Monday, October 04, 2004

Names - Belladonna Took

The Naming of Hobbits.. the Shire, often followed the alliterative style of the Anglo-Saxons. That basically means that they chose names that would roll off the tongue well together when you recited them in order.

A good example of this is seen in the Kings of the Mark (Rohan).

* Fréa,
* Fréawine,
* Goldwine,
* Déor...
* Fréalaf Hildeson,
* Brytta,
* Walda,
* Folca,
* Folkwine
* Fengel,
* Thengel,
* Théoden.

Hobbits, Tolkien says shared a common language with the Rohirrim at one point in time. Merry and Pippin find this out when talking to Théoden.

......[Théoden speaks] "'So these are the lost ones of your company, Gandalf? The days are fated to be filled with marvels. Already I have seen many since i left my house; and now here before my eyes stand yet another of the folk of legend. Are not these the Halflings, that some among us call the Holbytlan?'
......'Hobbits, if you please, lord,' said Pippin.
......'Hobbits?' said Théoden. 'Your tonge is strangely changed; but the name sounds not unfitting so. Hobbits! No report that I have heard does just ice to the truth.'
......Merry bowed; and Pippin got up and bowed low. 'You are gracious, lord; or I hope that I may so take your words.' he said. 'And here is another marvel! I have wandered in many lands, since I left my home, and never till now have I found people that knew any story concerning hobbits.'
......'My people came out of the North long ago,' said Théoden...."
~ TTT The Road to Isengard

Holbytla is the Anglo-Saxon for 'hole-dweller' and the language of hobbits compared with the Rohyrrim would be the same as Modern English to Anglo-Saxon - also known as Old English.

It seems that (especially amongst the Tooks who were Thains - see ___) Hobbits shared the same love for rhyming names as the men of Eorl.

A great example of this is in the children of the Old Took (Gerontius) who until Bilbo was famed for having lived to be the oldest ever hobbit.

Gerontius' sons:

* Isengrim III (1232-1330)
* Hildigard (died young)
* Isumbras IV (1238-1339)
* Hildigrim (1240 -1341)
* Isembold (1242-1346)
* Hildifons (1244-?)
* Isembard (1247 - 1346)
* Hildibrand (1249-1334)
* Isengar (1262-1360)

They have a sing-songish quality don't they?

Of his three daughters, their rhyming style is even more interesting. Because put together they form a continuous repeating sound:

belladonnamirabelladonnamirrabella..... etc etc.

Belladonna, (1252-1334), Donnamira (1256-1348), & Mirabella (1260-1360)

What the Old Took would have done if he had had any more daughters I have no idea, he would soon end up repeating himself!


The fair Belladonna had the misfortune of marrying a Baggins. (Very respectable folk). Who did not at all approve of adventures. Which seems to have left Poor Belladonna fairly constricted in her life. Perhaps this is why she only ever produced one son - which is unusual for hobbits, but considerably more common amongst the Bagginses! Bilbo only had one cousin per aunt & uncle and Frodo was also an only child - whatever her lot was with Bungo, at the very least she could console herself in her son being the most respected of Hobbits in Hobbiton.. at least, he was....

"Bilbo Baggins is no ordinary Hobbit, no... although I’ll admit the differences between ‘ordinary’ and ‘unusual’ tend to be fairly hard to discern amongst the short chubby ones. But Bilbo is the son of Belladonna Took (and isn’t that a name that just screams of black lace gloves and too much eye makeup?), and Belladonna was very interested in my tales of adventure when I used to frequent these parts. I was thinking that the mix of Tookish adventurousness and Bagginsesque sense would help keep Bilbo alive and in one piece... "

~ Gandalf's diaries, the Hobbit Years, by TORnado Ufthak

Belladonna is another common name for Deadly Nightshade (Atropa belladonna)

Some of the other common names for this poisonous plant are: Devil's Cherries and Naughty Man's Cherries

Taken from

"A peculiar symptom in those poisoned by Belladonna is the complete loss of voice, together with frequent bending forward of the trunk and continual movements of the hands and fingers, the pupils of the eye becoming much dilated."

"The apples of Sodom are held to be related to this plant, and the name Belladonna is said to record an old superstition that at certain times it takes the form of an enchantress of exceeding loveliness, whom it is dangerous to look upon, though a more generally accepted view is that the name was bestowed on it because its juice was used by the Italian ladies to give their eyes greater brilliancy, the smallest quantity having the effect of dilating the pupils of the eye."

Black lace gloves and eye makeup seems pretty accurate!

All you ever wanted to know about the Belladonna flower, but were afraid to ask...

(Additional information supplied by Ringer Arevanye)


At October 7, 2004 at 11:46 AM, Blogger Arevanye said...

What? You're not going to include the part that got deleted on TORn? ;-)

Nice to know my humanitarian efforts to apprise my fellow siblings of the dangerous and unfortunate side effects of these poisonous herbs has not gone unnoticed!

(Just email me at heh heh

At November 3, 2004 at 8:29 AM, Blogger jesusandME said...

Unfortunately, I didn't read your post until AFTER that part got deleted.... So I couldn't include it. sorry ;-)

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