Don’t Look Back…Look Left!
Don’t Look Back…Look Left!
Written by: Kaishaku
As you may have noticed, the Elves have this thing for looking left. Whenever there is an elf standing in the background, he is more likely than not to be looking left. In TTT, the entire legion of Elven archers looks left at the same time. Why do they have such a tendency to look to the left? Here’s why…
A gathering there was to be in the Golden Woods of Lórien, a gathering of the likes that those of Middle-Earth had never seen before. It was a gathering not to celebrate a life, but to mourn the death of a king that many had loved and none despised. Both races created by Ilúvatar, tall, fair Elves and less tall, less fair, but still not unpleasant to look upon Men, and the Dwarves, an accident of the Valar, short, hairy, and bearing no resemblance to anything beautiful, laid aside their differences in height and point of ear to come together to honor the death of Felagund, Nóm, Finrod the Faithful. They threw down their unfriendliness in an attempt to maintain peace for the solemnity of the funeral, and indeed! they were able to keep the tension from blooming beyond a few obscene gestures and the occasional display of a tongue, followed by a trumpeting noise with waggling fingers inserted in Dwarvish ears.
A magnificent hall they gathered in, of the like which had long been fabled to rival the glorious Hall of Mandos. A lofty ceiling it had, and boasted four walls to support its weight, and inside this edifice were lights, which glowed with a radience that was known to stave of darkness. Beneath it was a floor, upon which the mourners placed their feet, a necessary precaution, for without it, they would have plummeted from the tops of the beautiful mallorn trees to the golden-carpeted ground below. Throughout the hall, resounding from the walls, reverberating off the floor, and breaking crystal chandeliers, rang the clear voices of the Elves, singing their Lament to Finrod:
Thy shining sword, thy gallant bow, thy Dwarvish-necklace-thing.
Elvish king so fair and tall, renowned as such a hottie,
Thou wouldst be six feet under, but we could not find thy body.
You loved to hunt and harp and sing, three hobbies unrelated,
Thou couldst have done them longer had thy life not been truncated.
Felagund, o Felagund, we think that thou art groovy,
If thou hadst not died so early, they’d have put thee in the movie.
Friend to Man and bearded Dwarf, so quick to love and trust,
Thou slay’st the werewolf with bare hands, then bravely bit the dust.
To the front of the hall walked Galadriel, Lady of Light, granddaughter to the wife of Finarfin’s father. Her beauty, fabled among the Elves, filled the hall with a light rivaled only by the light emitted by the legendary candles. In the center of her face were two glorious eyes; a nose there was also, the like of which had long been used to smell. Down her back flowed a golden watefall of hair, which had been growing from her head for many a year, and above her chin sat two lips, which bent and flexed to assist in the utterance of words. Many words did the Lady Galadriel utter, word to honor the memory of Finrod.
“I utter words to honor the memory of Finrod,” spake Galadriel. “Finrod, son of Finarfin, founder and king of Nargothrond, named Dwarf-friend, and of whom he solicited the assistance to build his great halls, bearer of Nauglamír, a gift from the aforementioned creatures of the Valar, harpist and singer, hunter, friend to Men, savior of Lúthien and Beren, slayer of the werewolf, and doer of other lofty deeds. Ere the sun doth shine upon his grave in the land of deceased brethren and live with the Valar in eternal bliss. O Finrod, beloved of all Elfkind, we come to honor you this day by-”
The clarion call of a trumpet filled the air, the sound of the Dwarves, overcome wit grief for the fallen Elflord, loudly blowing their noses, which were so large as to resemble the beaks of hawks, and sobbing loudly into their long, neatly combed and braided beards, the symbol of all Dwarfkind. Lady Galadriel gracefully turned her head to the left to view with her own two eyes, which sat in the center of her face, the cause of the noise which had inturrupted her utterance. Their thoughts clouded with sorrow, the Elves believed she indicated this was the manner with which they should honor King Finrod, son of Finarfin, and so a hundred golden heads gracefully turned on a hundred slender necks. Left they looked, and they looked in the direction of left, as the Lady of Light had done.
At this moment the action became not just an honorific to the Elvish king, but a tradition, a custom instilled in Elvish society. Never able to escape their grief, upon hearing a noise that resembled crying, such as the song of birds or the flowing of water, the elves turned their beautiful heads to the left in memory of Finrod, son of Finarfin. Soon this tradition became a habit, an action passed down unconsciously from Elf-father to Elf-son, until the action was so frequent that they rarely dwelt upon its sacred meaning. Indeed, even the skilled archers of Lórien continue to honor Finrod by looking left as a blessing upon their armies before going into battle.