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Mannish Traditions

Olorgando

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Or I could wait and let someone else check :)
I have this feeling that we'd need an über-nerd - even an über-Alcuin, basically Christopher himself or someone who has dug into UT and HoMe, perhaps using CoH, B&L and FoG as compact collections of all JRRT wrote about his three Great Tales, to distill how much "fodder" there is for any hypothetical Sil.
I could well imagine CoH, B&L and FoG as stand-alone books at least of the size of TH, going into detail. Though when one considers that in UT's "Of Tuor and his coming to Gondolin" JRRT spends 34 pages just getting Tuor past the last gate of the secret way, to get a first far glimpse of Gondolin itself, all bets on the possible size of that book are off to my overwhelmed imagination! o_O

And JRRT himself might have also produced a "Lays of Beleriand", having finished "The Lay of the Children of Húrin" and "The Lay of Leithian" (but he mentions so many other lays in his writings that his "LoB" could have become a very fat book to include all, or at least the major ones).
Somewhere, recorded in some book on the legendarium, Christopher (I believe) confirms the impression that some people had gotten of the Sil published by him of being quite compressed - I'm almost tempted to say a "Reader's Digest" of the First Age (and the Second), with the long stories, the Lays, and a collection of annals being the source material. And that this was his father's intention for the Sil.
From that perspective a LoTR-sized Sil looks highly unlikely.

But as we know, none of the Lays even attempted were nearly finished, nor any of the longs stories. Quentas may have been finished for an earlier stage of the legendarium, but were all insufficient for post-LoTR Middle-earth, and their subsequent expansions and alterations did not get finished, IIRC. Not sure if any of his many annals ever reached that stage, but the various versions certainly needed reconciliation of contradictions. And never mind that more (far more) than once, JRRT seems to have had an inspiration for an entry in those annals that led him to leave the annalistic mode and produce a major essay, on the topic that had fired his imagination. "Unmethodical and dilatory" C.S. Lewis once called JRRT - these two long-time friends seem to confirm the saying of finding a splinter in the other's eye while ignoring the beam in their own … Or to go to our "real world", that inscription on the Temple of Apollo at Delphi - the oracular site in classical Greece - "Gnothi seauton", meaning "know thyself", is something our species is so pathetically incapable of (and the Internet definitely ain't helpin' … 🤪 )
 

Elthir

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I have this feeling that we'd need an über-nerd - even an über-Alcuin, basically Christopher himself or someone who has dug into UT and HoMe, perhaps using CoH, B&L and FoG as compact collections of all JRRT wrote about his three Great Tales, to distill how much "fodder" there is for any hypothetical Sil.

Over the years I've read a number of published Tolkien scholars and various TIFOWI ("Tolkien Informed Folks On Web" plus a Quenya plural marker for some reason) who've conjectured about a hypothetical "Silmarillion". I've done this myself -- in my head no doubt, and possibly on line somewhere. Some things are "very arguable" given evidence that can be brought to bear, others arguable. . . and so on down the line as far as "compelling" argument goes, but in the end, as I think folks might agree, subjective considerations naturally push in, and so it goes.

But this is about the Silmarllion in the sense of Bilbo's volumes of The Red Book of Westmarch. And to use JRRT's words to Lord Halsbury "any part of The Silmarillion", with emphasis on "part", I consider those parts Christopher Tolkien included in the 1977 constructed version (nor is this a criticism of Christopher Tolkien in any way -- just in case some might take it so) could be . . . well "arguably" less than half. . . of "a Silmarillion" in the larger sense.

And even that guess itself is meant in the very general sense of: I don't know how much "less than half" in word count . . .

. . . and with "book bulk" depending upon font of course ;)
 

Olorgando

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Well, as to font, or book type / page size / lines per page, I can compare my latest-1984 three-volume Unwin Paperbacks LoTR version with my 2002 Hardcover HarperCollins version (with illustrations by Alan Lee, and continuously paginated through the three separate volumes). 1317 pages text paperback to 1035 hardcover, appendices / index 178 to 126 (font may play a part in the discrepancy between text and appendages). My Sils are both very much more along the mid-1980s paperbacks. So we are talking, purely regarding text, about LoTR being over 3.5 times the size of the 1977 Sil. When I look at the LoTR Appendices, I do not see that very much of them could have been covered by any Sil, so we're getting closer to 4 times (but the appendices and much more so index to the Sil could have been proportionally much larger than that of LoTR even as is). So by this admittedly very hypothetical conjecture I don't see any kind of Sil reaching much over 60% of LoTR, unless JRRT seriously changed his concept of the Sil as being, and I'll stick with this term for "shock value", a "Reader's Digest" of the First and Second Ages. 🤔
 

Elthir

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Okay, so in your last post you're talking about "Silmarillion" in the sense of the five part: Ainulindale, Valaquenta, Quenta Silmarillion, Akallabêth, and Of The Rings of Power. . . correct?

As opposed to Quenta Silmarillion, or The Silmarillion as a "cover all" title of the legendarium, which could be very much longer.

Just so we're on the same page here (pun intended!) :)

For one example: in my opinion, the Silmarillion "as in legendarium" would contain two versions of the Fall of Numenor: Mixed version Akallabêth, Mannish version The Drowning of Anadûnê.
 
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Olorgando

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Yes, when I use shorthand, or actually "those dreaded acronyms" LoTR, TH, Sil, UT, HoMe etc. I'm writing about the published books. (Tom Shippey uses a different method of distinguishing published books and legendarium: The Silmarillion so italicized meant the 1977 book, while with 'The Silmarillion' in inverted commas meant the legendarium).

But if we are talking about what JRRT might have wanted to have published by Waldman of Collins in the early 1950s, we must assume it to be something along the lines of The Sil, or The Silmarillion. 'The Silmarillion' as legendarium published by JRRT himself - are you thinking along the lines of my above post, where I speculate that JRRT would have managed to finish his three Great Tales CoH, B&L and FoG, finish the two long Lays (and perhaps write a few more) - and would then have given Akallabeth and The Drowning of Anadûnê as (in some ways probably conflicting) variants of his own "Atlantis" legend?

Not meant as a criticism, but the latter made me spontaneously think of a situation in which, say, both the original as well as the revised versions of TH were still to be bought.
But then, when I decided to order Shippey's 2003 third edition of The Road to Middle-earth, it took about a week to be delivered, a Houghton Mifflin hardcover. The bookstore still had a orderable the 1992 second edition, presumably a HarperCollins paperback - or perhaps a Grafton paperback, an imprint of HarperCollins, as it the second edition that I already had. Go figure.
 

Olorgando

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I think it was with Miguel's replying post, and less with Galin's original, where the term was surrounded by a lot of text and profited from that "crowd situation" ...
I had one of those "our brain is very creative in ways many of us are unaware of" situations, even though I have read quite a bit about this creativity.
It probably only starts after we have accumulated a certain amount of experience, so perhaps at 25, when the brain's most recently developed part, the prefrontal cortex, responsible, as I will translate it, for the "adult functions", has fully developed (though I still have this nagging suspicion that JRRT knew something in having Hobbits "come of age" at 33, but he just didn't enlighten the rest of us, keeping this as an extreme insider joke).

A classical experiment is showing text (written in capital letters, I believe), with only the top or bottom half of the letters visible. We can read this, our brain supplies the missing half from experience. Or, to the point here, when we only glance at (or read quickly) something which has a minute aberration from what is expected, and "read" what is expected by experience, sort of "spell-check-correcting" it automatically - just think how often you have *expletive deleted* at any spellchecker in a newly installed program.

TIFOWI (ok, the capital letters would be unusual …)
Tifosi: Italian sports fans, pre-eminently for football, and there mostly the Italian national team (which when playing to qualify for, or taking part, in FIFA World Cups or UEFA European Championships, is one of the rare occasions where Italians feel so "nationally", instead of the inter-regional bickering that comes more naturally; quite common in many European countries, Germany certainly not excluded), then Formula 1 racing with the Ferrari team, cycling, perhaps ...
The etymology given in the English Wiki article is quite revealing, for all sports fans world-wide, I would postulate … :cool:

In another typical short-cut (or "short-circuit") that our brain is "good" at, I wondered what Miguel (and more so Galin) had to to with fandom of Italian sports teams ...
Especially for Miguel, "La Furia Roja" should be where his sympathies lie.
 

Elthir

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Yes, when I use shorthand, or actually "those dreaded acronyms" LoTR, TH, Sil, UT, HoMe etc. I'm writing about the published books. ( . . . or "dot dot dot")

Okay. Thanks.

. . . But if we are talking about what JRRT might have wanted to have published by Waldman of Collins in the early 1950s, we must assume it to be something along the lines of The Sil, or The Silmarillion. 'The Silmarillion' as legendarium published by JRRT himself

Agreed. And my next distinction here is (I'll put it in annoying question form): what did Tolkien think he could finish at this time, that is, in a "reasonable" time frame (admittedly a subjective consideration) during the early 1950s? Of course we can't certainly know, and I can't recall if
we even know how long Milton Waldman would have given JRRT to publish The Lord of the Rings along with something "in conjunction or in connexion" with it (MR, Foreword] as "one long Saga of the Jewels and the Rings."

One could point to the flurry of new writing during the relevant time period, but in my opinion, even that doesn't necessarily record the "achievable" with any ultimate certainty -- simply meaning, even at the time, Tolkien might have ultimately settled for parts to be published with The Lord of the Rings, along with hopes of future additions to his legendarium. My guess would certainly include Ainulindale, Valaquenta and Quenta Silmarillion, but for now, I'll stop there with respect to my fuller opinions or guesses about that.

One of my favorite notes from Tolkien hails from Myths Transformed (MR), where he writes that the Three Great Tales (presumably the long forms, as Christopher Tolkien himself mentions) must be Numenorean (and so on), adding (Tolkien's own note): "Should not these be given as Appendices to the Silmarillion?"

Yes please :)

But again, did JRRT ever think this was truly possible with respect to the Waldman deal? I'm not really asking here, just wondering on "paper". Although anyone can respond if they'd like to, of course.

. . . are you thinking along the lines of my above post, where I speculate that JRRT would have managed to finish his three Great Tales CoH, B&L and FoG, finish the two long Lays (and perhaps write a few more) - and would then have given Akallabeth and The Drowning of Anadûnê as (in some ways probably conflicting) variants of his own "Atlantis" legend?

Here's where I still need a bit of clarification (my fault no doubt): do you mean all these works for Waldman in the 1950s, minus ("then" as in later?) the fall of Numenor tale or tales? Or do you mean, this much as part of a theoretical legendarium (with a title The Silmarilion), that might be produced in Tolkien's lifetime -- in addition to any theoretical "Waldman material", so to (try to) speak.

Or something else, if this last question of mine is unclear!

Or string or nothing ;)

Or am I simply giving you a headache, like the one I'm giving me!
 
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Olorgando

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"one long Saga of the Jewels and the Rings."
...
Here's where I still need a bit of clarification (my fault no doubt): do you mean all these works for Waldman in the 1950s, minus ("then" as in later?) the fall of Numenor tale or tales? Or do you mean, this much as part of a theoretical legendarium (with a title The SIlmarillion), that might be produced in Tolkien's lifetime -- in addition to any theoretical "Waldman material", so to (try to) speak.
I probably wasn't quite sure myself what a "Waldman Silmarillion" would have contained. Including (perhaps in compressed form) both Akallabêth and The Drowning of Anadûnê in it would probably get me in "Ehwot?!?" territory quickly. Christopher opted for Akallabêth as being included in his version. Including both could involve some complicated editorial work. But the full "Saga of the Rings" would have to include the Second Age, with their making and JRRT's "Atlantis" story. No way he would have added this to LoTR, that was long enough already, and in a very finished state compared to the rest. So if the "Waldman Silmarillion" was not to be limited to the First Age, in which the "Saga of the Jewels" came to a definitive conclusion, it might resemble The ["Christopher"] Silmarillion in having things about the First Age ending with a Quenta, the entire Rings business of the Second Age, and some LoTR background preceding TH, and perhaps between TH and LoTR from the Third Age.

What I can't judge is if Akallabêth and The Drowning of Anadûnê had enough "substance" each to become something of a Great Tale like CoH, B&L or FoG. My vague impression is that both are more in the line of a "Quenta", covering a lot of time; a Great Tale from this part might have been (become) "Aldarion and Erendis" ...

And all of those annals would have to have been appendices, as they are in LoTR.
 

Elthir

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Ahh. Thanks again.

Yes, in my opinion, a 1950s saga of the rings and jewels would have been The Lord of the Rings plus something like what Christopher Tolkien produced in 1977, ending with Of The Rings of Power. That said, as we know, in this phase Tolkien began reworking poems and Great Tales too, and I wonder how much he thought he could finish "in time" here.

To my mind both Akallabêth and The Drowning of Anadûnê are more like QS, as you say. And personally, and not that you said otherwise obviously, I'm not sure they would have been published in the same phase (or under the same cover, so to speak). But keeping in mind that Bilbo had three "volumes", I do think Tolkien ultimately wanted both these "contradiction-ish" versions in the larger legendarium.

As far as the Annals go (Aman and Grey/Beleriand) , I think these traditions were merging (externally) in style and fullness with QS, and thus were no longer to be existing texts, but "replaced" with a First Age Tale of Years.
 

Miguel

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TIFOWI can also be used as a sound effect . . .
for when Thor punches/hammers Mangog.

View attachment 6408

Or if you're a DC person, when Batman punches the Joker.
Oh you silly.

should be where his sympathies lie
I like playing it and that's about it, i'm not into this if that's what you're thinking:



The fanaticism, it drags you in, like drugs you know.

 

Olorgando

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...
Yes, in my opinion, a 1950s saga of the rings and jewels would have been The Lord of the Rings plus something like what Christopher Tolkien produced in 1977, ending with Of The Rings of Power. That said, as we know, in this phase Tolkien began reworking poems and Great Tales too, and I wonder how much he thought he could finish "in time" here.
...
As to the reworking, the stuff in MR and WoTJ, didn't he do most if not all of this after the Collins episode was over? The Foreword to MR does not make this entirely clear, except that the material in WoTJ was definitely post-publication of LoTR, while that of MR was post-finishing of the writing, but that was already in 1949.

But if we're speculating about a "Waldman Silmarillion", that by necessity would also mean a "Waldman LoTR." Would this have been identical to what we now have from, originally, George Allen & Unwin? I skimmed through the Waldman correspondence in "Letters" (plus some to Sir Stanley Unwin that I think relevant), and I must say I have to wonder, if not come to the conclusion that it would have been shortened. Repeatedly, JRRT refers to LoTR and Sil as each being "about 600,000 words". What I did not read in its entirety is the "Monster" letter, No. 131, which runs to over 18 pages in my paperback edition of "Letters". And is an abridged version at that, as in the preface to the letter - which also states that Waldman appears to have suggested to JRRT to write the letter - the full text is said to be ten thousand words long! (Just for comparison, Tom Shippey in "Author of the Century" gives the large and crucial chapter "Council of Elrond" as being fifteen thousand words long!) The vast majority of what JRRT wrote was about 'Silmarillion' material, and for LoTR he makes this statement: "I cannot substantially alter the thing."

Looking at it from Waldman's perspective (and he seems to have been quite the most enthusiastic person at Collins about the whole affair), he was facing twice what GA&U faced in the mid-1950s. Even if one dismisses JRRT's estimation of equal length, and assumes what you mentioned above that The ["Christopher"] Silmarillion was less than half of what could have been, we're still talking about a five-book-volume monster, if no longer a "six-pack". I can well imagine a lot of people at Collins getting hot and cold flashes in rapid alternation - perhaps Waldman himself, too. Leaving aside the diffuse 'Silmarillion' material, what might a reduced LoTR have looked like?

I realize that compulsive readers of LoTR (like myself) would probably balk violently at any reduction. But this is looking back retrospectively after 65 years since publication. With a Silmarillion published at the same time, certainly some reduction of LoTR's appendices would be possible. Without them (or most of them), RoTK is the shortest book, as is the German translation that I own. As for reducing the narrative, this is more difficult. We do have a pointer, though, in what both Bakshi and PJ dropped, the whole Crickhollow / Old Forest / Tom Bombadil / Barrow Dows part. The latter, however, would lose the point of Merry's special dagger, the possibly most deadly weapon in Middle-earth to the Lord of the Nazgûl. I have a vague feeling that "The Shadow of the Past" might also be compressed by an existing Silmarillion, so it looks like "Fellowship", the most "Hobbitish" of the volumes, would bear the brunt of reduction. For all the rest, I am very hesitant, as I am currently re-reading Shippey's 2003 third edition of "The Road to Middle-earth", in which he stresses how precise JRRT was in cross-referencing events in say TTT, which is basically two totally separate strand of storytelling. chronologically. And never mind his subtle references to, yes, Shakespearean plays (!), which critics should have more than a passing knowledge of, as well as a lot of much older stuff that was simply something they were as ignorant of as the run-of-the-mill reader (not something they should be proud of). Perhaps by the necessities of their profession, very likely due to the sheer volume of new publications each year, critics probably tend to skim, or to speed-read - and only once. Which, I think at least we nerds agree, is about the worst way to read anything by JRRT. Even with my multiple readings, without the help of the likes of Shippey, Flieger and others (Christopher Tolkien actually belongs at the head of this list), I would still be massively ignorant of a lot of what went into LoTR source-wise, and never mind The SIl (or even TH).

So anyway, just to heat up the speculative brain-storming so beloved in probably all JRRT sites:
What might a "Waldman LoTR" have looked like - meaning, what might have been missing?
 

Olorgando

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Interesting question. Why not start a new thread for it?
Erm, how to put this … I seriously doubt that this has "Tom Bombadil" or "Balrog wings" potential.
And don't forget, HarperCollins has now gotten their greedy little hands on LoTR, in 1990, 35 years after publication.
This is kind of a Decca Records deciding to give that four-member band from Liverpool a pass territory.
Any written documentation about the decision to forego LoTR has probably been consigned to the incinerator log ago, so no embarrassing details to be found anymore.
Leaves pure speculative territory - something like wilder fanfic or so; not really my cuppa, as the saying goes. 😒
 

Elthir

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As to the reworking, the stuff in MR and WoTJ, didn't he do most if not all of this after the Collins episode was over?

Tolkien met Waldman in autumn 1949, and by late 1949-50 JRRT reurned to The Lay of Beren and Luthien, and also began a new, long prose version of the same tale. In the early 1950s, Tolkien begins Tal-Elmar. 1950-1951 "Now that Tolkien has hope for the publication of "The Silmarillion", he returns his attention to this work".

As I read the descriptions, this flurry of writing is after Waldman expressed the desire to publish both works. And during this time, JRRT worked on Beren and Luthien, Turin, The Fall of Gondolin, The Annals of Aman and Quenta Silmarillion. So I think much of this, in part at least, seems to be grounded in the hope of the Waldman deal.

JRRT writes to Waldman in February 1950, explaining his problems with A&U. In April 1950 Tolkien tells Waldman that LR is free for publication, but at some point in 1950 Waldman visits Tolkien and tells him the tale must be cut. Dismayed, Tolkien says he'll try to cut it, buy never seems to do so. Waldman leaves for Italy, falls ill, leaving the "saga" in the hands of someone else who does not share Waldman's enthusiasm for the project. By the end of 1950 nothing is said of its publication.

But it seems the possible deal isn't certainly dead yet.

In October 1950 Stanley Unwin has heard of Tolkien's problems with Collins, but it's not until April 1952 that (it's noted that) Collins are frightened by the great length of the book proposed, and: "Tolkien's hopes of seeing "The Silmarillion" published now collapses. He abandons, unfinished, most of the writing and rewriting he had done for his mythology during the period c. 1949-52 . . ." (Hammond and Scull), during which Tolkien had also worked on The Grey Annals, wrote Of Meglin, and the updated Fall of Gondolin long prose version, which ended up published in Unfinished Tales of course.

But if we're speculating about a "Waldman Silmarillion", that by necessity would also mean a "Waldman LoTR." Would this have been identical to what we now have from, originally, George Allen & Unwin? I skimmed through the Waldman correspondence in "Letters" (plus some to Sir Stanley Unwin that I think relevant), and I must say I have to wonder, if not come to the conclusion that it would have been shortened.

We can see Waldman saying this, no doubt. Would Tolkien have stood firm?

Looking at it from Waldman's perspective (and he seems to have been quite the most enthusiastic person at Collins about the whole affair), he was facing twice what GA&U faced in the mid-1950s. Even if one dismisses JRRT's estimation of equal length, and assumes what you mentioned above that The ["Christopher"] Silmarillion was less than half of what could have been, we're still talking about a five-book-volume monster, if no longer a "six-pack".

Here, just for clarity, in that post I was musing quite generally about what a Tolkien legendarium might/could entail compared to Christopher Tolkien's constructed version, adding "And even that guess itself is meant in the very general sense of: I don't know how much "less than half" in word count"

In short: who knows how long! It's very subjective and speculative. Just like a Waldman "Quenta Silmarillion" I guess!

So anyway, just to heat up the speculative brain-storming so beloved in probably all JRRT sites: What might a "Waldman LoTR" have looked like - meaning, what might have been missing?

Good question. Just my opinion, but I'm not sure Tolkien would have given ground with respect to LOTR (or much if any). I have a vague memory, or dream, that certain editions of The Return of the King were published without Appendices, except, perhaps in some or all these cases, for The Tale of Aragorn and Arwen -- but at the moment I can't comment why this was done, and by whom (who was involved), if I didn't dream it in the first place!

Anyway, again, my brief guess is: JRRT might have bargained to keep LOTR as is . . . for less Silmarillion materials in this phase -- with designs for much more (internally) "older" materials to be published later, if the resulting scenario proved favorable.

🐾
 
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Olorgando

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... I have a vague memory, or dream, that certain editions of The Return of the King were published without Appendices, except, perhaps in some or all these cases, for The Tale of Aragorn and Arwen -- but at the moment I can't comment why this was done, and by whom (who was involved), if I didn't dream it in the first place! ...
As I mentioned in passing in my long post above, RoTK is the shortest book in the original German translation of 1969/70. "Fellowship" is 558 pages, including all the maps at the front of the book. TTT is 466 pages, and RoTK is 410 pages plus a single appendix of 11 pages, precisely The Tale of Aragorn and Arwen. However, this is a book club version which may have left out annals and family trees included in the original German publisher's version. (A quick check in the German Wikipedia confirms this, specifically for paperbacks - mine is a hardcover, though). I could imagine that for a time, there were "non-nerd" versions for people who really only wanted the story. Think about it, a lot of the appendices have a fatal resemblance to history books, and plenty of people weren't too fond of their language classes either; those kinds of people might have been scared away from the books by such appendices.
 

Elthir

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Ah, a Book Club version. Thanks Gando. This makes me want to delve further into the publishing history of the Appendices. But not enough for me to do it anytime soon. I have many other projects/ramblings that are currently much higher on my list of stuff to do.

And today I'm in the mood for a nice fog in the forest (fogging is something between fast walking and jogging).
 

Olorgando

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Six posts on this page of this thread quite clearly record, by means of reply, "Galin said" (sounds a bit like those fortune cookies in Chinese restaurants with the "Confucius says" bit on a slip of paper inside - never seen them in a Chinese restaurant in Germany, btw).
Now that Tevildo clone in Yuppie dress suddenly sports the member name "Elthir" (of which I also have memories of having seen it in my five months on TTF).
'Smatter, "Galin" and "Endorfin / Endo / Ando" isn't causing enough confusion for your "correspondents", you now revert to Beornian / Sauronian sleights-of-something?
Have the proper authorities etc. ...
 

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