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With the appearance of The Silmarillion, the publication of
J. R. R. Tolkien's mythopoesis is virtually complete. The reader can now appreciate the full scope and significance of the history of Aman and Middle-earth, the central stages in the great drama of the Creation of Eae. One can trace in detail the Light of
Aman from the Two Trees on Ezellohar to the renewing power of the Phial of Galadriel in the stinking darkness of Shelob's Lair.
The terror felt there by Sam Gamgee is better understood after reading of the Unlight of Ungoliant, and Boromir's desire for the
Ring can be seen as a wisp of the Shadow of Melkor, who lusted after Light but created only Darkness. Not only do the great conflicts between East and Westfrom the First War and the Battle of the Powers to the Battle of Fornost and the War of the Ring
reveal the nature of good and evil and the immeasurable compassion of Iluvatar, but also, the identity of the forces that intervene to give victory to the good suggests the progressive freeing of Man from the influence of both Valar and demons to work out his own destiny, known to Iluvatar alone.
Writing this revised edition of my Guide to Middle-earth has enhanced my awareness of these correspondences, designs which are surely central to the joy of Faerie and which give Professor
Tolkien's work its marvelous and profound coherence. But it has also made me aware of the difference between the conception and the realization of this cycle of myth and romance, between the
'visionary scene' and its 'frame,' 1 between the Vision and the Text.
The 'seamless web of Story' 2 is indeed endless and without blemish,
but booksand livesalas, are not. In the first edition of the
Guide, I used any information available to me that I believed came from Professor Tolkien and had been transmitted accurately; I
hoped that these details would ultimately appear in print. But nowfaced with a plethora of revised texts, calendars, letters, illustrations,
interviews, anecdotes, and reports of conversations,
some containing contradictory informationI have come to believe that inconsistencies, sometimes deliberately maintained by
Professor Tolkien, occur where the details of the Vision were not clear to him, where he was stymied by a single leaf on the Tree,
not sure of 'its shape, and its sheen, and the glistening of dewdrops on its edge,' 3 not yet ready to fix it in the Text. Yet these inconsistencies,
which can bulk large in an alphabetic treatment of Faerie,
should not be allowed to detract from the general bloom of this lushly foliated Tree.
So this revised Guide is limited to the Text, to published works by Professor Tolkien in the latest editions available to American readers. The basic text for The Lord of the Rings is again the Ballantine paperback edition, with emendations from the revised
Houghton Mifflin hardback edition; Appendix C contains a concordance between the two editions. British editions contain several further emendations, which I have not taken into account; of those I have heard of or seen, the most significant is the change of
d to dh in Galadrim and Caras Galadon, which resolves the confusion
(encouraged, it seems, by the Elves themselves, as Christopher
Tolkien's comment in The Silmarillion on Galadhriel suggests)
between Sindarin galad 'light' and galadh 'tree.' The three exceptions to this rule of Text are sources which seem particularly trustworthy:
the Pauline Baynes map of Middle-earth displays a number of place-names evidently given her by Professor Tolkien; Clyde
Kilby's intimate Tolkien and the Silmarillion contains intriguing hints of the End; so much of the information contained in Professor
Tolkien's letters to and conversations with my friend Dick Plotz has been corroborated by The Silmarillion that I feel confident in using other items.
In general, I hope that I have not forgotten the limits of a reference work. I count myself fortunate to have wandered in the
Fairy-realm of Arda for fifteen years now, and while my tongue is certainly not tied, for the sake of my own delight I have learned not 'to ask too many questions, lest the gates should be shut and the keys be lost.' 4 This Guide is intended to be supplementary to the works of Professor Tolkien and no more; its value is that it can clarify deep-hidden historical facts and draw together scraps of information whose relation is easily overlooked, thus aiding the wanderer in Arda in his quest for its particular Truth. When matters are unclear in the Text I have tried to remain silent, but those places where I have been unable to restrain my conjectures are liberally sprinkled with 'perhaps', 'presumably', and such words. By now the entries which comprise this Guide represent the product of ten years of intermittent labor and frequent correction by myself and careful readers, until I can hope that the errors which remain are more mechanical than substantive.
There is one major deviation from this conservative treatment of the Text. Unlike The Lord of the Rings, whose Appendix B provides precise dates for the events of the Second and Third Ages,
The Silmarillion contains little exact chronological information aside from sporadic indications of the passage of years ('But when
Tuor had lived thus in solitude as an outlaw for four years') and rough dating from the first rising of the Sun. Desiring to make the information concerning the First Age more compatible with that for later Ages, I have taken it upon myself to coordinate these indications of time into a Chronology of the First Age (Appendix
A). This Chronology may help to unify in the minds of read-ers the episodic sequence of events and personages in the Wars of
Beleriand; by counting years, it also underscores the rapid collapse of Beleriand after Dagor Bragollach and the tragedies of the early deaths of Huor (at 31), Turin and Nienor (36 and 27), and Dior
(about 39). In addition, I must confess to having succumbed to the scholarly joys of writing an Appendix. The dates given for the
First Age, therefore, both in the entries and in Appendix A, are strictly my own and should be taken as approximations rather than as completely trustworthy deductions; my derivation of these dates is fully explained in the Appendix.
The principles involved in determining entries are fairly simple. In general, any capitalized word or phrase receives a separate entry unless it is a clearly identified epithet or a translation of a name not used independently of the main name; thus there is an entry for Sulimo but not for its full translation, Lord of the Breath of
Arda, and Voronwe as the epithet of Steward Mardil is not listed separately. In addition, certain noncapitalized items (mostly the names of species and objects, such as the great spiders and ithildin)
have been included. Variant spellings (which in most cases reflect
Professor Tolkien's further development of the Eldarin languages)
are noted, but most variations in the use of accent marks have been ignored. Page references in main entries are to significant references only; cross-references usually cite the first occurrence only. Geographical entries do not always cite the maps on which the place in question is shown, and historical entries occasionally use dates given in Appendix B without citation; in both cases the references can easily be found. References to the various Indices are given only when they contain new information.
When entries are genuine forms in Middle-earth languages, I
have indicated this, giving translations wherever I am sure of them. A question mark following a language identification or translation obviously indicates uncertainty. Translated Rohirric
(Old English) forms are occasionally translated again into modern
English; the language of other forms is indicated as 'tr.' wherever
I felt there was a possibility of confusing them with Elvish or genuine Mannish forms. However, by and large I have not indicated the language of names and terms 'Anglicized' into English,
Germanic, or Celtic equivalents; as Appendix F of The Return of the King suggests, most Adunaic, Rohirric, Westron, Mannish, and
Hobbitish forms have been so translated. In The Lord of the Rings I
have assumed that English versions of Middle-earth names (e.g.,
Treebeard for Fangorn) represent Westron forms used by Men and
Hobbits. But in The Silmarillion this is obviously not the case, since
Westron did not develop until the late Second Age. Here I have assumed that the English versions, even though capitalized, are merely translations intended for the convenience of the reader,
not translated Mannish names.