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Middle-Earth and Lord of the Rings Facts

5 Facts About the Fictional Middle-Earth

J.R.R. Tolkien created a vast and complex world when he wrote The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy. The setting for these stories, a land called Middle-earth is rich with its own languages, myths, races, and cultures. With the guidance of The Origin's of Tolkien's Middle-Earth For Dummies ($16), we've noted five facts about this fictional world that came straight from one man's imagination.

  • Hobbit origins — Despite Tolkien's statements that hobbits are in no way related to rabbits, the similarities are striking. Both live in holes, have furry feet that are fine shoeless, Bilbo Baggins wears a waistcoat reminiscent of the Alice in Wonderland's white rabbit, and several characters in The Hobbit remark on Bilbo looking like a rabbit.
  • Gandalf — Wizard Gandalf the Grey's name originated from the Dvergatal ("Tally of the Dwarves") section of an ancient Norse poem called the Völuspá. The Dvergatal includes a list of dwarf names, many of which are seen in the The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings series, including Gandálfr, Fíli, Kíli, and Bombur.
  • Language — As a professor of Anglo-Saxon and proficient in over a dozen languages, Tolkien put a huge emphasis on linguistics in Middle-earth. He created languages used in his books, including Quenya, which has similarities to Finnish and is the language of the Elves.
  • For more about your favorite fantasy realm follow the break.

  • SauronLord of the Rings movie watchers may remember Middle-earth villain Sauron as a giant eye, but in the books, as a powerful sorcerer, Sauron could assume many shapes to fit his needs beyond the eye.
  • J.R.R. Tolkien: Myth and Middle-earth in Context online course — The online course from the University of Wales Institute, Cardiff costs £340 but delves deep into the mythical world created by Tolkien. In addition to studying the languages the author's created for Middle-earth, the clan cultures of the world and major theme will be examined alongside his influence on pop culture.
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