Sep 20, 8:27pm
Given the multitude of manuscripts, drafts, and doodles by our favorite story-telling Prof, how are we supposed to judge what the various cultures of Elves 'do' or don't do when it comes to names?
If the emphasis is on various cultures with respect to naming customs in general, then yes one could argue that the LACE description, for example, might not necessarily stand for the Elves of Greenwood.
My response to the question of repeated names among Elves at least seems to cover the Eldar (which includes the Sindar), and as I say above, in general I think it's safe to say yes, they do repeat names.
In other words, when the same name occurs twice in his stories (say, Rumil), does that stand as evidence that Elvish names did get used twice in Elvish cultures within the fictional world?
If we use only canon -- which for me means only Tolkien-published sources -- I'm not sure the mere existence of one example (unless I'm forgetting another) is going to shed great light on the practices of Elves with respect to naming.
Or does it mean the author used a name a second time while forgetting he'd used it earlier, or used it again because in his mind the earlier draft had been abandoned and no longer had currency within his fictional world?
This question doesn't matter much to me in the sense that, in my opinion, no matter how it got "in", even Tolkien has to deal with the fact that there are two Elves in his published corpus who have the same name. And actually, in Words Phrases and Passages, Tolkien questions his choice here:
"Rumil is not Sindarin but identical in form with the Quenya name of the learned sage of Valinor. It might be assumed to have been borrowed from tradition, but this is not very credible, since the traditions were High-elven and not known to the Silvan Folk or the Sindar and must therefore have been given by Galadriel (who was of the Noldor); but why the name, such a choice for an elf who seems one of the plain guards and soldiers of the kingdom."
JRRT, Words, Phrases and Passages
In a second text concerning this Elf, Tolkien merely notes: " . . . whereas Rumil is actually a 'learned' Quenya name."
Anyway here's how I approach things: as far as I know, nothing in the author's published work seems to contradict what Tolkien writes in his posthumously published papers (including the text I just quoted) , and so I include a number of late writings, in which the repetition of Rumil appears to fit in any case.
Is there anything hazy here? Arguably so, given what Tolkien says about the name Glorfindel at least. In other words, if we (I) defer to this admittedly late text, what other name is "striking", or, too striking to be repeated (and so forth about Elves of importance)?
As with other things in Tolkiendom, often enough there's a but-what-about-this question niggling at a seeminly otherwise "easier" answer. And as you note, further questions arise about this topic, especially given the separation of Elvish communities for example. But that said, I feel safe enough to go as far as I usually do, again, preceded by my "generally speaking" above.
Although maybe I'll switch to Eldar, rather than Elves, whether thinking about the Avari or not
(This post was edited by Elthir on Sep 20, 8:38pm)