The Encyclopedia of Arda - an interactive guide to the world of J.R.R. Tolkien


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  • Updated 4 December 2015
  • Updates planned: 2


Wise-woman of Gondor

Uncle / Aunt

Ioreth is something of an oddity from a genealogical point of view: we have a great deal of implied detail about her family, but no names to connect with the various relationships. She's referred to as an 'old wife' and a 'dame', which suggests1 that she was married (or at least had been in the past). She makes reference to having sisters in her youth, and her cousin (assumed here to be a first cousin) actually makes an appearance in The Lord of the Rings, though she is referred to simply as Ioreth's 'kinswoman'. (These references come from The Return of the King V 8, The Houses of Healing and VI 5, The Steward and the King.)

The eldest of the women who served in Minas Tirith's Houses of Healing, whose remembrance of old lore helped restore the health of Faramir. She came originally from Imloth Melui in Lossarnach.



The fact that Ioreth is called a 'wife' does not show conclusively that she was married. The word comes from Old English wif, which simply meant 'woman', and the same general meaning may apply (especially in the sense of 'old woman') as part of the archaic English used in the chapters where Ioreth is described. It is perhaps notable in this context that the Elvish name Ioreth simply means 'old woman'.

See also...

Imloth Melui

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