«Deciphering Runes in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Michelle Nevins This essay is an introduction to the many runes used in The Hobbit: An ...»
The next runes we see are when Elrond reveals moon runes, known as Cirth Ithil (Ithil is Sindarin for moon). These special runes were an invention of the dwarves and written in silver pens and can only been seen when the moon‟s rays illuminate them from behind. Elrond says that “with the more cunning it must be a moon of the same shape and season as the day when they were written” –The Annotated Hobbit, Chapter 3 “A Short Rest”. Thorin and Company were fortunate in that their visit to Rivendell coincided with the midsummer‟s eve during a crescent moon (if the moon had been any other shape, we would have to wait several years for the Desolation of Smaug and There and Back Again!) Now in order to decipher these runes, we have to return to Professor Tolkien‟s original map slightly altered for the movie. Now remember, these runes are Anglo-Saxon Futhark, not Angerthas, and the phonetic sounds are our familiar English tongue. You can try to translate them yourself but you may have to wait until midsummer with a crescent moon to read them.
The translation reads: “Stand by the grey st one hwen the thrush k nocks and the setting s un with the last light of Durins Day will sh ine upon the keyhole th.”. Hwen reflects an Anglo-Saxon usage. The Annotated Hobbit, Chapter 3, “A Short Rest”.
There is still more evidence for runes in the jewelry that Thorin wears. Two rings can be seen throughout the Journey and the first ring is easily translated based on Professor Tolkien‟s Futhark runes.
The monogram of (Th) and (O) reveal the initials of Thorin Oakenshield. The second ring is simple to translate. Close up photographs of Thorin‟s ring have a certh cast into the raised bezel. (Note: The ring in the photo is upside down.) The symbols flanking the R (“R” if it is an Angerthas certh or “T” if it is Futhark) do not appear to be a certh or rune, but simply a decorative element.
Finally, our Journey takes us to the Halls of Erebor and the slumbering Smaug. As the scene pans over the vast hoards of gold and jewels, there can be seen on the many pillared columns and the landing of the stairs runes inlaid in gold. Some runes are illegible, but using Futhark, words like =\.gdal]d. (?) \ “The Founda hammer(?)” and also “Erebor” can be deciphered.
It is hoped that the Hall of Erebor might reveal in the future evidence of the Angerthas Erebor, the High Classic language of the Dwarves. Recall that the Dwarves of Erebor slightly modified Angerthas Moria and created a few new cirth of their own. The only evidence of Agerthas Erebor we see is on the defiled head to Thror. Time will reveal this hope, but we will have to get past Smaug first!
The following works of Professor J.R.R.Tolkien:
The Annotated Hobbit. Annotated by Douglas A. Anderson. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2002.
The Lord of the Rings. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1994.
The Silmarillion. Edited by Christopher Tolkien. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2001 The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey - Chronicles Art and Design. Daniel Falconer. New York: Harper Design, 2012.
The Complete Tolkien Companion. J.E.A. Tyler. New York: Thomas Dunne Books, 1976.
Additional literary research: elendilion.pl, lotr.wikia.com, midgardsmal.com, theonering.net, thorinoakenshield.net, tolkiengateway.net Additional research (and many thanks): Dark Jackal at thorinoakenshield.net Illustrations and photos: empireonline.com, filmoria.com, gallery.metro.com, screenrant.com, theonering.net, thorinoakenshield.net, tumblr.com, wetanz.com Illustrations of rune tables: A. Daeron and A. Moria-theonering.net A.Erebor-quenya-mvt.blogspot.com Sword translations: Javier Lorenzo and Ryszar Derzinski at elvish.org Orcrist scabbard translations: wetanz.com Grasper and Keeper translation: David Salo at midgardsmal.com Erebor translation (again, many thanks): Dark Jackal at thorinoakenshield.net Thror‟s map: The Annotated Hobbit. See above Angerthas cirth translations: elendilion.pl David Salo quote: screenslam.com Graham McTavish quotes: empireonline.com, thefirstreel.com Sir Peter Jackson quote: thefirstreel.com Graphic assistance: Kelly Ramage