The book of lost tales p.., p.8
Larger Font   Reset Font Size   Smaller Font       Night Mode Off   Night Mode

       The Book of Lost Tales, Part Two, p.8

           J. R. R. Tolkien
 

  When the tale returns to Tinúviel in Artanor the situation is quite the reverse: for the story of her imprisonment in the house in Hirilorn and her escape from it never underwent any significant change. The passage in The Silmarillion (p. 172) is indeed very brief, but its lack of detail is due to compression rather than to omission based on dissatisfaction; the Lay of Leithian, from which the prose account in The Silmarillion directly derives, is in this passage so close, in point of narrative detail, to the Tale of Tinúviel as to be almost identical with it.

  It may be observed that in this part of the story the earliest version had a strength that was diminished later, in that the duration of Tinúviel’s imprisonment and her journey to Beren’s rescue relates readily enough to that of Beren’s captivity, which was intended by his captors to be unending; whereas in the later story there is a great deal of event and movement (with the addition of Lúthien’s captivity in Nargothrond) to be fitted into the time when Beren was awaiting his death in the dungeon of the Necromancer.

  While the strong element of ‘explanatory’ beast-fable (concerning cats and dogs) was to be entirely eliminated, and Tevildo Prince of Cats replaced by the Necromancer, Huan nonetheless remained from it as the great Hound of Valinor. His encounter with Tinúviel in the woods, her inability to escape from him, and indeed his love for her from the moment of their meeting (suggested in the tale, p. 23, explicit in The Silmarillion p. 173), were already present, though the context of their encounter and the motives of Huan were wholly different from the absence of ‘the Nargothrond Element’ (Felagund, Celegorm and Curufin).

  In the story of the defeat of Tevildo and the rescue of Beren the germ of the later legend is clearly seen, though for the most part only in broad structural resemblances. It is curious to observe that the loud speaking of Tinúviel sitting perched on the sill of the kitchen hatch in the castle of the Cats, so that Beren might hear, is the precursor of her singing on the bridge of Tol-in-Gaurhoth the song that Beren heard in his dungeon (The Silmarillion p. 174). Tevildo’s intention to hand her over to Melko remained in Sauron’s similar purpose (ibid.); the killing of the cat Oikeroi (p. 28) is the germ of Huan’s fight with Draugluin—the skin of Huan’s dead opponent is put to the same use in either case (pp. 30–1, The Silmarillion pp. 178–9); the battle of Tevildo and Huan was to become that of Huan and Wolf-Sauron, and with essentially the same outcome: Huan released his enemy when he yielded the mastery of his dwelling. This last is very notable: the utterance by Tinúviel of the spell which bound stone to stone in the evil castle (p. 29). Of course, when this was written the castle of Tevildo was an adventitious feature in the story—it had no previous history: it was an evil place through and through, and the spell (deriving from Melko) that Tevildo was forced to reveal was the secret of Tevildo’s own power over his creatures as well as the magic that held the stones together. With the entry of Felagund into the developing legend and the Elvish watchtower on Tol Sirion (Minas Tirith: The Silmarillion pp. 120, 155–6) captured by the Necromancer, the spell is displaced: for it cannot be thought to be the work of Felagund, who built the fortress, since if it had been he would have been able to pronounce it in the dungeon and bring the place down over their heads—a less evil way for them to die. This element in the legend remained, however, and is fully present in The Silmarillion (p. 175), though since my father did not actually say there that Sauron told Huan and Lúthien what the words were, but only that he ‘yielded himself’, one may miss the significance of what happened:

  And she said: ‘There everlastingly thy naked self shall endure the torment of his scorn, pierced by his eyes, unless thou yield to me the mastery of thy tower.’

  Then Sauron yielded himself, and Lúthien took the mastery of the isle and all that was there….

  Then Lúthien stood upon the bridge, and declared her power: and the spell was loosed that bound stone to stone, and the gates were thrown down, and the walls opened, and the pits laid bare.

  Here again the actual matter of the narrative is totally different in the early and late forms of the legend: in The Silmarillion ‘many thralls and captives came forth in wonder and dismay…for they had lain long in the darkness of Sauron’, whereas in the tale the inmates who emerged from the shaken dwelling (other than Beren and the apparently inconsequent figure of the blind slave-Gnome Gimli) were a host of cats, reduced by the breaking of Tevildo’s spell to ‘puny size’. (If my father had used in the tale names other than Huan, Beren, and Tinúviel, and in the absence of all other knowledge, including that of authorship, it would not be easy to demonstrate from a simple comparison between this part of the Tale and the story as told in The Silmarillion that the resemblances were more than superficial and accidental.)

  A more minor narrative point may be noticed here. The typescript version would presumably have treated the fight of Huan and Tevildo somewhat differently, for in the manuscript Tevildo and his companion can flee up great trees (p. 28), whereas in the typescript nothing grew in the Withered Dale (where Huan was to lie feigning sick) save ‘low bushes of scanty leaves’ (p. 48).

  In the remainder of the story the congruence between early and late forms is far closer. The narrative structure in the tale may be summarised thus:

  – Beren is attired for disguise in the fell of the dead cat Oikeroi.

  – He and Tinúviel journey together to Angamandi.

  – Tinúviel lays a spell of sleep on Karkaras the wolf-ward of Angamandi.

  – They enter Angamandi, Beren slinks in his beast-shape beneath the seat of Melko, and Tinúviel dances before Melko.

  – All the host of Angamandi and finally Melko himself are cast into sleep, and Melko’s iron crown rolls from his head.

  – Tinúviel rouses Beren, who cuts a Silmaril from the crown, and the blade snaps.

  – The sleepers stir, and Beren and Tinúviel flee back to the gates, but find Karkaras awake again.

  – Karkaras bites off Beren’s outthrust hand holding the Silmaril.

  – Karkaras becomes mad with the pain of the Silmaril in his belly, for the Silmaril is a holy thing and sears evil flesh.

  – Karkaras goes raging south to Artanor.

  – Beren and Tinúviel return to Artanor; they go before Tinwelint and Beren declares that a Silmaril is in his hand.

  – The hunting of the wolf takes place, and Mablung the Heavy-handed is one of the hunters.

  – Beren is slain by Karkaras, and is borne back to the cavern of Tinwelint on a bier of boughs; dying he gives the Silmaril to Tinwelint.

  – Tinúviel follows Beren to Mandos, and Mandos permits them to return into the world.

  Changing the catskin of Oikeroi to the wolfskin of Draugluin, and altering some other names, this would do tolerably well as a précis of the story in The Silmarillion! But of course it is devised as a summary of similarities. There are major differences as well as a host of minor ones that do not appear in it.

  Again, most important is the absence of ‘the Nargothrond Element’. When this combined with the Beren legend it introduced Felagund as Beren’s companion, Lúthien’s imprisonment in Nargothrond by Celegorm and Curufin, her escape with Huan the hound of Celegorm, and the attack on Beren and Lúthien as they returned from Tol-in-Gaurhoth by Celegorm and Curufin, now fleeing from Nargothrond (The Silmarillion pp. 173–4, 176–8).

  The narrative after the conclusion of the episode of ‘the Thraldom of Beren’ is conducted quite differently in the old story (pp. 30–1), in that here Huan is with Beren and Tinúviel; Tinúviel longs for her home, and Beren is grieved because he loves the life in the woods with the dogs, but he resolves the impasse by determining to obtain a Silmaril, and though Huan thinks their plan is folly he gives them the fell of Oikeroi, clad in which Beren sets out with Tinúviel for Angamandi. In The Silmarillion (p. 177) likewise, Beren, after long wandering in the woods with Lúthien (though not with Huan), resolves to set forth again on the quest of the Silmaril, but Lúthien’s stance in the matter is different:<
br />
  ‘You must choose, Beren, between these two: to relinquish the quest and your oath and seek a life of wandering upon the face of the earth; or to hold to your word and challenge the power of darkness upon its throne. But on either road I shall go with you, and our doom shall be alike.’

  There then intervened the attack on Beren and Lúthein by Celegorm and Curufin, when Huan, deserting his master, joined himself to them; they returned together to Doriath, and when they got there Beren left Lúthien sleeping and went back northwards by himself, riding Curufin’s horse. He was overtaken on the edge of Anfauglith by Huan bearing Lúthien on his back and bringing from Tol-in-Gaurhoth the skins of Draugluin and of Sauron’s bat-messenger Thuringwethil (of whom in the old story there is no trace); attired in these Beren and Lúthien went to Angband. Huan is here their active counsellor.

  The later legend is thus more full of movement and incident in this part than is the Tale of Tinúviel (though the final form was not achieved all at one stroke, as may be imagined); and in the Silmarillion form this is the more marked from the fact that the account is a compression and a summary of the long Lay of Leithian.*

  In the Tale of Tinúviel the account of Beren’s disguise is characteristically detailed: his instruction by Tinúviel in feline behaviour, his heat and discomfort inside the skin. Tinúviel’s disguise as a bat has however not yet emerged, and whereas in The Silmarillion when confronted by Carcharoth she ‘cast back her foul raiment’ and ‘commanded him to sleep’, here she used once more the magical misty robe spun of her hair: ‘the black strands of her dark veil she cast in his eyes’ (p. 31). The indifference of Karkaras to the false Oikeroi contrasts with Carcharoth’s suspicion of the false Druagluin, of whose death he had heard tidings: in the old story it is emphasised that no news of the discomfiture of Tevildo (and the death of Oikeroi) had yet reached Angamandi.

  The encounter of Tinúviel with Melko is given with far more detail than in The Silmarillion (here much compressed from its source); notable is the phrase (p. 32) ‘he leered horribly, for his dark mind pondered some evil’, forerunner of that in The Silmarillion (p. 180):

  Then Morgoth looking upon her beauty conceived in his thought an evil lust, and a design more dark than any that had yet come into his heart since he fled from Valinor.

  We are never told anything more explicit.

  Whether Melko’s words to Tinúviel, ‘Who art thou that flittest about my halls like a bat?’, and the description of her dancing ‘noiseless as a bat’, were the germ of her later bat-disguise cannot be said, though it seems possible.

  The knife with which Beren cut the Silmaril from the Iron Crown has a quite different provenance in the Tale of Tinúviel, being a kitchen-knife that Beren took from Tevildo’s castle (pp. 29, 33); in The Silmarillion it was Angrist, the famous knife made by Telchar which Beren took from Curufin. The sleepers of Angamandi are here disturbed by the sound of the snapping of the knife-blade; in The Silmarillion it is the shard flying from the snapped knife and striking Morgoth’s cheek that makes him groan and stir.

  There is a minor difference in the accounts of the meeting with the wolf as Beren and Tinúviel fled out. In The Silmarillion ‘Lúthien was spent, and she had not time nor strength to quell the wolf’ in the tale it seems that she might have done so if Beren had not been precipitate. Much more important, there appears here for the first time the conception of the holy power of the Silmarils that burns unhallowed flesh.*

  The escape of Tinúviel and Beren from Angamandi and their return to Artanor (pp. 34–6) is treated quite differently in the Tale of Tinúviel. In The Silmarillion (pp. 182–3) they were rescued by the Eagles and set down on the borders of Doriath; and far more is made of the healing of Beren’s wound, in which Huan plays a part. In the old story Huan comes to them later, after their long southward flight on foot. In both accounts there is a discussion between them as to whether or not they should return to her father’s hall, but it is quite differently conducted—in the tale it is she who persuades Beren to return, in The Silmarillion it is Beren who persuades her.

  There is a curious feature in the story of the Wolf-hunt (pp. 38–9) which may be considered here (see p. 50, notes 12–15). At first, it was Tinúviel’s brother who took part in the hunt with Tinwelint, Beren, and Huan, and his name is here Tifanto, which was the name throughout the tale before its replacement by Dairon.* Subsequently ‘Tifanto’—without passing through the stage of ‘Dairon’—was replaced by ‘Mablung the heavy-handed, chief of the king’s thanes’, who here makes his first appearance, as the fourth member of the hunt. But earlier in the tale it is told that Tifanto > Dairon, leaving Artanor to seek Tinúviel, became utterly lost, ‘and came never back to Elfinesse’ (p. 21), and the loss of Tifanto > Dairon is referred to again when Beren and Tinúviel returned to Artanor (pp. 36–7).

  Thus on the one hand Tifanto was lost, and it is a grief to Tinúviel on her return to learn of it, but on the other he was present at the Wolf-hunt. Tifanto was then changed to Dairon throughout the tale, except in the story of the Wolf-hunt, where Tifanto was replaced by a new character, Mablung. This shows that Tifanto was removed from the hunt before the change of name to Dairon, but does not explain how, under the name Tifanto, he was both lost in the wilds and present at the hunt. Since there is nothing in the MS itself to explain this puzzle, I can only conclude that my father did, in fact, write at first that Tifanto was lost and never came back, and also that he took part in the Wolf-hunt; but observing this contradiction he introduced Mablung in the latter rôle (and probably did this even before the tale was completed, since at the last appearance of Mablung his name was written thus, not emended from Tifanto: see note 15). It was subsequent to this that Tifanto was emended, wherever it still stood, to Dairon.

  In the tale the hunt is differently managed from the story in The Silmarillion (where, incidentally, Beleg Strongbow was present). It is curious that all (including, as it appears, Huan!) save Beren were asleep when Karkaras came on them (‘in Beren’s watch’, p. 39). In The Silmarillion Huan slew Carcharoth and was slain by him, whereas here Karkaras met his death from the king’s spear, and the boy Ausir tells at the end that Huan lived on to find Beren again at the time of ‘the great deeds of the Nauglafring’ (p. 41). Of Huan’s destiny, that he should not die ‘until he encountered the mightiest wolf that would ever walk the world’, and of his being permitted ‘thrice only ere his death to speak with words’ (The Silmarillion p. 173), there is nothing here.

  The most remarkable feature of the Tale of Tinúviel remains the fact that in its earliest extant form Beren was an Elf; and in this connection very notable are the words of the boy at the end (p. 40):

  Yet said Mandos to those twain: ‘Lo, O Elves, it is not to any life of perfect joy that I dismiss you, for such may no longer be found in all the world where sits Melko of the evil heart—and know ye that ye will become mortal even as Men, and when ye fare hither again it will be for ever, unless the Gods summon you indeed to Valinor.’

  In the tale of The Coming of the Valar and the Building of Valinor there occurs the following passage (I. 76; commentary I. 90):

  Thither [i.e. to Mandos] in after days fared the Elves of all the clans who were by illhap slain with weapons or did die of grief for those that were slain—and only so might the Eldar die, and then it was only for a while. There Mandos spake their doom, and there they waited in the darkness, dreaming of their past deeds, until such time as he appointed when they might again be born into their children, and go forth to laugh and sing again.

  The same idea occurs in the tale of The Music of the Ainur (I. 59). The peculiar dispensation of Mandos in the case of Beren and Tinúviel as here conceived is therefore that their whole ‘natural’ destiny as Elves was changed: having died as Elves might die (from wounds or from grief) they were not reborn as new beings, but returned from Mandos in their own persons—yet now ‘mortal even as Men’. The earliest eschatology is too unclear to allow of a satisfactory interpr
etation of this ‘mortality’, and the passage in The Building of Valinor on the fates of Men (I. 77) is particularly hard to understand (see the commentary on it, I. 90ff.). But it seems possible that the words ‘even as Men’ in the address of Mandos to Beren and Tinúviel were included to stress the finality of whatever second deaths they might undergo; their departure would be as final as that of Men, there would be no second return in their own persons, and no reincarnation. They will remain in Mandos (‘when ye fare hither again it will be for ever’)—unless they are summoned by the Gods to dwell in Valinor. These last words should probably be related to the passage in The Building of Valinor concerning the fate of certain Men (I. 77):

 
Turn Navi Off
Turn Navi On
Scroll Up
Scroll
Add comment

Add comment