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

Narrows of the Forest

The ‘neck’ of southern Mirkwood

A region near the south of Mirkwood where the forest dwindled in width for many miles. At the Narrows, it was less than a hundred miles from west to east, whereas immediately north and south of this 'neck' the trees thickened rapidly: at the latitude of Amon Lanc to the south, for example, the Forest was more than two hundred miles across.

The Narrows were formed by the logging activities of the Northmen of Rhovanion, who at that time lived to the east of Mirkwood. Their forestry carved out a great treeless 'bay' in the wood - the so-called East Bight - and thus narrowed the Forest beyond it. In later years the Northmen moved their camps west into the Vales of Anduin, and they must have come to regret their thinning of Mirkwood's trees. The Narrows they had created had made the Forest passable to the Wainriders of the east, who were able to drive through the trees to raid the Northmen's lands.

The Encyclopedia of Arda
The Encyclopedia of Arda