Tolkien Gateway

Iron Hills

Iron Hills
General Information
LocationEast of Lonely Mountain, north-west of Rhûn
InhabitantsDurin's Folk

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]

The Iron Hills were rich in iron,[4] but probably not in gold; the Dwarves of the Iron Hills, although prosperous, were not as wealthy as their other cousins.[5]


[edit] History

[edit] Early history

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] 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 ended communication between the Iron Hills and Khazad-dûm for some time.[8]

[edit] Third Age

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 halls 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 a 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]

[edit] Portrayal in adaptations

2018: The Lord of the Rings Online:

The Iron Hills are an area in the region of "The Dwarf-holds", released in Update 23: Where Dragons Dwell. The name "Ironfold" is also used to refer to the rusted stone hills themselves together with the scrubland which borders the Dale-lands in the west. There are three major settlements in the Ironfold: the Dalish town "Utterby", which is still occupied by hostile Easterlings; the mining community of "Hammerstead"; and the capital, "Járnfast", where King Thorin III's brother, "Náin the Slakeless", reigns as Lord. The other major landmarks are the "Dáinlik", an enormous statue being carved out of the hills, and "Skald's Drop", the cliff that forms the southern border of the Ironfold and overlooks the lands beyond.
Settled by "Farin Blackmattock" in the First Age, Járnfast was destroyed by the fall of Thangorodrim and afterwards rebuilt. During the time it features in the game, the town 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 creatures in "The Howling Pit" below.

[edit] See also

[edit] Notes

  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.


  1. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "The West of Middle-earth at the End of the Third Age" [map]
  2. 2.0 2.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Peoples of Middle-earth, "The Tale of Years of the Third Age"
  3. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, "The Gathering of the Clouds"
  4. 4.0 4.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Peoples of Middle-earth, "Of Dwarves and Men", "Relations of the Longbeard Dwarves and Men", p. 302
  5. 5.0 5.1 Robert Foster, The Complete Guide to Middle-earth, p. 212
  6. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Peoples of Middle-earth, "Of Dwarves and Men", "Notes", p. 323 (note 30)
  7. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Peoples of Middle-earth, "Of Dwarves and Men", "The Atani and their Languages", p. 306
  8. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Peoples of Middle-earth, "Of Dwarves and Men", "Relations of the Longbeard Dwarves and Men", p. 306
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 9.5 9.6 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B, "The Third Age"
  10. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "The Quest of Erebor"
  11. 11.0 11.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, "Durin's Folk"