Questions for the Lore Masters.

Page 4 of 19 Previous  1, 2, 3, 4, 5 ... 11 ... 19  Next

View previous topic View next topic Go down

Re: Questions for the Lore Masters.

Post by David H on Fri Mar 02, 2012 5:03 am

Thanks. That clarifies a lot. Although we seem to agree on more than we disagree, I was starting to see that we were starting from different assumptions, so I wanted to take the discussion back to first principles. Let me answer your questions now.

Elthir wrote:
I'm enjoying this discussion too, but I think the distinction between a noun and an adjective is relevant anyway. Outside of historical applications to a grey animal, for instance, the noun would appear to reflect a special use in horse-circles? No?

In a way, but the noun/adjective distinction isn't as great as it seems you're implying, which is why I suggested removing it to save confusion. It almost identical to the "blond" distinction. You can say, "She's a blond woman," or "She's a blond," with little difference in meaning. If you add modifiers (e.g. "She's a strawberry blond woman," or "she's a naturally blond woman," it can sometimes be easier to shorten the phrase, ( "She's a strawberry blond," or "She's a natural blond.")

Of course if there is common experience between the speaker and listener, blond jokes for example, you can get a different meaning by just saying, "She's a blond Rolling Eyes " Among people who work regularly with horses you can find these same sorts of prejudices, but to me it doesn't feel like the prejudice lives in the words. Words like grey, sorrel, brown, black, bay, roan, dun, palomino, buckskin etc. really just denote the colour families of horses, whether used as an adjective or as a noun.

Regarding general familiarity with horses (...) I guess that's why I had taken a certain general familiarity with horses for granted, which was clearly in error, but I think it's equally in error to assume that Tolkien would only have the horse sense of somebody who was born a century after him. To me that seems a very strange assertion, and one that would require some proof.

If you mean me, I don't think I've claimed that JRRT would only have the horse sense of someone born a century after him.

No you didn't. I guess I inferred it from your comment "as it is fairly specially employed within a certain community." Certainly now the language of horsemanship is specialized and restricted to a "a certain community", but a couple generations ago it was almost universal, spoken equally fluently by kings and plowmen.

And if you want to suggest that given the period concerned, plus his military training (relatively brief as it was), that Tolkien would be familiar enough with horses and horse-related terminology, I have no real issue with that as a combined reason, so to speak.

Well said. That's my point exactly.

My point has never been that Tolkien couldn't know these things, but rather that that alone doesn't mean he employed grey as horse terminology in his books, or intended his story to be read with the adjectives white and grey as doing more than raising a general (but distinct) colour image in the reader's mind.

Agreed. But I think we may disagree on the nature of the general colour image he expected to raise. I doubt that Tolkien could have foreseen the lack of basic equine knowledge that has become the modern norm. I'm referring here to the distinction you make between your friend and the average person.
" I guess it's likely enough that she would (in theory), given a quite notable connection to horses compared to the average person."

In any event my challenge has always been to connect this to the examples we find in JRRT's work -- especially published work but other writing as well.

You have many resources I don't, and I admire your meticulous approach to Tolkien scholarship. My understanding comes mostly from the standard published novels. I'm after all just a simple farmer, but I've always been struck by how Tolkien seems to feature food, trees, and horses when he writes, while brushing lightly over such things as ships, commerce, trades etc. that other authors might have featured. I think the pony Bill is a particularly sympathetic character, of a type that I suspect would only be written by a man who had bonded with a trustworthy pack pony at some time. Another horse connection? scratch No proof of course.... Shrugging
avatar
David H
Horsemaster, Fighting Bears in the Pacific Northwest

Posts : 6470
Join date : 2011-11-18

Back to top Go down

Re: Questions for the Lore Masters.

Post by David H on Fri Mar 02, 2012 5:43 am

Kinda beginning to feel like we're beating a dead horse though, doesn't it? elephant
avatar
David H
Horsemaster, Fighting Bears in the Pacific Northwest

Posts : 6470
Join date : 2011-11-18

Back to top Go down

Re: Questions for the Lore Masters.

Post by Elthir on Fri Mar 02, 2012 4:05 pm

David H wrote: In a way, but the noun/adjective distinction isn't as great as it seems you're implying, which is why I suggested removing it to save confusion.

Among the horselords (well why not in a Tolkien forum, instead of 'horsemen') and those who speak as they do, this distinction is one thing, but if I were to find even once instance of the noun in any of Tolkien's writings, including HME even, I would think that that would be fairly notable here, so the adjective is possibly a very different animal in that sense.

Agreed. But I think we may disagree on the nature of the general colour image he expected to raise. I doubt that Tolkien could have foreseen the lack of basic equine knowledge that has become the modern norm. I'm referring here to the distinction you make between your friend and the average person. "I guess it's likely enough that she would (in theory), given a quite notable connection to horses compared to the average person."

In my opinion the colour-image JRRT appears to have expected has to be distinct enough from white in any case, as he does employ this word for certain horses. Beyond that I tend to imagine a darker tone for Shadowfax because of 'shadow-grey' but I admit that this need not be necessarily so, especially since Tolkien actually describes Hasufel as 'dark grey' now that I think of it.

(...) My understanding comes mostly from the standard published novels.

We can use these sources to start with, but first I find this interesting...

Words like grey, sorrel, brown, black, bay, roan, dun, palomino, buckskin etc. really just denote the colour families of horses, whether used as an adjective or as a noun.

... as the only words that I remember right now from Tolkien are white, black, grey (shadow-grey, dark-grey) and maybe brown? I would characterize these as fairly 'simple' colour words, although I've never read Tolkien with pen in hand to note every reference to horses, and very possibly the Lays especially could add to this list.

Shadowfax grey, shines like silver, shadow-grey
Asfaloth white
Snowmane (surprise!) white
Rohald (Gandalf's horse in the 1960 Hobbit) white
Hasufel 'dark-grey'
steeds of the Black Riders sepia... no wait black!

Other white steeds are mentioned when the Elves come to Minas Tirith, with Arwen riding a grey palfrey for example. Another instance I recall is the description of a company of knights riding grey horses into Minas Tirith -- this one I have to admit made me wonder a bit: all grey? but then again they don't need to be all the same shade of grey I guess. And this example...

'... but their captains and chieftains were upon horses, white and grey.' Fall of Gondolin, Unfinished Tales, 1950s version


I can't really remember an instance of 'brown' at the moment, but as I say we could have plenty of other examples obviously; although again, those noted so far don't seem (to me) to necessarily illustrate Tolkien 'horsing around' all that much... sorry!


So far I think the use of colour-words is simply simpler. And with The Lord of the Rings at least we are still ultimately in the 1950s, and despite that Tolkien's Oxford wasn't exactly London he can hardly have been unaware that his potential audience was going to include folk, including 'youngish' folk, growing up in cities in various countries.


Last edited by Elthir on Fri Mar 02, 2012 4:27 pm; edited 1 time in total
avatar
Elthir
Sharrasi's prentice

Posts : 1141
Join date : 2011-06-10

Back to top Go down

Re: Questions for the Lore Masters.

Post by David H on Fri Mar 02, 2012 4:25 pm

Wow, Elthir, that's fascinating! It seems that ALL of the described horses in Middle Earth come from a very narrow colour pool (probably gene pool), and they could even potentially all be greys Laughing That would certainly explain there being no need to use the word! (Though you would normally only find a very young grey who was actually black, so I'm not actually suggesting this).

Are there other colors represented among the ponies?
avatar
David H
Horsemaster, Fighting Bears in the Pacific Northwest

Posts : 6470
Join date : 2011-11-18

Back to top Go down

Re: Questions for the Lore Masters.

Post by Elthir on Fri Mar 02, 2012 4:50 pm

Now hold your horses (well I couldn't resist)! Wink

We don't have all the examples yet... the Rohirrim are also riding grey horses when they meet Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli, but they note that few black horses are left to them, due to thieving orcs.


I'll see if anything else turns up on the ponies or in the Lays, if I have the time.
avatar
Elthir
Sharrasi's prentice

Posts : 1141
Join date : 2011-06-10

Back to top Go down

Re: Questions for the Lore Masters.

Post by David H on Fri Mar 02, 2012 8:22 pm

Elthir wrote: And with The Lord of the Rings at least we are still ultimately in the 1950s, and despite that Tolkien's Oxford wasn't exactly London he can hardly have been unaware that his potential audience was going to include folk, including 'youngish' folk, growing up in cities in various countries.

Could you clarify this, please? You're not suggesting that Tolkien was intentionally "dumbing down" LotR for future audiences, are you? If so, I think that might be worthy of a thread of its own. (I'd love to see Petty set his teeth into that one! Twisted Evil )
avatar
David H
Horsemaster, Fighting Bears in the Pacific Northwest

Posts : 6470
Join date : 2011-11-18

Back to top Go down

Re: Questions for the Lore Masters.

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Fri Mar 02, 2012 8:38 pm

3 pages on and I still dont know what bloody colour paint to buy! Evil or Very Mad

_________________
Pure Publications is Reasonably Proud to Present the first ever Forumshire novel!

Gingerlocks and the Three McTyrants

- get your copy here for a limited period- free*

https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B2678c57O-0LUEROYml2NTFEUTQ

PDF Version (courtesy of Amarie) https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B-1_FdCbmY2-dC1MbXFOVl9UNm8/view?usp=sharing

*Pure Publications reserves the right to track your usage of this publication, snoop on your home address, go through your bins and sell personal information on to the highest bidder.
avatar
Pettytyrant101
Crabbitmeister

Posts : 39306
Join date : 2011-02-14
Age : 45
Location : Scotshobbitland

Back to top Go down

Re: Questions for the Lore Masters.

Post by Mrs Figg on Fri Mar 02, 2012 9:04 pm

Magnolia is a kind of grey white with a hint of beige, I would go for that. Very Happy
avatar
Mrs Figg
Eel Wrangler from Bree

Posts : 21782
Join date : 2011-10-06
Age : 87
Location : Holding The Door

Back to top Go down

Re: Questions for the Lore Masters.

Post by David H on Fri Mar 02, 2012 9:05 pm

Elthir wrote:
Shadowfax grey, shines like silver, shadow-grey

Petty, it sounds like silver automotive paint is what you're looking for.

Be careful with the paintbrush, especially around the sensitive bits, and watch out for the heels!
affraid
avatar
David H
Horsemaster, Fighting Bears in the Pacific Northwest

Posts : 6470
Join date : 2011-11-18

Back to top Go down

Re: Questions for the Lore Masters.

Post by Orwell on Fri Mar 02, 2012 9:49 pm

I'd suggest a water based paint, not paint with harsh chemicals.

_________________
"Skirts!" cried our respectable Master Odo. "Skirts! And they have the temerity to call them 'kilts'.... Eru darn my socks!"

From "The True Tale of the Un-magical Coal Scuttle."
avatar
Orwell
Dark Presence with Gilt Edge

Posts : 8552
Join date : 2011-05-24
Age : 98
Location : Ozhobbitstan

Back to top Go down

Re: Questions for the Lore Masters.

Post by Elthir on Fri Mar 02, 2012 10:17 pm

David H wrote: Could you clarify this, please? You're not suggesting that Tolkien was intentionally "dumbing down" LotR for future audiences, are you?

The 1950s isn't the future as far as The Lord of the Rings goes of course, although JRRT began it much earlier anyway, and as a sequel to a book for younger readers as well. Did Tolkien make a choice in this matter based on a potential younger audience, mixed with the fact that maybe he thought enough 'city folk' (and it's not like we are in the 1800s here) might not get any meaning behind any intended 'horse references' in any case?

Admittedly even raising the notion is to raise a notably slim possibility; and even if he had made a decision initially, JRRT need not have held to it when the 'sequel' to The Hobbit progressed.



But back to Tolkien's examples: do they really seem all that horse-related? given no nouns ('a grey' or 'greys') as yet, for example. Should I be thinking about what 'white' means in horse-circles, beyond the colour image? And why white and grey in the same sentence if 'grey' in horse-terminology refers to a range of colours that includes white?

Do the examples so far really seem to reflect Tolkien employing horse-terminology rather than adjectives denoting colour?


White: One of the rarest colors, a white horse has white hair and fully or largely unpigmented (pink) skin. These horses are born white, with blue or brown eyes, and remain white for life. The vast majority of so-called "white" horses are actually grays with a fully white hair coat.

Wikipedia


Not that I should trust this, given some of Wikipedia's pages on things Tolkien at least! Hmm, where is my horse sense?
avatar
Elthir
Sharrasi's prentice

Posts : 1141
Join date : 2011-06-10

Back to top Go down

Re: Questions for the Lore Masters.

Post by David H on Fri Mar 02, 2012 10:56 pm

Elthir wrote:
But moving again to Tolkien's examples: what's your reaction to the descriptions raised so far? Do they really seem all that horse-related? given no nouns ('a grey' or 'greys') as yet? Should I be thinking about what 'white' means in horse-circles, beyond the colour image? And why white and grey in the same sentence if 'grey' in horse-terminology refers to a range of colours that includes white? Wikipedia states that:


White: One of the rarest colors, a white horse has white hair and fully or largely unpigmented (pink) skin. These horses are born white, with blue or brown eyes, and remain white for life. The vast majority of so-called "white" horses are actually grays with a fully white hair coat.

Everything so far makes sense without going outside of standard horse-lord usage. "White" could be taken several ways. If Middle Earth had no genetic white color (and I suspect this may be so based on the absence of any mention of white markings on feet or faces) then white hair might be indicative of age and imply wisdom in a greying horse, much like with a person.

If however there is a genetic white colour, then, although they're naturally somewhat rare in this world, they do occur often enough, and they can be bred for. http://cowboyfrank.net/fortvalley/breeds/AmericanAlbino.htm (conformation on these is sometimes poor, being bred simply for colour, but it proves the principle.)

I think that it's fair to assume that among the Elves and the men of Rohan there were competent horse breeders.
avatar
David H
Horsemaster, Fighting Bears in the Pacific Northwest

Posts : 6470
Join date : 2011-11-18

Back to top Go down

Re: Questions for the Lore Masters.

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Fri Mar 02, 2012 11:19 pm

Be careful with the paintbrush, especially around the sensitive bits, and watch out for the heels!- David

I think you may be confused David- I am loooking for paint to paint Shadowfax- not Kafria and Mrs Figg! Very Happy

_________________
Pure Publications is Reasonably Proud to Present the first ever Forumshire novel!

Gingerlocks and the Three McTyrants

- get your copy here for a limited period- free*

https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B2678c57O-0LUEROYml2NTFEUTQ

PDF Version (courtesy of Amarie) https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B-1_FdCbmY2-dC1MbXFOVl9UNm8/view?usp=sharing

*Pure Publications reserves the right to track your usage of this publication, snoop on your home address, go through your bins and sell personal information on to the highest bidder.
avatar
Pettytyrant101
Crabbitmeister

Posts : 39306
Join date : 2011-02-14
Age : 45
Location : Scotshobbitland

Back to top Go down

Re: Questions for the Lore Masters.

Post by Mrs Figg on Sat Mar 03, 2012 12:03 am

I have a question for the Lore Masters, what if? should it? does he? and, when? take your time I aint in a hurry. Shocked
avatar
Mrs Figg
Eel Wrangler from Bree

Posts : 21782
Join date : 2011-10-06
Age : 87
Location : Holding The Door

Back to top Go down

Re: Questions for the Lore Masters.

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Sat Mar 03, 2012 12:40 am

(Sniff) sorry. Thought I smelled buckie! drunken

_________________
Pure Publications is Reasonably Proud to Present the first ever Forumshire novel!

Gingerlocks and the Three McTyrants

- get your copy here for a limited period- free*

https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B2678c57O-0LUEROYml2NTFEUTQ

PDF Version (courtesy of Amarie) https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B-1_FdCbmY2-dC1MbXFOVl9UNm8/view?usp=sharing

*Pure Publications reserves the right to track your usage of this publication, snoop on your home address, go through your bins and sell personal information on to the highest bidder.
avatar
Pettytyrant101
Crabbitmeister

Posts : 39306
Join date : 2011-02-14
Age : 45
Location : Scotshobbitland

Back to top Go down

Re: Questions for the Lore Masters.

Post by Orwell on Sat Mar 03, 2012 1:27 am

Oh come on guys, this is a serious thread... Rolling Eyes

_________________
"Skirts!" cried our respectable Master Odo. "Skirts! And they have the temerity to call them 'kilts'.... Eru darn my socks!"

From "The True Tale of the Un-magical Coal Scuttle."
avatar
Orwell
Dark Presence with Gilt Edge

Posts : 8552
Join date : 2011-05-24
Age : 98
Location : Ozhobbitstan

Back to top Go down

Re: Questions for the Lore Masters.

Post by Elthir on Sat Mar 03, 2012 5:41 am

David H wrote: Everything so far makes sense without going outside of standard horse-lord usage. "White" could be taken several ways. If Middle Earth had no genetic white color (and I suspect this may be so based on the absence of any mention of white markings on feet or faces) then white hair might be indicative of age and imply wisdom in a greying horse, much like with a person.

What about Tolkien's examples so far, as a collection, necessarily reveals to the reader (in the first place) that they are intended as equestrian nomenclature instead of simple adjectives to describe a colour? Wikipedia currently lists these terms:

Bay *champagne *skewbald
brown *cream dilution *overo
chestnut *cremello *sabino
liver *dun *toviano
sorrel *grullo *tobero
grey *leopard *paint
salt and pepper or steel gray *varnish roan *rabicano
dapple grey *palimino *roan *silver dapple
fleabitten grey *pearl *smokey black
rose grey *perlino *smokey cream
black *pinto *white
brindle *piebald
buckskin *sooty or pangare (other colour modifiers)

I have underlined the words Tolkien used in his story (known so far) that overlap: grey, white, black -- and even if we add brown these are all fairly basic adjectives. Also Tolkien's shadow-grey and dark-grey don't seem to be equestrian-specific terms (or don't appear in this list anyway, once again assuming Wikipedia is correct and complete here). Add the lack of nouns so far, which would imply we are beyond simple adjectives of colour and arguably into the realm of horse-specific usage, and the consideration that Tolkien uses the adjective grey for various things as well.

And since the vast majority of so called 'white' horses are really greys, am I to take it that the distinction intended in the Fall of Gondolin for the average reader of the 1950s is that the white horses -- as opposed to the grey horses that could look white themselves -- are either old horses, or very rare horses but possible in enough measure due to specialized breeding?

In other words, the intended distinction is not color here but either A or B, as they could all look white in theory?
avatar
Elthir
Sharrasi's prentice

Posts : 1141
Join date : 2011-06-10

Back to top Go down

Re: Questions for the Lore Masters.

Post by David H on Sat Mar 03, 2012 6:59 am

Elthir wrote:
What about Tolkien's examples so far, as a collection, necessarily reveals to the reader (in the first place) that they are intended as equestrian nomenclature instead of simple adjectives to describe a colour?

Nothing necessitates it. I'm a firm believer in letting each reader bring his own experiences to his personal reading. I think Tolkien's language is particularly evocative precisely because it seems to encourage this. If we were talking about a hobbit with red hair, for example, I would draw on my own experience and imagine a shade of red closer to Mrs Figg's hair than to a fire engine. If somebody else imagines scarlet hair I wouldn't have a problem (unless it was Peter Jackson and he was making a movie). So for me, colouring my imaginary horses from the natural colors of horses which are consistent with Tolkien's descriptions just makes sense. I don't understand why someone would want to assume Tolkien's horses didn't follow standard rules for horse color unless Tolkien specifically indicated otherwise.


The Wikipedia list is strange but interesting. Many of the terms can be combined or separted, and there are many common modifiers that aren't even mentioned. For example, my horse would usually be described as a dark bay, almost never just a bay. "Dark grey" is just as common, because of the need to differentiate form the whiter shades. "Shadow grey" is less common, but is every bit as appropriate as "smokey black" or "smokey cream". These terms aren't cannonical and there's a lot of overlap. But Tolkien's descriptions are consistent with standard descriptions and suggest an image for me based on horses I've seen. Why would I choose to ignore that?

I think the point you may be getting at is that he chose terms that are also understandable to those whose knowledge of horses begins and ends with "My Little Pony", but that doesn't suggest to me that Tolkien wanted all readers to restrict themselves to that level.

And since the vast majority of so called 'white' horses are really greys, am I to take it that the distinction intended in the Fall of Gondolin for the average reader of the 1950s is that the white horses -- as opposed to the grey horses that could look white themselves -- are either old horses, or very rare horses but possible in enough measure due to specialized breeding?

First, was 'Fall of Gondolin' intended to be published in the 1950's?

I'm not sure which passage you're referring to, but I'd guess that the distinction has more to do with white horses having been traditionally seen as regal, much like white elephants. Grey horses, like grey elephants elephantelephantelephant, are much more common and therefore less eye-catching and less costly.
avatar
David H
Horsemaster, Fighting Bears in the Pacific Northwest

Posts : 6470
Join date : 2011-11-18

Back to top Go down

Re: Questions for the Lore Masters.

Post by David H on Sat Mar 03, 2012 7:22 am

Pettytyrant101 wrote:Be careful with the paintbrush, especially around the sensitive bits, and watch out for the heels!- David

I think you may be confused David- I am loooking for paint to paint Shadowfax- not Kafria and Mrs Figg! Very Happy

My apologies. I should know better than to butt in between a Scot and his livestock!
ShockedEmbarassed
avatar
David H
Horsemaster, Fighting Bears in the Pacific Northwest

Posts : 6470
Join date : 2011-11-18

Back to top Go down

Re: Questions for the Lore Masters.

Post by David H on Sat Mar 03, 2012 7:36 am

Mrs Figg wrote:I have a question for the Lore Masters, what if? should it? does he? and, when? take your time I aint in a hurry. Shocked

scratch
study study study study
Idea

what if? affraid

should it? No

does he? Twisted Evil

when? Sleep
avatar
David H
Horsemaster, Fighting Bears in the Pacific Northwest

Posts : 6470
Join date : 2011-11-18

Back to top Go down

Re: Questions for the Lore Masters.

Post by Mrs Figg on Sat Mar 03, 2012 1:32 pm

Exactly my thoughts Dave, thanks for the clarification, truly a LoreMaster par excellence. cheers Kissing
avatar
Mrs Figg
Eel Wrangler from Bree

Posts : 21782
Join date : 2011-10-06
Age : 87
Location : Holding The Door

Back to top Go down

Re: Questions for the Lore Masters.

Post by David H on Sat Mar 03, 2012 3:30 pm

Mrs Figg wrote: truly a LoreMaster par excellence. cheers Kissing

Embarassed Embarassed Embarassed
avatar
David H
Horsemaster, Fighting Bears in the Pacific Northwest

Posts : 6470
Join date : 2011-11-18

Back to top Go down

Re: Questions for the Lore Masters.

Post by Elthir on Mon Mar 05, 2012 5:11 pm

Elthir wrote: What about Tolkien's examples so far, as a collection, necessarily reveals to the reader (in the first place) that they are intended as equestrian nomenclature instead of simple adjectives to describe a colour?

David H responded. 'Nothing necessitates it.'

Incidentally you are the first person who has ever responded to this question -- at least the various times I have asked Smile

And not only do I agree but I would venture a step further: so far (which is the context of the question above) in my opinion an author who knows relatively little about horses could have described his or her beasties as black, white, and grey (and an author might even employ 'chestnut' instead of brown just for literary reasons).


That said I have more examples, and one (albeit notably early in Tolkien's life with respect to his prose tales) which I think 'horse-ish' -- but I'll hold off on all of these for now (HRT means 'horse related terminology' below).


I'm a firm believer in letting each reader bring his own experiences to his personal reading. I think Tolkien's language is particularly evocative precisely because it seems to encourage this. If we were talking about a hobbit with red hair, for example, I would draw on my own experience and imagine a shade of red closer to Mrs Figg's hair than to a fire engine. If somebody else imagines scarlet hair I wouldn't have a problem (unless it was Peter Jackson and he was making a movie).


I believe in letting the reader do the same thing; nor would I have a problem if someone imagined some character with very red, scarlet hair, even if I imagined something very different given the word 'red' -- and if giving that opinion I would hope that no one would characterize that as me not letting anyone imagine red as they liked.

However what if you had text, or an opinion based on text that 'red' seems a simplification for this character, and that you think Tolkien intended something much browner than 'scarlet'? Would you not post the text and opinion and essentially disagree with a very red scarlet (actually this question has arisen concerning at least one of Tolkien's characters)? It's part of discussion of course.

So for me, colouring my imaginary horses from the natural colors of horses which are consistent with Tolkien's descriptions just makes sense. I don't understand why someone would want to assume Tolkien's horses didn't follow standard rules for horse color unless Tolkien specifically indicated otherwise.

And I don't want to assume such a thing Smile

The Wikipedia list is strange but interesting. Many of the terms can be combined or separted, and there are many common modifiers that aren't even mentioned. For example, my horse would usually be described as a dark bay, almost never just a bay. "Dark grey" is just as common, because of the need to differentiate form the whiter shades. "Shadow grey" is less common, but is every bit as appropriate as "smokey black" or "smokey cream". These terms aren't cannonical and there's a lot of overlap. But Tolkien's descriptions are consistent with standard descriptions and suggest an image for me based on horses I've seen. Why would I choose to ignore that?

When you say 'these terms' here I'm not exactly sure which terms you refer back to; nor what you mean by not being cannonical actually.

I think the point you may be getting at is that he chose terms that are also understandable to those whose knowledge of horses begins and ends with "My Little Pony", but that doesn't suggest to me that Tolkien wanted all readers to restrict themselves to that level.

My point is not really about Tolkien consciously and purposely dumbing down his tale (and as I already noted, this is a mere outside possibility given that The Hobbit was intended for younger readers at least, and even The Lord of the Rings initially, but a 'possibility' I wouldn't press myself)...

... rather my point is that Tolkien is a writer (if not his regular job really) of Romance and High Fantasy, and that 'mere adjectives' that denote colour -- and might do more than simply denote colour -- might be enough to convey what he wants to convey in his story. And although the words JRRT used do not fall outside of the known colours for horses (as a writer of fantasy this is at least open to him), I'm wondering if his intent goes beyond that -- or even more specifically, if it can be illustrated that it goes beyond (as you say) 'Nothing necessitates it' using the descriptions he chose.


It may be a fine enough horse hair to split but again it's chatting Tolkien so fun enough for me.

First, was 'Fall of Gondolin' intended to be published in the 1950's?

In short: a revised version, yes Very Happy this is where the quote in question hails from (see Unfinished Tales).


I'm not sure which passage you're referring to, but I'd guess that the distinction has more to do with white horses having been traditionally seen as regal, much like white elephants. Grey horses, like grey elephants (...), are much more common and therefore less eye-catching and less costly.


But if certain grey horses are less eye catching than the white horses they are near, don't they then look grey, not white, to the eye? Noting again under HRT (Wikipedia again): 'Most "white" horses are actually grays with a fully white hair coat.'


Great elephants! OK as for the question: is Shadowfax white? We both agree that he wasn't the colour white it seems. Maybe some examples will help explain the other issue.

For instance, if Tolkien knew that the horsemen of the world would not object to a 'shadow-grey' horse then all the better, but if it's just JRRT thinking up his own term then to me it doesn't seem to speak to choosing HRT for any specific distinction that it might hold, rather than drawing a nice, arguably poetic image that works in literature. For another example: surely it's not an accident that black horses are connected to the steeds of the enemy -- this goes beyond merely painting a colour distinction, but to my mind hasn't much to do with HRT specifically.


Incidentally I did find the word brindle... for a dog however (so far).

avatar
Elthir
Sharrasi's prentice

Posts : 1141
Join date : 2011-06-10

Back to top Go down

Re: Questions for the Lore Masters.

Post by David H on Tue Mar 06, 2012 8:23 am

Elthir wrote:and an author might even employ 'chestnut' instead of brown just for literary reasons.

I suppose an author could, but it would be as confusing as referring to the convertible top of a sports car as the "bonnet" or "hood" because it resembles one and it serves the purpose of keeping your head dry. Totally logical, but still confusing because of standard usage. In this case, 'Chestnut' refers to a horse with uniform, matching body and mane colour ranging anywhere from golden to chocolate brown. 'Brown' on the other hand refers to a horse with black or very dark brown body and a lighter belly and insides of the legs, rather like a burnt loaf of bread. Now there are some dark horses that could theoretically be both (or neither) depending on...well.... scratch....can we move on now, please?

That said I have more examples, and one ... which I think 'horse-ish' -- but I'll hold off on all of these for now...
What a tease! Suspect

However what if you had text, or an opinion based on text that 'red' seems a simplification for this character, and that you think Tolkien intended something much browner than 'scarlet'? Would you not post the text and opinion and essentially disagree with a very red scarlet?


I probably wouldn't say anything unless I thought it would be somebody who would enjoy the discussion. I've got real battles in real life without challenging other folks' artistic interpretations (however misguided). Life's too short. No fun in it!


When you say 'these terms' here I'm not exactly sure which terms you refer back to; nor what you mean by not being cannonical actually.


Life's too short to be critiquing Wikipedia either. Suffice it to say that there is no such thing as a simple list of "colours". Just to give one example out of a thousand, "grulla" comes into English from Spanish and is associated with certain breeds, though the same horse could equally well be called a "dun", or perhaps a "buckskin" depending on a number of factors. There are rules, but it's really not worth going into, (like the question of why you might choose to say B# instead of C in music.)

But if certain grey horses are less eye catching than the white horses they are near, don't they then look grey, not white, to the eye? Noting again under HRT (Wikipedia again): 'Most "white" horses are actually grays with a fully white hair coat.'

Look, if you persist in quoting Wikipedia on HRT you deserve to be perpetually confused! Banghead If I could just take you out to a horse ranch and show you some real horses it would all be clear to you in a couple minutes.

Maybe some examples will help explain the other issue.

For instance, if Tolkien knew that the horsemen of the world would not object to a 'shadow-grey' horse then all the better, but if it's just JRRT thinking up his own term then to me it doesn't seem to speak to choosing HRT for any specific distinction that it might hold, rather than drawing a nice, arguably poetic image that works in literature. For another example: surely it's not an accident that black horses are connected to the steeds of the enemy -- this goes beyond merely painting a colour distinction, but to my mind hasn't much to do with HRT specifically.

But the lore of horses is inextricable for he history of western civilization and literature. Kings often ride or are drawn by white horses for state occasions. Black horses are favored for hearses and for highwaymen. Then there are the 4 horsemen of the apocalypse. I'm just pulling this off of my head, but I'm sure there's a thesis that could be written on this.

Sure you can read Tolkien in a vacuum, not knowing what a willow tree or a birch or any of the trees mentioned look like, and not being aware of any of the uses old language and lore in which Tolkien clearly took so much pleasure. You'd be welcome to do that. But for me the story would be that much less poetic for having its history stripped from it.


Incidentally I did find the word brindle... for a dog however (so far).


Brindling isn't a pattern I remember seeing on a horse. I just googled it and it is indeed possible, but to my eye it still looks like a large, ill-formed dog Shocked

[/quote]
avatar
David H
Horsemaster, Fighting Bears in the Pacific Northwest

Posts : 6470
Join date : 2011-11-18

Back to top Go down

Re: Questions for the Lore Masters.

Post by Elthir on Tue Mar 06, 2012 7:36 pm

Elthir (that's me) wrote: '... and an author might even employ 'chestnut' instead of brown just for literary reasons.

David H responded: I suppose an author could, but it would be as confusing as referring to the convertible top of a sports car as the "bonnet" or "hood" because it resembles one and it serves the purpose of keeping your head dry. Totally logical, but still confusing because of standard usage.

OK but I meant employing 'chestnut' for a horse to raise an image of brown or 'reddish brown' in the reader's mind.

I probably wouldn't say anything unless I thought it would be somebody who would enjoy the discussion. I've got real battles in real life without challenging other folks' artistic interpretations (however misguided). Life's too short. No fun in it!

Well, if someone posts that a character has very red scarlet hair, how am I going to know beforehand that he or she would enjoy hearing a detail that arguably or possibly disagrees with that opinion?

Although I suppose I could ask! Smile

Some might post, as Moria seems close enough to the Real World Moriah, that Tolkien intended this connection in the reader's mind. Would it be challenging other folks' artistic interpretations to post that Tolkien himself denied this intent? Or are you, by posting your opinion that Shadowfax is not white, challenging Mrs Figg's artistic interpretation?


Look, if you persist in quoting Wikipedia on HRT you deserve to be perpetually confused! If I could just take you out to a horse ranch and show you some real horses it would all be clear to you in a couple minutes.

The Wikipedia quote was just a reminder (it seemed to me this simple sentence echoed what people have injected into this discussion). To note the context of JRRT's description: Tuor sees a host of the army of Gondolin, and among this host are representatives of the Seven Gates: '... but their captains and chieftains were upon horses, white and grey.' (Of Tuor and His Coming to Gondolin [really a part of the unfinished revision to the long prose Fall of Gondolin] Unfinished Tales)


But the lore of horses is inextricable for he history of western civilization and literature. Kings often ride or are drawn by white horses for state occasions. Black horses are favored for hearses and for highwaymen. Then there are the 4 horsemen of the apocalypse. I'm just pulling this off of my head, but I'm sure there's a thesis that could be written on this.

OK and if the purpose behind choosing a black horse in a story is because it is associated with hearses, highwaymen, or the 'evil guys' then did HRT really have much, if anything, to do with authorial intent? Or similarly if 'white' is chosen by an author, because he or she has a King and state occasions under concern.

Does HRT factor in to Tolkien's decision to note that Tuor sees a group of Elf-chieftains and captains upon horses white and grey, given that any 'grey' horse can look white to the eye? I would say the reader is essentially looking with Tuor's eyes here, and if he were looking at elephants, then yes grey elephants would be 'less eye-catching' as you say, than any that were white.


Sure you can read Tolkien in a vacuum, not knowing what a willow tree or a birch or any of the trees mentioned look like, and not being aware of any of the uses old language and lore in which Tolkien clearly took so much pleasure. You'd be welcome to do that. But for me the story would be that much less poetic for having its history stripped from it.



I don't recommend reading Tolkien in a vacuum; or even near the other (often loud cleaning) kind Wink

With Tolkien I think there is very much 'behind' the work. Amazingly so really! That said, can we not sometimes allow a critical question of something -- something among the very many claims with regard to 'sourcing' Tolkien and his intent?

I don't chat on the internet to create unfun, but I also don't plan to simply agree with everything and anything people post. Agreement and disagreement are just parts of discusssion of course. Due to our discussion so far I'm already looking at the matter a bit differently. And -- despite how taking up a particular idea might suggest otherwise -- in no way do I mean to imply 'I am right you are wrong'. It's more like: I'm fairly consistently (over the years) being told something about Tolkien's story that, as yet, I'm not convinced is necessarily intended, at least in all cases.


And even great artists who generally do have unbelievable depth to their work might be amazed to hear the depth of their intentions within the commentary of their many fans. Even Tolkien appears to disagree when some sort of connection isn't really there, noting that reader applicability is a [ahem]...

... horse of a different colour.
avatar
Elthir
Sharrasi's prentice

Posts : 1141
Join date : 2011-06-10

Back to top Go down

Page 4 of 19 Previous  1, 2, 3, 4, 5 ... 11 ... 19  Next

View previous topic View next topic Back to top

- Similar topics

 
Permissions in this forum:
You cannot reply to topics in this forum