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Funathan son of Jonathan

28 Mar 10 | Re: Maddening naming procedure

So I’ve had another go at reading The Silmarillion, and against all expectations I’m actually getting on quite well with it. The creation myth in it is particularly good; it’s all a long way from The Lord of the Rings, but it has a strange beauty about it and, importantly, reads like it could plausibly be an actual myth.

The most frustrating thing about the tales of the comings and goings and doings of the Elves that make up most of the book is the names. Tolkien characters don’t behave like normal people when it comes to naming their children: usually, they make sure to give the kids names that are a bit different from their own but still very similar. This results in ultra-confusing characters called Fingon son of Fingolfin son of Finwe, or Brandir son of Handir son of Haldir son of Halmir, and you have to keep flicking to the family tree in the back every two paragraphs.

If J. R. R. (Jonathan) Tolkien had possessed real dedication, he would have practised what he preached and called his own son Jonathar or Funathan or something equally ludicrous. But he didn’t - he called him Christopher. I expect Mrs Tolkien put her foot down on that one.


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