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Guide to the Names in The Lord of the Rings

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The Guide to the Names in The Lord of the Rings, later known as Nomenclature of The Lord of the Rings or simply Nomenclature is a collection of notes made by J.R.R. Tolkien after the Dutch and Swedish translations had come out.[1]


Publication history

The Guide was first published in A Tolkien Compass, edited by Christopher Tolkien.[2]. It was included in Open Court's first hardcover edition and Del Rey Books' paperback, but was dropped from the second edition at the request of Tolkien Estate, the legal owners of the text.[3]

A new edition by Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull - called Nomenclature - was published in The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion.

Differences between editions

General differences

  • Christopher Tolkien's edition is a reader's edition rather than the annotated facsimile edition of Hammond and Scull: short, stenographic sentences and abbreviations are written out in full, and it is generally written for a less linguistic audience. Hammond and Scull included a list of abbreviations, as well as extra notes within straight brackets.
  • Christopher Tolkien's edition follows his father's text in that it refers to the second, revised edition,[2] while Hammond and Scull also include references to their own 50th Anniversary Edition in straight brackets.[1]
  • The first two sections have been renamed in Christopher Tolkien's edition: Names of Persons and Peoples and Place-names versus Persons, Peoples, Creatures and Places. The name of the third section, Things, is not changed.

Smaller differences

  • Barrow-wight: Hammond and Scull misspell the Dutch version, as well as its English translation: grafghest and "grave-ghast"[1] rather than proper grafgeest.[4]
  • 'Beechbone: Christopher Tolkien omits the umlaut from Büchenbein.[2]
  • Brockhouse: Christopher Tolkien omits the note about the Dutch and Swedish translations.[2]
  • Grey Pilgrim and Grey Host: Christopher Tolkien moves them below Greyhame.[2]
  • Greyhame: Christopher Tolkien refers to the language of Rohan as "Rohan",[2] Hammond and Scull as "Rohanese".[1] It is the only occurrence of "Rohanese"; the rest of the Hammond and Scull-edition uses the word "Rohan".
  • Heathertoes: Christopher Tolkien spells the suggested German translation as Heidezhen,[2] Hammond and Scull as Heidezehn.[1] Margaret Carroux would eventually use the plural Heidezehen, Wolfgang Krege singular Heidezeh.[5]
  • Orc: Christopher Tolkien misspells Anglo-Saxon orc-neas as orc-nass[2]
  • Wizard: Christopher Tolkien omits this entry.[2]
  • Deadman's Dike: Christopher Tolkien omits this entry.[2]
  • Lithe: Hammond and Scull combine this with the entries Yule and Midwinter.[1]
  • Mathom: Hammond and Scull omit this entry.[1]
  • Smials: Hammond and Scull omit this entry.[1]
  • Yule: See Lithe. Christopher Tolkien omits the passage about Midwinter.[2]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 J.R.R. Tolkien, Wayne G. Hammond, Christina Scull (eds.), "Nomenclature of the Lord of the Rings", published in The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion, pages 750-781
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), "Guide to the Names in The Lord of the Rings", published in A Tolkien Compass (edited by Jared Lobdell)
  3. Tom Shippey, "Foreword", published in A Tolkien Compass, Third Edition (edited by Jared Lobdell), pages vii-xi
  4. J.R.R. Tolkien, Max Schuchart (translator), In de Ban van de Ring, De Reisgenoten, "Mist op de Grafheuvels"
  5. "Der Herr der Ringe: Namensübersetzungen - Personen", Ardapedia