Today celebrates sixty-three years since the book birthday of The Lord of the Rings. My introduction of the series didn’t happen until I was a freshman in college. Oh, I’d heard about the books, but it’d always been with a discouraging tone: “They have magic in them.” When I discovered the series in the library at my Bible college, I decided to give them a try. Imagine my surprise and horror when I stayed up late on a weekend to finish Fellowship of the Ring only to discover it’s a cliffhanger and the library wouldn’t open until Monday! From that humble introduction has come a love for all things LoTR related.
Over the course of several years, I read the whole series to my family after dinner. I remember the older kids couldn’t go see Two Towers in theaters until I finished reading it outloud to them. Needless to say, our reading soon moved from the dinner table to the living room and extended past the normal ten or fifteen minutes. I also remember watching Return of the King in a packed theater and listening as the everyone clapped when Gandalf whacked Denethor on the head.
The photo shows just one of three quilts I made. I found cross-stitch patterns online for Aragorn, Eomer, the One Ring, and Legolas. I only did Aragorn, Eomer, and Legolas before the patterns were removed from the site and I lost the print out of the ring. Each quilt held elements that fit the character and showed how much time I had on my hands at the time of making. As you can see, Aragorn has many details from the handle of Narsil to the blooming tree in quilting, and Aragorn’s helm as king.
The Legolas quilt doesn’t have as many intricacies in it. Besides the insanely detailed Legolas cross-stitch, I created trees and quilted bows and arrows into the material.
The Eomer quilt has even less time put into it, because by then I was working full-time, but my youngest son wanted a quilt like his older brothers’. The most work went into cross-stitching Eomer. The quilting is very minimal.
However, all three quilts have something in common. I quilted each of the boys’ names into their quilt–not in English, but in one of the languages from the books!
How did I figure this out? Lots of reading and geeking out. I’m a foreign language teacher. I love learning about languages and words. So, I went to Appendix E of my very dilapidated copy of The Return of the King and I read. Want to know how to write your own name in Elven without having to wade through the Appendix? Here’s your guide. Sorry, to write in dwarven, check out the two charts in the appendix.
1. Sound your name out
To create your name with the Tengwar, the Fëanorian (elven) lettering, you have to think phonetically, because vowels are written with curves and dots above the consonates. So for Aaron, I sounded it out (long a, r,uh,n) leaving four letters to the name. Since consonates are the ones actually written, I had to find the r sound and the n sound. So go figure out what letters you really need for your name. For Kandi I’d have a k, n, and d. My vowels would be short a and long e. To use the dwarven runes, it’s a little easier, but you still need to know your name phonetically.
2. Find your letters on the chart
Yep, you’ll have to use a chart. The Fëanorian letters aren’t in an alphabet like English, Spanish, French, or other languages that have letters. Instead it’s on a chart and each letter has a number. I’ll try to break the chart down for you as simply as I can. Note: this will be for English speaking people mainly, but there is a trilled ‘r’ like in Spanish. The chart of the Angerthas of dwarven usage is easier to read.
Reading the Fëanorian chart: It’s like a table with rows and columns. If you have a chart with numbers, they help as well.
Tinco: 1, I is equivalent to the English t.
Parma: 1, II is the p.
Calma: 1, III is the k sound whether that’s a c or a k.Quesse: 1, IV is the kw sound made from a qu.
Ando: 2, I is th d.
Umbar: 2, II is the b.
Anga: 2, III is the hard g sound as in grandma.
Ungwe: 2, IV is the gw sound (I can’t think of any word in English that uses it.
Thule: 3, I is th as in the word these.
Formen: 3, II is f.
Harma: 3, III is the sh.
Hwesta: 3, IV is the ch.
Anto: 4, I is the d.
Ampa: 4, II is the v.
Anca: 4, III is the z .
Unque: 4, IV is the gh. It’s more like the first g in garage.
Numen: 5, I is the n.
Malta: 5, II is the m.
Ngoldo: 5, III (I can’t seem to find it in the appendix)
Ngwelme: 5, IV (I can’t seem to find it in the appendix)
Ore: 6, I is the English r sound.
Vala: 6, II is the w.
Anna: 6, III is the consonant y as in yay.
Vilya: 6, IV (I can’t find it in the appendix)
Romen: Extra line 1, I This is the Spanish trilled rr.
Arda: Extra line 1, II is the rd.
Lambe: Extra line 1, III is the l.
Alda: Extra line 1, IV is the ld.
Silme: Extra line 2, I is the s.
Silme Nunquerna: Extra line 2, II is the same as Silme but used to connect more easily to letters.
Esse: Extra line 2, III is the z a variant of Anca.
Esse Nunquerna: Extra line 2, IV is the same as Esse just used to connect with different letters.
Hyarmen: Extra line 3, I is the h.
Hwesta Sindarinwa: Extra line 3, II was used rarely. It’s a hw sound where the w doesn’t have a voice.
Yanta: Extra line 3, III is a variant of Anna
Ure: Extra line 3, IV is a variant of Vala.
Then there’s the vowels! Vowels are added on top of the consonant symbols.
Three dots in a triangle form: The sound of a .
Single dot: The sound of i .
Acute accent (´): The sound of e .
Curl to the right: The sound of u.
Curl to the left” The sound of o.
So my name would be written Calma, Numen, Anto. The Calma would have three dots in a triangle on top of it. and Anto would have an accent on it.
3. Practice writing
That’s really it. Practice making those fun curls and lines or as Tolkien called them lúva and telco. The Angerthas are much more angular and will require a different style of writing. Either way, you may want to find a brush and try writing with that.
Is it any wonder that the man, whose mother taught him to read and write English, Latin, Greek, and German when he was five years old, would love to create languages? (Info from Myth Maker: J. R. R. Tolkien by Anne E. Neimark which I highly recommend it as a read aloud to younger kids or for ages 10+ to read on their own.) I’d love to see your name written out in one of the languages J. R. R. Tolkien created. Have fun and celebrate the birthday of The Lord of the Rings! Here’s some more photos of LoTR memorabilia around our house.