Donnerstag, 18. Mai 2017

Thursday, 18 May: Camp near Mitheithel

On this day, in 2941 T.A., the 1960 timetable records that Bilbo, Gandalf and the Dwarves have crossed 106 miles from Weathertop and camp 3 miles west of the banks of Mitheithel (Greyflood). Since the river runs in a deep narrow valley, they cannot yet see the Last Bridge ahead of them, and they are not aware that it is broken; but they see the Trollshaws beyond. In the night, the weather becomes very unpleasant.
The Last Bridge is broken (19th century illustration, unknown artist)

The episode was fleshed out in the abandoned 1960 revisions of "The Hobbit" but did not make it into the final, 1966 revision and is thus found only in Rateliff's "History". The 1960 timetable is by now ten days ahead of Fonstad's computations: Based on the 1966 Hobbit, she assumed the camp west of the Last Bridge to have occurred on 28 May.

Coincidentally, shifting the scene forward to 18 May had brought the lunar phases given in the first three chapters of "The Hobbit" in accordance with each other. The moon is now actually waning, as all published editions before 1966 described it, which is consisted with the lunar phase of 1 Lithe, when Elrond reads the moon-runes. In 1966, the reference was quite needlessly changed to "wandering" and has stayed that way. At this point, Tolkien went at length to argue with himself about an incoherence that he had already solved, without noticing, and he would catch himself in an arithmetic trap, ignoring all available solutions (see Rateliff, "History", and my own "The Moon in 'The Hobbit'"). More about that on 30 May. 

Essays collected in printed or electronic books:


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Middle-earth seen by the barbarians: A compilation of Tolkien's references to the Middle Men of Eriador and Gondor: the pre-Númenóreans and the Dunlendings; the concealed history of Dorwinion, the fate of king Bladorthin and the origin of the Lossoth, the culture and history of the peoples in the east and far south of Middle-earth, with special consideration of the Wainriders, the Black Númenóreans and the Corsairs of Umbar. The appendix discusses the name Bladorthin and gives a new interpretation of this enigmatic king, shows how to apply a grid of latitudes and longitudes to the map of Middle-earth and in a previously unpublished essay discusses various comments by Tolkien on Pauline Baynes' recently recovered LotR map. This volume includes updated versions of “The Indigenous Peoples of Eriador and Gondor”, “The Lossoth and the Forodwaith”, “The Men of Darkness”, “The Third Realm in Exile”, “The mysterious King Bladorthin” and “A meridional grid on the map of Middle-earth” from these Science Pages.

The Moon in ‘The Hobbit’: A discussion and digital simulation of the lunar phases stated in ‘The Hobbit’ and ‘The History of The Hobbit’ and their astronomical background, with special regard to the identification of Durin's Day and the threshold of winter; including an analysis of the various calendar systems in ‘The Lord of the Rings’. Many hints are given on how to use the moon and the seasons as plot elements in your own stories. This book has updated versions of the essays “The Moon and Durin’s Day, 2941 TA”, “Midsummer’s eve and the Moon-letters“, “The Reckoning of Time”, “An ephemeris for Bilbo Baggins” and “(Flawed) Astronomy in the History of the Hobbit” from these Science Pages.

Words of Westernesse: A light-hearted introduction into the grammar of Adûnaic, based on Arthur Lowdham's spiritual research in HoMe IX, and (tentative) etymologies of Adûnaic and Westron as far as the corpus of vocabulary has been established. This volumes includes updated versions of the essays “Lalaith’s Guide to Adûnaic grammar” and “Etymologies of the Atani Languages” from these Science Pages.

Dynasties of Middle-earth: Genealogical tables and comments on the lines of the kings of Númenor, Arnor, Gondor, Rohan, Dale and the Princes of Dol Amroth. A shorter version of this volume had been previously presented here as “Genealogies of the noble Mannish houses”.