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Author Topic: Gandalf's Horse
Gil-galad
Guard of the Citadel
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At the begining of The Hobbit when they are leaving The Green Dragon it says that Gandalf rides up on a white horse. Was this Shadowfax? Probably not since Gandalf had to train Shadowfax. But what other horse could it be???
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cian
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That was probably Narothol or Fairfax or Snowfax or ...

(tongue-in-cheek-: those were a few early name possibles for Gandalf's white horse in the LotR drafts)

Gandalf did not get Shadowfax until after escaping Orthanc ~ Shadowfax described as silver.


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Gil-galad
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Come on people, post!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Tinelwen
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quote:
But what other horse could it be???

I highly doubt that Shadowfax was the only horse prancing about in ME at the time, so it could be any horse. cian is right though, Gandalf did not get Shadowfax until long after the timeframe of the Hobbit.

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Midus unknown
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We know for a fact it isn't shadowfax for no one had trained him yet, plus shadow fax isn't white (i think i just started a new war)

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I am Midus Dark Unknown Leader of the northern forces, bearer of the sword kentoshi, son of golaras, warrior in the war of the ring, and king of lorien.

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Maglor
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I'm guessing it was a horse from the Bree or Rivendell. Bree because that's where Gandalf had just been before he met Bilbo and Rivendell because before Bree Gandalf had proberly started his trip in Rivendell. Also because of it being a white horse Rivendell looks likely.

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"The treacherous are always distrustful"
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Gil-galad
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You guys don't have to keep telling me that Gandalf got Shadowfax in Rohan because I already know that. I've read lotr and the Hobbit 5 times.
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Tinelwen
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Okay, okay! You asked a question, and we're only trying to answer it for you, not patronize you!

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We do not have to visit a madhouse to find disordered minds; our planet is the mental institution of the universe.
-Goethe

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Gil-galad
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Thank you. I try to keep as much pride as I have left! LOL!
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Joshua Lackhand
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I think it was... A ... Horse!!!!!!!!!

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Robidob75185
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I Feel that the horse you are speaking of is just some white horse. there were other horses than the horses of Rohan.
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Galin
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When Tolkien was revising The Hobbit (the abandoned '1960 Hobbit') he added Gandalf's 'white horse called Rohald'


As to the colour of Shadowfax, Hammond And Scull have made this observation in their Reader with respect to Shadowfax: 'Grey is often used to mean 'white' when describing the colour of a horse.' They are amazing Tolkien scholars, but I still cannot yet connect this to Tolkien's choice of wording in the books. I also wondered where the idea of using grey to mean white (for horses) hails...

Going back in Anglo-Saxon, though granted we may simply lack examples, there are no instances of this usage in 'Grey in Old English' by C. P. Biggam, for example, though again references to horses are very slight in any case. Biggam lists but two very similar examples (Prognostics: Tiberius and Prognostics: Oxford) where grey, technically grægan, grægium, and white hwit both appear, among other colours, indicating distinction to my mind.

In each example, with respect to the interpretation of dreams, the color of a horse has a meaning: a white horse indicates honor for instance, and both a yellow-brown horse and a grey horse is 'good' or indicates a 'good dream'. One version seems a bit dubious since Biggam argues the possibility that græg is a later addition: 'The significance of the fifth entry is completely wrong, while the translator appears not to believe that the list could have omitted a græg horse'.

This could be interesting, as L albus AS hwit are present, yet the translator appears to think a grey horse should be added (if Biggam is correct). In any event I could find no examples of this usage with respect to horses in 'Ambiguity of Grey from a Diachronic Perspective' by Makoto Yamaguchi (Biggam is referenced), which delves into Middle English as well.

My question here concerns Tolkien's usage. JRRT refers to both white and grey horses in the same sentence (Unfinished Tales, The Fall Of Gondolin), which would seem to distinguish them in my opinion. Also he never seems to use the word 'grey' as a noun (for horses); and never seems to mix these words in description -- meaning he never seems to vary white and grey for the same horse. In the OED I found the adjective used for horses of course (and other animals), and there is the noun referring to horses (the badger was also called a grey it seems), but again I don't think Tolkien uses it as a noun in any description of horses.

Of course, 'not that I recall' I should say.

While JRRT was not unfamiliar with horses, and thus arguably familiar with equestrian terminology, Tolkien explained: 'Sceadu-faex 'having shadow-grey mane (and coat)' and I would say, at least from the evidence to date, that he envisioned something distinct enough from 'white' to merit a different color-word.

Unless more comes to light, which I would like to hear if so.

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