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Tolkien: Less Frequently Asked Questions (1/1)


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Last Updated: 1994/03/28




      The Tolkien Less Frequently Asked Questions List (LessFAQ), is the 
second of two informational files on J.R.R. Tolkien and his writings, 
the other being the Frequently Asked Questions List (FAQ).  The division 
of questions follows several general criteria.  The FAQ leans towards 
questions of interest to people who have read only _The Lord of the 
Rings_ and _The Hobbit_, together with most questions on Tolkien himself 
and on topics which seem fundamental to his worldview (his linguistic 
games in particular).  The LessFAQ contains questions of a more obscure 
nature, most questions arising from posthumous works, and in general 
aspects of the nature and history of Middle-earth which are important 
but tangential to _The Lord of the Rings_.  There is also an element of 
personal arbitrariness.  All available sources have been used for both 
lists.  Criticisms, corrections, and suggestions are of course welcome.

                                            William D.B. Loos
                                            loos@hudce.harvard.edu


========================================================================
========================================================================


             TOLKIEN LESS FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS LIST 


   Questions numbered thusly:  1)  are in their final form. 
   Questions numbered thusly:  1]  remain unrevised. 
   Sections/questions marked:  *   have been revised since the last 
                                   release.
                               **  are new since the last release.


                        Table of Contents


   I. Changes Since the Last Release (*)

  II. Acknowledgements

 III. Note on References and Conversion Table 

  IV. Commonly Used Abbreviations


   V. Less Frequently Asked Questions

    A) Tolkien And His Work
      1] Was there a change of tone between Book I and the rest of _The 
        Lord of the Rings_ ?
      2] Why did Tolkien fail to publish _The Silmarillion_ during the 
        eighteen years which followed the publication of _The Lord of 
        the Rings_ ?

    B) General History Of Middle-earth
      1] What exactly happened at the end of the First Age?
      2] In terms of the larger worldview, what exactly took place at 
        the Fall of Numenor?

    C) Hobbits
      1] Did Frodo and the others (Bilbo, Sam, and Gimli) who passed 
        over the Sea eventually die, or had they become immortal?  
      2) In _The Hobbit_, Bilbo called the spiders Attercop, Lazy Lob, 
        Crazy Cob, and Old Tomnoddy.  What do the words mean?  

    D) Elves
      1] Were Elves reincarnated after they were slain?
      2) Was Glorfindel of Rivendell (whom Frodo met) the same as 
        Glorfindel of Gondolin, who was slain fighting a Balrog?
      3) How were Eldar in Valinor named?

    E) Humans
      1] What brought on the sinking of Numenor?
      2] How could Ar-Pharazon of Numenor defeat Sauron while Sauron 
        wielded the One Ring?
      3] What happened to the Ring when Numenor was destroyed?  
      4] Where did the Southrons come from?  Were they part of the Atani?

    F) Dwarves
      1] What were the origins of the Dwarves?
      2] If, as has been told, only Seven Fathers of the Dwarves were 
        created, how did the race procreate?

    G) Enemies
      1] What was the origin of the Orcs?
      2] What was the origin of Trolls?

    H) Miscellaneous
      1] Who was Queen Beruthiel (who was mentioned by Aragorn during 
        the journey through Moria)?


========================================================================
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                   CHANGES SINCE THE LAST RELEASE

      There have been no changes since the release of 1996/07/08.


========================================================================
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                          ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

The following individuals made suggestions and contributions to these
FAQ lists:


Wayne.G.Hammond@williams.edu  (Wayne Hammond Jr)
Aelfwine@erols.com  (Carl F. Hostetter)
paul@ERC.MsState.Edu  (Paul Adams)
wft@math.canterbury.ac.nz   (Bill Taylor)
cpresson@jido.b30.ingr.com (Craig Presson)

simen.gaure@usit.uio.no     (Simen Gaure)
abalje47@uther.Calvin.EDU (Alan Baljeu)
sahdra@ecf.toronto.edu (SAHDRA KULDIP)
sherman@sol1.lrsm.upenn.edu (Bill Sherman)
markg@mistral.rice.edu   (Mark Gordon)
hunt@oils.ozy.dec.com  (Peter Hunt)
rrosen@cesl.rutgers.edu (Robert Rosenbaum)


========================================================================
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                        NOTE ON REFERENCES 

      There is a certain amount of cross-referencing among the questions 
on both the FAQ and the LessFAQ lists.  Any questions so referred to are 
specified by the list, section, and question number.  Thus, the first 
question in the Hobbit section of the FAQ, "Were Hobbits a sub-group of 
Humans?" would be referenced as (FAQ, Hobbits, 1).  Note that the 
section "Tolkien And His Work" is referred to merely as "Tolkien" and 
the section "General History of Middle-earth" is referred to merely as 
"General".  E.g. the question "Who was J.R.R. Tolkien anyway?" is (FAQ, 
Tolkien, 1) and the question "What exactly happened at the end of the 
First Age?" is (LessFAQ, General, 1).

      Sources for quotations have been provided in the form of volume 
and page numbers; the specific editions utilized are listed in the next
paragraph.  For those occasions when the proper edition is not available 
(and the conversion table below is not applicable) the page numbers have 
been roughly located according to chapter, sub-section, or appendix, 
whichever is appropriate.  For example,  RK, 57-59 (V, 2) refers to 
pages 57-59 of Return of the King and further locates the pages in 
chapter 2 of Book V.  PLEASE NOTE the distinction in the case of _Lord 
of the Rings_ between *Volumes* and *Books*.  LotR is comprised of three 
Volumes (FR, TT, and RK) and of six Books (I - VI), which are the more
natural divisions of the story into six roughly equal parts.  There are
two Books in each of the Volumes.  Other sample references are below.

      References to _The Hobbit_ are from the Ballantine paperback (the 
pagination has been the same since the 60's.  All other references are 
to the HM hardcovers.  Sample references follow:

      Hobbit, 83 (Ch V)  ==   Hobbit, chapter V

      RK, 408 (App F, I, "Of Men", "Of Hobbits")  ==
                             p 408 in Part I of Appendix F, the sections 
                                      entitled "Of Men" and "Of Hobbits"

      Silm, 57 (Ch V)  ==  Silmarillion, chapter V  (BoLT and _The 
                              Annotated Hobbit_ treated similarly) 

      UT, 351 (Three, IV, iii)  ==  Unfinished Tales, Part Three, 
                                      Chapter IV, sub-section iii 
                                    (the Biography treated similarly)

      Letters, 230 (#178)  ==  letter number 178.  

      RtMe, 53-54 (3, "Creative anachronisms")  == 
                                 The Road to Middle-earth, in Chapter 3, 
                                     sub-section "Creative anachronisms"


CONVERSION TABLE 

      In _The Atlas of Middle-earth_, Karen Wynn Fonstad provided a 
Houghton-Mifflin-to-Ballantine conversion table, which is reproduced 
below.  The "table" is actually a set of formulae by which HM page 
numbers may be converted to Ballantine page numbers via arithmetic 
involving some empirically determined constants.  Since these are 
discrete rather than continuous functions the results may be off by 
a page or so.  

[NOTE: in the Fall of 1993, Ballantine issued a new edition of the mass 
market paperback of LotR in which the text has been re-set, thereby 
changing the page on which any given quote is located.  Thus, the 
following table will no longer work with the latest printings, which may 
be identified by the change in the color of the covers (the pictures are 
unaltered): in the previous set of printings all the covers were black; 
in the new set FR is green, TT is purple, and RK is red.]

      HM Page            Subtract            Divide By            Add
   -------------         --------            ---------          -------
   FR 10 to 423             9                  .818                18
   TT 15 to 352            14                  .778                16
   RK 19 to 311            18                  .797                18
   RK 313 to 416          312                  .781               386
    H 9 to 317              8                 1.140                14
   Silm 15 to 365          14                  .773                 2

Reference:  Atlas, p. 191 (first edtion), p. 192 (revised edtion)


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                       COMMONLY USED ABBREVIATIONS

General:

      JRRT          J.R.R. Tolkien, John Ronald Reuel Tolkien
      CT, CJRT      Christopher Tolkien (son; editor of most posthumous 
                    works)

      A&U, AU       George Allen & Unwin (original British publisher)
      UH            Unwin Hyman (new name for A&U c. 1987(?))
      HC            HarperCollins (purchased UH c. 1992; current British 
                                   publisher)
      HM            Houghton Mifflin (American publisher)

      M-e           Middle-earth
      SA            Second Age
      TA            Third Age
      SR            Shire Reckoning

Middle-earth Works:

      H             The Hobbit
      LR, LotR      The Lord of the Rings
      FR, FotR      The Fellowship of the Ring
      TT, TTT       The Two Towers
      RK, RotK      The Return of the King

      TB, ATB       The Adventures of Tom Bombadil
      RGEO          The Road Goes Ever On
      Silm          The Silmarillion
      UT            Unfinished Tales
      Letters       The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien
      HoMe          History of Middle-earth
      BLT,BoLT      Book of Lost Tales 
      Lays          The Lays of Beleriand
      Treason       The Treason of Isengard
      Guide         The Guide to the Names in the Lord of the Rings
                                      (published in _A Tolkien Compass_)

Other Works:

      FGH           Farmer Giles of Ham
      TL            Tree and Leaf
      OFS           On Fairy-Stories
      LbN           Leaf by Niggle
      HBBS          The Homecoming of Beorhtnoth, Beorhthelm's Son
      SWM           Smith of Wootton Major
      SGPO          Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Pearl, Sir Orfeo
      FCL           The Father Christmas Letters

Reference Works:

      Biography     J.R.R. Tolkien: A Biography; by Humphrey Carpenter
                    (published in the US as Tolkien: A Biography)
      Inklings      The Inklings: C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, Charles 
                    Williams, and Their Friends;  by Humphrey Carpenter
      RtMe          The Road to Middle-earth;  by T.A. Shippey
      Scholar       J.R.R. Tolkien, Scholar and Storyteller: Essays in
                    Memoriam; edited by Mary Salu and Robert T. Farrell
      Atlas         The Atlas of Middle-earth;  by Karen Wynn Fonstad


========================================================================
========================================================================


TOLKIEN AND HIS WORK

1) Was there a change of tone between Book I and the rest of _The Lord of 
  the Rings_ ?

      Yes.  Originally, the world of the Hobbit was not the same as the world 
  of the Silmarillion (Tolkien threw in a few names from it, like Gondolin and 
  Elrond, for effect, but there was no explicit connection).  Thus, when he 
  began LotR, he thought he was writing a sequel to _The Hobbit, and the tone 
  of the early chapters, especially Ch 1, reflect this (it has the same 
  "children's story" ambience as _The Hobbit_).  With the coming of the Black 
  Riders and Gandalf's discussion of Middle-earth history and the Ring a change
  began towards a loftier tone and a darker mood, though much less serious 
  elements remained (e.g. Tom Bombadil).  After the Council of Elrond LotR 
  was overtly a sequel to the Silmarillion.  

      Oddly, Tolkien added new details but never changed the overall tone of 
  Book I.  He later claimed that the change in tone was intentional, that it 
  was meant to reflect the changing perceptions of the hobbits as they became 
  educated about the Wide World.  This was certainly not his intention as he
  was writing.  On the other hand, the tone of "The Scouring of the Shire" is 
  very different from that of "A Long-expected Party", possibly indicating the
  altered perspective of the observers.

----------


2) Why did Tolkien fail to publish _The Silmarillion_ during the eighteen 
  years which followed the publication of _The Lord of the Rings_ ?

      No definitive answer is possible, but a several serious obstacles can be 
  listed.  They included:

      a) Technical difficulties.  Tolkien's unmethodical habits of revision had 
        made the manuscripts chaotic; it seemed impossible to make everything 
        consistent.  Characters introduced in LotR had to be worked in.  Beyond
        these detailed questions, he contemplated many alterations, even to
        fundamental features of his mythology.

      b) The problem of depth.  In LotR, his references to the older legends
        of the First Age helped produce the strong sense of historical reality.
        In the Silmarillion, which told the legends themselves, this method 
        wouldn't be available.

      c) The problem of presentation.  LotR had been basically novelistic, 
        presenting the story sequentially from one character or another's 
        point of view.  But the Silmarillion was and was meant to be a bundle 
        of tales which had more in common with the ancient legends he studied 
        than with LotR.  He feared that if he presented it as an annotated
        study of ancient manuscripts that probably many readers would have 
        difficulty enjoying the tales as stories.

      d) No Hobbits.  He feared (correctly) that many people expected another
        _Lord of the Rings_, which the Silmarillion could never be.

----------


GENERAL HISTORY OF MIDDLE-EARTH

1) What exactly happened at the end of the First Age?

      The Noldorin Elves had made war on Morgoth (referred to as "the Great 
  Enemy" by Aragorn in "A Knife in the Dark") to recover the three Silmarils,
  which he had stolen, and had been totally defeated.  The Valar then used 
  their full power against Morgoth.  In the resulting cataclysm Beleriand, 
  the land in which the tales of the Silmarillion took place, was destroyed 
  and sank under the Sea.  There are thus various references to "lands under 
  the waves".

      On the LotR map, Beleriand would have been far to the west, beyond the 
  Blue Mountains (Ered Luin), which also appear at the far right of the Silm
  map.  It is difficult to make an exact correlation because the mountain 
  range was much altered, having been split when the Gulf of Lune created.  
  Nogrod and Belegost, the ancient dwarf-cities, are located on the Silm map, 
  and existed as ruins in the Third Age, but where they fall on the LotR map
  is not known (they were said to be "near Nenuail", which is only slightly
  helpful).  Lindon was definitely the same land as Ossiriand, where Beren 
  and Luthien once dwelt.  [_The Atlas of Middle-earth_ includes a map showing 
  how Eriador and Beleriand lay relative to each other.]

----------


2) In terms of the larger worldview, what exactly took place at the Fall 
  of Numenor?

      The world was changed from a flat medieval world to the round world of 
  today.  Middle-earth was meant to be our own world (see FAQ, Tolkien, 6), 
  and Tolkien's overall conception was of a progression, with "Mythological 
  Time" changing into "Historical Time".  The events accompanying the Fall of 
  Numenor were a major step in the process.

      Originally, the "fashion" of Middle-earth was the flat world of the 
  medieval universe.  Valinor (the equivalent of Heaven in that the "gods" 
  dwelt there) was physically connected to the rest of the world and could be 
  reached by ship.  When Numenor sank (see LFAQ, Humans, 1) "the fashion of 
  the world was changed": the flat world was bent into a round one, with new 
  lands also being created; and Valinor was removed "from the circles of the 
  World", and could no longer be reached by ordinary physical means.  The 
  Elves alone were still allowed to make a one-way journey to Valinor along 
  "the Straight Road".  (An elven ship on such a journey would grow smaller 
  and smaller with distance until if vanished rather than sinking over the 
  horizon as a human ships do.)

      References to "bent seas", "bent skies", "the straight road", "straight 
  sight", "the World Made Round", and the like all refer to the change in the
  world's "fashion".  (The palantir at Emyn Beriad "looked only to the Sea.
  Elendil set it there so that he could look back with 'straight sight' and 
  see Eressea in the vanished West; but the bent seas below covered Numenor 
  for ever." (RK, p. 322)

----------


HOBBITS

1) Did Frodo and the others (Bilbo, Sam, and Gimli) who passed over the 
  Sea eventually die, or had they become immortal?

      They remained mortal.  Tolkien's conception was that a creature's natural 
  lifespan was intrinsic to its spiritual and biological nature, and that this 
  could not be altered save by a direct intervention of the Creator.  There 
  were three occasions when this did happen (Luthien, Tuor, Arwen), but it did
  not in the cases of Frodo & Co.  Tolkien stated explicitly in more than one 
  letter that Frodo's journey over the Sea was only a *temporary* healing, and 
  that when the time came he and the others would die of their own free will.

----------


2) In _The Hobbit_, Bilbo called the spiders Attercop, Lazy Lob, Crazy 
  Cob, and Old Tomnoddy.  What do the words mean?  

      Notes in _The Annotated Hobbit_ identify Attercop, Lob, and Cob as 
  being taken from similar words in Old and Middle English for "spider"
  (indeed, the word for "spider" in modern Norwegian is "edderkopp").
  The Oxford English Dictionary definition of Tomnoddy is given as "a 
  foolish or stupid person." (Annotated Hobbit, 170-171)

      As is well known, Tolkien used "Lob" again later.  During the  
  writing of Book IV he wrote to Christopher: "Do you think Shelob is 
  a good name for a monstrous spider creature?  It is of course only 
  'she + lob' ( == 'spider' ), but written as one, it seems to be quite 
   noisome...                                          Letters, 81 (#70)


References: Hobbit, Ch VIII;
            Annotated Hobbit, 170-171 (Ch VIII, notes 8,9,10);
            Letters, 81 (#70).

Contributors: WDBL, Paul Adams, Simen Gaure

----------


ELVES

1) Were Elves reincarnated after they were slain?

      Yes.  In addition to a number of general statements to this effect at 
  least two Elves are specifically said to have been "re-embodied" after being 
  slain: Finrod Felagund and Glorfindel (see LFAQ, Elves, 2).  ("Re-embodied" 
  is used rather than "reincarnated" because in the case of Elves (unlike 
  what's usually meant in a human context) the spirit was reborn in a body 
  resembling the original and furthermore all its former memories would be 
  substantially intact).

----------


2) Was Glorfindel of Rivendell (whom Frodo met) the same as Glorfindel 
  of Gondolin, who was slain fighting a Balrog?

      This has been a matter of great controversy.  It was unplanned by
  Tolkien, and therefore was something he had to decide after the fact.
  The only direct information in any of the books is a comment by 
  Christopher in _The Return of the Shadow_ (HoMe VI):

        Some notes that were scribbled down at Sidmouth in Devon in the 
    late summer of 1938 (see Carpenter, _Biography_, p. 187) on a page 
    of doodles evidently represent my father's thoughts for the next 
    stages of the story at this time:

            Consultation.  Over M[isty] M[ountains].  Down Great River 
        to Mordor.  Dark Tower.  Beyond(?) which is the Fiery Hill.
            Story of Gilgalald told by Elrond?  Who is Trotter?  
        Glorfindel tells of his ancestry in Gondolin.

    ... Very notable is "Glorfindel tells of his ancestry in Gondolin".  
    Years later, long after the publication of _The Lord of the Rings_, 
    my father gave a great deal of thought to the matter of Glorfindel, 
    and at that time he wrote: "[The use of Glorfindel] in LotR is one 
    of the cases of the somewhat random use of the names found in the 
    older legends, now referred to as The Silmarillion, which escaped 
    reconsideration in the final published form of _The Lord of the 
    Rings_."  He came to the conclusion that Glorfindel of Gondolin, who 
    fell to his death in combat with a Balrog after the sack of the city 
    (II. 192-4, IV.145), and Glorfindel of Rivendell were one and the 
    same: he was released from Mandos and returned to Middle-earth in 
    the Second Age.
                                       The Return of the Shadow, 214-215 

    ["Trotter" was the original name of the mysterious stranger later 
     called "Strider" (who at this stage of the composition was a 
     hobbit); II and IV refer to other volumes in the HoMe series.]


      A number of reasons have been advanced for not taking this at face
  value.  Since Christopher's report of Tolkien's conclusion was not 
  part of the rough drafts, the question of whether rough drafts can be
  canonical does not arise in this case.  The suggestion that lack of
  premeditation is grounds for rejection also seems inadequate, since 
  many elements were introduced with little thought of future conse-
  quences yet later became important parts of the mythos.

      It is true that we have no examples of any other elf journeying 
  eastwards *to* Middle-earth during the Second Age (though some did
  visit Numenor), but this is not enough to disprove the possibility of
  Glorfindel's having done so.  There were in fact no direct statements
  either way, which means that Tolkien could have established whatever
  background he wanted to any story he might have written.  The previous
  lack of specific information on this matter was no constraint.

      The strongest objection is that the way Christopher presents this
  insprires less confidence than it might because he doesn't provide any
  direct quotes -- rather, he merely describes a "conclusion" that his
  father eventually "came to".  Evidently, Tolkien never actually wrote
  his conclusion down.  The matter therefore reduces to a question of 
  how much one trusts Christopher, and whether one supposes that he 
  might attach too much importance to a casual statement.  The majority
  of readers appear to accept that this was indeed a thoughtful 
  conclusion that Tolkien reached only after long deliberation (we do
  know that he and Christopher discussed the matter of Middle-earth 
  often).  A significant minority continue to reject it.

      In the last analysis, of course, certainty either way is impos-
  sible, since no evidence beyond the above exists.  On the one hand, we
  can at least say that Tolkien apparently saw no objection to the idea
  that a re-embodied Glorfindel could have returned.  On the other hand,
  the usual caveats concerning unpublished material are even stronger 
  than usual in this case, since he not only might have changed his mind
  before publishing but also might have done so before he wrote the 
  story, or while he wrote it (not an unusual occurrence).  Still, there
  seems a good chance that he would have stuck to the one Glorfindel 
  idea, since he seems not to have come to the decision lightly.


References: Return of the Shadow (HoMe VI), 214-215 (First Phase, XII).

Contributors: WDBL, Robert Rosenbaum

----------


3) How were Eldar in Valinor named?

      They had two given names ('essi'), one bestowed at birth by the 
  father, the other later by the mother:

    ... and these mother-names had great significance, for the mothers 
    of the Eldar had insight into the characters and abilities of their 
    children, and many also had the gift of prophetic foresight.  In 
    addition, any of the Eldar might acquire  epesse  ('after-name'), 
    not necessarily given by their own kin, a nickname -- mostly given 
    as a title of admiration or honour; and an epesse might become the
    name generally used and recognised in later song and history (as was
    the case, for instance, with Ereinion, always known by his epesse
    Gil-galad).
                                                                 UT, 266

  On why 'Ereinion' ('Scion of Kings' (UT, 436)) was given this epesse:

        It is recorded that Ereinion was given the name Gil-galad 'Star
    of Radiance' 'because his helm and mail, and his shield overlaid 
    with silver and set with a device of white stars, shone from afar 
    like a star in sunlight or moonlight, and could be seen by Elvish 
    eyes at a great distance if he stood upon a height'.
                                                                 UT, 217

[ Gil-galad's "device of white stars" is shown in entry 47 of Pictures.]

  The other epesse most familiar to readers of LotR was 'Galadriel',
  whose father-name was 'Artanis' ('noble woman') and mother-name 
  'Nerwen' ('man-maiden') (UT 229, 231).  As for 'Galadriel', which
  was the Sindarin form of 'Altariel' (Quenya) and 'Alatariel' (Telerin)
  (UT, 266):

    In the High-elven speech her name was Al(a)tariel, derived from 
    _alata_ 'radience' (Sindarin _galad_) and _riel_ 'garlanded maiden'
    (from a root  rig-  'twine, wreathe'): the whole meaning 'maiden 
    crowned with a radiant garland', referring to her hair.
                                                               Silm, 360


References: UT, 217, 229, 231, 266 (all Two, II), 436 (Index);
            Silm, 360 (Appendix, root -kal);
            Pictures, entry 47.

Contributors: WDBL, Paul Adams

----------


HUMANS

1) What brought on the sinking of Numenor?

      The Numenor story was Tolkien's re-telling of the Atlantis legend (the
  tale publshed in _The Silmarillion_ was entitled "The Akalabeth", which may
  be translated as "Downfallen").  Numenor was an island far to the West, a 
  "land apart" given to the heroic Edain (humans) of the First Age who had 
  aided the Noldor in the wars against Morgoth (see LFAQ, General, 1).  [The 
  Line of Kings of Numenor was descended from Elrond's brother Elros, who 
  chose to be mortal; it led indirectly to Elendil the Tall, first King of 
  Arnor and Gondor, and thus eventually to Aragorn son of Arathorn.]

      The theological situation was the "standard" one of a Ban and a Fall.  
  The Numenoreans, despite having been granted a longer lifespan than other,
  humans, nevertheless had to remain mortal.  They had also been ordered not to 
  sail West to the Undying Lands (Valinor).  After awhile (perhaps inevitably,
  as their power and wealth grew) the Numenoreans began to envy the Elves and 
  to yearn for immortality themselves (so as to enjoy their situation longer).
  They managed to convince themselves that physical control of the Undying 
  Lands would somehow produce this result (it would not have); however, they 
  also retained sufficient wisdom not to attempt any such foolish action.  
  Significantly, the more obsessed they became with death the more quickly it
  came as their lifespans steadily waned.

      Near the end of the Second Age King Ar-Pharazon the Golden pridefully
  challenged Sauron for the mastery of Middle-earth.  The Numenoreans won the
  confrontation (see LFAQ, Humans, 2) and took Sauron to Numenor as a prisoner.
  Still wielding the One Ring, he swiftly gained control over most of the 
  Numenoreans (except for the Faithful and their leaders, Amandil and his son 
  Elendil).  As King Ar-Pharazon's death approached ("he felt the waning of 
  his days and was besotted by fear of death"; RK, p. 317) Sauron finally 
  convinced him by deception to attack Valinor.  This was a mistake.  A great 
  chasm opened in the Sea and Numenor toppled into the abyss.  (Tolkien had a 
  recurrent dream about this event; in LotR he gave it to Faramir, who 
  described it in "The Steward and the King".)  (See also LFAQ, General, 2).

----------


2) How could Ar-Pharazon of Numenor defeat Sauron while Sauron wielded the 
  One Ring?

      He did not actually defeat Sauron himself.  The invasion fleet of the 
  Numenoreans was so powerful that Sauron's *armies* deserted him.  Sauron 
  merely pretended to humble himself; to be carried back to Numenor as a 
  supposed hostage was exactly what he wanted.  His plan was to weaken Numenor 
  as a war power by maneuvering them into sending a fleet to attack Valinor,
  where it would presumably be destroyed.

      He succeeded up to a point, but the result was disastrously more violent
  than he foresaw, and he was caught in the Fall of Numenor.  Only his physical 
  body perished since by nature he was of the spiritual order.  Tolkien: "That 
  Sauron was not himself destroyed in the anger of the One is not my fault: the 
  problem of evil, and its apparent toleration, is a permanent one for all who 
  concern themselves with our world.  The indestructibility of *spirits* with 
  free wills, even by the Creator of them, is also an inevitable feature, if 
  one either believes in their existence, or feigns it in a story." 
  (Letters, p. 280).

----------


3) What happened to the Ring when Numenor was destroyed?  

      Nothing.  Sauron carried it back to Middle-earth, though there might be 
  some question as to how he managed it.  Tolkien said he did, and Tolkien 
  should know: "Though reduced to 'a spirit of hatred borne on a dark wind', I 
  do not think one need boggle at this spirit carrying off the One Ring, upon 
  which his power of dominating minds now largely depended." (Letters, p. 280).
  In fact, as far as we know all the spiritual beings (Valar and Maiar) were 
  perfectly capable of manipulating physical objects.

----------


4) Where did the Southrons come from?  Were they part of the Atani?

      Yes.  All humans, East, West, North, or South, were.  Humans first 
  appeared in the east and spread westwards, with some eventually crossing 
  the Blue Mountains into Beleriand.  The entry for Atani in the Silmarillion 
  index reads:

    Atani  'The Second People', Men (singular Atan).  Since in Beleriand for 
      a long time the only Men known to the Noldor and Sindar were those of 
      the Three Houses of the Elf-friends, this name (in the Sindarin form 
      Adan, plural Edain) became specially associated with them, so that it 
      was seldom applied to other Men who came later to Beleriand, or who 
      were reported to be dwelling beyond the Mountains.  But in the speech 
      of Iluvatar the meaning is 'Men (in general)'.

  [Humans were 'the second people' because Elves were the Firstborn.]

----------


DWARVES

1) What were the origins of the Dwarves?

      They were made by Aule, the smith and craftmaster of the Valar.  This was
  against Eru's Plan: Aule had neither the authority nor indeed the power to 
  create other souls (the result of his efforts was a group of what amounted to
  puppets).  However, because he repented his folly at once and because his 
  motives had been good (he desired children to teach, not slaves to command) 
  Eru gave the Dwarves life and made them part of the Plan.  The Elves were 
  still to be the "Firstborn", though, so the Dwarves had to sleep until after 
  the Elves awoke.

----------


2) If, as has been told, only Seven Fathers of the Dwarves were created, 
  how did the race procreate?

      In the _Silmarillion_ account of the making of the Dwarves, only the
  Seven Fathers are mentioned.  In Letter no. 212 (p 287), however, Tolkien 
  speaks of thirteen dwarves being initially created: "One, the eldest, alone, 
  and six more with six mates."  Thus, it seems that Durin really did "walk 
  alone" as Gimli's song said.

----------


ENEMIES

1) What was the origin of the Orcs?

      A fundamental concept for Tolkien (and the other Inklings) was that Evil 
  cannot create, only corrupt (the Boethian, as opposed to the Manichean, 
  concept of evil).  In Letter 153 he explained that to a first approximation, 
  Treebeard was wrong ("Trolls are only counterfeits, made by the Enemy in the
  Great Darkness, in mockery of Ents, as Orcs were of Elves." TT, p. 89) and 
  Frodo was right ("The Shadow that bred them can only mock, it cannot make:
  not real new things of its own.  I don't think it gave life to Orcs, it only
  ruined them and twisted them ..." RK, p. 190).  (Tolkien: "Treebeard is a 
  *character* in my story, not me; and though he has a great memory and some 
  earthy wisdom, he is not one of the Wise, and there is quite a lot he does 
  not know or understand." Letters, p. 190;  "Suffering and experience (and 
  possibly the Ring itself) gave Frodo more insight ..." Letters, p. 191.)
  ("To the first approximation" [above] because in that same letter Tolkien 
  made some subtle distinctions between "creating" and "making", which cannot 
  be gone into here.)  

      Tolkien stated explicitly in that letter (and several other places) that 
  the Orcs are indeed "a race of rational incarnate creatures, though horribly 
  corrupted".  Also that "In the legends of the Elder Days it is suggested that
  the Diabolus subjugated and corrupted some of the earliest Elves, before they
  had ever heard of the 'gods', let alone of God." (Letters, p. 191).  In fact,
  _The Silmarillion_ does state that Orcs were Avari (Dark Elves) captured by
  Morgoth (p. 50, 94), though strictly speaking, the idea is presented as the
  best guess of the Eldar, no more.  Some have rejected the statements on those
  grounds,  that the Elvish compilers of _The Silmarillion_ didn't actually 
  *know* the truth but were merely speculating.  But since Tolkien himself, 
  speaking as author and sub-creator, more-or-less verified this idea, it's 
  probably safe to accept it, as far as it goes.

      It has been widely noted that this conception leaves several questions 
  unresolved.  1) Re: procreation, _The Silmarillion_ says that "the Orcs had 
  life and multiplied after the manner of the Children of Iluvatar" (p. 50), 
  but nevertheless people continue to raise questions.  For one thing, there 
  was never any hint that female Orcs exist (there were two apparent references 
  to Orc children, but both were from _The Hobbit_ , and therefore may be 
  considered suspect).  2) There is the question of why, if Orcs were corrupted 
  Elves, their offspring would also be Orcs (rather than Elves -- a somewhat 
  horrifying thought).  This question leads to discussions of brainwashing vs. 
  genetics, which are not altogether appropriate to the world of Middle-earth.
  3) Finally there is the question of whether Orcs, being fundamentally Elves,
  go to the Halls of Mandos when they are slain, and whether, like Elves, they
  are reincarnated.  (This last would explain how they managed to replenish 
  their numbers so quickly all the time.)  There is also some reason to think 
  that Orcs, like Elves, are immortal.  (Gorbag and Shagrat, during the conver-
  sation which Sam overheard, mention the "Great Seige", which presumably 
  refers to the Last Alliance; it is possible to interpret this reference to 
  mean that they were there and actually remembered it themselves.)
 
----------


2) What was the origin of Trolls?

      No one seems to know.  Apparently, though, they were "made" (as opposed
  to "created" -- see LFAQ, Enemies, 1) by Melkor.  Said Tolkien: "I am not 
  sure about Trolls.  I think they are mere 'counterfeits', and hence ... they 
  return to mere stone images when not in the dark.  But there are other sorts 
  of Trolls, beside these rather ridiculous, if brutal, Stone-trolls, for which
  other origins are suggested." (Letters, p. 191)  "Counterfeits" here means 
  more-or-less that the Trolls have no independant life of their own but are 
  puppets animated in some way by an external Evil Will.  As for the other kind 
  of Troll, the Olog-hai, no reference to their origin has been found, except 
  for Appendix F: "That Sauron bred them none doubted, though from what stock 
  was not known."  However, they were definitely true Trolls, not large Orcs.

      The Troll adventure in _The Hobbit_ should probably not be taken too
  literally as a source of Troll-lore -- it seems clear that it was much
  modified by the translator's desire to create familiarity.  Thus, it seems
  unlikely that Trolls in Middle-earth spoke with Cockney accents, just as 
  it seems unlikely that one of them would have been named "William".

----------


MISCELLANEOUS

1) Who was Queen Beruthiel?  (Aragorn mentioned her during the journey
  through Moria.)

      The reference is to Book II, Ch 4 "A Journey in the Dark": " 'Do not be 
  afraid!' said Aragorn.  There was a pause longer than usual, and Gandalf and 
  Gimli were whispering together; ... 'Do not be afraid!  I have been with him 
  on many a journey, if never on one so dark; ... He is surer of finding the 
  way home in a blind night than the cats of Queen Beruthiel.' " (FR p. 325).

      This is a striking case of Tolkien's creative process.  It seems that
  the name meant nothing when it first appeared: it just "came" as he was 
  writing the first draft of the chapter.  Later, however, he "found out" whom 
  she "actually" was, his conclusions being reported in UT.

      She was the wife of King Tarannon of Gondor (Third Age 830-913), and was 
  described as "nefarious, solitary, and loveless" (Tarannon's childlessness 
  was mentioned without explanation in the annals).  "She had nine black cats 
  and one white, her slaves, with whom she conversed, or read their memories, 
  setting them to discover all the dark secrets of Gondor,... setting the white
  cat to spy upon the black, and tormenting them.  No man in Gondor dared touch 
  them; all were afraid of them, and cursed when they saw them pass."  Her 
  eventual fate was to be set adrift in a boat with her cats: "The ship was 
  last seen flying past Umbar under a sickle moon, with a cat at the masthead 
  and another as a figure-head on the prow."  It is also told that "her name 
  was erased from the Book of the Kings (`but the memory of men is not wholly 
  shut in books, and the cats of Queen Beruthiel never passed wholly out of 
  men's speech')." (UT, pp 401-402)



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