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J.R.R. Tolkien was a philologist and he was heavily interested in the development of languages. When he was creating his fictional universe, initially, he did not put much effort into creating his own literary languages, but as the world of Middle-earth evolved, Tolkien put much effort creating the languages that would form an integral part of his fiction. And while where are several languages, most of which are completely clear and mostly usable, there are still some mysteries in Tolkien’s languages and one of those mysteries is going to be solved today. Remember the phrase Kíli said to Tauriel as he was giving her the Moon Rune in The Hobbit? Well, if you remember it but don’t actually know what it means, keep reading – because we have the answer for you right here at Fiction Horizon!
As the Dwarves are about to depart, Kíli says “amrâlimê” to the Elf-maiden Tauriel, whom he is in love with. And while she does share his feelings, their relationship is doomed to fail because of their races. Kíli asks Tauriel to join him and his friends and at one points says the aforementioned phrase. Although Tauriel claims not to understand it, Kíli knows she does, as he said “my love” (or something in the vicinity of that phrase, it might not be a fully precise translation).
In this article, you’re going to find out what Kíli said to Tauriel in The Battle of the Five Armies and what that phrase actually means. “Amrâlimê” is one of the more controversial additions to the movie that are not present in Tolkien’s original book, which is why we thought it merited a certain explanation.
Who is Tauriel?
Tauriel is a fictional Elf-maiden and warrior who was introduced as an original character for Jackson’s The Hobbit film trilogy, where she was played by Evangeline Lilly. Since she is an important part of this article, we thought it opportune to present her a bit to you.
Tauriel first appears in the second film of the trilogy, The Desolation of Smaug, when Bilbo Baggins and the thirteen dwarves led by Thorin Oakenshield are attacked by giant spiders. Tauriel and Legolas, leading some Wood Elves, defeat the spiders and capture the dwarves. During the latter’s imprisonment, Tauriel establishes a good relationship with Kíli, as both share the desire for carefree and impulsiveness. When the orcs, led by Bolg, attack the realm of Mirkwood, Tauriel confronts the invaders. Later, after discovering that Kíli was wounded by a morgul arrow, she decides to heal the dying dwarf at the Lake City. Together with Legolas, who decided to follow her, she arrives at the Lake City, where she obtains Athelas to heal. Kíli.
In The Battle of the Five Armies, when Smaug comes out of Erebor to take revenge on the people of the Lake City, Tauriel helps Kíli, Bard’s daughters and the remaining dwarves in the city escape the dragon. After discovering that Bolg leads an army of orcs from Mount Gundabad, Tauriel and Legolas participate in the battle of the five armies, in which Tauriel sees Kíli die at the hands of Bolg while the two were unsuccessfully trying to defeat the giant orc. At the end of the battle, Tauriel cries over the body of her beloved and is joined by Thranduil who, moved, forgives the elf and recognizes that the two really loved each other. The character’s fate at the end of the third Hobbit film remains unknown, and in all likelihood at the end of the battle at the Lonely Mountain Tauriel will return with King Thranduil and the surviving Wood Elf soldiers to the Wooded Realm, taking over the role of commander of the captains of the guard to place of Legolas himself, who at the end of the battle decides not to return with his people.
What does Kíli say to Tauriel in The Hobbit?
Peter Jackson has taken some liberties with his adaptation of The Hobbit. Firs of all, the took one novel – a relatively short one at that – and divided it into three films and although we do like to see more of Tolkien’s Middle-earth, that move still seems to be financially motivated more than anything. Second of all, to make Bilbo’s story more appealing as a wholesome unit, he added a lot of original scenes and details, mostly to fill the three-movie, but also to add a bit of flavour. Some of these things worked great, some worked not so well, and some are just in the limbo between these two groups. One of such examples is the beach scene, where Kíli speaks to Tauriel. Now, we know already that Tauriel is a movie-exclusive character, so every scene with her is an addition not present in the book, including this one:
This is a scene where the Dwarf finally admits his feelings – which were quite obvious, though – to Tauriel, also getting from her the reaction he wanted. Although she did not explicitly reciprocate, it was pretty clear that the feeligs were mutual. This was fully confirmed when he uttered the phrase “amrâlimê”, which completely shocked Tauriel as it was an expression of true emotion. We have given you a rough description of the phrase’s meaning, but that exactly did he say? Let us see!
What does “amrâlimê” mean?
Since “amrâlimê” is a phrase used solely in the movie, there is actually no precise translation of the phrase. Still, the Internet is an amazing thing and we have managed to find something. The wonderful editor of The Dwarrow Scholar has analysed the phrase for us in his article and he has come to the following conclusion:
I believe the word consists of three parts “amrâl”, “im” and “ê”:
1) “amrâl” – means “love”. It used the abstract construction aCCâC as seen in the Tolkien original khuzdul words such as “aglâb”. The radicals in amrâl, MRL are faintly reminiscent of the Quenya “melmë” (love) and “mírima” (very lovely), and of the Sindarin “meleth” (love), while also hinting at the latin “amorem” (love).
2) “im” – Updated: based on a screenshot from the video Appendices for DoS, provided by one of the readers of this blog (thank you Maite), it seems clear this is a genitive marker, indicating “of”. So, likely not a female indicator as previously assumed.
3) “ê” – is the first person possessive pronoun “my”, also use for “me”.
Putting all of this together we get “love-of-me”. So, as a result we get: “My Love”
Based on the context of the phrase, as well as the situation, we do believe that the analysis is correct, even if it’s not a completely precise translation. There is no doubt that Kíli expressed his romantic feelings to Tauriel with that phrase, so even if it might not be exactly “my love” it is certainly something akin to that phrase.
And that’s it for today. We hope you had fun reading this and that we helped solve this dilemma for you. See you next time and don’t forget to follow us!