Lonely Mountain


Lonely Mountain

In J. R. R. Tolkien's Middle-earth legendarium, the Lonely Mountain (Sindarin Erebor) is a mountain in the northeast of Rhovanion. It is also the source of the Celduin river.

Origins of the Kingdom Under the Mountain

Erebor became the home of the Folk of Durin, the Longbeards (see Dwarf (Middle-earth)), after they were driven from their ancestral home of Khazad-dûm. In the latter days of the Third Age, this Kingdom Under the Mountain held one of the largest dwarven treasure hoards in Middle-earth.

The mountain was aptly named, as it stood hundreds of miles from the nearest mountain range. Tolkien's map shown in "The Hobbit" depicts the mountain as having six ridges stretching out from a central peak that was snowcapped well into Spring. The Front Gate, from which Celduin flowed, faced southward. The whole mountain was perhaps ten miles in diameter, with Dale, a town of Men, built between the two southern spurs [Fonstad, Karen Wynn. "The Atlas of Middle-earth (Revised Edition)" . Houghton Mifflin Company. New York. 1991. pp. 110-1] .

Erebor was founded by Thráin I the Old, who discovered the Arkenstone there. His son, Thorin I, left the mountain with much of the Folk of Durin to live in the Ered Mithrin (Grey Mountains) for the great riches to be found in that range. After dragons plundered their hoards, the Longbeards, led now by Thrór, a descendant of Thorin, returned to Erebor to take up the title King under the Mountain. Under Thrór's reign Erebor became a great Dwarven stronghold, [ME-ref|rotk|'Of Durin's Folk'] where the Dwarves became a numerous and prosperous people. The Dwarves of Erebor were at that time well known to be skilled in the making of matchless weapons and armour, and there was great demand for their work by the surrounding peoples. Although this might account for the Dwarves of Erebor amassing a large amount of gold and treasure, it must be remembered that Thrór possessed one of the Seven Rings of the Dwarves, which founded many dwarf-hoards. Unfortunately, although the lure of treasure may have been enough, the malice instilled by Sauron in all the Rings of Power save the Three may well have played a part in drawing the winged dragon Smaug to Erebor, although the special hatred Sauron had for Durin's Folk because of their role in defeating his invasion of Eriador in ME-date|SA|1695 [ME-ref|ut|'The History of Galadriel and Celeborn'] may also have been a factor.

Erebor in "The Hobbit"

In ME-date|TA|2770 one day whilst a young Thorin II Oakenshield was out hunting, Smaug (being quite young then, and small enough to fit into the smaller passages of Erebor) flew south from the Grey Mountains and slew (eating or roasting) all the dwarves he could find, also destroying the nearby human town of Dale. Smaug then took over the mountain, gathering all the dwarven hoard together with the treasures of Dale into a large mound, which he used as a bed. King Thrór, his son Thráin II, and several companions escaped death (as was later discovered) by a secret door. Although Thrór and Thráin later perished, for many years Thorin, now the Heir of Durin, lived in exile in the Ered Luin until, by a chance meeting, he met Gandalf the Grey. Together they formed a plan to reclaim the mountain kingdom. In this plan Gandalf insisted burglary was the best approach and recommended the hobbit Bilbo Baggins, whom Gandalf represented to be a professional thief. [ME-ref|ut|'The Quest of Erebor']

Thus Bilbo, Thorin, and Thorin's company of twelve other Dwarves travelled to the Lonely Mountain to regain the treasure Smaug had stolen. They planned to use the secret door, for which Gandalf had managed to obtain the key (from Thráin II, whom he had found languishing in the pits of Dol Guldur). The door would only open on Durin's Day when the setting sun and the last moon of autumn were in the sky together. By a fortunate coincidence, this happened soon after Bilbo and the dwarves arrived, and the hobbit was able to enter the mountain and steal a large golden cup. Smaug, enraged by the theft, emerged from the mountain, but failed to find their secret door. After Bilbo made another attempt at thievery, he had a rather unpleasant confrontation with Smaug, and only survived because he was wearing the One Ring, and was invisible. He did spot a weakness in Smaug's armour, however. The enraged Smaug flew south to destroy Lake Town, the common name for Esgaroth, which he deduced to be the source of the 'thieves.'

Smaug was eventually slain — shot in his weak spot with the Black Arrow by Bard the Bowman — and Thorin and company immediately claimed Erebor as their own. However, the surviving Men of Esgaroth, supported by Thranduil and the Elves of Mirkwood, claimed a part of the dragon's hoard as recompense for the destruction of their town. Bard, heir to the throne of Dale, also claimed the part of the treasure stolen from that town. Thorin, mad with greed, refused any claims made under threat of arms, [It is possible that, since a Dwarven Ring of Power was the foundation of that Hoard. the curse the use of such Rings left on the works created with them was at least a partial source of Thorin's foolish and malevolent behaviour. However, since Thorin himself never possessed the Ring (It was taken from Thráin II by the Necromancer), it is equally possible his actions were all due to his pride, of which he seemed to have an over-abundance.] and managed to contact his kinsman Dáin II Ironfoot, chief of the Dwarves of the Iron Hills, who came to aid their cousins in the mountain. Before the various sides could sort things out, an army of Orcs ("Goblins" in "The Hobbit") from the Misty Mountains with a companion army of Wargs (giant wolves) descended on Erebor. Dwarves, Elves, and Men joined ranks against them, which led to the Battle of Five Armies. During the battle, Thorin's nephews Fíli and Kíli were slain, and Thorin himself was mortally injured and died shortly afterwards. Thus the titles King under the Mountain and King of Durin's Folk passed to Dáin.

Erebor in "The Lord of the Rings"

With the restoration of the Kingdom under the Mountain the area became prosperous again. Dale was rebuilt, and the Men there reforged their friendship with the Dwarves of Erebor. The emissaries of Sauron came to Erebor asking about Bilbo Baggins and offering one of the Seven Dwarf Rings in exchange. Glóin, one of Thorin's companions in "The Hobbit", went to Rivendell to ask the advice of Elrond in the matter. Ultimately, the Dwarves of Erebor and Men of Dale were attacked and besieged in Erebor by Sauron's allies. Dáin II fell in battle, and was succeeded in both his titles by his son Thorin III Stonehelm. [ME-ref|rotk|'Of Durin's Folk']

Gimli, a dwarf of Erebor (Glóin's son), was one of the Fellowship who helped King Elessar regain the throne of Gondor and establish the Reunited Kingdom. He was given lordship over the Glittering Caves around Helm's Deep in Rohan, establishing a cadet branch of the House of Durin to rule over the dwarves who moved there after the end of the War of the Ring

Adaptations

"The Lonely Mountain: Lair of Smaug the Dragon" is a board game produced in 1985 by Iron Crown Enterprises, "Newsboard", "Fellowship Follows", White Dwarf (magazine) #57, September, 1984 p45 ] , designed by Coleman Charlton which features groups of adventurers, either Dwarves, Elves, Orcs or Men entering Smaug's Lair to capture his treasure before he awakens.

Each group is represented by a number of tokens, placed upon a hex-grid depicting the cavern network, and each token represents a number of characters. Characters are of different classes (derived from ICE's Middle-earth Role Playing, such as a Bard, Wizard, Fighter, Scout and Animist) and are represented by cards. These parties then move through the caverns expending movement points. Upon arriving at a treasure site, the player will turn over a corresponding set of treasure and creature cards, typically a troll, kraken, wight, fell-beast or Smaug himself. Smaug can also be awoken by a random event which increases in possibility with each turn.

Creatures are fought with both missile and melee combat, by rolling a dice and consulting a combat matrix, and magic is cast and uses the same mechanic. Random-effect traps and helpful items can also be found hidden in amongst treasure.

The winner of the game is the player that escapes with the largest amount or greatest value of treasure (for example, the Arkenstone is worth more victory points to the Dwarven player than the other 4 groups) or in the case of solo play beats his own high score.

"Erebor", specifically the southern spurs of the Mountain and Dale, is a playable map in "". It has three gates, including the one Tolkien described and two which can not be closed, to allow those playing as invading forces to easily enter the stronghold.

References/Notes

Works cited

*cite book|chapter=Lonely Mountain (Erebor)|last=Harper|first=Amelia|pages=384-385|title = |editor = Drout, Michael D. C.|isbn = 0-415-96942-5|publisher = Routledge|year=2006


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