Elvish Script: A Comparison Of Dungeons and Dragons, Tolkien and the Tuatha De Danann

Source Andie Boyungs for TGON

As a self proclaimed nerd of books, movies, games, myth, magic and all kinds of other things I have seen a few different elvish scripts. They are said to be musically pleasing to the ear. Now the two most popular are the Dungeons and Dragons and the script from J. R. R. Tolkien epic work of the Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings Trilogy. What if I told you there is an original elvish script that hails all the way from Ireland and looks nothing like either one? It’s true assuming Celtic Mythology is correct. I will tell you about them


Source Andie Boyungs for TGON

Ogham is the written language of the Tuatha De Danann and the beginnings of the Gaelic language. The Tuatha De Danann translates to the Children of Danu. They are the Gods and Goddesses of Ireland and known throughout the Celtic lands. The Tuatha De Danann is credited with the written Ogham language. Myth tells us that the great Celtic God Ogma Grianaineach was the creator of this written language. Ogham is also called Celtic Tree Alphabet. It is a series of lines that represent different letters written on one or both sides of a center line. The alphabet is not made up of all the same letters as the modern alphabets. For the purpose of this article I am using the English alphabet because it’s the one I am most familiar with other than Elder Futhark (another article I promise). Ogham leaves out the letters J, K, P, Q, V, W, X, Y and Z. It adds the letters NG, ST, EA, OI, IA and AE. Scholars are still trying to decipher some Ogham writings.


Source Andie Boyungs for TGON

Tolkien was God among Nerds. Not only was he a glossopoeia, an inventor of language (a term he coined himself), but he was also a very skilled penman and invented scripts for languages he invented. One such language and script was a very complex Elvish language and script. He didn’t make just one Elvish language. He has a few different ones. It was his passion. His writing just happened to be incidental to the language creating. He wrote The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings Trilogy as a hobby. Tolkien actually created the language and script, then he created they history of the people of this language as he believed you needed that history to be able to truly understand the language.

Dungeon and Dragons:

Source Andie Boyungs for TGON

Also called the “True Tongue” in D&D. It is the language of the Tel’Quessir which is made up of the Drow, Elves and Eladrin. It’s script is known as Espruar. It is based on Tolkien’s Quenya which is one of the languages Tolkien had created for The Lord of the Ring’s books. You can see where the D&D Elvish script takes after Tolkien’s.

As you can see, Elvish script has been worked out into an actual writable language that is truly usable. Ogham isn’t very pretty like the Tolkien version, which is my favorite, or even the D&D version but definitely usable. Now you can try writing in any of the Elvish scripts. I honestly find Ogham the easiest to replicate but obviously the other two are possible to do also. Which one did you like best? Let me know in the comments below. Is there a script you would like to see me compare? Let me know in the comments below. Til next week…


Author: Andie Boyungs

I am a wife, mother, writer and nerd. My dad cultivated my love of sci-fi as a child and I haven’t looked back since. I love myth and magic. I am an avid reader and love TV and movies. I love the movies Willow and Legend and the Star Trek ones both old and new. Laurell K. Hamilton, who writes the Anita Blake and Merry Gentry series, and Jim Butcher, who writes the Harry Dresden series, are probably my top two favorite authors. I love learning and writing about mythology and there is so much out there to learn, see and imagine. Come fly away with me.

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