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Old 08-26-2015, 05:52 PM   #1
Arvegil145
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Question Obscure Tolkien Characters

Hello!

I have recently been rereading HoME, and two passages from The Lays of Beleriand caught my attention. First one, from The Lay of the Children of Hrin:

"There wondrous wove he words of sharpness,
and the names of knives and Gnomish blades
he uttered o'er it: even Ogbar's spear
and the glaive of Gaurin whose gleaming stroke
did rive the rocks of Rodrim's hall;
the sword of Saithnar, and the silver blades
of the enchanted children of chains forgd
in their deep dungeon; the dirk of Nargil,
the knife of the North in Nogrod smithied;
the sweeping sickle of the slashing tempest,
the lambent lightning's leaping falchion
even Celeg Aithorn that shall cleave the world."


And the second one, from The Lay of Leithian:

"...of steel and torment. Names she sought,
and sang of Glend the sword of Nan;
of Gilim the giant of Eruman;
and last and longest..."


Does anyone have any idea of what be those names: Ogbar, Nargil, Gaurin, Rodrim, Saithnar, Celeg Aithorn, Glend, Nan, Gilim?

I mean, what are your thoughts on who these characters and items might be? Are they simply random names Tolkien created without any substance, or do you think there might be more to them?

I am aware that the names of the giants Gilim and Nan might be more metaphorical, in that they are representations of winter and summer respectively. But Ogbar, Nargil, etc. I simply cannot shoehorn into any specific category of races, peoples, items, ...

Any thoughts?
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Old 08-26-2015, 06:10 PM   #2
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Brilliant thread!

Alliteration plays a part in the choice of letters, of course, but I don't think Tolkien was generally random in his choices. Or something might come to him randomly, perhaps, but then I think he once said/wrote that he would then 'find out' what it meant ... perhaps like when he wrote down 'In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit' (of which he later said 'I did not and do not know why.') Christopher Tolkien said on the Film Portrait Of JRR Tolkien that when his father wanted a word, he wouldn't just select a collection of letters that appealed to him, he would think what that word would be, then work out the sound-changes it would undergo through time.

But regarding placing the names you cite above in a people or culture, I can't think of anything specific for the moment, except that Ogbar is ringing vague Old English bells for me ... but that might simply be due to the nature of the verse, the fact that he has a spear, the mention of all the weapons, the violent verbs and the reference to a hall ... all of which make me think of Beowulf.
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Old 08-26-2015, 08:01 PM   #3
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Alliteration is a factor in the choosing of the names of course, but it's rare for Tolkien to use broken references that are TRULY broken. I mean, whenever he mentions certain characters, items, events, etc. fleetingly without any other mention of them inside a text, there is almost always something written about them outside of the text in which they are mentioned, or at least he has an idea inside his head to what those names should refer to.

For example, when Elrond mentions Hador, Trin and Beren in The Lord of the Rings the reader doesn't know (at least those readers before The Silmarillion was published back in 1977) anything about who these characters were, yet since the name of Beren, for example, hales all the way back to The Book of Lost Tales, written many decades before The Lord of the Rings was published, the character of Beren is very much present, and fleshed out in Tolkien's mind.

The names I mentioned in the original post are, as far as I can remember, the only such cases in his writings. Naturally, considering their only appearance is in the form of a name invoked in a spell, nothing for certain can be told about who and what they might be, but speculate we can.

You brought an interesting point about the etymology, too. As languages are not my forte, I cannot say much in that respect.

All replies are more than welcome!
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Old 08-27-2015, 06:31 AM   #4
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I can't remember which of the Lays of Beleriand Tolkien actually finished (if any). Could it simply be that he ended up changing the names later when he wrote the stories in prose form (where/if certain versions of the tales in prose were written after the verse ones) and never went back to finish the verse, so those names didn't end up having a proper backstory? Do any of the above names have sort of 'equivalent' characters in other versions of the tale?
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Old 08-27-2015, 07:56 PM   #5
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Remember however that a great deal of the "history" was a later ret-con; when Tolkien wrote Chapter II he had no idea what Gil-Galad's story was (and never really wrote any more of it than what Gandalf says there, and Sam's fragment of a poem); the cats of Queen Beruthiel were finally explained- in Tolkien's own mind - long years after the writing of the Moria chapter where Aragorn mentions them.

It's kind of remarkable to think that when Tolkien finished the main narrative of the LR, hardly any of the history even of the Third Age yet existed.
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Old 08-27-2015, 10:40 PM   #6
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Remember however that a great deal of the "history" was a later ret-con; when Tolkien wrote Chapter II he had no idea what Gil-Galad's story was (and never really wrote any more of it than what Gandalf says there, and Sam's fragment of a poem); the cats of Queen Beruthiel were finally explained- in Tolkien's own mind - long years after the writing of the Moria chapter where Aragorn mentions them.

It's kind of remarkable to think that when Tolkien finished the main narrative of the LR, hardly any of the history even of the Third Age yet existed.
I know. But it is also pretty rare for Tolkien to not develop a character that was previously barely mentioned. The cats of Queen Berthiel are a good example of a concept that prior to its mention in the LOTR didn't really have much (read: not at all) substance to it until some time later. Of course, one could argue that The Lord of the Rings, being published and read widely across the world, would give a bit of a motivation in developing a background to the character of Berthiel, for example.

Another character that comes to my mind at this very moment is Torhir Ifant, the author of Dorgannas Iaur, mentioned in The War of the Jewels, but he at least has some semblance of background to him.
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Old 08-27-2015, 11:04 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Pervinca Took View Post
I can't remember which of the Lays of Beleriand Tolkien actually finished (if any). Could it simply be that he ended up changing the names later when he wrote the stories in prose form (where/if certain versions of the tales in prose were written after the verse ones) and never went back to finish the verse, so those names didn't end up having a proper backstory? Do any of the above names have sort of 'equivalent' characters in other versions of the tale?
As far as I am aware, no lay of Beleriand (or 99% of stories he has written, for that matter) was ever finished. One of the most frustrating experiences that happens time and time again while reading Tolkien, is his tendency to develop a certain story, in great detail, and break it off at the most inappropriate place in the narrative - for instance, The Lay of Leithian goes all the way up to the escape of Beren and Lthien from Angband and their encounter with Carcharoth - you get immersed in a story, wonder what will happen next, and what do you get? An eternal cliffhanger! Of course, there are other, more complete (if brief), versions of the same story; but if you're not lucky enough to own all twelve volumes of HoME, you're in for a threat. But I digress...

As for the 'equivalent' characters...well...I don't know. I wouldn't really wager that Ogbar's spear is Aeglos, and that Ogbar is an alter-ego of Gil-galad, but there was an interesting theory I heard somewhere (I can't remember where) concerning Celeg Aithorn, the legendary sword mentioned in the Lay of the Children of Hrin. It states that it is not an actual sword, but rather a lightning, wielded by Manw. A bit too deep in the crackpot zone for my taste, but hey, something's better than nothing.
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Old 09-03-2015, 12:18 AM   #8
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Nan is mentioned in Christopher Tolkien's commentary to the Tale of Beren and Luthien in the Book of Lost Tales. He is described as a "summer giant" in the shape of an elm.
Notes at the end of the BOLT suggest Earendil was supposed to meet "tree giants" during his journey, (which was supposed to be an epic odyssey including many fantastical concepts that never were mentioned again and leading to him battling Ungoliant before finally finding Valinor.

The whole thing sounds like proto-Ents.

The Rodrim was the name of the inhabitants of Nargothrond in "Turamba and the Fealoke" that as before Nargothrond itself had a name.

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Old 09-08-2015, 10:02 PM   #9
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Quote:
The Rodrim was the name of the inhabitants of Nargothrond in "Turamba and the Fealoke" that as before Nargothrond itself had a name.

Good catch. But the name of the inhabitants of Nargothrond was rodothlim as far as I can remember.

On the other hand, Tolkien did change, for example, Gondothlim to Gondolindrim, and since the Lays postdate the Lost Tales, it could be that he changed Rodothlim to Rodrim (like Gondothlim to Gondolindrim)



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Nan is mentioned in Christopher Tolkien's commentary to the Tale of Beren and Luthien in the Book of Lost Tales. He is described as a "summer giant" in the shape of an elm.
Could Nan and Gilim be ents? (though I'm not really sure that an ent would need a sword (Glend))
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Old 09-09-2015, 07:06 AM   #10
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Problem there is that the LTs' primitive "caves of the Rodothlim" evolved in the Turin poem into the great fortress of Nargothrond, a new conception with a new name; Rodothlim or variants thereof disappeared. I would use Nargothrim.

(the element (g)rod (from *groto "cave, tunnel") survived into late Sindarin, as in Nogrod and Menegroth, but I doubt generic "cave-dwellers" would have been applied to Finrod's folk).
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Old 09-09-2015, 07:54 AM   #11
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I think Halbarad got a bad break. One of those characters you'd wish to know more about.
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Old 09-09-2015, 07:58 AM   #12
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Problem there is that the LTs' primitive "caves of the Rodothlim" evolved in the Turin poem into the great fortress of Nargothrond, a new conception with a new name; Rodothlim or variants thereof disappeared. I would use Nargothrim.

(the element (g)rod (from *groto "cave, tunnel") survived into late Sindarin, as in Nogrod and Menegroth, but I doubt generic "cave-dwellers" would have been applied to Finrod's folk).
I think you misunderstood my point. I was replying to the previous post which said that the name "Rodrim" applies to the inhabitants of Nargothrond (in the earlier stages of writing). I simply corrected the mistake.

But while we're at it - the names "Rodothlim" and "Rodrim" bear a remarkable similarity - one would even think that the name "Rodrim" replaced that of "Rodothlim" at that stage of the writing (or maybe Tolkien was playing with the idea, although I've found no mention of any of the names in the "whetting spell" of Beleg, as CT remarks also).

Again - I noticed the similarity between "gondothLIM" and "rodothLIM" AND "gondolindRIM" and "rodRIM" - last parts of the names indicate belonging to a certain place, city, region, etc.

There is one more thing:

Quote:
and the glaive of Gaurin whose gleaming stroke
did rive the rocks of Rodrim's hall;
This passages strikes me in one peculiar way: Rodrim's halls. Admittedly Rodrim COULD simply be a character, BUT...It could also refer to a people as a hole.




P.S. Well, I don't want to sound as a narcissistic buffoon, but who ever knows about Ogbar, Celeg Aithorn, Torhir Ifant, etc. I think one could safely (relatively) assume that he's head is buried under a pile of Tolkien related books.
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Old 09-09-2015, 09:26 AM   #13
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I think Halbarad got a bad break. One of those characters you'd wish to know more about.
Certainly. Halbarad was to me one of the most valiant and obscure characters in the LOTR. Strange that he was never mentioned in The Song of the Mounds of Mundburg".

Additionally, the savior of the world receives little to no mention - Borondir - The Rider of Last Hope - without him Sauron would have surely prevailed.


Tal-Elmar is an interesting character too, as well as Borlas and Saelon in "The New Shadow"

Bladorthin I don't have to even mentioned.
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Old 09-09-2015, 10:59 AM   #14
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Most likely Tolkien simply replaced the early collective-plural ending -thlim with -rim, -drim (*rimbe, 'host, folk'). The latter of course is very familiar: Rohirrim, Onodrim, Haradrim etc etc.
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Old 09-10-2015, 03:21 AM   #15
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Most likely Tolkien simply replaced the early collective-plural ending -thlim with -rim, -drim (*rimbe, 'host, folk'). The latter of course is very familiar: Rohirrim, Onodrim, Haradrim etc etc.
Yes, indeed, -(d)rim was a relatively late change in the context of a group of people.

I'm not sure when did he introduce that change, but in any case the Lays are from the twenties (later than BoLT). It might be that at that time he introduce the change, though I have to look on the texts to be sure.
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Old 09-10-2015, 03:47 AM   #16
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Another thing crossed my mind.

Who are the Ythlings from Aelfwine of England in The Book of Lost Tales: Part II

They have always puzzled me!

Where are they: the Azores, Madeira, Jan Mayen, Iceland, Bermuda, somewhere inside the confines of the Guarded Realm???

More importantly: WHO THE HELL are they? Men, Elves, Dwarves, Ainur, something else...Hobbits? I can't wrap my mind to it.
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Old 09-10-2015, 08:22 AM   #17
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Another thing: may hap Ogbar, Saithnar, Nargil, Rodrim and Gaurin are the names of PLACES instead of characters?
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Old 09-12-2015, 12:11 PM   #18
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Good catch. But the name of the inhabitants of Nargothrond was rodothlim as far as I can remember.

On the other hand, Tolkien did change, for example, Gondothlim to Gondolindrim, and since the Lays postdate the Lost Tales, it could be that he changed Rodothlim to Rodrim (like Gondothlim to Gondolindrim)


Could Nan and Gilim be ents? (though I'm not really sure that an ent would need a sword (Glend))
You are right! I recited from memory and got it a bit wrong, still it could be a temporary name for the people of Nargothrond...or even for the dwarves?

Id oubt Nan and Gilim are Ents. The Ents were only invented when Tolkien wrote the LOTR. That's why I wrote proto-Ents and even here I made a little mistake. I miss-remembered Earendil meeting "tree people" and "Nan the summer giant who is like an elm" as Earendil meeting "tree giants and Nan, who is like an elm"
So Earendil met Tree People, not Tree Giants


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Another thing: may hap Ogbar, Saithnar, Nargil, Rodrim and Gaurin are the names of PLACES instead of characters?
True! We should like open a thread in Middle Earth mirth were we brainstorm theories about these names and how to fit them into the later mythology.
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Old 09-13-2015, 10:59 AM   #19
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You are right! I recited from memory and got it a bit wrong, still it could be a temporary name for the people of Nargothrond...or even for the dwarves?

Id oubt Nan and Gilim are Ents. The Ents were only invented when Tolkien wrote the LOTR. That's why I wrote proto-Ents and even here I made a little mistake. I miss-remembered Earendil meeting "tree people" and "Nan the summer giant who is like an elm" as Earendil meeting "tree giants and Nan, who is like an elm"
So Earendil met Tree People, not Tree Giants




True! We should like open a thread in Middle Earth mirth were we brainstorm theories about these names and how to fit them into the later mythology.
I realize that the Ents are a later concept, but I was simply trying to weld earlier ideas with the later ones.


And besides, we are already brainstorming theories here.
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Old 09-16-2015, 10:05 PM   #20
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1420!

Hahahahahaha....I just thought of Tim, the "nuncle" of Tom Bombadil, lol.
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Old 09-16-2015, 10:07 PM   #21
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And what about The Hunter (or The Rider) from the legends of the early days of the Quendi - kidnapping them and taking them to Utumno. Who might be those?

And Gostir, a dragon never again mentioned by Tolkien?
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Old 04-09-2019, 04:53 AM   #22
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I love this thread. In true me-fashion, I think the names in Beleg's spell are worthy of an etymological attack.
  • 'Ogbar's spear'. From the 'knives and Gnomish blades' description, we can assume Ogbar is a Noldo (since a spear isn't a knife). Oeg- is a Noldorin word meaning 'sharp' - it's the direct precursor to 'Aeg' as in Aeglos. -bar could be Gnomish -bar, 'dweller', but might make more sense as barc, 'dread/terror'; I think this would become mbarc through lenition, and Oegmbarc would become Oengbar(c), and then contract further to Ogbar. 'Sharp dread' would be a lovely name for a spear - but the line is clear that it's the holder.
  • 'the glaive of Gaurin whose gleaming stroke did rive the rocks of Rodrim's hall'. A glaive is a polearm, pretty much a sword stuck on the end of a spear. 'Gaur' immediately jumps out - it's Noldorin for 'werewolf'. That -in suffix seems to be an adjective, so the name comes out as 'Warglike' - this sounds like a personal name for a Noldo warrior (since it's still a 'Gnomish blade'). As for Rodrim, '-rim' is usually the collective plural, meaning it certainly looks like the name of a people. Notably, there is a Gnomish word 'rodrin', 'cavern'; 'cave-people' seems a pretty obvious reading, and it does look like a variant on 'Rodothlim'. Or... is it the end of 'Thangorodrim'? Wolfesque the Valinorean warrior attacking the walls of Angband with a pointy stick has a certain appeal...
  • 'the sword of Saithnar'. Another Noldo by implication; the name starts with the Gnomish for 'hunger', and I would suspect the ending of being 'naur' ('fire' in Noldorin and Sindarin, or 'snarl' in Gnomish). Either 'consuming flame' or 'ravening grin' works as a... you know, honestly, these names all sound more Orcish than Noldor. Are the 'Gnomish blades' actually blades made by the slave-Gnomes for Morgoth's army?
  • 'the silver blades of the enchanted children of chains forgd in their deep dungeon'. Oh look, the 'Gnomish blades' are made by slave-Gnomes for Morgoth's army. ^_^ No Elves would keep 'enchanted children' chained in a deep dungeon; that is a clear reference to Morgoth. Treebeard says 'Eldest of all, the elf-children', so it's entirely possible Beleg just means elves.
  • the dirk of Nargil, the knife of the North in Nogrod smithied'. And just as we get proof that these swords and things aren't all in the hands of Good, we get one which sounds very familiar. 'The knife of the North in Nogrod smithied'? Surely this is none other than Angrist, the blade of Curufin! It could be contracted from Noldorin naur+geil -> naurceil -> narcil, meaning 'burning star' - thunderbolt iron, perhaps? In this case 'of' would just be denoting the name of the blade. (Note that Angrist doesn't appear in the Tale of Tinuviel - Beren just uses a kitchen knife. It shows up in the Lay of Leithian, but doesn't appear to be named. This may well be Tolkien's first attempt to pin a name to it.)
  • 'the sweeping sickle of the slashing tempest, the lambent lightning's leaping falchion even Celeg Aithorn that shall cleave the world'. I love this line. 'Celeg Aithorn' is clearly the name of the blade (a falchion is a one-handed sword, basically an elegant machete); 'Celeg' is Noldorin 'swift', but also Gnomish 'glass'; 'Aithorn' is obviously derived from 'thorn', eagle, and could use Gnomish 'aith', which literally means 'sword'. 'Crystal Blade of Eagles' is a wonderful Gnomish name for a holy weapon, and definitely evokes Manwe, just as the storm imagery does. The only issue is that... well, Manwe destroying the world doesn't fit with Middle-earth at all.
  • 'Glend the sword of Nan; of Gilim the giant of Eruman'. Arvegil already highlighted that these may be seasonal entities, and Christopher Tolkien wrote of them: "Gilim in the Gnomish dictionary means 'winter', which does not seem particularly appropriate: though a jotting, very difficult to read, in the little notebook used for memoranda in connection with the Lost Tales seems to say that Nan was a 'giant of summer of the South', and that he was like an elm." So like the dwarven incarnations of time (Danuin, Ranuin, and Fanuin), perhaps they're exactly what they sound like. 'Nan' in Gnomish... well, it means 'mother', but 'Nand' means 'field', which would make a certain sense for a Summer entity. Noldorin is even better, giving us 'Nann', 'wide grassland'. CT connects 'Glend' to Gnomish 'glen, glent', which connote slenderness. It's interesting to note that 'Geluim', a direct relation of 'Gilim', is listed in the index to the Lost Tales as a name of Melkor, 'when exercising his opposite functions of extreme cold'.
  • Torhir Ifant, author of Dorgannas Iaur, which we might call the 'Description of the Lands of Beleriand'. 'Ifant' is a Noldorin word for 'elderly', and Noldorin also gives us 'Tor', brother, and 'tortha', 'to control'. To get a lenited h, you need to start with S, and 'sir' immediately evokes the words for rivers. Perhaps some variant on 'Rivermaster' could translate Torhir, which would probably place him at Eithel Sirion or Nargothrond (the two places with obvious needs for water control). Either of these would be ideal locations for someone working on an atlas. (To slip into fanon for a moment... if he was a Nargothrond elf, he could conceivably have made it to the Havens of Sirion, and still been there when Pengolodh arrived from Gondolin. Scholar team-up!)

So what have we learnt? Well... I think I'm onto something with Narcil = Angrist, and the idea that the first few swords are evil blades rings true (Luthien invokes Draugluin and Glaurung in her spell, so there's precedent). Other than that, probably not a whole lot. But it was fun!*

hS

*For me, at least. ^_^
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Old 04-10-2019, 02:19 PM   #23
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Celeg Aithorn: Is it realy not fitting the legends of Middle-earth that Manws sword shall cleave the world? Four quotes come to mind that at least would hint in the same direction: The first pair are from a relative late sources. Unfinished Tales; Part Four; Chapter II: The Istari:
Quote:
... Manw will not descend from the Mountain until Dagor Dagorath, and the coming of the End, when Melkor returns.
So at least Manw is involved in that battle that will make an End to the World.
HoME; volume 10: Morgoths Ring; Part Five: Myths Transformed:
Quote:
But in this way Morgoth lost (or exchanged, or transmuted) the greater part of his original 'angelic' powers, of mind and spirit, while gaining a terrible grip upon the physical world. For this reason he had to be fought, mainly by physical force, and enormous material ruin was a probable consequence of any direct combat with him, victorious or otherwise. Morgoth's vast power was disseminated. The whole of 'Middle-earth' was Morgoth's Ring, though temporarily his attention was mainly upon the North-west. Unless swiftly successful, War against him might well end in reducing all Middle-earth to chaos, possibly even all Arda. But the
dilemma of the Valar was this: Arda could only be liberated by a physical battle; but a probable result of such a battle was the irretrievable ruin of Arda. Moreover, the final eradication of Sauron (as a power directing evil) was achievable by the destruction of the Ring. No such eradication of Morgoth was possible, since this required the complete disintegration of the 'matter' of Arda.
So if Manw was to win Dagor Dagorath, he had to destroy Middle-earth.
But with my next pair I will open an alternative in which still the world is destroyed by Manws sword but not by him:
HoME; volume 1: The Book of Lost Tales, part 1; Chapter VIII: The Tale of the Sun and Moon:
Quote:
So shall it be that Fionwe Urion, son of Manwe, of love for Urwendi shall in the end be Melko's bane, and shall destroy the world to destroy his foe, and so shall all things then be rolled away.
Here it is Finowe son of Manwe, who later became Eonwe Herald of Manwe, who does destroy the world to bring an End to Melkor.
And even so I know well that the combination of source so fare separated in the time of composition is critical, none the less we hear about that selfsame character in a late source. HoME; volume 11: The War of the Jewels; Part Two: The Later Quenta Silmarillion; The Last Chapters:
Quote:
Then the host of the Valar prepared for battle, and the captain of their host was Fionw son of Manw.
which was later changed to:
Quote:
... Enw to whom Manw gave his sword.
So Enw had already once wielded the sword of Manw in a fight against the forces of Melkor, why shouldnt he do that again in the last Battle? And as said above, if Melkor is to be beaten entirely that means cleaving the world.

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Old 04-11-2019, 06:19 AM   #24
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And even so I know well that the combination of source so fare separated in the time of composition is critical, none the less we hear about that selfsame character in a late source. HoME; volume 11: The War of the Jewels; Part Two: The Later Quenta Silmarillion; The Last Chapters:

Quote:
Then the host of the Valar prepared for battle, and the captain of their host was Fionw son of Manw.
which was later changed to:

Quote:
... Enw to whom Manw gave his sword.
So Enw had already once wielded the sword of Manw in a fight against the forces of Melkor, why shouldnt he do that again in the last Battle? And as said above, if Melkor is to be beaten entirely that means cleaving the world.
WHOA WHOA WAIT WHAT?! Manwe having a sword is actually confirmed?!

I take all my doubts back. Celeg Aithorn is the Sword of Manwe, and with it the Elder King will at the last bring Arda to its doom.

If we translate the name into late Sindarin, we get something close to 'Heledh Aethorn'; there's no direct cognate to 'aith', but it's related to the various words for sharpness that end up as 'aeg'. The example of Heledh+morn -> Helevorn tells us that consonants can drop out when compounds are formed, and 'Aegthorn' would definitely offend the elven lmatyv sensibilities.

The Quenya form of the name, which does have a direct descendent of 'aith', would be 'Calca Ectesorno'. It's worth noting that aith/eket are etymologically related to thorns and other sharp points; the most poetic English name for this blade would be the Crystal Talon.

hS
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Old 05-02-2019, 12:44 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by Arvegil145 View Post
Hello!

I have recently been rereading HoME, and two passages from The Lays of Beleriand caught my attention. First one, from The Lay of the Children of Hrin:

"There wondrous wove he words of sharpness,
and the names of knives and Gnomish blades
he uttered o'er it: even Ogbar's spear
and the glaive of Gaurin whose gleaming stroke
did rive the rocks of Rodrim's hall;
the sword of Saithnar, and the silver blades
of the enchanted children of chains forgd
in their deep dungeon; the dirk of Nargil,
the knife of the North in Nogrod smithied;
the sweeping sickle of the slashing tempest,
the lambent lightning's leaping falchion
even Celeg Aithorn that shall cleave the world."


And the second one, from The Lay of Leithian:

"...of steel and torment. Names she sought,
and sang of Glend the sword of Nan;
of Gilim the giant of Eruman;
and last and longest..."


Does anyone have any idea of what be those names: Ogbar, Nargil, Gaurin, Rodrim, Saithnar, Celeg Aithorn, Glend, Nan, Gilim?

I mean, what are your thoughts on who these characters and items might be? Are they simply random names Tolkien created without any substance, or do you think there might be more to them?

I am aware that the names of the giants Gilim and Nan might be more metaphorical, in that they are representations of winter and summer respectively. But Ogbar, Nargil, etc. I simply cannot shoehorn into any specific category of races, peoples, items, ...

Any thoughts?
The names are unfamiliar to me, but I love the obscure ones, more as I age. Gilmith and Ivriniel are two of my favourites, and I often wonder whether there were other Half Elves, unnamed in the works.
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Old 05-02-2019, 07:36 AM   #26
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The names are unfamiliar to me, but I love the obscure ones, more as I age. Gilmith and Ivriniel are two of my favourites, and I often wonder whether there were other Half Elves, unnamed in the works.
I was vaguely familiar with Ivriniel (due to her dad clearly having an obsession with Finduilas Faelivrin of Nargothrond), but had to look up Gilmith... I'll bounce over to the Imrazor thread to discuss her, but I agree that her case suggests that there almost must have been other half-elven couples. You can point at Beren and Luthien, Tuor and Idril, Aragorn and Arwen as all Fated, but there's nothing that makes a part-Elvish Dol Amroth line important to the fate of the world. The case of Aegnor and Andreth shows that the desire certainly existed on both sides - and it would be silly to imagine that all of the Eldar were as cowardly as Aegnor...

hS
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Old 05-02-2019, 11:33 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by Huinesoron View Post
I was vaguely familiar with Ivriniel (due to her dad clearly having an obsession with Finduilas Faelivrin of Nargothrond), but had to look up Gilmith... I'll bounce over to the Imrazor thread to discuss her, but I agree that her case suggests that there almost must have been other half-elven couples. You can point at Beren and Luthien, Tuor and Idril, Aragorn and Arwen as all Fated, but there's nothing that makes a part-Elvish Dol Amroth line important to the fate of the world. The case of Aegnor and Andreth shows that the desire certainly existed on both sides - and it would be silly to imagine that all of the Eldar were as cowardly as Aegnor...

hS
tell us more about Aegnor and Andreth.
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Old 05-03-2019, 04:11 AM   #28
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tell us more about Aegnor and Andreth.
Boy howdy, would I love to!

So there's a beautiful document in HoME X: Morgoth's Ring called the 'Athrabeth Finrod ah Andreth', or often just the Athrabeth. The title means 'The Debate of Finrod and Andreth', and it's exactly what it says on the tin: a discussion between Finrod, King of Nargothrond, and Andreth, wise-woman of House Beor (she's Beren's great-aunt). They talk about a lot of things: Andreth shares a story from House Marach which claims the Secondborn weren't meant to die, Finrod talks about his vision of Arda Remade, and they discuss a mortal legend which sounds suspiciously like Jesus (poetically named the Old Hope). It's a wonderful example of Tolkien running through the philosophy of his Legendarium, and is one of the few finished pieces not published in one of the non-HoME books.

They also talk about Andreth's relationship with Aegnor, Finrod's younger brother. It turns somewhat into a discussion of the differing natures of their kindreds, but running through it is (I think) some of the most heartbreaking romantic writing Tolkien ever did. There's no way I can do it justice except to quote it at length:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Athrabeth
'I have not asked for comfort,' said Andreth. 'For what do I need it?'

'For the doom of Men that has touched thee as a woman,' said Finrod. 'Dost thou think that I do not know? Is he not my brother dearly loved? Aegnor: Aikanr, the Sharp-flame, swift and eager. And not long are the years since you first met, and your hands touched in this darkness. Yet then thou wert a maiden, brave and eager, in the morning upon the high hills of Dorthonion.'

'Say on!' said Andreth. 'Say: who art now but a wise-woman, alone, and age that shall not touch him has already set winter's grey in thy hair! But say not "thou" to me, for so he once did!'
[...]
'Speak of neither to me!' said Andreth. 'I desire neither. I was young and I looked on his flame, and now I am old and lost. He was young and his flame leaped towards me, but he turned away, and he is young still. Do candles pity moths?'

'Or moths candles, when the wind blows them out?' said Finrod. 'Adaneth, I tell thee, Aikanr the Sharp-flame loved thee. For thy sake now he will never take the hand of any bride of his own kindred, but live alone to the end, remembering the morning in the hills of Dorthonion. But too soon in the North wind his flame will go out! Foresight is given to the Eldar in many things not far off, though seldom of joy, and I say to thee thou shalt live long in the order of your kind, and he will go forth before thee and he will not wish to return.'

Then Andreth stood up and stretched her hands to the fire. 'Then why did he turn away? Why leave me while I had still a few good years to spend?'

'Alas!' said Finrod. 'I fear the truth will not satisfy thee. [...] This is time of war, Andreth, and in such days the Elves do not wed or bear child; but prepare for deathor for flight. [...]'

'For one year, one day, of the flame I would have given all: kin, youth, and hope itself: adaneth as I am,' said Andreth.

'That he knew,' said Finrod; 'and he withdrew and did not grasp what lay to his hand: elda as he is. For such barters are paid for in anguish that cannot be guessed, until it comes, and in ignorance rather than in courage the Eldar judge that they are made.

'Nay, adaneth, if any marriage can be between our kindred and thine, then it shall be for some high purpose of Doom. Brief it will be and hard at the end. Yea, the least cruel fate that could befall would be that death should soon end it.'

'But the end is always cruelfor Men,' said Andreth. 'I would not have troubled him, when my short youth was spent. I would not have hobbled as a hag after his bright feet, when I could no longer run beside him!'

'Maybe not,' said Finrod. 'So you feel now. But do you think of him? He would not have run before thee. He would have stayed at thy side to uphold thee. Then pity thou wouldst have had in every hour, pity inescapable. He would not have thee so shamed.

'Andreth adaneth, the life and love of the Eldar dwells much in memory; and we (if not ye) would rather have a memory that is fair but unfinished than one that goes on to a grievous end. Now he will ever remember thee in the sun of morning, and that last evening by the water of Aeluin in which he saw thy face mirrored with a star caught in thy hair ever, until the North-wind brings the night of his flame. Yea, and after that, sitting in the House of Mandos in the Halls of Awaiting until the end of Arda.'

'And what shall I remember?' said she. 'And when I go, to what halls shall I come? To a darkness in which even the memory of the sharp flame shall be quenched? Even the memory of rejection. That at least.'

Finrod sighed and stood up. 'The Eldar have no healing words for such thoughts, adaneth,' he said. 'But would you wish that Elves and Men had never met? Is the light of the flame, which otherwise you would never have seen, of no worth even now? You believe yourself scorned? Put away at least that thought, which comes out of the Darkness, and then our
speech together will not have been wholly in vain. Farewell!'

Darkness fell in the room. He took her hand in the light of the fire. 'Whither go you?' she said.

'North away,' he said: 'to the swords, and the siege, and the walls of defensethat yet for a while in Beleriand rivers may run clean, leaves spring, and birds build their nests, ere Night comes.'

'Will he be there, bright and tall, and the wind in his hair? Tell him. Tell him not to be reckless. Not to seek danger beyond need!'

'I will tell him,' said Finrod. 'But I might as well tell thee not to weep. He is a warrior, Andreth, and a spirit of wrath. In every stroke that he deals he sees the Enemy who long ago did thee this hurt.

'But you are not for Arda. Whither you go may you find light. Await us there, my brotherand me.'
Was Aegnor a coward? Finrod would have us believe not, but his story changes from 'there is a war on, you know' to 'he didn't want to shame you by his pity'; I think the truth is that Aegnor was scared, and ran, and was too cowardly to go back.

What's interesting about this story is that it not only serves as an opposite of Beren and Luthien's relationship (where their fates ended up not sundered) - it also serves as a mirror to the likes of Aldarion and Erendis. Here, though Andreth is bitter, she also still loves Aegnor with all her heart - and every indication is that he still loves her, too. The other failed relationships in Tolkien came about because one party hated the other, or at least grew weary of them; this is one of the few which was broken entirely by the Marring.

And... I love Finrod's closing blessing. Unlike the claims of all the major religions of our day - including most emphatically Tolkien's own Catholicism - he doesn't know what awaits Andreth, and so he offers that beautiful benediction: "You are not for Arda. Whither you go - may you find light."

hS
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Old 05-03-2019, 04:33 AM   #29
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they're fantastic things to read. I found the comments about making children most interesting. I always saw the Second Born as having been Gifted with Death. I wonder, than from the comment if that was in anticipation of the Second Making, and given the Marring of Arda.

I don't have the book you cite, but I've heard it's an authoritative tome. I have to get the Fall of Gondolin as well.

Cheers, and thanks
Ivriniel
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Old 05-03-2019, 04:50 AM   #30
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I always saw the Second Born as having been Gifted with Death. I wonder, than from the comment if that was in anticipation of the Second Making, and given the Marring of Arda.
Finrod agrees with you. He's very clear that Andreth and her people are dead wrong in their idea that they suffer from death because either Melkor or Iluvatar inflicted it on them as punishment. He explains the whole Gift of Men idea - but Andreth doesn't really buy it.

I've often recommended Morgoth's Ring as the best of the History books to get, and the presence of the Athrabeth is one of the reasons why. (The other is LaCE - the Laws and Customs of the Eldar.)

hS
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