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 1997-2019. All rights reserved. For conditions of reuse, see the Site FAQ.

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Featured Entry

Elvenking’s Halls

The stronghold of the Woodland Realm

When the Shadow fell on Greenwood the Great in the Third Age, the Silvan Elves of that forest withdrew northward. Near the Forest's northeastern fringes, on the banks of the Forest River, Thranduil built an underground fortress for himself and his people. He was inspired in this enterprise by Thingol's halls of Menegroth in Doriath during the First Age, and like Thingol he used the skill of the Dwarves to aid in making his stronghold, though the Elvenking's Halls of Mirkwood were less grand than that magnificent ancient cavern.

Thranduil's Halls were not a home for his entire people, who spent most of their time in the open woodlands, but they served as a palace, a treasury and a stronghold. They were built within a cavern on the Forest River's banks, whose entrance was protected by magical stone door and reached by a bridge across the river. Within were a maze of passageways and chambers, including Thranduil's throne room. As in Thingol's Menegroth, the roof of the throne room was supported by pillars carved from the living rock.

The Encyclopedia of Arda
The Encyclopedia of Arda