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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 South Land, was a mysterious continent far south-east of the landmass of Middle-earth was part. It laid east of the East Sea.[1]


No inhabitants or history of the Dark Land were ever officially recorded.


The Dark Land has no role in the legendarium and appears only in an early map by Tolkien,[1] likely dating from the mid-1930s.[2][3]

Fans have suggested and discussed different theories of inspiration behind this notion:

  • the Dark Land as reminiscent of Lemuria.[4]
  • the Dark Land as perhaps representing a combination of both Australia and Antarctica (because of its geographic position).[5]

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.[6] 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.[7]
  • 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.[8]
  • Ninko Goldmaster, a mysterious merchant appearing as a character in an adventure setting, is rumoured to have visited distant lands, including Mórenorë.[9]

See also


  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. 1.0 1.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Shaping of Middle-earth, "The Ambarkanta: Map V", pp. 250-1
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Lost Road and Other Writings, pp. 9, 108
  3. Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull (2006), The J.R.R. Tolkien Companion and Guide: II. Reader's Guide, p. 42
  4. Message 35418 (dated 8 May 2009) at Elfling (accessed 20 October 2011)
  5. "Dark Land...a continent south of Middle Earth?" at The Lord of the Rings Fanatics Plaza Forum (accessed 20 October 2011)
  6. Peter C. Fenlon, Jr., Jessica M. Ney-Grimm, Terry K. Amthor (1993), Middle-earth Campaign Guide (#2003), pp. 7, 9
  7. Ruth Sochard Pitt, Jeff O'Hare, Peter C. Fenlon, Jr. (1994), Creatures of Middle-earth (2nd edition) (#2012), p. 102
  8. Peter C. Fenlon, Jr. (1993), Valar and Maiar (#2006), p. 117
  9. Peter C. Fenlon, Coleman Charlton, Jessica Ney, John Croudis, Keith Robley, Anders Blixt (1990), Gorgoroth (#3112), p. 117