We know in the Undying Lands, Valinor:

... This latter name is somewhat misleading; the land itself, while blessed, did not cause mortals to live forever

In addition Valinor appears to be an actual place

...Valinor lies in Aman, a continent west of Middle-earth. Ekkaia, the encircling sea surrounds both Aman and Middle-earth

Is there an afterlife where Hobbits, Men and Elves go after death?

There is some indication that Elves are 'immortal', however they can die.

  • 2
    There used to be an afterlife for Hobbits, Men, and Elves, but Peter Jackson destroyed it. Dec 22, 2015 at 3:23
  • Elves are Immortal, in that they do not die of old age, no sickness befalls them and they retain their vigour, however, they can be slain, or killed, as has happened to quite a few.A few Elvish women have been lost, i.e., they have departed the world like mortals, such as Luthien and Arwen. Some have had their lives wasted like Míriel, who was exhausted with Feanor's birth, and is now cared for in Lorien. Dec 23, 2015 at 15:40

2 Answers 2


The question of Elvish fates is dealt with here, so I'm going to focus on Men (and, by extension, Hobbits).

There is an afterlife, but nobody knows anything about it:

What may befall their spirits after death the Elves know not. Some say that they too go to the halls of Mandos; but their place of waiting there is not that of the Elves, and Mandos under Ilúvatar alone save Manwë knows whither they go after the time of recollection in those silent halls beside the Outer Sea. None have ever come back from the mansions of the dead, save only Beren son of Barahir, whose hand had touched a Silmaril; but he never spoke afterward to mortal Men. The fate of Men after death, maybe, is not in the hands of the Valar, nor was all foretold in the Music of the Ainur.

The Silmarillion III Quenta Silmarillion Chapter 12: "Of Men"

There's evidence that the souls of Men spend at least a little time in Mandos; Beren did so, before he was resurrected:

[T]he spirit of Beren at her bidding tarried in the halls of Mandos, unwilling to leave the world, until Lúthien came to say her last farewell upon the dim shores of the Outer Sea, whence Men that die set out never to return.

The Silmarillion III Quenta Silmarillion Chapter 19: "Of Beren and Lúthien"

But after that, all we know is that they eventually leave the world, presumably to go hang out with Ilúvatar; this is in comparison to the Elves, who even in "death" are bound to the world until its end:

The Doom (or the Gift) of Men is mortality, freedom from thecircles of the world. Since the point of view of the whole cycle is the Elvish, mortality is not explained mythically: it is a mystery of God of which no more is known than that 'what God has purposed for Men is hidden': a grief and an envy to the immortal Elves.

The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien 131: To Milton Waldman. 1951

  • Mandos? So this is the way.
    – Peter
    Jun 30, 2023 at 16:26

We hear from Gandalf, who after all has actually died, this

GANDALF: End? No, the journey doesn't end here. Death is just another path, one that we all must take. The grey rain-curtain of this world rolls back, and all turns to silver glass, and then you see it.

PIPPIN: What? Gandalf? See what?

GANDALF: White shores, and beyond, a far green country under a swift sunrise.

  • 4
    In the films, yes. This line is borrowed from the book description of Frodo physically sailing to Valinor, at which point he was very much not actually dead. Jun 30, 2023 at 0:45
  • Also, Gandalf is not and never was human. He is a "Maiar", which makes him older than the Earth, and immortal. Basically an angel. He came to Middle Earth from Valinor in the first place. Jun 30, 2023 at 12:52

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