The Encyclopedia of Arda - an interactive guide to the world of J.R.R. Tolkien


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The Encyclopedia of Arda is a completely unofficial site, and has no connection with the estate of J.R.R. Tolkien, whose rights are fully acknowledged. Names of characters, items and events from The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings are trademarks and service marks of Tolkien Enterprises, whose rights are also fully acknowledged.


  • Cotterell, Arthur, A Dictionary of World Mythology. Oxford University Press 1986.
  • Cottle, Basil, The Penguin Dictionary of Surnames. Penguin Books 1967.
  • Day, David, A Tolkien Bestiary. Mitchell Beazley 1981.
  • Hammond, Wayne G. & Scull, Christina, J.R.R. Tolkien: Artist and Illustrator. HarperCollins 1994.
  • Hammond, Wayne G. & Scull, Christina, The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion. HarperCollins 2005.
  • Rateliff, John D., The History of the Hobbit. HarperCollins 2007.
  • Suetonius, The Twelve Caesars (Trans. Robert Graves). Penguin Books 1957.
  • Sykes, J.B. (Ed.), The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Current English. Oxford University Press 1911.
  • Tolkien, J.R.R.,
    • The Book of Lost Tales, Part I (The History of Middle-earth volume 1) (Ed. Christopher Tolkien). Allen & Unwin 1983.
    • The Book of Lost Tales, Part II (The History of Middle-earth volume 2) (Ed. Christopher Tolkien). Allen & Unwin 1984.
    • The Children of Húrin (Ed. Christopher Tolkien). HarperCollins 2007.
    • The Hobbit, or There and Back Again. Allen & Unwin 1937.
    • The Lays of Beleriand (The History of Middle-earth volume 3) (Ed. Christopher Tolkien). Allen & Unwin 1985.
    • The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien (Ed. Humphrey Carpenter and Christopher Tolkien). Allen & Unwin 1981.
    • The Lord of the Rings (one-volume edition with Appendices). Allen & Unwin 1968.
    • The Lost Road and Other Writings (The History of Middle-earth volume 5) (Ed. Christopher Tolkien). HarperCollins 1987.
    • Morgoth's Ring (The History of Middle-earth volume 10) (Ed. Christopher Tolkien). HarperCollins 1994.
    • The Peoples of Middle-earth (The History of Middle-earth volume 12) (Ed. Christopher Tolkien). HarperCollins 1996.
    • The Return of the Shadow (The History of Middle-earth volume 6) (Ed. Christopher Tolkien). HarperCollins 1994.
    • The Road Goes Ever On (Music by Donald Swann). George Allen & Unwin 1968.
    • The Shaping of Middle-earth (The History of Middle-earth volume 4) (Ed. Christopher Tolkien). HarperCollins 1993.
    • Tales from the Perilous Realm (omnibus including The Adventures of Tom Bombadil). HarperCollins 1997.
    • The Silmarillion (Ed. Christopher Tolkien). Allen & Unwin 1977.
    • Unfinished Tales of Númenor and Middle-earth (Ed. Christopher Tolkien). Allen & Unwin 1982.
    • The War of the Ring (The History of Middle-earth volume 8) (Ed. Christopher Tolkien). HarperCollins 1990.
    • The War of the Jewels (The History of Middle-earth volume 11) (Ed. Christopher Tolkien). HarperCollins 1994.

A Note on ‘Canon’

The question of canon (that is, which works to treat as authoritative) is a thorny one where Tolkien's work is concerned, especially as so much of his legendarium was published posthumously by his son Christopher. This presents a particular problem in compiling an encyclopedic work such as this site: it cannot be possible to be completely truthful to Tolkien's vision, because that vision never achieved a complete and unified whole during his lifetime.

Some scholars prefer to give later writings authority over earlier ones, and from a literary perspective this is probably the approach to be preferred, although it presents important problems of its own. This site is not intended as a literary discussion of Tolkien's work, though, but an attempt to explore his world as a self-consistent universe, so far as this is achievable. Thus, we treat The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit as canonical here, and essentially give the posthumous The Silmarillion the same status, while noting the occasional error or inconsistency. Names and places from Unfinished Tales of Númenor and Middle-earth and The Children of Húrin are also indexed on this site. The status of those works as canon is admittedly debatable, but they do bring together much relevant detail in a form that's largely compatible with Tolkien's established world.

We don't intend to provide entries for subjects that appear only among the volumes of The History of Middle-earth. You'll find no entries for Tinwë Linto, Tevildo or Zigûr here - these characters belong to an earlier period of Tolkien's work that, though fascinating in itself, can't be easily integrated into his developed universe. This is not to say that an Encyclopedia of the Lost Tales, say, wouldn't be a fascinating undertaking in itself, but it isn't what this site's about.

For acknowledgements and references, see the Disclaimer & Bibliography page.

Original content © copyright Mark Fisher 1997-2006. All rights reserved. For conditions of reuse, see the Site FAQ.

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