Saturday, December 5, 2015

Sil Annotations Pt. 2

These are the signposts that I annotated for in The Silmarillion:

Basically, signposts are things that good readers look for throughout a story.  For instance, whenever you read a prophecy, it should be a flag that something important is happening, and the same with the other signposts.

First I looked for prophecies as I read and this is what I came up with.  Prophecies are important because they offer foreshadowing and they call attention to events that match up with what has been proclaimed.  There are several examples of prophecies in The Silmarillion such as the Doom of Mandos, Ulmo's warning to Turgon, and Huor's "eyes of death" proclamation to Turgon on the battle field.

"But Illuvatar knew that Men, being set amid the turmoils of the powers of the world, would stray often, and would not use their gifts in harmony; and he said: 'These too in their time shall find that all they do redounds at the end only to show the glory of my work.'  Yet the Elves believe that Men are often a grief to Manwe, who knows most the mind of Illuvatar; for it seems tot he Elves that Men resemble Melkor most of all the Ainur, although he has ever feared and hated them, even those that served him." (pg. 42)

Illuvatar's prophecies are the most accurate of all because he is the only character who knows absolutely everything that will happen.

"'O Kementari, Eru hath spoken, saying: 'Do then any of the Valar suppose that I did not hear all the Song, even the least sound of the least voice?  Behold!  When the Children awake, then the thought of Yavanna will awake also, and it will summon spirits from afar, and they will go among the kevlar and the ovlar, and some will dwell therein, and be held in reverence, and their just anger shall be feared.  For a time: while the Firstborn are in their power, and while the Secondborn are young.'" (pg. 46)

"'So it is doomed.  From this summons came any woes that afterwards befell..." (pg. 52)

Here the author gives a specific alert that you should be paying attention to the event that was just told about because it is going to be important later on.

"Mandos foretold that the fates of Arda, earth, sea, and air, lay locked within them [the Silmarils]." (pg. 67)

Mandos is second in line (behind Eru) in the accurate prophecy business so whenever he proclaims something, it is in the peoples of Middle-earth's best interest to pay attention.

"'Tears unnumbered ye shall shed; and the Valar will fence Valinor against you, and shut you out, so that not even the echo of your lamentation shall pass over the mountains.  On the House of Feanor the wrath of the Valar lieth from the West unto the uttermost East, and upon all that will follow them it shall be laid also.  Their Oath shall drive them, and yet betray them, and ever snatch away the very treasures they have sworn to pursue.  To evil end shall things turn that they begin well; and by treason of kin unto kin, and the fear of treason shall this come to pass.  The Disposessed shall they be forever.

"'Ye have spilled the blood of your kindred unrighteously and have stained the land of Aman.  For blood ye shall render blood, and beyond Aman ye shall dwell in Death's shadow.  For though Eru appointed you to die not in Ea, and no sickness may assail you, yet slain ye may be, and slain ye shall be: by weapon and by torment and by grief; and your houseless spirits shall come then to Mandos.  There long shall ye abide and yearn for your bodies, and find little pity though all whom ye have slain should entreat for you.  And those that endure in Middle-earth and come not to Mandos shall grow weary of the world as with a great burden, and shall wane, and become as shadows of regret before the younger race that cometh after.  The Valar have spoken.'" (pg. 88)

Yikes. This is the most important prophecy in the entire Silmarillion and it warrants a long discussion which will have to wait for a future post.  But basically, all of the events in The Silmarillion and a lot of events in The Lord of the Rings can be traced back to this extremely accurate and detailed summary.   Indeed, the Battle of Unnumbered Tears (Nirnaeth Arnoediad) fulfills the first part of this decree, roads are bent at the end of the story so that Valinor does end up getting barred, etc.

"I forebode that ill will come of it both to you and to me." (pg. 131)

This is Turgon explaining to his sister that bad things are probably going to come from her leaving Gondolin, and lo and behold, he was right.  His sister was killed (by Eol, who she never would have met had she remained in Gondolin) and later, Turgon is killed (because of the treachery of Maeglin who never would have been if Aredhel had stayed in Gondolin.

"'My heart warns me that if you now pursue those who love you no more, never will you return thither.'" (pg. 136)

Curufin warns Eol that he is going to meet a bad end if he continues pursuing Aredhel and Maeglin toward Gondolin, and that as well comes true because Eol eventually gets executed by the people of Gondolin.

"'So you forsake your father and his kin, ill-gotten son!  Here shall you fail of all your hopes, and here may you yet die the same death as I.'" (pg. 138)

Eol prophesies that Maeglin will die in the same manner as he which does come to pass when Maeglin is thrown over the walls of Gondolin by Tuor during the fall of the city.

"'And one of Men, even of Beor's house, shall indeed come, and the Girdle of Melian shall not restrain him, for doom greater than my power shall send him; and the songs that shall spring from that coming shall endure when all Middle-earth is changed.'"

Melian foresees the coming of Beren in to Doriath and the immense change that he will incur.  Additionally, she adds in that element about fate "greater than my power" which leads a reader to believe their is a larger power at work, perhaps Eru.

"...it was decreed that he [Huan] should meet death, but not until he encountered the mightiest wolf that would ever walk the world." (pg. 173)

Huan is killed by Carcharoth, the great wolf.

"'This I [Huor] will say to you, lord, with the eyes of death: though we part here for ever, and I shall not look on your white walls again, from you and from me a new star shall arise.  Farewell!'" (pg. 194)

The star that Huor is referencing is indeed the Star of Earendil who is the son of Tuor (Huor's son) and Idril (Turgon's daughter).

"'Sit now there; and look out upon the lands where evil and despair shall come upon those whom thou [Hurin] lovest.  Thou hast dared to mock me, and to question the power of Melkor, Master of the fates of Arda.  Therefore with my eyes shalt see, an with my ears thou shalt hear; and never shalt thou move from this place until all is fulfilled unto its bitter end.'  And evens so it came to pass; but it is not said that Hurin asked ever of Morgoth either mercy or death, for himself or for any of his kin." (pg. 198)


The next signpost is sudden realizations.  When I wrote this I was thinking specifically of Of Turin Turambar which I have not gotten to yet.  I actually did not find any other sudden realizations in this point of the story.


Tough questions are often important to look for in stories because if a character is asking you a question it is probably important for you to be asking yourself the same thing.  Here is the tough question I found.

"'Shall we then leave the lands of their dwelling desolate and full of evil?  Shall they walk in darkness while we have light?  Shall they call Melkor lord while Manwe sits upon Taniquetil?'" (pg. 48)

No, probably not.


And now for typological parallels, perhaps my favorite thing to annotate for.  Typological parallels are very common in the Bible, such as when Jesus was lost in the temple for tree days, it sort of paralleled when he was dead for three days.  So they are kind of a mini, scaled-down version of something yet to come.  There are many of these within The Silmarillion and also from The Silmarillion to The Lord of the Rings and I found several.

"But being alone he [Melkor] had begun to conceive thoughts of his own unlike those of his brethren.'" (pg. 16)

This is a parallel to Saruman in The Lord of the Rings.  When he began to fortify himself at Isengard, his views started to change away from his "brethren", in this case, the White Council of the Wise, Elrond, Gandalf, and Galadriel.

"Then Tulkas slept, being weary and content, and Melkor deemed that his hour had come.  And he passed therefore over the Walls of Night with his host, and came to Middle-earth far in the north; and the Valar were not aware of him." (pg. 36)

This parallels many of Melkor's other attacks.  When all of the Valar are resting after Tulkas and Nessa get married, Melkor attacks.  When all of the elves and the power of Valinor are having a feast, Melkor destroys the trees.  When Gondolin is having a celebration to welcome summer, Melkor sends out his forces.

"'I will not debate with you, Dark Elf.  By the swords of the Noldor alone are your sunless woods defended.  Your freedom to wander there wild you owe to my kin; and but for them long since you would have laboured in thraldom in the pits of Angband.'" (pg. 137)

This reminded me of Aragorn's speech in The Fellowship of the Ring explaining to the hobbits how he has protected the Shire and Bree for a long time--without their knowing--and how he is offended when the men of Bree look down on him for being a ranger.  Similarly, Boromir says the same thing of Gondor in the Council of Elrond.

"...for Haleth was a woman of great heart and strength.  But at last Haldad was slain in a sortie against the Orcs; and Haldar, who rushed out to save his father's body from their butchery, was hewn down beside him.  Then Haleth held the people together, though they were without hope."  (pg. 146)

Can you think of another golden-haired female whose father and "brother" we're both killed?  Someone who was courageous and could fight in battle?  Èowyn, of course!  You will notice that Èowyn and Haleth have some differences (Haleth's father died before her brother; the opposite of Èowyn, etc.) but they share some common characteristics. 

"Huor fell pierced with a venomed arrow in his eye..." (pg. 194)

Both Huor and Arathorn were killed by an arrow to the eye.  Both of them had famous mortal sons (Tuor and Aragorn) who married elves (Idril and Arwen).


Finally, I marked in my book where I found quotes that I particularly loved.  Here are some of them.

"Reward on earth is more dangerous for men than punishment!" (pg. xxi)

"'And thou, Melkor, shalt see that no theme may be played that hath not its uttermost source in me, nor can any alter the music in my despite.  For he that attempteth this shall prove but mine instrument in the devising of things more wonderful, which he himself hath not imagined...and thou, Melkor, wilt discover all the secret thoughts of thy mind, and wilt perceive that they are but a part of the whole and tributary to its glory.'" (pg. 17)

"'Eru is bountiful,' she said.  'Now let thy children beware!  For there shall walk a power in the forests whose wrath they will arouse at their peril.'  'Nonetheless they will have need of wood,' said Aule, and he went on with his smith-work." (pg. 46)

"'So it is, even as I guessed,' he [Feanor] said.  'My half-brother would be before me with my father, in this as in all other matters.'  Then turning upon Fingolfin who drew his sword, crying: 'Get thee gone, and take thy due place!'  Fingolfin bowed before Finwe, and without word or glance to Feanor he went from the chamber.  But Feanor followed him, and at the door of the king's house he stayed him; and the point of his bright sword he set against Fingolfin's breast. 'See, half-brother!' he said.  'This is sharper than thy tongue.  Try but once more to usurp my place and the love of my father and maybe it will rid the Noldor of one who seeks to be the master of thralls.'" (pg. 70)

"'As I promised, I do now.  I release thee, and remember no grievance,'  Then Feanor took his hand in silence; but Fingolfin said: 'Half-brother in blood, full brother in heart will I be.  Thou shalt lead and I will follow.  May no new grief divide us.'  'I hear thee,' said Feanor.  'So be it.' But they did not know the meaning that their words would bear." (pg. 75)

"The Light failed; but the Darkness that followed was more than loss of light.  In that hour was made a Darkness that seemed not lack but a thing with being of its own: for it was indeed made by malice out of Light and it had power to pierce the eye, and to enter the heart and mind, and strangle the very will." (pg. 76)

"Then Feanor ran from the Ring of Doom, and fled into the night; for his father was dearer to him than the Light of Valinor or the peerless works of his hands; and who among sons, of Elves or of Men, have held their fathers of greater worth?" (pg. 79)

"'We renounce no friendship.  But it may be the part of a friend to rebuke a friend's folly.'" (pg. 86)

"Then many quailed; but Feanor hardened his heart and said: 'We have sworn, and not lightly.  This oath we will keep.  We are threatened with many evils, and treason not the least; but one thing is not said: that we shall suffer from cowardice, from cravens or the fear of cravens.  therefore I say that we will go on, and this doom I add: the deeds that shall do shall be the matter of song until the last days of Arda.'" (pg. 88)

"And though he [Fingon] knew not yet that Maedhros had not forgotten him at the burning of the ships, the thought of their ancient friendship stung his heart." (pg. 110)

"Maedhros in time was healed; for the fire of life was hot within him, and his strength was of the ancient world...and he lived to wield his sword with left hand more deadly than his right had been." (pg. 110-111)

"Maedhros did deeds of surpassing valour, and the Orcs fled before his face; for since his torment upon Thangorodrim his spirit burned like a white fire within, and he was as one that returns from the dead." (pg. 152)

"Thus he [Fingolfin] came alone to Angband's gates, and he sounded his horn, and smote once more upon the brazen doors, and challenged Morgoth to come forth to single combat.  And Morgoth came." (pg. 153)

"But Beren laughed.  'For little price,' he said, 'do Elven-kings sell their daughters: for gems, and things made by craft.  But if this be your will, Thingol, I will perform it.  And when we meet again my hand shall hold a Silmaril from the Iron Crown; for you have not looked the last upon Beren son of Barahir.'" (pg. 168)

"The captives sad in Angband mourn.
Thunder rumbles, the fires burn--
And Finrod fell before the throne." (pg. 171)

"Then suddenly, when her hope was almost spent, he woke again, and looked up, seeing leaves against the sky; and he heard beneath the leaves singing soft and slow beside him Luthien Tinuviel.  And it was spring again." (pg. 183)

"Then when Fingon heard afar the great trumpet of Turgon his brother, the shadow passed and his heart was uplifted, and he shouted aloud: 'Utulie'n aure!  Aiya Eldalie ar Atanatari, utulie'n aure!  The day has come! Behold, people of the Eldar and Fathers of Men, the day has come!  And all those who heard his great voice echo in the hills answered crying: 'Auta i lome! The night is passing!'" (pg. 190)

"'Aure entuluva!  Day shall come again!'" (pg. 195)

*All page numbers are from the Second Edition of The Silmarillion from 1999.

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