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Old 09-22-2021, 06:37 AM   #2
Blossom of Dwimordene
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Originally Posted by Huinesoron View Post
*It wouldn't have. If he'd written it, he would have come up with a whole new set of dates, added several characters, and accidentally made Finwe the son of Maglor somehow. But I can dream.

This is fascinating stuff, and a lot of dedication. Many kudos to you Hui!

I read through the timeline, and one thing that kinda baffled me is the insistence on counting generations from Cuivienen. To me, this makes no sense in the context of an immortal society. This sort of counting is possible for us, humans, when each generation has a finite time span, and an even more finite fertility span; while there may be overlap with two - three - even four generations with a stretch, there's a limit to how much overlap you can get. When you are immortal, there is nothing stopping a person from the 24th generation marrying a person from the 3rd generation, making their child a member of... which generation exactly? Is he the 25th generation, on the premise of accounting for the highest number of "degrees of separation"? But simultaneously he is a belated member of the 4th generation - which sort of invalidates any comment along the line of "Generation N complete", because what's to stop Elves from just having more children? It's not like they die or become infertile after a certain age. They can always hypothetically have more.

Counting Elf generations makes sense when there is a "baby boom", and there is a wave of children that comes at a predictable period of time related to some reproductive cycle physiology. It makes sense for the first few generations. It makes sense in Aman, because apparently all the Elves there went "We made it! The future is bright! Let's make babies!", and proceeded to do so at the shortest intervals within reason. That is what maintains the chronological structure of the family tree, where each generation is older than the next (something that is also confirmed by the various hints scattered in the text). Technically speaking, there is nothing preventing a nephew to be ages older than his uncle, if the uncle's parents decide to have a "late child"... and again right back to it: there are no "late children" when there is no limitation to your period of fertility! When (hypothetically) one sibling can be born in the FA and one in the TA, with anything you want happening in between, how can you still count generations by the number of degrees removed from Cuivienen? How does this system even hold up, except during those periods when generations flow smoothly from one to the next, or when there is a time point acting as reference (e.g. arrival in Aman, or departure from Aman, or other significant "generational" event)?

Would it not make more sense to name generations by the other definition, a cohort of people who are born around the same period of time and go through the same set of shared experiences? That would put the child of the 24th and 3rd generation Elves into the generation of whichever children are born around the same time, whether sired by the 3rd or 50th generation (because again, what's to stop the 3rd from having more children later in life?). And generations would be defined along the lines of "Those who remember Cuivienen", "Those who were born after Orome's coming", "Those who were born after crossing Landmark X" - just the same way as defined as "Those who were born in Aman" are naturally considered a new and separate generation from their parents who made the March and remembered Middle-earth.

On another note, I think I spotted a math error, or possibly I'm just not doing it right. When trying to see how long it took the Elves to build Tirion, I get 50 years by FA count, but 72 years by the VY count. Either way, that's impressively little time. I don't believe they've really built any cities before on their previous stops on the road, so it's a remarkable amount of time to get into architecture and perfect the skill and build Tirion, and then decide that it's perfect and finished and not keep tinkering with it till the end of days.

Other things I noticed... Galadriel was still a teen at the Death of the Trees. That goes against everything I imagined about her being a mature woman making a mature decision... And also makes me look sideways at Feanor, who apparently creeped a kid for a piece of hair.

...And more math questions. There is a discrepancy between Death of Trees and Doom of Mandos timelines. But either way - I sort of imagined that the entire Flight of the Noldor happened on one breath, in a matter of weeks. What did they do for 2+ years???
You passed from under darkened dome, you enter now the secret land. - Take me to Finrod's fabled home!... ~ Finrod: The Rock Opera
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