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Re: [mythsoc] Re: Tolkien's distantly-seen mountains

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  • David Bratman
    ... Rhun is a wine-growing region (see Dorwinion), so I rather doubt that it plunges quite as low in elevation as the arid Caspian and Aral seas, even if it s
    Message 1 of 43 , Dec 20, 2012
      "not_thou" <emptyD@...> wrote:

      > Naturally I agree with you, David, that a Lonely Mountain with total
      > elevation of 3,500 ft. wouldn't look very impressive rising from a 2,500
      > ft. plain. But is that the base elevation near Long Lake? I don't think we
      > know. One way we might craft an estimate is to compare the River Running,
      > which drains ultimately (via the Carnen) into the inland Sea of Rhun, to
      > real rivers of comparable length that empty into the Caspian Sea or the
      > Aral Sea. From Long Lake to Rhun is approximately 1,200 miles, I think.
      > One source of the Aral Sea, the Syr Darya, at its rising 1,374 miles
      > upstream, has a surface elevation of 1,312 ft.

      Rhun is a wine-growing region (see Dorwinion), so I rather doubt that it
      plunges quite as low in elevation as the arid Caspian and Aral seas, even if
      it's roughly (very roughly, I think) in the same area.

      But, whatever. The point I was trying to make is that there seemed to be a
      confusion or inconsistency in all this mountain-height measuring and
      how-far-can-you-see-it-from distancing over whether the elevation was from
      above the terrain, which would tell you how impressive the mountain looked,
      or above sea level, which would tell you how far it could be seen over the
      horizon.
    • John Rateliff
      ... Yes, I was surprised by how much like The Lonely Mountain it looked -- more than do the other area volcanos (Mt. Hood, Mt. Adams, Mt. St. Helens, and Mt.
      Message 43 of 43 , Dec 22, 2012
        On Dec 20, 2012, at 2:15 PM, not_thou wrote:
        > The view of Mount Rainier from Seattle probably approximates the view of Erebor from Lake-town. Rainier is taller but also further away.

        Yes, I was surprised by how much like The Lonely Mountain it looked -- more than do the other area volcanos (Mt. Hood, Mt. Adams, Mt. St. Helens, and Mt. Baker). Enough so that I came to suspect the L.M. must also be an extinct volcano, just from the shape.

        From Tolkien's own drawings, though, we know that the L.M. looked smaller than this from Lake-Town, perhaps from partial screening by the rocky borders near the northernmost point of the Long Lake.

        One important piece of evidence I think you ought to figure in is the drawing of the Lonely Mountain as seen from near Lake-town, in the sketch DEATH OF SMAUG. The best reproduction of this I think is in Wayne & Christina's new book (THE ART OF THE HOBBIT, page 113). The Lonely Mt can distinctly be seen on the horizon just to the left of center, a touch of fire at its v. tip and a plume of smoke rising from it up to between the Dragon and the Moon. It's definitely large enough to be a distinctive local feature.

        Similarly, Merlin, if you do write up the piece in full (as I hope you will) you might want to discuss the adjustment made in JRRT's drawing of Tol Sirion, which showed Thangorodrim looming in the distance; the colorist made Morgoth's mountain much smaller, just a spot on the horizon, and much further away. Contrast both versions in a single spread (#36) in PICTURES BY J. R. R. TOLKIEN [1979]. This suggests that as realistic as JRRT's Middle-earth drawings and paintings are, they may at times represent what he saw in his mind's eye, not what a real-world observer cd see under parallel conditions.



        > (Though I believe it's close enough to require emergency plans in case of eruption.)

        Yes, especially those of us who live in the Green River Valley (famed as the home of Chief Seattle and infamous as the hunting grounds of the Green RIver Killer).

        Just to give folks a rough idea, the last time Rainier erupted (over a thousand years ago), it reduced the size of Puget Sound by a third. So, bad news for those of us who live down-slope of it. The volcanos in this area aren't solid rock but mostly frozen slush of ice and rock and packed snow. During an eruption, that all turns into a muddy slurry that rushes downstream. Hence the top thousand feet or so of Mt. St. Helen's simply disappearing during its last eruption, thirty-odd years ago.
        On the plus side, there's no sign of any eruption being immanent, and there shd be plenty of warning if thing heat up again.

        --John R.
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