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Eärendil’s Errand and “Errantry”: A panel

— Janet Brennan Croft, Associate University Librarian for Content Discovery, University of Northern Iowa; David L. Emerson; David Bratman, independent scholar; and Verlyn Flieger, Professor Emerita, Department of English, University of Maryland

Paper given 1 August 2021 at Mythcon 51 Session 8

Tolkien’s love of word play legitimizes considering the linguistic closeness of errantry, Eärendil , and errand. This leads to the points this panel will consider: Tolkien has more than once taken themes and motifs first used in a lighter story and woven them, in more serious form, into his broader legendarium; for example, The Hobbits Bard presages Aragorn, and its lower-case ring the centrally important Ring of the longer work. Eärendil is supposed to have been the subject of one of the great tales, but we never get it in its full form, or more comparably, in multiple forms over many years in various degrees of fullness, like the story of Beren and Lúthien. Do the points of similarity between Errantry” and Eärendil was a mariner” deserve a closer look? In addition to the reused metrical format, parallel incidents, repeated vocabulary and even lines, there is“bewilderment” and wakening from it to remember an errand — an errand never defined for us, as Eärendil’s tale is errand never defined for us, as Eärendil’s tale is never fully defined.

Authoritative information may be found here.

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date recorded 📅2022-01-23
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