What Fantasy Races Did JRR Tolkien Come Up With?

The Lord of the Rings is one of the most famous fantasy books of all time. It has inspired many fantasy books and movies, including Game of Thrones and Harry Potter.

Tolkien created numerous fantasy races in his book, including elves, dwarves, hobbits and orcs.

Below, we’ll take a look at these races in more detail.

What Fantasy Races Did JRR Tolkien Come Up With?

So, what fantasy races did JRR Tolkien come up with exactly? Here’s a quick list:

  • Hobbits
  • Elves
  • Dwarves
  • Orcs
  • Ents
  • Goblins
  • Trolls
  • Balrogs
  • Rangers – a variant of humans who can live longer

Tolkien’s most famous creation is perhaps the hobbit race. Hobbits are small humanoids that live in their own communities and have a love for food and drink. They are very hospitable to other races but also tend to keep to themselves when it comes to fighting wars or going on adventures.

Tolkien’s creations were not limited to fantasy races. They also included languages, maps and histories of the imaginary lands where his stories take place.

In a letter to his son Christopher, J.R.R. Tolkien discussed the process of inventing the different races in his world, and how he came up with each one:

“I am afraid I have not much to say about them – they are not very important in my story, and I do not want it cluttered up with great masses of things like the late unpleasantness (the War of the Ring) which is now only a memory for those who were part of it.”

Elves In The Fantasy Genre

Elves are a race of beings that are immortal, agile, and possess an affinity with nature. They are one of the most popular fantasy races in literature.

 what fantasy races did jrr tolkien come up with

They have been present in many works of fiction from J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings to more recent fantasy novels like The Inheritance Cycle and The Spiderwick Chronicles by Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black, but they have also appeared as a race in other works such as The Silmarillion by Tolkien himself, or even Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Perhaps the most famous fantasy elf is Legolas, one of Tolkien’s creations.

Legolas is a skilled warrior and archer with unrivalled accuracy with a bow and arrow. He has a keen sense of smell and hearing, which he uses to track his enemies. He has many friends among the woodland creatures, like bears, and they often come to his aid when he needs it most.

In The Lord of the Rings, Legolas fights alongside Aragorn at the Battle of Pelennor Fields in The Return of the King.

Dwarves In The Fantasy Genre

Tolkien’s dwarves are a race of beings who live in the land of Erebor. They were created by the Vala Aulë. Dwarves are short but they have a stout build and they are considered wise and skilled craftsmen.

Dwarves are skilled in mining and metalwork, and because of this, they have created some of the most powerful weapons and armor in Middle-earth.

Learn More About Writing Fantasy

If you’d like to learn more about the fantasy races that JRR Tolkien came up with, you can check out these guides below:


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