Tuesday, April 03, 2007
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."