In B5 Lorien is the name of a member of a very old (possibly the oldest) race in the galaxy. Though he can choose to appear humanoid he actually is more of a energy-field. He is very powerful and guides Sheridan through his near-death-dream state.

In LotR Lorien is the name of a member of a very old (possibly the oldest) race on earth. Though they choose to be humanoid, there is no telling how they "really" look. In LotR Lorien is the master of visions and dreams.

Was this name chosen purposefully by J Michael Straczynski? If so, what is it's significance? Or is there a third "Lorien" both Loriens are named after?

This is an out-of-universe-question so obviously I'm not hoping for an in-canon answer. But both authors spoke and wrote extensively about their work so maybe there is some answer out there!

  • 1
    – Pobrecita
    Commented Jul 22, 2014 at 7:32
  • @iliveunderawesomerock Now that makes me look kinda stupid, doesn't it? Anyhow: Would you care make an answer out of it?
    – Einer
    Commented Jul 22, 2014 at 7:34
  • Note that the forest of Lorien (a.k.a. Lothlorien) is not explicited to be named after Lorien the Vala.
    – Envite
    Commented Jul 22, 2014 at 18:09
  • @Envite I do get that. Still there is a Vala out there named Lorien and I'd love to know if the B5-Lorien has something to do with it... As it turns out the answer is "no": Straczynski just liked the sound of that name. Pity that!
    – Einer
    Commented Jul 22, 2014 at 18:24
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    @TylerH, it's about both. Probably the only question in existence that is. Commented Jul 23, 2014 at 1:32

3 Answers 3


All this speculation is interesting but no one seems to know the answer to this question. I even checked out some of his interviews on TV Legends.org as well as JMS Mail and this was all I found:

From: J. Michael Straczynski
Subject: Lorien
Date: 11/30/1996 5:57:00 PM

I just kinda thought it was a cool sounding name....


So I would suggest you ask him yourself by posting a question Here or through his Twitter account. You may know that JMS is rather approachable about these things.

  • This is indeed a correct if disappointing answer. And I'm fairly convinced, he is lying and there is more behind it. But if that's what he said, than that's what he said!
    – Einer
    Commented Jul 22, 2014 at 8:32
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    It is a good question, I really think you should posse the question to him... If he's anything like he was when I met him he'll either make a joke of it (meaning he doesn't want to tell you) or he will spend 10 mins, possibly more, on exactly what he wanted to convey with the name. Commented Jul 22, 2014 at 8:45
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    @einer - I don't know about "lying" but there certainly seem to be a considerable number of overlapping names from LOTR in B5. Maybe it was just subconscious.
    – Valorum
    Commented Jul 22, 2014 at 9:22
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    @Richard: It wouldn't be the only time such coincidences showed up in B5. The Markab are an alien race from Scientology, and Joe Straczynski explicitly stated that if he'd known that before making the show he would have changed the name. Some of this is undoubtedly unconscious; Sheridan falling into the pit is very similar to Gandalf being dragged by the Balrog, but Joe actually got annoyed when asked about the similarity, as he apparently never even considered it. When Joe does something intentionally, such as Elric quoting Gandalf in The Geometry of Shadows, he admits it. Commented Jul 22, 2014 at 10:08

The word "Lórien" is a literal translation of the French "le orien(t)" (e.g. that which is like gold). Tolkien uses it to mean "Golden Valley" or "land of gold".

You can see the in-universe and out-of-universe evolution of the name here;

"Laurenande is the Quenya version of Lorinand. The word laurë means "golden light."
Unfinished Tales: "The History of Galadriel and Celeborn," p. 252-53 note 5

As far as Babylon 5 is concerned, Showrunner J. Michael Straczynski had a known predilection for 'borrowing names' as well as entire chunks of plotline from LOTR and the Silmarillion to include in his show (q.v. rangers/rangers, Morden/Mordor, Khazad-dûm/Z'ha'dum, Mogath/Morgoth, etc).

That being the case, it seems fairly likely that the name Lorien was chosen as a deliberate homage to one of his own favourite authors.

  • 4
    @Richard I didn't downvote you, but I was downvoted to. So I think the reason is the lack of canon sources and the fact that the answers don't have a direct answer if that makes sense. I personally thought you had a good answer, 1+. And also you appeared to put what you thought mixed into your sources. Instead of having canon and theory separate.
    – Pobrecita
    Commented Jul 22, 2014 at 8:22
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    Despite that the OP did say "obviously I'm not hoping for an in-canon answer" so lack of canon sources shouldn't be a reason for a DV. In fact both this answer and @iliveunderawesomerock's answer were better sourced than the accepted!
    – user8719
    Commented Jul 22, 2014 at 9:18
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    @Einer "..isn't exactly a name you just come up with" - yeah, it can be, depending on how you come up with names. It's not as though it's perfectly obtuse - I usually start with two base words and play with the letters, and Lorien is easy to generate from the name Loren...
    – Izkata
    Commented Jul 22, 2014 at 23:58
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    @Richard: I honestly don't find all that many coincidences between B5 and LotR. I think that many of the coincidences tend to be from Tolkien and Straczynski ripping off the same sources, not the latter ripping off the former. We have Elric, who is clearly intentional. We have Lorien, which may have been a subconscious thing on Joe's part. What else is there? There are as many similarities between LotR and Star Wars, because Tolkien and Lucas were drawing from the same myths. If Kurasawa was around when Tolkien was, the latter would probably have taken from him as well. Commented Jul 23, 2014 at 0:40
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    The Rangers and Khazad-dum I'll give you. Morden and Mordor is a hell of a stretch, considering one is a barren wasteland devoid of all hope, and the other is a country in LotR (sorry, Ed Wasser). I don't even recall a 'Mogath,' but again, it's a stretch. The Narns are a maybe. But Joe is clearly cribbing things from a variety of sources. The Minbari are an analogue for samurai. Sheridan quotes various Buddhist, American, Japanese, etc., parables. The Centauri are a combination of Rome and Britain. Earthgov is a mix of the Nazis and the Red Scare. Singling out Tolkien seems ridiculous. Commented Jul 23, 2014 at 1:15

This is all I could find.

The name Narns might be derived either from C. S. Lewis's The Chronicles of Narnia, or from Tolkien's Narn i Chîn Húrin in The Silmarillion. The name of Tolkien's heart of elvendom, "Lórien" (or "Lothlórien") is given to the first of the First Ones in B5 (see "Lorien"). The name of the Shadows' agent, Mr. Morden, may also reflect Tolkien's Mordor. The similar nature of the names Khazad-dûm and Z'ha'dum has been noted earlier.

This is basically a list of influences used by the Babylon 5. This sort of answers the question. From this source you can see that the Babylon 5 takes a lot from the LoTR and other series.

From the wikia.

The name Lorien bears a striking similarity to "Lothlórien", a forest within the universe of Tolkien's Legendarium. It is also the name of a godlike Vala (more properly named Irmo) in Tolkien's "The Silmarillion".

This is just definition of the name.

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