35. Author's Notes
Musing on Language Use
In his letters, Tolkien indicates that Common Speech was widely known in Rohan. The fact that the language of the Rohirrim is not a written language does not in any way imply that Éomer and Éowyn would be illiterate and/or not be fluent in other languages. In my opinion, both are common misconceptions that have popped up as fanon and then taken on a life of their own. I posit in my story that Éomer can speak fluent Sindarin (assuming it would have been his third language).
In relation to usage of Sindarin by men at the time of the War of the Rings, in addition to Appendix F, of Lord of the Rings, I relied heavily on linguist David Salo's scholarly Gateway to Sindarin, A Grammar of an Elvish Language from J. R. R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings (University of Utah Press), "History of Sindarin" chapter. "The Noble families of Gondor usually used some Sindarin, but only a few used it as a daily speech."
He goes on to note that native Sindarin speakers were largely limited to Minas Tirith and the surrounding area, the Dúnedain of the North and Dol Amroth. He claims that it was most persistently used among Men as a first language in Dol Amroth. He goes on to say "In the last years of the Third Age as a result of the marriage (2943) of Thengel of Rohan to Morwen of Lossanarch (whose family was from Belfalas), Sindarin came to be spoken also by the Kings of Rohan." (He references Peoples of Middle Earth, Return of the King, and Unfinished Tales. I also found references to that effect in Tolkien's letters.)
Despite a resurgence of the use of Rohirric in the court of Rohan during the reign of Théoden, I think that since Théoden fostered Éomer, and raised him as he raised his own son, he would have received the best education available.
Osanwe-Kenta or Communication by Thought
When posting the first chapters in which I introduced plot elements that touched on communication by thought, I received a mini-storm of protest in private communications from some of my most discriminating readers that I had gone too far. Not true, I insisted, but then it took me some weeks to marshal my resources in defense of my assertion that the Dol Amroth heirs and Faramir possessed this gift and, secondarily, that Éomer could share in this skill. Rather than comb through Lord of the Rings and cite chapter and verse for every reference to this gift or skill, I would refer skeptical readers to an article on the subject penned by Tolkien, available in Vinyar Tengwar, Volume 39, July 1998, published by the Elvish Linguistic Fellowship.
According to Tolkien, among the peoples of Arda, the openness and/or accessibility to the communicating with the minds of others is strongest among the Eldar, but is also available to Men. At the risk of oversimplification: the above article states that those who are most warm of heart and strong of fëa, would be among those likely to possess the necessary openness to give them access to this gift. In the context of my story, this would certainly describe Faramir, the Dol Amroth family and Éomer.
On the the Elvish strain among men
There are numerous references to the Elvish strain among men in Unfinished Tales. Christopher Tolkien says in one note:
"…among the last writings of my father's on the subject of Middle-earth, there is a discussion of the Elvish strain in Men, as to its being observable in the beardlessness of those who were so descended (it was a characteristic of all Elves to be beardless); and it is here noted in connection with the princely house of Dol Amroth that "this line had a special Elvish strain, according to its own legends…."
There are two well-known references to the subject in The Lord of the Rings, of course, both of which issued from Legolas. In The Fellowship of the Ring, Legolas sings the song of Amroth and Nimrodel and then speaks of "the Bay of Belfalas, whence the Elves of Lórien set sail." Later there is the much-quoted one in The Return of the King, where when Legolas first encounters Prince Imrahil of Dol Amroth, he comments that:
"At length they came to the Prince Imrahil, and Legolas looked at him and bowed low; for he saw that here indeed was one who had elven-blood in his veins. 'Hail, lord!' he said. 'It is long since the people of Nimrodel left the woodlands of Lórien, and yet still one may see that not all sailed from Amroth's haven west over water.'
'So it is said in the lore of my land,' said the Prince…"
Meanwhile, my current AU speculation, subject to change as the storyline unfolds: I find Legolas' reaction to his first encounter with Imrahil extreme if the prince had only one Elven ancestor, 22 generations back. Meanwhile the adjacent woods and shores of that entire Belfalas area had been crawling with Elves for at least an age. These would not have been the largely cloistered Elves of Imladris and Lothlorien of the late Third Age, nor the beleaguered, besieged Elves of Mirkwood. It does not seem unreasonable to me that: 1) there could have been a small, but significant, amount of intermarriage; 2) that the status of half-Elven would likely have been a high one among the Númenoreans of the area; and 3) that, consequently, the heirs of Dol Amroth might have picked up numerous infusions of Elven blood over the centuries
The Two Glorfindels
I take the position that Glorfindel of Gondolin and Glorfindel of Imladris are the one and the same. I had originally thought to footnote, but then I decided that it was not necessary and that this was, indeed, finally a dead debate. Then when I first posted my chapter "A Betrothal," I received a note from a reader questioning this. In light of that I prepared this note.
There is a lengthy article defending this position in History of Middle Earth, Volume 12. Christopher Tolkien comments on his father's position that there is one Glorfindel question as well. Glorfindel is even given a "backstory" in Fellowship of the Ring, "Many Meetings," which, in my opinion, supports the position that they are one.
I take the position that Glorfindel of Gondolin and Glorfindel of Imladris are the one and the same. I had originally thought to footnote, but then I decided that it was not necessary. Then when I first posted my chapter "A Betrothal," I received a note from a reader questioning this. In light of that I prepared this note.There is a lengthy article defending this position in , HoMe Volume 12. Christopher Tolkien comments on his father's position that there is one Glorfindel question as well. Glorfindel is even given a back story of sort in , "Many Meetings," which, in my opinion, supports the position that they are one.
As I understand it, the name duplication (the use of the name Glorfindel first in the Silmarillion and then in Lord of the Rings) was originally an oversight. But JRRT decided he liked the idea of linking the two in the end.
More people have helped with this story over the years that I can easily list here. Primarily I owe a debt of gratitude to two different writers groups, first, the Garden of Ithilien and currently to the Lizard Council. I owe special thanks to Suriel for her generosity and advice on horses and horse behavior reflected in the chapter "Éomer and the Mearas." I think IgnobleBard alone has read all of these chapters. Most of all I appreciate the readers who have continued to read it when updates slowed almost to a stop. I am trying now again to finish this epic. (I am sitting on far too much unpublished material written for future chapters to of this story to ever abandon it.)
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