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Girl Names from The Lord of the Rings

June 10, 2009

luthien*Nerd Alert*

I love the Lord of the Rings trilogy.  Every couple of years, I pull the books down from their place of honor on the top shelf and take a journey to Middle Earth.  And — I will probably lose all credence as a true fan for admitting this — I also love the movies.  My husband and I watch the entire trilogy every year during Christmas break.

I’m not sure what it is that appeals to me the most; perhaps the layers of history.  There is such attention to detail in these books.  The entire history and genealogy of each character is fully fleshed out, even if it’s not mentioned during the course of the story.  There’s just something neat about that;  it lends depth to the story.

And, of course, as someone who likes words, there are amazingly beautiful names in these books.  Names of people, places, and things have an otherworldy feel to them.  Not only are they beautiful, but they are also based on the rules of the languages that Tolkien created.  Yes, he actually created the Elvish language, with its grammar and rules and etymology.

Which is why I think these names fall into a gray area of usability.

Yes, they are fannish.  Yes, they can be difficult and unwieldy to the uninitiated.  And no, they are not based on the real morphemes of a real language, nor do they have much of a history of use on real people.

But, darn it, they’re beautiful!  And they DO follow the rules of a very well thought-out language, if not a naturally evolving one (think Esperanto).

So, are they usable?  The jury is still out.  Some of them would obviously be easier to use than others:  people could figure out how to pronounce Arwen, but Ancalimë might be a different story.

I will commit to this:  I wholeheartedly endorse any of the following as middle names.

As for first names … well, I’ll put a star by the ones that I think would be usable as first names.  See if you agree.

Girl Names from Tolkien

Arwen *
Éowyn * (my favorite of the lot, sound-wise.  AY-oh-wen)
Galadriel *
Lorien *
Elanor *
Melian
Elbereth
Luthien *
Tinuviel
Celebrian
Rose *
Evenstar
Goldberry
Laurelin *
Valinor
Ancalimë
Estel
Arda
Primula
Vairë
Nessa *
Vána
Varda
Ioreth
Irimë
Findis
Lalwen
Eärwen
Elenna *
Elwing
Iluvatar
Lalaith
Míriel *
Belladonna
Níniel

If you love these names, but can’t support their use on a living breathing human, here are some alternatives.  These are all legitimate names; none of them appear in Tolkien (to the best of my knowledge), but I think they have the same “feel.”

If you like Tolkien names, you might like…

Rowan
Gwendolen
Gwenllian
Eleanor
Anwen
Miranda
Diana
Merry
Pippa
Natasha
Ariana
Elspeth
Vanessa
Mariah
Bronwen
Eira (AY-ra)
Guinevere
Estelle
Freya
Eleri
Elina
Valerie
Laurel

Lilith (thanks, Emmy Jo!)

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14 comments

  1. The names certainly are pretty! I love Elanor, Arwen, and Galadriel. I wonder if Lalaith might also be usuable (sounds like of like Lilith). How do you pronounce it? I’m saying luh-LAYTH in my head.

    As far as the non-Tolkien names, Eleanor and Gwendolen are both high up on my list. My husband has said that Gwendolen sounds “too witchy,” so it’s out for this first child, but I’m still hoping he’ll come round to it when it’s time to name a second or third child. I’m trying to convince him that it sounds magical, and that magical is good. No luck yet.

    I really like the idea of Galahad for a boy. Not sure how usable it is … what would the nickname be? Gal? Had? Haddy? But it’s very gallant and handsome.

    Speaking of fannish names, I just wrote a post on how to use book/movie/TV names without sounding too much like a fan. It was directed at Twilight names (because of a question someone asked me), but it applies to other books and movies as well.


    • D’oh! I didn’t mean for Galahad to be on there. That’s what I get for working on today’s post and tomorrow’s post at the same time. *insert forehead slap here*

      Good suggestion of Lilith; I’m going to add it. :)

      *wanders off to go check Emmy Jo’s post*


  2. A couple of more that I think are potentially usable are Nienna and Yavanna. (How do you know when you’re a nerd? When you suggest names out of The Silmarillion…)

    As a conlanger myself (that is, an inventor of languages– see conlang.org or google ‘conlang’), I don’t have a bias against “made up” names as long as the name means something to someone somewhere. :)


  3. I would much rather see any number of Tolkien names used verses popular made up names like Nevaeh. I agree that Tolkien names have a beautiful otherworldly feel about them. You described it perfectly. From this list, I like these, and I also find the usable,

    Arwen
    Éowyn
    Galadriel
    Lorien
    Elanor
    Luthien
    Tinuviel
    Rose
    Evenstar
    Valinor
    Ancalimë
    Estel
    Arda
    Primula
    Vairë
    Nessa
    Vána
    Irimë
    Lalwen
    Eärwen
    Elenna
    Míriel
    Níniel


  4. Thank you for making this site. My husband was given the middle name of Istari by his father. So we decided to carry on the tradition. Our daughter’s middle is Eowyn and our son is Olorin. We are pregnant now and are looking on these sites for original beautiful names and their meanings. Thanks for yours!


  5. Ive had two kids already, and now I’m pregnant with my second baby girl. Both my present kids have unique names. Ever since i was like 11, I wanted to name my babies unique names. My son is named Roman Judah, my first daughter is named Alaria Rilin ( I got those my daughters name from lord of the rings.) and my next daughter is gonna be named Rowan Lilith, ( from your list of names) thanks for the names!! They’re very unique, and if I ever have another baby, I will definitely name them from your list of names!! Thanks a bunch!!*>.<*


  6. I am pregnant with a boy, and I just wanted to know if Eowyn is just a girls name or also a boys name?


  7. I’m pregnant now, but I just found out a couple days ago, so I dont know wether if it’s a boy or a girl yet. Either way, I want my baby to have a lord of the rings name, because I LOVE Lord Of The Rings!! Legolaus is my favorite character,(& SO cute!) so I was thinking Legolaus Aragorn for a boy, cause I like Aragorn too. And for a girl, I was thinking Eowyn Rhirric!! If anybody thinks of any better names, please tell me!! Thanks!!


  8. The title character in “The Great Gilly Hopkins” by Katherine Paterson is actually named Galadriel. She wants people to call her Gilly because she doesn’t like Galadriel (and does not know who she is named for until her teacher compliments the name.) The implication is that her negligent mother was a hippy, who presumably liked LOTR. The book was written in 1978.

    It would be interesting to know how many people *are* named for various Tolkien characters. Not to mention the many many pets.

    I like the name Ioreth, although the character receives flack in the book. Iris as a real name alternative, perhaps?


  9. I named my daughter Eowyn Jo! Love it! Fits my fair haired strong willed child!


  10. I have a friend named Arwyn. Named after Arwen in the books. Her parents were huge fans. :)


  11. I named my baby Emmawyn Hermione … Arwen Eowyn Emmawyn… They sound similar..


  12. I would love to have any of these names, but I’m biased (I name my characters things like Airele and Lauriel). Actualy, what I would inflict upon a “living, breathing human being” from this list would be

    Lorien
    Elanor
    Melian
    Rose
    Laurelin
    Arda
    Primula
    Nessa
    Vána
    Irimë
    Lalwen
    Eärwen
    Elenna
    Lalaith
    Míriel
    None of the names for the main characters, like Eowny or Arwen, becasuse they are to recogizable, and none of the really weird ones.


  13. My daughter’s name is Eowyn, so it’s for sure a useable name. I’m suprised at how well it fits her actually since she’s already so independant at five months old!



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