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Etten is an obscure term in Westron that probably refers to monsters like Trolls or Ogres.[1][2]

The word is seen in such names as Ettenmoors, in which were the Ettendales (inhabited by Trolls).[3]

[edit] Etymology

J.R.R. Tolkien noted that the name Ettendales (and Ettenmoors) contain the "obsolete element eten ('troll, ogre')".[1] It is a word derived from Old English eōten ("giant, troll, ogre")[4][5] and is etymologically related to the word Ent.

These locations are linked to the trolls, while another name of the "Ettenmoors" is "Troll-fells". Michael D.C. Drout noted that Tolkien "probably thought of an 'ettin' as a troll".[2]

[edit] Other versions of the legendarium

While writing The Fellowship of the Ring, Tolkien considered the name "Entish Dales" or "Entish Lands" for the Ettenmoors, as the adjective "entish" directly refers to Old English eōten "giant", although this was before he conceived the benevolent Ents of The Two Towers.[6]

[edit] Inspiration

In many fantasy settings, but also some adaptations of Middle-earth, there are monsters called Ettins (or Ettens) that are usually portrayed as two-headed.[7][8][9] C.S. Lewis was perhaps the one who introduced the trope, with the Ettins of Ettinsmoor, some of which have two heads; in The Silver Chair the ettins play the game of Cockshies, throwing rocks at a gorge, much like the stone giants in The Hobbit.[10] There is no indication that Tolkien intended his "ettens" to have two heads or that he connected them with the stone giants.

[edit] Portrayal in adaptations

1998-2004: Middle-earth Online:

Ettins, a race of two-headed Trolls, was intended to be included in the game.[11]

2002-5: The Lord of the Rings Roleplaying Game:

Ettens resemble the Hill-trolls, but they possess "not one but two long heads". The solitary creatures, a result of an ancient experiment by Morgoth, live almost exclusively in the Ettenmoors.[12]

2007: The Lord of the Rings Online:

Ettens are a race of trolls, primarily native to the Trollshaws region. They wear animal-skin cloaks that create the illusion of them being two-headed.

[edit] See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, "Nomenclature of The Lord of the Rings" in Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull (eds), The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion, p. 770
  2. 2.0 2.1 Michael D.C. Drout, "An Anglo-saxonist gets his fifteen minutes", ASNØC (accessed 28 February 2020)
  3. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, "Flight to the Ford"
  4. Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull (eds), The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion, p. 183
  5. J.R.R. Tolkien, "Nomenclature of The Lord of the Rings" in Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull (eds), The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion, p. 770
  6. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Return of the Shadow, "The First Phase: XI. From Weathertop to the Ford, Note on the Entish Lands"
  7. Dungeons and Dragons (1977), Monster Manual; see further Ettin (Dungeons & Dragons) at Wikipedia
  8. Ettins at Ultima Wiki.
  9. Ettin at World of Warcraft Wiki (accessed 15 November 2010)
  10. Ettins in Narnia Wiki
  11. Roundup 12.1 (02-09-2004) at (accessed 16 November 2010)
  12. Scott Bennie, Mike Mearls, Steve Miller, Aaron Rosenberg, Chris Seeman, Owen Seyler, and George Strayton (2003), Fell Beasts and Wondrous Magic
Legendary Races of Arda
 Animals:  Dumbledors · Gorcrows · Hummerhorns · Pards · Swans of Gorbelgod · Turtle-fish
Dragon-kind:  Great glow-worms · Sea-serpents · Spark-dragons · Were-worms
Evil Races:  Ettens · Giants · Gongs · Half-trolls · Hobgoblins · Ogres · Snow-trolls · Two-headed Trolls
Fairies and Sprites:  Dryads · Leprechauns/Leprawns · Mermaids · Sylphs · White cow
Other:  Badger-folk · Great beasts · Lintips · Mewlips · Nameless Things · Spectres
Individuals:  The Hunter · Lonely Troll · Man in the Moon · The Rider · River-woman · Tarlang · Tim