Ungoliant (Sindarin IPA: [uŋˈɡoljant]) was a primordial being in the shape of a great spider. She was initially an ally of Melkor in Aman, and for a short time in Middle-earth as well. She is the mother of Shelob, and therefore the oldest, and first, of the Spiders of Mirkwood.
Who, what, or where, Ungoliant came from is not clear, and the Eldar and perhaps not even the Valar are sure either. It is said by some that she came from the Darkness itself that lies about Arda and was once a servant of Melkor when he looked down upon the world with envy. Later, she changed her allegiance from him to herself, desiring only to be a mistress of her own insatiable craving to devour all things, to feed her everlasting emptiness.
When Melkor was defeated and imprisoned, Ungoliant escaped the attacks of the Valar and the hunters of Oromë and fled to the southern part of Aman. There, in a ravine south of the mountain Hyamentir, she established her dark abode and took the form of a monstrous spider, and here sucked up all the light she could find. After every feeding, she spun forth dark nets of gloom that strangled any light from entering her lair of darkness. Yet she hungered for more of it, for though she hated light, she craved it as well.
Alliance with MelkorEdit
When Melkor came to her, he offered her the light of the Two Trees if she would help him in his evil plans. Cloaked in her Unlight, Ungoliant and Melkor came to Ezellohar, where she drained the Trees of their sap, poisoned them, and drank the Wells of Varda dry. The Unlight and Ungoliant stymied the pursuit of Oromë and Tulkas and Melkor escaped to Middle-earth.
When they arrived in Lammoth in Middle-earth, Ungoliant demanded the gems that Melkor had stolen from Formenos. She devoured them, and grew larger and darker, and she attacked Melkor when he refused to give her the Silmarils. Melkor's scream is what gave the area the name Lammoth, and it is said that when one screams in that place, the voice of Melkor echoes back from the surrounding hills. The immediate arrival of Balrogs freed Morgoth from the evil spider's webs during their fight.
Driven off by the Balrogs, Ungoliant fled to Nan Dungortheb, where she bred with the Great Spiders that dwelt there, increasing the terror and power of her kind altogether. The creatures that later infested the area were her surviving offspring and descendants, including her infamous daughter, Shelob, who dwelt from the Second and Third Ages onwards on the borders of Mordor, as her last surviving child.It is said that Ungoliant ultimately perished at her own hands when, in her utmost hunger, she devoured herself. 
Her Quenya name was Ungweliantë (Tengwar: full spelling `Mx$jT`C4$ or vowel-abbreviated spelling `Mx$jT`4$; IPA: [uŋʷˌɡʷeliˈante]). "Ungol" was the Sindarin of 'spider', and "-iant" meant "old". And so being the first of her kind, she was named "Old Spider".
Wirilomë, meaning 'Gloom-weaver', was another Sindarin name for Ungoliant in The Book of Lost Tales, part 2.
Portrayal in adaptationsEdit
Ungoliant was mentioned in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey when Radagast tells Gandalf about his recent encounter with the Great Spiders residing in Mirkwood, deducing that they are "some kind of spawn of Ungoliant".
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 The Silmarillion: Quenta Silmarillion, "Of the Darkening of Valinor"
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 The Silmarillion: Quenta Silmarillion, "Of the Flight of the Noldor"
- ↑ The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, "Shelob's Lair"