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Fall of Fornost

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Fall of Fornost
Conflict: War of Angmar
Date: T.A. 1974
Place: Fornost Erain
Outcome: Decisive Angmar victory

Men, Elves, Hobbits






Est. 10-20,000 Men of Arnor, several thousand Elves from, Lindon, Rivendell, and Lothlórien, and 500 Hobbit archers

Est. 40-60,000 Orcs, Trolls, Evil Men from Rhudaur and elsewhere, Wolves, other evil creatures


Est. Around 10,000 Arnorian Soldiers, several hundred Elves and the entire company of Hobbits

Est. Probably a third of the force, possibly half. Angmar's casualties must have been particularly heavy if he could not further advance throughout Eriador.

The Fall of Fornost was an event that resulted from the defeat of the forces of Arnor, and the taking of their capitol city of Fornost by the Witch-king of Angmar and his armies.


Leading Up to the Siege

By the year T.A. 1974 things were looking very grim for the Dúnedain of Arnor. The Great Plague three hundred years previously had killed most of the people of Cardolan which later fell to the Witch King. And even with the aid of Elves and Hobbits most of the now diminished and totally demoralized people of Arnor were now waiting to make their final stand at Fornost, capitol city of Arthedain.

Opposing Forces

For the forces of Eriador exact numbers are not known, but it can be estimated that at the most ten thousand Men of Arnor were present at the city. Along with likely several thousand Elves of Lindon, Rivendell, Lothlórien, and five hundred Hobbits archers from the Shire.

For the forces of Angmar it can be estimated that there was at least forty thousand or at the most sixty thousand Orcs, Trolls, Evil Men, Wolves, and all other manner of evil creatures.

The Battle

Not much is known of the battle, and it is simply stated that the Witch King overran Fornost and the King was driven into the North Downs.

It is likely that the Witch King issued from Angmar and swept aside Arthedain's defences along the Great North South Road and assaulted the city from the south and east. Considering that Arvedui was able to flee into the North Downs and hold out there for a while, and the fact that refugees and fleeing soldiers were able to escape, it is likely that Arthedain repulsed Angmar along the North Downs.

It is likely that several companies of Orcs were sent down to Bree-Land and possibly the Shire, but considering that those lands were largely unscathed by the war, we can assume that any assaults on them regions were repulsed and the majority of the war was fought in Fornost and the Downs.

The fighting outside the gates of Fornost was fierce, as the might of Arthedain held the walls against the seemingly endless hordes of the servants of Angmar. Whether by brute strength or dark magic, the gates were breached and the Orcs and Evil Men poured in. The street to street fighting would've been a nightmare for the defenders and attackers, and it is probable that during this stage, Arvedui ordered the military evacuation of the city to the north and west. It is possible that Arvedui was trapped in the city and was forced to fight his way out, or he may have departed the city moments before its fall. Thousands of refugees would've been fleeing from the city at this point and it is likely that the remnants of Arthedain's Army protected these bands of refugees as they made their way to the Lhun.

Regardless, the North Downs possibly held out for several more weeks with the arrival of Arvedui and his personal guard, giving the King hope that if Gondor arrived soon, Fornost may yet be recovered. However, with most of his enemies dead or fleeing west, the Witch King was able to concentrate the remainder of his forces on the Downs, and Arvedui was forced to flee, giving the Witch King supremacy of most of Arthedain.


With Arthedain in his hands, the Witch King had conquered all of Arnor. Arvedui perished in the Icebay of Forochel when a ship sent to rescue him sank in a storm. The Witch King took the throne in the king's palace, until a year later in T.A. 1975 when the forces of Eriador had regrouped with newly arrived reinforcements from Gondor. In the Battle of Fornost his army was destroyed, and he himself fled east over the Misty Mountains.

Fornost was not resettled after the war. It became a deserted place, feared by the men of Bree, who called it Deadman's Dike. Not until a thousand years later after the War of the Ring under King Elessar was it refounded.