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 use [j-r-r-tolkien] instead.

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78
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12answers
53k 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
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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....
78
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15answers
51k 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 ...
78
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3answers
21k views

How did Sauron feed the armies of Mordor?

According to TolkienGateway.net, Mordor's troops consisted of some 18,000 Easterlings and Haradrim, several Haradrim war Oliphaunts, and tens of thousands of Orcs just for the Battle of the Pelennor ...
78
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7answers
243k views

Why didn't Gimli know Moria had fallen?

Between Gandalf's fear of Moria, and the amount of time that has obviously passed (due to the condition of the remains of the dwarves in Moria), why is Gimli so unaware of the fall of his kin? At ...
78
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5answers
15k views

Why Does Gandalf Think Rohan Should “Stand and Fight”?

In the Two Towers film adaptation (it has been about a decade since I read the book, so if there are differences, I'd like to know about them), Gandalf derisively sneers: They flee to the mountains ...
78
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5answers
15k 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?
77
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7answers
13k 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 ...
76
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4answers
21k views

Why does Smaug have 4 legs in the 1st movie but only 2 legs in the 2nd?

In the movie, The Hobbit: The Unexpected Journey, Smaug has 4 legs. If you look closely in this scene where he crawls into the mountain, he has 2 fore legs and 2 back legs. ...
76
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7answers
145k 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 ...
75
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12answers
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Why didn't Elrond or Círdan take the ring from Isildur by force and destroy it?

'Alas! yes,’ said Elrond. 'Isildur took it, as should not have been. It should have been cast then into Orodruin’s fire nigh at hand where it was made. But few marked what Isildur did. He alone stood ...
75
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9answers
74k views

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 ...
75
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3answers
9k views

How did J.R.R. Tolkien learn about the events of his books? (In-Universe)

So, according to Tolkien, all his Middle-earth novels take place in the real world, about 6,000 years before they were released. So my question is, did he ever state how he learned of the history of ...
74
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9answers
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Why did the Nazgul start on horseback?

If the Nazgul had access to the fell beasts - why did they ride on horseback to hunt the ring bearer?
74
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2answers
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What's the big deal about the Nazgûl losing their horses?

I have only watched the movies and I am currently reading The Fellowship of the Ring (haven't finished it yet, I am at the Bridge in Khazad-Dum). A number of times we see characters such as Gandalf, ...
74
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6answers
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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. ...
73
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7answers
43k 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?
73
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3answers
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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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12answers
60k views

Why did Sméagol turn into a 'creature' when addicted to the ring, but not Bilbo Baggins?

Why did Sméagol turn into a 'creature', but not Bilbo Baggins? Déagol found the ring in a river, Sméagol stole it and then turned into a weird creature. Bilbo did not turn into a creature when he ...
72
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5answers
20k views

Why didn't Gandalf just fight Smaug directly?

So if memory serves right, the premise of the Hobbit is that Gandalf gets this rag-tag team together to retrieve the Arkenstone, so that the Dwarves can reunite, so that they can take back their ...
72
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6answers
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Why didn't Gandalf and Elrond equip the Fellowship (especially hobbits) better?

Frodo had Sting. Which he only did because Bilbo gave it to him. And which was desperately needed to defeat Shelob when Sam was fighting her, so he needed to take the sword where Frodo dropped it. It ...
72
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8answers
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Why does Gollum calling the ring his own not alert Sauron?

This (and others eg: this ) answer states that Frodo claiming the ring alerted Sauron immediately of its position, which makes sense: How else would Sauron realize where the Ring and Frodo were at ...
72
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3answers
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How did they have time to build Balin a tomb?

Who built the tomb for Balin, buried him in it, and inscribed "Here lies Balin, son of Fundin..." on it? Wasn't he, and every other dwarf with him, killed by orcs?
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9answers
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Would Smaug have actually followed and allied with Sauron had he lived on?

I know Gandalf was worried Smaug would have joined Sauron, but was that just him being cautious? Would Smaug actually join up with Sauron? How does he benefit from that? All it does is bring more ...
71
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9answers
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How Did Éowyn Slay the Witch King of Angmar if He Wasn't Alive?

In Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, Aragorn, as Strider, tells the four Hobbits about the Nazgûl, and describes them as "neither living nor dead." Gollum later tells Sam and Frodo while ...
71
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6answers
9k views

Did Tolkien create any characters based on people he knew?

Tolkien had a lot of influence from religion, mythology and geography as mentioned here to create what seems like an entire literary universe. It's also not uncommon for authors to be influenced by ...
71
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2answers
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Elvish tattoo - can it be translated into English?

A cousin of mine recently died in a disastrous accident. Her family discovered a tattoo on her arm, which was completed shortly before. It appears to be written in Elvish (from Lord of the Rings) and ...
71
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4answers
36k 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 ...
71
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5answers
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What happened to the Hobbits and the Dwarves after the Elves left?

From what I understand, The Lord of the Rings is written as the mythic past of our own world. We are constantly reminded that the race of man is becoming more and more prominent. At the end of The ...
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10answers
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During the war of the ring did Sauron or Saruman actually win any major battles?

I've recently re-read the Lord of the Rings and one thing that simply bugs me and makes Tolkien's books seem lesser is the fact Sauron and Saruman seem to lose every battle. I sincerely hope that I've ...
70
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7answers
16k views

Why do Tolkien's wizards look Human, and not Elven?

The two primary races of Middle-earth, those created by Ilúvatar, are Elves and Men. And until quite late in the history of Middle-earth, the Elves were BY FAR the more significant of the two. They ...
70
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4answers
10k views

Were wizards initially intended to be much more common?

There are several things in the text of The Hobbit and The Fellowship of the Ring that, to me, indicate that wizards were originally intended to not only number five altogether - Saruman, Gandalf, ...
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9answers
8k views

Why was a hobbit “the most unlikely creature imaginable” to pick up “The One Ring”?

(The One Ring) abandoned Gollum. But then something happened that the Ring did not intend. It was picked up by the most unlikely creature imaginable. A hobbit, Bilbo Baggins, of the Shire. ...
69
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6answers
12k views

Would Gollum qualify, as a Ringbearer, to go to the Undying Lands?

If Gollum had not died in Mount Doom, would he have been allowed to join the elves, Bilbo, and Frodo in the Undying Lands? He was, after all, by far the longest-lasting bearer of the One Ring (not ...
68
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4answers
16k views

Is there a passage in Lord of the Rings told from the perspective of an orc?

I distinctly remember that when I read Lord of the Rings, there was a passage told from the point of view of an orc (although obviously still told in the third person). I think the orc was ...
68
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4answers
21k views

Why was the riddle on the way to Moria written in Elvish?

I just caught my housemates watching The Lord of The Rings. At the scene where the Fellowship enters the Mines of Moria, the writing on the entrance is in Elvish, despite this being a Dwarvish city. ...
68
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6answers
11k views

What was Gandalf's plan for getting the Ring to Mt. Doom?

I'm currently re-reading Lord of the Rings for the umpteenth time, and a question occurred to me. When Gandalf hears from Faramir that Frodo and Sam were heading for Cirith Ungol, he is shocked. ...
68
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1answer
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What would have happened if the Balrog of Moria had taken possession of The One Ring?

As we saw here, the Balrog of Moria was a fallen Maia, as was Sauron, a being on the same level as Gandalf and Saruman. If he ever had captured the One Ring when he encountered the Fellowship in ...
67
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9answers
196k views

Who was the fifth army in The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies movie?

Elves Dwarves Men Orcs Who was the 5th army in The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies?
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4answers
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Why did the Dwarves build Erebor with wide hallways big enough for dragons to fit in?

Why didn't they build narrow hallways and doors so that no dragon would fit in? Dwarves are short and stouty, so why didn't they go "Tucker's Kobolds" on Smaug?
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11answers
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Were there ever any “good” Orcs?

I never made it through Silmarillion by J. R. R. Tolkien, but it may have the answer. We know there were good men and bad men in Middle-earth and there were good Wizards and bad Wizards there too... ...
66
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7answers
9k views

Did Tolkien popularize the generic description of a wizard?

Nowadays when we think of a wizard, the most common image we conjure up is: A wise old man with a long white beard Dressed in a long cloak and pointy hat (usually same colour as even old men have ...
66
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2answers
42k 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 ...
65
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13answers
6k views

Were there any jokes in the Lord of the Rings?

I saw this Q&A from J.K. Rowling interview: Q: Hello, I was wondering how much Tolkien inspired and influenced your writing? J.K. Rowling responds: Hard to say. I didn't read The Hobbit until ...
65
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8answers
19k views

Was Gandalf “meant” to confront the Balrog?

We know Frodo was meant to have the Ring, but did Tolkien ever discuss Gandalf traveling through Moria and having his confrontation with the Balrog? We know he initially pushed the Fellowship to go ...
65
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3answers
10k views

How did Faramir know that Aragorn was the King in the Houses of Healing?

When Faramir wakes, he says this: Suddenly Faramir stirred, and he opened his eyes, and he looked on Aragorn who bent over him; and a light of knowledge and love was kindled in his eyes, and he ...
65
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10answers
17k views

What does Sauron need with mithril?

In The Fellowship of the Ring, Book Two, IV A Journey in the Dark, Gandalf explains: The wealth of Moria was not in gold and jewels, the toys of the Dwarves; nor in iron, their servant. Such things ...
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 ...
64
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4answers
24k views

Do Lord of the Rings or The Silmarillion pass the Bechdel test?

Motivation Let's face it, Tolkien wasn't much of a promoter of women's equality (to say the least). Thus there are no female characters in the Hobbit. the Lord of the Rings certainly has several (...
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/...