While rereading the Silmarillion, I've been having some fun contrasting maps of Middle-Earth during different ages (found just by Googling.)

I noticed something odd. Consider this map of the First Age:

enter image description here

One can see the ruins of Utumno in the middle of the Iron Mountains in the north.

Now take a look at this map of the Second Age:

enter image description here

Here Beleriand has sunk into the sea, but one can still trace the line of the Iron Mountains, with a hill in the north of Eriador roughly in the same location as Utumno, east of the Ice Bay.

Now compare that spot with a map from the Third Age:

Third Age Map

That hill appears to be the site of Carn Dum, the capital of Angmar.

My question, with a few follow-ups:

  • Did JRRT or CT ever indicate in writing that these sites were geographically close?
  • If so was the proximity intentional?
  • Does anyone recognize the first two maps or can say anything about their authenticity (or lack of)?
  • The first two maps are from The Atlas of Middle-Earth by Karen Wynn Fonstad. – Micah Feb 17 '14 at 0:50
up vote 12 down vote accepted

The first map above was drawn by Karen Wynn Fonstad, is from The Atlas of Middle-Earth, and is based on an old Tolkien map published in History of Middle-earth 4. The original map just had coastlines, mountains, some rivers, and other major geographical features, and much of what's on the Fonstad map is either conjectural or deduced from information elsewhere (an example is the relationship between the Inland Sea of Helcar and the Sea of Rhun, which comes from a CT note in HoME 11).

The second map is obviously based on the first, but with the new coastlines following the Drowning of Beleriand in place. There's no Tolkien map (at least none published, or unpublished that we're aware of) to provide a basis for this, aside from the north coast, which was based on a Tolkien sketch map in HoME 7.

Regarding the location of Utumno, the only statement giving a clue is in footnote 25 to Return of the King, Appendix A:

These are a strange, unfriendly people, remnant of the Forodwaith, Men of far-off days, accustomed to the bitter colds of the realm of Morgoth. Indeed those colds linger still in that region, though they lie hardly more than a hundred leagues north of the Shire.

I'm not aware of anything more definite than that, and based on this statement I conjectured here that the Ruins of Utumno are actually under the Icebay of Forochel.

A complicating factor is that at the time LotR was written, and the geography of the Third Age was designed, Utumno was actually not a separate fortress at all, but rather Angband was built on the ruins of Utumno following Melkor's return from destroying the Trees. Utumno and Angband as separate fortresses both dating back to early times entered in post-LotR revisions to the Quenta Silmarillion texts, specifically those which CT names "LQ 2" and dates to 1958. See further HoME 10 and 11.

It's therefore the case that at the time the LotR map was designed, the intended location of Utumno would have been somewhere under the Belegaer, to the north-west of Himling.

  • 2
    If the Ruins of Utumno did still exist on dry land during the Third Age, that would be the ultimate dungeon crawl adventure, heh. That is, if the ruins were still inhabited. – RobertF Feb 17 '14 at 17:48

My take on all this was that Utumno existed much closer to the pole than what's shown here. The fact that someone basically 'guessed' the location of Utumno when drawing up that first map makes sense. I'd place the ruins of utumno near where the cape of forochel is.

I don’t think so because according to the The Encyclopedia of Arda Carn Dûm may have been a settlement of the dwarves once.

  • Can you elaborate on this answer? At this point it looks like an interesting comment. – Möoz Sep 2 '16 at 4:12

Your Answer

By clicking "Post Your Answer", you acknowledge that you have read our updated terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy, and that your continued use of the website is subject to these policies.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.