Tolkien Lectures: Week 6

These notes were originally written by Erik Tracey, transcribed to MS Word by Erik Tracey, and HTMLized by Scott Powers. Enjoy!

The riddle tradition in old English is a very serious affair in Anglo-Saxon times

Riddles were not meant to be funny in modern sense, but a twist of words for poetic metaphors - Nordic = "kennings"

Elvish runes based loosely (look like) on cursive script of Celts (Book of Kells, Lindisfarne Gospels)

Radagast ~ St. Francis

Saruman becomes corrupted by Power/Knowledge Common Motif: best intentions fall by the wayside, victory barely happens - snatched from the jaws of defeat.

At time of LotR in the TA - ME is just emerging from a type of "Dark Age" that began at end of Second Age. It is a fading time - all the glories of the Elder Days are passed away = "entropic" time.

Hints in Letters that Sauron or something as bad would eventually re-emerge. Evil is never defeated - history is one long defeat w/ minor glimpses of joy.

As spoken thru Elrond and Galadriel. Elrond represents lost hopes and dreams of second age Galadriel represents spirit of first age At mythic level Tolkien gives us a depressing choice: bad and worse.

Lothlorien elves are Nandor. Galadriel's function is Gift Giver. "Magic" is technology to elves. Tolkien didn't believe in progress - the best situation was things remained the same. Technology only speeds up obsolesence. -> entropy at work

Lothlorien is a classic realm of "Fairie" -> time passes differently, faster.

In FotR, the trek takes place in the dead of winter thru various dead and dying realms; Ost-en-edhil (Hollin), Moria, Lothlorien, etc.

Tolkien did pull in Nature Myth. Sept. 22 start of quest, first day of fall. Holly (in Hollin) - preservation of green in dead of winter, static, no change [just like the elves wanted] There are no rituals or observances to Eru because the Spirit of Eru is inherent in the earth (contained in all things). Respect nature and you are paying respect to Eru.

Q; was Saruman aware of the other rings and keepers?
Q; Gandalf dies while bearing a ring - how is this handled?
Q; What is the nature of the power of Narya & does Gandalf make use of the power?

Ithil (moon) = Isildur
Arnor (sun) = Anarion

Sindarin and Quenya -> dental and labial sounding Dwarvish and Black Tongue -> hard, palatal, gutteral

This page is maintained by:

Scott Powers
NCSA X Mosaic Lead