TTT soundtrack:  Sindarin and Old English lyrics


[December 12, 2002 Updated on January 4, 2003]



December 10, 2002 was the official release date of Howard Shore's score for The Two Towers. There are three versions of the soundtrack: Standard Jewel Case Edition, Limited Edition and Internet Limited Edition. The first edition has only three lyrics in its booklet: The Ents (Sindarin), Gollum's Song (English) and The Missing (Old English). Two of them have been analyzed in our Soundtrack Department.


The Limited Edition package contains "lyrics and poems": we hope it covers the rest of the lyrics sung in Quenya, Sindarin, Adûnaic and Old English which can be heard in TTT score.


Update! Karyn Traphagen sent to G-i-P few poems and lyrics found on the Limited Edition website. They can be found here. I also received a necessary help from Iris, who has found fragments of the lyrics in the soundtrack.


If you are in possession of other lyrics and poems from TTT soundtrack send them to Gwaith-i-Phethdain! They will be analyzed here in detail. Your help is wanted! 

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Mysteries of movie Dwarvish revealed!


[December 1, 2002]


David Salo in Elfling message from November 30, 2002 presented background and meaning of the Moria inscriptions prepared by himself for the LotR trilogy: "In May of 1999, I was asked to provide some translations and renditions into a mode of Angerthas for the runic lettering that would appear on the walls of Moria. I worked with John Howe and Grant Major on this; Grant wrote the texts he wanted rendered into Khuzdul (to be accurate: part Khuzdul, and part my own inventions), and I faxed back transcriptions into cirth. It was a few days' work, and then of course the inscriptions had to be turned into actual artifacts that would give the flavor of the Dwarvish civilization in Moria."



David Salo's Khuzdul phrases and inscriptions can be seen here. David writes in his Elfling message: "I should add that my construction of neo-Khuzdul (or pseudo-Khuzdul, if you prefer) changed over time, and that the constructions I used in the soundtrack differed in some particulars; in particular, I elaborated the verbal system a good deal more and in some different ways than the examples above suggest."


We all hope David Salo will describe his neo-Khuzdul one day on our website.


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Inane comments written on the walls of Moria: true of false?


[December 1, 2002]


Listening the commentary sound-track from the design crew on the extended edition of FotR DVD we can hear unusual history about the inane runic inscriptions on the walls of Moria (Disc II, scene 35 "Balin's Tomb"), just after the entrance of the Fellowship into the Chamber of Mazarbul: 


GRANT MAJOR: There's quite a interesting story attached to all the lettering on the walls here, because we, well, I personally, actually, wrote the text which was translated into Dwarvish and then applied onto the walls, and so I was very careful with the place names and the people's names and what have you, and of course there is a limited amount of information that I could glean from the books in terms of the histories here, whatever; I did write down all the history part of it myself, and as fate would have it, there was a Tolkien language scholar who was invited onto set; and he happened to visit this particular Balin's tomb set one day off-shoot, and he reported to the producer that there was all sorts of inane comments written on the walls, like, - I can't remember the exact quote he used, but something like "Joe was here" and various other irrelevancies.


Finally the crew didn't find any such an inane inscription and it seems that the "Tolkien language scholar" (whoever he was) had a  false impression about the runic inscriptions in the movie, but... I have found this strange inscription in Appendices to extended DVD edition (Disc IV, Big-atures):



The inscription reads: ... and gohn made. It is English and it should be understood as '[a name] and John made'. Such an inscription couldn't be made by the Dwarves of Khazad-dûm. Its author is a John who probably worked in the decorations team. Maybe the mentioned above "Tolkien language scholar" saw an inscription like this?


It is clear (especially in light of the report above) that David Salo (who is the author of the Moria inscriptions in Khuzdul) is not responsible for such silly texts on Moria pillars.

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Elvish from Extended DVD FOTR analyzed


[November 15, 2002]


On November 12 the new DVD Extended FotR edition was released. As we wrote two weeks ago, it contains a lot of new linguistic features. Now you can find all the dialogs from the extended edition analyzed or partially analyzed here. The new Sindarin dialogs are:


- Anirne hene... or Elrond Near Gilraen's Grave.

- Boe ammen... or Lórien Dialog III

- Am meleth dîn... or Galadriel's Farewell


In preparation is a special analysis of the new Elvish songs occurring in the extended edition as well as a review of the calligraphy fragments found in the movie. Your help will be appreciated! R.D.


UPDATE! Thanks to Míriel's message on ELFLING I could add to our list the Sindarin text of the song sang by Viggo Mortensen (Aragorn). Today I present two new Sindarin texts of songs from DVD Extended FotR:


- A Elbereth Gilthoniel

- Lay of Leithian


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Easterling letters! New writing system in the TTT?


[November 3, 2002]


Yesterday Tolkien Online presented a report from the TTT exhibit in Toronto, Canada. Its author, Elbren wrote there that he had been able to see very interesting Easterling armor. Elbren wrote: I really don't know if we'll notice the detail of this armor in the movie, but almost every piece of armor has some sort of script on it that looks like a cross between Arabic and Elvish lettering.


If this is true we can expect a new kind of movie language team activity: devising quite new system of writing for the movie! I hope we will soon see it.


Easterling language and script is not described in J.R.R. Tolkien's writings. It seems WETA and Peter Jackson wanted Easterling linguistic devices to make their weapon more realistic. Maybe Bill Welden or David Salo could say something more about this?


UPDATE! In Brian Sibley's album The Lord of the Rings - The Making of the Movie Trilogy I have found an inscription which seems to be in the script mentioned above. I think it is the first published inscription in Easterling script devised especially for The Two Towers and The Return of the King films. Here it is:


easterling.jpg (36617 bytes)


It really looks like "a cross between Arabic and Elvish lettering". We can only guess what it means in the intention of its creators.

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Visiting the tomb of Aragorn's mother


[November 1, 2002 - All Saints' Day]


Florian "Lothenon" Dombach from Germany sent us this very interesting photo from the extended DVD version of FotR (see here). 


gilraen.jpg (25101 bytes)


It seems to be the tombstone of Gilraen, Aragorn's mother, visited by her son (a theme very actual today, on All Saints' Day) and this is what Florian could decipher:




Onen i estel edain

ú-chebin estel anim


It is quite obvious that this Sindarin text comes from the well known linnod from Appendix A in The Return of the King: Onen i-Estel Edain, ú-chebin estel anim 'I gave Hope to the Dúnedain, I have kept no hope for myself.' These were the last words Aragorn heard from his mother. 


It is remarkable that the diphthongs are written full with carriers and the variable S-Tengwa is used as Christopher Tolkien often did (a in most full-modes).


For detailed analysis see here.


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FOTR Extended DVD Linguistic Review


[October 31, 2002]


In few weeks all of us will be able to see the DVD extended FotR version with special Peter Jackson's cut. Here you can read leo's review of this 4-disc-set. Spoilers!


Tolkienian linguists and lovers of the movie Elvish may find it interesting that the DVD version will contain many David Salo's phrases in the languages of J.R.R. Tolkien, which were not included in the theatrical version of FotR. 


In the extended film Frodo and Sam meet Elves passing from Middle-earth to Gray Havens. Elves sing in Elvish! As the Hobbits and Aragorn rest after passing the Midgewater Marshes, Frodo overhears Strider sadly singing a song in Elvish (in Sindarin?) When asked whom he was singing about, the Ranger responds that it was the Lay of Leithian. During the Council of Elrond, Gandalf utters the Ring Verse in Black Speech (see here) The Rivendel-sequence ends with Elrond giving his blessing over the Fellowship. He probably uses the Quenya phrase analyzed here

We will hear Sindarin in the scene with Aragorn and Elrond near Aragorn's mother grave. Also we will see extended scenes in which Haldir and Aragorn discuss in Sindarin in Lórien; they can be found here. In the same scene Gimli curses at Haldir in Khuzdul (this curse can be found here). During the farewell scene in Lórien there is more time for Aragorn's goodbye to Galadriel and some more Elvish lines are being spoken. This can be a new, earlier not revealed dialog in Quenya or Sindarin.


As soon as the extended version will be available, you can expect Gwaith-i-Phethdain: Movie will publish the detailed analysis of all the linguistic features found there!


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FOTR Extended DVD Menu Inscriptions


[October 31, 2002]


From Andrew Durdin: has just posted a link to an article on which shows images from the menus on the Fellowship of the Ring extended edition DVD. On a couple of these images, there are inscriptions in the Certar running along the top of the page (the menus are designed to look like a book), and in the Tengwar along the bottom of the page, in imitation of the Lord of the Rings title pages. 


lotrext_menu_03.jpg (41379 bytes)  lotrext_menu_16.jpg (39795 bytes)  lotrext_menu_14.jpg (50288 bytes)


In the third image, which shows a tilted title page, the runes along the top are meant to say There and Back Again - a Hobbit's Tale, while the letters along the bottom read Eleventy-one years is far too short a time to live among such excelleng and admirable hobbits. I don't know half -- and there they stops. In the sixteenth image, showing a similar title page which is now straight, the runes along the top are the same, but the writing along the bottom now reads Nine Companions to match the Nine Ringwraiths. So be it - Elrond regards them - You shall be the Fellowship of the Ring!. Most exciting of all - in my opinion - is the fourteenth image showing a book with a loose leaf resting on its left page; this is almost a facsimile copy of the calligraphy Tolkien himself did for The Road Goes Ever On - that's right, it is Namárië, in the original Quenya! There are a few other bits of tengwar writing scattered around, but they seem to be fragmentary, and are small and not clear, so I didn't attempt to decipher them.


The title page inscriptions, while beautifully lettered, are not very well executed technically, or rather linguistically. The runes are encumbered by maintaining the silent final 'e' from English orthography, using certa 55 (in full, no less) which Tolkien consistently used for schwa, and there is no attempt at a phonetic spelling such as Tolkien used on the title page of the book. Even the word "back" is spelled with a double-k (certa 18).


The tengwar inscriptions are even worse: the choice of letters is remarkably inconsistent (vide the use of both tengwar 14 and 22 for 'v', and 22 (again) and 36 for 'w'), and once again there seems to be little effort at phonetic spelling, but rather a simple substitution for Latin characters. They incorrectly use no. 3 for 'c' in companions, and no. 12 for 'ch' in match (though it should be as in Bach). The inconsistencies also include spelling nine with 17, dot above, 17 dot below (for the silent 'e'), but time by 1, dot above, 18 (without the dot below). But the dot below is retained in live. For 'h' they use no. 33 (correctly), or 15 (incorrectly -- it should be 'zh' as in azure), but they make 33 do double work for 'x'.


I am a little disappointed. I would have thought that since New Line put so much effort into the visual appearance of the DVD menus, they could have paid a little more attention to using the Elvish scripts in a more consistent fashion.


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New details of the weapon inscriptions


[August 31, 2002]


asword.jpg (19846 bytes)

Thanks to our movie informer we can show you new details and new contents of the sword, knife and spear inscriptions from the movie trilogy. All photos and information come from The Official Movie Magazine.


The most interesting item is the Dwarvish spear inscription from the weapon of the Cave Troll in the battle of Durin's Tomb!

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Black Speech and Rohirric in TTT


[August 28, 2002]


judefisher.jpg (41549 bytes)

In October 2002 they will publish Jude Fisher's The Two Towers - Visual Companion. A fully illustrated visual guide to the second in the Lord of the Rings movie trilogy, taking the reader on a journey into the world of Peter Jackson's epic. 


The book will contain two phrases in the languages of J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle-earth: one in Black Speech and one in Rohirric (which in fact is Anglo-Saxon). Gwaith-i-Phathdain has analyzed these linguistic items from the upcoming movie. See here.


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The Art of The Fellowship of the Ring


[July 24, 2002]


New book entitled The Lord of the Rings: The Art of The Fellowship of the Ring (by Gary Russel; HarperCollins, 2002, HB, 192 pp., 25 GBP or 35 USD) provides us with few interesting linguistic informations.

We can find there projects of Aragorn's sword Narsil with simplified Elvish inscription (see here), we may also see there the sketch of Aragorn's Hunting Knife with tengwar letters (see here) and the traces of tengwar from Legolas' quiver being a gift from Galadriel (it is worth of further research)


It would be wonderful if New Line Cinema published a book devoted to the languages of Middle-earth used in the movie. Maybe it isn't too bad idea, Dear Publishers!


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