Of Tuor and his coming to Gondolin

A discussion of Tolkien's Unfinshed Tales
serinde
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Postby serinde » Mon Mar 16, 2009 2:50 am

As far as Tolkien reading J Campbell, I would guess that it would be the concept of parallel thoughts -- both coming to the same theories of mythology -- one using fiction, the other non-fiction, to express themselves.

I'd like to participate in the Campbell discussion too -- haven't read him either.

The hero's journey -- including guidance, choices, receiving arms, the quest, the dark journey -- definitely Tuor, Aragorn & Frodo

But, as in Turin's story, there is a pivotal moment when a choice is made, and Fate/Doom is set in motion -- there is little the hero can do then to change his course.

The difficulty with Aragorn is that all of his choices are made 'off camera', outside of the pages of LOTR {even his challenge of Sauron with the Palantir}

Tuor's first choice was to head south with the Elves -- which is where he eventually went.

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Postby Iolanthe » Mon Mar 16, 2009 10:34 am

As this tale focusses on Tuor it is, of course, very much a 'hero's' journey - as you've said, Aragorn (although the perfect hero) makes much of his journey off the pages of LotR. It isn't his story - or, at least, it's not only his story. We're down to the question set in our poll 'who is the true hero of The Lord of the Rings' and Tolkien gives us Frodo (an atypical hero) as it's the story of the destruction of the Ring, but with so much else - vividly drawn - going on besides.

So I wonder what it would have been like if Tolkien had written 'Aragorn and the Fall of Sauron' in the same way that he wrote 'Tuor and the fall of Gondolin' or 'The Children of Hurin'. A complete strory of a hero's destiny with Aragorn at the centre? Not instead of LotR but a companion to it? An expanded version of Appendix A. Written when he was at the peak of his powers with all the understanding he then had of myth and their place within people's lives. What a story that would have made!
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Postby Merry » Mon Mar 16, 2009 2:47 pm

I've googled Tolkien and Joseph Campbell and got a bunch of stuff, but it seems to be accepted that somebody knew that Campbell didn't much care for Tolkien's work!
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Postby Iolanthe » Mon Mar 16, 2009 3:29 pm

Interesting. I wonder why? I know Campbell felt that we are all still making our own myths to deal with the modern world. Maybe be couldn't see creating a mythology that purports to be old as part of that?
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serinde
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foresight & power

Postby serinde » Mon Mar 16, 2009 4:33 pm

Consider this:

'But behold!' said Ulmo, 'in the armour of Fate (as the Children of Earth name it) there is a rift, and in the walls of Doom a breach, until the full-making, which ye call the End. So it shall be while I endure, a secret voice that gainsayeth, and a light where darkness was decreed. Therefore, though in the days of this darkness I seem to oppose the will of my brethren, the Lords of the West, that is my part among them, to which I was appointed ere the making of the World.'


the foresight of the Creator {Iluvatar, or Tolkien}
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Re: foresight & power

Postby Lindariel » Mon Mar 16, 2009 4:42 pm

serinde wrote:Consider this:

'But behold!' said Ulmo, 'in the armour of Fate (as the Children of Earth name it) there is a rift, and in the walls of Doom a breach, until the full-making, which ye call the End. So it shall be while I endure, a secret voice that gainsayeth, and a light where darkness was decreed. Therefore, though in the days of this darkness I seem to oppose the will of my brethren, the Lords of the West, that is my part among them, to which I was appointed ere the making of the World.'


the foresight of the Creator {Iluvatar, or Tolkien}


Maybe part of the "theme" that Eru introduced during the singing of the Great Music, or one of Ulmo's contributions to the Great Music that "created" Arda. I assume the "Doom" Ulmo refers to above is the Doom of Mandos, and the breach in that Doom, which Ulmo provides, is ultimately the "Straight Path" from Middle-earth to the Undying Lands -- an opportunity to return to Paradise after lessons have been learned.

What do you think?
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Postby serinde » Tue Mar 17, 2009 5:07 am

the breach in the Doom of Mandos is the way back -- as decreed by Iluvatar, not the Valar -- hence Ulmo's seeming to disagree with the Lords of the West.

Tuor has just had a dream of a far shore, with a shining star above -- don't forget that Earendil will come from Tuor, and he is the hope of both men and elves

And that hope lieth in thee; for so I have chosen.


I think it is interesting that Iluvatar has foreseen all of this -- even to the Nolder rebelling and leaving Valinor -- creating the plan that Ulmo would keep in contact with those in Middle-Earth & provide guidance when he could
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Postby Philipa » Thu Mar 26, 2009 11:58 pm

In the timeline of M-e, is the involvement of Ulmo the last time (other than Eonwe the Maiar using his trumpets to lead the Valar on in the War of Wrath) a Vala participated in the affairs of men or elves in M-e?
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Postby Iolanthe » Fri Mar 27, 2009 11:17 am

I suppose their sending of the Maiar in disguise (Gandalf, Saruman and the other Wizards) to Middle-earth is a direct involvement.

You could say it was like for like, as Sauron was a Maiar and Morgoth (a Valar, of course) had been dealt with by them directly.
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Postby serinde » Sun Mar 29, 2009 1:47 pm

Iolanthe wrote:I suppose their sending of the Maiar in disguise (Gandalf, Saruman and the other Wizards) to Middle-earth is a direct involvement.

You could say it was like for like, as Sauron was a Maiar and Morgoth (a Valar, of course) had been dealt with by them directly.


Which begs the question of why Gandalf didn't face Sauron himself (although a Balrog is a Maiar, and he did chase the Necromancer out of Dol Guldor) (and doesn't it bother you that the Witch-king broke his staff in the movie?)

There is also the storm that drowns Numenor -- a negative interference from our point of view.

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Postby Merry » Sun Mar 29, 2009 2:55 pm

This is an interesting question, and it has come up in another thread as well. I'm just starting to form an opinion on this myself, so see what you think!

I think maybe the Valar learned some humility through the sad history of Middle-earth. Although I have tended to think of them as gods, they are also creatures of Eru and not perfect in themselves. (Does Tolkien ever refer to them as 'gods'?) Their strong efforts to direct things by insisting that the elves remain living with them in Valinor at least contributed to the Kinslaying and Feanor's oath and the whole sad history of the Noldor. So I think they took stock of this and decided that they needed to back off and allow the Children of Eru significantly more autonomy in their affairs. Ulmo urges Tuor on through dream-like appearances and signs and symbols, but Tuor is free to pursue other courses. So even when Numenor was drowned and the shape of the world was changed, didn't the Valar apply to Eru to do this? Really, the 'sin' of Morgoth and Sauron is that they wanted to assert their absolute authority over lesser beings. But they were not given that kind of authority by Eru.

So Gandalf is sent, but with the strict limitations that he cannot act as a god in his work, but must use the powers of persuasion and the kindling of the hearts of the Children. The message he leaves with the hobbits at their parting at the end of their adventures is that they have been trained to deal with the problems of Middle-earth themselves. Even Aragorn had to undergo a kind of training before he could assume leadership.

As I said in another thread, I think Tolkien might have been working out his own theology of why the God he believed in so deeply didn't step in and end the evils of his world. But if God made some creatures free, God has to allow that autonomy room to move. To do otherwise is to do a fundamental violence to those creatures. (That's not to say that I don't sometimes wish God would do some old-fashioned 'smiting' still! I have a list of appropriate targets. :twisted: )
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Postby Iolanthe » Sun Mar 29, 2009 5:48 pm

Don't we all :lol: .

Tolkien does refer to the Valar as 'gods' all the time outside of LotR. And in his earliest writings, before his later revisions, it's very clear that a) they make lots of errors of judgement and b) they don't do anything like enough to protect the peoples of Middle-earth from Morgoth when he escaped back there. They 'hide' in Valinor like ostriches with their heads in the sand and the narrative (given to Elfwine by the elves) is gently accusatory against them more than once.

In later revisions he's kinder to them and he finds more reasons why they do - or don't - do certain things and some of their worse failings are written out by story changes. I get the impression that in the beginning they were more like the fallible gods of the ancient Greeks and Romans (without the romping) and that later they were far more angelic. But there is still the fact that a lot of things they do go wrong. It's just that in the things that go wrong they are far less culpable.

In the Lost Tales Manwe handles the Elves reaction to the lies of Melko very badly. He's given more opportunities to put things right, he says things and his meaning isn't understood, he gives the embassy of the Noldor who are worried about Melko short shrift because he's distracted by Melko. He isn't 'in touch' and is too far above the elves' concerns, thinking they know and understand things which they don't.

In the Sil events unfold in ways that he can't prevent, only regret. Melkor is more devious and Manwe does what he can and is still rejected. There is a definite shift in culpability.
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Postby Merry » Mon Mar 30, 2009 4:25 am

Well, this is interesting. I wonder why the shift? It could be because Tolkien's interests as a thinker and a writer changed as he grew older. The earlier works, as you pointed out, do seem almost imitative of the mythologies of different cultures. But how does a writer start out with all that doom and hubris and end up with a eucatastrophe? It's kind of neat how, as he matures as a person and a writer, then Children of Eru grow up as well, taking responsibility for their freedom and actions as well as for Middle-earth.
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Postby Iolanthe » Tue Mar 31, 2009 7:50 pm

That's it exactly. And the further he got into his own mythology, and the more he matured as a deep thinker and the more his religious faith deepened, the more he was faced with the great moral questions about how that world was shaped and ruled. The way it was ruled and its inner 'laws' had to answer to something more profound than the provisions of his original conception.

There is a growing complexity all round, not just in the story lines. How he kept it all together and coherent as it unfolded (as he unfolded) is astonishing really.
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