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 Post subject: Tables
PostPosted: Wed Mar 04, 2009 2:49 am 
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I'm very interested to hear whether people find the extensive tables to be a helpful and/or valuable resource. Post your thoughts specifically about the tables here in this thread.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 26, 2009 10:46 pm 
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As I said some back, it's rather a shame that most of Doug's technical work wound up compressed into the tables, for both space and copyright reasons, for it gives little impression of how the texts themselves line up; indeed, necessarily they focus on difference rather than congruence. So here I give an example, from Chapter 3 (which Doug and I agree is probably the most convoluted of all): first the Annal for Valian Year 1085, followed by the 1977 text.


The Annals of Aman wrote:
And when the Elves had dwelt in the world five and thirty Years of the Valar (which is like unto three hundred and thirty-five of our years) it chanced that Oromë rode to Endor in his hunting, and he turned north by the shores of Helkar and passed under the shadows of the Orokarni, the Mountains of the East. And on a sudden Nahar set up a great neighing and then stood still. And Oromë wondered and sat silent, and it seemed to him that in the quiet of the land under the stars he heard afar off many voices singing.

Thus it was that the Valar found at last, as it were by chance, those whom they had so long awaited. And when Oromë looked upon them he was filled with wonder, as though they were things unforeseen and unimagined; and he loved the Quendi, and named them Eldar, the people of the stars.

Yet many of the Quendi were adread at his coming. This was the doing of Melkor. For by after‑knowledge the masters of lore declare that Melkor, ever watchful, was first aware of the awakening of the Quendi, and sent shadows and evil spirits to watch and waylay them. So it came to pass, some years ere the coming of Oromë, that if any of the Elves strayed far abroad, alone or few together, they would often vanish and never return; and the Quendi said that the Hunter had caught them, and they were afraid. Even so, in the most ancient songs of our people, of which some echoes are remembered still in the West, we hear of the shadow‑shapes that walked in the hills about Kuivienen, or would pass suddenly over the stars; and of the dark Rider upon his wild horse that pursued those that wandered to take them and devour them. Now Melkor greatly hated and feared the riding of Oromë, and either verily he sent his dark servants as riders, or he set lying whispers abroad, for the purpose that the Quendi should shun Oromë, if ever haply they met.

Thus it was that when Nahar neighed and Oromë indeed came among them, some of the Quendi hid themselves, and some fled and were lost. But those that had the courage to stay perceived swiftly that the Great Rider was noble and fair and no shape out of Darkness; for the Light of Aman was in his face, and all the noblest of the Quendi were drawn towards it.

But of those hapless who were ensnared by Melkor little is known of a certainty. For who of the living hath descended into the pits of Utumno, or hath explored the darkness of the counsels of Melkor? Yet this is held true by the wise of Eressëa: that all those of the Quendi that came into the hands of Melkor, ere Utumno was broken, were put there in prison, and by slow arts of cruelty and wickedness were corrupted and enslaved. Thus did Melkor breed the hideous race of the Orkor in envy and mockery of the Elvdar, of whom they were afterwards the bitterest foes. For the Orkor had life and multiplied after the manner of the Children of Ilúvatar; and naught that had life of its own, nor the semblance thereof, could ever Melkor make since his rebellion in the Ainulindalë before the Beginning: so say the wise. And deep in their dark hearts the Orkor loathed the Master whom they served in fear, the maker only of their misery. This it may be was the vilest deed of Melkor, and the most hateful to Eru.



The Silmarillion wrote:
And on a time it chanced that Oromë rode eastward in his hunting, and he turned north by the shores of Helcar and passed under the shadows of the Orocarni, the Mountains of the East. Then on a sudden Nahar set up a great neighing, and stood still. And Oromë wondered and sat silent, and it seemed to him that in the quiet of the land under the stars he heard afar off many voices singing.

Thus it was that the Valar found at last, as it were by chance, those whom they had so long awaited.
And Oromë looking upon the Elves was filled with wonder, as though they were beings sudden and marvellous and unforeseen; for so it shall ever be with the Valar. From without the World, though all things may be forethought in music or foreshown in vision from afar, to those who enter verily into Eä each in its time shall be met at unawares as something new and unforetold.

In the beginning the Elder Children of Ilúvatar were stronger and greater than they have since become; but not more fair, for though the beauty of the Quendi in the days of their youth was beyond all other beauty that Ilúvatar has caused to be, it has not perished, but lives in the West, and sorrow and wisdom have enriched it. And Oromë loved the Quendi, and named them in their own tongue Eldar, the people of the stars; but that name was after borne only by those who followed him upon the westward road.

Yet many of the Quendi were filled with dread at his coming; and this was the doing of Melkor. For by after‑knowledge the wise declare that Melkor, ever watchful, was first aware of the awakening of the Quendi, and sent shadows and evil spirits to spy upon them and waylay them. So it came to pass, some years ere the coming of Oromë, that if any of the Elves strayed far abroad, alone or few together, they would often vanish, and never return; and the Quendi said that the Hunter had caught them, and they were afraid. And indeed the most ancient songs of the Elves, of which echoes are remembered still in the West, tell of the shadow‑shapes that walked in the hills above Cuiviénen, or would pass suddenly over the stars; and of the dark Rider upon his wild horse that pursued those that wandered to take them and devour them. Now Melkor greatly hated and feared the riding of Oromë, and either he sent indeed his dark servants as riders, or he set lying whispers abroad, for the purpose that the Quendi should shun Oromë, if ever they should meet.

Thus it was that when Nahar neighed and Oromë indeed came among them, some of the Quendi hid themselves, and some fled and were lost. But those that had courage, and stayed, perceived swiftly that the Great Rider was no shape out of darkness; for the light of Aman was in his face, and all the noblest of the Elves were drawn towards it.

But of those
unhappy ones who were ensnared by Melkor little is known of a certainty. For who of the living has descended into the pits of Utumno, or has explored the darkness of the counsels of Melkor? Yet this is held true by the wise of Eressëa, that all those of the Quendi who came into the hands of Melkor, ere Utumno was broken, were put there in prison, and by slow arts of cruelty were corrupted and enslaved; and thus did Melkor breed the hideous race of the Orcs in envy and mockery of the Elves, of whom they were afterwards the bitterest foes. For the Orcs had life and multiplied after the manner of the Children of Ilúvatar; and naught that had life of its own, nor the semblance of life, could ever Melkor make since his rebellion in the Ainulindalë before the Beginning: so say the wise. And deep in their dark hearts the Orcs loathed the Master whom they served in fear, the maker only of their misery. This it may be was the vilest deed of Melkor, and the most hateful to Ilúvatar.


The middle section, until the last sentence of the third paragraph, comes from the revision of the Quenta ca. 1951:

Quote:
...but Oromë named them in their own tongue Eldar, people of the stars, and that name has since been borne by all that followed him upon the westward road. In the beginning they were stronger and greater than they have since become; but not more fair, for though the beauty of the Quendi in the days of their youth was beyond all other beauty that Ilúvatar has caused to be, it has not perished, but lives in the West, and sorrow and wisdom have enriched it.

[And Oromë looking upon the Elves was filled with love and wonder,] as though they were beings sudden and marvellous and unforetold. For so it shall ever be even with the Valar. From without the World, though all things may be forethought in music or foreshown in vision from afar, to those who enter verily into Eä each in its time shall be met at unawares as something new and strange.


This is, obviously, a "long-block" section, but even the tangled sections remain original JRRT interleaved (example on request) Note also that here as in many other places the texts of the Annals and the Quenta often run in paraphrase, or are even identical. In fact there is I think ample textual justification for CT's conclusion that in his later years Tolkien intended to merge the two 'traditions' into one, which in effect is what CT did.


Last edited by solicitr on Fri Mar 27, 2009 6:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 27, 2009 5:46 pm 
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solicitr wrote:
As I said some back, it's rather a shame that most of Doug's technical work wound up compressed into the tables, for both space and copyright reasons, for it gives little impression of how the texts themselves line up; indeed, necessarily they focus on difference rather than congruence.


I think the book would have been unreadable for most people had I left the information in the tables in the text; almost certainly I would not have been able to find a publisher willing to publish it. Nonetheless, I think the tables are probably the most important part of the book, and the part that will have the most lasting value (if in fact the book does have any lasting value). After all the text mostly consists of my subjective opinions, supported by the data I gathered, but still my opinions. It is the tables that contain the hard, objective facts, which can be checked and rechecked. And those objective facts really do tell a rather remarkable story. On the on hand, the tables confirm that The Silmarillion is a work that is overwhelming one containing J.R.R. Tolkien's own words; there are comparatively very few places where the tables show that the primary source, or even a secondary source is "editorial addition" (or "unknown," for that matter). On the other hand, the tables equally show just how much those words were manipulated (I do not mean to imply a value judgment by that word) by Christopher; there are just as few places where the primary source is not supplemented by secondary sources, and the primary source continually switches between different works. That's the the hard data that can truly be objectively analyzed.

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 27, 2009 6:08 pm 
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I agree with you!

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 27, 2009 6:19 pm 
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So do I. The tables are much, much more approachable and decipherable than the most clearly written textual version could possibly be. I don't even know how a textual version could be indexed usefully.

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― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 27, 2009 6:30 pm 
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I think the tables are probably the most important part of the book, and the part that will have the most lasting value


Absolutely. Which is why it's rather a shame (tho unavoidable) that they take up proportionately so little space. They really are the heart of the matter (and the bulk of the hard work).

Quote:
The tables are much, much more approachable and decipherable than the most clearly written textual version could possibly be. I don't even know how a textual version could be indexed usefully.


Color-coding, with a reference column (a la many Bibles). I actually did this roughly myself, using a rainbow of pencil underlining, and source pagination in the margins. Or in a real cost-is-no-object approach, parallel texts. Of course, any such approach would run into copyright law.


EDIT: I've color-coded the sample above. Personally I think it makes a very good 'chart' for conveying visually the analysis.


Last edited by solicitr on Fri Mar 27, 2009 6:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 27, 2009 6:35 pm 
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Me three. Tables are a mercy.

I work in a field where tables and illustrations are always the heart of the work. It can take months, even years in some cases, to accumulate the data that becomes a table or figure and then a few weeks to write the accompanying text, even though the text will end up taking more space. So, to me, I don't see anything to be sad about in Voronwë's tables. It's the way things are. The purpose in any writing is to communicate your point, not show off all the hours of labor that went into it (unless, of course, that's part of the story for some reason).

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 27, 2009 7:36 pm 
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soli, that's definitely an interesting approach. But you're right that copyright would be a problem. There's also the fact that a significant percentage of men are colorblind to some degree and would find color-coding troublesome.

The killer, though, for the idea is production cost. Color is much more expensive to print than black-and-white; it even requires more expensive paper.

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“There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 27, 2009 7:51 pm 
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The colorblindness issue can be dodged through picking the right sorts of colors - it's reds and greens that are the problem for most of the colorblind. Though it is a hairy one.

The production cost is a killer though. If Voronwë had colored text I'm not sure I could afford his book, never mind justify the cost (it's one thing to suck up a text book required for a class; it's another when it's a book you're buying for fun).

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 27, 2009 7:59 pm 
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There's a reason why the book has only black and white illustrations. :)

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 27, 2009 8:16 pm 
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Oh, sure- it's not remotely practical (except as an e-book!)- but it could work...for a price.

Don't get me wrong- Doug's solution *is* the best real-world approach.

EDIT: The Tables are the heart of the book, the invaluable part, its raison d'etre. (Together with the major omissions given in the text, which the Table's can't cover). Just to be clear. :)


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