Titles and Forms of Address In JRR Tolkien's Legendarium by Certh

[Reviews - 2]
Table of Contents
Printer Friendly: Printer
- Text Size +

Jump to

Titles and Forms of Address In JRR Tolkien's Legendarium
---

 

Throughout JRR Tolkien's works we come across many titles and forms of address, both formal and informal. Some are rather straightforward: those are usually the ones that signify a specified function, and there is no confusion as to whom they can be applied. Others may be a bit more complicated in their usage, as the intended meaning of some terms lies in less-used definitions.


 

Titles of Social Rank  

The most straightforward of titles found in Tolkien's legendarium are those denoting personages of supreme authority: King and Queen.

[Manwë] was appointed to be the vicegerent of Ilúvatar, King of the world of Valar and Elves and Men . . .”
      The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Chapter 1

“Finwë was king in Tirion and Olwë in Alqualondë; but Ingwë was ever held the High King of all the Elves.”
      The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Chapter 5

Elendil was the High King and dwelt in the North at Annúminas; and the rule in the South was committed to his sons, Isildur and Anárion.”
      The Return of the King, Appendix A, I, (i)

 

“[Tar-Ancalimë] was the only child of Tar-Aldarion, and the first Ruling Queen of Númenor .”
      The Unfinished Tales of Númenor and Middle-earth, Part 2, Chapter III 

And Melian was [Thingol's] Queen, wiser than any child of Middle-earth . . .”
      The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Chapter 4

  

Two titles that are perhaps the least straightforward are those of Prince and Princess.

[F]ingon prince of Hithlum rode against [Glaurung] . . .”
      The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Chapter 13

Fingon's title of prince does not denote his status as a son of King Fingolfin, but his being the ruler of the region of Hithlum.
(Fingolfin became High King of the Noldor in the 5th year of the First Age and died in F.A. 456; Fingon confronted Glaurung in the F.A. 260) 

[T]he green grave of Finrod Finarfin's son, fairest of all the princes of the Elves, remained inviolate, until the land was changed . . .”
      The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Chapter 19

Although a king of the independent realm of Nargothrond, Finrod was still subject to the High King of the Noldor, hence the application of the title prince.

The people of Lórien were . . . ruled by princes of Sindarin descent. . .”
      The Unfinished Tales of Númenor and Middle-earth, Part 2, Chapter IV

"Why so, and not Boromir, prince of the City that the sons of Elendil founded?"
      
The Two Towers, Book 4, Chapter V

Being heir to the Stewardship and the future monarch of Gondor, Boromir, as auxiliary ruler during Denethor's reign, was made prince of Minas Tirith.

In the later versions of JRR Tolkien's legendarium, the term Princess occurs once: 

[T]he people began to speak of [Ancalimë Tar-Aldarion's daughter] as Emerwen Aranel, the Princess Shepherdess.”
      The Unfinished Tales of Númenor and Middle-earth, Part 2, Chapter II

In this case, Princess is the closest one-word translation of the Quenya noun aranel, a word that literally means king's daughter (from the word aran=king and the feminine patronymic suffix -el).

As Tolkien used the original, title-of-office, definition for Prince throughout his legendarium, the term Princess is to be viewed in the same light: a title denoting “the female monarch of a small state, actually, nominally, or originally subject to a king or emperor” (cf. www.oxforddictionaries.com).

 

Like Prince and Princess, Lord and Lady are titles denoting power and authority.

Ulmo is the Lord of Waters . . . [A]ll seas, lakes, rivers, fountains and springs are in his government . . . Ossë is a vassal of Ulmo . . .
      The Silmarillion, Valaquenta 

Erkenbrand [was] Lord of Deeping-coomb and of much other land in Westfold . . .”
      The Unfinished Tales of Númenor and Middle-earth, Part 3, Chapter V, Appendix (i) 

[Elrond] was the Lord of Rivendell . . .”
      The Fellowship of the Ring, Book 2, Chapter I

As owners of land, Erkenbrand and Elrond are lords.

[I] am Aragorn, Arathorn’s son, Isildur’s Heir, Lord of the Dúnedain . . .
      The Return of the King, Book 5, Chapter II

Being the leader of the Dúnedain, Aragorn is rightfully a lord.

 

Apart from being a title of social status, lord is used to denote “a husband considered as head of the household” (cf. www.collinsdictionary.com):

“[Rían wife of Huor] could hear no news of her lord, she became distraught and wandered forth into the wild alone . . . I must go in search of Huor, my lord.”
      The Unfinished Tales of Númenor and Middle-earth, Part 1, Chapter I

 

“The Lady Arwen was there.”
      The Fellowship of the Ring, Book 2, Chapter I

With her mother gone, and her father being the Lord of the valley, Arwen is by right the Lady of Rivendell.

“You feel the power of the Lady of the Galadhrim . . .”
      The Fellowship of the Ring, Book 2, Chapter VI

As the female ruler of Lothlórien, Galadriel is a Lady (and a Queen in all but name). 

“Let the heralds announce to the folk that the Lady Éowyn will lead them!”
      The Two Towers, Book 3, Chapter VI

Acting as ruler and leader to the people of Rohan in the absence of the King and his heir, in addition to her administrative role in household matters in the absence of a queen, Éowyn is a Lady.
 

Apart from being a title of social status, lady is used as “an informal name for wife” (cf. www.collinsdictionary.com):

There my pretty lady is, River-woman’s daughter . . .”
      The Fellowship of the Ring, Book 1, Chapter VI


* It is noteworthy that nowhere in the latter drafts and versions of his legendarium does JRR Tolkien use the forms of address (Your) Highness, (Your) Majesty, etc.
The absence of peerage titles such as Duke, Earl, Baron, etc in the Professor's writings is also notable, suggesting that such social ranks do not exist in Arda.

 

Military Titles

“Marshal of the Mark (or Riddermark) was the highest military rank and the title of the King's lieutenants (originally three), commanders of the royal forces of fully equipped and trained Riders.”
      The Unfinished Tales of Númenor and Middle-earth, Part 3, Chapter V, Appendix (i) 

“Grimbold was a lesser marshal of the Riders of West-mark in Théodred's command . . .”
      The Unfinished Tales of Númenor and Middle-earth, Part 3, Chapter V, Appendix (ii)

 

[V]ëantur [was the] Captain of the King's Ships under Tar-Elendil . . .”
      The Unfinished Tales of Númenor and Middle-earth, Part 2, Chapter II

This citation indicates that, in Númenor, at least, Captain of the King's Ships was equivalent to Admiral of the Fleet.
(for the ranks of naval officers, cf. www.wikipedia.org)       

 

“. . . a 'full éored' in battle order was reckoned to contain not less than 120 men (including the Captain) . . .”
      The Unfinished Tales of Númenor and Middle-earth, Part 3, Chapter II, (iv) 

“If you [i.e., Éowyn] had not been chosen, then some marshal or captain would have been set in the same place . . .”
      The Return of the King, Book 5, Chapter II

This citation seems suggest that the military rank below Marshal in Rohan was that of Captain; i.e., the ranks of Major, Colonel, etc did not exist.
(for the ranks of army officers, cf. www.wikipedia.org)

 

 



Titles of Office

“One who knows your mind and honours your commands should be left in Edoras. Appoint a faithful steward.”
      The Two Towers, Book 3, Chapter VI 

“[T]he office of Steward rose in importance and became hereditary, providing as it were a permanent "understudy" to the King, and an immediate viceroy at need . . .”
      The Unfinished Tales of Númenor and Middle-earth, Part 4, Chapter III

 

That stronghold was commanded by Sauron, lieutenant of Melkor; and it was named Angband.”
      The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Chapter 3

[Saruman] acquired the keys of Orthanc in 2759, nominally as warden of the tower and lieutenant of the Stewards of Gondor.”
      The Unfinished Tales of Númenor and Middle-earth, Part 4, Chapter III 

“The Lieutenant of the Tower of Barad-dûr he was . . .”
      The Return of the King, Book 5, Chapter X

The term lieutenant in its military sense does not occur in Tolkien's texts, suggesting that it did not exist as such in Middle-earth.

 

“[L]organ was held the chieftain of the Easterlings . . .”
        The Unfinished Tales of Númenor and Middle-earth, Part 1, Chapter I  

“[T]he line of the kings was continued by the Chieftains of the Dúnedain . . .”
        The Return of the King, Appendix A, I, (iii)

 

“[I] will deliver you to the Warden of the Great Gate.”
        The Unfinished Tales of Númenor and Middle-earth, Part 1, Chapter I  

“Aragorn and Gandalf went now to the Warden of the Houses of Healing . . .”
        The Return of the King, Book 5, Chapter VIII

 

 

Titles of Courtesy

[M]r. Bilbo Baggins of Bag End announced that he would shortly be celebrating his eleventy-first birthday . . .”
“[M]r. Frodo is as nice a young hobbit as you could wish to meet.”
        The Fellowship of the Ring, Book 1, Chapter I

 

“Eldest first, or quickest first? You’ll be last either way, Master Peregrin.”
        The Fellowship of the Ring, Book 1, Chapter V

Being a tween and not yet considered an adult during the War of the Ring, Pippin is called Master Peregrin

“I was not asleep, Master Elrond.”
        The Fellowship of the Ring, Book 2, Chapter I

The title here marks Elrond as the head of his household and a loremaster. 

“ ‘Come, Master Meriadoc!’ [Théoden] said.”
        The Return of the King, Book 5, Chapter III

 

Apart from being a title of courtesy, Master is used to denote “a skilled practitioner of a particular art or activity” (cf. www.oxforddictionaries.com):

[T]he Sindar called [the Dwarves] . . . Masters of Stone. ”
        The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Chapter X

 

[T]hat’s more likely when Mistress Lobelia’s the buyer.”
        The Fellowship of the Ring, Book 1, Chapter III 

Mrs. Maggot brought out beer in a huge jug . . .”
        The Fellowship of the Ring, Book 1, Chapter IV

The title here marks Lobelia Sackville-Baggins and Mrs. Maggot as married women and the female heads of their respective households.

 

[T]he [women of the household] were chary of their speech to the child, fearing their mistress . . .”
        The Unfinished Tales of Númenor and Middle-earth, Part 2, Chapter II

 


Apart from being a title of courtesy, Mistress is used to denote “a woman who is skilled in a particular subject or activity” (cf. www.oxforddictionaries.com):

[T]he Mistress of Magic who dwells in the Golden Wood . . .”
        The Two Towers, Book 4, Chapter V

 

[M]iss Melilot Brandybuck got on a table . . .”
        The Fellowship of the Ring, Book 1, Chapter I

 

“ ‘It is kingsfoil, Sir,’ [Bergil] said [to Aragorn]. . .”
        The Return of the King, Book 5, Chapter VII 

“ ‘Sir,’ [Éowyn] said [to the Warden of the Houses of Healing], ‘I am in great unrest . . .’ ”
        The Return of the King, Book 6, Chapter V

 

“Here at least is my sword, goodman Háma.”
        The Two Towers, Book 3, Chapter VI

 

“And now, dame, if you love the Lord Faramir, run as quick as your tongue and get me kingsfoil . . .”
        The Return of the King, Book 5, Chapter VIII 


 
Sources:
www.merriam-webster.com
www.oxforddictionaries.com
www.collinsdictionary.com
www.britannica.com
www.wikipedia.org
JRR Tolkien, The Silmarillion
JRR Tolkien, The Unfinished Tales of Númenor and Middle-earth
JRR Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings
JRR Tolkien, The History of Middle-earth




[Report This]
You must login (register) to review.