Similar to my languages document this is for places; there will be overlapping because the names of places have prefixes and suffixes that mean different things. However these two documents will differ quite a bit so there will be etymology here where it might not be in the other.

If I ever commentate on the history of the places I might talk about or show maps but I'm not sure if that will be here or in the respective history document. An example is that Kirith Ungol (so spelt at one time) was not always the same place as it was in The Lord of the Rings.

What things can be expected here is impossible to know but one thing that will be different from the language document is that there will be discussion of differences where relevant. There will very likely be gaps in this document just like the rest of the website.

The Shire (New: 30 Mar 2020)

The Shire has some interesting etymology and I will probably add to this over time.

Bucklebury (New: 30 Mar 2020)

In the third version of the drafts of 'A long-expected party' we are given an interesting bit of information in a footnote belonging to:

[...] They [Brandybucks] were his mother's relatives. She was Primula Brandybuck of the Brandybucks of Buckland, across Brandywine River on the other side of the Shire and on the edge of the Old Forest -- a dubious region[note 1].

The note tells us the etymology:

My father first wrote here: 'the Brandybucks of Wood Eaton on the other side of the shire, on the edge of Buckwood -- a dubious region.' He first changed (certainly at the time of writing) the name of the Brandybuck stronghold from Wood Eaton (a village in the Cherwell valley near Oxford) to Bury Underwood (where 'Bury' is the very common English place-name element derived from Old English byrig (from byriġ), the dative of burg 'fortified place, town'); then he introduced the name of the river, replaced Bury Underwood by Buckland, and replaced Buckwood by the Old Forest.


There are many different woods in Middle-earth and a significant one is Lórien. Another is Fangorn. Yet another is The Old Forest. So what makes these places special? What happened in each? Are there different names for any of them?


Also known as 'The Golden Wood' - because of its wondrous trees - we also are given the name Lothlórien. Are they the same or not? This is an interesting one. In The Silmarillion there's a reference to A Lórien but I refer to the one in The Lord of the Rings.

After Gandalf falls with the Balrog Aragorn leads the Company (also known as 'The Fellowship of the Ring'). Now Boromir is flat against Lórien because he heard bad tales of it. This tale is widespread and it suggests that mortals who pass through meet a terrible end, that there's a horrible sorceress (Galadriel) etc. This tale is repeated by Boromir's much less rash and wiser brother Faramir though he has much respect for the Elves as well as Sam and Frodo (unlike in the film by Jackson); Wormtongue exploits this tale and accuses Aragorn, Legolas, Gimli and The White Rider of being in league with the 'Sorceress of The Golden Wood'. It's even thought that this is where he started to have trouble - after his encounter with Galadriel. That's neither here nor there. They have no choice: they must enter The Golden Wood; and this is particularly true when first of all the Galadhrim that they encounter force them to and in any event the Orcs were about and it was no longer safe for them to be on the ground.

What happens at Lórien?

Quite a lot (although they lose track of time as it doesn't work the same way as outside it)! But the Fellowship recovers from their weariness and they get new equipment including the boats and ropes plus the Lembas (which I might document in the future for there's more known about it). They are each given a gift. Galadriel touches Gimli - an Elf being so wonderful to a Dwarf in the TA was after all something - so much that after insisting that he request something to be given she gives him three locks of hair (when he only asked for one). Fëanor she refused this for he was arrogant and she did not trust him and they were forever unfriends. That Gimli went from resenting having to be blindfolded (until Aragorn convinced them to all be blindfolded which then made Gimli feel a little better) and in general not feeling welcomed to having Galadriel speak beautiful words to him - including places in the Khuzdul - is why he was content for his gift of just seeing the Lady of the Golden Wood.

Frodo gets the Phial of Galadriel which is critical to success of his Quest: not only does he use it but so does Sam: first to help fight against Shelob; and then to break the will of the Silent Watchers: Sam does it as he enters and again on their way out but Frodo calls in elvish too. Actually if memory serves me right so does Sam but Frodo finishes it: the Silent Watchers give out a shrill cry and they barely escape from the collapse of the structure they are standing on. They then have to very careful due to the Nazgûl above them.

Another significant thing is that Gimli and Legolas become fast friends. This friendship would be the source of much of the information about Dwarves we do have.

Where is it located?

It's located between the Celebrant River (what Man called the Silverlode River) and Anduin (also known as The Great River).

What are the other forms of names?

In fact there are quite a few:

  • Nandorin Lórinand (Quenya Laurenandë, Sindarin: Glornan, Nan Laur), derived from older Lindórinand 'Vale of the Land of Singers'
  • Laurelindórinan 'Valley of Singing Gold'
  • Lothlórien: The name Lórien with the Sindarin word loth 'flower' prefixed.
  • Dwimordene: 'Phantom-vale', name of Lórien among the Rohirrim.