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Thread: Finding Faërie

  1. #1
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    Post Finding Faërie

    Hey all,

    I'm an English major and just finished up my work (yay!). For my capstone project, I wrote about where stories come from, focusing on Tolkien and Lewis.

    I'm fully aware that my work on this topic is nowhere near finished, and I doubt I ever truly will finish it. But I thought all you Tolkien nuts might like to take a look at my paper (aka my work so far - looking back it seems more like a 36-page outline or introduction than anything else lol) and start a discussion about Faërie. Any feedback is good feedback!

    Disclaimer: it's in a weird format. Both cause of that's how we were told to write it and because dropbox makes stuff look weird. Downloading the rtf will give you the best view of it.

    Also, chapter 5 is theoretically supposed to stand alone (though it's best to read both chs. 4 and 5, if you can manage it). So... yeah. If you don't want to slog through the rest I won't be offended. Skip to the good part.

    Enjoy!

    https://www.dropbox.com/s/zq71g4rpef...ng Faërie.rtf


    (though now that I'm done I can get back to playing LOTRO more ;D)
    Last edited by Arathaert; Jul 19 2013 at 08:30 AM.
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  2. #2
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    Congratulations on completing your work! While I confess that I did not read your entire paper, I did skim through the better part of it. The statement that caught my attention was this:

    While Tolkien never directly speaks about myth, stories or Faërie in the book, he does indirectly reference, through the experiences of the characters, what he imagines a good story to be.
    The reason this caught my attention is because it is not entirely true.

    In his earlier work, including The Hobbit, Faërie is the name Tolkien used for Eldamar. This is where Frodo, Bilbo, Gandalf, Elrond, and Galadriel set sail to near the end of the novel. So while the term 'Faërie' is not used in The Lord of the Rings, the place itself is referred to, albeit by a different name.

    You may also recall that Sam and Frodo discuss the creation of stories during their journey to Mount Doom. (See the chapter 'The Stairs of Cirith Ungol' in The Two Towers.)

    '...But I suppose it's often that way. The brave things in the old tales and songs, Mr. Frodo: adventures, as I used to call them...Why, to think of it, we're in the same tale still! It's going on. Don't the great tales never end?'

    'No, they never end as tales,' said Frodo. 'But the people in them come, and go when their part's ended.. Our part will end later--or sooner.'

    When I think of Tolkien's treatment of the realm of Faërie, I think of The Smith of Wooten Major. The character Smith frequently journeys into Faërie. He finds it wonderful, mysterious, and a bit frightening. It's a wonderful tale, an allegorical tale according to Shippey, and should be read by anyone who enjoys Tolkien.
    Faërie is a perilous land, and in it are pitfalls for the unwary and dungeons for the overbold. – J.R.R. Tolkien, ‘On Fairy-Stories’.

  3. #3
    Another reference to Faërie contained in the Middle-earth legendarium can be found in the poem 'Errantry', first published in 1933.

    "A sword he made of emerald,
    and terrible his rivalry,
    with elven knights of Aerie
    and Faerie, with paladins
    that golden-haired, and shining-eyed
    came riding by, and challenged him."

    As with many of his poems conceived independently of the matter of Middle-earth, Tolkien 'cannibalized' this work and included it in The Adventures of Tom Bombadil. Tolkien's preface to this work makes it clear that the poems are drawn from the Red Book of Westmarch, and thus part of the Middle-earth mythos. In the case of 'Errantry', Tolkien assigns the authorship to Bilbo, stating the poem was an early nonsense poem imitating Elvish themes but would gradually evolve into the more mature (in both style and substance) "Song of Eärendil".

  4. #4
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    Thanks for the feedback! Exactly what I was hoping for when I put this up here! Though I oughta edit the OP and say that chapter 5 stands alone for those wanting a less-involved (and less boring) read.

    Quote Originally Posted by oldbadgerbrock View Post
    In his earlier work, including The Hobbit, Faërie is the name Tolkien used for Eldamar. This is where Frodo, Bilbo, Gandalf, Elrond, and Galadriel set sail to near the end of the novel. So while the term 'Faërie' is not used in The Lord of the Rings, the place itself is referred to, albeit by a different name.

    You may also recall that Sam and Frodo discuss the creation of stories during their journey to Mount Doom. (See the chapter 'The Stairs of Cirith Ungol' in The Two Towers.)
    Great points! I'll take them backwards lol. I decided to not use Frodo and Sam's conversation about stories for a couple reasons. First, it wasn't as relevant to the point (speaking the effects of a story from Faërie) as were Frodo's experiences in Imladris and I had space concerns - the dang thing is ten pages over the recommended length as it is! :P Second, that passage is actually rather well-known and I figured I'd go with something a little less-well-known that might convey the point better.

    Second, I had forgotten that Tolkien used the word Faërie to describe Valinor in his earlier works. It's an interesting connection and one that reminds me both of Lewis' The Last Battle and Tolkien's Leaf by Niggle. Faërie as Heaven, basically. There's something in that.... *takes notes* Also, I wonder if there's anything significant in the fact that Tolkien does not use Faërie as a name for the Undying Lands in LotR (and I don't recall it in the Silmarillion... though I just got the History of Middle-earth, vols. 1-5 so I'll certainly be checking for that). I can't believe I missed this reference to Faërie - thanks!

    Quote Originally Posted by oldbadgerbrock View Post
    When I think of Tolkien's treatment of the realm of Faërie, I think of The Smith of Wooten Major. The character Smith frequently journeys into Faërie. He finds it wonderful, mysterious, and a bit frightening. It's a wonderful tale, an allegorical tale according to Shippey, and should be read by anyone who enjoys Tolkien.
    I have indeed read Smith of Wooton Major and I agree - it is rather stupendous. To be completely honest though, I'd lent my copy out and didn't have a chance to get it back in time to write this paper, so I was going on memory of it. Turns out I had enough material without it but I'll definitely be studying up on it for future work. Thanks for the reminder.
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ceredig View Post
    Another reference to Faërie contained in the Middle-earth legendarium can be found in the poem 'Errantry', first published in 1933.

    "A sword he made of emerald,
    and terrible his rivalry,
    with elven knights of Aerie
    and Faerie, with paladins
    that golden-haired, and shining-eyed
    came riding by, and challenged him."

    As with many of his poems conceived independently of the matter of Middle-earth, Tolkien 'cannibalized' this work and included it in The Adventures of Tom Bombadil. Tolkien's preface to this work makes it clear that the poems are drawn from the Red Book of Westmarch, and thus part of the Middle-earth mythos. In the case of 'Errantry', Tolkien assigns the authorship to Bilbo, stating the poem was an early nonsense poem imitating Elvish themes but would gradually evolve into the more mature (in both style and substance) "Song of Eärendil".
    Very true - I'll have to take a closer look at "Errantry" and the "Song of Eärendil." Thanks for the feedback!
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arathaert View Post
    Faërie as Heaven, basically.
    It's been a very long time since I read Lewis, so I cannot speak to his treatment of Faërie, but it is very clear in Tolkien's works that Faërie is not Heaven, at least not for men (or Men). Faërie is the home of the Elves, and mortals who venture there find themselves in The Perilous Realm.

    If you're looking for images of Faërie in The Lord of the Rings, I suggest reading the chapters in The Fellowship of the Ring set in Lothlórien, which Galadriel has, through the power of Nenya, transformed into a veritable Faërie on earth. It's important, too, to pay attention to what others say of Lórien, for instance Faramir in the chapter 'The Window on the West' in The Two Towers:

    'You passed through the Hidden Land,' said Faramir, 'but it seems that you little understood its power. If Men have dealings with the Mistress of Magic who dwells in the Golden Wood, then they may look for strange things to follow. For it is perilous for mortal men to walk out of the world of this Sun, and few of old came thence unchanged, 'tis said.

    In The Silmarillion ('Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age') you'll read that Sauron, in his fair guise of Annatar Lord of Gifts, used the temptation of creating a Faërie on Earth to entice Celebrimbor and the Jewel-smiths to accept his friendship:

    '...But wherefore should Middle-earth remain for ever desolate and dark, whereas the Elves could make it as fair as Eressëa, nay even as Valinor? And since you have not returned thither, as you might, I perceive that you love this Middle-earth, as do I. Is it not then our task to labour together for its enrichment, and for the raising of all of the Elven-kindreds that wander here untaught to the height of that power and knowledge which those have who are not beyond the Sea?'
    Sauron also deceived Ar-Pharazôn, the last king of Númenor, into thinking that if he conquered Faërie he could obtain eternal life.
    Faërie is a perilous land, and in it are pitfalls for the unwary and dungeons for the overbold. – J.R.R. Tolkien, ‘On Fairy-Stories’.

  7. #7
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    Sigh... serendipity... looking for something thing else and stumbled across this thread...

    While I've not thought deeply on this topic, and I don't recall having read about it --
    I assume it's just because of my Scotch-Irish background...

    When I first encountered LOTR (back when the books first hit the US) I immediately flashed to the Tuatha Dé Danann, the Sidhe and Tír na nÓg.

    To quote the Wikipedia article: "Tír na nÓg was considered a place beyond the edges of the map, located on an island far to the west. It could be reached by either an arduous voyage or an invitation from one of its fairy residents."

    ... The Undying Lands?

    While it is also not "Faërie," (Or is it? What is Faerie? Álfheimr?) it is not conceivable that the Professor would have been unaware of it, and possibly, because of its immediacy to him during his young years, the entire set of Irish mythologies are more deeply imbedded in Professor Tolkien's mythology than is usually given credit.

    The fun thing about all this "stuff" is discovering how much of it is crossed. ... from one language and peoples to another.

    Now if we just had a TARDIS....

    ** Just realized I forgot to switch to my current account -- this account is actually from the pre-beta circa 2006. (Can't have a sig that long anymore!)

    Valamar - now on Gladdan

 

 

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