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  1. Who Fostered Elrond and Elros?

    In the published Silmarillion, we read that after the Third Kinslaying when the remaining Sons of Fëanor attacked the people of Eärendil, Elrond and Elros were captured but not killed:

    For Maglor took puty upon Elros and Elrond, and he cherished them, and love grew after between them, as little might be thought; but Maglor's heart was sick and weary with the burden of the dreadful oath.
    -The Silmarillion, Of the Voyage of Eärendil


    What's interesting is that in some drafts, it's actually Maidros/Maedhros who takes in the son(s) of Eärendil and Elwing. As far as I understand the history of this passage, the earliest versions have Maidros taking in Elrond (who had no brother in those drafts), but this was changed to Maglor in a revision to the Qenta (QII) that Tolkien wrote in 1930. This happened at the same time as another change: earlier, it had been Maglor who persuaded a reluctant Maidros to steal the Silmarils from the Host of the Valar, but in QII this was flipped around so that Maidros urged Maglor to the deed.

    This revised QII version is that last fully written account of the latter days of the First Age, and (probably for this reason), it's what was used in the published Silmarillion. Such details as we have from other 1930's texts are the same as QII.

    But it looks like Tolkien might have reverted to an earlier version of the story, if he'd ever gotten around to rewriting it properly. In or after 1951, he made several versions of a Tale of Years which covered the relevant events. In the C version, which is not derived directly from one of the 1930's texts but seems to more directly represent Tolkien's conceptions of the day, it is again Maidros fostering Elrond and Elros. This text never got so far as the final theft of the Silmarils, but I wonder if Tolkien would have reverted to that as well (since it was generally the same weary brother who both fostered the twins and was reluctant to steal the jewels).

    I personally feel like the Maidros-fostering versions (i.e. the earliest and latest versions, but not the 1930's ones) are a bit more consistent. In general, the last days of that Age see Maidros trying to do what is right, but being driven by his oath and drawn by his siblings into committing increasingly worse crimes - but then in each instance repenting afterwards. Both having Maglor be the one to foster Elrond and Elros, and having him be the reluctant one in the final theft, go against this pattern. I think Tolkien may have realized this, tightening up Maidros' character to some extent in the late Tale of Years. It becomes Celegorm's men, not Maidros', who abandon Dior's children in the forest (thus removing some culpability from Maidros for taking on such evil servants). It is then Maidros who again repents after the assault on the Sirion refugees, fostering Elrond and Elros. Tolkien never again wrote about the theft of the Silmarils, but if he had, I wonder if he wouldn't have fixed this as well, returning to the older version where Maidros displays his usual reluctance, but ends up (again as usual) going along with the deed anyway.

    At least to me, this sort of flimsy heroism seems much more in keeping with Maidros' character than his sudden turnabout to suddenly be the one proposing the evil deeds himself.
    It is laden with history, leading back into the dark heathen ages beyond the memory of song, but not beyond the reach of imagination.

  2. First a bit of boasting By a happy incident, I have, today, hung on my wall (where I can look at them as I type) two pictures (remarque prints) by Jenny Dolfen: It Ends in Flame, showing Maedhros1 just before throwing himself and his Silmaril into the “gaping chasm filled with fire” and the other, In Pain and Regret showing Maglor right after he has thrown his Silmaril in the Great Sea.

    I don't have anything much to say about the overview of the shifting back and forth of the roles of these two brothers in the final events; saving and fostering Elrond or Elrond and Elros, and inciting to the theft of the Silmarils), as I think that LotR has already covered this nicely.

    Personally I think that one of the problems is that none of these to brethren really fits the role of inciting to the theft from Eönwë [< Fionwë], and so in both cases we end up with their acting out of character to achieve the final fulfilment of the evil doom that they brought upon themselves with their Oath. In some ways this is perhaps even more forceful if Maedhros is the one to suggest the theft, though I would in that case prefer for him to be also the one to rescue and foster the two boys: in this way their final act under their Oath and the Doom of the Noldor would seem to be almost against their will — their being driven by the forces of Doom and Fate that they invoked with their terrible Oath:

    Our gems are gone, our jewels ravished;
    and the Three, my Three, thrice-enchanted
    globes of crystal
    by gleam undying
    illumined, lit
    by living splendour
    and all hues' essence, their eager flame —
    Morgoth has them in his monstrous hold,
    my Silmarils. I swear here oaths,
    unbreakable bonds to bind me ever,
    by Timbrenting and the timeless halls
    of Bredhil the Blessed that abides thereon —
    may she hear and heed — to hunt endlessly
    unwearying unwavering through world and sea,
    through leaguered lands, lonely mountains,
    over fens and forest and the fearful snows,
    till I find those fair ones, where the fate is hid
    of the folk of Elfland and their fortune locked,
    where alone now lies the light divine.’

    Then his sons beside him, the seven kinsmen,
    crafty Curufin, Celegorm the fair,
    Damrod and Díriel and dark Cranthir,
    Maglor the mighty, and Maidros tall
    (the eldest, whose ardour yet more eager burnt
    than his father's flame, than Feanor's wrath;
    him fate awaited with fell purpose),
    these leapt with laughter their lord beside,
    with linkëd hands there lightly took
    the oath unbreakable; blood thereafter
    it spilled like a sea and spent the swords
    of endless armies, nor hath ended yet:

    ‘Be he friend or foe or foul offspring
    of Morgoth Bauglir, be he mortal dark
    that in after days on earth shall dwell,
    shall no law nor love nor league of Gods,
    no might nor mercy, not moveless fate,
    defend him for ever from the fierce vengeance
    of the sons of Fëanor, whoso seize or steal
    or finding keep the fair enchanted
    globes of crystal whose glory dies not,
    the Silmarils. We have sworn for ever! ’
    .
    .

    105




    110




    115





    120




    125




    130





    135




    140
    The Lays of Beleriand, II ‘Poems Early Abandoned’ (i) ‘The Flight of the Noldoli’, p. 134-5
    I cannot recall any other place where the actual Oath of Fëanor and his sons is given, but I find it a very powerful text, worth sharing




    1: Tolkien seems to have wavered quite a bit about the spelling of his name, and we can find Maidros, Maedros, Maiðros, and Maedhros (and even noting in one place that he would change it to Maedron). Personally I like the spelling Maedhros both for purely aesthetic reasons and because it emphasises the soft d.
    Troels Forchhammer, physicist, Denmark
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  3. I'll readily admit that it was discovering Jenny Dolfen's various paintings of the Sons of Feanor that prompted me to re-read some of the drafting materials that had a bearing on their character! I would really like to get one or two of her prints eventually.

    The only other oath I can think of right away is the one from The Annals of Aman:


    Be he foe or friend, be he foul or clean,
    brood of Morgoth or bright Vala,
    Elda or Maia or Aftercomer,
    Man yet unborn upon Middle-earth,
    neither law, nor love, nor league of swords,
    dread nor danger, not Doom itself,
    shall defend him from Fëanor, and Fëanor's kin,
    whoso hideth or hoardeth, or in hand taketh,
    finding keepeth or afar casteth
    a Silmaril. This swear we all:
    death we will deal him ere Day's ending,
    woe unto world's end! Our word hear thou,
    Eru Allfather! To the everlasting
    Darkness doom us if our deed faileth.
    On the holy mountain hear in witness
    and our vow remember, Manwë and Varda!

    This version is nice for explicitly containing all the elements that are later referenced: the invocation not only of the highest Valar, but of Eru himself - it's also an example of Modern English alliterative verse that's escaped my lists so far (presumably in this case the verse is a direct reworking of the original 1930's Oath).
    It is laden with history, leading back into the dark heathen ages beyond the memory of song, but not beyond the reach of imagination.

  4. Galin's Avatar
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    #4
    Not that anyone said otherwise, but I think the spelling Maedros reflects a different, later etymology, while other variations might reflect orthography or anglicization (although Maidhros within the Noldorin scenario was not an anglicization however, if I recall correctly).

    You bring up a puzzling notion for me The Lord of the Rings, as I have a vague memory of checking this out (wondering why the shift back to Maedhros was not taken up for the 1977 Silmarillion], and despite what we find from the Tale of Years, I could have sworn I found at least one other source that appeared to point back to Maglor, or at least cast doubt on a switch back to Maedhros being Tolkien's latest decision here...

    ... even though I can't find it now, or even guess as to what it could be! I may have dreamed this.

    If I didn't dream it, I don't think it's a letter, although there is one about Elrond and Elros being found in or near a cave [which intended to explain their names], which was later superseded [with respect to their names].


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  5. Galin's Avatar
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    #5
    By the way my apologies in advance: I don't like to just toss in 'I think I recall something' without posting that something or having any idea where to find that something! Especially if maybe this something doesn't even exist -- that doesn't actually give anyone much incentive to look for it!

    I dunno, I could have sworn I was going to post basically the same thread, maybe a year ago, and then didn't.

    But anyway, just wanted to apologize for tossing in 'nothing' as if it should cast doubt on this. It shouldn't, and doesn't; and more likely I was thinking of something related.

  6. I could have sworn I found at least one other source that appeared to point back to Maglor, or at least cast doubt on a switch back to Maedhros being Tolkien's latest decision here...

    Could well be - I tried to track down every reference I could, but I I definitely might have missed something.

    On the name, the correct Noldorin form was indeed Maidhros '
    anglicized Maidros', according to the Etymologies (entry MAD-). I'm not sure what Tolkien envisioned the etymology to be before that point, but he'd been using the form Maidros for a very long time (since the BoLT, where it first appears as a name for Feanor's father, and shortly thereafter his son). I find it unlikely that he'd meant it to be said /maiðros/ the whole time, and the 'anglicization' comment was probably just a justification of his older spelling with the new pronunciation. So in earlier stages, both /maidros/ and /maiðros/ were probably current pronunciations at different stages.

    Later on, it's clear he started to favour the initial vowel being ae instead of ai, but he still has plenty of fluctuation between /d/ and /ð/. One late etymology (WotJ p. 366) derives the first element from *magit-, which would give /maedros/, which implies that the /d/ pronunciation was still something he was considering. What the etymology for the usual Maedhros/Maeðros, I'm not quite sure, but he certainly seems to have liked the /ð/ for /d/.

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    It is laden with history, leading back into the dark heathen ages beyond the memory of song, but not beyond the reach of imagination.

  7. Galin's Avatar
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    #7
    'I'm not sure what Tolkien envisioned the etymology to be before that point, but he'd been using the form Maidros for a very long time...'


    I've wondered about that too. Considering Tolkien's Old English names I once thought -ros could be related to 'Daybreak'. Roman Rausch noted (in answer to this, but also to the fact that I could not connect the first part in any way):
    'Maybe -ros is already enough to make a connotation of sunrise (in a pars pro toto kind of way), in GL:62 orost is 'sunrise', while in GL:63 it is simply 'rising'.

    A shot in the dark perhaps.

    'What the etymology for the usual Maedhros/Maeðros, I'm not quite sure, but he certainly seems to have liked the /ð/ for /d/.'



    I wondered if Tolkien was preserving the Etymologies meaning 'Pale glitter' (which I think refers to the glitter of metal), but hadn't really gone back to update Sindarin, or any bases, to account for it. I can't find Roman's full response, but my reaction was: 'If I read your response correctly, it seems that Tolkien could have invented a new root to accommodate a Sindarin *maedh 'pale, fallow', but we have no indication that he did, and what we do have attested in Etymologies (root >MAD-) does not serve in any case.'

    And he then responded that that was right.

    In any event it seems that Tolkien moved on to either Maedros as a combination of some Quenya forms [thus now meaning something like 'well shaped + red haired'], or to Maedron, but since Christopher Tolkien went with Maedhros I would love to know how Tolkien viewed this form in a Sindarin context.


    Oh and thanks: I have my colour back
    Last edited by Galin; 10/Dec/2012 at 09:30 PM.

  8. Túrin's Avatar
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    #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Troelsfo View Post
    I cannot recall any other place where the actual Oath of Fëanor and his sons is given, but I find it a very powerful text, worth sharing
    Quote Originally Posted by Lord of the Rings View Post
    The only other oath I can think of right away is the one from The Annals of Aman ... it's also an example of Modern English alliterative verse that's escaped my lists so far (presumably in this case the verse is a direct reworking of the original 1930's Oath).
    There's another version in Lays of Beleriand, Lay of Leithian, Lines 1847-1857. I like it slightly more than the one given by Troelsfo because it rhymes. And there's sort of a version in the Beren and Luthien chapter of the Silmarillion, but the poignancy of it is broken because it's not in prose.

    Regarding the main topic of the thread, I've not yet had a chance to look through the versions that Lord of the Rings referenced, but as soon as I get a chance, I intend to do just that. Maedhros is one of my favorites, so any chance to redeem his character a bit I'm going to take!

    (Yes, I'm sure I will be biased, you have been forewarned)
    She killed them with mathematics. What else could it have been? ~ Jayne Cobb
    Honorary Doctorate, University of College, Department of Narv

  9. Ah yes, I'd forgotten the Lay of Leithian, which actually has two (similar but not identical) versions - there's another at lines 1634-1643. Though I prefer the other ones (especially the Morgoth's Ring version), because they alliterate

    Reference-wise, the 1930's stuff is in the expected places in HoMe IV (and, more sketchily, V), with the fosterage first appearing (with Maidros) in 'The Sketch of the Mythology', section 17. The to Maglor is documented in note 10 to the QII version of section 17 of 'The Quenta'. The later version is in the section 'The Tale of Years' of HoMe XI, with the detail about Maidros again fostering the children in version C, year 532 [> 534 > 538], on page 348.
    It is laden with history, leading back into the dark heathen ages beyond the memory of song, but not beyond the reach of imagination.

  10. Túrin's Avatar
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    #10
    The alliterative version is quite nice, I'll give you that. I'll need to read them more closely side-by-side (that post was typed over breakfast) to see which I really prefer. I'm going to guess that I'll agree with you in the end though, there's something pleasant about alliteration (I don't know why, you probably could tell me why I think that!).
    She killed them with mathematics. What else could it have been? ~ Jayne Cobb
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  11. Galin's Avatar
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    #11
    I think I figured out what I thought threw a slight wrench into being certain that Tolkien's last idea was that Maedhros, not Maglor, took care of Elrond and Elros. First, a hopefully accurate characterization of the texts for the Tale of Years:

    Text A
    little more than a copy of Annals of Beleriand, thus a pre-Lord of the Rings version, although there were some differences compared to AB 2 or the original TY that went with it. This version tells the reader nothing of note with respect to the Maidros or Maglor question ('529 The Third And Last Kinslaying')

    Text B includes corrections, interpolations and alterations made to A -- but this text shows no significant alteration to A with respect to the Maidros or Maglor question, thus it is still vague on this point.

    Text C new version, and here Elros and Elrond are fostered with care by Maidros, nothing about who forswears the Oath however.

    Text D typescript (termed D1 where it is type, and D2 when it reverts back to manuscript) In the manuscript part of D (thus D2) Maidros forswears his oath, but D does not go far enough to say who fostered Elrond and Elros with care.

    Christopher Tolkien comments: 'That Maidros 'forswore his oath' was stated in AB 2 (V. 142); in this and the following entries my father was following that text very closely (indeed D2 is based upon it throughout)' And in his last comments CJRT remarks that D2 might derive from JRRT's work on the Narn: 'But this is very uncertain; and if it is so, it is the more remarkable that he should have based these entries so closely on the old pre-Lord of the Rings annals.'

    So this made me question: what if Tolkien was merely echoing AB 2, a pre-Lord of the Rings version, without realizing what he had written in Quenta Silmarillion, which, although the mid to later 1930s version skips over the Third Kinslaying, it is Maglor who desires to submit to Fionwe (Eonwe), but he yielded to the will of Maidros as to how they should lay hands on the Silmarils.

    At the time 'connecting things' I took this to possibly indicate that it 'should' also be Maglor that nurtured Elrond -- that is, if Tolkien was simply echoing AB2 concerning Maidros -- but now I notice that while Maidros does forswear the oath as in AB2 -- it was still Maglor in AB2 that nurtured Elrond. So it's arguably difficult to sell the idea that Tolkien was just following AB2 here without thinking of Maglor's reaction to Fionwe in QS (and if QS is later than AB2).

    Sketch
    Elrond saved by Maidros :: Maidros and Maglor submit to the will of Fionwe, but Maglor steals a Silmaril

    Qenta Noldorinwa I Maidros takes pity on Elrond and nurtured him :: Maidros is minded to submit to the will of Fionwe

    Qenta Noldorinwa II Maidros cherished Elrond > altered to Maglor taking pity on Elros and Elrond :: Maglor is minded to submit to the will of Fionwe

    Early AB Maidros forswears oath :: Elrond nutured by Maglor :: no text on reaction to Fionwe's will

    Later AB Maidros learns of the uprising of Sirion's Haven and forswears his oath :: Damrod and Diriel ravage sirion, Maidros and Maglor are there but were 'sick at heart' :: Elrond was taken to nuture by Maglor :: Maidros and Maglor driven by their oath seize the Silmarils that had been taken by Fionwe (no mention of one brother yielding to the other here, but we are in a relatively brief tradition here in any case)

    Quenta Silmarillion mid to later 1930s [gap includes Turin's outlawry to voyage of Earendil] Maglor desires to submit to the will of Fionwe but yields to the will of Maidros :: Elrond noted as being with Maglor -- although this is noted after Maidros had perished anyway.

    Tale of Years (as above)

    So looking at things in more detail now, I can see that in AB2 I really don't have the same person who :: forswears his oath :: also takes care of Elrond (or Elrond and Elros) :: and also is at least more willing to submit to the will of Eonwe. If D2 was simply based on AB2, then one might assume that Maglor took care of Elrond and Elros as well, but D2 doesn't get far enough, and arguably text C would imply that this wasn't going to be so.

    And as Lord of the Rings correctly notes, Tolkien doesn't get far enough in The Tale Years to even suggest who yields to whom concerning Fionwe; and if we go back to Qenta Noldorinwa I, we see that it was Maidros who was more willing to submit to Fionwe.

    It makes sense to me to have the same character forswear the oath, nurture Elrond and Elros, and be more inclined to submit to Eonwe. The only thing I would add, however, is that Maedhros was the Eldest, and one might think his will would sway Maglor, although that's not necessarily true of course, just based on that.


    By the way, none of the [again, hopefully correct] textual characterizations above were posted because Lord of the Rings had described anything incorrectly, I just wanted to lay it out in a different way.
    Last edited by Galin; 13/Dec/2012 at 09:45 PM.

  12. That lays it out very neatly, Galin

    Though I do find the precise relationships between the A, B, C, and D version of The Tale of Years to be more than a little confusing. It looks to me like the D version actually represents an earlier phase (in terms of year numberings and events) than B and C (which more or less agree after revisions), but Christopher has chosen to give it a later letter. Is this because A > B > C forms a clear sequence, whereas D is in a different sequence and so shouldn't intrude? Or is D actually a later text? I couldn't find a clear statement about all this, but maybe I missed something.

    Not that D actually gets far enough to contradict C in this particular matter, so the point is a little moot, but I had a hard time untangling what the relative statuses of C and D. It does probably remain significant that C is a new version, not closely based on a particular earlier account, but the relative chronology would be interesting too.
    It is laden with history, leading back into the dark heathen ages beyond the memory of song, but not beyond the reach of imagination.

  13. Galin's Avatar
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    #13
    Thanks Lord of the Rings. With respect to the chronology I have been assuming text D followed C. Christopher Tolkien characterized things as 'stage D' in the text, instead of 'text D' or something. Hammond and Scull note: 'Christopher Tolkien also gives the relevant part of an incomplete typescript/manuscript of the Tale of Years which followed, extending as far as Year 527.'

    I took 'which followed' to mean followed chronologically, after C, but I could be wrong.

    Also, Christopher Tolkien notes that the new version C has some later changes to dates, changes which largely return the dates to those in B, and I wonder if these changes are not the result of D: in other words, Tolkien begins a typescript after C, upon which he continues in manuscript at some point -- and at least some of the changes there cause him to alter some dates in C, which then also largely agree with B.

    For instance D has Maeglin's capture in year 509 as written. Text C had this in year 511 but the later change brings it back to 509 (Maeglin's capture is not noted in B). Or The Fall of Gondolin is under 510 as written in D. Version C had 512 as first written, later altered to 510 (agrees with earlier B). Text D has the Exiles of Gondolin reaching Sirion in year 511, and version C had Tuor, Idril, and Earendil and the remnants of Gondolin to Sirion in year 513, but this is later changed to 511 (agrees with earlier B).

    In typescript D, in year 503 Tuor wedded Idril 'and in the spring of the next year after' (thus 504) Earendil was born. This was struck out later at some point, with the direction 'Must be placed in 502' -- and if we look at text C Tuor wedded Idril in 504, later changed to 502 (agrees with B), and with respect to the birth of Earendil, version C has 504, altered to 503 (agrees with B).

    This doesn't work with every entry however, as text D has Earendil wedding Elwing in year 525, and version C originally had this event in 527 altered to 530 [not altered to 525], but again I think it's possible Tolkien wrote text A as a fair copy, made changes for B, and then made a notably new version with C. But next, when making a later typescript, and a later manuscript addition to this typescrpt, he decides to revert back to some older dates, changing some of these on the manuscript C, and so they happen to agree with B again too.

    Unless that does not make sense. Of course it's not the only possible course even if it does make sense
    Last edited by Galin; 14/Dec/2012 at 05:30 PM.

  14. That might be right, but I still find the situation hard to get to grips with. As far as I can tell, the situation is something like this:

    Text A of the later Tale of Years was based closely on the Annals of Beleriand from HoMe V, and tends to follow it in both dating and the details of events. B shows considerable changes, both in dates and happenings. C is then a new document, initially beginning with yet another range of dates (distinct to it among the texts in question), but later emended, sometimes repeatedly, to end up in agreement with text B (in one of the few instances that B is emended, C shows a precisely parallel emendation: in B, Earendil arrives in Valinor in 533 [=A] > 536 > 540 542; in C it goes 536 > 540 > 542). My impression is that C was initially a bit more radical in terms of dating than B, but that the two texts were brought in line, mostly by emending dates in C.

    D1 seems to follow C in terms of textual development; the dates are mostly the same in all texts. The one change is the date of Tuor and Idril's wedding, which in C was altered from 504 > 502, and in D1 from the tale end of the entry of 503 into 502. These changes bring both C and D1 in agreement with B, which had 502 from the start (in AB, they were married in 499, which none of these later accounts follow). What I think must have happened is that D1 was based closely on C, but with the wedding from 504 (the only entry for that year) rolled into 503, either intentionally or incidentally. Both texts were then altered to bring them in line with B's chronology.

    Then D1 was followed by D2, but Tolkien seems to have at least started off referencing his much older AB - so even though D1 has Dior return to Doriath in 503, like in B and C, D2 repeats that event in 504, AB's date. However, points of narrative and eventually date in D2 eventually come to resemble the later texts, either as Tolkien remembered his new versions or turned to other texts than AB for reference. So for instance the Fall of Gondolin entry in D2 seems based on B.

    I think the take away message is that there isn't a strictly linear progression of texts. There was a general development from A - D2, but with repeated influence from older texts. In some cases, this was probably Tolkien trying something new and then abandoning it, e.g. with the chronology of C that was first written anew, and then changed back to that of the (not so much older) B. More striking is a bit of influence in D2 from the very old AB. I think that B, C, and D are all very valuable in shedding light on Tolkien's conceptions of the stories in later years, but that details in D2 in particular are suspect as possibly being just copied from AB rather than necessarily representing his current thoughts.

    (I don't think it's very plausible that the influence from AB represented an intentional hearkening back to the older material; my impression, as far as I've investigated this so far, is that he started out lightly reworking AB, but quickly transitioned into following B and C with their later conceptions.)
    It is laden with history, leading back into the dark heathen ages beyond the memory of song, but not beyond the reach of imagination.

  15. Galin's Avatar
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    #15
    Admittedly my scenario was a bit too simplified.

    'My impression is that C was initially a bit more radical in terms of dating than B, but that the two texts were brought in line, mostly by emending dates in C.'

    Mine too. Also we seem to agree that D followed C with respect to chronology, even if things were complicated. I find Maedhros forswearing his oath quite a notable thing, and I think I've [so far] come back to the idea I once started with, which is the one you raised...

    ... that Tolkien's 'latest known' idea seems to be that Maedhros fostered Elrond and Elros. And moreover, that the forswearing of the oath, coupled with the fostering as in text C, does make me wonder if Tolkien was going to switch roles concerning the will of Eonwe.


    Again, the only slight consideration there is that if JRRT does switch roles, and reverts back to QN I (in a sense), Maedhros will seemingly have to be swayed by Maglor's will with respect to taking the remaining Jools. Unless there was some notable revision planned for this section, I guess.


    Interesting thread in any case. Glad it came up
    Last edited by Galin; 15/Dec/2012 at 05:55 PM.

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