dwarves etc.

James A. Landau JJJRLandau at AOL.COM
Thu Mar 8 00:46:45 UTC 2001

In a message dated 03/07/2001 3:06:44 PM Eastern Standard Time,
flanigan at OAK.CATS.OHIOU.EDU writes:

>  What did the title of the Walt Disney movie use?

According to both Christopher FInch _The Art of Walt Disney_ (New York: Harry
N. Abrams, Inc, 1975, but the copyright notice says (c) 1975 by Walt Disney
Productions) and Bob Thomas _Walt Disney: An American Original_ (New York:
Simon and Schuster, 1976) it is "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs".  The
Thomas book (pages 131f of the Pocket Books paperback) quotes from a
"verbatim transcript" of a story conference:

"...glass coffin...two dwarfs on either side with things like guards would
have...Then you hear the Prince.  The birds, dwarfs, everyone hear him
offscreen...all the dwarfs see [the Princes's kiss] and every dwarf drops his
head...[Snow White] begins to sit up.  Nobody notices at first.  One dwarf
looks up and sees it...the dwarfs go crazy, hug each other..."

My recollection that it is the "Seven Dwarves" must be faulty.

Thomas pages 130f has the following story:

"the unnamed Dwarf became a dim-witted mute.  His was the last name to
evolve.  Walt advocated Dopey, but others objected that it sounded too modern
and connoted narcotic addiction.  Walt discovered that the word appeared in
Shakespeare, and he decreed that the seventh Dwarf would be called Dopey."

(I read a similar account of the name "Dopey" in the biography of Walt Disney
written by his daughter Diane Disney Miller).

Now to pose a question.  Tolkien (_Lord of the Rings_ volume III _The Return
of the King_ Appendix F page 518 of the Ballantine paperback edition) says
"in this book as in _The Hobbit_ the form _dwarves_ is used, although the
dictionaries tell us that the plural of _dwarf_ is _dwarfs_.  It should be
_dwarrows_ (or _dwerrows_), if singular and plural had each gone their own
way down the years."

On what evidence does Tolkien postulate the form *dwarrows? (or *dwerrows?)

I am aware of four English words that end in "-arf": arf (noise a dog makes),
barf, scarf, and wharf.  The first two are not often used as plural nouns,
and the plurals of the other two are "scarves" and "wharves".  Similarly I am
aware of seven plurals ending in -arrows: arrrows, barrows (a word used in
Lord of the Rings), farrows, harrows, marrows, narrows, and sparrows.
Narrows (meaning a nautical strait) lacks a singular and the others simply
drop the final "s" to form the singular.  None seems to support Tolkien's

              - Jim Landau

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