Legolas' relation to Gondolin

Discussion in 'New Line Cinema's "The Hobbit"' started by Erikhk, Dec 20, 2017.

  1. Laineth

    Laineth New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2018
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Gender:
    Female
    Location:
    United States
    This issue doesn't come from the script, but from whoever did the subtitles. The subtitle is "This is an ancient Elvish blade. Forged by my kin." What Legolas actually says is "This sword was made in Gondolin. Forged by the Noldor."

    Elendilion explains:
    As for Legolas's mother, she was Silvan:

    Legolas's name is the only case we know of where a Sindarin word is Silvanized, instead of the other way around. Interestingly, Mirkwood's two names use the common calen, instead of laeg: Eryn Galen and Eryn Lasgalen. The only other time we have laeg used is for the Laegrim, or Green-elves. Both they and the Silvan elves are Nandor.

    Tolkien calls Legolas a Wood Elf. He also says that Legolas comes from an “originally Sindarin line”. Originally, as in it didn't stay a purely Sindarin line – otherwise the line would be, “one of royal and Sindarin line.”

    And Legolas identifies as a Wood Elf:

    “Our Northern kindred” is a direct reference to the Silvan elves. There are only a few Sindarin elves in comparison to the Silvan, and Haldir and Legolas are talking generally. Also, Haldir is clearly not a noble.

    Legolas also says, “I am an Elf and a kinsman here,”. He is stressing his connection to Haldir as a fellow Silvan elf.

    Frodo also notes that Legolas is different from all of the other elves he's met:

    And Gimli also calls Legolas a Wood Elf:

     
    Yalerd likes this.
  2. octoburn

    octoburn Registered User

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2005
    Messages:
    53
    Likes Received:
    15
    Trophy Points:
    8
    Could have been a simple nod to the fact that there was also a Legolas Greenleaf in Gondolin...
     

  3. Galin

    Galin Registered User

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2004
    Messages:
    722
    Likes Received:
    189
    Trophy Points:
    43
    Good work Laineth! As an unfan of Jackson's films myself, I didn't know the line in question had been a translation of (Neo) Elvish.

    On another note, I don't think that Legolas' mother was necessarily a Silvan Elf though, based on what we know today anyway.

    For example (with respect to some of your arguments above, for now), the name Elrohir being a Gondorized form doesn't mean Elrohir's mother was Gondorian of course. As you've illustrated above, Legolas is considered a Silvan or Woodland Elf, and his name reflects this. According to one late note at least, Oropher and his "handful" of Sindar had taken "names of Silvan form and style."

    The History of Galadriel and Celeborn, Appendix B, The Sindarin Princes Of The Silvan Elves, Unfinished Tales

    I don't think the Woodland form Legolas need say anything about Legolas' mother, including the fact that Sindarin laeg was seldom used and employed in the First Age to describe the Lindi of Ossiriand (the "Green Elves" called themselves the Lindi based on the old clan name *Lindai).
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2018
  4. Yalerd

    Yalerd Thinker

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2018
    Messages:
    35
    Likes Received:
    21
    Trophy Points:
    8
    Location:
    Ventura, CA
    With all do respect, is it safe to criticize the quote itself? Legolas was never in The Hobbit, or did he make such a quote in any appendices or even unofficial notes that JRRT made, unless I missed it. Obviously it's a fun topic hypothetically, don't mean to be a negative Nancy
    ;)
     

  5. Galin

    Galin Registered User

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2004
    Messages:
    722
    Likes Received:
    189
    Trophy Points:
    43
    In the context of the films though (as here we're in a film based section of chat), I think it's okay to wonder why the filmmakers would have Bloom say this... but it appears that the character Bloom plays didn't say this, but the film's translator of some Neo-Sindarin put it on screen as a translation... or something like that... anyway...

    ... don't now why said translator wasn't a bit more accurate translating some made up Neo- elvish based on Tolkien's made up actual Elvish!

    ;)
     
    Yalerd likes this.
  6. Yalerd

    Yalerd Thinker

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2018
    Messages:
    35
    Likes Received:
    21
    Trophy Points:
    8
    Location:
    Ventura, CA
    Oh right. I just clicked on latest threads. Carry on.
     
  7. Laineth

    Laineth New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2018
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Gender:
    Female
    Location:
    United States
    Thank you for the response! You're right that Tolkien never explicitly stated that Legolas's mother was Silvan, but I think there's a large amount of evidence to infer it from. Especially since Tolkien never gave us any alternative versions, which is rare for him! :D

    I'm aware of that quote, but LotR App F says:

    So Oropher and the other Sindar couldn't have been "adopting their language and taking names of Silvan form and style." The Silvan elves adopted Sindarin. Also, as I said in my original post, Legolas's name is literally the only case we have of a Sindarin word being Silvanized, and the two names of his realm use the purely Sindarin calen. Also, I think the fact that the only other time laeg was used was with Laegrim is more support - both the Laegrim and Silvan elves are Nandor elves.

    Again, nothing is explicitly stated, but I think the evidence we have is pretty significant. :)
     
  8. Galin

    Galin Registered User

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2004
    Messages:
    722
    Likes Received:
    189
    Trophy Points:
    43
    For clarity, my stance on the language(s) of Mirkwood is still undecided, as Tolkien himself appears to have wrestled with the matter.


    Laineth, from what I see in your quote from Appendix F, the Silvan Elves of Lorien spoke Sindarin (an Eldarin language), but not necessarily the Silvan Elves (or Tawarwaith) of Mirkwood though.


    This footnote was added to the second edition, and begins "In Lorien..." because that's where Tolkien had published words that seemed Sindarin, despite other descriptions, and when he gets to this section of the book he begins his wrangling with:
    "Actually the matter of the elvish tongue of the "Silvan Folk" is rather confused in the L. R." JRRT, entry 1, 356, Words, Phrases and Passages, PE 17.

    So Tolkien ultimately adds his note to the 1960s revised edition; and while I accept this as true, I have to wonder if JRRT recalled that even Aragorn seems incapable of understanding the songs sung about Gandalf for example, or, with respect to the Company in general: "They had not seen the Lord and Lady again, and they had little speech with any of the Elven-folk; for few of these spoke any but their own silvan tongue."


    Frodo is one thing, but that's quite the accent to fool Aragorn!


    Anyway (for two examples) at one point JRRT states that by the end of the Third Age the Silvan Tongues had probably ceased in Lorien and Mirkwood, and (from a late letter dated Dec. 1972) "The Silvan Elves of Thranduil's realm did not speak S. but a related language or dialect."


    But my main point is, for me Appendix F doesn't speak to Thranduil's Tawarwaith. And I think we have a matter here that hadn't yet been nailed down, at least in a straightforward fashion in author-published works.
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2018
  9. Prince Ashitaka

    Prince Ashitaka Member

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2018
    Messages:
    41
    Likes Received:
    10
    Trophy Points:
    8
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    London UK
    Because you're referring to the movie and everyone on here is gathering their knowledge from the books I think the answer is very simple.

    In the movies we never hear of the western elves or high elves or sindarin or noldorin (think Galadriel mentions it once in the movie), so I think any elves are considered Legolas' kin.

    Peter Jackson kept all the movies very simple and didn't go indepth about the different cultures and groups of elves so not to confuse the audience - which I think is the right call.

    So any elves be they noldorin, sindarin, high elves or any other are consider to Legolas his kin.

    That's my assumption anyways. However there are a lot of dialogue I'm not particularly happy with in the Hobbit movies.
     
  10. Laineth

    Laineth New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2018
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Gender:
    Female
    Location:
    United States
    You're right that LotR App F focuses on Lorien. However, I don't think that implies Mirkwood is different, just that no one went there during LotR.

    I'm a little confused. I (unfortunately) don't have any of the PE's, but when I've seen that quote/passage its been attributed to Christopher Gilson's commentary. Also, my copy of LotR says: "They had not seen the Lord and Lady again, and they had little speech with the Elven-folk; for few of these knew or would use the Westron tongue." I wonder why we have two different versions?

    With regards to Aragorn and the laments, I don't think there's a discrepancy. First, LotR is mainly from the hobbits' pov, and they have no reason to know that Aragorn is fluent in the Elven languages - Legolas is the only member of the Fellowship who probably knows that. Second, out of all the Fellowship, Aragorn is probably the one grieving the most right then. I really can't see him volunteering that information at that time.

    I had forgotten that quote from the Letters. However, with regards to UT, as you reference, App A says "By the end of the Third Age the Silvan tongues had probably ceased to be spoken in the two regions that had importance at the time of the War of the Ring: Lórien and the realm of Thranduil in northern Mirkwood. All that survived of them in the records was a few words and several names of persons and places." UT App B is the one that says "they were soon merged with the Silvan Elves, adopting their language and taking names of Silvan form and style."

    Going back to LotR, both of the two names of the realm are pure Sindarin, and (as far as I'm aware) both Oropher and Thranduil are pure Sindarin names. This directly contradicts UT App B. Everything except that line (and that letter, which I had forgotten) seems to match up. :)
     
  11. Galin

    Galin Registered User

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2004
    Messages:
    722
    Likes Received:
    189
    Trophy Points:
    43
    In my opinion the matter of the language(s) of Thranduil's folk is up in the air, and thus shaky ground for a basis from which other arguments flow.

    I have PE17 and can attest that the line I provided above is Tolkien's; and also that he follows this up with a somewhat lengthy musing about the matter.

    My version is from the first edition, but now that you raise the question I have other editions which indeed say Westron tongue. If Tolkien himself revised this, then it wasn't taken up into my revised edition published by Ballantine Books (which I used for the quote).

    Hammond and Scull's later editions include revisions authorized by Christopher Tolkien, but if they made this change they don't mention it in their guide to The Lord of the Rings (that I can locate anyway, so far) -- which I would expect them to do, if so.

    For the moment I'm going to guess this could be a Tolkien-made revision. It would make sense to alter this anyway, but I don't have Hammond and Scull's detailed presentation of the changes that went on with respect to various volumes and editions over the years. My Ballantine paperback also has the goofed-up wrong version of Quenya "omentilmo".

    :)

    But early on the Hobbit-made tale notes that: "Once or twice he [Glorfindel] spoke to Strider in the Elf-tongue."

    Yet Tolkien makes a point of noting that it's Legolas who would not interpret the songs for the Company, partly due to grief, and that the Company heard the name Mithrandir among the "sweet sad words that they could not understand."

    But anyway, this much is a side issue. As I said, Tolkien published his footnote, so I accept it, despite this wondering about Aragorn, for example.

    The main issue is Greenleaf's mom and langwich stuff...

    Yes, and there's yet another statement relating that Sindarin ("his" refers to Thranduil's house) "was used in his house, though not by all his folk"

    note: incidentally this is stated in a text where Tolkien again notes that Sindarin was spoken in Lorien, and accounts for Frodo being misled because Lorien Sindarin: "... probably differed in little more than what would now be popularly called "accent": mainly differences in vowel sounds and intonation sufficient to mislead one who, as Frodo, was not well acquainted with purer Sindarin."

    In any case, these examples concerning the tongue of Mirkwood are late posthumously published musings, and we don't even know which might be the latest.
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2018
  12. Laineth

    Laineth New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2018
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Gender:
    Female
    Location:
    United States
    I had forgotton about the quote with Glorfindel - it has been a while since I've reread that part of FotR. :) And again, you're right that nothing's explicitly stated. Thank you for the interesting discussion. :)
     

Share This Page