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Dark Land

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This article is about the mysterious dark continent. For the other "Dark Land" in Middle-earth, see Mordor.
Dark Land
Continent
Quentin Lowagie - Arda in the Third Age.png
"Arda in the Third Age" by Quentin Lowagie
General Information
Other namesSouth Land
LocationSouth-east Arda
TypeContinent

The Dark Land, also referred to as the South Land, was a continent that lay in south-east Arda.[1]

[edit] History

The Dark Land was created as a by-product of the War for the Sake of the Elves, in which the Valar overthrew Melkor in his original fortress of Utumno.[2][3] Originally, Middle-earth was one landmass, set between the western sea of Belegaer and the East Sea.[4] This changed during the War; the inland Sea of Ringil, originally set in the mid-south of Middle-earth, grew in size and "became a great sea flowing north-eastward and joining by straights both the Western and Eastern Seas."[2] This event split Middle-earth into two landmasses, and the landmass to the south and east of the former of Sea of Ringil[note 1] was known as the Dark Land.[3][1]

No inhabitants of the Dark Land were ever recorded. The Dark Land may have been part of the Empty Lands that Ilúvatar "cast back" during the Downfall of Númenor.[5]

[edit] Inspiration

The Dark Land is named only in an early map by Tolkien,[1] likely dating to the mid-1930s.[6][7]

Fans have suggested and discussed different theories of inspiration behind the Dark Land:

  • the Dark Land as reminiscent of Lemuria.[8]
  • the Dark Land as perhaps representing a combination of both Australia and Antarctica (because of its geographic position).[9]

[edit] 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.[10] 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.[11]
  • Ungoliant, a monster of the Elder Days, is said to have "settled in the shadowy reaches of Morenórë, the Dark Continent",[note 2] according to tales of the Avari Elves.[12]
  • Ninko Goldmaster, a mysterious merchant appearing as a character in an adventure setting, is rumoured to have visited distant lands, including Mórenorë.[13]

In his work Parma Endorion, Michael Martinez coined the term Hyarmenor to refer to the Dark Land.[14]

[edit] See also

Notes

  1. Confusingly, the former Sea of Ringil was also called the "East Sea" by Tolkien on one early map. See J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Shaping of Middle-earth, "V. The Ambarkanta: Map V".
  2. 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").

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Shaping of Middle-earth, "V. The Ambarkanta: Map V"
  2. 2.0 2.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Shaping of Middle-earth, "V. The Ambarkanta: Of the Fashion of the World", pp. 293-294
  3. 3.0 3.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Shaping of Middle-earth, "V. The Ambarkanta: Commentary on the Ambarkanta", p. 305
  4. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Shaping of Middle-earth, "V. The Ambarkanta: Map IV"
  5. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Lost Road and Other Writings, "Part One: II. The Fall of Númenor, (iv) The further development of The Fall of Númenor", p. 32 ("If this region [the Empty Lands]] ... is to be related to Ambarkanta Map V it must be what is there called the Burnt Land of the Sun; perhaps also the Dark Land[.]")
  6. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Lost Road and Other Writings, pp. 9, 108
  7. Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull (2006), The J.R.R. Tolkien Companion and Guide: II. Reader's Guide, p. 42
  8. Message 35418 (dated 8 May 2009) at Elfling (accessed 20 October 2011)
  9. "Dark Land...a continent south of Middle Earth?" at The Lord of the Rings Fanatics Plaza Forum (accessed 20 October 2011)
  10. Peter C. Fenlon, Jr., Jessica M. Ney-Grimm, Terry K. Amthor (1993), Middle-earth Campaign Guide (#2003), pp. 7, 9
  11. Ruth Sochard Pitt, Jeff O'Hare, Peter C. Fenlon, Jr. (1994), Creatures of Middle-earth (2nd edition) (#2012), p. 102
  12. Peter C. Fenlon, Jr. (1993), Valar and Maiar (#2006), p. 117
  13. Peter C. Fenlon, Coleman Charlton, Jessica Ney, John Croudis, Keith Robley, Anders Blixt (1990), Gorgoroth (#3112), p. 117
  14. Michael Martinez, "Parma Endorion" dated 26 September 2001, Frodu.ru (accessed 16 March 2018)