The Proverbs of Middle Earth

Entering Ithilien, the Hobbits are for the first time in Gondor (albeit in land occupied by the Enemy). The great Kingdom of the Dunedain of the South has been liberally referred to throughout the Quest, yet until now it has had only Boromir to represent it. It would have been reasonable to presume him as an archetype for his people, yet with the entrance of his brother Faramir, a wiser, more thoughtful head on younger shoulders, that thought must be discarded.

Wise man trusts not to chance-meeting on the road in this land.

We meet no one else, with the obvious exception of Gandalf, for whom proverbs are so natural a part of speech. Very often they are unquoted, utilised but not emphasised, and thereby often unnoticed.

War must be,
while we defend our lives against a destroyer who would devour all;
but I do not love the bright sword for its sharpness,
nor the arrow for its swiftness, nor the warrior for his glory.
I love only that which they defend.

We are truth-speakers, we men of Gondor.
We boast seldom, and then perform, or die in the attempt.

Moreover, we receive from Faramir one of the few explicit references to the means by which learning and knowledge has been passed down amongst men of one era to another, and to him in particular:

'Much is still preserved of ancient lore among the Rulers of the city that is not spread abroad... We in the house of Denethor know much ancient lore by long tradition, and there are moreover in our treasures many things preserved: 'Books and tablets writ on withered parchments, yea, and on stone, and on leaves of silver and of gold, in divers characters.'

©& ® David Rowe 2010

1 comment:

Emmy said...

Very true; I don't think I have ever heard those quotes before I'll have to start reading Lord of the Rings again :)