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Old 04-20-2020, 07:56 AM   #1
Urwen
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Craziest Tolkien Theories

Share your craziest Tolkien theories here, the crazier the better.

Some of mine:

- Nienor is Eorl's ancestor.
- Maglor lives in Imladris under a fake identity
- Maeglin got reincarnated as Grima as part of his punishment. Don't believe me? Look at the similarities.
- The wave didn't kill Miriel. Rather, it washed her onto the shores of Middle Earth where she stayed incognito up until her death.
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Old 04-20-2020, 08:39 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Urwen View Post
Share your craziest Tolkien theories here, the crazier the better.

Some of mine:

- Nienor is Eorl's ancestor.
- Maglor lives in Imladris under a fake identity
- Maeglin got reincarnated as Grima as part of his punishment. Don't believe me? Look at the similarities.
- The wave didn't kill Miriel. Rather, it washed her onto the shores of Middle Earth where she stayed incognito up until her death.
Oh, I have so many of these. So many that I have an entire website devoted to them... Netilardo, home of the Not-So-Crackpot Theories list.

I kicked off way back in the day with Tom Bombadil has a Palantir, followed up with Tolkien wanted people to paint Nienor with no clothes on (warning: classical artwork inside), ran past Eol is Elmo, grandfather of Celeborn, and reached my greatest depths with Mesoamericarda.

In the "Filthy Liars" section, I've played around with the idea that Thorin or Aragorn might have been fakes, and another masterpiece: what if Maglor lied about the Silmarils? That one involves Maglor killing Maedhros, then dumping the Jewels on his adopted sons. You'll never guess where they wind up by the end of the story.

Urwen, I think you've shared most of your theories up there before, but I don't recognise the Grimaeglin one. It seems kind of out of character for you to claim that he must have been both evil traitors...

hS
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Old 04-20-2020, 08:43 AM   #3
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Urwen, I think you've shared most of your theories up there before, but I don't recognise the Grimaeglin one. It seems kind of out of character for you to claim that he must have been both evil traitors...

hS
That's because I don't. I claim that they both loved a woman they couldn't have and fell astray because of that.

Also, I like your theory that Elmo is Maeglin's daddy. That gives additional meaning to the House of Mole: it's a anagramized version of his dad's name, sorta like a tribute.
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Old 04-20-2020, 12:20 PM   #4
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There's also the "Middle-earth is really Morocco" one.
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Old 04-20-2020, 01:21 PM   #5
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There's also the "Middle-earth is really Morocco" one.
This sounds good.[Listens attentively]

hS
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Old 04-20-2020, 01:34 PM   #6
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Aw, I said I liked your Elmo theory and received no response....
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Old 04-20-2020, 03:05 PM   #7
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Aw, I said I liked your Elmo theory and received no response....
Oh! Sorry, I'd responded in my head... I wandered off wondering if the connection worked any better in the Runes of Gondolin. After all, 'mole' is an English word.

... I wonder if Tolkien ever made a word for 'mole'.

...

-- oh ye Valar, he did, and it's perfect. The Gnomish (=Sindarin, roughly) word for the mole is...

... DOLMEG.

Theory confirmed, right?

hS
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Old 04-20-2020, 03:10 PM   #8
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*jots down notes* You just gave me the idea for a new password.
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Old 04-20-2020, 05:27 PM   #9
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Tolkien

It's not crazy exactly, nor a theory, per se, but as someone raised on the published Silmarillion, where Gil-galad is a Fingolfinian, I've always been somewhat dismayed that Tolkien's final thought on the subject made him Orodreth's son (and in the same text pushing Orodreth down a generation!) But the very same section of HoME XII provided a way out, had Tolkien but thought to take it.

Thus, my [completely illicit and unsupported] headcanon that Gil-galad was Arakano/Argon's son--Tolkien's single text about Fingolfin's youngest son says that Arakano (in Sindarin, Argon) perished just after crossing the Helcaraxë.

Gil-galad being his young son would have kept him a member of the House of Fingolfin, keeps him in Idril/Maeglin (and the late version of Orodreth/early version of Finduilas)'s generation. This makes the association with Fingon make sense in the context of Fingon's perduring bachelorhood (he could well have been fostered by his eldest uncle until his coming of age), and completely allows the retention of the idea that he might have been sent away to Círdan at the Havens, which never made as much sense to me as a prince of Nargothrond as it does a prince of Hithlum--making him the son of Orodreth seemed to imply Gil-galad's First Age history needed a rewrite.

This MIGHT make him a touch older than the implications--though no older than his first cousin, Idril, who was also a child during the Helcaraxë. If he's a bit younger than her (maybe conceived on the shores of Middle-earth days before his father perished), then his coming into prominence around the time of the Fall of Gondolin doesn't jar much with Idril's prominence really coming in the short time before that.

And there are other reasons he could have been sent away than simple youth! Perhaps his mother had a premonition (those are always popular) or perhaps he was sent to escort his mother to Círdan and then it was never safe to return.

But, again--complete fanfiction. Other than his (BRIEF!) dalliance with the idea that Gil-galad was Fingon's son, which CT thinks he was mistaken to incorporate into the published Silm, JRRT generally associated him with the Finarfinians. I just like my headcanon better.
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Old 04-21-2020, 09:18 AM   #10
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I like that, Formendacil. In part, I like it because it makes the Noldor at least a little less sexist! Tolkien may have asserted that "in all things neri and nissi were alike", but in practice his later writings mean Idril's claim to the High Kingship gets passed over for her grandfather's younger brother's great-grandson! Putting Gil-Galad (back) into the Fingolfin side means at least we can assume some sort of males-first inheritance, rather than straight up males-only.

Also it gives poor Noblegas an actual purpose in the story, rather than showing up just to die. ^_^ Now, if I was going to dig even deeper into this fanon, I might propose that when Fingon sent his nephew off to the south, he could have asked his aunt Lalwen to look after him. That would give her a story purpose too, and give Gil-Galad's claim the legitimacy of 'Fingolfin's sister says I'm king'. Potentially a very useful card to play when Turgon's daughter shows up - not to mention the possibility that Finarfin's warlike daughter could wander in at any moment!

hS
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Old 04-21-2020, 12:57 PM   #11
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True enough; but I think T really wanted G-G to be a Finarfinian, more "noble" than the headstrong Finfolfinian house, and more closely connected to his favorite Elves Galadriel and Finrod.

----------------------------

I don't find it especially irrational that the Exiled Noldor, immigrating straight into a war, would practice some sort of male-preference succession. That was after all the reasoning behind the Salic Law in the first place.
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Old 04-21-2020, 01:09 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Huinesoron View Post
Also it gives poor Noblegas an actual purpose in the story, rather than showing up just to die. ^_^ Now, if I was going to dig even deeper into this fanon, I might propose that when Fingon sent his nephew off to the south, he could have asked his aunt Lalwen to look after him. That would give her a story purpose too, and give Gil-Galad's claim the legitimacy of 'Fingolfin's sister says I'm king'. Potentially a very useful card to play when Turgon's daughter shows up - not to mention the possibility that Finarfin's warlike daughter could wander in at any moment!
The Lalwen addition is a nice touch--but say not "Fingolfin's sister," say rather, "Finwë's daughter." And in an inheritance standoff between Finwë's eldest (living, anyway) granddaughter and eldest great-granddaughter, his eldest daughter might well have something to say! And we do know, from what little we know of her, that she was fond of Fingolfin AND could still have been alive after the Fall of Gondolin. Perhaps, out of fondness for his memory, she is the one who asserts "Fingolfinians First."

After all, this was in question as early as Fingolfin's death--Fingon doesn't become High King automatically so much as Maedhros cements that he should be High King. Turgon's inheritance comes with the Nirnaeth and he's in hiding, but no one else claims it.

And looking AHEAD, there is a text (is it "Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age"? I forget where... might be UT somewhere) that says that Elrond was offered the High Kingship after Gil-galad died. Granted, Elrond turned it down--which could be humility as much as politics, but it definitely points to a precedent about "the descendants of Fingolfin" and this is not a detail that makes as much sense if Gil-galad was a Finarfinian. True, either way it COULD be that Galadriel is being passed over for not being male, but that doesn't make as much sense if Elrond can inherit through Idril. Even if male inheritance is the preference, Elrond being offered the crown clearly means that he could inherit through Idril--or, at least, that at the start of the Third Age it wasn't considered important enough among the surviving Noldor to impede him taking the throne. And if they were willing to change the rules to allow inheritance through the female line to a cultural half-Sinda, foster-child of Maglor, part-Man it seems greatly unlikely they wouldn't have bent the rules for Gil-galad's great-aunt-and-Finwë's-only-extant-grandchild (because she'd have been his great-aunt if he were a Finarfinian).

But if there was a marked preference for males of Fingolfin's line, it makes more sense to me that the offer was made to Elrond and then left in abeyance when he declined.
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Old 04-21-2020, 01:41 PM   #13
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There certainly is historical precedent for semi-Salic succession, i.e. that a claim could pass through a female, but the female herself could not claim it.

Of course, one could also view Noldorin succession as not being based on primogeniture at all, but rather assigning the High Kingship to the eldest surviving male member of the House of Finwe.* (Elrond is rather a special case, because he was not just descended from Turgon but was also, with his brother, the only living descendant of Thingol).

*Not counting the Feanorians, of course
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Old 04-22-2020, 02:59 AM   #14
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All this talk of Gil-Galad's contentious claim to the throne got me to thinking: what if he didn't get it because he had the best claim, but because he was the only candidate everyone could agree on? The Havens of Sirion contained members of pretty much every kingdom in Beleriand, there was bound to be some arguing. And then... well... one thing led to another, and I had to write it out.

Apologies to a) anyone who seriously objects to silly fanfiction, b) the noble lords Guilin, Egalmoth, and Oropher, who I have cruelly mischaracterised, and c) High King Gil-Galad, for the innuendo cast at him herein.

~~~

"Let this Regency Council of the High Elves of Beleriand be called to order."

There was a certain uneasy shuffling around the table. In part, that was due to the fact that, with Cirdan (for Balar), Tuor (for the Edain), Annael (for Mithrim), and Oropher (for the Iathrim) at the table, less than half of the council were technically High Elves. But mostly it was because Egalmoth's senatorial drone seemed utterly unsuited to the seafront terrace, a dull counterpoint to the children playing on the sand a few yards away.

"I think we can settle this quickly," Tuor said, leaning forward on the elegant table. "As daughter of the High King, Idril-"

"Oh, come now!" Guilin, highest-ranking of the survivors of Nargothrond, tossed his head. "Little Itarillë, a ruler? You might as well put," he glanced down at the beach, "put Elwing in Oropher's seat, here."

Tuor bristled. "My wife is hardly a child-"

"Maybe not to you-"

"Settle, settle." Cirdan raised both hands in a soothing gesture. "Let us not sail into stormy waters so soon."

"Oh, great," muttered Oropher, youngest of the council save for Tuor. "More ocean metaphors. I can't wait."

Egalmoth attempted to fix everyone at the table with a simultaneous glare. "I must concur with Lord Guilin," he said. "While Princess Idril is a fine woman, she has never been an administrator; why, Lord Tuor, even the governance of the 'House of the Wing'," the verbal quote marks dropped smoothly into place, "was left to yourself."

"Naturally." Annael, dressed in drab grey, still managed to preen like a peacock. "It's all down to my training. Did you know, when he was a mere eight summers, I-"

"I said settle," Cirdan rumbled. "It seems clear that offering the crown to Princess Idril would be contentious."

"Exactly," Guilin said, nodding emphatically. "And besides, if we're considering women, then I think we all know there's a woman with a far better claim."

"Oh, holy stars." Oropher buried his head in his hands. "Please, please - not Galadriel!"

It was Guilin's turn to bristle. "Lady Artanis is a fine and noble leader, and-"

"-and her husband would never let me hear the end of it!" Oropher shook his head emphatically. "No. Anyone but her."

"Besides," Egalmoth put in, "the King's cousin is not, in fact... here."

As one, the council glanced east, towards the distant shadow of the Blue Mountains, and the wide lands beyond. Cirdan nodded slowly.

"I concur," he said, "that having a High King - or, as it were, Queen - who has not set foot in Beleriand for many years would seem... unwise."

"But," Annael said suddenly, "if, as Guilin says, we are considering women, I think we all know who has the best claim to the title."

He looked around the table, but was met only with blank stares. Tuor actually halfway raised his hand before asking, "Is this about Idril again?"

"No!" Annael snapped. "It's Lalwen! King Fingolfin's sister?"

"Who?" said Oropher, but Cirdan was nodding.

"I had forgotten the Lady Lalwen," he admitted. "She does have a certain seniority..."

"No," said Egalmoth and Guilin simultaneously. The Lord of Nargothrond hesitated, then gestured to the Lord of the Heavenly Arch to continue. "It is... questionable whether Írimë would take primacy over Idril," Egalmoth went on. "And the last thing we need is a questionably High King."

"Oh, just come out and say it," Tuor said. "You don't want to put a woman on the throne."

"There's not exactly a precedent," Oropher said. "No woman has ever ruled in Beler-"

"Haleth," Tuor said, then smirked. "Oh, I'm sorry, I was just thinking. Do go on."

"... amongst the Eldar," Guilin said, lowering his brows at the Man, "the High King has always been a... King."

"Fine," Tuor said, and then his face cleared. "Fine," he repeated in a lighter tone. "I shall call Earendil over, and we can-"

"Tuor," Annael said with exasperated patience, "he's five. You can't-"

"Eight," Tuor corrected. "Nearly nine."

"He is a child," Oropher said firmly. "At a time like this, we can't have a child leading us."

"He'd do a better job than certain others," Tuor said under his breath. "Fine. Then who? The Sons of Feanor?"

The reactions around the table ranged from a mild raised eyebrow (Cirdan) to an outraged fist pounded onto the wood (Guilin). The council seemed set to descend into screaming when Annael coughed pointedly, cutting through the rising anger.

"I suppose," he said, "there's always Rodnor."

Five faces looked at him blankly. "Who?" asked Tuor, suspicious.

"You know," Annael said. "The boy. Gil-Galad."

"Oh." The Man leaned back, suddenly amused. "Him. Yes, there is always... him."

Cirdan looked around the table. Oropher looked bewildered, Egalmoth thoughtful, Guilin faintly disgusted. "Whatever else he may be," the shipwright said slowly, "he is a scion of kings."

"That's one way of putting it," Egalmoth murmured. "Yes, I think... I think my people could accept him."

"I agree," Tuor said, locking eyes with him. "Our people would."

"The Rodothlim won't be happy," Guilin said reluctantly, "but of all the options..."

"Well, I have no idea who you're on about," Oropher said, stretching, "but it sounds like it's all settled. And since, lack of forests aside, it's a nice day, I propose we end this here. Any objections? No? Great; I'm off to the beach."

~~~

(You are free to draw your own conclusions about what makes Gil-Galad such an 'oh... him' candidate.)

hS
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Old 04-22-2020, 04:00 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Huinesoron View Post
All this talk of Gil-Galad's contentious claim to the throne got me to thinking: what if he didn't get it because he had the best claim, but because he was the only candidate everyone could agree on? The Havens of Sirion contained members of pretty much every kingdom in Beleriand, there was bound to be some arguing. And then... well... one thing led to another, and I had to write it out.

Apologies to a) anyone who seriously objects to silly fanfiction, b) the noble lords Guilin, Egalmoth, and Oropher, who I have cruelly mischaracterised, and c) High King Gil-Galad, for the innuendo cast at him herein.

~~~

"Let this Regency Council of the High Elves of Beleriand be called to order."

There was a certain uneasy shuffling around the table. In part, that was due to the fact that, with Cirdan (for Balar), Tuor (for the Edain), Annael (for Mithrim), and Oropher (for the Iathrim) at the table, less than half of the council were technically High Elves. But mostly it was because Egalmoth's senatorial drone seemed utterly unsuited to the seafront terrace, a dull counterpoint to the children playing on the sand a few yards away.

"I think we can settle this quickly," Tuor said, leaning forward on the elegant table. "As daughter of the High King, Idril-"

"Oh, come now!" Guilin, highest-ranking of the survivors of Nargothrond, tossed his head. "Little Itarillë, a ruler? You might as well put," he glanced down at the beach, "put Elwing in Oropher's seat, here."

Tuor bristled. "My wife is hardly a child-"

"Maybe not to you-"

"Settle, settle." Cirdan raised both hands in a soothing gesture. "Let us not sail into stormy waters so soon."

"Oh, great," muttered Oropher, youngest of the council save for Tuor. "More ocean metaphors. I can't wait."

Egalmoth attempted to fix everyone at the table with a simultaneous glare. "I must concur with Lord Guilin," he said. "While Princess Idril is a fine woman, she has never been an administrator; why, Lord Tuor, even the governance of the 'House of the Wing'," the verbal quote marks dropped smoothly into place, "was left to yourself."

"Naturally." Annael, dressed in drab grey, still managed to preen like a peacock. "It's all down to my training. Did you know, when he was a mere eight summers, I-"

"I said settle," Cirdan rumbled. "It seems clear that offering the crown to Princess Idril would be contentious."

"Exactly," Guilin said, nodding emphatically. "And besides, if we're considering women, then I think we all know there's a woman with a far better claim."

"Oh, holy stars." Oropher buried his head in his hands. "Please, please - not Galadriel!"

It was Guilin's turn to bristle. "Lady Artanis is a fine and noble leader, and-"

"-and her husband would never let me hear the end of it!" Oropher shook his head emphatically. "No. Anyone but her."

"Besides," Egalmoth put in, "the King's cousin is not, in fact... here."

As one, the council glanced east, towards the distant shadow of the Blue Mountains, and the wide lands beyond. Cirdan nodded slowly.

"I concur," he said, "that having a High King - or, as it were, Queen - who has not set foot in Beleriand for many years would seem... unwise."

"But," Annael said suddenly, "if, as Guilin says, we are considering women, I think we all know who has the best claim to the title."

He looked around the table, but was met only with blank stares. Tuor actually halfway raised his hand before asking, "Is this about Idril again?"

"No!" Annael snapped. "It's Lalwen! King Fingolfin's sister?"

"Who?" said Oropher, but Cirdan was nodding.

"I had forgotten the Lady Lalwen," he admitted. "She does have a certain seniority..."

"No," said Egalmoth and Guilin simultaneously. The Lord of Nargothrond hesitated, then gestured to the Lord of the Heavenly Arch to continue. "It is... questionable whether Írimë would take primacy over Idril," Egalmoth went on. "And the last thing we need is a questionably High King."

"Oh, just come out and say it," Tuor said. "You don't want to put a woman on the throne."

"There's not exactly a precedent," Oropher said. "No woman has ever ruled in Beler-"

"Haleth," Tuor said, then smirked. "Oh, I'm sorry, I was just thinking. Do go on."

"... amongst the Eldar," Guilin said, lowering his brows at the Man, "the High King has always been a... King."

"Fine," Tuor said, and then his face cleared. "Fine," he repeated in a lighter tone. "I shall call Earendil over, and we can-"

"Tuor," Annael said with exasperated patience, "he's five. You can't-"

"Eight," Tuor corrected. "Nearly nine."

"He is a child," Oropher said firmly. "At a time like this, we can't have a child leading us."

"He'd do a better job than certain others," Tuor said under his breath. "Fine. Then who? The Sons of Feanor?"

The reactions around the table ranged from a mild raised eyebrow (Cirdan) to an outraged fist pounded onto the wood (Guilin). The council seemed set to descend into screaming when Annael coughed pointedly, cutting through the rising anger.

"I suppose," he said, "there's always Rodnor."

Five faces looked at him blankly. "Who?" asked Tuor, suspicious.

"You know," Annael said. "The boy. Gil-Galad."

"Oh." The Man leaned back, suddenly amused. "Him. Yes, there is always... him."

Cirdan looked around the table. Oropher looked bewildered, Egalmoth thoughtful, Guilin faintly disgusted. "Whatever else he may be," the shipwright said slowly, "he is a scion of kings."

"That's one way of putting it," Egalmoth murmured. "Yes, I think... I think my people could accept him."

"I agree," Tuor said, locking eyes with him. "Our people would."

"The Rodothlim won't be happy," Guilin said reluctantly, "but of all the options..."

"Well, I have no idea who you're on about," Oropher said, stretching, "but it sounds like it's all settled. And since, lack of forests aside, it's a nice day, I propose we end this here. Any objections? No? Great; I'm off to the beach."

~~~

(You are free to draw your own conclusions about what makes Gil-Galad such an 'oh... him' candidate.)

hS

Funny, I know someone else who could have been a candidate if he weren't killed. *glares at Tur*
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Old 04-22-2020, 03:31 PM   #16
William Cloud Hicklin
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Okay, Noldorin High-kingship.

Originally of course Finwe. With the rebellion this became Feanor/Fingolfin as rivals in Beleriand, Finarfin in Valinor. Feanor dies and Maedhros resigns his claim. Ergo Fingolfin, undisputed heavyweight high-kingship champion of Middle-earth.


Thus,

Fingolfin
Fingon (elder son)
Turgon (younger brother)
Earendil (grandson; never a "king", but ruled the surviving remnant; interesting in that his claim passed through Idril, who was still alive but never "queen;" nor was Tuor a ruler of the Elves.)
=Elwing (Thingol's heiress in the female, and only, line)
Gil-galad(!!!)

All versions agree that the next up was Gil-Galad, whatever his parentage. Note that Elrond (and Elros) were passed over (why?)

If we were to accept the '77 version as canon, GG being Fingon's son, then we have a succession which is difficult to make sense of. Straight primogeniture is right out, because GG would have come before his uncle Turgon. If the "eldest male" is the rule, surely GG would have come before Earendil?

If we take the HME version as canon, which apparently was JRRT's real intent, then Finarfin's house comes into play and it makes a bit more sense: Fingolfin to Fingon to Turgon to Earendil and then, Fingolfin's line being extinct in ME (the Peredhil being disqualified), then the crown falls to the sole surviving member of the junior branch. Male member, needless to say; this was clearly a semi-Salic succession (which would imply that Amroth would have been next in line after GG had T not rejected his being the son of C&G). There is an implication that either Elessar (by marriage) or Eldarion after him became de jure High King, as living male descendant of Finarfin's house (through great-grandma Galadriel), but there is no suggestion that Elrond's sons had any claim... why?
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Old 04-22-2020, 07:12 PM   #17
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If the "eldest male" is the rule, surely GG would have come before Earendil?
As you note, though, Eärendil never rules as King, and I would argue that he doesn't even rule the remnant of the Noldor--he rules the remnant of Gondolin. Thus, he's Turgon's next heir but not Fingolfin's--let alone Finwë.

In any event, after Tuor comes to Gondolin, there are precious few texts from the post-LotR period dealing with ANY element of Middle-earth's history until around when Eregion was founded... and there aren't all that many pre-LotR either. I am undoubtedly biased by the published Silm, but I don't think there's any JRRT text that would contradict a reading that says Gil-galad became High King after the death of Turgon.

Of course, whether or not anyone actually claimed the title High King of the Noldor until after the breaking of Beleriand is another matter, and by then there was no Eärendil left in Middle-earth to confuse things--though Galadriel was back in the picture by the time Lindon was being founded, and it does seem to have been the case that Lindon in its earliest days had a strong Sindar component (under Celeborn too!), so I think the fact that Celeborn and Galadriel drift away and help found Eregion suggests that Gil-galad was already ensconced as king there and if, as a king at all, then as High King.

One does wonder about Elven preferences with kingship that age is probably a benefit to any claimant--certainly, Maedhros's accession to Fingolfin is couched in terms of "you are the eldest," and his forfeiting of any claims in favour of Fingon after the Bragollach implies the same principle being honoured in the breach. This argument helped make sense in the published Silm of Turgon preceding Gil-galad.

From the standpoint of how Elven kingship is implied to have come about in the HoME 'fairy tale' of Imin, Tata, and Enel, kingship does seem to derive from being the Eldest of one's race. Whether or not that's literally true of Ingwë, Finwë, and Elwë (it certainly seems not be for Elwë, given his brothers and unspecified other kinships that held the Sindar in Middle-earth), it is certainly metaphorically true that, by visiting Valinor first, they became the first of the Calaquendi. And for a race of immortals, the human concerns of age (look at the House of Saud for what happens with mortals whenever "the eldest member of the family" is next in line) are not relevant--instead, Elves are closer to the metaphorical wine, getting ever better with age.

But the real thing about Elven kingship that I think is overlooked--the flipside of the same coin--is that Elves don't naturally die. Men have to have succession plans, but Elves... not so much. Ingwë and Olwë and Finarfin still reign in Valinor, and Thingol would be doing the same if not for those pesky Dwarves. Granted, by the time that Gil-galad comes into the throne, there is enough precedent that these things probably ought to have been codified... but what if the Elven instinct for immortality was such that they resisted ever putting things into order that way?

Certainly, if you look at how Fingolfin became High King, you see a long crisis after the death of Finwë that is only resolved when Fëanor dies and Maedhros graciously bows out--dragging his begruding brothers with him. Fingolfin had a claim to the kingship already, as his father's regent in Tirion and a greater part of the people seem to have expanded that pro tem power into permanence.

Fingolfin's own death is another crisis, and it could be argued that Fingon becoming High King only happens because a.) he's Maedhros's dearest friend and b.) Maedhros is smart enough to see that it is far more important for the Noldor to remain allies than to worry about who head wears the crown. Nothing about his succession strikes me as guaranteed--more that it just happened, because the two dominant Noldorin princes happen to be Fingon and Maedhros.

Fingon's death is another matter. The Nirnaeth is an even worse crisis than the Bragollach and Turgon goes straight into hiding. We don't actually know if Turgon claimed the title High King himself, if it was acclaimed for him by the surviving Noldor, or if it's an assumption of sorts--perhaps Morgoth decides the matter by fixating on the surviving son of Fingolfin and most hidden of his veiled enemies. In any case, Turgon is far more secure in his kingship than Orodreth, who could be a generation younger and is certainly far less of a force. Meanwhile, Maedhros is still a potentially moderating power and the chief figure amongst the Fëanorians.

By the time of Turgon's death (again, a crisis--remember, Elves don't die naturally), Maedhros is NOT a moderating figure, having fallen into going along with the Sack of Doriath and his march on the Havens of Sirion is definitely portrayed in keeping with a sense of "I am the only king left--accede or die," though Maedhros is fey enough that he doesn't care about the High Kingship, only the Silmaril. To be fair to him, the Kingship is quite theoretical only at this point while the Silmaril is still quite real.

It's entirely possible that Fingon was the last unanimous High King, given the state of Beleriand after the Nirnaeth and that Turgon only really holds the title insofar as Morgoth's attention and the lack of a contrary claimant gave it to him. Gil-galad may not have been spoken of as High King--or may not have claimed the title--until the foundation of Lindon. And if Lindon is to be seen as predominantly the successor state to Balar/Sirion, who would gainsay him when both Círdan (Balar) and Elrond (Gondolin/Doriath) supported him? There is definitely a sense in some of the Galadriel Eregion texts that Eregion kind of did its own thing and ignored him until it was too late.

And Gil-galad's own death is much like Turgon's: there isn't enough of a Noldorin kingdom to really acclaim a new High King. Unlike the earlier age, however, there isn't a rebound in power and territory to support a new establishment, and Elrond seems to be the wise one who points this out. Since he's the obvious candidate (the precedents at this point rule against Galadriel, and she's off living with the Silvan Elves anyway), that's the end of it.
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Old 04-23-2020, 02:17 AM   #18
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Formendacil, you make an excellent point about elves not generally needing a line of succession. I think I knew that intellectually, but I've not really considered the practical consequences.

Since this is the Crazy Theories thread, and spinning off from this discussion, I have a related one:

Turgon was never High King.

Here are the facts, taken from the published Silmarillion:

-When Fingolfin is slain, the succession is clearly stated: "Thus died Fingolfin, High King of the Noldor... and Fingon in sorrow took the lordship of the house of Fingolfin and the kingdom of the Noldor; but his young son Ereinion (who was after named Gil-galad) he sent to the Havens."

-Fingon is referred to as 'Fingon, the High King' (or variants thereof) no less than four times. His title is hammered home by Tolkien.

-When Fingon dies, there is no 'succession' text - Hurin just tells Turgon that he's their Only Hope. Instead, many paragraphs later, we get this: "Now the thought of Morgoth dwelt ever upon Turgon; for Turgon had escaped him, of ail his foes that one whom he most desired to take or to destroy. And that thought troubled him, and marred his victory, for Turgon of the mighty house of Fingolfin was now by right King of all the Noldor; and Morgoth feared and hated the house of Fingolfin, because they had the friendship of Ulmo his foe, and because of the wounds that Fingolfin gave him with his sword."

--So Morgoth sees Turgon as Fingon's successor - but given that the only other Noldorin kingdom at this point is Nargothrond, which didn't even show up to the Nirnaeth, that's hardly surprising. And Morgoth's hatred is framed very much as 'of the House of Fingolfin', not 'of the High King'.

-The only reference I can see that specifically links 'High King' with 'Turgon' is this one: "Then Tuor stood before Turgon son of Fingolfin, High King of the Noldor, and upon the King's right hand there stood Maeglin his sister-son..."

--Does that mean Turgon was High King - or does it mean he was the son of High King Fingolfin? Much like Certain Ambiguous Wings, it could be read either way.

-When Turgon dies, he is not called High King - he is identified only by name. Fingolfin, Fingon, and Gil-Galad all get labelled 'the High King' at their deaths.

-Finally, we have this: "And when the tidings came to Balar of the fall of Gondolin and the death of Turgon, Ereinion Gil-galad son of Fingon was named High King of the Noldor in Middle-earth."

--Yes, that could mean he succeeded the title - but it could also mean that Gil-Galad wasn't acclaimed High King at a time when the majority of the Free Noldor were not only out of his control, but in an unknown location. Between the falls of Nargothrond and Gondolin, the Noldor consisted of: refugees on Balar, mingled with the Sindar (under Gil-Galad); House Feanor, a scattered and vaguely malevolent force (unlikely to answer to Gil-Galad); and Gondolin, a strong force still hidden from everyone (Gil-Galad couldn't order them around even if he wanted to). What would the concept of a High King even mean?

My theory is that the title fell into abeyance for the time between the Nirnaeth and the Fall of Gondolin. Numenorean authors sometimes include Turgon in the list, in the same way that they include Vardamir in their own - adding him makes things tidier. Why not just jump straight to Gil-Galad? Well, we can imagine a story of Earendil playing a part in the coronation, something that confirms Gil-Galad could not have been king before Gondolin fell. Or even just a record - 'When tidings came to Balar' etc.

hS
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Old 04-23-2020, 07:50 AM   #19
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Okay, yes. That certainly raises a material point- in Valinor, a race of immortals would have had no need for any concept of succession, save as a sort of hangover from the Great Journey and before. Which leads to the observation that Tolkien lost the plot a bit ca 1958 when revising QS: he has Feanor and Fingolfin squabbling over who was their father's heir- why? To what end? Inheritance would not have been a concept that any Elf of Valinor would have given the time of day to.

Things were different in Beleriand- especially since Feanor died almost immediately and the issue was front and center. But, yes, it probably was rather ad-hoc, other than a broad consensus that the House of Finwe was in charge. It's certainly fair to say that, viewed pragmatically, the title of High-King was meaningless after the Nirnaeth, sort of like "Holy Roman Emperor" after 1648. Turgon ruled Gondolin, Orodreth ruled Nargothrond, Thingol ruled Doriath, Cirdan was in charge at Sirion's mouths and Balar, the Feanorians were wandering exiles, the Green-elves did their own thing, and there was no central authority at all in a land where Morgoth was in effective control outside those few enclaves.
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Old 04-23-2020, 07:57 AM   #20
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hS- there is however the sentence "Bright Earendil was then lord of the people that dwelt nigh to Sirion's mouths:" which as a practical matter meant all the surviving west-Elves of Middle-earth other than the rebel Feanorians.
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Old 04-23-2020, 08:08 AM   #21
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Okay, yes. That certainly raises a material point- in Valinor, a race of immortals would have had no need for any concept of succession, save as a sort of hangover from the Great Journey and before. Which leads to the observation that Tolkien lost the plot a bit ca 1958 when revising QS: he has Feanor and Fingolfin squabbling over who was their father's heir- why? To what end? Inheritance would not have been a concept that any Elf of Valinor would have given the time of day to.
I think it was more a matter of honour, of position, than a matter of material inheritance upon the death of the parent. Who is closest to the King? Whose word is second just after his? Feanor and Fingolfin did not desire to inherit Finwe's material wealth or the status of King, but they were squabbling over who should be the second after Finwe. In other words, who is the favourite sibling, cause dada loves me best.

Besides, they were still familiar with the concept of death and succession based on other factors. The Elves had an extensive history in Middle-earth before coming to Aman, and we are given to assume that they were sometimes attacked by wild things and Morgoth's servants, and some of them disappeared mysteriously - but presumably at least some were just killed. Some of them disagreed with each other, or split up for other purposes, and chose/followed new leaders. So I don't think it's an outlandish concept for them to have, even though death in Aman was non-existent until Finwe - or, technically, Miriel.



With regard to Gil-Galad's inheritance, does anyone know how old he was when Earendil became the ruler of the remaining Elven folk? I assumed that Finwe's brother Turgon became King over Gil-Galad because the lad was too young to rule at the time, by whatever standards Elves had.
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Old 04-23-2020, 08:33 AM   #22
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hS- there is however the sentence "Bright Earendil was then lord of the people that dwelt nigh to Sirion's mouths:" which as a practical matter meant all the surviving west-Elves of Middle-earth other than the rebel Feanorians.
Eärendil did not claim high-Kingship for much the same reason Elrond remained "Master" of the Last Homely House. They are Peredhil and it seems fairly obvious from Tolkien's frame of mind that the line from Eärendil to Elros was more important to the Numenoreans than for the Elvish line under Elrond. Hence, the full-blooded Elven Gil-Galad is high-king of the Noldor, and that claim dies with him, even though Elrond certainly had the bona fides to claim it, but didn't.

If we weren't following whatever pseudo-Salic male primogeniture, Galadriel as the child of Finarfin probably was a better claimant to the throne than Elrond's watered-down birthright. And the power to take it, if she so chose.
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Old 04-23-2020, 08:54 AM   #23
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hS- there is however the sentence "Bright Earendil was then lord of the people that dwelt nigh to Sirion's mouths:" which as a practical matter meant all the surviving west-Elves of Middle-earth other than the rebel Feanorians.
What's the breakdown between the Havens of Sirion and the Isle of Balar? My admittedly vague understanding is that Sirion was founded by the refugees of Gondolin and Doriath, while everyone else - the remnants of the Falas, Nargothrond, and Hithlum - were holed up on Balar. If that's right, then... well, I have no idea how the numbers break down. Are there any known refugees of Nargothrond and Hithlum?

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With regard to Gil-Galad's inheritance, does anyone know how old he was when Earendil became the ruler of the remaining Elven folk? I assumed that Finwe's brother Turgon became King over Gil-Galad because the lad was too young to rule at the time, by whatever standards Elves had.
I have in my head that the Silm states he was born in 445, so ten years before the Bragollach. That would make him about 30 come the Nirnaeth, and just over 60 at the Fall of Gondolin. If we accept the LaCE claim that elves reach adulthood at 50, you're spot on with this.

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Old 04-23-2020, 12:00 PM   #24
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What's the breakdown between the Havens of Sirion and the Isle of Balar? My admittedly vague understanding is that Sirion was founded by the refugees of Gondolin and Doriath, while everyone else - the remnants of the Falas, Nargothrond, and Hithlum - were holed up on Balar. If that's right, then... well, I have no idea how the numbers break down. Are there any known refugees of Nargothrond and Hithlum?
One certainly gets the impression from the Turinssaga that the Men of Hithlum all died in the Nirnaeth, and their women, children and elderly all became thralls of the Easterlings, save some few escapees who became outlaws (like Forweg and Androg). Similarly, it seems that the entire population of Nargothrond was either slaughtered or dragged off to slavery. So I would say "pretty close to zero."

You're right I think about Balar- Cirdan and the Falathrim had buggered off to there, only maintaining "hidden outposts" in the mainland fens, from which the doomed expeditions to Valinor were launched, as Voronwe told Tuor.
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