Annotated LotR Project: Flight to the Ford

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Annotated LotR Project: Flight to the Ford

Postby roaccarcsson » Thu Jun 17, 2004 3:41 pm

In an attempt to jump-start this faltering project, I am jumping over the next two chapters in order, which are rather barren from our point of view, and going to an exceptionally rich one: Flight to the Ford.

Glorfindel is here, so a discussion of Elvish reincarnation would come in.
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Postby roaccarcsson » Thu Jun 17, 2004 3:44 pm

it is unharmed, but all blades perish that pierce that dreadful King.

This of course turns out to be correct; see Bk. V ch. 6. How Strider could have known it, however, is not immediately apparent.

Athelas they named it, and it grows now sparsely and only near places where they dwelt or camped of old

The etymology of the word athelas was reported on the internet by William Cloud Hicklin based on information sent to him in a letter from Christopher Tolkien. One of these messages was reprinted in the journal Tyalie Tyelellieva, No. 15:31. Both messages are archived on Google:

http://groups.google.com/groups?selm=35AE0B6B.1EFB1C19%40gamewood.net&output=gplain
and
http://groups.google.com/groups?selm=3634825A.EAF61453%40gamewood.net&output=gplain.
"athelas" is Sindarin, not Adunaic (Númenórean).

The herb was known to the Noldor, who termed it "athea"
from *ATHAYA "helpful, kindly, beneficial." A later sound
shift rendered it "asëa" (cf. Aragorn's "asëa aranion" in
"The Houses of Healing.") In Middle-earth the word was
converted into regularized Sindarin form as athe- plus -las "leaf."

----------

Athelas first appeared in the Weathertop chapter (although
the name was added in the margin of the much earlier Lay
of Leithian, where Huan brings a healing herb).

Christopher Tolkien and I have had an ongoing discussion about
the origins of this word. It plainly contains -las 'leaf'. It is possible
(but entirely speculative) that what Tolkien had in mind at that time
(1938-39) was the Old English word aethele 'noble, royal.' This
would translate 'kingsfoil,' near enough. At any rate, a very late
note (1970 or later) [unpublished to date] says that Asëa
(cf. Aragorn, 'asëa aranion') was the name in Quenya, regularly
adapted and compounded with -las in Sindarin. The plant was
known to the medical loremasters of the Noldor. The root is *ATHAYA,
'helpful, kindly, beneficial.'


From Personal Communications to William Cloud Hicklin.

Thus while in the late 1930's Tolkien (may have) constructed Athelas from (Old English) Æthele plus (sindarin) -las, by the 1970's Tolkien had decided that it was derived from the Common Eldarin root *ATHAYA, giving Quenya asëa, Sindarin athe- and -las (= 'helpful, kindly, beneficial' + 'leaf' ). The full Quenya name 'asëa aranion' (aranion, 'of the King(s)), more closely corresponds to the Common Speech 'kingsfoil'.
Kingsfoil. Translate: -foil (from Old French foil)
= 'leaf', as in English plant-names such as cinquefoil.
Only the leaf of asëa was valued.


'Guide to Names in The Lord of the Rings'

While Aragorn states that his people brought Athelas to Middle-earth, in the Lay of Leithian JRRT wrote athelas against the passage where:
Huan came and bore a leaf,
of all the herbs of healing chief,
that evergreen in woodland glade---------------3120
there grew with broad and hoary blade.

for the treatment of Beren's wound (The Lays of Beleriand Pg. 266, 269). Thus Tolkien considered that Athelas was found in Beleriand and must have been re-introduced into Middle-earth (after Beleriand sank at the end of the First Age), by the Númenóreans.

He bitterly regretted his foolishness, and reproached himself for weakness of will; for he now perceived that in putting on the Ring he obeyed not his own desire but the commanding wish of his enemies.

But the situation was now different to that under Weathertop, where Frodo acted merely in fear and wished only to use (in vain) the Ring’s subsidiary power of conferring invisibility. He had grown since then.


Letter 246

We come now to the River Hoarwell, that the Elves call Mitheithel.

Tolkien commented on 'Hoarwell' in his guide to translators:
Hoarwell. The Common Speech translation of Mitheithel
= 'pale grey' + 'spring, source'; well, as usually in place-names,
has this sense (not that of a deep water-pit).


In the first two editions of The Hobbit, this river (although not named) was red in colour, presumably through the carriage of suspended red sediment.
"I don't know what river it was, a rushing red one,
swollen with the rains of the last few days, that came down from
the hills and mountains in front of them."

'Roast Mutton', The Hobbit, (1937-1966).

This was revised to bring the geography of The Hobbit closer to that described in The Lord of the Rings:
"Fortunately the road went over an ancient stone bridge, for the river, swollen with the rains, came rushing down from the hills and mountains in the north.

'Roast Mutton', The Hobbit, (post 1966 editions).

According to Karen Wynn Fonstad in The Atlas of Middle-earth, both the First Edition and the (idiosyncratic) Ballantine Books editions of The Lord of the Rings made reference to the red colour of the Mitheithel in this chapter; this was omitted in the Second Edition.
    ----------
Other differences between the First and Second Editions are documented in the sixth volume of the History of Middle-earth, The Return of the Shadow. Many of the changes made to this chapter were made to make the text correspond more closely to the map published in The Lord of the Rings. As Tolkien noted in a letter to Austin Olney of Houghton Mifflin, 28 July 1965 (an extract from which is given in Letter 274): I have finally decided, where this is possible and does not damage the story, to take the maps as "correct" and adjust the narrative. The changes highlighted by CJRT are given here:
First Edition: 'That is Loudwater, the Bruinen of Rivendell,' answered Strider. 'The Road runs along it for many leagues to the Ford.'

Second Edition: 'That is Loudwater, the Bruinen of Rivendell,' answered Strider. 'The Road runs along the edge of the hills for many miles from the Bridge to the Ford of Bruinen.'
First Edition: The hills now began to shut them in. The Road bent back again southward towards the River, but both were now hidden from view.

Second Edition: The hills now began to shut them in. The Road behind held on its way to the River Bruinen, but both were now hidden from view.
First Edition: After a few miles they came out on the top of a high bank above the Road. At this point the Road had turned away from the river down in its narrow valley, and now clung close to the feet of the hills, rolling and winding northward among woods and heather-covered slopes towards the Ford and the Mountains.

Second Edition: After a few miles they came out on the top of a high
bank above the Road. At this point the Road had left the Hoarwell far behind in its narrow valley, and now clung close to the feet of the hills, rolling and winding eastward among woods and heather-covered slopes towards the Ford and the Mountains.


the Ettenmoors, the troll-fells north of Rivendell

"Etten" is a modernization of Old English eoten, "giant, monster" (Old Norse jotun).

A variant of the name, "Ettinmoor," appears in The Silver Chair, one of C.S. Lewis's Narnia books. It seems likely that Lewis borrowed the name from Tolkien.

A "fell," as in "troll-fells," is "An upland stretch of open country; a moor" or "A barren or stony hill."

http://www.yourdictionary.com/ahd/f/f0071900.html

The word is derived from Old Norse fjall "mountain," and like many Norse loan-words, is associated with the North of England, which was under Scandinavian domination for centuries.

The adjective "fell" meaning "deadly," which occurs often in LotR (e.g., "the Fell Riders") is an entirely different word, of French derivation and related to "felon." Yet a third "fell" appears in Bk. VI, ch. 1: "long hairy breeches of some unclean beast-fell." This is an OE word meaning "hide" or "skin" (cognate with "pelt," which is from Latin pellis):

http://penguin.pearson.swarthmore.edu/~scrist1/scanned_books/tiff/oe_clarkhall/b0100.tiff

"That is Loudwater, the Bruinen of Rivendell," answered Strider. "The Road runs along the edge of the hills for many miles from the Bridge to the Ford of Bruinen."

In the First Edition, this passage read:
"That is Loudwater, the Bruinen of Rivendell," answered Strider.
"The Road runs along it for many leagues from the Bridge to the Ford of Bruinen."

This is one of three places in this chapter (see below for the others) where Tolkien revised the geography for the Second Edition. In The Return of the Shadow, Christopher Tolkien explains that these changes were made because the original text did not match the published map:

In 1943 I made an elaborate map in pencil and colored
chalks for The Lord of the Rings . . . On my LR map the
course of the Road from Weathertop to the Ford is shown exactly
as on my father's maps, with the great northward and southward
swings. On the map I made in 1954 (published in the first two
volumes of The Lord of the Rings), however, the Road has only
a feeble northward curve between Weathertop and the Hoarwell bridge,
and then runs in a straight line to the Ford. . . . In his letter to Austin
Olney of Houghton Mifflin, 28 July 1965 (an extract from which is
given in Letters no. 274) he said: "I have finally decided, where
this is possible and does not damage the story, to take the maps
as correct and adjust the narrative."

HoME v. VI at pp. 200-02; the two versions of the maps is shown on p. 201.

the Ford of Bruinen

To Tolkien's disgust, Åke Ohlmarks, who produced the first Swedish translation of LotR, rendered "Ford of Bruinen" as Björnavad, meaning "Bear Ford." Letter 204 Letters at p. 263 n. *. Presumably Ohlmarks took "Bruinen" to be an English word derived from "bruin," an archaic/poetic word for "bear." In fact (and of course), "Bruinen" is a Sindarin word, and thus intended by the author to be left untranslated.

a beryl

From the [Old French beril or Latin beryllus from the] Greek beryllos, this is a Middle English word for a hard mineral (7.5-8 on the Mohs Scale) that is usually green or bluish green, but may also be yellow, pink or white. This mineral is a silicate, and contains aluminum and beryllium (Be3Al2Si6O18). The crystal structure is hexagonal. When transparent, it may be used as a gem. The sea-green variety is known as aquamarine (the birthstone of March), and the darker green is emerald (the birthstone of May), though emeralds contain an impurity (chromium) and are akin to sapphires and rubies. Notable occurrences include Colombia and some African localities for emerald; Brazil, Russia and Pakistan for aquamarine; California, Brazil, Africa, and many other localities for other beryls.
The stone Aragorn picked up would most likely be aquamarine, but possibly a pale emerald.

sources: www.dictionary.com , http://webmineral.com/data/Beryl.shtml , http://www.jewelrymall.com/birthstones.html , http://mineral.galleries.com/minerals/s ... /beryl.htm

He recalled Bilbo's account of of his journey and the threatening towers on the hills north of the Road, in the country near the Troll's wood where his first serious adventure had happened.

See Chapter II of The Hobbit 'Roast Mutton'.

Men once dwelt here, ages ago; but none remain now. They became an evil people, as legends tell, for they fell under the shadow of Angmar.

Strider is referring to the kingdom of Rhudaur, one of the three contentious realms into which the Numenorean kingdom of Arnor became divided in the 9th century of the Third Age. (The others were Arthedain, in which the line of kings descended from Elendil retained power until the death of Arvedui in 1975; and Cardolan.) Appendix A(iii) says that in Rhudaur, in the 20th century T.A., "the Dúnedain were few, and power had been seized by an evil lord of the Hillmen, who was in secret league with Angmar." For an account of Angmar and the wars that destroyed the North-kingdom, see the annotations to Bk. I, ch 7. The location of Rhudaur is marked on the map, and also described in App. A(iii); Strider and the hobbits are clearly in its territory at this point. More details can be found in Appendix A (iii): Eriador, Arnor and the Heirs of Isildur.

The hills now began to shut them in. The Road behind held on its way to the River Bruinen, but both were now hidden from view.

This is the second place in this chapter where Tolkien revised the text of the Second Edition to match the map as it was published. The First Edition read:
The hills now began to shut them in. The Road bent back
again southward towards the River, but both were now
hidden from view.
See HoME v., VI, pp. 199-203.

The morning dawned bright and fair

The date is October 13. Gandalf arrived at Rivendell on this day.

their anxiety increased as they came into the dark woods

These are presumably the woods labeled on the map as the "Trollshaws." "Shaw" (OE sceage) is an archaic word for a wood or thicket. The name does not appear in the text.

There stood the trolls: three large trolls.

Here is a link to Tolkien's drawing of the three trolls from the Hobbit:

http://www.diar.ru/tolkien/texts/eng/pbjrrt/3.html

(Enter Tolkien for both password and user name)

Troll sat alone on his seat of stone

Sam's Troll Song is a revised version of a song written by Tolkien when he was on the faculty of the University of Leeds. Along with other poems by Tolkien and others, it was included in a booklet printed in 1935 or 1936 by a former student at Leeds who was then teaching at University College, London; the title of the booklet was "Songs for the Philologists." Christopher Tolkien gives the history in detail in HoME v. VI, at pp. 144-45.

In the first drafts of LotR, this song was sung by Frodo at the Prancing Pony. It was of course replaced by "The Cat and the Fiddle," the original version of which was also written at Leeds. See the annotations to Bk. I, ch. 9.

The poem as it appears in LotR is identical to the original in its form and story-line, though only two lines ("And munched and mumbled a bare old bone" and "And the bone he boned from its owner") are the same word-for-word in both. HoME v. VI, at pp. 143-44. The first version put Tom and the troll in a Christian society; they engaged in a discussion as to whether Tom's late uncle was residing in "heaven on high" or "underneath," which had no place in pre-Christian Middle-Earth. "Churchyard" was obviously changed to "graveyard" for the same reason. And this is likely why Tom's uncle "John" became "Tim": Like "Tom" and "Mat," "Tim" could plausibly be short for something like "Timmo" (see Appendix VI), while "John" is inescapably a Biblical name.

Another systematic alteration is that in the original, the second couplet of each verse was repeated verbatim after the two-syllable nonsense line; while in the published version, the last couplet of each verse is made up of new material (though ending with the same word or phrase).

Tolkien intended the song to be sung to the words of an old English folk song, which Christopher Tolkien calls "The fox went out on a winter's night" (HoME v. VI, p. 142). The song tells of how a fox raided a farm and brought back a duck and a goose to his family: "They never had such a supper in their life/And the little ones chewed on the bones-o/Bones-o, bones-o/They never had such a supper in their life/And the little ones chewed on the bones-o." One version of the words is at this link:

http://w1.871.telia.com/~u87125666/lyrics/foxthe.htm

Folklorists have collected many different versions of the song, which can be traced back to the Middle English period. See this link:

http://www.csufresno.edu/folklore/ballads/R103.html

Tolkien actually made a recording of himself singing the song, which is available commercially.

http://archive.salon.com/audio/fiction/2001/12/19/tolkien_fellowship/index

As quickly as they could they scrambled off the beaten way and up into the deep heather and bilberry brushwood on the slopes above

This combination of plants is typical of many hilly areas of Britain. An illustration can be seen at http://www.andyfellwalker.com/Egg/Ennerdale_North/010%20Bowness%20Knott%20heather%20and%20bilberry.htm. They both provide an important source of food for grouse.

There are three common species of wild heather in Britain. The common heather or ling, Calluna vulgaris, is the best known. The darker purple bell heather, Erica cinerea, grows in drier places and the cross-leaved heath, Erica tetralix, in boggy areas (See 'the wild heathers of Britain: http://www.users.zetnet.co.uk/heather/wild_heathers.html.)

The bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus) is a short, shrubby perennial plant growing up to 50cm/20in in hight. It has glossy, oval leaves, pink flowers and edible black berries. A close relative of American blueberry, it grows in northern Europe, western Asia, and the Rocky Mountains of North America.

In October, when the action of this chapter is set, heather flowers in Britain would have begun to fade, and the bilberry fruit would be past its best, though some might still be obtainable.

Ai na vedui Dúnadan!

Tolkien never provided a translation of this phrase, but presumably it means, "Ah, at last, Dúnadan!" Cf. Arvedui, "Last-king." For Dúnadan, see the next chapter.

Mae govannen!

In Letter 230, Tolkien translates this as "Well met."

The Ardalambion website analyzes govannen as the past participle of a verb govad "meet," itself a compound of roots meaning "together" and "come."

http://www.uib.no/people/hnohf/sindarin.htm#special

This is Glorfindel, who dwells in the house of Elrond

Also very notable is "Glorfindel tells of his ancestry
in Gondolin". Years later, long after the publication of
The Lord of the Rings, my father gave a great deal of
thought to the matter of Glorfindel, and at that time he wrote:
"[The use of Glorfindel] in The Lord of the Rings is
one of the cases of the somewhat random use of the names
found in the older legends, now referred to as The Silmarillion,
which escaped reconsideration in the final published form of
The Lord of the Rings." He came to the conclusion that
Glorfindel of Gondolin, who fell to his death in combat with a
Balrog after the sack of the city (II.192-4, IV.145), and Glorfindel
of Rivendell were one and the same: he was released from
Mandos and returned to Middle-earth in the Second Age.


The Return of the Shadow

Suddenly into view below came a white horse, gleaming in the shadows, running swiftly. In the dusk its headstall flickered and flashed, as if it were studded with gems like living stars.

In early printings of the First Edition, Tolkien had bridle and bit for headstall. The change was made in response to a question posed by a correspondent, Rhona Beare in 1958, as to why they were present despite Elves riding without bit, bridle or saddle (Chapter III 2). Tolkien replied:
I could, I suppose, answer: 'a trick-cyclist can ride
a bicycle with handle-bars!' But actually bridle
was casually and carelessly used for what I suppose should
have been called a headstall. Or rather, since bit
was added (I 221) long ago (Chapter I 12 was
written very early) I had not considered the natural ways of
elves with animals. Glorfindel's horse would have an ornamental
headstall, carrying a plume, and with the straps studded
with jewels and small bells; but Glor. would certainly not use a
bit. I will change bridle and bit to headstall.


Letter 211, (1958).
The change was made in all subsequent printings. However, the headstall must still have a bridle, as Frodo uses one to rein in the horse later in the chapter (although this could possibly have been fitted by Glorfindel for Frodo's use). Similarly Glorfindel shortens the stirrups for Frodo's use, suggesting that Glorfindel was riding almost in 'human fashion' (with bridle, stirrups and saddle), in readiness for the possibility that the Ringbearer might need to ride.

Some of my kindred, journeying in your land beyond the Baranduin, learned that things were amiss

This was Gildor Inglorion, whom Frodo met in 'Three is Company'. Baranduin was the Sindarin name for the Hobbits "Brandywine" - which formed the Eastern boundary of the Shire. It rose at Lake Nenuial in the far north, and flowed south and west to reach the Great Sea.

The Sindarin name means "Golden Brown River".

This is one of the few instances in LotR where the Sindarin and "Westron" names of a place have different meanings, and the only wone where wordplay is involved. The English pun is not consistent with the premise that the English is a translation from the Westron. Tolkien explained this away of the last page of LotR:
Brandywine. The hobbit-names of this river were alterations of the Elvish Baranduin (accented on and), derived from baran 'golden brown' and duin '(large) river'. Of Baranduin Brandywine seemed a natural corruption in modern times. Actually the older hobbit-name was Branda-nîn 'border-water', which would have been more closely rendered by Marchbourn; but by a jest that had become habitual, referring again to its colour, at this time the river was usually called Bralda-hîm 'heady ale'.

It must be observed, however, that when the Oldbucks (Zaragamba) changed their name to Brandybuck (Brandagamba), the first element meant 'borderland', and Marchbuck would have been nearer. Only a very bold hobbit would have ventured to call the Master of Buckland Braldagamba in his hearing.




that was nine days ago ... nigh on seven days ago

Glorfindel set out from Rivendell on October 9th, reached the Bridge of Mitheithel on October 11th, and met Frodo on the evening of October 18th. Gandalf had arrived in Rivendell on the 17th, three days before Frodo does. [The Appendix claims that he arrived on the 18th, for some inexplicable reason].

The sun had now climbed far into the morning, and the clouds and mists of the night were gone.

The date is October 19, 3018.

The hobbits were still weary, when they set out again early next morning.

It is October 20, 3018.

my horse will not let any rider fall that I command him to bear.

While this statement may be reassuring to a hobbit unaccustomed to riding full grown horses, it turns out not to be entirely true. Perhaps the comment only applies to riders who remain conscious or refrain from jumping off of the horse.

and that which you bear

Evidently Glorfindel knows that Frodo has the Ring. We do not know exactly how much Gandalf shared with Elrond before his imprisonment by Saruman, but it must have been enough for Elrond to understand the true meaning of Gildor's message, and share that information with those he sent out to oppose the Nine and assist the Ringbearer.
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Postby roaccarcsson » Thu Jun 17, 2004 3:45 pm

noro lim, noro lim, Asfaloth!

Noro is plainly the imperative form of a verb. Nornoro-, meaning 'run on, run smoothly,' occurs in the Appendix of HoME v. I, p. 263.
However, nornoro- would be Quenya, not Noldorin. (See Quenya Lexicon) The root NORO "run, ride" would result in the verb _nor-_ as is attested in the Gnomish Lexicon (PE-11), although translated as "run, roll".

The original form was nora-lim, nora-lim (HoME v. VI, p.196), which was left untranslated:
‘Ride on! Ride on!’ cried Glorfindel and Trotter; and then Glorfindel spoke a word in the elf-tongue: nora-lim, nora-lim

This form would not have been correct in Tolkien’s later Sindarin, because of the change of the imperative form ending, although his meaning appears to remain unchanged.

Regarding lim:

We only have one translated attested form, which does not seem to make sense in this case: _lim_ "clear, sparkling" attested in terms such as Limhir "sparkling, clear river", or Limlight. (WJ, p.337)
This formcould derive from the root THIL>SILMA "shine silver" through a process of metathesis, resulting in an homograph, lim, to be confused with the meaning used in this specific case.

The name "Asfaloth" may mean something like "Foam-flower," from the root PHÁL “foam” and Sindarin loth, a flower, as in "Lothlorien." This would make sense given the horse’s white coat.

It has been pointed out that asva is the Sanskrit for "horse" (the natural Sanskrit development of the reconstructed Indo-European root *ekwos, which in Old English became eoh, common in the names of the Rohirrim.):
http://www.tolkiensociety.org/media/Who_is_who.html

As noted earlier in the annotations to this chapter, Tolkien strongly objected to attempts to derive Elvish words from roots in "real-world" languages. However, the possibility of that some subconscious assocation was at work cannot be ruled out.
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Postby Queen_Beruthiel » Fri Jun 18, 2004 4:08 pm

Also very notable is "Glorfindel tells of his ancestry in Gondolin". Years later, long after the publication of The Lord of the Rings, my father gave a great deal of thought to the matter of Glorfindel, and at that time he wrote: "[The use of Glorfindel] in The Lord of the Rings is one of the cases of the somewhat random use of the names found in the older legends, now referred to as The Silmarillion, which escaped reconsideration in the final published form of The Lord of the Rings." He came to the conclusion that Glorfindel of Gondolin, who fell to his death in combat with a Balrog after the sack of the city (II.192-4, IV.145), and Glorfindel of Rivendell were one and the same: he was released from Mandos and returned to Middle-earth in the Second Age.


The Return of the Shadow
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Postby Aravar » Sat Jun 19, 2004 2:51 am

We come now to the River Hoarwell, that the Elves call Mitheithel

Fosters Complet Guide translates Mitheithel as 'grey-spring', but hoar-well would appear to be a true translation of the Sindarin.

He recalled Bilbo's account of of his journey and the threatening towers on the hills north of the Road, in the country near the Troll's wood where his first serious adventure had happened.

See Chapter II of The Hobbit 'Roast Mutton'.
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Postby -Rómestámo- » Mon Jun 21, 2004 11:54 am

Suddenly into view below came a white horse, gleaming in the shadows, running swiftly. In the dusk its headstall flickered and flashed, as if it were studded with gems like living stars.

In early printings of the First Edition, Tolkien had bridle and bit for headstall. The change was made in response to a question posed by a correspondent, Rhona Beare in 1958, as to why they were present despite Elves riding without bit, bridle or saddle (Chapter III 2). Tolkien replied:
I could, I suppose, answer: 'a trick-cyclist can ride a bicycle with handle-bars!' But actually bridle was casually and carelessly used for what I suppose should have been called a headstall. Or rather, since bit was added (I 221) long ago (Chapter I 12 was written very early) I had not considered the natural ways of elves with animals. Glorfindel's horse would have an ornamental headstall, carrying a plume, and with the straps studded with jewels and small bells; but Glor. would certainly not use a bit. I will change bridle and bit to headstall.

Letter 211, (1958).

The change was made in all subsequent printings. However, the headstall must still have a bridle, as Frodo uses one to rein in the horse later in the chapter (although this could possibly have been fitted by Glorfindel for Frodo's use). Similarly Glorfindel shortens the stirrups for Frodo's use, suggesting that Glorfindel was riding almost in 'human fashion' (with bridle, stirrups and saddle), in readiness for the possibility that the Ringbearer might need to ride.
    ----------
Mitheithel

While eithel is translated as 'well' in the Index to The Silmarillion its etymological roots would support its translation as 'spring'. From the Appendix to The Silmarillion:
kel- 'go away', of water 'flow away, flow down', in Celon; from et-kelē 'issue of water, spring' was derived, with transposition of the consonants, Quenya ehtelë, Sindarin eithel.

So mith- grey, -eithel well or spring, would also seem to be an accurate translation of the name. However *hoar* carries connotations of 'age' that are not present in the Sindarin mith-. [ http://www.dictionary.com/cgi-bin/dict.pl?term=hoar ]
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Postby Tasslehoff » Fri Jun 25, 2004 12:45 am

roaccarcsson,

Forgive my intrusion but I must disagree a little about the word Bruinen

If it's only a coincidence it's a really great one (and I doubt it knowing the linguistic knowledge of J.R.R. Tolkien) but Bruinen is probably not a pure invented Sindarin word either.

It's can come from the french word "bruine" who, translated in english, means "drizzle", a word who can perfectly match with "ford" (and water and all). Maybe Tolkien just takes the french word and make a Sindarin one with it.

english = french = sindarin = name
drizzle = bruine = Bruinen = ford of Bruinen

Just a thought. :)
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Postby Morinehtar » Fri Jun 25, 2004 7:13 am

Bruinen

A sindarin word compound made up of brui-, loud and nen, water. The Common Speech Loudwater is given as the translation of this name.

Given that nen has an independent existence dating to the 1930's (it is found in the Etymologies in HOME V) :
NEN- Q nén (nen-) water; N nen (pl. nîn). Q nelle (*nen-le) brook; nende pool; nenda watery, wet. N nend, nenn watery. Cf. Ui-nend, Q Uinen [UY].

'The Etymologies', The Lost Road.

[Q: Quenya; N: Noldorin (the later Sindarin) ; * an asterisk prefixed to a form means that it is 'hypothetical', deduced to have existed from later recorded forms],

It is clear that resemblances to existing words in other languages (such as (french) bruine, 'drizzle' is purely coincidental.

[See Letter 297 (1967).
[...] I relate these things because I hope they may interest you, and at the same time reveal how closely linked is linguistic invention and legendary growth and construction. And also possibly convince you that looking around for more or less similar words or names is not in fact very useful even as a source of sounds, and not at all as an explanation of inner meanings and significances. The borrowing, when it occurs (not often) is simply of sounds that are then integrated in a new construction; and only in one case Eärendil will reference to its source cast any light on the legends or their 'meaning' – and even in this case the light is little. [...]

See the body of the letter for specific examples where Tolkien mostly refutes the direct influence of 'real world' words on names and words in his Legendarium. See also Letter 324 (1971).]
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Postby Tasslehoff » Fri Jun 25, 2004 7:26 am

Ok, but it still a good coincidence and now you know why me and other french speakers can be easily mistaken. The name Bruinen just "nail it" (in so many ways) for us.
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Postby roaccarcsson » Fri Jun 25, 2004 3:27 pm

I think it is going to far to say that all resemblances between in Tolkien's languages and their equivalents in "real-world" languages may be dismissed as coincidental.

For one thing, the possibility that the author's subconscious recollection influenced his decisions can never be ruled out. The best known example is Black Speech nazg "ring": It happens that the word for "ring" in Irish Gaelic is nasc. Tolkien had to acknowledge (Letter 297) that this was probably not a coincidence, although he had no conscious recollection of the Irish word.

I have seen somewhere on line (but cannot now relocate) an estimate from one of the serious Tolkien language people that something in the neighborhood of 10% of Tolkien's Elvish vocabulary has apparent real-world sources. Coincidence cannot be ruled out in any particular case, but statistically this is way outside the realm of chance.

(My personal favorite correspondences: Quenya maiwë and Old English mæw, both meaning "gull"; and Sindarin alph and Icelandic álft, both of which mean "swan.")

Brui- happens to be one of the cases where there is a possible real-world source: The archaic English word "bruit." Most recently this meant "rumor," and as a technical medical term, a particular kind of heart sound heard through the stethoscope. But its original meaning in Middle English was "noise."

http://www.yourdictionary.com/ahd/b/b0513500.html

Maybe a coincidence, maybe not - there is no way of knowing.
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Postby Morinehtar » Fri Jun 25, 2004 4:42 pm

roaccarcsson : I think it is going to far to say that all resemblances between in Tolkien's languages and their equivalents in "real-world" languages may be dismissed as coincidental.

The statement "It is clear that resemblances to existing words in other languages (such as (french) bruine, 'drizzle' is purely coincidental." was intended to refer to the sindarin compound Bruinen and not the entirety of all of Tolkien's invented words, although I see it was too expansive in the way it was written :( .

However if we take what Tolkien has written at face value (Letters 297 & 324), he excludes direct influence from other languages (by which I take him to mean conscious imitation or derivation of words) except in the case of (Anglo-saxon) earendel. It may be that JRRT was being disingenuous or had simply forgotten about many of the words or roots given in his Etymologies and the Qenya and Gnomish Lexicons (or worse yet, that he had decided that previously imitated words found in his earlier (unpublished) works were no longer 'correct' :shock: ), but if his recorded statements are accepted then these reported parallels must be regarded as no more than subconscious borrowings (despite the likelihood that many of these parallels may have been consciously chosen in his youth). It may be that JRRT was only referring to words that had appeared in his published writings at that time and was not referring to his (then) unpublished writings.
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Postby Tasslehoff » Sat Jun 26, 2004 11:23 am

roaccarcsson wrote:I think it is going to far to say that all resemblances between in Tolkien's languages and their equivalents in "real-world" languages may be dismissed as coincidental.

For one thing, the possibility that the author's subconscious recollection influenced his decisions can never be ruled out. The best known example is Black Speech nazg "ring": It happens that the word for "ring" in Irish Gaelic is nasc. Tolkien had to acknowledge (Letter 297) that this was probably not a coincidence, although he had no conscious recollection of the Irish word.

I have seen somewhere on line (but cannot now relocate) an estimate from one of the serious Tolkien language people that something in the neighborhood of 10% of Tolkien's Elvish vocabulary has apparent real-world sources. Coincidence cannot be ruled out in any particular case, but statistically this is way outside the realm of chance.

(My personal favorite correspondences: Quenya maiwë and Old English mæw, both meaning "gull"; and Sindarin alph and Icelandic álft, both of which mean "swan.")

Brui- happens to be one of the cases where there is a possible real-world source: The archaic English word "bruit." Most recently this meant "rumor," and as a technical medical term, a particular kind of heart sound heard through the stethoscope. But its original meaning in Middle English was "noise."

http://www.yourdictionary.com/ahd/b/b0513500.html

Maybe a coincidence, maybe not - there is no way of knowing.


"Bruit" is also the french word for noise, rumour. Historically speaking, with all the "cultural exchange" between english and french kingdoms, there is possibly numerous french words in old english. So Tolkien doesn't need to see other languages to find, subconciously or not, french/old english words. It's probably wy I saw the some great coincidence between the some (few)Tolkien words and french ones.
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Postby Queen_Beruthiel » Tue Jun 29, 2004 4:44 pm

"They became an evil people, as legends tell, for they fell under the shadow of Angmar. But all were destroyed in the war that brought the North Kingdom to its end."


More details can be found in Appendix A (iii): Eriador, Arnor and the Heirs of Isildur.
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Postby Alberich » Mon Jul 05, 2004 2:42 pm

As quickly as they could they scrambled off the beaten way and up into the deep heather and bilberry brushwood on the slopes above

This combination of plants is typical of many hilly areas of Britain. An illustration can be seen at http://www.andyfellwalker.com/Egg/Ennerdale_North/010%20Bowness%20Knott%20heather%20and%20bilberry.htm. They both provide an important source of food for grouse.

There are three common species of wild heather in Britain. The common heather or ling, Calluna vulgaris, is the best known. The darker purple bell heather, Erica cinerea, grows in drier places and the cross-leaved heath, Erica tetralix, in boggy areas (See 'the wild heathers of Britain: http://www.users.zetnet.co.uk/heather/wild_heathers.html.)

The bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus) is a short, shrubby perennial plant growing up to 50cm/20in in hight. It has glossy, oval leaves, pink flowers and edible black berries. A close relative of American blueberry, it grows in northern Europe, western Asia, and the Rocky Mountains of North America.

In October, when the action of this chapter is set, heather flowers in Britain would have begun to fade, and the bilberry fruit would be past its best, though some might still be obtainable.
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Postby -Rómestámo- » Sun Jul 18, 2004 2:47 pm

'These leaves,' he said, 'I have walked far to find; for this plant does not grow in the bare hills; but in the thickets away south of the Road I found it in the dark by the scent of its leaves.' He crushed a leaf in his fingers, and it gave out a sweet and pungent fragrance. 'It is fortunate that I could find it, for it is a healing plant that the Men of the West brought to Middle-earth. Athelas they named it, and it grows now sparsely and only near places where they dwelt or camped of old; and it is not known in the North, except to some of those who wander in the Wild. It has great virtues, but over such a wound as this its healing powers may be small.'

More notes on athelas.

The etymology of the word athelas was reported on the internet by William Cloud Hicklin based on information sent to him in a letter from Christopher Tolkien. One of these messages was reprinted in the journal Tyalie Tyelellieva, No. 15:31. Both messages are archived on Google and can be accessed through the *Google Usenet Archive search engine*, or directly through *this link* and *this link*.

"athelas" is Sindarin, not Adunaic (Númenórean).

The herb was known to the Noldor, who termed it "athea" from *ATHAYA "helpful, kindly, beneficial." A later sound shift rendered it "asëa" (cf. Aragorn's "asëa aranion" in "The Houses of Healing.") In Middle-earth the word was converted into regularized Sindarin form as athe- plus -las "leaf."
    ----------
Athelas first appeared in the Weathertop chapter (although the name was added in the margin of the much earlier Lay of Leithian, where Huan brings a healing herb).

Christopher Tolkien and I have had an ongoing discussion about the origins of this word. It plainly contains -las 'leaf'. It is possible (but entirely speculative) that what Tolkien had in mind at that time (1938-39) was the Old English word aethele 'noble, royal.' This would translate 'kingsfoil,' near enough. At any rate, a very late note (1970 or later) [unpublished to date] says that Asëa (cf. Aragorn, 'asëa aranion') was the name in Quenya, regularly adapted and compounded with -las in Sindarin. The plant was known to the medical loremasters of the Noldor. The root is *ATHAYA, 'helpful, kindly, beneficial.'

From Personal Communications to William Cloud Hicklin.

Thus while in the late 1930's Tolkien (may have) constructed Athelas from (Old English) Æthele plus (sindarin) -las, by the 1970's Tolkien had decided that it was derived from the Common Eldarin root *ATHAYA, giving Quenya asëa, Sindarin athe- and -las (= 'helpful, kindly, beneficial' + 'leaf' ). The full Quenya name 'asëa aranion' (aranion, 'of the King(s)), more closely corresponds to the Common Speech 'kingsfoil'.
Kingsfoil. Translate: -foil (from Old French foil) = 'leaf', as in English plant-names such as cinquefoil.
Only the leaf of asëa was valued.

'Guide to Names in The Lord of the Rings'

While Aragorn states that his people brought Athelas to Middle-earth, in the Lay of Leithian JRRT wrote athelas against the passage where:
[...] Huan came and bore a leaf,
of all the herbs of healing chief,
that evergreen in woodland glade---------------3120
there grew with broad and hoary blade.

for the treatment of Beren's wound (The Lays of Beleriand Pg. 266, 269). Thus Tolkien considered that Athelas was found in Beleriand and must have been re-introduced into Middle-earth (after Beleriand sank at the end of the First Age), by the Númenóreans.
    ----------
Tolkien commented on 'Hoarwell' in his guide to translators:
Hoarwell. The Common Speech translation of Mitheithel = 'pale grey' + 'spring, source'; well, as usually in place-names, has this sense (not that of a deep water-pit).

'Guide to the Names in The Lord of the Rings.'


[Edited correction shown in red].
Last edited by -Rómestámo- on Wed Jul 21, 2004 11:10 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby roaccarcsson » Sun Jul 18, 2004 6:23 pm

Hey, cool! Thanks, Romestamo.

(Note that Eluchil was essentially correct.)
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Postby Silverfoot » Wed Jul 21, 2004 6:17 am

'...but all blades perish that pierce that dreadful King.'

This is proven true in "The Battle of the Pelennor Fields," when Eowyn stabs the Witch-King: The sword broke sparkling into many shards.

It is not mentioned at that point (I don't think) what happened to Merry's sword when he, too, stabbed the Witch-King, but later, in "The Houses of Healing," Merry tells Pippin, 'And my sword burned all away like a piece of wood.'

(Oops. See MithLuin's correction below. :) )
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Postby MithLuin » Wed Jul 21, 2004 10:18 am

Actually, it is mentioned at the time, but there is a bit of a delay while Theoden dies and Eomer rides off chanting Death!

Then he looked for his sword that he had let fall; for even as he struck his blow his arm was numbed, and now he could only use his left hand. And behold! there lay his weapon, but the blade was smoking like a dry branch that has been thrust in a fire; and as he watched it, it writhed and withered and was consumed.
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Postby -Rómestámo- » Wed Jul 21, 2004 10:59 am

Just a small correction to my post on the Etymology of Athelas...
*ATHAYA is a Common Eldarin Root, not an Elvish one.

(Elvish is such an imprecise (and here, meaningless) term :cry: ).

Roac, the link that you propose to use to give the original posts for athelas is for the Google usenet archive search engine, not the direct links to the posts. The direct links are the two described as 'this link'... Sorry :(

And a final quibble - the '------' marks in the Lay of Leithian extract should be white '---' to render them invisible...
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Postby MithLuin » Wed Jul 21, 2004 10:03 pm

Some of my kindred, journeying in your land beyond the Baranduin, learned that things were amiss

This was Gildor Inglorion, whom Frodo met in 'Three is Company'.

that was nine days ago ... nigh on seven days ago

Glorfindel set out from Rivendell on October 9th, reached the Bridge of Mitheithel on October 11th, and met Frodo on the evening of October 18th. Gandalf had arrived in Rivendell on the 17th, three days before Frodo does. [The Appendix claims that he arrived on the 18th, for some inexplicable reason].

my horse will not let any rider fall that I command him to bear.

While this statement may be reassuring to a hobbit unaccustomed to riding full grown horses, it turns out not to be entirely true. Perhaps the comment only applies to riders who remain conscious or refrain from jumping off of the horse.

and that which you bear

Glorfindel knows that Frodo has the Ring. We do not know exactly how much Gandalf shared with Elrond before his imprisonment by Saruman, but it must have been enough for Elrond to understand the true meaning of Gildor's message, and share that information with those he sent out to oppose the Nine and assist the Ringbearer.
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Postby Mahima » Thu Jul 22, 2004 5:25 am

Baranduin

Baranduin was the Sindarin name for the Hobbits "Brandywine" - which formed the Eastern boundary of the Shire.
It rose at Lake Nenuial in the far north, and flowed south and west to reach the Great Sea.

The name means "Golden Brown River".
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Postby roaccarcsson » Fri Jul 23, 2004 4:56 am

Just to note that I think I have picked up everybody's contributions now. Thank you. If I have missed something, please let me know.

(And if anybody can tell me what is making the post scroll off the screen . . .)
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Postby wilko185 » Fri Jul 23, 2004 5:41 am

roaccarcsson wrote:(And if anybody can tell me what is making the post scroll off the screen . . .)


It's the quoted text. Large blocks seem to be ok, but when there is about one line of text, it tends to stretch the page (when viewed in Internet Explorer - other browsers seem to be unaffected).

Try inserting carriage returns at the end of your shorter quotes, eg:
Code: Select all
[quote]Hoarwell. The Common Speech translation of Mitheithel = 'pale grey' + 'spring, source'; well, as usually in place-names, has this sense (not that of a deep water-pit). <insert a carriage return here> [/quote]
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Postby Aravar » Fri Jul 23, 2004 6:00 am

Baranduin

The anglicisation of Baranduin as Brandywine poses a small problem. It is a natural pun in English, but the hobbits did not speak English, they spoke Westron, which is rendered as English in Tolkien's fictional translation of the Red Book of Westmarch.

(I think there may be more on this).

Roac, I think you've missed my cross reference to The Hobbit from the compilation.
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Postby wilko185 » Fri Jul 23, 2004 6:10 am

Aravar wrote:The anglicisation of Baranduin as Brandywine poses a small problem. It is a natural pun in English, but the hobbits did not speak English, they spoke Westron, which is rendered as English in Tolkien's fictional translation of the Red Book of Westmarch.


Tolkien addressed this problem on the last page of LOTR (Appendix F), by having "Brandywine" being the English interpretation of Westron Branda-nîn and its hobbitish corruption Bralda-hîm:

Brandywine. The hobbit-names of this river were alterations of the Elvish Baranduin (accented on and), derived from baran 'golden brown' and duin '(large) river'. Of Baranduin Brandywine seemed a natural corruption in modern times. Actually the older hobbit-name was Branda-nîn 'border-water', which would have been more closely rendered by Marchbourn; but by a jest that had become habitual, referring again to its colour, at this time the river was usually called Bralda-hîm 'heady ale'.

It must be observed, however, that when the Oldbucks (Zaragamba) changed their name to Brandybuck (Brandagamba), the first element meant 'borderland', and Marchbuck would have been nearer. Only a very bold hobbit would have ventured to call the Master of Buckland Braldagamba in his hearing.
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Postby MithLuin » Fri Jul 23, 2004 8:47 am

Okay, so I am confused. On what day does Gandalf reach Rivendell?

The Appendix claims it was the 18th, which seems suspicious.

At the Council, Gandalf says:
"It took me nearly 14 days from Weathertop...I came to Rivendell only 3 days before the ring."

Frodo crossed the Ford on Oct. 20th. Three days before would be the 17th, perhaps?

Weathertop was Oct. 3rd (for Gandalf). So, 14 days later would also be the 17th.

Someone here suggested that he arrived in Rivendell on the 13th. What is that based on?

Help!
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Postby wilko185 » Fri Jul 23, 2004 12:41 pm

CT notes the discrepancy in HOME 7, footnote 15 to Chapter VII:
"It took me nearly fourteen days from Weathertop ... I came to Rivendell only three days before the Ring." But this does not agree with LR Appendix B [...] where he arrived on the 18th, only two days before Frodo.

So I guess it is an oversight. We know from HOME 6 that Tolkien moved the meeting of the hobbits with Glorfindel from the 17th to the 18th, while retaining the rest of the chronology from that point on, which might possibly have contributed to the confusion of the events on that date.
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Postby Silverfoot » Sat Jul 24, 2004 7:46 am

He held out his hand, and showed a single pale-green jewel. 'I found it in the mud in the middle of the Bridge,' he said. 'It is a beryl, and elf-stone. Whether it was set there, or let fall by chance, I cannot say; but it brings hope to me.'

There is good reason for Aragorn to feel hopeful at the sight of an elf-stone, since that is one of his many names: Elessar, "elfstone." For further comments on the history of the Elessar, see the annotations in the 'Many Meetings' chapter, or see Unfinished Tales.


'Have you often been to Rivendell?' said Frodo.
'I have,' said Strider. 'I dwelt there once, and still I return when I may.'


Aragorn dwelt there from age two (when his father died) to age twenty (when he learned of his lineage). He was raised by Elrond and was known as Estel, meaning "hope." (Appendix A)
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Postby MithLuin » Sat Jul 24, 2004 9:32 am

a beryl

From the [Old French beril or Latin beryllus from the] Greek beryllos, this is a Middle English word for a hard mineral (7.5-8 on the Mohs Scale) that is usually green or bluish green, but may also be yellow, pink or white. This mineral is a silicate, and contains aluminum and beryllium (Be3Al2Si6O18). The crystal structure is hexagonal. When transparent, it may be used as a gem. The sea-green variety is known as aquamarine (the birthstone of March), and the darker green is emerald (the birthstone of May), though emeralds contain an impurity (chromium) and are akin to sapphires and rubies. Notable occurrences include Colombia and some African localities for emerald; Brazil, Russia and Pakistan for aquamarine; California, Brazil, Africa, and many other localities for other beryls.
The stone Aragorn picked up would most likely be aquamarine, but possibly a pale emerald.

sources: www.dictionary.com , http://webmineral.com/data/Beryl.shtml , http://www.jewelrymall.com/birthstones.html , http://mineral.galleries.com/minerals/s ... /beryl.htm
(The numbers in the chemical formula should be subscripts. I am cheating and using "tiny" [size 7] font)

an elf-stone
Some elves among the Noldor developed the craft of making jewels (as opposed to mining and cutting them). Should anything further be said here, or should that be saved for a discussion of the Elessar in Many Meetings or the Silmarils in A Knife in the Dark?
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Postby MithLuin » Sun Jul 25, 2004 8:40 am

Where is the pale king?

Frodo, of course, is referring to the Lord of the Nazgul, who stabbed him. The other hobbits could not see the Nazgul, so they do not understand his question.

Too obvious? It might be less than clear to some people.
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