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


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  • Updated 6 May 2011
  • Updates planned: 2


A questionable title of Gandalf

According to some accounts, a name or title given to Gandalf the Grey during his wanderings in the Harad. It was said to derive from the language of the Haradrim, combining the words inká ('north') and nús ('spy'), and thus explaining the origin of Gandalf's name Incánus.

Other accounts, however, flatly deny that this was the origin of the name, or that Gandalf ever had any special name at all among the Haradrim. The derivation of 'North-spy' seems therefore to be apocryphal, and Incánus actually came from an ancient Gondorian name for Gandalf, meaning something like 'Greymantle'.

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