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Old 04-07-2019, 10:17 AM   #1
William Cloud Hicklin
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A moving moment, in hindsight.

On my zillionth rereading of LR, and just got to the departure of the Fellowship from Rivendell. There occurs this exchange (mocked by some as trading platitudes):

Quote:
'This is my last word,' [Elrond] said in a low voice. 'The Ring-bearer is setting out on the Quest of Mount Doom. On him alone is any charge laid.... The others go with him as free companions, to help him on his way. ... yet no oath or bond is laid on you to go further than you will. For you do not yet know the strength of your hearts, and you cannot foresee what each may meet upon the road.'

'Faithless is he that says farewell when the road darkens,' said Gimli.

'Maybe,' said Elrond, 'but let him not vow to walk in the dark, who has
not seen the nightfall.'

'Yet sworn word may strengthen quaking heart,' said Gimli.

'Or break it,' said Elrond.

It would take two decades before the hidden grief was revealed to readers: Elrond was raised by Maglor. No heart in the history of Arda was more broken by sworn word!
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Old 04-07-2019, 04:50 PM   #2
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Good catch, WCH. I had not considered that. Or as you inferred, I did not take it in the context that Elrond could have intended.

That whole Maglor adopting Elrond and Elros sequence is relatively short, and leaves a great chasm into what actually happened. For instance, did Elrond and Elros actually know as children what happened to Earendil and Elwing? Did Maglor even know? It could be assumed that they had died, couldn't it? And who would be to blame for that but the sons of Feanor? Seems odd that great love could spring from this adoption unless there was at least an inkling about what happened.

Perhaps I am misremembering, but I am feeling uniquely lazy today. I think I'll take a bike ride with my wife and then feel more...scholarly.
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Old 04-08-2019, 12:43 AM   #3
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By sworn word, you mean the Oath taken by Feanor and his sons?
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Old 04-08-2019, 02:22 AM   #4
Huinesoron
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Originally Posted by William Cloud Hicklin View Post
It would take two decades before the hidden grief was revealed to readers: Elrond was raised by Maglor. No heart in the history of Arda was more broken by sworn word!
Oh. Oh, wow. I never even thought of that. That's amazingly tragic.

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Originally Posted by Morthoron View Post
That whole Maglor adopting Elrond and Elros sequence is relatively short, and leaves a great chasm into what actually happened. For instance, did Elrond and Elros actually know as children what happened to Earendil and Elwing? Did Maglor even know? It could be assumed that they had died, couldn't it? And who would be to blame for that but the sons of Feanor? Seems odd that great love could spring from this adoption unless there was at least an inkling about what happened.
I think almost everyone would have thought them both dead. Earendil was trying to sail to Valinor, an endeavour which had sunk almost every ship that attempted it; when he didn't come back, the natural assumption would be that he was just the latest casualty. Elwing was last seen leaping off a cliff into the sea; only a crazy person would believe she'd been magically transformed into a bird on the way down.

Of course, the refugees from the Havens would probably assume the twins were dead, too: Tolkien seems to have settled on their names coming from being found at a cave by a waterfall, so it doesn't sound like anyone from the Havens saw them being captured rather than killed (as the previous generation of Doriathrin royal twins had been).

That great love did spring from Maglor's raising of the pair is seen through those very names: the timelines suggest the twins were six at the Third Kinslaying, easily old enough to remember their own names! I'd conjecture that they refused to give their names to Maglor when he found them - he was, after all, the person who'd just destroyed their home, even if they didn't know about their mother yet - and so he coined two nicknames for them. The fact that those nicknames stuck, and were still in use over six thousand years later, tells you how close they must have been.

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Old 04-08-2019, 06:56 AM   #5
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Oh. Oh, wow. I never even thought of that. That's amazingly tragic.
That... is exactly my reaction. Gee. I never interpreted Elrond's words that way, he was just being vaguely wise and foresighted (given the decisions made after the Breaking of the Fellowship). But oh my god. What if he actually had another great quest in mind that went too far because of an oath. That is... wow.
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Old 04-11-2019, 12:19 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Huinesoron View Post
Oh. Oh, wow. I never even thought of that. That's amazingly tragic.



I think almost everyone would have thought them both dead. Earendil was trying to sail to Valinor, an endeavour which had sunk almost every ship that attempted it; when he didn't come back, the natural assumption would be that he was just the latest casualty. Elwing was last seen leaping off a cliff into the sea; only a crazy person would believe she'd been magically transformed into a bird on the way down.

Of course, the refugees from the Havens would probably assume the twins were dead, too: Tolkien seems to have settled on their names coming from being found at a cave by a waterfall, so it doesn't sound like anyone from the Havens saw them being captured rather than killed (as the previous generation of Doriathrin royal twins had been).

That great love did spring from Maglor's raising of the pair is seen through those very names: the timelines suggest the twins were six at the Third Kinslaying, easily old enough to remember their own names! I'd conjecture that they refused to give their names to Maglor when he found them - he was, after all, the person who'd just destroyed their home, even if they didn't know about their mother yet - and so he coined two nicknames for them. The fact that those nicknames stuck, and were still in use over six thousand years later, tells you how close they must have been.

hS
It is however also the case that, at six, they might not yet have received their mother-names from Elwing; and since among Elves the father-name given at birth was considered private (usually), Elrond and Elros could have been epesse, which frequently became an Elf's everyday name (Gil-Galad, Galadriel, Felagund etc)
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Old 04-11-2019, 03:22 PM   #7
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I'm not sure the letter dated 1958 necessarily represents Tolkien's final scenario here, as the idea is connected to Elrond meaning *Elf of the Cave...

... and not long after, Elrond is said to mean "Star-dome" (1959-60, Quendi and Eldar).

In The Shibboleth of Feanor (1968 or later) it was said that the names Elros and Elrond: "were formed to recall the name of their mother Elwing" with Elros meaning "Starlit foam"

And in The Problem of ROS (1968 or later): "Now Elrond was a word for the firmament, the starry dome as it appeared like a roof to Arda; and it was given by Elwing in memory of the great Hall of the throne of Elwe in the midst of his stronghold Menegroth that was called the Menelrond,..."

And in letter 345 (1972) Elrond meant "The vault of stars"

If a meaning "Elf of the Cave" is out, as it appears at least, my total guess is that the story went out with it.

Not necessarily so, I admit; but anyway.
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Old 04-12-2019, 01:48 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by William Cloud Hicklin View Post
It is however also the case that, at six, they might not yet have received their mother-names from Elwing; and since among Elves the father-name given at birth was considered private (usually), Elrond and Elros could have been epesse, which frequently became an Elf's everyday name (Gil-Galad, Galadriel, Felagund etc)
Agreed that my theory would make them epessi, but it would still seem to indicate that they liked the giver - you wouldn't go around calling yourself "Dog-breath" just because a Son of Feanor yelled it at you once!

I'm not sure where the notion of Father-names being private comes from - can you expand on that? Obviously both Fingolfin and Finarfin used theirs, as did Curufin and Celebrimbor, and for that matter Fingon and Finrod (the dysfunctional House Finwe naming patterns at least make it easy to spot the father-names!). I'm also not sure there's any evidence of mother- and father-names being a thing at all outside of Valinor - the only example I can think of is Gil-Galad, and he was a scion of the royal Noldorin line.

(Also, Tolkien Gateway has it the other way round: it claims 'The father-name was a public name, announced in a ceremony called Essecarmë ("name-making").' But without access to LaCE at the moment, I'm not going to trust that implicitly.)

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I'm not sure the letter dated 1958 necessarily represents Tolkien's final scenario here, as the idea is connected to Elrond meaning *Elf of the Cave...

... and not long after, Elrond is said to mean "Star-dome" (1959-60, Quendi and Eldar).

In The Shibboleth of Feanor (1968 or later) it was said that the names Elros and Elrond: "were formed to recall the name of their mother Elwing" with Elros meaning "Starlit foam"

And in The Problem of ROS (1968 or later): "Now Elrond was a word for the firmament, the starry dome as it appeared like a roof to Arda; and it was given by Elwing in memory of the great Hall of the throne of Elwe in the midst of his stronghold Menegroth that was called the Menelrond,..."

And in letter 345 (1972) Elrond meant "The vault of stars"

If a meaning "Elf of the Cave" is out, as it appears at least, my total guess is that the story went out with it.

Not necessarily so, I admit; but anyway.
Good, because it's a stupid story. ^_^ I jest, I jest - but the idea that the twins were stolen away, abandoned in a cave, and then happened to be found by the leaders of the people who stole them away, who gave them names which they accepted forever despite being given by the people who burned their home... it really doesn't hang together too well.

Of course, if you wanted a proper 'both no and yes' answer... perhaps Maglor, searching for the missing children with memories of the previous set of twins dancing through his head, called out 'is there anyone [any elf] in the cave?', and the echoes meant that all the kids heard was 'el...rond...'; Elrond calls back, and the rest is history.

(In fairness, I should also point out that the consensus timeline of the First Age is a Frankensteined-together bodge, so the idea that the twins were 6 at the Third Kinslaying isn't necessarily reflected in either account of their names.)

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Old 04-12-2019, 09:57 AM   #9
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Yes, according to Laws and Customs, the Noldorin Father-name was public.

And according to the Shibboleth, Gil-galad was an epesse.

I've constructed the following primarily based on two accounts from The History of Middle-earth. It's not entirely clear whether the "Note on Mother-names" [the later if briefer text in any case] is intended to replace "Of Naming" though I note in advance that the Chosen-name could be a Noldorin custom which differs from other Eldar.

Also, even according to Christopher Tolkien the concept of the Chosen-name [this "probably Noldorin" type of chosen name] might have been abandonded [if not merely left out due to brevity].

If any dare cross the line of sleep.

zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Of Naming from Laws And Customs, Morgoth's Ring

The description begins with respect to the naming of Children among the Noldor.

Father-name It was the right of the father to devise this first name. It remained unaltered save for such changes as might befall its spoken form in the passing of the long years (even the tongues of the Eldar were subject to change).

Chosen-name In which point, maybe, the Noldor differed from the other Eldar. It is said here that the Elf-child had the right to name himself or herslf. The ceremony of Name-choosing could not take place before the child was deemed ready and capable of lámatyáve, as the Noldor called it: that is, of individal pleasure in the sounds and forms of words. In elder times the Chosen-name or second name was usually freshly devised. In later ages, when there was a great abundance of names already in existence, '...it was more often selected from names that were known. But even so some modification of the old name might be made.' JRRT

This wording does not seem to imply (in my opinion) that it was absolutely necessary that some modification must be made to the Chosen-name, but that it "might" be made. In any case the 'true-names' are here said to be the Father-name and Chosen-name, and the Chosen-names were said to be regarded by the Noldor as part of their personal property. New chosen names could be added.

Anessi given or added names.

Here we have the Mother-name, a name of insight or of foresight. A Mother-name was given in the hour of birth or on some other occasion of moment, indicating some dominant feature of the Elf-child's nature as perceived by her, or some foresight of its special fate. When solemnly given a Mother-name could also be regarded as a true name and was sometimes placed immediately after the Father-name. Mother-names of insight in general use sometimes replaced the Father-name and Chosen-name, however the Father-name and the Chosen-name (among those that had the custom of essecilme that is) remained ever the true or primary name, and a necessary part of any full title.

Other Given-names were not considered true names, and names or nicknames of this kind might be given by anyone... in memory of some deed, or event, or in token of some marked feature of body or mind.

Note On Mother-names The Peoples Of Middle-Earth

The Eldar in Valinor had as a rule two names, a Father-name and a Mother-name. Mother-names were given later, often some years later, but also sometimes soon after birth.

Epesse 'After-name' a nickname not necessarily given by kin and mostly given as a title of admiration or honour. Later some among the Exiles gave themselves names, as disguises or in reference to their own deeds and personal history: such names were called cilmessi 'self-names'. The true names remained the Father and Mother-names it seems, according to this account.

This is the brief version anyway
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Old 04-12-2019, 10:08 AM   #10
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Also, what's wrong with Dogbreath?

Victor Dogbreath, or Dogreth (whittled down) sounds kinda neat, for example
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Old 04-12-2019, 11:48 AM   #11
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And in The Problem of ROS (1968 or later)
That essay! Tolkien the patience-player, so wrapped up in the complexities of the board he sometimes forgot he himself made the rules and could change them.

Summary: an account of the naming of the Twins and kin, in which certain elements were derived not from Elvish roots but Beorian Atanic, including ros.

But after a dense and very creative essay, he chucked it all because of the existence of Cair Andros and its translation "ship of long-foam" in print. But whoa thar, podner! Tolkien of all people knew that languages change, throw off dialects and borrow words (English mugs other languages and rifles their pockets for loose vocabulary).

So why not postulate a demotic Gondorian Sindarin, much corrupted/dialecticized from the formal Sindarin of Rivendell? One which necessarily had absorbed into itself stray Edainic/Numenorean elements? After all, it's a datum that Gondor had had no contact with Elves for many generations.

(There is the objection that Sindarin in Gondor occupied a space akin to Latin in OTL, a learned book-language and therefore unchanging- except that ain't the case. Medieval Latin is a hell of a long way from the tongue of Cicero.)

Tolkien, late, made another change I similarly find unnecessary, and rather at odds with LR- his decision that the Silvan Elves didn't speak Nandorin, just accented Sindarin. Not buying it.
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Old 05-02-2019, 12:42 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by William Cloud Hicklin View Post
On my zillionth rereading of LR, and just got to the departure of the Fellowship from Rivendell. There occurs this exchange (mocked by some as trading platitudes):


It would take two decades before the hidden grief was revealed to readers: Elrond was raised by Maglor. No heart in the history of Arda was more broken by sworn word!
I don't see those moments as platitudes. Very moving, to see them quoted. Makes you wonder what Maglor was fixated about, and where he was marred by the Oath of Feanor, and how Elrond and Elros read that. I didn't know Maglor raised Elrond, or else I forgot that he had, but learning alters my understanding of Elrond.

The experience as we age impacts tones heard as we read and I'm repeatedly surprised each time it happens. Tolkien's heart and its depth comes across when I read the words.

His wisdom about death, quailing hearts and broken words, with lies of conceit from self-deceivers something that comes up for me. And this:

"And Sauron was deceived, even unto himself", which we are told, when Eonwe does not heed Sauron's obeisance, as he pleaded for Clemency. I wonder where Elrond was when Sauron was pleading, and what dread he knew as the Quest departed.
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