The Mythic Well V: Comparison Table

by Annie Hamilton


The following is an example of a triple encryption, that is, a three-to-one correspondence. Up until now, I have shown the comparisons and contrasts between the species of Babylon 5 and the races of Middle Earth which in general have a one-to-one correlation. Not completely so, however, for the one race everyone inquires about is the hobbits - The Little People - and their counterpart is to be found (or rather overlooked) hiding in plain sight and crossing several species. Not little in stature so much as little in status. The notion of a three-to-one correspondence finds its fullest expression not in the geography but in the major characters. I have already alluded to some multiples: such as Garibaldi as a point of comparison both to Beren's hand and to Turin, Sheridan to both Gandalf and Saruman, G'Kar to both Thrain and Thorin Oakenshield. One encryption is easy, the second is difficult, the third next to near impossible. Having said that, I will admit that I am unsure of the third encryption of Z'Ha'Dum - and while I have seen several suggestions to the effect that it echoes Sauron's Dark Tower, the Barad-dur (and is closer linguistically to it as well), I feel that this is unlikely in view of who the point of comparison to Sauron is. Thus I have chosen to go with instinct and equate its third encryption with Mandos, the Halls of Death. By the end, you will notice that I have also made a triple encryption linking Lorien to three of the most powerful of the Valar: Mandos, Lorien and Morgoth (also known respectively as Namo, Irmo and Melkor, amongst still other names). Perhaps we could call them Death, Desire and Destruction or Death, Desire and the Devil. Is Lorien Satan? Well, it's not usual to summon God, is it? But certainly not unheard of to summon the devil. And what happens in the episode called The Summoning? The question is: is B5's devil evil? Only time will tell.

Z'Ha'Dum Khazadum (The Mines of Moria) / Carn Dum (Red Fort of Angmar) / Mandos (The Halls of Death)
1. Recently Straczynski has indicated that Z'Ha'Dum means death of the future, implying that it is a Minbari word with the element "zha", which he has indicated means future. However, this is to suggest that there is no difference between "zha" and "z'Ha". "Zha" is present in such words as Entil'Zha and isil'zha: the latter being translated not just with the connotation of future, but also of births, beginnings and dawn. Indeed it is this last -- dawn -- that I would suggest is the most accurate meaning of "zha". I would further comment that I do not necessarily equate "zha" and "z'Ha", nor is there any definite indication that Z'Ha'Dum is a Minbari word - after all, it is first uttered by the Narn, G'Kar, when he is attempting to warn the Advisory Council about the return of the Shadows. However, if it is a Minbari word, its meaning, as well as death of the future, would surely be fortress of the Shadows and/or fortress of the Shadow lords and/or far/high gate of the sun and/or gate of the dawn. (*) 1. Khazadum was known as Moria by the elves and Moria may be translated as black pit or abyss of the shadows. Z'Ha'Dum has an abyss several miles deep. Other possible translations of Moria are from Early Elvish: land of dreams or sleep. "Mo" is also an early Elvish word for sheep - and land of shepherds is an interesting possibility in the light of what Justin says about the Shadows' motives. Moving on to Carn Dum, which means red fortress, it should be noted that the surface of Z'Ha'Dum is reddish-brown. Its official translation, death of the future, gives a significant pointer to Mandos, the Halls of Death, which means prison. Treated as a Minbari word, Mandos probably means gate of the citadel of the shadows. Likewise, Carn Dum would mean shadow fortress of red sunlight or shadow fortress of the high commanders.
2. On the other hand, if Z'Ha'Dum is a Narn word, its close linguistic relationship to the dwarf word, Khazadum, has been remarked on almost innumerable times by many fans and suggests that it means (.....) dwarf delvings. As the Narns were the first to speak of openly of the Shadows' return to Z'Ha'Dum, it is possible that the word has independently sensible meanings in Minbari and Narn. 2. Khazadum is dwarvish for dwarf delvings or mansions of the dwarves
3. The Narns went to find out whether their ancient enemy had returned to Z'Ha'Dum. They were pursued, some were killed. 3. Dwarves were the first to gain knowledge of the invasion of Khazadum by the forces of darkness. The Dwarves returned to Khazadum to discover whether their traditional enemies, the orcs, had left. They were pursued and killed.
4. Z'Ha'Dum was a multi-level underground city and complex inhabited by the Shadows and their allies 4. Khazadum was a multi-level underground city, built by dwarves, but inhabited by creatures of darkness
5. The Shadow allies, the Drak, lived on Z'Ha'Dum 5. Cave trolls, amongst others, lived in Moria
6. The Shadow creature with the fiery eyes was awakened on Z'Ha'Dum by exploring humans, lots of whom were subsequently killed 6. The Balrog (a monstrous creature of flames and whips) was awakened in Khazadum by delving dwarves, lots of whom were subsequently killed
7. The Shadow creature was originally asleep in a pit below the "Icarus" (Minbari for redhorn) 7. The Balrog was originally asleep in a pit below Mt. Caradhras (Elvish for redhorn)
8. Sheridan insisted on going to Z'Ha'Dum alone to face the Shadows. While there, he destroyed much of their underground city using the "White Star". 8. Gandalf made certain that he was alone and that none of his friends would aid him against the Balrog by smiting the Bridge of Khazadum with his staff. This resulted in the destruction of the Bridge and the fall of the Balrog.
9. Sheridan, pursued by the Shadows, leapt off a precipice on Z'Ha'Dum and fell two miles to the bottom 9. Gandalf, caught in one of the Balrog's fiery whips, fell several miles to the bottom from the Bridge of Khazadum
10. Sheridan spent several days in a kind of "limbo" 10. Gandalf spent several days in a kind of "limbo"
11. Sheridan recalls being rescued by a strange tangle of light which asked "Who are you and what do you want?" Shortly thereafter he meets Lorien. 11. Gandalf later recalls being rescued by an eagle and taken to Lorien (by which he means Lothlorien).
12. Sheridan dies eventually, but returns to life. 12. Gandalf died but eventually returned to life
13. Sheridan and Lorien go to Babylon 5 (a place of place where lots and lots of potted red-gold bushes are to be found, especially on the Zocalo) 13. Gandalf recovers in Lorien (that is, Lothlorien), famed for being the Wood of Golden Trees.
14. Sheridan was told by Kosh Naranek that if he went to Z'Ha'Dum, he would die. 14. Gandalf is warned by Aragorn about the Mines of Moria (Khazadum). Aragorn senses that Gandalf's doom awaits him there.
15. Sheridan's name makes him a point of comparison to the White Wizard, Saruman. He may also be a partial (one-third?) point of comparison to Gandalf. 15. Gandalf was the Grey Wizard who eventually became the White Wizard when Saruman became corrupted through his quest for knowledge.
16. The allies of the Shadows found themselves in disarray after Sheridan's attack, but soon re-grouped themselves. When Delenn takes the "White Star 2" to Z'Ha'Dum, despite great danger, no one is captured. 16. The orcs, trolls and other foul creatures of Moria found themselves temporarily in disarray after the fall of the Balrog. They did not actually succeed in capturing any of the Fellowship.
17. The Shadows think of themselves as "shepherds" or at least so Justin says. 17. Old Elvish forms would relate "mor" to shepherds and thus Moria to land of shepherds
18. Lorien says to Sheridan, "You've been dreaming". 18. Other old Elvish forms would also give Moria as land of sleep or dreams. Later Elvish forms give "lorien" as the word for dream. Lorien was the actual name of the Garden of Dreams, ruled over by the angelic guardian, Irmo. Irmo eventually became synonymous with his twilit garden and was known as "Lorien".

The Valar lord of dreams and visions was Irmo, known more commonly as Lorien. The Valar were the first created beings of Iluvatar, the All-Father.

19. Lorien appears to contain the Minbari elements for dreams or desires, people (or group of three) and star, thus giving the possible translation starry three of dreams 19. Treating "mo(r)" as dream, the three of dreams would be: Irmo (Valar lord of sleep, dreams and desire) Namo (Valar lord of judgment and death) Morgoth (former Valar, lord of destruction)
20. Lorien claims to be "The First One" and he resides on Z'Ha'Dum. He wears a metal circlet resembling a crown. Garibaldi's first words on Sheridan's return were "I'll be damned". From the framing of the shot, it could also be considered that this is an ironic double entendre and that these are his first words to Lorien. Garibaldi, of course, does not trust Lorien but since Garibaldi's credibility is undermined at this stage, who takes him seriously? It is possible that the animosity is mutual and that Lorien may have attempted to kill Garibaldi by persuading Sheridan to send him in with the team to remove Kosh II from Babylon 5 - a superfluous and suicidal mission, given the plan involving Lyta to lure Kosh out with the news of a Vorlon captive in a human. 20. Irmo was known as Lorien, Namo as Mandos, and Morgoth was a title of Melkor, who could be considered as the Middle Earth equivalent of Lucifer, the fallen angel who became the devil. Morgoth wore an iron crown in which were set the three Silmarils.

Melkor's dwelling place was Angband, but he was for a time imprisoned in Mandos. Namo's dwelling place was actually Mandos itself. Irmo and Namo were the two Feanturi (masters of spirits), pre-eminent amongst the Valar, while Melkor, in his pride, would definitely have considered himself "The First One". He had a special hatred for Turin, whose father had defied him.

21. Z'Ha'Dum was a planet on The Rim. "Rim" treated as a Minbari word means walls, perhaps even walls of night. Lorien dwells deep below the surface of Z'Ha'Dum. 21. Melkor (Morgoth) was cast out through the Walls of Night, beyond the Door of the Sun. (see translations of Z'Ha'Dum above). Mandos (Namo) had his Halls, deep below the surface of Valinor, on the western shore of the Encircling Sea, close to the Walls of the Night. Melkor (Morgoth) was once imprisoned there.
22. Mandos as a Minbari word would mean gate of hell, perhaps even simultaneously with gate of heaven -ultimately wending back to the concept of death. Note that Lorien encourages Sheridan to choose death. 22. Mandos (Elvish for prison) was the name of the Halls of Death, presided over by the angelic guardian, Namo, known as The Ordainer.
23. Below Z'Ha'Dum, where Lorien dwelt, the caves were lit by constant fire. There Sheridan sat in a dream-like state, somewhere between moments, and between death and life. 23. According to the dwarf, Gloin, in Khazadum there was a place called the Hall of Fire, which had fire all year round and little other light. It was a place for peace and thought.
24. Sheridan contemplated at least some of his life while sitting in the fire-lit grotto at the bottom of Z'Ha'Dum 24. Mandos, the dwelling place of the Valar guardian, Namo, contained the Halls of Death, a place of peace and thought where the dead came to contemplate their pasts and (at least in the case of the elves) wait until they could be born anew into a coming generation.
25. Lorien restored life to Sheridan, naming his allotted time as approximately twenty years. 25. The fate of men was unknown once they passed through Mandos - and only in one in case was Namo ever so moved to pity that he restored life (for a time amounting to several decades): he returned the human champion, Beren, to the embrace of the half-elven maid, Luthien.
26. "Naranek" has many possible translations, but one of them is Wanderer of the Secret Fire. The first Kosh was Kosh Naranek and he also, in concert with Lorien, was partly responsible for the extension of Sheridan's life. 26. Gandalf called himself a "Servant of the Secret Fire" and Morgoth always wished to wield the Secret Fire, but could not find it.
27. Morden came with his "associates" to Babylon 5 when Kosh Naranek was temporarily absent. Morden asked "What do you want?", offering to help fulfill that desire. 27. The barrow-wights came out of their barrows once it became dark. They offered to fulfill the dreams of those they wished to lure to destruction.
28. The shadow creatures of the type that accompanied Morden could be destroyed by shots from a PPG, a weapon which operates on phased plasma emissions. If this plasma emission at any stage involves electro-magnetic radiation, it could be contended that these creatures can be destroyed by light. 28. The barrow-wights could be destroyed only by exposure to light.
29. Paradoxically, despite the relative ease with which they could be eliminated, the shadow creatures were very powerful in their own way - they were able to destroy Kosh Naranek. Later, when Sheridan was trying to kill the second Kosh, a concentrated sustained blast from a large number of plasma rifles was not enough - the aid of Kosh Naranek had to be enlisted to defeat the second Vorlon. 29. The barrow-wights were allied with Sauron, the Dark Lord, and they of a substance of darkness that could enter the mind, eye and heart and crush the will. The barrow-wights were terrible and tortured spirits who fled out of Carn Dum, in the Witch-Kingdom of Angmar, to settle in the Barrow-downs.
30. These spectral creatures appeared to be form-shifters in the shape of shadowy phantoms, their voices sibilant and disquieting. 30. They were form-shifters, often in the shape of dark phantoms with horrible, hypnotic voices. They could animate dead life-forms, their touch was like ice. They did not come out until dark.
31. These spectral creatures accompanied Morden at all times, and were not just dark shadowy beings, apparently constantly shifting in shape and form, but also had a horrible effect on telepaths. In close proximity to them, the telepath Talia Winters felt that she was falling into some terrible cold dark. 31. The barrow-wights were immensely powerful in their own territory. Gandalf implied that the hobbits had under-rated the barrow-wights and commented that the most perilous moment Frodo had faced on his journey to Rivendell was not during the attacks of the Nazgul but rather when he was in the clutches of the barrow-wights.
32. These spectral creatures came from Z'Ha'Dum. When Delenn goes there to rescue Sheridan, the crew experience a hypnotic summoning that they find impossible to overcome. The crew is saved by Lennier's forethought in setting up a kind of "dead man's stick". 32. The barrow-wights came from Carn Dum. They were able to summon their victims by putting them into a hypnotic trance-like state. The hobbits are only saved by the intervention of Tom Bombadil.
33. Lorien claimed that both the Shadows and the Vorlons were interested in Z'Ha'Dum because of his presence. 33. The creatures of the Shadow occupied both Carn Dum and Khazadum after causing their inhabitants to flee, while Mandos was always an interest of the angelic guardians because of Irmo's guardianship of the place and also because of Morgoth's long imprisonment there.