fela (“cave”) + cund (“prince”) [Etym. KUNDŪ-, PHÉLEG-] In PM:352 said to be of Dwarvish origin, deriving from felakgundu, felaggundu “cave-hewer”, Eldarized into Felagon; this explanation entered the Silmarillion Index.
Felagundnoun. lord of the caves
Felagundnoun. Tolkien added the note "Don't like Felagund"
prop. n. Tolkien added the note "Don't like Felagund".
felagundmasculine name. Lord of Caves, (lit.) Hewer of Caves
This name was adopted by Finrod as the founder and ruler of Nargothrond. The name was derived from a title given to Finrod by the Dwarves: Kh. Felakgundu “Cave-hewer”, Sindarized as Felagund (PM/352). Some Elves re-interpreted this name as Felagon “*Fair-minded Lord” (PM/352).
Conceptual Development: The ruler of Nargothrond in the Lost Tales was G. Orodreth (LTA2/82, 123). Felagund emerged as the founder of Nargothrond in The Lays of Beleriand, at which point Orodreth became his younger brother (LB/80). In the drafts of these poems, this new character was named ᴱN. Felagoth, but this was soon revised to ᴱN. Felagund (LB/169).
Thereafter, the character’s name remained Felagund in Tolkien’s writings, and it always referred to the grandson of Finwë who ruled Nargothrond. The purpose and meaning of the name changed over time, however, as Tolkien adjusted the names of other characters in the legendarium. When the Felagund first appeared, Finrod was the name of his father rather than Felagund himself (LB/138, 222).
In Silmarillion drafts from the 1930s, his true name was changed to N. Inglor. Felagund became his surname or title, translated “Lord of Caverns” or “Lord of Caves”, referring to his lordship over Nargothrond (LR/116, 254). In this version, the name N. Felagund was a compound of fela “cave” and †cunn “prince” (Ety/KUNDŪ, Ety/PHÉLEG). There is evidence that the name Felagund retained this etymology during the writing of the 1st edition of The Lord of the Rings (PE17/118).
Sometime between the publication of the 1st and 2nd editions of The Lord of the Rings, Tolkien revised the genealogy of the house of Finwë (MR/181 note §41-2). In the revised genealogy, Finarfin became the name of the youngest son of Finwë, while Finrod became the name of the eldest son of Finarfin and therefore Finwë’s grandson (PE17/118, MR/128 note §135). Sometime thereafter, Tolkien also revised the name’s etymology to its Khuzdul derivation, as noted above (S/114, PM/352, WJ/179).
The following table outlines the relationships of Felagund and his ancestors in early, middle and later iterations of the stories, as they appeared in the Lays of Beleriand (LB), Silmarillion drafts from the 1930s published in The Lost Road (LR) and the published version of The Silmarillion (S):
Even in its late derivation from Kh. Felakgundu, the final element of Felagund’s name might still have been interpreted as †cund “prince, lord” by the Elves, as reflected in the translation “Lord of Caves” (S/61). The best evidence for this is that Tolkien said the name was sometimes Eldarized as Felagon, using the element -gon “lord” seen in the names of his cousins, Fingon and Turgon (PM/352). However, it is uncertain whether S. cunn/cund remained valid in Tolkien’s later conception of the language (see S. cund for discussion).