Over the ages of Tolkien's timeline, many beautiful and strange lifeforms filled the lands of Arda. Middle-earth is host to more than just the fair elves, sturdy dwarves, and peaceful halfings of the Shire. Beasts and birds of all varieties inhabit the land, some of them acting as allies to the free peoples of Middle-earth, while others have more sinister intentions. Many of the most terrifying creatures that lurk in the deep places of Middle-earth are the work of Morgoth, the being of pure evil and malice that defied the almighty Eru Ilúvatar at the beginning of all things. Morgoth created these wicked monsters to torment and destroy those who aligned themselves with the Valar and stood against his and Sauron's plans for domination.
Find out more about the little known secrets of some of the most ancient, incredibly powerful, and utterly vicious creatures that call the lands of Middle-earth their home. Here is a compilation of things you (probably) didn't know about the monsters and creatures in the Lord of the Rings.
Orcs Were Created From Kidnapped And Tortured ElvesPhoto: The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers / New Line Cinema
The elves are the first of the children of Eru Ilúvatar. Upon their creation, they are hidden in a land called Cuiviénen, the location of which was unknown to even the mighty Valar. The elves sleep there until Ilúvatar awakens them, and for many years they dwell in perfect tranquility and happiness under the stars. The Valar search for the elves in order to meet and help them, knowing the firstborn of Ilúvatar's children are awake, but a great tragedy occurrs before they could find the land of Cuiviénen.
Morgoth arrives there first, and through his tricks, he lures away and kidnaps a large number of the peaceful folk. He takes the elves far away from their kin and subjected them to horrific torments without end. After ages of torture and dark magical transformation, the elves degrade from their once graceful state into the hideous orcs. In the ages that follow, Morgoth breeds thousands of these creatures, who are now filled with rage and violence, to be the bulk of his standing army.Intense?
Shelob Is More Demon Than SpiderPhoto: The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King / New Line Cinema
Shelob takes the form of a nightmarishly huge spider and lurks in the caverns of the Mountains of Shadow. She hides in her lair, always hungering for live flesh and hoping to catch orcs in her tangled webs. Shelob is more than just and overgrown arachnid, however—she is the offspring of the fearful primordial spider, Ungoliant. Her dreadful mother is said to have risen from the darkness itself that gathered in the far reaches of Arda. The Valar did not know whence the primordial spider came, and even Morgoth himself had to persuade her to join his side. Ungoliant is essentially a demonic entity, and as such, her children retain her fearful nature. Shelob is said to be the greatest and most feared of the children of Ungoliant.Intense?
The Watcher in the Water Is A Lovecraftian NightmarePhoto: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring / New Line Cinema
The Watcher in the Water is a terrifying abomination that dwells in the depths of a lake near Moria's western gate. It takes the shape of a massive, octopus-like fiend with many tentacles and an eerie, warped visage. When Gandalf mentions that there are 'older and fouler' things than orcs to fear in Moria, he is most likely referring to this horrifying monster. Its evil presence is felt as a deep uneasiness among the Fellowship even before it breaks the surface of the water. It attacks the Fellowship with its lashing tentacles, attempting to pull them down into the black water. To make things worse, many years prior, the Watcher is the one responsible for ending the life of Óin, one of the company of dwarves who accompanied Bilbo to the lonely mountain.
Interestingly, however, the Watcher does not appear to have been created by Morgoth, and it does not serve him, because it is said that all of the dark lord's creations detest water and avoid it at all costs. This may mean it is a type of evil, demonic force, similar to Ungoliant, that emerged from the darkest and most hidden places of Middle-earth and calls no being its master.Intense?
Shadowfax Is One Of The Preternatural Mearas HorsesPhoto: The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers / New Line Cinema
The magnificent steed Shadowfax is known as "the lord of all horses" and allows Gandalf to ride atop him as the Wizard journeys throughout Middle-earth. Shadowfax can outrun the wind itself and is so intelligent that he can understand speech. The horse is so willful that not a soul could tame him, not even the folk of Rohan who are famed for their riding skill. At long last, Gandalf is able to tame the stallion and Théoden King reluctantly gives him away to the Wizard. When Legolas first sees the silver-white horse, he immediately recognizes him as one of the Mearas, a fabled race of horses that possess unusual talents and long lives. Shadowfax is a direct descendant of Felaróf, the legendary horse ridden by the first king of Rohan. It is said that the descendants of Felaróf would not allow any one to ride them unless they were of the king's bloodline.Intense?