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Questions tagged [tolkiens-legendarium]

For questions about any works in J.R.R. Tolkien's Legendarium - The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, The Silmarillion, and other works set in the same universe - or about that universe as a whole. Questions about movies, games, or other media set in the same universe should also use this tag. Questions about Tolkien himself or works by him which are not part of the Middle-earth universe should NOT use this tag.

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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 ...
379
votes
17answers
69k views

Who or what was Tom Bombadil?

The most iconic of Middle-earth questions: Who or what was Tom Bombadil? Was he an elf? Was he akin to Gandalf, and one of the wizardly stock? Was he something… else?
443
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16answers
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Would the One Ring even work for anyone but Sauron?

The temptation of the One Ring, we quickly learn, is always tied up with power: each character's fantasies of possessing it seem to be about what they would do with great power. Even Sam, as I recall, ...
74
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7answers
134k views

What is the true origin of the orcs?

There are a bunch of theories about the true origin of the orcs. Tolkien tried out a few different origins for his Orcs throughout his life but died before he could fully revise The Silmarillion with ...
53
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3answers
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Is there any canonical reference to the fate of the Blue Wizards: Alatar and Pallando?

All I've ever been able to find is that they arrived in Middle-earth and left to go do something outside of the scope of the story. Has anyone ever found any additional information?
50
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7answers
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In what time period does The Lord of the Rings take place in the real world?

I know that The Lord of the Rings is located in Middle-earth and by the looks of clothes and props, we're looking at well before the 18th century. What's the best guess at the time period that The ...
71
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8answers
37k views

Was the “Eye of Sauron” Sauron's actual physical form?

During the time frame of the Lord of the Rings, was the Eye of Sauron Sauron's actual physical form? If not, what form did he have?
52
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7answers
33k views

Why didn't Sauron find Bilbo when he put on the ring like Frodo?

When Frodo put on the One Ring, both the Nazgul and Sauron himself found Frodo. However when Bilbo had the ring and possibly used it many times, Sauron sought Gollum to get a hint on where to look for ...
91
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5answers
28k views

Did Eru Ilúvatar trip Gollum?

The LOTR wiki lists four times Eru Ilúvatar intervened in the history of Arda: creating Elves and Men removing Aman from the spherical Earth resurrecting Gandalf making Gollum trip In a letter ...
307
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23answers
112k views

Why didn't Gandalf or Frodo Fly to Mount Doom?

Why didn't Gandalf use his eagles to fly over Mount Doom and drop the ring? I know he feared what he would do if the ring overpowered him, so why not just give Frodo an eagle? And, if there would be ...
37
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4answers
13k views

Is Gandalf the Gray's power actually limited or did he merely promise to not use it?

We know that the Maiar sent to Middle-earth as Istari are not using their full Maiar power. Gandalf the Gray is more than a human power wise, but not nearly equal to his full real power. Is it known (...
35
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2answers
35k views

What are the main reasons the elves did not show up in force to defeat Sauron?

During The Great Battle of the Last Alliance, there were an estimated 100,000 elves that fought with the armies of Isildur. This was one of the first scenes in the first LOTR movie. However, in the ...
25
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7answers
7k views

Is Tolkien prejudiced against the East?

In Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings series, there are generally two groups of Men. The good ones are coming from the West (Dúnedain, Men of the West), and the bad ones, the Easterlings, mostly fight ...
10
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3answers
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The Half-Elven and their choices

Earendil and Elwing were given the choice of kindreds after their journey to Valinor, This choice was extended to their sons (specifically sons, not daughters or grandchildren) Elrond chose the race ...
91
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8answers
10k 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 ...
70
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6answers
15k views

Are Tolkien's orcs immortal?

Orcs were the most commonplace villains serving the Dark Powers in all of Tolkien's Legendarium, a race of sentient beings bred by the evil Vala Melkor (Morgoth) during the time of the Great Darkness. ...
39
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4answers
6k views

Where do Orc babies come from?

I've not seen/read any female Orcs mentioned in the movies or in the books. In one of the movies, an Uruk-hai is momentarily shown emerging from a giant, grown-Orc sized flesh packet. So are they ...
22
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2answers
13k views

What happened to elves when they died or lost the will to live?

I understand that the elves want to Valinor when they died. However, sometimes they took boats to Valinor, such as at the end of Lord of the Rings, and other times they died of injury and had no ...
83
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7answers
252k views

In what order should Tolkien's writings on Middle-earth be read?

I've already read The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, which I assume would be the best start in any case. I also got about halfway through The Silmarillion several years ago and am quite familiar ...
44
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8answers
271k views

What is the timeline for The Lord of the Rings trilogy?

The Lord of the Rings trilogy obviously covers a lot of time. How many months / years pass from the beginning of The Fellowship of the Ring until the end of The Return of the King? A timeline of ...
110
votes
7answers
41k views

Why is Sauron called “the Necromancer”?

During the time period of The Hobbit, a character is mentioned called the Necromancer. Radagast even (in the movie) specifically states that the Necromancer can "summon the spirits of the dead." (It'...
155
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13answers
80k views

Why didn't Sauron become invisible while wearing the One Ring?

I'm curious as to why Sauron is the only being/person shown wearing the One Ring who does not become invisible? Isildur, Gollum, Bilbo, Frodo, and Samwise all become invisible while wearing the One ...
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, ...
48
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2answers
8k views

Why Did J.R.R. Tolkien Capitalize Certain Words Throughout His Books?

Why did J.R.R. Tolkien randomly capitalize various words throughout his books? My husband asked me this question today and we were wondering if there's any rhyme or reason to Tolkien's capitalization ...
39
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5answers
8k views

Who in Middle-earth knows the Istari's origin?

In the Middle-earth universe, there are a handful of wizards who work in various ways to fight evil. Out of universe, we know these wizards to be Istari, Maia who are in Middle-earth working to defeat ...
45
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5answers
10k views

Can the Valar or Maiar die?

In "The Lord of the Rings" and the "The Silmarillion" some Maiar (Sauron, several Balrogs, Saruman) are defeated. But did these Maiar actually die and if they did, do they go to Halls of Mandos or ...
34
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1answer
7k views

Who made the decision for Gandalf's promotion from 'grey' to 'white'?

In the first book of the LoTR, after his fight with the Balrog of Moria, Gandalf the Grey changed to Gandalf the White. My question is, who made the decision to 'promote' him from grey to white? Was ...
34
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5answers
12k views

Could the One Ring be destroyed in any manner besides Mount Doom?

Was there something more mystical about Mount Doom that meant another volcano wouldn't work and no matter how much energy was put into it, it would not be destroyed? A comment mentioned that not even ...
29
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5answers
60k views

Who were the Nazgul before they became wraiths?

I recall reading somewhere of the history of the nine riders, but I cannot remember where it was. (It seems perhaps they were from northern kingdoms?) The leader of the Nine was the Witch King of ...
34
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3answers
5k views

How did Sauron remain in control of the Nazgûl?

The One Ring gave Sauron control of the Nine, yet when it was taken from him he still possessed the power to control them (or, at least he regained it towards the end of the third age). Why is this? ...
9
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2answers
2k views

Of Half-elven and mortal life

When half-elvens choose mortal life, how would their bodies behave? Half-elven are always elves by nature. Ever since they're born, their physical body and behaviour would be elvish - they have keen ...
110
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5answers
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Why was Gandalf involved with the Dwarves' quest to rob Smaug?

From what I understand, the Istari were sent in to help the peoples of Middle-earth get through the third age. Why then, did Gandalf help the Dwarves along (and get Bilbo involved) in their quest to ...
76
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15answers
46k views

Are orcs and goblins really the same thing?

Are orcs and goblins really the same in The Hobbit and LotR, and where does it say that? Are they variant sub-races or something, explaining the different physical attributes? Or is my assumption they ...
56
votes
5answers
16k views

Why didn’t they just take the ring to Valinor?

At the end of ‘The Return of the King’, Bilbo, Frodo, Gandalf and others boarded a boat and left Middle-earth for Valinor. Is there any canon explanation why they couldn’t just take the ring there in ...
54
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12answers
21k views

Who or what is the oldest sentient being in Tolkien's lore?

The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, The Silmarillion, The Histories of Middle Earth, all lore related to this universe is acceptable fodder. Regardless of their power, susceptibility to The One Ring, ...
44
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7answers
8k views

Why aren't the Valar considered gods?

As an avid Tolkien fan and an increasingly active member of this site, I cannot count the number of times I've seen people refer to the Valar or Maiar as gods, only to be corrected by other members (...
65
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2answers
37k views

When will copyright restrictions expire on The Lord of the Rings?

I don't know what the correct vocabulary in English is to talk about royalties, copyright, license of a book, right to exploit, etc. I would like to know what the legal status is around the books in ...
45
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3answers
5k views

Were there two elves named Glorfindel?

In the Silmarilion, an elf named Glorfindel is killed in a duel with a balrog at the battle for Gondolin. (He kills the balrog as well.) Then in The Fellowship of the Ring, an elf named Glorfindel ...
41
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6answers
11k views

Could Gandalf have killed the Witch-king?

There was a prophecy about the Witch-king of Angmar saying that 'No man could kill him'. The actual quote: "He will not return to this land. Far off yet is his doom, and not by the hand of a man ...
35
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7answers
28k views

Are Tolkien Elves taller or shorter than Men?

Are Tolkien Elves taller or shorter than Men? In general fantasy, elves are frequently smaller than humans. But I seem to recall that in Tolkien they aren't. Based on this SFF.SE comment
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2answers
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What are the powers shown by the Rings of Power?

We all know that "almost every creature" who puts on the One ring became invisible and that the creator (Sauron) can use it to control the other rings. But the other rings: The Nine The Seven The ...
29
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5answers
8k views

What is the point of Sauron making the One Ring?

Why would Sauron make himself a ring that he invested most of his power in? Wouldn't it be better to keep the power in his physical form and not risk leaving his power in a physical form that could be ...
55
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5answers
58k views

Why didn't Gollum grow old and die after he lost the One Ring to Bilbo?

Gollum had his life largely extended because he possessed the One Ring. He appeared to be an old, deformed, and twisted creature. According to this list, he had the Ring for 478 years. His loss of ...
84
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9answers
95k views

What are Gandalf's powers?

Gandalf is a wizard. He is also the Tolkien equivalent of a mortal angel (if I understand what the Maiar are correctly.) What are his powers though? Specifically what magics does he use in The Hobbit ...
103
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8answers
100k views

Why was Gandalf afraid of the Balrog of Morgoth?

As depicted in the film, Gandalf appeared to be shaken and in fear of the Balrog of Morgoth, even just as Saruman mentioned it. Why was this so? Did they have any previous encounters?
69
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9answers
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Did the Ring Bearers and Gimli die in Valinor?

A comment on a recent question stated The Undying Lands doesn't prevent mortals from dying so, in fact, [Frodo] died... maybe sixty years (or more, if his life was prolonged) after the end of the ...
45
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2answers
12k views

Why would Gandalf (as ring-lord) be worse than Sauron?

I've just come across a point that I've thought about before, and thought it would be good to get some other stances on it. See this letter, emphasis mine: In the 'Mirror of Galadriel', 1381, it ...
36
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6answers
20k views

Why were there 3-7-9 Rings of Power?

Is there any data in Tolkien (books/letters/etc..) to explain why there were precisely 9 Men rings and 7 Dwarf rings and 3 Elf rings? (the latter assumes that Sauron planned the number of Elvish rings ...
65
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4answers
13k views

What effect would the One Ring have on other people?

We know that for hobbits, the One Ring makes them invisible. But, at least according to the movie, Sauron was not invisible when he was wearing the ring. What effects would the ring have on other ...
30
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1answer
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The Nazgul are afraid of fire, but can they be harmed by it?

When Aragorn and the Hobbits are on Weathertop, just after seeing the Nazgul below them and prior to inflicting Frodo's knife wound, Aragorn says the following: Sauron can put fire to his evil uses,...