On Runic Writing

On occasion, I’ve deployed my skills in utilizing J.R.R. Tolkien’s Tengwar writing system. And while I have a large collection of different types of Tengwar fonts and know how to use them, the Runic fonts I’ve never used.

I have them. I just don’t use them.

But then, I am a self-described “font whore.” You can never have too many fonts.

The surprising thing about my lack of interest in runic writing is that, as I learned last summer, I am Older Futhark, a Norse runic language.

Yes, that’s one of those strange internet quizzes that tells you deep dark secrets about yourself, off of a decision tree of maybe four questions. Which means there’s likely no validity to it at all, and the system can be gamed by changing the answer to a single question.

Today, for random reasons, I found myself thinking about Older Futhark. And I decided I would see if, with the various runic fonts at my disposal, if I could write my name in my language.

Indeed, I could!

The “S” in “Gibson” is horribly malformed, because that’s the one runic letter that couldn’t be done, so I had to edit it by hand in a graphics program. And it came out looking funky.

A literate Viking of the 10th century would be able to make sense out of that image.

The runic systems used in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings are quite different from one another. The Hobbit‘s system is closer to Older Futhark than the system in The Lord of the Rings, and there are runes in Futhark that aren’t present in either. Some of the runes, particularly in The Hobbit are incredibly elaborate.

I don’t expect to have any need for skills in writing with runes. Some people find mystical powers in writing with runes. Some of the ancient alphabets were as much pictograms as they were letters — secret messages could be encoded within words and the way in which words were written.

There’s certainly no magic in writing my own name in Older Futhark.

I just wanted to see if I could do it. 😉

Published by Allyn

A writer, editor, journalist, sometimes coder, occasional historian, and all-around scholar, Allyn Gibson is the writer for Diamond Comic Distributors' monthly PREVIEWS catalog, used by comic book shops and throughout the comics industry, and the editor for its monthly order forms. In his over ten years in the industry, Allyn has interviewed comics creators and pop culture celebrities, covered conventions, analyzed industry revenue trends, and written copy for comics, toys, and other pop culture merchandise. Allyn is also known for his short fiction (including the Star Trek story "Make-Believe,"the Doctor Who short story "The Spindle of Necessity," and the ReDeus story "The Ginger Kid"). Allyn has been blogging regularly with WordPress since 2004.

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