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Dark Land

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"there are Tolkien's latest thoughts, his best thoughts, and his published thoughts and these are not necessarily the same." — Tolkien's Legendarium
This article is non-canon.

Dark Land, also referred to as Southland, was a mysterious continent far south-east of the landmass of Middle-earth was part. It laid east of the East Sea.[1]


Due to a complete absence from the legendarium (apart from a few maps of Arda), no inhabitants or history of the Dark Land were ever officially recorded. Whether it is (or was) inhabited or not remains completely under speculation.


Dark Land's geography is relatively vague, although certain maps indicate the presence of dense forests along its shores.


The position of the Dark Land is reminiscent of the idea of Lemuria. The Dark Land has no role in the legendarium and appears only in few early maps by Tolkien. As Middle-earth may correspond to the real-life continents of Europe, Asia (Rhun), and Africa (Harad), Dark Land might represent a combination of both Australia and Antarctica, due to the similar positions of the continents on the maps of Arda. But this could be a mere coincidence.

Portrayal in adaptations

1982-97: Middle-earth Role Playing:

Although never fleshed out in much detail, a "dark continent" called Mórenorë is said to be situated south of Middle-earth, separated by the sea of Haragaer.[2] A few glimpses of this remote continent, however, were provided:
  • A black cold-drake, Naikamil, fled from mountains in the south of Endor to Mórenorë after killing her mate.[3]
  • Ungoliant, a monster of the Elder Days, is said to have "settled in the shadowy reaches of Morenórë, the Dark Continent",[note 1] according to tales of the Avari Elves.[4]
  • Ninko Goldmaster, a mysterious merchant appearing as a character in an adventure setting, is rumoured to have visited distant lands, including Mórenorë.[5]


  1. Inspired by a passage in The Silmarillion, which says that Ungoliant went "into the forgotten south of the world", after having dwelt at Nan Dungortheb (cf. "Of the Flight of the Noldor").


  1. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Shaping of Middle-earth, "The Ambarkanta"
  2. Peter C. Fenlon, Jr., Jessica M. Ney-Grimm, Terry K. Amthor (1993), Middle-earth Campaign Guide (#2003), pp. 7, 9
  3. Ruth Sochard Pitt, Jeff O'Hare, Peter C. Fenlon, Jr. (1994), Creatures of Middle-earth (2nd edition) (#2012), p. 102
  4. Peter C. Fenlon, Jr. (1993), Valar and Maiar (#2006), p. 117
  5. Peter C. Fenlon, Coleman Charlton, Jessica Ney, John Croudis, Keith Robley, Anders Blixt (1990), Gorgoroth (#3112), p. 117