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


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  • Updated 7 September 2011
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The West

The Blessed Realm beyond the Sea

Map of Aman
Aman, the lands in the West (somewhat conjectural)

Throughout the earlier ages of Arda, the Undying Lands had been present in the World. Though they were protected by Shadowy Seas and Enchanted Isles, they could be reached by a hardy traveller passing west across the Great Sea. In the closing years of the Second Age, Ar-Pharazôn of Númenor formed an immense fleet and attempted an invasion of the land of the Valar. The results were utterly cataclysmic: Aman, the Undying Realm, was taken out of the World.

Even after this, a westward way remained, so that the Elves could pass along a Straight Road to reach the Blessed Realm. For most Mortals, though, this road was lost: if they sailed westward they would pass around the Bent World and eventually return to their starting-place. So the realm of the immortals came to be known in Middle-earth as the Uttermost West, or West-over-Sea, or most often simply as 'The West'.

The term 'West' was sometimes also used to refer to the lost island of Númenor, which also lay far out in the western Sea, within sight of the coasts of Aman, before it was destroyed. For example, the name Dúnadan, 'Man of the West', makes use of 'West' in this sense.

See also...

Alcarondas, Aman, Amanyar, Ancient Speech, Ancient Tongue, Ancient West, Baggins Family, Ban of the Valar, Bay of Elvenhome, Bird-tamer, Black Years, Castle of the Sea, Círdan the Shipwright, Company of the Ring, Curumo, [See the full list...]

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