The Nature of Middle-earth - Discussion!

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Cimrandir
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The Nature of Middle-earth - Discussion!

Post by Cimrandir »

Hello everybody!

With the latest in Professor Tolkien's work starting to drop, I figured I'd kick off a little book club discussion. I received my copy earlier this week and have only now begun to peruse it. This needn't be only regarding our hobby here but I imagine that will be most of it haha.

So to kick it off, my little contribution will be the fact that Aragorn clocks in at 6 foot 6 inches (score one for me at 6'5"!)
Descriptions of Characters, page 194 wrote:Elendil the Tall, leader of the Faithful who survived the Downfall, was said to have surpassed 7ft., though his sons were not quite so tall. Aragorn, his direct descendant, in spite of the many intervening generations, must still have been a very tall and strong man with a great stride; he was probably at least 6ft.6. Boromir, of high Númenórean lineage, would not be much shorter: say 6ft. 4.
Aragorn carried a staff?
Descriptions of Characters, page 191 wrote:In 1970 Allen & Unwin published a poster-sized Map of Middle-earth, executed by the artist Pauline Baynes, and based about that included in The Lord of the Rings. On the map itself are a series of vignettes portraying various locations significant to the story, such as the Barrow-Downs and Minas Tirith; and above and below the map proper, Baynes depicted the members of the Fellowship of the Ring, the Black Riders, Gollum, Shelob, and the other enemies of the West. On seeing the finished art, Tolkien wrote a series of comments on these depictions of places and characters..... and he found the depiction of Aragorn good, those of Sam and Gimli "good enough" and that of Boromir to be "the best figure, and most closely related to the text".
Descriptions of Characters, page 192 wrote:*Incidentally: Aragorn is provided with a staff, much more suitable for Gandalf, though Aragorn is never described as using one.
And we now have a location for a Dúnedain settlement!
Silvan Elves and Silvan Elvish, page 366 wrote:Trolls had lived in the north of the Misty Mountains since the days before memory, especially near the Ettenmoors; but they increased in numbers and wickedness while the realm of Angmar lasted. They then retreated east of the mountains, but about 300 years before the War of the Ring they returned and began to trouble Eriador, in spite of the vigilance of the Rangers, making dens in the hills even as far from the mountains as the North Downs. In the time of Arador a band threatened the house of the Chieftain, which was then in woods near the Hoarwell north of the Trollshaws, though many of the Dúnedain, though many of the Dúnedain lived in the woods between the Hoarwell and Loudwater.
Potential female Rangers? In a section on the name of Gilrain that was omitted from Unfinished Tales.
The Rivers and Beacon-Hills of Gondor, page 382 wrote:More likely it was her true name, since it had become a name given to women of her people, the remnants of the Númenóreans of the North Kingdom of unmingled blood. The women of the Eldar were accustomed to wear such tressures; but among other peoples they were used only by women of high rank among the "Rangers", descendants of Elros, as they claimed.

Sadly, it seems like NoMe might be it as far as non-language writing of Middle-earth from the Professor. The editor Carl F. Hostetter had an AMA (Ask Me Anything) on reddit today and he had this to say on future publications from the archives.

Hi! Do you have any idea what the plans of The Tolkien Estate for the future are, now that Christopher has passed away?

- Are you going to get more manuscripts to try and edit into a book, or was this a one-time thing?
- Do you know if they plan to focus more on publishing unpublished manuscripts of Tolkien, or to focus on re-editing already published material in a more approachable form (such as Christopher did with Beren and Lúthien and The Fall of Gondolin), or both?
I am not privy to the plans or thoughts of the Tolkien Estate (though of course I have contact with them on matters of permission to publish, etc.). Based solely on what I have seen of Tolkien's manuscripts — which to my knowledge is nearly exhaustive, save for letters and personal papers — I don't think there is enough unpublished material concerning Middle-earth (outside of the linguistic papers) to form another volume like NoMe. There are of course many of Tolkien's academic writings and lectures that remain unpublished (for now), but nothing substantial pertaining to Middle-earth. But I'd be delighted to be proven wrong on this!
And I asked this -
Unfortunately, the Professor was not very forth coming on details of the Dunedain in the 3rd Age. Not much on dress, culture, or real-world historical inspiration. I already love NoMe but it seems much of it is focused on the Elves and Numenoreans (which do lead to the Dunedain, yes).

So my question is, do you know if there will ever be more about the daily lives of the 3rd Age or specifically more about the Dunedain?
Thanks! I know of no other such material, alas.
So we might have to be content with what we have now.

So that's what I've gleaned so far. I know Greg has a very exciting bit he posted about on Facebook regarding dog breeds. Looking forward to a good discussion!
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Elleth
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Re: The Nature of Middle-earth - Discussion!

Post by Elleth »

Interesting!

The picture I think referred to:
baynes-fellowship.jpg
baynes-fellowship.jpg (36.63 KiB) Viewed 378 times
(the proportions might be a little distorted, I grabbed the image from an online photo of the map and had to straighten it out a touch)
From left to right, I assume: Boromir, Gandalf, Gimli, Pippin, Merry (or Merry, Pippin), Frodo, Sam, Bill the pony, Aragorn

... though I think the depiction of Bill might be more true to his character than his form. :mrgreen:
Persona: Aerlinneth, Dúnedain of Amon Lendel c. TA 3010.
Cimrandir
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Re: The Nature of Middle-earth - Discussion!

Post by Cimrandir »

Yes, I do believe that’s the aforementioned drawing. I had seen it before but I don’t believe I have heard the Professor’s opinion on it until now. It is frustrating that Mr Hostetter did not transcribe the whole of Tolkien’s thoughts on the portraits and just left it as “good.” It’s unlikely that it was much more than “good” but perhaps one day the full text will be revealed. In any case, a walking stick/staff is harmless enough and I think a seasoned traveler like Aragorn would find it most useful.
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Harper
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Re: The Nature of Middle-earth - Discussion!

Post by Harper »

The staff is a good weapon and an excellent bush-/woods-/fieldcraft tool. A multiplicity of uses.

A spear would fulfill the same functions with added dynamics for use as a weapon--but it would look "belligerent" under normal circumstances. I think that Rangers would probably want to adopt a ME "Gray Man" approach when possible.

I think Rangers don't give staves the place they deserve because we tend to consider bows as our primary weapons and it would be impractical to carry both.
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Manveruon
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Re: The Nature of Middle-earth - Discussion!

Post by Manveruon »

I had to pause while reading the initial post to come down here and chuckle at Tolkien’s description of Boromir, at 6-feet 4-inches, as being “much shorter” than Aragorn’s 6’6” :lol:

From my point of view, as a guy who exaggerates his own height slightly to reach 5’10”, this is hilarious.
Cimrandir
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Re: The Nature of Middle-earth - Discussion!

Post by Cimrandir »

Manveruon wrote: Thu Sep 16, 2021 5:32 pm I had to pause while reading the initial post to come down here and chuckle at Tolkien’s description of Boromir, at 6-feet 4-inches, as being “much shorter” than Aragorn’s 6’6” :lol:

From my point of view, as a guy who exaggerates his own height slightly to reach 5’10”, this is hilarious.
Hate to break it to you Manv, but it’s “not much shorter” lol.
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Manveruon
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Re: The Nature of Middle-earth - Discussion!

Post by Manveruon »

Cimrandir wrote: Thu Sep 16, 2021 9:01 pm Hate to break it to you Manv, but it’s “not much shorter” lol.
BAH! WHO NEEDS READING COMPREHENSION ANYWAY? :lol:
RangerofAngmar
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Re: The Nature of Middle-earth - Discussion!

Post by RangerofAngmar »

Harper wrote: Sun Sep 12, 2021 9:14 pm The staff is a good weapon and an excellent bush-/woods-/fieldcraft tool. A multiplicity of uses.

A spear would fulfill the same functions with added dynamics for use as a weapon--but it would look "belligerent" under normal circumstances. I think that Rangers would probably want to adopt a ME "Gray Man" approach when possible.

I think Rangers don't give staves the place they deserve because we tend to consider bows as our primary weapons and it would be impractical to carry both.
i agree a spear would serve the same purpose and also mean you have a weapon at the ready.

you could also go with an English Quarterstaff with the iron shodding on the ends. its a walking stick, a pokey stick and can hit like a train in a scrap. and was a common item in medieval England
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Greg
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Re: The Nature of Middle-earth - Discussion!

Post by Greg »

Alrighty, just catching up here. Here's my findings so far:

--------

A little while back, there was a conversation about Dogs and Rangers. My answer was based on 1) My own companion, a Border Collie, and 2) The knowledge of Shepherding in Eriador...but nothing more than inference.
In short, and with as much humility as I can muster on short notice...I WAS RIGHT.
"For the Numenoreans kept dogs, especially in the country, partly by ancestral tradition, since they had few useful purposes any longer. [...] In the sheep-rearing regions, such as that of Emerie, they had dogs specially trained to help the shepherds."
- J.R.R. Tolkien, The Nature of Middle Earth. Part 3, Chapter XI: Lives of the Numenoreans

To add additional credence to the use of Numenorean canines on the Mainland in 3A Middle-earth:
"As for the major animals, it is clear that there were none of the canine or related kinds. There were certainly no hounds or dogs (all of which WERE IMPORTED)..."
- J.R.R. Tolkien, The Nature of Middle Earth. Part 3, Chapter XIII: Of the Land and Beasts of Numenor
Now the sword shall come from under the cloak.
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