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  • Updated 6 May 2019
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Staff-man

The meaning behind the Dwarvish name Tharkûn

An interpretation of the name Tharkûn, which was the name given to Gandalf by the Dwarves in their own language, referring to the staff or wand that Gandalf habitually carried. As a matter of fact, Tharkûn was not commonly used by the Dwarves, at least in public: in all recorded cases of Dwarves speaking to or about the Wizard, they use his common Mannish name 'Gandalf'. The name Tharkûn or 'Staff-man' belonged to the private Khuzdul tongue, which the Dwarves usually kept for communication among their own people. So, the fact that Gandalf himself evidently knew of the name indicates an unusually strong familiarity with the culture of the Dwarves.

Though given as a meaning of Gandalf's Dwarvish name, 'Staff-man' is actually close to the meaning of the name 'Gandalf' itself. That comes ultimately from the the name of a Dwarf in the Old Norse Völuspa: Gandálfr, which can be interpreted as something like 'Staff-elf' or 'Elf of the Wand'. This might perhaps be taken to imply that Tharkûn, 'Staff-man', originated as a translation of the name 'Gandalf' by the Dwarves into their own tongue.


See also...

Tharkûn

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  • Updated 6 May 2019
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