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Old 07-26-2021, 08:59 AM   #24
Morthoron
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Morthoron is lost in the dark paths of Moria.Morthoron is lost in the dark paths of Moria.Morthoron is lost in the dark paths of Moria.Morthoron is lost in the dark paths of Moria.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bêthberry View Post
Well, I am going to have to disagree with you about Beren and Luthien.

Largely because I was referring to the entire concept of Beren and Luthien, that started with "The Tale of Tinuviel" which we have in BOLT 2. The evolution of the narrative is fascinating. Beren is originally an elf--well, "gnome", or Nordor elf. In Christopher Tolkien's index, under Beren, there are five listings for Beren as man or elf.

In the index to John Garth's "Tolkien and the Great War", there are 10 listings for "Beren (Elf, lover of Tinuviel" and on for Beren as mortal, as befits his extensive analysis of Tolkien's early writing, pp. 261-265.

Ultimately of course Tolkien went for "mortal". But central to the narrative, throughout its evolution, is the essential aspect of the male being enchanted by the elf maid. This is a constant in fairy tales, starting with Thomas the Rymer, whose gift of prophecy is link to his talents as a poet. (This personage and the story belongs to legend, pseudo-history, and medieval verse romance.) Thomas is carried off by the Queen of Elfland but eventually returns to the mortal world with her gift. The story also borrows motifs from the fairy tale Rapunzel, as well as Greek mythology.

What specifically happens through the iterations of their story changes to suit Tolkien's narrative purpose, but the place of the lovers within traditions of fairie remains constant. SoWM seems to pick this up with Smith's dancing with the elf queen. What was one of the astounding developments in the evolution of the tale of Beren and Tinuviel was the increasing strength and power and agency of Luthien, from passive elf girl to woman who is not afraid to use her powers. But that Luthien seems to have disappeared from SoWM and we have Smith alone, who quite surprisingly is given the job of iron monger, as task not previously depicted in the Legendarium as an elvish skill.
What I find interesting is that Tolkien actually divorces his tale from the usual motifs about how mortals encounter Faery, which is, as you referenced, Faery Abduction, and the examples such as Thomas Rhymer, Tam Lin, or the stealing and replacement of mortal infants with fairies in their cribs (a folk description of stillbirths) are just a few of many.

There are also numerous citations for Breaking Faery Taboo, or mortal incursions on the Faery realm which are punished, like entering a fairy ring or stumbling onto a faery rade or in the case of Rip Van Winkle and the Irish tale of Oisín, where they return to the mortal world aged beyond recall.

Nowhere that I can recall in folklore are mortals gifted an entrance to Faery. That seems more Tolkienesque than true to folklorish motifs.
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