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Post by Tinuviel on Mon Jul 04, 2011 3:46 am

Alright, this may not be a stupid question, but they seem stupid because you think you should know the answer, but why is Middle Earth called Middle Earth?

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Post by Orwell on Mon Jul 04, 2011 3:50 am

I'm not sure that is a stupid question, Tin. In fact, I think it's a darn good one! It's one I think I should know the answer to, but I don't. Embarassed

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Post by Pettytyrant101 on Mon Jul 04, 2011 4:47 am

Was it not an old term for northern Europe in the iron age?

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Post by Baingil on Mon Jul 04, 2011 5:37 am

From what I understand it's derived from Old Norse mythology. Shrugging
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Post by Orwell on Mon Jul 04, 2011 5:54 am

Rings a bell. "Midgard" comes to mind.

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Post by Eldorion on Mon Jul 04, 2011 6:37 am

Yep, "Middle-earth" (properly hyphenated and with a lower-case "e") is Tolkien's modern anglicisation of the Norse name. Tolkien mentions in Letter 183 that his phrase is directly derived from the Medieval version of midden-erd > middel-erd.
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Post by Eldorion on Mon Jul 04, 2011 6:38 am

Also, I've moved this to the LotR forum because I feel that Ideas and Suggestions has become a dumping ground for all sorts of threads that fit better elsewhere. Smile
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Post by Orwell on Mon Jul 04, 2011 8:01 am

I was thinking the same thing. A thread where it should be. Novel. Very Happy

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Post by Saradoc on Mon Jul 04, 2011 12:47 pm

Interestingly (and completely irrelevantly) the Mediterranean translates to Middle Earth- medi meaning middle and terranean meaning earth!
My Geography teacher is always telling me that. Anyways, here to help!

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Post by Elthir on Mon Jul 04, 2011 2:40 pm

Not the only example from JRRT (noting Eldorion's reference), but an interesting one from letter 211...

'Middle-earth is (...) not my own invention. It is a modernization or alteration (...) of an old word for the inhabited world of Men, the oikoumene: middle because thought of vaguely as set amidst the encircling Seas and (in the northern-imagination) between ice of the North and the fire of the South. O. English middan-geard, mediaeval E. midden-erd, middle-erd. Many reviewers seem to assume that Middle-earth is another planet!'

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Post by Orwell on Tue Jul 05, 2011 4:59 am

I was lazy, Elthir, I should have looked up Middle Earth in the Letters. I knew I'd read somewhere where Tolkien got the idea from.

Does anyone now where the word 'balrog' came from?

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Post by Elthir on Tue Jul 05, 2011 3:17 pm

Hmm, sourcing Tolkien's invented words or names can be a tricky matter. JRRT himself sometimes points to a source (although this is relatively rare enough) -- if there was one in any case, outside of a sound or sound-sequence he might like, or think fitting, when inventing a language.

Anyway the word balrog was around quite early, appearing in the 1917 Gnomish Lexicon for instance -- noted as a kind of a fire demon, with a Qenya form malkarauke or valkarauke (Q. arauke 'demon'). I don't know which came first in Tolkien's mind, the Qenya or Gnomish form, but in any case this is a very early example.

At the moment I don't remember anyone noting a word balrog 'or a similar enough word' from Primary World sources.
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Post by Orwell on Wed Jan 01, 2014 10:07 pm

I have a stupid question. Why did I go and see the Desolation of Smaug?  Sad 

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Post by Radaghast on Wed Jan 01, 2014 10:11 pm

Morbid curiosity can be the only possible answer Neutral

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Post by Tinuviel on Wed Jan 01, 2014 10:15 pm

Then why did I see it three times? Three times pay for all?

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Post by Radaghast on Wed Jan 01, 2014 10:18 pm

Tinuviel wrote:Then why did I see it three times? Three times pay for all?
I got nothin' ShruggingVery Happy
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Post by Orwell on Wed Jan 01, 2014 10:19 pm

You... liked... it?  Shocked 

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Post by Norc on Wed Jan 01, 2014 10:23 pm

Tinuviel wrote:Alright, this may not be a stupid question, but they seem stupid because you think you should know the answer, but why is Middle Earth called Middle Earth?
my best guess. because it is based on norse mythology. Asgard is the place of the gods (where the elves are can't remember the name on the top of my head) then there is jotunheim where the ugly ass creatures live, they are not allowed with the gods nor the humans, and then there is the "middle" where the humans live. Midgard. Middle "place" (in lack of better words). in the norwegian edition of LOTR middle earth is called midgard.
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Post by halfwise on Wed Jan 01, 2014 10:28 pm

I like that the Norwegian translation just goes back to the old Norse.  Laughing 

As for Tinuviel's seeing DoS 3 times, I saw AUJ 3 times, but that was mainly because I was trying to find a theatre that had all 3 of HFR, 3D, and the watchamacallit: you know, the big honkin' screen. Only the big honkin' screen was worth it.

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Post by Norc on Wed Jan 01, 2014 10:49 pm

halfwise wrote:I like that the Norwegian translation just goes back to the old Norse.  Laughing 
me to Very Happy
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Post by Orwell on Wed Jan 01, 2014 11:50 pm

You would.  Very Happy 

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Post by Eldorion on Thu Jan 02, 2014 12:54 am

Norc wrote:my best guess. because it is based on norse mythology. Asgard is the place of the gods (where the elves are can't remember the name on the top of my head) then there is jotunheim where the ugly ass creatures live, they are not allowed with the gods nor the humans, and then there is the "middle" where the humans live. Midgard. Middle "place" (in lack of better words). in the norwegian edition of LOTR middle earth is called midgard.

Yeah, in the Letters Tolkien states that Middle-earth is his Anglicization of the word Midgard.
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Post by Norc on Thu Jan 02, 2014 5:01 pm

Very Happy like boss... Cool
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Post by Amarië on Thu Jan 02, 2014 7:03 pm

IIRC, the Norse believed that Åsgard lay in the center, Midgard lay around Åsgard in a circle and outside Midgard lay Utgard, where there were monsters and such.

Tolkien uses Middle-Earth for the area we hear about in the stories, not for all of the . And I think there are just one or two named dwarves in Tolkien's ME who are not named directly from Norse mythology. In the Sil, the Hobbit and LOTR there is only Khim (?) that I can recall. Dís is also veeeery Norse sounding.

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Post by Orwell on Thu Jan 02, 2014 8:06 pm

Of course, Tolkien's Midgard - except in name - has little to do with Midgard.

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