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Old 04-14-2021, 06:14 PM   #1
Formendacil
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The Letter of the Law

Over in my other recent thread, Huinesoron (as he is wont to do) said something that struck me as quite accurate:

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Originally Posted by Huinesoron View Post
Tolkien is not, by and large, an unreliable narrator, so when he says in a published book that 'everyone thought X', I'm inclined to accept that X is something he wants to tell us is true. But! Also, that line about how the plague came 'with dark winds' out of the East. That's not a natural phenomenon - it reminds me too much of the Shadow over Minas Tirith, or of the Black Breath.
As I said, I think this is quite accurate: Tolkien doesn't generally play games with narration (not that the potential isn't there, since his texts very much mimic historical documents at times and he knew better than most the extent to which those were retellings and reshapings of material handed on and changed by the transmission), but it did make me wonder:

What are the most egregious distortions you can fit into the text of Middle-earth?

I think we're actually going to see a lot of this that gets us all riled up once the Amazon series releases, because the 2nd Age is full of unpainted canvas and they have a whole show to fill, but I'm thinking of things closer to the texts themselves: what odd things would you plug into the cracks that you absolutely know Tolkien wouldn't approve of but he leaves space for?

This is, admittedly, a broad, conceptual topic and I don't have a ready example. The best I can do is point at the inspiration in the other thread, where Huin is arguing that, even though Tolkien doesn't SAY it, he pretty much implies Sauron created/spread the Great Plague. So I'm looking for the opposite examples: where Tolkien heavily infers that Æ happened, but since he didn't SAY it did, you can argue that anti-Æ happened.

I would probably need to comb through the Appendices looking for "the Wise say" or "many believed." The counterarguments to THOSE are what I'm talking about.
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Old 04-15-2021, 02:11 AM   #2
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Over in my other recent thread, Huinesoron (as he is wont to do) said something that struck me as quite accurate:
Why thank you!

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What are the most egregious distortions you can fit into the text of Middle-earth?
I was born for this.

~

The one that instantly springs to mind is "for elves, sex = marriage". Tolkien clearly believed it, but what he actually says is that:

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Originally Posted by LaCE
It was the act of bodily union that achieved marriage, and after which the indissoluble bond was complete
But if I say "It's the priest saying 'man and wife' that makes you married," that doesn't mean that any time you can get a priest to say those words, someone somewhere is instantly wedded! Can doesn't mean always does, and anyway:

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Originally Posted by LaCE
... it was at all times lawful for any of the Eldar, both being unwed, to marry thus of free consent one to another without ceremony or witness (save blessings exchanged and the naming of the Name)...
So if you, ah, 'achieve the act of bodily union' without the blessings and the Name of the One, it don't count. ^_~

~

Also, Maglor. "It is told" that he chucked his Silmaril in the sea and now wanders around singing a lot, but the Silm itself admits that there's no evidence, and it's just saying it to claim that the Silmarils are in mystically/elementally significant places forever. For all we know, Maglor could have chucked himself in there with the jewel - or maybe he kept it, and is living off on Tol Fuin with it around his neck even now!

~

Come to think of it, we don't even know when Beren and Luthien died! Tolkien only tells us that Dior "knew" that the Nauglamir being sent to him was a sign that they'd perished, but he could have been... y'know, wrong. Their great-grandson Elros lived 500 years, and only 60-odd of those can be written off as 'he wasn't mortal yet'; his son lived over 400. Even if we assume actually visiting the Undying Lands and returning has no more effect than just living slightly closer to them, a 400-year second life would take them a good three centuries into the Second Age. They probably just sent the Silmaril over to Dior for safekeeping and bopped off to hang with Galadriel.

I mean, heck: Tol Galen is well inside the areas of Ossiriand that survived to become Lindon. Maybe they just stayed put! At the very least, that's a plausible myth/rural legend of the Sindarin refugees in the early Second Age: that their princess is still out there, watching over them from the forests south of Harlond...

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Old 04-15-2021, 02:55 AM   #3
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Eye

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Originally Posted by Formendacil View Post
So I'm looking for the opposite examples: where Tolkien heavily infers that Æ happened, but since he didn't SAY it did, you can argue that anti-Æ happened.
Are you literally still fishing for material you could give to the Amazon series' makers?

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This is, admittedly, a broad, conceptual topic and I don't have a ready example.
My first thought upon seeing this was that I am rather afraid that there are gazillions of such things, countless examples, many of which have been already exploited by various game-makers or at least fan-fiction writers, Peter Jackson included. For instance, it is pretty much implied that, say, spiders of Mirkwood pretty much existed only in Mirkwood and they were the offspring of the offspring of Ungoliant, but I recall some video games where you had them in random small forests in the Shire because, well, you need to have random killable "mobs" and they can't just all be Orcs.

That's just from the top of my head, and that is even a fairly broad thing.

Something like that might concern the Nazgûl, meaning, the original Men. I remember that under the I.C.E. license, various roleplaying games and the Middle-Earth: The Wizards card game operated with one of the Ringwraith being female (for those interested, her name was Adûnaphel). I personally kinda like the idea (and could have been more than one), but I am pretty much convinced that when Tolkien said the Nazgûl were "Men", he meant "men". Even though, arguably, who knows. It's rather based on "circumstantial evidence", such as that as a rule of thumb, female characters in such positions in Middle-Earth are rare, and if one happened to be a Nazgûl, Tolkien would likely have pointed it out as a notable exception.

While we are on the topic of the Nazgûl, you could probably come up with lot of things about that. It is for example also heavily implied that they were some nobility, some of them of the Númenorean stock, but likely NOT Númenorean kings. So, like, it isn't that Ar-Gimilzôr became a Ringwraith. BUT, it is not specifically mentioned. So I can easily imagine a writer who is lazy to come up with a Númenorean name, or a character for that matter, to just pick one of the later kings and be like "ok, this is one of the Nazgûl!" (Or, even better, pick three of the last kings and be done with it.)

And on that note, it is also implied that the Ringwraith appeared more or less all at once at roughly the same time, considerably earlier than many of the "bad kings" lived, but that is also not said explicitly. So, I am pretty sure, somebody could come up with a case that Pharazôn became one. (Because among other things, nobody also says that Sauron did not go and pick him up from wherever he ended up under an avalanche at the outskirts of the Undying Lands.)

Thinking of it, it is not even said that the Nine were always the SAME Nine, was it? As in, maybe the Ring #9 was for instance worn by one person the first two hundred years, then he was killed, Sauron gave it to another, who became the wraith then, then he gave it to Ar-Pharazôn...

Well, clearly one can come up with lots of things...
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Old 04-15-2021, 03:38 AM   #4
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From RoTKYes, when you also have the Keys of Barad-dûr itself, I suppose; and the crowns of seven kings, and the rods of the Five Wizards, and have purchased yourself a pair of boots many sizes larger than those that you wear now.
Obviously Boots are on Par with crowns, and Wizards’ Staffs. This explains the enigmatic Bombadil, he is master because of his great yellow boots. They endow him with power over a realm where no other boots are as powerful.

This is also why people belittle the Hobbits, not their size but their lack of boots or shoes at all.

Edit: I’m not sure this fits the “implied X but the opposite of X could also happen” idea but I do feel it fits “distort the text” prompt.

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Old 04-15-2021, 03:52 AM   #5
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...I am pretty much convinced that when Tolkien said the Nazgûl were "Men", he meant "men"...

It is for example also heavily implied that they were some nobility, some of them of the Númenorean stock, but likely NOT Númenorean kings...
Is this where I get to push Tar-Telperiën as a candidate again?

The counter argument to 'men' is that Tolkien wrote "Three Rings for the Elven-Kings under the sky" at a time when the Three were held by the Lady of Lorien, the master of the Last Homely House, and a wizard whose best claim to 'elven' is that some rural bumpkins used to think he was one. "Mortal Men" could easily include "and woMen", and it's not like anyone writing the Red Book would know.

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...female characters in such positions in Middle-Earth are rare...
brb, off coming up with an excuse to time-travel Artanis, Aredhel, Luthien, Haleth, Eowyn, and Belladonna Took together for some exciting adventures.

~

Actually, that's another one that straddles the line between 'suggested' and 'suggested against'. Did Bilbo's mother have any adventures? She's called 'remarkable' (along with her sisters), and the best The Hobbit says is "Not that Belladonna Took ever had any adventures after she became Mrs. Bungo Baggins." So... before, then? Did Gandalf lead the three Took sisters off into the Blue for mad adventures, climbing trees and visiting elves and sailing off to other shores, facing dragons and goblins and giants, rescuing princesses and hanging out with widows' sons?

I bet he did.

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Thinking of it, it is not even said that the Nine were always the SAME Nine, was it? As in, maybe the Ring #9 was for instance worn by one person the first two hundred years, then he was killed, Sauron gave it to another, who became the wraith then...
>_> You've not been playing Shadow of War, have you?

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Old 04-16-2021, 06:55 AM   #6
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Is this where I get to push Tar-Telperiën as a candidate again?
You just got yourself a convert, sir.

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The counter argument to 'men' is that Tolkien wrote "Three Rings for the Elven-Kings under the sky" at a time when the Three were held by the Lady of Lorien, the master of the Last Homely House, and a wizard whose best claim to 'elven' is that some rural bumpkins used to think he was one. "Mortal Men" could easily include "and woMen", and it's not like anyone writing the Red Book would know.
I take my words back. Good catch. (Even though, to be sure, the original verse counted with Círdan, so...) But if Galadriel can be a King, then a "mortal Man doomed to die" can surely be a woman.


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brb, off coming up with an excuse to time-travel Artanis, Aredhel, Luthien, Haleth, Eowyn, and Belladonna Took together for some exciting adventures.
I'd dearly love to see that.

But exactly - that's the one sad counter-argument: if there had been a powerful sorceress or evil conquering warrior Númenorean lady who became a Ringwraith, her unusual qualities would likely have been mentioned somewhere.

That being said, for various reasons I find it not unlikely that some such may have existed somewhere among the Easterlings, Southrons or other peoples and would not have found her way into the historical annals, simply because these people were too far from the Númenorean sphere of interest, and/or also illiterate to begin with.

(I personally somewhat cringe at how much this fits into the trope of "the civilised people have a patriarchal society, whereas it may be perfectly common to have a female chieftain in the 'exotic' societies that are wild and primitively barbaric/wild and free and egalitarian" - depending whether you want to paint this trope positively or negatively, both of which are cringeworthy in my opinion. But let's face it, the setup of Middle-Earth sort of supports this distinction.)

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Actually, that's another one that straddles the line between 'suggested' and 'suggested against'. Did Bilbo's mother have any adventures? She's called 'remarkable' (along with her sisters), and the best The Hobbit says is "Not that Belladonna Took ever had any adventures after she became Mrs. Bungo Baggins." So... before, then? Did Gandalf lead the three Took sisters off into the Blue for mad adventures, climbing trees and visiting elves and sailing off to other shores, facing dragons and goblins and giants, rescuing princesses and hanging out with widows' sons?
I am 100% for seeing that. And certainly yes. Obviously, putting there the denotation that something did not happen after clearly implies that it happened before.

Oh! Oh!!! That reminds me of one thing that definitely belongs to this thread. Interestingly enough, again connected to the Ringwraith. Specifically, I am referring to the well-known description that upon the Witch-King's death,

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Originally Posted by RotK
a cry went up into the shuddering air, and faded to a shrill wailing, passing with the wind, a voice bodiless and thin that died, and was swallowed up, and was never heard again in that age of this world.
...which obviously implies that it was heard again in another age. (And given that the Fourth Age started just a bit over a week later, that's not saying much.)

Sidenote, given that it also refers to the wail itself, it does not refer to something such as that the WK himself would be seen in perhaps a different form, but rather that it would be pretty much the same form - or at least a form making the very same sounds. (It also seems to refer specifically to that particular wail, not to that of the Nazgul in general, so it isn't like that somebody would hear a random Xth Age new breed of wraith wailing in the same manner, but rather Witch-King in person.)

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>_> You've not been playing Shadow of War, have you?
Can't say I am familiar with that one. I have only heard about Shadow of Mordor and I decided not to pay much attention to it back then. From a brief glance I am maybe glad that I did so.
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Old 04-16-2021, 08:17 AM   #7
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You just got yourself a convert, sir.
^_^ Of all my daft ideas, this and "Celeg Aithorn is the sword of Manwe" are the ones I like the most.

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I'd dearly love to see that.
I did sketch out an all-woman Fellowship a while back along the same lines, though to my shame I had to tap the movies for Ranger Arwen and, of all people, Tauriel. It does showcase both how interesting Tolkien's female characters can be - and how few of them there are. (I suppose I could find a way to replace Tauriel with Ioreth of Minas Tirith, but she might be a bit much...)

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I take my words back. Good catch. (Even though, to be sure, the original verse counted with Círdan, so...) But if Galadriel can be a King, then a "mortal Man doomed to die" can surely be a woman.
Cirdan is a shipwright, Lord, and Master, and Celebrimbor was a Lord. The only King to hold any of the three was Gil-Galad.

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But exactly - that's the one sad counter-argument: if there had been a powerful sorceress or evil conquering warrior Númenorean lady who became a Ringwraith, her unusual qualities would likely have been mentioned somewhere.

...

(I personally somewhat cringe at how much this fits into the trope of "the civilised people have a patriarchal society, whereas it may be perfectly common to have a female chieftain in the 'exotic' societies that are wild and primitively barbaric/wild and free and egalitarian" - depending whether you want to paint this trope positively or negatively, both of which are cringeworthy in my opinion. But let's face it, the setup of Middle-Earth sort of supports this distinction.)
Well... yeah. I think the only purely matriarchal society Tolkien describes is the Haladin under Haleth, who had her own bodyguard of amazons, and she gets pretty heavily highlighted - while also falling firmly into the "wild and primitive" trope.

That said, I believe the amazons only get a single passing mention, buried somewhere in a linguistic essay, so perhaps "they would have been mentioned" isn't necessarily true? A whole lot of women have prophetic/visionary abilities which are never mentioned explicitly, only obliquely shown (Rosie Cotton, for one!); and the one bona fide evil sorceress has her story told solely in a single "primitive" and partly-illegible outline: Queen Beruthiel. It's entirely within reason that Tolkien would have restricted a description of Nazgul #5, the Sorceress of the Last Desert to an utterly unreadable scribble on the back of an envelope.

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...which obviously implies that it was heard again in another age. (And given that the Fourth Age started just a bit over a week later, that's not saying much.)
But of course! The Nine Rings weren't destroyed, just buried under Barad-dur when it fell (along with the Ithil Stone); per "The Dead and the Undead", it's perfectly plausible that the Nazgul would be bound to their Rings even in actual death. Once they were unearthed - which I seem to recall Aragorn had no intention of doing - they could return as genuine wraiths.

Or maybe they just come back for Dagor Dagorath. I mean, Turin's going to, why not Sauron's pet Men?

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Can't say I am familiar with that one. I have only heard about Shadow of Mordor and I decided not to pay much attention to it back then. From a brief glance I am maybe glad that I did so.
Shadow of Mordor is... tolerable if you accept the basic premise of 'Celebrimbor was trapped as a ghost and turned evilish'. Shadow of War - spoilers, I guess? - made Isildur and Helm Hammerhand into Nazgul. I've played the first, but won't touch the second with a bargepole.

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Old 04-16-2021, 09:09 AM   #8
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I will hopefully respond to some of the fabulous answers and discussion that has been brought up already. Now something I was going to bring up in the Man Who Bit a Fell-Beast thread, but thought it might have been too much of a tangent. I'm pleased to find that it does fit here!

I've been wondering the Steward, Boromir, was killed and died in agonizing pain by the Witch-King. Now, it's said that the Witch-King feared him:

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Boromir was a great captain, and even the Witch-King feared him.~Appendix A: The Stewards
Given that we have the prophecy of the Witch-King's downfall, but there is a bit of a game of telephone going on. Because all Glorfindel says to Earnur is:

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Far off yet is his doom, and not by the hand of man will he fall.~Appendix A: Gondor and the Heirs of Anarion
The Witch-king curiously adds in his moment of Pride: "No living man may hinder me" (The Battle of Pelennor Fields).

This reveals the Witch-King feared Boromir, not only in life but in death. Glorfindel says nothing about a living man, but 500+ years after killing the warrior-Steward he feared, he's still clearly haunted by Boromir's ghost.
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Old 04-16-2021, 11:15 AM   #9
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I did sketch out an all-woman Fellowship a while back along the same lines
I did not know you were also an art creator in such a way - but oh my, that is a splendid idea if there has ever been one! The description you provide is rather gripping and sounds like a surprisingly plausible scenario. I really like the inclusion of especially all the Hobbit ladies, each of them make pretty strong cases for their particular presence.

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though to my shame I had to tap the movies for Ranger Arwen and, of all people, Tauriel. It does showcase both how interesting Tolkien's female characters can be - and how few of them there are. (I suppose I could find a way to replace Tauriel with Ioreth of Minas Tirith, but she might be a bit much...)
It would have worked - something along the lines of Gandalf picking her up during one of his information-gathering visits to Minas Tirith, her latching onto him with her babbling and somehow causing him to think she might have a role to play (perhaps Gandalf would give some credit to her memory of the old prophecies - or maybe she would be just all too excited to see their subjects "live" that he would take her along - or maybe she would accidentally rile up some high-ups, such as by supporting Gandalf's Wizard-talk in the presence of Denethor or somesuch, and getting "kicked out", Gandalf would decide to take her along, sort of in the way he did Sam).


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Cirdan is a shipwright, Lord, and Master, and Celebrimbor was a Lord. The only King to hold any of the three was Gil-Galad.
*shrugs* Semantics indeed. I still think that "Lord" and "King" are rather interchangeable under those circumstances, but I also perceive that already that is not precise language, so I guess it really is about where one draws the line.

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It's entirely within reason that Tolkien would have restricted a description of Nazgul #5, the Sorceress of the Last Desert to an utterly unreadable scribble on the back of an envelope.
That, to be sure, is a 100% legitimate assumption.


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Originally Posted by Huinesoron View Post
But of course! The Nine Rings weren't destroyed, just buried under Barad-dur when it fell (along with the Ithil Stone); per "The Dead and the Undead", it's perfectly plausible that the Nazgul would be bound to their Rings even in actual death. Once they were unearthed - which I seem to recall Aragorn had no intention of doing - they could return as genuine wraiths.
I now only skimmed through the thread, so I don't know if it was addressed there in depth, but would the Nine not have lost their power after the destruction of the One - so, regardless of whether they continued to exist or not, they would no longer have the chance to "empower" the Nazgul and give them the strength to "live" again any longer?

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Or maybe they just come back for Dagor Dagorath. I mean, Turin's going to, why not Sauron's pet Men?
That is how I always read it - but the very reason I mentioned is that it kind of sounds like it should happen sooner. Or in other words, that's the boring explanation and it is nothing new. But the formulation speaking about that particular age basically makes it sound like "and then he reappeared in the Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Age".

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Shadow of Mordor is... tolerable if you accept the basic premise of 'Celebrimbor was trapped as a ghost and turned evilish'. Shadow of War - spoilers, I guess? - made Isildur and Helm Hammerhand into Nazgul. I've played the first, but won't touch the second with a bargepole.
Oh, I think I have heard the thing about Helm somewhere. *shudders* Uggh. And poor Isildur... Now I'm thinking we should be grateful that PJ did not have such an idea.

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This reveals the Witch-King feared Boromir, not only in life but in death. Glorfindel says nothing about a living man, but 500+ years after killing the warrior-Steward he feared, he's still clearly haunted by Boromir's ghost.
That's actually great!! And besides, the area of dead men fighting dead men has not been sufficiently explored, but it sounds like something fairly plausible, no?
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Old 04-16-2021, 03:51 PM   #10
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I did sketch out an all-woman Fellowship a while back along the same lines, though to my shame I had to tap the movies for Ranger Arwen and, of all people, Tauriel. It does showcase both how interesting Tolkien's female characters can be - and how few of them there are. (I suppose I could find a way to replace Tauriel with Ioreth of Minas Tirith, but she might be a bit much...)
I like the all-female Fellowship. Tauriel's not a bad shout, she's actually not the most-annoying inclusion in The Hobbit. That goes to Alfrid, because 1. You can't make your comic relief character someone the audience actually despises. 2. They wanted a Grima-like character, and Brad Dourif is a legend of horror-films; anyone who tried to copy his character was going to pale in comparison.

Right. Anyway the all-female Fellowship. If we take the all-male Fellowship by comparsion.

-Galadriel is Gandalf
-Eowyn is Boromir (Eomer commented that Boromir looked more like the "swift sons of Eorl" than the grim men of Minas Tirith)
-Dis is Gimli
-Arwen is Aragorn
-Tauriel is Legolas

How about though, if Tauriel sticks in your craw...Celebrian? Instead of going to the Undying Lands after her capture and torture, she actually takes the role that Elladan and Elrohir fill. She forever hates orcs and feels the only way to heal is to go on these orc-killing rampages. Her decision to join the all-female Fellowship is purely motivated by revenge.

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Originally Posted by Legate of Amon Lanc View Post
That's actually great!! And besides, the area of dead men fighting dead men has not been sufficiently explored, but it sounds like something fairly plausible, no?
Thank you, definitely seems plausible.
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Old 04-16-2021, 06:10 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Huinesoron View Post
That said, I believe the amazons only get a single passing mention, buried somewhere in a linguistic essay, so perhaps "they would have been mentioned" isn't necessarily true? .... It's entirely within reason that Tolkien would have restricted a description of Nazgul #5, the Sorceress of the Last Desert to an utterly unreadable scribble on the back of an envelope.
Not only is this entirely plausible, but I am now trying to wrap my head around the canonical implications of "Tolkien wrote this on a scrap of paper somewhere" but it is now lost. If it fills in a gap--or replaces some established element (say, the actual spelling isn't Maidros or Maedhros but McFeänos). Is the "true" canon the unknown fact or is it the textus receptus?

But that's really a question for another thread (this, to link but one)...
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Old 04-18-2021, 05:35 AM   #12
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Tolkien

So, it's taken me a couple days, but I sat down and went looking for the phrase "it is said" in the Silmarillion, to give us some fodder for this thread, and here's the start of what I found. It goes right back to the beginning:


Quote:
Originally Posted by J.R.R. Tolkien in the Ainulindalë
And it is said by the Eldar that in water there lives yet the echo of the Music of the Ainur more than in any substance else that is in this Earth; and many of the Children of Iluvatar hearken still unsated to the voices of the Sea, and yet know not for what they listen.

Quote:
Originally Posted by J.R.R. Tolkien in "Of the Sun and Moon and the Hiding of Valinor"
For they remembered the Avari that remained by the waters of their awakening, and they did not utterly forsake the Noldor in exile; and Manwe knew also that the hour of the coming of Men was drawn nigh. And it is said indeed that, even as the Valar made war upon Melkor for the sake of the Quendi, so now for that time they forbore for the sake of the Hildor, the Aftercomers, the younger Children of Ilúvatar.
What I noticed with a couple of them, starting with this next one, is that after the "it is said" phrase, we get "but" or "yet" followed by the next clause--the narrator himself tells us the majority opinion and qualifies it:

Quote:
Originally Posted by J.R.R. Tolkien in "Of the Return of the Noldor"
It is said indeed that Maedhros himself devised this plan, to lessen the chances of strife, and because he was very willing that the chief peril of assault should fall upon himself; and he remained for his part in friendship with the houses of Fingolfin and Finarfin, and would come among them at times for common counsel. Yet he also was bound by the oath, though it slept now for a time.
Okay, the "but" here is a bit less of a contradiction of the factuality of the first statement--it isn't saying Turgon didn't name it, just that it was known in Sindarin by a different name:

Quote:
Originally Posted by J.R.R. Tolkien in "Of the Noldor in Beleriand"
But Turgon dwelt still for the most part in Nevrast, until it came to pass that at last the city was full-wrought, after two and fifty years of secrjet toil. It is said that Turgon appointed its name to be Ondolinde in the speech of the Elves of Valinor, the Rock of the Music of Water, for there were fountains upon the hill; but in the Sindarin tongue the name was changed, and it became Gondolin, the Hidden Rock.
In this case, the "but" actually introduces the "it is said"

Quote:
Originally Posted by J.R.R. Tolkien in "Of the Noldor in Beleriand"
Now King Finrod Felagund had no wife, and Galadriel asked him why this should be; but foresight came upon Felagund as she spoke, and he said: 'An oath I too shall swear, and must be free to fulfil it, and go into darkness. Nor shall anything of my realm endure that a son should inherit.'
But it is said that not until that hour had such cold thoughts ruled him; for indeed she whom he had loved was Amarië of the Vanyar, and she went not with him into exile.
Here's one for Urwen. (Also following the "introduced by the yet/but" pattern):

Quote:
Originally Posted by J.R.R. Tolkien in "Of Maeglin"
Yet it is said that Maeglin loved his mother better, and if Eol were abroad he would sit long beside her and listen to all that she could tell him of her kin and their deeds in Eldamar, and of the might and valour of the princes of the House of Fingolfin.
I wasn't looking for it, but I found a double-hearsay in this passage:

Quote:
Originally Posted by J.R.R. Tolkien in "Of the Coming of Men into the West"
Thus it was that Men called King Felagund, whom they first met of all the Eldar, Nom, that is Wisdom, in the language of that people, and after him they named his folk Nomin, the Wise. Indeed they believed at first that Felagund was one of the Valar, of whom they had heard rumour that they dwelt far in the West; and this was (some say) the cause of their journeying. But Felagund dwelt among them and taught them true knowledge, and they loved him, and took him for their lord, and were ever after loyal to the house of Finarfin.
Now the Eldar were beyond all other peoples skilled in tongues; and Felagund discovered also that he could read in the minds of Men such thoughts as they wished to reveal in speech, so that their words were easily interpreted. It is said also that these Men had long had dealings with the Dark Elves east of the mountains, and from them had learned much of their speech; and since all the languages of the Quendi were of one origin, the language of Beor and his folk resembled the Elven-tongue in many words and devices.

And that's where I ran out of copy/paste energy. There are twenty more instances of "it is said" in the published Silm (including the "Akallabêth" and "Of the Rings of Power"--I just have other things to do with my life than copying over quotations all day!

Run free with the "ah, but it could be other things than what the people said" speculation!
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Old 04-18-2021, 07:06 AM   #13
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I'll leave the early It Is Saids to you, and wanna add a late one. This is something that came up on a different thread, and I will summarize it here. Basically, the marriage of Tuor and Idril is special, being one of the 3 Unions, and all 3 have one of the spouses being sundered from their kin. In the other two, the immortal wife becomes mortal. The Valar explicitly tell Luthien that they cannot keep Eru's gift from Beren. But Tuor, lucky dog, gets to live eternally with Idril and is not counted among Men! The situation also raised its own questions, e.g. where are they living, if they've never returned to ME nor ever reached Valinor?

Then, someone pointed out to me that this information is based on an It Is Said:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Of Tuor and the Fall of Gondolin
In those days Tuor felt old age creep upon him, and ever a longing for the deeps of the Sea grew stronger in his heart. Therefore he built a great ship, and he named it Eärrámë, which is Sea-Wing; and with Idril Celebrindal he set sail into the sunset and the West, and came no more into any tale or song. But in after days it was sung that Tuor alone of mortal Men was numbered among the elder race, and was joined with the Noldor, whom he loved; and his fate is sundered from the fate of Men.
So realistically? Tuor died, or both of them died. If it wasn't from the perils of the voyage, it was of old age. Whether or not Idril reached the Houses of Mandos is a different question, but no one in ME would know the answer anyways.

I am actually rather fond of an odea that allows to reconcile Tuor's rumoured immortality and Idril's absence with the reality of the fate of Men. On their voyage westwards, they get entangled in the enchantments of the Sundering Seas. These enchantments are known, among other things, to distort time and space, to use the SciFi terminology. Tuor and Idril find themselves trapped in a bubble that is severed from the flow of time. For a backstory, say the ship crashes into a small island and they can never leave, and time literally doesn't pass for them. Then, in whatever spacewarp magic is involves in the Sundering Seas and the Straight Road separates the island from being physically accessjble from either plane of reality. Tuor and Idril indeed find themselves alive and together, suspended between worlds, out of Time, living forever without violating the Gift or needing to arrive anywhere. Not sure if they would be conscious, probably not, but they would still fulfill the legend. After all, the suspended-state-living works for Pharazon, exceot here it's accidental and sort of a good thing.

So rather than debunk an It Is Said fact, I would much rather create a story to support it. A sleeping timeless couple, suspended in time and forever in love until the end of the world will reshake the planes of reality and they will come apart to rejoin their respective races.



While looking for that paragraph, I also noticed its neighbour:
Quote:
Originally Posted by ibid
And it is said that in that time Ulmo came to Valinor out of the deep waters, and spoke there to the Valar of the need of the Elves; and he called on them to forgive them, and rescue them from the overmastering might of Morgoth, and win back the Silmarils, wherein alone now bloomed the light of the Days of Bliss when the Two Trees still shone in Valinor. But Manwë moved not; and of the counsels of his heart what tale shall tell?

The wise have said that the hour was not yet come, and that only one speaking in person for the cause of both Elves and Men, pleading for pardon on their misdeeds and pity on their woes, might move the counsels of the Powers; and the oath of Fëanor perhaps even Manwë could not loose, until it found its end, and the sons of Fëanor relinquished the Silmarils, upon which they had laid their ruthless claim. For the light which lit the Silmarils the Valar themselves had made.
So first they say good stuff about Ulmo, because they like him. And then they say excuses about Earendil, because how dare they cast Manwe in a bad light. Of course he wasn't just being heartless and obstinate! Also, this is just very convenient build up to Earendil. Cirdan's and Turgon's messengers failed, Tuor failed, but Earendil will succeed!
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Old 04-18-2021, 01:11 PM   #14
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I am actually rather fond of an odea that allows to reconcile Tuor's rumoured immortality and Idril's absence with the reality of the fate of Men. On their voyage westwards, they get entangled in the enchantments of the Sundering Seas. These enchantments are known, among other things, to distort time and space, to use the SciFi terminology. Tuor and Idril find themselves trapped in a bubble that is severed from the flow of time. For a backstory, say the ship crashes into a small island and they can never leave, and time literally doesn't pass for them. Then, in whatever spacewarp magic is involves in the Sundering Seas and the Straight Road separates the island from being physically accessjble from either plane of reality. Tuor and Idril indeed find themselves alive and together, suspended between worlds, out of Time, living forever without violating the Gift or needing to arrive anywhere. Not sure if they would be conscious, probably not, but they would still fulfill the legend. After all, the suspended-state-living works for Pharazon, exceot here it's accidental and sort of a good thing.

So rather than debunk an It Is Said fact, I would much rather create a story to support it. A sleeping timeless couple, suspended in time and forever in love until the end of the world will reshake the planes of reality and they will come apart to rejoin their respective races.
I kind of like the idea, but it also horrifies me. Let say they are conscious and aware of their predicament. It seems like a fate akin to the one that befell Hurin. To sit and watch, but helpless to do any actual deed. Only in this case I guess they would be in total ignorance of what is happening anywhere, which I am not sure is preferable to the torment of Melkor.
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Old 04-18-2021, 01:36 PM   #15
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I kind of like the idea, but it also horrifies me. Let say they are conscious and aware of their predicament. It seems like a fate akin to the one that befell Hurin. To sit and watch, but helpless to do any actual deed. Only in this case I guess they would be in total ignorance of what is happening anywhere, which I am not sure is preferable to the torment of Melkor.
Yeah, I think I prefer them to be in a sort of asleep-but-aware-of-each-other state, it seems the nicest. But even if they are conscious, it's still different from Hurin, who was experiencing every passing moment. If you are beyond time, how fast does time pass? How do you even experience consciousness? I don't know! Maybe the whole thing feels like a moment. Or maybe not. Maybe you don't feel the need to fill time with thought or action and just be there. Don't know!
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Old 04-18-2021, 05:53 PM   #16
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Honestly, if we're coming up with alternate Tuor and Idril takes, I'm going to make a case for "Beren & Lúthien 2.0." If, as there seems to be some evidence, they are never seen again, in Middle-earth or Valinor, isn't the simplest explanation that... they're both dead?


After all, if each retained their own fate, even a dead-in-this-world Idril would go to the Halls of Mandos and so their ever-sundered end could become known. If they're still alive, then... where? Arda is not endless.

But what if they both shared the Fate of Men? That's what happens to the other "Big 3" Elf-Man couples: Lúthien and Arwen both give up the Fate of the Elves and join the Fates of Men. And there's enough stuff in the Athrabêth and around the Gift of Men to suggest that this is how things are slanted: it's better to counted among Men and share their fate.

Even with the half-Elven, until the case of Eärendil and Elwing, Tolkien says that the default situation is that the half-Elven share the fates of Men, suggesting that this is the default case (the dominant gene, so to speak). The Choice given the surviving Pereldar is a Gift--you can't go back and ask Dior, Eluréd, or Elurín what they'd have preferred, not least because they've already departed the cirlces of this world.

Therefore, it seems to me, if Idril and Tuor shared the same fate, it seems far more likely that Idril must have enjoyed the Fate of Lútien than that Tuor became the sole exception in the opposite direction.
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Old 04-26-2021, 03:40 PM   #17
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Sort of stealing from an old thread of mine on misunderstandings based on dialect.

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Old 05-06-2021, 07:07 AM   #18
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The people of Laketown had barrel races. They would ride barrels across the lake and see who was the fastest. After all, why else would Barrel Rider clue Smaug into Laketown? Obviously Barrel Riding was extremely common, ergo Barrel Races.
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Old 05-06-2021, 07:38 AM   #19
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The people of Laketown had barrel races. They would ride barrels across the lake and see who was the fastest. After all, why else would Barrel Rider clue Smaug into Laketown? Obviously Barrel Riding was extremely common, ergo Barrel Races.
This must be true, because how else would Smaug know about the barrels? They came down-river all tied together in rafts, so would only be discernable as barrels from close up. Are we to imagine Smaug crouched down on the river-bank with a branch over his head, tail wagging slowly as he watches the barrel-rafts float past? Absurd!

The only possibility is that individual barrels were ridden regularly on the Long Lake itself, where Smaug could see them from his mountain. (There's not a lot that would look like a barrel being ridden, is there?) Humans being humans, competition - races - is an inevitability.

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Old 05-15-2021, 01:09 PM   #20
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I am currently reading a fanfic where one of the characters proposes that Amrod and Amras are the same person, because allegedly they are never seen together, and they are just all too identical even for twins.
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Old 05-17-2021, 01:45 AM   #21
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I am currently reading a fanfic where one of the characters proposes that Amrod and Amras are the same person, because allegedly they are never seen together, and they are just all too identical even for twins.
"No, he's Amras today."

The version of this I'm thinking of is even more extreme: it holds that after Amras was burned with the ships, his spirit possessed his brother on a sort of time-share basis. Voluntarily on both sides, naturally!

Which is very much the sort of thing Tolkien might have done! We know from the Glorfindel example that he was happy to employ the nature of Elvish life to resolve what he saw as conflicts between two "fixed" works: rather than changing either the Fall of Gondolin or LotR, he used Elvish reincarnation and the fact that it is possible to sail back from "heaven" under the right conditions. So, had he considered both "Amras burns at Losgar" and "Seven sons of Feanor in Beleriand" to be unchangeable texts, he might well have turned to the comments in LaCE on possession:

Quote:
Originally Posted by LaCE
Some say that the Houseless desire bodies, though they are not willing to seek them lawfully by submission to the judgement of Mandos. The wicked among them will take bodies, if they can, unlawfully. The peril of communing with them is, therefore, not only the peril of being deluded by fantasies or lies: there is peril also of destruction. For one of the hungry Houseless, if it is admitted to the friendship of the Living, may seek to eject the fea from its body; and in the contest for mastery the body may be gravely injured, even if it he not wrested from its rightful habitant. Or the Houseless may plead for shelter, and if it is admitted, then it will seek to enslave its host and use both his will and his body for its own purposes.
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Old 05-17-2021, 08:45 AM   #22
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"No, he's Amras today."

The version of this I'm thinking of is even more extreme: it holds that after Amras was burned with the ships, his spirit possessed his brother on a sort of time-share basis. Voluntarily on both sides, naturally!

Which is very much the sort of thing Tolkien might have done! We know from the Glorfindel example that he was happy to employ the nature of Elvish life to resolve what he saw as conflicts between two "fixed" works: rather than changing either the Fall of Gondolin or LotR, he used Elvish reincarnation and the fact that it is possible to sail back from "heaven" under the right conditions. So, had he considered both "Amras burns at Losgar" and "Seven sons of Feanor in Beleriand" to be unchangeable texts, he might well have turned to the comments in LaCE on possession:
Ah, so the whole thing is practically canonical!

I mean, I would jokingly think on occasion that Amrod and Amras must have been conjoined twins, they're always together. But this is even better! For the official history records!
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Old 05-17-2021, 02:34 PM   #23
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What if Ambarussa was actally one Elf with multiple personality disorder? Feanor, mindful of his family's reputation, just put it about that the "Amrod" and "Amras" personas were identical twin brothers....

Sort of like Zoot and her "identical twin sister" Dingo.
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Old 05-17-2021, 09:41 PM   #24
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Old 05-18-2021, 07:09 AM   #25
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In The Hobbit, Gandalf says of Beorn:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hobbit: Queer Lodgings
I cannot tell you much more, though that ought to be enough. Some say that he is a bear descended from the great and ancient bears of the mountains that lived there before the giants came. Others say that he is a man descended from the first men who lived before Smaug or the other dragons came into this part of the world, and before the goblins came into the hills out of the North. I cannot say, though I fancy the last is the true tale. He is not the sort of person to ask questions of.
Gandalf's preferred theory is that Beorn's people have been living in the Vale of Anduin since before the Fall of Thangorodrim - so pretty much since Men first passed through there. I say he's wrong: the evidence actually suggests that Beorn himself is one of those first Men. Consider:

- It is never said that Beorn is dead, only that his son has taken his title. One imagines an undying (not Immortal) skin-changer feels the need for change every now and then, so he could have just moved away. (We should ignore Tolkien's claim in Letter 144 that "Beorn is dead"; death of the author, etc.)

- We know that Men can attain unnaturally long life: there are 11 examples in the Third Age (the Nazgul, Gollum, and Bilbo), and a magician of Beorn's caliber could doubtless find a way. One clear possibility is the Tale of Adanel from the Athrabeth, in HoME X: it asserts that Men originally had unlimited life, with the Gift being only that they would leave Arda when they at last died. This was taken from them by Iluvatar because they worshipped Morgoth for a time - but perhaps Beorn had already left, abandoning his own race for the company of bears. He may even have gone off with Nuin the Dark Elf and Tu the Sorceror, if we can accept a bit of Lost Tales material.

- The first Man to enter Beleriand was named Beor - a name given to him by the elves, but taken from his own language. He can't be Beorn himself, but it says that the name is plausible for the time period.

- Most importantly, 'beorn' is an Elvish word. In fact it's the word for "Man", in Nandorin - the language of the elves east of the Misty Mountains, exactly where Beorn lived.

The only possibility is that Beorn is one of the first Men to awaken. He didn't stay among his people, but immediately headed west, learning along the way the magic that transforms him into a bear. By the time the Men of Hildorien fell into the worship of the Dark, he was safely ensconsed in the Vale of Anduin - and his name became the name for his entire race among the elves who dwelt there.

It's only logical, after all.

hS
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Old 05-26-2021, 05:24 AM   #26
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Glancing through the "It is said"s of the Appendices, there's a lot to work with. So we can firmly argue that:

- Elrond never fought Angmar. His/Rivendell's involvement carries not one but two 'it is said's. He just sat at home drinking Dorwinion wine while the men of Arnor fought and died.

- Aragorn I was not killed by wolves as it is said; much like Anakin Skywalker, he clearly defected to the enemy and became a leader of the Orc armies in the Misty Mountains. He may have lived long enough to be behind the capture and torture of Celebrian.

- The Witch-King was actually entirely absent from the Fall of Angmar - both his presence in Fornost and his appearance on the battlefield are 'said'.

- Gimli never went to Valinor. There's two mentions of the story, one with 'it is said' and the other 'we have heard tell'. Actually, Legolas just got bored with him and shot him in the back one day. "Does that only count as one?"

- There were actually sixty thousand Istari - it's only said there were five. The "five wizards" Gandalf mentions are just a club, like the Inklings.

The others are fairly boring; I'm not sure there's a lot you can do with 'maybe Merry and Pippin weren't entombed next to Aragorn!!!'.

hS
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Old 05-26-2021, 10:00 AM   #27
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"Beorn is dead." --JRR Tolkien.

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Beorn is dead; see vol. I p. 241. He appeared in The Hobbit. It was then the year Third Age 2940 (Shire-reckoning 1340). We are now in the years 3018-19 (1418-19). Though a skin-changer and no doubt a bit of a magician, Beorn was a Man.
Letter 144
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Old 05-26-2021, 11:51 AM   #28
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"Beorn is dead." --JRR Tolkien.

Letter 144
"(We should ignore Tolkien's claim in Letter 144 that "Beorn is dead"; death of the author, etc.)" -- Huinesoron, post #25.

Yeah, so I saw that after I'd written most of the post and decided not to scrap it just because - pfft - the actual author specifically denied it. (One could argue that 'Beorn is dead' doesn't strictly mean 'and had a normal Mannish lifespan'... but the full quote contradicts that too, at least by implication. ^_~)

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Old 05-26-2021, 05:27 PM   #29
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"(We should ignore Tolkien's claim in Letter 144 that "Beorn is dead"; death of the author, etc.)" -- Huinesoron, post #25.

Yeah, so I saw that after I'd written most of the post and decided not to scrap it just because - pfft - the actual author specifically denied it. (One could argue that 'Beorn is dead' doesn't strictly mean 'and had a normal Mannish lifespan'... but the full quote contradicts that too, at least by implication. ^_~)

hS
Yes, but was Beorn buried with a Silmaril? It seems nearly every dead personage in The Hobbit got one. Like costume jewelry. After all, Feanor could have sold the rights in perpetuity to a Chinese manufacturing firm that makes high-end knock offs: Coach, Gucci, Silmarils.
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Old 05-26-2021, 06:40 PM   #30
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Made under license from the Saul Zaentz Company d/b/a Feanorian Enterprises, by Weta Workshop of Goblin-Town
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Old 05-27-2021, 01:48 AM   #31
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Yes, but was Beorn buried with a Silmaril? It seems nearly every dead personage in The Hobbit got one. Like costume jewelry. After all, Feanor could have sold the rights in perpetuity to a Chinese manufacturing firm that makes high-end knock offs: Coach, Gucci, Silmarils.
Ah, well as it happens I can prove once and for all that the Arkenstone isn't a Silmaril - because the Silmarils weren't jewels.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Silm: Of the Silmarils
Then [Feanor] began a long and secret labour, and he summoned all his lore, and his power, and his subtle skill; and at the end of all he made the Silmarils.

>>>As<<< three great Jewels they were in form.
Yes, just like balrog shadows, the Silmarils had the appearance of something, without actually being that thing. Any later text simply calling them jewels is just carrying the analogy along, just like the wings spread wall to wall.

They were actually... paintings, maybe? Paintings would work. Makes Morgoth's crown look a little daft, but then, it always did.

hS
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Old 05-27-2021, 08:43 AM   #32
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They were actually... paintings, maybe? Paintings would work. Makes Morgoth's crown look a little daft, but then, it always did.
Holograms? That also explains some of their unique properties - like, hmm, why some people just can't hold them, or why they don't chip - and of course it explains how they literally have the light of the Trees in them!
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Old 05-27-2021, 12:16 PM   #33
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Ah, well as it happens I can prove once and for all that the Arkenstone isn't a Silmaril - because the Silmarils weren't jewels.



Yes, just like balrog shadows, the Silmarils had the appearance of something, without actually being that thing. Any later text simply calling them jewels is just carrying the analogy along, just like the wings spread wall to wall.
Quote:
suddenly it drew itself up to a great height, and >>>>its wings<<<< were spread from wall to wall;
I mean.
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Old 05-27-2021, 01:52 PM   #34
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I mean.
Exactly! So "the War of >>>the Jewels<<<", or "It came then into Beren's mind that he would go beyond his vow, and bear out of Angband all three of >>>the Jewels<<< of Fëanor" - exactly the same thing! The initial 'as', like the initial 'like' in "the shadow about it reached out like two vast wings", completely negates any later assertions that they're the same thing. I'm so glad we agree.

hS
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Old 05-27-2021, 02:30 PM   #35
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Exactly! So "the War of >>>the Jewels<<<", or "It came then into Beren's mind that he would go beyond his vow, and bear out of Angband all three of >>>the Jewels<<< of Fëanor" - exactly the same thing! The initial 'as', like the initial 'like' in "the shadow about it reached out like two vast wings", completely negates any later assertions that they're the same thing. I'm so glad we agree.

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Old 05-27-2021, 03:15 PM   #36
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I remain in the seen from afar seen from close argument. “That Looks like frank!” “It IS Frank.” The follow up is a confirmation of the previous supposition.
So, wait, you're trying to argue that my proof that the Silmarils aren't jewels is... somehow... WRONG? I think I shall faint.

Tell you what might be fun, and entirely on-topic for this thread: figuring out whether there's anything else it's possible to argue balrogs have in the text.

The obvious ("obvious") one is that Durin's Bane isn't actually humanoid! It's described as "of man-shape maybe", but it's clear they couldn't see all that well and just didn't get around to giving a better description. As becomes clear from "Its streaming mane kindled, and blazed behind it", and the way it keeps jumping around - it's actually a centaur.

A winged one.

hS
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Old 05-27-2021, 03:26 PM   #37
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Obviously the balrog did track and field in high school sprinting and long jumping. Mane is clearly describing long locks the balrog is Fabio
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Old 05-28-2021, 08:25 AM   #38
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When I hear "mane", the first thing I think about is a lion.

Which makes me wonder... I would not be susprised if someone somewhere (like in the 80s) depicted the Balrog as a manticore! (Ahem, obviously including, ahem, wings.)
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Old 05-28-2021, 11:59 AM   #39
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Ralph Bashkis Balrog is pretty close to be honest.
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Old 05-28-2021, 04:16 PM   #40
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Ralph Bashkis Balrog is pretty close to be honest.
Errr...no. As much as I like (in some ways) Bakshi's film, I agree with this classic website's take on the matter:

Quote:
The Balrog.(still: a really silly-looking Balrog)
- It has big red-and-black wings, kind of like a Monarch butterfly.
- It has the head of a big stuffed lion.
- It has big silly-looking feet. In fact, the Balrog is clearly wearing oversized fluffy bedroom-slippers.
...It's also noisy as hell, and makes a lot of big roaring Balrog-style noises. Obviously Bakshi had no access to Tolkien's Letters, particularly #210 to Forrest Ackerman:
"The Balrog never speaks or makes any vocal sound at all... [he] may think he knows more about Balrogs than I do, but he cannot expect me to agree with him."
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