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Thread: Finwëans That Never Were

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ElwëÞindikollo began this thread with the following post.

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In his compiling of the Published Silmarillion, C.T made many alterations from ideas put forward by his father in various essays that contradicted long-running ideas in his fathers work. Some made more sense then others, though some of the omissions seem rather senseless, that is if the faux pas on C.T's part in leaving out Findis for example can be seen as imprudent, though I suppose, hindsight is a useful tool , and if he had envisaged the general brouhaha that would be associated with his (in)accurate picture of Tolkien's later views on who was the son of whom, and who the fattest Elf was (Or to spare the Elf's blushes a more conservative phrase surely would have been used by Tolkien-diet intolerant maybe?). Anyway, apart from boring you to death-this essay DOES have a purpose, to discuss the various Finwëans that were left out or whose progeny’s or parentages differ from the Published Silmarillion in regards to Tolkien's later view on the subject.

To begin, I will discuss the absence of some Finwëans from the Published Silmarillion. Now, we hear in the Published Silmarillion that Finwë had three sons, Fëanor from Míriel Þerinde and Fingolfin and Finarfin from Indis, niece (though sometime sister) of Ingwë Ingweron, High King of the Eldar. Simple, yes? Three Kids-that's all? Well, no. Finwë varyingly had something between 4-6 children. The first instance of this is Finrun Felageomor (HoME 4) but he was dropped from the genealogies. We then hear in LQII (HoME 10) that Finwë had a daughter, or rather three. 'Findis' and he sisters, 'Irimë' and 'Faniel' are here mentioned for the first time. Findis is noted as being the eldest of his children with Indis. As the Shibboleth of Fëanor (HoME 12) shows us, 'Faniel' was dropped, though both Findis and Irimë were kept. 'Findis' remained with her mother Indis and siblings in Tirion after Finwë went to Formenos with his banished son Fëanor. After he was slain by Melkor, they dwelt with the Vanyar, presumably on the slopes of Oiolosse where Indis's kin resided and where Finwë first met Indis. Irimë, on the other hand, did go on exile and was said to be close to her elder brother Fingolfin. Presumably she resided with him in Hithlum. We never hear whether or not Findis or Irimë have any children or marry, but I will pick up on that later. 'Irimë' like all the Etyañgoldi. Her mother name was 'Lalwendë' (Q. 'laughing maiden') and when it was Sindarinized, her name became 'Lalwen' which was a loose fitting of the Sindarin form 'Glaþwen'. We have no record of her fate though presumably she was slain after the Bragollach or may have died of grief from the death of Fingolfin. So already we have two 'missing' children of Finwë, Findis and Irimë Lalwendë. We also have two that were dropped. Why didn't C.T include Findis and Irimë? Well it could be because the version that Finwë only ever had two sons from Indis, Finarfin and Fingolfin (apart from the version in the Qenta Noldorinwa (HoME 4) where he has a son named Finrun, as I have mentioned) was so deeply embedded in the mythos that he didn't wish to make a drastic alteration of the Quenta, esp. considering the daughters of Finwë entered the genealogies at such a later stage (LQII circa. 1958-9) and the fact that they weren't really central characters to the story.

Next we get Arakáno, son of Fingolfin. Now, wait! Hold on you say, Fingolfin only had two sons-Fingon and Turgon. The emergence of Arakáno (S. 'Argon', 'High-Commander, also Fingolfin's mother name, re-used) comes in the Shibboleth of Fëanor (circa. 1968) and was thus a late addition to the family tree. Pretty much the same excuse can be used for Arakáno's exclusion as Findis's and Irimë's, and the fact that the final story on Arakáno perishing in a Battle with the Orks at Lammoth contradicts the statement that Fingolfin and Finarfin's host weren't attacked upon entering Beleriand plus of course the fact that he was such a late addition.

That, is all the Finwëans who were left out of the Published Silmarillion. We then move on to those Elves whose parentages differ from Tolkien's final thoughts on the matter.

The infamous case of Gil-Galad, naturally crops up. In the Published Silmarillion Gil-Galad is the son of Fingon, High-King of the Ñoldor who was sent to live with Círdan at Falas after the Dagor Bragollach

He is also mentioned as being the son of Fingon in Of The Third Age and The Rings of Power and Aldarion and Erendis in the letter addressed to Tar-Meneldur. The original statement concerning Gil-Galad in Of The Third Age and The Rings of Power listed him a son if Finrod Felagund, eldest child of Finarfin. This matches the story given in the 'Making of Appendix A' (HoME 12) in which he is named as a son of Finrod and the story in the Grey Annals whereby his mother is Meril, one of the Falathrim and Gil-Galad sends him and Meril to Círdan. He is also the son of Finrod in Annals of Beleriand (HoME 5) The statement in Aldarion and Erendis whereby he is named as a son of 'Fingon' is also altered from the original statement 'Finnelach Gil-Galad of the House of Finarfin' which C.T altered to keep in consistence with the Published Silmarillion. Gil-Galad is also briefly a descendant of Fëanor, in the drafts writings to the chapter 'At Rivendell' which later became 'Many Meetings'. This is found in HoME 6, The Return of The Shadow.

The version whereby he is a son of Fingon is found in the Grey Annals. in which a late pencilled note for the Year 456. C.T later claims this was a 'ephemeral’ (short-lived) idea. Now I must digress a little, if I may.

'Orodreth' is listed in the Published Silmarilion as being the son of Finarfin. This was at variance with Tolkien's latter views on the subject. 'Orodreth' is first moved down a generation in the LQI. (HoME 10) when he is struck out of the list of Finarfin's children. In the essay The Ellesar which was included in the series of essays entitled History of Galadriel and Celeborn Galadriel doesn't mention him amongst her brothers to Celebrimbor, here a Elf of Gondolin. We later hear that Tolkien dropped him down a generation, though a parentage is not specified. In the Shibboleth of Fëanor (HoME 12.) It turns out that in the Genealogical Tables of the Finwëans Finrod was given a son, thus contradicting the story that he had no child and the 'Amárië' story. His son's name was Artanáro Rhodothir. Tolkien then made him into a son of Angrod (Aegnor had fallen in love with a Bëorian lady named Andreth) and his name was changed to 'Artaresto' and later to 'Artaher' (noble lord)and his Sindarinized name was Rodreth, though it was changed to 'Orodreth' because of his love for mountains. (S. 'Orod'; mountain.)

Gil-Galad is made into a son of Orodreth in a note which is given in the Shibboleth of Fëanor (HoME 12.) Here Gil-Galad is given his fathers original name of 'Artanáro' (S. Rodnor) and Gil-Galad is given as a epessë in reference to his bright mail (His mail is also mentioned in Sam's rendition of the 'Fall of Gil-Galad, which was translated by Bilbo). This is a change from the version whereby 'Gil-Galad' is his mother-name. (The 'Grey Annals' (HoME 11) says it was a refernce to the brightness of his eyes). The name 'Ereinion' (S. 'Scion of Kings') is also first used in the Shibboleth of Fëanor as well as the statement about his mail so any reference to 'Ereinion' is a editorial one was well as the statement about his mail given in Of The Rings of Power and the Third Age. So C.T knew about the changes to Gil-Galad's parentages, he used things from the essay where it is discussed when working on the Silmarillion. He claims it was to problematic to include it and it would have been best if he left his parentage obscure. On the change of Orodreth's parentage, the reason may be that Orodreth as son of Finarfin was a long running idea in the mythology.

But Orodreth's parentage change causes problems to the story. Orodreth is said to be the warden of Minas Tirith after Finrod leaves for Nargothrond. Of course there is no reason for this story to change when Orodreth is dropped down a generation. But a note in the Shibboleth of Fëanor (HoME 12) that he dwelt with Angrod in Dorthonion and there fled to Nargothrond. Angrod and Aegnor both always stay in Dorthonion. In the map that accompanies Of Maeglin (HoME 11) (circa. about 1972-3) Orodreth is given the land in the far-west of Dorthonion, close to the River Rivil. Could Orodreth's land stretch beyond the Western Mountain Range of Dorthonion and include Minas Tirith? Or was there a different Elf in charge? Edrahil, maybe? Gil-Galad is also said to have escaped from the sack of Nargothrond-was he at the battle or did he remain in Nargothrond? Maybe he escaped with Celebrimbor?
Another question that arises is the possibility of other Finwëans in M-E. 'Gildor Inglorion' the Elf encountered my Sam, Pippin and Frodo at Woody End is a possible Finwëan. The name 'Inglorion' means 'Scion of Inglor'. At the time of the writing of LoTR, 'Inglor' was the name if 'Finrod' (Finrod was the name of Finarfin) and so the name translates as 'son of Inglor' (Finrod)). He also claims to be 'of the house of Finrod'. Finrod should imply Finrod Felagund, not Finarfin, since Tolkien would have altered this in the S.E unless this was a overisght? But it seems probable that at one time, Gildor was descended from Finrod in some form or another. This is of course contradicts the statement in the Shibboleth of Fëanor that Elrond and Gil-Galad were the only male descendents of Finwë. But it seems this is a reference to the S.A Gildor may have crossed the sea with Glorfindel in the S.A (he is said to have come with a 'small group') and what about Elladan and Elrohir? It seems probable that Finrod would have had children in Aman

'Voronwë', friend of Tuor is also a possible Finwëan. He tells Tuor that he holds kinship with Turgon, king of Gondolin. His mother is a unnamed Sindarin lady who is related to Círdan. His father's name is 'Aranwë'. 'Aran' is Sindarin for 'King' whilst the 'wë' suffix is said to be C.E for 'person'. So could the name 'Aranwë' imply some kind of royal lineage? Could Aranwë be the son of Lalwen? Of course when Of Tuor and His Coming to Gondolin was written the charcter of 'Lalwen' didn't exist, Finwë had no daughters. Could he be related to Turgon's wife, Elenwë. Of course Elenwë was a Vanya and Voronwë a Ñoldor but his father may have been half-Vanya and inter-marriages did take place between Vanya and Ñoldor. Or maybe he was related to Anairë?

Glorfindel is also said in Last Writings (HoME 12) to be the kin of Turgon. Could he be the relation of either Elenwë or Anairë? But Glorfindel was a Ñoldo, and it is said in Last Writings (HoME 12) that all his kin had either perished or were in M-E. How could this be if he was half Vanya? Gandalf also says he is from a house of Princes. Could he be descended from Tatyar (But we never actually know if Finwë was descended from Tatyar) or related to Finwë in some other way. (i.e one of Finwë's cousins) but we never hear about Finwë having any siblings wheras Elwe Þindikollo, Olwë Ciriáran and Ingwë' all had relations.

Another aspect about the Finwëans that was left out of the Published Silmarillion was the altered fate of the twin sons of Fëanor- Amrod and Amras.

In the Published Silmarillion they are both slain in the Third Kinslaying. But Tolkien had thought of a different fate for them. This concept fitst emerges in the Annals of Aman but the full story is told in the Shibboleth of Fëanor when Fëanor unwittingly burns his youngest son, Amras was killed, after he sets fire to the ships.

Thank you and I hope you enjoyed my essay.


Peredhil replied

Welcome to PT ElwëÞindikollo.

Having only recently finished HoME 2, and being relatively unacquainted with the subsequent volumes, I'm not really qualified to discuss this in depth, but I did enjoy your essay; well done. From this, and from other discussions here, it strikes me how many fairly radical changes Tolkien to the Silmarillion after its publication.

Welcome to our forum ElwëÞindikollo, your essay is very good; however, I also don't feel qualified to discuss it with you having not read the stated volumes of HoMe.

(I find reading lengthy paragraphs on a WebPage, no matter how well written, a chore due to my eyes loosing track of where I was. I find them easier to navigate if they are broken into units of approximately five lines long, even if this is not proper academic practice. Please consider doing this next time. Note: The foregoing isn't official Planet-Tolkien policy, it is only my personal preference.) Elf With a Big Grin Smilie

Thank you and well done. Happy Elf Smilie
Welcome to PT, ElwëÞindikollo.
Having not read any of the HOME series either, I can't really give any constructive feedback on your essay, however, I did find it very interesting reading.

From what I have read in Tolkien's letters, he had pretty much finished a great deal of the work on The Silmarillion because he wanted to publish that before LOTR. That being said, perhaps CT published The Silmarillion as his father had written it between 1936 and 1953 (having started the concept of the mythology in 1914) and then, after going through all the notes his father left, he later compiled the HOME series. This would explain the changes as Tolkien likely re-wrote these genealogies later, probably after he retired.
From Tolkien's Letters #191 to Miss J Burn 26 july 1956:
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I am not writing the Silmarillion, which was long ago written; but trying to find a way and order in which to make the legends and annals publishable.


Maybe CT should have gone through all his father's notes before editng and publishing The Silmarillion but at the time he may not have realized how extensive Tolkien's changes were. I have noticed in Unfinished Tales, for example, that CT makes note of various descrepancies in his father's work and I assume there are similar footnotes/endnotes in all the HOME series.

Anyway, I am very impressed by the detail you have presented in your essay.

Welcome to PT ElwëÞindikollo! Nice essay, very interesting, and very well done. I enjoyed reading it, however, as others have said, I don’t really feel qualified to go into an extensive discussion because I have not read any of HOME yet.

For better or worse, I think you will find that the majority of the people here at PT have not read HOME. Most have read The Silmarillion, and UT though. I do plan on reading HOME at some point down the road, and I do have some knowledge of its make-up and content due to having read similar type essays as yours. I always find it fascinating to learn more about the evolution of JRRT’s writings. Again nice job, and I hope you stick around!
Happy Elf Smilie
Hi ElwëÞindikollo, and welcome to Planet Tolkien.

I had started ploughing through the HOME series, but work committments forced me to put them on hold for a while. Your post has reminded me that I really must take them off my bookcase shelf again before they gather too much dust.

I look forward to seeing you around here.
I always thought the omission of Finwë's daughters was because Tolkien did not seem to consider women to be very important. The genealogies show sons that did not play any important roles (Angrod and Aegnor come to mind) but does not show any women unless they had some important part to play. I figured that is why the daughters of Finwë were omitted.

As for the twins, I found the story of Fëanor changing the mother-name from Umbarto (fated) to Ambarto (exalted) a very interesting one. Seems like he was 'fated' anyway even with Fëanor altering his mother-name. I wonder why it was left out. Did Christopher not read the notes carefully enough or did he think it would take up too much room. Certainly it couldn't be because Christopher thought one of the twins burning was too tragic. He would have had to alter the whole rest of the book if that was his thinking.
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I wonder why it was left out. Did Christopher not read the notes carefully enough or did he think it would take up too much room.
I think it was because there were so many boxes and/or volumes of notes that he hadn't finished reading all of them when he first started to edit The Silmarillion. Thus many changes and additions that his father had in mind to incorporate, were left out because their existance hadn't yet surfaced into Christopher's knowledge.
I think that is the case, Grondy. When you read through HOME and see the notes that he makes, you are able to see where he has pulled the material from. In many cases they are pages from diaries etc, often with many notes penned over the top of the original pencil text. In some cases though, there are bits taken from scraps of paper found folded between sheets of old newspaper etc, in the bottom of old chests and boxes. Much of it appears to have been poorly catalogued, and so the process of piecing it all together and editing must have been very difficult.
I must admit that my personal point of view is that The Silmarillion hangs together so well that I am not interested in picking apart Tolkien's notes to try to discover what his final intentions would have been had he had infinite time to complete his work.
This implies no disrispect to those of you who do pore through the HOME books - let's all get our enjoyment from Tolkien in whatever way we want. But for me, I don't want to consider alternative geneologies or histories..there is more than enough in The Silmarillion to be going on with, and considering alternatives detracts from the perceived reality of the writings as if they were actual histories.

One other point...I seem to remember (correct me if I'm wrong) that Tolkien refers to some of the minor characters as either being of the 'House' or 'Line' of various royalty. To me, 'Line' suggests actual bloodline descent, 'House' could mean merely that they or their ancestors were in the service of that royalty. Comments...?
Welcome JonnieA, I always figured "line of" meant a direct line of ruling descent from the founder, while "house of" meant all the descendents from the founder and thus included many cousins of nth degrees; however, you may be correct that they and their ancestors may only have been employed by or in service of the ruling family.

Except, if one looks at Genealogy Tables I and III at the end of The Silmarillion, one will see they are labeled:
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The House of Finwë and the Noldorin descent of Elrond and Elros
and
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The House of Bëor and the mortal descent of Elrond and Elros
respectively, so maybe my original thought holds true.
Thanks Grondmaster. The quotations you give certainly support your original line of thinking (or should that be 'house' of thinking....sorry for the pun).
I suspect you are correct, and that was Tolkien's intention. My own point of view, however, is that almost every minor elven character described in Middle-earth would then be connected to the royal bloodline in some way, even if these connections are not shown in the genealogical tables. No doubt this is because Tolkien had in mind more descendents of Finwe (as ElwëÞindikollo demonstrates) than he put in the tables. My personal take on this is that I prefer to accept the genealogical tables given in The Silmarillion as gospel, and that no-one is missing - as I mentioned in my previous post, trying to consider all of JRR's musings breaks up the story and 'reality' of his creation. Hence I am happy to stick with the idea that, for example, Glorfindel had little or no royal blood, but was considered noble by his family's close connections and service to a royal household.
I am aware that Anglo-Saxon culture put an enormous emphasis on bloodline over almost any other social factor, and this does seem to echo throughout Tolkien's work. For example, imagine if a genuine descendant of the Pharoahs attempted to take power in modern Egypt - that is the sort of timespan Aragorn overcame!

I would be interested to know how many other members share my rejection of all the possible alternatives in favour of a single, coherant 'reality' behind Tolkien's works?
I did until I became more involved around this site. At one time I thought that the Silmarillion in its published form was pretty much how JRR had written it, and that Christopher had just dotted the I's and crossed the T's. In that belief, I was quite happy to consider Middle Earth ended with the Silmarillion.

This is not the case, however. Christopher managed to piece the Silmarillion together from books and books of notes. Many of these show the ideas of the story evolving in content and context over a period of many years. In some of the longer sections, you see a theme grow while some elements of it remain unchanged in version after version.

I still believe I would like to see your single coherant reality, but unfortunately it is not quite the one contained within the silmarillion. Don't get me wrong, I love the book. Unfortunately, Christopher wrote it before he had pieced together the complete puzzle of his Father's notes. I'm not sure even should he do this, would he find the complete picture for JRR was writing until he died. I very much doubt the final picture was ever totally finished even in note form.

HOME contains many snippets of information, that one minute make the adrenalin flow through your veins, and the next make you slump back down as you realise what you have just read was superceeded by something totally different.

What I would like to see is a special edition Silmarillion written now that Christopher has had more time to piece together those notes. That's the one I would be content to call that "single coherant reality".
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I would be interested to know how many other members share my rejection of all the possible alternatives in favour of a single, coherant 'reality' behind Tolkien's works?


Well first of all, let me kindly say welcome to PT Jonnie A! It’s always great to attract some new members that have something intelligent to offer. I hope you enjoy it here, and I hope to see you around!

Now to the business at hand, I for one personally agree with your rationale on this topic, and I think you’ve made some very good points. The Silmarillion is my all time favorite book now, and forever, and I agree with you wholeheartedly that the Sil hangs together cohesively enough that I’m not interested in picking apart every little note Tolkien scribbled on the back of a napkin.

That’s not to say that I’m not interested in the evolution of JRRT’s ideas, and writing process, because I always find it fascinating to learn more about the evolution of Tolkien’s Ea, but at times I’ve found myself somewhat unsure if I really ever want to read HOME due to all of the problems and discrepancies that arise. I think that at some point I will read HOME out of my love for Tolkien, but when I finally do, I’ll be taking it with a grain of salt.

Quite a few of us here have had similar type discussions about this sort of thing before, and for me, I personally have made the decision that I prefer to stick with what’s in the published version of the Sil, but also to know that Tolkien sometimes had other thoughts and alternate ideas about things.

My biggest problem with HOME is, and forever will be that it’s just sort of a gigantic note pad, rough sketches, a think tank of ideas if you will. There is no way of ever knowing for anyone what Tolkien’s final intentions would have been had he the time to complete his work. Who is to say that Tolkien himself wouldn’t have changed his mind about a lot of things that are in HOME later on? Again, there is no possible way of knowing what exactly JRRT would have stuck to with a cohesive final finished product.

While I always find new revelations from HOME interesting, it’s very difficult for me to attach to those ideas, because to me it’s just all speculation. HOME is a bunch of notes that you can’t really get anything definite from, while the published version of the Sil is still undoubtedly JRRT’s work put together in a complete, cohesive flowing history.

I agree with you 100% that trying to consider all of JRRT's musings breaks up the story and “reality” of his creation. I also mean no disrespect whatsoever to all of the hard-core HOME devotees out there, and I think you said it best when you stated “let's all get our enjoyment from Tolkien in whatever way we want.” Amen to that!

Again, I’m with ya though, I much prefer a single cohesive, coherent “reality” to Tolkien’s Ea rather then clinging to a seemingly endless amount of possible alternatives that can never, because of the circumstances be considered to be 100% gospel truth.

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What I would like to see is a special edition Silmarillion written now that Christopher has had more time to piece together those notes. That's the one I would be content to call that "single coherant reality".


I would very much like to see that too Val! Who knows, maybe some day we will? Perhaps we should start a petition? Oh Christopher, paging Mr. Christopher Tolkien please…
Elf Winking Smilie


[Edited on 30/10/2003 by Elfstone]
HoME is worth reading because it has more than just alternatives to the published Sil. I especially like Morgoth's Ring because it has a section on the customs of the Eldar. Some very interesting stuff there, especially on their marriage customs.
Well thanks Elfstone for your rather flattering post! I agree completely that The Silmarillion is Tolkien's true masterpiece - LOTR is fantastic but the true scope and grandeur of Middle-earth, only hinted at in LOTR, is fully revealed in The Sil. A 'revised' version would be superb, but I cannot ever see it becoming a published reality. However, there certainly seem to be enough learned heads out there among the members...perhaps this could be the biggest fan fiction project of all...?
(Probably just dreaming!)

If Lasgalen (or others out there) could suggest more sections of HOME that add to The Silmarillion rather than just offering endless alternatives, perhaps I could be tempted to dive into those bits.
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While I always find new revelations from HOME interesting, it’s very difficult for me to attach to those ideas, because to me it’s just all speculation.
It's these new revelations that drive me to read these books. The parts that add to rather than contradict the Silmarillion. Like Lasgalen suggests, although Morgoth's Ring is one of the last in the series, its probably one of the best ones to begin with. The reason I say this, is because I found it to be more coherantly written than the earlier ones, with the stories having evolved more into their final Silmarillion form than the earlier HOME books. It also contains some fascinating insights into elven customs, like marriage, birth and death. It also answers the question of elven reincarnation.

What I tend to do with these additional ideas, is keep the ones I like, even if they ended up being omitted from the final copies, and ignore some of the ones I don't like, even if they happened to be Tolkien's later ideas. For instance I really like the idea of Turin being the one who eventually gets to slay Morgoth in the final battle, after which Feanor comes out of the Halls of Mandos to give the silmarils back to Yavanna. To me this early concept is a beautiful idea, which was written out of later versions to disappear into obscurity. In my mind, however, because Tolkien never later wrote that it didn't happen, I can keep that has being true.

Some of his later writings, however, in which he totally changes the structure of Ea into something more closely resembling our own cosmos is something I choose to ignore. To me the birth of the sun and moon from the last fruits of the two trees is fundamental to the story. I don't like to think of them as being there before Ea.

To summarise, I read HOME because I have a thirst to know. I don't always like what I find, and often it is laborious, but just occasionally you do find a real gem which sends a warm glow through you.
A very good post - yes, maybe I should get stuck in and cherry-pick what appeals and lay aside what dosen't.

I agree that the creation of the sun and the moon is one of the most beautiful parts of the whole saga - even my wife likes it and she thinks I'm a real nerd!
Another good thing about Morgoth's Ring is that it has the story of Finrod and Andreth. JonnieA, if you want something that adds to the Sil, I think this one qualifies.