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PostPosted: Tue Mar 10, 2009 12:18 pm 
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Woohoo! Woohoo! My (autographed) copy arrived in yesterday's mail. However, I have so much to do in the real world over the next several days that I won't be able to start reading it until at least this weekend.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 10, 2009 5:18 pm 
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solicitr wrote:
The technical content represents a staggering amount of hard work (I oughta know....) and it's almost unfair that the bulk of it comes in the tables, which take up so little ink and contain such a vast amount of information.

Tables do that.

I haven't got my copy yet. Amazon says they won't ship it until April! :bawling:

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 10, 2009 5:56 pm 
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soli, thank you very much. You indeed are perhaps the one person who knows just how much work it took. In some ways I regret morphing most of my original work into the tables; I think the original format would have been more impressive in some ways (and considerably longer). But I think that this format is more readable for more people, and that the tables provide a very accessible resource for those looking for a detailed tracing of the source material. At least so I hope.

I'll respond to your comments about context at another time.

River, the publisher claims that Amazon's information is incorrect. I hope they are correct, and that it will be shipping within the next 2 or 3 weeks.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 19, 2009 2:37 am 
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My mom has her copy and is purusing now. I get it after she is done.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 19, 2009 2:39 am 
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Thanks, Andreth! I look forward to hearing what you both think of it!

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 23, 2009 1:32 am 
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I received mine the other day but won't be able to start reading it until after April 3rd when I am off until May 5th! Lucky me eh? I am looking forward to getting into it and then returning here for a discussion.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 23, 2009 1:39 am 
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I'm glad it arrived, AJ, and I'll look forward to hearing your impressions once you get an opportunity to take a closer look.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 23, 2009 1:58 pm 
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I separated soli and my ongoing discussion about the "theory of transmission" into a separate thread.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 23, 2009 5:26 pm 
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I'm finally getting around to posting my initial thoughts on Arda Reconstructed, which I received 2 weeks ago and read over the following weekend (about a week ago). I thought I would first give a brief description of my personal history with The Simarillion. LOTR became my favorite book upon my first reading as an adolescent in 1967 (as it remains to this day). So when The Sil was published in 1977 I immediately bought it and read it. However, unlike Voronwë, I was not "hooked" at once. I found most of the book difficult to get through. The Sil was quite different from LOTR and I was disappointed. For over 20 years I never attempted to read it again, as far as I can remember, although I continued to frequently reread LOTR and, to a lesser extent, The Hobbit.

Then, in late 2001 I got access to the internet at work (didn't get a home computer until several years later) and FOTR the film was released shortly thereafter. I discovered a new world of Tolkien fans and their discussions on TORC and elsewhere. A large number of new Tolkien related books, games, soundtracks, etc., followed in the ensuing months. My Tolkien enthusiasm increased accordingly and I decided to read The Sil again and this time to make a real effort to understand and enjoy it.

My reading this time was slow and involved taking a lot of notes and constant referral to the family tree tables and indexes in the back. I made sure I always understood who each character was and to whom he or she was related because at first it is not easy to remember the difference between Finwë, Fingolfin, Finarfin, Fingon, Finrod, etc. I treated this reading almost as a school assignment that I had to learn for a test. Well, this time I understood the book much better and I enjoyed it. So I read it again right away, this time in a newly purchased edition illustrated by Tim Naismith. I also got a small paperback to keep for reference at work. And finally I purchased the recorded book by Martin Shaw, which I have listened to on my commute about 6 times over the last several years. [I find that I love listening to audiobooks - they make my 40 minute commute much more enjoyable. I also find that my concentration while listening generally exceeds that of reading a printed page and if my attention drifts while listening I know it immediately].

I now enjoy The Sil more than The Hobbit (though not as much as LOTR). So the next step was reading HoME. It took me a couple years to get through HoME. Some of it I really enjoyed and some of it was a slog. I occasionally wondered while reading HoME why Christopher had left some parts of it out of The Sil. Overall, I have always been impressed by the huge job Christopher had of taking all the material his father left and working it into a consistent whole.

I believe I know the published Sil very well after about 10 reading/listenings. I am in no way any kind of expert on HoME as Voronwë and Solicitr seem to be.

Well, this brief background on me and The Sil turned out to be not very brief. If you are still reading, here are my initial thoughts on Arda Reconstructed. Interestingly, my first thought was similar to someone else's (I forget whose) and that is - physically, the book is smaller then I was expecting, not that this means anything.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading the book. I generally kept a copy of The Sil with me while I read and referred to it occasionally to read the whole paragraph in The Sil that V was talking about. However, this is not really necessary.

I really like the Tables showing the source(s) for each paragraph. In my opinion, it was a good idea to present this information in this form. One can tell at a glance at the table what were the sources for a particular chapter and a particular paragraph. Sooner or later, I hope to read the book again, much more slowly, and go through it while referring to HoME to follow exactly where V found each phrase. By the way, V, you sure had to have put in a tremendous amount of time and effort to find the source of every single sentence/phrase in The Sil. Thanks for all your hard work. :bow: I found the book easy to read and follow.

Voronwë's main thrust seems to be that he wishes that Christopher had left in most of what he took out, and as V frequently says, it is hard to understand why a lot of the material was left out of the published Sil. I too (after reading Arda Reconstructed) would agree with V on almost all of his criticisms. I would enjoy the published Sil even more if it were longer and included a lot of the detail that Christopher decided to leave out. And the majority of the omissions would not affect the consistency of the story anyway.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 23, 2009 10:02 pm 
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Thanks for sharing those thoughts, Húrin. Very gratifying! I particularly enjoyed hearing about your history with the Silmarillion. That definitely helped but everything in context. I'm so glad that you have enjoyed the book!

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 24, 2009 8:46 am 
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The illustrator of The Silmarillion I referred to in my last post was of course Ted Nasmith (not Tim Naismith).


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 24, 2009 2:14 pm 
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Thanks, Húrin.

As to the omissions etc, well, de gustibus non carborundum (don't eat sandpaper).

Before I express another quibble with Vor, please let me emphasize that AR is a wonderful book, and a tremendous reference text. If I raise differences of opinion (which aren't new), it's because "I agree" doesn't produce much in the way of discussion! Although it would cover the vast bulk of Vor's work. :hug:


(Note to those not initiated into the mysteries of HME:
QS refers to the
Quenta Silmarillion, abandoned unfinished in 1937.
LQ1 or "the Later Quenta 1" refers to the revision of QS undertaken in the early 50's
LQ2 refers to the (partial) revision and expansion of LQ1 undertaken in the late 50's
AAm and GA refer to
The Annals of Aman and The Grey Annals of Beleriand, contemporary with or slightly later than LQ1. Despite being called "Annals", they are often longer and more detailed than the equivalent passages in LQ1.)


LQ2 only covers the early chapters of the work, up through the revolt of the Noldor. It is a considerably fuller and more expansive treatment of the material than any preceding text, and therein lie a great deal of the 'omissions' in the published work, which Vor calls attention to and (mostly) regrets.

In the chapters that follow, Vor comments from time to time that parts of the Later Quenta have been replaced by AAm text, and arguing that CT was capable of using 'fuller' rather than 'briefer' forms- the suggestion is one of inconsistency.

But in fact CT was being thoroughly consistent- in both cases, CT was using (principally) AAm, which happens to be fuller than LQ1, but briefer than LQ2.

In HME XI (WJ), CT states that the Grey Annals provided "the narrative framework" of the Beleriandic portion of The Silmarillion. He makes no such positive declaration regarding the Valinorian portion, but it's very evident that it's the case: in several of these chapters there is more AAm text than that from the Quenta tradition.

CT obviously held AAm in high regard, saying it "contains some of the noblest prose in the entire Matter of the Elder Days,' and referring to the "succinct and beautiful language' of the Tale of the Sun and Moon. But there's a very good structural reason to have made it the backbone, as well: if the Grey Annals were both the latest and most complete version of the War of the Jewels, the Annals of Aman were the latest complete version of the events before that- or, if not significantly later than LQ1, then certainly more complete. LQ2 is a fragment- a very good fragment, but there's not that much of it, and what is more its scope and 'focal length' are seriously out of tune with the remainder of the material. In other words, IMHO the only reasonable approach for CT to take was to use LQ2 material as a supplement, especially where it introduced entirely new material, such as the House of Finwë's complicated domestic life.

Should this have been presented unedited? I don't think so. The distance and pacing would have been too radically different from the older material surrounding it, unless its prolixity were cut down. It would have been akin to using the entire Children of Húrin for the chapter on Túrin.

There is however one completely inexplicable "omission:" the radically changed LQ2 account of the Darkening of Valinor. Why the older version was retained I have no idea.

(A similar argument applies much later, in the Fall of Gondolin chapter. Here, as Vor points out, CT took the "Long Tuor" published in Unfinished Tales and compressed it into two pages. V disagrees; I don't. The problem here is that as soon as that text peters out with Tuor's first glimse of the city, we are left with nothing at all, no text later than the extremely laconic and compressed Quenta Noldorinwa of 1930. That tone and focal length had to be matched; one otherwise would have an absurdly unbalanced, lopsided chapter.

Some might regret that CT didn't 'update' and use the oldest Fall of Gondolin from 1917, and I partially agree- but that would have represented a whole new level of editorial intrusion and wholesale rewriting that CT wasn't willing to assert, except in the 'emergency' case of the Fall of Doriath.)

Note to VtF: feel free to split this off!


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 24, 2009 2:58 pm 
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Húrin, I enjoyed reading about your experiences.

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 24, 2009 3:14 pm 
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soli, thanks for the compliment. :)

To answer your point properly would require repeating much of what I say in the book, so I'll just reply briefly.

Quote:
Should this have been presented unedited? I don't think so. The distance and pacing would have been too radically different from the older material surrounding it, unless its prolixity were cut down. It would have been akin to using the entire Children of Húrin for the chapter on Túrin.


Even as it stands now, the chapter on Túrin is far longer and more detailed that the LQ2 material that I argue should have been included. Even some of the earlier material that is included in the book (such as Chapter 3, The Coming of the Elves) is fully as detailed as the material that was left out. I really don't find that to be a persuasive argument.

Quote:
There is however one completely inexplicable "omission:" the radically changed LQ2 account of the Darkening of Valinor. Why the older version was retained I have no idea.


At another board, a poster named Galin makes a point that I didn't address. There are several very short statements, two in Appendix A of LOTR, one in one of Tolkien's letters, and one in the a very late note about Galadriel and Celeborn reported in UT, that refer to Morgoth destroying the Two Trees. It is possible that Christopher used the older version in order to avoid contradicting these statements. Although one of the statements in LOTR ("The silmarilli alone preserved the ancient light of the Two Trees of Valinor before Morgoth poisoned them") is contradicted anyway, because even in the older version used in the published Silmarillion it is Ungoliant not Morgoth that poisons the Trees. I don't think any of these brief statements justify using the older text, but I should have addressed them, and if I ever get a chance to produce a revised edition, I certainly will. (I have added a note about this to the errata page at arda-reconstructed.com.)

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 24, 2009 3:20 pm 
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Thanks, Lalaith. It's nice to think that your "dad" gave you some enjoyment. :) :)


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 24, 2009 3:47 pm 
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:rofl: I was thinking the same thing!

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 24, 2009 6:21 pm 
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Gosh, that's pretty thin. After all, when we say "Wellington defeated Napoleon" that doesn't mean they fought personally. Ungoliant attacked the Trees at Morgoth's bidding, whether he was there or not.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 24, 2009 6:37 pm 
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Vor:

Except that the Túrin chapter tracks the Grey Annals very closely, with only a bit here and there introduced from the Narn. Again, the Annals were the backbone.

The Coming of the Elves is one of the most textually convoluted in the whole work (even though LQ2 here barely alters LQ1). It seems that for some reason CT/GK (in what IIRC was the first chapter they did) were determined to shuffle together darn near ALL of the Quenta and Annals texts. (By my count, the chapter is 48% AAm, 42.1% LQ1, 6.1% editorial, 2.4% GA, and 1.4% LQ2 (basically name-changes)).

Personally I think it's too long and should have been cut down.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 24, 2009 7:19 pm 
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solicitr wrote:
Gosh, that's pretty thin. After all, when we say "Wellington defeated Napoleon" that doesn't mean they fought personally. Ungoliant attacked the Trees at Morgoth's bidding, whether he was there or not.


Oh, I agree completely. I just regret not mentioning those statements for the sake of completeness, for exactly the reason that Carl raises in the the other thread: making an effort to explain why decisions were made, even if disagree with them.

Quote:
Except that the Túrin chapter tracks the Grey Annals very closely, with only a bit here and there introduced from the Narn. Again, the Annals were the backbone.


That's beside the point that I am making. The source material isn't the point; the point is how the book works was published; if the argument is that the LQ2 material would have adversely affected the pacing because of its contrast with the material around it, than the same argument should apply to the chapter on Túrin.

And in any event, saying "it was from the Annals" simply isn't sufficient justification to me, particularly since CT did use some of the LQ material, and in some instances (in my opinion) the LQ material is not just more recent, but clearly superior (such as Maedhros reporting to Manwë about the slaying of Finwë and the rape of the Silmarils). Plus, one of my biggest complaints involve a place where material from the Annals was replaced with older material from the Quenta (the Oath of Fëanor).

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The Coming of the Elves is one of the most textually convoluted in the whole work


LOL. The last sentence of my discussion of this chapter: "This is certainly one of the most convoluted chapters in the whole book." :) And you are quite right that it was the first one that CT and GK worked on, according to Noad's report of Kay's account of the work on the published text (here is my opportunity to thank you publicly for bringing that report to my attention!).

I'm glad to see that your statistics bear out my statement that 'this chapter is taken at least as much from the Annals of Aman as from the "later Quenta."'

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 24, 2009 9:29 pm 
solicitr wrote:
Gosh, that's pretty thin. After all, when we say "Wellington defeated Napoleon" that doesn't mean they fought personally. Ungoliant attacked the Trees at Morgoth's bidding, whether he was there or not.


To be clear about what I posted, after describing CJRT's summation of the version and quoting Mr. Kane on the matter, I wrote:

Quote:
A statement from letter 297 (dated 1967) concerning the defilement and slaying of the Two Trees by Morgoth, for example, and Tolkien's published description from Appendix A, brief and general as all three examples are, are not included in this chapter (perhaps being brief and general is why they are left out, and I'm guessing they do not appear later on). Incidentally one of the two published statements ('The Jewels were coveted by Morgoth the Enemy, who stole them and, after destroying the Trees, took them to Middle-earth, and guarded them in his great fortress of Thangorodrim.') was added to Appendix A for the revised edition of The Lord of the Rings in the mid 1960s. The 1955 part reads '... before Morgoth poisoned them' (referring to the Two Trees), which, considering the external history of the underlying fuller tale, arguably really means before poisoned by the Great Spider -- though perhaps interestingly (IIRC) way back in the very early Book of Lost Tales at least, Morgoth poisoned one of the Trees himself.

Anyway, the main reason for this post is, considering this matter, I was specifically wondering about a late text from Unfinished Tales: 'Together they planned to build a ship and sail in it to Middle-earth; and they were about to seek leave from the Valar for their venture when Melkor fled from Valmar and returning with Ungoliant destroyed the light of the Trees. In Fëanor's revolt...' This is text by CJRT based on an adumbrated tale written in the last month of Tolkien's life, and appears in the section The History of Galadriel and Celeborn.

I was wondering if anyone has seen the actual text, or if there are relevant statements (from an interview even) for consideration that might shed more light on the Darkening of Valinor.


Noting the part of my post that concerns the 1955 text -- even though the text reads 'Morgoth poisoned the trees' I acknowledge that this can mean Ungoliant poisoned them. With respect to the statement from UT, at least as CJRT renders it, this seems to say that Melkor fled from Valmar and returning (to Valmar) with Ungoliant destroyed the light of the Trees.

Under the assumption that JRRT certainly held with the LQS second phase version, then yes, one might interpret even this late note in such a way that it might fit. But to my mind it seems a statement that fits quite easily with the Melkor and Ungoliant version, that is, the version found in AAm and the LQS of the early 1950s, for example.

In any case, as I say, another reason to bring up the citation was to see if anyone (particularly Wayne Hammond and Christins Scull) had seen the actual text in Tolkien's hand.


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