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This article is about the City of Dale. For the Kingdom, see Kingdom of Dale.
Matěj Čadil - Dale.jpg
"Dale" by Matěj Čadil
General Information
LocationNorthern Wilderland on the banks of River Running, between the south-west and south-east arms of Lonely Mountain
People and History
CreatedAround T.A. 2590
DestroyedT.A. 2770
EventsSack of Erebor, Battle of Five Armies, Battle of Dale
GalleryImages of Dale

Dale was a city of the Northmen, destroyed by the dragon Smaug and rebuilt after his demise.



Dale was situated in the valley between the south-western and south-eastern arms of the Lonely Mountain, nestled in a sharp U-shaped bend of the River Running.[1] It was known as a merry town that traded, mainly in food-supplies, for the skills and craft-pieces of the Dwarves. Dale's toy market was the wonder of the North[2] and the town was renowned for its bells.[3]


In T.A. 2590 King Thrór re-established the Kingdom under the Mountain.[4] The realm prospered and Northmen living to the south came up the River Running and built Dale.[2] The town shared in the prosperity of the Dwarves and it was governed by the Lord of Dale, of whom the last was named Girion.[5]

In 2770 Smaug descended upon the Dwarf-kingdom.[4] Although the Men of Dale fielded warriors against the monster they could not prevent him from killing or scattering the Dwarves and then occupying the Lonely Mountain. After the attack the dragon would crawl out of the Front Gate of the Mountain by night and carry away people (especially maidens) from Dale to eat. The remaining population soon fled and the deserted city fell into ruins.[2]

The death of Smaug and the Battle of Five Armies occurred in 2941. Three years after the battle, Dale was rebuilt by Bard the Bowman,[4] who had killed the dragon and was the descendant of Girion. Dale soon again enjoyed prosperity: Bard founded the Kingdom of Dale and it gathered men from the Long Lake, the South, and the West. Lake-town was rebuilt and grew wealthy from traffic with Dale.[6] Its people became known as Bardings, after their new ruler.

Jan Pospisil - The Battle of Dale

During the reign of King Brand, the grandson of Bard the Bowman, Dale served as the capital for the lands he ruled, which extended far south and east of Lake-town.[7] However, as Glóin revealed at the Council of Elrond, in 3017 a messenger from Mordor came to ask King Dáin Ironfoot at the gate to the Lonely Mountain for news of Hobbits and to ask for Bilbo's ring. Messengers had also come to King Brand and there were enemies gathering upon the Kingdom of Dale's eastern borders.[8]

During the War of the Ring, the Easterlings crossed the border and moved to attack the city. On 17 March 3019 the Battle of Dale began. Not able to hold back the Easterlings the Bardings and their allies, the Dwarves of Erebor, retreated into the Lonely Mountain, but lost Kings Brand and Dáin Ironfoot who were both slain at the Gate of Erebor. For seven days the Men and Dwarves barricaded themselves in Erebor until news came from the south of the defeat of Sauron. The new kings of Dale and Erebor (Bard II and Thorin III Stonehelm), broke the siege and chased the Easterlings out of Dale. After the siege, the Bardings rebuilt Dale, with the help of the Dwarves. Bard also sent an emissary to the coronation of King Elessar.[9]


The word dale means "valley", as it was built in the Celduin valley between two arms of Erebor.

Portrayal in adaptations

Dale in BFME II

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

The City of Dale appears in the Erebor map, just south-east of the mountain itself. It appears to contain several houses, taverns and bridges, as well as a statue of a man. The city is built around the mountain's river.

2012: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey:

Glimpses of the sack of Erebor and the destruction of Dale were shown in the opening prologue sequence.

2013: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug:

The ruined city of Dale appears briefly in the scene when Bilbo Baggins and the Dwarves are heading for Erebor.

2014: The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies:

After the death of Smaug, the villagers of Lake-town seek refuge in the ruined city. During the Battle of Five Armies, they hide inside Dale while the Lake-men combat the enemy forces. When the Orc army attacks the ruined city, Bard and the Lake-towners run to defend it, leaving the Dwarves and the Elves to protect the gates of Erebor. The Elves later come to join the Men in defending the city.

See also


  1. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, "Thrór's Map"
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, "An Unexpected Party"
  3. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, "On the Doorstep"
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B, "The Third Age"
  5. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, "Fire and Water"
  6. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, "The Last Stage"
  7. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, "Many Meetings"
  8. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, "The Council of Elrond"
  9. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B, "The Great Years"