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Carn Dûm

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Carn Dûm
Matěj Čadil - Carn dum.jpg
General Information
LocationLocated at the western end of the Mountains of Angmar, south of Forodwaith, northwest of Mount Gundabad
People and History
InhabitantsOrcs, Men of Darkness, Wolves, Trolls, and other evil creatures.
EventsAssaults against Arnor.
GalleryImages of Carn Dûm

Carn Dûm was the capital and chief fortress of the Witch-king's realm of Angmar.[1] It was located at the western end of the Mountains of Angmar, the northwestern extension of the Misty Mountains.[2]



Around T.A. 1300 the chief of the Nazgûl came north to found the realm of Angmar,[3] seeing hope in the disunion of Arnor while the southern kingdom ofGondor remained powerful. The Witch-king, as he became known, established Carn Dûm as his capital and populated it with evil men, Orcs, and other fell creatures.

Allying with the Hill-men of Rhudaur, the Witch-king in Carn Dûm sent forces that resisted the claim of Argeleb I of Arthedain of lordship over all of the former lands of Arnor.[4] Clashes resulted and in 1356 Argeleb was slain.[3] Arveleg I, the son of Argeleb, with strength from Cardolan and Lindon, repelled Rhudaur and Angmar from the Weather Hills and established an uneasy, fortified frontier.

In 1409 a stronger host commanded from Carn Dûm invaded Cardolan, surrounded Weathertop, and killed Arveleg. Again a coalition of Arthedain (now ruled by Araphor, son of Arveleg I) and Lindon contained the menace.

The kingdom of Arthedain perished in the Fall of Fornost in 1974.[4] However, in 1975[3] the Witch-king's forces were driven northeast after the Battle of Fornost by the cavalry of Gondor and destroyed. Glorfindel drove off the Witch-king himself.

The host of Gondor left no Man or Orc alive west of the Mountains.[4] On the eastern side in 1977 Frumgar led the Éothéod into the North[3] and they drove the last remnants of Angmar away.[5] At this time then Carn Dûm was wholly abandoned. While it is possible that Carn Dûm was repopulated after 2480, when Orcs began making secret strongholds in the Misty Mountains,[3] its name was never mentioned again in any histories.


The etymology of Carn Dûm is uncertain. Concerning the real world languages, it could be Gaelic, in which it roughly translates as "mountain fortress";[6] 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.[7]

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".[8]

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.

2011: The Lord of the Rings: War in the North":

Carn Dum is the final level in the game. It is ruled by Agandaûr, a descendant of the Black Númenóreans and a servant of Sauron.


  1. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, Index, Carn Dûm
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "The West of Middle-earth at the End of the Third Age" [map]
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B, "The Third Age"
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, "The Númenorean Kings", "Eriador, Arnor, and the Heirs of Isildur"
  5. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, "The House of Eorl"
  6. Carn Dûm at the Encyclopedia of Arda
  7. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix E, "Pronunciation of Words and Names"
  8. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Return of the Shadow, "The Story Continued: XXIV. The Ring Goes South, Notes" (note 13, p. 433)