Session 4.03 - Frame Narrative for Season 4

Faelivrin

Well-Known Member
Lots of racist people are perfectly nice to races they consider respectable, while being cruel or violent towards races they consider inferior. Most racists, even among the most violent ones, have family and friends, fellow members of their race who they treat decently. Most of them aren't obviously evil wackos the moment you meet them, as long as you aren't one of their targets. So, there's nothing unusual about Thranduil violently hating Dwarves, imprisoning and torturing them, while being a very nice person to fellow Elves and to the Dalemen.

I imagine him grudgingly tolerating Dwarves as long as a profitable trade can be made, preferrably via Human intermediaries so he doesn't have to interact directly with the Stunted Ones very often. I can't imagine him allowing them to enter Mirkwood, though. Consider how the Elves of Lorien react to Gimli.
 

Faelivrin

Well-Known Member
Or for another example just look at Maedhros. His behavior towards his fellow Noldor is admirable. His treatment of Teleri and Sindar... not so. (What makes him more sympathetic to me than Thranduil is that he actually repents of his evil deeds, and tries to change and make amends.)
 
Last edited:

MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
While looking up something else, I came across this note on Tolkien Gateway:

In the Lord of the Rings, it is stated by Gimli that the Dwarves aided in the making of Thranduil's halls. However, in the Unfinished Tales, it is stated that Thranduil's halls "were not to be compared with Menegroth. He had not the arts nor wealth nor the aid of the Dwarves."
It occurs to me that we might want to delve into that history a bit in the 'politics' of the Frame this season. There's the immediate, recent history between Mirkwood and Erebor, concerning the imprisonment of Thorin and Thranduil's involvement in the Battle of Five Armies. But there's also the historic (pre-Smaug) relationship between Mirkwood and Erebor to consider.

I know that when there were different variants of the text, Tolkien tended to come down in favor of the published work. There are exceptions, but for the most part, I'd say we should at least try to make the LotR version work. So...the elven-king's halls in Mirkwood were built with the aid of the dwarves, but still aren't nearly as grand as Menegroth.

The 'he had not the wealth' part is likely the issue - the dwarves only help as long as they're getting paid, so they may have aided in a much more minor way than Menegroth or Nargothrond...because Oropher or Thanduil was a much less generous elven lord than Thingol and Finrod!

But is it possible that that collaboration went sour in some way? That Thranduil never finished paying for the construction work he commissioned (for instance) and therefore got himself 'blacklisted' by dwarves as untrustworthy? I'm making that up, but it would be nice to have specific, ancient grievances to be able to reference when we need to!
 

Ange1e4e5

Well-Known Member
While looking up something else, I came across this note on Tolkien Gateway:



It occurs to me that we might want to delve into that history a bit in the 'politics' of the Frame this season. There's the immediate, recent history between Mirkwood and Erebor, concerning the imprisonment of Thorin and Thranduil's involvement in the Battle of Five Armies. But there's also the historic (pre-Smaug) relationship between Mirkwood and Erebor to consider.

I know that when there were different variants of the text, Tolkien tended to come down in favor of the published work. There are exceptions, but for the most part, I'd say we should at least try to make the LotR version work. So...the elven-king's halls in Mirkwood were built with the aid of the dwarves, but still aren't nearly as grand as Menegroth.

The 'he had not the wealth' part is likely the issue - the dwarves only help as long as they're getting paid, so they may have aided in a much more minor way than Menegroth or Nargothrond...because Oropher or Thanduil was a much less generous elven lord than Thingol and Finrod!

But is it possible that that collaboration went sour in some way? That Thranduil never finished paying for the construction work he commissioned (for instance) and therefore got himself 'blacklisted' by dwarves as untrustworthy? I'm making that up, but it would be nice to have specific, ancient grievances to be able to reference when we need to!
Well, things don’t really go south until the Nauglamir, and that leads to Thingol’s death.
 

Rhiannon

Well-Known Member
While looking up something else, I came across this note on Tolkien Gateway:



It occurs to me that we might want to delve into that history a bit in the 'politics' of the Frame this season. There's the immediate, recent history between Mirkwood and Erebor, concerning the imprisonment of Thorin and Thranduil's involvement in the Battle of Five Armies. But there's also the historic (pre-Smaug) relationship between Mirkwood and Erebor to consider.

I know that when there were different variants of the text, Tolkien tended to come down in favor of the published work. There are exceptions, but for the most part, I'd say we should at least try to make the LotR version work. So...the elven-king's halls in Mirkwood were built with the aid of the dwarves, but still aren't nearly as grand as Menegroth.

The 'he had not the wealth' part is likely the issue - the dwarves only help as long as they're getting paid, so they may have aided in a much more minor way than Menegroth or Nargothrond...because Oropher or Thanduil was a much less generous elven lord than Thingol and Finrod!

But is it possible that that collaboration went sour in some way? That Thranduil never finished paying for the construction work he commissioned (for instance) and therefore got himself 'blacklisted' by dwarves as untrustworthy? I'm making that up, but it would be nice to have specific, ancient grievances to be able to reference when we need to!
I like the idea of the Dwarves of Erebor not getting paid for the work they do (or not getting paid as much as they felt they were owed). The Hobbit specifically mentions that: "In ancient days [the elves]had had wars with some of the dwarves, whom they accused of stealing their treasure. It is only fair to say that the dwarves gave a different account, and said that they only took what was their due, for the elf-king had bargained with them to shape his raw gold and silver, and had afterwards refused to give them their pay." The reference to wars makes this sound sort of like the issue with the Nauglamir, but it also says "the elf-king," who, in the context of the quote, is Thranduil. There aren't any wars mentioned between Mirkwood and Erebor, but the conflict may have been so minor that only the parties involved considered it a war.

One thing to consider is that the Dwarves did not come to Erebor until T.A. 1999, after the Balrog drove them out of Moria, and the kingdom in Mirkwood has been their since early in the Second Age. I think the Elves would already have done a lot of the building, so the Dwarves' help would be expanding or furnishing the halls. If they help with the furnishing, then they would be probably be shaping raw gold and silver like in the book.

Maybe the gates of the caves in Mirkwood could be what the Dwarves were commissioned to make. Thranduil mentions that they are "magic doors," and they "clang" when closed, suggesting that they are made at least partly of metal. The Dwarven gates made for an Elven kingdom would be an interesting parallel to the Doors of Durin in Moria. In fact, they could have been modeled after these, and the Dwarves coming from Moria might have been expecting more generosity from the Elves in return for their work.
 

Nicholas Palazzo

Well-Known Member
I like the idea of the Dwarves of Erebor not getting paid for the work they do (or not getting paid as much as they felt they were owed). The Hobbit specifically mentions that: "In ancient days [the elves]had had wars with some of the dwarves, whom they accused of stealing their treasure. It is only fair to say that the dwarves gave a different account, and said that they only took what was their due, for the elf-king had bargained with them to shape his raw gold and silver, and had afterwards refused to give them their pay." The reference to wars makes this sound sort of like the issue with the Nauglamir, but it also says "the elf-king," who, in the context of the quote, is Thranduil. There aren't any wars mentioned between Mirkwood and Erebor, but the conflict may have been so minor that only the parties involved considered it a war.

One thing to consider is that the Dwarves did not come to Erebor until T.A. 1999, after the Balrog drove them out of Moria, and the kingdom in Mirkwood has been their since early in the Second Age. I think the Elves would already have done a lot of the building, so the Dwarves' help would be expanding or furnishing the halls. If they help with the furnishing, then they would be probably be shaping raw gold and silver like in the book.

Maybe the gates of the caves in Mirkwood could be what the Dwarves were commissioned to make. Thranduil mentions that they are "magic doors," and they "clang" when closed, suggesting that they are made at least partly of metal. The Dwarven gates made for an Elven kingdom would be an interesting parallel to the Doors of Durin in Moria. In fact, they could have been modeled after these, and the Dwarves coming from Moria might have been expecting more generosity from the Elves in return for their work.

I might be remembering this incorrectly, but was not the 1999 TA inhabitation of Erebor actually a return? I seem to recall that it had been the location of a smaller community of dwarves prior to it becoming the royal seat of the house of Durin.
 

Rhiannon

Well-Known Member
No, sorry, you're right about there being dwarves in Erebor before 1999. The RotK Appendices, where I was looking, don't mention it, but "Of Dwarves and Men" in The Peoples of Middle-Earth says that "for many lives of Men the Longbeards controlled the Ered Mithrin, Erebor, and the Iron Hills, and all the east side of the Misty Mountains as far as the confines of Lorien." Even if there was not a permanent settlement at Erebor when the Elves arrived, there would have been Dwarven settlements near enough for the Elves to get their help constructing their halls.

It still might be interesting to have the gates be the cause of the argument, though, to give us something specific to refer to.
 

Ange1e4e5

Well-Known Member
Thranduil's father Oropher founded the Woodland Realm in S.A. 750. Since it's stated that there were Dwarves in the vicinity of Erebor, it's certainly possible that he could have asked for their help. Though that he wouldn't have compensate them doesn't say much for Oropher's character. If we want Oropher and/or Legolas to contrast Thranduil, I'm not sure if we can do this.
 
Top