Prolegomenon To a Variorum Tolkien

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[page 17] Prolegomenon to a Variorum Tolkien banks mebane The pompous title above merely means that this article will consider the differences between the original hardcover edition of the LotR trilogy and the Ballantine edition, which has been revised by Professor Tolkien. I have compared the texts of the two editions and will discuss them here for those ardent fans who are interested in the most minute details of Middle-Earth. Those less fanatic will find little for them here except cause for amusement. The large fold-out maps in the original books have been redrawn to fit on two facing pages in the paperbacks. In this reduction of scale, much detail has been necessarily omitted, but most of that pertinent to the narrative has been retained (although the Barrow Downs have been squeezed into invisibility). The map of the Shire which took one page in the hardback has beeen redrawn into one page of the paperback, but all detail has been retained. A new Foreword replaces the old one, and a Note on the Shire Records has been added after the Prologue. The new Foreword gives us more information on Tolkien's composition of the trilogy and emphatically denies any allegorical intention or allusion to contemporary events in the books. The Note on the Shire Records adds to our knowledge of Middle-Earth after the War of the Rings. We learn that the Red Book was copied in Gondor by Findegil, King's Writer, and that many additions and corrections were made there. We learn that Faramir had a grand-son, Barahir, who wrote the full tale of Arwen and Aragorn. We learn that the sons of Elrond long remained at Imladris after their father's departure overseas, and that Celeborn joined them there. The information about the sons of Elrond is most inexplicable; we know that to the children of Elrond was given a choice, either to go into the West with their father, or, if they remained behind in Middle-Earth, to become mortal and die there. Arwen chose to stay with Aragorn, but no reason is given why Elladan and Elrohir should do so, nor are we told if they did in fact become mortal and die in Middle-Earth. The changes in the Prologue are minor. The past of the Shire is tied more closely to the other historical events mentioned in the annals in Appendix B, in that the Great Plague of T.A. 1636-37 and the Long Winter of T.A. 2758-59 are mentioned. Mention is now made of the fact that Buckland and westmarch were joined to the Shire in S.R. 1462, a number of years after the War of the Rings (Buckland had been more or less autonomous previously). One alteration on page I-15 (24) (page references will be given in pairs, with the hardcover number in open text and the corresponding Ballantine number in parentheses. The Roman numerals refer to the volumes.) is puzzling. The Shire is described in the hardcover: Fifty leagues it stretched from the Westmarch under the Tower Hills to the Brandywine Bridge, and nearly fifty from the northern moors to the marshes in the south. [page 18] The Ballantine version: Forty leagues it stretched from the Fox Downs to the Brandywine Bridge and fifty from the western moors to the marshes in the south. The intention of the change is clear: the Westmarch was not a part of the Shire, in fact it did not exist, at the time which is being discussed. The puzzling features are the "Fox Downs" and the substitution of "western" for "northern". If one assumes that a typist or compositor was working from Tolkien's handscript, then "Fox Downs" could be a type for "Far Downs" (which are still mentioned elsewhere in the paperback), and "western" a typo for "northern." Tnis idea receives some support from a garbled passage on I-220 (278) in the Ballantine edition which can most easily be interpreted as errors made by a transcriber of handwritten additions to a typed or printed passage. In the body of the narrative, exclusive of the introductory material and the appendices, I have found 244 points on which the texts differ, but only 52 of these are substantial changes. The remainder are either typographical errors or minor variations in usage; no doubt there are more of these, since I wasn't particularly looking for them. The typos are of two kinds: those occurring in the hardcover edition which are corrected in the Ballantine edition, and those (a rather larger number) made only in the paperback. Indeed the proofreading in the Ballantine version leaves much to be desired: the Ring inscription on I-59 (80) is upside down, as are one panel of tengwar on the title page of THE TWO TOWERS and one line of certar on the title page of THE RETURN OF THE KING. The only typos that cause any trouble are those in which exotic words that are used only once differ in the two editions. "Omentielmo" on I-90 (119) and "vȧnier" on I-394 (489) become "omentielvo" and "avȧnier". On I-367 (456), "vanimalda" becomes "vanimelda", but this change is intentional since the name of the third reigning queen of Numenor is similarly changed on III-315 (390). A few typos from the first edition have been preserved in the paperback. Examples of this are "Buinen" (for "Bruinen") on I-212 (268) and "Gandolf" on I-252 (314). These changes in usage can be typified by two examples: "on to" and "for ever" are consistently written as two words in the hardcover, but become "onto" and "forever" inthe @in the@ paperback. There are similar changes in a few other cases, and a few grammatical corrections. Of the substantive changes, only two can be said to alter the story line in any way, and these are unimportant to the action. On I-86ff (114ff), several additions and alterations now have Frodo, Sam, and Pippin turn off the main road to Stock onto a lane leading toward Woodhall (shortly before they see the Black Rider for the second time and meet Gildor); this change makes the narrative agree more exactly with the map of the Shire. An alteration on III-104 (127) now makes Theoden unaware that Merry has ridden with the Rohirrim to Gondor, until he sees him on the battlefield. [page 19] A new translation has been given for Galadriel's song on I-394 (489); it seems to be more literally word for word, which should be of use to those interested in the Elven tongues. Diaereses have been added to every final "e" in this song, to emphasize that they are not silent in Elvish· The remaining changes can be divided into three types: corrective, amplificative and stylistic. I will cite examples of each but will not list them all. The corrective changes remove inconsistencies within the narrative or between the narrative and the map (like the one cited above about the road to Stock). A series of changes on I-212 (268), I-214 (270), I-220 (278) (the garbled passage mentioned earlier), and I-224 (233) changes the described relationship between the Bruinen and the Road from the Last Bridge to the Ford into better agreement with the map. On II-170 (216) Merry's account of Entmoot is changed to indicate (correctly) that the Hobbits spent two nights witn Bregalad. On III-24 (25) the White Tower now rises "fifty fathoms from base to pinnacle" rather than "one hundred and fifty"; this agrees with its base being 700 feet and its top 1000 feet above the plain, and is better engineering besides. The changes which amplify the text are mostly for the purpose of clearing up ambiguities. On page I-208 (263): With a last effort, dropping his sword, Frodo slipped the Ring from his finger and closed his right hand tight upon it. The phrase "dropping his sword" is a clarifying addition, since the action would be hard to visualize if he were grasping his sword. We also learn the eventual fate of that sword after it broke at the Ford: on I-290 (362-3) in the scene in which Bilbo gives Sting to Frodo we now learn that Bilbo has the broken barrow blade and apparently keeps it. Another such change cleared up a point that had always bothered me: on II-185 (237) before the tower of Orthanc, Éomer, in reminding Théoden of the injuries done him by Saruman, mentioned the death of Háma his door-ward but not that of Théodred his son; Théodred has now been added. The stylistic changes for the most part involve the substitution of a word or phrase that must have seemed more felicitous to Tolkien. On I-127 (164) where formerly Frodo found "drowsiness attacking" him beside Old Man Willow, now he finds "sleep overwhelming" him. On II-244 (308) the Towers of the Teeth are no longer "at" but "thrust forward from" the mouth of Cirith Gorgor. Some of the stylistic changes amplify a description, as in the passage on II-247 (312 about the hollow in which Frodo, Sam, and Gollum hid near the Morannon. Another change softens Aragorn's speech to Gimli on III-53 (62) (a pity -- that touch of waspishness made Aragorn seem more human). Appendices A and B in the third volume have been revised more extensively than any other part of the trilogy. Some substantive changes of fact have been made, and some new material has been added. The changes of fact concern events outside the narrative proper. The text has been changed to indicate that Aragorn lived until F.A. 120 or twenty years longer than had been originally reported. This change [page 19] A new translation has been given for Galadriel's song on I-394 (489); it seems to be more literally word for word, which should be of use to those interested in the Elven tongues. Diaereses have been added to every final "e" in this song, to emphasize that they are not silent in Elvish· The remaining changes can be divided into three types: corrective, amplificative and stylistic. I will cite examples of each but will not list them all. The corrective changes remove inconsistencies within the narrative or between the narrative and the map (like the one cited above about the road to Stock). A series of changes on I-212 (268), I-214 (270), I-220 (278) (the garbled passage mentioned earlier), and I-224 (233) changes the described relationship between the Bruinen and the Road from the Last Bridge to the Ford into better agreement with the map. On II-170 (216) Merry's account of Entmoot is changed to indicate (correctly) that the Hobbits spent two nights witn Bregalad. On III-24 (25) the White Tower now rises "fifty fathoms from base to pinnacle" rather than "one hundred and fifty"; this agrees with its base being 700 feet and its top 1000 feet above the plain, and is better engineering besides. The changes which amplify the text are mostly for the purpose of clearing up ambiguities. On page I-208 (263): With a last effort, dropping his sword, Frodo slipped the Ring from his finger and closed his right hand tight upon it. The phrase "dropping his sword" is a clarifying addition, since the action would be hard to visualize if he were grasping his sword. We also learn the eventual fate of that sword after it broke at the Ford: on I-290 (362-3) in the scene in which Bilbo gives Sting to Frodo we now learn that Bilbo has the broken barrow blade and apparently keeps it. Another such change cleared up a point that had always bothered me: on II-185 (237) before the tower of Orthanc, Éomer, in reminding Théoden of the injuries done him by Saruman, mentioned the death of Háma his door-ward but not that of Théodred his son; Théodred has now been added. The stylistic changes for the most part involve the substitution of a word or phrase that must have seemed more felicitous to Tolkien. On I-127 (164) where formerly Frodo found "drowsiness attacking" him beside Old Man Willow, now he finds "sleep overwhelming" him. On II-244 (308) the Towers of the Teeth are no longer "at" but "thrust forward from" the mouth of Cirith Gorgor. Some of the stylistic changes amplify a description, as in the passage on II-247 (312 about the hollow in which Frodo, Sam, and Gollum hid near the Morannon. Another change softens Aragorn's speech to Gimli on III-53 (62) (a pity -- that touch of waspishness made Aragorn seem more human). Appendices A and B in the third volume have been revised more extensively than any other part of the trilogy. Some substantive changes of fact have been made, and some new material has been added. The changes of fact concern events outside the narrative proper. The text has been changed to indicate that Aragorn lived until F.A. 120 or twenty years longer than had been originally reported. This change [page 20] has not yet been carried out with complete consistency: F.A. 100 becomes F.A.120 on III-318 (395), "five score" becomes "six score" on III-343 (426), and the annal for S.R. 1521 on III-378 (472) is revised and redated S.R. 1541; but Aragorn's lifespan is still given as 190 on III-324 (402), and the date of Gimli's passing is not altered on the chart on III-361 (450). Finrod is now no longer the father of Felagund of Nargothrond, as we learn on III-363 (453), but merely another part of Felagund's name. On III-406 (506) we learn his new father's name: Finarphin The names of Kings of Gondor which formerly ended in "-hir" now end "her", and as mentioned above Queen Tar-Vanimaldë of Numenor has become Tar-Vanimeldë. The new material adds to our knowledge of the history of Middle-Earth. On III-314 (388) an added paragraph gives us information on the contention between Fëanor, greatest of the Eldar, and Morgoth, the Great Enemy, in the First Age. On III-363 (452-3) we get some new Elven family gossip: Celeborn was a kinsman of Thingol, and Celebrimbor was descended from Fëanor. On III-318 (395) and III-326 (405-6) we learn more about the history of Gondor during the reigns of Narmacil I, Calmacil and Rómendacil II (who served as regent for the first two, his father and uncle); Rómendacil's son married Vidugavia's daughter (we now learn that her name was Vidumavi) starting the Kinstrife. On III-349 (435) additional material fills in the history of Rohan from Fréalaf to Folcwine, and the confusion over the name of Brytta-Léofa is cleared up -- it seems that Brytta was called Léofa because he was well loved. Some material has been added and some alterations made in the annals in Appendix B, but all of these changes merely date information already implied elsewhere. There are numerous minor changes of wording and some errors and typos in the Appendices. "Atanatar" is still incorrectly rendered as "Atanamir" on III-366 (457), and the Annals for S.R. 1455 and 1462 have been telescoped (wrongly) on III-378 (471), thereby eliminating Sam's election to Mayor. The page references in the footnotes to all the Appendices have been changed to correspond to the Ballantine pagination, but unhappily this has not been done with the page references in the text exclusive of the footnotes. If an owner of the Ballantine edition will increase these incorrectly given numbers by 25% -/or use the proper equation on p.15 of this magazine/- he will get within a few pages of the correct place. The changes in the Appendices after B are unimportant for the most part. Some errors have been corrected: "Trewsday" is added on III-389 (484), and "eer" and "air" have been interchanged on III-394 (491). The footnote on III-385 (479) has been eliminated, thereby doing away with the Elvish words for day and night. A calendar reform has been carried out on III-386 (481). The Indices added to the Ballantine edition are sufficient in themselves to make owning the paperbacks worthwhile for the ardent fan who already has the hardcover set. There are two Indices for the songs one for titles or subject-matter and one for first lines. There are three indices for persons, beasts and monsters, for places, and for things. There is an additional Index for persons, places and things [page 21] mentioned only in the songs. These Indices do not, however, make Al Halevy's Glossary superfluous; they include only names occurring in the main text, not those mentioned only in the Appendices, and they give no definitions or comments on the entries. They are very useful, however, for cross-checking while reading the books. For the casual Tolkien reader, the differences between the editions are not important; it is the same wonderful story, whether between hard covers or paper. The thoroughly hooked Tolkien fan, who is fascinated with the wealth of detail-work that has gone into the construction of Middle-Earth, will undoubtedly want to have both editions-- plus the second and more extensive revision, which isrumored @is rumored@ to be in the works. END - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

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