Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Wolfman Graham

I made a delightful discovery a couple of days ago. When we named our son Graham, we didn't really have any special reason for doing so: we just thought it sounded cool. It wasn't a family name; it wasn't a biblical name; it wasn't the name of some long-dead philosopher or theologian. It just sounded sort of yuppy and hip. So we went for it. But now it turns out that we have inadvertantly named our son after one of my most beloved fictional (?) characters: Gandalf the Grey. I discovered this the other night while I was reading Tom Shippey's book, J. R. R. Tolkein: Author of the Century. (NB: this is what I do the night before prelims: withdraw into the world of faerie--only orcs cram.) Well, it turns out that the name Graham is a derivation of an Old English word, "Grey-hame," which literally means "grey mantle" or "grey cloak." Tolkein afficianadoes will remember that Gandalf is often called Greyhame. Incidentally, in Old English, Grey-hame came to mean "wolf."

10 comments:

RB said...

Very cool. I think you should revise your origin narrative for your firstborn and pretend like you did that on purpose.

David and Sarah said...

Done. I've revised our profile to the right of the screen to reflect our "new" narrative. For the first annual Tolkien Scholarship Medallion, can any of my readers identify the character whence these words came: ". . . wandering about the lands, and concerning himself in every business, whether it belongs to him or not" ?

Anonymous said...

Great, so you named your son after Gandalf the Gay... err, Gray

Fun discovery though.

Anonymous said...

Grey* (not gray)
Oops

David and Sarah said...

Easy there. It's grey.

Sarah said...

It was either Strider or Gandalf. But I think it was Strider, as reported by the innkeeper at Bree.

Don't you just look at him sometimes and go, "Oh, I can't wait until he's old enough for me to read him _______"?

I'm already thinking that about the new little guy. "Oh, we get to read Charlotte's Web again! And Farmer Boy! Oh, I can't wait!"

David and Sarah said...

I agree with your sentiment entirely. I have it all planned out, actually, how I'm going to introduce him to Middle Earth. First will be Nichol Williams' dramatic reading of The Hobbit, which I first heard in Kindergarten while my mom was painting a room in the house. Then will come the BBC radio dramatization of LOTR on a road trip the following year. By the end of first grade, or the beginning of second, he should be able handle having the unabridged text read outloud. This is going to be fun.
But I'm afraid the quote comes neither from Strider or Gandalf. It's being spoken about Gandalf, and here's a hint: note the note of irritation in its tone.

Anonymous said...

When he comes to Grandma and Grandpa's house we'll read cute stories in Childcraft and Little Golden books so his little brain can have a rest

Anonymous said...

Regarding the first annual Tolkien Scholarship Medallion - may I suggest that it be based on knowlege achieved through reading a book rather than a Google, movie or other?

Graham does wander about, intently checking things out. He is a sharp and accutely observant young man. What a great gift from God for us to enjoy.

David and Sarah said...

It is. And he is. Amen.