The Fantasy World of J.R.R. Tolkien


Ian Wang, Journalist

Middle Earth is the fiction setting for the book and movie The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings created by English author J.R.R. Tolkien. Middle Earth is the imaginary continent in a fictional period of Earth’s past, ending approximately 6,000 years ago. Certain parts of Middle Earth closely resemble the certain parts of Earth, such as The Shire. Middle Earth not only has men, but dragons, dwarves, wizards, elfs, trolls, goblins and orcs. The other populations not including men slowly die out or leave until Men are the only ones left.

Middle Earth and Arda are some of the key locations, as they are part of the wider world of Ea that includes The Undying Lands of Aman and Eressea. The two places are separated by The Great Sea of Belegaer. Most of the events in the stories written by J.R.R. Tolkien takes place in the North-west region of Middle Earth. At first, Tolkien decided to make it Flat Earth, where it revolved around the sun and moon. Tolkien then addresses a catastrophic event that shapes the world into the round planet, making the Undying Lands of Aman no longer accessible for mortal Men. Middle Earth has an important correspondence with real life Earth. The Shire was in the north west region and on Earth, the north west region was mainly Britain, explaining why the grassfields of The Shire where hobbits live look like Britain’s rural countryside.


The Shire is where most of the hobbits in Middle earth live. It is in the north-west region. Hobbits are like people, but they are shorter, averaging 3 feet 6 inches tall, and preferably live in underground holes called Hobbit Holes. Hobbits are known to live all things living, like plants and animals. They also really like to smoke weed. Some well known hobbits include: Bilbo Baggins, Frodo Baggins, Samwise Gamgee, Pippin Took and Merry Brandybuck. The Shire has little trees, because it is mainly green grassland. The Brandybuck River is in the east. There was a hedge that protected the Shire from an invasion from The Old Forest. Nearby was the village of Bree where Frodo and three other hobbits were supposed to meet up with Gandalf. Instead, they met Aragorn, a Ranger of the North. Aragorn is the heir of Isildur, the rightful King of Gondor.

Rivendell was an Elven town and home to the Elf lord Elrond. Rivendell stood in a valley of canyon beside cliffs covered with vegetation. The large hall was huge and fancy. It had a pearl white roof and grey brick walls. The big house was called The Last Homely House of Rivendell. During the Quest for Lonely Mountains, Bilbo Baggins, Gandalf, and the company of Elves stopped at Rivendell after taking shelter from Azog in a small cave. The dwarves weren’t suited to the vegetarian elf lifestyle, complaining about no meat. Years later, Frodo Baggins was treated at Rivendell after getting stabbed by a Nazgul blade on Weathertop. They met with Bilbo Baggins who retired there after his 111th birthday. The hobbits and Aragorn found several other dwarves and men there, including Boromir of Gondor, the dwarf Gimli and the elf Legolas. Rivendell was protected from attack, mainly by a river and elven magic.

Misty Mountains is one of the largest mountain ranges in all of Middle Earth. It is also known as the Hithaelgir and it runs 1280 kilometers from Mount Gundabad to Mithradas. The northmost peak in the Misty Mountains was Mount Gundabad, where legend says that it became the mountain fortress of orcs. 

In the midpoint of Misty Mountains is the greatest Dwarf realm in Middle Earth, called Khazad-Dum, later renamed to Moria. Under the Misty Mountains lies the former Dwarf realm and Goblin Town. In the fellowship of the ring, the fellowship decided to go under the Misty Mountains at the Moria Mines. The dwarf Gimli said that the dwarf Balin would give them a royal welcome. When they go inside though, they realize that the place is a tomb, seeing all the Moria Miners are dead and Gimli falls to pieces after finding Balin’s (a member of Thorin Oakenshield’s company) tomb. Pippin Took makes a large sound and awakens a large number of trolls. The fellowship crosses a bridge to escape the awakened Balrog, a demon of Middle Earth. Gandalf the Grey destroyed the bridge, sending Balrog to the abyss, but Gandalf also gets thrown in by Balrogs whip. Gandalf fights Balrog underneath and eventually kills Balrog, but Gandalf dies from his injuries. He gets resurrected later on. Goblin Town is one of the strongholds of goblins. The place is a giant cave with hundreds of small wooden structures that houses goblins.  The company of dwarves in the Hobbit gets captured there, but Bilbo evades capture and takes the Ring of Power from Gollum. Gandalf saves them and they fight their way out. Gandalf killed the Great Goblin.

Mirkwood is a thick, dense great forest that lies between the Grey Mountains and the Kingdom of Gondor. Mirkwood has been under a dark influence under the dark lord Sauron until the forces of the White Council expelled Sauron from his old stronghold at the fortress Dol Guldur in The Hobbit. During the Quest for Lonely Mountain, Bilbo and the company of dwarves had to go through it using an elven path without Gandalf the Grey because he was sent elsewhere. Gandalf warned the group of the great evil that lay in the forest and to never leave the path or they will never find it back again. Bilbo wanted to tell Gandalf he found a ring at the Misty Mountains, but instead hesitated and decided to tell the wizard he found his courage. After they arrived at the enchanted river, the group found out the bridge was destroyed. The dwarf Kili told Bilbo to cross using the vines, since he was the lightest. Bilbo saw the great evil the forest possessed as it started to make him hallucinate. He warned the others not to cross, but it was too late, as the dwarves already were on the vines. The dwarf Bombur fell into the water and the other dwarves had to carry him for the rest of the trip. The group then  got captured by giant spiders. Bilbo managed to escape and freed the dwarves from the spiders. Afterwards, the dwarves got captured, once again, but this time by the woodland elf realm in the Mirkwoods. Bilbo didn’t get captured, and had to free the dwarves again, using the ring of power he had gained in the misty mountains. They escaped on barrels from the elves and other trolls. The river brought them down to a merchant who brought them to Laketown. The Mirkwoods is a dangerous forest, except it is the fastest way to get to Lonely Mountain. Misty Mountains was also where the body of the Witch-King Angmar was buried. Sightings say they have seen dead people roaming the area.

Laketown was a small settlement made by men in Long Lake. The town was made entirely with wood planks and logs. Laketown gets most of its fortune from trade, as it is a major trade location for dwarves, men and elfs. Laketown is east of Mirkwoods. The mayor of Laketown is very selfish, seeing gold more valuable than the lives of its citizens. The company of dwarves and Bilbo stopped by Laketown on their quest for Lonely Mountain. The dwarf Kili stayed there after getting poisoned by an arrow at the skirmish at the Mirkwood woodland elf realm. In the third age, Laketown gets attacked by the awakened dragon Smaug. Bard the Bowman indirectly learned of the injury on Smaugs armor from a black arrow shot at Smaug during Smaug’s attack on Wade. Bard manages to kill Smaug, and he is elected leader of the people of Laketown. He leads people to take refuge at the kingdom of Dale, outside Erebor that was destroyed during Smaug’s first attack. 

Erebor  is located northwest of Mirkwood, which is the great underground fortress of The Dwarvish Kingdom under the Mountain. The Erebor Dwarves get much of their great fortune from the mines they work tirelessly in. In the Erebor mines is where they found the arkenstone, a stone capable of uniting all dwarf houses. Erebor was attacked by the dragon Smaug and it also burned the kingdom Wade to the ground. It took over Erebor and has been sleeping for sixty years, ruling all the treasures. The company of dwarves tried to kill it multiple ways, such as using liquid gold, but none of that worked. It caused further destruction at Laketown, until Bard the Bowman killed it with a black arrow. Afterwards, the company of dwarves took over Erebor. Their leader Thorin, got dragon sickness from the greed that haunted his ancestors Thrain and Thror. He became crazy from the riches and he did not give Wade a single coin. Eventually, Bilbo stole the Arkenstone to prevent further madness and it did not go well. The dwarves blocked the entrance and did not go out until the battle of the five armies. Thorin led his company of dwarves to fight the orcs and trolls to help the Ironfoot dwarves that had arrived during the battle to the Erebors aid. The men, dwarves and elves eventually killed all of Azog’s forces including Azog the Definer. The interior of Erebor is huge. A giant statue of a dwarf king stands in the Great Hall. The ground was very smooth, showing it was well built.

Helms Deep is the great stronghold the people of Rohan took shelter at Hornburg. It is made up of a great wall that connects to a building that has the door to inside Helms Deep. Helms Deep is where the great battle of, well, Helms Deep took place. The elves from Rivendell arrived to help the men to honor their age-old alliance in the war against Sauron. The men and some elves stood on the wall while other elves stood behind the wall to reinforce them. The trolls or the Uruk-Hai, sent by Sauraman the White sent waves upon waves to overwhelm the defenders. No matter how many volleys of arrows the defenders shot, the Uruk-Hai continued the charge, despite the large casualties. They planted a bomb in a sewer and it caused part of the wall to collapse. King Theoden called the defenders of Helm’s Deep to take shelter in the caverns. Theoden believes the fort is lost. Aargorn tells King Theoden to mount a cavalry charge and fight the enemy one last time. As they exit, Aragorn notices the night becoming day and remembers Gandalf’s words. The defenders of Helm’s Deep see Gandalf arrive with the scattered Rohirrim. They charge down the hill in an epic scene and make the Uruk-Hai retreat to the Fangorn Forest where then, the Uruk-Hai get slaughtered by the Ents. Overall, Helms Deep is a great fortress. The great stone walls protected the people of Rohan for ages and it only had one weak spot where the river flowed, which is how the Uruk-Hai breached the walls of Helm’s Deep. 

Minas Tirith, also known as the City of the Kings is one of Gondor’s largest cities and its capital. Many key battles took place inside and in front of the city, such as the Battle of Pelennor Fields. Minas Tirith had a unique design, having multiple layers of the city that eventually goes to the throne for the King of Gondor. Minas Tirith was built to protect against the Men of the White Mountain in SA 3320. Osgiliath was once the Gondor capital but it became destroyed. Osgiliath was a strategic position, being the best place to cross the Anduin River. Across Osgiliath further more is Mordor, where Sauron forces resides. In the War of the Ring, Gandalf the White rode to Minas Tirith because that is where Sauron would strike first to obtain total rule over Middle Earth. 

The siege of Gondor happened when Sauron’s forces striked Osgiliath. Gandalf had Pippin Took light the beacon, sending a signal. All the beacons along the mountain range eventually were lit and the people of Rohan saw it. Aragorn told Theoden: The beacons are lit! Gondor calls for aid! Theoden decided to go to battle and said, And Rohan will answer. King Theoden gathered the Rohirrim and all the men. He gave his other men two days to gather soldiers and they will go to fight on the last day. Merry Brandybuck was at Rohan and offered to fight with the Rohan Riders. The Gondor soldiers and Rangers of Ithilien defending the city were quickly overwhelmed and ordered a retreat. Later on, Faramir was brought back injured in the bloody attempt to retake the city. The steward, Denethor II took no more place in the battle and decided to burn himself with the body of Faramir. Gandalf then arrived and saved Faramir since he was still alive, but the Steward of Gondor, Denethor killed himself, no longer playing a role in the defense of Minas Tirith. The orcs and trolls sent rocks fired by catapults while Minas Tirith returned fire from the city’s trebuchets. The trolls sent waves of them but they were all repelled and they could not breach the gate. The trolls also sent giant towers to put trolls and orcs into the walls of Minas Tirith. Eventually, the main door of Minas Tirith was breached. Gandalf the White said to the Gondor Soldiers: You are soldiers of Gondor, No matter what comes through that gate, you will stand your ground. The Minas Tirith defenders made a shield wall with their spears and shields while the archers stood in the back. The orcs sent into Minas Tirith were huge, and overwhelmed the defenders. They used a defend and retreat tactic until help could arrive. The Rohirrim finally arrived and rested in a position near the city at a mountain range. Aragorn, Gimli and Legolas rode into a tunnel to seek the Army of the Dead. The three of them got to where the Army of the Dead were. They were men cursed as ghosts because they did not honor their pledge in the Last Alliance. Aragorn showed he was their rightful leader by holding the sword Isludur used to cut off Sauron’s hand. Aragorn then stopped the Haradrim, evil men by attacking them with the ghost army and using their boats to go into the city.

Gandalf the White rode to the top of the city, but was stopped by the leader of the nine Nazgul. The Nazgul broke Gandalf’s staff and prepared to kill him, but stopped after hearing the Rohan horn sound. They saw mass rows of Rohan riders prepared to charge into Sauron’s army. Under the lead of Theoden, they did a cavalry charge into the heart of Sauron’s army, shattering their formations. Then, they attacked Mumakil, the war elephants the Haradrim used. Then, the boats carrying the Haradrim that now had the army of the dead arrived. The orcs complained that the Haradrim were always late, but Aragorn, Gimli, and Legolas came out charging into Sauron’s army. Then afterwards, the ghost army that came on foot and on horseback charged with them, destroying their ranks. In the heat of the battle, one Nazgul, the Witch-King of Angmar, leader of the nine Nazgul, or ringwraiths killed Theoden’s horse and prepared to kill King Theoden, but the Lady of Rohan, Eowyn, came and defended Theoden. The Nazgul looked like they were gonna kill her, luckily, Merry stabbed the Nazgul in their foot. The Lady of Rohan took out her sword and stabbed the Nazgul right into their face, killing it.
Black Gate was a gate built across Cirith Gorgor and the fastest, most guarded entrance into Sauron’s realm, Mordor. The Black Gate was used for numerous armies of orcs that went through and out the gate. The Black Gate was built from impregnable black stone and iron wall that stretched from the Mountains of Ash to the Ephel Duath. Sauron ordered the construction of the gate to protect the gorge in between the Mountain of Ash and Ephel Duath from an possible invasion. During the War of the Ring, Aragorn led the Western Alliance, made up of the Rohirrim and Gondor soldiers that survived the Siege of Minas Tirith. They attacked so they could distract the Eye of Sauron so that the One Ring would be thrown into Mount Doom. Aragorn, Gandalf, Gimli, Legolas and the hobbits rode to meet with The Mouth of Sauron to negotiate. The Mouth of Sauron was one of Sauron’s greatest servant of evil. The mouth of Sauron showed the armor piece that Frodo had. Aragorn refused to believe that Frodo was dead and he cut The Mouth of Sauron’s head off. Later, Aragorn said, For Frodo, and charged into the enemy . Instantly, the two hobbits Pippin and Merry followed him, followed by the rest of the soldiers. Meanwhile in Mount Doom, the One Ring was thrown into the lava and it was finally destroyed. The Eye of Sauron tower collapsed and a giant shockwave of air went in all directions. The land cracked and all the orcs and trolls fell into the collapsed land. Sam and Frodo were later rescued by Gandalf and the Great Eagles.

Mordor is a black, volcanic plain in the South east of Middle Earth. It is the realm of the dark lord Sauron. The land is filled with trolls and orcs patrolling the region. Furthermore, the Eye of Sauron can see everything that moves in Mordor. Mordor was surrounded by three mountain ranges, creating a natural barrier for protection against Mordor’s enemies. Mordor has many notable locations, such as the Dark Tower, where the Eye of Sauron lay. The Eye of Sauron could see almost anything in a certain distance. 

Near the center was Mount Doom. Mount Doom was where the One Ring was made. It was the only place that could destroy the Ring of Power.  Gollum and the ring fell into the lava of Mount Doom, ending Sauron’s reign of terror once and for all. Years earlier The Last Alliance marched into Mordor. They fought the orcs and trolls, and victory was near. Then Sauron came, killing many of the soldiers. Isludur used his sword Narsil and cut off Sauron’s hand. Isildur kept the ring for himself. Elf Lord Elrond brought him to Mount Doom and told him to destroy the ring, but Isildur refused to destroy it. Later, he was later on killed by trolls and the ring fell into a pond where it rested for hundreds of years. The roads were dangerous to travel, because Easterlings and Sauron’s armies constantly would march in and out. Near the entrance to Mordor is Minas Ithil. Minas Ithil was built by Isildur to protect Gondor from Sauron’s forces. At TA 2000 Minas Ithil was besieged by nine Nazgul. Eventually, the Nazgul took the city and renamed it to Minas Morgul, where the Nazgul reside.

Middle Earth is home to many terrible and amazing creatures including dragons. It is the overall creation of the legendary author J.R.R. Tolkien. It is truly an one of a kind fantasy word that anyone would find astonishing.