Faring Forth

From Tolkien Gateway
Faring Forth
Event
LocationTol Eressëa (Heath of the Sky-roof)
Great Lands (Rôs)
Datec. 5th century AD[1]
ResultUtter defeat of the Elves, and their fading
Tol Eressëa anchored off the Great Lands, and overrun by Men, Orcs, etc.
ParticipantsElves of Tol Eressëa
Lost Elves
Men
Orcs
Dwarves[note 1]
Gongs
Trolls
DescriptionAn expedition from the Lonely Isle to rescue the Elves of the Great Lands

The Faring Forth was an event in which the Elves from Tol Eressëa led an expedition to the Great Lands in order to rescue the Lost Elves still living there, according to the early version of the legendarium in The Book of Lost Tales. The event happened after the coming of Eriol, a human mariner, to Tol Eressëa at the beginning of the Lost Tales.[2]

History[edit]

Prelude[edit]

According to one outline, the Elves of the Great Lands led an uprising against the Orcs and the Dwarves; and, while the time was not yet deemed ready for the Faring Forth, the Elves judged it necessary.

Therefore, they sought Ulmo's help, who sent Uin, his great whale, to uproot the island of Tol Eressëa and drag it across the Ocean, in order to anchor it off the coast of Rôs, a promontory in the Great Lands. From there, a magic bridge was cast across the strait between Rôs and Tol Eressëa.

However, Ossë in his wrath at the uprooting of the island he set in place so long ago, tried to wrench it back towards Valinor - and in doing so, the western portion of the island of Tol Eressëa broke off, and became the Isle of Íverin, which would later become known as Ireland.[2]

Battle of Rôs[edit]

Regardless, after the arrival of the Elves of Tol Eressëa to the Great Lands, they were soundly defeated in the Battle of Rôs by Orcs and evil Men. The remaining Elves afterwards retreated to Tol Eressëa and hid in its woods, because the island was now overrun by Men, as well as Orcs, Dwarves, Gongs, Trolls and all other evil creatures.[2]

In the above outline, that battle was to be the beginning of the end for Elves, since they would eventually fade and most Men would not be able to even perceive them anymore.[2][3][note 2]

Battle of the Heath of the Sky-roof[edit]

However, there is another outline, in which, during the inevitable fading of the Elves, there was a great battle between the last remnants of the Elves and faithful Men against other, hostile factions of Men at the Heath of the Sky-roof, not far from the town of Tavrobel.[2][3]

Eriol, and the fading Elves, witnessed the battle and fled across the rivers Gruir and Afros - and in the battle's aftermath, Eriol wrote the last words of the Lost Tales in the abandoned Tavrobel before he sealed the book.[3][note 3]

Aftermath[edit]

According to yet another text, after Eriol's death, his sons Hengest, Horsa, and Heorrenda, conquered the island and the land which later became known as England - however, they were not hostile to the Elves, and from them the English people retain "the true tradition of the fairies". Hengest settled in a city known before as Kortirion which would afterwards be known as Warwick. Horsa settled into the town of Taruithorn, which would later be known as Oxford. Heorrenda made his dwelling in Tavrobel, which eventually became known as Great Haywood.[4]

Other versions of the legendarium[edit]

Eriol as the instigator of the Faring Forth[edit]

In one text, following the ones given above in the main section of the article, Tolkien decided to increase the importance of Eriol by making him instrumental in the initiation of the Faring Forth.

There, Eriol, filled with longing for his home, decided to leave Tol Eressëa before Faring Forth has taken place against the command of Meril-i-Turinqi, the Lady of Tol Eressëa, taking his son Heorrenda with him. However, the purpose of his departure was also to hasten the Faring Forth, and, once back in his homeland, he "preached" of it.

Finally, once the Faring Forth has taken place, the invading groups of Men called the Guiðlin and the Brithonin,[note 4] attacked Tol Eressëa, now located in the geographic location of England. Somewhere around that time Eriol died, however his sons Hengest and Horsa managed to conquer the Guiðlin. Unfortunately, because of Eriol's haste and disobedience to Meril, the Faring Forth was doomed, and the Elves ultimately faded away because of it.[5]

Ælfwine replaces Eriol[edit]

When Tolkien reimagined the Lost Tales as being recorded by an Anglo-Saxon mariner Ælfwine, as opposed to the character of Ottor Wǽfre, an ancestor of the Anglo-Saxons, he also reimagined the nature of the framework and the conclusion to the Lost Tales.[6]

In this new framework, the idea of the dragging of Tol Eressëa across the ocean to become England disappears - in its stead appears the idea of Luthany, an island off the coast of the Great Lands, to which it was once connected to, and which would eventually become the island of Great Britain.[6]

Instead of the Faring Forth as envisioned in the texts above, the (First) Faring Forth became identified with the march of the Elves of Kôr to the Great Lands to free the enslaved Gnomes and their war with evil Men following that.[7]

Ælfwine and Ing[edit]

The remainder of the Elves, after their war with the evil Men, moved to Luthany, which was ruled by a Mannish king called Ing[8] - he, unlike most other Men, was friendly to the Elves, which is why most of the Elves of the Great Lands moved to his lands.[9]

However, after the disappearance of Ing, and the subsequent invasions by unfriendly Men, the vast majority of the Elves on the island moved to Tol Eressëa.[10]

In one outline, it was prophesied that Ing would one day lead the Elves of Tol Eressëa to conquer back Luthany, in an event called the Second Faring Forth.[10][11]

See also[edit]

Notes

  1. At this early phase of the legendarium, Dwarves were overwhelmingly portrayed in a negative light.
  2. It is said that the Elves grew dim, transparent and small, as the Men grew in power, until all that remained of them was "memories faded dim, a wraith of vanishing loveliness in the trees, a rustle of the grass, a glint of dew, some subtle intonation of the wind".
  3. In another text, it wasn't Eriol who witnessed the battle and wrote down the last words of the book, but an unknown man, who in the prologue to the Lost Tales was supposed to find the book written by Eriol years prior.
  4. In some versions, another group called the Rúmhoth (identified with the Romans) also joined the invasion.

References

  1. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Book of Lost Tales Part One, "I. The Cottage of Lost Play": "Notes and Commentary", p. 23
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Book of Lost Tales Part Two, "VI. The History of Eriol or Ælfwine and the End of the Tales", outline 5, pp. 283-4
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Book of Lost Tales Part Two, "VI. The History of Eriol or Ælfwine and the End of the Tales", outline 8, pp. 287-8
  4. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Book of Lost Tales Part Two, "VI. The History of Eriol or Ælfwine and the End of the Tales", outline 13, pp. 291-3
  5. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Book of Lost Tales Part Two, "VI. The History of Eriol or Ælfwine and the End of the Tales", outline 14, p. 294
  6. 6.0 6.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Book of Lost Tales Part Two, "VI. The History of Eriol or Ælfwine and the End of the Tales", pp. 300-1
  7. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Book of Lost Tales Part Two, "VI. The History of Eriol or Ælfwine and the End of the Tales", p. 308
  8. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Book of Lost Tales Part Two, "VI. The History of Eriol or Ælfwine and the End of the Tales", outline 18, pp. 302-3
  9. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Book of Lost Tales Part Two, "VI. The History of Eriol or Ælfwine and the End of the Tales", outline 21, p. 304
  10. 10.0 10.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Book of Lost Tales Part Two, "VI. The History of Eriol or Ælfwine and the End of the Tales", outline 22, pp. 305-6
  11. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Book of Lost Tales Part Two, "VI. The History of Eriol or Ælfwine and the End of the Tales", outline 27, p. 307