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Thread: Of Tuor and his Coming to Gondolin

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Bottom of Page    Message Board > Unfinished Tales > Of Tuor and his Coming to Gondolin   [1] [2] >>
Funny enough, Valar, that was the first bit of Tolkien's work that I ever read when one day I found a copy of UT on someone's coffee table. The opening passage prompted me to buy LotR, and the rest is history.

I get the impression from a couple of your posts that you have not yet read the Silmarillion. As Unfinished tales is in a sense an expansion of the Silmarillion, I'd advise most people to read the Sil before attempting UT otherwise some bits will not make a lot of sense.
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As Unfinished tales is in a sense an expansion of the Silmarillion, I'd advise most people to read the Sil before attempting UT otherwise some bits will not make a lot of sense.


Yes, you're right, it is hard to completely appreciate this book if you haven't read th Silm Wink Smilie

( ps: uh.... it is Tuor, not Turin, that arrives in Gondolin Wink Smilie )


Yeah I thought he got it messed up with Turin.....got completely confused!!! Turin Turambar never came to Gondolin, though Tuor did. But Turin slayed Glaurung and married his sister...although they don´t know.


Moderator Smilie I edited this post for the benefit of our family menbers. Moderator Smilie

[Edited on 13/2/2003 by Grondmaster]
I just started this story on the bus this morning, Tuor's armour is one of the most impressve specticles of the world in my minds eye.
I'm reading it now for the first time and have just got Tuor and Voronwë to the Golden Gate. The story sure is a better read than the bare-bones dry historical record as written in The Silmarillion. Happy Elf Smilie
Wait until you reach the account of Turin Turambar, then Grondy. You are in for a real treat.
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Yeah I thought he got it messed up with Turin.....got completely confused!!! Turin Turambar never came to Gondolin, though Tuor did. But Turin slayed Glaurung and married his sister...although they don´t know.


Moderator Smilie I edited this post for the benefit of our family menbers. Moderator Smilie

[Edited on 13/2/2003 by Grondmaster]


What is it not allowed to point out that they commited incest without knowing it Grondy?
Oh well I got a little bit out of hand......
Have any of you guys read the biography on Tolkien? His very first story for the basis of the entire cosmology was Earendil and Turin. Just an interesting little note.
Man I just read the story about Tuor in UT!! It´s AWESOME!!! I am right now reading about Turin Turambar and it is really good so far!! Orc With Thumbs Up Smilie
I just finished Narn Hîn Húrin.....extremely good just as you said Uruk!!!
You'll love it Aule. If you're into Turin like i am, then it's a pleasant enhancement of what you know from Sil.
Its better as the Silmarillion version in UT there are more details about everything, and I like that.

[Edited on 22/5/2003 by Tauron]
That's for sure, Tauron. Welcome to our Forum. I'm just reading the section entitled 'Cirion and Eorl' for the first time, a much more fulfilling account than given anywhere else in the books I've read.
Yes indeed Grondy! It explains more how the Rohirrim got Rohan from Gondor and the friendship and alliance between them....You will most definately enjoy it!
Actually there wasn´t a single chapter or page in the book that didn´t entrigue meBig Smile Smilie
So to be frank: It´s absolutely positively one of my favourite 3s!!!
The stories are also a lot longer than the stories in The Silmarillion. Tuor and Gondolin in The Silmarillion story of Tuor is 8-9 pages and the story in UT is 39-40 pages long and that is even without the destruction of Gondolin.
(This is the UT in my Language thus it may be more or less pages)
Yes Tauron....that is correct about that they have a lot more in UT then the Sil....but what language is your native language?
My native language is Dutch... so I'm from The Netherlands but you would have probably have guessed.

[Edited on 23/5/2003 by Tauron]
Okidey....mine is swedish....but I hate the translation of LOTR here in Sweden....but the translated version of UT came out quite well....although I don´t get it why they change the title from Unfinished Tales to Tales from Middle Earth Elf Confused Smilie
There is one funny thing about that early story of JRRT, Idril Celebrindal is told to fight "like a tigress". I am sure that JRRT would not write that while being already a mature writer, he would compare Idril with some wild creature from Beleriand, not with a tigress (unless perhaps there were tigers in Valinor? Smile Smilie)
That's a well spotted observation, Eryan. It's some of the simplest everyday things that trip us up though. My worst one when writing is mentioning things like seconds and minutes. Surely these did not exist before the advent of clocks and watches.
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My worst one when writing is mentioning things like seconds and minutes. Surely these did not exist before the advent of clocks and watches.
Right and the number of suns, moons, and the angle of the planet's axis of rotation to the plane of it's orbit will also have a bearing on any units of time keeping developed. But there may have been a few Elves, Wizards, or Wisemen who having been interested in the stars, developed a timekeeping system. And having been influential with the rulers, this system was accepted, so that only the numbers of, durations of, and names of these units have changed from those we use today.

Meaning all you have to do is define their names using their duration as a fraction of the time it takes the star to complete one orbit about the planet or the planet to make one orbit around its axis, depending on centricity currently held to be true. The same holds true for calendars.

So as long as you don't just use "hours" and "minutes" you are legit, and even then you can get away with using these words, if upon their first usage you add a parenthetical statament or footnote explaining that they actually have different names and durations from what we use today; however, for the readers convenience you have retained their our-world names.


I suppose this post in response to the last part of Val's might better be placed in the writers guild than here. Maybe I'll move it, on some slower day. Elf With a Big Grin Smilie

[Edited on 17/7/2003 by Grondmaster]
Cool Elf Smilie I always skip the footnotes the first time through, especially when they are combined at the end of a chapter or a section. The only exception to this is the Diskworld books where the footnotes are often as funny as the story.

Reading footnotes as you go along is fine for the academic, who is reading to understand everything written there, as he plows through mulling and testing every jot and tittle.

For we who are reading for the thrill of the story as it unfolds, we don't desire to have the continuity of the drama/action interrupted by all these side trips, such as: how this word or that came from this group of individuals, and how its meaning or spelling has changed over the ages. Or how this person's great-grandmother once made tea for the Chancellor and his daughter and forgot to add the tea leaves.

Unless this great-grandmother's faux-pas caused the family to be disgraced and exiled, which would show why they are currently in such dire straits, I don't need to know this to make the story work.

After I have read the story, I then go back and read the footnotes and where I don't remember the usage, I will return to the section and re-read it. I'll also do the same for the footnotes that interest me enough to dig deeper into the postAuthorID's intent, but where a footnote holds no interest for me after a cursory glance, I'll skip it and go on the next one.

Am I weird, or what? Elf Rolling Eyes Smilie

[Edited on 22/7/2003 by Grondmaster]
A while ago, I was in the chat room and people said the comments by Christopher Tolkien made Unfinished Tales less enjoyable to read. I personally thought the comments added more to the story. What do you people think?
I think the commentary ios very helpful, even more so in the History of Middle Earth books, which wouldn't be much without it.
The commentary can break up the story if you follow each footnote as you come across it. I prefer to read the stories without interruption, and then go back and read the footnotes later. I find them very useful and informative most of the time. Like Peredhil mentioned, HOME would be incomplete without them.
The Tuor tale is very good, though there is a bit too much of Ulmo for my taste. The great tale in the UT is the "Narn i hin Hurin", which when combined with the long chapter in The Silmarillion, makes for the best story of the First Age. I didn't really enjoy the story of Turin in the Sil.by itself ; it was too bare bones. But the "Narn" brings Turin to life as a character, and then the pathos and tragedy of his life can really hit home. That's especially so since some of the action scenes are so thrilling, especially the final climactic confrontation between Turin and the dragon. It's unlike anything else Tolkien wrote, and makes me sad the CT was unable to integrate the chapter in the Sil. with the Narn.
You might be able to tell from my nick name that I was a fan of the Turin Turambar saga.

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The great tale in the UT is the "Narn i hin Hurin", which when combined with the long chapter in The Silmarillion, makes for the best story of the First Age. I didn't really enjoy the story of Turin in the Sil.by itself ; it was too bare bones. But the "Narn" brings Turin to life as a character, and then the pathos and tragedy of his life can really hit home.


I agree with you Black sword. Turin is one of the most complex of Tolkien's characters. It was especially powerful when the black sword spoke just before Turin used it to take his own life. The "Narn" fills in a lot of gaps that the the Sil misses. The story in the Sil did not affect me, but after reading "Narn" in UT, it quickly one of my favorites. By the way, welcome to PT Black sword!
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You might be able to tell from my nick name that I was a fan of the Turin Turambar saga.


Maybe just a little bit! Elf Winking Smilie
Yeah. But I like Tuor's story better. I am currently reading the story for the sixth time!!!! But UT for only the second. To get to know the stories better, I'm reading each of them six times, because I find that when I read it through once I don't pick up all the names and events as well as I do if I go through it again and notice it and remember it, and if I forget it, when I go through again, I notice it, and blablabla..... But I kind of have been interrupted. I found my copy of 'Pride and Prejudice' *everyone groans* and starting reading the first chapter. And I didn't stop. Alright, most people think it's eeeew but I like it. It's funny, laughing at all the olden day people being so polite, and especially Mrs Bennet, being such an idiot. But anyway.... then I finished it. And then another interruption. The library finally found their lost copy of Tree and Leaf!!!!! So I'm reading that. Tolkien really has a lot to say about Fairy-stories in his lecture. I like his little comparisons and metaphors that help me to understand. Like the POt of Story.
I love the part in Tuor's story when Ulmo blows his horn just before the storm of Osse breaks. That vision that comes to Tuor of the great expanse of the sea and Valinor beyond the edges of the world is so beautiful! I have to disagree with you Black Sword as I think that Ulmo's presence gives the story a mythic quality that adds considerable depth.
i love the bit when Tuor sees Voronwe huddled on the cliff. And when Voronwe tells how he got there. Voronwe is one of my favourite characters, and I have no idea why. He just is.
I think I know what you mean Loni. Poor elf! Dragged from the sea and just sittin, thinking where do I go from here...
i
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love the bit when Tuor sees Voronwe huddled on the cliff. And when Voronwe tells how he got there. Voronwe is one of my favourite characters, and I have no idea why. He just is.

I know what you mean Loni. I think what really made me like Voronwe was the way Tolkien wrote him. His speech was very poetic and his description of his home land was among the most vivid of the Sil. He is indeed an interesting character. Though his story is brief, he is still an important character.
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I love the part in Tuor's story when Ulmo blows his horn just before the storm of Osse breaks. That vision that comes to Tuor of the great expanse of the sea and Valinor beyond the edges of the world is so beautiful! I have to disagree with you Black Sword as I think that Ulmo's presence gives the story a mythic quality that adds considerable depth.

I was raised on bowlderized versions of Homer's epics, and I always enjoyed the stories of the heroes (Achilles, Odysseus), not stories of the gods that slapped them around and used them like pawns on a ches board. I guess I am taking the same attitude toward Tolkien's mythology. Perhaps I'm being too closed minded. You guys are right that the description of Ulmo's arising before Tuor is stirring and poetic. At least Ulmo was the one Vala that seemed to appreciate the Noldor.
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At least Ulmo was the one Vala that seemed to appreciate the Noldor.

Ulmo was the only Vala who did not turn his back on the Noldor in Beleriand; all Valar appreciated the Noldor, with probably Aulë on top of the list.

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love the bit when Tuor sees Voronwe huddled on the cliff. And when Voronwe tells how he got there. Voronwe is one of my favourite characters, and I have no idea why. He just is.

I seem to remember reading recently that Voronwë's father, Aranwë, was the son of Irimë, the only daughter of Finwë & Indis who joined the Exile (she isn't mentioned in the Sil).
Oh that's a nice tidbit, Mir. I never knew that. And it's a pity Christopher never mentioned anything of Finwe's daughters or Fingolfin's other children in the Silmarillion. But then, if he did, the family would've gotten a bit too big (as if it isn't big anough for us already!).
That is quite interesting. Well, if you like Tolkien. If something happens to Finarfin, does that make Voronwe High King of the Noldor? ;p It also makes him and Turgon cousins, no?
Well he probably went down with the rest of Gondolin, I reckon.
Hold! Didn't Voronwe sale of with Idril and Tuor at the end of the latters life? And we don't technically know what happened to them. Besides, if Voronwe never made it to Tol Eressea (which is not, technically, Valinor) whence came Littleheart? If Eriol can make it to Eressea surely Tuor can, and Voronwe with him. Seems a pretty shabby reward for his unflinching sacrifice and service to leave his mangled corpse in Gondolin under a Balrogs cloven hooves.
I don't really think Tuor & Idril made it. It was before Eärendil, and the Valar made exceptions for no one, no matter how blond & leggy Idril was. :p
Meh. I choose to believe that if Eriol can stumble on Eressea when he wasn't even looking Tuor and Idril can when desperately searching. Eriol still had to deal with the islands (right out of the Odyssey) but he made it -- to ERESSEA. Not the Undying Land. Therefore Tuor and Idril did, too, as far as I'm concerned, and there's nothing to say I'm wrong. So there. ;-p
You can believe what you want. I don't consider that Eriol thing to be part of the canon.
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I don't consider that Eriol thing to be part of the canon.
I agree, The Lost Tales are some of JRR Tolkien's oldest writings that he had not yet updated into his more current vision of his world. They only got resurrected and published by his son as a means to earn even more royalties. That's my current humble opinion. Am I wrong here?
Well, I don't think that's entirely fair to Chris; I think they were published because of demand and Chris' sincere desire to see his fathers lifes work published in as close to a finished form as they could be. Otherwise he could have just cobbled them together in whatever way seemed best to him and run with that (i.e. if we're going to make that criticism it's better aimed at the Silm, which IS canon, but why would he bring in Guy Kay just to make royalties?) And because so much of the pre-Trilogy stuff is absent otherwise, I prefer to accept anything in HoME provided it doesn't conflict with established canon. So we might argue about whether it's Eriol or Aelfwine, but there's little to argue about SOMEONE making it to Eressea unless we 1) think the Red Book, in a readible language, stuck around a LONG time or 2) pin it all on the Notion Club Papers.

And besides, you're missing the real basis of my argument, which is independent of Eriol: Tol Eressea is NOT Valinor; it's just next door to it. It's an open question whether Galadriel and the rest made it to Valinor themselves, in which case Frodo and Sam, as well as Tuor (whether he made it to Tol Eressea or not) are dead as a post. Sorry.
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It's an open question whether Galadriel and the rest made it to Valinor themselves, in which case Frodo and Sam, as well as Tuor (whether he made it to Tol Eressea or not) are dead as a post. Sorry.

I'm sure Galadriel would go further than Eresseä, after all her ppl resides in Tirion ànd she was pardoned by the Valar. Frodo, Sam & Bilbo however would probably not pass further than Eresseä, to not lose the connection with Middle-earth entirely.

Gandalf would of course become Olórin again, and visit the House of Nienna again for some sorely missed quality time...
I hardly see how we can just say that the Silmarillion IS canon. It is certainly less canon than LotR, and probably less so than some of the stuff in HoME--from which the Silmarillion was made. Unless, that is, we are thinking of canon without regard with what texts most accurately represent J.R.R.'s creation.

And two notes about Aelfwine. First off, his coming to Eressea,after the addition of the Akallabeth to the mythos, must involve something a bit more than just randomly finding an island in the Ocean. For he would have had to find the Straight Path. Thus, his ability to find Eressea can in no way be compared to Tuor and Idril's ability. They faced the difficulty of finding it while it was still part of the Earth, whereas Aelfwine had to leave the earth (at least in some sense).

Second off, Aelfwine ought to be canon. He is not just a character from the Lost Tales. If that were the case, I would not even think it reasonable to talk as if he is a part of the final mythos. Rather, Aelfwine is present in the Silmarillion texts up until Tolkien started writing them. A large portion of the late, post-LotR texts about the Elder Days still contain the Aelfwine legend. The Later Quenta Silmarillion text in HoME 10--the chief source text for the published Silmarillion--is also addressed to Aelfwine, and is represented as being is recounting of a story told to him by Pengolodh while on Eressea. There is essentially no version of the stories of the Elder Days which do not include reference to Aelfwine as the recorder of the tales. It is only because Christopher Tolkien edited these references out of the texts that they do not appear in the Silmarillion as published.

Another instance of this is in the actual narrative of the Ainulindale in HoME 10. Once again,it is evident in the narrative that Aelfwine is being told a story in Eressea and is simply recording that story. On the title page of this text appears the following: "This was written by Rumil of Tuna and was told to Aelfwine in Eressea (as he records) by Pengolod the sage."

A letter from around 1948 (in the introduction to the Ainulindale text in HoME 10) makes it clear that the Aelfwine is still a man from the real history of our world. Tolkien says that "These tales are feigned (I do not include their slender framework) to be translated from the preserved work of Aelfwine of England (c. 900 A.D.), who being blown west from Ireland eventually came upon the 'straight road' and foudn the Lonely Isle, Tol Eressea."

So we see that through the writing of the Silmarillion in the 1950s, Tolkien still had fully intended his stories to come down to us through the figure of Aelfwine. (It is, however, hard to resolve this with his intended role for the Red Book of Westmarch, and his intent to have the Silmarillion tales be transformed into Mannish versions, as we see in the late 1950s--for it would not make much sense for Pengolodh to be telling Aelfwine mannish versions of the stories).
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It's an open question whether Galadriel and the rest made it to Valinor themselves, in which case Frodo and Sam, as well as Tuor (whether he made it to Tol Eressea or not) are dead as a post. Sorry.


Whether they made it only as far as Tol Eressea or all the way to Valinor is irrelevent in terms of their life expectancy. Frodo, Sam and Tuor were all mortal. They had the Gift of Man, and the Valar could not change that. The best they could hope for was to be healed of their ills and to live for a time in peace, but they were still mortal. Even if they made it to Valinor, their fate was still to die.
I agree with Valedhelgwath, however, I am certain that the Valar would be able to lengthen their lives a considerable bit of time, far beyond that which the Kings of Numenor of old were prone to live, ere the shadow fell. There's nothing saying they couldn't have lived for several thousand years in Valinor.
There's nothing to really prevent their lives being extended until the Great Wrack, at which point all things physical must perish. Including the Eldar. That's what makes the Gift of Man a gift, IMHO; Men have the guarantee of eternal life in some form while the Quendi as well as the Atani must, sooner or later, BOTH die. It's an open question what happens to either thereafter, but the Quendi are tied to the world in a way that makes their eventual fate most uncertain.
And concerning Tuor, in the Silmarillion it say that Tuor alone of mortal men was numbered among the Eldar.
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