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 1997-2021. All rights reserved. For conditions of reuse, see the Site FAQ.

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Featured Entry

Halls of Waiting

The abode of Mandos

The Halls of the Vala Mandos, that lay in the northern and western part of Valinor, on the shores of the Encircling Sea. Also known as the Halls of Awaiting, the Timeless Halls and the Houses of the Dead, it was here that the spirits of the dead of Middle-earth were summoned and housed for a time. The Halls grew greater as time passed to house the fëar or spirits, and their walls were hung with the tapestries of Mandos' spouse, Vairë the Weaver, telling the tale of the history of the World.

Each of the races of Arda had a different fate when their spirits entered the Halls. For most Elves, the stay was a temporary one, and they would eventually be re-embodied and returned to life in Aman. This gift was withheld from some, and their spirits will remain within Mandos' Halls while the World lasts: Fëanor was one of these.

The Encyclopedia of Arda
The Encyclopedia of Arda