Table of Contents
- ABOUT US
- ABOUT THE SITE, LANGUAGES AND THEIR INFLUENCES
- AND LASTLY…
- And last but not least…
- EXTERNAL LINKS
Hello! It’s your pal. Elvellon (Sindarin term for “Elf-friend”). This site was created by a Tolkien fan and for Tolkien fans – or fans of his Lord of the Rings series…and/or its movie adaptations by Peter Jackson.
Unlike (possibly) many of you, I didn’t really grow up with the LOTR series. Sure, I knew they were there, but for some reason, (either I was intimidated by the length at first glance, or I wasn’t old enough to watch the movies when they came out in 2001) – I wasn’t as interested in them.
I preferred lighter and shorter stories earlier on in my life, but eventually grew to like the series and some others as well. With LOTR, it was a love at first read/listen when I met The Hobbit for the first time a few years ago as a young adult. It kind of just met me where I was at though I couldn’t really explain how.
It made me really excited, and after finishing Lord of the Rings for the first time, I started reading The Silmarillion and Unfinished Tales and some of Tolkien’s earlier works. They were a bit of a stretch for me at first, but after a couple of reads and the creation of this site, I have been able to understand them a wee bit better and really enjoy and appreciate them!
And enjoying them is really all that matters, right? Haha.
What do you like most about Tolkien and his works?
One of the things I liked most about Tolkien and his works is the characters. Each of them have their own calling, which was based on their own persona. They seem to have sort of a “quiet independence,” and (maybe except for the dwarves but I like them) didn’t seem to have to be pushy or aggressive in order to do what they set out to do, have a main role in the story and foster good connections.
Each of the characters had different abilities, whether they are hobbits, elves, dwarves, Valar, Maiar, etc. And they weren’t expected to conform to a different ability than they were “born” with. They kind of just stretch it a bit which was different. They didn’t have to suddenly become pushy and aggressive if they weren’t, since each had their own talents to contribute and they were meaningful and necessary.
The hobbits, for example, you notice when Tolkien selects them as main characters in The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings, they weren’t the big, burly characters we’d typically expect. They are short (shorter than dwarves), but their skills are greatly needed and desired. And this is not just physically but mentally as well.
About the main hobbits, they were kind of “fish out of water” characters on an adventure per se, as in they were not really expecting to go out on this big adventure and eventually realized how great it would be. And they weren’t really expected to change their demeanor while doing so, but simply just become a better version of themselves (in my view) while performing great tasks.
It reminds us further about the Christian faith, that while we have a universal calling to holiness, the steps needed to get there are different sometimes and vary from person to person.
Which character(s) do you relate the most to?
I think I relate to pre-quest Bilbo a lot (we probably all could at times) haha. While personally I don’t relate to him a lot ultimately, but the wanting to go on an adventure but not wanting to I mostly relate. Though personally I usually find out that my version of pre-quest Bilbo keeps me safe and sound haha, depends on the situation.
I guess I want to relate to Sam, but not as much as I want to, if that makes sense. I guess I’d want to relate to him based on what he ended up with, being the only one to go along with Frodo to Mount Doom. He had a positive outlook and nurtured the love of the Elves, poetry, and this positive outlook (that the world has greater wonders than most hobbits are aware of).
As a student, I relate a lot to Frodo in that most struggles he had were internal. It may seem like he was weak and whiny, but I never really thought that to be the case. He had to carry the Ring to Mordor – and that is no easy feat. While he succumbed at the end (the Ring was destroyed eventually but not at his own will), Tolkien explains that few, if any, would be able and willing to go as far as Frodo did as well.
During my studies, I find that there’s this burden of taking classes, exams, and writing papers, that doesn’t seem to be universally seen or recognized. Not to mention the perpetual guilt of “you should be studying” all the time!
ABOUT THE SITE, LANGUAGES AND THEIR INFLUENCES
An Elf Friend is mainly an online resource exploring the works and languages of JRR Tolkien.
Such languages that will be discussed, which include (but are not limited to):
Elvish-Quenya and Sindarin. As these are the most fully developed out of all the languages within the realm of Middle Earth, at the time of Lord of the Rings. They will be the main focus here, and in my upcoming newsletter.
Qenya, the earliest of these imaginary languages developed shortly after Tolkien’s time at the war.
Nevbosh, a language that he co-invented with his cousin, Majorie Incledon. It was influenced by English, French and Latin.
Noldorin, a language he started developing in 1917-18, and
Gnomish, which was resembling of (but not the same as) his understanding of the Welsh language.
They were driving forces of his works such as The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings. For they were inspired by his ability and interest in understanding languages – the latter being “fundamentally linguistic in inspiration,” and “largely an essay in linguistic aesthetic” (letters, p.219-220).
Tolkien also proposed that ‘the making of language and mythology are related functions, “Coeval and Congenital.”’ (A Secret Vice, xii-xiii)
After reading the Lord of the Rings along with the newest Middle Earth book, The Nature of Middle Earth, I was even more motivated to learn more and share about Tolkien’s languages, as a coherent, and more importantly “coeval and congenital” languages in his mythology. It has been a joy to continue this long and growing conversation about a legendarium that can influence our lives in so many ways.
Like most fictional languages, it is expected that they may not have been able to be fully developed. But it is definitely a beautiful and fundamental part of understanding his works, especially as the Lord of the Rings was a translation from Westron.
Thank you so much for being here! I hope you have a great day!
I’ll leave you with the quotes about the most important elements that Tolkien has stated in his language making:
“The creation of word forms that sound aesthetically pleasing,
A sense of “fitness” between symbol (the word-form and its sound) and sense (it’s meaning)
The construction of an elaborate and ingenious grammar; and
The composition of a fictional historical background for an invented language, including a sense of its (hypothetical) change in time.”
(A Secret Vice, xv-xvi)
While Tolkien wasn’t the first author to develop fictional languages, he was the first to do it in such a concise and constructed manner. He cited Owen Barfield and Jonathan Swift as influences.
They were also inspired by and about languages spoken in his lifetime, such as English, French, and Latin.
And Finnish most notably: “it was like discovering a wine-cellar filled with bottles of an amazing wine of a kind and flavor never tasted before. It quite intoxicated me.” – Letter 163 to WH Auden (1955)
And last but not least…
Tolkien wrote in his letters that it is a fundamentally religious and Catholic work. While anyone of any belief is certainly welcome to peruse the site, materials and videos, please respect this part of our mission that it will contain some religious references, quotes, and things.