From Tolkien Gateway

The Authorities, it is true, differ whether this last question was a mere ‘question’ and not a ‘riddle’ according to the strict rules of the Game.

The Authorities are a group mentioned fleetingly in a discussion regarding the Riddle-game between Bilbo Baggins and Gollum.

Considering that the rules of the Game were sacred, it is possible that the Authorities simply referred to the Valar,[2][3] or just to the Aratar, who were coincidentally also called the Authorities.[4]


  1. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, "Prologue", "Of the Finding of the Ring"
  2. Michael Martinez, "Are There Any Christian Themes in The Hobbit?", Middle-earth and J.R.R. Tolkien News & Articles (accessed 20 June 2024); note that the reference is wrong, as the Authorities aren't mentioned in Riddles in the Dark.
  3. Robert Foster, The Complete Guide to Middle-earth, entry "Authorities", according to information from Dick Plotz
  4. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The War of the Jewels, "Part Four. Quendi and Eldar: Appendix D. *Kwen, Quenya, and the Elvish (especially Ñoldorin) words for 'Language': Note on the 'Language of the Valar'"