The Encyclopedia of Arda - an interactive guide to the world of J.R.R. Tolkien
Dates
Probably came into being during the late Second Age1
Location
A line running north to south at a point slightly westward of Rivendell and the northern Misty Mountains
Settlements
Rivendell, the Last Homely House, lay slightly eastward of the Edge of the Wild
Meaning
The 'Wild' referred to the relatively untamed Misty Mountains and Rhovanion beyond, as compared with the more civilised region of Eriador to the west

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About this entry:

  • Updated 19 December 2021
  • This entry is complete

Edge of the Wild

The limit of the civilised lands

Map of the Edge of the Wild
"Remember you are over the Edge of the Wild now, and in for all sorts of fun wherever you go."
Words of Gandalf
from The Hobbit 7
Queer Lodgings

A boundary that marked the end of relatively civilised lands to the west, and the beginnings of untamed and dangerous parts of Middle-earth to the east. The Edge itself was remarkably well defined:2 it formed an exact line running north to south through Middle-earth. It ran a little to the west of the Misty Mountains, so that a fringe of land that included Rivendell (the Last Homely House) lay on the Wild side of the boundary. The Misty Mountains themselves, as well as Mirkwood and the wide lands of Rhovanion, all lay eastward beyond the Edge of the Wild.


Notes

1

We have no real details about the origin of the Edge of Wild, nor indeed do we know who defined it, so dating its emergence is difficult. During the First and Second Ages, however, much of Eriador (apart from a few enclaves of the Elves) was as wild as the lands to the east, so there would have been no obvious 'Edge' of the Wild during those times. This changed in II 3320 with the coming of Elendil and the foundation of Arnor, and after this time the western lands were overseen by the Dúnedain and their High King. Arnor and its successor kingdoms survived for nearly two thousand years. Though the last of these kingdoms was a thousand years in the past by the end of the Third Age, still the lands westward of the Edge of the Wild remained at least somewhat more civilised than those to the east.

2

At least, in the map of Wilderland that accompanies The Hobbit, the Edge is shown as a perfectly straight vertical line, presumably referring to a line of longitude.

See also...

First Homely House

Indexes:

About this entry:

  • Updated 19 December 2021
  • This entry is complete

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