Tolkien : The Book of Mazarbul

The Book of Mazarbul : Tolkien – Lord of the rings

The Book of Mazarbul, found by the Fellowship of the Ring in the Chamber of Mazarbul in Moria, recorded the fortunes of the people of Balin the Dwarf. ‘It had been slashed and stabbed and partly burned, and it was so stained with black and other dark marks like old blood that little of it could be read.’ These facsimile pages were published in The Lord of the Rings Calendar 1977, accompanied by the following note on their interpretation:

I.

This page of the Book of Mazarbul exemplifies the late form of the Angerthas, called ‘the usage of Erebor’. This use would be expected in a kind of diary, written, hastily and without attempt at calligraphy or meticulous consistency of spelling, by Dwarves coming from Dale. Almost all the runes can be interpreted by reference to the section on the Cirth in Appendix E to The Lord of the Rings, where also the modifications of the Angerthas Moria made by the Dwarves of Erebor are briefly described.

The Book of Mazarbul was written in Westron, the Common Speech, which in the pages here reproduced is represented, as throughout The Lord of the Rings, by Modern English. In writing the Common Speech the Dwarves tended to blend its customary spelling with certain phonetic usages: for they did not like to use any letter or rune in more than one value, nor to express a simple sound by combinations of letters. In representation of this, it will be found that the spelling here is not on the basis of one runic sign for each Modern English letter; for example, the word chamberin line 13 is spelt with only five runes, there being a rune for ch and a rune for mb.

In the transcript that follows these features are not indicated. It may be noted that the word the is represented by a short vertical stroke; the word of by the rune for v; and (often) the word is by the rune for Z. There are also single signs for ai, ay; ea; ew; oa; ou, ow. The rune in the top right-hand corner is the numeral 3.

The passage in The Lord of the Rings in which Gandalf reads out these pages will be found in The Fellowship of the Ring, Book II, at the beginning of Ch. 5, ‘The Bridge of Khazad-du^m’. It is possible to make out a little more of the text than Gandalf was able to do in the Cham-ber of Mazarbul.

1 We drove out orns from the great gate and guard

2 (r)oom and took the first hall: we slew many in the br

3 (i)ght sun in the dale: Flo’i was killed by an arr

4 ow. He slew the great chiefta(in) …………. .Flo’i

5 under grass near Mirrormer(e). ………….. came

6 ………………………………….. ken

7 (w?)e repaire(d) …………………………..

8 ……………………………………..

9 We have taken the twentyfirst hall of northen

10 nd to dwell in There is g(ood) air. ……………..

11 ……………………….. that can easily be

12 watched………. the shaft is clear …………..

13 Balin has set up his seat in the chamber of Maz

14 arbul ……………. ga(th)ered ……………

15 gold…………………………………..

16 ………………………………………

17 ……. .wonderful (lay?) Durin’s Axe. …….. .sil

18 ver helm Balin h(a)s ta(k)en them for his own

19 Balin is now lord of Moria:

* * * * * *

20 ………… today we found truesilver ……….

21 …………………….. wellforged hel(m)….

22 n. .coat m(ade7) all of purest mithril. ………….

23 Iin to seek for the upper armouries of the third deep

24 …. go westwards to s………….. to Hollin gate

* * * *II.

Gandalf paused and set a few leaves aside. ‘There are several pages of the same sort, rather hastily written and much damaged,’ he said; ‘but I can make little of them in this light. Now there must be a number of leaves missing, because they begin to be numbered five, the fifth year of the colony, I suppose. Let me see! No, they are too cut and stained; I cannot read them. We might do better in the sunlight. Wait! Here is something: a large bold hand using an Elvish script.’

‘That would be Ori’s hand,’ said Gimli, looking over the wizard’s arm. ‘He could write well and speedily, and often used the Elvish characters.’

‘I fear he had ill tidings to record in a fair hand,’ said Gandalf.

The Fellowship of the Ring, Book II,

Ch. 5, ‘The Bridge of Khazad-du^m’.

This page is written in the later or Westron convention, in its northern variety, in the application of the Elvish signs to the Com-mon Western Speech. The script can be interpreted from the information given in Appendix E to The Lord of the Ring’s; but the following points may be noted. The vowels are expressed not by tehtar but by separate letters, a, e, o, u being represented by the tengwar 24, 35, 23, 22 respectively (see the table in The Lord of the Rings, Appendix E), and i by an i undotted or with an acute stroke above. For y, as in many line 9, a j is used, and forw both tengwar 22 and 25; but the diph-thongs ou, ow (as in sorrow line 3, dou(b)t line 13) and ew (as in slew line 9) are expressed by a curl over the first element, and ay (as in day line 4) by two dots over the a-letter,

e is often indicated (as in alone line 6, Silverlode line 10) by a dot placed under the preceding letter.

A bar over a consonant is used to show that it is preceded by a nasal, as in went line 6; and a double consonant may be expressed by a bar beneath the latter, as in barred line 13. For double l tengwa 28 is used.

The runic figure at the bottom of the page is the numeral 5.

1 r ………… arz (probably for ars, the end of years?)

2 since …………………….. ready

3 sorrow ………………….. (y)ester

4 day being the tenth of november

5 Balin lord of Moria fell

6 in Dimrill Dale: he went alone

7 to look in Mirrormere. an orc

8 shot him from behind a stone. we

9 slew the orc but many more ca……….

10 p from east up the Silverlode ………..

11 we rescued Balin’s b(ody) …………..

12 … .re a sharp battle ……………….

13 we have barred the gates but doubt if

14 …… can hold them long. if there is ….

15 no escape it will be a horrible fate (to)

16 suffer – but I shall hold

III.

The last page of the Book of Mazarbul. The runes employed are the same as those on the first of these facsimiles, though the hand is different and the shapes differ in detail. The last line is in the same Elvish alphabet as that used on the second page.

1 We cannot get out: we cannot get out

2 they have taken the bridge and second h

3 (a)ll. Fra’r &. Lo’ni & Na’li fell the

4 re bravely wh(ile the) rest retr……. …..

5 Ma(zarb)ul. We still ho……………..

6 g: but hope u………. n…… (O’?)ins p

7 arty went 5 days ago but (today) only

8 4 returned: the pool is up to the wall

9 at Westgate: the watcher in the water too

10 k O’in – we cannot get out: the end com

11 es soon we hear drums drums in the deep

They are coming

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