In this exclusive we look at the origins of the creatures in Middle Earth: Shadows Of War. Youu will be amazed by the origins of some of Toikien’s monsters


Where do the creatures in Origins Of Middle Earth: Shadows Of War actually come from?

The latest trailer for the game depicts all manner of beasts and monsters from Tolkien’s Lord Of The Rings, including the famous Balrog (“You shall not pass!”)

Lord Of The Rings has inspired generations of fantasy books. The series pushed mythology in an all new direction and introduced many new creatures while evolving others.

It’s exciting to see where LOTRs is heading with Middle Earth: Shadows of War, an upcoming open world RPG from Warner Bros Interactive.

The new trailer reveals many amazing beasts and creatures including spider-swarms, wyverns, and the Balrog.

Watch the new trailer for Middle Earth: Shadow Of War below. Then we’ll take a look at some of the origins of the creatures in the video.

Official Shadow of War Monsters of Mordor Trailer



The Fascinating Origins Of The Lord Of The Rings Monsters


The Wraith:

The Wraith is one of the main characters in Middle Earth: Shadows Of War.

In the game the wraith possesses the protagonist (Talion). The wraith looks similar to other wraiths in Lord of the Rings.

You might be surprised to hear these wraiths actually originate from Scotland. In Scottish mythology, wraiths are like an apparition of the Grim Reaper. They’ve subsequently been seen in all manner of stories, from the X-Men to Dungeons & Dragons.


Tar-Goroth (Balrog):

Everybody remembers the Balrog from Lord Of The Rings: Fellowship Of The Ring. One of the best monsters in any film… period.

Actually, Tolkien did not come up with the Balrog himself. They are actually a Norse mythological creature.

The Balrog is based on the Norse Surtr, a giant with a flaming sword.

Nose mythology is full of many different beasts and creatures, and these heavily influenced Tokien’s work on Lord Of The Rings.



One of the main characters seen in the trailer is the wyvern.

Wyvern’s are legendary creatures with the head and wings of a dragon and the body of a reptile.

Wyverns are hugely popular mythical creatures and are often used as mascots in Europe, as well as in fantasy stories like LOTR and Game of Thrones.



“Ah. They have a cave troll”.

The specific design of the trolls in Lord of the Rings is unique to Tolkien. However, they are inspired (again) by Norse mythology and Scandanavian folklore.

Norse trolls are solitary creatures that live in isolated areas like mountains or caves, usually in a group or family.  They are depicted in various ways: sometimes ugly and dumb, sometimes very similar to humans and not remotely grotesque.


(Shelob) Giant Spider:

Shelob is one of the main characters in Lord of the Rings. But mythological giant spiders have been seen throughout the world for millennia.

Interestingly, in Celtic mythology (which as heavily influential on Tolkien) spiders are viewed as beneficial creatures that help human-beings.

Shelob was actually inspired by the writings of Lord Dunsany, one of Tolkien’s contemporaries, who wrote about giant spiders in The Fortress Unvanquishable, Save For Sacnoth.


“The stairway led up to two folding doors, and they stood a little ajar, and through the crack Leothric entered and tried to continue straight on, but could get no farther, for the whole room seemed to be full of festoons of ropes which swung from wall to wall and were looped and draped from the ceiling. The whole chamber was thick and black with them. They were soft and light to the touch, like fine silk, but Leothric was unable to break any one of them, and though they swung away from him as he pressed forward, yet by the time he had gone three yards they were all about him like a heavy cloak. Then Leothric stepped back and drew Sacnoth, and Sacnoth divided the ropes without a sound, and without a sound the severed pieces fell to the floor. Leothric went forward slowly, moving Sacnoth in front of him up and down as he went. When he was come into the middle of the chamber, suddenly, as he parted with Sacnoth a great hammock of strands, he saw a spider before him that was larger than a ram, and the spider looked at him with eyes that were little, but in which there was much sin[…]”

mythology vs lord of the rings

It is fascinating to see where many of the monsters in Lord Of The Rings and Middle Earth: Shadows Of War come from.

It is fascinating to see how mythological creatures evolve over the years. Middle Earth: Shadow Of Mordor is one more step on this infinite journey of creative evolution.


About Middle Earth: Shadow Of War

“Middle-earth: Shadow of War™ is the sequel to the critically-acclaimed Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor™, winner of more than 50 industry awards—including the 2015 Game Developers Choice Awards’ Game of the Year, Outstanding Innovation in Gaming at the 2015 D.I.C.E. Awards and the BAFTA for Game Design. Developed by Monolith Productions, Middle-earth: Shadow of War features an original story with the return of Talion and Celebrimbor, who must go behind enemy lines to forge an army and turn all of Mordor against the Dark Lord, Sauron.


Middle-earth: Shadow of War is set to arrive on Xbox One, Playstation 4 and PC on the 10th October.”

Paul Harrison

Paul M Harrison is an entertainment journalist, novelist, and blogger, and a specialist in the theory of storytelling. Paul Harrison can be contacted via his personal website or on Twitter or Facebook.


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