Ithildin

Noldor women, elven men
now silent,
now singing
in the slow, sonorous music of stone
learned from the dwarrow
of the halls of Khazad-dûm?
Wait.

In the moonlight you coax,
you tease
the precious fumes of molten mithril
slowly, so slowly,
out of moonlit, starlit mist
with words of thrumming power.

So much effort for so little!
But the artisans require it
for a project worthy of Fëanor himself.
And over several misty evenings
the small basin fills.

The weather clears.
The forge-fire dies.
When Celebrimbor inspects their basin,
And passes his hand above the harvested ithildin
It causes the contents of the bowl to shine like stars,
reflecting Elbereth’s glory,
glow as if moonlight shimmered on water.
“What word will unlock its power, my lord?”
Asks a smelter-singer, with a respectful bow.

Celebrimbor’s eyes lift to the lambent snows
above the dwarrowdelf, and he smiles.
“Friend. The inlay is for a door to our friends.”

— Wendy S. Delmater

 

Wendy S. Delmater is a writer, poet, and the long-time editor of Hugo-nominated Abyss & Apex Magazine. Recent publication credits include short stories and poetry in *Star Line*, Silver Blade, The Singularity magazine, and Illumen. Her new poetry chapbook  Plant a Garden Around Your Life can be found  on Amazon.

Authors’ Notes: J.R.R. Tolkien drew heavily on Nordic myths in his mythology of elves. So it felt fitting to have a Nordic translation of an origins story for the Doors of Mordor from the happier time when Hollin (Eregion, in elvish) was under the dominion of the high elves who had come from Elvenhome to Middle Earth. The linguistic challenge of writing this poem in a similar style to Tolkien’s verse while staying within the confines of Norwegian, which has very few words, were considerable, but we believe that the results are worth it.

 

 

Margrét Helgadóttir (translated into Norwegian)

Ithildin

Noldorkvinner, alvemenn
stille nå,
synger nå
den langsomme, dype musikken i sten
lært fra dwarrowene
i Khazad-dûms haller?
Vent.

I måneskinnet lokker du,
du egger
de dyrebare partiklene fra smeltet mithril 
sakte, så sakte,
ut av månelys, stjerneklar skodde
med ord av trommende styrke.

Så mye kraft for så lite!
Men håndverkerne krever det
for et prosjekt verdig selveste Fëanor.
Og over flere tåkefulle kvelder
fylles de små bollene.

Været klarner.
Smi-ilden dør.
Når Celebrimbor undersøker deres balje,
Og lar sin hånd gli over den høstede ithildin
Får det innholdet i bollen til å skinne som stjerner,
gjenspeiling av Elbereth’s herlighet,
glødende som månelysets skimmer på vann.
“Hvilket ord vil låse opp dets makt, min herre?”
Spør en smelter sanger med et respektfullt bukk.

Celebrimbors øyne løftes til den hvitstrålende snøen
over Dwarrowdelf og han smiler
«Venn. Innstøpningen er for en dør til våre venner.»

— Margrét Helgadóttir

 

Margrét Helgadóttir is a Norwegian-Icelandic writer and anthology editor (African Monsters, Asian Monsters) living in Oslo. Her stories have appeared in a number of both magazines and print anthologies such as In flight literary magazine, Gone Lawn, Luna Station Quarterly, Tales of Fox and Fae and Girl at the End of the World. Her debut book The Stars Seem So Far Away was published by UK-based Fox Spirit Books in 2015 and was shortlisted for a British Fantasy Award in 2016.  http://margrethelgadottir.wordpress.com/

Editor’s Notes: Ithildin was a substance made by the Elves out of the metal mithril and used by the Gwaith-i-Mírdain in constructions such as gateways. Ithildin could only be seen by the reflected light of the Moon and stars, and even then remained hidden until a “magic” word was said. The designs on the Doors of Durin were made from this substance. In the legendarium, Gandalf translated ithildin as “starmoon”[1].

Tolkien stated that ithildin is a Sindarin name, meaning “moon-star(light)”, “moonlight” or “starlight.” The word contains the elements Ithil (“moon”) + tin/tîn (“spark; star; twinkle of stars”). He noted that the correct Sindarin form should be ithildim [2].

[1] J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, “A Journey in the Dark”

[2] J.R.R. Tolkien, “Words, Phrases and Passages in Various Tongues in The Lord of the Rings”, in Parma Eldalamberon XVII (edited by Christopher Gilson), pp. 39, 66

(Cited from Tolkien Gateway)

The composite image was stimulated by the line, “bowl to shine like stars”: a crystal bowl superimposed with an abstract radiant light source.

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