Tolkien Gateway


General Information
LocationEastfarthing, The Shire

Scary was a small settlement that lay in the hilly region of caves and rock holes that formed the northern parts of the Eastfarthing, which also gave its name to the surrounding stony hills.[1]

From among the rocky lands around Scary much of the Shire's stone was quarried.

During the War of the Ring, the Scary quarries were used by Sharkey's Men to store their loot, and after Sharkey was defeated, much of this was recovered by the Shire-hobbits.[2]

[edit] Etymology

Tolkien notes that the name was meaningless in Hobbitish of the War of the Ring. However he notes that since it was in a rocky region and of a stone-quarry, it may be supposed to contain English dialectal scar, "rocky cliff".[3]

Based on the above, David Salo has suggested that Scary represents a speculative Old English *Skerig "precipitous (place)". Salo also noted that the form of this dialectal word, specifically the existence of sk-, reveals a Norse origin.[4]

Tom Shippey suggests an etymology from Old English scearu "a boundary", marking the Shire's northern boundary; the retaining (or reversal) of /sk/ might reflect the peculiarity of Northern English (in such names as Skipton, Scarborough).[5]


  1. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, "A Part of the Shire" map
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "The Grey Havens"
  3. J.R.R. Tolkien, "Nomenclature of The Lord of the Rings" in Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull (eds), The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion, p. 775
  4. David Salo, "Hobbitish Place-names" dated 23 November 1998, Elfling (accessed 9 March 2013)
  5. Jason Fisher, ed., Tolkien and the Study of His Sources, p. 11