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PostPosted: Sat Sep 08, 2018 11:43 pm 
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I finished it today. As I said, I have a few quibbles about how the book was put together, but overall I'm very pleased that it exists.

It'll be a little while before I write my review because my books are all still in storage, and I'll need to consult Unfinished Tales and some the volumes of HoMe to complete it.

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 09, 2018 6:31 am 
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Just out of curiosity, why are your books in storage? Still from the renovation? Which I could completely understand—we have boxes not gone through from our renovation in 2000. No, that is not a typo. :bang: :bang: :bang:

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


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 09, 2018 7:02 am 
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V,

I'm sympathetic too. My first project 5 years ago was to build a 30 foot long bookcase. Its done and very nice, but I still have a few hundred under my desk and another few hundred in storage space. I might get time in the spring to build the reest, but many more projects to finish before that can happen.

Prim,

It has been a long time. Nice to see you are stil around.

Inanna,

Thank you. Slowly improving.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2018 3:30 am 
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Prim, yes, still from the renovation. Most of everything is done, but there are a few things left and Beth broke her toe a few weeks ago, which has slowed even her down. Where still not sure exactly where the books are going to go.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2018 1:20 pm 
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Do you have any hallways wide enough to fit bookshelves along one wall? We did that upstairs.

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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: Mon Sep 10, 2018 2:01 pm 
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No, but we do have options. It's just a question of figuring out which are best, and how many books we really need to accommodate.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 04, 2018 5:54 pm 
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The Fall of Gondolin is probably of the last of Christopher Tolkien’s books derived from his father’s notes. It is also the last of the six books he edited after the History of Middle Earth was finished. Three of these books are connected directly to Middle Earth and specifically the Silmarillion and the First Age. All three of these are very much related to each other. Two of the other three are only loosely connected. Beowulf and The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrun are examples of the Norse mythology from which Tolkien drew in creating his own. I think the Arthurian fragment connects back to time spent in Brittany before WWI. He was on the northern edge of an area of Brittany that is saturated with the Breton stories related to Arthur, a major figure in western heroic literature. Along the way he picked up a few names, like Rohan and Bree, as well as tales of a magical area called Broceliande, which he later transformed into Beleriand. Aspects of the Arthurian period are very much related to The Fall of Gondolin.

These are a few comments about each of these six books:

The Children of Húrin 2007

This is a First Age story of Middle Earth. This is the expansion and merging of two previously published tales. Part is from the Silmarillion and the rest is from Narn I Chin Húrin in the Unfinished Tales. Combining these required the creation of some bridging text and filling in some gaps. I don’t think the Wanderings of Húrin from the War of the Jewels was a significant source.

This is then an extension of the Silmarillion. It is a bleak tale of Morgoth’s curse on the children of Húrin. I’m not sure what message we are to derive from this story. It seems to say the race of men is doomed to failure if they rely on their own efforts without appealing to a higher power. The grandson of Húrin is Tuor, who married Turgon’s daughter Idril. They are main characters in The Fall of Gondolin. Their son Eärendil is half man and half elf. He married the half man half elf daughter of Beren and Lúthien. In what was to be Tolkien’s next detailed story from the Silmarillion, Eärendil sought help from the Valar against Morgoth. Together they overthrew Morgoth. This separate story was never written.

The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrun 2009

This is not a story of Middle Earth. There are two different but related stories, both drawn from the Poetic (Elder) Edda. This dates from the 13th century. The stories are related to Beowulf and more closely to the Nibelungenlied, which became popular in late 19th century Germany. The Prose and Poetic Eddas became popular in England in the late 19th century in the pre-Raphaelite movement.

The Fall of Arthur 2013

This is not a story of Middle Earth. This is a fragment that deals with the British struggle against the invasion of the Saxons. This work was abandoned in its infancy. 50 pages were written. More of the book is devoted to notes on the unfinished part. I think Tolkien dropped his pursuit of Arthur when he realized it was Celtic and not English. I believe this led him to say England had no mythology, which he went on to correct. As discussed below, there are several parallels between Arthurian literature and The Fall of Gondolin.

Beowulf 2014

This is not a story of Middle Earth. It is a translation of the earliest English story, which is set in Scandinavia. Scandinavians ruled most of what is now England when it was written around 1000. A part of the story includes the slaying of a dragon, as in Húrin and Sigurd. Beowulf contains the earliest use of “orc” in orcneas, generally translated into modern English as ogres. Tolkien used both orc and ogre.

Beren and Lúthien 2017

This is a First Age story of Middle Earth. It concerns the love between a man and an elf, like that of Aragorn and Arwen in LOTR who are their descendants. This is an expansion of the story that first appeared in the Silmarillion. Beren recovered one of the Simarils from Morgoth. They are the great grandparents of Elrond.

The Fall of Gondolin 2018

This is a First Age story of Middle Earth. It is the third story, after The Children of Húrin, and Beren and Lúthien, extracted from the Silmarillion. Probably what is the most important version is from the Quenta Silmarillion. It is also the first Middle Earth story that Tolkien wrote. The writing of the three versions spanned the period from 1916 to 1955. Christopher has collected three versions of the story and three minor texts that he presents in the book.

The Fall of Gondolin is connected to Húrin as he brings his nephew, Tuor to Gondolin. Tuor marries Idril, King Turgon’s daughter, becoming the second of three men to marry an elf. Meglin, nephew of King Turgon later betrays Gondolin, the invisible city of the elves, to Morgoth, which assures its destruction. The elves flee and Tuor becomes the only man to be transformed into an elf as a reward for his assistance, his heritage, and his marriage..

The book also mentions connects to Beren and Lúthien as Huor and Húrin are also members of the House of Bear.

What is called The Earliest Text in the TOC seems to have actually been a few notes written before the version called the Original Tale in the TOC which is actually The Tale of the Fall of Gondolin. It seems to have only been a few remarks about names of secondary figures in the full story.

Only three versions reach the conclusion. The first complete version, which is called the Original Tale in the TOC, is The Tale of the Fall of Gondolin written during WWI. The second very brief version, called The Sketch of the Mythology in the TOC, was written in 1926. The third version is the Quenta Silmarillion's Noldorinwa, completed in 1930.

Between the first and second completed versions, an abandoned text was begun. This was called Turlin and the Exiles of Gondolin in the TOC. This consisted of one page.

The text called The Last Version in the TOC was written in 1951 but not completed. It ends with Tuor’s arrival in Gondolin.

There are several interesting parallels between Arthurian literature and Tolkien’s writings. The Fall of Gondolin contains a few. These include a magical city (Gondolin/Camelot), a magical sword (Glamdring/Excalibur), betrayal from within the ruling family (Meglin/Mordred), and a migration across the sea. The first two are self-evident. The latter two need a little explanation.

Mordred was first identified as the nephew of Arthur in Monmouth’s Historia Regum Britanniae circa 1136. In the Vulgate Cycle circa 1225, Mordred became Arthur’ son and nephew from his incest with Morgana. Until the appearance of Lancelot in Chretien’s The Knight and the Cart circa 1180, Mordred was Guinevere’s lover and while Arthur was on the continent, Mordred and Guinevere both betrayed Arthur. Mordred took the throne and married Guinevere. In later works, Mordred lusted after Guinevere and betrayed Arthur just as Meglin lusted after his cousin Idril and betrayed Turgon. In addition, the character Melwas first appeared as someone who kidnapped Guinevere in The Life of Gildas circa 1150, usually to be rescued by Lancelot, starting their affair. As with most Arthurian names, there are multiple forms of Melwas’ name. The most common is Maleagant and over a dozen variations, incuding Melgin.

The Arthurian era migration occurred after the collapse of the Roman Empire circa 476. There was some earlier settlement in Brittany starting circa 400, but the mass migration began after Rome collapsed and the Anglo-Saxon invasion of Britain began. The Britons were descended from early Celts. The Anglo-Saxons (Germanic) became the English. The wars in Arthurian literature are mostly the wars of the Britons against the invading Saxons. The Britons were forced west into Wales and Cornwall. The 5th and 6th centuries had two waves of Briton refugees across the water to what is now Brittany in northwestern France. The Britons first settled in Armorica on the north coast. Later, they took over the Morbihan peninsula, and its capital of Vannes, which they called Gwynedd. Brittany remained autonomous until 1532. This migration, first to the extremities and then across the water, is mimicked in The Fall of Gondolin.

While the book’s content is interesting, the organization is odd and the multiple identities for some texts are confusing. The organization leads to some repetition. The inclusion of the two minor mentions of the story seems tedious and could have just been mentioned in passing. It reminds me of the Arthurian mention of the fragment “and he was no Arthur” from the Y Goddodin sometimes used as evidence of the Scottish origin of Arthur. It is something worth mentioning in passing, but not worth the books written about it. However, this is somewhat defensible because everything written about Arthur before 1100 would fit on a page. Tolkien of the other hand was a little more voluminous, minimizing the importance of casual mentions.

For those of you not inclined to work through the book, this is a link to a running commentary on the Silmarillion version:

https://www.tor.com/2018/08/22/when-tuor-met-ulmo-or-how-i-learned-to-stop-worrying-and-let-gondolin-fall/comment-page-2/

It has some mentions of details that exist in other versions.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 10, 2018 6:17 pm 
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I don't know if you are familiar with this book, which won this year's Mythopoeic Scholarship Award for Inklings Studies, but if not you might find it interesting, Idylle.

The Inklings and King Arthur: J. R. R. Tolkien, Charles Williams, C. S. Lewis, and Owen Barfield on the Matter of Britain

Meanwhile, I have finally gotten my Tolkien books out of storage, so now it is just a question of getting the time (and motivation) to sit and write my review of The Fall of Gondolin. I'll post a link here once it gets published.

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 12, 2018 1:43 am 
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Thanks V.

I heard of its coming but dismissed it without looking based on my encounter with The Fellowship... mentioned earlier in the thread. Nothing against the author of the Arthurian/Inkling book, but I stopped reading The Fellowship... after 373 pages of a lot of uninteresting trivia. It just happened that Williams' Arthurian Torso was mentioned on page 372. WIlliams had died as of page 338, on May 14. The year was vague, one of the nuisances of a book filled with unessentials. This is what was written about Williams' excursion into Arthur:

"'...those seeking instruction in the history of Arthurian Romance should look elsewhere'... the Arthurian scholar John E. Housman declared the Williams share of the work... 'will discredit the memory of an accomplished poet, because of its utter disregard for research and its lack of the most elementary principles of scholarship.'"

However, since you mentioned it, I looked it up and will give it a try. At worst it helps with completeness of my research.

I look forward to your comments on Gondolin. I have to admit I wasn't in the best condition while reading it. One of the early events in my trip to the hospital over Labor Day weekend was that I stopped breathing for an indeterminant number of minutes. Of course the doctors assured me there would be no long term effects, but there could be short term issues. The inability to stay focused was an effect for several weeks. I still have trouble remembering trivia of things in which I have little interest.

I'm glad to hear your books are in order. Mine are about 2/3 of the way there which has been a real problem for me. This is phase 1 of 3:

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 12, 2018 4:53 am 
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Yikes, Idylle! How scary! I hope you are fully on the mend.

To be clear, I have not read Higgins' book, so I can't express any opinion on it, other than that most Mythopoeic Scholarship award winners are well done (even if my book failed to win the two times it was a finalist. Also, my books are not yet fully in order, but I was able to get the HoMe books and Unfinished Tales out of storage so I could move forward with my review.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2018 4:41 am 
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V,

I had not thought you had read it. It was your mention of the award that got my attention.

I know this is somewhat OT, but since I mentioned it earlier, it has nagged me that, of the 13 dwarves, all but one's name is derived from first Edda poem (Voluspa). Of the group, it is Thorin who stands out, but he is not the one with the odd name. Balin is a name from Arthurian literature (Boron's Merlin circa 1200), but his character and the dwarf's have little in common, other than each has a brother. The Arthurian Balin was cursed, for not returning a magical sword only he could draw, to kill his brother. Tolkien's Balin died defending Moria.

The Tolkien language linguist James Allan has noted the odd origin but offered no opinion on why this is so. He did offer alternate origins that seem less likely.

Maybe it was just a whim, but if anyone has any knowledge of this, please let me know.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2018 2:09 pm 
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I've seen that question raised before, but I don't recall any clear answer. If I come across anything useful, I'll post here (or perhaps in a separate thread).

I've been working along on my review. It looks like it is going to be a bit longer than my review of Beren and Lúthien was.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2018 2:53 pm 
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My review is now up at the Journal of Tolkien Studies.


https://scholar.valpo.edu/cgi/viewconte ... enresearch

It's a bit of a monster, but I'd be curious to hear people's thoughts.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2018 3:31 pm 
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not something I would recommend
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Well of course you would say that.

;)

(Sorry, I didn't actually read this, I just opened it out of curiosity and that linecaught my eye as I was scrolling through. :) )

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Last edited by yovargas on Mon Oct 29, 2018 1:25 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2018 4:12 pm 
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Did you catch the reference to 'Voronwë the Faithful?' I had to get that in there too.

Sent from my LG G6 using Tapatalk

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