The Encyclopedia of Arda - an interactive guide to the world of J.R.R. Tolkien


Alphabetical index

Browse topics


Other editions

Tolkien news and resources

Sponsors and associates

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 1997-2020. All rights reserved. For conditions of reuse, see the Site FAQ.

Website services kindly sponsored by Discus from Axiom Software Ltd.
Discus is a powerful, flexible DISC profile solution - find out much more in our free guide.

Latest entries and updates

Featured Entry


The Gate-stream of Khazad-dûm

A stream or small river that rose from springs near the West-gate of Moria, and was therefore known as the Gate-stream (or, in Elvish, the Sirannon). From there it ran down a series of waterfalls known as the Stair Falls before continuing westward. The road from old Khazad-dûm to Eregion followed the course of the Sirannon for at least several miles, and it may be that Ost-in-Edhil, the chief city of the Elves of Eregion, was built on the river. The waters of the Sirannon presumably flowed into Glanduin, the only significant river in this part of Middle-earth, and thence into the Gwathló and on to the Great Sea.

In the closing years of the Third Age, after the occupation of Moria by creatures of Sauron, the upper waters of the Gate-steam were dammed and the Sirannon itself was reduced to a mere trickle. This created a great pool outside the West-gate, which was guarded by a dangerous and mysterious being known only as the Watcher in the Water.

The Encyclopedia of Arda
The Encyclopedia of Arda