Middle-earth is the name used for J. R. R. Tolkien's fictional ancient Earth where the stories in his legendarium take place. "Middle-earth" is a literal translation of the Old English term Middangeard, referring to this world, the habitable lands of men. Mythologically, the Endor continent became the Eurasian land-mass after the primitive Earth was transformed into the round world of today. Although Middle-earth's setting is often thought to be another world, Tolkien actually conceived it as a fictional period in our Earth's own past 6,000 to 7,000 years ago.
The history of Middle-earth is divided into several Ages: The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings deal exclusively with events towards the end of the Third Age and at the dawn of the Fourth Age, while The Silmarillion deals mainly with the First Age. The world (Arda) was originally flat but was made round near the end of the Second Age by Eru Ilúvatar, the Creator.
The Lord of the Rings is an epic high fantasy saga by English author J. R. R. Tolkien, his magnum opus and a sequel to his well-received earlier work, The Hobbit. The Lord of the Rings was originally published in three volumes in 1954 and 1955. Three film adaptations have been made of the story told by the books: the first, by animator Ralph Bakshi was released in 1978 (as part one of what was intended to be a two-part adaptation of the story); the second, a 1980 television special; and the third, director Peter Jackson's epic film trilogy, released in three installments in 2001, 2002, and 2003 which starred Elijah Wood as the main character of Frodo.
For more information regarding the fictional universe in which the story takes place, including lists of characters and locations, see Middle-earth (the name Tolkien bestowed upon his world).
The titular character of the Lord of the Rings is the Dark Lord Sauron, ruler of the land of Mordor. The evil power of the work, Sauron created the One Ring to control nineteen other Rings of Power, and was thus the "Lord of the Rings." Sauron, in turn, was the servant of an earlier Dark Lord, Morgoth (Melkor), who is prominent in Tolkien's The Silmarillion, an earlier history of Middle-Earth.
Here are some open tasks for WikiProject Middle-earth. Feel free to help with any of the following tasks:
Collaboration: Return Middle-earth to featured status, make Lord of the Rings a good article.
Cleanup: List of Hobbits, List of hobbit families, Second Age
Copyedit/extensive work: Círdan, Meriadoc Brandybuck, Valaquenta
Create: J. R. R. Tolkien: A Descriptive Bibliography, Kay Miner, Tolkien's View: Windows into his world
Expand to separate pages/list entries: Alliterative verse by J. R. R. Tolkien, Art inspired by J. R. R. Tolkien
Stubs: The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion, Tolkien Studies
Provide references: The Notion Club Papers
Add secondary sources: Númenor, Moria (Middle-earth)
Current topics (may need updating): The History of The Hobbit, The Hobbit films
Merge into: Minor places in Middle-earth, Minor places in Beleriand
Other: See the Things to do page, update a Random article , or review recent changes