Iron Hills

From Tolkien Gateway
Iron Hills
The Lord of the Rings Online - Iron Hills.jpg
General information
LocationEast of the Lonely Mountain, in northeastern Rhovanion
PopulationDurin's Folk
LanguageKhuzdul, Westron
GovernanceLord of the Iron Hills
First ColonizedFirst Age
Establishment of LordshipT.A. 2590

The Iron Hills were a range of great hills in the north-east of Wilderland. The Hills were the source of the river Carnen and rich in iron.[1][2] It was also home to a Dwarf-realm of the Longbeards.[3]

Although the Iron Hills were rich in iron,[4] They were probably not in gold; the Dwarves of the Iron Hills, although prosperous, were not as wealthy as their other cousins (e.g. the Kingdom Under the Mountain).[5]

History[edit | edit source]

Early history[edit | edit source]

The Longbeard Dwarves of Khazad-dûm colonized the Iron Hills in the First Age.[note 1] The Hills were their primary source of iron-ore,[4] and so the Dwarf-road of Mirkwood ran north-east to the Hills for the dwarf-traders and merchants between Khazad-dûm and the Hills.[6]

Also in the First Age, some Men who migrated out of the east—"laggard kindred" of the Edain—chose to settle in the lands between the Iron Hills and Mirkwood.[7]

After Sauron destroyed Eregion in the Second Age, the Longbeards sealed Khazad-dûm and Orcs took control of the northern Misty Mountains and the Grey Mountains. This cut off communications between the Iron Hills and Khazad-dûm for some time.[8]

Third Age[edit | edit source]

In T.A. 1981 the last of the Dwarves living in Khazad-dûm fled from the Balrog who had slain kings Durin VI and Náin I.[9] Some of those who escaped wandered as far as the Iron Hills and resettled there.[2]

In 2570 dragons began afflicting the dwarves in the north and in 2589 King Dáin I was slain by a cold-drake outside his hall in the Grey Mountains.[9] Due to these depredations, in 2590 Grór son of Dáin left the Grey Mountains and established a Lordship in the Iron Hills.[9]

Over the next few centuries Grór and his people built the hills from just an ancient mining colony to a great realm, especially after the destruction of Erebor in 2770[9] when the Dragon Smaug scattered the Longbeards who dwelt there. Most of the survivors subsequently went to their kinsmen in the Iron Hills, swelling its numbers.

Before the death of Smaug in T.A. 2941,[9] the dwarven realm in the Iron Hills was the only force in the north-east of Wilderland capable of offering a large and strong enough resistance to the forces of evil.[10]

In 2799[9] the final battle of the War of the Dwarves and Orcs occurred in the Dimrill Dale. When reinforcements, led by Náin, arrived from the Iron Hills the battle turned in the favour of the dwarves. With the war over, Dáin led his people home where, after the death of Grór, he became the new Lord of the Iron Hills.[11]

In 2941 Lord Dáin Ironfoot led his warriors in the Battle of Five Armies near Erebor. The battle was won, but Thorin was slain and Dáin became the new King under the Mountain and King of the Longbeards as Dáin II.[9][11] He relocated to Erebor with many of his people, and re-established it as Durin's folk's greatest and strongest dwelling in the north. The Iron Hills pass out of history after this relocation, but probably were not wholly deserted.[5]

Portrayal in adaptations[edit | edit source]

2018: The Lord of the Rings Online:

The Iron Hills are an area in the region of "The Dwarf-holds", ruled by "Lord Náin the Slakeless", brother of King Thorin Stonehelm. The hills and the scrub-land connecting to the Dale-lands are also known collectively as the "Ironfold". Settled by "Farin Blackmattock" in the First Age, the capital "Járnfast" was destroyed by the fall of Thangorodrim and afterwards rebuilt. During the time it features in the game, Járnfast has been damaged by tremors caused by Mount Doom's recent eruption. It is also the site of a seal that confines a horde of nameless things in "The Howling Pit" below.

See also[edit | edit source]

Notes[edit | edit source]

  1. The existence of the Iron Hills in the First Age is confirmed by Tolkien's writings published in The Peoples of Middle-earth. Before these writings were published, other authors speculated that the Iron Hills might have been a part of the Iron Mountains in the First Age and came into independent existence after the War of Wrath. See Karen Wynn Fonstad, The Atlas of Middle-earth p. 78 and Charles Noad, "A Note on the Geography of the First Age" in Amon Hen 38, p. 12.