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Red Book of Westmarch

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{{disambig-more|Westmarch|[[Westmarch (disambiguation)]]}}
 
{{disambig-more|Westmarch|[[Westmarch (disambiguation)]]}}
 
[[File:Jeff Reitz - Red Book of Westmarch.jpg|thumb|''Red Book of Westmarch'' by Jeff Reitz]]
 
[[File:Jeff Reitz - Red Book of Westmarch.jpg|thumb|''Red Book of Westmarch'' by Jeff Reitz]]
The '''Red Book of Westmarch''' (sometimes ''Red Book of the [[Hobbits|Perian]]nath'') is the book in which the [[legendarium]] of [[Middle-earth]] was written. It is bound in red leather.
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The '''Red Book of Westmarch''' (sometimes ''Red Book of the [[Hobbits|Perian]]nath'') is the book in which the [[Legendarium]] of [[Middle-earth]] was written. It is bound in red leather.
  
The first Red Book was written as a diary by the [[Hobbits|Hobbit]] [[Bilbo Baggins]] and recounted his quest for [[Lonely Mountain|Erebor]], which he called ''There and Back Again''. Within it, he compiled Elven lore while he retired to [[Rivendell]] (''[[Translations from the Elvish]]'')  where he gave it to Frodo.
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==History==
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The first Red Book was written as a diary by the [[Hobbits|Hobbit]] [[Bilbo Baggins]] and recounted his quest for [[Lonely Mountain|Erebor]], which he called ''[[There and Back Again]]''. Within it, he compileford Elven lore while he retired to [[Rivendell]] (''[[Translations from the Elvish]]'')  where he gave it to Frodo.
  
Frodo organized Bilbo's manuscript and used it to write down his own quest during the [[War of the Ring]]. Inscribed within, it reads:
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Frodo organized Bilbo's manuscript and used it to write down his own quest during the [[War of the Ring]]. The title page has many titles, some crossed out:
  
 
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The book contained Bilbo's translations of Elven legends from the [[Elder Days]], and various Hobbit poems. A lot of background information on the realms of [[Arnor]], [[Gondor]], and [[Rohan]] was added to it by [[Peregrin Took]] and [[Meriadoc Brandybuck]] from their contacts in [[Rohan]] and [[Gondor]]. Other material was provided by [[Aragorn|King Elessar]].
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The book contained Bilbo's ''[[Translations from the Elvish]]'', legends from the [[Elder Days]], and various Hobbit poems. A lot of background information on the realms of [[Arnor]], [[Gondor]], and [[Rohan]] was added to it by [[Peregrin Took]] and [[Meriadoc Brandybuck]] from their contacts in [[Rohan]] and [[Gondor]]. Other material was provided by [[Aragorn|King Elessar]].
  
After Bilbo and Frodo left for [[Valinor]], the Red Book passed into the keeping of [[Samwise Gamgee]], the [[Mayor of Michel Delving|Mayor of the Shire]]. The book was left in the possession of Sam Gamgee's eldest daughter, ''[[Elanor Gardner|Elanor Fairbairn]]'', and her descendants (the ''[[Fairbairn Family|Fairbairns]] of the Towers'' or ''[[Warden of Westmarch]]'').  
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After Bilbo and Frodo left for [[Valinor]], the Red Book passed into the keeping of [[Samwise Gamgee]], the [[Mayor of Michel Delving|Mayor of the Shire]]. When he also left for the [[Sea]], he left the book to his eldest daughter, [[Elanor Gardner|Elanor Fairbairn]], and her descendants (the [[Fairbairn Family|Fairbairns]] of the Towers or [[Warden of Westmarch|Wardens of Westmarch]]).<ref>{{app|Later}}</ref>
  
The original book was formed from Bilbo's private diary and attached to it, in a single red case, were three large volumes bound in red leather. There was a fifth volume containing commentaries, genealogies, and various other matter concerning the hobbit members of the Fellowship. Several copies, with various notes and later additions, were made and copies were passed on to future generations, of which one, the "''[[Thain's Book]]''", is the most important.
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The original first volume was Bilbo's private diary, and attached to it, in a single red case, were the three large volumes bound in red leather: the ''Translations'', which he gave to Frodo as a parting gift. The Fairbairns added a fifth volume containing commentaries, genealogies and various other matter concerning the hobbit members of the Fellowship.{{fact}} These elaborated trees, intended only for other Hobbits, are a small book in themselves.<ref>{{FR|Hobbits}}</ref>
  
The "original" version of the Red Book contained the story of Bilbo's journey as it originally stood: thus, Gollum willingly gives [[the One Ring]] to Bilbo, and there is no trace of the Ring's hold over Gollum. Later copies of the Red Book contained, as an alternative, also the true account (later written in by Frodo), where Bilbo comes across the Ring by accident.
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Several copies, with various notes and later additions, were made for the use of Samwise's descendants, and copies were passed on to future generations, of which one, the "''[[Thain's Book]]''", is the most important.
  
==Inspiration==
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The original version of the Red Book contained the story of Bilbo's journey as it originally stood: thus, Gollum willingly gives [[the One Ring]] to Bilbo, and there is no trace of the Ring's hold over Gollum, something that he never corrected, and persisted in other copies and abstracts, as probably the keepers of the Book were unwilling to make alterations to Bilbo's own text out of respect. But other later copiers of the Book (based on notes by Frodo or Sam) wrote the true account, in which Bilbo comes across the Ring by accident.<ref>{{FR|Finding}}</ref>
{{quote|But most of all he [Tolkien] found delight in the Fairy Books of Andrew Lang, especially '''the Red Fairy Book''', for tucked away in its closing pages was the best story he had ever read. This was the tale of Sigurd who slew the dragon Fafnir: a strange and powerful tale set in the nameless North.|[[J.R.R. Tolkien: A Biography]]}}
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Tolkien's inspiration for this repository of lore was the real [[Wikipedia:Red Book of Hergest|Red Book of Hergest]], the early 15th century compilation of Welsh history and poetry that contains the manuscript of the [[Mabinogion]]. Bound (and rebound) in red leather, in the [[Bodleian Library]], Oxford, the manuscript was well known to Tolkien.
+
Loose leaves record some poems, possibly from oral tradition, and many jestful nonsensical ones are written carelessly in margins and blank spaces by many hands. In the later [[Ages]] they were unintelligible or half-remembered fragments. Some were attributed to [[Samwise Gamgee]] or Bilbo himself, and other displayed contact with Elvish and [[Gondorian]] culture.<ref>{{AB|Foreword}}</ref>
  
In the first edition of ''[[The Fellowship of the Ring]]'', Tolkien's foreword claimed he had translated the Red Book from the original [[Westron]] into English, and it therefore must be supposed that copies of the book survived throughout several Ages.
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In the [[first edition]] of ''[[The Fellowship of the Ring]]'', Tolkien's foreword claimed he had translated the Red Book from the original [[Westron]] into English, and that claim is still implied in later editions of ''[[The Lord of the Rings]]'', notably in Appendix F, part II "On Translation". It therefore must be supposed that copies of the book survived through several Ages. Tolkien says nothing about how he gained access to one or more copies of the Red Book and how he learned Westron and other languages of [[Arda]].
 +
 
 +
==Inspiration==
 +
{{quote|But most of all he [Tolkien] found delight in the Fairy Books of Andrew Lang, especially the '''Red Fairy Book''', for tucked away in its closing pages was the best story he had ever read. This was the tale of Sigurd who slew the dragon Fafnir: a strange and powerful tale set in the nameless North.|''[[J.R.R. Tolkien: A Biography]]'', p. 22}}
 +
 
 +
Tolkien's inspiration for this repository of lore was the real [[Wikipedia:Red Book of Hergest|Red Book of Hergest]], the early 15th century compilation of Welsh history and poetry that contains the manuscript of the [[Mabinogion]]. Bound (and rebound) in red leather, in the [[Bodleian Library]], Oxford, the manuscript was well known to Tolkien. Another possible echo is the [[Wikipedia:Black Book of Carmarthen|Black Book of Carmarthen]].<ref>{{AB|Comm}}</ref>
  
 
==Portrayals in adaptations==
 
==Portrayals in adaptations==
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'''2012: ''[[The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey]]'':'''
 
'''2012: ''[[The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey]]'':'''
 
:As part of the framing of the movie, Bilbo starts the writing of the book.
 
:As part of the framing of the movie, Bilbo starts the writing of the book.
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==External links==
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* [https://www.schematax.org/schemata/tolkien/schematax_tolkien_tradition-legendarium.pdf Stages and Logic of the fictitious tradition of Tolkien’s Legendarium (Red Book of Westmarch)]
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*[https://www.forodrim.org/gobennas/chron_en.html The Chroniclers of Arda] by [[Måns Björkman]]
  
 
{{References}}
 
{{References}}

Latest revision as of 18:26, 29 October 2020

"I shan't call it the end, till we've cleared up the mess." — Sam
This article or section needs to be cleaned up to conform to a higher standard of article quality.
The name Westmarch refers to more than one character, item or concept. For a list of other meanings, see Westmarch (disambiguation).
Red Book of Westmarch by Jeff Reitz

The Red Book of Westmarch (sometimes Red Book of the Periannath) is the book in which the Legendarium of Middle-earth was written. It is bound in red leather.

Contents

[edit] History

The first Red Book was written as a diary by the Hobbit Bilbo Baggins and recounted his quest for Erebor, which he called There and Back Again. Within it, he compileford Elven lore while he retired to Rivendell (Translations from the Elvish) where he gave it to Frodo.

Frodo organized Bilbo's manuscript and used it to write down his own quest during the War of the Ring. The title page has many titles, some crossed out:

My Diary. My Unexpected Journey.
There and Back Again.
And What Happened After.
Adventures of Five Hobbits.
The Tale of the Great Ring,
compiled by Bilbo Baggins from his own observations and the accounts of his friends.
What we did in the War of the Ring.

THE DOWNFALL
OF THE
LORD OF THE RINGS
AND THE
RETURN OF THE KING
(as seen by the Little People; being the memoirs of Bilbo and Frodo of the Shire,
supplemented by the accounts of their friends and the learning of the Wise.)
Together with extracts from Books of Lore translated by Bilbo in Rivendell.

The book contained Bilbo's Translations from the Elvish, legends from the Elder Days, and various Hobbit poems. A lot of background information on the realms of Arnor, Gondor, and Rohan was added to it by Peregrin Took and Meriadoc Brandybuck from their contacts in Rohan and Gondor. Other material was provided by King Elessar.

After Bilbo and Frodo left for Valinor, the Red Book passed into the keeping of Samwise Gamgee, the Mayor of the Shire. When he also left for the Sea, he left the book to his eldest daughter, Elanor Fairbairn, and her descendants (the Fairbairns of the Towers or Wardens of Westmarch).[1]

The original first volume was Bilbo's private diary, and attached to it, in a single red case, were the three large volumes bound in red leather: the Translations, which he gave to Frodo as a parting gift. The Fairbairns added a fifth volume containing commentaries, genealogies and various other matter concerning the hobbit members of the Fellowship.[source?] These elaborated trees, intended only for other Hobbits, are a small book in themselves.[2]

Several copies, with various notes and later additions, were made for the use of Samwise's descendants, and copies were passed on to future generations, of which one, the "Thain's Book", is the most important.

The original version of the Red Book contained the story of Bilbo's journey as it originally stood: thus, Gollum willingly gives the One Ring to Bilbo, and there is no trace of the Ring's hold over Gollum, something that he never corrected, and persisted in other copies and abstracts, as probably the keepers of the Book were unwilling to make alterations to Bilbo's own text out of respect. But other later copiers of the Book (based on notes by Frodo or Sam) wrote the true account, in which Bilbo comes across the Ring by accident.[3]

Loose leaves record some poems, possibly from oral tradition, and many jestful nonsensical ones are written carelessly in margins and blank spaces by many hands. In the later Ages they were unintelligible or half-remembered fragments. Some were attributed to Samwise Gamgee or Bilbo himself, and other displayed contact with Elvish and Gondorian culture.[4]

In the first edition of The Fellowship of the Ring, Tolkien's foreword claimed he had translated the Red Book from the original Westron into English, and that claim is still implied in later editions of The Lord of the Rings, notably in Appendix F, part II "On Translation". It therefore must be supposed that copies of the book survived through several Ages. Tolkien says nothing about how he gained access to one or more copies of the Red Book and how he learned Westron and other languages of Arda.

[edit] Inspiration

"But most of all he [Tolkien] found delight in the Fairy Books of Andrew Lang, especially the Red Fairy Book, for tucked away in its closing pages was the best story he had ever read. This was the tale of Sigurd who slew the dragon Fafnir: a strange and powerful tale set in the nameless North."
J.R.R. Tolkien: A Biography, p. 22

Tolkien's inspiration for this repository of lore was the real Red Book of Hergest, the early 15th century compilation of Welsh history and poetry that contains the manuscript of the Mabinogion. Bound (and rebound) in red leather, in the Bodleian Library, Oxford, the manuscript was well known to Tolkien. Another possible echo is the Black Book of Carmarthen.[5]

[edit] Portrayals in adaptations

2001: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring:

In the extended edition, Bilbo is writing in the book (working on the prologue) in Bag End. It reappears in Rivendell, where he shows it to Frodo.

2003: The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King:

Frodo entrusts the book to Samwise just before he leaves Middle-earth.

2012: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey:

As part of the framing of the movie, Bilbo starts the writing of the book.

[edit] External links

References

  1. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B, "Later Events Concerning the Members of the Fellowship of the Ring"
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, "Prologue", "Concerning Hobbits"
  3. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, "Prologue", "Of the Finding of the Ring"
  4. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Adventures of Tom Bombadil, "Preface"
  5. J.R.R. Tolkien; Christina Scull & Wayne G. Hammond (eds), The Adventures of Tom Bombadil, "Commentary"