Arda is the world in which J.R.R. Tolkien’s books are set, including The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, The Silmarillion, and The History of Middle Earth.

Arda was made in the Music of the Ainur, the servants of Iluvatar, to serve as a dwelling place for Elves and Men. Finally, Arda would be filled with all kinds of species, in addition to the mystical and evil. Consequently, the history of this world is full of strife, tragedy, and triumph. There are stories of betrayal, abandonment, and love. The very world would be shaped by the actions of the Children of Iluvatar: mountains would shift, rivers would overflow, and entire continents would come and go.

The primary continents of Arda were Aman (aka Valinor or the Undying Lands) and Middle Earth. The former was inhabited by Elves, and was kept sacred - few others ever came there. The latter was a melting pot of all species, good and evil. The great battles with Morgoth and Sauron were fought here.

In the Second Age of Arda, an island between Aman and Middle Earth was created as a dwelling place for Men. This island was Numenor, and for a time, the men were happy here. However, falling prey to their gift of curiosity, and corruption by Sauron, they violated their ban and set foot on the sacred sands of Valinor. Immediately, Numenor was destroyed and Arda was “bent” – Aman was taken out of the world, and could only be reached by Elves.

From this time on, the world was round, and mortals were bound to it. The single continent and Great Sea would evolve into what the world is today. Slowly, those Elves still dwelling in Middle Earth would despair and depart across the sea, never to return. The men would come to dominate the world and Arda would lose some of its magic.

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