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"Láthspell I name you, Ill-news; and ill news is an ill guest they say."
Gríma Wormtongue[1]

Láthspell was a name given to Gandalf by Gríma Wormtongue when the former arrived at Meduseld.



Attempting to keep Théoden weak, Gríma pointed out that Gandalf always seemd to appear in the land of Rohan at times of hardship or war, bearing ill tidings. Gríma's strategy - to get Gandalf denied access to the King - did not succeed, for Gandalf broke his hold over Théoden, and he soon found himself exiled from Edoras.[1]

Other versions of the Legendarium

In an earlier drafts, it is actually Théoden who refers to Gandalf as Láthspell.[2]


Láthspell translates to "ill news" in Old English which comes from láð meaning "causing hate, evil, injury" and spell meaning "story, message".[3] Compare with Gospel which means the opposite: "good news".

Portrayal in adaptations

2002: The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers:

Wormtongue uses the quote "Lathspell I name him. Ill news is an ill guest".


  1. 1.0 1.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers, "The King of the Golden Hall"
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Treason of Isengard, "The King of the Golden Hall", page 444
  3. Wayne G. Hammond, Christina Scull, The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion, "The King of the Golden Hall", page 404