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Old 11-17-2023, 10:44 AM   #1
Arvegil145
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Relationship between Thingol and Cirdan

Just as it says on the tin, what do you think was the familial relationship between Thingol and Cirdan?

Obviously there's no concrete answer to the question (yet), but I'd really like to hear other people's opinions on this - just for the fun of it!

We know that Thingol and Cirdan were related by blood:

Quote:
...he was akin to Olw, one of the two kings of the Teleri, and lord of those who departed over the Great Sea. He was thus also akin to Elw, Olw's elder brother, acknowledged as high-king of all the Teleri in Beleriand, even after he withdrew to the guarded realm of Doriath.
- The Peoples of Middle-earth, 'Last Writings', 'Crdan', p. 385

and especially this:

Quote:
Elwe himself had indeed long and beautiful hair of silver hue, but this does not seem to have been a common feature of the Sindar, though it was found among them occasionally, especially in the nearer or remoter kin of Elwe (as in the case of Crdan).
- The War of the Jewels, 'Quendi and Eldar', 'Sindar', p. 384


Personally, and there really is no good evidence for this, my head-canon is that Cirdan was Thingol's (and Olwe's) uncle. Why? No good reason other than the fact that Cirdan always struck me as the 'cool uncle' sort of guy - and also because Thingol's parents joined the Great March (at least according to one text in the NoME where Elmo, the younger brother of both Thingol and Olwe, was born during the said march), implying that at the very least some of the members of the generation preceding Thingol joined the Eldar.
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Old 11-17-2023, 12:48 PM   #2
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I'd say second cousin, and born after the Finding of the Eldar.

We know from PoME that Cirdan was originally named Nowe. In NoME, we learn in the latest Time & Aging texts XIII.1 & XVII.3 that Ingwe, Finwe, and Elwe were born between the Finding and the March.

Their generation (generations - technically Ingwe is a generation above, though roughly the same age) are the only ones confirmed to have -we names, excluding Finwe's reuse of his own name. Tolkien provides a family tree for Ingwe: Ilion - Ingwe - Ingwil.

It is *wild* speculation to say that after the Finding, -we names came into fashion around Cuivienen, but I'm doing it anyway.

How close a cousin? Your WJ quite slightly implies Cirdan is "remoter kin" of Elwe, but that's by comparison with his brothers and their descendents. We know the grandchildren of Finwe considered each other close kin (first cousins); we know Elrond and Celebrian weren't seen as kin, despite sharing great-great grandparents through Elwe and Elmo (third cousins); so would sharing great- grandparents make you distant kin?

It's the most tenuous chain of logic, but I like it. Cirdan Nowe is Elu Thingol's second cousin.

hS
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Old 11-19-2023, 07:04 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Huinesoron View Post
I'd say second cousin, and born after the Finding of the Eldar.

We know from PoME that Cirdan was originally named Nowe. In NoME, we learn in the latest Time & Aging texts XIII.1 & XVII.3 that Ingwe, Finwe, and Elwe were born between the Finding and the March.

Their generation (generations - technically Ingwe is a generation above, though roughly the same age) are the only ones confirmed to have -we names, excluding Finwe's reuse of his own name. Tolkien provides a family tree for Ingwe: Ilion - Ingwe - Ingwil.

It is *wild* speculation to say that after the Finding, -we names came into fashion around Cuivienen, but I'm doing it anyway.

How close a cousin? Your WJ quite slightly implies Cirdan is "remoter kin" of Elwe, but that's by comparison with his brothers and their descendents. We know the grandchildren of Finwe considered each other close kin (first cousins); we know Elrond and Celebrian weren't seen as kin, despite sharing great-great grandparents through Elwe and Elmo (third cousins); so would sharing great- grandparents make you distant kin?

It's the most tenuous chain of logic, but I like it. Cirdan Nowe is Elu Thingol's second cousin.

hS
1) Good point about the "-w" names; however, as you said, Ingwe was one step removed from the generation of Finwe, Elwe (Thingol) and Olwe, so following that logic it's not inconceivable that Nowe (Cirdan) belonged to the same generation as Ingwe (i.e. the generation to which Thingol's and Olwe's parents belonged to).

Also, as an aside, where do you think Lenwe, the first chieftain of the Nandor, fits in this framework of "-w" names? Do you think he also might've been a descendant of Enel and Enelye, like Thingol and Olwe?


P.S. I just remembered that Aranwe and Voronwe exist - but they were born long after the time of the Three Ambassadors' journey to Aman (well, at least Voronwe was: we don't have a clue when Aranwe was born).


2) As to your point about Cirdan possibly belonging to Thingol's "remoter kin", I remembered that I completely overlooked a crucial quote from the PoME:

Quote:
Thus he [Cirdan] forfeited the fulfilment of his greatest desire: to see the Blessed Realm and find again there Olw and his own nearest kin.
- The Peoples of Middle-earth, 'Last Writings', 'Crdan', p. 386

This quote (to me, at least) implies that Cirdan was closely related to Olwe (and Thingol by extension) - therefore, I don't think his relationship to Thingol/Olwe was anything remoter than them being at least first cousins.

With that said, perhaps I'm twisting that quote too much, and if someone else has an alternative reading, I'd be happy to hear it!
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Old 11-19-2023, 11:29 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Arvegil145 View Post
1) Good point about the "-w" names; however, as you said, Ingwe was one step removed from the generation of Finwe, Elwe (Thingol) and Olwe, so following that logic it's not inconceivable that Nowe (Cirdan) belonged to the same generation as Ingwe (i.e. the generation to which Thingol's and Olwe's parents belonged to).
To be more precise I should have said "-wē" names, because all four of the names I was discussing have to be some form of Primitive Quendian. Voronw is a Quenya name; I think the vowel sound is actually different, because Nōwē has a long vowel, while Voronw's umlaut is just marking that the vowel is pronounced.

Tolkien Gateway lists eight -wē names from "Cuivienen and the Great March": Morw, Nurw, Ingw, Finw, Elw, Olw, Now, Lenw. All of them seem to have been energetic leaders, and given we know there were other name-forms around at the time (Ilion, Ingwil), it's hard to see that as pure coincidence. Notably, if Morw and Nurw's leadership of the Avari coexists with the presence of the Unbegotten at the Great Debate, the -wē leaders have more authority than the six who founded the entire race.

I think it's very plausible that all of those leaders were born in the Golden Age of Cuivienen - after they were found by Orome, when there were gods and powers walking among them on a daily basis. (NoME says that the Istari and Melian were the Guardians of Cuivienen even when the various Valar weren't present.) The elves who take the lead in big decisions are the ones who have known the Powers literally since birth.

That's about a 200 year span (per NoME). Ingwe was a generation up from Finwe and Elwe, but he was only a few decades older than them; his family must include multiple generations of "later babies" to push it down the ladder to the end of the generation. Cirdan, however, needs to share a recent ancestor with Thingol, so can't have diverged too much in the timing of the babies. I still think he's most likely a cousin.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Arvegil145 View Post
2) As to your point about Cirdan possibly belonging to Thingol's "remoter kin", I remembered that I completely overlooked a crucial quote from the PoME:

This quote (to me, at least) implies that Cirdan was closely related to Olwe (and Thingol by extension) - therefore, I don't think his relationship to Thingol/Olwe was anything remoter than them being at least first cousins.
Um, hmm. Not sure on "Olw and his own nearest kin" implying Olwe is one of his nearest kin. I think it might imply the opposite - "I ran into my boss and my closest friends" doesn't mean my boss is my buddy! I feel like "nearest" implies parents, siblings, etc, not cousins of any degree. But it is all total speculation, of course!

(For ultra extra bonus speculation: if Ingwe's father was Ilion, does that imply Nowe's was *Nolion? Was Finwe son of *Fion, and Elwe the eldest son of *Elion? Can we extend this to brothers, via Elmo - do *Nolmo, *Finno, *Ingmo exist as potential March-born brothers? DEFINITELY NOT but I amuse myself, at least. ^_^)

hS
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Old 11-21-2023, 05:44 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Huinesoron View Post
To be more precise I should have said "-wē" names, because all four of the names I was discussing have to be some form of Primitive Quendian. Voronw is a Quenya name; I think the vowel sound is actually different, because Nōwē has a long vowel, while Voronw's umlaut is just marking that the vowel is pronounced.
I'm well aware of that, but I'm (generally) too lazy to copy/paste strange characters these days, unless they're part of a quote.

Quote:
Tolkien Gateway lists eight -wē names from "Cuivienen and the Great March": Morw, Nurw, Ingw, Finw, Elw, Olw, Now, Lenw. All of them seem to have been energetic leaders, and given we know there were other name-forms around at the time (Ilion, Ingwil), it's hard to see that as pure coincidence. Notably, if Morw and Nurw's leadership of the Avari coexists with the presence of the Unbegotten at the Great Debate, the -wē leaders have more authority than the six who founded the entire race.
Again, I know, since I'm one of the more active editors on TG - however, I believe that the characters of Morwe and Nurwe were ultimately abandoned.

Quote:
I think it's very plausible that all of those leaders were born in the Golden Age of Cuivienen - after they were found by Orome, when there were gods and powers walking among them on a daily basis. (NoME says that the Istari and Melian were the Guardians of Cuivienen even when the various Valar weren't present.) The elves who take the lead in big decisions are the ones who have known the Powers literally since birth.

That's about a 200 year span (per NoME). Ingwe was a generation up from Finwe and Elwe, but he was only a few decades older than them; his family must include multiple generations of "later babies" to push it down the ladder to the end of the generation. Cirdan, however, needs to share a recent ancestor with Thingol, so can't have diverged too much in the timing of the babies. I still think he's most likely a cousin.
I'm not sure how Ingwe being part of the generation above Finwe/Elwe/Olwe has any relation to Cirdan (possibly) belonging to the same generation as Ingwe: he could easily have been a younger sibling of (one of) Thingol's parents.


Quote:
Um, hmm. Not sure on "Olw and his own nearest kin" implying Olwe is one of his nearest kin. I think it might imply the opposite - "I ran into my boss and my closest friends" doesn't mean my boss is my buddy! I feel like "nearest" implies parents, siblings, etc, not cousins of any degree. But it is all total speculation, of course!
You're right! Which is why I asked about different interpretations of this quote in the first place - though I do wonder about your interpretation of that quote, since Cirdan is held in such a very high regard by Thingol (and everyone else, for that matter).

This, of course, could've been just a case of high-positioned Elves in Beleriand (such as Thingol) recognizing Cirdan's inherent talents, but given that Cirdan ruled an entire realm (Falas), I can't help but wonder (Tolkien being Tolkien) if Cirdan was very closely related to Thingol/Olwe.



P.S. Were Enel and Enelye silver-haired? Was it their line of descent that introduced silver/white hair among the Teleri? I don't think there's a concrete answer, but to me it seems natural.
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Old 11-21-2023, 10:05 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Arvegil145 View Post
I'm well aware of that, but I'm (generally) too lazy to copy/paste strange characters these days, unless they're part of a quote.

Again, I know, since I'm one of the more active editors on TG - however, I believe that the characters of Morwe and Nurwe were ultimately abandoned.
Apologies, wasn't trying to talk down to you. In the second case I was mostly surprised by how many -wes there actually are!

hS
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Old 11-21-2023, 09:41 PM   #7
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Apologies, wasn't trying to talk down to you. In the second case I was mostly surprised by how many -wes there actually are!

hS
No worries! I never interpreted your statements as any kind of talking down.
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Old 11-22-2023, 03:33 AM   #8
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Um, hmm. Not sure on "Olw and his own nearest kin" implying Olwe is one of his nearest kin. I think it might imply the opposite - "I ran into my boss and my closest friends" doesn't mean my boss is my buddy! I feel like "nearest" implies parents, siblings, etc, not cousins of any degree. But it is all total speculation, of course!
The problem I have with your analogy is that in the texts that I quoted previously it is well established that Olwe was related to Cirdan - and that the quote about "Olwe and his own nearest kin" in the context of the texts I mentioned before makes me think that 'Olwe' and 'nearest kin' were meant to be included together, especially given Cirdan's peculiar closeness to Olwe in multiple texts.

I hope that makes sense.


An additional point I failed to raise: Eol was also Thingol's kinsman, but he didn't seem to wield that much authority (aside from Nan Elmoth), unlike Cirdan who was held in high regard by both Thingol and the Sindar (as well as many of the Noldor).

And given how Tolkien had a habit of assigning authority to people who were closely related to other nobility, I wouldn't be surprised if Cirdan was no exception.
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Old 11-22-2023, 10:47 AM   #9
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I believe that the characters of Morwe and Nurwe were ultimately abandoned.
I'm not sure we can really call them abandoned. Morwe and Nurwe appear in the Annals of Aman typescript, which CT dates to ca. 1958. That makes it pretty much the last thing Tolkien did before working on the ca. 1959 "Time and Aging" material. It's true that they're not named in that material, but there is this quote, from exactly the time the Unbegotten entered the narrative:

Quote:
Originally Posted by NoME VII
Elvish lords or Kings... tended to hand on lordship and affairs to their descendents if they could or were engrossed in some pursuit. Often... after passing 200 age-years they would resign.
By the last "Time and Aging" text (XIII.1), the Three Fathers are involved in the Great Debate, in one version of which they are explicitly jealous of the authority the Ambassadors are gathering. But in the last version in that text, the Fathers went to Aman with the Ambassadors, and two of them wanted to go back; the paragraph indicating that they all stayed was explicitly deleted by Tolkien. So the final-final version may imply that only Enel stayed by Cuivienen, which leaves space for Morwe and Nurwe as "young leaders" of the Avari. I don't think there's a post-1959 telling of the Debate, though I may be wrong.

Anyway, leaving Enel to his fate, what about Cirdan? I quite like your point about important families, and the stuff about the Debate feeds into it: Ingwe, Finwe, and Elwe were leaders because they were descended in direct male line from the Three Fathers. Then virtually every grandson of Finwe winds up ruling someplace or another.

I was dubious, because Elmo and his line appear to do nothing except for Celeborn and Nimloth, but a) that's partly because they were invented so late, and b) younger brothers being subordinate to their elders is pretty typical. Finrod's siblings all answered to him, for instance.

I still think they're of an age, and that cousin is more likely than uncle, but I'm willing to be persuaded on "first cousin".

Which seems to be about the degree of kinship Eol exhibits, come to think of it - he acts as an independent ruler who owes a certain degree of fealty to the senior line, much like House Finarfin to Fingolfin. Were Nowe and Eol brothers? Or (if "Tatyarin Eol" is accepted), are they both first cousins to Thingol, with Eol's mother being of the Second Kindred? What would the Primitive Quendian version of Eol be, anyway?

hS
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Old 11-22-2023, 05:33 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Huinesoron View Post
I'm not sure we can really call them abandoned. Morwe and Nurwe appear in the Annals of Aman typescript, which CT dates to ca. 1958. That makes it pretty much the last thing Tolkien did before working on the ca. 1959 "Time and Aging" material. It's true that they're not named in that material, but there is this quote, from exactly the time the Unbegotten entered the narrative:
Are you implying that Morwe and Nurwe were descendants of Imin/Tata/Enel? Because that would be a pretty interesting development.

However, given the fact that the Elf-fathers (with possible exception of Enel) were pretty dead-set on keeping their authority, even after c. 2,000 years had passed since the Awakening of the Elves, I'm not quite sure about them relegating their authority to Morwe/Nurwe after the Eldar/Avar split.

Also, slightly off-topic, but the name 'Morwe' (for whatever reason) makes me think that he was a Tatyarin Elf (maybe even a relative of Finwe - though he was certainly older than Finwe due to the fact that he was born before Orome found the Quendi! Of course, this is just bat**** speculation); same with Nurwe, who strikes me as a Nelyarin Elf - perhaps another descendant of Enel who decided to stay at Cuivienen and was groomed for leadership by Enel (though Nurwe was also older than Thingol and probably his parents too)!

And before I end my wild speculations, I just remembered a passage by CT from The War of the Jewels, Note 12 to the 'Quendi and Eldar', p. 418:

Quote:
The story found in the 'Annals of Aman' of the kindreds of Morw and Nurw, who refused the summons of the Valar and became the Avari (X.81-2, 88, 168), had been abandoned.
However, I strongly disagree with CT's interpretation of the situation - it seems that he based his conclusion on the simple fact that Morwe and Nurwe are not mentioned in the first phase of the 'Later Quenta'.

But I digress.

Quote:
By the last "Time and Aging" text (XIII.1), the Three Fathers are involved in the Great Debate, in one version of which they are explicitly jealous of the authority the Ambassadors are gathering. But in the last version in that text, the Fathers went to Aman with the Ambassadors, and two of them wanted to go back; the paragraph indicating that they all stayed was explicitly deleted by Tolkien. So the final-final version may imply that only Enel stayed by Cuivienen, which leaves space for Morwe and Nurwe as "young leaders" of the Avari. I don't think there's a post-1959 telling of the Debate, though I may be wrong.
Can you elaborate? Because that entire mess of texts in the NoME dealing with the number of ambassadors makes my head hurt! Is there by any chance a date-by-date chronology of the texts regarding the ambassadors, and which version was final?

However, as to your second point, wouldn't it make much more sense that the original 144 Elves and their immediate descendants would've been the most attached to their place of origin and most resistant to change? Not that this argument really matters if Tolkien ultimately decided against it.

Quote:
I still think they're of an age, and that cousin is more likely than uncle, but I'm willing to be persuaded on "first cousin".
Well, after spending way too much time pondering the intricacies of their hypothetical genealogy, my conclusion is that either:

a) Thingol and Cirdan are first cousins

or

b) Cirdan is Thingol's uncle

With that said, both of these theories are not exactly foolproof, to put it mildly.

Quote:
Which seems to be about the degree of kinship Eol exhibits, come to think of it - he acts as an independent ruler who owes a certain degree of fealty to the senior line, much like House Finarfin to Fingolfin. Were Nowe and Eol brothers? Or (if "Tatyarin Eol" is accepted), are they both first cousins to Thingol, with Eol's mother being of the Second Kindred? What would the Primitive Quendian version of Eol be, anyway?
'Tatyarin Eol' was rejected by Tolkien in his (very) old age - but who knows if he would have made up some other origin for him, or otherwise returned to that same idea if he lived long enough.

And as to Cirdan and Eol being brothers...well...that would've been a plot twist

Quote:
What would the Primitive Quendian version of Eol be, anyway?
Oh boy, now you're kicking the hornet's nest: the truth is, the name 'Eol' hasn't been changed in the slightest from the 1910's to the 1970's.

In fact, it has gotten so bad that Tolkien eventually just threw his arms up in the air and said "screw it, sometimes names don't really mean anything" - which hasn't prevented language nerds digging through obsure scribbles and linguistic journals trying to find some clue. In fact, in a recent Discord discussion at the Vinye Lambengolmor server I proposed that the name might be of Khuzdul origin (one of my more out-there ideas, to be honest).

But my post is already way too long as it is.
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