J.R.R. Tolkien (John Ronald Reuel Tolkien) was an English writer, poet, philologist, and university professor, best known as the author of the classic high fantasy works The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and The Silmarillion.

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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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Were Men forbidden from going to Aman prior to the creation of Númenor?

From the text of the Akallabêth, it is clear that following the creation of Númenor, the "Ban of the Valar" forbade the Edain from sailing anywhere near Aman, or even Tol Eressëa. And the earlier ...
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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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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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Are there gender-specific terms for Elves?

In Tolkien's world, "Men" (i.e., humans) are one thing and "Elves" are another. However, within the category of "Men", there are obviously subcategories for each gender (i.e., men and women, or male ...
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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 is the cover art from this edition of The Silmarillion a picture of?

The artwork on the cover of my copy of The Silmarillion is a drawing by Tolkien himself. It shows a huge mountain silhouetted by a blue moon, witha Viking-style ship in the lower foreground. ...
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What happened to Huan the Wolfhound after he died?

I just finished reading the chapter of The Silmarillion devoted to Beren and Lúthien, which contains the greatest character in all of Tolkien's work, in my opinion: Huan, the Wolfhound of the Valar. ...
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Did Sauron and Finrod Felagund really get into a singing fight?

In The Silmarillion, in the chapter "Of Beren and Lúthien", we read of what can only be called a singing fight, at least if we take the account at face value. I won't repeat it in its entirety, but ...
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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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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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Are there handicapped Elves?

In The Silmarillion, we read about Maedhros, whose hand was amputated in order to free him from the manacle which had kept him suspended from the mountain called Thangorodrim. The hand never grew ...
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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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Does a copy of the Noldolantë exist?

One of the most tragic stories in The Silmarillion is that of the Kinslaying at Alqualondë. But we are given very few details about it, which is unfortunate, considering how important the episode was ...
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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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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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What is society like in Aman?

I know the Valar and Maia are the highest, second would be the Vanyar and the Noldor and Teleri are equal? Why does the Noldor and Teleri have a king when practically the Vanyar King and the Valar ...
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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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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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Did Mandos make any decisions that didn't prove to be disastrous?

Mandos is the great judge of the Valar, and his decisions are widely respected by all the other Valar. But most of his judgements have disastrous consequences for the Valar, the Elves, and all of ...
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Was Melkor/Morgoth a Vala or not?

I had always been under the impression that Melkor was a Vala. It seemed to be almost common knowledge among Tolkien fans, including the ones here on SE. Then I came across this line in The ...
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Are there any more Valar?

If I'm not mistaken, a total of 14 Valar, not including Melkor, are named in The Silmarillion. Are these the only Valar, or are there others who are not named/mentioned? Bonus question: As I ...
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In Tolkien's world, are the Vanyar considered to be greater than the Noldor?

I often read so, but couldn't find a specific quote. So did Tolkien say that or is this a generalization or assumption I am making? I know that Ingwë, the Vanyar king, is at the same time king of all ...
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Why did it take the Valar years to realize that the Elves had awoken?

In The Silmarillion, we are told that Morgoth was the first to realize that the Elves were awake, and that Elves who wandered alone or in small groups occasionally disappeared, and that this went on ...
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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 the similarities between Tolkien's Dwarves and Jews intentional?

Reading about Khuzdul I found the following information very interesting : The Dwarvish language sounds much like Hebrew, and indeed Tolkien noted some similarities between Dwarves and Jews: both ...
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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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How can there be hill trolls present in the chapter “The Black Gate Opens?” [duplicate]

In The Return of the King, the chapter "The Black Gate Opens" where Gandalf, the King of Gondor, and their allies make a final war against Sauron before the Morannon we are told: ...the sun now ...
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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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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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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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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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In the Fourth Age, what was the oldest creature left alive in Middle Earth?

After the War of the Ring, Sauron = dead. Saruman = dead. Gandalf = has left on the ship. Elrond = left. Galadriel = left. What was the oldest creature still alive in Middle-Earth in the Fourth Age?
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Does a transcription of Tolkien's handwriting in this image exist? (Part 3)

I wasn't going to do this, but the first two questions were so popular that I think we can go for the hat trick. The full size image is available here. Note: Once again, I can't ask you to ...
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Was Elrond always supposed to be an Elf?

This passage in The Hobbit puzzled me: The master of [Rivendell] was an elf-friend... He was as noble and as fair as an elf-lord, as strong as a warrior, as wise as a wizard, as venerable as a ...
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809 views

Why didn't Durin's Bane kill the Orcs?

In The Fellowship of the Ring, the Orcs of the Misty Mountains are clearly afraid of the Balrog, and who could blame them? But whereas the Balrog killed all the Dwarves he could find after they woke ...
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Are the Hobbit names translated when translating LOTR in other languages

When reading LOTR in my native language (Bulgarian) I noticed that the Hobbit names were translated too. For example Baggins was translated by taking the root of the name - bag - and using the ...
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Does a transcription of Tolkien's handwriting in this image exist? (Part 2)

Following on the success we had transcribing the text in the image on this question, I am hoping that lightning will strike twice. This image contains far more text, and is even less legible. It ...
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Which King took possession of the Stone of Orthanc?

In The Return of the King, when the Fellowship finally parts ways, Pippin says that he wishes they each had palantiri so they could communicate with each other over long distances. Aragorn responds: ...
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Did Aragorn permanently ban Beregond from entering Minas Tirith?

In The Return of the King, a guardian of the Citadel of Minas Tirith, named Beregond, befriends Pippin, and later, helps Pippin save Faramir from Denethor's madness. Denethor has the unconscious ...
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Why did the Valar abandon the Moriquendi and Men?

There is plenty of discussion on this site about why the Valar didn't intervene in more obvious ways in the Second and Third Ages, but I'm asking about the First Age. Between the return of Melkor to ...
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Is there any plate armor in Tolkien's world?

As far as I can recall, no one ever wears plate armor in The Lord of the Rings - only leather and chain mail. But most depictions of Sauron and Morgoth show them wearing heavy black plate armor - ...
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What happened to the Rangers of the North after the War of the Ring?

In The Return of the King, Halbarad and at least two dozen other Rangers of the North come to Aragorn's aid. Halbarad, and possibly some others, die in the Battle of the Pelennor Fields, and it is ...
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How much Elven ancestry does Aragorn have?

I know Aragorn is descended from Elros the half-Elf, and from what I've been able to find, there are somewhere between 64 and 99 generations separating Elros from Aragorn. I can't do the math, I ...