Men, Hobbits, and Framing, Or How Tolkien Still Couldn’t Start the Silmarillion (Part 2)

STM-Silm-20150130Men, Hobbits, and Framing, Or How Tolkien Still Couldn’t Start the Silmarillion (Part 2).

The follow-up to The Wandering Elf-friend, Or How Tolkien Couldn’t Start the Silmarillion (Part 1).

Continuing on details about the gestation of the Silmarillion. It’s fascinating, the changes, and unchanges, the manuscript got through the years.

As mentioned, I’m looking forward to the different-facets approach of this page-a-blogpost project. Before the first page in the book gets even a look, there’s already details enough about the book that characterise (for me) a Silmmie read: a lot of details, and a lot to mull on.

The concluding thoughts threw in another surprise.

The published Silmarillion, as we know, contains nothing of the framing. It is presented as if the work had been simply found along the road somewhere. It’s clear that most of it comes from and is for the Elves, but beyond that, it’s a mystery….

… A big part of me agrees with Christopher Tolkien, and I would have absolutely loved for the hobbits to have framed it. But in the end, where would that have brought us? If Ælfwine the Englishman really had handed it down through his ancestors to today, why wasn’t he mentioned in Lord of the Rings? His inclusion, and maybe any inclusion of the framing narrative, might have created more questions than answers.

The first part of the quote I definitely agree with. It’s the second part that’s got the wheels turning. Imagine if this framing happened, what a full and rich mythology of ME we’d get. But just trying to visualise the effort of it is enough to boggle the mind, without the professor’s own involvement. Personally, I’ll let my inner pragmatist take over and put it out there: I”ll take the Silm as it is and trade the tantalising yearn of framing for hopes of that Hobbit-upgrade seeing light of day, because it does seem that has better chances of being.

7 thoughts on “Men, Hobbits, and Framing, Or How Tolkien Still Couldn’t Start the Silmarillion (Part 2)

  1. Eric

    🙂 I find it highly unlikely that a hobbit-upgrade would happen.

    Wait, are we talking about an upgrade to The Hobbit, or a hobbity-upgrade to the framing of the Silmarillion? Either way, I don’t think it will happen.

    Tolkien, as you probably know, tried to upgrade The Hobbit, got a few chapters in, and abandoned it. Honestly, it was kind of blah.


    1. lurkerinthemirk Post author

      I’m thinking of The Hobbit upgrade because of the work Tolkien was said to hsve done. It’s at least started; the hobbity-upgrade of the Silm is like, well, trying to spot Ungoliant in the vastness of existence. 😛


      1. Eric

        Ahhh that. Yes. I’ve read it. It’s in John Rateliff’s History of the Hobbit. He basically took the child-like magic out of the story. It lost its soul. Thankfully he didn’t get too far. Six chapters or so. whew!


          1. Eric

            The version of Riddles in the Dark is from that upgrade (basically) . In the first edition it was a very different chapter. Same Riddles, different consequences.


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