22 - Of the Ruin of Doriath – This chapter tells the deaths of Morwen, Mîm, and Húrin, and of Morgoth learning the region where could be found the hidden city of Gondolin. Also in this chapter is the death of Elu Thingol, and the estrangement of the Elves and the Dwarves, the passing of Melian, the Dwarves' attack on Menegroth, resulting in the taking of the Nauglamír (which now contained a Silmaril), and death of many, among them Mablung. The Battle of Sarn Athrad was fought resulting in the recovery of the Nauglamír with the Silmaril, which passed into the hands of Dior, and the Sons of Fëanor attempted to take the Silmaril though failed for Elwing escaped with it.
Behind the scenes Edit
The original story is mostly told in in the Tale of Turambar and the Tale of the Nauglafring in greater detail (with lesser summaries found in early annal writing such as the Quenta Noldorinwa). Other portions are found in the Quenta and The Tale of Years.
Of all the chapters of The Silmarillion this one saw the most editorial influence by Christopher Tolkien, and Guy Kay.
- This story was not lightly or easily conceived, but was the outcome of long experimentation among alternative conceptions. In this work Guy Kay took a major part, and the chapter that I finally wrote owes much to my discussions with him. It is, and was, obvious that a step was being taken of a different order from any other ‘manipulation’ of my father’s own writing in the course of the book: even in the case of the story of The Fall of Gondolin, to which my father had never returned, something could be contrived without introducing radical changes in the narrative. It seemed at that time that there were elements inherent in the story of the Ruin of Doriath as it stood that were radically incompatible with ‘The Silmarillion’ as projected, and that there was here an inescapable choice: either to abandon that conception, or else to alter the story. I think now that this was a mistaken view, and that the undoubted difficulties could have been, and should have been, surmounted without so far overstepping the bounds of the editorial function.
- 'Apart from a few matters of detail in texts and notes that have not been published, all that my father ever wrote on the subject of the ruin of Doriath has now been set out (...) If these materials are compared with the story told in The Silmarillion it is seen at once that this latter is fundamentally changed, to a form for which in certain essential features there is no authority whatever in my father's own writings.
In Beren and Lúthien Christopher Tolkien went back to the story and introduced much of his father's original plans for it, and his father's explanation for how Dwarven enemy (and its allies) made it past the Girdle of Melian, which had been explained in the Quenta Noldorinwa.
Other issues with the story that were inventions or removals by Guy Gavriel Kay (and Christopher Tolkien) are also discussed in The History of Middle-earth include Thingol being slain inside his palace and:
- In the story that appears in The Silmarillion the outlaws who went with Húrin to Nargothrond were removed, as also was the curse of Mîm; and the only treasure that Húrin took from Nargothrond was the Nauglamîr - which was here supposed to have been made by Dwarves for Finrod Felagund, and to have been the most prized by him of all the hoard of Nargothrond. Húrin was represented as being at last freed from the delusions inspired by Morgoth in his encounter with Melian in Menegroth. The Dwarves who set the Silmaril in the Nauglamîr were already in Menegroth engaged on other works, and it was they who slew Thingol; at that time Melian's power was with-drawn from Neldoreth and Region, and she vanished out of Middle-earth, leaving Doriath unprotected. The ambush and destruction of the Dwarves at Sarn Athrad was given again to Beren and the Green Elves [following my father's letter of 1963 quoted on p. 353, where however he said that 'Beren had no army'] and from the same source the Ents, 'Shepherds of the Trees', were introduced.
Beren and Lúthien restores much of the original story as J.R.R. Tolkien had originally conceived it moving Thingol's death during a wolf-hunt outside of Menegroth (Thousand Caves), after the battles with the Dwarves hired to work the gold inside.
Other issues with the 'invented' story in this chapter (but fixed by later sources) include nature of Hurin's death, and the history of the Nauglamír (it was made from the treasure not taken from Nargothrond, rather than taken from the hoard).