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


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  • Updated 29 May 2009
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Evil creatures out of Hobbit legend

A strange and secretive race, known only from a reference in a poem of the Shire-hobbits1. Their identity is mysterious, and indeed they may not exist at all, or they may represent a distant folk-memory of the Hobbits. They were said to be dangerous creatures, dwelling in the dark, and feasting on unwary travellers who sought them out. Though it's uncertain exactly what kind of beings they were, they do seem to have been at least somewhat Man-like in form, and may represent a confused recollection of Orcs or Trolls.

The Mewlips' dwelling place was said to be a dark valley far over the Merlock Mountains, through 'spider-shadows' and a forbidding wood, and beyond the marsh of Tode. Though these geographical names are not otherwise known, they fit well with the long journey from the Shire across the Misty Mountains and through Mirkwood (which had marshland on its eastern fringes). If that assumption is accurate, the Mewlips' valley would have been in the east, probably somewhere in the region between the Rivers Running and Redwater.



Actually the poem The Mewlips appears in The Adventures of Tom Bombadil, but Tolkien presents it as part of the folklore of the Shire-hobbits.

See also...

Last Desert

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