Does Sauron really use Elf-Runes?

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Does Sauron really use Elf-Runes?

Postby tterry » Sun Jan 01, 2017 3:09 am

Hi all,

I'm having trouble reconciling two passages:

From The Departure of Boromir in the two towers:

’S is for Sauron,’ said Gimli. ’That is easy to read.’ ’Nay!’ said Legolas. ’Sauron does not use the Elf-runes.’ ’Neither does he use his right name, nor permit it to be spelt or spoken,’ said Aragorn.


Vs

In, I think, The Shadows of the Past, it is clear that the inscription on the Ring is in Elf script. The page on the Ring on this site says it is in Tengwar alphabet.

So...

Does Tengwar script not count as 'Elf-runes', or is there a gap in Legolas' Ring-lore?

Please advise.
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Re: Does Sauron really use Elf-Runes?

Postby leisulin » Sun Jan 01, 2017 3:57 pm

Unquestionably the text around the perimeter of the One Ring is in Elvish script called Tengwar, a script which can be adapted to write most any language, and indeed it is used to spell out, in the Black Speech, the "poem" in LOTR translated into English as "one ring to rule them all, one ring to find them, one ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them". We may quibble, perhaps, on whether the Tengwar writing is classified as "runes". I'm not sure of the exact definition or distinction between runes and other forms of writing. But did Sauron place Elvish writing on the One Ring? Absolutely!
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Re: Does Sauron really use Elf-Runes?

Postby Galin » Tue Jan 03, 2017 7:44 am

Hi! The distinction is noted in Appendix E:

Tengwar (Tiw) -- translated as "letters" -- devised for writing with brush or pen. The Certar (Cirth) -- translated as "runes" -- were devised and mostly used only for scratched or incised inscriptions.

So Legolas is noting here that Sauron does not use the Elvish "runes"... while the ring inscription is in the Elvish letters :)
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Re: Does Sauron really use Elf-Runes?

Postby leisulin » Tue Jan 03, 2017 8:12 am

So the question is, was the original questioner not making any distinction, and simply meaning to ask whether Sauron would EVER have used ELVISH WRITING at all?
Or did he mean to make a distinction between runes and letters? Both questions have been answered!
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Re: Does Sauron really use Elf-Runes?

Postby Galin » Tue Jan 03, 2017 9:06 am

It's interesting too, for example, that according to Appendix E, even the Elves of the West "for the most part gave up the use of runes altogether" except in Eregion, where Daeron's alphabet passed to Moria and to the Dwarves, passing north with them [the Dwarves].

So the writing systems are different... and who used them in what Age or land... comes into play... or might!
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Re: Does Sauron really use Elf-Runes?

Postby tterry » Tue Jan 03, 2017 4:55 pm

Galin wrote:Hi! The distinction is noted in Appendix E:

Tengwar (Tiw) -- translated as "letters" -- devised for writing with brush or pen. The Certar (Cirth) -- translated as "runes" -- were devised and mostly used only for scratched or incised inscriptions.

So Legolas is noting here that Sauron does not use the Elvish "runes"... while the ring inscription is in the Elvish letters :)


Thank you Galin!

I was trying to figure out two things ... first, of course, to reconcile the apparent contradiction.

The second thing is to figure out why it's a big deal to avoid the runes. Do the runes carry any magical/religious freight which might dissuade Sauron from using them, or is there some other (esthetic maybe) reason? Legolas seemed fairly emphatic about the runes; I don't imagine that Sauron's script choices would be a well-known piece of lore unless there was something significant about it. My intuition says this is more important than a simple font choice.

I'll say in passing that the Tengwar lettering is quite lovely; the runes seem more ... stern somehow.
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Re: Does Sauron really use Elf-Runes?

Postby Galin » Tue Jan 03, 2017 8:23 pm

Hmm, good question!

Internally, we also have Isildur's scroll (Council of Elrond), in which it's written: "Already the writing upon it, which at first was as clear as red flame, fadeth and is now only barely to be read. It is fashioned in an elven-script of Eregion, for they have no letters in Mordor for such subtle work; but the language is unknown to me."

And we know Sauron was in Eregion "not long" after he chose Mordor for a stronghold [SA c. 1000, Sauron chooses Mordor, SA 1200 the Smiths of Eregion are won over].

Hmm again!
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