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 1997-2018. All rights reserved. For conditions of reuse, see the Site FAQ.

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Featured Entry

River Hoarwell

The northern river also called Mitheithel

A river of northern Middle-earth, known in Elvish as the Mitheithel, that rose from a turbulent spring among the Ettenmoors, on the lower western slopes of the Misty Mountains. It flowed southwestwards out of the highlands, carving a deep valley for itself as it ran through the lands that formed eastern Arnor (and later Rhudaur).

As it passed to the west of the Trollshaws it met the East-West Road, which crossed it by a stone bridge known as the Last Bridge. From there, its course veered to the south, and it continued until it met the Loudwater (or Bruinen) some hundred miles from the bridge. Between these two rivers, a narrow triangle of land was formed, a region known as the Angle. From that point onward, it was generally known as the Greyflood or Gwathló, and it flowed on southwestwards through Tharbad until it met the Great Sea at the ancient port of Lond Daer. During the earlier part of the Third Age, the southerly banks of the Hoarwell were maintained by engineers from Tharbad, until the influence of the Dúnedain waned.

The Encyclopedia of Arda
The Encyclopedia of Arda