The Lord of the Rings: Races
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The Ainur are angelic spirits, offspring of the thought of Ilúvatar. Most of the Ainur dwell with Ilúvatar, bus some, the Valar and Maiar, are in Eä to fulfill the Ainulindalë. Others, including Ungoliant and the Balrogs, came to Eä to hinder the Ainulindalë and conquer or destroy the Light; of these, some, notably Melkor and Sauron, have been cast out into the Void. The Ainur have no innate forms, and the names by which the Valar and Maiar are known were probably given them within Eä. Although beings of spirit, they have kinship with each other and gender. The Ainur are also called the Holy Ones and the Great Ones.


Beornings, Men of the Vales of Anduin, lived on both sides of the river near the Carrock. The Beornings were descended form the Edain or their close kin, and thus spoke a language related to Adûnaic and Rohirric. At the time of the War of the Ring the Beornings were not very friendly to any outsiders, but in return for tolls kept the High Pass and the Ford of Carrock safe for merchants; they greatly hated Orcs. After the War of the Ring the Beornings and the Woodmen were given the central portion of Eryn Lasgalen. The only Beorning encountered in the Lord of the Rings is Beorn, who as a skin-changer was probably not representative of this people. The Beornings were famed for their baking, especially of honey-cakes. They did not eat meat, and were very friendly with animals. They may orignally have come from the Misty Mountains, whence they were driven by the Orcs.

Dead Men of Dunharrow

The Dead men of Dunharrow were Men of the White Mountains, related to the Dunlendings. When Gondor was founded, they swore allegiance to Isildur, but as they had been corrupted by Sauron during the Accursed Years they broke their oath when called to battle by the Last Alliance. For this betrayal, they were condemned to remain in and near the White Mountains, as spirits, until called to fulfill their oath by the heir of Isildur. For the entire Third Age the Dead Men haunted the area above Dunharrow, especially the Paths of the Dead. In 3019, during the War of the Ring, they were called by Aragorn to fulfill their oath, and repaid their debt by routing the Corsairs of Umbar at Pelargir. They then vanished from Middle-earth. The Dead Men of Dunharrow were also known as the Dead, the Sleepless Dead, the Grey Host, the Shadow Host, the Shadow-men, the Shadows, the Shadows of Men, the Men of the Mountains, and the Oathbreakers.


Dúnedain were Men, those of the Edain who at the beginning of the Second Age sailed to Númenor, and their descendants. After the fall of Númenor in the Second Age 3319, the Dúnedain survived only in the Faithful and the Black Númenóreans of Umbar. Two kingdoms were founded by the Faithful, Gondor and Arnor, and after the death of Elendil in the Second Age 3441 the Dúnedain were split into two groups: those of the North and those of Gondor. The Dúnedain were superior to other Men in nobility of spirit and body, although they were capable of evil if corrupted. They were tall, with dark hair and grey eyes. The life span of the royal family, originally three times that of lesser Men (210 years), was by the time of the War of the Ring still about 150 years or more; lesser Dúnedain lived somewhat shorter lives. The age of adulthood seems to have been about twenty or thirty, although most of the Kings did not succeed their fathers until they were much older. The Dúnedain, especially those of high rank, pOssëssed great wisdom and discernment, and occasional foresight. The Faithful and their descendents loved the Elves and were liked by them; there was great hatred between them and Sauron. The Dúnedain spoke Westron, which they enriched with many Elvish words. Many of the Dúnedain were also known as the Men of Westernesse, the Men of the West and the Númenóreans. They were also called the Kings of Men, the Men of the Sea (since Númenóreans were great mariners), the Tall Men (by the Woses), and the High (in the lore of Gondor). The singular of Dúnedain is Dúnadan. The Dúnedain of the North were attacked from the Third Age 1300 onward by Angmar, and slowly they lost territory and their numbers dwindled. The Dúnedain of Rhudaur were few by 1409, and the last Dúnedain of Cardolan perished in the Great Plague of 1636. After the fall of Arthedain in 1974, the Dúnedain of the North became few, and survived only with the aid of Elrond. However, adversity preserved their hardiness, and many or all of the male Dúnedain became Rangers, who protected the innocent Men and Hobbits of Eriador and were implacable foes of Sauron and his servants. The Dúnedain of the North were ruled by the Line of Isildur, which never failed. In Gondor, the Dúnedain flourished for many years despite threats from Harad and Rhûn, but many of the Dúnedain became decadent and over proud. The Line of Anárion, the family of the Kings of Gondor, failed five times because of the childlessness or early death of the king. Also, the Dúnedaion of Gondor, like their forebearers in Númenor, became concerned with their shortened life span (which waned more rapidly than that of their northern kinsmen), and even had a disastrous civil war, the Kin-strife, about this. The purity of the Dúnadan blood was lessened by intermarriage with lesser Men, especially the Northmen, and more importantly, by sloth and love of luxury. However, some of the Dúnedain families, notably the House of Húrin and the house of the Princes of Dol Amroth, retained their nobility; the latter family was enriched by Elvish blood. By the time of the War of the Ring, although Gondor was still strong and some of her Dúnedain were still noble and wise, the Dúnedain of Gondor had waned considerably.


Dunlendings were Men, the last remnant of the people that once inhabited the valleys of the Ered Nimrais. Some of these folk were assimilated by Gondor; one group became the Dead Men of Dunharrow. In the Second Age, however, some of these people had moved north; some settled in Dunland, while others moved in Eriador. The Men of Bree were the northernmost surviving branch at the time of the War of the Ring. In Dunland, the Dunlendings preserved their ancient language and primitive culture. In the Third Age they hated the Rohirrim, who had driven them out of the northern valleys of the Ered Nimrais and the plains of western Rohan, and so they frequently attacked that country. The two greatest Dunlending attacks on Rohan were in 2758, when they were led by Wulf, and during the War of the Ring, when the Dunlendings were aroused by Saruman. The Dunlendings were tall, somewhat swarthy, and had dark hair. They were primitive, uncultured, and superstitious.

Durin's Folk

Durin's Folk were the eldest and greatest of the seven folk of the Dwarves, descended from Durin 1. The ancestral hall of Durin's Folk was Khazad-dûm, and they were little concerned with the Wars of Beleriand. But they were friendlier with the Elves than most Dwarves, and in the Second Age they prospered from their contact with the Noldor of Eregion. Durin's Folk fought with the forces of the Last Alliance against Sauron. In the Third Age, Durin's Folk flourished in Khazad-dûm for nearly two thousand years, growing rich from the treasures of its mines, especially mithril. Although they had weathered all assaults from without, they were driven from Khazad-dûm by the rising of the Balrog in the Third Age 1980. Durin's Folk then became a fragmented and wandering people, settling at various places in the Ered Mithrin, and in Erebor, until they were driven out by dragons. By the Third Age 2800, only their paltry mines in the Ered Luin and the Iron Hills remained to Durin's Folk. In 2790, Thròr attempted to visit Kzhazad-dum, was slain by the Orcs who dwelt there. His son, Thráin, in revenge, began the War of the Dwarves and Orcs (2793-2799), in which Durin's Folk played the major role. In 2941, Thorin 2 recovered Erebor, Durin's Folk once more had a home and could become wealthy. Although Balin's colonization of Khazad-dûm in 2989 failed, with the death of the Balrog and the passing of Sauron in the War of the Ring, Khazad-dûm may have been recovered by Durin's Folk in the Fourth Age. Durin's Folk were ruled by the Kings of Durin's Folk, who were the heirs of Durin. Because of the Kings pOssëssed the last and greatest of the Seven Rings, they and their people were the especial targets of Sauron's malice throughout the Third Age. Durin's Folk were also known as the Longbeards; many of them had long, frequently plaited and forked beards.


Dwarves were one of the speaking races of Middle-earth, and one of the Free Peoples. Created by Aulëe because of his impatience to behold the Children of Ilúvatar, they are not counted among the Children, although their life was later confirmed by Ilúvatar. After their making, the Sven Fathers slept until the awakening of the Elves, when they too awoke in widely differing places; ever after, they were divided into seven Folk, each with its own King and ancestral halls. The final fate of the Dwarves is uncertain. The Elves said that they have no life beyond Arda and the death of their bodies, but the Dwarves themselves claimed that Aulëe would bring them to the halls of Mandos, whence they will join the Children of Ilúvatar at the End. Intended by Aulëe to endure the power of Melkor, Dwarves were short (four and a half feet to five feet tall), stocky, strong, resistant to fire, and hardier than any other race. Unswerving and proud, Dwarves could not be dominated by evil and never forgot a wrong or a debt; they went to war frequently and weilded axes. They were fair and not overly generous, honest but secretive. As the children of Aulëe, Dwarves were attracted to substances, to the depths of the earth, and to crafts; they were great miners and craftsmen and worked wonders with stone, metal, and jewels. Although never very friendly with other races, they shared a love of crafts and a reverence for Aulëe. Their greatest flaws were a tendency toward wrath, pOssëssiveness, and gold-lust. Dwarves lived about 250 years and married about the age of 100. Although they sometimes flourished, the numbers of the Dwarves waned through the ages. They suffered heavily in their many wars (caused as often by their own pride as by the greed of others for their treasure) and were the especial target of Sauron, who resolved to destroy them when he found he could not dominate them. Also, few Dwarf women were born, and many of them did not marry. The Dwarves had their own language, Khuzdul, but it was a secret tongue. In public, the Dwarves used th speech of their neighbors, in the First Age Sindarin and in the Third Age usually Westron or other tongues of Men. The names of the Dwarves in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings are of northern Mannish form, and are thus Anglicized equivalents of names in the languages of Dale or Esgaroth. The Dwarves wrote with modified versions of the cirith; Durin's Folk used the Angerthas Moria. The Dwarves called themselves the Khazad, the name given them by Aulëe. The Sindarin equivalent was Hadhod, but the Elves more commonly called them the Naugrim (in the First Age) or the Nogothrim or Noegyth (singular, Nogoth). They were also called the Folk of the Mountains and the Gonnhirrim.


The Eagles were the greatest and noblest of birds, created by Manwë (and Yavanna) before the awakening of the Children of Ilúvatar, apparently as the lords of the kelvar. Charged to aid Elves and Men against Morgoth, in the First Age the Eagles of the Encircling Mountains, led by their lord Thorondor, nested in the Crissaegrim. Aside from the individual exploits of Thorondor, the great deeds of the Eagles included the protection of Gondolin from the spies of Morgoth; the rescue of Beren and Lúthien outside Angband; the protection of Tuor, Idril, and the survivors of Gondolin as they fled the city; and the defeat (with Eärendil) of the winged dragons in the Great Battle. In the Second Age many of the Eagles may have gone to Aman. They flew from the west to warn Númenor of its imminent destruction. In the Third Age the Eagles of the Misty Mountains, led by Gwaihir, aided Gandalf and Radagast. They played key roles in the expedition of Thorin and Company and the Battle of the Five Armies, and during the War of the Ring freed Gandalf from Orthanc and rescued Frodo and Sam from the burning slopes of Orodruin.


Easterlings were tribes of Men who entered into Beleriand after Dagor Bragollach, some at the instigation of Morgoth and some out of desire for the rich lands of Beleriand. Many of them entered the service of the House of Fëanor and played a crucial part in the Nirnaeth Arnoediad. The sons of Bór remained faithful to Maedhros in that battle, but the sons of Ulfang betrayed Caranthir and caused the collapse of the eastern army of the Elves. After the battle, the Easterlings who served Morgoth were shut away in Hithlum, where they married some of the surviving women of the Edain and enslaved the rest of the Edain and Elves. They perished in the Great Battle. The Easterlings were short and broad; they were dark of skin, eye, and hair. Their culture was rather primitive. They were also called the Swarthy Men. Easterlings were also the Men of Rhûn. Beginning in the Third Age 490, waves of Easterlings of various tribes and races periodically attacked Gondor, usually over Dagorlad. Some of these invasions were clearly military, and were no doubt inspired by Sauron, but others, such as the invasion of the Balchoth in 2510, seem to have involved the migration of entire peoples. The Easterlings were in general primitive, and were motivated chiefly by hatred of Gondor and greed for her riches. In the Fourth Age, the Easterlings living nearest Gondor were subdued by Elessar. The Easterlings who fought in the Battle of the Pelennor Fields were bearded and bore great axes, but they seem to have been atypical.


The Edain were tall and strong; their spirits were noble, they were fierce in war, and they shunned all dealings with evil. In Beleriand the Edain loved the Eldar, from whom they learned much wisdom, and they were furhter ennobled by the two marriage of Elda and Adan; Beren and Lúthien and Tuor and Idril. The life span of the Edain before they entered Beleriand was probably about seventy years; in Beleriand it was lengthened to ninety, but few of the Edain lived to old age in peace. The language of the Edain (at least those of the First and Third Houses) was related to Adûnaic, but in Beleriand most of the Edain spoke Sindarin. The Edain were also called the Elf-friends, the Atanatári, the Fathers of Men, and the Men of the Three Houses. The Quenya form was Atani. Men of the Three Houses of the Elf-friends. In the fourth century of the First Age the Edain, drawn toward the Light of the West, entered Beleriand, where many of them entered the service of the Eldar and fought valiantly in the Wars of Beleriand. Some, however, remained in Estolad or fled south or east from the power of Morgoth, and pass from history until the Third Age. Despite their mighty heroes, the Edain were decimated by the hordes of Morgoth, but one of their number, Eärendil of the House of Hador, sailed to Aman and obtained from the Valar the aid by which Morgoth was defeated in the Last Battle. The remnant of the Edain, increased in body and mind by Eönwë, then sailed to Númenor and became known as the Dúnedain.


The Eldar are the Vanyar, Noldor, and Teleri, the Three Kindreds of Elves of the Great Journey. Summoned to Aman by Oromëearly in the First Age, the Eldar made their slow way west from Cuiviénen to Beleriand, save for the Nandor, who turned south down the Vales of Anduin. The Vanyar and Noldaor were towed to Aman by Ulmo, but the Teleri lingered in Beleriand. At length a part of the Teleri also wen over Sea, dwelling first on Tol Eressëa and later at Alqualondë, but many of the Teleri remained in Beleriand and became known as the Sindar. In later years, the Vanyar dwelt in Valinor and the Teleri in Eldamar, but Fëanor led most of the Noldor back to Middle-earth in pursuit of the Silmarils stolen by Morgoth. There the Eldar first encountered the Edain, but at length the two races were virtually destroyed by Morgoth. At the end of the First Age most of the Eldar of Middle-earth went to Aman, where they renewed their friendship with the Dúnedain, now in Númenor. In the Second Age, many of the Eldar who remained in Middle-earth lived in Lindon, where they were ruled by Gil-galad, last heir of the Noldorin kings in Middle-earth, while others, led by Celebrimbor, founded Eregion. Still others of the Eldar, such as Thranduil, Galadriel, and Celeborn, went farther east and founded Elven-realms, peopled mostly by Silvan Elves. However, the Eldar were troubled by Sauron, and their numbers dwindled and they did little new. With the waning of the Three Rings at the end of the Third Age, many of the mightiest Eldar passed over Sea, and those who remained dwindled in power. The Eldar originally spoke Quenya. The dialect of the Teleri seems to have diverged somewhat from that of the Eldar of Aman during their stay on Tol Eressëa, but in Middle-earth the speech of the Sindar developed into a new language, Sindarin. The term Eldar first referred to all the Elves, but later was limited to the Three Kindreds. They were also called the High Kindred, the Three Kindreds, the Eldalië, the People of the Stars, and the People of the Great Journey. The term High Elves refers to all the Eldar sometimes and to the Tareldar at others. They are called the Nómin by the early Edain. The Sindarin form was eledh or edhel.


The Elves are the Firstborn, the Elder Children of Ilúvatar, conceived by Eru alone in the third theme of Ainulindalë, the eldest and noblest of the speaking races of Middle-earth. They awoke by Cuiviénen in the starlight of the Sleep of Yavanna, and there they were visited by Oromë, who loved tem, and by Melkor, who captured some of them and bred them into Orcs. Early in the First Age the Elves were divided into two groups—the Eldar, who accepted the summons of the Valar, undertook the Great Journey, and were ennobled by their life in Aman; and the Avari, who refused the summons and became the lesser Silvan Elves. The Elves flourished in the First Age, but the Eldarin realms of Beleriand were destroyed by Morgoth, and in later ages their power waned. In the Second and Third Ages some Elves still lived in Wandering Companies, traveling through the broad lands they loved, but many were gathered in Elven-realms and refuges such as Lindon, Imladris, the Woodland Realm, and Lórien, where Eldarin lords ruled over Silvan populations. But by the end o the Third Age the Dominion of Men was at hand, and the Elves who remained in Middle-earth dwindled and became a secret people. Yet in Eldamar the Eldar live nigh to the Valar until the End of the World. Elves were thefairest of all earthly creatures and resembled the Ainur in spirit. They were about six feet tall and somewhat slender, graceful but strong and resistant to the extremes of nature. Their senses, especially of hearing and sight, were much keener than those of Men. Elves apparently did not sleep, but rested their minds in waking dreams or by looking at beautiful things. The Eldar, and perhaps all Elves, could talk directly from mind to mind without words. Elves loved all beautiful things, but especially the wonders of nature, above all the waters of Ulmo and the stars of Elbereth that shone on them at their awakening. Their curiosity and desire for knowledge was insatiable; one of their great achievements was to teach the Ents to talk. As their own name for them selves (Quendi, “the speakers”) implies, they valued communication highly. They were by nature good and abhorred all works of evil, although they could be seduced by evil that seemed fair. At first the Elves of Middle-earth welcomed Men, but after the treachery of the Nirnaeth Arnoediad the two races were estranged, except for the Edain and their descendants. There were three marriages between the Edain and the Eldar, and apparently others between the Edain (especially the Dúnedain of Dol Amroth) and lesser Elves. The Elves (except for the Noldor) never had much to do with the Dwarves; the hunting of the Noegyth Nibin by Elves of Beleriand and the murder of Thingol and sack of Doriath by Dwarves of Nogrod were perhaps the earliest of the many events that alienated the two races. Although they could be slain or die of grief, Elves were not subject to age or disease. An Elfe who lost his life went to the halls of Mandos, whence he could go elsewhere in Valinor but not return to Middle-earth. The fate of Elves is bound to Eä, and they cannot leave the Circles of the World until the End, when they will join with the Ainur (and perhaps Men) in the Second Music before the throne of Ilúvatar. The Elves had three Rings of Power, which were given to the three greatest of the Eldar. The Elves called themselves Quendi, the Speakers. They were also called the Eldar Children of Ilúvatar, the Firstborn of Ilúvatar, the Firstborn, the Elder Kindred, the Elder Race, the Elder People, the Fair Folk, the Merry People, and the Folk of the Wood. The name Eldar originally referred to all Elves.


Sometime in the First or Second Age the male and female Ents became estranged; the entwives crOssëd Anduin and tended their favorite plants—small trees, grasses, fruit trees, flowers, and vegetables—in what was later called the Brown Lands, while the male Ents tended their larger trees, especially in the great forest that stretched from the Old Forest to Fangorn. The Entwives were greatly honored by Men, to whom they taught the skills of agriculture, but sometime before the end of the Second Age their gardens were destroyed and they vanished. The Ents in the Third Age remained in the Forest of Fangorn, growing old without hope of having children. Some of the Ents grew “treeish” and ceased moving or speaking, but some, like Fangorn, remained active and alert. About the Third Age 2950, Saruman began harassing the Ents and cutting down their trees; in 3019, spurred by the appearance of Merry and Pippin, Fangorn realized that something had to be done. He aroused the remaining active Ents, and they attacked and destroyed Isengard. In the Fourth Age the Ents probably remained in Fangorn Forest and dwindled. Ents were tree-herds, evidently trees inhabited by spirits summoned by the thought of Yavanna to be the guardians of the olvar until the Dominion of Men. The nature of the Ents was closely connected with that of the trees they protected and the tree-spirits they guarded. The Ents awoke at the same time as the Elves; the Eldar gave them the desire to speak and taught them Quenya and Sindarin. In the First Age, the Ents roamed through Beleriand and the eastern lands, although they enter into history only once, when they helped destroy the Dwarves of Nogrod who had sacked Menegroth. An Ent looked like a fourteen-foot-tall cross between a tree and a Man. Ents resembled different trees, and individual Ents cared for and honored the kind of tree they looked like, and to a certain extent pOssëssed the personality one might expect of that tree. Ents did not die naturally; their skin was extremely tough, but ehy could be burned. Ents thought slowly and were slow to act, but once aroused they pOssëssed the strength of the age-long action of trees compressed in a few seconds; they could crack rocks and move large quantities of earth easily and quickly. Ents were nourished by Ent-droughts. The Ents spoke Entish. They also knew many other languages but preferred Quenya, which they spoke after the same fashion as they did Entish. The name “Ent” was given them by the Rohirrim, and means “giant” in Old English. They were called Onodrim or Enyd in Sindarin by the Elves; the singular was Onod. They were also called the Shepherds of the Trees and the Shadow of the Wood.


Half-orcs were servants of Saruman, used by him as spies and soldiers. They were seemingly the product of a cross between Men and Orcs. Although tall as Men, they were sallow-faced and squint-eyed. The Chief's Men were half-orcs. The half-orcs (the term is not used in The Lord of the Rings) were definitely not Uruk-hai.


Haradrim were the primitive and savage Men of Harad. In the Second Age, some of the Haradrim paid tribute to Númenor, but in the Third they were influenced by Sauron and were a constant threat to Gondor's southern borders. Some Haradrim were ruled by Black Númenóreans. The most serious attacks of the Haradrim on Gondor took place in the Third Age 1014-1050, over Umbar; in 1944, when the Haradrim were allied with the Wainriders; in 2885, when they were defeated in the Battle of the Crossings of Poros; and during the War of the Ring, when Haradrim fought in the Battle of the Pelennor Fields and elsewhere. In addition, from the nineteenth century in the Third Age onward, the Corsairs of Umbar were Haradrim. The Haradrim were tall and dark-skinned, with dark hair and eyes. The loved bright clothing and ornaments, and some tribes of Haradrim painted their bodies. In battle, they used all weapons, but were noted for their use of Oliphaunts. In Westron they were called Southerns and Southrons. They were also called Swarthy Men (by Hobbits) and the Swertings.


Hobbits were one of the speaking races of Middle-earth, originally closely related to Men. Although created in the First Age, Hobbits were unobtrusive and lived in the Vales of Anduin largely unnoticed by other races until well into the Third Age. About the Third Age 1050 the Hobbits, who by this time had become divided into three distinct groups, the Fallohides, the Harfoots, and the Stoors, fled westward because of the evil in Mirkwood. In 1600 the Shire was founded, and soon almost all Hobbits came to live there or in Bree, although in 2463, there was a colony of Stoors in the Gladden Fields, and at the time of the War of the Ring, there were wandering Hobbits. Except for the Great Plague of 1636 and the Long Winter of 2758, the Hobbits of Eriador lived for the most part eacefully and comfortably in the Shire and Bree, thanks to the protection of Gandalf and the Rangers. Their population grew, and twice the boundaries of the Shire were extended; in 2340 the Oldbucks settled Buckland, and in the Fourth Age 32 the Westmarch was added to the Shire by gift of King Elessar. Except for Gandalf and the Rangers, before the War of the Ring nobody was concerned with Hobbits; after the War, however, because of the heroic deeds of Frodo and his companions, Hobbits were included in the songs and chronicles of other peoples, a courtesy that in general the Hobbits did not return. Hobbits, although comfort-loving, provincial, and distrustful of the outside world, were in times of danger courageous, skillful and relatively undaunted by great terrors. Toward the end of the Third Age, the Hobbits alone in Middle-earth (with the Men of Bree) used surnames. They lived to about one hundred years of age; thirty-three was considered the age of adulthood. They were also known as the Little Folk and the Little People. The Stoors of the Gladden Fields in the Third Age 2463 were matriarchal, and all Hobbits may at one time have been organized into matriarchal clans. Hobbits at the time of the War of the Ring spoke Hobbitish, a provincial dialect of Westron. They wrote mostly with a mode of the cirth, although some of the better-educated Hobbits knew the Tengwar. Hobbit is an Anglicization of kuduk, the name they called themselves; it is related to the translated Rohirric holbytia (pl. holbytlan), a translation of the genuine Rohirric kûd-dûkan, “hole-dweller.” They were called the Periain or Periannath in Sindarin and banakil (sing.) in genuine Westron; the translated Westron equivalent is Halfling.


Hobgoblins were evil creatures of the Ered Mithrim. Mentioned only in a passage in which Gandalf is trying to frighten Bilbo, hobgoblins were probably Orcs, perhaps Uruk-hai.


Kuduk was the name by which the Hobbits of the Shire and Bree called themselves at the time of the War of the Ring. It was related to the Rohirric kûd-dûkan.


The Maiar were those of the lesser Ainur who chose to enter Eä. The Maiar tended Arda under the direction of the Valar, although some, notably Sauron and the Balrogs, were seduced from their allegiance by Melkor. Although far more numerous than the Valar, only eight of the loyal Maiar are named: Ilmare, Eönwë, Ossë, Uinen, Melian, Olórin, Arien, and Tillion. The Istary may have been Maiar. They were also called the people of the Valar. The singular is Maia.


Men are the Younger Children of Ilúvatar, one of the speaking races of Middle-earth. Men awoke in Hildórien at the first rising of the Sun. Early in their history, Men were befriended by Dark Elves but were also approached by Melkor, whose Shadow fell on them. Men prospered and divided into many races, of which the only two mentioned in the First Age are the Edain and the Easterlings. Aside from the Edain, most Men lived in Darkness, either fearing or worshipping Melor without any knowledge of Ilúvatar or the Valar. In later ages some Men – the Dúnadain, the Rohirrim, the Men of Dale and the Vales of Anduin, for example – rose above the Shadow, but the vast hordes of Rhûn and Harad and many of the peoples of the West-lands remained caught in their ignorance and barbarity. Yet the history of Arda is one of the rise of Men, for they are outside the fate of the Great Music, and by the Fourth Age, the Dominion of Men, they were the dominant race of Middle-earth. In most ways Men were inferior to the Elves. They were subject to aging and disease, less resistant to the extremes of nature, less perceptive of the minds of others and the messages of the Valar, blind to the future, and less skilled in lore and crafts. Yet Men have unquencable ambition and they have the ultimate freedom of the Gift of Men. In the End, they may approach Ilúvatar and dwell with him. The Dúnedain of Gondor divided Men into three groups: the Men of the West, the Dúnedain; the Men of the Twilight, peoples such as the Rohirrim; and the Men of Darkness, or the Wild, men of lesser stature and nature, unrelated to the Edain. Men were also called by the Eldar the Atani (Quenya) or the Edain (Sindarin); Hildor, the Followers, and the Sftercomers; Apanónar, Engwar, Firimar, the Usurpers, the Strangers, the Guests, the Inscrutable, the Self-cursed, the Heavy-handed, the Nightfearers, and the Children of the Sun. The Hobbits called them the Big Folk or the Big People. They were also called Mortal Men and Mankind.


The Nazgûl were the principal tools through which Sauron worked; they wielded a great power and terror, and were used as messengers and scouts, and to lead Sauron's armies and cow his enemies. Their power together at night was nearly as great as Gandalf's. They could be wounded only by weapons with special spells on them, and any blade which touched them melted. The Nazgûl were strongest at night and in deserted places, and were afraid of fire and the name Elbereth. Because of their evil power, people who were near them for long developed the Black Breath. As with others corrupted by the Rings, they were invisible to normal eyes and could be seen only by their black clothing. The Nazgûl had a keen sense of smell, but they were seemingly blind by normal standards. They could emit loud, piercing, frightening cries. They used the Black Speech. None of the names of the Nazgûl were given, although Gothmog was possibly the name of the second highest Nazgul. The Nazgûl were nine beings, slaves of the Nine Rings and the chief servants of Sauron. Originally Men, three of them Black Númenóreans, the Nazgûl were each given one of the Nine Rings by Sauron in the Second Age, and being desirous of power, were easily corrupted. About the Second Age 2250 they first appeared as the Nazgul, beings utterly dependent on Sauron, or, more accurately, on his power acting through the One Ring. When Sauron fell at the end of the Second Age, the Nazgûl were over thrown or went into hiding. They reappeared about the Third Age 1300, at which time their chief, the Lord of the Nazgul, became the Witch-king of Angmar. Theother eight stayed in the East until about 1640, when they secretly entered Mordor and began to prepare that realm for Sauron, who was in Dol Guldur. In 2000, joined by their Lord, the Nazgûl besieged Minas Ithil, captured the city and its palantír in 2002. From this time, the Nazgûl were closely associated with Minas Morgul, as inas Ithil was then called. In 2951, ten years after its desertion by Sauron, three Nazgûl went to Dol Guldur and stayed there until the War of the Ring. In 3018 Sauron sent the Nazgul, who at this time were known as the Black Riders because they rode swift black horses, to the Shire to search for Frodo and the Ring. Although the Lord of the Nazgûl wounded Frodo on Weathertop, he escaped from them, and their steeds were later destroyed in the Ford of Bruinen. A few months later, in 3019, they reappeared, mounted on flying beasts. The winged Messenger was a Nazgul. The Nazgûl were active in the Siege of Gondor and the Battle of the Pelennor Fields, in which their Lord was slain, but the remaining Nazgûl were destroyed, with their Rings, when the One Ring was unmade in orodruin.


The Valar were the fourteen greatest (excluding Melkor) of the Ainur who chose to enter Eä to fulfill the Vision of Ilúvatar . Seven male and seven female, the Valar were ruled by Manwë and varda. Although beings of pure spirit, the Valar in Eä usually assumed physical forms, fanar, of great beauty and majesty. Within Eä, the Valar were concerned with the completion of Arda according to their individual knowledge of various portions of the Vision. Although Arda was Marred by Melkor, the Valar established stability among its substances and then turned their attention to light and growth. The Spring of Arda began when the Valar created the two Lamps and settled in Almaren. Once again Melkor marred their work, casting down the Lamps and ruining Almaren. The Valar removed to Aman, where they raised the Pelóri, established Valinor, and created the Two Trees to light their realm. While Middle-earth rested in the Sleep of Yavanna, the Valar prepared for the awakening of the Elves by having Varda create new stars. After the Elves awoke, the Valar decided to protect them by capturing Melkor (which they had been afraid to do before because the turmoil of such a war might have destroyed the unknown sleeping-place of the Elves) and bringing the Elves to Aman. Although some of the Valar mistrusted the latter part of the plan, after the Battle of the Powers and the Great Journey, Arda seemed secure. But Manwë in his purity misunderstood the malice of Melkor, and the Valar were forced to endure the poisoning of the Two Trees and the revolt of the Noldor. Once again the Valar decided to suffer this defeat and permit evil to go free, but they created the light of the Sun and Moon to weaken Melkor and hearten the Elves and newly awakened Men. During the five hundred years of the Wars of Beleriand the Valar felt powerless to intervene, for the Oath of Fëanor had invoked Ilúvatar, and the Valar did not fully understand the destiny of his Children. Yet their pity moved them all, even stern Mandos, from time to time, and such actions as Mandos's releasing of Beren and Lúthien from the Houses of the Dead and Ulmo's manipulation of the career of Tuor set the stage for Eärendil's arrival in Aman with the Silmaril. At this point, when the Edain and Eldar had been virtually destroyed without loss of dignity or reverence for the Valar and Ilúvatar, and when their representatives (although not of the Oath-sworn House of Fëanor) were willing to relinquish a Silmaril, the Valar felt empowered to act, and in the Great Battle of the Host of Valinor destroyed Morgoth's hordes and cast him out of Eä. At the end of the First Age, the traditional concerns of the Valar—light and security of Elves and Men—caused them to place the Silmaril of Eärendil in the heavens as a star, reward the Edain with Elenna, and forgive all the Exiles save Galadriel. It was the gift of Elenna to the Edain which led to the greatest crisis of the Valar, for in the Second Age 3319 Ar-Pharazôn of Númenor, corrupted by Sauron, assaulted Valinor; the Valar laid down their guardianship for the moment and Eru destroyed Númenor. Sauron, however, survived into the Third Age, and so about the Third Age 1000 the Valar sent the Wizards to Middle-earth eventually worked out their destiny and overthrew Sauron in the War of the Ring. Since the Vision had ended before this point, the role of the Valar in later ages is uncertain. They probably retain their guardianship of Eä, but they intervene all too seldom in the affairs of Men. In all of their actions, the Valar seem tentative and not always successful, but it must be stressed that they were merely the demiurges and guardians of Eä, preparing, according to their imperfect understanding of the Ainulindalë, the physical substance of Arda for the Children of Ilúvatar. Since the Children were created in the Third Theme, in which the Ainur did not participate, the Valar understood neither the natures nor the destinies of Elves and Men. Because of this, the Valar acted directly as little as possible, instead of bolstering the wisdom, courage, and (if possible) virtue of the Children so that they could achieve their own destiny. Even so, the Valar acted as arbiters in many areas; for example, they interpreted and enforced the rules of the Riddle-game. The Valar were known by many names. The Sindarin form was Belain. They were also called the Great Ones, the Mighty, the Powers (all loose translations of Valar), the Powers of Arda, the Rulers of Arda, the Powers of the World, the Guardians of the World, the Lords, the Lords of Valinor, the Lords of the West, the Authorities, the Deathless (especially among the Númenóreans), the Gods (by Men, who sometimes ignorantly worshipped them), and the Enemies beyond the Sea (by Orcs of Angband).


Werewolves were one of the breeds of Morgoth's monsters, especially favored by Sauron. The werewolves were dreadful spirits imprisoned in large wolf-bodies; the two greatest of the breed were Draugluin and Carcharoth. The wolves ridden by Orcs in Beleriand may have been werewolves. The Wargs that attacked the Company of the Ring were not; werewolves had real and mortal bodies.


Woses were primitive Men living in Druadan Forest at the time of the War of the Ring. They had lived there at least since the Second Age, and although they did not dare to oppose Sauron openly, they hated and feared him. In the Third Age, they seem occasionally to have been hunted for sport by the Rohirrim. During the War of the Ring, the Woses, under their chieftain, Ghan-buri-Ghan, led the Rohirrim through Druadan Forest so that they could avoid the Orc-army on the West Road. In return for this service, at the beginning of the Fourth Age, King Elessar gave Gruadan Forest to the Woses and forbade any outsider to enter it without their permission. The Woses were culturally primitive, but were very wood-crafty; they used poison arrows. Their language was entirely alien to Adûnaic. They were also called the Wild Men of the Woods or of Druadan Forest.
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