Exilian

The Jolly Boar Inn => Fandom Discussion - The Secret Garden => The Boozer => Tolkien & LOTR => Topic started by: Jubal on September 19, 2014, 10:34:34 PM

Title: Ask a Tolkien question
Post by: Jubal on September 19, 2014, 10:34:34 PM
Like Colossus' Star Wars thread but for the works of JRR Tolkien :)

Ask a thing! I will answer it, or Glaurung might do as he knows about five times what I do, except possibly on the topic of Dwarves...
Title: Re: Ask a Tolkien question
Post by: Gen_Glory on September 19, 2014, 11:17:12 PM
Hey! Come merry dol! derry dol!
Title: Re: Ask a Tolkien question
Post by: comrade_general on September 19, 2014, 11:37:56 PM
Hey! Come merry dol! derry dol!
I would also like to know this one.
Title: Re: Ask a Tolkien question
Post by: Jubal on September 20, 2014, 12:07:31 AM
The first rule of Bombadil club is that you do not sing "Hey! Come merry dol! derry dol!"
The second rule of Bombadil club is that you do not sing "Hey! Come merry dol! derry dol!"

:P
Title: Re: Ask a Tolkien question
Post by: Clockwork on September 20, 2014, 04:13:25 PM
Why isn't there a LOTR: Return of FIGWIT movie, a feature length film encompassing the trials and tribulations of this elfs six or seven seconds of screentime?

I also have an actual question...What exactly is Glorfindel? I get the impression that he's like an elf-angel thing.
Title: Re: Ask a Tolkien question
Post by: Jubal on September 20, 2014, 05:48:04 PM
Glorfindel is an elf - as far as we know or are told he is just an elf. All the elves aren't far off angelic, that said.
Title: Re: Ask a Tolkien question
Post by: Clockwork on September 20, 2014, 10:37:57 PM
Oh, I was under the impression he was part maia or something. Or are all the ancient elves part maia? Or none of them and I've read too many wiki pages.
Title: Re: Ask a Tolkien question
Post by: Jubal on September 20, 2014, 11:41:30 PM
Not the ancient ones, those are more likely to be pure elf. I think the only part-maia elves would be those of Maiar parentage, of which the only example I know of is that of Melian, the mother of Luthien (and ancestor of Elrond, Aragorn, etc).
Title: Re: Ask a Tolkien question
Post by: comrade_general on September 21, 2014, 12:23:11 AM
Was that particular Glorfindel descended of Melian or was he a resurrected Gondolin Glorfindel?
Title: Re: Ask a Tolkien question
Post by: Glaurung on September 21, 2014, 09:30:23 AM
I'm fairly sure that "Rivendell" Glorfindel wasn't descended from Melian, since we're told about the whole line of descent down to Elrond's children, and there's no mention of any grandchildren. It's not clear whether "Rivendell" Glorfindel is the same as "Gondolin" Glorfindel - there's no other example of an Elf killed in the First Age returning to Middle-earth, but it's not impossible for this to happen. On the other hand, they might just be two Elves with the same name: Glorfindel means "golden-haired", a highly unusual characteristic in Elves.

Jubal may be able to add more, because he's read the History of Middle-earth books. There's nothing in Tolkien's Letters, for the simple reason that the Silmarillion was published after he died, and hence no-one knew that there was a "Gondolin" Glorfindel until it was too late to ask  :(
Title: Re: Ask a Tolkien question
Post by: comrade_general on September 21, 2014, 12:07:14 PM
I read them too and I remember it just as you said, I just wanted to get some opinions. :)
Title: Re: Ask a Tolkien question
Post by: Clockwork on September 22, 2014, 09:44:37 AM
Tolkien said they were the same Elf in later writings even though LotR and Silmarillion contradict this. Apparently Glorfindel came back during the second age by the Valar to be a proto-Istari type thing. But I guess the question was answered, ty contributors :)

Why was Elrond not sufficiently powerful to defeat Sauron? Elves of earlier ages performed feats that would make that a walk in the proverbial ash torn tundra. I guess the old rule of 'One does not simply walk into Mordor' applies.
Title: Re: Ask a Tolkien question
Post by: Glaurung on September 22, 2014, 01:44:07 PM
Tolkien said they were the same Elf in later writings even though LotR and Silmarillion contradict this. Apparently Glorfindel came back during the second age by the Valar to be a proto-Istari type thing.
As a matter of interest, can you remember where Tolkien said that? I don't disbelieve you, I'd just like to know how he justified it. I don't think LotR or the Silmarillion contradict the "one Glorfindel" hypothesis, but they don't support it either; as far as I can recall, neither book says anything about Glorfindel outside his/their immediate context in the book.

Why was Elrond not sufficiently powerful to defeat Sauron? Elves of earlier ages performed feats that would make that a walk in the proverbial ash torn tundra.
Generally, elves are less powerful than Maiar, even in the First Age - Finrod Felagund could not defeat Sauron, for example. Also, there's a sense that the Elves' powers are weakening with time; I don't know whether this applies to individual elves, but collectively they are less numerous and less powerful as the Ages go by.

Why isn't there a LOTR: Return of FIGWIT movie, a feature length film encompassing the trials and tribulations of this elfs six or seven seconds of screentime?
Don't say it too loudly - Peter Jackson might hear you :P
Title: Re: Ask a Tolkien question
Post by: Jubal on September 22, 2014, 03:32:02 PM
Don't underestimate Sauron either; sure some first age elves killed balrogs, but killing a maia of Sauron's standing would be a rather different feat - and balrogs were front line troops too, Sauron's command & control role and use of crazy horcrux madness made him pretty damn difficult to get rid of!
Title: Re: Ask a Tolkien question
Post by: Clockwork on September 22, 2014, 04:37:38 PM
Quote
As a matter of interest, can you remember where Tolkien said that? I don't disbelieve you, I'd just like to know how he justified it. I don't think LotR or the Silmarillion contradict the "one Glorfindel" hypothesis, but they don't support it either; as far as I can recall, neither book says anything about Glorfindel outside his/their immediate context in the book.

In The Return of the Shadow and The Peoples of Middle Earth. I'm just researching it on the wiki following the sources they cite. It also says that Tolkien decided Elf names were unique, which means that there can't be two either.

Morgoth was more powerful than Sauron and Fingolfin managed to slice that guy pretty bad. Even if he did kind of get stomped as well. And Elrond is not too far removed from them, assuming that makes a difference as per usual where previous generations of Elves are more powerful/magical.

FIGWIT does in fact have a 57 min video made by his wife and friends.
Title: Re: Ask a Tolkien question
Post by: comrade_general on September 22, 2014, 04:43:16 PM
When Sauron disguised himself as a vampire, what exactly is a vampire in Tolkienology and what does it look like?
Title: Re: Ask a Tolkien question
Post by: Glaurung on September 22, 2014, 11:13:32 PM
In The Return of the Shadow and The Peoples of Middle Earth. I'm just researching it on the wiki following the sources they cite.
Thanks for the pointer; that's enough for me to find it.

In The Return of the Shadow, chapter 12 ("At Rivendell", covering what became "Many Meetings" in the published LotR), pages 214 - 215 have a paragraph on the subject:
Quote from: Christopher Tolkien
... long after the publication of The Lord of the Rings, my father gave a great deal of thought to the matter of Glorfindel ... He came to the conclusion that Glorfindel of Gondolin ... and Glorfindel of Rivendell were one and the same: he was released from Mandos and returned to Middle-earth in the Second Age.

The Peoples of Middle-earth returns to the subject: chapter 13 ("Last Writings") starts with six pages on Glorfindel, including two essays, which are evidently Tolkien's "great deal of thought" on the subject. These seem to have been written in the last year of Tolkien's life.

It also says that Tolkien decided Elf names were unique
The second essay in The Peoples of Middle-earth includes this:
Quote from: J.R.R. Tolkien
This repetition of so striking a name, though possible, would not be credible. No other major character in the Elvish legends as reported in The Silmarillion and The Lord of the Rings has a name borne by another Elvish person of importance.
As I read this, Elf names are not necessarily unique, but Tolkien decided (very late in his life) all the important ones are. I think Glorfindel is the only case affected by this.

Morgoth was more powerful than Sauron and Fingolfin managed to slice that guy pretty bad. Even if he did kind of get stomped as well.
Morgoth was the single most powerful Vala, and hence the most powerful being in Middle-earth. So I think Fingolfin was doing pretty well to wound him even once, let alone eight times.

When Sauron disguised himself as a vampire, what exactly is a vampire in Tolkienology and what does it look like?
I think you're thinking of Thuringwethil (Sauron's messenger) rather than Sauron himself. She only appears in "Of Beren and Luthien" (when Luthien takes her shape to enter Angband) and is described as "a bat-like creature ... with creased wings" and as having "great fingered wings ... barbed at each joint's end with an iron claw". Basically a big, scary bat.
Title: Re: Ask a Tolkien question
Post by: Clockwork on September 23, 2014, 12:07:41 AM
RE: Names, ah ok. Wikis are as fallible as the people that write them, perhaps I'm the fool for putting too much stock in them.

RE: Fingolfin. Yeah that's what I thought, which means that if no Elf could match Sauron then these new elves kind of suck :P
Title: Re: Ask a Tolkien question
Post by: comrade_general on September 23, 2014, 01:36:46 AM
When Sauron disguised himself as a vampire, what exactly is a vampire in Tolkienology and what does it look like?
I think you're thinking of Thuringwethil (Sauron's messenger) rather than Sauron himself. She only appears in "Of Beren and Luthien" (when Luthien takes her shape to enter Angband) and is described as "a bat-like creature ... with creased wings" and as having "great fingered wings ... barbed at each joint's end with an iron claw". Basically a big, scary bat.
I do remember a single sentence somewhere that states in fact that Sauron took the form of a vampire, among other things. But if Thuringwethil is what a vampire is in Tolkienology then that answers my question.
Title: Re: Ask a Tolkien question
Post by: Glaurung on September 23, 2014, 11:20:55 AM
CG: you might well be right; I have some vague memory of this myself. Unfortunately, either that reference is not indexed as such in the Silmarillion, or I missed it when I was scanning through the book yesterday. If you can remember where it was, I'd like to know.

More generally, I'd expect a 'vampire' in Tolkien's world to be a kind of bat; the 'Dracula' type doesn't seem to fit, somehow. The only creatures that survive physical death are Elves and Maiar (because they are naturally immortal, and get re-embodied), and one or two special cases of Men (by divine intervention). I suspect that the modern idea of vampires conflicted with Tolkien's religious sensibilities.
Title: Re: Ask a Tolkien question
Post by: Jubal on September 23, 2014, 11:42:54 AM
Glaurung, It depends what you mean by survive death surely - wights, wraiths, and the army of the dead spring to mind?
Title: Re: Ask a Tolkien question
Post by: comrade_general on September 23, 2014, 12:46:16 PM
It should be in "Of Beren and Luthien". It was just briefly mentioned.
Title: Re: Ask a Tolkien question
Post by: Glaurung on September 23, 2014, 01:40:22 PM
It should be in "Of Beren and Luthien". It was just briefly mentioned.
Many thanks - I'll try to re-read it in detail this evening.

Glaurung, It depends what you mean by survive death surely - wights, wraiths, and the army of the dead spring to mind?
Hmmm, I think I was rather hasty there. Unfortunately such counter-examples don't readily come to my mind when I've come up with an idea like that.  :(
I think some analysis is called for, but that too will have to wait for this evening.

RE: Names, ah ok. Wikis are as fallible as the people that write them, perhaps I'm the fool for putting too much stock in them.
I wouldn't worry - Tolkien could easily have said something different elsewhere in his writing. Consistency doesn't seem to have been one of his strong points, and he spent a lot of his later years trying to ret-con stuff he'd done earlier. These essays about Glorfindel are a good example, and one where he succeeded in working things out well. The theological status of orcs was much more difficult.

Also, thanks very much for getting me to look into this. "One Glorfindel or two" is a long-standing controversy amongst Tolkien fans - I'm surprised a definite opinion from Tolkien has been available for so long, and yet doesn't seem to have percolated through fandom enough for me to have heard about it.
Title: Re: Ask a Tolkien question
Post by: Clockwork on September 23, 2014, 06:53:02 PM
I don't think they actually died (as in brain activity/consciousness ceased), I think their bodies just change state.
Title: Re: Ask a Tolkien question
Post by: Glaurung on September 23, 2014, 09:52:22 PM
It should be in "Of Beren and Luthien". It was just briefly mentioned.
I found it, I think - amidst a section I scanned through last night. It's just after the combat of Sauron (in wolf form) with Huan, when Sauron yields to Luthien:
Quote from: J.R.R. Tolkien
And immediately he took the form of a vampire, great as a dark cloud across the moon, and he fled, dripping blood from his throat upon the trees
So that implies to me at least something large and flying.

Later on, the paragraph mentioning Thuringwethil says specifically
Quote from: J.R.R. Tolkien
She was the messenger of Sauron, and was wont to fly in vampire's form to Angband
and the following description clearly indicates that "vampire's form" is bat-like.

Oddly enough, I don't think there's any other mention in the Silmarillion or LotR of anything having "vampire's form" (or it could just be my dodgy memory again).
Title: Re: Ask a Tolkien question
Post by: comrade_general on September 23, 2014, 11:24:32 PM
That's why it was odd to me and I always wondered about it.
Title: Re: Ask a Tolkien question
Post by: comrade_general on May 08, 2019, 12:40:55 PM
What if Legolas' and everyone else's eyes really were cheated by some spell and Shadowfax was really just Bill the pony?

(https://i.imgur.com/51SjFUl.jpg)
Title: Re: Ask a Tolkien question
Post by: Jubal on May 08, 2019, 02:11:48 PM
I guess the big question would then be how Bill the Pony got so fast?
Title: Re: Ask a Tolkien question
Post by: comrade_general on May 08, 2019, 05:24:48 PM
Who says he wasn't always so?
Title: Re: Ask a Tolkien question
Post by: Jubal on May 08, 2019, 08:22:49 PM
Well, OK, then why was he born so fast? :P
Title: Re: Ask a Tolkien question
Post by: comrade_general on May 09, 2019, 01:08:14 AM
Do you think it was predestined by the Valar because they knew that one day Gandalf would need his skills of speed?
Title: Re: Ask a Tolkien question
Post by: Jubal on May 09, 2019, 11:57:02 AM
Hm... was it Orome who was responsible for horses? I can't remember and don't have my books.
Title: Re: Ask a Tolkien question
Post by: comrade_general on May 09, 2019, 12:14:51 PM
(https://i.pinimg.com/originals/34/aa/4d/34aa4d80fb64c32411cc7fb6408b2e4f.png)