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Old 02-19-2003, 12:56 PM   #1
lindil
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Question a SURVEY - if you can spare a moment

version 2.o

OK let me simplify my survey:

What did you like or not like in the 'Guides/Encyclopedias to Middle-Earth' that you have you read/consulted.
And what would you most like to see in your 'perfect' guide? Anything [besides artwork, although I realize that is quite important] that you really do not want to see?

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-
what follows below was the original survey which has far quicker than I thought possible run it's course. So thanks to all below for your response, and thanks to everyone who takes the time to answer the above survey. Again, anyone just coming to the thread can ignore the bottom 1/2 of the post. I will however leave it up to give the context of the early replies.

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-
version 1.0

Which would you prefer to see my fellow BD'ers?

A} A Tolkien 'guide/encyclopedia' that covers the basics + HoME/UT in a more scholarly fashion, setting out the many changes the stories went through and underscoring the contradictions and difficulties, or

B} A 'guide/encyclopedia' that is written more from the perspective of an early 4th age loremaster who while having some contradictory accounts is primarily giving us a guide that shows the final and non-contradictory conceptions given in a hypothetical 'Translations from the Elvish' [HoME/UT].

If one in general prefers 'B', there is a further sub-option of

C] having along with B] a major appendix [or 2] that covers the major transitions in the story line and character development from Lost Tales to Silmarillion to later HoME/UT from a critical analysis POV or keeping with a pure B] just leaving the whole thing as a product of 'inter-middle-earth' scholarship,as above.

I hope that all makes sense.

Anyway I would be very intrigued by your replies.

thanks,

[ February 20, 2003: Message edited by: lindil ]
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Old 02-19-2003, 01:09 PM   #2
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I would very much prefer B because I think it would be more informitave and would basically just be more to my liking.

P.S. If you are writing something like that and want someone to review it I would love to do something like that.

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Old 02-19-2003, 01:15 PM   #3
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Isn't 'A' what BoLT, UT and HoME is all about?

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Old 02-19-2003, 01:24 PM   #4
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Welcome to the Downs Veon -

and to answer your question I would say partially. The HoME/UT books all 13 and what 4,000 pages are about the history/evolution of the writings , and of course the texts themselves.

My question has more to do with a guide such as The Complete Guide to Middle-Earth or A Tolkien Encyclopedia or The New Tolkien Companion by JEA Tyler.

It is a difference of Source books [CJRT's productions] and reference books.

Hope that clears it up.

And Dondagnirion, thanks for the offer, if I ever hear of someone actually doing this I will pass your PM along [img]smilies/wink.gif[/img].

[ February 19, 2003: Message edited by: lindil ]
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Old 02-19-2003, 01:38 PM   #5
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Quote:
My question has more to do with a guide ...
On that basis, I would go for B). I suppose that is what books such as the Tolkien Encyclopedia etc try to give us. But can you imagine the same sort of thing but including the wealth of knowledge available on this site ... [img]smilies/cool.gif[/img]

Btw would it explain who Tom Bombadil is? [img]smilies/biggrin.gif[/img] [img]smilies/evil.gif[/img]
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Old 02-19-2003, 01:48 PM   #6
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Sting

Thanks for asking us, lindil. It's a difficult question for me to answer, though, as it sets my love of whole and flowing narrative against my love of detail. How frustrating that Tolkien is not here to marry the two as he so excelled in doing.

I would have to go for B, as we already have the Histories of Middle Earth to provide a scholarly approach to this issue. I think that we can trust the Revised Silmarillion writers to use their poetic licence responsibly.
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Old 02-19-2003, 01:52 PM   #7
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Sting

Thanks to all so far for their quick replies.

And just to make clear in case it is not - this survey has absolutly nothing to do with the Revised Silmarillion/Translations from the Elvish Project... well other than the fact that they both have to do with Middle-Earth.

hmmm, no 'C''s... I would have guessed that might be the favorite, even though it is not the one I would go with...

[ February 19, 2003: Message edited by: lindil ]
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Old 02-19-2003, 02:13 PM   #8
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1420!

I'd also join my fellow members in their selection of "B".
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Old 02-19-2003, 02:21 PM   #9
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Well, then I'm the odd banana who prefers the idea of A. If I want to "feel" like I'm reading something written by a loremaster, I'd go for the stories themselves. A guide should be something that puts forth the plain facts.

Just the facts, sir, just the facts.
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Old 02-19-2003, 02:45 PM   #10
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You are not so alone Diamond18. As, I think, lindil would suspect already I also vote strongly for A.

B alone is very hard to work out, as the discussions in the New Silamrillion project show. C is more possible but is not really readable in the Appendix part and is double of the work (first the debate to get B and then transform the debate in a comprehensible form).

So A is easiest, fullest and best information you can get (or go for).

Respectfully
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Old 02-19-2003, 05:02 PM   #11
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1420!

Actually, I have to say A. As Diamond18 said,
Quote:
A guide should be something that puts forth the plain facts.
Just the facts, sir, just the facts.
Yes, just the facts. I think that people should think for themselves, and not have other people think for them. They should infer what they can from the facts given. Yes, I definately say A.
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Old 02-19-2003, 06:30 PM   #12
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Sting

I think I overstated the case re: the '4th age loremaster' bit. What I was really getting at is that of a 'guide/enyclo.' written from a position of knowledge equivalent to that of a loremaster of the 4th Age, not from that fictional perspective that would be an 'active fictional perspective'.

And by the way, there are of course, no right or wrong answers, just fishing for a widespread feild of opinion.

And I suppose I can add to the original query: Are there any such guides/encyclopedia's/bestiaries/companions,etc. out that you really like or dislike [illustrations and artwork aside] and why ?

What would your ultimate Guide/Companion/Encyclopedia/Legendarium Resource be like ?


Thanks again to all who have responded.

[ February 19, 2003: Message edited by: lindil ]
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Old 02-19-2003, 06:33 PM   #13
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Silmaril

I would prefer 'B,' thanks.
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Old 02-19-2003, 06:34 PM   #14
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I'd like B, I guess. Would the loremaster have access to the Red Book of Westmarch?
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Old 02-21-2003, 11:26 PM   #15
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Eye

(I'm going to say some of the same things I said in my first post that got erased in the other section)

As I mentioned in the survey in the N&N section, I want a bunch of maps. But as far as the way the text itself is organized, I would definitely want it in a "story" sort of format, that would have the generally accepted version and details presented as fact, and the only way it could be.

All the notes to go with it (such as other versions, details, character names, or extra side-stories) should be in a seperate place so they don't interrupt the story, or confuse people as to what the generally accepted facts are.
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Old 02-21-2003, 11:35 PM   #16
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I would say defenitly A. I'd much rather see facts than opinions. A more thorough guide would be nice as well, as the current ones really do not supply information on little known topics.

Perhaps an guide to Tolkien as well...not just ME. Including works such as Leaf by Niggle and Farmer Giles of Ham.
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Old 02-22-2003, 12:06 AM   #17
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Sting

Thanks for the input folks!

As I said in N&N, it is a pilot project only at this point. An organizing of format and clarification of content and goals, and whether it will move past the early stages is dependent on greater external factors, but all your input, and well wishes are greatly neede and appreciated.

btw: the decided upon format will hopefully satisfy both the a and b fans equally [ or disatisfy them both equally [img]smilies/wink.gif[/img] ] which is the reason that I scrapped the initial survey.

Any cartographers around [img]smilies/cool.gif[/img] ?

thanks to all, and please keep your ideas coming!

[ February 22, 2003: Message edited by: lindil ]
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Old 02-22-2003, 12:27 AM   #18
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Quote:
Any cartographers around [img]smilies/cool.gif[/img] ?
Not professionaly, but as a hobby yes.
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Old 02-22-2003, 01:29 AM   #19
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Thumbs up

Seeing as how the facts were often pretty vague and were subject to frequent development and change by the professor, himself, Im leaning toward B. By writing the guide from the perspective of a 4th age scholar one would be able to present the many developments, changes and inconsistencies contained in the whole corpus (especially if one wants to include UT, BoLT and HoME) as so many learned opinions much like what real historians and philosophers do with the real world. After all, Middle Earth as it turns out is much like the world in which we live, often lacking easily defined facts.
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Old 02-22-2003, 02:00 AM   #20
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Quote:
By writing the guide from the perspective of a 4th age scholar one would be able to present the many developments, changes and inconsistencies contained in the whole corpus (especially if one wants to include UT, BoLT and HoME)
What your saying sounds more like A than B. B is showing the final result more or less, while A shows the behind the scenes.
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Old 02-22-2003, 02:24 AM   #21
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.Here is something of a sample entry, it was done off the cuff [well I did look the specific dates up] and it will give some idea of what the entry format will look like as it stands. The format is pretty much decided upon, the content is as I said an unrevised draft. It will be [if it comes into exisitence] written so that the main entry has what is essentially the 'canonical' version with a few weird exceptions [such as Gil-Galad, Amrod, The Ellesar, etc] but as mentioned the main entry will be for those who want 'B', the additional entries seperated by their own headings [ and in a different font] will cover the 'A' aspects - more or less. So anyone who wants to skip the mateial that contradicts the Silm/Hobbit/LotR/RGEO can simply not read the subentries at the end
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Old 02-22-2003, 02:33 AM   #22
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Well, crap. Now Im confused [img]smilies/frown.gif[/img]

Lets see After re-reading the original post, I definitely see that I misunderstood the two choices. B then doesnt make as much sense to me. If it was written from the perspective of a character, it doesnt seem to me that the immersion of the character would allow for a non-contradictory perspective, but the exact opposite. It would seem that if A is written from the third person omniscient view then it could simply list discrepancies (for lack of a better word) from the primary sources. That to me is stating the plain facts.

Explaining discrepancies as various opinions from different schools (say Gondorian scholars versus scholars of the north that were more impacted by elvish lore, as an example) a first person narrative can present the discrepancies in an interesting way, a way that to my knowledge no Tolkien reference to date has attempted. I dont know, however, if such an approach would be very practical.
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Old 02-22-2003, 02:37 AM   #23
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Sting

Oh quite nice...it incorporates both rather well. A basic explanation and then the truly "in-depth" part, interesting indeed. (and my you wrote that quickly)


Would there be more of how the character was created? (i.e. the picture on the postcard that Tolkien describes as the "origin of Gandalf"?)

Bill, that's why it should really stay detached.

[ February 22, 2003: Message edited by: Beren87 ]
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Old 02-22-2003, 02:46 AM   #24
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Quote:
I think I overstated the case re: the '4th age loremaster' bit. What I was really getting at is that of a 'guide/enyclo.' written from a position of knowledge equivalent to that of a loremaster of the 4th Age, not from a fictional perspective that would be an 'active fictional perspective'.
Sorry for the confusion Bill.

There will inevitably be some things included in the entries such as Valinorean info on Gandalf, that won't be able to be explained very well by saying, Galadriel told Arwen and Arwen told Frodo that Olorin used to hang out in the Halls of Lamentation.

Many things such as that will be presented instead as if a the books we have [minus the many conflicting versions ]were more or less in the hands of the those in M-E who compiled it.

The main entries will as far as possible have an 'written from within M-E' perspective. While the sub-entries at the foot of the main entries will be in essence a summarizing of CJRT's HoME and UT notes. The mythological notes will also obviously be from a non-ME perspective.

Quote:
Would there be more of how the character was created? (i.e. the picture on the postcard that Tolkien describes as the "origin of Gandalf"?)
Beren, I thought about that very point, but as interesting as it is, it feels very strange to me to go there. It could happen but i think alot of the more biogrphical and analytical books on the Prof. cover that kind of thing better.

[ February 22, 2003: Message edited by: lindil ]
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Old 03-05-2003, 10:39 PM   #25
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Quote:
Would there be more of how the character was created? (i.e. the picture on the postcard that Tolkien describes as the "origin of Gandalf"?)
At this point we are going ahead with a pilot project of the 'A's. [seelink below for a few of them].

The ideal scenario is that we land a deal for a 'guide' that will be similar to foster/tyler's but contain all of the references to all of the Legendarium. Foucusing though on the LotR and post LotR or 'canonical phase' with far less attention given to Lost Tales and the early Silm. there will be some limited commentary on the entries and a few entries like 'Cosmology' that cover general area's in detail.

If that goes well, we may then go for a project 2 that would be utterly exhaustive.
As above but going into maximum detail about early concepts and characters as well as late. Also much more in the way of speculative commentary and 'origins of X' such as Gandalf and Bilbo and such.


here is a link to a few SAMPLE ENTRIES.

[ March 05, 2003: Message edited by: lindil ]
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Old 03-05-2003, 11:38 PM   #26
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Sting

Hmm...It might be best to just have one person work on one letter at a time. That way there are no repeats. Do you want some, or is this still just a "maybe" project?

[ March 06, 2003: Message edited by: Beren87 ]
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Old 03-06-2003, 07:09 AM   #27
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Quote:
Hmm...It might be best to just have one person work on one letter at a time. That way there are no repeats. Do you want some, or is this still just a "maybe" project?
Beren, we are all focusing on 'A' right now in order to have a complete 'chapter' to shop around. Even if we get no offers from publishing houses we have 2 back-up plans, the last of which will certainly result in something.

Feel free to PM me for more details.

There is alot I am not going to get into here, as this is up just to solicit general feedback, without becoming an ad campaign or expose of our business plan.

As always thanks for the interest.

And Mordor Queen - welcome to the Downs, but I think you landed in the wrong thread

[img]smilies/wink.gif[/img] .
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Old 03-06-2003, 07:32 AM   #28
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Quote:
I would have to go for B, as we already have the Histories of Middle Earth to provide a scholarly approach to this issue. I think that we can trust the Revised Silmarillion writers to use their poetic licence responsibly.
Thanks for the vote of confidence Squatter.

I can assure that every entry is being scrutinized with painful precision by those who (thankfully) know far more than I. But we are still aiming for the more substantial entries to have that Tolkien/Tyler -esque feel to them.

[ March 06, 2003: Message edited by: lindil ]
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