Far, far below the deepest delvings of the Dwarves, the world is gnawed by nameless things.
In The HobbitEdit
Some of these caves, too, go back in their beginnings to ages before the goblins, who only widened them and joined them up with passages, and the original owners are still in odd corners, slinking and nosing about.
In The Hobbit it is mentioned that the goblins were not the original owners of Goblin-town. These original owners do not appear to be any of the known races of Middle-Earth and are likely the same species as the Nameless Things. Gollum might have originally have been meant to have been one, since they were said to still be in the passages in certain areas, before Tolkien decided that he was originally a Hobbit.
There are many theories concerning this. The term 'Nameless Things' might be a metaphor for natural earth processes that formed underground tunnels.
There are five major theories concerning their origin.
- The Nameless Things were originally Ainur who entered Arda before Sauron arrived, hence the phrase, "Sauron knows them not for they are older than him", meaning they lived in the world longer than Sauron.
- They were specific spirits like Tom Bombadil and his wife Goldberry.
- The Nameless Things were species from the void, much as Ungoliant. They were most likely caused by Melkor's independent singing in the Music of the Ainur.
- The Nameless Things were among the creatures created in Utumno by the Dark Powers .
- Concept art for the film version of The Two Towers, showed the Nameless Things as cephalopod-like, amphibious, shiny, translucent beings, alongside concept art for the slimy, black Balrog before he regains his fire, but these scenes were cut from even the script. By this depiction, the Nameless Things are similar in nature to the Watcher in the Water, and it is similarly ambiguous whether they were merely ancient but wholly natural creatures, or possessed of their own mysterious intelligence and allegiances.