Varda: Fanlókë

Taking a break from the books to write up this quick one. Okay, the etymology in the post title (Fanlókë)is likely completely wrong. I love Tolkien, but when it comes to languages and grammar of the Eldar, I know next to nothing. What we’re going for is “white [fan] dragon [lókë]”.

Why? Lucy got a new stuffed toy (not that you’d notice…she seems to have hundreds and I often wonder how she can fit in her bed). This one is based on the white dragon, known as a light fury, from the new How to Train Your Dragon 3 film.

How to Train Your Dragon 3, © Dreamworks Animation

Lu was trying to come up with a name for the dragon, as it is not as-yet named in any of the trailers, etc., and we’ve not seen the film. Having recently finished reading LotR to her for the first time, she asked me what Éowyn means. She was looking for something to signify ‘white’. I was pretty certain Éowyn was horse-related, as were the other Éo-names in the book. And inded it is: it signifies horse-joy. Still, Éowyn is referred to as ‘white lady’ in the book, so it was worth checking.

We looked on. Galadriel offered no real success to speak of, and Arwen was no help either. But Lucy does know a Cliff’s Notes version of The Silmarillion because I told her all about it (she loves mythology; Greek, Roman, Norse…). So my mind went to Elbereth Gilthoniel; AKA Varda; AKA The Kindler, AKA Lady of the Stars, AKA Queen of the Stars, AKA Star-kindler; AKA Snow-white.

Now, granted, when Elbereth is called Snow-white, it is just as likely as not that the moniker is referring to her association with light and her purity (she did, after all, reject Melkor from the first) as it is to do with any physical attribute she may possess.

But never mind that. This is a 10 year-old girl with a fluffy, white dragon we’re talking about here. I reminded Lucy of Elbereth’s association with the light and the stars and that she was responsible for actually making some of the stars in the heavens. As the dragon’s ‘skin’ actually has a bit of a rainbowy/sparkly sheen, this went over very well with the little one.

I then ran through the list of aliases. It wasn’t long ’til we had a winner. Varda she is, henceforth.

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