"Concerning ... 'The Hoard'" and its solution for the Ruin of Doriath


Active Member
As many may have seen, the above 1964 manuscript has been put up for sale for the first time since the mid-80s, together with the accompanying letter (excerpted as Letter 255), and a family tree of the half-Elven with various epithets. The auction house put up scans of all the pages, so we can now see the details of what was published in an all-too-brief summary in the 80s, about the failure of the Girdle of Melian, the death of Thingol, the Nauglamir, Húrin's outlaws etc. I think Hammond and Scull's claim that "Thingol, however, is still killed outside Menegroth," in their summary is not quite verbatim, though. One might conclude this from the fact the Dwarf army invades, and there's a battle in Doriath, not in Menegroth (see the quote below). [EDIT: the "His halls were violated" part sees to indicate that Thingol was in fact killed inside Menegoth, so I think I disagree, in the end, with the H&S summary on this point.]

Here's a thread at TolkienGuide with links to the scans. The document was transcribed but the link to that Google Doc (which was looked over and proof-read by multiple people) has now been taken down for copyright reasons. I have a nicely-typeset version that preserves the pagination and colours of the original, and somewhat of the layout. To me the most interesting paragraph is the following (I claim Fair Use here for the purposes of scholarly analysis, this is less than one paragraph from a 9-page document, it has no impact on the potential market, and the information in the quote is already public):

Unpaid [the Dwarves] departed in wrath. Back in their mountain-strongholds, they plotted revenge, and not long after they came down with a great force and invaded Doriath. This had before been impossible, because of the Girdle of Melian, an invisible fence maintained by her power and will through which no one with evil intent could pass. But either this fence had been robbed of its power by the evil within, or Melian had removed it in grief and horror at the deed that had been done. The Dwarf-host entered Doriath and most of Thingol’s warriors perished. His halls were violated and he himself slain.
Here "the evil within" is likely Thingol having Húrin's outlaws killed—when they try to claim the treasure of Nargothrond after Húrin himself departs—and also shades of the dragon-curse on the treasure (not Mîm's curse, here), and taking and locking it away. So instead of Christopher's proposed solution of Thingol being killed separate from the Dwarf invasion, Tolkien had ideas about how to sort out the thing Christopher ultimately wasn't happy with in Silm. '77.

There's also some fine-tuning about the Dwarves' nature, namely that they had a code of honesty, and would only take the Nargothrond treasure; their pay plus the rest as payment for the broken agreement, the expedition, and the fact it had been stolen from a Dwarf (Mîm). This is very much "post-LotR Dwarves" in flavour, not the greedy pre-Hobbit Dwarves. They couldn't resist the Silmaril, and justified taking that by claiming it would mar the Nauglamir if they tried to separate the two. Some ("the wisest") among them advised not to do this, but it was taken directly from Thingol's body.

I think this might a reasonable option for Silm Film, if the producers are willing to depart from the published Silmarillion. It certainly gives at least a springboard rather than trying to re-solve Christopher's problem for him, when he said

It seemed at that time that there were elements inherent in the story of the Ruin of Doriath as it stood that were radically incompatible with ‘The Silmarillion’ as projected, and that there was here an inescapable choice: either to abandon that conception, or else to alter the story. I think now that this was a mistaken view, and that the undoubted difficulties could have been, and should have been, surmounted without so far overstepping the bounds of the editorial function.
but didn't indicate how the "difficulties could have been ... surmounted"—and based only on the '77 Silm and HoMe.

At this point in 1964 Tolkien was also sticking with Maglor dying at the end of the First Age, throwing himself into the sea, as very briefly mentioned in the Letter to Milton Waldman ("The last two sons of Fëanor, compelled by their oath, steal them, and are destroyed by them, casting themselves into the sea, and the pits of the earth."). Maglor's surviving is of course one of those things that is described as a legend, and he never does anything else, so he could be killed off along with Maedhros and it would not affect the story.

Also interesting is that after Fëanor refused to give the Silmarils to the Valar for the purposes of restoring the Trees, Tolkien then described him being "commanded" to do so.
Last edited:


Active Member
Perhaps this should have been posted in the SilmFilm forum, but I think people would be interested in it more generally.