The Encyclopedia of Arda - an interactive guide to the world of J.R.R. Tolkien
The lands of Middle-earth eastward of the Edge of the Wild, a boundary running north to south, approximately along the line of the Misty Mountains1
Various, notably Lórien, Moria and the Woodland Realm, as well as Sauron's stronghold of Dol Guldur, and perhaps also including Mordor
Numerous, but notably the sources of the Great River Anduin were in the northern parts of the Wild, and that river ran southwards through the region
Important peaks
Many of the peaks of the Misty Mountains fell within this region, including the Mountains of Moria; Erebor, the Lonely Mountain, was also within the Wild
The High Pass through the Misty Mountains was the most notable route into the Wild
Other names
At least partially equivalent to Rhovanion or Wilderland


About this entry:

  • Updated 17 September 2018
  • Updates planned: 1

The Wild

The dangerous lands of Middle-earth

Map of the Wild
The lands beyond of the Edge of the Wild2
The lands beyond of the Edge of the Wild2

An untamed, dangerous region of Middle-earth. Its boundaries are somewhat indefinite, but it seems to have been approximately equivalent to the region of Rhovanion.



Our only map that specifically mentions the Wild as a location, the large-scale map shown in The Hobbit, gives it a distinct and exact western border running southwards slightly to the west of the Misty Mountains, so that Rivendell falls just within the Wild's western edge. It's evident from that map the northern Vales of Anduin and the northern parts of Mirkwood fell within the Wild, as did Erebor and Dale. No eastern or southern boundaries are marked, but they did likely exist. If we extend the marked Edge of the Wild southwards, it would incorporate Rohan and most of Gondor, which would hardly have counted as part of the 'Wild'. It seems reasonable to assume a correlation with Rhovanion, and possibly Rhûn beyond, but it's less clear whether Mordor or the Harad were counted as part of the Wild in its strictest sense.

In his extended index to The Lord of the Rings, Tolkien defines the Wild as 'uninhabited lands', which helps to clarify things a little. On this defintion, then, it seems that Gondor, Rohan and presumably Mordor would be excluded. This definition does not seem to require that a region be totally uninhabited to count as part of the Wild (as places like the Woodland Realm or Lake-town were explicitly within it).


The rather improbably exact Edge of the Wild appears in the endpaper map to The Hobbit. The line marked on that map does not in fact fit exactly onto the geography of The Lord of the Rings, but it was clearly intended to mark a point just to the west of the Ford of Bruinen on the way to Rivendell. The map above uses that as a point of reference.


About this entry:

  • Updated 17 September 2018
  • Updates planned: 1

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