Narsil

MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
There is another issue buried in this discussion.

When we look at historical development of anything technological, we tend to see the building steps - first this, then later this, and later still another thing. It's very much like the computer game "Civilization" where you have to achieve certain prerequisites before advancing to the next stage. And of course arms races feed into this - as your enemies develop new techniques, you have to counter-develop new ways to protect yourself from them, and so on. You can think of this as the 'milestones' of childhood development writ large in history, if you like. It's hard to build a spaceship if you've never built an airplane or a missile. A people typically did build better and better castles and better and better armor and better and better weapons...though of course there is also stagnation and backsliding in various instances as well.

But there's another way of viewing history. And that is that almost all human knowledge is irretrievably lost in each generation, and it's a fight to preserve all knowledge/information/skill/technological advances from one generation to the next. Atlantis, the mythical ancient civilization that was so much further advanced than what came after but was then completely lost sums up this view quite well. Looking at the destruction of the library at Alexandria or the loss of almost all Roman technology throughout the Middle Ages or the loss of certain techniques as civilizations have come and gone....this is a valid and fair view as well. Humans do struggle to pass things on from generation to generation, and much is inevitably lost, particularly when the means to teach the younger generation are disrupted by the destruction of civilization.

The problem is that while both views are based on reality and have truth in how history has played out, they have some obvious tension and can't simultaneously be true in every situation.

So, in Tolkien's view, most wisdom and knowledge existed at the beginning of time (with the Valar), and was then gradually lost throughout history. The elves in Valinor learned a lot and brought it to Middle-earth with them, and they taught Men, and then the Men became Numenoreans and actually expanded on that a bit, but then Numenor was destroyed, so a big step back again....

The fact of the matter is that at most times in Middle-earth, people are looking back to a greatness that has been lost to time. So, in that world view, it's hard to see the success of innovation and progress playing out. Doesn't mean we can't follow historical patterns of weapon and armor development. We of course can. It's just...fairly clear that Tolkien didn't do that.
 

MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
Definitely. Elves want to live in a perpetual, unchanging 'now.' There are some who challenge this view and are more innovative, but elves are always tempted into keeping things the way they were rather than trying something new. Elves are also endlessly creative, much more naturally so than humans, so the 'preserving things unchanged' aspect is only one facet of who they are.

But also the slow-to-change nature of the elves is based on the human viewpoint. The humans are wondering why the elves 'still' do things the way they did centuries ago, and the elves just haven't gotten around to updating yet. Because a few centuries is not that long to them.....

But to be clear, when we're talking about the First Age, we're talking about the Elves at war, and they are very much keen on the idea of defeating Morgoth's armies. So...they're going to devote time and resources and creativity to solving that problem.
 

Ange1e4e5

Well-Known Member
On the other side, would Orcs be making advancements that Elves would need to adapt their technology to?
 

MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
The Hobbit tells us that orcs are very skilled at coming up with torture devices and weapons and the like. But at this time, the orcs are part of an army that is being outfitted by Sauron and Gothmog and Morgoth - Sauron is one one Aulë's Maia, and Melkor helped make the planet. Sooooo....there we run into the tension of 'evil can't create, it can only mock' with some beings with a *lot* of technical know-how between them!

I don't know if Angband is making advancements in weapons or armor, but I have to imagine it's of a high caliber throughout the First Age.
 

Rhiannon

Well-Known Member
On the other side, would Orcs be making advancements that Elves would need to adapt their technology to?
Whether Orc technology is advancing or not, Morgoth's forces are certainly getting more dangerous over the course of the First Age. Not only are there new beasts like Dragons, but the sheer number of Orcs is increasing, and Morgoth is putting his power into everything.
 

Haerangil

Well-Known Member
Ok.just my bits of historic/linguistic knowledge so far: Mail basically means a "mesh", "maille" or "mayle" as technical terms are probably not older than 14th century, and -as far as i know - even at that time it's blurry if a maille/mayle is chain or sometimes also scale or something else.Before different terms such as lorica, brunnia or serke were used -all of them ambiguous in nature.Same goes for hauberk/Haubergion etc..It's basical meaning is "neck-cover", no kidding.The restriction to chain when using these terms is also relatively new and was not necessarily always so in history.A "Halsberge" could -at times- be anything.

My point also was not that i do not like to discuss armour, i just do not like the dogmatic denial of everything but chain in Tolkienism... i think i made myself quite clear why i think such dogmatism is wrong.
 
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Nicholas Palazzo

Well-Known Member
Ok.just my bits of historic/linguistic knowledge so far: Mail basically means a "mesh", "maille" or "mayle" as technical terms are probably not older than 14th century, and -as far as i know - even at that time it's blurry if a maille/mayle is chain or sometimes also scale or something else.Before different terms such as lorica, brunnia or serke were used -all of them ambiguous in nature.Same goes for hauberk/Haubergion etc..It's basical meaning is "neck-cover", no kidding.The restriction to chain when using these terms is also relatively new and was not necessarily always so in history.A "Halsberge" could -at times- be anything.

My point also was not that i do not like to discuss armour, i just do not like the dogmatic denial of everything but chain in Tolkienism... i think i made myself quite clear why i think such dogmatism is wrong.
Oh, I agree with that point wholeheartedly, though I don't think anyone's taking a hard line stance on "mail only". The feedback I've received has basically just overall resistance to anything like articulated plate armor because Tolkien never specifically decribes someone wearing such a thing.
 

Ange1e4e5

Well-Known Member
Oh, I agree with that point wholeheartedly, though I don't think anyone's taking a hard line stance on "mail only". The feedback I've received has basically just overall resistance to anything like articulated plate armor because Tolkien never specifically decribes someone wearing such a thing.
I myself think that the Elves would need plate armor at some point, since mail doesn’t do much good against arrows, and most tech involving armor that Men have is learned from Elves. Not everyone can subsist on plot armor.
 
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Halstein

Active Member
I think the Elves would do fine with lamellar (or scale, or brigandine), together with mail. This was quite popular in the Middle East, and in Central Asia, and in the later area archery was quite common.

The strength of lamellar, is that you have quite a range of materials you can use. Usually iron/steel, bronze/copper-alloy, or leather (hardened or lacquered). But slivers of bamboo, or plates of bone/antlers/horn have also been used.

Personally I would think brigandines would be good, because this gives the opportunity of ostentatious and colourful display.
 

Rhiannon

Well-Known Member
Here is what I've come up with for the new secret Khuzdul inscription on Narsil:

Spells that bind, enthrall, deceive;
iron chains; and fear I cleave.

It is generally about resisting bondage, deception, and domination and loosely based on the lines from the "Lay of Leithian." Does anyone have any thoughts or suggestions?

I think the Quenya inscription, "Bright is my flame; high is my fate," still works.
 

Octoburn

Active Member
Here is what I've come up with for the new secret Khuzdul inscription on Narsil:

Spells that bind, enthrall, deceive;
iron chains; and fear I cleave.

It is generally about resisting bondage, deception, and domination and loosely based on the lines from the "Lay of Leithian." Does anyone have any thoughts or suggestions?

I think the Quenya inscription, "Bright is my flame; high is my fate," still works.
I suggested once, though I think it was overlooked because we were in the midst of the Great Mail Debate of 2019, was simply: Leithian. "Release from bondage." Would make it simpler to inscribe
 

Rhiannon

Well-Known Member
I suggested once, though I think it was overlooked because we were in the midst of the Great Mail Debate of 2019, was simply: Leithian. "Release from bondage." Would make it simpler to inscribe
I very much like the concept, but the problems with that are that it is Sindarin not Khuzdul, and Narsil is not really associated with the Beren and Luthien story.
 

Octoburn

Active Member
I very much like the concept, but the problems with that are that it is Sindarin not Khuzdul, and Narsil is not really associated with the Beren and Luthien story.
Wasn't Narsil a sword that we are having Aegnor (?) Commission? I'd imagine he wouldn't mind something not in khuzdul.

I know this is random, but I thought I had read recently in the Appendices that dwarves didn't start using the elven runes until the second age. I could be mistaken.

Is the lineage of Narsil set yet? I know I think it was established to go from Aegnor to Andreth? But I know there were talks of it being involved in the B&L story somehow.
 

Ange1e4e5

Well-Known Member
Wasn't Narsil a sword that we are having Aegnor (?) Commission? I'd imagine he wouldn't mind something not in khuzdul.

I know this is random, but I thought I had read recently in the Appendices that dwarves didn't start using the elven runes until the second age. I could be mistaken.

Is the lineage of Narsil set yet? I know I think it was established to go from Aegnor to Andreth? But I know there were talks of it being involved in the B&L story somehow.
Maedhros commissions Narsil.
Who from Andreth? She has no one to pass it to.
 

Rhiannon

Well-Known Member
Wasn't Narsil a sword that we are having Aegnor (?) Commission? I'd imagine he wouldn't mind something not in khuzdul.

I know this is random, but I thought I had read recently in the Appendices that dwarves didn't start using the elven runes until the second age. I could be mistaken.

Is the lineage of Narsil set yet? I know I think it was established to go from Aegnor to Andreth? But I know there were talks of it being involved in the B&L story somehow.
Narsil is forged in Episode 10 of Season 4. Maedhros commissions it as a gift for Aegnor. There are two inscriptions on it: a Quenya inscription along the blade and a Khuzdul inscription on the tang. The Khuzdul inscription is secret; no one but Telchar knows about it, and no one will see it until Narsil is reforged into Anduril.

The reason for the double inscriptions is to tie in with part of the frame story for this season, which I describe in this post: https://forums.signumuniversity.org/index.php?threads/s04e08-script-discussion.3335/post-27643 (we ended up moving this frame story to Episode 10).

In Episode 10, Bilbo talks to Dwalin and learns that the technique of using Quenya inscriptions was invented by Telchar, and there is actually a transition between Dwalin making a new set of Dragon-proof doors for Erebor and Telchar forging Narsil.
 
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