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Mannish Traditions

Galin

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In another thread, Gando parenthetically posted: "(and never mind his "Mannish tradition" delusion, which simply doesn't work with Bilbo's, Frodo's and Sam's "Red Book of Westmarch").

Why not?

Been very busy of late but this topic interests me. I'll try to get back to it when I can. If the thread gets any responses from you or anyone else,
that is!

🐾
 

Alcuin

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(and never mind his "Mannish tradition" delusion, which simply doesn't work with Bilbo's, Frodo's and Sam's "Red Book of Westmarch").
Did I miss something important? Wouldn’t the Red Book of Westmarch count as a “Hobbitish” and “Mannish” mixed tradition? There are Elvish, Mannish, and mixed traditions concerning the pre-First Age, First Age, and Second Age; and kinda-Elvish (Faithful), mixed-Mannish, and Mannish traditions of the Downfall of Númenor as well. Are we mixing traditions or apples and oranges? I must have missed something…
 

Olorgando

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JRRT's pretense is that he is basically translating Bilbo's, Frodo's and Sam's writings, Frodo (with help from Sam) about LoTR, Bilbo for TH. But there is the mention of Bilbo's "Translations from Elvish", said to be rather thicker than LoTR and TH combined - and this would mean The Sil. Bilbo was at the best source available - Elrond's Rivendell. Elrond himself was a huge walking, talking library of three Ages of Middle-earth (and accepting Glorfindel of Rivendell as Glorfindel of Gondolin returned, that takes us way back before even Elrond's birth). Where and how is "Mannish tradition" supposed to have crept in, polluting and corrupting writings Bilbo derived from Rivendell? In the normal course of human (including Hobbits) "history writing", thigs can get awfully mixed up. Bilbo degenerating into the fairy-tale figure of "Mad Baggins"; Frodo totally forgotten in the Shire; "remembered" in Minas Tirith as having personally gone toe-to-toe with Sauron (at least in folklore tradition). This would have led to a very confused account of TH and LoTR to correspond to the confused accounts supposed to be (at least mixed) "Mannish tradition" in The Sil.
JRRT once famously stated that he wanted to write "a mythology for England" (not Great Britain, the UK or even "The Empire"). Post-publication of LoTR, he seems have wanted to get his astronomy, geology, plate tectonics (iffy - that was still being argued about by the specialists), meteorology, botany …. "real-world right". I'm glad he never got around to it.
 

Alcuin

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Ok. I see. Let’s play this game for a minute.

Go to the end of the Foreword in Fellowship of the Ring. Here you will find the following:
The original Red Book [of Westmarch] has not been preserved, but many copies were made… The most important copy … was kept at Great Smials [in Tuckborough], but it was written in Gondor, probably at the request of the great-grandson of Peregrin, and completed in S.R. 1592 (F.A. 172). Its southern scribe appended this note: Findegil, King’s Writer, finished this work in IV 172. It is an exact copy in all details of the Thain’s Book in Minas Tirith. That book was a copy … of the Red Book of [Westmarch]…​
The Thain’s Book was thus the first copy made of the Red Book and contained much that was later omitted or lost. In Minas Tirith it received much annotation… But the chief importance of Findegil’s copy is that it alone contains the whole of Bilbo’s “Translations from the Elvish”. These three volumes were found to be a work of great skill and learning in which, between 1403 and 1418, he had used all the sources available to him in Rivendell, both living and written. …​
Since Meriadoc and Peregrin became the heads of their great families, and at the same time kept up their connections with Rohan and Gondor, the libraries at Bucklebury and Tuckborough contained much that did not appear in the Red Book. …​
At Great Smials the books were … more important for larger history. None of them was written by Peregrin, but he and his successors collected many manuscripts written by scribes of Gondor: mainly copies or summaries of histories or legends relating to Elendil and his heirs. Only here in the Shire were to be found extensive materials for the history of Númenor and the arising of Sauron. It was probably at Great Smials that The Tale of Years was put together, with the assistance of material collected by Meriadoc. … It is probable that Meriadoc obtained assistance and information from Rivendell, which he visited more than once. There, though Elrond had departed, his sons long remained, together with some of the High-elven folk. …​
What Tolkien feigns here is that he is not translating the tale of the Downfall of the Lord of the Rings and the Return of the King from the Red Book of Westmarch, but from the Thain’s Book. Supposing he had the Thain’s Book, or a copy thereof – and note that the Thain’s Book itself was already a copy of a copy (Jews take great care in copying the Torah, counting the numerical value of each line and comparing it to a known value, like a Hamming code; and I’ve seen the constitution of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, which is on permanent display in Boston: each line has the number of words counted on it, along with scribal notations such as “no corrections” on each page) – so what we consider the Appendices of Return of the King, along with much other material, was also copied in Gondor. Moreover, Tolkien says the Tooks gathered a great deal of history, particularly concerning Elendil and presumably Númenor. Ergo, we obtain “Mannish” traditions from early fourth age Gondor along with “Elvish” traditions from Bilbo’s “Translations from the Elvish”. Aragorn no doubt knew both; but exactly what he recorded or had recorded is not known. We can presume that Merry also received good information from Elladan, Elrohir, and Celeborn that he passed along; but we don’t know what else Tolkien “translated” from the cache of material he discovered (presumably at Bodleian Library at Oxford): all we can say is that some of it was clearly “Mannish” rather than “Elvish”. This idea is also reflected in the Notion Club Papers (the posthumously published unfinished and abandoned novel about time travel that Tolkien worked on in conjunction with CS Lewis’ space travel trilogy consisting of Out of the Silent Planet, Perelandra, and That Hideous Strength).

So the conceit is that Tolkien found a previously untranslated cache of literature, translated it, and published it. The presumed cache consisted of material from a mixed bag of sources: first-hand, second- or third-hand, written and oral Elvish tradition (which we should regard as “highly reliable” in the context of the tales, if somewhat biased (i.e., told from an Elvish point of view)), written and oral Mannish tradition (which might run from “highly reliable” to outright “sketchy”), and “mixed” tradition sources.

That conceit would also explain why there are several different versions of the same tale (e.g., “Beren and Lúthien”, “Children of Húrin”, “Downfall of Númenor”), some of which offer contradictory tellings.

JRRT once famously stated that he wanted to write "a mythology for England" (not Great Britain, the UK or even "The Empire"). Post-publication of LoTR, he seems have wanted to get his astronomy, geology, plate tectonics (iffy - that was still being argued about by the specialists), meteorology, botany …. "real-world right". I'm glad he never got around to it.
Not to mention middens and privy middens!
 
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Olorgando

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Ok. I see. Let’s play this game for a minute.
It took you one minute to write all that? Instead of "Smoke On The Water" "Smoke From The Keyboard"? :eek:

For me, JRRT's pedantic perfectionism in writing LOTR is what makes a "mixed tradition" for The Sil and the almost excruciating detail of LoTR not believable taken together. Even very much so his detailed description of the early succession of copies of the Red Book (to Thain's Book, to Findegil's annotated copy) that you quote. While an account written by three Hobbits (LoTR plus prequel) as eyewitness accounts survives the vagaries of time and copy scribal errors, the account collected by the oldest of the three, known to come from a source of great wisdom and reverence, Rivendell (and let us not forget the Grey Havens, whose lord Cirdan makes Elrond look live a veritable teen-ager at the end of the Third Age) gets muddled my Mannish add-ons? Where from? Elendil and his sons weren't lugging a huge Númenórean library with them (it would have to have been a secret library of The Faithful, anyway) with them precariously riding that mega-tsunami from falling Númenor to Middle-earth. So to any scribe in Gondor anything having as source the twin brother of the 70-generation-(or-so)-back ancestor of the ruler - Bilbo’s “Translations from the Elvish” - would have have to have been a source of not a little wonder, and made him very hesitant to add any annotation that might contradict it; not without a comment possibly reflecting negatively on his own received tradition.
Of course ...
Let enough generations pass, as can be surmised from not a few real-world ancient texts (of a niche of which JRRT was very much and expert) and things can get muddled.
Later generations begin not to understand some terms that have fallen out of use. Scribes make errors with words they no longer understand (Beowulf, as JRRT knew very well).
Then there is revisionism. Old concepts are no longer looked on favorably be new Powers that have Become.
Like: after an indeterminate time, that Frodo, Sam, Merry and Pippin were Hobbits would have seemed unbelievable to later humans (we have an undoubted megalomaniac streak).
More indeterminate time passes; "Hobbit? What's a Hobbit?" They're gone from memory.
Until some ages later (I can never remember: are we supposed to be in the Sixth, Seventh or Eight Age???) some previously unobtrusive Oxford professor "channels" something in what may be around the year 1930 of that indeterminate age (or burrows in the dustiest recesses of the Bodleian Library, as you suggest).
The near perfection of LoTR and the Mannish tradition muddle remind me of - well - retrieving the naturally unscathed Silmaril from dead Carcharoth's belly, which would be the LoTR.
The Sil - nah, use your own imagination, or not.
Perhaps, in a nutshell, a have-your-cake-and-eat-it situation …
 

Alcuin

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Hey, it’s a literary conceit, not real history. And real history shows up in strange ways: what about teenage Bedouin shepherds throwing rocks into a cave and finding thousands of ancient scrolls? What about the sixteenth-century engineer digging a drainage channel who found a buried wall and rediscovered Pompeii? Or, you could find a fourteenth-century icon in your grandmother’s kitchen in France that sells for €24 million. It happens. Think about the slow discovery of the battle fought some 33 centuries ago along the Tollense river.

Libraries and museums are full of old stuff that’s been misidentified, untranslated, misdated, undated, misunderstood, not understood: that’s what they’re for!

When I was a kid in the 1960s, all the archeologists and sociologists swore up and down that the Maya were ruled by peaceful astronomer-priests. It wasn’t until about 30 years ago that anyone could read Mayan glyphs. Think about how long it took people to decipher Egyptian hieroglyphs. So far, no one can read the Minoans’ Linear A texts.

For me, Tolkien’s literary conceit works. And that cake – it’s pretty good! Isn’t the whole purpose of having cake to eat and enjoy it?
 

Erestor Arcamen

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For me, Tolkien’s literary conceit works. And that cake – it’s pretty good! Isn’t the whole purpose of having cake to eat and enjoy it?
Mmh cake, I do like good cake.

Until some ages later (I can never remember: are we supposed to be in the Sixth, Seventh or Eight Age???) some previously unobtrusive Oxford professor "channels" something in what may be around the year 1930 of that indeterminate age (or burrows in the dustiest recesses of the Bodleian Library, as you suggest).
In 1958-ish, Tolkien said he thought we were at the end of the Sixth age or in the Seventh. Being 61 years ago, if ages have quickened I guess we could be in the Eighth or Ninth by now?
[1] I imagine the gap to be about 6000 years : that is we are now at the end of the Fifth Age, if the Ages were of about the same length as S.A. and T.A. But they have, I think, quickened; and I imagine we are actually at the end of the Sixth Age, or in the Seventh.
 

Olorgando

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For me, Tolkien’s literary conceit works.
The conceit as in the published works LoTR and The Sil (TH hardly concerns itself with such things), yes. But, correct me if I'm wrong, the "Mannish tradition" stuff is basically in the last three volumes of HoMe, starting with "Morgoth's Ring", and there especially the last section "Myths Transformed". I don't think much of this - of his "new astronomy" practically nothing - made it into the published Sil. That later conceit of his would have been quite difficult to harmonize with his foreword in "Fellowship". As I have theorized before, the Books of Lost Tales would have extended at least up to volume 5 "The Lost Road"; in extremity all the way to volume 9 "Sauron Defeated"; we might have been faced with a LoTR 2.0 (we already basically have a TH 1.5). Some of what JRRT was musing about for the "astronomy" started having a touch of C.S. Lewis's "Cosmic Trilogy" about them for me. Maybe it's just me, but I definitely prefer JRRT using Beowulf, The Kalevala, the two Eddas etc. as source material to "seasoning" his legendarium with a pinch of C.S. Lewis … 🤢
 
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Galin

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The conceit as in the published works LoTR and The Sil (TH hardly concerns itself with such things), yes.
I'm not exactly sure what you mean by this last bit, but in any case, I think The Hobbit sits firmly enough in the conceit as well: even the First Edition is given an internal explanation so that it too, is an ancient text of Bilbo's, translated by JRR Tolkien.

But, correct me if I'm wrong, the "Mannish tradition" stuff is basically in the last three volumes of HoMe, starting with "Morgoth's Ring", and there especially the last section "Myths Transformed". I don't think much of this - of his "new astronomy" practically nothing - made it into the published Sil.

If you are talking, at least in part, about the specific texts in Myths Transformed that deal with a pre-existing sun, the Dome of Varda and so on, these are, in my opinion, Tolkien's attempt at a new Elvish Silmarillion (generally speaking here), as Tolkien had come to think that the Elves West Over Sea would have been better educated about various matters.

At some point I think Tolkien realized (Christopher Tolkien himself comments about wondering why his father did not realize that he had essentially found his solution at the general time of writing certain texts in MT) by dropping the old transmission [Elfwine/Eresesa], and reimagining Quenta Silmarillion (for example) as a largely Mannish text, that he could then preserve some of his favorite pats of QS. In short, QS becomes a largely Mannish tradition. And the Legendarium as a whole will include Mannish traditions, Mixed traditions, and Elvish traditions.

I stumbled across the following from JRRT (letter 276 to Richard Plotz). First, I can't recall any reference to Elfwine dating to after the later 1950s early 1960s "phase". The fact that some sort of Elfwine scenario was in the mix even after the first edition Lord of the Rings was published brings up its own questions, but anyway I emphasize the first edition here because Bilbo's translations are said to be some books of lore that he gave to Frodo -- while two notable Elder Days references come along in the second, revised edition of the 1960s.

I note in 1962 The Adventures of Tom Bombadil is published, and reveals that Rivendell holds Elvish and Numenorean Lore, and a Tale of Turin and Mim is referred to as Numenorean.

1965, 25 July Tolkien sends his new text, Note On The shire Records, to Houghton Mifflin Company, for insertion after the Prologue to the revised edition. So now the reader learns that Bilbo's Translations From The Elvish were "almost entirely concerned with the Elder Days". And JRRT ultimately added (in Appendix A, revised edition) that the ancient legends of the First Age were Bilbo's chief interest. 1965, 12 September Tolkien replies to Mr. Plotz, in which he mentions the Numenorean Tale The Mariner's Wife, adding: "This is supposed to have been preserved in the Downfall, when most of Numenorean lore was lost except that that dealt with the First Age, because it tells how Numenor became involved in the politics of Middle-earth."



So, if I read the dates correctly, Tolkien said this less that two months after the new Note On The Shire Records is sent to publishers.

Jump to a late text (other examples exist): "As is seen in The Silmarillion. This is not an Eldarin title or work. It is a compilation, probably made in Numenor, which includes (in prose) the four great tales or lays of the heroes of the Atani, of which "The Children of Hurin" was probably composed already in Beleriand in the First Age, but necessarily is preceded by an account of Feanor and his making of the Silmarils. All however are "Mannish" works." JRRT, The Shibboleth of Feanor, note 17, The Peoples of Middle-Earth


Anyway, I have more to say, but had a moment to pop in and post at least this much for possible chewing on, at least, if anyone is hungry enough for this particular stuff ;)
 

Olorgando

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"The Mariner's Wife", Aldarion and Erendis, would actually be pure Mannish tradition, concerning Númenórean affairs. But I don't see the Númenóreans as having any accounts of the First Age that they did not get from the Elves. Let's not forget that the early Edain were probably at best on a cultural level of the Rohirrim, possibly even "only" that of the latter's predecessors the Éothéod. They did not have much time to gather lore, being much more short-lived than they later became as a gift in Númenor, involved in constant warfare, then enslavement by the Easterlings. At the end of the First Age, they must have been a much decimated remnant, who then grew to an entirely different stature in Númenor. No, the dear old Professor may be spinning in his grave, but his mannish tradition has more holes in it than the proverbial Swiss cheese for me.
 

Alcuin

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I think that living among the Eldar enriched the lives and character of the Edain. Bëor was called “the Old” because he was, according to the measure of the first Edain, old indeed. When he died aged 93, he had been in the service of King Finrod 44 years. The last sentence of the chapter “Of the Coming of Men into the West” in The Silmarillion reads,
“[T]he Edain of old learned swiftly of the Eldar all such art and knowledge as they could receive, and their sons increased in wisdom and skill, until they far surpassed all others of Mankind, who dwelt still east of the mountains and had not seen the Eldar, nor looked upon the faces that had beheld the Light of Valinor.”​
So centuries before they journeyed to Númenor at the end of the First Age, the Edain had already begun to change under the influence of the Noldor and Sindar, whose way of life they emulated and whose arts and sciences they learned.

No doubt the first “Edain were probably at best on a cultural level of the Rohirrim, possibly even ‘only’ that of the latter's predecessors the Éothéod.” Aragorn himself says as much in his description of the Rohirrim as the Three Hunters awaited Éomer and his éored on the hill in Rohan: “wise but unlearned, writing no books but singing many songs, after the manner of the children of Men before the Dark Years.” But under the tutelage of the Eldar, the Edain soon learned to speak Elvish and to read and write, the House of Bëor abandoning even its own native tongue for Sindarin. (Only the House of Hador retained its native language, which became the source of Adûnaic and thus of Westron, the Common Speech, in Lord of the Rings.) All that Men did and experienced in the First Age they probably began to write down, though much of that was no doubt lost in the War of Wrath, as was most of what the Noldor brought with them or made in Middle-earth, and most of what the Sindar had. Songs are long remembered, though, and the songs of Men and Elves were recalled and recited as history; and the memory of the Elves in those days was very accurate, so that Men could reconstruct their histories in accordance with Elvish memory. Moreover, the Eldar of Tol Eressëa (and perhaps even of Eldamar) brought with them written histories and memories from Valinor as well as Middle-earth; Pengoloð moreover sojourned with the Númenóreans for more than a century after the ruin of Eregion in the Second Age on his way to Tol Eressëa, and he taught them much from his vast store of knowledge.

So yes, in a way the whole legendarium is a “mixed tradition,” but I cannot see how Tolkien envisioned moving Bilbo’s “Translations from the Elvish”, which he composed in the House of Elrond with Elrond’s blessing (and presumably his assistance), from “Elvish tradition.” And unlike Galin, whose opinion and position I esteem, I do not concur that Tolkien’s last written position should necessarily be taken as decisive. In that I may be in the minority, but heresy while interpreting Tolkien is hardly a damnable offense; besides, it opens interpretive possibilities otherwise closed; but mostly, it avoids conflicts with material Tolkien published during his lifetime, particularly regarding Galadriel’s situation vis-à-vis her potentially returning to Valinor. So that leaves me partly in accord with you as well, Olorgando: I can reject the “new astronomy” out of hand without doing any damage or violence to my own understanding of the mythos.

And so like Bernard Woolley, I can with a clear conscience choose from a jumble of ideas a version which represents Tolkien’s views as he would, on reflection, have liked them to emerge – at least as satisfies my tastes and opinions.


:cool:
 

Galin

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"The Mariner's Wife", Aldarion and Erendis, would actually be pure Mannish tradition, concerning Númenórean affairs.

Not that you said otherwise, but there's nothing wrong with that (when looking for holes in the idea), given Tolkien's comments above, at least. The Drowning of Anadune is also a Mannish tradition of the Downfall of Numenor, for example.

But I don't see the Númenóreans as having any accounts of the First Age that they did not get from the Elves.

Yet the new mode of transmission allows for far more room than the Elfwine tradition -- where a man learns the QS directly from Elvish Tol Eressea, and transcribes it faithfully into Old English. Note how Tolkien describes the new mode, from Morgoth's Ring (my emphasis here):

CJRT: "It is remarkable that he never at this time seems to have felt that what he said in this present note provided a resolution of the problem he believed to exist." [referring to Tolkien's...]

JRRT "What we have in the Silmarillion, etc. are traditions... handed on by Men in Numenor and later in Middle-earth (Arnor and Gondor); but already far back -- from the first association of the Dunedain and Elf-friends with the Eldar of Beleriand -- blended and confused with their own Mannnish myths and cosmic ideas." JRR Tolkien, Myths Transformed, Text I, Morgoth's Ring


And again this is not simply late stuff from posthumously published tales, but author published material, published in between the first and second editions of The Lord of the Rings; "These two pieces [poems 6 and 16], therefore, are only re-handlings of Southern matter, though this may have reached Bilbo by way of Rivendell. No. 14 also depends upon the lore of Rivendell, Elvish and Numenorean, concerning the heroic days of the end of the First Age; it seems to contain echoes of the Numenorean tale of Turin and Mim the Dwarf." [RRT, Adventures of Tom Bombadil].

Tolkien also reclassified the Tale of Beren and Luthien as Numenorean. I don't quite see the specific holes yet, that you speak of.

Alcuin posted: So yes, in a way the whole legendarium is a “mixed tradition,” but I cannot see how Tolkien envisioned moving Bilbo’s “Translations from the Elvish”, which he composed in the House of Elrond with Elrond’s blessing (and presumably his assistance), from “Elvish tradition.”

But I would say Bilbo or other Mannish scribes also had Elvish traditions to translate. Question is, what were these materials? One text that comes to mind is
The Awakening of the Quendi, which Tolkien no doubt gives a very Elvish history to, and in my opinion Bilbo would love to translate this. I can think of others, but for now there's arguably that.

As for Tolkien's last written position, I guess I'll put it this way, when one begins to add up the number of late or very late notes (or something from a late letter, for instance) about this matter, in my opinion we appear to get a fuller picture than at least some ideas that many folks seem to take for granted as Middle-earthian "fact". Moreover, the new idea actually solves Tolkien's "problem" that he saw arising, and now he could "play' with some big issues like the sun and moon, or a flat versus always round earth, in more Elvishy texts -- descriptions that might even go unnoticed at first by an enchanted reader (at least the first reading maybe).

Also, here's a beautiful twist in my opinion: To my mind Tolkien introduces the Western Elvish point of view about the original shape of the world in a Mannish text! Awesome!

( . . .) but mostly, it avoids conflicts with material Tolkien published during his lifetime, particularly regarding Galadriel’s situation vis-à-vis her potentially returning to Valinor.

Ah! You've brought up my lovely Galadriel so I'm interested in what you mean here. If it helps, late texts have weight in my opinion, but yet I think they must bow to already published (by author) material. Then again, what is the already published material in question, and will the experienced Tolkien reader always interpret a given statement on its own -- meaning, by trying to block out other materials he or she might know only through posthumously published works?
 
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Alcuin

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.. but mostly, it avoids conflicts with material Tolkien published during his lifetime, particularly regarding Galadriel’s situation vis-à-vis her potentially returning to Valinor.
Ah! You've brought up my lovely Galadriel so I'm interested in what you mean here. If it helps, late texts have weight in my opinion, but yet I think they must bow to already published (by author) material. Then again, what is the already published material in question, and will the experienced Tolkien reader always interpret a given statement on its own -- meaning, by trying to block out other materials he or she might know only through posthumously published works?
Researching my answer in the thread “Arwen's spot on the boat”, I came across what I had been looking for without success since your question.

In the draft that is Letter 297, written sometime around August 1967, Tolkien writes,
The attempt of Eärendil to cross Ëar was against the Ban of the Valar prohibiting all Men to attempt to set foot on Aman, and against the later special ban prohibiting the Exiled Elves, followers of the rebellious Fëanor, from returning: referred to in Galadriel’s lament. The Valar listened to the pleading of Eärendil on behalf of Elves and Men (both his kin), and sent a great host to their aid. … The Exiles were allowed to return — save for a few chief actors in the rebellion of whom at the time of the L[ord of the ]R[ings] only Galadriel remained. …​
This is followed immediately by a footnote (Tolkien’s ninth in the letter, if I have counted correctly), which reads,
At the time of her lament in Lórien [Galadriel] believed this to be perennial, as long as Earth endured. Hence she concludes her lament with a wish or prayer that Frodo may as a special grace be granted a purgatorial (but not penal) sojourn in Eressëa, the Solitary Isle in sight of Aman, though for her the way is closed. … Her prayer was granted – but also her personal ban was lifted, in reward for her services against Sauron, and above all for her rejection of the temptation to take the Ring when offered to her. So at the end we see her taking ship.​
In The Road Goes Ever On, Tolkien wrote,
After the overthrow of Morgoth at the end of the First Age a ban was set upon [Galadriel’s] return, and she had replied proudly that she had no wish to do so.​
This position is canon: It was published by Tolkien during his lifetime with his approval. This is no mistake: it was Tolkien’s position when he published The Fellowship of the Ring in 1954, and it was Tolkien’s position when he published The Road Goes Ever On first in the US in October 1967 and then in the UK in March 1968.

If we turn to Unfinished Tales and the section “The History of Galadriel and Celeborn”, Christopher Tolkien writes,
[W]hen Frodo offered the One Ring to Galadriel [in Lothlórien, she replied]: "And now at last it comes. You will give me the Ring freely! In place of the Dark Lord you will set up a Queen.”​
In The Silmarillion it is told … that at the time of the rebellion of the Noldor in Valinor Galadriel​
was eager to be gone. No oaths she swore, but the words of Fëanor concerning Middle-earth kindled her heart, for she longed to see the wide unguarded lands and to rule there a realm at her own will.​

Two paragraphs later, Christopher Tolkien writes,
A wholly different story, adumbrated but never told, of Galadriel’s conduct at the time of the rebellion of the Noldor appears in a very late and partly illegible note: the last writing of my father's on the subject of Galadriel and Celeborn, and probably the last on Middle-earth and Valinor, set down in the last month of his life.​
Sometime between August 1967 and his death in September 1973, a mere six years, Tolkien’s view of Galadriel took an astonishing turn. Galadriel becomes less proud, less aggressive, less willful. She becomes almost an Elven saint, a very model of the Virgin Mary.

I’m sorry, but I can’t reconcile this telling of Galadriel with the story that’s told in The Lord of the Rings. Galadriel was the only exiled Ñoldo specifically and uniquely barred from returning to the West. She says so in her lament when the Company of the Ring leaves Lórien. Tolkien says so in The Road Goes Ever On.

To me, we cannot simply accept whatever Tolkien wrote last as the “final word” on a subject. Christopher Tolkien writes in the Introduction to Unfinished Tales that,
When the author has ceased to publish his works himself, after subjecting them to his own detailed criticism and comparison, the further knowledge of Middle-earth to be found in his unpublished writings will often conflict with what is already “known”; and new elements set into the existing edifice will in such cases tend to contribute less to the history of the invented world itself than to the history of its invention.​
I think this is clearly one such case: Galadriel was barred by the Valar from returning to the West because of her part in the Rebellion of the Noldor. Exactly what part she played, I don’t know: that’s not clear, except that she definitely was not in league with her uncle, Fëanor, and she definitely did not participate in the Kin-Slaying at Alqualondë, unless it was to protect her kinsmen, the Teleri, from the assault of Fëanor and his bloody-minded followers; but she was nevertheless instrumental in the Rebellion of the Noldor and their departure from Valinor, and so was forbidden to return home.
 
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Olorgando

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… Ah! You've brought up my lovely Galadriel so I'm interested in what you mean here. ...
Researching my answer in the thread “Arwen's spot on the boat”, I came across what I had been looking for without success since your question. ...
As, this is more like it. Sitting back in a ringside seat, so to speak, reading two of our "walking libraries" exchanging copious quotes. 😁
I'm guessing you both have privately cross-indexed all of this stuff?
My problem probably is that, while I probably got a late-1980s early start on HoMe (my paperback edition of vol. 3 "Lays" is © 1987), getting my greedy little hands on the entire series was a bit of a hit-or-miss affair, with an early 1990s vacation by own car to Ireland (and the return trip, which left us with a few hour to stroll around Hull in England before entering the Ferry to Rotterdam) yielding a large haul. I actually ordered (had to order) the 1996 vol. 12 PoMe, the only hardcover and Houghton Mifflin book in my library. But since that time, I have not been re-reading this stuff like I did LoTR. So my memory is likely closer to what CRT had to deal with, sift through while editing everything from the Sil onwards.

Seriously, assuming this 2002 book is still to be had, would it be a good idea to try and get "Volume 13", "The History of Middle-earth: Index"? 🤔
 

Galin

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Ah, thanks Alcuin. And I think we actually agree on this point of canon. Earlier you noted: "And unlike Galin ( . . .) I do not concur that Tolkien’s last written position should necessarily be taken as decisive."

And as I might have given the wrong impression, I responded (in part): "Ah! You've brought up my lovely Galadriel so I'm interested in what you mean here. If it helps, late texts have weight in my opinion, but yet I think they must bow to already published (by author) material."

Here, with emphasis on the part after "but"
:)

( . . .) Sometime between August 1967 and his death in September 1973, a mere six years, Tolkien’s view of Galadriel took an astonishing turn. Galadriel becomes less proud, less aggressive, less willful. She becomes almost an Elven saint, a very model of the Virgin Mary.
So to put a quick stamp on it: I'll have no "unstained" Galadriel (letter 353 to Lord Halsbury, August 1973); and no Telerin-from-Aman Celeborn neether, incidentally.

I'll have my RGEO (and so on) Galadriel. And I'd like to add a bit more in response to your post (and Gando's), but I'm still pressed for time. Hope to get back to this when I can. And if I remember!

🐾
 

Alcuin

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"...If it helps, late texts have weight in my opinion, but yet I think they must bow to already published (by author) material."
...
So to put a quick stamp on it: I'll have no "unstained" Galadriel (letter 353 to Lord Halsbury, August 1973); and no Telerin-from-Aman Celeborn neether, incidentally.

I'll have my RGEO (and so on) Galadriel...
We are in complete agreement on both points, then.
 

Olorgando

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… And I'd like to add a bit more in response to your post (and Gando's), ...
I've been wondering about your use (very Hobbit-like ;) ) of a shortened version of my membership alias.
It is exactly the one that became common on CoE (perhaps a bit less so on A-U, there mostly used by those members who also post on CoE).
My alias on those two sites is identical, for TTF I decided to reverse the order of the G and the O part of it.
But while nicknames derived from the "actual" names usually retain the beginning of the name, you did not follow that "tradition", which would have yielded "Olo" or something of the sort. So I'm just highly curious about your possibly being (though sadly, the past tense has become increasingly more applicable) a member on one or both of those sites. 🤔
 

CirdanLinweilin

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This is followed immediately by a footnote (Tolkien’s ninth in the letter, if I have counted correctly), which reads,
At the time of her lament in Lórien [Galadriel] believed this to be perennial, as long as Earth endured. Hence she concludes her lament with a wish or prayer that Frodo may as a special grace be granted a purgatorial (but not penal) sojourn in Eressëa, the Solitary Isle in sight of Aman, though for her the way is closed. … Her prayer was granted – but also her personal ban was lifted, in reward for her services against Sauron, and above all for her rejection of the temptation to take the Ring when offered to her. So at the end we see her taking ship.In The Road Goes Ever On, Tolkien wrote,
After the overthrow of Morgoth at the end of the First Age a ban was set upon [Galadriel’s] return, and she had replied proudly that she had no wish to do so.This position is canon: It was published by Tolkien during his lifetime with his approval. This is no mistake: it was Tolkien’s position when he published The Fellowship of the Ring in 1954, and it was Tolkien’s position when he published The Road Goes Ever On first in the US in October 1967 and then in the UK in March 1968.
I always liked this version of Galadriel, as it brought a redemption story of sorts to her, and that just makes me happy for her, when finishing up Return of the King. :)



CL
 

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