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Attack on Dol Guldur

Attack on Dol Guldur
Angus McBride - Dol Guldur.jpg
Date: T.A. 2941
Place: Dol Guldur
Outcome: Victory for the White Council

The White Council

Forces of Sauron


The White Council


The Attack on Dol Guldur was an expedition launched by the White Council in T.A. 2941 against the fortress of Dol Guldur in southern Mirkwood.


[edit] History

[edit] Prelude

When Sauron re-emerged, he established Dol Guldur on Amon Lanc after T.A. 1000. His corrupting shadow was only known as the "Necromancer", and as a result Thranduil led his people away. The Council of the Wise long feared the Necromancer might indeed be Sauron; Gandalf himself had entered Dol Guldur a couple of times, finally confirming that Sauron was its master. At first Saruman opposed the idea of an attack as he was searching for the One Ring in the area by then, but later, fearing that Sauron was also looking of the Ring, he finally agreed to an attack in 2941.[1]

[edit] The Battle

Gandalf carefully planned the attack to occur at the same time as the Quest of Erebor, knowing that Sauron and Smaug could not assist each other.[source?] After leaving Thorin and Company at the outskirts of Mirkwood,[2] he joined the White Council and they marched against the great fortress.

Of the actual battle not much can be said (if this was simply a duel between great powers, or if it involved the use of armies of any kind). Thanks to the devices of Saruman, the Wise, Sauron was driven out from Dol Guldur,[3]however Sauron, having already made his plans, fled to his ancient realm of Mordor.[1]

[edit] Aftermath

With victory theirs, Gandalf immediately left for Erebor, where he would take part in the Battle of Five Armies.[4] After these events, Gandalf and Elrond dicussed their victories and agreed that it would be better if the Necromancer were banished from the world altogether.[5]

However Dol Guldur was not destroyed; it remained standing, staffed by the lieutenant of Barad-dûr, and later Khamûl.[6] It was not before the War of the Ring when the fortress was finally destroyed.

[edit] Portrayal in adaptations

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

The Attack on Dol Guldur appears in The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies as one of the main plots, besides Smaug's attack to Lake-town and the gathering for battle at the Lonely Mountain. After Gandalf was defeated and captured after facing Sauron in The Desolation of Smaug, the White Council (Galadriel, Saruman, Elrond and Radagast the Brown) determined to come to his aid and face Sauron/The Necromancer and The Nine (Nazgûl).
In The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, Gandalf is seen suffering in his prison cage and attempting to mutter a spell with Radagast also chanting spells in Rhosgobel to support his fellow wizard. But Gandalf is interrupted by an Orc chieftain, who scorns the wizard for using spells in his master's domain. He roughly tosses Gandalf out of his cage and demands to know the whereabouts of the Ring of Fire, which Sauron is somehow aware of. Gandalf lashes the Orc in the mouth with a chain. Unfazed, the Orc examines Gandalf's hand and discovers Narya. The Orc prepares to cut it off, but some other power stops him in his tracks. Galadriel emerges and commands the Orc to stand down or else be destroyed. When he roars in defiance, Galadriel raises her arm and unleashes a deadly light that dissolves the Orc and rents the sky for miles. She bears Gandalf away in her arms, and Sauron calls out to her in Black Speech. He specifically chants the verse referring to the rings of power, which Galadriel finishes in the Westron "Nine for mortal men doomed to die". She and the unconscious Gandalf are surrounded by the spectral forms of the Ringwraiths.
Seemingly startled, Galadriel retreats to a dais where she protects Gandalf. Sauron warns her that she cannot fight the darkness, especially if she is alone. Galadriel answers that she is not alone. Elrond and Saruman arrive on the scene and fight all of the Nine. Elrond seems to use his Ring of Power along with his Elven-sword in dueling the Nazgûl. Saruman uses ninja-like skills involving his staff and magical bursts to beat the Ringwraiths. The two of them attempt to dismember the Nazgûl and knock them off the fortress walls, although the wraiths keep regenerating. Amidst the fighting, Galadriel heals Gandalf by kissing him on the forehead, although doing so seems to take its toll on her. Radagast arrives on his rabbit sled and hastily escorts Gandalf out of the fortress. Gandalf begs her to join him, but after hesitating she willfully commands Radagast to take Gandalf away. Elrond and Saruman inflict enough damage against the wraiths that they are forced to retreat. Galadriel lies prone on the floor.
Sauron himself emerges as his silhouette erupts in the form of a flaming eye. He bears down on the Council and the Nine are summoned again. Saruman is alarmed at the sight of Sauron, while Elrond raises his sword. The Dark Lord declares their time is up and sends the Nazgul forth to finish them off. Using her last ounce of strength, Galadriel rises and enters her spiritual/ethereal form, like she did in The Fellowship of the Ring when Frodo presented her with the Ring. She holds aloft the Phial of Eärendil, which instantly blazes with light and the Nazgul dissipate immediately.
Galadriel and Sauron engage in a short but heated battle, trying to dominate each others mind. Sauron tries to sway her, but she defies him with scornful words. Sauron's silhouette begins to fluctuate, constantly revolving and reshaping as Galadriel assaults his spirit. The outcome is that Galadriel is able to penetrate Sauron's mind and issues a single command "Go back to the void from whence you came!" Unable to resist her any longer, Sauron screams and flees. But Galadriel is rendered weak after their strife and falls back; Elrond rushes in to support her. Once he is cast away, Elrond states that he must be permanently destroyed and Gondor should be warned. Saruman instructs him to take the severely weakened Galadriel to safety and to leave Sauron to him, hinting at his downfall in The Lord of the Rings.



  1. 1.0 1.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B, "The Third Age"
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, "Queer Lodgings"
  3. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, "The Council of Elrond"
  4. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, "The Clouds Burst"
  5. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, "The Last Stage"
  6. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "The Hunt for the Ring", note 1, p. 352