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Otselen "Seven Stars", an Elvish (Quenya) name for Valacirca (or the Great Bear), one of the constellations.[1]


[edit] Etymology

The first element of the name is Quenya numeral otso ("seven"), and the second Quenya elen ("star") and thus refers to the seven stars of Valacirca.

[edit] Cognates

[edit] Real-world inspiration

J.R.R. Tolkien was perhaps inspired by otso, one of the many words for karhu ('bear') in Finnish. Karhu is also the name of the North Polar Bear, a frequent character in The Father Christmas Letters which Tolkien wrote to his children during the years 1920-1943.[2]


  1. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Lost Road and Other Writings, "The Etymologies" (but it is not used in any of the stories).
  2. Wayne G. Hammond, Christina Scull, J.R.R. Tolkien: Artist & Illustrator, "Art for Children" (see fig. 66)