The Nature of Middle-Earth. Tolkien/Hostetter.

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Post by Eldy Thu Oct 07, 2021 9:29 pm

I actually enjoyed NoMe precisely because it was filling in various blanks from HoMe and giving us material that hadn't made the cut for that series. That's what I expected of it, so as someone who has spent a lot of time with HoMe over the years, I came away satisfied. But I can see how there might be a misalignment of expectations.

halfwise wrote:So the question is, if I don't want to go in for a wholesale purchase of the whole set of HOME, and I don't care for precursor versions of the standard texts but instead want lore, which volumes of HOME would be of greatest interest to me?

Note: I'm leaning towards the Peoples of Middle Earth.

The Peoples of Middle-earth has a lot of interesting material in it, but I would conditionally recommend volumes X and XI: Morgoth's Ring and The War of the Jewels, which are together known as "The Later Silmarillion" and contain the most recognizable material in terms of being similar to the 1977 version, but also many of the radical ideas that Tolkien considered in the last ~15 years of his life. On the other hand, X and XI can be extremely dense and difficult to get into in places. (Granted, I'm sure my own first read-throughs were not made easier by me being 13, so it might be different for you.) The Annals of Aman and the Grey Annals, as well as "The Later Quenta Silmarillion", provide much of the material that went into the '77 Silm, and also provide a chronology for the First Age. But the Annals frequently refer back to earlier versions published in HoMe V, and sometimes important revisions are only mentioned in the endnotes or commentaries.

Lack of accessibility aside, in many places these texts offer so much more detail and texture than the 1977 version was able to offer. For me, the members of the House of Finwë only really emerge as fleshed-out characters in HoMe. If you want to get a better sense of their personalities, motivations, and relationships, the later volumes in particular are indispensable. And there's plenty of fascinating material from the later First Age as well. Depending on your definition of "lore", you might also be interested in Tolkien's philosophical and linguistic writings, of which there are many. The Athrabeth Finrod ah Andreth, a philosophical dialogue, offers a lot of valuable insight into Tolkien's views on the legendarium. The linguistic stuff has a fairly high barrier to entry, which I unfortunately do not clear since I know little about linguistics, but even I can get valuable information out of it. For example, much of what we know about the Avari comes from "Quendi and Eldar" in vol. XI. However, these texts are not narrative stories, so if you want something novelistic you'd have to look elsewhere. The Wanderings of Húrin might offer more, it being the (similarly depressing) continuation of The Children of Húrin, though it's in a far rougher state than its precursor.

I hope you get something valuable out of HoMe if you decide to give it a shot! And that you'll let us know what you make of it. Smile
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Post by halfwise Thu Oct 07, 2021 10:06 pm

yeah, the personalities of the sons of Feanor were never clearly delineated so I never found them particularly interesting. Your descriptions put a useful perspective on the various volumes that I'm not finding in online descriptions.

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Post by Eldy Fri Oct 08, 2021 2:28 am

If you're interested in the Sons of Fëanor, you will probably enjoy the chapter "The Shibboleth of Fëanor" in The Peoples of Middle-earth. It's ostensibly a linguistic essay about a sound shift in Valinórean Quenya, but it's one of the best examples of how Tolkien's linguistic essays could grow to be so much more.
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Post by Elthir Fri Oct 08, 2021 9:37 pm

Yes, the Shibboleth is a good read Halfwise.

But before you delve in, please note that the Quenya sound in question (the sound that became -s- against Feanor's will) is not the "interdental" voiceless -th- . . . the sound in question is rather pronounced with the tongue behind the upper teeth.

This was revealed in Vinyar Tengwar 41, so I don't want the confusion to set in early.

Wink

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Post by halfwise Fri Oct 08, 2021 10:30 pm

Maybe I should skip the sibilant Shibboleth...speaking of sounds I'm not so sybaritic.

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Post by Elthir Sat Oct 09, 2021 6:36 pm

It's not really that linguistiky . . .

. . . it also leads one into the tale of the death of Ambarussa. Not that Ambarussa, the other one!

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Post by Pettytyrant101 Mon Oct 11, 2021 11:22 pm

{{ Well if this isnt the most crabbit inducing thing ever- Ive been reading NoM solely at work on nightshift, make it last, I was about halfway through and left the bloody book at work. Only to come back in to find it had been 'accidently' thrown in the rubbish and the skips had been emptied that morning.
So now I have to decide if its worth shelling out again for half a book. Mad }}

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Post by halfwise Tue Oct 12, 2021 1:04 am

I wonder how much it would cost to send you mine? I'm not finding much I need to reread, not full of lengthy passages of his best writing.

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Post by Pettytyrant101 Tue Oct 12, 2021 9:45 am

{{ Thats super kind of you Halfy, but I reckon the cost of posting it overseas would be about the same or more than me just buying the book again. }}

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Post by halfwise Tue Oct 12, 2021 1:17 pm

UPS refuses to give me the price unless I basically go through the process of printing a label. Mad but I reckon you are probably right.

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Post by Elthir Tue Oct 12, 2021 7:55 pm

Pettytyrant101 wrote: So now I have to decide if its worth shelling out again for half a book.

I don't think you can purchase half the book pirat

But for ten gold buttons I could tear out every other page starting from chapter one and send it to you by crow.

Very Happy

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Post by Pettytyrant101 Tue Oct 12, 2021 8:14 pm

{{ Ten gold buttons! My waistcoat would fall apart! Mad }}

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Post by Elthir Yesterday at 4:47 pm

Okay Petty. But if you don't re-buy, you'll never know if, in the second part of the book, there's maybe a sentence or two about the Shire grass.

Are you willing to take that chance? I'm not.

Although "never" is admittedly a long time.

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Post by halfwise Yesterday at 5:36 pm

{{{ Elthir, you're a wicked one. }}}

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