The Revived Tolkien Trivia

Pyan

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Aha! 'Royalty that is heathen' wouldn't have heard of the Dúnedain, nor, presumably, of the Valar or Iluvatar either.

‘Authority is not given to you, Steward of Gondor, to order the hour of your death,’ answered Gandalf. ‘And only the heathen kings, under the domination of the Dark Power, did thus, slaying themselves in pride and despair, murdering their kin to ease their own death.’
RotK, Bk 5, VII, The Pyre of Denethor

(PY+RE... Good clue!)
 

HareBrain

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Correct Py, though it's not the actual passage I was thinking of. That was the one at the end of the earlier chapter The Siege of Gondor, when Denethor says this:

"To my pyre! No tomb for Denethor and Faramir. No tomb! No long sleep of death enbalmed. We will burn like heathen kings before ever a ship sailed hither from the West."

(It was the last few words I was getting at with the Dunedain reference.)

A fire-alarm bell for you, and yours the next question.
 

Pyan

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Ding!

Can you give me an example of JRRT eschewing the usual pluralisation of a Latin-derived noun? I'm not looking for the dwarfs/dwarves or elven/elfin choices he made, but a genuine forums/fora type difference, which (I think) looks really odd, even today.
By the nature of the question, this is a quote-required one.
 

HareBrain

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Can you give me an example of JRRT eschewing the usual pluralisation of a Latin-derived noun?
I'm very confident the answer "no" is correct, but I can't back it up with a quote.

You used ums/a as an example, so I'm going to assume it's not one of those. As/ae probably wouldn't caused a raised eyebrow, nor xes/ces (and anyway he uses "appendices"), so it's probably uses/i.

But despite racking my brain for quite a while, I can't get beyond that (and it might not be a correct assumption anyway).
 

Pyan

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So far your assumption is entirely correct, so it's to be hoped you aren't an arachniphobic pteronarcophobe...
 

HareBrain

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it's to be hoped you aren't an arachniphobic pteronarcophobe...
Very useful, thank you! :cool:

I skim-read the whole chapter (which must be one of the longest in the book) missed it, and had to start again, but here it is:

Nothing wholesome could they see growing in the wood, only funguses and herbs with pale leaves and unpleasant smell. (The Hobbit, chapter VIII, "Flies and Spiders")

And yes, that does look really odd, even today.
 

Pyan

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Doesn't it just? And it's not as if fungi is is a particularly pedantic plural, either, like stadia has become.

Your go, HB...
 

HareBrain

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Cheers.

You'd think there couldn't be anything older than a Maia apart from Iluvatar. But according to one of the Maiar, there are. Give me the quote for this rather unlikely (and probably incorrect, in my view) assertion.
 

farntfar

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This isn't the answer; just an interesting thing that came to mind as I was considering the question.
My first thought went to Elrond, who named Bombadil Iarwain Ben-adar, oldest and fatherless. But of course Elrond isn't a Maia anyway.
However, in the past and without thinking I had assumed that Ben-Adar, meaning fatherless, the adar part must mean no-one, since Ben clearly meant son of, as in Benjamin, Bin Laden etc.
However in the new (ish now) tv series, the leader of the orcs is called Adar because he is their father. Which would imply that it's the Ben part that means "no-one", or "without"

Maybe some of you more scholarly folks can confirm that or correct me.
 

Pyan

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Yes, well...
"Adar" is a non-canonical character, created by the scriptwriter(s) of the Rings of Power TV series, and the name doesn't have the linguistic depth of the JRRT ones. The Elvish prefix ben- means 'without', and adar is 'father', so the name 'Ben-adar' literally means 'without a father'.
There's nothing in the canon that would support the word Adar being used as a name, let alone an Orcish one...
 

farntfar

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Thank you, Py.
I couldn't find either Ben or Adar in the appendix of the Silmarillion, so I was making assumptions, using Jewish or Arabic roots.
 

The Big Peat

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I can't think of where an exact quote might be and my first few stabs haven't found it, but I'm wondering if it's Gandalf talking about Bombadil that's the answer.
 

The Big Peat

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It's not Gandalf calling Treebeard "the oldest living thing that still walks beneath the Sun upon this Middle-earth" is it?
 

HareBrain

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No -- it is Gandalf, but he's talking specifically about a being or beings that is/are older than a particular other Maia.

(And actually, his comment about Treebeard doesn't make sense either, unless he doesn't count Bombadil or other Maiar as "living".)
 

farntfar

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My next thought was Ungoliant, who came to Arda seperately from the void, and who could therefore be older than the Valar, but I can't find any Maia mentioning it.
Maybe your suggestion that Big P is partly right means that it's Gandalf saying it. But I haven't found it.

As for Treebeard, I think the Ents were created specifically by Yavanna to stop the Dwarves destroying the forests.
 

farntfar

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Doesn't it just? And it's not as if fungi is is a particularly pedantic plural
However, don't forget that the book is aimed at fairly young children, who may not have learnt about Latin plurals yet (if ever.).
I'm sure Christopher et alia (sic) did do Latin at school, but it wasn't (and isn't) a universal thing.
 

HareBrain

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No one?

As an Easter present, I'll make it eas(t)(i)er. As long as you laugh at that crappy joke.

Which beings inhabiting Middle Earth are stated to be older than Sauron?

You can either give me a quote, or their names -- but that won't be easy.
 

Pyan

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Are you referring to the Nameless Things under Moria?

Camped at the bottom of Treebeard's Hill, Gandalf is is giving Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli the Match of the Day report: Gandalf 1 - 0 Balrog..

"Ever he clutched me, and ever I hewed him, till at last he fled into dark tunnels. They were not made by Durin’s folk, Gimli son of Glóin. Far, far below the deepest delving of the Dwarves, the world is gnawed by nameless things. Even Sauron knows them not. They are older than he."
TT, Bk 3, Ch 5, The White Rider
 

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