The Resolution of Inconsistencies

Discussion in 'The Hall of Fire' started by Azrubêl, Apr 17, 2017.

  1. Merroe

    Merroe Member

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    May I refer to a particularly well written list of inconsistencies on the Tolkien Gateway here. Both inconsistencies mentioned in this topic are included.

    I remember some of these disappeared after a number of corrections were made in the “50th Anniversary Edition” so it really depends on which version you’re studying; I refer to the Tolkien Gateway here.

    You started an interesting topic, Azrubêl. I happen to have both a 1994 hardcopy edition and a 2004 electronic edition so I made a quick check of the example given of Samwise Gamgee’s modified birthdate (from 2983 to 2980) and indeed: I could notice that the correction was made in the later version!
     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2017
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  2. Galin

    Galin Registered User

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    I'll take a stab too, although my approach here is similar. Externally, I think it's probably an error, but...

    ... one might suppose that Gandalf said Moria while another name appears on the doors. Some might (and do) object to that with "but Moria is written" yes, in the modern [well published in the 1950s anyway] illustration in the book it is, but the appearance in writing of Durin and Narvi arguably bursts the idea that even a written example (in the illustration) must appear on the actual doors.

    In other words, as translations, these names cannot be written on the actual doors, even though they appear in the writing in the illustration of the doors.

    When referring to Balin’s tomb Tolkien noted: "The actual representation of the inscription has however landed in some absurdities (...) but the names Balin and Fundin are in such a context absurd." JRRT Of Dwarves And Men. But he also noted this was basically "effective in its place: giving an idea of the style of the runes when incised with more care for a solemn purpose, and providing a glimpse of a strange tongue" (same source)

    And so the illustration of the doors of Moria is also effective in its place, well in my opinion anyway, showing the Elvish script and design, but it need not be a representation of the actual doors in every detail, even with respect to what is written in the illustration. For myself, I imagine the Sindarin name Hadhodrond on the doors, though the choice of saying and representing Moria would probably be less confusing in any case.
     
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  3. Ingolmin

    Ingolmin Member

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    Actually there is a lot of problems with the histories given in the annals of Middle earth written by Tolkien and later edited by his son. There are many inconsistencies, we can only theorise as to what may be true but we cannot be sure as to that is true or not. There were many things that were originally said by Tolkien but later removed, some were given more information about by his son but that is also not to the point. One example, Azrubel you gave the problem of Moria, because it was not called by this name then. Then why it is so? This is because first the Lord of the Rings was written, the tales and history of middle earth before LOtr although was written by Tolkien but was a bit incomplete as well as erroneous, but seeing it from broad point, we can make out the books like Hobbit and LOtr were sort of the beginning books for people and these might contain many things which are shallow, but those who want to learn about the histories read them and understand. There are many other examples, Aragorn said that he wasn't related to the Rohirrim, but if you read the Appendixes and some more history, you would find that Gondorian King Valacar married Vidumavi, daughter of Vidugavia, king of Rhovanion and their son was Eldacar, his descendant was Ondoher, father in law of King Arvedui who was the direct ancestor of Aragorn himself. Through Vidugavia was also descended Eorl the Young, the first King of Rohan. So, Aragorn was distantly related to the Rohirrim, and the Rohirrim were related to Lakemen(distaff cousins of the Rohirrim). See a new connection Bard and Aragorn were also related(although they had different blood), by relation I mean relation through genealogy.(Sorry, I consider myself an expert on genealogies of great families in Middle Earth)

    Do you know that Tolkien was sort of a backward writer(just like Sherlock Holmes thought backwards so as to solve his case like the Study of Scarlet) by which I mean, he first created a story then imagined how it would have been before, obviously some gaps appear when somebody tries to create such a World of Mystery.
     
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2017
  4. Galin

    Galin Registered User

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    There are also those inconsistencies... which aren't inconsistencies :D

    That is to say, subjectivity!

    To my mind, only a true inconsistency arguably exists if the statements in question hail from Tolkien published material.

    And then there will be subjective characterizations too. Someone raised Tom Bombadil in the thread, and I understand why, but to me, Tom is an intended mystery not really an inconsistency in the way other examples might be. Another instance that some bring up, is Aragorn [essentially] saying that Sauron does not permit the name Sauron to be spoken by his servants...

    ... but to me, while we technically might have an inconsistency given the Mouth of Sauron's later use, this simply reflects a realistic way people speak.. in other words, Aragorn has made his point about the S-rune: he is correct with respect to the matter at hand, and even generally speaking. So I wouldn't expect him to stop to muse about, and then mention, any instances that might prove him technically wrong.

    And where we do find some "almost all-agreed-upon" problems, I think Tolkien would be happy to see his readers try to smooth them from an internal perspective, or from a "within the conceit" perspective... rather than to simply or only say, well Tolkien goofed.

    But then there'll be subjective opinions about the explanations!

    For instance, not everyone likes Tolkien's attempted "fix" to Gandalf not being able to read the runic sword-names in The Hobbit, but for me the explanation in the 1960 Hobbit [dried goblin blood obscuring the runes] works pretty well, and doesn't seemed stretched. Though the revision was never published by JRRT himself of course, in any case.
     
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  5. Galin

    Galin Registered User

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    Hmm, my take on the timeline and Ent creation.

    Treebeard's list begins with "Eldest of all, the elf-children", and in the Silmarillion, the Elves are the Firstborn of Iluvatar. Now admittedly, the following Silmarillion passage could be said to be a bit vague regarding timing: "When the Children awake, then the thought of Yavanna will awake also, and it will summon spirits from afar, and they will go among the kelvar and the olvar, and some will dwell therein..."

    "Awake also", but this is the thought of Yavanna to call spirits. Granted, with "gods" such things might be swift, but Yavanna has to wait until the Elves awake, and why would Eru allow these beings to awaken before the Elves, if the Dwarves could not?

    A possible distinction is that the first Ent and Entwife, or first Ents and Entwives, were spirits from afar, and thus not Children of Iluvatar in the sense that Elves were, nor even in the adopted sense of Dwarves [Eru gave them "true life" but made them sleep], and that with the power of generation (note Melian) these first beings produced new made spirits conjoined with flesh or physical matter [Entings]... like the children of Eru, producing new souls.

    If so, the Ents as Eru's adopted children [and as a distinct people for the list] would arguably begin with a first generation. In any case, I don't think Tolkien ever meant to "upstage" the Elves as the first Children of Iluvatar.

    creation?

    "Some of my kin look just like trees now, and need something great to rouse them; and they speak only in whispers. But some of my trees are limb-lithe, and many can talk to me. Elves began it, of course, waking trees up and teaching them to speak and learning their tree talk. They always wished to talk to everything, the old Elves did." The Ent

    I realize that waking trees up and teaching them to talk seems like the origin of Ents, especially as the Elves taught speech to the Ents. Later in the chapter Treebeard, the Ent says: "Still, I take more kindly to Elves than to others: it was the Elves that cured us of dumbness long ago, and that was a great gift that cannot be forgotten."

    But do these passages mean that Elves created Ents? Not necessarily in my opinion. To my mind, Treebeard appears to be comparing Ents who have gone tree-like, and trees who seem Ent-like, considering what the Elves did for trees -- waking them up, teaching them to speak, learning their tree-talk... and they also taught the Ents to speak.

    The old Elves wished to talk to everything ;)

    In Appendix F we learn that: "They were known to the Eldar in ancient days, and to the Eldar indeed the Ents ascribed not their own language but the desire for speech." The Ents used their own language among themselves, and loved Quenya, as can be noted in certain fragments in the book, strung together in Ent fashion.

    But the Ents credit the Elves for their own desire for speech. And from a private letter not published in The Letters of JRR Tolkien: "The Ents claimed to be the oldest "speaking people" after the Elves [illegible] until taught the art of speech by the Elves... they were therefore placed after the Dwarves in the Old List... since Dwarves had the power of speech from their awaking."

    In any case, according to the Silmarillion account, Ents were basically created in response to the creation of the Dwarves. In a letter dated 1963 Tolkien takes an internal approach: 1) he explains that no one knew when Ents came or first appeared 2) that the High Elves say that the Valar did not mention them in the "Music", and 3) "But some (Galadriel) were of the opinion that when Yavanna..." [and so on, similar to the Silmarillion tale] "... and that the Ents were either souls sent to inhabit trees, or else they slowly took the likeness of trees owing to their inborn love of trees."

    Galadriel:)

    Again, my guess would be that these first Ents would be already existing spirits, but if we have Entings...

    I also hold to my opinion that these spirits, whether embodying animal or plant life, would procreate with other like, embodied spirits.
     
  6. Azrubêl

    Azrubêl Drúadan

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    Ah interesting! I forgot about that part of the book. I made a post about the runes on the dwarf map a while ago, thinking that Gandalf couldn't read them which, but I must have conflated it with the sword runes. I believe someone replied with a solution in that thread that Gandalf suffered limitations in knowledge through becoming incarnate, so that he can be seen at times forgetting lore, or not recognizing an answer.
     
  7. Azrubêl

    Azrubêl Drúadan

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    Great post. Nice job compiling all that. I'm particularly interested in this letter, which I haven't heard of before. Have you been able to make heads or tails of it?

    If we assume the Old List is the one that Treebeard mentions, of all the free created peoples, and that the list is in order from first to last born (as this letter seems to imply), then what would the list be? Perhaps this?

    1. Elves, the firstborn
    2. Dwarves (not counting their initial creation before their awakening)
    3. Ents (not counting their life before learning language/awakening as incarnate beings)
    4. Men
    5. Hobbits

    Would it then be the case that the order of creation, NOT order of awakening, would instead be as follows, to contrast it with the Old List:

    1 and 2. Dwarves or Ents (unsure at what point the Ents were initially created)
    3. Elves
    4. Men
    5. Hobbits
     
  8. Galin

    Galin Registered User

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    waking mist

    I think the old list refers to Treebeard's old list, and in my opinion so far [wishing there was no illegible part in the letter and the [...] gaps were filled in], it seems to me that Tolkien might be suggesting that the Ents are older beings than the Dwarves -- as far as being awake is concerned -- but given that the Ents did not have language at first, they took a place after the Dwarves.

    If the Dwarves awoke after the Elves but before the first Ents -- and had language from the start -- I would think there would be no question that the Dwarves should hold second place on Treebeard's list. If that makes sense?

    I mean, the Entish claim seems to be: we are speaking peoples, and older than Dwarves [again, in the awaking sense, in any case]. But the rejoinder appears to be, yes, but you did not speak until the Elves inspired you to, so the Dwarves take precedence here.

    That's my initial guess there :confused: other readings of this broken passage are welcome!


    There's an interesting statement [War of the Jewels] in a series of passages where JRRT was trying to sort out the details of the making of the First Dwarves. There are five passages, the last one ending with: "And Aule returned to Valinor and waited long as best he might. But it is not known when Durin or his brethren awoke, though some think it was at the time of the departure of the Eldar over sea."

    However, in the text used for the Silmarillion chapter 2 [note: Christopher Tolkien constructed this chapter from more than one source and inserted it here into Quenta Silmarillion], it merely says "... and he returned to Valinor, and waited while the long years lengthened."

    Hmm.

    creation mist

    With respect to being created first, I think we might run into more mist. The Awakening of the Quendi [The War of the Jewels] begins: "While their first bodies were being made from the 'flesh of Arda' the Quendi slept 'in the womb of the earth', beneath the green sward, and awoke when they were full grown."

    But do we know how long this making took? So far I only recall the end date of awakening, Valian Year 1050. Moreover, some would question The Awakening of the Quendi internally, as it's meant to be an Elvish "fairy tale" mingled with counting lore.

    On the other, other hand, even fairy tales can contain truths! :D

    The impression I get is that the Dwarves were created before the Elves, given Aule's "long" wait for the Quendi to awaken, but I'm not sure when Eru placed the Unbegotten Elves to begin with.

    And though I've done a bit of rambling here, I feel like I'm missing something...

    ... I might be anyway!
     
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2017

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