"But still she was there, who was there before Sauron, and before the first stone of Barad-dûr; and she served none but herself, drinking the blood of Elves and Men, bloated and grown fat with endless brooding on her feasts, weaving webs of shadow; for all living things were her food, and her vomit darkness." —The Two Towers


ShelobShelob was one of the countless brood of Ungoliant, an ancient monster in arachnid form, created, possibly, by the perversions of Morgoth. Shelob was the greatest of Ungoliant’s spawn, many times larger than even the largest of Mirkwood’s spiders. Shelob took up residence in the Ephel Duath, near Cirith Ungol in the passes above Minas Morgul. For thousands of years she resided in this mountainous region, making a labyrinth of webs within a network of caves to better entrap her would-be prey. Her prey included all creatures, great and small; mostly those that wandered into her web, although, if a particularly juicy morsel was available, she would silently pursue and kill it. Sauron was, indeed, aware of her presence, and was more than glad to have her dwell there. It proved to be of mutual-beneficence to them both, as Sauron had an impassable guardian, and Shelob got free reign to do as she would and the occasional prisoner or orc for a meal. Although Sauron pretended to claim dominion over Her, calling Her, “his cat”, she, in reality, served no one but herself. She was there before Sauron- indeed, before the first stone of Barad-Dur was placed. She existed only to feed, and her lust for blood and flesh was insatiable. At one point, the creature Gollum wandered into her cave. He survived the encounter- more like he was allowed to leave with the promise that he would bring Her tastier meats. This promise was fulfilled when Gollum led the ring-bearer and his servant into her lair in hopes that she would kill them, allowing him to reclaim his precious.


Frodo and Sam, upon entering the cave, immediately noticed something was amiss. Gollum had managed to slink off into the dark, leaving them completely alone in the unbearable shadow. The hobbits managed to escape the lair after being hotly-pursued, but Frodo, being cut off from Sam was poisoned and lay unconscious. Sam was forced to fight the creature using Sting in order to save his master. Frodo had previously managed to fend Shelob off using the Phial of Galadriel, which the Lady Galadriel had bestowed upon him, but to no avail. Sam, in a pitched battle, managed to stab one of her great eyes, injure her leg, and stab her in her foul stomach. She was able to retreat to brood over her wound. Her offspring, which included those spiders that had waylaid Bilbo and his companions, produced new generations of spiders, although, sometime after men took dominion over all the world, these all but disappeared.


Like all spiders, Shelob had eight, spindly legs, multiple eyes, and venomous mandibles. Using poison, she immobilized her prey usually with her paralyzing bite that enabled her to feed on her victims at her leisure. Although sometimes if a foe warranted it she would simply dispatch her unfortunate victim with her spiked legs and large bulk. Her face was crossed with a number of scars, placed there by her more-vigilant of prey, and she had a number of missing eyes. In size, she must have measured around twelve feet in height, eighteen in diameter, as depicted in her film appearance, though no conclusive theory is known, as there are many conflicting sources. Shelob was also known for her extremely thick hide which was scarred and twisted to the point where it was almost like leathery armor. Shelob is wounded only when she uses her vast bulk in an attempt to crush Samwise Gamgee and her own weight drives the sword into her belly.