Tolkien Gateway

Gnomes

"Who told you, and who sent you?" — Gandalf
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This article is about an early concept of elves. For the race of elves the Gnomes became, see Noldor.
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Noldoli
Race
DominionsKôr, Nargothrond, Dorthonion, Gondolin, Tol Eressea.
LanguagesKornoldorin, Noldorin.
Average heightTall.
Skin colorWhite.
Hair colorDark
DistinctionsGreat skill with metal and gems, deep knowledge.
LifespanImmortal.
MembersFinwë, Fëanor, Finrod, Inglor, Beren, Turgon

The term Gnomes or Noldoli was briefly used in J.R.R. Tolkien's early work The Book of Lost Tales to describe the race of Elves that would become the Noldor. In those works he borrowed several folkloric names to describe his original creations, like Fae, Elves, Dwarves, Ogres and Goblins.

The names of the Noldoli are in the Goldogrin (or Gnomish) language.

Contents

[edit] Etymology

In a letter dating from 1973, Tolkien stated that the word gnome derives from Paracelsus,[1] whom is known to have used Modern Latin gnomus in a 16th century treatise.[2]

The word likely comes from genomos "earth-dweller". It has a similarity with Greek γνώσις gnosis "knowledge" which is why Tolkien used it for the wise clan of his Elves (Quenya Ñoldo "the Wise").[source?]

Cf. also the Mannish word nóm meaning "wisdom".

[edit] Inspiration

A Gnome is a dwarf-like creature of European folklore, often associated with Dwarves and Goblins. Traditional Gnomes however were unlike his depiction of his High Elves, they were imagined as deformed, underground and by the 19th century were depicted dwarf-like.

For that reason Tolkien dropped the term since that would confuse the readers. However, other folkloric names like "Elves", "Dwarves" and "Goblins" would persist in Tolkien's writing ever since, although he would be unsure about them (he did replace "Goblin" with "Orcs" after the publication of The Hobbit").

In the first Portuguese translation of The Hobbit, the title of the book is translated as gnomo, the Portuguese word for gnome. See: O Gnomo.

[edit] Other versions

At one time, "Gnomes" also referred to the Valar.

[edit] External links

[edit] References

  1. J.R.R. Tolkien, "Letter to Elena Jeronimides" (letter)
  2. Douglas Harper, "gnome" , Online Etymology Dictionary (accessed 19 June 2012)