In The Fellowship of the Ring, when the party was at the gates of Moria, Gandalf tries to open the doors by speaking bespoke paswords. The password is actually "Mellon " but he tries various other phrases first.

What was the first password he tried?

It's possible that this is only in the movie version, as it's been quite a while since i read the book.


2 Answers 2


The Film

According to the Fellowship of the Ring script at Council of Elrond, in the film Gandalf first tries:

Annon Edhellen, edro hi ammen! (Gate of the Elves, open now for me!)


Fennas Nogothrim, lasto beth lammen. (Doorway of the Dwarf-folk, listen to the word of my tongue.)

Followed by:

Ando Eldarinwa…a lasta quettanya, Fenda Casarinwa… (Gate of Elves…listen to my word, Threshold of Dwarves…)

The Book

In the book, Gandalf first tries:

Annon edhellen, edro hi ammen!

Fennas nogothrim, lasto beth lammen!

Later attempts:

Many times he repeated these words in different order, or varied them. Then he tried other spells, one after another, speaking now faster and louder, now soft and slow. Then he spoke many single words of Elvish speech. Nothing happened. The cliff towered into the night, the countless stars were kindled, the wind blew cold, and the doors stood fast.

Again Gandalf approached the wall, and lifting up his arms he spoke in tones of command and rising wrath. Edro, edro! he cried, and struck the rock with his staff. Open, open! he shouted, and followed it with the same command in every language that had ever been spoken in the West of Middle-earth. Then he threw his staff on the ground, and sat down in silence.

It should probably be mentioned that in the book, 'Mellon' is Gandalf's idea (inspired by something Merry said) whereas in the film 'Mellon' is Frodo's idea.

  • 10
    in the book it was inadvertently Merry who put the idea into Gandalfs mind when he said "what does it mean by speak friend and enter?" and Gandalf says after opening the door "Merry of all people was on the right track".
    – phil
    Jul 10, 2012 at 15:21
  • 51
    This is why you need to be careful and always make sure that your passwords consist of lowercase, uppercase, numerals, and punctuation marks, but most of all that they don't consist of easily guessed words or phrases.
    – John O
    Jul 10, 2012 at 16:03
  • 4
    @JohnO - LOL I wonder if we switch to Sindarin for passwords would that make cracking it require a wizard? Jul 10, 2012 at 16:07
  • 13
    I don't trust wizards more than any other user. Within 2 weeks we'd have lists of "the top Sindarin passwords" in all the trade rags. Though the postit notes on monitors might have cooler writing...
    – John O
    Jul 10, 2012 at 16:09
  • 7
    @JohnO: yes, but you can only see the writing when you dip it into coffee.
    – Jeff
    Jul 10, 2012 at 18:11

Elvish gate open now for us; doorway of the Dwarf-folk listen to the word of my tongue.

In the book, Gandalf says "Annon edhellen, edro hi ammen! Fennas nogothrim, lasto beth lammen!",

He stepped up to the rock again, and lightly touched with his staff the silver star in the middle beneath the sign of the anvil.
Annon edhellen, edro hi ammen!
Fennas nogothrim, lasto beth lammen!
he said in a commanding voice. The silver lines faded, but the blank grey stone did not stir.
The Lord of the Rings - Book II Chapter 4 - "A Journey in the Dark"

This is not translated within the book itself, but in Tolkien's unfinished linguistic companion volume to The Lord of the Rings, Tolkien glosses it as "Elvish gate open now for us; doorway of the Dwarf-folk listen to the word of my tongue", and breaks it down word-for-word.

S annon edhellen edro hi ammen!
fennas nogothrim lasto beth lammen
An (impromptu) verse invocation by Gandalf.
"Elvish gate open now for us; doorway of the Dwarf-folk listen to the word of my tongue."
S annon "gate"
S edhellen, adj. ' elvish' from edhel 'Elf. [S edhel is probably related to, or connected with, Q Elda, the specific name of the Western branch of the Quendi; but it was used in S. as a general name for all Elves (since the name Quendi had gone out of use in Sindarin).]
S edro, imperative of Sindarin verb edra- "open (out)."
S hi 'now'.
S ammen "for us"
S fennas "doorway." Cf. fen, door (in Fen Hollen, vol. Ill, 99).
S nogothrim: of the Dwarf-people.
S nogoth, pl. "dwarves", pl. of nogon, a dwarf; nogoth-rim 'dwarf-folk'.
Rare, possibly nonce-formation of Gandalf's. The usual generic plural or race-name was Naugrim.
S lasto, imperative of S lasta-, listen. [Q lasta-, √LAS-.]
S beth, mutated (as object immediately after verb) for peth, word = Q quetta [√QUET- 'say'].
S lammen "(of) my tongue." S lam 'tongue' = Q lambe.
S -en, possessive suffix of 1st person sg. (cf. Q lambenya 'my tongue').
"Words, Phrases and Passages in Various Tongues in The Lord of the Rings", Parma Eldalamberon #17

Elsewhere, Tolkien has also glossed the two words "fennas nogothrim" as "gateway (of) dwarf-folk".

I have often had questions about the grammatical features appearing in the Sindarin fragments. There is no time for answering these. But I might mention the ending -ath. ... is not a genitive inflexion as some have guessed. In S. the simple genitive was usually expressed by placing the genitival noun in adjectival position (in S. after the primary noun). So Vol. I, p. 319, Ennyn Durin Aran Moria, "doors (of) Durin King (of) Moria"; Vol. Ill, p. 41, Ernil i Pheriannath, "Prince (of) the Halflings"; Vol. I, p. 320, Fennas nogothrim, "gateway (of) dwarf-folk."
The Road Goes Ever On

  • 3
    " In S. the simple genitive was usually expressed [...]" One of the things I always enjoyed about Tolkien is that he always talks about the languages and stories as living things external to himself.
    – Yorik
    Nov 18, 2021 at 16:53

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.