Is Grond the same in both the Silmarillion and LOTR?

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Is Grond the same in both the Silmarillion and LOTR?

Postby Naeth Dúlinn » Wed Feb 04, 2015 4:26 pm

In the Silmarillion Morgoth's weapon was Grond the warhammer of the underworld. In LOTR the Orcs shout "Grond, Grond, Grond, Grond" when a battering ram is breaking down the doors to (Minas tirith I think??? memory fails me). Are these the same? Did Morgoth use that battering ram as a hammer?
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Re: Is Grond the same in both the Silmarillion and LOTR?

Postby krawler » Wed Feb 04, 2015 5:07 pm

In Return of the King chapter 4 "The Siege of Gondor" when the battering ram is introduced as it rolls towards the gate of Minas Tirith (page 837 in my edition):

Tolkien wrote:Grond they named it, in memory of the Hammer of the Underworld of old.


So, no. It's just a reference to a much older and greater weapon. Sauron's way of paying homage to his old master, I suppose. Considering just how utterly the Valar crushed Morgoth's fortress during the War of Wrath, I rather doubt that anything from his armory survived.
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Re: Is Grond the same in both the Silmarillion and LOTR?

Postby ngaur » Thu Feb 05, 2015 11:06 am

I've forgotten now if Grond is an elvish word or not, and if so what it means. But if it is it is probable that it were the elves that called Morgoths hammer Grond, and the Gondorians that called the battering ram Grond in memory of the old legends.

But if Grond is not an elvish word, then maybe it could have been Saurons way of paying homage.
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Re: Is Grond the same in both the Silmarillion and LOTR?

Postby wilko185 » Thu Feb 05, 2015 1:51 pm

ngaur wrote:But if Grond is not an elvish word, then maybe it could have been Saurons way of paying homage.


Oddly enough, there is evidence to support both that Grond was an elvish word, and also that it was Sauron's way of paying homage:

Read in context, the passage in Lotr which states:
    Grond they named it, in memory of the Hammer of the Underworld of old
... surely means that "they" are the forces of Mordor, rather than of Gondor.

It also seems likely that the original Grond was named by the Enemy. Thus in the Quenta from 1930, as given in HoMe 4, Tolkien writes of the duel between Fingolfin and Morgoth:
    He fought with a mace like a great hammer of his forges. Grond the Orcs called it, and when it smote the earth as Fingolfin slipped aside...
But the name itself apparently has an elvish root. The Encyclopedia of Arda refers us to the etymologies in HoMe 5, where we find:
RUD- *runda: Q runda rough piece of wood; ON runda, N grond club; cf. Grond name of Melko's mace, and name Celebrond 'Silver-mace'.


Perhaps 'grond' is a translation within the text of the Red Book? Or the orcs of the First Age spoke a debased variant of elvish? There is support for this, although Morgoth supposedly had his own version of a black speech as well ['But in time we discovered that he had made a language for those who served him'].

I have a feeling there are some other examples, where Tolkien's apparent language of origin is perhaps hard to explain in the historical Middle-earth context?
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Re: Is Grond the same in both the Silmarillion and LOTR?

Postby Hobbit_Guy » Thu Feb 05, 2015 7:25 pm

In documents quoted in Words, Phrases and Passages (PE17), Tolkien wrote that Grond was the "Sindarin name of Morgoth's mace or hammer" (99), with another note saying grond/gronn meant "very weighty and ponderous". Other notes agree, linking it to a root √RON "solid, tangible, firm" (183), with variants √SRON and G-RON.
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Re: Is Grond the same in both the Silmarillion and LOTR?

Postby wilko185 » Fri Feb 06, 2015 2:03 am

Interesting... can you say when Tolkien wrote that?
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Re: Is Grond the same in both the Silmarillion and LOTR?

Postby Voronwe_the_Faithful » Fri Feb 06, 2015 7:27 am

Late 1950s, I believe.
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Re: Is Grond the same in both the Silmarillion and LOTR?

Postby ngaur » Fri Feb 06, 2015 11:09 am

Voronwe_the_Faithful wrote:Late 1950s, I believe.


Then it seems still likely that when writing Lord of the Rings he had in mind that Grond was Morgoths, or at least the Servants of Saurons name for the Battering ram.

It could be noted that the name Gothmog for the lieutenant of Morgul is another such name that is difficult to place in its context in Lord of the rings.
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Re: Is Grond the same in both the Silmarillion and LOTR?

Postby wilko185 » Sat Feb 07, 2015 9:46 am

Gothmog could be another another example, depending on what version of its origin we accept. Just to be clear, I'm not referring to a "two Glorfindels" type problem, i.e. just the re-use of a previous character or character-name. Gothmog was the name of a Balrog in the First Age, but I don't think that it's an issue to have someone use that name in the Third Age.

It's more like the "Moria" problem: in Lotr Gimili refers to "Khazad-dûm, the Dwarrowdelf, that is now called the Black Pit, Moria in the Elvish tongue"; but the name "Moria" - effectively an insult, and given by the elves only after Khazad-dûm fell into disrepute - was apparently carved on the western door when the Mines were first built.

So, is "Gothmog" a sensible name? Like "Morgoth", it's apparently in elvish, and perhaps based on an insult. Of course, Melkor didn't choose the name "Morgoth", it was laid on him by Fëanor. We can presume that he still preferred to call himself Melkor (e.g., Sauron didn't persuade Ar-Pharazôn to worship "Morgoth, the Black Foe of the World"; he asked him to turn to "Melkor, Lord of All, Giver of Freedom"). So why would a balrog name himself "Gothmog", if it has an elvish root, and means something like "voice of Morgoth, = the Black Foe"? There are other explanations of the name Gothmog, but I think it shows that Tolkien sometimes seems to have worked backwards from the name.

Getting back to Grond, I can see a difference between it being "the name of" the weapon, and it being "the Sindarin name". The latter suggests a name among many, perhaps not the original or true name, perhaps the name given by those who wrote the history that we are now reading. Maybe I'm putting too much weight on it, but I do wonder if Tolkien was slightly retconning, and trying to stretch the meaning of the published words "Grond they named it".
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Re: Is Grond the same in both the Silmarillion and LOTR?

Postby ngaur » Sat Feb 07, 2015 3:41 pm

Getting back to Grond, I can see a difference between it being "the name of" the weapon, and it being "the Sindarin name". The latter suggests a name among many, perhaps not the original or true name, perhaps the name given by those who wrote the history that we are now reading.


I've had a similar thought concerning the herald at the black gates saying 'I am the Mouth of Sauron'. Since Aragorn claims after the breaking of the Fellowship that Sauron does not permit his true name to be spoken. And Sauron meaning The Abhorred doesn't seem like a name the herald would have used. (It is infact left unclear where the quote is given if he speaks this to the ambassadors of the West at the time, or if it was just something he used to say, but that doesn't matter much to the problem. Mouth of Sauron would still in this case be an instance of the historians using a known or preferred name for consistency.)

Sure one might argue that Aragorn got it wrong, or that Sauron is not the name meant by true name but it seems like another small case of Tolkien missing out a small detail concerning names.


but the name "Moria" - effectively an insult, and given by the elves only after Khazad-dûm fell into disrepute - was apparently carved on the western door


As was also the names Balin and Fundin on the toomb, a discrepancy later noted by Tolkien himself. (Might have been interesting to know what the real name for Balin would have been if Tolkien had remembered the need to think it out.)

Could Gandalfs use of a G-rune be a similar case? (Of course nothing prevents Gandalfs real Westron name from also beginning with a G.)




Gothmog for the lieutenant of Morgul at very least could be considered a name the Gondorians had for this commander. Nothing in the texts would contradict this possibility. Strange perhaps that they should have used a name of such historical dread for this much smaller enemy, but I guess if they themselves took names after legends like Beren and Turin then it might seem natural to name your enemies after their enemies.
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Re: Is Grond the same in both the Silmarillion and LOTR?

Postby wilko185 » Sun Feb 08, 2015 1:11 pm

ngaur wrote:Could Gandalfs use of a G-rune be a similar case? (Of course nothing prevents Gandalfs real Westron name from also beginning with a G.)

... as must the real Westron word for "garden", given that Galadriel gives Sam his gift with the words: 'Here is set G for Galadriel, but also it may stand for garden in your tongue.'

As a total aside: broadly speaking, it's a difficult problem to tell a story set in a wholly foreign or alien setting to a contemporary audience, and be consistent with how you present language. E.g., take Star Wars. It is set a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, and yet must use modern English dialogue. We may assume the speech has been translated for our convenience. But what about writing as it appears on artefacts in the films? Do they also "translate" written texts into English, or do they represent them in a foreign language and script? In the end the makers of Star Wars seem to have translated the language into English, and then transliterated the alphabet. Given his later thoughts on the use of Balin's name on the tomb, I don't think Tolkien would have approved :).
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Re: Is Grond the same in both the Silmarillion and LOTR?

Postby Galin » Sun Feb 08, 2015 5:26 pm

Sure one might argue that Aragorn got it wrong, or that Sauron is not the name meant by true name but it seems like another small case of Tolkien missing out a small detail concerning names.


I think what Aragorn said was basically true, especially given the moment. In other words he is generally correct, and given that we are dealing with an S-rune it would seem (to me anyway) to be needlessly pedantic for Aragorn to care about a possible scenario, or example, which might prove that his statement might not be wholly true.

In other, other words, Aragorn is basically correct and his point is taken here: it's not S for Sauron but S for Saruman, which seems to suggest that the actual name Tolkien is translating as "Saruman" also begins with an S.

:)

With respect to the G-rune and the word garden: if anyone is interested, see Vinyar Tengwar number 32, Words and Devices: There are Fairies at the Bottom of our Garden! Carl F. Hostetter and Patrick Wynne, concerning which the website Ardalambion comments [in the Westron section]:

"In Vinyar Tengwar 32, Carl F. Hostetter and Patrick Wynne argued that whatever the Westron word for garden is, it must begin with a G, just like the English word. This is evident from Galadriel's words to Sam when she gave him a box with a silver rune on the lid before the fellowship left Lórien: "Here is set G for Galadriel, but it may stand for garden in your tongue." Hostetter and Wynne argued that the Westron word for "garden" is ultimately derived from the primitive Elvish stem 3AR (LR:360), which is remarkably similar to the Indo-European stem to which English garden can be traced. "English garden is thus ultimately of Eldarin descent," they conclude. "We can claim that there are indeed 'fairies at the bottom of our garden'."

:D
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Re: Is Grond the same in both the Silmarillion and LOTR?

Postby Aravar » Mon Feb 09, 2015 6:16 am

The use of "Sauron" in the Mouth of Sauron episode could be the editorial hand of Frodo in making the usage consistent. The characters from the West have used Sauron consistently so it would seem strange for something else to appear, unlike with Mithrandir/Gandalf, which is used throughout
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Re: Is Grond the same in both the Silmarillion and LOTR?

Postby Galin » Mon Feb 09, 2015 11:26 am

Good point Aravar. It might also be true of Gandalf's "Moria" with respect to the Doors of Moria, since the reader will be more familiar with this name. Or the editorial hand could be Tolkien's perhaps.

An objection to Gandalf saying "Moria" but not actually reading this name on the Doors (one objection I have seen raised in various threads) seems to be that the Elvish letters in the illustration provided actually read "Moria", which is true, but this is not a photograph of the actual doors of course, and both Durin and Narvi appear in the Elvish writing as well; and if the Dwarf-names are considered translations they are arguably there due to the modern translator...

... as not even Frodo would know Old Norse of course.
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Re: Is Grond the same in both the Silmarillion and LOTR?

Postby ngaur » Mon Feb 09, 2015 11:42 am

... as must the real Westron word for "garden", given that Galadriel gives Sam his gift with the words: 'Here is set G for Galadriel, but also it may stand for garden in your tongue.'


Or an early adorable line. Hence the excitement of the hobbit-children. G for Grand, they shouted and the old man smiled.
As well he might because this one is layered. G representing Gandalf or the equivalent in Westron (or the old language of the north?) also beginning with a G, applied to the english Grand, which means there's should be a Westron word with the same meaning also beginning with a G

But it's not hard to imagine that when writing that particular line Tolkien had yet no idea of what the work would grow into. Or that we the readers would ever have knowledge of his Silmarillion traditions and material on languages and translations.
Last edited by ngaur on Mon Feb 09, 2015 11:53 am, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: Is Grond the same in both the Silmarillion and LOTR?

Postby ngaur » Mon Feb 09, 2015 11:43 am

In other, other words, Aragorn is basically correct and his point is taken here: it's not S for Sauron but S for Saruman, which seems to suggest that the actual name Tolkien is translating as "Saruman" also begins with an S.


This thing is spreading like a rash.

Is Saruman also an old Norse name taken from the Edda though? I know his elveish name is Curunir, but I've forgotten what the name Saruman represents.
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Re: Is Grond the same in both the Silmarillion and LOTR?

Postby Galin » Mon Feb 09, 2015 12:30 pm

I think Saruman includes the Mercian form of an Anglo-Saxon word searu ("cunning" or "art, skill; artifice..." for examples of meaning, according to whatever Old English dictionary you might have).

I think. Or I think Tom Shippey published the idea?

Or someone? :)
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Re: Is Grond the same in both the Silmarillion and LOTR?

Postby wilko185 » Mon Feb 09, 2015 2:13 pm

Yes, the name "Saruman" is a "translated into (Old) English" word. The full word is not actually attested in an original source as far as I know. It is not from Norse like the dwarf names, but is the wizard's name among "Northern Men" and so is in Old English, like the Rohirrim names. [As Galin says, Tom Shippey points out that Searu- is the standard Old English form, cf searo-net, Beowulf's "cunning net" of armour; while Saru- would be the Mercian form, apparently preferred by Tolkien. I have no idea, and will defer to his scholarship :). Anyway, Saru-man = 'cunning man', so the same meaning as elvish Curumo/Curunir].

The "translated" name that really gives me a headache, when trying to follow through the translation conceit, is Orthanc.

The Lotr narrator tells us (Book 3, ch 8 ):
This was Orthanc, the citadel of Saruman, the name of which had (by design or chance) a twofold meaning; for in the Elvish speech orthanc signifies Mount Fang, but in the language of the Mark of old the Cunning Mind

But, orthanc shouldn't be a word from the actual language of the Mark. It is an Anglo-Saxon word, orþanc, chosen for our benefit to represent the unknown name that the Rohirrim actually used. I can buy that the Westron word for Gandalf and garden just "happen" to begin with a G, and the Westron word for Saruman just happens to start with an S. But how can the Rohirric/Westron entire word for orþanc just happen (by "chance or design" .. whose design?) to resemble the elvish word and be "orthanc"?

--

Galin wrote: "English garden is thus ultimately of Eldarin descent," they conclude. "We can claim that there are indeed 'fairies at the bottom of our garden'."

:D


That must be where I got that from. I really like that :)
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Re: Is Grond the same in both the Silmarillion and LOTR?

Postby Galin » Tue Feb 10, 2015 6:54 am

Yes Orthanc is problematic. I don't know if it's a case of Tolkien not being able to help himself here (having a little fun), or what, but Carl Hostetter once remarked:

"Alberto also asked whether orthanc, which in Sindarin means ’Mount Fang’, and which is said to mean ’Cunning Mind’ in "the language of the Mark of Old", is Old English. Yes, it is, and it does mean ’cunning mind’. However, the implication of Tolkien’s statement is that the word has the same form and meaning in actual Rohirric (otherwise, there would be no be no pun apparent to the characters). A remarkable coincidence, indeed!" Carl Hostetter

Another word is orc, since Tolkien ultimately characterized this as a Westron word (The Hobbit, third edition) as well as a word used by the Rohirrim (Appendix F). This example however is close in sound to certain Elvish orc-words (the meaning in Old English, as Tolkien saw it, was "demon"), and it might have survived into certain Indo-European tongues.

Or something.
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Re: Is Grond the same in both the Silmarillion and LOTR?

Postby Billobob » Thu Mar 26, 2015 9:06 am

Morgoth used Grond in battle against Fingolfin as a hammer. The battering ram was probably named Grond by the orcs, because Grond represented to the strength. The second half is speculation.
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