[[caption-width-right:321:Go on. [[EarWorm Start humming it.]] [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RMInqyumZ3I You know you want to.]]]]

The term ''Legendarium'' is used as a collective term for all the works of Creator/JRRTolkien set in the world of Arda/Middle-earth[[note]]spelt with hyphen and lowercase e[[/note]]. (To be exact, Middle-earth is a continent in the world Arda, but the former is also commonly used to refer to the whole universe.)

The earliest drafts of the great stories of the legendarium were written around the time of UsefulNotes/WorldWarI, and continued to grow from there on. Tolkien worked on the legendarium for most of his life, continually exploring it further, developing and changing it again and again.

The first book published, ''The Hobbit'', actually wasn't intended as part of the legendarium, only to borrow some material. When Tolkien began writing the ''Hobbit''-sequel that was to become ''The Lord of the Rings'', he moved the story of both books into the Middle-earth setting. This fact is responsible for the seeming inconsistencies in tone and canon between ''The Hobbit'' and the other Middle-earth works; this is often mistaken for the world and story having matured up by those who [[OlderThanTheyThink do not know it existed before]]. He also made some minor changes in a later edition of ''The Hobbit'' to match better with ''The Lord of the Rings'', while also providing an in-universe justification for the original discrepancies in the latter.

The published books are:
* ''Literature/TheHobbit'' (first edition 1937)
* ''Literature/TheLordOfTheRings'' (originally published in three volumes; first edition 1954--55)
* ''Literature/TheAdventuresOfTomBombadil'' (collection of "in-universe" poetry, 1962)
* ''Literature/TheSilmarillion'' (first edition 1977)
* ''Literature/UnfinishedTalesOfNumenorAndMiddleEarth'' (1980)
* ''Literature/TheHistoryOfMiddleEarth'' (12 volumes, 1983--96)
* ''Literature/TheChildrenOfHurin'' (2007)
* ''Literature/TheHistoryOfTheHobbit'' (2007)
* ''Literature/TheTaleOfBerenAndLuthien'' (2017)

Only the first three were published during his lifetime; the rest were published posthumously by his son Christopher. Of these, ''The Silmarillion'' and ''The Children of Húrin'' consist of a single narrative edited together from Tolkien's texts, while the rest are collections of Tolkien's material (with commentaries and notes by his son), ranging from complete narratives to early and new drafts, to essays.

''Pictures by J. R. R. Tolkien'' (1979) and ''J. R. R. Tolkien: Artist and Illustrator'' (1995) contain numerous illustrations of Arda, although these books are not concerned solely with the Legendarium. Several of JRRT's linguistic texts which did not appear in ''The History of Middle-earth'' have been published in the periodicals ''Vinyar Tengwar'', ''Parma Eldalamberon'', and ''Tyalië Tyelelliéva''.

Additionally, there are several titles used for collective bodies of stories (which are used in the fictional world, and also real-world terms to include all relevant material independently of published books), among them:
* The ''Ainulindalë'' (the creation of the universe)
* The ''Valaquenta'' (the Account of the Valar)
* The (''Quenta'') ''Silmarillion'' (the First Age and wars surrounding the Silmarils)
* The ''Narn'' (''i chîn Húrin'') (the story of the Children of Húrin)
* The ''Akallabêth'' (History and Downfall of Númenor in the Second Age)
There have been adaptations in various media:
* ''WesternAnimation/TheHobbit'' (animated) - The [[Creator/RankinBassProductions Rankin/Bass]] animated adaptation of this book.
* ''WesternAnimation/{{The Lord of the Rings}}'' (animated) - The Creator/RalphBakshi animated adaptation (covers about 1 1/2 of the book).
* ''WesternAnimation/{{The Return of the King}}'' (animated) - The Rankin/Bass animated adaptation of the third part.
* ''Series/TheHobbits'' (1993) - A Finnish {{miniseries}}.
* ''Film/TheLordOfTheRings'' (2001-03 film series) - The live-action adaptation trilogy by Creator/PeterJackson. Easily the most well-known version.
* ''Film/TheHobbit'' (film series) - Another trilogy of Peter Jackson live-action adaptations.
** ''Film/TheHobbitAnUnexpectedJourney'' (2012)
** ''Film/TheHobbitTheDesolationOfSmaug'' (2013)
** ''Film/TheHobbitTheBattleOfTheFiveArmies'' (2014)

!! Video games
* ''Shadowfax'' (1982) - A simple action game where Gandalf rides around and blasts Nazgul, by Postern Ltd.
* ''VideoGame/{{The Hobbit|1982}}'' (1982) - An InteractiveFiction game by Melbourne House.
* ''The Fellowship of the Ring'' (1986) - An InteractiveFiction game by Melbourne House.
* ''The Shadows of Mordor'' (1987) - An InteractiveFiction game by Melbourne House.
* ''War in Middle Earth'' (1988) - A RealTimeStrategy game by Melbourne House.
* ''The Crack of Doom'' (1989) - An InteractiveFiction game by Beam Software.
* ''J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, Vol I'' (1990) & ''Vol II: The Two Towers'' (1992) - Role-playing games by Interplay Productions.
* ''VideoGame/{{The Hobbit|2003}}'' (2003) - An ActionAdventure game by Vivendi Universal.
* ''The Fellowship of the Ring'' (2001) - An ActionAdventure game by Sierra / Vivendi.
* ''The Two Towers'' (2002) - An action game by Electronic Arts.
* ''VideoGame/TheReturnOfTheKing'' (2003) - An action game by Electronic Arts.
* ''VideoGame/TheLordOfTheRingsWarOfTheRing'' (2003) - A RealTimeStrategy game by Sierra / Vivendi.
* ''VideoGame/TheLordOfTheRingsTheThirdAge'' (2004) - A role-playing game by Electronic Arts.
* ''VideoGame/TheBattleForMiddleEarth'' (2004) - A RealTimeStrategy game by Electronic Arts.
** ''The Battle for Middle-Earth II'' (2006)
** ''The Battle for Middle-earth II: The Rise of the Witch-king'' (2006)
* ''VideoGame/TheLordOfTheRingsOnline'' (2007) - An MMO by Turbine.
* ''The Lord of the Rings: Conquest'' (2009) - A team-based action game by Pandemic.
* ''VideoGame/WarInTheNorth'' (2011) - An action-RPG by Snowblind.
* ''VideoGame/GuardiansOfMiddleEarth'' (2012) - A [[MultiplayerOnlineBattleArena MOBA]] by Monolith.
* ''VideoGame/LEGOTheLordOfTheRings'' (2012)
* ''VideoGame/MiddleEarthShadowOfMordor'' (2014) - An action-RPG by Monolith in an AdaptationDistillation AlternateTimeline of both the books and Peter Jackson's films.
** ''VideoGame/MiddleEarthShadowOfWar'' (2017)

!! TabletopGames

* ''TabletopGame/MiddleEarthRolePlaying'' - The tabletop RPG by Iron Crown Enterprises.
* ''TabletopGame/MiddleEarthCollectibleCardGame'' - The CCG by Iron Crown Enterprises.
* ''TabletopGame/TheHobbitCardGame'' - A trick-based card game featuring Bilbo, Thorin, Gandalf, Smaug, and Bolg.
* ''TabletopGame/TheLordOfTheRingsStrategyBattleGame'', now ''TabletopGame/TheHobbitStrategyBattleGame'' - The tabletop miniature wargame by Creator/GamesWorkshop that takes inspiration from both the Jackson films and the original books.
* ''[[TabletopGame/CerberusEngineGames The Lord of the Rings/The Hobbit Deck-Building Game]]'' - An inter-compatible series of deck-builders by Cryptozoic Entertainment.
* ''TabletopGame/TheLordOfTheRingsRoleplayingGame'' - The tabletop RPG by Decipher.
* ''TabletopGame/TheLordOfTheRingsTradingCardGame'' - The CCG by Decipher.
* ''TabletopGame/TheOneRing / Adventures in Middle-Earth'' - The tabletop [=RPGs=] by Cubicle 7. They're essentially the same game, but use different systems - ''The One Ring'' uses its own unique system, while ''Adventures in Middle-Earth'' uses 5th edition ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons''.

!! Non-canonical works

Non-canonical works are additions to the legendarium by authors other than Tolkien, with various legal status. They are not considered proper Arda or Middle-Earth lore by Tolkien scholars or buffs, but rather form their own alternate continuities.

* ''FanFic/BeyondTheDawn'' - The novel by the Ukrainian author Olga Chigirinskaya, set in the First Age of Arda.
* ''FanFic/TheLastRingbearer'' - The novel by the Russian author Kirill Eskov, an alternative retelling of the ''Lord of the Rings''.
!! Tropes appearing in multiple books of the ''legendarium'':

%%%General or famous tropes mostly, please; details of specific works should go there to avoid clutter, unless they don't have a page yet.

%%% Zero Context Example entries are NOT allowed on wiki pages. All such entries have been commented out.
%%% Add context to the entries before uncommenting them.

* TheAgeless: Elves are naturally immortal; death can come though physical injury, poison, or mental/psychological injury.
* AllThereInTheManual: The Appendices made up nearly half of ''The Return of the King''.
* AlwaysChaoticEvil:
** Tolkien himself was troubled by the UnfortunateImplications of this trope. The problem is that races like the orcs were described in his published work as being almost genetically evil. As a believing and devout Catholic Tolkien realized the theological implications of this stance. Given the Catholic underpinnings of Arda's theology, Morgoth (the BigBad) may have corrupted the souls of elves to become orcs, but even with all Morgoth could do, any living creature should still have a chance, however small, of redemption, repentance and forgiveness. Tolkien's characterization essentially denied the possibility of redemption for the orcs. It was in part this conflict that kept him from releasing any of the other parts of his Legendarium in his lifetime, as he could never quite reconcile this portion of his fantasy world with his deeply-held faith.
** Even in ''The Lord of the Rings'' there are hints that Tolkien may have wavered on this, as Elrond's reflections on the Last Alliance states that of all beings in Middle-earth, only the Elves were undivided. This means not only that some Men and Dwarves fought both on the side of Sauron, but ''also'' implies that there may have been Orcs and Trolls that fought ''against'' his forces (though, [[EnemyCivilWar given the combative nature of Orcs]], they may not have fought on the side of the Alliance ''per se'', but used the conflict as an excuse to settle grievances between tribes).
* AnimalEspionage: Radagast's affinity with animals allows him to use them as his eyes and ears.
* {{Applicability}}: [[invoked]]The TropeNamer.
* AppropriatedAppellation: Many names and bynames. E.g.: Bilbo's (and later Frodo's) sword (technically dagger, but big enough for hobbits to be a short sword), Sting, got its name from the GiantSpiders Bilbo fought with it. Aragorn is given the name Strider by the Breelanders and later on uses it (translated into Elvish) as the name of his dynasty.
* ArtifactOfDoom:
** The One Ring and the Nine Rings are the kind of artifacts that take over your mind, [[AgeWithoutYouth turn you into a wraith]], and usually make you Sauron's slave. Oh, and if Sauron ever gets the One Ring back he can take over the world.
** The Seven Rings given to the Dwarves qualify to a lesser extent, causing them to fall to {{Greed}}. As for the Three Rings, which were made without Sauron's direct influence, they're not without danger, but only become a true example of the trope if subjugated under the One Ring.
* AuthorityEqualsAsskicking: Generally the great heroes and villains in the stories are the princes, lords, and other aristocrats. It's rare for a "common" person like Samwise to be a great hero.
* AuthorAppeal: In case you missed it, Tolkien likes linguistics, trees, music, and [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edith_Tolkien dark-haired grey-eyed women.]]
* AuthorAvatar: WordOfGod points to [[Literature/TheSilmarillion Beren]] and [[Literature/TheLordOfTheRings Faramir.]] In fact, "Beren" appears on Tolkien's tombstone under his real name. "Luthien" likewise appears on his wife's tombstone next to his.
* BadassBeard: Not for nothing were Durin's Folk called the "Longbeards".
* BadassBookWorm: Examples include Faramir and Finrod Felagund.
* BigBad: Morgoth in the First Age, Sauron in the Second and Third.
* BittersweetEnding: Tolkien put one at the end of nearly every single story he wrote. The Dark Lords and their servants ''are'' each defeated, but only after the loss or destruction of yet more of the ancient beauty of the world. The exceptions are the real [[DownerEnding Downer Endings]], such as the one in ''The Children of Húrin''.
** In the Hobbit, Smaug's dead and the dwarves got their gold, but thousands have been killed in the destruction of Laketown and the Battle of the Five Armies. [[spoiler: This includes all the heirs of Durin.]]
** In the Lord of the Rings, the Ring has been destroyed, but Frodo now has PTSD from all the things that he saw or experienced on his journey, the Elves all have to either leave Middle-Earth or "diminish" from a proud race of Precursors into TheRemnant, and millions of people have been killed in the war.
* BlackSpeech: Sauron's Black Speech is the TropeNamer.
* BringNewsBack: As described in the extended account of the disaster of Gladden Fields.
* ChangingOfTheGuard: Between ''The Hobbit'' and ''The Lord of the Rings''
* ColdBloodedTorture: Both Sauron and Morgoth are fond of it. Orcs do it for entertainment.
* ColorCodedWizardry: The five wizards who came to Middle-earth were Gandalf the Grey, Saruman the White, Radagst the Brown, and the Blue Wizards Alatar and Pallando, who went farther east and never appeared in any proper Middle-earth stories.
* ConLang: Tolkien stated that his interest in languages actually spawned Middle-earth as a place for them to exist. He created a world-full system of languages, language families and dialects ([[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Languages_of_Middle-earth#List_of_languages just read through them.]]), with an internal history, along with several scripts and modes in which they could be written. Although most of them are not actually fully detailed languages, several are more detailed, and at least the Elven languages Quenya and Sindarin are complete enough to be used, learned and spoken. The attempts by fan scholars and creators of adaptations (e.g. the Creator/PeterJackson films) to extrapolate from and expand the existing material are usually referred to as ''Neo-(insert language name)''.
* CommonTongue: Different lingua francas existed for different times and places:
** In the westlands in the Second and Third Ages, the Common Speech was Westron, a mixed language developed from Mannish languages, mixing Adûnaic (Numenórean) and local Middle-earth languages. In the Third Age it was spoken by lots of peoples either as a mother tongue (e.g. hobbits and Breelanders) or as second language ''lingua franca''. In ''The Hobbit'' and ''The Lord of the Rings [[TranslationConvention it is substituted by English]].
** In Beleriand during the wars against Morgoth, Sindarin became the ''lingua franca'' between all Elves, Dwarves, and Men. Even the Orcs used a twisted, debased version of it.
* {{Constellations}}: Some constellations are mentioned as having different names, e. g. Ursa major (the "Big Dipper") is the Sickle. The constellation Orion is called ''Menelmacar'' or ''Menelvagor'', the Warrior of Heaven, originally created by the Valar as a symbol of defiance against the forces of evil led by Morgoth.
* ConstructedWorld: Arda is a sort of border case: It's a highly detailed example of worldbuilding, yet it's intended to be our own world's prehistory rather than a separate universe.
* TheCorruption: Because the Rings of Power were made with Sauron's methods, who in turn made the One Ring to rule them all, wearing the Rings exposes one to his power; the Nine Kings of Men were eroded completely and became the Nazgul. The One Ring itself, which contained a measure of Sauron's power, was the ruin of Isildur and Smeagol and came close to corrupting Bilbo and Frodo. Sam was the only person who bore the ring and managed to resist it.
* CreationMyth: The ''Ainulindalë'' (aka "The Music (literally "singing") of the Ainur"). The Ainur are basically the equivalent of the angels in Christianity.
* CrypticBackgroundReference: Often characters and the narrative refer back to the broad well of Middle-earth's history and culture, but don't necessarily explain those for the ignorant reader. Some of these references are explained through other material, while some are left entirely unexplained.
* DarkIsNotEvil / LightIsNotGood: Well, they ''usually'' are; there are exceptions.
* DestructiveSaviour:
** The people of Beleriand are relentlessly harried and killed by the evil Morgoth. The desperate remnant calls upon the Valar -- extremely powerful gods or angels. The Valar come in force, launch the "War of Wrath" [[http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=War_of_Wrath]] and utterly defeat Morgoth -- but in the process, nearly all of Beleriand is flooded and sinks under the sea, only a few mountain tops surviving as small islands. And what would become the Elven kingdom of Lindon, which was originally the eastern edge of Beleriand (the Blue Mountains being the border of Beleriand).
** The setting also has a Ragnarok equivalent in which the evil of Morgoth will be entirely purged from Middle-earth. Fortunately or not it will also be TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt as all of Eä will be ''remade''.
* DivineBirds: The TopGod Manwë is associated with air and sometimes sends birds with tidings, particularly eagles. In ''Literature/TheHobbit'', the eagles are independent yet prefer the forces of good over evil, whereas in ''Literature/TheLordOfTheRings'' they are specifically ordered to help Gandalf and appear as DivineIntervention in the climax to help the army of Men and to rescue Frodo and Sam from Mount Doom.
* {{Doorstopper}}: ''The Lord of the Rings'' is a simply enormous book. ''The History of Middle-earth'', if taken together, is much longer.
* DragonsAreDemonic: Dragons, such as [[Literature/TheHobbit Smaug]] and [[Literature/TheSilmarillion Ancalagon the Black]], are described as creations of Morgoth (the setting's Satan {{Expy}}) that are inherently evil as a whole.
* DugTooDeep: The dwarves of Moria awakened a balrog in their excavations. It earned the epithet "Durin's Bane" and Moria was bereft of dwarves and populated with goblins by the time the Fellowship enter.
* EasterEgg: All of Tolkien's works about Middle-earth, as well as the many volumes of unpublished works edited by his son, have inscriptions (usually on the title page) that can be transliterated from his fictional alphabets into English.
* ElaborateUndergroundBase: Tons. Utumno, Angband, Khazad-dûm, Menegroth, Nargothrond, Erebor...the list goes on.
* EldritchAbomination:
** Ungoliant in ''The Silmarillion''. She might be merely a fallen Maia of incredible power, but nobody is quite sure. She's said to have come out of the Void, and she became so powerful that she nearly devoured Morgoth himself.
** "Far, far below the deepest delvings of the Dwarves, the world is gnawed by nameless things. Even Sauron knows them not. They are older than he. Now I have walked there, [[TakeOurWordForIt but I will bring no report]] to darken the light of day. "
* TheEveryman: Hobbits, who also double as the AudienceSurrogate in a world of mighty wizards and brave warriors.
* EvilCannotComprehendGood: Invoked several times. Saruman and Sauron make seemingly stupid mistakes, and are eventually defeated, because they can't figure out what their enemies are thinking. Morgoth likewise cannot comprehend the motives of good people, such as mercy.
* EvilIsSterile: A strong theme in both ''Literature/TheSilmarillion'' and ''Literature/TheLordOfTheRings'' is that evil beings like Morgoth and Sauron are incapable of true creation, but can only corrupt what exists toward their ends.
* EvilOverlord: The Dark Lords Morgoth and Sauron play up this trope as they fall more and more into evil. Saruman also tried to become one, although his career was cut off before he bacame the lord of anything other than Isengard.
* EvilTowerOfOminousness: These appear frequently in Middle-earth where the Evil Overlords have set up: Barad-dûr, Minas Morgul, the Tower of Cirith Ungol in Mordor, and Orthanc in Isengard. Morgoth's Thangorodrim, the Mountains of Tyranny, fill the same conceptual spot in the First Age.
* EvilWeapon: One of the major themes of ''The Lord of the Rings'' is that evil can never be defeated by using evil methods. Using the One Ring could never have overthrown Sauron, except by setting up a new Dark Lord in his place, and Saruman descended into Dark Lord territory just from his lust for the Ring. In both ''The Silmarillion'' and ''The Lord of the Rings'', warfare in general is largely ineffective; people can and must defend themselves by warfare, but war is not what finally eliminates the Dark Lords from Middle-earth. JRRT very much treated war as an evil thing.
* ExploringTheEvilLair: Beren and Lúthien sneaking through Angband in disguise, Frodo and Sam sneaking through Mordor, Bilbo burglarizing Smaug's lair in Erebor, and Mablung poking around in Glaurung's lair in Nargothrond.
* TheFairFolk: Tolkien's treatment of the High Elves was a reaction to the way elves were dealt with in contemporary fiction -- either as this trope or as childish fairies. In Arda only ignorant Men like Boromir regard Elves as TheFairFolk. However, Tolkien's conception then [[FollowTheLeader caught on among later fantasy writers]] and in the end people like Creator/TerryPratchett reacted in turn back towards TheFairFolk.
* FantasyCounterpartCulture: With the exception of the Shire itself, which was modeled on the idealized 19th-century English countryside, the cultures of the westlands of Third Age Middle-earth are roughly equivalent to those of Dark Age Europe based on political situations and cultural aspects.
** The political situation of Gondor and Arnor may remind one of Byzantium and Rome, who faced threats from the East (Huns, Ottomans, etc.) at various times in their history. Strangely, when Tolkien was asked about this comparison, he said that he regarded Gondor as being closer to AncientEgypt--who admittedly often had the same problem.
** Gondor was a direct descendant of Númenor, whose culture sounds Punic. The fact they were bilingual (speaking both a Semitic-like Adûnaic language and Elvish Sindarin), were a seafaring people and worshipped an evil god named originally Melkor ("He who arises in might") match Ancient Carthage: speaker of both Punic and Greek, seafaring, worshipped a nasty[[note]]Not precisely ''evil''; evidence is scanty, with some suggesting him to be a deified former King of Tyre (Carthage was a Tyrian colony), and other suggest him to be more of a melancholy underworld god after the fashion of Hades[[/note]] god who demanded human sacrifices[[labelnote:NB]]These sacrifices were rare; they were strictly made by the ruling elite--Carthage was an oligarchic republic ([[NotSoDifferent not entirely unlike Rome]], truth be told)--who would [[OffingTheOffspring sacrifice their own children]] in times of crisis, suggesting they were a last resort and a symbolic practice to show the populace that they were suffering, too.[[/labelnote]] and was named ''Melkart'' (which can be interpreted as "Mighty one"[[note]]A more accurate translation is "King of the City;" you can see this more easily if you speak a modern Semitic language (especially Hebrew): it's from ''Melk'' (Semitic root M-L-K=Hebrew ''Melech'', Arabic ''Malik'', meaning "king") and ''qart'' (Semitic root Q-R-Y=Hebrew ''kirya(t)'', Arabic ''qaraya(t)'', meaning "settlement" or "village").[[/note]]).
** The Rohirrim have aspects of Anglo-Saxon culture, and have been compared to Vikings that rode horses rather than ships. Their Eotheod ancestors are based on the then-perception of Goths as a people of Germanic horse-warriors. The Rohirrim military is still this while their language has developed into the later Germanic language of Anglo-Saxon. The fact they had been a people of warrior-peasants whose entire culture ran around the horse and who lived on ''plains'' (as opposed to the hilly landscape of the British Isles) also makes them comparable 16th-19th century Russian UsefulNotes/{{Cossacks}}.
** The Southrons are a vague, nonspecific representation of African and Middle-Eastern peoples, as in the medieval writings Tolkien emulated, which always spoke of these in exotic terms. Similarly, the Easterlings are a vague representation of nomadic peoples from the East (i.e. Huns, Tartars, Mongols). However, the Easterlings of Khand are called Variags, a term used for Viking mercenaries in Constantinople.
** The Dwarvish language is inspired by Semitic languages and their displacement throughout Middle-earth draws comparisons with the Jewish diaspora, but the Dwarvish culture resembles more that of Early Middle Ages Germanic peoples: metalworkers, builders, axe-armed.
** Please note that the languages he based his invented languages on do not necessarily determine the cultural equivalence of the people who use them. Sindarin was based on Welsh, and Quenya on Finnish, but Grey Elves aren't Welsh, and High Elves aren't Finns.
* FantasyPantheon: The one creator god, Eru Ilúvatar, and his creations the Ainur, Valar and Maiar, who function as angels or minor gods.
* FantasyWorldMap: Most of the books have a helpful map of the lands, geographic features, and cities. Or two. Or three.
%%%* FiveRaces
%%%* GenerationalSaga
* GiantSpiders: Ungoliant in ''The Silmarillion'', Mirkwood's spiders in ''The Hobbit'', and Shelob in ''The Lord of the Rings''. They're all related: Ungoliant is Shelob's mother, and Shelob is the mother of the Mirkwood spiders.
%%%* GollumMadeMeDoIt
%%%* GondorCallsForAid
* GrandFinale: ''The Lord of the Rings'' marks the end of the Third Age of Middle-earth and is chronologically the very last installment.
* GreenAesop: The destruction of nature by industry is a common theme in Tolkien's work.
* HarmonyVersusDiscipline: Or, as Tolkien himself put it, Art versus Machine (or Magic). The Elves in his works are masters of Art (Harmony), which means using one's inherent potential of "subcreation" to the fullest, while the antagonists (Melkor, Sauron, Saruman) represent the Machine/Magic (Discipline), which means using whatever tools at hand to bend nature to one's will and rebel against the established order.
%%%* HealingHands
* HeroicAmbidexterity: A posthumously published essay ("Eldarin Hands, Fingers and Numerals") reveals that Tolkien at least for a time entertained the idea that elves are ambidextrous (although this never actually showed in any of the Middle-earth books).
%%%* TheHerosJourney
* HiddenElfVillage: The Elves generally survive in Middle-earth by hiding in out-of-the-way places such as Doriath, Nargothrond, Gondolin, Rivendell, and Lothlórien. They had larger countries too, but those tended to get destroyed first.
%%%* HighFantasy
* {{Hobbits}}: The TropeNamer and TropeMaker.
%%%* HonorBeforeReason
%%%* IGaveMyWord
* IHaveManyNames: Rather common, due among other things, to: 1) having names and their translations in various languages, 2) people (and places/things) gaining names and ephitets due to their archievements/history, and more so if they travel and gain lots more names in different places, 3) Elves being an especially language-and-name-loving people and thus being generous with names, e.g. Elven custom gifting them with several names.
* IncorruptiblePurePureness: Several.
** Hobbits are resistant to the corruption of the Ring because of their humble, honest, and forthright natures. The only two beings to ever voluntarily give it up, Bilbo and Samwise, are both hobbits.
** Of the Elves, only Maeglin ever served the enemy willingly.
** The Dwarves are interesting sort. Dwarves could be greedy and suspicious, but Aulë made them so stubborn-- in part to defend against Melkor's corruption-- that few Dwarves ever served Melkor or Sauron.
* InhumanlyBeautifulRace: Elves in Tolkien's works are almost invariably described as being good-looking. The three best-looking females in the history of Middle-earth (Lúthien, Galadriel and Arwen) are all Elves. The Valar also count, although they cheat, since their bodies are artificial and custom-made, so their beauty is limited only by ego and imagination.
* InterspeciesRomance: Very rare, and usually requires implicit or explicit divine dispensation, but it does happen from time to time.
** Melian, an angel, and Thingol, an elf. Thanks to angelic VoluntaryShapeshifting, Melian gave herself a flesh-and-blood body and the two had children.
** Lúthien, Thingol and Melian's half-angel half-elf (but biologically elven) daughter, and Beren, a human. They had to [[{{Understatement}} jump through some hoops]] to get the okay from daddy, though.
** Tuor, a human and son of Huor, wed Idril Celebrindal, an elf and daughter of King Turgon of Gondolin. Their son was Eärendil the Mariner, who successfully sailed to Valinor to plead Middle Earth's case to the Valar.
** Aragorn, a human, and Arwen, an elf, with ''many'' parallels drawn to Lúthien and Beren above, right down to Aragorn needing to defeat the local DarkLord as an EngagementChallenge. This time, though, it wasn't because Arwen's father (Elrond) was being a dick-- he was Aragorn's foster father, after all-- but because the only way he was willing to leave his daughter behind in Middle-Earth was if it were made safe from evil for the foreseeable future.
** Tom Bombadil, the "eldest," and Goldberry, a river nymph. Even [[ShrugOfGod Tolkien]] isn't entirely sure ''what'' Bombadil is, but he's ''probably'' not a nymph. [[invoked]]
%%** [[TearJerker Aegnor/Andreth]] (StarCrossedLovers... ''Oh, how!''), Finduilas/Túrin (one-sided, [[TriangRelations Type 5]] with Gwindor->F->T), Mithrellas/Imrazôr (married until she pulled a MissingMom).
* InvisibleWriting: There are several kinds of magical invisible writing. First is called "moon letters" and is written with silver pens and unknown ink that is only visible in moonlight. In ''TheHobbit'', Thorin's map to Erebor has such invisible script. Second (not quite an ink but similar) is ''ithildin'', a metal alloy that only reflects starlight and moonlight when certain magical spells are recited, and is normally transparent, used to decorate the Gates of Moria which blend seamlessly with rock. Revealing ithildin is the only way to see these gates.
** Bilbo Baggins's magic ring seemed ordinary enough, with nothing apparent on its inner surface. However, once Gandalf the Grey threw that ring into the hearth fire and later retrieved it, it's fateful inscription appeared: "One Ring to rule them all ..."
%%* LadyOfWar
* LeftJustifiedFantasyMap: The main action in Middle-earth takes place in what is meant to be Europe in an imaginary time-period. The Great Sea (Belegaer) corresponds to the Atlantic Ocean.
* LiteraryAgentHypothesis: In-universe, the books are translations of the writings of Bilbo (who wrote ''The Hobbit: There and Back Again'' and translated ''The Silmarillion'' out of Elvish), Frodo and Sam (who wrote ''The Lord of the Rings''), and the Anglo-Saxon sailor [=Æ=]lfwine (who stumbled upon Tol Eressëa in the Middle Ages and learned of the Elder Days from the Elves).[[note]][=Æ=]lfwine was written out of the published ''Silmarillion'' by Christopher Tolkien, but since he appears in JRRT's writings after ''[=LotR=]'', he apparently never abandoned the idea. Yet at the same time the ''The Silmarillion'' was also Bilbo's ''Translations from the Elvish''.[[/note]] Elvish authors such as Pengolodh are credited with particular texts about the Elder Days and linguistics.
* TheLostWoods: Despite Tolkien's great love for trees and forests, his mythopoeia doesn't neglect this common trope of European myths and legends. The Old Forest, Taur-nu-Fuin, Mirkwood, and Fangorn all make use of it. Generally, however, only the forests that were severely abused by loggers or directly corrupted by the Dark Lords ended up this way. The only real exception is Doriath, because Melian deliberately made it that way to defend the kingdom from invasion.
** Most Men believe Lorien is this, but it's not; the lies of Morgoth and Sauron, and, admittedly, the acts of the Elves themselves to defend their kingdom, have made them fear it.
* ManlyTears: Crying is not stigmatized, and there are many instances of manly men weeping, whether it is for grief, terror, joy, or any other reason. (As men do in the old epics that JRRT emulated.)
** To cite just one example: Aragorn is so overwhelmed with grief at the death of Boromir, weeping bitterly over the latter's body, that when Gimli and Legolas come upon the scene, they think at first that Aragorn himself has been perhaps mortally wounded.
** Gandalf ''encourages'' Sam, Pippin, and Merry to weep when Frodo is going away forever.
--> ''"I will not say 'do not weep', for not all tears are an evil."''
* {{Mithril}}: The trope started with the "truesilver" of Moria in ''The Lord of the Rings''.
* MenDontCry: [[AvertedTrope Oh the HELL they don't.]] See Manly Tears above.
* {{Mordor}}, although the real Mordor is only in part a wasteland. The whole south of it is fertile farmland to feed Sauron's armies, it just isn't visited in any story.
* MostWonderfulSound: [[invoked]]Part of Tolkien's aim in devising the Elvish languages.
* MutualEnvy: Elves and Humans envy each other. Humans are mortal and die after a comparatively short time, and our souls have to leave the World after we die, so we envy the Elves' "immortality." TheAgeless Elves, who ''very'' slowly get tired of living but can't die of old age and certainly can't leave the World dead or alive, know that they're all going to be here when it comes to an end. They envy Humans for being able to leave when we get "weary," and for having the option to keep existing after the end of Time. Elves call death a "Gift," which can rub mortals the wrong way.
* MysteriousBacker: Eru and the Valar in all of His works.
* {{Mythopoeia}}: JRRT named this genre and was one of the earliest authors (though not the first) to write in it. All of Arda was conceived as a set of myths and legends for England, because England didn't have any and because Tolkien regarded a language without legends as lifeless.
* NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast: The names of the Enemy are usually Elvish (Quenya or Sindarin, to be precise), and will usually reflect how the Elves feel about them. For example, Melkor is Quenya for "He Who Arises In Might" and Morgoth is Sindarin for "Dark Enemy/Black Enemy". Sauron is Quenya for "Abomination", and his lesser used Sindarin name is Gorthaur, which means "The Abhorred Dread".
* NarrativePoem: Both as stories written by Tolkien in that format and as poems appearing or being referenced inside the narrative.
* NearVillainVictory: Tolkien coined the word "eucatastrophe" to describe this trope, and he used it at the end of both ''The Silmarillion'' and ''The Lord of the Rings''.
* NoManOfWomanBorn: ''The Lord of the Rings'' is co-TropeNamer with Creator/{{Shakespeare}}. In the case of ''The Lord of the Rings'', the Witch-King of Angmar is certain no man can defeat him. The ones who defeat him are ultimately a woman and a non-human, neither of which qualify as "man" in the ways the story uses the word.
%%%* NoOneGetsLeftBehind
* {{The Notable Numeral}}: There's the Two Trees, the Two Lanterns, the Three Rings, the Seven Rings, the Nine Rings, and of course the One Ring.
* NurseryRhyme: ''Literature/TheAdventuresOfTomBombadil'' is an entire book of them. Scads more show up in ''The Lord of the Rings''.
* OlderThanTheyLook, ReallySevenHundredYearsOld: Life expectancy varies considerably among various peoples, even various human peoples, and by time and place. Additionally, some individuals have been extraordinarily longlived even by the standard of their people.
* OnlyOneName, {{UsefulNotes/Patronymic}}s, and IAmXSonOfY: Most cultures commonly have a given name(s) and use patronymics. Only the Hobbits and Men of Bree and the Shire use Western-style inherited family names.
* OurElvesAreBetter: Very much not, [[TheThemeParkVersion even if many people mistakenly think so]]. Yes, Elves are in many ways more powerful, "magical" and skilled than humans (they had better be, as they had long enough to practice), but they are just as capable as any human to be stupid, chauvinist, and screw up monumentally possibly ''more'' able than humans in fact, as greater power can have bigger results. In addition, humans are created to be ImmuneToFate, with the ultimate destiny of ourselves and the world left undetermined.\\
Doubters are referred, for a start, to the story of Fëanor, the greatest creative genius in the history of the Elves, whose stubbornness and selfishness led to the millenia-long exile of almost his ''entire branch'' of the High-elven people, the Noldor, from the Blessed Lands, to civil war in those same Blessed Lands between two of the three tribes of the High-elves, to the destruction of the Elven kingdoms of Beleriand and of Beleriand itself, and to the deaths of himself and almost all his sons.\\
They do, however, appear to be this in ''The Lord of the Rings'', since it isn't concentrating on Elvish history, and so most of their bigger mistakes are found elsewhere. Now, since it's the most popular and well-known of Tolkien's works, this means it's easy for people to get the wrong impression. This being said, Galadriel is shown to be just flawed as susceptible to the One Ring's power as anyone, although she is one of the handful who resist its power.\\
This is partly justified by the fact that elven leaders in ''The Hobbit'' and ''The Lord of the Rings'' (Elrond [Rivendell], Thranduil [Mirkwood] and Galadriel and Celeborn [Lothlórien]) have all lived to see the decline of their race in Middle-earth, and are trying to do what is best for their people while offering what assistance they can to the other races. Also, considering that Galadriel and Celeborn were alive during the war against Morgoth that destroyed Beleriand (caused by Fëanor, as noted above), and that Elrond saw what the folly of his people could do (it was Fëanor's grandson whom Sauron taught how to make the Rings of Power), they had all probably wisened up to not repeat the mistakes of their ancestors.
* PalantirPloy: The Palantíri in ''The Lord of the Rings'' are the trope-namers.
* PhosphorEssence: Especially Elves and sometimes members of other people are at times perceived as if a light shines through them or their eyes. With changed perception this can even be intensified, as Frodo while having ghostly vision sees the elf Glorfindel as a brilliant figure compared to the dark silhouettes of mortals.
* PhysicalReligion: At least for the Elves living in the West, the Valar and Maiar live as neighbours and interact with them. In Middle-earth open contact has been more rare and increasingly so; mostly single Ainur interacting with smaller populations or single individuals. For most peoples in Middle-earth, they only know of the the Valar through legend, or they only have fragmented and filtered knownledge, if they even know of them at all.
* ProphecyTwist: The Witch-King of Angmar is confident that no man will slay him. He goes down to Eowyn and Merry, a woman and a hobbit.
* ProportionalAging: Hobbits live to about 120 years, with proportionate aging. Merry and Pippin, in their thirties, are considered young adults, and Frodo, in his fifties, is just shy of middle age. Hobbits are also noted to have their adolescence in their "tweens."
%%%* ProudWarriorRaceGuy
* PyrrhicVictory: Common, as part Tolkien's belief that WarIsHell. You may be able to defend yourself through war, and may even defeat your enemy, but it will always come at very high cost. A few specific examples:
** The War of Wrath in ''The Silmarillion'' ends with Morgoth's defeat, but the continent of Beleriand was laid waste in the battle and sank under the sea. (Also as a result, the Valar and Maiar decide to no longer user their power to directly intervene in the war against evil, making the later battles against Sauron all the more difficult.)
** The Last Alliance managed to defeat Sauron, but lost so many people that the kingdoms of Elves and Men ended up depopulated and ripe for attack by Sauron's human allies, which led to the destruction of Arnor and the reduction of the Elves to just a few small settlements.
** The final victory over Sauron in ''The Lord of the Rings''. The destroying of the Ring led to the final waning of 'magic' in Middle-Earth and the departure of the remaining Elves to the West.
* RightfulKingReturns: The whole ''Lord of the Rings'' ends on this note, with Aragorn taking the throne of Gondor after hundreds of years without a king.
* RingOfPower: The twenty Great Rings of Power, and countless lesser Rings, forged in Eregion under the guidance of "Annatar" (a.k.a. Sauron).
%%%* RoyalBlood
%%%* SacredHospitality
* SamusIsAGirl: Dernhelm is a woman? [[NoManOfWomanBorn Oh Crap!]]
%%%* SeriousBusiness
* ShadowArchetype:
** Gollum is the Shadow of Bilbo and Frodo Baggins -- and, to some extent, Samwise.
** Sauron is to an extent the Shadow of both Gandalf and Galadriel, while Saruman is a more specific shadow of Gandalf.
%%%* ShownTheirWork
* SpeakFriendAndEnter: The Gate of Moria in ''The Lord of the Rings'' is the TropeNamer. That password would have been so much easier to figure out if only Celebrimbor had used a comma!
%%%* {{Sssssnaketalk}}
* StarsAreSouls: There is the singular and slightly-off example of the star Eärendil; although he technically neither died nor is the star himself, he was tasked to cross the sky in a flying ship with the last glowing Silmaril jewel, which is visible to us as Venus.
* StellarName: Very common with the Elves and their star-veneration; among others, the elements ''el-''/''elen-'' found in many names means "star".
%%%* StormingTheCastle
* SuperiorSpecies: Subverted with the Elves.
** Biologically, the Elves are immune to old age and disease, and can only die of injury (and even then they eventually reincarnate). However, Tolkien presents the Men's mortality as a case of CursedWithAwesome, as the Elves are forever bound to Arda and will never be able to leave it, while Men can and do leave it when they die.
** The Elves are also generally presented as morally superior to everyone else, especially in ''Literature/LordOfTheRings''. Their leaders are the only ones to hold on to their rings and stay uncorrupted (although it was due to their rings being forged by Celebrimbor alone), and no Elves are known to have served in Sauron's army. This gets subverted in ''Literature/TheSilmarillion'', where several villainous Elven characters are introduced, and a darker past of some of ''[=LotR=]'''s characters, such as Galadriel, becomes known.
* SupernaturallyMarkedGrave: In particular, battlefields tend to become wastelands or marshes that last long after any sign of such events should. The same can happen where very evil beings die (such as the Witch-King of Angmar), and grass and flowers grow where good ones die.
* SupportingLeader:
** Former TropeNamer (The Aragorn) and possibly TropeMaker.
** Also Bard the Bowman and Gandalf in ''The Hobbit''.
* SweetPollyOliver: Éowyn disguising herself as a man to join the army of Rohan during the War of the Ring, and successfully taking down the Lord of the Ringwraiths. Niënor disguising herself as a male elf to follow Mablung and Morwen out of Doriath, and subsequently[[spoiler:...uh, getting Mind Raped. Ew.]]
* TenderTears: Tolkien is rare amongst Western artists for creating consistently sensitive and soft-hearted men who do not see crying as shameful or dishonorable.
* ThemeNaming, various kinds: Theme Family Naming (including ThemeTwinNaming and AlphabeticalThemeNaming), naming conventions along a dynasty (be they birth or ruling names), or general ones (e.g. the hobbit tradition of naming girls after [[FloralThemeNaming flowers]] or [[RockThemeNaming gemstones]]).
* TimeAbyss: There are the Ageless people, like Elves and Ents, some many of them are thousands of years old. Then there's Tom Bombadil, who apparently came into existence the moment Arda was created, and still "remembers the first raindrop, the first acorn". ''Then'' there are the Ainur, all of whom were created before Arda and helped sing it into shape.
* TheTimeOfMyths: All the stories JRRT told about Middle-earth are set in our own world, but in an "imaginary time" before history and the Dominion of Men.
%%%* TragicHero
* TranslationConvention: All of our real-world languages do not exist in Middle-earth, and so the common TranslationConvention applies. When not convention-translated, names and speech make use of either Tolkien's constructed languages, or of a real-world language used as stand-in for a fictional one. The latter ones are not chosen randomly, but to represent the relation between the respective "proper" languages, or a certain image. Languages regularly replaced by stand-in languages in the text are: "Westron" a.k.a. the "Common Speech" is ''always'' rendered as English (as it is the Third-Age-novel's POV-character's language), the Rohirric language by Anglo-Saxon a.k.a. Old English (to appear vaguely familiar to the hobbits' Westron-English), the language used by the Dwarves of the Lonely Mountain and the Men of Dale by Old Norse, and other Germanic languages for various Northmen people. Information on the "translation" and what these languages "really" look like, can be found [[AllThereInTheManual in various appendices and additional texts]].
%%%* TurnTheOtherCheek
* TurtleIsland: The Fastitocalon poem in ''Literature/TheAdventuresOfTomBombadil''.
* UniverseChronology: Tolkien wrote a Tale of Years for the first three ages of Arda, listing major events and the births and deaths of main characters. He also wrote the Annals, among the major First Age narratives that went into ''The Silmarillion'', as more detailed yearly chronicles.
* TheVerse: Well, duh. Also commonly referred to ''pars pro toto'' as "Middle-earth" and "Arda".
* VestigialEmpire: Many over the course of Arda's long history, most famously Gondor.
* WarIsHell: Tolkien, a UsefulNotes/WorldWarOne vet, did not believe in "the glory of war."
* WarriorPrince: Very common in Middle-earth. Most of the major characters are royalty or nobles, and nearly all of them (particularly the men) are warriors by inclination or necessity. Even Elrond, a healer and scholar in a culture where healers normally don't fight, is a capable military commander when he absolutely must be.
* WhenTreesAttack: The Ents were created because Tolkien had seen a production of ''Theatre/{{Macbeth}}'' as a child and was disappointed when it turned out that Birnam Wood itself didn't actually attack.
* WorldBuilding: Arda is a wonderfully detailed example of worldbuilding, which Tolkien called "subcreation." He had a whole philosophy and theoretic about subcreation in relation to his Roman Catholic faith.
* WorldTree: The Two Trees, silver Telperion and golden Laurelin, provided light after Morgoth's destruction of the previous world lights. After he destroyed them too, their last flower and last fruit were made into the Moon and Sun; before, Telperion's dew had been used to kindle the stars.
* YouShallNotPass: Gandalf's speech in the movie ''Film/TheFellowshipOfTheRing'', while a slightly paraphrased variation of the speech in the book, is the TropeNamer.