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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: TV Discussion: The Rings of Power:
My question to both supporters and skeptics to Rings of Power
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Cirashala
Valinor


Aug 6, 4:04pm

Post #26 of 38 (378 views)
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EXCELLENT analysis! [In reply to] Can't Post

and I agree wholeheartedly. They seemed out of place to me, and I couldn't quite put my finger on it (save for the obvious Elanor/Nori Brandyfoot referencing three TA canon characters).

You, however, hit the nail on the head! Nice work! I wish the showrunners had taken such things into consideration, or, at the very least, NOT named her/nick-named her after a canon character that has already appeared in visual media as well. Even non-readers will recognize that name! Crazy

My writing and novels:

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You can also find my novel at most major book retailers online (and for those outside the US who prefer a print book, you can find the print version at Book Depository). Search "Amazing Grace Amanda Longpre'" to find it.

Happy reading everyone!


Eldy
Grey Havens


Aug 6, 7:14pm

Post #27 of 38 (351 views)
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Great post; only one point of disagreement [In reply to] Can't Post

As Cirashala says, this is an excellent analysis! I agree with nearly all your points, particularly about the inappropriateness of elements of Third Age Hobbit names cropping up in the distant past (and that the Harfoots shouldn't have surnames anyway). But on one specific point...


In Reply To
Most importantly, Norse outer names for the dwarves, strictly speaking, are only a phenomenon of the Third Age, when the dwarves of the North-East began to adopt the language of the men of Dale ("Dalish") to converse with the local humans (iii). What language the dwarves of the Second Age used to render their names into non-Khuzdul is anybody's guess, but it certainly was older than the Arda equivalent of Old Norse.


...I would note that in Tolkien's discussion of the "Relations of the Longbeard Dwarves and Men" in the essay Of Dwarves and Men, he dates the beginning of the Longbeards' tradition of outer names to the period of their alliance with the Hadorian-related ancestors of the Northmen, in the early Second Age, before the War of the Elves and Sauron. Later, "[t]his custom endured among the Longbeards into the Fourth Age and beyond the view of these histories. [...] The [outer] names of the Longbeards [other than Durin] are not known in lists going back before the ruin of Moria (Khazad-dûm), Third Age 1980; but they are all of the same kind, sc. in a long 'dead' Mannish language"—represented in the texts by Old Norse (HoMe XII, p. 304). The only remembered pre-Third Age outer name was Durin, which "appears to have been simply a word for 'king' in the language of the Men of the North of the Second Age." From an out-of-universe perspective, Durin is of course one of those Norse-derived names, though my understanding is that it does not mean "king" in Old Norse.


uncle Iorlas
Lorien


Aug 6, 7:24pm

Post #28 of 38 (353 views)
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the Elanor bandwagon [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Here is my list of issues with the name Elanor "Nori" Brandyfoot:

I'd have thought, all apart from the quibbles raised on all sides, that the main problem with this name is that it steals the thunder from Sam's consultation with Frodo a few thousand years later. We get a nice lazy look at these chummy old veterans nicely threading the needle of Sam's naming problem, hewing true to hobbit conventions formally while introducing a satisfyingly magical, elven element, as well as an homage to her father's wanderings, and a bonus implication that this is perhaps how the modern name Eleanor came into the lexicon; it seems absurd to retroactively preempt that by giving the name hobbit currency a literal age beforehand. How many hobbits did they have to name? It's this stepping on the furry toes of an existing plot point that makes me wince.


Voronwë_the_Faithful
Valinor

Aug 6, 7:54pm

Post #29 of 38 (334 views)
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I agree completely [In reply to] Can't Post

In fact, I said much the same in another venue.

'But very bright were the stars upon the margin of the world, when at times the clouds about the West were drawn aside.'

The Hall of Fire


Stranger Wings
Rivendell


Aug 6, 9:07pm

Post #30 of 38 (320 views)
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The hobbits of the Shire didn’t use elven names for a long time until Sam did [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To

In Reply To
Here is my list of issues with the name Elanor "Nori" Brandyfoot:

I'd have thought, all apart from the quibbles raised on all sides, that the main problem with this name is that it steals the thunder from Sam's consultation with Frodo a few thousand years later. We get a nice lazy look at these chummy old veterans nicely threading the needle of Sam's naming problem, hewing true to hobbit conventions formally while introducing a satisfyingly magical, elven element, as well as an homage to her father's wanderings, and a bonus implication that this is perhaps how the modern name Eleanor came into the lexicon; it seems absurd to retroactively preempt that by giving the name hobbit currency a literal age beforehand. How many hobbits did they have to name? It's this stepping on the furry toes of an existing plot point that makes me wince.

But we’re talking about wandering harfoots who we know had dealings with dwarves and elves in their wandering days. So I have no issue with a hobbit named Elanor so many thousands of years before Sam Gamgee names his daughter. These time gaps are so massive that two things can be true: Sam naming his daughter Elanor was very special because hobbits hadn’t used elven names in ages, and some harfoots from many millennia earlier may have borrowed an elf name or two.

“He went alone to look in Mirrormere.” - The Book of Mazarbul


Voronwë_the_Faithful
Valinor

Aug 6, 9:34pm

Post #31 of 38 (311 views)
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While what you say is perfectly true [In reply to] Can't Post

It doesn't really answer the point that Uncle Iorlas is making, at least as I take it. Is it possible that the Second Age Harfoots would have borrowed an Elvish name? Sure, why not? Is it even possible that it could have been Elanor? Again, sure, it's not impossible. But it still dilutes the impact of Frodo's suggesting the name to Sam at the end of the Third Age, for no good reason that I can foresee, other than simply using a familiar name. Is it a huge deal to me? No. But I would prefer that they use a different familiar name.

'But very bright were the stars upon the margin of the world, when at times the clouds about the West were drawn aside.'

The Hall of Fire


The Dude
Rivendell

Aug 6, 9:39pm

Post #32 of 38 (311 views)
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Good catch [In reply to] Can't Post

Yes, you are right, in HoME XII Tolkien does indeed note that the Longbeards "adopted the speech" of the Men in the North "early in the Second Age", and preserved these outer names "with as little change as their own language, and continued to be given (and often repeated) for something like four thousand years or more", i.e., from roughly the early second millenium S.A. to the early F.A. So if we follow this essay in HoME XII it seems consistent to give the dwarves of the show Old Norse names too.

One counter to this, as indicated in my previous post, is how Tolkien presents the Westron-related Northern Mannish languages of the Third Age in "The Lord of the Rings", i.e., "turned into forms related to English". Rohirric resembles Old English in the text, whereas the "still more northerly language of Dale" is rendered as Old Norse. The Northmen of Rhovanion, or at least parts of them, "spoke" Gothic. It is important to clarify that the genealogy of the Northern Westron-related languages is not identical with that of the Germanic languages, e.g., Gothic is not the ancestor of Old English. Still, there is both a temporal and a spatial element to Tolkien's "Germanic translations". Rohirric is Old English because it sounds archaic in comparison to the Common Speech, but also because the Éothéod were Northmen who settled in the very West of the region. "Dalish" is also associated with a cardinal direction (North); and Gothic is both very old and prominently shows up first in the North-East of Europe.*

So there seems to be somewhat of a contradiction of Old Norse being the "translation language" of on the one hand certain groups of early S.A. Northmen who had allied with the Longbeards (i), and on the other hand that of the people of Dale in the late T.A., whose ancestors at least in part were the Gothic speaking Northmen of the early T.A.

A potential solution to this question would be the following theory: the S.A. allies of the dwarves "actually spoke" a form of early Proto-Norse that in the case of personal names however was already fairly "evolved". The Men of Dale meanwhile actually spoke a much younger form of quasi late medieval Old Norse, which was far removed from its potential ancestor language but still featured a high-degree of conservatism for personal names. But maybe an expert in Tolkienian linguistics has already answered this...

*Not that Tolkien had nothing else to write about, but it is intriguing to speculate whether there were other Northmen or "Westron-related" groups in Middle-earth, who if Tolkien had written about them, would have received other Germanic or Indo-European "translation languages", e.g., if there had been a group of Northmen who had migrated even further to the South (Gondor and beyond) would Tolkien have made their language resemble Langobardic or Old High German? If Tolkien had decided to translate Adûnaic names, instead of keeping the "originals", would the Númenóreans have received reconstructed proto-Germanic or even PIE names?


(This post was edited by The Dude on Aug 6, 9:46pm)


Stranger Wings
Rivendell


Aug 7, 2:27am

Post #33 of 38 (265 views)
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It very specifically answers his point [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
It doesn't really answer the point that Uncle Iorlas is making, at least as I take it. Is it possible that the Second Age Harfoots would have borrowed an Elvish name? Sure, why not? Is it even possible that it could have been Elanor? Again, sure, it's not impossible. But it still dilutes the impact of Frodo's suggesting the name to Sam at the end of the Third Age, for no good reason that I can foresee, other than simply using a familiar name. Is it a huge deal to me? No. But I would prefer that they use a different familiar name.


Namely, I don’t agree that there’s any “diluting” of the impact of Frodo’s suggestion, and of the special nature of Sam’s decision to name Elanor, because we are so far in the deep hobbit past. For me, this could even enhance the impact, by showing that Sam was unwittingly tapping into an ancient vein of hobbit history, wherein their ancestors were less cloistered in the Shire, more attuned to the rhythms of nature as nomadic peoples, and more likely to have dealings with elves. This places Sam along a historical continuum, rather than being an unlikely “first.”

Generally, I don’t like the egoistic notion that an action is diminished or diluted simply because it has been done before. To me it feels more Tolkienian to imagine that Sam unknowingly tapped into a historical vein by naming his daughter Eleanor, hearkening back to a far distant age when hobbits may have been awed enough by the Eldar to borrow their names.

And I don’t think the name was chosen accidentally. The character is allegedly a curious risk-taker, making her atypical in her family. The elven name may be intended to reflect that, and I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s referenced. “Your name was no mistake, young Elanor. You have an elvish air about you.”

We’ll soon see if the show explores the significance of her name, or leaves it to background. Either way, I like it, and think it enriches Frodo’s suggestion, rather than impoverishing it, by tapping into an unknown (even to us fans!) past.

“He went alone to look in Mirrormere.” - The Book of Mazarbul


Stranger Wings
Rivendell


Aug 7, 2:48am

Post #34 of 38 (265 views)
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But… [In reply to] Can't Post

…not entirely unknown. As Tolkien writes in Concerning Hobbits:

"And as the days of the Shire lengthened they spoke less and less with the Elves, and grew afraid of them, and distrustful of those that had dealings with them; and the Sea became a word of fear among them, and a token of death, and they turned their faces away from the hills in the west."

The show’s Elanor being a spiritual predecessor to Sam’s Elanor is a nice touch, in my view. And consistent with Tolkien’s approach to history, even if it was the Fallohides, and not the Harfoots, that allegedly had frequent dealings with the elves…

Which makes me think that we might even hear someone mention that. “If I didn’t know better, I’d say you were a Fallohide, Nori Brandyfoot.”

There are many ways to tap into the essence of Tolkien, and I’m open to this one.

“He went alone to look in Mirrormere.” - The Book of Mazarbul


Voronwë_the_Faithful
Valinor

Aug 7, 9:43pm

Post #35 of 38 (190 views)
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I respect your opinion [In reply to] Can't Post

I will keep an open mind as to how this plays out over the course of the series.

'But very bright were the stars upon the margin of the world, when at times the clouds about the West were drawn aside.'

The Hall of Fire


Felagund
Rohan


Aug 8, 10:14pm

Post #36 of 38 (145 views)
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an awesome linguistic study! [In reply to] Can't Post

I very much enjoyed your post and the discussion that it prompted. I particularly like the idea of a Proto-Germanic analogue in ancient Rhovanion, which later gives rise to Western (proto-Old English/Rohirric) and Eastern (proto-Gothic/Northman) Germanic analogues, as well as an Old Norse (proto-Dalish) one. A period spanning the Second Age all the way into the second third of the Third Age gives more than enough 'breathing space' for such branching and linguistic evolution.

Dwelling for a moment on the ethno-linguistic dynamic here, I note that the forebears of the Kings of the Mark, the Lords of the Éothéod retained Gothic-derived names for approximately a century after their migration out of Rhovanion, as indicated in the names of two of their rulers, Marhwini (fl. III.1856-1899) and Forthwini (fl. III.1944). It's not until the rule of Frumgar (fl. III.1977) that we find our first Old English-derived name. CJRT remarks upon this linguistic phenomenon in Note 5 of 'Cirion & Eorl'. Not that it's completely remarkable, whether in Middle-earth or our own history, that a ruling house retained nomenclature traditions separate to the language(s) spoken by the rest of the population.

And now finally leaping off deep end into speculation, I wonder how the linguistic side of the 'reunion' between the then 'Gothic'-speaking Northmen, fleeing from the triumphant Wainriders in the 19th century of the Third Age, and the 'Norse'-speaking Men of Dale played out. The ethnic kinship is noted in 'Cirion & Eorl' but the respective languages had drifted apart over the previous millennia.

Welcome to the Mordorfone network, where we put the 'hai' back into Uruk


Owlyross
Rohan


Aug 9, 1:33pm

Post #37 of 38 (104 views)
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Optimistic [In reply to] Can't Post

I will watch anything Middle Earth related. I adore the trilogy, I grew up with the Bakshi film, I love the Shadow of games. In loving those I recognise that all of them take liberties with both story and lore, in some cases to the point where it's barely Tolkien any more. But that isn't a deal breaker, as long as it tells a decent story.

What really excites me about the Rings of Power is the fact that the Tolkien Estate is on board. This is the first time they have ever been this involved in anything that isn't the books themselves. Now there will be deviations from what could be considered established 'lore', but we know that all of these have the approval of Tolkien's family. And from what I've seen so far of the show it looks stunning. It could still be awful, and I'll hold judgement until I've watched it, but so far, colour me pleasantly optimistic.

"Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both."
Benjamin Franklin
The world is a tragedy to those who feel, but a comedy to those who think.
Horace Walpole (1717 - 1797)


DGHCaretaker
Lorien

Aug 9, 5:20pm

Post #38 of 38 (91 views)
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Transitions [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
This is the first time they have ever been this involved in anything that isn't the books themselves.


It's also the first time without the living author and his son who cared most. A typical generational descent from principle into profit motive cannot be dismissed.

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