Friday, February 11, 2011

Friday Diversion

Okay, just for fun, take a look at the following list and see if you can tell me what all of these things have in common. Be as specific as you can. (If you know immediately, as perhaps one or two of you will, don’t spoil the game right away; give others a chance to guess.)
Bindbole Wood
Girdley Island
Overbourn Marshes
Rushock Bog
Thistle Brook
On your mark, get set, go! :)


  1. They're all places in the Shire!

  2. That’s true; they are! But they all have something even more specific in common. Do you know what it is?

  3. They are all mentioned on the map of the eastern part of the Shire found in the beginning of LotR. (Although some are located off the map.)

  4. StefanE, you’re getting there: these are, in fact, all places shown on the map of “A Part of the Shire”, though it’s not just the eastern part; Needlehole and Nobottle are way off in the West Farthing, for example. But there is something specific about these places in the Shire. They are on the map, yet, but what else? :)

  5. It's tricky, first thought was that they are all related to plants, but there are the odd two that aren't. Second thought was that they are all compound words using two common, very English words that were put together to make interesting place names, but then there is Rushy. The one thing they all have in common in the book is that none of the main characters actually visit them. Which is the only consistent similarity I can see.

  6. I've actually got it now (I think)! The similarity between all these places, is that the only time they appear in The Lord of the Rings is on the map at the beginning! They are not mentioned in the narrative at all, ever, as far as I can tell. From memory, I can't recall them being mentioned, and from a quick skim through the book, they don't stand out as being there in any of the places I would have thought them to be if they were in there. If this isn't it, I'm stumped!

  7. One of the thoughts you had was very close to what I had in mind here. Nearly the “right” answer, though not expressed in quite the way I intended. Stock and Budgeford are not on the list above, even though none of the main characters visit them. Why? And Rushy is an especially tricky name is this list. Why?

    Ah, even while I was typing this comment, you made your second. And now, you’ve got it! That is the answer! These are names that appear only on the map, never in the text of The Lord of the Rings. They are, in essence hapax legomena, their only appearance at all anywhere occurring on the map.

    Rushy, as I said, is a special case. The name Rushey does appear in the text, but Rushy (so spelled) does not. Is one an error? And if so, which one? (Wayne Hammond and Christina Scull think that Rushey is correct, and the map is in error. I agree. Of course, the map hasn’t been corrected. Would it be right to alter it?)

  8. I don't think we should alter Tolkien's map, any of his maps. If anyone needs to make that decision, it is Christopher Tolkien, though I think that in this case it really doesn't matter. No one reading the story gets confused about Rushy and Rushey, although I must admit, in my skim, I didn't spot it. Which chapter is it in? I do recall it in my mind, but I can't quite locate it.

  9. It’s in the fifth paragraph of “A Conspiracy Unmasked”, in The Fellowship of the Ring. It’s p. 109 in both my first and second edition hardcovers, p. 98 in the 50th anniversary edition. And you’re right about its being Christopher’s decision, because he drew the map!

  10. As I went to compare the text from "A Conspriracy Unmasked" to the map, I noticed my edition there is no difference! Rushey is spelt "ey" on the map in my edition. So Christopher must have already changed it at some point. The edition I have is the "Seven-volume edition 1999". ISBN 0 261 10393 8. It is the second edition, but it has been slightly revised, supervised by Christopher Tolkien and Wayne G. Hammond (got that from the "note on the text" section). Surely your 50th anniversary edition has the revised map? I never even checked how "Rushey" was spelt on my map until now, is it seriously spelt "Rushy" on all three of yours? It kind of nulls the previous converstation a little, how disappointing!

  11. ChT acknowledged (RS:304) that 'Rushy' was a mistake he made when copying his father's Shire map. 'Rushey' was the right form, since the second element is -ey 'island'. So maybe correcting it wouldn't be tampering with Tolkien's intentions. After all, he was "virtually certain that my father allowed me some latitude of invention in that region of the Shire; and altogether certain that I proposed the name Nobottle and some (at least) of the others (Needlehole, Rushock Bog, Scary)" (RC:lvi - the rest of the text is very interesting too).

    'Waymoot' is in a similar situation as 'Rushy': the form 'Waymeet' is also mentioned several times in "The Scouring of the Shire".

    'Deephallow' appears in ATB (footnote 3 to the Prologue), but I assume you're talking about hapax in the LoTR. You can also see 'Rushey' there, as well as other 1-time names (e.g. 'Withy-weir'). After all, ATB is part of the Red Book!

    The large map of the Western Lands offers at least two other hapax legomena that I'm aware of: 'Sutherland' (that is, Harad) and 'Trollshaws'.

    Actually, I didn't get it until I read the comments :P

  12. Lilly, the 50th anniversary edition does indeed have Rushy on the map! It’s very interesting to learn that the Millennium Edition — isn’t that what they call the seven-volume 1999 set? I used to have one, but sold it an age ago — has corrected this on the map.

    Hlaford, thanks so much for the reminder about Christopher Tolkien’s comments; they had slipped my mind completely. Just goes to show that no one can remember everything. This is exactly why we need a great big fellowship of friends and fans. I’m going to have to go read that section again. By the way, with the –ey element meaning “island”, is Girdley Island redundant? ;) (Of course, I’m really just kidding around. It could just as easily be gird-ley as girdl-ey.)

    As to your point about ATB, yes, I was thinking just of LotR, but this reminder is also most welcome. Some of that is tricky stuff; most of the material in ATB actually predated and was independent of Middle-earth, until drawn into it and adapted ex post facto.

    Personally, I love seeing hapaxes on maps. They always make me think, what other adventures might have happened here, or here, or there? :)

  13. The text of the Millennium edition of 1999 follows the slight revision made in 1994 by Christopher Tolkien with the assistance of Douglas A. Anderson; our work on The Lord of the Rings was for the 50th anniversary edition of 2004-5. The 1994 edition also featured new maps, redrawn by Stephen Raw, which were carried over into the 1999 edition; in redrawing the Shire map, Raw correctly spelled 'Rushey'. When it came to the anniversary edition, we felt that the Raw maps, while perhaps more legible in reduction and when printed on cheap paper, lacked the charm of Christopher's earlier versions, which also had more of the quality of 'artifacts' preferred by JRRT. So we restored those, even with 'Rushy', and commented on Rushy/Rushey in The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion. Rushey is also spelled thus by Tolkien in the Nomenclature.

  14. Hi, Wayne and Christina. I referred to your comments in The Lord of the Rings: A Reader’s Companion in one of my comments above. I had forgotten that Tolkien himself explains Rushey in the “Nomenclature”; thanks for the reminder. Thanks for explaining about the maps in the different editions as well. For my part, I agree with your decision to use the maps drawn by Christopher. I much prefer those. I’ve always found it interesting when I’ve seen Christopher’s maps in foreign language editions of Tolkien, where the names are translated and carefully rendered on top of the original maps, often in a passable imitation of Christopher’s handwriting.

  15. Wow, I am completely convinced that the 50th Anniversary edition is wonderful, and that I want to get it! Which do you think is better? The 3 in 1 Hardback edition or the seperate FotR, TT, and RotK? I personally like the idea of the seperate books as it makes holding them easier (I find it gets a bit heavy with a huge volume). What do you think?

  16. “Go not to the Elves for counsel, for they will say both no and yes.” I have both! :)

  17. Is there anything missing from the separate ones, that is included in the one-volume or do they both have the exact same content? The separate ones are advertised as having the Marzubal pages, and the colour, fold-out maps, but there was no mention of the extra family trees, are these included in the separate volumes do you know?

  18. I can’t recall off the top of my head. Maybe Wayne Hammond will circle back and answer; nobody would know better than he, and Wayne probably would recall of the top of his head. I’m not a collector of editions by any stretch; I only have three sets (four, if you count the Italian translation). I used to have more, but they didn’t serve any specific purpose and took up too much space, so I’ve cleared a lot out over the years.

  19. Thanks anyway! I went ahead and ordered the separate ones, they look really nice and I'm sure they do have everything included! I love the look of the original artwork dust jackets, and I know I will read them more than I would a heavy one-volume:).

  20. Among currently available hardback printings, we like the three-volume edition from HarperCollins UK. These volumes have the latest text, the restored maps in black and red, the runes in ch. 1 and the Ring inscription in ch. 2 in red, the Mazarbul pages, our expanded index, nice paper, and dust-jackets with Tolkien's own designs. The only flaw in this edition is that the Ring inscription in ch. 2 wasn't corrected – at least, it wasn't in the first printing – HarperCollins having mistakenly used a rejected version in the anniversary edition (see Reader's Companion, p. 83). The volumes were originally published also in a slipcased set with the Reader's Companion, but are now available only separately.

    The current one-volume HarperCollins trade hardback has most of the features of the three volumes, but (unless it has been put in after the printing we have) lacks the new index and is on a thin paper with a waviness we find unattractive. Its dust-jacket is nicely stamped with the Rings/Eye/fiery letters motif. In the U.S., there is no current three-volume hardback. The current one-volume trade hardback from Houghton Mifflin has the latest text and index, but the larger maps have reverted to the Stephen Raw versions.

    All of these editions have the extra family trees.

  21. Lillyput90, we didn't see your latest until we had posted. You made a good choice! When you receive it, if the Fellowship is a later printing (i.e. later than the first), could you please check to see if the Ring inscription in ch. 2 is still the rejected version? The rejected lettering is somewhat spindly compared with the familiar inscription printed in most copies.

  22. Hi Wayne and Christina,

    Will do! Thanks for all your advice on the topic:). The ones I have ordered are HarperCollins October 2005, I like the look of the dust jackets too:). I will definitely post on here and let you know about the ring lettering when they arrive, probably in 2-3 weeks. Thanks!

  23. OT for this post, Jason, but the mention of various language editions made me think of it.

    As you may know, there are two Hebrew translations of the L.R. Mark Shoulson, the (among many other things) noted Klingonist, has translated into English a defense of the second translation (.doc format), by Yuval Kafir [vowels somewhat uncertain], the co-editor of the second translation. The apologia explains the faults of the first translation (which has become the traditional translation, many people favoring it despite its errors) and details the improvements of the second.