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Old 03-16-2018, 04:30 PM   #41
Huinesoron
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Regarding the specific question of whether Tolkien saw the Silmarillion as complete and consistent with LotR in the 50s, I would have to say no: what he probably saw it as was something that he /could soon complete/.

HoME5 (The Lost Road) contains the 1937 Quenta Silmarillion, abandoned when Tolkien started writing LotR. In the early parts, it is broadly the same as the Silmarillion we know and love - but it peters out long before the end. The tale of Beren and Luthien exists in draft form. The chapter on the Nirnaeth looks complete. The tale of Turin runs out with his flight from Menegroth. The falls of Doriath and Gondolin are unwritten (and in fact don't exist at all after the Book of Lost Tales from the 20s!), and the story of Earendil only exists from his approach to the Lonely Isle.

It's also interesting to note that JRR Tolkien's Silmarillion would have looked very different to Christopher's. We know this because the 1937 Silm comes with a title page!

Quote:
The Silmarillion
The history of the Three Jewels, the Silmarils of Feanor, in which is told in brief the history of the Elves from their coming until the Change of the World
1. Qenta Silmarillion, or Pennas Hilevril
To which is appended
The houses of the princes of Men and Elves
The tale of years
The tale of battles

2. The Annals of Valinor
3. The Annals of Beleriand
4. The Lhammas or Account of Tongues
Tolkien's Silmarillion was most definitely (as I think someone said) a compendium of different materials.

Finally: yes, the 1937 Silm is broadly consistent with LotR. So are all the later revisions (there's two whole books of HoME detailing the post-LotR Silm). But, you know what? Other than the details of the Tale of Tinuviel, so is the Book of Lost Tales! LotR simply doesn't make enough detailed references to the Elder Days to create wild inconsistencies.

I highly recommend hunting down the two volumes of BoLT, by the way, if you haven't already. They present a nearly complete (everything but the ending) narrative of Middle-earth that is both internally consistent (almost) and wildly different to what we know. It's a really weird experience, frankly - but very interesting.

hS
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Old 03-16-2018, 05:41 PM   #42
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On a similar note, Charles Noad put together an outline of what The Silmarillion might have looked like had Tolkien finished it in his later life. He explained his reasoning in detail in his essay "On the Construction of 'The Silmarillion'", which is part of the anthology Tolkien's Legendarium, edited by Verlyn Flieger and Carl F. Hostetter).

Quote:
Quenta Silmarillion

Concerning the Powers
- Ainulindalë
- Valaquenta

The Great Tales
- The Lay of Leithian
- Narn i Chîn Húrin
- The Fall of Gondolin
- Eärendil the Wanderer

The Later Tales
- Akallabêth
- Of the Rings of Power

Appendices
- The Tale of Years
- Of the Laws and Customs among the Eldar
- Dangweth Pengoloð
- Athrabeth Finrod ah Andreth
- Quendi and Eldar
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Old 03-16-2018, 06:10 PM   #43
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Quote:
Originally Posted by R.R.J Tolkien View Post
I need those volumes before i could give a good evaluation. But it just seems to me in the case of DB, that Tolkien at the time [1950's] and post publishing of the fellowship of the rings, saw no inconsistencies and wanted than to publish the sillmarillion that he seemed over and over to refer to as a finished history of the first ages [in his letters]. He very well may have drastically wanted to chang things later but i need those volumes first. With my limited knowledge it seems the 1977 sil likely took the best option, or very close to it. Tolkien must have had in mind the 1950's version of the sil when he wrote LOTR because it

“The Lord of the Rings was not not so much a sequel to the hobbit as a sequel to the silmarillion, every aspect of the earlier work was playing a part into the new story.”
-J.R.R Tolkien The Authorized Biography Humphrey carpenter Houghton Mifflin company NY 2000

“It [LOTR] is not really a sequel to the hobbit, but to the sillmarillion”
-J.R.R Tolkien letters 124
The Silmarillion wasn't finished in the early 1950s, despite Tolkien's attempts to find a publisher interested in. It wasn't finished at the time of his death either, of course, but in the intervening years much of the work he did was influenced by a desire to make the Silm consistent with LOTR. Within a few years of the first edition of LOTR being published Tolkien considered large portions of the Silm, mostly early mythological material, to be inconsistent with the more novelistic and (for lack of a better term) realistic material from the Third Age. The legend of the sun and the moon was of particular concern during the Myths Transformed period as Tolkien thought the Elves must have had an advanced enough knowledge of the physical world and laws of nature to know that the sun couldn't "really" be a magical fruit, that vast forests could not grow in a world illuminated only by starlight, that the world was never flat, etc. This led him to the idea that much of the Silmarillion material (the Great Tales, at the very least) were not true historical accounts written by Elves but human myths preserved by the Númenóreans that mixed the "actual" events with their own traditional folkloric beliefs.

It's an open question how radically different a hypothetical published Silm would have been if Tolkien had lived longer (or whether he'd have finished it even with an extra 10-15 years of life). A lot of people dislike the the Númenórean transmission and choose to ignore it. Certainly, if one is reading early and middle period texts by Tolkien, those must be understood in the context in which they were written, which did not include the more scientifically realistic setting conceived later. And if one wants to approach the 1977 Silmarillion as its own distinct work (as does, for example, Dennis Wilson Wise in "Book of the Lost Narrator" in volume 13 of Tolkien Studies), those ideas obviously aren't present there either. But if one wishes to take a holistic view of the First Age, then Tolkien's ideas from the last 15 years of his life can't be disregarded. I tend to think that Tolkien was right that they improve the Silm's consistency with LOTR (the mythological version of the sun and the moon always seemed out of place to me in the world of LOTR, even before reading HoMe) but there are of course plenty of people who disagree.

Fake edit: also, the early 1950s version of the Silm wasn't the one Tolkien had in mind when writing LOTR, since it didn't exist yet. The latest extant version of the Silm during the period when Tolkien wrote the main body of LOTR (1937-1949) was the version found in HoMe V that Huinesoron mentioned above.

Quote:
Originally Posted by R.R.J Tolkien View Post
Just to be clear I have no position yet especially before I have not read the HoMe X-XI. I very well may end up agreeing with you as I often did with your essays. However to even engage in such a discussion as my op, there must be a set standard and only the published sillmarillion can fulfilling that even if imperfectly. As you said otherwise its "one's own personal Silmarillion" and it would vary. Even if that is the correct mode.
My view is that meaningful discussions of Tolkien's works are not only possible if we take into account the lack of a set standard, but that doing so makes it easier to understand the works in relation to each other. Because Tolkien did not finish the Silm a consistent vision of the First Age can only be achieved by readers, and even if it's a group of people creating a collective Silmarillion, that's not really more authoritative than a plethora of personal Silmarillions, IMO. And the 1977 Silm was not intended to be a standard like this. As Christopher Tolkien stated in the foreword:

Quote:
A complete consistency (either within the compass of The Silmarillion itself or between The Silmarillion and other published writings of my father's) is not to be looked for, and could only be achieved, if at all, at heavy and needless cost. Moreover, my father came to conceive The Silmarillion as a compilation, a compendious narrative, made long afterwards from sources of great diversity (poems, and annals, and oral tales) that had survived in agelong tradition; and this conception has indeed its parallel in the actual history of the book, for a great deal of earlier prose and poetry does underlie it, and it is to some extent a compendium in fact and not only in theory.
Quote:
Originally Posted by R.R.J Tolkien View Post
Thanks as always for your posts.
Thanks for starting such an interesting thread!

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Old 03-16-2018, 06:12 PM   #44
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Huinesoron View Post
Regarding the specific question of whether Tolkien saw the Silmarillion as complete and consistent with LotR in the 50s, I would have to say no: what he probably saw it as was something that he /could soon complete/.

HoME5 (The Lost Road) contains the 1937 Quenta Silmarillion, abandoned when Tolkien started writing LotR. In the early parts, it is broadly the same as the Silmarillion we know and love - but it peters out long before the end. The tale of Beren and Luthien exists in draft form. The chapter on the Nirnaeth looks complete. The tale of Turin runs out with his flight from Menegroth. The falls of Doriath and Gondolin are unwritten (and in fact don't exist at all after the Book of Lost Tales from the 20s!), and the story of Earendil only exists from his approach to the Lonely Isle.

It's also interesting to note that JRR Tolkien's Silmarillion would have looked very different to Christopher's. We know this because the 1937 Silm comes with a title page!



Tolkien's Silmarillion was most definitely (as I think someone said) a compendium of different materials.

Finally: yes, the 1937 Silm is broadly consistent with LotR. So are all the later revisions (there's two whole books of HoME detailing the post-LotR Silm). But, you know what? Other than the details of the Tale of Tinuviel, so is the Book of Lost Tales! LotR simply doesn't make enough detailed references to the Elder Days to create wild inconsistencies.

I highly recommend hunting down the two volumes of BoLT, by the way, if you haven't already. They present a nearly complete (everything but the ending) narrative of Middle-earth that is both internally consistent (almost) and wildly different to what we know. It's a really weird experience, frankly - but very interesting.

hS

Amazing post and thank you for your knowledge. I will indeed hunt them down.
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Old 03-16-2018, 06:17 PM   #45
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Originally Posted by Eldorion View Post
The Silmarillion wasn't finished in the early 1950s, despite Tolkien's attempts to find a publisher interested in. It wasn't finished at the time of his death either, of course, but in the intervening years much of the work he did was influenced by a desire to make the Silm consistent with LOTR. Within a few years of the first edition of LOTR being published Tolkien considered large portions of the Silm, mostly early mythological material, to be inconsistent with the more novelistic and (for lack of a better term) realistic material from the Third Age. The legend of the sun and the moon was of particular concern during the Myths Transformed period as Tolkien thought the Elves must have had an advanced enough knowledge of the physical world and laws of nature to know that the sun couldn't "really" be a magical fruit, that vast forests could not grow in a world illuminated only by starlight, that the world was never flat, etc. This led him to the idea that much of the Silmarillion material (the Great Tales, at the very least) were not true historical accounts written by Elves but human myths preserved by the Númenóreans that mixed the "actual" events with their own traditional folkloric beliefs.

It's an open question how radically different a hypothetical published Silm would have been if Tolkien had lived longer (or whether he'd have finished it even with an extra 10-15 years of life). A lot of people dislike the the Númenórean transmission and choose to ignore it. Certainly, if one is reading early and middle period texts by Tolkien, those must be understood in the context in which they were written, which did not include the more scientifically realistic setting conceived later. And if one wants to approach the 1977 Silmarillion as its own distinct work (as does, for example, Dennis Wilson Wise in "Book of the Lost Narrator" in volume 13 of Tolkien Studies), those ideas obviously aren't present there either. But if one wishes to take a holistic view of the First Age, then Tolkien's ideas from the last 15 years of his life can't be disregarded. I tend to think that Tolkien was right that they improve the Silm's consistency with LOTR (the mythological version of the sun and the moon always seemed out of place to me in the world of LOTR, even before reading HoMe) but there are of course plenty of people who disagree.

Fake edit: also, the early 1950s version of the Silm wasn't the one Tolkien had in mind when writing LOTR, since it didn't exist yet. The latest extant version of the Silm during the period when Tolkien wrote the main body of LOTR (1937-1949) was the version found in HoMe V that Huinesoron mentioned above.



My view is that meaningful discussions of Tolkien's works are not only possible if we take into account the lack of a set standard, but that doing so makes it easier to understand the works in relation to each other. Because Tolkien did not finish the Silm a consistent vision of the First Age can only be achieved by readers, and even if it's a group of people creating a collective Silmarillion, that's not really more authoritative than a plethora of personal Silmarillions, IMO. And the 1977 Silm was not intended to be a standard like this. As Christopher Tolkien stated in the foreword:





Thanks for starting such an interesting thread!


Thanks for the post I cant rep you at the moment for some reason. Gotta love the wisdom of the eldar lore masters
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Old 03-16-2018, 06:22 PM   #46
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Galin View Post
Well, for myself I don't find this a very compelling point though, considering how much else had not been updated or revised even at the end of Tolkien's life. Christopher Tolkien even had to deal with some material that still dated to 1930!

And if the notion of reducing numbers waited till 1958 or later (going by the note being found on a text in this phase), then the notion/opportunity of getting The Silmarillion published along with The Lord of the Rings with Waldman, had passed...

... yes, Tolkien still wanted to revise, update, publish his Silmarillion in the later 1950s, 1960s, early 1970s but there was arguably plenty to do outside of this Balrog detail, not to mention work on the long prose versions of the Great Tales.
Fair enough.


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Originally Posted by Galin View Post
A note... and a revision; a revision which CJRT arguably echoed for the 1977 Silmarillion, since...

But you just read it! Why do I have to do the work... [wanders away]...

... [eats snack, returns] okay, if the Silmarillion index reference pages are complete, then there are no references to "many" Balrogs. Which makes sense to me, as why would CJRT alter a reference to hosts of Balrogs (or whatever), and leave some other reference indicating very many.

Actually, I know I've written a post concerning the Tolkien-made revision to AAm, including instances that were never changed by JRRT himself (for whatever reason), compared to CJRT's revised wording in the 1977 Silmarillion. It might even be here at BD somewhere, but I can't recall at the moment.

Anyway, as I said, there are instances of the anglicized plural (Balrog-s), and this "some few" survived text (with respect to the War of Wrath), and now I'll add that we have one description of "another" Balrog at one point, indicating two in the scene...

... or at least two, if you like

without direct quotes to look up or the care/energy to. I think this cannot progress. Maybe we can be lazy and Eldorion can give us some of the qoutes
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Old 03-16-2018, 07:26 PM   #47
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Originally Posted by R.R.J Tolkien View Post
without direct quotes to look up or the care/energy to. I think this cannot progress. Maybe we can be lazy and Eldorion can give us some of the quotes
You don't trust my characterizations of the references? Do I need to post all of 'em? That's a lot of typing

But here's some copy and paste of one of my old posts: some of the examples, with CJRT's alterations.


1: 'Wherefore each embassy came with greater force than was agreed, but Morgoth sent the greater, and they were Balrogs. Maidros was ambushed...' Of The Siege of Angband (Quenta Silmarillion) [] '... but Morgoth sent the more, and there were Balrogs.' Of The Return of the Noldor (The Silmarillion)

2: 'Sauron came against Orodreth, the warden of the tower, with a host of Balrogs.' Of the Ruin of Beleriand And the Fall of Fingolfin (Quenta Silmarillion) [] '... named Gorthaur, came against Orodreth, the warden of the tower upon Tol Sirion.' Of The Ruin Of Beleriand (The Silmarillion)

3: 'There came wolves and serpents, and there came Balrogs one thousand,...' Of the Fourth Battle: Nírnaith Arnediad (Quenta Silmarillion) [] 'There came wolves and wolfriders, and there came Balrogs, and dragons...' Of The Fifth Battle (The Silmarillion)

1 This description (from the QS tradition) survived into LQS despite a number of other post Lord of the Rings revisions to this chapter.

2 The second example (Orodreth and etc) also was not revised -- with Tolkien even altering §143 of the chapter, but not the 'host' of Balrogs passage.

3 The third example 'survived' too, but noting CJRT's description under The Last Chapters Of The Quenta Silmarillion, it looks like JRRT never really got around to truly revising this chapter in any case.

4 The Grey Annals contains 'Balrogs a thousand' §230, but nothing is noted as to any changes in the later 1950s.


It's not unreasonable that these references survived simply because Tolkien missed them, or never got around to altering them. I must admit that example two does seem especially odd, but I can't recall if the chronology is detailed enough to arrive at an answer that way, and in any case, for example, we do have CJRT's own warning about Tolkien's "cursory" correction with respect to the conclusion of QS, perhaps suggesting that sometimes Tolkien could make alterations while not fully revising everything in the same text.

I would agree that that could easily become a slippery slope in given arguments however, so I'll just end with...

... or something else

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Old 03-16-2018, 07:28 PM   #48
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Quote:
Originally Posted by galin View Post
you don't trust my characterization of the references? Do i need to post all of 'em? Here's some of the examples, with cjrt's alterations.


1: 'wherefore each embassy came with greater force than was agreed, but morgoth sent the greater, and they were balrogs. Maidros was ambushed...' of the siege of angband (quenta silmarillion) [] '... But morgoth sent the more, and there were balrogs.' of the return of the noldor (the silmarillion)

2: 'sauron came against orodreth, the warden of the tower, with a host of balrogs.' of the ruin of beleriand and the fall of fingolfin (quenta silmarillion) [] '... Named gorthaur, came against orodreth, the warden of the tower upon tol sirion.' of the ruin of beleriand (the silmarillion)

3: 'there came wolves and serpents, and there came balrogs one thousand,...' of the fourth battle: Nírnaith arnediad (quenta silmarillion) [] 'there came wolves and wolfriders, and there came balrogs, and dragons...' of the fifth battle (the silmarillion)

[1 this description (from the qs tradition) survived into lqs despite a number of other post lord of the rings revisions to this chapter. 2 the second example (orodreth and etc) also was not revised -- with tolkien even altering §143 of the chapter, but not the 'host' of balrogs passage (see below).

3 the third example 'survived' too, but noting cjrt's description under the last chapters of the quenta silmarillion, it looks like jrrt never really got around to truly revising this chapter in any case.]

4. The grey annals contains 'balrogs a thousand' §230, but nothing is noted as to any changes in the later 1950s.


It's not reasonable that these references survived simply because tolkien missed them, or never got around to altering them. And as we can see, christopher tolkien's revisions alter these 'surviving' references to large numbers of balrogs.

ty
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Old 03-16-2018, 07:51 PM   #49
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That last bit should read not "unreasonable"... basically you quoted me pretty quickly before my edits/poor proof reading/added extra mumblings.

Oh well
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Old 03-17-2018, 02:49 AM   #50
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To highlight one specific and concrete example of Tolkien making (not just considering and never writing) significant post-LotR changes to the Legendarium, the Athrabeth Finrod ah Andreth (found in HoME X Morgoth's Ring) was written in 1959. It dramatically changes the in-universe view of the lifespan of mortals - according to Andreth, they were originally either immortal or very long-lived, until they fell by worshipping Melkor! - and introduces not only something that looks very much like a prediction of Jesus Christ (the Old Hope), but also Finrod's prophecy of Arda Remade, after the Dagor Dagorath.

The Athrabeth therefore radically changes both the beginning and the end of the Middle-earth story, and does so with absolutely no precedent. (I believe it also introduces the doomed Aegnor/Andreth romance, which would certainly cast the other Eldar/Edain relationships in a different light.) It's a wonderful piece of writing, and I don't think it could have been written - and certainly not in this form - had the 1937 Silmarillion been finished and published.

But at the same time as the Athrabeth was written, Tolkien was (per the intro to the 'later Quenta Silmarillion' section) writing the Valinorean sections of the Quenta afresh, and putting corrections to the Beleriand parts (which still weren't finished!). What we have is a very clear model of how Tolkien revised his work:

-If something was substantially okay, he made notes on the typescript.
-If he didn't like the style or content, he wrote a new version, sometimes without looking at the original.
-If he had a new idea, he wrote a new story to hold it.

And all of this at once, and with no regards for whether it drew the work closer to or further from completion!

~

Specifically regarding Balrogs, HoME X contains these quotes:

From the Annals of Aman (post-LotR, revised from the Annals of Valinor)

-"[In the first Year of the Trees] in Utumno he wrought the race of demons whom the Elves after named the Balrogs."

-"... he sent forth on a sudden a host of Balrogs, the last of his servants that remained, and... they were withered in the wind of [Manwe's] wrath and slain with the lightning of his sword; and Melkor stood at last alone."

-A note by CT that the first quote above post-dates the idea of Maiar.

-Tolkien's revision to the first entry: "... in Utumno he multiplied the race of the evil spirits who followed him, the Umaiar, of whom the chief were those whom the Elves afterwards named the Balrogath."

-Tolkien's famous note (the '3 or at most 7' one) accompanies the change of the second entry from "a host of Balrogs" to simply "his Balrogs".

-(During the Thieves' Quarrel) "Then there came to his aid the Balrogs, who endured still in the deep places of the North..."

From the Quenta Silmarillion (late 1950s)

-"... gathered his demons about him. These were the first madr of his creatures: their hearts were of fire, but they were cloaked in darkness, and terror went before them... Balrogs they were named..."

-Note to the above: "See Valaquenta for true account." (which points to the text as in the published Silm)

-Edit to the above: "These were the spirits who first adhered to him in the days of his splendour, and became most like him in his corruption: their hearts were of fire" etc.

-From a later period, after the writing of the Laws and Customs, we have text of the attack on Ungoliant, essentially as it appears in the Silm (right down to 'winged speed'!).

From late material (aka Myths Transformed)

-"The Valar find that they can deal with his agents (sc. armies, Balrogs, etc.) piecemeal." This is significant in seemingly ruling out armies of Balrogs.

-Notes that Balrogs are not as powerful as Sauron, and that Balrogs are corrupted Maiar.

hS
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Old 03-17-2018, 02:56 AM   #51
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Finally and separately, one quote which seems to be a direct counter to the concept of this thread (that the events of the Elder Days are deliberate hyperbole by Tolkien):

Quote:
Melkor must be made far more powerful in original nature (cf. 'Finrod and Andreth'). The greatest power under Eru (sc. The greatest created power).
Actually the whole essay (part of the Myths Transformed set, dating to about 1960) is fascinating; it includes the new idea that Melkor was never chained, and in fact /couldn't/ be chained - he was too powerful even for all the Valar to restrain him! He surrendered, and was basically put in solitary confinement in Mandos.

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Old 03-17-2018, 05:33 AM   #52
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Huinesoron View Post
Finally and separately, one quote which seems to be a direct counter to the concept of this thread (that the events of the Elder Days are deliberate hyperbole by Tolkien):



Actually the whole essay (part of the Myths Transformed set, dating to about 1960) is fascinating; it includes the new idea that Melkor was never chained, and in fact /couldn't/ be chained - he was too powerful even for all the Valar to restrain him! He surrendered, and was basically put in solitary confinement in Mandos.

hS
I am sure the fault lies with me as others have come to your conclusion on my op. But I never said the valar were no the most powerful creations by Eru. My op says

“His [melkor] might was greatest of all things in this world.”
-of the ruin of Beleriand

Melkor was the “greatest” “most powerful” and knowledgeable of all the valar the strongest beings outside of Eru [God].

Valar were the strongest creations by eru.



I am just saying that even in these mighty powerful creatures, we see they are not invincible to none valar or even maia. I am as you said also suggesting that hypebole played a role in their description and exaggerated their strength some.
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Old 03-17-2018, 06:41 AM   #53
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Indeed. My counterpoint is that, in his latest material when he was trying to make the Silm more grounded and realistic, Tolkien explicitly noted that he needed to make Melkor /more/ powerful than he was already shown as being. He didn't want to bring things down to a more primitive state - he wanted to increase the already high power levels of his characters. (The essay is clear that this isn't a weakening of everyone else, either, but definitely a strengthening of Melkor.)

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Old 03-18-2018, 02:22 PM   #54
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I think Huinesoron raises a good point. Tolkien's attempts to make "The Silmarillion" more consistent with LOTR and more plausible in certain ways certainly did not mean removing all of the supernatural/mythological elements, nor do I think it would have been necessary to do so to achieve his goal. The theme of decline and the fact that much from the past had been forgotten or degraded is very much present in LOTR. Whether the Star of Eärendil as seen by Sam in the late Third Age should be understood as literally a Silmaril strapped to the forehead of a guy in a magic ship is, I think, questionable (though at the time Tolkien wrote LOTR it probably was), but there's much else that can't be excised from the mythology without actually creating inconsistencies with LOTR, including the Silmarils themselves and most of the qualities ascribed to them.
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Old 03-18-2018, 05:22 PM   #55
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A counter to strength in the first age is to give example of strength that increased in the third age imo. If it were Sauron or Saruman does not matter [thanks for the correction if so] but that it was the third age vs earlier forms. I think it supported my argument that knowledge can be gained over time [such as numonrians longer life spans] and so even though sauron and saruman were both Maiar and were first age beings, that does not take away that over time they created a better breed of ork that morgoth [valar] could not and sauron could not in the first 2 ages.
Breeding a better orc may be a technological advance, but it does not indicate strength. Consider that Smaug ruined Erebor and Dale by himself, but he was the last of his kind; yet in the 1st Age dragons were numerous and more powerful and used by Morgoth as weapons of war the like of which was not seen in the 2nd or 3rd Age (even Gandalf says, "It has been said that dragon-fire could melt and consume the Rings of Power, but there is not now any dragon left on earth in which the old fire is hot enough," -- implying whatever few dragons were left did not have the power of dragons of old).

So too, whether seven or a host, the Balrogs of the 1st Age were more formidable than any orc or troll. And again, Gandalf makes plain when he goes up against the Balrog at the Bridge of Khazad-dum, that Aragorn and the Fellowship, although 3rd Age heroes, were useless against Durin's Bane. His exact words were "Fly! This is a foe beyond any of you. I must hold the narrow way." The Maia was stating the obvious. No man or dwarf ever defeated a Balrog, but Ecthelion and Glorfindel had n the 1st Age, and fought them to the death.

In any case, the Men of the West Sauron and Saruman faced during the War of the Ring were dwindled and few compared to earlier in the 3rd Age when Gondor was at the height of its power, or even later when it ceded Rohan to Eorl the Young and the Éothéod because its empire was in decline. Decline is a central theme in Gondor as it was amongst the Elves as they fought the "long defeat"and eventually began to depart from Middle-earth altogether.

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But I think you missed my point. The rings themselves added to maia such as gandalf or elves such as galadriel a power that was not around in the first age. Gandalf himself is an added power at least to ME compared to the first age. I also made the point I would think Galdriel [more powerful than elrond part maia] was more powerful [in part because of the ring] in the third age than the first. The ents were around but never united for a war on the scale of isengard. That mumakil to me seems a good example where time and knowledge was increased [to domesticate the wild beasts] for action and causing an increase in power over previous ages in this case.
Gandalf had to assume mortal form in order to follow the requirements of the Valar. He was not allowed to present himself in his Maiaric form. Even when he was ressurrected, Gandalf merely became Saruman, or what Saruman should have been. He did not revert to being a Maiaric incarnation.

The Ents crushed the Dwarves in the 1st Age. But they were never a warlike race.

And again, Gondolin assailed by dragons and balrogs trumps a few elephants any day, don't you think?

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I dont disagree, In fact moria and lake town depended on trade with elves for economy and with them leaving ME, they could not fully restore power. But to prove my point they did not have to, just a change of power happens with a loss of power such as the orcs in moria. Or as you say the dwindleing of the dwarves [and elves] they will however be replaced by mankind. However this thread does not deal with 4th age hypothetical but the first 3 ages.
The dwarvish forces were decimated in the Battle of Five Armies, and then reduced further by the end of the War of the Ring. Thus, through battle and Tolkien's own direct statement that there were few Dwarvish females assured their declining fate. I'm not sure why you keep bringing up Laketown as if were some type of power. After Dale was destroyed by Smaug, they never reached those heights again.

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In Tolkiens letters 130 he said of the attack on valinar by men “The Numen-oreans directed by Sauron could have wrought ruin in Valinor itself." While the valar perhaps could not be "killed" in the same sense, we see valar and maiar being wounded or bodily killed by conventional weapons from the first age to the third age. I dont disagree fully with what you have said about Manwe. But weather he steeped aside or not does not take away from what Tolkien called the mightiest navy to ever gather in ME and its potential to ruin valinor itself.
Your mistake is equating Istari in a mortal form who's incarnate earthly form could be destroyed in the 3rd Age, and a Valar like Tulkas or a Maiar like Eonwe who had no such prohibition, and were revealed in all their wrath. Even Sauron as a physical presence was far greater in the 1st Age before he put all his power into the One Ring. Sauron was defeated three times thereafter (surrendering to the Numenoreans, defeated by Elendil and Gil-Galad, and once and for all when the One Ring was destroyed).

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However i think he is a great example of why the valar [he being the greatest] are not so far and above all other creatures as my op argues. Some also argue Sauron became stronger with the ring and had more success than morgoth.
Which "some" argued Sauron had more success than Morgoth? I'd love to pick apart their impecunious arguments into tiny pieces. Have you ever read Morgoth's Ring from HoMe? The evil achievements of Morgoth were made plain by Tolkien: "Just as Sauron concentrated his power in the One Ring, Morgoth dispersed his power into the very matter of Arda, thus 'the whole of Middle-earth was Morgoth's Ring'." Morgoth perverted all of Middle-earth, raised mountains, perverted orcs, bred dragons, destroyed the Two Trees, caused the Rebellion of the Noldor. Sauron was Morgoth's lieutenant while Morgoth ruled Arda.

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Calling Elrond a lieutenant and saying he was weaker goes against you as he was part maia and thus below pure elves. I would suggest it had to do with time of birth, family etc.
Tolkien called Elrond a lieutenant -- I am merely referring back to what the author said. Elrond may have been part Maia, but he chose to be an elf. That comes with Elvish restrictions, just as Elros choosing to be a Man. In Tolkien's view, you can't be more than one thing. You have to choose a destiny, and being a Maia was not one of those.

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You said "Ungoliant, who rivaled Morgoth himself" I will let that speak for itself.
Ungoliant became overpowered when she consumed the light of the Two Trees. She also wanted the Silmarils and challenged Morgoth himself at this point. This does not undercut Morgoth's power, just magnifies what Ungoliant became, imbued thus with what she had consumed. That there was an alternate evil in the 1st Age who could rival Morgoth himself is proof enough that there is no comparison from the 1st Age to the 3rd Age.
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Old 03-18-2018, 06:31 PM   #56
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Thanks for your thoughts but your comment show me many times you have not read my op or read to fast. I ask that you read my op in its entirety, and than respond to any objections. Ask for clarification if needed anywhere.

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Breeding a better orc may be a technological advance, but it does not indicate strength. Consider that Smaug ruined Erebor and Dale by himself, but he was the last of his kind; yet in the 1st Age dragons were numerous and more powerful and used by Morgoth as weapons of war the like of which was not seen in the 2nd or 3rd Age (even Gandalf says, "It has been said that dragon-fire could melt and consume the Rings of Power, but there is not now any dragon left on earth in which the old fire is hot enough," -- implying whatever few dragons were left did not have the power of dragons of old).
"...and others, too, came out of the forest. Great Orcs, who also bore the White Hand of Isengard: that kind is stronger and more fell than all the others."
― Éomer

"black orcs of great strength"


It is clear they were a stronger and more powerful breed just as the Olog-hai and thus more powerful. Siting an example of dragons as a decrease in power overtime and to than try and force it somehow on orc breeds, simply ignores that fact and is an attempt [not sure why] to avoid the improvement.


aS for dragons, smaug was also killed by an arrow by a man, and was said to be the last powerful dragon. The dragons of the first age did not reach full growth for a long time and yes, were very powerful and caused destruction in the first age as well arguable more so than smaug. Since they turned the tide in the war of wrath beating the valar back.

As for the gandalf comment gandalf is not always correct as tolkien said in his letters. But even if he is, that just meant their is not many powerful dragons left, was not smaug the last? did gandalf say this in the hobbit or lotr.



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So too, whether seven or a host, the Balrogs of the 1st Age were more formidable than any orc or troll. And again, Gandalf makes plain when he goes up against the Balrog at the Bridge of Khazad-dum, that Aragorn and the Fellowship, although 3rd Age heroes, were useless against Durin's Bane. His exact words were "Fly! This is a foe beyond any of you. I must hold the narrow way." The Maia was stating the obvious. No man or dwarf ever defeated a Balrog, but Ecthelion and Glorfindel had n the 1st Age, and fought them to the death.

Could you show me where in my op I stated balrogs were less powerful than an orc or troll? I never said such a thing, please read my op and take your time to understand it. Once more gandalf can be wrong and has been. But even so i would agree with gandalf as i never said DB [second most powerful balrog ever] could beat 1v1 a elf, or 2 hobbits, a dawrf etc the only one I would argue that could have any real chance would be perhaps, aragorn.


Yes elves of the first age killed the maia balrogs. This argues for my op please read it.

First age vs Third age Elves

“History of the elves, or the silmarillion...rational incarnate creatures of more or less comparable stature with our own.”
-J.R.R Tolkien letters 130

Since morgoth, balrogs and sauron feared the elves at various times in the first age, and since various elves killed balrogs and challenged morgoth, must the first age elves be more powerful than the third age elves? I dont think so. When the silmarillion speaks of elves being more powerful in the first age, it is referring to their collective strength. The elves had a larger population in the first and and their numbers dwindled over time.

In “of the ruin of doriath” the dwarves of Nogrod defeated the mighty kingdom of elves of doriath, captured their city, Nauglamir, and the silmarillion. They than were ambushed by some elves and the rest were destroyed by ents. In of the fifth battle men of dor-lomin and the dwarves of Belegrost won renown at the battle and fought the best rather than any elves. Many times men rose high in elf kingdoms and in warfare and were better fighters than elves. At times the best individual fighter in middle earth was a man. The eldar fled the numonrians who charged for battle in aman, tuna, and the coast of valinor. This is not surprising given in letters 153 Tolkien said “Elves and men are evidently in biological terms one race.” in 181 he says “Elves and men are just different aspects of the humane...elves and men are in their incarnate forms kindrid.”




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In any case, the Men of the West Sauron and Saruman faced during the War of the Ring were dwindled and few compared to earlier in the 3rd Age when Gondor was at the height of its power, or even later when it ceded Rohan to Eorl the Young and the Éothéod because its empire was in decline. Decline is a central theme in Gondor as it was amongst the Elves as they fought the "long defeat"and eventually began to depart from Middle-earth altogether.
Agreed, and restoration as well under aragorn. But as i said before where one side is in decline, the other is on the rise [mordor/moria etc].


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Gandalf had to assume mortal form in order to follow the requirements of the Valar. He was not allowed to present himself in his Maiaric form. Even when he was ressurrected, Gandalf merely became Saruman, or what Saruman should have been. He did not revert to being a Maiaric incarnation.

The Ents crushed the Dwarves in the 1st Age. But they were never a warlike race.

And again, Gondolin assailed by dragons and balrogs trumps a few elephants any day, don't you think?
????? and? you just spend time arguing only he as a maia could face the balrog of the fellowship are you know downplaying his power as an added third age power? and also ignoring what i had said, that his ring added on to him even more power? it seems more you want to argue than understand and disuse. You are seemingly willing to move the goal posts at will just to argue.

The ents beat up already defeated and ambushed remnant of dwarves. I would not equal that with their decision to attack isengard and the orc army after helms deep.


Never said otherwise. But will you agree the domestication of those oliphaunts was an increase in third age power.




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The dwarvish forces were decimated in the Battle of Five Armies, and then reduced further by the end of the War of the Ring. Thus, through battle and Tolkien's own direct statement that there were few Dwarvish females assured their declining fate. I'm not sure why you keep bringing up Laketown as if were some type of power. After Dale was destroyed by Smaug, they never reached those heights again.

I will refer you to my previous 2 responses on this thread of our discussion.


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Your mistake is equating Istari in a mortal form who's incarnate earthly form could be destroyed in the 3rd Age, and a Valar like Tulkas or a Maiar like Eonwe who had no such prohibition, and were revealed in all their wrath. Even Sauron as a physical presence was far greater in the 1st Age before he put all his power into the One Ring. Sauron was defeated three times thereafter (surrendering to the Numenoreans, defeated by Elendil and Gil-Galad, and once and for all when the One Ring was destroyed).
I think my op responds to this well.


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Which "some" argued Sauron had more success than Morgoth? I'd love to pick apart their impecunious arguments into tiny pieces. Have you ever read Morgoth's Ring from HoMe? The evil achievements of Morgoth were made plain by Tolkien: "Just as Sauron concentrated his power in the One Ring, Morgoth dispersed his power into the very matter of Arda, thus 'the whole of Middle-earth was Morgoth's Ring'." Morgoth perverted all of Middle-earth, raised mountains, perverted orcs, bred dragons, destroyed the Two Trees, caused the Rebellion of the Noldor. Sauron was Morgoth's lieutenant while Morgoth ruled Arda.
http://www.thetolkienforum.com/index.php

I said some not me and dont care to argue that here. Though I might just for fun on a different thread, or at least follow such a thread as it would be interesting. One thread was on the above forum that I had read it awhile back.


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Tolkien called Elrond a lieutenant -- I am merely referring back to what the author said. Elrond may have been part Maia, but he chose to be an elf. That comes with Elvish restrictions, just as Elros choosing to be a Man. In Tolkien's view, you can't be more than one thing. You have to choose a destiny, and being a Maia was not one of those.
and my conclusion followed.

"Calling Elrond a lieutenant and saying he was weaker goes against you as he was part maia and thus below pure elves."

But i than said it likely had to do with birth since he was born after the first elves were created. It does not equate the strength. Otherwise Aragorn was less powerful than the steward of gondor and princes as well.

Yes elrond chose his destiny, not his birth and power.




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Ungoliant became overpowered when she consumed the light of the Two Trees. She also wanted the Silmarils and challenged Morgoth himself at this point. This does not undercut Morgoth's power, just magnifies what Ungoliant became, imbued thus with what she had consumed. That there was an alternate evil in the 1st Age who could rival Morgoth himself is proof enough that there is no comparison from the 1st Age to the 3rd Age.
If we assume no power in the third age comparable.
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Old 03-18-2018, 07:02 PM   #57
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Thanks for your thoughts but your comment show me many times you have not read my op or read to fast. I ask that you read my op in its entirety, and than respond to any objections. Ask for clarification if needed anywhere.
No thank you. I think I've made all the points necessary, and this conversation is getting no where. So rather than continue a circular debate without a logical outcome, I'll just stop here. We are unfortunately separated by the use of a common language.
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Old 03-19-2018, 04:34 PM   #58
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Some Clarification

Just to make sure I am not misunderstood in my op and perhaps I was not clear enough, I would like to clarify what I think might not be so clear in my op.

The First age was the Most Powerful

The first age overall had more "power" than the third and second ages. Two great examples brought up are the many dragons of the first age vs smaug as the only remaining powerful dragon in the third age. And the decline of the elves as another. As I pointed out the third age did have some examples of increase in power over the first two ages, but not enough to counter the loss of power.

Valar are the Most powerful Maiar Second

As I said multiple times in my op, the valar are the strongest creation by Eru followed by the Maiar. As a class these beings are the most powerful classes and far surpass any class such as orc, dwarf, elf or troll or any other.

What I did Argue/ The Class of Valar and Maiar are not as Drastically "Above" the Other Highest Beings on Middle Earth


I argued in my op that just because any individual was in the class of Maiar or Valar does not make them untouchable to all other classes and were vulnerable to the strongest individuals of the other classes.


Hyperbole was Used

“Tolkien uses profoundly figurative language – particularly when describing distant events in semi-legendary past.”
-John Garth


Describing the legendary nature of the sillmarillion Tolkien used hyperbole as typical of these sort of writings though based on historical events. Over long periods of history tales grow and over time exaggerated characters and beasts become more powerful than they were. Thus the legendary status of some of the first age heroes and creatures has been exaggerated.

This is common today in sports. When people talk of the "greatest ever" basketball player, or pitcher, or boxer etc over time they become legendary and we forget their weakness and exaggerate their up sides. We also tend to use language and exaggerate their accomplishments and often talk of them as beyond compare the "best ever."
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Old 03-26-2018, 03:44 PM   #59
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I was thinking, what if tolkien instead of going back and changing balrogs in multiple accounts, just have gothmog survive and be DB?
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Old 03-26-2018, 04:20 PM   #60
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I was thinking, what if tolkien instead of going back and changing balrogs in multiple accounts, just have gothmog survive and be DB?
Well, that would have made excellent fodder for fanfic writers, with the idea that two 'survivors' of Gondolin, the Lord of Balrogs and the Lord of the Golden Flower, lived in relatively close proximity (with Glorfindel being at Imladris). It would have us noticing still more the central place Gondolin holds in the Legendarium - with the swords, and Elrond being Earendil's son, there's already a massive concentration of Gondoliana in Rivendell's area, and Gothmog would be the icing on the cake. It might even have us questioning whether Celebrimbor of Hollin might actually have been an elf of Gondolin after all, to fit with the theme.

But... he didn't, so we don't do that. ^_^

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Old 08-22-2018, 04:26 PM   #61
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On a similar note, Charles Noad put together an outline of what The Silmarillion might have looked like had Tolkien finished it in his later life. He explained his reasoning in detail in his essay "On the Construction of 'The Silmarillion'", which is part of the anthology Tolkien's Legendarium, edited by Verlyn Flieger and Carl F. Hostetter).
where do i get this essay?
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Old 08-23-2018, 08:39 AM   #62
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As Eldo says, in the book Tolkien's Legendarium, Essays on the History of Middle-earth. If you mean where can you get this book, you probably have to dig about in used book sources.

A quick search gave me two results, priced: $122 and $105.08.


When I got my copy it was only $80. Even so (helpful hint), I went out and bought a $50 bookmark for it, so the book itself would seem less expensive.
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Old 08-23-2018, 09:28 AM   #63
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As Eldo says, in the book Tolkien's Legendarium, Essays on the History of Middle-earth. If you mean where can you get this book, you probably have to dig about in used book sources.

A quick search gave me two results, priced: $122 and $105.08.

When I got my copy it was only $80. Even so (helpful hint), I went out and bought a $50 bookmark for it, so the book itself would seem less expensive.
AbeBooks reports a copy for a mere $75 (£60 on the UK version of the site).

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Old 08-24-2018, 04:00 PM   #64
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Holy crap why so much? is their no way to get the single essay in pdf form or something like that?
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