The Encyclopedia of Arda - an interactive guide to the world of J.R.R. Tolkien
A wide region of northwest Middle-earth lying between the Misty Mountains in the west and the river Celduin in the east
Probably 'wi'lderland', with 'wilder' pronounced as in the English word 'bewilder'1
Approximately 'wild country'2
Other names


About this entry:

  • Updated 18 August 2017
  • Updates planned: 2


The wilderness of Rhovanion

Map of Wilderland

A term for the lands of Middle-earth that lay east of the Misty Mountains. 'Wilderland' probably represents the Westron equivalent of the Elvish name Rhovanion.



The name 'Wilderland' was invented by Tolkien, and so there is no formally preferred pronunciation. The first syllable being 'wild' might suggest a long 'i' sound, as for example in 'wildlife'. On the other hand, the name's linguistic origins in words like 'wilderness' strongly imply a short 'i' sound would be preferred. See note 2 below for more on the etymology of the name.


'Wilderland' is based on the 'wilderness', which originally meant an uninhabited region. It was also influenced by the old word 'wilder', meaning 'wander, be lost', a word considered archaic in modern usage, but surviving in the word 'bewilder'. The entire name can be interpreted as something like 'empty land of wanderers'. The lands east of the Misty Mountains may have been given this name simply because they were wild and untamed by comparison with the more populated areas to the west. Alternatively, the name is perhaps connected to the Nandor, who wandered away from the Great Journey as they passed through this region.

See also...

Great Shelf


About this entry:

  • Updated 18 August 2017
  • Updates planned: 2

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