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

Front Porch

The Goblins' cavern in the high Misty Mountains

Travellers crossing the High Pass over the Misty Mountains were in constant danger from the Goblins that dwelt beneath those mountains. For many years they maintained a trap on one of the paths through the heights, but in the years before the Quest of Erebor travellers had begun to avoid that dangerous way. The Goblins therefore moved the entrance to their passageways, establishing a new opening that they dubbed their 'Front Porch'.

The Front Porch could easily be mistaken for an ideal resting-place amid the peaks, a cave mouth protected by a boulder that lay on a high path above a deep valley. Behind the low arch of its narrow entrance, the cave was large enough to be comfortable, but not so large that it might conceal some danger in its dark recesses. It was, however, a trap: a hidden doorway in the rear wall allowed the Goblins to emerge and ambush any who might seek shelter in their cave.

The Encyclopedia of Arda
The Encyclopedia of Arda