Middle-earth objects

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J. R. R. Tolkien's Middle-earth fantasy legendarium includes several noteworthy objects. The following list includes weapons, armour, jewellery, and other items.



A wondrous large white gem, the royal jewel of the Dwarf-kingdom of Erebor (the Lonely Mountain). It was sought by Thorin Oakenshield, the claimant to the kingdom, in The Hobbit.

The Arkenstone had been discovered at the heart of the Mountain by Thorin's ancestor, Thráin I the Old, and shaped by the Dwarves. The Arkenstone became the family heirloom of Durin's line, but was lost when the dragon Smaug captured the mountain from the Dwarves (T.A. 2770). The Arkenstone shone of its own inner light, but having been cut and fashioned by the Dwarves, it also reflected and multiplied any light glancing upon its surface with marvellous beauty. It was also called the Heart of the Mountain, and as Thorin describes to Bilbo: "It shone like silver in the firelight, like water in the sun, like snow under the stars, like rain upon the moon ..."

When Bilbo Baggins found it on Smaug's golden bed deep inside the Lonely Mountain (T.A. 2941), he pocketed it, having learned how much Thorin valued it. While his Dwarf companions sorted the treasure, Thorin sought only the Arkenstone, unaware that Bilbo was hiding it in his pillow. When the Dwarves refused to share any of the treasure with Bard (who had killed Smaug) and King Thranduil, Bilbo crept out of the Dwarves' fort inside the Mountain, and gave them the Arkenstone; Bard, Thranduil, and Gandalf then tried to trade it for Bilbo's fourteenth share of Smaug's hoard. The dispute was interrupted by goblins and wargs from the Grey Mountains, the Battle of Five Armies ensued, and Thorin was killed. When Thorin was buried deep under Erebor, Bard placed the Arkenstone on Thorin's breast.

Tolkien took the name from Old English earcanstān (also spelled eorcanstān, eorcnanstān, etc.) or Old Norse jarknasteinn, meaning "precious stone". The word appears in several Old English poems; for example, "The Ruin" tells how a warrior long ago

Seah on sinc, on sylfor, on searogimmas,   Gazed on treasure, silver, precious gems,
on ead, on æht, on eorcanstan.   wealth, possessions, a precious stone.

In the 2012 film, the Arkenstone is portrayed as a round glowing gem, similar to a luminous white opal. The gem was inserted into Thrór's throne, and the king viewed it as a symbol of his rule by divine grace. He attempted to take it with him when Smaug invaded Erebor, but dropped it into a pile of gold where it was lost. In the 2013 sequel, it is revealed that the entire purpose of the dwarves' quest was to retrieve the Arkenstone, since possessing it would have given Thorin the authority required to unite all the dwarven clans and launch an assault to liberate Erebor.

Crown of Gondor[edit]

Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King features a crown (worn by Viggo Mortensen as Aragorn) that differs radically from Tolkien's design; for example, it is a circlet rather than a helm.

The chief token of royalty of Gondor. It is also referred as the Winged Crown, the Silver or White Crown, and the Crown of Elendil.

Tolkien describes the crown in The Lord of the Rings thus:

It was shaped like the helms of the Guards of the Citadel, save that it was loftier, and it was all white, and the wings at either side were wrought of pearl and silver in the likeness of the wings of a sea-bird, for it was the emblem of kings who came over the Sea; and seven gems of adamant were set in the circlet, and upon its summit was set a single jewel the light of which went up like a flame.[1]

In a letter Tolkien describes the crown as "very tall, like that of Egypt, but with wings attached, not set straight back but at an angle."[2] The Hedjet of Upper Egypt was, like Gondor's crown, also known as the White Crown. Tolkien also made a sketch of the crown of Gondor, reproduced in J. R. R. Tolkien: Artist and Illustrator.[3]

The first Crown was the helmet that Isildur had worn at the Battle of Dagorlad. His brother Anárion's helmet had been crushed by the stone that killed him during the Siege of Barad-dûr.

During the reign of King Atanatar II Alcarin (T.A. 1149–1226), a new crown was made of silver and jewels. This Crown was worn by all the subsequent Kings of Gondor. Traditionally, a father passed the Crown to his heir before he died. If the heir was not present when the King died, the Crown was set in the King's tomb in the Hallows, where his heir would later go alone to retrieve it.

In 2050, the Lord of the Nazgûl challenged King Eärnur to single-combat. Eärnur left the Crown on the tomb of his father Eärnil II and he went to Minas Morgul and was never seen again. From that time on, the Stewards ruled Gondor in the absence of a King. The Crown remained in the Hallows, and the Stewards bore a white rod as the token of their office.

Before the coronation of Aragorn, King Elessar, the Steward Faramir went to the Hallows and retrieved the Crown from Eärnil's tomb. The Crown was placed in a casket of black lebethron wood bound with silver and was carried to the Great Gate of Minas Tirith by four Guards of the Citadel. Aragorn lifted the Crown and, quoting his ancestor Elendil as he arrived in Middle-earth, said:

"Et Eärello Endorenna utúlien. Sinome maruvan ar Hildinyar tenn' Ambar-metta!"
("Out of the Great Sea to Middle-earth I am come. In this place I will abide, and my heirs, unto the ending of the world.")[1]

Then at Aragorn's request, Frodo Baggins brought the Crown forward and gave it to Gandalf, who set it upon Aragorn's head. As King, Aragorn bore both the Crown of Gondor and the Sceptre of Annúminas that was the chief token of royalty of Arnor, and the two Kingdoms were reunited under his reign. Shortly before his death in the year 120 of the Fourth Age, Aragorn passed the Crown and Sceptre to his son and heir Eldarion.


A green jewel that Galadriel gives as a token of hope to Aragorn just before the Fellowship of the Ring leaves the wood of Lothlórien.[4] It was set in an eagle-shaped silver brooch. Aragorn wears the jewel openly and, as was foretold, takes his royal name Elessar from the name of the jewel in Quenya.

Unfinished Tales gives several versions of its origin.[5] In one tale it was created in Gondolin by Enerdhil, described here as the greatest craftsman among the Noldor after Fëanor. It had the power to show things that were withered or burnt as though healed again, and whoever held it brought healing from hurt. Enerdhil gave it to Idril, and she to her son Eärendil, whence it was known as the Stone of Eärendil. Eärendil took it on his voyage to Valinor, thus removing it from Middle-earth. It was brought back by Gandalf to Galadriel as a token from Yavanna that the Valar had not forsaken Middle-earth.

In another version, the original stone did not return to Middle-earth, but Celebrimbor recreated a version of it in Eregion as a gift to Galadriel when she lamented the withering of Middle-earth. His jewel shone with a clearer light, but was not as powerful as the original.

Yet another version (evidently Tolkien's final choice) does not mention Enerdhil: instead Celebrimbor himself created the jewel in Gondolin. As in the second version, Eärendil took the stone forever to Valinor, and Celebrimbor recreated the stone for Galadriel in Eregion.

When Tolkien started fleshing out The Silmarillion after the publication of The Lord of the Rings, he mentioned in one passage "the Green Stone of Fëanor", which Fëanor gave to his son Maedhros as he died. This is not pursued in later manuscripts. Christopher Tolkien speculates that this was his father's first attempt to provide a background for the Elfstone from The Lord of the Rings.[6]

All versions end with the jewel in Galadriel's possession. She then gives it to her daughter Celebrían, who in turn gives it to Arwen. It is nonetheless in Galadriel's keeping in Lothlórien when she passes it on to Aragorn. According to Tolkien, this also served the function of a wedding gift from the family of the bride to the groom.

Earlier in The Lord of the Rings, Aragorn urges Bilbo Baggins to mention a green jewel in his poem about Eärendil. Bilbo complies but is evidently unaware of the Elfstone's story, referring inaccurately to an emerald.[7]


A necklace of the First Age. It features in The Silmarillion and at the end of the Narn i Chîn Húrin. Also called the Necklace of the Dwarves.

The Nauglamír was a gift from the Dwarves to Finrod Felagund of Nargothrond. From the ruins of Nargothrond, Húrin brought the Nauglamír to Doriath and gave it to Thingol as payment for the care Húrin's family had received while Húrin was imprisoned by Morgoth. Thingol had the Nauglamír reforged by the Dwarves of Belegost to hold and enhance a Silmaril which Beren and Lúthien had retrieved from Morgoth's crown (and the great wolf Carcharoth's maw). The Dwarves had been invited to Menegroth by Thingol to create jewelry out of the immense treasure, and the Nauglamír was their best work.

Thingol prized it above everything else in his treasury, save the Silmaril of Lúthien and Beren. After the Nauglamír had been reforged he asked the Dwarves of Nogrod to set the Silmaril in it, which they did. Together it became jewelry more beautiful than anything ever before seen in Arda. The Dwarves were enthralled by it as well, and greedily demanded it from Thingol, claiming it as just payment for their labours (and that Húrin and Thingol had no right to appropriate the Dwarves' gift to Finrod). Thingol realized they wished to gain the Silmaril, and after insulting the dwarves as uncouth, stunted people, ordered them to depart from Doriath without any payment. In response the dwarves slew him, which eventually led to the withdrawal of the Girdle of Melian from Doriath and to the sack of Doriath by the Dwarves of Nogrod.

Word of the Dwarves' treachery reached Beren, and he, with an army of the Laiquendi, waylaid the dwarves en route to Nogrod as they passed Sarn Athrad. The Dwarves were slain, and those who attempted to escape were destroyed by the Ents. Their treasure was cast into the river Ascar, but Beren kept the Nauglamír and took it with him to Lúthien.

After Beren and Lúthien's final deaths, the Necklace went to their son Dior in Doriath, and became the cause of the Second Kinslaying when the Sons of Fëanor attacked Doriath in an attempt to claim the Silmaril. Dior's daughter Elwing fled with the Nauglamír to the Mouths of Sirion.

In the Third Kinslaying, the Sons of Fëanor attacked the Mouths of Sirion, claiming the Nauglamír because it held the Silmaril; but Elwing cast herself into the sea with it. The Nauglamír was lost, but Elwing and the Silmaril were saved by Ulmo.

Necklace of Girion[edit]

A necklace of emeralds, mentioned in The Hobbit; Girion had been the lord of Dale. The necklace was found among the treasures hoarded by Smaug in the Lonely Mountain; it was given by Bard the Bowman (the heir of Girion) to the Elvenking for his aid.


A valuable pearl which appears in The Silmarillion.

It was given by Thingol (the Elf-king of Doriath) to the Dwarves from Belegost as a reward for building Menegroth, his palace complex. Nimphelos had probably been fished from Belegaer by Círdan's folk, who gave it to Thingol as a gift. The pearl was said to be as big as a dove's egg.

Phial of Galadriel[edit]

Phial of Galadriel

A parting gift to Frodo Baggins by Galadriel when the Fellowship of the Ring left Lórien.

It was also known as the Star-glass, because it held a little fragment from the light of the Star of Eärendil, which was one of the Silmarils, contained within the waters of Galadriel's Mirror. It is thus a reflection of a reflection of the light of the Two Trees of Valinor.

While travelling to Mordor via Cirith Ungol, both Frodo and Samwise Gamgee used the light of the Phial to fend off attacks from the monstrous arachnid Shelob in Torech Ungol. Sam also used it to overcome the will of the Two Watchers at the Tower of Cirith Ungol. Once they reached Mount Doom, the light from the glass faded because they were in the heart of Sauron's domain where its power could not reach.

Frodo took the Phial with him when he left Middle-earth for the Undying Lands. Its light faded away as the ship approached the shores of Eldamar.

Ring of Barahir[edit]

A ring given to Barahir by the Elven Lord Finrod Felagund, in reward for saving his life in Dagor Bragollach. It was a sign of eternal friendship between Finrod and the House of Barahir.[8] Barahir's hand and ring were taken by the orcs that killed him, but were retrieved by his son Beren when he avenged his father. Beren laid the hand to rest with the rest of his father's body, but kept and wore the ring.

'Death you can give me earned or unearned, but names I will not take from you of baseborn, nor spy, nor thrall. By the ring of Felagund, that he gave to Barahir my father on the battlefield of the North, my house has not earned such names from any Elf, be he king or no.' Thus spoke Beren Erchamion in the halls of mighty Thingol as he held aloft the ring, and the green jewels gleamed there that the Noldor had devised in Valinor. For this ring was like two twin serpents, whose eyes were emeralds, and their heads met beneath a crown of golden flowers, that the one upheld and the other devoured; that was the badge of Finarfin and his house. (The Silmarillion, Chapter 19: 'Of Beren and Lúthien')

Beren later used it as a token when he sought Finrod's help in the quest for the Silmaril.

The ring was passed from Beren in direct line to Dior, then his daughter Elwing and her son Elros, who brought it to Númenor during the Second Age. It was an heirloom of the kings of Númenor until Tar-Elendil gave the ring to his eldest daughter Silmariën, who was not allowed to succeed him on the throne. She in turn gave the ring to her son Valandil, first Lord of Andúnië. It was handed down to succeeding Lords of Andúnië to the last one, Amandil, father of Elendil, and so was saved from the Númenor catastrophe.[9]

In the Third Age the ring was again passed in direct line from Elendil to Isildur to the Kings of Arnor, and then Kings of Arthedain. The last King of Arthedain, Arvedui, gave the ring to the Lossoth of Forochel, thankful for the help he received from them. It was later ransomed from the Snowmen by the Dúnedain of the North, and it was kept safe at Rivendell.[10]

Eventually, it was given by Elrond to Aragorn son of Arathorn, when he was told of his true name and lineage, together with the shards of Narsil. In the year 2980 of the Third Age, in Lothlórien Aragorn gave the ring to Arwen Undómiel, and thus they were betrothed.[11]

Nothing is said of the fate of the ring in the Fourth Age, but it was most likely either again passed to the Kings of Gondor and Arnor, descendants of Aragorn and Arwen, or it went with Arwen to her grave in Cerin Amroth.

It was one of the older artefacts to exist in Middle-earth (it may have been the oldest), for it had been forged by Finrod in Valinor before the Exile of the Noldor.

The ring is noticeably visible on the hand of Aragorn in Peter Jackson's adaptation The Two Towers when he extends his hand toward Gríma Wormtongue in a gesture of reconciliation (which is not accepted). In the extended version, the ring is described in more detail, and it is the sign by which Saruman identifies Aragorn from Gríma's account. The ring is described as "Two serpents with emerald eyes. One devouring, the other crowned with golden flowers."

Rings of Power[edit]

Sceptre of Annúminas[edit]

The chief emblem of royal authority in the northern kingdom of Arnor.

The sceptre originally was the staff borne by the Lords of Andúnië in Númenor, a silver rod patterned after the sceptre of the Kings of Númenor. The sceptre of the Kings was lost with Ar-Pharazôn in the downfall of Númenor in S.A. 3319. But Elendil, son of the last Lord of Andúnië, took his father's staff with him when he escaped to Middle-earth and founded the Kingdoms of Arnor and Gondor. While the Kings of Gondor wore a crown, the Kings of Arnor bore the sceptre. As the Kings of Arnor ruled for several centuries from the city of Annúminas, the sceptre became known as Sceptre of Annúminas.

When the North-kingdom was divided in T.A. 861, the sceptre passed to the Kings of Arthedain. After Arthedain ceased to exist in T.A. 1974, the sceptre, along with the other heirlooms of the House of Isildur, was kept at Rivendell, in the house of Elrond.

By the end of the Third Age, the Sceptre of Annúminas was over 5,000 years old and was accounted the oldest surviving artefact in Middle-earth made by Men. On Midsummer's Eve of 3019, Elrond brought the Sceptre of Annúminas to Minas Tirith and presented it to Aragorn, King Elessar, symbolising his kingship over Arnor as well as Gondor.


Three brilliant, holy star-like jewels which contained the unmarred light of the Two Trees created by the Vala Yavanna, the mother of all trees and herbs.

The Silmarils (Quenya pl. Silmarilli, radiance of pure light[12]) were made out of the crystalline substance silima by Fëanor,[13] a Noldorin Elf, in Valinor during the Years of the Trees. The composition of silima was known only to Fëanor; the secret died with him, not to be rediscovered until Fëanor's resurrection at the Last Battle.[14]

These three jewels are pivotal in Tolkien's fictional history of the Elves; indeed this history is named Quenta Silmarillion. The theft of the Silmarils by Melkor provokes Fëanor and his sons to pursue him into Middle-earth with a large host to reclaim them.

Star of Elendil[edit]

Along with the Sceptre of Annúminas, the Star of Elendil was the chief symbol of the royal line of Arnor. The original jewel was fashioned of "elvish crystal" by the Noldor and affixed to a fillet of mithril, to be worn in the custom of Númenor on the brow in place of a crown. This was worn by Silmariën of Númenor and passed to her descendants, the Lords of Andúnië, and eventually to Elendil. Elendil and then his son Isildur wore it as a token of royalty in the North Kingdom, but it was lost in the Anduin when Isildur was slain by orcs at the Gladden Fields. A replacement was fashioned by elves in Rivendell for Isildur's son Valandil, and this second jewel was borne by the subsequent thirty-nine kings and chieftains of Arnor, up to and including Aragorn.[15]

The Star of Elendil was also called the Elendilmir ("Jewel of Elendil"), the Star of the North, and the Star of the North Kingdom. The original was rediscovered by Saruman's agents searching for the One Ring, and King Elessar later recovered it from Saruman's treasure in Isengard after the War of the Ring. Elessar held both Elendilmirs in reverence; the first because of its ancient origins, the second because of its lineage from thirty-nine forebears. The King wore the replica when he spent time in the restored North Kingdom.[15]

In Robert Foster's The Complete Guide to Middle-earth the Elendilmir is identified with the Star of the Dúnedain which was given to Samwise Gamgee, but according to Christopher Tolkien Foster was clearly mistaken.[16][17]

Star of the Dúnedain[edit]

A silver brooch, shaped like a many-rayed star, worn by the Arnor-descended Rangers of the North. It appears in The Lord of the Rings.

The Dúnedain Rangers who came to Aragorn at Dunharrow wore these on their clothing, specifically to fasten to their cloaks on their left shoulder. It served as part of their identity, and the only ornamentation the Rangers ever wore in their journeys. The Star was also considered a badge of honour, and after the events of the War of the Ring Aragorn gave this insignia to Samwise Gamgee, then Mayor of the Shire.[18]

Weapons and armour[edit]

Tolkien's fantasy writings contain several named weapons like Sting, Glamdring, Narsil, Orcrist, and Gurthang. Two prominent examples of armour in Tolkien's writings are the Helm of Hador, also known as the Dragon-helm of Dor-lómin, and the mithril mail-shirt worn by Bilbo and later given by him to Frodo.

Food and drink[edit]

Besides "mundane" food and drink like mushrooms and beer, Tolkien's writings contain special consumable items like lembas and miruvor.


The ruling classes in Middle-earth were highly literate; archives and private libraries existed in Rivendell, Minas Tirith, and in the Shire (Bag End, Bucklebury and Tuckborough[19]). Famous scribes included Rúmil of Tirion, Pengolodh of Gondolin, Tar-Elendil Parmaitë of Númenor, Ori the Dwarf, Barahir of Ithilien, and the Shire-hobbits Bilbo Baggins, Frodo Baggins and Meriadoc Brandybuck. Documents included books, maps and other items.

Book of Mazarbul[edit]

A record of Balin's failed expedition to re-colonize the mines of Moria, which ended in his party's destruction by Orcs. Mazarbul means "records" in the Dwarf-language Khuzdul, and the chamber where it was kept was similarly named. It appears in The Fellowship of the Ring.

The Book of Mazarbul covered the five years that the colony lasted: T.A. 2989-2994. It was written in many different hands (the last being Ori's) using the runes of Moria and Dale as well as Elvish letters. The last entry was written shortly before the final Orc attack which finished the Dwarves off: "They are coming."[20] When the Fellowship came to the Chamber of Mazarbul in Moria years later, Gandalf discovered the battered Book of Mazarbul. It was given to Gimli to be passed on to Dáin.

For the publication of The Fellowship of the Ring, Tolkien created a few pages of the book for real (read aloud by Gandalf in the story), but these proved impractical to include. Some later editions do include them.[21] Michael Drout supposes that the physical condition of the manuscript he describes owes something to the Ragyndrudis Codex, supposedly the book used by Saint Boniface to ward off heathen axeblows at his martyrdom.[22]

Gandalf's letter[edit]

A letter in The Lord of the Rings, written by Gandalf in Bree (on Midyear's Day T.A. 3018), and addressed to Frodo Baggins, the bearer of the One Ring in the Shire.

The main intent of the letter was to warn Frodo to leave the Shire as soon as possible (by 'July' at the latest). The letter was entrusted to Barliman Butterbur, who forgot to send it. Nevertheless, Frodo eventually met Barliman (on 29th 'September') and obtained the letter, and it served to reassure Frodo that Strider could be trusted to aid him in his quest.

The letter, written in Gandalf's "strong but graceful script", included the poem All that is gold does not glitter.

Map of the Country Round[edit]

Bilbo Baggins was a cartophile. Amongst his collection of maps at Bag End was a large map of the Country Round, which was displayed in his front hall and which featured his favourite rambles, marked on the chart in red ink.[23] This map was similar in scope to the map A Part of the Shire, published in The Lord of the Rings.

Maps made in the Shire "showed mostly white spaces beyond its borders."[24]

Red Book of Westmarch[edit]

Scroll of Isildur[edit]

The scroll of Isildur was a manuscript that contained a unique eyewitness account of Sauron, and more importantly the One Ring.

Isildur, newly High King of Arnor and Gondor, wrote this scroll in T.A. 1, when the Ring was still warm from Sauron's heat. His key observation was the Ring's unique inscription, and that this became invisible without heat. Also telling was Isildur's remark that the Ring was his "precious" possession: a feeling later echoed by two later Ring-bearers: Gollum and Bilbo Baggins.

Isildur deposited the scroll in the archives of Minas Anor (later Minas Tirith), and departed north, never to return. The scroll then lay forgotten for nearly three thousand years. By T.A. 2953 the scroll had been secretly discovered by Saruman. In 3017 it was rediscovered by Gandalf, who used its information to unequivocally confirm his suspicion that the ring then in the possession of Frodo Baggins was indeed the One Ring.

Thorin & Co.'s letter[edit]

The Contract of Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

A note written in Bag End by one of the Dwarves of Thorin & Company to Bilbo Baggins. The date was 26 April T.A. 2941, and it was the morning of the first day of their Quest of Erebor in The Hobbit. The letter set out the contractual terms of Bilbo's involvement in the quest. Bilbo kept this letter, and later used it and the Arkenstone to force Thorin to share treasure with Bard the Bowman and the Elvenking.[25]

In the book, Bilbo receives the letter via Gandalf, who briefly waves it under Bilbo's nose as a fait accompli to urge him to join the quest. In Peter Jackson's film adaption The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, the document is less impromptu, far more elaborate, and is (eventually) accepted by Bilbo with rather more enthusiasm.

The scribe of the letter was most probably Ori. Ori was known for his ability to write "well and speedily":[26] traits desirable for the letter.

Thrór's map[edit]

For details of Tolkien's illustration of the map see Thror's Map (Illustration)

Thrór's map was an important asset in the Quest of Erebor, as told in The Hobbit: it contained clues to a secret door in the Lonely Mountain.

The map had been made by Thrór, a King of Durin's folk, sometime after the sack of Erebor in T.A. 2770 (it shows the Desolation of Smaug), and by 2790. In that year Thrór gave his heirlooms to his son and heir Thráin II; these included the map, a key that went with it, and one of the Seven Rings. In 2845 Thráin was imprisoned in Dol Guldur, and the ring taken from him; but the map and key were not discovered on him (or their importance was blindly overlooked, due to the ring). Five years later Gandalf the wizard was spying out Dol Guldur when he found Thráin; Thráin was near death and gave the map and key to Gandalf. Gandalf handed them on to Thorin Oakenshield in Bag End in 2941, at the outset of the Quest of Erebor.

Thrór's map

Later that year, Elrond discovered moon-letters on the map. These were a form of secret writing which was normally invisible, but could be read in a moon of the same phase and time of year they were written. Application of the Metonic cycle backwards from 2941 means that the map (or at least its moon-writing) was created in either 2770 or 2789. The earlier possibility seems too close to the chaos ensuing from the sack of Erebor, suggesting that the map was most likely made in 2789, in preparation for its handover to Thráin.

A reproduction of Thrór's map (with English representing supposed Westron, and Anglo-Saxon runes representing Dwarvish Cirth) appears in The Hobbit. The map notes that Thráin had been King under the Mountain in the olden days: i.e. Thráin preceded the map and its maker (Thrór). However the only Thráin mentioned in the main text of the first edition of The Hobbit is the son and successor of Thrór. Tolkien reconciled this inconsistency in a later edition by creating two Thráins: (1) Thráin I, the ancient King under the Mountain, named on the map; and (2) Thráin II, the son of Thrór and father of Thorin, and a possessor of the map.

See also[edit]

Landscape objects[edit]

Seat of Seeing[edit]

A stone throne built on top of Amon Hen to watch the borderlands of Gondor. It stood on four carven pillars in the middle of a flat circle paved with flagstones, reached by a stair.

On "February" 25, T.A. 3019, while running away from Boromir, who had attempted to seize the Ring of Power, Frodo Baggins reached the summit of Amon Hen. He clambered onto the Seat of Seeing and suddenly was able to see for hundreds of miles in all directions. The powers of the Seat were apparently enhanced by the One Ring; when Aragorn occupied the seat an hour or so later, his vision was not similarly enhanced.

A counterpart, the Seat of Hearing, was built on top of Amon Lhaw, on the opposite bank of the Anduin.

Stone of Erech[edit]

Stone of Erech, illustration by Matěj Čadil

Also called the Black Stone, it was brought to Middle-earth from Númenor by Isildur and set at the top of the Hill of Erech. It is described in The Lord of the Rings: "round as a great globe, the height of a man, though its half was buried in the ground. Unearthly it looked, as though it had fallen from the sky". Upon it the local tribes swore allegiance to Isildur, but proved treacherous and became the Dead Men of Dunharrow.[27] For over three thousand years these Dead Men haunted the White Mountains, only venturing out to tryst at the Stone of Erech.

In T.A. 3019 Aragorn, the heir of Isildur, summoned the Dead Men to the Stone of Erech. The meeting at the Stone took place on 9th 'March', and the Dead accepted Aragorn's offer to redeem themselves by fighting in the War of the Ring.

Two Lamps[edit]

Illuin ('sky-blue') and Ormal ('high-gold') were great lamps which stood respectively at the northern and southern ends of Arda during the Years of the Lamps. By extension, the names of the Lamps can also mean the vast pillars on which the Lamps were set.

After the Valar entered the world, there was a misty light veiling the barren ground. The Valar concentrated this light into two large lamps, Illuin and Ormal; meanwhile Aulë forged two great mountain[28]-pillars, one in the north of Middle-earth, the other in the south; these pillars were far taller than any natural mountains. Illuin was set upon the northern pillar and Ormal upon the southern one. In the centre of Middle-earth, where the light of the Lamps mingled, lay the Great Lake with the island Almaren, where the Valar dwelt at that time.

The lamps were destroyed in an assault by Melkor, and the Valar fled Middle-earth for Valinor. At the site where Illuin fell, the inland Sea of Helkar was formed, of which Cuiviénen was a bay. According to the earlier writings of Tolkien, there was also the Sea of Ringil to the south, associated with the roots of Ormal.[29] In later writings, Ringil was the name of the sword of Fingolfin.

See also[edit]

Ships and boats[edit]

The ships in Tolkien's fiction are sailing ships.

The best mariners among Elves were the Teleri; their ships were typically made to resemble large swans. Cirdan, who settled in the Grey Havens in the Second Age, was a renown Elvish shipwright.

Among Men, famous mariners included: Tuor and his son Eärendil in the First Age; the Númenóreans in the Second Age (notably Aldarion, who became the sixth king, and was a descendant of Eärendil); and the Ship-kings of Gondor in the Third Age.

Tolkien and his characters followed the tradition of using feminine pronouns for ships and boats.[30][31]


Eärrámë, also called by the translated name Sea-Wing, was the ship of Tuor in the First Age. He built her in the Havens of Sirion in Beleriand, having already had a life of heroism and adventure, and took to the sea as often as he could. When he started to feel old, he set sail in Eärrámë with his wife Idril, an Elvish princess, and set course for the Undying Lands on the far west side of the ocean. The fate of the ship and those aboard is uncertain.[32]


The Elves of Lothlórien made boats out of lightweight timber for river-travel. This timber was grey in colour, suggesting it came from the wondrous mallorn trees, which were in plentiful supply in Lothlórien. The boats, essentially canoes, certainly seemed to have magical qualities of camouflage and durability.

Celeborn the Lord of Lothlórien gave three of these boats to the Fellowship of the Ring on 16th 'February' T.A. 3019, and they then journeyed in them for nine days down the Great River Anduin.


The ship in which Eärendil and Elwing, in one of the great feats of the First Age, sailed to Aman to seek pardon and assistance from the Valar. Its name is Quenya for "the Foam-flower", and also spelled Vingilot.

Guided by the light of a Silmaril, Eärendil navigated Vingilótë through the Shadowy Seas to the Blessed Realm of Aman, the first Mortal to do so. He was not allowed to return to Middle-earth, except to join the host of the Valar in the War of Wrath against Morgoth.

After the War of Wrath, Eärendil, with the Silmaril upon his brow, sailed Vingilótë into the sky where the jewel shines forever as the morning or evening 'star' (the equivalent to Venus).

Númenórean ships[edit]


The mighty flagship of Ar-Pharazôn, the last king of Númenor. The ship is also called Castle of the Sea. "Many-oared it was and many-masted, golden and sable; and upon it the throne of Ar-Pharazôn was set." In S.A. 3319 Ar-Pharazôn sailed her with his great armada in an attempt to invade the Undying Lands; the ship along with the rest of the armada was destroyed in the cataclysmic consequences.[33]


This ship was built by Aldarion, and was his favourite residence when he was home in Númenor from oceanic voyages; her name means 'sea-home'. Aldarion, initially the heir of the Númenórean monarchy and later its sixth king, established the guildhouse of the Uinendili aboard her in about S.A. 750. Eambar was usually anchored by Tol Uinen, a small island near the great harbour-city of Rómenna on Númenor's eastern coast. She sometimes sailed to other harbours around Númenor.


In the spring of S.A. 600 the first ship from Númenor reached Middle-earth. This ship was Entulessë (Return), and she was commanded by Vëantur, the Captain of the King's Ships under Tar-Elendil, the fourth king of Númenor. In Middle-earth Entulessë landed in the Grey Havens,[34] where Vëantur initiated Númenor's friendship with Gil-galad, the King of the High Elves. Vëantur subsequently made further expeditions to Middle-earth, eventually using the ship Númerráma.


Hirilondë (Haven-finder) was the largest ocean-going ship built by Aldarion. The vessel was constructed in the shipyards of Rómenna, the great harbour-city on the east coast of Númenor. Hirilondë was so large that she earned the nickname Turuphanto (Wooden Whale) during her construction. Aldarion commenced building Hirilondë early in his marriage to Erendis; he took the ship on her maiden voyage to Middle-earth in the spring of S.A. 877. He paid more and more attention to the ship and his voyaging, causing the marriage to irretrievably break down by S.A. 882, when he returned to Númenor aboard Hirilondë. On that occasion Hirilondë carried an important diplomatic communication from Gil-galad; Aldarion delivered the sealed letter to his father, Tar-Meneldur. The following year, after considering the letter, Tar-Meneldur abdicated, and Aldarion became the sixth King of Númenor.

Nine Ships[edit]

The Nine Ships were the vessels in which Elendil and a remnant of the Númenóreans, namely the Faithful, escaped the cataclysmic Downfall of Númenor (S.A. 3319) and found their way to Middle-earth, where they founded the kingdoms of Arnor and Gondor.

Elendil commanded four of the ships; his sons Isildur and Anárion commanded three and two ships respectively.[35] Those aboard included wives and children; among them were Isildur's eldest son Elendur (his other sons were born later, in Middle-earth) and Anárion's son Meneldil. Meneldil was a baby at the time, aged one year or so, the "last man to be born on Númenor";[36] he later became a king of Gondor.

The Nine Ships also carried valuable cargo, including the seven Palantíri. With Elendil was a number of famous heirlooms: the sword Narsil (later the Sword that was Broken), the sceptre of the Lords of Andúnië (later Arnor's Sceptre of Annúminas), and the Ring of Barahir. Aboard Isildur's ship was a scion of Nimloth, the ancestor of the White Trees of Gondor.[37]

In the great storm that accompanied the Downfall of Númenor, the Nine Ships became separated. Elendil's ships landed in the Grey Havens in the north of Middle-earth, whence they proceeded to establish Arnor. Isildur and Anárion's ships landed further south, near the Mouths of Anduin, where they proceeded to establish to establish Gondor.


Númerráma ('west-wings') was originally the ship of Vëantur, the Captain of the King's Ships under Tar-Elendil, the fourth king of Númenor. Vëantur carried out voyages to Middle-earth, where he developed good relations with Gil-galad, the King of the High Elves, whose main harbour was the Grey Havens. In his early voyages Vëantur had used Entulessë, but he later used Númerráma.

On Vëantur's last voyage to Middle-earth he took Aldarion, his grandson, on Aldarion's first overseas adventure. Shortly after their return to Númenor in S.A. 727, Vëantur gave Númerráma to Aldarion, the first ship he commanded. Aldarion subsequently built several more ships for himself, each more ambitious than the last.


Palarran (' Far-wanderer ') was the first ocean-going ship built by Aldarion; he wanted a bigger and better ship than Númerráma, which he had received as a gift. He took Palarran on her maiden voyage to Middle-earth from S.A. 816 to 820. The ship's maiden voyage saw an improvement in the erratic courtship between Aldarion and Erendis: when the ship set out, Erendis set the customary bough of oiolairë on the ship's prow, and when Aldarion returned he brought a diamond as a gift for Erendis. Aldarion later built an even greater ship for his Middle-earth expeditions: Hirilondë.

Substances and materials[edit]

J. R. R. Tolkien's legendarium of Middle-earth – or rather, Arda – was replete with substances and materials with mythical resonances. Some of these are real: iron, silver and gold; crystal and gems; wood, stone and cloth.

Yet Arda also contained mystical substances and materials unique to the fiction, and these are presented in the following list. Some of these occurred 'naturally', whilst others were invented by the denizens of Arda.


A jet black metal (probably an alloy) devised by the Dark Elf Eöl after he became greatly skilled in metalwork after learning the craft from the Dwarves of Nogrod and Belegost. The unique metal was as strong as the steel of the Dwarves, extremely malleable, and resistant to injury by metal weapons. Its only known use is in Eöl's armour, which he wore whenever he left his forest residence.

Eöl taught all his secrets to his son Maeglin, who later fled to Gondolin. So it is possible that the Elf-smiths of Gondolin also learned how to make galvorn armour. In the story 'Of Tuor and his coming to Gondolin' in Unfinished Tales Tuor sees the Guards of the City wearing armour of a strange black metal. This may be galvorn.


Hithlain was the material used by the Elves of Lothlórien to make their marvellous rope, which was very strong but was light and soft. This rope also gleamed faintly in the dark, and appeared to respond to its owner's call.

Some of the qualities of hithlain suggest it was a product of mallorn-bark, which was uniquely available in Lórien, and that this material was also used to make elven-cloaks.[38]


A substance devised by the Noldor Elves for special outdoor inscriptions. It was derived from the rare metal mithril. Ithildin means moon-star, for it gleamed in response to starlight and moonlight, but only when touched by those speaking the right incantation.

The inscriptions on the Doors of Durin were wrought of ithildin.


A silvery metal, stronger than steel but much lighter in weight. Tolkien first wrote of it in The Lord of the Rings, and it was retrospectively mentioned[39] in the second, revised edition of The Hobbit in 1966. In the first edition (1937), the mail shirt given to Bilbo was described as being made of "silvered steel".[39]

In The Lord of the Rings, Tolkien writes that mithril was found only in Khazad-dûm (Moria) in Middle-earth, where it was mined by the Dwarves. However, in Unfinished Tales he writes that it was also found in Númenor. This is reconciled in two ways: (1) Númenor was not technically in Middle-earth; and (2) Númenor no longer existed by the period in which The Lord of the Rings is set.

The name mithril comes from two words in Sindarinmith, meaning "grey", and ril meaning "glitter". The metal's Quenya name is mistarille. Mithril was also called "true-silver" or "Moria-silver"; the Dwarves had their own secret name for it.


See: Silmarils


See: Angainor



Angainor was the titanic chain made by the Vala Aulë in a primeval epoch. It was used to contain the Dark LordMelkor on two occasions in the First Age; both occasions followed Melkor's defeat in epic battles with the Valar.

The first occasion was in the War of the Powers; upon Melkor's capture in his power-base of Utumno, the Valar bound him in Angainor and took him to the Halls of Mandos. There he remained confined for three ages during the Years of the Trees before being released; this period was known as the Chaining of Melkor.

Centuries later, Melkor (now usually known as Morgoth) was again cornered by the Valar at the conclusion of the War of Wrath (which ended the First Age). Morgoth was once again bound with Angainor, his iron crown made into a collar, and bundled through the Doors of Night into the Void. There Angainor remains with Morgoth in exile – until the Last Battle at the end of time.

Little else is said of the chain in The Silmarillion. Tolkien describes it more fully in its first appearance in The Book of Lost Tales (which may or may not be applicable to later conceptions). Here its name is Angaino:

"Behold, Aulë now gathered six metals, copper, silver, tin, lead, iron and gold, and taking a portion of each made with his magic a seventh which he named therefore tilkal, and this had all the properties of the six and many of its own. Its colour was bright green or red in varying lights and it could not be broken, and Aulë alone could forge it. Thereafter he forged a mighty chain, making it of all seven metals welded with spells to a substance of uttermost hardness and brightness and smoothness..."[40]

In a footnote, Tolkien says that the name "tilkal" is an acronym of the Elvish names of its six component metals. Christopher Tolkien notes that this derivation is quite uncharacteristic of Tolkien's usual nomenclature.

It is also said later in the same book that after Tulkas and Aulë had grappled with Melko (as Melkor was then spelled), "straight was he wrapped thirty times in the fathoms of Angaino".


Cloaks made by the Elves of Lothlórien, in particular those given to the Fellowship of the Ring by Galadriel and Celeborn. They appeared to be grey or green, changing with the light. They served to camouflage their wearers, at times functioning like a cloak of invisibility. Tolkien stated the craft of weaving such cloaks had originated in Beleriand, where they were made by the Elves of Mithrim.[41]

It has been suggested that the Elven-cloaks were made of hithlain, a product of mallorn trees also used to make elven-rope.[38]

Fëanorian lamps[edit]

Magical lamps that gave blue radiance from a flame trapped within a white crystal. Their light could not be quenched by wind or water.

These lamps were made in Valinor and used by Noldor, named after their inventor Fëanor. Even though Noldor in Middle-earth were famous for these lamps, their secret was later lost to them. Gelmir of Finarfin's people had one of these lamps in his possession when he met Tuor.[42] A similar appearance of these lamps can be found in the same story[43] when Tuor and Voronwë encounter Elemmakil and his guards at Gondolin.

Another instance when this lamp makes an appearance is in Tolkien's earlier writings, in the story of Narn i Chîn Húrin where Gwindor of Nargothrond, an elf who escaped Angband, had possession of one such lamp. This lamp helped Beleg to identify Gwindor in the forest of Taur-nu-Fuin. This is illustrated in a painting by Tolkien himself.[44] When Beleg Cúthalion was slain, it was the light from this lamp that revealed to Túrin, he had slain his friend.[45] But in the published version of The Silmarillion[46] there is no occurrence of Fëanorian lamps.

Other objects which have a similar property of emitting light without fire include the Arkenstone, the Silmarils and the Phial of Galadriel.

Horn of Gondor[edit]

An heirloom of the Stewards of Gondor, also called the Great Horn.

The horn was made by Vorondil the Hunter (Steward to King Eärnil II of Gondor, T.A. 1998-2029). Vorondil hunted oxen all the way to the Sea of Rhûn and fashioned the horn out of one of the oxen's horns. (Tolkien calls the beast one of the "Kine of Araw".) It was passed down through the line of the Stewards of Gondor as an heirloom for its eldest sons.

Boromir inherited the Horn of Gondor as the heir of his father Denethor. He bore the Horn to Rivendell and on his subsequent journey with the Fellowship of the Ring. Boromir claimed that if the horn was heard anywhere within its borders, Gondor would come to the owner's aid.

The horn was cut in two by orcs when Boromir was ambushed at the end of The Fellowship of the Ring. Denethor learned of Boromir's death when Boromir's brother Faramir discovered the pieces washed up on the banks of the Anduin.


Keys in Middle-earth range from the ordinary, such as the front-door keys of Bag End, to the highly significant, such as the key to the secret door into the Lonely Mountain. Other keys of note include: the Key of Orthanc, the Keys of Barad-dûr, and the key used by the Trolls in The Hobbit to lock the door to their cave. The Warden of the Keys was a senior official in Minas Tirith; the keys to Fen Hollen were highly restricted.

Mirror of Galadriel[edit]

Galadriel (Cate Blanchett) pours water into the basin (top), and Frodo (Elijah Wood) prepares to look into the mirror (bottom) from Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring.

A basin filled with water in which one may see visions of the past, present and future, appearing in The Lord of the Rings. Galadriel, an Elf ruler of Lothlórien, invites the story's hero, Frodo Baggins, to look into it. Galadriel cannot predict what the mirror will show and does not guarantee that its visions will come to pass.

Samwise Gamgee was also allowed a vision, which forced a choice between returning to the Shire to prevent its destruction by technology or to continue on the quest with his master to prevent Sauron from destroying all of Middle-earth.

This recalls the ancient practice of water scrying or hydromancy: gazing into a shallow pool or bowl for purposes of divination. The Norns of Norse mythology used the Well of Urd as a scrying bowl.


Stone globes which function somewhat like crystal balls or communication devices. The singular form of their name, palantír, means "Farsighted" or "One that Sees from Afar". They were made in Aman by Fëanor.[47] Elendil brought seven of them with him out of the wreck of Númenor. An eighth "Master-stone" remained in the tower of Avallónë in Eressëa.[48] In The Lord of the Rings, Sauron, Saruman, Denethor and Aragorn all used various palantíri.


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