- Nov 26, 2005Reading through Wayne Hammond and Christina Scull's fabulous new
book _The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion_ I came across the
translation of _Undómiel_ "evening star" (p. 205). I always assumed
that the name meant "daughter of twilight" from _undóme_ "(evening)
twilight" (LR:1111) and _-iel_ "daughter" seen in _Uinéniel_ "daughter
of Uinen" (UT:182), from _yelde, -iel_ "daughter" (Etym. s.v. YEL-, ref.
(_yelde, -iel_ was rejected by Tolkien in the _Etymologies_, but it
seems they were revived with the writing of _Aldarion and Erendis_
and thus could maybe also be seen in _Undómiel_.)
If it really means "evening star" it must come from _undómi-_ as the
stem form of _undóme_; cf. the historical form _*dômi-_ "twilight"
from the root DOMO- (Etym.) and the poetical form _él_ "star"
(Etym. s.v. EL-), but then someone who knows more about Quenya
phonology must answer me if the name would not be *_Undómiél_.
Even if _undómi- + él_ yields _Undómiel_ it seems to me that we have
no way of rejecting the interpretation _undóme + -iel_ or _undómi-
+ -iel_ "daughter of twilight_. I cannot find any place where
Tolkien explicitly states that _Undómiel_ means "evening star"
although he implies it all the time. Maybe "daughter of twilight"
was a poetical term for an evening star, playing on the two possible
interpretations of _Undómiel_, but now I am far out in speculation.
Hammond and Scull write that the name "evening star" was given to
Arwen perhaps because she was the last high born Elf in Middle-earth
during the time of their waning. It seems to me that "daughter of
twilight" would be even more fitting for a daughter born in the
(evening) twilight of her people.
PS. Thanks to Wayne and Christina for a wonderful book with
wonderful new passages from Tolkien's unpublished papers. I love
the passages about the Black Riders' plans and thoughts. It is only
because the book is so great that I am pointing out this minor
[Tolkien states explicitly in _Nomenclature_ that "Evenstar" is the
translation of Q. _Undómiel_; see RC:757, entry _Evenstar_. The
gloss 'evening star' cited by Hammond and Scull in RC:205 is, if
I am not mistaken, simply their own slight rewording of Tolkien's
gloss 'Evenstar', the latter containing _even_, an archaic/poetic
noun of identical meaning to 'evening'.
As for Q. _él_ 'star' vs. _-el_ in _Undómiel_ -- the long vowel in
Quenya monosyllabic nouns was shortened when such nouns
were used as the last element in compounds. Thus Q. _már_
'home, dwelling' (S:356 s.v. _bar_, VT47:6) occurs as _-mar_
in _Eldamar, Valimar_, etc. Similarly, Q. _tár_ 'king' (V:389 s.v.
TÂ-, TA3-) occurs as _-tar_ in _Valatar_ 'Vala-king' (V:350
s.v. BAL-). However, note that the long vowel reappears with
the addition of certain case-endings; e.g., the genitive sing.
of _Valatar_ is _Valatáren_ (ibid.). -- PHW]