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At Manwë's Feet: Studies in Tolkien's World  by Fiondil 14 Review(s)
Erulisse (one L)Reviewed Chapter: 2 on 10/30/2010
I finally managed to carve out some time to read this thoroughly. You mention many things that I have thought over the years that I have been reading JRRT and I agree with a great deal of what you have said in this. As always, I learn a lot by reading your words and I thank you for taking the time to present this to us.

- Erulisse (one L)

Author Reply: Hi, Erulisse. Thank you for letting me know how much you enjoyed this essay. I really appreciate it.

TariReviewed Chapter: 2 on 10/18/2010
Wow!! You did an amazing job of comparing the Silmarillion to the Bible. In this book, Tolkien made no attempt whatsoever to hid his Christian faith. I find it fascinating every time I read it, which is not often because it breaks my heart to see what happens to the beautiful elves. While he says his faith does not enter the trilogy, I find that in many instances it does.

It's sad to see how many people in these times just don't get it. I, myself, am not afraid of death. I know what lays beyond this life is much more beautiful that we can possibly imagine.

Author Reply: Thank you, Tari. I'm so glad you enjoyed this essay and found much it to think on. It's very sad that people just don't get it, but that is unfortunately the way it is. In many ways our culture is very much like that of the Numenoreans, who were so afraid of death that they tried to cling to life more and more, only ending up with a shorter life span and dying anyways. And, of course, this is a major theme throughout Tolkien's writings.

Anyway, I really appreciate you taking the time to read this essay and to let me know what you thought of it. Thanks again.

AntaneReviewed Chapter: 2 on 10/15/2010
Very interesting overview of the themes in The Silmarillion. I've only read it once but it was fascinating and I will be reading again. I so love that quote of Iluvatar's to Melkor in Note 2. Death is indeed a Gift to us all.

Namarie, God bless, Antane :)

Author Reply: Thank you, Antane. I really appreciate you taking the time to read and review this essay. As difficult as the Silmarillion can be to read, it really is worth the effort.

God bless.

RhyselleReviewed Chapter: 2 on 10/15/2010
Dear Fiondil, your essays help me to appreciate many things anew. :)

I really enjoyed reading this particular essay, as, even though I don't tend to get into the theologic aspects of Tolkien's Arda in my own writing, I do think about them when I'm preparing to write things about life in Aman.

When I first read THE SILMARILLION, I was too young to really understand the real issues regarding the Valar's actions concerning the elves. I hadn't even thought about likening the mythology of the Silmarillion to the creation story in the Bible, nor questioned the motives and decisions that the Valar made.

But since reading your body of work, and studying the SILM in more depth, I find myself being able to more easily make the mental connections that you consolidate so elequently in this essay.

From a scholastic perspective, this essay satisfies my desire to look at and learn from the building blocks that construct the written tales; from a writer's perspective, it inspires me to incorporate some of the concepts in my character development when I write about the Valar and their interaction with Children of Illuvatar.

It is much more interesting in writing about imperfect beings than perfect ones. And the more powerful the being who makes the mistake, the more intriguing and far-reaching the consequences of that error will be. So maybe now my muse will be inspired to scribble more about the Valar, and about the Elves and Men of Arda.... Whatever is produced will be better than it might have been, thank to this essay!

Well done!

Author Reply: Hi Rhyselle. Thank you so much for your lovely review of this essay. I actually hesitated for the longest time before posting it as I wasn't sure how well it would be received, especially since most people are not into the Silmarillion as much as they are into LOTR. I am glad that this essay has satisfied both your scholastic and authorial bents, and that you find inspiration from this for your own stories. That was essentially my intent, as well as to hopefully give people an appreciation for the intricacy and genius of Tolkien's mythology. Thanks for reading and reviewing. Word cannot adequately expression my appreciation.

6336Reviewed Chapter: 2 on 10/13/2010
This was interesting, I know how much of Tolkiens tale was influenced by his Christian and Catholic ethics, this sort of puts it all in perspective.
One question though, did men know about Illuvitar before they came over the mountains from the East and were 'found' by Finrod? I am very sure that Melkor did not mention Him to them!

Author Reply: Hi Lynda. I'm glad you found this essay to be informative. In other writings of Tolkien, I think there is something about how Ilúvatar spoke in the hearts of Men but Morgoth came among them and turned them away from the 'Voice'. Also, in the Silmarillion itself, it states that Men met the Avari in their travels and learned much from them, so I imagine they would have learned about Ilúvatar from them as well. But it is an interesting question as to when Men did learn of Him. Perhaps it is safe to say that only when they reache Beleriand and met Finrod and the other Noldor did they learn more fully about Ilúvatar, more than just the rumors that they might have come upon as they wandered westward in search of a paradise.

LarnerReviewed Chapter: 1 on 7/15/2010
A fascinating discussion, from one who has studied visual perception, brain mapping, and art. Thanks for the enlightenment!

Author Reply: I'm so glad you found this enlightening, Larner. Thanks for letting me know. I really appreciate it.

rickReviewed Chapter: 1 on 7/15/2010
Another good one, in an entirely new way! I enjoyed your essay very much,and learned at least a little bit.

A comment on your comments about purple: elves may not have had it because it is very difficult to obtain Crayola-equivalent Royal Purple from vegetable dyes. The ancient world used murex sea-snails for a dye always described in modern journals as "reddish-purple"; the kermes insect produces the scarlet that cardinals wear. To get any kind of purple with vegetable dyes, you'd need to over-dye blue with red or vice versa, and royal purple (modern) would not be the result. Neither woad (blue) nor madder (red), the primary dye sources for those colors in medieval Europe, produce the blazingly intense colors of modern aniline dyes. It would take a great deal of persistence and time to get even a fairly rich purple using over-dying. Elves have time & persistence, but they may also have had other things to do, or may not have thought the result worth the effort, or may have classified the results in with blues or reds.
An additional note about murex sea snails: In the Wikipedia article about Tyrian purple at it says David Jacoby remarks[10] that "twelve thousand snails of Murex brandaris yield no more than 1.4 g of pure dye, enough to color only the trim of a single garment." FWIW

Author Reply: Hi Rick. I'm glad you liked this. Thanks for letting me know. Your analysis may well be true. Certainly we know that purple (and black) were very difficult dyes to obtain in the ancient and medieval worlds, and certainly the amount of dye that one could obtain was so costly it's no wonder that purple was reserved for royalty alone. Thanks for the additional information on this. As my essay points out 'purple' is often classified either with GRUE or pure blue or red depending on whether it has more blue or red in it, so I can imagine the Elves doing something similar.

6336Reviewed Chapter: 1 on 7/14/2010
Been reading some of the reviews. Perhaps the reason the Sindar had so many differant words for white is because, before Ithil rose, that was mostly what they sew, shades of black, white and gray.
Who can think of any number of names for differant whites.

Author Reply: Very likely true, Lynda. In "Elf, Interrupted" I have Finrod explaining how Sindarin clothing was highly textured rather than colorful, the way the Noldor's clothing was. When colors are in shades of grey, so to speak, you're likely to get more textured material to provide interest. Finrod goes on to tell about the Sindar's white-on-white embroidery technique which did not exist among the Noldor as an illustration of this.

And we see this in our own world. Eskimos have 20 words for 'snow'. Here in Central New York which can have brutal winters I think we have about a dozen or so different words for 'snow'. Down in the South where snow is rare, they probably have only one or two words to describe it.

Kaylee ArafinwielReviewed Chapter: 1 on 7/14/2010
Hi, Atar Fiondil!

Well, this is interesting. :) An essay! You never fail to amaze. *grin* I have to say, I firmly disagree with the CARP here. The beginning of the essay was a wonderful introduction. I never had it explained like that in it makes sense!

As for the colors themselves...I didn't know Tolkien had so many words for the different colors. That's amazing...especially how some cultures of Elves (and some 'real' languages) don't actually have words for certain colors. As at least one other reviewer said, I grew up on Crayola colors, so I can't imagine that!

Still, I can imagine different words for various hues and shades. (Someone ought to come out with an Elvish Crayola box! "Menelluin" would be one of my favorites!)

Hantanyel, so much for this wonderful resource!

Tye-melin, Atar Fiondil!


Author Reply: Hi Kaylee. You're welcome. I'm glad you found this essay interesting and that it makes sense to you. We all grew up with Crayola colors so it is hard to imagine that some cultures only recognize 3 or 4 or 5 basic colors. An Elvish Crayola box sounds like a lot of fun. *LOL* Thanks for reviewing and letting me know how much you enjoyed this. I appreciate it.


Erulisse (one L)Reviewed Chapter: 1 on 7/14/2010
This is simply yummy. As an anthropologist, this type of analysis is a wonderful example of how cultures can be studied and understood from the outside looking in. Your extrapolation of color terminology based on the history of the languages makes a great deal of sense - color terms abound in the cultures raised with the Two Trees, color terms of shade and shadow abound with those raised under Varda's stars. Thank you SO MUCH for your insight. I can visualize these cultures just a bit clearer now, thanks to your research. Le hannon.

- Erulisse (one L)

Author Reply: I'm so glad you enjoyed this essay, Erulisse. Having a background in anthropology and sociolinguistics, I love to explore these aspects of elvish culture as much as one can without having any Elves to question. *LOL* I am glad that this little exploration in the possible consequence of living in the light of the Two Trees as opposed to living under continual starlight with respect to how color is named and recogized has helped you to visualize these two cultures more clearly. That is certainly one of my goals in writing this and subsequent essays. Thank you so much for reviewing and letting me know how much you enjoyed this. I really appreciate it.

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