Of Elves and Poorly Advised Kings
by, August 1st, 2010 at 03:38 PM (457 Views)
I fell in love with elves courtesy of Tolkien (of course) with Lord of the Rings. I've been fascinated by them since, so it was kind of natural that the second-leading character in my own books is ... an Elf. Tevis MacLeod.
I gave him a Scottish-sounding name in part because of my own Irish and Scotch-Irish background, but elves are apparently Germanic in origin.
BT (Before Tolkien), I was aware that the Norse classified elves in two groups - the light elves (lios alfar) and dark (dokkalfar). One source I found describes the dark elves as having pitch-black skin. Interesting ... I've only dealt with the "light elves" (light in skin coloring at least; not necessarily "good") in my books so far.
Interestingly enough, my grandfather's name was Aubrey - which I've seen in some translations as meaning "elf lord" or "elf ruler." Maybe there's some significance there ...
"Alvin" is another name that has "alfaran" connections - again, according to at least some sources. It's been translated as "elf-friend."
Still another "elven" name - Alfred, which means "elf (or "magical") counsel." "Raed" apparently being an old word for "counsel."
Which leads to the English king who's come down through history as "Ethelred the Unready." Apparently "unready" is a mistranslation of the Old English word "unraed," which has been variously translated as "bad (or evil) counsel" or "ill-advised."
Now to go looking for exactly what Ethelred was "ill-advised" about ...