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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
Did you ever wonder...How the Dwaves in the Hobbit got their names?

The Shire

Feb 8 2013, 12:08am

Post #1 of 4 (706 views)
     Did you ever wonder...How the Dwaves in the Hobbit got their names?  

Hi, I just posted this to the Main, but I thought, since the subject is very much related to the books, I would also post this here. Wink

Have you ever wondered where all the names for the dwarves (in the Hobbit) came from?
Tolkien was really into manuscripts and Old English and Norse Sagas (as it just so happens, so am I) . Smile

Being a great scholar in this venue, at some time or other, he came across the Prose Edda, or the Younger Edda. It was written by Snorri Sturluson. I have a brief bio below I got off the internet:
Snorri Sturluson was an Icelandic historian, poet, and politician. He was twice elected lawspeaker at the Icelandic parliament, the Althing. Wikipedia
Born: 1179, Iceland
Died: September 23, 1241, Reykholt
Books: Gylfaginning, Skáldskaparmál, Háttatal, The Prose Edda, Edda, Heimskringla, From the sagas of the Norse kings, Harald the RuthlessMore

The Prose Edda for those who do not know, basically tells the Norse Creation Myth. Anyways, the first time I read this, everything was new news to me until I got to the part that talked about how the first Dwarves were created. It also gives a generous list of names of the dwarves. You're bound to recognize a few. Although the spelling isn't exactly the same for all the names, you just can tell. I also give commentary (the bold letters off to the side).
Here it is:
10. Then was Mötsognir
created greatest
of all the dwarfs,
and Durin second;
there in man's likeness
they created many
dwarfs from the earth,
as Durin said.

11. Nýi and Nidi,
Nordri and Sudri,
Nordi, Sudri, Asutri, and Vestri (North, South, East, and West) support the

Asutri and Vestri,
dome of the sky on their backs. Each faces a different direction.
Althiöf, Dvalin
Nár and Náin,
Niping, Dáin,
Bivör, Bavör,
I take it that Bivor is the origin of Bifur.
Bömbur, Nori,
An and Anar,
Ai, Miödvitnir,

12. Veig and Gandálf,
Gandalf means "an elf with a staff"
Vindálf, Thráin,
Thekk and Thorin,
Thror, Vitr, and Litr,
Núr and Nýrád,
Regin and Rádsvid.
Now of the dwarfs I have
rightly told.

13. Fili, Kili,
Fundin, Nali,
Hepti, Vili,
Hanar, Svior,
Billing, Bruni,
Bild, Búri,
Frár, Hornbori,
Frćg and Lóni,
Aurvang, Iari,

14. Time ´tis of the dwarfs
in Dvalin´s band,
I'm certain that "Dvalin" is the origin of Dwalin.
to the sons of men,
to Lofar up to reckon,
those who came forth
from the world´s rock,
earth´s foundation,
to Iora´s plains.

15. There were Draupnir,
and Dólgthrasir,
Hár, Haugspori,
Hlćvang, Glói,
Perhaps "Gloi" is Gloin
Skirvir, Virvir,
Skafid, Ai,
Alf and Yngvi,

16. Fjalar and Frosti,
Finn and Ginnar,
Heri, Höggstari,
Hliódolf, Móin:
that above shall,
while mortals live,
the progeny of Lofar,
accounted be.

Greetings from the Lonely Mountain,


Feb 8 2013, 2:29am

Post #2 of 4 (384 views)
     Thanks for posting that [In reply to]  

Very informative! It rather makes Tolkien look like a plagiarist, but all authors borrow something. I'm just surprised he didn't change the names around more, since he enjoyed tinkering with names so much.


Feb 8 2013, 2:52am

Post #3 of 4 (428 views)
     I don't think it makes him a plagiarist. [In reply to]  

After all, it's not as though these names are copyrighted!

Actually, I already knew this. I read a letter of Tolkien's (or something. it may not have been a letter) that referred to Thorin and Co. as " A rabble of Eddaic named Dwarves.

"It was like a great shadow, in the middle of which was a dark form, of man shape maybe, yet greater; and a power and terror seemed to be in it and go before it." ~FotR

Forum Admin / Moderator

Feb 8 2013, 12:39pm

Post #4 of 4 (607 views)
     Locking this thread... [In reply to]  

Hi all, this same thread is over on Main, with more responses, so I'm locking this one.

(Besides, this is the RR, and I think a few of the "regulars" here have written reams about this! Laugh I encourage you to post over there, thanks! Wink)


"I desired dragons with a profound desire"


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