The Encyclopedia of Arda - an interactive guide to the world of J.R.R. Tolkien
Founded II 1697
Maintained at least into the first centuries of the Fourth Age
A hidden valley beneath the western Misty Mountains in Eriador
Founded by Elrond
A Westron name equivalent to archaic English riven dell, meaning a deeply cut valley
Other names


About this entry:

  • Updated 26 April 2014
  • This entry is complete


The Westron name for Rivendell

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Map of Karningul

Words from the Westron tongue are usually translated by Tolkien into English (that is, when characters appear to be speaking English, they would actually have been using the Mannish Westron tongue or Common Speech). That convention applies equally to the names of people and places, and in the case of place-names, the form of English used is often archaic in tone. This is the case with the Elvish name Imladris, meaning a steep-sided valley, which is translated into archaic English as riven dell (that is Rivendell, the House of Elrond). Unusually, we also have the actual Westron word that 'Rivendell' represents: that word was Karningul. When Men and Hobbits are recorded as speaking of 'Rivendell', then, they would actually have been using the Common Tongue Karningul, its direct equivalent.

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