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Grey Mountains

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This article is about a mountain chain. For the MERP supplement, see The Grey Mountains.
Grey Mountains
Mountain range
Matěj Čadil - Ered Mithrin.jpg
"Ered Mithrin" by Matěj Čadil
General Information
Other namesEred Mithrin
LocationNorth-west of Erebor, north of Mirkwood
TypeMountain range
DescriptionA rich mountain range of many ores
Major townsDáin's Halls
People and History
InhabitantsDwarves of the Grey Mountains: Durin's Folk, Dragons, and Orcs
EventsWar of the Dwarves and Dragons, slaying of Scatha the Worm
GalleryImages of the Grey Mountains

The Grey Mountains (or Ered Mithrin in Sindarin) was a large mountain range to the north of Rhovanion. Their western end connected to the Misty Mountains at the site of Mount Gundabad.



North of the Grey Mountains lay the Northern Waste.[1] In the west, where the Grey Mountains met with the Misty Mountains rose Mount Gundabad, an ancient Dwarven holy site and later the capital for the Orcs of the north. The eastern end of the Grey Mountains was split into two chains, and in between lay the Withered Heath, where Dragons bred. After that was a wide hilly plain, beyond which lay the Iron Hills. Erebor, the Lonely Mountain, lay south of the Grey Mountains.[1]

From east to west the mountains stretched some 350 Númenórean Miles, and the sources of the Great River Anduin, the river Greylin, and the Forest River of Mirkwood arose in this range.[1]


Early history

In the First Age, the Longbeards established mansions in Moria and the Iron Hills, and they considered the Grey Mountains, which lay between these mansions, to be within their territory.[2] Also during the First Age, some men—mostly associated with the House of Hador—settled between the Grey Mountains and Mirkwood, and they allied with the Longbeards against Morgoth's Orcs.[2] This alliance ended in the Second Age after Sauron destroyed Eregion, which prompted the Longbeards to seal Moria. During this time, Orcs took control of the Grey Mountains.[3]

Third Age

In T.A. 1980 a Balrog appeared in Moria and by the next year the Dwarves fled.[4] Durin's folk were scattered. Thráin I reestablished the Kingdom under the Mountain but Thorin I went to the Grey Mountains where most of the Dwarves gathered.[5] Nearly six hundred years later, Dragons began afflicting the Dwarves. In 2589 Dáin I was slain by a Dragon and the Grey Mountain strongholds were abandoned after the Wars of the Dwarves and Dragons. About 2480 Orcs had begun to infest the Misty Mountains[4] and spread to the Grey Mountains, such that by 2941 Gandalf the Wizard could say that the range was "simply stiff with goblins, hobgoblins, and orcs of the worst description".[6] However, after the Battle of Five Armies the number of Goblins in the Grey Mountains were greatly reduced (some three parts of them had perished).[7]

There still was a remnant of the Dwarves in the Ered Mithrin after the core of the population left, but were probably few. Working whatever mines they could hold from the Orcs and Dragons, but is speculated that they may have left at some point as well. It is likely that the Dwarves reclaimed all their old halls and mines sometime during the Fourth Age, if not after Dáin II Ironfoot became king of Durin's folk in the late Third Age.

Other versions of the legendarium

Another line of "Grey Mountains" in Middle-earth are seen on the Ambarkanta map.[8]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 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, "X. Of Dwarves and Men", "Relations of the Longbeard Dwarves and Men", pp. 302-303
  3. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Peoples of Middle-earth, "X. Of Dwarves and Men", "Relations of the Longbeard Dwarves and Men", p. 305
  4. 4.0 4.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B, "The Third Age"
  5. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, "Durin's Folk"
  6. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, "Queer Lodgings"
  7. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, "The Return Journey"
  8. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Shaping of Middle-earth, "V. The Ambarkanta"