Q. na carë indómelya “thy will be done”

Q. na carë indómelya, “thy will be done”

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The fourth line of Átaremma, Tolkien’s Quenya translation of the Lord’s Prayer. The first word na “be” serves a subjunctive or imperative function, followed by carë “done”, the aorist or infinitive form of car- “to make, do”. This is followed by indómelya “thy will”, the second person singular polite possessive form of indómë.

Decomposition: Broken into its constituent elements, this phrase would be:

na carë indóme-lya = “*be done will-thy”

Conceptual Development: In earlier versions of this phrase (I-IV), Tolkien vacillated over whether to use á or na for the subjunctive/imperative element. Tolkien also used mendë for “will” instead of indómë in the early versions of the prayer, and he used different verb forms for car-: carina (I-IIa, likely a passive-participle “done”) and cara (IIb-IV, perhaps a suffixed-imperative).

There is a peculiar form carima in version V of the prayer, which resembles an adjective. Elsewhere, the suffix -ima has a function similar to the suffixes “-able, -ful” in English (PE17/68), which would give carima the meaning “do-able”, but this seems unlikely to be the intended meaning. This form carima is not a mistake, though, since Tolkien deliberately altered it from carina.

Helge Fauskanger suggested (LP-AM) that this sentence may be an example of an impersonal, subject-less sentence, meaning “[may it] be done your will”. There are other examples of Quenya verbs that can be used in such subject-less impersonal constructions, such as ora “[it] warns” (VT41/13), for your conscience (órë¹) warning you against an action.

  I   IIa IIb III IV V VI
na á na
carina cara carima care
mendelya indómelya

References ✧ VT43/8-12

Variations

Elements

ná- “to be” subjunctive ✧ VT43/15 (na)
car- “to do, make” aorist ✧ VT43/15 (carina); VT43/15 (cara); VT43/15 (care)
indómë “settled character; will of Eru” 2nd-sg-polite-poss ✧ VT43/16 (indómelya)
á “imperative particle” ✧ VT43/15
#mendë “*will” 2nd-sg-polite-poss ✧ VT43/15 (mendelya)
cárima “feasible, possible (to do), able to be done” ✧ VT43/15 (carima)

Element In