Oct 19 2012, 3:49am
I wrote a story once that had a dialogue between two orcs regarding this very topic. It is quite germane for this discussion. Well, maybe not, but just the same:
The Difficulty of having a Lord one can't name...
The two Orcs halted their belletristic tźte-ą-tźte briefly as a fierce Mordorion destrier passed close by. Astride the hideous steed sat a grim man, clad wholly in black with a tall helm. An Orc slavedriver tipped the bill of his rusty iron helmet and lowered his eyes in deference as the haughty figure rode further up the line.
"Who's the 'ell is that?" Shiznit said, rather surprised to see a man that wasn't meant for supper.
"Who, him?" Slūtbag shrugged again. "That's the Mouth."
"The Mouth? Mouth of who?" Shiznit asked.
"Him what can't be named," Slūtbag answered in a whisper.
"And who is Him what can't be named?" Shiznit continued.
"Go on," Slūtbag spat, "you can't be that dense. Him what can't be named the Great Eye."
"Oh, that Him," Shiznit nodded dimly. The Orc arched a ratty eyebrow and glanced dubiously at his comrade. "So
this feller's name
is...The Mouth of Him What Can't Be Named?"
"No, stupid," Slūtbag grumbled, "that aint it. But I can't repeat his name."
Shiznit rolled his eyes. "How can the feller have a name what can't be named?" he chuckled. "That makes no sense."
Slūtbag lowered his voice and in a choked whisper said, "I can't name his name because of the prohibition."
Shiznit frowned. "Prohibition? What prohibition?"
"The prohibition against naming Him what can't be named."
"Him? You mean the Great Eye?"
"Yes-s-s," Slūtbag hissed.
"So, let's see if I follow you here," Shiznit sighed in irritation. "That feller is the Mouth
"Yes-s-s," Slūtbag repeated.
"The Mouth of S-s-s
"Don't you dare say it!" Slūtbag barked.
"But how can he have a name what can't be said?" Shiznit growled in frustration. "That's bloody idiotic! I mean, its not like we're takin' the lord's name in vain."
"It can't be helped, even when taken out-of-context," Slūtbag stated matter-of-factly. "It's a literary convention of the plot."
"Well, what the 'ell do you call him then?"
"Oh, 'round here we don't call him nothin'. It's best not to mention him at all."
Not to be put off, Shiznit decided to attack the problem at a different angle. "Okay then. This feller - this Mouth of Him What Can't Be Named - what's he do, exactly?"
"Why, he's the Lieutenant of Barad-dur, that's what he is," Slūtbag said reverently.
Shiznit glowered. "He don't look like no Nazgul."
"He aint," Slūtbag replied, "that's the thing: he's a man - a mortal man."
"He aint got no Ring?"
"No great pterodactyl-like flyin' beastie thing?"
"He aint got that Nazgulish high-pierced shriek whats I hate?"
"Oh, I hates that as well! But no, he aint got any of that."
"Well, what's he good for then?"
"I don't rightly know. But he'd flay you alive as soon as look at ya, that's what I says."
"Mean, is he?"
"Over-the-top cruel, he is. Worse than any Orc."
Shiznit was quite impressed. "Where'd he come from then?"
Deep in thought, Slūtbag stroked his chin and after a moment's consideration, answered, "No one rightly knows, but my best guess is he's a Black Numenorean."
"What makes you think that?"
"Well, he dresses all in black."
"That makes sense, I guess" Shiznit nodded. "But what's his real name? I mean, he can't have gone through his whole life bein' called The Mouth of Him What Can't Be Named."
"That's just it," Slūtbag replied, now as equally perplexed, "he's forgotten it!"
"Forgot his own name? And how do you go about forgettin' yer own name? I mean, it's not like yer social security number or the wife's birthday."
"Just the same, he don't know it anymore."
Please visit my blog...The Dark Elf File...a slighty skewed journal of music and literary comment, fan-fiction and interminable essays.