hi! i really wanted to thank you for your silmarillion for dummies series. i’ve had pretty much the same problem trying to read it as you did (where’s all the dialogue? elves are boring!). i’m giving it another go now while watching your series for the relevant chapters. thank you so much! you rock!
Awwwww THANK YOU SO MUCH for this message, nice messages never fail to make my day!!
Anon you could do the tolkienreadalong with us!! We’ve only got to Chapter Two, you should check out the main blog there, people are making amazing things!
Either way, GOOD LUCK, it’s worth the effort!!
The Paradox of Love - My analysis of AULE AND YAVANNA
Aule begins to create the Dwarves “for so greatly did Aule desire the coming of the children to have learners to whom he could teach his lore and his craft that he was unwilling to wait the fulfillment of the designs of Iluvatar “ …. “Now…
I seriously dig your interpretation, here! Another meta post compared the creation of the dwarves with the story of Abraham and Isaac (“Hey Abraham, it’s Yahweh, go kill your kid for me.” “Mkay” “NO WAIT JK it’s cool I just wanted to see if you’d do it!”) but I read this bit and thought it seemed as though Eru was every bit as surprised as Aule when the dwarves begged not to be unmade. I imagine them both doing a double-take, and then Eru looking pointedly at Aule, like “Dear ME, they’re sentient!”
But, the thing that really strikes me is that theme of love that you mention. Because it’s such a huge deal that the elves are the Firstborn, right? Even though technically the dwarves were created first, spoke first (in their own defense) and then were put to sleep and reawakened after the elves made their entrance. It always struck me as kind of odd that no dwarf ever pointed that out, since they seem to be aware of the particulars of their creation. You’d think they might, since they were forced to struggle and wander for so long as a result of being ‘unplanned’. BUT. If you factor in the love Aule bears for Eru, it makes sense that they wouldn’t resent that quirk of chronology, since they were fashioned in sincere imitation and with the core of love you mention. I like this suggestion very much.
Ugh I love this a whole lot :’)
I’ve seen quite a few people talking about “that time Eru told Aulë to destroy the dwarves wow Aulë must’ve been so upset” – but actually that’s not what happened at all. At no point did Eru suggest destroying them. It was Aulë’s idea, because he thought they were just puppets and as you point out – he did not desire such lordship. He didn’t want to be a controlling master of mindless slaves.
One thing that’s clearly different in the two stories is the dwarves crying out for mercy, while Isaac is conspicuously silent. He asks “so I see the wood and everything but…where’s the sacrifice?” But he doesn’t say anything else. And what’s really interesting is that from the timeline of Genesis, scholars are generally agreed that by this time, Isaac is about forty years old. There’s no way he got onto that altar unwillingly.
Which is really interesting from a Christian point of view, when you consider that the mountain they were on would one day become (according to the Bible) the mount where Jesus was crucified – another willing sacrifice, this time God sacrificing his son for the children of Abraham. I dunno if that bit has a parallel in the Silmarillion though, and if it does, it’s certainly accidental, because Tolkien actively avoided Christian allegory.
But, as we can see, there’s no way he can completely avoid the influence of bible stories. So even if the dwarves aren’t an exact parallel of Isaac, they are certainly Aulë’s children who will grow into a great nation. And I have no doubt that in their own language, it’s the dwarves who are the Firstborn, and the elves and edain are “those other guys”.
OOH RILEY IT’S YOUR BIRTHDAY?? Happy Birthday!!! I have been prodding and tweaking some Handir/Beldis fic as a thank you for your beautiful long fic about them - I think it’s fit for human eyes, I hope you like it! A
lso I borrowed your OCs hope that’s okay.
(And it also covers the teamedain tolkienreadalong bingo square “Brandir” because multitasking.)
For people who haven’t been exposed to the ridiculous family-tree OTP saga: Here are Brandir’s parents, who have a fascinating age gap. Aaaaand literally all we know about either of them is what we can work out from their ages, as recorded on the family trees, and how they match up to other events we know of in the Silmarillion. They’re from different houses, they’re a generation apart, we know the things they’ve lived through – and for some reason they chose to marry and have a child (Brandir, of Children of Húrin fame).
And it’s really freaking interesting. Um. To some of us.
Last Week of Edain Summer
August 10th - 16th is House of Haleth week!
You can find the official schedule here, but if you want to join in (and PLEASE DO!!) - this being the last week of Edain Summer, I’m pretty sure everything Secondborn goes! I know I have loads of stuff I didn’t finish for the other weeks, so I’m…just gonna go for it :P
Tagging teamedain in particular - check out the tag “#Edain Summer” for some great Edain creations. And if you want to tag anything relevant you make during that week with “Edain Summer” as well, so that we all definitely see it - that’s great!!
Then Huor spoke and said: “Yet if it stands but a little while, then out of your house shall come the hope of Elves and Men. This I say to you, lord, with the eyes of death: though we part here for ever, and I shall not look on your white walls again, from you and from me a new star shall arise. Farewell!”
Vána, the Ever-young;
she is the younger sister of Yavanna. All flowers spring as she passes and open if she glances upon them; and all birds sing at her coming.
For the teamainur costume party!
And as they watched, upon the mound there came forth two slender shoots; and silence was over all the world in that hour, nor was there any other sound save the chanting of Yavanna. Under her song the saplings grew and became fair and tail, and came to flower; and thus there awoke in the world the Two Trees of Valinor. Of all things which Yavanna made they have most renown, and about their fate all the tales of the Elder Days are woven.The one had leaves of dark green that beneath were as shining silver, and from each of his countless flowers a dew of silver light was ever falling, and the earth beneath was dappled with the shadow of his fluttering leaves. The other bore leaves of a young green like the new-opened beech; their edges were of glittering gold. Flowers swung upon her branches in clusters of yellow flame, formed each to a glowing horn that spilled a golden rain upon the ground; and from the blossom of that tree there came forth warmth and a great light. Telperion the one was called in Valinor, and Silpion, and Ninquelote, and many other names; but Laurelin the other was, and Malinalda, and Culurien, and many names in song beside.In seven hours the glory of each tree waxed to full and waned again to naught; and each awoke once more to life an hour before the other ceased to shine. Thus in Valinor twice every day there came a gentle hour of softer light when both trees were faint and their gold and silver beams were mingled. Telperion was the elder of the trees and came first to full stature and to bloom; and that first hour in which he shone, the white glimmer of a silver dawn, the Valar reckoned not into the tale of hours, but named it the Opening Hour, and counted from it the ages of their reign in Valinor.This is my addition to Team Edain’s journey through Week 2 of the Silmarillion Read-Along! I tried to add in lots of details, like incoporating the heraldic devices for the Silmarils. More pics here.
Hopefully I’ll have time to do another piece based on this week’s chapters…
‘You ran away from home?’
‘When I was about sixteen,’ said Sirius. ‘I’d had enough.’
‘Where did you go?’ said Harry, staring at him.
‘Your dad’s place,’ said Sirius. ‘Your grandparents were really good about it; they sort of adopted me as a second son.’
(and I know this set will probably be confusing to some people since a lot of people like Kristin Scott Thomas as Walburga but she’s always been Mrs. Potter to me)
Galadriel for this challenge.
They were clad wholly in white; and the hair of the Lady was of deep gold… but no sign of age was upon them, unless it were in the depths of their eyes; for these were keen as lances in the starlight, and yet profound, the wells of deep memory.
The Rohirrim and The Edain
(Real quick: The House of Eorl is really the only extended family tree we get from Rohan, though keep in mind that it branches out a bit towards the end. Now on to the Edain question.)
This is such a fascinating topic! Because it opens up some really interesting discussions about reliable narrators, as well as some of Gondor’s weird hierarchy when it came to different cultures of men. First of all, the explanation we get from Faramir during Lord of the Rings:
Indeed it is said by our lore-masters that they have from of old this affinity with us that they are come from those same Three Houses of Men as were the Numenoreans in their beginning not from Hador the Goldenhaired, the Elf-friend, maybe, yet from such of his sons and people as went not over Sea into the West, refusing the call.
So, basically the story is that the Rohirrim came from those members of the House of Hador (one of the three houses of the Edain) who chose to return to Middle Earth at the end of the First Age, rather than move to Numenor. And that is The Official Story. At least, it is until you read “Of Dwarves and Men”, an essay in The Histories of Middle Earth. Here the story is a little bit different, and Tolkien says that Gondor:
attributed to them actual direct descent from the Folk of Hador in the First Age. This was a general belief in Gondor at that time, and was held to explain (to the comfort of Numenorean pride) the surrender of so large a part of the Kingdom to the people of Eorl… Though the native traditions of the Rohirrim preserved no memories of the ancient war in Beleriand, they accpeted the belief, which did much to strengthen their friendship with Cirion.
Tolkien then adds a final note to the essay, saying that the Rohirrim “can only have been akin as descending from peoples of which the Atani had been the vanguard.”
So, the true story is that the Rohirrim were not descended from the House of Hador. Instead, they were more like cousins - they’d been members of the same original group as the House of Hador, but they’d never travelled all the way to Beleriand. Tolkien says that Gondor decided they were direct descendants (despite the lack of evidence for this) in order to justify allying themselves with - and giving a huge chunk of territory to - Eorl and his people. And the Rohirrim, seeing the political advantage in such a belief, didn’t argue the point.
Not only does this story show us a more politically savvy Rohan than we normally see, but it also highlights the ridiculous - and ultimately baseless - hierarchical system that the Numenoreans used to categorize the varying cultures of men in Middle Earth.
SOURCES: LOTR, The Histories of Middle Earth vol. 12 (“Of Dwarves and Men”)