Tolkien Gateway


Henning Janssen - Three Peaks Fortified.jpg
"Three Peaks Fortified" by Henning Janssen
General Information
LocationDor Daedeloth
DescriptionThe highest peaks in Middle-earth
People and History
InhabitantsFollowers of Morgoth
CreatedY.T. 1495
DestroyedF.A. 587
GalleryImages of Thangorodrim

Thangorodrim was a group of three volcanic mountains in the Iron Mountains in the north of Middle-earth during the First Age. The highest peaks in Middle-earth, they were raised by Morgoth, who delved his fortress of Angband beneath them, and far back into the Iron Mountains.[1]

[edit] History

Fingolfin rides to Angband by Kenneth Sofia

Thangorodrim was said to have been the piles of slag from Morgoth's furnaces and rubble from the delving of Angband[2], though they were solid enough to form sheer precipices; Maedhros was chained to a cliff of Thangorodrim[3], and Húrin imprisoned on a high terrace[4]. The tops of Thangorodrim perpetually smoked, and sometimes spewed forth lava. The three peaks of Thangorodrim functioned as furnaces for Morgoth's great smithies deep in Angband.

For a time the Eagles lived on Thangorodrim, but at some time during the First Age they removed to the Crissaegrim near Gondolin.

At the base of the south face of the middle peak was the Great Gates of Angband, a deep canyon leading into the mountain, lined with towers and forts. There were also a number of secret gates scattered around the sides of the mountain group, from which Morgoth's hosts could issue forth and surprise their foes.

Thangorodrim was destroyed in the War of Wrath at the end of the First Age when the defeated dragon Ancalagon the Black fell on them.[5]

[edit] Description

The position and size of Thangorodrim are unclear. One drawing by Tolkien, if to scale, would have made Thangorodrim 35,000 ft high, and the statement that it lay 150 leagues (450 Númenórean miles) north of Menegroth puts it too far away for some of the action in The Silmarillion to make sense; a distance of 150-200 miles would have been more consistent. It is possible that with the higher figure Tolkien was not referring to 'as the eagle flies', but rather 'as the wolf runs': the plateau of Dorthonion forced a long detour which added the extra 200, 250 miles to the distance.[6]

[edit] Etymology

Thangorodrim is Sindarin for "Mountains of Tyranny"[7] or "mountain-chain of tyranny".[8] The name consists of thang ("compulsion, oppression") + orodrim ("mountain-chain").[7][9]

In earlier Noldorin, Thangorodrim is glossed as "Mountains of Duress".[10]

[edit] Portrayal in adaptations

1995-8: Middle-earth Collectible Card Game:

The "Remains of Thangorodrim" is an Under-deeps site (conceived as having been drowned in the ocean during the War of Wrath, but surviving as ruins). It cannot be reached from the surface, only through the adjacent site the Drowning-deeps.


  1. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of Beleriand and its Realms"
  3. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of the Return of the Noldor"
  4. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of the Fifth Battle: Nirnaeth Arnoediad"
  5. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of the Voyage of Eärendil and the War of Wrath"
  6. Karen Wynn Fonstad (1991), The Atlas of Middle-earth
  7. 7.0 7.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, "Words, Phrases and Passages in Various Tongues in The Lord of the Rings", in Parma Eldalamberon XVII (edited by Christopher Gilson), p. 116
  8. J.R.R. Tolkien, "Unfinished index for The Lord of the Rings", in Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull (eds), The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion, p. 230
  9. Compound Sindarin Names in Middle-earth at (accessed 14 July 2011)
  10. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Lost Road and Other Writings, Part Three: "The Etymologies", entry "STAG"