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Nasssty orcsessss...
I have been wondering what would happen if a baby orc was raised by elves. A genetics vs enviroment thing. But as I tried to start a discussion about it in the chat room, I realized that we don't know where they come from!?

The silmarillion says they are made by tortured and destroyed elves. (I won't bother to look it up, I'm sure someone will provide the excact quote soon), Virumor is digging up evidence which says JRR said they did NOT come from elves. I though it might make a good PT dicussion. Any of you got any theories or evidence on this matter?
It could depend on which books you take as being "the truth". As I understand it (someone will correct me if I am wrong) The Silmarillion and LotR are 'gospel' and the other books are the route JRRT took to develop ideas and stories. They give added detail but a lot of stuff changed.

In the Sil it says that Melkor was watching the elves after they awoke and sent evil spirits to waylay them. Also

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But of those unhappy ones who were ensnared by Melkor little is known of a certainty. For who of the living has descended into the pits of Utumno, or has explored the darkness of the counsels of Melkor? Yet this is held true by the wise of the Eressea. that all those of the Quendi who came into the hands of Melkor, ere Utumno was broken, were put there in prison, and by slow arts of cruelty were corrupted and enslaved; and thus did Melkor breed the hideous race of the Orcs in envy and mockery of the Elves, of whom they were afterwards the bitterest foes.



And also from the Sil...
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Whence they (Orcs) came, or what they were, the Elves knew not then thinking them perhaps to be Avari who had become evil and savage in the wild; in which they guessed all too near, it is said.


So I think they were from Elves, corrupted and tortured by Melkor.

Buried in one of the other threads somewhere I did root out a few quotes from Morgoth's Ring about the origin of Orcs. From what I remember, Tolkien himself changed his mind several times about their origin. In some places he tells us they were created by Morgoth from tortured elves, but in other places he says the early orcs were in fact Maiar spirits who had flocked to his banner. Still later, he says they are just "animal" creations possessing no true thought, and whose minds are "programmed" to Morgoth's will.
I think that the Elves -> Orcs was an outdated idea, though I don't think he ever fully made up his mind. There was a thread with more info at TORC; I'll try to find it.

Anyway, there are a number of theories that Tolkien himself made, and never fully committed himself to one or the other;
Orcs coming from Elves
Orcs coming from beasts
Orcs coming from corrupted Maiar
Orcs coming from Men
A combo. of the above

It seems, chronology-wise, that the "last" idea Tolkien made was from Men, though there is evidence to support each and every theory, and evidence to disprove each and every theory. He never fully made up his mind, so I don't think we can either.
I thought the Silmarillion represented Tolkien's final decisions and if that is the case I am happy with elves to orcs.

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I thought the Silmarillion represented Tolkien's final decisions


Tolkien never actually finished writing the Silmarillion. What we see is a version edited by Christopher from his father's notes. These notes were extensive, contradictory, and not always in chronological order. Some of the bits that made it into the Silmarillion had come from notes that Tolkien had later updated and changed. Whether Christopher did not find these notes until after the Silmarillion had been published, I'm not sure.

Some of the last notes JRR wrote actually began fundamentally changing vast concepts of the story we know as the Silmarillion. One such example is the creation of the sun and moon. In his later works, JRR was moving away from these two being created from fruits of the Two Trees. The creation of his world was becoming more like the one which we live in. For me, this takes away much of the magic I see in the Silmarillion, because I like the concept of the sun and moon being born from the Two Trees. I like to think these later works, had JRR lived longer, perhaps been changed back again into the version which finally made it into the Sil. Maybe Christopher felt similar and deliberately left those last notes out.
I thought the consensus position was that we accepted HOME UNLESS IT'S CONTRADICTED BY THE SILM (though, at least for today, dissent is still legal in most parts of the West.) Orcs deriving from Men would represent a real problem for the first battles of the War of the Jewels (since Men had not yet awakened) and If Orcs are Maiar a) how are they different in origins form Balrogs and b) how come there's so many of them? I could live with the beasts thing; I never really liked the idea of Orcs as degenerate Elves. IF that holds though it suggests interesting things, too; the Quendi were immortal....
It's possible that Orcs are immortal; they just lead such violent and dangerous lives that they always get killed soon.

In the conversation between Gorbag and Shagrat, one of the two seems to point out he/she was at the Siege of Barad-Dur.
Good catch, Miruvor; I knew there was some allusion buried somewhere. If I ever learn the trick of memorization I'll count myself blessed. I can paraphrase well, but there's times when that's unsuitable, even unwise.

Good explanation of why Middle-Earth wasn't (quite) buried in a mountain of Orcs, too. It brings to mind something else about which I've always wondered, though:

Elves had few children, and these aged slowly. The fecundity of Men is occasionally cited as one reason for the decline of the Eldar. Yet Orcs bred like rabbits, so that after repeated decimation in the War of the Jewels Morgoth could bide his time, wait for Orcs to do what Orcs do, and come back with a huge numerical advantage. What gives?
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Elves had few children, and these aged slowly. The fecundity of Men is occasionally cited as one reason for the decline of the Eldar. Yet Orcs bred like rabbits, so that after repeated decimation in the War of the Jewels Morgoth could bide his time, wait for Orcs to do what Orcs do, and come back with a huge numerical advantage. What gives?

The number of Elves in Middle-Earth at the end of the Third Age was indeed very low : there were only some remains of Elfdumb left in Rivendell, Lothlorien and the Woodland Realm, but we don't really know anything about the number of Elves in Valinor.

But as an army of Vanyar, Teleri and Noldor was able to wipe out Morgoth's armies in the War of Wrath, i have a feeling they weren't outnumbered 3:1, let alone 2:1. I have a feeling their numbers were pretty equal, hence the total number of Elves in Arda, before Valinor was removed by Eru, was pretty high.

So the Elves which awoke at Cuiviénen (144, according to HOME - ha ha), must have bred like rabbits as well. Think of the Fibonacci series used for rabbit multiplication, with the difference that no rabbit ever dies - and you indeed get very high numbers quickly.

By sheer numerical power, both Morgoth and Sauron would've won easily, without any 'divine' intervention (Bilbo finding the Ring was quite predestined so let's call that divine). Luckily Sauron orchestrated his own destruction by forging the One Ring.
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So the Elves which awoke at Cuiviénen (144, according to HOME - ha ha), must have bred like rabbits as well. Think of the Fibonacci series used for rabbit multiplication, with the difference that no rabbit ever dies - and you indeed get very high numbers quickly.


Funny enough, I've just been writing about that 144 in the Cirdan the Shipwright thread. It does seem a small number to begin with but we do not know how long the Elves had been living and breeding by the shores of Cuivienen before Orome found them. What we do know of Elves, however, is that they generally seem to marry reletively young, and bear their children during times of peace. This could explain their large numbers by the time of the great journey.

Also, although 144 does not seem very many, look at our own roots. It is very unlikely Homo sapiens numbered more than a few hundred in the beginning and now there are several billion of us. The population of Britain has gone from around 5000 to 60 million in 10,000 years.
What, it didn't all start with just the two in the Garden of Eden? And England lost a third of her population to the Black Death. How many times did something like that happen. You need not answer these, I was just jousting at holes. Elf Sticking Tounge Out Smilie
It's funny that all this rabbit talk paved way to a google ad about rabbits on the right.... surf to www.rabbitsecrets.com !
Poured down here today (quite unusual north of Austin, where it's always humid 'cos the water stays in the air instead of dropping like water on Earth.) Critters were out, and after turning down a side street heading home I smacked into fog that came out of nowhere and just as I adjusted, guess what I saw hopping off the road into the weeds? Then in the half mile 'til the house I almost tagged a possum coming into my lane just as I got there (thank you, ABS.) Visit possum.com for more details (or maybe Pogo to give me points in rubber bridge?) Now, let's not have any more of this off topic conversation about orcs and elves and such.

Personally, I think little things like Eonwe, Tulkas, and Earendil astride Thorondor with a Silmaril on his brow made numerical ratios in the War of the Powers rather moot. Having thought about it some more, though, the "breeding pens" in a certain members short seem plausible (i.e. Morgoth and Sauron both likely maintained personnel with the sole purpose of supplying the ubiquitous cannon fodder) and captured Noldor/Sindar, as horrible as it sounds, would've helped, too.

I'm still intrigued by the thought of "redeemable" orcs. Interesting concept, and you gotta think if elves can be corrupted to orcs than something remains to be salvaged in them.
back to the topic i beleive that orcs where originally from elves but somewhere i cant remember it says they spawn from pits. And no im not confused with uruk kai .
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And no im not confused with uruk kai .

No, you must've confused with the Wobbles.

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Personally, I think little things like Eonwe, Tulkas, and Earendil astride Thorondor with a Silmaril on his brow made numerical ratios in the War of the Powers rather moot.

Eärendil and the Eagles only fought against Ancalagon and Co, when those were about to turn the tide; Tulkas isn't mentioned in the War of Wrath, but he probably again wrestled with Morgoth, threw him down and chained him, apart from that he didn't do anything - of course he would be able to defeat an Orcish horde on his own, but it really was up to the Eldar to take their revenge --- for the same, Oromë would only need to blow his horn Valaroma to send all those orcs, balrogs, wolves and what not fleeing for their lives; Eönwë only led the huge Eldar army, it isn't mentioned he pulled off any stunts.

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I'm still intrigued by the thought of "redeemable" orcs. Interesting concept, and you gotta think if elves can be corrupted to orcs than something remains to be salvaged in them.

Well, it could be possible, but only by a Vala, i reckon. I am sure Nienna would be able to do it.

Obviously, healing the Orc mind would be a harder job than corrupting the Elvish mind : it's always easier to destroy something than to rebuild something (eat your heart out, Sauron).
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Obviously, healing the Orc mind would be a harder job than corrupting the Elvish mind : it's always easier to destroy something than to rebuild something (eat your heart out, Sauron).


I haven't read it anywhere, but if orcs were created from the corruption of captured elves, I'd imagine once they die they would get the summons to go to the Halls of Mandos. I don't think even Morgoth would have the power to prevent that from happening. Whether those orcs accepted the summons, however, or how long they would remain in Mandos is a different matter. I would guess it would be a long time before an elf corrupted into an orc would feel comfortable being reborn back into an elven body.... and then how would the new elf feel when those memories of his/her past life returned on maturity?
I"m not sure the Balrogs would've run from just Eonwe and a Vanyar/Teleri army. Maybe the (other) Maiar (and possibly Maiai?) held off the Balrogs so the Eldar could vent their spleen on the Orcs, but it still seems kinda weird to hammer "your hope lies in the West" in for five hundred years and then let the Eldar gain the victory. Dunno, wasn't there; this is the kinda stuff that makes me want HoME: I love the Silmarillion, more than the Trilogy by far, but I have one inevitable complaint. Not enough detail. At least I get one phrase from the Doom of Mandos in LT1, and a very telling one (but then I just love Gondolin soooo much.)

Yeah, you stole one of my favorite lines there at the end Virumor, and your statement about Sauron... has broad reach. Adhering to acceptable parlance with similar reach, I really don't know what Morgoth was thinking, especially as the wisest of the Valar. Naught was more hopeless than the Exiles War -- except Morgoths. And how many times must ones legs be hewn from beneath one before one stays down?
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I"m not sure the Balrogs would've run from just Eonwe and a Vanyar/Teleri army. Maybe the (other) Maiar (and possibly Maiai?) held off the Balrogs so the Eldar could vent their spleen on the Orcs, but it still seems kinda weird to hammer "your hope lies in the West" in for five hundred years and then let the Eldar gain the victory.

Well, the Eldar from Valinor were very mighty, very much unlike the Elves who never saw the light of the Two Trees (eat your hearts out, Haldir and Legolas). I'm pretty sure they'd have an easy time with slaying some balrogs.

I've read somewhere that Tuor, for instance, slew 5 Balrogs at the battle of Gondolin, but that's probably a hoax.

But sure, it would've been quite cool to witness Oromë and Tulkas kick some butt. I just don't think they were that involved; i think they only came to take Morgoth in custody.
Naughty, naughty. I thought you didn't do HoME, but having just Reduxed LT2 last weekend, I'm pretty sure where you read that about Tuor. Oh, wait, you just don't accept as gospel (which is wise.) I'm still unconvinced that, with the likely exception of Inwe (Ingwe, or however we're spelling it now) any of the Vanyar or Noldor that came with the Valar were any more impressive than, oh, let's say Fingolfin, Finrod, or Feanor (and Turgon, of course.) Heck, most of the Eldar that fought Morgoth during the Exile were Noldor, and had thus seen the Two Trees and been enriched by the Valar; Thingol tended not to look for trouble, and most of the Sindar were with him. He might not be able to dislodge Morgoth, but neither could Morgoth dislodge him. If Elves who'd been to Valinor could do it without the Valars aid, they would've.

On the other hand, the Host of Valinor didn't have that nasty Doom of Mandos splitnering every alliance they made, or Easterlings delaying and diverting their armies. We also don't have casualty reports, and the Valar were focused on Morgoth and the Silmarils, hence they glossed over Sauron and missed at least one Balrog. I think there's a fan-fic story seed in there somewhere, but I'm too tired to deal with it, and already have an old idea that I might finally get to share if I can work up some discipline anyway. I could've always changed the settings and names, but if you write about a Silmaril you're writing about Middle-Earth, and there's no way around that.
i dont believe the Valar and Maiar took a hugely active role during the War of Wrath, however it is mentioned somewhere that during the war, elves in Beleriand who didnt take part heard the Earth rumble and of course theres the destruction of Beleriand itself to consider, surely this sort of damage could not be wrought by a battle between the hosts of the Eldar and Morgoth alone, and that atleast some of the Ainur would have had to have fought to cause such damage to Middle Earth. And i dont believe any apart from the Valar, in particular Tulkas, who could actually take down Morgoth himself.
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And i dont believe any apart from the Valar, in particular Tulkas, who could actually take down Morgoth himself.

Well, Lúthien took down Morgoth with her lapdance. Even for a Vala, the flesh is weak.

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Heck, most of the Eldar that fought Morgoth during the Exile were Noldor, and had thus seen the Two Trees and been enriched by the Valar; Thingol tended not to look for trouble, and most of the Sindar were with him. He might not be able to dislodge Morgoth, but neither could Morgoth dislodge him. If Elves who'd been to Valinor could do it without the Valars aid, they would've.

The thing is, everyone was more fierce in the First Age than in the Second or Third Age. Look at Hurin slaying 70 trolls before being taken captive, look at Finrod killing a werewolf with his teeth, look at Ecthelion defeating Gothmog.... i don't think they really needed any Ainu help, except for taking Morgoth captive, and to defeat Ancalagon and Co.
aha of course Miruvor, Lúthien, of course i meant taking hom down in combat but nice one for remembering her, i always forget that she actually escaped from under the nose of Morgoth Bauglir.

And im pretty sure a huge host of Vanyar and Noldor fresh from the blessed land could easily handle with Morgoths hosts, however i stand by my opinion that atleast some Ainur must have fought, for atleast the reason that i dont believe any size battle between only elves and orcs could sink what amounts to a sub-continent beneath the sea.
I presume a lot of the damage to Beleriand was caused by the winged dragons and their destruction by Eärendil and the Great Eagles, although possible peregrinations of Tulkas would cause quite some damage as well.

The only Ainu named is Eönwë; if any Vala had been there, JRRT would've surely mentioned it, although it's hard to see who but Tulkas Astaldo would be able to hurl Morgoth on his face and bind him with Angainor.

I believe that at least Tulkas Astaldo, and perhaps Oromë, were present at the War of Wrath to take Morgoth in custody (let's call them the Valar SWAT team) :

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Then the sun rose, and the host of the Valar prevailed, and well-nigh all the dragons were destroyed; and all the pits of Morgoth were broken and unroofed, and the might of the Valar descended into the deeps of the earth. There Morgoth stood at last at bay, and yet unvaliant. He fled into the deepest of his mines, and sued for peace and pardon; but his feet were hewn from under him, and he was hurled upon his face. Then he was bound with the chain Angainor which he had worn aforetime, and his iron crown they beat into a collar for his neck, and his head was bowed upon his knees.
yeh I agree with most of your points there, i believe that parhaps there were quite a few Maiar at least, and Tulkas and Orome, perhaps even Ulmo, who hated Morgoth and cared for Middle Earth greatly. And yes i also believe damage could have been caused by the Eagles and Dragons, Ancalagons fall levelled Thangorodrim afterall, but all of Beleriand? i think this suggests the presence of quite a few Maiar at the least.
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Ancalagons fall levelled Thangorodrim afterall, but all of Beleriand? i think this suggests the presence of quite a few Maiar at the least

I think it's possible. The winged dragon armada was so huge that they darkened the sky, so in their ruin they would have caused a lot of chasms everywhere in Beleriand, which caused some rivers and streams to be changed, etc etc.

And Balrogs and Trolls are able to wreak some decent havoc as well (think about the movie cavetroll - heh).

In fact, we might not even know the whole story : perhaps Ulmo decided in the end that it was best for Beleriand to be buried under seas, as it had been the scene for so much pain and grief for his beloved Noldor, and so he sank it ?
yes I can see how the fleet of dragons would cause great damage, maybe even cause the ruin of Beleriand, however Thangorodrim was only one (triple peaked) mountain, with Ancalagon being the biggest dragon that has ever lived, and so I reckon the only power remaining in Arda that could cause such damage was that which lived in Aman. I dont even believe Morgoth could, and if he couldnt, I dont believe any of his subjects could either.
I allways though no one knew the orogins of orcs. there are a few possobilities tho,,
1. they have black blood, so that could suggest reanimated corpses asin zombies or undead.
2 that they are mutilated men or elves.
3 they are goblins crossed with men or elves or both.
and there are a few others that i cant think off the top of my head.
I think it's been pretty well discussed that although Tolkien might've had a change in heart towards the end of his life, the story remains that orcs did come from elves.
One thing that was never mentioned is that in LotR, when Saruman's new Uruk-hai were tromping around Rohan, there was speculation that he had mixed the species of orcs and men. I seem to recall in particular Treebeard saying "that would be a black evil!"
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there was speculation that he had mixed the species of orcs and men.


"He has crossed orcs whit goblin men." gandalf's words can't remember which chapter Smile Smilie

The whole relationship between orcs and elves, as I'm studying in Literature, has to do with the self and other. The orcs, are the other of the elves. This justifies the origin of the orcs, and how they came to be.  Orcs and Elves find themselves in binarity. The Self-Other explanation serves for a Deconstruction analysis and it also explains the characters throughout the trilogy. But understanding the origin, serves for a greater purpose. The outcome and evolution of both species. Hope this information is useful. At least to have an idea of a literary explanation..

I think it's been pretty well discussed that although Tolkien might've had a change in heart towards the end of his life, the story remains that orcs did come from elves.

 

Not sure what you mean by the 'story remains' that orcs came from Elves. Tolkien did not have a change of heart and mind simply towards the end of his life, as Orcs from Elves was not his first idea, not his longest held idea, not his only idea even in the 1950s and later, and not his last idea.

As the thread notes, JRRT had plenty of ideas here!

 

One thing that was never mentioned is that in LotR, when Saruman's new Uruk-hai were tromping around Rohan, there was speculation that he had mixed the species of orcs and men. I seem to recall in particular Treebeard saying "that would be a black evil!" 

 

Saruman did breed Orcs with Men, but it's not a given that the Uruk-hai, which means 'Orc-folk', are the result. I think the (aptly named) half-orcs are the result here rather, and that the Uruk-hai are great soldier orcs.

Tolkien never actually finished writing the Silmarillion. What we see is a version edited by Christopher from his father's notes. These notes were extensive, contradictory, and not always in chronological order.

 

One of the texts in The History of Middle-Earth is a completed 'Silmarillion' for instance (called Qenta Noldorinwa, dated 1930), another is a slightly later, and somewhat fuller version called Quenta Silmarillion, although it has a gap in it, as Tolkien skipped to the end chapters for some reason. Why not just publish these? the problem is that they were written before The Lord of the Rings 'reshaped' Middle-earth and drew Bilbo's tale (The Hobbit of course) into the mix as well.

 

And another problem: when Tolkien returned to his Silmarillion after The Lord of the Rings, he wrote fuller versions still, but was often enough adding things or changing things too, as well as trying to incorporate new ideas or characters that had arisen in The Lord of the Rings. And significantly, these newer versions of Quenta Silmarillion -- the later Quenta Silmarillion, The Annals of Aman and the Grey Annals (these last two making up the 'Annalistic' tradition) -- never made it to the end! And although the later Tale of Years made it to the end, it's very brief with respect to the events concerned.

An interesting example: the 'gap' I noted in Quenta Silmarillion (mid to later 1930s) had skipped over the Fall of Doriath, so Christopher Tolkien had to go back to the 1930 Qenta Noldorinwa to provide some text here, but had a problem deciding how to truly update the tale, which resulted in this chapter containing the most 'inventive writing' -- and actually ended up containing elements that have no basis in Tolkien's actual papers -- and interestingly, one of the sources used was a letter! and so the Ents entered a tale of the First Age!

Some of the bits that made it into the Silmarillion had come from notes that Tolkien had later updated and changed. Whether Christopher did not find these notes until after the Silmarillion had been published, I'm not sure.

 

There were some texts that were 'lost' or unknown to Christopher Tolkien (and Guy Kay) when the 1977 Silmarillion was being put together. I haven't made any sort of inventory, but so far my impression, at least, on the whole (going from memory!) is that the amount wasn't that significant.

 

Some of the last notes JRR wrote actually began fundamentally changing vast concepts of the story we know as the Silmarillion.

 

Tolkien was thinking of making the Sun exist before the Elves awoke even before he finished The Lord of the Rings, and when he returned to this we are still in the late 1950s early 1960s (generally speaking). I would rather characterize late notes as dating from 1968 or later, and 'last notes' as quite late (like the Glorfindel texts written within the last year of Tolkien's life).

Also, there's an interesting revision to The Hobbit: in the 1960s Tolkien altered a mention of the Elves being around before the Sun and Moon -- thus, for whatever reason, he removed a rather explicit reference to the 'old mythology' here, in publication. The Lord of the Rings contains arguable hints of a world in 'Twilight', but nothing (in my opinion) that explains this very specifically, especially according to author-published works only, considering that Tolkien would have no reason to think his readership would have 'outside information' here (knowledge of stories he was still working on in private).

 

One such example is the creation of the sun and moon. In his later works, JRR was moving away from these two being created from fruits of the Two Trees. The creation of his world was becoming more like the one which we live in. For me, this takes away much of the magic I see in the Silmarillion, because I like the concept of the sun and moon being born from the Two Trees. I like to think these later works, had JRR lived longer, perhaps been changed back again into the version which finally made it into the Sil. Maybe Christopher felt similar and deliberately left those last notes out. 

 

With Myths Transformed at least (that is, the collection of essays so named), we are generally dealing with relatively brief essays. The section titled Myths Transformed in not very long, and some of the texts are rather short and searching, and not incorporated into any Silmarillion narrative.

At least one idea, for example, from Myths Transformed became incorporated into 'second phase' Silmarillion writings (later 1950s) -- the Dome of Varda for instance, but the actual text explaining what the dome was and why it existed, was never truly written within an updated 'Silmarillion proper'.

The first phase later Silmarillion (early 1950s) still had the Sun and Moon as hailing from the Two Trees -- and this is important in my opinion, if one is an editor -- there is no second phase Silmarillion in which the ideas put forward in Myths Transformed are wholly incorporated into the Annals or Quenta Silmarillion. As an editor, Christopher Tolkien needed text to work with, and preferably, already in the style and prose intended for a given tradition.

 

Christopher Tolkien did use substantial portions of the Annals for his 1977 Silmarillion, but that is because (in his opinion) the style and fuller expression of the later annals had become very much like the prose of the later Quenta Silmarillion: the two 'traditions' were merging, as he felt, with the later Tale of Years (with its abbreviated entries) taking over for the Annals.

Thus, whether Christopher Tolkien liked the older ideas better or not, unless his decision was to become 'more writer than editor' in this matter, the decision to use the early phase, but still a 'later Quenta Silmarillion' version, over Myths Transformed (again collectively) was arguably swayed by the nature of the texts themselves.

There is another element here too I think: the change that Tolkien made with respect to characterizing Quenta Silmarillion: the earlier idea was that the mythology and history was basically an Elvish source recorded (faithfully) by an Anglo-Saxon Mariner who had traveled to Tol Eressea. This was the old idea though it still held on even after The Lord of the Rings had been published. The revised notion characterized the Silmarillion as a largely Mannish work (as noted in Myths Transformed incidentally), filled with Mannish ideas even if based on Elvish sources; but now the Elvish perspective was much more removed than it had been, and we have Mannish influence not only in Numenor, but in Arnor and Gondor as well.

 

In the 1960s and later Tolkien is quite consistent about this, and even published an interesting little description in The Adventures of Tom Bombadil that (I think) reflects the change. In my opinion, Tolkien had come to the solution that Christopher Tolkien himself wondered about earlier (as to why he hadn't 'employed' this solution in order to keep the old mythology as it was): the 'answer' to some of Tolkien's 'more scientific' concerns (though even Myths Transformed wasn't wholly 'scientific' or devoid of magic) could be found in the re-characterization of the legendarium.

 

I find it easily believable, for instance, that Men would have a myth in which they as a people first arose with the Sun. But if the Elves were alive earlier, as it seemed, how could that be? yet didn't Elvish stories tell of great trees that gave light? Two trees in fact, reminding of the Sun and Moon? I think it's easy to see the possible 'merging' of things that resulted in Quenta Silmarillion here.

Did the Elves of Middle-earth believe this? Or the Elves of Aman who had more direct contact with the Powers? Did even the Wise of Numenor believe that the Elves wandered about in twilight for so long? Now the legendarium could present the myths as they 'were' (externally), preserving the mythic beauty, it's just that some ideas would be Mannish in origin, perhaps blended or confused with Elvish tales.

The Drowning of Anadune is probably less known to the public compared to Akallabeth for example, but in this Mannish version of the fall of Numenor (which contains purposed confusions about the lands and peoples to the West) the visiting Elves of Aman taught that the World was round, thus always round.

Akallabeth appears to say it was 'made' round when Numenor fell (Christopher Tolkien believes this tale was meant to be a 'mixed' account -- that is, a mix of both Mannish and Elvish versions), but how do we know the world 'made round' at this point isn't the mannish belief seeping in, since in the Mannish account enough men thought the world was flat despite the teachings of these 'beings from the West'.

 

Of course the question arises: is it true? or: what is true if various texts purposely differ? but before we ask that of Tolkien's stories, keep in mind the Primary World myths too, especially the creation myths that often precede the deeds of mythic heroes and shamans.