The Making of Paper

Haerangil

Well-Known Member
Orchards and gardens certainly! The beleriandic elves should know cherry, apple, haw, plum, pear, walnuts, chestnuts, gooseberry, hips, cucumber, blackberry, peas, oat, wheat

Technically the Noldor should know oranges and olives as well but i doubt they grew in Beleriand.
 
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MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
Gentle reminder that a discussion of fruit trees is not on topic for this thread. If someone wonders later 'where did we discuss apple orchards in Silm Film'? , they may not think to look in the thread on 'The Making of Paper.'

Horses among the Noldor in Silm Film have thus far been handled as in the published Silmarillion. For further discussion of that topic, go to the thread for talking about horses in Silm Film: https://forums.signumuniversity.org/index.php?threads/horses.3189/#post-38697


Yes, it has been discussed on the podcast that we should show cultivated fields in Gondolin. It is okay to show them in other places as well. There are indeed cultivated fields shown in Dorthonion in the Season 6 Episode 1 script, when Barahir's band of outlaws rescues the thralls.

Correct, cows and oxen appear in Tolkien's stories. The wild kine of Araw appear in Lord of the Rings as well, though these are more rightly the aurochs. Aurochs make an appearance in Season 5 of Silm Film, living in the river areas of Brethil. I am not aware of aurochs hide being used for parchment, though I suppose it could be. Still, probably not relevant to this discussion. The Noldor crossing the Helcaraxë have oxen with them in Silm Film.

Interesting. We never see elves do any chemistry in Tolkien, but if they do in our story, it would be nice to have the differences of their approach preserved.
We do, though.

Miruvor, the cordial of Imladris, is a liquor, and thus made by distillation (likely using honey mead as a starting ingredient).

How do you think you make an artificial gem? Fëanor created a new substance, silima, to make the Silmarils. I am fine with that being alchemy and involving a good deal of magic, but in Tolkien's time, artificial gems were created by chemistry.
For further reading:

Fëanorian lamps likewise reveal some rather advanced material science in their components:
But little lanterns of lucent crystal​
and silver cold with subtlest cunning​
they strangely fashioned, and steadfast a flame​
burnt unblinking there blue and pale,​
unquenched for ever. The craft that lit them​
was the jewel-makers' most jealous secret.​
Not Morgoth's might, nor meed nor torment​
them vowed, availed to reveal that lore;​
yet lights and lamps of living radiance,​
many and magical, they made for him.​
No dark could dim them the deeps wandering;​
whose lode they lit was lost seldom​
in groundless grot, or gulfs far under.​
The Lay of the Children of Húrin, II. Beleg, vv. 787-799​

So, yes, the Noldor at least are chemists in some fashion as depicted in the source material. They are certainly knowledgeable enough to make their own soaps, paper, and tanned hides.
 

Haerangil

Well-Known Member
Yeah, it is hard to keep track of certain topics, we tend to be carried away in our discussions from one thing to another quite easy. On the other hand... so far there has been little historic interest by anyone on older threats and discussions.Perhaps we should accept that most of what we talk about really is "just for this moment".

I try to respect the intended order of the board, but i admit i also cannot restrict myself too much due to the dynamic character this sort of discussion inevitably takes.

Yeah, Tolkien indeed made up words for soap, perfumed, salve, ointment... i see Feanor as an alchemist of sorts too.
 

MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
I understand the organic nature of conversation, and how one topic leads to another. It is not often that I excise posts from one thread and move them to another...which explains why the current state of organization here is not the best. It can be difficult to find things. I am asking that people be aware of the goal of having some organization, so putting threads in at least the correct subforum (script, casting, sets and props, costumes) as a starting point, and then having the title of the thread give some indication of what is being discussed there.

This messageboard, like all messageboards, is a place for people to hang out and discuss topics of interest to them. But these forums are very project-oriented. The Silm Film forums are for working on ideas for Silm Film. The Exploring Lord of the Rings forums are for talking about ideas that came up in that podcast. The Mythgard Academy forums are for discussing the books being read in class.

It is definitely not my goal to discourage conversation. I am merely asking that new topic = new thread. Whether or not people respond to old conversations, they are still part of the materials for this project.
 

Odola

Well-Known Member
So Ruth was so nice to find the references for paper and parchment in LoTR:

WordBookChapterWhereCharacter/ item/ place/ typeFull line
PaperF-11- A long-expected partyThe Ivy BushThe GafferAnd suddenly he produces an heir, and has all the papers made out proper.
PaperF-11- A long-expected partyBag EndNarratorFrodo was sitting at a table with a lot of papers in front of him.
PaperF-27- The mirror of GaladrielFrodo's visionNarratorThe table was littered with disordered papers
PaperRK-26- Many partingsBilbo's roomNarratorIt was littered with papers and pens and pencils
PaperRK-26- Many partingsBilbo's roomBilboCollect all my notes and papers, and my diary too, and take them with you, if you will.
PaperRK-29- The Grey HavensBag EndNarratorIn the next day or two Frodo went through his papers and his writings with Sam
ParchmentTTT-15- The window on the WestIthilienFaramir...books and tablets writ on withered parchments, yea, and on stone
ParchmentRK-11- Minas TirithGandalf's roomNarratorThere were candles on the table and rolls of parchment.

Paper is clearly associated with hobbits and the Shire - there seems no mention of it in Gondor:

"We in the house of Denethor know much ancient lore by long tradition, and there are moreover in our treasuries many things preserved: books and tablets writ on withered parchments, yea, and on stone, and on leaves of silver and of gold, in divers characters."

So we have tablets, metal sheets, parchment, stone (slates it seems) - at least in Gondor - very diverse - but no paper...
So propably no paper in Numenor - because such process - once aquired - is unlikely to have been lost?
 

Nicholas Palazzo

Well-Known Member
So Ruth was so nice to find the references for paper and parchment in LoTR:

WordBookChapterWhereCharacter/ item/ place/ typeFull line
PaperF-11- A long-expected partyThe Ivy BushThe GafferAnd suddenly he produces an heir, and has all the papers made out proper.
PaperF-11- A long-expected partyBag EndNarratorFrodo was sitting at a table with a lot of papers in front of him.
PaperF-27- The mirror of GaladrielFrodo's visionNarratorThe table was littered with disordered papers
PaperRK-26- Many partingsBilbo's roomNarratorIt was littered with papers and pens and pencils
PaperRK-26- Many partingsBilbo's roomBilboCollect all my notes and papers, and my diary too, and take them with you, if you will.
PaperRK-29- The Grey HavensBag EndNarratorIn the next day or two Frodo went through his papers and his writings with Sam
ParchmentTTT-15- The window on the WestIthilienFaramir...books and tablets writ on withered parchments, yea, and on stone
ParchmentRK-11- Minas TirithGandalf's roomNarratorThere were candles on the table and rolls of parchment.

Paper is clearly associated with hobbits and the Shire - there seems no mention of it in Gondor:

"We in the house of Denethor know much ancient lore by long tradition, and there are moreover in our treasuries many things preserved: books and tablets writ on withered parchments, yea, and on stone, and on leaves of silver and of gold, in divers characters."

So we have tablets, metal sheets, parchment, stone (slates it seems) - at least in Gondor - very diverse - but no paper...
So propably no paper in Numenor - because such process - once aquired - is unlikely to have been lost?
I find it unlikely that Hobbits have access to technology that Gondor and Numenor do not. It seems more likely it merely went unmentioned.
 

Haerangil

Well-Known Member
Yeah, they at last should have had kniwledge of paper in Arnor so it can be handed down to the hobbits, and Arnor MIGHT as well mean Numenor. The existence of a quenya word for paper, hyalin, is at last intriguing.There is however not a single mention of paper anywhere throughoutbthe HoME... except for once in connection with a letter written by Gandalf.So had he a sheath of elvish paper from Rivendell or maybe Lindon he used? Or did he use Hobbit-paper? In two quotes Sam refers to flypaper ... funny.
 
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Odola

Well-Known Member
Yeah, they at last should have had kniwledge of paper in Arnor so it can be handed down to the hobbits, and Arnor MIGHT as well mean Numenor. The existence of a quenya word for paper, hyalin, is at last intriguing.There is however not a single mention of paper anywhere throughoutbthe HoME... except for once in connection with a letter written by Gandalf.So had he a sheath of elvish paper from Rivendell or maybe Lindon he used? Or did he use Hobbit-paper? In two quotes Sam refers to flypaper ... funny.
If hobbits use paper for letters then Gandalf writing to them using a medium they are used to makes sence.

I find it unlikely that Hobbits have access to technology that Gondor and Numenor do not. It seems more likely it merely went unmentioned.
But if Faramir mentions this other varied stuff paper is unlikely - as paper tends to monopolize writing and then all those other mediums become obsolete. So that there are such many other mediums that are mentioned speaks against paper. We do not have any of those other mediums used in the Shire, where paper is mentioned?

Actually, the data as it is provided in tLotR seems to suggest one surprising fact to me - that hobbits have to be credited with the invention of paper in ME - so it seems at least. If Tolkien actually intended this, that it is really "well hidden in plain sight". Impressed.
 
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Haerangil

Well-Known Member
In-world we know this is the case because JRRT used the Hobbits, modeled after 19th century rural britain, for the reader as an entry, a point of identification to get easier into the much fore archaic world of Middle-earth.Therefore he riddled the Hobbit culture with weird anachronisms.

Out-world question is what we make of it now in terms of world-building and how we can find in-world theories and explanations to justify such obvious anachronisms.

I did already propose elven paper and lost arnorian technology as possible explanations.I'd also like to point outbthat the mentioned paper-monopoly refers to our modern western paper, not necessarily other alternative paper-techniques we discussed earlier, which might exist parallel or in paper-cultures but during different times, whatever resources and technologies allowed.
 

Odola

Well-Known Member
In-world we know this is the case because JRRT used the Hobbits, modeled after 19th century rural britain, for the reader as an entry, a point of identification to get easier into the much fore archaic world of Middle-earth.Therefore he riddled the Hobbit culture with weird anachronisms.

Out-world question is what we make of it now in terms of world-building and how we can find in-world theories and explanations to justify such obvious anachronisms.

I did already propose elven paper and lost arnorian technology as possible explanations.I'd also like to point outbthat the mentioned paper-monopoly refers to our modern western paper, not necessarily other alternative paper-techniques we discussed earlier, which might exist parallel or in paper-cultures but during different times, whatever resources and technologies allowed.
Yes. Then we would need to invent some convincing reasons why old Gondorian records from the time of the Last Alliance would be e.g. on gold sheets & co rather than on paper? Has Sauron burned all the trees down on the area? Could have happened. But still I do find the idea that hobbits invented something as culture-changing as paper without anybody noticing kind of sweet too. Hobbits' contibution to world literacy would be great indeed.
 
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MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
Hobbit culture is highly literate. But then, so also is every other culture in Middle-earth. Perhaps not the ents or druadan, but literacy is common-place rather than rare throughout a wide variety of Middle-earth cultures.

I cannot help but notice that Faramir mentions books, without specifying the content of the book's pages. So, I am not prepared to rule out books made with paper pages in Gondor - the fact that he calls out parchment separately from books seems to support rather than discount this.
 

Haerangil

Well-Known Member
Hobbits... only the gentry classes can seemingly mostly read and write and on other Cultures such as Dunlendings, Rohirrim, Beornings, Lossoth etc. i'd also have my doubts on their literacy!

I'd like to thing that the continuity of outdated technology or techniques may have bases in traditionalism as well as quasi-religious cultural beliefs, i have to think for example of jewish communities who still have their sacred texts on animal skin, even if they all have printed and digital versions of those. Or the motif of lost knowledge... i'd find it fascinating if those silly hobbits had by chance preserved somd older technical knowledge or just the economical base for it to continue to exist on a small, local scale while it had largely become out of use everywhere else!
 
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Odola

Well-Known Member
Hobbits... only the gentry classes can seemingly mostly read and write and on other Cultures such as Dunlendings, Rohirrim, Beornings, Lossoth etc. i'd also have my doubts on their literacy!

I'd like to thing that the continuity of outdated technology or techniques may have bases in traditionalism as well as quasi-religious cultural beliefs, i have to think for example of jewish communities who still have their sacred texts on animal skin, even if they all have printed and digital versions of those. Or the motif of lost knowledge... i'd find it fascinating if those silly hobbits had by chance preserved somd older technical knowledge or just the economical base for it to continue to exist on a small, local scale while it had largely become out of use everywhere else!
While that is possible - Gondor during the Last Alliance was as near to Numenor as possible. If Numenor had paper then Gondor having abandoned it - at least temporary- while Arnor kept it - seems in need of an explanation. And I also consider most of the cultures you have listed with limited literacy - it being contained to few scribes and scholars mostly - an for most of the elves l would consider them using letters for spells and records or scientific elaborations but highly doubt their would bother with novels or detective stories. While I would think the latter not above the hobbit culture.
 

Odola

Well-Known Member
Sherlock Holes and the secret of the missing sheep of Micheldelving... who knows.

I find this very interesting:https://www.ssbrm.com/paper-making-chinese-secret/
That is what I thought - unlikely that all knowing the basic how to make paper would have drowned in the Fall of Numeneor. Some of the surviwing solders would have had to know it. So Gondor at its beginning should have had it too, if it was at al a thing in Numenor. Then Gondor having a taboo against paper while Arnor has not seems also unlikely philosophically. The best explaination for the texts as given would be to assume that hobbits invented papaer and nobody else noticed its implications as yet. But sure, we do not have to follow that in SilmFilm. Just noticing that that is what a close reading of tLotR would suggest.
 

Nicholas Palazzo

Well-Known Member
A close reading would also suggest that no one in Middle-earth poops. I think it's a safe assumption that it just doesn't come up, not being important to the story and all.
 

Odola

Well-Known Member
A close reading would also suggest that no one in Middle-earth poops. I think it's a safe assumption that it just doesn't come up, not being important to the story and all.
? Is it importnat for the story to have come up as much as it does in the hobbit culture? I have found that quite a lot, actually. I supposed before asking ruth barratt to check that it was there, but not aware of the actual amount.

Edit:

I actually went to check the pisctures of RoP Sadoc Burrow's scroll - but both his and Celebrimbor's seem to be "pretend parchment". What a pity, I have been ready to declare Sadoc Burrow the inventor of paper in my head canon - his culture seems to deal with creative uses of plant material a lot.
 
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Nicholas Palazzo

Well-Known Member
? Is it importnat for the story to have come up as much as it does in the hobbit culture? I have found that quite a lot, actually. I supposed before asking ruth barratt to check that it was there, but not aware of the actual amount.
In the beginning, there is a lot of ambience that gets the reader comfortable in The Shire. As the tone of the story shifts, that ambience takes up less space. So yes, the ambient details are more important to the story in the beginning than they are at the end. This is actually quite common in stories.
 

Odola

Well-Known Member
In the beginning, there is a lot of ambience that gets the reader comfortable in The Shire. As the tone of the story shifts, that ambience takes up less space. So yes, the ambient details are more important to the story in the beginning than they are at the end. This is actually quite common in stories.
But half of the mentions are at the end. RotK. 3 in Fellowship, 3 in RotK. But always tied to the hobbits. Seems very much part of hobbit culture - Frodo sees paper in his vision in Galadriel's mirror and Bilbo seems to have some even in Rivendell.

The more I look at it the less this seems like a coincidence to me actually. I start to suspect the autor having a quite joke at the reader's expense here... a joke that the general reader will overlook completely but only another scolar of historical records get.

(- I happen to have been once requested a document connected to local history from the city library in Germany as a teenager for a school assignement and got a Latin one written on parchment with a real wax seal - I still remember my shock - even if I could not read or in way use it I still remember the my hands trembling at the very fact of being actually handed one - and that with as a matter of fact attitude by the archivist... (I really felt being "taken seriously" by the "adult world" at that moment). Wonder if this still would happen nowadays, though.)

A close reading would also suggest that no one in Middle-earth poops. I think it's a safe assumption that it just doesn't come up, not being important to the story and all.
At least in the Jackson movies the hobbits have plumbing - and maybe even toilet paper - that cannot be ruled out by what we have learned here. Given that they are the only culture to have been explicitly described as one to enjoy a hot bath regularly - even if they generally do not trust natural bodies of water...
 
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