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Topic: Do you think..

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Elves of the Third Age - Rank 1
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Posts: 3
Date: Jul 21, 2006
Do you think..

..if Tolkien had incorporated more of the Silmarrillion tales into LOTR it would have improved the story or just added unnecessary baggage. I speak as one that read LOTR first, then bought other Tolkien books because of the history so adding more background would be an attraction for me, however I also understand that the flow of a story can get mired down in trivia, no matter how interesting.


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Witchking of Angmar - Rank 10
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Date: Jul 21, 2006
here is what Tolkien thought about the Appendices:

I now wish that no appendices had been promised! For I think their appearance in truncated and compressed form will satisfy nobody; certainly not me; clearly from the (appalling mass of) letters I receive not those people who like that kind of thing – astonishingly many; while those who enjoy the book as an "heroic romance" only, and find "unexplained vistas" part of the literary effect, will neglect the appendices, very properly.
I am not now at all sure that the tendency to treat the whole thing as a kind of vast game is really good – certainly not for me who find that kind of thing only too fatally attractive. It is, I suppose, a tribute to the curious effect that a story has, when based on very elaborate and detailed workings, of geography, chronology, and language, that so many should clamour for sheer "information," or "lore."

As we see, Tolkien was even against the Appendices as he considered that most people only enjoyed the book itself, and did not ask for much extra, background-information. However, many desired this, so he did add this to please them.

So there are 2 sides in my opinion.

If you are on the side of those that "enjoy the book as an "heroic romance" only, and find "unexplained vistas" part of the literary effect" then you won't wish for extra information, such as parts of the Silmarillion.

If you are on the side of those who clamour for sheer "information," or "lore", then you will indeed be happy to receive these extra bits of lore, to know as much as you can.

I can't say, for example that I belong to any of the sides, I like reading the books for their value as literary works, but in the same time I find it interesting to learn some new things. I believe it depends on any person. I think Tolkien added as much as he could without making the book become only a collection of lore texts.




-- Edited by The Might at 23:52, 2006-07-21

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Samwise Gamgee - rank 9
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Date: Jul 22, 2006

Yes I must agree with you on this Macangearr. I noticed that when reading LOTR that there was very little reference even to the second age (the Gondors and Gandalf occasionally menthioned Numenoreans).


There was very little reference to the first age except when Gandalf mentions Feanor, Aragorn mentions Luthien, and Tom Bombadil recounts acient times, Sam briefly mentions Earendil, Aragorn mentions Sauron being servant to another and Elrond mentions Thangorodrim.


I find it frustrating at the lack of reference to the first Age and wish more could have been provided.



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Elves of the Third Age - Rank 1
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Posts: 3
Date: Jul 22, 2006
But wasn't that Tolkien's aim, to create a mythology around the languages he invented? For all their value as stories, the Hobbit and LOTR only are a small part of the whole mythos, the Silmarillion is closer to his original concept. I wonder if he had expanded any of the tales in the Silmarrilion to novel length, or LOTR length would they have been as readable or successful as either the Hobbit or LOTR?

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Witchking of Angmar - Rank 10
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Date: Jul 22, 2006
not really.
he added much of the information just to please man of the fans that always requested other infromation.
Again, as Tolkien himself said:

"... while many like you demand maps, others wish for geological indications rather than places; many want Elvish grammars, phonologies, and specimens; some want metrics and prosodies.... Musicians want tunes, and musical notation; archaeologists want ceramics and metallurgy; botanists want a more accurate description of the mallorn, of elanor, niphredil, alfirin, mallos, and symbelmynë, historians want more details about the social and political structure of Gondor; general enquirers want information about the Wainriders, the Harad, Dwarvish origins, the Dead Men, the Beornings, and the missing two wizards (out of five)."

Of course everyone has his own things he would like to find out, and creating such a complex mythology would be impossible.
And as I said, I think it depends on each person to decide for themselves what they expect of a book like LOTR.
For example, mos, would wish for more information about the First Age, while others would wish for more information about other things.
Still, I must disagree with you Macangearr.
Tolkien's purpose wasn't only creating a very complex mythology, but also creating a heroic romance, a book which can be read also by people who don't really care about lore, but are more interested in the literaray work itself.
I think he thus made a compromise, my creating books such as The Hobbit or The Lord of the Rings, which would please more or less both categories. And, on the other hand, Tolkien did write many essays of "lore" on different topics, which he however never included in LOTR. He could for example have included the essay about the Istari, or the Druedain, or the Palantiri in LOTR, but I think he realised it would have suprasaturated the book with sheer information, and would have transformed the book more into a large collection of "lore", rather then a heroic novel.

I doubt that the Silmarillion was closer to his original concept, I think he felt the need to explain LOTR, and perhaps also to please the many fans which wished for more complex backgrounds for the story.



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Anarion, Son of Elendil - rank 8
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Date: Jul 23, 2006
The Simarillion was trying to pack an Ages worth of things into one book, whilst LOTR was only the end of an Age in three books. Therefore this might be why the Silmarillion seems to be containing more of the different thing Tolkien wanted in his myth. Is this the kind of thing you mean Macangearr?

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Soldier of Beleriand - Rank 3
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Date: May 27, 2017
Personally I agree to what The Might said about not belonging to any side. For me, LotR is great just the way it is, and I find the references to older ages scattered throughout the text to add context and provide a glimpse at a much more complex history. They serve mainly as narrative devices and I'm OK with that.

However I love the legends and I particularly like the First Age and the earlier periods of time in Arda, so I am happy to have the Appendices available, and the Unfinished Tales, and everything eles there is to know.
Lore comes in three categories: an expansion of the internal history; a detailing of textual history; and an analysis of symbolism and meaning through scholarly essays. I am interested in pursuing all three avenues of knowledge and here's the funny thing: if we play into Tolkien's game, i.e. that LotR is nothing more than a translation into English of a found text (the Red Book of Westmarch), then we could easily envision a very different LotR book. For instance, one where Tolkien made frequent interruptions to explain how events in the narrative were connected with older events, or one where he annotated the tale with comments about style and motifs. Would that have made for a good novel? I somehow doubt it.

The story has the perfect pace, the right combination of action, description and historical references to make it an enjoyable read. Everything else about Arda is already in its right place and I would not change that.

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