Sunday, January 7, 2024

Even More Tolkien Related

Two Tolkien Related · Three Tolk-Lang Questions · More Tolkien · Even More Tolkien Related

Q 1
Did Tolkien draw Middle-earth’s continent edges at random, or was there some hidden meaning?

Hans-Georg Lundahl
none/ apprx Masters in Latin (language) & Greek (language), Lund University
I would say the Western edge of Middle Earth is supposed to look like the Western Age edge of the Old World before there was any Mediterranean that separated Europe from Africa.

The Shire is supposed to be placed sth like BeNeLux or even Doggerland, before British Isles were separate from NW Europe.

To illustrate what I mean, in the latter respect, see here:

Travel Times in Middle-earth

Hobbiton to Michel Delving 65 miles
Michel Delving to Greenholm 43 miles
Greenholm to Tower Hills 50 miles
Tower Hills to Mithlond (Grey Havens) 65 miles


Hobbiton to Mithlond 223 miles


Antwerp to London is 379.3 km, so 235.5 miles. If Mithlond is further West than London, Hobbiton is presumably further West than Antwerp, like somewhere in the North Sea.

Or, of Mithlond is where the British Isles end now, that means the Journey East from Hobbiton goes over what was then Doggerland and is now the North Sea.

Q 2
What was the reason behind Tolkien's decision to make the world of Middle-earth flat?

Hans-Georg Lundahl
avid reader back when I had better sleep than now
The question does not reflect the full “shape of the world” question in Tolkien.

By the time of The Lord of the Rings, the world is supposed to be already round, as we see it now.

Tolkien wanted sth “mythological” and that’s also why he set it in pre-Christian times.

Never mind that pretty much of mythologies aren’t fantasy stories, but a certain interpretation of probably historical events.

Now, part of many, if not all, mythologies, and that does go for Norse mythology, is a flat earth.

However, this extends, in Tolkien’s legendarium, only to the sinking of Númenor, roughly speaking a sinking of Atlantis corresponding to the Flood. At the sinking of Númenor, the general shape of the world is changed, and the earth becomes a globe. Middle-Earth corresponds to the continent known as the Old World, this is supposed to be before the Mediterranean started to separate Europe from Africa.

One thing that didn’t change at this moment though, despite Tolkien’s own beliefs, is that Sun and Moon go around Earth carried by angelic beings. Sth which they also do in actual Christian thought, in St. Thomas Aquinas or in Riccioli (his model is more of a Riccioli type, Sun and Moon getting around the Zodiac, probably, though that is not mentioned, by going around the Earth like it, not with it, and slower, in St. Thomas they go with the Zodiac around earth each day, and get carried by angels the opposite direction around the Zodiac).

Q 3
In Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, why did he make Elvish such a complex language?

Hans-Georg Lundahl
avid reader back when I had better sleep than now
Come on!

What you are given in LotR of Quenya is a foreign language heard twice (at least), namely:

Namárië (the farewell poem by Galadriel)
Oath of Eldendil (used as coronation oath by his descendants, in the final book of LotR it’s at the coronation of Aragorn).

You have no need to learn the language in order to enjoy it.

If you are seriously interested in learning it, there are far harder languages to learn.

There are by now online courses and course books, I think the most commonly used online course is by Helge Fauskanger:

Quenya Course

Q 4
How many gods did J.R.R. Tolkien create for The Lord of the Rings? Were there only two, one good and one evil, or were there other gods such as Eru?

Hans-Georg Lundahl
none/ apprx Masters in Latin (language) & Greek (language), Lund University
No. There was one good God, Eru, meaning the Only One.

The other gods are “children of His thought” or in other words angelic beings, creatures, one of which fell and drew others with him.

Q 5
How come the estate of J.R.R. Tolkien can still copyright his work?

Hans-Georg Lundahl
none/ apprx Masters in Latin (language) & Greek (language), Lund University
Depends on country.

European Union and UK and US have usually life plus 70 years, Spain has for some even life plus 80 years.

Now, he died in 1973, this means in Spain he’s in the public domain in 2053 and in the other countries named in 2043. However, lots of countries outside this area, in Asia and Africa, have life plus 50 years, meaning he was in the common domain already on Sept 2 or 3 last year.

Hans-Georg Lundahl
Be it noted, in passing, I have done very little of my work as fan fiction on the estates C. S. Lewis, Enid Blyton and JRRT.

That only concerns Chronicle of Susan Pevensie, and for CSL estate (public domain 22 or 23 November 2033 according to mentioned rule) another short story in Latin.

Writing ABOUT Tolkien or on ideas that he expressed in his work or in his letters does not constitute anything the estate can copyright.

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