Etten

From Tolkien Gateway

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

The Ettenmoors were named after these beings, in which were the Ettendales, that were a troll-country[3] whereas specifically hill-trolls were seen in the lands north of Rivendell.[4]

Etymology[edit]

Explaining the name Ettendales (and Ettenmoors) Tolkien noted the "obsolete element eten ('troll, ogre')".[1] It is a word derived from Old English eōten ("giant, troll, ogre").[5][6]

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]

Other versions of the legendarium[edit]

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 ent "giant", although this was before he conceived the benevolent Ents of The Two Towers.[7]

Inspiration[edit]

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.[8][9][10] 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.[11] There is no indication that Tolkien intended his "ettens" to have two heads or that he connected them with the stone giants.

Portrayal in adaptations[edit]

1998-2004: Middle-earth Online:

Ettins, a race of two-headed Trolls, was intended to be included in the game.[12]

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.[13]

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.

See also[edit]

References

Legendary Races of Arda
 Animals:  Dumbledors · Gorcrows · Hummerhorns · Pards · Swans of Gorbelgod · Turtle-fish
Dragon-kind:  Sea-serpents · Spark-dragons · Were-worms
Evil Races:  Ettens · Giants · Half-trolls · Hobgoblins · Ogres · Snow-trolls · Two-headed Trolls
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 · White cow