Girl Names from The Lord of the RingsJune 10, 2009
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
Éowyn * (my favorite of the lot, sound-wise. AY-oh-wen)
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…
Lilith (thanks, Emmy Jo!)