#16 in the series, "J.R.R. Tolkien--Smut Peddler!"
"Vagina." Given what we know about that Tolkien fella and his devilish hidden agenda, that was a no-brainer, wasn't it?
OK, so the sheath that Galadriel gives Aragorn is magical. (Aren't they all?) "The sword that is drawn from this sheath shall not be broken or stained even in de- feat," she says. We should hope not--ouch! But precisely whose "sheath" is the Elf-queen offering? Not her own, certainly. A clue to the identity of this Mysterious Lady lies in the other gift Aragorn receives. For the future king of Gondor is the only member of the Fellowship to receive more than one gift, and his rank isn't the reason. But enough of these sexual speculations--let's have some real fun and talk Elvish.
In Quenya, Galadriel's native language, there is a complex of words associating youth, femininity, sexuality, and the color green. Here they are, quoted from the "Etymologies," an essay on Elvish word-origins published in volume 5 of "The History of Middle-earth," The Lost Road:
To get technical for a moment: all of these words begin with a letter of the Elvish alphabet (vilya, tengwa #24) that was originally pronounced "w" but which in the Third Age was pronounced "v" at the beginning of words. It was still a "w" after a consonant: note the Elvish spelling of the word "Arwen." The typeface used here is "Tengwar Annatar" designed by Johan Winge, and is in my view the most elegant and legible of Elvish typefonts. It is one of many such; Elvish typography is sufficiently sophisticated that there is a standard keyboard layout, and there is a proposal before the International Standards Organization to make Tengwar a Unicode character set. I have supplied the translation "virgin" for vene as it is implied in the source. By "blended with" Tolkien meant that the words ven and vende derived from different forms in proto-Elvish (reconstructed roots *GWEN and *WEN) but are felt to be related words by "modern" speakers--one of whom, we may assume, is Galadriel.
|Miss April from the Tolkien Desk Calendar, 1980|
|Pinky by the Brothers Hildebrandt|
Once again we see that a close reading of Tolkien's work--including obscure texts typically assumed (by, say, The New York Times Book Review) to be of interest only to geeks--reveals that the tweedy Sweet Old Dear of back-cover photographs is more than he seems. You don't have to play it backwards, and it won't screw up your turntable, yet "playing" the text of the Lord of the Rings the right way reveals messages far more interesting (and useful) than "I bury Paul." And if vaginas and virgins aren't sweaty enough for you, there's still what Galadriel does to that poor hobbit. . . .
to be continued