Listen to the dramatic reading by Thomas Eggleston:

John,

Hope you’re doing good, brother! I just finished the latest manuscript of The Fellowship of the Ring you sent over—absolutely loved it. It’s really coming together. So fresh. On that, one tiny note: I’m bumping on “Mount Doom.” Seems a tiny bit less original than everything else—you know, all the “Balrogs” and “Gundabads” (which totally rock!). This one feels a little “first thought.” You know? I’d love to see what you can come up with. Psyched for this to hit print.

—Dave


My Dearest David,

My utmost gratitude for your sincere praise. I, too, eagerly await the public’s introduction to Frodo Baggins, Peregrin Took, Gandalf Stormcrow, and all the rest of my dear friends.

As to your query, I believe I can shed some light on the nomenclature of the much-feared Mount Doom. You see, it is a volcano—“Mount”—and the site of the forging of the One Ring, which threatens to enslave Middle-earth. Hence, “Doom.” Very fitting.

Please do not hesitate with any further questions.

The Road Goes Ever On,
J.R.R. Tolkien


John,

Yes, I totally get it on how the name fits. Right there with you. In fact, I think that’s kind of part of why it keeps sticking out to me—maybe it’s a little too fitting, if that makes sense? Like, if I were spitballing names for an evil mountain, I feel like “Mount Doom” would be one of the first things I thought of.

And plus, you know, everything else in the book has a completely original, made-up name. You insisted on printing that whole appendix of made-up family trees for everybody. Gandalf alone has like, seven names. Hey, I’m not complaining! But like, maybe just use one of those. Happy to get on the phone and springboard some ideas. Let me know.

—Dave


To David, son of Donald, known as Dave to some,

A point of correction—Gandalf the Grey, or perhaps I ought to say, Olórin, as he was first called by the Ainur, actually has over 13 names, that we know of, as well as countless more yet unknown. “Many are my names in many countries,” as the wizard himself says.

Now, against my better judgment, here are some alternative possible names for the offending summit:

  • Doom Peak
  • The Mountain of Doom
  • Doom Mountain

Perhaps one of these is to your liking? Of course, we will have to adjust the Crack of Doom correspondingly.

The Road Goes Ever On,
J.R.R. Tolkien


John,

No—look, I feel like you’re missing the point. Here’s an example: Barad Dur, that scary black tower. Imagine if you’d just called that, like, “Evil Tower.” A little on the nose, right? I want a “Barad Dur” for Mount Doom. Maybe, like, “Dormulon,” or “Balgamoth.” I don’t know, this isn’t my job! You’re literally the Oxford Professor of Linguistics. You made up two entire languages, for Christ’s sake!

Also—doesn’t matter, but my Dad’s name is Michael, not Donald. No big deal.

—Dave


David, son of Michael, son of Donald:

I’ve got it. How about just, “Doom.”

The Road Goes Ever On,
J.R.R. Tolkien


John,

Forget it. Keep Mount Doom. At least it’s simple. I just started The Silmarillion, and I have no idea what the fuck is going on.


Follow PIC on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or good ol' fashioned email.
Get coaching or feedback on your comedy writing from our editors.