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


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Welcome to The Encyclopedia of Arda

The Encyclopedia of Arda is a personal project - a tribute to and a celebration of the works of J.R.R. Tolkien. The site is evolving into an illustrated hypertext encyclopedia of Tolkien's realms and peoples. It already contains about four thousand entries, and we're constantly adding new entries and expanding existing ones.

Inside the encyclopedia

The Encyclopedia of Arda contains thousands of articles covering topics from J.R.R. Tolkien's world, some brief, some lengthy and some containing detailed essays and discussions.

You'll also find a selection of interactive tools, including a chronicle to help you explore Tolkien's fictional history, and calendar to translate dates and events, a lexicon of names, a glossary of old and rare words, and much more.

Context and approach

The content of the Encyclopedia is written in the same context as Tolkien himself used; he presented himself simply as a translator, rather than originator of the tales. Hence, we try to describe his world from a 'historical' rather than a literary perspective, though sometimes it's useful to explore ideas in their wider context. Where relevant, therefore, you'll also find a few references to Tolkien's life or opinions, or to real historical or mythological parallels to events in his universe.

About the name Arda

Arda was the name given by the Elves to their World and all it contained, and so 'Encyclopedia of Arda' seemed a peculiarly apt title for this project.

Special thanks

Thanks to all those who've e-mailed us over the years with their suggestions, corrections, ideas and just general support.

But the real Special Thanks, though, belong to the memory of J.R.R. Tolkien for his extraordinary and unparalleled creation.

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

Original content © copyright Mark Fisher 1997-2020. All rights reserved. For conditions of reuse, see the Site FAQ.

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Featured Entry


Hulking monsters of the dark

Lumbering evil creatures originated by Melkor. Their origins are mysterious: the only clear statement on the matter is Treebeard's suggestion that they were made by the Dark Lord to resemble Ents. That cannot have been the case (Melkor had no power to create thinking beings of his own) but it seems possible that the first Trolls were twisted and corrupted Ents. However they came into existence, we know that Trolls had appeared before the end of the First Age. Their first mention in history was in the great battle known as the Nirnaeth Arnoediad, where they formed the bodyguard of Gothmog, Lord of Balrogs.

The history of the Trolls after the Nirnaeth is not well known, though at least some must have escaped eastwards from the destruction at the end of that Age. It is clear that some remained under the control of Sauron, and he was able to send some to Moria after its fall in the Third Age. Many others wandered wild in Middle-earth, especially in the northern Misty Mountains and the lands westward. The regions known as the Troll-fells and Trollshaws were named for the Trolls that lurked there.

The Encyclopedia of Arda
The Encyclopedia of Arda