Shelob

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Shelob is a fictional character from J. R. R. Tolkien's Middle-earth legendarium. She appears at the end of the fourth book, second volume (The Two Towers), of The Lord of the Rings.

Contents

Literature

Shelob was an "evil thing in spider form,"[1] living high in the Ephel Dúath mountains that border Mordor; the “last child of Ungoliant to trouble the unhappy world.”[1] There are numerous references to her being ancient, and predating the events recalled in The Lord of the Rings by many ages. Although she resides in Mordor and is unrepentantly evil, she remains independent of Sauron and his influence.[2]

This creature was first introduced in the chapter "Shelob's Lair," but is actually featured and is referred to long before she is properly introduced: "But still she was there, who was there before Sauron, and before the first stone of Barad-dûr; and she served none but herself, drinking the blood of Elves and Men, bloated and grown fat with endless brooding on her feasts, weaving webs of shadow; for all living things were her food, and her vomit darkness."

She occupied Torech Ungol beneath Cirith Ungol ("Pass of the Spider"), and may have once lived in Beleriand. Also called the "Spider of Darkness[citation needed]," Shelob's brood (upon whom she would often feed) and descendants include the Giant Spiders who captured Bilbo Baggins's Dwarf allies in Mirkwood in The Hobbit.

Shelob's lair was along the path that Sam Gamgee and Frodo Baggins took while travelling to Mount Doom. Her spider-silk, which was spun in both rope and cobweb form, was strong and cleverly made, trapping those who walked into it. Shelob had encountered Gollum during his previous trip to Mordor, and he apparently worshipped her after his fashion. The Orcs of the Tower of Cirith Ungol called her "Shelob the Great" and "Her Ladyship," and knew of Gollum's relationship with her (they referred to him as "Her Sneak"). Sauron himself was aware of her existence, but left her alone, as she was a useful guard on the pass. He occasionally sent her prisoners for whom he had no further use.

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