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PostPosted: Tue Jan 20, 2009 7:16 pm 
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CT did not use Beren A; that text has never been published. I can't find HME V at the moment, but IIRC he describes Beren A as taking pages and pages just to reach some rather early point in the narrative. CT used QS I, a compression and reduction of Beren A, and then followed it with the conclusion of QS II. I can't disagree: while QS II actually was a better scale for Quenta Silmarillion as it stood in 1937, QS I has a focus more in keeping with the LQ/Annals text that makes up most of the published book up to that point. The later (QS II) part of the chapter, with the actual penetration of Angband, the theft of the Silmaril, and the Hunting of the Wolf, all feel to me a little squeezed; but the effect would be even worse if the first part of the chapter were as prolix and detailed as the Lay.

I don't disagree about Tuor; but I think the extreme compression is necessary *if* it leads, as it does, into the very, very abbreviated QN version of the city's fall. Any longer account of Tuor's journey would have made the rest of the chapter seem even more sketchy than it does. Yes, in a perfect world CT would have somehow modified the old FG to fit, and used Long Tuor at a commensurate scale- but then in a perfect world JRRT would have finished the thing himself.

I'm still mystified by the decision to use the clearly superseded account of the Darkening, rather than the LQ II version. I don't understand why.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 20, 2009 7:37 pm 
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Yes, you are right; I mispoke. A was the first prose version of the tale, and it reached "some two and a half thousand words" when it stopped at the point where "the woods of Doriath fell silent."

But "QS I" was also judged by Tolkien to be too long (according to Christopher) and was abandoned at more than 4000 words at the departure of Beren and Finrod from Nargothrond. He then replaced it with a version less than half as long (QS II), yet Christopher used most of QS I as far as it goes.

At least we agree about the Darkening of Valinor. My secret fantasy (which I guess is not longer secret) is that the publication of my book will inspire Christopher to explain why he made decisions such as that one.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 20, 2009 8:52 pm 
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I think both father and son were right, given the respective times and contexts. QS I was too long and detailed for the Quenta Silmarillion of 1937 (and evidence that 'too long and detailed' was an authorial concern). But given the considerably more voluble rewriting of the Fifties, it was QS II whose focus was not to scale, and QS I which fit.

I do think that more detail concerning Finwë, Míriel, Indis, and even Nerwen and Mahtan would have been welcome. But the 'court case' I don't think could have been made to work- either abridged to the point of inscrutability, or a lengthy discursion which would have brought the narrative momentum to a dead stop. (Remember, most of the reading public aren't lawyers! ;))


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 20, 2009 8:56 pm 
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By the "court case" are you referring to Húrin in Brethil? If so, I do agree.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 20, 2009 9:47 pm 
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Well, actually I was talking about the case of Míriel before the Valar. But a similar argument applies to the Folkmoot.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 03, 2009 2:01 pm 
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At the time of the Athrabeth commentary, which postdates virtually all Tolkien's narrative writing on the First Age, T felt so strongly that the End was *not* prophesied in any specific sense that he repeated himself:
He wrote:
The Elvish conception of the End was in fact catastrophic. They did not think that Arda (or at any rate Imbar) would just run down into lifeless inanition. But this conception was not embodied by them in any myth or legend.


and again, as given upthread by scirocco

Tolkien wrote:
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.


These two passages reflect Tolkien's last statements on the matter. I don't see how in that light the Second Prophecy could have survived (except of course for Arda Healed, but *only* that small part, which really is an independent concept). The rest of it had become as superseded as the idea that Túrin and Nienor would be joined to "the children of the gods."

There is also the problem (fatal, to my mind) that the 2PM, which was never really modified from its 1930 form, takes no account of the Catastrophe of the end of the Second Age; it assumes a word still flat at the End.

There is the "Mannish tradition" dodge. But that's an alternative 'framing device' which Tolkien really never even began to work out. It's clearly not the same as the Eriol/Aelfwine story, since that always assumed a direct relation of the lore of Eressëa to a Man of historical times. Nor can it be squared with the "Bilbo frame," since Mr Baggins also learned directly from the Elves (and perhaps Gandalf).

I'm sorry, but if the guideline is "Tolkien's final intent (consistent with coherence)", then the 2PM is gone, obsolete as Tevildo Prince of Cats.

While it can be objected that the old tale of the Sun and Moon also was dispensed with I would agree but refer again to "consistent with coherence:" the overhaul of the astronomical myth was never undertaken, there was no replacement for the old version; and the overhaul would have wiped out the idea of Eärendil's Silmaril as the Evening Star among other brutal wounds.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 03, 2009 3:03 pm 
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Sorry, soli, but I am not at all convinced. In the very passage from the Athrabeth commentary that you quote, Tolkien says"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." That clearly shows that his intention at that point (which I agree postdates virtually all Tolkien's narrative writing on the First Age) was to retain that myth as the end of the Silmarillion. Almost every other piece of evidence suggests that that was his intention. And the work is a lesser work without it.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 22, 2010 3:55 pm 
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I reread Unfinished Tales recently for the first time in a while, and I was reminded of another reference to the Second Prophecy that seems to support my belief that it was not in fact abandoned by Tolkien as Christopher indicated, but which I failed to note in this discussion, in my subsequent discussion of the topic in Arda Reconstructed, or in my Mythcon paper on the subject.

In one of the writings in the "Istari" section, Tolkien is addressing the question of whether Gandalf was actually Manwë himself. He writes "I think it was not so. Manwë will not descend from the Mountain until the Dagor Dagorath, and the coming of the End, when Melkor returns." Then Christopher notes in a footnote "This is a reference to 'the Second Prophecy of Mandos', which does not appear in The Silmarillion; its elucidation cannot be attempted here, since it would require some account of the history of the mythology in relation to the published version."

Christopher says that it is impossible to date these materials other than that they were obviously written after LOTR was completed. Still, this seems to be pretty firm evidence that the idea of the Second Prophecy was firmly entrenched in Tolkien's mind (particularly when combined with all of the other pieces of evidence that I have noted.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 22, 2010 10:32 pm 
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I may be crazy, but I thought there was another reference to 'the Second Prophecy of Mandos' written somewhere other than UT.

Was it spoken of in Letters at all?

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 22, 2010 11:15 pm 
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It appears in a number of places in HoME, of course, but I presume you mean other than that.

There is no specific reference in Letters to the Second Prophecy, but Letter 131, the famous letter to Milton Waldman, does contain this statement that I have quoted before in this discussion:

Quote:
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 which owes, I suppose, more to the Norse vision of Ragnarök than to anything else, though it is not much like it.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 23, 2010 1:37 am 
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I guess that was what I was thinking of, but I could have sworn there was some oblique or thin reference to the Second Prophecy somewhere in the Sil.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 23, 2010 2:18 am 
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You may be thinking of the reference to Men joining in the Second Music of the Ainur, which appears at the end of the Chapter One (but which is really taken from the Ainulindalë).

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