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PostPosted: Sun May 29, 2016 4:43 am
by lintamande
I wanted to write up a thing clarifying what, in the elf threads, is canon and what's general universe headcanon and what's a story-specific consequence of events, and also a timeline with all of my active threads situated on it.

First, the timeline! This is from the Annals of Aman, which is in Morgoth's Ring (History of Middle-earth Volume X) and from the Grey Annals and the Tale of Years, both in War of the Jewels (Volume XI). The dates in this part are in Years of the Trees, which are 9.582 years of the Sun. In some places this is messy and I defer to ( ... illion.php)

1 The Two Trees are created
1050 Elves awaken beside Cuiviénen
1090-1100 War of the Valar and Melkor
1101 Valar invite the Elves to Valinor
1130-52 Elwë's honeymoon
1169 Birth of Fëanor
(Miriel dies. We don't know when, exactly).
1179 Aether in Valinor
1181 Portalbold in Valinor
1185 Marriage of Finwë and Indis, Matilda in Valinor
(all of the Finweans are born. you don't want a whole other timeline just for that do you)
1400 Melkor paroled
1450 Fëanor creates the Silmarils
1495 Darkening of Valinor. Death of Finwë and flight of the Noldor. First Kinslaying.
1497 Morgoth attacks Beleriand. Fëanor reaches Middle-earth and burns the ships. Death of Amras. Death of Fëanor. Capture of Maedhros.
1500 Rising of the Moon and the Sun. Nolofinweans reach Middle-earth.Lokibel, Mountain, Amber

Years of the Sun:
2 Nolofinweans settle at Lake Mithrim. (Feanorians move across the lake because they don't want a fight but they're pathologically incapable of apologizing.) Miles.
5 Fingon rescues Maedhros and the Noldor are reunited.
7 Sons of Fëanor leave Mithrim and move to Eastern Beleriand
60 Dagor Aglareb. Morgoth invades Beleriand and is defeated.
150 Caranthir makes contact with the Dwarves
155 Morgoth attempts to attack Hithlum and is driven off
260 Glaurung invades Ard-galen and is repelled by Fingon
310 Finrod meets Bëor
316 Aredhel encounters Eöl
400 Aredhel and Maeglin ride to Gondolin. Deaths of Aredhel and Eöl.
410 Boromir of the House of Bëor becomes lord of Ladros in Dorthonion
416 Fingolfin gives Dor Lómin to House of Hador
455-456 Battle of Sudden Flame. Deaths of Angrod, Aegnor, Fingolfin Illia and Odette in Beleriand
464-466 Beren enters Doriath, meets Lúthien, falls in love. They fight Sauron, seduce Morgoth, acquire Silmaril. Death of Finrod.
468 Maedhros begins to construct the Union against Morgoth
469 Maedhros retakes Dorthonion. Beren and Lúthien return briefly to Doriath.
472 Battle of Tears Unnumbered. Death of Fingon.
495 Fall of Nargothrond and deaths of Orodreth and Finduilas. Orcs attack Brethil.
503 Death of Thingol. Birth of Eärendil. Birth of Elwing.
504 Dior becomes king of Doriath
506 Second Kinslaying and death of Dior, Celegorm, Curufin, Caranthir
510 Fall of Gondolin and death of Turgon
511 Survivors of Gondolin reach Sirion
532 Birth of Elros and Elrond, Promise
538 Third Kinslaying, death of Amrod
542 Eärendil reaches Valinor
545 Host of Valinor lands
587 Destruction of Angband. Maedhros and Maglor seize the Silmarils. Death of Maedhros.
590 Morgoth thrust into the Void. End of the First Age.

Re: Elfthreads!

PostPosted: Sun May 29, 2016 5:05 am
by Kappa
eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! elfthread information! i am so happy! :D

Re: Elfthreads!

PostPosted: Sun May 29, 2016 5:13 am
by lintamande
Now canonicity of things!

My Elfblog has a tag #let's not go to Canonicity it is a silly place. The Silmarillion is a Frankenstein's monster of a book stitched together after the author's death from fifty years of worldbuilding notes. It has a number of outright errors (Chris Tolkien says that he's really sorry about writing that Gil-Galad was Fingon's kid) and in lots of places just snatches the nearest available of several interpretations Tolkien fleshed out in equal depth.

Tolkien likes sourcing all of his worldbuilding documents to in-universe writers. This is great because it means when something is upsetting/problematic/no fun, you can just engage with it as 'this loremaster in an Elven kingdom a thousand years after the fact said this' rather than as a fact about the universe. This is my favored approach to Tolkien; most of my writing leaves it ambiguous whether, for example, sex is marriage for Elves, which is something that's mentioned but with lots of layers of in-universe deniability because Tolkien didn't like all the implications (he really struggled with what to do about rape). It's kind of inconvenient for glowfic. In general, resolving lots of out-of-universe worldbuilding indecision as in-universe differences of opinion or historiography is fun, but glowfic characters have a tendency to want worldbuilding questions to be actually solvable and not just commentaries on the ambiguity of a problem.

Some examples of this: are orcs tortured Elves? Tolkien was horribly torn about this; he wanted orcs to be derived from Men instead, but there was absolutely no way to get the timeline straight. In my fiction I usually have characters say 'they say that maybe orcs are tortured Elves' but in glowfic this doesn't work as well. So, yes, in this universe orcs are tortured Elves.

Orcs swearing oaths is not canon. Orcs hating Morgoth and serving him anyway is canon. Bindingness of Oaths is canon. It seems to me like an obvious move and I'm not sure why the bad guys wouldn't make it, but if they did, it took them a while to get anywhere with it. Morgoth's Ring is the place where Tolkien grapples at the most length with this, and there he tries to go with something like 'at first, orcs just were all evil, but then Morgoth got better at controlling them, and Sauron was better still at it':

They were certainly dominated by their Master (Morgoth), but his dominion was by fear, and they were aware of this fear and hated him. They were indeed so corrupted that they were pitiless, and there was no cruelty or wickedness that they would not commit; but this was the corruption of independent wills, and they took pleasure in their deeds. They were capable of acting on their own, doing evil deeds unbidden for their own sport; or if Morgoth and his agents were far away, they might neglect his commands. They sometimes fought among themselves, to the detriment of Morgoth’s plans.

It is true, of course, that Morgoth held the Orcs in dire thralldom; for in their corruption they had lost almost all possibility of resisting the dominion of his will. So great indeed did its pressure upon them become ere Angband fell that if he turned his thought toward them, they were conscious of his ’eye’ wherever they might be; and when Morgoth was at last removed from Arda the Orcs that survived in the West were scattered, leaderless and almost witless, and were for a long time without control or purpose.

This servitude to a central will that reduced the Orcs almost to an ant-like life was seen even more plainly in the Second and Third Ages under the tyranny of Sauron, Morgoth’s chief lieutenant. Sauron indeed achieved even greater control over his Orcs than Morgoth had done. He was, of course, operating on a smaller scale, and he had no enemies so great and fell as were the Noldor in their might in the Eldar Days. But he had also inherited from those days difficulties, such as the diversity of the Orcs in breed and language, and the feuds among them; while in many places in Middle-earth, after the fall of Thangorodrim and during the concealment of Sauron, the Orcs recovering from their helplessness had set up petty realms of their own and became accustomed to independence. Nonetheless Sauron in time managed to unite them all in unreasoning hatred of the elves and of Men who associated with them; while the Orcs of his own trained armies were so completely under his will that they would sacrifice themselves without hesitation at his command.

or, another one: is sex marriage, for Elves? The main source on this is Laws and Customs of the Eldar, which is also the source on No Poly Elves and No Gay Elves. Its in-universe author is Aelfwine, a mortal man from medieval England who got shipwrecked on Tol Eressea. (There are a few version of this, too; he's the source of the frame story in the Book of Lost Tales as a mariner from sixth century Heligoland, later revised to a tenth century English mariner.) That's a ridiculous amount of leeway for interpretation; some Elves told a guy something at some point which he interpreted as 'for Elves, sex is marriage' and that's all. You could go with anything from 'Elves are in fact all straight and hypermongamous' to 'Elves are like Berkeley rationalists but lie to random medieval mortal mariners about it'. It's a dilemma I resolved by having different Elf communities have different answers; the 'true answer' in my 'verse is that it is in fact controlled by expectations, and that in Valinor Tolkien's Catholic sexual ethics were the relevant expectations.

(Did the Valar break up peoples' unacceptable marriages when people got to Aman? Well, if there were any poly Elves, then this would have followed, because they have a stated policy of Making Very Sure that no one is married to more than one person, and in fact keep Miriel dead over this point (she eventually does desire to return to life). Might be there weren't any poly Elves so it didn't come up. It's definitely not canon.)

Re: Elfthreads!

PostPosted: Sun May 29, 2016 5:17 am
by lintamande
There are so many of these things but it will be easier for me to generate content if people ask questions, I think.

Re: Elfthreads!

PostPosted: Sun May 29, 2016 5:23 am
by Kappa
I haven't been able to find any descriptions of Rumil on a casual googling that suggest he got captured by the Enemy and was blind for a while and stuff; is that obscure information or did you add it in yourself?

What is the deal with Elves dying if someone tries to nonconsensually marry them (and did Sauron get around it via the power of hallucinations, or the power of Not Technically Marriage, or...?)

In general, resolving lots of out-of-universe worldbuilding indecision as in-universe differences of opinion or historiography is fun, but glowfic characters have a tendency to want worldbuilding questions to be actually solvable and not just commentaries on the ambiguity of a problem.
this is so extremely true XDDDDDDDD

Re: Elfthreads!

PostPosted: Sun May 29, 2016 5:32 am
by lintamande
Are you making the Feanorians more sympathetic than they canonically are?

I haven't even had them rescue children who they orphaned by kinslaying and raise them as their own, which Tolkien in fact did do, I think I am being totally reasonable. My Celegorm does come across as very unlikely to threaten to force Lúthien to marry him, which canon!Celegorm does; this is because I like writing Celegorm and I don't like writing rapists (I immediately threw Sauron in a black hole, that doesn't count) so I have arbitrarily decided he was being a horrible human being in unrelated ways in that mess.

Does Fëanor really have that atrocious priorities?

[Fëanor] perished too early in the war against Morgoth, largely
because of his recklessness, to do more than note the differences between the
dialects of North Sindarin (which was the only one he had time to learn) and the
Western [that is, Quenya]

- The Shibboleth of Fëanor, on Fëanor's contributions to sociolinguistics in Beleriand. He died within like three weeks of arriving on the continent, most of that time spent fighting the Battle-Under-Stars, his people definitely hadn't yet built shelter, and in that time he merely learned a few dialects of North Sindarin and wrote extensive notes on the common ancestry it had with Quenya which was the basis for later research by others.

So, in a word, yes.

What was the exact wording of the Oath, and what exactly does it bind them to do?

Tolkien had three versions and never settled on one. This is awful. A lot of inconsistencies in what the Oath forces are a consequence of this. The wording I go with is the ... -in-tirion one.

Re: Elfthreads!

PostPosted: Sun May 29, 2016 5:37 am
by lintamande
Rúmil having been captured and enslaved by the Enemy is from the Book of Lost Tales 1:

Thus it was that the Ainulindalë was first to be heard by mortal ears, as Eriol sat in a sunlit garden in Tol Eressëa. Even after Eriol (or Ælfwine) had fallen away, Rúmil remained, the great Noldorin sage of Tirion ‘who first achieved fitting signs for the recording of speech and song' (The Silmarillion p. 63), and The Music of the Ainur continued to be ascribed to him, though invested with the gravity of a remote time he moved far away from the garrulous and whimsical philologist of Kortirion. It is to be noted that in this account Rúmil had been a slave under Melko.

Him still being disfigured by his time in slavery isn't canon, and one can assume by the time he developed writing and notation for music he definitely wasn't blind.

Elves dying if raped is again from Laws and Customs of the Eldar, which should be taken with oceans of salt:

Among all these evils there is no record of any among the Elves that took another's spouse by force; for this was wholly against their nature, and one so forced would have rejected bodily life and passed to Mandos.

Note that this is an Elf who rapes another, married Elf; marrying someone by rape is still possible (and is a reasonable read of what happened with Aredhel and Eol.) Tolkien also later scratched that out, probably because Disturbing Implications dude what the fuck.

Elf Hair Being Sexy!

PostPosted: Sun May 29, 2016 5:43 am
by lintamande
All the Eldar had beautiful hair (and were especially attracted by hair of exceptional loveliness)

- Shibboleth of Fëanor, again

Nothing about whether one would wear it loose, and all the facecasts have their hair down because it's hard enough to find enough pretty long-haired boys for facecasts without also trying to find them with their hair in Elfy braids.

Re: Elfthreads!

PostPosted: Sun May 29, 2016 8:25 am
by Kappa
...So, wait, in the Loki thread, does the Oath compel them to kill Elu or Melian or whoever even if they can and do get the Silmaril back another way?

Re: Elfthreads!

PostPosted: Sun May 29, 2016 11:42 am
by lintamande
No! Canon features of the Oath: if someone has it, you're compelled (ish? it's complicated) to attack them, if they give it back the Oath ceases to be in force and you're fine. The Feanorians try trading for it before each Kinslaying. That never goes over well.