Babies named from Lord of the Rings

by Alexis Ulrich

What’s behind a name? A projection of wishes and personality traits, which sometimes comes from modern mythology nourished by novels and movies. Let’s see in this article the influence of Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings on names given to babies from the seventies to 2014 in the United States of America.


Leader of the Sylvan elves, and played by Cate Blanchett, Galadriel rules in Lothlórien with her husband Lord Celeborn. She was also known as Lady of the Golden Wood, her name coming from the Sindarin galadh (tree) and riel (crowned maiden), the Sindarinized version of Telerin Quenya Alatáriel, from alatá (radiance) and riel (maiden crowned with a garland).
She is beautiful with her long silver-golden hair, proud and tempered, gentle and insightful. She is also a very good singer, and is known for her Namárië lament sung in Quenya. The Galadriel name was used regularly in the 70s, and came back in the years 2000 to 2006.


Played by Viggo Mortensen in Peter Jackson’s trilogy, Aragorn is the true King of Gondor who travels in disguise under the name of Strider until he gets ready to claim his heritage. His name means Revered King in Sindarin, from aran (king) and (n)gorn (dreaded, revered).
He is wise and strong, and at the same time full of doubts, which makes him a true man in Tolkien’s legendarium.
Most of Aragorn babies were born between 2002 and 2005, up to 14 in 2004, matching Peter Jackson’s trilogy success, even though five were born in 1982.


Wizard played by Ian McKellen, Gandalf is quick to anger and quick to laugh, wise and patient. His name means Wand-elf is a forgotten language, as his apparent immortality made people think he was an elf, while he is a Maia spirit.
He is known under many names, like Olórin in Quenya (from olos or olor, meaning dream or vision of mind), and Mithrandir in Sindarin (from mith, grey, and randir, pilgrim, wandering man).
Very few babies have been named Gandalf, only 5 in 1970 (it has to be noted that the US Social Security Administration does not record names used less than five times in a given year), so a few may have been named after him.


Son of Thranduil, King of the Woodland Realm of Northern Mirkwood, Legolas is a Sindar Elf played by Orlando Bloom. He is cheerful, faithful, swift and loyal, an unrivalled archer and tireless runner who barely touch the ground as if he was from another world.
His name is a Silvan dialect form of pure Sindarin Laegolas, from laeg, an archaic word for green, and golas, or leaf.
Seven children were named after him in 2003 in the US.

Data source: US Social Security Administration