time period

Shelob, guardian of the pass of Cirith Ungol. Immortal daughter of a demonic mother, Shelob occupied the caverns of Cirith Ungol for two full Ages, serving as a guard for Mordor. She owed no loyalty to Sauron, but rather operated on her own initiative in a way that served his needs, much as the desires of a cat to kill vermin serve the needs of the man whose house she chooses to occupy. Indeed, Sauron often would send otherwise useless prisoners to Shelob as a man would give his cat the giblets of a hen he had slaughtered for his own table, yet "his cat he calls her, but she owns him not" (the Redbook of Westmarch, commenting on Shelob's relationship to Sauron). Indeed, Shelob had precious little use for Sauron beyond considering him a source of occasional treats.

Shelob's bulbous body was some 20 ft long. Each of her armor-plated legs were 18 ft long at full extension and ended in an iron-hard claw. She constantly exuded a foul odor like rotting carrion, forcing all who came near her to fight immobilizing nausea. Her body was surprisingly flexible, and her tough hide consisted of many overlapping folds, enabling the giant she-spider to fit through amazingly small passages. This overlapping hide was as tough as plate armor, leaving her two clusters of glowing white eyes her only weak spots. Her legs, however, were somewhat more vulnerable than her body. Both her eyes and her legs would regenerate, given sufficient time, even if severely damaged.

Shelob was also mistress of many spells. Her one true vulnerability, other than her delicate eyes, was that she couldn't bear full sunlight or the equivalent.

Middle-Earth: Shadow of War

Middle-Earth: Shadow of War shows a version of Shelob that has the ability to shapeshift into a human-like form, and is much more intelligent and scheming than the Shelob lapsed to instinct driven animality known from the legendarium. In this version Shelob is more close to other half-ainur, such as Lúthien Tinúviel, and it is indicated that her degeneration into further animal-likeness is a state of later regression. Eventually she desired Celebrimbor's ring to preserve her powers from fading.


  • Kankra
  • Takhborkhlob
  • Tor-Kralicha
  • Ungwetári


  • ICE MERP: The Tower of Cirith Ungol and Shelob’s Lair
  • ICE MERP: Creatures of Middle-Earth
Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.