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Subject: Tolkien: Less Frequently Asked Questions (1/1)

This article was archived around: 07 May 2006 04:18:07 GMT

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Archive-name: tolkien/lessfaq/part1
Posting Frequency: 28 days Last Updated: 1994/03/28 The Tolkien Less Frequently Asked Questions List (LessFAQ), is the second of two informational files on J.R.R. Tolkien and his writings, the other being the Frequently Asked Questions List (FAQ). The division of questions follows several general criteria. The FAQ leans towards questions of interest to people who have read only _The Lord of the Rings_ and _The Hobbit_, together with most questions on Tolkien himself and on topics which seem fundamental to his worldview (his linguistic games in particular). The LessFAQ contains questions of a more obscure nature, most questions arising from posthumous works, and in general aspects of the nature and history of Middle-earth which are important but tangential to _The Lord of the Rings_. There is also an element of personal arbitrariness. All available sources have been used for both lists. Criticisms, corrections, and suggestions are of course welcome. William D.B. Loos loos@hudce.harvard.edu ======================================================================== ======================================================================== TOLKIEN LESS FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS LIST Questions numbered thusly: 1) are in their final form. Questions numbered thusly: 1] remain unrevised. Sections/questions marked: * have been revised since the last release. ** are new since the last release. Table of Contents I. Changes Since the Last Release (*) II. Acknowledgements III. Note on References and Conversion Table IV. Commonly Used Abbreviations V. Less Frequently Asked Questions A) Tolkien And His Work 1] Was there a change of tone between Book I and the rest of _The Lord of the Rings_ ? 2] Why did Tolkien fail to publish _The Silmarillion_ during the eighteen years which followed the publication of _The Lord of the Rings_ ? B) General History Of Middle-earth 1] What exactly happened at the end of the First Age? 2] In terms of the larger worldview, what exactly took place at the Fall of Numenor? C) Hobbits 1] Did Frodo and the others (Bilbo, Sam, and Gimli) who passed over the Sea eventually die, or had they become immortal? 2) In _The Hobbit_, Bilbo called the spiders Attercop, Lazy Lob, Crazy Cob, and Old Tomnoddy. What do the words mean? D) Elves 1] Were Elves reincarnated after they were slain? 2) Was Glorfindel of Rivendell (whom Frodo met) the same as Glorfindel of Gondolin, who was slain fighting a Balrog? 3) How were Eldar in Valinor named? E) Humans 1] What brought on the sinking of Numenor? 2] How could Ar-Pharazon of Numenor defeat Sauron while Sauron wielded the One Ring? 3] What happened to the Ring when Numenor was destroyed? 4] Where did the Southrons come from? Were they part of the Atani? F) Dwarves 1] What were the origins of the Dwarves? 2] If, as has been told, only Seven Fathers of the Dwarves were created, how did the race procreate? G) Enemies 1] What was the origin of the Orcs? 2] What was the origin of Trolls? H) Miscellaneous 1] Who was Queen Beruthiel (who was mentioned by Aragorn during the journey through Moria)? ======================================================================== ======================================================================== CHANGES SINCE THE LAST RELEASE There have been no changes since the release of 1996/07/08. ======================================================================== ======================================================================== ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS The following individuals made suggestions and contributions to these FAQ lists: Wayne.G.Hammond@williams.edu (Wayne Hammond Jr) Aelfwine@erols.com (Carl F. Hostetter) paul@ERC.MsState.Edu (Paul Adams) wft@math.canterbury.ac.nz (Bill Taylor) cpresson@jido.b30.ingr.com (Craig Presson) simen.gaure@usit.uio.no (Simen Gaure) abalje47@uther.Calvin.EDU (Alan Baljeu) sahdra@ecf.toronto.edu (SAHDRA KULDIP) sherman@sol1.lrsm.upenn.edu (Bill Sherman) markg@mistral.rice.edu (Mark Gordon) hunt@oils.ozy.dec.com (Peter Hunt) rrosen@cesl.rutgers.edu (Robert Rosenbaum) ======================================================================== ======================================================================== NOTE ON REFERENCES There is a certain amount of cross-referencing among the questions on both the FAQ and the LessFAQ lists. Any questions so referred to are specified by the list, section, and question number. Thus, the first question in the Hobbit section of the FAQ, "Were Hobbits a sub-group of Humans?" would be referenced as (FAQ, Hobbits, 1). Note that the section "Tolkien And His Work" is referred to merely as "Tolkien" and the section "General History of Middle-earth" is referred to merely as "General". E.g. the question "Who was J.R.R. Tolkien anyway?" is (FAQ, Tolkien, 1) and the question "What exactly happened at the end of the First Age?" is (LessFAQ, General, 1). Sources for quotations have been provided in the form of volume and page numbers; the specific editions utilized are listed in the next paragraph. For those occasions when the proper edition is not available (and the conversion table below is not applicable) the page numbers have been roughly located according to chapter, sub-section, or appendix, whichever is appropriate. For example, RK, 57-59 (V, 2) refers to pages 57-59 of Return of the King and further locates the pages in chapter 2 of Book V. PLEASE NOTE the distinction in the case of _Lord of the Rings_ between *Volumes* and *Books*. LotR is comprised of three Volumes (FR, TT, and RK) and of six Books (I - VI), which are the more natural divisions of the story into six roughly equal parts. There are two Books in each of the Volumes. Other sample references are below. References to _The Hobbit_ are from the Ballantine paperback (the pagination has been the same since the 60's. All other references are to the HM hardcovers. Sample references follow: Hobbit, 83 (Ch V) == Hobbit, chapter V RK, 408 (App F, I, "Of Men", "Of Hobbits") == p 408 in Part I of Appendix F, the sections entitled "Of Men" and "Of Hobbits" Silm, 57 (Ch V) == Silmarillion, chapter V (BoLT and _The Annotated Hobbit_ treated similarly) UT, 351 (Three, IV, iii) == Unfinished Tales, Part Three, Chapter IV, sub-section iii (the Biography treated similarly) Letters, 230 (#178) == letter number 178. RtMe, 53-54 (3, "Creative anachronisms") == The Road to Middle-earth, in Chapter 3, sub-section "Creative anachronisms" CONVERSION TABLE In _The Atlas of Middle-earth_, Karen Wynn Fonstad provided a Houghton-Mifflin-to-Ballantine conversion table, which is reproduced below. The "table" is actually a set of formulae by which HM page numbers may be converted to Ballantine page numbers via arithmetic involving some empirically determined constants. Since these are discrete rather than continuous functions the results may be off by a page or so. [NOTE: in the Fall of 1993, Ballantine issued a new edition of the mass market paperback of LotR in which the text has been re-set, thereby changing the page on which any given quote is located. Thus, the following table will no longer work with the latest printings, which may be identified by the change in the color of the covers (the pictures are unaltered): in the previous set of printings all the covers were black; in the new set FR is green, TT is purple, and RK is red.] HM Page Subtract Divide By Add ------------- -------- --------- ------- FR 10 to 423 9 .818 18 TT 15 to 352 14 .778 16 RK 19 to 311 18 .797 18 RK 313 to 416 312 .781 386 H 9 to 317 8 1.140 14 Silm 15 to 365 14 .773 2 Reference: Atlas, p. 191 (first edtion), p. 192 (revised edtion) ======================================================================== ======================================================================== COMMONLY USED ABBREVIATIONS General: JRRT J.R.R. Tolkien, John Ronald Reuel Tolkien CT, CJRT Christopher Tolkien (son; editor of most posthumous works) A&U, AU George Allen & Unwin (original British publisher) UH Unwin Hyman (new name for A&U c. 1987(?)) HC HarperCollins (purchased UH c. 1992; current British publisher) HM Houghton Mifflin (American publisher) M-e Middle-earth SA Second Age TA Third Age SR Shire Reckoning Middle-earth Works: H The Hobbit LR, LotR The Lord of the Rings FR, FotR The Fellowship of the Ring TT, TTT The Two Towers RK, RotK The Return of the King TB, ATB The Adventures of Tom Bombadil RGEO The Road Goes Ever On Silm The Silmarillion UT Unfinished Tales Letters The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien HoMe History of Middle-earth BLT,BoLT Book of Lost Tales Lays The Lays of Beleriand Treason The Treason of Isengard Guide The Guide to the Names in the Lord of the Rings (published in _A Tolkien Compass_) Other Works: FGH Farmer Giles of Ham TL Tree and Leaf OFS On Fairy-Stories LbN Leaf by Niggle HBBS The Homecoming of Beorhtnoth, Beorhthelm's Son SWM Smith of Wootton Major SGPO Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Pearl, Sir Orfeo FCL The Father Christmas Letters Reference Works: Biography J.R.R. Tolkien: A Biography; by Humphrey Carpenter (published in the US as Tolkien: A Biography) Inklings The Inklings: C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, Charles Williams, and Their Friends; by Humphrey Carpenter RtMe The Road to Middle-earth; by T.A. Shippey Scholar J.R.R. Tolkien, Scholar and Storyteller: Essays in Memoriam; edited by Mary Salu and Robert T. Farrell Atlas The Atlas of Middle-earth; by Karen Wynn Fonstad ======================================================================== ======================================================================== TOLKIEN AND HIS WORK 1) Was there a change of tone between Book I and the rest of _The Lord of the Rings_ ? Yes. Originally, the world of the Hobbit was not the same as the world of the Silmarillion (Tolkien threw in a few names from it, like Gondolin and Elrond, for effect, but there was no explicit connection). Thus, when he began LotR, he thought he was writing a sequel to _The Hobbit, and the tone of the early chapters, especially Ch 1, reflect this (it has the same "children's story" ambience as _The Hobbit_). With the coming of the Black Riders and Gandalf's discussion of Middle-earth history and the Ring a change began towards a loftier tone and a darker mood, though much less serious elements remained (e.g. Tom Bombadil). After the Council of Elrond LotR was overtly a sequel to the Silmarillion. Oddly, Tolkien added new details but never changed the overall tone of Book I. He later claimed that the change in tone was intentional, that it was meant to reflect the changing perceptions of the hobbits as they became educated about the Wide World. This was certainly not his intention as he was writing. On the other hand, the tone of "The Scouring of the Shire" is very different from that of "A Long-expected Party", possibly indicating the altered perspective of the observers. ---------- 2) Why did Tolkien fail to publish _The Silmarillion_ during the eighteen years which followed the publication of _The Lord of the Rings_ ? No definitive answer is possible, but a several serious obstacles can be listed. They included: a) Technical difficulties. Tolkien's unmethodical habits of revision had made the manuscripts chaotic; it seemed impossible to make everything consistent. Characters introduced in LotR had to be worked in. Beyond these detailed questions, he contemplated many alterations, even to fundamental features of his mythology. b) The problem of depth. In LotR, his references to the older legends of the First Age helped produce the strong sense of historical reality. In the Silmarillion, which told the legends themselves, this method wouldn't be available. c) The problem of presentation. LotR had been basically novelistic, presenting the story sequentially from one character or another's point of view. But the Silmarillion was and was meant to be a bundle of tales which had more in common with the ancient legends he studied than with LotR. He feared that if he presented it as an annotated study of ancient manuscripts that probably many readers would have difficulty enjoying the tales as stories. d) No Hobbits. He feared (correctly) that many people expected another _Lord of the Rings_, which the Silmarillion could never be. ---------- GENERAL HISTORY OF MIDDLE-EARTH 1) What exactly happened at the end of the First Age? The Noldorin Elves had made war on Morgoth (referred to as "the Great Enemy" by Aragorn in "A Knife in the Dark") to recover the three Silmarils, which he had stolen, and had been totally defeated. The Valar then used their full power against Morgoth. In the resulting cataclysm Beleriand, the land in which the tales of the Silmarillion took place, was destroyed and sank under the Sea. There are thus various references to "lands under the waves". On the LotR map, Beleriand would have been far to the west, beyond the Blue Mountains (Ered Luin), which also appear at the far right of the Silm map. It is difficult to make an exact correlation because the mountain range was much altered, having been split when the Gulf of Lune created. Nogrod and Belegost, the ancient dwarf-cities, are located on the Silm map, and existed as ruins in the Third Age, but where they fall on the LotR map is not known (they were said to be "near Nenuail", which is only slightly helpful). Lindon was definitely the same land as Ossiriand, where Beren and Luthien once dwelt. [_The Atlas of Middle-earth_ includes a map showing how Eriador and Beleriand lay relative to each other.] ---------- 2) In terms of the larger worldview, what exactly took place at the Fall of Numenor? The world was changed from a flat medieval world to the round world of today. Middle-earth was meant to be our own world (see FAQ, Tolkien, 6), and Tolkien's overall conception was of a progression, with "Mythological Time" changing into "Historical Time". The events accompanying the Fall of Numenor were a major step in the process. Originally, the "fashion" of Middle-earth was the flat world of the medieval universe. Valinor (the equivalent of Heaven in that the "gods" dwelt there) was physically connected to the rest of the world and could be reached by ship. When Numenor sank (see LFAQ, Humans, 1) "the fashion of the world was changed": the flat world was bent into a round one, with new lands also being created; and Valinor was removed "from the circles of the World", and could no longer be reached by ordinary physical means. The Elves alone were still allowed to make a one-way journey to Valinor along "the Straight Road". (An elven ship on such a journey would grow smaller and smaller with distance until if vanished rather than sinking over the horizon as a human ships do.) References to "bent seas", "bent skies", "the straight road", "straight sight", "the World Made Round", and the like all refer to the change in the world's "fashion". (The palantir at Emyn Beriad "looked only to the Sea. Elendil set it there so that he could look back with 'straight sight' and see Eressea in the vanished West; but the bent seas below covered Numenor for ever." (RK, p. 322) ---------- HOBBITS 1) Did Frodo and the others (Bilbo, Sam, and Gimli) who passed over the Sea eventually die, or had they become immortal? They remained mortal. Tolkien's conception was that a creature's natural lifespan was intrinsic to its spiritual and biological nature, and that this could not be altered save by a direct intervention of the Creator. There were three occasions when this did happen (Luthien, Tuor, Arwen), but it did not in the cases of Frodo & Co. Tolkien stated explicitly in more than one letter that Frodo's journey over the Sea was only a *temporary* healing, and that when the time came he and the others would die of their own free will. ---------- 2) In _The Hobbit_, Bilbo called the spiders Attercop, Lazy Lob, Crazy Cob, and Old Tomnoddy. What do the words mean? Notes in _The Annotated Hobbit_ identify Attercop, Lob, and Cob as being taken from similar words in Old and Middle English for "spider" (indeed, the word for "spider" in modern Norwegian is "edderkopp"). The Oxford English Dictionary definition of Tomnoddy is given as "a foolish or stupid person." (Annotated Hobbit, 170-171) As is well known, Tolkien used "Lob" again later. During the writing of Book IV he wrote to Christopher: "Do you think Shelob is a good name for a monstrous spider creature? It is of course only 'she + lob' ( == 'spider' ), but written as one, it seems to be quite noisome... Letters, 81 (#70) References: Hobbit, Ch VIII; Annotated Hobbit, 170-171 (Ch VIII, notes 8,9,10); Letters, 81 (#70). Contributors: WDBL, Paul Adams, Simen Gaure ---------- ELVES 1) Were Elves reincarnated after they were slain? Yes. In addition to a number of general statements to this effect at least two Elves are specifically said to have been "re-embodied" after being slain: Finrod Felagund and Glorfindel (see LFAQ, Elves, 2). ("Re-embodied" is used rather than "reincarnated" because in the case of Elves (unlike what's usually meant in a human context) the spirit was reborn in a body resembling the original and furthermore all its former memories would be substantially intact). ---------- 2) Was Glorfindel of Rivendell (whom Frodo met) the same as Glorfindel of Gondolin, who was slain fighting a Balrog? This has been a matter of great controversy. It was unplanned by Tolkien, and therefore was something he had to decide after the fact. The only direct information in any of the books is a comment by Christopher in _The Return of the Shadow_ (HoMe VI): Some notes that were scribbled down at Sidmouth in Devon in the late summer of 1938 (see Carpenter, _Biography_, p. 187) on a page of doodles evidently represent my father's thoughts for the next stages of the story at this time: Consultation. Over M[isty] M[ountains]. Down Great River to Mordor. Dark Tower. Beyond(?) which is the Fiery Hill. Story of Gilgalald told by Elrond? Who is Trotter? Glorfindel tells of his ancestry in Gondolin. ... Very notable is "Glorfindel tells of his ancestry in Gondolin". Years later, long after the publication of _The Lord of the Rings_, my father gave a great deal of thought to the matter of Glorfindel, and at that time he wrote: "[The use of Glorfindel] in LotR is one of the cases of the somewhat random use of the names found in the older legends, now referred to as The Silmarillion, which escaped reconsideration in the final published form of _The Lord of the Rings_." He came to the conclusion that Glorfindel of Gondolin, who fell to his death in combat with a Balrog after the sack of the city (II. 192-4, IV.145), and Glorfindel of Rivendell were one and the same: he was released from Mandos and returned to Middle-earth in the Second Age. The Return of the Shadow, 214-215 ["Trotter" was the original name of the mysterious stranger later called "Strider" (who at this stage of the composition was a hobbit); II and IV refer to other volumes in the HoMe series.] A number of reasons have been advanced for not taking this at face value. Since Christopher's report of Tolkien's conclusion was not part of the rough drafts, the question of whether rough drafts can be canonical does not arise in this case. The suggestion that lack of premeditation is grounds for rejection also seems inadequate, since many elements were introduced with little thought of future conse- quences yet later became important parts of the mythos. It is true that we have no examples of any other elf journeying eastwards *to* Middle-earth during the Second Age (though some did visit Numenor), but this is not enough to disprove the possibility of Glorfindel's having done so. There were in fact no direct statements either way, which means that Tolkien could have established whatever background he wanted to any story he might have written. The previous lack of specific information on this matter was no constraint. The strongest objection is that the way Christopher presents this insprires less confidence than it might because he doesn't provide any direct quotes -- rather, he merely describes a "conclusion" that his father eventually "came to". Evidently, Tolkien never actually wrote his conclusion down. The matter therefore reduces to a question of how much one trusts Christopher, and whether one supposes that he might attach too much importance to a casual statement. The majority of readers appear to accept that this was indeed a thoughtful conclusion that Tolkien reached only after long deliberation (we do know that he and Christopher discussed the matter of Middle-earth often). A significant minority continue to reject it. In the last analysis, of course, certainty either way is impos- sible, since no evidence beyond the above exists. On the one hand, we can at least say that Tolkien apparently saw no objection to the idea that a re-embodied Glorfindel could have returned. On the other hand, the usual caveats concerning unpublished material are even stronger than usual in this case, since he not only might have changed his mind before publishing but also might have done so before he wrote the story, or while he wrote it (not an unusual occurrence). Still, there seems a good chance that he would have stuck to the one Glorfindel idea, since he seems not to have come to the decision lightly. References: Return of the Shadow (HoMe VI), 214-215 (First Phase, XII). Contributors: WDBL, Robert Rosenbaum ---------- 3) How were Eldar in Valinor named? They had two given names ('essi'), one bestowed at birth by the father, the other later by the mother: ... and these mother-names had great significance, for the mothers of the Eldar had insight into the characters and abilities of their children, and many also had the gift of prophetic foresight. In addition, any of the Eldar might acquire epesse ('after-name'), not necessarily given by their own kin, a nickname -- mostly given as a title of admiration or honour; and an epesse might become the name generally used and recognised in later song and history (as was the case, for instance, with Ereinion, always known by his epesse Gil-galad). UT, 266 On why 'Ereinion' ('Scion of Kings' (UT, 436)) was given this epesse: It is recorded that Ereinion was given the name Gil-galad 'Star of Radiance' 'because his helm and mail, and his shield overlaid with silver and set with a device of white stars, shone from afar like a star in sunlight or moonlight, and could be seen by Elvish eyes at a great distance if he stood upon a height'. UT, 217 [ Gil-galad's "device of white stars" is shown in entry 47 of Pictures.] The other epesse most familiar to readers of LotR was 'Galadriel', whose father-name was 'Artanis' ('noble woman') and mother-name 'Nerwen' ('man-maiden') (UT 229, 231). As for 'Galadriel', which was the Sindarin form of 'Altariel' (Quenya) and 'Alatariel' (Telerin) (UT, 266): In the High-elven speech her name was Al(a)tariel, derived from _alata_ 'radience' (Sindarin _galad_) and _riel_ 'garlanded maiden' (from a root rig- 'twine, wreathe'): the whole meaning 'maiden crowned with a radiant garland', referring to her hair. Silm, 360 References: UT, 217, 229, 231, 266 (all Two, II), 436 (Index); Silm, 360 (Appendix, root -kal); Pictures, entry 47. Contributors: WDBL, Paul Adams ---------- HUMANS 1) What brought on the sinking of Numenor? The Numenor story was Tolkien's re-telling of the Atlantis legend (the tale publshed in _The Silmarillion_ was entitled "The Akalabeth", which may be translated as "Downfallen"). Numenor was an island far to the West, a "land apart" given to the heroic Edain (humans) of the First Age who had aided the Noldor in the wars against Morgoth (see LFAQ, General, 1). [The Line of Kings of Numenor was descended from Elrond's brother Elros, who chose to be mortal; it led indirectly to Elendil the Tall, first King of Arnor and Gondor, and thus eventually to Aragorn son of Arathorn.] The theological situation was the "standard" one of a Ban and a Fall. The Numenoreans, despite having been granted a longer lifespan than other, humans, nevertheless had to remain mortal. They had also been ordered not to sail West to the Undying Lands (Valinor). After awhile (perhaps inevitably, as their power and wealth grew) the Numenoreans began to envy the Elves and to yearn for immortality themselves (so as to enjoy their situation longer). They managed to convince themselves that physical control of the Undying Lands would somehow produce this result (it would not have); however, they also retained sufficient wisdom not to attempt any such foolish action. Significantly, the more obsessed they became with death the more quickly it came as their lifespans steadily waned. Near the end of the Second Age King Ar-Pharazon the Golden pridefully challenged Sauron for the mastery of Middle-earth. The Numenoreans won the confrontation (see LFAQ, Humans, 2) and took Sauron to Numenor as a prisoner. Still wielding the One Ring, he swiftly gained control over most of the Numenoreans (except for the Faithful and their leaders, Amandil and his son Elendil). As King Ar-Pharazon's death approached ("he felt the waning of his days and was besotted by fear of death"; RK, p. 317) Sauron finally convinced him by deception to attack Valinor. This was a mistake. A great chasm opened in the Sea and Numenor toppled into the abyss. (Tolkien had a recurrent dream about this event; in LotR he gave it to Faramir, who described it in "The Steward and the King".) (See also LFAQ, General, 2). ---------- 2) How could Ar-Pharazon of Numenor defeat Sauron while Sauron wielded the One Ring? He did not actually defeat Sauron himself. The invasion fleet of the Numenoreans was so powerful that Sauron's *armies* deserted him. Sauron merely pretended to humble himself; to be carried back to Numenor as a supposed hostage was exactly what he wanted. His plan was to weaken Numenor as a war power by maneuvering them into sending a fleet to attack Valinor, where it would presumably be destroyed. He succeeded up to a point, but the result was disastrously more violent than he foresaw, and he was caught in the Fall of Numenor. Only his physical body perished since by nature he was of the spiritual order. Tolkien: "That Sauron was not himself destroyed in the anger of the One is not my fault: the problem of evil, and its apparent toleration, is a permanent one for all who concern themselves with our world. The indestructibility of *spirits* with free wills, even by the Creator of them, is also an inevitable feature, if one either believes in their existence, or feigns it in a story." (Letters, p. 280). ---------- 3) What happened to the Ring when Numenor was destroyed? Nothing. Sauron carried it back to Middle-earth, though there might be some question as to how he managed it. Tolkien said he did, and Tolkien should know: "Though reduced to 'a spirit of hatred borne on a dark wind', I do not think one need boggle at this spirit carrying off the One Ring, upon which his power of dominating minds now largely depended." (Letters, p. 280). In fact, as far as we know all the spiritual beings (Valar and Maiar) were perfectly capable of manipulating physical objects. ---------- 4) Where did the Southrons come from? Were they part of the Atani? Yes. All humans, East, West, North, or South, were. Humans first appeared in the east and spread westwards, with some eventually crossing the Blue Mountains into Beleriand. The entry for Atani in the Silmarillion index reads: Atani 'The Second People', Men (singular Atan). Since in Beleriand for a long time the only Men known to the Noldor and Sindar were those of the Three Houses of the Elf-friends, this name (in the Sindarin form Adan, plural Edain) became specially associated with them, so that it was seldom applied to other Men who came later to Beleriand, or who were reported to be dwelling beyond the Mountains. But in the speech of Iluvatar the meaning is 'Men (in general)'. [Humans were 'the second people' because Elves were the Firstborn.] ---------- DWARVES 1) What were the origins of the Dwarves? They were made by Aule, the smith and craftmaster of the Valar. This was against Eru's Plan: Aule had neither the authority nor indeed the power to create other souls (the result of his efforts was a group of what amounted to puppets). However, because he repented his folly at once and because his motives had been good (he desired children to teach, not slaves to command) Eru gave the Dwarves life and made them part of the Plan. The Elves were still to be the "Firstborn", though, so the Dwarves had to sleep until after the Elves awoke. ---------- 2) If, as has been told, only Seven Fathers of the Dwarves were created, how did the race procreate? In the _Silmarillion_ account of the making of the Dwarves, only the Seven Fathers are mentioned. In Letter no. 212 (p 287), however, Tolkien speaks of thirteen dwarves being initially created: "One, the eldest, alone, and six more with six mates." Thus, it seems that Durin really did "walk alone" as Gimli's song said. ---------- ENEMIES 1) What was the origin of the Orcs? A fundamental concept for Tolkien (and the other Inklings) was that Evil cannot create, only corrupt (the Boethian, as opposed to the Manichean, concept of evil). In Letter 153 he explained that to a first approximation, Treebeard was wrong ("Trolls are only counterfeits, made by the Enemy in the Great Darkness, in mockery of Ents, as Orcs were of Elves." TT, p. 89) and Frodo was right ("The Shadow that bred them can only mock, it cannot make: not real new things of its own. I don't think it gave life to Orcs, it only ruined them and twisted them ..." RK, p. 190). (Tolkien: "Treebeard is a *character* in my story, not me; and though he has a great memory and some earthy wisdom, he is not one of the Wise, and there is quite a lot he does not know or understand." Letters, p. 190; "Suffering and experience (and possibly the Ring itself) gave Frodo more insight ..." Letters, p. 191.) ("To the first approximation" [above] because in that same letter Tolkien made some subtle distinctions between "creating" and "making", which cannot be gone into here.) Tolkien stated explicitly in that letter (and several other places) that the Orcs are indeed "a race of rational incarnate creatures, though horribly corrupted". Also that "In the legends of the Elder Days it is suggested that the Diabolus subjugated and corrupted some of the earliest Elves, before they had ever heard of the 'gods', let alone of God." (Letters, p. 191). In fact, _The Silmarillion_ does state that Orcs were Avari (Dark Elves) captured by Morgoth (p. 50, 94), though strictly speaking, the idea is presented as the best guess of the Eldar, no more. Some have rejected the statements on those grounds, that the Elvish compilers of _The Silmarillion_ didn't actually *know* the truth but were merely speculating. But since Tolkien himself, speaking as author and sub-creator, more-or-less verified this idea, it's probably safe to accept it, as far as it goes. It has been widely noted that this conception leaves several questions unresolved. 1) Re: procreation, _The Silmarillion_ says that "the Orcs had life and multiplied after the manner of the Children of Iluvatar" (p. 50), but nevertheless people continue to raise questions. For one thing, there was never any hint that female Orcs exist (there were two apparent references to Orc children, but both were from _The Hobbit_ , and therefore may be considered suspect). 2) There is the question of why, if Orcs were corrupted Elves, their offspring would also be Orcs (rather than Elves -- a somewhat horrifying thought). This question leads to discussions of brainwashing vs. genetics, which are not altogether appropriate to the world of Middle-earth. 3) Finally there is the question of whether Orcs, being fundamentally Elves, go to the Halls of Mandos when they are slain, and whether, like Elves, they are reincarnated. (This last would explain how they managed to replenish their numbers so quickly all the time.) There is also some reason to think that Orcs, like Elves, are immortal. (Gorbag and Shagrat, during the conver- sation which Sam overheard, mention the "Great Seige", which presumably refers to the Last Alliance; it is possible to interpret this reference to mean that they were there and actually remembered it themselves.) ---------- 2) What was the origin of Trolls? No one seems to know. Apparently, though, they were "made" (as opposed to "created" -- see LFAQ, Enemies, 1) by Melkor. Said Tolkien: "I am not sure about Trolls. I think they are mere 'counterfeits', and hence ... they return to mere stone images when not in the dark. But there are other sorts of Trolls, beside these rather ridiculous, if brutal, Stone-trolls, for which other origins are suggested." (Letters, p. 191) "Counterfeits" here means more-or-less that the Trolls have no independant life of their own but are puppets animated in some way by an external Evil Will. As for the other kind of Troll, the Olog-hai, no reference to their origin has been found, except for Appendix F: "That Sauron bred them none doubted, though from what stock was not known." However, they were definitely true Trolls, not large Orcs. The Troll adventure in _The Hobbit_ should probably not be taken too literally as a source of Troll-lore -- it seems clear that it was much modified by the translator's desire to create familiarity. Thus, it seems unlikely that Trolls in Middle-earth spoke with Cockney accents, just as it seems unlikely that one of them would have been named "William". ---------- MISCELLANEOUS 1) Who was Queen Beruthiel? (Aragorn mentioned her during the journey through Moria.) The reference is to Book II, Ch 4 "A Journey in the Dark": " 'Do not be afraid!' said Aragorn. There was a pause longer than usual, and Gandalf and Gimli were whispering together; ... 'Do not be afraid! I have been with him on many a journey, if never on one so dark; ... He is surer of finding the way home in a blind night than the cats of Queen Beruthiel.' " (FR p. 325). This is a striking case of Tolkien's creative process. It seems that the name meant nothing when it first appeared: it just "came" as he was writing the first draft of the chapter. Later, however, he "found out" whom she "actually" was, his conclusions being reported in UT. She was the wife of King Tarannon of Gondor (Third Age 830-913), and was described as "nefarious, solitary, and loveless" (Tarannon's childlessness was mentioned without explanation in the annals). "She had nine black cats and one white, her slaves, with whom she conversed, or read their memories, setting them to discover all the dark secrets of Gondor,... setting the white cat to spy upon the black, and tormenting them. No man in Gondor dared touch them; all were afraid of them, and cursed when they saw them pass." Her eventual fate was to be set adrift in a boat with her cats: "The ship was last seen flying past Umbar under a sickle moon, with a cat at the masthead and another as a figure-head on the prow." It is also told that "her name was erased from the Book of the Kings (`but the memory of men is not wholly shut in books, and the cats of Queen Beruthiel never passed wholly out of men's speech')." (UT, pp 401-402)