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"Middle-earth", Endor in Quenya (Ennor in Sindarin), and in The Book of Lost Tales the Great Lands, are names used for the habitable parts of Arda after the final ruin of Beleriand, east across the Belegaer from Aman.

This continent was north of the Hither Lands shown in the Ambarkanta, and west of the Eastern Sea; and from the beginning of Arda to the end of the Second Age it underwent dramatic geographical changes, caused by Eru Ilúvatar, the Valar and Melkor.


The term "Middle-earth" was not invented by J.R.R. Tolkien. Rather, it comes from Middle English middel-erde, itself a folk-etymology for the Old English word middangeard (geard not meaning 'Earth', but rather 'enclosure' or 'place', thus 'yard', with the Old Norse word miðgarðr being a cognate). It is Germanic for what the Greeks called the οικουμένη (oikoumenē) or "the abiding place of men", the physical world as opposed to the unseen worlds (The Letters of J. R. R. Tolkien, 151). The word Mediterranean comes from two Latin stems, medi- , amidst, and terra, (earth/land), meaning "the sea placed at the middle of the Earth / amidst the lands".

Middangeard occurs six times in Beowulf, which Tolkien translated and on which he was arguably the world's foremost authority. (See also J.R.R. Tolkien for discussion of his inspirations and sources). See Midgard and Norse mythology for the older use.

Tolkien was also inspired by this fragment:

Hail Earendel, brightest of angels / above the middle-earth sent unto men.

in the "Crist" poem by Cynewulf. The name earendel (which may mean the 'morning-star' but in some contexts was a name for Christ) was the inspiration for Tolkien's mariner Eärendil.

"Middle-earth" was consciously used by Tolkien to place The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, The Silmarillion, and related writings.

Middle earth map showing prominent locations

Map of the Western part of Middle-earth at the end of the Third Age

Tolkien first used the term "Middle-earth" in the early 1930s in place of the earlier terms "Great Lands", "Outer Lands", and "Hither Lands" to describe the same region in his stories. "Middle-earth" is specifically intended to describe the lands east of the Great Sea (Belegaer), thus excluding Aman, but including Harad and other mortal lands not visited in Tolkien's stories. Many people apply the name to the entirety of Tolkien's world or exclusively to the lands described in The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and The Silmarillion.

In ancient Germanic and Norse mythology, the universe was believed to consist of multiple interconnected physical worlds (in Nordic mythology 9, in West Germanic and English mythology, 8). The world of Men, the Middle-earth, lay in the centre of this universe. The lands of Elves, gods, and Giants lay across an encircling sea. The land of the Dead lay beneath the Middle-earth. A rainbow bridge, Bifrost Bridge, extended from Middle-earth to Asgard across the sea. An outer sea encircled the seven other worlds (Vanaheim, Asgard, Alfheim, Svartalfheim, Muspellheim, Niflheim, and Jotunheim). In this conception, a "world" was more equivalent to a racial homeland than a physically separate world.

The world

Main article: Arda

A speculative map of Arda before the end of the First Age, courtesy of the Encyclopedia of Arda

Tolkien stated that the geography of Middle-earth was intended to align with that of the real Earth in several particulars. (Letter 294) Expanding upon this idea some suggest that if the map of Middle-earth is projected on our real Earth, and some of the most obvious climatological, botanical, and zoological similarities are aligned, the Hobbits' Shire might lie in the temperate climate of England, Gondor might lie in the Mediterranean, Italy and Greece, Mordor in Sicily, South Gondor and Near Harad in the deserts of Northern Africa, Rhovanion in the forests of Germany and the steppes of Western and Southern Russia, and the Ice Bay of Forochel in the fjords of Norway. Far Harad may have corresponded with Southern Africa, and Rhûn corresponded with the whole of Asia. The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings are presented as Tolkien's retelling of events depicted in the Red Book of Westmarch, which was written by Bilbo Baggins, Frodo Baggins, and other Hobbits, and corrected and annotated by one or more Gondorian scholars. Years after publication, Tolkien 'postulated' in a letter that the action of the books takes place roughly 6,000 years ago, though he was not certain.

Tolkien wrote extensively about the linguistics, mythology and history of the world, which provide back-story for these stories. Many of these writings were edited and published posthumously by his son Christopher.

Notable among them is The Silmarillion, which provides a creation story and description of the cosmology which includes Middle-earth. The Silmarillion is the primary source of information about Valinor, Númenor, and other lands. Also notable are Unfinished Tales of Númenor and Middle-earth and the multiple volumes of The History of Middle-earth, which includes many incomplete stories and essays as well as numerous drafts of Tolkien's Middle-earth mythology, from the earliest forms down through the last writings of his life.


Main article: Ainulindalë

The supreme deity of Arda is called Eru Ilúvatar. In the beginning, Ilúvatar created spirits named the Ainur and he taught them to make music. After the Ainur had become proficient in their skills, Ilúvatar commanded them to make a great music based on a theme of his own design. The most powerful Ainu, Melkor (later called Morgoth or "Dark Enemy" by the Elves), Tolkien's equivalent of Satan, disrupted the theme, and in response Ilúvatar introduced new themes that enhanced the music beyond the comprehension of the Ainur. The movements of their song laid the seeds of much of the history of the as yet unmade universe and the people who were to dwell therein.


A depiction of the initial geography of Eä

Then Ilúvatar stopped the music and he revealed its meaning to the Ainur through a Vision. Moved by the Vision, many of the Ainur felt a compelling urge to experience its events directly. Ilúvatar therefore created , the universe itself, and some of the Ainur went down into the universe to share in its experience. But upon arriving in Eä, the Ainur found it was shapeless because they had entered at the beginning of Time. The Ainur undertook great labours in these unnamed "ages of the stars", in which they shaped the universe and filled it with many things far beyond the reach of Men. In time, however, the Ainur formed Arda, the abiding place of the Children of Ilúvatar, Elves and Men. The fifteen most powerful Ainur were called the Valar, of whom Melkor was the most powerful, but Manwë was the leader. The Valar settled in Arda to watch over it and help prepare it for the awakening of the Children.

Arda began as a single flat world, which the Valar gave light to through two immense Lamps. Melkor destroyed the lamps and brought darkness to the world. The Valar retreated to the extreme western regions of Arda, where they created the Two Trees of Valinor to give light to their new homeland, leaving Middle-earth in darkness After many ages, the Valar imprisoned Melkor to punish and rehabilitate him, and to protect the awakening Elves. But when Melkor was released he poisoned the Two Trees. The Valar took the last two living fruit of the Two Trees and used them to create the Moon and Sun, which remained a part of Arda but were separate from Ambar (the world).

Before the end of the Second Age, when the Men of Númenor rebelled against the Valar, Ilúvatar destroyed Númenor, separated Aman from the rest of Arda, and formed new lands, making the world round. Only Endor remained of the original world, and Endor had now become Eurasia.


Composite map of Middle-earth by Christopher Tolkien

An expanded, composite map of Middle-earth drawn by Christopher Tolkien

J.R.R. Tolkien never finalized the geography for the entire world associated with The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. In The Shaping of Middle-earth, volume IV of The History of Middle-earth, Christopher Tolkien published several remarkable maps, of both the original flat earth and round world, which his father had created in the latter part of the 1930s. Karen Wynn Fonstad drew from these maps to develop detailed, but non-canonical, "whole world maps" reflecting a world consistent with the historical ages depicted in The Silmarillion, The Hobbit, and The Lord of the Rings.

Maps prepared by Christopher Tolkien and J.R.R. Tolkien for the world encompassing The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings were published as foldouts or illustrations in The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and The Silmarillion. Early conceptions of the maps provided in The Silmarillion and The Lord of the Rings were included in several volumes, including "The First Silmarillion Map" in The Shaping of Middle-earth, "The First Map of the Lord of the Rings" in The Treason of Isengard, "The Second Map (West)" and "The Second Map (East)" in The War of the Ring, and "The Second Map of Middle-earth west of the Blue Mountains" (also known as "The Second Silmarillion Map") in The War of the Jewels.

Endor, the Quenya term for Middle-earth, was originally conceived of as conforming to a largely symmetrical scheme which was marred by Melkor. The symmetry was defined by two large sub-continents, one in the north and one in the south, with each of them boasting two long chains of mountains in the eastward and westward regions. The mountain chains were given names based on colours (White Mountains, Blue Mountains, Grey Mountains, and Red Mountains).

The various conflicts with Melkor resulted in the shapes of the lands being distorted. Originally, there was a single inland body of water, in the midst of which was set the island of Almaren where the Valar lived. When Melkor destroyed the lamps of the Valar which gave light to the world, two vast seas were created, but Almaren and its lake were destroyed. The northern sea became the Sea of Helcar (Helkar). The lands west of the Blue Mountains became Beleriand (meaning, "the land of Balar"). Melkor raised the Misty Mountains to impede the progress of the Vala Oromë as he hunted Melkor's beasts during the period of darkness prior to the awakening of the Elves.

Additional changes occurred when Valar assaulted Utumno in the Battle of the Powers. The North-west of Middle-earth, where Melkor met the Valar host, was "much broken". The sea between Middle-earth and Aman widened, with many bays created, including one which was the confluence of Sirion. The highland of Dorthonion and the mountains about Hithlum were also a result of the battles. Since the changes mentioned include both the beginning and the ending points of Sirion, it is possible the river itself was created at the same time.

The violent struggles during the War of Wrath between the Host of the Valar and the armies of Melkor at the end of the First Age brought about the destruction of Beleriand. It is also possible that during this time the inland sea of Helcar was drained.

The world, not including associated celestial bodies, was identified by Tolkien as "Ambar" in several texts, but also identified as "Imbar", the Habitation, in later post-Lord of the Rings texts. From the time of the destruction of the two lamps until the time of the Downfall of Númenor, Ambar was supposed to be a "flat world", in that its habitable land-masses were all arranged on one side of the world. His sketches show a disk-like face for the world which looked up to the stars. A western continent, Aman, was the home of the Valar (and the Eldar). The middle lands, Endor, were called "Middle-earth" and were the site of most of Tolkien's stories. The eastern continent was not inhabited.

When Melkor poisoned the Two Trees of the Valar and fled from Aman back to Endor, the Valar created the Sun and the Moon, which were separate bodies (from Ambar) but still parts of Arda (the Realm of the Children of Ilúvatar). A few years after publishing The Lord of the Rings, in a note associated with the unique narrative story Athrabeth Finrod ah Andreth (which is said to occur in Beleriand during the War of the Great Jewels), Tolkien equated Arda with the Solar System; because Arda by this point consisted of more than one heavenly body.

Middle Earth map - FOTR

Map of Middle-earth in Peter Jackson's films

According to the accounts in both The Silmarillion and The Lord of the Rings, when Ar-Pharazôn invaded Aman to seize immortality from the Valar, they laid down their guardianship of the world and Eru Ilúvatar intervened, destroying Númenor, removing Aman "from the circles of the world", and reshaping Ambar into the round world of today. The Akallabêth says that the Númenóreans who survived the Downfall sailed as far west as they could in search of their ancient home, but their travels either brought them to new lands or back around the world back to their starting points. Hence, before the end of the Second Age, the transition from "flat earth" to "round earth" had been completed.

The Endor continent became approximately equivalent to the Eurasian land-mass, but Tolkien's geography does not provide any exact correlations between the narrative of The Lord of the Rings and Europe or near-by lands. It is therefore assumed that the reader understands the world underwent a subsequent undocumented transformation (which some people speculate Tolkien would have equated with the Biblical deluge) sometime after the end of the Third Age, or possibly at the Fall of Sauron at the end of the Third Age. Another explanation is that many places shifted location, the Misty Mountains moving North to Scandinavia, the White Mountains rotating to become the Alps and the mountains of the west Balkans, Near Harad moving south and west to become the Sahara, Eriador flooding to become northern France and the British Isles, and so on. This would not be the first time that this had happened, as it seems that a consequence from the Siege of Utumno was that Endor rotated eastward, its axis the north pole.


Template:See also

Middle-earth was home to several distinct intelligent species. First were the Ainur, angelic beings created by Ilúvatar. The Ainur sing for Ilúvatar, who created Eä to give existence to their music in the cosmological myth called the Ainulindalë, or "Music of the Ainur". Some of the Ainur then entered Eä, and the greatest of these were called the Valar. Melkor (later called Morgoth), the chief personification of evil in Eä, was initially one of the Valar.

The other Ainur who entered Eä were called the Maiar. In the First Age the most active Maia was Melian, wife of the Elven King Thingol; in the Third Age, during the War of the Ring, five of the Maiar were embodied and sent to Endor to help the free people to overthrow Sauron. Those are the Istari (or Wise Ones) (called Wizards by Men), including Gandalf, Saruman, Radagast, Alatar and Pallando. There were also evil Maiar, called Umaiar, including the Balrogs and the second Dark Lord, Sauron.

Later come the Children of Ilúvatar: Elves and Men (Men awoke in the first year of the sun), intelligent beings created by Ilúvatar alone. The Silmarillion tells how Elves and Men awakened and spread through the world. The Dwarves were said to have been made by the Vala Aulë, who offered to destroy them when Ilúvatar confronted him. Ilúvatar forgave Aulë's transgression and adopted the Dwarves. Three tribes of Men who allied themselves with the Elves of Beleriand in the First Age were called the Edain.

As a reward for their loyalty and suffering in the Wars of Beleriand, the descendants of the Edain were given the island of Númenor to be their home. But as described in the section on Middle-earth's history, Númenor was eventually destroyed and a remnant of the Faithful Númenóreans established realms in the northern lands of Endor, Arnor and Gondor. They are then known as the Dúnedain, whereas other Númenórean survivors, still devoted to evil but living far to the south, become known as the Black Númenóreans.

Tolkien identified Hobbits as an offshoot of the race of Men. Although their origins and ancient history are not known, Tolkien implied that they settled in the Vales of Anduin early in the Third Age, but after a thousand years the Hobbits began migrating west over the Misty Mountains into Eriador. Eventually, many Hobbits settled in the Shire.

After they are granted true life by Ilúvatar, the Dwarves' creator Aulë laid them to sleep in hidden mountain locations. Ilúvatar awakened the Dwarves only after the Elves had awakened. The Dwarves spread throughout northern Endor and eventually found seven kingdoms. Two of these kingdoms, Nogrod and Belegost, befriend the Elves of Beleriand against Morgoth in the First Age. The greatest Dwarf kingdom was Khazad-dûm, later known as Moria.

The Ents, "shepherds of the trees", were created by Ilúvatar at the Vala Yavanna's request to protect trees from the depredations of Elves, Dwarves, and Men.

Orcs and Trolls were evil creatures bred by Morgoth. They were not original creations, but rather, it is supposed, "mockeries" of Ents and the Children of Ilúvatar, since only Ilúvatar had the ability to create life anew. Orcs' and Trolls' origins are not solidified; Tolkien considered many possibilities, and frequently changed his mind.

Seemingly sapient animals also appear, such as the Great Eagles, Thrushes, Huan the Great Hound from Valinor, and the Wargs. The Eagles were created by Ilúvatar along with the Ents, but in general these animals' origins and nature are unclear. Some of them might be Maiar in animal form, or perhaps even the offspring of Maiar and normal animals.

It is unknown to what people of Middle-earth Tom Bombadil belonged. As to his nature, Tolkien himself said that some things should remain mysterious in any mythology, hidden even to its inventor.


Main article: Languages of Middle-earth

Tolkien devised two predominant Elvish languages that would later be called Quenya, spoken by the Vanyar, Ñoldor, and some Teleri, and Sindarin, spoken by the Elves who stayed in Beleriand (see below). These languages were related, and a Common Eldarin form ancestral to them both is postulated.

Other languages of the world include:

History of Middle-earth

Main article: History of Arda

The history of Middle-earth is divided into three time periods, known as the Days before days, Years of the Trees, and Years of the Sun; the last is typically sub-divided further into four Ages.

The Days before days began shortly after the Ainulindalë, when the Valar came into the world. At first, the Valar warred against Melkor, but after his defeat they finished their labours in shaping Arda. The Valar created two lamps to illuminate the world, and the Vala Aulë forged great towers, one in the furthest north, Helcar with the lamp Illuin, and another in the deepest south, Ringil with the lamp Ormal. The Valar lived in the middle, at the island of Almaren. Melkor's destruction of the two Lamps marked the end of the Days before days.

Aman Valinor

A speculative map of Aman in the Second Age

Then Yavanna made the Two Trees named Telperion and Laurelin in the land of Aman. The Trees illuminated Aman, leaving the rest of Arda in darkness, illuminated only by the stars. At the start of the Years of the Trees the Elves awoke at Cuiviénen in the east of Endor, and were soon approached by the Valar. Many of the Elves were persuaded to undertake the Great Journey westwards towards Aman, but not all of them completed the journey (see Sundering of the Elves). The Valar attacked and defeated Melkor in the Battle of the Powers, and he was imprisoned for several ages in the Halls of Mandos. But he appeared to repent and was released on parole. He sowed great discord among the Elves and stirred up rivalry between the Elven princes Fëanor and Fingolfin. He then slew their father, King Finwë and stole the Silmarils, three gems crafted by Fëanor that contained light of the Two Trees, from his vault, and destroyed the Trees themselves.

Fëanor persuaded most of his people, the Ñoldor, to leave Aman in pursuit of Melkor to Beleriand, cursing him with the name Morgoth. Fëanor led the first of two groups of Noldor. The larger group was led by Fingolfin. The Noldor stopped at the Teleri's port-city, Alqualondë, but the Teleri refused to give them ships to get to Middle-earth. The first Kinslaying thus ensued; Fëanor and many of his followers attacked the Teleri and stole their ships. Fëanor's host sailed on the stolen ships, leaving Fingolfin's behind to cross over to Middle-earth through the deadly Helcaraxë (or Grinding Ice) in the far north. Subsequently Fëanor was slain, but his sons survived and founded realms, as did Fingolfin and his heirs.

The Years of the Sun began when the Valar made the Sun and it rose over the world. After several great battles, a long peace ensued for four hundred years, during which time the first Men entered Beleriand by crossing over the Blue Mountains. When Morgoth broke the siege of Angband, one by one the Elven kingdoms fell, even the hidden city of Gondolin. The only measurable success achieved by Elves and Men came when Beren of the Edain and Lúthien, daughter of Thingol and Melian, retrieved a Silmaril from the Iron Crown of Morgoth. Afterward, Beren and Lúthien died, and were restored to life by the Valar with the understanding that Lúthien was to become mortal and Beren should never be seen by Men again.

Thingol quarrelled with the Dwarves of Nogrod and they slew him, stealing the Silmaril. With the help of Ents, Beren waylaid the Dwarves and recovered the Silmaril, which he gave to Lúthien. Soon afterwards, both Beren and Lúthien died again. The Silmaril was given to their son Dior Half-elven, who had restored the Kingdom of Doriath. The sons of Fëanor demanded that Dior surrender the Silmaril to them, and he refused. The Fëanorians destroyed Doriath and killed Dior in the Second Kinslaying, but Dior's young daughter Elwing escaped with the jewel. Three sons of Fëanor – Celegorm, Curufin, and Caranthir – died trying to retake the jewel.

By the end of the age, all that remained of the free Elves and Men in Beleriand was a settlement at the mouth of the River Sirion. Among them was Eärendil, who married Elwing. But the Fëanorians again demanded the Silmaril be returned to them, and after their demand was rejected they resolved to take the jewel by force, leading to the Third Kinslaying. Eärendil and Elwing took the Silmaril across the Great Sea, to beg the Valar for pardon and aid. The Valar responded with the War of Wrath. Morgoth was captured, most of his works were destroyed, and he was banished beyond the confines of the world into the Door of Night.

The Silmarils were recovered at a terrible cost, as Beleriand itself was broken and began to sink under the sea. Feanor's last remaining sons, Maedhros and Maglor, were ordered to return to Valinor. They proceeded to steal the Silmarils from the victorious Valar. But, as with Morgoth, the Silmarils burned their hands and they then realized they were not meant to possess them and that their oath was null. Each of the brothers met his fate: Maedhros threw himself with the Silmaril into a chasm of fire, and Maglor threw his Silmaril into the sea. Thus the three Silmarils ended in the sky with Eärendil, in the earth, and in the water respectively.

Thus began the Second Age. The Edain were given the island of Númenor toward the west of the Great Sea as their home, while many Elves were welcomed into the West. The Númenóreans became great seafarers, but also became increasingly jealous of the Elves for their immortality. But after a few centuries, Sauron, Morgoth's chief servant, began to organize evil creatures in the eastern lands. He persuaded Elven smiths in Eregion to create Rings of Power, and secretly forged the One Ring to control the other rings. But the Elves became aware of Sauron's plan as soon as he put the One Ring on his hand, and they removed their own Rings before he could master their wills.


A map of Númenor during the Second Age, courtesy of the Encyclopedia of Arda.

The last Númenórean king, Ar-Pharazôn, by the strength of his army, humbled even Sauron and brought him to Númenor as a hostage. But with the help of the One Ring, Sauron deceived Ar-Pharazôn and convinced the king to invade Aman, promising immortality for all those who set foot on the Undying Lands. Amandil, chief of those still Faithful to the Valar, tried to sail west to seek their aid. His son Elendil and grandsons Isildur and Anárion prepared to flee east to Middle-earth. When the King's forces landed on Aman, the Valar called for Ilúvatar to intervene. The world was changed, and Aman was removed from Ambar.

From that time onward, Men could no longer find Aman, but Elves seeking passage in specially hallowed ships received the grace of using the Straight Road, which led from Middle-earth's seas to the seas of Aman. Númenor was utterly destroyed, and with it the fair body of Sauron, but his spirit endured and fled back to Middle-earth. Elendil and his sons escaped to Endor and founded the realms of Gondor and Arnor. Sauron soon rose again, but the Elves allied with the Númenórean exiles to form the Last Alliance and defeated him. The One Ring was taken from him by Isildur, but not destroyed.

The Third Age saw the rise in power of the realms of Arnor and Gondor, and their decline. By the time of The Lord of the Rings, Sauron had recovered much of his former strength, and was seeking the One Ring. He discovered that it was in the possession of a Hobbit and sent out the nine Ringwraiths to retrieve it. The Ring-bearer, Frodo Baggins, travelled to Rivendell, where it was decided that the Ring had to be destroyed in the only way possible: casting it into the fires of Mount Doom. Frodo set out on the Quest of the Ring with eight companions—the Fellowship of the Ring. At the last moment he failed, but with the intervention of the creature Gollum—who was saved by the pity of Frodo and Bilbo Baggins—the Ring was nevertheless destroyed. Frodo with his companion Sam Gamgee were hailed as heroes. Sauron was destroyed forever and his spirit dissipated.

The end of the Third Age marked the end of the dominion of the Elves and the beginning of the dominion of Men. As the Fourth Age began, many of the Elves who had lingered in Middle-earth left for Valinor, never to return; those who remained behind would "fade" and diminish. The Dwarves eventually dwindled away as well. The Dwarves eventually returned to and resettled Moria. Peace was restored between Gondor and the lands to the south and east. Eventually, the tales of the earlier Ages became legends, the truth behind them forgotten.

Books set in Middle-earth

Works by Tolkien

Tolkien passed away in 1973. All further works were edited by Christopher Tolkien. Only The Silmarillion portrays itself as a finished work — the others are collections of notes and draft versions.

The History of Middle-earth series:

In the prefatory information to the 2007 edition of Fellowship ('Notes on the Text'), Douglas A. Anderson explains that, since the Rings books were published almost fifty years ago, numerous emendations and corrections to grammar, word-choice, and punctuation (and repairs to their internal consistency) have been made through the various editions; while many such corrections were by Tolkien's own request (such as specific and intentional word choices made by Tolkien in his original manuscript, but omitted or 'corrected' in later editions by overly-zealous editors), revisions that would have required rewriting portions of the narrative (instead of simple corrections) were left unmade to preserve the integrity of the text.

Works by others

A small selection of the dozens of books about Tolkien and his worlds:

In adaptations


In Letter 202 to Christopher Tolkien, Tolkien set out his policy regarding film adaptations of his works: "Art or Cash". He sold the film rights for The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings to United Artists in 1969 after being faced with a sudden tax bill. The rights are currently in the hands of Middle-earth Enterprises, which has no relation to the Tolkien Estate, which retains film rights to The Silmarillion and other works published since 1969.

The first adaptation to be shown was The Hobbit in 1977, made by Rankin-Bass studios. This was initially shown on United States television.

The following year (1978), a movie entitled The Lord of the Rings was released, produced and directed by Ralph Bakshi; it was an adaptation of the first half of the story, using rotoscope animation. Although relatively faithful to the story, it was only a minor commercial success but not entirely well received by critics.

In 1980, Rankin-Bass produced a TV special covering roughly the last half of The Lord of the Rings, called The Return of the King. However, this did not follow on directly from the end of the Bakshi film.

Plans for a live-action version would wait until the late 1990s to be realised. These were directed by Peter Jackson and funded by New Line Cinema with backing from the New Zealand government and banking system.


Map of Middle-earth from the films

The films were a huge box office and critical success and together won seventeen Oscars (at least one in each applicable category for a fictional, English language, live-action feature film, except in the acting categories). However, in adapting the works to film, changes in the storyline and characters were made, which upset some fans of the books.

The Hobbit film trilogy, a live-action adaptation of The Hobbit was also made as a prequel to The Lord of the Rings film trilogy, produced in New Zealand under the direction of Peter Jackson. Although Tolkien's novel The Hobbit is a single book unlike The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit film series is a trilogy like The Lord of the Rings film series. The first and second films were released in December 2012 and 2013 respectively while the third film was released in 2014.

In 2019, the biopic film Tolkien was released, portraying the experiences of J.R.R Tolkien before and during World War I, and how those events inspired the works taking place in Middle-earth.


The works of Tolkien have been a major influence on role-playing games along with others such as Robert E. Howard, Fritz Leiber, H. P. Lovecraft, and Michael Moorcock. Although the most famous game to be inspired partially by the setting was Dungeons & Dragons, there have been two specifically Middle-earth based and licensed games. These are The Lord of the Rings Roleplaying Game from Decipher Inc. and the Middle-earth Role Playing game (MERP) from Iron Crown Enterprises. A Middle-earth play-by-mail game was originally run by Game Systems Inc. and is now produced by Middle-earth Games; this game was inducted into the Academy of Adventure Gaming Arts & Design's Hall of Fame in 1997.

Simulations Publications created three war games based on Tolkien's work. War of the Ring covered most of the events in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Gondor focused on the battle of Pelennor Fields, and Sauron covered the Second Age battle before the gates of Mordor. A war game based on the The Lord of the Rings film trilogy is currently being produced by Games Workshop. A board game also called War of the Ring is currently published by Fantasy Flight Games.

The computer game Angband is a free roguelike D&D-style game that features many characters from Tolkien's works. The most complete list of Tolkien-inspired computer games can be found at

Electronic Arts has released games for the gaming consoles and the PC platform. These include The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, The Battle for Middle-earth, and The Third Age. Vivendi released The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring while Sierra created War of the Ring, both games that proved highly unsuccessful.

Apart from these games, many commercial computer games have been released. Some of these derived their rights from the Estate, such as The Hobbit — others from the movie and merchandising rights.


Orig 5673062


Foreign Language Translated name
Afrikaans Midde-aarde
Albanian Tokës së mesme
Alemannic German Mittelärd
Amharic መካከለኛ-ምድር
Arabic الأرض الوسطى
Aragonese Tierra Meyo
Armenian Միջերկիր
Assamese মধ্য-পৃথিৱী
Asturian Tierra Mediu
Azerbaijani Orta yer
Basque Erdialdeko Lurraldea
Belarusian Cyrillic Міжзем'е
Bengali মধ্য পৃথিবী
Bosnian Medjuzemlje
Breton Douar-Kreiz
Bulgarian Cyrillic Средна земя
Burmese အလယ်ပိုင်းကမ္ဘာမြေ
Cambodian ពាក់​ក​ណ្តា​ល​ផែនដី
Catalan Terra Mitjana
Cebuano Tunga-tunga-yuta
Chinese 中土大陆
Chinese (Hong Kong) 中土大陸
Chuvash Малти Çĕр
Cornish Est Kres
Corsican Mediu-terra
Croatian Međuzemlje
Czech Středozem / Středozemě
Danish Midgård
Dutch Midden-Aarde
Esperanto Mez-Tero
Estonian Keskmaa
Filipino Gitnang-bansa
Finnish Keski-Maa
French Terre du Milieu
Frisian Nai Äide (Saterland)

Midden-ierde (Western)

Friulian Tiere di Mieç
Galician Terra Media
Georgian შუამიწეთი
German Mittelerde
Greek Μέση Γη
Gujarati મધ્યમ પૃથ્વી
Haitian Creole Mwayènlatè
Hausa Tsakiyar-ƙasa
Hawaiian Waena-honua
Hebrew הארץ התיכונה
Hindi मध्य पृथ्वी
Hungarian Középfölde
Icelandic Miðgarður
Indonesian Dunia Tengah
Irish Gaelic An Meán-domhan
Italian Terra di Mezzo
Japanese 中つ国
Javanese Tengah-bumi
Kannada ಮಧ್ಯಮ ಭೂಮಿಯ
Kazakh Ортаңғы-жер (Cyrillic) Ortañğı-jer (Latin)
Konkani मध्य देश
Korean 가운데땅
Kurdish وڵاتی ناوەڕاست (Sorani) Cîhana Navîn (Kurmanji)
Kyrgyz Cyrillic Борбордук-жер
Latin Terra Media
Latvian Viduszeme
Laotian ປານກາງ, ແຜ່ນດິນໂລກ
Lithuanian Vidurinėsžemės
Luxembourgish Mëtt-Äerd
Macedonian Cyrillic Блискиот Земјата
Malagasy Afovoany-tany
Malayalam മധ്യ ഭൂമി
Malaysian Bumi Tengah
Maltese Nofsani-pajjiż
Marathi मध्य पृथ्वी
Mongolian Cyrillic Дунд-газар
Nepalese मध्य पृथ्वी
Norwegian Midgard
Occitan Tèrra Mejana
Old English Middangeard
Pashto د منځني ځمکه
Persian سرزمین میانی
Polish Śródziemie
Portuguese Terra-média (Brazil)

Terra Média or Terra-Média (Portugal)

Punjabi لیندا زمین (Western) ਮੱਧ-ਧਰਤੀ
Romanian Pământul de Mijloc
Romansh Amez Terra
Russian Средиземье
Samoan Ogatotonu-lalolagi
Sanskrit मिद्द्ले-एअर्थ्
Sardinian Terra de mesu
Scottish Gaelic Meadhan-dùthaich
Serbian Средњу земљу (Cyrillic) Srednju zemlju (Latin)
Serbo-Croatian Srednja Zemlja
Sesotho Lefatshe Bohare
Sicilian Terra di lu Mediu
Sindhi وچ زمين
Sinhalese මධ්ය පෘථිවිය
Slovak Stredozem
Slovenian Srednji svet
Somali Dhul Dhexe
Spanish (Spain and Latin America) Tierra Media
Swahili Dunia ya kati
Swedish Midgård
Tajik Cyrillic Миёна-замин
Tamil மத்திய புவி
Tatar Урта ил
Telugu మిద్ద్లె-ఎఅర్థ
Thai มิดเดิลเอิร์ธ
Turkish Orta Dünya
Turkmen Merkezi Ýurt
Ukrainian Cyrillic Середзем'я
Urdu وسطی زمین
Uzbek Яқин-йер (Cyrillic) Yaqin-yer (Latin)
Vietnamese Trung địa
Welsh Canol-y ddaear
Xhosa Umhlaba ophakathi
Yiddish מיטל-ערד
Yoruba Arin-ayé
Zazaki Dınya Miyani
Zeelandic Midden-aerde
Zulu Ephakathi-umhlaba
The one ring animated The Lord of the Rings Wiki Featured articles The one ring animated
People: Faramir · Sauron · Witch-king of Angmar · Gollum · Elrond · Frodo Baggins · Samwise Gamgee · Meriadoc Brandybuck · Peregrin Took · Gandalf · Aragorn II · Legolas · Gimli · Boromir · Galadriel · Elves · Hobbits
Locations: Middle-earth · Gondor · Mordor · Rohan
Other: Mithril · Middle-earth Strategy Battle Game · The Fellowship of the Ring: Being the First Part of The Lord of the Rings · Works inspired by J. R. R. Tolkien · The Lord of the Rings · The Lord of the Rings (1978 film) · Ainulindalë · Tolkien vs. Jackson · Tengwar · Quenya
J.R.P.R. Tolkien's Middle-earth legendarium

External links