The Lord of the Rings: Fortresses, Castles, and Structures
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Fortresses, Castles, and Structures


Angband was the great underground fortress, prison, barracks, mines, and factory of Morgoth, located 150 leagues north of Menegroth behind the southwestern corner of the Ered Engrin. Built by Melkor after he destroyed the Two Lamps, Angband was first held by Sauron and was intended to guard Utumno against assault by th Valar. Angband was destroyed after the Battle of the Powers, but its pits were not bared, and Balrogs and other of Melkor's servants hid there during their master's captivity.

Bag End

Bag End was a dwelling in Hobbiton, built about the Third Age 2880 by Bungo Baggins at the end of Bagshot Row. Bungo, Bilbo, and Frodo Baggins lived there. From September 3018 until her imprisonment and his death, lobelia and Lotho Sackville-Baggins lived in Bag End, and Saruman made it his headquarters in the Shire. After Frodo went over Sea, Sam Gamgee and his heirs lived there. Bag End was a typical, if somewhat more luxurious than ordinary, hobbit-hole.


Barad-Dr was the fortress of Sauron, built by him with the power of the One Ring between the Second Age 1000 and 1600. At the end of the Second Age it was besieged and captured (3434-3441), but its foundations could not be destroyed while the Ring survived. Sauron began to rebuild the Barad-Dr in the Third Age 2951, but it was destroyed in 3019 when the Ring was unmade. The Barad-Dr was located at the southern end of a great spur of the Ered Lithui, and was the greatest fortress in Middle-earth in the Second and Third Ages. It was called in Orkish Lugbrz and in Westron the Dark Tower. It was also called the Great Tower.

Dol Guldur

Dol Guldur was a fortress in southern Mirkwood. It was probably built by Sauron about the Third Age 1050; it was first mentioned about 1100, when the Wise discovered that an unknown evil power had settled there. For the next thousand years, the power grew stronger and corrupted the forest. In 2063, Gandalf went to Dol Guldur to learn the identity of its master, but the evil power fled. The power returned with increased strength in 2460, but in 2850 Gandalf again entered the fortress and discovered that its master was Sauron. Sauron continued to rule his many servants from Dol Guldur until 2941, when he was driven out by the White Council. Sauron retreated to Mordor, but ten years later sent three of the Nazgl to occupy Dol Guldur. During the War of the Ring, armies from Dol Guldur attacked Lrien and the Woodland Realm, but they were defeated. After the fall of Sauron, Celeborn took Dol Guldu and Galadriel threw down its walls and cleansed its pits.


Dunharrow was a fortress and refuge above Harrowdale, built in the Accursed Years by an unknown race. Dunharrow was used by Gondor and later by Rohan; it was one of the chief refuges ot eh latter country. Dunharrow was easily defended, since it was reached by a switchback path that went up a steep cliff; each level was overlooked by the ones above.

Durin's Bridge

Durin's Bridge was a single fifty-foot arch of stone spanning the great abyss at the eastern end of the Second Hall of Khazad-dm, built as a last defense against invaders from the east. During the Quest of Mount Doom, Gandalf defended the Bridge against the Balrog, and broke it. It was also called the Bridge of Khazad-dm and the Bridge.


The Dwarf-road was the trading route built by the Dwarves of the Ered Luin. The road began at Mount Dolmed, went down the valley of the Ascar, and crOssd Gelion at Sarn Athrad. The road then forked, the northern branch going past Nan Elmoth to the Arossiach and the southern branch going somewhere in East Beleriand. Besides being a route for commerce, the Dwarf-road was the easiest entrance to Beleriand from Eriador. The Edain entered Beleriand in this way, and so did bands of ravishing Orcs.

Front Gate

The Front Gate was the main gate of Erebor, out of which flowed the River Running. The Front Gate was the only gate to Erebor not blocked up by Smaug, and he used it as his entrance. It was also called the Gate of Erebor and the Gate.

Helm's Deep

Helm's Deep was a gorge winding into the Ered Nimrais below the Thrihyrne. It was the defensive center of the Westfold of Rohan; it and Dunharrow were the major fortresses and refuges of the realm. Helm's Deep was defended by Helm in the Third Age 2758-2759, and this defense gave it and everything in the area its name. During the War of the Ring it was defended by Thoden. The Deeping Stream flowed out of Helm's Deep, and the Aglarond was found in it. The Deeping Wall was built across the entrance to the Deep. Helm's Deep was the most common name used to refer to the entire system of fortifications in the area, including the actual fortress, the Hornburg.


Isengard was a fortress built by Gondor in the days of its power in Nan Curunr. Isengard consisted of a natural circular stone wall surrounding a broad plain, in the center of which was the tower of Orthanc. Isengard had only one gate, which faced south.


Thangorodrim was the three-peaked mountain raised above Angband by Melkor on his return to Middle-earth with the Silmarils. It was made out of the slag and refuse of the delving of Angband, but it was volcanic and emitted foul vapors, smoke, and lava. Thangorodrim was broken when Ancalagon fell on it during the Great Battle, and the ensuing tumult was one of the major causes of the ruin of Beleriand.

The Prancing Pony

The Prancing Pony was the inn at Bree, owned and operated for many generations by the Butterbur family. At the time of the War of the Ring the proprietor was Barliman Butterbur. The Prancing Pony was the home and center of the art of smoking pipe-weed, and in prosperous times was one of the great centers of news in Eriador. It was called the Pony for short.


Utumno was the first dwelling of Melkor in Arda, a great underground fortress built in northern Middle-earth during the Spring of Arda. Melkor gathered his Balrogs in Utumno, and he may have bred Orcs and the great spiders here. It was besieged and destroyed during the Battle of the Powers. Although not all its pits were laid bare, Melkor did not return to Utumno. It was called Udn in Sindarin.

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