Annotated LotR Project - A Journey in the Dark

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Annotated LotR Project - A Journey in the Dark

Postby roaccarcsson » Tue Feb 01, 2005 4:36 pm

Here we go:

It was evening, and the grey light was fading fast, when they halted for the night.

It was the evening of the 12th January.

"The road that I speak of leads to the Mines of Moria," said Gandalf.

No date is given for the establishment of Moria. Durin the Deathless dwelt there in the First Age. After the breaking of Thangorodrim at the end of the FA, many folk from Nogrod and Belegost migrated to Moria and enriched it. This was round about Year 40 of the Second Age. It was the discovery of mithril in Moria which led to some of the Noldor settling in nearby Eregion:

The Noldor were great craftsmen and less unfriendly to the Dwarves than the Sindar; but the friendship that grew up between the people of Durin and the Elven-smiths of Eregion was the closest that there has ever been between the two races. Celembrimbor was Lord of Eregion and the greatest of their craftsmen; he was descended from Feanor.


Here are some extracts from The Tale of Years as they relate to Moria:

Second Age

750 Eregion founded by the Noldor.
1200 Sauron endeavours to seduce the Eldar. Gil-galad refuses to treat with him; but the smiths of Eregion are won over.
c. 1500 The Elven-smiths instructed by Sauron reach the height of their skill. They begin the forging of the Rings of Power.
c. 1590 The Three Rings are completed in Eregion.
c. 1600 Sauron forges the One Ring in Orodruin. He completes the Barad-dur. Celembrimbor perceives the designs of Sauron.
1693 War of the Elves and Sauron begins. The Three Rings are hidden.
1695 Sauron’s forces invade Eriador. Gil-galad sends Elrond to Eregion.
1697 Eregion laid waste. Death of Celebrimbor. The gates of Moria are shut.


Third Age

The power of Moria endured throughout the Dark Years and the dominion of Sauron, for though Eregion was destroyed and the gates of Moria were shut, the halls of Khazad-dum were too deep and strong and filled with a people too numerous and valiant for Sauron to conquer from without. Thus its wealth remained long unravished, though its people began to dwindle.

It came to pass that in the middle of the Third Age Durin was again its king, being the sixth of that name. The power of Sauron, servant of Morgoth, was then again growing in the world, though the Shadow in the Forest that looked towards Moria was not yet known for what it was. All evil things were stirring. The Dwarves delved deep at that time, seeking beneath Barazinbar for mithril, the metal beyond price that was becoming yearly ever harder to win. Thus they roused from sleep a thing of terror that, flying from Thangorodrim, had lain hidden at the foundations of the earth since the coming of the Host of the West: a Balrog of Morgoth. Durin was slain by it, and the year after Nain I, his son; and then the glory of Moria passed, and its people were destroyed or fled far away.


Moria lay empty – save for Orcs and the Balrog – until Balin’s recolonization attempt in 2989, which lasted barely five years.

More on Moria:

In 1967, a reader wrote to Tolkien asking, among other things, whether the name "Moria" was related to Mount Moriah in the Bible - the site of Abraham's aborted sacrifice of his son Isaac in Genesis 22:1-18. Tolkien said in his draft reply:

Internally there is no conceivable connection between the mining of Dwarves, and the story of Abraham. I utterly repudiate any such significances and symbolisms. My mind does not work that way; and (in my view) you are led astray by a purely fortuitous similarity, more obvious in spelling than speech . . .

Letter 297, Letters at p. 383. A few paragraphs later, Tolkien gives the actual origin of the name:
In fact this first appeared in The Hobbit chap. 1. It was there, as I remember, a casual "echo" of Soria Moria Castle in one of the Scandianian tales translated by Dasent. (The tale had no interest for me: I had already forgotten it and have never since looked at it. It was thus merely the source of the sound-sequence moria, which might have been found or composed elsewhere.) I liked the sound-sequence; it alliterated with "mines," and it connected itself with the MOR element in my linguistic construction.


Id. at p. 384. Sir George Webbe Dasent (1817-1896) published a number of translations of works in Old Norse and Norwegian, including a collection of Norwegian folk tales put together by Peter Asbjornsen. "Soria Moria Castle" is one of these; it does contain a magic ring, along with a lot of other common fairy-tale devices. Here is a link to the text:

http://www.mainlesson.com/display.php?author=dasent&book=norse&story=soria

”When you came north, Boromir, you were in the Enemy’s eyes only one stray wanderer from the South and a matter of small concern to him: his mind was busy with the pursuit of the Ring.”

The time scale is covered in UT: The Hunt for the Ring. The dream comes to the brothers of Gondor in June, starting with Faramir on the eve of the assault on 19th June (?) and continuing until Boromir left Minas Tirith on 4th July. Meanwhile, the WiKi had led his companions over the Anduin round about the 1st July, invisible and unmounted. Horses and robes were ferried across the river north of Sarn Gebir and they received these at about 17th July. Having liaised with their companions from Dol Guldur, they set off to seek for the Ring in the area around the Gladden Fields (Gollum had given Sauron false information). It was not until September that Sauron “learned of the words of prophecy heard in Gondor, and the going forth of Boromir…” So Boromir was not harassed on his journey by the servants of the Enemy.

”But you return now as a member of the Ring’s Company, and you are in peril as long as you remain with us.”

Double meaning there.

'I alone of you have ever been in the dungeons of the Dark Lord, and only in his older and lesser dwelling in Dol Guldur.'

From the Tale of Years:
2063 - Gandalf goes to Dol Guldur. Sauron retreats and hides in the East. The Watchful Peace begins. The Nazgûl remain quiet in Minas Morgul.
2850 - Gandalf again enters Dol Guldur, and discovers that its master is indeed Sauron, who is gathering all the Rings and seeking for news of the One, and of Isildur's Heir. He finds Thráin and receives the key of Erebor. Thráin dies in Dol Guldur.


Dol Guldur means "Hill of Sorcery."

Amon Lanc: “Naked Hill”, was the highest point in the high-land at the south-west corner of the Greenwood, and was so called because no trees grew on its summit. In later days it was Dol Guldur, the first stronghold of Sauron after his awakening.


UT: Disaster of the Gladden Fields

It was near Amon Lanc that Isildur’s sons were slain by Orcs in TA 2 and Isildur fled with the Ring to die in the nearby Anduin. Possibly Dol Guldur was built here because of those associations as well as its geographical position?

'If there are Orcs there, it may prove ill for us, that is true. But most of the Orcs of the Misty Mountains were scattered or destroyed in the Battle of Five Armies. The Eagles report that Orcs are gathering again from afar; but there is a hope that Moria is still free.'

In 'The Hunt for the Ring' (Unfinished Tales, Pt 3 Ch 4) Tolkien mentions the servants of Sauron that lurked in Moria at this time, noting that:
These were in fact not very numerous, it would seem; but sufficient to keep any intruders out, if not better armed or prepared than Balin's company, and not in great numbers.


”But most of the Orcs of the Misty Mountains were scattered or destroyed in the Battle of Five Armies.”

TA 2941; see ch. 17 of The Hobbit..

Naur an edraith ammen!

(Lit: [Let there be] fire for saving of us!) (approx. Eng: Let there be fire for our salvation!)

In the previous chapter, Gandalf used this part of the invocation to make fire in the pass of Caradhras.

naur: noun, 'fire' subject of the implied imperative be. From the root √NAR>CE nāre>OS nộr>CS naur
an: preposition, 'to, for', modifying edraith. Root √ANA>OS an>CS an
edraith: noun 'saving' object of an. The origins of this word are unknown, but it is given as edreiþ in MS
ammen: pronoun, 'for us', indirect object, but almost acting as a quasi-genitive here. Compound an+men. An is discussed above and men is from the root √AM>OS ambon- > CS ammen

Naur dan i ngaurhoth!

(Lit: [Let there be] fire against the wolf-horde!) (approx. Eng: Let there be fire against the wargs!)

naur: discussed above
dan: preposition 'against', refers to ngaurhoth. Root √NDAN > OS ndana>CS dan
i: plural definite article 'the', refers to ngaurhoth and causes soft mutation. Root √I > OS i > CS i
ngaurhoth: noun, 'wargs', soft mutation of gaurhoth caused by the article 'i'. This is a karmadharaya compound of gaur 'wolf' and the collective plural suffix hoth 'horde'. Gaur root √ŋGAW > OS ŋgauro > CS gaur. Hoth root √KHOTH>CE kotsē > OS kotte>CS hoth.

"The name of Moria is black."

But Moria is an Elvish name, and given without love; for the Eldar, though they might at need, in their bitter wars with the Dark Power and his servants, contrive fortresses underground, were not dwellers in such places of choice… and Moria in their tongue means the Black Chasm. But the Dwarves themselves, and this name at least was never kept secret, called it Khazadum-dum, the Mansion of the Khazad; for such is their own name for their own race, and has been so, since Aule gave it to them at their making in the deeps of time.


LOTR. Appendix F: The Languages and Peoples of the Third Age

And there the Gate stood once upon a time, the Elven Door at the end of the road from Hollin by which we have come.

Part III of the Index added to the Second Edition provides (under "Elven Door") the information that while the door was made by the Dwarves, the spell that controlled its opening was devised by Celebrimbor. In the first drafts, Moria had two hidden entrances on the west side of the mountains, the other being "the Dwarven-door further south." HoME v. VII at p. 178.

"Dwarf-doors are not made to be seen when shut," said Gimli. "They are invisible, and their own masters cannot find or open them, if their secret is forgotten."

A hidden dwarf door of course figures prominently in The Hobbit, where access to the "side door" into Erebor requires possession of the key combined with a particular astronomical alignment and avio-molluscan interaction. ;)

Here is a secret dwarf-door from Heimskringla, the "History of the Kings of Norway" compiled by the 13th-century Icelander Storri Sturluson. This work begins in legend and progresses to something like real history; this extract is from the first section, the Ynglinga saga, which is pretty much all legend. It is one of a series of brief accounts of kings of Sweden, most of whom perished in unlikely ways:

Swegde took the kingdom after his father, and he made a solemn vow to seek Godheim and Odin. He went with twelve men through the world, and came to Turkland, and the Great Svithiod [Russia], where he found many of his connections. He was five years on this journey; and when he returned home to Sweden he remained there for some time. He had got a wife in Vanheim, who was called Vana, and their son was Vanlande. Swegde went out afterwards to seek again for Godheim, and came to a mansion on the east side of Swithiod called Stein, where there was a stone as big as a large house. In the evening after sunset, as Swegde was going from the drinking-table to his sleeping-room, he cast his eye upon the stone, and saw that a dwarf was sitting under it. Swegde and his man were very drunk, and they ran towards the stone. The dwarf stood in the door, and called to Swegde, and told him to come in, and he should see Odin. Swegde ran into the stone, which instantly closed behind him, and Swegde never came back.


The full text of Heimskringla, in this same mid-19th Century translation by Samuel Laing, is available online in several different places. Here is one:

http://sunsite.berkeley.edu/OMACL/Heimskringla/

At the top, as high as Gandalf could reach, was an arch of interlacing letters in an Elvish character.

The manuscript page containing Tolkien's first sketch of the Door is reproduced on page 182 of The Treason of Isengard (HoME v. VII). In its essentials it is very close to the published version.

In Letter 137, addressed to Rayner Unwin and dated 11 April 1953, the author reported that he had not yet had time to redo the drawing, but promised to do so. He added a footnote:
That is, I will draw it as much better as my little skill allows, in black. But it should of course properly appear in white line on a black background, since it represents a silver line in the darkness. How does that appeal to the Production Department?

Apparently the Production Department was not enthusiastic.

In Letter 139, again addressed to Rayner Unwin and dated 8 August 1953, Tolkien is still promising "to re-draw and improve that and send it along as soon as possible."

Ennyn Durin Aran Moria

Ennyn is the plural of annon, "gate" or "door," according to the regular process of plural formation in Sindarin, which involves systematic changes in the vowels of the word. Annon is well attested, e.g., in Gandalf's incantation a few pages further on; in "Sirannon" "Stream [of the] Gate" earlier in this chapter; and in "Morannon" "Black Gate."

Aran, translated "Lord" here, is the same word translated "King" when applied to the Numenorean rulers. The plural is Erain.

In Tolkien's first sketch, this part of the inscription reads Ennyn Ðurin Aran Vória. The letter "Ð" - "capital edh," used in Old English and Old Norse, and still in modern Icelandic - represents the "voiced th" sound for which Tolkien uses "dh" in LotR. The lowercase letter is "ð."

In Sindarin, as in Welsh, certain grammatical relations are expressed by a phonological process called "mutation" or "lenition," which causes a change in the first consonant of a word. The change of "D" to "Ð" and "M" to "V" seen in the original version of the inscription are examples of this process. When Tolkien was drafting this chapter, his view was that Sindarin - which was then called "Noldorin" - expressed the possessive or genitive relation between two nouns by mutation of the second. Thus, roughly speaking, Ðurin meant "of Durin," and Voria meant "of Moria." Tolkien later changed his mind about this, and so the inscription that appears in FotR shows no mutation.

"And the Star of the House of Fëanor," said Gandalf.

Appendix B states that: "Celebrimbor was Lord of Eregion and the greatest of their craftsmen; he was descended from Fëanor." Tolkien left behind him a manuscript left by his father which deals with the history of Celeborn and Galadriel, and says that it was they who founded Eregion, in about S.A. 700. As summarized by Christopher Tolkien in Unfinished Tales, the document describes Celebrimbor's origins as follows:
Galadriel and Celeborn had in their company a Noldorin craftsman named Celebrimbor. [He is here said to have been one of the survivors of Gondolin, who had been one of Turgon's greatest artificers; but the text is emended to the later story that made him a descendant of Fëanor, as is mentioned in Appendix B to The Lord of the Rings, and more fully detailed in the Silmarillion (pp. 176, 276), where he is said to have been the son of Curufin, the fifth son of Fëanor, who was estranged from his father and remained in Nargothrond when Celegorm and Curufin were driven forth.]

UT at p. 247 (1st US paperback); the square brackets are CT's.

The others swung round and saw the waters of the lake seething, as if a host of snakes were swimming up from the southern end.

"Seethe" is from Old English seoðan "boil." (The adjective "sodden," meaning soaked or saturated, was originally the past participle of this word.)

He is surer of finding the way home in a blind night than the cats of Queen Berúthiel.

Tolkien admitted that at the time when he wrote this line, "Queen Berúthiel" was merely a name. Letters 163, 174, 180. In Letter 174, he claimed that this was the only reference in LotR to something that did not already "exist"; Letter 180 adds to this the names and histories of "the other 2 wizards (5 besides Saruman, Gandalf, Radagast)."

As he did with the "Blue Wizards," the author later remedied the lack of information concerning Queen Berúthiel. In a note to Unfinished Tales, Christopher Tolkien wrote:
Even the story of Queen Berúthiel does exist, however, if only in a very "primitive" outline, in one part illegible. She was the nefarious, solitary, and loveless wife of Tarannon, twelfth King of Gondor (Third Age 830-913), who took the crown in the name of Falastur "Lord of the Coasts," and was the first childless King (The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A I ii and iv). Berúthiel lived in the Queen's House in Osgiliath, hating the sounds and smells of the sea and the house that Tarannon built below Pelargir "upon arches whose feet stood deep in the wide waters of Ethir Anduin"; she hated all making, all colours and elaborate adornment, wearing only black and silver and living in bare chambers, and the gardens of the house in Osgiliath were filled with tormented structures beneath cypresses and yews. She had nine black cats and one white, her slaves, with whom she conversed, or read their memories, setting them to discover all the dark secrets of Gondor, so that she knew those things "that men wish most to keep hidden," setting the white cat to spy upon the black, and tormenting them. No man in Gondor dared touch them; all were afraid of them, and cursed when they saw them pass. What follows is almost wholly illegible in the unique manuscript, except for the ending, which states that her name was erased from the Book of the Kings ("but the memory of men is not wholly shut in books, and the cats of Queen Berúthiel never passed wholly out of men's speech"), and that King Tarannon had her set on a ship alone with her cats and set adrift on the sea before a north wind. The ship was last seen flying past Umbar under a sickle moon, with a cat at the masthead and another as a figure-head on the prow.

UT at p. 419 n. 7.

He felt his heart beat many times before there was any sound. Then far below, as if the stone had fallen into deep water in some cavernous place, there came a plunk, very distant, but magnified and repeated in the hollow shaft.

A well in which the water level was so far below the surface would not be of much use. It is necessary to suppose that something has happened to drain the aquifer into which the well originally tapped. (We know from the cracks encountered by the Fellowship that the rocks within the mountains have shifted since Moria was abandoned.)

and they met no danger, and heard nothing, and saw nothing but the faint gleam of the wizard's light, bobbing like a will-o'-the-wisp in front of them.

A will-o'-the-wisp is a light of mysterious or supernatural origin which leads travelers astray. Such lights are a common theme of folklore, both in Britain and the United States. Here is a site that gives some British examples:

http://www.mysteriousbritain.co.uk/folklore/will_o_the_wisp.html

Another site explains the name as derived from "Will-with-the-wisp" - the wisp being a burning handful of hay. Frodo and Sam encounter actual will-o'-the-wisps [wills-o'-the-wisp?] in the Passage of the Marshes chapter.

they were oppressed by the loneliness and vastness of the dolven halls and endlessly branching stairs and passages.

"Dolven" is the past participle of the Old English verb delfan "to dig." In OE it was spelled dolfen, but "f" was pronounced "v" ("voiced") in the middle of a word. This is one of a numerous class of OE verbs in which the basic stem vowel "e" or "eo" changed to "o" in forming the past participle. A parallel example found in LotR is cleofan "to cleave" > clofen "cloven."

The OED labels the word as obsolete; the last use recorded is dated 1440.

There was a great draught of warmer air behind them

"Draught" is pronounced "draft" in modern English, and is spelled that way in the US. The word is derived from the verb "to draw" (Old English dragan; in OE the word would have been *draht, but it is not actually attested in the surviving texts.

"There must have been a mighty crowd of dwarves here at one time," said Sam; "and every one of them busier than badgers for five hundred years to make all this, and most in hard rock too!"

In English, it is beavers that are proverbially busy. Sam's comparison to badgers, however, is very appropriate to the context. The Eurasian Badger Meles meles lives underground in extended-family groups that may contain fifteen or more of the animals. (The American badger, Taxidea taxus, is solitary.) Their tunnel complexes, called "setts," may be continually occupied by successive badger generations, and grow to be quite large and complex. Here is a site with more information, including pictures:

http://www.users.waitrose.com/~m1ees/badgerhome.htm

Moria was in fact occupied for much longer than five hundred years. It has already been established that Sam is no student of history or geography.

There beryl, pearl and opal pale,
And metal wrought like fishes' mail,
Buckler and corslet, axe and sword,
And shining spears were laid in hoard.


These lines originally appeared in "The Lay of Leithian" as lines 15-18 ("The Lays of Beleriand" p. 189), with one small difference in wording, and a change in final punctuation from a period to an em-dash. In addition, the capitalization follows the grammar, rather than arbitrarily capitalizing each line (This may not be Tolkien's change, but a change due the typesetting):

There beryl, pearl and opal pale,
and metal wrought like fishes' mail,
buckler and corslet, axe and sword,
and gleaming spears were laid in hoard--


The lines appear in "The Lay of Leithian (Recommenced)" as well, as lines 21-24 p. 395, with small changes to capitalization (There/there) and punctuation from an m-dash to a colon (--/: ) only:

there beryl, pearl and opal pale,
and metal wrought like fishes' mail,
buckler and corslet, axe and sword,
and gleaming spears were laid in hoard:


There are two possible ways to look at this.

1) Tolkien liked the lines, and included them in Gimli's song in LOTR since he saw little chance of seeing the Lay published.

2) The use (or borrowing) of lines is a common thing in literary traditions, especially oral traditions, since certain sets of words can act as formulas to aid the bard/speaker. Tolkien was conscious of this and included the lines in both places in light of this tradition.

Viewpoint 1 is probably not very controversial. Viewpoint 2 is speculation. However, it should be noted that the "recommenced" version of the Lay was begun after LOTR was completed. Christopher Tolkien notes in "The Lays of Beleriand" p394:

It is clear then that a new start on the Lay of Leithian was one of the first things that he turned to when theThe Lord of the Rings was complete.


The inclusion of the lines in LOTR clearly makes them "canon", no matter how one would wish to construe the term.

The fact that Tolkien clearly intended to include them in the Lay, even in its new form, is thus quite telling.

Another related change has to due with C.S. Lewis' criticism of the Lay.

Lewis had criticized the B(1) text of the Lay of Leithian and had suggested some changes which included:

And in his many-pillared house

Tolkien took this suggestion and included a slightly modified version in the B(2) text as line 14, immediately preceding the previously examined lines:

in many-pillared halls of stone

This appears in Gimli's song as line 18, with the only change being initial capitalization as noted above.

In many-pillared halls of stone

Christopher Tolkien writes in "The Lays of Beleriand", p375-376:

It seems virtually certain that it was Lewis's criticism that led my father to rewrite the opening (the B[2] text, p. 189). If the amber chessman and ivory mice found no place in the new version, it is notable that in Lewis's lines occur the words 'And in his many-pillared house'. These are not derived from the B(1) text which Lewis read, but in B(2) appears the line (14) in many-pillared halls of stone. It seems then that Durin's many-pillared halls in Gimli's song in Moria were originally so called by C.S. Lewis, thinking of the halls of Thingol in Doriath.


For here alone in the world was found Moria-silver, or true-silver as some have called it: mithril is the Elvish name.

From Unfinished Tales we find that this was not completely true; mithril had also been found in Númenor. In The Disaster of Gladden Fields (on Page 359 in the HarperCollins 1998 paperback edition), the Elendilmir is described as the white star of Elvish crystal upon a fillet of mithril that had descended from Silmarien to Elendil, and had been taken by him as the token of royalty in the North Kingdom. In Note 32, which refers to this part of the text, it says:

For that metal was found in Númenor. [Author's note.] - In "The Line of Elros" (p.286) Tar-Telemmaitë, the fifteenth Ruler of Númenor, is said to have been called so (i.e. "silver-handed") because of his love of silver, "and he bade his servants to seek ever for mithril." But Gandalf said that mithril was found in Moria "alone in the world" (The Fellowship of the Ring II 4).


The Dwarves tell no tale; but even as mithril was the foundation of their wealth, so also it was their destruction: they delved too greedily and too deep, and disturbed that from which they fled, Durin's Bane.

"Durin's Bane" is discussed at length below. According to Appendix B, Durin VI was slain by it in T.A. 1980, and his son Náin I the next year, after which the Dwarves abandoned Moria.

This is the great realm and city of the Dwarrowdelf.

"Dwarrowdelf" means "dwarf-excavation"; this is a straight translation of "Khazad-dûm."

"Dwarrow" is the regular Middle English development of the Old English word for "dwarf.' which was dweorh. ("Barrow" is derived from OE beorh by the same phonetic processes. "Delf" is OE delf. (In Old English "f" was pronounced "v" (voiced) at the end of a word; but we know from recordings that Tolkien made that OE words are to be pronounced as though they were modern English.) Tolkien wrote in Appendix F:

It may be observed that in this book as in The Hobbit the form dwarves is used, although the dictionaries tell us that the plural of dwarf is dwarves. It should be dwarrows (or dwerrows), if singular and plural had each gone its own way down the years, as have man and men, or goose and geese. But we no longer speak of a dwarf as often as we do of a man, or even of a goose, and memories have not been fresh enough among men to keep hold of a special plural for a race now abandoned to folk-stories, where at least a shadow of truth is preserved, or at last to nonsense-stories in which they have become mere figures fo fun. But in the Third Age something of their old character and power is still glimpsed, if already a little dimmed; these are the descendants of the Naugrim of the Elder Days, in whose hearts burns still the ancient fire of Aulë the Smith, and the embers smoulder of their long grudge against the Elves; and in whose hands still lives the skill in works of stone that none have surpassed.

It is to mark this that I have ventured to use the form dwarves, and so remove them a little, perhaps, from the sillier tales of these latter days. Dwarrows would have been better; but I have used that form only in the name Dwarrowdelf, to represent the name of Moria in the Common Speech: Phurunargian. For that meant "Dwarf-delving" and yet was already a word of antique form. But Moria is an Elvish name, and given without love; for the Eldar, though they might at need, in their bitter wars with the Dark Power and his servants, contrive fortresses underground, were not dwellers in such places of choice. They were lovers of the green earth and the lights of heaven; and Moria in their tongue means the Black Chasm. But the Dwarves themselves, and this name at least was never kept secret, called it Khazad-dûm, the Mansion of the Khazad; for such is their own name for their own race, and has been so, since Aulë gave it to them at their making in the deeps of time.


Buckler and corslet, axe and sword

A buckler is a small round shield. One online dictionary gives this etymology: "Middle English bokeler, from Old French bouclier, from boucle, "boss on a shield, from Latin buccula, diminutive of bucca, "cheek."

A corslet (sometimes spelled "corselet") is any suit or piece of armor that protects the upper body (from Old French cors, < Latin corpus.

Its beauty was like to that of common silver, but the beauty of mithril did not tarnish or grow dim.

Metallic silver reacts with sulfur-containing compounds in the air to form a black surface layer of silver sulfide; this is "tarnish" (the word is used both as a noun and a verb).

"These are Daeron's Runes, such as were used of old in Moria," said Gandalf. "Here is written in the tongues of Men and Dwarves:
]BALIN SON OF FUNDIN
LORD OF MORIA"


In the earliest sketch of this passage, the name of Balin's father is given as "Burin." HoME v. VI at p. 443. As Christopher Tolkien points out (id. at 444), this is odd since Balin's father's name has already been given as Fundin in chapter 15 of The Hobbit, where Roac the raven addresses "Thorin son of Thráin, and Balin son of Fundin." Tolkien made the correction in the first complete draft (HoME v. VII at p. 186).

"Fundin," like most of Tolkien's Dwarf-names, comes from the Dvergatal, the "catalogue of dwarves" found in the Old Norse mythological poem called the Völuspá or "Prophecy of the Seeress."

http://members.iquest.net/~chaviland/Voluspa.htm

The Dwarvish text transliterates as: Balin Fundinul Uzbad Khazaddûmu. It isn't told anywhere in the published LOTR, but in HoME 7 (The Treason of Isengard): The Mines of Moria (1): The Lord of Moria.

In Appendix F of the LOTR, it is said about the Dwarves that

Their own secret and "inner" names, their true names, the Dwarves have never revealed to any one of alien race. Not even on their tombs do they inscribe them.


This is not the "real" tomb inscription, of course:

In consequence such names as Balin, etc. would not have appeared in any contemporary inscription using actual Khuzdul.
(...)
[My father's point was that Balin and Fundin are actual Old Norse names used as "translations" for the purpose of The Lord of the Rings. What he should have done in a visual representation of the tomb-inscription was to use, not of course their "inner" names in Khuzdul, but their real "outer" names which in the text are represented by Balin and Fundin.] (HoME 12, Of Dwarves and Men)
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Postby roaccarcsson » Tue Feb 01, 2005 4:41 pm

Reserved.
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Postby roaccarcsson » Tue Feb 01, 2005 4:42 pm

Reserved.
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Postby Queen_Beruthiel » Tue Feb 01, 2005 5:10 pm

Damn! I wanted to do my namesake.

I should have been quicker off the mark! :angry: ;)
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Postby roaccarcsson » Tue Feb 01, 2005 9:04 pm

Oh, crud, now I feel guilty.

I can edit her out of my post if you want. Or you can add more commentary. Perhaps an essay on "Queen Beruthiel- Was she history's first Goth?"
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Postby scirocco » Wed Feb 02, 2005 6:07 am

In the wavering firelight Gandalf seemed suddenly to grow: he rose up, a great menacing shape like the monument of some ancient king of stone set upon a hill. Stooping like a cloud, he lifted a burning branch and strode to meet the wolves. They gave back before him. High in the air he tossed the blazing brand. It flared with a sudden white radiance like lightning; and his voice rolled like thunder.
`Naur an edraith ammen! Naur dan i ngaurhoth!' he cried....


The phrase Naur an edraith ammen! seems to be Gandalf's standard wizard's invocation associated with the spontaneous combustion of wood. He uses the same phrase when lighting the faggot of wood in the snow on Caradhras in The Ring Goes South. It can be translated literally as: 'fire be for saving of us'. (Reference: HoME VII, The Ring Goes South.)

(roacc, you might want to save this for the actual Ring Goes South chapter which is where it first appears. It doesn't work too badly here, though.)
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Postby Queen_Beruthiel » Wed Feb 02, 2005 2:44 pm

I think she was just misunderstood....

OK here we go - quiet day at work.

It was evening…

Of the 12th January.

”When you came north, Boromir, you were in the Enemy’s eyes only one stray wanderer from the South and a matter of small concern to him: his mind was busy with the pursuit of the Ring.”

The time scale is covered in UT: The Hunt for the Ring. The dream comes to the brothers of Gondor in June, starting with Faramir on the eve of the assault on 19th June (?) and continuing until Boromir left Minas Tirith on 4th July. Meanwhile, the WiKi had led his companions over the Anduin round about the 1st July, invisible and unmounted. Horses and robes were ferried across the river north of Sarn Gebir and they received these at about 17th July. Having liaised with their companions from Dol Guldur, they set off to seek for the Ring in the area around the Gladden Fields (Gollum had given Sauron false information). It was not until September that Sauron “learned of the words of prophecy heard in Gondor, and the going forth of Boromir…” So Boromir was not harassed on his journey by the servants of the Enemy.

”But you return now as a member of the Ring’s Company, and you are in peril as long as you remain with us.”

Double meaning there.

Dol Guldur

Hill of Sorcery

Amon Lanc: “Naked Hill”, was the highest point in the high-land at the south-west corner of the Greenwood, and was so called because no trees grew on its summit. In later days it was Dol Guldur, the first stronghold of Sauron after his awakening.


UT: Disaster of the Gladden Fields

It was near Amon Lanc that Isildur’s sons were slain by Orcs in TA 2 and Isildur fled with the Ring to die in the nearby Anduin. Possibly Dol Guldur was built here because of those associations as well as its geographical position?

”But most of the Orcs of the Misty Mountains were scattered or destroyed in the Battle of Five Armies.”

TA 2941.

”Yet it will not be the first time that I have been to Moria. I sought there long for Thrain son of Thror after he was lost.”

But it was in Dol Guldur that Gandalf actually finds Thrain, although he did not realise it at the time:

… Thrain and Thorin Oakenshield dwelt in the Ered Luin, but in the year 2841 Thrain set out from there to return to the Lonely Mountain. While wandering in the lands east of Anduin he was captured and imprisoned in Dol Guldur, where the ring was taken from him. In 2850 Gandalf entered Dol Guldur and discovered that its master was indeed Sauron; and there he came upon Thrain before he died.


Another version has Gandalf narrate the tale in more detail to Frodo et al in Minas Tirith after the coronation of King Elessar.

”I remembered a dangerous journey of mine, ninety-one years before, when I had entered Dol Guldur in disguise, and had found there an unhappy Dwarf dying in the pits. I had no idea who he was.”


Much later Gandalf pieced it all together and realised that this was Thrain.

UT: The Quest of Erebor

Yet Frodo began to hear, or to imagine that he heard, something else: like the faint fall of soft bare feet.

Gollum of course. Sauron had attempted to either recapture or kill Gollum, who, however, had escaped from Thranduil’s realm on about 20th June. Pursued by both Orcs and Elves he swam across the Anduin and hid in Moria during the autumn. He probably intended to use Moria as a secret passage westward under the mountains to find the Shire, but became trapped. He must have lurked there for some time so the arrival of the Company of the Ring was a stroke of good fortune for him.

UT: The Hunt for the Ring

I, Narvi, made them. Celebrimbor of Hollin drew these signs

Narvi was a Dwarf of Khazad-dum; his fate is unknown. Celebrimbor, Hand of Silver was an elven-smith of Eregion, maker of the Three. He was killed by Sauron in SA 1697 and his body, pierced with arrows, was impaled on a pike and carried at the head of Sauron’s army as a banner.

The doors of Moria are a symbol of the unusual friendship between elves and dwarves at the time of the forging of the Great Rings.

The Sil, UT
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Postby roaccarcsson » Wed Feb 02, 2005 4:35 pm

Scirocco, thanks, but this has been covered in the "Ring Goes South" thread. There is such a thread though it doesn't show up in the sticky thread with the links. That hasn't been updated since Romestamo disappeared - the rest of us are waiting and hoping he will come back. (All the links are in 404-land at the moment, anyway.)

"Dwarf-doors are not made to be seen when shut," said Gimli. "They are invisible, and their own masters cannot find or open them, if their secret is forgotten."

A hidden dwarf door of course figures prominently in The Hobbit, where access to the "side door" into Erebor requires possession of the key combined with a particular astronomical alignment and avio-molluscan interaction. ;)

Here is a secret dwarf-door from Heimskringla, the "History of the Kings of Norway" compiled by the 13th-century Icelander Storri Sturluson. This work begins in legend and progresses to something like real history; this extract is from the first section, the Ynglinga saga, which is pretty much all legend. It is one of a series of brief accounts of kings of Sweden, most of whom perished in unlikely ways:

Swegde took the kingdom after his father, and he made a solemn vow to seek Godheim and Odin. He went with twelve men through the world, and came to Turkland, and the Great Svithiod [Russia], where he found many of his connections. He was five years on this journey; and when he returned home to Sweden he remained there for some time. He had got a wife in Vanheim, who was called Vana, and their son was Vanlande. Swegde went out afterwards to seek again for Godheim, and came to a mansion on the east side of Swithiod called Stein, where there was a stone as big as a large house. In the evening after sunset, as Swegde was going from the drinking-table to his sleeping-room, he cast his eye upon the stone, and saw that a dwarf was sitting under it. Swegde and his man were very drunk, and they ran towards the stone. The dwarf stood in the door, and called to Swegde, and told him to come in, and he should see Odin. Swegde ran into the stone, which instantly closed behind him, and Swegde never came back.


The full text of Heimskringla, in this same mid-19th Century translation by Samuel Laing, is available online in several different places. Here is one:

http://sunsite.berkeley.edu/OMACL/Heimskringla/
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Postby roaccarcsson » Thu Feb 03, 2005 6:34 pm

The others swung round and saw the waters of the lake seething, as if a host of snakes were swimming up from the southern end.

"Seethe" is from Old English seoðan "boil." (The adjective "sodden," meaning soaked or saturated, was originally the past participle of this word.)

and they met no danger, and heard nothing, and saw nothing but the faint gleam of the wizard's light, bobbing like a will-o'-the-wisp in front of them.

A will-o'-the-wisp is a light of mysterious or supernatural origin which leads travelers astray. Such lights are a common theme of folklore, both in Britain and the United States. Here is a site that gives some British examples:

http://www.mysteriousbritain.co.uk/folklore/will_o_the_wisp.html

Another site explains the name as derived from "Will-with-the-wisp" - the wisp being a burning handful of hay. Frodo and Sam encounter actual will-o'-the-wisps [wills-o'-the-wisp?] in the Passage of the Marshes chapter.

[A personal note, not for inclusion in the annotation: The story referenced in the link about the blacksmith rejected by both Heaven and Hell, who ends up wandering the countryside with a coal of fire given him by the Devil, is recorded from many places in the US. A few years ago, I had the pleasure of playing the title character in an Appalachian version ("Wicked John the Blacksmith, the Meanest Man in the World") in a stage show.]

they were oppressed by the loneliness and vastness of the dolven halls and endlessly branching stairs and passages.

"Dolven" is the past participle of the Old English verb delfan "to dig." In OE it was spelled dolfen, but "f" was pronounced "v" ("voiced") in the middle of a word. This is one of a numerous class of OE verbs in which the basic stem vowel "e" or "eo" changed to "o" in forming the past participle. A parallel example found in LotR is cleofan "to cleave" > clofen "cloven."

The OED labels the word as obsolete; the last use recorded is dated 1440.

"There must have been a mighty crowd of dwarves here at one time," said Sam; "and every one of them busier than badgers for five hundred years to make all this, and most in hard rock too!"

In English, it is beavers that are proverbially busy. Sam's comparison to badgers, however, is very appropriate to the context. The Eurasian Badger Meles meles lives underground in extended-family groups that may contain fifteen or more of the animals. (The American badger, Taxidea taxus, is solitary.) Their tunnel complexes, called "setts," may be continually occupied by successive badger generations, and grow to be quite large and complex. Here is a site with more information, including pictures:

http://www.users.waitrose.com/~m1ees/badgerhome.htm

Moria was in fact occupied for much longer than five hundred years. It has already been established that Sam is no student of history or geography.

The Dwarves tell no tale; but even as mithril was the foundation of their wealth, so also it was their destruction: they delved too greedily and too deep, and disturbed that from which they fled, Durin's Bane.

"Durin's Bane" is discussed at length below. According to Appendix B, Durin VI was slain by it in T.A. 1890, and his son Náin I the next year, after which the Dwarves abandoned Moria.
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Postby Silverfoot » Thu Feb 03, 2005 10:22 pm

'I too once passed the Dimrill Gate,' said Aragorn quietly, 'but though I also came out again, the memory is very evil. I do not wish to enter Moria a second time.

The Dimrill Gate is the "gate" through the mountains via the Dimrill Dale and Moria, and not the actual gate to the mines, since the pass over Caradhras (Redhorn) is called the Redhorn Gate, and there is no actual gate there. Dimrill Dale is a valley between three mountains: Silvertine, Cloudyhead, and Redhorn.

(source: www.tuckborough.net )

Aragorn does not seem to have information about Balin's failed attempt to recolonize Moria. Therefore, he presumably travelled through Moria sometime between 2951, the year his journeys began, and 2989, the year Balin entered Moria. We know that he did not travel with Gandalf on his previous trip through Moria, as he says in this chapter, "I have been with him on many a journey, if never on one so dark" --assuming Aragorn means the darkness literally and not metaphorically.

(I couldn't find any definite information about Aragorn's previous trip through Moria, but I'm hardly a Tolkien scholar, so obviously correct me if I'm wrong!)
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Postby roaccarcsson » Fri Feb 04, 2005 6:51 am

No stain yet on the Moon was seen

According to the Silmarillion, the Sun and Moon were created by the Valar to replace the Two Trees destroyed by Morgoth. The Sun was steered by the maiden Arien, and the Moon by the hunter Tilion. However,

Tilion was wayward and uncertain, and ever tried to near Arien in her splendor, though it scorched him and the island of the moon was darker.


The Silmarillion, "Of the Sun and Moon and the Darkening of Valinor", p. 100, 2nd edition, trade paperback.

This is the origin of the dark markings on the face of the Moon. Varda prevented a recurrence by adjusting the parths of Sun and Moon so that they would not approach so closely, thus creating the present alternation of day and night.

(Thanks to Brian_Is_Smiling_At_You for the reference.)
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Postby scirocco » Fri Feb 04, 2005 7:53 am

I have a suggestion about the "stain on the Moon" reference.

Gimli's whole poem is significant, because it so completely contradicts what we read in the Silmarillion. Durin awakening under the Moon? Surely the Dwarves were around for many thousands of years before the Noldor returned to Middle-earth and the Moon and Sun were created. What's going on?

What's going on is that JRRT, by the time he wrote LOTR, had pretty much decided that the making of the Moon and Sun could not be as per the Silmarillion, and that they had been around since the beginning of time:

The making of the Sun after the Death of the Trees is not only impossible 'mythology' now — especially since the Valar must be supposed to know the truth about the structure of Ea (and not make mythical guesses like Men) and to have communicated this to the Eldar (and so to Numenoreans!) - it is also impossible chronologically in the Narrative.

HoME X, Sun The Trees Silmarils


So if the Silmarillion Moon and Sun creation stories were not true, what were they?

It is now clear to me that in any case the Mythology must actually be a 'Mannish' affair. (Men are really only interested in Men and in Men's ideas and visions.) The High Eldar living and being tutored by the demiurgic beings must have known, or at least their writers and loremasters must have known, the 'truth'...

HoME X, Myths Transformed


My point is, that if we're going to introduce Silmarillion tales into a LOTR annotation, let's at least give them the right framework, i.e present them how JRRT wanted to see them, as legends, and not as is done in the Sil, as "true" stories.

I would suggest revising the annotation along these lines:

No stain yet on the Moon was seen...

Among the creation myths of the ignorant and un-tutored Men of Middle-earth, is the tale told in the Silmarillion, of the darkening of the Moon:

Tilion was wayward and uncertain, and ever tried to near Arien in her splendor, though it scorched him and the island of the moon was darker...

The Silmarillion, Of the Sun and Moon and the Darkening of Valinor, p. 100, 2nd edition, trade paperback.


This legend of the origin of the dark markings on the face of the Moon, tells how Varda prevented a recurrence by adjusting the paths of Sun and Moon so that they would not approach so closely, thus creating the present alternation of day and night.
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Postby Queen_Beruthiel » Mon Feb 07, 2005 3:58 pm

"The name of Moria is black."

But Moria is an Elvish name, and given without love; for the Eldar, though they might at need, in their bitter wars with the Dark Power and his servants, contrive fortresses underground, were not dwellers in such places of choice… and Moria in their tongue means the Black Chasm. But the Dwarves themselves, and this name at least was never kept secret, called it Khazadum-dum, the Mansion of the Khazad; for such is their own name for their own race, and has been so, since Aule gave it to them at their making in the deeps of time.


LOTR. Appendix F: The Languages and Peoples of the Third Age
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Postby roaccarcsson » Mon Feb 07, 2005 4:40 pm

"And the Star of the House of Fëanor," said Gandalf.

Appendix B states that: "Celebrimbor was Lord of Eregion and the greatest of their craftsmen; he was descended from Fëanor." Tolkien left behind him a manuscript left by his father which deals with the history of Celeborn and Galadriel, and says that it was they who founded Eregion, in about S.A. 700. As summarized by Christopher Tolkien in Unfinished Tales, the document describes Celebrimbor's origins as follows:
Galadriel and Celeborn had in their company a Noldorin craftsman named Celebrimbor. [He is here said to have been one of the survivors of Gondolin, who had been one of Turgon's greatest artificers; but the text is emended to the later story that made him a descendant of Fëanor, as is mentioned in Appendix B to The Lord of the Rings, and more fully detailed in the Silmarillion (pp. 176, 276), where he is said to have been the son of Curufin, the fifth son of Fëanor, who was estranged from his father and remained in Nargothrond when Celegorm and Curufin were driven forth.]

UT at p. 247 (1st US paperback); the square brackets are CT's.
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Postby Queen_Beruthiel » Tue Feb 08, 2005 2:52 pm

I never spotted this before. There is a strong hint that Galadriel, with her usual foresight, selected Eregion because of its proximity to Moria:

Celeborn and Galadriel therefore went eastwards, about the year 700 of the Second Age, and established the (primarily but by no means solely) Noldorin realm of Eregion. It may be that Galadriel chose it because she knew of the Dwarves of Khazad-dum (Moria).... In any case, Galadriel was more far-sighted in this than Celeborn; and she perceived from the beginning that Middle-earth could not be saved from "the residue of evil" that Morgoth had left behind him save by a union of all the peoples who were in their way and in their measure opposed to him. She looked upon the Dwarves also with the eye of a commander, seeing in them the finest warriors to pit against the Orcs. Moreover Galadriel was a Noldo, and she had a natural sympathy with their minds and their passionate love of crafts of hand...


UT: History of Galadriel and Celeborn
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Postby roaccarcsson » Tue Feb 08, 2005 4:06 pm

Yes. I was reading that yesterday myself.

I decided the best place for it would be in the next chapter. During Gladys's Gracious Hostess moment.
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Postby Queen_Beruthiel » Wed Feb 09, 2005 3:53 pm

OK.

I'll add some more Moria stuff tomorrow.
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Postby roaccarcsson » Thu Feb 10, 2005 4:21 pm

He felt his heart beat many times before there was any sound. Then far below, as if the stone had fallen into deep water in some cavernous place, there came a plunk, very distant, but magnified and repeated in the hollow shaft.

A well in which the water level was so far below the surface would not be of much use. It is necessary to suppose that something has happened to drain the aquifer into which the well originally tapped. (We know from the cracks encountered by the Fellowship that the rocks within the mountains have shifted since Moria was abandoned.)
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Postby Idhren » Thu Feb 10, 2005 6:45 pm

A slight addition to scirocco's post:

Naur an edraith ammen! (Lit: [Let there be] fire for saving of us!) (approx. Eng: Let there be fire for our salvation!)

naur: noun, 'fire' subject of the implied imperative be. From the root √NAR > CE nāre > OS nộr >CS naur
an: preposition, 'to, for', modifying edraith. Root √ANA > OS an > CS an
edraith: noun 'saving' object of an. The origins of this word are unknown, but it is given as edreiþ in MS
ammen: pronoun, 'for us', indirect object, but almost acting as a quasi-genitive here. Compound an+men. An is discussed above and men is from the root √AM > OS ambon- > CS ammen

Naur dan i ngaurhoth! (Lit: [Let there be] fire against the wolf-horde!) (approx. Eng: Let there be fire against the wargs!)

naur: discussed above
dan: preposition 'against', refers to ngaurhoth. Root √NDAN>OS ndana>CS dan
i: plural definite article 'the', refers to ngaurhoth and causes soft mutation. Root √I > OS i > CS i
ngaurhoth: noun, 'wargs', soft mutation of gaurhoth caused by the article 'i'. This is a karmadharaya compound of gaur 'wolf' and the collective plural suffix hoth 'horde'. Gaur root √ŋGAW > OS ŋgauro > CS gaur. Hoth root √KHOTH > CE kotsē > OS kotte > CS hoth.
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Postby roaccarcsson » Thu Feb 10, 2005 7:23 pm

Thanks. I have edited this in - but I would be very grateful if this could be expanded a little for the non-specialist.

I Googled "karmadharaya," but I don't think many of our readers will.
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Postby Idhren » Fri Feb 11, 2005 9:25 am

I noticed that some of my symbols turned into emoticons. I have edited them out of my post, but there is still one in your post.

A karmadharaya compound is a compound where the first element is used adjectivally or in apposition to qualifying the second element. English examples would be blackbird and girlfriend. Hope that helps.
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Postby MithLuin » Fri Feb 11, 2005 12:59 pm

A few comments:

Durin's Bane appeared in Moria in TA 1980, not in TA 1890. I assume that was merely a typo, but I wanted to point it out anyway ;). (Though it is of course not nearly as bad as my typo of Gimli's age being 39 years (rather than 139 years) in the Council of Elrond thread ;) ). The correct date is given in Appendix B.

Also, I'm fairly certain that Tolkien translates ngaur as 'werewolf', not as 'wolf'. Cf. the "Isle of Werewolves" when Sauron took Finrod's fortress. The only use of the word 'werewolf' in LotR occurs when Gandalf tells Frodo about Sauron's forces in 'Many Meetings'. But the wolves that attack the Fellowship are not normal wolves, and Gandalf knows this (hence his comment 'it is as I feared. These were no ordinary wolves hunting for food in the wilderness.' But I am not a language expert, and will certainly defer to what is here for the translation. Just allow me to add the annotation below!

'It is as I feared,' said Gandalf. 'These were no ordinary wolves hunting for food in the wilderness.

Gandalf's previous suspicions were revealed when he addressed the leader as 'Hound of Sauron' and when he used the incantation 'Naur dan i ngaurhoth!'. Boromir and Aragorn were earlier discussing Wargs, which are large wolves who cooperate with the orcs of the Misty Mountains. Wargs may have some fantastical characteristics (they appear intelligent and have their own language in The Hobbit), but are for the most part meant to be normal beasts.

The wolves who attacked the Fellowship were clearly not. Their bodies vanished, leaving behind the arrows. They have more in common with the Ringwraiths, who can also loose physical form. These beasts may properly be called 'werewolves', though they are not the same as werewolves in popular folklore. Gandalf tells Frodo:
'There are orcs and trolls, there are wargs and werewolves; and there have been and still are many Men, warriors and kings, that walk alive under the Sun, and yet are under his sway.' 'Many Meetings'

The parallel structure does not necessitate that wargs and werewolves are different creatures, but they most likely are (orcs and trolls certainly are). These werewolves are NOT men who transform into wolves on the full moon. Rather, they are wolves who have been possessed by an evil spirit. While it is possible that the spirit is that of a deceased elf or man, it is not necessary or even likely. Sauron, as the Necromancer, has powers that enable him to command such servants.

During the First Age, Sauron was Lord of Werewolves and had many such servants at his fortress. These wolves, including Drauglin Father of Werewolves, were killed by the hound Huan.

Those who pass the gates of Barad-dur do not return.

Save one. Gollum was taken to Barad-dur, and questioned by Sauron himself, but later 'escaped.' Though he may think he escaped, he was certainly let go with Sauron's full knowledge. Gandalf is, of course, referring to spies infiltrating the Dark Tower, not prisoners or slaves being taken there.
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Postby Idhren » Fri Feb 11, 2005 5:27 pm

Mithluin: The Sindarin word gaur can be translated as either wolf or werewolf. In the chapter, four paragraphs above the one containing Gandalf's incantation, it says that the wolves are wargs which is how I translated it. If they were indeed werewolves, then I can change my translation.

BTW, while the information about wargs in the Hobbit may be useful, I wouldn't base any definite opinions on it, since the Hobbit and LotR were created with two different motives and at different times, and Tolkien's views on them may have changed. Of course, you have obviously researched the topic more that I have, but I just thought I would point it out.
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Postby Queen_Beruthiel » Mon Feb 14, 2005 11:54 am

”These are Daeron’s Runes, such as were used of old in Moria.”

As far as writing is concerned, the Tengwar or ‘letters’ was devised for writing with brush or pen, while Cirth, translated as ‘runes’ was used for inscriptions, such as Balin’s tomb.

The Cirth were devised in Beleriand by the Sindar, spread eastwards gradually and were adopted by various other peoples, even Orcs. Daeron, the minstrel and lore-master of Thingol of Doriath, devised the most advanced form of the Cirth. The Elves of Eregion used it and passed it on to Moria.

Hence in later times it was often called Angerthas Moria or the Long Rune-rows of Moria.


More detailed information is given:

LOTR: Appendix E: Pronunciation of Words and Names

Lots more too (more than you might want!) in Home VII.
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Postby Queen_Beruthiel » Mon Feb 14, 2005 11:56 am

A potted history of Moria....

No date is given for the establishment of Moria. Durin the Deathless dwelt there in the First Age. After the breaking of Thangorodrim at the end of the FA, many folk from Nogrod and Belegost migrated to Moria and enriched it. This was round about Year 40 of the Second Age. It was the discovery of mithril in Moria which led to some of the Noldor settling in nearby Eregion:

The Noldor were great craftsmen and less unfriendly to the Dwarves than the Sindar; but the friendship that grew up between the people of Durin and the Elven-smiths of Eregion was the closest that there has ever been between the two races. Celembrimbor was Lord of Eregion and the greatest of their craftsmen; he was descended from Feanor.


Here are some extracts from The Tale of Years as they relate to Moria:

Second Age

750 Eregion founded by the Noldor.
1200 Sauron endeavours to seduce the Eldar. Gil-galad refuses to treat with him; but the smiths of Eregion are won over.
c. 1500 The Elven-smiths instructed by Sauron reach the height of their skill. They begin the forging of the Rings of Power.
c. 1590 The Three Rings are completed in Eregion.
c. 1600 Sauron forges the One Ring in Orodruin. He completes the Barad-dur. Celembrimbor perceives the designs of Sauron.
1693 War of the Elves and Sauron begins. The Three Rings are hidden.
1695 Sauron’s forces invade Eriador. Gil-galad sends Elrond to Eregion.
1697 Eregion laid waste. Death of Celebrimbor. The gates of Moria are shut.


Third Age

The power of Moria endured throughout the Dark Years and the dominion of Sauron, for though Eregion was destroyed and the gates of Moria were shut, the halls of Khazad-dum were too deep and strong and filled with a people too numerous and valiant for Sauron to conquer from without. Thus its wealth remained long unravished, though its people began to dwindle.

It came to pass that in the middle of the Third Age Durin was again its king, being the sixth of that name. The power of Sauron, servant of Morgoth, was then again growing in the world, though the Shadow in the Forest that looked towards Moria was not yet known for what it was. All evil things were stirring. The Dwarves delved deep at that time, seeking beneath Barazinbar for mithril, the metal beyond price that was becoming yearly ever harder to win. Thus they roused from sleep a thing of terror that, flying from Thangorodrim, had lain hidden at the foundations of the earth since the coming of the Host of the West: a Balrog of Morgoth. Durin was slain by it, and the year after Nain I, his son; and then the glory of Moria passed, and its people were destroyed or fled far away.


Moria lay empty – save for Orcs and the Balrog – until Balin’s recolonization attempt in 2989, which lasted barely five years.
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Postby roaccarcsson » Wed Feb 23, 2005 6:20 pm

If you wish to know, I will tell you that these doors open outwards. From the inside you may thrust them open with your hands.

In a manuscript published in Unfinished Tales, Tolkien qualified this statement:

According to the Dwarves this needed usually the thrust of two; only a very strong Dwarf could open them single-handed. Before the desertion of Moria doorwards were kept inside the West-gate, and one at least was always there. In this way a single person (and so any intruder or person trying to escape) could not get out without permission.


UT, p. 369 n. 12.

<add to note on Gollum's first appearance>

After the publication of LotR, Tolkien wrote a fuller account of Gollum's journeys after his escape from Mirkwood:

It seems clear that pursued both by Elves and Orcs Gollum crossed the Anduin, probably by swimming, and so eluded the hunt of Sauron; but being still hunted by Elves, and not yet daring to pass near Lórien (only the lure of the Ring itself made him dare to do this afterwards) he hid himself in Moria. That was probably in the autumn of the year; after which all trace of him was lost.

What then happened to Gollum cannot of course be known for certain. He was peculiarly fitted to survive in such straits, though at cost of great misery; but he was in peril of discovery by the servants of Sauron that lurked in Moria, especially as such bare necessity of food as he must have he could only get by thieving dangerously. No doubt he had intended to use Moria merely as a secret passage westward, his purpose being to find "Shire" himself as quickly as he could; but he became lost, and it was a very long time before he found his way about. It thus seems probable that he had not long made his way towards the West-gate when the Nine Walkers arrived. He knew nothing, of course, about the action of the doors. To him they would seem huge and immovable; and though they had no lock or bar and opened outward on a thrust, he did not discover that. In any case he was now far away from any source of food, for the Orcs were mostly in the East-end of Moria, and was become weak and desperate, so that even if he had known all about the doors he could not have thrust them open. It was thus a piece of singular good fortune for Gollum that the Nine Walkers arrived when they did.

Unfinished Tales, "The Hunt for the Ring," pp. 360-61 (1st US paperback).
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Postby Kurufinwë » Thu Feb 24, 2005 2:25 am

‘Dwarf-doors are not made to be seen when shut,’ said Gimli. ‘They are invisible, and their own masters cannot find them or open them, if their secret is forgotten.’

What Tolkien had actually written was ‘makers’, which was transcribed erroneously as ‘masters’ in the first typescript of the text; this mistake was perpetuated in the first and second editions of The Fellowship of the Ring.
[could someone who owns the 50th anniversary edition check whether it has been corrected there?]

the outline could be seen of an anvil and a hammer surmounted by a crown with seven stars

According to the Index, the stars represent the Plough.

‘The Dwarves tell no tale; but even as mithril was the foundation of their wealth, so also it was their destruction: they delved too greedily and too deep, and disturbed that from which they fled, Durin’s Bane.’

It is not exactly clear what Gandalf knew, or guessed, about Durin’s Bane. Christopher Tolkien argued (The Treason of Isengard, pp.185-189) that, when the idea that the Dwarves brought their own misfortune upon themselves by delving too deep arose, the idea that a Balrog was now prowling the mines was also in his father’s mind, but that he had probably not yet connected those two ideas together (the coming of the Balrog to Moria was supposed to have happened at a later stage). Therefore, in the draft written during this period, Gandalf says the same words as in the final text, except that he does not mention Durin’s Bane and therefore seems to be unaware the exact reason for the Dwarves’ flight.
Christopher Tolkien further comments: [In the published text, Gandalf] says that the Dwarves fled from Durin’s Bane; but when the Balrog appeared, and Gimli cried out “Durin’s Bane”, he muttered: “A Balrog! Now I understand.” [...] What did Gandalf mean? That he understood now that the being that had entered the Chamber of Marzabul and striven with him for mastery through the closed door was a Balrog? Or that he understood at last what it was that had destroyed Durin? Perhaps he meant both; for if he had known what Durin’s Bane was, would he not have surmised, with horror, what was on the other side of the door?’

Bilbo had a corset of mithril-rings that Thorin gave him.

This is where Tolkien decided that Bilbo’s mailcoat was actually made of mithril. He later corrected the previous chapters, and eventually chapter XIII of The Hobbit, to reflect this new conception.
Last edited by Kurufinwë on Fri Feb 25, 2005 10:23 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby rowanberry » Thu Feb 24, 2005 11:24 am

For here alone in the world was found Moria-silver, or true-silver as some have called it: mithril is the Elvish name.

From Unfinished Tales we find that this was not completely true; mithril had also been found in Númenor. In The Disaster of Gladden Fields (on Page 359 in the HarperCollins 1998 paperback edition), the Elendilmir is described as the white star of Elvish crystal upon a fillet of mithril that had descended from Silmarien to Elendil, and had been taken by him as the token of royalty in the North Kingdom. In Note 32, which refers to this part of the text, it says:

For that metal was found in Númenor. [Author's note.] - In "The Line of Elros" (p.286) Tar-Telemmaitë, the fifteenth Ruler of Númenor, is said to have been called so (i.e. "silver-handed") because of his love of silver, "and he bade his servants to seek ever for mithril." But Gandalf said that mithril was found in Moria "alone in the world" (The Fellowship of the Ring II 4).
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Postby rowanberry » Fri Feb 25, 2005 9:18 am

"These are Daeron's Runes, such as were used of old in Moria," said Gandalf. "Here is written in the tongues of Men and Dwarves:
Balin son of Fundin
Lord of Moria."


The Dwarvish text translitterates as: Balin Fundinul Uzbad Khazaddûmu. It isn't told anywhere in the published LOTR, but in HoME 7 (The Treason of Isengard): The Mines of Moria (1): The Lord of Moria.

In Appendix F of the LOTR, it is said about the Dwarves that

Their own secret and "inner" names, their true names, the Dwarves have never revealed to any one of alien race. Not even on their tombs do they inscribe them.


There is an inconsistency in the presentation of the tomb inscription, though:

In consequence such names as Balin, etc. would not have appeared in any contemporary inscription using actual Khuzdul.
(...)
[My father's point was that Balin and Fundin are actual Old Norse names used as "translations" for the purpose of The Lord of the Rings. What he should have done in a visual representation of the tomb-inscription was to use, not of course their "inner" names in Khuzdul, but their real "outer" names which in the text are represented by Balin and Fundin.] (HoME 12, Of Dwarves and Men)
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Postby Kurufinwë » Fri Feb 25, 2005 10:26 am

I spent some time reflecting on the question of the Moon and I am not certain that I find scirocco’s annotation fully satisfying, as it seems to me that it misses the important point, namely that Gimli’s song is inconsistent with either version of the mythology.
I therefore offer a third version of this annotation for consideration:

No stain yet on the Moon was seen...

This seems to contradict Tolkien’s conceptions as to the making of the Moon, as they stood at the time of the writing of this chapter: according to those conceptions (similar to those appearing in the published Silmarillion), the Dwarves had awoken before the Moon was created.
When he returned to The Lord of the Rings in the 1960s to prepare the second edition (which left Gimli’s song unmodified), Tolkien’s views on the question had changed (cf. Morgoth’s Ring, ‘Myths transformed’, texts I-V), but the song was still inconsistent with them: the Moon had now been created, and stained, long before the awakening of the Dwarves.
It seems therefore that the dwarven myths regarding the Moon, its stains, and Durin’s awakening differed from the elven ones. What those dwarven myths were, Tolkien never told.

[of course, it is possible that ‘no stain yet on the Moon was seen’ was a poetic (and rather contrived) way of saying ‘before the creation of the Moon’ (referring to the old ideas) and that Tolkien just forgot to correct it in the second edition, even though we know he made one such correction for the third edition of The Hobbit at about the same time – but this all seems rather unlikely to me and needs probably not be mentioned]
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