[Image: Alan Lee]

Dirhavel was a minstrel that only made one lay in all his life, but it became the greatest and the most remembered of all the lays made by Men in later times. It was the Narn I Chin Hurin, the "Lay of the Children of Hurin".

Dirhavel (or Dirhaval) was of the house of Hador, and had probably fled from Dor-lomin when he came to the Havens of Sirion. Because of his ancestry he was very interested in the deeds of his house and searched for information among all the refugees. Thus he met Mablung of Doriath who told him many things about Turin Turambar. By luck he also met an old man called Andvir. He was a son of Androg who had been a member of Turin's outlaw-band.

He used the information he had gathered and wrote in Sindarin a very long, in fact the longest of all from that time, lay in the verse-mode called Minlamad thent/estent. This mode was spoken verse, not unlike the Old English alliterative mode. The Narn I Chin Hurin tells of the fates of Hurin's children Turin and Nienor, with emphasis on Turin. It is a very tragic story, but the lay was highly praised by the Elves and remembered by them. It is the only full account on Turin's life, and all later writings on the subject fall back on this one.

Unfortunately, Dirhavel was killed when the sons of Feanor finally attacked the Havens of Sirion in the third and last Kinslaying.

The meaning of the name is unknown. It seems to contain the elements dir "watch", el "star", but this is too uncertain to make any guessing.

•The History of Midde-earth vol. 11 Aelfwine and Dirhaval
•The Silmarillion Index

Quennar i Onotimo

[Image: Roger Garland]

Not much is known about this mysterious Elf. Though he only wrote three important works, these seem to have affected both Rumil and Pengolodh. His first work, "Of the beginning of time and its reckoning", forms the beginning of the Annals of Aman. It contains among other things some information on the reckoning of time in Valinor, which is interesting since the Annals of Aman uses so-called "Valian Years". For the Annals of Aman Rumil also used much of Quennar's second work, Yenonotie ("Counting of Years"), which also contains material of the counting of time.

Quennar's third work was the "Tale of Years". This is closely connected with the Annals of Aman and the Annals of Beleriand, and was in many parts almost identical to these. It is clear that either Quennar read Rumil's and Pengolodh's works, Rumil and Pengolodh read Quennar's, or they read each other's and tried to make them agree. But Quennar actually stopped writing it at the beginning of the First Age of the Sun, and Pengolodh continued. This seems very odd. Why should Quennar stop writing there, and why did Pengolodh continue? Maybe Quennar was killed by the Orcs in the Dagor Nuin-Giliath? Maybe Pengolodh inherited his work? We will probably never know.

No sure translation of the name Quennar Onotimo has been provided, but it seems to contain the elements quen "tell", narn "lay", i "the", onot "count", tim-o "of star"; i.e. something like "The lay-teller of the counting of the star(s)". "Counting of stars" may seem rather strange, but it might be a kenning that refers to the reckoning of time. All this is, of course, mere speculation.

•The History of Midde-earth vol. 10 Annals of Aman
•The History of Midde-earth vol. 11 The Tale of Years
•The Silmarillion Index
•The Silmarillion Of the Return of the Noldor
•The History of Midde-earth vol. 5 The Etymologies

Pengolodh of Gondolin

[Image: Ted Nasmith]

Pengolodh is the greatest of the chroniclers of Middle-earth, and the most renown of all. He was born son of a Noldo and a Sinda in Turgon's old realm of Nevrast. Later he followed Turgon's folk and became his sage in Gondolin. He became the most eminent member of the Lambengolmor, "Loremasters of Tounges", a group which Feanor had founded.

The name Pengolodh is probably derived from the Sindarin words pennas "history" and Golodh "Noldo", which gives "History-Noldo", i.e. Noldorin historian. The first element might also be pen "person", so producing "Person-Noldo", but this seems less likely. The variations Pengolod and Pengoloth also occurs. He is also in one instance called Thingodhel: Noldorin "Grey Noldo", which probably refers to his mixed Noldorin and Grey-elven ancestry. Pengolodh is probably also identical with Gilfanon in an old text.

At the fall of Gondolin, Pengolodh managed to escape from Morgoth's creatures together with Tuor and Idril, and followed them to the Havens of Sirion. With him he brought a number of valuable old documents and own works. The Havens of Sirion had at this time became a gathering-place for refugees from Doriath, Hithlum and other places throughout Beleriand. Thanks to the silmaril of Earendil, a short time of peace was allowed to the refuge. Since Pengolodh had hitherto been prevented from gathering lore outside the borders of Gondolin, he suddenly became very active and made extensive researches.

Here he gathered information on the runic system used in Doriath, invented by Daeron. These runes were rarely used and would become even more so in coming ages. But Pengolodh made copies and extracts of documents using these characters, and thus made an important cultural contribution, lest the Certhas Daeron (as he called them) would have been totally forgotten.

The Sindar of Doriath had brought the Annals of Beleriand or Grey Annals to the Havens where they were extended whith the help of the other peoples. Pengolodh probably helped in this task, since his memory of the history was "prodigious". What is clear, though, is that he made additions and comments to it, perhaps in his own annotated copy. The Annals of Beleriand were later brought into the West.

From the end of the First Age of the Sun, the Noldor were allowed to return to the West. Pengolodh, however, did not go to Valinor immediately. He stayed in Middle-earth, far on into the Second Age, and gathered lore. He was permitted to dwell for awhile with the Dwarves in Khazad-dum, and thus was one of the few to get insight in the Dwarvish languages: the spoken and the sign languages.

When Sauron's dark shadow grew over Eriador, Pengolodh finally went West, to Tol Eressea in the Bay of Belegaer. There he stayed in the village of Tavrobel (also called Tathrobel), and continued extending the Annals of Beleriand. At this time he must also have seen Rumil's works on languages, among others the Equessi Rumilo, and these he used to write the text called Lammas ("Account on Tounges"), discussing the languages of Men, Elves and other races. He also wrote a short work called the Lammasethen treating the Elvish languages in especial.

Pengolodh is traditionally given the credit of writing the Quenta Silmarillion, the main work of the oldest history, but what he really did was compiling the many traditions, legends and stories into one, continuous work. His main sources were Rumil's and his own writings (the Annals, Ainulindale etc), the Grey Annals, the Narn I Chin Hurin, and the Golden Book. Rumil also made slight additions to the Silmarillion.

When Aelfwine came to Tol Eressea many millenia later, he met Pengolodh. Pengolodh told him many of the legends and showed him the texts, and thus became a necessary link between the Elder days and historical times.

•The History of Midde-earth vol. 4 The Quenta
•The Silmarillion Appendix
•The History of Midde-earth vol. 4 The Earliest Annals of Beleriand
•The History of Midde-earth vol. 4 The Earliest Annals of Valinor
•The History of Midde-earth vol. 7 Appendix on Runes
•The History of Midde-earth vol. 5 The Lhammas
•The History of Midde-earth vol. 5 Quenta Silmarillion
•The History of Midde-earth vol. 10 The Later Quenta Silmarillion
•The History of Midde-earth vol. 11 Quendi and Eldar Appendix D
•The History of Midde-earth vol. 11 The Grey Annals
•The History of Midde-earth vol. 11 Quendi and Eldar Editorial Notes

Rumil of Valinor

[Image: Roger Garland]

Rumil one of the oldest known of the chroniclers, and appears already in the oldest texts. The meaning of the name is unknown, but it may be connected with the Noldorin word rum: "secret", "mystery"

Rumil was a Noldo and a sage living in Valinor in the city of Tirion. He was called the Elfsage of Valinor and the Ancient Sage of Tirion, and wrote many documents that especially concerns Valinor. Much of the Eldarin history science seems to have been based on his works. One of his most famous works is the Ainulindale that tells of the Music of the Ainur and usually forms the introductory part of the Quenta Silmarillion.

Rumil seems to have abandoned his profession as a sage later, because in the many texts he is often referred to as a long-gone loremaster. There is a work called I Equessi Rumilo ("The Sayings of Rumil") that is a collection of his thoughts from the earliest days of the Eldar in Valinor. It treats, among other things, the Valarin language. The title might imply that he reached a status similar to that of Socrates, and was surrounded with disciples that wrote down his words (like Plato's "Dialogues").

Something that signifies Rumil's greatness as a chronicler is that he in the Valian Year 1179 invented an alphabet: Rumil's Tengwar, properly called the Sarati. This is the oldest known alphabet in Middle-earth, and was the one Feanor was inspired by when he developed Feanor's Tengwar, which was later used by almost all peoples in Middle-earth.

A document of special interests for historians is the text called the Annals of Aman (or Annals of Valinor). The document retells the events of each year in Valinor up to the creation of the Sun and the Moon and may have been one of the sources to the Quenta Silmarillion. In one manuscript, Rumil is said to be the author of this work. But in another, Rumil merely began it and wrote as far as the Doom of the Noldor in the Valian Year 1496. There he stopped, and others continued. This may have one of two explanations:
1) He did not follow the house of Feanor towards Middle-earth, but heard of the adventures of the Noldor who set out from Tuna and came back, or
2) He himself went with the company of Fingolfin, and turned back with him when he heard the threatening doom.

Rumil was also interested in languages and had - according to one (unfortunately generally erroneous) source - learnt very many languages. He made some writings that concerned the languages of the Elves, probably after the Noldor had left. We base this assumption on the fact that Pengolodh the Wise read these texts and used them for one of his works, but not until he came to Valinor.

When Pengolodh came to Valinor in the middle of the Second Age, Rumil saw his Quenta Silmarillion and made slight additions to it, such as the mentioning of Mandos' and Lorien's real names, Namo and Irmo.

Rumil is not mentioned in any more narrative texts, and it is not known what befell him in later ages. He does not seem to have been on Tol Eressea, since Aelfwine, much later, didn't meet him there, but well read his documents. Pengolodh was definitely there, and told Aelfwine many stories, among them Rumil's Ainulindale. It's probable that he stayed in Tirion upon Tuna, and lives there still.

•The History of Midde-earth vol. 1 Appendix
•The Silmarillion Index
•The History of Midde-earth vol. 10 The Annals of Aman
•The History of Midde-earth vol. 5 The Later Annals of Valinor
•The Silmarillion Of the Flight of the Noldor
•The History of Midde-earth vol. 1 Music of the Ainur
•The History of Midde-earth vol. 5 The Lhammas
•The History of Midde-earth vol. 10 The Later Quenta Silmarillion
•The History of Midde-earth vol. 10 Ainulindale
•The History of Midde-earth vol. 11 Quendi and Eldar Appendix D

The Chroniclers of Middle-Earth

The history of Middle-earth spans over many thousands of years of intriguing history. Through it we get to hear the fascinating tales of Beren and Luthien, Earendil the Mariner, and Bilbo and Frodo Baggins.

But who gave us these stories? Who are the great authors of the lays and annals that Professor Tolkien translated into English, recounting this time utterly lost? Throughout the First, Second and Third age, Elves, Men, and Hobbits have kept records of their history, in form of annals, lays, sagas and biographies.

Unlike in many other cultures, the names of many of these “chroniclers” have survived through the centuries. The main reason for this is perhaps that the many authors put out their names on the documents, and even gave credit to their sources. Over the next couple of weeks, I am going to pull together various discussions on what we know about the greatest chroniclers and their works.

Further Up and Further In

"So I went over much grass and many flowers and among all kinds of wholesome and delectable trees till lo! in a narrow place between two rocks there came to meet me a great Lion. The speed of him was like the ostrich, and his size was an elephant's; his hair was like pure gold and the brightness of his eyes like gold that is liquid in the furnace. He was more terrible than the Flaming Mountain of Lagour, and in beauty he surpassed all that is in the world even as the rose in bloom surpasses the dust of the desert. Then I fell at his feet and thought, Surely this is the hour of death, for the Lion (who is worthy of all honour) will know that I have served Tash all my days and not him. Nevertheless, it is better to see the Lion and die than to be Tisroc of the world and live and not to have seen him. But the Glorious One bent down his golden head and touched my forehead with his tongue and said, Son, thou art welcome.

But I said, Alas, Lord, I am no son of thine but the servant of Tash. He answered, Child, all the service thou hast done to Tash, I account as service done to me. Then by reasons of my great desire for wisdom and understanding, I overcame my fear and questioned the Glorious One and said, Lord, is it then true, as the Ape said, that thou and Tash are one? The Lion growled so that the earth shook (but his wrath was not against me) and said, It is false. Not because he and I are one, but because we are opposites, I take to me the services which thou hast done to him. For I and he are of such different kinds that no service which is vile can be done to me, and none which is not vile can be done to him. Therefore if any man swear by Tash and keep his oath for the oath's sake, it is by me that he has truly sworn, though he know it not, and it is I who reward him. And if any man do a cruelty in my name, then, though he says the name Aslan, it is Tash whom he serves and by Tash his deed is accepted. Dost thou understand, Child?

I said, Lord, thou knowest how much I understand. But I said also (for the truth constrained me), Yet I have been seeking Tash all my days. Beloved, said the Glorious One, unless thy desire had been for me thou wouldst not have sought so long and so truly. For all find what they truly seek."

Then he breathed upon me and took away the trembling from my limbs and caused me to stand upon my feet. And after that, he said not much, but that we should meet again, and I must go further up and further in. Then he turned him about in a storm and flurry of gold and was gone suddenly.

C.S. Lewis, The Last Battle, "Further Up and Further In"

By Caldron Pool

"Come and try on your beautiful new lion-skin coat," said Shift.

"Oh, bother that old skin," said Puzzle. "I'll try it on in the morning. I'm too tired tonight."

"You are unkind, Puzzle," said Shift. "If you're tired, what do you think I am? All day long, while you've been having a lovely refreshing walk down the valley, I've been working hard to make you a coat. My hands are so tired I can hardly hold these scissors. And now you won't say thank you ­ and you won't even look at the coat ­ and you don't care ­ and ­ and—"

"My dear Shift," said Puzzle, getting up at once, "I am so sorry. I've been horrid. Of course I'd love to try it on. And it looks simply splendid. Do try it on me at once. Please do."

"Well, stand still then," said the Ape. The skin was very heavy for him to lift, but in the end, with a lot of pulling and pushing and puffing and blowing, he got it on to the donkey. He tied it underneath Puzzle's body and he tied the legs to Puzzle's legs and the tail to Puzzle's tail. A good deal of Puzzle's grey nose and face could be seen through the open mouth of the lion's head. No one who had ever seen a real lion would have been taken in for a moment. But if someone who had never seen a lion looked at Puzzle in his lion-skin he just might mistake him for a lion, if he didn't come too close, and if the light was not too good, and if Puzzle didn't let out a bray and didn't make any noise with his hoofs.

"You look wonderful, wonderful," said the Ape. "If anyone saw you now, they'd think you were Aslan, the Great Lion, himself."

"That would be dreadful," said Puzzle.

"No, it wouldn't," said Shift. "Everyone would do whatever you told them."

"But I don't want to tell them anything."

"But think of the good we could do!" said Shift. "You'd have me to advise you, you know. I'd think of sensible orders for you to give. And everyone would have to obey us, even the King himself. We would set everything right in Narnia."

"But isn't everything right already?" said Puzzle.

"What!" cried Shift. "Everything right ­ when there are no oranges or bananas?"

"Well, you know," said Puzzle, "there aren't many people ­ in fact, I don't think there's anyone but yourself ­ who wants those sort of things."

"There's sugar too," said Shift.

H'm, yes," said the Ass. "It would be nice if there was more sugar."

"Well then, that's settled," said the Ape. "You will pretend to be Aslan, and I'll tell you what to say."

"No, no, no," said Puzzle. "Don't say such dreadful things. It would be wrong, Shift. I may be not very clever but I know that much. What would become of us if the real Aslan turned up?"

"I expect he'd be very pleased," said Shift. "Probably he sent us the lion-skin on purpose, so that we could set things right. Anyway, he never does turn up, you know. Not nowadays."

At that moment there came a great thunderclap right overhead and the ground trembled with a small earthquake. Both the animals lost their balance and were flung on their faces.

"There!" gasped Puzzle, as soon as he had breath to speak. "It's a sign, a warning. I knew we were doing something dreadfully wicked. Take this wretched skin off me at once."

"No, no," said the Ape (whose mind worked very quickly). "It's a sign the other way. I was just going to say that if the real Aslan, as you call him, meant us to go on with this, he would send us a thunderclap and an earth-tremor. It was just on the tip of my tongue, only the sign itself came before I could get the words out. You've got to do it now, Puzzle. And please don't let us have any more arguing. You know you don't understand these things. What could a donkey know about signs?"

C.S. Lewis, The Last Battle, "By Caldron Pool"

How wrong can you be (II)

Around 100 million copies of The Lord of the Rings had been sold by the end of the twentieth century, and 60 million copies of The Hobbit, with sales of around 3 million per year of the two books combined. Readers just love reading Tolkien's books. It's that simple. You can't force people to buy books or go see movies; there's isn't a magic formula (or ruling ring) to hypnotize readers and consumers (if there was, it'd be worth billions). And the Tolkien phenomenon began with readers. Back in 1937, 1954 and 1955, the publishers Allen & Unwin did their bit, of course, with reviews, blurbs, advertizing and so on, promoting The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, but it was readers who first started the phenomenon that has become truly global.

Tolkien's influence on literature has been considerable, too, and not just in the realm of fantasy, sci-fi, fairy tales and related genres. As fantasy author Terry Brooks said, Tolkien 'was the premier fantasy writer of the last century, and all of us writing today owe him a huge debt.' No other writer W.H. Auden reckoned had 'created an imaginary world and a feigned history in such detail'. Colin Wilson agreed that only a few writers have concocted a total universe, and that Tolkien's was very impressive. Tolkien's mythological writings may be the 'largest body of invented mythology in the history of literature', according to David Day. Invented, that is, by one person. It's also 'certainly the most complex and detailed invented world in all literature'.
If you thought that there wasn't really a Tolkien industry prior to the 2001-2003 Lord of the Rings films, you were wrong. A massive Tolkien industry has been around for decades: the 2001-03 films were simply adding to that. The Tolkien industry consists of (among other things): Tolkien societies in many countries, Tolkien fan newsletters, Tolkien merchandise catalogues, Tolkien websites, Tolkien chess sets, decorative porcelain plates, fantasy posters, Middle-earth maps, Tolkien calendars, Lord of the Rings plastic figures (Mithril Miniatures, Harlequin, and movie tie-ins), music and songs based on Tolkien's writing, Tolkien's verse set to music, Middle-earth puzzles, fan fiction, Middle-earth poems, Middle-earth playing cards, Middle-earth games and activity packs, Lord of the Rings keyfobs, Tolkien diaries, a Hobbit birthday book, Frodo necklaces, Gandalf pendants, replica swords, replica jewellery (including the golden ring, of course), telephone cards, Kinder Surprise chocolate egg figures, Tolkien role-playing games (MERP, METW), Lord of the Rings stickers, Tolkien postcards, fridge magnets, and Middle-earth stationary. Tolkien fan conferences, seminars and symposia, Tolkien art exhibitions. Then there are myriad editions of Tolkien's books: limited editions, collector's editions, boxed editions, anniversary editions, pop-up books, cartoon books, etc.
Among the books dedicated to the world of Tolkien's fiction are: dictionaries of elvish, guides to Tolkien's invented languages, guides and atlases to Middle-earth, Tolkien bestiaries, teachers' guides to Tolkien, Middle-earth quiz books, Tolkien books of days, books of fantasy art, spin-off books, and spoofs (Bored of the Rings). BBC Radio versions of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit (on CD, tape, etc), audio books (read by the author, or by actors), film versions (on video, DVD, etc), and stage productions.
The combination of music and Tolkien includes bands with Tolkienesque names (thousands of them), acts singing about Tolkienesque subjects (Led Zeppelin, Rush, Genesis), and the many singers, songwriters and acts who interpreted the verses in Tolkien's books.
If that isn't an industry gathered around a writer's work, I don't know what is. Also, it existed quite healthily prior to the 2001-03 films (before the 2001-03 films Tolkien's books had sold in the 100 million plus mark). And it only occurs to a very, very writers (in the U.K., the Bront√ęs, D.H. Lawrence, Thomas Hardy, Charles Dickens, etc).
Extract from "J.R.R. TOLKIEN" by Jeremy Mark Robinson

How wrong can you be? (I)

Philip Toynbee declared, in 1961, that Tolkien's 'childish books had passed into a merciful oblivion', a wonderful statement, just a tad inaccurate. In 1997, The Lord of the Rings was voted the top book of the 20th century by readers in a British bookstore's poll (Waterstone's). 104 out of 105 stores and 25,000 readers put The Lord of the Rings at the top (1984 was second).
The results of the poll angered many lit'ry critics in the UK. Howard Jacobson, Mark Lawson, Bob Inglis, Germaine Greer and Susan Jeffreys, were among those irritated by Lord of the Rings' success among readers. The Daily Telegraph readers' poll came up with the same results. The Folio Society also ran a poll (of 50,000 members), and Middle-earth was top again (Pride and Prejudice was second and David Copperfield was third).

It was Tolkien's incredible popularity that annoyed some critics and journos. Writers are nothing if not bitchy and envious of other people's success, and British journalists have a long tradition of knocking down anyone who's successful. So the popularity of The Lord of the Rings served to underline many of the prejudices of the literary establishment and media in the UK:
(1) That people who liked Tolkien were geeks, anoraks, sci-fi nuts, college students, hippies, and so on.
(2) That Tolkien's fiction was juvenile, reactionary, sexist, racist, pro-militaristic, etc.
(3) And it was badly written, simplistic, stereotypical, and so on.
(4) And it was in the fantasy genre, which was automatically deemed as lightweight, as 'escapist', as fit only for adolescent boys. And so on and on.

(to be continued)

Extract from "J.R.R. TOLKIEN" by Jeremy Mark Robinson

Love Your Neighbour (II)

It is going to be hard enough, anyway, but I think there are two things we can do to make it easier. When you start mathematics you do not begin with the calculus; you begin with simple addition. In the same way, if we really want (but all depends on really wanting) to learn how to forgive, perhaps we had better start with something easier than the Gestapo. One might start with forgiving one’s husband or wife, or parents or children, or the nearest N.C.O, for something they have done or said in the last week. That will probably keep us busy for the moment. And secondly, we might try to understand exactly what loving your neighbour as yourself means. I have to love him as I love myself. Well, how exactly do I love myself?

Now that I come to think of it, I have not exactly got a feeling of fondness or affection for myself, and I do not even always enjoy my own society. So apparently ‘Love your neighbour’ does not mean ‘feel fond of him’ or ‘find him attractive’. I ought to have seen that before, because, of course, you cannot feel fond of a person by trying. Do I think well of myself, think myself a nice chap? Well, I am afraid I sometimes do (and those are, no doubt, my worst moments) but that is not why I love myself. In fact it is the other way round: my self-love makes me think myself nice, but thinking myself nice is not why I love myself. So loving my enemies does not apparently mean thinking them nice either. That is an enormous relief. For a good many people imagine that forgiving your enemies means making out that they are really not such bad fellows after all, when it is quite plain that they are. Go a step further. In my most clear-sighted moments not only do I not think myself a nice man, but I know that I am a very nasty one. I can look at some of the things I have done with horror and loathing. So apparently I am allowed to loathe and hate some of the things my enemies do. Now that I come to think of it, I remember Christian teachers telling me long ago that I must hate bad man's actions, but not hate the bad man: or, as they would say, hate the sin but not the sinner.

C.S. Lewis – Mere Christianity - Book 3: Christian Behaviour ‘Forgiveness’