“Glower” in its Scottish regional meaning means simply to stare intently, sometimes with an air of surprise. In its second meaning, and this is how I’ve always understood it, to glower is to stare angrily (or if one is the weather, to have an appearance of darkness or gloominess).
The etymology of the word is obscure, bless it, and may have to do with the second meaning of the verb “glow” which is to stare. Or it could be from “glore” which is to stare fixedly in its second meaning (first meaning, to shine. Now a whole new exploration of words that means both to emit light and to perceive it presents itself). “Glore” is related to “glare” and probably is related to the Old Icelandic “glóra” – to gleam and glare as the eyes of a cat! Aha! and cat eyes seem to give light as they reflect it as well as to see all. We may have it!
If the peaks of the mountains glowered against the sunset – my goodness. Those mountains are west of them, the Misty Mountains which they have just left behind. Are they glowing, limned with sunset light? Are they dark? Are they anthropomorphically expressing anger, as Caradhras will in a later novel? All these things together?
“Glower” has just been upgraded to a gem word!
- 07.132 and the peaks of the mountains glowered against the sunset
“glore, v.” OED Online. Oxford University Press, June 2015. Web. 26 July 2015.
“glower, v.” OED Online. Oxford University Press, June 2015. Web. 26 July 2015.