Who was Oropher ( a suggestion)

Discussion in '"The Silmarillion"' started by Gilgaearel, Apr 11, 2018.

  1. Gilgaearel

    Gilgaearel New Member

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    Hi there,
    First post and thread here and I joined this forum in order to discuss an idea that came up to my mind the other day while I was looking on one of these charts of the Eldar genealogy ( one of them is on a sticky thread in this forum).
    What I'll suggest here is not suggested anywhere in the original text but it makes sense.
    Who was Oropher and why he left Doriath to become a King of the Woodland Realm? It always seemed to me like a character that landed out of the blue.
    What were the "credentials" he had in order to claim a whole territory as his realm and this territory's population as his subjects?
    One good explanation would be that he was of a royal descent himself, in order to be accepted as a ruler of the Silvan populations and not simply because he was a Sindar Elf ( there were plenty of Sindar Elves after all but they didn't claim that they were kings neither established realms out of the blue).
    So while I was watching the genealogy charts it came to my mind that Oropher was probably one of Olwe's sons and one of Earwen's brothers probably the first of them.
    And that made absolute sense to me, (no matter if Olwe's family doings don't match accurately) as it makes Oropher nephew of Thingol and a such, a member of his royal family and so eligible to claim the kingship and establish a new realm in another territory, away from this of his uncle in the style of his uncle's realm. (even his own halls were similar to these of Thingol!).
    This makes him also first cousin of Galadhon and Luthien, uncle of Galandriel and Celeborn ( these two were first cousins too - the endogamy was going strong in Eldar house not matter if it said that it didn't!) and makes his son Thranduil first cousin of Galandriel and Celeborn and so Thranduil's son Legolas, their first cousin once removed!

    Such a family relation gives also a good explanation on why Thranduil and Celeborn were by default eligible to divide their territories after the War of the Ring.

    It gives also some good reasons why Oropher and his son were negative towards any dealings with the Dwarves, ( they had assassinated his uncle after all) why Oropher didn't accept the leadership of Gil Galad ( who was his sister's great grand child ) and also makes sense on why both Oropher and his son were in very good terms with Elrond ( who was the in law of their cousin Galadriel).

    To conclude, Oropher been one of Olwe's sons, makes sense from any point of view and gives some very good explanations about the doings of his family.
    What is your opinion?
     
  2. Alcuin

    Alcuin Registered User

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    Welcome to The Tolkien Forum, Gilgaearel! That’s a very fine first post.

    You might be aware that none of the Teleri returned from Aman to Middle-earth. During the War of Wrath, they ferried their kinsfolk, the Vanyar and Noldor of Eldamar (who did not participate in the Exile of their kin) to Middle-earth for the war against Morgoth; afterwards, they ferried the Edain to Númenor. But none of them returned.

    The children of Finarfin – Galadriel, Finrod, and their brothers Angrod and Aegnor, who fell in love with Andreth – were the offspring of Elu Thingol’s sister Eärwen, making Thingol their uncle. As you may recall, when the tale of the Kinslaying of Alqualondë reached him, he threw them out of Doriath. According to Tolkien, these were the only descendents of Olwë in Middle-earth.

    However, in Unfinished Tales, there is a story about a younger brother to Elwë and Olwë named Elmo. Presumably Elmo had a son named Celeborn, who married his cousin Galadriel. But because Tolkien kept changing the story of Galadriel until the very end of his life, the back history is rather shaky. In the last of Tolkien’s tellings, Celeborn was a Teleri who came to Middle-earth with Galadriel; but that version of the story appears to be in conflict with several points in The Lord of the Rings as published: Tolkien had previously refrained from deviating from his published work. My personal preference, FWIW, is to regard Celeborn as one of the Sindar of Doriath (Iathrim).

    You might want to consider this, too. Four Elves accompanied Oromë to Aman: Ingwë, Finwë, Elwë, and Olwë. They were not the chiefs of their respective tribes. They’re most likely the sons of chiefs or tribal leaders, and their visit to Aman and subsequent return and report to the other Elves at Cuiviénen is probably much like the visits of Indians (Native Americans) to England and other European countries from the fifteenth to seventeenth centuries. (The unfortunate Pocahontas daughter of Powhatan comes immediately to mind; her descendants survive in both the United Kingdom and the United States.) They were emissaries, explorers by invitation if you like. It is very unlikely they were tribal leaders – that would be too dangerous –, more likely they were respected Elves known for their serious minds and clear thinking, kinsmen of the leaders.

    This means that there were a large community of Elves, they were in three tribes, and the members of each tribe were related to one another however distantly. These four Elves who went to Aman then had family at Cuiviénen: other siblings perhaps, parents, cousins, and friends. Celeborn was somehow related to Thingol and Olwë; exactly how, we are not told.

    When Celeborn greets Legolas in Caras Galadhon, he calls him his “kindred”. Oropher was also one of the Iathrim, apparently an Elda of some social standing, what we would call a “nobleman”. Celeborn does not indicate how he and Legolas are related. If they were akin by blood, Celeborn and Oropher might have been cousins, either through their mothers or their fathers. If Celeborn and Oropher were of the same generation, then Legolas was two generations behind Celeborn, so the relationship could also be through Legolas’s mother or grandmother rather than his grandfather Oropher. Maybe Celeborn’s sister was Oropher’s mother, and Legolas was his nephew three times removed. We aren’t told. There is the possibility the relationship reached back into the days beside Cuiviénen, and they were even more distantly related; and it is even possible that Celeborn referred to Legolas as his “kindred” simply because Oropher like Celeborn had been an Elf of Doriath.

    But like you, I think Celeborn and Thranduil really were related in some way, possibly through Oropher. We just don’t know because we aren’t given that information.

    At the end of the War of the Ring, Celeborn and Thranduil split the forest of Greenwood between them because they were each rulers in their own right, and making a division of territory prevented disagreements. I believe I recall that Oropher and Thranduil moved from closer proximity to Lothlórien to put distance between themselves and the influence of Celeborn and Galadriel: there had been some tension in their relationship in the past. Legolas might not have been part of it, but maybe his father and certainly his grandfather had. That makes Celeborn’s greeting to Legolas something of a peace initiative: they weren’t at war: that wasn’t the Elvish way; but perhaps Lórien and Thranduil had not been on altogether friendly terms, either.
     
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2018

  3. Gilgaearel

    Gilgaearel New Member

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    Hi and thank you for your warm welcoming. I made some attempts to join some other forums but they were either unwelcoming or simply inactive. :)

    I have to admit that I can't recall all the details of the different character story lines of Silmarillion as I first read this book back in the 70's and I re read occasionally and side by side with the newly published books which provide in some cases information, that contradict the original story lines or make some of them simply impossible.

    One such character is for instance Arwen who met and fall in love with Aragorn at the age of 2900 y.o.! Well...that makes her quite an old maid by the time that in "The peoples of Middle Earth" we read that Elves are supposed to get married early in their life, and early also for their life span and usually with people of their own kind.
    But Arwen for story telling purposes is not married. Glorfindel - one of the most interesting and most bad-ass characters ever - is for instance always somewhere there..around her father's household but Arwen is waiting Aragorn to be... born!

    In other words the recent books that provide information about the customs of Eldars make the story of Arwen and Aragorn an anomaly that would made - if it happened in real life- a lot of related characters quite unhappy. Elrond in the first place who would wonder about what went soooo wrong with his daughter! :D

    My suggestion about Oropher being some how related with Thingol's family was made by using this genealogy chart, that I used it while I was reading the books ( those that I have read anyway- I haven't read the latest one about Beren and Luthien that some friends told me that tells a different story from the one that is told in Silmarillion). Now how accurate this chart is, is something that I can't tell, as different people might have read different versions of some story lines depending of course on which books they have read. The older or the newer alternative ones that were published the recent years.

    In this particular genealogy chart Thingol has two brothers and Earwen is the daughter of his brother Olwe who had also some sons whose names are... a state secret! :D If that is the case then one of these brothers could possibly be Oropher something that would made him Thingol's nephew and so eligible to rule any territory he wanted to.

    Now the comings, goings and doings of the characters, at least the stories that were recorded in the books, can't exclude any other comings and goings and doings and that because all Elven characters are a priori immortal. If it is difficult to write the biography of someone who lived for 80 years I assume that it is completely impossible to write analytically about the life of someone who lives thousands of years!

    Anyway.. What I wrote here was just an idea of my own, that is not by any mean something official or something that would change the story line or the impact that certain characters had on certain events. It is just a suggestion.
     
  4. Galin

    Galin Registered User

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    Hullo and welcome!

    I don't know if Tolkien's idea from L&C arguably holds up everywhere in every scenario (or is meant to, perhaps), but for me Arwen maybe gets a pass in any case, due to her half-elven status and the possible considerations that come with this. And I realize Arwen is included in the three unions of the Eldar and Edain, but even JRRT himself would state (1972, letter 345): "Arwen was not an Elf, but one of the half-elven who abandoned her elvish rights."

    Also: "Nonetheless among the Eldar, even in Aman, the desire for marriage was not always fulfilled." JRRT, Laws B

    Maybe she just hadn't met the right guy? And Arwen was still quite young. Even by the time she married Aragorn she was not yet even 20 yéni old (Elvsh Long Years old).

    ;)

    In general I treat L&C with some caution. For example, it's at least arguable that Tolkien later changed his mind about the maturation rate of Elves (which is confusing enough, so I'll skip it for now -- and possibly later too).

    Regarding Oropher I have a different approach: it's maybe best summed up as: Oropher who? Due to the annoying nature of the following "explanation" [cough], I've made it even more annoyingly hard to read:

    Oropher's a late character with, in my opinion, two variant histories according to his notes, and author-published text at least arguably "suggests" that it was Thranduil who established the kingdom in Greenwood (see Robert Foster's Guide here for example, though I realize that introducing Oropher doesn't necessarily "contradict" the published account as worded).

    In other words: I'm still wondering if any Oropher is to be found in my personal legendarium (when dealing with texts beyond the Tolkien-published corpus).
     

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