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PostPosted: Mon Jan 15, 2007 2:54 am 
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Hope nobody minds, but I linked to this great discussion in a tORn RR post, regarding Túrin, final prophecy, and a possible end to The Tale of the Children of Húrin. Not much action over there, but it was a lingering thing that I wanted to complete. Now that its over, I'll be more vigilant here. :)

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 15, 2007 3:42 am 
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I definitely don't mind, dna. I'd like there to be more cross-pollination between the different folks discussing Tolkien.

And I'm glad you think its a great discussion! :)

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 15, 2007 9:35 am 
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Voronwë_the_Faithful wrote:
I definitely don't mind, dna. I'd like there to be more cross-pollination between the different folks discussing Tolkien.

I see someone's being influenced by their avatar :D


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 28, 2007 3:19 am 
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Sassafras wrote:
Athrabeth wrote:
Sassy wrote:
I have a huge problem with Túrin escaping the Doom of Men, the circles of the world, and returning to a) slay Morgoth, b) slay Ancalagon or c) be counted among the sons of the Valar.


I actually don't see it as "escaping the Doom of Men". With the remaking of Arda, the "circles of the world" would become a thing of the past, from my understanding of Tolkien's cosmogony. Arda Remade and Healed would not, I believe, be constrained any longer by the space/time continuum....it would, in essence, be heaven


No. That's just too neat, it ties up loose ends and wraps them nicely in a ... a .... Christian package. That is not how I perceive the Silmarillion.


I don’t know about it being a specifically “Christian package". I think it definitely fits within a broader mythological tradition of the “End of Days”, where there seems to be four possible outcomes: the complete and final annihilation of the world and all it contains, the “rebirth” or regeneration of the world to begin the cycle all over again, the destruction of the “wicked” or “faithless” and the redemption/reward of the “chosen” or “enlightened”, and the “remaking” of a blemished, woeful world into a transcendently blissful, “timeless” paradise (which has been, I guess, my personal take on “what’s most likely in store” for Arda).

For me, the scenario of Túrin issuing forth from the Halls of Mandos to engage in the final battle with Morgoth, and Eärendil descending from the heavens to “drive him from the airs”, seems more consistent with the historical myths of the Elder Days than the Athrabeth’s not-so-subtle hints that Eru will enter into Arda in order to heal its Marring. Although I consider the Athrabeth to be a powerfully compelling work (and one that I truly love), I’ve always had a real problem with this aspect of the debate. Quite honestly, it pulls me right out of the mythological structure that is the foundation of my own “belief” in Tolkien’s cosmology because of its resonating (and far too obvious IMO) Christian undertones. Even the Downfall of Númenor, with all its Old Testament parallels, doesn’t jar me as much as the idea that Eru will somehow be manifested in flesh and blood. I’m just not comfortable with this late turn in the direction of the myth, along with other “re-thinkings” in “Myths Transformed”, and (I know I’m in perilous territory here) I’m rather unimpressed with Tolkien’s own assertion in his Commentaries on the Athrabeth that the Second Prophesy could not be “true” Elvish lore, but is instead a solely “Mannish” interpretation of that lore. This, I find to be quite perplexing, as I believe Tolkien was also working on the Annals of Aman at about the same time (late ‘50’s) and in that work, he writes (as cited in “Morgoth’s Ring”):

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Then Varda went forth from the council , and she looked out from the height of Tanequetil, and beheld the darkness of the Earth beneath the innumerable stars, faint and far. Then she began a great labour, the greatest of all the works of the Valar since their coming unto Arda.

Now Varda took the light that issued from Telperion and was stored in Valinor and she made stars newer and brighter. And many other of the ancient stars she gathered together and set as signs in the heavens of Arda. The greatest of these was Menelmakar, the Swordsman of the Sky. This, it is said, was a sign of Túrin Turambar, who should come into the world, and a foreshadowing of the Last Battle that shall be at the End of Days.


Is this another “Mannish” interpretation or, as it seems clearly indicated at the beginning of the Annals, the direct words of Rúmil? Hmmmmm. :scratch:

I also find it……well….. odd that the Second Prophecy was deemed overtly “Man-centred” when it explicitly states that the Elves and Valar shall be renewed after Dagor Dagorath, but that the fate of Men remains unknown (although they are “avenged” by Túrin’s slaying of Morgoth), while in the published Sil, it is written that Men will participate in singing the Second Music, and that it is the fate of the Elves that is unknown. I don’t know……something just seems “back to front” about all that. Hmmmmmm. :scratch:

I guess I’m of two minds about the Second Prophesy. Although I think that it fits very appropriately into the structural foundation of the published Sil, it certainly is a bit of a hodge-podge. I especially like the parallel “redemptions” of Fëanor and Túrin, both coming from Mandos to finally fulfill their greater dooms (I’m probably drawn to the kind of positive “final balance” this gives to their dark and bitter tales). I also love the idea that the blessed Light of the Trees will restore Arda to its original form and bestow its Healing – for me, it is somehow reassuring that Light continues to symbolize a manifestation of the eternal purity, goodness and love of Eru. Something that totally confuses me: the “arising” of the Elvish dead……what’s up with that? :suspicious:

All this being said, I think that when it comes down to it, I do prefer the ending of the published Sil to that of the Second Prophesy of the Quenta. I like the mystery of it, that tinge of darkness and uncertainty that remains wrapped in possibilities that may or may not come to pass. Should one despair, or hold to estel? Like the characters that have come and gone from the great stage of Arda Marred, we are left to listen to the secret whisperings of our hearts, and make our own choice.

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 28, 2007 5:53 pm 
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Very intriguing thoughts, as usual, Ath. I think I might pick up on some of what you say about the Athrabeth in the thread on that work.

Personally, I really like the idea of the Second Prophecy being a Mannish myth, but you do raise a very good point about that passage from the Annals of Aman. I'm going to have to give this some more thought.

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 28, 2007 3:43 pm 
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Athrabeth wrote:
A similar notion strikes me when I read the discarded prophesy of the End of Days and the remaking of Arda that Tolkien wrote for the Quenta Silmarillion:

Thereafter shall Earth be broken and re-made, and the Silmarils shall be recovered out of Air and Earth and Sea; for Eärendil shall descend and surrender that flame which he hath had in keeping. Then Fëanor shall take the Three Jewels and bear them to Yavanna Kementári; and he will break them and with their fire Yavanna will rekindle the Two Trees, and a great light shall come forth. And the Mountains of Valinor shall be levelled, so that the Light shall go out over all the world.

To me, it seems so fitting that Air, Earth and Sea should hold each of the Silmarils safe and inviolate, and that their fire will rekindle the blessed Light of the Trees to illuminate the remade world. Symbolically, there is something beautifully and perfectly balanced to this passage from the prophesied end of the Tale of Arda - the circle made complete.


So then, have you changed your mind about preferring the ending of the Silmarillion that CT substituted for the Second Prophecy?

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 28, 2007 9:26 pm 
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Nope. :upsidedown:

I think the vagueness and mystery of the published Sil's ending fits the work beautifully.

BUT.........

I do love the specific lines of the Second Prophesy that I quoted above, and I much prefer this idea of a "new beginning" for Arda to that of Eru entering in to set things right, as prophesized in the Athrabeth. The passage repeats so many of the key symbolic and thematic elements that are embedded in all of Tolkien's works: the kindling Fire, Light, duality, Nature as sanctuary.

And for some reason, I find the redemption of Fëanor, his giving back to the world the Blessed Light that he once withheld, profoundly moving.

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 09, 2007 9:38 pm 
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[Note: I've created this thread by moving the posts on the subject from the Sil discussion and two from the Trees, Light and the Sea thread because I wanted to bring those posts together in one place and add some thoughts to them, and think that it is worthy of being a separate thread.]

Athrabeth wrote:
I’m rather unimpressed with Tolkien’s own assertion in his Commentaries on the Athrabeth that the Second Prophesy could not be “true” Elvish lore, but is instead a solely “Mannish” interpretation of that lore. This, I find to be quite perplexing, as I believe Tolkien was also working on the Annals of Aman at about the same time (late ‘50’s) and in that work, he writes (as cited in “Morgoth’s Ring”):

Quote:
Then Varda went forth from the council , and she looked out from the height of Tanequetil, and beheld the darkness of the Earth beneath the innumerable stars, faint and far. Then she began a great labour, the greatest of all the works of the Valar since their coming unto Arda.

Now Varda took the light that issued from Telperion and was stored in Valinor and she made stars newer and brighter. And many other of the ancient stars she gathered together and set as signs in the heavens of Arda. The greatest of these was Menelmakar, the Swordsman of the Sky. This, it is said, was a sign of Túrin Turambar, who should come into the world, and a foreshadowing of the Last Battle that shall be at the End of Days.


Is this another “Mannish” interpretation or, as it seems clearly indicated at the beginning of the Annals, the direct words of Rúmil? Hmmmmm. :scratch:


Actually, Ath, this isn't so contradictory as it seems. As my friend dna pointed out when I raised this elsewhere, the preamble to the Annals of Aman reads “Here begin the ‘Annals of Aman’. Rúmil made them in the Elder Days, and they were held in memory by the Exiles. Those parts which we learned and remembered were thus set down in Númenor before the Shadow fell upon it.” It is not at all strange that the remembrances of the Númenorians would have been flavored by such a Mannish myth.

Meanwhile, I've recently completed Verlyn Flieger's great book, Splintered Light, and she makes a point that is very relevant to the issue of whether the Second Prophecy should have been included in the published Silmarillion.

Verlyn Flieger wrote:
Tolkien wrote that the legendarium "ends with a vision of the end of the world, its breaking and remaking, and the recovery of the Silmarilli and the 'light before the sun' -- after a final battle which owes, I suppose, more to the Norse vision of Ragnarok than to anything else, though it is not much like it" (Silm xvi). I would be strange if he had not envisioned such an end, for the mythologies on which he draws most heavily, Judeo-Christian and Norse, both included remaking and renewal in surprisingly similar terms.


The passage that she quotes from is taken from the preface to the second edition of The Silmarillion, which contains large portions of Tolkien's 1951 letter to Milton Waldman of Collins Publishers, describing his mythology. How ironic is it that Christopher included those quoted words in the preface, and yet did not include the passage that they refer to in the published text. I continue to believe that his failure to do so constitutes a failure to properly reflect his father's vision (and I think that Flieger's words support that belief).

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Voronwë, didn't Tolkien drop the original preamble that you quoted when he put together his later manuscript of the Annals of Aman? I'm referencing the version written after LOTR and included in Morgoth's Ring. Here, the only preamble seems to be: Here begin the Annals of Aman, which Rúmil made, and speak of the coming of the Valar to Arda.

If he really did decide to drop the reference to Númenor for this later version, I find that very interesting, because he was revisiting and revising the Annals in the latter part of the 50's, around the same time as he was writing the Athrabeth and its commentaries, where he states that the Túrin prophesy is a reflection of Mannish yearnings. One would think that he would have, under the circumstances, retained the original preamble to the Annals to put that specific passage into the correct perspective.

You know, I think that subliminally, deep in his heart of hearts, Tolkien knew that the Second Prophesy somehow brought the Sil to its proper closure as a myth. When I reread what I had written about the Light of the Trees, it really dawned ( 8) ) on me that there is a symbolic and thematic "completeness" to the Prophesy that does indeed feel very right.

A few days ago, I said that I still thought that the ending of the published Sil fits it beautifully........and funnily enough, I still do. But now, after mulling it over (and over and over) I think the Second Prophesy feels more like an ending that befits a grand myth.

I think Tolkien, in his later years, began to try a bit too hard to connect his subcreated, mythological world to the real, historical world, and that somehow, he began to fuss a bit about aligning elements of his myth to a more overtly Christian perspective. To me, the Sil is more like a "meta-myth", and as such, it is deserving of a ending that is both glorious and transcendent.
:horse:

ETA: Voronwë, I also think it extremely odd that CT would include that quote in the preface and yet fail to include the referenced passage at the end of the Sil. :scratch:

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 10, 2007 3:14 am 
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Athrabeth wrote:
Voronwë, didn't Tolkien drop the original preamble that you quoted when he put together his later manuscript of the Annals of Aman? I'm referencing the version written after LOTR and included in Morgoth's Ring. Here, the only preamble seems to be: Here begin the Annals of Aman, which Rúmil made, and speak of the coming of the Valar to Arda.


Ah, I should have clarified that the preamble that I quote comes from the alternative typescript that Tolkien made of the beginning of the Annals of Aman, which CT labels AAm* (see Morgoth's Ring, pp. 47 and 64-65). It is unclear which was made later.

Quote:
If he really did decide to drop the reference to Númenor for this later version, I find that very interesting, because he was revisiting and revising the Annals in the latter part of the 50's, around the same time as he was writing the Athrabeth and its commentaries, where he states that the Túrin prophesy is a reflection of Mannish yearnings. One would think that he would have, under the circumstances, retained the original preamble to the Annals to put that specific passage into the correct perspective.


In the previous version of the Annals, the later Annals of Valinor printed in The Lost Road, there is no discussion of authorship. But in the original version, the earliest Annals of Valinor, printed in the Shaping of Middle-earth, it is stated in that they are written by Pengalod of Gondolin, and translated by Eriol (Ælfwine). And while there is some confusion between the two different versions of the preamble to the Annals of Aman as discussed above, I agree that the Athrabeth commentaries make it clear that the idea of at least some of the material regarding the Elder Days being filtered through Mannish eyes was still very much alive. In fact, that idea would become more firmly fixed in Tolkien's mind, not less so, as indicated in this very interesting passage in one of the Myths Transformed texts (Text VII, entitled "Notes on motives in the Silmarillion):

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It has to be remembered that the 'mythology is represented as being two stages removed from a true record: it is based first upon Elvish records andlore about the Valar and their own dealings with them; and these have reached us (fragmentarily) only through relics of Númenorean (human) traditions, derived from the Eldar, in the earlier parts, though for later times supplemented by anthropocentric histories and and tales. (Morgoth's Ring, pp. 401-402.)


Quote:
You know, I think that subliminally, deep in his heart of hearts, Tolkien knew that the Second Prophesy somehow brought the Sil to its proper closure as a myth. When I reread what I had written about the Light of the Trees, it really dawned ( 8) ) on me that there is a symbolic and thematic "completeness" to the Prophesy that does indeed feel very right.

A few days ago, I said that I still thought that the ending of the published Sil fits it beautifully........and funnily enough, I still do. But now, after mulling it over (and over and over) I think the Second Prophesy feels more like an ending that befits a grand myth.


I'm very glad to hear you say that. It feels "right" to be aligned with you on this again. :hug:

Quote:
ETA: Voronwë, I also think it extremely odd that CT would include that quote in the preface and yet fail to include the referenced passage at the end of the Sil. :scratch:


I think it was a slip-up. Remember, he added that preface to the second edition. I think he just didn't think it through that he was including something that specifically referred to an important part of the mythology that he had removed.

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Terribly sorry about my neglect, on many threads, Voronwë! :oops:

Regarding all the debate about the logistics of the Second Prophecy within the framed narrative (and I guess I'm referring more to a particular 2nd-Prophecy naysayer on another site), what shouldn't be lost sight of is it's more important reason for being - to lend a remotely warm and positive conclusion to an otherwise heavily defeatist and overwhelmingly sombre tale... regardless of its mythic origin. Here's the last paragraph of the 'Túrin' entry by Richard C. West in Drout's Encyclopedia:

"The story of Túrin is one of almost unrelieved gloom, but Tolkien’s mythology provided for an ultimate happy ending after the apocalyptic ending of the world, when it is prophesied that Túrin and his sister will be cleansed of their sin, and Túrin will assist the forces of Good in overthrowing Morgoth and the forces of Evil."

I was going to direct that naysayer to the fact that 'Tolkien scholarship' quite easily accepts the Prophecy despite its blatant neglect by CT (though I lacked the motivation to muster a response there as well...)

But I'm definitely 'aligned' with you and Athrabeth about its proper closure to the entire SIL, not just the Túrin tale. It just 'feels right' indeed! And selectively aborting parts of JRRT's 'whole Story' due to minor solvable perceived obstacles in the mechanics of transmitting the tale, as you've said Voronwë, does a great disservice to Tolkien's works. Not everything in the SIL (or HOB/LOTR) need be explained away, nor is it. It seems to me yet another of the many problems generated simply because people have a 30-year comfort zone with the published SIL, and can't stand anything that wrankles it.

On that note... the Wanderings ;) Its not in CoH, so no need to beat a dead horse. But the question is how does the full Tale of the Children of Húrin truly end? Most still tend not to like the Túrin story just because it ends so unresolvably gloomy with the gravestone inscription. The death of Morwen in Húrin's arms, the destruction of Brethil, the killing of Mîm, the bringing of the treasure to Doriath, and Húrin's end, are far from bright lights... but each provides a measure of closure to the Tale, and the Wanderings is a necessary bridge to cross IMO. More importantly, it IS part of the Story that is one of the 3 Great Tales of the Silmarillion, whether it be in this particular novel or not.

Finally regarding the nature of who transmitted each tale and when, I think Tolkien has left an immense, but solvable, puzzle behind. Few things he ever wrote had no narrative framework at all, and the many layers of his writings point in slightly different, but not randomly incoherent or necessarily contradictory directions. As you've shown, his side notes are of monumental importance, and in this endeavour alone we can thank CT to no end. Believe it or not, piecing together this puzzle is on my list of great projects, but that puts it at a completion date of about 2040, provided I can get out of my current funk ;)


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It's great to see you here, dna (I understand how easy it is for real life to get in the way).

As I said at that other site, I wish that instead of the truncated version that we received 30 years ago, CT had released a work at least as long as LOTR, and that he could have done so with not much more inconsistency in scope and tone then already exists in the published Sil. Look at the difference in scope of the chapters on Beren and Lúthien, and Túrin, compared to everything else, for instance. As I have said elsewhere, it is my belief that he should have erred on the side of being more inclusive of the material that his father intended to be part of the work, rather then less (where feasible).

Including the Second Prophecy. :sunny:

I think that such a work would have been better received in the Tolkien fandom, not worse.

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Ax and Prim, I moved your posts to the Children of Húrin thread.

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I think much of Tolkien's altering intent for the Prophecy can be seen from the change of speaker he uses to voice it. In the Quenta Silmarillion of the 1930's it is very clearly the Second Prophecy of Mandos. (This is the infallible and all-knowing Mandos; when he makes Prophecies, they come true.)

By the time of the Annals of Aman of the 1950s, when Varda is making the stars, the speaker is less clear: ...Menelmakar, it is said, was a sign of Túrin Turambar, who should come into the world, and a foreshadowing of the Last Battle that shall be at the End of Days...

By the 1960's and the Problem of Ros, the Prophecy has morphed into the specific words of Andreth, the Wise-woman of the Athrabeth, who, however wise, cannot be expected to have the fore-knowledge of Mandos. She is of the race of Men, and the Prophecy has become specifically Mannish. Not a myth derived from the Eldar and filtered through Mannish eyes (they have no myths of this type), but a myth created ab initio by Men.

I believe the evidence clearly shows that JRRT moved the Prophecy away from being the "true" end of the world, to being "only" the belief of a subset of Mankind. Christopher Tolkien could have included the Prophecy as a conclusion to the Silmarillion (or possibly somehow have referenced it in The Children of Húrin), but he would have had to have said something like:

Quote:
Here ends the Silmarillion. If it has passed from the high and beautiful to darkness and ruin, that was of old the fate of Arda Marred; and if any change shall come and the Marring be amended, Manwë and Varda may know; but they have not revealed it, and it is not declared in the dooms of Mandos. If it has passed from the high and beautiful to darkness and ruin, that was of old the fate of Arda Marred; and if any change shall come and the Marring be amended, Manwë and Varda may know; but they have not revealed it, and it is not declared in the dooms of Mandos.

Yet the descendants of Túrin hold that at the End of Days he shall return and his Black Sword shall deal unto Morgoth his death and final end; and so shall the children of Húrin and all Men be avenged.


I suspect like many others, I'm in two minds as to whether I prefer the published Sil ending or the Prophecy itself. I think the published ending is the words of a more mature and reflective man than the one who wrote the Prophecy. I find myself agreeing with Athrabeth's I like the mystery of it, that tinge of darkness and uncertainty that remains wrapped in possibilities that may or may not come to pass.


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scirocco, my friend, I won't embarrass you by stating just how thrilled I am to see you here.

As you know, I have given a lot thought to this subject. I have to say that I pretty much completely agree with you. I would add, however, that as is the case of so much of Tolkien's work the "truth" is more of a spectrum that a single point. This is well-illustrated by the differences in the prefaces to the two different versions of the Annals of Aman that we discuss above. Were they simply "made by Rúmil" or where they "learned and remembered [and] thus set down in Númenor before the Shadow fell upon it"?

As I tried to make clear in rambling post in Tolkien's Expanding Universe I think that that the way things have worked out is very serendipitous (thanks very much, however, to Christopher Tolkien's hard work). I am very thankful that we have the ability to discuss know and discuss the different versions.

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I've been reading through the last few chapters of The Return of the King (thanks to the Halofiriens Finish Reading the b00k thread!) and I found a passage that has been lingering at the back of my mind, undefined and shadowy, since this discussion first started. It's from the chapter, Many Partings:

Quote:
Then Treebeard said farewell to each of them in turn, and he bowed three times slowly and with great reverence to Celeborn and Galadriel. 'It is long, long since we met by stock or stone, A vanimar, vanimalion nostari!' he said. 'It is sad that we should meet only thus at the ending. For the world is changing: I feel it in the water, I feel it in the earth, and I smell it in the air. I do not think we shall meet again.'

And Celeborn said: 'I do not know, Eldest.' But Galadriel said: 'Not in Middle-earth, nor until the lands that lie under the wave are lifted up again. Then in the willow-meads of Tasarinan, we may meet in the Spring. Farewell!'


So it seems that Galadriel, the greatest of the exiled Noldor in Middle-earth and one who would have learned, first-hand, the lore of the Valar in Aman, believes that the world will be re-made.

I've been wondering what is meant by the words, 'Not in Middle-earth'. :scratch: Especially since they are followed by a specific mentioning of Tasarinan, which was part of Middle-earth during the First Age. Does this reference imply that when the world is re-made, Middle-earth, or indeed all of the lands that lie east of the Great Sea, will not be sundered from Aman? That the whole world will effectively become "the Blessed Realm"?

Anyway, the passage strikes me as pointing more to at least some of the ideas found in the "Second Prophesy" than to the final words of the published Sil.

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Was Tasarinen not part of Beleriand? Perhaps that is the distinction beinmg made?.

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Yes, it was, Alatar. But Beleriand was, in turn, the north-west region of Middle-earth before the ending of the First Age - a Middle-earth that both Galadriel and Treebeard would well remember. It's an interesting passage, isn't it? For me, it's one of those that stands out a little more after our extended discussions on elements of the Sil and some of Tolkien's later writings. It's always nice to see glimpses of those elements in the tale that first opened my eyes to the world that Tolkien created.....and the one that remains closest to my heart.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2007 2:06 am 
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What a great observation, Ath! Given Christopher's stated desire for consistency within the published works, that passage really does suggest that he should have kept at least part of the second prophecy in the published Silmarillion.

<ponders adding this observation to the Arda Reconstructed>

You know, Ath, that is a passage that I have thought a lot about in the past. But never in this context. Thanks for connecting the dots for me.

<looks forward to discussing Many Partings> in the "Halofirians finish reading the book" thread>

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2007 1:20 pm 
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Galadriel's comment certainly does seem at odds with Tolkien's own words:

Quote:
The Elves expected the End of Arda to be catastrophic. They thought that it would be brought about by the dissolution of the structure of Imbar at least, if not of the whole system. The End of Arda is not, of course, the same thing as the end of Eä. About this they held that nothing could be known, except that Eä was ultimately finite. It is noteworthy that the Elves had no myths or legends dealing with the end of the world. The myth that appears at the end of the Silmarillion is of Númenórean origin; it is clearly made by Men, though Men acquainted with Elvish tradition. All Elvish traditions are presented as 'histories', or as accounts of what once was...

Author's notes on the Commentary to the Athrabeth, HoME X


The remaking of lands could certainly be described as "catastrophic", but describing a belief that drowned lands will be lifted up again is a bit more specific than that.

But perhaps Galadriel was simply being polite to Treebeard (empathising with him over the loss of lands that he loved). Just because she used a mortal myth in conversation doesn't mean that she or the Eldar necessarily believed in its truth. They would have been perfectly capable of understanding the traditions of other races even if they were different from their own. I do accept that such a notion is a rather cynical view of Galadriel.


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