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PostPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2007 3:44 pm 
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Come now, scirocco, you don't really believe that, do you?

Instead, I think this fits well in the pattern that you yourself described, when you said "I think much of Tolkien's altering intent for the Prophecy can be seen from the change of speaker he uses to voice it." At the time that "Many Partings" was written, Tolkien's intent was that the Prophecy (or at least the portion dealing with the remaking of the world) was believed by the Eldar. Whereas by the time the commentary to the Athrabeth was written more then a decade later, his intent had changed. Doubtless, however, he had forgotten those words of Galadriel when he wrote those portions of the commentary.

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 23, 2007 6:33 am 
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Voronwë_the_Faithful wrote:
Come now, scirocco, you don't really believe that, do you?


No, not really. :) But a robust discussion explores all sides of the argument. :D

But Galadriel was speaking fairly generically of the end of the world. A remaking and healing of the lands, even perhaps the recovery of the Silmarils is consistent with the ethos of Middle-earth of The Lord of the Rings. Dragons, reincarnated Men wielding swords and so on belongs to the more fantastical Book of Lost Tales world of Tolkien as a young man. (Or to Mannish myths. :D)


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PostPosted: Wed May 02, 2007 1:24 pm 
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I thought it might be germane to consider the late wrapper-notes Tolkien made on his Atlantis accounts. He listed an Elvish account, a Mannish account, and a blended (Dunedainic) account.

The last is plainly the Akallabêth, which was literally blended from the older versions, and which in one place is said to have been composed by Elendil. The Mannish account must necessarily be the Drowning of Anadune, with its Adunaic names and Numeno-centric POV. And so clearly the Fall of Númenor is the Elvish version. No problem, right?

BUT....

Presumptively the Elves have the True Story, whereas Mannish legends are always implied to be garbled and unreliable. Yet here it's the *Elvish* version which is flat-world, and the *Mannish* version which is round-world; moreover, Elendil, or some other Exile with access to the lore of Lindon and Rivendell, "corrected" the Akallabêth back to a flat-world account.

Whis raises the interesting possibility that by the mid-60s Tolkien had evolved a rather subtle view, hinted at in the Athrabeth commentary and Ros: that the Breaking of the World really *did* happen, but Men are too blind/pragmatic/unimaginative/out-of-touch with the Valar to conceive of such a cataclysmic Divine intervention- so they refused to believe it. In other words, Arda globed from the beginning is an incorrect Mannish myth, concocted because Men keep falling back on, well, scientific method rather than faith and revelation.

Anyway, the problem I have with the Second Prophecy is that in its last recension I can't tell if it really refers to the End of Time, or to the War of Wrath. I do note though that the late version doesn't refer to Mandos, but the Doom of Men (=Death and complete departure from Eä)- and that in turn implies that at the End there will be some breach in the wall between Arda and the Timeless Halls.


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PostPosted: Wed May 02, 2007 2:28 pm 
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solicitr wrote:
Which raises the interesting possibility that by the mid-60s Tolkien had evolved a rather subtle view, hinted at in the Athrabeth commentary and Ros: that the Breaking of the World really *did* happen, but Men are too blind/pragmatic/unimaginative/out-of-touch with the Valar to conceive of such a cataclysmic Divine intervention- so they refused to believe it. In other words, Arda globed from the beginning is an incorrect Mannish myth, concocted because Men keep falling back on, well, scientific method rather than faith and revelation.


That is largely my opinion. Mixed with the suspicion that Tolkien himself never was quite sure exactly what his view was.

I'll have to give the rest of your post more thought, and come back to it. But I very much look forward to sharing more thoughts with you.

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PostPosted: Wed May 02, 2007 2:39 pm 
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Great first post Solicitr! Well, here anyway. :)

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PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2007 3:22 am 
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Still reading LOTR :D . But actually, this realization dawned on me as I read Tosh's wonderful serialization of the book.....it just took me my customary very long time to get around to posting it. :blackeye:

It seems that Master Bombadil knows something of the Second Prophesy as well. At the end of the song that drives away the Barrow-wight are the words,

Lost and forgotten be, darker than the darkness,
Where gates stand for ever shut, till the world is mended.


Now, who's going argue with old Tom?

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PostPosted: Sun May 20, 2007 3:21 am 
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Good observation, Athrabeth. I do think that it can be said with a fairly high degree of certainty that at the time that The Lord of the Rings was written (and even when it was published) the second prophecy was still firmly in place. After all, it was still firmly ensconced at the end of the Quenta Silmarillion, and at that point no writings existed that would serve to question whether it continued to fully reflect Tolkien's views as "the true story". Certainly to the extent that Christopher Tolkien's goal was to achieve consistency with the already published works in creating the published Silmarillion there was no reason for him to remove it (although it could also be said that it's absence doesn't itself cause any inconsistency with The Lord of the Rings).

But, of course, when we are talking about "the second prophecy" there are a number of different components that we are talking about. This discussion of the second prophecy largely stemmed (at least originally) out our discussion about the "Of Túrin Turumbar" chapter in the Silmarillion, and the fact that the portion of the second prophecy that relates to Túrin eventually striking down Morgoth provided some resolution to the unrelenting darkness of the story of the children of Húrin. However, I would suggest that that is a relatively minor component of the second prophecy. To me, the really important component of the second prophecy is, in fact, the portion referred to in the passage that Athrabeth cites, where Tom Bombadil talks about the world being mended.

For me, this idea, which I think can properly be referred to as "Arda Healed" (which I think is more accurate than "Arda Unmarred," which could just as easily relate to the state of Arda before its Marring) is one of the most important concepts in all of Tolkien's work. We have talked a lot about the passage in the commentary to the Athrabeth , in which Tolkien states not only that the second prophecy is a "Mannish myth," but that the Elves themselves have no myths or legends about the ending of the world. However, in terms of the "truth" of the concept of the world being mended -- of Arda Healed -- I would say that that brief passage should be considered trumped by the report of the long discussion of the Valar, and particularly the words of Manwë himself, in the "Laws and Customs Among the Eldar" (which was written contemporaneously with the Athrabeth and the commentaries to it):

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'For Arda Unmarred hath two aspects or senses. The first is the Unmarred that they discern in the Marred, if their eyes are not dimmed, and yearn for, as we yearn for the will of Eru: this is the ground upon which Hope is built. The second is the Unmarred that shall be: that is, to speak according to Time in which they have their being, the Arda Healed, which shall be greater and more fair than the first, because of the Marring: this is the Hope that sustaineth. It cometh not only from the yearning for the Will of Ilúvatar the Begetter which by itself may lead those within Time to no more than regret), but also from trust in Eru the Lord everlasting, that he is good, and that his works shall all end in good.


It is the lack of any sense of the inevitability of the healing of Arda, of the concept that Eru is good, and that his works shall end in good, that I most miss from the removal of the second prophecy from the published Silmarillion.

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PostPosted: Tue May 22, 2007 12:22 am 
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Voronwë wrote:
But, of course, when we are talking about "the second prophecy" there are a number of different components that we are talking about. This discussion of the second prophecy largely stemmed (at least originally) out our discussion about the "Of Túrin Turumbar" chapter in the Silmarillion, and the fact that the portion of the second prophecy that relates to Túrin eventually striking down Morgoth provided some resolution to the unrelenting darkness of the story of the children of Húrin. However, I would suggest that that is a relatively minor component of the second prophecy. To me, the really important component of the second prophecy is, in fact, the portion referred to in the passage that Athrabeth cites, where Tom Bombadil talks about the world being mended.


I very much agree with this, Voronwë. I can't really get too worked up about the inclusion or exclusion of Túrin's ultimate doom in the prophesy. But in all the tales of Arda, the state of estel does figure prominently - that special form of "Hope" and "Trust" that sustains so many of Tolkien's most beloved characters. I think the Second Prophesy states that the mending is "rumoured" among the Elves. It's not a hard and fast guarantee that exactly this will happen, but as with Sam looking up at the star, and Galadriel's farewell to Treebeard and Tom's verse in the Barrow, there is a sense that the vision of a healed Arda is a shared experience among many, that this small seed of estel lies within most all the hearts of Middle-earth's inhabitants.

As you well know, I am far more partial to the original idea that the mending will occur after the recovery of the Silmarils, the restoration of the Light of the Two Trees, and the reunion of the Blessed Realm with the sundered "bent world" of Arda. For me, this is a far better "fit" for the greater myths and histories of Tolkien's universe than the later idea that Eru himself will enter into Arda to set things right. There is a simple and beautiful symmetry to the whole tale if it is a form of Blessed Light (which I think must be symbolic of Eru within Arda) that unites and heals the world after the final defeat of Morgoth.

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PostPosted: Mon May 28, 2007 7:29 pm 
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As you well know, I am far more partial to the original idea that the mending will occur after the recovery of the Silmarils, the restoration of the Light of the Two Trees, and the reunion of the Blessed Realm with the sundered "bent world" of Arda. For me, this is a far better "fit" for the greater myths and histories of Tolkien's universe than the later idea that Eru himself will enter into Arda to set things right.


But I think two different prophesies are intended here. The latter, pretty nakedly, is of the Incarnation, which for Tolkien happened in Judaea in Roman times. The former, the universal unmarring, Arda Healed, is to be associated with the Latter Days and the Second Coming (for which, to Tolkien, the Incarnation or First Coming was the necessary prelude).


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 17, 2007 4:32 am 
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But surely the prophesies of Arda should not be tied to those of our real world, either past or future. As I've said before, Finrod's revelation in the Athrabeth takes me right out of the story as my mind tries to, for example, reconcile the existence of the Shire before the birth of Jesus. It's an impossibilty that totally defeats any attempt to suspend my disbelief. This world and its history, and that world and its history cannot be one and the same, and I was far more content with Tolkien's construct before he began tinkering with elemental foundations of the myth after LOTR was written.

As for the Second Prophesy, I'm unsure of what you mean by it being associated with the "Second Coming" with the Incarnation as its necessary prelude, and would appreciate some further clarification, if possible.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 17, 2007 6:09 am 
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But surely the prophesies of Arda should not be tied to those of our real world, either past or future


I think for Tolkien they had to be. Arda is *this* world, not some other; a fictional ancient history of Earth, in which the lands of Tolkien's legend are the same as what would become Europe. Indeed his doubts about the astronomy derive from this fact; and if his Letters leave any doubters then it's worth observing that the length of the year he gives in Appendix D is precisely that of this planet. Eru *is* God, Yahweh, I Am That I Am, because Tolkien couldn't conceive of this Earth without Him, and so the process of Dvine History is our own.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 17, 2007 6:21 am 
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I am as Christian as Tolkien was, and yet I, too, would rather he'd never tried to make the connection. His story was true long before he started to worry about making it factual. The connection to here-and-now lets the charge out of the lightning and brings us all down to dull earth.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 17, 2007 3:43 pm 
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 18, 2009 1:17 am 
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Clyde S. Kilby wrote:
But Tolkien was too pronounced a believer in Christ as the Sovereign Ruler who was to come to leave the matter thus. There is evidence that, had his story continued to its full and concluding end the ubiquitous evil of such as Morgoth and Sauron would have ceased. He intended a final glorious eventuality similar to the one described in the Book of Revelation with the true Telperion reappearing, the earth remade, the lands lying under the waves lifted up, the Silmarils recovered, Eärendil returned to earth, the Two Trees rekindled in their original light and life-giving power, and the mountains of the Pelóri leveled so that the light should go out over the earth -- yes, and the dead by raised and the original purposes of Eru executed.


These words were written after Tolkien's death, but before The Silmarillion was published. It is as good a description of why the Second Prophecy should not have been removed from that text as any I have seen.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 19, 2009 6:57 pm 
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Vor, long ago (a few posts up). you wrote,

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For me, this idea, which I think can properly be referred to as "Arda Healed" (which I think is more accurate than "Arda Unmarred," which could just as easily relate to the state of Arda before its Marring) is one of the most important concepts in all of Tolkien's work. We have talked a lot about the passage in the commentary to the Athrabeth , in which Tolkien states not only that the second prophecy is a "Mannish myth," but that the Elves themselves have no myths or legends about the ending of the world. However, in terms of the "truth" of the concept of the world being mended -- of Arda Healed -- I would say that that brief passage should be considered trumped by the report of the long discussion of the Valar, and particularly the words of Manwë himself, in the "Laws and Customs Among the Eldar"


And earlier you observed that the "Second Prophecy" actually contains a number of components.

I think it fair to say that the only portion of the Second Prophecy which unequivocally survived the late-Fifties writings was the concept of Arda Healed. But that, alone, does not argue for the retention of the other elements of the Second Prophecy. The idea of Arda Healed as an eschatological concept is not inconsistent with the declaration that the Elves had no "myths or legends" of the Last Days! The distinction is akin to that between the Cristian concept of the Second Coming, and the specific apocalyptic prophecies of Mark and Revelation. The 2P would be such a "myth or legend."

Moreover, in a quick review of Vols X and XI, I can't find any text later than Vq2's explicit statement that the end of the drama is "not declared in the dooms of Mandos" which would contradict it or asserts Mandos' having made any such statement. The closest we have is Andreth's, which I am satisfied has been transferred to the War of Wrath, and which in any case is not attributed to Mandos (it's news to Finrod!) Nor can I find any late restatement of the idea that Morgoth redivivus would return, or any other of the details in the QS/Annals version of the 2P.

All I can find in Laws & Customs is this:

Manwë wrote:
For Arda Unmarred has two aspects or senses. The first is the Unmarred that they discern in the Marred, if their eyes are not dimmed, and yearn for, as we yearn for the Will of Eru: this is the ground upon which Hope is built. The second is the Unmarred that shall be: that is, to speak according to Time in which they have their being, the Arda Healed, which shall be greater and more fair than the first, because of the Marring: this is the Hope that sustaineth. It cometh not only from the Will of Ilúvatar the Begetter (which by itself may lead within Time to no more than regret), but also from trust in Eru the Lord everlasting, that he is good, and that his works shall all end in good.


There isn't anything here which would reestablish the old 2p. I would therefore be inclined to agree with CT: Vq2 is dispositive. I would aver that the 2P should be accounted a Mannish/Númenórean myth, not "truth." . The survival of Arda Healed doesn't alone imply the survival of the entire 2P.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 19, 2009 7:29 pm 
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soli, you are not arguing anything different than I have. I agree that the the parts of the Second Prophecy dealing with Túrin are clearly Mannish myth. While I think that it could have been retained, since much of The Silmarillion reflects Mannish myth mixed with Elvish history anyone, I would have been equally satisfied if it were removed, so long as the element of the prospect of Arda Healed was retained. The removal of that element from the published text of The Silmarillion is in my opinion probably the greatest disservice that Christopher did to his father's work. It strips the work of a fundamental aspect of Tolkien's philosophy.

In my humble opinion, of course.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 20, 2009 12:10 pm 
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Yes, but...
It's not missing. It's found in the Ainulindalë, and again where the role of the Dwarves in the Remaking is mentioned. But I can't see how the actual QS passage we know as the Second Prophecy could have been retained- including the idea of Mandos saying it.

I do think, as you do, that Tolkien's apparent intention to include Laws & Customs the Athrabeth as an appendix could have been followed. On the other hand, would the reading public in 1977, which found the published text too much to handle, have been able to deal with 30 pages of mythical theology?


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 20, 2009 2:58 pm 
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There is a vague reference to Men participating in the Second Music of the Ainur in the Ainulindalë as written by Tolkien, which is moved to the end of Chapter 1 of the Quenta by Christopher. I assume that is what you are referring to, yes? Then the reference to the Dwarves says "Then their part shall be to serve Aulë and to aid him in the remaking of Arda after the Last Battle." Neither of those really refer to the concept of Arda Healed as the ultimate eucatastrophe of the story. Ironically, Christopher includes as a Preface to the second edition portion of his father's long letter to Milton Waldman describing the mythology, in which he specifically states "This 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 ... ."

As for how the Second Prophecy could have been retained, I don't why it could not have been left in place, with the changes to it that Tolkien made in the 50s (as it is apparent was still Tolkien intention when he showed the manuscripts to Kilby in the 1960s). If the Athrabeth had been included as an appendix (as Tolkien explicitly instructed), than any contradiction would have been explained, since Tolkien explicit states in the commentary to the Athrabeth that the end of the Quenta contained Mannish myth.

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On the other hand, would the reading public in 1977, which found the published text too much to handle, have been able to deal with 30 pages of mythical theology?


As you know, I think The Silmarillion should have been more like about 100 pages longer, with the expanded stories of Finwë and Míriel, Maedhros' reporting of Finwë's death, the latest version of the darkening of Valinor, Húrin in Brethil, and more of the extended version of Tuor's story included, as well as the second prophecy (and the Athrabeth and Laws and Customs as appendices). I think that would have had a better reception than the truncated version that we were given, not a worse. But of course we'll never know.

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Yes, I know, and you know that we don't see eye to eye on all those points- especially not the "Long Tuor" and "Long Húrin", which were not part of the Silmarillion but seen as independent 'novellas'* like the Narn. Tolkien himself realised that Beren A was much too voluminous for his purposes, and he cut it down to the QS version. The last sections of the Grey Annals were a reduction by JRRT himself of the latter part of the Narn- a clear indication of The Sil's intended "focal length." While I regret that some elements were left out, especially a 'modernized' Fall of Gondolin,** on the whole the '77 text has proportion and balance that an 'everything but the kitchen sink' version wouldn't have.

But de gustibus non disputandem.

The fact that Kilby read the 2P in a manuscript already many years old doesn't tell us much about Tolkien's intentions at the time- just that (as Kilby observes at the outset) Tolkien had a heckuva lot of revising to do.




*And of course the Long Húrin couldn't have been included without fabricating fanfic to a degree far beyond the existing Ch. 22.

**Given the significance of Gondolin and its fall throughout Tolkien's writings, I always felt rather cheated by the summary version, taken as it was from the very compressed QN.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 20, 2009 6:51 pm 
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And yet Christopher inexplicably used "Beren A" as far as it went, despite the father's intention to replace it with the somewhat more condensed version.

I did get carried away regarding Húrin in Brethil; I'm not really convinced that could have been used. Nor do I think that the full text of Tuor coming to Gondolin should have been used, but it needn't have been reduced to such an extent. The whole thing is summarized in six short paragraphs over two pages, losing almost all of it's power and dignity.

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