64. Blasphemy (Aragorn)
Note: I was in a discussion of swearing, insults and cursing in Middle-earth and these points came up:
Adaneth said - The thing about blasphemy--taking the name(s) of the supernatural in vain--is that you need to take into account the speaker's belief as well as the strength of the emotion. If you genuinely believe Powers exist, and if you believe they pay any attention to people, speaking their name is an invocation: you have cried out for their attention. This is why so many common blasphemies were things like "God's blood" (sblood or bloody) or "God's wounds" (zounds) --it's flirting with danger, but not quite as risky as shouting "God!"
As I see Aragorn as being fairly "devout" - after all he does have true estel - I could not resist writing this.
Captain Thorongil gritted his teeth as the sergeant harangued his troops. He had become accustomed to the casually filthy talk of the troops in Rohan, but they had not cursed in Sindarin.
The first, and only, time he had said the word the sergeant spat continually at the new recruits, Master Elrond had thundered, "What did you say?"
Ashamed, and convinced that Manwe would smite him for his presumption in uttering the word, he had hidden in a cupboard and had to be coaxed out by his mother.
He flinched as his sergeant roared out, "'Snipples! You'll never make soldiers!"
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