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


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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 1997-2023. All rights reserved. For conditions of reuse, see the Site FAQ.

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Featured Entry

Pass of Light

The deep cleft in the Pelóri

In the distant past, when the Valar travelled into the West and founded the realm of Valinor, they raised a wall of mountains, the Pelóri, to protect them against their enemy Melkor. Later, when the first Elves awoke in Middle-earth, many of them accepted the invitation of the Valar to dwell in the Blessed Realm, and made the Great Journey into the West. The Elves had been born beneath starlit skies, whereas Valinor was filled with the Light of the Two Trees, and the Elves still wished at times to look on the stars. The Valar therefore created a deep and narrow valley running through the Mountain Wall to the starlit world beyond. From the West, the Light of the Trees shone through this new valley, and it became known as the Calacirya, the Pass of Light.

Within the valley of the Pass of Light, the Eldar raised a hill named Túna, and on that hill they built their city of Tirion. There the Noldor and the Vanyar dwelt for long ages, ruled by Ingwë the High King of the Elves. The Light of the Trees shone through the valley, past the city of Tirion and out across the waves of the Bay of Eldamar, until it fell on the coasts of Tol Eressëa, the Lonely Isle that stood in the bay.

The Encyclopedia of Arda
The Encyclopedia of Arda