Ungoliant (Sindarin IPA: [uŋˈɡoljant] - "Dark Spider") was a primordial taking the shape of a gigantic spider. She was initially an ally of Melkor in Aman, and for a short time in Middle-earth as well. She was a distant mother of Shelob, and the oldest and first giant spider of Arda.

Biography Edit

Origins Edit

Ungoliant and the Two Trees

Ungoliant and the Two Trees

The true origin of Ungoliant is unknown, and was not even known by the Valar. It is said that she came from the Darkness itself that lies about Arda and was once an ally of Melkor when he looked down upon the world with envy. Later, she dismissed her allegiance with him, desiring only to be mistress of her own insatiable craving to devour all light - to feed her everlasting emptiness.

Early years Edit

When Melkor was defeated and imprisoned by the Lords of the West after the first Elves awoke in Cuiviénen, Ungoliant escaped the attacks of the Valar and the hunters of Oromë and fled to the southern part of Aman. There, in a ravine south of the mountain Hyarmentir, she established her dark abode and took the physical form of a monstrous spider, and sucked up all the light she could find. After every feeding, she spun forth dark nets of gloom that strangled any light from entering her lair of darkness. Yet she hungered for more of it: for although she hated light, she craved its sustenance as well.[4]

Alliance with Melkor Edit

Eventually, Melkor sought out Ungoliant in order to exact his revenge against the Valar and the Elves. He came to her in Avathar and told her of his plans. Though she was tempted greatly by Melkor's plan for her to drink the light of the Two Trees of Valinor, she feared the power of the Valar and was hesitant to accompany him. To mollify her, Melkor offered to sate her hunger with whatever she wished if she would aid him. She agreed, and they came shortly thereafter to Ezellohar, where she drained the Trees of their sap, poisoned them, and drank the Wells of Varda dry. The Unlight produced by Ungoliant stymied the pursuit of Oromë and Tulkas, and Melkor escaped to Middle-earth with her. However, her consumption of power of the Trees and the Wells caused her to swell to a size and shape so vast and hideous that even Melkor began to grow afraid.[4]

Ungoliant attacks Morgoth

Balrogs vs Ungoliant

The Balrogs of Morgoth attack Ungoliant

When they arrived in Lammoth in Middle-earth, Melkor, now known as Morgoth, hoped to escape to the ruins of Angband where the remnants of his forces awaited him. Suspecting that he intended to leave his promise to her unfulfilled, Ungoliant demanded the gems that Morgoth had stolen from Formenos before they could reach Angband. She devoured them, and grew to an even more monstrous size. She then demanded that Morgoth surrender to her the Silmarils. However, Morgoth refused, and she attacked him. Weaving her dark webs, she attempted to enmesh him in her nets and take the Silmarils by force. Morgoth gave out a terrible cry of pain as she attacked, which was heard by the Balrogs hibernating under the ruins of Angband. They awoke and immediately rushed to the aid of their Lord, tearing apart Ungoliant's webbing with their fiery whips and forcing her to break off her attack. She fled, and the Balrogs prepared to pursue and destroy her, but they were checked by Morgoth, who ordered them to return with him to Angband. Ungoliant's attack upon Morgoth left an echoing scream ever after on the land that gave the area the name Lammoth, and it is said to this day that when one screams in that place, the voice of the Dark Lord echoes back from the surrounding hills.[5]

Final years and Legacy Edit

Driven off by the Balrogs, Ungoliant fled to Nan Dungortheb, where she bred with the Great Spiders that dwelt there, increasing the terror and power of her kind. The creatures that later infested the area were her surviving offspring and descendants[5], including her infamous daughter, Shelob, who dwelt from the Second and Third Ages onwards on the borders of Mordor, as her last surviving child.[6] It is said that Ungoliant ultimately perished at her own hands when, in her ever growing and eternal hunger, she eventually devoured herself.[5] An alternate sketch by Tolkien states Earendil slew her during his voyages.

Etymology Edit

The name Ungoliant in Quenya is Ungweliantë, which means "Dark Spider", from ungwë ("dark") and liantë ("spider").[7] Ungoliant is the Sindarin translation of her Quenya name.

Other names Edit

The Eldar called her Virilomë (Wirilomë in Vanyarin) or Gloomweaver.[2][8] In Sindarin, this name is translated into Gwerlum.[9]

Portrayal in adaptations Edit

The Hobbit film trilogy Edit

Ungoliant was mentioned in Peter Jackson's The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey when Radagast tells Gandalf about his encounter with the Great Spiders residing in Mirkwood, deducing that they are "some kind of spawn of Ungoliant".

Translations around the world Edit

Foreign Language Translated name
Amharic ዑንጎሊኣንት
Arabic أونقوليانت
Armenian Ունգոլիանտ
Belarusian Cyrillic Унголіянт
Bengali উন্গলিয়ান্ট
Bulgarian Cyrillic Унголиант
Catalan Ungòliant
Chinese 昂哥立安
Georgian უნგოლიანთი
Greek Ουνγκόλιαντ
Gujarati ઊઙોલિઅન્ત
Hebrew אונגוליאנט
Hindi ऊङोलिअन्त
Japanese ウンゴリアント
Kannada ಉಂಗೋಲಿಂಟ್
Kazakh Ұнголіант (Cyrillic) Ungoliant (Latin)
Korean 웅골리안트
Kyrgyz Cyrillic Унголиант
Laotian ູງໂລິະນຕ
Macedonian Cyrillic Унголиант
Marathi ऊङ्गोलिअन्त
Mongolian Cyrillic Унголиант
Nepalese ऊङोलिअन्त
Norwegian Ungolianth
Persian اونگولیانت
Polish Ungolianta
Punjabi ਅਨਗਲਾਇੰਗਿਕ
Russian Унголиант
Sanskrit ऊङोलिअन्त्
Serbian Унголијант (Cyrillic) Ungolijant (Latin)
Sinhalese ඌඞොලිඅන්ත්
Tajik Cyrillic Унголиант
Tamil ஊஙொலிஅந்த்
Telugu ఊఙొలిఅన్త
Thai อุงโกลิอันท์
Ukrainian Cyrillic Унґоліанта
Urdu ونگولیانت
Uzbek Унголиант (Cyrillic) Ungoliant (Latin)
Yiddish ונגאָליאַנט

Navigation Edit

References Edit

  1. Beren and Lúthien
  2. 2.0 2.1 The History of Middle-earth, Vol. I: The Book of Lost Tales Part One, chapter VI: "The Theft of Melko and the Darkening of Valinor"
  3. The History of Middle-earth, Vol. X: Morgoth's Ring, The Later Quenta Silmarillion, The First Phase, "Of the Flight of the Noldor"
  4. 4.0 4.1 The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Chapter VIII: "Of the Darkening of Valinor"
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Chapter IX: "Of the Flight of the Noldor"
  6. The Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers, Book Four, Chapter IX: "Shelob's Lair"
  7. The History of Middle-earth, Vol. V: The Lost Road and Other Writings, Part Three: "The Etymologies"
  8. The History of Middle-earth, Vol. II: The Book of Lost Tales Part Two, chapter V: "The Tale of Eärendel"
  9. The History of Middle-earth, Vol. I: The Book of Lost Tales Part One, Appendix: Names in the Lost Tales – Part I