Quenya 


castle of custody

Mandos (Mandost-) noun "Castle of Custody" (the approximate meaning, according to MR:350). Used as the name of a Vala, properly the place where he dwells (the Halls of Mandos), whereas his real name is Námo_ (WJ:402). _In Tolkiens mythology, the "Halls of Mandos" are the abode of the dead, where their spirits remain until they are released from this world (in the case of mortals) or rebodied (in the case of Elves except for those who are refused or themselves refuse further incarnate life, and so remain in Mandos indefinitely). In the Etymologies, Mandos (also Mandossë) is interpreted somewhat differently, "Dread Imprisoner" (MBAD (MANAD),VT45:32) or in a deleted version "Dread Doom" (VT45:33, where Mandos was asigned the stem Mandosse-). The interpretation "Dread Imprisoner" would suggest that Tolkien at the time thought of Mandos as being also properly the name of a person, the Vala Námo, not the name of a place. See also Mando.


place name. Castle of Custody

Properly the name of the halls of the Vala Námo, the dwelling place of departed Elvish spirits (S/28). It is often used as the name of the Vala himself, however. It is a compound of mando “custody” and the suffixal form -os for osto “stronghold”, so that its stem form is Mandost- (MR/350). In one place Tolkien translated the name as “Castle of Custody”, but said this was only an approximate meaning (MR/350).

Conceptual Development: This name dates back to the earliest Lost Tales. Even at this early stage, ᴱQ. Mandos was used to refer to the Vala but was said to be properly the name of his halls, though at this stage his true name was said to be ᴱQ. instead of Námo (LT1/66, QL/58). At this early stage the name was glossed “Hell” and given as a derivative of the root ᴹ√M(B)ṆÐṆ “bind” (QL/58), and appeared sometimes in the variant form Mandor (PME/58, 99; PE15/73).

The name ᴹQ. Mandos appeared in The Etymologies from the 1930s with the gloss “Dread Imprisoner”, derived from a combination of the roots ᴹ√MBAD “prison” and ᴹ√GOS “dread” (Ety/GOS, MBAD).

His true name Námo did not emerge until Silmarillion revisions from the 1950s-60s (MR/150). Elsewhere in the Silmarillion revisions from the 1950s-60s, Tolkien briefly considered changing this name to Mandar, but this change was rejected (MR/205).

Quenya [MR/205; MR/350; MRI/Mandos; PMI/Mandos; S/028; SA/band; SA/os(t); SI/Mandos; UTI/Mandos; VT39/06; WJI/Mandos] Group: Eldamo. Published by


noun. custody, safe keeping, prison, duress
Quenya [MR/350; MR/471; SA/band] Group: Eldamo. Published by


custody, safe keeping

mando noun "custody, safe keeping" (MR:350) or "prison, duress" (in Mandos, see below, also compare Angamando being translated 'Iron-Gaol') (SA:band). A variant #manda occurs in the place-name Angamanda (see Angamando). Personal name Mando "the Imprisoner or Binder", usually lengthened Mandos. In a deleted version of the entry MBAD of the Etymologies, Tolkien gave mando the meaning "doomsman, judge" instead of "custody" (MBAD (ÑGUR, GOS/GOTH, SPAN), VT45:33)



Armenelos place-name, City of the Kings in Númenor (ar-menel-os(to) "royal-heaven-city"???) The stem should possibly be *Armenelost- (compare Mandos, Mandost-).



Námo (1) noun "Judge", name of a Vala, normally called Mandos, properly the place where he dwells (WJ:402)


masculine name. Judge, Ordainer

Vala of fate and keeper of the Houses of the Dead, spouse of Vairë, usually referred to by the name of his realm Mandos (S/28). His name is variously translated as “Judgement” (MR/150), “Judge” (WJ/402) or “Ordainer” (PE21/85). It is probably a translation of his (unknown) Valarin name (WJ/402).

Possible Etymology: The final element of this name is probably the agental suffix -mo, as with the name Irmo. Its initial element is most likely related to namna “statute” (MR/258) and the noun/verb pair námië “judgement” and nam- “to judge” (VT41/13).

If the sense “Ordainer” is the most accurate translation, the initial element of Námo may instead be the verb ná- “to be”. Along these lines, the word námo is elsewhere given as a general word for an unspecified person, probably originally meaning “being” (PM/340).

As the translation of a Valarin name, Námo may be related to the element Anamo in the name †Rithil-Anamo “Doom Ring”, a translation of Valarin Māχananaškād (WJ/401), elsewhere adapted phonetically into Quenya as Q. Máhanaxar (S/38). This supports the possibility that nam- “judge” is the basis for the name Námo.

Conceptual Development: In the earliest Lost Tales, his true name was ᴱQ. (LT1/66, QL/58). Only the name ᴹQ. Mandos appeared in Silmarillion drafts from the 1930s, both as his true name and the name of his hall, though he was also known by the sobriquet ᴹQ. Nurufantur (LR/205). In Silmarillion revisions from the 1950s-60s, his true name re-emerged, first as Núr, soon changed to Námo (MR/150).

In some notes from the late 1960s, Tolkien considered revising this name to Návo, along with a new verb for “judge”: nav- (PE22/154 note #53). This change did not appear in the narratives, but does lend weight to the idea that Námo is related to nam-.

Quenya [MR/150; MRI/Námo; MRI/Núr; PE21/85; PE22/154; S/028; SI/Námo; UT/397; UTI/Námo; WJ/402; WJI/Námo] Group: Eldamo. Published by


noun. judge
Quenya [WJ/402] Group: Eldamo. Published by



fatanyu noun "hell" (GL:51)



#ham- (2) vb. "judge", attested in the aorist form hamil "you judge". (VT42:33; notice the pronominal ending -l "you". See nemë. The verb #ham- with the meaning "judge" may seem to be an ephemeral form in Tolkien's conception.)



#nam- vb. "judge", attested in the 1st person aorist: namin "I judge" (VT41:13). Compare Námo.



#nav- vb. "judge" (cited in the form navë, apparently the 3rd person aorist). Also given with pronominal suffixes: navin *"I judge" (Tolkien's free translation: "I think"), navilwë "we judge" (VT42:33, 4, VT48:11)



[#nem- vb. "judge", attested as endingless aorist nemë, changed by Tolkien to hamë and finally to navë "in all but one case" (Bill Welden). Forms like námo "judge" and namna "statute" point rather to #nam- (q.v.) as a verb "to judge" (VT42:34); the verb namin "I judge" is even listed in Etym.]

* Mandos


Námo (pron. [ˈnaːmo]) in Quenya means "Judge" or "Ordainer", from root NAM. The Sindarin equivalent is Badhron ([ˈbaðron]).[source?] Mandos ([ˈmandos]) is a Quenya name meaning "Prison-fortress".[source?] It derived from the early Elvish Mandostŏ. The Sindarin name for Mandos is Bannoth ([ˈbanːoθ]).[source?] In Eriol's Old English translations, Mandos is referred as Nefrea "Corpse-ruler" and neoaerna hlaford "master of the houses of the dead".

Quenya [Tolkien Gateway] Published by