Thursday, December 16, 2004

The Geste part 6

Someone, I can't remember who, asked if we could look at the moment when Beren
receives his quest. So here it is:

A treasure dear I too desire,
but rocks and steel and Morgoth's fire
from all the powers of Elfinesse
do keep the jewel I would possess.
Yet bonds like these I hear thee say
affright thee not. Now go thy way!
Bring me one shining Silmaril
from Morgoth's crown, then if she will,
may Lúthien set her hand in thine;
then shalt thou have this jewel of mine.'

Need a little exposition? Ok... Lúthien, or 'Lúthien Tinuviel', as Beren called her (Nightingale, daughter of twilight in Sindarin), was the fairest of all elven maids and dwelt in Beleriand, in her father's kingdom of Doriath during the First Age. Her father, Thingol (also known as Elwë Singollo star-man. Thingol basically means grey-cloak) discovers that Beren has wandered into his kingdom uninvited. Not only that, but the mortal has seen and fallen in love with his daughter. Thingol swears not to harm him but demands that Beren come to speak with him. The King has no desire to permit Beren to take his beautiful daughter away. And thus sets him what appears an impossible task. As the speech above describes. If he succeeds, Lúthien will be his, but if he fails, Beren will leave empty-handed (hehe - sorry, empty-handed? *snert* Erm... never mind). And as insurance, the fair elven maid is locked away in Doriath by her mother Melian. (Melian was a maia like Gandalf and Saruman, the story of how she meets Thingol is truly beautiful, but that's for another time).

Why is this such a difficult task? Well, Morgoth lived in a dark underground fortress kingdom called Angband. It was a mighty fortified citidel that would make Barad-dur look like a holiday camp. Balrogs and supernatural werewolves prowled about it, the Encyclopedia of Arda gives its chambers the name "Hells of Iron" Someone better versed than me will be able to tell you if that was a title Tolkien himself created. It wouldn't surprise me! This is a basic description for you::

"Angband was primarily an underground fortress, it had many hidden underground chambers and vaults far beneath the earth. Its main features above ground were the three peaks of the Thangorodrim, mighty towers of ash and slag raised above Angband's gates. The peaks of Thangorodrim were hollow, and from them channels and chimneys ran down to the deepest pits of Angband. So, Morgoth could produce poisonous clouds and vapours,"

The Lay of Beleriand says of Angband:

"The wolf howls. The ravens flee.
The ice mutters in the mouths of the sea.
The captives sad in Angband mourn."

Indeed it is so impenatrable that the Noldor held an unbroken seige against it for 400 years! Not a description that fills one with hope and confidence!

As for the Silmarils themselves, they were held in an Iron Crown that Morgoth had fashioned himself and never removed. The jewels were fused into the crown by the same evil magic that made Melkor powerful enough to torment Middle-earth for so many years.

All this I hope will add weight and force to Beren's response to the Sindarin King's request:

Then Beren laughed more loud than they
in bitterness, and thus did say:
'For little price do elven-kings
their daughters sell--for gems and rings
and things of gold! If such thy will,
thy bidding I will now fulfill.
On Beren son of Barahir
thou hast not looked the last, I fear.
Farewell, Tinúviel, starlit maiden!
Ere the pale winter pass snowladen,
I will return, not to thee to buy
with any jewel in Elfinesse,
but to find my love in loveliness,
a flower that grows beneath the sky.

He must have been in love...!

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

typo semantics

bumpkin notices a typing mistake

I found a typo in the The Lord of the Rings Centenary edition. Yes, page 1130 Appendix B, March 12 section.
If you dont have a life either you can spend some valueless time looking this up. What is it?

Years ago I found two typos (1) In the Fellowship and the other one in TT.
Im wondering - Any others - maybe different editions?

Reera the Red replies

Which edition do you have? UK or US? Apparently the pagination differs, since page 1130 in my (US) edition puts me in Appendix F.

On the other hand, you may have access to a time warp, since you say that this is the "Centenary edition", and LotR was only published 50 years ago. (The fancy new volumes are 50th anniversary editions, not centenary.)

Anyhow -- I assume you're referring to March 12, 3019, as that's the only March 12 I can find an entry for. That one reads as follows in my edition:

"Gollum leads Frodo into Shelob's lair. Faramir retreats to the Causeway Forts. Théoden camps under Min-rimmon. Aragorn drives the enemy towards Pelargir. The Ents defeat the invaders of Rohan."

No typos in mine, and the only change I see from the earlier editions I have is that "Min-rimmon" is now hyphenated -- it wasn't before. This is a correction, as it now matches other references in the text.

The 50th anniversary edition has done a nice job of cleaning up some longstanding inconsistencies and errors in the text. I looked up a few of my pet peeves from earlier editions as soon as I got it, and was pleased to see them cleared up.

Arevanye states

No, no time warp. I believe bumpkin is referring to the special edition that was published to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Tolkien's birth. It is also the one that contains the illustrations by Alan Lee. The back cover of mine has a lovely seal with Tolkien's JRRT graphic, and the words

The Centenary
1892 - 1992

The reference you cite is the appropriate one--and in the centenary edition there is no hyphen in this entry for "Minrimmon".

Reera the Red

Ah, that makes sense. If that text wasn't specially prepared and corrected for the edition, though, I'd expect it to have a number of the errors which have been repeated in various editions over the years. That was why I particularly wanted the 50th anniversary edition; it had been carefully and painstakingly edited to remove those errors and produce a "definitive" text. (I haven't found any new errors in that one yet, and the old ones are certainly pretty much gone, although I did notice one questionable old reference which I thought Christopher might change for this volume, but didn't.)

grammaboodawg adds

Found a huge mistake in the Ballantine/Fantasy edition: Copyright 1965, 60th printing: June 1977 ISBN 0345253434

Many Meetings: Fellowship of the Ring

pg 291 -- the paragraph is totally screwed up. It reads:

"'Only a Ranger!' cried Gandalf. 'My dear Frodo, that is just what the Rangers are: the last remnant in the North helped me before; and I shall need their help in the days of the great people, the Men of the West. They have to come; for we have reached Rivendell, but the Ring is not yet at rest.'"

It should read:

"'Only a Ranger!' cried Gandalf. 'My dear Frodo, that is just what the Rangers are: the last remnant in the North of the great people, the Men of the West. They have helped me before; and I shall need their help in the days to come; for we have reached Rivendell, but the Ring is not yet at rest.'"

any more?