hierarchy of authoritative tex

turinturumart
Posts: 75

hierarchy of authoritative tex

Post#1 » Thu Feb 08, 2007 4:50 pm

Do we have an accepted hierarchy of source text that resolves discrepancies between different "versions of the story"? For example, "The Silmarillion" says that lightning lit Beleg's face after I killed him, and that's how I knew I had done a bad thing. However, I know that it was actually his little elf lantern that came unsheathed that allowed me to see his face (it is burned in the deepest memories of my heart). So, I would think that "The Books of Lost Tales" would supercede "The Silmarillion" in a dispute of historical accuracy. But, that's just my humble opinion, and this whole issue is probably overly legalistic anyway. I just wanted to hear what y'all think, if anyone even cares. I realize that all of this happened such a long time ago that we start to dismiss these little details, but they can be quite personal to some of us.

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Túrin Turambar
Posts: 614

hierarchy of authoritative tex

Post#2 » Thu Feb 08, 2007 6:55 pm

I would almost always side with The Silm over The Book of Lost Tales. I have both Lost Tales 1 and 2 and they are a great read but it was Tolkien's earliest concepts of Arda you could consider it a 'rough draft' if you will. While the Silm contains errors in itself it is still more consistant and 'polished' work from Tolkien's 1st Age and 2nd Age. Unfinished Tales goes hand in hand with the Silm.

When I read Lost Tales the only time I consider it's text an expansion from the stories in the Silm is only when it doesn't conflict with any part of the Silm, and most of the time it does conflict with the Silm.

turinturumart
Posts: 75

hierarchy of authoritative tex

Post#3 » Thu Feb 08, 2007 10:44 pm

I shall try to gather support for this response. In the meantime, I can only offer the vague suggestion that latest writing does not necessarily indicate best intent of the writer. I don't remember where I have seen this mentioned, but I am sure that there are examples (I believe in "The Lost Tales" or maybe "The Unfinished Tales") in which Christopher discusses his father's ambivalence towards and reversion of certain details (especially names).

And so, my criterion, although unfortunately subjective, is to accept those details that are more romantic, in a sense. To me, there is more impact, for instance, in Morgoth's betrayal of his brethern, when they trusted him to erect the pillars of the lamps (as according to tBoLT1); his mere a posteriori attack (as according to Sil.) was only a shallow demonstration of his contempt, and affords no comparison.

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Túrin Turambar
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hierarchy of authoritative tex

Post#4 » Thu Feb 08, 2007 11:19 pm

To me, there is more impact, for instance, in Morgoth's betrayal of his brethern, when they trusted him to erect the pillars of the lamps (as according to tBoLT1); his mere a posteriori attack (as according to Sil.) was only a shallow demonstration of his contempt, and affords no comparison

Maybe so but nonetheless Tolkien made those changes for a reason, otherwise the records of Arda's history from TBOLT would have made it into the Silm.

Yes there were a lot of name changes from TBOLT to the Silm, but once again that was Tolkien refining his work as he saw best. If i recall correctly wasn't it giant cats, instead of wolves, that guarded Morgoth's stronghold? I'm too lazy to go get my TBOLT1 and TBOLT2 and look it up.

There were many radical changes such as that, that gradually disappeared from Tolkien's work. For instance TBOLT version of "The Fall of Gondolin" (1917) was, as far as I know, Tolkiens first dabble with his fantasy world, and I really enjoyed that chapter, however, it goes against most of the ideas behind the Silm. Balrogs were not Maia originally and there mass multitudes of them in that battle, I believe Tuor slew a handful of them himself, which would be nice to interpret into the Silm, but because of the drastic changes to Balrogs and such it's not possible.

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virumor
Posts: 3567

hierarchy of authoritative tex

Post#5 » Fri Feb 09, 2007 2:23 am

I believe Tuor slew a handful of them himself, which would be nice to interpret into the Silm, but because of the drastic changes to Balrogs and such it's not possible.

Sure it is. Húrin also slew 70 trolls, right? And look at Túrin's exploits.

It's simply because the blood of the Edain was not yet dulled. The founding fathers were simply fiercer and mightier heroes than their descendants.
Give up the Halfring, she-elf...

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Lord Of All
Posts: 633

hierarchy of authoritative tex

Post#6 » Fri Feb 09, 2007 2:09 pm

I generally use this hierchy:

HOME - Use as lore only if the text is not disputed in a more relaible source. HOME often contains Tolkien's earliiest concepts of his myth (for example in the very early drafts there wasn't any Sauron).

Unfinished Tales - Generally the things are correct in there. If there is going to be something written that is later disputed elsewhere Christopher Tolkien usually states so.

The Silmarillion - whilst it may miss out a fair bit of the entire Silmarillion which Tolkien had in mind (for it is edited by Chris. Tolkien) it rarely contains incorrect information.

The Hobbit/Lotr - To my knowledge its pretty much correct with very few, if any, points that can be disputed.

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Túrin Turambar
Posts: 614

hierarchy of authoritative tex

Post#7 » Fri Feb 09, 2007 4:08 pm

Ya I agree with LOA and his order, basically what i mentioned above, with the exception of LOTR/HOBBIT.

turinturumart
Posts: 75

hierarchy of authoritative tex

Post#8 » Fri Feb 09, 2007 6:48 pm

I appologize; I cannot figure out this strange box that some people have named "computer" in this (fifth?) age of the Sun. So, I don't yet know how to quote someone else's post.

My edition of The Sil. says copyright 1977, whereas my BOLT says copyright 1984, so I don't follow the logic that The Sil. is a changed version of TBOLT. In fact, I see it the other way around. It was my impression that Christopher basically just compiled a selection of his father's manuscripts that he thought could be published as a history to The LOTR, calling it The Sil., and then he later spent more time sifting through the manuscripts to provide a "better" (at least more detailed) acount in The HOME? This would make The Sil. only the first tantalizing presentation, a mere survey if you will, of a multi-volume history. It is clear, though, reading through TBOLT, especially the commentary by Christopher, that there are many cases in which the story has reverted to an earlier version of the manuscript. I guess the question of how to interpret these instances, as a deliberate authoritative replacement or just an abandoned account, is precisely what we are discussing.

Yes, giant cats; Tevildo was their prince. Does this difference effect anything else? Carcharoth still bites off Beren's hand, right? Maybe I'm confusing the story in TBOLT with the commentary in TBOLT.

I'm interested to hear more of the inconsistencies regarding the balrogs.

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Túrin Turambar
Posts: 614

hierarchy of authoritative tex

Post#9 » Fri Feb 09, 2007 10:35 pm

to make a quote it's very easy, just above the box we use to type our messages there are 7 buttons you can click, the quote is the one in the middle, the icon is self explanatory. :)

TBOLT was published after The Silm, however all of the writings from TBOLT were written many years before the writings published in the Silm. TBOLT 1 & 2 are Tolkien's earliest conceptions of Arda, and therefore there are many inconsistencies with his later drafts and the later published works.

Apparently when Tolkien first devised up Balrogs they were a creation from Melkor, instead of being a Maia and a creation from Illuvatur. They weren't nearly as powerful but had many more in numbers. That's all i can recall off hand, without going to look them up, I'm sure there are a few people here who could help explain more on the subject.

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Lord Of All
Posts: 633

hierarchy of authoritative tex

Post#10 » Sat Feb 10, 2007 3:46 am

Firstly I think we are in the 7th Age of the Sun. The 6th ended with WW2 (according to some obscure quote by Tolkien).

Secondly The Silmarillion is definately more up to date on the information than BOLT. It calls the Noldor I believe 'Gnomes'? Or that may be all Elves....Definately an early concept. BOLT was made by Christopher Tolkien to purposely highlight and show Tolkien's earlier concepts of his work. Therefore it doesn't matter wehn it was published becuase it was not meant to be accurate in relation to Tolkien's latest idears at the time.

In various HOME books it also mentions Balrogs. I quote:

"There came afresh a hundred thousand Orcs and a thousand Balrogs, and in the forefront came Glomund the Dragon, and Elves and Men withered before him." - The Shaping of Middle-earth

So as we see in the beginning Tolkien did not make Balrogs as fallen Maiar. He made them into another of Melkor's corruptions thousands strong.

But as we see later:

"The idea that Morgoth disposed of a 'host' of Balrogs endured long, but in a late note my father said that only very few ever existed - 'at most seven'." - BoLT2, The Fall of Gondolin

So as you can see Chris. Tolkien tells us of this early concept of having thousands of Balrogs but then mentions that there were only 3-7 in Tolkien's later idears.
In my opinion there had to be at least 5 Balrogs. We know that 1 was slain by Glorfindel, 1 by Ecthelion. We also know that after these 2 were slain it says in the Silmarillion:

"But it availed him not. The Balrogs were destroyed, save some few that fled and hid themselves in caverns inaccessible at the roots of the earth; and the uncounted legions of the Orcs perished like straw in a great fire, or were swept like shrivelled leaves before a burning wind."

So as we can see by the use of the words 'Balrogs' - refering to at least 2 or more were destroyed in the War of Wrath, bringing our total up to 4. Then it can be disputed by Tolkien saying 'save some few that fled...' that more than 1 escaped the War of Wrath. We know that there was only 1 KNOWN Balrog to have escaped but who's knows if there may be others?
It depends how litterally you take that statement. But anyhow we know that 1 did escape the War and was later slain by Gandalf in Moria, bringing out total up to 5. But it is possible that more than 1 escaped the War of Wrath so I would say 5-7 Balrogs in total.

Tevildo was Prince of Cats and was Melkor's chief servants. He was Tolkien's original idear before he thought of Sauron (thus is why I mentioned that in Tolkien's earliest concepts Sauron didn't exist).

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