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Old 04-01-2019, 02:43 AM   #5
Ghost Prince of Cardolan
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Originally Posted by William Cloud Hicklin View Post
Actually, silver hair runs in the house of Elwe/Olwe; Galadriel got that aspect of her hair from her mother Earwen of Alqualonde. Thranduil's golden hair is nowhere explained, except by observing that sports do occur (for example, the red hair of Mahtan, which he passed to his daughter and some of his grandsons).
The fact that Galadriel managed to combine 'blonde' and 'silver' to make 'silver-gold' suggests that there's something super weird in Elvish hair genetics, but that's neither here nor there.

Do we actually know Thranduil had golden hair? The only source text I can find is this:

Originally Posted by The Hobbit: Flies and Spiders
The feast that they now saw was greater and more magnificent than before; and at the head of a long line of feasters sat a woodland king with a crown of leaves upon his golden hair, very much as Bombur had described the figure in his dream. The elvish folk were passing bowls from hand to hand and across the fires, and some were harping and many were singing. Their gleaming hair was twined with flowers; green and white gems glinted on their collars and their belts; and their faces and their songs were filled with mirth.
And yes, it says golden - but it's also very clear that he's lit by firelight, and that the elves' hair is reflecting the light ('gleaming'). Silver hair under firelight could easily come out gold.

(I know, it's a stretch. I was somewhat led astray by Movie Thranduil, whose hair is if anything paler than Galadriel's.)

Originally Posted by William Cloud Hicklin View Post
Of course, at the time he wrote the chapter, he viewed all the Elves of Northern Mirkwood including their royal house as Nandor,* as also were Celeborn and the population of Lorien. The idea of an incoming Sindarin ruling caste came about much later.
Not that much later - it's in Appendix B, and Lorien was written after Tolkien's stop in Moria. But yes, there's a few years between 'He has dwelt in the West since the days of dawn, and I have dwelt with him years uncounted' and 'In Lindon south of the Lune dwelt for a time Celeborn, kinsman of Thingol'.

Which confirms what we kind of knew already: the Celeborn-Thingol family tree was cobbled together after the fact, based on existing texts, in order to make exactly the kind of connections I'm talking about between the Third Age and the Elder Days. That being the case, it's not wholly relevant that Thranduil's hair doesn't match Celeborn's and Thingol's - we've already established that they weren't created to be relatives. The question becomes whether Tolkien would have looked at them and thought 'hey, those two could be related'.

I think the key piece of evidence would be whether Oropher and Galathil were created at the same time. If they were, then the 'tree-names' would suggest a connection.

Unfortunately, Unfinished Tales doesn't pin many dates on things. Oropher comes entirely from 'The Sindarin Princes of the Silvan Elves', which is parts of two essays described as 'late philological writings'; Malgalad comes from the same source. Galathil... doesn't appear in any narrative source.

Elmo does, with the mention of 'Celeborn, grandson of Elmo the brother of Thingol', and no other grandchildren named. But there's no indication of whether Christopher's statement that 'Elmo's son was named Galadhon, and his sons were Celeborn and Galathil' is based on a text saying as much, or on a separate mention of Galathil as a son of Galadhon, without reference to his brother(s).

'Celeborn of Alqualonde' appears to post-date Oropher's appearance: CT mentions it as a 'very late and primarily philological essay', as opposed to simply 'late' for Oropher. But the chronology of the various philological and etymological essays mentioned in Unfinished Tales is tragically unclear, and (other than a mention of what has to be LaCE) I don't think any of them are in HoME.

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