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Old 03-01-2012, 10:03 AM   #1
Estelyn Telcontar
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Silmaril Unfinished Tales - Part Two - IV - The History of Galadriel and Celeborn

Does the title of this chapter remind you of The History of Middle-earth? You'll find the style quite similar - bits and pieces of JRRT's own writing connected by Christopher Tolkien's comments and notes. Those of us who would have preferred a cohesive narrative about Middle-earth's most fascinating couple may be disappointed, but we must admit that it was hardly possible to combine so many conflicting ideas, written at various times of the author's life and imagination.

However, this chapter is invaluable for research, including as it does so many references to other characters as well as to the title heroine and hero: Amroth and Nimrodel, Celebrimbor, and Sauron, to mention the most important. There is background information on the Elessar and the Rings of Power.

The Appendices provide information on the Silvan Elves and their speech, the Sindarin princes, the boundaries of Lrien, the port of Lond Daer, and the names of Celeborn and Galadriel. (The first version of Celeborn's name is a neverending source of amusement for modern fans...)

What is your impression of this chapter? Do you enjoy reading it, or usually just skim it for information? Have you used it as a source for something you've written? What is missing that you would have liked the chapter to include?
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Old 03-01-2012, 07:40 PM   #2
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I've paid special attention to this chapter, because it's about my namesake (), but at this moment it's very hard for me to recollect my thoughts, ideas, and impressions, having read the UT once a few months ago.

I do remember that there were many versions, and some of them just don't sit well with the rest of the legendarium. One version really stuck with me, though - the one where Galadriel and Celeborn (Teleporno at that time, I believe) leave Eldamar independantly of the Noldor. It would have given a whole new dimension to this pair, if only it wasn't a square peg in a round hole (referring to my above statement that the versions are contradictory and don't always fit in with the 'canon').

I also remember that I liked the descriptions of the fall of Eregion, which I compared to the info in The Sil and the Appendices, but right now I honestly don't remember any mental notes I left on that one.

[edit]There was a detail - that Sauron put Celebrimbor's body on a stick like a banner after killing him - that touched deep. I don't remember which source it was from, though, but since I couldn't find it in The Sil or the Appendices I assume it's in UT (though maybe I just missed it). Anyways, this foul mockery as an act of humiliation and intimidation just adds so much to it. The story FOTR gives - that there were once Elves, but they have left - is beautiful in its own way: it's the precedor of all the Elves leaving, and it has a nice touch of mystery. But the details are also beautiful, even though they don't leave a lot of room for mystery. I really loved how, despite Sauron's best efforts, Elrond escapes him and founds the stronghold that would become a key place for resistance.[/edit]

Maybe, after some other people post, I'll recollect some more things.



PS: Esty, a new avvie! You like changing them too much.
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Old 03-01-2012, 08:47 PM   #3
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I'm reading it again right now. Good stuff, as always. Like I posted in the thread for the last chapter, I love anything about the Second Age.

I'll post more once I've read through the whole thing. Something that's always stuck with me, though, is the subtle contrast between Fanor and Gimli's requests. If I remember correctly, Tolkien never makes explicitly makes the connection, but I always think of this chapter when reading "Farewell to Lrien."

It makes me smile when Celeborn goes when Gimli asks for a hair, thinking that he's going to have to bodily restrain his wife.
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Old 03-02-2012, 04:07 AM   #4
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There was a detail - that Sauron put Celebrimbor's body on a stick like a banner after killing him - that touched deep. I don't remember which source it was from, though, but since I couldn't find it in The Sil or the Appendices I assume it's in UT (though maybe I just missed it).
Yes, that tale is in this chapter. I suppose it shouldn't surprise the reader after the accounts of using heads as cannonballs in Minas Tirith, but its gruesomeness makes me shiver.


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PS: Esty, a new avvie! You like changing them too much.
Actually, I just recycle my avatars - this one is in honour of the upcoming Tolkien Reading Day later this month.
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Old 03-02-2012, 12:20 PM   #5
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have always loved the Galadriel Celeborn chapter here. Many things seem to me worthy of commenting on, first if you hate footnotes but love M-E lore, time to teach your old dog a new trick! AS CJRT says, in this chapter, 'they are thick on the ground' and they contain some real gems that CJRT thought were to insubstantial to include in the pieced together chapter.

I will comment from recollection before I run and open the book and spend the morning in it [ok eruhen, I get it...].

First this was the chapter that finally got it across to me that there were some variants that would never be reconcilable in toto. Too bad but we get to see JRRT take flight to the rebellion of feanor and give his final [and un-canonical] version of the Kinslaying at Alqualonde. And yes the requestof Gimli comes full circle, and perhaps even shows a touch of humility on Galadriel's part, maybe realizing that had she acquiesced to Feanor things might have turned out at least somewhat differently.

My favorite part is it showing her long range thinking and propensity for deep strategies; first signaled on p. 232
Quote:
" In the years after they did not join in the war against Angband, which they judged to be hopeless under the ban of the Valar and without their aid; and their counsel was to withdraw from Beleriand and build up a power to the eastward (whence they feared that Morgoth would draw reinforcement), befriending and teaching the DArk Elves and Men of those regions. Bus such a policy having no hope of acceptance among the Elves of Beleriand, G. and C. departed over Ered Lindon before the end of the 1st Age..."
on 233 we are introduced to subsection of the chapter with a promising intro claiming 'is nonetheless almost the sole narrative source for the events in the weest of M-E up tothe defeat and expulsion of Sauron from eriador in the year 1701 of the 2nd age.'

And indeed besides Celebrimbor's head on a stake we are given much.

Celeborn and Galadriel as 1st Lord and Lady of what was to be Arnor, presaging Aragorn and Arwen there millennia later, her seeing her role as chief opposer of Sauron [since the Istari were still unknown and unsent] she was the last of Finwe's grandchildren still in M-E. Also we read of her collaborating with Green and Grey Elves - a policy to set her at odds with the Noldor resenting Orophin and Thranduil [more later].


Note 3 tells us that the elves of harlindon were sindarin and leave that entire peninsula open to our imagination for thousands of years. As a child I loved that idea, a region of elves almost completely unknown to anhyone around them except the noldor in Forlindon and maybe those druedain fishermen down the coast....but the idea of millenia of peace, kind of shamballic when you think about it - men never attained this excepting numenor where within 1,ooo years some are already heading back to M-E in restlessness. I would not be surprised if this tiny little seed made the ideas of monasteries as centers of retreat from evil take root in my impressionable young mind...

We learn that Eregion was established by her [not Celebrimbor - in this account] and was not exclusively Noldorin at all.

And then we get a meme - still undeveloped sufficiently in our day, of all allies of evil being necessary to vanquish it in any given age. Galadriel wanted to ally with Dwarves [and all opposers of Sauron - Celeborn did not, 'in this she was more far-sighted', in the quest for allies against forces stronger than us we MUST try and set aside our personal attitudes or be doomed to failure. IF Celeborn had ruled alone in Lorien, would the company have sheltered there without Gimili? I doubt it. I find the elaboration of her finding sympathies with the dwarves telling - both being close to Aule, no doubt she saw the same 'unlovliness' that most elves did in the dwarves but she saw past it without the self interest Celebrimbor and Eol had.

In another footnote we are told explicitly of the Noldor's weakness for 'science and technology' - surely a reference sorely needed - desperately even today, both individually and more so collectively as we are Sarumanized towards the dark side with few people in any position of relevance even taking note.

We are told that alone of the rings of power the nine were left when the house of the mirdain was sacked.

I have never pondered this before, but it shows a certain Elvish disdain? or lack of understanding of Men, even the dwarf rings were hid, though the house of Durin received theirs from Celebrimbor directly - due know doubt to Celebrimbors friendship with Narvi. But did the Elves know that the rings would turn men into wraiths? What was the supposed beneficient view of the rings for men, assuming th eelves were not willingly wishing them to become immortal ghosts? We are never told...


We read again ironically of SAuron being defeated on the borders of the Shire at Sarn Ford where thousands of years later, all that was left of the alliance of numenoreans and Eldar were wandering companies and a few rangers insufficient to hold off the Ringwaiths without Aragorn.

We read of Galadriel dwelling in the windy bay of Belfalas with Celebrian and that in various forms JRRT has Elves in Gondor throughout the 2nd age and into the 3rd. The Poem in Adventures of Tom Bombadil maintains the folk tradition of this.

Finally [though I am skipping many fascinating details] in Appendix B Sindarin Princes of the SIlvan Elves we are given a glimpse of the politics behind the Lorien/Thranduil[going back to Oropher] split and why none of Celeborn or Thranduiils people [kin of some sort whether you reckon Celeborn Teleri or Sindarin] and seeming natural allies had not maintained relations in a hostile world for 500 years!

Oropher we read had withdrawn northward beyond Gladden [the SIlvan Elves anscestral lands had been the entire vale of anduin where we read in HoM-E 10 and 11 that at the Misty Mountains the first large groups of elves abandoned the Journey West, thus the origin of the Sylvan Elves as the 'least of the Eldar' if you will but still above the Avari,] they had withdrawn from the areas near Lorien and Moria 'to be free from the power of encroachments of the Dwarves of Moria' [Oropher would have remebered bitterly it seems the part of the dwarves in the destruction of Doriath and the slaying of Thingol] "and also" more pointedly and tellingly, "he resented the intrusion of Celebron and Galdriel into Lorien".

One can imagine the resentment built up by folly after folly the Noldor visited upon the Sindar by entangling them first in the hopeless war against Morgoth, the treachery of the kinslaying coming to light only after a natural alliance had formed in Beleriand between the Noldor and Sindar, and later the duping of a Feanorian AGAIN by Sauron leading to the Sindar once again [via lorien] being dragged into a Noldor-feuled war.

Quote:
Oropher had come among them with only a handful of Sindar, and the were soon merged with the Sylvan Elves adopting their language and customs, this they did deliberately...for they came from Doriath and had no desire...to be merged with the other Sindar, dominated by the Noldorin Exiles for whom the folk of Doriath had no great love . They wished indeed to become Silvan folk and return as they said, to the simple life natural to the elves before the invitation of the Valar had disturbed it.
<italics mine>


So we see an analog of a sort of Elvish neo-paganism in the face of an advanced but still highly fallible Noldorin Christianity [and by extending the analogy so loved by JRRT ] our 'Christian' led culture has lost only little of it's propensity for war and none of the propensity to be duped by technology].

We see Thranduil both ignoring and wishing to be no part of the White Council and it's Maia, High Elves and ring-wielders.

We can see Oropher - falling into the isolationist and 'sindar/silvan elves first' camp. Next we read that he 'did have the foresight' to join in the last alliance, but like the green elves of ossiriand who died in excessive numbers due to improper outfitting for war, the sylvan elves of Oropher were not readied for battle and died in greater numbers than the Sindar and Noldor and Dunedain.

So it is hard not to see all this effecting the backstory of the 500 year split between Lorien and the Mirkwood Elves.

One can imagine further that Aragorn may have tried to drop Gollom off in Lorien, with a tortured smeagol unable to endure even the leaves, much less rope put upon him or food, and so there must have been some communication at that point, not wanting to draw Sauron's attention to Rivendell, Thranduil was turned to, probably with Gandalf's influence, and the rapproachment between the 2 eastern elvish realms beyond eriador was underway, with Thranduil sending a [the?] son as emissary to report the loss of smeagol, and to play whatever role he saw fit in the clearly coming war.

What do I wish was included? perhaps some reference to Dorwinion, and the 'kin' of the Mirkwood Elves who dwelt there. Perhaps even more pro-avarian isolationsits, for whom even Thranduil's Sindarin heritage was as much anathema and trouble-ridden to them as Galadriel's Noldorin connections were to the Sindar/Sylvan Elves of Mirkwood.

But all in all it is a brief but penetrating Feanorian lamp shining into the dimmest [along with a history of Arnor/post Arnor besides battles and lists of kings] of Middle-Earth's mysterious past, tying together Feanor and Galadriel's tresses, Dwarves and Elven relations still evidently raw in the Hobbit and Council of Elrond, and showing the age long battle between 'old time religion' and higher newer but still co-optable spiritual insight, the need to plan long and far as regards weighty matters and to choose one's allies not according to personality, but according to the deep needs of the times, even if one will knowingly go one's way later.
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Old 03-07-2012, 02:42 PM   #6
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Silmaril

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One can imagine the resentment built up by folly after folly the Noldor visited upon the Sindar by entangling them first in the hopeless war against Morgoth, the treachery of the kinslaying coming to light only after a natural alliance had formed in Beleriand between the Noldor and Sindar, and later the duping of a Feanorian AGAIN by Sauron leading to the Sindar once again [via lorien] being dragged into a Noldor-feuled war.
Sometimes I wonder why the Noldor are considered among the wisest of the Elves, because they can act so stupid most of the time.

The most enlightening thing for me was the fact that Galadriel and Celeborn did not perpetually live in Lothlorien. They moved around from Eriador to Lorien, to Beleriand and back again. Also the idea that they did not build Lorien (which I had assumed when I first read LOTR) but sort of took over it as stewards after the real king Amroth left.

What is most interesting is the ever-changing story of why Galadriel stayed in Middle-Earth, whether she did it of her own volition as she saw it was her duty, or that she was banned return by the Valar. It seems JRRT never quite made up his mind as to why she was still there in the Third Age. I rather like the idea that she was banned by the Valar and then gained redemption by refusing the Ring.

After reading about the closeness between the Noldor and the Dwarves, in contrast with the Dwarves sacking Doriath, I understand more the friendliness of Galadriel toward Gimli compared to the hostility of Celeborn.

It is interesting that Feanor asked Galadriel three times for one of her hairs, while Gimli asked once and she granted him three. Of course, all the reasons for each lie in the manner of the asking. Feanor asked in pride. Gimli's request was made in humility, for no other reason than the Lady of the Galadhrim was more fair than all the jewels of the earth. Which is high praise indeed coming from a Dwarf.
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Old 03-09-2012, 07:35 PM   #7
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Question

No one is going to mention the Elessar? Or the debate whether Olorin brought back the original Elessar or Celebrimbor made a new one?
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Old 03-11-2012, 09:11 AM   #8
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No one is going to mention the Elessar?
Well I wanted to be the first! but now...

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Or the debate whether Olorin brought back the original Elessar or Celebrimbor made a new one?
The Olorin version carries a somewhat outnocuous idea in my opinion, as I don't understand why Galadriel would need to consider the jewel to keep her land from fading -- or to help with this problem in some measure at least -- in the Third Age. I suppose one could argue that she, 1,000 or so years into the Third Age, was still reluctant to use Nenya for some reason, but that doesn't seem to sit well with Appendix B in my opinion.


And although there are several texts in this section which are characterized as rough drafts in the first stages of composition, following Christopher Tolkien's lead I also find it odd that Galadriel, co-founder of Eregion, would allow Sauron in, where Gil-galad did not. To my mind this seems to chip away at Galadriel's insight, or her esteem or power as ruler of Eregion -- granted we have the Mirdain eventually taking power, but that implies Sauron was allowed 'in' in order to cozen them in the first place (unless they were meeting secretly with Annatar, which isn't noted).

Perhaps this is partly why the idea was (if so) abandoned -- that is, if I'm right that it was abandoned.



Although I muchly enjoyed this section for various reasons, as far as calculating contradiction with already published texts goes, or sighting seemingly superseded ideas, or presenting possibly problematic notions, I have a number of questions with respect to some of these tales.
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Old 03-14-2012, 05:01 PM   #9
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I must admit that it took some effort to reread the whole chapter with notes and appendices!
Though there are many interesting details, it leaves me rather bewildered with all those contradicting versions. (Marnie must have studied this very closely when writing her Celeborn & Galadriel fanfiction "Oak & Willow". Her version of Celeborn will forever influence my view on him!!)

I was very interested in more details of the hauntingly sad song of Nimrodel and Amroth, but the story is frustratingly incomplete (how could they get "separated" on the way to the haven? Where does Mithrellas fit in??)

I don't know which version of the origin of the Elessar I prefer, but I just love the conception of its inspiration having been sunlight shining through leaves. (I'm thinking of newly sprung beech leaves in spring - such a gorgeous colour!)

That Tolkien spends a lot of time pondering over Elven tongues and dialects is typical. But something has always bothered me about his concept: how can languages develop and even become extinct when the speakers are immortal?
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Old 03-14-2012, 05:48 PM   #10
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I must admit that it took some effort to reread the whole chapter with notes and appendices!
Though there are many interesting details, it leaves me rather bewildered with all those contradicting versions. (Marnie must have studied this very closely when writing her Celeborn & Galadriel fanfiction "Oak & Willow". Her version of Celeborn will forever influence my view on him!!)

I was very interested in more details of the hauntingly sad song of Nimrodel and Amroth, but the story is frustratingly incomplete (how could they get "separated" on the way to the haven? Where does Mithrellas fit in??)

I don't know which version of the origin of the Elessar I prefer, but I just love the conception of its inspiration having been sunlight shining through leaves. (I'm thinking of newly sprung beech leaves in spring - such a gorgeous colour!)

That Tolkien spends a lot of time pondering over Elven tongues and dialects is typical. But something has always bothered me about his concept: how can languages develop and even become extinct when the speakers are immortal?
Well, among mortals, language is constantly in flux. I would assume that immortals are no different.

From what little I know of linguistics, it may go something like this. Immortal Population 1 (the Silvan Elves for example) lives in an area. Immortal Population 2 (e.g. the Sindar, Noldor, ect.) move into the area and begin to integrate with IP1. Over time one of IPs decides the other IPs language is either easier to communicate with, or they just plain prefer it. After a while, everyone is speaking the language of one of the IPs and no one bothers to learn or speak the other language anymore. (Actually, what probably develops is a hybrid of the two languages.)

However, as concerned as some Elves seem to be about preserving "Old Ways" (Much that once was is lost and all that) you would think that they would be concerned with preserving their original language and it would be very hard for their languages to become "extinct". It could be that the language did not become "extinct" in the classical sense, but was known only by a few individuals who bothered to still learn and use it.
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Old 03-14-2012, 06:25 PM   #11
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I agree, Dilettante. Languages change, go out of use, etc even within a lifetime. How I'd love to speak with Tolkien's choice of language, but people just would go "what the bananas?" because such expressions/vocabulary aren't used in day-to-day speech anymore. And it's a shame they aren't, really. But there's no to do.

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Though there are many interesting details, it leaves me rather bewildered with all those contradicting versions.
Oh, I know exactly how you feel! My head went spinning with all the different possibilities. And at some point (not sure if it is in this chapter or a different one) when CJRT began saying "let's call this manuscript A and this one B...", by the time he got to D and started explaining chronology or some such he lost me completely.

On the other hand, I wasn't as fascinated by the details as I was by the story itself. I guess it is because you reread it whereas I read it for the first time.
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Old 03-23-2012, 07:52 PM   #12
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Esty makes a good point about "The History of Galadriel and Celeborn" having a strong similarity to "The History of Middle-earth," but while the resemblance is there, I feel that there are distinct differences. Perhaps the best way of thinking about it is that "Galadriel and Celeborn" (and, indeed, all Unfinished Tales) is the test version, the prototype. For one thing, Christopher Tolkien is a lot more comfortable here with abridging things, rather than giving the full text--there are a lot of out-of-context citations here. Some of the full texts made it into the HoME, some never did.

Tolkien's "deification" of Galadriel, if I may call it that, as she went from Last Noldorin Rebel to Generic Noldorin Rebel to Practically Not a Rebel at All, and the parallel process of Celeborn from Silvan/Nandorin Elf to Sindarin to Telerin, absolutely fascinates me. I like Christopher Tolkien's comment that these changes (I believe he's referring only to their last stage) were made for "philosophical rather than historical reasons" (I'm paraphrasing, but the phrasing should be close). Perhaps I should say "canonisation" rather than "deification," since late-stage Galadriel has been called a parallel to the Virgin Mary. Personally, I'm not sure that I *like* this saintly Galadriel as much as I like Galadriel the proud rebel who mellows with age. I think it's a better story if one prince of the Noldor, out of all the House of Finw, actually lives long enough to change her pride than having one who was arrogantly innocent from the beginning.

That being said, I still like the idea that Gimli's request for strands of Galadriel's hair had a significant precedent in Fanor asking for the same--but give me a break: if there's one chapter in Unfinished Tales that I'm allowed to cherry-pick preferences from, this is it.

Indeed, within the framework of Unfinished Tales, although this is the most unfinished and least tale-like of the collection, it's the lynchpin that holds the whole thing together as the story of Middle-earth. It contains most of the in-depth material we have that follows the Elves as they left a crumbling Beleriand and established the realms of Lindon and Eregion--and send princes into Lorinand and Greenwood--and possibly three ships to Dol Amroth. It's the only tale we really get of the Elven kingdoms of the Second Age, other than the fall of Eregion in the context of the Rings. With the Appendices to this chapter, we also get direct connections to the other 2nd Age tale, "Aldarion and Erendis" and prefigured connections to the Third Age tales via the excerpted histories of Gondor's rivers and the hazy boundary between Gondor/Rohan and Lrien.
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