Disclaimer: All of the following are either direct quotes or paraphrasing of excerpts
from A Guide to Middle Earth by Robert Foster.
Hash-marked# names are characters present/mentioned in the Hobbit movies.
*Asterisked names are characters present/mentioned in the LotR movies.
One of the Dúnedain kingdoms in Middle-earth, GONDOR was founded during the Second Age. Its chief cities were Osgiliath, Minas Anor, Minas Ithil, Dol Amroth and Pelargir. From its founding, Gondor was constantly under attack by Sauron and his allies, and during the Third Age, Minas Ithil was taken by the Nazgûl and held until the end of the War of the Ring. Shortly after the fall of Minas Ithil, the King's line failed and Gondor was governed by the Ruling Stewards until the kingdom was restored by Elessar at the end of the Third Age.
Built by Gondor, Isengard consisted of a natural circular stone wall surrounding a broad plain with the tower Orthanc in the center. There was only one gate into Isengard, which faced south. With Gondor's permission, Saruman moved into Orthanc and later began to fortify Isengard with machinery and armies of Orcs, Men, and wolves. Saruman was driven from Isengard by the Ents during the War of the Ring.
Area of Gondor across the Anduin from Minas Tirith. The chief city was Minas Ithil, captured by Sauron in the Second Age and again in the Third Age by the Nazgûl. When Sauron returned to Mordor and openly declared himself, Ithilien was deserted. After the War of the Ring, Faramir was named Prince of Ithilien, and Legolas and other elves of the Woodland Realm of Mirkwood lived there for a time.
Home of Durin's folk, carved during the First Age in the caves under the peaks of the Misty Mountains. Khazad-dûm housed the tomb of Durin and consisted of many large halls on numerous levels, as well as many mines. Early in the Second Age, veins of mithril were discovered there, and during the extensive mining that followed, the Dwarves released the Balrog imprisoned beneath the mountains. The dwarves fled the following year after two of their kings were slain by the Balrog. Toward the end of the Third Age, a group of dwarves from Erebor, led by Balin, entered Khazad-dûm with the intent to renew a dwarf-kingdom there, but they were slain by an army of Orcs. The Company of the Ring passed through Khazad-dûm on their way through the mountains, and Gandalf slew the Balrog in a battle that cost him his own life (although he was sent back to Middle-earth to complete his task). There is no mention of the dwarves recolonizing Khazad-dûm during the Fourth Age, despite the death of the Balrog. The Elvish name for Khazad-dûm was Moria. The Westron names were THE DWARROWDELF, the Black Pit, and the Black Chasm.
The Dwarf-realm of Erebor, ruled by the king of Durin's Folk.
Sauron's realm, east of the lower Anduin. First settled by Sauron in the Second Age, Mordor became forever a stronghold of evil. During the Third Age, the Nazgûl re-entered Mordor and prepared it for Sauron's return, as he was at that time hiding in disguise at Dol Guldur. During the War of the Ring, the armies of Mordor were unleashed against Gondor, but with the unmaking of the One Ring, Sauron was destroyed and Mordor was devastated by earthquakes.
Road leading from the Dead Door above Dunharrow to the source of the Morthond in Lamedon. THE PATHS OF THE DEAD were closed to all but the Dead, who lived there, and the heir of Isildur.
Elven-refuge in a steep and hidden valley to the west of the Misty Mountains. Founded in the Second Age by Elrond, Rivendell was home to a number of great Elven-lords. The Chieftains of the Dúnedain were all raised there, including Aragorn. After the War of the Ring, Elrond and many of the Elves from Rivendell went over the Sea. There is no record of when Rivendell was finally deserted. Its Sindarin name was Imladris.
Kingdom of the Rohirrim, bounded by the Anduin, the Misty Mountains, and Fangorn Forest, among others. Once a province of Gondor, the land was given to the Men of Éothéod in return for their aid to Gondor in a battle. Rohan was ruled by King Eorl and his descendents. The Rohirrim were well known for their horses, which were the best in the world. Rohan was closely allied with Gondor and, during the War of the Ring, played a crucial role in the Battle of the Pelennor Fields. Rohan was the name given the land by the people of Gondor. The Rohirrim called their land the Riddermark, or the Mark of the Riders.
Area between the Brandywine and the Far Downs, this land was ceded by the King of Arthedain to the Hobbits, led by Marcho and Blanco. By the middle of the Third Age, most of the Hobbits of Middle-earth lived in the Shire and were quite comfortable, ignoring much of the outside world, thanks to the vigilance of the Dúnedain Rangers. At the beginning of the Fourth Age, King Elessar issued a decree making the Shire a free land under his protection and forbade any Men from entering the Shire. The Shire's leaders included a Thain, whose duties were mostly ceremonial, and the Mayor of Michel Delving, who was in charge of the Watch and the Messenger Service. Most hobbits were farmers, tradesmen, or laborers. There were a few who were well-off enough not to have to work, and another few who were poor, although not in the extreme. The Shire was primarily agricultural. It was also known as the Four Farthings, and was called Sûza in genuine Hobbitish.
The Elven-realm of Thranduil in northern Mirkwood, founded early in the Second Age. Orcs and the great spiders of Mirkwood were the realm's main troubles during the Third Age.
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