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Carn Dûm was the capital of Angmar established in the west point of the Mountains of Angmar, near Mount Gundabad in the Misty Mountains, it was inhabited by the Witch-king and his many servants. From here he based his attacks on the three realms of Arnor in the early Third Age, quickly managing to coerce or destroy the men of Rhudaur, and later also those of Cardolan and Arthedain.
The Witch-king founded Carn Dûm sometime around the year 1300 of the Third Age. He used it as the capital of his kingdom and was his base in the war against Arnor. After conquering Rhudaur and Cardolan the armies of Arthedain with the help of the elves managed to make the armies of Angmar withdraw to Carn Dûm. Arthedain fell in the Battle of Fornost in TA 1974, but the Witch-king was routed by Glorfindel and in TA 1975 Angmar itself fell under an assault by the Dúnedain of Gondor, led by Eärnur, the survivors of Arnor, and the Elves of Lindon. Carn Dûm was utterly destroyed, although some orcs survived there until at least the War of the Dwarves and Orcs and possibly after as well, until they were wiped out by Aragorn II, King Elessar of the Reunited Kingdom.
After being rescued by Tom Bombadil from the clutches of a barrow wight while crossing the barrow downs, Merry briefly recalled being attacked by the men of Carn Dûm, presumably sharing briefly the memory of the Barrow-wight.
The meaning of Carn Dûm is unspecified. Carn is most likely shortened from Sindarin caran, meaning 'red'. Dûm is not an Elvish term, but is seen in the Dwarvish name Khazad-dûm, meaning it means 'halls, mansions', and this fits neatly for a mountain fortress or citadel. Mount Gundabad, which was nearby, did have Dwarvish associations. Thus Carn Dûm could conceivably be a compound of Elvish and Dwarvish words (a prior example being Finrod Felagund), meant to mean "red mansions"
Portrayal in adaptations
- Several video games have depicted Carn Dûm so far. The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-earth II: The Rise of the Witch-king features it as part of the Witch-king's campaign. In this game it was originally a fortress of Morgoth that fell into ruins. The Witch-king consolidated the union of Angmar by constructing Carn Dûm over this ruins.
- In The Lord of the Rings: War in the North, Carn Dûm serves as the stronghold of Agandaûr, Sauron's Lieutenant bent on conquering the North of Middle-earth. It serves as the final level of the game, in which the heroes must infiltrate the fortress to face and destroy Agandaûr. After Agandaûr's defeat, the dragon Úrgost takes possession of Carn Dûm as his new lair.
- In The Lord of the Rings Online, Carn Dûm is a seat of Witch-king steward Mordirith, also known as false King, who was spreading fires of war in the North until defeated in TA 3018.