Shelob owes its name to the union of two terms: on one side “she”, which in English is nothing but the third singular feminine person, that is she, and “lob”, a word which in archaic English means “spider” .
His name, therefore, lets suggest what the spider sex, that is, a female, as had already confirmed Tolkien in his multiform universe.
Her story, among other things, begins long before the encounter with Frodo Baggins of the County, and is part of the Ephel Duath Mountains, delimiting the beginning of Mordor, the land on which Sauron is dominated. An evil being in the shape of a spider: he introduced him to the English glutton that gave life to the Saga of the Ring, specifying that it was the last daughter of Ungoliant, a wicked spirit that had inhabited Arda, more precisely in Avathar, during the First Era.
A huge spider and a female spider too, Ungoliant was originally a Maia, corrupted to evil by Melkor, just as it does to Sauron: the spider, however, unlike all the other Maia who were hurt by the original Dark Lord , he succeeded in making a progeny known to himself and succeeded in handing down his species.
This privilege, touched only by those who later succeeded in rebellion at Melkor’s will – destiny that did not belong to Sauron – was also of Melian, a female Ainur created by Eru Iluvatar before the beginning of time, progenitor of the Mezzelfi, joining her daughter Luthien with the human Beren. Ungoliant, in any case, collaborated, before separating it, with Melkor in the destruction of the Valinor trees.
After the clash with the same Morgoth (Melkor’s successor) to get the treasure of Noldor’s land, the spider fled from the Mountains of Terror, north of the Gorgoroth plain, and hid himself first at Nan Dungortheb in Beleriand where he leaned repeatedly, and then went south.
Of Ungoliant they lost their tracks, and no one, not Shelob, knew what he was doing: someone tells himself that he is dead and devours herself for hunger, but there is a story he has never confirmed.
His offspring, as he said, included Shelob, a spider who learned to learn from the mistakes of his mother and kept himself far from getting hurt by the Dark Lord, who in the meantime became Sauron. Although his indole was utterly evil, Shelob was always independent: a ‘
The covenant with Gollum and the meeting with Frodo
Strongly for its independence, the great spider went into hiding in the tunnels of Torech Ungol, a network of tunnels that was beneath the plateau of Cirith Ungol.
From the creatures of Mordor he was well-known: Gollum met him in one of his journeys toward Mount Fato, searching for the Ring that so disturbed him, and was fascinated and enthusiastic, sniffing his immense evil power.
The orcs of the Tower of Cirith Ungol, who watched from above and could perceive his presence, called Shelob the Great or even His Excellency: sharp observers of what was happening around them, had noticed the continual evolution of which they were had become the protagonist of Gollum, who had become their Infido Servitore in their eyes, promising a continual supply of food,The Hobbit.
His presence was even known to Sauron, who from Melkor’s pupil had been able to cross Ungoliant and knew that he was the only one, besides Melian, to have had a progeny between the Maia: the relationship between the Dark Lord and the great spider, however, seemed to be non-belligerent.