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Old 01-12-2007, 02:54 AM   #1
Wayland
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Silmaril The Elves - What have they ever done for us?

Having seen the Elves in action at Helms Deep (film) I was disappointed to find so little of it (notwithstanding Legolas) in the book.

There is a brief mention of some skirmish by Treebeard in 'Many Partings':

"For there was a great inrush of those, burarum, those evileyed .... etc. etc. ... and they came over the River and down from the North and all round the woods of Laurelindorenan, which they could not get into, thanks to the Great ones who are here. He bowed to the Lord and Lady of Lorien."

I know they gave aid in other ways, but as an ex-RuneQuest gamer (and archer) who always had a major penchant for elves amongst his player characters, I was hoping to read more of their glorious bow-twanging exploits.

Is there any mention elsewhere of such deeds?
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Old 01-12-2007, 03:12 AM   #2
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IN the War of the Ring, Thranduil's forces were busy fighting in Mirkwood--with the "Woodmen" or Beornings no doubt against the forces of Dol Guldur. I suppose that they really couldn't come galloping to the defense of Gondor any more than could the Dwarves or Erebor or the men of Dale: they were too busy fighting in or around their own lands.

The Rivendell(and presumably Linden) elves seem to be more inactive--they're weary of Middle-Earth and many of them are just biding their time to leave. But they do play an active role in supporting the Dunedain in their defense of the few habitable places left in Eriador, not to mention their fostering of Aragorn, Valandil and possibly others.

Earlier in the Third Age they were quite active against Angmar and they did fight alongside men of both Gondor and Arthedain(and what's left of Cardolan?) against the Witchking. It is Cirdan's Elves who search for and find Arvedui amount the Ice-men of Forochel. And forces from Rivendell and Lindon fight with the armies from Arthedain and Gondor.

Perhaps by the time of the third age they were too few and too weary to do much else? Or perhaps they too were busy defending their realms from the various beasts and "ruffians" that were marauding around Eriador?

This is just the Third Age. Of course in the Second Age there was the Last Alliance, and the entire Silmarillion is an account of the Elves of Beleriand fighting a centuries-long war against Morgoth.

Appendices A and B in the LOTR is the source of a lot of this information--there are probably others as well.
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Old 01-12-2007, 03:14 AM   #3
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Sauron's forces fought major battles with the elves of both Mirkwood and Lorien at the same time as the assault on Minas Tirith, pressumably to prevent the elves coming to the aid of Gondor.
They are refered to (very briefly) in The Tale of Years in the appendices to The Lord of The Rings.
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Old 01-12-2007, 06:07 AM   #4
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Tolkien

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Originally Posted by B?icho
the entire Silmarillion is an account of the Elves of Beleriand fighting a centuries-long war against Morgoth.

Appendices A and B in the LOTR is the source of a lot of this information--there are probably others as well.
Thanks guys, I'll check the appendices. I was unsure regarding the Silmarillion. I borrowed it from the library many years ago and had to renew it several times in order to get through it. For the life of me, I can't remember a single thing I read in it - just a vague memory of a tsunami of names. I recall finally handing it back to the smug librarian (finished are we?) with a kind of blurred zombified feeling.

Having read the Silmarillion thread, I should perhaps gird my loins, think of England and do battle with this tome once more!!!

Or perhaps not just yet... I'll check the appendices first.
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Old 01-12-2007, 07:10 AM   #5
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Silmarillion was tough for me to get through the first time, but if you can manage to do it, and if you look at it from the right angle it's really an amazing creation by ole T'.
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Old 01-12-2007, 10:53 AM   #6
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Wayland, go read Appendix A and B. They will tell you all about it.
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Old 01-12-2007, 12:22 PM   #7
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Hi Wayland,

I found the names in the Silmarillion confusing the first time and (the second!) I was lucky that I had both the Tolkien Companion (JEA Tyler ) and Fosters "Complete Guide to Middle Earth" to help me through.

I seem to remember preferring the Tyler but either would be useful and are available on Amazon fairly cheaply if the library hasn't got them.

The Silmarillion is great but it is a much harder read than the LOTR though shorter.

You may want to try "Unfinished Tales" as well as the appendices. Although they are ideas and drafts a lot of it is more "user friendly" then the Silmarillion and has some more information on Galadriel and Celeborn, Thranduil's elves at the Last Alliance, Elvish interraction with the men of Numenor as well as stuff about the wizard and the palantiri and Gandalf's version of the beginning of the Hobbit.

Christopher Tolkien has edited a complete version of "The tale of the Children of Hurin" (Of Turin Turambar from the Silmarillion plus other elements published later in Unfinished Tales and the History of Middle Earth) Although the heros are mortals there is a lot of elvish involvement and this single more developed storyline may be more approachable when it is published in April.

You may well be able to get the "Tolkien Audio Collection" through the library too - It has JRRT reading bits of the Hobbit and LOTR and Christopher reading quite long extracts from the Silmarillion. I found it helped hearing it read - and you get a more or less definitive pronounciation guide on some of those names...
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Old 01-12-2007, 12:33 PM   #8
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Argh, I only skim-read your response, Mith - got all excited, rushed over to amazon...only to find, as you of course pointed out, that it isn't published til April. I can't wait...I think it's the best story Tolkien wrote. I'd like to know how Christopher resolves the despair issue that we debated on the Downs a while back - does Hurin die in despair, or with the anger passed from him as in the Sil....?
Anyway, this is thread-hijacking of the worst kind. Sorry. I just get easily carried away about Hurin....
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Old 01-12-2007, 12:44 PM   #9
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For convenience

This links to the official website which Davem posted in Announcements a while back.
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Old 01-12-2007, 01:56 PM   #10
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Just wanted to add that the Silmarillion and the UT are indeed good sources of information.
But the History of Middle-earth series also provides you with some very interesting texts on the Eldar and their customs and history. Some are quite in-depth, so if you are interested I strongly recommebd buying this book.
The Letters of Tolkien might also add some other pieces of information, but aren't really a must.
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Old 01-12-2007, 02:10 PM   #11
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That is true but HOME especially is a slightly premature step until the Silmarillion/UT has been grasped perhaps....

Of course the volumes containing the drafts of the LOTR are rather more approachable but won't provide so much info on elves....

If you can't get hold of the Guide or Companion but have good net access the Encyclopedia of Arda is a useful reference website - but the books are more convenient.

And Lal .. I am really looking forward to the "new book" - even though I find Morwen a bit ... well as Bertie Wooster might say it isn't hard to distinguish her from a ray of sunshine ..and I am not usually one of nature's optimists...
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Old 01-12-2007, 04:32 PM   #12
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When it comes to elves fighting Sauron, I just think of the saying "Been there, done that....(bought the T-shirt ) Probably one reason why they were so weary and worn out, been fighting the same battles forever....
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Old 01-12-2007, 05:02 PM   #13
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I don't know if I can add much more than what's already been said, but here's a few more things about the Elven involvement in the Third Age.

Sauron had a smart strategy planned. Back at the end of the Second Age and the Last Alliance, Elves and Men combined to be a mighty force and they did overthrow and defeat Sauron. By the War of the Ring in the Third Age Sauron wanted to avoid this from happening again. He figured Gondor was going to be the toughest, plus he hated Gondor. He hated Isildur for taking the Ring from him and he hated Isildur's City. Therefor Gondor was going to bare the brunt of Sauron's attack.

What Sauron's strategy was is quite brilliant, and probably why we don't see Elves come to Gondor's aid in the way they united back in the Second Age. Sauron's strategy was to tie up any possible allies and prevent them from uniting with Gondor. Rohan was probably Gondor's strongest ally so he pulls Saruman to his side, to get Saruman to attack and tie up Rohan. He also sends an Easterling force to siege the Dwarves of Erebor and the Men of Dale. He sends his armies from Dol Guldur to attack the Elves of Mirkwood, and out of Moria comes the armies that would attack Lorien. To prevent Elves and other allies from uniting with Gondor he goes and attacks them and forces them to take the defensive. Definitely a good plan, it didn't work out the way he planned it, but nevertheless a good strategy.

Besides militarily lending aid, the Elves had also lent aid through council, gifts and rest. It was Elrond and Gandalf who did the main planning as far as the formation of the Fellowship and what they were going to do with the Ring.

When the Fellowship got to Lorien they had a much needed rest and were there for 1 month. The Fellowship needed both mental and physical rest. Also Galadriel and Celeborn help out the Fellowship through their gifts. The Elven cloaks, the elven boats, the lembas, the Phial of Galadriel all go to aid the Fellowship (and especially Frodo) through their journey. It was also Galadriel that sent the Dunedain to Aragorn and company:
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'They answered a summons, as you heard,' said Gimli. 'Word came to Rivendell, they say: Aragorn had need of his kindred. Let the Dunedain ride to him in Rohan! But whence this message came they are now in doubt. Gandalf sent it, I would guess.'
'Nay, Galadriel,' said Legolas. 'Did she not speak through Gandalf of the ride of the Grey Company from the North?'
'Yes, you have it,' said Gimli. 'The Lady of the Wood! She read many hearts and desires. Now why did not we wish for some of our own kinsfolk, Legolas?'~The Passing of the Grey Company
Eventhough if The Elves were not militarily able to fight Sauron like they had in the past. As many of them had left, or been in the process of leaving Middle-earth. They still aided Men in other ways and in whatever ways they could.
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Old 01-13-2007, 06:36 AM   #14
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Also, it should be remembered that there were no longer enough high elves to make up much more than a small (although extremely high quality) force such as when Glorfindel made his prophecy about the Witch King having come to the aid of Earnur (?). In the lettes Tolkien makes it clear in the letters that there are few of them left, most having passed over sea after the collapse of Lindon as a realm following the death of Gilgalad. Rivendell is a large household not a kingdom.

The Silvan elves were also diminished - Thranduil lost two thirds of his army and therefore adult male population in Mordor and would have lostt more in the battle opf the 5 Armies.
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Old 01-15-2007, 03:30 AM   #15
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Ring

Thanks guys. I read through the appendices this weekend and found them very informative. There is so much background information that I almost feel a Lotr re-read is justified.

But I is left feeling a bit lyke Samwise after 'is Lembas; it's got all the stuff you need to keep going, Master Frodo, but don't quite satisfy the appetite, if you know what I mean.

The outline of the Lorien & Mirkwood campaigns was fascinating and I would be interested to discover whether Tolkein ever developed these episodes into a more fleshed-out tale in any of his scattered writings?

You have mentioned works I've never heard of: HOME & the Tolkien Companion (JEA Tyler) and Fosters "Complete Guide to Middle Earth". Is the HOME a Tolkein work? and is the "Complete Guide" a worthwhile purchase?
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Old 01-15-2007, 03:49 AM   #16
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Quote:
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But I is left feeling a bit lyke Samwise after 'is Lembas; it's got all the stuff you need to keep going, Master Frodo, but don't quite satisfy the appetite, if you know what I mean.
Oooh, careful! That's how you get hooked on Tolkien - because of all those tempting little gaps where you just need to find out more!

Quote:
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You have mentioned works I've never heard of: HOME & the Tolkien Companion (JEA Tyler) and Fosters "Complete Guide to Middle Earth". Is the HOME a Tolkein work? and is the "Complete Guide" a worthwhile purchase?
Yep. HoME is basically a 13 volume (including index) work edited and put toegther by Christopher Tolkien from all Tolkien's notes and drafts. It's an epic work, and a daunting one too at times. It's NOT a story though, so don't expect that - but it's a 'must-have' as you get more into Tolkien's work.

Foster's Complete Guide is an A-Z reference of Tolkien's work and is most definitely worth buying - it's the best, most straightforward guide, is accurate and most importantly, can be got cheap!
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Old 01-15-2007, 03:55 AM   #17
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I used to have the Foster guide when I was a kid; it incorporated the Silm as well as TH and LOTR.

Do the new editions cover things from UT or HoME as well, I wonder?
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Old 01-15-2007, 04:30 AM   #18
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I don't know if there were any new editions. I presume there must be. I'll look that one up. I know davem has a nice hardback copy with colour plate illustrations by Ted Nasmith but I've never checked if it's updated text to be honest! Why? I tend to use my ancient paperback copy - might well be the same one you used, Bricho; it used to 'live' next to the novels as it was so invaluable for reference.

Illustrated version and non-illustrated version . The Lord of the Rings, a Reader's Companion closely mirrors the text of Lord of the Rings and is superb for a close read-through, fully recommended. And once hooked, this is the mother of all guides

Avoid David Day 'reference' books, though, as they're very pretty (well, the Bestiary is, anyway) but not accurate at all.

But if anyone is stuck for cash, just try the Encyclopedia of Arda website.
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Old 01-15-2007, 09:57 AM   #19
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But really, Wayland, what you want to read, to get more of Tolkien's Elves, is The Silmarillion. Mind you, it's not a happy tale where the Elves win out, but where heroic Elf after heroic Elf goes down in battle against their evil foe Morgoth; I won't give away the ending. You should also know that reading The Silmarillion is like reading old lore instead of a crackling good yarn. But it's worth it.
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Old 01-15-2007, 10:46 AM   #20
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But really, Wayland, what you want to read, to get more of Tolkien's Elves, is The Silmarillion. Mind you, it's not a happy tale where the Elves win out, but where heroic Elf after heroic Elf goes down in battle against their evil foe Morgoth; I won't give away the ending. You should also know that reading The Silmarillion is like reading old lore instead of a crackling good yarn. But it's worth it.
Ahhh yes. I'm coming to that conclusion myself. I have a fist full of Waterstone's vouchers from Santa, so I may be tempted. The Foster's Complete Guide, as recommended by Lalwendë, seems to be worth a look at too.
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