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Author Topic: The Book of the Silmarillion.  (Read 884 times)

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The Book of the Silmarillion.
« on: May 25, 2014, 07:25:35 PM »

The Ainulindalë (Quenya, pronounced [ˌaɪnuˈlindale]) is the title of the first part of The Silmarillion.


The tale begins with Ilúvatar's creation of spirits of lesser power than him, yet of independent nature, named the Ainur ("Holy Ones"). With them Ilúvatar makes divine music. Melkor, one of the greatest of the Ainur, in his pride broke the harmony. Ilúvatar then began the music once more, in which Manwë, Melkor's brother, sang the leading part. Yet again, the harmony was broken.

Finally, Ilúvatar began a third theme which the Ainur could not comprehend since they were not the source of it. He then ceased the music and showed to the Ainur the essence of what their song symbolized, the history of a whole world. This is known as the "Vision of Ilúvatar". The Ainur became fascinated by it, and asked Ilúvatar to put it into being.

Ilúvatar spoke "Eä", that is, "Be!". This command created the universe, and therefore the universe became known as "Eä". Four of the Ainur who possessed the greatest power formed a region within Eä which they called Arda, a world which was to be the scene of all the following tales of The Silmarillion and The Lord of the Rings. Melkor, who was one of the four, attempted to take it for his own. However Manwë, who was also one of the four, asked for the help of other Ainur. They descended to Arda and Melkor was forced to flee to the unknown parts of Eä.

To the mortal Men Eru gave the gift of freedom, so that when they die their souls go somewhere beyond the known existence. Perhaps they go to sing with Ilúvatar the second Music of the Ainur; this is the reason why Men are not constrained by the fate of the Music like the Elves and other beings of Arda are.

                                                                                **************

Valaquenta is the second part of The Silmarillion. The Eldar name Valaquenta translates as the "Tale of the Valar" ("Valar" means "Powers", however, usually this name is left untranslated).


Valar is the name given to the chief Ainur following their descent to Arda. The Ainur were holy spirits created by the supreme deity, Eru Ilúvatar (see Ainulindalë). The most powerful of the Valar was Melkor, who became corrupt, and ceased to follow the will of Ilúvatar. The fourteen remaining Valar continued in Ilúvatar's will.

Everything created by Ilúvatar had both masculine and feminine forms. Thus, there were seven male Valar, and seven female ("Valier"). Some of the Valar were considered siblings, or even spouses, yet these distinctions are difficult to make, as the Valar were ultimately incorporeal beings. Of the fourteen, those eight with the greatest might (called Aratar) were responsible for some attribute of life in Arda (e.g., crafts, mining, agriculture, etc.). The king of the Valar was Manwë.

In addition to the Valar, there were Ainur of lesser might called the Maiar. The Valar ruled the Maiar, who were their students and assistants in governing Arda. The Valar (including Melkor) had the ability to change their physical appearance, or to bear no shape at all. This was also true for some of the Maiar—however, their abilities were not limitless. Some of the Maiar bore the form of animals (e.g., Huan, the hound of the Valar; or the Eagles of Manwë).
[edit] History of Composition

Although sequential descriptions of the Valar go back to The Book of Lost Tales Part One, the earliest writing that resembles the Valaquenta is found in the text called Quenta Noldorinwa (published in volume 4 of The History of Middle-earth). It then became Chapter 1 of the Quenta Silmarillion (entitled Of the Valar). In revisions to the Quenta Silmarillion done in 1958, the section was split off into a separately titled work. There is nothing to indicate why Tolkien felt that the piece should stand alone. While it is not a narrative, neither is the chapter Of Beleriand and its Realms, and Tolkien never seems to have considered removing that section.

                                                                                **************

Quenta Silmarillion is the third part of The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien. Quenta Silmarillion is Quenya translated as the "Tale of the Silmarils". The Sindarin title is Pennas Silevril meaning the same.

Quenta Silmarillion is the longest part in the book, consisting of more than twenty chapters. The saga deals with the history of Arda following the entrance of the Ainur as the Valar (see Valaquenta). After the Valar's entrance, Arda was still lifeless and had no distinct geographical features. The initial shape of Arda, chosen by the Valar, was of a symmetrical continent lit by two lamps: one in the continent's north, and one in the south. However the lamps were destroyed by the vicious Melkor. Arda was again darkened, and the lamps' fall spoiled the perfect symmetry of Arda's surface. Two main continents were created that are of concern to the story: Aman on the far West, and Middle-earth to the East, over the Great Ocean.

Following this, Melkor hid himself from the Valar in an enormous fortress, Utumno. He also surrounded himself with horrible beasts, many of them Maiar in the form of fell animals, known as Balrogs. Balrogs were to remain his most faithful servants and soldiers ever after.

The Valar then made for themselves a home at the utmost West, upon Aman. Then the Valar began to reshape Arda yet again, making it habitable and preparing it for the coming of the Children of Ilúvatar: Elves and Men. However everywhere they went, Melkor followed them spoiling the fruit of their labour and damaging their achievements. Thus, the whole Arda was marred by Melkor's anger, envy and lust of power.

Utumno did not protect Melkor, however. He was taken prisoner and sentenced to three ages (about 9,000 years) of imprisonment. Utumno was laid bare; but all its evil was not destroyed. Before Melkor was taken captive, Arda witnessed the Awakening of the Elves, the first-born Children of Ilùvatar. Elves are described as anthropomorphic beings, who, however, are immortal and possess many virtues (beauty, health, ability to communicate with nature), beyond the share of Men. The Elves were met by the Valar and invited to join them in the West; however Melkor managed to reach some of the Elves even earlier. It is said that from them he bred the hideous race of Orcs whom both he and his follower Sauron used as soldiers.

Some of the Elves refused to go westward. They became known as the Avari. Two houses of the Elves, the Vanyar and the Noldor crossed the Great Sea with the help of the Valar. A third house, called the Teleri lingered on the eastern shore of the Great Sea and in the west of Middle-earth. Although many of the Teleri eventually crossed the Great Sea after they were taught by the Valar how to make ships, some Teleri remained in Middle Earth. These latter are termed Sindar (See: Sundering of the Elves).

At some time between the imprisonment of Melkor and his release, the Valar created the Two Trees, Laurelin and Telperion, which filled Arda with light.

There arose a mighty Elf among the house of Noldor, named Fëanor. Fëanor was skilled in crafts and his greatest achievement has been the making of three wonderful jewels, the Silmarils. The Silmarils contained the light of the Two Trees of Valinor (as the land of the Valar was known).

By that time Melkor's captivity was over. However he returned to evil quickly. Through a vicious design he managed to destroy the Two Trees and to steal the Silmarils. Then he fled eastward, to the Middle-earth.

The furious Fëanor followed Melkor (whom he re-named Morgoth). This was done against the will of the Valar, and during Fëanor's flight he slew many of the Teleri, over their refusal to lend him their ships (First Kinslaying). For this he and his followers were forbidden to approach Aman ever again. However Fëanor ignored this punishment and managed to cross the Great Ocean eastward. There he joined with the Sindar, who had been on Middle-earth all along. Years after this flight, in order to diminish the darkness, the Valar launched the Sun, so that it would dissolve Melkor's shadows.

Morgoth, because he possessed the Silmarils, returned to Middle-earth with more power than ever and built a new fortified empire, Angband with its capital at Thangorodrim. From there he waged war upon the Sindar. However, with the help of the Noldor who had just crossed the Ocean, the first onslaught of Morgoth's attack was thrown off.

Following this, the Noldor settled with the Sindar in the West of Middle-earth, known as Beleriand. They adopted the Sindarin language instead of their native Quenya. This period of relative peace and stability was short-lived (at least by the Elves' standards). One of the first victims of this war was Fëanor. As the time passed, Morgoth gathered more and more force.

Three hundred years after the coming of the Noldor to Beleriand, Middle-earth witnessed the awakening of Men, the Secondborn (or the Followers). Most of them allied with the Elves in order to defend Beleriand from Morgoth. However neither Elvish skill, nor mannish resolve succeeded in defying him. One after another, the domains of Elves and Men were destroyed and filled with evil.

At last, more than five centuries after the flight of the Noldor, Eärendil, the son of an Elf-woman and a Man set sail to the West with the only Silmaril that his ancestors managed to recover. He was allowed to land in Aman, and to plead the Valar for mercy towards the Elves and Men.

The Valar agreed to pardon the Noldor. They set out to fight Morgoth and were victorious. Morgoth was expelled from Arda forever. However during the conflict, the very continent of Beleriand was destroyed and sunk, thus forming a new shoreline for Middle-earth, hundreds of miles to the east.

The Valar offered Elves their pardon and the right to come to Aman. Many of them did indeed leave Middle-Earth, weary of centuries of warfare against the ever-growing evil. The tribes of Men that helped the Elves were given a whole island of their own, on which they founded the kingdom of Númenor.

Eärendil's Silmaril became a bright star. One Silmaril was sunk in the water of the Great Ocean, and the third was lost in the depths of the Earth. Thus no trace remained on Middle-earth of the Two Trees of Valinor; but their influence lives on in the elements: air, water and fire/earth.


                                                                                **************
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Of the Beginning of Days
« Reply #1 on: May 25, 2014, 07:27:09 PM »

Of the Beginning of Days is the first chapter of the Quenta Silmarillion section within The Silmarillion.


Following the entrance of the Ainur as the Valar, Arda was still lifeless and had no distinct geographical features. The initial shape of Arda, chosen by the Valar, was of a symmetrical continent lit by two lamps: Illuin and Ormal; one in the continent's north, and one in the south. However the lamps were destroyed by the vicious Melkor. The Spring of Arda ended and the world was again darkened, and the lamps' fall spoiled the perfect symmetry of Arda's surface. Two main continents were created that are of concern to the story: Aman on the far West, and Middle-earth to the East, over the Great Ocean.

Following this, Melkor hid himself from the Valar in an enormous fortress, Utumno. He also surrounded himself with horrible beasts, many of them Maiar in the form of fell animals, known as Balrogs. Balrogs were to remain his most faithful servants and soldiers ever after.

The Valar then made for themselves a home at the utmost West, upon Aman. The chapter concludes with the description of Valinor, the Two Trees and the roles of the Valar, more or less like Valaquenta.
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Of Aulë and Yavanna
« Reply #2 on: May 25, 2014, 07:28:08 PM »

Of Aulë and Yavanna is the second chapter of the Quenta Silmarillion section within The Silmarillion.


Aulë who is the great smith of the Valar, wishes to create life whom he can teach his craft to. His patience waiting for the Elves to awake gets the best of him and Aulë secretly decides to create the Seven Fathers of the Dwarves. Ilúvatar, also known as Eru (the One), soon learns of Aulë's actions and Aulë is forced to destroy his creations. However Ilúvatar now does not want to see the Dwarves destroyed, so he grants them life of their own. They must however rest until the Awakening of the Elves who Eru has chosen to be the Firstborn of the Children of Ilúvatar.

Yavanna, the spouse of Aulë, soon learns of her husband's deeds, she fears the Dwarves, or even the Elves and Men will harm her plants and trees which she loves. She goes to Manwë to seek protection. Manwë has a vision of the Song of Creation in which Eru tells him not to fear as spirits will also awake to protect what Yavanna holds dear.
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Of the Coming of the Elves and the Captivity of Melkor
« Reply #3 on: May 25, 2014, 07:30:43 PM »

Of the Coming of the Elves and the Captivity of Melkor is the third chapter of the Quenta Silmarillion section within The Silmarillion.


Of the Coming of the Elves and the Captivity of Melkor tells of several instrumental events in the Legendarium. It begins with the Valar at war with Melkor, who has sown evil in Middle-Earth and built a great fortress Utumno. It speaks of the Valar primarily, as they ready Arda for the coming of the Firstborn, the Elves. Tulkas makes war on Melkor while Varda prepares the world by placing the stars in the sky to guide the Elves in the darkness of Middle Earth. All is prepared for the coming of the Elves.

The next major event is Melkor's captivity. Melkor has built up great strength in Utumno, and created Orcs in mockery of the Elves. This was said to be the most evil deed of Melkor. The War on Melkor is presumably won. Utumno is sacked, though Tolkien notes there are deeper and mighty vaults in the fortress that were unchecked, and so evil continued. Additionally, one of the Maia who fell with Melkor, his lieutenant Sauron, was not found and thus escaped. But Melkor was found cowering in the depths of Utumno, and Aulë wrought chains to keep him in captivity.

The final major event of this chapter is the coming of the Elves, Firstborn of Ilúvatar. This actually takes place while the War for Sake of the Elves is happening, and so is simultaneous rather than final. It is said, however, that the Elves heard a great shaking and were worried but did not take part in the battle. The first elves are described to have greater stature than their descendants, but are just as fair. They marvel at nature, the stars, etc. This chapter not only describes the original thoughts of the elves and their surroundings, but also the Great Journey and the sundering of the Elves. The Valar send servants to call them to Aman. The Elves embark on the journey across Middle Earth, save some who refuse, and are further called dark Elves, or the Avari. The Elves' journey, and some fall off along the way, who are called the Teleri. They are sundered in many groups, but they eventually reach Beleriand by the sea. Here more Teleri stay, for their love of the ocean. Finally those who journey across the sea to Aman are called the Eldar. Some of the Teleri, too, reach Aman, and are guided by Swan boats. From here on the Elves are sundered into groups, and these divisions would prove important later.

 
   
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The Sundering of the Elves
« Reply #4 on: May 25, 2014, 07:38:15 PM »

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Of Thingol and Melian
« Reply #5 on: May 25, 2014, 07:44:13 PM »

Of Thingol and Melian is the fourth chapter of the Quenta Silmarillion section within The Silmarillion.


The chapter is the shortest of all. It describes first the nature and habits of Melian, a Maia of Irmo.

We are told that during the Great Journey the Teleri lingered in East Beleriand while the Noldor were further to the west. Elwë, the leader of the Teleri while visiting his friend Finwë of the Noldor, was lost in the forest of Nan Elmoth and saw Melian dancing.

He remained immobile for the following ages. His followers could not find him so his leadership was taken by Olwë.

The chapter concludes with brief references of the future of Elu and Melian, Doriath and Lúthien which will be expanded later in the following chapters...

                                                                                  ***************

In Valinor, Melian dwelt in the gardens of Lórien, she was akin to Yavanna the Valar. She is associated with songbirds, and it is said she taught nightingales how to sing. [1] Melian journeyed often to Middle-earth for she loved the deep shadows of trees and forests. There, in the woods of Nan Elmoth, she came upon Elwë Singollo (later known as Elu Thingol) as he marched into the West with the people of the Teleri. Elwe was entranced and fell into a swoon at the sight of the Maia Melian and the two of them stood hand in hand unable to move or speak for years while the trees grew around them. As a result of his absence, a portion of his followers stayed behind to search for him, while the rest continued on to Valinor. Melian and Thingol soon founded the kingdom of Doriath in Middle-earth and ruled as King & Queen. Their only daughter, Lúthien Tinúviel, married the man Beren Erchamion, and as a result, Melian's Maian blood was passed on to both Elves and Men.

When war with the Great Enemy, Morgoth, came to Doriath, she used her powers to guard and defend it with a protection called List Melian, or "the Girdle of Melian". This prevented anyone less powerful than Melian from entering the kingdom. However, with the foresight of a Maia, she predicted that one day someone more powerful would be able to enter. When Beren arrived as foretold, she counseled King Thingol against sending Beren to search for a Silmaril, which would eventually lead to Doriath's ruin. This was one of many instances in which she proved, through her wisdom and powers of foresight, to be wiser than her husband, and an effective queen of her land. The great evil wolf Carcharoth also passed the Girdle. In Doriath she also became a friend and tutor of Galadriel to whom she taught the art of lembas-baking. After the departure of Lúthien and Beren, she aided Túrin and his mother and sister. She provided Beleg with some way-bread, lembas, and foresaw his doom in his quest for Túrin. When Húrin returned, she was the one to lift the spell of Morgoth from him.

After Thingol's death, she vanished from Middle-earth, passing to Valinor, where she mourned the loss of her husband in the Halls of Mandos and her daughter to the unknown fate of mannish death. Melian and Thingol were a unique couple, the only case where an Ainu married any Elf or Man. She was also the only Ainu known to have had children in the "official" drafts of Tolkien's work.

Melian (pron. [ˈmeljan]) in Sindarin means Dear gift. Her Quenya name was Melyanna (pron. [meˈʎanːa]; from mel, "love" and anna, "gift"). She was also called Tóril meaning "Queen".

                                                                       *******************

More to follow, as there are twenty four sections, I'll do this piece by piece.
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Re: The Book of the Silmarillion.
« Reply #6 on: August 28, 2014, 06:01:07 PM »

Of Eldamar and the Princes of the Eldalië

The chapter describes the end of the Great March of the Elves and the arrival to Valinor of the Vanyar and the Noldor on the island Tol Eressëa.

We are told how the Teleri were taught by Ossë in the shores of Beleriand and how they later became reluctant to leave Middle-earth. Those who remained built the cities of Brithombar and Eglarest on the shores of Falas with Círdan their King. The other Teleri arrive to the Undying Lands on Eressëa but prefer to live on the island.

Then follows a description of how the Elves lived in Valinor, in their city of Eldamar, the city of Tirion in the Calacirya and the haven of Alqualondë built by the Teleri on the shore of Aman. Then we are told the relationships among the three houses, and the children of the three Kings.
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Re: The Book of the Silmarillion.
« Reply #7 on: August 28, 2014, 06:03:21 PM »

Of Fëanor and the Unchaining of Melkor is the sixth chapter of the Quenta Silmarillion section within The Silmarillion.


Quenta Silmarillion is the third part of The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien. Quenta Silmarillion is Quenya translated as the "Tale of the Silmarils". The Sindarin title is Pennas Silevril meaning the same.[1]

Quenta Silmarillion is the longest part in the book, consisting of more than twenty chapters. The saga deals with the history of Arda following the entrance of the Ainur as the Valar (see Valaquenta). After the Valar's entrance, Arda was still lifeless and had no distinct geographical features. The initial shape of Arda, chosen by the Valar, was of a symmetrical continent lit by two lamps: one in the continent's north, and one in the south. However the lamps were destroyed by the vicious Melkor. Arda was again darkened, and the lamps' fall spoiled the perfect symmetry of Arda's surface. Two main continents were created that are of concern to the story: Aman on the far West, and Middle-earth to the East, over the Great Ocean.

Following this, Melkor hid himself from the Valar in an enormous fortress, Utumno. He also surrounded himself with horrible beasts, many of them Maiar in the form of fell animals, known as Balrogs. Balrogs were to remain his most faithful servants and soldiers ever after.

The Valar then made for themselves a home at the utmost West, upon Aman. Then the Valar began to reshape Arda yet again, making it habitable and preparing it for the coming of the Children of Ilúvatar: Elves and Men. However everywhere they went, Melkor followed them spoiling the fruit of their labour and damaging their achievements. Thus, the whole Arda was marred by Melkor's anger, envy and lust of power.

Utumno did not protect Melkor, however. He was taken prisoner and sentenced to three ages (about 9,000 years) of imprisonment. Utumno was laid bare; but all its evil was not destroyed. Before Melkor was taken captive, Arda witnessed the Awakening of the Elves, the first-born Children of Ilùvatar. Elves are described as anthropomorphic beings, who, however, are immortal and possess many virtues (beauty, health, ability to communicate with nature), beyond the share of Men. The Elves were met by the Valar and invited to join them in the West; however Melkor managed to reach some of the Elves even earlier. It is said that from them he bred the hideous race of Orcs whom both he and his follower Sauron used as soldiers.

Some of the Elves refused to go westward. They became known as the Avari. Two houses of the Elves, the Vanyar and the Noldor crossed the Great Sea with the help of the Valar. A third house, called the Teleri lingered on the eastern shore of the Great Sea and in the west of Middle-earth. Eventually many of the Teleri crossed the Great Sea, but some Teleri remained in Middle Earth. The groups of Teleri that remained are termed Sindar, Nandor and Falathrim. (See: Sundering of the Elves).

At some time between the imprisonment of Melkor and his release, the Valar created the Two Trees, Laurelin and Telperion, which filled Valinor with light.

There arose a mighty Elf among the house of Noldor, named Fëanor. Fëanor was skilled in crafts and his greatest achievement has been the making of three wonderful jewels, the Silmarils. The Silmarils contained the light of the Two Trees of Valinor.

By that time Melkor's captivity was over. However he returned to evil quickly. Through a vicious design he managed to destroy the Two Trees and to steal the Silmarils. Then he fled eastward, to the Middle-earth.

The furious Fëanor followed Melkor (whom he re-named Morgoth). This was done against the will of the Valar, and during Fëanor's flight he slew many of the Teleri, over their refusal to lend him their ships (First Kinslaying). For this he and his followers were forbidden to approach Aman ever again. However, Fëanor ignored this punishment and managed to cross the Great Ocean eastward. There he joined with the Sindar, who had been on Middle-earth all along. Years after this flight, in order to diminish the darkness, the Valar launched the Sun, so that it would dissolve Melkor's shadows.

Morgoth, because he possessed the Silmarils, returned to Middle-earth with more power than ever and built a new fortified empire, Angband with its capital at Thangorodrim. From there he waged war upon the Sindar. However, with the help of the Noldor who had just crossed the Ocean, the first onslaught of Morgoth's attack was thrown off.

Following this, the Noldor settled with the Sindar in the West of Middle-earth, known as Beleriand. They adopted the Sindarin language instead of their native Quenya. This period of relative peace and stability was short-lived (at least by the Elves' standards). One of the first victims of this war was Fëanor. As the time passed, Morgoth gathered more and more force.

Three hundred years after the coming of the Noldor to Beleriand, Middle-earth witnessed the awakening of Men, the Secondborn (or the Followers). Most of them allied with the Elves in order to defend Beleriand from Morgoth. However neither Elvish skill, nor mannish resolve succeeded in defying him. One after another, the domains of Elves and Men were destroyed and filled with evil.

At last, more than five centuries after the flight of the Noldor, Eärendil, the son of an Elf-woman and a Man set sail to the West with the only Silmaril that his ancestors managed to recover. He was allowed to land in Aman, and to plead the Valar for mercy towards the Elves and Men.

The Valar agreed to pardon the Noldor. They set out to fight Morgoth and were victorious. Morgoth was expelled from Arda forever. However during the conflict, the very continent of Beleriand was destroyed and sunk, thus forming a new shoreline for Middle-earth, hundreds of miles to the east.

The Valar offered Elves their pardon and the right to come to Aman. Many of them did indeed leave Middle-Earth, weary of centuries of warfare against the ever-growing evil. The tribes of Men that helped the Elves were given a whole island of their own, on which they founded the kingdom of Númenor.

Eärendil's Silmaril became a bright star. One Silmaril was sunk in the water of the Great Ocean, and the third was lost in the depths of the Earth. Thus no trace remained on Middle-earth of the Two Trees of Valinor; but their influence lives on in the elements: air, water and fire/earth.
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Ellen_Ripley

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Re: The Book of the Silmarillion.
« Reply #8 on: August 28, 2014, 06:04:11 PM »

TBC
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Rob

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Re: The Book of the Silmarillion.
« Reply #9 on: February 27, 2018, 06:47:46 PM »

The Silmarillion (aside from the Music at the start) is a masterwork of art and creation myth, absolutely unparalleled in modern literature IMO.
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Ellen_Ripley

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Re: The Book of the Silmarillion.
« Reply #10 on: February 27, 2018, 07:28:17 PM »

Thanks for the reminder, I had obviously forgotten about this.
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