The Annotated LOTR - The Ring goes South

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The Annotated LOTR - The Ring goes South

Postby Queen_Beruthiel » Fri Dec 31, 2004 6:36 am

"You were wrong," said Gandalf. "You were inattentive. I had already heard of it from Gwaihir."

"And the Eagles of the Mountains went far and wide, and they saw many things: the gathering of wolves and the mustering of Orcs; and the Nine Riders going hither and thither in the lands; and they heard the news of the escape of Gollum. And they sent a messenger to bring these tidings to me."


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When winter first begins to bite
and stones crack in the frosty night,
when pools are black and trees are bare,
'tis evil in the Wild to fare.


Tom Shippey (in The Road to Middle-earth) points out the similarity of this to the opening of 'Winter’s Song' in Love's Labour's Lost Act 5 scene 2:

When icicles hang by the wall,
And Dick the shepherd blows his nail,
And Tom bears logs into the hall,
And milk comes frozen home in pail


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...and others had gone west, and with the help of Aragorn and the Rangers had searched the lands far down the Greyflood, as far as Tharbad, where the old North Road crossed the river by a ruined town.

Information about Tharbad is found in Unfinished Tales. It was located at the head of navigation on the Greyflood/Gwathló, in a flood-prone and marshy region.

In the early days of the kingdoms [Gondor and Arnor] the most expeditious route from one to the other (except for great armaments) was found to be by sea to the ancient port at the head of the estuary of the Gwathló and so to the riverport of Tharbad, and thence by the Road. . . . by long labour a port capable of receiving seagoing vessels had been made at Tharbad, and a fort raised there on great earthworks on both sides of the river, to guard the once famed Bridge of Tharbad.


UT. Tolkien has sometimes been criticised for paying insufficient attention to the economics of Middle-earth, but he deserves credit for seeing the importance of this site, and that it would decline as the North-Kingdom declined. Tharbad fell into decay in the seventeenth century of the Third Age.

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..they had made a great journey, passing down the Silverlode into a strange country…

Another hint of Lothlorien. Elrond at the Council had already referred to “Anduin the Great flows past many shores” when Boromir spoke of the need for aid.

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”The Shire, I forebode, is not now free from peril; and these two [Merry and Pippin] I had thought to send back there as messengers, to do what they could, according to the fashion of their country, to warn the people of their danger.”

Elrond’s words seem to be based on the information Gandalf and the hobbits provide – the Black Riders chasing Frodo and Saruman’s interest in the Shire. But UT provides further information in the chapter: The Hunt for the Ring. From this we hear about the Nazgul attacking the Rangers at Sarn Ford.

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'In any case, I judge that the younger of these two, Peregrin Took, should remain. My heart is against his going.'
'Then, Master Elrond, you will have to lock me in prison, or send me home tied in a sack,' said Pippin. 'For otherwise I shall follow the Company.'
'Let it be so then. You shall go,' said Elrond, and he sighed.


According to plot outline notes in HOME7, Tolkien at one time envisaged Pippin not surviving the quest, which may explain Elrond's foreboding here:


Merry, Pippin. They insist on going. [Struck out: Pippin only if Erestor does not go.] Elrond says there may be work in the Shire, and it may prove ill if they all go. Shall Pippin return to the Shire?


If any one of the hobbits is slain it must be the cowardly Pippin doing something brave.


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The Sword of Elendil was forged anew by Elvish smiths, and on its blade was traced a device of seven stars set between the crescent Moon and the rayed Sun, and about them was written many runes; for Aragorn son of Arathorn was going to war upon the marches of Mordor.

The seven stars are from the device of Elendil, which was seven stars about a white tree on a sable field, under a high crown (see 'The Battle of the Pelennor Fields'). In this case, they are likely used to represent the city of Osgiliath, ('Citadel of the Stars') which lies between Minas Morgul (formerly Minas Ithil 'Tower of the Moon') and Minas Tirith (formerly Minas Anor 'Tower of the Sun'). These were the three main cities of Gondor when Isildur lived. At this time, Minas Morgul has been in the hands of the Enemy for years, and Osgiliath is deserted and a scene of battle (consider Boromir's report to the Council).

And Aragorn gave it a new name and called it Anduril, Flame of the West.

Narsil is a name composed of 2 basic stems without variations or adjuncts: [stem] NAR 'fire', and [stem] THIL, 'white light'. It thus symbolised the chief heavenly lights, as enemies of darkness, Sun (Anar) and Moon (in Q) Isil. Anduril means Flame of the West (as a region) not of the Sunset.


Letters Letter 347

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In those last days the hobbits sat together in the evening in the Hall of Fire, and there among many tales they heard told in full the lay of Beren and Lúthien and the winning of the Great Jewel;

Sm later recalls the tale on the Stairs of Cirith Ungol:

:
'Beren now, he never thought he was going to get that Silmaril from the Iron Crown in Thangorodrim, and yet he did, and that was a worse place and a blacker danger than ours. But that's a long tale, of course, and goes on past the happiness and into grief and beyond it – and the Silmaril went on and came to Eärendil. And why, sir, I never thought of that before! We've got – you've got some of the light of it in that star-glass that the Lady gave you! Why, to think of it, we're in the same tale still! It's going on. Don't the great tales never end?'


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He took from the box a small sword in an old shabby leathern scabbard…. “This is Sting,” he said.

Sting is one of the weapons found in the Trolls' cave in The Hobbit",Roast Mutton chapter. Elrond later identifies it (and the swords taken by Gandalf and Thorin, Glamdring and Orcrist) as being of High-Elven make, made in Gondolin for the Goblin-wars. Bilbo does not actually name the blade until he kills a spider with it in Mirkwood: Flies and Spiders.

Sting, of course, glowed with a cold blue light if enemies were about.

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“It was a cold grey day near the end of December.”

The actual date is given in Appendix B: 25th December. Tolkien changed the date from sometime in November (early versions). For a detailed discussion, see this thread: (will add URL later: it is the Christmas Day thread in the Best Threads thread)

More on the Fellowship's departure on December 25th. Apart from the Christian associations of the date, it is worth noting that all of the cardinal points of the astronomical year are associated with significant events in LotR. Bilbo's/Frodo's birthday is at the Autumn Equinox; The Fellowship sets out at the Winter Solstice; Sauron is destroyed at the Spring Equinox; and the wedding of Aragorn and Arwen takes place "upon the day of Midsummer."

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“Slow should you be to wind that horn again, Boromir,” said Elrond, “until you stand once more on the borders of your land, and dire need is on you.”

“Maybe,” said Boromir, “But always I have let my horn cry at setting forth, and though thereafter we may walk in the shadows, I will not go forth as a thief in the night.”


When Boromir winds his horn for the last time it will be on the borders of his land and dire need will be upon him, after a period when he walked under the Shadow and behaved like a thief.

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Aragorn sat with his head bowed to his knees; only Elrond knew fully what this hour meant to him.

What Elrond knew is presumably that Aragorn can only marry Arwen by defeating Sauron and becoming King. See Appendix A.I.v. The implication would seem to be either that Arwen was not present at the Fellowship's departure, or that she was not aware of the condition her father had set for her marriage. Either would seem odd.

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Sam eased the pack on his shoulders, and went over anxiously in his mind all the things that he had stowed in it . . . flint and tinder . . .

The most reliable way of making fire without the use of matches (or wizards) is by striking a piece of steel with a pointed chunk of flint or other hard stone. The energy of the impact knocks loose and melts tiny fragments of the steel. These white-hot sparks are directed into a nest of light, dry flammable material called "tinder." (One online source recommends the lint from an electric clothes dryer!) Blowing on the tinder fans it into a flame, which is used to ignite small slivers of wood called "kindling."

Many websites describe the techniques involved - this one is representative:

http://www.northwestjournal.ca/IX3945.htm

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'Rope!' he muttered. 'No rope! And only last night you said to yourself: "Sam, what about a bit of rope? You'll want it, if you haven't got it." Well, I'll want it. I can't get it now.'

In Farmer Giles of Ham, when the hero leaves his village on the King's orders to go in search of the dragon Chrysophylax, the following exchange occurs:

. . . The parson saw him off.

"I hope you are taking some stout rope with you," he said.

"What for?" said Giles. "To hang myself?"

"Nay! Take heart, Master Ægidius!" said the parson. "It seems to me that you have a luck that you can trust. But take also a long rope, for you may need it, unless my foresight deceives me. And now farewell, and return safely!"


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but let him not vow to walk in the dark, who has not seen the nightfall

Elrond is clearly reciting a proverb. But, what could the source of it be? The Fellowship is, of course, embarking on an unknown venture, so it makes sense, metaphorically. But proverbs tend to be based on actual (concrete) experiences. So, who has not seen the nightfall?

In Middle Earth, there are some possibilities, though they would be from before the time of Elrond. The elves who enjoyed the light of the Two Trees in Aman never experienced nightfall. Rather, the mingling of the lights of the Trees resulted in times of twilight

In seven hours the glory of each tree waxed to full and waned again to naught; and each awke once more to life an hour before the other ceased to shine. Thus in Valinor twice every day there came a gentle hour of softer light when both trees were faint and their gold and silver beams were mingled. ... But the light that was spilled from the trees endured long, ere it was taken up into the airs or sank down into the earth; and the dews of Telperion and the rain that fell from Laurelin Varda hoarded in great vats like shining lakes, that were to all the land of the Valar as wells of water and of light. 'Of the Beginning of Days' The Silmarillion


When the Two Trees are destroyed by Melkor, the Silmarillion says "the Valar sat in shadow, for it was night." Thus, the first nightfall in Middle Earth (after the awakening of the Elves) was likely the destruction of the Two Trees. The Noldor who came from Valinor (such as Galadriel) would remember this. Therefore, the proverb about not having seen the nightfall is not as unreasonable as it may sound.

Another possible source for this idea is a short story by George MacDonald call "The Day Boy and the Night Girl".
http://www.ccel.org/m/macdonald/daynight/daynight.html

In this story, the boy Photogen is raised so that he never experiences night, and the girl Nycteris is raised so that she never experiences the day. One day at dawn, Photogen sees an animal that flees, and says:

``What a coward he must be!'' said Photogen.
``Don't be too sure of that,'' rejoined Fargu. ``He is one of the creatures the sun makes umcomfortable. As soon as the sun is down, he will be brave enough.'


Not surprisingly, the young man decides to slip out at dusk to track the creature (and prove himself):

``Now,'' said Photogen, ``we shall see''; but he said it in the face of a darkness he had not proved. The moment the sun began to sink among the spikes and saw edges, with a kind of sudden flap at his heart a fear inexplicable laid hold of the youth; and as he had never felt anything of the kind before, the very fear itself terrified him. As the sun sank, it rose like the shadow of the world and grew deeper and darker. He could not even think what it might be, so utterly did it enfeeble him. When the last flaming scimitar edge of the sun went out like a lamp, his horror seemed to blossom into very madness. Like the closing lids of an eye -- for there was no twilight, and this night no moon -- the terror and the darkness rushed together, and he knew them for one. He was no longer the man he had known, or rather thought himself. The courage he had had was in no sense his own -- he had only had courage, not been courageous; it had left him, and he could scarcely stand -- certainly not stand straight, for not one of his joints could he make stiff or keep from trembling. He was but a spark of the sun, in himself nothing.


Tolkien was quite familiar with George MacDonald, and referred to his work in On Faerie Stories, but as far as I know, he never referred to this particular story.

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There came a cold clear dawn at the end of a long stumbling night march.

Appendix B gives the date as January 8.

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The travelers reached a low ridge crowned with ancient holly-trees whose grey-green trunks seemed to have been built out of the very stone of the hills.

There are more than 300 species of holly (genus Ilex) found worldwide. The Common or English Holly, which Tolkien certainly had in mind, is Ilex aquifolium.

http://www.arkive.org/species/ARK/plants_and_algae/Ilex_aquifolium/.

Because the holly remains green all winter, it has ancient symbolic associations with renewal and resurrection, and is still widely used as a Christmas decoration. Tolkien's use of the tree has no obvious connection with all of this. It is worth pointing out, though, that in the medieval English poem Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, which he edited, interpreted, and translated, the Green Knight carries a holly branch when he appears at King Arthur's court at Christmas:

Bot in his on honde he hade a holyn bobbe,
Þat is grattest in grene when greuez ar bare . . .

"In his hand he had a holly branch/that is greatest in green when groves are bare." Lines 206-07.

We have reached the borders of the country that Men call Hollin

"Hollin" (also spelled "holen" or "holyn") is simply the original form of the name "holly." See the excerpt from Sir Gawain quoted above

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At the left of this high range rose three peaks; the tallest and nearest stood up like a tooth tipped with snow; its great, bare, northern precipice was still largely in the shadow, but where the sunlight slanted upon it, it glowed red.

In the first draft of this passage, there was only one peak, "Taragaer or Ruddyhorn." HoME v. VI at p. 419. Tolkien considered several alternatives before settling for the time on this name. Id. at p. 433 n. 11.

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Yonder stands Barazinbar, the Redhorn, cruel Caradhras.

In a note dated years after the publication of LotR, Tolkien wrote that "Caradhras seems to have been a great peak tapering upwards (like the Matterhorn) . . ." The Matterhorn is of course the most famous Alpine peak - possibly the most famous mountain anywhere. Tolkien saw it on his youthful hiking expedition to Switzerland (Letter 306, at Letters p. 393). Here is a link to a webcam:


That is true," said Legolas. "But the Elves of this land were of a race strange to us of the silvan folk, and the trees and the grass do not now remember them. Only I hear the stones lament them: deep they delved us, fair they wrought us, high they builded us; but they are gone. They are gone. They sought the Havens long ago."

According to the Silmarillion, in the Second Age there was a realm of Noldorin elves in Eregion; the Noldor were skillful in stonework and masonry. There also lived and worked the Gwaith-i-Mírdain, the People of the Jewel-smiths, makers of the Rings of Power; their leader was Celebrimbor, who made the three Elven rings. The settlement was destroyed by Sauron's forces in the war of II 1693-97.

EDIT: In the draft of this chapter in HoME 7, in the first version of these lines Legolas really does mention that the inhabitants of the area were Noldor:

"That is true," said Legolas. "But the Elves of this land were of a strange race, and the spirit that dwells here is alien to me, who am of the woodland folk. Here dwelt Noldor, the Elven-wise, and all the stones cry to me with many voices: they built high towers to heaven, and delved deep to earth, and they are gone. They are gone. They sought the Havens long ago."


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"There the Misty Mountains divide, and between their arms lies the deep-shadowed valley which we cannot forget: Azanulbizar, the Dimrill Dale, which the Elves call Nanduhirion."

Azanulbizar was the site of the climactic battle (T.A. 2799) of the great war between the Dwarves and the Orcs, begun by the Dwarves in revenge for the slaying of Thrór the grandfather of Thorin (T.A. 2790). The Dwarves were victorious, but half their army perished in the battle. See Appendix A.III.

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Caradhras

Tolkien gives the derivation of "Caradhras" in Appendix E, where he says that the sound which he writes "dh"

represents the voiced (soft) th of English these clothes. It is usually related to d, as in S. galadh "tree" compared with Q. alda; but is sometimes derived from n + r, as in Caradhras "Redhorn" from caran-rass


In Letter 306, which describes his youthful hiking trip to Switzerland, Tolkien revealed that the name Celebdil/Silvertine/Zirakzigil was inspired by the Silberhorn, a peak in the Bernese Alps:

I left the view of Jungfrau with deep regret: eternal snow, etched as it seemed against eternal sunshine, and the Silberhorn sharp against dark blue: the Silvertine (Celebdil) of my dreams.


Letters at p. 392 (1st US edition).

These web pages contain pictures of the Silberhorn:
url]http://members.tripod.com/~takashino/swissfavorite.html[/url]
http://www.virtualtourist.com/m/e376/a916e/

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Concerning the word celeb "silver," Tolkien wrote this in Letter 347:

You are of course right in seeing that the words for "silver" point to an orig.: *kyelepe: Q[uenya] tyelpe (with regular syncope of the second e): S[indarin] celeb and Telerin telepi (in T. the syncope of second vowel in a sequence of 2 short vowels of the same quality was not regular, but occurred in words such as Telperion). Though tyelpe remained in Q., telpe (with Q. syncope) became the most usual form among the Elves of Valinor, because the Teleri in their lands, to the north of the Noldor, found a great wealth of silver, & became the chief silversmiths among the Eldar.


Letters at p. 426 (1st US edition).

This passage needs a little explanation for those who are not familiar with Tolkien's academic discipline of "philology" (usually known today as "historical linguistics"). This field began with the eighteenth-century discovery that the ancient Indian language known as Sanskrit had fundamental similarities to Latin and Greek. By the end of the nineteenth century, scholars had essentially completed the task of showing that most of the languages spoken today in Northern India, Iran, and Europe descended from a common ancestor called "Proto-Indo-European" (PIE).

Nothing of this original language has survived, but philologists are confident that they have reconstructed a large number of PIE words in something very close to their original form. By agreement, words such as these that are not actually recorded in surviving documents ("attested") are marked with an asterisk at the beginning; Tolkien uses this convention for *kyelepe.

Linguists use a technical vocabulary to describe the different kinds of sound-change that cause languages to diverge from one another. "Syncope" is the loss of a sound in the middle of a word.

http://www.angelfire.com/ego/pdf/ng/lng/how/how_soundchange.html

As a trained historian of language, Tolkien always had these processes in the foreground of his mind. That is why he invented not one "finished" Elvish language, but two: The challenge and fascination for him was not in simply inventing a language, but in constructing a series of processes by which languages as different as Quenya and Sindarin could have evolved from the same ancestor.

Tolkien in the quoted letter is using technical shorthand as one specialist to another, having gathered from the letter he had received that the writer was a fellow philologist. Spelled out for the lay person, what he is saying is this: Sindarin celeb and Quenya telpe both mean "silver." Assuming that they descended from a common ancestor, that word probably began with the sound "ky" (not found in English at the beginning of words, but presumably pronounced something like "kyuh"). This sound became "c/k" in Sindarin and "ty" in Quenya. In Telerin - the closely-related language of the Teleri or Sea-Elves - the "ty" became "t," and this Telerin form was adopted into Quenya for the historical reason given. (An account of Telerin, with citations to Tolkien's other writings, is at Helge Fauskanger's site:

http://www.uib.no/people/hnohf/telerin.htm)

In Quenya, but not in Sindarin, vowels in the middle of a multi-syllable word tended to drop out ("regular syncope"). This explains why there is an "e" between the "l" and the "b" in celeb, but not between the "l' and the "p" in telpe; there was an "e" there in the original, which Sindarin kept and Quenya lost. Hence the word in the lost original language must have been something close to *kyelepe - though the word is not actually recorded, as signified by the asterisk. (Other processes, which Tolkien does not spell out in the letter, evidently caused the last "e" to drop out of the Sindarin word and the "p" to change to "b.")

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Yonder stands Barazinbar, the Redhorn, cruel Caradhras.

In a note dated years after the publication of LotR, Tolkien wrote that "Caradhras seems to have been a great peak tapering upwards (like the Matterhorn) . . ." The Matterhorn is of course the most famous Alpine peak - possibly the most famous mountain anywhere. Tolkien saw it on his youthful hiking expedition to Switzerland (Letter 306, at Letters p. 393). Here is a link to a webcam:

http://bergbahnen.zermatt.ch/e/web-cam/zermatt4.html?4

Tolkien gives the derivation of "Caradhras" in Appendix E, where he says that the sound which he writes "dh

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But they are crebain out of Fangorn and Dunland

Crebain appears to be the plural form of a noun *craban; where the asterisk means that the form is not actually found in the records ("attested"), but deduced from the rules of the language. The plural forms of Sindarin nouns are created by systematic changes in the vowels of the singular forms. An "a" in the first syllable of the singular becomes "e"; the same letter in the last syllable becomes "ai." Thus *craban > crebain would exactly parallel the well-attested examples adan "man" > edain, aran "king" > erain, and barad "tower" > beraid. See the discussion on the Fauskanger website:

http://www.uib.no/people/hnohf/sindarin.htm#vow-a

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Suddenly he saw or felt a shadow pass over the high stars, as if for a moment they faded and then flashed out again. He shivered.

This is a mystery. It sounds as though this was a winged Nazgûl; however, in Bk. III, ch. 2, Grishnákh tells Uglúk that "He won't let them show themselves across the Great River yet, not too soon. They're for the War - and other purposes." And Gandalf confirms this in Bk. III, ch. 5: "But they have not yet been allowed to cross the River . . ." Christopher Tolkien notes the problem, but has no solution to offer.

HoME v. VI, p. 435 n. 20.

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Who knows indeed!" said Gandalf. "But there is another way, and not by the pass of Caradhras: the dark and secret way that we have spoken of."

"But let us not speak of it again! Not yet. Say nothing to the others, I beg, not until it is plain that there is no other way."


These speeches are present in almost the same form in the first draft - but there it is Trotter/Aragorn who is urging consideration of the Moria route, and Gandalf who is reluctant. HoME v. VII, p. 168.

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But although they had brought wood and kindlings by the advice of Bolomir, it passed the skill of Elf or even Dwarf to strike a flame that would hold amid the swirling wind or carch in the wet fuel.

The skill of Dwarves in fire-making is described in chapter II of The Hobbit, where it is said that "Dwarves can make a fire almost anywhere out of almost anything, wind or no wind . . ." For the techniques involved, see above in this chapter.

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naur en edraith ammen!

This 'word of command' is Sindarin, meaning "fire for saving of us" (according to Ardalambion). Gandalf uses the same word of command later against the Wargs in 'A Journey in the Dark'. Gandalf also uses a 'word of command' to try to shut the door of the Chamber of Mazarbul. (See 'The Bridge of Khazad-dum')

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Aragorn was the tallest of the company, but Boromir, little less in height, was broader and heavier in build.

In the first draft, Boromir was taller than Aragorn:

Boromir was the tallest of the company, being above six feet and very broad-shouldered as well.


HoME v. VII, p. 169.
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Last edited by Queen_Beruthiel on Sun Apr 03, 2005 3:58 pm, edited 21 times in total.
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Postby Queen_Beruthiel » Fri Dec 31, 2004 6:36 am

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Postby Queen_Beruthiel » Fri Dec 31, 2004 6:37 am

“… they had made a great journey, passing down the Silverlode into a strange country…”

Another hint of Lothlorien. Elrond at the Council had already referred to “Anduin the Great flows past many shores” when Boromir spoke of the need for aid.

“It was a cold grey day near the end of December.”

The actual date is given in Appendix B: 25th December. Tolkien changed the date from sometime in November (early versions). For a detailed discussion, see this thread: (will add URL later)

“Slow should you be to wind that horn again, Boromir,” said Elrond, “until you stand once more on the borders of your land, and dire need is on you.”

“Maybe,” said Boromir, “But always I have let my horn cry at setting forth, and though thereafter we may walk in the shadows, I will not go forth as a thief in the night.”


The next time Boromir winds his horn it will be on the borders of his land and dire need will be upon him, after a period when he walked under the Shadow and behaved like a thief.
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Postby roaccarcsson » Fri Dec 31, 2004 9:19 am

'Rope!' he muttered. 'No rope! And only last night you said to yourself: "Sam, what about a bit of rope? You'll want it, if you haven't got it." Well, I'll want it. I can't get it now.'

In Farmer Giles of Ham, when the hero leaves his village on the King's orders to go in search of the dragon Chrysophylax, the following exchange occurs:
. . . The parson saw him off.

"I hope you are taking some stout rope with you," he said.

"What for?" said Giles. "To hang myself?"

"Nay! Take heart, Master Ægidius!" said the parson. "It seems to me that you have a luck that you can trust. But take also a long rope, for you may need it, unless my foresight deceives me. And now farewell, and return safely!"
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Postby roaccarcsson » Fri Dec 31, 2004 10:06 am

"There the Misty Mountains divide, and between their arms lies the deep-shadowed valley which we cannot forget: Azanulbizar, the Dimrill Dale, which the Elves call Nanduhirion."

Azanulbizar was the site of the climactic battle (T.A. 2799) of the great war between the Dwarves and the Orcs, begun by the Dwarves in revenge for the slaying of Thrór the grandfather of Thorin (T.A. 2790). The Dwarves were victorious, but half their army perished in the battle. See Appendix A.III.
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Postby Queen_Beruthiel » Sat Jan 01, 2005 3:50 pm

He took from the box a small sword in an old shabby leathern scabbard…. “This is Sting,” he said.

Sting is one of the weapons found in the Trolls' cave in The Hobbit", Roast Mutton chapter. Elrond later identifies it (and the swords taken by Gandalf and Thorin, Glamdring and Orcrist) as being of High-Elven make, made in Gondolin for the Goblin-wars. Bilbo does not actually name the blade until he kills a spider with it in Mirkwood: Flies and Spiders.

Sting, of course, glowed with a cold blue light if enemies were about.[/i]
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Postby roaccarcsson » Mon Jan 03, 2005 4:44 pm

Slow day at work! Watch out, here it comes!

"You were wrong," said Gandalf. "You were inattentive. I had already heard of it from Gwaihir."

"And the Eagles of the Mountains went far and wide, and they saw many things: the gathering of wolves and the mustering of Orcs; and the Nine Riders going hither and thither in the lands; and they heard the news of the escape of Gollum. And they sent a messenger to bring these tidings to me."


The Hunter's Moon waxed round in the night sky, and put to flight all the lesser stars.

The Hunter's Moon is the first full moon after the Harvest Moon; the Harvest Moon is the full moon occurring closest to (either before or after) the autumn equinox. The Hunter's Moon made it possible for hunters to track prey at night, as the Harvest Moon enabled harvesters to go on working after the sun set. The Hunter's Moon occurs in October or early November. It must have been late in 3018, as the Council was on October 25.

More on the Fellowship's departure on December 25th. Apart from the Christian associations of the date, it is worth noting that all of the cardinal points of the astronomical year are associated with significant events in LotR. Bilbo's/Frodo's birthday is at the Autumn Equinox; The Fellowship sets out at the Winter Solstice; Sauron is destroyed at the Spring Equinox; and the wedding of Aragorn and Arwen takes place "upon the day of Midsummer."

The discussion of the names of the Mountains of Moria that was here was incomplete, not to say wrong. A new version incoprorating information from HoME VII will be forthcoming/

they are crebain out of Fangorn and Dunland

Crebain appears to be the plural form of a noun *craban; where the asterisk means that the form is not actually found in the records ("attested"), but deduced from the rules of the language. The plural forms of Sindarin nouns are created by systematic changes in the vowels of the singular forms. An "a" in the first syllable of the singular becomes "e"; the same letter in the last syllable becomes "ai." Thus *craban > crebain would exactly parallel the well-attested examples adan "man" > edain, aran "king" > erain, and barad "tower" > beraid. See the discussion on the Fauskanger website:

http://www.uib.no/people/hnohf/sindarin.htm#vow-a

Suddenly he saw or felt a shadow pass over the high stars, as if for a moment they faded and then flashed out again. He shivered.

This is a mystery. It sounds as though this was a winged Nazgûl; however, in Bk. III, ch. 2, Grishnákh tells Uglúk that "He won't let them show themselves across the Great River yet, not too soon. They're for the War - and other purposes." And Gandalf confirms this in Bk. III, ch. 5: "But they have not yet been allowed to cross the River . . ." Christopher Tolkien notes the problem, but has no solution to offer. HoME v. VI, p. 435 n. 20.
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Postby roaccarcsson » Thu Jan 06, 2005 5:01 pm

and others had gone west, and with the help of Aragorn and the Rangers had searched the lands far down the Greyflood, as far as Tharbad, where the old North Road crossed the river by a ruined town.

Information about Tharbad is found in Unfinished Tales. It was located at the head of navigation on the Greyflood/Gwathló, in a flood-prone and marshy region.
In the early days of the kingdoms [Gondor and Arnor] the most expeditious route from one to the other (except for great armaments) was found to be by sea to the ancient port at the head of the estuary of the Gwathló and so to the riverport of Tharbad, and thence by the Road. . . . [B]y long labour a port capable of receiving seagoing vessels had been made at Tharbad, and a fort raised there on great earthworks on both sides of the river, to guard the once famed Bridge of Tharbad.

UT at p. 272 note (1st US paperback ed.) Tolkien has sometimes been criticised for paying insufficient attention to the economics of Middle-earth, but he deserves credit for seeing the importance of this site, and that it would decline as the North-Kingdom declined. Tharbad fell into decay in the seventeenth century of the Third Age.

Concerning "Mirrormere":

"Mere" is from Old English mere, which could be used of a body of water of any size, including the ocean (as in "mermaid," for example). It is from the same Indo-European root as Latin mare, the source of a large number of English words such as "marine." "Mere" is common as the second element in the names of English lakes. While the manuscripts show that the author considered many alternative names for most geographical features, the Mirrormere was "the Mirror-mere" at its first appearance (HoME v. VII, p. 165.
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Postby MithLuin » Fri Jan 07, 2005 7:43 am

While it is true that Boromir blows the Horn of Gondor after his attempt to take the Ring on the borders of Gondor, that is not the next time he sounds it. He also blows it in Moria, in challenge to the Balrog.
The dark figure streaming with fire raced towards them. The orcs yelled and poured over the stone gangways. Then Boromir raised his horn and blew. Loud the challenge rang and bellowed, like the shout of many throats under the cavernous roof. For a moment the orcs quailed and the fiery shadow halted. The the echoes died as suddenly as a flame blown out by a dark wind, and the enemy advanced again.
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Postby roaccarcsson » Fri Jan 07, 2005 6:15 pm

Aragorn sat with his head bowed to his knees; only Elrond knew fully what this hour meant to him.

What Elrond knew is presumably that Aragorn can only marry Arwen by defeating Sauron and becoming King. See Appendix A.I.v. The implication would seem to be either that Arwen was not present at the Fellowship's departure, or that she was not aware of the condition her father had set for her marriage. Either would seem odd.

The travelers reached a low ridge crowned with ancient holly-trees whose grey-green trunks seemed to have been built out of the very stone of the hills.

There are more than 300 species of holly (genus Ilex) found worldwide. The Common or English Holly, which Tolkien certainly had in mind, is Ilex aquifolium.

http://www.arkive.org/species/ARK/plants_and_algae/Ilex_aquifolium/.

Because the holly remains green all winter, it has ancient symbolic associations with renewal and resurrection, and is still widely used as a Christmas decoration. Tolkien's use of the tree has no obvious connection with all of this. It is worth pointing out, though, that in the medieval English poem Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, which he edited, interpreted, and translated, the Green Knight carries a holly branch when he appears at King Arthur's court at Christmas:

Bot in his on honde he hade a holyn bobbe,
Þat is grattest in grene when greuez ar bare . . .

"In his hand he had a holly branch/that is greatest in green when groves are bare." Lines 206-07.

We have reached the borders of the country that Men call Hollin

"Hollin" (also spelled "holen" or "holyn") is simply the original form of the name "holly." See the excerpt from Sir Gawain quoted above
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Postby Queen_Beruthiel » Sun Jan 16, 2005 4:23 pm

Having a blitz. :)

The Sword of Elendil was forged anew.....

And Aragorn gave it a new name and called it Anduril, Flame of the West.


Narsil is a name composed of 2 basic stems without variations or adjuncts: [stem] NAR 'fire', and [stem] THIL, 'white light'. It thus symbolised the chief heavenly lights, as enemies of darkness, Sun (Anar) and Moon (in Q) Isil. Anduril means Flame of the West (as a region) not of the Sunset.


Letters Letter 347

Can anyone help on the dwarf names?
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Postby BrianIsSmilingAtYou » Sun Jan 16, 2005 6:08 pm

This is a rather crude cut and paste of the work of Helge Kåre Fauskanger (based on the work of Lisa Star and others in Tyalië Tyelelliéva #4 p.22), on some of the elements of the various dwarf names:

Azanulbizar "Dimrill Dale". In "A Tolkien Compass" p. 182, Tolkien states that "the Common Speech form is an accurate translation: the valley of the dim (overshadowed) rills that ran down the mountainside". See also RS:466: Azanulbizâr "Vale of Dim Streams" with the elements ZN, ûl, bizar (q.v.)
Z-N radicals of words for "dark, dim"
ûl "streams" in Azanulbizar
bizar "dale, valley"

[Does the concept of "radicals" need to be defined? It is a common feature of certain languages, and semitic languages in particular, to which Tolkien gave as comparisons for Khuzdûl.]

Barazinbar "Redhorn", one of the mountains over Moria, Sindarin Caradhras
baraz "?red"
B-R-Z radicals of baraz
inbar "horn"; the radicals are given as M-B-R, note apparent dissimilation mb > nb

Bundushathur "Cloudyhead", one of the mountains above Moria, in Sindarin Fanuidhol; the elements are Bund-u-shathur "Head in/of Clouds".
bund "head"
B-N-D radicals of bund,
-u "in/of"
shathûr "cloud(s)"

Zirak-zigil "Silvertine", one of the mountains over Moria (Sindarin Celebdil).
zirak either "silver" (colour not metal, cf. kibil) or "spike"; see zigil (Perhaps also in Gamil Zirak)
Z-R-K radicals of zirik

zigil either "spike (smaller and more slender than a horn)"; or a word for "silver" - the compound Zirak-zigil is said to mean "Silver-spike", but it is not entirely clear which element means "silver" and which means "spike".
Z-G-L radicals of zigil

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Postby MithLuin » Tue Jan 18, 2005 12:07 pm

but let him not vow to walk in the dark, who has not seen the nightfall

Elrond is clearly reciting a proverb. But, what could the source of it be? The Fellowship is, of course, embarking on an unknown venture, so it makes sense, metaphorically. But proverbs tend to be based on actual (concrete) experiences. So, who has not seen the nightfall?

In Middle Earth, there are some possibilities, though they would be from before the time of Elrond. The elves who enjoyed the light of the Two Trees in Aman never experienced nightfall. Rather, the mingling of the lights of the Trees resulted in times of twilight.
In seven hours the glory of each tree waxed to full and waned again to naught; and each awke once more to life an hour before the other ceased to shine. Thus in Valinor twice every day there came a gentle hour of softer light when both trees were faint and their gold and silver beams were mingled. ... But the light that was spilled from the trees endured long, ere it was taken up into the airs or sank down into the earth; and the dews of Telperion and the rain that fell from Laurelin Varda hoarded in great vats like shining lakes, that were to all the land of the Valar as wells of water and of light. 'Of the Beginning of Days' The Silmarillion

When the Two Trees are destroyed by Melkor, the Silmarillion says "the Valar sat in shadow, for it was night." Thus, the first nightfall in Middle Earth (after the awakening of the Elves) was likely the destruction of the Two Trees. The Noldor who came from Valinor (such as Galadriel) would remember this. Therefore, the proverb about not having seen the nightfall is not as unreasonable as it may sound.

Another possible source for this idea is a short story by George MacDonald call "The Day Boy and the Night Girl". http://www.ccel.org/m/macdonald/daynight/daynight.html
In this story, the boy Photogen is raised so that he never experiences night, and the girl Nycteris is raised so that she never experiences the day. One day at dawn, Photogen sees an animal that flees, and says
``What a coward he must be!'' said Photogen.
``Don't be too sure of that,'' rejoined Fargu. ``He is one of the creatures the sun makes umcomfortable. As soon as the sun is down, he will be brave enough.'

Not surprisingly, the young man decides to slip out at dusk to track the creature (and prove himself):
``Now,'' said Photogen, ``we shall see''; but he said it in the face of a darkness he had not proved. The moment the sun began to sink among the spikes and saw edges, with a kind of sudden flap at his heart a fear inexplicable laid hold of the youth; and as he had never felt anything of the kind before, the very fear itself terrified him. As the sun sank, it rose like the shadow of the world and grew deeper and darker. He could not even think what it might be, so utterly did it enfeeble him. When the last flaming scimitar edge of the sun went out like a lamp, his horror seemed to blossom into very madness. Like the closing lids of an eye -- for there was no twilight, and this night no moon -- the terror and the darkness rushed together, and he knew them for one. He was no longer the man he had known, or rather thought himself. The courage he had had was in no sense his own -- he had only had courage, not been courageous; it had left him, and he could scarcely stand -- certainly not stand straight, for not one of his joints could he make stiff or keep from trembling. He was but a spark of the sun, in himself nothing.


Tolkien was quite familiar with George MacDonald, and referred to his work in On Faerie Stories, but as far as I know, he never referred to this particular story.

Is this an acceptable Annotation, do you think?
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Postby MithLuin » Tue Jan 18, 2005 11:53 pm

roac, Their farewells had been said in the great hall by the fire, and they were only waiting now for Gandalf, who had not yet come out of the house. So, perhaps Arwen had already said good-bye to Aragorn (and Frodo?) and did not choose to come outside in the cold to see them off? Odd, but not completely strange, since Many others of Elrond's household stood in the shadows and watched them go, bidding them farewell with soft voices.

naur en edraith ammen!

This 'word of command' is Sindarin, meaning "fire for saving of us" (according to Ardalambion). Gandalf uses the same word of command later against the Wargs in 'A Journey in the Dark' (p. 291). Gandalf also uses a 'word of command' to try to shut the door of the Chamber of Mazarbul. (See 'The Bridge of Khazad-dum' p. 319)

I will of course let the language experts take over from here...

The Sword of Elendil was forged anew by Elvish smiths, and on its blade was traced a device of seven stars set between the crescent Moon and the rayed Sun, and about them was written many runes; for Aragorn son of Arathorn was going to war upon the marches of Mordor.

The seven stars are from the device of Elendil, which was seven stars about a white tree on a sable field, under a high crown (see 'The Battle of the Pelennor Fields' p. 829). In this case, they are likely used to represent the city of Osgiliath, ('Citadel of the Stars') which lies between Minas Morgul (formerly Minas Ithil 'Tower of the Moon') and Minas Tirith (formerly Minas Anor 'Tower of the Sun'). These were the three main cities of Gondor when Isildur lived. At this time, Minas Morgul has been in the hands of the Enemy for years, and Osgiliath is deserted and a scene of battle (consider Boromir's report to the Council).
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Postby roaccarcsson » Wed Jan 19, 2005 9:34 pm

Aragorn was the tallest of the company, but Boromir, little less in height, was broader and heavier in build.

In the first draft, Boromir was taller than Aragorn:
Boromir was the tallest of the company, being above six feet and very broad-shouldered as well.

HoME v. VII, p. 169.
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Postby roaccarcsson » Thu Jan 20, 2005 1:57 pm

There came a cold clear dawn at the end of a long stumbling night march.

Appendix B gives the date as January 8.

On the third morning Caradhras rose up before them

According to Appendix B, it was the night of January 11/12 that the Fellowshiip spent in the snows of Caradhras.
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Postby Breogan » Fri Jan 21, 2005 5:55 am

Mithluin

naur en edraith ammen!

Actually, it is Naur an edraith ammen.
An is a prep. "for, to, towards", while en is the genitival article.
Yes, it translates as "Fire for (the) saving of us", typical Sindarin construction to express purpose.



~I Elleth e-Noss Faenor~
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Postby rowanberry » Fri Jan 21, 2005 12:04 pm

"That is true," said Legolas. "But the Elves of this land were of a race strange to us of the silvan folk, and the trees and the grass do not now remember them. Only I hear the stones lament them: deep they delved us, fair they wrought us, high they builded us; but they are gone. They are gone. They sought the Havens long ago."

According to the Silmarillion, in the Second Age there was a realm of Noldorin elves in Eregion; the Noldor were skillful in stonework and masonry. There also lived and worked the Gwaith-i-Mírdain, the People of the Jewel-smiths, makers of the Rings of Power; their leader was Celebrimbor, who made the three Elven rings. The settlement was destroyed by Sauron's forces in the war of II 1693-97.

EDIT: In the draft of this chapter in HoME 7, in the first version of these lines Legolas really does mention that the inhabitants of the area were Noldor:

"That is true," said Legolas. "But the Elves of this land were of a strange race, and the spirit that dwells here is alien to me, who am of the woodland folk. Here dwelt Noldor, the Elven-wise, and all the stones cry to me with many voices: they built high towers to heaven, and delved deep to earth, and they are gone. They are gone. They sought the Havens long ago."
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Postby Queen_Beruthiel » Tue Jan 25, 2005 3:22 pm

”The Shire, I forebode, is not now free from peril; and these two [Merry and Pippin] I had thought to send back there as messengers, to do what they could, according to the fashion of their country, to warn the people of their danger.”

Elrond’s words seem to be based on the information Gandalf and the hobbits provide – the Black Riders chasing Frodo and Saruman’s interest in the Shire. But UT provides further information in the chapter: The Hunt for the Ring. From this we hear about the Nazgul attacking the Rangers at Sarn Ford.
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Postby Almatolmen » Thu Jan 27, 2005 9:50 am

Just a word of caution about dates: JRRT used the combination of the number of the month and the date as a basis to translate dates for use in LotR. So, for example, 1 Afteryule (the first month of the year) is translated as January 1. However, in the Appendices , he also notes that the dates converted from Shire Reckoning to Gregorian are different. The converted date for 1 Afteryule is 24 December. As a result, the seeming coincidences of astronomical and of ecclesastical dates (while probably intentional on JRRT's part) is not 'real'. For instance, Bilbo and Frodo's birthdays fall not on 22 September (the translated date), but actually on 14 September!

The Company left Rivendell on 25 Foreyule = 16 December. It reached Hollin on 8 Afteryule = 31 December.
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Postby roaccarcsson » Mon Jan 31, 2005 4:47 pm

Who knows indeed!" said Gandalf. "But there is another way, and not by the pass of Caradhras: the dark and secret way that we have spoken of."

"But let us not speak of it again! Not yet. Say nothing to the others, I beg, not until it is plain that there is no other way."


These speeches are present in almost the same form in the first draft - but there it is Trotter/Aragorn who is urging consideration of the Moria route, and Gandalf who is reluctant. HoME v. VII, p. 168.
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Postby roaccarcsson » Mon Jan 31, 2005 6:14 pm

Can't believe nobody did these yet:

He took from the box a small sword in an old shabby leathern scabbard. then he drew it, and its polished and well-tended blade glittered suddenly, cold and bright. "This is Sting," he said, and thrust it with little effort deep into a wooden beam. "Take it, if you like. I shan't want it again, I expect."

Bilbo obtained Sting from the hoard of the three trolls who were turned to stone by Gandalf in chapter 2 of The Hobbit. Like the swords Orcrist and Glamdring that were found with it, it was subsequently identified by Elrond as having been forged by Elves of the First Age in their hidden city of Gondolin. Bilbo gave it the name "Sting" after using it to kill a giant spider in Mirkwood.

Gandalf bore his staff, but girt at his side was the elven-sword Glamdring, the mate of Orcrist that lay now upon the breast of Thorin under the Lonely Mountain.

In The Hobbit, Glamdring and Orcrist were identified by Elrond, from runes found on the blade, as having been made in Gondolin. (This is an instance in which the Gandalf of TH is a lesser figure than that of LotR; it is hard to imagine the latter as being unable to read any writing that might be found on an Elvish sword.) Elrond translates the names as "Foe-hammer" and "Goblin-cleaver." Glam literally means "noise"; the compound Glamhoth "Din-horde" was an Elvish name for Orcs. See UT, p. 57 n. 18 (1st US paperback).

Glamdring and Orcrist were immediately recognized as "Beater and Biter" by the Goblins who captured Thorin's company in the pass of the Misty Mountains. If this is accepted as credible, it is an argument for the immortality and reincarnation of Orcs.
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Postby Queen_Beruthiel » Tue Feb 01, 2005 4:41 pm

roac you berk ;) I covered Sting a month ago - see my post of 1st Jan (jeez, did I have nothing else to do on New Year's Day? :shock: )
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Postby roaccarcsson » Tue Feb 01, 2005 4:52 pm

And so you did. Sorry, I missed it.
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Postby roaccarcsson » Sun Feb 13, 2005 12:48 pm

Sam eased the pack on his shoulders, and went over anxiously in his mind all the things that he had stowed in it . . . flint and tinder . . .

The most reliable way of making fire without the use of matches (or wizards) is by striking a piece of steel with a pointed chunk of flint or other hard stone. The energy of the impact knocks loose and melts tiny fragments of the steel. These white-hot sparks are directed into a nest of light, dry flammable material called "tinder." (One online source recommends the lint from an electric clothes dryer!) Blowing on the tinder fans it into a flame, which is used to ignite small slivers of wood called "kindling."

Many websites describe the techniques involved - this one is representative:

http://www.northwestjournal.ca/IX3945.htm

But although they had brought wood and kindlings by the advice of Bolomir, it passed the skill of Elf or even Dwarf to strike a flame that would hold amid the swirling wind or carch in the wet fuel.

The skill of Dwarves in fire-making is described in chapter II of The Hobbit, where it is said that "Dwarves can make a fire almost anywhere out of almost anything, wind or no wind . . ." For the techniques involved, see above in this chapter.
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Postby rowanberry » Mon Feb 14, 2005 12:01 pm

flint and tinder

It may well be that the Fellowship (as well as other wanderers in Middle-earth) used pieces of the dried fruiting body of the Hoof Tinder Fungus (Fomes fomentarius) as tinder.
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Postby roaccarcsson » Wed Mar 02, 2005 5:01 pm

At the left of this high range rose three peaks; the tallest and nearest stood up like a tooth tipped with snow; its great, bare, northern precipice was still largely in the shadow, but where the sunlight slanted upon it, it glowed red.

In the first draft of this passage, there was only one peak, "Taragaer or Ruddyhorn." HoME v. VI at p. 419. Tolkien considered several alternatives before settling for the time on this name. Id. at p. 433 n. 11.

Yonder stands Barazinbar, the Redhorn, cruel Caradhras.

In a note dated years after the publication of LotR, Tolkien wrote that "Caradhras seems to have been a great peak tapering upwards (like the Matterhorn) . . ." The Matterhorn is of course the most famous Alpine peak - possibly the most famous mountain anywhere. Tolkien saw it on his youthful hiking expedition to Switzerland (Letter 306, at Letters p. 393). Here is a link to a webcam:

http://bergbahnen.zermatt.ch/e/web-cam/zermatt4.html?4

Tolkien gives the derivation of "Caradhras" in Appendix E, where he says that the sound which he writes "dh"
represents the voiced (soft) th of English these clothes. It is usually related to d, as in S. galadh "tree" compared with Q. alda; but is sometimes derived from n + r, as in Caradhras "Redhorn" from caran-rass.
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Postby wilko185 » Fri Mar 04, 2005 4:48 pm

The implication would seem to be either that Arwen was not present at the Fellowship's departure, or that she was not aware of the condition her father had set for her marriage. Either would seem odd.

But Elrond, too, parted from Arwen (for the last time) in private, and she was not present when Elrond left for Rivendell:
Tolkien wrote:Aragorn and his knights, and the people of Lórien and of Rivendell, made ready to ride; but Faramir and Imrahil remained at Edoras; and Arwen Evenstar remained also, and she said farewell to her brethren. None saw her last meeting with Elrond her father, for they went up into the hills and there spoke long together, and bitter was their parting that should endure beyond the ends of the world.
Perhaps it was somehow unseemly for a lady of her station to say farewell on the doorstep and wave people off on their horses? [ EDIT - in any case, even though Bilbo, Elrond and several of the household do come out to see them off, the narrative also says: Their farewells had been said in the great hall by the fire, and they were only waiting now for Gandalf, who had not yet come out of the house.]



These speeches are present in almost the same form in the first draft - but there it is Trotter/Aragorn who is urging consideration of the Moria route, and Gandalf who is reluctant.

Is there a remnant of this stage, when Frodo infers from the fact that is Gandalf who delivers the verdict of the debate that they must be going via Caradhras?
Tolkien wrote:When they returned to the Company Gandalf spoke, and then he knew that it had been decided to face the weather and the high pass. He was relieved. He could not guess what was the other dark and secret way, but the very mention of it had seemed to fill Aragorn with dismay, and Frodo was glad that it had been abandoned.


When winter first begins to bite
and stones crack in the frosty night,
when pools are black and trees are bare,
'tis evil in the Wild to fare.


Tom Shippey (in The Road to Middle-earth) points out the similarity of this to the opening of 'Winter’s Song' in Love's Labour's Lost Act 5 scene 2:
Shakespeare wrote:When icicles hang by the wall,
And Dick the shepherd blows his nail,
And Tom bears logs into the hall,
And milk comes frozen home in pail
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Postby wilko185 » Sat Mar 05, 2005 6:54 am

'In any case, I judge that the younger of these two, Peregrin Took, should remain. My heart is against his going.'
'Then, Master Elrond, you will have to lock me in prison, or send me home tied in a sack,' said Pippin. 'For otherwise I shall follow the Company.'
'Let it be so then. You shall go,' said Elrond, and he sighed.


According to plot outline notes in HOME7, Tolkien at one time envisaged Pippin not surviving the quest, which may explain Elrond's foreboding here:
Merry, Pippin. They insist on going. [Struck out: Pippin only if Erestor does not go.] Elrond says there may be work in the Shire, and it may prove ill if they all go. Shall Pippin return to the Shire?
If any one of the hobbits is slain it must be the cowardly Pippin doing something brave.


In those last days the hobbits sat together in the evening in the Hall of Fire, and there among many tales they heard told in full the lay of Beren and Lúthien and the winning of the Great Jewel;

Sam later recalls the tale on the Stairs of Cirith Ungol:
'Beren now, he never thought he was going to get that Silmaril from the Iron Crown in Thangorodrim, and yet he did, and that was a worse place and a blacker danger than ours. But that's a long tale, of course, and goes on past the happiness and into grief and beyond it – and the Silmaril went on and came to Eärendil. And why, sir, I never thought of that before! We've got – you've got some of the light of it in that star-glass that the Lady gave you! Why, to think of it, we're in the same tale still! It's going on. Don't the great tales never end?'


'It is miruvor, the cordial of Imladris.'

miruvóre. According to the Eldar, a word derived from the language of the Valar; the name that they gave to the drink poured out at their festivals. Its making and the meaning of its name were not known for certain, but the Eldar believed it to be made from the honey of the undying flowers in the gardens of Yavanna, though it was clear and translucent. [Compare the νέκταρ of the Olympian gods. But the connexion of this word with "honey" is mainly due to modern botanists (though Euripides used νέκταρ μελισσαˆη, "divine drink of bees," as a poetic periphrasis for "honey"). A probable etymological meaning of νέκταρ is "death-defeater." Cf. αμβροσˉία "immortality," the food of the gods.]

- The Road Goes Ever On p.61.


The term occurs in Galadriel's Quenya Námarië lament in 'Farewell to Lórien':
    Yéni ve lintë yuldar avánier
    mi oromardi lisse-miruvóreva
    Andúnë pella,


    The long years have passed like swift draughts of the sweet mead in lofty halls beyond the West,
lisse-miruvōre-va parses as "sweet-nectar-of".


'I have written Gandalf is here in signs that all can read from Rivendell to the mouths of Anduin.'

Gandalf here indicates the current range of his travels. In the Istari chapter in UT Tolkien suggests that in the past Gandalf has travelled as far south as the ancient south boundaries of Gondor, and east as far as Núrnen, but:
his main province was "The North", and within it above all the North-west, Lindon, Eriador, and the Vales of Anduin. His alliance was primarily with Elrond and the northern Dúnedain (Rangers).


'If Gandalf would go before us with a bright flame, he might melt a path for you,' said Legolas. The storm had troubled him little, and he alone of the Company remained still light of heart.

[I thought I could annotate in a quote mentioning that Elves generally endured cold more hardily than did Men. However, I can't find one. Eg, when they are freezing in the Wild, Tuor says to Voronwë: "Fell is this frost, and death draws near to me, if not to you" but that isn't exactly conclusive. The Elves who crossed the Helcaraxë apparently endured because they were new-come from Valinor, not because they were Elves per se. Anyone else?]
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wilko185
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Postby roaccarcsson » Sat Mar 05, 2005 7:23 am

Good stuff.

We have done miruvor in Flight to the Ford - on the assumption that what Glorfindel gave Frodo was the same.

No harm at all in a repetition, but probably a reference to the earler annotaion, raising the questiuon, would be good.
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