he wished with his father’s work. However legally any commentator has the right to criticize what Christopher Tolkien has done, whether that commentator’s criticism is just or not, just as he or she has the legal right to criticize the writings of any other author as long as he or she does not descend to provably libelous statements.

Your statement I still find offensive. The statement was:
Based on that I don't think we've much choice but to accept the published Silmarillion as being anything other than in accordance with JRRT's wishes, which distils the debate down to whether or not it's what JRRT would have done had he lived.
Your use of the word we indicates that I, not just you, have no choice but to accept whatever Christoper Tolkien has written. Yet you yourself note that Christopher Tolkien himself “came to view many of those decisions as incorrect”. I don’t think you meant Christopher Tolkien was in any way legally overstepping the limits set by his father’s will. Indeed, had Christopher Tolkien produced a work almost entirely of his own invention (instead of the published Silmarillion he did produce) that would not have transgressed anything in the will. And I don’t see that when Christopher Tolkien “came to view many of those decisions as incorrect” he was suggesting that he had written anything that was legally incorrect.

Your attempt to show that Christopher Tolkien has done nothing illegal (and indeed could have done nothing illegal regardless of what he did write) has no relevance to complaints that have been made about Christopher Tolkien’s writings, complaints I feel are largely unjustified.
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Old 06-19-2014, 01:35 PM   #51
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Whaddayamean if?

Okay if.

So not that anyone is really questioning me so far, but might as well post the reference from The Shibboleth of Feanor [the first of two]:

Quote:
'... Galadriel's hair. Galad occurs also in the epesse of Ereinion ('scion of kings') by which he was chiefly remembered in legend, Gil-galad 'star of radiance': he was the last king of the Eldar in Middle-earth, and the last male descendant of Finwe* except Elrond the Half-elven.'

Author's note, note 47: 'He was the son of Arothir, nephew of Finrod.' [see the note on the parentage of Gil-galad, pp. 349 ff. -- From this work was derived Gil-galad's name Ereinion introduced into The Silmarillion.]'

The Peoples Of Middle-Earth
I take Christopher Tolkien to mean ['from this work'] The Shibboleth of Feanor here, itself dated 1968 or later, and the note making Gil-galad the son of Arothir is dated earlier than the Shibboleth, at 1965. Ereinion in Aldarion And Erendis was an editorial change by Christopher Tolkien, and does not occur in the original, which actually had 'Finellach Gil-galad of the House of Finarfin' rather. Other instances in Unfinished Tales seem to be Christopher Tolkien employing the name while describing something.

So far I can't find any other earlier instance of Ereinion, so that's why I say this name occurs only after Gil-galad became, once again, a Finarfinian.

Again just to post it, and to help explain my reference to Finwe earlier.
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Old 06-20-2014, 07:48 PM   #52
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Regarding
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Originally Posted by TheLostPilgrim
How close would you feel the published Silmarillion is to a version of it that JRRT would've published himself had he lived? Like, percentage wise I guess?
I think the biggest difference between CT´s Silmarillion and a hypothetical version of the Silmarillion made by J.R.R. Tolkien himself would be the frame of the story or the structure of the narrative in general. As it is the structure of the published Silmarillion lacks a history of transmission which is by all means not very tolkienesque. I suppose we all know a great deal about Tolkiens different approaches regarding this subject (Ælfwine etc.). But the question how this allegedly old myths are told seems to be nearly as important as the content of the myths itself. I guess that discussing the various versions of the myths (purely on a contentual level) dismisses this important matter. It´s hard to rate this difference (percentage wise) because it would be substantially distinct from what we´ve got.
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Old 06-21-2014, 11:39 AM   #53
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Whaddayamean if?
My apologies. I read your post and you seemed rather dubious about your information. You stated:
Plus, I think the only text with Ereinion in it [unless I've missed another reference] dates rather late, ...
Looking up your references indicates to me that you are entirely correct, inasmuch as Christopher Tolkien originally knew the name Ereinion only from the article “The Shibboleth of Fëanor” in The Peoples of Middle-earth (HoME XII). Other references are taken from there and later are considered by him to be erroneous.

I agree from checking the word scion in several dictionaries that scion means generally “heir of noble birth”, not necessarily a descendant of a king or king, and so equally would be a meaningful name whether Gil-Galad be taken as a son of Fingon or a son of Orodreth.

I note that Tolkien does not even mention Orodreth (or Orodreth’s daughter Finduilas) in Galadriel’s statement brought forth by mhagain. Presumably Orodreth has been forgotten by Tolkien accidentally or Orodreth is now considered to be a son of Finrod and so not mentioned by Galadriel in her utterance concerning her siblings.


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Originally Posted by Leaf View Post
I think the biggest difference between CT´s Silmarillion and a hypothetical version of the Silmarillion made by J.R.R. Tolkien himself would be the frame of the story or the structure of the narrative in general.
I agree. Christopher Tolkien could have included some of the material stating that the Silmarillion was only Númenorian legend but may have felt that that would have been too complicated a concept. Best just let the Silmarillion stand as story without any frame.
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Old 06-21-2014, 05:32 PM   #54
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My apologies. I read your post and you seemed rather dubious about your information.
No apology necessary as I was just joking a bit there [thus the wink emoticon]; and yes I wasn't sure.


Quote:
I note that Tolkien does not even mention Orodreth (or Orodreth’s daughter Finduilas) in Galadriel’s statement brought forth by mhagain. Presumably Orodreth has been forgotten by Tolkien accidentally or Orodreth is now considered to be a son of Finrod and so not mentioned by Galadriel in her utterance concerning her siblings.
Yep. In note 20 to The Elessar [mhagain's quote is from this text] CJRT also refers to this as noteworthy. Time-wise CJRT guesses The Elessar text was 'probably' written at the same time, or a little earlier than, Concerning Galadriel and Celeborn -- which according to Hammond and Scull, was itself 'perhaps' written at the end of the 1950s.

Not that you didn't know, but to try and note the relative dating of things.
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Old 06-21-2014, 08:14 PM   #55
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I didn’t know where mhagain’s quotation was taken from and did not feel like spending hours looking for it, particularly when the quotation didn’t contain the name Orodreth.

Thanks for the info.
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