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A Poll to Humor Your Statistically Inclined Hostess ...

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"About as much fun as a bag of weasels"...when I first saw this Irish adage, it made me think of the life of a writer: sometimes perilous, sometimes painful, certainly interesting. My paper journal has always been called "The Bag of Weasels." This is the Bag of Weasels' online home.

A Poll to Humor Your Statistically Inclined Hostess ...

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I am working on a post for The Heretic Loremaster and am really curious about how people see the attack on Sirion and its aftermath as it relates to Maedhros and Maglor, and Elrond and Elros. I would appreciate the input of anyone who wishes to take the following poll.

It's simple enough: Following are four scenarios common to Silmfic. Are they canon or not? Please don't belabor the point of "what is canon"; I am curious if they are canon based on how you define canon--not how I or anyone else does--whether that canon involves the Silm, the HoMe, or not. If you'd like to elaborate on your responses, please feel free to leave a comment.

And, also, if you know someone else who doesn't hang around here who might want to participate, do pass the word around! I would like to get as many responses as I can!

ETA: There are not necessarily correct answers to the "questions" in this poll. In fact, I think that any interpretation presented here can be argued for. I'm not looking to "quiz" participants but to get an idea how various people interpret the text(s) to derive what they view as "canon." Likewise, please don't feel that you need to look up what the books say before answering.

Thanks. :)

Poll #1295658 Maglor's Fostering of Elrond and Elros

After the attack on the settlement at Sirion, Maglor fostered Elrond and Elros.

not canonical
not sure

After the attack on the settlement at Sirion, Maedhros also agreed to foster Elrond and Elros.

not canonical
not sure

During the attack on the settlement at Sirion, Maedhros wanted to kill Elrond and Elros, but Maglor stopped him.

not canonical
not sure

After the attack on the settlement at Sirion, Maglor and Maedhros held Elrond and Elros hostage.

not canonical
not sure
  • Hi Dawn,

    Just wanted to be clear: by "not canonical" I mean that canon never explicitly stated that was so; not that I think it's inconsistent with canon or "AU" or anything. And by "not sure" I meant that I'd have to look it up to be certain.

    I don't know how other people took "not canonical," but I thought I'd clarify in case it was helpful.
    • Thanks, Marta. I appreciate the clarification; your ideas are what I had in mind as well. Defining canon is so complicated, which is part of the reason that I wanted each respondent to bring his or her own definition to the questions.
  • Fun questions, especially two had me going like, wait a minute, what am I clicking here :) It might be fanon, where is Tinni's site!
  • The stories are different in different canon. I don't have the patience to look it all up and give the cites for them here (it is the middle of the night right now). When I write it I am going to pick and chose the ones I like.

    Edited at 2008-11-12 09:45 am (UTC)
    • No worries ... I didn't want anyone to look anything up. (Which I probably should have clarified ...) The canon on this issue depends on whether you use the Silm or the HoMe, so there really are no "correct" answers to most of them. I was just curious where everyone's opinions on this fell. :)
  • I don't know the Simarillion very well ,only having read it once,but I voted how I feel without looking up details.
  • Statically? ;)

    In this particular case, I have taken "canonical" to mean "said in the published Silm": Normally I include the HoME to my definition of canon, but just now I am no longer certain what parts of the events at the havens are purely fanon-inspired and what are derived from the supplementary canon. I'd have to look it up, and... *coughs* right now I'm too lazy to do that. *gasp! shock!*

    I have taken "non-canonical" to mean that, from what we see in Canon, it would feel OOC to me. I have taken "not sure" to mean that canon doesn't explicitly say so, but it might well be between the lines. A somewhat hazy differentiation, I admit, but it seemed to be what worked best; but I shall explain my answers anyway.

    Well, not the answer to the first question, which is fairly straightforward, I think.

    But two: I clicked "not sure" because... well. The Silm doesn't say anything of the sort, but I think it's implied in the fact that there is no special mention of resistance. If Maedhros - who is, despite everything, still the leader of the pitiful remnant of the House of Fëanor - had opposed the fostering so that Maglor - in doing it anyway - would factually have turned against him, I think it would be mentioned.
    And I think I remember that in one of the older versions actually Maedhros was the one who was keen on adopting the kidlets, so although the published story doesn't explicitly say so, there must have been agreement at the very least. But, well, I can't be certain! ;)

    It's different with three: Here I'd definitely say that this reading doesn't comply with canon. It isn't said anywhere in the Silm. And only a few pages before the attack on the havens we are told that Maedhros spent days running through the forests looking for abandoned Elúred and Elurín, in vain. Now this, too, is conjecture on my part, but to me it seems highly unlikely that a character who just spent a week trying to save two abandonet kidlets would one chapter later want to slay two similar kidlets...
    So here the "it doesn't say so" is stronger than just "not sure".
    And let me at this point say how tired I am of all the fanfic where Maedhros treats Elros and Elrond cruelly and Maglor has to protect them from him all the time. *coughs*

    Back to "not sure" at four: It certainly doesn't say so, but there is a line about how Eärendil and Elwing felt great sorrow about the "captivity of their sons". I figure they - and Gil-galad and the rest - may certainly have assumed that the twins were held hostage. It would make sense both from their and from Maedhros' and Maglor's perspective - children for Silmarils? - so while I freely admit that the Silm doesn't say so, it is at least possible.
    Somewhere in the back of my head a voice keeps saying "Duh, there even were parleys discussing the terms of release", but I cannot for the life of me say whether I just remember that from some fanfic or whether it's actually said somewhere in the supplementary canon.

    Fuzzy, all in all, I know. >_>
    You should've added an "complying with my mental canon" option for people like me! ;)

    Edited at 2008-11-12 08:26 pm (UTC)
    • Thanks for finding the typo! I fixed it! That's what I get for typing in a hurry before heading off to do schoolwork. ;)

      No worries about not looking things up ... I really didn't want people to feel they needed to do that. I should have clarified. (Maybe I'll add an ETA before broadcasting this to a wider audience.)

      For most of the "questions," I don't even think that there is necessarily a correct answer, which is why I wanted to leave it up to each person to use his or her personal definition of canon in coming up with replies. You are right that the earliest versions of The Silmarillion had Maedhros as the rescuer of Elrond (Elros being added later), and JRRT stopped working on this part of the story shortly after switching Maedhros and Maglor's roles. I think that will influence everyone's personal canon differently; some won't think it matters, and others will take it into account, in terms of its use as a trajectory of Maedhros and Maglor's characterization, if nothing else.

      Somewhere in the back of my head a voice keeps saying "Duh, there even were parleys discussing the terms of release", but I cannot for the life of me say whether I just remember that from some fanfic or whether it's actually said somewhere in the supplementary canon.

      Well, I just spent the afternoon reading the HoMe for information on this event, and I didn't find anything about parleys. ;) So I might be missing something too; my research was based on a keyword-search of "maedhros" or "maidros" in my ebooks. I want to go through each book's index to see if I can find anything on this that might not mention him by name but might be relevant. If I find anything on parleys, I'll let you know! :)

      But, if it's there, I don't think I've ever read it because, for me, a big hole in the story has always been Elrond and Elros's departure from Maglor's care: when it happened and on what terms, how old they were, and so on. But I guess that is best explained by the fact that, post-LotR, Tolkien didn't work on this part of the story at all and so didn't see a need to make a stronger "First Age/Third Age" connection that is part of the reason I think people like this particular story so much.

      You should've added an "complying with my mental canon" option for people like me! ;)

      Lol! Tolkien canon is so complicated that I think that I could have had 20 shades of compliance/non-compliance with canon, and I still would have gotten comments from people wanting to lodge their choice between two of the options! ;)
  • ooh, I love this time period!

    I think that 'canon' here is more than a bit vague. So, yes, there's the published Silm version with Maglor raising them, and the older version of the story in which it was Maedhros who raised them (or really just Elrond at that point?). Since that older version also implied different roles for Maedhros and Maglor when it came to sneaking into Eonwe's camp and final fates, it's not really a toss up as to which version you go with. Picking the older version changes a lot! And then there is the explanation of the names Elros and Elrond where Maglor finds the twins playing by a waterfall. So, I have a hard time saying that 'Maedhros raised them' is canon, but Tolkien did write that, and certainly Maedhros could have been around and helping while Maglor raised them.

    But this time period in general (leading up to the 'war to end all wars' of the First Age) is so vague in Tolkien's writings. So, I think that authors have a *lot* of leeway in interpretting the story, while still calling it 'canon.'

    For instance - I do not think Tolkien ever mentions or implies that the twins were held as hostages. But...the surviving elves on the Isle of Balar and the Feanoreans are hardly going to be on friendly terms, so the fact that Maglor just so happens to have the sons of the (permanently missing) lord of the Havens with him certainly opens up political possibilities. Tolkien makes an offhanded remark that can be read as all the surviving elves retreating to the Isle of Balar, which would mean Green Elves and whatever was left of the Feanoreans. But...I don't see either of those groups being welcomed there, so I read that as too much strict interpretation of what was meant as hyperbole. That's not the only possible reading, though. If Maglor and Maedhros showed up on Balar - they'd need insurance, I think.

    I think that most people's view of Maglor taking in Elrond and Elros is colored in good part by Kasiopeia's evocative artwork - And Maglor Took Pity Upon Them certainly implies that Maglor had to restrain Maedhros from slaying the boys, though it doesn't actually depict that.

    Canonically, Maedhros was torn up over the loss of the sons of Dior in Doriath (though there are about 3 different versions of *that* story as well!), so I think it very unlikely that he would have personally executed (or attempted to kill) 2 young boys who were the first victims' nephews. But conflict makes for good drama, so in a story, it works better to have them argue over this before he agrees, rather than writing:
    "I want to keep them!" ~ Maglor
    "Okay." ~ Maedhros :)

    Maglor follows Maedhros in all things from his return from Thangorodrim until the end. He argues before Eonwe's camp (but still concedes), and only fails to follow his older brother when Maedhros kills himself. So, I have great difficulty seeing him defy Maedhros here, but I could see it as the seeds of him defying Maedhros later. Maedhros had to concede, even if there was 'discussion' of some sort over it. I do not see any evidence within the story that Maglor raised the boys in defiance of Maedhros - though of course fanfic authors may write what they want!

    I have my own version how all of this went down, and plenty of it has nothing to do with canon. So, quite possibly that is coloring my view of what is stated, implied or hinted at in Tolkien's words. In the interest of transparency, this was written by me:
    A Bitter Truth

    • Re: ooh, I love this time period!

      This is a totally awesome comment. :)

      Actually, do you mind if I quote you in the post I'm writing? If you want to read the post first before giving permission, that is understandable, of course.

      The canon here is really nebulous, I agree. It's actually kind of fascinating how the story evolved with so much going on between the first introduction of Elwing's Silmaril (and the sons of Feanor!) in BoLT and the rapid changes in the earliest Silmarillions and then ... *crickets* JRRT just stopped working on this part of the story. It makes me wonder how he really came to see the events at the end of the First Age and, maybe, if he just didn't get time to write down his thoughts. (Which is sad--and scary!--as a writer too who hasn't written down 99% of what's swirling around in her brain.)

      For the "questions" on the poll, I think that most of them have no right answer; it depends on which source you want to use and how you interpret various canon details. I will confess that, for what I'm writing for the Heretic Loremaster, I really only wanted answers to one of them. ;) The others might prove interesting related to that one, but I mostly didn't want to give away my purposes (which would have been clear enough to anyone who has known me for more than five minutes) and bias the responses or who felt comfortable responding.

      And thanks for the link to "A Bitter Truth"! Unfortunately, I haven't had the chance to check out anything being posted on ALEC yet, since I'm trying to whittle down my (125-item *cough*) MEFA wish list, but I will definitely check it out! Actually, as part of my "research," I will be reading some fanfic about this event, so I should have my excuse! :)
    • Re: ooh, I love this time period! - mithluin - Expand
    • Re: ooh, I love this time period! - dawn_felagund - Expand
  • Ai, carambië! You know I'm averse to fitting the square "canon" peg into the round "mythology" one, but I gave it a shot. Question 1, yes, canonical. The rest, murky and squishy like any myth, whether in JRRT's secondary world or our primary one.
    • Actually, I think it's possible to argue for any of the interpretations on the poll, though some more than others. ;) I'm not so keen on finding the "right" answers as I am getting an idea of how people are interpreting the texts differently from how I may be reading them.

      And I haven't been able to get the "squishy myths" out of my head since reading your comment ... ;)
  • Elros and Elrond were taken captive* - to me it means became hostages - and with time Maglor fostered them. Stockholm syndrome, remorse, mercy and loneliness combination? Whatever, they finally ended loving and respecting each other. My red head is a loner, so kids were more Maglor's, but he took a part in their upbringing, too. Well, Maedhros was a father, Maglor replaced a mum ;) Maedhros would never try to kill them nor any other kid in a conscious act (Sirion battle madness doesn't count, but I assume twins weren't standing between him and Elwing). Other way he would not anger on Celegorm's servants in Doriath, nor tried to rescue the kids.
    *on the other hand that is what survivors said, not necessarily the truth ;)

    You know that image, I know, but I need to add that it's one of my fav Maedhros' face visions, also this image is a reason why I remember the quotation:

    Is the poll open to non-LJ users? Because I could send link to a few people outside of LJ.
  • I took part in the poll, but wished to add the following; I did not notice that anyone identified who decided to take Elrond and Elros out into the wilderness to leave them exposed as happened to Elured and Elurin, but there was no question someone among the Noldorin did so. That Maglor found them and took pity on them is not open to question, however.

    It is possible that at first Maedhros agreed to the situation with the idea that the two boys might be used as hostages; but I doubt that this lasted for long once he realized that his brother had opened his heart to the two children. That he might have been considered their "uncle" does appear probable.
    • Here is what I found concerning the waterfall part of the Elrond-Elros story, in Letter 211 to Rhona Beare (1958):

      Elrond and Elros, children of Eärendil (sea-lover) and Elwing (Elf-foam), were so called, because they were carried off by the sons of Fëanor, in the last act of the feud between the high-elven houses of the Noldorin princes concerning the Silmarils .... The infants were not slain, but left like 'babes in the wood', in a cave with a fall of water over the entrance. There they were found: Elrond within the cave, and Elros dabbling in the water.

      I thought that the passage occurred elsewhere in the texts, but I did a search of "waterfall" in all of my ebooks and "water" in HoMe IV, V, X, XI, and XII and came up with nothing relevant.

      Personally, I'm not sure how canonical I consider that. In fact, I'm having trouble deciding how to interpret it at all. It could be read two ways: The boys were taken away by the Feanorians and left by the waterfall to be found ... by whom? This also leaves no room for the idea of Maglor fostering the boys, which was present in the texts by the time JRRT had written Ms. Beare. Or the boys were found by the waterfall by the Noldor after having been deserted ... by whom? They were not necessarily deserted by the Feanorians, in this instance; I could see them being kept in a secret, safe place by a nursemaid, for example, with intentions that she would return for them. All wildly speculative, of course. :)

      JRRT seems to have deserted work on the story of Maedhros and Maglor's involvement with Elrond and Elros pretty early on (pre-LotR), but he did debate until almost the end of his life about the meaning of Elros's name in The Problem of 'Ros' (HoMe XII), which CT dates as having been written 1968 or later, well after the correspondence cited above. The waterfall story doesn't appear there, which leads me to believe that what he wrote to Ms. Beare was perhaps a passing fancy or something he chose not to include (or simply forgot about), as it surely would have been relevant to Ros.

      All 100% opinion and speculation, of course. :) And I'm open to sources of information that I'm missing.

      Thanks for your replies on the poll too! :)
  • (Anonymous)
    On the matter of them being held as hostages - this has always confused me. Who/what were they supposed to be ransomed for? Elwing took the Silmaril into the sea / out to sea / over the sea (I don't think anyone left behind would have known where it ended up until Earendil flew into battle wearing it 50? years later). I can't imagine them thinking Morgoth would want the boys. Any other survivors of Sirion - what would they have that the M's would want in exchange for the boys.

    • It's not an idea I've ever bought personally, so I can't really answer from the perspective of someone who finds truth in this possibility. mithluin mentions some possibilities in her thread on this post. Her idea that the sons of Elwing and Earendil could have been used to "buy" some kind of immunity from those who would otherwise attack or harass them certainly seems a possibility; she specifically uses the example of gaining the Feanorians a place on Balar. I can see how an author could make this work--it could be a good story, I think, particularly if you like political intrigue in stories (which I do)--but it's still not an idea I consider canonical, per se, or could imagine using in my writing.
  • I intentionally didn't take out my copy of the Silm to answer these questions and I was quite surprised when I realised how often I was not sure about the facts. It has happened to me that I thought something was canon only to find out later that it was only a "fact" I'd taken out of one of my favourite fan fics. After all, I think one kind of pieces together one's very own "canon", consisting of facts from the book, details from fics one has read and personal thoughts and imaginations considering the stories. It gets rather hard to tell these from another, I guess. ;)
    • I think that happens to everyone; I know it sure happens to me. When I first started writing Tolkien fic, I would have sworn that there was a scene in one of the HoMe where the Valar give Celegorm permission to marry Aredhel, even though their half-first cousins. Hence, I have a beautifully drafted scene for my AMC epic in my mind, based on this "canon" that doesn't even exist. ;)

      Fanon doesn't bug me so much as thoughtless fanon does. I was on HASA the other day collecting links and noticed how many people have recommended one of my stories under the "good use of AU" heading. Now, I'm not going to get angry over a rec, but I think there is honestly only one story that I have written that is a real AU*--the challenge being to write a story where Feanor outlives all of his sons--and that one ain't on HASA. ;) But people who use fanon or AU that just happens to conform quite nicely with the prevailing, narrow, by-the-book opinion of what Tolkien wrote don't similarly have their ideas shuttled under the "AU" heading, even though a story where Maedhros threatens to kill Elrond and Elros is much more AU than a story (like AMC) where Maedhros goes to third base with his girlfriend.

      Those are the fanons that annoy me.

      Sorry you had to hear the rant. :) *hugs*

      * Excluding drabble-thingies because I don't remember what most of my drabble-thingies are about. ;)
    • (no subject) - atanwende - Expand
    • (no subject) - sirielle - Expand
  • Forgive me delay, I hope you'll still have some use of potential answers - if people at Hobbiton will answer. Here is a thread I just made with your poll:
    I asked them to copy & paste the whole poll with answers here or there, depending if they speak English or are too lazy or not. I think it is better idea than only sending folks here, some of them do not speak English or are too shy to answer in English.

    I hope that people will answer so you'll have more results and also we'll have comparison between international/English speaking fandom and it's Polish part :) As long as more than one person answers, of course. For a good start I voted in the initial poll that "I will answer the poll in English in Dawn's journal", which I've already done. (I added this to count how many people answered at all).

    Should the poll end with time?

    Of course I will let you know when there are any results to check.
    • Hooray! Thank you so much! :)

      I wrote my post a few days ago (and, ironically, just posted about it on the SWG Yahoo! group), but I want to do a followup of some thoughts I had about the poll results, so anything the Hobbiton folks have to contribute would make an excellent addition there. :)

      It will probably be a few weeks (at least) before I get to writing the follow-up, so I'd say people have pretty much as long as they need, though if you'd like to impose a limit, I'm willing to collect data then and stick to it.

      Thanks again and *hugs*
  • Poll

    Hello Dawn,
    I was encouraged by Sirielle to take part in your poll. I'm not a member of LJ, and do not know how to respond in the poll, so I'll just post my answears here:)

    1. After the attack on the settlement at Sirion, Maglor fostered Elrond and Elros.
    My answer: cannonical
    2.After the attack on the settlement at Sirion, Maedhros also agreed to foster Elrond and Elros.
    My answer: canonical
    3.During the attack on the settlement at Sirion, Maedhros wanted to kill Elrond and Elros, but Maglor stopped him.
    My answer: not canonical
    4.After the attack on the settlement at Sirion, Maglor and Maedhros held Elrond and Elros hostage.
    My answer: canonical

    I hope it helps:)

    Eriu Cunninghan
    • Re: Poll

      Hi, Eriu! Thank you so much for your replies! They will definitely be helpful in helping me to get a better understanding of how Tolkien fans see these events. :)

      Take care,

  • Ansered.
    "Not sure" in second question means "I can deduce this from situation, described in texts, but this in not sait in the text itself in open words".
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