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Old 10-11-2021, 10:44 AM   #3
Late Istar
Join Date: Mar 2001
Posts: 2,184
Aiwendil is a guest at the Prancing Pony.Aiwendil is a guest at the Prancing Pony.
Well, I did anticipate that my opinion would be controversial! I'll just try to answer your points and, I hope, clarify my views, and then leave this until Findegil, Gondowe, and anyone else have had a chance to offer their opinions.

Originally Posted by "ArcusCalion
The scientific accuracy afforded by an Older Arda is not required to be grouped into the same change as the idea of an ancient Sun and Moon, and I am unsure why you have done so. Plenty of changes and materials which were made concurrent with this central decision on Tolkien's part have been taken up into the drafts we have agreed on, such as Cuivienyarna and others, and we have simply edited them as needed to remove those parts that suggest an ancient Sun and Moon.
This is not, however, a case of two changes made for a similar purpose at the same time. This is, I strongly believe, a case of a single decision that had multiple consequences. We all (I think) accept, for instance, that the new elements of: a) a round earth, and b) the sun and moon existing from the beginning of Arda, are simply two pieces of a single change, and not to be considered independently. In my view, the 144:1 ratio was just as much an element of that same change - the decision to make Arda the Solar System entails a vast time scale just as much as it does a round earth or an ancient sun and moon. And again, this isn't just a connection I've made - Christopher Tolkien accepts this conclusion as so plainly apparent that he states it as a simple fact.

b) Why is that exactly? Removing the Sun from the equation only makes the 144 year-long Valian year easier to explain, as the length of time of the Trees' cycles can be any length without worrying about meshing that with Sun cycles.
What I mean is that a change in the Valian year was necessitated by the change in cosmology, because it no longer made sense for the time unit used by the Valar not to match up with any multiple of the solar year (recall that in AAm, the ratio was 1 V.Y. = 9.582 S.Y.).

2. Tolkien worked out some of the difficulties with Maeglin and Finduilas, it is true (though the nature of those notes is quite tentative). But the new chronology requires significant alterations to the story of the discovery of the Elves, the war against Melkor, the invitation to Valinor, and the Great March. It's not just a matter of dates being changed, but of the sequence and motivation for events being rearranged.

It's also worth noting that there are difficulties here from both directions, as it were, since as already mentioned, in the late '60s we have a new conception of Elvish life-cycles and the apparent birth of Galadriel before the making of the Silmarils. (I think there is also a more minor contradiction between the 'Key Dates' chronology and the 'Choosing of the Istari' narrative).

And finally, unless I'm mistaken in my recollection, the new chronology also necessitates a few changes to the dates given in the 'Tale of Years' in LotR, which would also mean that we must reject them as contradicting a text published in Tolkien's lifetime without specifically correcting an error.

3. Certainly, you're correct that fluidity of conception is, by itself, not a reason to reject something for this project. I do think, nonetheless, that the experimental and tentative nature of all these texts is important to bear in mind. Particularly:

a. It lends credence to the argument that contradictions found in later texts constitute a rejection of key elements of these texts, rather than forgetfulness or a slip of the pen.

b. It makes it more difficult to come to a firm conclusion as to which of the ideas presented here is the "final" one on any particular point.

As to the idea of 'cycles' he lays out this idea in one of the Time and Aging materials,
Do you mean to say that the idea of cycles of renewal is laid out in one of the c. 1959 texts on Elvish ageing and chronology? If so, which text? In NoMe, I only find it in the two texts of chapter XIX, 'Elvish Life-Cycles', which date from c. 1968 and are apparently associated with the 'Shibboleth'. (It is also mentioned in the note, also connected with the 'Shibboleth', given in VT 41 about Elves not having beards until the third cycle of life, an exception being Nerdanel's father who had one in the second.)

In any case, this later idea does contradict some of the critical elements that persisted through all of the c. 1959 texts. In the 1959 texts, Elvish longevity is achieved by a vast prolongation of the procession through growth, youth, maturity, and senescence (which takes the form not of bodily deterioration but of the gradual consumption of the hroa by the fea). The specific rates were tinkered with quite a bit, particularly as concerns growth, but Tolkien is not vague about this, and he repeatedly provides specific ages in solar years at which the points in this ageing process are reached. And those specific figures are critical to the chronology and generational schemes he develops. A key point, consistent through all of these texts, is that Elves typically have a single continuous period of child-bearing, and after their youth, they never parent more children.

In the 1968-69 texts, on the other hand, Elves achieve their longevity not (just) by having their youth and maturity extended, but by having it repeated. They begin to "show age", then enter a quiet period and emerge from it renewed, physically, to a state of early maturity. And, critically, they have multiple periods of parenthood, the cycle beginning again once all the children of the current period had reached adulthood. This new idea would completely alter the generational calculations Tolkien made, which were the basis for the new chronology.

Last edited by Aiwendil; 10-11-2021 at 04:58 PM.
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