Dol Guldur, also known as the Hill of Dark Sorcery, was Sauron's stronghold and base of operations while secretly regaining his power as "The Necromancer". It was located in the south of Mirkwood for over two thousand years in the Third Age.
Dol Guldur was established by Sauron after his return to Middle-earth sometime after TA 1000. Sauron became known as "The Necromancer", and his true identity was long kept secret. Dol Guldur was built on the hill known as Amon Lanc (meaning "bald hill"), and had been the capital of Oropher's Silvan realm. The Silvan Elves had fled north to the Black Mountains (later the Mountains of Mirkwood) after Sauron's return from the Downfall of Númenor. Later, after Sauron captured Amon Lanc, Thranduil, son of Oropher, led his people over the Forest River, where they remained. Sauron later remained there for hundreds of years.
Fortress of the Necromancer
The growing shadow in Mirkwood soon attracted the attention of the Wise and Gandalf entered the fortress in TA 2063, seeking to uncover the identify of the Necromancer. Sauron, not yet ready for confrontation, abandoned Dol Guldur and fled into the East, beginning the period known as the Watchful Peace.
Four hundred years later Sauron returned with great strength, breaking the peace and continued to increase in power over the next 100 years in his search for the One Ring.
In TA 2845, Thráin II (holder of the last of the Seven Rings of the Dwarves) was imprisoned in Dol Guldur's dungeons. 5 years later in TA 2850, Gandalf once again returned to Dol Guldur and found Thráin, dying. Thráin had no recollection of his own name nor the name of his son (Thorin II Oakenshield), but passed on Thrór's Map and Key to the Side-door. Moments later Thráin died of his wounds. Gandalf then confirmed that Sauron was indeed the master of Dol Guldur.
Gandalf returned to the White Council and urged an attack on Dol Guldur, but was overruled by Saruman. In TA 2941, nearly a century later, Saruman learned that Sauron was searching the Gladden Fields for the One Ring and finally agreed to an attack, which occurred at the same time as The Quest of Erebor. This was carefully planned on Gandalf's part, so that Sauron and Smaug could not assist each other, as, otherwise, they surely would have done. The White Council attacked Dol Guldur and drove out Sauron. Sauron fled in secret to Mordor, with his plans nearly ready. In TA 2951, Sauron declared himself openly and sent three Nazgûl led by Khamûl to reoccupy Dol Guldur.
During the War of the Ring, the forces of Dol Guldur led three assaults upon Lórien and Thranduil's realm in Mirkwood, causing grievous damage to the outlying woodlands. However, they were driven back each time by the power of Nenya, Galadriel's Ring of Power, which only Sauron himself could have overcome. The Orcs attacking Thranduil's realm were defeated in the Battle Under the Trees. On March 28, TA 3019 the elves (led by Thranduil of Mirkwood and Galadriel of Lórien) led an assault on Dol Guldur and Galadriel herself threw down its walls and laid its pits bare. Absolutely nothing of the fortress that had stood for 2,019 years was left. Dol Guldur was then renamed Amon Lanc, as it was previously known. Amon Lanc later became the capital of Celeborn's realm of East Lórien in the Fourth Age, while he remained in Middle-earth.
Portrayal in adaptations
The Hobbit film trilogy
Dol Guldur is briefly seen in Peter Jackson's The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, depicted as a huge, decaying castle set on top of a hill. In a scene unique to the film, Radagast the Brown enters the fortress to investigate the evil force within. He briefly battles the Witch-king of Angmar who is shown unclothed and in full spirit form, before glimpsing the Necromancer. He flees to tell Gandalf of what he saw.
In The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, after leaving Bilbo and the party of Dwarves, Gandalf seeks the tombs of nine servants of Sauron (who were the bearers of the nine rings of power gifted to the race of men) located in the High Fells of Rhudaur. The tombs of the Nine Ringwraiths were open, showing that they had been summoned from the dead. After this discovery, Gandalf convenes with Radagast in the High Fells, learning that the Nine have departed to Dol Guldur, answering the call of the Necromancer. He and Radagast then travel to Dol Guldur to investigate further and confront the evil which dwelt there. Gandalf performs revealing spells that remove the illusion displaying the castle as abandoned and ruined. In the extended edition, Gandalf finds Thrain there and helps him escape. Gandalf and Thrain are then attacked by Azog (and a few of his servants) who reveals his hordes of Orcs and Wargs inside the castle preparing for war. Gandalf then uses his magic to escape Azogs grasp, but the Necromancer manifests at Dol Guldur's exit. The Necromancer sucks Thrain in and kills him. The two then start a battle of light and shadow until The Necromancer defeats Gandalf, destroys his staff, and then reveals himself as the Dark Lord Sauron. Gandalf is later seen trapped in one of the cages of the castle watching the vast hordes of Sauron's armies leaving Dol Guldur.
Galadriel keeps her promise made to Gandalf in the first Hobbit film and comes to his aid in Dol Guldur. In the extended edition, a large orc is seen throwing Gandalf around. Gandalf then attempts to defend himself grasping a loose chain and striking the orc with it. The orc, unfazed once again grabs Gandalf. The Ring of Fire, Narya is then seen by the said orc. The orc without hesitation gets ready to cut off Gandalf's arm. Momentarily Galadriel reveals herself and states "I come for Mithrandir, and I will leave with him. If you try to stop me, I will destroy you". The orc in defiance shrieks at her. With the power of her Ring of Power, she with ease blasts him to pieces, causing light to "ride" the clouds for miles. She then carries the unconscious Gandalf to safety, but as she does such, Sauron summons the Nazgûl. Galadriel is horrified by the sight of them. Sauron proceeds to taunt her for being alone, Galadriel proceeds to state clearly that she indeed isn't alone.
Elrond arrives on the scene, drawing his sword. Saruman, appearing shortly after Elrond, witnesses the Nazgûl with his own eyes, realizing he was wrong to doubt Gandalf's claims. Shortly thereafter Elrond strikes defeating a few of them, Saruman then entering the fray. While the two of them are locked in a fierce battle with the Nazgûl, Galadriel heals Gandalf with a kiss. When he comes back from the dead, he and Galadriel acknowledge that Sauron has once again, returned. Radagast then arrives in Dol Guldur to take Gandalf to safety, but he is hesitant to leave Galadriel's side. Gandalf also insists Galadriel should come with them, but Galadriel suddenly enters a trance and forcefully commands Radagast to leave with Gandalf. Radagast, terrified does as such.
When Sauron manifests before them, Saruman cowers in fear as Galadriel takes on a terrifying and corrupted image, challenging Sauron, and banishing the Nine almost instantly. Sauron attempts to sway her to his side, but she denies him. Galadriel's power eventually overrules Sauron, and by her efforts, Sauron is banished from Dol Guldur, his spirit fleeing back to Mordor. Elrond escorts Galadriel to safety after her struggle with Sauron on orders from Saruman, while Saruman himself is tasked to deal with Sauron. This was later revealed as an excuse for him to search for the One.
In EA's Battle for Middle-earth II, the forces of Dol Guldur were commanded by the Mouth of Sauron, not Khamûl the Ringwraith. Dol Guldur (or Mordor itself) sent a huge army of Orcs, Haradrim, and Trolls to assault the Lonely Mountain, the greatest Kingdom of the Dwarves. The attack fails, and the Mouth of Sauron is killed along with all the attacking force. Dol Guldur is then itself attacked by a combined army of Elves and Dwarves led by Elrond, Arwen, Glorfindel, Gloin, Thranduil and Dain Ironfoot. After a long and hard struggle, the Elves and Dwarves finally overrun Dol Guldur and lay waste to the evil that dwelt there, ending Sauron's war campaign in the North once and for all (unless Sauron had seized the Ring, which never happened).
In this game, Dol Guldur has numerous turrets and can summon dark creatures to their aid, creatures that were probably unlikely to appear in the battle according to Tolkien's mythology. The Watcher in the Water appears numerous times, and the dragon (summoned by the goblins and Isengard) occasionally appears. The Balrog itself is also summoned as a final obstacle.
Dol Guldur also appears as a playable level in LEGO The Hobbit: The Video Game; to enable two players to participate Radagast joins Gandalf in exploring it. The game only covered the events of the first two The Hobbit films and thus did not incorporate the attack of the White Council; an expansion pack that would presumably have included these scenes was planned but ultimately canceled.
LEGO created three Dol Guldur kits, which were named "Dol Guldur Ambush," "Dol Guldur Battle", and "Witch-king Battle."
"Dol Guldur Ambush" is a small kit that comes with two Gundabad Orc mini-figures and a Beorn mini-figure. A hide-away axe can be pulled up to chop up the mini-figure standing there. The set also includes a catapult.
"Dol Guldur Battle" is a larger kit that includes two Gundabad Orc mini-figures, and Azog, The Necromancer, Radagast, and Gandalf mini-figures. The Radagast mini-figure is exclusive to this kit. At the front gate, a vine can be pulled, which makes a LEGO skull drop down on the mini-figure below. In the middle of the kit, a torch can be turned to activate a spin-wall which reveals The Necromancer. The top of a tower can do multiple things. One, a catapult can be attached to the top, so it can shoot the brick farther. Second, the catapult can be taken off and a large rock with a stick poking out can be attached. Hanging on the stick is a chain which holds a dangling prison cage, like the one Gandalf was captured in. A small pin can be pulled out, making the cage fall down and hit against the tower wall.
"Witch-king Battle" features a small fortress with a catapult and a spinning wheel. The spinning wheel allows players to spin the minifigure. Galadriel, a variation of the Elrond mini-figure and Witch-king, in a total of three mini-figures, are given in this set. All three mini-figures are exclusive to this set.
|Foreign Language||Translated name|
|Belarusian Cyrillic||Дол Гулдур|
|Bulgarian Cyrillic||дол Гулдур|
|Chinese (Hong Kong)||多爾哥多|
|Danish||Dol Guldur ("Den Sorte Trolddoms Bakke")|
|Kazakh||Дол Гұлдұр (Cyrillic) Дол Гұлдұр (Latin)|
|Korean||돌 굴 더르|
|Kyrgyz Cyrillic||Дол Гулдур|
|Mongolian Cyrillic||Дол Гулдур|
|Serbian||Дол Гулдур (Cyrillic) Dol Guldur (Latin)|
|Tajik Cyrillic||Дол Гулдур|
|Uzbek||Дол Гулдур (Cyrillic) Dol Guldur (Latin)|
Forests & Mountains:
The rest of Arda:
- The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B: The Tale of Years (Chronology of the Westlands), "The Great Years"
- The Atlas of Middle-earth, Regional Maps, "Eriador"
- The Atlas of Middle-earth, Regional Maps, "The Misty Mountains"
- The Atlas of Middle-earth, The Lord of the Rings, "Battles in the North"
- Parma Eldalamberon, Words, Phrases and Passages in Various Tongues in The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien