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In the final shot of the first Hobbit film, there is a series of a runes displayed prominently on the wall

behind the treasure hoard which hides Smaug

I cannot, unfortunately, locate a screenshot for it - too current, I think. Can anyone tell me what it said, both in the Tolkien language and in English?

For bonus points, can anyone tell me what the sign that Gandalf placed on Bilbo's door was?

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The runes are a bit blurry, and as such, I cannot read them properly, but some runes look as if they are from the cirth language which Plutor posted, and I am not fluent in that one as of yet, but in the other dwarfish language used in the Hobbit books, I have memorized the runes used in it. The Rene on the door, however, is the cirth rune 'g', which is coincidently the rune 'f' in the language that I know well. The meaning as the dwarves said it is not a literal translation, but the way that the 'g' mark is interpreted in this case. Of course, for all I know, they could just be messing with B –  user19098 Oct 20 '13 at 6:39
    
@Shymain I've converted your answer to a comment, as it doesn't seem to answer the question, but instead discuss it. Check out our help center for more advice on this. As it is, it's still helpful so I've kept it. Thanks for posting. (p.s, comments are 'switched on' for users with Rep higher than 50) –  Pureferret Oct 20 '13 at 8:17
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3 Answers

up vote 14 down vote accepted

Took me a while! I actually had the same question, then researched online and found this thread.

Possible Answer:

The way Tolkien writes 'The Hobbit' seen in the published books (third picture down) http://the-haunted-closet.blogspot.com/2010/02/how-i-missed-hobbit-cautionary-tale-for.html lead to the easiest clue; the first section is the word 'The". Yes, I know, so intense. Further analysis if TOLKIEN'S RUNES (I tried Elder, Younger and Modern Futhark initially) reads 'Founda-.

So after watching that hi-res video of Joe Letteri talking about the VFX in The Hobbit, I could finally make out the inscriptions on the pillars in Erebor.

See this screengrab; https://plus.google.com/photos/112401565685212721989/albums/5847415313277378449/5847415319828596530?authkey=CMii7MiF-ZWEqwE

On the "top row" of the "left face" can be seen the writing "the founda", and I can only assume the sentence continues on the same face of the pillar at its bottom (to read "foundation" or "foundations" I suppose) as it's obvious there's writing along the "bottom row" of the "left face" of that same pillar, the last few that seem to read "ereb" (meaning "Erebor" perhaps).

On the "top row" of the "right face" of the same pillar the inscription reads "hammer".

It looks like there's more writing on the further pillars/walls (at the top of the flight of stairs near the statues), but even at 1080 I think it's impossible to read them.

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I will only take the bonus points for $200 please.

And I assure you there is a mark on this door - the usual one in the trade, or used to be. Burglar wants a good job, plenty of Excitement and reasonable Reward, that’s how it is usually read. You can say Expert Treasure-hunter instead of Burglar if you like... - Glóin

And here's Tolkien's drawing of the mark (as far as I am aware, the source is "J.R.R. Tolkien: Artist and Illustrator" by Hammond and Scull, on page 99, there is a colored pencil drawing by Tolkien entitled “Gandalf”, illustration number 91)

enter image description here

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In the movie, Gandalf placed a "G" cirth rune. Can't find a screen shot, though. –  Mark Beadles Dec 18 '12 at 22:19
    
An upvote for you both, since you both gave the correct answers for the two respective canons. –  Chris B. Behrens Dec 18 '12 at 23:37
    
Here's a screenshot of Gandalf's rune (even though this question has been around for a while, hopefully people won't mind the new image link). –  Slytherincess Jul 2 '13 at 8:00
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After about three days of trying to get a screenshot of that scene, this is the best I was able to do. The scene in question moves pretty quick and those stairs are pretty dark, so there's a lot of compression artifacts (and this is from the highest quality video I was able to find).

Dwarvish runes

The interesting thing about Dwarvish (Khuzdul) is that it was an extremely private language. Only a handful of words (and another handful of place names) were known to non-dwarves. Reportedly, even the "true" names of Dwarves were never shared with other races. So the vast majority of dwarvish you see is simply transliterated English. And there's apparently more than one alphabet.

I'm afraid the screenshot isn't detailed enough for me to be able to make out more than a letter or two here and there. Maybe you'll be able to find/make a higher quality image once the DVD comes out.

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I can recognize about 5 or 6 sequential runes from that screenshot. No time now and I'd need to find a reference, though –  Izkata Jan 10 '13 at 14:12
    
@izkata, have fun translating the cover of the 50th anniversary edition –  Peter Turner Jan 10 '13 at 15:52
    
They both look like gibberish to me.. But, the movie screenshot is sufficiently blurry that I can't be certain I'm seeing the right runes. There's more similarity than I remember. –  Izkata Jan 10 '13 at 17:36
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