The Encyclopedia of Arda - an interactive guide to the world of J.R.R. Tolkien
Dates
Probably immortal - certainly very old indeed
Location
At least in the latter Third Age, Orald confined himself to a region in and around the Old Forest, on the eastern borders of the Shire
Race
Never identified, but apparently some kind of spirit1
Settlements
A house to the north of the Old Forest, near the source of the Withywindle
Pronunciation
o'rald
Meaning
Old English for 'very ancient'
Other names
Titles

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About this entry:

  • Updated 14 November 2009
  • This entry is complete

Orald

One of Tom Bombadil's many names

The name used by Northern Men for the being known to the Hobbits as Tom Bombadil. The name Orald in fact comes from Old English (representing the the language of the Rohirrim and their forebears) in which language it means 'very old' or 'very ancient'. Like the names used by the Rohirrim, therefore, Orald actually represents a translation into a comparatively modern language of a quite different name, which is not recorded.

It is not clear when or how Bombadil acquired this name. It seems unlikely that he visited Rohan at any point, but the ancestors of that people had at one time lived a little closer to Tom, around the upper reaches of the Anduin. This would still place them several hundred miles from Tom's home in the Old Forest, but perhaps close enough that the occasional adventurous traveller might have come across the ancient spirit and carried the story back to their people.


Notes

1

See The Riddle of Tom Bombadil in the entry for Tom Bombadil for a detailed discussion of Orald's identity.

See also...

Northern Men

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