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S. torn¹ n. “burial mound” (Category: Grave, Tomb)

S. torn¹, n. “burial mound” (Category: Grave, Tomb)

A word appearing in its plural form in Tyrn Gorthad “Barrow-downs” in The Lord of the Rings (LotR/1040). In notes on Words, Phrases and Passages from the Lord of the Rings from the late 1950s or early 1960s, Tolkien translated torn as “burial mound” and the second element gorthad as “wraith, spirit of Dead” (PE17/116).

In notes on Sindarin genitives from around 1967 Tolkien had a nasal-mutated form Thor in the phrase i·m(b)air en Thor “the houses of the Dead” with unmutated Tor or Taur in the margin, but Tolkien revised this to i·m(b)air en N(d)engin “the houses of the Slain” (PE17/116). Christopher Gilson pointed out that this Tor/Taur might be connected to torn “burial mound”. It may be that Tolkien was uncertain which element of Tyrn Gorthad referred to the mounds, and which referred to the dead inside the mounds. He may also have felt constrained by the fact that tyrn was likely plural but gorthad was clearly singular.

Neo-Sindarin: For purposes of Neo-Sindarin, it is probably easiest to assume torn means “burial mound” and gorthad means “wraith”.

Reference ✧ PE17/116 ✧ Torn “burial mound”

Element In

S. tor n. “the Dead” (Category: Corpse, Body)

See S. torn¹ for discussion.

References ✧ PE17/97




Thor nasal-mutation; t-mutation “the Dead” ✧ PE17/97