Tolkien said he put the Spiders in The Hobbit because his son Michael disliked them. They live in a “place of dense black shadow” from which they venture out to hunt, and are in turn hunted by the Wood-elves. Near the Wood-elves’ feasting glade, the Spiders capture twelve of the Dwarves and bind them in webbing as food, but Bilbo rescues them with the aid of his ring of invisibility and sword (which he names “Sting” after first killing a spider). In LOTR, the spiders of Mirkwood are said to be Shelob’s “lesser broods”.

Memorable Quotes

  • “I saw one a-struggling just now. Just coming round again, I should say, after a bee-autiful sleep.” (one spider to the other spiders)
  • “You were quite right … the meat’s alive and kicking!” (one spider to the other spiders)
  • “Now we see you, you nasty little creature.” (to Bilbo)
  • They also hiss a lot


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