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Some Names From The Lord of the Rings That Tolkien Wisely Changed

Whatever you think of J.R.R. Tolkien’s opus The Lord of the Rings, I hope you’ll agree that it could have been worse. How? Well, the names that Tolkien had for three of his major characters were quite different than the final version that we got to read.

Frodo Baggins was originally going to be called Bingo. I don’t know how seriously you can take the name Frodo, but I would have to take Bingo less seriously.

Gandalf was originally going to be the does-not-trip-off-the-tongue Bladorthin. Who wants to revisit the battle between the Balrog and Bladorthin?

Strider/Aragorn was originally going to be called Trotter. Nope. Impossible.

And this is a completely unsubstantiated rumor, but I have heard from the word on the street that Sauron was originally going to be called Sir Gloppy.

No, I won’t tell you which street.



Comments on this entry are closed.

  • rox September 14, 2011, 11:16 pm

    The first time I read The Hobbit was in Mr. Delance’s English
    class. Were we not in that class together? Was that 7th or 8th
    grade? Mr. Delance was all about being creative and having a
    good time. I enjoyed it when
    he discussed it with us, but I think I grew up too much and I just
    couldn’t go to the movie theatre for the fourth and fifth time (like my
    husband) when Lord of the Rings came out. I also wanted to say that
    I agree with you on the point that Tolkien really just wrote the
    story for fun.

  • rox September 15, 2011, 6:37 am

    I should also say that my husband has an extremely youthful approach to life and is a wonderful storyteller. He is the favorite parent and uncle. Tolkien must be similar, and knew how to reach those who still love to dream. He reminds me of the Barrie guy who created Peter Pan.

  • Pauline September 15, 2011, 1:07 pm

    I’m glad Tolkien made those name changes. J. K. Rowling’s choice of names for characters and places are great; something that adult readers of Harry Potter enjoyed from the first book. She also has a way with titles of books and addresses of characters. Clever.

  • John Sifferman September 15, 2011, 2:41 pm

    Those definitely reinforce the notion that Tolkien wrote these books mostly for his own amusement. I mean, Bingo? Sir Gloppy?

    Who knows, maybe he had no idea how well-received the books would become, and when they made it big, he decided to take them a little more seriously.

    • Josh Hanagarne September 15, 2011, 2:46 pm

      John, Sir Gloppy is from Candyland. Bad joke. I’ve been playing a lot of Candyland with my son.

      • John Sifferman September 16, 2011, 11:20 am

        Haha, well I guess you and I both know I’ve never played before 🙂