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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.

History

Construction

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

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The Necromancer as seen in the first Hobbit film

The White Council long feared the power in Dol Guldur might be Sauron, but Saruman opposed assaulting it. However, Gandalf later went to Dol Guldur himself and discovered that the Necromancer was indeed Sauron. He then informed the White Council, and Saruman was unable to protest. The White Council attacked Dol Guldur, and Sauron, not yet powerful enough to challenge them, fled to Mordor.

Sauron 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). 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 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 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.

Destruction

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Galadriel's destruction of Dol Guldur, depicted in BFME 2

During the War of the Ring, the forces of Dol Guldur (led by Khamûl, the Ringwraith second in command to the Witch-king of Angmar) 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. 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.[2][3][4]

Etymology

Dol Guldur is Sindarin, meaning "Hill of Dark Sorcery", from dol ("hill") and guldur ("dark sorcery"). It was previously known as Amon Lanc, the "Bald Hill," from amon ("hill") and lanc ("bald").[5]

Portrayal in adaptations

The Hobbit film trilogy

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Dol Guldur in Peter Jacksons 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.

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Galadriel and Gandalf in Dol Guldur, surrounded by The Nine

In The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, Galadriel, Elrond, and Saruman are seen gathering at Dol Guldur to face Sauron and The Nine Ringwraith's.  

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. 

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Sauron reveals himself to Galadriel, Elrond, and Saruman

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.  

Video games

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 kits

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.

Gallery

Dol Guldur - An Unexpected Journey
Peter Jacksons film depiction of The fortress of Dol Guldur
Dol Guldur bridge - DoS
The bridge leading to Dol Guldur as seen in The Desolation of Smaug
Dol Guldur - DoS
View of the fortress as seen in The Desolation of Smaug
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Gandalf in Dol Guldur
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Artwork of Dol Guldur
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Radagast at Dol Guldur

Translations

Foreign Language Translated name
Amharic ዶል ጉልዱር
Arabic دول غولدور
Armenian Դոլ Գուլդուր
Belarusian Cyrillic Дол Гулдур
Bengali দোল গুলদুর
Bulgarian Cyrillic дол Гулдур
Burmese ဍောလ္ ငုလ္ဒုရ္
Chinese (Hong Kong) 多爾哥多
Georgian დოლ გულდურ
Greek Ντολ Γκουλντουρ
Gujarati ડોલ ગુલાડર
Hebrew דול גולדור
Hindi डोल गुलदुर
Japanese ドル・グルダー
Kannada ಡಾಲ್ ಗುಲ್ಡೂರ್
Kazakh Дол Гұлдұр (Cyrillic) Дол Гұлдұр (Latin)
Korean 돌 굴 더르
Kyrgyz Cyrillic Дол Гулдур
Malayalam പൂര്ണചന്ദ്രനെപ്പോലുള്ള ഗുല്ദുര്
Marathi डोल गुल्दुर
Mongolian Cyrillic Дол Гулдур
Pashto ضول عولدور
Persian دول گولدور
Punjabi ਡੋਲ ਗੁਲ੍ਦੁਰ
Russian Дол Гулдур
Serbian Дол Гулдур (Cyrillic) Dol Guldur (Latin)
Sinhalese ඩොල් ගුල්දුර්
Tajik Cyrillic Дол Гулдур
Tamil டோல் குலத்துர்
Telugu డోల్ గుల్దార్
Thai โดล กูลดูลร์
Ukrainian Cyrillic Дол-Гулдур
Urdu داول گولڈور
Uzbek Дол Гулдур (Cyrillic) Dol Guldur (Latin)
Yiddish דאָל גולדור
Places of Middle-earth and Arda

Middle-earth Locations:

Provinces/Regions:

Dunland | Ithilien | Rohan | Arnor | Ettenmoors | Gondor | Lindon | Minhiriath | Rhûn | The Shire | Mordor | Harad | Forochel

Forests & Mountains:

Amon Dîn | Amon Hen | Amon Lhaw | Caradhras | Emyn Muil | Erebor | Fangorn Forest | High Pass | Iron Hills | Lórien | Mirkwood | Mount Doom | Old Forest | Tower Hills | Weather Hills

City/Fortifications:

Angband | Barad-dûr | Bree | Caras Galadhon | Dol Guldur | Fornost | Hornburg | Isengard | Minas Morgul | Minas Tirith | Orthanc | Osgiliath | Rivendell | Umbar | Utumno

Miscellaneous:

Cair Andros | Gap of Rohan | Grey Havens | Buckland | Enedwaith | Dagorlad | Dead Marshes | Fords of Isen | Weathertop | Argonath

The rest of Arda:

Númenor | Dark Land | Aman | Valinor | Tol Eressëa


References

  1. The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B: The Tale of Years (Chronology of the Westlands), "The Great Years"
  2. The Atlas of Middle-earth, Regional Maps, "Eriador"
  3. The Atlas of Middle-earth, Regional Maps, "The Misty Mountains"
  4. The Atlas of Middle-earth, The Lord of the Rings, "Battles in the North"
  5. Parma Eldalamberon, Words, Phrases and Passages in Various Tongues in The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
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