Lonely Mountain

From Tolkien Gateway
"I shan't call it the end, till we've cleared up the mess." — Sam
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The name Lonely Mountain refers to more than one character, item or concept. For a list of other meanings, see Lonely Mountain (disambiguation).
Lonely Mountain
J.R.R. Tolkien - Smaug flies round the Mountain.jpg
"Smaug flies round the Mountain" by J.R.R. Tolkien
General Information
Other namesErebor (S)
LocationNorth-east of Rhovanion
DescriptionA large mountain apart from any other ranges.
People and History
InhabitantsGenerally, Dwarves. It was once occupied by Smaug the Dragon.
EventsSack of Erebor, Siege of Erebor
GalleryImages of the Lonely Mountain

The Lonely Mountain (S. Erebor) was a large mountain in the north-east of Rhovanion. It was the source of the river Running and a major Dwarven stronghold, the Kingdom under the Mountain, at the end of the Third Age and well into the Fourth.

History[edit | edit source]

The Longbeards had control of Erebor since at least the early Second Age.[1]

With the awakening of Durin's Bane in the capital of Khazad-dûm, Thráin I led a group of Dwarves to Erebor. Once there, the dwarves dug caves and halls to form an underground city, thus establishing the Kingdom under the Mountain in T.A. 1999.[2] During Thráin's rule many riches were mined from the depths of the mountain, including the Arkenstone. The increased prosperity of the region led to the developpement of the town of Dale, built by Men between its slopes.

Thráin's son Thorin I abandoned the Mountain in T.A. 2210 in favour of the Grey Mountains, which were largely unexplored and richer, as well as in the hopes of reuniting the Longbeards. These mountains were likely larger than Erebor; but after the War of the Dwarves and Dragons, in T.A. 2590, King Thrór led a group back to the Lonely Mountain, re-establishing it as the capital of Durin's folk, while some would follow his brother Grór into the Iron Hills.

Erebor grew prosperous once more, and they mined, and made larger tunnels and halls than the previous time in the Lonely Mountain. The Dwarves of Erebor were treated with Reverence by the Men of Dale. The Market and relationship between these two settlements was the wonder of the North. It was a great and happy life. This did not last long.

Sack of Erebor[edit | edit source]

The Coming of Smaug by Donato Giancola

The great dragon Smaug had lust for the Dwarven riches and had heard of the Prosperous kingdom of Erebor. In T.A. 2770 he descended on the mountain driving out the Dwarves and destroying the town of Dale. The Lonely Mountain was empty for almost two hundred years, save Smaug who slept in the innermost chamber on a great pile of wealth. None dared approached it while the Dragon lived.

In the year T.A. 2941 with Gandalf's council and planning, King Thorin II and a small company of friends and family actually made it to the Lonely Mountain. After the Dragon Smaug had realized that the Dwarves had been helped by the Lake-men he went to their town of Esgaroth intent on destroying them, only to be killed by a man named Bard.

Return of the Longbeards[edit | edit source]

With the help of a Hobbit named Bilbo Baggins Thorin and company were able to retake the city and the treasure, therefore allowing Thorin to proclaim himself King under the Mountain. But, now succumbing to Dragon Sickness, Thorin refused to give any of the treasure to the Men of Esgaroth, for compensation of the Fallen Esgaroth and the Elves of Mirkwood, Thorin and Company were placed under siege (not to be confused with the later Siege of Erebor.)

The Battle Under the Mountain by Matt Stewart

Things nearly came to blows when Thorin's cousin Dáin Ironfoot (Grór's grandson) arrived as aid to his kinsman and nearly went to battle against the besiegers. But Gandalf interceded and warned them all of a great host of Orcs and Wargs coming to take the mountain. So the Elves, Men, and Dwarves made an alliance, and fought the bloody battle against their foes in the valley before the gate. In the end the defenders were victorious against the Orcs and Wargs, thanks to the late arrivals of the Eagles and Beorn. Though the battle was won, Thorin was mortally wounded during the battle, but finally, after so many years of longing, Dáin took up the kingship of Durin's folk, and returned the Longbeards to the Lonely Mountain, and restored it to its former glory.

The Longbeards would set about the task of rebuilding their kingdom, which included various improvements to the Mountain itself. Gloin would tell Frodo Baggins of creations such as towers built on the Mountain, and roads dug deep underground.[3] Yet neither the Lonely Mountain nor its occupants would escape the eye of the great Shadow that rose in the last years of the Third Age.

During the War of the Ring, at the same time Minas Tirith was besieged, an army of Easterlings, under Sauron's rule, invaded the Kingdom of Dale after Brand was driven back to Dale and Erebor.. The Dwarves aided the Men of Dale who fought in the great battle at the feet of the Mountain for three days, before King Brand and King Dáin were killed at its very gates, forcing Men and Dwarves to retreat into the mountain. They held out for several days until word reached the ears of the Easterlings that the great hosts of Sauron in the south had been defeated, who despaired and lost hope. When the besieged saw this they came forth from the Lonely Mountain, and attacked their enemy driving them from Dale across the Running.[4]

Erebor and Dale continued to prosper into the Fourth Age, with it still prospering and going strong even after the Longbeards reclaimed Khazad-dûm.

Geography[edit | edit source]

The Lonely Mountain by Jef Murray

The Lonely Mountain was possibly 3,500 meters tall, as it was snowcapped at spring. Geologically, it was rich in metals and jewels.[5]

The mountain was star-shaped with six ridges radiating as spurs from the peak.

The south-western spur contained Ravenhill housing a Dwarven guard-post. Between the two western spurs was a narrow vale which was the exit of the Back Door, behind an overhanging cliff. Rough steps ascended to the top of the southern ridge along a narrow ledge turning east behind a boulder into a steep bay.

Inside, the mountain was dug with passages and tunnels leading to cellars and halls and mansions such as the great chamber of Thrór near the Front Gate. A secret tunnel led to the "bottommost cellar".

The main entrance into the mountain was the Gate of Erebor on the south side, opening onto a valley between two great spurs of the mountain. The River Running sprang from beneath the mountain and issued from the Front Gate, forming a waterfall that fell into the valley below.

Inside the gate was a broad paved road that went alongside the river in a wide curve leading into the mountain. Not very far from the entrance was the Great Chamber of Thrór where feasts and councils were held.

In the Lower Halls, there was a vast chamber called the Great Hall of Thráin at the root of the mountain. From there a secret passageway led to a hidden door in the western side of the mountain. The Back Door was invisible from the outside except on Durin's Day, when the light of the setting sun would reveal the keyhole.

Etymology[edit | edit source]

Erebor is the Sindarin translation of "Lonely Mountain" and can be analyzed as ereb + or(od).

Portrayal in adaptations[edit | edit source]

The Lonely Mountain in adaptations
The Lonely Mountain, as it appeared in The Hobbit film trilogy  
The Lonely Mountain in The Lord of the Rings Online  

2013: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug:

The Dwarves enter when the Dragon is still inside. When Smaug notices them, they lead him to the smithies where they make him start them up, so they can smelt gold. This gold they cast in a giant mold, making a giant golden statue. They remove the mold and, because it did not yet dry, the hot gold flows towards Smaug, severly wounding him. Wanting to take revenge, he flies towards Lake town.

2018: The Lord of the Rings Online:

After a minor appearance depicting the Siege of Erebor, Erebor proper was added in 2018 as part of Eryn Lasgalen and the Dale-lands. After the breaking of the siege, it is now ruled by King Thorin Stonehelm who must deal with some of the enemy's army still remaining near his lands. Other than the main hall of Erebor, players can also visit the living quarters, the burial tombs as well as several hidden chambers within the Mountain.


Route of Thorin and Company
Bag End · Green Dragon · The Shire · Lone-lands · Last Bridge · Trollshaws · Trolls' cave · Rivendell · High Pass · Front Porch · Goblin-town · Goblin-gate · Eagle's Eyrie · Carrock · Beorn's Hall · Wilderland · Forest Gate · Elf-path · Mirkwood · Elvenking's Halls · Forest River · Lake-town · Long Lake · River Running · Desolation of the Dragon · Ravenhill · Back Door · Lonely Mountain · Great Hall of Thráin
Kings of Durin's Folk
Durin I* (Y.T.) · Durin II* · Durin III* (fl. S.A. 1600) · Durin IV* · Durin V* · Durin VI* (until T.A. 1980) · Náin I* (1980 - 1981) · Thráin I (1981 - 2190) · Thorin I (2190 - 2289) · Glóin (2289 - 2385) · Óin (2385 - 2488) · Náin II (2488 - 2585) · Dáin I (2585 - 2589) · Thrór (2585 - 2790) · Thráin II (2790 - captured 2845, d. 2850) · Thorin II Oakenshield (after 2845 - 2941) · Dáin II Ironfoot (2941 - 3019) · Thorin III Stonehelm (T.A. 3019 - Fourth Age) · Durin VII (Fourth Age)*
* Kings of Khazad-dûm · Kings under the Mountain