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How long was Nardil/Andúril?
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Otaku-sempai
Half-elven


May 23 2013, 12:53pm

Post #1 of 60 (474 views)
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How long was Nardil/Andúril? Can't Post

It seems to be generally assumed that Narsil (later reforged as Andúril) was a longsword. The films portray it as a hand-and-a-half sword (also known as a bastard sword; Strider's Ranger sword is also such a weapon). When Sam first sees Aragorn on the throne of Gondor with Andúril laid across his knees, Tolkien refers to it as a great sword (the meaning of whch seems to vary from hand-and-a-half to true, two-handed sword). To further complicate things, it seems that the term longsword can also be used to describe a hand-and-a-half blade.

So, is a hand-and-a-half sword most likely correct? Anyone have anything concrete about this?

'There are older and fouler things than Orcs in the deep places of the world.' - Gandalf the Grey, The Fellowship of the Ring


Otaku-sempai
Half-elven


May 23 2013, 8:17pm

Post #2 of 60 (303 views)
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Ack!! That should read "Narsil" not "Nardil"! [In reply to] Can't Post

I can't believe I overlooked that typo. It's specially annoying that it's in the header.

'There are older and fouler things than Orcs in the deep places of the world.' - Gandalf the Grey, The Fellowship of the Ring

(This post was edited by Otaku-sempai on May 23 2013, 8:25pm)


Brethil
Half-elven


May 23 2013, 8:21pm

Post #3 of 60 (306 views)
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I've done a good couple of typos myself lately.... [In reply to] Can't Post

...quite funny in fact.

Anyway I have nothing intelligent to contribute about your question just thought I would commiserate on the typo thing as I am becoming quite the expert in smacking my own forehead AFTER the edit window closes. Or someone sends me a a hysterically funny response.

Manwe, when asked a simple "Yes" or "No" question, contemplated, and responded "the middle one."


malickfan
Gondor


May 23 2013, 9:19pm

Post #4 of 60 (314 views)
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I don't have any concrete evience but... [In reply to] Can't Post

...on the entry for Elendil on the tolkien gateway it notes:

Elendil was the father of Isildur and Anárion, a survivor of the Downfall of Númenor, and the founder and first King of Arnor and Gondor. Elendil was also known as Elendil the Tall the tallest of Men who escaped the Downfall (mentioned to be almost 2.5 rangar tall, 7'11" or 2.41 m)[1] and Elendil the Fair.

If the sword was a longsword then presumabely tolkien with hix attention to detail based it on real life proportions-I'm not too clued up on long sword's but from what I know in books and films I've seen they seem to be between 40-60% of the actor/character's total height so with Elendil that would be 96.4-144.6 cm (I measure in metric)...I'm probably wrong though.

I don't recall anything directly on this in Tolkien's writing but in Unfinished Tales tolkien mentions the 'steel bows' of the numenoreans-so perhaps there is a reference to Narsil in there?

Sorry I couldn't be much direct help

Wink




‘As they came to the gates Cirdan the Shipwright came forth to greet them. Very tall he was, and his beard was long, and we was grey and old, save that his eyes were keen as stars; and he looked at them and bowed, and said ‘All is now ready.’

Perhaps the most fascinating Individual in Middle Earth



Maciliel
Tol Eressea


May 23 2013, 9:20pm

Post #5 of 60 (300 views)
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yes, nardil.... [In reply to] Can't Post

 
yes, i noticed that.

i figured you were typing your post while watching a commercial for "nardil," which is what you take for aches and pains after a long day of fighting uruk-hai.


cheers --

.


aka. fili orc-enshield
+++++++++++++++++++
the scene, as i understand it, is exceptionally well-written. fili (in sort of a callback to the scene with the eagles), calls out "thorRIIIIIIN!!!" just as he sees the pale orc veer in for the kill. he picks up the severed arm of an orc which is lying on the ground, swings it up in desperation, effectively blocking the pale orc's blow. and thus, forever after, fili is known as "fili orc-enshield."

this earns him deep respect from his hard-to-please uncle. as well as a hug. kili wipes his boots on the pale orc's glory box. -- maciliel telpemairo


noWizardme
Tol Eressea


May 23 2013, 9:32pm

Post #6 of 60 (296 views)
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Short enough to carry concealed at the hip [In reply to] Can't Post

In the chapter "Strider", Fellowship of the Ring:

Quote
Throwing back his cloak, he laid his hand on the hilt of a sword that had hung concealed by his side.


Can't be too long then, or it would be dragging on the ground, and concealing it under a cloak wouldn't work.

If its meant to be drawn from that scabbard on the hip (as opposed to just carried around like that) I think it can't be longer than his arm- I can't imagine how you'd get a longer sword than that clear of its sheath.

I think the sword in the film is just part of Peter Jacksons fondness for supervised weapons (eg the Witch Kings enormous flail)

Disclaimers: The words of noWizardme may stand on their heads! I'm often wrong about things, and its fun to be taught more....

"nowimë I am in the West, Furincurunir to the Dwarves (or at least, to their best friend) and by other names in other lands. Mostly they just say 'Oh no it's him - look busy!' "
Or "Hold off! unhand me, grey-beard loon!"


Maciliel
Tol Eressea


May 23 2013, 9:33pm

Post #7 of 60 (297 views)
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but.... [In reply to] Can't Post

 
but... when he's strider, in fellowship, he's not carrying narsil around... narsil is broken and in rivendell, yes?


cheers ---

.


aka. fili orc-enshield
+++++++++++++++++++
the scene, as i understand it, is exceptionally well-written. fili (in sort of a callback to the scene with the eagles), calls out "thorRIIIIIIN!!!" just as he sees the pale orc veer in for the kill. he picks up the severed arm of an orc which is lying on the ground, swings it up in desperation, effectively blocking the pale orc's blow. and thus, forever after, fili is known as "fili orc-enshield."

this earns him deep respect from his hard-to-please uncle. as well as a hug. kili wipes his boots on the pale orc's glory box. -- maciliel telpemairo


noWizardme
Tol Eressea


May 23 2013, 9:45pm

Post #8 of 60 (293 views)
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No, Strider is carrying a broken sword [In reply to] Can't Post

After discussion of Gandalfs letter, and Bilbos verses. Therein, strider draws his sword as proof:

Quote
He drew out his sword, and they saw that the blade was indeed broken a foot below the hilt.


Disclaimers: The words of noWizardme may stand on their heads! I'm often wrong about things, and its fun to be taught more....

"nowimë I am in the West, Furincurunir to the Dwarves (or at least, to their best friend) and by other names in other lands. Mostly they just say 'Oh no it's him - look busy!' "
Or "Hold off! unhand me, grey-beard loon!"


Maciliel
Tol Eressea


May 23 2013, 9:47pm

Post #9 of 60 (287 views)
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but still [In reply to] Can't Post

 
,,, the sword is broken, and not its true, full length.

it's been a while since i read fellowship. am going to enjoy reading it again. have forgotten some things, through distancing.

cheers --

.


aka. fili orc-enshield
+++++++++++++++++++
the scene, as i understand it, is exceptionally well-written. fili (in sort of a callback to the scene with the eagles), calls out "thorRIIIIIIN!!!" just as he sees the pale orc veer in for the kill. he picks up the severed arm of an orc which is lying on the ground, swings it up in desperation, effectively blocking the pale orc's blow. and thus, forever after, fili is known as "fili orc-enshield."

this earns him deep respect from his hard-to-please uncle. as well as a hug. kili wipes his boots on the pale orc's glory box. -- maciliel telpemairo


Elizabeth
Valinor


May 23 2013, 9:53pm

Post #10 of 60 (289 views)
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Exactly. "Broken a foot below the hilt". [In reply to] Can't Post

We don't know where the rest is (stowed in a backpack? on display in Rivendell?), but we do know that this is a fragment, not a full-length sword.

In various chapter discussions here, most people think he was carrying it as an identification artifact, and presumably had an operational sword to use for business.

And I recently re-read Fellowship for the first time in several years, and enjoyed it immensely!








(This post was edited by Elizabeth on May 23 2013, 9:57pm)


noWizardme
Tol Eressea


May 23 2013, 10:01pm

Post #11 of 60 (295 views)
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A red herring then, my apologies [In reply to] Can't Post

That also solves something that I'd not figured out - I did wonder what use a broken sword could possibly be (apart from being a neat business card) Strider himself says its not much use.

So I think this line of enquiry has collapsed. Knowing you can carry the top 12 inches at your hip doesn't prove anything

Disclaimers: The words of noWizardme may stand on their heads! I'm often wrong about things, and its fun to be taught more....

"nowimë I am in the West, Furincurunir to the Dwarves (or at least, to their best friend) and by other names in other lands. Mostly they just say 'Oh no it's him - look busy!' "
Or "Hold off! unhand me, grey-beard loon!"


Brethil
Half-elven


May 23 2013, 10:05pm

Post #12 of 60 (286 views)
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Hmmmm [In reply to] Can't Post

The question is where the break is.

If there is only the one break a foot below the guard then the other piece resting in the scabbard would need the usual amount of length, so the scabbard length would be the blade's entire true size. If it was broken in several pieces, theoretically the smaller sections could be jumbled together in the bottom of a shorter scabbard, and that would be misleading as to its ultimate length.

The text version has the blade broken on two pieces, so the 'shards' although they sound small are the smaller hilt section plus the blade. This would seem to indicate the need for a scabbard to accommodate the length; but *only * if all pieces were carried so. We don't know that - they could have been stored elsewhere. So I think scabbard length might not give us the clear answer.

As far as the length changing - there may have been more material added to the blade as well during reforging (real-world I think really the whole blade would have to be melted and recast, I don't think a simple, tempered 'weld' join would endure. So the length may have changed at that point, with the hilt being reused.) So that could explain O-S, how it began as a bastard sword yet as Anduril is a great sword.

Manwe, when asked a simple "Yes" or "No" question, contemplated, and responded "the middle one."

(This post was edited by Brethil on May 23 2013, 10:06pm)


Otaku-sempai
Half-elven


May 24 2013, 12:32am

Post #13 of 60 (274 views)
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Not too long... [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
In the chapter "Strider", Fellowship of the Ring:

Quote
Throwing back his cloak, he laid his hand on the hilt of a sword that had hung concealed by his side.


Can't be too long then, or it would be dragging on the ground, and concealing it under a cloak wouldn't work.

If its meant to be drawn from that scabbard on the hip (as opposed to just carried around like that) I think it can't be longer than his arm- I can't imagine how you'd get a longer sword than that clear of its sheath.

I think the sword in the film is just part of Peter Jacksons fondness for supervised weapons (eg the Witch Kings enormous flail)



I've assumed that Strider was carrying Narsil in its original scabbard, so its being broken is not so much an issue. It seems as though Tolkien might have been using both the terms long sword and great sword in an archaic sense in which they both indicate a sword that can be wielded with either one or both hands. A hand-and-a-half (or bastard) sword can be short enough to wear at the hip. In fact, the Ranger sword from the films is worn that way. The fllms give Andúril a similar design with a hand-and-a-half hilt, 'though it is shown being worn over Aragrorn's shoulder.

'There are older and fouler things than Orcs in the deep places of the world.' - Gandalf the Grey, The Fellowship of the Ring

(This post was edited by Otaku-sempai on May 24 2013, 12:34am)


Elizabeth
Valinor


May 24 2013, 5:21am

Post #14 of 60 (261 views)
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Here's another item for the category [In reply to] Can't Post

"Things I always assumed but Tolkien never wrote" (the thread farther down, and a fun one it was, too).

It makes little rational sense for a Ranger with Aragorn's responsibilities to be armed only with a broken sword. We assume he had a working model, but we don't know. If he was carrying it as an ID card, would he have carried the broken piece(s)? Where? We don't know.

Another related puzzel: when the Men of the West departed for the Black Gate, Aragorn swore never to sheath his sword until the action was resolved. Really? He's going to carry this long, sharp thing unsheathed, exposed to the elements, while riding, walking, eating, sleeping, ... ?








noWizardme
Tol Eressea


May 24 2013, 6:48am

Post #15 of 60 (255 views)
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Another possible clue [In reply to] Can't Post

When being armed from Théoden's armoury

Quote
…they arrayed Legolas and Aragorn in shining mail. Helms too they chose and round shields...


Maybe this implies that Aragorn intends to use a shield with his sword. If that's so, does it mean his sword is used one-handed? Not one of this six foot German blades, then?

I seem to remember from documentaries of the film that the Anduriel prop was to big for its scabbard, or for the actor to draw from the hip. So it's usually seen unsheathed (and so being literal about the props in the film is misleading, I think).

Disclaimers: The words of noWizardme may stand on their heads! I'm often wrong about things, and its fun to be taught more....

"nowimë I am in the West, Furincurunir to the Dwarves (or at least, to their best friend) and by other names in other lands. Mostly they just say 'Oh no it's him - look busy!' "
Or "Hold off! unhand me, grey-beard loon!"


Yngwulff
Gondor


May 24 2013, 7:00am

Post #16 of 60 (252 views)
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how tall is aragorn [In reply to] Can't Post

If you know that you can surmise how long his legs are approximately and at least get a ball park if it was under his cloak at Bree and not dragging on the ground.


Take this Brother May it Serve you Well
Vote for Pedro!


Elizabeth
Valinor


May 24 2013, 7:06am

Post #17 of 60 (252 views)
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At Bree it was broken 1 ft from the hilt... [In reply to] Can't Post

...unless it's the scabbard you're measuring.








noWizardme
Tol Eressea


May 24 2013, 11:02am

Post #18 of 60 (248 views)
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Tolkien balances "reality" with literature. Again. [In reply to] Can't Post

I was thinking there are several elements shown up nicely in this thread, which is interesting. On the one hand the sword is believable enough as a weapon that we can ask questions about it & hope for sensible answers (we don't expect Tolkien to be riddled with inconsistencies).
But I think Tolkien is balancing the sword as an item you could imagine as real (size, ornament, other properties) with the literary and traditional significances which swirl around it.These include at least the following:
  1. It is the symbol of the breaking of the line of Kings under Isildur, and its reforging under Aragorn and Arwen (and the passages from the Strider chapter I quoted have to be seen in that light as well as a practical one as I was doing earlier)
  2. The arming sequence I mentioned (Aragorn prepares for battle to help Theoden's troops) seems to me to be a reflection of sequences such as Beowulf arming to fight Grendel's Mother:
(which Starts at 3:13 in this chapter of Dick Ringler reading: Dick Ringler – The Journey To The Monsters' Lair ) In a translation you can see copyright Free, (pls note Lord & Lady Moderator!) at Project Gutenburg, the section goes:

Quote
Beowulf donned then his battle-equipments,
Cared little for life; inlaid and most ample,
The hand-woven corslet which could cover his body,

Must the wave-deeps explore, that war might be powerless
To harm the great hero, and the hating one’s grasp might
Not peril his safety; his head was protected
By the light-flashing helmet that should mix with the bottoms,
Trying the eddies, treasure-emblazoned,

Encircled with jewels, as in seasons long past
The weapon-smith worked it, wondrously made it,
With swine-bodies fashioned it, that thenceforward no longer
Brand might bite it, and battle-sword hurt it.
And that was not least of helpers in prowess
He has Unferth’s sword in his hand. 70
That Hrothgar’s spokesman had lent him when straitened;
And the hilted hand-sword was Hrunting entitled,
Old and most excellent ’mong all of the treasures;
Its blade was of iron, blotted with poison,
Hardened with gore; it failed not in battle

Any hero under heaven in hand who it brandished,
Who ventured to take the terrible journeys,
The battle-field sought; not the earliest occasion
That deeds of daring ’twas destined to ’complish.

(Must say I prefer Ringler's translation or Seamus Heaney's myself. In their effect on me as audience - I have no knowledge about the technical worth of the translations - but that gives a flavour at least.)

Of course we want to know all about Narsil, as the bard's audience probably wanted to know about Hrunting.

Bravo Tolkien who can provide a story balancing "realistic" and traditional/figurative/symbolic elements so well. As usual.

...if you see what I mean?

As a last factor here we have the mostly post-Tolkien tropes of depicting fantasy weaponry in various entertainments - e.g. HUGE swords, a la World of Warcraft artwork, and drawing a 2-hander from a sheath mounted shoulder to hip (an experiment with a mop convinced me that I can't see how this would be done, & also convinced my family that I'm bonkers).

Disclaimers: The words of noWizardme may stand on their heads! I'm often wrong about things, and its fun to be taught more....

"nowimë I am in the West, Furincurunir to the Dwarves (or at least, to their best friend) and by other names in other lands. Mostly they just say 'Oh no it's him - look busy!' "
Or "Hold off! unhand me, grey-beard loon!"


Otaku-sempai
Half-elven


May 24 2013, 12:58pm

Post #19 of 60 (241 views)
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I'm guessing hand-and-a-half sword [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
When being armed from Théoden's armoury

Quote
…they arrayed Legolas and Aragorn in shining mail. Helms too they chose and round shields...


Maybe this implies that Aragorn intends to use a shield with his sword. If that's so, does it mean his sword is used one-handed? Not one of this six foot German blades, then?



The movie prop sword was about 53 inches long with a 40.5-inch blade. It could be used with either one or both hands. As I stated before, Tolkien seems to be using an archaic definition of great sword that includes both bastard and true two-handed swords. Anduril seems to be of the shorter variety.

'There are older and fouler things than Orcs in the deep places of the world.' - Gandalf the Grey, The Fellowship of the Ring

(This post was edited by Otaku-sempai on May 24 2013, 1:00pm)


CuriousG
Valinor


May 24 2013, 2:20pm

Post #20 of 60 (232 views)
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Mops and red herrings [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
(an experiment with a mop convinced me that I can't see how this would be done, & also convinced my family that I'm bonkers).

I don't suppose you could post that on Youtube for us?

I'm also thinking that while not quite lethal, whipping a red herring out of your scabbard and slapping an opponent in the face with it would stun them pretty well, then you could finish them off with your broken sword.

As for sword lengths, since swords were not mass-manufactured, was it the norm to make one custom-made for the height of a person instead of "all Long Swords are this exact length?" I'm thinking if they're customized, and Anduril was made extra long because of Elendil's height, whereas Aragorn wasn't extraordinarily tall, then he would have had nearly as much trouble unsheathing it as a mop. Though I've seen movies where people take two tugs at their swords to unsheath them, and that might have been the norm.

But I'm with Elizabeth on her 2 points. 1) He had to have a working sword, but it was probably awkward for Tolkien to mention it. 2) It never made sense that Aragorn would leave Anduril unsheathed until the war was over. He certainly could have, but that's always seemed unnecessarily dramatic to me, or melodramatic--one of those things that I skip over.


Maciliel
Tol Eressea


May 24 2013, 2:32pm

Post #21 of 60 (228 views)
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sometimes [In reply to] Can't Post

 
sometimes (!) tolkien tends to a little hyperbole. i don't know if anyone has noticed.

so the whole unsheathing thing is hyperbole... with perhaps a nod to indulging an artistically turned phrase.

if aragorn's weapon of choice can be a red herring, why not the red arrow of gondor? in times of desperate need, gondor would send this fish to its allies, signifying the situation was dire, and that they were out of chips.


cheers --

.


aka. fili orc-enshield
+++++++++++++++++++
the scene, as i understand it, is exceptionally well-written. fili (in sort of a callback to the scene with the eagles), calls out "thorRIIIIIIN!!!" just as he sees the pale orc veer in for the kill. he picks up the severed arm of an orc which is lying on the ground, swings it up in desperation, effectively blocking the pale orc's blow. and thus, forever after, fili is known as "fili orc-enshield."

this earns him deep respect from his hard-to-please uncle. as well as a hug. kili wipes his boots on the pale orc's glory box. -- maciliel telpemairo


Maciliel
Tol Eressea


May 24 2013, 2:37pm

Post #22 of 60 (233 views)
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re height [In reply to] Can't Post

 
i was thinking along similar lines, curiousg. for a weapon made for an individual, that person's height and weight preference would come into play. successive holders of that weapon, if not of similar height and strength, would have to compensate.

i have a sword (that i sort of inherited), a modern-forged one, but real (not for display, not made of stainless steel, so it wouldn't shatter if i struck something with it). from what i've researched, swords of this type weigh on average between 3-4 pounds. this sword can be used with one or two hands, and i'm pretty strong, but would have to work to be able to handle it one-handed, with any finesse ('tho i can definitely move it about with one hand, not a problem -- but having utter control with one hand, the way one would have with picking up, say, a stick... i'd need to strengthen up a bit)..

so, not just length of sword, but weight would also be a factor.

with those considerations, i think it's neat that thorin/movie-thorin can handle orcrist, as the blade was made for a much taller race. being a dwarf, he could probably handle the weight with relative ease, vs. a human of dwarf-height.


cheers --

.


aka. fili orc-enshield
+++++++++++++++++++
the scene, as i understand it, is exceptionally well-written. fili (in sort of a callback to the scene with the eagles), calls out "thorRIIIIIIN!!!" just as he sees the pale orc veer in for the kill. he picks up the severed arm of an orc which is lying on the ground, swings it up in desperation, effectively blocking the pale orc's blow. and thus, forever after, fili is known as "fili orc-enshield."

this earns him deep respect from his hard-to-please uncle. as well as a hug. kili wipes his boots on the pale orc's glory box. -- maciliel telpemairo

(This post was edited by Maciliel on May 24 2013, 2:39pm)


Elthir
Gondor

May 24 2013, 3:08pm

Post #23 of 60 (227 views)
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the other Elendil? [In reply to] Can't Post

Just to note it, there is also another late text in which Elendil seems to be described as being only 7 feet tall -- well, 'only' compared to the 7 foot 11 in Unfinished Tales I guess. Here is the text in part [published by Hammond and Scull in their Reader's Companion to The lord of the Rings]:

[Aragorn] '... direct descendant of Elendil and his son Isildur, both of whom had been seven feet tall, must nonetheless have been a very tall man…, probably at least 6 ft. 6; and Boromir, of high Númenorean lineage, not much shorter (say 6 ft. 4).' JRRT

Well, I think these represent different conceptions anyway! But I can't figure out which description came before the other, as they are both 'late' notes or texts.




noWizardme
Tol Eressea


May 24 2013, 4:20pm

Post #24 of 60 (209 views)
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The red herring is a swordfish??? Now I am confused // [In reply to] Can't Post

 

Disclaimers: The words of noWizardme may stand on their heads! I'm often wrong about things, and its fun to be taught more....

"nowimë I am in the West, Furincurunir to the Dwarves (or at least, to their best friend) and by other names in other lands. Mostly they just say 'Oh no it's him - look busy!' "
Or "Hold off! unhand me, grey-beard loon!"


noWizardme
Tol Eressea


May 24 2013, 4:56pm

Post #25 of 60 (213 views)
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Does that make Anduril... [In reply to] Can't Post

...."the Bastard of Rivendell"? Wink

Disclaimers: The words of noWizardme may stand on their heads! I'm often wrong about things, and its fun to be taught more....

"nowimë I am in the West, Furincurunir to the Dwarves (or at least, to their best friend) and by other names in other lands. Mostly they just say 'Oh no it's him - look busy!' "
Or "Hold off! unhand me, grey-beard loon!"

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