From Tolkien Gateway
Latest comment: 9 July 2023 by English Lady in topic Citations

Since the encyclopedia treats the post-silmarillion things as canon (eg. Gil-galad son of Orodreth) perhaps the encyclopedia should also prefer 'updated' words such as Echoriad, Amon Gwared and Dor Fin i-Chuinar? Sage 15:08, 5 August 2008 (EDT)

I don't know, I'm in the Second Sentence group, "Quite a few readers do not believe that any clear canon exists at all." -- Ederchil 15:36, 5 August 2008 (EDT)

The New Section

By Matthew, "On Canon and Mythology". I'm having some trouble with it, but I wanted to hear other people's opinion.
  1. It's out of place at its current location. It could be an extension of the third reason, though.
  2. Who is Joseph Campbell? You quote him like he's the next best thing since sliced bread, but wouldn't a more Tolkien-related explanation be better?
  3. The spelling, dude, the spelling. Again. Middle-earth. Tolkien. And please no "JRRT"'s anywhere except on talk pages.
  4. "While the readers of Tolkien often take all of the material as being inerrent and a "factual" accounting of what transpired in the various ages of Middle Earth". It could do with a {{fact}}. Where are these LotR-thumpers? If we want anything good, we don't want to quote anonymous authorities, let alone exaggerated ones.

Yours, Ederchil (Talk/Contribs/Edits) 18:02, 11 September 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I agree with your suggestions to whomever the writer of this article is Ederchil, but I am shocked that you are oblivious to the brilliance of Joseph Campbell.You may want to "study up." Perhaps you are right that he should not be quoted nonetheless. -Ingwe

I think Joseph Campbell was a professor on mythology, but I don't know how relevant he is to Tolkien (there are no mentions to "Hobbit", "The Lord of the Rings", "Tolkien" or "Middle-earth" on his Wikipedia article). Although I don't mind quoting someone who was a professor on mythology, the lack of references is slightly irritating and there are many "weasel words" in the article (I do think this is problem with the article in general as there appear to be no references).
I think that although Joseph Campbell may have been an expert in his field, it sounds as if many of the points raised refer to historical mythologies which have evolved over time when later writings became very different from the earlier ones (the tales of King Arthur are a good example of this). Although The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings are very different, I do not think this is because of massive re-tellings in the story: it is because The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings were written very differently for very different purposes; I personally think The Hobbit stands alone from the rest of the legendarium in this respect and it is slightly unfair to compare the two - after all, the two were very separate for a long time and were moulded together it latter years.
Along with the issue of re-tellings, I do not believe that many of the conflicting passages are reconcilable: what, in fact, needs to be decided (although, of course, not by us as editors) is which parts Tolkien considered final and which parts he didn't; he was a man not a omniscient super-being, he made mistakes and changed his mind as the years progressed as many authors do (The History of "The Lord of the Rings" is a testament to that).
On the issue of spelling, I recommend using Firefox which comes with an in-built spell-checker for text-areas.--Mith (Talk/Contribs/Edits) 23:27, 11 September 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Okay, I hadn't heard of Campbell. But I agree with Mith; his theories do not seem to be centered on Modern, "made-up" mythology.
I also agree that The Hobbit stands out of the rest; obviously written for another audience, it uses many similes and anachronisms that are out of touch with the rest of the legendarium.
The problem with "final" is this: currently, the Third Edition Hobbit is "canon" by our standards. However, in HoTH, there's the "Fifth Phase" Hobbit, which was an attempted rewrite to "merge" it with the LotR environment - more Inns, including the PP, a longer route, but unfortunately, he never got past Rivendell (don't know out of my head whether he disgarded it or not).
Tolkien was, without a doubt, the biggest retconner in the history of retcons. Some were explained away by what now could/would be called fanwank (think Riddles in the Dark).
Also in the retcon department - the 50th anniversary edition has several "mistakes" corrected - Tale of Years mostly. Is that canon?
Tolkien must have said something on the "Tolkien the Chronicler" interpretation (Letter 268 comes to mind), can't we use that?
Spelling isn't really an issue of browsers, it's just that this user showed some wrong spellings - Middle Earth, Dol Goldûr, among others - before.
--Ederchil (Talk/Contribs/Edits) 07:46, 12 September 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

How long are we going to wait for the spelling in this article to be rectified before we start editing mercilessly? In some places, "Tolkien" is not even capitalized! -Ingwe

You can do it, if you like. Can't do it myself, though. My PC is so slow (apparently still some malware left) I can't edit long pages (or access, hotmail, youtube, et cetera). Otherwise, I would have done most of my concerns myself. -- Ederchil (Talk/Contribs/Edits) 17:25, 12 September 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The main problem in this section is rather simple. The author asserts that people in mythology believe that they are in a mythological story. Preposterous! To us and Tolkien the story is mythological. But certainly Bilbo and others believe in their own reality. I am going to cut that part of the section. -Ingwe

Additional "canonical" works

What about adding some notes to the Canon page on the textual fragments published in Parma Eldalamberon and Vinyar Tengwar? These wouldn't be much different in canonical status than, e.g., The History of Middle-earth volumes. --Morgan 08:27, 26 September 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I agree. Much of it is on par with HoMe. -- Ederchil (Talk/Contribs/Edits) 10:10, 26 September 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

"Fixed" works

As only The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, The Adventures of Tom Bombadil, and The Road Goes Ever On were published during Tolkien's lifetime, only those works should be considered "true" canon with respect to Tolkien's publication history. Tolkien himself considered the published works as "fixed" and tried not to introduce new concepts that would contradict or alter them, while elements he left unpublished, he continued to experiment on.'

I think this statement isn't totally true. Even while the Hobbit was published Tolkien did invent new concepts that contradicted with the orginal Hobbit (Gollum for example) in The Lord of the Rings, although these were revised. And after LOTR was published he wrote texts in which the Blue Wizards came earlier to Middle-earth then was mentioned in the appendixes and that Celebrimbor was the son of Daeron. So did he real consider that the published works were "fixed"? And if Tolkien did say this somewhere, shouldn't there be a source added? --Amroth 12:53, 28 August 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

To be honest, this whole article is a car-crash: it's unsourced and is a mix of information on canon in general, canon on TG, and canon within the legendarium. The above isn't not the only statement which is questionable. I would just delete this page and start again as there is little which is salvageable. --Mith (Talk/Contribs/Edits) 13:26, 28 August 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I don't want to stir up a big fuss, but I would like to know if The Children of Húrin is considered canonical for TG? Should it be added to the list in "Canon status of various writings"? There are bits of information in this story that are not found in The Silmarillion or the Unfinished Tales, so if CoH is canonical I would be willing to insert this info into various articles. --Gamling 21:50, 3 November 2011
I think CoH should be considered canonical for TG. As for this article, I think that it needs to be re-written to explain the concept of canon within the legendarium and the complications involved. Then we'll need a Tolkien Gateway:Canon page to define TG canon policy.-- KingAragorn  talk  contribs  edits  email  22:18, 3 November 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Indeed, if we consider The Silmarillion to be canonical on TG, then there's no reason to not include CoH in the canon.--Morgan 05:30, 4 November 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
COH, yes, canon; in conflicts with The Silmarillion I think COH should be preferred. This article should have any whiff of TG policy removed from it (a policy that was never agreed to by anyone) and the whole thing just scrapped and completely restarted. --Mith (Talk/Contribs/Edits) 09:24, 4 November 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Quote source

The quote on Tolkien's thoughts is a good one, but could do with some better sourcing. Which of the authors penned it? Which chapter is it in? --Ederchil (Talk/Contribs/Edits) 19:59, 29 August 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]

According to this online article (by Kristine Larsen; I unfortunately don't have the original book), it's Wayne G. Hammond "quoting an unnamed 'enthusiast'" in the chapter "'A Continuing and Evolving Creation': Distractions in the Later History of Middle-earth".--Morgan 20:23, 31 August 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Thank you for your help in improving this article @English Lady. I think including such a large amount of text from Letter 131 might be a bit too much for this article though, maybe we can include the most important portion(s) of it? I've also added some requests for citations throughout the article, this would be a huge help if we could provide the readers with references to where our statements come from, as we don't want them merely relying on our word for things. Thanks again! Hyarion (talk) 17:54, 9 July 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Believe it or not, this is actually a really cut down version of the text from that letter! The original version is several pages long! I might try and cut it more.
My main problem with the article is that it didn't seem to represent what "Legends" means in the context of Tolkien's work and there seemed to be some misunderstandig of the Publication order and how this related to edits made to his work. E.G The Hobbit was rewritten because Tolkien wasn't planning to write a sequel until many years later. English Lady (talk) 18:57, 9 July 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]