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.

Website services kindly sponsored by Axiom Software Ltd.

Original content © copyright Mark Fisher 1997-2017. All rights reserved. For conditions of reuse, see the Site FAQ.

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Featured Entry

Great Hall of Thráin

The seat of the Kings under the Mountain

A vast rocky chamber beneath the deepest part of the Lonely Mountain of Erebor, named for the founder of the Kingdom, Thráin I. It held the Arkenstone, which Thráin himself had found beneath the Mountain, and the stone spilled light into the Hall (at least, if the songs of the Dwarves are to be believed).

After a time, the Kings of Durin's line abandoned Erebor, and for a time the Great Hall was without the light of the Arkenstone. After nearly four centuries, Thráin's descendant Thrór returned there, and replaced the brilliant stone in the Hall. For nearly two hundred years more the Dwarves dwelt undisturbed beneath Erebor, until the coming of the dragon Smaug. Thrór and his family were able to escape through a secret passage that led from the Great Hall, but Smaug plundered their treasures and gathered them together, lying on a bed of gold in the Great Hall of the Kings under the Mountain.

The Encyclopedia of Arda
The Encyclopedia of Arda