The Lord of the Rings is an epic fantasy novel written by philologist and University of Oxford professor J. R. R. Tolkien. As well as being the second best selling novel of all time (150+ million copies), the book has spawned a trilogy of billion-dollar-grossing films directed by Peter Jackson.

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Is Bombadil a manifestation of Earth/Gaia? [duplicate]

Are planets and moons and stars and whatnot also manifestations of the Secret Fire? Doesn't that make them "sentient" and if so is Bombadil the spirit of Earth ?
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Is there reference to Sport in Middle Earth?

I'm currently reading The Hobbit and came across this curious excerpt from Thorin: If we don't get blown off, or drowned, or struck by lightning, we shall be picked up by some giant and kicked ...
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Why would Shelob own Sauron?

In Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, in the chapter Shelob’s Lair, there is a rather lengthy description of Shelob, the last remaining child of Ungoliant in Middle-Earth. In this, there is also a ...
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What “defenses” is Tolkien talking about?

In the chapter Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age in The Silmarillion, after the final battle of the War of the Last Alliance, the following passage occurs: And northward, beyond the Falls of ...
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Is it important to read The History of Middle-earth in order?

I'm almost done reading The Silmarillion, and I have a few options available as far as what I should read next: Unfinished Tales, the Reader's Companion to LotR, and The Return of the Shadow. This ...
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Which dragon did hurt Thranduil? [duplicate]

When Thorin and Thranduil discuss in Mirkwood, Thranduil said: ''Do not talk to me about the dragon fire. I know what's rage and ruin!'', and shows Thorin his destroyed face for a moment, then says: ...
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Did Tolkien borrow some of the Ring's properties from the Silmarils?

In The Lord of the Rings, the One Ring has many powers which make it incredibly dangerous to anyone who holds it, or even comes within close proximity to it. It inspires jealousy, possessiveness, ...
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Who was the leader of Uruk-Hai in the Battle of Helm's Deep?

I've searched a lot about this, but couldn't find it. I want to know who's the orc (Uruk-Hai) leader from Battle of Helm's Deep who had no helmet (just armor), climbed on the rock and roared very ...
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Were the orcs of Minas Morgul created by the Witch King? [duplicate]

In the Return of the King, there are the orcs that come from Minas Morgul. Were they produced in Mordor and transferred there, or were they actually created in Minas Morgul by the Witch King?
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Where did the Dwarves get their food from?

In Tolkien's writings, dwarves are practically always (to my knowledge) pictured as living in underground halls, inside mountains, etc. We never hear about dwarves working fields and pastures, or even ...
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Is there a list of the names used for Sauron in Lord of the Rings?

In the preface to The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion, authors Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull mention a surprising fact: Dr. Richard E. Blackwelder once counted in The Lord of the ...
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Melkor or Morgoth?

Despite being the ultimate Big Bad Guy1 in the Lord of the Rings books, Sauron was not the biggest baddest guy in the Tolkien legendarium. In fact he was only a servant of Melkor/Morgoth, who was a ...
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What examples of Saruman using his personal power do we know of?

I know he used his power to slow down Legolas, Aragorn and Gimli but do we get any other hints of him using his personal power?
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Is there any evidence to support the popular belief that Elves prefer bows to other weapons?

Judging by the LotR movies, and even by Legolas' actions in the books of The Lord of the Rings, it seems that Elves use bows and arrows far more often than any other weapons. But in The Silmarillion, ...
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Does Smeagol/Gollum ever truly align himself with Frodo and Sam, or is he a'schemin' the whole time they're all together?

Wondering if there is evidence in the books, movies, or any of the related literature to show that Gollum did or did not have a truly "good" side at one point during his time with Frodo and Sam, ...
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How did Gandalf find Merry and Pippin in the Fangorn?

Is it ever stated why Gandalf entered Fangorn? Or was it just a coincidence? What I mean by that is how does he just manage to stumble upon Merry and Pippin, or did he know it was going to happen?
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Do the Tolkien elves need to eat to survive?

On the one hand, they are physically very similar to humans, and the only crucial difference is that they don't age or fall ill. This, as well as frequent mention of food being eaten by elves, gives ...
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How long did Gollum have the ring for?

The books (and the movies) talk about the origin of Gollum and how he first attained the one ring. It also talks about how the ring warps his mind and body (and prevent Gollum from ageing normally). ...
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What language was the inscription on the Doors of Durin written in?

In the chapter A Journey in the Dark in Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring, the Company comes to the western gate of Moria, the Doors of Durin, which is sealed and requires a password to be ...
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Was Frodo's vision from Amon Hen accurate?

After Frodo escaped Boromir, he climbed to the top of Amon Hen and sat in the Seat of Seeing. While there, he had a vision: But everywhere he looked he saw the signs of war. The Misty Mountains ...
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When did this “Great Siege” that the orcs talk about in this dialog happen?

An extract from the Two Towers - The Choices of Master Samwise At this point Sam began to listen more attentively and pressed his ear against the stone. 'Who cut the cords she'd put round ...
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What does the Elvish word “Ai!” mean?

In the chapter titled "The Bridge of Khazad-Dûm", in The Fellowship of the Ring, Legolas is the first member of the Fellowship to see the Balrog known as "Durin's Bane". He proceeds to alert the ...
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What did Aragorn's crown look like?

Was there ever a visual representation of the crown Aragorn wore upon becoming king? I know they had one for the movies, but I'm wondering whether Tolkien ever drew one himself. Is there a detailed ...
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The North, South and East Wind

When Tolkien refers to the wind, is he saying the direction it is blowing or the direction it has come from? For example this passage in The Two Towers, The Departure of Boromir: ‘You left the ...
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How are orcs and trolls actually looking or rather how did Tolkien imagine them?

Bear with me, while the question seems sort of ridiculous because the movie of Jackson and fantasy-role playing games presented them in detail, in fact the original Tolkien does not describe their ...
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Is there any evidence that Tolkien thought of Samwise Gamgee as being particularly fat?

In adaptations of The Lord of the Rings, Samwise Gamgee is consistently portrayed as being overweight. In Peter Jackson's movies, for instance, Sean Astin was specifically asked to put on a good deal ...
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Is there a land mass or island in the middle of the Sea of Rhun? [duplicate]

I've seen some conflicting maps regarding a landmass/island of sorts (?) in the Sea of Rhun, does anyone have evidence supporting this (or ruling it out)
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Why is Gollum's memory so selective?

In The Hobbit (the book and the movies), we meet our old friend Gollum again. But there is something strange about him. He doesn't remember what his own people (i.e., hobbits) are called, or even ...
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Are there any dwarves and/or elves joining Sauron and/or Saruman

In LOTR Sauron and Saruman use the services of humans in their armies: The Two Towers - Helm's Deep: Brazen trumpets sounded. The enemy surged forward, some against the Deeping Wall, other ...
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What does Tolkien say about Ancalagon's physical appearance, especially his size?

Questions like this one dealing with Ancalagon in particular, and Middle-earth's dragons in general, clearly show that Ancalagon was ridiculously, absurdly, unimaginably enormous. The ...
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Are Dwarves ever accorded lower stature than Elves or Men because they were not created by Ilúvatar?

Note: I found Was there racism in Middle-earth? shortly before posting this, but I think that they differ enough because the other question focuses on racist attitudes, whereas this question is not ...
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Why did Tolkien choose a ring? [duplicate]

I'm curious why Tolkien chose to use specifically a "ring". Was it just because of convenience; a ring being small and easily wearable? Or does a ring have some significance to him? I'm wondering if ...
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How can the Army of the Dead be free from Iluvatar's gift?

As Tolkien specified, Iluvatar granted the gift of death to the men, according to which men die inevitably and their souls travel into unknown place after the Halls of Mandos, how could there possibly ...
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How many dwarves of Thorin's ex company were alive during The War of Ring?

I googled something about this, and somewhere I've found an information which says that 7 dwarves of Thorin's ex company were alive during the War of Ring, but I can't find it again. Anyway, on LOTR ...
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How did they determine the music for the songs sung in Peter Jackson's “The Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit” film trilogies?

The novels The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit by J.R.R Tolkien both contain a number of songs, mostly sung by Hobbits, with fully fleshed out lyrics. A few of these songs even made it into the ...
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Who does Tolkien include in the category “The Wise”?

I know the wizards (Istari) are considered to be among "the Wise", and I believe the Elves (Eldar) are as well, but are all Elves among "the Wise", or only some of them? And does anyone else qualify ...
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What is Tolkien trying to say in this letter?

In a draft of a letter, later recorded as #246, Tolkien makes a strange statement. I am interested in the first few sentences of the letter, but I will include the remainder for the sake of context. ...
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Is Galadriel pardoned immediately after resisting the tempation of the Ring?

From Letter 297: The Exiles were allowed to return - save for a few chief actors in the rebellion of whom at the time of the LR only Galadriel remained. At the time of her lament in Lorien she ...
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Why didn't the ents play a part in the Battle of the Pelennor Fields

Why didn't the ents play a part in the Battle of the Pelennor Fields? After they defeated Saruman? The ents became angry at Saruman because his army cut down a large number of trees; but Saruman is ...
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Does any of The Hobbit's negative impression of Wood Elves survive in Tolkien's other writing?

In The Lord of the Rings, the only Wood Elf we get to know is Legolas, who is obviously awesome. But in The Hobbit, the image we get of Wood Elves is far less positive. We are told that they "are ...
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Who accompanied Gandalf and the hobbits on their journey towards the Shire near the end of Return of the King?

In his comments on this question, Omegacron insists that the Rangers rode with Gandalf, Frodo, Sam, Merry, and Pippin in the chapters "Many Partings" and "Homeward Bound". I frankly don't see it. ...
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Did Sauron hold the 7 and the 9?

In The Lord of the Rings Galadriel refers to Sauron as the holder of the 7 and the 9. But it also says in the appendices that dragons had consumed some. Is there a definitive answer to this ...
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Why were Elrond and Isildur the only ones who went to destroy the One Ring at Mount Doom?

Elrond's version of the tale of Isildur's Bane is particularly striking, as (in the movies) he is depicted as standing by the fires of Mount Doom watching in horror as Isildur refuses to destroy the ...
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Why didn't Tolkien do more with the Stone-Giants?

In The Hobbit, the heroes shelter from a storm in the mountains and see a group of stone-giants throwing boulders at each other. The Stone-giants were out, and were hurling rocks at one another ...
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Why not use the Ring?

I'm wondering if the Council ever, if briefly, considered using the Ring. At the Council of Elrond it is clearly "accepted" that the Ring is evil and will corrupt the wearer, but wouldn't a corrupt ...
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How has Galadriel acquired evil mode?

One thing that intrigues me, is the berserk / evil / turbo-charged mode of Galadriel in face of danger (in Dol Guldur, during The Hobbit - Battle of the Five Armies) or during a possible temptation ...
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Do dragons have their own language?

Though Smaug is the only dragon who features prominently in The Hobbit or The Lord of the Rings, there are many others who live in Middle-Earth. They don't seem to be the most sociable of creatures, ...
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Why don't elves have more babies?

Is there a particular reason the elves die off so fast? After the first war against Sauron, I recall the elves being decimated, to the point that they're almost useless army wise in the trilogy. But ...
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They defeated a ring-bearing Sauron once, why couldn't they do it again?

Why did everyone believe that if Sauron reclaimed the One Ring the world would succumb to him, just like that? Didn't he already fail twice in attempts at world domination, and once even while ...
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Does Baggins mean thief?

When Tolkien choose, or translated Bilbo and Frodo last name as Baggins, did he choose it because to bag or pocket something means to steal it? Is it an example of significant naming or Meaningful ...