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Old 11-09-2000, 12:01 PM   #1
Shade of Carn Dûm
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Ring A new approach at Silmarillion canon.

<font face="Verdana"><table><TR><TD><FONT SIZE="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Wight
Posts: 249
Last night; in reply to MisterUnderhill's use of Star Wars references I thought of a way to explain not only my approach more clearly, but as another example of what it truly represents (and hopefully to kick-start this discussion again).

Obviously; I'm going to use Star Wars.
I'll keep it strictly to Episode 4 for the discussion.
I'm sure my direction here will become apparent shortly.

For comparison we have:
The original treatment (includes Luke Starkiller, Kaibur Crystal, Hordes of Sith knights, Jedi-Bendu, etc)
Call this; Early Silmarillion (Book of Lost Tales, Shaping, Lays, etc)

Next the Screenplay and Novel itself.
Call this the re-written Silmarillion.

Then we have the actual production film.
Call this Christopher's editorial rendition of the Silmarillion.

Then we have the Special Edition.
Call this the History series.

In establishing canon; what do you use for the base?
By examples presented here I will try to show my message.
These examples will include items;
a) Revised in the last film version
b) Altered in the film from original material
c) Unshown scenes in both versions
d) Material that does not appear anywhere in any form

If you use the original film as the base then what to do with Special Edition when it deviates from your base?
Example:The Cantina Shootout. Do you use the revised scene or retain the original? The motivation alters dramatically in this example.

If you use the Special Edition as the base then what becomes of the Shootout? Is the retention of it possible as presented in the original? (i.e. Mercenary action vs. Self-defense)
How does this effect further characteristics of the scene and aftermath?
Or do you attempt to mix-mash the two and hope for the best? Is this really the best approach?

Now lets go on to Revision in the film from Novel and Screenplay:
Here an example can be taken from Han Solo's line concerning the speed of the MF.
Original text: She's the ship that made the Kessel Run in less than 12 standard time-parts.
Film line: She's the ship that made the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs.

With this Alteration; a new convoluted and circumspect (not to mention highly sub-creative) explanation is required after-the-fact. Which do you use as canon?

Now on to Unshown scenes;
In this example we can look at Tosche Station.
It was written, and filmed, but not shown in either version. Is it still canon?

Now on to a scene showing material not present in any prior form:
We can use Han's Girlfriend in the Cantina scene for this. It was not present in the script or Novel, and was cut from both presented versions. Is this canon? In retention of it as such if so; how much of an impact on the relationship between Han and Leia does it create. One of motivation and character development departure or elaboration?.

And now lastly; in assembling this canon, how far back does one go before the information becomes outdated and actually false? Does one go all the way back to the original treatment and include the Kaibur Crystal, Hordes of Sith Knights, and the Jedi-Bendu (as only a few examples). How much does this actually damage canon instead of help?

In trying to keep every detail in Silmarillion as canon, at what point does the story become warped? Some of the ideas are interesting; but should they truly be kept?

Perhaps this explains my views a little clearer on Silmarillion canon.

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Old 11-10-2000, 11:38 AM   #2
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Re: A new approach at Silmarillion canon.

Hmm, I am not so well learned in Star Wars so...
Egroeg Ihkhsal

- Would you believe in the love at first sight?
- Yes I'm certain that it happens all the time!

Last edited by HerenIstarion; 12-15-2004 at 02:48 PM. Reason: sweeping party
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Old 11-17-2000, 10:17 AM   #3
Mister Underhill
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<font face="Verdana"><table><TR><TD><FONT SIZE="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Wight
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Re: A new approach at Silmarillion canon.

I think your analogy helps illuminate some of the challenges of trying to figure out what is canon, Saulotus, but asks more questions than it answers regarding your approach to formulating Tolkien canon.

Parts of HoME can be equated to the old versions of the Star Wars screenplay -- those early drafts are so different from the finished film and evolved so much that you'd almost think the one had nothing to do with the other.

Other parts of HoME are more like the Special Edition -- especially the transformations of the &quot;legendarium&quot; that JRRT toyed with in writings like those contained in &quot;Morgoth's Ring&quot;. In this case, however, the analogy breaks down. Both the original films and the Special Editions are finished products that were put into final form by their creator. Strictly speaking, you'd have to say that the Special Edition is &quot;canon&quot; and supercedes the original films because GL says they are a truer representation of his vision. Things that he left out and older versions are interesting from the standpoint of observing the creative process, but otherwise have no bearing on the question of “canon”. Personally, I hate the revised cantina scene and think the Jabba-Han scene should have stayed on the cutting room floor -- but I love the new Mos Eisley footage and the improved dogfight sequences.

We will never know what a final and complete Silmarillion would have looked like if JRRT had actually finished it. Really, between the prof's habit of endless rewriting and his tendency to abruptly and inexplicably abandon manuscripts, it seems a wonder that we ever received The Hobbit and LotR! Anything that you try to assemble in the way of a revised Silmarillion will necessarily be a mix-mash attempt to take the &quot;best&quot; (a subjective term if ever there was one) of what JRRT devised and weld it onto the half-completed framework of the legendarium (which is what the published Silmarillion is anyway).

I've always been of the opinion that LotR and The Hobbit are the only books which can truly be considered &quot;canonical&quot; and that in cases where the published Silmarillion contradicts them, the Silmarillion must defer to their authority as finished works. But I would also say that JRRT's presentation of virtually all of his stories as mere translations of the works of a multitude of different authors and sources allows inconsistencies to live comfortably alongside one another, and may even add another layer of verisimilitude to the whole. Just as with real history, conflicting accounts exist.

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