] Tolkien Word of the Day ::: The Barrow-Downs

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23 Foreyule
T.A. 3018: The Company of the Ring stays in Rivendell preparing for the journey ahead.
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Talking Tolkien
forfeit
Noun, transitive verb, adjective

by SharkŻ

Etymology

Middle English forfait, from Middle French, from past participle of forfaire to commit a crime, forfeit, from fors outside (from Latin foris) + faire to do, from Latin facere
Date: 14th century

Both the noun forfeit and the adjective that is used in the writings of JRR Tolkien derive from the verb - 'to lose or lose the right to by some error, offense, or crime', or 'to subject to confiscation as a forfeit'.

Usage
In Lord of the Rings, it is twice Faramir that uses it, in both cases with the strict laws of Minas Tirith, and the hideout of Hennetz AnnŻn in mind:
"I should now take you back to Minas Tirith to answer there to Denethor, and my life will justly be forfeit, if I now choose a course that proves ill for my city." (IV, 5)

And about Gollum, who intruded the rangers' hideout: "But now he has done worse trespass than only to go coney-snaring in the uplands: he has dared to come to Henneth AnnŻn, and his life is forfeit." (IV, 6)

In the Silmarillion, we have in the Valaquenta the use of forfeit in "Last of all is set the name of Melkor, He who arises in Might. But that name he has forfeited;"

All three uses have the circumstance in common that is the centerpiece of its definition, that some right - here especially the most basic and important rights to live and bear a name - is lost or would be lost because of a previous crime -- acting against the will of Denethor for Faramir, sneaking into the Window to the West for Gollum, and the malice that Melkor perpetrated.

(Etymology and definition taken from www.m-w.com)

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