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Last Desert

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The Last Desert was a desert in the "East of East" inhabited by Were-worms.[1]

[edit] Existence

The Last Desert is mentioned only in The Hobbit. When Bilbo Baggins insisted to Thorin and Company that he was fit to be the burglar on their quest, he said he was willing to travel to the "East of East" which, according to him, was home to a region known as the "Last Desert" where the Were-worms lived.[1] However, this is the only mention of the Last Desert and the Were-worms, and Hobbits (who rarely left the Shire) had an extensive folklore, so the existence of the Last Desert is debated;[who?] the Last Desert may have been a real location in the East that Bilbo was aware of, or it may have been a creation of Hobbitish legend.[2]

[edit] Other versions of the legendarium

In the earliest drafts of The Hobbit, Bilbo offered to walk from the Shire "to [cancelled: Hindu Kush] the Great Desert of Gobi and fight the Wild Wire worm(s) of the Chinese."[3] In a slightly later version J.R.R. Tolkien altered this to say "to the last desert in the East and fight the Wild Wireworms of the Chinese",[4] and in the final version it was altered once more to say "to the East of East and fight the wild Were-worms in the Last Desert."[5].

Although the Last Desert is mentioned only in The Hobbit, there is another mention of the greater region where it was located. In the Quenta Noldorinwa, an early version of The Silmarillion, the first Men were said to have awoke in the land of Eruman, which lay in the "East of East."[6]

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, "An Unexpected Party"
  2. Mark Fisher, "Last Desert", The Encyclopedia of Arda (accessed 4 March 2018)
  3. J.R.R. Tolkien, John D. Rateliff (ed.), The History of The Hobbit, Mr. Baggins, The First Phase, "The Pryftan Fragment", p. 9
  4. J.R.R. Tolkien, John D. Rateliff (ed.), The History of The Hobbit, Mr. Baggins, The First Phase, "The Bladorthin Typescript", p. 40
  5. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, "An Unexpected Party"
  6. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Shaping of Middle-earth, "III. The Quenta: [Section] 5"
Legendary Locations in Arda
Mountains:  Astulat · Merlock Mountains
 Regions:  Belmarie · Fantasie · Sindanórie · Thellamie · Last Desert
Rivers:  Derrilyn
Other:  Aerie · Caverns of the Oaritsi · Gorbelgod · Tode