Since there are many species of different creatures in The Hobbit, I was pondering on the subject of how and when each race was created.

Which race was created first and which order were the other races created?

  • 2
    I've taken the liberty of widening your question to cover the order in which the races were created. This should (hopefully) make it a bit less likely to end up spawning duplicates.
    – Valorum
    Dec 21, 2014 at 21:49
  • 3
    I believe it was the Dwarven Marathon of the Second Age.
    – Möoz
    Dec 21, 2014 at 22:56
  • 4
    You'll probably be interested in this 4 minute video summary of the LOTR/Hobbit mythology (consisting largely of what races were created when, by who).
    – Tim S.
    Dec 22, 2014 at 3:18

1 Answer 1


This is covered in the Silmarillion. The first race created were the Ainur:

There was Eru, the One, who in Arda is called Ilúvatar; and he made first the Ainur, the Holy Ones, that were the offspring of his thought, and they were with him before aught else was made. And he spoke to them, propounding to them themes of music; and they sang before him, and he was glad. But for a long while they sang only each alone, or but few together, while the rest hearkened; for each comprehended only that part of me mind of Ilúvatar from which he came, and in the understanding of their brethren they grew but slowly.

Then came the Dwarves (who were made, but then put to sleep until the Elves had been created):

...is told that in their beginning the Dwarves were made by Aulë in the darkness of Middle-earth; for so greatly did Aulë desire the coming of the Children, to have learners to whom he could teach his lore and his crafts, that he was unwilling to await the fulfilment of the designs of Ilúvatar. And Aulë made the Dwarves even as they still are, because the forms of the Children who were to come were unclear to his mind, and because the power of Melkor was yet over the Earth; and he wished therefore that they should be strong and unyielding. But fearing that the other Valar might blame his work, he wrought in secret: and he made first the Seven Fathers of the Dwarves in a hall under the mountains in Middle-earth

Then Aulë took up a great hammer to smite the Dwarves; and he wept. But Ilúvatar had compassion upon Aulë and his desire, because of his humility; and the Dwarves shrank from the hammer and wore afraid, and they bowed down their heads and begged for mercy. And the voice of Ilúvatar said to Aulë: 'Thy offer I accepted even as it was made. Dost thou not see that these things have now a life of their own, and speak with their own voices? Else they would not have flinched from thy blow, nor from any command of thy will.' Then Aulë cast down his hammer and was glad, and he gave thanks to Ilúvatar, saying: 'May Eru bless my work and amend it!' But Ilúvatar spoke again and said: 'Even as I gave being to the thoughts of the Ainur at the beginning of the World, so now I have taken up thy desire and given to it a place therein; but in no other way will I amend thy handiwork, and as thou hast made it, so shall it be. But I will not suffer this: that these should come before the Firstborn of my design, nor that thy impatience should be rewarded. They shall sleep now in the darkness under stone, and shall not come forth until the Firstborn have awakened upon Earth;

Then came the Elves:

It is told that even as Varda ended her labours, and they were long, when first Menelmacar strode up the sky and the blue fire of Helluin flickered in the mists above the borders of the world, in that hour the Children of the Earth awoke, the Firstborn of Ilúvatar. By the starlit mere of Cuiviénen, Water of Awakening, they rose from the sleep of Ilúvatar; and while they dwelt yet silent by Cuiviénen their eyes beheld first of all things the stars of heaven.

Then came the Ents (noting that he refers to them elsewhere as the "remarkable Ents, oldest of living rational creatures")

'Nay,' he said, 'only the trees of Aulë will be tall enough. In the mountains the Eagles shall house, and hear the voices of those who call upon us. But in the forests shall walk the Shepherds of the Trees.' Then Manwë and Yavanna parted for that time, and Yavanna returned to Aulë; and he was in his smithy, pouring molten metal into a mould. 'Eru is bountiful,' she said. 'Now let thy children beware! For there shall walk a power in the forests whose wrath they will arouse at their peril.' 'Nonetheless they will have need of wood,' said Aulë, and he went on with his smith-work.

Then the race of Man:

At the first rising of the Sun the Younger Children of Ilúvatar awoke in the land of Hildórien in the eastward regions of Middle-earth; but the first Sun arose in the West, and the opening eyes of Men were turned towards it, and their feet as they wandered over the Earth for the most part strayed that way.

As far as the Orcs are concerned, there are a mass of contradictory theories proposed by Tolkien but it's pretty clear that these came last, after the other races had been created.

Depending on which of Tolkien's books you read, the Orcs were created by corrupting men, cross-breeding elves with beasts, by "corrupting elves" with dark magic, cross-breeding elves with animals, cross-breeding elves with men or just literally created from slime.

The most coherent theory (in my humble opinion) is from the Silmarillion:

Yet this is held true by the wise of Eressëa, that all those of the Quendi [Elves] who came into the hands of Melkor, ere Utumno was broken, were put there in prison, and by slow arts of cruelty were corrupted and enslaved; and thus did Melkor breed the hideous race of the Orcs in envy and mockery of the Elves, of whom they were afterwards the bitterest foes....This it may be was the vilest deed of Melkor, and the most hateful to Ilúvatar.

There's no canonical description of the genesis of the Hobbits. Given their similarity to men, it's assumed that they were created at much the same time. The prologue to The Fellowship of the Ring gives us their potted history:

Of old they spoke the languages of Men, after their own fashion, and liked and disliked much the same things as Men did. But what exactly our relationship is can no longer be discovered. The beginning of Hobbits lies far back in the Elder Days that are now lost and forgotten. Only the Elves still preserve any records of that vanished time, and their traditions are concerned almost entirely with their own history, in which Men appear seldom and Hobbits are not mentioned at all. Yet it is clear that Hobbits had, in fact, lived quietly in Middle-earth for many long years before other folk became even aware of them.

  • 1
    Already corrected. I knew I'd missed something as soon as I pressed the button :-)
    – Valorum
    Dec 21, 2014 at 21:30
  • 4
    Actually you have the Dwarves out of order now; there's plenty of evidence in the Silmarillion and it's constituent texts that they awoke before Men (e.g in the Annals of Aman they entered Beleriand around YT1250).
    – user8719
    Dec 21, 2014 at 21:35
  • 4
    If you're talking about characters from the films, the ones belonging to the first race are Gandalf, Saruman, Radagast and Sauron.
    – George T
    Dec 21, 2014 at 22:10
  • 1
    @GeorgeT ... and the Balrog.
    – user8719
    Dec 21, 2014 at 22:31
  • 3
    @DarthSatan: I don't remember a balrog in the Hobbit films.
    – George T
    Dec 22, 2014 at 8:29

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