The Silmarillion - General Discussion

Discussing Tolkien's foundations for Middle-earth
Lindariel
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Postby Lindariel » Mon Jul 16, 2007 4:53 pm

He certainly grew up under the shadow of Dol Guldur. In addition to the proliferation of the horrible spiders, the Elves of Mirkwood had to deal with the horrors of the "Necromancer," i.e., Sauron, when he was "taking shape" in Dol Guldur. Keep in mind that Sauron was only "driven out" of Dol Guldur by the White Council during the course of The Hobbit. That's why Gandalf left Bilbo and the Dwarves to make their own way through Mirkwood to the River Running.

After Sauron's departure from Dol Guldur, it was still populated for some time by at least 1-3 Nazgul until they were summoned to Minas Morgul and then released to find "Baggins" in "The Shire." And there were always hordes of orcs and other foul creatures in Dol Guldur.

So, yes indeed, I would say that Legolas definitely grew up under the shadow of terrorism. Thranduil and his people were perpetually on watch.
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Postby Iolanthe » Mon Jul 16, 2007 8:01 pm

Lindariel wrote:Iolanthe, I think the Elves were pretty much driven to use caves to escape the wrath of Morgoth.

Ack, of course, I knew that really. Funny how these things vanish from your head when you're thinking along other lines :lol: .

I think I'm deeply influence by the fact that I can't think of a worse place to live than in a cave, however large and sparkly! But it's better than meeting a band of orcs anyday.

I'd also forgotten that in the summer Thingol and Melian go walkabout in the woods. Can't remember where in Lost Tales I read that now!!!!!
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Postby Philipa » Tue Jul 17, 2007 8:03 pm

Iolanthe wrote:
I'd also forgotten that in the summer Thingol and Melian go walkabout in the woods. Can't remember where in Lost Tales I read that now!!!!!


Lost Tales or Unfinished Tales Iolanthe?

I've read both and enjoyed UT much more but I don't remember this in the LT stories.
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Iolanthe
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Postby Iolanthe » Wed Jul 18, 2007 9:41 am

Lost Tales (Tale of Tunuviel where they are not called Thingol and Melian but are the same characters) or, thinking about it, possibly the Lay of Luthien :-k :dizzy:! I finished UT about a year ago but have been dipping in and out of Lost Tales and other bits of the History of Middle-earth for a few months now and read this only weeks ago.
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Kirill Leonov
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Postby Kirill Leonov » Mon Sep 08, 2008 11:01 am

LT are a bit... confuzzling, when you're a fan of the "real stuff". :lol:
It's in one of the earlier stories of the Silmarillion, before the Ages of the Sun, but I have to locate it first...
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Postby Philipa » Mon Sep 08, 2008 8:49 pm

I consider the LT real stuff myself. Kind of like extra mortar for the building. But yes they can be confusing to follow for sure. But real gems lay between those pages. It's been a while since I've picked them up myself. :lol:
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Postby Philipa » Tue Feb 17, 2009 12:28 am

The Fall of Gil-galad

Gil-galad was an Elven-king.
Of him the harpers sadly sing:
the last whose realm was fair and free
between the Mountains and the Sea.

His sword was long, his lance was keen,
his shining helm afar was seen;
the countless stars of heaven's field
were mirrored in his silver shield.

But long ago he rode away,
and where he dwelleth none can say;
for into darkness fell his star
in Mordor where the shadows are.

J.R.R. Tolkien

© Tolkien Estates



I wish we heard more about Gil-galad. Can you imagine being the last of the line of kings of a doomed Noldor line? Sad tale all around but he seems to have been a good a just Elf. Brave too of course living under the shadow of Sauron and defying him.
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Merry
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Postby Merry » Tue Feb 17, 2009 5:14 am

Good point, Philipa. He's certainly got a good name.

A little story: in all my classes, I have students fill out a little questionnaire of useful information, mostly so I can begin to tell them apart. In one class this semester, one young gentleman, in answer to the question, 'What is the best book you ever read?', answered 'The Silmarillion'. That was a first! I asked him why he liked the Sil more than LOTR, and he said he thought it was more unique.
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Sing and be glad, all ye children of the West,
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Iolanthe
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Postby Iolanthe » Tue Feb 17, 2009 12:53 pm

He has a good point - it is!

I wonder if Gil-galad was one of the many stories that Tolkien wanted to write up more fully but never found time for? I bet there is a lot more about Gil-galad somewhere in the History of Middle-earth (though I only have the earliest volumes so can't look). Knowing Tolkien the fragment of his tale in LotR in the poem Sam gives, and which Strider tells us comes from the Lay of the Fall of Gil-galad, probably means that he intended there to be a complete lay which I suppose he never wrote and which is now 'lost'. That's going by my theory that if Tolkien didn't getting around to writing it, it doesn't mean (in Tolkien's universe) that it didn't exist :lol: .
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Lindariel
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Postby Lindariel » Tue Feb 17, 2009 2:53 pm

I wish we heard more about Gil-galad. Can you imagine being the last of the line of kings of a doomed Noldor line? Sad tale all around but he seems to have been a good a just Elf. Brave too of course living under the shadow of Sauron and defying him.


This brings up an interesting mystery. Technically, Gil-Galad's heir was none other than Elrond, who was the great-grandson of the previous High King Turgon of Gondolin (Turgon - Idril - Earendil - Elrond). After the death of Fingon, Turgon became High King because Gil-Galad was still just a child. After the fall of Gondolin and the death of Turgon, the crown reverted to Gil-Galad. Since Gil-Galad left no heirs, the crown would once again revert to the line of Turgon, and hence to Elrond.

It seems to me that this was indeed Gil-Galad's intention, as he accepted the responsibility to foster Elrond and Elros after the Feanorian Oath at last claimed Maedhros and Maglor. Elros chose mortality and became the first King of Numenor. Elrond entered Gil-Galad's household and became the High King's herald and advisor. At the formation of the Last Alliance, Gil-Galad entrusted the ring Vilya to Elrond -- certainly an indication that Elrond was to succeed him.

My question? Why wasn't Elrond acclaimed as High King of the Noldor after the death of Gil-Galad? I'm hoping those of you who have had the opportunity to read HOME have some clues.

I can think of several possibilities:

(1) Elrond himself would not accept the throne, although he clearly accepted all the responsibilities of the crown, particularly the stewardship of the ring Vilya. He established the haven and fortress of Rivendell and provided protection to all and sundry who came within his sphere of influence, including eventually the northern heirs of Isildur.

(2) Elrond was not accepted as High King by the Noldor because of his mixed heritage, i.e., he wasn't "Noldor enough" or "Elven enough." This isn't to say that the other Kings of the Noldor were 100% Noldor. Several of them also had Vanyar and/or Teleri blood. But they were all fully elven.

(3) There was another equally viable candidate for the throne - Galadriel - and rather than create dissent among the few remaining Noldor, neither Elrond nor Galadriel took the crown. If Elrond were to be viewed as "not Elven enough" for the throne, then the line of Fingolfin would have been declared ended, and the Kingship would have reverted to the line of the youngest son of Finwe -- Finarfin. The sole surviving child of Finarfin was none other than Galadriel, and she CERTAINLY would have been an extremely powerful candidate for the throne of the Noldor.

(4) The Sylvan and Sindarin Elves opposed the continuation of the kingship of the Noldor in Middle-earth.

(5) Among the Noldor, were females ineligible to inherit the crown? If that is the case, then Turgon's line would have to end with Turgon himself, as Idril would not be eligible to inherit the throne. At Gil-Galad's death, the crown would then have to revert to the line of Finarfin, and since Galadriel was the sole surviving child, the line of Finarfin would also have come to an end. This would leave no one to legitimately take up the Kingship of the Noldor in Middle-earth.

Does anyone have a definitive answer to this question from their reading and research in HOME or UT? It has bugged me for a LONG time, and the various possible answers provide different interesting twists to the politics of the elves in Middle-earth.
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Postby Merry » Tue Feb 17, 2009 3:19 pm

This isn't a definitive answer, Lindariel, in that I can't point to it in the text, but I have always assumed that the elves declined to name a king because they had decided to 'fade', to let their influence decline in Middle-earth. Rivendell and Lothlorien were hidden to most and having a king is a bit ostentatious (with apologies here to those who have such creatures in their realms :wink: ).
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Sing and be glad, all ye children of the West,
for your King shall come again,
and he shall dwell among you
all the days of your life.

Iolanthe
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Postby Iolanthe » Tue Feb 17, 2009 4:02 pm

I really wish now that I had the last volumes of HoM-e.....

If Elrond was a King who hadn't yet (or would maybe would never) claim his crown because of some prejudice or possible rivalry, then I would have thought that Tolkien wouldn't have been able to resist some cryptic allusion to it in LotR. Especially as another uncrowned king of a lost kingdom had been living in Rivendell hoping for his moment. It seems too neat a bit of synchronicity to pass over. Though he does describe him as

Venerable he seemed as a king crowned with many winters


Maybe because of his wisdom and foresight, Elrond knew the days of the Elf kingdoms were truly at an end and that all that greatness passed at the War of the Last Alliance? Tolkien never pictures him in the guise of a dispossessed King.

Intriguing!
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Riv Res
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Postby Riv Res » Tue Feb 17, 2009 4:46 pm

I was looking for a reason to dust off my HoMe set. Let me do some research here? :wink:
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Lindariel
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Postby Lindariel » Tue Feb 17, 2009 5:05 pm

Merry wrote:This isn't a definitive answer, Lindariel, in that I can't point to it in the text, but I have always assumed that the elves declined to name a king because they had decided to 'fade', to let their influence decline in Middle-earth. Rivendell and Lothlorien were hidden to most and having a king is a bit ostentatious (with apologies here to those who have such creatures in their realms :wink: ).


That's another good reason, Merry. However, keep in mind that Thranduil and his father Oropher both styled themselves as Kings, albeit without the power of an Elven Ring. Elrond presented himself as the Lord/Master of Imladris, and Galadriel as the Lady of the Golden Wood -- not as monarchs, but as caretakers/protectors.

My personal choice among the possibilities I outlined is number 3, especially since Elrond and Galadriel are clearly shown to have great mutual respect for each other to the point that Galadriel permitted her daughter (and only surviving child, if one accepts the theory that Amroth was Galadriel and Celeborn's son) to marry Elrond.

There is the possibility that these two viable "candidates" for the throne agreed not to accept the crown, but instead to merge their two lines through the marriage of Elrond and Celebrian, with the hope that potentially a child of that marriage would then inherit the throne as the descendant of both Fingolfin and Finarfin. However, as time passed, it became abundantly clear that the time of the Elves was ending, and therefore that the Kingship of the Noldor in Middle-earth was itself at an end. With the destruction of the One and the fading of the Three, the two rightful candidates for the throne -- Elrond and Galadriel -- both passed into the West, where the true King of the Noldor in Aman -- Galadriel's father Finarfin -- still lived and retained his Kingship.

Merry, this nicely combines number 3 with your proposal that the fading of the Elves necessitated the fading of the Kingship of the Noldor in Middle-earth.

Riv, I'm on pins and needles to learn what you might find during the course of your research!
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Postby Philipa » Tue Feb 17, 2009 10:11 pm

Having just checked:

The Lost Road and Other Writings
The Lays of Beleriand
The Book of Lost Tales 1 & 2
The Shaping of Middle-earth

I've found nothing more regarding Gil-galad. Sadly, I believe anything else would be found in something scholars or Christopher may have written about him.

Lindariel & Merry I feel in my bones that the scenarios you have both brought forth must be right. An aliance between Galadrial and Elrond to be sterards of their perspective havens makes sense in the light of the fading of Elvish involvement in M-e.

Perhaps Riv can unearth something more?
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