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Double-naming of people in TS/LotR

Merroe

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I quite admire JRRT's inventiveness of creating names for everything; some of you may remember my earlier tread on place names in the Shire here.

As regards naming people, apart from the hobbits, all seemed to go by one single name and JRRT seems to have made it a rule that all names therefore had to be different and used only once.

Here are three exceptions:

Gothmog
  1. Lord of Balrogs and high-captain of Angband, perished during the destruction of Gondolin.
  2. Commander of Sauron's army during the Battle of the Pelennor Fields, with unknown final fate.
Ecthelion
  1. Ecthelion of the Fountain: a captain who perished during the destruction of Gondolin along with the first-mentioned Gothmog.
  2. Ecthelion I, and
  3. Ecthelion II: both stewards of Gondor.
Glorfindel
  1. Also a captain who perished during the destruction of Gondolin.
  2. An important lord in Elrond's household in Rivendell.

IIRC then the first Glorfindel was said to have been allowed to return to ME for some reason and that he would therefore be the same person as the second one; some also pretended that this bit was confirmed by JRRT, if only not to have to admit a naming mistake of his!? I forgot where I have this vague memory from, and if that source was really reliable (had a look in the letters but couldn't find it there).

Any comments welcome!
Does anyone know of other similar double-naming?
 

Gothmog

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IIRC then the first Glorfindel was said to have been allowed to return to ME for some reason and that he would therefore be the same person as the second one; some also pretended that this bit was confirmed by JRRT, if only not to have to admit a naming mistake of his!? I forgot where I have this vague memory from, and if that source was really reliable (had a look in the letters but couldn't find it there).
In The Return of the Shadow there is a passage about this confirming that it was both a mistake in naming and confirming the two Glorfindels were the same elf:
Also very notable is 'Glorfindel tells of his ancestry in Gondolin.' Years later, long after the publication of The Lord of the Rings, my father gave a great deal of thought to the matter of Glorfindel, and at that time he wrote: '[The use of Glorfindel] in The Lord of the Rings is one of the cases of the somewhat random use of the names found in the older legends, now referred to as The Silmarillion, which escaped reconsideration in the final published form of The Lord of the Rings.' He came to the conclusion that Glorfindel of Gondolin, who fell to his death in combat with a Balrog after the sack of the city (II.192 - 4, IV.145), and Glorfindel of Rivendell were one and the same: he was released from Mandos and returned to Middle-earth in the Second Age.
As for using a name only once, this would be for Elves as men often would carry a name down through a family to honour ancestors or even famous Elves.
 

Merroe

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Great stuff Gothmog - whichever one of the two you are! o_O That quote was what I was looking for :) As to my memory: I might be old ... but some parts still function ;)

Thanks also SES for the mentioning of the name "Boromir": here is one addition!

Grateful to both of you! ... any more, maybe (from non-humans)?
 
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Alcuin

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Consigned to the salt mines of Núrnen…
  • Húrin Thalion, Lord of Dor-lómin
  • Húrin the Tall of the Keys of Minas Tirith
  • Húrin I, Steward of Gondor
  • Húrin II, Steward of Gondor
  • Denethor of the Nandor, the elf-chieftain
  • Denethor I, Steward of Gondor
  • Denethor II, Steward of Gondor
  • Tar-Elendil, fourth King of Númenor, whose eldest child Silmariën married Elatan of Andúnië, whose son was Valandil, first Lord of Andúnië
  • Elendil the Tall, first King of the Númenóreans in Exile, who with Gil-galad overthrew Sauron of Mordor, son of the last Lord of Andúnië
  • Turin Turambar the Hapless, son of Húrin Thalion
  • Turambar seventh (independent) King of Gondor
  • Turin I, Steward of Gondor
  • Turin II, Steward of Gondor
  • Turgon King of Gondolin
  • Turgon Steward of Gondor
  • Orodreth son/nephew of Finrod Felagund, King of Nargothrond, father of Gil-galad and Finduilas
  • Orodreth Steward of Gondor
  • Dior son of Lúthien and Beren
  • Dior Steward of Gondor
  • Barahir, Lord of Dorthonion, father of Beren One-handed
  • Barahir Steward of Gondor
  • Beren One-handed
  • Beren Steward of Gondor
  • Eärendur fifteenth Lord of Andúnië
  • Eärendur tenth and last king of the Arnor before its division
  • Beleg Cúthalion, friend of Turin Turambar and servant of Thingol of Doriath
  • Beleg second King of Arthedain
  • Eärendil Half-elven, son of Tuor and Idril of Gondolin, spouse of Elwing, father of Elros and Elrond, who carried the Silmaril to Valinor and delivered the prayers of Elves and Men to Manwë and the Council of the Valar
  • Eärendil grandson of Meneldil son of Anárion son of Elendil the Tall, third (independent) King of Gondor (fifth in the roll of the kings)
Names tend to be highly conserved among families and peoples.
 

Gothmog

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Tolkien had no problem with reusing names among men but wanted Elves to have unique names. This makes me wonder how it would work between the Calaquendi and the Moriquendi? Each group would have no way of knowing what names had already been used by the other. Also those of the Avari and the Elder who had made the journey as far as Beleriand.
 

Galin

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In my opinion, and generally speaking, Elves could repeat names: see Rúmil in The Lord of the Rings for example.

Gothmog wrote: In The Return of the Shadow there is a passage about this confirming that it was both a mistake in naming and confirming the two Glorfindels were the same elf:

The quote you provided is ultimately from Glorfindel II (GII, The Peoples of Middle-Earth). The fuller quote reads: " . . . which escaped reconsideration in the final published form of The Lord of the Rings. This is unfortunate, since the name is now difficult to fit into Sindarin, and cannot be Quenyarin."

Earlier Tolkien had considered Glorfindel to be Sindarin, and archaic in form (according to Word Phrases and Passages): In GII, he would further note: "Also in the now organized mythology, difficulty is presented by the things recorded of Glorfindel in The Lord of the Rings, if Glorfindel of Gondolin is supposed to be the same person as Glorfindel of Gondolin ( . . .) This repetition of so striking a name, though possible, would not be credible. No other major character in the Elvish legends as reported in The Silmarillion and The Lord of the Rings has a name born by another Elvish person of importance."

Anyway, my response to this is, with all due respect to JRRT, so what? Why would it be "incredible" for an important Elf to be named after another important Elf?


In notes to the Glorfindel I essay, Tolkien stated that the name Galdor "is of a more simple and usual form [than Glorfindel] and might be repeated." And then we get into other examples from JRRT's late writings:


Argon -- name often given by Sindar and Noldor in memory of Aracano's valour (The Shibboleth of Feanor)

Celebrimbor -- Sindarized form of Telerin Telperimpar -- said to be a frequent name among the Teleri (late writing, noted in Of Dwarves And Men, note 7).

Rúmil -- there are seemingly two Rúmils noted in The Lord of the Rings.

Gelmir
-- there are seemingly two Gelmirs in Silmarillion writings.

Ambarussa (somewhat related here, though not exactly reflective of the point in general): Nerdanel gave her 6th and 7th child the same name: Ambarussa, though Feanor called one Ambarto desiring that they should be differently named.

my "Glorfindel Scenario" opinion

In any case, I hesitate to stamp the word mistake on the Glorfindel matter, as (and as Christopher Tolkien himself notes), Glorfindel of Gondolin had appeared in no published writing, and JRRT could have simply changed his name -- even if he thought that two (arguably) important Elves should not have the same name (if also unusual in form?).

In other words, from Tolkien's perspective, it was not as if he needed to explain the matter, or was forced to concede that the two characters must be the same. There had been no Glorfindel of Gondolin yet published. And no "rules" about Elven naming either!

And again, for myself, I would find it credible to have names (even if unusual in form) of important Elves duplicated in history.
 
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Squint-eyed Southerner

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Anyway, My response to this is, with all due respect to JRRT, so what? Why would it be "incredible" for an important Elf to be named after another important Elf?
I suppose the reasoning could be that, as Elves who died went to the Halls of Mandos, they would be considered to be still "alive" in some fashion -- or at least, still "around" somewhere. In which case, using their names -- especially the famous ones -- could be looked on as a kind of usurpation, or at the very least, hubris.

This would be even more the case, when coupled with the idea of the reincarnation of Elves, and with the same names as in their former existence: "What are you doing with my name?!"

That , of course, raises the question of when, exactly, Tolkien came up with the idea. As I'm away from my library, I'll leave that for others to answer.
 
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Galin

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Hmm. But there are plenty of people living in the world right now with my name, and I don't see it as hubris (nor would I if I were more famous than I currently am).

Also note Tolkien's comment about Argon: Argon -- a name often given by Sindar and Noldor in memory of Aracano's valour.

Seems like a nice compliment to me, and seems like the Sindar and Noldor agreed. Granted, Argon, the Sindarized form, is different, but if it was "often" given by Sindar and Noldor in memory of Aracano's valour, then plenty of Elves should still be named Argon, given for the same reason, to honour an Elf who had died heroically.
 
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CirdanLinweilin

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I quite admire JRRT's inventiveness of creating names for everything; some of you may remember my earlier tread on place names in the Shire here.

As regards naming people, apart from the hobbits, all seemed to go by one single name and JRRT seems to have made it a rule that all names therefore had to be different and used only once.

Here are three exceptions:

Gothmog
  1. Lord of Balrogs and high-captain of Angband, perished during the destruction of Gondolin.
  2. Commander of Sauron's army during the Battle of the Pelennor Fields, with unknown final fate.
Ecthelion
  1. Ecthelion of the Fountain: a captain who perished during the destruction of Gondolin along with the first-mentioned Gothmog.
  2. Ecthelion I, and
  3. Ecthelion II: both stewards of Gondor.
Glorfindel
  1. Also a captain who perished during the destruction of Gondolin.
  2. An important lord in Elrond's household in Rivendell.

IIRC then the first Glorfindel was said to have been allowed to return to ME for some reason and that he would therefore be the same person as the second one; some also pretended that this bit was confirmed by JRRT, if only not to have to admit a naming mistake of his!? I forgot where I have this vague memory from, and if that source was really reliable (had a look in the letters but couldn't find it there).

Any comments welcome!
Does anyone know of other similar double-naming?
Aragorn?




CL
 

Merroe

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Right you are, CirdanLinweilin!

From the Annals of the Kings and Rulers:

Chieftains. Aranarth (elder son of Arvedui) 2106, Arahael 2177, Aranuir 2247, Aravir 2319, Aragorn I †2327, Araglas 2455, Arahad I 2523, Aragost 2588, Aravorn 2654, Arahad II 2719, Arassuil 2784, Arathorn I †2848, Argonui 2912, Arador †2930, Arathorn II †2933, Aragorn II FA. 120.
 

CirdanLinweilin

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Right you are, CirdanLinweilin!

From the Annals of the Kings and Rulers:

Chieftains. Aranarth (elder son of Arvedui) 2106, Arahael 2177, Aranuir 2247, Aravir 2319, Aragorn I †2327, Araglas 2455, Arahad I 2523, Aragost 2588, Aravorn 2654, Arahad II 2719, Arassuil 2784, Arathorn I †2848, Argonui 2912, Arador †2930, Arathorn II †2933, Aragorn II FA. 120.
Thanks, I thought so, I vaguely remembered there was an Aragorn I before him, glad to see I remembered correctly.



CL
 

Gothmog

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It is true that most went by a single name in everyday use, however, Tolkien also showed the importance of Family in that there was also a "Family Name" usually in the syle "of the house of" that could and was used at times.
And Aragorn hearing him, turned and said: 'Verily, for in the high tongue of old I am Elessar, the Elfstone, and Envinyatar, the Renewer': and he lifted from his breast the green stone that lay there. 'But Strider shall be the name of my house, if that be ever established. In the high tongue it will not sound so ill, and Telcontar I will be and all the heirs of my body.'

Return of the King: Chapter 8. The Houses of Healing
While Aragorn used Elendil as the House name until he became king he then established a "new house" whereby his descendants would use Telcontar.
 

Galin

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For anyone interested, here's a brief summation of the Elven naming customs noted in The Shibboleth of Feanor concerning the Eldar in Valinor (which would include the Vanyar). The customs here include:

True names

Father-name

Mother-name

Afternames

Nicknames, names given by others

Self-names, names of personal choice*

*since this is the later text compared to the one from Morgoth's Ring (which I describe in brief below), Christopher Tolkien adds his own note after the mention of the names of personal choice: "16 [The wholly different account of "Chosen-names" in Laws and Customs Among the Eldar (X. 214-215) appears to have been abandoned]."

____________________ ____________________ ____________________

The customs noted in Morgoth's Ring (Laws and Customs Among the Eldar) start off concerning the Noldor.

True Names

Father-name (public)

Chosen-name [the ceremony could not take place until the child was ready and capable of lamatyave, or "individual pleasure in the sounds and forms of words"] (private but not secret)

Added names or given names

In the essay Tolkien seems to widen the scope to the Eldar here, rather than only the Noldor, at least in the context of explaining a variety of names borne by the Eldar. And he also describes, regarding the Chosen-name: "among those of the Eldar that had the custom of the essecilme," which was in my opinion earlier suggested to be a Noldorin custom, although the fictional writer of the text had written that, on this point, "maybe" the Noldor differed from the other Eldar. Anyway, in this category we have:

Mother-names [regarded as true names when given solemnly] (public)

All other given names were not true names, although these could be adopted or self-given.

This second text is the longer account (again I've not given all the detail for either account), so maybe it's possible that the Chosen-name remained a Noldorin custom, and simply didn't get mentioned in the shorter account? On the other hand, maybe the later account is meant to replace the earlier description, and the Chosen-name (among Elf children) was dropped, just like Christopher Tolkien suggests might be the case.

Or something.
 

Galin

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For myself, I don't actually consider "Legolas" of Gondolin a character in Middle-earth. Back in the very early Book of Lost Tales he was of the Noldoli, as well as the Elf Gimli, although in that conception "Legolas" was a Gnomish construction (there was no Sindarin in this early period), and it was even said that it may have been a confusion of the names Laigolas Legolast, which would have thus made these forms his true names (although granted, even a confusion can catch on and become a name, if "Legolas" is meant to be a form actually spoken to the character).

"Laigolas = green-leaf, (...) legolast i.e. keen-sight (...) but perhaps both were his names as the gnomes delighted to give similar sounding names of dissimilar meaning. Legolas, the ordinary form is a confusion of the two" JRRT Book of Lost Tales
This is interesting! But in any event, much much later Tolkien decided (edited a bit here, by me): "Legolas means 'green-leaves', a woodland name -- dialectal form of pure Sindarin laegolas (...) (H.E. laica, S. laeg (seldom used, usually replaced by calen), woodland leg)."

So the name Legolas has become a dialectal Silvan name, suitable to Legolas of Greenwood. Was Tolkien going to retain this same name for an Elf of Gondolin? It's possible that he could have used the purer Sindarin form Laegolas here, but it's equally possible that Tolkien could have wholly avoided this and made up a new name for the Gondolin character, if he was to remain.

Anyway, just my opinion about this. The name Glorfindel was also invented in Gnomish, but we know Tolkien decided to explain it as archaic in form (in a Sindarin context), and that Glorfindel of Imladris was Glorfindel of Gondolin re-bodied, in any case.
 
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Galin

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Tripped over another example:

Finarfin's Mother-name was Ingoldo, and Finarfin itself is a Sindarization of his name Arafinwe after being "prefixed" by the name Finwe -- that is, Finwe Arafinwe > Finarfin (see also Finwe Nolofinwe > Fingolfin)

Finrod's Mother-name was Ingoldo as well.

"Eärwen gave this name [Ingoldo] to her eldest child Artafindë (Finrod), and by it he was usually called by his brothers and sister who esteemed him and loved him. It was never Sindarized (the form would have been Angoloð). The name spread from his kin to many others who held him in honour, especially to Men (the Atani) of whom he was the greatest friend among the Eldar." JRRT Shibboleth of Feanor

To my mind, "especially to Men" suggests to Elves as well.
 

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