was a vague term used by the Mortals to describe powers they did not fully understand.While great spirits as the Ainur did possess immense powers, understood by Men as "divine", also Elves and Dwarves had abilities appearing to Men as magical. Even a few men seemed to have great powers and were therefore considered Magicians by their kin.

Elven and dwarven Magic

Elves distinguished between different sorts of greater abilities, while Curu refered to great "Skill" or "Cunning", Sairina refered to "Wisdom", Ingole even explicitly meant "Science" or "Philosophy" and Ista "Knowledge".

This elven-Magic meant on one hand abilities inherent to the Elves, greater Strength, dexterity, intelligence and will on the other hand it meant deeper lore and knowledge obtained by the Eldar from their insight in nature and their teaching by the Valar.A different category of magic seemed to be the art performed by the Thothweg (S."Magician"), whose title seemed to be derived from thosso ("fear") or thosta ("put to fright, terrify") and seemed to refer to power that was terrifying or layed fear even upon elves.

While elvish-abilities could not be obtained by men (or only to a very limited degree as far as men could approach elvish way of life, nourishment and closeness to the Immortal Lands) deeper Lore and insight might be learned by talented and committed Men.

The same thing was true for dwarven magic, which was based for the most part on dwarven skill, dexterity, endurance and their teaching by Mahal.While Hildor never could match the dwarven dexterity and endurance, a commited mortal might learn a little of their craft, lore and insight.

Different Sorts of Magic

  • Conjuring of Spirits - Bodyless spirits could be conjured or even controlled by a greater Will.Usually this form of magic was connected with the Dark Lords who could call upon spirits and force them into living creatures (Dragons, Werewolves) as well as dead matter (Statues, Weapons, Rings).A lesser form of Necromancy could even be performed by powerful Sorcerers as the Witch-King who had the ability to summon Wights (who again the other hand had the ability to turn other beings into wights and animate soulless Corpses).Yet a different form of conjuring spirits was known to the Drûghu whose craftsmen had the ability to transform their own lifeforce or spirit into artificial effigies as the Pûkel creatures.
  • Curses - Curses were expressions or wishes which aimed to hurt and harm a person, place or object.Usually curses were seen as a form of dark Sorcery, as Morgoth cursed the fate of Hurin's Children, Mîm cursed Androg but sometimes also invocations of higher powers for justice or judgement were called curses, for example Isildur cursed the Oathbreakers and Mandos cursed the Feanorians.In any case the Curse brought ill-fate and misfortune upon it's victims.
  • Enchantment - enchanting originally referred to the chanting of runes or magic spells, later it came to mean the transferring of magical power to artifacts and bewirchment.
  • Foresight - foresight was the ability to see in the future, gain visions of things yet to happen or prophesize coming events.Foresight was a gift given to many Ainur and Elves but occasionally also to gifted mortals.These were known as Seers.
  • Illusion Weaving - Illusions were trickery and misleading of the senses.By concentrating their will magicians might force false perception upon weaker minds, powerful Sorcerers might even manipulate forms to appear different from their true nature or create Phantoms or skilled Singers, Dancers and Musicians could evocate Visions and Dreams.Illusions were however never truly corporeal and always relied on beguilement.
  • Magical Artifacts - Skilled Craftsmen might create things filled with power and even will on their own.Magical weapons, Rings, Statues, Armour or even Doors and Stones.
  • Magical Healing - Magical healing incorporated both, knowledge of healing plants and their hidden traits and powers and the will and power to manipulate or strengthen bodies.A magical Healer might even be able to transfer some of his own Life Force to restore a weakened person, creature or plant.
  • Magical Machinery - The Dwarves had knowledge about machines, mechanisms, and technical devices, alien to any other culture although similar profession existed to a degree among Orcs and Númenóreans. Also Saruman was a master of technique.This mastery surpassed any common knowledge of men and might be regarded as some sort of Magic although it was truly just deep knowledge and skill.
  • Magical Songs - Magical songs were not really a distinct form of Magic but often accompanied magical acts.A Necromancer might sing magical chants when summonning spirits, a Smith might sing the name of Runes or magical names of materials while working on a magical Sword, also an Astrologer might sing the names of the stars or call upon the Dwellers of Menel, a Berserker might intone warcries to get into a cultic Rage and a healer might sing secret names of the plants or call upon the Valie of Healing while taking care of a wound.The same could be true for Machine-magicians who invoked spirits inhabiting engines or Illusion-weavers who incantated songs that created images, dreams and visions for their listeners.However especially among the Elves, song and music also had a special power or quality of their own.They would encourage and empower listeners, bless, heal wounds, frighten enemies and influence bodies, places, enemies and plants by creating a bond or tie to the living substance of Arda.
  • magical physical abilities - Many races of Middle-Earth had great physical traits.Dwarves could live exceptionally long without food, light and air, could operate in complete darkness, walk great distances and carry immense burdens without exhaustion.Also elves were nearly inexhaustible, could see and hear for about hundreds of miles, balance the smallest ropes, even walk on snow without leaving a simple footprint.Even Halflings had seemingly magical abilities, they could move exceedingly fast and silent, hide themselves easily and were hard to be influenced by magical powers or the will of other beings.Although most of these powers seemed to be inherited abilities of distinct races much of it was truly grounded on a strong will and the way of living in harmony with Arda and even mortal men who trained their spirit and mind might make some efforts in exceeding their usual natural possibilities.
  • Necromancy
  • Prophecy
  • Sigaldry - sigaldry originally referred to the chanting of victory runes and spells in magic battles, later it came to denote magic damage, battle-magic and finally dark sorcery.
  • Sorcery
  • Summoning - summoning originally refered to the whispering of magic formulas or spells, later it came to denote the summoning of spirits, ghosts or demonic beings.
  • Wizardry
  • Words of Power

See also


This category has the following 3 subcategories, out of 3 total.