Then Brodda rose in wrath. "I rule this house," said he. But before he could say more, Túrin said: "Then you have not learned the courtesy that was in this land before you. Is it now the manner of men to let lackeys mishandle the kinsmen of their wives? Such am I, and I have an errand to the Lady Aerin. Shall I come freely, or shall I come as I will?"

"Come!" said Brodda, and he scowled; but Aerin turned pale.

Then Túrin strode to the high board, and stood before it, and bowed. "Your pardon, Lady Aerin," he said, "that I break in upon you thus; but my errand is urgent and has brought me far.

. . .

Then Túrin leapt at him, and drew his black sword, and seized Brodda by the hair and laid back his head. "Let no one stir," said he, "or this head will leave its shoulders! Lady Aerin, I would beg your pardon once more, if I thought that this churl had ever done you anything but wrong. But speak now, and do not deny me! Am I not Túrin, Lord of Dor-lómin? Shall I com­mand you?"

from Unfinished Tales by J.R.R. Tolkien

First, I can't see much difference between freely and as i will. What is the intention of the speaker?

Second, I can't understand the latter bolded sentence, which seems to be written in subjunctive mood. Could you paraphrase or explain this please?

FYI, Brodda the incomer took Aerin as his wife by force long ago and Túrin is a son of the former lord of the land and akin to Aerin.

1 Answer 1


Agh. I vaguely recall the story from "The Silmarillion", Brodda is a bad guy of some kind, and Turin has a temper? Something like that.

My guess is that Tolkien means "as I will" as a kind of a threat. Turin says, basically,

Are you going to let me come in and talk to Lady Aerin freely, or do I have to find some other way?

which is to say, that he will force his way in. It's a bit like how in some (American) action films, the hero says:

We can do this the easy way or the hard way. Which is it gonna be?

Brodda is intimidated and annoyed, but Aerin is (possibly) worried for what will happen to Turin.

The second sentence is less cryptic, as it just uses standard if somewhat roundabout phrasing.

If I thought he has ever done you anything but wrong

is an alternate way to say

I think he's done you nothing but wrong

which is to say

he's been bad to you from the start

Turin asks Aerin's pardon for threatening Brodda's life, in case his assumption is incorrect.

Lastly, when someone takes a throne by deceit or force, and otherwise has no rightful claim to power, he's called a "usurper" and not an "incomer".

  • Thanks a lot for your answer. I see clearly now. the Incomer is Brodda's sobriquet. It was maybe inadequate to uncapitalize. He was one of Easterlings who made colony there under command of Morgoth.
    – Young
    Commented Sep 22, 2017 at 5:56
  • @Young I see. It's an unusually inelegant sobriquet for Tolkien, but I bet it relates to something in his beloved Finnish Kalevala.
    – Andrew
    Commented Sep 22, 2017 at 16:22

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .