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

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 ...
Edlothiad's user avatar
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115 votes
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What was the tallest structure built in Middle-earth?

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 ...
isanae's user avatar
  • 11k
112 votes

Does everyone always eat, drink and sleep for free everywhere in Middle-earth?

Firstly, as Lord of the Rings is conceived to be taking place long ago in essentially our world, yes, to some degree, people were expected to provide free food and lodging for strangers. This was ...
Shamshiel's user avatar
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105 votes
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Was the Lonely Mountain, where Smaug lived, a volcano?

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-...
Invisible Trihedron's user avatar
97 votes
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Are there other dragons in Middle-earth by the time of The Hobbit?

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 ...
M. A. Golding's user avatar
85 votes
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Are the mountains surrounding Mordor natural?

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 ...
isanae's user avatar
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70 votes
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What is the oldest object in Middle-earth?

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 ...
Ber's user avatar
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53 votes
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Plate Tectonics in Middle Earth; an in-universe explanation?

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, ...
Victim of Circumstance's user avatar
44 votes

Did maps in Middle-Earth have west on the top?

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 ...
Tim Pederick's user avatar
  • 3,366
38 votes
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What exactly is Middle-earth in Tolkien's Legendarium?

"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 ...
isanae's user avatar
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36 votes
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What was Mordor's history before Sauron settled there?

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 ...
Jason Baker's user avatar
35 votes

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

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 ...
Nicola Talbot's user avatar
31 votes

Why is there darkness/evil in Middle-earth and why couldn't the Valar fix this?

The Marring of Arda was intentional The idea of Arda Marred (as it's commonly referred to) is a direct reflection of the downfall of Man in the bible and the imperfections of the world. Similar to the ...
Edlothiad's user avatar
  • 77.4k
29 votes

What's the tallest mountain in Middle-earth?

Middle-earth In Middle-earth throughout all time it is almost certainly Thangorodrim: And looking out from the slopes of Ered Wethrin with his last sight he beheld far off the peaks of Thangorodrim, ...
Edlothiad's user avatar
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27 votes
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What types of dragons are there in Middle-earth and how and why do they differ?

There were Fire-drakes and Cold-drakes The first fire-drake to issue from the gates of Angband was Glaurung; he was said to have sired the other fire-drakes and they are also the most common. Again ...
Edlothiad's user avatar
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25 votes
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Are the Maiar more powerful than the Istari?

The Istari are Maiar Olorin I was in my youth in the West that is forgotten. We must assume that they [the Istari] were all Maiar... For with the consent of Eru they [the Valar] sent members of their ...
Edlothiad's user avatar
  • 77.4k
25 votes
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Who was the last elf in Middle-earth?

There is no last Elf in Middle-earth - there's still Elves here! Elves cannot live in Middle-earth indefinitely, embodied. Though the Three Rings helped keep them around and embodied, all Elves in ...
Shamshiel's user avatar
  • 25k
24 votes
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Where are the Grey Havens?

No, this is correct The Grey Havens are where Círdan maintains the Elven ships that travel over the Sea. This is also mentioned a few times in the text; for example (emphasis mine): 'And I've heard ...
Jason Baker's user avatar
24 votes
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What was the final fate of Khazad-dûm (after Durin the 7th)?

Durin the Last first emerges in the second surviving draft of the dwarf section of Appendix A, which originally ended with this line about Moria, right after talking about Dain and Erebor. And the ...
ibid's user avatar
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23 votes
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What material are weapons and armors in the Middle-earth forged from?

Steel, Iron, Mithril or Bronze etc... They used many of the metals that were available to the Nordic peoples in our own early history, as well as the mysterious "Moria Steel" which was known ...
Edlothiad's user avatar
  • 77.4k
23 votes
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Can dwarves forge magical weapons as well as Elves can?

Dwarves have forged weapons of the same renown I'm sure Tolkien would have probably rejected such a classification system, but if you consider the weapons named in your question to be "magical&...
ibid's user avatar
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22 votes
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Was there ever an epidemic of infectious disease in Middle-earth?

Yes, definitely. From LotR: Introduction: Thus began the Shire-reckoning, for the year of the crossing of the Brandywine (as the Hobbits turned the name) became Year One of the Shire... There for ...
Mark Olson's user avatar
  • 41.3k
22 votes

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

The Eye of Sauron isn't a structure, it is a metaphor for Sauron's watchfulness and gathering of information by natural and magical methods. Mount Doom isn't a structure, it is a geological feature. ...
M. A. Golding's user avatar
22 votes
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Did Sauron ever consider that the Valar and/or Eru Ilúvatar may not allow him to conquer Middle-earth?

Sauron could not, of course, be a 'sincere' atheist. Though one of the minor spirits created before the world, he knew Eru, according to his measure. He probably deluded himself with the notion that ...
Eugene's user avatar
  • 2,201
21 votes
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Is Rohan the same (country) as Arnor?

TL; DR: No. Not only have Arnor and Rohan always been two distinct entities, they had never existed at the same time until Aragorn became king of Gondor and Arnor. Flaws in the question: As the ...
Wad Cheber's user avatar
  • 69.9k
20 votes

Are the mountains surrounding Mordor natural?

Essentially nothing is known about the early history of Mordor, especially not as far back as the earliest days of creation. The only thing I'm prepared to say with certainty is that the Ephel Dúath ...
Jason Baker's user avatar
19 votes
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Did maps in Middle-Earth have west on the top?

Thror's map (as hand-drawn by Tolkien) had a Eastward slant Other maps of Middle-Earth seems to have had a more common Northward-pointing compass rose
Valorum's user avatar
  • 695k
19 votes

How much did the livelihood of the Rohirrim rely on agriculture?

The only relevant quote I can think of from LoTR itself is from Book 3, Chapter 7, Helm's Deep, where Théoden regrets that Saruman's army is burning the countryside behind them: ‘They bring fire,’ ...
Daniel Roseman's user avatar
17 votes

Story from Middle-earth about the events of "The Lord of the Rings" being a lie

You're probably thinking of Kirill Eskov's The Last Ringbearer, a Russian book that re-tells the story of LoTR from the point of view of Mordor. From Wikipedia: Eskov bases his novel on the premise ...
Daniel Roseman's user avatar
14 votes

Have Dinosaurs Ever Existed in Arda?

Letter 211: I did not intend the steed of the Witch-King to be what is now called a 'pterodactyl', and often is drawn (with rather less shadowy evidence than lies behind many monsters of the new ...
VictimOfCircumstance's user avatar

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