Places of Middle Earth #7: Lothlórien

“That is the fairest of all the dwellings of my people. There are no trees like the trees of that land. For in the autumn their leaves fall not, but turn gold. Not till the spring and the new green opens do they fall, and then the boughs are laden with yellow flowers; and the floor of the wood is golden, and golden is the roof, and its pillars are of silver, for the bark of the trees is smooth and grey”

- Legolas


Places of Middle Earth #9: Rivendell

“In all the days of the Third Age, after the fall of Gil-galad, Master Elrond abode in Imladris, and he gathered there many Elves, and other folk of wisdom and power from among all the kindreds of Middle-earth, and he preserved through many lives of Men the memory of all that had been fair; and the house of Elrond was a refuge for the weary and the oppressed, and a treasury of good council and wise lore.”

(The Silmarillion, ‘Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age’)


Places of Middle Earth #6: Fangorn

Fangorn forest was known for being the last habitation of the Ents. It was named after the oldest Ent, Fangorn (Treebeard). It is also called Entwood by the Rohirrim. Fangorn forest was actually just the easternmost survivor of the immense forest that spanned Eriador and Calenardhon in the First and early Second Age, But which was destroyed by the Númenóreans felling trees to build their mighty ships and Sauron’s war on the elves. Fangorn forest was the oldest part of Treebeard’s realms. And to here the ents retreated.


Places of Middle Earth #3: Dol Guldur

Dol Guldur was Sauron’s stronghold in southern Mirkwood (earlier known as Greenwood) when he was known under the name of The Necromancer. Dol Guldur was built on the hill known as Amon Lanc and had been the capital of Oropher’s Silvan realm, where he was king of the Silvan elves. After Sauron’s return from the downfall of Númenor, the Silvan elves fled north, and Thranduil, son of Oropher led his people over the forest river, where they remained. Greenwood became a haunted place inhabited with many dark and savage things, and from then onward, men began to call it Mirkwood.


Places of Middle Earth #4: Bree

Bree was a very ancient settlement in Eriador. By the time of the War of the Ring, Bree had become the most westerly settlement of men in all Middle Earth. Being located in the most important crossroads in the north, on the crossing of the Great East Road and the Greenway, traveller would pass through Bree. Dwarves dwelling in the Blue Mountains (such as Thorin), rangers and hobbits would occasionally visit Bree and spend the night at The Prancing Pony. This was a fairly travelled inn, and was so accustomed to hobbits that they had even built hobbit rooms specialy for them. 

In the years leading up to the fabled Quest for Erebor, Gandalf the Grey met up with Thorin Oakenshield in the inn by chance. Thorin, wished to slay the dragon of Smaug and reclaim his kingdom in Erebor. Gandalf met him there and he, who also wanted Smaug dead for reasons of his own, aided Thorin in finding a burglar, and fourteenth member of his company.


Places of Middle Earth #2: Minas Morgul

Minas Ithil (Sindarin for Tower of The Moon) was a fortress built by Isildur on a valley in Ithilien, while his brother Anarion built Minas Anor (later renamed Minas Tirith) west across the anduin river. The city’s white marble walls, buildings, and tower were designed to catch and reflect the moonlight, and shone with a soft silver luminescence. One of the seven palantíri was kept in the tower.

Later Sauron’s forces captured Minas Ithil and the city became a foul, evil place and it came to be called Minas Morgul (Sindarin for Tower of Black Sorcery). The palantír kept in the tower was also captured and later installed at Barad-dûr. At the time of the War of the Ring, The Witch King of Angmar and most of the Nazgûl dwelt in Minas Morgul, and was a forward base for Sauron’s forces.