The names of characters in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings have been permanently etched into our pop culture conscience.
However, the true powers lurked deeper within J.R.R. Tolkien’s texts -- these include the names of gods, monsters, elves, and other supernatural entities that are briefly touched upon within the lore of the Rings.
Most of these characters were mentioned either in songs or hymns, while others were brought up in worship or in explanations of the resurrections of both good and evil.
The deeper history of Middle-earth was further expounded upon in The Silmarillion -- an extended work that introduced the origins of the Eä universe, the world of Arda cobbled together by the Valar, and the strife that occurred ages before the narrative of The Hobbit.
With that said, here is Every Supernatural Being From Lord Of The Rings Ranked From Weakest To Most Powerful.
25 Ancalagon The Black
Through means unknown, Morgoth created the dragons to implement his dark will.
Ancalagon the Black was renowned by Tolkien as the greatest and largest of all dragons.
In comparison, Smaug measured roughly the size of his outstretched claw.
Leading an army of fellow winged serpents, Ancalagon forced the Valar to retreat, before the Great Eagles and Eärendil (manning a flying ship) battled back the forces of fire and brimstone.
The great dragon and his foes squabbled for a full 24 hours, leaving a multitude of casualties, before Ancalagon fell and took out three mountains.
In Gandalf’s description of the origins of the Rings to Frodo, he referenced the dragon: “nor was there ever any dragon, not even Ancalagon the Black, who could have harmed the One Ring, the Ruling Ring, for that was made by Sauron.“
Balrogs were Maiar, or ancient spirits, sent to help the Valar shape the world, allured and corrupted by Morgoth in the early ages.
Their numbers were in the hundreds and they composed a large part of Morgoth’s army. Tolkien later revised this to seven -- an alteration as confusing as trying to read through the volumes on the History of Middle-earth.
The leader of the Balrogs was Gothmog, who held equal authority to Sauron.
As the greatest Balrog to ever walk Middle-earth, Gothmog boasted a whip and a big black axe, which are eye-catching weapons an in-demand action figure would have beneath the plastic packaging.
Gothmog was a machine, wiping out two of the High Kings of the Ñoldor, Fëanor, and Ecthelion of the Fountain (aka the lamest name in Tolkien) -- the latter of whom he drowned after the balrog's fire was extinguished.
As an accomplished fighter and heralded for his wisdom, Glorfindel was the Lord of the House of the Golden Flower, which was one of the Twelve Houses of Gondolin.
During a battle, Glorfindel fought a balrog and was doing pretty well for himself against the creature.
However, as the balrogs are ought to do when they perish, the devilish creature seized Glorfindel and brought him to his demise.
Manwë resurrected Glorfindel quicker than any other elf, and sent him to Arda as an emissary of the Valar.
During the Battle of Fornost, where he led the elves of Rivendale and Lindon against the Witch-king, Glorfindel made the prophecy that the leader of the Nazgûl would not be felled by any mortal man, partly because of the possibility of resurrection.
The role of Glorfindel was completely replaced by Liv Tyler in the movies, as he was the elf who rescued Frodo and took out the pursuing Nazgûl with the water in the book.
The Great Eagles were creations of Manwë as messengers and spies for the King of Arda. In fact, the Great Eagles were more notorious for getting LOTR protagonists out of harm’s way right in the nick of time.
They were so efficient, in fact, that some fans have pondered why the Fellowship didn’t just board the Eagles and fly to Mordor instead.
Gwaihir was the chief of the Eagles, saving Gandalf at the pinnacle of Orthanc.
He made a habit of rescuing Gandalf-- he seized the Wizard again after he was whooped by Durin’s Bane.
Gwaihir led his feathered brethren during the Battle of the Morannon and was one of the saviors of Frodo and Sam following the destruction of the One Ring.
21 The King of the Dead
The King of the Dead boasts the name of a band that’s likely opening for Mastodon this summer.
Originally known as the King of the Mountains (also a prog-metal band name), the King of the Dead refused to aid Isildur in his battle against Sauron, which ended with the man slicing off the dark lord’s finger and keeping the ring for himself.
After that went south very quickly, Isildur cursed the King and his minions, claiming they could only rest after aiding one of his heirs. What resulted was an undead guy leading a band of ghosts that could take down an entire army with ease.
Even the finest military academies can’t prepare a soldier for doing battle with ghosts.
Only Aragorn, as a descendant of Gondor, can control the ghosts, much like a schoolboy with a Death Note that falls in his lap.
After the passing of Fëanor, his elves continued to batter Morgoth’s forces, laying siege to the evil Valar’s fortress for 400 years.
The elves soon became complacent-- which is expected after such a length of time-- and Morgoth’s evil forces came out in full force, reaping havoc on the bored soldiers.
The half-brother of Feanor, Fingolfin, dared challenge Morgoth in single combat-- he was so blinded by rage that many mistook him for a Valar, and the dark lord was hesitant to do combat with the elf.
Fighting Morgoth was about the equivalent of a video game protagonist posturing in front of the final boss without the proper weapons, but Fingolfin still managed to land seven blows on his opponent, before he was crushed.
One particular slice was to Morgoth's foot and it impeded his walk eternally.
In the Third Age, there was no stronger elf than Galadriel.
Galadriel possessed one of the Rings of Power and was able to resist the temptations of the One Ring.
Apparently, her power-hungry uncle Fëanor wanted to use her hair for his Silmarils, but even then, Galadriel was able to glimpse the evil inside of him.
When the fellowship embarked on their quest, she gave each parting gifts-- useful items that came into play during crucial parts of their voyage.
After Gandalf got worked by Durin’s Bane, Galadriel essentially resurrected the wizard, reclothing him and presenting him with a new staff. Also, while Lothlórien was under attack by dark forces, Galadriel used her ring like Febreeze, and purified the area from the nasty and evil smell.
While Morgoth was feigning repentance after the Valar bested him, he Wormtongue’d his way into the ears of the elves, convincing them that they were brought to Valinor so that men could take over Middle-earth.
Chief among the dissension was Fëanor, who crafted the jewels Silmarils from the light of the two Valinor trees.
Once prized possessions for their beauty, the Valar soon coveted the jewels after Ungoliant destroyed the trees and sapped the light.
Both Morgoth and Fëanor were soon exiled-- the Valar later tried to recruit the elven craftsman for his own purposes, but was rejected for coming on to wickedly.
In response, Morgoth-- along with spidey henchman Ungoliant-- destroyed Feanor’s father, and the elf led his crew to Middle-earth to seek vengeance.
Impressively, Morgoth’s armies were forced backwards, but Gothmog the Balrog slew Fëanor in an epic brawl.
Originally the head of the five wizards, Saruman the White was sent to Middle-earth by the Valar to help the free people.
He quickly became jealous of Gandalf’s powers, when he discovered that his associate was given Narya the Ring of Fire. After sensing Sauron’s return to Dol Guldur and having bitterness poison his sorcerer soul, Saruman started to sway towards the dark-side when the White Council was formed.
Gandalf joined the hobbits in the shire and Saruman spied on him, suspicious that he was trying to attain more power, stalking him like a bitter ex-lover.
Saruman became the wizard of many colors and attempted to convert Gandalf to Sauron-ism, which failed and caused the former White wizard to imprison him.
Saruman bred the deadly Uruk-hai and destroyed the trees for his sinister purposes, but awakened the Ents, who were eager for vengeance. Sauron soon discovered that Saruman was attempting to deceive him to nab the Ring for himself.
Only Merlin and Dumbledore are more famous wizards than Gandalf.
Similar to Sauron, Gandalf is a Maia and serves Manwe-- he was the second wizard sent to Arda.
The spirit took the form of an old man, figuring that others would listen to the wisdom of elderly. Gandalf spent most of his time on Middle-earth amongst the elves, learning all that he could.
The wizard suspected Sauron as the necromancer in Dol Guldur and assisted the White Council in driving the evil out.
During the events of The Hobbit, Gandalf duo of goals were both achieved: Smaug, who would have been a deadly puppet controlled by Sauron, was slain and Erebor was returned to power.
Gandalf then embarked on the events of The Lord of the Rings, serving as a crucial member of the fellowship. As an immortal, he was resurrected after taking down a balrog and saved everybody’s armored butts at the Battle of Helm’s Deep.
As the most skilled swordsman in the history of Arda, Eönwë led the High Elves in the final confrontation with Morgoth.
After the good guys were victorious, and it was implied that Eönwë took down Morgoth, he obtained two of the Silmarils.
However, they were later stolen and Eönwë refused to pass judgement on the culprits. As a forgiving albeit fierce warrior, Eönwë commanded the respect of Sauron, who yearned for amnesty.
Eönwë refused and, fearful of punishment, Sauron opted to flee to Middle-earth and continue practicing his evil ways in seclusion. According to prophecy in The Book of Lost Tales, Eönwë is destined to permanently destroy Morgoth, and by doing so, take out the universe of Eä.
There’s really no explanation for why Eönwë didn’t journey to Middle-earth for the war against Sauron. Theories have ranged from the his skillset not being appropriate for the sent Istari (or wizards) to a general disinterest in the squabble.
14 Tom Bombadil
Most casual readers of The Lord of the Rings take Tom Bombadil as a joke. The goofy, song-singing wizard is more remembered for his absurd name than for his actual power.
However, if you explore deeper into the Old Forest housing Bombadil, you’ll find that he’s essentially the embodiment of nature itself.
When Frodo and his posse of hobbits come upon Bombadil and his wife Goldberry in the forest, he responds to their questions with enigmatic answers, claiming that he is the eldest and that he just is.
The Ring has no effect on Bombadil-- when he places the Ring on his finger, he doesn’t vanish. When Frodo does the same thing, Bombadil can see the hobbit, despite his invisibility.
The information within the pages of LOTR about Bombadil is very basic, but most agree that he is probably the physical embodiment of Arda itself.
Also, in the Battle for Middle-Earth 2 game, Bombadil can be summoned as a temporary hero unit, and his singing will immediately bring down an enemy base.
Exiled from Valinor and turned down by Fëanor, Morgoth sought out Ungoliant to do his bidding-- the giant spider lady was famished and eager to consume as much light as possible. The duo ended up attacking the two trees of Valinor and gobbled up all their radiance.
Ungoliant became addicted to eating, like a spoiled birthday girl gobbling endless slices of pizza at Chuck E. Cheese. She grew to massive proportions and demanded that Morgoth feed her the Silmarils.
The dark lord refused and Ungoliant attacked him -- a risky move considering his status as Tolkien’s original manifestation of evil.
She nearly ate Morgoth, but his Balrog bodyguards intervened and shooed the jumbo-sized arachnid away.
She later gave birth to all the spiders -- including Shelob -- and ate herself.
Nienna was a Valar associated with grief, sorrow, and pity. She was a mentor to Gandalf, who passed along her teachings to Frodo, scolding him for wishing death on Gollum, and instead telling him to consider the creature as a compassionate victim that may serve some purpose.
Nienna usually comforted those imprisoned within the Halls of Mandos.
Alongside Yavanna, she helped create the Two Trees of Valinor-- her tears nurtured the soil and encouraged the Trees growth.
After Ungoliant violated the Trees, she attempted to resurrect the ruins, and cleansed the filth from the giant spiders poison, allowing Yavanna to blossom the sun and the moon of Arda.
Her compassion extended to an imprisoned Morgoth-- when he was vying for initial release from his imprisonment, she elected to support his rehabilitation, which led to a whole world of trouble for Arda.
As Tolkien's embodiment of Mother Nature, Yavanna was the Valar responsible for all growing things, from towering trees to moss covering the rocks.
Yavanna’s singing caused the growth of the Two Trees of Valinor, or the source of light to the land of Valar.
When Ungoliant poisoned the Trees, Yavanna tried to resurrect her creation, but was only able to revive a last flower from each, which became the sun and moon of Arda.
Following her husband Aulë’s creation of the dwarves, she immediately worried that the little smiths would wreak havoc on her forests.
Aulë replied that all creations of Eru Ilúvatar needed to use her forest in some way. She was aware that the world needed to be sheltered beneath trees and that these forests required guardians, so Eru Ilúvatar created the Ents.
As the Valar responsible as the gatekeeper of the deceased, Mandos executed the actions of Eru Ilúvatar and resided over the Houses of the Dead (the underworld, not the Sega video game).
His demeanor was said to be grim, but it didn’t affect his character-- passing judgement on those who were meant to pass away was not a malevolent decision.
The Valar foresaw the coming of men and elves to Arda, and within his Halls, passed judgement on each.
Elves were allowed resurrection after sometime, while men were shepherded to a different fate that only the crypt keeper and Manwë were privy to. During his initial imprisonment, Morgoth was chained within the Halls and could not escape without Mandos allowing him to.
Sauron is the Necromancer of Dol Guldur, the dark lord of Mordor, and the maker of the One Ring.
Sauron goes by numerous titles and is the namesake to The Lord of the Rings. Through most of the books and movies, he’s basically a flaming eye atop a tower, but his origins go much deeper than this hokey imagery.
Sauron was Maiar created by Eru Ilúvatar and was originally a disciple of Aulë, learning the arts of forging.
Later, he was influenced by Morgoth and converted to dark deeds.
Intent on taking over Middle-earth, he adapted a pretty boy appearance to impress the elven blacksmiths, claiming that he was an emissary of the Valar.
Thus, the 20 rings were forged and Sauron secretly made his, utilizing the fires of Mount Doom. The elves detected his shenanigans and hid the rings, prompting Sauron to become a war monger.
After most of the Valar had secluded themselves, Oromë still hunted the lands of Arda and was the first to discover the elves, whom he referred to as Eldar.
He took a fondness to the creatures of the wood-- he selected three ambassadors and brought them back to Aman, the home to the Valar.
As a gifted hunter, Oromë fearlessly defied Morgoth and was a vicious combatant, stalking monsters and foul beasts whenever he got the chance.
This put the dark lord and his minions right into his wheelhouse.
Even Tolkien used Oromë as a comparison, whenever Fingolfin single-handedly took on Morgoth in battle: “He passed over Dor-nu-Fauglith like a wind amid the dust, and all that beheld his onset fled in amaze, thinking that Oromë himself was come: for a great madness of rage was upon him, so that his eyes shone like the eyes of the Valar.”
Ulmo is essentially Poseidon, as the god presides over all waters covering Arda.
The evil Valar Morgoth feared Ulmo the most, because the sea could not be tamed by light or darkness.
Ulmo encouraged Turgon to construct Gondolin, told Finrod to build Nargothrond, and saved Elwing so that her husband could bring a Silmaril to Valinor and plead for aid-- each action a huge blow towards Morgoth and his forces.
Because his rivers stretched across the world, he was able to learn more about its people than any of the Valar.
Despite the unpredictability of large bodies of water and his appearance akin to an Aquaman villain, Ulmo was actually the friendliest to his fellow brethren. He was also a huge audiophile, composing and listening to tunes in his crib beneath the sea.
As a blacksmith Valar, Aulë presided over the Arda's natural substances and is known for the creation of the dwarves.
However, he felt like he had sin by this creation, and decided to crush the dwarves under his hammer, but Eru Ilúvatar stopped him, which may explain why the species are so grumpy all the time.
Aulë had similarities to Morgoth: both had comparable powers and strived for originality.
However, Aulë was still faithful to the jams that he, the Valar, and Eru Ilúvatar kicked out back in the day in order to create Arda, while Morgoth preferred a different genre of music -- one that focused more on moshing and brainwashing its listeners.
Aulë refused to go head-to-head with Morgoth, in fear of damaging Arda.
Aulë does have a blemish on his Middle-earth résumé, though: both Sauron and Saruman were former disciples.
Tulkas was the champion of the Valar and the ultimate man’s man of the Tolkien Universe. When the Two Lamps of the Valar were created, Tulkas wedded Nessa, but Morgoth crashed their wedding, acting like the biggest intoxicated buzzkill and destroying the Lamps.
Bitter about the interruption to his nuptials, Tulkas practically tapped his heels when the Valar declared Morgoth an enemy, and single-handedly wrestled him into chained bondage.
Even after Manwë made the mistake of absolving Morgoth of his past sins, Tulkas still remembered Morgoth’s buffoonery at his wedding.
Tulkas was so strong that he refused weapons or a steed to ride into battle.
In fact, he laughed during war, which is about as intimidating as Manny Pacquiao entering the ring singing “Sometimes When We Touch”.
As the wife of Manwë, Varda was the queen of the Valar and lady of the stars. Notoriously beautiful, the illumination of Eru Ilúvatar allegedly shined from her face.
The elves respected Varda the most. This was due to the fact that her night sky was the first thing they saw after their conception. Whenever nightfalls, they sing songs of her radiance.
Varda gave the sun and the moon their course and made Eärendil’s Star, which saved Samwise against Shelob during his quest to Mount Doom.
While the rest of the Valar were shaping Arda in oblivious harmony, she was the first to detect the darkness in Morgoth and one of the Valar that he feared the most.
There are seven Lords of Valar, or the spirits that shaped Arda. Chief among these was Manwë, the greatest servant of Eru Ilúvatar, the God of all.
Manwë was known as the lord of winds and airs-- free of evil, he best understood Eru Ilúvatar’s vision of creation and was appointed the Elder King of Arda.
Although he wasn’t the greatest of the Valar in power -- that achievement belonged to Morgoth -- he was the highest in authority.
Manwë spearheaded the efforts against his evil brother, but kept making the boneheaded decision to let him go, not understanding the evil that coiled inside the corrupted Valar.
After releasing Morgoth during the First Age, Manwë sent the Great Eagles to watch over the elves. Also, during the Third Age, he sensed the growing threat of Sauron and initiated the wizards to Arda as a way to protect existence.
Morgoth is the original dark lord. Although most casual Tolkien fans will point to Sauron as the primary antagonist of Middle-earth, he is the protégé to this king daddy of evil.
Originally known as Melkor, Morgoth was the most powerful of the Valar. Later, Morgoth’s curiosity led him to explore areas outside of time and space, eager to find the origins that Eru Ilúvatar used to create life.
This ambition made him discontent and he created his own concepts that clashed with Eru Ilúvatar vision.
Morgoth became the self-proclaimed leader of the Valar, but they turned to the leadership and less evil ways of Manwë.
Bitter, he disrupted their world on Arda. After he was cast out, Morgoth started recruiting Balrogs and Maiar-- such as Sauron, who at the time was a mere yes-man.
Morgoth took over Middle-earth and started corrupting the elves, whispering of the coming of men-- an arrival that they were unaware of.
1 Eru Ilúvatar
Eru Ilúvatar is Tolkien’s god-- the supreme being from which all things were created. In the Timeless Halls, Eru Ilúvatar created the Ainur, or the Holy Ones, as the offspring of his thoughts.
Together, they harmonized with music, until Morgoth began creating compositions to mirror his discontent-- Eru Ilúvatar kept making more complex tunes that Morgoth would corrupt.
Later, Eru Ilúvatar showed his creations what their music composed: the world of Arda and all the life and strife that existed on the planet.
The Ainur wished to enact this vision into reality, but Morgoth was a Debbie Downer and separated himself from the group. Eru Ilúvatar granted the pleas of his children and told them they could go to Arda, but couldn’t return to the Timeless Halls until all that was, was no more.
The supreme deity’s name is never directly stated in The Hobbit or The Lord of the Rings, but is instead referenced as “the One.”
What do you think? Who do you think is the most powerful supernatural being from Lord of the Rings? Sound off in the comments!