Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. The Language of Orthanc

 

After the Battle of Helm’s Deep and the Ents’ breaking of Isengard, Gandalf and his allies gather at the foot of Orthanc, the last redoubt of the traitorous wizard Saruman. Gandalf warns the company of the power of Saruman’s voice. Those who hear it are easily swayed to his side, even if they do not remember his words. Indeed, the horsemen of Rohan quickly find themselves drawn to the foe whose schemes killed so many of their kinsmen. The honeyed voice of the rainbow-clothed sage in his high tower begins to trap the common warriors who, though skilled in battle, are unprepared for the combat of beguiling sophistry. But then:

It was Gimli the dwarf who broken in suddenly, ‘The words of this wizard stand on their heads,’ he growled, gripping the handle of his axe. ‘In the language of Orthanc help means ruin, and saving means slaying, that is plain. But we do not come here to beg.’

Help means ruin. Saving means slaying.

Peaceful protests. Abortion is healthcare.

Men are women. Women are men. Following constitutional procedure is a constitutional crisis.

We have our own fair share of Sarumans in this world, I think. The language of Orthanc lives on. Bless the Gimlis, their hard heads, and their axes!

Published in Literature
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  1. Dr. Bastiat Member

    Very clever post. Thanks.

    • #1
    • September 26, 2020, at 12:06 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  2. OmegaPaladin Moderator

    When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.’

    ’The question is,’ said Alice, ‘whether you can make words mean so many different things.’

    ’The question is,’ said Humpty Dumpty, ‘which is to be master — that’s all.”

    ― Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking Glass

    I think both a linguist like Tolkien and a mathematician like Carroll / Dodgson were aware of the power of symbols. The X mean many things – it can represent many different sounds, as a variable it can have any value, as a roman numeral it is ten, it can also be a St. Andrew’s Cross. The person who controls the definition is the master. Changing the definition in the middle of a conversation gives the user power.

    Black Lives Matter can be both a simple statement and an organization of radical Marxists.

    Feminism is both woman having equal rights to men, and woman being innately superior to men or the right to bathe in blood of a million aborted fetuses.

    • #2
    • September 26, 2020, at 12:20 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  3. Hartmann von Aue Member

    OmegaPaladin (View Comment):

    When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.’

    ’The question is,’ said Alice, ‘whether you can make words mean so many different things.’

    ’The question is,’ said Humpty Dumpty, ‘which is to be master — that’s all.”

    ― Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking Glass

    I think both a linguist like Tolkien and a mathematician like Carroll / Dodgson were aware of the power of symbols. The X mean many things – it can represent many different sounds, as a variable it can have any value, as a roman numeral it is ten, it can also be a St. Andrew’s Cross. The person who controls the definition is the master. Changing the definition in the middle of a conversation gives the user power.

    Black Lives Matter can be both a simple statement and an organization of radical Marxists.

    Feminism is both woman having equal rights to men, and woman being innately superior to men or the right to bathe in blood of a million aborted fetuses.

    It’s like they worship and emulate Elizabeth Bathory.

    • #3
    • September 27, 2020, at 3:30 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  4. abbael Coolidge

    Thank you.

    • #4
    • September 27, 2020, at 5:35 PM PDT
    • Like