Essekenta Endamarwa: Names from The Return of the Shadow, The Treason of Isengard and The War of the Ring

Roman Rausch

Dec. 23rd 2006

If we seek to recapture what they had forgotten, and examine each of the original elements in turn, it must be rather for the pleasure of the hunt than in hope of a final kill.
J.R.R. Tolkien — Medium Ævum III 2 p. 95

√TĂR > tāra, tall, ups…sta…



The aim of this article is to compile the Elvish names of persons and locations from The Return of the Shadow, The Treason of Isengard and The War of the Ring, volumes VI, VII and VIII of The History of Middle-earth, and to analyze them linguistically. These volumes deal with earlier drafts of The Lord of the Rings and thus nearly all of the names presented here are external predecessors of those later ones which have found a way into the book.
For the most part I have ignored those names that have not changed and are identical to those in The Lord of the Rings (like Aragorn, palantír.. etc.), unless analyzing them was helpful to understand the earlier forms.
All words are presented roughly in the order of their occurrence in the three books, but sometimes it was suitable to summarize several forms sharing the same elements or referring to the same place or person. As I also intend to keep the possibility of using this article as a reference for particular forms, repetitions were inevitable, since a couple of elements occurs over and over again.
Tolkien’s reconstructions are not asterisked, just my own. Whenever roots were used in the analysis, they are from The Etymologies (LR:347-400, VT45/46), unless differently glossed. The work on this source was begun by Tolkien simultaneously with the writing of The Lord of the Rings and is thus highly important in the context of this article.
Some interpretations are easy and unambiguous, which is why they are given without much commentary. Others remain a riddle even with the help of The Etymologies. Clearly, Tolkien had no necessity to note the root and origin corresponding to every single name in his legendarium, while there might still be unpublished linguistic material (from this stage or another) which could throw a light at some of the names.

The main problem is that Tolkien was perfectly free to invent new roots and origins for the new names as he went along. An analysis in terms of the known roots or elements might prove totally wrong, but no other way is left to us. So, as Tolkien puts it in the introduction to an analysis of his own, it must be rather for the pleasure of the hunt than in hope of a final kill.

Another problem in analyzing all these names is the lack of knowledge about the actual language they belong to. At this stage of mythological conception the Elves of Beleriand spoke Ilkorin, while the external predecessor of Sindarin, Noldorin, was spoken by the Noldor that came to Middle-earth (see e.g. LR:177). In its development from Old Noldorin it was also influenced by Ilkorin and both languages are overall very close phonetically, which makes them difficult to distinguish. Such a distinguishing is not really important in order to understand the names, but it may lead to a wrong picture of either language.

Earlier discussions of some of the forms were led on the Lambengolmor mailing list [1] and in the Quettaron minaþúrie thread [3] on the site Aglardh.

1  Names from The Return of the Shadow

Tolkien started to write a sequel for The Hobbit end of 1937 and began the work several times all over again, until he came to the Mines of Moria by the end of 1939 (RS:11,461). Most of the linguistic material is found in the third phase, which began some time in 1939 (RS:309).

2  Names from The Treason of Isengard

Some of the manuscripts presented in this book were written on paper Tolkien had received in August 1940, others are still from the end of 1939 (TI:67). The story reached Lothlórien and the departure of Boromir by the winter of 1941-42 (TI:379,387) and continued then until Fangorn, the return of Gandalf and his visit to king Theoden in the same year, before taking a long break.

3  Names from The War of the Ring

After the previously mentioned long break Tolkien continued to write, starting with The Taming of Sméagol in April 1944 (WR:77-78, Let:59). The first names below still belong to 1942 (cf. WR:59, note 10), from Sern Erain onwards they are from 1944. The story is now almost brought to its end, the thread with Frodo and Sam is brought until the point when Frodo is captured by orcs (cf. WR:219-220). The western thread reaches the journey to Morannon after the victory of the Pelennor Fields.


Much less is written by Tolkien himself and published about the ’Celtic branch’ of Eldarin languages, i.e. Noldorin, Sindarin and Ilkorin, than about Quenya, so that every bit of information is very helpful. Therefore a short final summary and conclusion seems necessary.


Lambengolmor mailing list messages
Robert Ireland and Andreas Möhn. A Tolkien dictionary
Aglardh thread Quettaron Minaþúrie
Helge Fauskanger. Ilkorin – a ”lost tongue”?
Thorsten Renk. Compounds in the Noldorin of the Etymologies
Bertrand Bellet. Noldorin plurals in the Etymologies
Bertrand Bellet. Vowel affection in Noldorin and Sindarin
Carl Hostetter. The Two Phonetic Values of ll in Elvish Sindarin in The Lord of the Rings
Ryszard Derdziński. Northern Dialect of Sindarin
Didier Willis. Un arbre mystérieux : le lebethron

update: Apr 3rd 2007   names from WR added, some additional comments added to the older entries]
update: Oct 8th 2007   cross-references and interpretations from PE17 added, note on
-on, -ion rewritten


This document was translated from LATEX by HEVEA.