8. Notes from the Translator
The deconstructionist linguist Edwin Smoot, Ph.D., argues that the idiosyncratic nature legends of the Blue Book are characteristic of folk mythology, and may reflect the animist origins of what later became the neo-Platonism of this highly moral people: "As their society grew in economic and cultural complexity, the legendarium shed its rustic crudeness and adapted to the higher mores of the evolved society" (Cross-Cultural Mythology: A Comparative Study of Creation Legends Among the Valarin Peoples and the Ancient Hawaiians, University of Wootton Major, 2001).
Theorist Maeve Riannon draws an analogy with a similar process as seen in the ancient Mediterranean:
"Since the first Greek began to snicker at the belief in divine beings who behaved exactly like humans in their worst moments, which was as far back as the sixth century BC, with Xenophanes' famous text:
Yet if cattle or horses or lions had hands and could draw,
And could sculpture like men, then the horses would draw their gods
Like horses, and cattle like cattle…
Graeco-roman religion and philosophy endeavored to turn them into something else; basically, beings who kept the old names, had their personal attributes and a physical image, but who were lesser mirrors of the great Creator and images of boring perfection" (personal communication, January 2007).
Indeed, the Blue Book material elucidates certain ambiguities in the Silmarillion in its final form. In her paper "Some aspects of the evolution of Quenya and Sindarin" (Middle-earth Studies, Vol. 12, Spring 1971), Prof. Ariadne Pizzolongo argues, "It is only by considering the Blue Book tale of the Ruin of Doriath that the significance of the language differences between the Sindar and the Noldor can be understood, especially the importance of Fëanor's insistence on 'Þerindë' as the correct pronunciation of his mother's name (see "The Shibboleth of Fëanor: the case of the Quenya change of þ to s," The Peoples of Middle-earth). Thus, when the Sons of Fëanor came to the Thousand Caves and demanded that Dior 'þurrender the Þilmaril,' Dior simply did not understand them. The mutual slaughter was the unfortunate result of this tragic miscommunication." Interested readers may find this version of the Ruin of Doriath in the appendix.
As the chief voice in the scholarly camp dismissing the Blue Book as apocryphal, Hedwig van Blätterung insists that the book itself is "a blasphemous hoax" and claims that analysis of the leather, paper and ink used reveal that it dates from the early years of the present century. She believes that it is the product of a group of amateurs writing "fanfiction," whose shameless immorality casts derision on the scholarly labors of J.R.R. Tolkien and the ancient texts that he spent years translating and annotating. "The Blue Book version of the Ruin of Doriath, for example, is the work of a particularly sick individual who uses the nom de plume of greywing. That these people go by aliases only shows how dishonorable are their intentions. Greywing can't even capitalize her name on most of the sites where she posts her dubious wares, and Gandalfs apprentice doesn't know there should be an apostrophe in his/her name. I don't know who they really are, and frankly I don't want to" (personal communication, February 2007).
In the interests of scholarly integrity, we sought out Gandalfs apprentice for interview before publishing this collection. Sadly, we were informed that she had been mysteriously struck by a bolt of lightning thrown by a flock of giant eagles. Climatologists and ornithologists are still trying to explain this odd phenomenon.
A few notes on the individual chapters follow.
Of Uinen and the Children of Númenor: Maeve Riannon (op. cit.) comments: "It's difficult to stomach the role of the Valar in Tolkien´s universe. Their greatest failure is that, though they have been appointed to rule the world, they retreat to a land of their own, hide it from the rest of the world, share it with a favored race, and forget about the rest, who can rot all their lives under Morgoth's influence for all they care. They have been appointed to rule the world and they ignore the task. Thus they fall exactly in the same error as the four Istari who were sent to help with the War of the Ring and forgot their roles. As for Númenor, it was supposed to be Eru who did all the sadist work. True to their spirit, the Valar hid under their beds and asked for aid."
The Judgment of Tuor: Hammer and Skull speculate that this tale represents an unfortunate scrambling of the texts. The heroic figure of Tuor is in no way like the Trojan Prince Paris, who fled when he was expected to fight in battle. That role was reserved for the cowardly Salgant.
How Lúthien Stole the Silmaril: Need we point out that a cat could never carry a gem of the size and weight of the Silmaril in its mouth.
Beren and the Troll Hag: Evidence from other sources suggests that Bilbo Baggins heard this story from Merry Brandybuck's old nanny.
The Passions of Manwë: This tale is a late addition to the legendarium, intended to justify the practice of homosexuality and generally loose conduct among the Eldar. Regarding the identity of Glorfindel of Rivendell, see Hammer and Skull, "How Many Glorfindels? Heroism and Identity in the Post-Two Trees Epoch of Middle-earth" (Grond: A Journal of Myth-making, Spring-Summer, 1988).
The Great Mother: The similarities between this tale and the Hawaiian creation legend of the goddess Pele are striking.
Appendix: "Þurrender the Þilmaril!" by greywing
"Dior has not responded to any of our messages," complained Celegorm. "We should take action!"
"Yes! Attack immediately!" cried Caranthir, his face red with passion.
"Don't be hasty," cautioned Maedhros. "Perhaps they were unable to read what was written. Very backwards, you know, those Moriquendi—they only understand those chicken-scratches that one of their minstrels invented." (1)
"Daeron," said Maglor. "The piping fellow."
"Whatever," replied Maedhros dismissively. "The point is, it's not very polite to go stick your swords in anyone in sight just because they didn't answer a few letters!" (2)
"Look who's talking," mumbled Curufin.
Maedhros, studiously ignoring his brother, continued. "So, I propose that one of us go to speak with Dior."
"I will go!" said Celegorm immediately.
"NO!" came the collective shout of dissent.
"Why?" demanded Celegorm. "Just give me one good reason."
"Well," said Maedhros. "After all that dodgy business with his mother, Dior might just decide to stick you full of arrows." (3)
"And your Sindarin is hopeless," added Maglor, who thought himself rather good at languages.
There was a clichéd pregnant pause, after which he stood up. "That was two good reasons," he declared defiantly. "I asked for one. So I get to go." And Celegorm's brothers, dumbfounded by his impeccable logic, watched helplessly as Celegorm marched determinedly out of the tent.
"You idiot, Makalaurë," hissed Maedhros, finally.
Maglor shrugged and went to tune his harp. (4)
Dior raised the most beautiful eyebrow to ever exist. "What did he say again?" he asked his advisor, who shrugged.
"I thaid, thurrender the Thilmaril!" screamed the fuming son of Fëanor before him.
Dior very delicately massaged his temple. "Now, now," he said firmly. "No need to shout, you know. If this is about those letters, we didn't understand a single word. Your scribes really need to improve their handwriting—it's atrocious! All squiggly and curly and what not; completely illegible."
Painting by Greywing
"Thith ith not about the letteth, ith about the Thilmaril! Thilmaril!" insisted Celegorm. "You know? The thiny thuff? The one that Beren and Luthien thole?"
Dior might not have understood the gist of Celegorm's impassioned speech, but he most definitely caught "Beren" and "Lúthien" and, not surprisingly, assumed it was some sort of insult. "Out!" he cried. "Out of my halls, you nasty Fëanorian!"
So Celegorm stirred up his brothers to prepare an assault upon Doriath. They came at unawares in the middle of winter, and fought with Dior in the Thousand Caves; and so befell the second slaying of Elf by Elf. (5)
Maglor, coming across the dying son of Lúthien, knelt down beside him. "Why did you not simply give up the Silmaril?" he asked sorrowfully. "Then my brothers would not be dead, and you would not be dying, and I would not feel compelled to compose a three-hour lament!"
The dying king weakly raised his head to stare incredulously at Maglor. "So that was what you wanted?" he rasped. "Why didn't you just ask—" And with that, he breathed his last.
(1) Cirth runes; first devised by Daeron of Doriath.
(2) That came out totally wrong.
(3) Celegorm had this thing for Lúthien, apparently, and wanted to wed her.
(4) N.B.: The Ambarussa are away hunting, and have not yet been sent for.
(5) Direct quotation from The Silmarillion, J.R.R. Tolkien.
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