A Long-expected read

I’m finally reading the Lord of the Rings trilogy. I finished the Fellowship of the Ring on New Years Day, and this week I’ve been slowly working my way through The Two Towers. This is an excellent read, and I’ve grown extremely fond of many characters, especially Sam Gamgee.

The Barrow-Downs, a website devoted to Tolkien’s work, has a nifty name generator. I entered my full name, and it said that in Middle-Earth I would have been a respected Dark-Elf called Gorothchil. Other feminine versions could have been Gorothchiliel, Gorothchilien, or Gorothchildwen. I like all of those, actually, and I’m extremely pleased to be a dark elf.

14 comments:

Joseph Krengel said...

Interesting selection... the word itself breaks down roughly as "horrible cleft" or "gorge of horror"

I guess there are two ways to take that: a seemingly apt character study, or a... shall we say obscene commentary.

Cyan said...

Heh...That certainly sounds rather obscene. I think I'll pretend that you didn't translate that...

Out of curiosity (and because you know more about Tolkien's work than anyone that I know), is there truly a fully developed elven language? I mean...how did you know how to translate that? Is it something that I will run across when I read the Silmarillion (which I intend to do upon completion of the trilogy)?

I'm finding the world building aspect to be fascinating.

moif said...

I think there are three elven languages actually, and a couple of others too... An orcish one if I'm not mistaken.

Some times I forget who Joe is

=)

Joseph Krengel said...

The subject of elven languages is a tricky one.

I don't actually speak any of them (I'm not that much of a nerd) but I can usually recognize certain elements. When I saw the name I googled "Sindarin dictionary" and used the roots "Gorgor" and "Cil" to find the definition.

There are two major languages for the Elves: Sindarin and Quenya. Sindarin is the language you will see most often in Tolkien's writing, and it is the "conversational" elvish of all the characters in the book.

Quenya, or the elvish "latin" is only seen sparingly. When Frodo greets the Wandering company with a blessing on Varda for example, he is using the Quenya tongue because the elves in question are Noldor or "High" elves (are Galadriel and Elrond.) The distinction will become more apparent after you read the appendices and the Silmarillion.

The languages themselves are "developed" in the sense that they have a basic working grammar and vocabulary; but most of the "content" that you'll find out there is speculative or based on extreme extrapolations.

As I said, there are two main elven languages. The elves of Lothlorien and Mirkwood speak a heavily accented version of Sindarin. Another language, called the "Valinorean," is mentioned by name (and a few words pop up) but is not an elven language; it is just one that they brought back to middle earth.

The other languages that appear in the books are "Westron" (or the common tongue) which is derived from Andunaic and is the language of men; Khuzdul, the language of the Dwarves (and of their own creation), the Black Speech (which is also derived from Sindarin and has many "mannish" influences") and of course the hobbit's language, which is a further variation of the Westron although closer to the Andunaic. The Rohirrim speak a combination of "Westron" and an offshoot of the original language of men, which is largely lost and goes unnamed.

I think that covers it for now...

Joseph Krengel said...

Oh, there was one thing that I forgot to mention... "Dark" elves doesn't have the meaning that it does in the fantasy genre in general. Rather than denoting Elves who live in the shadows or have some darker persona, in Tolkien the phrase refers to Elves who never gazed upon the Light of the Trees, and were never "ennobled" by the presence of the Valar and said Trees.

In the books these would include the elves of Lothlorien (save Galadriel) and Mirkwood (save Thranduil and Legolas... maybe), along with some of the elves present at Rivendell.

Cyan said...

Thanks, Joe and Moif. You're both extremely informative when it comes to Tolkien.

I was wondering about the dark elf thing, and I still don't fully understand what is meant by "never gazing upon the light of the trees," but I'm certain that I'll get to that within my reading. I'm completely engrossed at this point.

Joseph Krengel said...

Don't mention it. It's so rare that I get a chance to flex my geek-muscle.

brando said...

Wow Joesph, I'm impressed. I loved the trilogy, but I couldn't get through the Silmirillion. (I can’t even spell it) I even tried 3 or 4 times, but it was just terrible. I did get a kick out of that big spider (Morgoth) running around, but that's about it.

Joseph Krengel said...

Actually "Morgoth" isn't the spider... you're thinking of Shelob.

Cyan said...

Shelob creeped me the hell out. There's just something about a giant spider with those multi-faceted eyes that can make my skin crawl.

*shudder*

moif said...

In the Sil? Wouldn't that be Ungoliant

Joseph Krengel said...

Moif is of course right, didn't see that you were talking about The Silmarillion.

It's the little exposition here and there throughout the LOTR that makes it such a great read for me; like for example how Tolkien describes Shelob's eventual fate after her run-in Sam. Completely unnecessary yet utterly compelling.

brando said...

I think I had Ungoliant and Morgoth blended together as one character in my mind. Please forgive me, that stuff is sort of confusing.

Is Ungoliant pretty much the dad of all the inteligent spiders in the Mirkwood?

Did you say that Shelob's fate is in the Sil? I think I just want to read that part.

Joseph Krengel said...

Ungoliant is more the "mother" than father of the spiders; and Shelob's fate is described in the Lord of the Rings.