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Old 06-09-2001, 06:32 AM   #1
Seeker of the Straight Path
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: a hidden fastness in Big Valley nor cal
Posts: 1,680
lindil has just left Hobbiton.
Ring * * Introduction and FAQ's to the Forum and the Rev. Silmarillion Project * *

version 6.4

The Silmarillion Project began as outgrowth of the Books forum 7+ years ago in this thread, wherein Burrahobbit innocently asked the question of ' which books other than the Hobbit/LotR were 'canonical'' . As the exploration to this question was near and dear to lindil's heart, he immediatly signed up, posted and what followed was the idea that perhaps since this question had ultimatelty been side-stepped by CRT with the publication of UT/HoME, an internet forum could tackle not only the question of 'what' is canonical but could perhaps create a new Silmarillion or as it is tentatively being called now TRANSLATIONS FROM THE ELVISH.- that is a compilation of virtually all of the writings of/pertaining directly to the First, Second, and early to mid Third Ages.

Our situation is aptly in many ways parallel to Bilbo's own Translations from the Elvish [sans real Elves to talk to] in that we have a library:
The History of Middle-EarthSeries
The Silmarillion [often seen as QS77/01 or Sil77]
Unfinished Tales [often seen as UT]
The Children of Húrin [often seen as CoH]
The Hobbit
The Lord of the Rings
Adventures of Tom Bombadil
The Letters
The Road Goes Ever On
Various articles of JRRT in the Vinyar Tengwar journal [VT] and the Parma Eldalamberon

Not all of which agree with each other [to put it mildly], present varying depths of treatment, are in a variety of languages and dialects, some are of dubious historical 'purity' and the quality of writing varies greatly.

From these many and diverse collected writings we are trying to create a compostite narrative of the pre-LotR era history of M-E and Valinor just as Bilbo did using the library of Rivendell.

Some things such as the Commentary on the Athrabeth and the Laws and Customs among the Eldar and most of the linguistic material will be included as appendices, but much will be worked into the narrative framework provided by CJRT in [b]The Silmarillion[b] [or it's source texts] whenever possible [such as historical/biographical details from The Shibboleth of Feanor, the account of the Druedain in Brethil, the story of the awakening of the Elves in Quendi and Eldar].

We can of course never have 'The Silmarillion' as JRRT envisaged it, because major sections were never completed as begun [ such as Of Tuor and his coming to Gondolin or the Narn Chîn Húrin or The Wanderings of Húrin] and some were left unrevised from the 30's such as the Ruin of Doriath and the Fall of Gondolin. But we have courtesy of his son Christopher Tolkien [usually reffered to as CJRT or CRT] The Silmarillion itself, albeit in a somewhat compressed form, and more importantly Unfinished Tales and that vast storehouse of lore, the HoM-E series. Some from all of this we are attempting to that which for a variety of reasons CJRT did not.

A self-consistent [and LotR/RGEO consistent] compendium, primarily in narrative form, of all of the writings that tell the stories from Song of Creation in the Ainulindale to the chance meeting of Thorin and Gandalf at the Prancing Pony in Bree [well at least that is where I would end it [img]smilies/wink.gif[/img]].

<u> 'FAQ'S' </u>

~1 "This is an amazing project who is currently involved, and how can I join?"
The following folks skills are ascribed by lindil and may not reflect how they see themselves.

Aiwendil - Currently the primary Moderator , program Co-Coordinator. General editor, loremaster, linguist
Findegil - after long months of careful [and respectful] suggestions from the sidelines, now: editing and formating, text updating and first draft producing
lindil - Founding Forum Moderator - General program Co-ordinator - editor
Maedhros - gen editing
aravanessë - linguistical remarks from the sidelines
mhagain - linguistical remarks from the sidelines
Petty Dwarf - gen editing
Underhill, Mr. - general review, Chief Troll constultant, Silm Forums admin duties
-=-=-==- the above are active members-=-=-=-
Elenion, Tar - loremaster, linguist, general review
Eruhen - linguist and general review
Gimli the Dwarf - general review
Jallanite [currently on leave of absence]
Gwaihir the Windlord
Lenwa [posts as Eru] - general review and formatting
Alkanoonion - general review
Antoine - general editing and review
Heren Istarion - general review
Mithadan - general review and loremaster
Tirinvo - general review and linguistics
are currently inactive and/or semi-active members.

Some jobs are obvious , others can be ascertained by PMing one of the Mods.
[for the moment Aiwendil is handling all such requests]

But what the project really needs is this:
Truly reading through the material in current progress and studying the relevant source texts and making intelligent comments and suggestions!

Do not feel you have to restrict yourself to the editorial grind, although that is obviously the heart of the project.

Currently you join by perusing the below listed obligatory threads and then putting a notice in ** General Comments on the Project & Sign Up Thread ** thereby expressing your intent, and then begin posting w/ us on the various threads.

Some folks have joined by the more oblique method of posting amazing work and participating in a way that leaves us dependent upon their particular brand of genius, this is fine, especially if you have amazing work to contribute! But it is nice to have a public record of who is who and what they want to do.

For those who do join us please subscribe to the active project threads, and check the private forum/and private messages regularly [every couple or so days perhaps].

Please also note, not everyone participates to the same degree.

Some such as Aiwendil, Maedhros, Findegil [and in times past Heren Istarion and Jallanite and myself ]involve themselves in the day to day administration and forum moderation, and large scale planning of the project, others such as Antoine and Maedhros have taken on large projects [ and completed them I might happilty add]. Most are involved to the extent of intelligently participating in specific ongoing projects by reading over the source texts proposing the needed changes to mesh or update texts, commenting and then when needed, voting upon any changes not resolved by consensus.

A quaint system, but it has worked splendidly for us so far, as long as we have one person for each project willing to make the first draft.

Project Sign-up announcement/Change in Password Policy ~~~ as of 10/1/03

Since it seems that a lot of new members join and then disappear pretty quickly, and since all of the important discussion takes place in the public forum, we've decided to alter the policy regarding giving out the password to the private forum.

Previously, anyone who expressed interest in the project was given the password. The new policy is that a member must become active in the project here on the public forum before being given access to the private forum.

Please note that this change amounts to very little. The private forum is as a rule only used for the posting of completed texts. All important discussion takes place here.

~2 Are you planning on publishing this?
There are no plans to publish the material as this would require the blessing of the Estate of JRRT. We are primarily doing this for the joy and satisfaction of seeing order come together out of the Legendarium chaos, and because we know JRRT wanted to see a 'Silmarillion' equal [in size] to the Lord of the Rings come out, CJRT has acknowledged that he would do some of his previous work differently now, but has indicated that he will not revise the Silmarillion any further than the 2001 edition [which oddly enough did not correct such things as Gil-Galad's parentage which CJRT ackowledged was wrongly surmised in the Silmarillion].

As a matter of common agreement and vision, all of the members feel alot more can be done with the wealth of material so meticulously edited by CJRT, and indeed there are several indications that JRRT envisioned a much larger production than the currently published Silmarillion.

~ 3 How are decisions made?
Currently due to much respect and goodwill among the members, things are proceeding according to a 'suggestion and follow-up ' principle. If no consensus is reached we resort to a simple vote in the Private/Members forum.

I forsee the possiblility of a more 'Robert's rules of Order' style coming into being as the project becomes larger, but mercifully this has not been needed so far. And should it need to occur this will be a group decision.So far,it has been a real joy to interact with all of the project members; the level of knowledge, egolessness, good will and warm-heartedness has been an extension of the very spirit we all love in the Legendarium.

As a matter of fact, since the group of active members has become very small, voting has become unnecessary in the last time since everybody could sense the majority from the ongoing discussion.

~4 What has been done so far?

* Currently the forum has decided upon the principles with which to proceed with our project [see link below]
* has come up with an over all outline of Translations from the Elvish [see this thread]
* hosted serious and scholarly discussions of the canonical issues of an extremely large number of topics such as the Kings of the Noldor, the Origin of Orcs [Orcish Fear], Glorfindel, Celebrimbor, the genealogies of Gil-Galad and Celeborn, the Second Prophecy of Mandos, Aelfwine and other unresolved or questionable aspects of the Canon, often coming to a consensus [if usually an unspoken one].
* the current focus is on the the Aninulindale [Source text is from HoME X] which soon should be finished
* finished are also the following chapters:
- Narn Beren ion Barahir (The story of Beren and Lúthien)
- Of the Ruin of Doriath (including the Wanderings of Húrin)
- Of Tour and the Fall of Gondolin (including the Battle of Gondolin from HoM-E II)
- Of the Voyage of Eärendil
- Of the Great Battle and the War of Wrath
* as draft we have the following chapters:
- Narn i Chîn Húrin (needs the incooperation of new infos from CoH)
- Valaquenta (needs final touch by the group)
- Of the Darkening of Valinor (rough draft as yet)
- Of the Thieves' Quarrel (rough draft as yet)
- Of Valinor and the two trees (privat draft, not at this side yet)
- Concerning Naugrim, Ents and Eagles (privat draft, not at this side yet)
- Of the coming of the Elves (privat draft, not at this side yet)
- Of Thingol and Melian (privat draft, not at this side yet)
- Of Eldamar and the Princes of the Eldalie (privat draft, not at this side yet)
- Of the Flight of the Noldor (privat draft, not at this side yet)
- Of the Ruin of Beleriand an the fall of Fingolfin (privat draft, not at this side yet)
* Several other members/friends of the project have contributed their own versions of various parts. Submissions welcomed, they are currently kept in the private forum, but this may change.

Please be warned that the work often proceeds in waves, often a busy month or so may be followed by a many lull months. Do not lose heart! Actually looking back over the work that has been done in almost 7 years is rather staggering: several first rate Scolarship posts [ some debates, some other wise] A huge amount of groundwork of use to any one who may try to undertake similar work in the future. Work on the Darkening of Valinor, the monumental 'Fall of Gondlin', even the most complex 'Fall of Doriath' has been completed and of course examination of dozens of complex canonical issues and theories.

Recently as our membership has decreased we have only been able to work on one project at one time. But this may change again if that is needed.

~5 What is the relationship between the forum and the Project? see #13 below

~6 What is the Translations from the Elvish 'Council-Members Only Forum' aka 'Private Forum' ?

This is a location for the Council to store the project itself so that it may retain a certain amount of control over the circulation of the materials it edits. Currently all discussions other than actual editorial votes will be held here in open sight for the veiwing/commenting public. When completed votes/polls are usually displayed in the public forum anmd left open for further [non-binding!] discussion.

~7 How long till you are finished? well it took JRRT almost 60 years to do what he did and CRT over 25 years to edit the 12 volumes of the HoME materials so I don't really know, at least a few more days.

~8 Who is in charge?

The moderators of the forum, are in a position similar to mayor of the Shire.

lindil is a founding member of the current and past groups working on a new Silmarillion. Aiwendil is currently the main contributor to the project and also a Moderator for both Forums. Jallanite was a moderator [ on the EZboard] and actually did the bulk of the FoG work prior and we seriously look forward to his return!

Mithadan and mr. Underhill are elderstatesman if you will of the forum.

Most likely moderatorship would be conferred on anyone needing to be able to do major editing of texts and move material from one forum to the other, pending approval from the Cheif Wight and the current moderators.

The Council is however a group process where ideas are judged on their merit and will be decided by vote when unanimity is not reached by discussion. Lindil and Aiwendil have no more control over this process than anyone else, unless of course they happen to be the only ones posting, which thank heavens has not happened in years [with the notable exception of one thread!]. Various members contribute according to their capacity, inclination and time.

~9 Do I need to have read all of the HoME series and be a un/certified Middle-Earth Scholar to participate?

No, but I would say a solid familiarity with the Silmarillion and a general familiarity HoME 1-5 and 10-12 and Unfinished Tales is a pre-requisite. Specific technical details can be learned as we go along, as some may have noticed the various project threads can be very dense and demanding, that is just the nature of the beastie. Of course we are aiming to produce new versions of the pre LotR writings that are footnote free, but we will most assuredly have to pay our dues first.

I hope to re-include a guide to the threads of the Forum again at some point. In general any thread of over 20 posts bears looking at , always keeping in mind the dates. various ideas have come and gone here and not everything posted 10 months ago is still currently relevant or agreed upon. The following thread the ** General Comments on the Project & Sign Up Thread ** is possibly the next best place to visit following the FAQ.

~10 Why is there so much discussion of so many incredibly obscure points? well the Silmarillion is essentially a very large collection of 'obscure points' and a collection that is intensely interdependent. A virtual symbiosis. If you pull one thread , the whole cloth is affected. So each decision, word, spelling and such must be pondered and compared w/ the rest of the Legendarium.

~11 What will CRRT have to say when/if he finds out?

We don't know if it will ever come to his attention, although some members have spoken of sending him the finished of Tuor and the Fall of Gondolin along w/ an Outline of the rest of the project., This will have to wait for the pilot chapter[s] to be finished and the whole idea to be voted on.

Some [understandably] want to do alot more before inviting official scrutiny. Opinion so far is that he [CRRT]/ and the Tolkien Estate may [read - almost certainly will not not be pleased] , but I think all of us would love to see [however unlikely] his sanction/involvment/oversight.

As the blind man said... 'We shall see!'

~12 Why are so many threads locked or 'archived'? Is someone controlling the discussions? No no one is controlling the discussions, most that are locked or stored away are due to a newer thread of the same subject being started and the desire to avoid the same discussion in 2 threads. Others were locked long after they were last posted on - so that in the event of new discussion of the topic a fresh thread could be started. [Not the norm for the Books and other forums mind you, but we are special here [img]smilies/wink.gif[/img]]
Others are tangential to thrust of the forum but have enough value that I would feel guilty if I flushed it down the cyber-drain.

~13 Can non-members of the Council or Project post here, and ask questions on this forum?
Most assuredly - the forum was begun and continues as an open accses board for discussion of the idea of canon, a possible new 'canon', a nNew Revised Silmarillion, otherwise known as Translations from the Elvish, and it's ramifications. This will always be a function of the is forum and it will always be open to all posters of goodwill, whether one is a member of the 'Council' or not.

The Project and Council are offshoots of the forum and it's 'meetings' mostly take place here.

~14 Is it essential to have read all of HoME before joining?

No, it is not. Currently, 2-3 readings each of UT and the Silmarillion are strongly recommended. HoME reading while not required will be important though in varying degrees depending on the text and project involved.
For instance in the new Ainulindale Project Morgoth's Ring is probably the only essential HoME book, any other small bits that might make their way in can and will be posted on the relevant thread, so that everyone will be able to read/discuss/ponder it's implications and possible inclusion.

For the Fall of Gondolin, HoME2, HoME4 [along with UT and Silm of course] have been the primary texts but varrying other bits have come from almost every other volume, linguistic info from H5, later developments from 10-12 can be sprinkled throughout. There is also a Lay of the Fall of Gondolin fragment in H3 that may provide a line or 2 later in the project.

But again there are a few hard, hard core types that usually hunt down all of the tangential tie-in's troughout HoME, UT the Letters, the Road Goes Ever On or even the Adventures of Tom Bombadil . New members can more or less figure on being responsible for the main texts on any given question.

In some cases needed material from a large variety of sources is available to members only [directly or indirectly] on the Private forum, which is one reason it is Private.

15. How are you deciding on the changes? Are you guys and gals just doing whatever 'feels right'?

Not quite.

Here are a list of the 7 Principles,as they now stand, that we follow for each and every change/substitution of the texts we do. They were hashed out over the course of 2 years by Jallanite, Aiwendil and lindil.

1. The first priority is always given to the latest editions of works published during Tolkien's lifetime.

2. Secondary priority is given to the latest ideas found among Tolkien's unpublished texts and letters, except where they:
a. violate the published canon without specifically correcting an error or
b. are proposed changes that do not clearly indicate the exact details that must be changed and how they are to be changed.

3. If no sources that fall under number 2 can be used to form the actual narrative of a section, then any text or summary created by Christopher Tolkien may be used, provided it does not violate the canon established for that section by numbers 1 and 2 above.

4. No new names and no new expressions in Elvish or in any of J.R.R. Tolkien's special languages may be introduced; all names or expressions in J.R.R. Tolkien's special languages that are updated must be changed either in accordance with a universal change by Tolkien or with a logical reason and a sound etymology.

5. Information in sources of lower level priority are to be preferred over information in sources of higher level priority where the item of information in source of higher level priority can be reasonably demonstrated to be an error, whether a "slip of the pen" or from inadequate checking of previous writing.

6. The actual words used by J.R.R. Tolkien or the editor or summarizer of his work may only be changed, including change by deletion or addition, when:
a) they are minimally changed to agree with statements elsewhere in the canon recognized as of greater validity or to are replaced with words or phrases from later or alternate restatements of the same material for reasons of consistancy or are changed to agree with alternate phrasings used by Tolkien of the same or better validity
b) they are minimally changed to avoid great awkwardness of expression such as ungrammatical constructions or too great a difference in style from the passage or section/chapter into which they are now to be inserted.
c) they are minimally added to in order to expand a sentence fragments or an incomplete phrase into a construction that fits grammatically in the new environment
d) they are deleted to avoid redundancy in new passages compiled from more than one source
e) they are, in verse passages, minimal changes that do not add new information to the tale, to maintain the proper metre and rhyme or alliterative pattern of the original verse.

7. Personal aesthetics are not to be used in establishing the actual events in the narrative; all changes and decisions must be justified by the above principles, either:
a) with explicit indication; that is, a text of greater precedence contradicting a text of lesser precedence, or
b) with implicit indication that JRRT almost certainly would have changed/deleted it. But we must base this on some evidence or text from JRRT or CJRT; that is, a text of greater precedence suggesting beyond reasonable doubt a contradiction with a text of lesser precedence, or
c) in cases where two options are given precisely equal validity by the above guidelines, by a majority vote based on personal aesthetics and individual opinions.
A corollary is that we may not disregard any text or note, old idea or projected change, by JRRT unless it is invalidated by one of the above principles, explicitly or implicitly; that is, we must have a REASON for rejecting something.

N.B. New members please commit these more or less to memory to avoid unecessary and embarrassing posts. [img]smilies/tongue.gif[/img]

Hopefully wall sized posters of this fascinating document will soon be available for only $9.99.

For the full protracted and agonizing discussion you need only click here.

Visitors and potential project members please look through the 2 pages of thread titles on the main forum page to see if any questions you might have, have already been asked. IF not then please post your Council and Project questions in the ** General Comments on the Project & Sign Up Thread **

Thoughts re: the Outline in the next post of this thread can be posted in the * Unofficial Outline *thread.

Please do a decent search of the threads and their contents before opening a new one. As this is primarily a work space, it is nice for us who work here and for new visitors not to have it overly cluttered and any more confusing than it must needs be. Threads with Asteriks i.e.

** blah blah New Revised Expanded un-Extrapolated updated Transliterations for Elvish Silmarillion blah blah blah**

may only be started by the Forum Moderators, Project Co-Ordinators or others specifically delegated.

Submissions [and replies] for FAQ's are most welcome. Please send Aiwendil a private message with any suggestions.

Last but certainly not least, our everlasting gratitude to the Barrow Wight himself for agreeing to host these bandwidth eating barrows without [seemingly] a moments hesitation. If it were not for him we would almost certainly be battling the pop-ups at EZ-board.

This post is the creation of lindil purporting to speak for the group, thus far no one has complained.

[ Dec. 28 , December 31, 2001, June 21, June 24, October 09, 10, 20, 2002: Message edited by: lindil ] versions 1.0 to 4.2
[ October 20, 2002: Message edited by: lindil ]4.3
[ December 15, 2002: Message edited by: lindil ]5.0
[ January 06, 2003: Message edited by: lindil ]5.1 and 5.2
version 6.o done on: February 16, 2003
6.1 done on feb 17 2003-=-=-
[ February 17, 2003: version 6.2 ~~~ edited by: lindil ]

[ October 05, 2003: Message edited by: lindil ]
[ May 13, 2007: version 6.4 ~~~ edited by Findegil posted by lindil]
The dwindling Men of the West would often sit up late into the night exchanging lore & wisdom such as they still possessed that they should not fall back into the mean estate of those who never knew or indeed rebelled against the Light.

Last edited by Aiwendil; 03-03-2009 at 11:06 AM.
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