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Carn Dûm

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Carn Dûm
Matěj Čadil - Carn dum.jpg
"Carn Dûm" by Matěj Čadil
General Information
LocationWestern end of the Mountains of Angmar, south of Forodwaith, north-west of Mount Gundabad
People and History
InhabitantsOrcs, Men of Darkness, Wolves, Trolls, and other creatures
CreatedSecond millennium of the Third Age
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 north-western extension of the Misty Mountains.[2]


[edit] History

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 of Gondor remained powerful. The Witch-king, as he became known, established Carn Dûm as his capital and populated it with Men of Darkness, 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 north-east 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.

[edit] Etymology

The etymology of Carn Dûm is uncertain and it could be any from the Elvish or Mannish languages.

Dûm is a Khuzdul word meaning "halls, mansions". The name Carn Dûm therefore could be Khuzdul (suggested by its proximity to nearby Gundabad) but Tolkien used K for this language instead of C.[6]

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".[7]

David Salo favours the Sindarin interpretation of "red valley", and provides the name as an example of the few Sindarin phrases where the adjective precedes the noun (others being Sarn Athrad and Sarn Gebir).[8] Otherwise, neither words carn and dûm have been attested (carn could be a short form of caran possibly also seen in Carcharoth, "red maw")

Another suggestion, is that the name roughly translates as "mountain fortress" in Gaelic;[9] 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.

[edit] See also

[edit] Portrayal in adaptations

Carn Dum in The Lord of the Rings Online

2006: The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-earth II: The Rise of the Witch-king:

Carn Dûm is the capital of Angmar. The campaign begins with its construction, and it is besieged once by Glorfindel. Carn Dûm is also playable in the skirmish section of the game.

2007: The Lord of the Rings Online:

Carn Dum is located in the game's region of Angmar and was both the main focus of storyline and the final end-game dungeon for the game's original release. 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. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix E, "Pronunciation of Words and Names"
  7. 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)
  8. David Salo (2004), A Gateway to Sindarin, p. 102
  9. Carn Dûm at the Encyclopedia of Arda