The Ringwraith's Song

JJ48

Well-Known Member
When we heard the wraiths in the Shire, it was pointed out that they're actually singing! I believe I've managed to translate their baleful words, which run thus in the common tongue:

To the Shire to find a Baggins!
Fa-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la!
He will fear us worse than dragons!
Fa-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la!
Don we now our black apparel!
Fa-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la!

Singing out our slaying carol!
Fa-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la!
 

Tarlonniel

Member
The horror! Some things are best left untranslated! :eek:

But this isn't one of them, it's awesome. Two undead thumbs up.
 

Haerangil

Well-Known Member
These words actually sound pretty dreadful in the black speech... The english translation doens't catch all it's horror...
 

Sparrow

Hestia of the Hearth
I'm sorry, but could you please explain what you mean to this poor engineering major?
I apologize!
I was trying and failing to be a little silly by throwing diction-analysis words at "Fa-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la"

Vocables are syllables you can say - very simple - and very useful for filling in the meter in songs!

But people who write seriously about vocables distinguish between non-lexical ones (which carry no meaning, like the "Fa-las" in "Deck the Halls") and lexical vocables such as "hù il oro" in the Gaelic waulking songs, which carry meaning, but the meaning is so archaic/obsolete that they do not move the plot-content of the song at all any more. Corey Olsen makes a grammatical argument that the Tra-la-la-lallies of the Tra-la-la-lally elves are actually lexical vocables!

So!

I was trying to be funny - are the Black Riders expressing non-lexical jollity and meter-filling up? Or are there sinister meanings behind those innocent-sounding syllables!!
 

JJ48

Well-Known Member
I apologize!
I was trying and failing to be a little silly by throwing diction-analysis words at "Fa-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la"

Vocables are syllables you can say - very simple - and very useful for filling in the meter in songs!

But people who write seriously about vocables distinguish between non-lexical ones (which carry no meaning, like the "Fa-las" in "Deck the Halls") and lexical vocables such as "hù il oro" in the Gaelic waulking songs, which carry meaning, but the meaning is so archaic/obsolete that they do not move the plot-content of the song at all any more. Corey Olsen makes a grammatical argument that the Tra-la-la-lallies of the Tra-la-la-lally elves are actually lexical vocables!

So!

I was trying to be funny - are the Black Riders expressing non-lexical jollity and meter-filling up? Or are there sinister meanings behind those innocent-sounding syllables!!
Ah, that makes sense! I think it's sort of like how the Japanese have different laughs for different types of people (e.g. "Hahaha" is a normal laugh, "Huhuhu" is more feminine, "Kikiki" is a sinister monster's laugh, etc.). So clearly, "Fa-la-la" is simply a wraith's laugh (not to be confused with "Tra-la-la-lally". They may appear similar, but they carry completely different connotations.)

Of course, most modern people have forgotten this when they sing similar songs, so the wraith laugh has become more mainstream as wraiths have become more rare, but there you have it.
 

Sparrow

Hestia of the Hearth
Ah, that makes sense! I think it's sort of like how the Japanese have different laughs for different types of people (e.g. "Hahaha" is a normal laugh, "Huhuhu" is more feminine, "Kikiki" is a sinister monster's laugh, etc.). So clearly, "Fa-la-la" is simply a wraith's laugh (not to be confused with "Tra-la-la-lally". They may appear similar, but they carry completely different connotations.)

Of course, most modern people have forgotten this when they sing similar songs, so the wraith laugh has become more mainstream as wraiths have become more rare, but there you have it.
Oooh! the thaumaturgical implications for singing wraith-laughter without accounting for the potential magical ramifications!
 

Haerangil

Well-Known Member
It also might be an untranslated line from bs...

La could be bs for " there", hola is orcish for " hi there!"

I wonder if fa could be related to orcish "fha", " big, great"..,

So are the ringwraiths posssibly chanting a repetative " big there! Great there!" ?

It might well have been a sorcerous mantra of some sort, maybe trying to invoke sucess of their mission..
 
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