151

Mordor has more than just a mountain and a tower. As you can see from Tolkien's annotated map (bottom), the Mountain of Doom and Tower of Sauron merely make up a small corner of Mordor, namely the Plateau of Gorgoroth. In addition to the Plateau (sometimes named the 'Plains'), Mordor also consists of Nurn, which is the fertile land surrounding the Sea of ...


113

It depends what you mean by "structure" In terms of freestanding structures, which I think you are most interested in, it would probably be Barad-dûr with a height of at least (and even perhaps much more than) 1000 feet (300 m), which would be about the same height as the Eiffel Tower. In second place would be a tie between Orthanc and the Temple of ...


96

There appear to be a number of "disconnects" of various types between the text and the game (even between the movies and the game). To begin with, in the text there was never a garrison of Gondor stationed at the Black Gate. The Rangers of Ithilien patrolled a strip of land a few days' journey south of the Gate, just west of the Mountains of Shadow (the ...


96

Speaking as a geologist: The Lonely Mountain is probably an extinct volcano. J. R. R. Tolkien depicted the mountain several times in sketches and watercolors, and in most of them the volcano is steep-sided and conical with a flattish peak. One of them clearly shows a crater at the top (http://tolkiengateway.net/wiki/Back_Door). None of the depictions show ...


93

I think in The Hobbit "An Unexpected Party" the Dwarves talk shop, including discussing "the depredations of dragons" indicating that Smaug is not the only dragon then active in Middle-earth. In the same chapter is said that a shriek like Bilbo's would awake the dragon and all his relatives. About 77 years after The Hobbit, in Fellowship of the Ring "The ...


82

Middle-earth is supposed to be the same world as our Earth, at a "different stage of imagination". Something like a fictional history of the real world Earth. Here is the relevant bit from a BBC interview with Tolkien (1971) (heard at about the 5:40 mark of this video): G: I thought that conceivably Midgard might be Middle-earth or have some connection? ...


80

Mordor was probably created during the War of Wrath This is a footnote from one of Tolkien's late texts: [Orodruin and its eruptions] were a relic of the devastating works of Melkor in the long First Age. The History of Middle-Earth Volume 12: The Peoples of Middle-earth, note 14, p. 390 There are no other texts about the creation of Mordor, but we ...


67

As I was typing the question, the answer came to my memory. Ents seemed to be pretty democratic (seemingly verging in anarchist in everyday life) - they had a council (Entmoot) where the decision on whether to go to war was being made. They had respected leaders but apparently no monarch making decisions - even Treebeard had to convince other Ents, despite ...


67

Was Evil Eradicated From The World When Sauron Was Destroyed? Certainly not. Evil still exists, but it won't be represented by a single entity in the future, until, perhaps, the end of the world. "After which the Third Age began, a Twilight Age, a Medium Aevum, the first of the broken and changed world; the last of the lingering dominion of visible ...


67

The Silmaril cast by Maedhros into a chasm, is in Middle-Earth, deep in Middle-earth in fact; and is one of the oldest objects in it, having been crafted by Fëanor in the early-to-middle First Age during the Valarin Years of the Trees, before the Third Age of the Unchaining of Melkor. Each Valarin Year was something like 144 years of the Sun so that is quite ...


56

The Shire is pretty much a representative democracy (or maybe a constitutional semi-monarchy), insofar as it has any government at all. The prologue to The Lord of the Rings says: The Thain [an inherited office] was the master of the Shire-moot, and captain of the Shire-muster and the Hobbitry-in-arms, but as muster and moot were only held in times of ...


51

The in-universe explanation is that much of the geography of Middle-earth is not the result of natural processes, but rather of mythological events, conflicts, etc. Some quotes from the Silmarillion, various chapters: And the Valar drew unto them many companions, some less, some well nigh as great as themselves, and they laboured together in the ordering ...


48

The most obvious example in my view, and the only one that is mentioned in The Hobbit is the Master of Lake-Town (Esgaroth on the Long Lake). In the Laketown we have always elected masters from among the old and wise, and have not endured the rule of mere fighting men. The extended discussion of the Shire's local government does not come until the Lord ...


46

There does not appear to be a general method for resolving disputes between races1, suggesting a lack of universally-recognized legal system (or treaties between the systems of different races). We see this become a problem in The Hobbit, when the Dwarves, Elves, and Men of Dale decide to resolve the ownership Smaug's Horde using the time-honoured tradition ...


43

Elves live for thousands of years, but check out their birth rate. Longevity often comes at reverse corrolation to fecundity, and Middle Earth is no different. Elrond has been around for millenia, since the First Age, and he isn't even a grandfather yet. Also, theoretical discussions of Malthusian mechanics in Middle Earth nonwithstanding, and without even ...


43

As far as I remember, there isn't any name for it. It is an unnamed island. The LotR Wikia says the same: The sea also contains an unnamed island that is about thirty miles along the southeastern and northwestern coasts and twenty upon the northeastern and southwestern coasts. Also, it must have been wooded. (thainsbook). There has been a similar ...


42

First of all, Tolkien was trying to create a missing Anglo-Saxon (or, as some argued, Celtic), mythos. For details, see Q1 and Q2 If you recall your Norse mythology, which strongly influenced Tolkien (Midgard==Middle Earth), the geography of the Norse mythos' world bears very little resemblance to Earth (same goes to many ancient myth systems): Secondly, ...


42

Almost certainly, yes. Not always (witness the Dwarven map with east at the top), but it was evidently the usual orientation in the West-lands. Appendix E to The Lord of the Rings: The names of the letters most widely known and used were… númen, hyarmen, rómen, formen=west, south, east, north…. These letters commonly indicated the points W, S, E, N even ...


39

To answer the only directly and objectively answerable question, Tolkien seems never to have discussed "this strange state of affairs" in his letters. That said, I believe you're misremembering and misinterpreting parts of the book. To go through your various points more or less in sequence: Elves of Mirkwood and Lórien Legolas does state that the ...


37

Yes. Middle-earth became Europe, the Shire became Great Britain and Ireland, and the One Ring was destroyed about 6,000 years ago. I will allow Tolkien to speak for himself. All quotes are from Tolkien's letters (unless otherwise noted): ‘Middle-earth’, by the way, is not a name of a never-never land without relation to the world we live in (like the ...


36

Until someone comes along with a better answer based explicitly on Tolkien's writing, I will simply suggest the link to the Norse Midgard. Remember that Tolkien drew a lot of inspiration from Nordic sagas and myths, and Midgard is the Nordic name for the world of men, the one that stands in the middle of Yggdrasil the world tree. There are worlds below it ...


36

Mordor isn’t a complete desert. The southern part has fields producing food for Sauron’s armies (bold added): Neither he [Sam] nor Frodo knew anything of the great slave-worked fields away south in this wide realm, beyond the fumes of the Mountain by the dark sad waters of Lake Núrnen; nor of the great roads that ran away east and south to tributary ...


34

There is no known history of Mordor before Shelob's arrival. From her introduction in The Two Towers we can imagine there being a time when Elves and Men travelled that way more frequently, suggesting it wasn't always a place of terror and dread, though Sauron moving in rather ruined the neighbourhood: How Shelob came there, flying from ruin, no tale ...


32

As you might expect, Tolkien (that great world-builder) had considered these issues and covered them in some depth. From the prologue to The Fellowship of the Ring, section Of the Ordering of the Shire (emphasis mine): The Shire was divided into four quarters, the Farthings already referred to, North, South, East, and West; and these again each into a ...


31

"Middle-earth" has several meanings It has a very specific cosmological definition: all the lands and seas of the world (Arda), excluding Aman (where the Valar live). However, it is also used colloquially to refer to either the main continent or even just the Northwest region of the continent. Cosmology Initially, the term "Middle-earth" referred to all ...


30

Middle-earth is the name for the parts of the world in Tolkien's universe where men lived. It was based on the Old English/Norse term "Middangeard" as used, for example, in Beowulf. The term "middle" here comes from the Norse idea of nine connected worlds, of which men lived on the one in the center. This distinguishes Middle-earth from, for example, Valinor ...


29

The very very first The first written connection to the Legendarium was a poem about Eärendel (later Eärendil), titled "The Voyage of Earendel the Evening Star", written in September 1914: Before 1914 I wrote a 'poem' upon Earendel who launched his ship like a bright spark from the havens of the Sun. The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien 297: To 'Mr. Rang' (...


25

I suppose this should really be a comment, but since I can't have paragraphs, or even line breaks, in comments, it'll have to be an answer. First, as regards communication, I think you are biased by post-WWII technology, where it's no great matter to talk to someone on the other side of a continent, or drive a few hundred miles or even jump on a plane for a ...


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