Tolkien’s Middle-earth is, of course, entirely the author’s own creation, but his intimate knowledge of the natural world allows him to ground it and lend it an everyday immediacy. We especially see this blending of the real and the invented in the forest of Lórien. Along with the mystical athelas and mellyrn trees, Lórien contains the more familiar fir-trees, harts-tongue, and whortle-berry; along with Orcs and Trolls, there are wolves and ponies. This blending of the authentic and the fantastic not only makes the landscape more believable and not so completely whimsical, but also allows Tolkien to sustain the conceit that Middle-earth—with its magic and great deeds and battles between good and evil—is the earlier universe that has somehow become the more banal and mundane world we know today. Some elements of this older world remain, but many have disappeared. Tolkien leaves the reasons for this transformation intentionally unexplained, allowing our own imaginations to take over.