The Encyclopedia of Arda - an interactive guide to the world of J.R.R. Tolkien
Established before c. II 1000;1 survived until at least the end of the Third Age2
In Ephel Dúath, in the pass of Cirith Ungol
Lay close to the Tower of Cirith Ungol
Shelob is probably pronounced 'shee'lob'2
Shelob means 'she-spider'
Other names


About this entry:

  • Updated 25 October 2019
  • Updates planned: 2

Shelob’s Lair

The dark tunnels of Cirith Ungol

A partial English translation of Torech Ungol, the name of the black, mazelike lair of Shelob in the pass of Cirith Ungol.



We don't know exactly when Shelob made her lair in the Mountains of Shadow, but we do know that she found her way to Cirith Ungol before Sauron had begun building the Barad-dûr. The building of the Dark Tower began in about the year II 1000, so Shelob had haunted Cirith Ungol since before that date (and perhaps as early as the beginning of the Second Age).


We know that Shelob was still present in her lair at the time of the War of the Ring, at least 5,400 years after she had first settled there. Whether she survived there much longer after the War is unknown, but it seems more than plausible that the new King Aragorn would have made efforts to deal with the menace on his eastern borders.


Shelob's name comes from a compound 'she-lob' (that is, 'she-spider'), so the first syllable is almost certainly pronounced like the English word 'she'. Following the rules of Elvish pronunciation, it would have a short 'e' sound, something like 'sheh', but those rules do not appear to hold in this particular case.


About this entry:

  • Updated 25 October 2019
  • Updates planned: 2

For acknowledgements and references, see the Disclaimer & Bibliography page.

Original content © copyright Mark Fisher 1999, 2000, 2019. All rights reserved. For conditions of reuse, see the Site FAQ.

Website services kindly sponsored by Discus from Axiom Software Ltd.
Find out how DISC profiling can make a real difference to the way you work with people.
The Encyclopedia of Arda
The Encyclopedia of Arda
Homepage Search Latest Entries and Updates Random Entry