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
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
When it comes to stories by J. R. R. Tolkien, you can always rely on him in providing his readers with the most many-dimensional characters. There are rather few who are either absolutely good or absolutely evil: most individuals in the tales of Arda are rather complex and have their own — not always easy — fates. Maedhros, the eldest son of Fëanor, is definitely one of such characters.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 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
Melkor, mostly known as Morgoth, firmly belongs among the darkest characters in Arda. He is clearly associated with darkness, night and he is responsible for making these two notions frightening. However, Melkor’s downfall was a complex matter, and one of its constituents was his desire of Light. As he was becoming more and more corrupt and turning away from the light, he had two options: either to destroy light, or to possess it.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 matter of mortality vs immortality is very prominent in Tolkien’s tales. The Professor makes it absolutely clear that Men are mortal and they must not in any way crave or try to achieve immortality. Otherwise, the consequences might be most unpredictable and far from good. There are many examples in the world of Arda demonstrating what human aspirations for immortality can lead to, and in the present essay I would like to discuss the Númenóreans and their destiny.Read more
J. R. R. Tolkien never seemed to choose words accidentally. He was careful when assigning references to characters or places to convey various shades of meaning that might not be obvious straight away. It is also the case with how the Professor used the word sorcerer and its various derivatives in his books.