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Old 10-08-2021, 02:45 AM   #15
Ghost Prince of Cardolan
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Originally Posted by Galin View Post
I think the idea that Feanor asked Galadriel for her hair only shows up in The Shibboleth of Feanor however, which is later than any 1959 text (in GNOME), or even Elvish Ages and Numenorean, dated to 1965.

In your chart linked above you've got Feanor making the Silmarils before Galadriel was even born -- okay, based on NOME texts . . .

. . . but in The Shibboleth (1968 or later), Galadriel was born in the Bliss of Valinor (which includes the vague addition: "it was not long in the reckoning of the Blessed Realm, before that was dimmed") and the Eldar said that her hair had snared the light of the two trees, and many thought that this this saying gave Feanor the idea of blending the light of the Silmarils that later took shape as the Silmarils: "For Feanor begged three times . . ."

My interpretation is that Feanor begged for her hair before making the Silmarils. And if so, thus, in what "mode of thinking" was Tolkien involved with here, in 1968 or later? Noting too, that in another late text, Eldarin Hands and Fingers:

Carl Hostetter then refers the reader to XVI where Tolkien notes that the Elvish growth rate from conception to maturity should be comparable to Humans, with Elves reaching maturity at 24 loar (Sun Years), and in which, with respect to later weddings in the "Early Years" before the March, the Elves were usually 24/21-24 [granted CFH also refers to Elvish Ages and Numenorean too, but this text still pre-dates the "nette remark"].

In other words, I don't think we necessarily have a text in which Feanor begs a notably young Galadriel for her hair, as by the time the idea arises, we don't know where Tolkien was with respect to certain earlier notions or dates.
This is some good detective work. I think you're right that the "nette remark" probably indicates that Tolkien returned to the 1:1 Elvish growth rate - "little slower" could still mean 3:1 (by contrast with the 144:1 he occasionally wandered into), but "if at all" precludes that. And it does seem to be the latest text on aging. It probably doesn't mean they married at 24, though - that would undo all the work on getting the Ambassadors to be unmarried adults, which doesn't rely on growth rates anyway. (One caveat: the "nette remark" is undated except in that it preceeds a 1968 text; it could concievably by pre-"Elvish Ages".)

It's a great catch that the story of Galadriel's hair only shows up in the Shibboleth (as quoted in Unfinished Tales): that really surprises me! I'd always assumed that her gift to Gimli was written to be a mirror of her rejection of Feanor, but it looks like the Feanor story may actually have been written to explain the Gimli one!

I think the only way to reconcile "teen Galadriel" with "inspired the Silmarils" is to shift the date the Silmarils were made right down to just before Feanor drew his sword on Fingolfin. The Annals of Aman say the making of them took 10 sun-years, so there's just enough room in my timeline for Feanor to pester Galadriel at about age 10 and still make them before he breaks the peace. ... except that Melkor's work to sow discord in Valinor was because of the Silmarils, so he would have to have corrupted Feanor in under 10 years, which seems unlikely.


Okay. The published Silmarillion makes Feanor's exile 12 years. The Annals of Aman has 40 years [of the Trees] between the forging of the Silmarils and the breaking of the Peace, and one year [of the Trees] for Feanor to make the Silmarils.. If we take both those figures to be sun-years, we get this:

- 5413: Birth of Galadriel.
- 5420: Feanor begins work on the Silmarils.
- 5421: Completion of the Silmarils.
- 5461: Breaking of the Peace of Aman, banishing of Feanor.
- 5473: Death of the Trees.

So Feanor saw 7-year-old Galadriel, was wowed by her hair, and when she kicked him on the ankle he went off in a sulk to make some jewellery. That kind of hangs together.

It means neglecting the "nette remark", but in various places in NoME Tolkien considered that aging should run slower in Aman under the Trees. It's not perfect, but at least it hangs together.

EDIT: Actually, the "nette remark" is specifically talking about the Common Eldarin period, and uses the past tense to describe Elvish aging. I don't think it conflicts with "Elvish Ages" at all.

Have you burned the ships that could bear you back again? ~Finrod: The Rock Opera

Last edited by Huinesoron; 10-08-2021 at 02:58 AM.
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