Tolkien Gateway

Carn Dûm

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Revision as of 13:47, 31 August 2010

"Who told you, and who sent you?" — Gandalf
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Carn Dûm
Stephen Walsh - Carn Dum.JPG
General Information
LocationLocated at the western end of the Mountains of Angmar, south of Forodwaith, northwest of Mount Gundabad
Descriptionvarious versions, see below
People and History
InhabitantsOrcs, Men of Darkness, Wolves, Trolls, and other evil creatures.
EventsAssaults towards Arnor, Under siege in the Battle of Fornost.
GalleryImages of Carn Dûm

Carn Dûm was the capital of Angmar.



Established on the very western end of the Mountains of Angmar, it was inhabited by the Witch-king of Angmar and his many servants: Men of Darkness, Orcs, and other fell creatures. From here he based his attacks on the three petty realms of Arnor, quickly managing to destroy Rhudaur and weaken Cardolan.

Arthedain fell in the Battle of Fornost in Third Age 1974, but the Witch-king was routed by Glorfindel and in 1975 Angmar itself fell under an assault, and Carn Dûm was sieged by the Dúnedain of Gondor, the survivors of Arnor, and Elves of Lindon. Carn Dûm was utterly destroyed, although some Orcs survived there until at least the War of the Dwarves and Orcs and possibly after as well, until they were wiped out by Aragorn II, High King of the Reunited Kingdom.[source?]


The etymology of Carn Dûm is uncertain. Concerning the real world languages, it could be Gaelic, in which it roughly translates as "mountain fortress";[1] although Tolkien uses Celtic elements for some translated Mannish names, this would have been the only instance where he uses Gaelic. It is unknown whether this is just coincidence or not.

Though Sindarin in form and sound, neither words carn and dûm have been attested in Sindarin. Carn could be a form of caran, "red" possibly also seen in Carcharoth, "red maw".

Dûm is a Khuzdul word meaning "halls, mansions". The name could be Khuzdul (like Gundabad nearby) but Tolkien used K for this language instead of C.[2]

Other than that, it could be some unrecorded Avarin or Mannish language.

In The Return of the Shadow, "Carndoom" appears as an early name of Dimrill Dale which, according to Tolkien, means "Red Valley". This corresponds with Sindarin carn "red" and tûm "valley".[3]

See also

Portrayal in Adaptations

2006: The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-earth II: The Rise of the Witch King:

Carn Dum is the capital of Angmar. The campaign begins with its construction, and it is besieged once by Glorfindel. Carn dum is also playabe in the skirmish section of the game.

2007: The Lord of the Rings Online:

Carn Dum is a region in the game. It is ruled by Angmar's shadow that has returned to this city in the form of the False King, Mordirith, Steward of Angmar.


  1. Carn Dûm at the Encyclopedia of Arda
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix E, "Pronounciation of Words and Names"
  3. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Return of the Shadow, "The Ring Goes South", p. 433, note 13