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918Forgotten Words of Elvish: Trotter's Noldorin names (Part 2)

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  • Patrick H. Wynne
    Jul 3, 2006
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      Of the two Noldorin names of Trotter remaining to be discussed, neither actually means


      In Chapter XI of the 'third phase' of composition of _The Lord of the Rings_, Glorfindel
      refers to Trotter as _Du-finnion_, calling out "_Ai, Du-finnion! Mai govannen!_" (VI:361,
      392). On the Aglardh site, "Ninniach" has proposed that this name probably means 'dark-
      tressed one' (_dû_ + _finn-_ + _ion_); while on a Tolkien discussion board in German,
      "Aran" similarly notes that "_Du-finnion_ appears to be 'The Dark-haired'." (Links to these
      two sites were provided by Roman Rausch in Lambengolmor post #916.)

      This translation, 'dark-haired', seems to be the only reasonable possibility. Cp. S. _dû_
      'dim, dark', shortened to _du_ when preceding the main word-stress in _Duhir-ion_
      'region of the dim streams' (RC:269); and S. _find, finn-_ 'a tress' (XII:362, n. 37) -- the
      Etymologies has N. _dû_ 'nightfall, late evening' and Q. _finde_, ON _sphinde_ 'lock of hair'
      < *_spindê_ 'tress, braid of hair'; no Noldorin form is given, though this would have to be
      *_find, finn_. The ending _-ion_ is probably N. _ionn, -ion_ 'son', seen in N. _Ecthelion_,
      _Gelion_ 'merry singer', _Dúrion_ or _Durion_ 'Dark-Elf', etc.; in these names _-ion_
      appears to function as a general masculine ending rather than as a patronymic (V:355,
      359, 374; VT45:9).

      Another feature of the 'third phase' of composition was Tolkien's decision that Trotter was
      the hobbit Peregrin Boffin (see VI:376, 1st paragraph), and a text of "A Long-expected
      Party" from this phase of writing describes Peregrin as "a dark-haired and (for a hobbit)
      lanky lad" (VI:385). Similarly, various versions of Gandalf's letter to to Bingo/Frodo
      describe Trotter as "dark" (VI:158, 352). There is perhaps a deliberate element of irony in
      the fact that the sole occurrence of _Du-finnion_ is in Glorfindel's Noldorin greeting to
      Trotter, since Glorfindel's own name meant *'Golden-hair': N. _glaur, glor_ 'gold' (of light),
      N. _findel_ '(braided) hair' (V:358, 387).


      Trotter's fourth Elvish name, _Ethelion_, is a Noldorin translation of _Peregrin_. This is
      explicitly stated in VI:395, which refers to "Trotter (as Frodo continued to call him instead
      of Peregrin or the Elvish equivalent Ethelion)". Similarly, in another text Bilbo asks for
      Peregrin's help, "and Elrond replies that he will have _Ethelion_ found" (VI:392).

      The name _Peregrin_ is from Latin _peregrinus_ 'from foreign parts, foreigner' (whence
      also English _pilgrim_), which is in turn from the Latin adverb _peregre_ 'from abroad'. The
      element *_ethel_ in _Ethelion_ must therefore be the Noldorin form corresponding to Q.
      _ettele_ 'outer lands, foreign parts', _ettelea_ 'foreign, stranger' (V:356, VT45:13), with the
      name apparently intended as *'One who travels in foreign lands'.

      -- Patrick H. Wynne