The Encyclopedia of Arda - an interactive guide to the world of J.R.R. Tolkien

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  • Updated 23 October 2021
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Shadowy Mountains

The western mountains of the Dark Land

The long range of mountains that ran along Mordor's western and southern flanks, more usually called the Mountains of Shadow or Ephel Dúath. In particular, they were given the name of the Shadowy Mountains as they ran along the western borders of the Land of Shadow, where that land ran against the green region of Ithilien beside Anduin.

During the late Second Age and the earlier part of the Third, the Shadowy Mountains were guarded against the Enemy by Isildur's fortress of Minas Ithil. This was briefly occupied by Sauron in the last years of the Second Age, leading to the War of the Last Alliance and the Dark Lord's defeat. During that War, Minas Ithil was recovered by the Gondorians, and then held by Gondor for nearly two thousand years until the Nazgûl issued from Mordor and captured it once again. From that time, the control of Mordor over the Shadowy Mountains and their passes was complete, and remained so until Sauron's defeat in the War of the Ring.


The Shadowy Mountains of Mordor are not to be confused with the Shadowy Mountains of Hithlum in the First Age (known in Elvish as Ered Wethrin). Like Mordor's Shadowy Mountains, these were also known as the Mountains of Shadow, but the origin of the name was different. While the Shadowy Mountains of Mordor were connected with the Land of Shadow that lay to the east, the Shadowy Mountains of Hithlum were so named simply because they cast literal shadows over the populated lands that lay to the north.


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About this entry:

  • Updated 23 October 2021
  • Updates planned: 2

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