“Far, far below the deepest delving of the dwarves, the world is gnawed by nameless things. Even Sauron knows them not. They are older than he. Now I have walked there, but I will bring no report to darken the light of day.” (Gandalf, p.122, The Two Towers)

Hobbit, Ent, Orc, Fell Beast – Tolkien’s world is rich with the great and small, good and evil, heroic and cowardly; all unique, all memorable. But it is the one brief description, that has sat at the back of my mind for many years, that has intrigued me most. We can always ask questions about alternative history – what would have happened if… and why didn’t… – and have a relatively strong consensus about what may or may not happen; but what about those things that we cannot explain, nor even so much as describe? I am, of course, talking about the ‘nameless things’, who dwell deep within the fabric of the world.

Pablo Dominguez - Ungoliant, The Gloomweaver
Pablo Dominguez – Ungoliant, The Gloomweaver

These creatures: Do they bear claws? Do they have multiple eyes or limbs? Do they have rows and rows of sharpened teeth? Who knows? Only our imaginations. It is our imaginations that forge the images we perceive from those few written words upon the page; and it is those few words that make all the difference from a passing description, to a hidden labyrinth of endless possibility and imagery.

“Imagination is the reality of the dreamer.” (Ringenbach 2020) How apt is that statement? It’s something I’m sure even Tolkien would approve of. It was never Tolkien’s intent to embed reality within our minds, but for us to decide upon the reality we perceive from his words; perhaps, in a way, like the Bible.

Who could be aware of such creatures without name, nor form? Eru perhaps? They are, after all, dwelling within the world he created. Surely, of all beings, he would be the most aware of their presence? Could the Valar know of them; those supposedly, ‘all-wise’, ‘all-knowing’ beings who live far from the troubles of Middle-earth? I think not. They were blind to Morgoth’s manipulations during his time in Valinor, the fight of the Noldor, and many more events that shaped the First Age and beyond. Perhaps Morgoth? Some make the claim that the nameless things are creatures of the Dark Lord’s design during the early days of the world, perhaps bred in the lairs of Utumno and Angband. I find this unlikely, as not even Sauron was aware of their presence, as Gandalf states in The Two Towers. As Sauron was Morgoth’s lieutenant, he would be privy to his master’s council and command, rendering any argument for Sauron’s awareness and therefore the likelihood of Morgoth’s creation of them completely improbable. One being that would almost certainly be aware of them would be the Balrog, Durin’s Bane, as it was he who fought Gandalf to the very bowels of the earth, and used the tunnels made by the nameless things to dwell in and travel through. It could even be possible that Durin’s Bane fought with them, mirroring the battle between Morgoth and the Balrogs against Ungoliant, thousands of years before. Perhaps this is some wishful thinking, but I believe that was Tolkien’s intention – to encourage more wishful thinking among his readers.

Heather Hudson – The Nameless Thing

I would tell you to bear this in mind – are these creatures not of the same design as Ungoliant, the Great Spider; wrenched from the void during the Ainulindalë as the songs of both Eru and Morgoth brought unbalance to the One’s creation? It must be this riff that brought the void’s darkness into the world and, over time, this darkness manifesting itself into those nameless things Gandalf later describes.

The nameless things then, are creatures akin to Ungoliant, who was the incarnation of the void itself: a force of pure darkness, always hungry, always devouring, that brought even Morgoth to heel. If she, a single creature of this kind, could have wrought so much devastation to both the Valar, by draining the life of Laurelin and Telperion (the Two Trees of Valinor), and to Morgoth (by trapping him within her darkened web), then who knows what those nameless things could conjure? As it states, there are multiple ‘things’, so how do we know that, given the chance, they wouldn’t grow to the size of Ungoliant, or even supersede her?

Despite Tolkien’s tendency to narrate the battle between good and evil, he has, perhaps without even realising, created another battle; the battle between light and dark. This is certainly not the same as good versus evil. It is easy for people to categorise light with good and darkness with evil, as this is the perception we often grow up with from our parents telling us stories, to watching children’s programmes or reading superhero comics. It is a very religious narrative, and with Tolkien’s strong practice of Catholicism, it is understandable, but predictable. But this battle between light and dark signifies more the battle between life and death. Nothing can grow without light. No flower. No tree. Nothing. It is what the nameless things typify: the devouring of all life without care, nor understanding for good versus evil; and that is arguably a far greater foe than Morgoth ever could be.

I believe they lie in wait, trapped within their own darkened labyrinth; a prison matched only by the Timeless Void in which Morgoth awaits his fateful return to the world, wrapped within the chains of Angainor and collared by his own monstrous iron crown. Perhaps, when the fateful day of Dagor Dagorath arises, then these creatures will finally rear their heads and reach the surface, hell- bent to extinguish all light within Eä.

– Liam Clements-Pope

Liam is a guest writer for TheOneRing.net and a student at the University of South Wales, UK. He is also an aspiring film director/screenwriter.

Tolkien J.R.R. (1954) The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. George Allen and Unwin. Ringenbach. S. (2020) Quotes.net (15/11/2020)

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If you were lucky enough to be at Emerald City Comic Con, you got to see our friend Jerry Vanderstelt paint a large version of this at the Weta Workshop booth. Now fans can add a giclee version of this image to their collections. This fantastic piece gives you a great portrait look at The Balrog, one of the coolest creatures in all of Middle-earth.

Do not wait too long to order this, as it is limited to only 2000 pieces worldwide. As always, Jerry’s work is available in multiple options, such as a paper giclee at $80, canvas giclee for $225, and the canvas giclee with gallery wrapped for $325. No matter what option you go with, this is yet another outstanding work of art from Vanderstelt Studio.

We have some great news from out friend and Middle-earth artist Jerry Vanderstelt. If you’re going to WonderCon you will have a chance to visit with Jerry at booth 2101. Jerry is sure to have many of his amazing pieces of art there as well as I’m sure to be live painting something for fans to see. Speaking of live painting if you were in Seattle checking out our friends at the Weta Workshop booth you got to see Jerry live painting. He painted a large portrait of the Balrog over the course of the show and as he did so fans asked Jerry to turn this into a print. Surprising nobody Jerry listened to fans and will be doing a print of that painting.


Continue reading “Collecting The Precious – Vanderstelt Studio News”

One of the companies out there that has some really neat items from various movie franchises is Funko. They’ve touched upon Middle-earth before, with some items from The Hobbit Trilogy as well as a Sauron Funko Pop from The Lord of the Rings. Well last week Funko announced they’re going back to Middle-earth, with even more items from The Lord of the Rings. This time we’re getting the likes of Frodo, a chase variant Frodo, Gandalf, Saruman, Nazgul, Samwise, and my personal favorite The Balrog (this will be a 6″ super pop). These are going to be a blast to collect and will look awesome on the shelf. Fans can pre-order these from various places now, and they’re due out in June of this year. If you want to check out the full release you can go to the Funko Blog.

IMG_5878One of my favorite creatures in all of Middle-earth is the Balrog. When this guy first popped on-screen in The Lord of the Rings; The Fellowship of the Ring, my jaw dropped with just how cool he looked, and last year at Comic-Con the same thing happened when I saw this amazing piece. Part of the reborn The Lord of the Rings statue line, this time fans get a large version of this mind blowing creature. Coming in at 20.5″ high, with a weight of 33 pounds the Balrog is going to be a piece that will make everyone who sees your collection stop and look at it in awe. Shipping right now from all warehouses, the Balrog can be yours for $649 with an edition size of only 1500 pieces worldwide.
Continue reading “Collecting The Precious – Weta Workshop’s The Balrog: The Demon of Shadow and Flame”

LOTRFaramir2Yesterday our friends at Weta Workshop had a nice surprise for us. The second statue in the relaunched The Lord of the Rings statue line is now available for order.

As you may recall from Comic-Con last year, The Balrog -Demon of Shadow and Flame, as well as Faramir, were on display.

Faramir, a character so many of us have been waiting for, can now be yours to order for $249 at an edition size of only 1000 pieces worldwide.

If you hate waiting like me, then you’ll love that this is also in-stock and ready to ship now!

The likeness and detail on this statue are some of Weta’s best work. Having a chance to add Faramir to your collections will be one you won’t want to miss.