I am going to use this space for my contributions: meta, notes, links to stories, and links to artwork. (Actually short stories will get their own space, but snippets or ficlets might be posted only here.)
Rating will be teens or lower, but I do not want to think or self-censor--not likely I will go higher than that.
1. Drop Everything and Read, Part One. by oshun
2. Down Memory Lane, Part One. by oshun
Take at least a half-hour to read what the texts say about your chosen character.
Picked up the book Beren and Lúthien and started crawling through it again. I had no warning first time around that it was 1) not a somewhat novelistic treatment like Children of Húrin, nor 2) a definitive study of the texts on Beren and Lúthien. I do not have a problem, am just mildly disappointed. I was hoping for a definitive collection of stuff scattered throughout all of the texts, including ones that are not easily accessible. I appreciate what I have and do not blame Chistopher Tolkien—he is in his 90s!
It is good to have most, if not all, of the HoMe stuff in one volume. But the illustrations which I have heard are lovely are totally inaccessible on the Kindle version to any one with vision problems. They are tiny and not zoomable. SHAME ON AMAZON! It’s scandalous that they can widely market something which should be a real live-changer for people with vision impairment and then market its content without any warning that the illustrations will not be usable for them. Rant, rant, rant!
I was not satisfied, reading hours beyond my ½ an hour for this day, that I had a real sense of what Beren and Lúthien meant to Tolkien. It ranks near the bottom for me amongst his major story lines—maybe at the bottom! So, I decided, since I was finding no answers, in the texts I would go outside of the canon texts. I opened up John Garth’s Tolkien and the Great War: The Threshold of Middle-earth (an excellent book and one I highly recommend) which covers his early work. I am halfway through it for the second time and there is hardly a mention of Edith Tolkien yet. Sigh. That has been futile so far relating to my subject area.
‘In those days her hair was raven, her skin clear, her eyes brighter than you have seen them, and she could sing – and dance,’ he wrote to their son Christopher after her death in 1971. When duty permitted, they would stroll in a nearby wood, which Roos tradition identifies as Dents Garth, at the south end of the village, beside the parish church of All Saints. Here, at the feet of the ash, oak, sycamore, and beech trees, tall flowers with white umbels burst into bloom from mid-April until the end of May. The flowers, Anthriscus sylvestris, are what books might call cow parsley, wild chervil, or Queen Anne’s lace . . . . Among these cloudy white heads, Edith danced and sang. The scene fixed itself in Tolkien’s mind. It could have come from fairy-tale, a vision of sylvan loveliness glimpsed by a wanderer returned from war. When he next had the leisure to compose at length, Tolkien put the scene at the heart of just such a tale. --John Garth. Tolkien and the Great War: The Threshold of Middle-earth.
“Think about your character’s childhood (or the early days of their existence if they had no childhood). What was the environment and daily life of their formative years like? Did they have siblings? What was their relationship to their family like? Who were their friends? What made them feel sad/angry/frightened? What made them feel content/excited/happy? Who were their teachers?”
Born to Thingol and Melian the Maia. Have to do more research on her birthdate/place. Was she born within the Girdle of Melian or before? (What was the environment and daily life of their formative years like? Insert more on this later when I get the time-frame sorted out.)
No siblings. She was apparently highly valued, cosseted, and controlled by her parents. This is clear from Thingol’s belief that he had a right to make demands upon her relating to her relationship to Beren and her desire to choose her own spouse. The texts do not make her sound sad or frightened in her childhood—all that dancing amongst the flowers sound pretty idyllic.
Her only friend mentioned within the texts is Daeron. She liked to dance and was apparently fairly happy until she met Beren. Now the fact that she considered Daeron a good friend and companion, and yet he was dissatisfied (the grumpy friend-zoned guy in the text, given that he stalked her and later betrayed her to her parents), means it was not all sun-dappled forests and flowers for her. One could do a lot with that in fanfiction--the conflict between Daeron and our Elven princess could provide some tension in the story, even if one sticks very closely to canon.
I would like to assume that Daeron was a teacher as well as companion (since he was skilled in music, a loremaster, and invented an alphabet, so he was literate as well). Because she manifests all kinds of preternatural skills/magic/sorcery later in her story one might assume that she was under the tutelage of her mother as well.
She seems to have some admirable and well-developed physical capacity also, which is shown in her superhero activities. She might have been trained in martial arts by Mablung and/or Beleg Cúthalion. Tolkien does discuss Elf-women and warrior's skills in Laws and Customs Among the Eldar where he notes that,
“. . . in dire straits or desperate defence, the nissi fought valiantly, and there was less difference in strength and speed between elven-men and elven-women that had not borne child than is seen among mortals.”
On the other hand, without any skills, she would have had some issues with some of the derring-do assigned to her in various versions of the texts.
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