A Guest and To Counsel


Active Member
I just thought it'd be fun to share what I found when searching for etymology of "Rad(a)" and "gast."

Old Norse
ráð = 'advise', 'counsel', 'decision' [2] [3] [4] [5] [1] [6]
ráð = 'advise', 'counsel', 'decision', 'might', 'household', 'marriage' [7]
ráða = 'to advise', 'to counsel', 'to be mighty', 'to rule', 'to decide', 'to guess' [7]
ráða = 'to advise', 'to counsel' [2] [3] [4] [8] [9] [5]
-ráðr = 'adviser', 'counsel' [1]

*gastiR = 'guest'

Old Norse
gestr = 'guest' [2]

gasts = 'guest' [2] [1]

Old High German
gast = 'guest' [1]

Old English
giest = 'guest' [1]



Well-Known Member
Cool Arnthro,

I wonder why JRRT would have devised that name? The first time we see the name Radagast is in The Hobbit, where Gandalf says to Beorn, "I have heard of you, if you have not heard of me; but perhaps you have heard of my good cousin Radagast who lives near the Southern borders of Mirkwood?" Beorn replies, "Yes; not a bad fellow as wizards go, I believe. I used to see him now and again."

So, is Beorn implying that Radagast had been a guest who gave wise council? Or is JRRT thinking that Gandalf is about to become a guest who is also a wise counsellor, and that foreshadowing thought provides the inspiration for the name of Radagast?

Does anyone know of any clues from 'The History of Middle Earth' indicating what JRRT might have been thinking when he first came up with the name for Radagast?


Active Member
I currently only have a couple volumes of 'The History of Middle Earth' and haven't delved into them yet so I am of no help there but those are good wonderings indeed.


Active Member
Names ending on gast(ir) is found on rune-stones in Norway, in the proto-Nordic language using the elder futhark.
The Einang Stone (~300AD) has the name (gu)dagastiR (Good guest)
The Myklebostad Stone (~400AD) has the name a(n)sugastR (Asir guest, Asir=one of the clans of Old Norse gods).
The Sunde Stone (~400AD) has widugastiR (probably Woodguest/Guest from the wood).