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Old 10-15-2016, 06:31 PM   #1
Balfrog
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Goldberry: A new reading on the origin of her name

A new theory linking Goldberry to water-lilies has emerged:

https://priyasethtolkienfan.wordpres.../10/goldberry/
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Old 10-17-2016, 01:53 PM   #2
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Interesting article, a neat and (for my part) convincing blend of botanical and etymological reasoning; can't help but feel the Professor might have been pleased. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 11-05-2016, 01:22 PM   #3
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Glad you liked it. I enjoyed it too.

Beyond the botanical and etymological aspects, we also see a fit with some rather puzzling statements which I have never before seen satisfactorily explained. Pulling from Ms. Seth's essay:

“Goldberry, Goldberry, merry yellow berry-o!”.

“O spring-time and summer-time and spring again after!”

“Goldberry represents the actual seasonal changes” in “real river-lands” .

It just goes to show – that even though some of these characters have seemingly been endlessly discussed – there is yet more out there!
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Old 11-05-2016, 06:51 PM   #4
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Yes, it's an interesting theory. I always found the name "Goldberry" rather strange, for a character so strongly associated with water and water plants.
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Old 11-07-2016, 12:06 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Nerwen View Post
Yes, it's an interesting theory. I always found the name "Goldberry" rather strange, for a character so strongly associated with water and water plants.

I'm not sold on "nymphe" (T wasn't big on classical language sources in his fiction), but the "gold berries" of budding spring waterlilies is a very convincing image. Especially since it's pretty well accepted that his image of the willow-hung and willow-leaf-flecked Withywindle was inspired by Oxford's Cherwell, where such lilies also grow, as in this Turner painting in the Ashmolean:

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Old 11-20-2016, 08:18 PM   #6
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William Cloud Hicklin

Yes, I certainly agree – the photo of the yellow water-lily buds is somewhat persuasive.

I appreciate the blow-up of William Turner's art. We can now more clearly see a couple of Oxford's native river denizens also mentioned in Bombadil poetry: the 'coot' and the 'kingfisher'!

As to: "T wasn't big on classical language sources in his fiction"

I'm not so sure. Certainly at the outset of his mythology he used the word 'Gnome' to describe a branch of the elves. This he confessed originated from the Greek language (Letter #239).

Per Letter #255 he also outlines that:

"according to [a] system whereby as English replaces the Shire-speech so Latin and Greek replace the High-elven tongue in names."

This is one way I believe, he intended to connect one invented language of his more ancient mythological world with our most ancient spoken and tongues.
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