translations:shagrat_and_gorbag_1

Dialogues of Orcs in “The Choices of Master Samwise” chapter of “The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers”

The Chapter X: The Choices of Master Samwise of Book Three of “The Lord of the Rings” contains a famous lengthy dialogue of Shagrat, a captain at Tower of Cirith Ungol, and Gorbag, a captain at Minas Morgul (Dushgoi). Like Grishnakh in “The Uruk-Hai” chapter these Mordor's captains are capable of lengthy speeches and are aware of situation at war despite lack of official information from their masters.

The parts tricky for translations are monikers of Shelob (“Her Ladyship” ⇒ “Nab Dûrurmniz”) and Gollum's (“Sneak” ⇒ “Hlighauk”). Gorbag also calls Shelob by her name (translated as “Ungniz” make a different translation easier to pronounce). I have left interjections untranslated even though some of them look like distorted English.

Conversation 1

Sam thinks Frodo is dead, takes the Ring but leaves his body. The Ring allows him to understand Black Speech. Then he hears some voices:

Character English Nûrlâm
Shagrat Hola! Gorbag! What are you doing up here? Had enough of war already? Hola! Gorbag! Fikramp mash ghu zin? Marbrusuz thlûk ghûthob dok?
Gorbag Orders, you lubber. And what are you doing, Shagrat? Tired of lurking up there? Thinking of coming down to fight? Kazhum, fi nalzauk. Agh fikramp mash, Shagrat? Markubrâk fauthut ghu zîgin?
Shagrat Orders to you. I’m in command of this pass. So speak civil. What’s your report? Kazhum fizûr. Dathugashn za zagh. Zarzi gashn narmauharz. Figauth mash?
Gorbag Nothing. Narash.
some Orcs Hai! hai! yoi! Hai! Hola! Here’s something! Lying right in the road. A spy, a spy! Hai! hai! yoi! Hai! Hola! Ashmûd zin! Kâtâ tîr mûrumir. Ash nûsh, ash nûsh!

Conversation 2

Character English Nûrlâm
some Orcs Ya hoi! Ya harri hoi! Up! Up! Ya hoi! Ya harri hoi! Ghu! Ghu!
some Orcs Now off ! The quick way. Back to the Undergate! She’ll not trouble us tonight by all the signs. Zil bo! Hîs mongum. Krut Latahûmumu! Na narmudhubak zafugh tanûkirzi.
some Orcs Ya hoi! Ya hoi!

Conversation 3

Sam realized Orcs took Frodo's body. He decided to listen more

Character English Nûrlâm
Gorbag Can’t you stop your rabble making such a racket, Shagrat? We don’t want Shelob on us. Shagrat, fipâsh puzgut lurgfib krampug zâsh zurm, mar? Daknarirm Ungniz dakir.
Shagrat Go on, Gorbag! Yours are making more than half the noise, but let the lads play! No need to worry about Shelob for a bit, I reckon. She’s sat on a nail, it seems, and we shan’t cry about that. Didn’t you see: a nasty mess all the way back to that cursed crack of hers? If we’ve stopped it once, we’ve stopped it a hundred times. So let ’em laugh. And we’ve struck a bit of luck at last: got something that Lugbúrz wants. Garn, Gorbag! Fib krampû makar pirob zurmumob, ap gâkh nonk tailubû! Narbolk mudhut gus Ungniz furn ash naht, da ûst. Na duzâkuz ash tazgir, bozdâ, agh daknarblord gus zîg. Finarmarhonuz: ash bûzgukr mongumirûk krut zîg griku skûnaga nab? Ghung dakpuzgulgan, dakpuzguban ash tuskarz. Zârz dabhul lalut. Agh dak grushuz ash naht faltob gorzarz: dakbrashuz ashmûd zamash Lugbûrz hizâ.
Gorbag Lugbúrz wants it, eh? What is it, d’you think? Elvish it looked to me, but undersized. What’s the danger in a thing like that? Lugbûrz hizâtan, mar? Da ûs za kul mash? Golugûrz za thakuz dazûr, ap mikar dulz.
Shagrat Don’t know till we’ve had a look. Daknarîst zi dak honubûk.
Gorbag Oho! So they haven’t told you what to expect? They don’t tell us all they know, do they? Not by half. But they can make mistakes, even the Top Ones can. Oho! Zârz taknarmargashnuzam amash darbat? Taknargashnak ûk amash takîst, mar? Nar pirirzi. Ap takpâsh saugut, yal Ash Talûrz pâshû.
Shagrat Sh, Gorbag! They may, but they’ve got eyes and ears everywhere; some among my lot, as like as not. But there’s no doubt about it, they’re troubled about something. The Nazgûl down below are, by your account; and Lugbúrz is too. Something nearly slipped. Sh, Gorbag! Takilf, nân takbrus hont agh khlau inûgh; mûd lurgdabri, ghungsi nar. Ap nar hush gus za, takmudhâk gus ashmûd. Nazgûlum dhu lata, ghîntfibirzi; agh Lugbûrz shuz. Ashmûd tâtuzâ musharz.
Gorbag Nearly, you say! Musharz, figashn!
Shagrat All right, but we’ll talk of that later. Wait till we get to the Under-way. There’s a place there where we can talk a bit, while the lads go on. Bhog, ap dakshugbub zîgob la. Darb zi dakbarl Latamûlumu. Ash in kulâ zîgin amin dakpâsh shugbut ash naht, kusn nonk drufrunû.

Conversation 4

Orc commanders go to a safe place where they think they can't be heared.

Character English Nûrlâm
Gorbag No, I don’t know. The messages go through quicker than anything could fly, as a rule. But I don’t enquire how it’s done. Safest not to. Grr! Those Nazgûl give me the creeps. And they skin the body off you as soon as look at you, and leave you all cold in the dark on the other side. But He likes ’em; they’re His favourites nowadays, so it’s no use grumbling. I tell you, it’s no game serving down in the city. Nar, danarîst. Mont lautû hîsarzar snû ashkon pâshulg skoirut, mogsh si. Ap danarhozd amarz za krampâkuz. Bharnûrzaz nar. Grr! Za Nazgûl thrakû zudgûl dazûr. Agh takdaft turmumfib1) zash uth zash tak hon fizu, agh takrangam grazûk burzumor rambiskir. Ap Ta brogbul; tak brogbauk Tab shi za ârsh, zârz narushdarz brumgat. Dagashnubam, nar tail bûrtat dhu goimor2).
Shagrat You should try being up here with Shelob for company. Fimaug tuglut kulat ghu zin Ungniz sha shalkûr.
Gorbag I’d like to try somewhere where there’s none of ’em. But the war’s on now, and when that’s over things may be easier. Dakulg tuglut inmûd amin nar takob. Ap ghûthum frunâ zil, agh amil zîg gorzub kûl ilfulgû kulut ulsar.
Shagrat It’s going well, they say. Za frun bhog, tak gashn.
Gorbag They would. We’ll see. But anyway, if it does go well, there should be a lot more room. What d’you say? – if we get a chance, you and me’ll slip off and set up somewhere on our own with a few trusty lads, somewhere where there’s good loot nice and handy, and no big bosses. Tak kulg. Dak kin. Ap konarz, ghung za frunulg bhogarz, mak makar lurm maugulg kulut. Figashnulg mash? – ghung daknântub ash bûth, fi agh da tâtubû bo agh gaithubû inmûd îmarz mûd nonksha kânûrz, inmûd amin raun bhog, nîr agh bazgûrz, agh nar dau mâgz.
Shagrat Ah! Like old times. Ah! Oth ilkû.
Gorbag Yes. But don’t count on it. I’m not easy in my mind. As I said, the Big Bosses, ay,ay, even the Biggest, can make mistakes. Something nearly slipped, you say. I say, something has slipped. And we’ve got to look out. Always the poor Uruks to put slips right, and small thanks. But don’t forget: the enemies don’t love us any more than they love Him, and if they get topsides on Him, we’re done too. But see here: when were you ordered out? Akh. Ap narsamb za. Da nar uls furmdabor nâd. Oth dagashnuz, za Dau Mâgz, ay, ay, yal za Dauz, pâshû saugut. Ashmûd tâtuzâzh, figashn. Dagashn, ashmûd tâtuzûk. Agh dakmaug dirnut. Ilûk za Urukfait gaithat tâtum thanarz, agh sta kamsh. Ap nar ribhol: za kuth brogbûtak nar makar snû takbrogb Tash, agh ghung tak thôlulg tala Tash, dak krampubûk shuz. Ap hon zin: mil fikazhâkuz idh?
Shagrat About an hour ago, just before you saw us. A message came: Nazgûl uneasy. Spies feared on Stairs. Double vigilance. Patrol to head of Stairs. I came at once. Kurn ash sib krut, ûnarz ik fihonuzak. Ash mont skâtuzâ: Nazgûl naruls. Nûsh furgâkû Dilmir. Krularz dirnurm. Tudukh kazu Dilmob. Daskâtuz asharz.
Gorbag Bad business. See here – our Silent Watchers were uneasy more than two days ago, that I know. But my patrol wasn’t ordered out for another day, nor any message sent to Lugbúrz either: owing to the Great Signal going up, and the High Nazgûl going off to the war, and all that. And then they couldn’t get Lugbúrz to pay attention for a good while, I’m told. Bildfik. Hon zin – Tadal Ghil dakob kuzû naruls makar snû krul ârsh krut, zamash da îst. Ap tudukhaut dab narkazhâkuz idh furn isk ârsh, agh nar kon mont hîstâkûz Lugbûrzu shuz: zaugdug Razdumu Dau talgug, agh Nazgûlum Talûrz bhanug ghûthumu, agh zîgûk. Agh dai taknarpâshuz barlut Lugbûrz kundat furn ash ilnîr, dagashnâkuz.
Shagrat The Eye was busy elsewhere, I suppose. Big things going on away west, they say. Hontum kuz kramg inisk, daton. Bild dau frunû baubarz dhûnshor, tak gashn.
Gorbag I daresay. But in the meantime enemies have got up the Stairs. And what were you up to? You’re supposed to keep watch, aren’t you, special orders or no? What are you for? Dahûr gashnut. Ap shi zil kuth barluzû tala Dilmumu. Agh fipantûz mash? Fitonâk frunat tudut, mar, sharzash kazhum ogh nar? Fikul mûr?
Shagrat That’s enough! Don’t try and teach me my job. We were awake all right. We knew there were funny things going on. Thlûk! Nardamp agh nargustiz buldab. Dak kuz riloruga thanûk. Dakîstuz bild glaz frunuzû zîgin.
Gorbag Very funny! Sharz glaz!
Shagrat Yes, very funny: lights and shouting and all. But Shelob was on the go. My lads saw her and her Sneak. Akh, sharz glaz: thîr agh goshnaut agh ûk. Ap Ungniz kuzâ ukhumir. Nonkdab kinuzûtan agh Hlighauknab.
Gorbag Her Sneak? What’s that? Hlighauknab? Zîg mash?
Shagrat You must have seen him: little thin black fellow; like a spider himself, or perhaps more like a starved frog. He’s been here before. Came out of Lugbúrz the first time, years ago, and we had word from High Up to let him pass. He’s been up the Stairs once or twice since then, but we’ve left him alone: seems to have some understanding with Her Ladyship. I suppose he’s no good to eat: she wouldn’t worry about words from High Up. But a fine guard you keep in the valley: he was up here a day before all this racket. Early last night we saw him. Anyway my lads reported that Her Ladyship was having some fun, and that seemed good enough for me, until the message came. I thought her Sneak had brought her a toy, or that you’d perhaps sent her a present, a prisoner of war or something. I don’t interfere when she’s playing. Nothing gets by Shelob when she’s on the hunt. Fimauguz kinutan: shauk mor boh mik; îm ash ungsi, ogh falgarz makar oth ash kauk harbuga. Takuz zin dok. Taskâtuz Lugbûrzah ilum ashûrz, mak lau krut, agh dakbrusuz ghîsh Ghumbo Talûrz dabhatan lautut. Takuz tala Dilmum asharz ogh krularz zîgilah, ap dakranguzan ashûk: bozduzâ brusut mûd zûrburm Nab Dûrurmniz sha. Daton ta narnîr throkhat: na narmudhulg gus ghîsh Ghumbo Talûrz. Ap ash dirnish bhog fifîth nildor: takuz ghu zin ash ârsh ik ûk za zurm. Ânth fughtil dak kinuzan. Konarz nonkdab gauthuzû zamash Nab Dûrurmniz brusuzâ mûd zrî, agh zîg bozduz bhog thlûk dazûr, amilu montum skâtuzâ. Da ûsuz Hlighauknab thrakuz ash glab nazûr, ogh falgarz zamash fihîstuz ash thrân nazûr, ash glûr gothob ogh ashisk. Da nar rithruth amil na tail. Narash lautâ Ungnîz as amil na farbumir.
Gorbag Nothing, say you! Didn’t you use your eyes back there? I tell you I’m not easy in my mind. Whatever came up the Stairs, did get by. It cut her web and got clean out of the hole. That’s something to think about! Narash, gashn fi! Finarmarushduz hont dab krut zîgin? Dagashnam danarkul uls furmdabor nâd. Mashkon skât tala Dilmum, lautuz za as. Za grishuz nazbnab agh ukhuz thigûrz gronkumah. Za kul ashmûd ûsat gus zîg!
Shagrat Ah well, but she got him in the end, didn’t she? Ah, bhog, ap na snabuzan gorzarz, mar?
Gorbag Got him? Got who? This little fellow? But if he was the only one, then she’d have had him off to her larder long before, and there he’d be now. And if Lugbúrz wanted him, you’d have to go and get him. Nice for you. But there was more than one. Marsnabuzan? Snabuz mai? Za shauk mik? Ap ghung takuz tug, dai na thrakulgan folkambumu zi rodharz, agh takulg zîg zil. Agh ghung Lugbûrz nargulgan, fibolkâkulg ukhut agh snabutan. Nîr fizûr. Ap kuzû makar snû ash.
Gorbag Who cut the cords she’d put round him, Shagrat? Same one as cut the web. Didn’t you see that? And who stuck a pin into Her Ladyship? Same one, I reckon. And where is he? Where is he, Shagrat? Mash grishuz sorm na gaithuz ta kurn, Shagrat? Zash ash zash grishuz nazbum. Narmarfikin zîg? Agh mash ghrûthuz ash tazg Nab Dûrurmnizishi? Zash ash, da ûst. Agh takul min? Takul min, Shagrat?
Gorbag You may well put your thinking cap on, if you’ve got one. It’s no laughing matter. No one, no one has ever stuck a pin in Shelob before, as you should know well enough. There’s no grief in that; but think – there’s someone loose hereabouts as is more dangerous than any other damned rebel that ever walked since the bad old times, since the Great Siege. Something has slipped. Fi ilf tuput ûstolgfib bhog, ghung fibrusulg ash. Za nar kûl lalat. Narash, narash naril ghrûthuz ash tazg Ungnizishi dok, zash fimaug îstut bhog thlûk. Nar nîrth zîgor; ap ûs – ashmûd kul sligûrz zin mush zash makar razgûrz snû kon isk shadmauk skûnaga zamash ukhûza milkon ghâr za il kû fik, ghâr Bharaugdum. Ashmûd tâtuz.
Shagrat And what is it then? Agh dai za kul mash?
Gorbag By all the signs, Captain Shagrat, I’d say there’s a large warrior loose, Elf most likely, with an elf-sword anyway, and an axe as well maybe; and he’s loose in your bounds, too, and you’ve never spotted him. Very funny indeed! Ûk tanirzi, Hizd Shagrat, dagashnulg ash mauhdau kulâ sligûrz zîg, ash Golug makaz falgarz, goluglagsha konarz, agh ash pulk shazârz falgarz; agh takul sligûrz zuglor fib, shuz, agh fikunduzan naril. Glaz sharz kogarz!
Shagrat Ah well, you always did take a gloomy view. You can read the signs how you like, but there may be other ways to explain them. Anyhow, I’ve got watchers at every point, and I’m going to deal with one thing at a time. When I’ve had a look at the fellow we have caught, then I’ll begin to worry about something else. Ah, bhog, finorkuzok ash kinduf. Fipâsh honbut tan amarz fibrogb, ap isk mong ilfû kulut rizûrbatul. Konarz, dabrusuz honal spazorûgh, agh dataduth3) ash kûlsha shi ash il. Amil dahonuz shaukumu dakatsuz, zîgil damudhubîs gus ashisk.
Gorbag It’s my guess you won’t find much in that little fellow. He may have had nothing to do with the real mischief. The big fellow with the sharp sword doesn’t seem to have thought him worth much anyhow – just left him lying: regular Elvish trick. Za kul tondaburm finargimbub mak shaukmikzazor. Ta ilf…
Shagrat We’ll see. Come on now! We’ve talked enough. Let’s go and have a look at the prisoner!
Gorbag What are you going to do with him? Don’t forget I spotted him first. If there’s any game, me and my lads must be in it.
Shagrat Now, now. have my orders. And it’s more than my belly’s worth, or yours, to break ’em. Any trespasser found by the guard is to be held at the tower. Prisoner is to be stripped. Full description of every article, garment, weapon, letter, ring, or trinket is to be sent to Lugbúrz at once, and to Lugbúrz only. And the prisoner is to be kept safe and intact, under pain of death for every member of the guard, until He sends or comes Himself. That’s plain enough, and that’s what I’m going to do.
Gorbag Stripped, eh? What, teeth, nails, hair, and all?
Shagrat No, none of that. He’s for Lugbúrz, I tell you. He’s wanted safe and whole.
Gorbag You’ll find that difficult. He’s nothing but carrion now. What Lugbúrz will do with such stuff I can’t guess. He might as well go in the pot.
Shagrat You fool! You’ve been talking very clever, but there’s a lot you don’t know, though most other folk do. You’ll be for the pot or for Shelob, if you don’t take care. Carrion! Is that all you know of Her Ladyship? When she binds with cords, she’s after meat. She doesn’t eat dead meat, nor suck cold blood. This fellow isn’t dead!

Conversation 5

Sam realizes, Frodo is still alive.

Character English Nûrlâm
Shagrat Garn! She’s got more than one poison. When she’s hunting, she just gives ’em a dab in the neck and they go as limp as boned fish, and then she has her way with them. D’you remember old Ufthak? We lost him for days. Then we found him in a corner; hanging up he was, but he was wide awake and glaring. How we laughed! She’d forgotten him, maybe, but we didn’t touch him – no good interfering with Her. Nar – this little filth, he’ll wake up, in a few hours; and beyond feeling a bit sick for a bit, he’ll be all right. Or would be, if Lugbúrz would let him alone. And of course, beyond wondering where he is and what’s happened to him.
Gorbag And what’s going to happen to him? We can tell him a few stories at any rate, if we can’t do anything else. I don’t suppose he’s ever been in lovely Lugbúrz, so he may like to know what to expect. This is going to be more funny than I thought. Let’s go!
Shagrat There’s going to be no fun, I tell you. And he’s got to be kept safe, or we’re all as good as dead.
Gorbag All right! But if I were you, I’d catch the big one that’s loose, before you send in any report to Lugbúrz. It won’t sound too pretty to say you’ve caught the kitten and let the cat escape.

Conversation 6

Orcs return to take Frodo's body to the top of the tower.

Character English Nûrlâm
Shagrat That’s what I’m going to do. Put him right up in the top chamber.
Gorbag What for? Haven’t you any lock-ups down below?
Shagrat He’s going out of harm’s way, I tell you. See? He’s precious. I don’t trust all my lads, and none of yours; nor you neither, when you’re mad for fun. He’s going where I want him, and where you won’t come, if you don’t keep civil. Up to the top, I say. He’ll be safe there.
1)
lit. “skin the body of yours”
2)
“city” = “goi” refers to Minas Morgul here
3)
1SG=deal=going.to
translations/shagrat_and_gorbag_1.txt · Last modified: 2022/11/22 20:54 by morgoth