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Old 08-22-2010, 11:49 AM   #1
Kyranger
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Lord of.... Moria?

So, the inscription on the doors of Khazad-dum say, " The doors of Durin, Lord of Moria. Speak friend, and enter. I, Narvi, made them. Celebrimbor of Hollin drew these signs." Right? But, in the time that they made the doors was before the balrog showed up, and before Khazad-dum got its name, " The black pit " which in the elven tongue is " Moria ". So how could they of called it that? Do you think that maybe Gandalf just translated 'Khazad-dum' as 'Moria' or was that what the doors actually said?
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Old 08-22-2010, 02:55 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Kyranger
Do you think that maybe Gandalf just translated 'Khazad-dum' as 'Moria' or was that what the doors actually said?
It could have been Gandalf translating on the spot and substituting the name that would have been more familiar to most of the Fellowship, if Tolkien hadn't bothered to give us that drawing of the doors with the elvish inscription clearly saying Ennyn Durin Aran Moria.

We briefly discussed this a while ago in the Inconsistencies thread, where Galin pointed out that the inscription also includes the Dwarf names Durin and Narvi, which can't have been on the 'real' door either, as Tolkien nicked them both from the Voluspa.

The same problem occurs with the epitaph on Balin's tomb, which even provides an English (instead of Westron) version written in Angerthas runes (although the use of Moria is in this case historically justified). I guess we'll have to assume that in both cases what we see in the book isn't a facsimile of the 'real' inscriptions (or their representations in the original Red Book) but something tinkered with by the 'translator' who inserted the Old Norse names instead of their 'actual' Mannish names (in the language of Dale or something of the like).

This doesn't, however, solve the problem of Moria, as this is not a 'translation' but a 'real' Elvish Middle-earth name - only one that wasn't used at the time the inscription was made. My best guess is that the Prof originally thought that Khazad-dûm had been called Moria by the Elves all along, and when he later decided that it had been renamed after the waking of the Balrog it just never occurred to him to change the inscription accordingly.
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Old 08-22-2010, 06:25 PM   #3
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But the original elvish name for Khazad-dum was Hadhodrond.
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Old 08-23-2010, 09:45 AM   #4
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So it was, and that's probably what the 'original' inscription should have said, but I don't think Tolkien had invented that name yet when he wrote LotR.
(Or if you prefer an immanent explanation, maybe some elvish graffiti sprayer changed the inscription after Durin's Bane had awoken?)
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Old 08-23-2010, 10:41 AM   #5
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How about: Gandalf said Moria and the translator followed this for readers, with his inscription in the modern book. So the real inscription might read Hadhodrond instead of Moria (despite both being Elvish), just as the real inscription did not have Durin and Narvi.

The picture of the door in the modern book 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.

Of course Tolkien may have just made a mistake with Moria, but if one is looking for an answer beyond that, for myself, since the Dwarf-names appear in the written example in the book, and must be translations, Moria can also be a 'stand in' -- even for another Elvish word -- given that Moria is the name the Reader knows.

Or something

Edit: I didn't see Pitchwife's recent response when I posted this, by the way.
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Old 08-29-2010, 01:22 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Pitchwife View Post
(Or if you prefer an immanent explanation, maybe some elvish graffiti sprayer changed the inscription after Durin's Bane had awoken?)
While it probably is just a mistake on Tolkien's part the idea of an elvish graffiti sprayer are hilarious to imagine.

Galadriel: Celeborn....

C: Yes, dear?

G: Would you care to explain why my Mirror just showed you and Haldir carving Moria into the dwarves doors?

C: Oh, that. Well, you see it is a warning to anybody who enters that there is a balrog in there.

Cue Galadriel throwing Celeborn out of the talan for the night.
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Old 10-21-2010, 03:59 PM   #7
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But the original elvish name for Khazad-dum was Hadhodrond.
I have an elvish dictionary in my book's appendix, and it says that Hadhodrond was how Elves pronounced Khazad Dum.
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Old 10-22-2010, 04:18 AM   #8
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Our knowledge of the inscriptions on the West Door of Moria and on Balin's tomb comes from that part of The Red Book written by Frodo several years after he saw them.

A lot had happened to Frodo during the time between his visit to Moria and his drawing and writing about it. His body, his mind and his very soul had been damaged, so it's not suprising that his memory was a bit vague. He had no camera to record the details.

He could remember what the inscriptions meant but perhaps not the exact words. He used the name "Moria" because that was the name he was most familiar with.
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Old 10-22-2010, 06:31 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Selmo
Our knowledge of the inscriptions on the West Door of Moria and on Balin's tomb comes from that part of The Red Book written by Frodo several years after he saw them (...) He could remember what the inscriptions meant but perhaps not the exact words. He used the name "Moria" because that was the name he was most familiar with.
That might explain Moria, but no one but a modern man using Old Norse (a language that did not exist in Frodo's day of course) could have written the 'translated' Dwarf-names on the picture in the book published in the last century...

... thus for myself I find it simpler to attribute all three 'problematic' names to the modern translator.

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Old 11-24-2010, 06:36 AM   #10
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Gandalf could read Old Norse, but he's the only one in the Fellowship who does. I don't recall him going to the Shire and helping Frodo with his book, though.
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Old 11-24-2010, 07:07 AM   #11
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Gandalf could read Old Norse, but he's the only one in the Fellowship who does. I don't recall him going to the Shire and helping Frodo with his book, though.
Technically Gandalf could not read Old Norse (as it wasn't yet a language at this point in time). Old Norse, Old English, Modern English all represent actual languages (like Westron) that were spoken or written way back in 'those ancient days'.

As noted we have Old Norse names in the picture in the book, yet no one but a modern translator could have put them there in translation -- which connects to the argument that 'Moria', despite being a word actually spoken in Frodo's day, also need not have been written on the actual doors, even though this too is written in the picture in the book.
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Old 11-24-2010, 12:31 PM   #12
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I completely don't get this. I'm so confused! What does a translation have to do with anything?
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Old 11-24-2010, 12:54 PM   #13
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Take a look at the prologue to LotR and Appendix F, specifically the part that's called "On Translation". Bilbo, Frodo*, et al. didn't speak English. They spoke Westron,** which Tolkien translated from copies of the Red Book of Westmarch. Languages that were truly foreign to the hobbits were retained in their untranslated form (i.e., Quenya, Sindarin, Entish, Black Speech), but those that were related enough to feel akin to Westron were translated into whatever their equivalent relationship to modern English would be. Hence the Rohirrim speaking Anglo-Saxon in LotR, even though in the Red Book they spoke Rohirric.

And of course I should add that as we know the original Red Book did not survive to Tolkien, it is quite likely that any illustrative drawings like the Moria sketch were either corrupted or (more likely) lost, as many Greek texts that had illustrations lost them during the medieval period.

So in response to your question, Galadriel55, a translation had to do with EVERYTHING as this is how we received LotR from the source material.

*And those weren't even their actual names, but also translations of the Westron.
**Yes, I know, they didn't speak anything because they didn't exist, but within the secondary world this is what was supposed to happen.
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Old 11-24-2010, 03:26 PM   #14
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Just to add as an example: 'Gandalf' is an Old Norse name, but nobody in Middle-earth would have spoken this name or written it anywhere... it is a translation of something, like 'Sam' (another translation) was really called Ban (short version) according to Appendix F.

Old Norse was still a language of the future in Frodo's day -- or that person the translator has named 'Frodo' actually.
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Old 11-25-2010, 12:53 AM   #15
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I'm not sure that I'd go along with the notion that "Moria" is a name which was applied only after the coming of the Balrog. Moria, indeed, is applied very freely throughout the LotR as a synonym for Khazad-dûm, even when relating information about the place which clearly pre-dates the Balrog (e.g., "Moria-silver" for mithril).

I presume this position derives primarily from the line in the Sil ("Greatest of all the mansions of the Dwarves was Khazâd-dûm, the Dwarrowdelf, Hadhodrond in the Elvish tongue, that was afterwards in the days of its darkness called Moria"), which also seems to have some implicit support from Gimli's line in "The Ring Goes South" ("...under them lies Khazad-dûm, the Dwarrowdelf, that is now called the Black Pit, Moria in the Elvish tongue").

But I think the Sil line must give way to the greater authority of the LotR. The notes in Appendix F strongly imply that the name was given with, I daresay, characteristic Elvish contempt that had nothing to do with the Balrog:
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"But Moria is an Elvish name, and given without love; for the Eldar, though they might at need, in their bitter wars with the Dark Power and his servants, contrive fortresses underground, were not dwellers in such places of choice. They were lovers of the green earth and the lights of heaven; and Moria in their tongue means the Black Chasm. But the Dwarves themselves, and this name at least was never kept secret, called it Khazad-dûm, the Mansion of the Khazâd..."
Gimli's line may be read in the spirit of "now widely known as the Black Pit, Moria...", or even, "now called, even by the dwarves, the Black Pit, Moria..."

My (admittedly cursory) reading of the notes on "Hadhodrond" in HoME XI is that that name was a "straight" translation of Khazad-dûm applied by the Elves when that place was known to them only at second-hand, and that "Moria" was what they named it when they came and saw it for themselves (but presumably before their fast friendship with the Dwarves of that place blossomed). The inscription on the door might even be a winking nod to the bumpy origins of that friendship.
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Old 11-25-2010, 07:23 AM   #16
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But I think the Sil line must give way to the greater authority of the LotR. (...) "But Moria is an Elvish name, and given without love; for the Eldar, though they might at need, in their bitter wars with the Dark Power and his servants, contrive fortresses underground, were not dwellers in such places of choice."
I've no problem with this approach in general, but considering what The Lord of the Rings notes above...

Quote:
(...) The inscription on the door might even be a winking nod to the bumpy origins of that friendship.
... this much still seems a bit problematic to my mind. It's still the door to a Dwarvish realm, and this explanation, while possible, doesn't seem all that compelling in my opinion.
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Old 11-25-2010, 08:30 AM   #17
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Old 11-25-2010, 11:57 AM   #18
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Ever hear the theory that Celebrimbor did it as a practical joke?
Not surprising, considering the Buzzer-Rings of Power he was infamous for before Sauron showed up.

Galin, my response is that the doors, while obviously the portal to a Dwarvish realm, were a collaboration between the two races and clearly made in tribute to the Dwarves' western allies, with a password of "mellon", no less. In HoME XII we find this:
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The Dwarves said that it was in courtesy to the Elves that the Feanorian letters were used on that gate, since it opened into their country and was chiefly used by them. But the East Gates, which perished in the war against the Orks, had opened upon the wide world, and were less friendly. They had borne Runic inscriptions in several tongues: spells of prohibition and exclusion in Khuzdul, and commands that all should depart who had not the leave of the Lord of Moria written in Quenya, Sindarin, the Common Speech, the languages of Rohan and of Dale and Dunland.
Admittedly I may be reaching when I theorize some underlying humor in the use of "Moria". Perhaps it had merely by that time become the common name for the Dwarrowdelf and accepted and used as such even by the Dwarves in their interactions with outsiders despite its somewhat insulting meaning.
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Old 11-25-2010, 02:08 PM   #19
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Maybe the Dwarves used the name themself on the East gate as kind of a thread. The Lord of the Dark-Pit might be more frightening than the the Lord of Khazâd-dûm (a name of unknown meaning for a stranger).

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Old 11-25-2010, 06:26 PM   #20
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Galin, my response is that the doors, while obviously the portal to a Dwarvish realm, were a collaboration between the two races and clearly made in tribute to the Dwarves' western allies, with a password of "mellon", no less.
That much is fine...

Quote:
Admittedly I may be reaching when I theorize some underlying humor in the use of "Moria".
... but yes to me this is the part that seems to be reaching a bit.

Quote:
Perhaps it had merely by that time become the common name for the Dwarrowdelf and accepted and used as such even by the Dwarves in their interactions with outsiders despite its somewhat insulting meaning.
Generally speaking we could have a matter of 'names becoming names' with the meaning becoming secondary or lost, that's true enough... but anyway I guess I find a certain measure of simplicity in positing Moria as the result of the translator -- as the Old Norse must be -- and as the reader would be familiar enough with 'Moria' too.

That said I would prefer a more internal explanation than 'it's the translator' -- though I doubt Tolkien wants to say that these two Dwarf names were internal to the period and just happen to resemble Old Norse!

Hmm, JRRT never really explained Orthanc in this light, for example

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Old 11-25-2010, 06:44 PM   #21
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My argument was against Moria as an anachronism. I don't think this is the case, nor do I see the need to use the translator conceit to cover it. Glancing through various works in researching for this thread, it seems to me that "Moria" as a rule is used more or less interchangeably with "Khazad-dûm". I think the idea that it was applied only after the Balrog was roused is the anomalous one that you'd have to really work to prop up.

On the other hand, Tolkien, in HoME XII, goes into a detailed "translator" explanation about dwarf names used in a related context -- namely, in the inscription on Balin's tomb. I won't quote from it at great length. Tolkien notes, "But the names Balin and Fundin are in such a context absurd." He then proceeds with a lengthy justification for borrowing Norse names for the translation and concludes, "In consequence, such names as Balin, etc. would not have appeared in any contemporary inscription using actual Khuzdul." Or in any other contemporary language, I might add.
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Old 11-25-2010, 08:18 PM   #22
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Well I would put it this way: raising the translator seems already part of an explanation concerning the doors -- in other words we seem to need to go there anyway, so perhaps just add Moria.

Again I'm all with you bringing The Lord of the Rings* to the fore, but that Moria might not be an anachronism is a bit different from inscribing this name on the door -- a name 'given without love' in any case -- though perhaps its meaning had become secondary or forgotten enough, as said.

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