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Old 07-12-2020, 01:32 PM   #1
mindil
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Details in HOME about inventing Arwen?

I've been reading HOME pretty thoroughly and I was hoping to learn how Tolkien devised Arwen. She was not part of the story until Book 5, as far as I can tell, after Elladan and Elrohir were invented, when they belatedly were acknowledged to have come with the northern Dunadain to Rohan. At first, their nameless sister had sent the standard, and then she slowly gained significance (first as Finduilas, a sort of Jane-Doe stand-in name for Elven women).

By mid book 6, it is clear that Elrond's daughter is going to be Aragorn's queen, and Tolkien must have gone back and retrofitted her into a few spots in earlier chapters. But C. R. Tolkien doesn't discuss this retrofitting at all; he minimally mentions it. True enough, he apologizes in HoME XII that he shortchanged the final changes to the earlier chapters; he should have continued HoME IX with lots of those details, but instead he just rushed into a wrap of the History of LoTR (he doesn't say why) and moved on to the Notion Club Papers. And so I hoped he'd make amends in the Tale of Aragorn and Arwen - but no. It's even more minimalist than the earlier material.

CRT's approach is so heavily linguistic it sometimes boggles the mind. Changes of one letter in a name get strict attention, but changes in characters can get none at all. Is there anything about JRRT's *feelings* about Arwen's invention anywhere in the large corpus of Tolkien studies? Anything about his thoughts about her needing to be in the story, about A&A's relationship?

And apropos relationships, is there any record of JRRT's evolving feelings about Aragorn and Eowyn's relationship? CRT is as cursory about that as about A&A. JRRT put very nice work into describing A&E's feelings - he must have had some feelings about their relationship himself. Are they recorded or speculated about anywhere? -- Note: I'm not interested in speculations about what A&E were feeling in the story, but rather facts and guesses about what JRRT himself was feeling about his story when he wrote about them.

Any leads? Any clues?
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Old 07-14-2020, 12:18 AM   #2
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The earliest note on the matter that I'm aware of comes from a hasty time-scheme made just as he was resuming work on the chapters 'Minas Tirith' and 'The Muster of Rohan' in 1946. One very difficult note, as part of a series of projections for the end of the story, reads

Quote:
"Aragorn ?discovers [?in lost] Palantir a ..?.. sprig of the Tree
He becomes King of M. Tirith (?wed to daughter of Elrond)"
It's worth pointing out that Elladan and Elrohir had not yet been invented at this time.
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Old 07-14-2020, 01:42 AM   #3
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Thank you.
Page in HoME 7 or 8, please?

So this predated the appearance of Eowyn?
I was starting to think that JRRT hadn't given serious thought to love and marriage in LoTR until Eowyn showed up and started making eyes at Aragorn. It almost seemed like he stopped at that point and asked himself for the first time who Aragorn was really going to share the throne and his settled life with.

It certainly wasn't a question when Trotter was still a hobbit, which lasted through many iterations of the stay in Rivendell.
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Old 07-14-2020, 01:59 AM   #4
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Thank you.
Page in HoME 7 or 8, please?

So this predated the appearance of Eowyn?
I was starting to think that JRRT hadn't given serious thought to love and marriage in LoTR until Eowyn showed up and started making eyes at Aragorn. It almost seemed like he stopped at that point and asked himself for the first time who Aragorn was really going to share the throne and his settled life with.

It certainly wasn't a question when Trotter was still a hobbit, which lasted through many iterations of the stay in Rivendell.

Unpublished manuscript.

Eowyn was already there, had been since 'The King of the Golden Hall.' Early on, she was going to be Aragorn's love interest, but Tolkien changed his mind. Then for a while she was going to die at the Pelennor, so no Faramir marriage.
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Old 07-14-2020, 02:41 AM   #5
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Eowyn's potential Pelennor death is well documented.
The implication of her being the love interest is clear in HoME, too.

The combination doesn't provide for a Queen, though. Perhaps that's why JRRT had death/ no death versions going almost simultaneously, trying to figure out where A&E should go? Where does your manuscript fit in the sequence of Eowyn's death/no death endings?

Was the original thought at the time of your manuscript that Aragorn would lose Eowyn to death on the Pelennor and then turn to Arwen? That wouldn't wash well. Perhaps recognizing the impossibility of such a sudden transfer of devotion back to Rivendell was what ruled out Eowyn as even a temporary interest? And once Arwen was established as a long-standing fiancee, there was no obstacle to Eowyn living, and that's why her survival was settled?

But mostly, what position gives you access to unpublished manuscripts?
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Old 07-14-2020, 02:47 AM   #6
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The earliest note on the matter that I'm aware of comes from a hasty time-scheme made just as he was resuming work on the chapters 'Minas Tirith' and 'The Muster of Rohan' in 1946. One very difficult note, as part of a series of projections for the end of the story, reads



It's worth pointing out that Elladan and Elrohir had not yet been invented at this time.
BTW, I read that section of HoME backwards and forwards, a few months ago, and I came to a very different conclusion than CT about when JRRT took his long break. Granted, CT had more material to consider than he's given us, but from what we have, the texts can be attributed differently than he suggested, in a way that can be enlightening.
But that's a discussion for a different thread, and I don't have time now to pull my thoughts together about it. Maybe next week.
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Old 07-14-2020, 09:52 AM   #7
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Eowyn's potential Pelennor death is well documented.
The implication of her being the love interest is clear in HoME, too.

The combination doesn't provide for a Queen, though. Perhaps that's why JRRT had death/ no death versions going almost simultaneously, trying to figure out where A&E should go? Where does your manuscript fit in the sequence of Eowyn's death/no death endings?

Was the original thought at the time of your manuscript that Aragorn would lose Eowyn to death on the Pelennor and then turn to Arwen? That wouldn't wash well. Perhaps recognizing the impossibility of such a sudden transfer of devotion back to Rivendell was what ruled out Eowyn as even a temporary interest? And once Arwen was established as a long-standing fiancee, there was no obstacle to Eowyn living, and that's why her survival was settled?

But mostly, what position gives you access to unpublished manuscripts?
By the time Tolkien wrote the jotted notes in question he had already decided on the Faramir marriage. Apparently right about that time, in fact, since on the previous page the entry "[Gandalf] rescues Eowyn" was an insertion, not originally present. But it must be emphasized that the paper in question was a flurry of possible turns in the account of the battle and its aftermath which had definitely not yet taken on anything like its familiar form.

As to date: there is no question that at this time Tolkien was working on what would become the first full draft of Minas Tirith; the entries appear to accord with the abortive draft which preceded it, in which the guardsman and his son were named Berethil and Gwindor. From the dating it is definitely certain that it precedes the start of what would become 'The Passing of the Grey Company,' in which Elrond's sons first appeared; everything still happens in February rather than March.
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Old 07-14-2020, 10:19 AM   #8
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But mostly, what position gives you access to unpublished manuscripts?
See here et seq: http://www.forum.barrowdowns.com/sho...14&postcount=4
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Old 07-14-2020, 12:42 PM   #9
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I saw and now reread the thread in question.
This still leaves the question of what position you are fortunate to occupy that gives you access to Marquette?
Can anyone get stuff from them? Is there an index that makes it easy to find a bit of this or that? Do they send scans by email?
Or do you hold a necessary professorship somewhere?
Or are you just sufficiently settled to be able to afford zillions of hours picking through the ore?
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Old 07-14-2020, 08:36 PM   #10
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I saw and now reread the thread in question.
This still leaves the question of what position you are fortunate to occupy that gives you access to Marquette?
Can anyone get stuff from them? Is there an index that makes it easy to find a bit of this or that? Do they send scans by email?
Or do you hold a necessary professorship somewhere?
Or are you just sufficiently settled to be able to afford zillions of hours picking through the ore?

Well, I don't have any sort of "position;" I'm certainly not a professor! The long of the short of it is that I asked Christopher T, and he said yes. As for time- well, I'm retired. Got nothing but time.
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Old 07-15-2020, 01:01 AM   #11
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You are very fortunate. I've got no spare time, not being retired and still having family at home. But LoTR is too fun, so I give it time I don't have.

As for Aragorn, Eowyn and Arwen, I rechecked HoME, and indeed, in VII, JRRT says explicitly that he wants A&E, dated around the time E shows up in the first workings of King of the Golden Hall, but then at some unknown time he drops it, because A&E are just not a good match. He even thinks A might not be a good match for anyone.

Elladan and Elrohir show up much later, and Arwen even later.

Eowyn's death becomes possible because she's no longer shipped with Aragorn, and from the sound of it, JRRT first thinks of sending her off to the Pelannor (not yet so named, probably) because he's looking for some good use for the character. Whether she dies or not is irrespective of A&E's wisp of a relationship, which helps explain why the competing versions seem so arbitrary - it makes no essential difference to the main characters if she lives or instead dies heroically.

It's not so strange that JRRT first thought of A&E, as Aragorn's stature was not overly high at that point in the story development. It kept rising throughout the writing. For the longest time, he was a scruffy hobbit, and when he became a dunadan, he was still only a scruffy remnant of a noble line. His hidden messianic qualities kept ramping up from phase to phase of the writing.

Possibly, your scrap of note is when JRRT first decided that A&A was appropriate. From HoME's minimalist record of the Tale of Aragorn and Arwen, it seems to have been written very late in the game, a major retcon to document for Aragorn the stature that was now envisioned for him, that allowed him to marry Elrond's daughter.

So perhaps the underlying question is not - Where did the idea of Arwen come from?, but When did JRRT realize that he had a messianic figure in Aragorn? It seems to have been during the writing of the Paths of the Dead. In RoTK, it's around then that the other characters notice it, too.

Are there any documented comments by JRRT about this evolution? About his feelings about it, or how it came to be?
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