Fans Are Sharing Obscure 'Lord of the Rings' Lore About Shelob

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Vote up the most interesting lore about the guardian of Cirith Ungol.

Shelob is one of the most menacing creatures anyone in the Fellowship comes across in their journey to Mordor, but there is a lot about the creature and her past that most readers missed. These fans have pointed out the moments that might have been snuck by the casual reader or viewer.


  • 1
    12 VOTES

    Tolkien's Inspiration For Shelob Came From An Experience In South Africa

    From Redditor u/holiest:

    I can give Tolkien's back story on it: Tolkien was born in South Africa and lived there for a short time. One of his only vivid memories of it was an encounter with a large hairy spider. Kind of interesting to know that Shelob and the other spiders of Middle Earth were influenced by spiders in our own world.

    12 votes
  • 2
    10 VOTES

    Shelob Occasionally Ate The Orcs Of Barad-dur Much To Sauron's Delight

    From Redditor u/Bookwrrm:

    Sauron would sometimes give her food in the form of prisoners for which he had no more use, or servants who had displeased him. Reports of the massacre made by Shelob would be carried back to Barad-dur to further please the Dark Lord's humor. She would also sometimes eat Orcs that manned the tower of Cirith Ungol. However, as she was a more effective guard for the pass than they, Sauron never made any serious attempt to stop her (though Orcs would occasionally try to barricade her lair with stones)."

    10 votes
  • 3
    9 VOTES

    The Great Spiders Disappeared Shortly After The Ring Was Destroyed

    From Redditor u/timfritz42:

    While Shelob's ultimate fate was unknown, her offspring (which were lucky enough to escape her hunger) continued to produce new generations of spiders. At some point after Men took dominion over all the world, the great Spiders disappeared.

    9 votes
  • 4
    15 VOTES

    Her Children Infested The Mirkwood Forest

    From Redditor u/HordeOfDoom:

    Shelob herself also had many children, of which the Giant Spiders of Mirkwood are particularly notable.

    15 votes
  • 5
    20 VOTES

    Shelob's Mother Is A Maia Like Gandalf

    From Redditor u/HordeOfDoom:

    Way back in the distant history of Arda (the World, of which Middle Earth is a part), a Maia (a demigod like Gandalf or Sauron) chose to take Giant Spider form -- her name was Ungoliant. She played an important role in many of the historical events at that time too complicated to explain here. She had many children, of which I believe Shelob is the only named one. 

    20 votes
  • 6
    11 VOTES

    Shelob Was A Human Maia That Changed Into A Spider Permanently

    From a former Redditor:

    I like to think that Shelob is a Maiar, like Gandalf, Sauron and so on.

    Maiar are normally able to take whatever form that they wish, but it seems like after a certain amount of time inhabiting the same body they tend to be 'locked' into it somehow (particularly if any great expenditure of 'power' occurs). Gandalf and the other Wizards are a little different, but the principle is similar.

    11 votes