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Minas Tirith Forums » Languages of Arda » The Meaning of "Eriador"
Author Topic: The Meaning of "Eriador"
Roll of Honor Thorin
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quote:
Mostly it had been as good as May can be, even in merry tales, but now it was cold and wet. In the Lone-lands they had to camp when they could, but at least it had been dry.
Roast Mutton, The Hobbit

According to the dictionary in the back of the Silm:
er = one, alone
dôr = land

Does this mean that the "Lone-lands" the Hobbit refers to is actually Eriador?

From: Helsinki | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Tyrhael
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Yes, I believe the Lone Lands = Eriador.
Here is a quote from a commentary about Vinyar Tengwar 42, on this website.

quote:
Letters to VT contain a text by Frederik Ström from Sweden. He analyzes the Sindarin place-name Eriador as a counterpart of the Noldorin name Ariador 'The Land Outside' from The Etymologies, and he compares it with the name 'Lone-lands' from The Hobbit. Carl F. Hostetter replies quoting a very interesting note by J.R.R. Tolkien, the only known etymology of Eriador in the Professor's writings from c. 1949-1953 where Eriador = 'wilderness' from CE *erjá 'isolated, lonely' (p. 4).


[ 11-13-2006, 06:17 PM: Message edited by: Tyrhael ]

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Roll of Honor Thorin
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Thank you, Tyrhael.

Now this raises another problem. The passage in question has always bothered me, because the narrative does not quite match the geography one would expect from the maps or the Lord of the Rings. Christopher mentions this problem at the start of the History of the Lord of the Rings series.

I wonder how "The Edge of the Wild" is involved. Could the "Lone-lands" have originally been intended for the Wild? But it does not seem to fit the Hobbit-era description for the more settled lands, called the "Western lands" on the Hobbit map.

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Hamfast Gamgee
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I thought that the Wild referred to all lands East of even Bree. Of course I suppose that around the Misty Mountains or Mirkwood or near Dol Guldor things got Wildier. Some places in the Wild were more Wild than others.
From: Bagshot Row, Hobbiton, The Shire! | Registered: Sep 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Roll of Honor Thorin
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Yes, but I was more interested in the etymology of Eriador where it meant "wilderness." (See Tyrhael's quote.) So I was musing upon if "The Edge of the Wild" had any relationship to early conceptions of Eriador / The Lone Lands.

Although you do bring up an interesting point. In The Hobbit, it is clear that the West was settled and organized, while the East was the Wild - untamed and dangerous. Later in the story-line, in LOTR, the West is the locale of the Good while the East is the location of the Enemy. The same basic East - West divide remained.

I suppose one could also point out Beleriand and the rest of Middle-earth prior to the Second Age. But in that case the North was where Morgoth dwelled.

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Hamfast Gamgee
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I think that in the Hobbit it very quickly describes the Company's journey across the Shire, Bree along the road to the troll-shaws were 'few had heard of the king'. I think that the Wild is the land from Bree to the Misty Mountains. In fact virtually all of Eriador save the Shire, Bree, and the Blue mountains, their are plenty of quotes of this in the Fellowship.
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The Witch-King of Angmar
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So "Eriador" would mean "unsettled lands?" We know that some people lived in Wilderland, such as the "woodsmen" that the Goblins were planning on attacking, and the herdsmen that the Eagles stole the sheep from. However there didn't seem to be any actual settlements in terms of villages, anywhere east of Archet. This seems to have been due to the great fear that Sauron put on the land, and only the Rangers kept them at bay.
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Roll of Honor Silmahtar
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quote:
So "Eriador" would mean "unsettled lands?"
Maybe, in the sense that they're "empty lands" -- devoid of settlement.

Eriador also has the syllable -ia which according to the Etymologies and Letter 297 means "abyss" or "void". So the name more accurately translates to "Lone-empty-land".

I believe saying "Wilderness" for Eridaor is off the mark. Sindarin root for "wilderness" is rhaw, from which we get Rhovanion. In contrast to Rhovanion, Eriador seemed nearly devoid of anything but flora and ordinary animal life, which signalled to me that, aside from a handful of people/creatures, it was truly an empty, lonely land.

"The Wild" referred to in The Hobbit could be a shorthand Hobbitish term for anything beyond the bounds of the Shire. But I think it has different significance as the lands east of Eriador, lands where the influence of the West was minimal. In Eriador, most of the area simply was abandoned after the Northern Kingdoms fell.

[ 12-07-2006, 06:34 PM: Message edited by: Silmahtar ]

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Hamfast Gamgee
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Remember, however, that Eriador after the fall of Arnor was invaded by many dangerous creatures and little policed with the exception of a few Rangers, so the people of the Shire and Bree so to call it the Wild could be an accurate description. Thinking of a real-world analogy perhaps it could be similiar to some of the lands that the Romans left behind after the fall of the Roman Empire? Another point is were there any settlements in Eriador except for the Shire and Bree. and the Shire only was settled by Hobbits. There was the forsaken Inn but it's never said how long that was forsaken for.
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The Witch-King of Angmar
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Staddle and Archet were east of Bree, but after that there were just a few farms, and the Great Road. Information seems sparse about what was between actual settlements, leaving the false impression that M-E consisted mostly of a few landmarks.
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Galin
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According to Hammond and Scull: '... the Lone-lands of The Hobbit, introduced by Tolkien in the edition of 1966,...'

(the rest refers to informaton Tyrhael already posted)

Just to note it.

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Roll of Honor Thorin
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I didn't realize that it was added in the big '66 revision. That makes it very likely that the Professor was thinking of a specific term.
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Captain of Gondor
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It is also one of two words stolen to creat Eragon. Aragorn 1. Eriador 2.
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The Dread Pirate Roberts
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Got a source for that? Not to change this to an Eragon discussion but it seems that Eragon is simply Dragon with the first letter incremented.
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Snöwdog
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I suppose in the perspective of Hobbits in the Hobbit tale, it was presented from a typical Hobbit perspective, so anything east of Bree past the Forsaken Inn was 'the wild'. Lord of the Rings gives a wider world view.

I have always considered Eriador, and its sparsely populated lands north, east, and south of Bree as 'The Lone Lands.

From: In the Shadows of Annuminas | Registered: Aug 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
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