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Extant in the last century of the Third Age1
'Wanton, licentious'3


About this entry:

  • Updated 8 March 2018
  • This entry is complete


The father of Gríma Wormtongue


According to Gandalf, Gálmód was the father of Gríma Wormtongue, advisor to King Théoden of Rohan. Tolkien only ever mentions him once, and then only in passing, so almost nothing is known about him. His name seems to derive from the Old English for 'lewd' or 'wanton'.



Our information on Gálmód's dates is very uncertain. We know that his son Gríma was alive during the War of the Ring, and seems to have been fairly old himself at that time (in The Two Towers III 6, The King of the Golden Hall, Gríma is described as 'wizened'). This suggests that Gríma's father Gálmód was probably born in very approximately III 2940, about the time of the Quest of Erebor. We do not know whether he was still alive at the time of the War of the Ring, but if he was, he would have been at least seventy years old, and likely considerably older.


To clarify, both the 'a' and 'o' sounds in Gálmód's are long vowels. Following Old English pronunciation conventions, the 'a' would be pronounced like the 'a' in 'father', and the 'o' as in 'go'. So, the first syllable of the name is something like 'gahl', and the second is pronounced like the English word 'mode'.


This rather unpleasant source for Gálmód's name is perhaps more easily understood when we consider that it only appears in a patronymic given to his son by Gandalf: Gríma son of Gálmód. Gríma's own name means 'secret' or 'deceit', so the entire phrase can be translated as an insult: 'deceit son of wanton'. Indeed, from this perspective it is even conceivable that there was no such person as 'Gálmód' at all, but that the name was simply invented in the moment by Gandalf as part of a disparaging play on words in the language of the Rohirrim.

See also...

Éomer Éadig


About this entry:

  • Updated 8 March 2018
  • This entry is complete

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