Tolkien: A Dictionary: David Day: 9781607109068: Amazon.com: Books
First published by Mitchell Beazley, a division of Octopus Publishing Group Ltd as A Guide to Tolkien. Some or all of the material in this book originally appeared in A-Z of Tolkien, The Tolkien Bestiary and/or The Tolkien Encyclopedia published by Octopus Publishing Group 1979, 1991, 1993
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ISBN-13: 978-1-60710-969-3 ISBN-10: 1-60710-969-7
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If you’ve never heard of J. R. R. Tolkien and know absolutely nothing about his most famous books The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion, the only possible explanation is that you have spent your entire life living at the bottom of a coal pit on the other side of the galaxy. Even for those who have never read a word of his writing, Tolkien’s influence has been inescapable. The virtual inventor of the epic fantasy novel, there have been literally thousands of “sword and sorcery” imitators who have come after him with a veritable avalanche of books and films.
John Ronald Reuel Tolkien was born of British parents in Bloemfontein, South Africa on January 3, 1892. Orphaned in childhood, he survived the carnage of the Great War and went on to a career as a noted Anglo-Saxon scholar at Oxford before becoming the author of imaginative fiction. As authors go, Tolkien was a late-starter. Although he was a relatively youthful 45 when his first work of fiction, The Hobbit, was published, it was not until 1954, when he was 62, that his second novel, the epic fantasy, The Lord Of The Rings, was published. He never published another novel during his lifetime, but in the 19 years between the publication of The Lord Of The Rings and his death in 1973, he became one of the most celebrated and widely-read authors of the twentieth century.
Today, Tolkien’s Hobbits are as convincing a part of the English heritage as leprechauns are to the Irish, gnomes are to the Germans, and trolls are to the Scandinavians. Indeed, many people are now unaware that Hobbits were invented by Tolkien, and assume that, like fairies and pixies, they have, more or less, always been with us. However, Hobbits are not the only creations of Tolkien’s mind that have invaded our world. Orcs, Ents and Balrogs have also found their way through; and the Elf, Dwarf, Dragon and Wizard are very different creatures today because of Tolkien.
So great was Tolkien’s enthusiasm for creating and inhabiting his invented world that it can convincingly be argued that the undoubted literary merit of Tolkien’s epic tale of The Lord Of The Rings was a secondary concern. Important as the novel is, any analysis of Tolkien’s life and work will show that his greatest passion and grandest ambition was focused on the creation of an entire mythological system.
Tolkien once wrote about his motivation for creating his mythical world of Middle-earth: “I was from early days grieved by the poverty of my own beloved country: it had no stories of its own, not of the quality that I sought, and found in legends of other lands. There was Greek, and Celtic, and Romance, Germanic, Scandinavian, and Finnish,, but nothing English, save impoverished chapbook stuff.” Later, in a personal letter, Tolkien further explained his efforts: “I had a mind to make a body of more or less connected legend, ranging from the large and cosmogonic, to the level of romantic fairy-story … which I could dedicate simply: to England; to my country.”
The enormity of this undertaking is staggering. It would be as if Homer, before writing the Iliad and Odyssey, had first to invent the whole of Greek mythology and history. The degree to which Tolkien actually succeeded is remarkable. Today, Tolkien’s invented mythology in the popular imagination has to a considerable degree become that of England. He has been translated into every major language, and many of his characters and creatures have come to inhabit the world of popular culture everywhere.
As time passes, more and more of Tolkien’s Middle-earth is invading our world. Computers are called Gandalf, bookstores called Bilbo’s, hovercraft called Shadowfax, restaurants called Frodo’s, archery suppliers called Legolas, jewellers called Gimli’s, multi-national corporations called Aragorn, and computer games called Gondor, Rohan, Imladris and Lothlorien.
Although Tolkien never anticipated the massive popular and commercial success of his mythology, he had hoped for a more specialized appeal to those fascinated by myth and folklore. In that same letter in which he wrote of his desire to create a mythology for England, Tolkien outlined the extent of his ambitions and how in his most extravagant imaginings he hoped others might involve themselves in his world. “I would draw some of the great tales in fullness, and leave many only placed in the scheme, and sketched. The cycles should be linked to a majestic whole, and yet leave scope for other minds and hands, wielding paint and music and drama.”
Once again, Tolkien has achieved those aims: many “other minds and hands” have been at work. His writing has inspired artists, musicians and dramatists who continue to illuminate and celebrate – in Tolkien’s words – the “majestic whole” of the most complex and detailed invented world in all literature.
The Tolkien Companion was written in celebration of this aspect of J. R. R. Tolkien’s genius. It was compiled and designed as a compact and easy-to-use guide to Tolkien’s world. The purpose is to inform and entertain those readers who wish to use the Companion to help them in their personal exploration of the extraordinarily complex invented world and mythology of Middle-earth and the Undying Lands.
The Tolkien Companion is a complete dictionary of all flora and fauna in Tolkien’s writings. It describes every species and sub-species of flower, tree, plant, all birds, beasts, insects and every kind of spirit, spectre, ghost, demon and monster. It is also a complete guide to all the races, nations and tribes of Men, Elves, Dwarves, Hobbits, Ents, Maiar and Valar that ever populated Tolkien’s world of Arda.
Furthermore, the Companion serves as a selective biographical dictionary and geographical gazetteer. It is a Who’s Who of the major characters of his epic world, and an A to Z of all the prominent cities, countries, mountains, forests, rivers, lakes and seas of Middle-earth and the Undying Lands. It is hoped that the combination of the book’s remarkable illustrations and its detailed text in this compact format will make The Tolkien Companion both a useful and an entertaining reference work for any reader interested in J. R. R. Tolkien’s epic world.
1892 - John Ronald Reuel Tolkien born 3rd January of British parents in Bloemfontein, South Africa. Brother, Hilary, born 1894
1895 - Mother (Mabel Tolkien) takes children back to Birmingham, England. Father (Arthur Tolkien) dies in South Africa.
1900 - Ronald begins to attend King Edward’s Grammar School.
1904 - Mother dies of diabetes, aged 34.
1905 - Orphaned boys move to Aunt’s home in Birmingham.
1908 - Ronald begins first term at Oxford.
1913 - Ronald takes Honours Moderations exams.
1914 - Ronald is betrothed to childhood sweetheart Edith Bratt. Great War declared. Returns to Oxford to complete his degree.
1915 - Awarded First Class Honours degree in English Language and Literature.
Commissioned in Lancashire Fusiliers.
1916 - Married Edith Bratt. Goes to war in France. Sees action on the Somme as second lieutenant. Returns to England suffering from shell shock.
1917 - While convalescing begins writing The Silmarillion.
Birth of first son, John.
1918 - Promoted to full lieutenant, posted to Staffordshire. War ends. Returns with family to Oxford, joins staff of New English Dictionary.
1919 - Works as a freelance tutor in Oxford.
1920 - Appointed Reader in English Language at Leeds University.
Birth of second son, Michael.
1924 - Becomes Professor of English Language at Leeds. Third son, Christopher, is born.
1925 - Tolkien and E. V. Gordon publish Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Tolkien elected Professor of Anglo-Saxon at Oxford.
1926 - Friendship with C. S. Lewis begins.
1929 - Fourth child, Priscilla, is born.
1936 - Tolkien completes The Hobbit. Delivers his lecture, Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics.
1937 - The Hobbit is published. Tolkien begins to write a sequel, which eventually becomes The Lord of the Rings.
1939 - Tolkien delivers his lecture Fairy Stories. Works on The Lord of the Rings fitfully throughout the war years.
1945 - War ends. Tolkien elected Merton Professor of English Language and Literature at Oxford.
1947 - Draft of The Lord of the Rings sent to publishers.
1948 - The Lord of the Rings completed.
1949 - Publication of Farmer Giles of Ham.
1954 - Publication of The Lord of the Rings, Volumes One and Two.
1955 - Publication of The Lord of the Rings, Volume Three.
1959 - Tolkien retires his professorship.
1962 - Publication of The Adventures of Tom Bombadil.
1964 - Publication of Tree and Leaf.
1965 - American paperback editions of The Lord of the Rings are published and campus cult of the novel begins.
1967 - Publication of Smith of Wootton Major, and The Road Goes Ever On.
1968 - The Tolkiens move to Poole near Bournemouth.
1971 - Edith Tolkien dies, aged 82.
1972 - Tolkien returns to Oxford.
Receives CBE from the Queen.
1973 - 2nd September, J. R. R. Tolkien dies, aged 81.
1976 - The Father Christmas Letters.
1977 - The Silmarillion.
1980 - Unfinished Tales of Numenor and Middle-Earth.
1981 - The Letters of J. R. R. Tolkien.
1982 - Mr Bliss.
1983 - The Monsters and The Critics and Other Essays.
The History of Middle-Earth: The Book of Lost Tales.
1984 - The History of Middle-Earth: The Book of Lost Tales – Part two.
1985 - The History of Middle-Earth: The Lays of Beleriand.
1986 - The History of Middle-Earth: The Shaping of Middle-Earth.
1987 - The History of Middle-Earth: The Lost Road and Other Writings.
1988 - The History of Middle-Earth: The Return of the Shadow.
1989 - The History of Middle-Earth: The Treason of Isengard.
1990 - The History of Middle-Earth: The War of the Ring.
1992 - The History of Middle-Earth: Sauron Defeated.
The great caverns beneath Helm’s Deep and the fortress called Hornburg where one of the crucial battles of the War of the Rings was fought. Here the Rohirrim horsemen had their strongest fortifications and under King Théoden they defeated the forces of the evil wizard, Saruman. The caverns themselves were of ancient origin and believed to have been delved in the Second Age of the Sun by the Númenóreans. Aglarond is Elvish for “Glittering Caves” and this vast glittering complex of caverns was one of the wonders of Middle-earth. After the War of the Ring, Gimli the Dwarf (one of the Fellowship of the Ring) returned to Aglarond with many of the Dwarves of Erebor. Gimli became the Lord of the Glittering Caves and in the Fourth Age this became the most powerful Dwarf kingdom in Middle-earth. Under Gimli’s leadership, the Dwarves of Aglarond became famous as the master smiths of Middle-earth.
In the very beginning there was Eru, the One, who dwelt in the Void, and whose name in Elvish was Ilúvatar. As is told in the “Ainulindalë”, Thoughts came forth from Ilúvatar to which He gave eternal life through the power of the Flame Imperishable. Ilúvatar named these creations Ainur, the “holy ones”. They were the first race and they inhabited the Timeless Halls that Ilúvatar had fashioned for them.
The Ainur were great spirits and each was given a mighty voice so that he could sing before Ilúvatar for His pleasure. When He had heard each sing, Ilúvatar called them to Him and proposed that they should sing in concert. This was what the tales call the Music of the Ainur, in which great themes were made as individual spirits sought supremacy or harmony according to their nature. Some proved greater than others; some were powerful in goodness, some in evil; yet in the end, though the battle of sound was terrible, the Music was great and beautiful. From this harmony and strife Ilúvatar created a Vision that was a globed light in the Void. With a word and the Flame Imperishable Ilúvatar then made Eä, the “World that Is”; Elves and Men later named it Arda, the Earth. The Music soon became the Doom of Arda and the fate of every race was bound to it, save that of the late-coming race of Men, whose end nobody but Ilúvatar knew.
So it was that after Arda was made, some of the Ainur went down into this newly created World, where they were known as the Powers of Arda. Later they were thought by Men to be gods. Those who were good among them were guided by their knowledge of the Will of Ilúvatar, while others strove to fulfil their own ends. Whereas in the Timeless Halls they had been beings of pure spirit, within Arda they were limited in power by choosing to inhabit the bounds of Time and the small space of the World. Further, within Arda they took on separate shapes, each according to his nature and the elements he loved, and, though not bound to a visible form, they most often wore these shapes as garments, and in later Ages they were known to Elves and Men in these forms.
In the “Valaquenta” a part of the long history of the Ainur who inhabited Arda and shaped the World is written. It tells how the kingdoms of Almaren, Utumno and Angbad were built in Middle-earth; and how the kingdom of Valinor was made in the Undying Lands of Aman. It speaks also of how the Ainur brought forth Light and the Count of Time, and how there were terrible wars among them that shook Arda; and it gives the names and forms of many of the mightiest of the race.
In Arda the Elves divided this race into the Valar and the Maiar. Those of the Ainur counted among the Valar are: Manwë, the Wind King; Varda, Queen of the Stars; Ulmo, Lord of the Waters; Nienna, the Weeper; Aulë, the Smith; Yavanna, Giver of Fruits; Oromë, Lord of the Forest; Vána, the Youthful; Mandos, Keeper of the Dead; Vairë, the Weaver; Lórien, Master of Dreams; Estë, the Healer; Tulkas, the Wrestler; Nessa, the Dancer; and Melkor, later named Morgoth, the Dark Enemy.
Many of the Ainur were counted among the Maiar, but only a few are named in the histories that have come down to Men; Eönwë, Herald of Manwë; Ilmarë, Maid of Varda; Ossë, of the Waves; Uinen, of the Calm Seas; Melian, Queen of the Sindar; Arien, the Sun; Tilion, the Moon; Sauron, the Sorcerer; Gothmog, Lord of the Balrogs; and Olórin (Gandalf), Aiwendil (Radagast), Curunír (Saruman), Alatar and Pallando – the Wizards. In the histories of Middle-earth there also appear others who may have been Maiar; Thuringwethil, the Vampire; Ungoliant, the Spider; Draugluin, the Werewolf; Goldberry, the River-daughter; and Iarwain Ben-adar (Tom Bombadil).
As has been said, only some of the Ainur went down to Arda. A greater part has always lived in the Timeless Halls, but it has been foretold that at the World’s End the Valar and the Maiar shall rejoin their kindred in the Timeless Halls, and among those who return will also be the Eruhíni, the Children of Ilúvatar, who came forth upon Arda. Once again there shall be Great Music: this shall be mightier than the first. It shall be unflawed, filled with wisdom and sadness, and beautiful beyond compare.
One of the many sad songs sung by the Grey-elves of Middle-earth tells of a plant called Alfirin. Its flowers were like golden bells and it grew on the green plain of Lebennin near the delta lands of the Anduin, the Great River. The sight of them in the fields, with the sea-wind blowing, would tug at the hearts of the Eldar and awaken the sea-longing that always drew these Children of Starlight westwards, over Belegaer, the Great Sea, to where their immortal brethren lived. In the minds of Elves, the Alfirin were like the great gold bells of Valinor in miniature, which always toll upon the ears of the Blessed in the Undying Lands.
The Isle of Almaren, in the midst of a great lake in Middle-earth, was the first dwelling-place of the gods of Middle-earth, the Valar, during the Age of the Lamps. It was an idyllic island realm filled with godly dwellings and temples. However, it was destroyed when the rebel Vala, Melkor, made war on the others, destroyed the Two Lamps and cast Middle-earth down into darkness.
City and port of the Teleri Elves in Eldamar, on the coast of the Undying Lands. The Teleri were the last of the Three Kindred of Elves to make their way out of Middle-earth during the Ages of the Stars. These were the Sea-Elves, Elves who above all others love the sea and know its ways best. These are the greatest of sailors who were taught the art of ship building by the sea gods. And so, on the seas about Eldamar, the Teleri sail their ships built in the shapes of the swans of Ulmo the Sea Lord. And this is the reason for the Elvish name of their principal city of Alqualondë, which means “swan haven”. For Alqualondë was a magnificent city of marble and pearl built beneath the stars on the shore of the Undying Lands in a great natural harbour which shelters their vast fleet of swan ships. It can only be entered through the arching sea-carved stone gate of their haven.
The great western continent which is the Undying Lands of the immortal Valar and the Eldar. Aman in Quenya Elvish for “blessed”, and until the downfall of Númenor and the Change of the World, it lay far to the west of Middle-earth over Belegaer, the Great Sea. After that cataclysm, Aman was torn away from the sphere of the world, so that those who sailed from Middle-earth after the Second Age of the Sun could only reach the Undying Lands on the magical ships of the Sea Elves. These miraculous ships alone are granted the power to sail the vast abyss that lies beneath the mortal and immortal lands.
In the time of the Trees of the Valar, many of the Elven peoples made the Great Journey from Middle-earth to the continent of the Undying Lands, which is also known as Aman. Thereafter, in the Ages of Stars and Sun, Elves also came to Aman and all those who reached the Undying Lands, soon or late, were named the Amanyar, “those of Aman”.
Also called Orodurin, Amon Amarth is an Elvish name meaning “Mount Doom”, a volcanic mountain on a barren plain in the evil land of Mordor. It was in the fires of the Cracks of Doom on Amon Amarth that Sauron first forged the One Ring. And it was back to this mountain of destiny that the Ringbearer Frodo Baggins the Hobbit brought the Ring in order to destroy it, and bring an end to the power of Sauron, the Dark Lord.
The “hill of the eye”, one of the three peaks at the end of the long lake called Nen Hithoel on the Anduin River. The other two were Amon Llaw, or the “hill of the ear”, on the eastern bank, and Tol Brandir, or Tindrock, an unclimbable island pinnacle that stood in the centre of the lake. Amon Hen and Amon Llaw had on their summits two magical thrones built to watch the borderlands of Gondor. These stone thrones were called the “Seat of Seeing” on Amon Hen and the “Seat of Hearing” on Amon Llaw. During the War of the Rings, the Fellowship of the Ring made their way to Amon Hen. There, Frodo Baggins sat upon the Seat of Seeing and discovered its magical properties by suddenly being able to see telescopically for hundreds of miles in all directions.
The “hill of the ear”, one of the three peaks at the end of the long lake Nen Hithoel on the Anduin River. It was one of the two watchtowers of the marchlands of Gondor, the other being Amon Hen, the “hill of the eye”. On the summit of Amon Llaw was the “Seat of Hearing”, a throne comparable to the “Seat of Seeing” on Amon Hen. It is presumed that upon this throne, one may hear all the enemies of Gondor conspiring against her.
The “bald hill” in West Beleriand, south of the Brethil Forest and between the Narog and Sirion Rivers. The caverns cut into Amon Rûdh were the last home of the Noegyth Nibin, or Petty Dwarves, which The Silmarillion tells, had so diminished in numbers by the fifth century of the First Age of the Sun, that there were only three surviving: an ancient dwarf named Mîm and his two sons. It was also the hiding place of the hero Túrin Turambar. Amon Rûdh was called the Bald Hill because it was rocky and without any vegetation, except the red flowers of the hardy seregon or bloodstone plant.
Literally means “hill of ever snow white”. It is one of the many names for Taniquetil, the highest mountain in the Undying Lands. It is the Olympus of Arda where Ilmarin, the great halls of the gods Manwë and Varda are built.
Elven King of Lothlórien. Amroth was the son of Amdir, and ruled from 3434 of the Second Age until 1981 of the Third Age. Amroth fell in love with the Elf maid Nimrodel, and was the star-crossed lover who was the subject of many songs. He once lived on the hill of Cerin Amroth in Lothlórien but in the year 1981 he went to Dol Amroth and awaited his lover, so they might sail to the Undying Lands. However, Nimrodel lost her way and perished, and Amroth threw himself from his white ship into the sea.
Dúnedain king of Gondor. Anárion, with his father Elendil and brother Isildur, escaped the Downfall of Númenor, and founded the kingdoms of Gondor and Arnor in 3320 of the Second Age. They were among the chief enemies of Sauron, the Ring Lord, in the Second Age. With the Elf King, Gil-galad, they formed the army of the Last Alliance of Elves and Men. The Alliance was successful in destroying Sauron’s power, but Anárion was killed by a stone hurled down on him from the Dark Tower of Mordor.
Dragon of Angband. Ancalagon was the first and greatest of the Winged Dragons. Called Ancalagon the Black, he was bred in the Pits of Angband by Morgoth the Dark Enemy in the First Age of the Sun. The name itself meant “rushing jaws” and when he was first released on the world in the Great Battle, his vast shape blotted out the light of the sun. For a time Ancalagon and his legions of Winged Fire-drakes looked as if they would overcome the Valar but at a critical moment the giant Eagles and Eärendil, the Mariner, in his magical flying ship, entered the fray and slew Ancalagon the Black. So great was the Dragon’s weight that when he fell the towers of Thangorodrim were destroyed and the vast Pits of Angband burst beneath him.
Andor means the “land of the gift” and is one of the Elvish names for Númenor, the Atlantis of the Arda. This is the great island kingdom that at the end of the Second Age of the Sun was swallowed up in to Belegaer, the Great Sea.
A massive escarpment wall that ran from west to east across central Beleriand. Its name means “long wall” and it served to divide north and south Beleriand. It ran from Nargothrond in the far west to Ramdall, the “wall’s end, in East Beleriand, and was breached in only two places. In the west, the River Narog cut a fantastically deep gorge through the Andram, and twenty-five leagues to the east of the Narog the great river Sirion hurled itself over the sheer escarpment in one of the mightiest falls in Middle-earth, only to vanish into deep caverns beneath the Andram.
The earliest chief city of the great island kingdom of Númenor that during the Second Age of the Sun was found in the middle of Belegaer, the Great Sea, and between Middle-earth and the Undying Lands. Andúnië was a haven on the westernmost part of Númenor, and its name means “sunset”. Its people were the most faithful to the old ways of the Númenóreans, and later founded the Dunedain kingdoms of Gondor and Arnor on Middle-earth.
Utumno was the first and chief underground kingdom of the satanic Valarian Melkor, but in the ages of darkness that followed the destruction of the Lamps of Valar, Melkor built a great armoury and underground fortress in the north of Beleriand called Angband, the “iron prison”. At the end of the First Age of Stars Utumno was destroyed and Melkor put in chains, but though its main defences were broken, the pits and dungeons of Angband were not torn up during the War of Powers. For four ages of starlight while Melkor was captive, his minions and evil spirits, led by his captain, Sauron, hid themselves in the depths of Angband. So when Melkor rose again, destroyed the Trees of the Valar and stole the Silmarils, he fled once more to Angband. Calling his demons to him, he rebuilt Angband, vaster and stronger than before. Above the Angband he then raised the three-peaked volcanic mountain called Thangorodrim as a great battlement. In Angband, throughout the First Age of the Sun and the War of the Jewels, Melkor ruled and bred his demons and such monsters as his mighty Dragons. Attacked many times, Angband was not taken until the War of Wrath and the Great Battle. It took all the power of the vast hosts the Valar, Maiar and Eldar to break down its defences, crush its demons and cast Melkor out into the void. So great was the battle, that not only was Angband destroyed, but all the land of Beleriand was swallowed up by the western sea.
The Witch-kingdom of Angmar in the northern part of the Misty Mountains arose in the year 1300 of the Third Age of the Sun. Its capital was Carn Dûm, and it was populated by Orcs and the barbarian Hillmen of the Ettenmoors. Its ruler was called the Witch-king of Angmar, but in reality he was the Lord of the Nazgûl and the chief servant of Sauron, the Dark Lord. For nearly 700 years the Witch-king ruled and Angmar made constant war on the Dúnedain Kingdom of the North in Arnor. Arnor was finally destroyed in the year 1974, but in 1975, a combined army of Gondor Men and Elves defeated the Witch-king’s army at the Battle of Fornost, then went on to lay waste to all of the kingdom of Angmar.
When the Sun first rose on Arda and its light shone in the land of Hildórien in eastern Middle-earth, there arose a race of mortal beings. This was the race of Men, who were also named the Apanónar, which means “afterborn”, because they were not the first speaking people to come to Arda. Elves, Dwarves, Ents and the evil races of Orcs and Trolls had been in the World for many Ages before Men arrived.