Ancient scripts have often played an important role in fantasy themed books. In the Moon Stealer series, I didn’t want to invent a new language, but instead decided to use an ancient script that was already part of our history.
Runes were often used to foretell the future as well as for provide personal guidance and transformation. They would have been etched on staves of wood and scattered then three selected and read by the officiant. Today it is known as ‘asking the Norns’, or the Wyrd sisters – representing the past, present and future.
Here are just a few interpretations of the runes:
But, Anglo-saxon runic symbols have also been used in modern day times for a variety of other things.
During the second world war, Heinrich Himmler shared a fascination of the runic alphabet and considered it to have symbolic meaning. The Schutzstaffel (also known as the SS) is recognised by two Sig runes side by side. Sig means Sun, however, it was reinterpreted and became known as a Victory sign and could be seen on the uniforms of German officers. Typewriters, even had an extra key added with the double-sig symbol.
Other symbols used by the German army included:
J R R Tolkien
Anglo-saxon runes have often been used in literacy, most famously by J R R Tolkien in his novel, The Hobbit, as the alphabet of the Dwarves. The runes were thin and angular, making them easy for cutting and engraving into wood, stone and metal. They can be seen as the language used on Thror’s Map in The Hobbit, as well as on the West Gate at Moria. Although Tolkien adapted the original Anglo-Saxon alphabet, primarily it remained the same. Identifiable runes were also used in the initial drafts of The Lord of the Rings, but later replaced by an adapted rune-like alphabet invented by Tolkien himself, called Cirth.