"O! Wanderers in the shadowed land" and "Gil-Galad was an Elven-king"

Bruce N H

Hi all,

I raised this at the very end of last week's class and Prof. Olsen asked me to bring it up at the start of this week's session. Just in case I'm not there at the start, I'll post this here.

I was reminded of "O! Wanderers in the shadowed land" from the Old Forest when we were reading "Gil-Galad was an Elven-king":
- Both were sung by hobbits in wilderness areas with enemies nearby (the trees and Old Man Willow in the first case, the Nazgul in the second)
- Both were defiant of the darkness.
- Both note the shadow ("in the shadowed land" and "in Mordor where the shadows are")
- Both poems sort of trail off unfinished (in the first place because of the oppressive effect of the trees, in the second because Sam didn't know any more)
Also Merry's urging Frodo to stop singing about trees failing until they're out of the woods was somewhat similar to Strider's order to not speak of Mordor, and later in the chapter he tells the hobbits he won't tell the rest of the tale "now with the servants of the Enemy at hand," but they can hear the whole thing at Rivendell.

Bruce (aka Bricktales)


Well-Known Member
Hey that's a cool set of parallels.

It's unrelated and funny, when hearing it read aloud, I hear the same line "in Mordor where the shadows are" and "in Moria, in Khazad-Dum". I guess it's just the meter and some similar sounds (I assume the "mor" in both comes from the same Sindar root, but I'm not googling down that rabbithole at work - I always lose an hour of my life when I start looking up Sindar words).