my knowledge of the lore is generally accepted as uncontested..
It's a good job you're so modest, otherwise you could come across as arrogant.
That said, given that Tolkien himself was highly contradictory in what he wrote, as demonstrated many times by Christopher Tolkien's analyses after his father's death, then looking for contradictions in works that can never be faithful to the material on which they're based seems a pointless exercise.
I wonder what your intention was in asking this? I can guess.
Last edited by Kraggy_Eldar; Jul 12 2012 at 02:48 AM.
Reasonable, perhaps, if you or I had authored LOTR. However, if you read the quotation from Letters in my previous post you’ll note that communing with nature was not the task of the Istari, rather, they were sent to “train, advise, instruct, arouse the hearts and minds of those threatened by Sauron to a resistance with their own strengths.” My quotation also includes Tolkien's statement that "Gandalf alone fully passes the tests". I don't think it could be stated much clearer than that.
You are completely forgetting that we know for a fact that in Middle Earth, the trees themselves are sentient. We know of the Mearas, who are implied sentient, and the Eagles, which are sentient. How are they not among 'those threatened by Sauron?'
Just because the Elves have all but forgotten how to talk with the trees and that most of them have fallen asleep does not mean they are no longer sentient.
Tolkien was constantly changing his mind about what he had written. If you take into account every change that Tolkien made to his mythology throughout the years you can very quickly become confused.
Even accepting the confusion as a given, I don't know that I've got the brains to "take into account every change Tolkien made to his mythology". But maybe I can risk a couple at a time if I'm really careful?
Oh to hell with it, I'm feeling audacious,Hail Caesar, we who are about to die or very quickly become confused salute you!
For instance, one change that Tolkien considered late in life was the transformation of Arda from flat to round that occurs with the sinking of Númenor and the removal of Aman. Tolkien thought that perhaps Arda should have always been round. Obviously, a revision of that magnitude greatly changes the history of Arda.
. . .
For the sake of consistency, if not sanity, one must remember that the materials that appear in The History of Middle-earth, of which The Peoples of Middle-earth is just one volume, are merely drafts and should not be considered canon.
This is prudent advice, even if seems to me strange that anyone should think I was talking about canon. My angle in this case (And much of the time here) was along the lines of "Yet isn't it fascinating, fellow lore-angutans, how Tolkien could make a clear assertion at one point, only to consider turning it completely on its head later on?" On many levels, I am less interested in The One True Canon, than in the full scope of the legendarium, the study of which inevitably involves ambiguity and contradictory ideas.
Since you've broached the topic though, I absolutely agree that one should not pontificate upon Eä based on a sentence in a draft. Note that Letter#156, i.e., "Gandalf alone fully passes the tests"--is also a draft.
* * * "From without the World, though all things may be forethought in music or foreshown in vision from afar, to those who enter verily into Eä each in its time shall be met at unawares as something new and unforetold."