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Grey Mountains

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This article is about a mountain chain. For the MERP supplement, see The Grey Mountains.
Grey Mountains
Mountain range
Matěj Čadil - Ered Mithrin.jpg
General Information
Other namesS. Ered Mithrin
LocationNorthwest of Erebor, north of Mirkwood
TypeMountain range
DescriptionA rich mountain range of many ores, it has since ancient times been considered by Durin's folk as part of their territory
RegionsCapital of Durin's folk for a time, Orc tribes, Dragon hoards.
People and History
InhabitantsDurin's Folk, Dragons, and Orcs
EventsWar of the Dwarves and Dragons, slaying of Scatha the Worm

The Grey Mountains (or Ered Mithrin in Sindarin) was a large mountain range to the north of Rhovanion. They were the last remnants of the wall of the Iron Mountains, which once stretched all over the north of Middle-earth, but were broken at the end of the First Age.


Description, and Geography

North of the Grey Mountains lay the Northern Waste.[1] This land was known as Dor Daedelos during the First Age, but most of it was destroyed in the breaking of Arda.

In the west, where the Grey Mountains met with the Misty Mountains rose Mount Gundabad, an ancient Dwarven holy site and later the capital for the Orcs of the north. The eastern end of the Grey Mountains was split into two chains, and in between lay the Withered Heath, where Dragons bred. After that was a wide hilly plain, until the Iron Hills continued the old line of the Iron Mountains again. Erebor, the Lonely Mountain, was not part of either range.[1]

From east to west the mountains stretched some 350 Númenórean Miles, and the sources of the Great River Anduin, the river Greylin, and the Forest River of Mirkwood arose in this range.[1]


Years of the Trees through the Second Age

Since sometime after the awakening of Durin the Deathless, the Longbeards had mined and colonized the Grey Mountains as part of their vast mountain territory. Through the First Age there was peace in the region, and the Dwarves explored and mined without hinderance. During the Second Age however after the War of Wrath, and the subsequent sinking of Beleriand, hordes of Orcs began to invade and make war against the Longbeards in the Grey and Misty Mountains as well as Mount Gundabad.[2] However the Orcs were eventually subdued for a time, and the Dwarves went back to work.

The Third Age

In T.A. 1980 a Balrog appeared in Khazad-dum and by the next year the Dwarves fled.[3] Durin's folk were scattered. Thráin I reestablished the Kingdom Under the Mountain but Thorin I went to the Grey Mountains where most of the Dwarves gathered.[4] Nearly six hundred years later Dragons began afflicting the Dwarves. In 2589 Dáin I was slain by a Dragon and the Grey Mountain strongholds were abandoned after the Wars of the Dwarves and Dragons. About 2480 Orcs had begun to infest the Misty Mountains[3] and spread to the Grey Mountains, such that by 2941 Gandalf the Wizard could say that the range was "simply stiff with goblins, hobgoblins, and orcs of the worst description".[5] However, after the Battle of Five Armies the number of Goblins in the Grey Mountains were greatly reduced (some three parts of them had perished).[6]

It seems that some Dwarves still dwelt in the Ered Mithrin during the late Third Age, so it is likely after the War of the Ring, the Dwarves drove whatever Drakes and Orcs were left totally from the mountains, and reclaimed the rest of their halls and mines in the Grey Mountains.

Other Versions of the Legendarium

Another line of "Grey Mountains" in Middle-earth are seen on the Ambarkanta map.[7]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "The West of Middle-earth at the End of the Third Age" [map]
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Peoples of Middle-earth, "Of Dwarves and Men", pp. 302-303
  3. 3.0 3.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B, "The Third Age"
  4. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, "Durin's Folk"
  5. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, "Queer Lodgings"
  6. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, "The Return Journey"
  7. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Shaping of Middle-earth, "V. The Ambarkanta"