Where did the name Gandalf come from?

1 comment:

The Venerable Monster said...

When writing The Hobbit in the early 1930s Tolkien gave the name Gandalf to the leader of the dwarves, the character later called Thorin. The name is taken from the same source as all the other Dwarf names (save Balin) in The Hobbit: the "Catalogue of Dwarves" in the Völuspá. He came to regret his decision, calling it a "rabble of eddaic-named dwarves, … invented in an idle hour".[3]
Odin, the Wanderer (1886) by Georg von Rosen (1843-1923)

The wizard that was to become Gandalf was originally named Bladorthin.[4][5] Tolkien later assigned this name to an ancient king who had ordered some spears from the dwarves.[6] The Old Norse name Gandalfr incorporates the words gandr meaning both "wand" and (especially in compounds) "magic" and alfr meaning "elf" or in a wider sense "(mythological) being". Hence Gandalf means roughly "magic–elf/being" or wizard. This may have led Tolkien to transfer the name from the leader of the dwarves to the wizard.