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The Lord of the Rings

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Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings: In-universe WMG]]

    Melkor is Santa Claus and Angband is Santa's workshop 
Melkor kidnaps elves and forces them to work for him. He lives in the far north. Everyone in Middle Earth has been super naughty. Matti 23

    Another Global cataclysm similar to the sinking of Beleriand will happen sometime after or during the 4th age 
The Modern Day world is supposed to be the future of the story. The modern day map doesn't look like the third age map. When have we seen the map suddenly change? Global cataclysms such as the clash of Valar that caused the sinking of Beleriand. Another such event may occur during of after the 4th age. Either Mankind gets up to some shenanigans during that time or another Dark Lord of serious power is coming. Matti 23

    The Nameless things are from a previous iteration of Arda 
It's mentioned that when Arda is destroyed it will be remade and will be better than before (Arda Redeemed). What if this is not the first time this happened? What if a previous iteration of Arda was even worse than the current one (Arda super marred?) and the Nameless Things migrated from there. Matti 23

    Tom Bombadil is from a previous iteration of Arda 
Similar to the above theory, perhaps Tom is a surviving creature from the last iteration of Arda. This would explain his lack of care of the world around him. Gandalf and others interpret this as absent mindedness but perhaps this is incorrect. Perhaps due to seeing one (or perhaps many) iterations of Arda destroyed and then seeing everything rebuilt, with the understanding that this will happen again he doesn't see the world as worth caring about. His mindset may actually be a Nililistic response to his greater level of insight into the nature of Arda. Matti 23
  • Depending how similar each iteration is he may be a prior Iteration of Melkor that was never corrupted or has been reformed. It would explain how he can resist the influence of the Ring. The Valar may not have been able to resist the Ring but Melkor is much more powerful than the rest of the Valar and he is a master of ring craft and so may have extra resistance against the influence of it. Matti 23

    The Orcs turned back into elves after the fall of Sauron 
The elves are made from corrupted elves. When Melkor is defeated and chained outside Arda the Orcs seem to lose their sense of purpose. Perhaps this is whatever he initially did to the elves starting to reverse. When Sauron rises to power they seem to become more purposeful so perhaps Sauron is maintaining Melkor's effect on the Orcs. When Sauron is defeated in Lord of the Rings their behaviour seems to suggest that Melkor's effect on them is continuing to fade. Perhaps some of the odd behaviour is Meklor's corruption fading enough for them to realise what has happened to them. Perhaps the Orcs that survive the period will eventually revert into being Elves.

    The fate of Moria 
  • Moria is about to be invaded by Nameless Things
The Dwarves were mining the extremely valuable Mithril when they ran into the Balrog and were driven off. Gandalf destroyed the Balrog during the Lord of the Rings and after the defeat of Sauron many Orcs died. This means that the valuable Mithril in that area is now accessible again and the Dwarves will start digging. Gandalf also said that during his fight with the Balrog that there were Nameless Things in the deepest tunnels. It seems that the Dwarves will start digging for Mithril until they hit nameless things which will trigger an invasion of Moria. A very Dwarf Fortress way to go.
  • It was actually stated that in the 4th age the dwarves dug ever deeper and were never heard from again. Probably dug deep enough to hit the Nameless Things

    Arda can be wielded like Sauron's Ring 
Arda is Melkor's Ring and made using similar magic. Someone putting on Sauron's Ring can use the power was invested into it. Even though no creature in Arda could probably reach through the entire planet Arda would still be wieldable in theory. If you chucked Sauron's Ring into a box that no creature could access the laws of the universe would still permit it to be wielded in theory even if no one can get to it. In addition to this if invested objects like Sauron's Ring count as part of the creating creature then this allows creatures to assume non standard shapes. Think of a creature investing a strip of Arda reaching from Pole to Pole. Perhaps this is the reason that the Nameless things are gnawing at the bottom of the world, creating some kind of invested strip across Arda. Such an attempt may have weakened them in a similar manner to Melkor weakening himself by investing himself into Arda. This explains why there is mention of the Nameless things hiding from Gobins that enter their tunnels. Matti 23
  • It was stated that Sauron was hoarding Mithril. Other than Frodo's Mithril shirt we didn't have any mention of Orcs or others in Sauron's service using Mithril. This might be what he was doing with it. It was also mentioned that he was using it for war. Building such a device might count as building a superweapon. The ring required a huge amount of energy because it needed to dominate the others. Such a device wouldn't need to be as strong, it just needs enough to count as a part of him and allow him to wield Arda. Getting his ring back would certainly help though as it could be a very costly task.

    Why don't they use eagles? 
  • Gandalf probably just forgot. He is really, really old. As in, ancient. Old people forget things all the time, and it's not unreasonable to think that he simply had a senile moment, especially with all the crazy shit going down. But when Frodo and Sam were about to die on Mt. Doom, something triggered his memory and he remembered he had an eagle whistle.
  • Mordor may maintain a fleet of flying creatures to secure their airspace. These may either be present in great numbers or very powerful allowing them to destroy or repel any push into their territory towards Mount Doom (Sauron knows its the only way to destroy the ring and air travel by eagle is a pretty fast way to get there). Eagles are large and may find it hard to avoid the detection and interception capabilities of Mordor or knowing that this would be an efficient way to destroy the ring, specialized defences may be in place against the most viable methods in by air. Flyers definitely exist in the Mordor forces as we see the dragon-like creatures being deployed against Mordor's enemies. They may not show up in greater numbers because they are busy protecting their airspace. It would look pretty stupid for Mordor to flood Minas Tirith with flyers only for Frodo to push into Mordor with a large force of eagles, overwhelm what defences are left at Mount Doom and then drop the ring in.
  • Mordor may also maintain ground based weapons capable of shooting down flyers. This could take the form of either a very long ranged magic attack (either from a creature, sorcerer or building) or mechanical weapons. The Eye of Sauron might help in targeting when it is available.
  • As for why they could use Eagles to get back — well, by that point, Sauron's power was broken, so the Eagles no longer had to worry about Mordor's defenses.
  • Gandalf may have been afraid that the One Ring would corrupt the King of Eagles.
  • Alternately, there's this theory that Gandalf's original plan was to use Eagles, but he had to keep the plan secret — even from the other members of the Fellowship, as, if captured, they could be tortured into giving away the plan. He chose his path in a way that would allow him to meet the Eagles in a hidden area but designed it to avoid rousing Sauron and Saruman's suspicions. However, when forced to go through Moria, he ended up having to fight the Balrog, and never got a chance to tell the plan to the others.
  • The reasons not to use eagles (besides the ones already cited) was because the lava pit where the ring could be destroyed was inside the mountain. Just because Mt. Doom was a volcano, doesn't mean that it was a perfect cone with direct by air access to the magma chamber. The door to the magma chamber was left unguarded, but only because Sauron didn't expect anyone to come that way. Had he seen Eagles (with riders) heading towards the mountain, Sauron could have sent his army to shore up the mountain's defenses, closing off access to the chamber. The whole point behind Gandalf's plan was subtlety. Misdirecting Sauron so that the hobbits could gain access to the magma chamber. Huge flocks of giant eagles would have been counterproductive to that plan.
  • Destroying the One Ring effectively marked the end of an Age for Middle Earth, a diminishing of magic's influence there, and the passing-over of the continent to the future custody of humans. An Age such as that wouldn't have a place in it for giant talking Eagles, only normal-sized birds of prey. So possibly the Eagles, while they didn't want Sauron to reclaim the One Ring and dominate the world, also didn't feel they should be helping to bring about its destruction, and their own eventual displacement or extinction, either. Once the deed was done, they could act to save the hobbits as a courtesy to Gandalf, but they wouldn't fly them there.
  • Maybe Gandalf did not use the eagles, because eagles could not fly that far carrying passengers. Note that whenever Gandalf uses eagles for transportation (once to escape Isengard, once to save Frodo and Sam from Mount Doom and once in Hobbit to escape orcs), the flights are always rather short. Maybe the eagles are too small to carry such heavy loads for far. Also note that the lizards ringwraiths use as flying mounts are much bigger than eagles and thus the weight of the passenger is not as great a strain in overland travel.
  • Eagles are visible and the mission was relying on stealth.
  • In The Hobbit, Eagles talk about being shot down by farmers and shepherds for stealing sheep. They wouldnt't have gotten very far in Mordor - the only reason why they did so much in Return of the King was because they had Gondor's army on the ground, and the ring had just been destroyed as well.

    General in-universe WMG 

Sauron was the original Starscream.
Melkor/Morgoth was a Chaotic Evil overlord who desired to annihilate the Arda and undo the Creation. Sauron, on the other hand, wanted to rule the world and bring order in it by a fair means or foul. This means the Morgoth's and Sauron's goals were contradictory. This implies Sauron plotted in the First Age with the Valar for the downfall of Morgoth and his empire so he could rule the Middle-Earth alone. This also explains why he was not caught by the Valinor host nor brought to be sentenced.

There were Elves on Sauron's side.
Aside from the orcs....or not. Anyway there are Elves known as the Avari that refused to go to Valinor/Aman the first time around and thus moved extremely far from the sea, or at least Beleriand, some going to the far south and the far east. Guess where everyone's favorite master of evil makes his domain. They were called the Elves of Darkness or Dark Elves because they never saw the light of the two trees.

My proof of this theory is that while it's stressed that Elves have a pretty solid resistance to evil, it was shown in the Silmarillion and implied in Lord of The Rings that they are not above it. Besides how would elves that outright denied paradise have any idea of what exactly evil is? It would not have been difficult for Sauron to turn them to his side with some half truths.

  • We know that no elves are known to have fought on Sauron's side in the War of the Last Alliance (as there are sources saying they were the only race to only fight on only one side. That this seems to indicate that there were orchs on the side of the Last Alliance is, of course, a matter of interest in itself...). Of course, all that means is that no elves were known to have fought on Sauron's side. If the Sauron-Avari stayed in the far south/east and did support work, the Last Alliance would remain unknowing.

Sauron Planned to Bring Morgoth back into the world.
I remember reading somewhere (one of the LOTR wikis) that Arda was Morgoth's 'ring': in the same way that the One ring holds part of Sauron's soul and bind him to life, so does Arda for Morgoth, Arda has litterally been described as "Morgoth's Ring"... I'm not sure why he'd want to destroy it in that case, but let's overlook that for now.So Sauron spends the second and third ages trying to Rule the World, he successfully dominates the areas north, south, and east of Middle-Earth and... for what?Maybe he didn't want to rule Arda, maybe he wanted to use it in a huge summoning to bring his Master back from the Void thereby bringing about Dagor Dagorath!
  • I don't know, bringing back your omnicidal boss isn't a good way to bring about global order.

The Elves going into the West are Sauron's armies.
No, not literally, although that could well be the case. Mordor is a rather barren place, and the fishing in Nuln can't be great. But Tolkien explicitly states that the orcs were created out of "twisted" elves. We can presume then that there is a process by which elves can be transformed en masse into orcs via Sauron's power and likely torture as well, mentally breaking them down into savage beast, which is what they are physically reformed into. Now think about it - where is Sauron getting that many elves from? After Dagorlad, the Elvish corpses are still intact in the Dead Marshes. So logically, there is only one place they could be coming from. The Elves sail into the West ... go all the way around the world, where they hit the rear end of Mordor, are captured and turned into orcs. Not quite the sort of afterlife they were anticipating, but maybe elves can't actually reach the Blessed Isles after all.
  • Mordor isn't on the East side of the world, nor does it have a coastline. There is land past Mordor and below Mordor.
  • Re: Barren Mordor: the whole south of Mordor is fertile farmland; only the northeastern bit is a wasteland.
  • And note Orcs can apparently reproduce, and apparently multiply quite quickly.

The Tooks have elvish ancestry.
The Fallowhides are often described with traits, that, for hobbits, have an elfish bent to them (slight physical appearance, interest in music and hunting, and being overall more social with them) An "absurd" reference in The Hobbit is made to the saying that one of the Tooks must have taken a fairy wife, which explains why they're so odd. Interestingly, the Hobbit uses the word "Fairyland" to describe where elves are going (similar to how 'goblin' and 'orc' generally refer to the same creature.) suggesting fairy may be another word for elf. There's clear evidence humans and elves can have children, and hobbits are aware they're not that physically unrelated to Men, so it's certainly possible.
  • Direct elvish ancestry isn't even necessary, just some descent at some point from a member of the Royal bloodline of Númenor. The early Shire-dwelling hobbits are known to have had contact with the dúnedain kings, after all, if there was a hobbit/human marriage the elven ancestry would have passed into the Took bloodline.
    • By Elendil's time everyone in Númenor would be descended from Elros (in roughly the same proportion), and by Bilbo's time all the Dúnedain – perhaps all the Men of Middle-Earth – would be descended from Elendil, because of pedigree collapse. (And from the Witch-King (see below) unless his descendants, if any, died out within a few generations.)
  • Fairy could also describe someone like Goldberry (whatever she is - possibly some sort of nature personification) or a minor maia (if she isn't one).
  • In the earliest writings, Fairies and Gnomes are branches of the Elves; Gnomes became Noldor, and Fairies became Teleri.

The Orcs created the idea for Sting and swords like it.
They told Sauron, and he used his influence with the elves to convince them of the design.

Think about it. The glow is not there to tell Orc enemies that the Orcs are there, but to help the Orcs find them wherever they're hiding. The glow helps them out, just like a lighthouse guides a ship.

  • Maybe orcs can't see the color blue?
  • Even if they can't see blue, they can see light. And there don't seem to be any other sorts of glowing swords.
  • Except the Elvish swords like that were made in Gondolin during the First Age.
Perhaps Maeglin made them when he betrayed Gondolin. After all, he was the son of Eöl, a great elven smith.
  • It's actually that the makers weren't planning on stealth. The sword shines with a blessed light that hurts orc eyes: facing an eleven host with such weapons would be like trying to fight with blazing spotlights pointed at your face.

Magic is nuclear.
Middle-earth is filled with uranium. This is why the subterranean races are either suffering from stunted growth (Dwarves) or hideously deformed (Orcs). Orcs are so radioactive that certain fluorescent materials will react to their presence, and are used in swords. Sauron and Saruman both detonate nuclear weaponry; Saruman in the explosion that destroyed the Deeping Wall, and Sauron as the Great Signal, the mushroom cloud from which leads to the Dawnless Day. The Crack of Doom is the swimming-pool reactor that powers Sauron's workshops, and dropping the highly radioactive Ring into it leads to a critical mass.

(Based on an ''SFX'' column by David Langford.)

  • *Cough*
  • What has Hedy Lamarr inventing FHSS (and she didn't; the Germans used it in WW1) got to do with LOTR? I don't understand. Please explain!
  • This theory actually goes way back (at least by the Internet's standards), and it might even be true. Mithril sounds very similar to titanium; in the original Siege of Gondolin, the Balrogs attacked riding mechanical dragons with "fires in their bellies"; various texts mention the Númenóreans having ships that could sail into the wind and arrows that could fly over the horizon. Moreover, a technologically advanced First Age would fit with the theme of steady decline characteristic of the setting: the end of the Third Age really was an unsophisticated place, but their ancestors were far more advanced and more knowledgeable, as well as taller, stronger, longer-lived... Tolkien had zero fondness for technology as it existed in his day — his views on early-20thC industry can be deduced from The Scouring of the Shire — and his professional career was focused on the Voelkerwanderung of the Dark Ages; but Lewis had a penchant for science-fiction which quite possibly rubbed off on him.
  • Langford's theories do not stand up: the main isotopes of uranium have such massively long half-lives that you have to go back billions of years to find a time when there was significantly more of it; Dwarves seem to have had mine ventilation (and drainage) all worked out; if Orcs were radioactive enough to induce fluorescence at any significant distance they would simply not be able to survive; the demolition charge they used on the Deeping Wall - like the ones they used on the Rammas Echor - definitely has the characteristics of a gunpowder explosion; the Great Signal resembles a volcanic eruption much more than it does a nuclear mushroom cloud; a swimming pool reactor has a negative thermal coefficient of reactivity and would not go bang with the addition of a little more uranium; and even if the Ring was made of pure 235U it would still be only weakly radioactive - alphas, too - and safe to handle... what would be dangerous would be Gandalf throwing it in the fire, since uranium is rather combustible and would produce a big cloud of toxic smoke. The only real possibility for uranium being involved is as an explanation for the difficulty of melting the Ring, as uranium-gold alloys in the correct proportions can have a melting point much higher than that of pure gold (and since uranium and gold are almost exactly the same density, nobody would notice from the weight). But it doesn't really act like that, it acts more as if it is the three-dimensional projection of something which has a large thermal mass in higher dimensions. Sorry.
  • However, this is not to say that Arda was entirely devoid of nuclear technology, the most obvious example being the Feanorian lanterns, which glow continuously without need for refuelling and are shaded rather than extinguished when not required. These are surely made by mixing radium (or maybe even just high-grade uranium ore) with zinc sulphide or some other luminescent mineral. More tentatively, the Silmarils could consist of concentric shells of alternately negative and positive condensed matter, by the geometry stabilising itself and cancelling the overall total mass nearly exactly, and creating in the centre a sufficient pressure to allow fusion reactions to take place in a self-regulating manner. Effectively, they are miniature stars in a bottle, which could be why Varda got into them so much, stars being her thing. Of course, creating negative matter and condensed matter is not a trivial task. It took Feanor a very long time and a lot of effort to work out a way of doing it, and the result was distinctly imperfect, having the unpleasant side effect of inducing severe psychosis. However, it's evidently not the only way of doing it. There is at least one other method of producing similar devices which does not require extensive smithying facilities (being practical in an entirely sylvan setting) and moreover gives a superior result, lacking the psychosis-inducing side effect and with a sufficiently delicate equilibrium that it can be switched between inactive and active by the heat of someone's hand. Naturally, it took someone with a lot more gumption than Feanor to figure this method out.

Every orc death strengthens Melkor-Morgoth
An extension of the above, that the Orcs were created via Melkor-Morgoth spreading himself thin. Every time one was destroyed, that power would logically return to him. Given how many orcs were left when he was sealed into the void, it means that every time an orc was killed after that, he would have become closer to breaking the seal. Logically, this means that either he could break out any time now, or there's still a few orcs and miscellaneous fiends lying around keeping his power away from him.
  • This logically explains Melkor-Morgoth's We Have Reserves military policy. He was conserving resources. The more orcs died on the battlefield, the smoother his recycling capability — allowing him to whip up the next batch.

Old Man Willow is one of the old ents from the time when the Old Forest was part of Fangorn.
Treebeard probably knew him by name. The source of his malice is the same that corrupted the Barrows: the evil of the Witch-king.
  • He's implied to be a Huorn: they're stated to be wilder and more dangerous and much more prone to taking vengeance on other races. It's easy to see a huorn without the moderating influence of an active Ent in the vicinity becoming like Old Man Willow.

The Entwives never left.
Trees, like all plants, are hermaphroditic, having both male and female reproductive parts. The entwives were not physical beings but the "female" persona of the ents. Over time and ages however, they were "lost" — their feminine "mojo" was lost.
  • Not all plants are hermaphroditic, though your idea does have disturbing and funny implications.

The Entwives went to the Shire.
A hobbit mentions having seen a tree walking while on patrol there. And it is the sort of terrain (farmland) that they say they like in Treebeard's song.
  • And somebody, or something, besides Bombadil is influencing the trees of the Old Forest to leave the Shire and its inhabitants alone as long as the hobbits leave them alone. There's a lot of Huornishness, and even Entishness, to the Old Forest. Bombadil probably knows the score, but he won't tell on them.

There are no Entwives - there never were.
The Ents don't understand their own reproduction because their lives are so long. When an Ent dies, they seed the land and another Ent grows. (Maybe they have seasons where many Ents die off at once and are then born at once.) The Ents have either forgotten this or never understood it in the first place. The reason Ents think there are Entwives is because they are assuming they reproduce like all the other intelligent species of Middle-Earth. Some Ent came up with the idea and everyone just assumed it was right. Ents can surely have meetings that take so long everyone forgets they were debating what was a theory at the beginning.

The reason the Fellowship didn't ride the eagles into Mordor was Sauron's air force
In The Silmarillion and The Book of Lost Tales, it is written that Sauron taught the Númenóreans how to "sail against the currents and the wind", which presumably involved steam power. Ironclads and air ships are also mentioned. Now, as we all know, Númenor got destroyed by Eru. But, since Sauron taught them how to make the things, he would still have the ways to make these things in his head! In the appendix for the Lord of the Rings, it states that Aragorn sneaked into Mordor once disguised as someone else. While there, he must have stumbled upon one of Sauron's secret underground airship factories, where he was building a fleet of air ships to unleash on the world once he had completed enough of them. Sometime during the Council of Elrond (we probably didn't see all of it), someone mentioned the eagles, and Aragorn had to shoot the idea down.
  • So that's what the Númenórean "iron bows" were.
  • Or, more simply, Sauron had a lot more of those flying critters than the ones the Ringwraiths rode on, and they made Mordor's airspace unattackable until Sauron's fall. That's why Gandalf could ride one to save Frodo and Sam afterwards — the creatures had fled in fear after Sauron fell.
  • Here's a simpler explanation: it wouldn't have worked because Sauron could control the air itself. See the Caradhras chapter.
  • It's implied that Caradhras itself is attacking the Fellowship, not Sauron, although nothing's definitely stated...
  • Boromir's theory that Sauron was responsible for the weather in the Caradhras chapter came from the fact that Sauron could control weather closer to home.
  • I thought the same thing as the above troper, the fell beasts would probably have eaten them or caught them and done something much, much worse.
  • Someone actually sent a letter to Tolkien asking why the Fellowship haven't flown to Mordor. He got so angry he draw the logo of the Mordor Air Defense and sent it in the reply. True story.

The Eagles refused to bring the Fellowship to Mordor.
After the clusterfuck that ended the Second Age, the Eagles were very wary of anything to do with that Ring, if it could corrupt the once-brave and noble Men. In their eyes, mankind had to prove that they were still capable of standing up to the darkness as in yesteryear, before they would do anything in return. Gandalf tried to convince them to help with the quest, but the Eagles refused once they learned the old wizard would be restoring the throne of Gondor in the process.
  • Alternately, they might have refused because they'd heard a prophecy that Eagles of the next Age would be reduced to non-sentient birds no bigger than a goose, and wanted to postpone the diminishment of their kind as long as possible. The Wargs could've heard a similar prophecy about wolf-kind's future, and sided with the bad guys in self-defense, to try to ensure that the Ring would never be destroyed and the Third Age continue forever.
  • Or they feared the corrupting influence of the ring could tempt an Eagle to fall from grace; The Hobbit explicitly states eagles are not predisposed to be kindly, and some are outright jerks.

The Witch-King is Aragorn's ancestor.
The Witch-King was once a great king before becoming Sauron's servant. He is also of Númenórean descent. Aragorn is a descendant of Isildur, who himself is a descendant of the long line of Númenórean kings, this may include the Witch-King. Nothing else is known of the Witch-King, other than he was alive around the Second Age, while Aragorn was born in the Third Age. The Witch-King was one of the nine great kings of men who became wraiths, so he may have some family connection with Aragorn.
  • Not vertically. Aragorn descends through the Northern Dúnedain from the Númenórean Elendili; his paternal line (once broken by Silmariën) goes to the line of Kings up to Elros Tar-Minyatur. The Witch-King was not an insular Númenórean, but a Second-Age continental human, probably of colonial Númenórean descent. As such, he can't be Aragorn's ancestor. Unless you want to propose that some southern Black Númenórean Witch-King descendant sneaked north and married into the Northern kingdom, and she or one of her descendants married one of the Kings of Arnor/Arthedain/Chieftains.
    • Sure, why not?
  • Maybe the Witch-King isn't his direct ancestor. They may still have some relations.
    • Considering how little we know of the Witch-King's identity, there's all kinds of things that could make it possible. Who says Sauron didn't offer a Ring to one of the indirect or even direct lines of the Royal Family? Elendil himself wasn't actually first choice of the Númenórean Kingship actually. There's even coincidentally a rather malicious king that died mysteriously before the Nazgûl first appeared, though again, there's not much concrete information either way.
  • There's a theory floating around that the Witch-King is the Numenorean Isilmo. Isilmo was the son, brother and father of rulers of Numenor (his father was Tar-Surion, his sister was Tar-Telperien, and his son was Tar-Minastir), but never got on the throne himself. If Sauron showed up and offered him a kingdom of his own, the temptation would have been hard to resist.

One of Aragorn's descendants screwed up big time
Middle-Earth is supposedly Europe tens of thousands of years ago. The cyclopean ruins dotting the continent that were ancient even in Homer's time and far beyond the tech level known in the era they were built are supposedly all that remains of the Third Age. But, as the above summary hints, something big happened, historically, that caused the technological level of mankind to plummet. By the time of Homer, the ruins of Arnor and Gondor were thought to have been built by giants, since they had no other idea how they could have been made. All knowledge of the era, despite the great libraries of Minas Tirith, was lost until Professor Tolkein found the Red Book of Westmarch and the Silmarillion, and translated them. The fact that humanity had such a major societal crash implies that the person in charge — one of Aragorn's descendants — failed to keep it together. Theories on what happened include these:
  • Civil War
  • Invasion by men out of the East
    • Given that Europe's current population, save the Basque people of northern Spain and southern France, are descended from invaders from the East (the Proto-Indo-Europeans), this idea has a ring of truth to it.
      • I partially support this. I would say that the Easterlings did invade, but only subjugated the Men of the West and forced them to speak our language. Especially in Western Gondor and west of the Misty Mountains. The reason I think this is the DNA evidence in the region. In Western Europe today, the vast majority of men still carry what in the LOT Rverse would be the Númenórean (Celtiberian) marker (R1b), as opposed to the Easterling (Indo-European) marker (R1a). If you want to find a majority R1a population, look in the Balkans/Black Sea region.
      • Appendixes state that Aragorn conquered the Easterlings and basically annihilated their culture (it was based on worshiping Sauron and Melkor, and both are "dead") and helped them revive an older one their evil overlords had suppressed. They wouldn't have been able to invade unless the empire had already crumbled, but a rebellion is possible.
  • Rebellion
  • History repeating itself, with Gondor going the way of Númenor - in all respects.
    • This is what did happen. They fell to evil worship cults and basically screwed up completely. Tolkien began to write the tale of it but it was so depressing he packed it in after 13 pages.
  • Construction of technology beyond their means, which destroyed them
  • The escape of Melkor-Morgoth/Shai'tan
  • Whatever unexplained catastrophe rearranged the continent's geography
  • Stuff with things.
  • The elaboration below about an earlier interglacial. This doesn't explain why nothing shows up in the archaeological/paleontological record, though.

The idea hobbits aren't adventurous is a "modern" idea to discourage young hobbits.
An early reference to Gandalf in The Hobbit casually mentions him being responsible for hobbit boys and girls going off in the world to have adventures. Likewise, Hobbits were historically wanderers who later settled down, suggestion the "modern" hobbit is much like the modern-day human.
  • Pippin and Merry complain about hobbits being overlooked in "the old stories", and several races don't seem to recognize hobbits. However, they also joke that an elf is silly for not being able to tell the difference between a hobbit and a man, who claims "sheep may look different to other sheep". This suggests many races who didn't know about hobbits may simply have assumed they were a type of Men or even human children (which even hobbits grudgingly admit), in a similar way that Gandalf has been confused for an elf. Thus there might have been many adventurous "men" or young children who were actually hobbits, who never clarified the matter or were enlarged for the sake of a good story.

Gollum's death was suicide.
Gollum knew perfectly well that the Nazgûl would be coming once Frodo put the Ring on in Mount Doom. He knew what would happen if Sauron got the Ring. He also knew that the Ring was the only thing keeping him alive, and in any case he wouldn't be able to destroy it in a million years. So he threw himself into the lava with it in his hands, thus keeping it for himself and destroying it at the same time.
  • Alternatively, Gollum wasn't really thinking anything other than the Ring and wanted to commit a "double" suicide. The power of the Ring had so utterly broken him that he was mentally prepared to die but his addiction to the Ring displaced the thoughts of suicide in his mind. His obsession kept him alive against his will, forcing him to feed and protect himself, thus extending his suffering. Once he got his hand on the Ring, his quest was over and he felt a fullfiment of sorts that gave him a moment of clarity. He realised that the Ring would never again give him such a satisfaction and that he still could never let go of the Ring. Thus he did the only thing that seemed to make sense to him — jump into the fire and be incinerated along with the Ring. In his mind he wouldn't be doing harm to the Ring since the Ring would want to be with him to the end and thus "Sméagol wasn't doing anything wrong, was he Precious?"
  • As another alternative, Gollum's death was a suicide committed in obedience to an earlier command by Frodo:
    At the last need Smeagol, I should put on the Precious; and the Precious mastered you long ago. If I, wearing it, were to command you, you would obey, even if it were to leap from a precipice or to cast yourself into the fire. And such would be my command.
    Later, when Gollum tries to take the Ring from Frodo, Frodo warns him
    If you touch me ever again, you shall be cast yourself into the Fire of Doom.
And that's what happened - It was the last need, Frodo had put on the Ring and was wearing it (it was on his finger...) and Gollum obeyed, leaping from a precipice and casting himself into the fire.
  • ^ This. Frodo cursed him under the Ring's influence, and the curse followed through.

Tom Bombadil is...
  • A Nameless thing in human form
He does say that he was there even before Melkor. Tom Bombadil might be the name only of his human form, just like the term Gandalf only refers to a human form.
  • The One, aka Eru aka Ilúvatar. The Ring has no affect on him whatsoever, and in fact, he makes the Ring disappear briefly! When Frodo puts on the Ring, it is said he is putting one foot in the Wraith world and if he wears it too long, risks becoming a wraith. But the "wraith world" is not necessarily an evil place, for, because of the Ring, Frodo is able to see Glorfindel's "other side" the side that exists in the "wraith" or "spirit" world when Glorfindel goes all badass at the Ford of Bruinen. Tom does not disappear when he puts on the Ring, because the Ring has nowhere to pull him to, he already exists totally on "the other side" as the One. In a way, by making the Ring disappear, Tom is pulling the Ring all the way over to "the other side" with himself. Gandalf remarks at the Council of Elrond to the affect that it is notsomuch that Tom has power over the Ring as that the Ring has no power over him, which fits in with Tom as the One, since a creation cannot be higher than the Creator, but the One being a Creator that doesn't muck around with the free will of his creations (but doesn't mind extending a helping hand every now and again). Even Tom's habit of incessant singing fits this theory.
    • The whole idea was Jossed by Tolkien in 1954, as he has stated in his letters that The One has no incarnation in Middle-earth. This naturally depends on how heavily you accept the Word of God.
    • Tom making the Ring disappear was described in a manner that makes it pretty clear he pulled a simple coin trick on the hobbits to mess with them.
  • Aulë the Smith. Aulë is unique among the Valar in being fonder of life in Middle-earth than in Heaven, as the god of created objects he would naturally have power over the Ring, and he is romantically involved with an earth-mother goddess who is described in similar terms to Goldberry. Only he has the means, motive and opportunity.
    • A longish essay (on painful background, unfortunately, until you click for plain white) on this premise is here.
    • Oromë was like that too, and I could more easily imagine him as Bombadil than Aulë, whose fascination with created and non-living things just doesn't fit with Tom's close-to-nature lifestyle. Also, his nature as the "Eldest" being on Middle-Earth would support this, as, if this troper remembers correctly, Oromë was the first of the Valar to set foot on Middle-earth and certainly the only one to remain there for any length of time.
      • Or he's one of the Maiar, since Gandalf seems to view him on equal terms, not as a servant would his master.
      • Aulë wasn't Olorin's master, Nienna was. It's still a good point though, especially since Aulë was Saruman's master, and it seems doubtful that Saruman would have dared set up shop that close to his former master after betraying the White Council.
      • If he was a Maia, wouldn't he be seduced by the ring like his fellow Maiar? Gandalf refuses to even touch the ring because of the danger is poses to him, and Saruman eventually falls to that temptation. A Vala, on the other hand, would be above such petty bits of jewelry.
      • Not really. The Maiar would act in different ways. Maybe Tom has no reason to want to take the ring at all or maybe he might not have a sense of evil because in the book he is comical and does most of his mischief in a off-hand way. But all the others in the series show hints of evil in them (Except of course the Vala and Eru).
    • Tom could be a wholly different Ainur who slipped into Arda without the other Valar knowing, or even knowing but not caring, and thus him not being in any myths.
  • The Witch-king of Angmar. Explained here.
    • As strange as that theory is, it does look like it has textual backup.
    • But why didn't he just keep the ring after he made it disappear? Or when he almost didn't give it back?
    • The article brings up the quote, "They were... in no way deceived as to the real lordship of the Ring." Nazgûl are some of the only creatures who know instinctively that they can't take the Ring's power for themselves. Thus they're the only ones Sauron trusts to bring the Ring back to him. Sauron perhaps didn't count on the fact that the Witch-King could disobey him and live a double life as Tom Bombadil, but the Witch-King is not under Sauron's direct control when Sauron doesn't have the Ring in his possession.
    • No. Doesn't work. It doesn't fit at all with the idea that Tom is "oldest and fatherless" nor would the Witch-King (a Númenórean) possibly be as old as Elrond (hardly the oldest of the Elves in any case, despite what the article says), and certainly not the likes of Círdan or Treebeard. Remember how he was around before the Elves. This doesn't explain anything about Goldberry either. As for the Barrow-wights... well, yes, maybe the Witch-King could have controlled them, but there are certainly other named (and unnamed) beings stronger than the Witch-King; there's no reason why this would logically point to him. It's also doubtful that Sauron would not know about such a dual identity considering the Witch-king is his closest lieutenant. No, while Tom was certainly... something... maybe, as has been put forth by some before, even something malevolent, but not the Witch-King.
      • Tom lied. He isn't older than the Ents, Elves or Elrond. That's just part of his assumed identity.
  • A construct, possibly created by Ilúvatar and/or the Valar as a sort of corporeal gaming-avatar through which to vicariously observe and savor His creation as its natives do. The One Ring couldn't affect Tom, for the same reason it never turned the chain it was strung on invisible: it doesn't work on objects, only living creatures. This resolves the contradiction in which Treebeard is described as the oldest living thing to walk Middle-Earth, yet Tom has been around since the very beginning: Tom isn't a living thing.
  • The best most comprehensive theory that also helpfully deconstruct others. Seriously, it's that good. He's the spirit of the Music of Creation. This would explain
    • His powers: He's the spirit of the song of creation, his song is powerful.
    • His unique weakness: He's weak in the East where the Discord of Melkor reigned strong because the two musics is utterly incompatible.
    • His immunity to the ring: The ring is concentrated essence of Melkor's discord, the Music and Discord was described as incompatible but cannot cancel each other out.
    • His indifference to the ring(ie: he has no desire to keep the ring safe): in the beginning, the Music of Ainur was sung, then the Discord of Melkor was added and finally Eru added his own note that destroyed the discord completely. Eru's note created the races of Middle Earth, which is the only thing that can destroy Melkor completely. As the Spirit of the Music, Tom knew this and act accordingly.
    • "The First, the Fatherless, and the last to fall": this is where the Music and the Fire meet: both the Music and the Fire are Eru tools of creations, both can claim the title of "Eldest". Should Sauron win, the Discord win and the Music would be destroyed forever.
    • He is uttered obsessed with his wife, who is a river spirit and of the element that retain the most of the song.
  • Best theory this troper's seen yet: He is the Secret Fire incarnate. His having power over the Ring rules him out of being anything less than a Vala (Gandalf, elves and plenty of Men and dwarves are tempted by it, so he can't be any of those). He is "the Master of wood, water and hill" - which is three Valar's domains (Oromë, Ulmo and Yavanna) - he beats them all. He is the "Eldest" who was in Middle-Earth even "before the Dark Lord came from Outside" (Melkor was the first being to come to Eä after its creation, even before the Valar), and "if all else is conquered, Bombadil will fall, Last as he was First" - conquer Middle-Earth and you destroy the Fire keeping it alive. It makes sense of Goldberry saying "He is" in reply to "Who is he?" (which prompted a letter to Tolkien saying that sounded too much like "I am who I am", which in turn prompted the above 1954 letter denying that) - he isn't Eru per se, but the Fire "is with Ilúvatar" - and apparently the Secret Fire is the Holy Spirit, so he kind of both is and isn't Eru (per Tolkien's Catholic worldview). It's all there in the link.
    • Or he could be one of the spirits not created by Ilúvatar who were drawn to Arda, like Ungoliant except benign.
      • Both ideas have a lot of merit, especially when considering Tolkien's Catholicism. This is the one I'll go with until a better one comes along.
    • Gandalf called himself the servant of the Flame, yet his attitude toward him is annoyed and dismissive. Also it's called the Flame Imperishable, it can give life to creation, not vice versa. And Sauron wanted to rule the world, not destroy it. All in all, the Music Theory was much better. The Music theory was also the basis for the Fire anyway.
  • The text is very clear. Both Bombadil and Goldberry explicitly say, "Tom is the Master"
  • Tom Bombadil was originally a Dutch doll owned by one of Tolkien's sons (Michael?). One of his other sons (John?) flushed him down the toilet. He was rescued and revived, but it was a close thing, and the near-death experience resulted in his mind projecting itself as a pan-temporal entity in Middle-earth. All the thousands of years of Bombadil's existence in the books result from his mind freeing itself from time for those few seconds of him drowning in Tolkien's toilet.
  • A fallen star from "The Chronicles of Narnia".
  • A Maia who was exiled for being too annoying.
  • Something from the Land of Fiction.
  • A Time Lord.
    • A Time Lord who ended up in the Land of Fiction.
    • The Doctor.
    • Alternatively, Goldberry is a Time Lord. While Tom Bombadil is her TARDIS. That's how he's so strange, can teleport and has weird powers.
  • One of the evil Ainur, who repented and has to redeem themselves by keeping this dangerous area in check. As he was in Arda before Morgoth perhaps he joined Melkor at the beginning but as Arda was formed realised his mistake and repented.
  • A Maia who was sent like the Wizards but more secretly.
  • Lord Voldemort. This would suggest that Middle-Earth is, in fact, the limbo where Voldemort was sent after his defeat, and the fetus-like form his fragmented soul took eventually evolved into a small man once Voldemort started repenting his crimes.
  • Ungoliant's counterpart. Ungoliant is a spirit of an unknown kind, outside the order of the Ainur, implied to have originated with Creation as a living embodiment of Darkness. Her spawn, Shelob, is described as having no use for the Ring, because her only interest is Hunger. Bombadil is equal and opposite, the personification of Light: good because that's his nature, completely content with what he has (ie, the exact opposite of Hunger), but also with a might incredible enough to resist Sauron yet put him in a position where he would fall if all else fell, just as Ungoliant could bring fear to Melkor yet still be driven back by his Balrogs. Like Ungoliant, he is oldest and fatherless because he emerged with creation itself, perhaps as a note of the Music. He has no interest in the Ring because, like Ungoliant, he is blinkered by his nature as Light incarnate.
  • Lindo. He's the first and the eldest. And he tells stories that go back to the beginning of creation. And Vairë is Goldberry.

Dragons were created from the corrupted bodies of Eagles.
Evil in Middle-Earth can't actually create anything; they can only change things. The brutish and hideous orcs come from the beautiful and wise elves; rocky trolls come from wooden ents; flaming, chaotic balrogs are suspected to come from shining, righteous Maiar. On the side of evil, this leaves the dragons: enormous, flying reptiles, of firey breath, shrewd tongues, and immense strength. On the side of good, this leaves the giant eagles: enormous birds of immense strength, wise tongues, and mysterious natures. Put two and two together.
  • Interesting theory, but it seemed to this Troper that when Melkor was making the dragons, he went through a series of prototypes, starting with a regular serpent, then evolving them to have fire and later wings, then causing evil spirits to possess them, until he had the finished product.
  • The first dragons were flightless, wingless reptiles possessed by evil spirits (fallen Maiar) so their bodies must have been bred from reptiles, possibly by making fallen Maiar take physical form to mate with them.
  • Dinosaurs.

The Nazgûl's flying steeds are the cursed forms of each one's old steed.
If you were a king in medieval times, particularly in a fantastical one, you had to have at least a favored steed. The Nine Kings, in life, each had their own steed, but once the Rings were bestowed upon them, a foul side-effect occurred. Not only did the kings dissolve into foul forms beyond death, so too did their steeds. As opposed to the Nazgûl's transformation into cloaked phantoms, their steeds morphed into massive flying monsters. Over time, this form became their Game Face, and they can walk the Earth as horses for periods of time, but they're just as doomed as their masters.

When "the shadow rose up like two great wings", the balrog's shadow was just constructing itself into a pair of capable wings. He was seriously raring to fly, but Gandal's epic moment broke his concentration, causing his wings to break apart.

Aragorn was trained in sword fighting in the same way as the ring wraiths while they were men.
Almost totally confirmed in the movies. Before attacking the Uruk-hai near the end of the first one, Aragorn holds his sword up in front of his face almost exactly like the ring wraiths. Coincides with the above theory that Aragorn is related(however distantly) to the Witch King. If they were related, wouldn't their training be the same?
  • The ringwraiths might've been taught by elves, as Aragorn was.
    • The Ringwraiths would not have been elf-friends; Sauron wouldn't have entrusted the Nine Rings to them if they were, and four of them were from the Easter lands where people traditionally didn't get along with elves. Also, the gesture described above is just the ordinary swordsman's salute which 'officially' opens the battle; just about everyone trained in swordsmanship with Western blades does it.

"Gollum" was Sauron, or an aspect of him.
Sméagol kept the One Ring so close for so long, some of Sauron's essence rubbed off on him, giving birth to the alter-ego Gollum. This alter-ego's domination coincided with Sauron's slow return to power, and Gollum secretly conspired to give the Ring up to its main spirit. Had he not been fallen into Mt. Doom, Sméagol would have become Sauron's new Soul Jar, one that would've been considerably more difficult to destroy.

Late-period Númenor was a steampunk civilization.
  • Before the Downfall, the Númenóreans had developed astonishing arts and technologies that were mostly or wholly lost after its sinking.
  • In The Lost Road, Tolkien makes a few scattered notes alluding to zeppelin-like airships in Ar-Pharazôn's arsenal—this never made it to canon, but may provide a clue to T.'s conception of that civilization's attributes.
  • As with Sauron's Third Age empire, similarities to 20th-century fascism are thick on the ground. Tolkien hated anyone's treating his universe as allegorical, but it's not allegorizing to note certain parallels between Tolkien's mental image of late Númenor and the European Brownshirts/Blackshirts.
  • Consider the aesthetic effect. The late Númenórean rulers fall into focus the second one stops picturing them as mediaeval storybook kings, and starts imagining them in a twisted Art Deco vista, with quasi-military tunics, surrounded by mechanistic wonders of steam, steel, and clockwork. To gauge the effect of Ar-Pharazôn's Temple of Melkor on the capital's hallowed ground, imagine it looking like something out of Brazil.
The Faithful might have been distinctive because of their old-fashioned dress, as opposed to looking more like a Prussian infantryman. The Downfall would have brought a hard, decisive end to the latter style, with no survivors (outside of Umbar?) interested in commemorating or perpetuating it. The lost technologies are likely to have evoked little nostalgia at first, and to have passed from memory before long.

The force in the ring working against Sauron's will is the only tiny seed of good left in Sauron.
When he put his hate and malice into the ring he inadvertently put in the only good left in him. The ring doesn't realize this bit is in there. This is also why Sauron without the ring is so very evil. The good part is why the ring ended up with Bilbo - that was the extent the good in the ring could do, passing over from Gollum to Bilbo.

Anguirel became an heirloom of a great Rohirric house.
The most likely candidate for retrieving swords from Gondolin is Scatha, the dragon ultimately slain by the men of Éotheod. If Scatha saved Glamdring, Orcrist, and Sting for his hoard, you bet your ass he'd have saved so rare a sword as Anguirel, too.

It wasn't Frodo's decision to go to Mt. Doom.
It was the ring talking through him. The ring needed to get to Mordor and if anyone else had taken the ring, it would have stayed with Sauron's enemies. Frodo seemed strong enough to get to Mordor but not strong enough to destroy the ring. If it hadn't been for Sam (and Gollum), Frodo would have delivered the ring directly to the Black Gate.
  • I'm generally quite skeptical about WMG, but this one is eerily plausible. Let's turn to the description of Frodo's deciding at the Council of Elrond:

An overwhelming longing to rest and remain at peace by Bilbo's side in Rivendell filled all his heart. At last with an effort he spoke, and wondered to hear his own words, as if some other will was using his small voice.'I will take the Ring,' he said, 'though I do not know the way.'

Double points once we realize that this part of the narratve was most likely compiled from the notes of Frodo himself. At the very least this theory might explain why the Ring didn't make a trick like one it did woth Isildur and Gollum - that is, slip and hide.

  • I think it's practically canon that the ring's will was a major factor.

The reason Grima Wormtongue turned traitor...
Was that he was already getting accused of being treacherous on a fairly regular basis. Let's face it, he's Obviously Evil, his name is Wormtongue, and he really doesn't fit in at all well among the Rohirrim. Saruman got to him by playing on this, pointing out that he'll never be fully trusted in Rohan anyway, so why not turn traitor? Of course, by this point everyone's so used to his eventually turning out to be innocent of all charges that it takes Gandalf and the remains of the Fellowship turning up for anyone to realise that, no, he actually has betrayed them this time.
  • Wormtongue actually isn't his given name. It's a nickname given to him by the people in Rohan who can see through his act. But him not fitting in with Rohirric culture is quite plausible.

Denethor saw Aragorn in the Palantir.
When Denethor looked in the Palantir and saw the Corsair ships coming for Minas Tirith, he also saw that Aragorn had commandeered the fleet, which for him was just as bad as if the Corsairs themselves had come; as far as Denethor was concerned, Aragorn was a usurper to the throne of Gondor.

Aragorn's rise on the throne of Gondor was skilfully orchestrated military coup
Aragorn skillfully employed his ancestry (a legitimate although VERY obscure claim), the ancient emblem of Númenor, the military success and being a skilled warlord and commander. As the Steward of Minas Tirith, Denethor, and his son Faramir were played aside, it was easy for Aragorn to seize the power by support of his army.
  • Isn't this canon?

Gandalf did not die fighting the Balrog.
Gandalf killed the Balrog and collapsed from exhaustion, as the battle had lasted ten days. While he was unconscious, he dreamt of his old home in the undying lands; perhaps the dreams were genuine communications from the Valar or Eru, but he was still alive. The reason he awoke naked was that his robes had been burnt away by the Balrog's fire. Because of the trauma he had suffered, and how long he'd been out for, and so forth, he came to the conclusion that he had died and been sent back, but in fact he had just collapsed.

The reason some swords glow blue when near orcs is that they're meant as defensive weapons.
Their glow gives the wielder a warning that orcs are nearby, but also potentially warns the orcs that the user is there and has his sword out. This means that it's a lousy first strike weapon. It also encourages people using the sword to not run around with it out, looking for trouble. This increases the chances that if a group of orcs and a group of humans are near each other, but neither wants a fight, they'll be able to just walk away, no swords drawn, no fuss made.A secondary implication of this WMG is that at some point the elves who made the swords did not see orcs as always evil. Possibly Sauron exploited and encouraged racial tensions in order to increase his control of his orc minions.This WMG is almost certainly not the author's intent, but god (Tolkien) is dead and the orc genocides in the Hobbit and Lo TR are pretty values dissonant for modern times, so who cares about author intent?
  • The text is rather explicite that they're shock and awe weapons. They glow blue/silver with a light like to Telperion's to burn the eyes and skin of orcs, goblins, trolls, and other servents of Morgtoh and Sauron. They also alert their users to the presence of their enemies and light the battlefield so their wielders can see even if Morgoth or Sauron has darkned the sky itself. Elvish swords are only ever about killing good.

The Ring gives power and corrupts in direct proportion to a person's level of ambition and in inverse proportion to the bearer's contentment with life.
  • Tom Bombadil basically has everything he wants. The Ring had nothing to offer him so couldn't tempt him and therefore had no power over him.
  • Hobbits are a pretty happy lot overall. Given enough food, some mild recreational substances, their friends, and the occasional illicit adventure they're pleased with life. It's hard for the Ring to find much to work with there in terms of turning them into evil overlords. Sam explicitly laughs at the Ring when it tries.
  • In contrast, Boromir is a mass of unfulfilled ambition and the Ring gets to him without him ever owning it or even handling it.
  • Elves and Maiar are slightly more resilient than humans but would fall that much harder if given the temptation of the Ring. For example, Boromir wanted to use it as a weapon to protect Gondor, whereas Galadriel immediately professed her desire to become Queen of the world if Frodo would give it to her.

The Balrog was trying to get the ring for itself
  • It was also a Maia and hoped to become the new Evil Overlord with the ring.

Balrogs do have wings...
...but they need a good run up to take off and the Balrog couldn't do so when falling....but those of that of Moria had withered due to long slumber in an underground cave and no use for them.
  • Actually, the one in Moria does have skeletal bat wings, but no solid material between the bones to give it lift. There was only smoke, thus it was flightless.

One of the Blue Wizards fell, the other did not.
Hence the inconsistency in Tolkien's notes.

The Witch-King was not the first bearer of his Ring.
Instead, he killed the previous bearer for it. This is why he was the first to fall under its thraldom.

The One Ring's invisibility and longevity powers are unintended side-effects.
The simple fact of the matter is that Sauron never meant for anyone except himself to wield the Ring. The One Ring extends your lifespan, but unnaturally so, and it doesn't so much make you invisible as it shifts you slightly out of phase with the rest of reality; being a Maia, Sauron is already functionally immortal and already exists on a slightly different plane than Mortal beings. The only beings other than Sauron who use the Ring are Mortals - Men or Hobbits - and the Ring tries to pull them into another state of existence that is more "natural" for both it and its original owner. If an Elf or another Maia used the Ring, it wouldn't have the same effect, because they also exist in that other state to varying degrees.

Eldarion was either assassinated or else killed in battle.
According to the LotR wiki, he died before 200. While I doubt his potential lifespan would have reached that of Elros, what with Númenor being gone, but he'd certainly have been good for 300 years at least.

Saruman started associating with orcs because he wanted to redeem them.
Orcs are corrupted elves and aren't totally beyond redemption. However, they are so difficult to redeem that the best thing to do in practice is to kill them, sending their spirits to the Halls of Mandos to be redeemed: He's a vala and that's his job. Saruman decided, out of hubris and a desire to do good, to capture some orcs and try to redeem them himself. But this ended up contributing to his own corruption, instead.

On the other hand, Saruman did have some partial success, producing both the Uruk-hai and those goblins who had less visible corruption, could pass as men, and were mistaken for being "half orcs."

Grima Wormtongue genuinely loved Eowyn and wasn't bad before he was corrupted by Saruman.
  • There's nothing in the book that says he didn't. He may have been a real creep before, but I'm willing to accept that he wasn't evil and that he genuinely loved her before Saruman bought him. I think this is practically canon.

Some men of the Dunedain are mildly telepathic.
In the latter half of the Two Towers, during the two or three chapters where Frodo and Sam stay with Faramir, he has a couple of lines to the effect that he can "discern" that Frodo is telling the truth. Now, Faramir might just be really good at telling if people are lying, but then when Gollum is brought before him, he barely looks at or speaks with him, but later he says something like that he "searched his [Gollum's] mind" and "discerned" that Gollum had committed murder before. It really sounds like he's an empath or a weak telepath. In the same few chapters, Faramir also makes a lot of the fact that he's descended from Numenor. We also know that both he and his brother have prophetic dreams.

Now think: Galadriel can read Frodo's mind quite easily, even while he bears the Ring. It's implied that it's because she wears one of the Elvish rings of power. However, it's also said elsewhere that the Elvish rings only amplify the wearer's native powers, which would mean that she would have had to have been mildly telepathic before gaining the ring. The men of Numenor have a lot of abilities more commonly associated with the Elves, such as long life and the ability to prophecy, so perhaps this weak telepathy is common to the Elves and the Dunedain. As to why Boromir and Denethor never show this ability? One of the first things we learn about Faramir is that he's much, much wiser and more patient than Boromir. Perhaps this wisdom and patience allowed him to unlock a long hidden racial talent?

Admittedly I'm reaching, but is it really that crazy?

  • Finrod Felagund was also a telepath : when he met Men for the first time, they did not speak the same language but he could understand whatever it was they were saying at the time by reaching to their mind. Legolas also claims to hear the stones' thoughts while in Eregion, so telepathy is clearly an Elvish power that could have been passed to the Dùnedain, albeit diminished.

  • There's a passage early in the The Return of the King that could support this theory for both Faramir and Denethor. After Denethor finishes questioning Pippin, Gandalf tells Pippin that Denethor was able to read a lot between his words because "by some chance the blood of Westernesse runs nearly true in him; as it does in his other son, Faramir," and that "[h]e can perceive, if he bends his will thither, much of what is passing in the minds of men, even of those that dwell far off." Granted, the latter part may be due to his use of the palantir, but he wasn't doing that while talking to Pippin in person.

Aule was a pretty poor excuse for a Vala
Think: He created the Dwarves when he (to the best of his knowledge) wasn't supposed to be creating life at all. Admittedly, this was actually in Eru's plan, but he didn't know that. And then one of his Maiar just happens to turn into the second or third most evil being in the history of the world, one who very nearly covered Middle-Earth in evil and darkness multiple times. I mean Sauron, of course.

Given his prior track record, I'm going to guess that that was partially Aule's fault. Perhaps only to a small degree, but he certainly seems like the most ignorant and morally dubious of the Valar.

Alternate character interpretation: Gandalf is arrogant and just a bit reckless
Think about it! Forget about his portrayal in the movies. In the books, he makes quite a lot of questionable decisions and nearly gets captured or killed as many times as the rest of the Fellowship put together. He also carries himself like a rock-star, if you read carefully enough. In fact, his real talent seems to be getting out of sticky situations (which necessitates getting into sticky situations first, hardly a desirable trait). Gandalf is a good, redeeming character (not to mention incredibly awesome), but far from the perfect, wise father figure of the movies, he's as fallible and impulsive as any of the mortal characters.

In fact, in Book 2, when Aragorn talks about Gandalf being their last hope, the great, heroic "White Rider" against the black riders of Mordor, I think the reader (who's been following Gandalf much more closely than Aragorn has) is supposed to realize how desperate the situation is. Gandalf is a wonderful ally to have, but if he's your last hope, you might be screwed.

Why not go southwest?
The whole point of crossing the Misty Mountains (over or under) was to avoid going too near Isengard (and see how well that worked out). The map suggests an easier though longer way: follow the river Bruinen/Mitheithel/Gwathló from Imladris to the Sea, and enter Gondor from the west.
  • The whole area was deserted after the fall of Cardolan, so they wouldn't have found a harbor to ship from. Besides, the shores of Gondor were probably already under threat from the Corsairs of Umbar.
    • To say nothing of the possibility of horrible sea monsters being drawn to the Ring and attacking their boat. Remember, they encountered the Watcher in the Water in a freaking Moutain Lake. Imagine for a second what's in the open ocean.

Sauron planned an ethnic cleansing of the Orcs
Sauron is a known control freak who wants everything to be perfectly ordered and efficient, which contrasts nicely with his former boss more versatile personnality. The orcs are much more like Morgoth than Sauron, with their constant infighting and wanton destruction. While Sauron keeps them around because they are good at killing stuff, he does not seem to trust them that much : every high ranking trusted servant of his is either a Man or a former Man save (maybe) for Gothmog, Men also make up a large part of his armies. The existence of specialized breeds of Orcs and of the Uruk-Hai, who are better in every way than the rest of the Orcs, shows that he was tinkering with Orcs, trying to bring them to his standard. Had he won, the entire Orc race would have been progressively replaced by Uruk-Hai only, and once he had control of the whole of ME, and the Orcs had therefore served their purpose, finally wiped out to make way for a purely Mannish empire with Sauron at the top, fullfiling the prophecy of the domination of Men.

The Valar/Eru sent Gandalf specifically to take out Smaug and Durin's Bane

Gandalf could have just run with the rest of the Fellowship when the Balrog ambushed them, but instead he stopped to challenge it on his own, leading to his death. Why would he do such a thing?

The Valar know that these terrible creatures still exist, and that if they allied with Sauron the situation in Middle-Earth would become so desperate that they would be forced to intervene, leading to another War of Wrath (which the Valar wanted to avoid at all costs.)

To deal with these threats and others, the Valar send the Istari to travel Middle-Earth influencing events. But Gandalf wasn't aware that he himself was being influenced, and thanks to fate he ends up as the only being standing between the Balrog and the outside world.

In the book he says "A Balrog... now I understand," and in the films he has a pained expression on his face, but they both mean the same thing: After centuries of wandering his purpose is finally revealed, too late for him to avoid it. Gandalf knows that destroying the Balrog will destroy him too, and grimly accepts his task.

That golden ink bottle Bilbo gave Milo was made by Dwarves in either Erebor or the Ered Mithrim.

Frodo was actually more badass than what the books had told.
But since he wrote the story and was a humble hero, he gave all the credit to his friends.

Saruman's death was suicide.
We know that Saruman lost all his power except for his Compelling Voice, and even that seemed to fail after the Scouring of the Shire. However, his years of manipulation had left him with an excellent knowledge of Wormtongue's psyche and limits. He knew exactly how to push Wormtongue over the edge and provoke him to attack.

His ineffective stab at Frodo was actually an excuse to drop his knife so Wormtongue knew he was defenceless.

He had several reasons to want to die:

  • He had nowhere in Middle-earth to go, and no more mischief to do. He certainly wasn't likely to be able to take over anywhere else in the current political climate. He also felt that Frodo's mercy had "robbed [his] revenge of sweetness" so he couldn't even sit on a rock and gloat to himself.
  • To spite Frodo by making sure that both his mercy (letting Saruman live) and the reason behind it (the hope that Saruman might eventually find a "cure" for his fallen state) had no effect. At least, no effect on Saruman.
  • To add one more crime to Wormtongue's name so the Hobbits were less likely to offer him hospitality again. Whether he lived or died, he wanted his one servant to be even more miserable than him.
  • He had claimed that his death in the Shire would poison the area, and hoped some of the hobbits would at least half-believe him, giving them a few months' more grief.
  • He thought his spirit might be allowed to return to Valinor to rest, and as the elves were unlikely to let him on a ship that was his only hope of getting there. This last hope was apparently dashed when his shade was blown away by a wind from the west.

All Balrogs are cursed so that anyone who slays one will also die.
Overlapping with The Silmarillion, there have been 3 canonical deaths of a Balrog in the series: Gothmog was slain by Ecthelion at Gondolin, another Balrog was slain by Glorfindel in the same battle, and Durin's Bane was slain by Gandalf. In all 3 cases, the Balrog's killer was also killed by the conflict. Of course, in the latter 2 cases, they came back to life, but they still had to "die" first.

Morgoth knew that his Balrogs were his most powerful assets, and that losing even one would be a huge blow to his power. It would be perfectly in-character for Morgoth to place this curse upon his servants just so he could spite anyone who dared challenge him in this manner.

This also fits nicely with the non-canon Shadow of War game, where another Balrog is cast into a frozen lake by Carnan. Carnan doesn't technically "die" in this instance, but her current avatar perishes, which would still fulfil the criteria of the curse.

Radagast chose to live near Mirkwood due to Dol Guldur
  • Christopher Tolkien says he may have been sent to watch over the nature of Middle-Earth as Yavanna sent him. Radagst was living near Mirkwood to protect those most threatened by Sauron.

The old man Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli see is Radagast
  • Gandalf says it wasn't him so they think it must have been Saruman. Yet attention is drawn to him wearing a hat and it is claimed Saruman goes hooded. Also the old man causes the horses to run away and when they return Shadowfax is with them. Radagast is the Wizard most attuned to nature, so the horses recognised him and went with him. He then sent them back with another horse, realising Gandalf had returned due to his birds.

Radagast deliberately remained in Middle-Earth
  • Apparently Tolkien wrote that only one of the Istari returned to Valinor, that being Gandalf. Yet maybe Radagast deliberately remained in Middle-Earth as he still needed to protect its nature.
    • Perhaps he still needed to restore damage done to Middle-Earth by the War of the Ring. Apparently Tolkien may have intended Isengard to be given over to Radagast. Perhaps Radgast went to Isengard to restore the nature that had been damaged.

During the Battle under the Trees Radagast was intervening
  • But protecting the animals and plants of the forest from the war.

Radagast left his House to avoid Sauron and Saruman's forces
  • He remained in hiding in Mirkwood, knowing they would be after him.

We absolutely met Radagast in person, when he was going by the name "Beorn".
  • But he had not seen Gandalf in many years, and so did not immediately recognize his now–aged appearance, nor know him by the name "Gandalf", which is why Gandalf had to name–drop his "cousin" Radagast to clue Beorn into his identity without explaining it outright in front of Bilbo. This also explains why Gandalf seemed to describe him as an old acquaintance to the dwarves, only to back–peddle hard when Beorn didn't know him at all. Think about it: Beorn is able to magically change shape, without any explanation whatsoever; Radagast is referred to "a master of shapes and hues". Radagast is a noted friend of the animals of Middle–Earth, caring little for its people, while Beorn loves his animals "as his children" and is as antisocial as they come. Both live in Mirkwood, Radagast in Rhosgobel and Beorn in an unnamed hall, and neither travel very far from their home unless it is very important to do so. And Beorn, beyond his general antipathy for other people, is a special enemy to the goblins, the soldiers of Sauron. The eagles even knew to deposit the dwarves (and Bilbo, and Gandalf) at the Carrick, implying that they knew of Beorn and that he would be a friend to Gandalf, even though Beorn seemed not to know Gandalf at all and to be very dangerous besides. In The Fellowship of the Rings, we learn that the eagles are used to working with Radagast, explaining this otherwise very strange choice.
    • Incidentally, the story Gandalf told the dwarves about Beorn's origins was a lie he made up on the spot to protect his friend's privacy, which is why it sticks out like a sore thumb when the usually–silver tongued Gandalf stumbles over it.

    Peoples of Middle-earth 

Hobbits Became Humans Under the Influence of Entish Draughts
Merry and Pippin probably picked up a few recipes during their visits with Treebeard. These became popular, and led to a steady increase in the size of Hobbits. Eventually the younger and larger generations began interbreeding with Men, leading to the loss of their racial identity. The influence of Hobbit genes can still be seen in some modern Humans.
  • This theory comes directly from the Rankin-Bass animated Return of the King.
  • So I'm part hobbit? Sweet!
  • Jossed. Tolkien says that Hobbits are smaller now and they hide from us, meaning that they're still here but don't appear to humans.
    • Indeed, Tolkien gives the hobbits a rather depressing Downer Ending: at some point in the future of the books, they lost their homeland, once again becoming wandering vagabonds like their ancestors, but this time they lost their craft and skills, along with their history and became physically smaller, ending up as hunter-gatherers always on the move, avoiding the Big Folk in terror (which indicates that humans were responsible for the destruction of the Shire and the hobbits' further strife).
    • Obviously the entish draught is very hobbit-forming.

Hobbits are a cross between humans and bunnies.
I know this seems random, but think about it! They're small, cute and cuddly, they've got pointy ears and big, furry feet, they tend to eat a lot (and seem to have a very fast metabolism) and they live in holes in the ground!

Hobbits are reformed Orcs
Specifically, they were a group of Orcs who, after the defeat of Melkor, split off from the rest of the Orcs and became more "friendly" through their isolation. By the time they had been discovered by the Races of Men and Elves they had basically become indistinguishable from them. We know that the smaller Orcs, the Goblins, have similar heights to the Hobbits, and we know that Hobbits and Orcs/Goblins have voracious appetites. Hobbits and Orcs/Goblins both tend to live simple lives, though the latter are more easily driven to war by Dark Forces. The Hobbits peculiar ability to reject the dark powers of Sauron's ring (longer then most other races could) could show the connection of the Hobbits to the Dark Forces of Sauron and Melkor. There is the problem that, in Tolkein's lore, Evil could not create Good things, though I would argue that the Hobbits could have made themselves good, especially without the influence of Melkor's forces and surrounded by the good forces of Illuvatar. Finally, if Hobbits are a reformed race of Goblins, then that would mean that the Hobbits are really Hobgoblins.

Elves are six-fingered.
They count in base 12, and there doesn't seem to be any textual evidence to the contrary.
  • Remember that joke about how Tolkien could go on for pages about trees and not say the elves have pointy ears? Funnier now, isn't it?
  • With Tolkien, hard to tell. There are base-12 human cultures that count knuckles using the thumb. (Each finger that isn't a thumb has three knuckles, and there are four fingers that aren't thumbs; that adds up to twelve.)
  • Base 12 was entirely familiar to Britons at the time Tolkien was writing because of the mental currency system we were using - 12 pennies to the shilling, 20 shillings to the pound - and the similarly mental units of measurement with 12 inches to the foot. Doing arithmetic in multiple bases was simply a fact of life, and base 12 was the one that cropped up most often. Fortunately, we did not evolve a forest of tentacles on our hands to cope with it.

The elves used to have pointy ears.

Orcs are a race of reanimated corpses.
This explains how they're Always Chaotic Evil, and why Sauron calls himself The Necromancer in The Hobbit.
  • Normal orcs are descended from reanimated elf corpses. Uruk-hai are Frankenstein Monsters, mixing elven and human corpses.
    • It's implied in The Two Towers that Uruk-Hai are Orcs cross-bred with Men.
      • In the novel version, there was a race of cross-breeds created by Saruman, but they were a separate race from the Urak-Hai created by Sauron. Some could pass for human, though most had obvious signs of mixed heritage.
  • This is supported by the fact that Tolkien got the name from the tale of Beowulf; in Old English, "orc-neas" means "devil-corpse" or "walking dead". Yes, they had zombies in Old English, too.
  • From the brief description in The Silmarillion it sounded like Orcs were created via the torture/mutilation/brainwashing/etc of living Elves. But this works, too. After all, torture and mutilation are known to kill...
    • That's certainly the case in The Silmarillion, which was gathered from J.R.R. Tolkien's notes by his son, Christopher; but the man himself was never entirely satisfied with the explanation, and was constantly trying alternatives, though it seems he never managed to find one that he liked.
      • Tolkien in a letter suggests that Orcs may have also been derived from Humans, Dwarves or Animals. Perhaps the original Orcs were twisted elves. As elves cannot die, they can be reincarnated (as shown in the movie), making the original victim Elves the Uruk-Hai. To bulk up their numbers, the Uruk-Hai can breed with Humans, Dwarves or even animals forming the various breeds of Orcs. Note that Orcs always seem to be male. This has some relevance to Hobbits. Could Hobbits have been a breed of Orcs that escaped the taint of evil? Frodo and Samwise disguise themselves as Orcs successfully. Merry & Pippin are mistaken for Orcs by Treebeard. They originated just east of an area with large population of small Orcs.
      • Orcs from Animals - as far as I can make out - surely solves all the doctrinal problems, both in-universe and with Tolkien's own beliefs? Is it not Catholic doctrine that animals don't have souls? If so, the problem of them being irredeemably evil surely no longer matters. Take a baboon or a chimp, which are pretty aggressive anyway, boost its intelligence and reshape its larynx by some dark art so that it can speak, perhaps also extend its lifespan much as Rings do, and there you have it, one Orc. Bingo.
      • Hobbits are an offshoot of Men.
  • There is some support for this in The Silmarillion that Christopher published, actually. It mentions how Melkor-Morgoth was greatly reduced because of how much of his evil power went out into his hordes of evil creatures. Maybe in the form of animating elf-corpses?

Orcs are Always Chaotic Evil due to cultural pressure as well as the commands of the various powerful evils.
There are some good orcs, but they've been used as soldiers for so long by various evil beings that the bad ones vastly outnumber the good ones, and thus the good ones quickly get killed, either by other orcs or by the Free Peoples who just assume they're all bad.

Hobbits were created by Eru himself, specifically to handle the One Ring.
Consider this: the origin of Hobbits is shrouded in time, they're explicitly said to possess a greater endurance against magical corruption (specifically, that of the One Ring) than any other creature, and besides all the events to do with the Ring, they factor very little in Middle-Earth's history, if they ever did. Also consider that, despite the gambits pulled off by the forces of darkness, Eru, by virtue of being Eru, would know that these things would happen, and would have some power to stop them. So, Eru, around the time the Men were waking up, created the Hobbits; or, Eru made the Hobbits very late in Middle-Earth's history, and retconned their world and history in. That way, once the fate of evil in the world finally rested on Sauron and his Ring, the Hobbits could dispose of it (which they do).

Dragons were corrupted Dwarves
Every race seems to have a counterpart that was created when Morgoth corrupted them. Elves were turned into Orcs, Maiar into Balrogs, Men into Ringwraiths and Ents into Trolls. However, Dwarves don't have a counterpart, and dragons don't have a confirmed origin. You do the math. Also, both races have a profound love of precious metals and gems. While Morgoth COULD have taken single dwarves and mutated them into the much-larger dragons, I prefer to think that he took entire cities of dwarves, broke them down into biological material and souls, and smooshed them together into a single entity. Every dragon is a nation.
  • This also fits with many of the mythological origins of the story: in the Nibelungenlied, the dragon Fafnir was originally a dwarf transformed into a monster by his greed for the treasure he guarded, and Siegfried's companion Reginn (also a dwarf) was Fafnir's brother.

Mordor Orcs are corrupted elves; Saruman's Uruk-Hai are corrupted men; and the goblins of Moria or corrupted dwarves
In keeping with the general perception that each race in Middle Earth has an evil counterpart, this seems like the most probable arrangement. I don't think anything in the text contradicts it, if only because there's so little concrete detail about how the Orcs work.

The wizards initially were identical looking
The narration describe Gandalf and Saruman as looking almost alike, and Gimli comments on it. When the wizards were sent down to Middle-Earth they looked identical. It's only the effect of thousands of years being exposed to the elements would have on a human body that makes the wizards look different at all by the time of the War of the Ring. That's why they put so much importance in their color designation, it was originally the only way to differentiate the wizards.

Orcs are clones of elves suffering from Clone Degeneration
Morgoth captured elves and tortured them, but did not torture them into orcs, he just took their blood and grew the elves artificially. But the process isn't perfect, so the clone elves come out twisted into orcs.

"Gollum" is what happens to Hobbits that turn evil
It is usually assumed that the Gollum we get to know in the books and movies (and whatnot) became the way he is now because he was corrupted by the One Ring. Living under its influence for hundreds of years turned him into a wretched creature who had lost its mind... but what if it wasn't the Ring's influence that made this happen (or at least not directly)?

The only two characters we see who possess the Ring for several years are Bilbo and Gollum (or Sméagol), who are both Hobbits. Bilbo actually shows signs of becoming like Gollum himself twice in The Fellowship of the Ring: In the very first chapter, when Gandalf demands that Bilbo gives up the Ring, he refers to it as "his precious". Later, in Rivendell, when Bilbo and Frodo meets again, Bilbo asks Frodo to show him the Ring and tries to take it from him, upon which he appears to Frodo as "a little wrinkled creature with a hungry face and bony groping hands", possibly implying that, for a short time, Bilbo resembled Gollum; note that this is before Frodo meets Gollum for the first time.

While it is absolutely possible that this "transformation" is the power of the Ring corrupting Bilbo the way it might have done with Sméagol (although Bilbo did not actually possess the Ring in Rivendell), here is another theory: While Hobbits in general are rather good-natured, if one of their own were to turn evil, their body and mind would change the way Gollum's did. Hobbits are notoriously unambitious, so even the worst of them are at most unpleasant, instead of outright evil. It took an immense evil influence, as the Ring was one, to turn Sméagol, and almost Bilbo, into the wicked, shady counterparts of the Hobbits.

Keeping that in mind, it would make sense that the Hobbits live such a simple, carefree and unambitious life. Keep yourself content with the simple pleasures, and don't get any silly ideas about wanting fame and fortune, as these are just a possible pathway towards a life of evil, which will turn you into a monster. In Bilbo's day and age, these stories are mostly forgotten, or regarded as cautionary fairy tales, instead of something that might have been a common occurence many centuries ago.

Gollum's death wasn't accidental on his part, rather it was a Heroic Sacrifice
For a story that heavily themes itself around corruption and temptation, it's missing a rather noticeable piece of it; redemption. It makes perfect thematic sense for the story to end with a character finally resisting evil and deciding to destroy the one ring and himself. Gollum "accidentally" falling into the fires is a complete cop-out compared to him actively resisting the ring enough to destroy it and himself, even if only for an instant. Gandalf's quote about Gollum having some part to play, be it good or evil, implies direct agency on Gollum's part; as he was responsible for his evil acts, so too was he responsible for his one good one.

     Middle-earth in time and space 

The novel actually takes place in the future, on another planet.
In about 300+ years, scientists find a way to take an inhospitable planet and give it the ability to support life. One of the first planets colonized was dubbed "Middle Earth" due to it being not quite Earth, not quite anywhere else making it a middle ground, if you will.

Creatures like orcs and elves came about as the military's attempts at creating bio-weapons to aid in battle. Orcs were their first attempt, but failed miserably due to them being super-strong, but incredibly dumb and easy to kill. Elves came next, designed to just be better than humans at everything. This worked well at first, but unlike orcs, the elves had minds of their own, and didn't like being treated like property. This lead to a rebellion war which the elves naturally won.

And hobbits? More than likely they're the end result of an eccentric billionaire commissioning a genetic experiment splicing human DNA and rabbit DNA. See the above post.

  • "He was twitching 'cause he's got my axe EMBEDDED IN HIS NERVOUS SYSTEM!" Now how would Gimli have known that if the series took place in the past?
    • People have known about the nervous system for a very long time, though for most of it they haven't know exactly how it works. Nerves are not a new invention - there's a reason why "nervous" is is a term of everyday speech, rather than medical lingo. In any case, the general knowledge of physiology was greater in the Third Age of Middle-Earth than in any known historical period before the modern times.
    • Same way Uruk-Hai suddenly know what a menu is.
  • Orcs came after elves, Middle Earth is not the name of the whole word (it's actually named Arda and Tolkien confirmed it's in earths "past".
  • The moon and stars are exactly the same as ours, with some constellations and even particular stars quite clearly identified. (Menelvagor = Orion; Earendil's Star = very explicitly Venus; etc.)
    • The red star seen low in the south by Frodo at Rivendell is Fomalhaut (which technically isn't red, but appears so in Northern latitudes because its light has to pass through so much of Earth's atmosphere at such a low angle).

  • I've theorized this too. There's a general theme of "losing technology" throughout the ages. In the First Age, there were ships made of "mithril and elven-glass" that could fly in the sky and through space (i.e. spaceships). A long time ago, the planet was colonized, but the population wasn't able to keep up its technological might and fell back into the Iron Age. All the magic that seems to remain around is the remnants of Sufficiently Advanced Technology that they no longer completely understand. Only how to use it.

  • Explicitly Jossed, though, by Tolkien's letters - specifically #165, #183 and #211 - as quoted here.

The events of the novels aren't a forgotten era, they're an alternate history
Because I have a hard time believing that people would just forgot things like demons and elves roaming the Earth. Middle Earth did eventually turn into the modern world, but their history of the events before Anno Domini are very different from ours.

The events of the Lord of the Rings took place during the interglacial period before the last ice-age, and the events of the Silmarillion occured during and after the preceding that ice-age.
The lower sea-level and extensive ice-caps during the ice-age created a land-bridge between North America (Valinor) and Middle-Earth (Europe), allowing the second party of Noldor to cross the Grinding Ice after Fëanor abandoned them. The drowning of Númenor, the apparent removal of Valinor, and the changes wrought to the western coast of Middle-Earth were nothing to do with divine punishment, but were simply the result of sea levels rising at the end of the ice age, and the absurd story about a flat earth becoming round is simply a myth that developed to explain the changes.

Similarly, many of the accounts of Morgoth's activities - raising up and throwing down mountains, the smoke and fire issuing forth from his underground forges, the shaking of the earth when they were at work, etc) are actually mythologised accounts of volcanic eruptions and earthquakes). The "War of Wrath" and the resulting destruction was either an exceptionally violent eruption and earthquake, or the result of a meteor impact (Eärendil casting down Ancalagon the Black and destroying Thangorodrim).

The Fourth Age, the age of Man, began during the last interglacial, but all traces of its civilizations (and of course, the civilizations of the previous Ages) were lost when a new ice age (the most recent one) began. This was also responsible for the changes in geography between then and now.

  • Interestingly, placing the Fourth Age some time after the sinking of "Atlantis" (obviously a corrupted form of the Quenya name for Númenor, despite what Tolkien himself claimed) and before the last ice age places it in the same time frame as the Hyborean Age
    • Extrapolating from that, most of the setting of the Conan stories is synonymous to Middle-earth and the regions as labeled in Middle-earth are lesser-known academic terms for those of the Hyborean Age.

    • So the Red Book of Westmarch and the chronicles of Conan represent different mythic traditions relating to the same era?

The Men of Middle-Earth became the people of Europe.
The Northmen (relatives of the Houses of Bëor and Malach, including the Rohirrim) became the Germanic (and Slavic?) peoples. The Dunlendings and other relatives of the House of Haleth became the Celts. The Dúnedain of Gondor became the Greeks and Romans.
  • Don't forget the Easterlings, or, as we know them, the Indo-Europeans, whose invasions and conquering did destroy pre-existing cultures and civilizations (save for the Basque).
    • Eh? FYI, Indo-Europeans include the Germanic, Celtic, Slavic, Italic, Greek.
      • Exactly. Nearly all the people of modern Europe save for few oddities like the Basque and the Finno-Ugrians are of the Indo-European stock, meaning that most of us descend from conquerors who took over the lands thousands of years ago. Nothing is left culturally of the nations which preceded them. Yes, our ancestors destroyed the countries of Middle-Earth in Tolkien's mythology.
      • Indo-Europeans aren't a monolithic "stock." Population-wise, Europeans at the dawn of recorded history developed from a mingling of Paleolithic hunter-gatherers (with a little contribution from the Neanderthals), Neolithic farmers, and Bronze Age migrants whom some researchers believe were the proto-Indo-Europeans. In the context of Tolkien, the peoples of Gondor, Eriador, Rhovanion, etc. comprise late Neolithic Europe (what some archaeologists call "Old Europe") while some group of Easterlings, presumably related to the Wainriders, will enter western Middle-earth a millennium or two after the fall of Barad-dûr (c. 4000 BC) representing the arrival of proto-Indo-European. It is plausible that the Northmen, with the addition of some Easterling migrants, roughly "map" to the ancestors of the Germanic tribes (keeping in mind of course that the representation of the Rohirric language as Old English at the time of Lot R is pure Translation Convention), that the Gondorians + Easterlings become Southern Europeans, etc. We can even entertain the idea that Westron, Rohirric, Adûnaic and so on formed substrates in modern Indo-European branches.

The Blue Wizards are responsible for the creation of Judaism and Zoroastrianism
As the above guess mentions, Lord of the Rings is supposed to have happened far back in our own history. In Unfinished Tales of Númenor and Middle-earth, Christopher Tolkein mentions that his father had written in a letter that, most likely, the Blue Wizards had gone into the east to do missionary work (and, implicitly, kept doing so even after the last ships had set said for the True West). Being immortal, they might have been at this for quite some time trying to spread the word of Eru. That word got corrupted by word of mouth a fair bit along the way.
  • It's also possible that they are responsible for several polytheistic religions as a result of attempting to spread word of the Ainur. Which ones is anybody's guess, as the idea of pantheon isn't as distinctive and recognizable.
  • Think on this: they were essentially immortal, there is no record of them ever going home, and there is no record of their deaths. Unlike elves, they would keep their immortality in the changed world. They might still be around somewhere.
  • Sort of jossed in that Dwaves are symbolic of the Jews. Not the greed part, but that they awoke before the elves and have their 'thing' with Aulë ala Old Testament.
    • Nitpick: The Dwarves were only allowed to wake after the Elves (they're not called the Firstborn for no reason), and the Elves had also been thought out before. So wether you count the invention or the actual appearance, Elves come first both times.
    • Not really jossed. The Dwarves resemble Jews, narratively and linguistically (in the same way that Sindarin resembles Welsh), but don't forget that Middle-earth is just Earth in the distant past. The actual ancestors of the Jews (and of Zoroaster's Airya tribe) are already out there among the races of Men, presumably in Rhun (which corresponds to Asia).
      • Going further with this idea:

The Dwarves are the ancestors of modern Jews.
We don't know exactly what happened to the Dwarves: whether they died out or where they ultimately went. My guess is that, as in Narnia, some Dwarves mingled with Men. This theory gains weight by Tolkien's note that many Dwarves 'could not find a husband or wife they desired'; maybe this is what prompted the mixing. There's nothing in Tolkien's works to suggest that Dwarves and Men can't interbreed (after all, they're both mortal races). These early half-Dwarves then became the forerunners of the Jewish tradition.
  • Sorry, but Tolkien's work does negate that possibility. Tolkien's notions of interbreeding were in accordance with conventional biology; Elves and Men can interbreed because the difference between them is spiritual, not biological. They are both "Children of Iluvatar". The Dwarves, however, were made by Aule - they are of an entirely different origin and are no more likely to be chromosomally compatible with Men than any other non-human species. (Come to that, they are probably not even physically compatible. Aule is a smith - an engineer - and he specifically designed the Dwarves to improve upon some of the physical deficiencies of existing species; it is inconceivable that a semi-divine engineer would stick with the standard mammalian reproductive equipment.)

The extensive and somewhat contradictory mythology that is Middle-Earth belonged to an actual people.
About 1000 years ago, a wayward group of Britons, cast out from their homeland by some force or another, traveled to the mysterious fjords of Scandinavia (possibly southernmost Norway). Hearing tales of mighty Norsemen and lessons of the Christ-Jesus, these Britons began to cultivate their own mythology, blending these outside elements with their native British myths. They were spread thin, but kept a respectable territory, from their original landing-spot in the Norse lands down to Denmark and northernmost Germany. These people, now calling themselves "Gondorins", after their "lost" kingdom, told wild tales of the hosts of men and elves and mighty spirits battling numerous forces of evil (whose demographics changed with location). In turn, they helped to influence both Norse mythology and ancient Christianity; from them came the idea that Dwarves were a separate race from Elves, and from them came the idea that the forces of Heaven and Hell fought or once fought. Sadly, they have vanished from the Earth, and no one claims to come from their stock. However, thanks to the efforts of historian J.R.R. Tolkien, and the remarkable preservation of the Red Book of Westmarch, the Gondorins live on.
  • Tolkien was actually trying to recreate the lost mythology of Ancient England! Some of the influences from Norse and Danish mythology were things he believed were originally from the lost English myths.

The war against Morgoth in the First Age was the most recent Ice Age
J.R.R. Tolkien stated in one of his letters that the Third Age ended about 6,000 years ago, and the Middle-Earth calendars show that the First Age had ended about 6,000 years before the end of the Third Age. The most reent Ice Age ended 11,700 years ago. The Last Glacial Maximum was the time when Morgoth held sway over Middle-Earth. When the Valar captured him, things started to thaw out, causing the Bølling-Allerød interstadial. When he darkened Valinor and returned, he brought a sudden cold snap, which was the Younger Dryas period. Angband was surrounded by icy mountains = glaciers, and a cold north wind blew steadily south from the area, just as high pressure over continental glaciers causes wind to blow out from their edges steadily. With his defeat, the current interglacial began. Even by 6,000 years ago the sea hadn't yet finished rising, and the isostatic rebound of the continents hadn't finished, which is how the land and coasts changed after the end of the Third Age (unless there was another catastrophe, related to the collapse of the Third Age civilizations when Aragorn's descendant screwed up, as above).

We even have the Drúedain (Drughu, Pukel-men, Woodwoses) aka the Neanderthals. Obviously they survived the end of the Ice Age in small numbers, but even the fossil record of their extinction can be explained: after the First Age, the few surviving Drúedain joined the Númenóreans. Later, they abandoned Númenor and returned to Middle-Earth, long before its fall, because they didn't like the direction things were going. Thus, they disappear from Middle-Earth and the fossil record. Since their surviving numbers were so small, when they returned to Middle-Earth, they came back in such small numbers that they don't show up in archaeology. And by the end of the Third Age, they were clearly nearly extinct.

Middle-Earth is Mid-Childa in the distant past.
At some point in time, there was an inter-dimensional incident between Middle-Earth and our world, which most cultures just call Earth, or whatever Earth means in their language. Some wizards from Middle-Earth learned were amazed by our world's technology, which can advanced more in a century than technology from their world does in a millenium, and developed a new form of magic combined that incorpated Earth technology. has no distinct races like elves and hobbits, just humans, so the people of Middle-Earth were inspired to start racial-integration, generations of inter-racial reprodcution caused the distinct races on Middle-Earth to dissapear. The name Middle-Earth was shortened to Mid-Earth, which was eventually changed to Mid-Childa, and the TSAB was set up to handle any future inter-dimensional incidents.

Middle-Earth from the films is Arthur's World from "Battlefield".
  • And guess who Merlin is.

Westron, the language of Middle-earth, is actually Proto-Indo-European language!
Proto-Into-European was the predecessor to modern European and Indian languages, and was spoken in Europe (Middle-earth) around the time of Lord of the Rings! (roughly 4,000 BC) It is just a reconstruction, as no written examples are known. Therefore, we don't know what the people who spoke it actually called it. No written examples except, perhaps, the Red Book of Westmarch! Tolkien translated it but didn't tell anyone that Proto-Indo-European and Westron are one and the same!
  • It's possible, but an Easterling language (none of which are attested apart from a handful of pre-Third Age personal names) would be better-placed at that time to spread the way PIE is believed to have. And since, in Tolkien's history, the early Edain also came from the east, it's likely that Adunaic and the Easterling languages share many of the same influences, therefore any similarities between Adunaic and Indo-European languages might also have been shared by one or more Easterling languages, and not indicate a special relationship between Adunaic and IE.

    LotR is propaganda 

Original manuscript is pro-Gandalf propaganda. It was all a plot to control the pipeweed trade.
See also David Brin's historical revisionist argument below, claiming a royalist succession plot.

It was all a conspiracy to control the flow of pipeweed coming out of the Shire. Gandalf, who is widely acknowledged to be the Chessmaster in the series, managed to convince everyone the Ring was a "weapon of mass destruction", and propped up Frodo as a sort of Waif Prophet, when in fact the Ring was a minor artifact or hoax. It explains everything - non-magically.

The premise of the Quest and the justification of the military manouevers needed to support it was all Based on a Great Big Lie - that Gandalf made to Frodo in Bag End. Much like the Children's Crusade to return a piece of the True Cross to Bethlehem, the notion of the One True Ring had great appeal to peasants, who believed in the legends of the Elves and the myth of the Great Rings, and Gandalf used this as a smokescreen for large-scale regime change.

As noted in the book, Gandalf used a mix of blackmail, rhetoric and magic tricks right out of The Man Who Would Be King in order to establish his friend Aragorn's claim to the Gondorian throne, enlisted a foreign Rohanian force to impose him on the Gondorian people, and "a coalition of the willing" to wage war against the (admittedly poorly governed) kingdoms of the south and east.

All of this can be traced back to Saruman, the real hero of the story, whose efforts to modernize the production of pipeweed and bring Middle-Earth into the 31st century were thwarted by Magnificent Bastard Gandalf, who wanted right-wing Dúnedain militia to have a monopoly on the means of production for Middle-Earth's most valuable resource (note the hints throughout the story about pipeweed's importance) — in order to fund their constant guerrilla campaigns elsewhere. A rigorous Straussian or Marxian analysis can thus demonstrate that, much like the Trojan War, it was all a fight over resources.

Desperate, Saruman sought a protective alliance with the dictator Sauron in hopes of building a modernist coalition to counter the agression and imperialism of the aristocrats and their claim of being "Ringbearers"; unfortunately, petty landowners refused to embrace land reform, and the Shire's resources continued to be exploited by tribal Hobbit chiefs who spent no money on the betterment of infrastructure. Sauron sent in nine "observers" to check the power of the brutal Ranger militias, who were financing themselves on the black-market with the export of pipeweed crop, kicking off the excuse for Gandalf's elaborate psy-ops mission to claim that "a Weapon of the Enemy has been found".

Unfortunately, history is written by the victors, and Aragorn commissioned The Lord of the Rings to be written from the perspective of the Hobbits, to re-interpret the historical record and create an extensive hagiography for Gandalf. (In reality, it was compiled in Minas Tirith, at least 60 years after the Hobbits are said to have lived.)

All the (non-miraculous) facts in the book are mostly true (Gondor's scholars were unable to cover up events), but put a pro-Gondor spin on everything and created a whole overlay of miracles and magic to justify the notion that Sauron's Ring, an entirely legendary object equivalent to the Holy Grail, had been found in a hobbit hole (!) and that only Frodo, a minor local mystic who believed in elves, could return it to Gondor's rightful fiefdom of Mordor (which had, not un-coincidentally, been recently lost to the infidels) and provide salvation — not hard work, technological betterment, or resistance against the Númenórean invaders!

It was really all about cornering the market in poppy pipeweed trade and preventing Saruman from obtaining access to Western goods, and to punish him for seeking a defensive alliance with Sauron, under the theory of containment.

He who controls the pipeweed controls the economy (the mechanism of addiction was not widely known in ancient times) and was capable of using their economic influence to oppress the non-Númenóreans and keep Middle-Earth locked in permanent Medieval Stasis.

Sauron tried to prove he had no such weapons, and that the Ring was purely myth and legend, and Frodo's ring a mere trinket — a Red Herring whose only useful ability was invisibility and to cause health and mental problems for the wearer.

However, Sauron's hands were tied since he himself had promoted the notion that he was a God-King, and had the orcs known he did not in fact possess such magical weapons, he would have been quickly overthrown. In back-channel negotiations, Sauron's sympathizers and peace activists pointed out that the notion of a ring with the Informed Ability to create military victories and "cover the land in the shadow" of the wearer was inherently ridiculous, and that Gandalf was engaging in a fear-mongering campaign talking about "the all-seeing eye of the enemy" and "a Nazgûl under every bed". But a volcanic eruption, no doubt engineered with high explosives, destroyed the evidence.

  • Not sure where the Elves fit in this historical analysis. It is clear they were either entirely mythical figures introduced into the story to legitimize our heroes, or offscreen historical figures elevated to the status of immortals, or perhaps they were an actual aboriginal tribe of Magical Native Americans who had been the subject of various claims and superstitions after being brutally displaced by human incursion on their hunter-gatherer way of life.

No blood for pipeweed!

The Downfall of the Lord of the Rings and the Return of the King is pro-royalty propaganda.
It was written to justify a coup by the exiled royal house of Gondor and a war against the so-called lesser races like orcs and Easterners. In reality, Mordor was trying to help Gondor defend itself from Rohan and Aragorn. Aragorn hired hobbit mercenaries to sneak a nuclear bomb into Mordor, and the resulting explosion killed millions, including the noble Sauron.
  • David Brin agrees.
    • A better theory is that David Brin makes up everything he says in his essays. In reality, he loves LOTR, but he's jealous that he didn't come up with the idea.
      • A still better theory is that Brin is a LOTR fan but also a still-stronger fan of the Enlightenment, and this is his psyche's way of reconciling his fandom with his sociopolitical convictions.

The Downfall of the Lord of the Rings and the Return of the King is propaganda fabricated by Aragorn to justify his military coup.
Technically Aragorn's rise to the throne of Gondor was a miltary coup. After Gandalf had driven the High Steward Denethor to suicide, a power vacuum existed in Minas Tirith, and mercenary captain Aragorn, who had led the Gondorian troops to victory at Pelennor Fields, seized power. The legitimacy of his claim was extremely weak, and he needed the support of the nobility and bourgeoisie of Gondor. LOTR was fabricated by kingmaker Imrahil to justify Aragorn's claim and keep the pro-Faramirian faction satisfied. Aragorn's politics of external affairs were extremely aggressive: he waged wars of conquest both at east and south. Likewise, instead of building schools, hospitals and infrastructure he spent public funds on luxuries and extravagant follies at Minas Tirith. Aragorn was a great warlord but a poor king, and he needed propaganda to justify his reign.

Mordor was merely a political rival to Gondor and Rohan, LOTR is a propoganda piece justifying Sauron's assasination and the genocide of the Orc nation.
  • And subsequent annexing of all that fertile volcanic soil (further enriched by the blood and corpses of innocent She-Orcs, whelps and hospital inmates/old folks). Much of the narrative was completely made up, and the Orcs were mostly quite decent folk. Except Krishnak, whom really was summarily executed for mistreating a P.O.W.
Sauron, seeing the West gearing up to screw him over and destroy his ring, sent his CIA-equivallent to get it back. When that failed, he sent small diplomatic envoies to Rohan and Gondor, both of which were, to a man, killed, gift-wrapped, and sent back to him, an open declaration of war.A small scout group of Orcs, finding a pair of people matching the description of the last guy with the ring were found and brought in for questioning. Krishnak was being a dick to one of them, and the squad leader had him decapitated. This scout group was, again, slaughtered. Rohan under seige? Pure fiction. Helm's Deep was bombed by Théoden himself to justify him sending calvary to help with Gondor's seige of Mordor. Saruman had very little to do with it, but as Isengard housed a small Mordor outpost, he got the finger pointed at him.

Melkor, Sauron and Witch-King were all noble if tragic heroes attempting to protect Middle-Earth from insanity of the Valar.
See Michael Aquino's Morlindale for details. Among other things, orcs had bad tempers because they had been abused and slaughtered by the elves for thousands of years.
  • That tends to happen when you live with them, since they like to kill and destroy. Also, since they're like this way because of the Dark Lords....
    • Well that's kinda racist. Just because an orc's an orc, they like to kill and destroy?
    • In the mythology of Morlindalë much of this is Elvish propaganda; in this work the orcs were a shadow of the elves, formed to retain a natural balance that the elves in their immortality and superhuman abilities broke (Ungoliant's misery was likewise caused by the creation of the Two Trees). Orcs were mostly just miserable and wretched creatures who were hunted by the elves for no reason, other than hate they themselves couldn't explain, which was due to this connection, and this situation persisted until Melkor came along and taught the orcs how to fight back.

Lord of the rings was propaganda BUT Sauron and Saruman were still no heroes. Winners write history both sides had valid points and bad points but really it was just an imperialist war between two opposing factions ( Gondor wanted to cultivate the volcanic soil in Mordor and Mordor wanted acces to pipeweed in the shire.

Lot R is mythology, not propaganda.
Melkor and Sauron really were evil, imperialistic, would-be conquerors. They were also completely human. Even a passing familiarity with history will show that there have been plenty of evil, imperialistic, would-be conquerors of purely human stock. The story of Frodo and the Ring probably grew out of the very real story of a small band of commandos who went behind enemy lines to assassinate the monstrous tyrant. As time went on, the "tale grew in the telling," so that the human monsters became demonic monsters, and the wise diplomat who helped put together the alliance to oppose the evil empire became a wizard, and so forth.

Lot R is propaganda. Sauron won the war.
Sauron wanted order. After the war, he got rid of all the other races, except the humans, which explains why they all disappeared or went into hiding. He then wrote the propaganda we know as LOTR, in which the "good guys" won, so people in the future would accept history as written and not try to fight it. He himself, having achieved what he saw as an orderly future, went dormant or into hiding, letting the rest of history play out.Sure, history got violent plenty of times since then, but in his eyes that is fine, since it happens only between the humans, without elves, orcs or divine intervention. Without any "supernatural" influence left, everything that happened since then, follows strict rules and consequences are simply chains of comprehensible reactions, instead of literally interventions by gods or immortals.This way, he achieved a sense of order. He set up the world like he wanted to, no higher power meddles with "his" world anymore and no one questions it, because everyone thinks the good guys won.

Adaptations of The Lord of the Rings: In-universe WMG:

    In-universe WMG: Peter Jackson's films 

Every piece of media made after "The Return of the King", is more or less canon to the Movieverse.
Which means, yes there was a war going on in the Northern regions of Middle-Earth (Bfme 2), Elrond did instruct a handful of warriors to slow the enemies conquest by taking one of Sauron's generals out the picture(War in the North). The chracters from (The Third Age) all exist. There just in different areas.
The Movies are based on a newer but still equally valid version of The Red Book of Westmarch
Bilbo is explicitly named unreliable narrator for misrepresenting his encounter with Gollum in his memoires. He also councils Frodo to leave stuff out of stories that might be disliked by his audience and that he would have liked to gone over notes with him. Bilbo would have no trouble with a "souped-up" version of the story if he thought it would please an audience. In the original story, Frodo and Sam are mentioned to be reluctant to change anything Bilbo wrote, but your average hobbit (who Sam specifically points out don't ever find out much about what happened) probably wouldn't mind revisions after a few generations.
  • Similarly, Tolkein's forward in the book shows his support for applicability. As someone who actually got to have early ideas of a filmed production of his book shown to him, presumably he would not sensible mind changes for concepts no long popular or relevant (e.g., the emphasis on mystic kingship de-emphasized, Sam and Frodo's relationship being less classist and more as initial equals)

Gríma murdered Théodred.
Sure, Théodred was severely wounded in battle and maybe he would have died, anyway. But when he lived long enough to be brought home, Gríma decided to make sure he wouldn't make it. In the scene where he finds Éowyn mourning over Théodred's body, he really doesn't sound surprised he's dead. Tolkien letters even make reference to Gríma's work with "subtle poisons", perhaps how he earned the nickname Wyrmtongue in the first place.

Gothmog recieved his massive swelling from a fight with Shelob.
Judging by their staff, Sauron's corps would never let a deformed-from-birth Orc so much as march in an army, let alone lead one, so Gothmog must have recieved that massive deformity prior to his induction in the Dark Army.

Before his becoming a lieutenant, Gothmog was confined to simple sentry duty atop Cirith Ungol, keeping the many unruly orcs in line. One day, however, Gothmog caught some loathsome little snaga teasing Shelob in her lair. She attacks, but Gothmog steps in. Fending Her Ladyship off, Gothmog walks away with only a tiny nick from the Giant Spider's fangs. Unfortunately, he has an adverse reaction to spider venom, and so grows puffy.

Unicorns exist within the film-verse.
During the raid on Minas Tirith, the forces of darkness eventually bring out Grond, an enormous wolf-headed battering ram. From the back, it's pushed by a gaggle of trolls (like most large wheeled evil structures), but from the front, it's pulled by two enormous, one-horned, rhinoceros-like creatures. They're never identified by any name, didn't appear before, and never appear again.

A variety of ancient unicorn, called the "Monoceros", resembles these creatures; "[it] has the head of a stag, the feet of the elephant, and the tail of the boar, while the rest of the body is like that of the horse; it makes a deep lowing noise, and has a single black horn, which projects from the middle of its forehead, two cubits in length".

Naturally, unicorns as we know them are not the size of elephants, nor are on the side of darkness, but it wouldn't be the first time a familiar beast was re-interpreted through inclusion into Tolkien's mythos.

  • Interesting, espeially when you consider Unicorns in the north european mythology the whole Legendarium is based on were aggresive and wild, which would lend them well to being on the side of evil.
  • Actually, those creatures are called "Yurgs" in the Tolkien Mythos. They're like oxen, but bigger and tougher.

The moth was Radagast
In the film canon, Radagast dies at some point before Gandalf's imprisonment in Isengard. Instead of leveling up like Gandalf does, the brown wizard opts to return as a moth. In that form, he is able to carry messages to the eagles and is indirectly responsible for saving Gandalf from Isengard and Sam and Frodo from Mount Doom. That possibility would explain why Radagast never appears in the The Lord of the Rings films, but is a character in The Hobbit movie.
  • Except a moth appears earlier, when Gandalf is in a tree and uses it to send for the eagles.

Gollum is immune to dragon fire
In the books, Gandalf tells us no dragon (even the big-as-three-mountains Ancalagon the Black) could burn fire hot enough to melt the One Ring, it takes lava to do that. Gollum not only fails to catch on fire as he drops into the lava, he doesn't even melt as he swims in it, only dying by drowning. Thus Gollum is immune to lava, and therefore dragonfire.
  • Or perhaps the ring was just giving him some protection.

The Corpsing Uruk was actually a Dirty Coward
  • "Is he gone? Nope; I'll just lie here a little longer then... I ain't getting stabbed over a piece of jewellery. Fuck *that* noise."

Galadriels Prologue is from our perspective
It simply dosen´t fit. If Galadriel would have given this statement, "Much that once was is lost, for none now live who remember it.", in the time of the "War of the Ring" it simply would´t have been true. Because at this time there still were beings around that were there since nearly the dawn of creation. It also was stated by Tolkien that Lot R takes place in an imaginary time period of our world. And the prologue also has some other elements of deeper meaning and foreshadowing. (The fall of the nine, as in contrast to the dwarves and elves, who have direct cuts, the human lords fade into black.)

The troll that nearly killed Aragorn is possessed by Sauron, or even an avatar of Sauron himself
Even though Jackson's original idea of Sauron duelling Aragorn is ultimately cut, the mere fact that the troll appeared hardwired into killing Aragorn and then fleeing blindly once the Ring is destroyed seems to be a subtle compromise.

During the Weathertop scenes, the Hobbits' cooking fire was actually keeping the Nazgûl from attacking them.
In the books, Aragorn tells the Hobbits to light a fire because the Nazgûl fear fire. While this is not mentioned in the film, look at the timing of the scene; when Frodo extinguishes the fire, the Nazgûl's shrieks can be heard once the fire is put out, while if the fire gave away their position, they would have come earlier.

The Ents decided to prank the Hobbits
How come so many Ents came out of the forest so quickly? Because they did decide to fight Saruman. They just told the Hobbits otherwise. I wonder whether this was Gandalf's idea.

    In-universe WMG: The Rankin-Bass Version of ROTK 

The One Ring corrupts anyone who wears it so that they turn into a monstrous version of their inner essence.
That would explain why the random Nazgul, the Witch-King and Gollum all had radically different forms. The Witch-King was arrogant and thought himself invincible, hence the reason he became an invisible (and to his mind, untouchable) spirit. Smeagol had a slimy, self-loathing personality so he became a froglike creature, Gollum. Even Sauron himself could have been affected- his greatest desire was to find the Ring so he became an all-seeing eye...

The Hobbits were becoming taller and more humanlike at the end because Eru no longer needed their Ringbearing Services.
Eru originally created Hobbits to be the perfect ringbearers- small, stealthy, resistant to evil, and desiring only to eat and be content (for the most part) while showing the occasional flashes of great courage. You couldn't design a better race to draw the Ringbearer from. They certainly blindsided Sauron (who was barely aware they even existed.) Now that Frodo had destroyed the One Ring, Hobbits no longer needed to be the perfect ring-porters, so they were free to evolve naturally and eventually rejoin the rest of humanity.

Cross-universe and Out-of-universe WMG:

    Cross-universe and Out-of-universe WMG 

Tolkien came up with two big plot points because he was annoyed by the prophecy twists in Macbeth
I have no idea if this is confirmed by Word of God, but it seems too perfect to be a complete coincidence. Anyways, as a schoolboy, little Johnny Tolkien once had to read William Shakespeare's Macbeth for his English class. He liked the story for the most part, but one part of it always rubbed him the wrong way: the part in Act IV where the witches tell Macbeth the prophecies about how he'll be defeated. He expected two awesome plot twists, but got two lame cop-outs instead.

There's the first one: "Macbeth shall never vanquished be until Great Birnam Wood to high Dunsinane Hill shall come against him". "Cool!" Johnny Tolkien thought to himself. "An evil king who gets defeated by an army of badass walking trees? What a perfect ending!" He was dismayed, though, when he found out that the prophecy actually meant: "Macbeth will be vanquished when Macduff's soldiers hold up a bunch of tree limbs and make it look vaguely like the forest is moving". So he vowed that when he wrote his own story, he would include actual marching trees. Hence, he gave us the Ents, who defeat Saruman by marching against Isengard.

Or there's the other one: "No man of woman born can harm Macbeth". Johnny Tolkien expected a cool Prophecy Twist from that one, but was dismayed when the twist turned out to be: "Macduff was born by c-section...which technically doesn't count as being born from a woman". "That's your idea of a cool plot twist?" he thought. "Wouldn't it have made more sense if a woman had bypassed the prophecy and killed him instead?" Hence, he gave us the Witch-King's death at Éowyn's hands. He's protected by a prophecy saying "No mortal man can kill him", so he gets killed by a woman. It made more sense, and it felt cathartic.
  • Confirmed by Word of God, somewhere. Tolkien was annoyed by the weak outcome of those prophecies.
  • Except that the second prophesy in Macbeth was "none of woman born shall harm Macbeth," which also includes women. Shakespeare was aware of prophesy twists, and didn't leave something that obvious lying around.
  • Remember that Meriadoc is not a Man (in the sense of Homo sapiens) either. He is a male hobbit.

The Lord of the Rings and the Chronicles of Narnia take place in the same continuity
According to Tolkien, Eru Ilúvatar the creator of the entire Middle-Earthverse is the actual Judeo-Christian God, and according to C.S. Lewis Aslan is suppose to be Jesus Christ, and if The Emperor-Over-the-Sea is Aslan's father, than He is the same person as Eru Ilúvatar which technically putsboth series in the same continuity.
  • Aslan is an allegory to Jesus, he is not supposed to be the same character the way Eru is. That said, the Wood Between the Worlds means you can link them (and many other settings) together with no issues.
  • Actually, Aslan's dialogue near the end of Voyage of the Dawn Treader pretty heavily implies that he is Jesus in another form, rather than just an allegory to him.
    • C.S. Lewis also explicitly said that Aslan is supposed to be Jesus, not an allegory of Jesus. Aslan is Lewis' fictional account of what Jesus would be like if he interacted with a universe of magic and talking animals.
    • Also a problem: Aslan's country is explicitly described as being in the far East. Valinor is in the far West. So...

Melkor, Sauron and the Balrogs are Skaarj and the entire history of Arda is a corrupt experiment of another alien race the Skaarj originally cooperated with but quickly betrayed to pursue their own goals.
The way Balrog was described very much matches how the Skaarj Warlord looks. And Balrogs are practically the same kind as Melkor and Sauron. Now consider how arrogant and power-hungry the Skaarj are. They fit the overlord role perfectly.

The thing began with some other alien racenote  allying themselves with the Skaarj, discovering the planet and conducting a genetic experiment to populate it. The Skaarj being Skaarj quickly betrayed them and started corrupting everything they could (which explains the Evil not actually being able to create anything original). All they wanted was a race of minions to plunder Arda's natural resources.

The way how Melkor and Sauron could manifest as graceful could be explained by using advanced technology like holographs or remote-controlled puppets/drones. Which could also explain their recovery after engineered disasters like the fall of Numenor.

The Night Gate through which Melkor was expelled was actually a portal leading either to the Mothership or more likely to some parallel plane of existence akin to Black Sun Dimension. Melkor still resides there controlling the operation as a puppeteer.

Sauron being too smart to risk his life in actual combat wasn't really killed in the final battle at Barad Dur. The being they defeated was actually also a clone or drone.

The Nazgul are actually an imperfect attempt of Skaarj to make Archons (which is the second reason of the "good" aliens being the Protoss).

Also the dragons weren't actually engineered on Arda. Instead they were brought in from another planet.

Tolkien was a tabletop fantasy/adventure game fanatic time traveller
Seriously... Tolkien travels back in time Terminator-style, because that's possible where and when he is from, to see the birth of his obsession, only to find that it hasn't been invented yet. So he writes The Hobbit to keep himself busy. When he realises how easy it is to exploit the market, he uses all those old clichéd concepts thrown out by his contemporaries; thus was born the Lord of the Rings. He even based the concept on an RP he had played himself.
  • It doesn't have to be Terminator-style, does it? A Time Portal would seem more Tolkien's style.
  • This theory is supported by Middle-Earth itself, time stands still and people from Isildur's reign wear exactly the same pseudo-medieval clothes seen during the War of the Ring, 3000 years later. And they still use swords and axes? It's obviously a universe inspired by Golden Axe.
  • This is supported by Robert Anton Wilson and Robert Shea's Illuminatus! trilogy, in which the seeress Mama Sutra reveals that the War of the Ring actually happened, and that the creature we know as Sauron was an escapee from H.P.Lovecraft's continuum - a Shoggoth. A pygmy called Phroto did indeed precipitate the downfall of the shoggoth. This makes J.R.R. Tolkein not so much an imaginative novelsit as a chronicler and journalist....

The Movie is an MMO being played on The Matrix.
Most of the main cast play it in character (except during a few battle sequences where Legolas' player couldn't help showing off just a little). Agent Smith (who plays Elrond) plays it his days off, so he doesn't care for things like "method acting".

Saruman is possessed by Starscream
It explains everything.

Tom Bombadil is from Wonderland.
He just plain doesn't fit in Middle-Earth; he's much more "fairy-tale" than anything else that exists, with magical powers and implied incredible age despite being apparently human. His bit of the story is a cheerful diversion from the main plot, and almost seems to belong to another tale altogether.
  • Alternatively, he's from Oz.
    • He's the Shaggy Man. Remember when the Shaggy Man rescued Ojo from the man-eating plant? He whistled a tune, and the plant let Ojo loose.
  • Tom Bombadil is Santa Claus, and Sauron is the Grinch. Tom, who of course is really the spirit of Middle-Earth incarnate, switched rings on Frodo, claiming the Ring for himself. At the proper moment, he used the Ring to throw down Sauron, reducing him to powerlessness. Over the long centuries that followed, the Ring darkened his heart until he became Santa Claus, lord of greed, bringer of strife. It's all explained here.
    • Or maybe he was just hanging around Middle-Earth during that hundred-year-or-so period when he was kept out of Narnia by the White Witch.
  • Tom Bombadil is Thomas Covenant. He's just enjoying a holiday after his fairly harrowing adventures in a foreign land. What, the name wasn't a hint?
  • Tom Bombadil is the Green Man from folklore, the manifestation of the British/Shire countryside. At least metaphorically.
  • Tom Bombadil represents the reader. You are Tom Bombadil. He can see Frodo when he's wearing the ring, which has no power over him and Elrond says a world ruled by Sauron would have no interest for him but he could not take the ring himself.
    • If that were so, then I'd be shagging Goldberry?
    • Alternatively, Tom is Tolkien himself. There's never been a more obvious author proxy. His immunity to the story's internal logic also makes him a Mary Sue.
  • Isn't anyone going to say he's a Time Lord?
    • Well, he does say he's The Master.
    • He's actually an incarnation of Suzumiya Haruhi, when she was going through an obsession with medieval fantasy.
      • Alternatively, since he's male, he's an incarnation of Kyon, because everyone knows He's the power behind the power.
  • Clearly Tom is actually a Refugee From Discworld. You know it's true.
    • Clearly a wizard, most likely Ridcully in his more cheerful moment or the Dean after getting drunk enough to not mind being stuck in a forest. Someone must have made a new Roundworld with a different backstory, or changed the backstory of the original from before that business with the crabs.
    • Maligree?
  • Alternatively, Tom Bombadil is Ash's dad.
    • Wasn't Ash the product of genetic experimentation in Carthage, a "reject" thrown out with the rubbish as a baby, who was picked up and adopted by a camp follower in the service of the company of the Lamb? Her twin sister became the General of the Carthaginian Army....
    • I thought you meant the other Ash, Pikachu's friend. He does seem to be completely on his own,able to cope with any situation, helps out not just friends but people he doesn't know.
  • Silly tropers, everyone knows that Tom Bombadil is Voldemort!
    • Tom Bombadil is also Satan.
  • Tom Bombadil is Jesus, Tom shows many signs of being Eru aka God, in fact the only reason Tom can't be Eru specifically is that Tolkien himself said that Eru has no physical incarnation on Middle-Earth, however all of the reasons for Tom being Eru work just as well as him being Jesus without the Word of God denying it.
  • Tom Bombadil is a Jedi - or more specifically, the Force ghost of Anakin Skywalker as played by Sebastian Shaw (1983 original release) instead of the 2004 DVD release which had him replaced with Hayden Christensen. Think about it.
  • It's darker than you think.
  • Correct answer: Tom Bombadil is all of the above. Because he's just that awesome.

Every theory that's a Perspective Flip of LotR was influenced by Sauron himself.
In his modern incarnation as Uwe Boll, no less. Remember, Sauron, like Uwe, can never truly create, only copy and corrupt.
  • Alternatively, they're just jealous they didn't come up with the LOTR first.
    • Tying this into the second amendment to the next theory, this means that David Brin is actually Sauron.
      • Which, incidentally, says absolutely nothing about the validity of his arguments.
  • This explains why in a suppressed 2010 interview, Boll said that he passed time between projects "reforging the Nine." In possibly related developments:
    • Since last year, Seltzer and Friedberg have sported suspicious-looking "class rings."
    • Computer enhancement of Boll's interview photo reveals a suspicious looking pair of "beading projects," apparently marked with the Tengwar for "McG" and "P.W.S.And."

Middle-Earth and Narnia are on the same continent
The former is a Left-Justified Fantasy Map, the latter is one of the few subversions, they both sort of fade into nothingness on the inland sides, and the creators knew each other. It's quite possible Tolkien and Lewis mapped a continent and tore it in half on a north-to-south axis.
  • Jossed by a statement referenced in one of the Tom Bombadil theories- "he has stated in his letters that The One has no incarnation in Middle-earth", a statement which I apply here to Aslan.
    • Not quite. Having no incarnation in Middle-Earth is not the same thing as having no incarnation on Arda.
  • Narnia is explicitly (as per The Magician's Nephew) located in an alternate universe from Earth's. Middle-Earth, on the other hand, is Earth many thousands of years ago. Also note that Middle-Earth (Endor) is the name of the whole continent, not just the western bit we see on most maps.
  • When you flip a map of Middle-Earth over and upside-down, then compare it to a map of Narnia, you'll see Ettinsmoor and Mordor are in the same area, the top-right. And both are barren, featureless plains, surrounded by a perfectly square range of mountains. A massive polar shift, caused by the cataclysmic events at the end of Tolkein's world, moved the points of the compass around to form Narnia as we know it!
    • It needn't be so dramatic. Which direction is "up" on a compass is a cultural thing, for instance when the Chinese invented it they used South as "up" on their maps.
    • It is entirely possible that they occupy two different areas on the same mega continent. Ettinsmoor and Mordor are simply the place in which they intersect. This would leave a sizable gap between the two areas. A gap that could accommodate The main/Land of Oz and its associated areas quite nicely.
  • Alternatively, the maps line up along the sea, meaning that they are two separate continents across a gigantic ocean (Narnia to the west and Middle-Earth to the east.) As both worlds have another mythical landmass at the other side of the ocean (Aslan's country or the Undying Lands), the two worlds are merely semi-known to each other, through myth.
  • One problem, since the Fall of Númenor, Arda was made round, from beginning to end Narnia was flat.

Sauron runs the British government.
The Shire got paved over by the British government when they built the gigantic ring freeway around metropolitan London. The men in bulldozers never realized they were causing a hobbit holocaust by leveling the little hobbit hills. Tiny hobbit skeletons form the underlay of the highway. Sauron finally had his revenge, and then he caused the British to build the Millennium Dome.
  • I find the phrase "tiny hobbit skeletons" hugely funny, and it disturbs me immensely.
    • Plethora. Bamboozle.

Middle-Earth is just Shanarra in another few hundred thousand years.
spoiler: Compare Shanarra and Earth. Fast-forward a bit and see what happens. The four wizards are just a group of people who found the place with the Sword and the Druid knowledge.

The video game Lord of the Rings: Conquest is translated from an old Gondorian war epic
Anyone who has played the good campaign in that game knows that it plays merry hell with the continuity. There is a very good reason for that. While The Lord of the Rings was translated from the Red Book of Westmarch, the game was based on an old epic poem written hundreds of years after the War of the Ring. The poem exaggerated many aspects of the war, adding additional heroics to the Men of the West (such as an attack on Minas Morgul and the battle in Moria). Apparently, one of the holders of the Red Book got ahold of a copy of the poem, and it has been held by the Tolkien Estate for the last few decades. They licensed the poem to EA and Pandemic, who made a game out of it.

Balin was a Zionist; Moria is Eretz Israel; the Balrog is the Arabs
Moria/Khazad-dûm was the lost homeland of the Dwarves, who are well-established to be counterparts to the Jews. Balin goes back to try and reestablish their great kingdom, but just as he's getting started, the power that occupied the land destroys the project. This is what a lot of observers (including David Ben-Gurion, in his darker moments) thought would happen if a Jewish state were established: the Arabs would march in and end the project forever. Especially considering that Tolkien was writing before 1948, it's not too much of a stretch to say that the fate of the recolonized Khazad-dûm is what he was afraid would be the fate of the Zionists. Since Tolkien was at least somewhat sympathetic to the Zionist project, it's not too much of a stretch.
  • The Balrog awoke from eons-long slumber after the dwarves dug too deep into the mountain. Where does that fit?
    • That would be the Romans causing the Diaspora. I didn't say it a perfect analogy.

The film Willow takes place late into the Fourth Age.
By the time of the events of the movie the Dwarves and Elves have very nearly or entirely vanished and Aragon's kingdom has long since shattered into various small warring kingdoms like Nockmaar and Galadorn. The Nelwyns are the descendants of the Hobbits.

The Ring was never entirely destroyed.
Somewhere between the time of Isildur being killed and Déagol finding The Ring, it eroded in the water until a tiny chip of it was broken off. This fragment of gold was still imbued with the power of the Ring, making people desire it. At one point this chip was lodged in an oyster, and lay dormant for thousands of years, creating a gigantic pearl. Then, millions of years after Frodo destroyed the Ring and Sauron, a poor diver named Kino discovers the pearl created from the Ring-chip, thus bringing about the events of John Steinbeck's The Pearl.
  • Nice try, but it's clearly said the Ring can't be damaged by any ordinary means - neither the blacksmith forges, nor even dragon fire (nor, as Gimli has demonstrated, by being struck with an axe).

The Nazgûl are refugees from the world of Narnia.
"Nazgûl" is a reasonably common Kyrgyz woman's name. Middle-Earth names don't tend to be taken from Central Asian languages; Narnian names, on the other hand, do (Aslan, Tash, Caspian, and so on). Obviously the Nazgûl came from Narnia at some point, and brought their collective name with them.
  • nazg-gûl is Black Speech for "ring-wraith"; they appeared in the Second age and are identified as human lords of various Middle-Earthian origins.

Tolkien meant for the series to work without magic, possibly as a slight counterpart culture to our world.
Frodo could be bearing a crucial part of a nuclear weapon that had a sporadically functional tracking device instead of a ring, Elves would be snipers from a more developed country with better technology and more access to vaccines etc. to allow them longer lives. Dwarves could be a mining people with more advanced technology than the men of Gondor, but less than that of the Elves. Hobbits are nomads that settled in Gondor territory a long time ago, but are not seen as integrated into the culture, and are also seen slightly as hillbillies. Pipe weed is pot. Sauron has invented nuclear weaponry, and possibly cloning/genetic modification (orcs). The enormous eagles and winged mounts of the Nazgûl are early airplanes.
  • There never were any Hobbit settlements in Gondorian territory, they settled in Arnor.

Sauron is considered unkillable as long as The One Ring exists. And as any Sonic player will tell you, Sonic also cannot be killed so long as he has at least one ring.

Sauron eventually became Dark Matter.
Sure, he ended up being utterly destroyed at the end of the Third Age, but even death may die, through strange eons. Millions of years after the War of the Ring, Sauron reconstitutes himself into a new form. He lacks his former armies, and Mordor fell to the wayside epochs ago, but his Mind Control and ability to raise up a few minions were retained, along with a few new powers.

Gandalf is The Doctor.
It's no co-incidence that part of his Elvish name basically means "traveller".

After the business with the War Games, the High Council of Time Lords originally marooned the Doctor on Middle-Earth, reasoning that there'd be less chance of him breaking his parole if they stranded him somewhere without much in the way of technology. They reckoned without him bumping into a bunch of Sufficiently Advanced Valar and setting himself up as a 'wizard'. Then the Doctor being the Doctor, he just had to go and get involved.

When Gandalf was introduced in The Hobbit, he was a slightly tatty, gregarious (yet still intense at times) vagabond, but following his near-fatal battle with the Balrog in The Lordof The Rings, he showed up as a white-haired, no-nonsense patrician with a more refined taste in clothes.

After the War of the Ring, he saw Bilbo and Frodo safely to the Undying Lands, then "borrowed" the Silmaril that the Valar had placed as a star in the night sky (they'd actually just launched it into a geosynchronous orbit), and used its power to jump-start his TARDIS.

He shaved and put his second incarnation's clothes back on before he left Middle-Earth, reasoning that, knowing his luck, he'd probably wind up on 20th century Earth, and whoever found him probably wouldn't be comfortable wandering around the woods with a heavily-bearded man wearing what was essentially a big white dress.

(A few hundred years later, he finally realised that he needed to return the Silmaril in time for the Dagor Dagorath, so he popped back to Middle-Earth in his Seventh incarnation, this time posing as his own, slightly clownish 'cousin', who was apparently a dab hand at bird calls...)

River Song : "I hate good wizards in stories. They always turn out to be him."

  • It get's better. The 7th Doctor says he might be Merlin in another world.

The whole thing is an ancient tale inspired by a turf war between medieval wizards, and the search for a Horcrux.
Each part of the story is merely a "translation" of the conflict, its characters, and its events into terms tribal Muggles could understand.
  • Sauron was a powerful Dark wizard, and the One Ring (naturally) was his Horcrux.
  • Gandalf and his brethren were mighty wizard lords, wishing to crush the threat of Sauron before he overtook the world.
  • Elves were the wizards of the old Germanic lands, isolated from Muggles who would wish to harm them.
  • Dwarves could have been goblins, and hobbits could have been wild house-elves (or some wild variety of elf, now gone).
  • When the "Elves" left for Valinor, the wizarding peoples were emigrating to Britain, where they could live more peacefully.

This happened long ago and the story has drifted and changed over the years into Scientology.
  • Elrond is L. Ron Hubbard.
  • The volcano on the cover of Dianetics is Mount Doom.

The two Blue Wizards went so far east...
  • ...that they walked out of their own world and ended up in Narnia. Coriakin and Ramandu, the magicians of the Eastern Sea are simply them living under different names. Their history as "stars" means that they were once Maiar, and through their duties with the Duffers and the sleeping lords they are atoning for leaving Middle-Earth and not fulfilling their roles as wizards.

King Arthur is a corruption of the story of Aragorn becoming king of Gondor.
  • "ara" means "royal" in Sindarin, and if you combine that with "taur" (king), you get Arataur, which (roughly) means "King of kings" in Sindarin, while also sounding a lot like "Arthur". Also, both Mordred and Morgana contain "Mor" which means black, and is usually associated with bad things (Morgoth, Mordor, Moria, etc).

Prydain is in Arda, but in the far future.
  • Both are explicitly not part of Earth's history, though there are many similarities, not least of which are the Celtic Mythology roots. The geography and terrain of Prydain is also rather similar to that of Arnor, and the rules of magic also seem to be fairly similar. And in both, the paradise (Summer Country/Valinor) are in the far west, across the ocean. Hey, it's possible.

Lord of the Rings Continuities (what is in which timeline/continuity

Tolkien's Works:The Silmarillion, Unfinished Tales, The Children of Hurin, History of Middle-Earth, The Hobbit, Lord of the Rings, etc

  • The Animated Continuity
    • The Hobbit (1980)
    • The Lord of the Rings by Ralph Bakshi (Fellowship + Two Towers)
    • The Return of the King (because of Bashki being unable to finish his second part, Treebeard, Shelob, and Saruman's fates are unknown. Bombadil and the Scouring of the Shire is not present)

  • Peter Jackson's Continuity:
    • The Hobbit Trilogy
    • Lord of the Rings Trilogy
    • Battle for Middle Earth 2 + Rise of the Witch King

  • Sierra Videogame continuity:
    • War of the Ring
    • The Hobbit
    • Fellowship of the Ring (ironically, the ONLY visual adaptation that has included Bombadil)
    • (Possibly) Shadows of Angmar online game

  • The Third Age Continuity:
    • An alternate timeline to the Jackson films, where your party interacts with the events of the timeline
    • Lord of the Rings: The Third Age
    • (Possible inclusions) Lord of the Rings: Conquest
    • Battle for Middle Earth I

  • Final Timeline:
    • Evil winning in Lord of the Rings: Conquest
    • Evil campaign in Battle for Middle Earth I/II

To add one:

  • Hack and Slash Timeline:
    • Shadows of Mordor including some notable differences in the Ringwraith line-up
    • War in the North
    • The Two Towers and Return of the King (EA adaptations)

The Lord of the Rings films are a prequel to Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Snoke is Gollum/Sauron.
In this universe the ring was never destroyed. Sauron used Gollums body instead of his own when reunited with the ring. He rose up and developed space technology. He entered space and the Dark Side of the Force is actually flowing from Sauron/Snoke, creating the Sith. "It's true, yes precious, it is!"

Had Rankin-Bass done Fellowship, Isildur's failure in the Sammath Naur would have been accompanied by an early appearance of "The Bearer of the Ring, the Wearer of the Ring".
"The bearer of the Ring, the wearer of the Ring,/He hears a voice compelling him/Filling him with thoughts that echo in his mind/It should be telling him/Beware, the power is a power never known/Beware, the power that was simple has now grown/Beware, O, bearer of the Ring/The final power has yet to be shown!"

The Witch King was going to be revealed as the twist villain of the New Shadow
Given that the Witch King was toyed around a lot as being a former Istari by Tolkien, he might have decided to re-canonize that in the sequel. If the Witch King was indeed a Maia like Gandalf, that would help him survive the destruction of the One Ring as a disembodied spirit, unlike his mannish compatriots. From there, he could influence humans to establish cults dedicated to Sauron and Melkor, slowly corrupting men in the Fourth Age. However, since he can't assume a physical form nor can he forcefully corrupt anyone, the main threat remains humans who choose to serve him out of their own accord, which fits Tolkien's description of his unfinished work as being about complacent humans willingly turning evil.