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PostPosted: Mon Nov 11, 2013 4:09 pm 
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In Letter #154, to Naomi Mitchinson, written and sent in 1954, Tolkien states:

Quote:
“the promise made to the Eldar (High Elves – not to other varieties, they had long made their irrevocable choice, pref erring Middle-earth to paradise) they would always be able to leave Middle-earth and pass on the Straight Road.”


This quote is being discussed elsewhere, in the light of Peter Jackson's version of The Hobbit, where he has the Elvenking, Thranduil, stating that stating he would not allow his son, Legolas, to pledge himself to a lowly Silvan Elf, in this case, the non-canon character of Tauriel. Does Thranduil fear Legolas would be dooming himself, like Arwen, if he pledged himself to an Avari?


In response to this question, Sador points out:

Quote:
You are referring to Letter #154, to Naomi Mitchinson. Quoting from the Letters is not always convincing as a proof, but here, neither of the caveats apply: this letter was sent (some of the collection are discarded drafts), and it was written at 1954, immediately after LotR was published.

Nevertheless, it seems to be wrong - for this contradicts Haldir's words in Lothlórien, in which he wistfully regrets the lack of mallyrn beyond the Sea. It appers that Haldir fully expects to pass over the Sea if the war ends successfully. Which means one of the three:
1. Either that Haldir realises that he will be seperated from the Lord and Lady, and is pining in lieu of them.
2. Or that like all other Silvan Elves we meet, Haldir is actually a Sindarin prince in disguise. But how would that fit with Rúmil and Orophin, his brothers, being unable to speak in the common tongue, and using Silvan among themselves?
3. Most probably - Tolkien simply goofed (in his 1954 letter). This happens even to him; although so soon after going over the final proof galleys is quite surprising.

Even if this letter is in error, it clearly shows that soon after writing the appendices, in which Legolas is said to have finally passed across the Sea in FA 120 from Pelargir, Tolkien considered Silvan Elves to have forfeited the privilege of leaving Middle-earth. And Legolas was not considered one of them, whatever his mother was.

As to whether PF, Ph. & F. have read this letter and taken it into account - who can tell?


Does anyone on HoF have any thoughts on this?

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 14, 2013 2:46 pm 
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I somehow missed seeing that this post had been made. Sorry!

The short answer is that I think that Tolkien misspoke (or miswrote, technically) in that letter to Naomi Mitchinson. I'll try to organize my thoughts and say why I think that when I get a chance.

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 19, 2013 9:54 pm 
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The Silvan Elves can pass Over Sea according to The Lord of the Rings (Nimrodel and so on).

As far as I'm aware anyway :)

Are the films making Tauriel an Avar specifically?


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 19, 2013 10:41 pm 
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Yes, so far as I understand.

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 20, 2013 1:33 pm 
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Really? By her hair colour I thought she was related to Amros somewhow ;)

Here's my twenty cents on the letter anyway. 'the promise made to the Eldar (High Elves – not to other varieties, they had long ago made their irrevocable choice, preferring Middle-earth to paradise) they would always be able to leave Middle-earth and pass on the Straight Road.' 1954

In 1955 Tolkien published [Appendices] that the Silvan Elves of Lórien and Mirkwood were mostly East-elves, and not Eldar [but not necessarily Avari, as Tolkien does not employ this term in the final, author-published account]. 'The Elves far back in the Elder Days became divided into two main branches: the West-elves (the Eldar) and the East-elves. Of the latter kind were most of the elven-folk of Mirkwood and Lórien; but their languages do not appear in this history, of which all of the Elvish names and words are of Eldarin form.* (footnote) *In Lórien at this period Sindarin was spoken, though with an 'accent', since most of its folk were of Silvan origin (...) But Lórien, Caras Galadhon, Amroth, Nimrodel are probably of Silvan origin, adapted to Sindarin.'

And in another quote of note from Appendix F the word Eldar is said to refer to the three kindreds who sought for the Undying Realm '... and came there are the beginning of days, save the Sindar only' Meaning (as I take it) the Eldar are those Elves who passed Oversea, plus the Sindar only. Basically the West-elves, with the Sindar making it to Beleriand, a very 'Western land' of course, in ancient days.


Here the term Eldar is basically equivalent to 'West-Elves', contrasted to East-elves. I know that's not how the 1977 Silmarillion 'defines' Eldar, but so far I think even JRRT would have to admit that he, at the least strongly implied that the Silvan Elves are not Eldar nor their languages Eldarin.

So when Tolkien says 'not to other varieties' might he mean various clans of Avari? Avari means 'refusers' which works, and we know there were different clans of Avari at least, but does 'variety' really work in this context?

The other term is 'High Elves'. In the letter Tolkien seems to equate it with Eldar. I think that is not in itself an error, even though the more usual application of High Elves, in Middle-earth anyway, refers to the Noldor. But if High Elves equals Eldar here, as [I think] is suggested, then to my mind JRRT has at least implied other varieties that are 'not Eldar' have made an irrevocable choice, which again, according to The Lord of the Rings at least, could possibly include both Avari and the Silvan Elves of Lórien and Mirkwood. Or East Elves.

But on the other hand Tolkien can hardly mean the Silvan Elves in general, as The Lord of the Rings tells the story of Nimrodel [Lothlórien] and Silvan Elves that fled Lórien to sail Over Sea [Appendix B].

Hmm :D

The 1977 Silmarillion 'defines' Eldar as all those who took up the March, even if they did not pass Over Sea or make it to Beleriand. In other words, all those who did not initially 'refuse' the Summons, it seems. The Silvan Elves of Mirkwood and Lórien would be 'Eldar' by this description, and perhaps notably in a late text Tolkien refers to the Tawarwaith 'Wood Elves' as 'Eldar in origin' [Unfinished Tales].

In another late text Amroth basically tells Nimrodel that it's okay for those who took up the Great March to still pass over Sea. He is Sindarin, she is a Silvan Elf. Amroth tells Nimrodel that it is said: '... the grace the Valar gave to us to pass over the Sea is granted also now to any of those who made the Great Journey, even if they did not come in ages past to the Shores and have not yet beheld the Blessed Land.'

Toss in a 'definition' of Eldar [at least one of them] employed by Christopher Tolkien for The Children of Húrin, and we seem to have returned to the idea of The Lord of the Rings! Meaning Eldar refers to those Elves who took up the Great March Over Sea plus the Sindar [West Elves]. 'Eldar The Elves of the Great Journey out of the East to Beleriand.' 'To Beleriand' is interesting here: I would say beyond Beleriand surely, but at least to Beleriand would once again suggest the Sindar only, 'only' of those Eldar who did not actually pass Over Sea.

Toss in Quendi And Eldar where Tolkien mixes in some Avari in the Anduin Vale, then toss in later notes from Unfinished Tales where the Tawarwaith are simply said to be Telerin in origin, hardly to be distinguished from Avari...

... and it's all very simple :scratch:

My conclusion so far: Jackson invented Tauriel, gave her the red brown hair of Nerdanel's kin, and possibly made her an Avar to 'create something' in a possible 'love story' of some measure, even if only hinted at, or a 'love story' in potential.

And if she's an Avar Jackson fans can [if they like] point to Quendi And Eldar for Avari arguably in Mirkwood, or employ the argument that the term East Elves doesn't necessarily exclude the Avari.

And what Tolkien meant in this letter I have no idea :D


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 20, 2013 1:58 pm 
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And now I don't need to organize my thoughts, since Galin has done it for me. :)

Always great to see you here!

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 20, 2013 2:33 pm 
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Yes, thanks Galin :)

And hopefully we won't have to worry about a Sindarin-Silvan romance after all, as OB is quoted in the Official Movie Guide as saying that Legolas thinks of Tauriel as a younger sister, and is concerned over her friendship with Kili the Dwarf...

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