Friday, April 5, 2013

Elvish Naming Customs

I found a handy-dandy explanation of the elves' multiple names thing that had us all (okay maybe just me) in a tizzy.

Basically, the (Noldor) elves have a "Sindarized" name which Tolkien mostly uses. Then they have father-names, mother-names, and a chosen name that happens when they're older.

So Maedhros is the Sindarized name, Nelyafinwe is his father-name, Maitmo is his mother-name, and Russandol is his chosen name.

Also, the twins (Amrod and Amras) have the same mother-name and just run around calling each other "Ambarussa." I think that's adorable.


S. M. said...

Wow, I never knew that Elvish naming customs were that complex. Now I’m curious . . . are there any passages in Tolkien’s published stories (so not the History of Middle Earth) where some of these customs are directly mentioned?

Megan said...

I don't know! The thing is it may not be relevant to LOTR or TH because there are few Elves talking to Elves, and I think zero Noldorin Elves speaking to Noldorin Elves? That would be the situation where these other non-Sindarin names would come up, I would think.

S. M. said...

That’s interesting. It sounds like Tolkien enjoyed coming up with customs for his characters even if some of those customs never made it (at least, noticeably) into a novel. I suppose that is one of the downsides about writing backstory and/or world-building –sometimes an author comes up with a fresh idea for a story’s world, but the readers don’t get the chance to see that idea directly.