Very few readers are left unimpressed when they, together with Frodo, Sam, Merry and Pippin, lose their way in the fog on the Barrow-downs and become trapped in the mound by the Barrow-wights. These creatures are horrible and horrifying, and appear even more so as we do not fully understand what they are exactly. So, what are these wights and where do they come from?
There are many creatures in Tolkien’s Legendarium that come across as uncanny and downright scary. The Nazgûl definitely belong to this category. Also known as the Ringwraiths, they send panic and fear before them, and this name — Ringwraiths — has hidden clues to their nature.
Being the chief villain of the Second and Third Ages, Sauron sparks numerous questions concerning his motives. How did he become the evil figure we know him to be? Why did he run the risk of transferring a great amount of his inherent power into the One Ring knowing that it could lead to his destruction? Let us look at his downfall and motives through Tolkien’s own stories and letters.
…Barad-dûr, the Dark Tower, which suffered no rival,
and laughed at flattery, biding its time,
secure in its pride and its immeasurable strength.
(Two Towers, p. 192)
Just like Angband in the First Age became the citadel of Morgoth — the embodiment of evil and the Dark Lord’s tyranny in Middle-earth, so did Barad-dûr rise to fill its place in the Second and Third Ages as the fortress of Sauron. In many ways the Dark Tower of Mordor, built by once Morgoth’s most trusted lieutenant, became the descendant of Angband, sharing traits with it, but also being the reflection of Sauron’s own power, character, ambitions and evil. Read more
It is interesting how a dwelling place often matches the personality of its dweller. It is very often that an inhabitant imparts their own character to the place they live in, so the place becomes very much like the person that inhabits it. Once we look at Farmer Maggot and his farm, we see how well the similarities between the house and the dweller show. The Farmer is as perfect for Bamfurlong as Bamfurlong is perfect for him.
Food made by the Elves has traits that cannot be found in Men’s victuals: usually it possesses especially refreshing or invigorating qualities. When the Fellowship was leaving Lothlórien, the Elves brought a lot of gifts to them, including some food: Read more
Following the success of The Hobbit, Tolkien was asked to write the sequel to it: the publisher and the public wanted more adventures of the Hobbits. As the Professor began working on the follow-up to his story, the new tale, which eventually became The Lord of the Rings, was slowly diverging from the light tone of The Hobbit and the area of children’s literature into the darker and more sinister realm. One of the chief contributors to the darkness of the new tale were the Black Riders. Read more
There are various places around Middle-earth, and very often we see that the dwellers of a certain land and the land itself are a good match for each other. There can be observed a particular interdependence between an area and its inhabitants, but is it the land that shapes the dwellers or vice versa? Read more
The rider’s cloak streamed behind him, and his hood was thrown back; his golden hair flowed shimmering in the wind of his speed. To Frodo it appeared that a white light was shining through the form and raiment of the rider, as if through a thin veil.
(Fellowship of the Ring, p. 275) Read more