The Naming of Dwarves

While on the subject of naming, I was sitting in a different church waiting for the band to come on. The church was the Union Chapel in Islington, strongly recommended. It has terrific acoustics, on account of being designed so that one small non-conformist could preach to a thousand or so people. It also has a bar which sells a reasonable lager, they let you take the beer into the church, and the pews have little shelves, as all the best pews do, to rest your beer on. I probably should add that I don't know if the bar is open for you to take beer into the Sunday service, but it's very agreeable at a gig.

We've seen a few people there, either in the church or the Sunday School hall. Probably the best known was Al Stewart -- "Some fool always calls out 'Year of the Cat' at the beginning. He should know I can't play 'Year of the Cat' at the beginning, or everyone would leave." -- "This is a humorous song about the Stalinist Purges, so I'm pretty sure it will go straight to number one" -- "The new album is in a thirties style, and the entire market for it is in this church tonight" -- you can see that he's got a bit disillusioned over the years.

But tonight we were seeing Savourna Stevenson, playing with June Tabor and Danny Thompson, and clearly thrilled to be playing to a churchfull of (mostly) Tabor and (some) Thompson fans. Quite a fannish concert in its way; Savourna Stevenson played at Sou'Wester, June Tabor was supposed to perform a song cycle based on Thomas the Rhymer with Ellen Kushner at Illumination (but pulled out and did it later at Café Munchen), and much of their material had lyrics by Les Barker, who played at Follycon (including one rather fine one about love tokens, which by a bizarre coincidence, mentions IKEA).

During the interval we fell to discussing the naming conventions of dwarves, as you do, and, in particular, the dwarves in The Hobbit. I was reminded, probably by one of the songs in the first set, that Tolkien named his dwarves from a centuries old mythic list of Icelandic dwarves, and then we tried to remember the names.

...there were Fili and Kili
...and Billy?
...No. But there was Thorin, and Dorin
...and Florin
...and Thoreen and Doreen and Soreen
...and Sauron
Not a dwarf. But there was Banzai
...and Donner and Blitzen
Are you sure? I remember Dwalin and Balin
...and Bodum and Pyrex.
...and Ori and Dori and Lori and Tori
Isn't that a bird? What about Biffa and Bamber and Bambi...
...and Bimbo...
...and Biggles and Archi and BigEars
...and Sleepy and Bashful and Dopey and
...Greedy and Envy and Avarice and Lust.

isn't that more than twelve?

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