about dwarves and spiders in the Hobbit ...
- There are quite mysterious data which deserve one moment of reflexion
about dwarves and spiders you've all found in the Hobbit ...
In History of the Hobbit, Mr John Rateliff is talking a lot about
but ... and this is a known fact that everybody read the Hobbit and
accept naturally that dwarves are at a moment in Mirkwood emprisonned by
spiders and webs ...
Nobody (for the moment ! ) has already found or talk with this weird
thing I personnaly found :
One of the french Professors that help me a lot on my researchs (which
are dealing with dwarves and their possible multiple connections with
their nordic ancestors) Pr. Claude Lecouteux (Professor in Sorbonne, in
Germanic médieval studies) said in his book "Les Nains et les Elfes
au Moyen Age" ("Dwarfs and Elfs in the Middle Age") :
My poor French/english translation :
[...]In Swedish, the spider says Loki (locke/lock), and its fabric "net
of Loki" (will locksnät/lockasnara) as "net of the dwarf"
(dvergsnät). This association dwarf/spider is certainly very
antiquated because it is not insulated: into Breton, 'korr' has the
meaning of both spider and dwarf.
It is a fantastic opening on the world of the myths and the beliefs to
see that a charm as old English is based on same equivalence. In this
charm entitled Against a Dwarf (Wið dveorg), the dwarf is understood
like an evil thing not identified - perhaps even a sort of convulsions -
and it arrives "in the shape of a spider"". This enables us to see that
a compound like Swedish dvergsnät does not owe anything randomly, it
is based on an old representation. As for the bond woven between Loki,
the dwarves and the spiders, it can be simple: if Loki were understood
like a dwarf, it is so to speak normal that the fabric bears its name
since it points out very exactly the fishing net.[...]
In addition to what Pr. Lecouteux speak about above :
In Reginsmál, Loki fishes, with a net he himself created, Andvari the
Dwarf tranformed into a pike (the fish).
This net being that present in the history of Andvari the dwarf a source
used by Tolkien in Scandinavian mythology, it and history of contiguous
Sigurd and Fafnir that Tolkien knew certainly with acuracy !
In Fjölsvinsmál (Str. 34), Loki appears in a list (Thula) of 11
names of dwarves (Icluding one Dóri, and one Óri ...)
But you also find some other interresting thing about this fact in one
other book written by Pr. Tolkien :
[...] His gleaming coat
was made of rings of steel no shaft
could pierce, a web of dwarvish craft ...
Lays of Beleriand.
Why suddenly associate a Web with Dwarves like that ?
Even let us add to that the idea as this coat of mail carried by Beren
could be possibly a precursor of the famous coat of mail carried by
Bilbo and Frodo then. Since at that time Mithril did not exist .
To follow my precedent idea :
or enlarged :
dvergsnat/ 'dwarve's net', cobweb.
(found here http://www.northvegr.org/intro/glossary.php )
[n] For in Anglo-Saxon áttorcoppe (Poison-head?) is spider, and from
áttorcoppe-web, by the usual aphoeresis of the two first syllables we
put coppeweb, cobweb. May not the same have been the case with lob? and
may not the nasty bug be in a similar manner connected with Puck? As
dvergsnat is in Swedish a cobweb, one might be tempted to suppose that
this last, for which no good etymon has been offered, was lob-web; but
the true etymon is cop-web, from its usual site.
( found here : http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/celt/tfm/tfm124.htm )
attercop, cobweb, dwarves ... interresting or not ??!
Stéphane Grignon from France
Alias -Anglin, to serve you-
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- On Jun 25, 2007, at 6:26 AM, Anglin Turcam wrote:
> But you also find some other interresting thing about this fact in oneTolkien here is using "web" in its original sense of 'woven
> other book written by Pr. Tolkien :
> [...] His gleaming coat
> was made of rings of steel no shaft
> could pierce, a web of dwarvish craft ...
> Lays of Beleriand.
fabric' (it is cognate with "weave"). It is often encountered in this
sense in Middle English. He is not associating the coat with spider-
>>---"Carl F. Hostetter" <Aelfwine@...> wrote:(it is cognate with "weave"). It is often encountered in this sense in
>>Tolkien here is using "web" in its original sense of 'woven fabric'
And Tolkien also uses "web" elsewhere in the same way, as in the
chapter, "Minas Tirith", in _LotR_:
"No hangings nor storied webs, nor any things of woven stuff or of
wood, were to be seen in that long solemn hall; but between the
pillars there stood a silent company of tall images graven in cold
>Though if I recall correctly spider web comes from this meaning: it is after all a spider's weaving, a kind of fabric.
> On Jun 25, 2007, at 6:26 AM, Anglin Turcam wrote:
> > But you also find some other interresting thing about this fact in one
> > other book written by Pr. Tolkien :
> > [...] His gleaming coat
> > was made of rings of steel no shaft
> > could pierce, a web of dwarvish craft ...
> > Lays of Beleriand.
> > [p.166-167]
> Tolkien here is using "web" in its original sense of 'woven
> fabric' (it is cognate with "weave"). It is often encountered in this
> sense in Middle English. He is not associating the coat with spider-
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- This reminds me of Barfield's "Poetic Diction". Tolkien uses the words
"web" and "lob", well aware of their meanings both then and now; and the
differences between their meanings then and now. It's just one example of
how Tolkien re-enriches our own meaning-fund with all that the words used to
signify. I like the connection between 'dwarf' and 'spider' that is evident
in Northern lore. I expect Tolkien knew of it, and perhaps meant to play
the linguistic joke by having the one try to eat the other.
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