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"... the spears that were made for the armies of the great King Bladorthin (long since dead), each had a thrice-forged head and their shafts were inlaid with cunning gold, but they were never delivered or paid for..."
The Hobbit, Inside Information

Bladorthin was a king of the Third Age who flourished long before T.A. 2941.



Bladorthin ruled a great kingdom which maintained armies and had trade relationships with Erebor.

Questions about whether Bladorthin was a Man or an Elf, or precisely where his kingdom lay, must remain in the realm of speculation.

He had ordered thrice-forged spears of superior quality for his soldiers from the Dwarves of Erebor. The smiths forged them, but Bladorthin never received his weapons.

It is possible that the descent of Smaug on the Lonely Mountain was what prevented the trade, in which case his death can be put after Third Age 2770.

On the other hand his death was perhaps premature and it was this that prevented the trade.[1]


John D. Rateliff has noted that Tolkien never explained the meaning of the name Bladorthin. However, Rateliff suggests that the name is "clearly Gnomish (or perhaps Noldorin)", speculating that the element blador "probably applies to wide open country" and that the element -thin likely has the meaning of "grey" (as in Thingol). This would give the translation "the Grey Country", "Grey Plains Fay", or "Grey Master of the Plains".[2]

Other Versions of the Legendarium

In the early drafts of The Hobbit, Bladorthin was the name of Gandalf the Grey. A connection can still be seen with the element -thin with the probable meaning "grey" (see above).[2]


  • Robert Foster suggests Bladorthin was an Elven king, that his premature death prevented the trade and his heirs did not pay for the spears.
  • J.E.A. Tyler also interprets his death as premature
  • Michael Martinez also interprets his death as premature, and suggests that he was a King of Dale, perhaps ancestor of Girion.[3]
  • Douglas A. Anderson in The Annotated Hobbit suggests he was a mortal Man.
  • An article in the Tolkienwiki suggests not only that his death was premature but that his kingdom was destroyed by Sauron, presumably located near the Sea of Rhûn.[4]
  • Andreas Moehn counters most of the common theories, notably the interpretation that his death was premature. As the book does not mention his death as such, the end of Erebor must have happened earlier and prevented the trade. He also rejects the theory that his kingdom was related to Dale, and locates it in Dorwinion.

Portrayal in Adaptations

2003: The Hobbit:

Bladorthin's spears are some of the items Bilbo Baggins must find in Erebor for a quest in the chapter "Inside Information".


  1. Robert Foster, The Complete Guide to Middle-earth, entry "Bladorthin"
  2. 2.0 2.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, John D. Rateliff (ed.), The History of The Hobbit: One-volume Edition, pp. 52-3, 62-3
  3. Parma Endorion
  4. FAQ: Who was King Bladorthin?

External links