Grammarian of Gondor

As a grammarian she could doubtless see further into the future than others

My mother was a westerne woman, And learned in gramarye.

— “King Estmere”, English and Scottish Popular Ballads,
compiled by Francis James Child

In Númenor of old, Men spoke a language derived from the tongues of the Houses of Bëor and Hador, two of the three tribes of the Fathers of Men from the ancient days of the First Age. Enriched by their contact with the Elves, this Adûnaic tongue was the everyday speech of most of the Men of Númenor, but the tongue of the Grey Elves, Sindarin, was known to the learned, to those of high blood, and to those families descended from the House of Bëor. The wisest and most learned also studied Quenya, the ancient tongue of the Eldar, and the kings of Númenor at first took Quenya regnal names, for they remembered well their friendship with the Eldar, and indeed their first king was Elros son of Eärendil. But in later days, the kings of Númenor succumbed to pride and envy of the gifts they perceived had been bestowed upon the Elves. Use of the Elvish tongues was banned, and the kings began to take Adûnaic regnal names. The Faithful of Númenor, who remained steadfast in their friendship to the Elves, continued to use Sindarin in secret, and this was the situation when Númenor was destroyed and its survivors came to the shores of Middle-earth. Númenórean sailors had previously colonised the shores of Middle-earth before the destruction of their island-realm, and Adûnaic had spread to the indigenous peoples they encountered there and who eventually came to live amongst them. This contact gave rise to a creole, Adûni or Westron. The Westron language came to be recognised throughout northwestern Middle-earth and was used as a common tongue of trade and diplomacy. The arriving survivors of Númenor, who were Elf-friends, brought with them the Sindarin tongue, which again became a prestige language in Gondor. By the Third Age, the cradle tongue of the Men of Gondor was Westron, but it was not formally taught and was acquired casually for daily use by the unlettered. But names for places and persons were made in Sindarin, and the learned and those of high and noble blood also knew and spoke Sindarin.

The glamour cast by ancient words

This woman of Gondor is a grammarian, a lore-master gained in the glamor of the ancient tongues. In a school of Minas Tirith she instructs children in the learning of the noble Sindarin language, according to the forms and structure of the ancient days. Though not unkind, she is a master who expects discipline from her pupils, and the children hold her slightly in awe, both for her austere habit in the black and silver of the realm and for her mastery of gramarye, which, the children whisper, allows her to see the unseen and into the hearts of Men (and boys and girls!).

A fine study

This outfit is another retroactive “hers” outfit (of the His-and-Hers theme), made to offer a different take on the Savant of Gondor outfit. I love the strong graphic look of black and white Gondor-themed outfits, and some of the newer Isengard pieces, with their black and white colour schemes gave me a great opportunity to revisit this.

The theme of today’s outfit comes from a really interesting passage from Tolkien’s novella Farmer Giles of Ham, which describes the character of the Parson as a grammarian, who therefore “could doubtless see further into the future than others”. This is Tolkien having a little philological fun. The modern English word “grammar” meaning among other things “the system and structure of language” comes from Middle English gramarye, descended via French and Latin from Greek grammatike, “letters”. As gramarye, it had the sense of “learning, especially Latin or philological, grammar, (magic) incantation, spells”. Grimoire, “a book of (magic) instructions or formulas”, is also derived from gramarye, in the sense of “a book describing the grammar of a language”. A grammarian with his grimoire therefore was not only a linguist but a magician. It’s easy to see how the unlettered, for whom literacy would seem as magic, might come to this folk definition, which eventually further evolved into Scottish glamour, as in “to cast a glamour”, whence modern English “glamour”, originally meaning “beguilement, enchantment, magic”. (Tolkien probably did not care much for the further modern narrowing of the sense to “alluring feminine beauty”).

Consulting the gramarye

  • Head: The Song-protector’s Hat (bartered — Ox-clan merchant camp Minstrel trader/Minstrel instance armour), washed
  • Shoulders: Shoulder Pads of Thelin (bartered — Ox-clan merchant camp Minstrel trader/Minstrel raid armour), default
  • Back: Veteran Guardsman’s Cape (bartered — skirmish camp jewellery and cloaks quartermaster/level 53), black
  • Chest: Robe of Viisaus (quest reward — epic [5o] Volume 1, Book 13, Chapter 4: The Hand of Angmar; or purchased — LOTRO Store), black
  • Hands: Lesser Memory of the West Gloves (bartered — Harndirion novices quartermaster/tier 1 difficulty Lore-master armour), black
  • Feet: Gardening Boots (bartered — Farmer’s Faire festival announcer/cosmetics), black

Tips: The hats from the other two Minstrel Rise of Isengard sets as well as the Lore-master’s and Rune-keeper’s Rise of Isengard sets (all available at the Ox-clan merchant camp) share the same appearance as the hat in this outfit. This outfit also looks very nice if you replace the shoulders with Noriel’s Folly (quest reward — Great River [70] The Orcs Attack) dyed black, or with the Campaign Pauldrons of the Mark (crafted — tailor T8/Men of the Sutcrofts reputation) also dyed black. Unfortunately the latter look a bit bulky on Women. This outfit’s cloak shares its appearance with the Warden’s Wrap (purchased — Tinnudir Wardens of Annúminas reputation vendor) and Tarchol (looted — Dark Delvings/Void-eater). The gloves from the Rune-keeper sets available at the Harndirion novices quartermaster share the same appearance as the gloves in this outfit.

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8 Responses to Grammarian of Gondor

  1. cennwyn says:

    So grammar, glamour, and grimoire are all connected? …this explains why, when I was young, I considered grammar to be the darkest of all arts… 😉

    I really like this twist on the Savant of Gondor (which is one of my favorite outfits).

    • Thanks Cennwyn! It was nice to revisit the savant outfit, that’s been one of my favourite outfits as well. I now happily wear the grammarian outfit on my lore-master from Gondor and it feels really appropriate.

      Here’s to continuing to delve into the dark arts of grammar(ye)! 😀

  2. shipwreck says:

    Great piece! As usual, I enjoy your lore just a _tad_ more than the outfit itself 😉

    The explanation of grammarye is helpful; it tripped me up that White often referred to Britain as Grammarye in TOAFK. I understood it was to do with magic. I suppose it was his way of referring to the long gone ‘magical’ Britain.

    • You know, I’ve never read TOAFK (shaaaaaaame!) and it’s been on my “to-read” list for a while. I’ve been reading some other Arthurian-inspired stuff lately and debating taking a course this autumm that looks at Tolkien’s Arthurian sources (so much to learn, so little time), so the time is right to finally cross TOAFK off the list. Really interesting to hear that he refers to Britain as the Land of Gramarye, I’m looking forward to checking it out.

      Thanks for your kind comment as always Shipwreck! By the way, not sure if you noticed but I finally got around to implementing your great suggestion about doing a piece on how I manage all my cosmetics and storage space and so on. 🙂

      • shipwreck says:

        Oooh! I shall check out that tip immediately! After the demise of Google Reader, The Old Reader decided to implode so I’m sadly behind on my RSS. Pretty much all of my favorite blogs, however, are on WordPress so I reckon I’ll just use their reader.

        Honestly, you’re not missing a whole lot with TOAFK. It has some really beautiful moments, but some really annoying ones, too. shameless blog plug

        • I know what you mean, I used to love Google Reader. I’ve been using Bloglines, it’s not awesome but it does the trick.

          Thanks for the link to your TOAFK piece, I look forward to a good read when I have a moment at work (an authorized moment of reasonable and responsible duration of course!).

  3. Raebidus says:

    Funny thing… I saw nice shoulders a few months ago, and searching for then I came upon this site. When I saw this outfit I was stunned! This is the exact outfit I am wearing, Just not the hat, and different fingerless gloves. I couldn’t get the shoulders as I am not a mini, but luckillt I could buy them al Lalia’s. Had to buy the complete Grammarian outfit, but I just HAD to have the shoulderpiece. So now I am complete,
    And so funny I never saw this site, but even so gathered the exact same outfit together over the years.

    • Hi Raebidus, thanks very much for your comment and welcome to the blog! I was really happy with the Grammarian outfit and I’m glad you were able to pick up the shoulders at Lalia’s. Enjoy! 🙂

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