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INKLINGS FOREVER, Volume VIII A Collection of Essays Presented at the Joint Meeting of



Gandalf and Merlin, Aragorn and Arthur: Tolkien’s Transmogrification of the Arthurian Tradition and Its Use as a Palimpsest for The Lord of the Rings

Mark R. Hall Oral Roberts University

Hall, Mark R. “Gandalf and Merlin, Aragorn and Arthur: Tolkien’s Transmogrification of the Arthurian Tradition and Its Use as a Palimpsest for The Lord of the Rings.” Inklings Forever 8 (2012)


Gandalf and Merlin, Aragorn and Arthur: Tolkien’s Transmogrification of the Arthurian Tradition and Its Use as a Palimpsest for The Lord of the Rings

Mark R. Hall Oral Roberts University

Certainly J. R. R. Tolkien was very context). Only at the point of this contact much aware of the Arthurian tradition that between texts does a light flash, illuminating existed during the medieval period and both the posterior and anterior, joining a even earlier, especially as depicted by given text to a dialogue” (66). Thus, a text in Le Morte d’Arthur and cannot stand alone. Since the author of the La amon's Brut. The affinities of the text is also a reader of texts, he or she brings characters of Aragorn and Gandalf with to the created work numerous influences, and Arthurȝ and Merlin are too obvious not to the reader as well brings to any text being notice, yet transformed in such a way by read all of the other texts he or she has read Tolkien that they are infused with new before this one (Worton and Still, meaning and purpose. It is this trans- Introduction 1-2). mogrification that connects Tolkien’s work However, Tolkien’s story differs from with the past and provides the palimpsest for some of the conventional notions of the world he creates in his adventure intertextuality and seeks to transcend, depicted in The Lord of the Rings. An transform, and transmogrify the texts of King examination of the specific details of this in such a way as to release process enlightens and invigorates the new meaning and re-envision his ideas for reader, and enlivens and exfoliates the text. subcreating the world of Middle Earth and By examining The Lord of the Rings in staging the ultimate conflict between the light of the Arthurian tradition that Tolkien forces of Power—good versus evil. The was immersed in, it becomes apparent essence of the tale may be ancient, but the how “texts produced by . . . precursors . . . retelling is indeed new—one that is often become palimpsests as they are applicable for past, present, and future appropriated by successive generations of generations. In fact, during the Victorian era, authors” (Harrison 1). This appropriation of Thomas Carlyle (1830) demanded that close texts of one author by another, often called attention be given to the past—to history. In intertextuality, occurs for various reasons: to his essay “On History” (1830), he says that express admiration, to appeal to the writer as meaning in the present and the future can be an authority figure, to engage the author in a known only as the past is studied. He writes, debate of ideas, or to confront and even “For though the whole meaning lies far oppose the basic contentions of the earlier beyond our ken; yet in that complex author (Harrison 1). Regarding inter- Manuscript covered over with formless textuality, Mikhail Bakhtin (1974) believes inextricably-entangled unknown characters, that a text can be understood only as the — nay which is a Palimpsest, and had once individual compares it with different texts; in prophetic writing, still dimly legible there,-- other words, “the text lives only by coming some letters, some words, may be de- into contact with another text (with ciphered” (56, author’s emphasis). Certainly

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• the Arthurian tradition is legible as an urtext Malory’s Morte d’Arthur,” especially the in Tolkien’s magnum opus The Lord of the legend of the and the of the Rings—one that can definitely be uncovered. (Grotta 65). Later, as a student Claus Uhlig concurs with Carlyle and at King Edward’s, along with his brother maintains that in the intertext, which he Hilary, he “turned back to Middle English and likens to the palimpsest, “historically discovered Sir and the Green conditioned tensions come to the fore: ” (Carpenter 35). According to tensions not only between calendar time and , this “was another intraliterary time but also between the poem to fire his imagination: the medieval author’s intention and the relative autonomy tale of an Arthurian knight and his search for of a text, or between the old and the new in the mysterious who is to deal him a general (502). The presence of the past terrible axe-blow. Tolkien was delighted by coexists with the text; thus, “any text will the the poem and also by its language, for he more inevitably take on the characteristics of realised that its dialect was approximately a palimpsest the more openly it allows the that which had been spoken by his mother’s voices of the dead to speak, thus—-in a West Midland ancestors” (35). In 1925 literary transcription of our cultural Tolkien and E.V. Gordon published the text heritage—-bringing about a consciousness of of Sir Gawain and the that the presentness of the past” (Uhlig became a standard in the field, and in 1967 502). Uhlig thus concludes that the goal of Tolkien translated this particular edition of the critic is to determine “to what extent the the poem into new English (Grotta 66). present is indeed based upon the past During the 1930s, Tolkien began to (palingenesis), nay up to a point even write a non-rhyming alliterative poem determined by it (ananke)—-a dependence entitled “,” which which is most clearly reflected in the Humphrey Carpenter describes as “Tolkien’s multilayered structure of works only imaginative incursion into the Arthurian or texts saturated with history (palimpsest)” cycle, whose legends had pleased him since (503). Deciphering the present moment of childhood” (168). In this work, “he did not the text as it relates to many past moments touch on the Grail but began an individual reveals the intertextual meaning the text rendering of the Morte d’Arthur, in which the seeks to convey and the critic to king and Gawain go to war in ‘Saxon uncover.1 Thus, for the present study, the lands’ but are summoned home by news of ancient personages of Arthur and Merlin and ’s treachery” (168). Although their literary, cultural, and religious Tolkien intended to finish the work as late as background provide the palimpsest for much June 1955 (Letters 218-219), it exists only as of the material that frames the characters of a fragment. His fellow scholars, E. V. Gordon Aragorn and Gandalf in Tolkien’s The Lord of and R. W. Chambers, read the poem and the Rings. praised it (Carpenter 168). His connection of As a child, Tolkien learned to love Arthur and Merlin with the world of is and story, for his mother, who was his made clear in his 1939 essay “On Fairy first teacher, began to assign him storybooks Stories” when Tolkien writes that “the good to read that included Andrew Lang’s Red and evil story of Arthur’s court is a ‘fairy Fairy Book, where he learned to love story’” (41), for “the land of Merlin and (“I desired dragons with a profound Arthur,” what Tolkien calls “an Other- desire” [“On Fairy Stories” 63]) and George world,” “was better than” his “relatively safe MacDonald’s “Curdie” books that depicted world,” the world without dragons (63). evil goblins that lived under the mountains T. A. Shippey points out that Tolkien (Carpenter 22-23). Tolkien was also very was influenced by "Brut, an Arthurian enthusiastic about Arthurian Chronicle-epic by one La amon. Tolkien (Carpenter 22), “devour[ing] Sir Thomas certainly valued this as a repository of past ȝ

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• tradition, borrowing from it, for instance, "once prophetic writing [is] still dimly legible Éowyn's word ‘dwimmerlaik’. At some stage there,--some letters, some words, may be he must also have noted that the stream by deciphered” (Carlyle 56). As which the poet lived—it is a tributary of the observes, "Although Tolkien made use of Severn—was the River Gladdon" (The Road to Arthurian motifs in The Lord of the Rings (the Middle-Earth 348-349). Even C. S. Lewis in withdrawal of a sword, a tutelary , the his review of The Fellowship of the Ring emergence of a hidden king, a ship departure quotes who makes the to a myth-enshrined destination), these are Arthurian connection: "One takes it as reinvented to fit the context of his own story" seriously as Malory" ("On Stories" 83), "but," ("Arthurian Romance"35). Lewis observes, "then the ineluctable sense of Nowhere does this seem clearer than reality which we feel in the Morte "[i]n his portrait of Gandalf, [where] Tolkien d'Arthur comes largely from the great weight has drawn on earlier texts and traditions, of other men's work built up century by particularly those featuring Merlin, but he has century, which has gone into it" (83); for not done so formulaically. On the contrary, Lewis, Tolkien's "book is like lightning from a Gandalf tests the limits and moves beyond the clear sky. . . . To say that in it heroic romance, expectations raised by many previous Merlin gorgeous, eloquent, and unashamed, figures, especially in his use of magic, his has suddenly returned . . . is inadequate" association with women, his relationship to (83). Continuing his praise, Lewis says, "The power, and his pedagogical strategies" (Riga utterly new achievement of Professor Tolkien 21). Ruth Noel in her book The Mythology of is that he carries a comparable sense of Middle Earth argues that Gandalf and Merlin reality unaided" (83). Clearly, in Lewis' mind are clearly connected, for they are both the Arthurian connection exists. "powerful, prophetic, inscrutable, and, It is true that in a letter to Milton suddenly, unexpectedly human"; they also Waldmon, more than likely composed during have "the responsibility for the fortunes of a the latter part of 1951, Tolkien asserts that nation and its future king"; and both have the Arthurian myths are inadequate for the "obscure beginnings and mysterious endings world he is making. He writes, “Of course to their lives" (109). there was and is all the Arthurian world, but The Merlin of Arthurian tradition is a powerful as it is, it is imperfectly naturalized, figure who wields great power and is not associated with the soil of Britain but not unwilling or hesitant to use it to accomplish with English; and does not replace what I felt his purposes of preserving the kingdom or to be missing. For one thing its ‘faerie’ is too changing the future. He is responsible for the lavish, and fantastical, incoherent and birth of and his being crowned repetitive” (Letters 144). Perhaps sur- king of . Merlin is also the creator of prisingly, the belief of Tolkien that the the Round Table and guides the affairs of the "incoherent and repetitive" "Arthurian world" kingdom with his advice and through his was insufficient actually provides support for magic. In contrast, Gandalf adamantly refuses the assertion that the Celtic myth is a the absolute power offered to him by Frodo, palimpsest for his subcreation. Tolkien's for he fears he cannot control it. The ring "dismissal of Arthur is negative evidence of Frodo is willing to give up can only bring evil, its power, for it shows that Arthur was in his never good. Frodo says to Gandalf, "You are mind" (Flieger, "J. R. R Tolkien" 48). wise and powerful. Will you not take the It is certainly to be expected that the Ring?" To which Gandalf emphatically collision of worlds and texts (Tolkien's replies, "No! . . . With that power I should Middle-earth and the Arthurian legends) have power too great and terrible. And over results in the elimination of some aspects of me the Ring would gain a power still greater the tales, the incorporation of others, and the and more deadly. . . . Do not tempt me! For I transformation of many, but it seems that the do not wish to become like the

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• himself" (Fellowship of the Ring 87). In a [I]t fell so that Merlin fell in a dotage on letter to Eileen Elgar (September 1963), the damosel that King Tolkien describes Gandalf had he possessed brought to court, and she was one of the ring: "Gandalf as Ring-Lord would have the damosels of the lake. . . . But Merlin been far worse than . He would have would let her have no rest, but always remained 'righteous,' but self-righteous. . . . - he would be with her. And ever she Gandalf would have made good detestable made Merlin good cheer till she had and seem evil" (Letters 332-333). According learned of him all manner thing that to Tolkien, he would control the wills of she desired; and he was assotted upon others, and they would no longer be free: her, that he might not be from her. . . . "The supremely bad motive is (for this tale, And so, soon after, the lady and Merlin since it is specially about it) domination of departed, and by the way Merlin other 'free' wills." ("Letter to Naomi showed her many wonders, and came Mitchison," 200). The act of Letters into . And always Merlin lay domination of one human being over about the lady to have her maidenhood, another—forcing individuals to do something and she was ever passing weary of him, they do not choose to do even if it is what and fain would have been delivered of they should do—corrupts the one who him, for she was afeard of him because coerces (Riga 38). According to , he was a devil's son, and she could not the evil of the ring is not just external; it beskift him by no mean. And so on a reaches out to "echo in the hearts of the time it happed that Merlin showed to good," and therefore the bearer of the Ring her in a rock whereas was a great cannot trust himself or his friends ( The Road wonder, and wrought by enchantment, 145). The Gandalf who to Middle-Earth that went under a great stone. So by her refuses to carry the ring of power is not the subtle working she made Merlin to go same as the Merlin of history. As Frank Riga under that stone to let her wit of the observes, "Gandalf is quite unlike any other marvels there; but she wrought so Merlin figure from the past. . . . Whereas there for him that he came never out previous Merlin figures embraced power, for all the craft he could do. And so she Gandalf recognizes its inherent and departed and left Merlin. (bk. 4, ch. 1) inescapable dangers and thus renounces it" (38). Hence, Tolkien’s transmogrification of In this story, Merlin is beguiled by a woman Merlin takes place. The wizard who craves who desires to discover his esoteric power is transformed to become the wizard knowledge. He, a willing victim with ulterior who rejects it. motives of his own, is outmaneuvered and Another point of divergence for trapped helplessly under a rock, and Tolkien from the Arthurian tradition according to this tradition, there he died— concerns Gandalf's and Merlin's relationship deceived and alone. with women: he "critiques a longstanding In contrast, Tolkien's wizard Gandalf tradition according to which Merlin's loss of finds "forceful women with power comes about through his love for a powers . . . [as his] source of strength, woman who becomes powerful by gaining protection, and healing, not instruments of access to his magic" (Riga 24). Thus, in the temptation and destruction" (Riga 24). For ancient tales, "Merlin's love is depicted as a example, after Gandalf defeats the ("I weakness or obsession, leading to his threw down my enemy, and he fell from the unwilling—or willing—imprisonment or high place and broke the mountainside where death" (Riga 24). For example, in Le Morte he smote it in the rain" [Two Towers 125]), d’Arthur, Malory relates the famous tragic tale sends Gwaihir the Windlord to bear of Merlin and , the : Gandalf to Lothlórien where she brings him healing, clothes him in white, and apparently

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• gives him a new staff. He becomes Gandalf by respecting and admiring , the the White (Two Towers 126). So, although the ancient traditions of and men, the elven Merlin seems to clearly function as language, and healing lore" (24). Aragorn, a palimpsest for the Gandalf Tolkien creates, like Arthur, is given long life, for he is one of demonstrating the presence of the past the Numenoreans, and they, according to coexisting with the text and acquiring “the Tolkien, are "rewarded by a triple, or more characteristics of a palimpsest the more than a triple, span of years." (Letters154). openly it allows the voices of the dead to Key to the stories of Arthur and speak" (Uhlig 502), Tolkien transmogrifies Aragorn are the swords they both carry: the Arthurian figure and enlivens his (also known as Caledfwich and character Gandalf with a proper motivation Caliburen) and Andúril (which means "Flame for his magic and a right relationship with of the West," also called Narsil, Red and White women. Flame, or the Sword that was Broken, and Both Merlin and Gandalf are subsequently renamed the Sword Re-forged), instrumental in the success of their respective respectively. They are both symbols of their kings, Arthur and Aragorn, exhibiting great kingships (Finn 24), and according to María devotion and loyalty. Gandalf is responsible José Álvarez-Faedo, "the connection [of for Aragon becoming King of , while Aragon's sword] with Excalibur is Merlin aids Arthur in being crowned King of unquestionable" (196). How Arthur became Camelot. Both put aside their own king is related in Le Morte d’Arthur and very ambitions to promote their hero-kings (Finn much involves a sword: 23). Richard Finn observes, "As in the coming How gat ye this sword? said to of Arthur, a wizard heralds Aragorn's Arthur. 'arrival.' Fulfilling , he comes bearing a sword of legend, and he is Sir, I will tell you. When I came home victorious in uniting the lands around him" for my brother's sword, I found nobody (24). In The Lord of the Rings, once Sauron is at home to deliver me his sword; and so destroyed, Gandalf proclaims to Aragorn that I thought my brother should not "my work is finished. I shall go soon. The be swordless, and so I came hither burden must lie now upon you and your eagerly and pulled it out of the stone kindred" (Return of the King 278). Thus, he without any pain. leaves Middle-earth to be ruled by men. He Found ye any knights about this sword? tells , "[T]he time of my labours now said Sir Ector. draws to an end. The King has taken on the burden" (Return of the King 291). Nay, said Arthur. Even the childhoods of Arthur and Now, said Sir Ector to Arthur, I Aragorn are similar, for they are both raised understand ye must be king of this among elves. La amon in his Brut describes land. the childhood of King Arthur: "So soon as he came on earth,ȝ elves took him; they Wherefore I, said Arthur, and for what enchanted the child with magic most strong, cause? they gave him might to be the best of all Sir, said Ector, for God will have it so; knights; they gave him another thing, that he for there should never have drawn should be a rich king; they gave him the third, out this sword, but he that shall be that he should live long; they gave to him the rightwise king of this land. (bk, 1, ch. 5) prince virtues most good, so that he was most generous of all men alive." In like manner, Aragorn was raised by the Elves who lived in Arthur is the only one able to remove the and Lothlórien. Finn points out, sword from the stone and is therefore "Aragorn exemplifies elven virtues and beliefs crowned the ruler of the land.

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• Later, Arthur fights Pellinore, a knight While journeying through Middle-earth, who knocks him off of his horse, with this Aragorn carried the shards of his sword in a same sword. Le Morte d’Arthur relates the sheath. After Frodo meets Aragorn at , event: Frodo opens a letter that Gandalf had left for him that contained a poem mentioning the And there began a strong battle with reforging of Aragorn's sword and the return many great strokes, and so hewed with of the king. their swords that the cantels flew in the fields, and much blood they bled both, All that is gold does not glitter, that all the place there as they fought Not all those who wander are lost; was overbled with blood, and thus they The old that is strong does not wither, fought long and rested them, and then Deep roots are not reached by the frost. they went to the battle again, and so From the ashes a fire shall be woken, hurtled together like two rams that A light from the shadows shall spring; either fell to the earth. So at the last Renewed shall be blade that was broken, they smote together that both their The crownless again shall be swords met even together. But the king. (Fellowship of the Ring 212) sword of the knight smote King Arthur's sword in two pieces, Aragon reveals the worthless sword: "'But I wherefore he was heavy. (bk. 1, ch. 23) am Aragorn, and those verses go with that name.' He drew out his sword, and they saw The sword was no longer of one piece but that the blade was indeed broken a foot rent in twain. Merlin later takes Arthur to the below the hilt. 'Not much use is it, Sam?' said Lady of the Lake and receives from her hand Strider. 'But the time is near when it shall be the reforged Excalibur (at least that is implied forged anew'" ( in Malory's account): "So Sir Arthur and Fellowship of the 214). The prophecy says that the sword Merlin alighted and tied their horses to two Ring originally named Narsil, broken in two pieces, trees, and so they went into the ship, and will be renewed, and it is indeed fulfilled, for when they came to the sword that the hand the elves repair the sword before Aragon and held, Sir Arthur took it up by the handles, and the Fellowship of the Ring leave Rivendell: took it with him, and the arm and the hand went under the water" (bk.1, ch. 25). The Sword of was forged anew Aragorn's sword is essential to his by Elvish smiths, and on its blade was restored kingship. In the past it was wielded traced a device of seven stars set by who struck Sauron with it, resulting between the crescent Moon and the in the loss of the and the breaking of rayed Sun, and about them was written Narsil: many ; for Aragorn son of Arathorn was going to war upon the From of the Gladden Fields, marches of . Very bright was where Isildur perished, three men only that sword when it was made whole came ever back over the mountains again; the light of the sun shone redly after long wandering. One of these was in it, and the light of the moon shone Ohtar, the esquire of Isildur, who bore cold, and its edge was hard and keen. the shards of the sword of Elendil; and And Aragorn gave it a new name and he brought them to Valandil, the heir of called it Andúril, Flame of the West. Isildur, who being but a child had ( 331) remained here in Rivendell. But Narsil The Fellowship of the Ring was broken and its light extinguished, The sword is very much connected to the one and it has not yet been forged who wields it. Aragorn makes this very clear again. (Fellowship of the Ring 293) when he removes it before entering the house of Theoden.

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• Slowly Aragorn unbuckled his belt and This is also true with Andúril, for when himself set his sword upright against Aragorn leaves Lothlórien, Galadriel gives the wall. "Here I set it," he said; "but I him a most special gift. command you not to touch it, nor to "Here is the gift of Celeborn and permit any other to lay hand on it. In Galadriel to the leader of your this elvish sheath dwells the Blade that Company," she said to Aragorn, and she was Broken and has been made gave him a sheath that had been made again. Telchar first wrought it in the to fit his sword. It was overlaid with a deeps of time. Death shall come to any tracery of flowers and leaves wrought man that draws Elendil’s sword save of silver and gold, and on it were set in Elendil’s heir" ( 136). Two Towers elven runes formed of many gems the The swords of the kings are name Andúril and the lineage of the instrumental in the acquisition and the sword. preservation of their kingdoms, for "the best "The blade that is drawn from this swords break so that no one else can wield sheath shall not be stained or broken them until a worthy successor appears. The even in defeat," she said. (The restored sword is both the signal and the Fellowship of the Ring 442) means by which a rightful dynasty is restored" (Colbert 149). Tolkien is especially Galadriel's sheath protects Andúril from interested in the symbolism and significance destruction; it will never be broken again. of the "blade that was broken" (Fellowship of For Tolkien, consciously or the Ring 212) and its renewal. As he re- unconsciously, the light that shines from imagines Excalibur in his work, "historically Excalibur in the Arthurian textual tradition conditioned tensions come to the fore" (Uhlig serves as a palimpsest for the brilliance of 502). Tolkien's Excalibur—Aragorn's Andúril, a mighty weapon of Middle-earth. Andúril—is re-envisioned and recast into one Ironically, when the two textual traditions of the mightiest swords of Middle-earth, (Arthurian legend and Middle-earth myth) forged by one of its greatest smiths, Telchar, a contact or collide, flashes of meaning emerge (Silmarillion 85-86), and later reforged and result in an intensity of light in Tolkien’s by the elves of Rivendell. Not only do the work. Colin Duriez asserts, “Light, and its restored swords signal the return of the contrast with darkness, is a key motif in rightful heirs to their respective thrones, but Tolkien’s mythology of Middle-earth” (157). their sheaths are wrought with magical In Le Morte d’Arthur, as Arthur wields power. Merlin emphatically tells Arthur of Excalibur, the sword dazzles his enemies and the power that resides in the scabbard of paves the way for victory in battle. Thomas Excalibur: Malory relates the story: Then Sir Arthur looked on the sword, Then brake out on the back and liked it passing well. Whether side, and the King with the Hundred liketh you better, said Merlin, the Knights, and King Carados, and set on sword or the scabbard? Me liketh Arthur fiercely behind him. With that better the sword, said Arthur. Ye are Sir Arthur turned with his knights, and more unwise, said Merlin, for the smote behind and before, and ever Sir scabbard is worth ten of the swords, for Arthur was in the foremost press till his whiles ye have the scabbard upon you, horse was slain underneath him. And ye shall never lose no blood, be ye therewith King Lot smote down King never so sore wounded; therefore keep Arthur. With that his four knights well the scabbard always with you. (bk. received him and set him on horseback. 1, ch. 25) Then he drew his sword Excalibur, but it was so bright in his enemies' eyes,

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• that it gave light like thirty torches. And urtexts may be one of the most effective ways therewith he put them a-back, and slew to do just that, and perhaps through this much people. (bk. 1, ch. 9) effort, all who explore Middle-earth can grasp in their hands "a little of the gold" that Like Excalibur, Narsil is very much connected Tolkien once held ("On Fairy Stories" 38). to light. In a letter to Richard Jeffrey (Dec. 12,

1972), Tolkien describes the meaning of the name of the sword: "Narsil is a name composed of 2 basic stems without variation or adjuncts: NAR 'fire', & THIL 'white light'. It thus symbolised the chief heavenly lights, as enemies√ of darkness, Sun√ (Anar) and

Moon (in Q) Isil. Andúril means Flame of the West (as a region) not of the Sunset" Note

(Letters 425). 1. Much of the information in this paper Both Excalibur and Andúril lead their concerning intertextuality and palimpsests has kings to a conquest of their enemies. King been taken directly from 1 of my Arthur "slew much people," and Aragorn dissertation entitled “The Function of returns victorious from Minas Tirath and is Intertextuality in the Poetry of Gerard Manley welcomed by , the Steward of Gondor, Hopkins and George Herbert: Catching a Glimpse who introduced him to his people as the of Christ” (University of Tulsa, 2000). rightful heir to the throne: "Here is Aragorn son of Arathorn, chieftain of the Dúnedain of Arnor, Captain of the Host of the West, bearer of the Star of the North, wielder of the Sword Reforged, victorious in battle, whose hands bring healing. . . . Shall he be king and enter into the City and dwell there?’And all the host and all the people cried yea with one voice” (Return of the King 273). The wielders of Excalibur and the Sword Reforged arise as victorious warriors ready to rule their kingdoms justly and in peace; they have proven their kingship. Their futures are forged by their swords. The juxtaposition of the Arthurian tradition with Tolkien's Middle-earth creation certainly provides flashes of meaning, enlightening the texts, "illuminating both the posterior and anterior, joining a given text to a dialogue” (Bakhtin 66). This exploration and exfoliation of the works provide glimpses into connections not always obvious, but nevertheless meaningful and elucidating. For just as Tolkien never stopped revising (which frustrated his publishers greatly), the consummate scholar and dedicated reader will continue to plumb the depths of his works. Intertextual relationships between texts and the palimpsests that function as

9 Gandalf and Merlin, Aragorn and Arthur Mark R. Hall

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