Languages hide a vast amount of information about a certain people, their history, traditions and culture. Words, phrases, names can be a huge treasury of lore and beliefs, values and viewpoints. When we speak of the Elves, it is also true. They were the Firstborn Children of Eru Ilúvatar — fair and gifted individuals who placed a great importance on the stars in their culture. I have already discussed in this essay how the role of the stars in Elvish tradition is emphasised in different tales of Middle-earth. In the present essay I am going to consider the usage of the word elen — “star” — in the Quenya language.Read more
Different peoples in the world of Arda have their own typical traits that make them special and different from other races. The Dwarves are known to be rather secretive about their own selves. They tend to keep to themselves and very little is known about them or their traditions to the peoples of Middle-earth. One of the aspects of the Dwarvish culture, in which their secrecy shows very vividly, is their language of Khuzdul.Read more
The importance of weather phenomena is hard to overestimate in the world of Arda. Whether weather conditions are natural, or the result of some activity on behalf of good or evil powers, they sometimes play a defining role in certain events in Middle-earth. When it comes to wind, it is not always a mere breath of air blowing in a certain direction. Tolkien makes a clear distinction between a common type of wind and wind as a manifestation of some power.Read more
Whenever we meet Elves in Tolkien’s tales, their age is often very hard to discern. To mortal eyes they may appear as middle-aged individuals in full vigour, but in reality they can be thousands years old. Having a different life-span to that of Men, Elves grow older much more slowly, but grow older they do. Even though their ageing may not always be visible to mortal eyes, Elves feel it most acutely.Read more
It is written in my life-blood, such as that is,
thick or thin; and I can no other. I fear it must
stand or fall as it substantially is.
(Tolkien on The Lord of the Rings, 1947)Read more
It was often the case that in his writings J. R. R. Tolkien used unusual words either in their older meanings changed today, or the ones no longer in active use. It is such words that create a very special old-fashioned atmosphere of most of the Professor’s tales, tone them down to the stories of the past and give lovers of words a chance to dig out a new lexical treasure. One of such interesting choices was the noun unfriend that does not appear in Tolkien’s works very often.Read more
In the works of J. R. R. Tolkien readers meet various kinds of ghostly characters. While they are all different, have various origins, backgrounds and specific traits, one aspect unites them: these wights instil great fear and are downright spooky. It is hard not to have one’s blood chilled by the Ringwraiths, not to be scared by the Barrow-wights or haunted by the Dead Men of Dunharrow.Read more
…and the house of Elrond was a refuge for the
weary and the oppressed, and a treasury of
good counsel and wise lore.
(Silmarillion, p. 357)
There are many places in Middle-earth, and all of them have their own special atmosphere. Rivendell is one of the quietest and cosiest spots: its ability to provide repose and much-needed rest alongside good advice and safety is as amazing as it is vital.Read more
The concepts of hope and courage permeate the tales written by J. R. R. Tolkien through and through. They are vital and, I do not think it will be an exaggeration to say, central to his narratives. There are many examples of how hope and courage make a big difference, help characters achieve almost the impossible and thus influence the course of events dramatically. In this special reflection for Tolkien Reading Day 2021, whose main theme is Hope and Courage, I would like to look at how hope helped Sam Gamgee lead Frodo and himself through the perils of Mordor to the final destination of their deadly quest.