The Encyclopedia of Arda - an interactive guide to the world of J.R.R. Tolkien
Dates
Uncertain. Probably originated in the First Age1, and known to have survived into the Fourth
Pronunciation
Presumably 'shee'lob'2
Meaning
'She-spider' ('lob' is an old English word for 'spider')2
Titles

Indexes:

About this entry:

  • Updated 18 September 1999
  • Updates planned: 6

Shelob

The great she-spider who haunted Cirith Ungol

Ungoliant
Shelob
Others
Spiders
of Mirkwood
Others

A creature of spider-shape, of the spawn of Ungoliant, who dwelt in the mountains on the western borders of Mordor.


Notes

1

The earliest definite date we have for Shelob is c.1000 (Second Age), because we know that she occupied Cirith Ungol 'before the first stone of Barad-dûr' which was laid at about that time (from The Two Towers IV 9 Shelob's Lair). We also know, from the same source, that she originally came there 'flying from ruin' - this is indefinite, but ties in neatly with the War of Wrath a thousand years earlier. The suggestion here is that she originally occupied Beleriand, probably in the Ered Gorgoroth, and fled southwards to escape its destruction.

2

If 'Shelob' were an Elvish name, the 'e' sound would be short, giving a pronunciation something like 'shehlob'. Her name, though, is a compound of two English words, 'She-lob', so we have assumed a standard English pronunciation.

Indexes:

About this entry:

  • Updated 18 September 1999
  • Updates planned: 6

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