Questions for the Lore Masters.

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Re: Questions for the Lore Masters.

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Tue Feb 28, 2012 1:26 am

Thanks Tin thats pretty unequivical seems to me.

(That story would make a great amatuer film project!)

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Re: Questions for the Lore Masters.

Post by halfwise on Tue Feb 28, 2012 1:44 am

it's equivical. "Men said...". Not a flat out statement they came from Orome's horse, just a rumor.
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Re: Questions for the Lore Masters.

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Tue Feb 28, 2012 1:59 am

Not when you add in the quote from Tolkien Amarie provided. Wink

'I should argue so: Shadowfax came of a special race (...) being as it were an Elvish equivalent of ordinary horses: his 'blood' came from 'West Over Sea',

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Re: Questions for the Lore Masters.

Post by chris63 on Tue Feb 28, 2012 3:59 am

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Re: Questions for the Lore Masters.

Post by Eldorion on Tue Feb 28, 2012 4:56 am

It's been ages since I've seen the theatrical versions (I don't even own them, actually) and I wouldn't call FOTR the best of the EE trilogy, but I would probably call it the best of the TE trilogy, based on my memories of it. However, that's mainly just because Jackson got lazy when it came to TTT and ROTK and left out so many important scenes since he knew he could just add it to the DVD later. With FOTR I think he was more conscious of how he was structuring the story in a number of ways, and it paid off.

On the other hand, I think that FOTR gets way too much credit from some circles. It's undeniably the most faithful of the three, but that's really only because Jackson was more wary of adding his own material when the movies were unproven at the box office. FOTR has just as many cuts as the others, if not more, and it introduces a lot of the character alterations that people complain about in the later movies. To be fair, it's not as "bad" as the later two movies, but I think it gets too much credit. It also feels that some people (at least on other forums) act like this faithfulness automatically means FOTR is the best of the trilogy. I could see someone making a legitimate case for FOTR on cinematic grounds, but naming it the best just because it's the most faithful is a very narrow way of looking at the films.
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Re: Questions for the Lore Masters.

Post by Norc on Tue Feb 28, 2012 8:17 am

People will hate me for this, but I like Two Towers most. Yes, FOTR has a more cosy feeling and maybe it's more true to the book, however, if I am to pick one, I'd pick TTT. Maybe because I like the book, because they all get separated and well.. see more of middle earth Smile (go ahed, kill me!)
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Re: Questions for the Lore Masters.

Post by Ally on Tue Feb 28, 2012 1:28 pm

I got 'ya back! I love TT Norc!

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Re: Questions for the Lore Masters.

Post by Elthir on Tue Feb 28, 2012 1:50 pm

Amarië wrote:Now this I remember. Shadowfax is silver/grey and his ancestors come from Valinor. PJ made him white.


Yes I agree Amarie, that Shadowfax is not white.
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Re: Questions for the Lore Masters.

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Tue Feb 28, 2012 4:15 pm

I believe in horsey people circles there are no white horses, just greys and silver. White, for some reason, they never use to describe a horse.

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Re: Questions for the Lore Masters.

Post by David H on Tue Feb 28, 2012 4:33 pm

I understand that the first thing breeders do when they look at a "white" horse is look at the skin color underneath. If it's brown, then the horse is usually a grey even if the hair is white. If the skin is pink, then you may be looking at a dominant white gene and you look farther into the pedigree to see if you can guess if the sire/dam will "throw white". There are all kinds of words like "cream" and "creamello" that come into the discussion and it gets quite arcane.

But from the description I'd say Shadowfax was a grey and would have had brown skin if you shaved him (if you dared....Shocked )
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Re: Questions for the Lore Masters.

Post by Eldorion on Tue Feb 28, 2012 5:31 pm

Ally wrote:I got 'ya back! I love TT Norc!

Same here. Very Happy I've vacillated on the question of my favorite LOTR film for years but it would probably be TTT or ROTK. Smile
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Re: Questions for the Lore Masters.

Post by Elthir on Tue Feb 28, 2012 6:04 pm

Pettytyrant101 wrote:I believe in horsey people circles there are no white horses, just greys and silver. White, for some reason, they never use to describe a horse.

And not that you said otherwise Petty, obviously, but it is in stories of course, including Tolkien's. And I notice in the post by David H. we have 'a grey' as a noun. Historically this was used to refer to the badger, for example (and I think the wolf too, if I recall correctly), but in any case I can't recall any instances in Tolkien's stories where grey is employed as a noun to refer to a horse (to the thread in general, if there are any instances please note them here).

I also can't think (right now) of any instances where a white horse (Asfaloth, Snowmane) is likewise referred to specifically as grey as well (or a grey); or a grey horse as also white.


People in horse circles have a special use of 'grey', and Hammond and Scull have (perhaps) made a similar observation in their Reader's Companion with respect to Shadowfax: 'Grey is often used to mean 'white' when describing the colour of a horse.'

However I'm not convinced this reflects Tolkien's use of these words.

JRRT uses the word white to describe some horses, like Asfaloth or Snowmane, but if I recall correctly, never uses it for Shadowfax, and never refers to the same horse as both white and grey. Tolkien explained the name Shadowfax in Nomenclature with: 'Sceadu-faex 'having shadow-grey mane (and coat)' and I would say that he envisioned something distinct enough from 'white' to merit a different color-word.

In Of Tuor And His Coming To Gondolin (the updated but abandoned Fall of Gondolin published in Unfinished Tales) we have the example: '... but their captains and chieftains were upon horses, white and grey.' Here we seem to have various horses, some white, some grey, indicating a distinction in my opinion.

So far, I think Tolkien is not employing the term 'grey' to mean white. Anyway, I did a little research into Old English here, and at least found the following, if anyone's interested.



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There's a book titled 'Grey in Old English' by C. P. Biggam. References to horses are very slight in any case, and Biggam lists but two very similar examples (Prognostics: Tiberius and Prognostics: Oxford) where grey, technically grægan, grægium, and white hwit both appear, among other colours, indicating distinction. In each example, with respect to the interpretation of dreams, the color of a horse has a meaning: a white horse indicates honor for instance, and both a yellow-brown horse and a grey horse is 'good' or indicates a 'good dream'.

One version seems a bit dubious since Biggam argues the possibility that græg is a later addition: 'The significance of the fifth entry is completely wrong, while the translator appears not to believe that the list could have omitted a græg horse'.

Græg as 'shiny': Ostheeren points out that in the Ancient World and in mediaeval times it was common to stress the light-reflecting qualities of weapons, the 'splendor armorum'. Biggam notes that Ostheeren, Pokorny and Lerner all support the theory that græg includes, or could include, the semantic feature 'shiny'. Biggam appears to disagree that this conclusion is easy, citing the AS references: spearhead, sword, mail-coat, sea, iron, and water, arguing that color can easily be the main sense in these, including in Ostheeren's collocations: iron, eyes and glass. Ostheeren also adds that ME grei was used of eyes, indicating the 'splendor oculorum'.

Biggam's point in mind, I think this is still interesting anyway, including with respect to the grey eyed Eldar, especially the grey-eyed Lechind or 'flame-eyed' Noldor from Aman.



Last edited by Elthir on Wed Feb 29, 2012 12:20 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Questions for the Lore Masters.

Post by Norc on Tue Feb 28, 2012 6:11 pm

Eldorion wrote:
Ally wrote:I got 'ya back! I love TT Norc!

Same here. Very Happy I've vacillated on the question of my favorite LOTR film for years but it would probably be TTT or ROTK. Smile

yesssss! I'm not alone! Razz

and yes, Elthir, interesting reading.
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Re: Questions for the Lore Masters.

Post by David H on Tue Feb 28, 2012 8:11 pm

Elthir wrote:
People in horse circles have a special use of 'grey', and Hammond and Scull have (perhaps) made a similar observation in their Reader's Companion with respect to Shadowfax: 'Grey is often used to mean 'white' when describing the colour of a horse.'


Though that is technically true, I think it's a little misleading. A "grey" horse doesn't refer to the color, which can be continually changing, but to the tendency for the hair to go grey over time, much like people's hair does. A foal can be jet black (or any other color) at birth, becoming charcoal grey in its youth, continuing through all the color ranges through grey and silver to snow white in old age.This can include dappling or other patterns in certain phases, and there can be dramatic differences between summer and winter coat. And, just like people, some never get pure white.

I'm not saying Shadowfax is or isn't a grey, but the ambiguity in different lights of Tolkien's description suggests to me some beautiful silver greys I have known, and so that's how I've always imagined him while reading.
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Re: Questions for the Lore Masters.

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Tue Feb 28, 2012 9:09 pm

Elthir I found the part about the reflective qualities particularly revealing- I am going on memory here and may be wrong but does someone not describe Shadowfax as shining at some point and also glistening.

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Re: Questions for the Lore Masters.

Post by Elthir on Wed Feb 29, 2012 3:03 am

Nor will you again,' said Gandalf. 'That is Shadowfax. He is the chief of the Mearas, lords of horses, and not even Theoden, King of Rohan, has ever looked on a better. Does he not shine like silver, and run as smoothly as a swift stream? He has come for me: the horse of the White Rider. We are going to battle together.'

And with respect to the quote by Hammond and Scull and the information about horses, while I find it interesting, as yet I see no real connection with it to Tolkien's tale however (I don't mean 'as yet' in this thread, or that anyone here is trying to connect it to JRRT's writing, I just mean over the years when these details surface).

Thus so far, to my mind Tolkien is using colour-words not equestrian or general horse-related terminology, and 'grey' or shining like silver (or 'shadow-grey') are all distinct enough from white to merit a different word. I should add that Nahar is white -- and 'silver' in a different light however (under a lesser light), and this also makes sense to me as a colour description.

As an aside, in general, Gandalf the Grey rides a white horse (Rohald) before Shadowfax, and Gandalf the White (although he does not always reveal his new colour obviously) rides a grey horse.
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Re: Questions for the Lore Masters.

Post by David H on Wed Feb 29, 2012 7:17 am

Elthir wrote:
Thus so far, to my mind Tolkien is using colour-words not equestrian or general horse-related terminology,

It's certainly fair to say that Tolkien's choice of colour is chosen for a variety of reasons. If I were to guess, I'd say his repeated use of silver and grey for things with elven connections is probably a major factor as well.

But I'm still interested in the equine meaning of "grey". It doesn't seem to me unlikely for Tolkien to have had a specific horse in mind when he penned Shadowfax. Some of his passages suggest a definite fondness for horses. Does anybody know if Tolkien rode?
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Re: Questions for the Lore Masters.

Post by Orwell on Wed Feb 29, 2012 7:36 am

David H wrote:But I'm still interested in the equine meaning of "grey". It doesn't seem to me unlikely for Tolkien to have had a specific horse in mind when he penned Shadowfax. Some of his passages suggest a definite fondness for horses. Does anybody know if Tolkien rode?

From memory he broke in horses to send off to be killed in the First World War. He didn't like it much - sending them off, that is. (I hope I'm remembering right!)

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Re: Questions for the Lore Masters.

Post by Elthir on Wed Feb 29, 2012 12:12 pm

David H wrote: It's certainly fair to say that Tolkien's choice of colour is chosen for a variety of reasons. If I were to guess, I'd say his repeated use of silver and grey for things with elven connections is probably a major factor as well.

Tolkien's use of grey or silver is why I bought 'Grey in Old English' actually (although it was interesting in general). I agree Tolkien's employment of this word seems particularly connected to things Elvish, but in any case, although a minor enough detail, the first 'Elvish' horse we meet in The Lord of the Rings is white. As a colour-word I think this will raise a fairly specific image in the reader's mind (if 'vague' enough in a sense). In one of the drafts concerning Shadowfax...

'One at least is saved,' said Gandalf;' for there I got my grey horse, and I name him Greyfax. Not even the Chief of the Nine...' The Council of Elrond (I).

But I'm still interested in the equine meaning of "grey". It doesn't seem to me unlikely for Tolkien to have had a specific horse in mind when he penned Shadowfax. Some of his passages suggest a definite fondness for horses. Does anybody know if Tolkien rode?

According to Carpenter (Tolkien's official biographer) Tolkien enrolled in a calvary regiment King Edward's Horse and subsequently enjoyed the experience of galloping across the Kentish plains for a while. Hammond and Scull note JRRT joining King Edward's Horse in 1911, stating that he learned to ride as a result, if he did not already know.

I am also interested in the history of the use of '(a) grey' in horse circles. The Oxford English Dictionary (a longish version) at my library is not much help in that search so far.
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Re: Questions for the Lore Masters.

Post by David H on Wed Feb 29, 2012 5:43 pm

Elthir wrote:
I am also interested in the history of the use of '(a) grey' in horse circles. The Oxford English Dictionary (a longish version) at my library is not much help in that search so far.

I'll see if I can find an early reference for "grey" as a noun describing a horse that greys in adulthood. My sense is that the term is as old as cavalry, where the need to identify horses on the battlefield is obvious.

Off the top of my head I think of the Royal Scots Greys, who were mounted on greys as early as the 17th century. They have an amazing regimental history. A quick google search shows that "mounted, the Scots Greys were held in readiness to exploit a breakthrough that never came during the Battle of the Somme" where JRRT may possibly have crossed paths with them.
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Re: Questions for the Lore Masters.

Post by David H on Wed Feb 29, 2012 6:14 pm

I haven't found exactly what I was looking for, but the related term "bay" (meaning a red or brown horse with black points) goes back at least into Middle English.

It's also worth checking out the legends of Bayard, the magic horse of Renaud, in medieval literature. Tolkien would certainly have known him well, and I believe the influence on Shadowfax is easy to see.
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Re: Questions for the Lore Masters.

Post by Elthir on Wed Feb 29, 2012 7:08 pm

I appreciate the information and work so far David. A while back I also read something on line somewhere about the word 'grey' in Middle-English, but can't remember where at the moment (if it's still around)! and in any case it wasn't 'horse-centered', so to speak.


Actually I expect the employment of 'a grey' in horse circles, or even in literature, to predate Tolkien (partly why I went to the OED), and have no real isssue with the notion that JRRT was aware of this, but writing a story is something different of course.

When people ask what colour Shadowfax is, often enough the issue of 'grey' being applied to what I would call a white horse (based on colour alone), comes up -- this is seemingly injected to suggest that Shadowfax could easily be what many people call white, or defend a white Shadowfax in some artwork, or the films, or something.

Again not that I won't be glad of future work, but if we can't connect it to Tolkien's writing in any compelling way, in my opinion all we will have gained is lore about something 'outside' of Middle-earth, in a sense...

... and really, who wants that Wink



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Re: Questions for the Lore Masters.

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Wed Feb 29, 2012 7:30 pm

Right enough of this! scratch If I am painting a picture of Shadowfax what bloody colour tin of paint do I buy?! Banghead

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Re: Questions for the Lore Masters.

Post by Elthir on Wed Feb 29, 2012 7:58 pm

Pettytyrant101 wrote:Right enough of this! scratch If I am painting a picture of Shadowfax what bloody colour tin of paint do I buy?! Banghead

Unwhite Wink

Actually I think the Hildebrandt brothers did a version of grey that I think fits -- although I reserve the right to retract that opinion in the event that I refresh my memory of such ancient artwork (last century), and think otherwise. Now where is that old Tolkien calendar...



Anyway buy grey in my opinion. Or mix 'a grey' Very Happy

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Re: Questions for the Lore Masters.

Post by Mrs Figg on Wed Feb 29, 2012 8:12 pm

Shadowfax is white. Very Happy

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