J.R.R.'s Unfinished Tales

I just recently bought Tolkien’s Unfinished Tales and after reading the first chapter (Of Tuor and his coming to Gondolin) had some questions regarding some of the locations visisted by Tuor.

  1. Near the beginning of the tale, after his escape from the mountains, he first ends up in a place/valley that is hidden, he encounters a few birds as well as a few elves that he is unaware off. At first, i thought this to be the hidden city where Turgon dwelled (it clearly isnt though). I was just trying to place this location on a map, can anyone help me out?

  2. As a follow up, can anyone suggest a map that shows the hidden city of Turgon?

  3. What exactly is ‘the girdle of melian’? I thought it was supposed to be an area that was magically protected by a spell of some sort? (also, can you place it on a map of Beleriand)??

thanks for the help :smiley:

1 I don’t know, off the top of my head. And as for 2, well, if you could place it on a map, it wouldn’t be very hidden, now would it ;)?

But on 3, I can help you. The Girdle of Melian was a region of confusion around Thingol’s lands, laid down by Melian the Maia (Thingol’s wife). Any creature other than Thingol’s elves, foul or fair, who wandered into the Girdle would become lost and confused, and either wander back out, or stay lost and starve. Well, almost any creature. This is also covered in the Silmarilien, which you ought to read before Unfinished Tales, if you haven’t already.

I wonder how Luthien felt about this, that Beren’s first claim to fame was being the first mortal ever to get insider her mom’s girdle…

Turgon was the elven king of Gondolin, the hidden city. I have a set of maps by Brian Sibley and John Howe. In this set, included is a map of Beleriand. Gondolin ca be found in the Taur Nu Fuin (Dorthonion) Mountain Range, its located south east of Tol Sirion. On the same map north west of Tol Sirion is Lake Mithrim, and that is where Tour met the Elves.
I think anyway…

I did read the Silmarillion last year…but it was in teh midst of the school year, so i MAY have rushed through a few chapters unknowingly :S…hahah so maybe I better re-read that chapter :smiley:

You want to look to the west for answer number 1. Dig up the map from the Silmarillion. Tuor finally fled into Neverast, Turgon’s first home through the Gate of the Noldor (Annon–in-Gelydh) which was a river bed from the western hills of Dor-lomin into the Firth of Drengist. Look in the top left corner of the map.

As for number two take a look again at the Silmarillion map. Gondolin is located near teh head waters of Sirion, just above Dimbar.

River bed through a tunnel I should point out.

It’s interesting how often this shows up in Middle-Earth.

The Gate of the Noldor, the Gates of Sirion, the Orfalch Echor (to Gondolin), the stream tunnel through which Bilbo and the dwarves escape Thranduil’s halls in The Hobbit, the stream tunnel through which Gollum slipped under the Misty Mountains…there are a LOT of underground river tunnels in Arda.

He must have been a Coleridge fan. :slight_smile:

Ok Im just wondering, if Tour is at the Forth of Dregist, and he travels through the gates of the Noldor, does he then come out by Lake Mithrim. Im assuming yes, but we all know what happens when we assume.

If I remember, he flees from Dor-lomin into the region of Drengrist. He passes through the Gate of the Noldor and exits through Cirith Ninniach (Rainbow Cleft) which brings him into the Firth. From there he wanders down into Nevrast, Turgon’s old realm. There he find the arms left for him by Turgon and proceeds to meets Ulmo and the last survivor of a ship sent into the west by Turgon. That’s where he meets his guide.

Well, were talking about the same place at any rate, and that was my main question.

He does meet Elves just after passing through the Gate though, I looked it up when I saw the question earlier and it says basically he was suprised to see elves and he asked them about the gate, they were suprised he new about it as supposedly it as a secret amongst the elves, they then said they would guide him through, and they did. It goes on to mention how they had a special elven lantern, it came from valinor, and it helped them by not going out as they were in the tunnel. I didnt read anymore after that.

That is of course, if I read it right, and I believe I did…

ahhh excellent, I think you just answered one of my questions…the Rainbow cleft…is that where the two elves saw him as he was walking through the dark?

Also, as I recall, one that came out of the Lonely Mountain. And while “underground rivers” in our world are rare (the term usually refers to water in layers of loose silt), there are a few genuine tunnel-rivers (at least one in Mammoth Caves, Kentucky).

Fonstad’s atlas of Middle Earth has wonderful maps which chronicle Tuor’s journey across Beleriand, with some closeups of the Rainbow Cleft, and also the area around Gondolin.

Meanwhile here’s a nice map of Gondolin. http://www.glyphweb.com/arda/maps/gondolin.gif

Just to quell any confusion for the non-Tolkien-geeks, the “Minas Tirith” in that map is not the “Minas Tirith” in the Lord of the Rings. Different place.

Good point.

Just like the Denethor (meaning: lithe and lank) in Silmarillion is different from the Steward of Gondor.

Tho perhaps the larger question is really why the Nandorin language crept into the naming traditions of the later Edain. After all, the Edain were more familiar with quenya and sindarin than other elven languages.

But the Fathers of Men would have had “first contact” with the Sylvan Elves before they made their way into Beleriand and fetched up against the Eldar, having had to make their way across Eriador to get to Beleriand in the first place.

Yeah, but IIRC they were shunned by the sylvan elves due to the “fall” and thus were amazed when they encountered the Noldor. And the elves of Belariand, both Noldor and Sindar, seemed to find men’s languages incomprehensible.

Granted the legendarum indicates men learned language via interaction with the sylvan elves. I still have the overall impression that the 3 houses of the Edain had not encountered elves in a fair number of generations.

I’m more than willing to be proved wrong, tho.

That’s not a challenge I care to take up, being, at best, the Watson to your Holmes in the area of Tolkienian knowledge. :slight_smile:

Thanks, but I feel more like a cranky pedant than a Holmesian character.

For example, right now I’m reading tolkien in the land of heroes by Anne Petty, and find myself frothing at the mouth over the factual inaccuracies in her book. She’s supposed to be a tenured JRRT scholar, for Eru’s sake! Yet she identifies Galadriel as the granddaughter of Fëanor, states that Arwen is an only child, confuses middle-earth with all of Arda, and claims that Sauron holds the master Palantir which scans all other palantiri! She also places Valinor on the other side of Ekkaia! AND that Sauron corrupted the hearts of the kings of Numenor before Ar-Pharazon! To name only a few.

I wail and gnash my teeth!