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 1997-2023. All rights reserved. For conditions of reuse, see the Site FAQ.

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Featured Entry

Durin’s House

The line of Durin the Deathless

The long line of descendants of Durin, eldest of the race of Dwarves and founder of the great mansions of Khazad-dûm in the Misty Mountains. The clan of Dwarves who followed Durin were known as the Longbeards, but also simply as Durin's Folk, and Durin's House provided the line of Kings of Durin's Folk. For most of the history of these Dwarves they ruled in Khazad-dûm, until the awakening of the Balrog known as Durin's Bane. After this time the seat of Durin's House moved from place to place as the exiled Dwarves travelled across Middle-earth, settling at times in the Grey Mountains, Dunland and the Blue Mountains before finally re-establishing themselves in Erebor.

Though the long-lived founder of the House was known as Durin the Deathless, he did eventually die. A peculiarity of his House was that he would apparently return at times, with a member of his House being born with a striking likeness to the original Durin. These successors were also given the name 'Durin', and there were six such rulers after Durin the Deathless. Of these, it was Durin VI who was ruler of Khazad-dûm when the Balrog awoke, and was among its first victims (and for this reason it became known as Durin's Bane).

The Encyclopedia of Arda
The Encyclopedia of Arda