Questions tagged [middle-earth]

Use [middle-earth] when you want to ask a question about something general to Middle-earth, a region in Arda. Do not use it when you want to refer to other parts of Arda, like most of the events of The Silmarillion, use [arda] for it instead. For Questions about Tolkien himself, his style etc but not specific to Middle Earth, use [j-r-r-tolkien] instead. Always use in conjunction with the [tolkiens-legendarium] tag

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102
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9answers
11k views

How well-known is the theology of Middle-earth, in Middle-earth?

One thing that is notably absent in Middle-earth is any mention of temples, churches, priests or religious rites. There are passing mentions of Men who would "worship" Sauron, but generally the world ...
81
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3answers
15k views

What lies in Mordor besides Mount Doom and Barad-dur?

Mordor is so big on the Middle-earth map, but the only significant structures in there are the Eye of Sauron and Mount Doom. Since Mordor is so heavily guarded, I would think that there would be more ...
79
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2answers
12k views

What was the tallest structure built in Middle-earth?

I started thinking to myself one day (scary, I know) as to which was taller of the two towers, Orthanc or Barad-dûr. And then I wondered if Minas Tirith might be even taller, which then led me to this ...
73
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3answers
10k views

Are the mountains surrounding Mordor natural?

Seeing a map of Middle-earth (see below), it strikes me that the mountains surrounding Mordor are "perfect" to create a fortress or stronghold. As a mountain range they also look somewhat unnatural, ...
72
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4answers
41k views

Is Tolkien's Middle-earth in our Universe?

I started reading The Hobbit to my daughter last night having read most of Tolkien's books in my youth, but haven't read them again for some years. In the first few pages of The Hobbit, Tolkien talks ...
64
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4answers
9k views

Were there any democracies in Middle-earth?

Most states in Middle-earth seem to be feudalish kingdoms; Gondor, Rohan, Númenor, Dwarves, and Elves were all ruled by hereditary nobles. Was there any state/society that was more of a democracy/...
64
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10answers
168k views

How well does Shadow of Mordor fit into Middle-earth canon?

The 2014 video game Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor takes place between the events of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. In it, an undead Gondorian Ranger named Talion is bound to Celebrimbor's ...
60
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8answers
10k views

Are there any more races in Middle-earth?

Not counting orcs, balrogs, and the like. Are there any more diplomatic races found in the history of Middle-earth? Any singular or group of historical significance? The ones we're obviously aware of:...
57
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3answers
10k views

Was the Lonely Mountain, where Smaug lived, a volcano?

Was the Lonely Mountain in The Hobbit a volcano? If not, how did the dwarves get enough heat to run the huge forges? I am asking about the books, not the movies.
54
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3answers
9k views

What is the oldest object in Middle-earth?

After reading a question (or was it elsewhere?) discussing which Rings of Power were made first, it caused me to wonder which item (not just the rings) is the oldest. There are various ancient ...
53
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6answers
7k views

Is there a legal system in Middle-earth?

I was re-watching the Hobbit films last weekend, and noticed in "An Unexpected Journey", there is a scene in Bag End where the Dwarves present Bilbo with a contract, outlining the many potential ...
53
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2answers
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Unknown feature on Middle-earth's map?

On Christopher Tolkien's map of Middle-earth, one feature has always caught my eye, and to my knowledge has never been explained: The mass in the middle of the Sea of Rhûn: Has this ever been talked ...
42
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1answer
7k views

Are there other dragons in Middle-earth by the time of The Hobbit?

The Hobbit deals with the Dwarves trying to reclaim their mountain homeland from the dragon Smaug. During this time, are there other dragons who are alive in Middle Earth?
41
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5answers
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What was Mordor's history before Sauron settled there?

As the title says, I am interested in the old history of the lands of Mordor. I know a fair amount of its history ever since Sauron took up residence there, but very little from before that point. Am ...
36
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4answers
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What happened next in Middle-earth?

This question is a follow up from this one, so credit goes to @Scholar. I'm interested in what happens after the cameras stopped rolling and everyone got on with their lives. Does the destruction of ...
32
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5answers
6k views

Is Middle-Earth a time, or is it a place?

I was looking at the map of Middle-Earth and it made me wonder. Does Middle-Earth refer to the time frame in which the LOTR stories took place, or does it refer to the area in which the LOTR tales ...
31
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6answers
11k views

Is there an Upper- and a Lower-earth along with Middle-earth?

I have always wondered are there more types of earths besides Middle. Is there an Upper and Lower?
25
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2answers
4k views

Middle-earth maps

I am looking for a list* of maps of Middle Earth which appear only in JRR Tolkien's and CT's books and writings or were authorized by JRRT**. From my reading so far I have: The Hobbit: "Thror's ...
24
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1answer
3k views

What exactly is Middle-earth in Tolkien's Legendarium?

I have recently become interested in Tolkien's work and have started reading The Silmarillion, so I am quite a beginner regarding the whole Tolkien universe. The thing that confuses me is the eastern ...
24
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10answers
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Are any locations in the Lord of the Rings based on real places?

I recall reading somewhere that some of the places in the Shire in the Lord of the Rings were actually based on some real locations around where Tolkien grew up in the West Midlands here in the UK (I ...
22
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1answer
3k views

Do regular folk in Middle Earth know about its creation?

If we were to ask Rosie Cotton: "What do you think, how was Eä created?", what would she answer? To my knowledge every culture has a story on how the world began. Most of them are probably wrong, but ...
21
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2answers
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Did maps in Middle-Earth have west on the top?

If the people of Middle-Earth made a map of their world or an area of it, did they put west on the top of the map? Or did they have north on the top like the map in the Lord of the Rings looks like? ...
21
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1answer
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How are the lands of the Shire governed?

In the Lord of the Rings Frodo moves around into various districts of the Shire; he encounters different law enforcement, leaders and townships. Is there a unifying power in the Shire? Is it split ...
21
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2answers
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What was the first story set in or about Middle Earth that J.R.R. Tolkien wrote?

Many books and stories were written by Tolkien and later edited by his son Christopher, but which one was the very first of all of his Middle Earth stories?
20
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2answers
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Is the solar system in the Lord of the Rings based on our real solar system?

There is an interesting article where an astronomer has matched the planets of our solar system to names referenced in the Lord of the Rings novels. It includes a very nice artist's depiction with the ...
20
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1answer
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Did the Peoples of Middle Earth know of Beleriand in the Third Age?

Did the people of Middle-earth know of the lands of old that sunk west of the Blue Mountains, or was it just not common knowledge? For example: If by chance somebody brought up Beleriand, would ...
19
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6answers
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Where is the equator in Middle-earth?

In Unfinished Tales, the Essay on the Istari Aragorn claims to have penetrated the `far contries of Rhun and Harad where the stars are strange'. and then links to the appendix, item #10: The ...
19
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1answer
1k views

Where in Middle Earth could mithril be found?

There is a Minecraft mod that adds Middle Earth during the time of Lord of the Rings. The modder usually tries to make it according to the books instead of making things up. Awhile ago they had a ...
19
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5answers
2k views

Is there evidence of purely artistic works in Middle Earth?

I recently came across this on Twitter: yesterday, student's & i realized there is no fiction in middle-earth. prbly no art. every story = story of something that actually happened— ...
18
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8answers
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How exactly is Arda supposed to be an ancient Earth?

As most Tolkien fans know, Arda (Tolkien's world) is supposed to be Earth in its past, and all its stories are supposed to have happened long ago on this very same planet. Of course, this is fiction, ...
17
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4answers
2k views

Were personal relationships in Middle-earth different from our own?

Now that I am almost done reading The Lord of the Rings, I am curious about the apparent lack of interest many characters and races seem to show towards their friends and relatives. In The ...
16
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2answers
4k views

Plate Tectonics in Middle Earth; an in-universe explanation?

I just read this article about how "Middle Earth makes no geographic sense". The idea presented is that mountain creation is primarily caused by plate tectonics, and that plates generally aren't ...
16
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2answers
1k views

Who was the last elf in Middle-earth?

The elves left Middle-earth for the Undying Lands after Frodo destroyed the One Ring. Who was the last elf in Middle-earth? Was it Arwen, who remained behind for love of Aragorn, until she died of ...
15
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5answers
3k views

Is it possible that Middle-earth was overpopulated?

This might be a silly question, but I've been thinking on it for a day or two. Can you provide me some help? Since the Elves alone can live for more than 3000 years, is it possible that Middle-earth ...
15
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2answers
3k views

Geographical error in the Silmarillion?

The following passage makes no sense: for nigh and two years after the Dagor Bragollach the Noldor still defended the western pass about the sources of Sirion, for the power of Ulmo was in that ...
15
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7answers
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What real-life cities have been used as the basis for cities in The Lord of the Rings?

Did Tolkien use any real cities as basis for his stories? If yes, which cities have counterparts in Middle-Earth?
15
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2answers
3k views

What types of dragons are there in Middle-Earth and how and why do they differ?

The question is pretty simple and explained by the title.
15
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1answer
774 views

Newly discovered map of Middle Earth: does it change anything?

I read this article with interest - in short, a working copy of the Middle Earth map was recently discovered and acquired by Oxford's Bodleian Library: This map looks fascinating but does this ...
14
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6answers
3k views

How did non-native plants find their way to Middle-earth?

I am reading The Return of the King, and when I got to the chapters concerning the Battle of the Pelennor Fields, something struck me. Earlier in the story, Theoden was shocked to see Merry and ...
14
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1answer
1k views

Astronomy in Middle-earth

There already are a number of questions which discuss the relationship between "our world" and Middle-earth. I am interested in the astronomy of Middle-earth, which I guess could possibly have ...
13
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2answers
1k views

Are there any holidays in Middle Earth, except Yule, Lithe, New Year in Gondor and Durin's Day?

Does any species, in any age, in any of the works by Tolkien have designated days of celebration, except birthdays, besides the holidays mentioned in the article about the Middle Earth Calendar on ...
12
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4answers
5k views

Why is it called Middle-earth?

The planet is called Arda. So why do they call it "Middle-earth" if there is no planet called Earth to have a middle of?
12
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2answers
549 views

When and how was wheeled transport introduced to Middle-Earth?

In The Lord of the Rings, wheeled transport is common. Gandalf has a cart, travelling dwarven merchants have them, Gondor had many, the siege engines of Mordor obviously use wheels to get around, and ...
12
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2answers
6k views

What is 21st-century Middle Earth like? [closed]

There are some suggestions that the Lord of the Rings is meant to take place in our own distant past, or rather in a fictionalized version of our past. But see this question and its answers, for ...
11
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2answers
2k views

What material are weapons and armors in the Middle-earth forged from?

Re-watching the series again, this question came to my mind. Dwarves are known for their mining and smithing skills. We know they use a variety of material, such as Mithril to forge armor. Other than ...
11
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1answer
2k views

Where are the Grey Havens?

I was looking at a map of Middle-Earth earlier, when I stumbled across a location labeled 'Grey Havens'. However, as I understand it, the Grey Havens are supposed to be quite far away, on a separate ...
11
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2answers
4k views

Why do Elves remain in Middle Earth?

Once there are ships that can take them to the Undying Lands, what is the motivation for the Elves to stay in a war-torn, darkened land full of Men and Orcs and other undesirable creatures? We know ...
11
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0answers
373 views

What was the basis for Tolkien's Westron?

It is well-documented and often-cited that Tolkien began creating his major artificial languages, Quenya and Sindarin, in order to emulate his aurally favorite languages, Finnish and Welsh. Q and S ...
10
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2answers
2k views

Sailing West from Middle Earth as a Human

Before the Changing of the World, anyone could get to Valinor by simply sailing west. Even the hostile, invading army of Numenor landed there without much difficulty, it seems. Then Eru stepped in, ...
9
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2answers
2k views

What is the best/most popular pipe-weed in middle earth?

Is it ever stated, or agreed upon by the hobbits, men, dwarves, or elves that there is a "best" or "most popular" pipe Weed? Or, more specifically, do any characters state their personal preference?