Mirkwood is a name used for two distinct fictional forests on the continent of Middle-earth in J. R. R. Tolkien's legendarium. One of these occurred in the First Age of Middle-earth, when the highlands of Dorthonion north of Beleriand became known as Mirkwood after falling under Morgoth's control; the other Mirkwood, the more famous of the two, was the large forest in Wilderland, east of the Anduin. It had acquired the name Mirkwood during the Third Age, after it fell under the influence of the Necromancer; this Mirkwood features in The Hobbit and in the film The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. The term Mirkwood is taken from William Morris, influenced by the forest Myrkviðr of Norse mythology. Projected into Old English, it appears as Myrcwudu in Tolkien's The Lost Road, as a poem sung by Ælfwine. Tolkien used the term Mirkwood in another unfinished work, The Fall of Arthur. Forests play an enormous role throughout the invented history of Tolkien's Middle-earth and are an important episode on the heroic quests of his characters.
The forest device is used as a mysterious transition from one part of the story to another. In The Silmarillion, the forested highlands of Dorthonion north of Beleriand fell under Morgoth's control and was subjugated by creatures of Sauron Lord of Werewolves. Accordingly, the forest was renamed Taur-nu-Fuin in Sindarin. Beren, a foundational character of Tolkien's legendarium, becomes the sole survivor of the men who once lived there as subjects of the Noldor King Finrod of Nargothrond. Beren escapes the terrible forest that the Orcs fear to spend time in. Beleg pursues the captors of Túrin through this forest in the several accounts of Túrin's tale. Along with the rest of the region west of Ered Luin, this forest disappeared after the cataclysm of the War of Wrath, although a few of its peaks may have survived as an island far off the coast of Lindon. Mirkwood was a temperate broadleaf and mixed forest located in the Middle-earth inland region of Wilderland, east of the great river Anduin, it had a humid-continental climate.
This was a vast forest. After the publication of the maps in The Lord of the Rings, Tolkien noted, "Mirkwood is too small on map it must be 300 miles across" from east to west, but the maps were never altered to reflect this. On the published maps Mirkwood was up to 200 miles across, it was comparable in size to West Germany or the island of Great Britain, which would be a surface of around 200,000-250,000 km², four to five times the size of the Shire. The actual shape of Mirkwood evokes the profile of a person's head and shoulders, with a beard or pronounced chin facing eastwards. The'neck' of the forest was known as the Narrows, about 75 miles wide from the western eaves to the East Bight; the trees of the forest were large and densely packed. In the north they were oak, although beeches tended to predominate in the areas favoured by Elves. Higher elevations in Southern Mirkwood were "clad in a forest of dark fir". Smaller plants and undergrowth in Mirkwood included lichen, fungus and "herbs with pale leaves and unpleasant smell".
In autumn, various plants bore edible nuts. A variety of animals inhabited the forest. There were mammals such as deer and bats, there were numerous insects including moths and unidentified nocturnal species. Pockets of the forest were dominated by Great Spiders; some of the animals were endemic black varieties to match the mirk of the forest: for example squirrels and purple emperor butterflies. Some of those animals proved to be inedible, when the Dwarves attempted to hunt them in order to obtain extra food. Mirkwood could only be crossed by two routes; the main one was the Old Forest Road, to the north of the centre of the forest. Further north there was the little-known Elf-path; the Mountains of Mirkwood rose in the midst of the forest, between the Old Forest Road and the Elf-path. The Enchanted River flowed from these mountains to join the Forest River, which ran through the forest's north; when the primeval Elves made their Great Journey westwards across Middle-earth to Beleriand and the Undying Lands, they encountered a large forest which they named Greenwood the Great.
Some of the Elves of the Teleri tribe decided to settle in this forest. When Dwarves migrated into the region, they made a road which ran through the forest from east to west; this road was known as the Old Forest Road or Old Dwarf Road. In the early part of the Second Age, the Woodland Realm was established in Greenwood the Great by a lord of the Sindarin Elves who had migrated eastward from Lindon; the Woodland Realm was a mingling of two types of elves, Sindar coming from the ruin of Doriath, the Silvan or Wood elves, settled there. Oropher, who had chosen not to depart Middle-earth after the destruction of Beleriand, chose to settle in Greenwood the Great and was taken by the Silvan Elves as their Lord. In the latter part of the Third Age – the period in which The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings are set – the expansive forest of Greenwood the Great was called Mirkwood; this name is a translation of an unknow
In J. R. R. Tolkien's fantasy writings, Orcs are a race of creatures who are used as soldiers and henchmen by both the greater and lesser villains of The Silmarillion, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings—Morgoth and Saruman. Although not dim-witted and crafty, they are portrayed as miserable beings, hating everyone including themselves and their masters, whom they serve out of fear, they make no beautiful things, but rather design cunning devices made to destroy. In some of his unpublished early work, Tolkien appears to distinguish orcs from goblins. By the time of his published work, the terms had become synonymous; the Hobbit uses the term goblin, while The Lord of the Rings prefers orc. The opponents of the dwarves in "Dwarf and Goblin War" of The Hobbit are described as orcs in Appendix A of The Lord of the Rings. No distinction is made by size. Tolkien's The Father Christmas Letters features goblins. Orc is from Old English orcneas, which appears in the epic poem Beowulf, refers to one of the races who are called the offspring of Cain during the initial description of Grendel.
In a letter of 1954 Tolkien gave orc as "demon" and claimed he used the word because of its "phonetic suitability"—its similarity to various equivalent terms in his Middle-earth languages. In an essay on Elven languages, written in 1954, Tolkien gives meaning of'orc' as "evil spirit or bogey" and goes on to state that the origin of the Old English word is the Latin name Orcus—god of the underworld. About the goblins of The Hobbit, Tolkien wrote: They are not based on direct experience of mine. There is no evidence for Tolkien having been influenced by the spelled character Orc in William Blake's mythology. In the High-elven tongue Quenya, the word for "Orc" was urco, plural urqui, meaning "bogey", or "bogeyman", that is, something that provokes fear. In the Grey-elven tongue Sindarin, it was plural yrch. In the Dwarven tongue Khuzdul, it was rukhs, plural rakhâs. In the language of the Drúedain or Wild Men, it was gorgûn. In the Black Speech of Mordor, the equivalent was Uruk, as can be seen in Uruk-hai, "Orc-folk".
Orc itself is from Rohirric and the Hobbit-language, which shared linguistic roots, but the term is related to the older Elvish words. Uruk and Uruk-hai were reserved for the Uruks themselves, breeds of Orc; the Sindar referred to the Orcs as a whole as the Glamhoth, "noisy horde". The word "goblin" is used to represent the original Hobbit Orc. In The History of Middle-earth Tolkien writes about an Orc captain named Boldog but specifies that Boldog may have been either a term or a title for another special kind of Orc instead of a personal name; the earliest appearance of goblins in Tolkien's writings is the 1915 poem Goblin Feet his first published work, which appeared in the annual volume of Oxford Poetry published by Blackwells. It features quaint elvin creatures, some 45 years Tolkien dismissed it as juvenile. In The Book of Lost Tales the names Orcs and goblin are given to creatures who enslave and war with the Elves. Christopher Tolkien notes that while the author differentiates between "goblins and Orcs" in the Tale of Tinúviel, the two terms appear to be synonymous in the Tale of Turambar.
The word Gongs is used on a few occasions. Christopher Tolkien remarks that Gongs are "evil beings obscurely related to Orcs". Both goblins and Orcs are mentioned as being "of Melkor" and acting independently. Orcs and gongs appear in Tolkien's two lexicons of elvish languages; the Qenya Lexicon from 1915 defines Orc as meaning "monster, demon", the Gnomish Lexicon dated 1917 defines Orc as "goblin" and Gong as "one of a tribe of the Orcs, a goblin". Christopher Tolkien notes that in the latter lexicon, the word Gnome is an emendation from Goblin. In The Hobbit the inhabitants of the Misty Mountains who capture the Dwarves of Thorin's Company, who fight the Men and Dwarves at the Battle of the Five Armies, are identified as goblins, consistent with the usage in The Book of Lost Tales; the term Orc does occur twice. In The Lord of the Rings, Orc is used predominantly, goblin appears in the hobbits' speech; the second volume of the story, The Two Towers, "goblin" is applied to large orcs of the Uruk-hai: There were four goblin-soldiers of greater stature, slant-eyed, with thick legs and large hands.
They were armed with short broad-bladed swords, not with the curved scimitars usual with Orcs: and they had bows of yew, in length and shape like the bows of Men. And: Upon a stake in the middle was set a great goblin head; the "white badge" mentioned in the latter passage makes it clear that the beheaded goblin was one of Saruman's Uruk-hai. Tolkien writes. Tolkien wrote the following note, a
J. R. R. Tolkien's Middle-earth legendarium features dragons based on those of European legend. Besides dragon, Tolkien variously used worm. Dragons are present in The Book of Lost Tales, the earliest Middle-earth-related narratives written by Tolkien, starting in 1917; the Book of Lost Tales was posthumously published in two volumes as part of The History of Middle-earth series, edited and includes commentary by his son Christopher. In the earliest drafts of "The Fall of Gondolin", the Lost Tale, the basis for The Silmarillion, Morgoth sends mechanical war-machines in the form of dragons against the city; these machines do not appear in the published Silmarillion edited by Christopher Tolkien, in which real dragons attack the city. As in the conception of the dragons in the Legendarium, the winged dragons had not yet been devised by Morgoth at the time of the Fall of Gondolin; the first winged dragons were coeval with Ancalagon the Black. In the late Third Age, the dragons bred in the Northern Waste and Withered Heath north of the Grey Mountains.
The Dragons were inspired by Fafnir from Germanic mythology, The Dragon from Beowulf, the Dragon from the legend of Saint George and the Dragon. In Tolkien's works, dragons are quadrupedal, like Komodo dragons or other lizards, are either flightless or winged and capable of flight. Winged dragons are stated to have first appeared during the War of Wrath, the battle that ended the First Age; some dragons are capable of breathing fire, known as "Fire-drakes", or "Urulóki" in Quenya. It is not clear whether the term "Urulóki" referred only to the first dragons such as Glaurung that could breathe fire but were wingless, or to any dragon that could breathe fire, thus include Smaug. In Appendix A of The Lord of the Rings, Tolkien mentions that Dáin I of Durin's folk and his son Frór were killed by a "Cold-drake", prompting their people to leave the Grey Mountains, it is assumed, though not directly stated, that this term indicates a dragon which cannot breathe fire, rather than one who breathes ice or snow.
Dragon-fire is described as not being hot enough to melt the One Ring. Tolkien does not explicitly explain the term. All of Tolkien's dragons share a love of treasure, subtle intelligence, immense cunning, great physical strength, a hypnotic power called "dragon-spell", they are powerful and dangerous but mature slowly. Because of this, Melkor's first attempts to use them against his enemies fail, as they are not yet powerful enough to be useful in battle. Tolkien named only four dragons in his Middle-earth writings. Another, Chrysophylax Dives, appears in Farmer Giles of Ham, a story separate from the Middle-earth corpus. Chrysophylax is a fire-breathing dragon, described as a "hot" one. Glaurung, first introduced in The Silmarillion, is described as the Father of Dragons in Tolkien's legendarium, the first of the Urulóki, the Fire-drakes of Angband, he is a main antagonist in The Children of Húrin, in which he sets in motion events that bring about the protagonist Túrin's eventual suicide before being slain by him.
Glaurung is shown to use his ability to control and enslave Men using his mind to wipe the memory of Túrin's sister Nienor, though it was restored after Glaurung had perished. He is described as having the ability to breathe fire, but no wings. Ancalagon the Black was a dragon bred by Morgoth during the First Age of Middle-earth, as told in The Silmarillion, he was one of Morgoth's most powerful servants, bred to be the greatest and mightiest of all dragons, the first of the winged "fire-drakes". He arose like a storm of wind and fire from the infernal pits of Angband beneath the Iron Mountains, as a last defense of the realm of Dor Daedeloth. Near the end of the War of Wrath that pitted Morgoth's hosts against the Host of the Valar, Morgoth sent Ancalagon to lead a fleet of winged dragons from the fortress of Angband to destroy the Dark Lord's enemies. So powerful was the assault of the dragon flight that the Host of the Valar was driven back from the gates of Angband onto the ashy plain of Anfauglith.
Eärendil'The Blessed' in his powerfully hallowed Elven airborne ship Vingilot, aided by Thorondor and the great Eagles, battled Ancalagon and his dragons for an entire day. At length Eärendil prevailed, casting Ancalagon upon the triple-peaked towers of Thangorodrim, destroying both Ancalagon and the towers. With his last and mightiest defender slain, Morgoth was soon utterly defeated and made captive, thus ending the War of Wrath. Ancalagon the Black was the greatest dragon of Middle-earth, undoubtedly the largest, is referred to as the "father of the winged-drakes". Like all other Urulóki, Ancalagon breathed fire, said to be hotter than any other known flame. Two extinct genera have been named inspired by Tolkien's dragon. In 1977, an extinct genus of worms from the Cambrian Burgess Shale was named Ancalagon and in 1980, an extinct genus of mammal was named Ankalagon. Scatha was a mighty "long-worm" of the Grey Mountains. Little is known of Scatha except. After slaying Scatha, Fram's ownership of his recovered hoard was disputed by the Dwarves of that region.
Fram rebuked this claim
Gandalf is a fictional character and a protagonist in J. R. R. Tolkien's novels The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, he is a wizard, member of the Istari order, as well as leader of the Fellowship of the Ring and the army of the West. In The Lord of the Rings, he is known as Gandalf the Grey, but returns from death as Gandalf the White. Although known as Gandalf, the character has a number of names in Tolkien's writings. Gandalf himself says, "Many are my names in many countries. Mithrandir among the Elves, Tharkûn to the Dwarves, Olórin I was in my youth in the West, forgotten, in the South Incánus, in the North Gandalf. In Norse the name means staff-elf; this is reflected in his name Tharkûn, "said to mean'Staff-man' " in Khuzdul, one of Tolkien's invented languages. In Middle-earth the colour of a Wizard's cloak distinguishes him from other Wizards. For most of his manifestation as a wizard, Gandalf's cloak is famously grey, from this derive a number of his appellations: hence Gandalf the Grey, Greyhame.
Mithrandir is a name in Sindarin, the translation of which gives rise to further names for Gandalf: the Grey Pilgrim and the Grey Wanderer. Midway through The Lord of the Rings, Gandalf is promoted to the head of the order of Wizards, is thus named Gandalf the White instead of Gandalf the Grey; this change in status introduces yet another name for the wizard: the White Rider. However after this transformation, characters who speak Elvish still refer to the wizard as Mithrandir. At times in The Lord of the Rings, other characters address Gandalf by nicknames disparaging: hence Stormcrow, Láthspell, Grey Fool. Láthspell means'Ill-news' in Old English. Tolkien discusses Gandalf in his essay on the Istari, he describes Gandalf as the last of the wizards to appear in Middle-earth, one who: "seemed the least, less tall than the others, in looks more aged, grey-haired and grey-clad, leaning on a staff". Yet the Elf Círdan who met him on arrival considered him "the greatest spirit and the wisest" and gave him the Elven Ring of Power called Narya, the Ring of Fire, containing a "red" stone for his aid and comfort.
Tolkien explicitly links Gandalf to the element fire in the same essay: Warm and eager was his spirit, for he was the Enemy of Sauron, opposing the fire that devours and wastes with the fire that kindles, succours in wanhope and distress. Merry he could be, kindly to the young and simple, yet quick at times to sharp speech and the rebuking of folly, he journeyed tirelessly on foot, leaning on a staff, so he was called among Men of the North Gandalf'the Elf of the Wand'. For they deemed him to be of Elven-kind, since he would at times work wonders among them, loving the beauty of fire, yet it is said that in the ending of the task for which he came he suffered and was slain, being sent back from death for a brief while was clothed in white, became a radiant flame. As one of the Maiar, Gandalf would have participated in the Music of the Ainur at the creation of the world; however he does not attain any prominence. In Valinor, Gandalf was known as Olórin; as recounted in the "Valaquenta" in The Silmarillion, he was one of the Maiar of Valinor of the people of the Vala Manwë.
He was closely associated with two other Valar: Irmo, in whose gardens he lived, Nienna, the patron of mercy, who gave him tutelage. When the Valar decided to send the order of the Wizards to Middle-earth in order to counsel and assist all those who opposed Sauron, Olórin was proposed by Manwë. Olórin begged to be excused as he feared Sauron and lacked the strength to face him, but Manwë replied that, all the more reason for him to go; as one of the Maiar, Gandalf was not a mortal Man but an angelic being. As one of those spirits, Olórin was in service to the Creator and the Creator's'Secret Fire'. Along with the other Maiar who entered into the world as the five Wizards, he took on the specific form of an aged old man as a sign of his humility; the role of the wizards was to advise and counsel but never to attempt to match Sauron's strength with his own, the kings and lords of Middle-earth would be more receptive to the advice of a humble old man than a more glorious form giving them direct commands.
The Istari arrived in Middle-earth separately, around T. A. 1000. He seemed the oldest and least in stature of them, but Círdan the Shipwright felt that he had the highest inner greatness on their first meeting in the Havens, gave him Narya, the Ring of Fire. Saruman, the chief Wizard learned of the gift and resented it. Gandalf hid the ring well, it was not known until he left with the other ring-bearers at the end of the Third Age that he, not Círdan, was the holder of the third of the Elven-rings. Gandalf's relationship with Saruman, the head of their Order, was strained; the Wizards were commanded to aid Men and Dwarves, but only through counsel.
Middle-earth is the fictional setting of much of British writer J. R. R. Tolkien's legendarium; the term is equivalent to the term Midgard of Norse mythology, describing the human-inhabited world, that is, the central continent of the Earth in Tolkien's imagined mythological past. Tolkien's most read works, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, take place in Middle-earth, Middle-earth has become a short-hand to refer to the legendarium and Tolkien's fictional take on the world. Within his stories, Tolkien translated the name "Middle-earth" as Endor and Ennor in the Elvish languages Quenya and Sindarin sometimes referring only to the continent that the stories take place on, with another southern continent called the Dark Land. Middle-earth is the north continent of Earth in an imaginary period of the Earth's past, in the sense of a "secondary or sub-creational reality", its general position is reminiscent of Europe, with the environs of the Shire intended to be reminiscent of England. Tolkien's stories chronicle the struggle to control the world and the continent of Middle-earth: on one side, the angelic Valar, the Elves and their allies among Men.
In ages, after Morgoth's defeat and expulsion from Arda, his place was taken by his lieutenant Sauron. The Valar withdrew from direct involvement in the affairs of Middle-earth after the defeat of Morgoth, but in years they sent the wizards or Istari to help in the struggle against Sauron; the most important wizards were Gandalf the Saruman the White. Gandalf proved crucial in the fight against Sauron. Saruman, became corrupted and sought to establish himself as a rival to Sauron for absolute power in Middle-earth. Other races involved in the struggle against evil were Dwarves and most famously Hobbits; the early stages of the conflict are chronicled in The Silmarillion, while the final stages of the struggle to defeat Sauron are told in The Hobbit and in The Lord of the Rings. Conflict over the possession and control of precious or magical objects is a recurring theme in the stories; the First Age is dominated by the doomed quest of the elf Fëanor and most of his Noldorin clan to recover three precious jewels called the Silmarils that Morgoth stole from them.
The Second and Third Age are dominated by the forging of the Rings of Power, the fate of the One Ring forged by Sauron, which gives its wearer the power to control or influence those wearing the other Rings of Power. In ancient Germanic mythology, the world of Men is known by several names, such as Midgard, Middenheim and Middengeard; the Old English middangeard descends from an earlier Germanic word and so has cognates in languages related to Old English such as the Old Norse word Miðgarðr from Norse mythology, transliterated to modern English as Midgard. The term "Middle-earth", it is found throughout the Modern English period as a development of the Middle English word middel-erde, which developed in turn, through a process of folk etymology, from middanġeard. By the time of the Middle English period, middangeard was being written as middellærd, midden-erde, or middel-erde, indicating that the second element had been reinterpreted, based on its similarity to the word for "earth"; the shift in meaning was not great, however: middangeard properly meant "middle enclosure" instead of "middle-earth".
Tolkien first encountered the term middangeard in an Old English fragment he studied in 1914: Éala éarendel engla beorhtast / ofer middangeard monnum sended. Hail Earendel, brightest of angels / above the middle-earth sent unto men; this quote is from the second of the fragmentary remnants of the Crist poems by Cynewulf. The name Éarendel was the inspiration for Tolkien's mariner Eärendil, who set sail from the lands of Middle-earth to ask for aid from the angelic powers, the Valar. Tolkien's earliest poem about Eärendil, from 1914, the same year he read the Crist poems, refers to "the mid-world's rim"; the concept of middangeard was considered by Tolkien to be the same as a particular usage of the Greek word οἰκουμένη - oikoumenē. In this usage Tolkien says that the oikoumenē is "the abiding place of men". Tolkien wrote: Middle-earth is... not my own invention. It is a modernization or alteration... of an old word for the inhabited world of Men, the oikoumene: middle because thought of vaguely as set amidst the encircling Seas and between ice of the North and the fire of the South.
O. English middan-geard, mediaeval E. midden-erd, middle-erd. Many reviewers seem to assume. However, the term "Middle-earth" is not found in Tolkien's earliest writings about Middle-earth, dating from the early 1920s and published in The Book of Lost Tales. Nor is the term used in The Hobbit. Tolkien began to use the term "Middle-earth" in the late 1930s, in place of the earlier terms "Great Lands", "Outer Lands", "Hither Lands"
The Lord of the Rings
The Lord of the Rings is an epic high fantasy novel written by English author and scholar J. R. R. Tolkien; the story began as a sequel to Tolkien's 1937 fantasy novel The Hobbit, but developed into a much larger work. Written in stages between 1937 and 1949, The Lord of the Rings is one of the best-selling novels written, with over 150 million copies sold; the title of the novel refers to the story's main antagonist, the Dark Lord Sauron, who had in an earlier age created the One Ring to rule the other Rings of Power as the ultimate weapon in his campaign to conquer and rule all of Middle-earth. From quiet beginnings in the Shire, a hobbit land not unlike the English countryside, the story ranges across Middle-earth, following the course of the War of the Ring through the eyes of its characters, not only the hobbits Frodo Baggins, Samwise "Sam" Gamgee, Meriadoc "Merry" Brandybuck and Peregrin "Pippin" Took, but the hobbits' chief allies and travelling companions: the Men, Aragorn, a Ranger of the North, Boromir, a Captain of Gondor.
The work was intended by Tolkien to be one volume of a two-volume set, the other to be The Silmarillion, but this idea was dismissed by his publisher. For economic reasons, The Lord of the Rings was published in three volumes over the course of a year from 29 July 1954 to 20 October 1955; the three volumes were titled The Fellowship of The Two Towers and The Return of the King. Structurally, the novel is divided internally into six books, two per volume, with several appendices of background material included at the end; some editions combine the entire work into a single volume. The Lord of the Rings has since been translated into 38 languages. Tolkien's work has been the subject of extensive analysis of its origins. Although a major work in itself, the story was only the last movement of a larger epic Tolkien had worked on since 1917, in a process he described as mythopoeia. Influences on this earlier work, on the story of The Lord of the Rings, include philology, mythology and the author's distaste for the effects of industrialization, as well as earlier fantasy works and Tolkien's experiences in World War I.
The Lord of the Rings in its turn is considered to have had a great effect on modern fantasy. The enduring popularity of The Lord of the Rings has led to numerous references in popular culture, the founding of many societies by fans of Tolkien's works, the publication of many books about Tolkien and his works; the Lord of the Rings has inspired, continues to inspire, music and television, video games, board games, subsequent literature. Award-winning adaptations of The Lord of the Rings have been made for radio and film. In 2003, it was named Britain's best novel of all time in the BBC's The Big Read. Thousands of years before the events of the novel, the Dark Lord Sauron had forged the One Ring to rule the other Rings of Power and corrupt those who wore them: three for Elves, seven for Dwarves, nine for Men. Sauron was defeated by an alliance of Men led by Gil-galad and Elendil, respectively. In the final battle, son of Elendil, cut the One Ring from Sauron's finger, causing Sauron to lose his physical form.
Isildur claimed the Ring as an heirloom for his line, but when he was ambushed and killed by the Orcs, the Ring was lost in the River Anduin. Over two thousand years the Ring was found by one of the river-folk called Déagol, his friend Sméagol fell under strangled Déagol to acquire it. Sméagol was hid under the Misty Mountains; the Ring gave him long life and changed him over hundreds of years into a twisted, corrupted creature called Gollum. Gollum lost the Ring, his "precious", as told in The Hobbit, Bilbo Baggins found it. Meanwhile, Sauron took back his old realm of Mordor; when Gollum set out in search of the Ring, he was tortured by Sauron. Sauron learned from Gollum. Gollum was set loose. Sauron, who needed the Ring to regain his full power, sent forth his powerful servants, the Nazgûl, to seize it; the story begins in the Shire, where the hobbit Frodo Baggins inherits the Ring from Bilbo Baggins, his cousin and guardian. Neither hobbit is aware of the Ring's nature, but Gandalf the Grey, a wizard and an old friend of Bilbo, suspects it to be Sauron's Ring.
Seventeen years after Gandalf confirms his guess, he tells Frodo the history of the Ring and counsels him to take it away from the Shire. Frodo sets out, accompanied by his gardener and friend, Samwise "Sam" Gamgee, two cousins, Meriadoc "Merry" Brandybuck and Peregrin "Pippin" Took, they are nearly caught by the Black Riders, but shake off their pursuers by cutting through the Old Forest. There they are aided by Tom Bombadil, a strange and merry fellow who lives with his wife Goldberry in the forest; the hobbits reach the town of Bree, where they encounter a Ranger named Strider, whom Gandalf had mentioned in a letter. Strider persuades the hobbits to take him on as their protector. Together, they leave Bree after another close escape from the Black Riders. On the hill of Weathertop, they are again attacked by the Black Riders, who wound Frodo with a cursed blade. Strider leads the hobbits towards the Elven refuge of Rivendell. Frodo falls deathly ill from the wound; the Black Riders nearly capture him at the Ford of Bruinen, but flood waters summoned by Elrond, master of Rivendell, rise up and overwhelm them.
J. R. R. Tolkien
John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, was an English writer, poet and academic, best known as the author of the classic high fantasy works The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, The Silmarillion. He served as the Rawlinson and Bosworth Professor of Anglo-Saxon and Fellow of Pembroke College, from 1925 to 1945 and Merton Professor of English Language and Literature and Fellow of Merton College, from 1945 to 1959, he was at one time a close friend of C. S. Lewis—they were both members of the informal literary discussion group known as the Inklings. Tolkien was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II on 28 March 1972. After Tolkien's death, his son Christopher published a series of works based on his father's extensive notes and unpublished manuscripts, including The Silmarillion. These, together with The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, form a connected body of tales, fictional histories, invented languages, literary essays about a fantasy world called Arda and Middle-earth within it.
Between 1951 and 1955, Tolkien applied the term legendarium to the larger part of these writings. While many other authors had published works of fantasy before Tolkien, the great success of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings led directly to a popular resurgence of the genre; this has caused Tolkien to be popularly identified as the "father" of modern fantasy literature—or, more of high fantasy. In 2008, The Times ranked him sixth on a list of "The 50 greatest British writers since 1945". Forbes ranked him the 5th top-earning "dead celebrity" in 2009. Tolkien's immediate paternal ancestors were middle-class craftsmen who made and sold clocks and pianos in London and Birmingham; the Tolkien family originated in the East Prussian town Kreuzburg near Königsberg, where his first known paternal ancestor Michel Tolkien was born around 1620. Michel's son Christianus Tolkien was a wealthy miller in Kreuzburg, his son Christian Tolkien moved from Kreuzburg to nearby Danzig, his two sons Daniel Gottlieb Tolkien and Johann Benjamin Tolkien emigrated to London in the 1770s and became the ancestors of the English family.
In 1792 John Benjamin Tolkien and William Gravell took over the Erdley Norton manufacture in London, which from on sold clocks and watches under the name Gravell & Tolkien. Daniel Gottlieb obtained British citizenship in 1794, but John Benjamin never became a British citizen. Other German relatives joined the two brothers in London. Several people with the surname Tolkien or similar spelling, some of them members of the same family as J. R. R. Tolkien, live in northern Germany, but most of them are descendants of recent refugees from East Prussia who fled the Red Army invasion and subsequent ethnic cleansing. According to Ryszard Derdziński the Tolkien name is of Low Prussian origin and means "son/descendant of Tolk." Tolkien mistakenly believed his surname derived from the German word tollkühn, meaning "foolhardy", jokingly inserted himself as a "cameo" into The Notion Club Papers under the translated name Rashbold. However, Derdziński has demonstrated this to be a false etymology. While J. R. R. Tolkien was aware of the Tolkien family's German origin, his knowledge of the family's history was limited because he was "early isolated from the family of his prematurely deceased father".
John Ronald Reuel Tolkien was born on 3 January 1892 in Bloemfontein in the Orange Free State to Arthur Reuel Tolkien, an English bank manager, his wife Mabel, née Suffield. The couple had left England when Arthur was promoted to head the Bloemfontein office of the British bank for which he worked. Tolkien had one sibling, his younger brother, Hilary Arthur Reuel Tolkien, born on 17 February 1894; as a child, Tolkien was bitten by a large baboon spider in the garden, an event some think echoed in his stories, although he admitted no actual memory of the event and no special hatred of spiders as an adult. In another incident, a young family servant, who thought Tolkien a beautiful child, took the baby to his kraal to show him off, returning him the next morning; when he was three, he went to England with his mother and brother on what was intended to be a lengthy family visit. His father, died in South Africa of rheumatic fever before he could join them; this left the family without an income, so Tolkien's mother took him to live with her parents in Kings Heath, Birmingham.
Soon after, in 1896, they moved to Sarehole a Worcestershire village annexed to Birmingham. He enjoyed exploring Sarehole Mill and Moseley Bog and the Clent and Malvern Hills, which would inspire scenes in his books, along with nearby towns and villages such as Bromsgrove and Alvechurch and places such as his aunt Jane's farm of Bag End, the name of which he used in his fiction. Mabel Tolkien taught her two children at home. Ronald, as he was known in the family, was a keen pupil, she taught him a great deal of botany and awakened in him the enjoyment of the look and feel of plants. Young Tolkien liked to draw landscapes and trees, but his favourite lessons were those concerning languages, his mother taught him the rudiments of Latin early. Tolkien could write fluently soon afterwards, his mother allowed him to read many books. He disliked Treasure Island and The Pied Piper and thought Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll was "amusing but disturbing", he liked stories about "Red Indians" and the fantasy wor