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Shelobpj
Great Spiders
Dominions

Mordor, Mirkwood, Torech Ungol, Dol Guldur, Nan Dungortheb, Ered Gorgoroth, Nan Ungol

Languages

Westron, Black Speech

Average height

Massive

Skin color

Dark

Hair color

None

Distinctions

Gigantic, dark, arachnid-like traits, lethal, venomous

Lifespan

Unknown

Members

Ungoliant, Shelob, Saenathra (non-canon)

  [Source]

Great Spiders, also known as the Spawn of Ungoliant, were a race of oversized and sentient  arachnids that lived in Middle-Earth, particularly in dark and perilous places.

DescriptionEdit

The Great Spiders could speak to one another, though only those imbued with the power of (or derived from) the Ainur could understand them. Like Orcs and Goblins, Great Spiders were known to detest light, yet they thirsted for it and sought to devour it. Great Spiders comprise three separate species.

Giant SpidersEdit

Giant Spiders were a sentient race of Great Spiders that lived in Middle-Earth. They lived in the South of Middle-Earth in the First Age, but by the Third Age they had spread to other areas including Mirkwood. They were descended from the spider-creatures of the Ered Gorgoroth (Mountains of Terror). Giant Spiders infested the great forest of Greenwood the Great after the shadow of Sauron fell upon it and it became known as Mirkwood.

Umaiar spidersEdit

Next are Umaiar spiders, a subspecies of Umaiar (and by extension a sub-subspecies of Maiar) which included Ungoliant. There are those Maiar who took the form of giant spiders upon joining Morgoth. Apart from Ungoliant (who died in an attempt to devour herself) the fate of this race is unknown.

Spawn of UngoliantEdit

The Spawn of Ungoliant are the third race of Great Spiders. This race was spawned by Ungoliant after she fled to the South. She mated with and devoured the mortal giant spiders who lived there. Because they were half Demon, these spiders were immortal; they were bigger, stronger and smarter than their mortal kin.

HistoryEdit

The first Dark Lord, Melkor, used Ungoliant to help him destroy the Two Trees of Valinor and steal the Silmarils.[1] Ungoliant, who had an insatiable desire to devour light, asked for the Silmarils to be given to her. Melkor refused and she attempted to kill him. Ungoliant was subsequently driven off by Melkor's Balrogs, and she ultimately wandered across Middle-Earth, consuming anything that gave off light, such as gemstones; and often mated with other large spiders. Her offspring were a great bane on the world in later years. She was described as surrounded by "an aura of darkness". Her fate is unknown, but it is said that, always hungry, Ungoliant ended by devouring herself.[2]
Spiders Mirkwood

The Mirkwood spiders

The Hobbit Bilbo Baggins, and his thirteen Dwarf companions encountered giant spiders in Mirkwood forest on their Quest to the Lonely Mountain. Only Bilbo's magic ring and an Elven blade (Sting) allowed them to escape being eaten.[3]

Shelob1

Frodo caught in Shelob's web, as depicted in the film.

Frodo Baggins and Sam Gamgee encountered Ungoliant's daughter, Shelob, in her lair as they were trying to enter Mordor during their quest to destroy the One Ring. Frodo was ambushed by the spider twice, and was paralyzed by her poison on the second encounter.[4] Sam used Sting to attack Shelob and wounded her, forcing her to flee the scene.[5] It is unknown whether she died from her wounds.

Portrayal in adaptationsEdit

FilmsEdit

Hobbit45

Mirkwood Spiders crawling over Radagast's home.

  • Giant spiders appear briefly in the first Hobbit film, where they are seen attacking Radagast's home in Rhosgobel, only to retreat back into the forest, seemingly repelled by his magic. Radagast later tells Gandalf that they came from Dol Guldur.
  • In The Desolation of Smaug, the spiders capture the Dwarves in Mirkwood. As in the book, the spiders are capable of speech that Bilbo can understand when he is wearing the One Ring. A different type of giant spider, similar to a trapdoor spider, also appears, and Bilbo kills it. It is albino and is crab-like. They were voiced by Brian Sergent and Peter Vere-Jones in the film.

Video GamesEdit

Seanathra

An image showing the giant spider Saenathra from the War in the North Game adaption

Influence of spiders in Tolkien's lifeEdit

Tarantula

Size of a tarantula

Contrary to popular belief, the reason that Tolkien featured spiders so prominently in his stories was not because he was bitten by a tarantula when he was young, but rather because his son was afraid of them.

Behind the scenesEdit

Games WorkshopEdit

Giant Spider(ling)s

Giant Spiders from GW.com

On the Website they have Giant Spiders but with two which means this is not a pack. These spiders look like either Shelob or a Spiderling but they have to their side the Spider Queen & Swarm. They have many colors like in the photo (most people painted these spiders differently). Today they cost £8.20 & are available online and in stores.

Races of the Creatures of Arda
Good Races:

Ainur | Dwarves | Ents | Hobbits | Men | Elves | Great Eagles

Evil Races:

Dragons | Orcs | Uruk-hai | Wargs | Werewolves | Trolls | Giant Spiders

GalleryEdit


ReferencesEdit

  1. The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Chapter VIII: "Of the Darkening of Valinor"
  2. The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Chapter IX: "Of the Flight of the Noldor"
  3. The Hobbit, Chapter VIII: "Flies and Spiders"
  4. The Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers, Book Four, Chapter IX: "Shelob's Lair"
  5. The Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers, Book Four, Chapter X: "The Choices of Master Samwise"

External linkEdit

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