If you’ve ever had the distinct pleasure to really listen to the late great Christopher Lee discuss his passion for Middle-Earth, odds are very good you heard him pronounce things extremely deliberately, and perhaps with a touch of high-handedness. If you’ve not heard it, listen in particular to anytime he says the name “Gandalf,” be it interviews or in the films. It’s subtle, but consistent enough to catch and distinguish from how others might say it. Lee was known to offer corrections to even the most subtle mispronunciation to enthusiasts like himself, and especially later on when on the film sets.
Middle-Earth was born in — and evolved from — Tolkien’s passion for languages. The history of the languages he created told the history of the peoples of Middle-Earth and thusly how those languages evolved. In other words, language is of primary importance to the Professor and to all who really embrace the core of Middle-Earth. This is the legacy Christopher Lee and those like him sought to encourage and protect. The means to do so was illuminated in this particular section of The Appendices.
Herein is the guide on how to pronounce particular sounds in the languages of the realm, including consonants, vowels, and syllable stress. There’s really nothing I can elaborate on here. Suffice it to say, for me, this all comes back around to appreciating the insane levels of detail that Tolkien gives us in his world building, which is why I’m often disappointed by those successors to his legacy. It also reinforces in my mind this most notable idea that Christopher Lee is superhuman for being one of the few who truly grasped all of it at the Professor’s level. He didn’t die; he ascended to the next level. Prove me wrong.