If The Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion took place in different ages than us, but on Earth, is there any suggestion in those works that some elements would or could have been immortal or invincible, and therefore lasted into our age (modern times)?

In works like History of Middle Earth did JRR ever hint at something that carried over into our times, beings or geographical features? Did he ever acknowledge a possible carry-over into modern day, or was it only the old ages he wrote about with no hint of the future (our present)?

  • @Christi I'm asking if any remnants or life-forms would remain in our time. It's different. Read the body of the question, not just the title. Jun 7, 2014 at 8:46
  • Then I think you need to edit the question title to make that clearer.
    – Christi
    Jun 7, 2014 at 8:48
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    When you say "elements", do you mean beings, like Maiar or elves, or geographical features? Or something else? Jun 7, 2014 at 8:52
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    @Christi I'm not asking for speculation. I'm asking if he wrote about this. He either did or he didn't. No speculation. Jun 7, 2014 at 9:03
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    @AvnerShahar-Kashtan I thought the question was straight-forward. I tried an edit just now. If it's no good feel free to edit if you think you get my question, otherwise feel free to shut it down. Then I'll just walk the streets, homeless, muttering the question to myself... ; ) Jun 7, 2014 at 9:43

2 Answers 2


There are some explicit statements in Letters and LotR itself. Letter 144 notes that Dragons survived and were active close to our time, whereas LotR is conceived as being drawn from a surviving copy of the Red Book of Westmarch.

From the History of Middle-earth, it's definitely the case that Ambarkanta Map V suggests Africa, and the British Isles were originally thought of as being the remnants of Beleriand after the War of Wrath (a concept that was later abandoned).

The LotR prologue (Concerning Hobbits) also claims that Hobbits are still around:

Hobbits are an unobtrusive but very ancient people, more numerous formerly than they are today...

Otherwise, what Tolkien wrote about was a world in a perpetual state of decay, and the passing from mythical times to historical times. Gandalf's words to Aragorn on Mindolluin summarize it best:

This is your realm, and the heart of the greater realm that shall be. The Third Age of the world is ended, and the new age is begun; and it is your task to order its beginning and to preserve what may be preserved. For though much has been saved, much must now pass away; and the power of the Three Rings also is ended. And all the lands that you see, and those that lie round about them, shall be dwellings of Men. For the time comes of the Dominion of Men, and the Elder Kindred shall fade or depart.

It's clear that even the Renewal at the end of the Third Age was not accomplished without grievous loss, and this is all wrapped up in a central theme (perhaps the central theme) of Tolkien's: that of the Marring of Arda and the Falls of Men and Elves.

That's all something that would take a full book to discuss in more detail, but fortunately for you that book has been published and it's called History of Middle-earth 10: Morgoth's Ring. I'll refer you to that if you're interested in more information about this theme.

  • Well, I think that about does it. Thank you, sir, and may a release most merciful be always at your leisure. Jun 7, 2014 at 14:29
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    Homo floresiensis (aka "the hobbit") is thought to have survived on Flores at least until 12,000 years before present, making it the longest lasting non-modern human, surviving long past the Neanderthals (H. neanderthalensis), which became extinct about 24,000 years ago. Jun 7, 2014 at 19:47
  • @CeesTimmerman The discoverer suggested they were hobbits; that doesn't mean it's what Tolkien was writing about or where he got the idea from. So your idea that they've been extinct for 24,003 years (since you wrote that 3 years ago) is wrong because it's not the same species. The fact they weren't even discovered until 2003 should be more than enough to prove that. Tolkien was long dead by that time and all literature about hobbits even older. So how can you say that's what it was about? Or are maybe you're not suggesting it is what he meant?
    – Pryftan
    Oct 7, 2017 at 22:17
  • @Pryftan It supports the fiction. Even more so if the Third Age was over 12,000 years ago. Oct 10, 2017 at 9:24
  • @CeesTimmerman Well if you see it that way fair enough. That being said I'm not sure if it is that time frame. I do know that Tolkien - and I might be remembering the number wrong here - suggested in one of the letters that we are probably in the Sixth Age (again I could be remembering the number wrong). That being said I still stand by that the species you refer to was discovered much later and also isn't what Tolkien had in mind. But it's quite possible I'm missing your point perhaps entirely; I wouldn't at all be surprised even in my current state.
    – Pryftan
    Oct 10, 2017 at 21:58

The mother of our particular hobbit . . . what is a hobbit? I suppose hobbits need some description nowadays, since they have become rare and shy of the Big People, as they call us.

  • Chapter I, An Unexpected Party. The Hobbit, or, there and back again.


Hobbits are an unobtrusive but very ancient people, more numerous formerly than they are today; for they love peace and quiet and good tilled earth: a well-ordered and well-farmed countryside was their favourite haunt. They do not and did not understand or like machines more complicated than a forge-bellows, a water-mill, or a hand-loom, though they were skilful with tools. Even in ancient days they were, as a rule, shy of 'the Big Folk', as they call us, and now they avoid us with dismay and are becoming hard to find.

  • LOTR, Prologue, Chapter 1, "Concerning Hobbits"

Note the present tense in both cases

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