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IMC 2023: Sessions

Session 1736: Disentangling the Second Age of Tolkien's Middle-earth

Thursday 6 July 2023, 14.15-15.45

Sponsor:Centre for Fantasy & the Fantastic, School of Critical Studies, University of Glasgow
Organiser:Andrew Higgins, Independent Scholar, Brighton
Moderator/Chair:Andrew Higgins, Independent Scholar, Brighton
Paper 1736-aThe Tale of Aldarion and Erendis: Not Just a Medieval Love Story
(Language: English)
Sara Brown, Independent Scholar, Conwy
Index terms: Language and Literature - Other, Medievalism and Antiquarianism
Paper 1736-bOut of the Great Sea: Of Elendil and Legends Old and New
(Language: English)
S. R. Westvik, School of History, University College Dublin / Historisches Institut, Universität Potsdam
Index terms: Language and Literature - Other, Medievalism and Antiquarianism
Paper 1736-cUntangling the Second Age Tale of Years
(Language: English)
James Tauber, Department of Literature & Language, Signum University, New Hampshire
Index terms: Language and Literature - Other, Medievalism and Antiquarianism
Paper 1736-dThe Roads to Númenor: Navigating Tolkien's Mythopoeic Network
(Language: English)
Clara Colin-Saïdani, Faculté Lettres et Langages, Nantes Université
Index terms: Language and Literature - Other, Medievalism and Antiquarianism

In Tolkien's great masterwork The Lord of the Rings the Second Age of Middle-earth is a time remembered in poetry and the memories of such witnesses to history as Elrond and Galadriel. Papers in this session will explore this pivotal time in Tolkien's Middle-earth and can be in dialogue with the current Amazon Prime The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power an adaptation of this period of Tolkien's legendarium as well as the new volume The Fall of Numenor and Other Tales published by HarperCollins in November 2022.

Paper -a:
J.R.R. Tolkien's 'Aldarion and Erendis: The Mariner's Wife', published in the Unfinished Tales, is a cautionary tale of a failed marriage that also serves as an indicator of the moral decline of Númenor in the Second Age of Middle-earth. In this relationship is the beginning of the Downfall, heralding the shadow of evil that will entangle events into the Third Age. This paper explores the significance of this story to the history of Middle-earth, as well as its possible roots in medieval texts such as the Prose Edda and the Icelandic Laxdaela Saga.

Paper -b:
The legacy of Elendil looms large over the Third Age of Middle-earth: in legend, in battle cries, and to justify succession. But the man himself, and his Second Age roots, is a fascinating running thread - if a thinly spun one - creating a network throughout the whole Legendarium, its evolution, and its adaptations. This paper seeks to trace that thread and its primary and secondary world impact through his first appearance and etymological origins in the Notion Club Papers; his portrayal in the Akallabeth, in context of Elendil being the in-universe author of that text, along with the implications this has for historicity and historiography in The Lord of the Rings; and his most recent iteration in Amazon's The Rings of Power, wherein both the production team and actor are dialoguing with the entire corpus of the Legandarium - and all aforementioned evolution and implications simultaneously - to create a fully realised character.

Paper -c:
The Tale of Years in Appendix B of Lord of the Rings provides a brief annalistic chronology of the Second Age. It provides a backbone to various narratives in the Silmarillion and Unfinished Tales, sometimes giving crucial dating information not made explicit in the other works.However, it is also a narrative in its own right, with a role to play in the context of Lord of the Rings and as the sole source of much Second Age information for over two decades before the publication of the Silmarillion. This paper will look at the relationship of the Second Age Tale of Years to the text of Lord of the Rings, the Silmarillion, and Unfinished Tales and examine the bias, context, and network of events provided for the overall narratives. It will also look at the composition history of the chronology and the inconsistencies it contains.

Paper -d:
The different versions of the account of the Second Age will be read as a multiform myth. The techniques of myth-building (ancient, medieval, and contemporary literary influences) and of myth transmission (traditional and modern narrative methods and their impact) show the singularity of the Second Age in Tolkien's legendarium. The myth of Númenor and its people is crafted as a spatial, temporal, and ontological crossroad inside the fiction (Flieger, 2005, Carruthers, 2016). Therefore the Second Age, read as a Middle Age, primes the transition between the mythological Great Tales of the legendarium and the 'proto-history' set in the Third Age (Fimi, 2008). At an extra-diegetic level, the rewriting of pre-existing legends (intra and inter-textual, Hammond & Scull, 2005, Carruthers, 2007), along with the atypical mechanisms of transmission (Delattre, 2007) illustrate the network of both literary heritage and renewal of myth-writing, which create a bridge between the secondary and the primary worlds.