The naming of Anduril?

Flammifer

Well-Known Member
In class, we discussed many interesting and valid possible influences on why Aragorn chose the name 'Anduril', 'Flame of the West', for renaming 'The Sword that was Broken', once it was re-forged.

However, we never discussed what I think is the most obvious influence on Aragorn's choice of name.

Bilbo, in his 'Earendil Poem' ends with calling Earendil, "Flammifer of Westernesse". We know that Bilbo discussed the whole poem with Aragorn.

'Flame of the West', and 'Flammifer of Westernesse', are almost the same name. The only difference is that 'Flammifer' means 'flame-bearer' rather than 'flame'.

Earendil is the 'Flammifer'. The Silmaril is the 'Flame'. Aragorn is the 'Flammifer'. The Sword is the 'Flame'.

By naming the Sword, 'Anduril', Aragorn is equating the Sword to the Silmaril (both as signs of Estel to the West?), and himself to Earendil (his distant ancestor).

I think this is an obvious reference. However it is a bit curious. Is 'The Sword that was Broken' really a sign or beacon of Estel to the people of the West? Few know about it. Few see it. Few seem to grant it much importance. Who really seems to think much about the Sword? Aragorn, of course, Boromir, Elrond, Bilbo, "renewed shall be blade that was broken. The crownless again shall be king.", Providence, "seek for the Sword that was Broken", and perhaps Sauron, when Aragorn shows it to him in the Palantir? (Anyone else?)

The Silmaril which Earendil bears as 'Flammifer' is a signifier to one and all, as it shines in the heavens as the Morning and Evening Star, brightest in the sky. The Sword, which Aragorn bears as 'Flammifer' is a signifier to a few of the powerful and important, but not generally.

I wonder why Aragorn chose such an obvious reference to Bilbo's poem, and to Earendil and the Silmaril when naming 'Anduril' when their function, role, and significance seem so different?
 

Rachel Port

Well-Known Member
I asked in the chat during class what the meaning of Narsil was, and someone answered that it was "red and white flame." I don't know enough about Tolkien's languages to oppose or confirm that. But if it's true, then Anduril would be a fitting name for Narsil reforged - it is a putting together of broken shards and a uniting of the two flames into one Flame of the West, especially when we consider the symbols engraved on the reforged sword - the sun shining red and the crescent moon shining cold. Aragorn himself is going to unite and renew the broken parts of the Kingdoms of Gondor and Arnor if the war is successful, and that unity is embodied in the sword that also ties the past to the present. Those who see the sword recognize this uniting of the present and future to the past - and I would add Eomer and Theoden to those who see and understand the signficance of Anduril.

I like the connection to the Flammifer of Westernesse, but I see it not so directly correlated, but as more of an echo.
 

Octoburn

Active Member
I asked in the chat during class what the meaning of Narsil was, and someone answered that it was "red and white flame." I don't know enough about Tolkien's languages to oppose or confirm that. But if it's true, then Anduril would be a fitting name for Narsil reforged - it is a putting together of broken shards and a uniting of the two flames into one Flame of the West, especially when we consider the symbols engraved on the reforged sword - the sun shining red and the crescent moon shining cold. Aragorn himself is going to unite and renew the broken parts of the Kingdoms of Gondor and Arnor if the war is successful, and that unity is embodied in the sword that also ties the past to the present. Those who see the sword recognize this uniting of the present and future to the past - and I would add Eomer and Theoden to those who see and understand the signficance of Anduril.

I like the connection to the Flammifer of Westernesse, but I see it not so directly correlated, but as more of an echo.
I believe the name Narsil was one that could be interpreted in a couple of ways. "Red and white flame" seems to be the official interpretation, but I feel that is a poetic take on the literal translation: sun and moon. The root NAR does mean red flame but is used in the name of the sun, Anar, as well as Anarion and Narya (ring of fire). Sil seems to mean "sheen" but Isil is the name of the moon and is also present in Minas Ithil, Ithilien, and Isildur. The way Tolkien smashed roots together to get these amazing words and names is a bit frustrating trying to figure out where it came from, if he doesn't spell it out.
 

Rachel Port

Well-Known Member
Thank you Octoburn. With the sun and moon associated with both the old and new sword, It's even more symbolic that the seven stars link them - again, it's the Kingdom that will join these two sides of fire (remember what Gandalf says on the Bridge of Khazad-dum) and much more will be made whole again. So the Anduril is a kind of promise.
 

Flammifer

Well-Known Member
Thank you Octoburn. With the sun and moon associated with both the old and new sword, It's even more symbolic that the seven stars link them - again, it's the Kingdom that will join these two sides of fire (remember what Gandalf says on the Bridge of Khazad-dum) and much more will be made whole again. So the Anduril is a kind of promise.
As is Earendil's ship in the sky, bearing the Silmaril, shining brighter than any other star, a kind of promise. (Which Sam recognizes in Mordor.)

That they are both a kind of promise is why it is fitting that they both have (almost) the same name, and why it is likely that Bilbo's reference to Earendil as 'Flammifer of Westernesse' was an inspiration for the name of Anduril.

The curious difference is that Earendil's sign of promise is visible to all. A promise to all. Whereas Aragorn's sign of promise is more a sign to himself and to a few.
 
Last edited:
Top