Beginner Questions


New Member
Hello everyone!

I still consider myself a Tolkien beginner. I am halfway through the Silmarillion, the LotR class that just started is my first FULL read through the LotR trilogy, and I have read the Hobbit. Obviously I've seen the extended films a million times, but that's not the same.

That said, I find that as I read, I have a lot of questions here and there that it's hard to google an answer to. I was hoping I could keep this as an open thread for beginner questions, and the like. Any LotR questions I will probably post directly to the class every Tuesday as it comes up, but I find that I have questions outside of these readings.

My first one is this: Can someone please help me understand all the world terms? Ea, Arda, Aman, Middle-Earth, any I may have missed. They're all referenced, but I find that I'm lost in them. Which is most like "Earth?" Which is most like "a continent?" or a "universe?" Just trying to make sense of it.

Thank you all so much!


If memory serves, Ea, and Arda are terms for the world, (earth). Aman I am not sure but I think is also a term for Earth. Ea is the term the Valar used before going there to govern it's make, and Arda is what they call it after they arrive and shape it. Middle-Earth is pretty much the continent that the story takes place on, separate from the undying lands. I may be totally wrong here, and I will bow to the more learned on this site to correct me. But I thought I would give you this information as a start


New Member
In Ainulindalë, to let the music of the Ainur come into existence, Iluvatar says: "Eä, let these things be!". Think of Eä as the universe, as there are regions outside of Arda - for example the place where Morgoth gets banned to.

Arda is a bit more dubious - you could interpret it as the world (planet Earth), but in the Silmarillion the Sun and Moon originate from remnants of Laurelin and Telperion, which are actually part of Arda, as they were located within Valinor before their destruction. Tolkien sometimes uses the term Ambar to refer to the Earth without the other celestial bodies.

Arda is also different depending on the era referred to. Have a look at the Arda maps in the Three Ages:

Middle-Earth in the Hobbit and LOTR is the central continent on Arda in the Third Age, separated by Belegaer (the Great Sea) from Aman, where Valinor is located.