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Do we have any information (in The History of Middle-earth or other writings) about the initial encounter of Oromë and the Elves after the Awakening, besides the short-spoken description of The Silmarillion? Who was there, what was said?

3 Answers 3

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Yes and No

Just to be clear, we have other information from an earlier version of the story. In the earlier account of his initial encounter with the Eldar, Oromë doesn't talk to them, he only hears and sees them:

“Behold the woods of the Great Lands, even in Palisor the midmost region where the pinewoods murmur unceasingly, are full of a strange noise. There did I wander, and lo! ’twas as if folk arose betimes beneath the latest stars. There was a stir among the distant trees and words were spoken suddenly, and feet went to and fro. Then did I say what is this deed that Palúrien my mother has wrought in secret, and I sought her out and questioned her, and she answered: ‘This is no work of mine, but the hand of one far greater did this. Ilúvatar hath awakened his children at the last—ride home to Valinor and tell the Gods that the Eldar have come indeed!’”
The Book of Lost Tales, Part 1: The Coming of the Elves and the Making Of Kôr

This seems to have been changed with the writing of the Silmarillion, which states that Oromë tarried for a while before returning to Valinor to inform the Valar.

Oromë, after reporting to the Valar, did not return to Cuiviénen until he went to guide the Elves from Kôr to the shores in the West of Middle Earth, instead Nornorë, an embassy of Manwë went (The idea of Nornorë was later rejected and Oromë went in his place):

“Then does Nornorë, whose feet flash invisibly for the greatness of their speed, hurtle from Valinor bearing the embassy of Manwë, and he goes unstaying over both land and sea to Palisor. There he finds a place deep in a vale surrounded by pine-clad slopes; its floor is a pool of wide water and its roof the twilight set with Varda’s stars. There had Oromë heard the awaking of the Eldar, and all songs name that place Koivië-néni or the Waters of Awakening.”
The Book of Lost Tales, Part 1: The Coming of the Elves and the Making Of Kôr


Extra

Nornorë spoke the following to the Eldar after gazing in wonder at their beauty:

“Behold O Eldalië, desired are ye for all the age of twilight, and sought for throughout the ages of peace, and I come even from Manwë Súlimo Lord of the Gods who abides upon Taniquetil in peace and wisdom to you who are the Children of Ilúvatar, and these are the words he put into my mouth to speak: Let now some few of you come back with me—for am I not Nornorë herald of the Valar—and enter Valinor and speak with him, that he may learn of your coming and of all your desires.”
The Book of Lost Tales, Part 1: The Coming of the Elves and the Making Of Kôr

The line following Nornorë's speech seems to suggest that the Elves were shocked to hear the voice of a Valar:

“Great was the stir and wonder now about the waters of Koivië”
The Book of Lost Tales, Part 1: The Coming of the Elves and the Making Of Kôr

And as you may know, three daring Elves (Isil Inwë, Finwë Nólemë and Tinwë Lintö) followed Nornorë to Valinor as messengers for the Eldar.

The names of two of the three "leaders" of the Eldar also changed with the writing of The Sil, and they became Ingwë, Finwë and Elwë, respectively). Furthermore, the idea of Palúrien (Yavanna) as Oromë's mother also changed.

All Emphasis Mine

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  • So what we have in Lost Tales is controversial with the short Silmarillion quote?
    – b.Lorenz
    Jan 15, 2017 at 15:21
  • From the wording it would seem so, however it never states how long Oromë spent with the Eldar, leaving that hidden
    – Edlothiad
    Jan 15, 2017 at 15:25
  • @b.Lorenz I've searched further, and struggle to find anything else referencing the Awakening of the Elves, outside the Book of Lost Tales (being away from my books I can't look at the rest of the HoME past vol 2, sorry)
    – Edlothiad
    Jan 15, 2017 at 15:32
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I have found a relevant bit of information in Note on the 'Language of the Valar', located in Appendix D of the essay Quendi and Eldar (published in The War of the Jewels, HoME XI)

Here it is explained how the names of the Valar were only titles and descriptions of their functions, except for Tauron, whose real and personal name was known to be Orome.

For it is said in the histories of the most ancient days of the Quendi that, when Orome appeared among them, and at length some dared to approach him, they asked him his name, and he answered: "Orome." Then they asked him what that signified, and again he answered: "Orome. To me only is it given; for I am Orome." Yet the titles that the bore were many and glorious; but he withheld them at that time, that the Quendi should not b afraid.

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There is some additional information about the interactions between Oromë and the early elves, but most of it is not about the first contact.

Oromë spent several decades visiting and living with the elves prior to the Great March.

end of VY 864 [Years since awaking] 2016. Oromë finds the Quendi. He dwells with them for 48 years (to 2064).
VY 865/2 2018. Tidings reach Valinor.
VY 865/44 2060. Melkor seeks to attack Oromë. Oromë informs Manwë. Tulkas is sent.
VY 865/48 2064. Leaving guards, Oromë returns to Valinor.
...
VY 866/1 2163. Oromë returns to Cuiviénen, with more mayar. (Melkor becomes suspicious, and guesses war is purposed against him, because of the Quendi. During Oromë’s absence his emissaries were busy, and many lies circulate. The “heresy” awakes in new form: the Valar clearly do exist; but they have abandoned Endor: rightly as the appointed realm of the Quendi. Now they are becoming jealous, and wish to control the Quendi as vassals, and so re-possess themselves of Endor. Finwë, a gallant and adventurous young quende, direct descendant of Tata (therefore 25th gen.), is much taken by these ideas; less so his friend Elwë, descendant of Enel.)
DB 866/13 2175. Oromë remains for 12 years, and then is summoned to return for the councils and war preparations. Manwë has decided that the Quendi should come to Valinor, but on urgent advice of Varda, they are only to be invited, and are to be given free choice. The Valar send five Guardians (great spirits of the Maiar) – with Melian (the only woman, but the chief) these make six. The others were Tarindor (later Saruman), Olórin (Gandalf), Hrávandil (Radagast), Palacendo, and Haimenar. Tulkas goes back. Oromë remains in Cuiviénen for 3 more years: VY 866/13–16, FA 2175–8.
The Nature of Middle-earth - "Key Dates"

He also accompanied them during the long march.

The great host of 20,000 goes very slowly (2,000 miles to go);10 it has to provide food, clothing, etc. en-route, 450 miles though it had the help of the Valar via Oromë. ... The Elves taught by Oromë sow grain that autumn, and reap in summer ... They retire back into the grasslands 50 miles (850 – 50 = 800) and await help from Oromë. Oromë comes in 1130/25 and drives off the evils and encourages the Eldar. ...
The Nature of Middle-earth - "The March of the Quendi"

(Note that although the above two texts both date from c.1969, Tolkien had changed his mind about the exact chronology between them, and so the dates will not line up.)

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  • Orome's delay in informing Valinor seems inexcusable!
    – Shamshiel
    Nov 26, 2021 at 19:32

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