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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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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, ...
380
votes
17answers
70k 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?
307
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23answers
113k 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 ...
178
votes
3answers
204k views

Did Tolkien really explicitly consider Sam the true hero of The Lord of the Rings?

Quoting from Crouching Moron Hidden Badass: Literature on TVTropes (TVTropes link alert!!! Don't tell me I didn't warn you!): Perhaps even more aptly: Samwise Gamgee. His name roughly translates to ...
155
votes
13answers
81k 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 ...
152
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7answers
21k views

Was Aragorn's claim to the throne legitimate?

In a recent post to The Toast, Austin Gilkeson argues that Aragorn, son of Arathorn's claim to Gondor's throne is invalid. The author goes into various details, but the core argument is: Gondor’s ...
146
votes
11answers
112k views

What does Gandalf mean by “Secret Fire”, “Flame of Anor” and “Flame of Udûn”?

In Moria, when Gandalf confronts the Balrog on the bridge of Khazad-dûm, Gandalf says the following: I am a servant of the Secret Fire, wielder of the flame of Anor. You cannot pass! The dark fire ...
133
votes
12answers
21k views

What is the significance of Saruman's Ring?

At the council of Elrond, Gandalf tells of his encounter with Saruman. But I rode to the foot of Orthanc, and came to the stair of Saruman; and there he met me and led me up to his high chamber. ...
132
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4answers
20k views

Who created the Secret Stairs as a way into Mordor and for what purpose?

Given how there were Orcs guarding the Tower of Círith Ungol at the top of the stairs, we can infer that the existence of these stairways was definitely not a secret. Perhaps the path was meant to ...
128
votes
14answers
26k views

Why is Shelob considered evil?

Shelob is an "evil thing in spider form," according to Tolkien. Now, we know that she is the "last child of Ungoliant to trouble the unhappy world," we know that she is fairly deficient in charm, and ...
122
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2answers
19k views

What did Frodo mean by “He told me the true story”?

I'm re-reading the Lord of the Rings saga since 10 to 12 years ago, but something striked me as odd in The Fellowship of the Ring's first chapter: A Long-Expected Party (emphasis is mine): ‘She ...
119
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11answers
22k views

Why were the Elves so great at archery?

It seems that there is an underlying assumption (I don't know of an explicit quote to confirm) that Elves in Middle-earth are exceptional archers, compared to other races. Am I correct in that ...
110
votes
5answers
35k views

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 ...
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'...
109
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5answers
14k views

How many axes did Gimli bring on the quest of the Fellowship?

In the LotR movies, Gimli leaves Rivendell with the Fellowship directly following the Council of Elrond. Yet he seems to have an absurd number of axes with him. One is destroyed when he tries to ...
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?
102
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4answers
16k views

How is Shelob's name known?

In Tolkien's world, there are quite a few "magical" beasts that have proper names: dragons for example, like Smaug. One can assume that their names are known either because their creator was still ...
101
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6answers
57k views

Why Does Samwise Gamgee Call Frodo Baggins 'Mr. Frodo'?

I haven't finished my re-read of the Lord of the Rings trilogy (I just finished The Two Towers), but, at least in the movies, Samwise Gamgee consistently refers to Frodo Baggins as "Mr. Frodo." Why ...
98
votes
6answers
14k views

Tolkien calls Sauron Morgoth's Greatest Servant - But does he ever really earn that with his actions?

Alright, so there is a great, incredibly well informed community here so let me ask a question that's been bothering me since I finished the Silmarillion. I'll lay out my reasoning for why it's a ...
98
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7answers
33k views

Did Peter Jackson ever explain why he left out the Scouring of the Shire?

In the book, while Frodo and the Fellowship were on their quest, the Shire was exploited and almost ruined by Saruman and his cronies. Jackson left this and the triumphant return of Frodo, Sam, and ...
96
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9answers
20k views

Why is invisibility the power granted by the One Ring?

Why is non-optional invisibility the one active supernatural power granted to non-Sauron wearers of the One Ring? I'm looking for an answer explaining authorial intent, not an in-universe answer. ...
96
votes
8answers
18k views

Which seven kings does Saruman think Gandalf wants to control?

Just before Gandalf breaks his staff and casts him out of the order of Wizards, Saruman has a minor meltdown in which he accuses Gandalf of grabbing power. He makes specific reference to a handful of ...
95
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4answers
20k views

Why weren't the Three Rings for the Elven-kings destroyed as well?

At the end of The Return of the King, after the One Ring is destroyed in the fires of Mount Doom, the rings were carried out of Middle-Earth. IIRC it may have been Elrond, Galadriel, and Gandalf ...
95
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6answers
15k views

How does Gandalf (or anyone) know how to destroy the Ring?

The only way to destroy the Ring is by throwing it into the fire of Orodruin. This fact doesn't seem to be common knowledge and many people in the story (like Gimli) only learn about it at the council ...
94
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9answers
22k views

Why didn't Frodo take a map with him?

As the Fellowship departed from the Rivendell, all the seasoned adventurers knew they will not follow Frodo to Mount Doom. So, the optimistic version is Frodo, Sam, Merry and Pippin going to the Mount ...
93
votes
3answers
36k views

Who is / was the “Lord of the Rings”?

Who is the Lord, as referred to in the title? Frodo? Sauron? Someone else? Or is it more of an abstract title, not referring to a single person, like "He who wields the One Ring"?
92
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7answers
28k views

Why not let a dwarf carry the One Ring to Mount Doom, since their will cannot be dominated by the rings of power?

As we know, the dwarves did not succumb to the seven rings as men did to the nine - it merely made them even more greedy, stubborn and wrathful: For the Dwarves had proved untameable by this means. ...
92
votes
14answers
24k views

Why didn't Saruman take Narya from Gandalf?

We know that Gandalf was given Narya, the Ring of Fire (one of the Elven three) by Cirdan the shipwright. When Saruman imprisoned Gandalf, why did he not attempt to take the ring from him? It would ...
91
votes
5answers
29k 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 ...
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 ...
90
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3answers
12k views

Why would Shelob own Sauron?

In Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, in the chapter Shelob’s Lair, there is a rather lengthy description of Shelob, the last remaining child of Ungoliant in Middle-Earth. In this, there is also a ...
89
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10answers
15k views

Why aren't there any sieges in Lord of The Rings?

In the few cases a fortification is attacked (Helm's Deep, Minas Tirith), the attackers don't besiege them, they start an assault as soon as they arrive. In real life, assaults were only done when, ...
88
votes
5answers
18k views

Does Aragorn wear pants?

Back when I was reading LOTR in Russian, I remember fans arguing over the issue of whether Aragorn wore pants (or rather, using the British term, trousers), or not - what I later learned was a major ...
88
votes
7answers
15k views

Why did the Fellowship not choose to pass the Misty Mountains further north or south?

At the Council of Elrond, it is known that: Saruman is a traitor, thus it’s not possible for the Ring to pass through the gap of Rohan Nobody has heard any news of Balin and Moria for a long time; ...
87
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6answers
117k views

How is Gandalf the White a “significantly more powerful figure” than Gandalf the Gray?

After his fight with the Balrog of Moria, Gandalf changed: Gandalf was sent back as a significantly more powerful figure; Gandalf the White. - "Gandalf - Gandalf the White", Wikipedia What are ...
84
votes
9answers
96k 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 ...
83
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6answers
13k views

The use of the word “gun” in The Hobbit

In Chapter XVIII - The Return Journey of the book 'The Hobbit', Tolkien uses the word gun. 'The roar of his voice was like drums and guns; and he tossed wolves and goblins from his path like ...
83
votes
6answers
141k views

Is there a hidden significance behind the fact Galadriel gave 3 hairs to Gimli instead of one?

I just saw an interesting interpretation of Galadriel's gift to Gimli on Reddit today, I retraced the source of the image to this tumblr post: If you’ve read the Silmarillion, you know who ...
83
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7answers
255k 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 ...
82
votes
7answers
18k views

Why did Gollum ever take off the ring in the first place?

Bilbo was able to take the ring because Gollum had taken it off. If you had the ring, and were accustomed to wearing it, why would you ever take it off anyway?
81
votes
3answers
14k 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 ...
80
votes
2answers
11k views

What does Gandalf intend to chat with Tom Bombadil about?

This is not another "Who was Tom Bombadil" question. Close to the end of ROTK Gandalf tells one of the Hobbits that it's time for him to go and have a long talk with Tom Bombadil. Was there anything ...
79
votes
6answers
50k views

Which are the Two Towers in The Lord of the Rings?

I always wondered which are the two towers that are referred to in The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. My memory is a bit hazy right now but there are at least 5 Towers that are mentioned in the ...
79
votes
2answers
10k 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 ...
78
votes
6answers
16k views

Why did Sauron think that no one in possession of the One Ring would want to destroy it?

In The Two Towers Gandalf says to Aragorn Indeed he is in great fear, not knowing what mighty one may suddenly appear, wielding the Ring, and assailing him with war, seeking to cast him down and ...
78
votes
12answers
51k views

Why didn't Sauron fight in the final battle?

As depicted in the trilogy: Sauron did not lead his army to Minas Tirith He did not defend the gates of Mordor from Aragon's army In fact, he was never physically involved in (any) battle ever since ...
78
votes
5answers
14k views

Where does Gandalf Live?

Does Gandalf have his own home or does he just live where he goes? Is there a place that he prefers to live and calls home most of all?
78
votes
2answers
12k views

Why not encase the One Ring in solid metal?

In the Lord of the Rings, the One Ring corrupts the people near it, and it seems to have a stronger effect on anyone who sees it or touches it. Sauron and the Ring Wraiths also seem to be able to ...
77
votes
7answers
12k views

In Tolkien's opinion, does Tom Bombadil (and the concept of pacifism) actually hold any power?

Before you read and reply to my musings, please bear in mind as I want to make clear, I am not trying to debate whether pacifism is good or bad in the real world, I am just putting out my ...
77
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8answers
14k views

Why did the One Ring betray Isildur?

First of all, let me point out that I know of this question, about how the Ring betrayed Isildur. I believe it is undisputed that the Ring caused itself to fall off Isildur's finger and into the river....