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Old 03-11-2004, 04:18 PM   #1
Gil Galad
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The door of durin.

I did a search and it didn't turn up anything. I was wondering why the dwarves used elvish to open the door at Moria. I thought the had a bit of a feud going on?
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Old 03-11-2004, 05:01 PM   #2
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Well, the doors were made mostly by Narvi, an elf I believe (this may be wrong). Either way, Narvi was enlisted as a crafstmen by Durin III, but was a close friend of ol' Celebrimbor. I suppose that the dwarf/elf feud was just not as feudy at this time, since Durin must have associated with them slightly. Imean, remember that Celebrimbor of Hollin drew the exquisite designs on the doors, and he was most certainly and elf.

Actually, I believe this is the explanation for the fued (really more of a whacked theory). Think about this, ponder if you will, my explanation for why dwarves and elves hate each other so much.

Narvi, for the sake of art, crafted the West-door of Khazad-dum with elvish inscriptions. That inscription read, I believe...
Quote:
The Doors of Durin, Lord of Moria. Speak, friend, and enter.
Now, that's fine and dandy. Nice concise description. But, one must note one thing. The dwarves did not like Khazad-dum, their beautiful home, being called something so derogatory as Black Pit, Moria. So, why did they let it happen? Simple: Narvi and Celebrimbor thought it would be a fun practical joke to play on the dwarves, permanently inscribing a disliked name on their front door right under their beards (they could only read Cirth, as I remember). When Durin found this out, he must've been rather put off, thus beginning the ageless feud between wee axe wielding beardies and pointy-eared folk.
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Old 03-11-2004, 05:30 PM   #3
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Okay, I get it now, Thanks Kransha.
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Old 03-12-2004, 02:06 AM   #4
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Narvi was a dwarf who made the gates ("I, Narvi, made them"). Celebrimbor merely "drew these signs", in reference to the elvish script.
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Old 03-12-2004, 08:00 AM   #5
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Hey, that explains why Narvi said that Celebrimbor "drew these signs". So, Narvi did not understand the signs? And Celebrimbor decided to play the joker and call the "Halls of the Dwarves" a "Dark Chasm"?

"Tell me, Legolas, why did I come on this Quest? Little did I know where the chief peril lay! Truly Elrond spoke, saying that we could not foresee what we might meet upon our road..." - Gimli the Dwarf.
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Old 03-12-2004, 01:14 PM   #6
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The feud beween the elves and dwarves began in the first age of the world. In short, lust for the silmarils caused the dwarves of Nogrod and King Thingol of Doriath to fall out and started a war between the two. Both sides blame the other and neither side ever forgets it.

Hollin and Moria was an exception, where the dwarves and elves were allies for the sake of trade and craftsmanship, I think.
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Old 03-14-2004, 08:51 AM   #7
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That ancient feud is actually never quite justified in the first place: Thingol had no claim of making Beren steal a Silmaril. He just wanted Beren to die trying, and got more than he bargained for. The Dwarves also had no claim over the Silmaril.

Nevertheless the friendship between Hollin and Khazad-dum is genuine, and not just for trade and craftmanship. When Sauron sacked Eregion for the Three Rings, and attacked Elrond's surviving forces, the Dwarves of Khazad-dum attacked Sauron's forces at the rear. (History of Galadriel and Celeborn, UT)

Still, it tickles to know that Celebrimbor poked fun at Narvi's expense...

Narvi: "My Lord Durin, the Western Gate is completed."
Durin: "Marvellous, what do these signs mean, though?"
Narvi: "Our friend Celebrimbor of Hollin drew them... they purportedly means 'Glorious halls'"
Durin: "Wonderful! Present him with that Mithril waistcoat our smiths prepared."
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Old 03-14-2004, 07:42 PM   #8
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The doors were written in elvish because the western door was the one mostly used by the elves of Hollin when the dwarves and elves were friendly. Also, I think most of the time, the door was open, as a point is made when the war of the elves and Sauron is described in I think the Silmarillion, it says specifically that the doors of Moria were shut, (I don't know the exact quote). This could mean that they were normally open, obviously being guarded though.
As to why the name Moria was on the door since it was a derogatory term meaning black pit which it wasn't during its height, Gandalf could have paraphrased it, using the more common term at the time, Moria instead of Dwarrowdelf. I don't think it was a joke by Celebrimbor, as I'm sure the dwarves could speak and read elvish, as they are said to be good with languages, and since they didn't teach Khuzdul to non-dwarves, they would have to have learned elvish in order to communicate.
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Old 03-15-2004, 06:41 AM   #9
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Gandalf could have paraphrased it, using the more common term at the time, Moria instead of Dwarrowdelf.
If Gandalf have could read out the inscription on the door itself, why should he need to paraphrase it? He was detailed enough describe the fine and small inscribtions below the main headings.

Gee, I should suppose it is more of an oversight on Prof T's part. Moria is already a common name even among the dwarves. (The name was first mentioned in the Hobbit, by the way) Besides, the dwarves do not live forever like the elves, so they tend to forget feuds or at least what caused them in the first place.
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Old 03-16-2004, 07:19 PM   #10
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About the feud: The dwarves of Moria may have not been involved, or have been dwarves of Belegost. It was mainly the dwarves of Nogrod that were involved with the Silmaril incident.
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Old 03-26-2004, 08:29 PM   #11
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Sting

Actually, the feud started when Aule, one of the Valar, made the Dwarves without telling Iluvatar. Iluvatar says,"...and often strife shall arise between thine and mine, the children of my adoption and the children of my choice." His children are the Elves and Men. He never intended to make Dwarves. That is why they are the children of his adoption. Anyway, I think that is the main reason for the feud.
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Old 03-28-2004, 10:30 PM   #12
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Pipe Moria...

Since everyone else calls it Moria, why would the Dwarves resist. Perhaps they still call it Khazad-dûm when they talk amongst themselves...
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Old 04-09-2004, 09:52 PM   #13
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Shield

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nilpaurion Felagund
Since everyone else calls it Moria, why would the Dwarves resist. Perhaps they still call it Khazad-dûm when they talk amongst themselves...
Well, I've always seen dwarves as stubborn minded, though that feeling may've came from another book that I was reading. So, if dwarves are stubborn, then logically, they would keep to calling Moria: Khazad-dûm. Though one must think, because everyone else always called it Moria, as it was by the dwarves in the Hobbit, then the dwarves, out of politeness, would've called it Moria.

I suppose that it would depend on the company that the dwarves were in. With some people, they would've used Khazad-dûm, while with others: Moria.

It would've depended on the dwarf.

But one wonders, if it was the Dwarven door, how come Celebrinbor didn't use Runes, instead of Tengwar... after all, it was a stone door, and have you ever tried to carve Tengwar into anything? It's not easy. However, the Runes are all straight lines. How come they didn't use Runes on the gate?

Sorry, just a random question that I hope adds to the topic, after all, it does indeed have to do with the Doors of Durin. (Pedo mellon a mino...)

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Old 04-13-2004, 03:19 PM   #14
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In answer to your question, Eowyn Skywalker: Because Celebrimbor was an elf, and so he would use elvish no matter how close a friend he was to any dwarf. And most likely no elf and dwarf were close at all until Legolas and Gimli. And elves were the only ones who knew the skill of writing the script in the 'moon-letters', I believe. Another answer to that question can be found in Voralphion's post:

Quote:
The doors were written in elvish because the western door was the one mostly used by the elves of Hollin when the dwarves and elves were friendly.
It could be that Moria was simply a mistake made by Tolkien. It must have been nearly impossible to keep up with an entire mythological history, including as small of details as the changing of names over time. But it could also have many other purposes. For one, Moria could always have been Moria, though the darkness of its name would simply be descriptive, and would not have to signify fear of it. Perhaps it was inscribed so to foreshadow later events, and because of these later events was adopted as the common name for it.
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Old 04-13-2004, 05:31 PM   #15
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Question What's in a name?

What's so derogatory about "Moria" from a Dwarf's perspective anyway? A Black Pit is the best place to go mining, after all.
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Old 04-16-2004, 03:25 PM   #16
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Quote:
Though one must think, because everyone else always called it Moria, as it was by the dwarves in the Hobbit, then the dwarves, out of politeness, would've called it Moria.

I suppose that it would depend on the company that the dwarves were in. With some people, they would've used Khazad-dûm, while with others: Moria.
e.g. Gloin when speaking at the Council of Elrond uses the word Moria:
Quote:
Some spoke of Moria: the mighty works of our fathers that are called in our own tongue Khazad-dûm
Moreover, on Balin's tomb "was written in the tongues of Men and Dwarves: Balin, Son of Fundin, Lord of Moria" as Gandalf said.
When you read the runes, the lower (smaller) runes mean just that, in English (= the common tongue) while the upper part reads "Balin Fundinul Uzbad Khazad-dumu"
So while speaking in the common tongue, the Dwarves used Moria, and it certainly wasn't any intended insult ore practical joke on Celebrimbor's part!

Quote:
But one wonders, if it was the Dwarven door, how come Celebrinbor didn't use Runes, instead of Tengwar... after all, it was a stone door, and have you ever tried to carve Tengwar into anything? It's not easy. However, the Runes are all straight lines. How come they didn't use Runes on the gate?
I think they were not exactly carved, but kind of painted with "Ithildin" which contained Mithril.
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Old 05-25-2011, 03:21 PM   #17
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I think that the term "Moria" appeared much later - after the Dwarves fled from the Balrog. After that incident, the Dwarves probably thought the name quite fitting, even though their Kingdom remained "Khazad-Dum" to them.

I think that Gandalf said "Moria" because he was not only translating, but also explaining to the Fellowship. He used the term that would be better understood.

Why did Dwarves use Elvish to write on the Doors? Because the doors were only locked when one comes from the outside. From the inside, as Gandalf tells us, they could be opened with a gentle push. The people who came from outside were mostly Elves.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kransha
Actually, I believe this is the explanation for the fued...
I believe that the explanation for this particular feud was the combined appearance of the Balrog and Sauron's interverance in Hollin. There were Elves on either side of Moria - those of Eregion, and those of Lorien. Lorien also trades with the Dwarves, but they were never that close, probably because the Galadhrim were less interested in metal and stone. For this reason it was easy for the Galadhrim to blame the Dwarves for the comming of the Balrog. On the other hand, the Dwarves lost all their Elven-supporters during the destruction of Eregion.

However, as TGWBS said, the feud begun before either race was truly alive...
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Old 05-25-2011, 04:30 PM   #18
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If you want to be really, really cynical You could also argue that doing the doors that way could have been part of a plan for future invasion (should the feud ever get that far). This revolves on four questions, 1. Do the doors ONLY respond to elvish (i.e. had Gandalf said the dwarvish word for fried, would the doors have opened?) 2. Did the doors automatically seal when closed, of did they have to be "locked" 3. Was the password the ONLY way to get the doors open, or simply a shortcut (i.e. could a large number of dwarves open and close the doors manually, like normal doors). and 4. Did the dwarves know the world to open the doors and what it meant? If the answer to 1 is "yes" and to 3 and 4 is "no", you might have the follwing scenario. Celembrimbor writes the words on the door, in Elvish, which the Dwarves do not speak or read. The Dwarves open an close the doors in a conventional manner with muscle power, from the inside like normal doors of this type (we don't really know if the opening spell works on opening the doors from the inside) Alternitively Celembrimbor tells them the word, but doen't tell them the meaning (i.e. he tells them it's a gibberish word that he made up for the locking spell, or that it means something other than it does.) You now have a situation where the secret for opening the doors is known to few, if any dwarves (who don't read or speak Elvish, but is immediately obvios to any elf who comes there and can read (like say an armed force interested in breaking in to take the fued to the Dwarven Halls) assuming they can figure out the trick (and since Gandalf's difficulty seems to arise mostly from a temporary mistranslation of one of the words, which an elf likey would not do, it would likey be childs play for them). As a protective defense against men or orcs Durins doors are likey impregnable, but against elves they would be pretty much useless.
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Old 05-25-2011, 04:35 PM   #19
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Well, if you want to be that cynical...

There was friendship between them. I would call that place the Second Bree, because you have a similar situation of two races ith rough edges against each other living together without a war breaking up immediately.

Plus, Dwarves do not teach their language. They wouldn't be able to understand the Elves unless they learned Elvish. They'd recognize the word "friend".

Edit:

Quote:
Originally Posted by FOTR
"It was not the fault of the Dwarves that the friendship waned," said Gimli.
"I have not heard that it was the fault of Elves," said Legolas.
"I have heard both," said Gandalf.
And both are right, and both are wrong, in my opinion.
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Last edited by Galadriel55; 05-25-2011 at 04:39 PM. Reason: added relevant quote
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Old 05-25-2011, 04:37 PM   #20
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I think it was indeed a little slip by JRRT.

Not Gandalf's description, because as Galadriel says it could be on-the-spot translation. But the elaborate drawing Tolkien made of the inscription also says Moria, and Khazad-Dum apparently wasn't called Moria until the whole unfortunate Balrog incident.

Hollin and Khazad-Dum seem to be as close as the dwarves and elves ever got, so its logical that the inscription would be in elvish. What we don't know is the elvish for Khazad-Dum before it was called Moria - that's what should be written on the doors.

On the other hand perhaps it always was Moria but with a less dire spin, would something like 'dark caverns' be appropriate?

Meanwhile on the 1st Age feuds, refugees from Nogrod and Belegost moved to Khazad-Dum after the War of Wrath at the start of the Second Age.

Interesting to think that Moria is by far the oldest Middle-Earth settlement that we know of, going right back to the First Age and probably before, so at least 7000 years old. Though there might well be four similar Dwarven strongholds in the East (Yellow and Red Mountains I'd reckon), and maybe Mount Gundabad might count?
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Old 05-25-2011, 04:43 PM   #21
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I think it was indeed a little slip by JRRT.
Quite possible.

Quote:
On the other hand perhaps it always was Moria but with a less dire spin, would something like 'dark caverns' be appropriate?
Gimli describes Khazad-dum to be far from dark. He gets mad at Sam for doubting that.
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Old 05-25-2011, 05:15 PM   #22
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Indeed G55,

how about 'Pleasantly shady grotto' ?


'mor' has to be 'Dark' (ish) - no getting around that!
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Old 05-25-2011, 05:20 PM   #23
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"Mor" does mean "dark", and not necessarily in a bad way. There are names like Mordor, and like Morwen...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rumil
how about 'Pleasantly shady grotto' ?
Heehee. Black Hole? They say there's a lot of light stored inside of them.
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Old 05-25-2011, 08:45 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alfirin View Post
If you want to be really, really cynical You could also argue that doing the doors that way could have been part of a plan for future invasion (should the feud ever get that far). This revolves on four questions, 1. Do the doors ONLY respond to elvish (i.e. had Gandalf said the dwarvish word for fried, would the doors have opened?) 2. Did the doors automatically seal when closed, of did they have to be "locked" 3. Was the password the ONLY way to get the doors open, or simply a shortcut (i.e. could a large number of dwarves open and close the doors manually, like normal doors). and 4. Did the dwarves know the world to open the doors and what it meant?.
I'm sorry, Alfirin, but you're a question short.
5. Were the "real" motivations of Celebrimbor completely different from the ones he's actually described as having? (And how does that work, exactly?)

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Originally Posted by Galadriel55 View Post
"Mor" does mean "dark", and not necessarily in a bad way. There are names like Mordor, and like Morwen...



Heehee. Black Hole? They say there's a lot of light stored inside of them.
And it cannot get out.
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Old 05-25-2011, 08:52 PM   #25
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Why exactly are we out of the blue suspecting Celebrimbor of double-dealing?

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And it cannot get out.
Well, that's the whole point, isn't it? We might as well find out that the Endless Stairs were "really" made by Dwarves. And all these abysses were made in order to keep their Elf prisoners from escaping. And Mr. Balrog was of course their secret weapon.

Absurd? I rather thought so.
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Old 05-26-2011, 05:00 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by Galadriel55 View Post
Why exactly are we out of the blue suspecting Celebrimbor of double-dealing?
Heredity?
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Old 05-26-2011, 07:05 AM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rumil
I think it was indeed a little slip by JRRT. Not Gandalf's description, because as Galadriel says it could be on-the-spot translation. But the elaborate drawing Tolkien made of the inscription also says Moria, and Khazad-Dum apparently wasn't called Moria until the whole unfortunate Balrog incident.
Appendix F also notes that Moria was a name given without love. The writing on the doors probably was a slip, and Tolkien even comments on another slip concerning the writing on the tomb -- but the solution can be similar enough to Tolkien's solution to the Anglo-Saxon (based) runes appearing in The Hobbit.

The picture of the door in the modern book is (obviously) not a photo of the actual doors, but the picture is still effective enough, giving an idea of what it might have looked like in general, including a general representation of some internal language and script. The runes in The Hobbit are Anglo-Saxon based, but since the actual runes as used by the Elves and Dwarves are 'similar enough' in design (at least), they lend an effective element visually, to the story.


In short, I see nothing wrong with imagining hadhodrond on the actual doors -- despite Moria being written in the picture, just as one must imagine Durin and Narvi are not on the real doors -- also despite being written in the picture in the modern book.

Durin and Narvi can't be on the real doors, as these names are not only not the real names of these Dwarves, they are translations made by someone who knows Old Norse -- a language that did not exist when the actual doors were made, and still very much in the future by Frodo's day even.
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Old 05-26-2011, 09:14 AM   #28
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I prefer not to regard the inclusion of Moria on the doors as a mistake on the part of Tolkien.

We know of the inscription from Frodo's contribution to The Red Book of Westmarch, written some years after the events. Frodo made no recordings, took no photographs and didn't keep a diary. Considering what he went through before writing the story, it's remarkable how much detail he remembered about those doors and Gandalf's comments.

I'm sure we can forgive his lapse of memory when he used the name most familliar to him when he drew the sketch and wrote down what he remembered of Gandalf's translation.

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Old 05-26-2011, 12:29 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by Selmo
I prefer not to regard the inclusion of Moria on the doors as a mistake on the part of Tolkien.

We know of the inscription from Frodo's contribution to The Red Book of Westmarch, written some years after the events. Frodo made no recordings, took no photographs and didn't keep a diary. Considering what he went through before writing the story, it's remarkable how much detail he remembered about those doors and Gandalf's comments.

I'm sure we can forgive his lapse of memory when he used the name most familliar to him when he drew the sketch and wrote down what he remembered of Gandalf's translation.
That another way to look at it, yes... but that doesn't account for the names Durin and Narvi written in the picture... so why not just add Moria to the same explanation one must use for the 'Dwarf-names'.

Also, one can claim Moria was a purposed use of a name (in writing even), by Tolkien, as this was known to the reader.
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Old 05-26-2011, 08:40 PM   #30
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Durin and Narvi can't be on the real doors, as these names are not only not the real names of these Dwarves, they are translations made by someone who knows Old Norse -- a language that did not exist when the actual doors were made, and still very much in the future by Frodo's day even.
While from a certain perspective your point is accurate, remember too that dwarves used outer names that were used in public and used for door carvings and inner ones. Not using their real dwarvish names was entirely appropriate.
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Old 05-26-2011, 08:54 PM   #31
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While from a certain perspective your point is accurate, remember too that dwarves used outer names that were used in public and used for door carvings and inner ones. Not using their real dwarvish names was entirely appropriate.
I do remember


But the Dwarves no more had names in Old Norse than the Rohirrim had names in Old English... only the modern translator can put these in the book.

As Tolkien realized the absurdity of 'Balin' written on the (drawing of the) tomb, the same must go for Durin and Narvi. Frodo might have written Moria for hadhodrond, but he cannot have written Durin and Narvi, nor can anyone else living 'back then' (in Frodo's day) have written these names.

For another example: Samwise wasn't Sam's real name, he was called Ban (for short): it would be like a letter being written in actual Westron with the name 'Samwise' in it! this name would mean nothing to the Hobbits; it's an invention of the modern translator (based on a language not yet arisen in Frodo's day).
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Old 05-26-2011, 09:02 PM   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Galin View Post
That another way to look at it, yes... but that doesn't account for the names Durin and Narvi written in the picture... so why not just add Moria to the same explanation one must use for the 'Dwarf-names'.

Also, one can claim Moria was a purposed use of a name (in writing even), by Tolkien, as this was known to the reader.
You know, this thread is giving me a distinct sense of déjà vu... but that's a good point about the names, Galin. Now why doesn't that bother anyone?

Anyway, with all due respect, Selmo, I think using the "translator-conceit" to get out of the difficulty is preferable to an explanation that, in my view, tends to undermine much of the story.

EDIT:X'd with Galin and Kuru.
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Old 05-26-2011, 09:31 PM   #33
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I think that Gandalf said "Moria" because he was not only translating, but also explaining to the Fellowship. He used the term that would be better understood.
Personally, that's the explanation that makes the most sense to me. As for the depiction of the Doors in the book, wouldn't that have been the work of Frodo, since LOTR is taken from the Red Book? If Frodo were to draw a picture of the Doors from memory, it seems logical he might have rendered the inscription just as he'd heard Gandalf say it, using "Moria".
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Old 05-26-2011, 09:55 PM   #34
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Here's what we have (harping on this string for those not interested in Appendix F):

A) Moria -- Elvish
B) Hadhodrond -- Elvish

(either name is possible on the actual doors! and A might be in Frodo's original drawing, as suggested)

C) unknown Dwarf-name, inner -- Dwarvish language
D) unknown Dwarf-name, outer -- Mannish language

(D is the likely name for a 'public' door like the Doors of Moria)

_____

E) translated (outer) Dwarf-name -- Old Norse

(these appear in the drawing in the book published in the 1950s: Durin, Narvi hail from Old Norse and represent some unknown outer names of these bearded beings)

_____

If known, A through D can appear on something original to Frodo's day, like the doors, a tomb, a letter. All these languages are 'internal' and are imagined to be actually spoken way back when the story takes place.

Example E is wholly different, and cannot be found on anything supposed to be original (anything made in Frodo's time).

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Old 05-26-2011, 10:21 PM   #35
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In case anyone's still not getting it: according to the "translator conceit", only names derived from Tolkien's own conlangs are "real". Anything from another source is supposed to be merely a latter-day "translation".
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Old 05-26-2011, 11:05 PM   #36
Galin
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Thank you Nerwen! Your concision trumps my 'chart like' post!

The translation conceit can get quite complicated (for instance 'Meriadoc' was really Kalimac... but seemingly Tom Bombadil is really what the Hobbits called this being 'back then')... but that's what makes it fun in my opinion!
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Old 05-26-2011, 11:29 PM   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Galin View Post
Thank you Nerwen! Your concision trumps my 'chart like' post!
I think the chart's necessary; the concept of the Dwarves having both real and false (i.e. "translated") pseudonyms is a bit brain-twisting.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Galin
The translation conceit can get quite complicated (for instance 'Meriadoc' was really Kalimac... but seemingly Tom Bombadil is really what the Hobbits called this being 'back then')... but that's what makes it fun in my opinion!
Ah, well, as a semi-exception to what I said I my last post, Tolkien mentions that some of the hobbits' names are "real" (though usually with different endings), and just happen to resemble certain modern names ("Tom" being short for "Tomba", not "Thomas").
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